"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, January 31, 2009

Nicanor falters


He looks like Barbaro. He's related to Barbaro. For now that's where the similarities stop.
Nicanor was never in his race today on the Donn undercard. He made a half-hearted move before galloping home tenth.
This proves that getting out from under a successful siblings shadow is not just reserved for humans.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Belmont Logo Unvailed

The NYRA Press Office released its 2009 Belmont Stakes logo to "honor the New York heritage."

To honor that said heritage, the logo shows the New York skyline with the trademark white pine standing tall above everything.

"The logo pays homage to the race's history as a quintessential New York sporting event and Belmont Park's reputation as an oasis just outside the City."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Win for Davis



Saratoga's Jackie Davis went ahead and got herself a win aboard an even-money favorite. Check out the race here.

There's a possibility you may have to create an account with NYRA. It's free and you get to watch videos of races — the BEST handicapping tool around, hands down.

A Carryover Survey for "TV Show"

My 12 readers ... I'm flirting with the idea of taking my 2% raise from the Saratogian and putting it toward a digital video camera.

Hold on ... depressed about the 2% ... gimme a minute ...

OK, I'm back.

I would like to do a mini Pardon the Interruption type show on The Carryover with Good Ol' Pete and it would all be about horse racing. It will very crude — think of the animation of The Simpson's on the Tracy Ullman Show in the late 80's.

Pete is an amusing guy with strong convictions and bold predictions. He's self deprecating and wildly narcissistic. I'm just as self deprecating but lack any and all intelligence he has.

I figure it will consist of a rundown of five topics with a heavy emphasis on gambling.

I'll put up a poll question to see if this is something worth our time and effort. At the very least it will be fun.

"Pete, you are Big Brown."

"Nay."

"Were you disappointed you weren't able to run in the BC Classic against Curlin?"

"Of course I was disappointed. I wanted to kick his chestnut ass. I know there's no Post 20 in the Breeders' Cup, but I'll still break from Post 20 and make him wish he'd never been foaled."

"So, foregone conclusion?"

"Man, my trainer's an idiot."

Get to it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Column preview!

Thursday's ink will be about Stewart Elliott getting his 4,000th career win. You may remember him as the jockey of Smarty Jones.

I have a friend, let's call him Pete, who said, "Has he done anything since 2004?"

The answer, of course, is yes. Jerk.

Let's just say "Pete's" picks will be promply ridiculed by me and hopefully by a cast of thousands more.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Welcome back, Benny

Benny the Bull is coming back.

IEAH's Michael Iavarone said he would come back to defend his title and then some. In DRF's Mike Welsch's story, Iavarone said that Benny would be back to target the Breeders' Cup Sprint and also the 2010 Dubai Golden Shaheen.

I don't necessarily think of Benny the Bull as a sprinter, but he is as much of a sprinter as, say, Fabulous Strike. In human sports, sprinting is such an all-out event. Benny the Bull is only all-out in the final quarter of a mile. It's sometimes hard for me to imagine deep closers as sprinters for that reason alone. There is often such suicidal speed in sprints that they almost always set up well for the deep closer.

That's what Midnight Lute did.

That's what Visionaire did.

That's what Benny the Bull does.

Welcome back.

My man!

Curlin repeated as Horse of the Year, becoming the first back-to-back winner of the award since Cigar did it 12 years ago.

There really were not any surprises at the Eclipse Awards. The only one that I may consider was how much Curlin beat Zenyatta by in the Horse of the Year category, 153-69.

If you listened to folks after Zenyatta's Ladies' Classic win, it was practically handed to her.

I really liked that Benny the Bull won Champion Sprinter. I, like many others, gave this one to Midnight Lute based on his scintillating BC Sprint. This was a testament to voters looking at the year and not just the Breeders' Cup. For that the voters have to be commended.

One other thing ... How about Jess Jackson's shaved head? He could be Sir Ben Kingsley's stunt double with that look.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

HOF induction moved to Aug. 14

I meant to post this Friday, but here is this from Mike Kane at the Racing Museum.


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Friday, August 14 at the Fasig-Tipton Company’s Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion.

The Museum’s Board of Trustees approved changing the date of the induction from the second Monday of the Saratoga racing season to the end of week. The New York Racing Association moved its Grade 2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes to the new day of the induction ceremony.

“The change was made to create more of a Hall of Fame weekend,” said Joseph E. Aulisi, the Museum’s director. “For many years, the induction was held on a Monday and our Museum Ball was held on that Friday, making it difficult for some people to attend both events. By moving the induction, we will be better able to honor our Hall of Fame members at the ball that evening.

“We understand how difficult it can be to change dates during the Saratoga season and want to thank NYRA and Fasig-Tipton officials for agreeing to help make the move of the induction ceremony possible.”

