Saturday, September 30, 2006

Scooped again?

Kudos to both Thoroughbred Times AND Bloodhorse for providing updtaed coverage on the races of the day.

It's 5:30pm (pst) and "The Authority" doesn't have ONE story on today's races.

Shame, shame.

NTRA Pick-4...

Where are the Will Pays?

This totally sucks and is a perfect example of the disconnect with all of horse racing.

Maybe I'm in the wrong, but where is it exactyl that I can find the Will Pays for the NATIONAL Pick 4 that the NTRA so loves to promote?

I can't find it on or Santa Anita's website?

Why does this sport continually promote shit half way and never complete the follow through.

I'm frustrated....anyone, else?

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Pacifc NW Representin'

The Racing Form's last Hawthorne Gold Cup story was written Wednesday. Bloodhorse's was updated at 9:15 pm last night. It's a good little report that Bloodhorse culled from Hawthorne's official release. Kudos to them.

The race, with the two morning line favorites hailing from little old Emerald Downs, features all-star jockey JR Velazquez who will ride Todd Pletcher's "not-so-sure-what to make of him" AP Arrow.

My horse is Flamthrowintexan, who I gained an affinity for after he won The Mt. Raineer at ED on July 30th. That was the DRF Handicapping tourney day where (in my first handicapping tourney) I finished 11th; $3.80 and two spots out of the 9th and final qualifying spot for the National Championship in Vegas.

That day he went off at $.90-1 as the most sure bet of the day. I opted not to play him, fully knowing he was going to win and lost out on a $7 return (based on $2 mythical win-place bets). That cost me the qualifying spot. Those measly few dollars on the day's Best Bet. Live and learn, I guess.

I also liked him to win in the Longacres Mile later in the summer where he won by a neck going off at $2.40-1. In that race, Papi Chullo (ML 3-1) went off as the $2.00-1 favorite finishing just behind 'Texan.

The Hawthorne Gold Cup shapes up to be a pretty interesting race with the news confirms #3 It's No Joke (ML 9-2) will be entered. It's No Joke was also entered in Saturday's G2 Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park. The race goes off at 4:26 pm (CST).

Finally, here's an Interesting little note I came across in the "Etc..." section of
"Keeneland will employ a 72-hour entry rule for its fall race meeting, which begins Friday. Exceptions will be a Saturday close for Wednesday races and a Sunday close for Thursday races."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Business trumping pleasure..

In preparing to cover this years Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, my attention has been diverted to dealing with more of the business side of matters. This is leaving me with less and less time to write creatively or expansively on the site.

No matter. This whole process is moving along rather smoothly and I am learning a ton about myself, the industry and a myriad of other business related matters.

For instance: Am I a more effective human while having a few beers or am I more functional afterseveral cups of coffee? Do I need to start smoking cigarettes again? Is silence better than lots of activity (when finding a place to sit down for the day to conduct "business"?) I'm not sure how anyone can be successful in life without knowing these key, personal details.

Today, I started contacting Hollywood talent agencies in order to try and find out which (if any) "Hollywood Stars" will be in Louisville for the BC. With thanks to Change100 over at PotCommitted, I was able to narrow the agencies down to a select 5.

UTA and ICM were both helpful and friendly. Though being transferred from head to head can be frustrating and mildly humiliating, when I finally got to the proper person, I was treated with respect and honesty. (Probably not the two most commonly used terms in Hollywood).

As far as CAA's a whole different story. Whoever answered the phone is clueless and was even a bit rude. Unable to answer any of my queries, the other end of the phone gave me this advice: "Find out who you want to interview, then find out if we represent them, and then get back to us." Ummmm, I don't think so. I realize this site is no Variety or Rush and Molloy, but press is press. And unorthodox coverage and publicity for clients can sometimes be more valuable than some MSM coverage. Bottom line, I will certainly not be going out of my way to track down andy CAA talent. With at least two other cooperative agencies, I don't need squat from CAA. And, by the way, it's there loss an not mine (ours).

If that last paragraph came off as a bit whiney, I apologize. Although the incompetence I describe above took place at an extremely low organizational level, its implications carry far and wide. I'm sorry CAA comes off looking like shit, but it's their own lack of personnel training that is to blame.

Enough of the whining....

I just got a great email from Patrick at Pulling Hair/Betting Horses. I am so excited to add the newest member to our little TBA. I have already added Starsfaraway to the roll call down the right side of the page. If you visit the site, you will see that Starsfaraway originates out of Japan and covers the world of Japanese racing. AWESOME!! Now we've got bloggers from North America, Africa (South) and Asia. Who says this thing isn't spreading?

As far as horse racing this weekend, I was delighted to read that Flamethrowintexan, winner of this year's Longacres Mile at beautiful Emerald Downs, is entered in Saturdays Hawthorne Gold Cup. Not only that, 'Texan should be the morning line favorite. This horse is a personal favorite of mine and I hope he lives up to his hype this weekend. The DRF has a cool little article on him and the race. Go there, sign in and check it out.

Finally, reasons #37 and #38 why Keith Olberman is great:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Taking Wednesday off, but first.....

So much to write about but not sure where to begin? Oh the Writers' Lament!

What I do know for sure is that I am trying to punch out something of an entertaining post before I go to bed. I will be unable to post all day tomorrow, as Wed. the 27th is my day off and I will be here. Clearly no available internet(s) (clothing very optional). If you've never been to any of the random hot springs spread across the western half of the United States, you should make it your mission to find at least one and check it out.

