Friday, May 03, 2013
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!
Posted by suebroux at 4:16 PM
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Dollar Day at Lone Star Park: April 20 ,2013.
Look at your calendar, silly, it's the day after tomorrow. No, not the silly movie, silly!
According to Lone Star Park's Facebook site, a not-so-scientific poll was conducted regarding one's favorite thing about Dollar Day at the racetrack. And what scientist, statistician, brewmeister, or beer-swilling-horseplayer doesn't break into a big, dumb grin when presented with this graph:
If one can remember, the Dollar Beer has been a trifle gauche. Last year, the racetrack partnered with Lone Star Beer. Now, I'm not an individual that would blasphemy any product attached with the language "Lone Star". However, with Lone Star Beer, I shall make an exception. Even for a dollar, it's not an attractive beverage! So this year, according to LSP Facebook page, it appears that we have a new friend for Dollar Day:
Live racing and events are sponsored by our good friends at Miller Lite!
Bring plentiful $1!!
Posted by suebroux at 11:08 PM
Monday, April 15, 2013
Lone Star Park opened its 17th season of Spring Thoroughbred racing this past weekend. Perfect weather. Tasty margaritas. Big crowds. [Fill in the blank] racing. [Fill in the blank] handle. [Fill in the blank] success.
An unusual observation: Information from Lone Star Park is not forthcoming. It could be because (a) local newspapers are not in the business of publishing information about anything "not Tony Romo", or (2) Drew Shubeck is busy playing Sudoku.
Regardless, I spent most of the weekend at the track, watching/betting the races and trading observations with the rail-folk. I don't have the attendance figures nearby (next to my martini ...) but I estimate there must've been something like 254,487,993 over the weekend, give or take a few million. My not so-scientific estimate is based solely on the line to my favorite margarita bar in the grandstand. The line was obscenely long ... for a mild (78 F) North Texas Day.
For those of you unable to comprehend my logic estimation, I shall illustrate it in easy-to-understand gridiron fashion:
It was a lovely weekend in North Texas and people showed up for concerts and for racing. Details may or may not be forthcoming about silly things, like handle and what-not. Okay, truth be told, I don't care about the Randy Rogers Band or Gary Allan or any other "Red Dirt Band" they book to increase the gate and pack the apron. I'm an old [Fill in the blank] that wants to make some fun bets and check my handicapping prowess and maybe come home with a couple extra bucks. However, when the 2nd race on a Friday night is a 5 1/2 furlong $7500 maiden claiming affair with a whole whopping 6 entries - ICK!! Yeah, I would a prefer a concert, too!
Anyway, the gate must've been good, handle [Fill in the blank]. Premiere Stakes winner, Triumph and Song (jockey Jamie Theriot),
|Triumph and Song (Credit Reed Palmer Photography)|
Saturday's JEH Stallion Stakes winner, the beautiful Lasting Bubbles (jockey Lindey Wade),
|Lasting Bubbles (Credit ... Reed Palmer Photography)|
And, of course, an Original Butt Sketch .. that's my Alice.
And yes, she's wearing a tail ... because she's a little kid and she can!
Posted by suebroux at 11:58 PM
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Dateline: Opening Night, 2013 Spring Thoroughbred Meet, Lone Star Park, Grand Prairie, Texas
Rumors have been circulating for awhile ... updated Silks dining, new racing surface, a state-of-the-art infield jumbo-tron that's capable of bringing tears to your eyes. Changes! Improvements! A return to the original (and correct!) color of frozen margarita!
One glance - it's love at first sight!
The infield tote board and its accompanying brand-spanking-new 17 x 60 foot video screen is a monument to every techno-geek and couch potato everywhere. The jumbo Jumbotron - or the Dak RT, as I was corrected earlier this evening - has the ability to show two video feeds at the same time. For each live race, we're treated to a head-on view and a pan view.
Dak RT: First winner of the evening! Additionally, they should name a drink for it, too.
Another change: All the apron box seating is gone. Personally, I like having a a wide open apron; perfect for milling around and pushing oneself up into a myriad of people along the rail. The seats worked well as reserved seating at the 2004 Breeders' Cup in October. But let's face it, in June and July in North Texas, when it's like 218 F, you can't sit on those hot tamales on racing days! Talk about Butt Burn! Ouch! Instead, there is a smattering of new picnic tables adorning the prime real estate by the rail. And probably quite moveable; get them out of the way for their collections of concerts when the apron is packed with 428,334 Randy Rogers Band fans [Friday night].
However, more than one person grumbled about the lack of free outdoor seating. I mean, everybody needs some place to set down their beer and/or nachos to look at their racing program. So, as a concerned racing citizen, we need to launch a campaign for said individuals:
Those little fold-up camping chairs are dirt cheap. So to my rail-folk compadres: Keep a camping chair handy in the trunk of you car. Much like you would an umbrella. Or spare tire.
Outdoor seating: Still schooling in the gate.
