Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Country Tough Looks Tough for Wednesday's 6th Race

Here's a look at Country Tough schooling in the paddock at Santa Anita during Monday afternoon's races. He appears fit and ready for his race on Wednesday, and is one of my current favorites because he's such a ham. Notice how he stops to pose and never takes his eye off the camera!

Jockey Joel Rosario, who is currently 6th leading rider in the nation, will have the mount on Wednesday. Country Tough is trained by Howard Zucker for Dream Walkin Farms, Inc., a partnership that includes country music star Toby Keith and Brad Penny, starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Zap! of the Week: Christmas Week Action at Santa Anita

Zap of the Week

Larry Zap brings you some early morning video of American Lion, Mega Heat, Papa Clem, Euroglide, and more during Christmas week at Santa Anita. Cameo appearances by a very cute kitten (Barney the barn cat) and puppy (Hanna, new puppy belonging to trainer Jeff Mullins)! Enjoy.

For more information about Larry Zap, see Contributors on the About tab.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

John Henry Statue Unveiled on Opening Day at Santa Anita

Laffit Pincay at the tail, with Ron McAnally framed by the life-size bronze statue.

Among the festivities on Opening Day of Santa Anita's Diamond Anniversary meet Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009, was the unveiling of the new life-size bronze statue of the great John Henry. A huge crowd gathered in the paddock gardens between races to watch Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally, who conditioned John Henry, do the unveiling.

Eduardo Inda, Ron McAnally, Laffit Pincay Jr., Dr. Jack Robbins and Lewis Cenicola pose in front of newly unveiled bronze of John Henry.

The bronze was sculpted by artist Nina Kaiser, who was also in attendance for the unveiling. Also on hand were retired Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr.; trainer Lewis Cenicola, former exercise rider for John Henry and assistant to McAnally; trainer Eduardo Inda, who worked for McAnally for more than 20 years; and Dr. Jack Robbins, a director of Oak Tree Racing Association, one of the organizations that commissioned the work.

Artist Nina Kaiser (second from right) looks on during dedication ceremonies.

John Henry won 12 stakes at Santa Anita during the 1980's and was one of the most popular racehorses of all time. His likeness, installed in front of historic Kingsbury Fountain, makes a glorious addition to the track entrance.

Installation of the 2,000-lb. bronze in the paddock gardens a few days before Opening Day.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Budweiser Clydesdale Ready for Opening Day at Santa Anita

A team of the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales are stabled at Santa Anita Racetrack awaiting their scheduled on-track performance on Opening Day of the 75th Anniversary Santa Anita Winter-Spring Meet on Saturday, Dec. 26.

This particular team is from Booneville, Missouri and travels strictly in the western United States. It is one of six traveling hitches of the majestic horses, which are on the road approximately 11 months a year. Clydesdales were once used as workhorses to pull heavy loads, but the Budweiser horses are now just used for appearances at fairs, parades, and other festivities.

Each of the traveling hitches consists of 10 horses. The horses stand about 6 feet at the shoulder and weight about 2,000 pounds. According to Anheuser-Busch regulations, the horses must be bay in color, have four white stocking feet and a white blaze on the face, and a black mane and tail.

They have been a popular opening day tradition at Santa Anita, and it is always a delight to watch these gentle giants perform!

Santa Claus Spotted at Santa Anita!

I caught some rare footage of the jolly elf actually working a horse (without a sleigh) at Santa Anita Racetrack on Christmas Eve! Enjoy a glimpse of the early morning activity at the Great Race Place as we approach opening day of the 75th Anniversary race meet on December 26, 2009. Merry Christmas from Santa Anita!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from Santa Anita!

With apologies to those in the country's frozen heartland, here in Southern California we're enjoying brisk mornings warming up to sunny afternoons as we gear up for the gift we traditionally open the day AFTER Christmas -- Santa Anita's Winter-Spring meet!

There is electricity in the air in anticipation of the 75th anniversary meet. Even the horses can sense the excitement of the approaching Opening Day. And what an opening it promises to be! There will be a final on-track appearance by the great Zenyatta, a Zenyatta poster giveaway, a free Santa Anita wall calendar for each fan in attendance, the unveiling of the new bronze life-size statue of the great John Henry in the paddock gardens, and a performance by the famous Budweiser Clydesdales -- not to mention a super race card.

The card will feature two Grade 1 stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, the traditional opening day Malibu plus the La Brea for fillies.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Surfer Girl Works at Santa Anita

Here's an absolutely lovely 4-year-old filly by the name of Surfer Girl that I watched work at Santa Anita this morning for trainer Mike Puype.

Surfer Girl is owned by Jim and Janet Rome’s Jungle Racing and managed by Little Red Feather Racing. She is Group 1 placed in Brazil and made a smashing U.S. debut at Santa Anita on March 28, 2009, when she finished second by a head to Flashover in a first condition allowance race.

Surfer Girl was timed in 1:01.8 for her 5-furlong work. She showed a lot of class on the track this morning and is certainly one to watch. And with a name like Surfer Girl, I'd say she belongs in California!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hooray for Hollywood Park's YouTube Channel

Mast Track wins the Native Diver Handicap, Saturday, 12/12/09.
Video courtesy of Hollywood Park on YouTube.

With the closing weekend of its 2009 Fall Meet -- featuring the $750,000 Cash Call Futurity -- quickly approaching, I wanted to give a shout out to the great TV department at the Inglewood, California track, who do a super job of making videos of Hollywood Park feature races available online!

Videos of their feature races are on Youtube at Hollywoodracetrack and have been featured on this blog in the past. The Hollywood Park channel currently features 100 uploads and more than 100 subscribers. I recommend subscribing to the channel to receive notifications of future uploads! Racing resumes for the Spring Meet in April, 2010.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Life Size Statue of Champion John Henry to be Installed at Santa Anita

Omar Valdez and Hugo Aguilar of Downey Tile installing the base for the life size bronze statue of John Henry in the Santa Anita paddock gardens.