Beware of dirty hippies, though. Well, I take that back. Hippies are people, too. In fact, I am one-ninth hippie myself. We all have a little hippie in us, don’t we?

Bagby is one of my favorite places to take a brief respite from the daily grind. It is relatively close to downtown Portland, yet has an amazingly tranquil, removed existence. Sounds like a good hump-day expedition to take with new aquaintances.

As I mentioned here last week, I will be in Kentucky to cover the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships representing the "non-traditional media." I have been diligently planning, preparing and gathering information for this adventure. Spreadsheets, Word Docs, email lists, to-do lists and a myriad other operations have been tasked and some even completed.

My original plan was to get all of the technical stuff done early, by about the 15th of October. This would give me a good solid two weeks to do all of the necessary research and background reading to prepare me for any and ll possibilities while at world famous Churchill Downs. I have done a pretty good job sticking to it. I am at the point of making my first phone calls soliciting sponsors for the site. I will let you know how that goes.

There are several strategies I am imparting, the first one will go into effect tomorrow via email!

If you begin to see some ads pop up on this site, please be both happy and sad. It can suck when a site gets some cumbersome ads, but hey, we all have to try and live, right? I am just trying to recoup some of the money invested in this endeavor. I'll keep you updated on how that goes. If you have any specific ideas, please do not hesitate to let me know.

As far as editorial plans, I have been mulling over a few different possibilities. Sue has put me on notice for both my lack of journalistic sensibilities, as well as her thoughts on editorial direction.

Both are much obliged, ma'am (do they still say that in Texas?).

Details of my editorial possibilities are varied and rough at this point. I am juggling technical plans and balancing them with editorial decisions and right now editorial is not my major focus. I will have a few calls in to ESPN and some of the bigger Hollywood talent agencies by the end of week, but for now, that's all I got. Which is ok. For someone who isn't usually a great long-term planner, I feel like I am right on pace.

The biggest setback I've had so far was a pullout from the NTRA/Breeders' Cup on supporting a publicity effort that I had envisioned based around the fact that they credentialed a blogger. Now I need to tackle that on my own as well.

Doing pr for myself is fine, but it does cause two minor issues a) it is another item on my plate, and b) I need to tread carefully. I need to promote the fact that I will be "blogging live" all week from the heart of the international horse scene, but I won't have the outward support of either the NTRA or Breeders' Cup (they thought it wasn't something that they should actively participate in - a psot for another time). That plan, “Publicity Plan B” is still in the works. Oh well, just another challenge.

Ok, I feel good about tonight's effort. I hope everyone has a great Wednesday! I don't think I'll be back in internet(s) territory until Thursday, so we'll see you then!!

In the meantime, keep on reading the Daily Racing Form, Thoroughbred Times, Bloodhorse, and even Beyer.....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Seahawk/Giant Photos

Just before the start of the game. Yours truly, wearing Giants gear, migh have had one too many whiskeys before kick-off.

National Anthem: This is the one place where Seahawk fans show their "youth". Crowd doesn't start to really get going until the song is just about through. Remember the good old days when rauckus home crowds would begin rockin at "...O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?..." pretty much drowning out the entire last two or three lines of the song? Oh well, I guess you can't be perfect!

This is the first play of the game (view from our seats). Seattle throws an interception on this play, but Manning and the Giants give it RIGHT back one play later and the onslaught begins.

Finally! I'm just happy to be alive and have managed to pull it together (notice the fixing of the hair).
Even though the Giants sucked, it was a great day. Thanks to Mr. Rodriguez for the ticket hookup and DTMB for driving both ways (sorry I passed out on the way home, it was out of my control).

Monday, September 25, 2006

OTOBA Mixed Sales Reults are in....

Yesterday was the OTOBA sale here in Oregon. If you don't normally check out, you should head over there like right now. Jolene has all of the days "results" and stats. Though not Keeneland or Ocala or Saratoga, the annual Oregon sale gives you the deets of how "the rest of the world" buys and sells thoroughbreds.

Sun is shining, the weather is sweet, (yeah)......

Not a bad Monday, I guess. Certainly better than THIS.

When the Garlic Fries are the highlight of your day at an NFL game, you know it was a bad day for your team.

Exaggerations aside, going to football games at Qwest Field in Seattle is always a great time. Major thanks to my buddy Rodriguez for hooking up our tix. I really had an amazing time. Wearing one of the few Giants shirts at the game led to several interesting "confrontations". Sure, there were some Shockey and Manning jerseys, but I guess being in the lower level stocked with Seahawk season ticket holders, doesn't allow for many out of town fans. Although there were a few deuschbags at the game, most who were giving we sh^& were the typical good hearted people of the Pacifc NW. There were no punches thrown or ugly Philadelphia-esque incidents. Just good solid b$%l-busting.

I think I uttered the words, "I will see you all in this seat for the NFC Championship game on January 21st" about 50 times. It was the only crafty comeback I could muster after being down 42-3 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

For those of you interested in sports betting, I would highly advise taking the Seahawks at home every single game the rest of the season. That stadium is so ridiculously loud. Screaming at the top of my lungs, you can't even begin the hear the person next to you.

For those of you football fans who might have caught the game, it is impossible to try and change a play at the line of scrimmage, and it is equally as tough just trying to call a snap count. The only way to get a win at Qwest field is to return the opening kick (or defensive play) for a touchdown. Otherwise, the momentum and noise created by the +67k fans is debilitating. Here are some photos. More rambling to come later in the day. Seeing as this is supposed to be a horse racing blog, maybe I'll even get to some horse stuff?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

"Sorry folks, park's closed..."

