Monday, June 22, 2009

Inspired By Mine That Bird

Given the reference to Mine That Bird in the title of this post, you're no doubt expecting me to talk about his Canadian connection--the fact that Mine That Bird was one of the top horses in Canada when he raced at Woodbine before winning the Kentucky Derby as he is about to do in the following photo:

Although Mine That Bird's Canadian connection is a good story, it's been done to death. Instead, I'm going to recount a story about geldings, of which Mine That Bird is one.

In July 2003, I represented Verizon Wireless in connection with the sale of its 39.4% interest in Grupo Iusacell, a publicly-traded Mexican cellular telephone company. Sullivan & Cromwell acted for Vodafone which also held a significant percentage of Grupo Iusacell stock. During a lull in the kick off meeting with the acquirer and its counsel, the topic turned to horse racing.

"Oh yeah, he's a great horse--especially for a gelding," one of the business principles from the acquirer said about some horse I'd never heard of.

The immaculately coiffed, young male associate from Sullivan & Cromwell sitting across the table furrowed his brow. "What's a gelding?" he asked.

The business principle from the acquirer laughed. "Well. Hmmm, how should I put this," he said. "A gelding is a male horse who--uh, uh--whose had his testicles removed...."

"NO!" shouted the associate from Sullivan & Cromwell while involuntarily clenching his thighs and buttocks. "Why would anyone do THAT?"

The business principle grinned and explained: "Fixing male horses like that has lots of advantages. They're less aggressive and they're easier to control. They pretty much just do what they're told to do with no fuss."

The partner from Sullivan & Cromwell perked up and raised his eyebrows theatrically. "You know what?" he asked rhetorically, "maybe we should think about doing THAT to our male associates!"

Everyone in the room erupted with raucous laughter. Everyone, that is, but the associate from Sullivan & Cromwell....

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