Amidst all of the preparations for opening day of Santa Anita's 75th Anniversary Meet, work is under way to prepare the site for a life-sized bronze statue of champion John Henry near the Kingsbury Fountain in the paddock gardens.

The bronze will be unveiled by his long-time Hall of Fame trainer, Ron McAnally, on opening day, Saturday, Dec. 26, following the third race.

Commissioned by Santa Anita and Oak Tree Racing Association, the bronze was sculpted by artist Nina Kaiser and stands at John Henry’s height, 15.2 hands. Kaiser began work on the project more than two years ago following the death of the great horse at the age of 32.

Beloved by California racing fans, John Henry was the first two-time winner of the Santa Anita Handicap, in 1981 and 1982. When retired in 1985, John Henry was racing’s all-time leading money earner, with $6,591,860.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Historic Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park

Hollywood Turf Club President Mervyn LeRoy presents 1966 Hollywood Gold Cup to Mr. and Mrs. L.K. Shapiro, owners of Native Diver.

The historic Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park honors the California-bred Thoroughbred racehorse owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Louis K. Shapiro and trained by Buster Millerick.

Native Diver (1959-1967) was the first California-bred winner of $1 million and the first three-time winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup -- a record that stood until 2007, when it was matched by Lava Man.

Known as the “Black Beauty” of California racing, Native Diver was the seventh racing millionaire, earning a total of $1,026,500 in 81 career starts with 37 wins, 7 seconds and 12 thirds. He was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1978.

Native Diver and jockey Jerry Lambert winning the 1965 Hollywood Gold Cup.

In the same way Zenyatta has captured the minds and hearts of today's race fans, bringing excitement and new hope to California racing, Native Diver in his day must have evoked similar emotions from his fans. One of them was racing journalist, Martin Kivel, who nearly waxed poetic in his description of the great horse:

"When Native Diver won the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar recently it was more than just a horse race. It was a performance by California’s most popular thoroughbred that seemed, in a way, to have human qualities woven into its fabric.

We sort of had the feeling that Native Diver was saying “thanks” to the people who cheered him as he came on the racetrack and had put their money where their hearts were by betting him down to a prohibitive 1-5 favorite.

It was as if the “Black Beauty” understood how they felt, these fans of his who set up a clamor of “bring on Kelso,” as he returned to the winner’s circle after a wire-to-wire victory that found him equaling the track record under a 131 pound package."

In a later article, Kivel said,

"There’s something about Native Diver that seems to put electricity in the air every time he walks out on a race track. It’s hard to explain. Maybe it’s the way he holds his head, sort of high and mighty like. Or, perhaps it’s because he typifies the meaning of the word thoroughbred – always running the best he knows how."2

Native Diver winning the 1966 Gold Cup.

The flashy gelding, said by trainer Millerick to enjoy Jello and lettuce, was accustomed to receiving standing ovations from the throngs when he entered the winner’s circle. He is best known for his incredible Hollywood Gold Cup three-peat, eloquently described by Press-Telegram writer Dave Lewis following the Diver’s third Gold Cup:

"The Gold Cup was responsible for another colorful chapter in racing history Saturday when the “Black Beauty” of California racing, Native Diver, won the rich event for the third consecutive year to become the seventh horse ever to win a million dollars.

Native Diver, first California-bred to reach that plateau, collected $102,100 for the win to push his earnings to $1,002,850 and join such other greats as Kelso, $1,977,896; Round Table, $1,749,869; Buckpasser, $1,419,114; Nashua, $1,288,565; Carry Back, $1,241,165; and Citation, $1,085,760.

Whereas the other members of the millionaire’s club earned their money in big chunks, the Diver scratched it out the hard way, amassing his wealth in 80 trips to the post, winning 36 races with seven seconds and a dozen thirds. Thirty-two of his victories have been in added-money events, far and away a California record.

Ironically, the high-spirited son of Imbros has won only three $100,000 races, and all of them have been the Gold Cup. Eight wins were in races worth $50,000, the other 25 in races worth $25,000 or less."

Native Diver winning the 1967 Gold Cup (O'Hara in front, minus his jockey).

Native Diver is buried in the paddock at Hollywood Park under a monument designed by California artist Millard Sheets.

1 Independent (Pasadena), Aug. 18, 1965, p. 25.
2 Pasadena Star News, Jan. 26, 1966, p. C-2.
3 Press-Telegram (Long Beach), July 17, 1967, p. C-1.

Photos courtesy of Hollywood Park.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Future Stars: Jockey School Students Visit Santa Anita

Frank Garza Jockey School Students
Left to right: Marco Polo Morales, Dustin Bell, Martin Rosales, Frank Garza, Marcus Swiontek, Jon Ebbert, Jonathan Iuliucci, and Lee Hernandez.

A group of aspiring riders, all students of Frank Garza Jockey School in Somis, California, made a visit to Santa Anita Racetrack, where they posed for a photo this morning at Clockers' Corner.

Garza, owner and president of the school, has worked in the horse racing industry for more than 40 years. He won his first match race at the age of ten, and in 1967 began riding professionally on the California circuit for trainer Henry Moreno. Garza rode for 13 years throughout the United States.

Students at his school can choose from a variety of programs aimed at careers as jockeys, exercise riders, grooms and trainers. There are both resident and non-resident programs. For more information about the school, take a look at frankgarzajockeyschool.com.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Original Big 'Cap: South of the Border

A guest post by David J. Beltran

When Einstein crossed the finish line to win the 2009 $1-million Santa Anita Handicap, he added his name to a list of champions that have made it Santa Anita’s signature race. Many people don’t know that the concept for the storied Big ‘Cap actually has its roots in Mexico, with the Coffroth Handicap.

Coffroth Handicap 1924
A crowd filled the stands of Tijuana Racecourse for the 1924 Coffroth Handicap.

