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HRN Original Blog:
The Dark Horse

The Dark Report – June 29, 2014

My Option Chicago 615 X 400
Photo: Four Footed Fotos

 

Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting… Haha, this week’s Dark Report contains a battle, a signal, a cutback, a special interview, an impressive performance, more impressive performances, and more hashtags!

 
Let’s go!




 
TELL ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS BEFORE, A ROMAN AND AN INDIAN…
 
Reports surfaced on June 26th across multiple media sources that famed Kentucky-based trainer Dale Romans had a bit of a fight with Indian Charlie writer and publisher Ed Musselman on the Churchill Downs backside earlier in the morning.
 

 
 

 
(Photo courtesy of Debbi Martin!)
 
Apparently Romans took exception to a brief article written in the June 14th issue of Indian Charlie, though he did not begin the fight. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Musselman struck the first blow after Romans had asked why he kept writing about him, then Romans apparently finished the job as Musselman left the scene with a swollen black eye, cut on his arm, and scrapes on his face!
 
What makes this story better is that not only did Romans end up half-naked (during the brawl his pants fell down due to his recent weight loss), but his partner and exercise rider Tammy Fox also got into the fray as well! Awesome!
 
OK kids, fighting is not right, but since I grew up in and around hockey, I would have loved to have seen Romans pound on this guy! Way to go Dale and Tammy! I’ve always been a fan of Romans and I’m happy to see that he successfully defended himself.
 
 
Also on Thursday, Cal Racing News reported that Del Mar will be broadcasting its signal in HIGH DEFINITION this summer! Now that we’ve seen some horse racing in HD via NBC’s recent telecasts, I’m hooked. I’m glad to see Del Mar joining the HD revolution starting this summer. I certainly hope more tracks follow the lead and broadcast in HD. It’s an amazing sight!
 
However on twitter I did ask if there was anything better than racing in HD, and this was the answer I got…haha
 
 
Good call there Juba (the grey)....

Anyway, I think all of racing needs to catch up with the other major sports, and this move by Del Mar is a huge step in the right direction!

 
CUTTING BACK
 
David Grening of DRF reported on Monday that Saratoga would be cutting the number of races that will be carded during this summer’s meet. From Grening’s article, “Saying he wants to emphasize quality over quantity, Martin Panza, the senior vice-president of racing operations for the New York Racing Association, said he plans to run fewer flat races at the upcoming Saratoga meet compared to last year.”
 
Steeplechase races will also not be included in pick-5 wagers and will be run at the beginning of the race-day cards.
 
While Grening stated that handle could decrease with a fewer number of races, I’m not so inclined to agree with that.
 
First, I actually applaud this idea. I think value comes from fuller fields and an increase in the number of betting interests per race, not necessarily the number of races. With more choices within each race, exotic wagers such as exactas, trifectas, and pick-3’s could all offer higher payouts which would definitely entice the regular horseplayer.
 
Second, with no offense to Steeplechase circuit, I don’t know those horses, jockeys, trainers, etc. at all. I’ve been focusing solely on flat-racing thoroughbreds since I was a kid and I prefer just focusing on those races. While I enjoy watching the Steeplechase races, I choose not to wager on those races solely based on my lack of knowledge. It’s nice that they will be sticking with the tradition of having those races, but grouping the thoroughbred races together.
 
Overall, I applaud Saratoga for their changes and I agree with their methodology!
 
JOE K AND EDDIE O
 
If you haven’t seen Joe Kristufek’s interview with Chicago hockey legend, hockey hall of famer and NBC sports broadcaster Eddie Olczyk yet, you are missing out. It’s slightly over a half hour in length, but worth every minute of it. See how Olczyk compares and contrasts hockey and horse racing. Amazing interview!!




  

THE CHI CAP
 
In yesterday’s feature race at Arlington, Chris Block’s 4-year-old filly My Option destroyed a decent field to win the Grade 3 $150,000 Chicago Handicap!
 
 
 (My Option - Thanks Four Footed Fotos!)
 
 
 
Block noted to Arlington’s Public Relations, “She’s the kind of filly who needs to lay back and make one run. She broke outward that day and she got into the race a little too quickly. She’s the kind of filly who needs to lay back and make one run. She was a little too involved in the pace early on and that cost her but she still dug in hard and got a lot out of the race. That was our stepping stone to today. She’s trained great coming up to it, she and Eddie (jockey Perez) get along really well. At the three-eighths pole I was confident. I know her and I know Eddie’s posture when he’s got a lot of horse. He found a nice spot and the rest was history.”
 