(great movie, by the way)

No horses today as I'll be HERE.

Let's go Giants!!! Have agreat Sunday!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Happy New Year and job opportunities....

Today's word of the day is: Temperance

Temperance: I had a very disturbing conversation to start my day today. Sometimes people just don’t get IT and that frustrates me to no end. Not being one to give too much advice on life, I happen to be fairly qualified to give solid, accurate consultation on things like strategic planning, communications and marketing.

When I come across people who are unwilling to change, adapt, or even entertain something a little bit different - a touch off the norm, perhaps – it puts a damper on my day. It's definitely no way to start the day, but that was the case this morning.

However, instead of acting on my immediate emotion (which might normally be the case), I was able to (actually, forced myself to) step back and take in the whole scenario and then go from there.

I am still pissed, but even moreso, I’m disheartened by the whole exchange. I won’t go into too many specifcs, but just know this sports fans (horse racing fans in particular) we have a major uphill battle in front of us. Implementing serious change in this business is going to take persistence and A LOT of temperance.

If you think you can take your game to a new level and want to become a player in the sport (maybe), then here’s your chance: (from

Outstanding Career Opportunities… 

* Do you have a passion for the horse business? 

* Have you ever bred, owned or trained horses?

* Do you enjoy wagering on horse races?

* Can you see the potential for broadening the entertainment experience at racetracks? 

* Can you visualize the application of new technologies to deliver the thrill of horseracing and wagering entertainment to people's homes via television and the Internet? 

* Are you an innovative, energetic self-starter with a proven track record for getting things done? 

* Is your creativity stifled in your present job? 
* Are you interested in a challenging new career? 

* Would you like to join a company committed to the future of horse racing as the engine for a global gaming and entertainment company? 

We currently have openings at the VP level and above for senior executives with experience from the technology and brand marketing fields.
If you possess such experience and have a desire to use your proven leadership skills to drive this world class company to the next level, reply in confidence to, by fax (905-726-2596) or mail your resume to: 

Raquel Kerr 
Office of the Chairman 
Magna Entertainment Corp. 
337 Magna Drive 
Aurora, Ontario, Canada 
L4G 7K1

So Magna is looking for VP’s….anyone game enough? I'm undecided whether or not I'll send them my information. Somehow I feel like working for Magna as a VP isn't the best way to implement major changes that we all know are neccesary. I hope folks see this however, and do apply for a position. There are some extremely talented folks on these here internet(s) and it would be great to inject some fresh perspecitve. For me though, my delusions of grandeur have a different path plotted for change-making.....

Over at OregonRacing, there is an interesting discussion going on regarding the DRF’s sign-in procedure and some folks are not happy with the technology being utilized on the Forms website. I know the folks at DRF (ESPECIALLY the internet(s) folks) are doing their best to take that site to the next level. As you can tell, it’s a big job. Check out the discussion HERE.

Staying in Oregon, this Sunday is the annual OTOBA annual sale at Oakhurst Farm. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attaend this year’s sale. Last year was my first and it was a total blast. I am looking forward to hearing a full report (JOLENE!!).

BTW, as I just noticed, Oregon Racing's Michael T. has just been elected to the OTOBA Bd. of Directors. Congrats, Mike!! The Oregon racing industry is better for having you!!

If you have any Jewish friends and you haven’t wished them a “Happy New Year”, then you should get on it ASAP…especially on the East Coast!!

Finally, here’s where I’ll be in Sunday afternoon:

Yes, I will be in Seattle cheering on my favorite New York Giants to upset (according to Vegas) the home town Seahwaks. The photo above is the view from our seats. Giants are 3.5 point underdogs.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

It's a great day to be a blogger......

This blogger however, was unable to be as productive as he wanted to be. Software downloads, errands, networking - all of these took me away from putting together any sort of coherent thoughts for any sustained amount of time.

Now it's 8:15pm and I can finally sit down (after dinner and cleaning the apt) to do the writing I've tried to get to all day!

Have you perused the TBA blogs yet today? Damn, kids!! There are some really great posts up there. If you feel like you can't take the time to peruse all of them, here are a few of today's highlights:

The TBA has added a new member. Welcom Fran at Hoofcare

Brad had another amazing day on the Northern California Circuit

John at Not to the Swift talks about his evolution as a blogger

At the 8th Pole questions the validity of the BC as true "World Championships."

Jason can't wait for this

Superfecta asks, "Why does Blodd-horse hate Kenny Mayne"?

The Bug Boys bring up an amazing point that I think is one of the biggest issues facing the future of horse racing

Like I said above, "It's a good day to be a blogger."

It also looks as though we are finally getting the "middle aged white guys" to particpate and contribute to our online dialouge/community. Even if it is just one so far, it's one more than before. Thank you for being an active participant, Mr. P. We appreciate it and look forward to entertaining more of your esteemed colleagues in the near future.

Stephen Allensworth of the New York Daily News has an interesting take on why NY State's Lotto is in trouble:

"Basically, the lottery chose to ignore the cardinal rule of gambling, the single thing that has made their instant games so successful: The game has to give back to keep people playing. Few people will stay with a game that never pays off."

I also came across this article and was curious how much Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum would pay for this 3-yr. old?

