Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Live! From the Breeders' Cup! It's a Blog!

A couple of weeks ago, our favorite Average Horseplayer, David Ruben Jerry George Franklin Delano Bailey, announced to his fan club that he had secured himself media credentials for the Breeders' Cup on November 4th. He commented that he would be providing some good scoops and factual interviews with the integrity of a journalist. He then proceeded to to misquote an individual, Ray Paulick, who, in turn, pointed out this journalistic faux pas. Now I'm sure many of you are wondering, "Ray Paulick? Isn't he the dude who developed the Hepatitis A vaccine?" No, he is not the dude that developed the Hepatitis A vaccine, although that cannot be verified at this writing. Ray Paulick, is in fact, the editor-in-chief of the reputable The Blood-Horse magazine and I believe, as the editor, that does make him a journalist and also empowers him to correct misquotes and mistakes. And it is apparent that Mr. Paulick has not visited this blog because, as an editor, he would have pointed out the glaring error in my previous entry: The lyrics to the song is Funny Fish, not Friendly Fish. To all the pre-schoolers and pre-school teachers across our great nation, please accept my deepest apologies.

Anyway, back to my good friend Bailey and his coup. One thing I would love to see on his blog during the Breeders' Cup is some type of live blog. A few months back, he had encouraged me to do live blogging from Lone Star Park and admittedly, it sounded intriguing. So, one Saturday afternoon, I opted to try live blogging. However, I did not possess the most important tool for this endeavour: a laptop computer. Thus, I brought with me a spiral bound memo pad that I would use to document important events as the day unfolded at the track. And once I flipped through all the scribbled pages courtesy of some child that lives with me, I wrote down meticulous notes, which at this time, I shall share with you.

Saturday, July 8, 2006
Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie

2:47 p.m. Park car in section C2. Walk to grandstand. As I cross the parking lot, I observe my contractor's pick-up truck parked illegally in a fire lane. I make a mental note to myself that I am definitely paying this guy too much. And I hope that he gets a ticket.

3:17 p.m. Post time for the 5th race is in approximately 10 minutes. It is the Valor Farm Stakes. I'm very keen on the 3-year-old filly, Open Meadows. So is everyone else. I place an exacta box with Open Meadows and the Bret Calhoun trained Final Trick.

3:35 p.m. Open Meadows is the real deal and looks promising. Longshot second time filly, Stormy Light, had a late kick in the stretch and comes in second. I shred my exacta ticket and order a vodka tonic.

3:38 p.m. The doofus sitting next to me spills his beer on the floor. I am wearing new sandals. My feet and my sandals now smell like a brewery.

3:45 p.m. The doofus is very apologetic and purchases my vodka tonic. Nice gesture.

3:55 p.m. Post time for the 5th running of the Harold V. Goodman Memorial, a stakes race for Texas-bred 3-year-olds. I have bet on the Steve Assmussen exacta, Rain On Monday and Groovy Luck.

5:02 p.m. Wheee! I have been on a roll! Who in the heck cares about this live blogging stuff! I believe that I should get myself another vodka tonic. I should mention that this will be my third vodka tonic. And I also think that Vodka Tonic is a good name for a horse. When I get home I shall make some kind of effort to investigate if there is actually a horse named Vodka Tonic.

5:19 p.m. Texas Stallion Stakes. Watch out for the 2-year-old, Be a Resident. Very talented. Vodka tonic is quite tastey.

5:25 p.m. Be a Resident is in the winner's circle. I locate my cell phone and inform my husband that he needs to secure a babysitter because we are going out to dinner tonight. I also inquire if we have any vodka on-hand at the house.

5:27 p.m. Read over my so-called "live blog" and determine that it is not very interesting or insightful. I conclude that this is an activity that I should discontinue.

Thus, I was disappointed in my attempt at the live blog. However, I shall look forward to the Breeders' Cup as I know that David Ruben Jerry Janis Joplin Bailey will provide us with some great blogs from Churchill Downs, just as long as he plugs in his laptop and stays away from vodka tonics.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sweet Dreams, eh

My 4-year-old daughter, Alice, is learning about the letter f in her pre-school. She has been singing a little ditty, sung to the tune of Jingle Bells, that goes like this:

Friendly Fish,
Friendly Fish,
Swimming right and left,
Tell me all the things you see that start with letter f,
Fast firetrucks,
Flashing lights,
Firemen on the run,
Friendly frogs and firecrackers and fairies having fun!

Now what does that song have to do with horse racing? Absolutely nothing. I just thought it might put a little smile on your face.

