News and notes and Eclipse votes

Happy new year and welcome to the new Brooklyn Backstretch! I hope that you find a cleaner site that’s a little easier to navigate, a little easier on the eyes; I miss the Brooklyn Bridge at the top (and may well have to find another spot for it, somewhere on here), but a shot of a Saratoga morning isn’t a bad replacement. Many thanks to the web designer at Elance whose expertise and ideas made it happen, and to Kevin Martin at Colin’s Ghost for the suggestion to use Elance.

I submitted my Eclipse votes on Monday night and offer them here.  Some of the categories were easy; many were not. As I deliberated, I found myself wavering among choices, shifting the criteria I was using, questioning how different variables measured up against each other.  I realized that for me, showing up for races meant a lot, even if the horse didn’t win, and that I was not inclined to reward one big performance in the Breeders’ Cup with a vote. I’m confident about a lot of votes, still uncertain about others. While frustrating at time, processing all those past performances was a fun, challenging, and intellectually rewarding process…at least until I get skewered for my choices.

2-year old male:  Hansen, Union Rags, Creative Cause

2-year-old female:  My Miss Aurelia, Stephanie’s Kitten, Grace Hall

3-year-old male:  Caleb’s Posse, Shackleford, Animal Kingdom

3-year-old female:  Royal Delta, It’s Tricky, Zazu

Turf male:  Cape Blanco, Acclamation, Get Stormy

Turf female:  Dubawi Heights, Stacelita, Never Retreat

Older male: Acclamation, Game On Dude, Tizway

Older female: Havre de Grace, Blind Luck, Awesome Maria

Female sprinter: Hilda’s Passion, Sassy Image, Musical Romance

Male sprinter: Amazombie, Caleb’s Posse, The Factor

Jockey:  Javier Castellano, Ramon Dominguez, John Velazquez

Trainer:  Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert

Steeplechase:  Abstain. I rather regret abstaining in this category; there did seem a clear-cut choice for the top spot (Tax Ruling), though I went back and forth between Black Jack Blues and Decoy Daddy in the other two spots. Ultimately, I didn’t think that I should vote in a category that I follow for only six weeks a year.

Apprentice: Abstain.

Breeders:  Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Adena Springs, Brereton Jones

Owners:  Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Midwest Thoroughbreds, Repole Stable

Horse of the Year:  Havre de Grace, Acclamation, Cape Blanco

It’s been quieter than usual in this space for a while, and that’s going to continue, unfortunately. I’m finishing up a couple of big projects, and I’ve been fortunate to pick up a couple of regular gigs: a weekly post at Forbes.com (scroll for all the posts in the series) and a monthly feature for New York Breeder magazine (skip to page 20).   Later this month at Hello Race Fans!, I’ll have horse profiles on Mineshaft and Silverbulletday and a track guide to Gulfstream Park; I’m also working on an article about Three Chimneys Farm for Thoroughbred Times.  At the top of the column on the right, you’ll find a list of my most recent work elsewhere; that list is updated regularly.

So: the good news is that I’ve got plenty of fun projects to work on; the bad news is that when that happens, Brooklyn Backstretch suffers. But I hope to get back to regular posting here soon, with stories about a visit to Ramsey Farm in Lexington, historical stories on some of the races here in New York this winter, and profiles of humans and horses that make racing so interesting.

I hope that you all had great holidays and very best wishes for the new year —

7 thoughts on “News and notes and Eclipse votes

  1. I like the new look, it’s easier on my aging eyes but I too miss the Bridge.

    Congrats on all the new writing gigs, I always look forward to reading your work.

    Can’t argue with any of your voting choices although my heart is with Shackleford for 3 year old colt. Showing up and trying hard means a lot to me and he reminds me of the horses of yesteryear and he’s a chestnut, which is always a bonus in my book 😉

    Good luck and safe running to our friend Ham and Ernie today at Laurel!

  2. I agree with every comment written about you above, Teresa. You are a real plus for the sport of thoroughbred horseracing. I knew it from the very first time that I saw you being interviewed on the Saratoga show. And, some people just thought of you as a good teacher, (not that there is anything wrong with that). Your energy, attention to detail, and your enthusiasm about the sport we love, is well noted and now is easily being sought. It is only as it should be. I still believe a future Joe Hirsch or Media Eclipse Award awaits you. We would be considered “spoiled” to think that we could keep you all to ourselves here. Keep up your great work but, always remember that we were your devoted fans, when you were just a teacher, (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    I think your new website is terrific.

    What did you think of that picture of Arctic Bright in my last post?

  3. Sorry to see that Ham and Ernie didn’t kick off 2012 with a win, Linda.

    Robert: not nearly as much as I’d like to!

    August: quite a beauty!

    Thanks for the kind words and for reading, folks — both of which I appreciate more than I can say. I hope to get back to posting here regularly soon.

  4. Not sure if you saw H&E’s race, he was gaining but lost momentum when he was headed outside and the jockey yanked him back in to the rail. Barely lost third and they were maybe a half length behind the second place horse. So I’m hopeful things will work out with his new trainer!

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