Friday, December 02, 2011

A Visit from the Ghost of [Breeders' Cup] Christmas Past

Another day into December and I'm still the ultimate Crabby Patty. But our friends at Breeders' Cup are in the holiday spirit and they've set up shop with their 2011 Breeders' Cup Champions Collection! Additionally, they've added a little shopping incentive:
Now through Sunday December 4th, receive this beautiful Limited Edition Porcelain Christmas Ornament featuring Zenyatta & Blame.

This particular Breeders' Cup promotion raises a couple of glaring concerns such as (1) a good review of English grammar and capitalization rules is in order, and (2) Zenyatta and Blame raced in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Humbug!

December. This is usually where I begin whistling "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" as I voraciously decorate the hearth and home for the yuletide season. Yet for some reason - probably because I'm still all snarky that that ne'er-do-well Court Vision defeated the great Goldikova in the BC Mile - has me feeling like a crabby ol' grinch.

And the headline in this morning's paper doesn't exactly buoy my holiday spirits,

Horse slaughter legal again in some states

Seasons' Greetings! Congress has quietly lifted a 5-year-ban on horse meat inspections which could potentially put U.S. slaughterhouses back in business.

Granted, perhaps not all horse racing fans and bettors would consider themselves animal-rights activists, however, it was a rather appalling revelation that our 1986 Kentucky Derby winner, Ferdinand, became basashi. And if we are going to enjoy horses as part of our "sport" or "past time" or "entertainment", we need to be responsible for their lives after racing. A slaughterhouse should not be the final destination for racehorses, even irritants like Court Vision.

As one holiday song would describe this situation, it's like "a three decker saurkraut and toadstool sandwich. With arsenic sauce!"

Thursday, November 03, 2011

2011 Breeders' Cup Selections

The tingling sense of excitement and anticipation that you feel can only mean one thing - The Breeders' Cup World Championships! A two day racing bonanza comprised of 15 Championship races with millions and millions of dollars in purses, along with its strategery of wagering opportunities, and, last but not least, Post Parade's Fifth Annual Magic Beer Bottle Breeders' Cup Selections.

This year, the famed and somewhat eccentric Irish laddie, Pauly, inspires us to feature Moose Drool as the Magic Beer Bottle. We're sure he has some colorful quip about his beverage of choice but we're afraid to ask. And it probably wouldn't make it past our censors anyway.

So you know the drill: As Sue painstakingly labors over past performances and reads The Brock Talk, the Magic Beer Bottle takes a spin. It should be duly noted that last year Sue demonstrated her handicapping prowess with 5 winners, soundly drubbing her TBA brethren. However, the Magic Beer Bottle did have one shining moment of glory with Dubai Majesty winning the Sprint.


    2011 Breeders’ Cup Selections



    Sue

    Magic Beer Bottle

    Juvenile Sprint

    Secret Circle

    Blacky the Bull

    Juvenile Fillies Turf

    Sweet Cat

    Stephanie's Kitten

    Filly & Mare Sprint

    Turbulent Descent

    Irish Gypsy

    Juvenile Fillies

    Homecoming Queen

    Say a Novena

    Filly & Mare Turf

    Nahrain

    Announce

    Ladies Classic

    Ask the Moon

    Miss Match

    Marathon

    Brigantin

    Cease

    Juvenile Turf

    Majestic Spirits

    Lucky Chappy

    Sprint

    Force Freeze

    Amazombie

    Turf Sprint

    Regally Ready

    Caracortado

    Dirt Mile

    The Factor

    The Factor

    Turf

    Sarafina

    Sea Moon

    Juvenile

    Union Rags

    Speightscity

    Mile*

    Goldikova

    Goldikova

    Classic

    Zenyatta Havre de Grace

    To Honor and Serve

    *Our Mile selections have been successful for the past three years so we're not about to challenge the greatness of Goldikova BUT if there's a teensy-weensy possibility of vulnerability, Gio Ponti, Byward (GB), and Turallure get our attention.


As an added bonus to this year's selection, we present The Sushi Stapler Longshots:

In Friday afternoon's Juvenile Fillies Turf, European shipper Dear Lavinia (M/L Odds 30-1) looks to have some talent, having finished third to favorite Elusive Kate back in July.

The Sushi Stapler is also fascinated with the good European filly, Questing (M/L odds 20-1) in the Juvenile Fillies. Her last two efforts, G3 races, had her mere steps and/or head-bobs from winning. Her sire Hard Spun would suggest two turns on the dirt shouldn't be a problem.

And in Saturday's Juvenile, Hansen (M/L odds 10-1) looks to set the pace. If he can make the switch from synthetic to dirt and if speed is holding on the track, the rest of the field is gonna have to catch him!

Good luck!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wine For My Fillies

I enjoy reading Valerie's blog, Foolish Pleasure. And it's not just because I'm sucking up to her because she and five of her drinking buddies invented TURF. It's because she's smart. And intelligent and pointed and thought provoking, and if she were a mare, she'd burn her bra halter! Anyway, Valerie recently laid it on the line and detailed her own scientific and/or not-so-scientific observations that effectively surmised that fillies and/or mares that race in the U.S. are a bunch of wusses. Okay, she didn't exactly use the word wuss; she alluded that horse racing in the United States is "pitifully locked into a myopic mindset when it comes to challenging open company events." This is a very important phrase because I'm planning on working it into my future dissertation.

Anyway, Valerie provided some food [but mostly wine] for thought. I pondered over a rather modest sampling ...

Blind Luck? Has she ever raced in open company? Wuss.

Goldikova? Oh yeah, she's the real mucho macho [wo]man!

Zazu? Za-who?!?

Danedream? A dream come true! Magnifique! Oops ... she's German: Herrlich!

Never Retreat? Won the First Lady, not the Lady/Gentleman.

Secret Admirer? A lot to admire!

Life At Ten? Still investigating ...

Well, that's not a very fair sampling but the wunderfillies that come to mind don't exactly reside on this side of the pond. And, as an interesting footnote, I read in today's issue of Breeders' Cup spam email alerts that European Sarafina is headed to Churchill Downs to race [against the boys] in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf.

Not only is open company horse racing "pitifully myopic" here in the U.S., it seems borderline tragic. And speaking of tragic, there is nothing more tragic than the news out of Sheboygan, Wisconsin:

Shelf collapse shatters 6,810 wine bottles



So much for wine food for thought ...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Peeking Into Dutrow's Medicine Cabinet

Oh, surprise. Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. had his license revoked and was barred from racing in New York for 10 years. It appears that the state's Racing and Wagering Board’s ruling was based on two specific incidents that occurred last November: (1) Fastus Cactus failed his drug test and tested positive for butorphanol, and (2) Dutrow apparently enjoys keeping a collection of hypodermic needles containing xylazine handy. Or “xyzaline” if you’re following along at home with your copy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (motto: "Saving money by eliminating turf writers AND copy editors!").

This news raises a number of questions, such as “Why did it take so long to finally bust this guy?” and “What exactly is butorphanol and xylazine? And will those words be included in the National Spelling Bee?”

Of course, we here at Post Parade don’t have all the answers, but when it comes to drugs we might be able to shed a some light. As you are probably aware, we have a sound scientific background as well as Wikipedia at our disposal.

