"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

Monday, February 22, 2010

100 percent of voters can't be wrong

One hundred percent of Carryover voters have spoken and they said that they don't want horse racing to be an Olympic sport. 

With numbers like that, what's to argue?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Teaser for Saturday's Column

The Olympics pull in big numbers.  This past Wednesday Lindsay Vonn (blonde babe) and Julia Mancusa (tiara-wearing brunette babe) took gold and silver.  Shani Davis (thigh master) took gold in the 1,000-meter long track.  Its ratings blast those of other networks.  This is the Winter Games, after all.  NBC is corralling 25 million viewers for the Games.  Not too bad.

Many men who follow sports don’t pay too much attention to the Olympics, summer or winter.  Other sports slice into the pie and one’s attention.  The Olympics cross over, often getting more women involved in the telecast.  

And isn’t the problem with horse racing that it has problems crossing over and getting on television to an audience who hasn’t gnawed down their cigar like it was a Jumbone.  Why not pitch horse racing as an Olympic sport, say the next time it comes to Los Angeles? 

With all the horses bred around the world there is no shortage of foreign horses.  Mine That Bird could wave the flag.  (Now there’s a Budweiser commercial.)

Read more Saturday at Horse Race Insider ...

What's on Tap

For the past three days I've been struggling with what to write for The Carryover 2.0 for HRI.  I'm trying not to write too much on the Triple Crown because everyone writes about the Triple Crown.  I have nothing new to add about Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra at the time.  Perhaps PETA needs a lecture, but I feel I may try to talk a bit about gambling. 

No, I haven't placed any bets and I don't see it happening anytime soon, but I read "Exotic Betting" and it got me thinking. 

I actually just thought of something.  T'is the season ...

Friday, February 12, 2010

You're terminated ...

"You're terminated [f-word expletive]."  One of the great lines in action movie history when Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) finally killed the torso of the Terminator.   It's right up there with the subtle, somewhat-out-of-context line delivered by ARNOLD in The Predator when he throws a knife at a commando thus impaling him to the wall.  "Stick around," he says, with a half smile.

If only he had thrown that knife and stuck Churchill Downs' auxiliary gate to the backside.  This addition adds six horses to the 14-horse gates to create nothing but chaos.  There will never be another Triple Crown winner until the extra six posts are terminated.

What does it add?  All I see is an extra six horses that don't belong in the gates.  Every year there are at least six that have no business being in attendance on May's inaugural Saturday.  Every year it adds chaos and traffic.  Horses only have 400 yards to win the Derby, not 1 1/4 miles.  Their chances are so compromised by their post position that if a horse is bottled up or swung wide, they are, in effect, losers 23 seconds into the race.

Whatever horse wins the Derby then has so many hurdles to overcome just to win the roses.  Take Big Brown.  He was so much the best that he won from Post 20 going five wide and four wide into the turns to win going away.  The Preakness was a jog, but did the cumulative effect hurt him in the Belmont?  It didn't help. 

In that same Derby I remember Gayego getting so pinched into the first turn that he practically flipped over.  Could he have won?  No, Big Brown and Eight Belles were the best, but his race ended right there.  (At the beginning, see the horse that darts for the rail?  Who's that?  Calvin Borel and Denis of Cork.  His last three Derbies: First, Third, First.)

Twenty horses is a visual spectacle, something really fun to watch, but tell me what is so bad about a 14-horse field?  The Breeders' Cup Classic routinely has 14 and it never lacks for population.  That is a BIG field of quality over quantity.   It's still a stampede, still a spectacle.

To this end, I've maintained that horse racing needs to trim down on everything to make the betting and racing product entertaining.  In cooking there is a term called reducing when you cook off the water to condense the flavors.  Same deal.

Twenty horses makes for a fun two minutes, but how many Derbies echo into eternity the way 11 Triple Crown winners do?

Sorry, stole that line from Gladiator ... Terminated!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Strike that, reverse it, let's move on

Should we be surprised that Rachel Alexandra's owner, Jess Jackson, hacked up this fur ball?  No, because it seems that when he isn't the dealer and doesn't have the house's share of the odds, he folds.  It's his horse.

