Last Saturday I missed the highly touted handicapping seminar of the Breeders' Cup prep races featuring The Great Horse Racing Professor, Gary West of the Fort Worth/Not Dallas Star-Telegram, and his jovial sidekick, Rick Lee. Of course, I am kidding when I refer to Rick Lee as Gary West's "jovial sidekick" because if you are a regular at Lone Star Park, you would know that (a) he is the track's handicapping genius and morning line guru, and (b) I'm not sure if the guy actually laughs. Anyway, unfortunately I was unable to attend the seminar due to a much more pressing engagement: I had to take my 4-year-old daughter to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's.
However, I soon discovered that the place to be last weekend was not at Lone Star Park nor Chuck E. Cheese's, but rather Portland Meadows. As it turns out, a number of members or the TBA were there. Everyone's favorite filly owner, Toteboard Brad, was there. Breeders' Cup media mogul, David Ruben Jerry George John Paul and Ringo Bailey, was there. Just Jolene ... who of course is rumored to reside "somewhere in Oregon". And the new announcer extraordinaire, Jason Beem, was there. So whilst my child scurried around an arcade with 2,678 other pre-schoolers and danced with a giant varmint, horse racing enthusiasts somewhere in the Pacific Northwest were enjoying the opening day's festivites at a racetrack that is not in California, Kentucky, Florida, nor New York.
Their adventures of opening weekend at Portland Meadows got me to pondering a little bit about horse racing in the state of Oregon. I have only been to Oregon once in my entire life: the desolate Southeastern corner of the state, on my way to California. I vaguely recall being unimpressed. I also recall that I was kind of hungover for which I will blame my brother, Paul, because whenever I visit him in Idaho, there never appears to be a shortage of beer. Oregon conjures up images of wilderness, forests, and Trailblazers. I also thought it was home to Mount St. Helens, however I was corrected by Mr. Geography (husband) who informed me that Mount St. Helens is in Washington, Miss Know-It-All, however, one can see Mount St. Helens from Oregon. And I'm sure that there is plenty of Mount St. Helens laying around Oregon from its eruption in 1980.
Truthfully, I cannot name one Oregon-bred horse. I find this very disconcerting, considering there appears to be a multitude of people flocking to Portland to watch horse racing. I was not under the impression that Lewis and Clark discovered a racetrack there during their expedition a few years back. Thus, I have decided to perform a little scientific research regarding "Oregon thoroughbreds". And I have discovered that the anagram of "Oregon thoroughbreds" is "Horse trod grunge hobo" or "Gore honored grub host." Further research using my Google toolbar yielded a website, Oregon Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (OTOBA). So let me share a few fascinating Oregon horse facts:
2005 Horse of the Year: Tom Two
2005 Sire of the Year: Cascadian
Average price of $1,445 for 74 horses sold recently sold in the OTOBA mixed sale
With my research completed, I now have the ability to name at least two Oregon-bred horses and I can afford to purchase myself a thoroughbred at the next OTOBA sale, if I so desire. I feel somewhat informed and I look forward to my own pilgrimage to Portland Meadows in the near future, providing I don't have to take my daughter to Chuck E. Cheese's.