Sunday, August 9, 2015

Equibase to partner with STATS: What will this mean, if anything, to horseplayers?

One of the bigger pieces of news from this weekend's 63rd annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., was the announcement that Equibase, "The Supreme Gatekeeper of All Racing Data", and STATS LLC, a data and content company with ties to the NFL, MLB, NBA, etc., entered into a "strategic partnership to develop products and services for horesplayers." (H/T The Paulick Report). While this partnership sounds exciting, especially if it might lead to a freeing of the ridiculously guarded racing data, color me skeptical as to whether this will actually improve the lives of horseplayers.

If I were to ever compose a manifesto of what I would do if I was Supreme Lord of Horse Racing, right up at the very beginning of my absurdly long document would be a topic labeled simply "Unshackle The Results."

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Um, a little quick on the button, eh, starter?"

I had a really good day playing Del Mar on Sunday. I wish the starter was a little less anxious to get this race under way (or could, you know, count to NINE) cause my day might have turned out a bit better.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Post-Triple Crown World

After 37 years of bad starts, bad rides, bad trips, bad luck, and just plain old horses that weren't good enough to pull off the feat, a colt finally successfully navigated the Triple Crown gauntlet. American's Pharoah's run into racing history was, almost ironically, lacking in the drama of a desperate finish at the wire. Instead, us racing fans were treated to another smooth, consistent, and rival-crushing race by the best three-year-old thoroughbred in America.

The wait is over. Now a new world, one with the first Triple Crown winner in almost four decades, begins.

In my conversations with non-horse racing fans over the last ten years, the most common question (by far) that I've been asked is "do you think a horse will ever win the Triple Crown again?" And my answer every time without exception, was "yes."

I didn't know "when" it would happen, I didn't know "how" it would happen (although I had some theories), but there was no doubt in my mind that a horse would one day sweep all three races. The reason for my certainty? Because we'd come so close so many times. Had we witnessed 37 years of only two or three horses even getting a chance at the Triple Crown and then coming up short, my answer would be different. But we were close oh-so many times.

Starting with Spectacular Bid and ending with California Chrome, a long list of very good to great horses failed in the Belmont. But they didn't fail at the Belmont because the Triple Crown was impossible to achieve. They failed because of real flaws, real weaknesses, or simply getting beat by a better horse.

Spectacular Bid steps on a safety pin and then gets a questionable ride.

Sunday Silence is easily defeated by Belmont monster Easy Goer, who was clearly a better horse than Sunday Silence at a mile and a half. (A mile and a quarter was a different story.)

Funny Cide didn't bring his best race.

Real Quiet loses by a nose.

War Emblem stumbles out of the gate.

Smarty Jones did everything he could to win all three, but his pedigree got the best of him in that final testing quarter mile at Big Sandy.

Big Brown fought through foot issues and a circus-like atmosphere around his trainer, and then fails to finish the race.

California Chrome got stepped on coming out of the gate and then simply ran out of gas.

American Pharoah succeeded where others had failed because he was able to maintain great form over a grueling stretch of races while employing a running style that greatly reduces the chance of trouble.

In American dirt racing there is no greater asset a horse can possess than legitimate early speed. The ability to get to the front and set testing but sensible fractions will produce more winners than any other running style. We all know the difference between cheap speed - those horses that merely set things up for everyone else - and the dominant speed that we know will offer no chance for the others in the field if another horse (or horses) fails to put pressure on the leader.

Many, including yours truly, expected Materiality to provide the pace pressure to American Pharoah. In a race with little to no speed, Materiality was the only horse in the field with even a chance to run with him early.But even with a bit of a slow break by American Pharoah, Materiality was never able to really put pressure on the favorite, and I'm not sure it would have mattered either way because Materiality clearly didn't have it yesterday. After providing some token pressing of the leader, Materiality threw in the towel before he was even half way through the far turn. Imagine if he had gunned it to the lead? He might not have made it a mile. Well, he didn't make it a mile; might not have made it 6f.

John Velazquez after the race, said this about his colt's chances early on:
"We were going slow enough, with those fractions, but I just didn't have anything. I was in trouble as soon as we got to the backstretch."
Johnny V. knew just as we all knew: once Pharoah got into that easy gallop, while still churning out :12 splits for every 1/8th of a mile in the race, no horse was going to run him down.

