Friday, October 26, 2012
It's getting to be that time of year again: The Thoroughbred World Championships. Ish. No Black Caviar. No Frankel. But there WILL be a lot of excitement, a few longshots and some great storylines. Make sure you catch all the excitement at our member blogs: before, during and after the Breeders' Cup for the most complete coverage anywhere!
Saturday, May 5, 2012
It’s finally arrived—Derby day! Heavy rain overnight in Louisville meant the main track was closed for training this morning, but the rain is gone (for now). With hot, humid conditions guaranteed, we’ll see the temperatures soar into the upper 80s with isolated showers possible. Thus far, only race 4 has been taken off the turf, while in race 8—the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile—there are two scratches: #6 Annabel Lee and #7 Aruna. You can stay updated with changes via Equibase.
If you aren’t able to be at Churchill Downs, then the place to be is on Twitter for handicapping commentary, picks and late-breaking news. For those who are still looking for information and selections, check out these posts:
- For his gig with the Buffalo News, Gene Kershner (EquiSpace) makes his Derby predictions. Since he’s also on the ground at CD, he also has photos up from yesterday morning of some Derby contenders working out and an overview of Oaks Day.
- With his Oaks winner Believe You Can, Anthony Falbo (The Turk) is live in the Oaks-Derby double; just who does he need to win today?
- Ever the etymologist, Teresa Genaro (Brooklyn Backstretch) makes her Derby picks by the letters; her guest blogger Brian Nadeau from Horseplayer Now also handicaps the field.
- Appropriately enough, Ted Grevelis (Owning Racehorses) finds Alpha to his liking; here’s his complete Derby analysis.
- She gave out Animal Kingdom last year; who does Sue Dalebroux (Post Parade) like in this year’s race?
- Want to know who has the breeding to get the 10-furlong Derby distance? Over at Hello Race Fans!, Valerie Grash (Foolish Pleasure/Fillies First) breaks down the entire field.
- His complete analysis is up here at ThoroFan, but Chris Hernandez (Giving My Ten Cents) has other thoughts on today’s Derby and its undercard.
- Keith McCalmont (Triple Dead Heat) has been on the ground at CD as well; his latest post is about Woodbine-based Derby contender Prospective. He also wraps up Oaks day and makes his Derby picks.
- Finally, curious about the famous Oaks’ fillies foot fashion? Fran Jurga (Hoof Blog/The Jurga Report) has video, pictures of winner Believe You Can, Summer Applause and Sacristy being shod.
Good luck with all your wagers today!
Posted by Valerie Grash at 10:26 AM
Monday, April 30, 2012
For American horse racing fans, it doesn’t get more exciting than Kentucky Derby week—when all eyes turn towards Churchill Downs and even non-racing fans feign interest in the sport. Everywhere you turn online there is a plethora of information, as a horse’s every little nuance is studied, analyzed and debated. Everyone it seems has an opinion, so how do you wade through it all? The easy answer: just jump in and enjoy this word orgy!
As always, Twitter is the best place to find breaking news, observations and handicapping tips—not just from bloggers and other turf journalists, but even owners, trainers and jockeys. If you haven’t joined, this is the time to do so.
A number of TURF members will also be on-site in Louisville this week, including Teresa Genaro (Brooklyn Backstretch), Gene Kershner (EquiSpace), and Keith McCalmont (Triple Dead Heat). Others are content to handicap from home, like Valerie Grash (Fillies First) who takes a look at the important role dams play in Derby winners and Kevin Martin (Colin’s Ghost) who recalled 1882 Derby winner Apollo, the last runner to win the Kentucky Derby without a start at two. These are but two examples of the kinds of posts you can look forward to this week; we’ll update you on all their postings as Oaks and Derby days grow near.
Beyond our blogs, don’t miss Kentucky Confidential, co-founded by Jessica Chapel (Railbird) and John Scheinman, for high-quality original writing, not to mention on-the-ground observations and interviews from Churchill Downs. Their site is being presented this year by Ray Paulick’s Paulick Report.
Even seasoned horseplayers can find value in the original writings of Dana Byerly (Green But Game), Valerie Grash (Foolish Pleasure/Fillies First), Kevin Martin (Colin’s Ghost), and Jessica Chapel (Railbird) at Hello Race Fans! Watch for Valerie’s annual “Getting the Derby Distance” post later this week, evaluating the stamina pedigrees of this year’s Derby contenders. Already available are Kevin’s post “The Major Prep Factor” and Jessica’s piece “Geek Out: Mining Derby Data.”
Posted by Valerie Grash at 9:26 PM
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
TURF member Keith McCalmont (http://www.tripledeadheat.ca/) was recently announced as a finalist for a prestigious Sovereign Award for Outstanding Newspaper Story for his story, Emma’s Great Excaper, published on Woodbineentertainment.com on November 2, 2011.