The Hall of Fame induction has been conducted on different days of the week through the years. It has been held on a Monday since 1994 when trainer Jimmy Croll, jockey Steve Cauthen and the horses Ta Wee, Arts and Letters and Eight Thirty were inducted.

Saratogian, in true Saratogian fashion, fades

Saratogian, one of the many mules on the backside at Aqueduct was in for a tag this afternoon at the Big A, ran an uninspiring race just now. He made a half-hearted bid at the top of the lane before being swallowed up, finishing third from last.

I cannot put into words the symbolism exhibited in this claiming race.

Thanks to anonymous

I tell ya, I get more comments from this person "Anonymous."

Check out his or her comment from my previous post. A link was included for certain racing t-shirts. They resemble owner's silks like Mike Pegram's or even West Point (my favorite).

But this is pretty cool, anyway.

Still, I'd like to see a more sweeping campaign by those within the sport to better promote its human product, and through them, the equine athlete.

We'll see.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Trainers as "teams"

This will be the subject of a column in the coming weeks, but I think the horse industry would be well advised to market trainers the way baseball, football, hockey etc. markets their teams.

The trainer is the one constant entity. Jockeys leap from barn to barn and horses retire, and in the the claiming ranks, also swap barns. But what if we had hats and t-shirts that pulled for H. James Bond, Todd Pletcher and Nick Zito in the style of their saddlecloths?

You can follow a horse registry of the Pletcher division or keep tabs on the hundreds of horses Steve Asmussen has all over the country.

There are good guys and there are villians. The Rick Dutrow's would certainly enrage fans. Women and girls could pull for Linda Rice and Helen Pitts and Jamie Sanders.

Jeez, and what about horse trading cards? Don't kids love pictures of horses? I won't divulge any further analysis into this at this time, but doesn't this make sense?

Who's with me?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Elliot

Now with the pressures of having to come up with weekly material on top of the multitudes of other things we do in sports (blogging, uploading to web, designing pages, covering games, writing features), I'm in constant search of a the next column.

I feel like the next one should be about Stewart Elliot getting his 4000th win. He, of course, was the jockey of Smarty Jones in 2004. That horse was the one who really jumpstarted by interest in horse racing. As a result, Elliot was probably the first journey-man jockey that I became aware of.

Seems like a fitting piece.

I also implore you to send me ideas that you would like to see in print. Some ideas will undoubtledly stink, but I hold out some hope. I think that is how Rick Reilly gets some of his ideas — from people sending him ideas. I'm always open to suggestions.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New column for Jan. 22

This is my first "regular" column. Here I simply explore how the synthetic horses who are untested on dirt can be thrown out come May.

I'll link it up by the morning.

For now, I'm hungry. So long.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

For my valued readers

Hello friends,

It has come to my attention that my column, which in the past was merely written whenever I felt like it, will now have a regular schedule.  I believe it will be on Thursday's, once a week, and I'll give my usual insight with what I deem to be interesting and funny.   This just so happens to be solely what I think is interesting and funny, which all too often puts other people off.  

I cite the great Gary Larson who sketched a Far Side comic with hundreds of uniform penguins standing around.  One such penguin stands above them all and yells, "I gotta be me!"  

We gotta have fun, right?  

What is great is now there will be five horse racing columns a week from our three horse racing writers — me, Mike Veitch, and Jeff Scott — and we each have extremely diverse approaches to voice.  

This should be fun for all Saratogian readers ... and the world.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another Column, hot diggity

Back to back days, I've got a column for all seven of my loyal readers. Maybe we're up to nine. Some day we'll crack double digits. Until then, enjoy my lengthy analysis for the upcoming Eclipse Awards.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Busted!


This women, who just so happens to be my girlfriend, was the culprit who butchered the pig(s) from a few a days ago (Post from Jan. 7).

Look at the maniacal grin before she strikes the hammer.  She cannot wait to slaughter this pig in the most cruel and inhumane way possible — a blunt hammer to the thorax.  What a sick person.

The previous post on this issue proved that these pigs have a conscience and can, much to my surprise, speak.

I thought I knew this woman.  How wrong I was.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sad day continues

Indyanne, who fractured a sesamoid in the La Brea at Santa Anita, was euthanized today as it was determined that further care would be inhumane to the champion filly.

Winner of two Grade 3's, the daughter of Indian Charlie earned $500,000 in her career.

Her and Go Between both gone on the same day.

Go Between dead at 6

Go Between, winner of the Pacific Classic, died this morning after six-furlong workout. He passed due to heart complications in his stall shortly after his morning drill.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Look back to Jan. 7

I had been working on this post a few days back and just published it.  Scroll down and see the horror.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Poster Image

I've included this a few posts back as well. You be the judge.

Also, Jessica posted a great comment to the original discussion.

Yeah, carryover!

$91,373 at the Big A.

The horses don't know we're in a recession, so don't let them down.

