I always feel a little dumb this time of year, because as someone who likes sports, I know I'm supposed to care (at least somewhat) about the annual running of the Kentucky Derby, because of tradition and mint juleps and fashion and the elusive Triple Crown and The Sport of Kings, and yet I pretty much never do. This year, though, I've got a slightly more vested interest, because there is a horse in the race that is named Palace Malice, which (as you probably know) has an NBA connection.
Sure, it's an awful NBA connection, relating as it does to the 2004 brawl between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers that spilled into the stands, set the Pacers organization back for several years and indelibly marked Ron Artest/Metta World Peace and Stephen Jackson as Bad Dudes in the eyes of many NBA fans, but still: it's an NBA connection all the same, and is therefore something I'm interested in. Go, Palace Malice. Run like a fast horse.
It is, of course, worth clarifying that Palace Malice was not named for the infamous brawl, a question the horse addressed on "his" Twitter account:
@simmonsclass My name andnickname for the brawl come from3 stooges short called Malice in the Palace. My mother is named Palace Rumor.
— Palace Malice (@PalaceMalice) May 3, 2013
("... a question the horse addressed on 'his' Twitter account." I love my job.)
Still, regardless of whether Palace Malice was named for the Pistons-Pacers brawl, his name is a reference to the Pistons-Pacers brawl, and as such, he is the (un)official favorite horse of NBA fans everywhere. isn't considered a favorite and is winless in four runs this season, he apparently does have "the pedigree and connections" to make a strong Run for the Roses. Apparently, horse racing, like almost everything else in life, is about who your parents were and who you "know" (to whatever degree horses "know" people).
Plus, Palace Malice is going off at 25-1 odds, so if you're eager to plunk down some coin on the race and feel like aligning your gambling interests with one of the worst moments in NBA history, you could stand to make a fairly substantial windfall. Don't say I never looked out for your financial well-being.
Also, if you're reading this (and, given your Twitter activity, I suspect you are), please do not go into the stands, Palace Malice. I think you'd face something worse than just a lengthy suspension.
Hat-tip to TrueHoop's Henry Abbott.