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The Lane’s End Experience

I found this video while perusing for horse documentaries to help inspire me to improve my own work. This footage makes me want to die in a good way.

Who were you cheering on when the gates opened that first Saturday in May? My Kentucky Derby horses throughout the years (Tumblr has a dumb limit of 10 photos):

  • 2013: Normandy Invasion (4th)
  • 2012: Union Rags (7th)
  • 2011: Nehro (2nd)
  • 2010: Ice Box (2nd)
  • 2009: Desert Party (14th)
  • 2008: Big Brown (1st)
  • 2007: Street Sense (1st)
  • 2006: Steppenwolfer (3rd)
  • 2005: N/A, I don’t think I followed the race that year for whatever reason
  • 2004: Action This Day (6th)
  • 2003: Empire Maker (2nd)

Not pictured: 2002 - War Emblem (1st), who ran in the first Derby I ever watched.

Racing Beat: July 14

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Sounds like the DRF is going to be not-free anymore. Out of all the handicapping sites you could possibly pay for, I would highly recommend against it. Hell, I recommend against using it while it’s still free!

Happy 78th birthday to Suffolk Downs!

A two-year-old colt by my 2009 Derby pick Pioneerof the Nile (who is turning out to be a good sire already!) named Boston Strong will contribute 10% of his earnings towards the One Fund.

I’m not sure less than a month after a serious racing schedule counts as “time off” for Orb, who is already breezing 4 furlongs at Fair Hill.

Remembering the little people who mattered on the back side: rest in peace to Groupie Doll's regular hotwalker, Jerry Click.

My newest betting strategy: when your pick loses, bet him again next time out. They just keep winning after they lose for me the first time from what I’ve noticed… the most recent example being Bad Hombre, who ran 3rd in a show bet for me on Belmont Day and won next time out.

Fastnet Rock boasted a book of some 400 mares in his most recent season. Now I feel even worse about my non-existent romantic life!

Recent Royal Heroine (II) winner Schiaparelli has been retired perfectly sound. Not a terrible choice for a 5-year-old, but right in the middle of the season feels kind of odd.

The internet erupted with talk of Ellis Park track recorder breaker Ride On Curlin, a two-year-old who broke the 5 1/2 furlong mark going 1:03 flat in his second start. He’s been rocking in his workouts, too, and he’s reading like a hot juvenile with both parents being good two-year-olds. Good to note the second-place finisher Union Hall is bred similarly to Union Rags.

Tweet o’ the Week: I SAW HIM FIRST!

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I never rooted so hard for a horse to lose. In the 144th Belmont, Union Rags came hard and late to wear down the courageous lead held by Paynter, who missed the win by a head much to my joy and jubilation. It wasn’t too long after that when the world was rooting him on to win the battle for his life, and that time, he prevailed. Paynter is obviously a special horse and he is my current interest to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the fall should he climb back to his old form. Today he races again for the first time since wiring the Haskell (I), at Hollywood Park at 4:13 PST going 7 furlongs, also his first race over all-weather.

I never rooted so hard for a horse to lose. In the 144th Belmont, Union Rags came hard and late to wear down the courageous lead held by Paynter, who missed the win by a head much to my joy and jubilation. It wasn’t too long after that when the world was rooting him on to win the battle for his life, and that time, he prevailed. Paynter is obviously a special horse and he is my current interest to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the fall should he climb back to his old form. Today he races again for the first time since wiring the Haskell (I), at Hollywood Park at 4:13 PST going 7 furlongs, also his first race over all-weather.

OVER-HATER. EVERYONE'S PRECIOUS UNION RAGS WON THE BELMONT AND HAD THE SAME SIRE. NO REASON OVERANALYZE WILL NOT DO THE SAME.

Asked by thoughtsonracinglifeandmore

I felt Union Rags would win the Belmont because he looks the part, not so much because of his pedigree. Overanalyze just doesn’t seem like that good of a horse, and seeing as speed figures just about proved nothing the past several months, I don’t see how anyone could favor him over everyone else. For some odd reason, everyone seems to be paying more attention (than they should) to Overanalyze and Palace Malice… not that I mind. I don’t like either and it improves the odds on the horses I do like.

Golden Soul is currently my favorite to win for similar reasons.

A day after I declared “I’m freaking tired and I need to do some schoolwork before I bomb my classes” hiatus, the NYRA was nice enough to send me some pony goodies. Words cannot describe how hyped I am for the Belmont Stakes and then of course, the Saratoga meet. Summer was already my favorite season, but ponies always make it better. The calendar magnet is affixed to my fridge, the pen now has a home in my camera bag, and I’ll probably stick little Vyjack to my bag too. Thanks NYRA!

A day after I declared “I’m freaking tired and I need to do some schoolwork before I bomb my classes” hiatus, the NYRA was nice enough to send me some pony goodies. Words cannot describe how hyped I am for the Belmont Stakes and then of course, the Saratoga meet. Summer was already my favorite season, but ponies always make it better. The calendar magnet is affixed to my fridge, the pen now has a home in my camera bag, and I’ll probably stick little Vyjack to my bag too. Thanks NYRA!

