Why Me? Why Zipse at the Track?

My 3 Girls


If you are looking to read a blog about a current event in thoroughbred horse racing, I’m sorry, but this entry is sure to disappoint. Today, I’ve decided to write about something completely different. If you’ve ever wondered how Zipse at the Track came to be, or maybe how a blog that you actually like could have been born, or most likely of all, you wonder if this blogging thing is something that you might want to try, read on as I share the origins of me as a racing blogger. [sympathy pause] Now that most are gone, and a couple of you remain, I guess you’ve come to the right place.


It all began in the summer of 1968 when my Dad hit the daily double, and my mom had a couple glasses of wine … You know what, that’s probably going back a little too far. Let me start again.


My name is Brian. Brian Zipse. This is my horse racing blog. People seem to like my last name. I don’t know why. It’s pronounced (Zip-see), just in case you were wondering. My wife of more than eight years is Candice, and my daughter is Kendra. She is proud to be 5 ½. Kendra, that is. Together they are the number one loves of my life, and the two best things that ever happened to me. That's us in the photo above. Before I ever met them, though, there was Phil and Joyce Zipse.


My Dad fell in love with racing as a young adult, and it stuck. He took my brother Dave and I to the track every chance he could. I exaggerate not. I mean every chance. Name a big race in the ‘70’s or early ‘80’s on the East Coast and there is a good chance we were there. 


One of my Dad’s best buddies at the track, and therefore one of my racetrack uncles, was a guy named Belmont Bill. You probably know him better as Dr. William Quirin. Bill and my Dad got their PhD’s in mathematics together at Rutgers. Well, Rutgers and racetracks throughout the Northeast. If you’ve read any of Belmont Bill’s books, you’d know that my racing education began before kindergarten.


I guess you can call my Mom a racetrack widow, but that probably wouldn’t be fair. She watched many of the big races on TV, joined us at least a few times each year, and knew enough at least to fit in with her racetrack boys. When I stood on my seat in the upper reaches of the grandstand for Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes of 1973, she was there to make sure I was safe while the stands quaked beneath us.


Born and bred to love racing, I really had no choice but to fall for this game. Or, a better way to say it, would be that I was one lucky kid. There were so many great horses back then. You didn't ask, but Spectacular Bid was probably my favorite.


As a youth, I loved to play sports, but at heart I was a true horse racing nut. How many school kids do you know that would fill notebooks with little stories about the big races, or racing stats? Pages and pages of racing stats; one thing I loved to do was to transcribe a shortened version of a favorite horse's past performances, and then start filling in the next lines with races that I thought they should run in the rest of the year. They generally did very well in those imagined future races. That’s weird, right?


It would have seemed that a career in racing would have been a natural for that kid, but for a myriad of reasons, some easily explained, some not, I ventured into a few other careers over the years. Through it all, though, horse racing always remained part of my life. My experiences in the game were many, but primarily as a fan. I guess you could call it a rather intense hobby all those years. 


More years went by, and I was probably farther from a job in racing than ever when a filly named Rachel Alexandra came along. I liked her early, and I liked her a lot. As her career skyrocketed, my love for her grew. All the old feelings rushed back, and it was like I was a brand new fan again. Surely, I had not felt this strongly about another horse for 20 years and Sunday Silence.


Then, one day, a former writer for the BloodHorse agreed to have me as a guest blogger. I had previous writing experience, but really I was just the first to raise my virtual hand when he asked. It was as simple as that. After enjoying writing the piece so much, and then seeing nearly 200 comments come in, I was hooked.


New to Facebook at the time, I turned that page into horse racing, horse racing, and more horse racing. I bugged turf writers on there, just as I had done by snail mail as a teenager. When Steve Haskin said he liked my piece and suggested I start my own blog, I did that same evening. 


Zipse at the Track. It just kind of rolled off the tongue and on to the computer screen. 


