"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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reduce, reuse, recycle

This won't be long.  It seems that everyone writes about 'how they would make the game better.'  Isn't this getting annoying?  What does that say about a sport when its writers are constantly trying to make improvements?  You hardly read about this with other sports, rather the writers are justly critical about an organization or a player.  Or, get this (!), they praise a player, coach, or organization.  How bad is horse racing that the hammer is stubbornly hitting the same nail over and over again?

Here's my solution!

Reduce the number of tracks.  Eliminate year-round racing.  Make each meet MEAN something.

Here's something else ... make trainers pick a jurisdiction to race at and allow them only ship for graded races (Derby, Preakness, Beldame, Woodward, whatever).  Have a points system in place so that divisional champions are in place.  Hash it out in a playoff style format.  End it at the Breeders' Cup.

Trainers would not be able have mega-stables since they couldn't have strings in California, Kentucky, and New York.  This means the horse population would be spread out to other capable trainers who seldom get a "big horse."  Steve Asmussen can't stable 300 horses under his name at one track, so those athletes would wind up in other hands.  This also gives the sport more possibility at finding other names outside the Top 10.  It could also reduce, over time, the number of racing horses making for a better racing product.  This would anger breeders, but the junior varsity has GOT to go.

As for those pushed to the margins, real, real small trainers and horses?  The trainers will either have to go to work for somebody else or find a new job.  The marginalized horses will need homes, and maybe through a subsidized program, marginalized trainers can help care for the excess horse flesh that would result in this systemic overhaul.  If Suffolk Downs closes, try to hold onto the land as a retirement park.  Try.

Did that make any sense?  If not, well, I'm sorry.  There, I said it.


rather rapid said...

in other words you'd like racing reduced to NASCAR. it's easier to just bet at one track. Get rid of all the others. I'll let someone else elaborate. I hate to read stuff like this.

Anonymous said...

You would have better luck convincing Major League Baseball to add a fourth outfielder, make three balls consitute a walk, and remove Joe Buck from all television appearances.

Horse racing, like Baseball, is what it is. We can see some shake ups, an interleague every now and then, but it's take it or leave it.

I'll take it.

Oh, and I LOVE Suffolk Downs.

Anonymous said...

Stupid. This is the USA. A massive country. We would be losing tens of thousands of jobs under your plan.

Horse racing needs to change their pricing plan (aka Santa Anita getting only 4 to 6 percent of every simulcast dollar wagered)somehow some way. Takeout is outrageous too. Something along the lines of Betfair in Europe.

Anonymous said...

I think you forgot to mention that the O'Meara Foundation would compensate all the racetrack employees who lose their jobs when your plan is put into effect. I'm sure that the O'Meara Foundation has considered how much it would take to put the children of the jockeys, the grooms, the waiters, the waitresses, the teamsters, the electricians, the laborers, the security guards, the accountants, the mutuel clerks and all the other people who make their living because of places like Beulah, Fairmount Park, Evangeline, Prairie Meadows and Ellis Park through school and into respectable and comfortable lives. Your foundation trustees are to be congratulated for their foresight and consideration for others!

Brendan O'Meara said...

I don't like to watch junior varsity horse racing. I'm having a hard time watching varsity horse racing. Take the emotion out of it and it makes sense. The water needs to be cooked off to concentrate the flavor.

The O'Meara Foundation does have a ring to it, though a respectable and comfortable life is not my responsibility. I work hard and my life is neither respectable nor comfortable. They'll be OK.

I'd rather watch good racing than nickel claimers. But rabid parents want JV scores in the newspaper ... so long as their kid is playing. As soon as THEIR kid moves on, they don't care for the JV scores to be in the paper. Same thing here.

Again, strip the emotion out of it. It may even be a good idea to let the sport die. Who is it serving? Breeders?

Fear not! It's not like any of this will happen, but it would go a long way into making me respect the product.

Anonymous said...

Did yu know that Rachel is in Saratoga ? Did she ever really leave ?

Brendan O'Meara said...

Yes I did know Rachel was here. I've been on the backside here and there after the meet. She leaves on Tuesday.

Thanks for the link.