The Coffroth Handicap, started at Tijuana Racecourse, was named after the track’s president, San Francisco boxing promoter James "Sunny" Coffroth. The first running of the Coffroth only held a purse of $5,000 to the winner, but soon the race would increase in value when it was suggested by Tijuana’s presiding steward, George W. Schilling, that the purse should increase by $10,000 each year.

Outside of Oriental Park in Havana, Cuba or The Fair Grounds in Louisiana, winter racing at the time was non-existent in the United States. There was a revolution simmering in Mexico, and the Juarez racetrack had closed its doors. Tijuana racetrack was poised for serious growth thanks in part to a supportive social and governmental environment. First there was no competition from any other racetrack that operated during the winter months. Secondly, Prohibition had inspired many an American to venture into Mexico to misbehave, spend a little money and gamble at the various casinos that dotted the U.S-Mexico border. And with the Mexican government declaring the northern region of Baja California a free trade zone, American investors were able to set up business to support the border region of San Diego/Tijuana as a winter vacation getaway. With Coffroth’s Blue Fox Casino funding the racetrack venture the value of the Coffroth Handicap seemed to have no limits.

The early runnings of the Coffroth Handicap featured the best local runners from the current winter meet, but it was not until 1924 that the first BIG horse was lured into Mexico. His name was Exterminator -- the winner of the 1917 Kentucky Derby. “Old Bones,” as he was affectionately called, made a devastating debut south of the border to win an allowance race and was heavily favored to win the $40,000 Coffroth Handicap, but the best he could manage was a fourth-place finish.

With each subsequent running, the Coffroth Handicap not only increased in value but in the fields it attracted, such as top handicap horses Atherstone, Sunspero, Carlaris and Princess Doreen. The race reached its goal of $100,000 in 1928 when Crystal Pennant beat 17 rivals.

Crystal Pennant 1928
Crystal Pennant after winning the 1928 Coffroth Hadicap.

The following year, Golden Prince took home the $113,000 prize when he forged home ahead of 21 competitors. Sadly this was to be the final racing season at the old Tijuana racecourse. The racing permit was bought out by the management of the Agua Caliente Casino and Resort, and racing was to be held at the new $2.9-million dollar Agua Caliente Jockey Club.

The “new racetrack” simply transferred over the old racing calendar and proceeded. The inaugural running of the Agua Caliente Handicap in 1930 attracted 1928 Preakness winner, Victorian. Highweighted at 126 pounds, Victorian did not find the weight an obstacle as he went on to an easy victory.

Agua Caliente Handicap Post Parade 1930
Post parade for the first running of the $100,000 Agua Caliente Handicap, March 23, 1930.

The inaugural meeting at Agua Caliente proved to be a success, and the 1931 running offered a first place prize of $100,000. Entered was America’s top handicap runner, Sun Beau. Like Exterminator, Sun Beau prepped in an allowance race early in the meet and was heavily favored to win the big race. In a field of 10, Sun Beau found traffic early in the race. Once in the clear his rider made the decision to try and steal the race with five furlongs to run. Leading into the stretch, Sun Beau began to fade from his early efforts when he used himself up evading traffic. With nothing left, Sun Beau finished fifth, beaten by the unaccomplished Mike Hall.

The following year was perhaps the most famous of all Agua Caliente Handicaps. It was the race in which Phar Lap made his only North American start. Phar Lap was a managerial coup, and the Agua Caliente promotional machine was revving its engines in hopes of having The “Terror of the Antipodes” make one start before the big race. But the hyped International Handicap between Phar Lap, American Derby winner Reveille Boy, Preakness winner Dr. Freeland and local favorite Scimitar never left the drawing table. Phar Lap had suffered a quarter crack in one of his hooves and was sidelined for most of his stay in Mexico.

Phar Lap's trainer, Bobby Woodcock trained the horse by keeping him moving in long walks. The day of the big race finally came, and Woodcock feared that his horse would not only be a target of gamblers but the riders in the race. To throw everyone off, Woodcock brought Phar Lap over from the stables and saddled him two hours before post time.

In the race Phar Lap broke slowly then was taken in hand and out towards the center of the course to prevent him from being boxed in or crowded. As the field made its way around the clubhouse turn, Phar Lap was well behind the field. When the field straightened out on the backside, Phar Lap made one gigantic run at the leaders. Making the lead with a half mile to run, Phar Lap coasted until Reveille Boy made a run at him and seemed well on his way to overtake Phar Lap. But the great Aussie champ turned it up another notch and won drawing away.

Phar Lap
Phar Lap in the winners' circle after the $50,000 Agua Caliente Handicap. Pictured are trainer Tommy Woodcock and jockey Billy Elliot.

Fourteen days after this great victory, Phar Lap would die under mysterious circumstances at a ranch in Menlo Park,California. Emotionally stirred by this tragedy, many believed the great horse was poisoned, but in reality Phar Lap died of a rare form of colic.

The Agua Caliente Handicap was caught in the rigors of the Depression, and the purse was reduced to $25,000. The 1933 and ’34 runnings were won by Gallant Sir, ridden by George “The Iceman” Woolf and John “Red” Pollard of Seabiscuit fame, respectively. 1935 saw the end of the great racetrack in Tijuana as a new president of Mexico, Lazaro Cardenas, sought to close the gambling empire run by Americans. It was not until 1938 that both Agua Caliente racetrack and its signature race joined forces in an effort to revitalize racing in Northern Mexico. Seabiscuit made his only start outside of the United States as he scored an easy win in the $12,500 race.

With the opening of Santa Anita in 1934 and the lifting of Prohibition, Agua Caliente racetrack no longer had the stronghold it had during the early 1930’s. Agua Caliente was reduced to an arena for lower level horses but remained a popular attraction for horseplayers during the 1950’s and 60’s. Caliente offered a varied betting menu, which made its Anglo neighbors seem drab in comparison. With Quinellas, Perfectas and the 5-10 (racing’s first pick-6) Caliente lured the American bettors into Mexico for the only Sunday racing in the Western region.

