A Chapter on Nomencalture, Daily Racing Form, 1922-12-26


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yA CHAPTER ON NOMENCLATURE BY SAL VAT OR. The downfall of the Belmont favorite, Snob II., seems to have been about as impressive as anything of the kind well could be. The dope doctors were a unit in declaring that he would win. Again they were a unit in declaring that Hea would run second. The best they could allow Pillory was third place. However, Snob II. curled up like a withered leaf when the final test came and Pillory won "under restraint," while Hea was a modest third. From certain standpoints it would have been something of a calamity for a colt with such an atrocious name as Snob II. to have won an event so historic and so rich as the Belmont. Looking down the roster of its winners, from 1S67, one perceives that almost invariably has it been carried off by a well-named thoroughbred. While a rose by any other name mgiht smell as sweet, the winner of a classic certainly does not look so well in print, cv sound so well out of it, when afflicted with a name so lacking in all the elements of either euphony or significance as that of the Belmonts beaten favorite. Snob II. is by Prestige May Dora, by Isi-dor. I find no warrant for his handle in the titles of these ancestors. DISPOSITION CALLED PERFECT. In the beautiful hand-painted narratives that, previous to the race, emanated from passionate press agents, we were also assure that his "disposition was perfect" ; that he was a "perfect thoroughbred gentleman." etc.. etc. Snobs are not, as a rule, "built that way." The only tiling that has served, in nomenclature, so far as he is concerned, was that Roman numeral affixed to his name. It seems to have been of cabalistic import. Nay, even more than that a straight tip, unerringly designating just where he would finish. It also once again approved the acumen of Rory OMores observation anent odd numbers. Had he been named Snob L, he might have won. That is, he might have had a better chance to. It cannot be said that our "star" three-year-olds of 1922 exactly revel in mellifluous names. There is Pillory, for instance, the winner of the Belmont and the Preakness, the conqueror of Snob II. and of Hea which wasnt even there or thereabouts, and the years biggest money-winner to date. A pillory was one of those pleasant contrivances of our forefathers whose memory, if not its entity, survives. It was a genial contrivance, wherein anybody who happened to displease the "powers that were" was placed for the edification of all and sundry, affording an excellent target for decayed vegetables and hen-fruit of uncertain age. Pillory is by Olambala Hester Prynne, by Disguise, she from Witchcraft, by Horoscope. His own brother, Dimmesdale, a year older, is excellently named. Hester Prynne was the unfortunate heroine of Nathaniel Hawthornes celebrated romance of Puritan New England, "The Scarlet Letter." It was the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale who accomplished her downfall, being the father of her litlto daughter, Pearl. When the "pangs of remorse" became so great that, like Little Buttercup in "Pinafore," the Reverend Arthur could bear them no longer, he made a public confession by voluntarily taking his place in the pillory. For this reason Mr. Wilsons double classic winner is really named with a subtle com- prehension. But the name itself is forbidding. "The Scarlet Letter" derives much of its "atmosphere" from the days of witchcraft, in which it is laid. Hence the name of Pillorys dam, Hester Prynne, herself a daughter of Witchcraft, was beautifully chosen. There are other names, however, in Hawthornes story that might be used for sons and daughters of the dam of the Belmont winner, less painful and more euphonious than Pillory. If, to use a cliche beloved of all conscientious persons, "report is correct Mor-vich himself derives his name from that of the proprietor of a small tailor shop who used to or yet may, for all that I know press his breeders habiliments when they were in need of such attentions. At the time this cogncmen, which neither romance nor poetry will ever find pleasant to the car or upon the tongue, was bestowed upon the son of Runnymede and Hymir. that now no famous colt was little thought of. In fact, he was considered rather a weed than anything else, and his price was a modest one as it continued, indeed, to remain, even after he had shown himself a winner and then changed hands. When we pass to the names of Morvichs forbears, we find other curious circumstances. To begin with, that of his sire, Runnymede, son of Voter and Running Stream, is excellent in itself. It was at Runnymede that the revolting barons forced the signature of King John to JIasna Charr ta, a document to which many voters refer as the "palladium of liberty." But the trouble is that long before Runnymede, son of Voter and Running Stream, came into this world, another notable American stallion had borne that title the son of Billet and Mercedes, foaled in 1S79, a splendid performer and, as a sire, disputing with Pontias the paternity of that other splendid performer, Ramapo. A different name should liave been found for the latter horse, not one already so notable in our turf history, simply appropriated and used over again. "THUMBS DOWN" OX D1U LEG GO. As for Hymir, the dam of Morvich, she is by Dr. Leggo. A somewhat hypercritical friend of mine, when Hymirs son first became sensational, inquired of me regarding his blood lines and when I got to the Dr. Leggo part of the narrative he stopped me and said, "Thatll do. Dr. Leggo. Dr. Leggo. What in thunder was Dr. Leggo? Who ever heard of him? I leggo right now." And it was in vain I assured him that the doctor came cf quite respectable parentage albeit, alas, not pur sang !, and had, moreover, been even more than a respectable performer in that distant California, where, aforetime, the high-mettled racer disported himself to the joy of everybody but the lawmakers. He refused to take any further cognizance of Morvich and declared that it was impossible for a colt so bred to be anything but a "bloomer." However, despite the cribbed name of his sire. Use plebeian one of his dams sire, and various other disabilities and drawbacks, Morvich went right ahead. For such things have a way of happening, not only on the turf but off it. Destiny loves the unexpected, is no respecter of persons and may be depended upon to see that the conventions are violated whenever high society becomes monotonous. That is her way ; as, being feminine, it cannot well help being.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1920s/drf1922122601/drf1922122601_12_2
Local Identifier: drf1922122601_12_2
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800