Tag Archives: Photo of the Year

Photo of the Year: 2010 – Results Show

The Michigan-Bred Claimer 2010 Photo of the Year is "Affection", featuring Horse of the Year Zenyatta and her groom Mario Espinoza.

Horse of the Year Zenyatta can add another title to her lengthy resume as the subject of the shot voted the 2010 Michigan-Bred Claimer Photo of the Year.

The photo depicts the champion mare sharing a moment with her groom, Mario Espinoza, outside her stall in the days leading up to her second place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

As discussed in my Breeders’ Cup retrospective, this shot came to be when I was allowed to tag along with Thoroughbred Times editors Tom Law and Ed DeRosa for a chat with trainer John Shirreffs. While they interviewed the conditioner, I got a golden opportunity to snap away. The chance to photograph such a special horse was memorable by itself, but what really stuck with me during my time in the Shirreffs barn was that behind all the hype, security and cases of Guinness, the legend of Zenyatta ultimately boiled down to a horse in a stall and the people who care for her – just like any other horse at any other track in the world.

Thanks to everyone who voted and commented on this year’s Photo of the Year poll, and especially to the horses, riders, connections and tracks for providing amazing subjects for me to photograph. A special shout-out goes to those kind enough to grant me and my camera special access for sweet angles and scenarios, including the staff at Thoroughbred Times, Churchill Downs, River Downs, Hoosier Park and Ellis Park.

Hopefully, 2011 will bring with it new tracks and new adventures. I look forward to providing you all with the view from my spot on the apron or elsewhere at all points along the way.

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Let’s have a look at how the votes shook out…

Total Votes: 43

1. “Affection” (Zenyatta) – 10 Votes
2. “Lens Flare” (City Girl Jesse) – 7 Votes
3. “Fond Farewell” (Zenyatta) – 6 Votes
4. “Hello Rachel” (Rachel Alexandra) – 5 Votes
4. “Rolling Fields” (Keeneland Race Course) – 5 Votes
5. “Rocky Start” (Yellowstone Downs) – 3 Votes
6. “Downtime” (Emanuel Cosme & Edgar Paucar) – 2 Votes
6. “Head In Front” (RFR The Iceman) – 2 Votes
7. “Hard To Handle” (Little Shimmer) – 1 Vote
7. “On Display” (Juan Delgado) – 1 Vote
7. “Playing In The Mud” (Oscar Delgado) – 1 Vote
8. “A Leg Up” (Lee Gates, Jose Beltran & HQH Dashing Zorro) – No Votes
8. “Classic Backdrop” (Evening Jewel) – No Votes
8. “Crowd Pleaser” (Arlington Park) – No Votes
8. “Gallop Out” (Beduinos Cat) – No Votes
8. “Indiana Nights” (Sharmona) – No Votes
8. “Payouts” (Arturo Perez) – No Votes
8. “Post-Race Interview” (Martin Garcia) – No Votes
8. “Preparation” (Victor Lebron) – No Votes
8. “Testimony” (Wilkin Ortiz & Gabriel Lagunes) – No Votes

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Michigan Notebook: January 19, 2011

– The Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association is hosting its annual Stallion Season Auction on Tuesday, Jan. 25. Bidding will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year’s auction features seasons from some of the best sires Michigan has to offer. Perennial leaders such as Demaloot Demashoot, Elusive Hour, Syncline and the state’s 2010 stallion of the year Equality will have seasons up for bids, along with up-and-comers like Fire Blitz, Comedy Show, Monetary Star and Gainango. The sale also features out-of-state sires from Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Loiusiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

For more information on the auction, and for a constantly updating list of the sires involved, click here.

– The Michigan HBPA board has voted to focus negotiations for the 2011 Thoroughbred meet on Pinnacle Race Course for the time being. From the Michigan HBPA website

The Michigan HBPA board met Tuesday to discuss the 2011 live season, during the meeting the board took a “straw poll” as to what track they preferred to have the 2011 meet. The board moved to prefer Pinnacle and work through the issues until March 1, 2011 and pursue other options at that time, if necessary.

– MTOBA has rolled out a multi-pronged effort to increase its web presence. The organization recently opened up a Facebook fan page and Twitter account to go along with it’s redesigned website. Be sure to include Michigan’s Thoroughbred owners and breeders in your social networking endeavors.

– Voting for the Michigan-Bred Claimer Photo of the Year poll is still open and will remain so through the end of the month. The clubhouse leader is photo #18, titled “Affection”, depicting newly-crowned Horse of the Year Zenyatta and her groom Mario Espinoza in the Churchill Downs shedrow. If you agree with that outcome and want to lock it down, or if you think another photo is more deserving, the cutoff date is sometime during Feb. 1. Don’t get shut out!

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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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Photo of the Year 2009: The Results Show

The Michigan-Bred Claimer's 2009 Photo of the Year: Del Mar Storm and jockey Azael De Leon wait in the starting gate prior to a race at River Downs. Date Taken: July 16, 2009.

Riding a wave of support from fans of jockey Azael De Leon, the photo entitled “Caged Animal” was the leading vote-getter in the second annual Michigan-Bred Claimer Photo of the Year poll.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote and comment on my photos. Your kind words were greatly appreciated. It was a ton of fun to shoot these photos, and with another year of experience with my new camera, the shots that document 2010 ought to be better than ever. Hope you’ll join me for the ride.

Now let’s take a look at how the votes shook out…

Which is your favorite photo of 2009?