Run by John Alessio, Caliente saw an opportunity to make racing history by reviving the Agua Caliente Handicap and luring the great Round Table. At the time, Round Table was $30,000 short of being racing’s newest millionaire, and the winning share of the Agua Caliente Handicap would put Round Table over that mark.

Round Table winning Agua Caliente Hcp
Round Table winning the 1958 Caliente Handicap.

Assembling a host of local runners, Caliente assured trainer William Molter that Round Table would not carry more than 130 pounds. More than 30,000 people crammed into Caliente that day. Round Table, ridden by William Shoemaker, had a close call on the clubhouse turn as Shoemaker found himself in a tight running position. But “Shoe” was able to get the big horse out in the clear and won the race with a decisive move on the far turn. Round Table won by nine lengths in track-record time for the 1-1/16-mile distance.

Round Table winners circle
Round Table in the winners' circle with trainer William Molter, Jockey Bill Shoemaker and Caliente General Manager John Alessio.

After the 1958 running, the Agua Caliente Handicap would never be run again. While the Santa Anita Handicap has seen monumental growth from its birth in 1935, the great race has its roots and owes its very concept to the great tracks of Tijuana, Mexico.

Author's Note: Agua Caliente was destroyed in a 1971 fire. Rebuilt, the “new” Caliente opened in 1974 and eventually closed its doors in 1992. Today Caliente is no longer the racetrack it used to be and has been converted into a private home of a failed local politician, its infield retrofitted with a soccer stadium.

All photographs property of David Beltran Collection.

David J. Beltran was born in Chula Vista and raised in San Diego and Tijuana. He has been attending the races since he was an infant, both at Caliente and the Southern California race tracks. Beltran is the author of the book The Agua Caliente Story (Eclipse Press 2004), a correspondent to Caballo, a racing magazine in Mexico, and a writer for the Argentine racing daily, Turf Diario. He recently published an article in HorsePlayer magazine covering betting on South American imports. Beltran also breeds Thoroughbreds and is a blood-stock agent specializing in Argentinean racing and breeding stock. He lives in Chula Vista with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jockey Joe Talamo to Represent U.S. in Hong Kong

Southern California rider Joe Talamo will represent the United States in the 12th annual Cathay Pacific International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley on Wednesday, December 9.

Twelve international jockeys will participate in an opening ceremony featuring a spectacular pyrotechnic show that will light up the Happy Valley skyline. The world-class riders will then compete in three legs of racing, with the jockey accumulating the most points winning the championship. Jockeys are assigned their mounts randomly in the three handicap races.

Last year, Douglas Whyte, Hong Kong's leading jockey for the last 9 seasons, won his second consecutive Cathay Pacific International Jockeys' Championship and third overall. The South African-born 37-year-old failed to win any of the three legs of the championship, but took home the first prize by finishing second in all three legs.

First leg of the 2008 Cathay Pacific International Jockeys Championship at Happy Valley Racecourse. U.S. jockey Cornelio Velasquez closed down the center of the track on Super Genki, wearing down fellow American Garrett Gomez on Classa Suprema, who finished third. Finishing second was Hong Kong based jockey Douglas Whyte on Bobo Win.

Talamo will also ride California Flag for trainer Brian Koriner in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) on Saturday, Dec. 13. The Sprint is one of four international group 1 events at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong. Worth a total of $8 million in purses, the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races also include the Hong Kong Cup (2000m), the Hong Kong Mile (1600m), and the Hong Kong Vase (2400m).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Zap! of the Week: Another Look at Zenyatta's 13th Win

For those of us who can't get enough of the great mare and her prancing antics, Larry Zap brings you Zenyatta winning the 2009 Lady's Secret stakes at Oak Tree at Santa Anita Park. Relive the race that brought her career record to 13 for 13. Nicely narrated by Zap. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Zenyatta Day at Hollywood Park

Zenyatta fan
Zenyatta fan Colleen Carr at Hollywood Park for Zenyatta Day

Today was Zenyatta Day at Hollywood Park, and Colleen Carr of Temecula, Calif., arrived sporting a homemade replica of the now-famous aqua and pink silks worn by Zenyatta's jockey Mike Smith for owners Ann and Jerry Moss.

She was one of thousands of exuberant fans that traveled from far and wide to be part of the celebration honoring the great mare, winner of the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic and unbeaten in 14 career starts.

Fans young and old were there to see Zenyatta as she made her final public appearance at the Inglewood track that has been her home base. They received a special edition DVD, "Zenyatta: A Living Legend," along with a "Go Zenyatta" poster, and were treated to a special appearance by Zenyatta as she galloped down the home stretch and made her way into the winners' circle one last time.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was a special guest, congratulating Zenyatta's connections and presenting a bronze California bear to the Mosses -- an award given for Outstanding Achievement. Also in the winners' circle were the members of "Team Zenyatta," including Smith, groom Mario Espinoza and his wife, Carmen (who is also Zenyatta's hotwalker), Shirreff's wife and racing manager for the Mosses, Dottie Ingordo, and exercise rider Steve Willard, who rode Zenyatta down the stretch and into the winners' circle.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park Honors One of Racing's All Time Greats

Citation winning
Citation winning the 1951 Hollywood Gold Cup, the final race of his career.

Today's Grade 1 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park celebrates one of racing's greats: Citation, the eighth Triple Crown champion and one of two North American Thoroughbreds (along with Cigar) to win 16 races in a row in major stakes competition. For 25 years following his Triple Crown triumph, Citation's name was used as the gold standard in Thoroughbred racing, as each year's most talented three-year-olds attempted to become "the first horse since Citation in 1948 to win the Triple Crown."

