Monthly Archives: May 2009

Message Received?

There I was minding my business on Saturday afternoon with the NYC OTB channel on, volume down, laptop in hand, in the middle of some excellent puttering… reading tweets about entrants from various tracks, looking at Raceday360 Wire and possibly even sending email.

As I glanced up to see how many minutes to post at Belmont (for a 3 horse race) I noticed the DRF Formulator ad that reminds us that they were kind enough to make Formulator easy enough for us women folk to use. As I blankly stared at the TV I noticed something different, that the text on the noted frame had change, and that the word “expert” seemed to be included.

After thinking that maybe I had imagined it, I used the magic of digital television to go back and verify that indeed they had changed that frame! No longer did it read “for every skill level“, it now read “for beginner and expert handicappers!”, although the voice over had not changed. No doubt it was much easier to change the text than the audio.

Well how about that? One can only assume that some kind soul forwarded along this link to point out their inadvertent inference. Hats off to the fine fellows at DRF for making that change!

Reminder, HANA Pool Party at Churchill


This week’s HANA Pool Party is the Aristides Stakes, race 10 at Churchill today. While it probably seems counter-intuitive to the original mission of showing a bump in the pool, HANA decided to go for wider exposure to the mission in hopes of bringing more players out next time.

From the Pool Party Yahoo group (that you should join!):

We need to build momentum and get people used to playing with us every single week, every single week — and continuously attract more people that are going to play every single week.

So, get on over to HANA and check out the free handicapping material while you’ve still got about an hour and a half (5:29 ET).

Good luck!

Sponsor Shout Out

Your ad here! (jk+too)

You may have noticed over the past week that there’s a new ad space over there on the right. Not only here at GbG but on several sites. The little tag hanging there below the ad says “HRF Ad Network”. What?

The Hello Race Fans Ad Network is one of two projects Swifty and I have been working on for the better part of a year. After seeing my traffic go up basically every month since I’ve started blogging and noticing that there are new independent blogs and sites continually popping up, we thought it was a good idea to bring as many of them together as possible to 1) create an excellent new opportunity for advertisers to easily reach racing fans and 2) give everyone in the network a stronger bargaining position as we’re more attractive to advertisers as a group than individually.

I’m happy to say that so far it seems to be working! We were lucky enough to get two outstanding charter advertisers, West Point Thoroughbreds and the Breeders’ Cup. Rock out!

Please visit our sponsors by clicking on their banners when you see them on our sites. As individual publishers in the network we don’t get paid any more for you clicking on the ad but it’s a great way to reward those organizations that were willing to take a chance on a new small company AND support independent content creators.

And now a word about our sponsors…

West Point has been an undisputed leader in bringing the ownership experience to an increasingly wider audience. They consistently campaign some of the most exciting horses in training and are always finding ways to support the industry. Their FATE Initiative asks that all of us to try to introduce new folks to racing, a technique that Swifty actually employed on me (so you know it works!). We’re pleased to have West Point continue to lead the way by signing on with us as an advertiser… when you see a West Point ad over there in the HRF ad spot, click on over and check out their current offerings or check out what founder and President Terry Finley is blogging about in his weekly Terry’s Notes.

You asked and Breeders’ Cup listened… not only did they address their ticket prices and structure to be more flexible and affordable, they’re now selling their tickets online! That’s the kind of progress this industry needs and we’re thrilled that they chose the Hello Race Fans Ad Network to promote this new initiative! Seeing an organization like the Breeders’ Cup roll out a new online initiative by advertising it in a new online venue is a great sign that progress is possible in horse racing. If you’re planning on going to the Breeders’ Cup, and you know you are, click on over via the banner and get your seats!

We’ve also donated ad space to 501(c)(3)s such as ReRun, Old Friends, Remember Me Rescue, GEVA and Another Chance 4 Horses as we wanted to make it that much easier for someone to find out about these great organizations. We also promote the weekly HANA Pool Party! If you’re associated with a racing 501(c)(3) charity, please contact us at our network site to find out more information about how to get a free ad in our rotation!

If you have a site about thoroughbred or harness racing and you’re interested in running ads, come on over and sign up! And your site doesn’t need to be a blog either. However, if your site is a blog hosted at, you currently can’t run any ads but hopefully wordpress will change that soon.

The other project Swifty and I have been working on is creating a fan education site, also called Hello Race Fans. We think that fans and players can learn as much from each other as they can from experts. I know I’m constantly learning every time I read how someone decided to play a race or by how they interpreted how a race would set up. With this in mind we’ve assembled some great folks, some of whom you already read, to create a site to make it easier for potential new fans to learn about racing. Stay tuned, we plan on having an initial launch prior to the Breeders’ Cup!

Ferrari in the Cul-De-Sac

Zenyatta, all alone out there in California (Charles Pravata)

I’d hardly call Zenyatta’s plans “defending her title”, more like maintaining her undefeated record… although I’m sure those among you who also agree that there’s no reason to challenge her will be pleased as punch with the news of her “conservative plans“.

Zenyatta is likely to have a conventional campaign of major stakes in California through the summer and fall in defense of her title as the nation’s outstanding older female.

Some immediate feedback from twitter resonated with my reaction:

I don’t really understand bringing a mare like that back another year to win THE SAME EXACT RACES.

To me this is the equivalent of driving your Ferrari around the cul-de-sac, and what happens if Rachel Alexandra goes to the Classic? Will they stay in the Distaff division or respond to at least one challenge?

I LOVE Zenyatta… LOVE. But I seriously hope they take her out of the cul-de-sac at least once. There’s always hope that maybe they’re just playing coy… fingers crossed on that one! That or it’s going to be a long boring year of Zenyatta beating Life is Sweet over and over again until the fall.

