An Overdose of Hungarian Culture

This story, about the “Hungarian Seabiscuit” (a horse named Overdose) made me smile.

But Overdose’s one setback may have done more to cement his reputation in Hungary than his dozen straight victories. At the prestigious Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp in Paris, Overdose appeared to win the premier sprint race with a time just shy of the 25-year-old course record.

But the seeming victory was nullified because a malfunctioning gate prevented one of the other horses from starting. Overdose’s team decided he had expended too much effort to be allowed to run again. His rival, Marchand D’Or, went on to win the race, and later the title of best European sprinter.

Tivadar Farkashazy, a Hungarian television commentator and journalist, compared the debacle to the Treaty of Trianon, signed in 1920 at Versailles, which whittled Hungarian territory down to a fraction of its size and remains a source of national outrage.

“Again the tough luck, again in France,” said Mr. Farkashazy, who has also written a book about the horse.

It is so appropriate that the Treaty of Trianon is mentioned. In Hungary today, you can walk around and see bumper stickers on cars that have an outline of Hungary – not the way it looks today, but the way it looked in 1914 – before that cursed Trianon!