Author Archives: dana

Helping the Industry Help Itself

Watching the Eclipse Awards the other night on uStream, I was struck by how many folks went out of their way to mention not only the importance of fans, but the importance of NEW FANS. As the co-founder of a fan education site, I couldn’t agree more!

As we look to the future, we must also pass on our passion and excitement for this glorious sport to the next generation. It is our obligation. A candle loses nothing by lighting another.

Mary Lou Whitney

As you already know Blind Luck will continue to race this year and I hope in some small way we’re able to bring some new people to the race track.

Dr. Mark Dedomenico, one of Blind Luck’s owners

Those were just a few of the mentions of the importance and desire to bring new fans to the game… not to be too optimistic, but I think we can help.

In addition publishing posts for beginners, we also have a variety of intermediate level posts geared towards deepening the relationship of the casual and/or curious fans. For example, last year we did a Figs Gone Wild series and a variety of wagering strategy pieces (in addition to many other pieces, stop by!). But we also offer folks other ways to learn about racing, such as our excellent regular feature of Ten Things You Should Know About by Kevin Martin of Colin’s Ghost that profiles races or our Derby Prep Alert mailing that brings the Derby and Oaks prep season to casual and curious. This year’s starts on Friday so get your curious peeps to sign up!

We plan on building on our platform this year by adding horse profiles, track guides and focusing on posts that help new players create and/or refine their practice. As you can imagine, not only does all this take time, it takes money.

So, I’d like to cordially invite all of those industry entities that are interested in the creation of new fans to support our efforts!

We even offer you a variety of ways to do so:

1. Advertise in our Ad Network

We have an extensive network of excellent blogs, forums and independent media sites that could be displaying your ad above the fold. This helps to fund to the creation of new fans because we use our portion of the proceeds to fund the creation of content at HRF (yes, we pay our contributors!). Find out more about our network here.

2. Advertise your product on one of our sites

If potential, new and/or casual fans are not really your demographic, we also could also advertise your product on Raceday 360, a site we acquired this year from horse racing’s original blogger, Jessica Chapel (who’s also a HRF Contributor!). Any ad money derived from either of our sites goes to content creation on HRF. Well, and other business expenses such as hosting, etc.

3. Just give us cash

If you don’t really have anything to advertise but just want to help, you could always give us cash! Just sent it to paypal at hello race fans dot com.

4. Link to us

We love cash and it certainly keeps the site going but making it easy for folks to find the site helps too!

We’re working on a proper media kit targeted for Q2, but you could call us at 1-800-801-0931 or reach us here to get the ball rolling.

I’d also like to thank those in the industry who have supported us so far:


Breeders’ Cup (charter advertiser)

West Point Thoroughbreds (charter advertiser)



Churchill Downs



Breeders’ Crown

UTSA Back to the Track

Laurel Park

Sam Houston

Off to a Flying Start

One Minute Handicapper

Mutuels Online


Breeders’ Cup 360

The Preakness site

The Belmont Stakes site

Laurel Park


Turfway Park

Horseracing Nation

The First Saturday in May

A special shout out goes out to Breeders’ Cup for mentioning us on-air during the 2009 Friday telecast and Claire Novak & Joe Depaolo for having me on their radio show over the summer.

Plenty of individuals have supported us too, and we greatly appreciate it. There are far too many to list but all of contributors (including folks who participate in our Indexes) and publishers are among them.

If you’re looking for folks in the industry who actively support the creation of new fans and retention of budding fans, look no further than this list. A list you can easily add your organization too!

Farewell 2010

(Jamie Newell)

If I had done much blogging this year I might be inclined to let you know which posts I thought were my best. Or, if I were feeling clever, I could list the posts I *almost* did, such as a turnabout is fair play post about how I dropped the ball at HRF by not promoting the Derby Prep Alert during our fantastic Breeders’ Cup traffic (thanks to Breeders’ Cup 360!) or the post about Santa Anita not being able to post their own replays on YouTube (not to worry, I’ve lined up someone better than me to address that issue over here!).

But truth be told, 2010 was a whirlwind with the launch of Hello Race Fans! and the acquisition of Raceday 360. And I’m very grateful to all involved!

So here’s hoping 2011 brings the kind of year we’ll all look back on fondly…

It’s Good to be Thankful

My view of the Juvenile Turf post parade at this year’s stellar BC… thankful!

Since it’s been awhile, I thought I’d take a moment to enumerate some of the things I’m thankful for this year… plus it was really fun to watch replays for the past couple of hours!

In no specific order:

1. Knowing that, should they stay sound, Blind Luck, Paddy o’Prado, Sidney’s Candy, and Gio Ponti will all be coming back next year.

2. The first crop of some of the excellent 2004 crop is right around the corner!

3. Getting to see videos like this and this (thanks E!)

4. On the rare occasion when I get my shut-in self out to the track, getting to see, meet and hang out with a bunch of great people (far too many to list, basically, if I saw you at the track this year, you’re on the list and if I missed you at the track this year, I hope to be thankful to have seen you next year).

