"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 30, 2010

Yeah, Carryover!

The Big A's Saturday card has a $28,528 carryover.

Part of The Carryover's 2010 Resolutions will be to play a straight single ticket for the Pick 6 and write about going 1-for-6 and contributing $2 to double, triple, and even quadruple carryovers.

Who knows? Maybe even with such a small investment I might get lucky and hit 5-of-6. Strike that. But I haven't played a carryover at The Carryover in some time and what is a blog titled The Carryover that doesn't play a carryover? The answer? A sham, that's what.

Friday, January 29, 2010

On the Horizon

These are the dog days of winter, when racing is a tad boring. You have to get the shovel out of the shed to dig up anything worthwhile to talk about. And never has there been so little to say by so many people that we run the risk of being redundant and a blogger's worst nightmare: uninteresting.

But what should save us? For the time it is the Paulick Derby Index, about to hit a news stand near you next week. Last year it was slow to start with only a couple dozen entrants. This year promises to be bigger and I am glad to be a part of it for a second straight year. This time as a representative of The Carryover.

But also in the news is the sinister-seeming Michael Gill, the mega-owner of claiming stock at small racetracks nationwide. After the PR published stories about him — news stories, not just opinion — he has threatened to sue Ray Paulick for liable. I don't think a judge in North America will find you guilty for liable, rather libel. Go check it out. Taking a line out of the Captain Morgan Spice Rum commercial, it sounds like Gill has a little "Joe McCarthy in him." Maggi Moss threw down the hammer on him in a letter published by the PR, denouncing Gill and asking him in not-so-polite terms to get out of the game.

Gill tries to defend himself and his broken horses saying they were "bread to run." That sounds like the name for a great bakery. It's bred to run, by the way.

Poking grammatical fun at a mortgage broker is low brow, but as a writer it comes naturally. But when a man wants to be taken seriously and wants to sue you for "liable", it's hard not to throw a jab. Perhaps his lawyer is The Simpson's Lionel Hutz.

Amidst that was the opening of Meydan, the Xanadu of horse racing. I've always maintained that Aqueduct is the Xanadu of horse racing, but Meydan beat out the Ozone Park Mecca. Aqueduct could be "The Lost City of Z." Civilization may have been there, but it's hard to prove, and many explorers, no doubt, will die trying.

The horses run and the gamblers gamble and the jockeys jockey. Except one, which is sad. Justin Vitek, 36, a Turfway Park regular passed away Thursday, from acute myelogenous leukemia. I normally wouldn't know him from the hundreds of other jockeys in the country, but in 2007, when I was writing a Great Gatsby-type immersion project titled On the Backside for my masters chronicling the life of a Maryland-based trainer, Vitek rode the trainer's best horse in the John Battaglia Memorial. The horse's name, which some of you know, is Digger. The trainer was Phil Schoenthal, who shipped his horse from Maryland to Kentucky to see if he could keep progressing on the Derby Trail. Vitek rode Digger to an eleventh place finish and was gracious for the opportunity.

Vitek is in the book, albeit briefly, and if it ever hits shelves, you'll read about how this man took what was given to him and ran with it.

There's Gill in one corner, and people like Vitek in another.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of The Carryover

The past year, 2009, was thrown into upheaval. There was job loss (welcome as it was), but also opportunity. I've lost some momentum on The Carryover and I largely blame that on book work. This I am OK with. It is a bigger fish to fry.

This upcoming year will see The Carryover pare down to one column a week, alternating between here and The Carryover 2.0 at Horse Race Insider. That you can bank on. I reserve the right to post whenever I feel like it, to add a Carryover advertisement video, and to air an episode of ABC.

The Carryover is still strong and featured regularly on The Paulick Report and Equidaily.

Comments are encouraged because I like to stoke the flames and rib and riff.

But with book edits and rewrites (my narrative voice is vastly different than my column voice) and agent searching taking all of my time, naturally the belt has to be tightened at The Carryover.

Do stay tuned, if not every day, then certainly on Fridays.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rivalry Time!

Now there is a rivalry.

For anyone who has had a chance to see Jess Jackson’s acceptance speech for Rachel Alexandra winning the 2009 Horse of the Year award, you know it’s on now.
All you had to do was look to the face of Jerry Moss during the frequent cutaways. The look on his face said it all.

1. I’m not pleased that I lost.
2. I don’t like you that much.
3. See you in 2010.

His face lacked all joy. His jaw was locked so tight you could hear his teeth cracking. His jaw was so squared off you could have forged Excaliber on it. Though nobody with any inkling of intelligence would say that, ‘Aha! Zenyatta is no longer unbeaten,’ Moss still defended her with an edge that could blunt a diamond.

