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Working on photo blogs, no Travers for me

A really stellar portrait of me at Saratoga done by the fabulous fourfurlongs in case you haven’t seen it yet!

I’ve attended a LOT more days at Saratoga than I originally anticipated, and as much as I absolutely love soaking in the scene over there I’ll be skipping both Personal Ensign and Travers days. The massive crowds, the driving back-and-forth, the inevitable price gouging, and me being scheduled to work is pushing me in the direction of enjoying the races from the couch. 

BUT! I am making plans to attend Woodward Day as well as Tom Durkin’s last day at the end of the month. I also have a reservation for a photography workshop taught by Tod Marks on that Saturday, so the Saratoganess isn’t over yet.

Photo blogs and handicapping for Saturday coming down the pipeline as well. Do let me know if you have a Saratoga race you’re interested in me picking apart. I’m in the process of typing it, but I had that $1,000 pick 3 on Sword Dancer day… if only I hadn’t ragequit earlier in the card after losing another pick 3 by a head I’d be a lot happier right now!

High hoof!


Ready for Saratoga!

It’s on like Donkey Kong! Got my season pass photo on with a fresh haircut (I think it’s too short… before it was too long… I think I’m firing my stylist, no one seems to know how to do a good job with short girl cuts). And a special thanks to the fabulous human being morningline who sent me one of her photos which is now on display at my nest:

So yes, if you’re going to be at Saratoga tomorrow (Friday opening day), Saturday, or Sunday feel free to hunt me down and say hi. I wear glasses, a camera backpack, and usually a cap.

I’ll be shooting the ponies all weekend and will have an editorial of all the cool racing up next week. It should be a good excursion, as this is my first ever opening day and my first time at ‘Toga with a companion, as fourfurlongs will accompanying me just about the whole time I’m there and I’m hoping to reunite with a-lamb-to-the-darkness for the first time since Union Rags won the Belmont. Woooooo! 

GHR Turns 3, Other Updates

Hi everyone!

Thanks to everyone who stayed and read on for the Kentucky Derby analyses as well as welcome to all the new followers! I hope you like what you’ve seen so far! I’ve been so freakin’ busy with school and scrambling to do Derby updates that I completely forgot about this blog’s 3-year anniversary which happened nearly a month ago. A gigantic THANK YOU to all of my supporters and followers… it seems like only yesterday I felt I was preparing myself to be blogging into the dark abyss of the Internet. Not so!— GHR is on track to hit its 1,000th follower by Preakness time!

  • Rest in peace to Crusader Sword, a 29-year-old stallion resident of Old Friends Cabin Creek. While we’re still editing my documentary Roughshod (and will be until probably Septemberish, unfortunately!), I hope to put something out on the Internet for this special guy who won the Hopeful Stakes back in ‘87. If I’m not mistaken, I got to take the very last video footage of this great racehorse and I’d like to put it up online for all to see.
  • I am going to write about my Wood Memorial and Old Friends excursions! I’ve started on both but got way too busy to finish them!
  • I’ll be releasing a list of stakes I’ll be attending over the summer soon. Good news for photo reblogging fans: I’ll be doing a lot more stuff this summer, and I’m 82.58% likely to be upgrading my camera again.
  • Derby Handicap winners, if you haven’t already contacted me back about your stuff, thank you for being patient; I hope to ship everything out late this week/early next week. Marioangel, I haven’t been able to message you so please send me a fanmail or an email when you can to dawnawood AT gmail dot com when you can.

Thanks again everyone and high hoof!


Hmm what could this be?


The Holy Bull Stakes is coming and that only means one thing: TIME FOR ME TO TEASE WHAT IS IN THE SECRET ARMORY OF THINGS FOR THE DERBY HANDICAP CONTEST. Some rules will change to benefit [mostly] everyone, but it is largely the same beast if you’ve played before. Look for an announcement post next week regarding what’s new and how to play. (If you’re afraid of missing it, track the tag #derby handicap on Tumblr)

Oh yes, it’s back for a third year, and while I’m not done figuring out what’s behind curtain #1, things have begun accumulating for the top three finishers. Now what could this be? Hmm?

