Sunday, December 31, 2006

TBA 2006 is in the books; very nice gesture by a great group dedicated to the sport and beauty of Thoroughbred Racing

Members of the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance (TBA) have announced their donation of $1,060 to Old Friends, a retirement and rescue organization for pensioned Thoroughbreds, in the name of their 2006 Horse of the Year, Bernardini.

Bernardini is one of a select few trying to pin down the 2006 Eclipse award for Horse of the Year. However, the TBA has established an objective point system that could, in future years, yield a different winner from the Eclipse victor. This new value system serves an important purpose.

Unlike similar awards that are given each year based solely on subjective media and industry voting, the TBA's Horse of the Year award is given to the horse with the most points earned in Graded Stakes.

The core of the TBA's mission, the standings reward owners and trainers for running horses in stakes races more often, giving fans more opportunities to become familiar with a horse. Also, the standings make it easier for fans to follow the sport, allowing them to take in the top ranked horses at a glance and giving them access to the same kind of easy-to-understand rankings that other sports fans take for granted.

"The main objective of the award is to bring attention to horse racing as a long-time and storied national past time, not merely a specialized and exclusive sport," Patrick Patten said. "We hope these rankings start that trend. We also hope the larger horse racing community begins to demand such standings and that the industry sees the benefits of wider fan bases through easily identifiable standings." Patten, the proprietor of "Pulling Hair and Betting Horses," developed the standings.

"We feel that if adopted by a group who can back standings with money and/or accreditation the standings will arrive at a true 'Horse of the Year,'" he said. "Furthermore, for our champion, it cannot be said that the award was due to a coastal or geographical bias or based on foreign form."

Old Friends is a charitable organization with a mission to care for retired racehorses. Founded by Michael Blowen in 2002, the Midway, KY, organization cares for 15 pensioned Thoroughbreds, including Ruhlman, an eight-time stakes winner, and Bonnie's Poker, dam of 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Have you heard about the Bird blog?

Proving that it's never to early to begin eying that first Saturday in May, John (aka Not to the Swift) is providing mane to hoof coverage of a promising young colt, Birdbirdistheword, on the derby trail and has actually created a blog devoted to one derby-bound horse. You should check it out over at the Birdbirdblog.
Very interesting horse with solid connections and, for me the kind of rags to riches story you just gotta love since he was a $32k purchase. I am certain John will give us every angle here so being a bandwagon jumper, I am on this one early and will be counting on John to help me either count this pony in my derby exotics or rule him out!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dear Santa....

I have been a reasonably good guy this year and I would like to ask for some Christmas gifts for the beloved sport of Thoroughbred Racing:

1) Imagination for anyone whose job it is to promote the sport of Thoroughbred Racing
2) Healthier horses in 2007, strong bones and fewer missteps (whether that means Boniva or Wonder Bread or new Nike horse shoes)
3) Yours truly to hit some inspired exotic for 4 figures but only at the track and only on a live race I am playing. (I have hit for 3 figures but 4, now that would send me into a frenzied whooping and hollering to the point that I would probably trot onto the track and high five the jockey, slap the owner on the back and kiss the horse on the nose). Not that I would be wildly rich from such a score but I would at least be momentarily brilliant at the track....priceless!
4) TBA Bloggers who really kick some a$$ to get some National recognition and credit for spreading the word, keeping interest alive, not forgetting the past and being damn entertaining while doing it: John, Patrick, Alan, Tracey, Ruben, Sue, Brad And really most everyone else at the TBA as I enjoy their insight, commentary, and have learned much more than I ever would have scanning the mainstream media because these are true fans and students of the game. Sure they bring their point of view but they weave a great patchwork quilt of perspective on the sport. Whether it is a current event or a historical tidbit, you will find it all on the TBA
So Santa, see what you can do with my list and I will be sure to set out some milk and cookies for you.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Pathetic Excuses, but a nice holiday ornament and good intentions for 2007!

Okay my lack of posts this past month may have surprised no one as my readership has likely dwindled to that. But given the holidays, extremely busy with work and my running, and then combine that with my normal "dormant time of the year for the horse racing side of my brain" and there you blogging. Of course, it looks like I have been missing quite a bit at some of the other blogs and also a very nice redesign of the DRF site. Honestly though, I really won't get back in the horse racing swing until sometime in January as the Derby trail starts heating up in the warmer climates. Anyway, I will do better after the first of the year so if anyone has missed my news, notes, rants, etc....I will be back in force in 2007. In the meantime, gotta get the check in the mail to Patrick and here is possibly the greatest Christmas ornament ever (thanks to my wife for shopping around for this one).

Monday, November 06, 2006

TBA Standings have it right....HOTY still Bernardini

Bernardini, despite a loss in the BC, through no fault of his (why did they try and rate this horse and not let him run may have cost him the win last Saturday), wins the points race so if we have the points awarded equitably, he still wins the Horse of the Year title in my mind. If there is controversy, then either take a look at the point system and try and figure out what needs revised or go with the points leader. Interestingly, Michael Matz agrees in this interview on NTRA site

I would like to some "fans choice" voting, like the All Star balloting in Baseball. I would like to see a "race of the year" for dirt and turf. Somehow I secretly just want some award to go to my favorite horse of the year, you got it, The Tin Man. The Arlington Millions was a race I enjoyed almost better than any other, gate to wire baby!

Oh well, what do I know, I didn't even play my hunch Invasor and in my strategy to hit some long shot to look brilliant, so I completely blew the prestigious first annual TBA BC Handicapper of the Millennium contest.

Now comes the winter of some discontent with the promise of a new crop of 3 y/o to begin focusing on for that Triple Crown Chase 2007.

Friday, November 03, 2006

TBA Contest BC Picks, comments, okay outright guesses

I am not sure this is exactly the way my wagering will work out, most likely I will cast my luck with some exotics that include more chalk, the goal here is to avoid chalk, appear brilliant and somehow resurrect my fading handicapping skills with pulling a stunning "outta nowhere" victory in the winner takes all TBA BC Handicapping Contest where runner-up is just "first loser"! So, with that, here are my picks, comments, and otherwise brilliant guesswork. To the rest of the TBA I say, "It's on"! Hope everyone has a great BC Day! By the way, the reports from the Downs this week by Ruben Bailey at Your Average Horseplayer have been nothing short of spectacular and really have got me fired up for the races and made me feel more a part of BC week. Check them out and thanks!!

