Monday, May 14, 2007

Blinkers Off...signing off

Not that many still check my dormant blog but although my interest in Thoroughbred racing remains strong, the demands of a busy life have left me no time to post meaningful content or rambling observations or even comment on my latest losing wager. It is a busy time just making it through my daughter's 2 soccer teams, horse lessons, my newfound running "hobby" (completed the Derby Festival Half Marathon and going full speed ahead with training and running in the Columbus Marathon this fall) and my son has finalized his college selection and will be a graduating high school in two short weeks. So, while I do miss posting (and really) miss most is reading the other blogs regularly, I feel it would be a disservice to the TBA to continue with my blog. I will most likely leave the content up, if nothing more than for fond memories and maybe a return to posting someday. But for now I am signing off and riding into the sunset of my foray into the blogosphere. If you stumble upon this blog, please check the TBA for some really great content, insighful posts and a great group of passionate Throughbred racing enthusiasts.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Coldest Spring I ever spent....

Was without a doubt freezing at Keeneland yesterday. The best thing about the day was the absolutely choclaty goodness that the Nestle Hot Cocoa machine was dispensing. The seats were cold, the snow at one point was sideways and crazy, and my brain too frozen to handicap so I shut down and let my daughter and her horse-crazy friend pick and they won 4 of 10 but I mistakenly cost them their biggest payout by entering the wrong! So, we felt lucky to hit the exits down about $32 and with no discernable frostbite. I refused to take any pictures yesterday as I kept my gloved hands in my pockets. At one point I begged the girls to leave after the 9th but they insisted they were tough and sat there for the 10th! At one point between the 9th and 10th it was blowing and snowing and I retreated to a glassed and heated enclosure just up the steps from the Grand Stand seats they were in and looked left and right and not another soul was still in those seats! The announced attendance was almost 17,000 but you had to really look for them even with crowds inside, I think many people, like my son and his friends bailed out after 3 races (which is about the time I could not longer shrug off the cold and started running back and forth between a heated sanctuary and our frozen tundra seating.) The funniest thing I heard all day was when I suggested we trek down to the rail for the 10th amid the heaviest snow of the day and someone shouted "I've got Rudolph across the board in this one". Anyway, we will be back late in the meet and I may slip out for some late races during the week but I just wanted to post the fact that there are two hardcore Thoroughbred fans among the younger generation as my daughter and her friend can attest. They were all smiles and happy as they could be the entire race card! I guess Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he lives at Keeneland.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Kristmas in Kentucky

That's right, Keeneland (ooh new web design too!) opens today and yours truly makes his annual opening day pilgrimage to the mecca of horse racing. It has gone from 80 degrees this past Monday to a crisp 28 degrees this morning. Not great for race fans but the horses are sure to love it!
And the Spring Meet looks to have once again drawn the top jockeys and trainers right outta the gate on opening day.
A couple of interesting races shaping up and one with some Derby implications is the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes is Sedgefield who ran a good second in the Lane's End to Hard Spun, is hoping the $93,000 win here will help propel him to the Derby. With Bejarano up, he is an 8/5 early morning favorite here.
And Funny Cide cruises back to Kentucky in an Allowance Race in the 8th.
Overall, the fields look large, the payouts should be good and here's to healthy, fun but chilly day at the track!
(Handicapping note: I will only share that info if I win! But past performances by me in this area indicate you are not missing anything).

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Whose your Daddy?

What a horse race! You have to check out the replay over at the NTRA site. Scat Daddy really made a strong closing move on the outside but what a great run by the top 4. The thing that really struck me is that they all seemed to have plenty of gas in the tank at the wire despite a strong pace set by Stormello. Very exciting finish!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

March-ing into some great racing

March is so fun-filled for me. My wedding anniversary, my daughter's birthday, St. Patrick's Day (same day as my birthday), Spring begins, Spring break (remember those college days anyone), March Madness for us college hoops fans and the real start on the road to the Triple Crown all happen in this in like a lion, out like a lamb whirlwind month. This week-end promises some exciting action on both coasts:
Gulfstream Park's Fountain of Youth Stakes Division: Classic Grade: II Purse: $350,000 Distance: 9 Furlongs Age: 3-Year-Olds Saturday, March 3, 2007 @ 4:00 PM EST
Derby Favorites: Nobiz like Shobiz; Stormello
Horse to watch: Adore the Gold
Questions: Can Nobiz handle two turns? Is Stormello capable of going the distance?
My picks: Adore the Gold in a closing drive to outrun Nobiz and punch his ticket to the Derby. I love this guys story and that of his connections. Not very scientific analysis but enough for my small stakes wagering!

