"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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The following is a press release from Jessica Chapel of Kentucky Confidential:


Kentucky Confidential the new 'dark horse' for best Kentucky Derby coverage

Eclectic writers, filmmaker rewrite the rules for covering America's greatest race 

March 22, 2011 -- The Kentucky Derby is one of the most heavily covered events in American sports, but rare is the news outlet that looks on it as a storytellers' paradise. 

Kentucky Confidential (http://kentuckyconfidential.com/), a new website dedicated to the country's signature horse race, is designed to immerse its followers in the rich, carnivalesque atmosphere, past and present, that makes the Kentucky Derby so unique. The site will be unlike any other in the history of racing coverage, delivering:

  • true (and not-necessarily true) stories from the backstretch
  • tall tales and little-known historical marvels from the Derby’s rich past
  • kinky stats and contrarian handicapping
  • straight-shooting, expert contender profiles and news
  • lures and snares of Louisville nightlife and bourbon culture
  • guerilla video from one of the underground’s best filmmakers
  • the finest in photo journalism
Breeders’ Cup 360 developer Jessica Chapel and Red Smith Kentucky Derby writing award winner John Scheinman have created Kentucky Confidential to unleash the talents of some of the sharpest, most eclectic minds in racing journalism: Pete Denk, Claire Novak, Brendan O'Meara and a legendary sportswriter working undercover as “Blinkers Off” will be joined by award-winning filmmaker Jeff Krulik and the brilliant racing photographer Scott Serio to present coverage of the Derby that is a veritable feast for the senses. Kentucky Confidential will publish daily for the two weeks leading up to the Derby.

"I absolutely love following all the Kentucky Derby coverage, but as someone who has been on the front lines at Churchill Downs for a pretty long time, it started to feel kind of predictable,” said Scheinman, who covered the Derby for eight years for The Washington Post. “Jessica and I both decided it was time to shake things up and give writers we love and admire free rein to fire their best stuff. Bring big-time talents like Jeff Krulik and Scott Serio into the mix, and anybody even remotely interested in this event is going to have to follow us.” 

In addition to its unique approach, the website is a first foray for turf journalism into crowd-funding. Kentucky Confidential launched a campaign beginning today on Kickstarter.com (http://kck.st/hg9asg), a platform that lets people back creative projects and get great rewards and experiences in return.

“Crowd-funding is an exciting new model for supporting journalism,” said Chapel. “With Kickstarter, fans of the Kentucky Derby and great storytelling get a chance to directly contribute to the creation of the turf writing and video that they most want to see online, and be rewarded for doing so.”

Kentucky Confidential has attracted attention from across the racing scene, and the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (http://www.bcqualify.com/) has signed on as a charter sponsor for the website.

Contact: Jessica Chapel / John Scheinman

Email: editors@kentuckyconfidential.com / Tel: 347-744-9220
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kentucky-Confidential/187000898004681
Twitter: http://twitter.com/kyconfidential


For those interested, I will be the one covering "the lures and snares of Louisville nightlife and bourbon culture." I'll tip my glass back to that.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Get a job!

Horse racing needs to get a job.

Horse racing has been living in its mother’s basement blogging about video games and belly button lint too long. Horse racing’s gut hangs over its stained tighty-whities. It hasn’t shaved in weeks.

Mom calls down asking how it’s doing but not really wanting to know how it’s feeling but rather why it hasn’t seen the sun and eaten anything not packaged by Frito-Lay. Pull your own weight! Pay a bill! Put on a shirt!

Your very own John Pricci wrote possibly his best column just the other day about the powerless numb he felt about the Life At Ten Report where nothing happened. Pricci has been bludgeoned by the apathy, the unaccountability, and the selfishness of a game so indifferent to its horse players.

We would have gotten better answers from an Eight Ball. Reply Hazy Try Again. Sounds about right. At least asking it a question gives you an answer in less than four months. (I heard the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission tried to market a rare Eight Ball with an answer that says “It was Johnny’s Fault” but it wasn’t moving any units. True story.)

Gonna have to go to www.horseraceinsider.com to read more. Sorry.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dial tone

Just a tidbit of stuff going on today at The Carryover Classic. For my HRI 2.0 column I riff about Dialed In running in a custom-made allowance race at Gulfstream and talk about his chances to win the roses.

For my one reader out in California, this one's for you!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One upbeat jockey

Jean-Luc Samyn, a 54-year-old staple of the New York racing circuit, had two of his fingers severed and badly cut in a snow blower accident Monday February 21, according to the NYRA press office.

I cringed when I heard about this. While working out a clog in the machine with the power off the blade dislodged and with enough speed to severely injure him.

I write this first post in several, several months because of Samyn's attitude toward the incident.


“This is actually good for my career, because I’m now lighter,” he joked. “If trainers want a light jockey, they can ride me."
I recently pined for the loss of No. 19 molar in a fairly gruesome extraction. Nothing compared to what Samyn went through.

The good news is that he plans to keep on riding once April rolls around, eight fingers and all.