Tag Archives: Juan Delgado

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…

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

An evening at Hoosier Park

Fans of the former Great Lakes Downs will find a lot to like in Hoosier Park.

Frequent visitors to this site have likely picked up on how much I miss Great Lakes Downs.

The Muskegon track was where I learned many of the nuances of the sport, and where interest became infatuation as I followed my grandpa’s racehorse, Royal Charley.

Now it’s an empty lot.

I’ve spent a lot of time and gas miles trying to recapture the magic I felt at GLD, only managing to find it in small doses – usually when the lights come on for night races.

No track will ever fully re-create the Great Lakes Downs experience, but a night at Hoosier Park is about as close as it gets. In fact, with its adjacent casino, Hoosier provides a look at perhaps what could have been if slots had been allowed in Michigan before the track was sold to the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and knocked down.

The Anderson, Ind. plant is an enclosed structure split into four sections. The entrance is at the top landing, housing the gift shop, restaurant, a bar and a couple mall-style food stations. From there, patrons can choose one of two paths down to the apron. On the right is the dining area, which sits on several levels down the stairs. As I did at GLD, I imagine the wait staff, who has to climb up and down those stairs to serve their customers, must have calves of steel. The left side held the grandstand seating. At the bottom sat some concession stands and betting windows.

The similarities to GLD continued as I made my way out to the apron. The track surface is raised at the end of the apron to about shin-to-knee level. Hoosier managed to improve on this setup by putting an eye-level opening in the fence, which made the viewing experience much easier than watching the field go by through chain link.

The apron area is a little more spread out than Muskegon, but the paddock is more scenic. A fountain overlooked the saddling area, which led into a nicely landscaped walking ring.

I spent the day with my former Thoroughbred Times traveling companion Jeff Apel and grade school chum Niki. For my first time visiting the track, they were far from the only people I knew. While sitting at one of the trackside picnic tables, I heard someone call my name from the track. It was another friend from school working as an outrider. Small world. Of course, there were also plenty of transplants from Pinnacle Race Course and Mount Pleasant Meadows looking to take advantage of the sweeter pots. There is no doubt this increased my comfort level with getting used to a new track.

The effects slots have had at Hoosier Park are apparent in the quality of horses the track sends to post. On that particular night, the card featured large fields highlighted by the third place finisher in last year’s Sanford Stakes (G2) and a fringe Kentucky Derby trail horse from this year’s race. That is more than most tracks in the Midwest can boast.

My luck at the windows dwindled with the setting of the sun, and I was already staring down an 0-fer. I scanned through my program with a sense of optimism when I noticed three Michigan-breds entered in the sixth race, but none of them could put up much of a fight against the previously mentioned fringe Derby trail contender.

As night fell on the track, the Quarter Horses came out to play. The card was divided up into nine Thoroughbred races and three Quarter Horse races, for a total of 12 races overall. If the Thoroughbred races were robust, the Quarters were downright juicy. Full fields (before scratches) entered the gates for each race to run for an average purse of $23,833 for the evening. That’s a spicy meatball.

Despite my familiarity with the various Mount Pleasant connections competing in the races, I continued to whiff on the Quarter Horse portion of the card. However, Mount Pleasant trainer Tony Cunningham and jockey Juan Delgado did manage to score in the nightcap with Cant Tell Me Nothing, so if I wasn’t going to get paid, at least someone I knew was picking up the slack.

With the races in the rear view mirror, Niki and I hit up the casino. Like Indiana Downs, everything that is not a straight up slot machine is digital. The table games are arranged similar to the real thing, but players place bets and recieve their cards on a monitor. While some bemoan the lack of actual table games, I prefer the digital versions because no one else has to see how big of a coward I am being with my bets.

Despite my relative ineptitude in most casino games, I actually found myself about $30 ahead near the end of the night. Then, as we were heading out the door, the roulette wheel caught my attention from the corner of my eye and begged for some of my time. Roulette and I have a strange relationship – like that one friend everyone has that can be lots of fun to be around, but taxing on the wallet. Even though it is a complete game of chance, I still find it fascinating. It can be broken down statistically, even though doing so is a useless venture. It can hit random hot and cold streaks with numbers and colors, then blow them up without warning. Every plan and superstition is absolutely right and absolutely useless at the exact same time; kind of like horse racing.

