"Six Weeks in Saratoga" available! Go get it!

"Six Weeks in Saratoga: How Three-Year-Old Rachel Alexandra Beat the Boys and Became Horse of the Year" published July 1, 2011. Keep it locked here, at The Carryover or go to SUNY Press to order your copy ... right now! Or head on down to your favorite bookseller.

Praise for "Six Weeks in Saratoga"

“Going behind the scenes of three-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra’s 2009 triumph … O’Meara makes her story gallop and gleam.” — Chronogram

“The [book] is one of enjoyable promise, and as the author recounts little moments and inside conversations, he provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of the figures he covers. The narrative keeps game pace with outside literary standards and features bursts of brilliance, and I found it a refreshing change from the selection of racing-themed volumes available today. As O’Meara brings his subjects to life, you find yourself thinking this is the kind of guy whose work I want to follow.” — Claire Novak, ESPN.com

“O’Meara … provide[s] a tremendous amount of detail from behind the scenes that the reader would not have otherwise enjoyed … Six Weeks is essentially a Rachel book, but it’s told without neglecting the always rich backdrop of a Saratoga meet. That means there’s history, surprises, characters (human and equine), great racing, foggy mornings and sun-splashed afternoons—plenty of material through which O’Meara could exercise his descriptive abilities.” — Schenectady Daily Gazette

“O’Meara fell for a magical place and magnificent horse, which is a lovely malady that often befalls horse people, and with a great deal of heart he tells us how and why. You’ll never forget his Six Weeks in Saratoga, either.” — Joe Drape, author of Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen

“Brendan O’Meara tells the story of this proud horse with verve and great historical insight. Six Weeks in Saratoga marks the debut of an exciting new talent.” — Wil Haygood, author of Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson

“Brendan O’Meara’s Six Weeks in Saratoga is a victory to be savored by those who treasure good writing in general and tales of the track in particular. Horses may win races, but they also win hearts as this impressive book proves beyond doubt. A memorable, sure-footed debut.” — Madeleine Blais, author of In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Good job, Jackie!

Jackie Davis made her career debut in the first race today at Saratoga.  She finished 11 of 12 in the turf sprint and when she came back she said, "Whoa! That was awesome!"

I followed her family through the jocks room, to the paddock and watched the race with her grandmother and father, former jockey Robbie Davis.  

I wrote a story about following them and I will link it here once The Saratogian puts it online.  Probably sometime Tuesday morning (I know, I know).

Either way, it was cool to see.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Take a look

Take a look at those Woodward picks ...

Just look ...

That tri with a 1-4 favorite paid $185.

Rage ... 

A chance for humiliation

Here are my Forego and Woodward picks.

Forego:
Lucky Island
First Defence
Tasteyville

Woodward
Curlin
Past the Point
Wanderin Boy

2008 Horse of the Year

At first glance, this would undoubtedly go to Curlin.  But his presumed absence from the Breeders' Cup Classic means that it could conceivably go to Big Brown should Big Brown win.

Big Brown, despite winning four $1 million races in 2008 (Florida Derby, Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Haskell), is not helping his case by prepping in a custom-made turf race at Monmouth Park.  

Curlin plans on running in the Woodward and Jockey Club Gold Cup against real competition before possibly going to Japan to race.

Curlin has proven himself not just in North America, but on a global scale and that gives him the largest of edges. 

Big Brown, especially with a win in the Breeders' Cup Classic, will make an interesting case and will not be ignored come balloting.  Big Brown could help his case if he were to run in the JCGC against Curlin.  If he beat Curlin then went on to win the Classic, there could conceivably be a co-horse of the year. 

For now, like everything else, it seems like it Curlin's award to lose.

Happy Curlin Day Everyone

Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson proclaimed today, August 30, to be Curlin Day.  Now all Curlin has to do is deliver and there is no reason to think that he will not.

Good Ol' Pete has phoned in Lllllock of the Day.  Past the Point in the Woodward is his pick.  I liken this lock to the easily picked diary lock:  far from solid. 

Happy Curlin Day!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Where are you Jackie Davis?!



For months now I've been trying to track down Jackie Davis, daughter of jockey Robbie Davis.  Jackie has since graduated from Chris McCarron's jockey school.

I've been in search of her (she doesn't like to return phone calls, God bless 'er), for months now.  Turns out she was making her career debut today in the fifth race aboard an H. Allen Jerkens horse, Shifty Guy.

There was no way she would get away now.  So I went down to the jocks room and spoke to the Clerk of Scales. 

"Would you page Jackie Davis for me, please?" 

"Her horse scratched."

So she is not here.  I'd call her, but like many women I've called in the past, she is merely upholding the status quo.

Want to see something cool?

Watch this.

Not early and not in the middle, but watch the pan shot when Robby Albarado lets the reigns out on Curlin turning for home at Nad Al Sheba. This angle is something you don't see with the shots we get on track or at OTB's.  

Watch the length of stride.  It's really astonishing

Woodward Coverage



You know?  I honestly think that I'm doing more for the Woodward than I did for the Travers.   It's a close call, but I think I really have.  Did I have a logo for the Travers?  

The Woodward is going to be a great horse race.  Curlin will have to earn his paycheck which will undoubtedly make for good on-track drama.  Two things will happen.  I honestly think Curlin will win hands down but I think he's either going to have to gut it out against some live challengers or he'll win it by 10 lengths, making for a visually impressive race that will echo into memory.

Should be fun.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Woodward Post Draw, serious this time

1.  A.P. Arrow 20-1
2. Loose Leaf 15-1
3. Past the Point 15-1
4. Divine Park 3-1
5. CURLIN 3-5
6. Dr. D.F.C. 50-1
7. Out of Control 12-1
8. Wanderin Boy 8-1

Odds by Saratoga line maker Eric Donovan.

