Saturday, May 5, 2012

How to Pick the Kentucky Derby Winner Based Solely on Their Name

Sabercat, Ho!

My uncle was a racehorse, so I have a checkered emotional past with horse racing. I used to watch races all the time, and now they all remind me of "the accident". I do however still watch the Triple Crown races, thus becoming the most welcome and lucrative source of American horse racing's funding - the drunk person who places bets based off of horse name, color, and whether the jockey is cute.

A name is the most important quality a horse can possess. Picking a winner by their name is an ancient skill, it requires intense focus and contemplation. Have you ever met a swami who could master the forces of mind and earth to levitate? That's the kind of concentration we're talking about here. Once you have mastered an instinctual sense for red flags and good omens, you must look at the racing form from within a zen state. The entirety of your being must be calm and balanced, letting the names wash over you like ocean waves until inspiration strikes. Sometimes, various masters find it helpful to drink a lot, to achieve this carefree enlightened state. But the most important thing you can do is have confidence in your initial picks. Your friends, (especially the ones who know how to read the stats of a racing form like they think it gives them some sort of credibility or something whatever ) will try to convince you to listen to them. They will tell you misleading things, like "that horse has been scratched, he's not even running" and "why are you placing win tickets on 7 horses, you're just betting against yourself." Your friends, while well meaning, do not understand that once when you were 6 you had a dream you are pretty sure was of the future, and then it totally came true later, and you're probably more than a little psychic.

Let's look at the names of this year's Kentucky Derby contenders:

1. Daddy Long Legs: A novice will immediately think Long Legs = Fast. But dig a little deeper. What is a Daddy Long Legs? A harmless bug that looks enough like a spider that it might as well be a spider. And spiders, while glorious and surprisingly articulate, are creepy and scary. So...harmless and creepy. That isn't a winner, that's the clerk at Walgreens who always tries to talk to you.

2. Optimizer: Could be an air freshener, could be a giant Gundam Transformer robot who sets atmospheres on fire with lasers. While the attempt at scifi awesomeness is commendable, it stinks just a little bit too much like disinfectant for me. This horse is like the Storm Trooper of the Derby.

3. Take Charge Indy: I love this horse, because he brings to mind record stores and Harrison Ford, but with a hint of sexy mid twenties crisis. I would totally hit on this horse at the bar.

4. Union Rags: three words - Civil War Zombie. Four more words: sexy historical romance hero. In conclusion: Sexy Civil War hero fights off zombies, seduces kindly Georgian widow who takes him in. Solid pick.

5. Dullahan: I was torn over this horse because even though the word Dull is right there in the name, it's also really really similar to my own surname. However, I'm not dull at all, sooo pass.

6.Bodemeister: Bode is the name of a rich surfer boy who isn't the smartest tack in the shed, but has a heart of gold, and eventually wins the snarky big city supporting actress who keeps trying to convince her best friend the heroine that living outside NYC is just horrific. Or he's a snowboarder who helps the hero train for his big show, and stands up for him against the snow lodge bullies. Either way, this horse is a supporting actor. Will place or show, but not win.

7. Rousing Sermon: people who get roused by sermons are the adult equivalents of the people in high school who thought yearbook was really really important. Also they are probably homophobes. I do like the pleasing R word S word combination though.

8. Creative Cause: sounds like a charity or a grant application for inner city youth after school programs. I bet this horse has a boring facebook page and really likes gluten free Asian food.

9. Trinniberg: a good old fashioned nonsense word. Bouquet of Hindenberg, Von Trapp, and Trinity who was this very nice older girl who I used to do community musical theater with. None of those things are very champion like.

10. Daddy Nose Best: If you are going to make a pun, do it with a more attractive word than Nose. Seriously, nose is the most bulbous stumbling word, it's just clumsy. I do like that the jockey has a very alliterative sounding name though - G. Gomez. Points for that, and also because I recognize the jockey's name and anyone you've actually heard of before in this sport must be good. But no on the Nose.

11. Alpha: Solid strong beautiful completely obvious name. Reminds me of a story I read about sending pods of clones to do moon mining, and the leader was Alpha. They were all gold skinned. If this horse was gold, this would be a solid pick.

12. Prospective: sounds like a job interview or debutante. I like it, but I just wish it was Prospero instead.

13. Went the Day Well: I like it. It's sing songy. It reminds me vaguely of a Nick Cave murder ballad, or a pretty Irish lass, who will also probably get murdered at the well.

14. Hansen: Obviously brings to mind a winsome troupe of pop icon brothers, but the misspelling also has overtones of butler/right hand man. Reliably good, skilled with shoe polish and a garrote. Probably ex British Intelligence.

15. Gemologist: did you know that gemologist is actually the term for someone who studies precious stones? I thought for sure there was a more scientific sounding name for it, but I looked it up and it's true. Which sorta brings me down on this name, because I liked it better when it sounded like a word they made up on My Little Pony. But the word Gem still tastes like Saturday morning cartoons and pretty pink plastic toys. I approve.

16. El Padrino: What is this, the Inquisition? No.

17. Done Talking: Alright fine then, just leave me here at the bar. I'll get a ride home with someone else, probably that guy over there, lots of people would love to take me home. Asshole.

18. Sabercat: Without a doubt, this year's Derby winner.

19. I'll Have Another: Why would you make your horse sound like a drunk looking to get laid in a hotel bar?  Though listen, there's nothing wrong with the traveling salesman hook up. Just use protection. Don't expect a lot. They are probably going to pass out after you blow them.

20. Liaison:  French sounding, illicit, but honestly sort of boring, cause if you're really "liaising" then you don't have to sneak around and hide it from anyone, cause you don't give a fuck. This horse should just be named Fucking. That would be the most amazing horse name ever, and would win all races of all time. This one sounds too much like an mid thirties woman Richard Gere is trying to sleep with who isn't Diane Lane.

Good luck! Remember, your instincts are much sounder after a few juleps.

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