Saturday, October 29, 2005

Finally, an update...

Jeez!! It feels like it's been years since I lasted posted. Sorry about the lack of posts over the past few weeks.

Finally, though, today I break the streak of 12 straight days without any entries on avghorseplayer.

All year long, I pretty much wait for this day to come; and now here it is. I am so amped/pumped/excited to see how this all plays out.

I think the beauty of the BC day is how much enthusiasm and optimism everyone has going. Possibilites ar eendless as $96 horses seem as likely to come home as odds on favorites.

With that, I will present my selections for the eight races, beginning with the Juvenile Fillies.

Good Luck..and have a GREAT DAY!!

Win:Orginal Spin
Show:Ex Caelis
Win:Private Vow
Place:Stevie Wonderboy
Show:First Samurai
F&M Turf:
Win:Lost in the Fog
Place:Wildcat Heir
Show:Silver Train
Win:Artie Schiller
Win:Society Selection
Place:Happy Ticket
Show:In the Gold
Win:Fourty Niners Son
Place:Better Talk Now
Show:English Channel
Win:Super Frolic
Show:Flower Alley

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

My Breeders Cup Update-Trouble on the Horizon?

Yes, Powerscourt is out. This I enjoy b/c it makes the turf a bit more interesting betting race. Powerscourt was sure to gobble up a boat load of money. Look for the winner here to pay B-I-G!!!

More importantly though...

Blogs have taken a beating in the larger media lately and a lot of it is certainly warranted. Often times blogs fall into the lull of just regurgitating big media stories. Providing links-not actual news stories- is a major weakness in the blogosphere. I for one, with Avg Horseplayer oft times fall into this trap.

It is similar to a Monday Morning Quarterback: we basically pour over other journalists articles and simply criticize their work (or lack thereof) or just make some commentary over already reported news.

With that being said, I want to bring up something that I don’t believe has been mentioned anywhere in the news (at least in regards to the world of horse racing).

What are the prospects of Breeders'Cup day being run under wet, rainy, even SLOPPY conditions? Hurricane Wilma is currently gaining power in the Southern Bahamas. Check out the storm track here:
  • Wilma's Projected Path

  • What is this telling us? Basically the models-which certainly aren’t 100%- say the hurricane should gain strength over the warm waters of the southern gulf, and be east of Florida by Sun. Oct. 23rd-6 days before the BC in NY.

    If you’ve lived on the eastern seaboard for an extended period of time, you know how these storms work. One way or another, Wilma will be making her way N x NE and will be sure to bring moisture to the NYC area.

    When and exactly how much are always the big questions. How soft will the turf get for the grass races? In a worst case scenario-heavy Fri/Sat rains- what will the BC/NTRA/NYRA do? Is this just the full cycle of negative karma that has been so widely reported by Alan here:
  • Scroll Down for NYRA's Woes

  • Let’s go DRF, Bloodhorse, Thoroughbred Times, NY Daily News, NY Post…..let’s start asking some questions. I think this could be a very interesting development to keep an eye on. Sometime between Sunday Oct. 23rd and Sunday Oct. 30th, rains will hit the greater metropolitan area around NYC. When and exactly how much are all speculation but certinaly worthy of investigation.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. If I’ve missed an article mentioning this, please let me know ASAP. If anyone comes across some of these issues being raised by the media to upper management associated with the BC, I would also love to know.

    Mark it down though folks….11 days before the 2005 Breeders' Cup, a blogger has brought up the potential for a major story that could have worldwide ramifications.

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    Feels like a good Friday...

    Just an absolute flurry of activity going on in the world of thoroughbred blogging…

    I think I’ll start by bringing up a new, friendly rivalry with a “new” blogger known as JB, you can find JB’s (Jon Breslin) thoroughbred blog here:
  • Jon Breslin's T-bred Blog

  • Jon has taken several issues with the newly created Thoroughbred Bloggers Association:
  • T-Bred Bloggers Band Together..Makes too much sense

  • ....and most notably, TBA “member” Patrick, who created the HOY system you find on the pages of the seven TBA participants. If you have the time, check out both JB and Patrick’s blogs as they pose interesting, compelling, well-thought out complaints and possible solutions to the ills that plague thoroughbred racing today.

    I will make one quick declaration:

    JB, as you know, we would love to have you as a TBA participant. Please don’t look at the TBA as dictatorial, militaristic fringe group. We have all banded together for the love of our sport, hoping to see it grow and expand. With the only parameters for participating being posting the HOY standings each week, and making a $50 donation at the end of the year to the winning owners charity of choice, I think you might be able to put some of your pride and distaste for the standings aside, and join the group. If you have such a problem with the way we conduct our rankings system, join us and help be a part of the solution. Let us know constructively and proactively what we can do to perfect it…..that is what we have all joined together to try and accomplish. Strength in numbers my friend, no one person runs or controls the TBA, we are a collective group sharing and feeding off of one another experiences, expertise, and vision.