And just to wrap up an amazing day to be contributing to the betterment of society, I HAD to print this:

"I think that blogging should die a sudden death. It's just ridiculous. It's like a playground for four-year-olds. People say and do things in the world of blogs that they would never do in real life, and I think it's a false experience. You know, it's, like, eating too much candy. One of the things along those lines that bothers me about when people start citing blogs as news sources is that when people are writing on these blogs, they feel like they don't feel they need to do any research or back up their opinions with facts or anything, you know what I mean? Times have changed. It used to be, to be a writer you had to have experience and talent, and learn a craft. Now anybody with an opinion, which is anyone and everyone, feels that it's worthy. Technology is allowing people to have access to things where before it required very great skill. So there will be some interesting developments from that, and also some things that are pretty worthless. Pretty soon anybody with a cell phone is going to be able to be a news reporter. The blog is yesterday's parachute pants. It's here now but it's gone tomorrow."


Don't know who Jared Leto is? Well, you could Google it, but don't give him the satisfaction.

Leto is an actor/musician who's been in some decent movies and has a band called 30 Minutes to Mars. I know, you've never heard of it. Here's a top notch photo:

photo courtesy of

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Journalistic Integrity is Alive and Kicking

I’d like everyone to know I have absolutely nothing against Ray Paulick - he and I have never met. In fact, I am pretty certain no one in the TBA has ever met Mr. Paulick.

I truly appreciate Mr. Paulick visiting my site (and the other TBA sites) more than he knows. If my post from yesterday came off as anything resembling a personal attack, than I apologize. That was not the intent.

As for me, yes sometimes I can be a bit petulant, sometimes a muckraker, and unfortunately at times, sloppy. These are shortcomings I am dealing with and attempting to master on a daily basis.

There will be no games of, “Gotcha Last,” between Mr. Paulick and me.

However, I would like to address Mr. Paulick’s response to my most recent post.

“One of the reasons I don't hang on every word of bloggers is that it's time consuming, and time is an important commodity to me. I'm writing this at 10:30. A couple of weeks ago when I cruised many of the TBA blogs I was doing so at midnight. Us middle aged white guys need sleep,”
said Paulick.

As a major contributor to the horse racing media, and even an opinion and policy setter, I firmly believe it is your duty to make the time to scan these blogs more often than not.

Isn’t it worth your time to constantly be feeling the pulse of your readers? Blogs seem to be the easiest, most up to date way of doing that. Don’t you think Seymour Hirsch, Paul Krugman, Robert Novak, et. al. take the time to regularly visit sites such as: Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Media Matters, Rush, Bill O’, etc.? It seems somewhat short-sighted and a bit misguided to dismiss the forces of information available to you. Maybe you should view us as free market research readily available anytime, anyplace - all just a keystroke away.

In my somewhat wordy, maybe-too-emotional post, the point I was trying to make might have gotten lost.

It really rubbed me the wrong way that what I got from Mr. Paulick was that blogs aren’t really worth his time and that he visits on a fairly infrequent basis – whenever he happened to have a chance. In my view, that is insufficient.

It basically takes a maximum of 10-20 minutes to read all 22 of the TBA blogs. Do I read EVERY single blog EVERY single day? No, of course not. But it is easy to take a quick look at each blog and see which are updated and which aren’t worth a read (that day). We've even established an RSS feed to make the process even easier!!

All I’m asking is that the leaders of the horse racing media (and industry) pay closer attention to what is going on around here and in other similar places. I believe, as leaders of this industry it is your duty and responsibility – anything else is a disservice to the game and to those who make their livelihoods from it.

As you have pointed out sir, I may have misquoted you in yesterday’s post. As a responsible journalist, I should have noted that I was actually paraphrasing you and not quoting you directly. I apologize if I mischaracterized your statement, but it was garnered from not only your chat transcript, but also your comments across the TBA in the days following.

Everyone should realize the Mr. Paulick did not say the exact following:

“He does not visit the blogosphere regularly”. That was the author of this blog paraphrasing.

I very much look forward to meeting you in Kentucky in a few short weeks, Mr. Paulick. When we do finally meet, please don’t throw coffee in my face; I really am a half decent guy ☺!! (And I look forward to buying you a drink/coffee at some point during BC week).

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

LITF Final Thought & A Right Jab/Wake Up Call for the Industry

Today was a late starting day for me. About halfway through the 3rd quarter of last night’s MNF football game between Jacksonville and Pittsburgh I began to feel the first signs of being sick. The hypochondriac that I am, I instantly put my IPA down and went directly for a glass of water.

Invoking the old Bailey family remedy of “sweating it out”, I went home, shut my windows, and bundled myself into bed like I was going to sleep in a blizzard.

After 11 hours of deep, sweaty sleep, a nice shower, a fantastic pasta meal (garlic-laden “ziti con broccolini”) and about 68 oz. of water, I have managed to save myself from several brutal days of fighting off some mysterious early fall illness.

Thusly, I was unable to keep to my normal schedule of early morning writing and research. Needless to say, the 5 o’clock hour is approaching and I am just hitting my literary stride.

I appreciate all of the support regarding my announcement yesterday and am looking forward to this opportunity to represent my fellow bloggers on the grandest of scales. I promise to do my best to make you all proud. I will be sure to keep everyone updated on what’s happening leading up to the last week of October.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned the passing of one of my favorite horses of all-time, Lost In the Fog. There have been some nice mentions of LITF over the past 24 hrs. - mainly HERE, HERE and HERE.

I offer my final 2-cents:

“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, 

Nothing, that's all that (LITF) left me, yeah, 

But feeling good was easy, Lord, when he (ran a race), 

Hey, feeling good was good enough for me, hmm hmm, 

Good enough for me and ……...”

Last week, my good friend and editor of, Aaron Kayce said:
“Music is the barometer to gauge one's soul. It is the true answer to "How are you?" You want to know how I am? Just plug into my music, it will tell you all you ever need to know.”

