Archive for July, 2009
Wednesday is the opening day for the 2009 Saratoga Thoroughbred meet. Everyone has their fingers crossed for clear skies. Be sure to visit the gift shops located throughout the grandstand and clubhouse and pick up a copy of Off to a Flying Start (or at least a free postcard). Read the book and you’ll be well armed for cocktail party conversation after the races!
Here are the entries for the first race, a mile and a a sixteenth on the grass. Who do you like?
|1||Come On Love||Prado E S||Singh Satrohan N||120||L||8-1|
|2||Tsavorite||Borel C H||Wilkes Ian R||120||L||20-1|
|3||Dorian Will||Velazquez J R||Pletcher Todd A||117||L||8-1|
|4||Silver King||Castellano J J||Goldberg Alan E||120||L||10-1|
|5||Dantastic||Maragh R||Schosberg Richard||123||L||9-2|
|6||Moon Ala Mode||Dominguez R A||Domino Carl J||120||L||12-1|
|7||Good Prospect||Garcia Alan||Rice Linda||123||L||5-1|
|8||Stepaside||Coa E M||Voss Thomas H||120||L||4-1|
|9||Stratos||Mena M||Baker James E||116||L||30-1|
|10||Maccarib Pass||Leparoux J R||Maker Michael J||116||L||15-1|
|11||Smarten Destiny||Albarado R J||McPeek Kenneth G||119||L||8-1|
|12||Movie Magic||Velasquez C||D’Alessandro Ralph||120||L||15-1|
|13||AE||Auteur||Desormeaux K J||Mott William I||116||L||9-2|
|14||AE||Mask and Wig||Castellano J J||Tagg Barclay||120||L||8-1|
|15||MTO||El Tamberito||Dominguez R A||Dutrow Anthony W||120||L||7-2|
|16||MTO||Danick||Migliore R||DiMauro Stephen L||116||L||8-1|
If you’re out to the races in Seattle at Emerald Downs, check out our book and other racing related items at the excellent Gift Horse shop.
Tune-in to the “The Win, Place Show ” with Joe Withee on Sunday July 26th from 8am-9am on Sports Radio 950 KJR AM to hear us discuss our book.
In a handicap race like The California Dreamin‘ for 3-year-olds on the turf at Del Mar this Sunday, a penalty or disadvantage is given to horses who are judged to be more likely to win the race. In an attempt to make the competition more equal the horses are assigned additional weight (their handicap) based upon their past performance.
In common speech, handicap refers to a wide range of disabilities. The interesting part is the change in usage. Originally the handicap weight was added to the faster contestant but it’s meaning has evolved over the past couple of centuries. Over time, the meaning of handicap has changed from the weight that slows a superior horse down to the common understanding that simply connotes some sort of disadvantage.
In golf a handicap is a numerical measure of an amateur’s playing ability based on the tees played for a given course. I’m not an experienced golfer and I don’t understand this formula but it is explained here.
By the way, the high weight (and probable post time favorite) in the California Dreamin’ Handicap is the #9 horse Bold Chieftain carrying 123lbs. Bold Chieftain has won this race the past two years and he is going for his personal California Dreamin’ trifecta. The horses with the low weight assignments are getting 10 lbs off the favorite: the #3 Suit Yourself and the #6 Bert’s Law, each at 113lbs. I give Bert’s Law a chance of rounding out an exacta with the high weight favorite.
Today is the opening date of the Del Mar meet. Bill and I have never been there, but our book is there now! It’s on sale at the track gift shop. For all of you who have the privilege of being there, be sure to look for it.
Chomping at the Bit or Champing at the Bit?
A few readers have strongly suggested to us that we are incorrect in using “chomping at the bit” instead of “champing at the bit” We did, however, make a deliberate decision to go with chomping over champing.
For starters, the book is about horse racing terminology used in “everyday” language. We have most commonly heard “chomping at the bit.” Though I hate to pass on wrong word usage as correct simply because it is used incorrectly by the majority of the people, we decided that technically “chomping at the bit” was not incorrect. Even if the change in usage has come about because people misheard the word champing or were not familiar with it, substituting chomp for champ pretty much keeps the meaning intact. We did find some others who feel the same way and who offer more in depth explanations. See this Word Detective posting on and this Language Log posting.
Let us know what your thoughts are.
We were out to Belmont Park see the Grade I Man o’ War stakes this weekend . That got me thinking about the etymological “controversy” surrounding the sports term Upset. The great Man o’ War lost only one race in his illustrious career: the 1919 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga to a horse called Upset
The theory goes that the sports phrase “It’s an Upset” comes directly from that running of the Sanford.
But there are many word sleuths who believe “upset” was being used in sports long before the underdog Upset beat the heavily favored Man ‘o War.
Some references to the the earlier use of “upset” are here:
To the best of my knowledge the term was in use before 1919 but it became more prevalent after Upset’s victory over Man o’ War