Race #1: Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: no idea here really but Bridgmohan has had a hot hand lately.
(Pgm. No. 12) Appealing Zophie

Race #2: Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile: honestly, this is pretty much a guess too
(Pgm. No. 3) Scat Daddy

Race #3: Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup F&M Turf: hard to pick against Ouija Board but she will be overbet and off at not much of a price and this is a contest right???
(Pgm. No. 7) Wait a While

Race #4: TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint: local Lexington connections, I have a soft spot for this horse and should get a nice price. Photo win.
(Pgm. No. 14) Kelly`s Landing

Race #5: NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile: Here is where the Irish horses actually begin to shine. The cool crisp weather will agree with them. I do like Aragorn in this one as well but we are just playing one to win.
(Pgm. No. 3) Araafa (IRE)

Race #6: Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff: capable of picking up the pieces at the end, a lot of speed fades at the final turn at Churchill.
(Pgm. No. 2) Pine Island

Race #7: John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf: always have liked this horse and is an important part of my Irish bred strategy. (which I borrowed from John over at Not to the Swift who used this in the Arlington Millions and was not so lucky but I am resurrecting the strategy here)

(Pgm. No. 6) Cacique (IRE)

Race #8: Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge:alright, I'll admit it is hard to ignore the Bernardini press and like Patrick over at Pulling Hair, I love the "Mane Event" poster with he and Lava Man, but I am trying to pull this contest out with some brilliant selection that will stretch my $2 so......(and in reality I secretly like Invasor and Bernardini in an Exacta Box here but probably won't bet it as the payout is likely to be about $5) Plus how can you not like an Irish horse named George Washington? Betting against him is unamerican!
(Pgm. No. 4) George Washington (IRE)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Melancholia over what could have been

a mood of non-specific depression. It is characterized by low levels of enthusiasm and low levels of eagerness for activity.

I am still not getting nearly as fired up for the Breeders Cup as some of my TBA brethren. I am getting there, slowly. The disappointment of so many tragic endings this season weigh heavily on me. No Triple Crown chase when it looked as though we had a real contender in Barbaro. The sudden loss of Saint Liam and with that how many future crops of Triple Crown contenders? The tragedy of Lost in the Fog's lost battle to cancer. And then the little things like my fav, The Tin Man, unable to recover in time for the Breeders Cup and the juve I liked Horse Greeley out with an injury it makes it tough. I am not really a Bernardini fan and I really liked Invasor but a loss of focus down the stretch to the Breeders Cup really leaves me out on a limb in trying to handicap this Saturday's action.
Sure I will watch and make an attempt to pick some winners, and the TBA contest has given me some new life. But I will watch with a little sadness that I hope I can shake off with some really great racing on Saturday and by reading some of the other great TBA blogs who are going to be live in that great crush of humanity that will be Churchill Downs this week-end!

Have a Horsey Halloween!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Beautiful Day at Keeneland

A little foggy, early, but the new tote board and HDTV are absolutely unbelievably crystal clear. Also the new rail is nice. They removed the stepped apron and levelled the apron with the track.

The polytrack. Up close it has every color of the rainbow yet it doesn't look too bad from a distance. The horses hooves racing by are muffled a bit (the difference between a group of kids running in the house on carpeted floors versus wood floors for example). No wonder it is safer since that is a very good indication of the pounding the horses legs are taking. Also, there is of course no "cloud of dust" but more a "misty spray of carpet" being kicked up so not sure how inhaling that stuff will be on the lungs of horses and jockeys but good old dust is not all that healthy either. A couple of other notes on the polytrack, of course closers fared very well which is unusual at Keeneland but some of that can be attributed to the reshaping of the final turn which gives closers more room to close. Also, no water trucks between any races and they only harrowed the track twice duirng the 9 race card. I never noticed any "holes" or bad spots develop as you would often see on the dirt. Also, no falls, spills, missteps or breakdowns and most of the cards had 10+ entries.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Where does the time go?

Pink Floyd's "Time" from their classic "Dark Side of the Moon" album has some lyrics that seem strangely out of place in my life lately. I have not been "frittering and wasting the hours in an offhand way" lately but time to post or even keep up with reading the blogs seems to escape me. Work has been especially challenging as I am a partner in a "side business" and we have a proposal on the table that might make it my "main business" so between that, my regular job, my new found running regimen (I am amazingly up to 25 miles/week and down 30lbs!) my focus on the ponies has waned, especially with my pitiful opening day wagering at Keeneland. But I make a return tomorrow to try and sneak in a mid-week winning streak. I plan on bringing the camera and attempting to document the track improvements and also comment on how impressed I am with the Trackus system and the excitement that adds in my next post. Anyway, here are my win picks, probably toss in some exotics and we'll see.
#4 Rayona to win race KEE Race #1
#12 Opening Dance to win race KEE Race #2
#5 Belgravia to win race KEE Race #3
#10 Altercation to win race KEE Race #4
#2 Queen Colleen to win race KEE Race #5
#9 Chief Commander to win race KEE Race #6
#4 Whatdreamsrmadeof to win race KEE Race #7
#9 Bee Charmer (IRE) to win race KEE Race #8
#8 Angry Pirate to win race KEE Race #9

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Opening Day Picks

alright, hard to say how the track redesign and the polytrack surface will play out but here goes:
Race 1: 1 1/16 3y/o+ Maidens Fillies&Mares
#4 Maizelle WIN (clearly the class of this group)
Race 2: 6 1/2 F 3y/o+
#10 Tequila Party WIN (speed in the race, slight drop in class)
#12 Plunkit
10,12 Exacta
Race 4:
1 1/16 Turf 2y/o Fillies
#3 Bavarian Belle WIN (likes the distance, training well, likes the lead)
Race 5:
7F Maiden 2y/o
#9 What a Tale WIN (turfway park regular who likes the polytrack,Leparoux up)
#12 Glamour Guy
9,12 Exacta
Race 7 Lonshot Play
#4 Dark Obsession (nice outing at Turfway Park, likes distance)
Race 8:
1 1/2 Turf Sycamore Breeders CupStakes $150,000
#6 Louve Royale WIN/PLACE (nice outing, solid works, Leparoux up)
Rained today but should be fast and turf should be good. Sunny and a little cool at 62 as it has been a little warm and humid this week (upper 70's) so the horses should be feeling good and ready to run.....
Good luck to everyone......especially me!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I continue to be a sucker for these contests but I gotta tell you. Last year I finished somewhere in the prizes for this (I picked 6 winners) and got a $250 Gas Card from Citgo. So, you never know. I continue to be dumbfounded by the feature rich web environment going on over at the NTRA website. Whomever is shaking up their on-line presence they are kicking the other sites tails (with the exception of John over at Not to the Swift who continues to dazzle with his wide array of web goodies). Look for my focus, demeanor and outlook on life to abruptly change from mild-mannered, doldrums of late summer horse racing ho-hum to rabid, railbird as Keeneland's entries for Friday are posted, my tickets are in hand and the afternoon has been blocked out to point my Honda Civic down Versailles Road a mere 10 minute drive from work and hit the track around high noon. Look for my brilliant selections for Friday which I will bravely post on Thursday and more than likely change by the time I actually plop down some cash on Friday! Keeneland actually has a really nice online handicapping challenge that is free to play and has some nice prizes althought the best I have ever done is to crack (barely) the top 50 once! If anyone wants to follow at home, my player name is danahejk.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Old fella does it again!