And yes, there was a horse race or two. The first race of the card - nay, the season - in the $50,000 Premiere Stakes. Triumph and Song, a 4-year-old gelding trained by local-boy-done-good Bret Calhoun, won his first stakes race easily under jockey Jamie Theriot. I even won a couple of bucks, which I plan to put towards my camping chair. Or beer.
Horse racing: Win! Place! Show!
Posted by suebroux at 11:27 PM
Thursday, November 01, 2012
Once again, it's that time of year where we ignore demanding spouses, dirty laundry, and needy children all for horse racing glory. Yes, it's the Breeders' Cup World Championships! And no Breeders' Cup could ever be complete without Post Parade's Sixth Annual Magic Beer Bottle Breeders' Cup Selections.
As you may or may not be familiar with our long-standing tradition, let me remind you of the rules: I handicap, the bottle spins. I've had my fair share of winners over the years, however the Magic Beer Bottle should never be discounted, notable wins being Stephanie's Kitten and Amazombie last year.
2012 Breeders’ Cup Selections
Magic Beer Bottle
Super Ninety Nine
|Juvenile Fillies Turf|
|Filly & Mare Turf|
|Filly & Mare Sprint|
Strike the Moon
Game On Dude
Admittedly, I'm somewhat uninspired with both the Marathon and the Sprint. There's a strong possibility that if I even elect to wager on those races, I may opt for some imaginative combination of various family birthdays tossed into a 50-cent trifecta box and hope for the best. Those assorted numbers include but are not limited to 1,2,5,8,9,10.
Have a great Breeders' Cup weekend! Good luck!
Posted by suebroux at 10:30 PM
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Holy Guacamole! The Breeders' Cup is next week! Whoo-hooo!! Dig the loose change out of the couch because there is some serious betting action to beholden!
BTW, who's entered ?!?!?
(1) Game On Dude
I'll Have Another (Sayonora)
(5) Wise Dan (just guessing he's on an entry in some event ...)
Ummm .... uh-oh ... Trouble. Fortunately, for the horse racing fans/bettors that have had their attention diverted*, Lone Star Park will be hosting its annual Breeders' Cup Preview Party, featuring our good friend, Gary West; track announcer, John Lies; Expert Handicapper and Mr. Congeniality, Rick Lee; and local favorite sports-talk guru, Norm Hitzges. The first 200 in attendance will receive a free Breeders' Cup Advance Edition and the handicapping solution to next week's races! I will be in attendance, as it appears this year the Magic Beer Bottle could very well have the upper hand!
*Possess freshman in high school marching band; whole "Friday Night Lights" stuff that consumed an entire chapter in James Michener's novel, Texas, as well as a much ballyhooed TV series, is real. Scary. Forgot where racetrack is located. Forgot how to place wager. Not sure what a horse even looks like anymore. BUT ... I'm proficient at serving nachos in a concession stand!
Posted by suebroux at 10:43 PM
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Last week, I called my big sister in Wisconsin to wish her a happy birthday and to inform her that, due to my overwhelming schedule of summer activities with work and kids, I had not found the time to mail her birthday present, which of course, was a lie because, in fact, I had consumed her birthday present long ago and just hadn't had the opportunity to dash back to the liquor store and purchase an appropriate replacement. Anyway, between my off-key rendition of "Happy Birthday" and my myriad of excuses, she pointedly observed, "Hey! You haven't written jack-squat in ages, you lazy bum!"
Well, sadly enough, horse racing inspiration runs shallow this time of the year. Saratoga and Del Mar are inconveniently located 1,671 and 1,356 miles away respectfully. Simulcasting is nearby, but getting into my car on these mercilessly hot summer days is like stepping into an Easy Bake Oven. And the "players" are constantly changing - injuries and retirements in the midst of a swirling whirlwind of new and upcoming 2-year-olds - that it just becomes easier to spend my free time lounging in the pool and/or scouring eBay for deals.
But the biggest distraction/excuse/preoccupation is the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
So, in honor of Horse Sports of the XXX Olympiad, I shall present a brief review of horse happenings in London, which is, in fact 4,777 miles away.
Zara Phillips, aboard Toytown, takes part in the Olympic torch relay:
First thought: (snort) Guess how she got the job??
Actually, the Queen's granddaughter is a world equestrian champion. Additionally, it was aboard Toytown when she won the the 2006 Eventing World Championships. And to prove her world class equestrian prowess, she's part of Team GB that won the silver medal in the equestrian team event. Okay, maybe they would've won the gold if not for the fact that Zara and her horse, High Kingdom, clipped a fence. Ups-a-daisy ...
In the You-re Never Too Old to Live Your Olympic Dreams, Hiroshi Hoketsu, 71, is the oldest competitor at the 2012 Olympics. He didn't exactly light up the leader board in the Grand Prix individual, but he earned a respectable 68.739 percent. He hasn't ruled out Rio 2016 but his dressage partner, 1997 German-bred chestnut mare Whisper, is "too old" and will be retired.
And finally, even in the international spectacle of the Olympics, nobody is safe from American politicians. As I'm sure you are keenly aware, Ann Romney, wife of Presidential Wannabe, Mitt Romney, is a co-owner of Rafalca. Although Rafalca failed to advance in dressage, she is still under consideration as a potential vice presidential running mate.
