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California Chrome Ticket Winners

Congratulations to Showjumper365 and Deep-shadow for winning the California Chrome souvenir win ticket giveaway!

I’ll be posting about my [interesting] Belmont Stakes experience soon as well as more photos, but I wanted to thank everyone for participating in this giveaway and following me so far. I will definitely host more giveaways/contests in the future!

Derby Handicap Prize Boxes

It took me a while to gather everything together, but as of now, everything looks to be confirmed if not in hand for the top three finishers of the Derby Handicap Contest. This year, we’re doing “themed boxes” where the first place finisher gets first choice, second place gets second choice from the remaining two, etc. I’ll have photos of the box contents up as soon as everything arrives in the mail. Good luck everyone!


The “My Old Kentucky Home” Box: A beautiful afghan tapestry of racehorses running at Keeneland, a rare vintage (made in the ’90s and no longer manufactured) decorative metal sign of Churchill Downs’ “fees,” and #FallStars Keeneland banner featuring Wise Dan.

The “Fantastic Fillies” Box: A lovely 8x10 of Rachel Alexandra with $2 uncashed win ticket souvenir from her Preakness win, the sought-after “I’m for Her” vintage pin from Ruffian's ill-fated match race, and a new-in-box Black Caviar Breyer model horse.

The “Modern Marvels” Box: A Gainesway Tapit hat, your choice of size, color, and style of the 2014 Derby Hopeful tee (see here for last year’s version to get an idea of what it’ll look like), race-worn goggles signed by Javier Castellano, the “Awe-Inspiring” Afleet Alex button.

It’s Back Again!: The 3rd Annual Derby Handicap Contest


Back by popular demand, the fun and free-to-play Derby Handicap Contest returns for a third running with some changes, but the overall goal stays the same: with a little luck and perception, be the best at selecting the top contenders on the road to the first Saturday in May!

How to Play:

Each week, select ONE horse from the field on which to play a fictional $2 Win/Place/Show bet, with accrued earnings being collectively added up with the top three highest earners capturing a prize at the end of the eleven week stretch. All picks are due via Jotform 20 minutes before the scheduled post time of the race. You may edit your pick up until that deadline. You do not have to play every week to win, but it’s a lot easier to win if you do!

You may also select a backup horse in the event your first choice is scratched for whatever reason; if you do not, your pick automatically becomes the post-time favorite. Example:

You select Cairo Prince to win the Holy Bull. He finishes 2nd, which cashes your place and show bet for the week. He returns $3.20 to place and $2.40 to show, giving you $5.60 for the week.

If you submit nothing for the week, you will forfeit any earnings i.e. I do not automatically make your choice the post-time favorite. All earnings from all players will be tracked via a leaderboard published on the Contest tab.

Handicapping Contest Schedule (all Saturdays):

  • Week 1: January 25 - Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park
  • Week 2: February 1 - Withers Stakes at Aqueduct
  • Week 3: February 8 - Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita
  • Week 4: February 15 - El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate
  • Week 5: February 22 - Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds
  • "Away" gap of one week
  • Week 6: March 8 - Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs
  • Week 7: March 15 - Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park
  • Week 8: March 22 - Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park
  • Week 9: March 29 - Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park
  • Week 10: April 5 - Wood Memorial at Aqueduct
  • Tiebreaker race: April 12 - Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland

I’m afraid I’ll forget to send in picks/what is Jotform?

Mark your calendar! Write on your hand! Or, track the tag #derby handicap on Tumblr to see updates and reminders to submit your picks!

Jotform is an easy-to-use online submission form that is much more reliable than sending asks on Tumblr or emails, and all submissions are time-stamped to prevent funny business. I will provide a link every week when post positions for the contest race are announced where you can submit your picks.

Official Rules

  1. Contest participation is restricted to Tumblr accounts who are following this blog. No alternate accounts may be used and only one weekly submission is allowed per individual. Participants and winners will be checked.
  2. Open to international players! Penguins in Antarctica with computers are welcome!
  3. Submissions are due 20 minutes before post time, late entries accepted at my discretion (i.e. if I’m at my computer at the time). Try not to be late though. Rawr.
  4. I retain the right to ban/cancel any participants and or weekly submissions if I suspect foul play, cheating, etc. It will ultimately be at my discretion to not award prizes to any individuals on this basis or any other unsportsmanlike activity including but not limited to outlandish braggery, privately messaging others regarding picks, etc. In short, this is my damn contest and my damn money going into it, like hell I’m giving it to a butthead.