Santa Anita Handicap Division: Classic Grade: I Purse: $1,000,000 Distance: 10 Furlongs Age: 4-Year-Olds & Up Track: Santa Anita Saturday, March 3, 2007 @ 7:30 PM EST
I love watching the older horses that are still out there running so I love this race this year.
Anyway, how the heck could I root for any other horse but Lava Man in this one. Sure he'll big the big favorite so this won't be a great betting race but this is a horse that is fun to watch run.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Blinkers Off Road to the Roses Stable....ho hum predictable

Okay, no big surprises here and probably a guaranteed finish somewhere outta the top 10 but at least a list of some of the ponies that will be on my Derby Watch but unless you have some Nostradamus-like talent, mid-February selection of a Derby field is really anybody's guess at this point.!
My Horses
Adore The Gold
Great Hunter
Nobiz Like Shobiz
Noble Court
Scat Daddy
Street Sense
My Jockeys
Corey Nakatani
Fernando Jara
My Trainers
Nick Zito
Todd Pletcher

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Louisville Courier Journal Derby Data Track

Here is another fun tool to help you "crunch some data" and put some research into your derby futures and fantasy selections. The CJ Derby Data Track site for 2007 is up and can be found at the Louisville Courier Journal 2007 Derby Track site.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

2007 Road to the Roses....It's On

The chase for the 2007 Triple Crown is going to be heating up as February turns to March and as sure a sign of spring as the Buzzards returning to Hinckley Ohio,
today marks the official start of The Road To The Roses Kentucky Derby Fantasy Challenge
I must admit I always play but I have never really managed to do all that well with my "virtual stable". However I enjoy "owning" my killer stable of 3yr olds. The site actually has a pretty nice listing of the early season races leading up to the Derby complete with the TV coverage so that is very handy as well. So, the question that comes to mind is "who do ya like?"

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Great ride by Fernando Jara...great run by Invasor

If you missed the Donn, it was a really nice ride and an unbelievable rally from an impossible spot for Invasor. Looks like he is off to a nice older horse campaign. Hope he keeps running like that!
Great video replay over at the NTRA site.

Invasor and the Colts kick off the month

On this extremely wintry week-end in Kentucky I am left with hunkering down in the warm house and catching Invasor winning the Donn and the Colts winning the Super Bowl....
2007....the unofficial year of the horse....?

Everyone get your wagers down and have fun and stay warm!

Monday, January 29, 2007

And so it goes....

The sun rises, the sun sets, tides roll in and out and the horse racing world has seen another untimely death. Although this happens all too often in the world of the Thoroughbred, it happens too often in the human world as well. A lot of people have really taken to this story and it may have even sparked additional interest in these amazing animals. With so much tragedy in the human world, it should be kept in perspective. Barbaro lived a charmed life, albeit short, knowing care and success that 3/4 of the human population of this planet will never know. I hope that equine veterinary science was advanced by what they learned but in the end the injury was just too much to overcome in an animal whose breeding, genetics and reason to exist centered around being able to run. Quality of life issues may face us all at some point and it is an extremely important and personal question to which there is no "right answer". I have some faith that Barbaro now gallops rolling fields of grain on a plain filled with fillies!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Do I hear $100,001......going once....sold to the TBA!

Step right up and bid on a KY Derby Trophy over at eBay! I stumbled across this over at the Bloodhorse and as curiousity would have it (and you know it killed the on), I just had to go over to eBay and see for myself. Anyway, the article says it is a replica cast from the original from 1970 Dust Commander win. The seller is doing it to raise $$$ for a cat rescue. You need to read the article or else you might think I was making this up. Ah, truth remains much stranger than fiction.

Okay, now if we all pool our winnings and various ad revenues, this would look great in the TBA virtual Trophy Case.......

