Friday, November 6, 2009
Breeders' Cup 2009 Day One is in the record books, and what a day it was! Attendance showed a considerable increase over the corresponding day last year -- also at Oak Tree, which hosted the event for a second consecutive year -- with 37,651 on track, compared to 31,257 last year. Mutuel handle was $7.1 million on track, up 4%, and total handle was $48.4 million, up 1% from last year.
Trainer John Shirreffs saddled the Ladies' Classic winner for the second straight year with Life Is Sweet; in last year's running he saddled Zenyatta, who runs in the $5 million Classic against males tomorrow.
The highlight of my day was the inaugural Tweeters Cup, an event that brought together Twitter users, bloggers and social networking fans of horseracing, marking the first time a "tweet-up" has been held onsite during a Breeders' Cup Championship event. It was a fabulous social gathering for horseracing fans who are active on Twitter, who were treated to various presentations throughout the day on horse racing content.
In a "Betting the Breeders' Cup Handicapping" session, Joe Drape of the New York Times, Ed DeRosa of the Thoroughbred Times and Tom Quigley of Horseplayer Magazine were featured speakers. Participants also heard Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. discuss his all-time favorites of racing and picks for Breeders' Cup with Art Wilson of the Los Angeles Times.
The best part of it all for this blogger/twitterer was the opportunity to meet and greet some of the people behind the Twitter handles I'm so familiar with. It was super to meet up with fellow tweeters Joe Drape, Gene Kershner and Kevin Stafford of the NTRA blogs, Jonathan Pollinger from Cheltenham, Chris Hernandez , Julie Stewart, and Sally Cruikshank.
Well done everyone! And many, many thanks go to the extraordinary on-site event organizers, Jason Howarth and Jenna Browning of Conover Tuttle Pace, whose warmth, enthusiasm and energy made the day a success. This is just the type of event horseracing needs to encourage the tech-savvy fans in the trenches to do what they do best to promote our great sport. Together we can spread the word about the greatest game!