What can I win?

Prizes are not 100% set in stone at this stage, but are always worth your while and consist of horse racing memorabilia and related items. This year we’ll be trying something different with the top 3 earners taking home themed “prize boxes,” with first place getting first choice, second place getting second choice, etc. Stay tuned for an update when I have all prizes confirmed.

How do I win?

Luck, a bit of study, and some strategy couldn’t hurt. Past contest winners often got the victory by way of nabbing just one— maybe two— longshots, so don’t feel like you have to play it safe! Check out the morning line odds before submitting to see what the likely odds will be for a given horse. Also, read up on some handicapping analyses! Tumblr is home to several handicappers who enjoy sharing their picks, including this blog which will post an analysis every week before the contest race.

Checking out Equibase.com past performances and reading the thoughts of hardened handicappers might give you some ideas too. (Though I will say, the pros are rarely right every week of the Kentucky Derby trail).


Breeders’ Cup Handicap Leaders for Friday

Hey all! What an interesting first day that was, with an embarrassingly speed-favoring main early on and some very classy winners all around, as it should be (the latter half of that sentence, anyway!). I had a late pick 4 ticket where I had 3 of 4 winners… losing of course on the Dirt Mile, which scared me the most… I stupidly left out Goldencents, even though I’ve been calling him a miler since he was a juvenile! The live WPS bet on Testa Rossi [FR] made me feel a wee bit better, but I made it when she was 25-1 and she drifted down to 10-1 at post time. Ah, the pain! In Spongebob narrator voice: “Tomorrow for sure.” I am proud to say that unlike some TV handicappers, I actually play who I say I like!

We have a whopping 15 players this time to the Breeders’ Cup Handicapping Challenge, and here are the money earners for Friday, all based on actual payouts of $2 Win/Place/Show bets:

  1. Snowbegantofall: $55.20
  2. *tie* Thoughtsonracinglifeandmore/Life-in-dreaming: $54.20
  3. Behindthecounterinasmalltown: $37.60
  4. Host (me): $33.60
  5. Webuiltthepyramids: $29
  6. *tie* Horseracingfever, Nicoledowland, Le-pamplemousse: $24.40
  7. Classic-like-a-penguin: $24.20
  8. Exactagirl: $18.60
  9. Spottedrainbow: $17.80
  10. Jumpsandbumps: $11
  11. Palimpsation: $7
  12. Abodemeistro: $4.60
  13. Taylorswest: $2.40

Buyer beware, things can change a lot from here on out. There are a LOT more races tomorrow! Submit your Saturday picks if you haven’t already!

Picks received so far from (Updated Nov 1 9:30am)

Sorry for the delay guys! Didn’t get home until 5:30 and I needed a quick nap and Spanish homework time before I was able to crunch everyone’s data into my super secret Word document!


  • Thoughtsonracinglifeandmore
  • Webuiltthepyramids
  • Sinningincowboyboots
  • Exactagirl
  • Behindthecounterinasmalltown
  • Jumpsandbumps
  • Horseracingfever
  • Palimpsestion
  • Snowbegantofall
  • Taylorswest
  • Abodemeistro
  • Spottedrainbow
  • Classic-like-a-penguin
  • Life-in-dreaming
  • Nicoledowland


  • Thoughtsonracinglifeandmore
  • Sinningincowboyboots
  • Palimpsestion
  • Jumpsandbumps
  • Taylorswest
  • Snowbegantofall
  • Webuiltthepyramids
  • Behindacounterinasmalltown
  • Abodemeistro
  • Spottedrainbow
  • Life-in-dreaming
  • Classic-like-a-penguin
  • Nicoledowland

I messaged or attempted to message everyone that I received their picks. There’s still ample time to submit picks for Friday races and of course you have plenty of time to submit for Saturday. Great to see a lot of action and hope everyone does well! I have a feeling that we have at least a couple of pretty good handicappers in this bunch to make this interesting.

Breeders’ Cup Handicapping Challenge: Friday AND Saturday Jotforms

Both are available when you’re ready to submit. I’m trying to have my OWN picks done and ready to go for tomorrow sometime if you want to see if you can beat the host this year ;)

Submit your Friday picks here

Submit your Saturday picks here

Good luck! Again be patient on waiting on a response from me confirming your entry.

