Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tough Day at the Big A

Instead of talking about the Harlem Rocker/ Tale of Ekati stretch duel in the Cigar Mile and subsequent DQ of Harlem Rocker, or the impressive win of 2 year old Old Fashioned in the Remsen Stakes, we are instead saddened by the death of Wanderin Boy, racing for the last time in the Cigar Mile. He fractured the sesamoids in his left front ankle, was vanned off and x-rayed, but could not be saved and was euthanized.

Check out Green But Game's comments including her link to a Steve Haskin tribute article written about Wanderin Boy this past October over on

Also troubling at the Big A was the injury to Springside, the 5-1 underdog who upset Sky Diva in the Demoiselle for two-year-old fillies. Springside suffered a fracture of the right-front pastern and was taken for x-rays. Lets keep our fingers crossed for this young filly.

These injuries always seem to happen on big racing days. Today I tackled a interior painting job of my basement family room. I had Capital OTB on my TV which allowed me to tackle my painting job and keep track of the day at Aqueduct. It was to be a good day, completing a home project but also keeping an eye on the days happenings at Aqueduct. What should have been a happy day of watching a Grade 1 and two Grade 2 races at Aqueduct instead leaves you feeling like someone punched you in the stomach.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Have a Cigar

Come in here, Dear boy, have a cigar.
You're gonna go far,
You're gonna fly high,
You're never gonna die,
You're gonna make it, if you try;
They're gonna love you.
-Roger Waters

The Grade I $300,000 Hill n Dale Cigar Mile on Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct offers nine horses one final chance for late-season glory as the
top-quality portion of the New York stakes schedule concludes this

The race, formerly known as the NYRA Mile, was renamed for the Great Cigar in 1997. Cigar won the NYRA mile in 1994.

This years edition attracts a nice group including Visionaire, 7 year old Wanderin Boy, A and R Stable’s Monterey Jazz, who ships in from California, Charles Fipke’s Tale of Ekati winner of the Grade 1 Wood Memorial here in the spring,Jay Em Ess Stable’s Arson Squad who won the Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup, and Stronach Stable’s Harlem Rocker who won the Grade 3 Withers here in the spring. Vinery Stable’s Kodiak Kowboy enters Saturday’s race off his victory in the Grade 3 Sport Page Handicap at Belmont Park. Bribon, a 5 year old gelding and Storm Play, an undefeated son of Smart Strike, and making his graded stakes debut round out the field.

The nine-race card at the Big A will also include the 95th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Remsen for two-year-olds at nine furlongs and the 87th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Demoiselle for two-year-old fillies at nine furlongs.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Anthony Knott breaks the schneid

United Kingdom Amateur Jockey Anthony Knott broke a 28 year old winless streak when he won a race today aboard 7-1 odds Wise Men Say. Knott also owns the horse. Not being used to being in front, Knott almost blew it when he stood up to acknowledge the crowd about 1/2 a furlong short of the finish in the Racing Post Hands And Heels Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

The News was big enough for Knott to be named today's Best Person in the World on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Making a Difference-Saving Horses from the Slaughterhouse

Courtesy of NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams

Fridays Mega-links

Welcome aboard to 2 new members of the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance, the self titled Mary Forney's Blog, a frequently updated blog on what's happening in California Racing and The ThoroughMetrics Blog, a blog with statistical data on breeding and racing.

Over at Green but Game's blog a recent meeting of TBA bloggers with Breeder's Cup Peter Land is recapped.

Michael Amo of Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association is interviewed at Bloodhorse.

Web 2.0 must really be here, Shaquille O'Neal is using Twitter

and finally, NFL GM apologizes for E-Mail Expletive sent to Fan.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What's New

Eureka-I have found it!- Archimedes

If you have not been to the Thorougbred Bloggers Alliance homepage lately, check it out. It includes a running feed of the TBA Blogs, news feeds and FREE Past Performances for upcoming races.

You want Calder Charts, Fair Grounds, or Aqueduct past performances? You can get them all at the TBA Homepage.

Wanna know who is saying what about Curlin, Winter Racing, upcoming 2 year olds? Than check out the TBA Homepage.

Also, if you want a cool feed for your own browser home page (I think that is what it is called?) this link will take you to a list of recently-updated Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance sites, providing the title, author, and first few sentences of the post.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Characters-Anthony Tarracino

"All you need in this life is a tremendous sex drive and a great ego. Brains don't mean shit"-Anthony Tarracino

Some people are so boring, and than you come across someone like Anthony Tarracino.

Tarracino of Key West, Florida, recently deceased at 92, was described in news reports as a bootlegger, gambler, gun runner, saloonkeeper, fishing boat captain, ladies man, and saloon owner.

