Monday, October 20, 2014


If you hear FNX pronounced you might think it is spelled out FNX, initials for something. If it is pronounced at the racetrack it might appear completely different in print, and very different in meaning. Thus, I give you horses' names with sometimes subliminal, and not so subliminal messages.

Take the names of some of the horses that ran at Belmont this past Saturday, on what is called New York Showcase Day; a card of racing devoted to New York Breds, with eight stakes races.

I believe I once mentioned in a prior posting the cleverness that can go into giving a horse their name. It is often some amalgamation of their breeding, takes on the sire's and dam's names. Sometimes the name is not at all obvious to the breeding, but more connected to the owner's name or tastes. And then sometimes, the name does even look like a name, but rather a arrangement of letters that can span 18 spaces, with blanks, that looks like it is a clue in a Jumble word puzzle that is asking for rearranging.

On Saturday, we had some easily understood names, and some not so easily understood. There was 'Hard to Stay Notgo,' a name that apparently can only make sense to its owners, Chester and Mary Broman, familiar names in racing ownership themselves.

'Myfourchix.' Easy enough to understand where that one might be coming from. 'Temper Mint Patty,' you naughty little girl, you. 'Notacatbutallama,' owned by Mike Repole, another familiar racetrack name.

But 'Notacatbutallama?' Since spaces count toward the 18 character maximum, the words are often smashed together, like TimeWarner. Add the implied spaces, and you get the message: Not a cat but a llama. No, it is a horse, but it is your horse Mike, so you can name it what you like, within some guidelines.

'Carameaway.' Okay, translation appears to be: carry me away. Someone's in love. Or dead. Or, they've got Jay and the Americans stuck in their head forever.

'Eye Luv Lulu.' I love Lulu. Nice. Far better than getting a tattoo of her name on your neck in case the day comes when love disappears and Jane walks in.

'Beautyinthepulpit.' Easy. Beauty in the pulpit: sired by Pulpit, to the mare Stolen Beauty.

And then we have 'Effinex.' An ingredient in a drug? A cleaning solvent? Sound it out, don't look at the spelling, and perhaps you'll glean the message: 'effing ex,' as in a scrubbed cursing reference to a former spouse.

And that's what it means. Apparently the owner and breeder, Dr. Russell S. Cohen of Tri-Bone Stable, is constantly sending out a four-legged message about his former wife. Dr. Cohen is a veterinarian, and the stable belongs to his mother, Bernice Cohen.

The name might have slipped past the Jockey Club naming committee because no one realized the message that was being sent to the former Mrs. Cohen. The Jockey Club tries to keep names free of unwanted innuendo or outright vulgarities.

And Effinex is a good horse. He pulled off an upset on Saturday by winning the $300,000 Empire Classic Handicap at a mile and an eighth. The horse came home with a neck advantage over the second place horse So Lonesome, with Angel Arroyo in the saddle for the stable and a leading trainer Jimmie Jerkens at 17-1. The three-year-old colt's record went to 3-1-2 for 10 starts, with at least $180,000 added to his prior earnings of $148,350. Not playing the horse caused some language similar to his name.

The race track has always been theater, with the chance to actively participate in the play. Nearing my 50th years of going to Belmont one can relate to many changes. No one goes there anymore, and not because as Yogi might have implied, because it's too crowded and too popular. Live attendance at a track is a spotty thing. Under 6,000 souls roamed the place on Saturday. People just don't go to the track, with simulcasting sites available, and home betting via computer.

So, when you have a group of women who start something called Lady Sheila Stable you take notice of people with an unexpected fresh interest in the game, and who are willing to put up major dinero to enjoy it.

Started in 2014 with a $100,000 buy in per membership unit, Lady Sheila Stable as conceived by the woman above, Sheila Rosenblum, is for women to get involved in the game. And several have joined her.

Announcing the creation of the stable Ms. Rosenblum issued a release, "racing is a truly thrilling sport that has provided me with a great deal of personal enjoyment. I strongly believe that increasing interest in the sport among women is crucial to the long-term vitality of the industry. This new syndicate will provide women with the opportunity to gain exposure and experience in an often male-dominated game. I look forward to welcoming other like-minded women to join me as we create this exciting racing opportunity."

"Racing needs more owners who are as determined and resilient as Sheila," trainer Linda Rice added in a statement. "We have developed an amazing partnership together that will serve as the foundation for the new syndicate. I anticipate the long-term success of this new endeavor and the horses that will race for these silks."

The stable's horses are trained by perhaps the top female trainer in the nation, Linda Rice. In their barn is also a top-rated sprinting four-year-old filly named La Verdad, whose names derives from the sire and grandsire, Yes It's True and It Is True. La Verdad is not too far away from winning a career earnings mark of $1,000,000 and now boasts a 10-2-0 record for 15 starts, having won Saturday's  $150,000 Iroquois Stakes. I wasn't cursing when La Verdad won.

Now the women who compose the partnership of Lady Sheila have been revealed to be, so far, five divorced women from the Five Towns Area of Nassau County. That the stable's owners are ex's contrasts with Effinex's somewhat crass name.

Now, whether Dr. Cohen's ex is part of Lady Sheila Stable is not known. It could only improve the story. Nevertheless, Ms. Rosenblum started the stable with significant money and has in a short time achieved significant success.

The ongoing goal of the stable is to add horses through private purchases, auctions, and breeding. The desirable sire Lawyer Ron's offspring are not ruled out.

Ms. Rosenblum is seen above in the box area of Saratoga this year encouraging La Verdad in The Honorable Miss Stakes in July. She didn't win that day, But when La Verdad did win this Saturday at Belmont five very excited and very well-dressed women descended to the winner's circle to have their picture taken with the horse, lead in by Ms. Rosenblum. They formed a near chorus line with Linda Rice and a few men off to the side. All that was missing were leg kicks.

All that Prada, Gucci and Feron in the winner's circle looked a lot better than the jeans and T-shirts that often get their picture taken.

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