Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hearts and Prayers...

My thoughts, heart, and whatever paryers I have go to the folks in the Bayou. It sounds worse and worse as more and more reports continue to trickle in.

I hope everyone keeps their spirits and wits during these most trying times....

When (and where) Will It End...

I know, I know. I should have posted at least once after one of the biggest and best weekends of horse racing since the Kentucky Derby. Chalk it up to laziness. That's all. These past few days I've been the Chekhov of the blogging world...

Instead of talking horses right now, I need to vent about something else: THESE RIDICULOUS GAS PRICES...

For some reason, I was riding the bus to work today and I noticed the price of gas...$2.71 for regular. I get into work and BAM! the price of oil goes over $70 a barrel. When are we as citizens of this country going to take a stand on this?

It seems we have lost all self control when it comes to this issue and NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT. Don't you feel like the price of gas/oil is just sucking the life out from under you? How did we become such silent sheep in this process? We fuel this entire economy (Def. no pun intended), we are in control!

I am just at wits end AND I DON'T EVEN AN OWN A CAR!

Do you, Joe and Jane America want to be paying 4,5,6 dollars a gallon? I do realize folks need to drive to work and this country has been set-up to be run by the auto industry. But we need to start doing little things. Car-pooling, tele-commuting (when possible) ANYTHING!! We really just can't sit by idly (again, no pun intended) and watch our hard earned income going up in fumes.

This is an important time in our world. Where are we going with this? What is the ceiling? What are we going to do about it? What CAN we do?

Click the link below for what I think is the best solution to date. It may or may not work, but until everyone is able to completely forgo their automobiles, this may have to suffice.
  • California Watches Hawaii's Effort to Cap Gasoline Prices
  • Thursday, August 25, 2005

    Lost in Some Kind of Fog

    Can you believe Lost in the Fog is 1-5 on the morning line? This is by far my favorite horse right now. I don’t see how he can lose in the King’s Bishop on Saturday (which by the way is on ESPN-which is just great-from 5-7pm EST).

    I figure ‘Fog will go off closer to $.05 on the dollar than $.20. Either way he is the one to beat. I think it will be Fog, then “The Daddy” and a semi sentimental choice “Fusaichi Samurai”-by another one of my all-time favorite horses Fusaichi Pegasus (even though his dull off the board finish in the 2003 BC Classic cost me a pretty nice Pick-3). I think the 2 tri box, while also putting The Daddy on top is a nice way to play this race.

    So the good news is there are 3 races from Saratoga on Sat. being broadcast on ESPN. As not having daily access to TVG, anytime the networks broadcast the horsies, I am extremely excited. So that’s the good news.

    The bad news is, I’ll be in St. Helens, Oregon at the 1st Annual Shakedown Fest watching such musical acts as: Les Claypool, Jerry Joseph (one of my personal favs), Skerik (look it up), Robert Walter, Mickey Hart and Particle (aka-Hydra), and the enigmatic Michael Franti and Spearhead. I have been working on the PR for this festival for a few months now and it is finally time for it to arrive. It is three days, but I think I will only be going all day Saturday. I have some extra tickets (comp) so if anyone is reading this and want a free pair, just email me!!

    -I want to give a sentimental “shout out” to my friend “The Kayceman” as he has some family issues currently embroiling his life. I only hope for the best for he and his family.

    -Bob Huggins out as Cincinnati’s head basketball coach…..Must be nice to be offered a $3 million dollar buyout. He will be getting $110k a month for the next three months to “ease the pain of transition.” Oh really? Ease the pain? Sure his ego is bruised, but he will be picked up by ESPN/FSN to be a somewhat controversial analyst, and he will happily hit the course (golf) everyday, and actually live a semi-normal/relaxed life. The guy needs it after suffering a heart attack at too young of age two years ago.

