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The Dark Horse

The Dark Report – June 22, 2014

Kepi AP 615 X 400
Photo: Four Footed Fotos
Happy Sunday everyone!  We had a great week of racing with Royal Ascot, the return of The Pizza Man, and the guy that tried to outrun a bunch of horses on the track!! This week’s Dark Report contains cups, more cups, an idiot, swings, returns, some deep dish, more trending, and finally, Helicopters!
Let’s go!

First, here’s a great drawing by Debbi Martin

Looks like Lava Man has World Cup Fever!  Can you just picture a favorite horse of yours handing out yellow cards?? Thanks Debbi, this is great!
Our very own Matt Shifman reported earlier this week that Keeneland was awarded the Breeders’ Cup for 2015! In addition, while the races return to Santa Anita in 2016, the event moves south to where the “surf meets the turf” as Del Mar hosts in 2017!
I’m very excited about this! Like how the NFL’s Super Bowl rotates among worthy locations, I think the Breeders’ Cup should do the same. So to see two new locations such as Keeneland and Del Mar, both who know how to do racing very well, I think is very good for racing. It shakes up the geographic locations of the event and allows a different base of fans the experience of being at the great spectacle and gives opportunities to the different venues.
(My photo from the 2011 Breeders' Cup)
Now some folks might not think that Keeneland has the ample space (room) for all of the visitors that would be expected to attend, however if there is any racing body that would know how to pull this off, it’s Keeneland. I’m sure in the next 15 months they will have it all figured out.
 (Lots of people at Keeneland...always...)
With that being said, why not return to other locations which have hosted before such as Arlington or Woodbine, or even think of going to new locations such as Canterbury or Pimlico?
I also spoke about it a little bit in Derek Simon’s Twin Spires podcast earlier this week…
Did you see that drunken guy try to beat a bunch of horses by attempting to outrun them at Leicester Racecourse? 


That reminds me of that time that the one guy tried to punch a horse in the stretch at Pimlico in 1999.

So we’ve seen fans run or streak onto a field during a baseball or soccer game before, but to get in the way of a horse race where these majestic animals are running at near 40 miles per hour, these people must have some kind of death wish. Sure there have been times in the past when I have been a little tipsy myself, but never in my right mind would I ever try to interrupt a horse race!!!   It’s really not funny.  OK maybe a little, but not a lot. 
(...and a fight broke out during Royal Ascot as well??)
So Royal Ascot also introduced a new bet this year, and it’s called the swinger bet.  And it’s about time.
I can’t think of how many times in my life that I’ve had first/third or second/third in an exacta.  Countless times…
It’s an easy concept where you simply need to pick any two of the top three finishers in any order, sort of like the quinella (I know a quinella is just an exacta box, but it’s still one of my favorite wagers of all time).
Maybe more U.S. tracks will offer the swinger, or as I would call it, the Dark Horse… since that wager surely would increase my ROI!  I’ve been waiting a long time for this, a wager that totally suits my needs!
It’s not delivery..it’s…The Pizza Man! Making his first start of 2014, The Pizza Man made a triumphant return to racing yesterday at Arlington in the Black Tie Affair Handicap, running down the always-speedy Tazz to take the race by ½ length! 
(The Pizza Man!  Thanks Four Footed Fotos)
This is a horse that I’ve always enjoyed watching as he sure loves the Arlington grass and tends to dominate there. Mid-Atlantic import Sheldon Russell had the opportunity to ride The Pizza Man in the race yesterday and had this to note (to Arlington public relations), “The Pizza Man is such an old class horse and maybe doesn't have that big kick so I wanted to make sure he was close enough at the top of the stretch. He's got a big heart and I think he proved that he is still a very good horse," said Russell about The Pizza Man's performance. "It's a huge advantage when trainers allow you to get these horses and do some of their morning workouts.  I'm very fortunate that Roger (trainer Brueggemann) gave me the opportunity to get used to this horse.  The horse hasn't missed a beat in the mornings and they were very excited about his comeback today." 
I certainly was excited about his comeback as well and I can’t see which race he decides to enter next!
And more from Chicagoland’s oval yesterday… in the Lincoln Heritage Handicap, Chicago favorite Kepi, who is now a perfect 2 for 2 on the year, mowed down favorite La Tia and won by over a length in a stake that was taken off of the turf due to severe storms in the area immediately before the race. 
(Kepi! Thanks Four Footed Fotos again)
Kepi is another horse that I have always loved to watch as she always gives her best.  What was more special to me about this particular race yesterday is how she beat a very strong contender La Tia, did it on the polytrack (her first win ever on that surface), and at 1 1/6 miles which is slightly farther than her optimal performance (usually one mile fits her best)!
James Graham spoke briefly about her performance to Arlington’s public relations, “It was a great trip, I was stalking La Tia.  She ran great.  She picked it up and sprinted home - just like her grass races the other day.  She worked well over the polytrack and she ran well over it today.”
Looks like Kepi might even try the Modesty Handicap later this summer!  Whoa.
Great racing, Arlington!
OK so we tried to get it rolling again last night…
Last night we tried to get the topic #HorseRacingBandNames to trend nationally on Twitter.  While we were unsuccessful in our efforts, I’ve posted some of my favorites below.  Enjoy!











































































































































I have a couple more topics up my sleeve which I will try to get trending in the near future, stay tuned! 

OK, so why is Helicopter still racing? This is a horse I wrote about a few years ago. A champion through and through, this gelding has the ability to run on all surfaces and tends to do very well. However there are times when a horse has had enough and it should just be turned out to the farm to enjoy the rest of its life. 
Helicopter has raced 72 times, won 21 of those races, and has earned almost $400,000 in his career. At one point between March of 2009 and September of 2010 this 8-year-old son of Three Wonders had won 16 of 22 races! He won three more races in 2011 as well before completely tailing off. In 2012 the connections tried to run this horse in the American St. Leger stakes at Arlington and in 2013 the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland.  Since his third win in 2011 he has only won two races in the next three years. He failed to finish a claiming race at Arlington in 2012 and even ended up in a low-level claiming race at Beulah in 2013.
Why?  How come?  Why are we asking anymore from this horse that deserves so much better?
OK sure he has hit the board a few times since fall of 2013 and even has a victory at Arlington this year, but I think the horse has had enough and deserves to rest and enjoy the rest of his time.
Poll on the main site for favorite summer time big race…


















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Older Comments about The Dark Report – June 22, 2014...

Recently NYRA was talking about bringing the "Swinger" bet to NY. It is also called the Omni. Apparently they love that bet in France and Hong Kong, too.

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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:
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
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First time hosting radio - Hour 1: Click Here
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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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