Hard on the outside, soft in the middle and a complete crybaby at chick flicks, former Bollywood matinee idol Tach “My” Bhati is one of this year’s surprise favorites in the fabled T-Cup. This in spite of an official challenge filed by Osi “El Jefe” Udekwu that Bhati is being over trained and “juiced” by his coaches, Mike “Austin Powers” Meyers and JenJen “Yeah” Yeh.
“If I wanna suck down a Vault and RedBull smoothie and stay up for 72 hours doing windsprints and suicides, who the hell is Osi to tell me I can’t? I’m OLD SKOOL, OK? Not no metrowuss like Deem or Alpha Golf. Are we clear?” screams an increasingly agitated Bhati, his heavily perspiring upper torso and head swathed in Kerlix bandages. Going on to describe his “mummy look” as a training enhancement technique popularized by William “Zen-master” Marston (“the cotton is hyperbaric oxygen-impregnated; even PsychoT uses it”), the ever clever Bhati is hoping that a strong T-Cup finish will lead to lucrative and related endorsements. “Hyper O-2, insect-repellant gauze sweatbands”, he muses, dollar signs in his eyes, “with an SPF of 35. It’ll have the BTFU logo (By Tach For U) and maybe we can get Elle “The Body” McPherson as a spokesmodel with the slogan: The Body recommends The Bhati…They’ll sell better than LeBron’s.”
In Vegas, there is consternation that Bhati is too focused on commercializing and capitalizing on a Cup win to actually pull off a victory, but odds remain at 2 to 3 for the present.
Friends of the Cup are becoming increasingly alarmed by rumors that an episode of We Network’s insanely popular Maggie “Tenille” Walkup reality show, “Rock the Convent” will be filmed during the 2009 Cup run. “We don’t need that kind of attention,” says a FOTC spokesperson; “so common, so jejune,” says another sipping a mint julep.
Hosted by uber-celebutard Heidi Montag, the show’s premise features Walkup and her posse of fashionista novices sequestered in an upstate NY nunnery as they are subjected to a series of temptations to upset their devotional and celibate daily activities. “It was easy to ignore the Jonas brothers when they sang at vespers in their Speedos, but the episode with aging glam-rocker Bret Michaels seeking a holy water cure for his diabetes was tough,” says an emotional Walkup. “All that compassion I learned from my mentor Mark “Jetset” Farber just kinda kicked in. Anyway, I promised Bretie I’d do his fem-distal if he ever needed it and also got an Immunity for my good works that episode.”
Whether Cup officials allow the show’s producers on the fabled racecourse at the ancestral Mendes estate remains to be seen. Perpetual Cup spoilsport and perennial late 70’s Cup also-ran, Blair “The Godfather” Keagy “hopes the media turns up” claiming that “the cameras will finally reveal the underbelly of this so-called Southern sporting tradition and document its sleazy, drunken origins.”
Appearances by Walkup BFFs Spencer Pratt, Britney Spears and Madonna for the “Cup episode” are as yet unconfirmed. Off-track odds vary wildly based on the speculated Walkup fashion statement for raceday. With Cynthia “C-Lo” Diehl and Meredith “Spidervein Girl” Weiner nodding in agreement, Megan “Cher” Jack notes, “if she wears CFM boots or some Playboy Bunny outfit, I doubt she even gets to the finish line.”
Many are shaking their head at quotes from the recent Nadeem “Ali-G” Khuri interview on ESPN and Al-Jazeera that his victory in the 2009 Trinidad Cup will usher in a new era of Palestinian-Israeli understanding and pave the way for Mideast peace. “Deem’s always been a little excitable and over-the-top, that’s why they called him the “Palestinian Python” back in school” says close friend and golf buddy Aaron “Alpha Golf” Garrison. “He should really quit shooting his mouth off and leave that stuff to Hillary and just concentrate on fixing the hernias of Virginia rednecks,” adds Jeff “Jeffy” Abrams.
“Actually, I’m not so sure he might be on to something,” counters renowned proctologist Trim “Bushhog” Sadiq, “I got cheated out of a sure Cup win in ’07, and look what’s happened to US-Pakistani relations since…. A big Khuri-Man win could validate Obama’s reaching out to the Muslim world.”
Ever cocky and big talking, “Ali-G” says, “the TCup win is a big deal and all, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just a step to my Nobel Peace Prize.” Cup officials and FOTC leadership decline to comment on Khuri’s international attention: “We don’t make foreign policy,” but are quick to acknowledge “he does remind many of Barack Obama.”
Vegas bookmakers like the Khuri bravado however and see William “I’m not Cannuck” Stansfield and Tach “My” Bhati as his only real competition. “He loves sports, but he spends most of his time playing Guitar Hero actually. I’ve been encouraging him to get off his ass and train for this,” says a hopeful wife Karen, “it’d be nice to have a little attention before we disappear into some podunk Appalachian holler.” Odds are holding at 2:5.
Pundits and observers trace the fevered Internet speculation around ’09 entry Shanelle “The other Carolina is way better” Campbell to the January Sporting News headline that screamed: Campbell the Tiger Woods of the Trinidad Cup??? Quietly sipping a crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a nonplussed Campbell explains, “well first of all, I’m not even Scottish and more importantly, given the inevitable wind drag from my luxurious hair, do they really think I stand a chance?”
Veteran Cup handicappers agree and think that the blogosphere hype of Campbell is greatly exaggerated. “C’mon,” says a respected Vegas insider, “she’s a preppy and a Yalie and they’re always oversold and before that she was at some Southern school with no known sports heritage; there’s nothing motivating her to seek a win.”