    -If you are in the area of DCel Mar this weekend, be sure to stop by Best Pal Pub Patio by the Paddock from Noon-1:30pm to meet Trainer Richard Mandella and filmmakers Bill Yahraus and Robin Rosenthal. You’ll remeeber, Yarhaus and Rosenthal just released “On the Muscle” a three-part documentary following Mandella and his barn. If you haven’t already, please check the review I did two posts down.

    That’s all for now. Looking forward to catching “The Aristocrats” this weekend as it finally makes its debut in P-Town.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    Back from an extremely brief hiatus

    A few thoughts for those of you out there:

    -Don’t forget to check out the review of “On the Muscle”, one entry below. Great documentary on the Richard Mandella Barn. Check out for more info. (and no, I have no vested stake in this film at all!!)

    -I think my two favorite blogs these days are:

  • Left at the Gate

  • Tao of Poker

  • -Rescue me is by far the greatest show on TV these days. If you haven’t seen it yet, I would suggest tuning in to FX 10 pm Tuesday nights. (Note: This is not for the faint of heart or those of you who reside on the far right)

    -How much would I have paid to seen to middle-aged, 120 lb. men go toe-toe in a little fist-a-cuffs.

    -Quick carryover report: Today there is a $49k+ carryover at the Spa and Monday’s monster pick-6 at Del Mar paid 5 folks a shade over $400k….nice!

    -Who knew "Urine Power" would be the number two most popular searches on MSN? Sounds like an o.k. idea, but what about the smell?
  • MSN most Pop. Searches-(scroll down and to the rt)

  • -I have been ensconced in some other projects as of late, and have not been able to focus as much time as I would like on this blog. I also wanted to leave my review of “On the Muscle” up as the top entry. No worries…I’m Baaaaaaack!!!

    -p.s. for those of you that care, Oregon Racing has been kind enough to post the official race dates for the upcoming Portland Meadows meet: 80 dates beginning Oct. 22nd at 12:35 pm. (67 days from today)

    Tuesday, August 16, 2005

    Film Review: "On the Muscle: Portrait of a Thoroughbred Racing Stable"

    By Ruben Bailey

    So many things can happen in our everyday lives. Uncertainty, impatience, uneasiness; emotions that human beings deal with in a constant struggle to remain a positive, caring, contributor to larger society.

    When one begins to think of the place that thoroughbred horseracing holds in the minds of ordinary citizens in everyday society, results can range from cynically uninterested to impassioned advocate. “On the Muscle” a brand new three hour documentary series by filmmakers Bill Yahraus and Robin Rosenthal unveils the layers of real life emotion buried underneath the grandstand of America’s thoroughbred racetracks.

    Showcased around events rarely heard, seen, or felt by the public, “On the Muscle” follows Richard Mandella, a horse trainer of 30 years, preparing six horses for what will prove to be a roller coaster ride to the top of the horse racing world. What you are rewarded with in this three part documentary is a rich understanding of the heavy emotional swings and real life ups and downs that come with being a lifetime professional horseman.

    365 days a year is the required attendance for any thoroughbred trainer looking to succeed. In the ever-revolving world that Mandella and his team live in, there are scores of relationships weaving in and out of each other’s lives.

    “What’s the rest of the world doing on a day like this” Mandella says as he walks along the track at Santa Anita Park at 5 am. Just a few minutes into the film and we begin to see where Yahraus and Rosenthal are taking us.

    Several moments later Mandella allows us our first, brief glimpse into the focused life as a full-time horseman. “One time I took a day off from the track,” he begins slowly, “I slept in with my kids and got them dressed, fed them breakfast. It was strange, ya’ know…not being here at the track.”

    Such internal struggles are only the beginning for the California native who grew up tending to tossed-away, injured horses as a young boy. But those internal demons Mandella reveals to us set the stage for the countless battles he must face everyday beginning at sunrise.

