Friday, May 03, 2013

2013 Kentucky Derby Selections and Cramming Session

Derby tomorrow?!? I'm practically still wearing mittens!

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!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

We Love Graphs!

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:

(Okay, horse racing purists ... there is no selection for "a Grade 1 stakes 1116 miles turf race, for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upwards, and a purse of $500,000).

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!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

LSP: Opening Weekend Antics

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:
 Of note, X is either (1) a child, (2) a pregnant and/or nursing mother, (3) a Baptist incognito, or (4) an ant.

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!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

We're On Our Feet! Opening Night at Lone Star Park!

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.

"I'll have a Dak RT!"  

 Sounds pretty good, huh?

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!