Taking umbrage at such backlash, “NelleBell” (as she’s known to close friends) explains that while she may not come in first, she does not plan to embarrass herself either. “Don’t discount the fear and intimidation factor of a Korean mom,” explains friend and mentor Hong Jin “HJ” Kim. “Yeah,” echoes Elizabeth “Speck” Speck, “she’ll be there with her A game.” Anonymous sources are also hinting that a Campbell win is inevitable: “it’s a Skull and Bones thing and I’m pretty sure Dick Cheney is involved too.” Odds stand at 20 to 1.
Claiming repeatedly in public forums that, “if there’s no Senior category of the Cup, I should at least get a handicap of 10 yards at the start,” Matthew “Don’t call me Matt” Sherrill is reportedly considering filing an ageism suit against Trinidad Cup trustees and officers. Not since the days of Lewis “Scott’s Evil Twin” Owens’ embarrassing over-the-hill run in 2001 has an entrant’s “maturity” created such a firestorm of controversy. “Can’t he just sort of jog along and kind of be a race mascot; he should be old and wise enough now to know it’s not just about winning” offers a sweetly smiling Jeanie “Triggerfinger” Ashburn.
In addition to the threatened litigation and general bad publicity, Friends of the Cup officials are reportedly concerned about insurance issues if Sherrill competes. “Sure there’s the crowd appeal of seeing the guy push through he pain of his claudication to even ambulate,” says one insider, “but how liable are we; is it enough just to have an ambulance with some nitrates or do we have to have a helicopter and IABP on standby?”
Colleague Osi “El Jefe” Udekwu jumps to Sherrill’s defense, “Like me, he’s a military veteran who deserves our respect.” Fellow grunt and retired surgeon Dale “I cut Reagan’s guts” Oller agrees, loudly and breathily exclaiming, “LAY OFF THE GUY, HE’S A FLIGHT SURGEON!” to no one in particular.
On the street, odds are only marginally better than Owens’ in 2001 and hold steady at 18 to 1.
It’s a long way from a dusty border town to the celebrity glare of the South’s finest sporting tradition, and shy country gal Kristen “KP” Parker is not coping with the pressure well. “For somebody who can handle a 12 gauge so casually,” notes confidante Jeff “Ain’t a Clipon” Dehmer, “she’s having a total meltdown about the race.” Rumors of cell phones thrown at FP residents and frequent requests for hits from the BTBG Diet Coke stash corroborate the anxious KP demeanor. “She’s gotten fearless around attendings and sasses them right to their faces; one day I want to be just like her,” says Stacy “Small but Wiry” Beamer.
“She better realize she’s in the big leagues now,” says 2001 TCup champion Bobby Mendes. “It all stems from envy about not having her own reality show like Mags,” notes mentor Hartwig “Herr-nia” Bunzendahl. “An embarrassment to Aggies everywhere,” observes co-chief Matt “NOT Matt” Sherrill. “Just another reason why we were wrong to let women in medicine,” harrumphs a usually more PC Houman “Whodaman” Tammadon.
Former Plastic Surgery fellow and Sheldon acolyte Lindsey “Z$” McPhail leaps to her defense, “Parker just needs some space right now. I’ve sent her 17 Facebook Hugs and 23 “think positive” tweets already today. But like with NelleBell, I hope that head of big Irish hair doesn’t slow her right back to last place. I hope she gets a “good” start for the race”
Sorority sister Maggie “Maggie” Walkup is unfazed. “Krissy’s just acting out a bit. It was a big move from the barrios to the Brothel and now she’s excited about the step up to the Big Apple. The kid’s a little green-- doesn’t know a Blahnik from a Bill Blass yet-- but once she scores that Good Morning America consultancy it’ll all be just fine.”
Respected bookmakers feels nerves are irrelevant, remarking “that unless Parker benefits from the infamous “McPhail start”, there’s no way she even places.” Odds hover at 12 to 1 (15 to 1 if there’s a headwind).
Considered the 2009 darkhorse, Bill “NorthernExposure” Stansfield seems to radiate a self-satisfied confidence when queried aboot his TCup chances. “Now of course I’m newt Canadian by birth, but they do things so much better up there, eh, that it’s inevitable that having trained there, I shouldn’t be discoonted now should I, eh?”
Reports have emerged from the Stansfield training camp in Saskatchewan that Eskimo nutritional and endurance experts have the ever inscrutable Stansfield on a diet of whale blubber and wild salmonberries. “Governor Palin is also betting heavily on a win,” says a camp insider, “and sent over a supply of helicopter-shot wolf meat for Bill’s protein-loading before the big race.”
Rumors abound that without a clear inhouse favorite this year, the “Vascular Syndicate” is also bankrolling and gambling on a big Stansfield win. “They basically set up the Carolina Vascular Institute as a front to get him ready,” say’s an unnamed source. “All that research into hyperbaric oxygen, angiogenesis and the like, it’s just to create an unbeatable “Bionic Bill” as he’s code-named. Frankly it’s just fancy blood-doping.” Whispered Frankenstein stories of “his CT boys” implanting nano-LVADs to enhance his cardiac output persist since a recent OR swoon but remain unsubstantiated. “Probably just dehydration,” says Dan “the Man” von Allmen.
Stansfield offers little comment as he heads to the gym (“No Chief-level cases”), offering “that I’m just pleased aboot being able to compete, eh” as his only sound bite. Quiet support also comes from the front office: “He’s the only resident to ever be promoted a year in a single week – he’s a quick learner,” says Anthony “BTBG” Meyer.
Bookies report a surge of interest in this entrant. “More money is being wagered around him than on the Stanley Cup Finals,” says one. As raceday approaches, the line is steady at 4 to 1.