“It is an honour to be nominated for this award alongside a pair of talented, Sovereign Award winning, writers such as Beverley Smith and Allan Besson,” said McCalmont of the nomination.
Ostensibly a preview of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, the story was a rare glimpse into the development of a potential champion and the bond between horse and rider. While finishing second in the Juvenile Turf, the 33-1 long shot ran a determined race, validating trainer Ian Black’s decision to retain Breeders’ Cup rookie Emma-Jayne Wilson, Excaper’s regular pilot, in the horse’s biggest race to date.
“I'm forever thankful to jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson who made telling this story a simple task,” McCalmont continued. “Emma generously shared the details of the months of conditioning, engineered by trainer Ian Black that went into building up a Breeders' Cup calibre horse. My job, as a writer sharing her anecdotes, was simply to stay out of the way. I won't soon forget the smile on Emma's face following their second-place finish in the Juvenile Turf, or the kiss that an exuberant Black planted on her cheek during the post-race interview. Little moments like that are what horse racing is all about.”
“This is the third straight year that Keith has been nominated for a Sovereign Award,” said Valerie Grash, founding member of the international bloggers’ group, “and we couldn’t be prouder of his achievements. His unique insider’s view of Woodbine racing, along with his deep love of the sport, permeates his writing and allows him to bring to light stories of extraordinary depth and clarity.”
Sovereign Award winners will be announced at a ceremony on April 5, 2012 at Woodbine Race Track in Toronto.
Posted by Valerie Grash at 2:36 PM
Friday, December 30, 2011
As the final days of 2011 pass into history, it seems everyone’s in a reflective mood. For horse racing fans, 2011 was mostly a year of discontent. Still, it did have its share of remarkable racing moments, not the least of which is the continuing saga of record-setting claimer Rapid Redux. Australian superstar Black Caviar remained undefeated, a perfect 16 for 16—and her connections are preparing to conqueror the world in 2012. Fillies and mares dominated wherever they ran, including sweeping the top three positions in the prestigious Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, as well as capturing a number of G1 classic races worldwide—the Cox Plate, Japan Cup, Doncaster Mile, Canadian International, Caulfield Cup, and the Queen’s Plate. After battling Blind Luck in the G2 Delaware Handicap (a race Kevin Martin of Colin’s Ghost considers the best U.S. contest of 2011), Havre de Grace turned her attention to defeating males in the G1 Woodwood Stakes. The legendary Goldikova was unable to four-peat in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but gave her fans quite a competitive year. What will be your favorite memorable moment of 2011?
In case you missed it, here’s what our members have been thinking and writing about, beginning with those reflections of 2011 and what to look forward to in 2012:
- Teresa Genaro (Brooklyn Backstretch) recaps her eventful 2011 with some memorable moments.
- Jessica Chapel (Railbird) takes note of 2011’s best racing stories.
- Kate Hunter (Keiblog) salutes newly-retired champion mare Buena Vista and ponders the worldly ambitions of Smart Falcon.
- Valerie Grash (Fillies First) highlights the best performances of fillies and mares racing in open company graded stakes worldwide in 2011; at her Foolish Pleasure blog, she argues that 2011 should go down as the Year of the Blue-Collar Horse.
- Gene Kershner (EquiSpace) celebrates both the “feats of strength” and “airing of grievances” in 2011, and makes 10 bold predictions for 2012 racing.
- Anthony Falbo (The Turk) reflects on the personal events of 2011 that touched him, including the death of racing fan Tim “Tiznow” Reynolds.
- Frank Vespe (That’s Amore) witnesses Rapid Redux’s record-setting effort at Laurel.
- Alastair Middleton (Horse Racing in Korea) wraps up the Korean racing year, noting champion jockey and leading sire honors. He’s also been following closely the incredible juvenile campaign of Smarty Moonhak, a Smarty Jones son who did the unthinkable, taking on his elders in Korea’s top race, the Grand Prix—and finished third.
- Enjoying an end-of-year trip to Hong Kong, Steve Zorn (The Business of Racing) looks at the financial aspects of Hong Kong racing vs. American racing, as well as the race track experience and the horses’ health and retirement issues.
- Bill Pressey (ThoroEdge) offers a free copy of his forthcoming eBook on FIT (Feedback Induced Training) and continues his exploration into proper conditioning and training techniques.
- Frank Mitchell (Bloodstock in the Bluegrass) considers the breeding possibilities for three sons of Giant’s Causeway—Eskendereya, Hold Me Back and Neko Bay—as well as the resurgence of former claimer Twelve Twenty Two.
- At Sid Fernando’s blog, guest blogger Thomas J. Thornbury reports on the upcoming Cape Premier Sale in South Africa.
