HRN Original Blog:
Race Talk with the Girl Next Door

How I Become a Racing Fan

I used to think that horse racing was nothing more than a substitute for real gambling. I would watch but only enjoy it if I had cash riding on it. My family owned racehorses but that was long before I was in the picture so I was never bit by the racetrack bug until the summer of 2009.


I can remember sitting alone in the room watching the Preakness Pre-Show, I had money on the race so wanted to catch a little of it. I actually enjoyed the station’s coverage of the event, they documented a few of the jockeys and horses that were in the race and the stories were usually interesting and heartfelt.


That was the first time I saw Rachel Alexandra, she was beautiful. She galloped through the post parade, no sweat, no stress. She had determination in her eyes. She had a job to do and despite the whispers, she was going to do it. She seemed startled at the roar of the crowd, she was a confident lady but not comfortable with the fan fare. Calvin Borel leaned over to give her a kiss to calm her nerves and you could see her immediate response to him. She was amazing; she walked so calmly to the gate and entered with no caution. It didn’t seem to bother her that she was the only woman on the field. She had no thought of the fact that it was over 80 years since a girl won this prestigious race or that no filly or colt had won it out of the 13 hole, or that for the first time in history her Kentucky Derby winning jockey chose her over his champ.


The gates flew open and she bolted out, round the first turn in her favorite stalking position, she kept up with the boys all down the backside and helped set the pace as they rounded the final turn, then suddenly Borel asked America’s filly for more down the stretch and she would not disappoint—she did open up her lead and managed to finish first, just ahead of a charging Derby winner, Mine That Bird.


She had done it and at that moment I got it. I got the sport, the sport so rich in tradition. I understood that although it is the sport of kings, we could all enjoy it. I fell in love with the sport. The stories, good, bad and the jockeys and most of all the horses; especially that horse, and I have never missed a day since. Thanks Rachel!


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Older Comments about How I Become a Racing Fan...

rachel got me in to racing to. it wasn't even the oaks that caught my heart. i remember my uncle told me she had ran faster than quality road on the day he broke a track record. then i bet her in the oaks and my jaw just dropped like wow never seen a horse win like that! she just got me hooked on how she took all comers! it is amazing the horses that can bring us to the racing world. it is so fun just to watch them. thanks to her for bringing me in to the joy of racing and the many others she did the same for.
  • RaTalk_Girl · Thats amazing!! Believe it or not, I did not even watch the Oaks. I watched the Derby of course, but never the Oaks. I had no idea that there was a Rachel Alexandra out till the Preakness and I thank God I watched that race. · 2459 days ago
that is awesome. see everyone has their specail horse.
  • RaTalk_Girl · Yes, that is what makes racing so excited. I love the horse or jockey or trainer that despite everything, no matter what, you are rooting for. · 2459 days ago
Me too Angela, I have been around the tracks and horses all my life. I just wanted to see them and always had to bet on someone because everyone else was. I have and do read everything I can find about them..past greats, claimers, foals...all of them. But I never had that "special" feeling until I met Zenyatta. All of a sudden I felt like I was breathing the sport. She truly changed my life too. I feel about Z the way you feel about RA. It's the best feeling in the world and I had never had it until Z. Thanks for a great article, hope to see many more:)
  • RaTalk_Girl · I am so glad that you decided to comment on the blog. It is so great to be able to share in the joy that these two special girls gave to us without having to trade stats. · 2459 days ago
Wonderful story Angela, I love reading about the horses that give fans that "wow" moment and passion for the sport! Welcome to the HRN! :)
You are so right, Angela! Horse racing is a passion, and Rachel Alexandra is one of mine!
  • RaTalk_Girl · I find that I work the name Rachel Alexandra into at least one conversation a day, I just can't get enough of her. · 2461 days ago
I am so glad that somebody came into racing by Rachel Alexandra. I think that we should remember what Rachel Alexandra did on the race track. I love you Rachel Alexandra.
Stories like this are what keeps this game going. Hopefully passion like this will begin to spread. Great post.
  • RaTalk_Girl · I completely agree. I wish everyone could see racing the way that we do! Thanks for reading the blog. · 2461 days ago
Great story. Rachel made a lot of new fans that day. I remember my wife screaming at the TV and our little girls were like - Why is mommy yelling? Ok, I get it, Go Rachel! To this day my wife says that if she was pregnant with a girl at the time she would have so named her Rachel.
  • RaTalk_Girl · I am glad you enjoyed the blog. Tell your wife that the only reason I would ever consider having children is to name them after Rachel:) · 2461 days ago
Welcome, Angie! What a wonderful blog post about my favorite horse, Rachel! I completely understand your thoughts about the Preakness; I was intrigued by Rachel prior to the Preakness but she stole my heart that day and she's still got it. She's such an awesome girl; now to be an awesome mommy.
Welcome to the team Angie! As you can see, you're definitely not alone when it comes to Rachel worship around these parts. She holds a special place in so many hearts, mine included. Awesome to have your perspective going forward. Can't wait for your next.
Considering her energy expenditure in order to position out 0f the outside post that was an extraordinary permormance,but then I though all her performances were extraordinary.
I agree with Anthony Kelzenberg!
I'm always more excited when there is money on the line.
Great story, full of passion! It seems that passion is a major part of the sport. Maybe this could be the begining of how I become a racing fan... I never really got into racing. Much like you, I suppose I just shrugged my shoulders and defined house racing as just as another easy to gamble away some money. I never seen the passion, until now... I'm looking forward to learning more!
Awesome Post! Rachel is one that will be remebred by many.
Great Post Sis! We practiclly grew up in a ractrack.Can't wait to read more!
Great first post, Angie! Welcome to The Nation! I am happy to see that Rachel was the one that hooked you ... I am a bit of a fan of her myself ;-)

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Meet Angela D'Amico
My horseracing journey and my quest to learn more about it has brought me to the University of Louisville Equine Program, but it began before I was born. My parents met when their parents shared ownership in a few racehorses. Although they did not own any horses when I was growing up, my grandfather still took me to the racetrack all throughout my childhood. In 2007, my stepfather introduced me to different racetracks and handicapping techniques, but it was not until the 2009 Preakness that I was really hooked.
A filly, Rachel Alexandra, venturing into a man’s world caught my eye and I fell in love with her completely. This was when my life changed. When it comes to racing and choosing my favorite horses, I have always seen perfection in what others would characterize as flaws. With this blog, I hope to show everyone that horseracing is not just a gamble, it is a passion.

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