For some reason, the words to one of Janis Joplin’s most famous songs (which was actually written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster) came to my head when thinking back on LITF’s legacy.

To my eyes, that horse just looked right. He felt right. And from what I could tell, he seemed to just "get it". Throwing recent conventional wisdom out the window, LITF defied the odds by winning at multiple tracks located in multiple time zones. Track biases and “horses for courses” didn’t mean a thing to this beauty. He basically said, “Put me out there Greg (Gilchrist) and I’ll win, baby!” No Biggie-Tupac, East Coast v. West Coast controversy here. “Suit me up and let er’ rip”, that was LITF’s mojo and that’s what I’ll remember most. Feelin’ good was easy when he ran and feelin’ good was good enough for me.

Pop Culture is no longer just a direct extension of television. It was only a few short years ago that the world was completely smitten and overwhelmed with images, sayings and styles derived exclusively from TV. During that time, TV’s only rivals in the dissemination of pop culture were movies and radio. Sure, Hollywood is influential in how we view and absorb pop culture, but a one-time movie release always has less impact than a powerhouse TV show such as Friends.

Today, the number of pop culture outlets has increased and expanded tenfold. I haven’t had a TV in nearly two months, yet somehow I remain on top of today’s current events, trends, happenings and mishaps. More and more I am finding myself more in tune with pop culture than friends who have cable TV!!

This is why I am so distressed when I hear that the editor of a major industry media outlet goes on record in saying “he does not visit the blogosphere regularly”. That was Bloodhorse Magazine’s Ray Paulick. Mr. Paulick has taken some flack in many of the horse racing blogs recently – mainly because he took the time to visit and address certain issues with the blogging community. Does Steven Crist pay us many visits? How about Mark Simon or Don Clippinger of Thoroughbred Times? I am not quite sure, but I do know that if they are not, then they are making a huge mistake.

Whether these middle-aged white men like it or not, WE ARE THE INDUSTRY. You can pooh-pooh our journalistic sensibilities or our frequency of posting, but these “leaders of the industry” better wake up and realize that WE, the horse racing bloggers are the ones arranging and organizing bus trips to Triple Crown Races. WE are the ones taking birthday parties to our local track – initiating new patrons into the Sport of Kings. WE are the ones introducing our youngest of kin to fillies, mares, jockeys and photo finishes.

I’m sorry, but our blogs ARE a part of horse racing culture and they are here to stay. The industry, from the inside, needs to wakeup and get with it.

I’ll leave this lengthy post with one simple question.
Please read the following two articles and tell me, WHY YOU THINK HORSERACING IS ANY DIFFERNET THAN THESE INDUSTRIES?
Article #1
Article #2

Monday, September 18, 2006

NTRA/Breeders' Cup Recognizes Bloggers as Legit? UPDATED with Sadness....

Ok, it’s time to buckle down and do some writin’ and informin’ on a slow Monday in the horse world....

Although I am not one that is very good at reporting good news about myself, I am absolutely jacked about the following:

Yours truly, Ruben Bailey, Proprietor, Editor and Writer of Avg Horseplayer, will be on hand, reporting live and in person from the 2006 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Churchill Downs.

Yes, the folks at the NTRA and Breeders' Cup are allowing me full media access for the week of the BC!! I am so glad the industry is finally grasping the future of the sport and embracing the concept of non-traditional media as a way of increasing appeal and reach.

I am eternally grateful to the powers that be who saw fit to grant me the privilege of being the first independent blogger to be credentialed for this type of event.

My assignment is simple. Don’t make an ass out of myself!!

I’ll be in Louisville from Sunday, October 29th through Sunday November 5th to cover everything from Julien Leparoux to Kenny Mayne and Ray Paulick to the many horses, trainers and owners making the trip to Kentucky.

There is so much to do between now and then. I have already begun the process of upgrading my site so as not to embarrass myself throughout the month of October and into November. Looking for site sponsors, story ideas, and creating non-horse publicity are all on my plate between now and then.

As far as my compatriots in the TBA, I really look forward to getting your input as we move forward. I realize the enormity of trying to cover this event by myself. I am so open to any and all suggestions from all of you. I look forward to developing some story ideas as we get closer to the first weekend in November with your help and guidance.

UPDATE: All of this of course, is now tempered by the sad, sad news that Lost in the Fog, one of my all-time favorite horses, was finally euthanized after a month-long bout with cancer. All of my thoughts and prayers to Greg Gilchrist, Harry Aleo and of course LITF whom I hope suffered as little as possible and enjoyed every second of his unbelievably successful life.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I got my links back!!

Thanks to Mozilla/Firefox I am now able to utilize the al important "links" feature on Blogger. I am still working through this whole Mac thing. It has been less than a week and the jury is still out, but the more I use it, the more I love it.

Is there anything better than a beautifully crisp, fall day? When the days begin to shorten, and humidity is a forgotten foe, the glorious time of year we call autumn surprises us with its unique odor and comfort.

I started the day with a leisurely bike ride through some Portland neighborhoods that I had never quite experienced. Just another plus on an already enjoyable day.

Consuming my toasted bagel with cream cheese and a cup of coffee along side my new friend Cornelius, who looked similiar to this I found myself in a refined state of comfort. Warmth, a slight breeze out of the north and a whiff of contentment filled my senses and I thought of two other places that might be equally enjoyable at this point in the year.

