Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mule Racing, not Stephen Hawking

The day after I see Stephen Hawking speak, you might expect a blog entry to be about him. Alternately, you might expect it would at least be about the uptalking trixie who was sitting behind me butchering the New Yorker short story she was trying to tell her date about.

No, it's about mule racing. If I had all the money in the world, I would fly to Winnemucca, NV June 2nd to see the clones race the hybrids. It's all there.

April 4, 2006 — The first-ever mule clones, Idaho Gem and Idaho Star, will race at an event scheduled for early June in Winnemucca, Nevada, the University of Idaho has told Discovery News.

The race, in which the mule clones will race against non-cloned mules and possibly each other, will mark the first time that clones of any species have competed in an athletic event.

"From a scientific standpoint, their racing activities are important because it will provide further evidence of their health and vitality, and it will demonstrate that they are able to perform their intended activity, that is, racing," said UI's Dirk Vanderwall, who led the mule cloning project and is an assistant professor of animal and veterinary science.

The researchers created a third mule clone, Utah Pioneer, but he is more skittish than Gem and Star and will sit out this race...

According to Vanderwall, the American Mule Racing Association has registered and sanctioned the racing of the mule clones. The Jockey Club and the American Quarter Horse Association, which handle horse racing, have passed regulations that prohibit clones from being registered, which effectively prevents horse clones from being used as breeders or competitors.

Dressage, show jumping and endurance riding, however, do not require registration. That opens the door for cloned horse competitors.

Recently, the Texas company ViaGen Inc. announced that it had cloned two champion cutting horses and that it hoped to clone more horses soon. Before that announcement, four documented horse clones were known to exist...

Brothers Idaho Gem and Idaho Star currently are in California training for their competitive debut.

Maybe I'll look them up!


dolface said...

for some reason i love the phrase 'uptalking trixie', but i'm not sure why.

also; cloned! racing! mules! awesome

Manduca said...

i owe it all (or at least "uptalking trixie" to mimi:

Manduca said...


i just had to close that parenthesis from my last comment.