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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!


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!


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!


A quick hello

Hi all, just dropping by real quick to say sorry that I haven’t messaged anyone back regarding Jotform picks. I have about 11 forms in my inbox, so it would appear that most people who participate just about every week have them in. Here’s a quick rundown of entries received:

  • n-e-body
  • jumpsandbumps
  • sinningincowboyboots
  • webuiltthepyramids
  • abodemeistro
  • rememberruffian
  • horseracingchick
  • thecelestialwinchester
  • Mario Angel
  • nicoledowland
  • michaeldavidson

I simply have not had the time to message everyone back, and this will probably be the same story for next week. 60 hours of work + 5 classes + 3-4 hours of driving daily = NO. TIME. QUITE. LITERALLY. DO NOT EXPECT ME TO ANSWER.

(I feel rude for capitalizing that, but then again I’ve been bombarded this week with people who don’t catch my drift that I have no time to give them a full and timely response)

Thank you all and have a lovely weekend. Get your picks in if you haven’t already!

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!


Ting ding ding a ling ding


My mommy inadvertently added to the Fred Stone art gallery I have going on in my room away at school. Barbaro, Zenyatta, and a medley of champions like John Henry and Secretariat. My wall is full of pony.

Ehmmm… I’ve toppled off the wagon a bit with the start of spring semester. Forgivies. I still have a crapload of things to unpack from Christmas and a new schedule to adjust to, which I am trying to change around today. GOOD CLASSES. GIVE IT ME! I also gotta pick up a magical grant application that will hopefully give me $500 toward financing my pony documentary.

I haven’t forgotten about the video. In fact it is much of what I’ve been thinking about, but I’ve been lazy. I have decided to wait until after Eblouissante's second start today to comment further because that makes the most sense. Laziness + freakish control over how I want things + too many things going on + Netflix = delays. I'm a delay fish.

Better news? After class Friday (tomorrow) I’ll be announcing the Derby Handicap Contest process/guidelines/rest of info this year. For those who did it last year the Holy Bull is shaping up to be much, much deeper than the two-horse race between Hansen and Algorithms. DUN DUN DUN! Prepare thyself!

Instead of a typical stakes analysis, I’ll be doing the late pick 4 at Gulfstream Saturday, which has a very decadent card for the Sunshine Millions. Palace Malice is running in the first race, yeehaw! So… yes… like I said, late pick 4… hopefully done by later today as soon as I get my grown-up stuff done.

High hoof!


One More Update for 2012

Harley says “Merry Christmas GHR readership!” Santa Dawna got him [way too many] toys and his favorite kind of bone! If you get pony racing stuff for the holidays I wanna hear about it! :D

Moar update? Yes!

  • I hope the Christmas card peeps enjoy(ed) their cards. They were shipped outta Massachusetts on Monday!
  • Just finished with finals, so the Eblouissante video will be posted within the next day or two!
  • Coming soon are end-of-the-year posts: Top 20 Best/Most Exciting Races of 2012, my own personal Best Pony honors, and the Year-End Reflections & Goals for 2013, where I will announce super cool future project(s).
  • Because of the dumb Kentucky Derby points system, a lot of prep races got smooshed together on the same weekends or eliminated (the San Vicente for example is no longer going to be a real prep). Thus, the Derby Handicap Contest will span 10 weeks, not 12, starting with the Holy Bull (III) on January 26 and ending with the Arkansas Derby (I) on April 13. Look for an announcement next month… I’m slowly picking up cool prizes already for the top 3 winners! If you like racing memorabilia, you don’t want to miss this. I kind of don’t want to give away first prize which should be arriving in a few days…

And that about does it. Hope everyone has a safe, fun holiday and gets a little rest from the rigors of work and school!

High hoof!


A Crushing No Contest


It’s in my must-accomplish goals to visit Sea Hero again in 2013.

I’ve had some crushing moments this year. Union Rags was retired, Winter Memories bid the grass adieu too soon, Scoobers died, and now again I feel that unpleasant “smooshed” emotion.

It’s not like I thought I was guaranteed a spot on the ABRV, but when I applied, I felt I had a pretty darn good chance. Not many fans will run their own blog about the sport, raise money for its retirees, attract hundreds of followers, pick out some longshots, AND have a powerhouse education working in media. I had a chance, but at the same time no chance unbeknownst to me: apparently they never even got my application. Computer/email glitch I guess, what are the odds. For all I know I could have gotten in and someone else is going to be cruising around in my spot, but I’ll never know and trumpeting around in my current anguished mood probably won’t solve anything or make me look any good. I don’t know what burns me more… the missed opportunity, or the chances I’ll find even more reasons to scoff at ABR’s campaign this coming year. (I vociferously despise their website’s hackneyed message and design as well as their “experts” at the booths)



The interesting thing about destruction is that while one thing dies, it leaves room for another to begin. I intend on carrying out the web video series (I have it drafted out, just need to find time to shoot later this week when I’m done with most of my finals). Why? Not so much to get page hits, but because that’s what is needed. I had a whole laundry list of things I planned on hauling with me to Kentucky to dump out on the table, why can’t I do it from Massachusetts? I have so many ideas, and none of them necessarily require me to have a salary to go with them. The great thing about horse racing is that you can pluck things from it to go with anything in life: did Cigar yield to Soul of the Matter? No! He said hell no, I ran too good today to be bested by the likes of you! And came on again.

Maybe I’ll apply again next year… maybe that’s what’s even in the stars for me. For now, I have finals to work on and big dreams to dream. Thank you all for reading my sordid finger tappings, it will not have been done in vain.

Highest of hoofs!


A Laundry List of Updates

I can’t visit home without taking new pictures of my dog… SORRY NOT SORRY!

I just survived a horrible 7 days without my laptop’s power cord (I stupidly left it at home when I returned for Thanksgiving). Now that I have returneth’d to full functioning mode, a few tidbits of announcements ‘n updates!:

  • YES, I have thrown my hat in the ring for one of the ABRV jobs. I don’t think I could possibly make myself feel any more self-conscious than having to watch and edit video clips of myself, me: the awkward talking stick in crystal-clear 720p. BUT HELLO HORSE RACING BUCKET LIST I WOULD GET PAID TO FULFILL! But seriously, it’s a great opportunity that I could not feasibly turn down considering what I would ultimately like to do in life. If something happens, I’ll post again about it, but if not, I’ll just go to spring semester and pretend this whole thing never happened! >.>
  • I have a cool new interview to post this week involving someone in the horse racing industry.
  • Requests for Christmas cards are due by December 15! Send me your address if you’d like to get a fancy racing-themed holiday card in the mail! For you guys, I will deal with the stupid, condescending USPS guy who always seems to drag on my nerves…
  • The first video I’m going to do is about Eblouissante, Zenyatta's half-sister who recently lived up to the hype in her maiden victory. If you'd like to comment or ask me a question related to Ebby, send them on in and I'll answer them in the video.
  • Plans & prizes are in the works to start up the 2nd Annual Derby Handicap Contest beginning with the Holy Bull Stakes on January 26. Look for a post about it in January, same guidelines apply if you played earlier this year!
  • I have just 2ish weeks left of school so finals may slow my posts a wee bit. Not much, but enough to mention.

Hope all of you are well! Purple Egg's looking better and better!

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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