Thursday, February 24, 2011

Road to the Roses

It's a kind of interesting day out, weather-wise. There's an almost candlelight warmth filling the sky and mixing with steely grey clouds. If I weren't on my deathbed (okay, not literally, but I do feel pretty *gross*) this is a day that I'd want to be out with a camera trying--often in vain--to capture the glorious light.

But since I'm not feeling up to snuff, it is the perfect day to assemble a Road To The Roses stable--a virtual fantasy stable not unlike something you'd set up for football or baseball, but instead of human athletes you choose from their equine counterparts. And yes, this can be done perfectly well from the privacy of your own home, underneath your favorite quilt, on your comfy sofa and in your flannel pyjamas. In my head it's a little like the treasure box of paper horses that Velvet Brown kept next to her bed.

In the past I've always kept a list, usually scribbled on a scrap of paper when I saw a horse I liked and wanted to follow or even a pile of sticky notes scattered around my desk. But this year I decided to participate and make my picks--such as they are--official.

Unlike the old days where I helped my father pick the fantasy football teams for his office pool--and by the way, I was pretty good at it--horses are often a very sentimental attachment for me. Therefore, my stable is comprised of 5 horses that I think actually have a chance at doing quite well in Derby prep races and the Kentucky Derby and 5 other horses chosen because I liked their name or their sire or dam. Nothing remotely scientific about this process for me, some horses I like, some horses I don't. Horses like First Dude (he's a four year old so he's not eligible anyway) or The Factor will never factor in my stable because they remind me of people I find mostly unpleasant. On the other hand, a horse named Robie the Cat reminds me of Cary Grant and there's nothing unpleasant about that connection.

A few horses like Black N Beauty and Printing Press didn't make the cut, but I'll be watching them anyway in addition to Brethren, Jakesam, Premier Pegasus, Wine Police (genius name) and Vengeful Wildcat. Here's to a safe and interesting Derby trail for all the contenders and their connections! If you'd like to make your own RTTR stable, you can begin here... .

Without further is The Paper Tyger virtual stable (10 horses, 5 of which have to be designated as Power Horses) --

Archarcharch, Jack London, Master of Hounds, Queen'sPlateKitten, Robie the Cat. Most of these have a name or connection that I just couldn't pass over. I love cat and tiger related horse names so Queen'sPlateKitten and Robie the Cat were impossible not to choose. And Jack London is not only a wonderful writer but his equine namesake is out of Tale Of The Cat so another easy choice. And how could I pass up Master of Hounds? Archarcharch is the odd horse out in this grouping. I just like him, like the look of him and hope he's got a nice future ahead of him.

Power Horses (I feel like I should inform the horses they are my designated "active power horses" so that we're all clear about who has to do what here.) Elite Alex, Mucho Macho Man, Sway Away, To Honor and Serve and finally, Uncle Mo. I have had an affinity for Afleet Alex ever since we watched him win the Belmont Stakes in 2005, so his progeny will always get my attention, thus the choice of Elite Alex and Sway Away. I've always liked Macho Uno (as well as his daddy, Holy Bull) so Mucho Macho Man was an easy choice as well. And finally, Uncle Mo and To Honor and Serve are both classy colts with wins under their collective belts and they appear to be serious contenders.

There we are then...I hope there are a couple of sensible picks mixed in with all the sentimental ones. I know there are many contenders who aren't in my stable and that's fine...I've perused the lists and options and these are horses I'm happy with and will look forward to watching as they mature over the next few weeks. With any luck we'll get to watch many of them well beyond the first Saturday in May.

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