Butorphanol is a synthetic opioid analgesic; a narcotic pain reliever, similar to that of morphine. In humans it can be dispensed as a nasal spray to treat migraine headaches. In veterinary practice or in Dutrow’s stable, butorphanol is used to relieve pain making a horse easier to handle. It is considered five times more effective than morphine in controlling pain, beginning to alleviate pain within 15 minutes and lasting up to as long as 4 hours. It is a class A medication and prohibited for use in competitions. Interestingly enough, butorphanol is also used for sedation when combined with tranquilizers such as xylazine which, coincidentally, Dick Dutrow keeps on his desk.

Xylazine hydrochloride is a non-narcotic compound used as a sedative and muscle relaxant in horses. The drug reduces the respiratory rate to that of natural sleep. It has been successfully used in diagnostic, dental, and orthopedic procedures in horses. Xylazine has also been used to calm fractious animals as well as serve as therapeutic medication for sedation and pain relief following injury or surgery. And an extra tidbit of information: Xylazine is used to shorten musth in bull elephants, however it is extremely important to know that drug dosages vary between Asian and African elephants, so know your species before administering the drug. Also, be sure to “like” Xylazine on Facebook!

Whatever Dutrow’s “medication violation” this time, it’s not his first. His past performances of infractions and violations is damaging to horse racing. There needs to be greater strides to separate pharmacology from horse racing. Even if we have to go through one medicine cabinet at a time.

"Oh, look! Our local newspaper has invented a new drug!"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

O Curlin, Where Art Thou?

My husband tells me that my email Inbox is absolutely obscene. It’s cyber-stuffed with 648 messages that I think might be important, like Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s message, “Texas can do better” (2/4/09) proclaiming, “We must start now to bring bold, innovative leadership to Austin ... with your generous gift of $25 or $50.”

So, the other afternoon I perused through the cyber log jam of DRF Morning Line email alerts when I discovered a couple of very important pieces of information. (1) Alice’s pogo stick has been recalled (3/18/11) and, (2) the possibility of a Breeders’ Cup “showdown” between Uncle Mo and Havre de Grace in the Classic (10/5/11).

Malfunctioning pogo sticks aside, this was rather troublesome. Uncle Mo as an awe-inspiring and overwhelming dominant force in the Classic? Havre de Grace – “super filly” – comparable to that of Zenyatta?

Am I supposed to be excited?

When I think of Breeders’ Cup Classic winners, I think of commanding and dominating horses that spent the entire year captivating the racing public, and the Classic is their exclamation mark on their way to winning Horse of the Year. For instance, take Curlin. In 2007 he raced in the Rebel, the Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont, Haskell, Jockey Club Gold Cup, all before he raced in (and won) the Classic. When Uncle Mo hasn’t been in sick bay, he’s raced in the Timely Writer, Wood Memorial, King’s Bishop, and the Kelso. True, Uncle Mo had an impressive 118 Beyer in the Kelso but his whole 3-year-old campaign wasn’t exactly what I consider dazzling.

And does Havre de Grace really get you roused like Zenyatta? Well, apparently even Breeders’ Cup is a little skeptical about that notion as I see in my Inbox an email from Breeders’ Cup (10/11/11 – hey, that’s today!) that Friday, November 4th will be the inaugural Zenyatta Celebration,

Celebrate Zenyatta’s Greatness All Day on Championship Friday
Come celebrate one of the greatest horses to ever grace the Breeders' Cup Winner's Circle. Zenyatta spent her career capturing the hearts and minds of horseracing fans everywhere.

As Kay Bailey Hutchinson might say, “Horse racing can do better.”

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shtick

Somehow I have an email subscription to Monmouth Park's weekly news and promotions. Regardless, I do take a few moments to peruse over the upcoming weekend's happenings, and there's always some sort of shtick going on - barbecues, beach parties, hurricanes, and so forth. Monmouth Park's promotions always look hip and inviting; the place to be on a Saturday afternoon. I know that I'd go if only I didn't live 1,384 miles away.

But closer to home, Lone Star Park is perfectly capable of assembling its own set of unique and wondrous promotions. And Friday night was the pinnacle of shtick: ostrich and camel races.

Yes, you read that correctly. Jockeys raced ostriches and camels down the main track. And as crazy as this whole event sounds, it brought out swarms of people, crowding five deep along the rail as if they were jamming the stage at a Bruce Springsteen concert, holding their iPhones, Smartphones, camcorders, super 8's, firstborns aloft, all to secure footage of the big "event".

The Ostrich Derby:



The Camel Derby:



(Thanks to the well-positioned lizbethbeadles who promptly shared her videos. For her generosity, she'll receive a free copy of Lone Star Today and a dictionary).

I don't have the statistic so I'm unsure as to whether this rather unusual "promotion" - all for charitable causes, by the way - increased attendance and handle significantly, but I can ascertain that the $1 beer sales were robust.

As fun as it was, this whole ostrich/camel shtick and the circus-like atmosphere got me to thinking, "What does the horse racing purists think about all this stuff?" It's not as though I saw Gary West wedged along the rail, or anything like that. Do they just roll their eyes, exasperated? Why can't horse racing just be horse racing? Why do we need casinos and/or exotic fowl to attract people to the racetrack?

Spending an evening at the races can be fun. But throw in a little shtick - ostriches, camels, dancing guinea pigs - and it can be really fun!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spectral Analysis


For those of you who think that I misplaced my keyboard under a pile of laundry, I would like to inform you that you are incorrect. I have been doing lots of writing over the past few weeks, however it is neither entertaining nor amusing. But I get to use some big fancy words, like fluorochrome and spectral overlap, both of which, by the way, would be good names for a racehorse.

Actually, my 9-year-old daughter has written more about horse racing over the past couple of months that I have!

    Once upon a time there was a girl named Alice. She was sweet and kind. She always wanted to ride a horse. So I asked a person that was riding a horse and asked if I can have his horse. But then he said,”No, this is not a play horse!”So I just walked away. When I got home, I pretended to be a horse. Then I wrote a poem about a horse that goes like this;
      I love horses yes I do,
      I hope you do too.

    -by Alice (guest blogger)

I did, however, squeeze in a trip to the racetrack once or twice, most recently last Sunday to enjoy the Woodbine Mile. Turallure (which is also a good name for a fluorochrome) caught Courageous Cat just at the wire, giving me a winning exacta ... or so I thought. It turned out that this so-called great scientific mind didn't box the exacta. There's a scientific word for mistakes like that: Damn!

Meanwhile, Lone Star Park has kicked off its 2011 Fall Meeting of Champions for American Quarter Horses and Ostriches. Renovation continues at the simulcast facility, Post Time Pavilion, so simulcast operations and smoking privileges are temporarily located to the first floor of the grandstand, making milling around during races somewhat trying. However, tomorrow night there is a full spectrum of events: $1 beer specials, Dash for Cash Derby Trials, and camel and ostrich races for charities. Makes me think of another big word that I've been writing lately: excitation.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Drought

34 consecutive 100-degree days.

41 100-degree days this year.

