Tag Archives: Tom Miscannon

Making the most of 2010: A look back on the year

The days leading up to New Year’s Eve offer a time for reflection on the year gone by.

For most, doing so may conjure up a roller coaster of memories, recollections, emotions and perhaps scars. Some will find they have made the most of the year, while others might discover that they have done very little with the last 365 days.

After doing some searching of my own, I have no problem staking my claim in the former group.

I often carry massive stacks of photo albums and other mementos in my vehicle because I always assume people do not believe me when I tell them the stories of my adventures. To save time and space, I have compiled some of the highlights of my 2010 into a handy bulleted list of links to posts of those stories.

Even after putting it into an itemized list, it boggles my mind that I experienced all of this in a lifetime, much less in one year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I am a lucky son of a gun.

Let’s have a look at some of the things that have gone down since this time last year.

In the year 2010 I…

Said goodbye to the man who got me into this whole mess in the first place.
Watched the Michigan Gaming Control Board slash the state’s race dates.
Checked two tracks off my wish list.
Watched the Michigan Gaming Control Board slash the state’s race dates again.
Was told to get out of Michigan by Chris McCarron at Keeneland Race Course.
Followed a colt with Michigan ties through the Keeneland Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale.
Gave out 20-1 winner Exhi in my ThoroFan Handicapper’s Corner preview of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes.
Drove off the beaten path to chase the Fortune 6 wager at Beulah Park…And was promptly dumped out by the second leg.
Wrote some haikus for Claire Novak’s NTRA blog.
Lost a Kentucky Derby pin collecting contest against Dr. Sale Guru Emily.
Got pelted by a flying mint julep on Kentucky Oaks day.
Roamed the backstretch to gather quotes after the Kentucky Derby.
Went to Mount Pleasant Meadows a lot.
Hosted racetrack bucket-lister Tom Miscannon during his visit to Michigan.
Suited up in the box seats at Arlington Park.
Broke down a Pick 4 while waiting in line for a cage fight, then did a phone interview about my selections during an intermission for Claire Novak’s Youbet On-Track podcast.
Watched the next generation of Michigan-breds go through the sale ring.
Ate, bet and drove my way through Hoosier Park, Ellis Park, Riverside Downs, The Red Mile and River Downs, which earned the attention of Jennie Rees’ blog.
Severely underestimated the popularity of racing in Montana at Yellowstone Downs.
Played blackjack and the Quarter Horses at Prairie Meadows.
Live blogged the Indiana Derby on-site at Hoosier Park.
Partied with Bo Derek, Toby Keith. Encountered Kentucky’s governor. Visited champion mare Zenyatta in her stall.
Witnessed one of the greatest races in the history of the sport – The Breeders’ Cup Classic – Even if the outcome wasn’t what we had all hoped.
Got to pet Zenyatta, cover breaking news in the Churchill Downs press box.

I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis…Stay thirsty, my friends.

Okay, perhaps that last statement is not entirely accurate, but it seemed like the right thing to say at the time.

Later today, my travels will take me to Turfway Park. Once there, I will have been to every still-active track I have ever visited within the 2010 calendar year…If that makes any sense. Turfway was the last track I visited in 2009 as well, so it is fitting to bring everything full circle.

This year has been, without a doubt, the most memorable ride of my life. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who shared in my adventures over the last 12 months at the races, in the press box, in meetings, at parties, on the road, on this site and all points in between. You are the ones who make all these stories worth telling, be it as a reader or an active participant.

Now let’s try to carry some of this good mojo into 2011, shall we?

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Filed under Commentary, Mount Pleasant Meadows, Story Time, Triple Crown

“Racetrack Collector” visits Michigan tracks

Tom Miscannon checked off track number 284 during his visit to Mount Pleasant Meadows last Sunday.

Tom Miscannon has been everywhere, man.

Looking over the list of Thoroughbred racetracks around the world Miscannon has visited can arouse thoughts of the Johnny Cash song of a similar vein.

Miscannon, an Orlando, Fla. resident, increased his impressive list to 284 tracks in 14 different countries following his stops last weekend at Pinnacle Race Course and Mount Pleasant Meadows.

Though he had visited tracks near his current and former hometowns, Miscannon’s conquest began during his time with the Navy in 1983. During a stay in Scotland, Miscannon challenged himself to attend the races at every track in the United Kingdom. He expanded his goal to include the United States and elsewhere when he returned stateside, and on subsequent tours of duty.

Today, Miscannon is an administrative assistant at the University of Central Florida. He also referees soccer games to help fund his self-proclaimed “foolish passion”.

In the face of such a challenge, Miscannon has some guidelines for deciding which tracks he visits. All flat and steeplechase courses that offer a Thoroughbred-exclusive meet are fair game, as are mixed meets where Thoroughbreds have a major share of the condition book. If presented with a Standardbred or primarily Quarter Horse track, he will normally look elsewhere. Fortunately, Mount Pleasant was flush with Thoroughbred races on Sunday.

Miscannon has also begun to visit racetracks not only as a fan, but as an owner.  His horses have competed at flat and steeplechase tracks across the eastern part of the country. He currently campaigns a gelding named King Congo.

When Miscannon visits a racetrack for the first time, he has a few rituals.

First, he procures a mint condition copy of the day’s racing program, or as close to mint as possible. Sometimes, this can involve opening fresh packages in pursuit of the perfect program.

A fairly new tradition of Miscannon’s is to photograph seven defining features of each racetrack: the road sign, the entrance to the plant, the grandstand, the paddock, the starting gates during a race, the finish line and the winner’s circle. Though Miscannon said he rarely visits a track twice, some backtracking might be necessary to shoot the venues attended before he decided to start bringing his camera.

I got a chance to sit down and chat with Miscannon during his visit to Mount Pleasant Meadows on Sunday. The interview, including stories of Miscannon’s travels, can be found behind the jump.

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Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Pinnacle Race Course, Story Time