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The Dark Report – May 18, 2014

The famous musician Meatloaf once sang, “two out of three ain’t bad…” however Triple Crown fever has hit us all and I’m not sure two out of three will satisfy our grand expectations. In this week’s Dark Report I will touch on California Chrome’s Preakness win and Belmont bid, a couple of milestones, a financial error, and a maiden voyage over the airwaves.

Let’s go!


We are now three weeks away from (hopefully) learning whether or not we will have our first triple crown winner since 1978. I say hopefully because with NYRA’s rule regarding breathing strips, trainer Art Sherman and his ownership group will first need to appeal the goofy rule where breathing strips are not allowed, then if they lose the appeal to decide whether or not they will run California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes on June 7th. Well first I do think the breathing strip rule is strange and unnecessary, however to not take a shot at the triple crown regardless would be short-sighted too.

For all the chatter about how slow the final time and Beyer Speed Figure were in the Kentucky Derby, California Chrome turns around and posts the best Preakness time (1:54 4/5) since Curlin’s win in 2007. Jockey Victor Espinoza eased up the horse as he was passing the wire in the Kentucky Derby to save some energy for the Preakness (smart move and may have affected the overall time), and maybe it’s just me, but it looked like he was slowing up ever so slightly in the Preakness. Kentucky Derby starters, and there were only three of them yesterday, finished in three of the top four spots in the Preakness. And again, the non-Derby starters didn’t finish so well.
Now California Chrome gets a three-week break to rest and prepare for the biggest race in this country since Big Brown had a shot to win the triple crown at Belmont in 2008. Will he be able to end the longest triple crown drought in the history of the sport (since Sir Barton won in 1919)? Belmont fever will increase every day for the next three weeks, and the world will be watching. Chrome will face many fresh challengers and will need to bring his absolute best.


(Look!  Our very own Gary Quill with Chrome's trainer Art Sherman!) 


A couple of significant milestones were reached at Arlington Park over the last weekend. Chicago-based trainer Chris Block won his 500th race at Arlington Park on Friday with a horse named Awol Adam. A local favorite, Block is an integral and major part of racing in Illinois. "Getting 500 (at Arlington) means a lot. This is a racetrack that I hold near and dear to my heart. To get 500 here is something I'm quite proud of and I think a lot of the credit goes to the horses, the people who work for me back there and the owners who supply them for me,” noted Block to Arlington’s PR department regarding his accomplishment.

(Chris Block - Thanks Four Footed Fotos!) 
Then on the next day, Chicago-based trainer Wayne Catalano notched career victory #2,500 at Arlington Park! Training horses since 1983, Catalano is no stranger to the winner’s circle, and to accomplish the feat at his home track certainly had some additional meaning. "It's a great feeling to do it at home here at Arlington," Catalano said to Arlington’s PR department. "I started out here in 1983. I ran my first horse here and to win my 2,500th here is a great feeling. The (horse who won) at Churchill (earlier in the day) had a big shot and this one was 4-to-5, so we hoped he would get it done. It was great to have Channing (Hill, his son-in-law) aboard. It was a family affair."
(Wayne Catalano - thanks again Four Footed Fotos!) 

NFL wide receiver and horse racing enthusiast Wes Welker ended up cashing more than he should have with a couple of scores in the Kentucky Derby exotics two weeks ago. Due to an apparent tote error, an extra $14,000 was distributed to Welker and his group of friends. So he went on and made a ton of fans happy by sharing some of the winnings and distributing $100 bills in lieu of giving out autographs!

To no one’s surprise, Churchill Downs sent a letter to the group asking for a repayment of the unintentional distribution of extra cash. I don’t believe Welker will be returning the funds anytime soon, and do you blame him? With a fistful of winning tickets, he didn’t know exactly how much he had won!
(Photo thanks to Churchill Downs) 
So let me ask you this. Would you return the funds?


Finally, I made my maiden voyage yesterday as host of “Off to the Races” on Richmond, VA’s ESPN affiliate! Regular host Nick Hahn was live on site at Pimlico for coverage of the Preakness Stakes and I was asked to fill the captain’s chair yesterday. At least I kept my wits together unlike that one time at Hawthorne…

“Derby” Bill Watson, producer Matt Josephs, and I successfully navigated through two hours of horse talk including interviews, handicapping, and live reports from Pimlico. I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the show as I had never hosted a show myself, but once I got into the swing of things I felt more and more comfortable. The hours and hours of preparations and phone time with Nick Hahn had paid off.
(Do not anger "Derby" Bill Watson - he WILL break his headphones) 

I also learned a few things yesterday:

1-  **    It’s amazing how much preparation goes into just a two hour radio show. I can’t imagine how much work goes into a daily show!
2-  **    I’m also amazed at how much fun you can have during taped interviews and commercial breaks!
3-  **   “Derby” Bill Watson is hilarious!
4-  **    Asking two callers to speak at the same time doesn’t work that well.
5-  **    Consciously trying to speak slower actually sounds better on the air.








(My microphone....) 


All in all I think the debut went well and I hope I have the opportunity to do it again in the future!

The recordings can be found on the right side of this blog page… 



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Older Comments about The Dark Report – May 18, 2014...

The check is in the mail Chris! Now I can check "Appear in The Dark Report" off my Bucket List! BTW - When someone w/o a designated spot in the Pimlico Press Box was looking for a vacancy I said, "You can sit over there cuz Chris Sorenson is unable to make it." At that moment half of the DRF and Blood-Horse writers heads popped up and collectively asked, "The Dark Horse isn't coming?!" (True Story)
Nice job, radio HOST, Chris, AWESOME. I love the Monopoly card. Churchill Downs is really taking a beating lately and it seems like it is all deserved!

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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
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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