New Poll, Zenyatta vs Rachel Alexandra

Zenyatta after winning the Breeders’ Cup (Aint No Joke)

06/27/2009 – Looking for replays of Rachel in the Mother Goose and Zenyatta in the Vanity? Post here.

Having just watched Zenyatta remain perfect at 10-10 in her 5yo debut in the Milady, I’m sure I’m not the only one asking themselves “Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra?”.

Are they our Personal Ensign and Winning Colors? Will their first meeting be in the Breeders’ Cup or will some track smartly try to draw a very marketable match-up, like say in the Jockey Club or Beldame or Mass Cap?

One thing’s for sure, whenever and wherever this match-up occurs, you really don’t want to miss it.

Zenyatta in the Milady:

Rachel in the Preakness:

In our last poll, GbG readers proved to be on the ball by overwhelmingly thinking that Mine That Bird’s chances in the Preakness were better than he was getting credit for. Although 4 of the 53 votes came after the Preakness. 18 of you thought he had no chance while 17 of you thought his chances where decent on an off track. Perhaps the smartest of all were the 6 brave souls who said they thought he was Triple Crown material… time will tell.

Will Borel & Letterman Pull a Madonna?

Borel strikes a pose on the gallop out at Churchill (Kincsem15)

Word is out that Calvin Borel will join David Letterman on the Late Show during Belmont week.

One can only hope that Letterman, who enjoys horseback riding, would be willing to ride with Calvin the way he rode with Madonna in 2005!

The fun starts at 3:37:

Think of the fun the two could have galloping down 53rd street. I doubt Calvin would be phased by Letterman’s race riding technique and could definitely teach him a thing or two. Personally I think there’s potential for comedic genius afoot. Fingers crossed!

Items of Note

Pyro returns to training for his 4yo campaign (Banamine)

While we wait around for some decent racing this weekend and the Belmont jockey announcements a few things caught my eye.

My beloved Pyro is back on the work tab! I had heard that he’s been galloping at Keeneland for awhile but nothing official until now. As if the news of the Belmont Special service being restored wasn’t enough, Pyro will be based in New York with Rick Mettee! Perhaps we’ll get a chance to see him at Belmont before the end of spring-summer meet.

This week’s HANA pool party takes place this Saturday at Canterbury Park, race 8. If you’re not familiar with Canterbury Park, check out Ted’s excellent recap of opening day!

I’m not sure about you but I’ve been enjoying Equidaily’s hilarious new editorial graphic trend… well done!

Are the now seemingly repetitive tote failures the side effect of Mercury Retrograde? We should probably be so lucky as Mercury Retrograde ends on June 14th.

Kennedy has a nice look at some of the current 3yo sprinters who are overshadowed by the Triple Crown while Ghostnapper has an interesting take on how team Zenyatta really needs to step it up.

And finally, buried at the bottom of a DRF post about something else, it looks Channing Hill is heading back east to Monmouth for the summer:

Two jockeys who found California a tough circuit to crack have left for greener pastures. Channing Hill won just two races from 53 mounts in Southern California and has left for Monmouth; Jesus Rios won 13 races from 163 mounts and left for Calder.

Be sure to say hi to Channing while you attend the ReRun 3rd annual Day at the Races Fundraiser at Monmouth on June 13th!


Chantal Sutherland and Mine That Bird in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Hen Bros)

Mike Smith is going to honor his commitment to the Shirreffs and the Mosses (cough *Zenyatta* cough) and stick with Madeo in the Whittingham at Hollywood Park on Belmont weekend. This could leave Mine That Bird without a mount (again!) if Rachel Alexandra is entered.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like to see Chantal Sutherland reunited with Mine That Bird! If you were buying “Blinkers Off’s” Animal Planet conspiracy theory, you’ve gotta think that there’s at least 7-2 shot at a reunion if Rachel Alexandra. Stranger things have happened!

And speaking of Zenyatta, who makes her debut in the Milady this coming weekend, now that Rachel Alexandra has beaten the colts and a gelding in a classic race, she’s probably gonna have to beat BOTH Rachel Alexandra and some males (BC Classic, no?) if she wants HOY this year. Jerry Moss, do you read GbG? I hope so!

Tough Day to be a Stallion

Rachel Alexandra and Calvin Borel winning the Preakness (wendyu)

Congrats to Rachel Alexandra and her connections and a particularly big THANK YOU to Jess Jackson.

Congrats to Mine That Bird and his connections as well, nice to see them prove that his Derby win was not a fluke… poor stallions.


Steve Crist sums it up nicely:

Good for her and good for him. Rachel Alexandra and Mine That Bird made the unprecedented Preakness showdown between an Oaks and Derby winner live up to and exceed all expectations with a pair of excellent performances and a clean, straightforward horse race.

I’m usually cranky about so-called feelgood stories, but it’s hard not to feel good about this one. Rachel Alexandra is obviously something special, and she got the historic job done over a likeable gelding who vindicated his shocking Derby victory with another strong effort.

And celebrating abounds all over the twitterverse… there was even a rainbow in Baltimore!

If I may quote myself on the outcome…

I had the tri and the teeny tiny P4 but that pales in comparison to how exciting that race was and how FABULOUS the outcome was

Ok, I think I hear my alarm clock…

The Big Day…

Rachel Alexandra getting her Preakness day morning bath (wendyu)

I still haven’t had a chance to handicap and it’s the big already! It hardly seems to matter since the Preakness is one of the most competitive and exiciting races that comes to mind in the recent past.

No doubt I won’t be able to keep from throwing some money around but I have half a mind to just back and enjoy the show!

Good luck to everyone today and let’s get everyone home safe!

Update: I’ve hit two back to back long shots (both 13-1) in the parade in the 3rd & 4th and am seriously thinking that today is gonna be a parade play kinda day.