Friday, January 27, 2012

Liaison puts in a bullet work at Santa Anita

Grade 1 CashCall Futurity winner Liaison put in a bullet work Thursday morning at Santa Anita, going in company with stable mate Midnight Crooner for trainer Bob Baffert. Liaison, with jockey Martin Garcia up, was clocked in 1:11.80 for the 6-furlong work, with Midnight Crooner getting 1:12.40  - the fastest two works of 18 at the distance.

Both 3-year-old colts are owned by Arnold Zetcher, who also bred Midnight Crooner, a son of War Chant out of Midnight Kiss (NZ) by Groom Dancer.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jockey World: Helping make dreams a reality

A guest post by Kayla Jarvinen

Most of you reading this are likely racing fans, or, at the very least, attracted to the sport in some capacity for one reason or another. And what a wonderful sport it is; not without its share of positives and negatives of course, but you’d be hard-pressed to find another quite like it. If you are a racing fan however, or one seeking to get into the industry, you’ve probably also noticed that a majority of your every day acquaintances do not share your passion or even interest for it – they may in fact, even criticize it – and information is not readily available, especially the kind needed to pursue a career in horse racing. There are plenty of news sources out there to keep you up-to-date on the day-to-day going-ons in racing but very few resources if you’d like to learn more. It can be extremely frustrating. But thanks to the efforts of a few individuals determined to change that, it’s becoming easier. One such resource is Jockey World.

Founded in the spring of 2011, Jockey World was created by former Eclipse Award winning jockey and creator of the Equicizer, Frank Lovato, Jr. Jockey World is an interactive website that offers a wide variety of information, guidance, helpful tips and videos, as well as entertainment for people of all ages. Frankie and his partner, Fred Clemons, constantly come up with new ideas as they continue to expand Jockey World and have already created a large selection of tools, including an extensive range of forums containing topics ranging from riding to training and other jobs on the backside, to health and nutrition and much more.

One informative and entertaining tool they’ve developed is the weekly Jockey World Radio Show, which airs every Sunday at 4pm Eastern Time and is one of my favorite parts of the week. The guests we’ve had range from former jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. to singer/songwriter Templeton Thompson. The shows are archived as well, which makes it easy to go back and listen later. There are contests (we just recently finished a 2012 photo calendar contest), short weekly videos, and a Jockey World store which contains some really cool stuff and even more resources created to help you. These are only a few of the things Jockey World offers.

I have to say, personally, watching Jockey World unfold from a brand new site with maybe a half dozen members to what it is today, it simply amazes me how far they’ve taken it in such a short amount of time! There are so many different people on there – all either in the industry, looking to get in like myself, or just huge fans, and it’s very easy to connect with everyone; and they are all more than willing to tell you about their experiences and offer advice. It’s turned into one big support system, and if you’re having a rough day, there’s always a friend there to help. Many of the people I now talk to the most, I met through Jockey World!

Some of the others tools they have come out with include a program called Jockey World Academy; as you know, there are many aspects to racing, and the Academy’s been a great tool to not only show me specifically what I don’t know yet but then also to help me learn it! Being homeschooled on top of it, I’ve had the benefit of being able to incorporate the Academy work into school credits, which is pretty neat. There is a subscribing option for the site too and I’d recommend any who are serious about wanting to learn more about horse racing to consider it – whether you’re a fan or someone actively working to get in, or already in, the business. Not only will you have access to a wider selection of forum topics but there are numerous other perks as well, including additional time with the experts and Frankie himself.

I wish I could put into words what Jockey World means to me and how much it has helped me but I haven’t yet figured out how to do so. I don’t think it’s possible really. It’s a community. An incredible one. And I’m so proud to be a small part of it!

So please, take a few minutes, and check out I look forward to meeting you all very soon!

About Kayla:
I am 17-years-old, homeschooled, and working hard to wrap up my schooling to graduate high school. I'm going to be a jockey and over the coming year will be taking the next steps needed as I get closer to making that a reality. I'm excited to see what the year will bring both in that aspect and also as the incredible community on Jockey World continues to grow and get better each day! See Kayla's previous post here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

California Racin’

A guest post by Craig Kibler

Horse racing has been popular in this country since the mid 1800’s.  The popularity of the sport has been up and down, but horse racing at times has been seen as the most entertaining spectator sport around.  Ever since Saratoga Race Course (oldest sporting venue in the country) in New York was erected in 1863, the thrill of watching a horse race has spread from coast to coast.  Later in the 19th century, a few more notable horse racing venues, including Churchill Downs and Pimlico Race Course, were built.  In the early 1900’s more venues popped up, but until 1934 there were no major horse racing venues west of the Mississippi River.

On Christmas day 1934, Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA opened its doors for the first time.  This well-known race course has an amazingly beautiful setting and historical importance as well.  From the grandstands you can see the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains beyond the track at Santa Anita Park.  Along with being the oldest horse racing course in southern California, it has hosted the Breeders’ Cup five times (1986, 1993, 2003, 2008, and 2009) and is scheduled to host the event again in November of 2012.  This popular track also hosts well attended events every year that include the Santa Anita Derby, the Santa Anita Handicap*, and Sunshine Millions Day. 

