Practice runs for our new contest

by Trey Nosrac

Put On Your Thinking Cat


What horse won the 1980 Hambletonian?

Who is the dam of Cantab Hall?

What was the name of the harness racetrack in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina in 1939?

(Washington Parkin, Myrtle Beach, Reprint courtesy of Chapin S.C. Memorial Library)

Once upon a time, questions such as these sparked lively debates, lengthy conversations, and heated arguments. Today you ask your phone, the final arbiter of all things. You can find these answers in 10 seconds and you don’t even need to type. The technology tsunami has washed away many vigorous discussions, and that is lamentable.

Your phone also wreaks havoc on contests and games. Siri, Alexa, and fast fingers have snuffed out the simple satisfaction of surprising someone with arcane knowledge. This new world leaves contest constructors struggling on against the technology tide and striving to make answers somewhat Google-proof in a world where nothing is Google proof.

A contest is coming. Prizes will be offered. Today we will practice for the first annual Dam Family Game.

Practice Round A

1. Prior to Donald Trump, this person was notorious for giving nicknames. At age 27, this person self-nicknamed, and it stuck. Divorced four times (each time remarried within a year), this person dedicated a work of art to a recently divorced spouse. Who is this person?

2. A member of the “Lost Colony of Roanoke,” this person was the first English child born and baptized in America. Who is this person?

3. ____________ was originally a crude measurement intended for taxation purposes. Four centuries ago, the potency was tested by using gunpowder. If your powder still burned after a dip, it was good stuff. This testing method did not stick around long. In the 1800s, it was replaced by testing specific gravity with a hydrometer (comparing the density of liquids to water), which is the process used today.

Since this is a practice round, today you will receive a huge clue.

You will find the answers on this pedigree page.

Welcome back. Did you solve the problem? Not too difficult? Try this one.

Practice Round B

1. Announcers have described this professional golfer’s swing as “looking like an octopus falling out of a tree” and that his swing evokes the image of “a one-armed golfer who is using an ax to kill a snake in a telephone booth.” Style aside, this player signed a scorecard for a 58 in 2016, an improvement over a 59 in 2013. What is the last name of this player?

2. This unlikely documentary television series has a 14-season run. The opening theme music is “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Jon Bon Jovi. What is the name of the series.

3. What is the name of the yearling and the HIP number.

Obviously, finding the HIP number will have an additional step. After you answer a question or questions, you will need FIND the correct family in a sales catalog. We will refer you the Lexington Select catalog ( and give you a gigantic hint: the horse will sell on day five of the sale. This will make solving Practice B much easier.

*Answers to practice A – Papa Hemmingway (2nd dam), Virginia Dare (3rd dam), Proof (1st dam)

Answers to practice contest B will be revealed next week.

Also, next week, you will learn what prizes will be on the line for you, Dam Family gamers, and where to send correct answer submissions.