"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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Good ol' Pete is here, Amen Hallelujah!

Happy Oaks Day Carryover readers!  It's good ol' Pete here, watching the Oaks Day card while marinating some mint in my Makers Mark bourbon in preperation for Derby Day festivities.  We've aleady witnessed the David Ortiz-type fall to mediocrity of Rachel Alexandra, whom I picked (a year early) to be proven ordinary on Oaks Day.

But enough about failures! The carryover is no stranger to those.  Here's my late p4  and Oaks plays.  Put on a pink shirt, drink a cosmo, and get warmed up for the greatest day of the year.

Race 8:  Watch out for Perfect Officer from George Weaver.  Beat both Affirmatif and Wall Street Wonder at Saratoga last year, and Formidable may have found a new game on the grass.  Throw out Pletcher's filly who won on a speed favoring GP strip, include the other two favorites, and we're getting this party started drama-free.

Race 9:  Tough race to feel good about anyone, so we'll hope Fresian Fire can bounce back and that Macho Again is ready to run his race today.  Cool Coal Man nearly won this last year, and may have a better set-up this year if Fresian dosen't go nuts pace wise with him out of the gate.  Throw in the Dutrow horse as well.  He could be anything.

Race 10:  There's never been a wiser wise guy horse in the history of the Derby than Setsuko - and he's not even in the Derby.  Wise guys like him for a reason though - he can run fast at the end of a race.  And you gotta love Pleasantly Perfect 3yo's on the grass.  Let's use Pletcher's Rock Hard Ten 450k purchase Doubles Partner as well, who comes out of a super key race at GP.

Race 11:  Amen Hallelujah! Severe distance limitations in this Montbrook filly's pedigree, but who cares! Life is short! Let's hope the stretch stays short for her, because she will be in the lead turning for home.  Blind Luck may be too much for her though.  Watch out for Ailalea as well.

So that leaves us with a 50 cent P4:  2,3,6,9 with 2,3,4,7 with  1,6 with 5,13 (32 bones)

And in the Oaks, a $1 tri box 5,6,12,13 (24 bones)

Cristal is on me!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cursed

My God! Work just gets in the way. Dealing with bunions, black toenails, and foot odor just isn't as glorious as it used to be. No, I'm not a podiatrist making boat loads of money.  I sell running shoes for rubber ducky money. It really cramps my horse racing style.

So Eskendereya is out. Ouch. I'm telling you. Todd Pletcher will never win the Kentucky Derby. It sounds foolish because how can it be possible that when Pletcher has an army of horses primed for this very race that he can lose time and again?  The Red Sox went 87 years between World Series wins and were "cursed." Why can't Pletcher be cursed?

Eskendereya had the type of athleticism to win from Post 20 but his leg swelled faster than Joey Chestnut's belly.  This when Pletcher had the potential to have a third of the field. The significance isn't that he had seven times as many chances at winning. Rather he's boxing out other horses and taking pieces of the pie from other hungry, capable horses. As I had said a while ago, don't hate the playa, hate the game.

This swelling of Eskendereya's leg is every bit like Bill Buckner missing a ground ball. This was Pletcher's chance to win it. He even said that this was, by far, the best horse he had ever brought to Kentucky. Hey, this guy has has brought two dozen horses over ten years to this race. He's had some quality horses (Bluegrass Cat, More Than Ready) and none have won their preps by enough daylight to park a ocean liner through.

Pletcher got off the Triple Crown schnide with a filly in 2007 named Rags to Riches. She nosed eventual Horse of the Year Curlin. Pletcher enters Devil May Care, another filly. We've all seen strange things, but perhaps Pletcher will be bailed out again, by a lady, begging the question: who will curtsy if she wins on Saturday?

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's a boy!


The Carryover is ready to deliver its first child and ... it's a boy! Good Ol' Pete will likely write his first piece for Carryover readers (Tommy, Rick, Dad) Saturday mapping out his late Pick 4 plays for Aqueduct's $250,000 guaranteed kitty.

I say likely because he prefaced that he may not have the time to do so. Pish posh.

Good Ol' Pete has been on fire lately. On our last day in Las Vegas he hit a 50 cent (Fitty Cent!) Pick 4 at Philly Park for some $680. He hit last Saturday's Pick 4 at the Big for $1 and it paid over $1,000 (One G!).  He hit another one recently, but I'm getting noxious talking about it.

His insights and wit will be a welcomed addition to The Carryover. Now, which way to the bris?

Borel and Bend

He's tiny.  He's like Mac on "Mike Tyson's Punch Out." He's Jackson Bend and he's trained by Nick Zito.

Most recently Jackson Bend finished second to Eskendereya in the Wood Memorial, nine long lengths back. But hasn't the Wood taught us that impressive wins mean next to nothing? Bellamy Road stands out like a sore hock from his 2005 17-length triumph. That resulted in a no-show after early involvement in the pace scenario four weeks later in Kentucky. Thank you Spanish Chestnut.

