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July is Jockey Appreciation Month!
Born November 24, 1971 in Carolina, Puerto Rico
John Velazquez has been kicking azz in Thoroughbred horse racing since the 1990s and shows no sign of slowing down as the go-to rider on the East Coast. He rides regularly for top trainers, and has accrued many top classic wins such as the Kentucky Derby (2011 with Animal Kingdom), the Belmont Stakes (2007 with Rags to Riches and 2012 with Union Rags), and several Breeders’ Cup races with Da Hoss, Uncle Mo, Ashado, and others.
Needless to say, I’m very jealous of his wife Leona :3

July is Jockey Appreciation Month!

Born November 24, 1971 in Carolina, Puerto Rico

John Velazquez has been kicking azz in Thoroughbred horse racing since the 1990s and shows no sign of slowing down as the go-to rider on the East Coast. He rides regularly for top trainers, and has accrued many top classic wins such as the Kentucky Derby (2011 with Animal Kingdom), the Belmont Stakes (2007 with Rags to Riches and 2012 with Union Rags), and several Breeders’ Cup races with Da Hoss, Uncle Mo, Ashado, and others.

Needless to say, I’m very jealous of his wife Leona :3

Racing Beat: July 1

I wonder how much thrill and ego one can get from saying their horse won the “Girls Incorporated of Shelbyville, Shelby County Stakes.”

I think I might want to try my hand, er, voice at race calling. Nothing serious, just turn off the volume on my TV and try to call a race without any bias… OH MY GOD, HEADACHE GET UP THERE ALREADY YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE RACING TODAY AAAAAAGHHH SOME LOSER BEAT HIM.

After my weird Trinniberg status update here, I began to realize how freakin’ awesome and feasible it would be to “Trinni” my ride… it’s a red car… hmm… anyone know where I can buy a large red pom-pom for the front?

The Eclipse Awards moved from Miami Beach’s Fontainbleau Hotel aka that place with the $26 Bud Lights to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. Whatever they say, don’t believe them… they were getting sick of the batshit crayness that comes with being just a few blocks north of South Beach.

How about that Camp Victory win? I’m still floating with all the emotion. Yeah I had him to win, too, so that might have helped.

Best freshman sire this year is going to be a hot duel between Big Brown and Curlin.

Imagine dying whilst nearly halfway through a pregnancy. Rest in peace to the champ, Hollywood Wildcat.

I’ve come to realize that some handicapping “experts” out there, aka ones that anchor sites and video series, suck. I legitimately respect the ones out there who aren’t afraid of a gut play occasionally and will side with a favorite when he or she is best.

Take Control really took control yesterday off a long, long layoff. Azeri must be proud of her little boy.

Chris Clemente tipped everyone off about Mystical Star— me, the fervent Clement supporter, did not have any money on her. What the f—k was I thinking? Everyone send Reinier some hate mail.

I avoid juvie races this early, but I was favoring Positively in the Bashford Manor (III). However, I haven’t seen my new Union Rags just yet…

Tweet O’ the Week

Racing Beat: March 4

Something I am noticing: the best track cinematography/camera angles are at the smaller tracks. Nobody wants to watch the break FROM BEHIND, Gulfstream! Other big tracks can learn a thing or two from Golden Gate Fields and Sunland Park.

I’ll admit it; I was a little afraid when Hansen lost the Holy Bull and all the naysayers nagged Union Rags so much he dropped to second favoritism in the Fountain of Youth. Now that both are back to form, I can stop worrying about how stupid I *won’t* look putting both horses on the Derby Hopeful tee! ;)

The acting in Luck is one of the best things about the show, but good grief, how many scenes feature Dustin Hoffman talking while lying down on a bed?

Kentucky Oaks winner Flute is going to Lonhro for 2012. I suddenly feel good about the future of U.S. horse racing.

I deactivated Facebook a couple weeks ago, and being that I am a huge introvert, life is brighter seeing fewer trivial complaints from people I know. The most annoying part of not having it? Having to manually check Zenyatta's diary every few days for foal updates.

A blog I’d like to share that isn’t mine: Mad for Smarty, about a girl living the dream when she gets to adopt one of her favorite sons of one of her favorite racehorses.

The brilliant 3-year-old star Now I Know, whose career ended with an injury in the Martha Washington Stakes, is booked to Uncle Mo. Not a bad match, now where’s the rest of these breeders who are apparently filling Mo’s book at warp speed?

Millionreasonswhy raced over the weekend and I missed it.

I want that new Zenyatta shirt, but I think I’ll wait a bit to get it. I’ve been on a little spree lately with spending as it is.

Dat Soldat

Shotgun Gulch was one of those rare horses that I won with when she was a longshot 20-1 in a G1 race. I’ll miss you at the races, girl.

Debuts I can’t wait to see: Winter Memories. Tackleberry. Acclamation. Fed Biz in a stakes.

An early Oaks favorite: Zo Impressive!

Leaderboard + Prize Update

While nobody is off on a hot lead, the leaderboard for the Derby Handicap Contest has been updated, with Thoughtsonracinglifeandmore taking the lead with 2 points after the round 1 Holy Bull Stakes. Second and third are tied with 1 point, Nicoledowland and Mmmbopped, who both accurately selected My Adonis for third.

It’s certainly not too late to enter or get ahead! The Robert B. Lewis Stakes (II) is next, so check out the field on Thursday and send me your picks by late Saturday afternoon!

Prizes Updated!