Here are the internal Trakus splits for American Pharoah:

1/4: 24.07
1/2: 25.05
3/4: 24.42
Mile: 24.56
1 1/4: 24.54
1 1/2: 24.17

1st 1/2 Mile: 49.12
2nd 1/2 Mile: 48.98
3rd 1/2 Mile: 48.71

Look at that consistency because it's a thing of beauty.

American Pharoah churned out :12 after :12 after :12. He came home the last quarter mile of the mile and a half Test of Champions in 24.17 after setting all the early fractions. He did the dirty work early and still had something left in the tank; American Pharoah earned his place in history.

The Triple Crown is one of the ultimate tests in sports - it's not easy. It's not supposed to be easy. It's supposed to be the ultimate test for a thoroughbred in America. And while the Derby, Preakness and Belmont have changed since their inception over a century ago, the current Triple Crown format has remained the same since 1931. As far as I can tell, there's no reason to change a thing.

"American Pharoah is finally the one! American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown!" - Larry Collmus

Sunday, May 31, 2015

2015 Triple Crown: If you're not leading after a mile...

Last year I wrote a piece on my old site about the previous Triple Crown winners and the running style each utilized in their Belmont victory. While the Belmont Stakes is the longest Grade 1 dirt race in America, most Triple Crown winners found success on or near the lead. Of the 10 non-Sir Barton winners of the Triple Crown, all but two were on the lead after a mile (Assault and Omaha, both 4th after eight furlongs).

Going to the lead doesn't mean the horse has to attempt Secretariat-style greatness but it does mean the best horse is putting pressure on the inferior horses in the early stages. From the piece from last year, I asked the question of what should a good speed horse do? -
I suppose it comes down to a choose your poison situation for a horse like California Chrome: do you take the stalking trip you had for the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Preakness, knowing the rest of the field will likely apply pressure to your outside, inside, and all other sides at various point of the race - a sort of "Smarty Jones Scenario"? Or do you perhaps take the race to the rest of the field, dictating your own terms instead of the other way around? (Which could also end up being the Smarty Jones Scenario*.)


California Chrome: Not exactly a vote of confidence.

The Thoroughbred Racing Commentary published an in-depth look at California Chrome and his training ahead of this year's Royal Ascot meeting. (h/t to the Paulick Report) Rae Guest, the trainer tasked with Chrome's preparations in England, made some extremely candid statements in the piece which can only make me shake my head at this whole Chrome-to-Ascot.

Before I get to the quotes let me first express my interest in statements from trainers: About 99% of the time I pretend they don't exist. In the U.S., I can name about zero instances of a trainer saying anything other than, "the horse is doing great" or "he's full of energy" before a big race. How many times have you read or heard a quote from a trainer where they say "yeah, he's got not chance in this race"? That happens pretty much "never". Obviously, Rae Guest didn't attend the U.S. school of "Trainer Talk":

As we walk, I quiz Guest about how hard he feels Chrome's task will be at Ascot and his response is quite chastening.

"Impossible," he responded, after a pause for thought. "He's a good horse, there's no doubting that, and it's a very sporting challenge by his owners."

"But this is a new discipline for him. He's got to deal with a new track, a new style of racing, a right-handed bend, and an uphill finish." (emphasis added)

Um, wow.

Unless Guest is intentionally trying to tank the odds* on this horse (pretty much no chance in hell), you really can't have a trainer say something worse about a horse before a big race.

I'm as big of a fan as any of American horses traveling overseas to take on new and different challenges. I loved that Animal Kingdom took a shot at Royal Ascot, as well as the horses sent by both Wesley Ward and the Ramseys. But, in those instances, at least we are talking about turf horses and horses which were spotted in very specific races. This Chome deal is blind optimism or pure greed, I'm not sure which.

And think about Animal Kingdom for a moment: Animal Kingdom's pedigree was not only suited to running on grass, he was much more accomplished over the surface than Chrome. His second to Wise Dan in the Breeders' Cup Mile was far and away a better race than Chrome's Hollywood Derby score, and yet Animal Kingdom was no threat at Royal Ascot in a race much more suited to him (the Queen Anne) and where he, too, was trying to win after running in Dubai.