Owned and bred by Calumet Farm in Kentucky, Citation was a bay colt by Bull Lea out of the mare Hydroplane. He was Thoroughbred racing's first millionaire horse, earning $1,085,760 in a 45-race career that spanned 1947 to 1951. He was trained by Hall of Famers Ben Jones and son Jimmy Jones.

Citation in the winners circle
Citation, Steve Brooks up, after winning the 1951 Hollywood Gold Cup. Pictured left to right are Thomas W. Simmons, Mrs. Steve Brooks and daughter Kathy, Goodwin Knight, Mrs and Mr. Jimmy Jones.

Citation won his first start at the old Havre de Grace Racetrack in Maryland on April 22, 1947 in a 4-1/2 furlong race. He would go on to win 32 times, finishing out of the money only once. He was Champion Two-Year-Old in 1947, Champion Three-Year-Old and Horse of the Year in 1948, and Champion Older Horse in 1951.

Injuries kept Citation from racing as a 4-year-old, but he came back to the races in 1950, winning his 16th race in a row at Santa Anita Park. His owners had brought him back to racing with the goal of becoming the first horse to win $1 million.

Citation backstretchDown the backstretch in the 1951 Hollywood Gold Cup (Citation on outside).

On July 14, 1951, Citation won the Hollywood Gold Cup, pushing his career earnings past $1 million and signaling the end of his racing career. He was retired to Calumet Farm, where he sired a number of noteworthy offspring. In 1959, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. He died on August 8, 1970 at the age of 25.

Photographs courtesy of Hollywood Park.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ventura to Make Final Career Start in Saturday's Matriarch

Ventura at Santa Anita
Ventura at Santa Anita, 10-17-08.

Ventura will be saddled by Humberto Ascanio, the longtime assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, for the final start of her career in The Matriarch on Saturday at Hollywood Park. Frankel, who passed away Nov. 16, is the all-time leading trainer at Hollywood Park. He captured 13 training titles at the Inglewood track -- six of them consecutive -- and saddled a record eight Matriarch winners.

Ventura won the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and was runner-up in 2009. She has earned more than $2 million in 20 career starts, with 9 wins, including the Woodbine Mile against males.

The Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares three years old and up will be run at one mile on the turf. Saturday is the second day of Hollywood Park’s 18th Turf Festival, a series of grass races that was introduced at the 1991 Autumn Meet. Saturday's card also features the Grade 3 Generous Stakes.

Friday features the Grade 1 Citation Handicap. Sunday — Zenyatta Day at Hollywood Park — will feature the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby and the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Country Tough: A Morning Gallop at Santa Anita

Country Tough gallops and gets a bath, Santa Anita Park, 11-24-09

I followed Country Tough, a lovely chestnut son of Smart Strike, as he went out to the main track at Santa Anita for a gallop then back to trainer Howard Zucker's barn for a cool-down and bath. He is quite the looker, with his coat still showing dapples and gleaming like copper in the morning sunshine.

Country Tough at Santa AnitaCountry Tough, Santa Anita Park, 11-24-09

I've had my eye on Country Tough since he arrived in California from the Fair Grounds for the summer meet at Del Mar, where he hammed it up for a video in his stall.

Country Tough in his stall at Del Mar, 8-16-09

Owned by Dream Walkin Farms, Inc., a partnership that includes country music star Toby Keith and Brad Penny, starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, Country Tough ran second in his first California start on November 4 at Oak Tree. I look for more exciting things to come from this three-year-old!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Equine Artist Carole Andreen-Harris Visits Santa Anita

When I was younger, my father -- then a rising star among California landscape artists -- visited Yosemite National Park. The result was a stunning series of landscape paintings that brought to life the magnificence of the mountains, streams, trees and rocks. Each piece was a labor of love, each canvas a reflection of the intricacies of nature that must have nearly overwhelmed him upon first sight.

When I met with artist Carole Andreen-Harris at Santa Anita one morning before Breeders' Cup, I imagined that she must have had similar feelings. Andreen-Harris, who lives in Arizona and has spent years photographing and painting racehorses at local racetracks such as Rillito Park, was suddenly in the midst of the greatest equine athletes in the world. I could feel her excitement as she photographed them jogging, galloping, and breezing by in the crystal clear October sunshine with the picturesque backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Carole Andreen-HarrisCarole Andreen-Harris snaps a shot of Breeders' Cup horses on the track at Santa Anita.

Visual artists are unique human beings, driven by a desire to express life's beauty in a tangible medium. Andreen-Harris strives to translate the visual power and poetry of the horse in painting. With a lifelong love and obsession for everything equine, she has a special passion for horse racing. Her trip to Santa Anita yielded more than 400 photographs suitable for painting, and she has already begun work on some, including a lovely study of the head of a chestnut horse, for which she sent me a sneak peek.

Work in progress, Carole Andreen-Harris

Her style is one of realism, with the horses the focal points in her paintings. Her use of light to accentuate their sleek coats, combined with the detail of each straining muscle, gives the viewer a sense of the excitement and action of the Thoroughbred racehorse. To see more examples of her work, visit her website at www.andreenharris.com.

This post is dedicated to the memory of my father, landscape artist Bernard Wynne, who passed away November 15, 2009, at the age of 89. He lives on in his works.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Interview with HANA's Theresia Muller

On a visit to Santa Anita for Breeders' Cup, Theresia Muller, Treasurer of Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA), spoke about the organization and its goals. HANA is a grass roots, non-profit organization made up of horseplayers who are seeking to bring racing back to the prominence it once held in people's hearts on a national level.

Their stated goals include open access to all track signals for all ADWs, takeouts that are competitive with other forms of gambling, the abolishment of breakage, severe penalties for trainers who cheat, and odds updates in real time. To accomplish those goals, HANA is working to increase recognition of the players and their input by those who run racing.

Obviously a passionate horseplayer, Muller also talked about her handicapping methods. When I followed up with her after the Breeders' Cup weekend, she reported that she had been "moderately successful" with her wagering.