Woodward Post Draw

In a throw-back to the old days, they've eliminated the gates and are just using a rope to keep the horses even.

Just kidding.

The post draw is in an hour and I'll have the horses, the post position, and yes, even the winner of the Grade I $500,000 Woodward.

Name another blog that gives you that kind of information for free.

If you can, I'll owe you a Coke*.

*Coke offer will not be honored.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Column posted

It took a few days, but my column from Saturday night finally made it up on the web.  It's my Travers Day wrap up story.  

I'll have a column about the Woodward coming out in a few days.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Curlin's best friend

The man's name is Carmen Carlos Rosas.  Call him Carlos.  He says he doesn't mind Carmen, but he does. 

Rosas is the man with the internal clock.  He's the man who gallops and breezes the 2007 Horse of the Year.

He's in the background.  His work is not lost on the connections, though Rosas doesn't quite get the glory that regular rider Robby Albarado gets by winning the races.  Rosas is funny with the tiny jab he takes at Albarado.

"Robby, he doesn't have that clock," Rosas said. "You tell him (Curlin) to go, he'll go fast. With Curlin, he's not easy to work. If you don't be careful, he'll go really fast because he's so smooth and he has such along stride. So I'm not saying Robby can't work him, but he doesn't know Curlin in the morning the way I know him."


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ballerina

My only other winning pick was Intangaroo.  She looked just divine storming down the center of the track.

Two of six isn't that bad.

Wait.  Yes it is.  It's very, very bad.  

As we've grown accustomed to

Tenacious ran a great race for a first time starter for H. James Bond.  She saved ground and didn't get free of the field until the sixteenth pole and finished strong to get fourth.  Look out for her down the road.

She did kill my bid for 5-of-6 on this monstrous carryover day.  

Why did you let me down mama, why?

Track Record in second leg

Lady Rizzi covered 5 1/2 furlongs on the Mellon Turf course in 1:00.66. The fractions were 21/07, 43.24 and 54.83.

Lady Rizzi kept me alive for 5-of-6. 

Lost first leg

Unbelievable.  I'm so sick of losing the friggin first leg of Pick 6's.


Travers and such

The canoe out in the infield has been painted the green and white of Winstar Stables. 

The 139th Travers proved that you don't have to have great horses to have a great horse race. 

We've got a monstrous carryover today of $147,974.  I'll play a straight ticket that will look exactly like this:

Pumpkin Shell
Lady Rizzy/Myakka
Tenacious
Belle's Home
Intangaroo, Mistical Plan
Mandy's Purse

Cost of ticket: $4.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

King's Bishop

A wall of horses formed at the top of the lane and Visionaire — my stone cold lock — swung wide to pass them all.

Alan Garcia took his fifth win on the day.

I put $5 on Visionaire's nose at 6-1 and paid $15.60.

The Pick 3 of Despair is done, but that's OK at this point, like dust in the wind ... so I hear.

Bernard Baruch

What a ride from Alan Garcia aboard Shakis to win back-to-back Bernard Baruchs.  He made a charge down the center of the track and won by a length over War Monger.

This keeps the Pick 3 of Despair alive and gives me an actually win.  I'd take a picture of the ticket to prove it, but I don't own a camera.  The one on my computer takes backwards images so it won't do any good.  You'll just have to take my word.  

I have been nothing but forthright with all of you!


$7 left in the bank

OK.

$7 left.

Here comes the Bernard Baruch.  The Pick 3 of Despair will likely be Shakis/Kodiak Kowboy/Mambo in Seattle. Along with $2 to win on Shakis, that will leave $3 for the rest of the card.

Heeeerrrre we go again ... 

Victory Ride

The good news is I don't live in Washington D.C. and don't need the money to get home because Indyanne lost by half a length as the 2-5 favorite. Porte Bonheur won at 11-1. 

I tell no lie. 

Time to play a Pick 3 of Despair.

Now is the time

Last year at this time I came to the Travers for the first time and as a fan.  By the time the late Pick 4 came to post, I had $10 remaining to get me home to what was then Washington, D.C.

Naturally the only logical move was to play the Pick 4 in the hopes that I would win the money I needed to get home.  

So I did a $5 Pick 4 wheel that shook out like this: Shakis/Hard Spun/Street Sense, Sightseeing/La Traviata.  I hit it and it returned, to the best of my recollection, $240.

In the spirit of last year's Pick 4, there are direct parallels.  Indyanne is much like La Traviata, Kodiak Kowboy is trained by Larry Jones, Mambo in Seattle is trained by Neil Howard whose Grasshopper dueled Street Sense and Shakis won last year's Bernard Baruch.

So I played a $2 Pick 4 ticket to pay tribute to last year's heroics: Indyanne/Kodiak Kowboy/Shakis/Mambo in Seattle.

I've already proven that I'm bad at traditional handicapping.  This is my last hope.

To quote Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone, "This is it. Don't get scared."

88-1!

The opening leg of the Pick 6 was won by Slambino who paid $179.

I started a $2, straight Pick 6 ticket with Prussian, Indyanne, Shakis, Visionaire, Tale of Ekati and Fra Lippo.

Here's to 5-of-6.

Dead

Gone are the chances at a day I could smile at.


Gambling again

Up until this marvelous afternoon, I had gambled just $2.  Today is a slightly different story.

I've already burned a small hole in the wallet, but I am alive in the Pick 3 to open the card. 

Alan Garcia did the right thing and took Aquino ($6.00) to the front on splits of 23.54 and 46.76 seconds and was able to kick clear by three lengths.

Now we're onto Race 2 and I've got Spaniard and Florentino.  All we can ask is to be alive.  Just be alive.

  

Early and Late Pick 4 Tickets

Due to my small-newspaper-sports reporter-wage, I cannot conceivably play these tickets, but I will put down the horses I like on the early and late Pick 4's.

