09 July 2007

Punk rocks on at Mountaineer

Recently I attended the American Library Association’s annual conference in Washington DC. And then I dropped off the face of the blogging world, as I am apparently the only person on earth who can attend a library conference and get hurt. All I’ll say is: 1 glass of absurdly overpriced chardonnay + 1 absurdly high curb cut in D.C. = 1 bruised and battered librarian + $500 worth of chiropractic treatments. Typing hurts. Standing hurts. Sitting hurts. Sleeping hurts. Even reading hurts.

But the Quinella Queen is nothing if not intrepid. So on Saturday, after consuming an odd remedy involving a bottle of sparkling zinfandel and some pineapple juice,* I agreed with the King that a trip to the track was just what the doctor ordered. OK, actually it’s what I would have ordered if I were a doctor.

Despite our late start, we made it to Mountaineer before the first race, though we weren’t early enough to get our favorite table. Still, we had time to handicap the first race, a $5000 Maiden Claimer. These can be sad affairs at Mountaineer, and this appeared to be the case on Saturday. The lineup included Six Pants, an unraced 7-year old horse (not gelding!) who scratched, Hope’s Trail, who received a –0 Beyer in his last two races, and Sandy’s K.O., whose 28 Beyer was stellar for the group.

Also entered was Punk, a 10-year old gelding with 68 starts -- and, yes, still a maiden. I made a mental note to mention this to Valerie, the blogger at Foolish Pleasure, whose search for the oldest current maiden has uncovered 69-time loser, Four Acres. Punk’s record was a tad better than that of Four Acres, with 12 second place finishes and 10 thirds. And based on that record, I even threw some money on a place bet on old Punk, who went off as the fourth favorite in a nine horse field. What the heck, it was the first race.

A minute later, I found out that “Punk” is a fun word to yell, especially when a perpetual maiden is making his move in the stretch right in front of you -- and you know he has second. And when he pounds ahead of the leader right before the wire, "Punk" can become a shocking, exhilarating word to say after the phrase, “And the winner is…

Punk wins a maiden claimer race at Mountaineer July 7, 2007Punk
B. g 1997
Uncas Chief - Pretty Two (Plugged Nickle)
69 starts, 1 win, 12 places, 10 shows

Thanks, Punk, for paying for the beer on Saturday. It was just what the doctor ordered.

* This was, sadly, one of our poorer entries in The Quest for a Quinella Quocktail.
Don’t try this at home.


alan said...

I love the name! I expected to see him adorned with a Bad Religion or Black Flag tattoo! Also, his broodmare sire Plugged Nickle was a favorite of mine, and you don't often see his name in pedigrees these days.

Anonymous said...

Try physical therapy rather than chiropractics...

Rising Rainbow said...

Sorry to hear you got hurt. But I could do something like that! I'm a klutz! So don't be hard on yourself, you're not alone.

Punk sounds like he made it a fun day! That's what going to the track should be. After I get this open house thing out of the way, I'm heading for a day at the track myself. Haven't been in a couple of years and it's time.

Ron said...

Sorry to hear about the injury. Sounds like the proper treatment however. What does an 0 for 68 horse pay. Even against a o Beyer and a 28 he should have been a pretty good price. Enough to pay the chiropracter?

Tote Board Brad said...

what a great story, and after all those starts, you got to see the maiden breaker.

QQ said...

@alan - Yes, I, too expected something a bit wild about Punk, safety pins through his ears or something, but I guess at 10, he's outgrown that sort of thing.

@rising rainbow - It cheers me to think that a skilled horsewoman like yourself might also have a klutzy moment now and then, but sadly, I've got a history in this area. The good news is that my husband never asks me to help to paint anything involving a ladder.

@ron - Punk was nowhere near the longest shot on the board; those honors go to Cats In Orbit, a 4-yo maiden with 30 tries, who went off at something like 55-1. Punk paid $14 for the win, $6 for the place -- covering drinks for the King and I. Of course, Mountaineer's a pretty inexpensive place to drink. I guess that's funded by the slots money, too.

@brad - I gotta admit, it was pretty cool to see. And I swear the horse seemed pleasantly surprised by the whole winner's circle thing.

@anonymous - I suspect that I'll transition to physical therapy as soon as I can find a way to get my health care plan to pay for some of it. Don't they know it's hard for injured folks to jump through hoops?

Valerie said...

I finally got a chance to read your blog tonight, after a frantic week of watching over a very active and mischievous 8-year-old boy (can you tell I don’t have kids?). Sorry to hear about your accident, but glad you are on the mend. And a big thanks for the story on Punk! That’s fabulous! While six-year-old Four Acres may still be the leading contender, your 10-year-old Punk is the oldest long-term maiden I know of, although Penn National’s 11-year-old Breeze the Weasel is now at 59 losses and counting. How cool you got to see Punk do it, and photographed the moment. What a great story!

Anonymous said...

I have a question, if you know the answer. When did they start allowing maidens 5 & up race in WV? PA used to be the only place around here where a maiden over 4 could start. It looks like the purses may be much larger than they used to be, but the quality of the horses is much lower.

QQ said...

@Anonymous - Title 178, the Legislative Rule for WV's Racing Commission states:

"39.18. Maidens two (2) "year old" and up may start in West Virginia. Any horse thirteen (13) years of age or older shall not be allowed to start in West Virginia unless special permission is granted by the Racing Commission or its representative in response to a request by anyone who holds an occupational permit."

I don't know how long they've had this rule, but judging from the file name & date, it looks like the Title 178 file was created in 2000 sometime, so I'm guessing older maidens have been permitted at least since then. (Take a peek at WV's Rules of Racing and see if you can find a date on the document -- I couldn't.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, qq, I'll do that.

Kathy said...

I can identify with your recent conference mishap - I was in Boston on July 9 for a computer software conference and fell down some stairs (I don't know if it was 5 or even 11 treads-worth) near Faneuil Hall, without the benefit of a prior glass of white wine. I'm blaming my fall on my sandals slipping on smooth marble on a lightly damp evening. I came back to WV with 2 black eyes but luckily, no real pain other than a wonky knee and a bump on the forehead.

I'm jealous that you get to go to the WV Derby - it's my birthday weekend and I've never been to that track ... but I have to work on Saturday. Hope you have fun and win enough for drinks AND gas money!