Derby picks, by the letters

I have until now managed to avoid the dreaded Derby pick. My TBA colleagues are handicapping in depth, Alan quite traditionally; others, not so much. The Quinella Queen goes the bibliographical route, Railbird goes by the numbers, and Dana hits the romantic angle. Sue, like me, is still in search of the horse that we believe will take us to the promised land.

So in light of this indecision, in light of the fact that none of the twenty going postward has me heading to the ATM to back up my faith with cash, I’m doing what many a horseplayer would do in this situation: I’m going with names.

First, the throw-outs:

Pyro: Please, please spare us any further exposure to the dreaded incendiary metaphor. Surely the call from this year’s Risen Star (“Pyro comes back…full…of…fire!”) is enough to last a lifetime.

Big Brown: The colt is named for UPS, a client of minority owner Paul Pompa; I am not betting on an advertisement with four legs.

Tale of Ekati: Another walking (running) commercial, named for a diamond mine in Canada that made his owner a millionaire. Also fairly immodest, no, to name your potential money-making horse after something that’s already made you rich? Out.

Z Humor and Z Fortune: hubristically named for their owner, and it’s too hard to tell them apart. With all the talk this week about the selection process for the Derby, overlooked is the fact that no two horses with names this similar should be allowed to run in the same race.

Recapturetheglory: I just can’t go for these horses withthenamesallstrungtogether. Seventeen spaces should be more than enough to come up with a decent name, without having to eviscerate the conventions of English orthography.

Those still in consideration:

Cool Coal Man: Without question, he’s got the best name in the race, firmly honoring tradition and pedigree. By Mineshaft, who is out of Prospectors Delite, who’s by Mr. Prospector, who’s out of Gold Digger. I bow down humbly—bravo!

Big Truck: By Hook and Ladder. Second to Cool Coal Man in style points.

Anak Nakal: It took us months to figure out how to say it, and longer to figure out that it means “naughty child” in Turkish Indonesian. I dig the estoteric element. Thanks, Carol.

Gayego: Another in the esoteric category, this colt’s name refers to the natives of Galicia, a region in northern Spain. And hey, any time I can learn something from a horse’s name, the horse becomes a contender.

Smooth Air: Not so much because I like this colt’s name, which is a rather immature mingling of his sire and dam (Smooth Jazz – Air France), but for the majesty of his dam’s name: Air France, by Twin Propeller out of French Deputy. Ooooh, that’s good.

Whatever system, or lack thereof, that you’re using today, may luck be with you, may the best horse win (unless I’ve got money on another one), and may they all come home safely.

4 thoughts on “Derby picks, by the letters

  1. Happy Derby Day to you and all other racefans.I never thought i’d read a piece on Derby day that included eviscerate and orthography in the same sentence!I have no opinion whatsoever on the Derby-my (hunch) tip is that 24 hours after the defeat of Ken Livingstone-surely his arch-nemesis Baroness Thatcher will win today!!

  2. Happy Derby day! It’s like Christmas and I can hardly wait to get to the track. You’ve given me another reason to love Gayego …

  3. Oh, Jeremy, you were so close! I thought the Baroness was going to get up there in the final strides. Did not, unfortunately, have any money on her.Is London reeling?

  4. Teresa-Labour got a terrible kicking elsewhere in England and Wales-beaten 44-24%-but even with that i thought that Red Kenneth would hang on-but he went down 47-53 to “Bonkers” Boris. Livingstone’s 1st personal defeat in any election since 1979 and the first time since 1971 that he’s not held any elected office in London.The main positive for me is that we’ve rebuilt our ward structure and volunteer base-everyone’s happy and Saratoga is only 79 days away-it looked 10 years off when I stared at a room (my dining room!) with 6000 addressed leaflets in it 4 weeks ago!-and there have been 3 similar distributions since then….The downside of the election was the success of the British National party getting it’s 1st seat in the London Assembly…

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