Monthly Archives: May 2008

Bigger Stronger Faster

While not 100% directly related to horse racing, this morning I stumbled across the trailer for a documentary entitled Bigger Stronger Faster.

The film, from the the producers of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, looks at steroid use in sports and the culture that creates cheating to ask the question, is it still cheating if everyone is doing it?

The opening paragraph of the synopsis says it all:

In America, we define ourselves in the superlative: we are the biggest, strongest, fastest country in the world. We reward speed, size, and above all else: winning at sport, at business, and at war. Metaphorically we are a nation on steroids. Is it any wonder that so many of our heroes are on performance enhancing drugs?

It’s good to keep in mind as our discussions and debates about the state of the game unfold, that horse racing is a reflection of a bigger picture. That’s not so say that things can’t or shouldn’t change, it’s just harder to break out of patterns that are ingrained in every aspect of our culture without real incentive and “reward” for doing so.

Friday Night Round-Up

Closing weekend at Bay Meadows (Dave Ibison)

As usual, there are a lot of great blog posts out there. And, as usual, they tend to align topics across blogs. Here’s a Friday night sampler platter of posts by (mostly) TBA bloggers.

Filed Under “let horses race”, Val at Foolish Pleasure looks at some Endings and Beginnings, and what struck me was a comment that someone made about the number of horses currently running that have won more than 3 G1 races… hint, it’s a low number. Frank at That’s Amore Stables highlights an issue that rarely gets pointed out in one of my favorite overall topics, “we need to create incentives for horses to race past 3”, in his post 30 cents on the dollar.

Also, check out Frank’s take on the Government’s new found interest in racing.

Filed under “nice to see some deserving trainers get some ink”, Teresa at Brooklyn Backstretch recounts a lovely evening honoring the lifetime achievements of Allen Jerkins. Over at The Rail, Steve Zorn of Castle Village Farms profiles one of the their trainers, the great Bill Turner.

Filed under “I know there are those who need their Casino Drive fix”, Michael at Thoroughblog compiles the complete and exhaustive Casino Drive video history!

And last but not least, please welcome 3 new members to the TBA. Colin’s Ghost, Equispace and Equine Project… check them out, they’re excellent and welcome additions to our growing alliance!

It’s Starting to Get Exciting!

Big Brown’s little white spot (Charles Pravata)

I think Joe Drape’s sneak peak of the Belmont under card over at The Rail is what did it. Damn, that’s one fine looking under card!

Benny the Bull, Thor’s Echo and Kelly’s landing? Bring it! Not to mention, Thor’s Echo!!! Bayou’s Lassie, Criminologist and Sharp Susan? J Be K and Majestic Warrior? Indian Blessing, Sherine and Zaftig? Einstein, Better Talk Now and pretty much the whole field of the Manhattan? I’m ready to start handicapping now!

As news of all the Belmont contenders trickles in, it’s also hard not to excited about the Belmont as well. Big Brown foot issue is a non-issue, Prado gets the mount on Casino Drive, Garcia gets the mount on Tomcito, Tale of Ekati made Tagg crabby, Denis of Cork is fresh and working incredibly well, Gomez get the mount on Macho Again, Ready’s Echo is in and Anak Nakal is working well.

Last year was my first Belmont as a fan, and as a New Yorker you know I was there! Swifty and I were marveling at how incredible it would be for our first two Belmont’s to be of the historical variety. Since Swifty is the luckiest man alive I think it’s a distinct possibility, I mean let’s forget Big Brown for a moment, it’s really all about Iavarone, Swifty!

New Poll, Government in Racing?

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887 (uploaded by 元気の実)

With the news that Congress is going to call hearings on racing, I’m wondering what everyone makes of it. I am not one of those people who watches hours of committee or sub-committee hearings, however I have fond memories of the hearing scenes in Godfather 2!

In the last poll, “Will Big Brown run after the Belmont?”, most of you thought they would retire him right after the Belmont (14), not too far behind with 12, just as many of you of thought he’d be retired due to “mystery injury” as would hope to hell that he continues to race. 4 of you (me included) think (or in my case hope) they’ll go after Curlin while at least 3 of think he won’t be sound enough… and didn’t it look like it earlier in the week. Thankfully, that’s all behind us now… for now.

As always, thanks to all!

The Panty Raid Has Been Cancelled

Oddly named yet supremely talented G1 winning filly Panty Raid (Sarah K. Andrew)

I can’t claim that headline as my own, Sarah used it first when posting the photo above, but it still applies!

Panty Raid has been retired due to a non-career ending injury!

The injury was not career-ending, but it was decided to retire her anyway. “By the time we would have been able to get her back to the races it might have been this fall,” said John Greathouse. “She was already home.”

Grrrrr. They would have had to wait until the fall? Deprived again of seeing another talented horse.

Feast your eyes in this performance in the Juddmonte Spinster (grrrrrr) where she beat older fillies and mares. She did not go on to run in the Breeders’ Cup, which makes her early retirement even more enervating.

Please, no more bad news!

RIP Nashoba’s Key

Nashoba’s Key blowing away the field in the Santa Margarita (Charles Pravata)

You probably already know the bad news by now… and I really don’t have too much to add.

The super creepy part is that just last night when I was making my normal rounds at flickr, I was looking at this photo of Nashoba’s Key and almost posted it just for the hell of it. I’m not liking my new found “I thought of a horse and now something bad to has happened to it” e.s.p.

My favorite Nashoba’s Key moment was in the Clement Hirsch. She and Balance were sitting off two long shots setting the pace. Nashoba’s Key rolls up to Balance and totally turns her to head to give her the eye! Balance’s rider race rides her a bit to keep her boxed in and then she makes her move but Balance doesn’t really go on. Nashoba’s Key finally gets some room and blows by her. Classic. I wish it was on YouTube so I could embed it but it’s up at NTRA.

Rest in Peace.

Summer is Officially Here

Alan Garcia and Divine Park after their divine performance in the Met Mile (Sarah K. Andrew)

How do I know this (besides the obvious holiday)? Sarah is back at Belmont!

I was supposed to go out yesterday but wasn’t feeling so hot so I stayed at home, I didn’t even handicap! Although I did try my hand at my new maiden strategy, inspired by Halation, of throwing a couple of bucks on any horse over 50-1 to no avail.

Seems like a rockin’ good time was had by all!

Big Who?

Casino Drive says hello to the paparazzi at Belmont (Sarah K. Andrew)

Sarah has some great shots of Casino Drive and the Japanese invasion of Belmont over at flickr.

So far, things are looking good for the Big Brown one.

And it seems like a good old fashion trash talkin’ rivalry is heating up between Dutrow and Asmussen (see the Dutrow quotes and Asmussen link… ).

Dutrow: “Well, I’ve seen Curlin get beat by a filly — so that is not impressive to me. I can’t imagine there’s a filly breathing air that could beat Big Brown.”

I’d peg Asmusssen as Crystal and Dutrow as Alexis in that battle!