I've returned - uninjured! -- from yet another library conference to find that I've missed all the hoopla surrounding the Breeders' Cup advance past performances, the strange settlement in Cobra-gate, the arrival of the Keeneland sales catalog, and episode 973 of the NYRA saga. Fortunately, the fine folks of the TBA have been following these stories for us all.
So here at Turf Luck, we're taking a moment during BC week to say, Thanks, TBA-ers! And Happy 2nd Anniversary!
Our little band got its start two years ago this month, with our first press release:
(Oct 18, 2005) Today a group of seven thoroughbred racing bloggers announced the creation of the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance (TBA). From the US to Hong Kong -- and all points in between -- these dedicated racing fans have banded together to support the game of horse racing by using a tool somewhat foreign to the Sport of Kings -- the blog. With the formation of the TBA, the group also announced plans to award their first ever Horse of the Year Award (HOY). Unlike similar awards that are given each year based solely on subjective media and industry voting, the TBA's HOY award will be given to the horses with the most points earned in Graded Stakes....Yes, the TBA predates blogging efforts by Dan Illman, Steve Crist, Calvin Borel, and even Rags to Riches. In other words, the TBA has a history of being ahead of the curve and is a force to be reckoned with.
OK, I suppose we're still working on the "force to be reckoned with" part, though in the past year, we've seen Not to the Swift quoted (anonymously) in the Washington Post and Curb My Enthusiasm quoted by the Dallas Observer. Tote Board Brad was mentioned on SFgate, though that's probably small potatoes to someone who's also been mentioned on TVG. Tote Board Brad, Bob Ike, and Handride were all interviewed for the quirky Love Da Goat website.
And, of course, everyone who's anyone is quoting Alan of Left at the Gate, now that he's posting on the snazzy, official Breeders Cup website.
Meanwhile, our Average Horse Player was a presenter at the Symposium on Racing and Gaming in November, and Railbird was a panelist at the Thoroughbred Racing Association's Simulcast Conference.
Other milestones of the year include:
December 2006: John from Not to the Swift launches Birdbirdblog to follow the adventures of Birdbirdistheword on the Derby Trail.
January 2007: From Pittsburgh, by way of her native Erie, PA, The Last Filly, keeps us posted on the progress of Presque Isle Downs, complete with pics of the Tapeta surface.
March 2007: Two new members join the roster this month: the Monmouth Park blog offering handicapping tips for -- where else? -- Monmouth Park, while Canadian Gambling News and Issues provides pithy comments on track news from north of the border.
April 2007: As the Derby Trail heats up, the TBA is deluged with new members: the erudite Foolish Pleasure from track-less Johnstown PA, the distinctly West Coast Top of the Stretch, and Bob Ike Picks blog all come aboard. Meanwhile the TBA bids adieu to Up On the Roof, as Jason moves on to call the races at River Downs.
May 2007: Into the Bit brings yet another perspective of the California scene to the group, while Blinkers Off -- the only TBA blog based in Kentucky -- signs off.
July 2007: Graded Stakes, handicapping from slots-free Ohio, injects some youthful enthusiasm into the group.
August 2007: Down the Stretch proves that Arizona has at least one racing fan, and she packs a mean telephoto lens.
October 2007: Breeders Cup fever may be behind a veritable onslaught of new members, including a trio of New Yorkers. The ardor of a new thoroughbred racing enthusiast is apparent at Green but Game where Belmont pics (and picks!) are served up regularly, while Brooklyn Backstretch proffers grammatically correct postings on the New York scene, and The Chalk provides backside insights. Fortunately, all of this Empire State news is balanced by the addition of Thoroughbred Race Horse Blog, written by Texan -- and most glamourous woman in racing-- Donna Keen.
Somehow, I read all of this (and year 1, as well) as proof positive that racing still has widespread appeal. I believe the very existence of the TBA shows that there's still hope for our favorite sport, despite cobra venom, Frank Stronach makeovers, and the lack of quinella wagers at WV tracks.
So, take a break from the past performances, crack open a cold one, and raise a glass to ... yourselves!
Note to all you fans searching for free past performances for the Breeders' Cup races: check out the links on the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance homepage.