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Monday, May 14, 2007

Things That Make Me Go “Hmmm”

After all the fuss of trainers and owners clamoring to get into what ended up being a very large Kentucky Derby field, why is it that so few trainers appear willing to take on a significantly smaller Preakness Stakes’ field? While not an excuse entirely, a number of talented horses were bumped, steadied, and/or carried wide in that traffic jam excuse for a race, so if your horse is sound, why not run again at Pimlico? Instead, it looks like we will be left with a three-horse match race, with third-rate pretenders running for leftovers. Excuse me if I can’t get excited about this race. However, if Circular Quay enters the fray, my attention has just been peaked.

Why is it that winning European racehorses have names like Astronomer Royal and Battle Paint while winning American racehorses have names like Slew’s Tizzy or Bustin Stones? Sorry, I know this is a generalization, but why do American horses have to have cutesy, gimmicky names rather than regal sounding ones? Obviously, this is not true of them all, but many. Just browse through your favorite track’s entries to judge for yourself. For example, today at Philly Park, you can place a bet on such pathetically named horses as: Shelly Has Money (if so, why did she waste her vanity on naming the horse after herself?), Smooth Colors (do colors have texture?), Itsawardthing (owned by Kathy Ward, get it?), Let’s Go Diesel (how about Let’s Go Electric, or Let’s Go Ethanol?), Zach at the Rack (huh?), Y Two J (ha ha), Must Win Soon (no pressure there for this six year old $12,500 claimer), and Seeyalatalitigata (gag!). Maybe there is a correlation between the quality and appropriateness of a name, and the level of racing at which a horse performs? In case you are wondering, I'm only half-assed serious :)

UPDATE: Maybe the real for naming horses with ridiculous names is for ridiculous betters (like myself, occasionally) to actually bet them and have them pay off. Of the aforementioned horses at Philly Park today, the following came in the money:
Itsawardthing (win, $4.40)
Shelly Has Money (place, $4.20)
Zach at the Rack (win, $9.20)
Must Win Soon (win, $8.00)
Seeyalatalitigata (place, $4.00)

Go figure!


Superfecta said...

Love your point about names. I hate when horses are named Somethingthatallrunstogether - it just annoys me for no good reason.

I like the current European trend of naming them after random historical figures like Dylan Thomas or George Washington.

Ruben Bailey said...

Zach at the Rack is owned and bred by former Trailblazers Pres.GM, John Nash who named a few of his horses after players. This one after Zach Randolph, all-star forward and police magnet.

I interviewed Nash last year before he "left" the organization. I will dig up the interview (published in print in the Oregon Racing Newsletter, as I'm having trouble locating it online.

Thanks for posting I have something to write about today!!

MGO said...

Because Americans are vulgar, I suppose.

Nick said...

I completely agree about names. I sometimes find myself thinking 'a horse with a name like that couldn't possibly win anything of importance' and I'm usually not disappointed. So maybe there is something to the quality of the horse vs the quality of the name idea. =)

QQ said...

You're not alone in your thoughts on names. In The Big Horse, Joe McGinniss opines that awful, uninspiring names only contribute to the decline of racing. I myself have a hard time playing those weirdly named horses, though sometimes it costs me: this weekend, I passed on a trifecta rather than include a horse named "Adultentertainment."