Monday, February 27, 2006

Friday, February 24, 2006

Lunchtime Celeb Sighting in P-Town...

Although not the biggest of deals, it was quite exhilarating to stumble into Wally Sczcerbiak of the Boston Celtics this afternoon on my way to lunch. It is quite rare to bump into many celebs in this town. Of course, people are stopping through here in tours and speaking engagements all the time, but they usually frequent places that I don’t usually go to. So what a surprise it was for me to hang a quick right out of my building and to come upon a surprisingly huge white man in a black sweat suit with red high-top Nike sneaks.

It’s amazing how many thoughts rush through your head in what feels like an eternity. IT was quite probably three or four seconds from the first time I noticed him until the time he actually passed me by, but the thoughts they were a ragin’! “What do I say? Is it him? Is it really him? What does his sweatshirt say? Oh, Celtics. But he is on Minnesota. No, wait he got traded. Yeah, that looks like him. Oh he’s on the phone”…poof gone!

Wally does have some more personal resonance with me as he is a Long Island native who is from the same hometown as a college teammate of mine. I also have several friends who had played against him in high school.

Anyway, it was nice to have that kind of unexpected rush in the middle of the day. It’s quite funny to think that when I lived in NY I don’t think I “spotted” one celebrity (although I worked amongst many). Not such a big deal, but one I needed to share.

No horses for me this weekend. Funds are too low, but I will of course be following all of the action. Just found out that I will be headed to LA on the weekend of March 9th. A plan to visit Santa Anita is already on the books. Whether we will visit the horsies on Saturday or Sunday is still up for discussion. It will be my first time for both.

In case you don’t know, here is a link to Wally’s bio/stats:

  • Wally’s World
  • Thursday, February 23, 2006


    ....for a special advertisement for an open position:

    From (classifieds)

    National Manager - Professional sports-related labor organization
    seeks high-energy, proactive individual to bring about positive change. Must have: proven fiscal and organizational discipline; ability to lead and inspire others; knowledge of political process at federal and state levels; strong communication, negotiation and mediation skills; ability to function at the highest levels with leaders of publicly traded organizations; and impeccable integrity. Extensive background check will be conducted. Salary commensurate with skills.

    Send resume to:
    Jockeys' Guild, Inc.,
    5040 Old Taylor Mill Road, Box #7,
    Taylor Mill, Kentucky 41015.

    Alan? Brad? Jessica? Let's go, who's gonna throw their hat into the ring.....?

    Pick-6 Update

    UPDATE: I DON'T F-ING belive this!! Looks like two fools actually hit this thing!! $2 payouts were $352,167..congrats to whoevr had it. Looks like the Pick-6 pool hit around 1.4 million. Looks like my prediction was way off and folks really do love this bet.
    Editor's Note: This is where I would like a little more in-depth reporting. Let's find out who exactly won this thing and what thier story is. Is it a group ticket? Or a professional gambler? I would like to see the horse media step-up a little bit and take a piece of reporting 101 form our own Brad and give us more than the standard, "The two tickets were purchased via through OTB hubs in Maine and South Dakota. Blah, blah. In my best Dennis Hopper Easy Rider imitation...."Give us some story line maaaan"
    UPDATE: (4:15pm pst)-Looks like another favorite bites the dust... (5.90-1) Ameridar outlasts the field. NO WAY anyone has this ticket

    (4:06pm pst) - Yes, you all probably know there is a nice sized carryover here on the left coast...

    However, what you probably didn't realize was that after only the first three legs of today's card there have been two pretty major upsets.....

    3rd Race: Favorite (2.10-1) Valenzuela up.
    4th Race: 10 horse field, third-highest odds on the board (22.90-1) takes this 6.5 furlong claimer. Favorite under Gomez finished 3rd nearly 2 back of winner ridden by super-hot apprentice Ochoa
    5th Race: 9 horse field. Second highest odds on the board (18.10-1) Proud Suzett wins going away by 4. Afore mentione "super-hot" Gomez rides favorite "2nd Best"

    Not sure if everyone involved is already knocked out, but I would not be surprised if there were a minimal number of tickets still alive.

    I can already hear the Racing Forms' flying off the shelves.

    Prediction: carryover for tomorrow will be.....$635,236. Please feel free to chime in with your guess. We'll play Price is Right rules, closest without going over......

    Sunday, February 12, 2006

    Hits and misses..

    Our fearless VP went hunting for Quail, and came back with a human hit.

    Not bad. I on the other hand, made it to Portland Meadows for the first time in a while, and tried to hit a few winners....

    I was actually able to leave the house on the most beautiful day of the week. While my family and brethren were suffocating under multiple feets of snow in the northeast, we in P-town were soaking in a calm, sunny Sunday.

