Monday, January 03, 2005

What It All Means

My New Year's resolution, snapped right in half at approximately 12:00:01 on January 1, is to be less obnoxious. Which would essentially involve a complete and total change of life-- at the very least, not referencing Star Wars at such major life events as arising each morning-- but I can start by ceasing to assume everybody knows what I am talking about while writing of that most popular of American sports, watching small men ride angry horses very fast in a medium to large circle. Therefore, behold, a glossary for the unitiated:

Apprentice Jockey: See Padawan

Azeri: There is religion, there is politics, and then there is Azeri. Shaped by trainer Laura de Seroux to become the leading money winning female horse in all of North America, Azeri injured a tendon in 2003, whereupon de Seroux recommended her retirement. Azeri’s owner, Michael Paulson, then transferred the mare into the hands of D. Wayne Lukas. This move was fairly controversial in the sense that the O.J. Simpson verdict was “somewhat divisive.” If you are interested in kicking off a really spectacular bar fight amongst horse people, we highly recommend that you bring up Azeri.

Bailey, Jerry: Ridiculously successful, seven-times-over Eclipse Award-winning jockey. Jerry currently stands nicknameless in the Champagne Tasting Lounge, as we strongly suspect that he is not, technically, human.

Belmont Stakes: The third and longest leg of the (Visa!) Triple Crown, held at Belmont Park in New York. The mile-and-a-half Belmont is called “The Test of the Champion” because so many Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners have seen their (Visa!) Triple Crown attempts go down here in breathtaking, NBC-televised flames. A vacuum tube installed beneath the finish line of the Belmont immediately transports well-performing male three-year-olds directly to various stud farms.

Beyer Speed Figure: Numeric handicapping tool handed down by God which presumably indicates which horses run fast and which horses do not. Horses not performing according to their previous Beyers, thereby upsetting the natural order of the universe, often spontaneously combust at the finish line.

Big Bob: Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who really, really, really, likes being Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Blinkers: Fashion statement for ADD racehorses who need assistance in concentrating on the task at hand. Ritalin for the easily spooked, blinkers are small cups that affix to the bridle, thus shielding the horse from side-view disruptions. Blinkers may also be useful for such quickly-distracted members of the human species as Robin Williams.

BOOOOOOO, GA’BAGE!: A cry against The Man, made popular by Ted Bassani, University of Notre Dame Class of 1999 and, shockingly enough, a New Jersey native. Particularly egregious acts of The Man in a sports setting are referred to as “ga’bage calls.”

Breeders’ Cup: The Super Bowl of horseracing, held in October and consisting of just obscenely rich races for horses of all sexes and ages. Janet Jackson not included.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic-- Powered By Dodge: The official name of premier race of the Breeders’ Cup. Please bear in mind that we are deadly serious about this, the fact that it actually appears in programs and racing forms as thus: “The Breeders’ Cup Classic-- Powered By Dodge.” Inspired by the Breeders’ Cup Classic-- Powered By Dodge, we would like to take this opportunity to announce the new official name of Blonde Champagne, which hereby is: “Blonde Champagne-- Powered By Kraft Singles and a General Sense of Unease.”

By/Out Of: Breeding terminology. A horse is “by” its sire and “out of” its dam. Usage: “Michael Moore is by Jabba the Hutt, out of Ursula the Sea Witch.”

Call, the: 1) Refers to a spoken agreement between a trainer and a jockey to ride a horse in a race, also called “the mount” or “having the mount”. Usage: “Jerry Bailey has the call on Pleasantly Perfect, and may God have mercy on your soul.” 2) Praise for a handicapping job well done. Usage: “You’ve got Zippy Chippy to win? Wow, good call, dude.”

Cauthen, Steve; Cruguet, Jean; and Turcotte, Ron:
America’s surviving (Visa!) Triple Crown jockeys, kept in suspended animation by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association in the event of a potential (Visa!) Triple Crown completion. They are then regenerated by the Feral Herd to issue proclamations on the (Visa!) Triple Crown fitness of the current contending jockey and horse, their own (Visa!) Triple Crown feats, and in general all things Visa and Triple Crown until the V!TC threat of the day invariably falls apart like the Bluesmobile in the closing moments of the Belmont.

