"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, May 25, 2012

Google the term Google

By Brendan O'Meara/@BrendanOMeara

This column also appears on the wonderful Web site www.horseraceinsider.com.

So I had to Google the term Google. Not really, though.

The past two trainers who have had a horse going for the coveted, elusive, dare I say IMPOSSIBLE feat of winning the Triple Crown have been two of the most checkered trainers. This, of course, being media darling Doug O’Neill, and babe-spewing Ricky Dutrow, Jr. It was steroids four years ago and now it’s, well, we’ll have to Google it.

Dennis O'Neill, far right, was on CNN last week.

O’Neill’s brother, Dennis, the famed man who “found” I’ll Have Another and bought him, for, like, super cheap was on CNN. You know it’s great when the mainstream press gets its hands on horse racing. Like on ESPN the morning after the Preakness, a sports caster said I’ll Have Another stormed down the backstretch to win. Back, home, who’s keeping track?

But Dennis O’Neill’s claim that he and his brother had no idea what a “milkshake” was is about as believable as Snooki having to Google the term “promiscuity.” Mark McGuire Googling “steroids,” Tony Soprano Googling “whacking,” Pete Rose Googling “gambling,” Dolly Parton Googling “implants.” (Sadly, I have more, many, many more.)
Here’s a part of what he said, “We've never milkshaked a horse," said Dennis O'Neill. "We wouldn't know how to do it."

All he had to do was stop at the first sentence. But the more he kept going the more he discredited himself. Whether they have or have not is still an alleged act, but don’t say you don’t know what it is. Heck, if all us horsey writers out here standing on our crumbling soap boxes know what it is, then horsemen who spent their lives on the backsides sure as hell know. But, hey, we’ve got a Triple Crown on the line.

I'll Have Another hitting the track at Belmont. Photo courtesy of NYRA.

I don’t think it’ll give racing the boon everyone thinks. All it will do is give people who are already into racing reason to feel warm and fuzzy, like a shot of tequilla. Should I’ll Have Another pull it off he’ll get the Sports Illustrated cover and Tim Layden will get the story. For about one week he’ll be a star but with the Stanley Cup Finals and the NBA playoffs and baseball and every other sport, I’ll Have Another will be about as successful as drawing new blood into the sport as John Locke was at initially getting the Oceanic 6 back to the island.

What would add to the draw of the Belmont Stakes would be if Bodemeister made the trip. Even with Union Rags looming as a dangerous threat, IHA and Bode are the modern day Affirmed and Alydar, Easy Goer and Sunday Silence. It would make all the more sense having former jockeys Steve Cauthen and Jorge Velasquez in attendance signing with IHA and Bode running, but two out of three ain’t bad as the ’Loaf says.

The odds are against I’ll Have Another. There’s a reason this thing hasn’t been done in 34 years. There’s a reason the past few winners of the Belmont Stakes (Ruler on Ice, Drosselmeyer, Summer Bird, Da’Tara, Rags to Riches, Jazil) won. They all had at least four weeks rest. You’d have to go back to Afleet Alex to find a horse who ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown and won the race, this after nearly doing a somersault at Pimlico.

If anything, it’ll give all the people who whine and complain about this great and maddening sport reason to cheer and hold up another because unlike every other sport, if I’ll Have Another wins, we all win. Can’t say that about the NFL, can you?

Brendan O'Meara is the author of Six Weeks in Saratoga.