"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, May 31, 2010

Splitsville?

Could racing's high school sweethearts be heading for a split? Evidence seems to suggests that, yes, Rachel Alexandra and Calvin Borel may be on the rocks—and in the heat of prom season! Where has all the romance gone?

Rachel Alexandra posted possibly her sharpest workout of 2010 on Memorial Day. This only after she went 0-for-2 in her only starts of the year. Better late than never. She blitzed through six furlongs in 1:11.20. That's Horse-of-the-Year-fast

Interestingly, or depressingly, depending on your prism, Shaun Bridgmohan has been in the irons for her last few workouts. He is no exercise rider. Jockey's of his caliber don't breeze horses that they aren't going to race. They just don't. They breeze horses to become familiarized.

Dominic Terry, the darling exercise rider of Rachel at Saratoga, the very exercise boy who broke out in tears when Rachel won the Woodward, has not been up for some time.

Losses to Zardana and to Unrivaled Belle don't help Borel. It's been indicated that after her last races, Asmussen said she simply wasn't fast enough, that last year's campaign has had the lingering effect of a bachelorette party gone horribly, horribly wrong.

"She was steady today but not quick," Asmussen told The Daily Racing Form. "I don't see any reason for her not to ultimately be as explosive as she was last year. She's just not there yet and it's possible this is somewhat of a hangover from her hard campaign last season."

The Jackson Camp would be foolish to let Borel go. He deserves to share the spotlight with her. The pair are like Forrest Gump and Penny, peanut butter and chocolate, Zack and Kelly. Seeing another rider on her back would be seeing Rocky without Adrian or Ted Williams without a Red Sox cap on.

Tough decision have to be made in sports like when Red Sox general manager Theo Eptein traded Nomar Garciaparra away in 2004. Moving an icon takes Herculean testicles. But to move Borel would look silly. He has done nothing wrong. Older mares are a different beast. The two that beat her may have run their best races of the year. Running with a target on your back does that. Rachel still ran smashing Beyers.

I imagine it grating at Mr. Jackson that Borel is aboard because he is not his "first call" rider. Of course that is Robby Albarado.

Bridgmohan is an Asmussen Guy. He rode Pyro to those amazing wins in the Louisiana Derby and the Risen Star in 2008. 

Something doesn't smell right here.

The writing is on the wall and you don't need the Rosetta Stone to decode the message.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Carryover 2.0 Teaser! Return of the Belmont

Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope, Luke Skywalker finds out who he is, blows up the Death Star.

Star Wars, Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo frozen, Luke loses a hand, Darth Vader owns up to his paternity and foils the Rebel’s chance at the Triple Crown.

Star Wars, Episode VI, The Return of the Jedi, Luke comes into his own, fails to cede his soul to the Dark Side, Vader redeems himself by throwing the Emperor down, down, down.

Things are just better in threes. Trust me, I went to college. 

Tune into Horse Race Insider on Saturday, May 29, for the rest of this tantalizing nugget.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Listen

To take a page out of The Beatles' play book we have to get back to where we once belonged.

What that means exactly is hard to pinpoint, but it can, at the very least, catalyze the return of regular writing to The Carryover.

With Saratoga around the corner and $25 million clams in NYRA's pocket, perhaps the energy will be harvested there.

The Carryover will bring a fresh new episode of ABC, Always Be Cashin', for the Belmont Stakes. And why not? Hopefully more to follow.

Sure, it's hard. When you're not solely committed to turf writing the energy is often lacking. I have not forgotten, though it would seem that way.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Preakness is Awesome!

By BRENDAN O'MEARA
The Carryover!

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In response to someone's comment that a Pick 4 was hit on The Carryover: was this a first? I'll give you the short answer-yes.

The Carryover 2.0's most recent column gave you this year's winner of the Kentucky Derby. It would seem that The Carryover plus Good Ol' Pete is the exacta you've been waiting for.

My man! Calvin Borel. He's a stud. He's a Derby hit man. You want to slay that race you best get him on your horse. Also, here's a clue to other jockeys with live horses: try riding the shortest distance around the track. It takes NFL coaches one week to start copy-catting their competition. What's taking riders with live mounts so long to figure out that the rail rules? I'm no scientician, but c'mon people.

I feel bad for The Preakness. It's seems to be the red-headed stepchild of the Triple Crown, the estranged middle child. This despite the fact that it almost always gets the Derby winner. Mike Gathagan, press secretary for Pimlico and Laurel, is a stud. He puts on a helluva show for media types like myself. Perhaps it's because Pimlico's clubhouse looks more like an insane asylum than a place of racing that bastardizes it.