Other thingys:

  • I have unanswered asks a plenty. I’M SORRY I WILL GET TO THEM SOON.
  • It’s my last “real” semester of college starting in a couple of weeks— probably for forever. I’ll be under the microscope going through portfolio reviews, internship interviews, and the advanced documentary project I’m in charge of.
  • I’m looking into getting a new theme for this blog, preferably one with advanced updates like Facebook comments. It’s one of my minor goals to continue optimizing GHR to become a popular blog in general— not just on Tumblr.
  • Shameless self-promotion: I opened an Etsy shop.
  • For photo rebloggers of this blog: I might have some brand-new stuff coming down the pipeline this month/next month when open barns happen for regional stud farms.

In the meantime, high hoof to all, good luck to college kids with spring semester, good luck to the working peeps on their taxes, and hope to see everyone join the Handicap fray soon!


Another update? YES.


Trainer Heather Carlson with Stud Muffin, who desperately wants to join “his foal” outside.

Because hey, you can never have enough. I’ve entered the final sixteenth of the semester AND MAN DOES IT FEEL GOOD. I just can’t wait for this fall semester to be over… I just… really need that break… and then spring semester will be my last one spent in class and I only have to drive 3 hours a day for 1 day a week as opposed to 4 days a week. Anyway, on to pony and blog things:

  • Congratulations to Webuiltthepyramids on winning the Horses and Hope Calendar giveaway!
  • Tuesday, December 17 is the day the first “preview/essay-style cut” of Do You Know the Muffin Man? will be screened to a live audience at Ellis White Hall at Fitchburg State University. I intend to make the cut available to view on YouTube around this date, so do stay tuned. I slaved away for many an hour in pre and post-production and froze my butt off for two days on this piece.
  • Also in the pipeline: senior thesis film about rehabilitated kill lot/at risk horses of all breeds. I got picked to be director/producer.
  • As usual, I’ll be doing a “top 20” for the best races from 2013, the GHR awards, and churning out more stuff. Especially since I will soon be FREEEEEEEEE from school for a solid month.

I hope everyone is well and not buried beneath snow. High hoof!


Finals Week

Is the reason I’m going to be quiet yet again, yet some more, until probably the end of next week. I will admit I am totally doing this college thing Caleb’s Posse style and jumping in at the quarter pole after being lazy and doing minimal work for a while. FINISH STRONG!

I’ll still sneak in some minutes of photo editing time, but I’m trying to behave and be realistic about what I have to get done for my “real life” expectations. I still have to write up my “first trip to the Big A” post and the long delayed post about the Stud Muffin documentary. IT’S ALL COMING, I SWEAR!

Updates - Summer Racing and Such


When it rains and the “turf” goes soft, I scratch Harley from running outside in the yard. Sad face. And yes I’m rereading Seabiscuit on my nightstand.

With the trip to the Belmont Stakes in the books and the Triple Crown wrapped, I do have some future photo ops and features that are destined to appear on GHR:

  • Kickstarter hopes to launch this week, filming begins this week: The goal is $4,000 over three weeks, and I will be contacting racing media and blogs about spotlighting the Lipsticks & Longshots project to drum up funding and excitement for the movie. There will be photo and video updates as that project sprouts wings. When it launches, I will link it and if you’d like to help (and get a few exclusive early supporter rewards in return!) please do! For as little as $5, you can get a thank you in the credits!
  • Future NYRA appearances by me: Whitney (likely), Coaching Club American Oaks (possible), Belmont’s Super Saturday on September 28 (goal).
  • I am weighing if I can go to the Breeders’ Cup this year too. Ticket prices are fair right now, and if I can get a press pass I will become even more likely to go. I’m also thinking of the Florida Derby in 2014 since I do believe it’s during my spring break and I could use a real vacation from school, work, and whatever project I’m doing for Advanced Documentary class leading up to my internship.