"Saturday was much more lucrative for me than Friday, highlighted with wins by Vale of York in the Juvenile and Smart Bid in the Damascus," said Muller. "And for me its very satifying nailing a longshot or two on Breeders' Cup day (also makes my getting up early each morning to hit Clockers Corner worth it)."

She thought the Breeders' Cup card was pretty good overall, with the undercard stakes on both days being good complements. And there were "plenty of exciting finishes and amazing performances, topped off by of course the phenomenal experience of watching Zenyatta."

Muller, who heads out to Southern California two to three times a year, plans to be back for the Hollywood Park Turf Festival on Thanksgiving weekend. Here's wishing the best of luck to her and horseplayers everywhere!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Euroglide Pointing for Cigar Mile at Aqueduct

Euroglide at Peter Eurton's barn, Santa Anita.

Euroglide was happy to walk out with foreman Alex Berec and pose for pictures on a beautiful, sunny morning last week at Peter Eurton's barn, Santa Anita. The 5-year-old son of Honor Glide is nominated for the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, to be run Saturday, Nov. 28.

Euroglide ran third in the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap and was a close second in the El Segundo Handicap, both at Santa Anita. In his most recent race, Nov. 4 at Oak Tree, he finished second by a nose in an Allowance Optional Claiming race at 6-1/2 furlongs.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Zap! of the Week: Itssultryinthecape Wins at Hollywood Park

Zap of the Week

Larry Zap offers up some very nice footage of two-year-old fillies Jet Blue Girl and Buckysue, both Larry Zap Bloodstock purchased thoroughbreds, as they school in the Hollywood Park paddock for their races the day before they run. Also watch three-year-old Itssultryinthecape ($4500) as he breaks his maiden impressively in a MSW on grass at Hollywood Park on Nov. 14 2009. Narrated and edited by by Larry Zap. Enjoy!

For more information about Larry Zap, see Contributors on the About tab.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kat Scratch Fever, No Mistress Work at Hollywood Park

Trainer Ron Ellis worked a couple of three-year-olds together at Hollywood Park on Friday morning. Shown in the stretch are No Mistress (inside) a filly by Canadian Frontier and Kat Scratch Fever, a filly by Forest Wildcat.

Both fillies were timed going 5 furlongs -- No Mistress in 1:01.2 and Kat Scratch Fever in 1:01.4.

Aprisa Luna Works at Hollywood Park

I caught some video of Aprisa Luna, a lovely, unraced filly by Malibu Moon, working at Hollywood Park on Friday morning for trainer Ron Ellis. Aprisa Luna worked 6 furlongs in 1:15.4.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chrysaor Works at Hollywood Park for Trainer Ron Ellis

I caught a video of Chrysaor, a colt by Fusaichi Pegasus, as he worked at Hollywood Park Friday morning for trainer Ron Ellis. Chrysaor was timed in :36.8 for the 3-furlong work.

Curiosity about the colt's unusual name led me to do a little research, and it seems he is quite aptly named. The son of the great Fusaichi Pegasus bears the same name as the brother of Pegasus in Greek mythology.

According to Greek mythology, Chrysaor was the son of Medusa and the god Poseidon. Medusa, a mortal, was killed by Perseus, who cut off her head. According to myth, from the blood that ran from her neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, her two offspring by Poseidon. Chrysaor was typically represented as a giant, but he has also been depicted as a winged boar.

Fans May Get Another Chance to View the Great Zenyatta

I spoke with trainer John Shirreffs today about how Zenyatta is "decompressing" back home at Hollywood Park following her extraordinary campaign capped off by her historic victory in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

Zenyatta with groom Mario EspinozaZenyatta with groom Mario Espinoza and hot-walker Carmen Zamora, 11-13-09

Shirreffs indicated that plans are under foot to bring the superstar filly out for her adoring fans -- both at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita -- before she leaves the track for the breeding farm. Stay tuned for details!

Friday, November 13, 2009

David Ingordo, Bloodstock Agent who Selected Zenyatta, on Live Radio Show Sunday

David Ingordo, the bloodstock agent who selected Zenyatta at the 2005 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for purchase for $60,000 to Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss, will be the guest this Sunday on Turf Paradise’s Riders Up! weekly radio program. Ingordo is the son of trainer John Shirreff's wife, Dottie Ingordo.

Zenyatta with groomZenyatta with her groom Mario Espinoza, Hollywood Park, 11-13-09

The program airs from 10:00-11:00 am (9:00-10:00 a.m. Pacific Time) on KDUS 1060 AM. The live call-in show can reached at (602) 260-1060. To listen to the show via live audio streaming, go to Fanster.com, then click on the Listen Live - Fan 1060 logo at the top of the web page.

It promises to be a fascinating half hour!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Star Nicholas to Defend Title in On Trust Handicap at Hollywood Park

Star Nicholas heads a field of nine in Saturday's feature race at Hollywood Park, the 26th running of the On Trust Handicap for California-bred 3-year-olds at 7-1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track. Star Nicholas won last year's On Trust, giving trainer Peter Eurton his first Hollywood Park stakes victory.

Star Nicholas, a 6-year-old son of Poteen, was bred in California by Pete Cristofi and Bob Nugent. He has five wins in 20 starts and lifetime earnings of $347,263. He won the Windy Sands Handicap at Del Mar and ran third in the Cal Cup Classic at Oak Tree.

Star NicholasStar Nicholas in his stall, Santa Anita Park, 11-12-09

Regular jockey Michael Baze has the mount for owners King Max Farm, Mostero Family Trust or Nugent, et al.

The On Trust Handicap will run as the eighth race on Saturday’s nine-race program at Hollywood Park. First post is at 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hollywood Park 2009 Fall Meet Opens Friday

Hollywood Park
Hollywood Park kicks off its 2009 Fall race meet with evening racing this Friday, Nov. 13 beginning at 7:05 p.m. The meet runs through Sunday, Dec. 20 and features five grade 1 stakes: the $300,000 Citation Handicap (Friday, Nov. 27), $300,000 Matriarch (Saturday, Nov. 28), $300,000 Hollywood Derby (Sunday, Nov. 29), $750,000 CashCall Futurity (Saturday, Dec. 19), and $300,000 Hollywood Starlet (Saturday, Dec. 20).