Tell the wife you're going shopping for a better future. Actually, bring the wife. She's a better handicapper than you are anyway.

Frustrating?

Oh, yes.

Thanks for the comments

I'm always deeply appreciative of comments. It's nice to know that something you write has incited a reaction from someone — good or bad — to join the discussion.

So there was a Carryover record for comments — two — for one post. The one prior about PEB's racist painting. One agrees, one does not.

I have no room for bending on this. This is purely a racist depiction. Even if Curlin were simply dancing without garb, the message would be subtle, yet still detectable. The head dress, robes, necklace, hammer the nail further into the wood.

At the time of its publication, I had noticed this and not really thought too much of it. Anybody who knows me knows that I am Curlin obsessor and was tranqued by being able to see him run in person. Had I not been as dull — as I regrettably am — I would have written something then. I didn't, and that's my mistake.

PEB does wonderful, poigniant, touching and beautiful work, but this time he broke down midstretch.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

2008 Most Racist Painting of the Year



PEB's 2008 Woodward poster.

The racism is subtle (maybe not so much), but it shows Curlin — who is chestnut red — in Native American garb dancing around a totem pole with Woodward champions of the past.

I somehow doubt, though I cannot confirm without actually asking him, that he meant to be offensive. But then again, why choose this particular way to depict Curlin running in the Woodward? He certainly could have chosen another platform to show Curlin's celebrity.

This cannot be an accident, can it?

Whether it is or not, PEB, you're a winner in 2008.

Felicitations, monsieur!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Circular Nature

One of the many things I love about horse racing is its circular nature, how it renews itself every year.

It is such a long year, but it is divided into various "seasons," so to speak. It seems like it was only a matter of months ago when Pyro was ready to dazzle us in the Risen Star and that Smooth Air stamped himself as a contender by winning the Hutcheson.

From week to week, a new horse rises and many more fall. Big Brown was a nobody and Curlin was flirting with running the Donn Handicap.

Just as one landmark on the racing scene passes, another clicks by and refreshes the browser.

We leap frog from prep-to-prep and before we know it here is the Derby, then Preakness, then Belmont.

Five weeks or so to Saratoga ... the Jockey Club Gold Cup ... Oak Tree at Santa Anita ... the Breeders' Cup ... and just like that 2010 will be here and we'll say, "Remember when ... ?"

Where was PETA on this??????


The animal rights group, PETA, pounced on the Eight Belles story and lashed the proverbial whip on jockey Gabriel Saez and trainer Larry Jones. This proverbial whip would, in essence, make them proverbial hypocrites for having said that Saez whipped Eight Belles excessively.

But the more pressing issue is where were they when this pig was brutally slaughtered? Smashed to pieces. We can deduct two things from this horribly graphic image.

1. This particular species of pig has feelings and can express emotion.
2. This particular species of pig can speak.
3. This particular species of pig is not cannibalistic.

This is further evidence that PETA surfaces only when it has its own agenda. If these pigs could talk — and they can — they would express pure disgust over the lack of diligence and representation on their behalf.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Favorite Moment of 2008

My favorite moment of 2008 was when Big Brown and Curlin ran against each other in the most highly anticipated horse race in decades.

Wait a minute ...

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Eclipse Award

There needs to be a "Synthetic Horse Champion" added to the Eclipse categories.

The fake stuff is not dirt. It's not grass. It's, get this, synthetic, and it's own surface with its own characteristics. Just like there is a turf champion, so too should there be a synthetic champion. Go Between rejoice.

This way it'll give donkeys like Monba reason to pay attention at the end of the year.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Super Bowl Halftime Show

Honestly, The Boss will be ten times better than the actual Super Bowl.

That's all I have to say.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A little more Chelokee info

The piece I mentioned in the previous post relives the chain of events from when Chelokee severely dislocated his ankle to when he was finally discharged from Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital.

You'll read about Dr. Larry Bramlage and how her performed his patented "fetlock arthrodesis" to put Chelokee's ankle back together. You'll read about Dr. Foster Norphrot, who was on the ground and re-articulate the dislocated limb.

It really was a testament to the horse's heart, but also all those who, literally, had a hand on the colt, to give the fighting chance he deserved.

In the wake of what happened the following day after the Kentucky Derby, Chelokee's story proved there is much good is the horse industry.

Chelokee Feature

Remember Chelokee? He is the son of Cherokee Run who broke down while making a strong move in the Grade 3 Alysheba Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard.

I "kept in touch" with him, so to speak, and wrote a story about him for The Blood Horse. I do not have a link to the story so go out and buy a copy of this week's Blood Horse and read about how Chelokee was, essentially, brought back from the dead.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Birthday!

To every horse in training in North America.  

Ashado?  I reckon you don't look a year over two.

Funny Cide?  You've aged ... terribly.