JC / Railbird

Monday Notes

– Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra breezed six furlongs in 1:13.80 this morning at Churchill Downs, galloping out seven furlongs in 1:28. “She went beautiful, like she always does,” said trainer Steve Asmussen. “She’s in a nice rhythm and seems very happy right now.” No decision yet on where she might start next. Owner Jess Jackson has mentioned the June 27 Mother Goose at Belmont as a possibility, but the racetrack rumor much-repeated over the weekend, including from those who had seen her recently at Churchill, was that the filly is not training well and may be away from the races longer than her connections publicly anticipate. Of course, while it’s true that her work times have been less zippy since the Preakness (in her final breeze before that race, she went four furlongs in :48.40 versus the :50.20 she posted in the first work after; in her one five furlong breeze before the Oaks, she went the distance in :59.40 compared to the 1:01.60 of her work the first week of June), it should be noted that she has kept to her training schedule without apparent incident, working three Mondays straight for her new barn.

Tweeted @EJXD2 on Sunday, in reference to Birdstone’s successful Triple Crown season as a young sire:

The last time [a] sire was represented by two different classic winners in his first crop was Count Fleet in 1951.

For the trivia-interested, there’s some additional historical similarity between the two sires and their winners in that, like Birdstone, Count Fleet’s first classic winner was a little regarded Kentucky Derby longshot, Count Turf, who beat another Count Fleet colt entered in the Derby, the favored Counterpoint. He went on to win the Peter Pan in record time and then the Belmont Stakes as the third favorite. According to the Belmont chart comments, “Counterpoint permitted … Count Turf to go to lead … regained the lead when the latter gave way.” Sounds a bit like what we saw on Saturday …

– There may be layoffs at Blood-Horse and Thoroughbred Times, and the newspaper industry in general may be imploding, but Daily Racing Form is doing fine, reports the New York Times.

– After the race: Visiting Summer Bird in his barn after the Belmont Stakes.


Why is that “Count Fleet” is such a great name, and “Count Turf” such a clunker?

Posted by Teresa on June 8, 2009 @ 11:39 am

I’ve noticed a sharp decline in the availability of the print DRF around Northern NJ and others in the twitterverse in prime racing markets have commented that it’s harder to find a print DRF.

I live a couple miles from the Meadowlands, after asking my local bodega and quick mart guys they tell me that the distributors have cut back sending the DRF to vendors to one each per day. All 3 also said they’re trying to get more in to no avail because the form sells pretty well (I was not the first person to ask them about it).

I’ve noticed in my travels that the stacks of DRF’s at the Port Authority’s newstands are smaller compared to even a year ago and a 7-11 a couple of miles from Monmouth which used to have stacks of the print DRF on raceday no longer have any at all, which leads me to believe that this cutback isn’t just a regional and/or distributor related issue.

Couple this with the reduced size, increase in price for a form and the loading up of advertising both in the DRF itself and on TVG/HRTV for formulator and maybe it’s not conspiracy theory to deduce that the DRF is going to will its way to that 1/3 of all sales online, print demand be damned.

I’m a quasi tech/gadget geek who is having a hard time adapting away from the print version of the form. I don’t get much enjoyment out of sitting in front of my computer playing horses and though formulator is quite the nifty app, it’s never going to be a killer app being married to flash, IMHO.

Because of the sheer volume of information, I suspect that any mobile app, even on the UI-rich Iphone, is at the the very least a long way off and probably going to fail miserably when it does hit.

Though I imagine that I’m in the substantial minority being a step above the casual player, the DRF’s problem for dealing with a draw down in print distribution and converting those to purchasing online is a very tricky issue if I’m at all representative of their typical customer as I’ve only purchased a couple of cards in my entire life online.

Posted by o_crunk on June 8, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

FWIW, I didn’t “grow up” reading The Form in print so my preferred M.O. is to download & print cards. In a somewhat similar vein as o_crunk, I too think Formulator is nifty but, as an avowed flash hater, have my doubts. I’ve sent in a couple of items of usability feedback but am not holding my breath.

Side note, I borrowed a neighbors program on Saturday to see who the trainer was in a race where I had not printed out the PP… it was like reading a foreign language, took me forever to find the trainer name! Funny how hard it is to acclimate to change.

Posted by dana on June 8, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

I’ve noticed the same about the dwindling availability. When I moved to New York (to work for DRF, funny enough), there were several places in my neighborhood where I could find an issue. A couple years ago, that became two. Last year, one. This year, none.

As for Formulator, as a horseplayer, I find it doesn’t really meet my handicapping or research needs. It’s a neat application, but not quite right for me. I could use a rich mobile app, and can see such a thing being very successful, but it would require re-imagining data presentation.

Posted by Jessica on June 11, 2009 @ 4:16 pm