Early:
R2: Florentino, Platte River/Lord Justice, Spaniard, Something Gold
R3: Mahwell, Storm Play, Jimmy Simms, Chosen Empire/Major General
R4: Woodrunner, Key Victory, Smart Enuf
R5: Tizzy, Intercoastal

Late:
R8: Palanka City, Informed Decision, Sly Storm
R9: Operation Red Dawn, Distorted Reality
R10: Kodiak Kowboy, Visionaire, J Be K
R11: Tale of Ekati, Macho Again, Mambo in Seattle, Cool Coal Man, Pyro

Happy Travers Day!

We've got a wonderful day here at the Spa for some serious racing.  This 12-race card is epic.  The early and late Pick 4's are brutal to select — especially the late Pick 4.  But I will do my best to supply you with plenty of losing and agony.  It's what I do best.


Friday, August 22, 2008

A Great Dialogue

It was brought to my attention that when I wrote my rivalry pieces, that I had left Easy Goer and Sunday Silence out the story.

There are two reasons to this.  One: I was not privy to this rivalry the way I was to Affirmed and Alydar having done a big piece on them leading into the Derby.  Two: Now having watched the 1989 Derby, Preakness, Belmont and Breeders' Cup Classic, I still give the edge to Affirmed and Alydar, especially since their races were so strong as 2-year-olds.

Easy Goer and Sunday Silence are more than worthy of being in the discussion and still being relatively new to horse racing, this slipped past me.  Had I been more aware, these two would surely have been mentioned.

You be the judge.  Which is the better rivalry?  Easy Goer-Sunday Silence or Affirmed-Alydar?  

I'll put up some video and a poll question.  No matter what side you're on, it's a fun 10 minutes to spend watching horse races — especially the 1989 Preakness.

Heeere we go

It's only 1:30 in the afternoon and our sports online content for today's paper is up.  In this day of instant news, I sarcastically applaud our folks for waiting this long.

Here is the Affirmed-Alydar piece.

Look to the upper right-hand part of The Carryover for the accompanying column.

Change of plans

Apparently the stories I thought were going to run today are not running today.  Well, so much for my plan of linking you to them today.

It looks like they will be running for Saturday, the day of the Travers.  Look for the links on Saturday to the stories.  Though, if you still want to see the "Travers Travesty," it is still on The Carryover.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yeah, carryover!

We've got one, baby! 

$43,255. 

What better way to fight through a tough economy and rising gas prices than to play the Pick 6?  Frankly, I see no better way at all.  You can't lose!

Go ahead.  TRY and argue with me.


Rivalries

I'll link it tomorrow, but in Friday's Saratogian, I take a look the Affirmed-Alydar Travers and the controversy around it.  I've already put a link to the video titled "Travers Travasty" down the right-hand side of The Carryover.

I'll also have a column exploring rivalries in horse racing, mainly looking at the non-rivalry rivalry of Big Brown and Curlin.

I believe this is what they call a tease. 


For yuks


Because NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward (far left) has a good sense of humor, I'm putting this in here. 

Please note how uncomfortable NYRA VP Hal Handel (far right) looks with the drink in his hand.  This is the unveiling of the Travers Cooler — some concoction to compete with the likes of a mint julep. 

This photo isn't some bootleg, National Enquirer-type pic.  The NYRA media folks emailed this out.  It is funny.

The Travers should adopt something like the mojito as its drink.  I say this not because the mojito is my favorite mixed drink but because it's a drink that can stand the test of time like the mint julep.  Served in a souvenir Travers glass ... what could be better?

The question was rhetorical, but in reality, the answer is hitting the late Pick 4.


So much for Big Truck

Whoops.  

So much for my lllllllock of the week with Big Truck.  You know it's a bad sign when a horse gets absolutely ridden before he straightens out for home.  Well, maybe YOU don't because YOU don't care because YOU thought Big Truck stunk from the beginning.  Damn elitist.

Moving on...

Here's how to hit the late Pick 4 on Saturday. 

Single/Single/Single/ALL.

It's just that simple. 

Here's my Single of the Week!  Visionaire.  There is so much speed in the Grade I Netjets King's Bishop, that his late running style will keep him out of traffic early so he can save ground.  In the allowance race he ran in earlier this meet, he showed a powerful stretch drive in the final eighth to win.  The King's Bishop never disappoints and this one will live up to the bill.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Travers Post Draw

1. Tale of Ekati 20-1
2. Colonel John 8-1
3. Da'Tara 8-1
4. Tizbig 30-1
5. Macho Again 6-1
6. Cool Coal Man 15-1
7. Amped 30-1
8. Harlem Rocker 4-1
9. Mambo in Seattle 5-1
10. Tres Borrachos 15-1
11. Pyro 7-2
12. Court Vision 12-1

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Albany


Here's my lock of the day coming to you all the way from Tuesday.

Big Truck.

This horse has been training like a monster and now he drops down to state-bred class.  Having spoken with Barclay Tagg's assistant trainer, Robin Smullen, she said he's back where he belongs.  

This will be his first race since a dismal finish in the Kentucky Derby.  That after upsetting War Pass in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Well I'll be jiggered!

Linda Rice's four horses finished 1-2-3-4.

Ahvee's Destiny finished first, Canadian Ballet second, Silver Timber third and Karakorum Elektra fourth. Three of them were fillies!

The Linda-super paid $3,490.

Linda Rice's plight

Linda Rice has four horses in this turf sprint stake which means she has four of the nine betting interests in this race.

!

1. Five Towns
2. Ahvee's Destiny
3. Redefined

Rice trains Ahvee's Destiny.  She should talk to Todd Pletcher and Nick Zito about saddling a ton of horses in a stakes if she doesn't win here.  I know what you're going to say.  Sure the $80,000 Mechanicville is not the Kentucky Derby, but it's the principle people.