Just watched THE TIN MAN hold off TH Approval and Artiste Royal to win the Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship S.!

Who doesn't love this 8 y/o gelding?

I hope he can find a way to win the Breeders Cup Turf...what an exclamation point to an interesting career that would be. He loves the lead, runs with a lot of heart and has overcome some pretty serious injuries not to mention his advanced age (we all know how that can take a toll on you).
This win makes his 7th stakes win of his career.
The interview with owner Ralph Todd before the race was really neat as he described what a thrill it was to win the Arlington Millions.
I hope he comes out of the race in good shape with his next stop in Louisville in November.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Walk on the Keeneland?!!! Sign me up but I may break into a gallop at the eighth pole!

Public Invited to Preview Track Renovations At Keeneland Open House
Lexington, KY (September 26, 2006)

Keeneland will host a Community Open House on Sunday, October 1, to celebrate the completion of its historic track renovation.

The public is invited to come out from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. for a “sneak preview” of the improvements, highlighted by a new Polytrack racetrack and state-of-the-art tote board.

The afternoon will be a family affair, with pony rides, face painting, stick horse races, balloon animals, magicians, and wagon rides for children. Hands-on exhibits related to Thoroughbred racing also will be featured. Leading jockey Patti Cooksey will be on hand to answer questions about race riding.

Fans also will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk on the new Polytrack racetrack. (okay so if this can possibly be fit into my weekend I will definitely have a goofy photo of a silly old fella doing his best gallop down the stretch)

The first 500 patrons will receive a free disposable camera, courtesy of Murphy’s Camera and Fuji. Drawings will be held throughout the afternoon for such valuable prizes as a pair of 2006/2007 University of Kentucky men’s basketball season tickets, two tickets for the 2006 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs, Keeneland Fall Meet season passes and more.

Parking and admission are free. Cokes and popcorn will be 25 cents. Hot dogs, ice cream and cotton candy will be 50 cents each.

Keeneland wishes to thank its partners for the Open House, WKYT-TV and Clear Channel Radio, and our sponsors Coca-Cola, John Morrell hot dogs, Murphy’s Camera and Fuji.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fall and feelin' frisky!

Well, my posts seem to be few and far between this month but I was stunned to see my last post was my 100th! Yow, I guess I would've done something more than complain that I can't get a decent Horse Racing t-shirt. Oh well, squandered opportunities seem to be the politics of the day.
I did actually compete in a human racing event, my first 5K this past week-end (in between some torrential rains) and it was horse-themed....The Horsey 5K at Georgetown, KY "Festival of the Horse"! So I suppose I did get a t-shirt after all (although I really would like to see a MOVEMENT hat)! Anyway, I rush home from work and jump on the mower to cut down some of that bluegrass that is just jumpin outta the ground like it is Spring or something and long about sundown (about 7:30 EST) I am on the final leg of the unfenced part of our yard and the horses are gettin' frisky, playin around the paddock and generally enjoying the cool evening and near perfect conditions. It was great fun to watch while mowing and jamming to some tunes on the Rio MP3 player. All in all a reminder of one of the reasons I love the horse racing game, the animals are just so very cool. Anyway, I am really getting pumped for my return to Keeneland for opening day. Lots of local press about the polytrack and many other improvements that I have been going on about on this blog almost all summer. Anyway, I hope to get my blog back up to the TBA's ever impressive standards so I don't get kicked out! I should get back to actually talking about some racing here in the next week. I also gotta see what cool html/javascript tricks I can put on my blog since I now have "blog envy" what with the video, new layouts and generally cool features sprouting up daily.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Goofy clothing designs

Okay, now I have very little room to speak on this topic but I will anyway (direct from my gym shorts and t-shirt pajamas!). The latest KY Derby 133 design leaves a lot to be desired. How the heck do you improve on the wonderful silhouette of a thoroughbred? By "modernizing" it into robohorse? I think not. Churchill Downs fashionistas please watch "What not to wear".
Next, the DRF t-shirt that looks a bit like you have leaned up against a wet copy of the DRF and it stuck to the midsection of your shirt. A strange fashion statement to be sure. How about just the classic logo across a nice cotton t-shirt, how about that?
These are a couple examples of how other mainstream sports absolutely kick the crap out of horse racing clothing...I mean check out the NFL licensed merchandise...a regular plethora for fans and not really a horrible fashion misstep in all of it. C'mon horse racing, I would actually buy a t-shirt in support of the sport if only there was something out there worth wearing! makin me wait

It is still a solid 2 weeks and 4 days until the Fall opening day at Keeneland (but who's counting---me that's who) and with every pumpkin I see or even a hint at fall, I check the site and can't hardly wait to see the improvements up close and in person. The track has been completely redone over the summer, not just the polytrack but the turns have been reshaped, there is radical new tote board the sloped apron down to the track has been levelled and a new winners circle, all designed with that some great limestone and done with so much style that it generates excitement from your average fan and near hysteria for someone who loves nothing more than a fine autumn afternoon spent on the rail at Keeneland!
Does anyone use the DRF's Formulator software? I have tried it a bit off and on with varying degrees of success but I do keep coming back for more in hopes that I can repeat my analysis last fall that enabled me to select Dawn of War at some ridiculously long odds at Keeneland.
And finally, the sales are still going strong here in Lexington.

Through six days of the sale, Keeneland has sold 1,445 horses for $330,578,500, an average of $228,774 and a median of $130,000. The gross average and median are up 2.6 percent, 5.3 percent and 18.2 percent, respectively.
The sale continues through Monday, September 25.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ah, Fall and the crisp smell of cash is in the air

Sheikh Mohammed is in town and the September Yearling sale at Keeneland is seeing some record prices being paid. John Ferguson, the buyer for the Sheikh said that they came to spend money and wanted to be sure they got the horses they really liked. I guess tossing around $20 million the past two days on 2 horses shows you they are serious. The Keeneland website has all the details from the latest results to live covereage of the sales via the web. Storm Cat babies continue to reap huge prices. Check out more about Storm Cat over at a very nice Overbrook Farm site where apparently he keeps very busy at $500,000 Live Foal! You know, that is when a horse becomes a "cash cow".

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

And away they go and is the bluegrass really blue?

I like Trevor Denman's calls. I find he picks up action that I would otherwise be missing and I think the "And away they go" is exciting and understated all at the same time. Very cool. Durkin is a consummate pro but I don't find this move distressing and it sounds like neither did Tom Durkin. I think the Breeder's Cup call will not suffer from this change. Here is a link to a year old article interviewing both of these pros.