81 days since the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (motto: "The absence of staff writers does not preclude us from publishing a newspaper!") began neglecting horse racing coverage. However, on a rare occasion, there is some snippet buried in the Sports' Briefs. Like today's,

    Horse racing
    Breeders' Cup decision: A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press that the 2012 Breeders' Cup will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Breeders' Cup president Craig Pravel would not confirm the report.

Additionally, a person familiar with a Starbucks barista who is familiar with someone who watches the weather channel once a week told me that it's going to rain sometime.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

"What a terrible thing to happen to a rescue!!!"

No secret here ... I've been a fan of the Keens for a while. They are an energetic and compassionate training tandem with a devotion to the well-being of the horses that they train. And, sadly, of those that are discarded by the less-than-compassionate individuals. Hence, the homegrown Remember Me Rescue organization that, I like to think, I was able to witness its inception when Donna stoutly proclaimed, "I'd love to spend more time rescuing unwanted racehorses and drinking merlot!" Or something to that effect.

Recently I spent a little time getting caught up with important people (read: Facebook) and was glad to read the following on Donna Keen's wall,
I would like to sincerely thank Lilly Armstrong for doing such a great job finding homes for our Remember Me Rescue horses. Only thing is we are almost out of horses. What a terrible thing to happen to a rescue!!!
So to Donna, Dallas, Lilly, and your teeming army of horse-loving volunteers and supporters: Definitely worthy of 'Like'! (And thanks!!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Visionary Turf Writers

Lately, I've had a number of people ask me, "Do you know what's up with Gary West?"

Well, aside from traveling and selling his plasma, he's keeping his options open. And, oddly enough, through the cosmic ability of psychic dreams and spiritual metaphysics, I may have had a glimpse into the realm of Gary West's options.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a most vivid and somewhat befuddling dream. In my dream, Gary West walked away from horse racing to embrace an eccentric Bohemian lifestyle selling pottery. And in my dream, he looked a lot like Mr. Sikowitz.

Who is Mr. Sikowitz, you ask? Mr. Sikowitz is the eccentric Bohemian acting teacher on Nickelodeon's "tween" sitcom, Victorious.




Interestingly enough, as I was intensely researching the meaning of my psychic dream (read: googling images of Sikowitz so I could photoshop Gary West's head on it), I discovered a fact of mystic proportions: The actor who portrays Mr. Sikowitz also portrayed Andy Beyer in the film Secretariat.


Coincidence? Visionary? Psychic phenomenon? The truth is out there ... in coconut milk.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review of the 2011 Lone Star Park Spring Thoroughbred Meet

Today we’re putting our opposable thumbs to good use as we review the 2011 Lone Star Park Spring Thoroughbred Meet.

If you build it, they will come [and they will bet]: Lone Star Park ended its 52-day spring meet with a 10 percent increase in daily attendance. Average daily attendance increased to 7,621 from 6,952 despite it being ridiculously hot. And they wagered, too, as on-track handle increased 4%. Thumbs Up!

Simulcast woes: Although the on-track handle increased, total All-Sources handle dropped 7%.
“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,” said Lone Star Park President and Snappy Dresser, Drew Shubeck

No kidding. Bettors peppered around the country are not exactly inspired to wager on a race card where the featured race is a Clm 15000nw2 and 25% take-out. Thumbs down!

Star power: On average, perhaps the quality of racing product wasn’t exactly overwhelming. However, Lone Star Park did stage a few spectacular days of racing. Lone Star Million Day gave us notable winners such as Wasted Tears and Awesome Gem. And this past Saturday – a Stars of Texas Showcase Spectacular – we were treated to a couple of very promising 2-year-olds: Sword Trick and Miss Lederhosen. Of note, Sword Trick is trained by Bret Calhoun (winning the training title for the second year in a row … who’s Steve Asmussen???) is owned by the legendary Texas horseman, Clarence Scharbauer Jr. And I, for one, get pretty darn excited every time I see a good lookin’ young horse with the Scharbauer Silks. Thumbs up!


Your NBA Champions, the Dallas Mavericks: THUMBS UP!!!


Saturday morning breakfast routine: The much touted program, Jockeys & Java was once again wildly popular, proving that fans are really interested in talking to industry short people and eating free food. Trainers Dallas and Donna Keen and J.R. Caldwell deserve special recognition – opening up the barns for fans to learn more about the whole backside experience. They are true ambassadors of horse racing! Additionally, I know I’ve said it before but it needs to be said again, track announcer John Lies is exceptional at conducting guest interviews, be it the special guest a jockey or a horse chiropractor. And he handles the Q&A portion of the program with complete ease. Kind of like Oprah. Two Thumbs Up!!




Nowhere man: The Star-Telegram (motto: “Your local news featuring all wire reports all the time!”), in a ridiculously stupid cost saving move because integrity, professionalism, and writing no longer matters in newspapers, handed local turf writer and friend of Post Parade, Gary West, a pink slip in May. Smack dab in the middle of the spring meet. Gone are his impressions of morning workouts, handicapping insights, race selections, and good ol’ fashion racetrack gossip. Two Thumbs WAY WAY DOWN!!

Paradise Lost: The Texas Legislature failed to approve any measure that could expand gaming in the state, instead opting to fund Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico with Texans’ gambling dollars. Thumbs down!

Paradise Found: Pauly, the happy Irish pari-mutuel laddie that sold me my cluster of Derby wagers featuring Animal Kingdom, Nehro, and Mucho Macho Man. Thumbs up!

Overall happiness quotient: Reducing the meet to 52 days was wise. The wilting days of mid-July is unappealing for the hardiest of racing fans. And many of us fans are giddy with anticipation with the impending Saratoga and/or Del Mar meets. The season proved satisfactory, however there is plenty of room for improvement. And the brand new spanking owners, Global Gaming Solutions, are slated to begin a multi-million dollar renovation on the daily simulcast facility, the Post Time Pavilion, in any minute. Ergo, apparently a few of those dollars that are poured into WinStar World Casino at Exit 1, Oklahoma, are finding their way back into North Texas - and for the good of horse racing. Thumbs up!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Dateline June 31: Horse Racing Happenings

No, I'm not a moron. Nor am I drunk. I'm perfectly aware that "Thirty days has June and some other month or two". It's just that this mother/blogger/scientist/VBS-volunteer-(what was I thinking??) finds it difficult to believe that summer is getting sucked into some sort of time warp vortex! Ergo, I'm temporarily adding an extra day. And for those of you at home with calendars, feel free to play along.

So, what's happening?

1. What does Pauly D and Snooki and Monmouth Park all have in common? Beach mats, of course! This weekend Monmouth Park has a beach mat giveaway along with a $100,000 Guaranteed 50-cent Late Pick 4! And included in the Pick 4 is the premier turf race, United Nations (gr. 1) that will feature a number of international runners, one of which will not be Mike "The Situation."

2. Canterbury Park is closed. So are Minnesota state parks and museums and zoos. So are Minnesota rest areas, so remember Mom's advice: Pee before you leave. Meanwhile, all holiday weekend entertainment has been officially relocated to Iowa and North Dakota.

3. Churchill Downs will feature the 110th running of the Bashford Manor (gr 3) for two-years-olds. Steve Haskin will immediately compile his 2012 Kentucky Contenders List following the race.

Additionally, the Bashford Manor features unbeaten Texas-bred Lil Cherokee (Cherokee Run) who won the colts and geldings division of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity on June 11 at Lone Star Park for trainer Bret Calhoun.