I'm going to stop now.

Pencil sketch of despair

Big Wig won, Titan of Industry second, The Cuban Hawk third. My long shot Counting House took fourth.

0-for-3 on the day.


Race 5 Picks on this Lovely Day

1. Titan of Industry
2. Big Wig
3. Counting House

The Carryover needs a winner today. 

Grrrr

Something went horribly, horribly wrong.

My post didn't publish so I have to put my picks here followed by what actually happened. 
1. Pocatello
2. More Than a Reason
3. Law and Dora

Law and Dora first, Yelt second, Pocatello third

Race 3 I had Lorccan won, Lee Stewart got second, and Atlas Mountain took third.
More losers coming right up!

Case Study Continues

I've looked at Race 3, state-bred optional claimer, 9 furlongs, n2X

1. Woodwinner
2. Raffit
3. Lee Stewart

I had 5-of-9, I believe, from the other day.  Lets see how this shapes up.

Big Week, Big Week

Travers Week at the Spa. 

Lots of good things coming out for The Carryover and The Saratogian/Pink Sheet.  Lots of good stuff indeed.

I'm going to have Travers capsules with all the conteders saying why they can win, why they can lose, 2008 and 2007 stats, essentials about breeding, sires, trainers and jocks. 

I'll have a story reflecting on the Affirmed-Alydar rivalry as it reached new heights in the 119th running of the Travers.  I'll also have a packaged column about the non-rivalry of Big Brown and Curlin. Last I checked in order for there to be a rivalry, horses actually had to RUN against each other.

Overall, it's going to be a hectic week of great copy for The Pink Sheet and Saratogian and even more for ... The Carryover!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Alabama results

This was, by far, the best race of the meet. 

Proud Spell and Music Note locked up in the final quarter of a mile and Proud Spell nipped her at the wire.  Winning trainer Larry Jones even said when you go eyeball to eyeball with her, she will beat you.

When Proud Spell came back, she was greeted by a standing ovation from the apron and grandstand.  It really was quite a sight and quite a race.

My winner of the last race got second and paid $9.40 to place.  But it's no win, so on Day 1 of our Case Study in Mediocrity, I hit 5-of-9.  

Not too shabby for a man of my incompetence.  That's 56 percent.

Sword Dancer results

Hey Grand Couturier. What a ride by Alan Garcia. 

Did I say that Better Talk Now didn't IT.  Well, he put in a strong run and got second with Interpatation third.

The Case Study goes on.

3-of-7 and onto the Alabama.

Race 7 Results

Photo pending with Hard to Explain and Quick to Charm on the wire ... wow ... Hard to Explain had a brutal trip and got ... NOSED at the wire. Son of a $#^%*!

It looks like Quick to Charm, Hard to Explain and Dos Hombres.

Dang.

That's now 2-of-6 for 33.33333333333333333333333333333333333333 % into infinity.

Race 8, 9 and 10 Picks

I'll jump right into the Sword Dancer and Alabama.

Race 8
1. Grand Courturier (GB)
2. Presious Passion
3. Dancing Forever
Better Talk Now is always in the mix, but he just doesn't have IT anymore.

Race 9
1. Proud Spell
2. Music Note
3. Little Belle 
I know I've been harking on Music Note, but Proud Spell has a ton of heart and if they lock up in the final quarter mile, Proud Spell will not give way. Gabriel Saez won't let her give way.

Race 10
1. Meriwether Jessica
2. Forest Trail
3. Goo Goo Eyes

Race 7 Picks

It begins to fall apart.  Arrrr jumped up in class and won impressively.  Good for him.

So that makes it 2-for-5.

Race 7 picks with 7 MTP:
1. Hard to Explain
2. Quick To Charm
3. Classic Impact

40% and dropping.

Race 6 Picks

Pretty wide open here.  There are class drops, state company to open company.  Let's go.

1. Spider Rock
2. Five Demon Bag
3. Arrrr

Race 5 Results

The streak ends at two.  But I feel I had a really good excuse.

Girolamo, Romp and Big McCool was the order.

Thomas the Great broke like a moron and Julien Leparoux practically stood up. There went his chances.  But my 2 and 3 horses came in 1 and 2.  Not bad, not bad.  The Case Study in Mediocrity ... goes on.

50%.


Race 5 Picks

This one is tough. Six first-time starters going seven furlongs. Big Auction prices. Only works to go on.  You'd be better off picking three or four you like and boxing them because there is no history here.  

Here's a try for Race 5.
1. Thomas the Great
2. Girolamo
3. Romp


Race 4

This is getting interesting.

Fiona Freud, Sweet Bama Breeze and Intoxicating Beauty.

That's two in a row for the Case Study in Mediocrity.

66%. 

Race 3

Sweet Slam, Love for a Price and Distinctive Doc.

All right.  In my Case Study in Mediocrity, that's a winner, that's 50 percent. 

Race 4
1. Fiona Freud
2. Intoxicating Beauty
3. Sweet Bama Breeze

A Case Study in Mediocrity

I'm going to try my  best to handicap as many races as possible on a card and see what my win percentage will be for the rest of the meet.

For the race that just went off, I went with Cats over the heavy favorite Light Green.  I also wanted Yogonaluvme.

Obsequious won, followed by Abundantia and Light Green.

0 %.

Race 3: 
1. Sweet Slam
2. Fan Fire
3. Distinctive Doc


Sword Dancer and Alabama today

Saratoga has really turned the corner now.  The second half of the meet gets a boost from two prestigious Grade I's in the Sword Dancer and Alabama.

If the weather holds up, it's Music Note's race to lose. Should there be an off track, I give the nod to Proud Spell, especially given the way she romped in the mud in the Kentucky Oaks.  This one has the makings for a thriller down the lane with Proud Spell and Music Note.  Little Belle will hop home in third.

