neat phrases from Kent Desormeaux

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon May 5 02:47:21 UTC 2008

Desormeaux is a jockey, in the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame, and rode the winner of this past Saturday's Kentucky Derby (brought to us, let us not forget, by Yum! Brands).  I believe he is a country boy from Louisiana.  I have the first 2 vols. of DARE, but can't find either.  (You may ask, how can I lose 2 books the size of DARE?  Well, that's easier to do in some apartment than in others, perhaps.  In my apartment, I could lose easily bigger books than DARE.)

[Referring to the way that Stewart Elliott rode Smarty Jones when winning the 2004 Kentucky Derby:]
"Stewart came down the stretch like a lizard on a log"
Daily Racing Form, May 3, 2008, p. 14, col. 1.  I suppose that this means sitting still on the horse's back, as a lizard sits on a log.

[Referring to his expectations as to the way he would ride Big Brown in last Saturday's Derby]
"For me, it works out perfect because I can catbird someone, whoever leads me into the first turn"
New York Times, May 3, 2008, section D, p. 5, col. 1.  I suppose that this means to run behind another horse at a comfortable pace.   It's no doubt connected with Red Barber's familiar remark that some player or some baseball team was "In the catbird seat' -- in a favorable position


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

The American Dialect Society -

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