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Romance Of A Horse Thief

Romance Of A Horse Thief

Associate Editor

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Forget the Kentucky Derby. If you’re young and in love, or are romantically inclined, check out Ketubah, a filly running in the sixth race at Belmont.

If after that race you’re still feeling lucky, check out this Ketubah from an Ohio horse farm.

Hey, I know horses. I know that Belmont’s most Jewish horse (prior to Ketubah) was Roza Robota, named after a Jewish girl from Ciechanov (my grandfather’s shtetl in the Polish horse country), who died by hanging, after being tortured, in Auschwitz after being part of a major prisoner revolt. She was one tough thoroughbred.

Hey, I even know how to steal a horse in Yiddish. On this weekend of the Derby, I confess that my grandfather’s cousin, Joseph Opatoshu, wrote a Yiddish novel, “Romance of a Horse Thief,” in 1917, made into a movie with Yul Brenner in 1971. The movie also stars, and the screenplay was written by, David Opotashu, Joseph’s son, a beautiful writer himself, and an actor.

David, who appeared in “Exodus” as Akiva, the leader of the resistance, is the only person in my family (and probably yours) who guest starred on both “Star Trek” and “The Twilight Zone.” In my line of work you meet people, but I met him when we were both out of work. I come from a long line of, well, we know horses.

Go out early to the back fields to see the horses that weren’t stolen work out at a track in the morning mist. Put two bucks on Ketubah to place.

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