I’ll be adding more as the contest continues, but to start, I recently ordered some nifty magnets and stickers to sell here for charity! First, second, and third places can each pick their choice of a Shack Attack (Shackleford) sticker/magnet, Team Dumplings (Zenyatta and Mike Smith) sticker/magnet, or an Uncle Mo inspirational quote magnet. These are nice, big, quality stickers and magnets that you will be able to purchase soon to benefit New Vocations. Check ‘em out!

Also, first prize will be receiving a Triple Crown ‘12 tee featuring Hansen and Union Rags. Preorders for said shirt (proceeds also benefiting New Vocations) will start up next week after I finalize the design and asking price.

I hope to raise $100 for New Vocations by Breeders’ Cup time, so stay tuned if you’d like to help a great cause!

The Best 20 Races from 2011 (#14-#10)

Upsets! Comebacks! They both made it into the Top 20 list for 2011’s most exciting and most memorable Thoroughbred horse races. The list continues with #14 through #10 of the most enthralling and significant events this year all over the world.

Check out #20-#15 here

14) Woodward Stakes: Havre de Grace defeats older males easily to make history - Greeting the boys in one of the most prestigious races in America, Havre de Grace made easy work of the males, becoming only the second mare in its storied past to win it (Rachel Alexandra in 2009 was the first). Watch replay

13) Met Mile: Tizway sails home - Bouncing back from a few bruisers, Tizway silenced all doubters in the “sire making” race, the Metropolitan Handicap. He cruised home first to win easily while clocking the second-fastest time for the race (1996 winner Honour and Glory was a tenth of a second faster). Watch replay

12) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: Hansen holds off Union Rags for an upset - Bringing his patented cruise control, wire-to-wire style to the Downs, the ghostly white Hansen outlasted a late-running and swerving Union Rags to register a 7-1 upset, all while igniting solid hopes for a powerful 2012 Triple Crown. Watch replay

11) Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe: Danedream shatters the record and expectations - The 20-1 German filly no one saw coming or ever seriously considered exploded late in Europe’s greatest race to win by an astonishing 5 lengths in race record time. Watch replay

10) Kelso Handicap: Uncle Mo tears down the track for a very big comeback - Second in the King’s Bishop after a long layoff due to a rare illness, the juvenile champion Uncle Mo returned to the races to compete again against older horses in the Kelso Handicap. He blew the doors off the race while scaring away several would-be entries, cruising home in a three-year-old high 118 Beyer speed figure. Watch replay

"And Indian Charlie hits the front and he looks STRONG!"

Indian Charlie, a son of In Excess, 1998 Kentucky Derby favorite, and successful sire himself, has been euthanized after a long battle with cancer. 

Rapid Redux Notches 21st Straight Win

On a fast track and against only three other challengers, the yellow blinker hood of Rapid Redux came rocketing out of the gate first at Laurel Park and stayed there all the way to the wire.

Further cementing his record of the most consecutive wins by a North American racehorse, the gelding Rapid Redux met Citation's record for most wins in a year (19 total in 1948) in the $15,000 starter allowance race today. He was sent off at an astonishing 1-9 odds.

Leading by about two length down the backstretch, the only time he was given a mild fright on the lead was when Lady On Fire approached him briefly— but still, not much of a contest when you get right down to it. The son of Pleasantly Perfect stayed strong and was let loose a bit to draw away turning for home, winning the 1 1/16 race by about 5 lengths. 

Now that he’s on the same level as Pepper’s Pride concerning wins, what’s next for RR? While it’s pretty clear he won’t be getting an Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year, he is nominated for the Vox Populi Award (other nominees include Havre de Grace and Uncle Mo), which was given to Zenyatta last year for her influence on the sport of horse racing. What I am most curious about is how long his connections will keep running him on such low challenge levels. He skipped out on the Claiming Crown, and it was made obvious by the size of the fields and number of scratches in his most recent races that nobody on the claiming/cheap starter level wants to go against him. Guess we’ll have to wait and see on that.

"World’s Greatest" By R. Kelly - 2011 Breeders’ Cup Championships highlight reel

Retiring this year (set #1): Uncle Mo, Blind Luck, Tizway, Goldikova, Twirling Candy, Big Drama, Gio Ponti, and Drosselmeyer.

Retiring this year (set #1): Uncle Mo, Blind Luck, Tizway, Goldikova, Twirling Candy, Big Drama, Gio Ponti, and Drosselmeyer.

Who do you have for the Top 25 Most Intriguing Horse People of 2011? I have Scooter Dickey at the top, and Mike Repole at the bottom.

Asked by maggsandbull

Took me a long time and a lot of re-seeding to figure out the people part, and even longer for the horse part. I think Bill Mott’s Ladies Classic/Classic double, his approach to training, and his general entourage of horses made him one of the strongest cases of the year, so I had him up for first along with Chantal Sutherland (the match race, so close to winning the Classic) and Graham Motion right behind him. I’m not sure where I had Scooter Dickey and Mike Repole in the ranking, but both very interesting characters in their own right.

For the ponies, it wasn’t much of a good year for American horses, so I can’t say too many of them were serious contenders in their respective contests. Since the keyword in the voting was “intriguing,” I naturally had to vote Uncle Mo as the top pick followed by Frankel, Black Caviar, and Rapid Redux. These horses made for the best interest stories of the year and were always captivating to watch for.

Rank your own picks at BloodHorse.com, people!

The best Thoroughbred horse racing blog on Tumblr! Updated daily with handicapping analysis, photos, editorials, and things gathered 'round the web.

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


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