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)