Monthly Archives: June 2007

And Again

More good commentary on how to better market horse racing, i.e., increase the fan base. [Bloodhorse]

Swifty had a good post too about this subject that also linked to yet another opinion piece his dad (Papa Swifty) had sent to him.

The existing horse racing fan base is crying out for action, and Swifty and I have a little plan we’re brewing to help facilitate that action (as much as we can). Stay tuned!

We all understand the economics of the game, but the fans are growing tired of the sport’s stars being whisked off to the breeding shed.

  – Dan Liebman, Bloodhorse

A Little Homesick

That’s how trainer Leandro Mora described Lava Man in Dubai. He’s notoriously not a great shipper, but this was an interesting observation:

“Other times, there were reasons he didn’t run well when he traveled,” Mora said Saturday, as he waited for Lava Man to enter the saddling paddock. “This time, I still don’t know. Everything seemed fine. The way he ate, the way he trained, the way he looked. If I had to guess, the only thing left is to say that he was homesick.”

This seems plausible to me. Anyone who lives with animals (and in my case many of them) can tell you that they have an emotional reality and are definitely finely attuned to routine. They’re not NASCARs, they’re animals… there’s “stuff going on in there”.

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Ay, Papi!

Ay, Papi!

Papi Chulo & Eibar Coa winning the Birdstone at Belmont (Sarah K. Andrew)

Papi Chullo topped the weekend Beyers in the Birdstone with a 109. I loved his race. He was SO mismanaged prior to his recent private purchase by Winning Move Stables which placed him with Gary Contessa.

Since his turn of good fortune he’s gotten a 106 in a 70k optional claimer and now 109… and he finished 5 lengths in front of Hesanoldsalt (who I had wheeled on top of Papi Chullo. This was the beginning of my downfall).

I’m really looking forward to seeing what he’s got!

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Holistically Speaking

I was a little over Carl Nafzger there for a minute because I really thought his knee-jerk reaction of “why run Street Sense if he can’t win the Triple Crown” was very unsportsmanlike (to be polite). Curlin and Hard Spun weren’t gonna win the Triple Crown and they were sill in the Preakness. In the end, we couldn’t have asked for a better Belmont, so it all worked out.

This tidbit on Nafzger’s holistic nutritional approach at Earth Times brought me back around (a little).

Everyone is A-OK

All the contenders came out of the Belmont in a good shape. There’s a blurb about each of them… and I was happy to find out a little something about Imawildandcrazyguy. Turns out the pace was a killer for him.

I was also a little sad to see that Slew’s Tizzy had a bad time in the barn. As someone who does not enjoy a crowd, I understand how rattling it can be to not get a little quiet time when needing to prepare… hey, maybe that’s why I did all betting and no cashing! Still not complaining, being a part of that race was more thrilling than any win I’ve had so far.


Rags to Riches, and her Adoring Public

(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Another thing that was great about yesterday was that Rags to Riches has total stage presence! After her win and right before they brought her to the winner’s circle, they paraded her in front of the crowd and Tom Durkin said something like “New York, heeeeere’s YOUR CHAMPION” to which the crowd, including myself, went bananas.

During this curtain call, she looked like she was totally eating it up! Presence and grace for miles. It was actually touching. Upon exiting the winner’s circle she put her big asymmetrically blazed head in the cameras! Too funny… she’s just what racing needs. Street who?

“The First Filly to Win it in over a CENTURY!”

I love Tom Durkin, the Belmont track announcer. His sense of timing and drama mixed with his Don Pardo-like stylings are something to behold. I was lucky enough to be in the grandstands yesterday, and let me just say that I have never, ever, ever publicly jumped up & down, hooted & hollered and generally engaged in “sports fan” behavior the way I did yesterday. AND, I didn’t have a winning ticket all day. As a matter of fact, I stunk on ice… hideous. But it was the best day I ever had at the track.

Getting back to Tom Durkin, even on a quiet day at Belmont you can’t hear the announcer, so I had to wait until I watched the race replay (about 15 times now and I’m not even close to being done) to really hear the genius of his narration. Not like that race needed any help but his stretch call was AMAZING!

I’m SOOO happy she won! Interesting because she sort of mimicked Curlin’s Preakness run… she came wide to his inside trip and Curlin stumbled at the gate in the Preakness as well. What a great Triple Crown. It’s shame that casual fans are only interested when a Triple Crown winner is on the line. I feel like I saw some of the greatest horse racing of our time in these three races!

So what happened to everyone else? I’m not surprised by Slew’s Tizzy’s run given that he had never run over a mile and sixteenth… don’t think it’s anything against him. Also, I thought CP West ran pretty nicely. If I had had Tiago in my superfecta box instead of Imawildandcrazyguy, it would have been an even better day… but as I like to say “that’s why they call it gambling.”

Not sure what happened to IWCG and haven’t had much luck digging anything up. Not sure if the glacial pace kept him from getting his motor running or if his run in the derby was an anomaly as opposed to the beginning of something interesting. I really liked his run in the Risen Star and still have some hopes for him in more appropriate company.

As for Hard Spun, I’m a little baffled. He was running really erratically at the start. One report said he was a little rank and giving Gomez a bit of a tough time. Another report said that Larry Jones thought the plan was to keep the pace where it was but to have him in the lead. Gomez was quoted as saying that he thought everything was going well but when it came down to it HS didn’t have any run. One thing I’ve noticed about HS is that he seems to do best when he’s left to his own devices (Preakness notwithstanding, although I still think that was a combo platter of misfortune). Maybe now they’ll have to run him as a 4 year old to get his good name back (although I think he gave it his all)! A girl can dream… and count me in the “fans for seeing HS run a mile on the turf” club.

The undercard was great too! I loved Papi Chullo’s run in the third. Can’t wait to see more of him with his new connections and Cotton Blossom had a great run in the Just a Game!

Tom Durkin had another great moment in the True North as Keyed Entry was blowing Bordonaro’s chances (and mine) by bringing him really wide, “Keyed Entry is taking Bordonaro out to the Cross Island Parkway”.

Ah Belmont, I love you so (and will be back to see Invasor in a few weeks!!).