Monday Notes: What's In a Name for Machen?

Trainer Neil Howard reported all was well with Courtlandt Farm’s Machen Monday morning, one day after his latest promising 3-year-old tallied by five lengths in Sunday’s $49,000 allowance optional claiming feature, but plans were still undecided about Machen’s next trip to the post.

However, as the undefeated homebred colt’s profile continues to rise, with a possible start in the $1 million Grade II Louisiana Derby March 26 on the horizon, inquiring minds want to know: how did Machen get his name and how does one pronounce it?

Is the son of Distorted Humor named for Arthur Machen, the Welsh author of the early 20th century who was a master of the horror genre in his day, or possibly the heavyweight contender Eddie Machen of the ’50s and ’60s, who lost close decisions to such champions as Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston?

Is the pen mightier than the sword? Is the chestnut Kentucky-bred named for the writer or the fighter?

Neither one, according to Courtlandt Farm owner Don Adam, who was on hand at Fair Grounds on Sunday to watch Machen’s first start around two turns and to confirm the pronunciation as MAY-chin.

“I know two people with the spelling of that, M-A-C-H-E-N,” said the owner. “One is a young couple that I have known for a long time. The other is the president of the University of Florida and his name is Bernie Machen and he pronounces it ‘MATCH-in.’

“The young couple friends of mine, they spell it the same way but they say it as ‘MAY-chin,’” Adam added. “That’s the family we named the horse after. We have another horse that has won twice here, Chloe Kate, and that’s their young girl. That’s their first child.”

LANERIE TWO AWAY FROM 3,000 WINS WITH FOUR MOUNTS MONDAY – Jockey Corey Lanerie enters Monday’s Fair Grounds program two wins shy of the 3,000-career win milestone with four mounts still scheduled for the day following scratch time.

After scoring riding triples last Thursday and Saturday and also with a double last Friday, Lanerie failed to reach the winner’s circle on Sunday’s program and remains at 2,998 wins entering Monday’s nine-race program.

The 36-year-old native of Lafayette, Louisiana, begins his day in the second half of the Daily Double aboard Peter Cantrell’s Savage Man for trainer Keith Desormeaux at 9-2 in the morning line, comes back to the paddock in the fourth for the mount on Wachtel Stable, Brous Stable and J. D. Lee’s Desert Wheat for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott at 3-1 in the early line, is listed astride Maggi Moss’s Honour Rocket in the fifth for nine-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Tom Amoss at 5-1 and is slated to conclude his afternoon in the eighth with the mount on Thoroughbred Futures Racing’s Water of Life for conditioner Steve Margolis, once again at 5-1 in the early line.

LEADING JOCKEY NAPRAVNIK NAPRAVNIK RECEIVES 7-DAY SUSPENSION – Fair Grounds’ current leading rider Rosie Napravnik, who has been engaged in a hard-fought duel with Richard Eramia for top honors over the last couple of weeks but enjoys a two-win edge entering Monday’s races, has received a seven-day suspension set to begin Sunday, Feb. 6 and last through Saturday, Feb. 12.

Napravnik, 22, a native of Morristown, N.J., was leading rider at Delaware Park last summer, while Eramia, 31, born in Uruguay, has led the local standings most of the 2010-2011 season at the New Orleans oval.

TRAINER MCPEEK MAKING PLANS FOR ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL INVASION – Trainer Ken McPeek invaded Fair Grounds for Louisiana Derby Preview Day in 2002 with Select Stable’s Repent in the middle leg of Fair Grounds’ series for 3-year-olds, and with that same ownership’s Take Charge Lady in the middle leg of Fair Grounds’ series for 3-year-old fillies. 

Both Repent and Take Charge Lady were successful on Louisiana Derby Preview Day that year and each returned again to win the Louisiana Derby and Fair Grounds Oaks respectively later that season.

Now McPeek has announced plans to bring Catesby Clay’s Rogue Romance and Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stable’ Kathmanblue to the Grade III Risen Star and Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes respectively for the upcoming Louisiana Derby Preview Day card on Feb. 19.

Rogue Romance finished third in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in his last start Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs, while Kathmanblu, heroine of Churchill’s Grade II Golden Rod last fall, most recently won the $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes on the grass course at Gulfstream Jan. 22.