    Trainer vs. Horse. Trainer vs. Asst. Trainer. Trainer vs. Press. Trainer vs. Rider. Trainer vs. Jockey Agent. Trainer vs. Barn. Trainer vs. Owner. Trainer vs. Nature.

    These plot elements play out on screen as contrived Hollywood subplots and keep you interested and emotionally vested like an afternoon soap opera. It is only when you can step back and realize that this is no movie script or serial storyline that the true emotions of each character are fully understood. People’s lives are dictated by how fast 1,000 lb. animals run on a racetrack. This film slowly unveils an unsteady ride of emotion bouncing back and forth from joy to dismay; adulation to anger; exhaustion to exuberance.

    Getting behind the scenes and peeling off unknown layers is always a fascinating experience. Documentaries can be beautiful anthropological, sociological, and psychological examinations that give new meaning to events and emotions that usually seem to be both simple and straightforward. Time after time, this film allows viewers with even the slightest bit of knowledge of the thoroughbred racing world true insight into both the physical and psychological workings of what it takes to run a horse racing operation.

    In what may be the movie’s biggest flaw, the directors never take us away from the immediate surroundings of the racetrack. Visits to horse farms in Kentucky, training tracks in California, and glimpses of famous tracks like Churchill Downs and Oaklawn Park aside, we never get to see much of the off-track humanity of any of the main characters in their most raw, everyday normal settings: getting out of bed; sitting down for dinner with family members; or returning home from a long day the track.

    Although the lives of these individuals plays out on a daily basis in a barn or on the track, glimpses into their lives off track would have given the viewer much needed depth and closure.

    Whether it was an overt attempt or just a result of the footage, the strength of the film lies in the overall theme of the film: relationship management.

    For the un-initiated "On the Muscle" provides an entertaining look at the complex workings of a racetrack and the folks that are its nuts and bolts. For experienced horse-folk, this movie will expand your mindset the next time you visit your local track, OTB, or sit down to read a Racing Form.

    Over the course of the 172 minutes, Directors Yahraus and Roesnthal do a fine job illuminating the trials and tribulations of life in the paddock. Documenting “the stories of six elite athletes and their trainer poised on the brink of racing history” was certainly a monumental task. Narrowing the focus down and funneling the subject's human emotions lived through half ton animals is a triumph and a pleasure to ingest.

    Do yourself a favor. Support independent filmmakers. Support the art of the documentary. Support the thoroughbred industry. Go to and drop the $34 for an entertaining, educational, non-fiction, eye-opening look at a life most of us can barely imagine.

    Monday, August 15, 2005

    Good Days Ahead....

    So my Grand Reward/Artie Schiller theory bombed out, but I was certainly on in predicting Powerscourt’s solid showing. Def. knew KJ was going to be their but at almost even-money, that was no surprise. I didn’t think 49-ers Son would be in the mix, but hey, that’s why they run the races!!

    Overall a really great weekend to watch the horsies.

    Got a chance to watch a new documentary put out by Pony Highway Productions called “On the Muscle.” It is one DVD divided into 3, one-hour “episodes” following the Richard Mandella barn in 2003. My review of the film will be posted later on today, as I need to put some finishing touches on it. My thanks to Bill and Robin for making the DVD available to me prior to today's public release date.

    One quick story that I thought you might be interested in (b/c I am).

    I usually like to combine my vices, so I am not sure where this leaves me…..

  • Gambling and Alcoholism May Have Different Roots
  • Saturday, August 13, 2005

    Saturday Stakes, etc.

    Just to be on record:

    My pick for the Arlington Million today is:
    (3) Grand Reward- Not too much science here as I have my own betting systems/theories and one is to bet around/with Artie Schiller. Grand Reward under Jerry Bailey 2 months ago dusted Artie Schiller in the Manhattan at Belmont. That's really all I need to see. Don't get me wrong, (1) Kitten's Joy will be there at the end, but I am not sold on her at 6-5/even money. I like the first time States starter (2) Touch of Land to have a nice showing, but my solid second pick is (9) Powerscourt. I remember vividly the backstretch of last years millions and how dominant and strong P-Court looked. Yes, he's "o-fer" since then (9-0-1-2) but I think he loves this track, loves the states, and throws on the blinks for a run at the $600k first prize. Don't throw out (6) Better Talk Now. On class alone, you gotta love him.