4. Speaking of speedy Texas-bred two-year-olds, Canigotoo won his career debut at Lone Star Park June 16, 2011, posting a 96 Beyer Speed Figure. According to Dave Hooper of the TTA,
[Canigotoo] is now eligible for the Breeders’ Cup after Jerry Durant and Bill Jordan made a one-time open enrollment payment by today’s deadline, and they will point the Bret Calhoun-trained runner towards the newly created $500,000 Juvenile Sprint.

Take note, all ye whoeth scoffeth at the newly createth Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint ... somebody's interested!


5. Well, Lone Star Park is hosting a truly 4th of July Spectacular this weekend. In addition to fireworks, there will be a Jockey Drunk Tank!

Oops, my mistake. I misread the press release. It's a Jockey Dunk Tank.
Join us in the paddock area to Dunk-a-Jock. Riders will take turns in a dunk tank. For $1 a ball or $3 for five balls fans will have an opportunity to showcase their throwing arms as they attempt to hit a target that will release a rider into the drink. All proceeds benefit the Don MacBeth Fund benefiting injured and disabled riders.

Raising proceeds for the Don MacBeth Fund is a big deal for the Lone Star Park jockeys, clearly demonstrated by their perseverance in the annual charity softball game where they get a drubbing from their opponents, the Lone Star Brass and Media Brigade. I didn't get a chance to attend this year's game, however I was rather shocked to learn that the jockeys swept the doubleheader, 16-7 and 8-5! Thus, I surmise that (1) the Lone Star Park management/media team was played blind-folded, or (2) Josh Hamilton was playing DH for the jockeys.

Have a great holiday weekend. You may now safely turn your calenders to July.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Who is Lindey Wade?

An unfamiliar name popped up in the racing program this season: Lindey Wade.

I'm sure a number of you are saying to yourselves, "Who's she?", only because you're thinking of your wives/sisters/girlfriends/bad prom dates who are named Linda. But the name is Lindey.

And here are 5 Fun Facts that you should know about Lindey Wade:

1. Lindey is a he.

2. He is a jockey.

3. He's a 20-year-old cutie-pie; kind of reminds me a lot of American Idol winner, Scotty McCreery without the singing part. But I'm sure if Lindey had a Facebook page 17,587,661 teenage girls would want to friend him.

4. Lindey's somewhat tall for a jockey, standing at 5'7". So of course, that means he's about as round as a No. 2 pencil. His weight management strategy is comprised of watching his diet and working in the Texas heat.

5. A Louisiana native, Lindey headed north and spent the past couple of years in Chicago. Frustrated with an unsuccessful riding career at Arlington Park, he packed up his boots, saddle, and skinny jeans and headed to Texas where he jumped into the fray at Sam Houston Race Park. His reward for changing locale? He tied for the riding title with Quincy Hamilton at SHRP. And currently, he's winning at 21% at Lone Star Park meet (read: Don't bet against him).

And a Bonus Fun Fact: You remember a horse named Blame? Well, so does Lindey. He was the jockey aboard Blame's first start - a MSW at Turfway Park where he ran 3rd.

So now when you see his name pop up in your racing program - maybe the Derby? Preakness? Breeders' Cup? - you'll think of a talented young jockey and not your irritating older sister.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Horse Racing at 100°F


A good handicapper can beat the heat at the racetrack in the air conditioned grandstand along with a couple scoops of Blue Bell ice cream. BYOWMF*

*Bring your own Water-Misting Fan

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Return of My Favorite Breakfast Food

Last Saturday morning, Lone Star Park brought back their highly successful and somewhat nutritional Jockeys & Java, a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed morning program that enables racing fans an opportunity to watch workouts, ask questions, tour barns, and eat free breakfast burritos.

Lone Star Park's all-time leading rider, Cliff Berry, was the first guest of the program. One piece of Betcha-Didn't-Know information: Cliff Berry set a record last December at Remington Park, going 7-for-7 on one race card. He certainly spends his time doing his homework on each race, "I handicap the race not see who can win, but if I can win."

Of course, the one question that is consistently asked of jockeys, "Tell us about your injuries?" is a fan favorite. These 110 lb. guys are like midget gladiators; broken bones and bruises and stitches. Berry referred to himself as "lucky", as he nonchalantly said that he's broken his leg twice and bruised his ribs once. And here I am, moaning and wailing and consuming stockpiles of Advil when I have a hangnail!

The tour of the backside and trainers' barns remains a highlight, save for those mean ol' horse flies that come after you like the paparazzi. Dallas and Donna Keen are once again opening up their stables to fans, giving them the opportunity to see racehorses up close. And, interestingly enough, all the horses have their heads sticking out of their stalls, observing these burrito-stuffed individuals in return.

Tomorrow's guest is jockey Lindey Wade. I don't know anything about him other than he's new to Lone Star Park and he's having a pretty good meet, winning at about 21%. I'll learn more in the morning, after I eat my breakfast.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lone Star Million: Some Hot Stuff and Wasted Tears

Yesterday was a true showcase of racing at Lone Star Park, Lone Star Million Day, which comprised of six stakes races with purses totaling - I'm just guessing here - $1 million! It's heralded as the richest day of Thoroughbred racing in Texas; its featured races include the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (G3), the $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff (G3) and the formerly-graded-run-on-dirt-but-now-switched-to-turf $200,000 Lone Star Derby!

Under the glorious North Texas sunshine, fans and bettors were treated to some great races and quality horses, albeit no Lone Star Park racing card is ever complete without its usual $4,000 claimer and $7500 maiden claimer races. Regardless, it's a pure delight and real treat to watch and wager on wonderful and talented horses such as Wasted Tears, Irish Gypsy, Game On Dude, Awesome Gem, and two former Kentucky Derby entrants (so duly noted by Kenneth Ramsey) Dean's Kitten and Derby Kitten. Gee, I wish we could be treated to this kind of talent every weekend around here!

Wasted Tears recorded her third consecutive victory in the Ouija Board Distaff (G3), winning by five lengths over Category Seven. FYI: Wasted Tears set a still-standing course record of 1:32.81 for the one-mile distance when she won the 2009 Ouija Board. FYI Part II: Wasted Tears is perfect over the Lone Star Park turf (6-for-6). FYI Part III: Wasted Tears was [obviously] bet down to nothing, paying $2.80 for the Win, ergo she was the only one to make any money, $119,000 first-place prize, increasing her career earnings to $889,598.

Here's Wasted Tears in the paddock ...



And in the Winner's Circle (Okay, I clearly had to edit this photo 'cause there was a bald guy in the way) ...



You know, Lone Star Park should name the Winner's Circle after that mare.

Bob Baffert came to town and brought a trio of horses with him: Irish Gypsy, Uncle Sam, and Game On Dude, with Irish Gypsy being his only Winner's Circle opportunity with the Valid Expectation Stakes. These days, with Texas horse racing toiling away in its troubles, he reminds everyone that it's fun to come to Texas and that Lone Star Park is a great place to race. It was very refreshing for this disheartened Texas racing fan. As far as I'm concerned he can come back any time!

