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Friday, September 04, 2009

Who's Number 768?

We were driving up the Taconic on Thursday, and happened upon WPDH, 101.5-FM in Poughkeepsie. And like many classic rock stations like to do on Labor Day weekend, they were counting down the greatest songs of all time; in this case starting at #1015 in honor of its frequency. I find it a rather silly ritual, always ending up as they do with the usual suspects in the top ten.

More interesting to me is to hear what they pick at the lower end of the spectrum. That's when you're likely to hear a somewhat forgotten gem which you may not have heard in years. It's kinda silly though; I mean, how do you decide which song is 768 or 767? And who exactly is making that call?

Nonetheless, things were going really well at first. At #768, I'd Love to Change the World, by Ten Years After, has some homophobic lyrics, but the usual great lead guitar work by Alvin Lee. Long Distance Runaround, by Yes, followed at #767, and they even let it run into Fish (Schindleria Praematurus); a nice bonus there. After that came Story In Your Eyes by the Moody Blues, which is a great song, though the album which it's from, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, wasn't nearly as good as To Our Children's Children's Children. They're actually on tour to mark their 45th anniversary. They played in NY, but I just don't do the fossil rock thing. They were one of my favorite bands at one time, but I couldn't imagine going to see them now under most circumstances.

But the best-of list started to go downhill at this point, especially once we got into the 750's. Van Halen, Aerosmith, Pearl Jam. I just never, ever got into those bands, perhaps because of an extended progressive jazz phase commencing in the mid-70's. (Though I must say that I liked the Pearl Jam song, Alive, and would consider revisiting them if you can suggest an album.) There was an awful instrumental by Pink Floyd, another band which never caught my fancy - I've never even owned a single copy of Dark Side of the Moon - and that really bad Led Zeppelin song with the calypso break.

Then, it got outright sadistic - Scorpions segueing into Bob Seger, perhaps the most mediocre rocker of all time. Jeez, were they trying to kill me? Could My Love Does It Good or Billy Joel be far off? Welcome relief came with the Beatles' Helter Skelter, but then of course, in the vicinity of Defreetsville on Route 9, the station faded away, thanks for that.

Similarly, I know people like to propose top ten lists of the greatest horses of all time, an endeavor I find particularly fruitless considering that I wasn't around to see the best horses of the past. So who am I to rank the horses I've seen with Kelso or Native Dancer or even Secretariat (I was around, but too busy going to the trotters or listening to Moody Blues albums.) I'm just not a big list guy I guess; probably related to my aversion to award shows, some deep psychological scar perhaps.

I don't know if even Illman or Plonk are wonky enough to list their top 1,015 horses. But like with the music, it might be fun to consider the horses vying for, say, that coveted #768 spot. Has to be horses with some measure of accomplishment; but not too much. Maybe a horse like Any Given Saturday. Or Bandini. Roses In May, Flower Alley, Wonder Lady Anne L, or Henny Hughes.

It's a silly exercise, I know, just like with the songs. But, as I occasionally like to do here, it does has a semi-serious point. Other than Rachel Alexandra, none of the entrants for Saturday's Woodward would even be faintly considered for the top 1,015; not even close. Even Einstein, considered by some to be the best male handicap horse, and purchased yesterday by Frank Stronach, wouldn't crack that list in my opinion. I think that helps to put this race in perspective. The filly, clearly On The Threshold of a Dream, has probably already cracked the top 150 (even the champion Curlin is only at around #238 in my view), and, with people speculating that she could be the best filly ever, we're looking at possible Top Ten material. If she is just half of what we think she might be, this race should just be an easy walk in the park. Jess Jackson's claim that this race will help put her in historical perspective is empty and specious considering that, barring some dramatic improvement in form, these names will all be forgotten in just a few years and thereafter to Our Children's Children's Children, never to appear on any lists on Labor or any other Day. There may be only one horse currently in training, in this country anyway, high enough on the list to provide any historical context for Rachel Alexandra. Unfortunately, she's racing out in California; so Go Now, Mr. Jackson, and take thee to the Breeders' Cup after the filly takes care of business tomorrow.


Superfecta said...

I think To Our Children's Children's Children is one of my favorite Moody Blues albums. I think I must be the youngest person in the world with a copy.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post.

I realize you are being facetious, but believe there are a few in training that would crack the top 1015 other than Rachel (with about 125 years of "modern" racing there would be 8 horses per crop on the list).

Einstein is the first, his accomplishment on all three surfaces speak for themselves. Like you state, the horses that would make up this theoretical list would not be super stars, but rather multiple grade one winners with long consistant careers, and his resume is more than worthy. He is Rodney Dangerfield.