My Option ($13.20) had to run down a very game Flower Spell who held a commanding lead for almost the entire race. Jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr. noted to Arlington’s Public Relations, “She ran beautiful. Ingrid Mason has trained her to perfection. Seven-eighths is just a hair too far for her, but we were trying to steal it. She gave it every effort that she had. I can’t say enough about how well Ingrid got her ready.”
 
But seeing My Option run away with the race by 6 ½ lengths was truly something to see. You can check out the replay HERE.
 
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!
 
 
I digress.
 
I’d like to touch on a trio of impressive performances yesterday across the nation as well. And we’ll from East to West.
 
A perfect 4-for-4 in 2014, Untapable is unbeatable. This Kentucky Oaks winner demolished a short field at Belmont in the Mother Goose stakes by 9 ¼ lengths! No other horse has been close to Untapable this year as her four victories have been by 9 ½, 7 ¾, 4 ½, and 9 ¼ lengths – 31 lengths combined!! Here, check out this replay:



 
Jerry Bossert reports that her next start could possibly be in the Jim Dandy against the boys! I’ love to see her handle that competition!
 
Next, Silver Max returned to the track for the first time in 2014 to take on some tough competition in the Grade 2 Firecracker at Churchill Downs. I thought he might need a race, but I was wrong. To no one’s surprise he won on the lead but he had to fend off a hard-charging Nikki’s Sandcastle for the win! One of the few horses in my virtual stable, I absolutely love this horse and I’m always happy when he wins. I’ll still never forget his performance in the 2012 Arlington Classic!  
 
Silver Max, winner of the 2014 Firecracker

I was expecting more out of Regally Ready in this race, but alas it was not meant to be that day.
 
Finally, how good was the Gold Cup at Santa Anita? Game On Dude, a horse who loves the Santa Anita oval went off as the deserving 4/5 favorite and was battled early by pace-pressing Fury Kapricori. With fractions like 22 1/5 and 45 1/5 there was sure to be a meltdown. Majestic Harbor had an easy stalking pace and simply drew away, passing tired foes, when asked. It was an impressive ride under jockey Tyler Baze. The 6 ¼ length victory was very impressive. Check it out!




 
That was some amazing racing from around the nation, wasn’t it?
 
#HASHTAGS
 
This week’s Thursday horse racing hashtag was #HorseRacingCoverSongs! What a fun topic to come up with some creative covers!
 
 
 
 (Drawing by Debbi Martin!)
 
 

 
Here were my favorites!
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
I hope you enjoyed this week’s DARK REPORT!! Be sure to check out the rest of Horse Racing Nation as there is always up to date news, information, and blogs!
 
 

 

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Older Comments about The Dark Report – June 29, 2014...

Here's a group of songs, with some lyrics: (Ricky Nelson)"I went to a Smarty Party(Smarty Jones), to reminisce with my old friends"; (Beach Boys)"Bar, Bar, Bar, Bar, Bar, Barbaro"; (Bob Seger) "Beautiful Pleasure"; (Village People)"Mucho Macho Man"; (Jimmy Dean)"He stood seventeen hands, weighed thirteen forty-five, Big Brown. Big Brown, Big Brown, Big Bad Brown".
How about to the tune by the Beach Boys and throw in Chrome's name, "I Wish They All Could Be California Chrome" #HorseRacingCoverSongs
Something strange in the neighborhood. Who you gonna call? Ghostzapper.
Smoke Glacken on the Water gets my vote for best #HorseRacingCoverSongs.

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 (Whoa - it's me - the DARK HORSE)
 
Greetings and welcome to my "dark" blog!  I have been a fan of horse racing since I was about 12 years old.  Growing up in Minnesota, my dad would take me and my brothers to Canterbury Downs and I would practically beg to go every weekend!!  I made my first "big" score there hitting the win, place, and exacta in the same race at age 14 (pulled in $84 with horses named Railroad Red and Racers Dream!).  I even had a poster in my bedroom of Lost Code winning the 1987 St. Paul Derby!
 
While finishing school in Chicago, I spent every possible moment at Arlington Park with my dad.  We took the time to develop computer programs (on the ever popular Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS) to try to find patterns and handicap races more accurately.  My dad taught me a lot about handicapping races, paying particular attention to class moves!

Since then, I have become more involved with horse racing each passing year through a variety of different media-based roles. Once deemed the "second best racing ambassador in Chicago" (hey I've been called worse), 
I now reside in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the USA and will be covering many different aspects of racing - in my unpredictable DARK HORSE STYLE!  
 
My favorite tracks are:
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Canterbury
Del Mar
Gulfstream
Hawthorne
Keeneland
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Some of my all-time favorite horses include: 
 
Feel free to contact me anytime and I will respond! 
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This blog is eternally dedicated to the memory of Tim "Tiznow" Reynolds.