A Cat Interviews Exaggerator

June 10, 2016

By Adele

No, the Exaggerator isn’t Donald Trump. He’s my 2016 favorite horse. I managed to pull strings for some cat-on-horse time before his last and longest Triple Crown race, the Belmont Stakes on June 11 (NBC, 5-7 p.m. ET).

In case you’re tuning in late, Exaggerator ran second to Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby, but then handed Nyquist his first-ever defeat in the Preakness.

We Skyped while the Ex Man rested up before the big day. (Shhh! Don’t tell Karen I stole her iPad!)

Adele: Are you bummed Nyquist won’t be racing? Everybody was hoping one of you would pull off two out of three Triple Crown wins.

Exaggerator: Yeah, that would have been a crowd-pleaser. But Nyquist ran a fever after the Preakness, so I’m glad his peeps showed some horse sense and let him rest.

But if Nyquist had run again and I won, I’d be remembered as “The Horse Who Missed the Triple Crown by 1 ½ Lengths.” That would have pissed me off, so I guess it’s all for the best.

Adele: After the Preakness, I heard your dad Curlin was handing out cigars at Hill ‘n’ Dale between his stud appointments. He called you a “chip off the old hoof.” After you ate Nyquist’s dust in four previous races, he’s proud you finally gave Nyquist a taste of your tail.

Ex: OK, I’ll admit, that felt great. Dad’s my inspiration, and filling his shoes ain’t easy. He was 2007 Horse of the Year, you know.

On the other hand, I did outrun him in the Derby because he came in 3rd. We both won the Preakness. He lost the Belmont by a head to a filly named Rags to Riches. If I end up losing, at least it won’t be to a girl.

Adele: Just watch out for Cherry Wine. He almost smelled victory in the Preakness, and he’s trying again at Belmont. Do you have a strategy?

Ex: Horses don’t do strategy. We leave that sneaky stuff to the jockeys. “Hug the rail or go wide? Hang back or set the pace? Whip or no whip?”

All we want to do is cross the finish line in one piece and get those little maniacs off our backs. You never see horses take racing too seriously. We don’t cry foul if we don’t come in first, or pick a fight with some horse who bumped us. Team mentality is for sled dogs and Clydesdales. We thoroughbreds just want to do our own thing, which is to run like the wind.

Adele: Cats aren’t into teams either, but Max, Roc, and I squabble just about every day. If I had hooves like yours, they’d both be dead.

Ex: You’re pretty tough for a fluffy white kitty. Remind me not to get on your bad side.

Adele: Just don’t step on my tail and you’ll be fine. You’re running again against two other horses I liked, Suddenbreakingnews from the Derby and Stradivari from the Preakness. If they were to place and show right behind you across that finish line, it would be my personal trifecta.

Ex: Thanks, Adele. I’m happy in post position 11, and they say I’m the favorite, so I’ll run this one for my feline fans. Keep your claws crossed!

A Cat Gloats Over the Preakness – a Little

May 22, 2016

By Adele

It’s not often I take a victory lap when one of my Triple Crown prognostications pans out, but this time I can’t help it. I totally nailed it.


Before the race, only one of the talking heads on NBC agreed with me. They were all rooting for Nyquist.

OK, I have to admit that Cherry Wine snuck in out of nowhere and actually finished second but, if you’ll review the comments on my previous post and see where I responded to a demand from a Cats Working reader well-known to Roc as “Grumpy,” I boldly predicted that Exaggerator would outrun Nyquist and Stradivari, in that order. And that’s exactly how it went down, with Nyquist and Strad coming in 3rd and 4th.

There’s no doubt about it. I’ve still got the gift. Even if I do say so myself.

I’m doing my best to wrangle an interview with Exaggerator before the Belmont, so stay tuned.

PS: We were all deeply saddened to learn that actor Alan Young died on May 19 at age 96. He was the best friend of our all-time favorite horse, Mister Ed. Fortunately, Karen has the entire 5 ½ seasons of the show on DVD (available on Amazon) so we can get our Ed-and-Wilbur fix whenever we want one. You should try it. Even 50+ years later, Ed is still hilarious and often astute in a timely way.

Preakness Stakes: A Cat Torn Between Two Horses

May 20, 2016

By Adele

I regret to report that my favorite in the Kentucky Derby, Exaggerator ran second, missing the wire by only 1 ¼ lengths. He’s back for the 141st Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. (On NBC Saturday, May 21, post time approximately 6:45 p.m. ET.)

