Friday, June 29, 2007

Good Times

I'm hoping even the East Coasters can enjoy this awesome-ness:(wouldn't it be cool to see horse racing fans get this excited for the Breeders' Cup?)

For RSS Readers, click HERE

Thursday, June 28, 2007

WE'RE NUMBER.....errrrr 31??

So which would you rather attend, The Kentucky Derby or "any Red Sox-Yankee Game"(15)? An "NFL Conference Championship" game(7) or Kentucky Derby?

Knowing my audience, it is most likely a no-brainer. Being in Louisville on the first Saturday in May probably ranks right up there with, well....."attending a World Cup soccer match"(2). That seems to make sense. The most popular sport in the world and one of the oldest, most storied event in sports history. Sounds about right.

I'll even admit that the "Masters in Augusta"(8) rivals the uniqueness, splendor and party atmosphere that takes over the entire city of Louisville every year during the 1st week of May. But the "Stanley Cup"(20)?

Apologies as I beg to differ - emphatically.

In his recent ESPN column, Jim Caple lists "101 things all sports fans must experience before they die". If you haven't seen it, Mr. Caple places the Kentucky Derby at #31 on his list. At 31st, attending the Derby is apparently more desirable than the "Indy 500" (33) but not as imperative as checking out the "Bayou Classic"(31). If you're not quite sure what that is, here's a link.

Mr. Caple continues to astound by claiming events such as "US Open Tennis"(30) and "US Open Golf"(28) should be attended before you think about heading to Kentucky in early spring - much less planning your hotel accommodations in early December.

The esteemed sports writer who sets the stage with, "The rankings are based on the total experience, including the event itself, the participants, the setting and the atmosphere for the fans," purports that you should be booking your flight to NYC to check out a "game at Rucker Park"(29) - soon.

And, while I have you in a basketball mood, don't forget to score some tickets to the "NBA Finals"(13). This of course from the sport that gets more headlines and excitement from its DRAFT than when it actually holds REAL GAMES.

Granted, just about everything listed from 1-101 is a very cool event that any sports fan would love to attend. However, placing an "NCAA (basketball) subregional"(5) 27 spots higher than the 8th most valuable sports franchise seems a little misguided.

Don't get me wrong, though. Just because a sports franchise is financially successful, does not mean it is a must see or do for a sports fan. I do think however, it does help put the Derby into a little greater perspective.

Is it really necessary to attend a "spring training game"(6) before you check out the hats and blossoming three year olds at one of the grandest racing facilities on the planet?

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to attend my first Kentucky Derby. Though I arrived at Churchill Downs a scant 25 minutes before Derby post time, it was one of the greatest sports moments of my life. As jaded and as loyal as I am to the sport of kings, I could tell that the majority of the other 150,000+ in attendance felt the same way.

Maybe next year I'll skip the Derby and head to the (baseball) "Hall of Fame Induction"(16) in Cooperstown,NY.

Will Pete Rose be there? Maybe I'll ask him which he'd rather attend.

**FULL DISCLOSURE: My salary (at this point in time) is paid by Churchill Downs Inc., but please believe, I would feel the same way and would have MOST DEFINITELY written the piece even if that weren't the case. If there is an editorial criticsm here, it lies in my fanatacism and loyalty for the sport itself. But then again, it is my blog.....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ugggh...Invasor Retired (I'm sick of that headline too!)

So it sucks, but it is what it is. At least he has a good reason to go to the breeding barn.

Another great story/fan interest, Invasor really would have made this year's BC Classic quite fantastic.

John at Not to the Swift has some video
posted from our mini-TBA gathering this past Feb at Palm Meadows training facility in Florida. John and I both got some Invasor video, but John also got a cool impromptu interview with Invasor's trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin.

Here's my video of the HOY: (scroll ahead to about 4:10)

RSS Readers can click HERE for the vid.

Thanks for putting the truest words into my mouth, John. I could not have said this better myself:

"We do not remember days; we remember moments."


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Many thanks to Alan of the Bug Boys and Jose of Warstone (both of whom I was able to meet for the first time at The Belmont for answering my question from yesterday. I suppose I could say thank you to Anonymous for his/her input on this, but I don't really get the conspiracy angle floated by him/her. It was just a question. The word conspiracy didn't come up at all with this.... Thanks again for the input (everyone)!

Another shout out goes to Fran at Hoofcare who brought this blog to our attention.

Cool idea. Hopefully it can be executed well. I don't see a direct link to this new blog anywhere on the NTRA site yet. Maybe I'm missing it, and maybe it's just not up yet, but a direct link would be nice and helpful. Publishing comments will be important too. I see a link to make comments, but I don't see if they have been/will be published. Let's wait and see how this one develops...

Which brings me to another blog that I came across HERE.

I am not sure if someone has already reported on this, and I can't remember how I even got there, but it is up and running, as the last post was made 6/16/07. Anyone know anything about it? No comment ability, no links to anywhere and no credit for who put it together. Hopefully this blog will mature and be a helpful, informative site like THIS ONE is.

Here are some photos for the ADD crowd:

Portland Rose Gardens

Belmont Stakes 6/9/07 (view from our seats)
Dark Star Orchestra, Hartford, CT
Would YOU buy fish from this guy?
Random Portland Cowboys Prepare for Something Cowboy-ish
My Nephew, Phred

I have a question..

...for all of you astute readers, fans and bloggers:

I caught the Barbaro documentary on HBO last week and I was curious if anyone knew exactly why Edgar Prado, wearing the Jackson silks, could be seen with a "Fogelsonger" across the back of his helmet?

Did anyone else catch that? It was a shot of him right after the Preakness disaster and he is walking off the track into the jocks room (or some place else indoors).

I guess the only thing I can think of is that Fogelsonger is a regular rider for the Jackson's and has his name on the only proper, color coordinated helmet/silk.

Did anyone else notice this? Am I going completely crazy?

BTW, I did love the documentary, and I think one of the best things about it was that it was not 2 hours long. 60 minutes was more than enough time to tell the complete story accurately and thoroughly.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Tis Belmont Day

I am sitting here in bucolic West Hartford, CT, waiting for my sister and her husband to finsh getting ready. We are hoping to begin our day, get in the car to head south to Belmont Park, hopefully by 8am (more like 8:30am, though). Our first stop is Fort Lee, NJ to meet up with the rest of the "Average" clan, then take two carloads the final 12=miles over to Queens.

What kind of horse racing fan would I be if I didn't offer SOME sort of pick or two...

win: Curlin
place: Tiago
show: Hard Spun

Unfortunately, I don't thinking Rags to Riches places today. The other thing I would like you all and the racing gods to know is that I HATE to bet chalk and rarely do. I am the guy that when he bets the chalk it always loses. ALWAYS. Oh well, sorry Curlin (and connections), I really think he is much the best and hopefully can get at least even money and possibly score a more substantial profit hooking him up in an exacta with Tiago.

Hope everyone has a great day! Looks like hot and humid with a slight chance of rain before noon (EDT).

Good luck!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Well, it is the weekend and no one really reads these too much. It's also 72 here. Street Sense is the talk of the town.

All of these factors add up to some photos and a teaser, only. I've got some cool stuff to post but will wait until tomorrow and Monday to put them up. Hope everyone is having a great weekend! I had a winner in the 1st at Woodbine this morning, but didn't have the back end of the double (finished 2nd). The one turn turf miles there kill me!

Some photos (with a crappy cell phone):

Portland, Ore.

Blurry Blackalicious
House Guest
Michael Franti and Spearhead, Eugene, Ore.