I have recently gone from retired athlete to working out regularly, first for several weeks on the stair stepper and more recently to running 5k's each day . That and a healthier diet has shed 21lbs on my way from an overweight 207 down to my ideal body wt of 172. Anyway, we have had an unusually wet August in Kentucky and during my runs the past few days I noticed the grass giving off some really blue hues. At first I thought it was just oxygen deficit or some other pre-stroke hallucination but since it has happened twice I am going with it. I always wondered if the bluegrass was blue and have been hard pressed to really see that, mostly it is just really green. But the theory is (and I can attest to this having set my pastures fence posts) that Kentucky lies on mostly limestone. Apparently that helps nuture the grass and is said to give it a "blue hue". It is also said to build stronger equine bones. Also, bluegrass makes for good pastures as it tolerates a lot of grazing. More info on Wiki

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Miscellany on the brainy

It has been an introspective week in the Bluegrass. The tragic plane crash this past Sunday has put the local media front and center and that combined with a clip I recently saw on one of the few tv shows I watch (Jon Stewart and the Daily Show) where Geraldo Rivera and Bill O'Reilly were smugly berating Jon Stewart made me think about how the "news" has fallen so far in this 24hr news cycle. I think that after reading some of the comments from the editor of the BloodHorse, I hear some of that same smugness and it makes me wonder even more about the mainstream media. It seems ironic that Blogs merit criticism from such an esteemed publication. Everyone knows it is easy to take a pot shot but much more difficult to offer constructive criticism or even some encouragement tempered with helpful advice. It's a shame Mr. Paulick chose to do neither. I don't think he understands that blogs are begun for many different reasons, the last being to attempt to supplant professional journalists (although some bloggers do a fine job of that). I started mine to keep track of this great sport and what I was thinking about it, some notes about the horses we own and my daughter's interest in riding and just a chronicle of my thoughts really. I never meant for this to be read by much more than my immediate family and myself. I was pleasantly surprised to learn of the TBA and I began to regularly scan many of their blogs which offered entertaining posts with personal commentary and often first-hand accounts and news and perspective and a frame of reference you just don't get in the mainstream media. I think I will not be renewing my BloodHorse electronic subscription in favor of holding out for any paid content on a revised DRF website (courtesy of TBA's Railbird). I know Jessica "gets it" and I look forward to seeing her influcence on the DRF site. As for the BloodHorse, they will not miss my subscription but they are missing the point of blogs and they are missing serving racing fans who are online and who have something to offer horse racing.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hirapour at Saratoga...he's a winner no matter what place he finishes!

I have already expounded on the excitement I get watching my single live steeplechase race of the year at Keeneland each spring the Royal Chase. I have also commented on my favorite pony who has won me some cash over the past few years that I have followed this race. I have also been learning about the tradition of steeplechase races at Saratoga so it was with great delight and awe when I read that Hirapour will be racing this Thursday . This amazing 10yr old has battled some injuries and colic but he has such a huge heart and there is nothing like seeing a race over hurdles live. I think this quote sums it up: "It's just a credit to his desire and his will to perform," said Hirapour's regular rider, Matthew McCarron. "He grits out every victory he's ever earned. He is just one of the hardest-trying horses I've ever sat on."
I know I will plop down a few more dollars on old Hirapour, if for no other reason than sentimental. He is in the final season of his racing career so I will be sad to see him retire as I have followed him for 3 seasons and it has been a lot of fun watching him race.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Like takin' candy from a baby...

Should I feel guilty?!
Henny Hughes win ticket
Bernardini win ticket
Bernardini/Bluegrass Cat Exacta
Hit 'em all, made a tidy little profit even though the investment was larger than my usual $5 win/place betting but when the pickens are this easy, ya gotta cash in!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Travers....easy exacta, how bout the superfecta?

Looks like Bernardini and Bluegrass Cat are a pretty safe 1-2 but what about after that????
With a very short field (I hear that Kip Deville may scratch in favor of
the Grade 3, $500,000 Kent Breeders’ Cup at Delaware Park on Saturday, September 2.) the play may be superfecta and take the field with Bernardini.

Field for the $1-million Travers Stakes

Post position -- Horse, jockey, morning-line odds
1--Hesanoldsalt, Eibar Coa, 15-1
2--Minister's Bid, Edgar Prado, 8-1
3--Dr. Pleasure, Cornelio Velasquez, 12-1
4--High Cotton, Garrett Gomez, 6-1
5--Bernardini, Javier Castellano, 1-1
6--Kip Deville, Rafael Bejarano, 30-1
7--Bluegrass Cat, John Velazquez, 2-1

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The news just goes from bad to worse

Saint Liam was put down today after severely fracturing his leg....
My daughter and I had gone to see him on a blustery January day at Lane's End and got several nice photos....
Rest in Peace fella

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -Saint Liam, the 2005 Eclipse Award winner as thoroughbred racing's Horse of the Year, was euthanized on Tuesday after injuring his hind leg, according to a newspaper report.

The 6-year-old stallion, who won the 2005 Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park last October, was being led to his paddock at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky., when he slipped and fell, suffering a left tibial fracture.

He was taken to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, where he was euthanized, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported on its Web site.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Movement Places!

Win/Place/Show Payouts
Gate Horse Min Win Place Show
7 SOMEKINDA ROMANCE $2 6.20 3.80 3.20
7.60 4.00


Have not seen or heard any more than this but found the results on and I now see I could've got my wager down there! Too bad I moved my Bodog account to TVG about a month ago so I didn't even check so looks like my loss. Hope Brad went with a big bet across the board!
Helluva debut.
Update, thanks to Scoop, the video is over at CalRacing
Looks like fractions were 1/4 mile: 22.73 1/2 mile: 46.86 Finish: 59.26
looks like about 2-3 lenghts back, not too shabby for a debut. Congratulations to Movement and all of his connections!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Lava flows, Foggy sadness, more free stuff from NTRA

Lava Man drew the 2 post and looks tough in this field. I am anxious to see what Giacamo can do given there should be an honest pace to this race. Lava Man in a close one with Giacamo closing hard at the wire. Let's go ahead and play this exacta straight up!

Lost in the Fog will return to SF to say good bye as his cancer has been declared inoperable according to TBA report from TVG telecast today. It's a really tough blow to all racing fans but Brad from the TBA writes about just how hard it is when this fella was one of your local favorites. Very sad.

The NTRA site seems to be exploding with free goodies for race fans, what with their wonderful race replays, their stakes calendar download and now a podcast! They are really stepping up the online content and it seems to be hitting this fans sweet spot!

Finally, our very own Brad and his filly Movement have their racing debut Saturday so anyone who wants to back the next Azeri this week-end should pull out a few bucks and plop it down on her nose in the 7th race at Bay Meadows

Monday, August 14, 2006

NTRA Calendar Download

Maybe everyone is still marveling at The Tin Man's performance this week-end but I have collected my winnings and am moving on!