My 2012 Kentucky Derby pick: Union Rags, who finished 7th.
I think I will always remember the 2012 Triple Crown, even if it ended in disappointment for me… except for that Belmont race of course. (Photo by Thoroughbred Champions)

My 2012 Kentucky Derby pick: Union Rags, who finished 7th.

I think I will always remember the 2012 Triple Crown, even if it ended in disappointment for me… except for that Belmont race of course. (Photo by Thoroughbred Champions)

Racing Beat: January 27

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I will dress up as Dayatthespa when I visit tracks should I get money in time! Now to find chestnut clothes…

Every winner of an Eclipse Award raced at least once in New York last year except for I’ll Have Another, who had to scratch out of the Belmont. #bestplaceforhorseracing

I wonder when Reveron's coming back… he's been breezing at Calder lately.

Before maybe last week, I hadn’t realized that Join in the Dance was dead (one of the horses who pinched Mine That Bird at the start of the Kentucky Derby).

The ICU is a depressing place with grouchy nurses. Best wishes to Ramon Dominguez on a speedy recovery and glad to hear he got out of there, at least.

I’m beginning to think I like Speightstown enough as a sire to place him alongside some of my top favorites I talk about all the time. He always has a lot of good individuals that often get better as they mature and have talent to burn.

Everyone is already talking Kauai Katie as female sprinter of the year with Groupie Doll sidelined until fall. Calm the f—k down, it’s JANUARY, people, and we all should know better than to expect that from a Pletcher horse sired by Malibu Moon. (I do think she’s amazing right now though)

New best racehorse name discovered: California-bred stallion Spinelessjellyfish.

Pete Denk felt Itsmyluckyday was a top horse, as he did with Purple Egg. I WANT THE EGG TO START BACK ALREADY!!

DONN HANDICAP, DONN HANDICAP, DONN HANDICAP.

Joyful Victory finally figured out how to win and in a good spot— the inaugural $400k Houston Ladies’ Classic.

My new life’s mission is to buy Union Rags and then go trick-or-treating as Rick Grimes and the horse in episode 1 of The Walking Dead. If we encounter zombies though, I’m sure he’s quick enough to escape… >.>

Points system sucks: Itsmyluckyday earns the same amount of points for his Holy Bull win as the 4th place finisher of the Florida Derby and other late-in-the-season races. Okay?

Back when I lived in Miami I drove a little scooter whose top speed was 35 mph. In “cold snaps” where it was 45-50 degrees, I had to wear my big coat and double pants to bear riding that thing around with the wind chill created from moving. I can’t imagine how the riders at Aqueduct have been dealing this week! (For those living in a shoe, it’s been in the negatives this week in the northeast)

Tweet o’ the Week: Lethal Heat's sister is a cutie

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Presenting the Hat Rack Awards!

Instead of being boring and posting who I think should win an Eclipse (obviously, I’ve been saying on and off since summer that Wise Dan should get HOTY, and others from there are pretty uncontentious), I present to thee an even better ceremony: THE HAT RACK AWARDS, the most prestigious racehorse awards on the web! Or maybe Tumblr… I don’t know. They’re pretty important though, and I make it a point to recognize some of the most essential individuals from this year to be my honorees.

Best Blaze

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Think blaze face, your thoughts ought to shift to Union Rags, who has been killin’ it in the overall good looks department since forever, and the big blaze certainly helped. Shall his immortality and chrome be passed on to his foals now that he is [unfortunately] retired.

Most UNF

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Looks aren’t everything on the racetrack, but when you’ve got a skunk tail, flaunt it! Lucky Chappy [IRE] only got more handsome as a three-year-old, with his gorgeous roan coloring, handsome expressions, and unique tail he flashed quite often to his opponents. Now if only Royal Delta gave her admirer a chance…

Cutest Blinkers

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A lot of ponies could have gotten this award, but few got as handsome as Animal Kingdom behind their generic black set of blinkers. The Kentucky Derby champ has a pretty face on his own, but focuses to a T behind his hood wherever he goes.

Best Butt

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A very tough award, but it has been decided: Wise Dan! I recall watching him enter the gate of the very prestigious Canadian International (I) at Woodbine earlier in 2012, and despite being in a talented field, he stood out so much from a physical point of view. He just looks so much more fit than other top runners, it’s a shame he has to be a gelding. His butt literally has dimples!! Look at it next time!

Best Use of Tongue

(edit: Okay the embed doesn’t want to work so here is the direct link)

Some racehorses keep it in cheek, others let it all hang out! The award for best tongue-hanging-out action goes to The Thinker, a front-running turf horse I saw and adored at Saratoga on Whitney Day this past summer. Coming down the stretch, his tongue darted out with every stride! I can only guess that’s his style of running… he races again tomorrow (January 21) at Aqueduct! I have a video clip of his race so you can see for yourself. (I just realized Kharafa is also in this race! Omgz)

Most ‘Tude Award

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Not too many get to see, never mind kick a Hall-of-Famer trainer, then go on to win a stakes race. Hamazing Destiny did both on Preakness weekend at Pimlico, giving D. Wayne Lukas a nice gash on his legendary head.

