Friday, December 1, 2023

Saratoga Race Course: Spanning the wide world of sports for the best horse names of Week 5

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This week, the No. 1 entry on the list of best names to take the track at Saratoga Race Course finally got his chance to race, after weather scrapped the National Racing Museum Hall of Fame Stakes a week prior.

So, I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

This week, the sports — and sports-adjacent — reference are strong in our list of the Spa’s best names, so let’s get down to business.



Maybe not exactly a Cinderella story, considering he was sent off as the post time favorite, but Carl Spackler did race into the winner’s circle with a victory in Friday’s Hall of Fame Stakes.

The horse is, of course, a tribute to Bill Murray’s delightfully deranged greenskeeper from the immortal 1980 comedy “Caddyshack,” one of the great sports comedies — strike that, one of the great comedies — ever committed to film.

In a cast of comedy heavy-hitters — Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight as the villainous Judge Elihu Smails — Murray’s Spackler and his quest to exterminate Bushwood Country Club’s pesky gopher population is an absolute highlight.

Gunga galunga, folks.


Trigger warning for all Atlanta Falcons fans on this particularly petty entry.

Midway through the third quarter of Super Bowl LI, the game was over. The Falcons were taking Tom Brady and the Patriots to the woodshed, leading — you guessed it — 28-3.

And then, well …

If you’re a Patriots fan, it’s one of the great moments in the history of the NFL, a Brady-led comeback that ended with the first-ever Super Bowl to go to overtime, with Brady’s touchdown pass to James White giving New England its fifth Super Bowl ring.

If you’re a Falcons fan? It’s a day your franchise will never, ever, ever live down.

And speaking of providing Falcons fans with a little more trauma …


Oh, this is just too perfect.

Few rivalries in American professional sports are as heated — between teams and between their respective fanbases — as the one between the Falcons and New Orleans Saints. The NFC South twosome have been linked since arriving in the NFL a year apart in the 1960s.

Both franchises have experienced their fair bit of woe over the past 50-plus years, but the Saints — thanks largely to this horse’s namesake, future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees — have the one thing that Falcons fans can’t boast.

A Lombardi Trophy.

OK, Falcons fans, moving on. You can look up now.


From a well-known sports name to one that’s, well, not.

Clem Labine, the man, was a relief pitcher in the 1950s and early 1960s, mostly with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. A two-time All-Star, Labine has been retroactively credited with leading the National League in saves in 1956 and 1957, as saves had not been recognized as an official statistic at that point.

The closer, as it exists now, wasn’t really a thing in Labine’s time. When he retired following the 1962 season, his 96 career saves ranked fourth in MLB history.

Labine is one of just eight players in MLB history to win consecutive World Series on different teams, winning titles with the Dodgers in 1959 and the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960.


Two listed together, because they couldn’t be a more perfect match.

Twenty Four Mamba is, of course, a tribute to the legendary Kobe Bryant, the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history. 

The late, great Bryant also never saw a shot he didn’t like. In his career, Bryant missed 14,481 shots — more than any player in NBA history.

But, you know, shooters shoot.


Joey the Fish, My Friends Beer, My Mane Squeeze, Tall Paul, Kant Hurry Love, Whats Up Doc, Strawberry Kwik, Sicilian Grandma, Justice Department, Magic Eight Ball, Cyber Ninja.


1 — Carl Spacker, 2 — Sugar Gray Leonard, 3 — Bunty Windermere, 4 — Run Diem Z, 5 — Twentyeighttothree.

Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected]. Follow him on X @Adam_Shinder.

Categories: At The Track, ATT Newsletter, Sports

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