Happy Birthday, Sis! Your gift is on the way ... soon!
Posted by suebroux at 12:38 PM
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Sunday evening, Lone Star Park concluded its 2012 Spring Thoroughbred Meet and Musical Extravaganza Spectacular. And judging from the final numbers - average daily handle down 7% with a 4% decrease in attendance - racing wasn't exactly rockin' anybody. Fortunately, Lone Star Park President and General Manager, Drew Shubeck, was able to use one of his ol' reliable quotes,
"We're disappointed with the results."
In addition to the 7% live handle decline, the off-track, export handle took a solid hit: down 12%.
Here, I'll just go ahead and insert a fitting Drew Shubeck quote from last year,
“We continue to be disappointed in the simulcast out number. This decline is a signal that the national simulcast customer is telling us they are not interested in our product offering.”
Notably, the 2012 simulcast-in handle increased 2.2%. Apparently, even the local bettor wasn't too interested in Lone Star's product offering!
Of course, there's the usual reason for lack-luster fields and handle declines: Slots. And, coincidentally, there's a Drew Shubeck quote for that!
"A lot of tracks like us that don't have the benefits of slot machines struggle to be competitive."Slots. VLTs. Racinos. Expanded gaming. Whatever verbiage you want to use, slots have been proclaimed the cure-all for horse racing's woes. Bolster the purses from monies generated by one-arm bandits and all the good horses will want to come and everybody will bet. Well, this is Texas. I assure you, if Texas politicians don't give a crap about education or providing health care for the poor, they certainly won't give a crap about the horse racing industry.
Moving right along ...
There were a couple of so-called "bright" spots to the season. The Lone Star Music Series was popular entertainment event, representing 33% of total attendance. Of course, as I previously observed, there is not a direct proportion between concert attendance and increased live handle. But hey, if the gate brings in the funds to pay the light bills, then maybe it's not such a bad thing. Toss in the fact that people purchased and consumed copious amounts of beer at $5.75 each, the racetrack probably made a ton of money at the concerts.
Other "bright" spots: Nates Mineshaft ships in, easily wins the Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. 3), and is crowned Horse of the Meeting without so much as breaking a sweat; a Texas' favorite, Clarence Scharbauer Jr's Coyote Legend runs in the Assault Stakes for third year and posts a second victory; jockey Cliff Berry becomes Lone Star's all-time leading rider and adds his fifth riding title, all before he receives his AARP membership next month; Danny Pish notches his first training title at Lone Star Park; the popular Bar & Book and its wide selection of draft beers.
Without a doubt, Lone Star Park and its owner Global Gaming Solutions certainly have their work cut out for them. Naturally, there's a Drew Shubeck quote for that, too.
"We are very optimistic about our upcoming off-season simulcasting in our Bar & Book"
Posted by suebroux at 3:45 PM
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Last Saturday, of course, was the Belmont Stakes. The final jewel in the coveted Triple Crown. And we all know the drama that unfolded: I'll Have Another scratched and retired; Union Rags squeaking along the rail, edging out Paytner in a thrilling win; a teeming horde of 85,811 in attendance, wagering over $13 million; all-sources handle in the neighborhood of a gazillion dollars, or something like that.
All this Belmont excitement! And Lone Star Park sends out its press release that very evening:
Nothing about the Belmont Stakes?? Union Rags??? Even some kind of little, impromptu Triple Crown fiesta on the patio???
Well, if I wasn't discouraged enough with the state of horse racing at Lone Star Park, I only had to crack open my Sunday morning edition of the Star-Telegram (motto: "Leading the industry in printing corrections!"). Directly above the Belmont Stakes recap was a short article of how I'll Have Another's scratch took a toll on the local racetrack's attendance; they were anticipating a crowd approaching 20,000. Instead, attendance was a 10,586. And then, in a quote that can cause serious heartburn for the avid horse racing fan, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of Lone Star Park, G.W. Hail says,
"Who needs I'll Have Another when you have Eli Young?"
That's enough to discard my morning coffee and reach for the vodka!
Well, I could very easily go off on a rant and tirade about a some dumb obtuse remark - menopausal women are very good at doing that. However, I shall just stick to a few numbers.
Racetracks are usually in the business of racing horses. Horses race for money. Money is funded by handle. 26,519 people showed up for the Eli Young Band concert and the on-track handle was $332,835. Belmont Stakes Saturday's attendance was 10,586 with a on-track handle of $477,635. Without the use of pie charts, calculators, or any other kind of visual aid, I can reach a simple conclusion: Concert goers do not bet. They do not contribute to handle. However, they contribute to excessive alcohol consumption and a trashed parking lot. Horses are not impressed.
Look, I understand that Global Gaming is in the "entertainment business" and they are very successful using the facility as a concert venue. That's not a bad thing. What's bad is being negligent and indifferent to the very reason the racetrack is even in business.
Posted by suebroux at 6:28 PM