Without Red Rocks and Champs Elysees, the Sword Dancer took an interesting turn for the worse.  Presious Passion may be the lone speed and around three turns, saving ground and controlling the pace may be the key.  I'm liking Grand Courturier.  This horse is coming in off the same pattern of races that saw him steal this at 15-1 last year.  As a result, he may be the favorite, but I can't imagine it being lower than 2-1.  

But as loyal readers of the Carryover know, I stink at this.


Friday, August 15, 2008

In the whole by over $330,000

That was a fun experiment.  

The Ticket of Valor, while only hitting 2-of-6, was second or better in 4-of-6.  

I've gotta find a new hobby.

Fool's Ticket the only one alive

The 3-1 Trinity Magic edged my Fiddler's Afleet.  The Ticket of Valor is dead.  I'd argue that it was never alive.

Poll Closed

It's official.  

Of the eight voters, all said Curlin would defeat Big Brown.

I want to thank those who voted.  I think these little polls keep the blog fresh and more integrative.  

Thanks again!

Love those 2-5s

Rollers went down to 1-9 at one point and finally settled at 2-5 and won like it.

TOV is alive for 5-of-6.  

The Fool's Ticket has the 4-1 and a 2-5.  When that ticket hits, it may take a $300,000 loss.   Fools!

Isn't this always the case?

For the third straight race, Red Seven went off as the favorite and lost as the favorite. This time she was in a ruthless speed duel and faded into obscurity.

Linda Rice's Saturdaynitesandy won at 4-1. 

The Ticket of Valor chose the odd strategy of singling the first leg when it has no budget.  Rice wins with 17 percent of her firsters and had Alan Garcia up.

The Fool's Ticket is alive as it never dies. 

Fool's Ticket

Out of my own curiosity, I'd like to play the Fool's Ticket.  If you ever play this you have too much time and too little wits.

ALL x ALL x ALL x ALL x ALL x ALL x 2 = You sorry, sorry person.

Here is todays.

8 x 6 x 7 x 7 x 8 x 9 x $2 =$338,688.

Good luck.

Ticket of Valor

After skimming the Form, I came up with the now world famous Pick 6 Ticket of Valor.

Race 4: Red Seven
Race 5: Rollers, Thunder Buddy, Fire Marshal
Race 6: Wise Guy Kelly, Fiddler's Afleet
Race 7: Stealin' Kisses, Love Co, Loving Vindication
Race 8: I Lost My Choo, Raw Silk
Race 9: Precious Beans, Tar Beach, Toby the Coal Man

Cost of Ticket: $216

Red "Hocks"

The 2006 Breeders' Cup Turf champion and winner of the Grade I Man o'War, Red Rocks, was scratched from the Sword Dancer Invitational Friday morning.

Red Rocks has a filling in his left hock and since yielding to soft turf is expected for Saturday's Sword Dancer, trainer Mark Hennig scratched the 9-5 morning-line favorite.

"Thursday afternoon he had filling in his left hock and we felt like we needed to treat it," Hennig said. "That , and the prospect of running over soft turf with the possibility of further aggravating it led us to that decision."

The Sword Dancer would have been Red Rocks' first start since defeating Curlin and Better Talk Now in the Man o'War on July 12.

"We want to get this handled first," Hennig said. "And there are plenty of opportunities coming up in the fall."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It's now five, baby

Five people want to see Music Note in the Travers.  I should note here that is still undecided as to whether Music Note is Alabama-bound or not.  That means Mr. bin Suroor has plenty of time to check out The Carryover and come to his senses. 

So what if five people is 0.000001 percent of the population.  So freakin' what.

Attention Saeed bin Suroor!

Dear Mr. bin Suroor,

It has come to my knowledge that you are definitely putting your wonderful filly Music Note in the Alabama.  

This comes as a great disappointment to me and others.  In case you haven't been reading The Carryover, 100 percent of voters have agreed that they want to see Music Note run against the boys in the Travers.  NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward said she could conceivably go off as the favorite.  We already know she will go off a slight favorite over Proud Spell, but what about being a favorite over a field of colts?  That's girl power.

Should you ignore all 100 percent of those who voted for her on The Carryover, you will anger four people and turn them into Godolphin-hating monsters.  Do you want that over your head? I certainly wouldn't.

Sure, four people out of 350,000,000 doesn't look like much on paper, but four is 100 percent of Carryover voters.  One hundred percent.  I'll let you sleep on that.

Sincerely,
Brendan O'Meara

For when you retire

Here's a new take on retirement

Of the hundreds of horses on the backside here at the Spa, only one has won the Kentucky Derby. 

When I said I was doing a piece on Funny Cide, someone in the press box mentioned that he was "the horse that won't go away."

Perhaps.  But I like the gelding.  And he can stay for as long as he wants for all I care.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sorry, but I had to

After checking The Carryover's video bar again, not only were there videos of Milee Cyrus, but of doctored feeds of John McCain gawking at scantly-clad blonde vixens.  So I had to delete the Classic Replay section. 

When I look at videos, I want to see Curlin, not the luscious curves of a seductress — and certainly not Milee Cyrus.

Give me Funny Cide.  Give me Smarty Jones.  

Anyways, if there should happen to be a great replay I want to display, I'll merely link it to a post. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Don't be alarmed


Of course, I was alarmed when I saw it.  

You may have noticed that I have included a side bar which includes classic replays by YouTube. I typed in Curlin, Funny Cide, Secretariat, Smarty Jones and Invasor so when the page is refreshed, replays from those horses appear.  When I set it up, I checked a box to narrow the field down to "Most Viewed" or "Top Rated."

So it was to my horror that videos of Milee Cyrus appeared on my classic replays side bar.

Do NOT be alarmed.  This may happen as a result of the boxes I checked to get better horse racing videos. 