1) Belmont Park: The two finest times of the year at the world famous Queens track are twilight Fridays in late spring/early summer and early fall when racing returns from Saratoga.
2) Keeneland: Yes, I know the historic Bluegrass track isn’t quite open yet. And I have not had the pleasure of enjoying its historic, bucolic surroundings, but from what I hear and what I can envision, Keeneland in the fall is a destination for any horse racing fan.

I have a big announcement to finally release to you all come tomorrow morning. I am looking forward to letting everyone in on an amazing opportunity afforded to me in the upcoming weeks. I appreciate everyone who has participated in this site over the past two years. This blog has transformed into something more than I ever could have imagined and I look forward to growing and expanding the reach of this blog, and the 21 other blogs associated with the TBA.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

AFLAC!!!! I missed it...

Funny Cide, despite finishing fourth in today's Brooklyn, manages to pick up an 8k check. It would be interesting to know exactly what Sackatoga and Barclay Tagg are thinking regarding the future of this 6yr old. The horse has finished ITM 22 out of 32 times in his career. Not to shabby for a state bred gelding. But when is enough, enough? How much longer will FC be racing? Will he continue to face far superior competition in stakes races? He’s obviously not even remotely close to the horse he was just three short years ago. On the other hand, the horse is an earner and you would be hard pressed to keep resting an earning horse – especially a 6 yr. old. I just hope they take good care of this horse and don't pound him into the ground unmercifully.

Can you remember when you first hated getting up in the morning? For me it was kindergarten. Even at an obscenely young age, I despised getting up in the morning. Physiologically, we are all different and I firmly believe that some people are just inherently either night people, or morning people. I’ve always suspected I was one of the creatures of the night, hitting my peak stride later in the day - closer to sunset than sunrise. Now I am convinced. With time and clarity, I've been able to close that loop pretty quickly. Me getting up at 7am to be at work by 8 is esentially pointless. I need to ease into a day and move on from there. It's not as if I am immune to work, it's just that I need time to get going. Ergo, I'm NOT a morning person. It is later in the day and into the night that my mind is at its sharpest.

Did anyone catch the trivia question ESPN posed during the Louisville/Miami game this afternoon? I was in a jam packed sports bar and can only remember parts of the question, “What NFL player (or NBA player, not sure) rode a harness race champion?” It was something like that. Then when I finally remembered to turn back for the answer (how many times do you see those questions only to miss the posted answer!!) I caught them showing a harness race highlight from 1987 from Yonkers!! Of course I missed the answer and now I’m curious…..Does AFLAC, sponsor of the AFLAC trivia question found in most primetime sporting events, post on their website all of the questions and answers they pose during a sporting event? Don’t you think that would be a good idea? Think of all the web traffic you could drive to your site if you highlighted the fact that there is a special AFLAC trivia question page. In case you missed it during the game, just click on AFLAC dot com and BAM! a whole page dedicated to the AFLAC trivia questions. I like it. I like it a lot. Now only if I could get AFLAC to fork over some dough for the idea!!

UPDATE: Of course AFLAC doesn’t have a page dedicated to their trivia questions. However, they do have a “commercials” page where you can watch all of aFLAC duck commercials. But no trivia page. Big mistake. I would wager that they could be drawing a few thousand extar hits every weekend (and not to mention during the week) to their website (which in the end is what they really want).

Friday, September 15, 2006

Football Weekend

Yes, I'll be watching the weekend's various horse racing cards, but my focus will be on the football games that will be shown.

Saturday, it's Oregon(-4.5) vs. Oklahoma in Eugene. I lost money on Oklahoma last week when I was in Vegas, and I think Oregon wins by more than 4. Oklahoma is SEVERELY overrated. They just aren't that good.

Saturday, Notre Dame(-6) vs. Michigan: You might ask, "Ruben, how does a nice Jewish boy like yourself LOVE the Fighting Irish so much?" Well, if you must know, it comes from years of watching football with friends who loved Michigan in the most obnoxious way possible. These are the same Yankee fan friends who I despise when it comes to rooting. We used to drink many a beer on a Saturday afternoon at the Bailey home whilst both parents were working until 10pm. It was on those enjoyable Saturdays that my love for Notre Dame and hatred for Michigan blossomed like a spring flower.

Sunday, Giants(+3) vs. Eagles: F the Eagles. That's all I have to say. The Giants were one or two bad calls away from a nice "W" last Sunday night. Eagles fans can take a hike as the Giants DEFINITELY win this one outright.

I will be watching Funny Cide in the Brooklyn, but hopes are dim. Do I love FC? Not really. I certainly would NEVER bet on that pig, but positive Funny Cide news (like a victory or even ITM) is spectacular for the game.

Do me a favor and check out Dave Tuley's columns in the Daily Racing Form (
Dave is a friend of mine and I was fortunate enough to meet him and his family in Vegas over the weekend. Great guy. Great family. Fantastic columns. I am sure he would appreciate it if you stopped by the sports betting section of the DRF.

Sea Preacher Update...

It’s 6:15pm on Friday and I am sitting in a coffee shop in the swanky Pearl District. Not too bad, I guess. I’m just trying to work out the whole stress-free/free-time thing I’ve got going these days.

One thing I am learning quickly is: doing work at home is not optimus prime. Also note to self: taking muscle relaxers at midnight after several alcoholic beverages makes it tough to keep to a disciplined schedule. Everything’s a learning process, ya know?

Yesterday I posted about (among other things) the 4th race at Monmouth on Sunday. In referencing the unfortunate horse that ended my Vegas horse-betting escapade, I called him Sea CREATURE, when it was actually Sea PREACHER. Either way I lost my money when he went down on the far turn.

