Congratulations to this week’s winner, Lisa J!

Lisa won the grocery tote and autographed paperback copy of Chivalry! I’m excited for her because she said she never wins anything. 😉 Well, now you can say you’ve won something. Congratulations!

This week’s giveaway is for a canvas tote and autographed copy of Chivalry. Be sure to enter to win. You can be a winner, too, ya know. 🙂 Click here to enter.

2016-02-14 13.48.06

Advertisements

Why Women Will Keep Racing Alive

I. Love. This. Article. Thank you, Steve Haskin. I appreciate your honesty and that you have noticed how women have tried so hard to keep horse racing going, especially lately.
Many of us are not bettors, believe it or not. We’re just in it to watch the horses, and to pick our favorites. We have our favorite horses, jockeys, trainers, even owners and grooms, exercise riders, people behind the scenes. We want to know who is taking care of “our” horses and we want to know if they’re doing a good job. Are these horses really as healthy as they look on the track? Are they treated with love and respect on the shedrow and not just in front of the cameras? Show me more pictures of grooms hugging or kissing their horses. Show me the kitten who wanders the shedrows searching for mice. Show me the trainer who tears up when he hears his horse will be retired. These are the things women horse lovers care about, and we want to make sure the horses are loved and happy before anything else because if we could be there, this is how we’d treat them.
Just look at Jo Anne Normile’s story, “Saving Baby: How One Woman’s Love for a Racehorse Led to Her Redemption.” The entire book is about her journey to start CANTER, a racehorse rescue program to keep them out of slaughter. Nothing hurts worse than hearing about just one horse being led away to that truck. And Ferdinand? Ugh. We won’t go there or I’ll start crying again. (Google his name if you don’t know what happened to him. Bring the Kleenex.) My point is that women are pushing for improvements and getting results and that can only be good for the sport.
I’m thrilled that Steve Haskin has noticed what I’ve noticed recently, and just couldn’t put into words. As usual, he communicates the notion perfectly.

“It was the main character, Velvet Brown, who just happened to sum up American Pharoah in one brief sentence and become the catalyst for this column.”

Source: Why Women Will Keep Racing Alive – Hangin’ With Haskin

Reblog – Kentucky Oaks 2016 Top 10: Casey’s Picks – Lady and The Track

Kentucky Oaks 2016 Top 10: Casey’s Picks- The Kentucky Oaks trail seems to get lost in the limelight of the Kentucky Derby, but there is no doubt that this year the Oaks division seems to be dominated by one filly: Songbird. However, there are some fillies beginning to emerge that could potentially give Songbird all she can handle. Let’s see how I rank my top ten, starting with my number one, Songbird.

Source: Kentucky Oaks 2016 Top 10: Casey’s Picks – Lady and The Track

 

 

Zenyatta Stirred the Emotions  (Must Read, bring tissues)

This article is six years old or so, but relevant since Zenyatta’s son’s much anticipated first race will be this Saturday (2-20) in Race 3 at Santa Anita.
Haskin’s prose reminds us of those glorious days when Queen Z made many of us cry and inspired us to do things we’d never done before. Zenyatta’s bravery and heart was incredible and rare, and you’ll hear many argue her place in history as greatest mare, or greatest mare other than Ruffian.

I still cry when I think about her, especially her loss to Blame in her last race and how it broke Mike Smith’s heart. He blamed himself, and, I don’t know, maybe I’m a softie, but I felt SO bad for him. It may have been his fault and an error in judgement. Sure, he is a professional, but from my couch, it certainly seems near impossible to judge the energy left in every horse, judge how everyone will move, how each horse will react, timing everything, etc – and then Zenyatta may have shied slightly at the lights near the wire before passing Blame just after the wire. That was a tough race to watch, and the press conference afterward was almost tougher. That said, many, myself included, think this was actually Z’s absolute best race. She was absolutely flying down the stretch! It was so incredible.

Why do we cry when we see things like this? Because of their heart. Her determination to win. Her competitiveness. She was trying so hard. I was sad for her as well as myself. I know many feel the same way, especially women.

Lately we’ve had “the feels” from American Pharoah, his ability, heart, and determination bringing many of us to tears. Back then, though, we reacted to Queen Z and Rachel Alexandra with the same tears and emotions, even without a Triple Crown on the line.

Take a quick look at the top 250 horses of all time, voted on by Horse Racing Nation’s voters. See where Z is? Mare or not, she’s in the top 20!

We have high hopes for Ziconic, but, I guess we’ll see. Never judge a horse only by his or her works. Let’s see how he runs a race or two or three. But since he dances like his mom (oh yeah, that’s definitely a factor, considering his energy and how he works it off), works fast, seems mature and ready, I can’t help but hope we get to see more of what we saw six years ago.

Zenyatta has inspired people like none before her.

Source: Zenyatta Stirred the Emotions – Hangin’ With Haskin

Extra, Extra:

I bet you didn’t know that Zenyatta hated the synthetic surfaces. Shirreffs even had to work her at Hollywood Park because she just would not run at Del Mar. Flat out refused. Cantered right through the gap and back to her barn, regardless of what her rider wanted. Read more about Zenyatta’s quirks here.

Nyquist tops Exaggerator by 1 1/2 lengths in San Vicente Stakes – LA Times

There are so many horses this year that are outstanding, I can’t believe it. How does one decide who to pick for their favorite? Can I just pick them all? Nyquist kicked butt over the weekend (if you count the holiday as part of the weekend), but I don’t want to pronounce him my winner yet. There is plenty of time. Plenty can happen between now and Derby Day. I hope and pray they all stay safe and sound and it’ll only be a matter of training, raw talent, maturity, growing, and heart. Who will have the most of those attributes on the first Saturday in May?

Although, I am really, really, happy for Doug O’Neill, Mario Gutierrez and their crew. 🙂

 

“Even those expecting an exciting race in the first meaningful showdown between Kentucky Derby prospects Nyquist and Exaggerator were left speechless.”

Source: Nyquist tops Exaggerator by 1 1/2 lengths in San Vicente Stakes – LA Times

Kentucky Oaks: Don’t miss it!

Every year, the Kentucky Oaks (first Friday in May) is a good race. This year, though, it’s a “can’t-miss” race because there are least two incredibly talented and fast fillies. Just recently, Polar Wind has come into the spotlight after winning 3-3 in the last two months and by huge margins in Dubai. Songbird, America’s undefeated filly, has been so impressive there has been talk about her chances in the KY Derby if she’d had the chance to run. (She cannot because her points are only for Oaks races. Her people had to choose early on whether it would be the Oaks or the Derby, and they chose the Oaks.)

It’s still early, of course, and a lot can change between now and the beginning of May. The others in the race are training and racing, growing, maturing, improving, and you never know – we could have another rising star or two to rival Polar Wind and Songbird soon. Stay tuned and don’t miss this year’s Oaks. It’s going to be a thriller!

Read Brian Zipse’s top 10 for the Oaks so far.

Mike Smith aboard Songbird after her (easy) Breeder’s Cup win:

SongbirdBreedersCupJuvenileFillies2015_18AE298

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt