"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

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Middle Cubic Zirconia

It's time we stop calling the Preakness Stakes the "Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown." I love the Preakness. I love that they went so far as to call the Kentucky Derby the Preakness Prep. I love Kegasus. I love everything it stands for, which is to say, that it stands for nothing that was.

Kegasus has been atop my list to win the Preakness Stakes this year. At first I made that selection as a joke, which, face it, it is. I subsequently changed my pick back to ... Sway Away. Hey-o! Think about it. The Preakness will always be the red-headed step child of the Triple Crown, this despite getting the Derby winner almost every year (which the Belmont Stakes rarely boasts). And still the Preakness gets slighted.

Hopefully Kegasus gets people jacked up for the Preakness today. When you have Jim Rome talking about you, you're going mainstream, and the blue bloods will just have to deal with a new face ... torso.

If Animal Kingdom romps home, if Dialed In blitzes by, if Sway Away gives Jeff Bonde a TC win, great. Kegasus still wins and so does the Middle Cubic Zirconia.

Brendan's Carryover Picks:
1. Sway Away
2. Animal Kingdom
3. Mucho Macho Man
4. King Congie

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

King of the Jungle

 Animal Kingdom was like a coyote, king of the jungle! (reference to the first "Deuce Bigalow" movie).

The half-assed live blog from Derby Day wouldn't be half-assed if I actually completed it so I have zero regrets.

With the release of "Six Weeks" right around the corner, The Carryover Classic faces a revival and I hope you'll join me here, over at The Blog Itself, www.brendanomeara.com, and even over at my Facebook and Twitter accounts for the latest news and updates about readings and signings. I'll be all over the place and I can't wait to meet and greet readers.

All for now, but stay tuned. Here's a little nugget for you: the Top 3 Preakness finishers.

1. Dialed In
2. Shackleford
3. Animal Kingdom

No Triple  Crown this year, but I think Animal Kingdom does have a legitimate shot. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Carryover's Half-assed Live Kentucky Derby Blog

5:36 ... My two readers are alive to Dialed In and Midnight Interlude in the Pick 4.

Go get 'em, scouts!

5:11 ... my eyes are already going on me. That's no 77 minutes to post. Must have been 87 before. Ick. Do we really need 90 freakin' minutes?

Yes! Yes we do. That telecast is likely to bring in skin to this game, or at least keep the ones who like it that much more interested. So bring it. I'm going to get some water.

Water! Water! Water!

Funny sidebar. T-shirt hawkers were selling "Gotcha Bitch" Osama bin Laden shirts outside. Leave it the Stars and Stripes to pounce on this to sell shirts. That's capitalism. Gotta love it!

5:00 ... Now that you've pre-ordered your copy of "Six Weeks," let's focus on the Derby. We're 67 MTP. I don't know what to think anymore. I'm getting kinda tired. And my night has yet to begin.

I'm hoping to get the hell out of dodge early tomorrow. Then it's back to the shoe store Monday morning. Should've requested that day off.

4:19 ... "Six Weeks in Saratoga" is now available for pre-order at Amazon.  That's exciting if you want to save a few bucks.

3:58 ... Could it be that when Bruce Springsteen wrote "Girls in their Summer Clothes" that he was writing about Derby Day? 

3:56 ... Now THAT was a speed duel. Delong didn't get the lead. It was a three-horse duel for crackers. He put a nose in front at the top of the stretch but that's not the wire. Hey people, we're two races away from the Derby!

3:50 ... two minutes to yet another crushing defeat!

3:41 ... went for Delong Road in the ninth here. 50-1 on the morning line. Seems to be the only speed in this race. He's definitely not the classiest of animals, but if he can get to the front, slow this down, maybe he's got enough to win this thing. So I put $5 on him. He's now 24-1.

3:22 ... My Louisville House Party story is up on Kentucky Confidential. Go check it out. These Louisvillians know how to party. 

2:55 ... This is my blog and I can use profanity as I see fit. It is a shit show out there. The good news is two fold:

Placed my Derby bets for my father and I (read: for me) ... .50 tri box (see below) but added Nehro for a total of $60. I put $20 to win on the 23-1 Shackleford as well.

Another thing, bought my first mint julep and it was a little awful. Over the past few months, and especially this week, I've been introduced to good bourbon. The MJ is too sweet, at least the ones they make here at the Downs. Either way I got a glass here for Good Ol' Pete. Took one for the team.

2:12 ... Dale Romans wins the Grade 1 Humana Distaff with Sassy Image at 16-1. That ought to make for a happy Romans family tonight. Now we just Shackelford to hit the board and we're gold, Jerry, gold!

1:51 ... Started raining. What does this mean in the cosmic scheme of the earth? Nothing. What does it mean for Kiaran McLaughlin? Everything. He wants it to rain bad for his colt Soldat. It'll be interesting to follow the odds on Soldat at the Derby nears.

As it stands my five horses are Mucho Macho Man, Archarcharch, Midnight Interlude, Shackleford, and Dialed In. A tri box with them and maybe $20 on Soldat to win and that'll do folks.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Romans Parallel

Dale Romans saddled a horse in the Florida Derby that nobody had heard of, a long shot. That horse had no business being in the lead as long as it did and with a furlong to go had the wire in sight. Then a colt, the likely Derby favorite roared up beside him and passed him. That horse was Barbaro and Dale Romans' horse was Sharp Humor, second in the Florida Derby.

