Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Opportunity to Wear Your Groovy Pants

Thanks to the endeavor of the ever-vigilant web-surfing staff of Paulick Report, I was alerted that Disney's upcoming movie, Secretariat, had begun filming at Keeneland with a sea of teeming movie extras adorned in their hip and stylish polyester clothes à la 1973. According to LexGo, filming at Keeneland continues today and then will move to Churchill Downs next week. "Extras are still needed for that shoot Oct. 5-9, particularly men of all ages, specialty extras such as look-alikes for '70s icons such as Isaac Hayes and Sonny and Cher."

If Kentucky is not a desirable venue for launching your movie career, Bam Casting LA is currently casting extras for Secretariat when filming moves to the boudain ball capital of the world, Lafayette, Louisiana. Want to be more than just a pretty face wearing baby blue polyester pants in a crowd? Need to broaden your thespian skills? Maybe you just want to show off your groovy wardrobe. Or fire up your highly prized '72 Vega hatchback Coupe. There's some excellent opportunities:

Also Seeking
*Experienced horse handlers and trainers
*1970’S cars, trailers, and RVs
*Photo doubles for Diane Lane, John Malkovich ...
*Hippie/Woodstock types
*Military/Police types
*Reporter/Media types

The open casting call was a couple of days ago at the Cajundome. But don't shave off your sideburns yet! You can still fill out a registration form. Filming in Lafayette is scheduled for Oct. 12 through the end of November.

Break a leg!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Intersection Still Under Construction

A couple of days ago, FoolishPleasure, PhD, wrote a thoughtful post, Intersections, where her career afforded her the opportunity to teach a course that combined her "passions" - art history and horse racing. Nice way to earn a paycheck.

Coincidentally, my job recently intersected with horse racing. Well, sort of, anyway. I received my AABB SmartBrief email alert the other day, which has the "latest news stories of interest to the transfusion medicine and cellular therapies community" and generally lacks anything that has to do with horse racing. However, it recently reported that Neuralstem had received FDA approval to begin clinical trials on patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease).

Admittedly, I'm no stem-cell-research-scientist hot shot. Frankly, I rarely even read my Smartbrief in my effort to do as little blood banking as possible. But this news really caught my attention because it's a significant step in delivering medicine to regenerate damaged neural tissue. And this year, horse racing has had more than its fair share of spinal cord injuries and damaged neural tissue. Of course, I'm referring to the serious injuries suffered by jockeys Rene Douglas and Michael Straight. Scientists and researchers are hard at work with their little Petri dishes full of stem cells, striving to make advancements in neural tissue regeneration, perhaps providing hope for many individuals afflicted with paralysis and other diseases.

Speaking of Rene Douglas, HRTV produced a mini-documentary update on Rene Douglas (VIDEO) that's featured on Take 7 or 8 minutes out of your day to watch it. Additionally, Brock Sheridan created a Get Well Card on Facebook for Rene Douglas, if you're interested in posting a message. There's also a Facebook 'card' for Michael Straight, as well.

There's little artistry and history in my "intersection" but there are certainly some interesting possibilities in the future.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Plenty of Blame Following the Super Derby

My original weekend plans did not include the Super Derby (gr. 2). Upon first glance at the race’s line up, I was neither intrigued nor interested. And let’s face it, the name “Super Derby” is kind of bland; it doesn’t exactly scream, “One hot Ragin’ Cajun horse race for 3-year-olds with a $750K purse and all the etouffee you can eat at Louisiana Downs!” It seems to me that the name of the race could use a little Louisiana flair, like the Super Andouille Gumbo Derby, or the Super Spicy Crawfish Derby. But I digress.

It wasn’t until I read Gary West’s column in Friday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram (motto: We proudly display a picture of the new Cowboys’ Stadium in every section every day!) that my interest was somewhat piqued. The Professor wrote of a horse with star potential: Blame.

Blame … had improved steadily so that now he could be on the cusp of becoming one of the best horses of his generation.

