Tag Archives: Lead Pony Challenge

Expanding the brand

The recent weeks have provided several opportunities to expand my presence to bigger stages on the printed page, online and over the airwaves. Here is what’s going on…

– In the coming issues, I will be debuting as a columnist for Arabian Finish Line magazine. My monthly column, “Making Claims”, will examine topics in the Arabian racing world and elsewhere through my usual off-kilter prism of perspective, and hopefully provide an entertaining and provocative experience for readers.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the good people at Arabian Finish Line for providing this opportunity. I look forward to providing a new voice to the publication.

To learn more about Arabian Finish Line, and to subscribe so you can read the column for yourself, click here.

– In related news, I have been invited to attend the Darley Awards in Houston, Tex. on March 5. The Darley Awards are the Arabian equivalent to Thoroughbred racing’s Eclipse Awards. The weekend’s festivities also include a pair of Arabian stakes races at nearby Sam Houston Race Park, so I will get to check off another track to visit, as well. Expect some observations on the entire event at the conclusion of the weekend.

– The Michigan-Bred Claimer now has its own Facebook page! The social network fan page will feature links to the blog and other items relevant to Michigan horse racing, as well as other thoughts and conversations too small to expand upon in the blog. To visit the page and become a fan, click here.

– Last weekend marked my second round matchup in the Post Parade Lead Pony Challenge against noted author and handicapper Steve Davidowitz. I regret to report that I did not emerge victorious. After having great success playing Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs in the first round, the state of Florida went cold for me over the weekend.

However, the matchup did afford me two opportunities to chat with the contest’s hosts, Molly Jo Rosen and Bruno DeJulio, on their Post Parade podcast. Outside of discussing my picks for the weekend, topics covered over the two shows included vocal impersonations (Hulk Hogan, Andy Beyer, thick-accented Italians), professional wrestling, the Aaron Rodgers championship belt and the rallying cry for fans of comedy podcast Sklarbro Country – “Henderson!!!”

My first appearance on the podcast, where I am the first guest, can be listened to here. Sunday’s podcast, where I show up around the 42:30 mark, can be heard here.

I would like to thank Bruno and Molly Jo for letting me join the fun for the inaugural competition and wish them the best of luck through its conclusion. If they include Mount Pleasant Meadows among the tracks for their next tournament, I just might consider a return appearance.

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Guest interview for Lead Pony Challenge

As some readers may know, I am entered in the Lead Pony Handicapping Challenge against some of the most notable figures in the horse racing media.

The contest requires competitors to select six horses from the cards of seven selected tracks (Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Gulfstream, Keeneland, Oaklawn, Santa Anita and Tampa Bay). Each horse is given a mythical $2 win-place wager and the player with the most pretend money at the end of the weekend advances.

My first opponent is TVG on-air personality Matt Carothers. The winner of our matchup will likely face handicapping heavyweight Steve Davidowitz, author of more books on racing and betting than I have likely read of every combined genre in the last year.

The tournament is hosted by Molly Jo Rosen and Bruno DeJulio, co-hosts of  Post Parade with the Filly and the Clocker. Prior to each day’s races, the duo interviews the weekend’s competitors and gets their picks.

My matchup kicks off the event this weekend, so I called in earlier today and chatted with the show’s hosts. The highlights of our discussion included a mean-spirited haiku about my opponent, a potential sponsorship deal with Michelin Tires and me bemoaning the fact that the hard-knocking tracks where I excel the most at the windows are noticeably absent from this competition.

To listen to the podcast, click here. My segment comes in around the 33:30 mark.

I will be on again Sunday around noon ET to give my picks for the day’s races. The show is broadcast live on Blog Talk Radio, so keep checking back here to listen to the latest episodes.

In an earlier broadcast, DeJulio assigned me the longest price on the media side of the bracket (20-1) when laying out his morning line odds for the competition. No stranger to being an underdog, I have used this as bulletin board material to reaffirm my status as the scary mid-major of the field – along the lines of college basketball’s Butler University and football’s TCU. Hopefully I can show the world just what a Michigan-bred longshot can do.

UPDATE: I have advanced out of the first round by a score of 276-86. Five of my six picks hit for some kind of payout over the weekend. My next opponent will be Steve Davidowitz, author of such notable books on racing and handicapping as Betting Thoroughbreds and The Best and Worst of Thoroughbred Racing.

I made another appearance on Sunday’s edition of The Post Parade with the Filly and the Clocker with more picks and some back and forth with my opponent, Matt Carothers. I also made the announcement that I will be playing for the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund.

To listen to the podcast, click here. I am in the first segment.

 

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