JC / Railbird


Social Media, Pro and Con

The annual TRA simulcasting conference is being held in Saratoga Springs in a couple weeks and I’ve been invited to participate in a panel on social media. While I have a general idea of where the conversation may drift and what points I’d like to make, I’d also like to go into the discussion with other perspectives in mind. To that end, I’d love to hear from fellow fans, either in comments below or via email (railbird [@] jessicachapel [.] com), about what in social media and racing is working — what do you find useful or meaningful? — and what isn’t. I’m particularly curious to hear about perceived limitations, either in what is being done or what is possible …

10/6/09 Postscript: Thanks and much appreciation to everyone who took time to send emails or comment below. The panel will be the morning of Wednesday, October 14. I’ll post a wrap-up and my notes sometime after.

Introducing BC360

Well, that was a bit longer of a post-Saratoga hiatus than I expected, but I have a great excuse. Thanks, Superfecta, Foolish Pleasure, and Alex Waldrop for noting the launch of Breeders’ Cup 360, a site I developed for the Breeders’ Cup, which is dedicated to handicapping this year’s event and boasts a solid list of contributors, including some familiar names, such as Jeremy Plonk, Randy Moss, Donna Brothers, and Caton Bredar, as well as some less familiar, at least on these shores. Emphasis will be placed on international contenders in the coming weeks, and the site’s editors have tapped Nick Luck, a presenter with Racing UK, and Fanny Salmon, of Equidia, to provide analyses of the scene abroad. The press release covers most of the details, but there are a couple site features I particularly want to point out:

– Vlogs from Ernie Munick. As the popular leader of the Facebook group Thoroughbred Racing in New York and all-around good guy announced a few days ago, he’s been hired as the official vlogger of the Breeders’ Cup, and will be posting from Santa Anita all that week. I can’t wait to watch what the auteur behind this marvelous Rachel Alexandra video comes up with when given a pass to the biggest event in American racing outside the Kentucky Derby.

Stats from past Breeders’ Cups. New this year and linked from the BC360 homepage and breederscup.com, a nifty interface that allows fans to pull historical charts and info from 25 years of Breeders’ Cup data. Look up trainers, jockeys, sires; do a little trend analysis. Discover random facts, such as that Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, and New Mexico have each produced one BC starter (Dust on the Bottle, 2000 Classic; Bluesthestandard, 2003 Sprint; Booly, 1992 Juvenile Fillies; Ricks Natural Star, 1996 Turf), or that blue hen Hasili is the dam with the most BC starters (seven, of which two — Banks Hill, 2001 and Intercontinental, 2005 — won, both in the Filly and Mare Turf).

– Pages optimized for smartphones. Visit BC360 on your iPhone, iPod, Android, Pre, and certain BlackBerry devices, and you’ll get all the content (except for video) and comments, plus a quick way to browse tags and search. The mobile site also has a useful list of links to sites like the BC YouTube page (helpful for looking up race replays) and past results charts.

For even more #BC09, there’s a BC360 Twitter feed. Contender news, handicapping info, and site blurbs will fill out most of the tweets this month and next, but come Breeders’ Cup week, I’ll be joining Ernie et al in Arcadia to tweet live (and keep the site updated) from the track. Until then, enjoy.