*Betfair has Chrome between 13/1 and 14.5/1 to win the Prince of Wales's Stakes. I wouldn't touch him if he was 40/1.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Random thoughts on American Pharoah, the Belmont, and the Triple Crown

Things I think/believe after the 2015 Preakness:
  1. I thought before the Derby that American Pharoah and Mubtaahij were clearly the best of the bunch that I watched this spring. I bet accordingly and had a pretty good Derby Day. Fortunately, I was half right: AP is the real deal but the jury is still out on Mubtaahij (although I think he could be a lot better in the Belmont with a slower pace).
  2. If it rains on Belmont Day, I'm not sure any horse will be able to keep up with AP. His Rebel in the slop, paired with his Preakness victory, certainly doesn't inspire confidence that another colt can be better than AP on an off track. He simply eats that slop up. 
  3. I think AP's best chance to win the Belmont is to go to the lead and take it to his rivals. It's the same strategy I thought Espinoza should have employed with California Chrome last year. I know, I know - "it's a mile and a half! He'll be too tired at the end!" - is the line from the peanut gallery. But consider this: pretty much every horse in the field is not bred to go a mile and a half, that's just the nature of today's game.

    We don't breed horses to go 12 furlongs on dirt so what's the advantage of a speed horse slowing things down, allowing inferior horses stick around in a tightly bunched pack? The only thing that does is make it easier for the lesser colts to get the distance.

    I'm not suggesting that AP try to "Secretariat" the field, cause that's impossible. And it's not a Smarty Jones-situation where you had a colt with a clear pedigree issue that got rank and pulled to the front. Instead we have the most talented colt with a high cruising speed (and possible the best speed horse in the field), where I think it makes sense to make the others chase him.

    Send him to the front and run them into the ground. If non-speed types want to challenge him early, they'll be toast by the mile pole. Sure, you're vulnerable to the grinders late but that's going to be the case in any pace scenario at a mile and a half.

    [Plus just for historical purposes, check out every Triple Crown winner's Belmont chart - they all prompted the pace and ran on the lead. The path to the Crown is up front and without fear of the distance. IMHO.]
  4. I'm not sure how you make a figure for the Preakness that isn't either A) a complete guess, or B) simply giving AP the same number as his Rebel win and adjusting every other horse accordingly. The idea that you can create a variant from a sample size of one is beyond preposterous.
  5. There was a lot of talk about the whip and Espinoza's use of it during the Derby. But consider this little gem of a factoid:

    Espinoza hit AP zero times in the Rebel.
    Espinoza hit AP zero times in the Arkansas Derby.
    Espinoza hit AP an estimated 30 times in the Kentucky Derby.
    Espinoza hit AP zero times* in the Preakness.

    I don't know if any of that means anything, I just thought it was interesting.

    *Based on my viewing of the replay, it looks like Espinoza simply showed AP the whip but never actually reached back and hit him. So I'm calling it zero.
  6. AP's internal splits during the Preakness:

    1/4: 22.90
    1/2: 23.59
    3/4: 24.93
    Mile: 26.32
    Final 3/16: 20.72

    The final time was slow (as noted, ad nauseam, elsewhere), but the early pace was very strong. 
  7. Lots of quitters yesterday at Pimlico, including Dortmund, who clearly didn't want anything to do with that off track. He's a much better horse than what he showed in the Preakness but, I think it's safe to say, it's unwise to play this horse on an off track in the future.
  8. Tale of Verve didn't quit as he grinded his way to the runner-up position at the wire. The trip note might read "passed tiring horses" but I'd change that to "passed quitting horses."But regardless, he was one of the few that didn't spit the bit into the mud.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

I got my money on the DRF guys since most of them are East Coasters and East Coasters know how to fight dirty.

I can't fault DRF for this tweet at all. When I turned on TVG this morning and saw them discussing DraftKings Fantasy Baseball I wanted to throw up. Actually, I had a different reaction - I wanted to stab my eyes out.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kentucky Derby 2015: Gut Feeling

I'm basing the following thoughts on pure gut feeling - simply what my eyes have told me over the past couple of months watching the prep races leading up to this year's Kentucky Derby. I haven't computed speed figures, ratings, rankings, or compiled an assortment of trip notes. Overall, this is just the visual impression I have of this year's Derby contenders:
Mubtaahij (IRE) and American Pharaoh are the best of the crop.
Personally, it's really hard for me to type that sentence given the overall horrible performance record in the Kentucky Derby for colts traveling from Duabai (with regards to Mubtaahij), and the fact that it's hard to take the Derby gate-to-wire (with regards to American Pharaoh).

