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Racehorses in History

June: Fairy Chant
b. 1937
Why: A champion at 3 and 4, Fairy Chant won the Beldame twice. She was in the money for 26 of her 42 races.

Raceday 360



The Lane’s End is this weekend, but before we move on to that, I must first continue to glory in last night’s Major League Soccer season opener, in which the brand-new Seattle Sounders spanked the boys of Red Bull – it was a beautiful thing. It does make me wish we’d scheduled our trip for this week, so that we could have been there in person, but given the sell-out crowd, it’s unlikely we’d have managed to score three tickets. Nevertheless, it seems my investment in a fair amount of Sounders merchandise was a wise one – at the time I simply appreciated them offering jerseys in actual women’s sizes so that I didn’t have to decide which children’s option would be the least silly on me – getting a win the first time out (and a stylish one at that) was certainly a welcome bonus.

I’d love to see some good merchandise for this year’s equine stars – why isn’t there a great Zenyatta shirt yet? As one who avoids baseball caps 95% of the time, I’d like to see something offered beyond that. It’s true that there is a t-shirt supporting ‘Le Pamplemousse‘ on CafePress, but it’s just a happy accident and entirely unrelated to the horse (although I noted on Mary Forney’s blog that one of his owners does seems to be sporting an official t-shirt). I’d be quite happy with some Einstein clothing options as well.

But on to the Lane’s End – while a good performance could set one of the entrants on the road to merchandising joy, I’m not feeling overly enthused about the field. Bittel Road may have improved since his last outing, but unless he’s taken a giant step forward, he’s still not in the same league as some of the horses who have beaten him convincingly in the past. West Side Bernie may do well here too, but I don’t know that beating this field equals Derby firepower. I will most likely have my eye on my dark horse, Loch Dubh (although I don’t see the Derby in his future either, I think he could be a really interesting sprinter/miler down the line). You can see the power of ‘Jockeys’ at play here too, since the rest of the household noticed that Orthodox, ‘the horse from TV’ will also run – glad the second season is on the way. I wonder if Jack Spratt simply hated real dirt in the Fountain of Youth and may rebound to better form here on Polytrack – if he does, it might be a nice payout for someone.

In any event, the race will be on regular old cable – no need to sit through the 1980s-style ads for breeding farms that are a staple of TVG and HRTV (seriously, has anyone called out Adena Springs for their terrible – and likely not entirely legal – ‘A-Team’ commercial?). Granted, I’ll still have to switch to that to watch Spring House and Artiste Royale in the San Luis Rey, but at least the mainstreamish media will briefly turn to racing – even if the Lane’s End seems like it’s become less of a Derby prep in recent years. That may be no bad thing – planting the idea that there is racing beyond the Triple Crown is a laudable goal – even if it was an accidental one.

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