With poor-sport trainer Bobby Frankel holding his Empire Maker out of the Triple Crown's second jewel after a disappointing runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby, the field at Pimlico looks thinner than Manute Bol on a 40-day fast. But, fortunately, the race for best centennial-party slogan was robust, with Florissant's Adam Hackbarth emerging as the winner. Reached by phone for comment, Hackbarth was uncertain as to whether he'd cash in on his promised Preakness prize. Uncertain, that is, until he was reminded that his chariot to Collinsville would be a vintage '87 Buick -- the same model owned by Sean Penn that was stolen in broad daylight a few weeks ago in Hollywood. (Actually, it's the same car. Don't tell Sean -- rumor has it Madonna's ex has quite the temper.)
Hackbarth, the 29-year-old producer of the underground cult film April Is My Religion (available exclusively at filmthreat.com), sent in a bunch of slogan suggestions, any one of which might have taken the cake, as far as our distinguished panel of Pabst Blue Ribbon drinkers -- er, judges -- was concerned. Among the best:
· "Alcohol and Cholesterol: An American Celebration"
· "Terrorists Don't Even Know Our City Exists: The Safe Celebration"
· "No Matter What High School You Went To, You'll Still Leave Enlightened"
· "Because Shitty '70s Rock Bands Never Sounded This Good"
Although Hackbarth's manifold offerings stood head and shoulders above the rest, several contestants came close to nailing the nomenclature for our impending local bender.
Mark Lockwood deserves kudos for "St. Louis: If We Had a Clue, I Assure You We Would Have Used It by Now!" Likewise Bob Sherron, who suggested "Seven Hills of Death With a Head Full of Meth." And it was also tempting to reward Green Park's Harvey Meyer for his short-but-sweet "Hoosiernanny." Not fancy, just fabulous, Harv.
Civic gadfly Steven Fitzpatrick Smith gets hella props for his sheer volume of submissions, the best of which was "The S-T-L has the pimp juice." (Little does Smith know that had he instead scribbled "Big Pimpin' in the S-T-L," he might well have won -- but in fairness, those would be high expectations to put on anyone, much less a Caucasian man who thinks he can pull off wearing a white Harlem Nights straw hat 24/7.)
Hackbarth will be the only one rolling pimp-style in Penn's Buick come Saturday, but the RFT would like to extend an invitation to all readers to join us on the apron at Fairmount, or for pre-Preakness boilermakers at Ardie and Tiny's on Collinsville Road two hours before post time at Pimlico. It's gonna be quite the shindig.