Catching Up!

Greetings one and all! It’s been a while since my last blog (and think all the way back to the Hawthorne Gold Cup too) and I really need to play catch up. So here we go… what’s been happening at Hawthorne, in Chicago, or with me over the last six weeks or so? I think I’ll go in chronological order here.

It all started with Hawthorne’s opening weekend and the Gold Cup. Pool Play made the 16-1 splash in this Grade 1 affair coming from behind to score the victory. I really thought Alternation was the class of the race, and especially after Nates Mineshaft had scratched that he would have it easy. I threw a couple of bucks on Pool Play since his only dirt win was a Grade 1 victory…

Then the next weekend the “rent” was paid as Two Months Rent ($43.20 to win) with Jesus Castanon aboard took home the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby on a soggy turf course going a 1 1/8 miles in a waterlogged 1:52.2. Castanon noted after the race, “He gave me exactly what we expected. He was very comfortable and traveling fine. I just got him outside, gave him room to run and he picked it up; he went on and did his business. As soon as he broke from the gate I knew he could handle the yielding turf. I could just feel it. Everything went according to plan. We had a good trip, he handled the turf, and we got up for the win.”

Check out the replay of the Hawthorne Derby HERE.

During that same weekend I made my first ever trip to Keeneland! It was such an amazing trip and I’ll summarize it bullet-style below:
  • Fueled up with a cornucopia of snacks for the trip: apples, bananas, M&M’s, and Oreos!
  • Stopped in Indianapolis on Friday night to pick up HRN’s own Scott Dick.
  • Spent a few hours at Hoosier Park and actually won $50…on quarterhorses! First time I ever played those!!
  • Woke up the next morning to start the drive to Lexington and had to search all around town for the DRF. Unfortunately we couldn’t locate any…
  • Learned that Scott (boring ballads) and I (upbeat rock) have very different taste in music.
  • Parked in the backstretch lot at Keeneland and made several trips back and forth with Scott in trying to determine if we needed our laptops, if we were going to hang out in the press box, if we were going to try to find Wise Dan… definitely got a lot of exercise before Race 1.
  • Saw some great racing and hit all of one winner on the day.
  • Still, got to hang out with the best! HRN 2011 fan of the year Heather Seiden, racing fan extraordinaire Sharon Meason, the MAN himself Brian ‘Ziploc’ Zipse and his family, Beacon Hill Racing owner Maria Borell and associate Jay Woodruff, Wayne and Alice Reynolds, and racing expert of the world and star reporter Jen Jade!
  • After the races, drive the wrong way down a one-way street in Midway in attempting to find the restaurant.
  • Checked into the hotel, tried to get some sleep, and a couple of hours into the night the fire alarms were blaring. I called the front desk to verify if there was a fire rather than exit the building.
  • The next morning we ate breakfast in the Keeneland track kitchen (great food by the way).
  • We visited Wise Dan, took pictures of him eating (at Scott’s insistence), visited the barn cat, saw some horses in Claiborne’s barn, then got lost trying to find Beacon Hill Farm.
  • Eventually we visited Beacon Hill Farm and had a great time visiting Maria, Jay, and Jamie.
  • Had lunch at Wallace Station where is rained “nature” all over our food.
·         Then unfortunately had to drive home…but enjoyed Keeneland a lot and I hope I get back there!
Now back to Chicago…

Saturday October 20th featured a pair of 6 furlong dirt sprint stakes races for Illinois-bred horses. Wouldn’t you know that Midwest Thoroughbreds swept the stakes double!?! Of course they did with both victories coming with the guidance of local favorite jockey Florent Geroux. In the first of the two races, the Powerless, Geroux said of his winning mount Missjeanlouise, “I rode her in the spring and finished second with her in the Governor’s Lady. She was very game in this race and really dug in. We were in the outside post but I wasn’t worried about getting hung wide on the turn. If somebody wanted to go, I was just going to let them go, take back and go inside. I knew we would get good position.” Then to cap off his riding triple, Geroux guided Signsealndeliver to a 1 ¾ length victory in the Lightning Jet Handicap! Geroux noted of this victorious ride, “I really liked my post. I like starting on the outside and being able to see the whole field. I always liked this horse but I also know that he doesn’t like racing inside. I was really disappointed this spring when we came in second to River Bear in the Molaro Handicap. River Bear might be the best Illinois sprinter here but this was our day. I know he’s been laid off since May but I’ve worked him a couple of times lately and I knew he was in good form. I was pretty confident going into the race.”

The next weekend after that featured more of Illinois’ finest as The Pizza Man, who is virtually indestructible on turf, won the Bucks Boy Handicap and Peyote Patty finishes her career in style by winning the Illini Princess Handicap! I wasn’t aware that Peyote Patty was ending her career in that race, but Chris Block always knows what’s best for his horses and I can’t wait to see what her offspring can accomplish starting 2-3 years from now. I can only wish her the best! As for the Illinois-based lawnmower called The Pizza Man, could we see him on Arlington Million day next year??

(The Pizza Man delivers!  Photo courtesy Four Footed Fotos)


(Peyote Patty wins her farewell race - photo by Four Footed Fotos)

Rounding out my impressions of the fall meet:

  • Bug boy Alex Canchari is currently the meet’s leading rider with 34 wins as of 11/23/12! He has a 7 win lead over local jockey Seth Martinez and a 10 win lead over Cisco Torres (who will be riding at Gulfstream this winter!)
  • Really to no one’s surprise, Midwest Thoroughbred’s main Chicago trainer Roger Bruggemann leads the trainers with 18 wins, however he is tied with Scott Becker as well. Chris Block sits behind them with 15 wins so far on the meet (all as of 11/23/12.)
  • On Friday, Midwest Thoroughbreds, who, in 2011, tied the record of most races won in a year (494) with Dan Lasater (1974) tied that mark again with P D Q Kiddo. They broke that record on Saturday at Laurel when Merryland Moon, trained by Jamie Ness, won the 2nd race. (from Hawthorne Barn Notes on 11/25/12)
  • On Saturday, Seth Martinez won for the 2000th time in his career when he guided longshot Mission Storm ($59) to the victory in the fifth race. (from Hawthorne Barn Notes on 11/25/12)
  • Chris Emigh is inching ever so closer to becoming the third leading rider in Hawthorne’s long history!
I do know that Hawthorne has also been handling a sensitive situation with the outbreak of EHV-1 and I will cover that issue in my next blog coming up soon!

In other HRN News…

The Legend of Oatsee...

Stay Thirsty and Mike Repole...

Royal Delta vs Wise Dan for Horse of the Year...


 (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:
Del Mar
Kentucky Downs

Some of my all-time favorite horses include: 
Feel free to contact me anytime and I will respond! 
Twitter: @GoDarkHorse <---Preferred
Here are some fun things to check out! 
Saturday Morning Radio Program: Click Here
My Main Web Page: Click Here
Speaking on Derek Simon's Show: Click Here
First time hosting radio - Hour 1: Click Here
First time hosting radio - Hour 2: Click Here
Second time hosting - Hour 1: Click Here
Second time hosting - Hour 2: Click Here
With Derek Simon again: Click Here

Here are some of my racing photo albums!

And here are all of the tracks I have visited in person!

This blog is eternally dedicated to the memory of Tim "Tiznow" Reynolds.

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