Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kentucky Derby Horses & Their Sports Inspirations

Churchill Downs is abuzz this week for the latest edition of the Kentucky Derby. The Run For The Roses may not be as popular among casual sports fans these days, but the 20-horse field should have especially broad appeal this year. Amazingly, the name of every entrant was inspired by something in the sports world. In order of Saturday’s post positions, here’s a rundown. Feel free to fix yourself a mint julep before proceeding.

1. Visionaire: Shaq answers two questions: “What is a synonym for sight?” and “What do your free throws hit?”

2. Big Truck: How the Big Hurt left Toronto.

3. Colonel John: Recovered from his 1974 surgery, Tommy John joins the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels.

4. Z Fortune: Carlos Zambrano discusses his contract.

5. Pyro: Someone who’s consistently responsible for things going up in flames. Also known as Isiah Thomas.

6. Eight Belles: What Roger Clemens takes home from a country music show.

7. Anak Nakal: Doubles partner of Rafael Nadal.

8. Court Vision: Tennis great Margaret visits her eye doctor.

9. Z Humor: ┼Żydr┼źnas Ilgauskas pulls a locker room prank.

10. Monba: Kobe Bryant’s nickname in Jamaica.

11. Smooth Air: Michael Jordan reflects on his performance outside the front office.

12. Adriano: Usually seen as “Adrian O,” it’s what Peterson provides the Vikings.

13. Bob Jack Black: Colts’ Sanders is introduced to the School of Rock star.

14. Denis of Cork: One-third of a baseball cheating trio, along with Denis of Steroids and Denis of Sandpaper.

15. Cowboy Cal: Ripken signs with Dallas as he launches a bid to break Brett Favre’s record for consecutive starts.

16. Big Brown: Cleveland offensive tackle Joe Thomas.

17. Tale of Ekati: Ekati claims, “My trainer said it was flaxseed oil.”

18. Cool Coal Man: Replacing an injured Pat White, an anonymous coal miner leads West Virginia to the Big East title.

19. Recapturetheglory: Thecelticswintheir17thchampionship.

20. Gayego: What Rudy must sometimes subvert for the good of the Grizzlies.