Friday, February 27, 2009

Jockeeezzz (Feb. 27)

UPDATE: Oh yeah, another new episode or two!!! OK. Thanks to instant replay, we can clearly see that Joe Talamo can't steer a horse. He goes on double secret probation. Asterisks on the blackboard. Who writes on the blackboard after every race? Whatever. The stewards call him in and nod. And wink. Joe is off the hook!!! Yay Joe!!

UPDATE (commercial): Everyone should buy a Snuggie. $19.95, royal blue, sage green, burgundy (whatever) Two book lights, free!!! Awesome.

UPDATE: Alex Solis appearence, OMG!!!!

UPDATE: Mike Smith waxes sage to Joe T: "You ain't gonna get that good until you're in your 30's." That is a long time. Joe T has blank stare.


UPDATE: It's 20 minutes into the show and no women jockeys have appeared. Hmmmmm.

UPDATE: Wow. I didn't know stewards let everyone in on their decisions. ("Get outta here. And be careful") This could be a cool show in itself.

UPDATE: (Rico, upon seeing Dana again:) "Whoa!"

UPDATE: Video of HOLY BULL!!! COOL!!!!

UPDATE: Joe T doesn't know who Holy Bull is??? Arrrrgggghhhhh.

UPDATE: Brandon meets with the stewards, also no problem. Can we get these guys to be in the Nassau County court system? ("I didn't see the stop sign ......")

UPDATE: Alex Solis is riding Lavender Sky for Dan Hendricks. Solis Jr. bought the horse. Oh boy, papa is feelin' the pressure ... he says something like it's usually the kid who wants to impress his dad, now I want to do great for my son (ain't that cute?)

UPDATE: Trivia question about how many different horses Aaron Gryder has ridden? 2,000, 5,000 or 50,000 (duh, he's been riding for 22 years -- it says so every week in the opening)

UPDATE: While we're trying to decide, stunning news on the ensuing commercial: The Wizard of Oz is returning to New York for the first time in more than 10 years (the play, we assume), sometime in March/April ... So flabbergasted, we turned away and didn't get the details. Stay away from New York we will in March and April.

UPDATE: Thank goodness the nightmare commercial ends and it's back to the show: 50,000 is correct!!!!!!!! Like we said, DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!

UPDATE: We'll make this quick; Pig dog Lavendar Sky finishes last!!!!! Last we tell you!!!!!! Why even go for this storyline???? Poor Dan Hendricks says it's time to retire the horse .. no kidding Dan!

UPDATE: We won't go there, but all that needs to be said is jockey agent Ron Ebanks (The "Love Man" ) is hanging with apprentice Brendan Meier the day the kid has no mounts. They are on a porch at the condo overlooking the beach. Wow. Poor depressed gang.

UPDATE: Guess what? It seems the day after this DAY OFF, Meier decides it's time to leave the West Coast and go to Kentucky (where maybe he can win a few races). He says (after like three months) the competition is too tough at Santa Anita (MEMO to Brandon: Try New York, dude). He calls his girlfriend and tells her; she's lives in Chicago, right? And he asks if he's doing the right thing ... She responds something like, you'll be closer to me. Thanks, blondie.

UPDATE: Solis wins Norfolk Stakes on Street Hero (not Street Sense) ... and beats Midshipman (2-year-old champion now training in Dubai for the Kentucky Derby _ a likely losing proposition). Solis is beaming; he has a Derby contender (he hasn't won it in 27 years of riding)...
FACT: Street Hero was third behind Midshipman in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was retired with a knee injury. Tough luck, Alex.

UPDATE: While Solis is celebrating Norfolk win, Meier is seen packing his bags, saying goodbye, and then driving away from Santa Anita. See ya at Churchill Brandon! ...

Friday, February 20, 2009


(Wherein jockeys talk.)
UPDATE: Nice shades, Chantal. They go well with Jinmy the Hat's hat.....
UPDATE: Aaron Gryder's kids are way cute. (Time out while I take my insulin.)
UPDATE: Rico and I think it is bad luck not to ride Gryder on the horse Grace Gryder. But, what do we know?
(INTERIM QUERY: Do they play that cool rock music all the time at Santa Anita?)
UPDATE: Obviously, we don't know much -- Joe Talamo wins on Grace Gryder.
UPDATE: Hey, 20 minutes into show and NO BREAKDOWNS! (Commercials don't count)
UPDATE: Chantal says exercising horses is like getting "their bodies to climax." Rico says: Whoa!!! Then she and Mike Smith go out to dinner and she plays with a cork and they make a bet. She plays with the cork come more. Zzzzz....
UPDATE: Chantal beats Mike in a raZZZzzz...
(INTERIM QUERY: What ever happened to Kayla Stra? Have her upper arms gotten too big for the show?)
UPDATE: Joe Talamo and his girlfriend win over her parents and make cupcakZZZ...
UPDATE: Ahhhhh .... a rousing discussion of synthetic surfaceZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Breadlines and Champagne