Unlike most of the faux table games, the roulette wheel is real, but automated, so a human being is not needed to spin the wheel or deal with the ball. However, the terminals were still there, so no one had to see I was only putting a dollar on red or black with each spin. When you play with as small a bankroll as I had though, hitting a cold streak can add up. After zigging when I should have zagged a few times too many, I decided to cut myself off while I was still up by a reasonable amount (something in the $20 neighborhood) and call it a night. I had some driving ahead of me in the morning, anyway.

Now that I have visited both of Indiana’s racetracks, there will inevitably be comparisons. The main thing to keep in mind when discussing Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs is that Hoosier was in place long before slots became a reality, whereas Indiana was essentially built with a racino in mind.

As a place to watch races, Hoosier is the better of the two. The overall racetrack experience is more vibrant and practical. For all the fuss about racino tracks not being able to draw fans to the racetrack side of the action, the crowd was reasonably robust for a Friday night card, and the bar stayed busy hours after the last horse crossed the wire.

The casino at Indiana, on the other hand, is a little better – at least in the eyes of someone who has been to three casinos in his life, with two of them being in the focus group. The games themselves were about on par with each other, but it just felt there was more going on at the Shelbyville casino. With that said, each is a worthwhile destination for someone looking for action.

Instead of waxing poetic one last time about how much Hoosier Park reminds me of the good times at Great Lakes Downs, I will instead note that I like the track so much, I intend to return for the Indiana Derby on Oct. 2. While I will never forget the fun I had in Muskegon, I intend to create my share of new memories at Hoosier Park in due time.

Behind the jump are some pictures of my visit to Hoosier Park.

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Filed under Pictures, Racetrack Visits, Story Time

Get R Done demolishes field in Michigan Arabian Juvenile Stakes

2010 Michigan Arabian Juvenile Stakes
Get R Done leaves the field in the distance to win the Michigan Arabian Juvenile Stakes at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

If there was any debate about who should own the title as Michigan’s top three-year-old Arabian, Get R Done silenced it with authority, following a 23 length victory in Sunday’s $7,600 Michigan Arabian Juvenile Stakes at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

The Virgule Al Maury gelding broke well and watched from second as Triple Play SA shot to the lead on the outside. Triple Play SA stretched out her lead as the field passed the grandstand for the first time and led by about three lengths as she headed into the clubhouse turn. Get R Done and Wicked Breeze were the nearest trailers, about a length apart. The leader’s advantage was quickly narrowed in the turn by Get R Done, who was briefly neck and neck with Triple Play SA before leaving his rival behind.

That confrontation was the last time Get R Done would be near a rival until the gallop-out. He stretched out his lead across the backstretch and entered the turn about eight lengths ahead of Triple Play SA and First Kiss HLF. The margin continued to expand throughout the final turn, and Get R Done entered the stretch 20 lengths better than his nearest foe. He continued to pad his lead throughout the stretch and crossed the wire under an easy hand ride from jockey Juan Delgado. Get R Done checked in 23 lengths ahead of the second place finisher, stablemate First Kiss HLF. The runner-up earned his spot by an impressive margin of his own, 11 1/4 lengths in front of Pipers Prime Time.

Get R Done completed the five furlong race with a time of 1:10.86 over a fast dirt surface. He was part of a three-horse entry, along with runner-up First Kiss HLF and fourth place Hot Lava, that left the gates as the post time favorite at 0.90-to-one.

Get R Done was homebred in Michigan by Tom Fritz and trained by Mario Fritz. His lifetime record is now a perfect two-for-two with earnings of $5,150. the Michigan Arabian Juvenile was also Get R Done’s first stakes victory.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

1A – Get R Done (Juan Delgado) 3.80
1 – First Kiss HLF (Jose Beltran) 3.80
3 – Pipers Prime Time (Oscar Delgado)

Five Furlongs
Time: 1:10.86

Get R Done - Juan Delgado
Your winner, Get R Done; Juan Delgado, up.

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Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Stakes Races

Mount Pleasant Meadows in photos

The Mount Pleasant Meadows 2010 meet is off and running; as is Thoroughbred Sweet at Best, ridden by Nate Alcala.

The first two weeks of Mount Pleasant Meadows’ 2010 meet are in the books.

I’ve been telling a lot of long-winded stories lately, so for the beginning of Mount Pleasant’s season, I’m going to let the photos do most of the talking. Between stakes races and general goings-on, more than enough will be written about the central Michigan track in due time.

For those interested in a written description of the track, my review of last year’s opening day can be found here. A few names and faces may have shuffled since last year, but the general feel of the place remains the same.

Before we commence with the photos, this seems as good a time as any to once again plug the Mount Pleasant Meadows Facebook page, to which I have been contributing. Readers interested in learning more about the track are encouraged to become “fans” by visiting the page and clicking on the appropriate button.