    In other horse racing news of note, a friend of mine is a writer for The Lowell Sun, and he was kind enough to pass along an advanced copy of his Friday column (review) of a horse racing novel which hasn’t been posted on-line yet. Check back here or the Lowell Sun for his review of the book, William Murray's "Dead Heat". I know Tracy at Turf Luck has been clamoring for horse racing literature, so here’s another option: (search for Paul Daley)
  • Lowell Sun Sports

  • I will reserve any judgment on the new NTRA ads featuring the slogan, “Who Do You Like Today” until I can actually see one or two of them. Initially though, my thoughts are that the focus is all wrong. Again, as passionate as I feel about the marketing and advertising strategies of the NTRA and the thoroughbred world (tracks included) I will hold off on any judgments until I see the actual ads on TV.

    Thanks to for posting a link to a review of the new Breeders’ Cup game for PS2 and X-Box. The review is linked below, and as usual, another good idea is completely flushed down the toilet by poor strategies and execution……just imagine if you could expose a whole generation of gamers to fall in love with horse racing via X-box, or over the computer. It’s really a shame, b/c after a while your continued attempts to penetrate the marketplace just get burned up. It is actually “The Boy that Cried Wolf” syndrome of the marketing world. Read the depressing, but not surprising review here:
  • BC Video Game Review

  • Exactly two weeks from RIGHT NOW, I (and I’m sure many others) will be pouring over the greatest racing form of the year in preparation for the greatest day in horse racing!!

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    TBA Day 1a (POE)

    Ok, so our mass release (please see previous post) did not garner as much initial media attention as we all had hoped. We (TBA) thought that sending out a release a solid week before the week before the Breeders’ Cup, we might grab a few writers’ attention.

    Although I am schooling myself on the virtues of patience (it’s a work in progress) I am extremely anxious, and now a little disappointed.

    All is not lost yet though friends. Being the consummate PR pro that I proclaim to be, I realize writers and media types take time to respond to random releases that appear in their inboxes on a daily basis.

    This being said, I was very surprised to receive the following email from a “correspondent” from one of the racing industry’s on-line magazines:

    Please tell me when the TBA is going to start paying for the columns they post on their sights(sic) written by people for publication elsewhere? It's called royalties in the music industry but the same principles apply. Please clarify.

    In all the weeks and hours we’ve been working on this project, I never, EVER thought I would receive something like this. To me this is crazy. Am I wrong for thinking this “person” is completely off base? Is our little blog group taking food off the tables of struggling thoroughbred writers everywhere?

    I didn’t think so. But then it struck me (actually, it JUST struck me about five minutes ago); this “writer” absolutely just JUSTIFIED OUR WHOLE PURPOSE FOR DOING THIS!!

    I have no idea how old said writer actually is, but his (ooops!) attitude is exactly what's holding the thoroughbred industry from blowing up into something resembling poker, or even NASCAR.

    Old school thoughts caught up in a wave of boxed in realities. If there ever was a need for the TBA, and if there ever was a better example of closed-mindedness, this is it. Right now. Please recognize.

    I thank Mr. Unamed writer for trying to bring social and moral injustices to the forefront, however, in this case I think he is a bit misguided.

    Stay classy.
    Your Avg Horseplayer

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005


    If you are here b/c of a press release you received ; Welcome to my blog! If you just happen to be passing by; Welcome as well!!

    If you have no idea what I'm talking about....just read the press release below and feel free to peruse some of the recent posts. You'll forgive any timely posts until later today as helping to organize the new TBA [again, see below ;-)] has kept me fairly occupied....Hope you enjoy!!

    Group Unites to Form
    Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance (TBA)

    Announces plans to award first ever TBA Horse of the Year Award based strictly upon statistics

    The World Wide Web-October 11,2005- A group of seven thoroughbred racing bloggers announced today the creation of the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance (TBA). From the United States to Hong Kong - and all points in between - these dedicated racing fans have joined together to support the game of horse racing by using a tool somewhat foreign to the Sport of Kings - the blog. With the formation of the TBA, the group also announced plans to award their first ever Horse of the Year award. Unlike similar awards that are given each year based solely on subjective media and industry voting, the TBA’s Horse of the Year award will be given to the horse with the most points earned in Graded Stakes.