The NTRA site has a really nice feature, especially for those of us religous users of Outlook calendars (the download is available for other calendar software as well but as for me Outlook is one of the best Microsoft programs going). Anyway, it is a Graded Stakes and TV calendar. It is an easy download and I am very used to viewing multiple calendars in Outlook and I find this is a really convenient way to keep up with what is being run and where at a glance.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Arlington Millions Blinkers Off Stable

My Horses
Beverly D : FILM MAKER
Beverly D : GORELLA (FR)
Beverly D : SHARP LISA
Beverly D : WEND
Million : THE TIN MAN
Secretariat : SHOWING UP
My Jockeys
John Velazquez
My Trainers
Graham Motion
Todd Pletcher

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ramsey Farm...Raising tougher horses?

I have stated this before but I live in Jessamine County Kentucky which boasts 2 premiere Thoroughbred Farms, one is the Ramsey Farm, the other is Taylor Made. We have a weekly newspaper and occassionally there are some really good articles. Today's issue had a feature in the Sports section with interviews and some nice quotes from Ken and Sarah Ramsey. The most interesting aspects were how they came to be one of the preeminent owners and breeders in Thoroughbred Racing. Apparently in their younger days they tried an unsuccessful stint at claiming some really awful horses and made little money. Eventually they migrated to the Real Estate business and ultimately they won the rights for the cellular telephone franchise in Atlanta. So, they made their money when they sold that interest and came back to invest in the former Almahurst Farm, buying up as much of the former farm as they could and they continue to try and buy back all of the land that comprised that once great farm. Currently they have over 1,200 acres and Ken Ramsey was quoted as saying he wants to continue buying up all of the surrounding land to "keep it from being developed", which is reassuring as horse farm encroachment in the BlueGrass has been and continues to be a concern. The other interesting point that the Ramsey's make is one I hear from them in almost every interview and that I see daily as I pass by their farm on my way to and from work. They do not believe in "hot housing" their horses. They keep them outside almost 24/7 and don't worry about the nicks and imperfections that result from "horseplay". Ramsey is quoted as saying, "The babies are out here running in the field 7 days a week, 24 hours a day". The broodmares encourage their babies to run and they feel this playful romping pays off at the track. "They're not intimidated"...."raised with a group of siblings that pushed him around and he can take care of himself. " "That's why our horses are stronger and we don't have as many breakdowns at the track" Ramsey goes on to say. Ramsey also credits the maintenance of their pasture and the quality of the land and grass, which is legendary in Kentucky and revolves around a near perfect climate to grow lush grass pastures but also the abundant limestone which is said to provide the minerals needed for stronger bones and also gives the grass it's blueish hue. I thought this story helped illustrate the role that breeders play in the durability of today's Thoroughbred. One thing is for certain, their huge success must mean they are doing something right. Here is link to the entire story.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Arlington Millions's free.....

Arlington Millions contest is patterned after the "Road to the KY Derby" where you pick your stable of 8 horses from entries in the Beverly D, Arlington Million and Secretariat, a jockey and two trainers.

One of my favorites is running, the old guy The Tin Man!
He is all heart when he runs so my wagering strategy will go out the window and I will follow that soft spot I have and put a few bucks on the old fella!

There is a great DVD "On the Muscle - A Year Inside a Thoroughbred Racing Stable" which features Richard Mandella and The Tin Man in his younger days.

Saturday, August 05, 2006 when you say that!

Invasor, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Fernando Jara, won the Whitney by a nose over Sun King and yours truly had a hedge $15 Win/Place bet that wound up paying out about $70 bucks so combine that with an exciting race on ESPN and a nice way to spend a little time in front of the tv! I thought this horse was a monster after the way he ran in the Suburban and he showed he could dig deep when called what a great race! Anyway, not that this photo has anything to do with anything but I really enjoy coming across Horse Racing history (especially from before 1960-those classic black and white photos) and I thought this picture of the great Nashua was a classic and somewhat similar to how I was laughing after the Whitney today!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

News, notes, tip of the hat, wag of the finger

Man it is cookin' outside! Our horses slipped me a note last night asking for an a/c unit in the barn. Looks like racing at Saratoga was a casualty today as well but it is nice to see that concern for the human and equine athletes triumphs over $$$.

Well considering David's recent success and John's big day, it would appear I need to be reading their handicapping advice much more carefully and posting my own much less! A tip of the hat to both those TBA 'cappers. A wag of the finger though to some strange record keeping error that may cost Dave a trip to the DRF National Handicapping Championships. We all look forward to his post of that entire story....

Patrick has a nice link and quick overview of this week-ends Haskell Invitational but make sure you read those comments as John sneaks in a tip and he is hot, but I guess we all are the past few days, just maybe not at the window!

Finally some good news as it sounds like Barbaro is once again holding his own. Just makes you wonder what could have been with a fella that apparently has a pretty strong will......

And this story about Green (as in $16 large) Monkey breezing and Pletcher may send him late in the Saratoga meet.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Update-Results: DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Qualifier

Well it was a mixed day of early elation, tempered by an inability to pick more than one winner and ultimately finishing 51st in a field of over 400 but well out of the money.
I hit my first race of the day, an optional race on Saratoga's first race for a nice $43.60 with Planets Aligned. But I could only manage 3 Places the rest of the day and ultimately my $68.80 total was smashed by a few who hit Like a Gem in the 9th at Woodbine for a $93 win. That catapulted many looking for a late longshot (I was looking but not at Woodbine), ahead of me as I had been hanging around hoping for that 25th spot for a while. Oh well, it was fun, all the handicapping printed material a human could possibly want, banks of montiors with feeds to all of the Challenge tracks every few feet, two buffet lines with a really great lunch, mass quantities of iced tea, and a Keeneland tote bag to stuff all of this into (and ultimately nice swag for my daughter). This was definitely fun and added a different aspect to racing for me as I have never really attempted to play that many tracks in a day. One thing that kind of screwed me up is that right before the third race (I think it was the 3rd--it was early) the skies opened at Saratoga and the track became muddy and the turf yielding in the span of a race! My handicapping I had so carefully prepared last evening, with my focus on Saratoga, quickly became suspect with the change in track conditions and I scrambled from there. I hope that Ruben over at Average Horseplayer has a better showing tomorrow at his Qualifier.

Friday, July 28, 2006

UPDATE #1: DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Qualifier

The plunge has been taken, I am signed up for the contest tomorrow at Keeneland. I am also armed with the DRF and my belly is full as they fed you at the track this evening when I signed up, all completely free which was a nice and unexpected perk. As soon as I get organized I will begin trying to find some nice prices to get me at least in the top 25 although I have no illusions or expectations but I gotta shot! Here are the contest tracks/races:(in case anyone wants to chime in with their picks, I am not heading out until Noon)
Full updates promised!