Kudos to Equidaily and Bloodhorse for posting a follow up on this story. I would hyper link for y’all, but with my new Mac, I have somehow lost the ability to use that feature via Blogger. I have been doing some research and hope to have that fixed by the end of the weekend.

In case you care, here is the address:

As I suspected, Sea PREACHER was euthanized. Good thing CC only broke his finger. The spill, as usual, looked WAY worse.

Again, kudos to Bloodhorse for the follow up. The lack of information that comes from events like this only hurts the marketing of the sport. I would hope there is some sort of internal marketing push for more transparency in the dispensing of horse news overall.

The only way to get people more involved, or introduce new, passionate fans, is to keep them connected. They need to feel a part of the process. Well-informed means paying attention. Paying attention is time and investment. These actions are crucial to gaining and holding onto a substantial, fresh fan-base.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Suckahatchee. Mandalay Bay. Sea Preacher. A brief Vegas review...

Since leaving for Las Vegas last Thursday evening, my life has gone through some monumental changes. Finally, nearly seven days after landing at McCarran airport, I have settled down and began my life anew.

No, I’m not a born again, nor have I taken a vow of celibacy. Horses and “strategic communication” are still my passion. I’ve just regrouped after a chain of events that have finally set me free from what was a slow, dragging, unfullfilling existence.

As Alec Baldwin’s “Along Came Polly” character Stan Indursky would say, “Good things, Rube.”

I won’t belabor you with the minutiae of the entire Vegas trip. In fact, half of went down would probably get me mandatory jail time. However, here are a few highlights:

-Mandalay Bay: The Mandalay is a very cool place. Big, but not MGM Grand big. A really great mix of class, spunk and hospitality. The outdoor pool area is a phenomenal respite. Although I managed to only spend about 12 minutes outside all weekend, the Mandaly pool area is certainly a destination to be checked out.

-Mandalay Bay Sports book: Whether you stay at MB or not, you MUST hit up the MB sports book. It was there that the best part of the trip took place. Major kudos to Jay, Scott, Tom, Hugh and the entire Mandalay Bay sports book staff. These gentlemen went above and beyond their call of duty to make sure me and mine had everything we needed. From a reserved VIP booth to playful interaction and banter, these guys know how to do things right. Besides gaining the loyal business of the 10 in my party, I hope others will flock to MB and give them some business. Although I lost, (due to Kansas and Stanford) I had an amazing time and these gentlemen can take a large amount of the credit. If in future visits I somehow manage not to stay at MB, I will certainly be taking my sports betting business there.

-Landing at McCarran: Have you ever watched a textbook, epic desert thunderstorm from 15,000 feet? Until Thursday night I hadn’t either. Attempting to land, we were informed by our captain that McCarran had closed due to severe weather. My America West flight (and who knows how many others) were able to witness a storm of majestic strength, anger and beauty whip itself into a frenzy around greater Las Vegas. We all had front row seats to this natural extravaganza of static electricity. The extra hour added to the flight was a reasonable exchange for the front row seat to this carnival of nature several miles above sea level.

-Staying up all night and playing the horses: Not recommended. I attempted this feat and failed miserably. My lack of physical preparation and disregard for mental health set my touting off to a miserable start. My horse betting schnied didn’t end until I voluntarily pulled the plug. I decided to press with a huge win bet on a “can’t miss” horse in Sunday’s 4th race at Monmouth. Bet down to 6-5 (had I waited to see that, perhaps I would have recanted my wager). Nonetheless, odds on, and a seemingly sure thing, Alan Goldberg’s Sea Preacher began making his move around the far turn when, unfortunately, the horse broke down completely and disappeared from the screen. Empathizing with trainer, owner, jockey and horse, I put away my form and my money. I had invested enough in the Mandalay Bay (as far as horses go) and my weekend of betting horses was officially over. (Side note: I am assuming they put the horse down, as it seemed to be a rather vicious fall. I hope rider CC Lopez escaped without any major injuries.

-Brian Ellerbee: Not sure how many of you know who he is….Ellerbee served as the head coach of the University of Michigan’s Men Basketball team from 1998-2001 and joined us for dinner at “Simon” located in the Hard Rock, Saturday evening. Ellerbee is now in construction/real estate in Las Vegas. Consuming some top notch food and drink, I was fortunate enough to sit next to Ellerbee and exchange war stories from my days in the NCAA coaching ranks.

-My new friend, “Bobby” from Youngstown, OH: After having a near heart attack watching the Boston College/Clemson 2OT game, I sprinted for the bar located smack dab in the middle of the Mandalay. Somehow, I struck up a conversation with a horse playing 54 yr. old gentleman from Ohio named, “Bob”, who supposedly “everybody” knows as, “Bobby.” Bobby and I bought each other several beers, and shot the shit about horses, women, children and life in general. Once again, horseracing proved to be the unbreakable link between a very conservative 54-yr old Ohioan, and a 30-yr. old Jewish kid living in Portland. Thanks to Bobby for helping cheer me up, as despite winning the BC/Clemson game, I was having a hard time coping with the stress – the first time that’s ever happened to me in my life!!

-SUCKAHATCHEE: Though I am not too sure what it means, it is one of the pearls of wisdom I received from Bobby at the middle bar early last Saturday evening. I was too drunk too actually transcribe the actual meaning of this word, so I think we’ll leave it alone for a while and see if it can find a natural meaning. In the meantime, if anyone has any thoughts, I would love to hear them. I am taking personal responsibility to introduce “Suckahatchee’ to the everyday English vernacular.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Alive AND no jail time..

