"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, March 23, 2010

Las Vegas

I'll be out of the office in Las Vegas to watch the Dubai World Cup and the third race at Aqueduct/Laurel/Beulah.  Who knows.

My friends have boned up the funds to get me west. Two of my three Carryover readers will be there with me so my traffic will be slashed by 66 percent. My advertisers are going to pull out BIG time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Carryover 2.0 for Saturday

Got a good one over the 2-point-Oh.

I think you'll dig it.

Be sure to go to www.horseraceinsider.com.

Get to it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

PDI picks updated

All right, the new Paulick Derby Index picks are up so you can go ahead and drag your pointer over to that link over there  =====>

I'm not sure why, but every Triple Crown season since 2007 has seemed a bit dry. I'm disconnected from it more and more each year. I wish I had an explanation but I don't. Four years ago we had Street Sense, Hard Spun, Curlin, Rags to Riches, and Any Given Saturday. Every week new drama unfolded. There was that blanket finish in the Blue Grass that was won by Dominican. You haven't heard the last of him ...

It has become less and less riveting. Perhaps that has something to do with the synthetic tracks and how it's hard to take a horse that races out west seriously.

Nobody has me excited. I couldn't wait to watch Street Sense or Curlin or Hard Spun. With roughly six weeks to go the Triple Crown season will have its chance to prove itself.

The Wood Memorial just got a bit more exciting, didn't it, with the addition of Eskendereya?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Alexander Lost

Where to start? This kid, horseracingkid, is, quite possibly, the Answer.

How great is it that a 14-year-old sits in his bedroom, and watches, of all things, horse races, and then broadcasts his video on YouTube.

He sounds like Jim McKay.

Listen to the way he breaks the story as if he were an embedded reporter watching the fall of Hussein's statue.

This kid needs to be a regular contributor to The Carryover. I'm serious. He's got more ability than this hack.

If I can offer one piece of advice horseracingkid, whose real name is Stephen, do your homework!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The petals fall off the apple blossom

Friday I threw down an empty promise that I would explain why I thought Rachel Alexandra would be vulnerable Saturday in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes.  But ever since I started my new job I haven't had much time or energy to write about horse racing.

It wasn't inside information or brilliant intuition that had me thinking she would lose, just an unimpressive work tab, or, should I say, an un-Rachel-like work tab.  Her morning drills were pedestrian by her standards.  The foul weather put undue strain on her training and, as a result, she wasn't fit enough.

I figured that everyone thought that Rachel would win on Saturday, that was proven right by her 1-9 odds, but it would not have surprised me had she won by only a length or less.  We were spoiled by her explosive wins in the Kentucky Oaks and Haskell Invitational.  The N.O. Ladies could have been used as a glorified workout for a target race four weeks away.

There waits Zenyatta.  Zenyatta looks like, well, Zenyatta.  The advantage Zenyatta had was that she never rested.  Trainer John Shirreffs kept her in light training, then intense training, once Jerry and Ann Moss elected to let her race again.  Good for her and good for them. She is outstanding to watch.

Now the news that Rachel won't run in the Apple Blossom is deeply unsettling. Steve Asmussen was quoted as saying that Rachel wasn't fit and that was his fault. Given the effort she put forth I would think she could very well be fit by April 9.  Her body was tested for the first time since September 5, 2009.

In the scheme of an entire year perhaps we will look back on this day and say, "Big whoop."  With the future so uncertain, I think Asmussen said it best when he told the Star-Telegram, "The disappointment from yesterday continues."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The 2010 Belmont Stakes Logo

This is sharp, no doubt about it.  We've got the Empire State Building in the background, the Brooklyn Bridge (should make my friend Teresa Genaro happy).  And, get this, a horse breaking from Post 142!  My how the game has changed.  Oh, I can hear Kent Desormeaux comparing his horse to his wife or lady friend like he did last year aboard Summer Bird.