    “The main objective of the group is to bring attention to horse racing as a sport. We hope the rankings start that trend,” said Patrick Patten, proprietor of “Pulling Hair and Betting Horses.” Patten, the creator of the points system, continued, “We feel that by ranking horses we will have arrived at what is a true ‘horse of the year.’ Furthermore, for our champion, it cannot be said that the award was due to a coastal bias or based on foreign form. We feel that nationwide recognition of a championship points system could encourage owners and trainers to enter their top horses in top competition.

    The seven bloggers from across the globe have been posting rants, raves, reviews, and race analysis for the past two years but have only recently begun interacting on a weekly basis - drawn together by the creation of a points system that determines racing’s top horses and a true horse of the year. The system awards points based on where a horse finishes in Graded Stakes races - the industry’s highest level of racing (point system details listed below).

    The inaugural award will be announced immediately following the conclusion of the year, once all the Graded Stakes are completed. The Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championship, held this year at historic Belmont Park in Elmont, NY, will go a long way in determining the championship as twice as many points are on the line that day. The TBA will make a donation to a charity selected by the owner of the champion thoroughbred.

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Three weeks from today we'll be shoulda, would, coulda-ing and tallying our profits

    First off, congrats to Alan @ Left at the Gate who’s baby four-legger made his debut at Belmont on Sunday. Alan gave me the heads up on Highland Cat’s start the day before and although I had plenty of time to get to the “window”, I shied away as I am an avid reader of LatG and knew HC would need at least one start. I did however, listen via NYRA’s streaming capabilities and new right away HC was not making into the winner’s circle. Anyway, HC finished a highly respectable 3rd and I look forward to following his progress over the next few weeks. I will let you know that for starts 2-4, I will def. be placing wagers of some kind. For more info., details, and photos, go here:
  • Left at the Gate

  • In an interesting story in the NY Daily News, New York’s most profitable (and by far its most hospitable) OTB is featured. Now, let me tell you, the Race Palace is…awesome!! It is comfortable, good food, good looking waitresses, with a slew of huge TV’s (with each seat carrying its own private TV). I spent last year’s BC there with “Red” and despite losing my shirt (pants were not lost) I had a great time. I’ve been there several times and believe it is evidence that you CAN make the game exciting, attractive, AND lucrative. To read the story click here:
  • NY's most profitable OTB..and comfy too

  • If you’ll take a minute to scroll down towards the bottom of the page and look on the right hand column, you will see the latest, updated Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance (TBA)Horse of the Year standings. What the heck is the TBA you ask? Tune in tomorrow for more information on a movement to change the face of the thoroughbred industry…….

    And, just in case you are in the 25-37 year old range and always love any type of dirt, gossip and/or news on your favorite “primetime soap opera” of the nineties, please click here: (and enjoy!)
  • 9021-zeros?

  • Finally, ....STONERS REJOICE: The FBI is coming to its senses. Spicoli, you may now enter Quantico
  • Al-Qaeda look out....the FBI is 'smokin'
  • Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Early Emerald Thoughts...

    Being locked up in Seattle for a few days has kept me away from my dear blog. The man has me chained to this desk and laptop and only lets me go to pee (once every four hours).

    However, the payoff was to visit Whidbey Island for a visit with The Boss who owns a nice place with some acreage in an area I had no idea even existed.

    The commute this morning was certainly deal-able, even though I had a 4:30 am wakeup call followed by a surprisingly enjoyable 1 hr. and 30 min. commute via car/ferry.

    Anyway, getting more and more excited for the Breeders’ Cup Thoroughbred Championships (thanks to Tracy from Turf Luck for pointing out the “Official NTRA Branding” of the event).

    The week before the BCTC (thank you very much) lovely and infamous (and when I say infamous I mean IN Famous-not “ill-famed: having an exceedingly bad reputation; "a notorious location"-although it is that as well) Portland Meadows makes its 2005-2006 debut.

    I kid. I kid. How can one not eagerly anticipate the opening of their own “home” track- even if it is a step up from a glorified state fair. I am sure I’ll get in trouble as I start to do some interviews with local track officials, but hey, facts are facts.

    It’s not even the racing that bothers me but the entire facility. I understand that Magna has no real vested interest in improvements, but I see such potential in a place like Portland Meadows that it pisses me off when the place is consistently a dump and inaccessible by casual fans and below.

    I won’t continue this diatribe of negativity since I am still asleep and it is clearly unhealthy for this level of anger before 8 am (unless you are stuck in rush hour traffic-then by all means curse away).

    Off topic note: The Warriors is out on DVD today…if you’ve never seen it- get it. If you don’t own a DVD player: 1) Get a job 2) Rent the VHS. Two words: Thorough Enjoyment