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For nearly four decades Ernie Munick has been giving his heart and mind to thoroughbred racing. He is a writer, a vlogger , a musician, but most devotedly a handicapper and horseplayer. He can be seen twice a week on the NYRA Network's RACEDAY, and his videos for the Breeders' Cup can be found by clicking here.

A Heads Up to the Fellas

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Here's a heads up to all you fellas out there who sometimes forget the lady who conceived you, weaned you, raised you, glad to, mind you, achoo, bless you, Zyrtec, thank you - where was I - Sunday is Mother's Day.

An enduring and endearing way to honor the woman Norman Bates called "a boy's best friend" might end with chocolate, flowers or even a Continental brunch, but always, always, fellas, start with a card, either tactile and lovely or sent at no charge via website (with low graphic Beyers) as a .tiff, .png, or .gif, and maybe even animated with words you type in and are repeated by the computer in a voice evocative of the "mobile customer you are trying to reach is currently unavailable" lady. There is no mother unworthy of this tribute on such a hallowed occasion. None.

Christina Crawford, sprinter: But I'm tired, Mommie.
Joan Crawford, trainer: Quitter?

Not even her.

For all you Victory Gallops out there who prefer to deliver your cards at the last second, beware in your haste to commit the same mistake I made a few Mother's Days ago, when in sheer panic I darted in and out of a CVS with a no-look sympathy card that read, "Words seem inadequate to express the sadness I feel about the loss and suffering of (in my script) "Dear Ma."

This coming Sunday ABC and TNT will telecast playoffs of the Cavs/Celtics and Spurs/Suns, and every year the NBA makes Mother's Day the dominant motif, with whimsical footage of the superstars at home with their moms. This made me wonder who our greatest Super Sports Moms are, overall, the best hits of the Mrs. After at least three minutes, I concluded the following are the five most impressive athlete producers of my generation.

5. Pam Hale - She dropped four sons by Rick Barry and every one played in the NBA. They were all, in their primes, bionic jumpers. Wilt Chamberlain once called Rick the greatest athlete he ever saw (basketball, tennis, any sport he tried), but we all know the dam is more important. Scooter, Jon, Brent, Drew. Hall of Famer Barry said, "Their grandfather was Bruce Hale, at one time one of the top five basketball players in the world. And at one time I was one of the top players in the world. On breeding alone, you'd have to figure these guys would be pretty decent." Sports Illustrated

4. Olivia Manning - The mother of two active Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks who have given copiously to charity. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis renamed its children’s hospital for Peyton. In Mississippi sits The Eli Manning Children’s Clinics at the Blair E. Batson Hospital. A middle brother, Cooper, a star athlete who had his college career cut short by injury, is the funniest of the three and known by most as "the glue who keeps the brothers together." He's always cracking jokes to the media, which earns him major points in this corner. All that Manning testosterone is still tamed by what the neighborhood boys used to call Miss Olivia. "The Mannings stop in sometimes to the same joint where the boys sat in high chairs, and they'll playfully tease one another, mid-meal. But all it takes is one sideways look from mom to make them stop. They put their eyes down." ESPN

3. Nadezhda Ulyanovna - I-Can't-Pronounce-Her-First-or-Last-Name calls two current heavyweight champions her sons. Vitali is married with three kids. Brother Wladimir is dating a television actress about 20 inches shorter and approximately a fourth his weight, which got me thinking about Chamberlain again. http://erniemunick.com/WiltnShoe.jpg

2. Oracene "Brandy" Price - She's not only the unflappable, disciplined mother of Venus and Serena, but also of a highly successful lawyer, beauty salon owner and web designer. Oracene divorced (tossed, back-handed, zero love) Richard in 2002.

1. Better Than Honour - The broodmare of the young millennium has in the last four years produced two Belmont Stakes winners (Jazil, Rags to Riches), a Breeders' Cup victor (Man of Iron) and a three-quarter brother of Rags to Riches (Casino Drive), who in his second career start turned the Grade II Peter Pan into a non-winners-of-one. Jazil is widely known as being as sweet as a puppy. Rags, according to a handler who visited the champion mare at Hill 'n' Dale, can "still be a bitch."

In 2008, Better Than Honour was sold at auction for a record $14 million. What makes her achievements even more sensational is that her famous offspring are by different sires. She is, Better Than Honour, the mother lode of classic stamina winners, her mates just along for the credit. Mama and the Papas.

There'll be no mollifying any of these Queen Mothers, or yours, for that matter, if you forget at the bare minimum a card this Sunday. Otherwise, you'll have my condolences.




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