That’s a pretty keen observation and a strong opinion. And, admittedly, I had never heard of Blame. It had me reaching for a racing form. Regal Ransom - Blame. Blame - Regal Ransom. Simple.

A quick trip to the racetrack with whatever spare change I could scrounge out of the bottom of my purse was in order. LaD-11. 4,5 Exacta Box. Watch race. Collect winnings, if applicable. Go home and make spaghetti for dinner.

Betting made simple. That is until I ran into my friend Cece and her father’s cousin’s neighbor’s older brother, Jimmy. Or Ronnie. I can never remember his name – it’s one or the other and I interchange them frequently.

Anyway, Cece is a good handicapper, but she can get rather chatty. Prior to the Super Derby I began to listen to her opinions and strategies and race dissections until it all jumbled together into a stream of mind-numbing soundbites: “Soul Warrior is looking good … nice odds on Asmussen horses … Regal Ransom hasn’t even run since the Derby ... I don’t trust those dudes from Dubai … opportunities to beat the favorite … make money … more odds … another bourbon and coke … ”

My simple bet morphed into a bawdy burlesque show of exactas, none of which even included Regal Ransom on the top spot.

Needless to say, after the Super Derby, I looked at my little pile of losing wagers.


I broke one of my sacred rules. I made a mistake. I allowed myself to be swayed. I changed my bet. Instead of winning, I lost. I blame myself. Simple.

There's a moral to this story. And the next time I see Cece and Jimmy/Ronnie at the track, I'm sure they'll tell me what it is.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Whine Tasting: Uninspired Complexity with a Hint of Animal-Barnyard Notes

I don’t know about everybody else, but when Saratoga wrapped up its meet last week I heaved a sigh of relief.

A teeming horde of prolific and talented writers descend upon Saratoga Springs each year, waxing eloquence about the atmosphere and ambience, champion horses and high profile stakes races – tossing in anecdotes about trainers and jockeys and Tom Durkin. Horse racing media, be it The Form or Paulick Report or the sundry of blogs on the world wide web, is inundated. I’m absorbed in the overflow of information and conclude that frankly, I have nothing to add except that if you rearrange the letters in “Rachel Alexandra”, you get “Adrenal Arch Axle”.

And of course, the climactic ending to the meet – Rachel Alexandra exuding greatness by defeating older males in the Woodward Stakes – could only produce a few minor insipid thoughts from me, barely worth sharing with a reading audience of two people, one of whom would be my brother, Chuck:

Woodward Wrap-Up: Filly Phenom Rachel Alexandra won the Woodward, however my deepest appreciation goes out to Sky Mesa, a very reliable sire routinely included in my handicapping scheme. Keying Mesa Sunrise in the 8th enabled me to win the Pick-3. Martinis for everyone!

However, there was an extremely urgent message I received the day before the Woodward, courtesy of a Kendall-Jackson Winery Email Blast: Orders are now being taken for their limited-edition Rachel Alexandra Wine, a “luscious 2007 Pinot Noir grown on our estate vineyards in the Arroyo Seco appellation.”
There are two special offerings:
• A single bottle signed by Jess Jackson and jockey Calvin Borel placed in a distinctive wood box.
$150 each.
• Wine only…perfect for gift-giving or saving for yourself.
$50 per bottle.

I purchased the wine only, with the emphasis on “saving for yourself.” It’s not like the Pick-3 required a visit to the IRS window.

Anyway, Saratoga ramblings have become silent for the most part, paving the way for those of us who are (a) completely mesmerized by others’ writings, (b) busy collaborating on a book, or (c) downright lazy, to share our news and views about horse racing. Perhaps I’ll take a field trip to Remington Park in Oklahoma City. Or Retama Park in San Antonio. Or maybe something closer to home, like watching Seabiscuit. Or maybe something a little less complicated, such as enjoying a glass of Wild Horse™ wine, notably the Cabernet Sauvignon, “distinctive for its bold, fruit-forward character.”