The Hollywood Turf Festival will be the highlight of the Thanksgiving weekend with a series of grass races including the Citation, Matriarch, Generous Stakes, Hollywood Derby and Miesque Stakes. The Turf Festival was introduced at Hollywood Park's 1991 Autumn Meet.

Post time is 12:30 p.m., with the following exceptions: 7:05 p.m., Fridays, Nov. 13 & 20. 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving Day).

Zap! of the Week: Zenyatta Wins the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic

Zap of the Week

Larry Zap takes you up close and personal to watch the great Zenyatta winning the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita -- from the walking ring to the winner's circle. Narrated by Zap. Enjoy!

For more about Larry Zap, see Contributors in the About tab.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Zenyatta: A Horse for the People

In a scintillating performance, Zenyatta powered to victory in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita this afternoon before a crowd of 58,845 wildly cheering fans. In beating the world-class field of male runners, Zenyatta soundly established her place in history and preserved her perfect record, with 14 wins in 14 starts.

Zenyatta Breeders Cup 2009Zenyatta stomps and dances through the paddock, Breeders' Cup 2009

For those of us lucky enough to be among the cheering crowd, it was a time to be cherished and remembered forever. In an almost surreal moment after she crossed the finish line, people all around me screamed, wept, clapped wildly, and hugged each other with joy. Trainer John Shirreffs tossed his hat into the cheering crowd, and jockey Mike Smith scattered a shower of flower petals into the air as thousands crowded around the winners' circle.

Zenyatta and John ShirreffsZenyatta and John Shirreffs make their way through the paddock, 11-7-09

Zenyatta cools down outside her barn after winning the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic

They say that when times are tough, people need a hero. Seabiscuit filled that role during the Great Depression; Zenyatta has become the same type of hero for today's fans. She clearly enjoys her role as superstar as she interacts with the crowd, strutting and two-stepping her way out onto the track, stopping every now and then to look around and pose for her adoring fans. Add to that the generosity of her owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, in sharing her with the people, and the result is a lovely ray of hope at a time when it most needed in horseracing.

Santa Anita paddock Breeders Cup 2009Racing fans flood the paddock to see Zenyatta on her way to the Classic

Girl Power! Zenyatta, Goldikova Beat the Boys at Breeders' Cup

Goldikova Breeders Cup 2009Goldikova, Santa Anita paddock, Breeders' Cup 2009

Although the majority of the filly and mare races were contested on Friday, Day One of the 2009 Breeders' Cup World Championship, Saturday was clearly ladies' day at Santa Anita.

In a historic repeat victory, 4-year-old filly Goldikova won the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile over 10 male rivals. Ridden by Olivier Peslier for French trainer Freddie Head and owners Wertheimer and Frere, Goldikova rallied strongly to a half-length win over Courageous Cat.

Zenyatta Breeders Cup 2009Zenyatta, winner of the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic

In the marquee race, the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, history was made when Zenyatta prevailed in a much anticipated contest against some of the best male runners in the world. Pink and white "Zenyatta" signs flashed throughout the saddling paddock and stands, and were later waved from car windows by exuberant fans leaving the track at the end of the day.

You Go Girls!

Complete Breeders' Cup 2009 Race Results

Zenyatta signSeasoned Handicapper Jimmy "The Hat" (far left) alongside a racing fan of a younger generation.

Breeders' Cup Marathon
1 - #9 Man of Iron (Murtagh) 14.80, 7.20, 4.40
2 - #4 Cloudy's Knight (Homeister Jr.) 7.40, 4.60
3 - #6 Mastery (GB) (Dettori) 2.40
4 - #10 Gangbuster
5 - #2 Muhannak (IRE)
6 - #5 Father Time (GB)
7 - #8 Eldaafer
8 - #3 Nite Light
9 - #1 Black Astor
10 - #7 Sir Dave

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
1 - #10 Tapitsfly (Albarado) 21.60, 8.60, 6.00
2 - #4 Rose Catherine (Castellano) 6.80, 5.80
3 - #7 House of Grace (Luzzi) 5.00
4 - #9 Hatheer
5 - #6 Jungle Tale
6 - #5 La Nez
7 - #1 Potosina
8 - #8 Lillie Langtry (IRE)
9 - #3 Smart Seattle
10 - #12 Lisa's Kitten
11 - #2 Elusive Galaxy (IRE)
12 - #11 Junia Tepzia (IRE)
(Scratched: Dad's Crazy, In the Slips)

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies
1 - #8 She Be Wild (Leparoux) 16.80, 9.00, 5.00
2 - #4 Beautician (Albarado) 9.40, 6.00
3 - #3 Blind Luck (T. Baze) 3.00
4 - #12 Biofuel
5 - #11 Always a Princess
6 - #10 Negligee
7 - #1 Zilva
8 - #6 Connie and Michael
9 - #2 Ms Vanenzza
10 - #5 Bickersons
11 - #7 Devil May Care
12 - #9 Champagne d'Oro

Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf
1 - #6 Midday (GB) (Queally) 6.60, 4.80, 3.00
2 - #5 Pure Clan (G. Gomez) 7.80, 4.00
3 - #2 Forever Together (Leparoux) 2.40
4 - #1 Visit
5 - #4 Magical Fantasy
6 - #8 Maram
7 - #3 Rutherienne
8 - #7 Dynaforce

