Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sunshine Millions- Filly and Mare Turf (Race 5 from Santa Anita)

So I’ve only perused my contemporaries sites to see who’s picked what for tomorrow’s Sunshine Millions.

Blogger extraordinaire Alan at Left at the Gate hasn’t made any selections, so I figure I am still alive- I will post my first picks in a long time:

I have only had time to tout one race for tomorrow’s action and it is Race 5 at Santa Anita-The Filly and Mare Turf.

I am never one to bet chalk, and this race is no exception. Too many nice looking horses rounding into what looks to be prime shape.

My top pick is #10 Beneficial Bartok. I love the increasing beyers from her three previous races (all turf) and can easily throw out her last effort which was a sprint on very “soft” dirt. The biggest draw back is jockey D. Cohen is having a rough go of it this meet at SA. Oh well, I never lie to get TOO thrown off by the jockey situations.

I am torn for the place position, but I am leaning towards the #4, Midwife. Second off a layoff, with a 24% trainer as well as 68% 2nd off the layoff stat that I love. Russell Baze rides.

Other place horses that I like include the #5 First Draft, #3 Allbow and #8 Dancing General.

I like the #10 to win and hooking her up in an exacta with #3, #4, #5, #8.

If you are forcing me to pick three in order it would be: 10-4-5.

The race goes off at 5:05 pm est on NBC. I will be in my basement checking on my dryer vent with at least one-eye on the tele.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Once-a-year Eclipse

Am I the only horse racing blogger who missed the Eclipse awards the other night? I’ve perused just about every blog in the horse-blog-o’sphere and at this point, posting a link here on avghorseplayer seems….out of date. If you’re just fixin’ for some Eclipse coverage, just click on any of the links over on the right hand side of the page and you’ll be fine.

For everyone else who loves the world of horses (including me)… does this not just seem like another marketing opportunity gone terribly wrong? A chance for horse racing’s ruling body (or bodies) to shine another spoke on the wheel of success? Why does it feel to me that the horseracing world just blew another opportunity to expose its beauty, enjoyment and attractiveness?

Outside of blogging, I am known as “Public Relations Professional”. In my “circles” there are two types media outlets- 1) Horizontal. 2) Vertical. The horizontal world consists of your everyday, daily news. Everyone sees, hears or comes across this type of news outlet on a daily basis. This includes T.V. (CBS, ABC, CNN HBO et. al.), daily newspapers (NY Times Oregonian, Bergen Record), mainstream magazines (Inc., Sports Illustrated, et. al.), etc.

The vertical on the other hand is pretty much industry trade journals. For instance, a client we are on the verge of partnering with is extremely excited about the folks who are reading publications like: Luxury Travel Advisor, Travel Professional Magazine and Agent@Home. Have you ever heard about any of those travel trades? Do you even care?

Vertically. That’s how I feel horse racing operates. Promoting and existing only for your vertical market is a bad idea in the business world. Why would horseracing only cater to those “in the know?” Don’t you like to travel and take trips? I am sure you do. This is the thing, I don’t see you running out to the newsstand to pick up the January issue of “Cruise Travel Magazine”(Vertical) to read about your next vacation. However, you WOULD read about it in Conde Nast or Outdoor Magazine (Horizontals).

Look at what ESPN has done with the ESPY Awards. Those guys took a simple, proven marketing tool (the awards show) and basically crafted and promoted their own product: Sports Entertainment.

That was just one simple example, but do you see what has made ESPN so successful? Just a little marketing, some messaging consistency and the proper promotion (which go a long way. We horse racing bloggers have a plethora of ideas and suggestions that we all think will help our game grow and expand. Every single of one of them has at least one fantastic, (sometimes very simple) idea. The powers that be who are at the helm of the rudderless ship “Thoroughbred Horseracing,” better gather up the crew and start charting a serious course back into the spotlight of the mainstream before the boat hits an iceberg and sinks, carrying with it the riches and spoils of one of the most prolific sports institutions in the world.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

After a resounding "W" this afternoon by the NFC Champion Seahawks, I am feeling kind of...frisky (if you will), and cant wait to find out the opening line for "The Big Game" (no copyright infringement here!)

Anyway, not to be after the fact, but I never did get around to posting my for-sure "lock of the day"-Seahwaks -4 (or even 3.5).

So I'll move on....

I am thinking maybe the Seahawks open as the 1 or 1.5 favorite, but the MAJOR East coast bias kicks in and pushes the Steelers to wind up as somewhere between the 1 and 2 point favorite two weeks from now.

Which is just fine with me. Today's value (-190) was not so great, but the SB could provide a nice proposition for Seahawk backers. With some friends of mine heading down to Vegas Feb. 2nd and 3rd, I am excited to throw a unit or two down in a few weeks.

More importantly though, it seems that the Thoroughbred Blogger Alliance keeps on growing. It is my pleasure to welcome our two newest associates.

John is the host over at "The Race is not to the Swift" (which I've gone and shortened to "...Not to the Swift")
  • ...Not to the Swift

  • Also don't forget to say hi to Sue over at Post Parade. It's great to have someone from the South involved in the group.
  • Post Parade

  • If you haven't stopped by to say hello, then get to it!!

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Hey Action Fiends...

