"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

Saturday, June 6, 2009


[Movie trailer voice]
In a world where horse racing was rated second to all, there lived one turf writer who thought otherwise. In a chilling tale of conformity gone mad, The Carryover will attempt to raise the dead at Big Sandy. This. Time. It's. Personal.

11:10 ... How can you not be interested with an intro like that?

Aha! Here we are. Sure, I had to park 800 yards away, pay $10, and wrestle a 1,200 pound grizzly, but it is all in a day's work for those committed to the greater good.

11:12 .. Track is good here at Belmont. It's a bit on the soft side and the turf races following the Belmont Stakes have already been moved off. The sun is out and it is about 70 degrees. With seven or so hours to post, that gives the dirt plenty of time to dry out. Though, the same was true for Churchill on Derby Day and that track never dried out. And who did that set up well for?

C'mon ... c'mon ... Friesan Fire, wait, wait, wait ... Mine That Bird.

11:22 ... PEB came through today. After that Derby debacle, he came back strong with his Preakness mural of Rachel Alexandra busting in Western saloon. Today, he's a got a scarecrow with patches naming the contenders with Mine That Bird flying in with Chip Wooley and Calvin Borel coasting overhead.

Is it true that, like wine, people get better with age? Sorry, absolutely not. There even comes a point when wine gets too old. What does THAT tell you?

Drink up.

11:35 ... So here's the deal. Race 1 went off, a six furlong sprint. The opening quarter went in 22 2/5 seconds, which was set by Dixieland Star. He held on for second while Inger Management, who rated just off, scooted by to win in 1:10 flat.

Knowledge, people. Knowledge.

12:07 ... On a track listed as good, blazing fractions are holding strong. Just Ben went to the front in a seven furlong sprint in 22 and 44 before kicking clear by 12 lengths in a time of 1:21 flat. If this is a trend, watch out for classy front runners like Fabulous Strike and Charitable Man.

Mmmm, toasty.

12:12 ... So here's the deal. If I were to put together a Pick 6 ticket with all singles, a nice affordable $2 ticket, it may look something like this:

R6: Fabulous Strike (2-1)
R7: Forever Together (6-5)
R8: Munnings (4-1)
R9: Justwhistledixie (8-5)
R10: Cowboy Cal (3-1)
R11: Charitable Man (2-1)

I don't want to hear a single word about those odds!

12:40 ... Race 3 went off, one mile on the dirt. The pace setter went out in 22 and 45 and held on for second. The favorite, Convocation, came from off the pace, about three or four lengths back, waltzed past. Bottom line here is that speed is holding on pretty well.

1:12 ... First turf race in the books over the soft going. Front runner set splits of 26, 51, 1:15, 1:39, then won in 1:45 for a mile and a sixteenth.

Doesn't bode well for Better Talk Now in the Manhatten. The soft turf is going to favor the front runners like Cowboy Cal and Cosmonaut.

1:15 ... First Jeannine Edwards sighting. She's got a Bermuda-water blue business suit on. *Sigh*

1:42 ... Traffic is disturbingly low. I guess people are doing "chores" or "hanging out with loved ones." But what about the Carryover?

My couch is empty, I have dozens of cold beers on ice, yet nobody is here to drink them. This is disappointing. Ever throw a party and nobody showed up?

When I graduated high school, my mother wanted to have a little party for me and my friends. Of the people I invited, which, mind you, wasn't that many, only one or two showed up. I believe it one was Good Ol' Pete. The other was my sister.

Now 10 years later, I'm right back in the same spot. This is no good. This is no good at all.

1:55 ... We're through the looking glass here people. Here comes the Pick 6 Diary: You Think You Know, but You Have No Idea. The True North Handicap is up in a few moments, actually many moments.

Como se dice $48,000 CARRYOVER. Da da, da da da da da. Da da, da da da da da.

FYI ... Kent Desormeaux just won his third race of the day. Guess who is riding in the Belmont? The live long shot Summer Bird. And you can put that on the boarrrrrd, yes!

1:58 ... Friends! More, I say! I feel like Martin Prince when he got a bigger and better swimming pool than Lisa and Bart Simpson.

Trenchant insight!

Tell me more!

2:03 ... Well, the chalky Pick 6 ticket has been played. This won't be much of a diary if it loses as much as I think it will, and it will.