- Inspired by the new “War Horse” movie, Fran Jurga (Hoof Blog) takes a closer look at the experience of battle-worn World War I horses and their hoof care. She also treated us to videos of terrific horse-related holiday commercials. Over at The Jurga Report, her holiday post included a wonderful collection of horses celebrating the season in lights.
- Ted Grevelis (Owning Racehorses) reviews the new HBO series “Luck” and looks forward to his mare Tabby Lane's next race.
- Alan Mann (Left at the Gate) continues his unparalleled observations of New York racing in the aftermath of casinos, particularly noting the brisk activity at the claiming box as well as (unfortunately) how little has changed at Aqueduct for the racing fan. He’s also on top of the NYRA takeout fiasco.
- Chris Hernandez (Giving My Ten Cents) provides the best Southern California race analysis including the conclusion of Hollywood and the beginning of Santa Anita’s winter meet with its four stakes on opening day.
- Gina Rarick (Gallop France) closes out the year with Deep Ocean making a Friday run at Deauville (he finished third); in case you missed it, it’s well worth the effort to click through the fabulous photos her friend Jacqueline Ashton de Floris posted of this quaint racecourse, and don’t miss her humorous post on the battle of ever-growing manure pile.
And, last but not least, Keith McCalmont (Triple Dead Heat) reveals a poignant story about serendipitously finding one’s place in the world. Hopefully, your 2012 will be likewise filled with magic and wonderment, not to mention plenty of winners. Happy New Year!
Posted by Valerie Grash at 11:46 AM
Saturday, November 5, 2011
What an exciting (albeit rather chalky) day Friday was at the Breeders’ Cup! Beginning with a dynamic late run from the sole filly entrant Shumoos nearly catching heavily-favored Secret Circle in the Juvenile Sprint and ending with trainer Bill Mott repeating last year’s victory in the Ladies’ Classic, this time with Royal Delta…the Breeders’ Cup races provided just the right balance of winning favorites and heart-winning upsets. Here’s what our member blogs are talking about in advance of today’s races:
- Valerie Grash (Foolish Pleasure), Ted Grevelis (Owning Racehorses) and Chris Hernandez (Giving My Ten Cents) make some bold predictions for Breeders’ Cup Saturday.
- Gene Kershner (EquiSpace) wraps up his Breeders’ Cup experience on Friday in photos.
- European-based trainer Gina Rarick (Gallop France) casts a rather critical eye on the events of Breeders’ Cup Friday, including the post-parade scratching of Announce in the F&M Turf and Shotgun Gulch in the F&M Sprint.
- She also wrote an interesting post over at the New York Times’ blog The Rail—both Arc winner Danedream and Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden were bargain yearling purchases. Don’t discount “cheap” horses in big-time races like the Breeders’ Cup! Case in point: Breeders’ Cup F&M Sprint winner Musical Romance who was purchased for a mere $22k.
- Frank Mitchell (Bloodstock in the Bluegrass) talks about Street Sense’s first stakes winner, Motor City.
- Alastair Middleton (Horse Racing in Korea) reports on a smart juvenile Trophy Cup winner tackling older horses going nine furlongs—and winning by 11 lengths! His sire: Smarty Jones.
[After this blitzkrieg that is the Breeders’ Cup, we’re all going to need that extra hour of sleep tonight.]
Posted by Valerie Grash at 11:51 AM
Friday, November 4, 2011
Need even more last-minute Breeders’ Cup information on your way to mental overload? While Churchill’s racing begins at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, the first Breeders’ Cup race—the Juvenile Sprint (race 5)—is scheduled to go to post at 4:10 p.m. Eastern, leaving plenty of time to check in on:
- Teresa Genaro (Brooklyn Backstretch) who has the back story on Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint runner Trinniberg.
- Kevin Martin (Colin’s Ghost) who reflects back on that first Breeders’ Cup in 1984, and how things have changed in terms of wagering opportunities.
- Alan Mann (Left at the Gate) who ponders Uncle Mo’s chances in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
- Sue Dalebroux (Post Parade) and her Magic Beer Bottle who spin their Breeders’ Cup selections for your reading pleasure.
- Chris Hernandez (Giving My Ten Cents) who handicaps Friday’s Breeders’ Cup races, as well as the undercard contests.
- Valerie Grash (Foolish Pleasure) who makes her Breeders’ Cup Friday predictions.
- Ted Grevelis (Owning Racehorses) with his selections for Breeders’ Cup Friday.