Sadly, I relay the news that Marylou Whitney will not be making her customary grand entrance at the Whitney Gala this year at Saratoga, as the Whitney Gala will not be held in light of the current economic meltdown.

"It would," said husband John Hendrickson, "be in poor taste."

I beg to differ. During the 1930's, escapist fare, called "screwball comedies," about madcap heiresses who lived in mansions with a never-ending supply of servants and champagne, were enourmously popular.

For years, hundreds of onlookers have gathered at the Canfield Casino in Congress Park awaiting the grand entrance of Mrs. Whitney, whether by hot-air balloon or horse-drawn coach (suitable for the Queen) or motorcycle, to signal the start of the racing season. Would she be Glinda the Good Witch? Snow White? Little Bo Beep? We could hardly wait.

It was all, she once said, entertainment for the masses, huddled or not.

To cancel now, when we need it more than ever? Say it ain't so!

In the 1930's, during the Great Depression, Americans went almost compulsively to the movies.

"The movies offered a chance to escape the cold, the heat, and loneliness; they brought strangers together, rubbing elbows in the dark of movie palaces and fleapits, sharing in the one social event available to everyone."

--Carlos Stevens, From the Crash to the Fair, The Public Theatre

Moviegoers swooned over Clark Gable, Bette Davis, and Errol Flynn. They laughed at W.C. Fields and the Marx Brothers, fell in love with Shirley Temple, delighted in Busby Berkley's choreography and thrilled to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sashaying across the screen.

It was, simply, an opportunity for normal folks to escape the harsh economic climate of the time. And to describe the current economic clime as anything but harsh would be dishonest.

Now, if Mrs. Whitney elected to respond to many people's vision of what should happen to the ridiculously rich by showing up at the Canfield Casino in a tumbrel, a la Marie Antoinette, that might be considered to be in poor taste (however apropos).

Then again, maybe she could come as Bernie Madoff.

But to deny the masses the chance to forget their everyday troubles for an hour? That is truly tasteless.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Picks

Magna 5
A Rose for You, Goldsville, Into My Soul, Mutak Gold, Wiggle and a Wink

Big A
1st - Beam of Love
5th - Kiss the Cruiser

Gulfstream Park
3rd - Dixie Love
5th - Many Kisses
7th - (exacta box) Wise Passion and Celebrating Love
10th - Jo Jo Love

4th - Sweet Lil Thief
5th - Mario Flowers
Late double: (Best Bet) 8th and 9th: Emma's Valentine and A Rose For You

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jockeys (Friday the 13th: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid)

In which Kayla Stra and Brandon Meier try to win a race and everyone else tries to remain thin:

UPDATE: Brandon Meier may be 5-foot-6 but he has very white teeth.

UPDATE: Brandon Meier is wandering the backstretch at Santa Anita without his agent. This is bad.

UPDATE: Jockeys are discussing food. They are all hungry. Duh.

UPDATE: Each of Kayla's arms are the size of Winston Churchill.

UPDATE: Kayla is upset because she weighs 110 pounds. OMG. Shut up, girl!

UPDATE: The color of the jocks' room at Santa Anita is the same as the color of the house Aaron Gryder lived in here in Floral Park.

UPDATE: I want my own hot box

UPDATE: Rico says Dana is hot. I do not know who Dana is.

UPDATE (for those who have not heard about the Lindbergh baby): 48-year-old Jon Court is no longer a phenom

UPDATE: YAY! Kayla finishes second. Each of her arms have become the size of Shaq's thighs.

UPDATE: BOO! Kayla gets DQ'ed _ from second place! Her arms remain the same size.

UPDATE: (commercial: I am sending away for the $14.95 AB-ROCKER)
It looks awesome!
(I am lying.)

UPDATE: Brandon wins. Brandon's jockey father is clueless. BAD DAD.

UPDATE: Kayla's arms are getting bigger. How is this happening?