Keeneland Handicapping Challenge, Saturday, July 29, 2006
DRF/NTRA Handicapping Championship Qualifier

Contest Tracks, First Posts and Playable Races

Delaware Park (First Post 12:45 p.m. ET) Races 1 - 9

Saratoga (First Post 1:00 p.m. ET) Races 1 - 8

Woodbine (First Post 1:10 p.m. ET) Races 1 - 10

Ellis Park (First Post 1:40 p.m. ET) Races 1 - 9

Arlington Park (First Post 2:00 p.m. ET) Races 1 - 8

Players note: Although the contest tracks were selected due to favorable Saturday forecasts by, Friday’s weather may have an adverse effect on track conditions.

Mandatory Contest Races and Post Times

Saratoga 2nd Race (1:35 p.m. ET)

Delaware Park 6th Race (3:00 p.m. ET)

Arlington Park 5th Race (3:56 p.m. ET)

Ellis Park 7th Race (4:36 p.m. ET)

Saratoga 8th Race (5:12 p.m. ET)

Woodbine 10th Race (5:29 p.m. ET)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Qualifier

Probably a frivolous waste of $150 but who knows, maybe beginners luck will prevail! I am seriously considering entering this contest at Keeneland on Saturday.
  • The contest will consist of twelve (12) different races from five racetracks simulcast at Keeneland Saturday, July 29, 2006.
  • Six (6) races will be mandatory races. The Handicapping Challenge Director will select the six (6) mandatory races. Each contestant must make selections in the six mandatory races or be disqualified from prize money.
  • Six (6) races will be optional races. The contestant will select the six (6) optional races from contest-eligible tracks being simulcast at Keeneland that day with a scheduled post time up to and including 5:45 p.m. (EDT)
  • The races are posted at Noon on 7/28 giving me ample time to overanalyze and screw this up!

    If any readers (those few of you) have ever entered a contest and have any words of wisdom (like save my money) let me know but I am thinking it might be a fun day, you get a buffet lunch for your effort and there are prizes for top 25 and drawings every hour for $100. The top 3 (and this would be a truly inspired and miraculous effort if I were to even dare to dream of getting in that company) go the National Handicapping Chapionships in Vegas in January. If I don't lose my nerve I am going out at lunch tomorrow and plop down my entry fee and commit myself to a Friday evening of handicapping!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Where the surf meets the turf....

For the past couple of years that I have really been following this great sport of Thoroughbred Racing, I have identified a couple of tracks that are on the "must visit" list and every year about this time I make many "virtual visits" to old Del Mar. They have a great website and being just north of San Diego, I just am not sure there is a better location for a track in the world and this is coming from someone who has the good fortune of living about 10 miles from Keeneland. I visited San Diego about 6 years ago but that was mostly for business and I didn't even know about Del Mar (sheltered life and all) but it just looks like such a great place to wear some shorts and the loudest Hawaiian shirt you can find, grab a racing form and just hang out for the entire that would be a vacation!
If you read this and have been to Del Mar, feel free to either confirm my suspicions that it is a great place or burst my bubble and tell me why it isn't all that it appears to be. Meanwhile I will be singing that Bing Crosby tune from time to time over the next month and planning a real San Diego trip for next year (I hope)!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Leparoux takes Kentucky!

At age 23, Julien Leparoux became the second apprentice in Churchill Downs' 131-year history to earn a leading rider title when he finished the 2006 spring meet with 87 winners on July 16. He also shared the jockey title in the Keeneland Spring Meet and won the title at the Turfway winter/spring meet. Pretty safe bet to play this jockey! More on the story all over the web including the NTRA site. He is headed for Saratoga next so we will see if his luck/skill holds outside of the BlueGrass State!

Saturday, July 15, 2006



Calder 10 $2 PL 1,2,3,4,5,6
$12.00 $42.40

Churchill Downs 8 $2 WP 6
$4.00 $36.60
Okay so not such a brilliant bit of handicapping but you gotta like my strategy on the Princess Rooney. Short Field and Dubai Escapade completely overbet. My only regret is not taking Show on the rest of the field and I would have really made some $. Not a bad pick at Churchill either. Anyway, not a bad Saturday of TVG wagering online in the A/C!
Glad to hear Barbaro is having better days but when life begins imitating art, well you gotta question the quality of life issue for the big guy when you see him in the sling. Hope it works but hope the horse is not completely miserable...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Hang on Barbaro!

Some very interesting parallels with Secretariat's losing bout with laminitis and Ruffian's failure to respond to surgery. Check out this article on DRF site:
Stopping treatment a complicated choice
Dr. Dean Richardson & Barbaro
Sabina Louise Pierce / Univ. of Pennsylvania
Dr. Dean Richardson said Barbaro's comfort level and long-term outlook are foremost.
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Thursday's news that Barbaro's prognosis had darkened because of acute laminitis in his left hind leg does not mean, his surgeon said, that the colt's destruction is imminent.

"I think you always have to weigh whether the treatment is going anywhere, and obviously you don't want the animal to suffer," said Stuart Janney III. Janney's family campaigned the champion Ruffian, who suffered a catastrophic breakdown in 1975 during a match race with Foolish Pleasure at Belmont Park. The Janneys agreed to surgery, a new and unusual option at the time, but the effort failed and Ruffian was humanely destroyed on July 7, 1975.

"We felt we had to do it," Janney said of the surgery. "But it had to be with the understanding not to put an animal through senseless suffering for a result that wasn't going to be positive."

"It's a gray area," said Gus Koch, manager of Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky. Claiborne stood 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, who died in 1989 after battling laminitis for several weeks. "In Secretariat's case, we went into it with the attitude that we are not going to let this horse suffer needlessly. He started to recover, and we thought he was improving, and then he regressed. It's a painful condition, and when he regressed, that's when the decision was made to euthanize him. He was in pain. The main decision was that the horse was suffering and it looked hopeless."

Veterinarians could tell objectively that Secretariat's condition was worsening, Koch said, because they could measure the rotation of the coffin bone, the main bone inside the horse's foot, which rotates down and eventually through the sole of the hoof in severe cases of laminitis. But it wasn't just the X-rays that indicated Secretariat was in trouble; it was his general deme anor, including a decreased appetite, weight loss, and general discomfort.

"He had pain, and he showed it like any horse," Koch recalled. "He was sore, and it was hard to keep condition on him."

"If we can't keep him comfortable, we will not continue," Richardson said.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Who speaks for the Race Horse?

All fans who enjoy the sport of horse racing should. There is a VERY impressive article in the Final Turn column in the latest issue of the BloodHorse by Christine Janks. She takes an important stance in holding the trainers responsible for the health of the horses they send to post. She has a very realistic vision of the profit-driven motives that drive some to send horses that are less than healthy to race and too often to their untimely deaths. The recent rash of breakdowns at Arlington, the drug-related suspension of one of the leading trainers, Steve Asmussen, really begin to appear connected. Baloo over at The Bug Boys had already raised our awareness to this issue but I am surprised and disappointed if this is widespread. Maybe it is naivete but I like to think that most people are basically honest, even with money on the line. I wonder what everyone else is thinking about this. Who does speak for our equine athletes? I know those in the TBA have put their money where their mouth is by pledging annual donations to Old Friends in support of ensuring our retired thoroughbreds a good home. But how many of the horses we love will never make it off the track due to greed?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Great week tempered by bad news on Barbaro.

