"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, November 28, 2009

Leftovers

Be sure to check our www.horseraceinsider.com for a look at The Carryover 2.0's post on the 2010 Derby Weekend. Failing to do so will be put on your permanent record.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cast aside

This is something I can relate to, what with any number of essay and book proposals thrown to the slog pile, cast aside, I can sympathize with the other Eclipse categories these days.

The Rachel v. Zenyatta debate is going to inflame up until and then after the Eclipse Awards no matter who wins. While Horse of the Year is the most polarizing of the categories, Champion Trainer is going to be an equally scintillating race, one that is far from the spotlight, let alone the microscope.

For starters, the two most obvious nominees would have to be Steve Asmussen, trainer of Rachel Alexandra, Kensei, Soul Warrior, and 343 others, and John Shirreffs, trainer of Zenyatta, Life Is Sweet, and the unbeatable Tiago (the last horse in training to finish ahead of Curlin). Who fills the other spot?

My front runner is Tim Ice. A no-name guy up till and through the Travers (just look at all the people passing by him to Chip Woolley at the Stakes Barn at Saratoga), this Louisiana-based trainer rides on the wings of his Summer Bird. From Oaklawn, to Kentucky, to New York, to California, to Japan, Ice never dodged, rather sought out the best in his division and beyond. He won three of the most prestigious Grade 1's in New York with the Belmont, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. He was a competitive fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic as a three year old. Worth noting: none of these races are shorter than 10 furlongs.

The careful handling of his chestnut son of Birdstone is worthy of the award alone, but if the handling and management of an elite horse is one of the leading criterion for this award, then Asmussen may have the best shot of them all.

When handed Rachel Alexandra on May 7, 2009, he kept her right and kept her unbeaten in 2009. Asmussen and assistant trainer Scott Blasi cranked her up for a smasing Haskell Invitational and a heart-pounding Woodward Stakes. Since acquiring her they shipped her to Pimlico, Belmont, Monmouth, and Saratoga for a win streak of four Grade 1's (five if you include the Kentucky Oaks).

Shirreffs has the toughest case, but he won two of the most prestigious Grade 1's in North America on back-to-back days with Life Is Sweet in the Ladies Classic and Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

As for other trainers, who can there be? Todd Pletcher had a steady year, but nothing noteworthy. Rick Dutrow, Jr. fell of the face of the planet in 2009. Chip Woolley failed to get Mine That Bird back to the winner's circle after May 2.

Whoever goes to the podium first with this award may forecast who wins Horse of the Year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The R v. Z debate slogs on

At HRI, there is going to be the best and most comprehensive Rachel v. Zenyatta debate.

At The Carryover Classic, there will be a post. I promise. It's a slow time of year. Cut me some slack!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New post at Carryover 2.0

Get ready for a stinker! No, actually had fun with this and it my hope that you will too. Take a bow Ladies Day.

Get ready for a Carryover 2.0 post

Seeing as I didn't live blog the Breeders' Cup I will post shortly a Breeders' Cup Diary for the Friday and Saturday cards at Horse Race Insider. It may be entertaining, it may be annoying, but it will certainly be a fresh way to reflect on the 2009 BC at Santa Anita.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Deepest apologies

Dear readers,

Though my two biggest readers of The Carryover were with me Friday and Saturday, I'll apologize to my other five or six.

I had no Internet this weekend so I failed to deliver the live blog for Friday and Saturday. Complaints can be mailed to The Carryover.

Sincerely,
Brendan O'Meara

Let's keep it real

Thank you Tim Wilkin of the Times-Union for keeping Zenyatta's Breeders' Cup Classic win in perspective. Mind you, I wrote these very comments with a bit more beef in the debut of The Carryover 2.0, but it begs repeating.

What Zenyatta did (while stunning) is in the here and now and those who rush to judgment, those with attention deficit disorder and those who just plain lack any sense of perspective and scope will rush to say Zenyatta is Horse of the Year.

She's undefeated!

She won North America's richest race!

She's the first mare ever to win the Breeders' Cup Classic!

She's bootylicious!

Let's not forget she only had five starts this year, all on synthetic surfaces against mediocre-at-best California fillies and mares. Say it out loud.

She never left Arnold's juridiction whereas Rachel Alexandra won eight races all over the eastern part of the country.

Go watch the Fairgrounds Oaks, the Kentucky Oaks, the Preakness Stakes, the Mother Goose, the Haskell Invitational, and the Woodward Stakes and then ask yourself if Zenyatta surpasses that.

If you have any perspective the answer is clear.

Friday, November 6, 2009

LADIES DAY LIVE BLOG

9:08 — Just hanging out at the library, applying to a job, waiting on my ride up to Lake Placid. Did you need to know that? No. Did you want to know that? Yes.

I haven't looked at any PP's so these races will be fun to watch not knowing what to expect.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Live Blogging for Friday and Saturday?

That's the plan, folks. I'll be in Lake Placid, NY hanging out with some fellow horse racing fans and if we can get the Internets, I will be blogging LIVE for both the Ladies and the Gentlemen.

Stay tuned, Carryover Classic may just blow your mind.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Butter and Margarine

Oh, so what? The Breeders' Cup is in Santa Anita for a second year on Amateur-Ride, so what? For a time in the eighties, when fat was the enemy, food scientists worked like mad at a butter alternative and we got margarine.

It tastes just like butter!

And Pro-Ride acts like dirt.

Here's the deal, the French eat lots of butter and are skinny, happier, and speak a much better tongue. We, on the other hand, are a nation more consumed by health and yet are unhealthy to the core.

In this instance, so what if we have the trans-fat-loaded margarine balls at the wedding reception table instead of luscious, savory, creamery butter? This is the Breeders' Cup Championships! So hike up your socks, grab your favorite easy chair and watch. And, hey, if you read a little Vic Zast, you might even make a little bit of money.

So much of the energy since last year's BC has been that in another year, we're going to have to do it all over again. But you're a horse racing fan and you'd root for this sport if they ran over molten lava and took space rockets to Uranus. You'd watch it if they jumped over hurdles and swam the English Channel. You'd watch just to see Todd Pletcher's under bite, Bob Baffert's silver hair, and Helen Pitts shot at redemption for losing Curlin nearly three years ago.

This is the only sport that when you say PP no one looks at you like you're Roman Polanski. That's reason enough! On Friday you can stare at women athletes all day and not draw the stink eye from your partner. Try getting away with that during a beach volleyball tournament.

So take that whip off your wall you pervert and wave it at Calvin Borel, John Velazquez, and Joe Talamo. Break out your most tasteless World War II humor when the French and British clobber your early Pick 4.

This is the Breeders' Cup on Pro-Ride, turn that frown upside down, and to quote one of Bill Murray's sons in "Rushmore", "Get your head out of your ass."

Sure, butter is better, but some Parkay on Zenyatta's curvy butt ain't that bad either.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Boo, Trick or Treaters!

I am extremely disappointed by the trick or treaters in Saratoga. Ms. Carryover and I handed just one sampling of candy to costumed minors last night. Sure, we were watching both Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 while I brewed a batch of Northface Nutbrown Ale, and having a good time. But where's the heart?

Now we're left with $15 worth of high fructose corn syrup that will contribute to increased cavities and nocturnal unrest.

These kids remind of Henny Hughes in the 2006 BC Sprint: crappy.

Was that an egg that burst on my door?