It’s back! Though it dwelt at the gate, the Road to the Roses (Presented by TwinSpires.com, officially–so thanks to TS for helping to make it happen) kicks off this weekend, and with it, the sixth Brooklyn Backstretch charity league.
Registration opened today at noon and continues through 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 28. The game is scaled down and compressed this year–no jockeys, no trainers, no power horses or supplements or stable changes, and just six weeks of races.
The first scoring races take place on Saturday, March 30 with the Florida Derby, the Louisiana Derby, and the UAE Derby. Points can also be earned in the Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby (April 6); Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass (April 13); Lexington (April 20); Derby Trial (April 27); and Kentucky Derby (May 4).
I’ve chosen my fantasy stable (feel free to look at it–posted in the comments–so that you’ll know which horses to avoid), and the Brooklyn Backstretch Charity League is set to go for year #6.
As in past years, the winner of our league will have a donation made in his or her name to the racing charity of his or her choice. Past recipients include the Belmont Child Care Association, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, Days End Farm Horse Rescue, ReRun, All About Spay Neuter, Old Friends at Cabin Creek, and Our Mims.
I pledge $75 to kick things off; in past years, league members have voluntarily contributed, and last year, our donation reached $1,000. In the four years of our league’s existence, we’ve donated nearly $3,000 to racing-related charities.
You don’t need to contribute to win…just join! Only two rules apply: One stable per person, please, and you don’t get to make fun of me for my picks.
My guiding principles in choosing my stable this year are not so different from previous years: A cat horse is obligatory, so thanks, Fear the Kitten, and let’s see what you can do this weekend, even if the points don’t count. I don’t pick horses with terrible or misspelled names, or onesthatrunalltogether; a hockey horse would be nice, but without one of those this year, we’ll go with geographical affinity (hello, Verrazano).
It looks like the scale-down has also eliminated the ability to form individual leagues…but we’re not going to let that stop us. If you want to play for a chance to donate to the racing charity of your choice, enter your stable in the comments on this post by 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, and we’ll figure out the points ourselves. Depending on volume, I may bribe recruit some volunteers to help.
If you’re interested in contributing to the donation, please e-mail me, let me know when you post your stable, or contact me through Facebook (message or at the Brooklyn Backstretch page) or Twitter. And while you’re at it, follow on Twitter and “like” on Facebook!