Posted by Valerie Grash at 1:01 PM
Thursday, November 3, 2011
It’s nearly upon us—Breeders’ Cup 2011. Whether on-site in Louisville or in front of computers across the nation and around the world, horse racing bloggers are chiming in with analysis, handicapping and backstories about this year’s event. Here’s a review (with links) to what our members are talking about right now:
Keith McCalmont (Triple Dead Heat) discusses Woodbine-based trainer Mark Casse’s two Breeders’ Cup entrants, Northern Passion (Juvenile Fillies) and Prospective (Juvenile), while Jessica Chapel (Railbird) has posted some great on-site photos of early morning workouts this week at Churchill. Gene Kershner (EquiSpace) has also arrived in Louisville in anticipation of the big day!
In honor of Goldikova’s attempt at four consecutive Breeders’ Cup wins, at FilliesFirst, Valerie Grash looked back at the first BC Mile winner, gutsy (and lucky) Royal Heroine, while Alastair Middleton (Horse Racing in Korea) explained why so many Korean racing fans are on board with Game on Dude in the BC Classic, as well as updated us on BC Classic winner Volponi, now at stud in Korea. Frank Vespe (That’s Amore) laments talented Ben’s Cat missing the BC Turf Sprint.
Some serious handicapping by The Turk, who has been doing his homework studying past performances and replays over the past few weeks. He’s covered the BC Mile, BC Turf, and BC Classic not once but twice—with final thoughts here. Alan Mann also penned his thoughts on the BC F&M Turf and Ladies’ Classic, as well as the dirt sprints and Dirt Mile. Bill Pressey (ThoroEdge) loves So You Think and Flat Out in the BC Classic, while Chris Hernandez (Giving My Ten Cents) has some interesting random thoughts about the post draw and the morning line odds.
Posted by Valerie Grash at 1:46 PM
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Special thanks to Tom Lamarra at Bloodhorse and Seth Merrow at Equidaily for so prominently highlighting our launch last week, as did sources as diverse as Thoroughbred Daily News, Horseback magazine, and Canterbury Park’s blog Straight from the Horse’s Mouth. Oh, and Twitter—the go-to place these days to quickly spread information about any new project! Thank you one and all.
In case you missed it, this past week our members were talking about the Breeders’ Cup—former and future champions, as well as issues swirling around the event, including:
- King Leatherbury and his Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint prospect Ben’s Cat (That’s Amore)
- former claimer and Breeders’ Cup champion Furthest Land—fulfilling every claiming horse owner’s dream (Owning Racehorses)
- tough, talented Royal Heroine, first BC Mile winner, who survived a fatal 3-horse spill before her big win (Fillies First)
- why Belmont Park isn’t ready for the Breeders’ Cup...yet (The Business of Racing)
- an interesting comparative look at 2010 BC winners and same day Aqueduct winners (Brooklyn Backstretch)
- why do West Coast horses breeze further than those on the East Coast, and how that might impact them on Breeders’ Cup day (ThoroEdge)
- the betting menu and handicapping approach for the BC Classic (The Turk)
- impressions on which Breeders’ Cup races contenders like Uncle Mo, The Factor and others should be aimed (Giving My Ten Cents) and why any where Uncle Mo goes is a good thing (EquiSpace)
- underwhelmed by a possible BC matchup between Uncle Mo and Havre de Grace, longing for the days of Curlin and Zenyatta (Post Parade)
- Tu Endie Wei’s attempt at the Alcibiades (Triple Dead Heat) and My Miss Aurelia, winner of the G1 Frizette (Brooklyn Backstretch)
- why the Breeders’ Cup has done more to damage horse racing than good in recent years (Foolish Pleasure)
Opening week at Keeneland also inspired analysis and post-race analysis by The Turk while the “last-out at Presque Isle” handicapping angle got put to test. Long-gone tracks at Havre de Grace and Jamaica got some love as well. Colin’s Ghost provided a pictorial wrap-up of Jockey Club Gold Cup Day while Frank Vespe summarized the recent Fasig Tipton Eastern Yearlings sale at Timonium.
Frank Mitchell (Bloodstock in the Bluegrass) recognized dual G1-producing mare Mining My Own, Fran Jurga looked at new research on foal weaning and feed issues emerging as the result of New England flooding, and Bill Pressey quite literally dissected thoroughbred performance—fascinating stuff!
On the international front:
- a fond farewell to Japanese Triple Crown champion Symboli Rudolf (Keiblog)
- a milestone for female jockey and trainer duo winning in Korea (Horse Racing in Korea)
- a phenomenal day at the track in India for sire Razeen and in England for Teofilo with his first G1 winner
Finally, Alan Mann (Left at the Gate) regaled us all week about his European adventures—the Arc experience, NHL in Sweden, geothermic pools in Iceland, and final impressions from his better half on Arc fashions and food.
Wow, can't wait to see what this next week brings! Hope it's a good one for you.
Posted by Valerie Grash at 12:22 AM