Friday, June 05, 2015

American Pharoah: Goah! Goah! Goah!

The last Triple Crown winner was in 1978.  Affirmed.  And his name was spelled correctly.

American Pharoah is attempting to put an end to this dry spell tomorrow in the 147th Belmont Stakes.  He could go down in history as the 12th horse since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock to win the Triple Crown.  And, as part of the nation-wide celebration, Spell-Checker would be updated.

We've all been inundated  with history, statistics, expert opinions, race scenarios, and static noise of how the odds are against him.  In the past 37 years, 13 other horses won the Derby and the Preakness but not the Belmont.  And this year, I say, American  Pharoah is the one to do it!

FYI:  Last year, I said, "California Chrome is the one!"  I even bought a #Chromies T-shirt to wear Belmont Day ... It conjures up such sad feelings I have not been able to wear it since :-(

FYI:  2012, I jumped on the I'll Have Another Band Wagon, only to fall off immediately when he had to scratch out of the Belmont due to injury.

FYI:  2008, I reluctantly gave into Big Brown.  He was pulled-up and finished last.  I shrugged my shoulders and headed over to the bar to have a beer.

FYI:  2004, the year of my biggest heartbreak ... Smarty Jones.  I will never forget how the roaring cheers were immediately silenced when Birdstone passed him in the stretch. *sniff*  The pain and suffering among the multitude of the fans and believers, the mournful mood of the grandstand ... until one [stupid] voice let out a whoop, "I got it!"  If I recall, dozens of people were prepared to give that dude a swirlie.

The point being, I won't bet against my horse regardless of the historical odds that are against him or the dismal odds on the tote, i.e., 1/5.  I'll stay loyal and true and faithful and excited; a fan of the sport.  History has recorded 11 Triple Crown winners so history indicates there will be a 12th.

And it may be tomorroah.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rosie and the Rescue Gala

Last Friday night was the 3rd Annual Remember Me Rescue Celebrity Fundraiser and Gala at Lone Star Park.  I am generally not a "gala" type individual as it requires certain expectations, such as actually attending.  However, because I have the uppermost respect and admiration for Donna and Dallas Keen, as well as a lack of excuses, i.e., binge-watching House of Cards, I attended.

There was the usual gala fundraiser fare of silent auction, buffet, and open bar.  And big boon:  Rosie Napravnik as keynote speaker!

Up front, I'm a veteran of attending seminars, symposiums, and conventions.  If there's one thing I know about keynote speakers, they have the preponderance to blather on long enough for one to enjoy one's coffee and dessert, regardless as to whether the keynote speaker is a scientist discussing T-cell receptor gene rearrangement or Leonard Nimoy regaling the audience with his experience of directing Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home.

Interestingly enough, Rosie's turn as keynote speaker was remarkably brief.  If you took a sip of your coffee and/or blinked, you missed it.  "I came to Lone Star Park in 2010 and won the Lone Star Park Handicap on Redding CollieryRemember Me Rescue is a great organization.  They do a great job.  I have my own OTTB.  I love him [or her].  It's important that we support this program.  Thank you."

As my mother used to say, "Just because you're an illustrious jockey with winnings over $13 million, doesn't make you Zig Ziglar!"*

Let's face it:  I was hoping for some insightful, humorous anecdote that I could scoop to share with my [2] readers.  For example, wouldn't it had been cool if she said something along the lines like, "So, there I was a few years ago, riding in my first Kentucky Derby!  Remember that guy?  Pants on Fire!  Super awesome!  Kelly ... er, Kelly Breen, the trainer, is so amazing and so incredible!  What an honor!  Anyway, we're making our way to the paddock, and who do I run into?  Bob Baffert!  Wow!  Talk about your heart pounding! He's a legend!  Well, apparently this legend had been enjoying a few tacos or taquitos, or something like that.  Clearly, there was a trail of salsa that had dribbled down his chin and had left a rather small but conspicuous stain on his shirt.  I didn't think too much at the time.  It was during the post parade ...the crowds and strains of 'My Old Kentucky Home' ... I know that my heart should've been overcome with emotion, but all I could think of was the salsa stain on Bob Baffert's shirt; it looked exactly like the shape of Mickey Mouse ears!  All of a sudden, during the post parade of all places, I had this overwhelming desire to go to DisneyWorld!  The thought was so ludicrous, I wanted to pee in my pants!  Then it came to me:  Pants On Fire.  Pee in pants.  What a crazy dichotomy!"

Wouldn't something like that be way cool?  Oh, but how many jockeys would actually use the words 'conspicuous' or 'dichotomy' in a sentence, anyway?

But a little piece a lore ... a little waxing philosophical ...??  Couldn't hurt.  I'd probably bid up a few extra dollars for that much-desired framed photograph of Nolan Ryan pounding the crap out of Robin Ventura (autographed).

Regardless, it's about the sport - owners, jockeys, trainers, patrons - stepping up to the plate gate to ensure these wonderful beasts have the great aftercare they deserve.

Thank you, Donna and Dallas.

Thank you, Rosie.