My second Derby pick, Suddenbreakingnews, came in fifth, which wasn’t too shabby, but he’s sitting out the Preakness.

Nyquist was the Derby favorite and he won it, flicking his tail in Exaggerator’s face for the 4th time and maintaining his unbeaten record. The Derby was Nyquist’s 8th win in a row. Can he make it nine in the Preakness?

Only 11 horses are running this time, and only Nyquist, Exaggerator and Lani also ran in the Derby two weeks ago. Lani came in 9th. At the Preakness, Lani will be in post position 6, odds 30-1.

For my treats, Exaggerator (pp 5, odds 3-1) and Nyquist (pp 3, 3-5) are the two to watch, because the Ex Man needs to avoid losing a 5th time to Nyquist or risk having it called his career.

Since Nyquist has a shot at the Triple Crown, I wish him the best. But I’ve got a thing for Exaggerator, and he’s got a score to settle with Nyquist for the honor of the Desormeaux stable.

You see, Exaggerator has a stablemate named Swipe (not running in the Preakness) who has also lost multiple times to Nyquist, coming in 2nd FOUR RACES IN A ROW.

So, if ever a horse had a target on his rump, it’s Nyquist, and the Preakness is Exaggerator’s best chance to serve him up a nice, big, cold plate of revenge.

Other than that, the Preakness is crawling with kids of Uncle Mo. In addition to Nyquist, there are his half-brothers, Uncle Lino (pp 2, 20-1), Laoban (pp 8, 30-1), and Abiding Star (pp 9, 30-1).

Keep an eye on Abiding Star. He’s the second most experienced horse in the field, with 11 races under his saddle. He’s won the last 5, so he’s definitely on a roll, even though his odds indicate not many agree with me.

The least experienced horse may also bear watching. He’s Stradivari (pp 11, 8-1), with only three previous races to his credit, but he won the last two.

Fellowship (pp 10) is the most experienced overall, with 12 races, but he only won two.

As always, we’re keeping 12 paws crossed that all the horses run a good race and cross the finish line safely.

A Cat’s 2016 Kentucky Derby Picks

May 5, 2016

By Adele

It seems like only yesterday that American Pharoah was winning the Triple Crown, but he’s retired now and living the good life. It’s time for new hooves to run for the roses in the Kentucky Derby. You can watch it on NBC May 7 from 4-7:30 p.m. ET (post time 6:34).

Studying this year’s field of 20, it was hard to find a favorite, but then one jumped out at me. Actually, two.

The first is Exaggerator, son of Curlin. Curlin was Big Brown’s all-round nemesis back in 2008. And here’s an interesting twist: Exaggerator’s going to be ridden by Brownie’s faithful jockey, Kent Desormeaux. The Ex Man pulled post position 11. He’s won four of his nine previous races, the most recent being the Santa Anita Derby on April 9, and his odds aren’t too bad at 8-1.

My treats are on Exaggerator to win.

My second pick is Suddenbreakingnews, who has won three of his eight previous races. His most recent race was the Arkansas Derby on April 16, where he came in second.

Sudden’s grandfather is Afleet Alex, who won the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes in 2005. Alex is another sentimental favorite of mine because of that moment in the Preakness stretch when Scrappy T bumped into Alex so hard, he nearly fell on his knees and threw his jockey, but then he recovered and WON THE RACE by 4 ¾ lengths!

Suddenbreakingnews’ pulled post position 2, which could put him in a tight spot by the rail. His jockey is Luis Quinonez. His odds are 20-1

And because I’m not into jinxing any horse’s chances, my third pick is the 3-1 favorite, unbeaten in seven previous races, Nyquist. He most recently won the Florida Derby on April 2. He’ll be in post position 13 under Mario Gutierrez.

Interesting FYI: Nyquist is competing against his half-brother, Outwork (post position 11, odds 15-1). They are both sons of Uncle Mo.

Another family tie I noticed was Destin (pp 9, 15-1) and Brody’s Cause (pp 19, 12-1), who are cousins that share a grandpa, Storm Cat.

Cats Working wishes all the horses good luck (because you never tell them to “Break a leg!” before a big race), and hopes all cross the finish line safely.

Bourdain Takes the Gold in Jiu-Jitsu

April 18, 2016

By Karen

I seldom write about Anthony Bourdain anymore, but I still keep up, and just saw something amazing I have to share in case any of my former fellow Bourdainiacs are still reading.