Colt: Male horse under the age of four. Not to be confused with the firearm or premium malt beverage Colt 45.

Daily Racing Form: The Bible of the Thoroughbred racing industry. It contains a great deal of math, however, and is therefore terrifying.

Dam: A horse’s mommy.

Del Mar: Highly beautiful racetrack in Southern California. Del Mar is immortalized in song by co-founder Bing Crosby in “Where the Surf Meets the Turf,” which now stands as history’s most successful musical venture in the category of Theme Songs For Racetracks.

De Seroux, Laura: Successful horsetrainer who formerly had supermare Azeri in her care. Laura’s hobbies include being interviewed about Azeri every .00000001 seconds. Go ahead, Daily Racing Form, ask her AGAIN how she feels about it!

Eclipse Award: See Horse Oscars

Feral Beast, The: Mainstream media. Used in honor of Tom Wolfe’s dubbing of the press as “The Animal” in The Right Stuff.

Filly: Female horse under four years of age. Usage: “Cher is cleary not a filly.”

Foal: Baby horse under one year of age. The Official Noise of a foal is: “Awwww!”

To be born into this mystical world consisting of glory, tragedy, and Chuck Norris.

Furlong: One-eighth of a mile. North America and several European nations divide races into furlongs. Only the godless Communist countries use meters.

Gelding: Castrated horse (insert joke here).

Graded Race: Whoop-de-do Thoroughbred races are granted a “graded” status according to how likely they are to be televised by the Feral Herd. Grades run from I through III. The Kentucky Derby, for instance, is a Grade I race. The Tampa Bay Derby is a Grade III race and therefore stands an excellent chance of being pre-empted by the semifinals of the World Championship of Tetherball. Such races as the Scott Baio Classic, on the other hand, are not graded at all.

Griffin, Merv:
Thoroughbred owner, man responsible for Wheel of Fortune, and, because Gary Busey was not available, celebrity host of the 2003 Breeders’ Cup.

Gulfstream Park: High-class racetrack in southern Florida that is home to the prestigious Florida Derby and a little lake in the middle of the infield containing boats. We like boats.

Handicap: In a “handicap” race, each horse is assigned a different “weight” to carry in the race so as to give “lesser” horses an “advantage” over the “faster” horses, thereby “evening the field” and allowing “bettors” the opportunity to “crap themselves” in an attempt to not plunge themselves further into “soul-crushing debt.”

Horse: Male horse over the age of four. No… seriously… these people are that specific about it.

Horse Oscars: The Eclipse Award, racing’s highest honor. We here at Blonde Champagne are expecting one for news coverage ANY DAY NOW.

I Have To Watch Some Dogs For a Friend: Came into common usage after a jockey sat for a very warm, very productive interview which concluded as follows:

MB: Thanks so much for your time. I certainly appreciate it.

JOCKEY: You’re very welcome. Wow, I really enjoyed talking to you. Beautiful reporters aren't very common around here!

MB: Listen, what are you doing after your last race? Can I buy you a drink?

JOCKEY: Oh. Um. I, um, have to watch some dogs. Yeah.

MB: …

JOCKEY: No. Really. For a friend.

When you “have to watch some dogs for a friend,” then, you are really truly telling the truth about needing to be elsewhere on an immediate basis.

“It’s the Saaaanta Aniiiita!”:
Knock-out, the-last-word argument in any disputed situation. See Santa Anita.

Ivy McCarron Look of Death:
Premiered by Ivy McCarron in October 2003 on Larry King Live directly after Larry King asked Ivy how many purses he’d won, the highly lethal Look of Death is illegal in forty-seven states and may be only be used in acts of self-defense.

Jockbait: Unusually attractive apprentice jockey.

