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The Fancy Season

Look there at the rail, all the crisp linen being worn.

Smell that, the jasmine behind the paddock.

Taste the smoked fish.

Feel the excitement.

Did anybody hear who's playing at the Triple Crown party, Nick Lachey? Fats Domino?

It's the Fancy Season.

Fancy horses
If you enjoy seeing the best young horses run, watch fast. The most important race is to the breeding suite. Breeding sheds are for the human beings who tend to the finest horses. Three-year olds seem trained for Kentucky Derby week, and not much beyond, the Triple Crown season, if they're fortunate; then, stand back, one of them might topple onto you. Tightly-wound is one way to put the manner in which many three-year olds are presented in the spring. Over-trained is another.

The top three-year olds are worth more in the hay than out of the hay.

Rich males racing into their fourth years frequently do so with less baggage, so to speak.

Fancy horses attract complicated thoughts.

There has never been a dosage analysis to indicate which horse was bred to break 15th in a field of 19.

Fancy connections
A woman trainer or jockey, or a trainer or a jockey new to the national viewing audience: quick, get a camera crew, that's news.

Not that there's anything wrong with the same trainers working for the same owners, classic after classic. What's a guy to do, pass on this spring's opportunity of a lifetime?

There's old Bob back for some more hardware -- the Triple Crown audience has come to know owners on a first-name basis.

Few trainers look like bounty hunters.

Most look like fox hunters.

Fancy television coverage
Show a betting window on national television? Don't be gross.

Sometimes it's almost like dressage. Will the analysts award style points? Are we talking win tickets or blue ribbons? Where's Joan Rivers?

Paddocks at big races look like walkways outside the Oscars.

One of the few television people to acknowledge that gambling is some 95 percent of the game is Hammerin' Hank Goldberg -- The Eliminator, to some.

Fancy Beyers
One oh five, 110, where I come from, certain races have fields that total 110 Beyers.

The secret to using the numbers to your maximum advantage is in guessing which top Beyer will get you beat half the time.

Fancy announcers
"The three, Sunrise over Palm Springs, has begun to blink rapidly like he might have taken a fair-sized clod just at the edge of his right eye."

At a big spring race, you might get a call like that relating to an event in the middle of the pack.

Calling every horse a couple of times in a big field sounds like a macho exercise.

Women can't call races?

Fancy this
As fancy as racing gets this time of year, it is interesting to note that four of the last six Triple Crown winners have run through Arkansas, Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs.

A few years back while attending the mixed breed meet at Fair Meadows, I observed racing around the oval at a moderate speed the mother of 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide.

Fair Meadows in Tulsa is no bull ring.

It's not that big.

Fancy that.

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com