I do not have a sickly attraction to that cavity-inducing teenie bopper. 

Her father's mullet from the early '90's, on the other hand, was epic.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yeah, carryover!

55,128 smackers! 

Who's with me?!

Him? Her? What about YOU?

Always remember, gambling is the greatest thing a man can do IF he's good at it.



Let's speak in opposites

It's a sunny and gorgeous day at Saratoga Race Course. For once, the turf is not yielding. In fact, they are racing on it this second.

The main track hasn't been sloppy in days.  I haven't needed my umbrella at all which, I must admit, is nice.

And get this.  I hit the Pick 6 for the first time in my life!

Life is grand.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Funniest video you'll see this year

Check out this video. It sums up who will win the match up of the year.

Parodies of this commercial are a bit stale, but this is good.

The Travers Needs Her

That may be a bit of a stretch.  The Travers really doesn't need anybody.  But as these 3-year-olds continue to impress only by not being impressive, the Travers could use the next filly super star in Music Note.

Her win in the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks was so easy, so impressive, that she could conceivably be the favorite among of field of 12 possible entrants that have trouble simmering, let alone boiling.

One certainly has to take issue when an overnight stakes win by Mambo in Seattle was faster than the Grade II Jim Dandy win by Macho Again.

Fillies running against colts is an instant attraction.  See Rags to Riches and Eight Belles. 

That said, Music Note sounds pretty good right now.

2 minutes early

The streaks of lightning prompted the folks at the Spa to start the second race two minutes early.

As it stands, the thunder is close enough that it shakes the building.

After a perfect day on Saturday, whoever controls the weather saw it fit to make up for lost time. 

This is how dark it is: It's 1:42 p.m. and the spot light was aimed at the finish line as the second race finished.  We usually don't see that thing until Sunset Racing. 


Giveaways

The giveaways at Saratoga are nice.  They bring a lot of people through the gates which is also nice.  The weather, on the other hand, is far from nice.

The hat, the t-shirt, the stadium chairs will never defend the wicked summer weather.  What the Spa desperately needs are more umbrellas. 

Here's a way to map out the summer giveaway plan that will keep the patrons and their plethora of winning tickets dry.

Week 1: Umbrella
Week 2: Umbrella
Week 3: Umbrella with bobble head doll on top
Week 4: Umbrella to replace the umbrella that broke after Weeks 1 and 2
Week 5: Poncho
Week 6: Todd Pletcher bobble head doll holding a toy umbrella

It may sound boring, but who's going to argue with this massive blue-gray cloud coming from the West?

Columns Link, a point worth noting

For as long as they remain on the web, I'm including a column link to the opinion pieces I write. 

The first one takes a look at Big Brown's Haskell Invitational.  As a side note, there is a typo that neither I nor my editor(s) caught. 

In one paragraph towards the bottom of the story, I say, "Another point worth nothing ... "  It's supposed to say "Another point worth noting ... " 

Unfortunately, the typo makes sense within the paragraph, so people may actually think I intended to write "nothing."

Do NOTE the change. 

Enjoy.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

2-of-6

That's a Hall 0f Fame career in baseball, but gets you jack$%&@ in horse racing.

Well, it looks like the world on the whole believes Curlin will defeat Big Brown given the chance. Well, I've got a splitting headache and no money to speak of, so I am gone.

G
  o
   o
    d
     n
      i
      g
       h
        t

Uh oh

Hit the first leg.

Lost the second.

Five of six?  I somehow doubt it.

Saturday's Pick 6

All singles, baby.

R6: Volponi Dragon
R7: Zee Zee
R8: Wolgon Valley
R9: Bucky Came Home
R10: Fairbanks
R11: Storm Harbor

The Punishment Continues

I threw $100 hypothetical on Great Emperor. He paid $7.80 or so.  

On the next race I did a $2 exacta box with Flying Private at 8-1 and Rocketing Returns at 4-1.  It paid $103.

This stings.  

I've gotta start carrying cash on me again.

Travers Candidates


Music Note shown above winning the Coaching Club.

The absence of a truly spectacular animal in the Travers this year — and there is only one  such animal, Big Brown — means that there are plenty taking a shot at the Midsummer Derby to up their career earnings and dollar value at stud.

As of August 10, there are 13 colts, one gelding and one filly nominated.  Music Note is the only filly, but her likely spot is the Grade I Alabama for 3-year-old fillies.  Her 100 Beyer Speed Figure in the Coaching Club Oaks makes her just one of six horses to post a figure of 100 or greater in their last start.  Macho Again (102), Mambo in Seattle (104), Pyro (101), You and I Forever (101) and Tres Borrachos (101) are the only other horses to post three-digit Beyers in their last.

Da'Tara, upset winner of the Grade I Belmont Stakes, posted a 99 Beyer in that race only to bounce severely with a 63 when caught in a suicidal speed duel with Mint Lane in the Jim Dandy. 

Music Note would generate more interest in this race that truly lacks a premier horse.  Hard to believe that last comment seeing as Pyro was, at one point, the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby with his rousing wins in the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby.

Other candidates include Amped, Cool Coal Man, Acai, Court Vision, Harlem Rocker, Colonel John, Tale of Ekati and Tiz Now Tiz Then.

Saratoga, SaratogAAAAAAAAAA!

We've got partly cloudy skies today.

The forecast calls for cloudy skies and a high of 75 degrees. Winds are coming out of the WNW at 5-10 miles per hour. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

So much for the TOV



This means that the Ticket of Valor didn't lose.

This is the first time my TOV hasn't lost.  What a day! 

I've never quite had this feeling before of not losing.  What can I say?  I feel pretty damn good right about now.

Cancellation

The racing program  has been cancelled in the interest of safety for the jockeys and horses.

