05/14/2010 4:50PM

Super Preaky


Who can forget this classic exchange from "This Is Spinal Tap," one of the cinema's most cherished entertainments?

Bobbi Flekman: They don't like the cover. They find it very offensive.

Ian Faith: What exactly do you find offensive?

Bobbi: You put a greased, naked woman on all fours, with a dog collar around her neck, and a leash, and a man's arm extended out, up to here, holding the leash and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it. You don't find that offensive? You don't find that sexist?

Ian: This is 1982. Come on.

Bobbi: It is 1982. Get out of the Sixties. We don't have this mentality anymore.

Ian: Well, you should have seen the cover they wanted to do. It wasn't a glove, believe me.

Smell the glove copy I don't know why, but for some reason the scene came to mind this week. Must have had something to do with the reaction to the Preakness advertising campaign hooked to its fresh new catchy slogan, "Get Your Preak On!" Of course, everyone knows the correct spelling is "Get Ur Preak On," but the ad guys didn't want to offend any armed, grammatical extremists who might be wandering around Baltimore. Better safe than sorry.

As a sign of the apocalypse upon us, the scuzzy Preakness billboards and humor-free radio ads hardly qualify, leaving only the reaction to generate any serious heat. Right on cue, the "Get Your Preak On" angle ruffled the usual older white male reactionary feathers. Congratulations, boys, for falling into their devious marketing trap. My favorite was from Ray Kerrison of the New York Post, a skilled reporter and fine columnist, who declared: "The morons came up with Get Your Preak On, reducing a great, historic thoroughbred horse race to an event with sleazy overtones." This from a fellow whose publication this week went to extraordinary pains to make the connection between softball and gay lifestyle. Talk about getting your preak on.

In terms of fan participation, the Preakness always has been the NASCAR stop on the Triple Crown trail. One trip through a Preakness infield in years past was all you needed to be convinced that normal rules of public behavior were suspended, leaving only a few essential taboos for security personnel to enforce, like...

"Hey, buddy, if you hold on a minute, you can do that inside the porta-potty," or "Why don't you wait for your girlfriend to come to before you shave her head?" or "Go on, but I think somebody already drank that and gave it back."

Corporate greed backfired last year when the infield was sanitized and the usual fans stayed away by the tens of thousands. By way of apology, the beer is back, with the daunting challenge of drinking all you can for a flat fee of twenty bucks. As we speak, there are guys dreaming of having consumed the equivalent of nickel beers all day long.

In the meantime, disconnected from whatever happens in that end of the infield, there will be a Preakness, and I think a pretty good horse race if thunderstorms don't Super-size" the surface like they did in Louisville. Recent history keeps expectations high for Derby winners like Super Saver, hoping he follows the lead of Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic, War Emblem, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones and Big Brown. But there have been any number of Derby winners turn out to be non-competitive in Baltimore, including Giacomo, Monarchos, Fusaichi Pegasus, Sea Hero, Lil E. Tee, Strike the Gold, Ferdinand, Swale and Sunny's Halo. My guess is Super Saver will fall somewhere in between, with a good and nobel effort in a losing cause, joining a list that includes Mine That Bird, Street Sense, Thunder Gulch, Go for Gin and the two roughed-up fillies, Genuine Risk and Winning Colors. 

A fun exacta would be Paddy O'Prado-to-Caracortado, just to say it out loud, over and over, until someone screams, or dances a jig. But then watch Lookin at Lucky go out there and get a dream trip, hit the front at the eighth pole, and then look around, confused, waiting for a safe to fall on his head. How much more unlucky can a horse get? The answer is, of course, none more.

H.Z. Hackenbush More than 1 year ago
Hmmm. Oak Tree loses a million dollars a year without Breeders' Cup revenues? Well, THAT'S something I hadn't heard before. Raises all kinds of questions, doesn't it?
Neal Baker More than 1 year ago
Nice job Jay with your thoughts on Skip Away. He was a true iron horse. One day I hope that you or one of your brethren can re-visit the 1996 Travers when jockey Jose Santos nearly rode the brave horse into the ground.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Very sorry to hear Ron Charles resigned. That someone that outstandingly competent would have voluntarily remained in such an untenable position during Santa Anita/Magna’s entirely preventable bankruptcy testifies to both his dedication to high principles & his love of horse racing. He won’t be at large for long. Headhunters – if one hasn’t already squared him away with a position commensurate with his talents – will be delighted to represent someone so naturally blessed with diplomatic & management ability. Good luck, Ron!
RobS More than 1 year ago
"You know where you stand in a Hell Hole."
binky mcfadden More than 1 year ago
Preakness handle down. Beer consumption up! Marketing worked.
binky mcfadden More than 1 year ago
the Preakness is like pond scum that rises to the surface each spring. too bad racing is too handcuffed by tradition to come up with a suitable replacement so that decent horses would have an equally decent venue in which to race for a "jewel in the triple crown". Pimlico is a dump. Free beer for everyone!
Scottie More than 1 year ago
I don't think the "corporate greed" backfired last year: there may have been 30,000 less people in the infield but wagering was up 21% overall. I'm guessing Pimlico would rather have a bigger handle than a bigger party. The infield mob doesn't bet and I doubt they even see a minute of racing.
Lakotasblaze More than 1 year ago
From the ridiculous to the surreal, you point it out Jay; keepin it real.
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Ah, Sunny's Halo. It's not 1983 anymore either, but I recall that he had the misfortune of drawing a post position next to a horse from Suffolk Downs, of all places, and a penny-weight jock that had just lost his bug. Needless to say, the Suffolk horse made his first jump a crushing one into the flanks of the Derby winner and his race was effectively over. No crab cakes that year.