Monthly Archives: October 2007

Farewell “Gorgeous” George

George Washington galloping at Monmouth (Sarah K. Andrew)

I’m so glad to hear that the breakdown didn’t make it on ESPN. Unlike Superfecta I could see it from my seats, but after the fact. I turned around after the finish to see him standing there with an obvious break. I turned my back immediately and only looked again after the curtain went up. Even from a fair distance it looked pretty bad.

I didn’t know much about Gorgeous George, but here are a couple of notable races.

2006 QEII Stakes – Group 1

2006 2000 Guineas Stakes – Group 1

“Well, it was pretty stunning, that.” as the track announcer said of the Guineas… but both of these runs are nothing short of spectacular.

Too bad we didn’t know more about him state side, but my sincere condolences to his connections and fans. Rest in peace Gorgeous George.

And They’re Off!

Swifty will be here any minute to pick me up and we’ll be on our way! In all honesty the time I’ve spent trying to make sure I have the right rain gear (I’m not the outdoorsy type you know) is precious time I could have spent handicapping, but that’s how it goes.

Actually, if you click on over to Swifty’s you’ll see is friday analysis!

My picks for the day are, like many others, Miss Macy Sue in the FM Sprint with a little Maryfield to boot. In light of the speed duel and short prices, I’ll play these closers.

In the dirt mile I like Wanderin’ Boy to hold on, Gotcha Gold and Discreet Cat, not any particular order. I think Discreet Cat will improve + this is a better distance for him… I think he can win but I’m betting at least that he’ll hit the board.

I’m not playing the Juvenile race today and I think the only one will play is the Juvenile Filly.

I’ll do a full wrap up post when I get back and hopefully a few posts here and there.

Best of luck to all!!

Back in Action

This handicapping procrastination break brought to you by Belgravia & Grapelli. Both promising 3yos are reemerging this weekend after long breaks/recoveries. Both were interesting prospects on the Derby trail earlier in the year but were out of it fairly early.

Today: Grapelli is entered in the 4th at Keenland, $52K Allowance 1/16 on the Turf

Friday: Belgravia is entered in the 8th at Santa Anita, $62K Allowance Optional Claimer (not for a tag) 6F

Best of luck to both, it’s great to see them back. Next year’s handicap division is starting seem interesting considering Ravel… let’s hope these promising colts come back strong as well!

[end procrastination]

We are Everywhere

There I was yesterday, at my favorite lunch spot, a hilarious “physical fitness restaurant” that has a giant sign in front of the door that states “No Fried Foods, No Butter, No White Bread, No Soda, No Mayonnaise, No Bacon”. Not for the faint of heart, but their food is clean and flavorful, a rarity for healthy food.

It’s always hopping in there so if you don’t get there early enough the wait time can be considerable. As I was looking over my fellow healthy eaters (usually a fun mixed crowd to observe) I noticed a guy reading an insert from either the Post or Daily News for the Breeders’ Cup. As if on autopilot I walked over to him, sat down next to him and leaned over to read it. When he looked at me I said “I’m going”, he said “I have a horse running”. !!!!

After I got over my shock I asked who, he pointed to his Breeders’ Cup hat with the name Prop Me Up under the the BC logo (clearly an official owners hat of some kind). I didn’t know the horse so I said “2 year old?”, “No, 5 year old”… a local in the Distaff.

We chatted for a few more minutes while he was trying to eat. He said she’s doing really well this year (she is) and as a local she’s got a home track advantage. He also said she’s one of those horses who tries every time “so why not take a shot at 2 million dollars?” Indeed.

I still haven’t handicapped the Distaff and while I probably would have normally passed on her I will definitely be putting a WPS bet on her at 50-1. She’s improving with her new trainer, has won the last 3 times out and in her last race beat Peak Maria’s Way, who I believe has beaten Unbridled Belle… and besides, what are the chances I would meet one of the owners in that crazy restaurant? He definitely gets points for being a healthy eater! (Mind you, I still love bacon… nothing will change that).

I apologized for interrupting his lunch, it was clear he was trying to eat quickly but it reminded me of the early and mid 90s when I would hear someone talking about email or websites… I couldn’t not talk to them. We shook hands and wished each other luck. I love New York… and horse racing.


Discreet Cat trains for the BC at Belmont (Sarah K. Andrew)

Discreet Cat firing his scorching bullet on Friday (57.46). Will he make a true comeback? He looks pretty good here… I know I can’t wait to find out!

Breeders’ Cup Gossip, at Work No Less

There I was at work, at a lunchtime meeting, hanging out with my new colleagues and eating pizza. The topic was “where do you live” and one of my colleagues said “Long Branch (NJ), but I’ve got to get out of town this weekend because it’s going to be a mad house…” My eyes light up and I sat up straight, we said in unison “because of the Breeders’ Cup.” Then he looked at me like ‘how would you know that?’. I quickly and happily replied “I’ll be there! That’s why I’m talking Thursday and Friday off.”

After some group BC chit chat my Long Branch colleague said “Someone rented the entire hotel in my neighborhood… one person, the entire hotel. Some Arab royalty or something. I guess he has a horse running.” You could say that… I wonder if the brothers share a hotel or if they each get their own?

My boss then told us the entire plot of Black Stallion as it was his favorite movie as a kid and he watched it too many times to count. All and all it was a great meeting!

Hopefully This is Just the Start…

As others have mentioned, Oprah Winney was featured on Oprah Winfrey today. It was a very sweet segment, very touching… as a fan it made me want to route for her (although as a handicapper I really like Miss Macy Sue as the value play).

Post Parade points out Oprah’s reach and what we stand to gain from this superb mainstream media coup. Seriously, whoever pulled this off should be commended!

The whole thing is genius, not only in terms of scoring precious Breeders’ Cup press, but also in terms of creating some alliance or affinity to a celebrity which in turn gets access to their audience or fan base. Other sports have many fans who don’t know much about the sport but have “their team”, why shouldn’t we do that?

There are plenty of other celebrities to name horses after:

Madonna – she’s a horse lover with a loyal following. She hates the names Material Girl & Boy Toy… why not name a horse after her next tour, she would!

David Letterman – he would be great! You know he would have plenty of funny segments following the horse. Tom Durkin could be a guest… potential horse names: Larry Bud, Super Dave, Top Ten, Stupid Human Tricks.

Jay Leno – he loves cars, why not horses… the original horse power. Potential horse name: Jaywalking.

John Stewart – like Letterman I can imagine him having fun with it, potential horse name: The Daily Show!

You can see the segment about Oprah Winney here, but what I’d really love to see is how Oprah herself set it up and what she said afterwards. I’m suuuure she touted the Breeders’ Cup and ESPN. It will be interesting to see if we get a nice spike in ratings or if Oprah Winney is bet down. Hopefully this is just the beginning of our industry figuring out how to get some play in the mainstream media!

Update: from the BC site:

“The producer of her show called me and said ‘Oprah told me about your horse’s story, we’d like to interview you for a piece we’re doing,'” Dubb recalls. He said he had secretly wondered if the real Oprah knew about Oprah the horse.

So, it wasn’t some well orchestrated plan to plan to get BC coverage, however getting “human (horse) interest stories in the mainstream media is certainly one of many ways to help generate new fans.