And that goes for Nancy Whatever-her-name-is, West Point Thoroughbreds Western Operation [insert title here]. Her post-race interview following Awesome Gem's Lone Star Park Handicap (G3) victory also included glowing remarks about Lone Star Park facility and hospitality. I should've recorded it and put it on You Tube as a public service to Texas racing.

Another highlight of the day was the Lone Star Derby, the first year it's moved to the turf. A very competitive field, however it was a real joy to see hometown favorite and future PGA-star, Chris Landeros win the race aboard Thirtyfirststreet, who somehow was completely overlooked by bettors and went off an appalling 22-1.

And here's the Lone Star Derby winner with jockey Chris Landeros in the Lone Star Park Wasted Tears Winner's Circle ...


If that little betting oversight wasn't enough to have anybody running for the Pepto-Bismol, there was the 2nd annual Chili Cook-Off competition sanctioned by the Chili Appreciation Society International, Inc., with proceeds benefiting Remember Me Rescue and LOPE Texas. I had the pleasure of judging the competition last year; this year I merely sampled chili from various cooks at my leisure. All for the good causes of taking care of retired racehorses and ensuring my intestinal tract will make it to the next decade.


As much as many of you have enjoyed looking at my Annie-Leibovitz-type high quality photos snapped from my Cannon Sure Shot on Lone Star Million Day, I offer up a few exceptional photos from exceptional photographers with exceptional cameras for your viewing pleasure:





Sunday, May 22, 2011

Texas' Timely Writer

It's Sunday. Post Preakness. Time to open up the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and read what the Turf Writing Professor, Gary West, has to say about Shackleford and Animal Kingdom and any Barry Irwin-ism Derby Day Nonsense addendum. So I flip through the sports section and ... hey, wait a minute ... what the heck??? He's NOT HERE?!?

A quick glance at Lone Star Park's race card revealed the distinct absence of "Gary West's Picks". Something was amiss here in North Texas ...

My initial knee-jerk reaction was that the Professor was clearly caught up in The Rapture yesterday. But just in case, I hunted through my last few copies of the Star-Telegram when I stumbled upon his Friday column,

An awkward goodbye

This is my last column for the Star-Telegram.

What?!?

The Star-Telegram (motto: Hanging on by our fingernails! Oh boy, wish we'd never bitten 'em!) is a McClatchy newspaper, which is not exactly a financial juggernaut these days. Needless to say, the newspaper couldn't afford 1,427 Dallas Cowboy writers, a Rangers' beat writer, a Mavericks' reporter, a NASCAR/Dallas Stars/Texas lake's fishing report guy, and a reputable turf writer. Someone had to go, thus the reprieve that the Professor received back in 2009 had expired.

How ridiculously untimely.

Lone Star Park's ownership was officially transferred to Global Gaming Solutions [and their Texan buddies] recently. Global Gaming Solutions, a subsidiary of the Chickasaw Nation, is no slouch when it comes to successful gaming, as clearly demonstrated by their mega-super-uber-successful WinStar World Casino at Exit 1, Oklahoma. They had purchased the foundering Remington Park in Okie City and immediately turned it around; increased attendance, increased handle, increased happy horse people. Lone Star Park is anxiously awaiting its turn - nay, Texas horse racing is waiting its turn! This has the potential of being something really big and really special!

But now who's going to write about it?

If no one writes about it, will Texans even know about it?

I'm not a journalist, merely a happy-go-lucky-blogger-who-enjoys-way-too-many-frozen-margaritas-on-a-hot-day, struggling to communicate a smidgen of useful racing news. For example, here's a my current report involving Global Gaming Solutions' acquisition of Lone Star Park,

    Lone Star Park, Grand Prairie, Texas - On May 13, 2011, Lone Star Park ownership was officially transferred to Global Gaming Solutions. You know, this reminds me that I had a dream the other night that Michael Chang, [insert title here 'cause I don't feel like looking it up] of Global Gaming Solutions, showed up at the racetrack wearing a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and flip-flops, and bought frozen margaritas for everybody on the patio! One helluva dream! Woohoo!

Texas horse racing has a future. But Texas horse racing needs someone to write about it. Here's hoping that Gary West and all things flapdoodle will be showing up somewhere, sometime soon ...

Friday, May 13, 2011

TGIF?

No feelings of friggatriskaidekaphobia here.

Friday the 13th, a day associated with bad luck or really dumb slasher movies, is a day met with great hope and anticipation for the Texas horse racing industry. Well, at least this particular Friday the 13th. For today, the Texas Racing Commission is meeting in Austin and item No. 1 on the agenda is (after coffee, donuts, roll call, and “general business”, of course),

Request by Lone Star Park for Approval of 100% Change of Ownership

Lone Star Park has been toiling away for months and months and months in ownership limbo since MEC cannonballed into bankruptcy and a Delaware bankruptcy judge approved Global Gaming’s $47.8 million bid to acquire the racetrack.

Global Gaming is a subsidiary of the Chickasaw Nation, located in Oklahoma. In recognition of the impending ownership transfer, I would like to offer up this most valuable and useful phrase,

$2 Trifecta: oshta - talhlhá'pi - tochchí'na

That’s would be a "4-5-3" trifecta in Chickasaw.

And if the potential ownership transfer isn’t exciting enough about today, it’s Party at the Park with $1 beer, and tonight’s featured band is the best Beatle Tribute band in all the land – Hard Night’s Day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Will the Real Jockey for Animal Kingdom Please Stand Up

On Sunday, I enjoyed perusing all the Kentucky Derby coverage and stories. Regardless of the fact that I'm a homer, I had to admit that Gary West wrote one of the best pieces about Animal Kingdom's victory and how the pieces fell into place - one disheartened trainer, two misfortunate jockeys, and a team of owners who made a business decision.

So trainer Graham Motion wins his first Derby. Jockey John Velazquez wins his first Derby. And jockey Robby Albarado, broken nose and all, watched the race and later announced, "I'm not happy,"

“It was unfortunate I got taken off the Derby winner,” said Albarado

Umm, what?? Robby Albarado was not removed from the Derby winner, he lost his Derby mount - a long shot to boot! Animal Kingdom did not become the Derby winner until he crossed the wire first. And when he did, Johnny V just happened to be in the irons.

Interestingly enough, a simple observation of Animal Kingdom's previous races clearly indicates that Albarado was not his "regular" rider. In fact, there appears to be no "regular" rider at all. He's had four different jockeys in four races. It seems to me that if there had been a "regular" rider for the Derby, Motion and the owners would've snagged Alan Garcia, who guided Animal Kingdom to victory in the Spiral Stakes. But he's Soldat's rider and was already committed to him in the Derby. So, in my opinion, Garcia has a reason to be pissed off, too.

Yes, it's lousy Albarado lost his Derby mount but Barry Irwin and the teeming millions of Team Valor probably didn't possess an overwhelming cause for loyalty to Robby; they were making a decision that they thought was in their best interest (read: winning). Just business.

Irwin and Velazquez both said that they wanted to "make it up to him" in some way. That's a task that takes a lot of creativity. Sure, they can write a big, fat check to the Robby Albarado Foundation to Eradicate Homelessness in Louisville or underwrite his next golf tournament, but that still seems like a pretty feeble "make it up to him". What could possibly be "make it up to him" quality?