Wow, after a near perfect week spent at the Kentucky Horse Park in some really picture perfect conditions (80 degrees, blue sky, light breeze and zero humidity) and some really great results, Reserved Champion in classes with 25 riders (aren't they a nice looking team!), but then to check the racing headlines this evening and it looks like Barbaro is once again fighting for his life following surgery to fight an infection. It also sounds like the leg is not healing well in the pastern joint. Hope ths somehow works out but it sounded pretty serious.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Independent Thoughts

Like Patrick over at Pulling Hair, I cashed a nice ticket on Bushfire this past week-end and then went crazy on the 4th with a Pick 4 at Hollywood Park (something I had never played before) which I missed by one race when my selection finished second and that was on a $2 just pick 4 winners in 4 consective races ticket! Bizarre, near beginners-luck story of the year, but close again but no cigar! Well you gotta love Lava Man in the Hollywood Gold Cup and looks like Point Determined will run in the Swaps so another solid week-end of racing coming up, looks like this "second season" may prove to be a lot of FUN!

From the Random Notes Section:
Summer Reading: "Racing My Father" by Patrick Smithwick, great book, still about 100 pages to go but it has been great. Well worth the read with a lot of insight, especially from the jockey/trainer point of view.
Interesting websites: Thoroughbredia, a wikipedia-inspired site that some in the TBA might be interested in helping get going.
The Final Turn, has some great photo galleries and some thought provoking forums

Well, my daughter is riding in a horse show this week at the Kentucky Horse Park so my groom duties may prevent many posts but I will return!!!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Weekend Handicapping at Belmont

SUBURBAN PICKS: 5 ,1 Exacta; 5,1,4 Trifecta and 5 to Win; you gotta like a horse (Rathor) that has won twice on this track and going with the hottest jockey (Coa) at Belmont...solid choice, probably at a short price though so play the exotics with 5 on top.

Bonus Pick: #2 Bushfire to Win the Mother Goose

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hump Day Happenings

Wow, seems like a long week, probably because I have some time off next week with Independance day and some vacation time and also looking forward to a nice week-end of racing and possibly a trip up to Churchill Downs.

I must not have been paying attention but the NTRA website has snuck in some pretty cool content lately. It seems the stories are being updated daily, the race pages have an interactive Fan picks section that I had not noticed before and they are posting more and more race replays and videos....very nice. Has anyone else noticed this stuff or has it been there for a while and it just caught my attention?

Bandini is apparently out of the Suburban because of "filling in his right front leg"--does anyone know what that is? I have not heard that term before. Still looks to be a pretty solid field.

Well, I will be sure to have my picks up by Friday so everyone knows who will place on Saturday! Happy Hump Day, it's downhill the rest of the week!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Suburban Nominations ---WOW!

Wow, this coming Saturday's Suburban Stakes (Gr1 1 1/4 mi ) has got a great field shaping up.
Andromeda's Hero, Sun King, Wilco, Bandini, Noble Causeway. This will make for some serious handicapping this week after goofing off all last week. Plus it looks like ESPN has coverage beginning at 5pm. I believe this may call for a road trip to Churchill, take in some live ponies and play the Suburban as a bonus!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Saratoga, Arlington, Del Mar...which summer circuit do you play?

With June rapidly rolling by and the focus of racing moving out of Kentucky my attention begins to roam and last summer I could never really get focused on trying to follow one particular track. I have never been to Saratoga, Arlington or Del Mar, although they all three look very worthy of a visit, but last summer I did manage to take in some races at Keeneland OTB and on TVG and I tried to focus on Del Mar and I began to learn a little about some of the trainers and idiosyncracies of that meet and had some moderate wagering luck. This summer, I am hoping to be a bit more focused so I am wondering what other handicappers out there do during the dog days of summer? Do you focus on a particular track? If so, which one and why? Also, if you have been to any of the three, I am interested in your recommendations. I am very intrigued and tempted to go up to Saratoga although the easiest track for me to visit may very well be Arlington Park. Thanks again to anyone who takes time to post some info.

Friday, June 16, 2006

"Stephen Foster Super Saturday" at Churchill Downs.

Lots of Grade 2's, lotsa good horses running all day like Private Vow, High Cotton, Oonagh Maccool, Buzzards Bay, Brass Hat and toss in a Grade 1 worth $750,000 and you have a helluva day of racing this Saturday at Churchill Downs!

I understand Perfect Drift has been training great and I like Brass Hat and all of his connections but not sure he is ready to win in his first trip back from Dubai. I have always liked Buzzards Bay but I don't like the #1 post at Churchill in a big field. That said I am going with #7 Perfect Drift (5-1) to Win and toss a couple of dollars chasing the Trifecta:

However you play it, Have some fun!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Which Subscription?

Fellow readers, TBA Bloggers and anyone who might read this and venture an opionion. I would appreciate in hearing comments on which magazine/website do you pay a subscription to that covers Thoroughbred Racing? I currently subscribe to the BloodHorse $99/yr print and $89/yr electronic, which I have enjoyed but I have also found myself reading the DRF online$99/yr and enjoyed the print edition at the track as well. Also, Thoroughbred Times $105/print pluse email newsletter, had been sending me the newsletter free for a couple of months that had a lot of great info. So, those are really the three front-runners but given limited time and not unlimied funds I really want to settle on one subscripion as my BloodHorse is up for renewal soon and I am just wondering what everyone else reads. Maybe there is something else out there that I don't even know about. Thanks for any comments.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Buzzards Bay to run in Stephen Foster this week-end

Always nice to see a horse you made some $$ on (think 2005 Santa Anita Derby and 30-1) make a return to the track. It's also great to see that the competition will include Brass Hat, another sentimental favorite. The article mentions the decision to ship Buzzards Bay included the Louisville weather forecast for Saturday which the NTRA article quoted as being "mild". Uh oh, while the weather in KY has been GREAT lately (80/55 with NO humidity) this Saturday is supposed to be 94 and humid! Ouch. This might be one to watch in the a/c! Finally, from the obscure links department: an unforgettable line in the movie Tombstone featuring Stephen "freaking" Foster.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Belmont Picks

I know I shouldn't but I will play an exotic as I think this is Sunriver's race to lose and he may well be the post time favorite...
so, with that said.....