Kentucky Derby: Perhaps you’ve heard of this. Held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, the Derby is America’s most prestigious horse race and, we are told, is sometimes marked by a moderate amount of drinking.

Lukas, D. Wayne:
World’s most powerful horse trainer whom we do not wish to piss off, because D. Wayne Lukas, when provoked, can make you disappear.

Maiden: Horse who has not yet won a race; also, MB's Official Marriange Status.

Mare: Female horse over the age of four. There is a fascinating Latin etymology to this term that we are way too lazy to actually look up.

Mint Julep:
The drink of the Kentucky Derby, consisting of gasoline and crushed peppermint Tic-Tacs.

Miss Julie: First female Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone, who absolutely is not to be f'd with.

Mount, The: Get your mind out of the gutter; see Call, The.

Mr. Bigglesworth:
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, (see: P-Val) who was shocked, shocked, that he was supposed to supply hair samples for a drug test right when he had just randomly decided to shave his whole entire body, and when we say whole entire body, we mean whole. Entire. Body.

My Pat: Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, much beloved in this space and officially granted Unmockable status by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

McCarron, Ivy: Retired Hall of Fame jockey and Santa Anita general manager Chris McCarron, who, not unlike a new flavor of bagel, possesses the ability to grow on you the more you deal with him.

Notre Dame Four-Clap Cheer:
Used by the Notre Dame-Saint Mary’s student body at sporting events, the Notre Dame Four-Clap Cheer is the highest form of honor for people with four-syllable names. Example: “CO-lin POW-ell! (clap clap CLAP CLAP CLAP)

OMG, Ryyyyyyaaaaan!:
Outrageously dimpled jockey Ryan Fogelsonger, winner of an Apprentice of the Year Eclipse Award, more adorable than a box of kittens, and fabled in story and song by teenaged girls as the one-man N’Sync of jockeydom.

Out of: See “By/Out of” (It’s about SEX! Go look, go look!)

Outside: When a horse is running “outside” another horse or the rest of the field, he is positioned at distance from the inside rail. Generally, being “on the outside” is not a desirable position, as this forces the horse to run for a longer distance than the other entrants. “Going outside” in racing terms, then, has absolutely nothing to do with banging the screendoor open and running over to Billy’s house to see if he can spend the afternoon setting fire to ants.

Padawan: An apprentice jockey, typically 16-17 years old, who is permitted to carry less weight than professional jockeys so as to encourage trainers to employ their services. Padawans may not become full-fledged jockeys until they have first been screamed at by an inebriated person in an official race situation, preferably at a POST.

Paddock: Area, typically a round grassy pen, where jockeys mount their horses and receive such valuable last-minute advice from trainers as “You might not want to suck out there.”

Pincay, Laffit Jr.: Superb American jockey. Pincay recently retired due to successive injuries and now apparently spends his days wandering around his front yard without a shirt.

POST: Piece of S--t Track. To qualify for Piece of S--t Track status, a racing facility typically possesses one or more of the following qualities:
1) Small purses
2) Lack of graded races
3) Ladies' room that has also clearly been used to house at least fourteen of the horses running that day. See also: River DOWNS!, Tampa Bay Downs

Post Parade:
Pre-race ritual in which jockeys ride past the grandstand on their way to the starting gate, offering bettors one final opportunity to view the “action” and look of the horses. The post parade is excellent time to holler things and gesture with drunken authority.

Post Time:
Moment at which a race scheduled is to begin. Post time is your two-minute warning to prepare yourself for massive cursing, flinging of losing tickets, and further drinking.

Preakness Stakes:
The second race of the Visa! Triple Crown, held at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland. Also called “the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans,” the Preakness is the showcase of Maryland’s most high-powered celebrities, such as… as… Okay, we’ll get back to you.

Rail, the: Low white barrier hemming in a dirt track on either side. The "inside" rails mark the boundary of the inner distance of the track and often become quite the busy place, as a jockey looking to quickly pick up ground will thread his horse here. The “outside” rails, which are closest to the spectators, are meant to be squished up against as much as possible if you want a really terrible view of the finish but a really excellent view of horse nostrils.

