Photo of the Year: 2010

This photo of Zenyatta and super-skilled photographer Jamie Newell is probably the photo of the year, but for the sake of competition, it gets a free pass.

As it was mentioned in previous discussions, 2010 was a big year.

I visited a lot of places, I took a lot of pictures, I’ve seen a million faces and I rocked ’em all.

Okay, perhaps that last line is a wee bit exaggerated, but two and a quarter years of operation on this site is too long to go without a Bon Jovi reference.

The first two parts of the statement, however, are completely true. The last year afforded me the opportunity to visit racing venues and big events around the country, and I have tried my best to bring my readers along for the ride with my tales and photos.

That brings us to the annual display of my favorite memories from those travels: The 3rd Annual Michigan-Bred Claimer Photo of the Year poll.

Truth be told, my best photo is all but certainly the one shown above of super-skilled photographer Jamie Newell and Zenyatta the morning after the Breeders’ Cup Classic, titled “Consolation”. That projection is supported by the photo’s third-place showing in the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance photo contest. If I have not said it before, allow me to take this opportunity to thank everyone kind enough to throw a vote my way. We’ll get ’em next year.

For the sake of competition, we’ll consider that one the winner by default and conduct the poll as usual to determine a reserve champion. Unlike the TBA contest, this is one vote I can’t lose.

All of the photos included in this poll were shot with a Kodak EasyShare Z980.

Thank you all for reading, commenting, voting and otherwise being a part of what was a huge 2010. I look forward to providing a front row seat to my adventures in 2011 and beyond.

Behind the jump are the 20 photos I have handpicked as my favorites of 2010. Have a look, then vote for your favorite in the poll on the left side of the page. Comments are always welcome, too.

And now, without further ado…

Victor Lebron
1. “Preparation”
Victor Lebron waits for his mount in the walking ring at Keeneland Race Course.
Date: April 2, 2010

Wilkin Ortiz & Gabriel Lagunes
2. “Testimony”
Wilkin Ortiz explains himself to the stewards as Gabriel Lagunes waits his turn following a race at Beulah Park.
Date: April 6, 2010

Evening Jewel 2
3. “Classic Backdrop”
Evening Jewel on the track the morning before her narrow runner-up finish in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
Date: April 29, 2010

Rachel Alexandra 6
4. “Hello, Rachel”
Rachel Alexandra peeks over the crowd in her paddock prior to the La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs
Date: April 30, 2010

Beduinos Cat - Oscar Delgado 3
5. “Gallop Out”
Beduinos Cat and Oscar Delgado come back to the grandstands after a race at Mount Pleasant Meadows.
Date: May 30, 2010

Oscar Delgado
6. “Playing In The Mud”
A muddied Oscar Delgado heads back to the jock’s room after a race at Mount Pleasant Meadows.
Date: June 6, 2010

HQH Dashing Zorro - Jose Beltran & Lee Gates
7. “A Leg Up”
Lee Gates gives fellow jockey Jose Beltran a helpful leg up aboard HQH Dashing Zorro at Mount Pleasant Meadows.
Date: June 6, 2010

AP 6-27 Race 4@
8. “Crowd Pleaser”
The crowd cheers a field to the wire at Arlington Park.
Date: June 27, 2010

4 Vino Rosso - Lee Gates 3 RFR The Iceman - Josh Ritschard
9. “Head In Front”
The blue-eyed RFR The Iceman and Josh Ritschard take an early advantage in an Arabian race at Mount Pleasant Meadows.
Date: July 25, 2010

Juan Delgado
10. “On Display”
Juan Delgado shows off his whip in the Mount Pleasant Meadows paddock.
Date: July 25, 2010

Sharmona - Azael De Leon
11. “Indiana Nights”
Sharmona and Azael De Leon are led out to the track at Hoosier Park.
Date: August 20, 2010

Little Shimmer 3
12. “Hard To Handle”
Little Shimmer gives her handlers fits in the paddock at Ellis Park. They would eventually get her saddled and mounted, but she would get scratched at the gate for acting up again.
Date: August 21, 2010

