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.