Thank you, all you auction bidders.  Even the dude that outbid me ...(enjoy Nolan and Robin).

*Okay, my mother never said that.  But it sounds like something that she would've said.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Escape from the Dust Bowl

A couple of years ago, my kids heckled me into submission: Give up my flimsy flip-phone and get an iPhone!

Needless to say, once iTechnology was in my fat fingers, my computer keyboard idled.  Cobwebs and dirt and dust began to collect.  It became its own biosphere as I became more and more enamored with my iPhone.  Who needs to write a blog when you have Angry Birds, Free Cell, Twitter, Viral Videos, and Grumpy Cat Memes right at your finger tips, 24/7?

But today seems like a good day to dust off the keyboard and exceed the 140 character Twitter limitation because there is much ado:

  • Arkansas Derby featuring the scary good American Pharoah
  • Texas Rangers Home Opener
  • Game of Thrones, Season 5 Premiere
  • Lone Star Park 19th Spring Thoroughbred Season opens
This evening, Post Parade is off to Lone Star Park to attend Donna Keen's Remember Me Rescue Celebrity Fundraiser and Gala to benefit her retired racehorse program.  Hall of Fame trainer, Jack Van Berg of Alysheba fame will be there and Jockey/Mom-to-be Rosie Napravnik will be the keynote speaker.

And I'll be there, armed with a camera, pen and paper an iPhone.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Lights on Broadway, Texas Champion and OTTB Ambassador, Passes Away

It was a simple tweet:  "RIP Lights on Broadway"

Immediately, I was enveloped with sadness.

It was back in 2008 when Lights on Broadway (Majestic Light), winner of $572,000 in 83 starts; 2001 Texas Horse of the Year and Champion Older Horse/Gelding, was purchased off a crowded slaughter truck for $300.  A pledge drive ensued among the Fans of Barbaro to raise funds to purchase and retire him and subsequently bring him back to Texas.

It was back in 2008 when Lights on Broadway, as an 11-year-old gelding, arrived on a farm just south of Fort Worth.  It was back in 2008 when trainers Donna and Dallas Keen gave him a home, fed him and cared for him; retrained him to have a life after racing.

It was back in 2008 that I ventured to the Keens' farm to see Lights on Broadway.  After our initial meeting, Donna continued to provide updates:  "I swear, I think he's the smartest horse I ever met," and "He knows he's somebody, just by the way he carries himself, perks his ears, and responds to you."

It was Lights on Broadway that inspired and fired-up Donna Keen to start her own horse racing rescue, Remember Me Racehorse Rescue.  Every single horse she has rescued and retrained and adopted out should be eternally grateful (in their own horse-like way) for Lights on Broadway.

His story is a great one:  Good people coming together to make something really good happen. 

My condolences to the Keens, especially Donna,  I know that Lights on Broadway is truly the heart and soul of your rescue organization, and I know he shall continue to be.

Another simple tweet last night says it very eloquently, from @Robinlifeisgood:

"Light will continue to shine on Broadway."

Friday, May 03, 2013

2013 Kentucky Derby Selections and Cramming Session

Derby tomorrow?!? I'm practically still wearing mittens!

When post positions were announced yesterday, I was rather dismayed - I only recognized a handful of names! Golden Soul?? Who's that? Am I truly supposed to recognize a horse who broke his maiden and came in 4th in the Louisiana Derby? And he's in the Kentucky Derby?!?

So, last night was spent reading past performances, reviewing pertinent races, and assembling a Derby Hat with a cost not exceeding $1.23. Eventually, I made my selections. And my hat.  

Goldencents. He wins. He's the fastest. He's consistent. He broke his maiden at first asking and went on to win and/or hit the board in nothing but graded stakes races. The ONLY thing that would persuade me from betting against Goldencents is Doug O'Neill; purely superstitious reasoning of the probability of a trainer winning back-to-back Derbies.

Todd Pletcher has a handful of horses in the starting gate and a couple of them have my attention. The undefeated Verrazano was installed as the second favorite behind Orb, which seems a little disrespectful. He's won. And won. And won. And won. Does he even know what the backside of another horse even looks like? Excellent trainer/jockey combo. The only negative rumors I hear is that his pedigree screams "Anything but 1 1/4 miles! Gimme a mile!" However, his dam is out of Giant's Causeway which may provide distance.

 But Pletcher has a few more entries, and Revolutionary is noteworthy. He's won his last 3 races, has lovely pedigree, and Calvin Borel. 'Nuff said.

A couple of other horses that I'm throwing in the fray to inflate exotics are Frac Daddy and Will Take Charge. Frac Daddy has thrown his shares of clunkers, but he came on strong in the Arkansas Derby to get up late to finish 2nd, and he's a "horse for the course"; clearly he loves Churchill Downs. As for Will Take Charge, he's another who's had his fair share of disagreeable races, however he won the Rebel, maneuvering through traffic (and, of course, there will be plenty of traffic tomorrow). Plus: Trainer D. Wayne Lukas; pedigree. Plus/minus: Jockey Jon Court. Minus: Rain.

Good Luck and Win Big!