However, it does bring to light other things that start with the letter f. F is for Foggy - may his equine soul rest in peace. Also, f is for filly, an especially promising and exciting filly that caught my attention in a big way this past Sunday. That filly is Dreaming of Anna.

Once a year, I hear the call of the Great White North and have a natural instinct to sojourn to Lone Star Park and follow the races at Woodbine, most notably the Woodbine Mile (gr. I). But this year, it was not the Woodbine Mile that attracted me, but instead the Summer Stakes (gr. III). I had recently marveled over a Mott-trained 2-year-old, Marcavelly (Johannesburg), the word "marvel" meaning "won a lot of money on him when he won the Continental Mile at Monmouth on August 19th". I had gone to the track on Sunday with a solid intent to marvel over that colt once more.

But what I found intriguing about the Summer Stakes was, in fact, the filly Dreaming of Anna (Rahy), racing against the boys. Her connections, Mr. Catalano and Mr. Calabrese, know their way around the winner's circle. She had previously won the Tippett at Colonial Downs, setting a course record. Dreaming of Anna soundly beat the male competition by more than 3 lengths at Woodbine, and for her amazing talent, the attractive chestnut filly, or blue chicklet as depicted by Trakus, received the prize of a six-pack of Molson and a pound of back bacon as well as a sizeable portion of the $250,000 purse. Okay, I made up the Molson and back bacon part, but not the money thing. Unknown by this blogger if that would be US or Canadian currency. Today's conversion rate, it should be noted, is 1 Canadian dollar is worth 0.8872 US Dollar.

Those associated with Dreaming of Anna may be dreaming of the BC Juvenile Fillies. And we are hoping that all those dreams are sweet indeed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Competition for Seats on November 4th Increases

Is it September already? No way, it can't possibly be September. Surely, it is still August. No ... I moved into the new house in the middle of June, and by the looks of all the unpacked boxes and misplaced knick-knacks, it actually must be July.

But no, fall is approaching. The romance of Saratoga has passed. The beauty of Del Mar a pleasant memory. On the horizon is the Breeders' Cup, and the next pressing issue is securing tickets for the Breeders' Cup. And I'm not talking about Breeder's Cup tickets at Churchill Downs, I'm talking about tickets in the Post Time Pavillion at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie on Breeders' Cup Day.

Sitting in the Post Time Pavillion is a great place for simulcasting. My favorite waitress, or as they say in more gender-friendly terms, server, or waitperson, or individual-who-shows-up-at-my-elbow-with-a-Miller-Lite-when-I-appear-thirsty, Lea is perky and attentive. My favorite mutuel teller on the whole planet, Warner, does not work at the Post Time Pavillion; ergo, out of extreme loyalty, because we all know Warner is going to be my next husband one day, I have a tenuous relationship with an AmTote machine on the south end of the building. But my favorite individual is Super Manager, John Records (Note to General Manger, Drew Shubeck: John deserves a big bonus. Something better than 20 paltry shares of MEC stock).

Anyway, last week while reading all the horse racing blogs because basically I was too lazy to come up with some kind of idea other than, "How 'bout that Pine Island! And I had the exacta, too! Whoohoo!", I became incredibly distressed over a post by my fellow Texan blogger, Joe "Not To Be Confused With Joe Cocker" Coker. Apparently, somewhere around the 3rd race at Del Mar, some ninny in the Post Time Pavillion switched the channel from TVG to NASCAR! Oh, the humanity! Numerous patrons became incensed! There were fistfights! There was an angry mob! Pitchforks were drawn! Torches were lit! The cry became deafening, "I WANT MY TVG!"

Okay, that's a mild exaggeration. But Joe voiced his displeasure and threatened to do all activities associated with horse racing and gambling on-line. And it should be noted, that here in Texas where the state legislature still communicates via the telegraph, internet wagering on the ponies is illegal. Thus, I could not bear the thought of Joe Coker spending time in The Big House just because he wagered a Pick 4 over the internet. And futhermore, it irritated me that someone who loves the sport and contributes to the handle on track was going to walk away from such a great facility just to sit in his underwear, drink Shiner Bock, watch TVG, and click in a couple of bets. As a proponent of "Let's Bring 'Em to the Track" philosophy, the idea of distancing an individual is not promotional of the sport.

I opted to become an ambassador of sorts, and called Super Manager John Records. I disclosed my information and John personally handled the situation. Joe received resolution. Lone Star kept a few more dollars at the track. And I felt like a prime objective was met: Keep the horseplayers at the track where they are participants of a great sport. And the money stays with the track and doesn't go off-shore. And that is a good thing, by the way. Unless of course, you own/operate Bodog.