I have returned from Vegas in one piece. Relatively healthy, but certainly a bit lighter in the wallet.

Two giant F-U’s to Kansas and Stanford Football teams. Morse so to the trees of Palo Alto who blew a 20 point halftime lead, losing outright to San Jose State. I hope they don’t win another game the entire year.

My touting was completely off. The combination lack of sleep, over pumped oxygen completely threw me of my game as I was only able to connect on ONE race the entire weekend.

Many, many shout outs to Mandalay Bay Sports Book: Jay, Tom, Hugh, Scott. Those guys hooked me up more than anyone will ever know.

Things are extremely hectic for me right now as I try and decompress back into normalcy. I have lots and lots of stories and shouts outs to provide. I am Seattle for the day, so I don’t think the entire roundup will be done today. Hoping for tomorrow EOD.

In the meantime, please enjoy this video of a wedding I was at just two short weeks ago.

Click HERE and enjoy.

I’ll be back soon.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I just love the sound of that word.

As my trip to LV nears, I just wanted to share a brief email I received from a friend this morning:

It's a bit surreal around here today as our IT manager Susan's youngest son was hit by a car this morning on his bike and is critical condition with brain injuries. Sucks.

The really strange thing is I went to the soccer game with her and her family last night, Bobby included. Both her sons are totally cool, cute kids. I was watching Bobby do his homework with his Dad's help in the stands...right next to me. And today they are in disarry and hoping he lives to do homework again.

The world is strange.....cherish every day.


I think that speaks for itself and I know I'll try (and continue trying) to live everyday to the fullest, not worrying about the insignificant, petty things that so often consume our lives.

It is a shame that sometimes tragedy is needed to give us the kick in the ass that we all need to gain the proper perspective.

Life is short, man. I think it behooves us all to cherish it all a bit more, everyday.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

All seems to be well..... my little blogosphere so here's what's up:

-24 hours from now I'll be in Vegas. 24 hours and 5 minutes from now, I will have dropped a 20 spot on 2BLACK and 14RED....let it ride!!

-My lock sports bet of the weekend is KANSAS (Jayhawks) -22. Bet the house and the farm. I'm looking for that one to be a nice score.

-Belmont opens Friday and I am more than delighted to be able to catch the whole card. I will be front and center at the Mandalay Bay sportsbook, 9am sharp Friday morning. My first bet of the day will be 1,2,3 tri box ($6). This is an old superstition that I have dating back to the first day of the Saratoga meet in the year 2000. I hit a huge tri in the first race of the meet (a steeplechase, herego, no real handicapping for me) and from then on, I've been betting the 1,2,3 on the first race of every NYRA meet.

-Looks like Tom Durkin is officially out of the BC race callers booth. I am not too upset at this. I love Durkin and his calls, but it will be nice to change things up a little bit. Using Trevor Denman is a solid, conservative pick. Once again, I feel like the NTRA made a mistake letting a good promotional marketing opportunity slide through their fingertips. I thought it would be a good ploy to spread the calls over 4 different announcers. It would have made for some nice changes had Denman, Larry Colmus, Luke Kruytbosch and another could have taken two races apiece. Why not? The race isn't branded by the race caller.

If they wanted to get truly wacky (which I am not backing 100%, just throwing out the idea) the NTRA could have held a contest where people could submit tapes and try out for one race. This would have been a great publicity stunt. Although TV would never allow it, maybe the caller could have made the call on a closed circuit or something like that. Either way, I think the NTRA could have used a little more creativity to squeeze some much needed extra promtotion out of this affair.


Continued Connex Issues

As I continue to sort out my internet(s) issue, please take a few minutes to read an amazing article written by a dear friend of mine. It is worth the 10 minutes of your time.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Internet(s) connection issues

My internet(s) have been shaky over the last 24 hrs. Hopefully I will have these issues taken care of by this evening. :-(

Sunday, September 03, 2006

My toes are sunburned + Ray Paulick follow up

There’s been a lot going on around these parts over the past few days. I step away to attend my first college football game in person, (Oregon kilt Stanford 48-10) and 36 hours later I come to find all hell has broken loose in the horse racing blogosphere. It looks as though Ray Paulick of Bloodhorse has been making his way around the TBA. I won't belabor the point, but if you want to take some time checking out his visits, go here. Patrick does a more than adequate job summing up what has gone down so far.

See how these internet(s) work, guys? It’s called word of mouth, or viral marketing. It’s an absolute beautiful thing. We stoke the fires of news and information, spreading “the word” like wildfire helping to keep thing fresh for everyone. Now we just need that connection to the next generation….

This post, from earlier in the week was a sort-of-diatribe directed at said Editor in Chief. With that however, I do want to commend Mr. Paulick on his visiting all of our sites. My “Answer to an Answer” post was not meant to be petulant or abusive. I appreciate RP’s presence on my site and others, addressing current issues within the sport.

I look forward to meeting Mr. Paulick at Churchill Downs the last week of October.

No rehashing of an old fight by me. I think we, the thoroughbred bloggers of the internet(s), are slowly creeping our way into the mainstream consciousness of this sport. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

-Much appreciation to those of you using this blog as a platform for disucssion and communication. Like some others, I will be making a continued, concerted effort to up the ante on this blog.

Here are a few stories that I thought you might be interested in checking out:

1) Potential new marketing scheme for the NTRA?

2) Look at ABC stealing from Snakes on a Plane. Ladies and gentleman, the best new way to create buzz for your product: staged or not, this is good buzz. And do you really think ABC didn’t plant this? I didn’t think so!

3) Horsetail envy is all the rage…