Now, without further ado, behind the jump are photos from the last two week’s worth of races at Mount Pleasant Meadows. Enjoy!

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Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Pictures, Racetrack Visits

2009 TBA Photo Contest

As some of you may already know, I entered some photos in this year’s Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance Photo Contest.

First round voting began this morning and continues on through Sunday, Dec. 20. I’m up against some incredibly stiff, Eclipse-quality competition. Like March Madness for the Mid-American Conference school from which I just graduated, just getting out of the first round would be a fantastic coup. To accomplish this goal, I’m going to need your help.

Here are the three photos I submitted for the contest…

Juan Delgado tucks down to urge Christmas From Mom to the wire at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

Im A Corona and Mike Holmes (#2) battle Luckys Rambler and Rafael Fernandez (#1) in the stretch at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

Lee Gates leads Toagule around the paddock before a race at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

Once I get a little time to sort through all the photos I have taken this year, I will hold my own Photo of the Year poll like I did last year (you know, one I’m guaranteed to win). Until then, you can vote in the TBA contest by clicking here.

I’d appreciate your vote. Let’s strike a blow for Michigan and the small tracks of the world!

I’m Joe Nevills and I approve this message.


Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Pictures

Peak of the Storm, Mood for a Dash win weekend’s stakes races

Peak of the Storm duels early, lasts late to win Regret Stakes

Peak of the Storm (4) trades bobs of the head with Oh Fiddlestix (1 inside) in the stretch, but he eventually puts a nose in front to win the Regret Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

Peak of the Storm slugged it out with her rivals at every stage of the race and outlasted Oh Fiddlestix by a nose to win Saturday’s $50,000 Regret Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course. 

The three-year-old Peaks and Valleys filly dueled with early leader Silent Tears and Oh Fiddlestix for a half mile before gaining a length’s separation entering the stretch. Oh Fiddlestix made up the distance through the stretch and exchanged bumps and head bobs with the leader, but Peak of the Storm prevailed in the six-furlong race under jockey Rick Knott as the 1.90-to-one favorite. The Regret was Knott’s first win of the meet at Pinnacle. Oh Fiddlestix finished 3/4 lengths ahead of a rallying Hakuna Matata for the runner-up spot.

Peak of the Storm is hombred in Michigan by owner Richard Hammer and is trained by Larry Penner. With the win, Peak of the Storm increased her lifetime earnings to $51,850 and earned her second win from six starts.

For a chart of the race, click here.

4 – Peak of the Storm (Rick Knott) 5.80 / 3.60 / 3.40
1 – Oh Fiddlestix (Godofredo Laurente) 25.20 / 11.80
3 – Hakuna Matata (Angel Stanley) 7.60

Six Furlongs
Time: 1:13.43 

Your winner, Peak of the Storm; Rick Knott, up.

Mood for a Dash powers home in Michigan-Bred Derby

Mood for a Dash (7) gets some separation from Im the Saint (8) to win the Michigan-Bred Derby at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

Mood for a Dash pulled a small upset, driving clear to win by two lengths in Saturday’s $16,453 Michigan-Bred Derby at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

The three-year-old Dashin Chico filly broke cleanly and stuck a nose out in front entering the stretch in the 350-yard race. Mood for a Dash continued to gain steam and pulled away to win the final in a convincing fashion under jockey Juan Delgado at 6-1 odds. Im the Saint closed late for the place and 2.30-to-one favorite Hez Fastforthecash overcame a pinched start to finish third. 

Mood for a Dash is owned Christine Tavares and trained by Anthony Cunningham, who has won two straight stakes races at Mount Pleasant Meadows. She was bred in Michigan by David C. and/or Tammy Lewis. With her first stakes win, Mood for a Dash improved her lifetime record to three wins from five starts, with all three victories coming at Mount Pleasant. She also boosted her career earnings to $14,286.

For a chart of the race, click here.

7 – Mood for a Dash (Juan Delgado) 14.00 / 7.60 / 3.40
8 –  Im The Saint (Natividad Alcala) 4.00 / 2.40
6 –  Hez Fastforthecash (Richard Rettele) 2.80

350 Yards
Time: 17.795 seconds 

Your winner, Mood for a Dash; Juan Delgado, up.

By the by, Mrs. Murphy ran a big second on Saturday. Expect a look back and some photos in the near future. You didn’t think all she’d get was a quick mention at the bottom of the post, did you?


Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Pinnacle Race Course, Stakes Races