    Courtesy of Dave Tuley via, here are some of the first futures odds for next years Super Bowl:

    Colts 5-2
    Pats 10-1
    Chargers 10-1
    Steelers 12-1
    Seahawks 14-1
    Bengals 15-1
    Broncos 15-1
    Chiefs 15-1

    (Courtesy of Las Vegas Hilton)

    "Hurry, hurry, hurry....step right up and place your bets."

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    30th B-day at Portland Meadows Pt. I

    So, I reached the “dirty-thirty” this past Wednesday and my lovely partner was thoughtful enough to plan a party for me that included all of the things I love most: Friends, parties, and horses!!

    My lovely Sara had the brilliant idea to invite 20-25 of our closest Portland area friends for an afternoon at Portland Meadows. What a day it was!!

    After the original plan of having the day be a surprise party, I took the helm and went through Greg at Portland Meadows to make sure we had everything we needed to make 20 or so first time horse attendees have a great time.

    Our original spot needed to be moved out of the smoking section since a few of our contemporaries have just recently given up the nicotine. So we were placed in a nice spot on the south end of the Portland Meadows Turf club with a few tables and two pretty nice sized TV screens.

    I put together a two-page “How To” guide for my friends who mostly have never even been to a track. I provided some basic betting info. etc. and also decided to give everyone my selections for all of the races throughout the day.

    My day began at around 11:45 am when I was presented with my first “beverage” of the day: A very excellent Bloody Mary prepared by our fantastic bartender, Paul. As folks arrived, I had to begin my on the fly teaching seminars that included instructions on how to use the auto-tote machines, to the difference between Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. I was pretty shocked to learn that the first TWO races of the day were going to be for the QH’s. Usually PM has the first race slated for the QH”s, but today it was the first two….oh well.

    I proceeded to make my first trip downstairs and outside with two of my friends, who surprisingly enough were both named Bill. We tried to get as close as possible to the action, but major rains and flooding kept us off the actual rail. Anyway, both Bills were thoroughly entertained by the on rushing horses flying by us, completing their 350 yd. sprint.

    I won’t bore you with too many details, but will provide you with some highlights from my point of view:

    -Maybe the highlight of the day: Brenda ____ a local owner, trainer was nice enough to offer our party her horse for the 4th race. Brenda said it would be quite all right if her horse Rose Sea Meridian won the 4th, we could all join her in the winner’s circle. This got the entire party downstairs to the paddock and outside on the apron to watch the fillie give it a go. I got a chance to actually meet Brenda in person (after only conversing on-line over at Oregon the previous week). We struck it up for a few minutes preceding the race, introduced her to the party crew, went on to watch the race with her from just inside the first floor-with a full view of the live racing as well as the TV above us. Unfortunately, Rose Sea Meridian didn’t get it done. From what I could tell Brenda was a little pissed at the jockey (forgot who it was-although his two kids happened to be in attendance) for having her TOO far back to be able to make a late move. Oh well….that was fun for everyone.

    -After my first bloody at 11:45, some of the drinks I remember having ranged from Bud Light (the Portland Cosmo), Makers Mark and Ginger, and all the way back to more Bloody’s!! All in all, I made it 10 hours straight of consuming alcohol. Not that I’m bragging, but sometimes you just get high from being in a good atmosphere, and I was at that place!!

    -Ran into Jolene and Michael from Oregon Racing and even met Michaels mom.

    -Later on, I got to meet the entire Loudon family which was nice, although I think I might have been slurring a little bit-sorry guys!!

    -In the 5th I was able to make everyone a winner with my picks as the three horses I selected ran 1-2-3, which was nice. Even though it was a small payoff, everyone got to cash.

    -I think I hooked my friend Bill as he had me running around like a mad-man giving him selections for any track he could locate on the TV screen

    -I met Greg and Dwayne,. The two gentlemen in charge of PM. They were both very helpful and accommodating and provided us with 15 free programs which was very nice.

    -In an area with the most rainfall of anywhere else in the states, PM decide that the late rains that besieged the track were enough to cancel the 9th race..hmmmmm

    -Finally a brief lists of some of the great gifts I received throughout the day:
    Gold money clip engraved with a picture of the 7 horse making a move…
    Bottle of Stolichnaya Vodka
    A fantastic t-shirt
    A $5 win ticket that then turned into $8!!
    Strokes New CD
    Poker calendar (the 365 day, tip of the day kind)

    Sunday, January 08, 2006

    Back again. Oooh these pesky hiatuses (sp?)

    Yes, it's been a while since I've posted here. Most of this "slackedness" has been due to an increasingly busy schedule in my life.

    Nonetheless, through following such fantastic blogs like Alan's over at Left at the Gate (linked below)
  • Left At the Gate

  • and Jolene at Oregon Racing:
  • Oregon Racing

  • I have been able to keep up with everyone's happenings and goings ons.

    As I am about to board a Sunday evening train for Seattle (where I'll be for the next 30 hours) I want to give some quick highlights of what I am going to address here at Your Avg. horseplayer in the next few days.

    1) Review/recap of "Laughing in the Hills"-which I FINALLY finished. Editor's note:The long-ish amount of time it took me to complete this ______ book (yeah, wait for the review!) had NOTHING to do with its content.

    2) My recent purchase of Sirius Sattelite Radio (and a one-year sub).

    3) My birthday party held yestedray in the Turf Club at Portland Meadows....

    4) Thoughts on the Derby (this past Saturday was EXACTLY four months until the first Saturday in May!)