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Resume-builder: My interview with Preakness legend Kegasus

EquestrianKegasus (fictional character)Arts and CulturePreakness StakesThe Jockey Club IncorporatedBuck ShowalterPolitics

Despite being in heavy demand, Kegasus, the spokes-centaur for the 2011 Preakness InfieldFest, took time out of his busy schedule to discuss his new gig with the Maryland Jockey Club. I'm not sure what it says about me that my schedule wasn't too busy to chat with a mythological half-horse, half-man creature, but whatever.

Anyway, when I got Kegasus on the line, he was watching a replay of Secretariat’s win in the 1973 Preakness Stakes, which he later told me he technically won while wearing a “cloaking device.”

We chatted for nearly 10 minutes -- and if he was in character, he never broke from it -- about a variety of things, including his resemblance to “Eastbound and Down” actor Danny McBride, what it takes to “be legendary” and the upcoming Orioles season. I can honestly say that it was the most interesting interview I’ve ever done with a guy pretending to be a centaur.

MV: First things first, Baltimore wants to know: Are you really Danny McBride, also known as Kenny Powers, in half of a horse costume?

Kegasus: Danny McBride, aka Kenny Powers, is my main man. According to my great-great aunt, who created the family tree at one point, Danny and I appear to be eighth cousins, 17 times removed -- on the horse side, of course. … I am, in legendary fashion, related to all living people.

MV: Your selection as the spokes-centaur for Preakness InfieldFest has been criticized by traditionalists and, well, old people. I’m 28, but admittedly, I was puzzled by the move, as well. But this being the Charm City and all, do you think Baltimoreans will warm up to you in the weeks leading up to the Preakness Stakes on May 21?

Kegasus: Warm up to me? Baltimoreans? Dude, seriously, have you seen my Twitter page? If they warm up to me any more, they might be able to give Kenny Powers lessons in human relations. I think the warmness factor is well on par, and by the time we hit the Infield on Preakness Day, we’re going to be on fire.

MV: We want to know what led you to become a “party manimal” capable of leading infield festivities. Now we know from news releases that you are the son of the God of Thoroughbred and a waitress from Ellicott City. Tell us more about your background.

Kegasus: Aside from being born from the actual funny bone of my mother, Shelly, I do recall that the gods did cry tears down onto the Infield at the point of my birth, which caused the grass to grow. Being someone who is related to all living creatures, including plants, the grass told me, “We want to be the fertile ground for epicness,” and that is one of the reasons that I became the Lord of the InfieldFest. As far as the actual idea not only for InfieldFest but also for the concept of being legendary, I have to give Caesar credit for that. I think he said it best at his surprise 40th birthday party, pre-stabbing of course. He said, “You should totally be legendary.” And I say Caesar was right.

MV: Being half-horse, are you eligible to run in the race?

Kegasus: Unfortunately, technically, no. I’m not allowed to run in the race because apparently the jockey and the horse have to be separate beings, you see. … But it's also true that ever since my birthday on the day of the first Preakness race, I’ve actually run in and won every single Preakness that’s ever been run. In fact, I’ve placed every single place simultaneously in alternative dimensions in each race. It’s just that I’ve been wearing my cloaking device.

MV: That, and you’d actually prefer being in the Infield, right?

Kegasus: Yes, I’m actually capable of being in more than one place at one time, [I'm] able to cross dimensions. I can … Look Behind You! [Blogger’s note: I didn’t look behind me] Oh! Missed me. But indeed, I do prefer the Infield, and again, it’s an unfair advantage. I can travel at light speed and I have leaped across the Grand Canyon, so I’m afraid it would be a little bit of an unfair advantage.

MV: Images of you double-fisting beer mugs have surfaced on the Internet and radio ads claim you are “a mighty stallion crossed with a human partying hard til the break of dawn.” After the Maryland Jockey Club tried to clean up the Preakness party two years ago, are you worried about sending a mixed message about excessive alcohol consumption in the infield, where college-aged race-goers can drink all the beer they can get their mouths on for a set fee?

Kegasus: Mixed message. Hmmm. As the message man, my dear friend [Maryland Jockey Club President] Tom Chuckas said -- and I swear he is a centaur stuffed into a mortal’s body -- but regardless, he is the one who changed the BYOB policy a couple of years ago and he was public enemy No. 1 for a while. But he’s also for having a great time, but doing it responsibility. He also plays a mean clarinet, but that’s off the record. … So moderation, responsibility, consciousness helps, but yes, “partying hard til the break of dawn” includes everything, from eating, dancing, playing cornhole, listening to Bruno Mars and enjoying as many crab cakes as one could possible ingest.

MV: You urge Baltimoreans to “be legendary” at the Preakness. How can they do that in a safe way -- and I know you just talked about that a little bit -- one that doesn’t involve chucking full beer cans at each other, running on top of urinals or both activities in unison? How can they “be legendary” in a responsible way as you suggested?

Kegasus: I have to ask, when was chucking a full beer can at anyone’s head ever a good idea? The concept of being legendary involves incorporating every aspect of one’s being -- from the mane to the hindquarters, which includes the brain. … I would tend to recommend that Infield thespians do not lobotomize themselves by being other than legendary. It involves being conscious and remembering to recall said "legendaryness." We have all been given a superpower called common sense, but it’s up to us to choose to use it.

MV: You’ll be making your first official public appearance at the Orioles’ home opener. Are you nervous?

Kegasus: Heck yeah, I’m nervous. Have you seen Detroit’s bullpen?

MV: There’s not too much to worry about there. You’re not actually taking swings, are you?

Kegasus: They have got a closer I would not want to go up against, although I have been known to bat literally 1.000 in any given season in “The Battle of the Centaur Stars.”

MV: Last question: I assume you’re an Orioles fan. How do you think the Birds will fare under manager Buck Showalter, a legendary mythological creature in his own right, in the upcoming season?

Kegasus: Anyone named Buck is destined to do legendary things. This is going to be an epic season for the Birds. You can bet on it.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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