Barbaro broke from Post 8 in the Kentucky Derby and won beautifully.

Five years later Dale Romans saddled Shackleford and he went to the lead. He nearly held off Dialed In.

Dialed In will break from Post 8 as the likely favorite in the Derby 137.

In the 2006 Kentucky Derby Sharp Humor was close to the front and relinquished it to Barbaro.

If history were to repeat itself Shackleford will likely be in the mix with your Derby winner Dialed In.

Weird, wild stuff  here at the Downs.

Ah, handicapping

The second of my two readers sent me Oaks and Derby Day PPs. I'm not heading to the track for Oaks. Too crowded. Plus, I'm tired from hanging out with strippers all night.

I spoke to one, Ariel, a tall blonde, beautiful mother of four, dancing at the Win, Place, Show Bar. The saddest woman I've ever met. We got to talking, off the record kind of stuff (so, why am I writing it down?). I know. Nobody reads The Carryover anymore. Carry on ...

She hates dancing, but she works it under the table so she has nothing to declare. If she fills out W2s and so forth she won't get the assistance she needs to raise four kids by herself (13, 12, 9, and 16 months. Yeah, that last one seemed to be a kick in the crotch to her.). I get the feeling she was, perhaps 35, but looks about 40-42. She hates having to dance on the weekends because that's the quality time she forfeits with her kids. She has to leave them at night, not when they go to school. Ariel would like to go to church more, and, as she sipped a Smirnoff Ice, drink less.

If she had her druthers she'd have a home-based, honest-to-goodness child care center. Legit. She loves kids. Then she had to leave to the adjoining club, Deja Vu,  and hit the stage because, if she forfeits her slot, she must pay $10.

I didn't see her the rest of the night. I don't know. It was the saddest thing I ever saw.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


The trainers dinner piece should be up soon, possibly tonight. It's a nice little number. Read some other fine, fine stuff from Kentucky Confidential.

Can I say something? How good is the Olive Garden? For $9.86 I ate a bowl of salad the size of a basketball, had one bowl of mediocre minestrone soup, three salty breadsticks, and a tiny little desert. Throw down a $5 tip and bam! what a meal. If you're going to have one meal a day that's not too bad. The key is to wait long enough. I ate around noon. I'm hoping that will carry me till bed time. I have one over-ripe banana that I've rationed in case of emergency.

In the meantime I've been chugging the Red Roof Inn's coffee from the lobby. What do you expect for $50 a night? It's when this rate goes up to $215 a night that I'd like a little more than cheap coffee and French vanilla Coffeemate.

Extra material from the Kentucky Derby Trainers Dinner

When Nick Zito's assistant trainer Tim Poole went to the mike to speak with TVG's Todd Schrupp, Schrupp asked Poole, "When Dialed In ran, what was the conversation like between Julien Leparoux and Nick Zito like?"

Poole said, "You want to know? This is how it went. Nick asked Julien, 'You seen the movie 'Secretariat?'


'Well, I'm puttin' you on him.'"

Makes you want to throw down $200 bucks and pay for your hotels with it.

Also, at Twinspired's table sat trainer Kelly Breen. He was called up to the podium and he spoke of his horse and jockey Rosie Napravnik.

(Side Bar: For all those who think Chantal Sutherland is the most beautiful woman jockey on the track, let's take a look at Ms. Napravnik. She's smart, she's put together, and she's tough as a mountain lion. And, Bruce Springsteen would love this, she's a red head. "It takes a red head to get a dirty job done." Just sayin'.)

So Rosie stood then sat. Schrupp then said that at 6'4" he's usually the tallest man in the room. He then asked another person at Breen's table to stand:  NBA center and world champion Will Purdue. He stood up, uncomfortably I might add, and waved.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Welcome to the Hotel Red Roof Inn

Many of you know (two of you) that I had planned on sleeping in my car (Mrs. Carryover's car) for Derby week. I'd be like a turtle carrying my home on my back. But last night I sat in the parking lot of Kroger near Churchill Downs, the rain pounded, my heart pounded from the stress of writing these stories that I feel nobody is reading, stressed that I won't find the interesting people, stressed that my stories will be flaccid, stressed that my editors will wonder why the hell they even hired me, stressed that I had to drop my entire stipend to afford the hotel, stressed that I'll be in the hole unless I hit the Derby big, stressed that I'll be this colossal disappointment, well, you get it. My stomach's churning and I didn't even get a chance to snap a picture of the sign "Big Bone Lick." Terrible, I know.

Just this other form of stress:

Well, here we go. I haven't felt this kind of pressure in a while. Tonight I'll be reporting from the Kentucky Derby Trainers Dinner. $150 a plate.

I'll be standing in back.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We'e through the looking glass here people

Photo courtesy of a skilled red tail hawk

Heading to Kentucky today. Driving through the night to condition my body for the rigors of nightlife consumption.

It'll be lonely out there, on that long stretch of American Interstate. Say you'll be with me! Go on, say it!