Saturday, April 26, 2008


When I started this blog I had only one concern; try to keep it current. I had hoped to post at least twice a week. That's probably not enough, but a happy middle-ground. I decided this after reading many horse racing blogs. There is some very, very good work out there! I didn't envision a handicapping sight. There's enough of them. Also, I rarely get to the track any more so I'm not able to offer frequent enough observations. When I play now it's usually at a simulcast outlet. Although I do enjoy handicapping, for me it is more a way of maintaining contact with the sport, than being the the aspect I am most passionate about.

Of course reading other blogs before one posts can also be a danger. I may choose to change my habits in the future. The wind can be taken out of your sails when the thunder has already been heard elsewhere. That doesn't make the observation, idea or conclusion any less legitimate - quite the contrary it actually substantiates and that is comforting - but it does take the urgency away to a degree. I actually enjoy reading affirmations of my thoughts, but much more so after I have documented them myself. An example of a thought I had on my list to mention this morning would be the observation that Lion Heart is an obvious sire to watch Left at the Gate . This isn't quantum mechanics and we all write about the same sport, see the same races, so there are bound to be many, many overlaps. Those overlaps are the most interesting part of this, I believe it is those items that move the sport. However, it is terrific how many different perspectives exist. I find it amazing how my perspectives have changed from when I was involved in the industry. So today I've decided to just jot down some random thoughts; I think that's better than not posting.

It is usually in Late March when I start to miss the track the most. The mornings are still chilled but no longer uncomfortable. The prep season is winding it's way down and anticipation is ratcheting up. The smells start to hang on the air more than dropping from the air. Working in Lexington I was at Keeneland almost every morning and I worked on the backside at Belmont as well. Those days were filled with horses. I got to see so many more work, heard the buzz about new promising arrivals and attended the races frequently. One hardly knows there's another world out there. I was consumed. I suppose that's true for almost all of us. We would probably spend all day, every day, at it if we could find a way. I always found it amusing that everyone always knew the 'secret news' of a hot prospect arriving at any one's barn before the horse arrived. There are few true secrets - aside from Pyro's last work - in the business. No longer having those opportunities certainly limits observational information available to write about, especially pertaining to handicapping. Aside from first hand observation we all have the ability to access almost all the same information. Though, to be certain, I hardly ever found "tips" to have much value. As I said there are few true secrets in racing. I like to read others opinions but think it best to always trust yourself. When you're right it feels great, when you're wrong there's no one to blame. That's not to say I haven't been swayed by a friends' analysis when I find it legitimate.

I'm waiting for the final works and post positions before I post my Derby choice. I am amazed at how much the press seems to sway opinion. A month ago Pyro was the toast of the industry and now the press on him is almost as elusive as was the view of that last workout. The news now has been dominated by Big Brown. When Dutrow decided not to accompany his two winners to Dubai it was obvious what he thought of Big Brown. His strutting like a peacock is a bit much, however. A mile and a quarter is a long way to go when you run fast and not alone. And I don't think he'll be alone on the lead, ahead maybe, alone unlikely. All of us hope to see the next wonder horse. We want to be able to recognize it when we see it and enjoy the horses entire career so we can etch it in our memories to be used as a comparison for future greats. And so I hope he is, we all do in some way. But as Dutrow said it does seem a rather weak field. That doesn't bode well for comparative greatness. Lucky for us, in Curlin, we are able to continue to follow the career of a horse that will likely be mentioned among the greats of all time. How wonderful that he continues to race! Early on I liked Cool Coal Man and I am not off him yet, but certainly not convinced. I'll save all this for my picks entry.

I'd like to know if anyone has knowledge of the use of shoes at Keeneland. Any correlation between type of shoes worn and winners?

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