Arturo Perez 2
13. “Payouts”
Arturo Perez stands in the River Downs paddock while the track’s tote board lights up in the background.
Date: August 24, 2010

YD 9-19 Race 6@
14. “Rocky Start”
A field of Quarter Horses breaks from the gate at Yellowstone Downs.
Date: September 19, 2010

City Girl Jesse 1
15. “Lens Flare”
The setting sun obscures the view of City Girl Jesse as she makes her way to the walking ring at Prairie Meadows.
Date: September 24, 2010

Martin Garcia 6
16. “Post-Race Interview”
Matrin Garcia answers questions from the media in the winner’s circle following his Indiana Derby win aboard Lookin At Lucky at Hoosier Park.
Date: October 2, 2010

Kee 10-13 Race 1c
17. “Rolling Fields”
A field of Thoroughbreds competes before the scenic backdrop of Keeneland Race Course.
Date: October 13, 2010

Zenyatta 61
18. “Affection”
Groom Mario Espinoza shares a moment with Zenyatta outside her stall.
Date: November 4, 2010

Zenyatta 23
19. “Fond Farewell”
Zenyatta hams it up for an adoring crowd with assistant trainer Frank Leal the morning after her second place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Date: November 7, 2010

Emanuel Cosme & Edgar Paucar.jpg
20. “Downtime”
Emanuel Cosme (in purple) and Edgar Paucar wait in the starting gates at Turfway Park as another horse gets a rider change.
Date: December 30, 2010

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7 Comments

Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Pictures, Polls, Racetrack Visits

7 responses to “Photo of the Year: 2010

  1. Hi Joe –
    Gallop Out and Hard to Handle are my favorites. They speak to the athleticism of horses, riders and handlers and to the partnership required in all equine endeavors.

  2. I liked “A leg up” for the feeling it gives me, everyone is family up there, not like any other track in the country. “A Rocky start” is really neat, never seen such a place! Nice work for 1 year of fantastic travels!!

  3. mibredclaimer

    Tania,
    Thanks! I actually got a better shot of the horse in “Hard To Handle”, but she got up so high that her head got cut out of the frame. Fortunately, she obliged me with another opportunity for the shot.

    Offracin,
    You nailed it. I try to convey that whenever I describe MPM to someone unfamiliar with the place, and I’ve gotten more than a few funny looks. The pictures help a little bit, but I’m trying to get people to come up and see for themselves. Yellowstone Downs is quite the sight to behold, as well. Thanks for the kind words!

    Don’t forget to make your preferences official by voting in the poll on the upper left side of the page!

  4. Loved your Jamie Newell photo of course.

    I love “On Display” for the accessibility it shows that the game of racing is.

  5. Old Time Race Fan

    I really like # 17 for the way it shows the beauty of Kentucky. Something about #5 also fascinates … maybe just because it is from a smaller track.
    Very nice work, Joe.

  6. I love your #1 photo, natch. 😉

    “Downtime” is a great moment that you really don’t get to see very often. Usually the back of the starting gate is usually obscured from view, and anything that goes on behind it is unseen by fans and race photographers, alike.

    I also really liked “Rolling Fields.” There’s nothing like the rolling hills of Kentucky–especially in the fall. Great scenery shot of Keeneland.

  7. mibredclaimer

    Robert,
    Much appreciated! MPM is a pretty hands-on track, so scenes like that are not uncommon.

    Old Time Race Fan,
    Thanks! I took the one at Keeneland from a press box window. Figured I might as well take advantage of the view. Couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out.

    Picture #5 was a small victory for me. Oscar Delgado often stands up in the irons on the way back to unsaddle, and I had been trying for some time to get just the right shot of him doing it. As fortune would have it, I lucked out with that shot on MPM’s opening day.

    Jamie,
    Being as though you are the subject of the true photo of the year, your championship belt should be arriving shortly.

    The starting gate is right in front of the apron for races of a mile or longer at Turfway, so the crowd had a front-row seat for #20. I was standing in line with the gates to get a shot of everyone loaded up, but then I saw all the riders get off their mounts and just start chilling by the gates, so I got to snapping.

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