As is the case every single year during the three-year-old colt spring stakes season, we really don't have a good clue as to the level of talent these horses were facing. Typically, these races are short on actual bona fide stakes horses, at least when we look ahead to the summer and fall. But, really, that's not the most important thing when looking for a Derby winner (at least in my mind). What really matters are horses that are running at a high level while still possessing room for improvement. It's also nice to find a horse that's dealt with some trouble but when you deal with as chalky of a prep season as this one, sometimes you have to make exceptions.

With Mubtaahij and American Pharaoh, I think we have the two most talented three-year-old colts in the crop, as well as a couple of colts with room to grow. Additionally, I think Mubtaahij displayed a lot of professionalism during his romp in the UAE Derby.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Good TV / Bad TV

The schedule for this summer's coverage of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" races on NBCSN was announced today [Bloodhorse.com] with 18 races scheduled for national telecast beginning in early June. And while televising racing on a national scale is certainly good (at least I think it is), many of these broadcasts, including the Triple Crown broadcasts, are thin in actual racing. I mean reeeaaaalllly thin. By way of example:

On Saturday, August 2nd, there is a one-hour broadcast from 5:00 to 6:00pm in order to show a single race - the Haskell. 

On Saturday, June 13th, NBCSN will be on the air from 8:30 to 10:00pm Eastern time (yay, Prime Time) to televise the Stephen Foster and the Fleur De Lis. For those mathematically challenged in the group, that's an hour and a half broadcast with two races shown.

Races take 120 seconds (at the most) to run in this country so that 90 minute program will showcase somewhere around four minutes of actual racing. And that one hour program with just one race? A whole two minutes of action for your 60 minutes of airtime.

Gee, I don't understand why casual observers aren't breaking the Nielsen ratings to tune in to watch!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Untapable comes up short in the Azeri

I like Mike Watchmaker's DRF analysis a lot, so this isn't meant as a criticism but more so a differing thought on Untapable's defeat at Oaklawn today in the Azeri Stakes. Mike wrote the following on DRF Live after the race:
"I especially didn't like how [Untapable] was rank on the first turn for no apparent reason." [DRF Live]
As I was watching the race in real-time, and on the replay, my take is that Untapable was rank because she got hit in the face with mud kicked up by pacesetter, and eventual winner, Gold Medal Dancer. I've embedded the race replay below; pay particular attention to Untapable just as she's coming off the first turn and entering the backstretch when you'll see her toss her head.



I believe it is at this point in the race where either a) Gold Medal Dancer moved over towards the inside or a) Untapable moved to the outside. Either way, their paths crossed and Untapable went from "in the clear" to "in the mud" and back out to a cleaner trip. To me, she was rank due to the mud in her face and not for just for shits and giggles.

I think the takeaways from the Azeri are three-fold:

-Untapable will certainly be better in her next start after a four month layoff and a return over a muddy track (even if it was called "good"). It wasn't a great performance but there are certainly enough excuses that I'd be willing to draw a line through this one and chalk it up as a conditioning effort.

-I don't think I'd ever be comfortable betting Untapable in another race over an off track. On a dry track, Untapable is many lengths better than the winner. On mud, her great class advantage was significantly erased. Some horses just don't care for the slop and Untapable might be one of those kinds of horses.

-About the only thing I think might have helped Untapable turn the tables and win the Azeri is if Johnny V. would have sent her to the front. While she typically won't engage lead horses early, I think in a race where she was clearly the most talented filly it would have made sense to go to the lead and put the onus on Gold Medal Dancer to chase her over the muddy surface. While it's not her preferred style, I think a front-running trip (which would have kept her out of the mud-in-the-face situation) might have boosted her enough to the victory.

Just my $.02.

TVG/HRTV: Early returns are discouraging, at best

Recently, I wrote the following in my TVG/HRTV merger post:

"The worst case scenario is TVG taking all the good content from HRTV, running dual channels until the full acquisition is complete and then simply shutting down HRTV. I don't think that's what they plan on doing but that's the nuclear option."