2(Sunriver)-8(Jazil)-11(Steppenwolfer) Trifecta

6 (Oh So Awesome) Win-Place-Show (just in case)

(Peb's cartoons are great!)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

138th running of the Belmont Stakes, June 10th, 2006

The field of 12 is set and post positions drawn. It has the making of an exciting race. I am a bit surprised Jazil is 10-1. SunRiver with Bejarano up at 4-1 may be my favorite and Deputy Glitters at 15-1 with Prado aboard may well be the live longshot, especially the way he is training lately and with Prado due for some good luck. Anyway you slice it, looks like there will be some value in this race too which only adds to the excitement. It is still a little early in the week yet and my analysis has been sparce (althought many who read my site and my selections may note that my analysis is always a bit sparce!) so no ticket worked out just yet. The field and info on the race can be found at the Belmont Stakes site
I think I have it worked out to head out to Keeneland for some simulcast wagering and a fun day checking out the renovations and enjoying the weather and the festivities surrounding the final leg of the Triple Crown.

I will be posting my ticket on Friday....after I check out my fellow TBA handicappers!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Lost in the Fog wins again

You have to like this horse, still running at 4, a crusty owner who is refreshingly not worried about being politically correct when being interviewed, and a helluva bargain at his $48,000 purchase price. The 1 1/4 length win over Kelly's Landing in this past Saturday's Aristedes Breeders Cup Handicap, is his "comback" win that might help catapault him into this coming November's Breeders Cup sprint, right back here at Churchill. Next up, according to his trainer Greg Gilchrist, is the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap on the July 15 Summit of Speed program at Calder. So we can look forward to that and any other interviews from owner Harry Aleo!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Horses helping soldiers

I came across this story by Stephen Manning. Apparently, horseback riding is helping soldiers who have lost limbs in Iraq regain their balance and mobiliy. The story says it is a pilot program but that the motion of riding a horse helps the wounded soldiers strengthen hip muscles and forces them to balance to stay on the horse and that eventually helps them regain their ability to walk with their artificial limbs. The full story is here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Keeneland has got it right

Interesting reading all of the negativity surrounding horse racing since the Preakness. While not burying my head in the sand, I find that I much more enjoy the sport by looking for the positive stories. If you check out the Keeneland website, I believe you will find a great example of what a good business does to keep customers satisified and sure to return. Once again, in the break between meets not only are they installing polytrack but they are widening the entire dirt track and changing the angle of the turns, all well thought out and planned in advance (not in a knee jerk reaction) to the Preakness. Now if that wouldn't be enough they are installing a new tote board complete with a new HD Ginormous video panel (not that the old one was in need of replacement) and expanding fan areas down at trackside and adding fan areas in grassy areas in the paddock side of the track. The photos are really cool but just the overall approach is very refreshing and continually improves the fans experience, while taking utmost care to protect the horses and jockeys.

Friday, May 26, 2006

California mandates synthetic surfaces

"No racing association that operates four weeks of continuous thoroughbred racing in a calendar year shall be licensed to conduct a horse racing meeting at a facility that has not installed a polymer synthetic type racing surface" by Jan. 1, 2008, the CHRB said in a statement issued Friday.

I think this combined with Barbaro's breakdown in front of a national audience will add a lot of pressure to the major tracks around the country to follow suit.

More info on Polytrack here

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What Now? Life Goes on.....

Well, I took advantage of a perfect May evening to throw a saddle on our retired OTTB and hack around the pasture. The funniest thing was when I first went out to catch our horses for a good grooming I really wasn't going to ride but here is what happened. Sometimes they walk right up to us and we can toss a halter on them and lead them to the barn and sometimes it takes a little sweet feed. But today they were feeling frisky and decided to toy with me. Now our pasture is just 3 acres fenced but still plenty of room for two horses to elude capture by a 40 something fella with a bucket of sweet feed and a pitiful attempt to hide the halter and lead rope. I thought I almost heard them laughing as they galloped from one end of the field to the other. Ah, but what they didn't count on is they were being chased by a stubborn, hard-headed irishman bent on getting them to the grooming stall. Well, 30 minutes later I was finally able to catch Finn and Quinn followed. After grooming Finn and turning him out I decided Quinn needed some excercise carrying this overweight jockey so off we went. As I scan the horse racing news of the day and still keep one eye on Barbaro and my fingers firmly crossed, I am starting to think about horse racing again but I find myself missing that superstar. It's weird, the american sports fan. We like to see our stars rise and fall and comeback, maybe because that mimics the ebb and flow of our own lives, who knows? But I know I long for a champion Thoroughbred that I can tell my future Grandkids about. Smarty and Alex and poor Barbaro, all great stories but their careers too short and the elusive Triple Crown potential unfulfilled. Maybe I should be combing the nearby horse farms for the yearling with perfect conformation and "that far off look" of a champion and scrawl down their name in hopes that maybe they might be the one that breaks the Triple Crown drought.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Nifty Knitting has Barbaro on the mend

I find this xray completely amazing and a tribute to the equine surgeons.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Barbaro makes it thru surgery!

Absolutely great updates on the Tim Woolley Fair Hill Racing site from Alex. It is hard to concentrate on any other aspect of racing right now, that's for sure. Let's hope Barbaro is spared and makes a recovery for a nice stud career here in the bluegrass!
Just saw post-surgery comments from his surgeon and Michael Matz. And despite the early success of the surgery the surgeon's sobering quote was "His chances are still a coin toss".

Amazing post-op recovery room photo

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Thoughts and Prayers to Barbaro and his surgeons

The sight of him did something to me I've never quite been able to explain. He was more than tremendous strength and speed and beauty of motion. He set me dreaming.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Preakness Picks

Barbaro on top no doubt,
6-7-5-1 Superfecta
6-1-9-7 Sillyfecta
6-2-7-5 Only if snow falls during the race fecta

Probably my contribution to the Preakness take if nothing else but you never know. Even when you know, you never know. Hope everyone has fun Saturday and here's hoping for a clean trip and continuing the pursuit for 2006 Triple Crown winner Barbaro!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Preakness update or the unofficial Barbaro fan site!

I can't wait to see what John over at Not to the Swift thinks about Like Now's post position, I know he likes those odds! Also, had some great sites drop by and leave some links so if you want more info on where Barbaro is hanging out, namely at the beautiful Fair Hill training center in Maryland, you should check out Tim Woolley Racing and the Fair Hill site. Anyway, here is the post draw and current pre-race odds. The question is how far down will Barbaro get bet and I am really going to be scouring this field to nail a trifecta ticket!

Purse: $1,000,000 added - 1 3/16 miles
Post Horse Jockey Trainer M/L Odds
1 Like Now Garrett GomezKiaran McLaughlin12-1
2 Platinum Couple Jose EspinozaJoseph Lostritto50-1
3 Hemingway's Key Jeremy RoseNick Zito30-1
4 Greeley's Legacy Richard MiglioreGeorge Weaver20-1
5 Brother Derek Alex SolisDan Hendricks3-1
6 Barbaro Edgar PradoMichael MatzEven
7 Sweetnorthernsaint Kent DesormeauxMichael Trombetta4-1
8 Bernardini Javier CastellanoTom Albertrani8-1
9 Diabolical Ramon DominguezSteve Klesaris30-1