Monday, January 15, 2007

When Your Last Wish Does Not Include Plastination

Recently, I encouraged a lively discussion regarding plastination and this has given rise to a variety of issues that I feel must be addressed. The first issue is that I really need to get myself to the track so I can actually write something "informative" and "useful" regarding horse racing. Secondly, what is the opinion of racetrack officials and groundskeepers regarding plastination? And what if a person's last wish is not plastination but instead cremation with ashes scattered over a racetrack?

Surely, many horse racing fans have probably had a "Last Wish" to have their ashes scattered over the oval at Churchill Downs or Saratoga. I decided that this topic required some serious research, so I immediately went to the internet. After spending a couple of hours on eBay and reading General Hospital's Scoops & Spoilers, I discovered that there is little information regarding this topic. Thus, I opted to email my "insider" from Magna, Drew Shubeck, the Vice President and General Manger of Lone Star Park. I asked him what track facilites thought of this issue. He replied,
When I worked at Monmouth Park I can recall several instances where relatives scattered ashes and stayed for a day at the races. Most hosted remembrance parties at the track to honor the recently departed and for some the remembrance parties became annual traditions.

Therefore, from my email from Mr. Shubeck, one can extrapolate the findings that racetracks, NTRA, MEC, and Monmouth Park, have no set rules regarding the scattering of ashes at racetracks, except that it would probably benefit the mourners to bring along a copy of the Daily Racing Form while Uncle Festus is scattered along the backstretch between the second and third races on the card.

Furthermore, this notion of a Last Wish of scattering one's ashes raises a few issues: (1) Can ashes be scattered on synthetic racing surfaces, i.e., Polytrack, and still be considered as "returning to dust", (2) by what mechanism are ashes scattered at a racetrack - horse, tractor, jockey, etc., and (3) how much would Trevor Denman charge to provide a quick eulogy between the 4th and 5th races on the card?

Obviously, this is a subject that will require much pondering and philosophical discussion will sipping a fine Merlot. But in the words of Mr. Shubeck, who, by the way, will probably never hold down a job as a funeral director,
I may be biased but I can't think of a better place to be laid to rest or have a party.


Dave said...

Mt. Rainer charges $25 to scatter your ashes, however Hawaii Volcanoes National Park doesn't care as long as you don't dump it in the crater itself. The Grand Canyon is mysteriously silent regarding this. It appears most venues have a "Don't ask, don't tell" approach.

michael said...

I still want my ashes scattered over Wrigly Field if it still stands.
opps this is a racing form not baseball.
Michael still a newbie at racing.

kentucky joe said...

wow, I had never even thought of this but two spring meets ago, my daughter and I were hanging at the rail and she was busy looking at the program and munching a hot dog and just a bit down from us a couple of young ladies dumped an urn full of ashes on the track just off the rail. No big ceremony, no one really much noticed.
I actually thought it was a pretty cool idea that that might have been someone's last wish.

John (AKA Not Too Swift) said...

Although having my ashes spread at Churchill or Belmont has occurred to me. For personal reasons I have opted for another venue BUT I can only hope I spend those last few moments clutching my chest with a winning two dollar exacta ticket firmly clasped in my cold dying hand. . .

Nellie said...

Plastination? Did I hear plastination? Absolutely great stuff (not as art, for educational purposes) - haven't been to Body Worlds yet, but would like to take a trip shortly. This actually is a good question. As for me, strap me to the horse, and let me fly...

alan said...

Sue -

You're a nut! :-)

For all I'll care at that point, my ashes can be flushed down a urinal on the third floor grandstand at the Big A. (After they rest for awhile in the Stanley Cup while being serenaded by the Smiths' first album.)