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Monday, March 01, 2010

There Is Silver In You

Well, I suppose it was all for the best. Canada got its damn gold; we wouldn't have wanted to see people try and hurt themselves and be subjected to the horror of government-run single payer health care. Jeez! Y'know guys, we wouldn't have thought any less of you as the prevalent hockey power in the world if you had lost, eh? The silver-medal-winning U.S. team, only a handful of which would even have been considered for Team Canada, played with determination and tenacity and took the home team to the limit, leaving us with a classic moment along the way.

Great job, by the way, by the NHL which incredibly did not run a single ad for itself during the entire broadcast (during which ads were limited to between periods), thus failing to take advantage of what must have been some kind of record viewership for the sport. Hmmm, does that remind you of another marketing-dysfunctional sport?

Meanwhile on Sunday, at Gulfstream, Christine Daae ($2.80) was pounded on the tote from 5-2 ML first time against winners, and first time two turns in the 6th. Biancone's filly, by Giant's Causeway out of a stakes-winning Dehere mare (distaff family of FOY winner Highland Park), is nominated to the Triple Crown.

On Saturday, Sabin winner Aurora Lights ($23) was the second longest shot on the board, but the only horse other than 7-5 Justwhistledixie (the second choice) to have previously won a graded stakes. She's a four-year old daughter of Pulpit out of a Lord At War mare, and she's a half-sister to the multiple graded stakes winner Master Command. She's also very closely related to Dynamoor ($5.40), an impressive winner of the race before on the grass, in which I was positive he was being way overbet first time against winners. Between that and the well-bet first-time dirt horses Radiohead and Amen Hallelujah, a couple of my standard rules did not work out at all...just one of those days as far as I'm concerned. I'd approach those situations the same way every time. The second dam of Aurora Lights is the third dam of Dynamoor; and the latter is a half-brother to the G1 grass winner Honor In War, and hails from the female family of the likewise La Gueriere and Al Mamoon.

- OK, completely off topic, how about a couple of music notes regarding bands other than Dinosaur Jr for a change? Chris Knox is a prolific singer/songwriter from New Zealand who, according to his website, has released 46 albums, both in his own name and as the leader of bands such as Tall Dwarfs, over the last three decades. He's one of those pop song machines who somehow flies totally under the radar; Robert Pollard comes to mind as an American equivalent. But when Chris suffered a debilitating stroke last year, some of this country's top indie artists were eager to contribute to a tribute album intended to help with his medical expenses.

The album, called, appropriately enough, Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox, includes contributions from Yo La Tengo, Bill Callahan, Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Stephen Merritt of Magnetic Fields, Portastatic, AC Newman of New Pornographers, The Mountain Goats, Lou Barlow of....well, Dinosaur Jr. (sorry), and the late Jay Reatard. There are also contributions from some Down Under stalwarts such as The Chills, David and Hamish Kilgour of The Clean, The Bats, The Verlaines, and Shayne Carter of the long-gone but fondly-recalled Straitjacket Fits. Stroke is available in the U.S. on Merge Records.

Four Tet is the nom de plume of the British electronic artist/producer/DJ Kieran Hebden. His latest album, There Is Love In You, is a delicious collection of hook-filled, mellifluous electronica set to cozy dance beats. It's available on the UK label Domino and, of course, at the online download store of your choice. That choice should probably be Lala, where you can preview all of the tracks in their entirety once before purchasing for cheaper than ITunes. (For now, since Apple recently purchased the site.)

The Four Tet video below is actually a few years old, from the album Everything Ecstatic, but I think it's really cool, so here it is:


Anonymous said...

I just don't get excited when it is the NHL mercenaries at the Olympics. I know it is supposed to duplicate the World Cup format but it just isn't the same. Recent college grads can represent the USA just as well since they play a caliber of hockey very nearly at NHL level.

The pros just don't match the spirit of the 1980 USA hockey team which was comprised of a bunch of grads from the big time hockey powers. I would like to see a return to this format in 2014 with a team anchored by players from Hockey East, U Denver, Minnesota and other big time college hockey powers.

Anyone who has ever seen a BU-BC hockey game will attest to the level of play being on par with the NHL. These two teams are college hockey's oldest and greatest rivalry; their 2012, 2013 grads could anchor a fine USA hockey team, just as they did in 1980. And play at an intensity level far exceeding typical NHL games other than playoffs.

And if they play against NHL'ers from other countries, all the greater the accomplishment when they win. Besides, the NHL is supposed to be ending the Olympic hiatus in the 2014's about time. And the NHL won't take the chance of seeing it's stars injured and/or lose to college hockey players. Gary Betteman should love it.

