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Did you hear …Don't let them ‘get your goat'
This goat has managed to work his way through the bars of his pen at the Orangeburg County Fair, possibly because he is curious about the apparatus facing him. Goats may be humorous creatures but they are serious business to horseracers. CHRIS HUFF/T&D

LEXINGTON, Ky. — You may think of a goat as a lowly creature, and there are reasons why.

Old, souped-up cars are known as "goats."

Junior officers in the Army are known as "goats."

Locomotive switch engines are called "goats" because they butt cars around.

And then there are "scapegoats," those who take the blame for their groups' failures or embarrassments.

But just wait till someone "gets your goat." That's when you'll feel annoyed, angry or frustrated. And you'll realize that goats are pretty important fellows.

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Why? Because they have the power to calm.

A horse trainer/owner at none other than the Thoroughbred Center explained it to me. The Thoroughbred Center is owned by Keeneland Race Track, where the best horses in the world race every year. The Thoroughbred Center is where those horses train.

And at the Center, the trainer said, the lowly goat is an important character. Goats wander freely in the stables among million-dollar horses that the lowly human wouldn't be allowed to approach. They sleep in the stalls with the best of horses because goats calm them down.

"So that's where the expression 'I got his goat,' comes from," he said. "People used to try to steal the goat from a racehorse's stable. The horse would be upset and lose sleep and, they hoped, lose the race. We don't know why, but goats just have the power to calm."

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