"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

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Please, please, please, not another Jazil

Five years ago, 2006, seems like a lifetime ago. Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby. Bernardini walloped a bunch of nancies in the Preakness. The Derby winner and the Preakness winner were conspicuously absent from the Belmont Stakes.

Let's watch it and see just how crappy a race it was. Here's your refresher:

I have to admit, Bluegrass Cat was pretty impressive in this race, but still. This was worse than a Giants-Angels World Series. This is like RC Cola vs. Mr. Pibb.

Jazil may very well be the most forgettable horse of the past five years and hence 15 Triple Crown races.

Let's take a look:

2006: Barbaro, Bernardini, Jazil
2007: Street Sense, Curlin, Rags to Riches
2008: Big Brown, Da'Tara
2009: Mine That Bird, Rachel Alexandra, Summer Bird
2010: Super Saver, Lookin At Lucky, Drosselmeyer

Take a look at that list and try not to get depressed when you read Jazil or Da'Tara. Da'Tara's claim to fame might be "slugging" it out with Rachel Alexandra in the 2009 Woodward Stakes on the front end. Looking at this list, Super Saver too, seems awfully forgetable. To Jazil's credit, he did dead heat for fourth in the Derby, so he was a pretty nice horse, I suppose. But you know how there are horses that excite you and ones that just fill up the entry box? Jazil may be the Big Fundamental, the Tim Duncan, shows up, does a remarkable, unnoticeable, forgetably good job so that we may then focus on the dunk contest.

This year's Belmont nearly had that Jazil potential, to be that forgetable kind of race that turns a jewel into a mood stone.

Thankfully Animal Kingdom and Shackleford entered the Belmont and have rallied after two grueling races. Master of Hounds and and Nehro are Preakness skippers that are a lock to hit the board.

Naturally we will be delighted with this race and NYRA will be spared the apathy of 2006.