Taking early ‘Smart’ pills
for Horse of the Year

Jul 27, 2004 5:37 AM

Random thoughts three months before the Breeders’ Cup:

If Horse of the Year were voted on today, Smarty Jones would win over Pleasantly Perfect, not necessarily because he’s the better horse but because the popular 3-year-old has captured the fancy of the racing world. Hopefully the issue will be decided where it should be, on the track, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.

If legal fees paid to lawyers of Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart, O.J. Simpson and Patrick Valenzuela went towards moral causes instead, there would be no homeless and there would be no world hunger.

If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to solve California’s budget crisis and alleviate racing’s shortfalls, he should initiate a language tax in the Golden State. Charge residents a penny each time they uttered the insignificant crutch words, "well, dude, um, like, you know, totally, actually and basically." The state’s coffers would be overflowing in a single day merely with the utterance of "like," as in, "Well, you know, dude, it’s um basically like totally cool, actually." FYI, the most meaningless word in the English language is "actually," because any sentence has the same meaning without that word, to wit: "Did you go to the races yesterday?" Answer: "Actually, I did." Shorter answer with identical meaning: "I did." The word "actually" can be eliminated from any sentence without changing the meaning. Another word expunged from the English language is "Very." It has been replaced by "really," as in, "The movie was really good." Correct adjective. "The movie was very good." And when did "fun" become an adjective instead of a noun, as in, "It was a fun (enjoyable) experience,’ instead of, "It was fun?"

Arnold could reap greater funds from an IDIOT tax (Incorrect Dispensing In Oral Terms) that penalizes anyone who ends a declarative sentence as though it were an interrogative sentence, as in, "I am going to the race track?" Seriously, such laws would be blatantly misrepresented, sort of like Sports Illustrated featuring Anna Kournikova in its swimsuit issue because of her tennis victories.

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe champions of generations ago such as Citation, Round Table, Kelso, Dr. Fager and Buckpasser would have buried the lily-livered losers of today. Horses of yesteryear didn’t have the benefit of state-of-the-art facilities, jet travel and advanced medication. And rarely does a contemporary handicap thoroughbred race 35 times in a career, let alone as a 2-year-old, as Seabiscuit did. It’s like saying today’s baseball players are as great as their predecessors. Babe Ruth devoured hot dogs and beer for his sustenance, not steroids. I’m not saying Barry Bonds uses performance enhancers, but he is twice the size today with the Giants than he was when he was pencil-thin years ago with the Pirates. Ditto Mark McGwire, et al. And while I’m on a rant, don’t tell me the baseball is not juiced. Current batters take pop-up swings and the ball goes yard. And, did you know Hank Aaron required some 2,000 more at-bats than Ruth to hit his 755 home runs? I think the Babe would have had another 50 with 2,000 more ups. Yet baseball’s geniuses gave Roger Maris an asterisk for hitting one more home runs than Ruth, 61 in 1961, because Maris needed eight more games to surpass the 60 Ruth hit in 1927.

The proposal by jockeys to increase minimum weight that horses carry in California has fanned an already controversial issue even further. Riders shouldn’t have to jeopardize their health in order to meet riding requirements, but answer me this: If California allows jocks to ride at 128 pounds and they bulk up to ride regularly in the Golden State, what do they do when they have out of state stakes engagements at venues that don’t comply with California’s standards, and they have to carry considerably less weight?

Sports I don’t read about: women’s basketball, auto racing, soccer, X-games garbage and tennis (I can’t spell the players’ names, let alone pronounce them).

I am grateful there is a mute button for folks such as Chris (The Screamer) Berman, Linda (The Reader) Cohn, Harold (Incomplete Sentence) Reynolds and Peter (Well, I Mean) Gammons (It’s always 1-10 the first words out of his mouth are either "Well" and/or "I mean.")

I am grateful there is an off button for Dick (The Volcano) Vitale, who would be unable to speak if his hands were tied, because he must gyrate them in order to spew his brow-beating, grammatically incorrect drivel. It is OK to be enthusiastic, but loud is not better.

The homestretch

Chandtrue, the undefeated 2-year-old colt that won three stakes at Hollywood Park to be named Horse of the Meet by the media, will receive a break before making his next start. "He ran well but because he didn’t draw off and win by five, I think he’s telling me we’ll need the seven weeks," trainer Bob Hess Jr. said after the son of Yes It’s True won the Hollywood Juvenile Championship by a deceiving half-length as the 3-10 favorite.

Hess was referring to the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs on closing day, Sept. 8. "I really believe that. I know I’ve been talking about conserving him and we keep running, but we definitely need to give him the seven weeks."

Asked if he thought the $130,000 purchase for owner Harold Greene has exceeded his expectations, the 39-year-old trainer said, "I thought he’d be a nice allowance horse, potentially a stakes horse, but not an undefeated 2-year-old and not the best 2-year-old on the West Coast and not a Grade III winner by July 18. His sire has had a bunch of winners but this is obviously his best horse."

Laker fans shouldn’t be fretting over the loss of Shaq. The team just improved its free throw shooting by 30 percent . . . It’s a pleasure to hear Trevor Denman again.