10 July 2006

Back from the beach

Cover of Showdown by Tilly BagshaweWe're back at last, refreshed and tan from a visit to the Jersey Shore, where, during our stay, the only horses running were in Showdown, the steamy romance that I read while soaking up the sun. It was a perfect beach book, full of poor little rich girls, ambitious real estate sharks, and handsome cowboys, rather like an episode of Dallas.

Written by Tilly Bagshawe, Showdown focuses on two rival teenaged girls who want to be jockeys. Both find some success, one on the quarter-horse circuit, the other riding thoroughbreds in England. Both also pose for Playboy-esque photo shoots, so no, it's not a deeply serious look at the racing world. (Both turn 18 before the photo shoots, so it's not illegal, either.) Amazon calls it "National Velvet meets Jackie Collins", and I'd say that's about right. Not the usual cup of Turf Luck tea, but it went quite well with wine coolers and waves -- much better than the Brad Free handicapping book I dragged along.

We finished our week with a couple of nights at Mountaineer, where I got a chance to see the replay of July 3's Firecracker Stakes. One of my picks for the exacta, Special Grayce, scratched, leaving Stormina, the Pletcher horse (how often can you say that at Mountaineer?) as Lady Grace's toughest challenger. It looked to me like Lady Grace held her off until a stride before the wire; the chart says she "got out nodded in the last strides, proved second best in a very game effort." And as I suspected, Kaylan's Rose got up for third, again. Hope some avid reader had the trifecta.

Budweiser Clydesdales visit Mountaineer Racetrack on July 9, 2006On Sunday we were worried about getting a seat; the place was packed more than an hour before the races. Turns out Mountaineer discovered the secret to getting folks to the track: Clydesdales. Of course, the $1 hot dogs and $1 Budweiser didn't hurt. Still, when the Clydesdales left at 6:30, so did nearly half the crowd. According to the chart at brisnet.com, attendance for the night ended up at 4,300.

We ended up with great seats and had a great night; the King hit a couple of exactas while I had some odd place bets pay pretty well (Tiger Slew in the 7th paid $12 to place; Many Times in the 5th paid $21.) When on vacation, the Queen likes to take a break from the exacting world of the exacta; fudging around with place and show bets was a wonderful way to end a wonderful week.

Clydesdales at Mountaineer Now it's back to work and the precision of the Dewey Decimal system. Sigh.


alan said...

So, you heard from that enterprising book publicist too? I still haven't read it...guess I haven't been to the beach enough. It's going to have to wait until after Steve Crist's book too.