Breeders’ Cup Handicap: Submit Friday Selections

Sorry in advance for my slowness guys. Wednesday and Thursdays I am always absolutely slammed with work and school all day. I might take until Thursday morning to confirm your entries and for right now, the Jotform for just Friday is now live.

Submit your Friday Breeders’ Cup picks.

It’s here: The 2nd Annual Breeders’ Cup Handicapping Challenge


How to play:

  • Starting Wednesday October 30, pick one horse from each Breeders’ Cup race on Friday and again on Saturday. Submit your Friday picks by 5 minutes before the start of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon (1:40pm PST) and your Saturday picks by 5 minutes before the start of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (12:00pm PST) via the Jotform link I provide. Check this blog on Wednesday for the link!
  • You may send picks for both days at once or one day at a time. You may revise picks as often as you’d like up until the deadline. I will message you via Tumblr to confirm your entry; I may take up to 4 hours to respond due to my very busy school/work/travel schedule e.g. if you make a change late on Friday I may not respond right away as I will be driving home from school at that time.
  • Provide a “backup” horse pick in the event your horse scratches on the Jotform. If both scratch and you do not have time to resubmit or you do not designate a backup entry, your choice will automatically become the post-time favorite.
  • If your horse places 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in that race, you will rack up fantasy earnings that will count towards winning the contest. Earnings are based on real, official payout returns for a $2 Win/Place/Show bet. The person with the most fantasy earnings from both days combined is the winner. (If you have questions, please ask!)

Example: You pick Moreno in the Breeders’ Cup Classic for your fantasy $2 WPS contest wager. He finishes 2nd, so your $2 mythical place and show wagers “cash,” with a return of $20.20 for the place and $10.20 for the show. The win part of the Win-Place-Show does not cash. Your total earnings from that race are $30.40.

  • Your object is to win the most fantasy earnings, so it’s not just about picking who will win here, but who will probably give you the highest odds should they place in the top 3. Last year’s winner won the contest by virtue of Summer of Fun placing third in the Juvenile Turf Fillies, paying $19.40 to show. Don’t dismiss this principle and go with all favorites!
  • Tips: Follow the #horseracing tag and read up on your races. Check out Equibase.com profiles and download past performances to look at each horse (I recommend Brisnet over DRF and others). I also publish my thoughts, so check out the blog and feel free to ask questions! I picked 3 winners last year (Groupie Doll at 4-5, Fort Larned at 9-1, and Calidoscopio at 19-1). If all else fails, literally just go with who you love! That would have bought me another two winners last year!

What do I win?

Prizes for first and second place will be awarded:

First Place: $25 Amazon gift code sent via email, choice of Breyer Man o’ War, Native Dancer, or Zenyatta Christmas ornament

Second Place: Choice of Breyer Man o’ War, Native Dancer, or Zenyatta Christmas ornament

Official rules:

  • Contest is open to Tumblr followers only. Yes I will check.
  • One set of picks per person. No secret double accounts, obviously, that ain’t fair.
  • Open internationally. If a problem arises with international thingies, I reserve the right to pick another prize to award.
  • I reserve the right to cancel or disqualify any late or inappropriate entries. I simply refuse to honor a douche canoe in what is meant to be a fun activity. Cool kids only.

Questions? Concerns? Send me an ask or email me at dawnawood AT gmail dot com. Good luck!

One week until the Breeders’ Cup Handicapping contest!

Don’t forget it or you’ll



Look for a post late Wednesday/early Thursday next week on how to submit your Breeders’ Cup Friday picks and official rules.

The Breeders’ Cup is Coming!

"Less than 20 days away, it is." - Yoda

I’m a big Breeders’ Cup fan, so it’s important I get that point across as I head into the third year of obsessively covering the who’s and what’s of the American version of the world championships of horse racing. I’ll be throwing a second Breeders’ Cup handicap contest with prizes going to the top two earners of fantasy bankroll based on fictional $2 win/place/show bets on all Breeders’ Cup races. It’s ridiculously easy and fun to do, not to mention free.


  • Bragging rights
  • $25 gift code for Amazon emailed to you
  • Your choice of a Breyer Christmas ornament: Zenyatta, Native Dancer, or Man o’ War


  • Your choice of a Breyer Christmas ornament: Zenyatta, Native Dancer, or Man o’ War

Official rules stuff will be announced at the end of the month.

Obsessively providing a comprehensive and personal glance at the sport of kings through original photography, handicapping analysis, editorials, and much more.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.

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