5. Adding a few new tracks to my collection of visited tracks, here’s to adding a few more next year.

5. All the contributors, readers and supporters of Hello Race Fans! and Raceday 360, all of the publishers in Hello Race Fans Ad Network and the advertisers who chose our Ad Network to publicize their products or events. Many, MANY thanks to all of you!

6. Having seen races such as these, some with my own eyes!

Kentucky Oaks

Ogden Phipps

United Nations Handicap


Debutante Stakes

Test Stakes

Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap

La Jolla Handicap

Del Mar Debutante

Norfolk Stakes

Breeders’ Cup Mile

Breeders’ Cup Classic

Here’s hoping that we all have much to thankful for again next year!

New Poll: Paddy in the Classic

Paddy o’Prado, Breeders’ Cup Classic bound (creepy_coyote)

Just a quickie here to gauge the news of Paddy o’Prado in Breeders’ Cup Classic… crazy or genius? My initial reaction was crazy but it might be genius, especially if it’s raining!

And because there’s nothing going on here, you should:

–> Follow along with all the excellent Breeders’ Cup posts here

–> Read one “one of the most courageous and spot on posts” possibly ever, here

–> Make your way to Hello Race Fans! tomorrow when we publish a nice data mining piece on the BC Turf races (that Paddy won’t be running in) by Kevin at Colin’s Ghost.

–> Oh yes, and spend Two Minutes with Jacinto Vasquez and Ron Turcotte

Carry on…

New Poll: Super or Sleepy Saturday?

Sadly for me it’s Sneezy Saturday, so instead going to out to Belmont I’ll be enjoying the festivities from home with a bowl of soup. But, no doubt you’ve seen Crist’s and o_crunk’s commentaries? To sum it up, we’re being deprived of showdowns. I’d put together a more pithy and well thought out summary, but I have a raging head cold, and you should just read their pieces!

But back to the point, do you think a day like today with 9 Grade 1 is “Sleepy” or “Super”? Would you prefer to see a little less racing with more showdowns or do you think the current amount of races works just fine? I can make arguments for both points of view. On the one hand, it’s nice to have a good amount of graded races this weekend compared to the last two weekends, but on the other none of them really stand out to me (which could also be due in part to the head cold).

I noticed something else interesting this week that perhaps speaks to the bigger problem at hand. Roger Lyons said something you don’t often hear from places other than HANA:

No matter how rich the rich are, it makes no sense to invest in thoroughbred production during a time when the ordinary people who would otherwise comprise effective demand for the product–as an object of beauty, grace, and wager–are losing their homes and livelihoods.

He pegs players as the consumers and buyers as suppliers of the commercial breeding industry:

The thoroughbred industry’s problem is a lot bigger than just a lack of demand for racehorses and breeding stock. Yes, commercial breeders experience it as such, and it’s painful, but, as I’ve argued before, it’s a mistake to think of thoroughbred sales as even a proximate function of effective demand. Those buyers are, in fact, investors in the system of production. Through them the system distributes young horses for training and channels breeding stock into more efficient use. They are suppliers, not consumers.

This is something I’ve only ever heard players say before. Very interesting. Couple that lack of demand with a giant amount of races and you start to see the problem from a holistic point of view.

On our last poll, “Which is more likely, Santa Anita returning to dirt or a Rachel Alexandra & Zenyatta showdown” y’all nailed it! That is if SA goes forwards with their plan, which it looks like it is.

poll results

And finally, don’t forget to that today is the Ladies Riding Challenge at Parx!

Because You Probably Won’t Hear it Elsewhere

And the Winner is!

Last year’s participants in the Ladies Riders Challenge at Parx (EBarnes624)

You should know that the second annual Lady Riders Challenge is taking place this Saturday at Parx in conjunction with the Cotillion Stakes (which features a pretty great line up!) / Ladies Day. I only know about it because a reader, who remembered that I had grumbled posted about the lack of coverage of last year’s, was kind enough to let me know.

No doubt John Barnes (the previously mentioned reader) will be there to cover all the action again this year. The Parx events page barely makes mention of it and I’m not really expecting to see any mention in the trades either (sad).

So, if you don’t already have plans for Super Saturday, perhaps you’d like to head over to Parx, apparently it’s not half bad!

A Miracle at Keeneland September Sale

The son of AP Indy out of Balance who eventually went for $4.2 million

Last night Keeneland’s September Sale got underway (and apparently off to great start!). As many do, I enjoy watching the live feed of the auction. The auctioneer and the announcer have a great chemistry and can be downright funny when trying to whip a bidding frenzy. All and all, it’s quite enjoyable, even for those of who don’t know a heck of a lot about pedigrees.