All aside, Graham Motion, Johnny V, and Team Valor should revel in Fate as it sweeps them into Pimlico.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

2011 Kentucky Derby Picks

It’s time to go on record and make my selections for the 137th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands. And with the aid of a mint julep or two, these Derby picks may not look too bad by post time.

I’m a fan of both Archarcharch and Nehro. Unfortunately, with sort-of-favored Uncle Mo scratched, their odds will be lower than originally expected. And of course there is that pesky little Derby statistic regarding their post positions. So I’m in need of an intriguing and worthy longshot or two that I’ll box and/or wheel with my two Derby favorites.

Originally, my thoughts were captured by Sunland Derby winner, Twice the Appeal, with a morning line of 30-1 and Churchill Downs’ Jockey Extraordinaire, Calvin Borel in the saddle. Borel had pulled off a stunning upset a couple of years ago aboard Mine That Bird and there remains the possibility of him pulling that stunt again. Well, apparently everybody else had that same idea as I see his odds are currently at a gaudy 7-1! Ridiculous! No Appeal there ...

So I’ve settled on Animal Kingdom (current odds 23-1). Although he’s lightly raced, he’s been consistent and I like his pedigree; he’s bred to run all day. And his trainer, Graham Motion, is going gangbusters. If his odds remain nice and fat, I’ll probably toss in an across-the-board bet on him, too.

Mucho Macho Man (currently at 12-1) will also enjoy a little attention at the pari-mutuel window, and will be considered for my exotics.

Have a great Derby Day! Good luck!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Derby Draw

After many, many long and laborious weeks of the never-ending Triple Crown Mania and copious beer consumption, I had actually selected my potential Derby horses for the 137th Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands.

And then there was the Derby draw.

Post 19.

Post 1.

Ugh.

What's a bettor to do? According to Kentucky Derby history, Post 19 doesn't exactly have a glowing record of producing winners. As a matter of fact, it has never produced a winner. Neither has Post 17 for that matter, which is kind of bad news for Soldat.

And of course, Archarcharch landed in the dreaded 1-hole, where the onslaught of the prevailing cavalry charge to the first turn could push him up along the rail and maybe shuffle him back and provide enough traffic woes that his best alternate route would be I-64 through downtown Louisville. However, all may not be lost for Archx3. Post 1 has produced 12 winners since 1900, the last being Ferdinand 1986. And before that, you have to go back into your Way Back Machine, to Chateaugay (1963), albeit there was only 9 horses in the 89th Kentucky Derby - hardly a cavalry charge.

So now I'm faced with many, many long and laborious hours of never-ending handicapping and copious beer consumption - and maybe an antacid or two at this juncture - as I prepare to watch and wager the Kentucky Derby.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Respite in Derby Fever for Non-Crustaceans

Last Saturday was Dollar Day at Lone Star Park, where a throng of over 16,000 people stood in lines for beers, hot dogs, wagers, and bathrooms. And of course, next Saturday is Derby Day, where there is sure to be another, if not larger, horde of people. So, in an attempt to throw a lifeline to pari-mutuel clerks, beer vendors, the industrious janitorial staff, and the multitudes of harried handicappers, Lone Star Park is offering up a rather modest race card tomorrow. But wait! Should that give you cause to stay home and clean out your garage? Emphatically, NO!! Because tomorrow is Chef Jake's Cajun Crawfish Boil!

Now, I'm sure many of you are thinking, "What can possibly be the relationship of crawfish (or 'crayfish' for all you Yankees) and racing?" Well, interestingly enough, there are are numerous similarities between crawfish and racing, many of which remain unrecorded because Boudreaux couldn't find a pencil. However, it was reported that back in 1972, at the second annual Cajun Festival in Port Arthur, Texas, that a crawfish named Speed LeFloor won the Commissioners Sweepstakes Crawfish Race, setting a lively pace and going away handily. Speed LeFloor was immediately purchased for $1,000 by Henry Monte Jr. and turned out for stud.

Betcha you haven't read that one on Colin's Ghost.


Oh, and speaking of racing Cajuns, it's noteworthy that one of horse racing's favorite Cajuns, Calvin Borel, has secured a mount for next weekend's Kentucky Derby: Sunland Derby winner, Twice The Appeal. As they say, "It's déjà vu all over again".

Monday, April 18, 2011

Does Ted Nugent Have a Derby Favorite?

Don't have a Derby horse? Neither does Ted Nugent.

Well, truthfully, I don't know if he does or if he doesn't. The Nuge was here on Saturday to perform a concert at Lone Star Park after the races and, being the intrepid blogger that I am, I had a stranglehold of desire to interview him. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that Post Parade knows no bounds when it comes to scoring the big interview! And, let's face it, everybody 3 people want to know, especially after the recent drubbings of favorites Uncle Mo and The Factor in The Wood and the AR Derby, respectively, who's on Ted Nugent's Derby Watch?

Sadly, there was no interview opportunity for me after the races. I just got to hang around with a bunch of my peers, a.k.a, paunchy middle-aged people who saw Ted Nugent in 1976 back when they were in high school. However, if I had had the chance to actually speak with Mr. Nugent, I was completely prepared to ask some very hard-hitting and highly informative questions, such as,

    1. Who do you like for the Kentucky Derby?

    2. Interestingly enough, I see that you played the role of "Skunk" in the movie, Beer for My Horses, with country music superstar, Toby Keith. And of course, not only is Toby Keith talented and/or hot, but he owned the undefeated Cactus Ridge. Can you share with my readers your experiences or aspirations with Thoroughbred horse racing [that doesn't involve a gun]?

    3. Your 1981 hit, The Flying Lip Lock, reached position 36 on Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. Would you agree that "The Flying Lip Lock" is a good name for a race horse?


So, at this writing, does Uncle Ted like Uncle Mo? Unknown. And frankly, as we rapidly approach the Kentucky Derby, I'm not so sure who I even like. I'll probably be contemplating my Derby selections over morning coffee on May 7th. Oh, and as good fortune would have it, Ted Nugent even has his own brand of coffee, Nuge Java,
"My life of rock-n-roll and hunting is a stimulating adventure every day. There is nothing average about my days, including my morning joe. Nuge Java prepares me for an amazing American Dream every morning. It's Spiritual Rocketfuel!" says Uncle Ted about his coffee.

Sounds good. Pour me a cup.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lone Star Park Opening Night: Not Quite Blown Away

Lone Star Park opened its 15th season last night, with Lydia’s Last Step taking the first step into the Winner’s Circle.

One expects a festival type of atmosphere on opening night; an evening rife with giddy anticipation and optimism during the upcoming weeks. Just the possibility of being the handicapping genius and/or lucky boob that scores a big fat payday on a winning 10-cent superfecta is enough to buoy anyone’s spirits. However, oddly enough, the opening night sizzle never quite materialized. And frankly, I’m unable to pinpoint exactly what element was missing.

Perhaps it was the familiarity of the pre-race ceremonies. Traditionally, a giant Texas flag is unfurled by a large contingent of high school kids, and everybody puts down their beers, listen to God Bless America and gets teary-eyed. However, last night the wind was whipping down the stretch at gusts of 30-40 mph, and do you know what that does to giant unfurled flags? It was a massive waving monster! The kids struggled to maintain their grips, a few of them completely unable to hold onto it. And the only thing I could think of at the time was that I needed to get this on video - if the flag wrested free from the handlers it would blow all the way to New Mexico! That would make for great YouTube!