But how about the last ten Preaknesses?

2009: Rachel ... mmmm, hmmmm.
2008: Big Brown romp, KD looking through his legs.
2007: Street Sense v. Curlin.
2006: Bernardini win overshadowed by Barbaro self destruction
2005: Afleet Alex clips heels with Scrappy T.
2004: Smarty Jones breaks a record.
2003: Funny Cide makes Barclay Tagg even MORE uncomfortable.
2002: War Emblem makes his infertility even more staggering.
2001: Point Given bounces back.
2000: Fu-Peg flops.

This is a great race with epic stories and memories. How spectaculous have those runnings been? Four had Triple Crown bids, two won the Preakness and Belmont (AA and PG), Curlin nearly did.

And this year it looks as if there will be yet another full field. New shooters, Derby returnees and the perfunctory Maryland-based horse (hey, the Pittsburgh Pirates are given an slot on the All Star Team, right?).

The Preakness should not be known solely for its party. It's time we give it some self esteem and take it off its medication.

So what if you're shorter than the Derby and not as big as the Belmont? You're the Preakness, and you're worth it!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Who's going to not lose?

There's no need to talk about this being an awful Derby Field without Eskendereya.  But I will anyway, briefly.  The top Beyer speed figures in this field don't break 100 - they are 100.  One was achieved as a 2 yr. old (Jackson Bend), one was by a filly (Devil May Care) and one was by an extremely loose on the lead synthetic horse (Sidney's Candy).  But life goes on.  We had a strong field last year, and horse racing's "Rudy" won it.  So let's look past the low beyers, the lack of wins, and the homeboykris', and make some Derby magic.

1. Lookin at Lucky - You know how when someone who's tough gets cancer, people inevitably say, "At least it happened to her - she can handle it, she's a fighter".  Not that drawing the rail in the Derby is as crushing as cancer, but if anyone can handle the rail, it's this horse.  His average field size in his 8 starts has been 9 horses, and his traffic trouble has been well documented.  All the rail will do is add to his value and make him 9-2 instead of 3-1.

2.  Ice Box - Won the Florida Derby, but who cares?  He'll come running at the end, but the ice will have already melted.

3.  Noble's Promise - I try to ignore breeding distance limitations, but being by Cuvee and the way he's tired in the last 1/16th in previous races, I'm going to guess he'll be done by midstretch.

4.  Super Saver - He's a neck and a half length away from winning his two starts this year, he's rounding into form, he's by a great slop sire (Maria's Mon), and Borel's on top.  You can put it on the boaarrrdd! Yes!

5.  Line of David - I would dismiss him easier if his daddy (Lion Heart) didn't run a monster race in the slop as I watched on at my 1st derby infield trip in losing to Smarty Jones in 2004.

6.  Stately Victor - If you're playing the super high 5, single him in the 5th slot.  This is your classic 5th place Derby finisher.

7.  American Lion - Finished well in Illinois, but only had to put away a horse who was clearly a sprinter.

8.  Deans Kitten, 9. Make Music for Me, 10. Paddy O Prado -  A quality trio, if this was the grass run Virginia Derby

11.  Devil May Care - If you want some girl power on Derby Day, rent "The Spice Girls Movie", because this filly is going to set back the women's movement by 10 years.

12.  Conveyance - All this horse has done wrong is lose to a quirky horse on a quirky track in the desert.  Great value on Derby Day.

13.  Jackson Bend - Mr. Carryover likes him.  You do the math.

14.  Mission Impazible - Another Pletcher horse who has been overlooked because he's not Eskendereya - and because he mostly likely sucks.

15.  Discreetly Mine - See 14. Mission Implazible.

16.  Awesome Act - Did you get a tax refund from Obama? Put it on this guy.  Or put it in the bank.  Yeah, forget it, put it in the bank.

17.  Dublin - D. Wayne Lukas and the world used to be high on this horse.  D. Wayne still is.  The world has moved on. 

18.  Backtalk, 19. Homeboykris - These guys can't win. 

20.  Sidney's Candy - The key to this race.  Can he rate?  Does he force a suicidal pace? Is he stuck 6 wide into the turn?  Does he handle slop as most Candy Ride colts do?  What am I doing with my life?  Is now the time to invest in Gold?  Is it the right time to get a dog?

So, in conclusion, bet a 1,4,12,16 exacta box.  And leave the rest to me.

— Written by Good Ol' Pete