So much rain fell that it completely ruined the track.  It was said that it will take over an hour to repair a hole in the track by the 3/8's pole.

Two of the assistant starters on the track slapped five meaning they are going home early.

This is the end, this is the end of horse racing.


Today's Ticket of Valor

Today's card reminds me of my childhood:  uninspiring and lacking talent. 

R5: Silver Reunion, Jehan
R6: Early Response, Mr. Petersson
R7: Criminal Matters, Smokin' Hero
R8: Tejida, So Glitzy
R9: Striking Tomisue
R10: Smart Enuf/Dubliner

Cost of today's Ticket of Valor: $32.

What a bargain for a TOV.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Beware the Ides of Saratoga

Tomorrow is Day 15 of the meet and we were treated with a slew  bad betting across the land with a modest $39,692 Pick 6 carryover.

Bad betting?  Maybe.  Indifferent betting?   Quite possibly.

Bad betting and picks sure to go wrong from your friend at The Carryover?  

You bet.

Big Brown's Haskell

I wrote this little guy for The Pink Sheet or The Saratogian.  I'm not sure where my editor decided to place it, so I choose to place a link right ... here

The headline is a bit dramatic for my taste, but my editor is good at these things.

Off the turf

After yet another downpour, we are off the turf.  I repeat, we are off the turf.

On to more interesting topics, it is still unanimous that Curlin will beat Big Brown.  Timeform ratings rank Curlin as the best horse in the world. So 100 percent of The Carryover's voters are on the same wavelength as Timeform.

Big Brown is ranked third in the world. 

Digger

Some of you may know this, others not, but I've written a narrative non-fiction book (unpublished) following a young horse trainer, Phil Schoenthal, on the Maryland circuit.  It's about a naive horse racing fan allowed the ultimate access of a stable employee on the backside. I enter this world the way Nick Carroway in "The Great Gatsby" enters the world of the cultural elite.  

I bring this up because the main hope for Phil was a Maryland-bred named Digger, who ended up being nominated for the Triple Crown.  He was eventually sold privately to Lawrence Roman.  Digger was recently claimed from Rick Dutrow by Enrique Arroyo.  Digger ran in the second race today at the Spa and won. 

I made eye contact with him in the winner's circle.  For a second I swear he hesitated when he saw me.  I never hot walked him.  I was such a bad hot walker that there was no way I could be trusted with him.  I would occasionally pet him on the muzzle if he let me close enough, but he was always kind of a jackass and would swing his head violently when I approached.  

I would then turn my attention to some of the more docile horses on the backside of the Bowie Training Center.

It's just funny to see him run well here when, at the time of his sale, he had trouble winning an allowance race at Charles Town.  Who wouldn't sell the horse — sight unseen — for $60,000 if he couldn't win at Charles Town?

Fast, firm and no carryover

Had some heavy rain.  This is no longer news.  A stronger story would be a day without rain here at the Spa.  

We've got some European-style jumpers going right now.  I was never one to enjoy these races, but after watching them, they are actually quite fun.  A jumping horse is an elegant sight.

As for harness racing, there is no conceivable way I will every enjoy that sport.

Two out of three ain't bad.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

This is kind of the feeling

Doc N Roll won at 5-2 odds.  He got a better trip and, as a result, he won. 

Cannonball got a dream trip, but he wasn't able to explode past Gold Vendetta. Obviously the exacta would've paid about $13 had Cannonball got second, but $13 is always better than $0. 

Still unanimous

We've got two votes for Curlin, and no, I cannot vote twice.

The past two races here, I've continued my handicapper's punishment by picking winners without placing any bets. And they weren't chalkly. 

One was a 7-1 and the other was a 9-2. 

So what did I do for this next race coming up? I placed the cheapest $1 exacta box with the two favorites (ugh) with Cannonball and Doc N Roll.  I just returned 40 bottles and cans and feel lavishly rich.

The day I hit 4-of-6, I had Doc N Roll and he got fouled hard by Alan Garcia aboard Admiral Bird. So it seems that he should be running well in the end here. Cannonball has mainly raced against open company and has done fairly well, hence the even-money odds at 19 MTP.

My feeling is that this will go unanimously wrong.  Does that make ANY sense?  I don't think so.  Not one bit, actually.

*Sigh*

Unanimous

So far it's unanimous, Curlin will defeat Big Brown.

One hundred percent of voters agree that Curlin is superior to Big Brown.  

So what if only one person voted.  So what if that person was me. 

Woodward it is

Fifty percent of voters on "The Carryover" were correct in their choice that Curlin will run in the Grade I $500,000 Woodward on August 30 at the Spa.

The voting was divided right down the center between the Sword Dancer and Woodward.  

Due to the small volume of votes, which topped out at four, which included my vote as well, this survey is statistically irrelevant. 

That does not make the voters irrelevant by association.  It makes you the most patriotic of American voter. 

Obama or McCain? Who cares!  The next question being posted as we speak will be ... Curlin or Big Brown (should they meet)?

Get to it!

Monday, August 4, 2008

No carryover :(

A Carryover first, the frowning emoticon. 

Never has the colon and parenthesis meant so much.  :(

So it looks like Good Ol' Pete came out on top, hitting 3-of-6 while I managed just 1-of-6.

>:-O

It's times like these I'm glad I don't actually play the Ticket of Valor. The Pick 6 paid a few yahoos in America $58,882.  Five of six paid $215.

There's always tomorrow ... oh no!  Tuesday's are dark! This is bad. This is very, very bad.

Good night, everybody.

Indian Ashton

Indian Ashton gives Pete 2-of-4 through four legs. I've got just 1-of-4 through four.

That was an interesting class drop for a horse who placed fourth in a Grade 3. Not only that, but the winner and show-er of that race won their next races. Trainer Wesley Ward drops him in for a tag of $45,000. 