Conduit Breeders Cup 2009Conduit and Sir Michael Stoute, Breeders' Cup 2009

Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
1 - #7 Informed Decision (Leparoux) 8.80, 3.00, 2.80
2 - #9 Ventura (G. Gomez) 2.60, 2.20
3 - #1 Free Flying Soul (Smith) 7.40
4 - #2 Sara Louise
5 - #4 Only Green (IRE)
6 - #5 Silver Swallow
7 - #6 Evita Argentina
8 - #8 Seventh Street
9 - #3 Game Face

Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic
1 - #2 Life Is Sweet (G. Gomez) 18.20, 8.00, 5.00
2 - #3 Mushka (Desormeaux) 12.80, 6.40
3 - #7 Music Note (Maragh) 3.20
4 - #5 Proviso (GB)
5 - #8 Rainbow View
6 - #6 Cocoa Beach (CHI)
7 - #4 Lethal Heat
8 - #1 Careless Jewel

Bob Baffert Breeders Cup 2009Bob Baffert in the paddock, Breeders' Cup 2009

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf
1 - #4 Pounced (Dettori) 6.80, 4.80, 3.20
2 - #7 Bridgetown (Landry) 6.60, 4.20
3 - #11 Interactif (Desormeaux) 3.20
4 - #6 Awesome Act
5 - #12 Buzzword (GB)
6 - #13 Dean's Kitten
7 - #5 Gallant Gent
8 - #2 Viscount Nelson
9 - #10 Becky's Kitten
10 - #8 King Ledley
11 - #1 Zip Quik
12 - #3 Codoy
(Scratched: Kera's Kitten, Summer Movie)

Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint
1 - #3 California Flag (Talamo) 8.80, 5.60, 3.80
2 - #7 Gotta Have Her (T. Baze) 8.80, 5.60
3 - #6 Cannonball (Dominguez) 4.80
4 - #14 Delta Storm
5 - #10 Canadian Ballet
6 - #2 Silver Timber
7 - #1 Noble Court
8 - #11 El Gato Malo
9 - #5 Get Funky
10 - #8 Square Eddie
11 - #9 Diamondrella (GB)
12 - #4 Lord Shanakill
13 - #13 Desert Code
14 - #12 Strike the Deal
(Scratched: Tenga Cat, Cherokee Heaven)

Breeders' Cup Sprint
1 - #6 Dancing in Silks (Rosario) 52.60, 19.20, 12.00
2 - #4 Crown of Thorns (Bejarano) 13.20, 8.60
3 - #2 Cost of Freedom (T. Baze) 9.20
4 - #5 Gayego
5 - #1 Zensational
6 - #3 Fatal Bullet
7 - #9 Fleeting Spirit (IRE)
8 - #8 Capt. Candyman Can
9 - #7 Join in the Dance

Breeders' Cup Juvenile
1 - #7 Vale of York (IRE) (Ajtebi) 63.20, 24.40, 12.40
2 - #13 Lookin At Lucky (G. Gomez) 4.40, 3.00
3 - #4 Noble's Promise (Martinez) 4.60
4 - #2 Piscitelli
5 - #9 Aikenite
6 - #3 Beethoven (IRE)
7 - #11 Radiohead (GB)
8 - #12 William's Kitten
9 - #8 Eskendereva
10 - #1 Alfred Nobel (IRE)
11 - #6 Pulsion
12 - #10 Aspire
13 - #5 D'Funnybone

Red RocksRed Rocks (IRE) in the paddock, Breeders' Cup 2009

Breeders' Cup Mile
1 - #11 Goldikova (IRE) (Peslier) 4.80, 4.00, 2.60
2 - #6 Courageous Cat (G. Gomez) 12.80, 8.00
3 - #10 Justenuffhumor (A. Garcia) 8.00
4 - #1 Court Vision
5 - #4 Delegator (GB)
6 - #5 Karelian
7 - #7 Ferneley (IRE)
8 - #2 Whatsthescript (IRE)
9 - #9 Gladiatorus
10 - #3 Cowboy Cal
11 - #8 Zacinto (GB)

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile
1 - #2 Furthest Land (Leparoux) 44.60, 18.40, 9.60
2 - #10 Ready's Echo (Borel) 18.20, 9.40
3 - #3 Midshipman (G. Gomez) 4.20
4 - #1 Mastercraftsman (IRE)
5 - #6 Mambo Meister
6 - #5 Neko Bay
7 - #8 Mr. Sidney
8 - #9 Chocolate Candy
9 - #4 Bullsbay
10 - #7 Pyro

Breeders' Cup Turf
1 - #2 Conduit (IRE) (R. Moore) 3.80, 3.00, 2.20
2 - #6 Presious Passion (Trujillo) 5.00, 3.80
3 - #5 Dar Re Mi (GB) (Dettori) 3.00
4 - #7 Spanish Moon
5 - #3 Red Rocks (IRE)
6 - #8 Monzante
7 - #1 Telling
(Scratched: Allegre)

Spanish MoonSpanish Moon in the paddock, Breeders' Cup 2009

Breeders' Cup Classic
1 - #4 Zenyatta (Smith) 7.60, 5.60, 3.80
2 - #7 Gio Ponti (Dominguez) 9.20, 6.60
3 - #5 Twice Over (GB) (Queally) 7.00
4 - #3 Summer Bird
5 - #2 Colonel John
6 - #6 Richard's Kid
7 - #13 Awesome Gem
8 - #11 Regal Ransom
9 - #1 Mine That Bird
10 - #10 Rip Van Winkle (IRE)
11 - #8 Einstein (BRZ)
12 - #9 Girolamo
(Scratched: Quality Road)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Breeders' Cup 2009 Day One And Tweeters Cup

Laffit Pincay and Art WilsonLaffit Pincay Jr. and Art Wilson of the Los Angeles Times

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.

Tweeters Frank Corigliano, Kevin Stafford (NTRA) and Gene Kershner (NTRA)

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.

Julie Stewart, Tweeters CupJulie Stewart, Breeders' Cup Tweet Up 2009

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.

Jason Howarth and Janna BrowningJason Howarth and Jenna Browning of Conover Tuttle Pace

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!