He was also a Mayor of Key West for 2 years and Jimmy Buffett wrote a song about him(Last Mango in Paris).

Tarracino, known as Captain Tony, had fled New Jersey in 1948 on the lam from Mobsters, after getting into a horse race betting dispute with the mob. Tarracino, in a 1995 interview, described the history of the dispute and subsequent escape to Florida as follows:

"In 1947, my father got one of the first TV sets in the neighborhood and one day fooling 'round with the set, we found we could get the sound, but no picture, from Garden State Race Track. My brothers found we could beat the bookies with this since it took them six to eight minutes to get their results. We started past-posting races and winning a bundle.

"That went on for a month. Then there was a problem and I was told to go down to Lehman's Bar in Newark. It was a mob place, so I took two football players with me. But soon as we got there, my heavyweights split and I ended up facing two big goons in Chesterfield overcoats by myself.

"They took me on a nice, long ride to the dump where they were getting landfill for the Newark Airport. They beat the hell out of me and left me for dead. I woke up the next morning with footprints on my chest. Right then I decided I needed a career change."

Tony high tailed it to Miami Florida, with $10,000 of swindled mob money which he soon lost at Hialeah racetrack, save for the $18 he had left to his name when he left Miami for Key West. Upon arriving in Key West, the legend grew. No slouch in the bedroom, Tony leaves behind 12 children from 4 wives.

Sources: Miami Herald Nov. 4, 2008
Washington Post Nov. 17, 2008
Life Lessons of a Legend-by Brad Manard

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kenny Mayne feeling the Love out there

Kenny Mayne of ESPN is one of those love 'em or hate 'em type of Sports broadcast personalities. Mayne, often seen on ESPN Horse racing cablecasts with Randy Moss and the rest of the ESPN gang, is known for his extremely dry wit and sarcasm.

I love 'em and like his contributions to racing telecasts on ESPN. His witty jab at Hank Goldberg criticizing Hank's decision to bet a very small amount on the BC Classic after just hitting a big score on the previous race was classic Mayne. I also think behind the humor is a guy who loves racing and knows more about it than people think.

ESPN is now featuring Mayne in “Mayne Street” – a new scripted online series from starring Kenny Mayne and others – it was viewed nearly 2.5 million times in the first 48 hours of being posted, making it the site’s most viewed single video in the past six months. If you like him, like I do check out Episode One here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Going out of style

Only 9 more Graded Stakes races at the Aqueduct between now and the end of the year. Tomorrow you can catch The Stuyvesant Handicap for 3 years old and over at 1 1/8 miles. For some historical perspective check out Brooklyn Backstretch's blog on the The Stuyvesant Handicap, first run in 1916.

You can also go to the TBA Homepage for free PP's of the race.

As far as the race itself, keep an eye on Helsinki, who goes for the 1st time in '08. Helsinki was 3rd in the '07 Travers Stakes at the Spa. Stud Muffin and Solar Flare come off wins last time out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

VLT Aid Savings Proposal

NY State Governor David Patterson unveiled his plan for cutting $2 Billion from the State Budget. This includes cutting aid from VLT proceeds at Racino's given to local Municipalities. The aid will be reduced (except for the City of Yonkers) by 50%.

I can see why the State and Municipalities love these hypnotic machines, The City of Yonkers received a payment this year of $19,600,000.

The City of Saratoga Springs, if the plan sticks, will take a $1.6 million hit.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thinning the Herd

We recently noted the imperceptible coverage of the Breeders Cup in Sports Illustrated. Well things are getting worse for the Time Inc. owned Magazine.

Time Inc. has asked for about 100 volunteers to give up editorial staff jobs at Time, People, Sports Illustrated and a few other Time Inc. magazines per published information on Nov. 10, 2008. According to an article published in the New York Times on 11/10/08:
Hardest hit in the first round is the group that includes Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated Kids and Golf magazines. In a memorandum to his staff, Terry McDonell, managing editor of Sports Illustrated, asked for 40 people to leave voluntarily, out of an editorial staff at the magazine group of about 250 people.

We have also learned that if the number of volunteers falls short by Monday, December 1, involuntary layoffs will begin.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Weekend News and Notes

Female Jockey Jackie Davis rides home another longshot at the Big A Saturday aboard Americanus in the 3rd, paying $20.80 to Win

Keeping pace with Davis was fellow female apprentice Jockey Maylan Studart winning on Senor Enrico in the 5th at Aqueduct, $13.80 to win.

