Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Slacker, yes.

This post is brought to you by Patrick.

Yes, tis’ true; this blog has been left unattended for what seems to be (thanks to Patrick) 10 days.

No, it doesn’t mean I’ve been wallowing over the events that took place at Pimlico nearly two weeks ago. In fact, I have been doing a lot, and all I needed was a swift kick in the arse.

Hey, that’s what Friends are for.

Don’t ask me how, but incredibly and surprisingly, I managed to make a stop this past holiday Weekend at Grants Pass Downs for the first stop on the summer fairgrounds tour.

GPD was very cool and unique. A tiny track that actually houses a high school football field in the infield. I was able to witness a few races – the highlight being a 1 1/16 race that went FOUR turns!! The folks I was with – non horse fans- were delighted to be so close to the horses and the excitement. As as I. Where else do they sell 50/50 raffles (benefitting the local high school marching band I tink) at the racetrack? For those of you keeping track at home, it was a quinellas only affair (with Tri's also offered).

I guess now I HAVE to go visit Tillamook in a few weeks when the fair circuit moves to the coastal, cheese famous town.

So, after being swamped with work, I was able to see the horses in a new, unique environ, check out some Redwoods, hang out with locals in Crescent City, Calif, spend time enjoying the New England feel of Ashland, Ore., and witness the sheer beauty of Crater Lake.

1,100 miles later I was back in reality. Getting my b*&#s busted for having the same post up for 10 days.

I guess life is not so bad.

Here are some photos:

Race 1 - Sunday May 28th, 2006

Road trip crew (me taking the photo)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

'Tis a tough day....

Where do you even start talking about yesterday’s tragic, eventful day of horse racing?

It is times like these that truly challenge a neophyte’s writing skills. All of the emotion. Huge quantities of action –both on and off the track. Is it insensitive to focus on the race and betting rather than the tragedy and transcending pain?

One interesting note I came across was over at LATG, where a reader commented about Barbarino’s early exit from the gate – a false start if you will:

“Do you think it possible that Barbaro knew he was hurt, and busted out of the gate to spare himself from running the race? It seems like odd behavior, for a horse who seemed to genuinely love a good race...”

Very interesting. I brought this idea up to the girlfriend who grew up on a horse farm and demanded that I stop the TiVo so we could watch the race together. She loves to tell me over and over how stupid the t-breds are and how high strung and difficult they are/can be. When I posed this eerie theory (is that allegory or alliteration?) she poo-pooed it rather succinctly:

“It’s not likely that there was any THOUGHT put into breaking through the gate early to TRY and get scratched. There is no logic going on with the horse linking breaking through the gate early and not having to race. However, there is a good chance that he WAS feeling something awry within. This subconscious physiological action that was making him feel completely out of whack – a sense of not being right - dictated the action that pushed him forward prematurely.”

I buy it.

But in the end, who really cares. It was a sickening event and continues to try the soul.

A sadder fact though, is that a lot of people are pretending to actually care about the horse, when we all know deep down, for those vested, this is strictly “monetary based sympathy.”

However, for once I will forgo the cynicism and pessimism and offer the following:

Larger than winning a triple crown, could this horse EVER get well enough to race again and WIN? That would be the biggest story, the greatest pr push this sport could ever have. It’s not likely, but it would be nice.

Finally, did we need any more evidence of exactly who and what Fran Stronach actually is? Thanks for ending all of the doubt about your character, sir.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Oy. Somehow I have the feeling that Bernadini will be the Preakness' version of SNS from two weeks ago.

With everyone scrambling for value, it looks like Bernadini is the fashionable pick.

The big question in my mind is what will the final odds look like? Will Brother Derek drift upwards from his expected 2-1ish price? What will the late-money-taking SNS finish up at? Will Vinny Barbarino go off at less than Even Money?

It almost sounds like the last scene of the old Batman TV show....."tune in next time (The Preakness) to find out if Modest Michael Matz can overcome the media squeeze.....Can our Italian Named favorite break the Even money barrier....is Like Now, like fast enough? Tune in this Saturday as Terrible Tom Hammond (terrible as in terrible makeup/facelift) guides us along the slippery slope of the middle leg of the Triple Crown (brought to you by YUM! brands.com)"

Now back to reality.

In a perfect world I would like to see Bernadini somewhere around or above 8-1 and Brother Derek no worse than 5/2 just to have some real action. I don't think either of those is a reality, though.

Do I think Vinny Barbarino is going to lose? No. Did I bet him? No. Did I even include him in my three-horse exacta box? You guessed it. Negative.

I like 1. Brother Derek 2. Bernadini 3.Diabolical in a three-horse exacta box and a cheap tri-box.

What fun is it to use Vinny B. in the mix here unless I was working with straight tris or supers?

My prediction is that Barbarino wins by about 2 1/4 and a nice fat priced horse comes out on top in the Belmont June 10th.

We back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I'm in!!!!