I'm generally pretty optimistic but, at this point, I'm preparing for a nuclear winter.

We're barely a month into the new TVG/HRTV world and it's becoming pretty discouraging as to where TVG is headed. Over the last few weeks, HRTV was relegated to an after-thought in terms of top racing action, TVG sucked up Gulfstream (which they've been dying to broadcast for years), while at the same time the two channels continue to show races on tape or just flat out show the same races from the same track... live. Like Laurel and Tampa. Seriously, who the hell is in charge at TVG?

Monday, February 23, 2015

The TVG-HRTV Merger/Buyout Thingy

TVG has bought out (or is in the process of buying out) HRTV. Some quick back-of-the-napkin thoughts on why this could be good and why it could be very, very bad.

Good

  • TVG has better distribution deals, notably with carriers such as DIRECTV and Comcast. (Both channels are already on DISH.) TVG owning both channels could be the ticket to placement of HRTV (or TVG2, cause that's what it essentially will be), in more homes. That would be very good.
  • TVG and HRTV duplicate some tracks (like NYRA and Cali) while some other tracks get relegated to the almost-worthless "tape delayed" status. With both channels coming under the same network (and hopefully equal distribution of both channels), the opportunity could arise to show many more races live.

 

The Bad 

  • The worst case scenario is TVG taking all the good content from HRTV, running dual channels until the full acquisition is complete and then simply shutting down HRTV. I don't think that's what they plan on doing but that's the nuclear option.
  • There are a lot of things that each channel does well and I hope that TVG execs has the self-reflection required to incorporate some of HRTV's strengths at TVG. The entire day doesn't need to be filled with the on-air talents Pick 4 and Pick 6 tickets (most of which are absolute horrible bets). You don't need to spend an hour in the morning before the first race talking about a Pick 6; there are other bets and handicapping angles than Pick 4s/6s, and, incidentally, most of those are much better plays for over 90% of all horseplayers.

 

Something Else That Needs To Get Done

The press release announcing the buyout mentioned that TVG has new, state-of-the-art HD studios. That's nice and all but those studios are useless if the standalone TVG channel is SD.* (The only time TVG broadcasts in HD is when it's simulcasting over the FoxSports regional stations, like FoxSports West, etc.)

It's time to have a full-time, HD horse racing channel. Check that. It's waaaay past due to have a full-time HD horse racing channel. Horse racing is already a decade behind other sports in implementing HD technology and the time is now to fill that gaping hole.

So, TVG, when you're talking to the satellite carriers and cable companies, it's time to push for them to carry TVG HD, otherwise you're new studios are, for the most part, useless.

*Multiple things must occur to get HD on your TV at home: 1) the action must be filmed with HD camera, 2) transmitted from HD studios to 3) an HD channel (which is offered by a satellite or cable carrier), 4) which is then viewed through your HDTV 5) after you have purchased an HD package from your carrier. 

You'd be surprised how many people think they are watching HD when they are actually watching SD. Really surprised. Like shockingly surprised.

Speaking of lack of HD technology - the tracks as big of a problem as the broadcast channels. Santa Anita, New York, Kentucky, and several others, have HD cameras filming races at the track, but many, many more are still in the stone age, both in terms of the signal beamed out for simulcasting and the in-house coverage. It's time to get with the times.

Tweet Of The Week


I want to say "breed to Star Guitar" because, well, that commerical with John G. Dooley providing the emphatic "STAR GUITAR!" call is pure money. But Joe Theismann is a pitchman's pitchman.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fountain of Youth: Tiring track or tired colts?



If you were watching Saturday’s Fountain of Youth with the hopes of catching a glimpse of a potential Derby-winning colt you probably came away a bit disappointed. That’s not to suggest that the Derby winner couldn’t be among this year’s field of three-year-old Fountain of Youth participants, it has more to do with the unimpressive way most of the field finished the mile and a sixteenth trip around the main track.