Hopefully they run the Belmont Stakes this year.

Is Rachel vulnerable?

Could it be that the invincible Rachel Alexandra is vulnerable for her return? The Carryover will explain shortly.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Carryover Ref

The 2.0 teaser reflects on the ongoing dispute between David Lanzman and I.E.A.H.'s Michael Iavarone over the talented cold I Want Revenge.

What if Jerry Seinfeld and his "Marriage Ref" crew could get there like a wedge and settle this?

Just saying...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Obsession with the old and the young

The following is a press release from the New York Racing Association about Cool N Collective, a 13-year-old gelding running down at the Big A today.

Our culture is obsessed with two things.  1.  The younger you are to be performing, the more you are heralded.  2.  The older you are to be performing, the more you are heralded.

On the one hand is Macauley Culkin.  On the other is George Foreman.  One hung with MJ.  The other makes grilling machines.

On the young end you're too young to appreciate your spoils.  On the old end there isn't enough time to appreciate the spoils because of the Reaper.

The middle gets screwed in all of this.  And I suppose the aged, depending on ones affinity for living, which, at this time, may be fleeting at best.

OZONE PARK, N.Y.  – On Wednesday, the 13-year-old Cool N Collective will try again to become what is believed to be the oldest horse ever to win a flat race on The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit when he faces seven others in the fifth race at Aqueduct Racetrack

In his first start at age 13 (January 1 is the universal birthday for all thoroughbreds) Cool N Collective finished second in a 1 1/16th mile race on January 31 at the Big A. 

The veteran gelding is one of the oldest thoroughbreds to run at a NYRA track and last won at Aqueduct two years ago, at age 11. He was then claimed and taken to Suffolk Downs for most of 2009, but in the fall, was purchased privately by former owner Mike Repole and sent to trainer Bruce Brown.
Wednesday’s race, a one-mile claimer, will be Cool N Collective’s 81st lifetime start. 

He will break from post number 4 as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line for jockey Mike Luzzi. Overall, Cool N Collective has 15 wins, 27 seconds, and 13 thirds in his career for earnings of $679,480.

No one can remember a 13-year-old horse having won a flat race at any of NYRA’s tracks, which include Aqueduct, Belmont Park or Saratoga Race Course. According to the Thoroughbred Times, the oldest horses to win since 1976 are Behavin Jerry, who did so at age 17 in 1981 at Commodore Downs in Pennsylvania , and Golden Arrow, who won in 1978 at the Great Barrington Fair, also at age 17.

In 1979, a 16-year-old horse named Silver Fir won a race at Finger Lakes in Farmington , New York .
Cool N Collective made the very first start of his career at Aqueduct ten years ago while in the care of Reade Baker. Since then, he has raced at more than a dozen tracks, from Keeneland to Hoosier Park , the Fair Grounds to Woodbine, before being returned to his roots.

“He is doing great,” said Brown. “If you didn’t know how old he was, you would never guess. He loves training, loves going to the racetrack. Some older horses get a little sour, but he practically runs into the starting gate.  Hopefully, he’ll win, and then we can retire him.”

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Ever-Evolving Carryover

There's two halves to horse racing: one is gambling and the other is for meatballs like myself who try to make sense of things, propose foolhardy ideas, and try to get a laugh out of a jaded yet somehow passionate fan base.

I love to gamble.  Don't get me wrong.  It's just not feasible these days.  But Good Ol' Pete does gamble, and gamble often, nailing the Pick 3 at Gulfstream this past Saturday for a salty payout.  He wins, but my God, does he ever lose.  Zing.

Though I haven't spoken to him about my proposition, I want to invite him to write a weekly or bi-weekly piece about his horse playing, the tickets he plays, his handicapping, and his commentary, because he's funnier than I am by a pole. 

It will add another dimension that I feel is lacking here at The Carryover.  The Carryover will be more balanced as a result and will rely less on medication and more on lifestyle changes to accomplish this.