    I made my way up to the second floor clubhouse where I plopped down my form and began looking simultaneously at four different tracks-Golden Gate, Santa Anita, Oaklawn and Portland Meadows. Luckily for me, the first race I encountered at PM was for the QH's, so that gave me some free time to get myself settled and acquainted with where every track was on the card and on the TV.

    The highlight of my touting day came via the 8th at Oaklawn, a 32K MSW. Usually I don't have much luck with MSW's, but this one I felt I had it nailed all over.

    The end result was a win ticket, plus I had the exacta with either second place horse-in this case it was a photo finish and though I would have preferred 14.60-1 Altimeter, 8.60-1 Southern Sass. No complaining. Two hours after first entering lovely PM, I walked out up a few dollars which made an already beautiful, enjoyable day that much more great!

    As far as the olympics are concerned....
    I don't care too much that Michelle Kwan has withdrawn. What's more disapointing is Darren Rahves' poor showing in the downhil today. Would have been nice for the pre-race favorite (American) to give the world a solid showing.

    Oh well, maybe I can get Janet Jones to give me a tip on the upcoming Olympic hockey tournament. Better yet, I've seen how much she's lost with the NJ-Philly BM's and I'll take my chances without her.

    Saturday, February 11, 2006

    Pissed at Oaklawn..another example of racings shortcomings

    So I have been filling my day (a dry, sunny, brisk winter Portland day) doing some chores and e-filing my taxes. Everything was "hunky-dory". I had read earlier a post over at LATG, and Alan talking about Rockport Harbor and the Essex.

    Alan hit it right on the head by call RH "Rocky". This is all a fine example of how the internet is helping to expand horse racings reach. Alan completely stoked my flame of interest with his post, therefore raising interest for the sport in me (not too mention how many others?)

    So I finish my taxes and go to Oaklawn's site where they offer:1) Live Audio and 2)A still webcam that refreshes every 10 seconds.

    Being used to NYRA's audio cast, I don't mind much listening to race calls, understanding that there ae probably some heavily worded contracts that prohibit certain tracks to broadcast ter races live on the web.

    However, as the post parade began, I realize that for some reason the live audio feature was not working, there is NO webcast, AND does not even show the live tote!!

    Here's what I decided to do next:
    (this letter was submitted to Oaklawn’s feedback dept. on their site. Who knows if anyone will read it, or even care, but I needed to do it).

    To whom this may concern:
    It is unbelievable to me how non-interactive, non-inclusive your website is.

    Here I am in Portland, OR extremely interested in your feature race and not only does your live audio feature NOT work, but you do not even supply current live tote updates. So even if I planned on betting a specific horse, I wouldn't even know what he/she is going off at-thusly making it rather difficult for me to make a bet (thusly leading to lack of handle for you).

    Why would your website make it more difficult for me to enjoy the races you put on?

    I understand you may have some contract requirements regarding live video of the races (although some tracks do provide free, live coverage on their sites) but to not even provide a decent audio link? Or tote updates? What the heck am I going to do with still shots from a webcam that refreshes every 10 seconds?

    This is one of the major reasons why horse racing is losing its foot hold, prominence and profitability with Americans.

    I am fairly internet savvy and am also a member of the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance. If someone like me can't obtain easy access to your product on-line, then it is fair to say your are losing out on HUGE potential audience that has money to spend.

    Shame on you.

    Feel free to check out the only future that horse racing has on-line here:
    and here:

    I feel a little bit better.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    What a day...

    57 degrees at 3:47 pst and absolutely gorgeous here in Portland.

    What a day....

    And this story just continues to get better.....

  • NHL and NFL...Perfect Together(for BM's)
  • Monday, February 06, 2006

    Electric Gatorade and Lack of a Star Ruin My Monday

    Well, it’s taken me until 5:20 pm PST to shake off the hangover and the sense of loss both as a result of yesterday’s “Big Game.” Not much to say about it all, I mean everyone and their mama has covered the myriad of angles depicting four quarters of an absolutely horrifying Super Bowl. I think I just kept consuming more, faster as time ticked away, hoping somehow that my level of inebriation might result in one, JUST ONE Seahawk stepping up to the championship caliber of play needed to call yourself a Super Bowl Champion. No one did. Thusly, there will be a parade in the Steel City tomorrow at 11am, and not in the city 180 miles to the north.

    And not too much to say about Stevie WonderGriffin getting hurt and withdrawing from the Derby. It is what it is. Fragile, expensive horses. I just love when things like jinx’s have shelf lives of multiple-years, it just makes things more interesting.

    A VERY nice sized Pick-6 carryover at Santa Anita for Wednesday’s card. I took a look at some of the results from yesterday’s card and there were some nice sized winners (and placers). Although the earlier races featuring a 129-1 shot (paid $108 to place) weren’t part of the Pick-6, the day produced some nice payouts.