Since I only invested $2, I stand to turn a profit of at least $21.50 should I cash this thing. If my Pick 6 ticket hit, it will, in all likelihood, pay $30.

I kid, I kid. Of course it would pay more. One thing is for sure, there will not be a CARRYOVER. It seems real easy to hit today, especially if you have the funds. I say this as if I've hit this bet on a number of occasions, when, in fact, I have yet to do anything of consequence at any point in my near 29 years.

I did hit a game-winning home run my senior year in high school and have successfully caught a cold each of the last five years.

2:34 ... You must be trippin'. That Strike is faaaaabulous!

So here's the deal. Fabulous Strike ran in splits of 21.85, 43.62, 55.28 and finished the six furlongs in 1:07 4/5 seconds, just shy of the track record. He also turned away that rat Sixthirteen, who had the audacity to try and run at him early. Benny the Bull, got the pace he needed to close into, but failed to rally in his first start since July 12, 2008.

Alive through one leg of the Pick 6 with 4-to-5 favorite. Chalk never tasted so fine.

2:40 ... The main track and turf are officially listed fast and yielding. That is fast and yielding.

3:16 ... Villains! Man, Julien Leparoux ducked Forever Together to the inside and it looked like she had it, but Diamonddrella (GB) at 9-1 won the Grade 1 Just a Game in 1:36.49.

Damn, damn, damn. Sure FT was 3-5, but haven't we learned anything here at the Carryover? A.B.C. Always Be Cashin'.

3:55 ... So, here's the deal. Placed yet another cheap ticket, $1 Pick 4 wheel. Here it is.
R8: Munnings and Hello Broadway
R9: Livin Lovin
R10: Cosmonaut
R11: Dunkirk

Very interesting. A sure fire loser.

4:00 ... A! B! C! Munnings exploded on the rail to kick clear to win the Woody Stephens by daylight in a time of 1:28 3/5.

Munnings was 7-2 and so happened to be one of my singles on the Pick 6 ticket, so I am alive for 5-of-6. Also, the Pick 4 is alive to Livin Lovin. The Pick 6 is alive to Justwhistledixie.

Como se dice Pick 3 saver????

4:30 ... So get this, NYRA Media Relations Director just announced that the Pick 4 pool reached a record high of $2,243,069. I'm happy to have contributed $2 to it. That's 0.000089 percent of the pool.

I need a job.

4:55 ... Well folks, that is it for both the Pick 4 and Pick 6 tickets. Have we learned our lesson that this a horrible, horrible hobby? Of course not.

What other hobby provides you the chance to actually win money? Some men collect gadgets and what do they do in the end? But playing the races, now there's a chance to have fun, get a thrill, and walk away loaded.

Oh, and if you're one of those people who need to know the results of every stupid race, Gabby's Golden Gal wired the field in the Acorn, holding of Justwhistledixie with ease. Blah, blah, blah.

5:11 ... Manhattan is coming up. Who cares?

No, no, no, lose the attitude. This race will be great. Court Vision. Gio Ponti. Cowboy Cal. Better Talk Now. Wesley. Cosmonaut.


5:16 ... Oh, Jeannine, you just said, "Nothing ruffles this bird's feathers," when referring to Mine That Bird.

That's OK. The Carryover still endorses you and wishes you would be our mascot. Maybe we can get you to sign our guest book?

5:27 ... So here's the deal. For the Belmont Stakes, I'm going to play some exactas leaving out Mine That Bird. Don't me wrong, I want MTB to win this thing. Due to his lack of manhood, he can be the shot in the arm a sport with little to no stars needs. How great will it be for a Kentucky Derby winner to run and run well for the next five years or so.

However, today he is going to take a lot of money and with this being his third race in five weeks and other horses firing fresh, I'm going elsewhere for a score.

Charitable Man, Dunkirk, Summer Bird, and Chocolate Candy.

5:37 ... Gio Ponti??? More like ... oh, never mind. He's a monster.

Guess who got up for third place? Better Talk Now, God bless 'em.

5:40 ... Hey, guess what? The Belmont Stakes is next! Twelve freakin' furlongs!

Oh, and what's this???? Big Brown is just crossing the finish line!