Thanks everybody in the meantime! I know updates have been slow, but they should be getting bumped up as the big races and summer meets come alive and I can focus a little better.

High hoof!


Congrats to Orb, Shug, and Joel

I made a checklist— as I often do for the big classic-type races— listing all the qualities the Derby winner ought to have: 10 furlong ability (as judged by me), pedigree, in peak form, decent post position, how their last workout was, how they like dirt, class level, and mental tenacity. I knew it was a crappy field when I saw that only 2 horses had straight check marks: Revolutionary (3rd) and Orb (1st). Orb certainly deserved the win today, which he would have gotten whether or not Palace Malice decided to floor it from the start. On to the Preakness!

Also, I was kind of giddy to see Golden Soul get right up there, and I am quite happy with the top 7 or 8 finishers who all ran pretty well like I thought. I just had no idea what to expect in the mud when it came to the finish order. I made no money, but hey, I’m happy about being right about Verrazano and Goldencents! At least in the mud…

As all horse handicappers know, expecting big performances back-to-back is dreamer’s logic. With that said, I will be taking a short break from racing and handicapping starting today. Working, driving 3 hours a day 4 days a week, 5 classes during crunch time, filming productions, readying side projects for pre-production, and pouring over horse racing has worn me down a little and I think it’s time for a little hiatus.

I expect I should be back to normal in time for Preakness week. In the meantime, congrats to Orb! I plan to sleep on it before I decide whether or not I feel like Orb can win the Triple Crown this year.

2 Years (Yay!) and Updates

People who follow my life goings-on outside of horse racing already know this, but this week had me extremely busy with work, school, projects, and a horse show. No Thoroughbreds were in attendance, but my sister was competing with her new horse and they won!

Time for a new update!

  • Two days ago was The Galloping Hat Rack’s two-year anniversary. I was going to be all blubbery about it, but really, what more can I say about this place and all you nice people that hasn’t already been said? Thank you all for reading, responding, and all the support along the way!
  • The documentary that is about horse racing is still in pre-production, but has been submitted to receive a small university grant. I should hear back whether or not I won it in about 3 or 4 weeks. Things have been going slow on it otherwise, unfortunately. The working title for it is now Lipsticks and Longshots.
  • The Derby Dozen has been hard to whittle down to 12, since there are a lot of “maybes.” Then again, there always is, right? If time permits, how about an “Oaks Octet?” The Oaks is best this year.
  • 2013 Derby Hopeful tee is nearly done. NEARLY!
  • Derby Handicap winners… is Tumblr eating my messages? I haven’t heard back from anyone regarding shipping addresses. Message me or email me at dawnawood AT gmail dot com when you can!

As always, thanks for reading and have a production week!

High hoof!


On the Move

We all can’t wait for this snow shit to melt here in Massachusetts.

Howdy everypony! I’m here to break the Sunday lull with several updates!:

  • A big thanks to Derby Handicappers for making the first two rounds of the contest super interesting and entertaining! Round 3 will be this coming Saturday with the Risen Star (II) at Fair Grounds! I will try to have the submit form go live Wednesday and the analysis up by Thursday afternoon so you all have ample time to get your picks in. I will have the 2nd prize image up by Saturday on the Contest tab.
  • Pony documentary update: Still slowly being setup, but I will announce the super cool fundraising method in a few weeks. I’m sketching out equipment needs right now, but projected costs are a modest, doable $1500-$2000. For the web series, I am trying to decide on the format I think will work best, but hope to shoot this week.
  • Other upcoming posts: Memories of Winter Memories, a post about Tapit’s Derby contenders (waiting on how Mudflats runs today), You Comment I Respond, and the next alternative handicapping method suggested by a follower: my folks have a bunch of leftover fortune cookies!
  • Life update: I might slow up a bit some days on updating the blog due to some changes. I am giving up my rented room in Fitchburg and moving back home so I can take up another (better) part-time job here. I will have to commute a LOT while working 40+ hours a week and going to school full-time. It’s all a necessary evil.

High hoof!


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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