That's a bizarre class drop for a horse that ran like he was sound as can be. Ahh, what do I know?

Hot damn ...

This has been far from fun. 

Fiddler's Princess at 13-1 pulled off an upset here.

The first two legs of the Pick 6 have a 13-1/18-1 followed by a 13-1.  

Inspector Gadget may go so far as to say, "Wowsers!" 

I'll go as far as to say, "Double carryover!"

Wowsers.

Dead Heat!

If you had 18-1 Ninth Client and 13-1 Skipadate, well, you won.

Those two dead-heated for first.

This just about assures a dead Pick 6 ticket. 

Pretty lame.

New favorite

Now the favorite is Lime Rickey!

This is drama like we've never seen before. The tremendous highs, the agonizing lows.

Who am I kidding?  There are only lows, just different gradients of lowness.

This guy knows what I'm talkin' about.

Late Scratch!

Precious Beans is a late scratch for the first leg of the Pick 6. As it stands, it looks like Moral will be the favorite with 14 minutes to post, so he will be the likely substitute.

I believe Good Ol' Pete and I had Precious Beans.

This is not good for business.

Ticket of Valor

And awaaaay we go ...

R5: Da Gullah, Precious Beans
R6: Princess Westley, Stop the Drama
R7: With Flying Colors, Persistent Penny
R8: Auto City, Rockhurst
R9: Adriano, Deal Making
R10: Way to the Left, Mine Or Who's

A $128 ticket for your viewing pleasure.

Good ol' Pete's Locks of the Week!

Good ol' Pete had the courage to play these tickets. He's got two. Two! 

Here are his tickets:
Ticket 1
R5: Pioneer of the Nile, Da Gullah
R6: Stop the Drama, Princess Westly
R7: Persistent Penny, With Flying Colors
R8: Vicarage, Caesar Beware, Indian Ashton
R9: Wesley
R10: Mine Or Who's
Cost $48.

Ticket 2
R5: Precious Beans, Moral, Lime Rickey
R6: Stop the Drama
R7: Persistent Penny
R8: Vicarage, Caesar Beware
R9: Wesley
R10: Mine Or Who's
Cost $12

My Ticket of Valor to come.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Carryover!

To the tune of ...

$78,486.59.

I hit three of six on the Ticket of Valor with Dark Sky, Sorority Sister and Elope. In two of the races I lost, I was second by a neck or less. 

Fascinating ... fascinating.

The winner of the last race, Hint, paid $110 for the win. That is easily the biggest bomb of the meet.

Ow!

Survived got nipped at the wire by the 18-1 long shot, Mpenzi.

Damn, damn, damn. Mpenzi hasn't won a race since 2007. When exactly can't be known because her PP's don't go back that far. And even in 2007 she won only once out of 17 tries. She has just four wins now from 39 starts.

18-1 has a predictable way of spelling carryover.

That's what we're here to see.

Dark Sky under dark skies

Yeah, Ticket of Valor! 

At 5-2, Dark Sky chased down Cocktail Attire and got him in the final jump.

The Saratoga skies blackened, then unleashed their water. 


Ticket of Valor

It's been a while since I've played a Ticket of Valor. 

I had to reach deep within the recesses of my hypothetical wallet to afford this $288 ticket.

R6: Live Life Outloud, Dark Sky, Lunar Beach
R7: Survived, Anxiety
R8: Catchuptothesun, Sorority Sister
R9: War Monger, Danak, Stalingrad
R10: Elope, Dulcet Tote
R11: Condamine, Nickle Pickle

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

The worst form of punishment for the bad handicapper is to handicap a race, place your bets, but not put any money down.

There is, undoubtedly, a certain agony that comes with watching horses you picked but didn't wager on come in under the wire in the order you wanted them to.

In the third race, I played a hypothetical $2 exacta box with 3-1 Past the Point and 9-1 True Resurgence. Past the Point won and True Resurgence got second. The exacta paid just over $55.

I also played a hypothetical $1 tri-wheel: Past the Point, Ketchikan/True Resurgence, Past the Point, Ketchikan/True Resurgence, Smokeyjonessutton.

They finished:
1. Past the Point 
2. True Resurgence 
3. Sight Seeing at 4-5 
4. Smokeyjonesutton at just better than 3-1.

The tri with the 4-5 finishing third paid just over $130 for a $2 bet. With a 4-5 potentially off the board, it would have been a tasty tri and extremely cruel punishment for my misdeeds a few days ago.

Long Walk

Parking accommodations were at a minimum today at the Spa, no doubt a result of the free t-shirt for every paid admission.

My press parking tag means nothing so long as there no spots.  I had to park two miles away at the Saratogian parking lot and walk.  It's not so bad as it is frustrating.  A two-mile walk in a wool suit in the humidity of the foothills is not so inviting.

At least I'm a good handicapper.

Strike that. Reverse it. Let's move on.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

No carryover

Damn!

The Pick 6 paid $599.

Interesting.

We will do it allll over again tomorrow.

Good night.

The Mig

Richard Migliore got his first win in two years at the Spa, coming from last to first in an allowance/optional claimer aboard Storm On the Track.

Indian Blessing also makes her return to the Spa for trainer Bob Baffert.  She will be the filly to beat today in the Grade I Test. She spent the earlier part of the year on the Oaks trail. As the races became longer and longer, she lost a bit of her luster. Dialing back to sprint distances appears to be her strong suit.

That's what we're here to see.

Friday, August 1, 2008

TGIF

For some people anyways.  For us enveloped in the horse business, there are no weekends and holidays.  That is fine by me.

I think anyone would agree that you need to have a sense of humor to be a horse player.  I'd take it a step farther and say you need a sense of delusion.  

You mean to tell me you're going to try and make money on an animal running against other animals?  You must be delusional.

And there you have it.  You heard it here. 

Now whar's me racin' form?