Or maybe some of the onus goes to the self-serve AmTote kiosks. It’s the first day of live racing and they should be running like a well-oiled machine, but many performed like a rusted-out 1980 Chevette. Touch screens were temperamental and paper jams swallowed up vouchers. The self-serve banks of tote machines are very popular with the bettors at Lone Star but more than one person voiced a little frustration.

Or perhaps hot dog buns should receive a little blame, too. Lone Star Park could sure use buns with some courage. It’s a great source of irritation when a hot dog bun splits into two pieces. My Grand Prairie Dog was placed in a wimpy bun that broke in half immediately and, I’m sorry to say, there is no tidy way to eat a hot dog in a broken bun with mustard and relish and onions dripping all over your hands and you’re a sticky mess by the time you’re done eating and then you have to go to the bathroom to wash up but it’s on your way to the bathroom that you run into the Vice President of the racetrack who recognizes you and sticks out his hand in greeting and you have no choice to shake his hand with your sticky mustard-covered hand.

Perhaps there was some kind of cosmic misalignment in the Premiere Stakes itself. The favorite, Coyote Legend, broke through the gate in a false start; his regular rider, fan favorite Bobby Walker Jr., was notably absent, having broken [fill in bone here]. Coyote Legend didn’t recover from his miscue, and rallied to come in second to Lydia’s Last Step. And I’m sorry – no gelding should be named “Lydia” or any kind of variant or phrase or otherwise. It’s a girl’s name. They should refer to him as “Pete”.

Regardless of tote machine malfunctions and flimsy hot dog buns and boys named “Lydia”, Lone Star Park remains committed to live racing and providing great entertainment for fans. It’s no secret that the racetrack has struggled with ownership problems, but the team is hanging tough. The Lone Star Music Series kicks off tonight with the Randy Rogers Band, and tomorrow is The Nuge himself, Ted Nugent. Additionally, the racetrack now offers two new wagers: The 10-Cent Super Hi-Five and the Fortune 6.

FYI: Last night’s premier 10-Cent Super Hi-Five paid $1,666.65. And it wasn’t me. Maybe that was the missing element?

Lydia's Last Step, winner of the 2011 Premiere Stakes, Lone Star Park. Trainer J.R. Caldwell, jockey Bryan McNeil.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Tune In for the Florida Derby

Sunday is the the much ballyhooed prep for the Derby: The Florida Derby. As I pondered the significance of the race, it gave me pause for reflection - the Kentucky Derby has "My Old Kentucky Home", the Preakness has a rendering of "Maryland, My Maryland", and the Belmont has whatever song that includes the words New York. It is truly a tragedy that the Florida Derby does not enjoy its own noteworthy tune.

But fear not! I have taken it upon myself to pen a song, a rather modest rendition if I may say so, in recognition of the Florida Derby:

    All Hail Thee, Oh Gulfstream Park
    (sung to the tune of O Tannenbaum. Or any song by Nirvana)

    Oh, Gulfstream Park! Oh, Gulfstream Park!
    Home of the Florida Derby.
    Oh, Gulfstream Park! Oh, Gulfstream Park!
    Home of the Florida Derby.
    There was Barbaro and then Big Brown,
    Tho' Frank Stronach tore the grandstand down
    Oh, Gulfstream Park! Oh, Gulfstream Park!
    The next race will be at Churchill



Footnote: For tomorrow's race, this lyricist is selecting Dialed In and Soldat, while recklessly wheeling horses in double-digit odds underneath.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oaklawn Legend

I go out of town for one little week, and look what happens? Casey Abrams very nearly gets sent home from American Idol all because I didn't vote. Luckily, the judges saved him. Speaking of judges, I met Steven Tyler once a long, long time ago. And no, he's not the father of any of my children.

Anyway, last week I trekked to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Last year, as an Oaklawn maiden, I was completely gobsmacked by the racetrack - oozing with rich racing history and a festival-type atmosphere. A return engagement was required. So my only objective on this particular Friday afternoon was to enjoy the ambience, drink a little beer, and make a little money.

As I perused through my 2011 Official Program, I noted an interesting blurb published below the 2nd race's past performances:

Join Terry Wallace for Friday's Seventh Race Stretch


Oaklawn Park's legendary track announcer, Terry Wallace, now has a "meet and greet" following the sixth race on Fridays. If you recall, back in January he ended his record streak of consecutive race calls at 20,191 and enjoyed watching his first race on the apron. Well, apparently after 37 years, he's decided that handing over the microphone and mingling among the railfolk isn't so bad after all and now he does it on a weekly basis.

Legends are not to be ignored, so like a bubble-headed groupie, I hunted him down for a photo op. At first, I went to the wrong place and the only notable individual I could find was a guy working food service. However, I eventually located Terry - just as he was wrapping up his meet-n-greet in the Arkansas Sports Tavern. I requested a photo, drafting Miss Texas Torilla to snap the picture.

"Just pretend I'm some long lost girlfriend," I told Terry.

Unfortunately, there was no time for chit-chat. No opportunity to ask hard-hitting and fact-finding questions, like "What kind of pace can we expect to see in the Rebel?" or "What's up with your prominent display of the Beulah Park Twins' bobbleheads?" or "Do you know if Bob Baffert is going to be in town this weekend because I met him once. And I've met Steven Tyler. And now I've met you. Kinda like a pretty weird trifecta, huh?"

In retrospect, it's a good thing it was time for the 8th race.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Blogger Envy

One of my favorite bloggers, Valerie of Foolish Pleasure, announced that today is her 4th Blogging Anniversary. In true celebratory fashion, she described her evolution from an "ill-informed blowhard" to a knowledgeable and confident horse racing commentator. And as a little anniversary gift for her bevy of loyal followers, she served up a modest list of some of her favorite posts.

Valerie got me to thinking about my own venture into this whole blogging business a few years back. I looked at my first post that read of sharing touts and "tidbits of information" and "occasional picks" a la some kind of handicapping whiz. What a crock!

Let's face it - handicapping and pedigree study and well-formed opinions just takes up too much valuable time, so unlike Valerie, I embraced devolution. It was a whole lot easier [and personally entertaining] to write about plastinates or Bob Baffert Adventures that, frankly, sharing some so-called analysis wasn't fun. So I haven't really learned anything from this blog other than a little grammar improvement and my biggest burning question, "Do I use a dash or a semi-colon?"

However, like Valerie, I'll share my very brief list of personal favorites:

1. John Henry's Irish Wake, October 2007.

Cheers to you, Val, and all the other great bloggers and turf writers and turf writer wannabes that make reading about the Sport of Kings great!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Who Is That Masked Handicapper?

A couple of years ago, I had the joy of experiencing the Fountain of Youth first-hand; basking in the glorious Florida sunshine and watching a collection of talented Derby hopefuls race around Gulfstream's oval. Whatever every happened to Scat Daddy, anyway?