Read more at The Carryover 2.0.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Round of Applause

It's official. Zenyatta will race in 2010.

This is a throwback call made by Jerry and Ann Moss to keep this undefeated mare in training. Whatever decision they made would have been the proper one. They were sporting enough to race her 14 times and Zenyatta earned her retirement if that was to be the case.

So long as the horse is well then this was a sporting decision alongside Jess Jackson and Curlin.

This year could be racing's finest in decades based to the stars still in training: Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, Summer Bird, Mine That Bird, Quality Road, and Musket Man.

This could be great and how about we enjoy this ride? I'm gonna. Who's with The Carryover!?

Will it be you? What say you?!

You? And yyyyou!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Zenyatta Favre?



What I find deeply unsettling over the past few days is that Zenyatta has shown no signs of slowing down. With a bank roll of over $5 million and an undefeated record, I would think that she would be ready to hang up her shoes. But what does she do? She goes out and breezes four furlongs at Hollywood Park in 48 seconds.

In this situation you have to feel sympathy for Jerry and Ann Moss. These two people just want to make a living. They have mouths to feed. They have bills to pay. Sting isn't getting any younger. They want to move on and race the next Aaron Rodgers and what does Zenyatta do? She holds them hostage like Brett Favre.

Trainer John Shirreffs told the Daily Racing Form that, "I think a lot of people would like to see her run and I would also say she's accomplished enough and let her retire."

Shirreffs says it's up to Mr. Moss but all indicators say it may be up Zenyatta.
Since Zenyatta keeps showing up to the track and breezing bullets, what are we to expect? This hot piece of tail from the swimmers of Street Cry worked on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and then three weeks later on the 21st. Then she comes back and works a half on January 6.

It could be that Zenyatta wants to be traded to a division foe, but, in all likelihood, she will end up running for the New York Jets. When Favre signed with the Jets he said, "To a certain degree, I don't know what I'm getting into."

Perhaps what Zenyatta is telling us is that despite the 14-for-14 mark, she doesn't want to be pushed into retirement. She suggests that she wants to keep running. If she hangs on for another year and runs in California stakes races she could easily eclipse Cigar's win streak of 16.

Zenyatta, 17 in a row? It could happen.

There could be ill feelings. What about her owners? Her trainer? Favre told ESPN that, "I always wanted to be a Packer and I think I always will be a Packer. I'm not a traitor, never will be. It's business. It's the way it works. I gave everything I could possibly give."

Who are Shirreffs and the Moss's to tell Zenyatta to go away and have hot animal intimacy once a year? Is that a sex life a star athlete deserves? What would Wilt Chamberlain do? What would Tiger Woods do?

"Zenyatta, hey it's Tiger, I need you to do me a huge favor. Can you please take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you. So if you can, please take your name off that. Just have it as a number on the voicemail. Zenyatta, you got to do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye."

The Zenyatta lovers have to be excited. The haters have to be excited too. The more we talk about her the more we prove how relevant she is. And if she's listening, break it off with Tiger, one person up to their neck in manure is enough.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Exclusivity

Here be the latest Carryover 2.0 spot. While you're at it, have a mug of egg nog for me. My arteries can only take so much.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Call for Ideas

I'm at a loss of what I should write about for Saturday's Carryover 2.0 entry. Got any ideas you'd like me to write about, shoot me a comment or send me an email to bromeara@yahoo.com.

Thanks for your help.

The Woodward

I just wrapped up writing the Woodward race for "6 Weeks in Saratoga." I transcribed Tom Durkin's race call and threaded in its bits here and there. I dragged out the moment over three pages using the vantage of points of Nick Zito, Charlie Hayward, Hal Handel, Calvin Borel, and Lisa Funk to make this hologram float off the page.

I tell ya, I get goosebumps listening the race, watching the race, and writing the race. It's no tribute to my writing abilities, which, as you know, need endless refinement. The moment that was was so brilliant and it is so moving that you just get out of its way and let its own momentum take the reader for a ride.

Who wants the excerpt?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Breaking News!

After much deliberation The Carryover has voted Rachel Alexandra Horse of the Year. It was the first unanimous proclamation of any Horse of the Year candidate since Curlin in 2008.

Yeah, she's Horse of the Year

Thanks to the wonders embed technology, we can watch it again and again and again from your friendly hub of horse-friendly banter.

Gettin' back to my roots

Yeah, carryover!

Hit up Aqueduct you chalk-eating weasels for a try at $35,014. When you get to the window, tell 'em the Carryover sent you.