As Upstart lumbered across the finish line at Gulfstream Park I couldn’t help but noticed the sectional times at the top of the HRTV screen with the thoughts of “oooh, that ain’t good” running through my head. The early fractions were solid if unspectacular – 24.27 for the opener; 47.87 at the half; 1:11.65 – and then things started to fall by the wayside. The field then clicked off 1:38.98 at the mile - a whopping 27.33 fourth quarter split – followed by an “about-the-only-way-to-call-it” pedestrian 7.82 for the final 1/16th of a mile on their way to a final time of 1:46.80.
 

Horse 1/4 1/2 3/4 Mile Finish
Upstart 24.69 23.38 23.92 26.99 7.30
Itsaknockout 24.47 23.66 24.24 26.72 7.71
Frammento 25.20 24.21 24.50 26.26 6.87
Frosted 24.38 23.55 23.72 27.59 7.85
Gorgeous Bird 24.89 23.75 24.30 27.30 7.30
Bluegrass Singer 24.27 23.60 23.90 27.82 7.99
Juan and Bina 24.58 23.64 24.18 27.99 7.51
Danny Boy 25.31 23.86 24.07 27.47 7.36


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Less is more. Old is new.


Hi, I'm Matt. You may remember me from such blogs as SB Nation's And Down The Stretch They Come, or from Press the Pace on Twitter. I've been away from the keyboard for a while but now I'm back. Sort of. It's new but also the same.

The creation and beginning of "You're gonna need a bigger boat" is kind of a "new/old, back to the beginning" transition to blogging about horse racing from my perspective. I spent 4+ years writing for SB Nation and loved every minute of it even though the daily demands of keeping up a blog on that network ultimately led me to step away last fall. However, I knew stepping away from ADTSTC would not end my desire to write about horse racing, which is why I'm now here.

So why am back to blogging in relative obscurity, without the support of a large network and cutting-edge publishing tools?  Here are just a few reasons why I'm here and what will be different at You're gonna need a bigger boat as compared to ADTSTC:
  • Less structure to the content

    One of the great things about blogging is the fact that you have this blank canvass in which to convey an assortment of thoughts and ideas on particular topics. That's really why so many of us do it: to use a medium to express our opinions. Blogging is typically not something we do to try and be a sports writer or a mainstream journalist. Unfortunately, there's a tendency to drift towards what I'll call "No passion news" as a crutch to generate content and page views.

    Over at ADTSTC, I'd have posts on entries and odds, followed-up by a results post with payouts and other information. Those posts teeter-tottered between those sprinkled with opinions and analysis, and ones with simple, plain-fact information that could be found anywhere. The page hits were nice (and, unfortunately, addicting), but the sense of pride in the work was less than fulfilling. 

    This place is going to have a lot less structure than anything I ever wrote at ADTSTC. There will be handicapping pieces and writing about the goings-on of the horse racing world, but I want there to be more "me" in the writing and less "general news". I don't know if that makes any sense but it does to me and, really, I'm probably the only one reading this (other than the Basset Hound sitting next to me on the couch).
  •  Posts that wander off-topic

    I like horse racing. And baseball. And college football. And pro football. And fantastic movies like Die Hard, Road House, Jaws, Die Hard 2, Groundhog Day, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Point Break, Top Gun, A Good Day to Die Hard, Road House 2: Last Call (100% straight-to-video goodness) [edit: and, of course, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. Under Siege... on a train!]; you know, the "Classics." I may, from time to time, post miscellaneous thoughts on any and all of those topics.
  • Less is more

    Yeah, I don't have access to thousands of photos that I can legally use in my posts. Or a network that can link and promote my posts across the vast landscape of the internet. But in many ways, that makes things easier. Sometimes simplicity is refreshing.

    While this platform provides fewer publishing tools as compared to my old location, you'd be amazed at how much time fine-tuning posts can actually take up when you're just listing out a table of entries for a stakes race. And while those tools invariably increase the reach of your writing, they can also cause the whole process to feel a little "heavy."

    Ultimately, this is just a place that feels right at this point in my writing/blogging life.
So that's what I'm all about here at You're gonna need a bigger boat. Less focus on key words, page views and Search Engine Optimization, and more emphasis on just writing about horses or discussing whether or not Steven Seagal could kick Dalton's ass. (Correct Answer: he could not.)

If you followed me over at SB Nation and have made your way to this site - "thanks!" If you're stopping by for the first time - also "thanks!" If you wandered here in a stuper and have no idea what's going on - cool.