Monday, May 19, 2014

Three Weeks of Analysis, Retrospect and Anticipation

As California Chrome races for history in about three weeks, our bloggers are going to be all over the build up to the race.  Many have already deconstructed the Preakness and have weighed on "Nasalgate".  You'll read historical pieces as well as breakdowns of the 'new shooters' (any way to ban the use of that?) that will be looking to deflate the Chromies as their hero steps into the gate the first Saturday in June.

The Belmont has traditionally been the toughest obstacle to overcome.  This may be because of the distance involved or it's position in the series after two tough races in the previous five weeks.  Whatever the reason, you'll read about pedigree, strategy, pace and racing luck and their various influences on the race.

Racing could use a hero right now and maybe California Chrome is it.  Or maybe he's the wrong hero as one of our bloggers has already speculated?  There are many positions to take and you'll be able to read about most of them through our TURF bloggers.

Enjoy the build up and the race!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Stretch Run to the Derby

As we start to turn for home in the Run for the Roses our bloggers are heating up as well presenting prescient race previews, pedigree analysis and insightful commentary on the racing issues of the day. 

I have to confess that keeping up with everyone can be a challenge at times and we apologize to our members, and their readers, that post pre-race analysis that we end up not getting out in time.

That will change.

Going forward we will be making a point to get logged in on Friday afternoons to make sure that the good work done by The Turk, Brian Nadeau (via Brooklyn Backstretch) and others get as wide an audience as we can help give them.  Granted, they do a great job on their own and have substantial readerships and our help is but a drop in the ocean...but still, they deserve better than we have given them lately and we will do better.

Thanks for tuning in and reading our writers.  Please keep spreading the word to your friends and family, by "liking" us on Facebook and "following" us on Twitter and "sharing" articles you find interesting, intriguing, fun and/or thought provoking!

Happy Derby Trail!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Gearing Up and Growing Up

Like this year's 3-year olds, TURF is gearing up and progress is sometimes measured in tenths of a second - or a couple of "likes" at a time!

We've seen a nice increase in the number of followers on our Facebook page (60) as well as a few more followers on our Twitter feed (@turfbloggers).  These sites are important because, in addition to our members' efforts, these are the venues most used to "get the word out" of the good work being done in the horse racing blogosphere. 

If you haven't had the chance to go and follow our page or feed, I hope that you will and, especially, if you read content that you enjoy and has moved you, please "share" or retweet.  It's a great way to share articles that can have an impact on our industry.

Also, invite your friends to join our page and follow our feed as well. We really appreciate it and it will help us build a community that could lead to interaction with our members - and other fans - as the community grows.

Thank you so very much for helping us get re-jump started, we really appreciate it!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Remember Us?

It's been a while and time has certainly slipped away a bit, but I'm here to say we're back and will be trying at the very least to promote members blogs and content on a regular basis.  I will be writing some general overview articles here every once in a while but will mainly be utilizing Twitter and Facebook to generate some buzz on our members and their activity.

By checking out the links above you can see our current membership and can also check out the feed to the left to view the latest content.  I can't promise that I will get as in depth in previewing content as Valerie did before, but I can promise that I'll certainly give a go and see if we can't get this party re-started!

Happy 2014 and see you on the Derby Trail!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Breeders' Cup

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

Kentucky Derby Day

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:
Good luck with all your wagers today!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Derby Week 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.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

TURF Member McCalmont Honored As Sovereign Award Finalist

TURF member Keith McCalmont ( was recently announced as a finalist for a prestigious Sovereign Award for Outstanding Newspaper Story for his story, Emma’s Great Excaper, published on 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.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

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:
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!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Breeders’ Cup Saturday Previews and More

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.]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Final Countdown to Breeders' Cup Friday

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:
Good luck to all!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Previewing Breeders’ Cup 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. 

Surely, there’s more to come, so “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for the latest postings—as well as follow our individual members who love to tweet!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One Week at a Time

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.