Anonymous said...

if you don't get excited by the "nhl mercenaries" at the olympics then you're obviously not a hockey fan.

by duplicating the world cup format (i assume you mean soccer's) we get to see the best players in the world in a competition in which they are fully committed to play for their country. the disappointed reactions of the u.s. players said it all yesterday. the look on zach parise's face when he got his silver medal had me looking forward to 2014.

"recent college grads" or current college players do not play a caliber of hockey anywhere near the nhl level. they would have no chance these days.

wait a minute, isn't this a horse racing blog?

cheers, chris

Anonymous said...

funny timing. through mutual friends i had dinner with wil oldham { bonnie prince billy} last saturday.this might be the last place where i thought his name would pop up.just for the record he was very nice

Anonymous said...

Chris- many hockey fans on this racing blog including our host. How many Hockey East games have you seen? How many BU-BC games have you seen? Beanpot Tournaments routinely display talent and execution on par with the NHL, and certainly more exciting play.

If you did see some Hockey East rivalry games a la BU-BC, especially Beanpot finals, I believe you would back up on your categorical statements about the quality of big time college hockey. Great playmaking, end to end rushes, and the stellar goaltending seen in these rivalry games all make for an exciting brand of hockey.

These guys are playing in the toughest competition in college hockey. These teams feed a lot of players into the NHL. They beat the pros in 1980 and are even more capable of doing it now. It was the 1980 team being a collection of recent college hockey program grads that made that gold medal so memorable. /S/greenmtnpunter

steve in nc said...

As for Radiohead, etc., I've been lately reconsidering my rules about adding question marks to horses going from poly to dirt. In my picks, they seem to be running more consistently at this point than horses going from dirt to dirt!

It's kind of funny, to feel confident tossing dirt horses trying poly, and yet growing more confident in horses going from poly to dirt. Does training on the stuff strengthen horses' legs?

Alan Mann said...

Steve - It's not so much a specific poly-to-dirt rule for me, just the old Harvey Pack rule: Never bet a favorite doing something it has never done before. (Amen Hallelujah was not actually the favorite, but still qualified for me at 2-1.) And I've always been intrigued by the idea that horses training on poly may be more fit. But how about all of those soft tissue whispers?

steve in nc said...

I've read complaints about soft tissue injuries too. Maybe if it doesn't make em lame, it makes em stronger?

Regardless, given the rain cancellations, Stronach's idea of keeping the surface is lunacy. (Oh I forgot, it is government, not private capital that always screws up. Private business has to keep touch with the market and so it knows best. And if it loses touch it goes under, unless of course it is a major corporation or a major schmuck like Stronach, Trump, etc. The biggies get to party on while creditors lay off their workers and workers get foreclosed.)

Imagine if it poured on BC weekend in LA the year after the Monmouth Monsoon? They'd be calling for a domed track!

Anonymous said...

greenmtnpunter -

I didn't mean to dismiss the excitement or quality of top-flight college hockey. I went to BU so I know exactly what you're talking about.

(check out this sick goal by Rangers' draft pick Chris Kreider for BC in this year's Beanpot final)

We'll just have to disagree on how NCAA hockey stacks up to the NHL product. Lots of people think the NCAA basketball is the most compelling basketball there is. I don't think anyone thinks a team of collegians could compete in the NBA.

A BU-BC game is like a Saratoga maiden race for 2 yr-olds. One or two horses could go on to great things, the rest probably not.

cheers, Chris

Anonymous said...

Chris: Fellow BU Alum and Spa Fan: Further, what I would assert is that a U S Olympic team made up of recent big time college hockey grads would be more motivated to win the gold than the NHL ers. A pick up team a la 1980 would immediately be infused with more spirit and will-to-win than the pros plus gain a big stage to showcase their wares for another shot at the pros. A lot more fun than cheering for overpaid, lesser motivated pros.

And then there are the many late bloomers who never run a 2YO race at The Spa who go on to big things as 3 and 4 YO's. You can't judge the crop at 2 becaus for one reason or another many of the good ones are not on the Derby Track and turn up later when they are more mature. Same for college hockey players in the Olympics. /S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

greenmtnpunter -

would agree that nhl players might not have been as motivated say 20 years ago but these days elite american players start playing for the u.s. at a young age. just about every american player had represented the u.s. at the world junior championships or at some level of international competition and it clearly means a lot to them.

as for overpaid, i'll give you chris drury :)(i'm a rangers fan).

what year did you graduate from BU? '87 for me. our big player at the time was john cullen. he went on to have a nice nhl career, won the cup with the pens in '91.

cheers, chris