July 30th, 2006

....and spots are going fast. Who's with me?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Who will win the Preakness?

-Welcome Back Kotter is etched in my memory like so many of the 70's and 80's sit-coms that permeated my brain for so many childhood hours. Who knew the glory that was Mr. Kah-TARE, Arnold Horshak, Epstien and of course Vinny Barbarino only lasted three seasons. If you read the imdb link in the previous post you might have noticed this tidbit:

"The writing was great. The timing was awesome. The theme song by John Sebastian is breathtaking. The show was purely magical in its first few seasons.

There were problems, as life deals us sometimes.

Gabe Kaplan's lack of involvement in the show's fourth and final season was just one of the many problems which doomed the show. The writing in that final season was sloppy, unrealistic, unfunny, and was so amateurish. Another major problem with that show in the fourth season was that the actors who played the Sweathogs. The problem with actors playing teenagers is that they were older than teenagers when they began portraying those characters. To prepare to portray teens, they had to learn how to be teenagers again. It worked in the early days.

However, by the time the fourth season had arrived, the actors had matured and developed as adults where they were getting too old to portray teenagers anymore. They also did not look like teenagers, either. Let's not forget John Travolta and his blossoming as a movie star. These factors led to the demise of the series.

The series was about a concept so fresh, people in this modern era can relate to it even more now than they could back in the 70's."

I thought John from Southfield, MI summed that up nicely.

-As far as beverages go for Saturday, I obviously got this from our dear friend Quinella Queen a week ago, but it is certainly worth passing around as many times as possible. As far as drink comparisons, the Black-Eyed Susan sounds much better than any mint-julep I've ever had. Here is the actual recipe, but feel free to revisit QQ's post from May 10th for full, original effect.

-Is it possible to predict this far in advance?

from everything I am hearing and feeling around the paddock it seems that Barbaro is as close to a sure thing as any 3-5 shot 3 yr. old is.

my emotions are mixed. on one hand, it would be cool if there was FINALLY a triple crown winner. However, at the same time, my visions cannot help put the past few years behind me. It seems so anti-climactic at this point.

For the past few years we have "this is the next great horse" + "is this the next triple crown winner?"

I think my senses are dulled. I want Barbaro to lose to either Sweetnorthernsaint or Brother Derek. Two quality horses that if they should upset Matz' current star, can certainly be appreciated. I think that would set up a great Belmont where a lot of quality horses would be entered thinking they had a shot and would see a nice full, competitive Belmont field. Not unlike the Derby field.

Monday, May 15, 2006

In case you're not getting it...

That is Vinny Barbarino to your right.

More substantive posts to follow. I promise.

Although, if Saturday's field stays at six, I will be pissed.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Go out immediately and purchase this:


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

How dope is this...

As I was brutally hung over waiting for my connection flight in Dallas on Sunday, I picked up a stray sports section from the Star-Telegram (Dallas/Ft.Worth).

First of all, what a GREAT overall sports section they have. This thing just towers over and stomps on my Oregonian.

However, one thing stood out at me (the dope comment) and here is the link.

"You want fries with your bet?"

Have you ever heard of drive through betting windows? What a fantastic idea!! I know my peeps in the greater NYC area would love this idea. To me, this is one of those quirky marketing ideas that makes me believe horseracing CAN have a bright future with just a little creativity.

Long time no winnings...

“It's hard to read about people struggling when they have no desire to actually improve their current conditions and live more in the moment. A lot of people who blog are lost souls hoping to connect with other lost souls. Sometimes they get lucky. But even the lucky ones are lonely at the core.”

I was going to begin my first post since ‘nam with something else, but I came across this quote pulled from Pauly’s blog. Interesting how that guy messes with my mind constantly. Pulls me quickly from joy to sorrow, then hurriedly back to pain and frustration and finally a little relief. Good writer that guy is.

I never did make it to a computer to post my Derby picks. That isn’t to say I haven’t checked out everyone else’s picks. The Derby was super fun to watch and be a part of from the fans perspective. I didn’t and wouldn’t have had Barbaro, I liked Point D. So much for that.

From Thursday through Sunday I was down in New Orleans for JazzFest and was unable to pull myself out of bed Saturday until 6pm. Between the Derby and my extremely limited sleep time, I decided to forgo a second day at the Fairgrounds in order to immerse myself in my passion – horses.

New Orleans is fucked up. Sorry to say. It is a sad, depressing place and I blame the federal government. All partisanship aside, Dem. or Rep. What the fed has done (or lacktherof) with just an incredible city is disgusting and disgraceful.

How do you abandon a great American city? All you see around town is abandonment of not just homes or streets, but ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOODS boarded up and left to rot. Obscenely sad. I strongly believe it is every American’s duty to go down there and visit. It is worth your time and money to visit first hand.

Instead of me going into more detail, just read these two quick recent articles about “famous people” experiencing New Orleans. These folks have seen it and their observations are not hyperbole or exaggeration.

Article #1
Article #2