UPDATE: Jon Court's wife (niece of Earlie Fires) is scary. I wouldn't eat either if I were married to her.

UPDATE: (Wide shot of jockey wives) Rico: "Whoa."

BREAKING NEWS: Longtime publicist Joey Goldstein passes. More later.

UPDATE: (commercial) I am sending away for a Barbie Girl Pet Vet.

UPDATE: Is Chrystal Court jealous of Kayla? With those upper arms?

UPDATE: "Kayla out of the money"

UPDATE: "Kayla in 9th place"

UPDATE: (Kayla sucks)

TV INTERLUDE: How many bones has Jon Court broken? Rico: 28. Me: I don't care. (Answer: More than 30; good guess, Rico!)

UPDATE: YAY! Kayla wins! OMFG!! Look at those arms! Now she's flexing!

UPDATE: Jon Court and Dick Vermeil were separated at birth (This is not a reach!)


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jockeys: The Show

Much of what has been written about the new reality television series "Jockeys" has been positive. Not being a fan of reality television, or "non-scripted" television, my initial reaction to the show was, basically, relief they didn't screw it up too much. I found the voice-over of the racecalls somewhat annoying, but didn't think much of it at the time.
But then, Brooklyn Backstretch ( weighed in with a particularly sharp-eyed critique of the show, including her observation that a casual observer would think that a race caller mentions the jockeys as often as he mentions the horses.
I have enormous respect for jockeys, for their fearlessness, their athleticism, for their love of horses. But it's called horse racing, not jockey racing, for a reason.
It's the horse that carries the jockey to the finish line, not the other way around. Re-dubbing the race call to make it appear that jockeys are more important than horses is, well, un-real. And dishonest.
The question remains, however -- would people be more attracted to the sport if the human element were emphasized over the horse element? If each track were to publicize situations and conflicts amongst its jockey colony "to create maximum drama and ultimate titillation" would that create more interest in the sport? Would that be kosher? Would the end then justify the means?
This past summer, in a long conversation with Carl Nafzger before his Hall of Fame induction, the trainer talked about his philosophy regarding horse racing. "Put the horse first," he said, "and everything else falls into place."
On Saturday at Aqueduct, after Haynesfield crossed the finish line to win the Whirlaway, racecaller John Imbriale added: "What a day for Ramon Dominguez!" on his fifth winner of the day. Afterward, Dominguez said he knew he was on a lot of good horses that day, but you could never count on anything. It was all about the horse, he said, and the horses came through. For the owners, the trainer, the bettors, and him.
There's a place for everyone, and everything, in horse racing. And it works best when everyone acknowledges that the horse comes first.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bits and Pieces (of my mind)

I love that Curlin won Horse of the Year honors (again) without having won the Breeders' Cup Classic and that his defining moments in 2008 came in the Woodward and the Jockey Club Gold Cup in New York.

I love that Indian Blessing, who won three races in New York including the Test, the Gallant Bloom and the Prioress, was voted top female sprinter without having won the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

And that Proud Spell earned top 3-year-old filly honors by virtue of her victory over Music Note in the Alabama at Saratoga, and that male sprint champion Benny the Bull counted Belmont Park's True North among his four 2008 victories.
I don't like that IEAH Stables, which had two Eclipse winners in Big Brown and Benny the Bull and won 11 Grade 1 races, was outvoted for outstanding owner by Frank Stronach, who had no champions.

I hate that the MTA wants to discontinue the Belmont Special. I know that people can take the LIRR to Bellerose Station, walk three blocks to Belmont Park's Mayfair Avenue gate and hop a NYRA shuttle to the grandstand, but it's hard enough getting people to come out to the racetrack without making things more difficult.

I really like having new faces at Aqueduct during the winter months. Maylan Studart and Jackie Davis aren't exactly new, but the addition of Sheldon Russell, Rosie Napravnik and Eddie Castro adds a new dimension to the jockey colony. And what's not to like about (think John Imbriale here) "C .......C.......Lopez"?

I usually love the names given to NYRA overnight stakes, but confess to being totally stumped by Friday's event, "The Jones Times Machine," unless it's a reference to a recent episode of "Fringe" wherein Mr. Jones' thugs were running around stealing safe deposit boxes put there by Walter 23 years ago. Come to think of it, what else could it possibly be?

And one more thing -- my favorite 11-year-old racehorse, Tour of the Cat, returns to action Wednesday in a $10,000 claimer. Anyone interested?