"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 7, 2012

Carryover 2.0 Teaster

The following is a teaser for Horse Race Insider's Carryover 2.0 column for Friday June 8, 2012.

By Brendan O'Meara/@BrendanOMeara

I wonder what is better: the foreplay of a potential Triple Crown bid, or the actual thing. Having never experienced the actual thing, in the context of this conversation, of course, I wonder what’s best. In most cases, I’d side with the former because the latter will be a short-lived climax. Within a month things will go back to normal. The wheel in the sky keeps on turning (Tobasco Cat, get goin’!). There’s something special this time around and has little do with I’ll Have Another himself. We’ve been without a Triple Crown winner not for 34 years, but ten, and ten is far too long.

Seattle Slew, the last living Triple Crown winner, died on May 8, 2002, oddly enough 25 years to the day of his winning the Kentucky Derby. We’ve been without one of the 11 icons for ten long years, no living testament to the 11 biggest freaks the sport will ever see. Freaks is the right word and a sober Kent Desormeaux once told the New York Times after easing up Big Brown four years ago, “I was talking in the jockey room, and I can’t fathom what kind of freaks those 11 Triple Crown winners were.”

Seattle Slew died at the beginning of a spree of Triple Crown threats: War Emblem, Funny Cide and Smarty Jones. Could it be the Curse of the Slew-bino?
From 1973 to 2002, a span of 29 years, horse racing had a living Triple Crown winner. Secretariat died in 1989 and Affirmed in 2001.

Baseball parades around its “Best Player Alive” and gives fans a sense of lore. In my memory it was Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Willie Mays. In baseball’s case there will always be a best player alive no matter the era. Horse racing’s equivalent is the Triple Crown winner.