If you haven’t noticed, Tony has become a household word. Last week on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah and a guest threw the name “Bourdain” around as if the entire planet knows who that is. I also just saw him referenced in an article in Conde Nast Traveler as some standard for travel.

Tony took up jiu-jitsu a year or two ago, inspired by his wife Ottavia and daughter Ariane, who both practice the art. BTW, Happy Birthdays, ladies! (They both celebrate one in April.)

Upon earning his blue belt, Tony just competed in his first competition, in the Blue Belt Masters 5 Middleweight Division at the IBJJF New York Spring International Open Championship.

He won and took home the gold.

Here’s a video on Fight Sports of the whole match-up. It’s not exactly action-packed, but more a test of brute strength, with Bourdain mostly keeping his opponent pinned to the mat for about 5 minutes…

Flograppling.com filmed from another vantage point and included much more of Ottavia and Tony’s trainer cheering him on. At the end of the match, it also clearly shows the phenomenal shape Tony’s trained himself into. He’s approaching 60 on June 25 with six-pack abs and not an ounce of fat.

For old times’ sake, Cats Working extends 12 paws up and a hearty “Congratulations!” to Anthony Bourdain on his milestone victory, and wishes him many, many more.

This Cat’s Purrfect Superbowl

February 4, 2016

By Adele

For starters, we’ve finally learned how high the NFL can count in Roman numerals — XLIX.

(If you have any idea what that number is without a Superbowl attached to it, you must not be a football player. You’re too smart.)

The other day CBS This Morning previewed some Superbowl commercials, including one for Heinz with a herd of “hotdogs” running through a field. What some mutts won’t do for 30 seconds of fame. Sheesh.

Anyway, it reminded me there’s a Superbowl coming and I realized it’s become a vast terrorist organization right on American soil when I saw…

Superbowl 50

An ARABIC number! Why aren’t Donald Trump and Ted Cruz demanding the NFL’s immediate deportation?

Cats Working readers know there’s no love for football here, but this is one Superbowl we can’t ignore because it’s between CATS and HORSES.

OK, they call themselves Panthers and Broncos.

For once, I’d like to see kicked to the sidelines all the concussed humans who prance around in tight little pants while REAL cats and horses play the game.

You’d see so much galloping up and down the field, nobody could keep track of yards.

If any horse had a down, depending on its severity, that horse might have to be put down on the spot. Talk about suspense and violence.

When cats made touchdowns, you’d see true athletes leaping OVER the goal posts.

What you WOULDN’T see is any butt-fondling or players writhing on the ground in big gay heaps. It would be claw vs. hoof competition at its finest.

But, sadly, this Superbowl will be all human again, and it will undoubtedly drag into Downton Abbey, so we won’t be watching.

Cats Working roots for the Panthers, naturally, but won’t hold a grudge if the Broncos win, since some of our best friends wear saddles.

Good Luck at Belmont, American Pharoah

June 5, 2015

By Adele

There’s no point analyzing or speculating on the third Triple Crown race, the Belmont Stakes, Saturday, June 6. We’ve got a horse within a whisker of being crowned for the first time since 1978, and I’m not going to jinx it.

It may bring good luck to actors on Broadway, but the one thing you never, EVER say to any horse before a big race is, “Break a leg.”

Now that American Pharoah is on the verge of making history, they’re emphasizing the fact that he’s the great-great-great grandson of Secretariat, who happened to be born not too far from here, in Doswell, Virginia, in Caroline County.

And my colleague Max never tires of reminding me that he was born in Caroline County. However, we don’t know, and he doesn’t remember, if he was brought to Richmond from a kill shelter or if someone found him dumped on the side of the road. (Considering how annoying he is, I suspect it’s the latter.)

And I never tire of reminding Max that Caroline County is the final resting place of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing creep’s big brother, because nowhere else would have him, even to throw dirt on him.

But I digress…

Firing Line and Dortmund are skipping the Belmont after failing to outrun the Pharoah in the first two Triple Crown races. The field will consist of only 8 horses, and only one (Madefromlucky) didn’t run in either of the previous Triple Crown races.

American Pharoah is the only horse to run all three, so he’s the least rested before the longest (1-1/2 miles), most grueling race. He’ll be in post position 5.

On his first spin around the Belmont track earlier this week, trainer Bob Baffert said Pharoah ran the wrong way, but he seems in fine spirits.

Cats Working wishes American Pharoah the best in winning the Triple Crown, and may all the horses cross the finish line safely.

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