Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Jess’s Dream not Jess’s dream


By Brendan O'Meara/@BrendanOMeara

When I first heard the name of the Colt Formerly Known As Taco was (coughing, clearing fake hair ball) Jess’s Dream, my gut reaction was ‘ick.’ It’s soft and weak.

But then I decided to wait and let the name brew because perhaps it would grow on me. So, further gustatory reaction was malevolence. Like someone had switched out my coffee for Colombian Coffee Crystals.

Let’s clear the air. Sure, it was Jess Jackson’s vision to see two Horses of the Year make a baby. Would Jackson have named this colt Jess’s Dream? Of the horses he either bred or bought at auction he’s named them Kantharos (a cool name for a Greek drinking urn. Makes me think of wine.) and Kensei (Japanese, meditative). These names are smart and don’t pander to the masses. You know how Jackson honored the fans of this sport? By running his best horses, most notably Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, into their 4-year-old years.

Two hundred and twenty people submitted Jess’s Dream as an option in the Name Rachel’s Foal (Foil if you’re a headline writer for the Saratogian) Contest. That is exactly why the colt should not be named Jess’s Dream.
“In a way racing Curlin and racing Rachel was always about the fans,” Chris Jackson said. “That’s why my father brought back Curlin for his 4-year-old season and Rachel as well. Having a name that was submitted by a lot of avid fans of the two horses kind of made it popular and gives them a chance to take pride in the animal as he competes on the racetrack.”

When the first option comes to mind, it means that others have also thought of it. Go on. Think of a name. Then think of another. Another. OK, now you’re getting into creative territory. You’ve broken through the first level. Jess’s Dream doesn’t reflect the horses—horses he bought as free agents. Since they both won the Woodward, there could have been a connection there. Woodward Bound. Woody.

I have a friend who submitted “Running Legacy” as a name. Not bad. Jackson, if he did nothing else, used the word “legacy” about as often as Popeye eats spinach. That’s what Jackson was about. Legacy, and maybe spinach.

You thought the pressure on Nicanor was tough? Now Jess’s Dream has the weight of his bloodline and the regrettable-tattoo-you-get-when-you’re-drunk name.

I can see Jerry Moss rolling around in his throne-like leather chair petting a white cat and throwing his head back in triumph. I bet he’s going to name his Zenyatta-Bernardini Nosferatu. Maybe 0-for-2 since both Mom and Dad coughed it up in the Breeders’ Cup Classics at Churchill Downs. Low blow?

“He believed he could create a super horse, one that was truly capable,” Chris Jackson said. “We’re going to love Jess’s Dream regardless of what his racing career is.”

Here’s the thing. Jackson thought that by breeding a horse with endurance and durability like Curlin and Rachel that he would be breeding the aforementioned “super horse.” What have breeders been doing for the past 150 years? You don’t think people breeding to Secretariat for 15 years weren’t trying to make a “super horse”? This concept of taking a talented sire and breeding it to a talented mare is about as revolutionary as (and I polled 220 people and they said): sliced bread? Aw, man, you see what I mean?


Written by Brendan O'Meara

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