Aug. 27 2008 03:58 PM

    Ever since Big Brown lost his Triple Crown bid to DaTara at the Belmont Stakes in June, I have had a recurring dream. I cant classify it as a nightmare, although it does bring with it some frightening images. Its more like a rerun of a movie that is oh so familiar. Its a cross between horse racing and parcel shipping. Very strange, indeed. It goes something like this:

     

    It is the 100th running of the Parcel Stakes, and Big Brown is the favorite to win, with PurplePassion a close second. All of the smart money is going the way of these two bay colts. No knowledgeable player of the ponies would describe the field as strong. In fact, it is one of the weakest in years. Beside two favorites, there are OnceUponALime, 4everstamps, quazimodo, wasairborne, fuelSirCharge, heinz57, eggsbenedict and PreloadMisload. As I said, this isnt a particularly strong field.

     

    The bell rings, and the horses are off. Big Brown and PurplePassion start out strong. Neck to neck. They are followed by 4everstamps, PreloadMisload, wasairborne, OnceUponALime, eggsbenedict, quazimodo, fuelSirCharge, and bringing up the rear is heinz57. Despite the diversity of the field it is turning into a real horse race.

     

    At the halfway pole, PreloadMisload has surprisingly taken the lead, but who knows where hell finally wind up. PurplePassion remains in second while OnceUponALime takes a slice of third. In an unusual turn of events, Big Brown has agreed to carry wasairbornes jockey the rest of the way. One can only assume that wasairborne has come up a little lame. A questionable racing future? Maybe the ol yellow mule aint what she used to be. Well see! eggsbenedict is scrambling to make a move, OnceUponALime has been squeezed on the rail by fuelSirCharge while quazimodo drifts to the back of the pack. I had a hunch that would happen. Despite being next to last, fans of heinz57 are screaming for the chestnut mare to ketch-up. Her loyal fans certainly dont relish the idea of losing another race. Its clear the horse is doing everything she can to mustard a comeback. But she certainly is off to a saucy start. Surprisingly, 4everstamps is bringing up the rear. Believe it or not, up to this point in the race, 4everstamps jockey has stopped three times to ask for directions. Not a good sign, not a good sign, at all!

    The horses are headed for the finish line. Big Brown and PurplePassion are leading the pack. They are neck and neck. Nose to nose. Stride for stride. Toe to toe. Lets just say theyre close. fuelSirCharge is being true to his name and making a late charge, or is that a residential charge? No, no, hold on, it seems to be either a delivery area or extended area or remote area surcharge. And it is driving the patrons crazy as they scream their disapproval. Its too bad for PreloadMisload, he seems to be headed in the wrong direction. What do you expect from the son of perennial loser aDdReSsCoRrEcTiOn?

     

    4everstamps will post another loss. It just seems like the colt never got comfortable with the jockey. If my eyes dont deceive me, it appears the horse has taken an afternoon break, and the jockey has dismounted and is walking the rest of the race. What the hay? Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of customers waiting 20 minutes in line to buy a book of stamps will keep these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. OnceUponALime has run out of juice, while eggsbenedict decided to high step to the finish line. And thats no yoke! Any way you slice it, heinz57 finds itself in a real pickle. quazimodo will be no bell ringer on this day; while wasairborne, despite having another horse carry its load, is a sure bet to finish last.

     

    And the winner is................

     

    This is the part of the dream where I always awake. Just one time I would like to see the finish of this great race. Sure it can be punishing at times. Perhaps I awake when I do because, as in real life, the race never ends. If youre not the lead horse, then you are always trying to ketch-up. If youre not the lead horse, the scenery never changes. Maybe thats why the long face!

     

    Joe Loughran is President of SmartTran, Inc. and an expert in small package pricing and carrier rate analysis. SmartTran is a transportation consulting company offering services in carrier rate negotiation, guarantee refund service and logistics planning for 12 years. SmartTrans management team has over 70 years of executive level experience in package transportation management. Joe can be reached by phone at 724-934-0626 or by email loughran@smarttran.com.

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