What caught my eye in the Daily Racing Form article on IEAH's decision to keep running Stardom Bound in 2009 on the West Coast was the last paragraph mention that IEAH's Ivarone would consider a run of the fine filly in the Kentucky Derby if Stardom Bound continues to impress. Gee, can you imagine the mock outrage to be spewed forth by the PETA loons should this actually happen?

Whereas Cable Television live horse racing coverage is sometimes limited to your local OTB simulcast feed on the tube, College Basketball fans have no such problem with at least 827 Division 1 College games set to be broadcast on Time Warner Cable in the New York Capital Region.

Finally, The TBA has added 4 fine blogs to our stable. Horseplayers Association (HANA), Pull The Pocket, Turk and Little Turk, and Triple Dead Heat.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Her Name is Rio

A day after female apprentice Jockey Jackie Davis gets her first win aboard a 64-1 shot, fellow female apprentice Jockey Maylan Studart picks up a win in the 2nd on the dirt at Aqueduct aboard Wood Winner returning $9.80.

Studart also picked up 2nd place in the 1st race today at the Big A. Studart is only 19 years old, hailing from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. She made her United States debut this summer at Calder Race Course. Studart has already picked up a Stakes win, winning aboard Got Clearance in the $60,000 Lindsay Frolic Stakes for two-year-old fillies at Calder Race Course. With Davis and Studart expected to pick up more mounts this winter at the Big A, this should be fun watching these 2 young Jockeys ply their trade.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Go Jackie Go!

Female Jockey Jackie Davis, earned her first career victory at The Big A in New York on Wednesday, guiding Blue Hill Bay 64-1 long shot to a victory in a $35,000 claiming race on the turf returning $131 on a $2 bet. The daughter of retired jockey Robbie Davis, the 21 year old has been working as an exercise rider for Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens.

She made her professional debut at Saratoga Race Course on August 31, finishing 11th. A bit of pride for us locals here in Saratoga- Jackie- one of six children, graduated from Saratoga Springs High School. I had the opportunity to meet her 2 summers ago, when she was busing tables at a local Saratoga Restaurant and was impressed with her work ethic and desire to be a jockey. You go Girl!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Big get Bigger

One less local owner. Vineyard Haven, owned by Bobby Frankel, Joe Torre and Louis Lazzinarro, owner of Sergio's Restaurant just outside of Saratoga, have sold the promising Grade 1 Champagne and Hopeful Stakes winner to the mighty Maktoum family owned Goldophin Racing.

Would have been fun to root for the local guy but as Bobby Frankel said in the Daily Racing From: "I had an offer I couldn't refuse. That's why I sold"

Between Goldophin Racing and his brother's Shadwell Stable pretty soon we should have a chart of the Grade 1 Horses not owned by these two stables.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Coverage of the Breeders Cup..or lack thereof

I have been a subscriber to Sports Illustrated for over 25 years. Like the change in seasons, Sports Illustrated comes reliably delivered to my mailbox on a weekly basis.

But I find myself reading it less and less. The Time Inc. owned weekly magazine has gotten thinner and thinner every week, with less and less ads, and in my opinion, lesser quality articles and photographs. I remember as a young sports fan, 2 decades ago, looking forward to the feature length articles and photographs in Sports Illustrated each week.

They covered all the major team sports but also were known for excellent articles and photographs on the Olympics, Horse Racing and Boxing.

William Nack, in particular, was noted for his lengthy and illuminating articles on the big horse races of the year-the Triple Crown races, the Breeders Cup, etc accompanied by brilliant photographs.

No more. The issue of Sports Illustrated coming out after the Breeders Cup, dated 11/3/08, has a ½ page article (see photo above) with one tiny photograph measuring 2.5 inches by 2 inches of Zenyatta with 2 thumbnail size photographs of Raven’s Pass and Curlin. The entire article is a mere 4 paragraphs. The article only mentions 2 races-The Breeders’ Cup Classic and Ladies Classic and only mentions 3 horses by name in the entire article.

Paul Moran, writes in Paul Moran at the races that “Sports Illustrated, embroiled in an absurd dispute with Breeders’ Cup officials over ownership of photographs, declined to cover the races at Santa Anita.”

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Slots in Maryland

“Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.” -Saint Augustine

In a perfect world, I don't like Slot Machines at Racetracks but I am not naive enough to dismiss the economic impact, especially in the short term.

This Tuesday, Nov. 4th, voters in the State of Maryland will have before them what is called Question 2-the question being-Should Slot machines aka Video Lottery Terminals be allowed at Maryland Race Tracks.

For some background information I defer over to two TBA bloggers (who are also thoroughbred owners) supporting the Slots at Frank Vespe's blog and Ted Grevelis' blog.