I know you have something against him but Summer Bird may make it too, a work in progress than may age well as opposed to most Belmont winners that are off to stud or simply fade away.

Then there are the turfers and sprinters, the latter a particularly nice group this season.

I do happen to agree Rachel needs to run again this year to be HOY, but not at the Breeders Cup. It is simple Mr. Jackson, if you ARE as confident as you say in her ability, announce to the world that she will run on October 5th at Belmont in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at 10f, none of this intentional hedging each race to confuse the opposition which to me is a complete dodge in itself.

Here she is come and get her if you want to be HOY. If they all duck her and she wins, then she can lay claim to the title.

If she goes on vacation after beating a Grade Two field, sorry she did not earn the title.

El Angelo said...

Give Ten, Vs. and Vitalogy a real shot, they're fantastic. If you like them, also check out the Lost Dogs double album of unreleased b-sides, which is fabulous. By contrast, Van Halen and Aerosmith stink.

mike said...

Would suggest Vs. as a Pearl Jam album to try.

Anonymous said...

Alan, don't bother with any other Perljam album other than 10. It's a terrific album through and through. After that, they are mediocre.

Now about the top 1,015 horses...

1,015 - Rock Hard Ten

1,014 - Wild Rush

1,013 - Exciting Story

1,012 - Cat Thief


Anonymous said...

I think Ksar would deserve a spot.

DiscreetPicks said...

Del Mar - Race 8

#8 Carlsbad (9/5 ml)

I hesitated a bit to give this one out with the short morning line, but i don't think she'll be overbet here with a whole lot of attention sure to be focused on the multiple graded-stakes winner Evita Argentine (the subject of an article on the cover of today's Racing Form). With the exception of the Baffert trainee Moon de French, there looks to be no speed at all here to challenge the exceptionally quick Carlsbad early, and trainer Jeff Mullins even makes note of that in the above-mention DRF article. And even if Moon de French does choose to engage Carlsbad early (which i kinda doubt), Carslbad is drawn comfortably to that one's inside. I'm not normally a fan of horses going route-to-sprint (as the two-turn races tend to dull their speed), but that doesn't look to bea problem here as Carlsbad set ridiculously fast early splits in the one-mile San Clemente, and besides that she's already won on the turnback from a route back on March 29 @ Santa Anita (in her second start off the layoff btw, same as today). She also figures to be fit as a fiddle coming off those two straight routes, and her best-of-43 bullet workout last week seems to indicate her readiness for this event. Just a very fast, classy horse here, who figures to be helped by the pace scenario. Should be plenty tough.

DiscreetPicks said...

Wait a minute. Who the hell doesn't like Pink Floyd? Are you kidding me Alan???

Btw, i think Wish You Were Here rivals Dark Side of the Moon for their best work. Animals is another great album.

Anonymous said...

Meddle. Good for the stoners.

Ray Paulick said...

This is one of the reason I got Sirius satellite radio. Plus, it never goes out of range on a long trip.

ballyfager said...

Mr. Jackson IS doing the right thing. Anything that might hasten the demise of synthetic tracks is a plus for horseplayers. And all those people who said it's good for the horses just please shut up. It isn't.

Plus, assuming Rachel doesn't stub her hoof tomorrow, that horse in California has to come to her.

DiscreetPicks said...

Carlsbad pays $4.80 to win, while setting a new track record...

Anonymous said...

101.9 in NYC has their own unique countdown, tonight I heard NY Dolls, early Blondie, Dave Edmunds, Dave Mathews, Social Distortion to name a few, of course with many of the usual bands thrown in but not the usual suspect songs.

They played a Pearl Jam song off the yield album, somehting very spacy including aliens and full moon which was perfect tonight on the deck.

Ruben Bailey said...

Def, Ten, VS and Vitalogy for Pearl Jam...BUT, I'll even go deeper for you and recommend specific songs. I promise enjoyment listening to these songs. You may not love every one of them, but there are some true gems here, Alan:

-Red Mosquito (No Code)
-Given to Fly (Yield)
-In My Tree (No Code)
-Animal (VS)
-Rats (VS)
-Not for You (Vitalogy)
-Low Light (Yield)

Smash said...

It's actually a great station--give them a listen sometime when it's not a countdown weekend.

Anonymous said...

I don't come across many people who are both racing fans and Moody Blues fans other than myself, but I saw Rachel win the Woodward yesterday, and it was electric. You had to be there. In fact, you're missing the boat not having seen the Moodies on this tour; you'd be very surprised at how good they are. Every review has been positive. I saw them at SPAC and also went to the track that day--my version of a day in heaven.