River DOWNS!:
Official POST of the City of Cincinnati. Must place emphasis as well as an exclamation point after “DOWNS!” in honor of a 1980’s River Downs radio jingle, which doubtless created legions of new racing fans (“Come on DOWN, come on DOWN, River DOWNS!!!!!”)

Rundown bandages:
White bandages often held with colored tape on a horse’s hind legs to prevent scraping from flying dirt and debris. From a distance, rundown bandages, or “wraps,” look exactly like tube socks, but, as we here at Blonde Champagne discovered the very embarrasing way, are in fact not.

Santa Anita:
1) High-class historic racetrack in Southern California 2) Shorthand for the Santa Anita Handicap, one of racing’s oldest and most prestigious events. The Santa Anita was immortalized in Seabiscuit by the top-notch whining of Toby McGuire who, while begging Jeff Bridges to let him ride Seabiscuit in the 1940 edition of the Santa Anita Handicap, persuasively pointed out: “But it’s the Saaaanta Aniiiita!”

Saratoga Springs, a small town in upstate New York, conducts America’s oldest and weepiest meet for six weeks in late summer. Lodgings at Saratoga during racing season may be had for as little as $893829547255601743 a night.

Shoemaker, Bill: Also, “The Shoe”. Bill Shoemaker was perhaps the greatest jockey in American history, entirely capable of throwing a saddle over a parakeet and getting it home in front.

Lightweight outer garments worn by jockeys during a race to distinguish him from other riders. Each Thoroughbred owner possesses a unique set of silks. By edict of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, silks must be as God-awful ugly as humanly possible, preferably capable of altering air traffic patterns.

Stevens “I Get a New Nickname Every Freakin’ Time I Show Up Here,” Gary:
Truly fabulous Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, a man who must be bound by no single nickname. Bring your finest wines in a silver chalice unto him in the winner’s circle! For he is… The Stevens!

Stud farms: Usually located in Kentucky, Florida, California, or New York, a stud farm is where The Magic happens. Here, accompanied by the vocal stylings of Michael Feinstein, well-bred mares are mated to well-bred stallions to create a beautiful, miraculous foal who grows up to run in approximately two races and immediately become recycled to a stud farm himself to repeat the process. Stud farms, then, congnizent of their role the Circle of Life in Thoroughbred racing, are really quite environmentally friendly.

Sunshine Millions:
Set of races, held in January, pitting Florida-bred Thoroughbreds against California-bred Thoroughbreds. The Sunshine Millions achieved the pinnacle of Western civilization in its 2004 edition, when Ivy McCarron issued a televised greeting to all Sunshine viewers that ended with: “FEEL THE HEAT!” Clearly we as a society now have nowhere else to go but down.

Tampa Bay Downs:
Home track of Blonde Champagne; fittingly, Tampa Bay is a world-class POST.

(Visa!) Triple Crown: The most difficult and glorious feat in American racing, the (Visa!) Triple Crown goes to a three-year-old horse who wins the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. The (Visa!) Triple Crown is sponsored by Visa! Because when you really need to hang around a great deal of rich people wearing very stupid hats, they don’t take American Express.

Turf: Race course constructed of grass that usually runs on the inside of a dirt track. The horses look prettier on the turf but sound cooler on the dirt. It all depends on what blows your skirt up, you know?

Val, P.: Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, Official Tragi-Comic Jockey of Blonde Champagne. P-Val has been suspended approximately one hillion jillion times for drug-related infractions, which, on its face, is not all that funny, but the fact he once submitted drug-test urine that was, quote, “not human” really kind of is. See also: Mr. Bigglesworth

Zippy Chippy: North America’s losingest Thoroughbred. At last count, Zippy Chippy is 0 for 100. See also: Cincinnati Bengals.

aaaaaaaannnnnnnnd they're off at:


Simon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Golden Spur said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Get paid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Get paid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gift Baskets said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ad Blaster said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ad Blaster said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Previous Tastings