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sir, have you been drinking?

After the incredibly sad story about the vet giving horses pre-race vodka cocktails (literally and via injection), I was surprised to read a bit about the testing, or lack of testing for the presence of alcohol in race horses. Of course, being a bit naive, I was surprised to learn this is actually not as rare as it may be reported but that the blood test is really $$$$ and they are developing an equine Breathalyzer test. I am all about calm horses and everyone knows a 2yr old TB colt can be a handful but injecting the animal and then sending them out to race seems reckless. I guess if you can stay one step ahead of the testing, there are those in all sports (look at steroids and baseball or cycling), that will try to get away with getting that edge. Now maybe if the horse acquired the taste for a post-race stoli and grapefruit slurped from the feed tub, that might be different....

Monday, January 15, 2007

Don't let it bring you down....

Why do so many race tracks have the word "downs" in them?
Downs as a noun has a definition which demonstrates the English origin:
Often, downs. (used esp. in southern England) open, rolling, upland country with fairly smooth slopes usually covered with grass.

Churchill Downs: It wasn't until the Louisville Commercial newspaper used the name "Churchill Downs" on a recap of the ninth Derby that the historic track got its namesake.
There's no way possible that John and Henry Churchill could have envisioned that their family name would go down in infamy back in 1874. All they did was unload a piece of land that was part of Kentucky's declining stock farms to Col. M. Lewis Clark. Only a year after this acquisition, Clark's brand-new Louisville Jockey Club served as host to an estimated 10,000 spectators for the first Kentucky Derby on May 17, 1875, when Aristides ran to glory.
Here are some links of other "downs":
Kentucky Downs

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Looking ahead at the Donn Handicap

Some interesting family history that this race honors. This year it looks like Invasor will be running so I look forward to hearing Kenny Mayne say the name In-va-sor and watching him strut his stuff as an "older" horse. So, as we wait out the doldrums of January, this race on February 3rd should be a fun pre-Super Bowl Saturday. In the meantime, enjoy some Gulfstream Park history about the Donn family.

The Donn family owned Gulfstream until '90, when it changed the first of two times within two years, but Doug Donn Jr. was retained as CEO until his retirement in 2004. Here are some other milestones of the Donn:
  • 1944 James Donn Sr., owner of Exotic Gardens and one of the creditors left unpaid when Gulfstream closed, stepped in to take over the reins and Gulfstream ran a 20-day race meeting with an average attendance of 4,534 and an average handle of $281,902.
  • 1961 James Donn Jr. became president of Gulfstream. The then-largest tote board in the world was erected in the infield.
  • 1978 Doug Donn, following the death of his father, James Donn Jr., was elected Gulfstream Park president.
  • 1991 The Donn Handicap was selected the inaugural race in the American Championship Racing Series.
  • 1995 Cigar was the story at the 63-day meeting, winning the Donn and Gulfstream Park handicaps en route to an undefeated season and Horse of the Year honors.
  • 1996 Cigar continued his winning streak (it would reach 16) with a smashing score in the Donn Handicap, his season debut.

    The winners of the Donn Handicap since 2000:
  • 2006 - Brass Hat
  • 2005 - Saint Liam
  • 2004 - Megalia D'Oro
  • 2003 - Harlan's Holiday
  • 2002 - Mongoose
  • 2001 - Captain Steve
  • 2000 - Steven Got Even

Monday, January 08, 2007

Homer meets the Jockey Elves.

I have resisted long enough. Although my video postings may be a little offbeat, this is priceless!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

NTRA "Moment of the Year"

Vote now (it requires a free membership). I looked high and low for The Tin Man's Arlington Millions walk-away win (you know I have to support the older fella here) but that didn't make the top 10 (what the heck is the matter with those guys over at the NTRA anyway?!).

Being a Kentucky guy, I had to go with Barbaro's impressive Derby win.

Hey you also get entered for a 1 in a million shot at $1,000.....
somebody's gotta win right??

Have fun with it.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy Birthday Horses

You may not know this but all Thoroughbreds celebrate their birthdays on January 1st. Thoroughbreds all have their birthday on the same day. This makes it easier for keeping racing,breeding and showing records.