    Glad to see Oregon back up and running. Evil hackers (the REAL evil-doers Georgie Boy) shut down Jolene and Michael for a few days, but looks like they’ve got everything up and running.

    Just wanted to get those tidbits off my chest….

    Saturday, February 04, 2006

    Life Imitates Horse

    Not sure if there is something wrong with Blogger tonight, but I couldn't log on for a pretty long time here tonight. Nonetheless, here I am.

    With SB XL looming less than 24 hrs. away, I recognize that some of my most recent posts have been stepping away from the world (sport/game) of horseracing.

    Well, I'm not sure if you have come across this story yet, (it's been on a lot of sports news websites) but take a look and tell me how this may relate to the current state of thoroughbred horseracing. It's amazing how life continues to imitate.....well,!!

  • Life Imitates Horse
  • Friday, February 03, 2006

    The Big XL

    I’ve been chomping at the bit all day to finally grab a few minutes to post. There are a number of interesting, important topics that I really want to touch on, but those will have to wait (they should still be timely by the time I get a few minutes).

    #1 on my list though, is to make my official XL prediction. I just love the way that looks and sounds: SB XL-The young, supposedly overrated, expansion franchise in its first SB appearance, vs. the storied, mid-west, nation loving Steelers.

    Blah, blah, blah I’ve only read about 1/3 of the stories emanating out of Detroit over the past week. It is just so annoying to me to have to try and live through two weeks of inane babble and artificial build-up. Even Bill Simmons’ column today failed to elicit my usual giddiness. His column did have some humorous bright spots, but having the 5 top storylines that weren’t covered, just bored me to tears. The lone bright spot was this line, where Simmons is talking about Shaun Alexander’s free agent opportunities:

    "So why would Alexander possibly want to leave a very good team with a great offensive line for a shaky team with a shaky offensive line? Sure, he makes extra money in the short term, but what happens 10 months from now, when he's averaging 3.3 yards per carry, fighting off the aftereffects of 20 gang-tackles a game, and dealing with the collective animosity of 25,000 pissed-off fantasy owners? He's going to be using that extra $2 million for Vicodin, booze and psychiatric care. That's what happens. Watching Alexander this week, I feel like I'm watching David Caruso during those last few episodes before he left "NYPD Blue" to make "Jade." I hope he reconsiders."

    Any Caruso "post-NYPD Blue" references make my day!!

    So, onto the game: Prediction: Tails-Tails is the even money favorite (vs. –105 for heads).

    OTHER prediction: Seattle 27 Pittsburgh 21- My money says it’s so. Yes, I do feel a little bias going on in my own pick. I have been more and more swayed that the Steelers are by far the better team by reading all of the hype promoted by East Coast media.

    I certainly give major credence to Pitt’s unbelievable run on the road vs. the AFC’s best to get here. I also do have some feeling that Washington and Carolina were not top-notch opponents. Furthering my diminishing confidence in the Seahawks as straight-up winners is this stat: (courtesy of Simmons): The NFC stunk all season. Just look at the interconference matchups: The six AFC playoff teams went 20-4 against the NFC; the six NFC playoff teams went 9-11 against the AFC

    Nonetheless, I am sticking with the Seahawks to show the rest of the country that they are for real. I am thinking it is going to be an amazing game, exciting and throughly entertaining-proving all cureent naysayers completely wrong.

    I will be at a house party with a screen larger than 55” (with a free keg provided by the local beer distirbutor). Come and get me NFL.

    For a professional writer’s take, someone who has put this whole game into what I feel is a pretty accurate summation, (which I JUST read about 9/10 of the way through this post) check out Dave Tuley’s column from todays form:
  • A Real Writer Breaks Down XL

  • I hope everyone enjoys The Donn, The Strub, and Sunday’s Fiesta. For once, I may just enjoy the pregame musical festivities. How can you not LOVE Stevie?

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006


    I will be here...
  • Jazz Fest is on

  • for the first weekend in May. Yes, your Avg Horseplayer will be enjoying a nice little bachelor party the second weekend of Jazz Fest-Derby Weekend!!

    I was thinking the other day- Is it going to be possible to be enjoying the sites and sounds of the some of the greatest jazz musicians and festival atmosphere one-minute, then just walk a few hundred yards inside the Fairgrounds (Clubhouse Level) and watch the greatest 2 minutes in sports?

    Some friends of mine are nervous about the conditions of New Orleans and if heading down south is such a god idea at this point. I just keep telling them, we will see how Mardi Gras goes. That will be that city's first big test-welcoming thousands and thousands of revelers.

    I for one, don't care. It makes me feel good to feel like I am helping to support the rebuilding of the community down there.

    The last time I was down at Jazz Fest in 2004, I never did make it to the actual Fairgrounds. I am excited to experience that part of the celebration AND hopefully place a small wager and watch the Derby.