Today, I asked my Twitter followers to ask me anything (within reason, mind you!). These were the questions I received throughout the day!
William Kedjanyi (@keejayOV) asked, “If you could only watch one race all year, which would it be?”
It has to be the Kentucky Derby. I live and breathe for that race. There’s nothing like the feeling of horses you’ve come to know and love charge down the stretch once and then again, all vying for one of racing’s greatest prizes. I love the Triple Crown season in general, but the Derby will always be my biggest love.
Peter May, Jr. (@pmayjr) asked, “he wasn’t gonna be in top2, but am I crazy that #6 Gold Hawk had trouble twice at top of stretch? Excuses/improve next out?”
I wouldn’t give him any big excuses, but I keep hoping, for the sake of that beautiful pedigree, that he’ll improve next out. He’s got the bloodlines to go longer, but I’m not sure whether he’s got the stuff to handle the competition he’s already been facing, much less the best horses on the Derby Trail.
Derek Brown (@NJDerek) asked, “You’re at the Derby & meet only one celebrity. Which one makes for the worst story?”
Oh man, this is quite the question! I think it would have to be meeting someone I really admire and then having them turn around and completely diss me. Like if Paul Rudd – the perfect man, I declare – showed up to the Derby, I would be dead set on meeting him. But if he was a complete jerk to me (I doubt this), it would really ruin not only that moment but the experience in general. I wouldn’t get over that snub for a long time!
Numan (@paskalovic) asked, “What is your favourite racehorse around the whole world right now?”
Honor Code! I’ve got a fondness for a handful of others, but after St. Nick passed earlier this year, Honor Code nestled into that top spot quite cozily. Still anticipating his 2014 debut!
CC Broaddus (@drshillito) asked, “Being from Nebraska, how did you get tangled up in horse racing’s web? You’re not old enough to experience Ak-Sar-Ben.”
My family and I were on a vacation one time; we stayed in a hotel. You know how some hotels shove USA Todays under your door? (Do they still do that??) Well, I picked up the USA Today and Smarty Jones was on the cover. Being the horse lover I was, I avidly read upon this sport I had never even seen for myself. When we got home from vacation, I made sure to tune into his run for history at Belmont. He lost, but that didn’t dissuade me from continuing to follow this new discovery. I didn’t get to see live racing for quite some time, as it’s not nearly as prevalent in Omaha post-Ak-Sar-Ben. Horsemen’s Park every spring/summer is a short little meet that I eagerly await every year!
Eyup Ozcan (@eyupozcan) asked, “Which is the most important thing for you on a horse ? The true conformation or the pedigree ? And why ?”
I think it’s probably a mixture of the two, with a slight lean towards conformation. Horses can outperform expectations based on both, but I’d rather have a correct, athletic individual with a modest pedigree rather than an ill-conformed son of some Horse of the Year!
Meako (@meako100) asked, “Do you follow National Hunt racing?”
Not really, no. I find it extremely nerve-wracking to watch, actually; the falls put me off. I know it happens in flat racing, too, but the jumps just add another variable to an already risky sport and I’m too much of a Nervous Nelly to stand it! I have a great respect for jump racing, though, and am familiar with names like Arkle, Kauto Star, and the much-talked-about Sprinter Sacre!
Carly Kaiser (@carlykaiser) asked, “every horse is unique: but what is your ideal Derby campaign?”
You’re right, every horse is unique. But right now, I would have my horse in Southern California. Shorter fields (hence more opportunity for some extra cha-ching), a warm climate, and ample opportunities for preps. Gulfstream’s speedy surface right now does nothing but piss me off, Oaklawn and Aqueduct have had weather problems, and, as much as I love watching Fair Grounds racing, very little seems to come out of there and win a Triple Crown race. So I’d probably go Lewis-Felipe-SA Derby and onto Kentucky for my theoretical colt!
Matt Buzza (@mattbuzza16) asked, “I love Honor Code as a Derby prospect at this point. What are your thoughts on Honor Code vs the other top prospects?”
As I explained above, I love Honor Code. I’m worried about his late start to the year. Where will he pop up? He’s had less preparation than his talented stablemate Top Billing, and I hope that doesn’t come back to bite him in May. Shug McGaughey is a master of horses, and I know he’ll do right by Honor Code, but it still concerns me that it’s almost March and we still haven’t seen him on the track. In terms of talent, maturity, and sheer guts, I think he’s head and shoulders above his contemporaries. That gritty Remsen win impressed me more than any flashy track-record score ever could.