It wasn’t always easy. I treated it as a second job. A second job that I loved. I was thorough and dedicated. I promoted it the first few months to embarrassing levels. That is what it took.


People noticed, and new opportunities presented themselves. The best of which was Horse Racing Nation. The three guys who founded HRN are sharp and likable. I had worked hard on my personal blog, and have continued to do so now in my fourth year here ... where does the time go? But like most great things in life, I was lucky. 


While a good deal of my time now is dedicated to HRN, I always treat Zipse at the Track as my own special child. 


Yes, it’s a racing blog. But really, it’s my tribute to the sport I’ve loved since birth. A big, long, opinionated tribute that seems to go on forever. I’m not a great writer, and I still hold another job, so I cannot be out at the track on a daily basis, but hopefully it is the kind of blog that young fans, just like I used to be, would appreciate. 


Anyway, I hope all this info about me wasn’t too boring, and as always, thank you for reading. 


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Older Comments about Why Me? Why Zipse at the Track?...

My brother from another mother! Born 10 years earlier, I sahre in your passion and THANK YOU for believing in a guy with famous initials, but no family connnection to horse racing, to join the HRN blogging family. Looking forward to many more years w/ HRN.
Brian, many people can write about Horse Racing and many have been to some of the sport’s biggest races and seen many of the top horses, etc., but in my mind the one thing that has always separated you from the rest is that you are a genuinely nice person. I love the way you talk about your family and your friends as family and friends should really be the most important things in our lives. You always manage to put a positive spin on the subjects that you write about and from what I can see, if you don’t have anything nice to say, you don’t say it. You’ve more than earned my respect.
Reading that was heartwarming. I hope my sons grow up to love the sport half as much as you.
And then Zipse recruited the best of the best bloggers and they all lived happily ever after. The end! Proud to call you my Editor and Friend! I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for you. Thank you for all your hard work and everything that you do!
What is this about, 'you are not a great writer?' I have the credentials to disagree. Congratulations on doing what you love! I enjoy everything you write because it's both knowledgable AND comes from the heart.
What a pedigree! I'm honored to call you a partner. But do you always have to rub it in that you've seen 3 Triple Crowns?
Brian,one of your prizes you mention. Your Daughter. Do not know if it is today or whenever she will be able to digest it. Save this article and allow her to read it. Let her understand that whatever her dream in life may be.It can be attained with passion ,hard work and just plain wanting it.
To build your way up to this level through a blog inspires me greatly. Well done Brian - I love reading all your stuff!
Very nice. Thank you for sharing such a nice story.
Thank you, all! Your kind words mean more to me than you know. · 2 minutes ago
What I like about ZATT and HRN is you love the horses. At first I thought just another guy that wants me to bet the Superfecta. But no, you have a care for the horses jockeys and all the people that make racing what it is; Fun, dramatic and exciting. Thanks Brian.
To your question, "That's weird, right?" I answered ,"No. That's normal." I enjoy your blogs, Brian. Thanks for sharing your story. I grew up with New York racing, too. P.S., Beautiful family!
Reading about how you were born to love the game of thoroughbred racing, then later starting your own blog on the suggestion of a writing legend is purely the stuff of which I highly believe has already launched another writing legend.
Brian, I like your blog and really appreciate HRN as a place to be able to have a conversation with racing fans.
Bravo, Brian Zipse!
I very much enjoyed reading this, Brian. You truly are an inspiration to me and it is an honor to be affiliated with you through HRN. In this piece, you said you hope your blog "is the kind of blog that young fans, just like I used to be, would appreciate." I more than appreciate your blog; I enjoy it immensely. Thanks for all that you do!
That’s beautiful Brian, way to follow your heart. Enjoy your great family horse memory in Europe.
Thought this was awesome, Brian. It gives hope to the rest of us with fever for horseracing, and new to writing, some real inspiration. Very cool
Very nice
Very well done Mr. Brian Zipse

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