5:43 ... Want to see the most annoying thing in the world? Good.

I've got a hypothetical Pick 3 ticket that I did not start on Race 9. There are a total of eight horses. I'll leave out a few for the sake of concision.

Race 9: Gabby's Golden Gal
Race 10: Gio Ponti
Race 11: Dunkirk, Charitable Man, Summer Bird.


5:51 ... Did you catch that Chip Wooley piece with Kenny Mayne?

From what The Carryover's sources are saying, they wanted Todd Pletcher, but when the jokey questions came, he still answered them seriously and with a straight face.

That's not funny.

5:59 ... MTB is the even money favorite. 25 minutes to post. Bet against! Bet against!

6:06 ... Did you see Virtual Calvin Borel win the Preakness? Interesting.

Virtual Brendan is still employed getting his virtual paycheck with virtual benefits.

6:09 ... Dunkirk and Todd Pletcher have the track they want. No excuses for this $3.7 million horse. Charitable Man, 2-for-2 on this track, can control the pace. He's your likely winner. Summer Bird is fresh, has the daddy to do this, and Chocolate Candy could explode on a fast dirt track if you were to draw a line through his Derby due to the mud. Think I Want Revenge's explosion once on fast dirt.

Who to be afraid of? Any Nick Zito horse and he has two of them in Brave Victory and Miner's Escape. Anybody else, I'm not buying it.

6:13 ... Horses are heading to the track. I'll check in after the race.

Best of luck!

6:33 .. Birdstone Strikes Again! Summer Bird, baby.

Kent Desormeaux wins the career Triple Crown.

6:39 ... Success! Nailed the exacta, drilled the exacta, bathed in the exacta, rubbed the exacta all over my body, to the tune of $60.50.


6:51 ... Bet $14, won $60, came away with the difference.

Did Calvin Borel move too soon? Yes, he did. As jockeys have been saying all week, riding races at Belmont is a different beast. Borel just learned that the hard way.

Would MTB have won the race? I think that, yes, he would've had Borel waited until they turned for home. This is arm-chair-race riding, but that has to be the sentiment.

"Calvin said he was kind of fighting him down the backside," trainer Chip Wooley said. "Calvin might have set him down a touch early, but that was a judgment call. I thought we were in good shape."

When asked if Wooley would give Borel a leg up onto MTB next time he said without hesitation, "Absolutely."

That is, of course, it is not against Rachel Alexandra in the Jim Dandy.

7:05 ... Apologies for the gloating. That was my only income in the past 2 1/2 weeks.

All right, that's going to do it for the live blogging. There may be a post or two while I wait for traffic to clear out.

Hope you had fun.  I did.

And remember, A.B.C., Always Be Cashin'.


Anonymous said...

Morning! Nice pick 6 you chalk eating weasel! What are you gonna bet on next? That the sun will rise tomorrow? Or maybe that life will continue to crush each and every one of us?

Brendan O'Meara said...

The sun rising was installed as the even-money favorite for Sunday morning.

Dating back to the 1950's, the sun was not always so certain a bet. Following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the sun was 6-1 to rise in the coming weeks and months.

However, the powers-that-be parlayed their winnings from the sun and bet it AGAINST the Harlem Globe Trotters.


Anonymous said...

Congrats! Forever Together next! I think she was named after You and the Saratogian! Count it!

Brendan O'Meara said...

Now that's comedy.

Though more appropriate names would be Forever Napoleonic, Together No More, and, my favorite, Rags to Rags.

Anonymous said...

Wait...you have beer and no one to help drink it ? I must have lost my invite - move over !

Brendan O'Meara said...

Yes, I'll move on over. Bring some girls, too. I think there are some Jell-O shots in the back of the fridge.

Don't tell Ms. Carryover, though.

Anonymous said...

Just heard that Calvin Borel will be riding in Saratoga this summer. Crowd look larger that what I thought would be at Belmont.

MTB looks uneasy....

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the hit.

Mary Lou paid $20,000. to enter Luv Gov and won $30,000. for placing...gotta learn how to do that.

Anonymous said...

That's not gloating. Congratulations - it was a hard won fight...Safe travels back to toga.

Brendan O'Meara said...

Thanks, Anon.

It was a good day of racing, for sure.

Warm regards.