As we get together for the holiday with family, or prepare to head out for the Thanksgiving Day card at the local track, the HRN team took a little time out to reflect on what we are thankful for this year in racing.
Brian Appleton, Distaff Runner:
Thoroughbred Horse Racing has provided some of the greatest thrills of my life, and writing about some of the greatest modern day racers has been very fulfilling for me. I am so thankful for the opportunity to write about racing, share with other enthusiasts, and learn from my peers on Horse Racing Nation. Also, I could never complete a thankful statement without mentioning how incredibly thankful I am to have seen Curlin race five times in person, creating some of the absolute greatest moments of my life.
Don August, Bay Area Backstretch:
I am thankful for all my readers that look up my blogs on a weekly basis. I am also thankful for the people at Golden Gate Fields, (publicity dept., jockeys and trainers) for being so receptive to my requests and for dealing with me on a weekly basis. On the lighter side, I’d like to thank Russell Baze’s back spasms for keeping the jockey race close and the tapeta surface for keeping my shoes clean while trackside on rainy days. But the biggest thanks of all goes to Horseracingnation.com for allowing me to share the sport I love with the entire bay area.
Garnet Barnsdale, Drive On:
What I am thankful for in the World of Horse Racing: I am thankful that I have 3 great venues for all racing genres less than a 40-minute drive from my residence: Woodbine for thoroughbred, Mohawk for harness and Ajax Downs for Quarterhorses. NOTHING beats live racing on a nice day or evening. I am thankful for great horses such as San Pail, Frankel, Black Caviar, Kauto Star (steeplechaser) and many, many others. Finally, I am thankful that my interest in horseracing has been the catalyst for meeting so many new friends that share a passion for this great sport on social media like Facebook.
Angie D’Amico, Race Talk With The Girl Next Door:
This year I am thankful for Havre De Grace. Her connections really stepped up at a time that I was starting to lose a little faith in our sport. Havre De Grace, has not backed down from any fight, has proved herself against the boys and decided to stay in the Classic against the boys despite Blind Luck being out for the season. I am thankful that Havre De Grace and her connections are not afraid of defeat. They lost the Classic but still came out of the race well so they have decided to run her again next year. Thank you Havre De Grace.
Scott Dick, Hoosier State Of Mind:
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It embodies the best things about people, which are love and kindness. Family is something that is dear to me and that’s what Thanksgiving is all about. Over the past year I’ve realized my family runs deeper than blood. The people of this sport have adopted me as one of their own and through the most trying times of my life, lifted me on their shoulders and carried me through it all. Family is what I’m most thankful for, this family. I’ve lost the most dear member of that family, but, the memories will be something I’ll hold on to forever. A special thanks to all those members of this “Family” for everything you have done for me.
Eric Kords, 12th Crown:
As 2011 comes to a close, I reflect on the reasons I am involved in this great sport as a fan (first), a blogger and recently as an owner. My mother played so many $2 daily doubles in her lifetime that Oaklawn Park should rename the bet after her. Her interest and loyalty to the turf persuaded my father to get involved as a thoroughbred owner through a local partnership. Some years later, I am getting more new owners involved via Saturday Racing Stable and the cycle continues. So I say thanks to all the owners out there who finance our sport in spite of the slim chances for profit, but also am very appreciative of the horsemen on farms and backstretches across our country who put in countless grueling hours so that we can pursue our hobby.
Dani Pugh, Dead Heat Debates:
2011 has been far from easy for me, both in racing and at home. There were times when I honestly wondered what on earth I was doing, but this Thursday will not be one of those days. Thursday will be the day I get to look back on what was good, on what was great, and one moment I feel was truly memorable was getting to go to the 2011 Breeders Cup. I want to thank Mike Shutty, Mark Midland, Brian Zipse for giving me the opportunity to come. I want to thank my father, Mark Pugh, for driving me all the way to Kentucky, and allowing the entire weekend to happen. Finally, I would love to thank everyone above, the entire HRN team, and most of all the horses for providing such a wonderful time. It was a weekend I will never forget and will hold with me for the rest of my life. Thank you.
Matt Shifman, Racing At The Jersey Shore:
The world of horse racing changed for me in 2011, and it changed in ways that I had always dreamed. Getting to be the Monmouth Park Correspondent for HorseRacingNation.com has allowed me to be part of one of best racing websites. Covering the Haskell at Monmouth, a week at Saratoga, or Super Saturday at Belmont, was so exciting. It is great to be doing my part to promote the sport that we all love. I have found the people, who I have met in person, at HRN, or on TWITTER @AndyScoggin, to be smart and thoughtful. It is exciting every time I open my computer to write or to read what is going on in cyberspace. Thanks so much to HRN for adding a lot of joy to my world.
Chris Sorenson, Chicago Dark Horse:
This was easy. What I'm most thankful for in the sport of kings is all of the connections I have made over the years. I have met the best people in the world at Arlington Park, Hawthorne, and at Churchill Downs. I had the opportunity to meet the best racing fans on Facebook, then got to meet those people in person. I got to meet some of the best industry insiders, jockeys, trainers, and owners. I got up close and personal with some of the racing greats like Mineshaft, Curlin, Rock Hard Ten, and Quality Road. I have had the opportunity to introduce new fans, family, and further instill racing interest into my children. I am also grateful that my wife Ramey has put up with countless hours of racing "stuff." For all of this I am eternally thankful. Really. Most of all, I am thankful that I got to meet and hang out with Tim "Tiznow" Reynolds. He was the biggest and best racing fan ever and I'm happy that I was able to know him.
Melaina Phipps, Around The Oval:
Thanksgiving is a very special holiday for me; some of the most important memories of my life are linked to this wonderful day. When it comes to horse racing, I am grateful for many things: that it brought me to live in Saratoga Springs,where I have found a wonderful community and friends; that I have been privileged to spend time some of the world’s finest racehorses in this country and their connections. What I am most grateful for in this magnificent sport, though, is love. Love of the sport, love of the game, love of the challenge, but mainly, love of the horse, who asks for so little in return.
Candice Curtis, HRN:
Horse racing has been very good to me this year (though not always at the windows!). I am thankful for the opportunities offered by the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program and the Turf Publicists of America. If not for them, I wouldn't be at HRN! I am thankful for the creative minds and passionate racing fans with whom I share office- and cyberspace. I am also thankful for our readers - you all prove that horse racing is as vital as ever! Finally, I am thankful for Game On Dude - he gives his all, every time! Sometimes he wins, sometimes he doesn't, but he is *always* leading the way. He even *almost* swiped the Breeders' Cup Classic!
Brian Zipse, Zipse At The Track:
I have much to be thankful for both in everyday life and in the world of horse racing. I appreciate the wonderful equine athletes that give us their all on a daily basis so that we can enjoy. God never created a nobler creature. I appreciate all the readers who frequent Horse Racing Nation. Without you the words of my friends and I would mean very little. Most importantly, I appreciate my family for the strength and support that allow me to do what I love. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!