    So let's clean this up: I love the 3 and will key him in exactas with 1,2,6,9.

    Good luck and don't forget there is some nice coverage on ABC this afternoon of the Sword Dancer, The Vanderbilt, The Beverly D, and The Million.

    Can you smell the Breeders Cup slowly creeping up on you?

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    Countdown Set to Begin

    It is true that I have been slacking in my posting over the past week. It is also true that my life has been an up and down whirlwind over that time span. I think not coincidentally, the excitement of both summer highlight meets has worn off on me as each approach their 3rd and 4th weeks respectively.

    Which brings us to Saturday’s Arlington Millions day. For some reason, every year this race day kicks off for me the early stretch run leading up to “the greatest day in racing.”

    The annual kick off of both the Del Mar and Saratoga meets stirs up a unique brand of excitement in my horse racing mind. Those annual summer meets just feel right and smell right. Evoking similar feelings to those of the fall when football season rolls around and it begins to “just smell right.”

    The running of the Arlington Millions and the Beverly annually at Arlington Park for some reason bridges the gap between the summer meets (which I can’t get to) and the upcoming fall extravaganza which I (and millions of others) anticipate immensely year.

    Maybe it’s the grass. Maybe it’s the million dollar purse. Nonetheless, Saturday’s stakes filled day in Suburban Chicago mark 78 days from The 2005 Breeders Cup at Belmont. This Saturday I will be tuned into the Breeder’s Cup as Kitten’s Joy tries to backup all of the hype he has deservedly gained from impressive pp’s.

    I will be looking forward to the live television broadcast and a high class turf field preparing for their own respective runs to the top of the racing world. Whoever comes out on top, we will all still be 2 months and 16 days away from horse racings greatest day.

    I am certainly excited. For those of us stuck in the summer doldrums away from the pomp, circumstance, and excitement of Southern California and Upstate NY, this is our wake-up call from a brief hiatus of the excitement that these beautiful animals and colorful characters bring us on a daily basis.

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    Just Another Manic (blah blah)..

    Happy 63rd B-day to the late Great Jerry Garcia (see below)

    Please note updated blog standings to the right and slightly down the page. Thanks again to Patrick from Pulling Hair Betting Horses for those scientific numbers.

    Semi-boring weekend of horses. For what was supposed to be some exciting stakes races, in my mind totally flubbed.

    Congrats to Oregon Racing's Jolene and Michael for publishing their first print newsletter. Very well done guys. To subscribe (it's free) just click on their link to the right (Oregon Racing).

    No results yet from this weekends giant DRF Handicapping Tourney from Emerald Downs. I wasn't able to make it due to lack of transportation.

    Nice carryovers today at both Del Mar and Saratoga.

    One of my favorite horses will most likely goof as the favorite in today's feature at Saratoga.

    The $150K Gr. 2 Barnard Baruch goes off as the 8th race and a diminished 5 horse field. Artie Schiller WAS 9-5 on the morning line, but that was when their was a full field of 8. Even though this 4 yr. old colt broke my heart losing as the 7-2 (ish) favorite in last years BC Mile, he remains one of my favorite horses to back (sentimentally of course). Originally I loved Artie' and Not Phone in a little exacta, but with all of the defections, I will certainly not be betting AS at somewhere around 4-5 (at best). For those of you in the Sartoga Showdown contest though, AS would be a great bet to finish in the money.

    Some interesting stories from the "Real World" below:

  • Fatties Unite

  • Michael Moore at it Again

  • J. Garcia Remembrances