Last year I Want Revenge looked like a birthing foal springing loose from a seam to win the Wood. He went on to injure his ankle and catalyze a nasty owner's dispute.  It's always sunny at International Equine Acquisitions and Holdings (Sounds like a good sitcom. Mike Iavarone could be played by Gilbert Godfrey, Richard Sciavo by Tom Selleck, Stardom Bound could be played by Boxer from Animal Farm, and Big Brown could be played by Macaulay Culkin.)

Tale of Ekati ran down 2007 Champion Juvenile War Pass in the 2008 renewal and was a dud. Barclay Tagg's Nobiz Like Showbiz won the 2007 edition and consequently ran afoul in Kentucky.

You have to go back 11 years to Fusaichi Pegasus to find a Wood Memorial winner that had the cajones to win the roses.

Funny Cide finished runner up to Empire Maker in the 2003 Wood then went on to geld a number of three year olds in Kentucky. And this is Jackson Bend's hope. Empire Maker went on to be the favorite in the Derby only to lose to Funny Cide. Eskendereya will be the favorite in two weekends and it could be that another Wood Memorial runner up could steal it away.

Given the way the weather can turn Churchill's dirt into a dirty diaper, a small colt like Jackson Bend could skip over the top of that surface.  Didn't Mine That Bird do just that? And hasn't Jackson Bend proven to be far better than Mine That Bird now, let alone at this time last year?

If Jackson Bend retains Calvin Borel, he'll get a ground-saving trip.  That much you can count on.

And Nick Zito has finished second in the Wood and found a recipe for success in Kentucky: four weeks rest, a stud jockey, and maybe, just maybe, a little luck. Go For Gin and Chris McCarron. Sixteen years ago.

Jackson Bend is the horse I want to go out drinking with. He's rough around the edges, drinks Jack on the rocks, will spring to his hooves to back you in a brawl. He's Rocky Balboa with a better education. He'd treat your daughter with respect and buy you a John Deere tractor for Father's Day. He'll send flowers to your mother and pay the toll for the car behind him.

I'll be rooting for him, Borel, and Zito. Hey, I've gotta, that's two-of-three main characters from the hot and unpublished piece of work titled "Six Weeks in Saratoga."

Nice!

Friday, April 9, 2010

True Love

Once upon a time Rachel Alexandra's connections planned on running in the $100 Trillion Apple Blossom Invitational against racing's best ovaries in Zenyatta.

I'm so happy they're not running into each other.

For you see, Ms. Carryover had to befriend someone ten years ago in college and this someone is getting married tonight and we were cordially invited away from the Apple Blossom—I mean, invited to their wedding. When Ms. Carryover said the wedding was the weekend of April 10, I said, Ok.

Not so fast.

The wedding is Friday, April 9. Oh, Ms. Carryover, you do know that Rachel and Zenyatta are running in the Apple Blossom, right? 

I mean, it's not really her fault, is it? I could go so far as to blame her for making this friend at Rutgers and for staying in touch with them over the years, but that's a tad extreme. All right, beyond extreme. However, this is a large reason why I have cut my social circle down to near-annorexic levels—should the moment come when Ms. Carryover wants to watch a Horse of the Year run against an undefeated horse, I will not get in her way. How unselfish of me!

Has it really come to this? The fact of the matter is it doesn't bother me, but I like to give her guff.

Even without Rachel in the race I still find it deeply interesting. Mainly I don't think Zenyatta's a lock, but then again, maybe she is a lock. Maybe not. God, I sound like Brett Favre (pronounced, favor, by the way).

The dirt issue is my main bag. I know she won this race two years ago, so don't comment and say that she can run on dirt. I know she CAN, but CAN she, really? She's won 15 straight races with 14 of those coming on Cali-Cushion-Ride-Track.

No matter, for those who can watch it, enjoy it, love that she's around while I'm doing the freakin' Macarena. Enjoy the moment because when and if she ties Cigar's 16-race win streak record, you can say you saw it. Rachel or no Rachel, I'm hot for Zenyatta.

Now that's true love.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Back from The Happiest Place on Earth

Played the races for one day while in Las Vegas. It was nice. I hit a daily double and was up for my day at the sports book. Winning was so weird, so foreign. Gotta love that Tampa Bay Downs.

Trying to get back into the swing here, trying to get the readership back up. Everything will start with tomorrow's Carryover 2.0. I'm going to post a chapter from my unpublished master's manuscript "On the Backside."  It's a big blowout profile of Digger.  Digger is a Maryland bred horse running in Saturday's Carter Handicap. While shadowing Phil Schoenthal, a young talented trainer on the Maryland circuit, he trained and nominated Digger to the Triple Crown in 2007.  It was a nice ride, but eventually Phil had the horse sold to Larry Roman. Digger turned out to be a nice horse.

You'll read about him and get a taste of "On the Backside."