Most Disappointing Horse I Thought Was Going To Be Awesome Award

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After unfing over photos of him breezing at the Breeders’ Cup, I had Asmussen trainee Sabercat down to win the Delta Jackpot in 2011 and win he did. The dark handsome son of one of my favorite stallions, he did little on the Derby trail and while he made some progress, he ultimately disappointed me and hasn’t run since (although he is back to breezing at Fair Grounds and looks pretty good).

Best Name

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Purple Egg. Elusive Cookies was close, but c’mon. PURPLE. EGG. Best of all he’s a talented gelding I don’t have to worry too much about retiring early *knocks on wood*

The-Face-That-Launched-A-Thousand-Dollars Award

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Atigun. *squee*

Horse of the Year

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He used to be a longshot, used to be a Derby has-been, and now he’s the country’s best sprinter and an Eclipse winner to boot! Trinniberg kept us all guessing in his ups and downs this year, culminating in a Breeders’ Cup Sprint championship where he led the whole way through lightning fractions. Stylish in the post parade with his blinker hood and red pom-pom and from humble origins as a cheap auction horse, Trinni gets the gold!

The Unforgettable Races of 2012: #10-1

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Continued from the #20-11 best races post, it’s time to hammer out the ten most awesome and memorable races from 2012! Again, a lot of my choices are North American, so you Euro fans and the like take it easy on me!

Honorable mention: I believe I miscounted the number of races I had before… I really meant to include Mizdirection’s Turf Sprint here in the middle of the countdown. Ugh! I knew I was bad at math but this is very erroneous… sorry Miz!

10) Union Rags sneaks by Paynter to win Belmont (I) - My most personal race from 2012 being that I was there for it, whether you cared for the race or not it was still one not to miss. Hot improver Paynter looked like the first horse in some time that could win the Test of the Champion wire-to-wire until Union Rags managed to find a path through on the inside just as time ran out. Watch it here

9) Questing all shock and awe in Alabama (I) performance - I was kind of heart-broken to have missed this race in person (it was between this weekend and the Whitney weekend I had to go to Saratoga), but all in all, it was still a jaw-dropping display of raw ability watching Questing set Secretariat-like fractions in a wire-to-wire romp in the Alabama (I) against top-class fillies! Watch it here

8) Shackleford deflects Caleb’s Posse to win stunning Met Mile (I) - I didn’t have him to win despite feeling that he could win this race last year after his Preakness victory, all because I thought he was in bad form. Shack Attack proved me wrong and his fan base was jubilant as he kept right on going in a rousing renewal of his rivalry with Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (I) champion Caleb’s Posse. Watch it here

7) My Miss Aurelia ousts Questing in Cotillion (I) match race - Despite boasting a four horse field, it was really a match race between undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (I) winner My Miss Aurelia and the rising star Questing, each well-handicapped against each other to make things an interesting race. Each filly gave it her best and it was quite the million-dollar race. Watch it here

6) Royal Delta digs in, gives away weight, and still prevails in gutsy Delaware Handicap (II) - We all knew she was something special, but a fast horse is nothing without a big heart. Royal Delta gave away 3 to 10 pounds to all of her foes, including a whopping 9 to recent Azeri (III) winner Tiz Miz Sue who challenged her in the stretch when she already appeared to be going all out. Watch it here

5) Wise Dan conquers international field, holds off Animal Kingdom in Breeders’ Cup Mile (I) - A vulnerable favorite, Wise Dan capped off an impeccable year as a do-it-all gelding with a win in the seriously competitive Breeders’ Cup Mile against shippers of colossal class. He skirted away to the lead in the stretch as easily as he did in past starts while managing to hold off Animal Kingdom who came sweeping in late. Watch it here

4) I’ll Have Another catches Bodemeister in dramatic Kentucky Derby (I) - A curious race from its rocky start, Bodemeister unexpectedly outran predicted pacesetter Trinniberg early and looked prime to wire the Derby in an outstanding display of might, only to tire and be caught late by the heroic I’ll Have Another. Watch it here

3) Orfevre caught by Solemia in upsetting Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (FR-I) - While it appeared that Japan’s Triple Crown winner was going to revel in the one of the world’s most prestigious races, it was Solemia who stormed in late and out of the clouds to upset the good Orfevre in the waning moments of the Arc. Watch it here

2) Frankel bows a perfect winner in Champion Stakes (ENG-I) - A timeless, unforgettable sort of horse, the fantastic Frankel made his last start worthwhile as he encountered trouble in the early stages of the race while running on soft turf against some of the best horses in Europe. The crowd cheering to a sustained din, it was the ideal end to a superhorse’s legacy. Watch it here

1) Black Caviar outsmarts and outsprints them all in Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee (ENG-I) to stay perfect - Humming off the rail in an unprecendented ship from Australia to England, the world’s most perfect sprinter looked easy-going making her move to the lead, but nearly lost her undefeated streak when jockey Luke Nolen appeared to ease her too early. Watch it here

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


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