Go ahead and vote on the poll question about your feelings on Jackson's latest miff. 

And can we move on?  I think it would be wise.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rachel Alexandra's prep for the Apple Blossom

 I got to talking with Good Ol' Pete who had returned from over a month in Germany with his junior national luge team.  Our friendship is grounded in horse racing and Simpson quotes.  Name a better foundation, go on.  That's right.

We talked about how Jess Jackson has to have Rachel Alexandra run in the Apple Blossom, time to put his money where his mouth is.  Good Ol' Pete suggested that Rachel could even have a prep race if the Oaklawn racing secretary felt like drawing one up for her.  But we didn't want to tax her too much, just get her back in the race-day routine.

So we thought how about $60,000 allowance for fillies and mares, 4 years old and up, that have not won a race since September 6, 2009.

$55,000 restricted stake for previous Horses of the Year.

$60,000 for all  horses whose name rhymes with 'Achel', 3 year olds and up.

Rachel's two consecutive works were in 52 and 50.  Trainer Steve Asmussen is starting to turn the screw.  She can easily be fit—barring injury—by early March.  If she drills a brisker half-mile, a 5/8's breeze would be in order in 1:01.  Next a nice 49 and change tuneup.  With that she'll be ready.  But this sport has a way of letting its fans down (is there a carryover to play anywhere?).  

If any of these races are carded, Jackson will likely not tell us if Rachel Alexandra will run until the Tuesday beforehand.

This could, of course, backfire horribly if Curlin, Tiznow, and Invasor came out of retirement.  Or if Saint Liam is raised from the dead ... perhaps by Ghostzapper.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lucky in a Fifty

Eightyfiveinafifty blew the turn in Saturday's $100,000 Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct under Jorge Chavez and shredded himself and threw Chavez.  Chavez was OK and Eightyfiveinafifty, after bolting, required just 14 stitches.

His bit was broken and his bridle came off his head.  It was unclear when and where the equipment broke.

“We have absolutely dodged a bullet here,” said trainer Gary Contessa, who trains the speedy colt for Harold Lerner. “This could have been the end of his career and instead this horse is out a week … He has always been a very level-headed horse so there is no reason to think he will not forget this incident and return to being the fastest three-year-old in the country.”

In his maiden debut, Eightyfiveinafifty threw up a 105 Beyer Speed Figure — the highest of any sophomore in the country.  

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Frogurt is Also Cursed

A shot out to Season 4 of The Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror.  This guy may now be cursed as well.

Friday, February 5, 2010

So you won the Eclipse ...

Good luck winning the Derby ...

That is the subject of Saturday's Carryover 2.0 column.  Come by for coffee and scones.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

PDI and a Thank You

The second annual Paulick Derby Index is up at paulickreport.com.  You can see The Carryover's picks part of the way down the page.  I am the only one giving Dryfly, winner of the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn any love.  Lookin at Lucky is number one, but did Pioneerof the Nile teach as anything last year? 

I'd also like to thank Brad Cummings of the Paulick Report for adding The Carryover to its log of bloggers.  It will, undoubtedly, help The Carryover reach more people.  It should be fun.  As you can see, my latest commercial states just that.  Just scroll down past the wonderfully placed Google ads.

A Carryover Commercial

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Change

The Carryover will be changing its name to www.thecarryover.blogspot.com.  I suggest bookmarking it now because the old address will not redirect you to the new domain. 

After nearly two years I have figured out how to change it.  You don't have much time.  Breaking up is hard to do, but it's better, admit it.  It's not you, it's me.

Back to Work

The 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra hit the work tab at Fair Grounds for a half-mile drill in 52.

With a 2010 campaign still undetermined, Rachel's work was labeled "perfect", even too fast. Rachel adds flavor to the Triple Crown season, gives people who follow racing something else other than a three year old to watch. I like this.

New poll question: who breaks Cigar's win streak of 16 in 2010? Zenyatta, Rachel, both, or neither. Get to it!