11 Votes – 26%
#9 – “Caged Animal” (Del Mar Storm/Azael De Leon)

Five Votes – 12%
#2 – “Waiting” (Leonard Frazzitta, Jr.)

Four Votes – 9%
#10 – “Stumbled Start” (Orieal/Lee Gates)

Three Votes – 7%
#3 – “Acting Up” (Buffalo Bill Cole)
#6 – “Tucked Down” (Christmas From Mom)
#16 – “Natural Ledge” (Keeneland Race Course)
#18 – “Into The Tunnel” (Surely Bird)

Two Votes – 5%
#1 – “Paddock Inspection” (Island Chancellor)
#12 – “Victory in the Rain” (Bush Hog)
#15 – “Stretch Duel” (Im A Corona & Lucky’s Rambler)

One Vote – 2%
#5 – “Lighting up the Board” (Send Cash)
#7 – “Admiration” (Funny Cide)
#11 – “Shoot to the Lead” (Waltz Across Texas)
#14 – Follow the Leader (Toagule/Lee Gates)
#17 – “Call to Post” (Bucky Sallee)

No Votes – 0%
#4 – “Load ’em Up” (JJ Delgado)
#8 – “Pea Patch Parade” (Revival Ridge)
#13 – “Blanket Finish (Mt. Pleasant Meadows)
#19 – “Grabbing the Spotlight” (Backtalk)
#20 – “Masked Man” (Teetee’s Tapit)

Now I’ll work on getting up that countdown clock looking ahead to opening day at Pinnacle Race Course. Be on the lookout.

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Photo of the Year: 2009

Last year's winning photo: Oscar Delgado talks things over with the stewards following a race at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

As my readers may or may not have noticed, I did not fare so well in the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance photo contest.

My goal was to get one of my three photos out of the first round, but it wasn’t to be. That said, thank you very much to the seven or eight of you who cast your votes for my shots.

That brings us to the annual stroking of my ego that is my own “Photo of the Year” contest. It’s pretty hard for me to lose this one.

Just about every photo you see on this site was taken with yours truly at the helm (except for the photo of myself on the “about” page, where I set the ten-second timer and ran really fast). Over the last year, I have taken thousands of photos at tracks across the Midwest and filled a towering stack of photo albums with scenes from my travels.

This year brought an upgrade to my equipment, when I finally retired my tiny point-and-shoot and graduated to a Kodak EasyShare Z980. All of a sudden, I had 24x zoom and could fire off a ludicrous number of shots in only a few seconds. The quality and quantity of my photos skyrocketed, and I’d like to think it improved the quality of this blog dramatically. If anything else, it made me feel more professional.

Behind the jump are some of my favorite shots I’ve taken from the last year. Hopefully you will enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed shooting them.

To vote for your favorite, simply consult the poll on the sidebar to the right. I haven’t set any kind of deadline at the moment, but there will be fair warning when I get ready to close the poll.

And now without further ado…

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The Photo of the Year results show

September 27, 2008

The Michigan-Bred Claimer's 2008 Photo of the Year: Oscar Delgado talks things over with the stewards following a race at Mount Pleasant Meadows. Date Taken: September 27, 2008

As you can see by the large picture at the top of this post, the winner of my “2008 Photo of the Year” poll is the picture entitled “Stating His Case.” This victory is brought to you in part by  the Friends of the Mount Pleasant Meadows Phone in the Mailbox, headed up by chairperson Claire Novak. 

But seriously, thanks to everyone who voted and left comments on my pictures. I know these photos are far from Eclipse quality (even if this year’s winner was pretty debatable), but it was still a blast to shoot them and I hope you enjoyed the first-person glimpses into my unforgettable year.

Let’s take a look at how the votes shook out. For one last look at the nominees, click here.

Which is your favorite photo of 2008?

Four Votes (31%)
– “Stating His Case” (Oscar Delgado)
  

Two Votes (15%)
“Dreaming of the Spotlight” (Dreaming of Anna)
– “Rolling Start” (The Red Mile)

One Vote (8%)
– “The Champ” (Curlin) 
– “Best Seat in the House” (Mount Pleasant Meadows)
– “Leaving ’em all Behind” (Flame of Justice)
– “The Cross” (Oscar Delgado)
– “Final Preparations” (Phil Teator) 

No Votes (0%)
– “Pillar to Post” (Ricardo Barrios)
– “Down the Stretch” (Pinnacle Race Course)
– “Picture in Picture” (Jamie Theriot)
– “Tiz Springtime” (Tiz Now Tiz Then) 
– “Keeneland Clock” (Keeneland Race Course)
– “Lock and Load” (Ethel Redneck)

 Now for a few observations…

While I was not surprised by the winner of the poll, I did not expect to see so much support for “Rolling Start.” Aside from the fact that it was a Standardbred picture in a Thoroughbred blog, I figured the motion blur would turn people off. Glad to see people liked it though.

Also, it was mildly shocking to see the Curlin picture only receive a single vote. Though the subjects are not doing anything particularly noteworthy, I expected name recognition alone to net it a few more votes.

I’m looking at buying a new camera sometime in the near future; something with better zoom and picture quality. If and when that happens, expect business to pick up in the photo department. Hopefully next year’s “Photo of the Year” poll will leave this one in the dust.

Thanks again to everyone who voted and commented. I’ll have the next question up and ready to go as soon as I come up with something worth asking. See you then.

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