Nowadays, my jobs and kids and band practice and choir practice and 14 weekly loads of laundry and one ill-behaved puppy get in the way of keeping up-to-date with horse racing, much less any kind of horse racing adventure. This year's Fountain of Youth Results Ticker came at an unlikely venue: A Mardi Gras gala.

Saturday evening, as my husband and I arrived at a Mardi Gras party [and benefit for Arts Fifth Avenue, Fort Worth], we were greeted by a congenial masked well-known handicapper / turf writer. And in our brief meeting, as a stream of revelers continued to arrive, I was informed that Soldat had won the Fountain of Youth, "where he controlled a moderate pace and just ran away with it. Meanwhile, help yourself to drinks over at the bar."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Debacles, Investigations, and Restitution

The Super Bowl Seating Debacle has garnered much attention in the past few days. Hundreds of valid ticket-holders were turned away because their temporary seats were deemed unsafe by the fire marshall a couple hours before kick-off. And as more facts come to light, the NFL was well aware of the problems plaguing the installation of the seats long before Super Bowl Sunday. So now the NFL is offering these ticket-holders restitution of sorts, like cash refunds, tickets to next year's Super Bowl, canned hams, and so forth.

And now, as I turn my attention back to horse racing, I read this headline from yesterday's Daily Racing Form,

Inquiry into Life At Ten's Breeders' Cup performance continues


A probe by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission into the circumstances surrounding the poor performance of Life At Ten in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5 remains ongoing,[DRF]


There's still an investigation?

Okay, apparently there was some sort of debacle, whether it be the trainer and/or track veterinarian failing to scratch Life At Ten before the race or Johnny V voicing his comments for all the world to hear. Regardless, she came in last, the "Official" sign was posted on the board after the race, and millions of dollars worth of losing tickets were shredded, mine included.

Furthermore, if and when this "probe" is concluded, what could the racing industry possibly do for restitution? Losing wagers are long gone and Todd Pletcher already has his Eclipse.

And one more thing: Who won that race anyway? The focus has been so much at Life At Ten losing that I can't remember who even won anymore ... and that's unwanted "restitution".

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Road to the Super Bowl Goes Through Lone Star Park

Generally, the exciting happenings at Lone Star Park this time of year is the $5 Grilled Turkey Melt special offered on Wednesdays in February. However, today - Super Bowl Sunday - tens of thousands of people streamed into the racetrack grandstand. The crowd was loud and boisterous; giddy with anticipation. The excitement! Yes! They were at Lone Star Park ... to pick up their credentials, board buses and head over to Cowboy Stadium in Arlington to work the Super Bowl.

I felt a great need to capture this bit of the Super Bowl hoopla being held at the racetrack. So I enlisted my good friend and neighbor, Gimpy, to record all the action.

Gimpy is a professional ticket-taker at Cowboy Stadium. And he's an usher at Rangers Ballpark. And he does lighting for a small local theater troupe. And he's a part-time actor, most recently earning rave reviews as Vinnie in The Odd Couple where he famously voiced the line, "Oscar, it's your deal," and then accidentally knocked all the poker chips off the table.

However, today I learned that Gimpy is not a photojournalist.

I was rather amazed by the first image that he sent: J Lo and Randy Jackson! I can't believe they were there at Lone Star Park before the Super Bowl! Wow!


Hey, wait a minute ... that's American Idol!

Apparently, Gimpy needed to test his cell phone photography skills.

Okay, here's a photo of the Game Day briefing on the third floor of the grandstand. Clearly, Gimpy is indicating that this was the only space available in the grandstand.


And finally, here's some kind of "crowd" shot. Too bad they couldn't incorporate some kind of handicapping seminar for these folks.



Sadly, this exciting February action of Lone Star Park was not fully realized in this photo essay. But the National Anthem auditions are coming up on February 22nd. Maybe another chance for Christina Aguilera to get the song right.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Groundhogs, Gaga, and Other Ramblings

Last month, my microwave broke. I have had to cook. Real food. Gone is the luxury of quickly heating up some kind of frozen pre-made concoction that my children happily devour. Instead I find myself perusing cookbooks and writing shopping lists; preparing an adequate menu that will satisfy my children and my no-carb-heart-healthy husband.

Naturally, there is fallout from this lifestyle change: (1) increased martini consumption, and (2) less time for the ponies.

So today, in honor of Groundhog Day - because we all know Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his hole, pretended he didn't see his shadow and said, "Screw this winter crap!" and took off to Florida to hang out at Gulfstream with Andy Beyer - I would like to share with you the tidbits of horse racing news/rumors/gossip/completely-unrelated-items.

Lone Star Park Wire Report. No news of ownership transfer to Global Gaming but apparently optimism is running rampant with what's left of track management. A recent email blast announced the line-up for the upcoming Lone Star Music Series,
Lone Star Music Series line-up includes seven concerts during the 2011 Spring Thoroughbred Season, featuring debut appearances by Ted Nugent on opening weekend, Saturday, April 16 and Dwight Yoakam on closing weekend, Saturday, July 9.


It's noteworthy that the series consists of two known acts and The Five Mystery Acts. For all we know, it could include Stryper. Or Scandal.


However, our illustrious local racetrack is getting a piece of Super Bowl action this weekend. It will be a staging area for the employees working the Super Bowl. And Post Parade will have our "Man on the Inside" to place you right there in the action! It promises to be as big as Troy Polamalu's hair.

Triple Crown Contenders. My list is brief:
    1. Uncle Mo
    2. Broken Microwave

Fortunately, here in Dallas/Fort Worth, not only do we have the Super Bowl, but we also have turf writer extraordinaire, Gary West of the Star-Telegram (motto: "We have officially put 'Roethlisberger' on spell-check"). The Professor recently published his list of 100 "Triple Crown Noisemakers." He once told me that he fills up 72 spiral notebooks with news and observations of 1,334,275 Derby prospects. Or something to that effect. His exact number is in an email somewhere in my Inbox, along with 36,000 other messages so I'm not looking for it any time soon because I don't have time to clean out my Inbox. I have to cook. Or buy a new microwave.

Anyway, I'm glad the Professor is doing all this work for me. I read his list. I recognized four horses. At this writing, I can bet my Derby Superfecta with confidence.

The Horse Racing Information Superhighway. In this fast-paced, hectic world of being a pseudo-quasi-homemaker, obtaining relevant albeit brief information has become a necessity for me. DRF and Paulick Report have spruced up their websites and I still haven't found the time to go clicking through the myriad of tabs and pages and links and whatnot to get my relevant albeit brief information. On that note, one can argue of the virtues of Twitter ... OMG! Everybody seems to be on Twitter! And here I sit; I'm still trying to figure out how to even use my cell phone. And now I have to figure out how to obtain my relevant albeit brief information on it? I'd rather cook. Or clean out my Inbox.

Odds and Ends, with Emphasis on Odds. Recently, I discovered an artist with too much time on her hands and a closet full of My Little Pony. It's the closest thing to horse racing I've seen in a month.

Here's Lady Gaga,


And here's one that Brian and other Trekkies can appreciate,


And finally it should be noted that only a few days ago, the only thing frozen around here was the margarita I was drinking on the patio at Rio Mambo. And now it's like The Day After Tomorrow. Minus Jake Gyllenhaal. And the wolves on the Russian ship. Because, after all, that's kind of silly.