* Famous horse Sea Biscuit ran his last race and won in the 1939 Santa Anita Handicap

The Hollywood Park Racetrack, opened in 1938, is another very popular horse racing venue in California.  Hollywood Park facilities include a 1.125 mile synthetic race course as well as a 1 mile and 145 ft. turf oval.  The lavish services at Hollywood Park bring the kind of luxury that you would expect at a place that carries such a name.  The track is well-known for spectacular dining and busy poker rooms.

Hollywood Park Racetrack hosts many events every year that include Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, and ungraded races.  The most popular races at Hollywood Park are the Hollywood Derby, Hollywood Gold Cup, and the American Oaks Invitational.

Much like Santa Anita, Del Mar Racetrack has a gorgeous scene around the venue.  The track is located in the Del Mar Fairgrounds and it is parked right up against the Pacific Ocean.  Many refer to this beautiful sports venue as the place “where the surf meets the turf.” 

Del Mar Racetrack was built by a few famous investors who included Bing Crosby and Jimmy Durante.  Crosby was very much involved with the opening of his new racetrack in 1937, when he personally stood at the gates to greet patrons as they entered the venue.  Another important historical note for this track is the fact that it was the location of the very first national broadcast for a horse race.  NBC radio covered the head-to-head match-up of Sea Biscuit and Ligaroti on August 12, 1938.  The purse for that race was $25,000; and now they host races like the Pacific Classic Stakes with a guaranteed $1,000,000 purse.  Other notable races at Del Mar Racetrack are the Del Mar Oaks, Eddie Read Handicap, Bing Crosby Handicap, and the John C. Mabee Stakes.

Side Note:
One common link between a few of the California horse racing venues is the voice that covers many of the important races.  Trevor Denman is the official voice for the Breeders’ Cup and announces for Del Mar Racetrack, Santa Anita Park, and Fairplex (Los Angeles County Fairgrounds).  He is most remembered for his call at the 2009 Breeders’s Cup when Zenyatta came from 3 lengths back on the final turn to capture the victory and Denman exclaimed “This, Is, Unbelievable.”

California is a large state with a lot of people and several notable horse racing venues.  Aside from the venues already mentioned, there is also a horse racing group known as CARF (California Authority of Racing Fairs) that holds races throughout the state at different fairgrounds.  The tracks involved in this circuit are in located in Stockton, Pleasanton, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Ferndale, and Fresno.

There is also Golden Gate Fields, which is the one major horse racing track in northern California.  The track mainly features Grade 2 and Grade 3 racing on their one-mile synthetic track or the 9/10 mile turf course.  This venue is owned by MID, who also owns Santa Anita Park, and is located in a spot that actually straddles both Albany and Berkley.  The most notable race at this track is the California Derby,  which has been held since 1873 and is a first test for horses eyeing the Triple Crown.

The last venue worth mentioning is the Los Alamitos Race Course.  It is located in Cypress and hosts both quarter horse and thoroughbred racing.  Los Alamitos is the only track in the U.S. to hold four quarter horse races that have a purse over $1,000,000.  Along with having the richest non-Breeders’ Cup 2-year-old race (2008 Los Alamitos 2 Million), the track also annually holds the richest 3-year-old quarter race (Los Alamitos Super Derby).

It’s incredible when you look at all the wonderful opportunities that horse racing offers in California.  Much of the culture in the areas where these venues are located fits well for the prosperity of the tracks.  The future of horse racing in California appears to be bright as the Breeders’ Cup returns to Santa Anita Park in 2012.  The great weather in California makes their prestigious tracks a great choice for the Breeders’ Cup.  The Triple Crown races are clearly not moving their location, but landing a bid for the rotating Breeders’ Cup is something that residents of California should appreciate and continue to see more of.

About the Author: Craig Kibler is the lead blogger for Sports Traveler, a leading sports tourism site specializing in providing horse racing tickets and trip packages. He regularly writes about a variety of sports and travel topics.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Girls and horses at Santa Anita

What is that special bond that little girls seem to have with horses? It starts with toy horses, often leading to dreams of riding and having a horse of one's own. Here is a group of horse-crazy girls out at Santa Anita on a beautiful day last weekend.

Claudia, Consuelo, Jeaneth, Sarahi, and Angelica posed for a photo with John Henry in the Paddock Gardens. The girls had come from as far as San Bernardino with their families to enjoy the New Year's Day holiday racing and get a close-up look at the beautiful horses!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Game On Dude puts in first work of the year

Santa Anita Handicap winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Game on Dude worked four furlongs in :48.20 at Santa Anita under Martin Garcia on New Year’s Day.

Trainer Bob Baffert indicated Game On Dude could make his 2012 debut in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 5.