In uncharacteristic timeliness I made my way over there right as the auction kicked off. Much to my surprise there were two folks at a desk discussing the upcoming sale. This seemed like a fine addition, a little intro never hurt anything. Then I started to notice that first auction had started and that they were still talking. They’re going to stop soon, right? The next HIP came up, and then the next… still talking.

Folks on Twitter and Facebook started grumble (me being one of them). And then the most miraculous thing happened… Keeneland responded… quickly! They got rid of the running commentary and the live feed was back to straight-up auction action. They even responded to complainers both on Facebook and Twitter to let them know they had addressed the issue. Why can’t everything be that simple?

Common sense dictates that if you’re going to have multiple digital media channels, that you respond to feedback, input, grumblings, etc in a timely manner. But what Keeneland did last night was nothing short of miracle, particularly for a racing entity! So, a big thumb’s up to Keeneland for swiftly responding to the outcry of their users, perhaps there’s hope after all!

(and PS… hi, I miss you guys too. Come visit!)

Not Together This Year

Forever Together, 2008 & 2009 Diana Winner

I’ve been at both of Forever Together’s winning Diana’s and both were impressive. Moronic planning is keeping me from personally attending this year’s rendition, but I’ll watching and rooting (but playing a win a bet on Shared Account, who I think really has a shot… see, one can be a gambler and a fan!).

It should be noted in the work prior to last year’s victory Forever Together worked a gaudy 57H! Looking at her current works makes me think that today is the day she’ll break her losing snap (and yes, I’ll also have a sizable exacta of Forever Together over Shared Account… see Kevin’s excellent post on Playing Favorites at Hello Race Fans!).

Here’s the champ (I’ll always call her that, even if she’s not a reigning a champ this year) after last year’s Diana. I love how pleased her groom was and the crowd really cheered as she walked by, it was a great moment.

Forever Together after 2009 Diana

And now the replays…

2009 Diana Stakes Replay

2008 Diana Stakes Replay

Even though we’re not together this year, I hope the champ gets her third Diana, a race I will always think of as hers.

Update: Forever Together put in her usual classy effort but got third in a head bob to Proviso and Shared Account.

A Contender Without a Series

Paddy o’Prado working at Churchill for the Derby (Jamie Newell)

Paddy o’Prado goes postward as the favorite in this weekend’s Virginia Derby, a race that would normally be the second leg of the Grand Slam of Grass. The what? (see here) In short, it’s a turf racing series comprised of the Colonial Turf Cup, Virginia Derby, Secretariat Stakes with a big fat bonus for anyone who can sweep the series and then win the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

As discussed at length before, even if a 3-year-old could sweep the series, winning the BC Turf might possibly be more challenging than sweeping the series. This year in particular could be additionally tough with the main track races on dirt, meaning all the talented euro-turfers would remain on turf. Two time winner Conduit has been retired but Starspangledbanner or Fame and Glory could show up. And let’s not forget Gio Ponti.

After Paddy o’Prado won the Colonial Turf Cup I headed over to the Colonial Downs site to check on the Grand Slam of Grass but could only find last year’s page. I emailed them and confirmed that there is no Grand Slam this year but they hope it will be back next year. Could this be the year with a viable contender and no series? Only time will tell. Whatever the outcome, I hope Paddy o’Prado crushes it and comes back next year. He’s been nothing but impressive so far.

Somewhat related, I happened upon an interesting blog yesterday. The Morning Line follows Marshall Blevins on her travails working at Colonial Downs for the summer. It’s mainly pictures (good ones!) but it’s an enjoyable glance into life on the backstretch.

And one of my favorite annual events is back, the Equispace Toga Contest! If you love Saratoga there’s no reason you shouldn’t be playing along.

Best of luck to Paddy o’Prado, and best of luck to you with any online horse betting you have planned for the weekend!

Pride Plays 2010

Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse on Pink Stiletto Day (Pink Stiletto)

It only occurred to me about 30ish minutes ago that some fun could be had in honor of Gay Pride (today) with hunch bets. Over at the horseplayers teen party chat line (twitter) John of Not to the Swift noted that he was going to play any horses with “rainbow” in the name, which promptly lead to me to start looking for gay-ish names.

Make a cocktail, put on some disco, dust off your tiara and oh HONEY, get ready to do some online horse betting!

Like many a good gay I’m late for brunch and some of these races have already run, the but names are still funny.


5th: Magic Queen, Strategic Missile (winner!)

6th: Diva in Training


5th: Stylish Act

6th: Lady Charlie, Super Girlie

10th: Sade Dream


6th: Gossiper, Spend and Spree

Hollywood Park:

3rd: Ms. G.I. Jane

6th: Sky’squickscore

7th: Unzip Me

8th: The Whammer

9th: Good Vibration

Monmouth Park:

2nd: Beautiful Rainbows

3rd: Street Talk’n Man

4th: Hello Handsome, Another Love

7th: Quick Ride (winner!)

8th: Lots of Tricks, Self Made Man

9th: Lady Alexander

Best of luck, and no matter how it turns out, you look FABULOUS!