Farewell to a Hero

It took me a while to post this, as it is by far the most personal thing I have ever shared on the internet, but I feel it would be an injustice to Blackie to omit the reasons he was such a substantial influence in my life. In reality, this is not a blog post about Better Talk Now – those who knew the horse far more than I have written beautiful tributes to him already,  – this is a blog post about the profound impact he had on me, personally.

I’d like to thank Herringswell Stables for their care of Blackie during and after his racing career, and for their generosity in sharing him with his legions of loyal fans. I’d also like to thank Graham Motion for responding to a letter written years ago by a teenage girl whose life was changed by his superstar gelding. I still treasure the letter (now laminated) and photographs I received in reply.

A few images from an incredible summer interning at Saratoga, a lifetime high experience born of the passion that Better Talk Now inspired


Continue reading “Farewell to a Hero”



Hello there, my name is Jessica, and I’m a 17-year-old horse racing fanatic. This initial post is primarily to introduce myself and explain the purpose of this blog.

The biggest race I’ve ever witnessed in person was the 2010 Jockey Club Gold Cup, which I attended along with a number of members of the TVG Community, of which I’m a longtime member.

Speaking of TVG, I aspire to be an on-air horse racing analyst, and in fact have been invited to appear twice on television at the TVG network. My first appearance was via telephone before the 2009 Kentucky Derby, and two weeks later I was on-set at Pimlico on Black-Eyed Susan Day. I’d like to just take a moment to thank Bob Baedeker for initiating those appearances, as they sparked my interest in being an analyst and really made me realize that this is something I want to do with my life. I’ve also phoned in to TVG for :58 Flat’s Phoner Fridays, and have emailed countless times.

My favorite racehorse of all time, in case you couldn’t guess, is Better Talk Now. The stunning black gelding is the main reason I began following racing. My father has always been interested in the sport, and both of my parents enjoy gambling on horse racing, so I’d been exposed to the sport a lot. However, when I picked out Better Talk Now in the post parade for the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Turf and he went on to win the race, I was hooked. It was pure beginner’s luck, of course – I’d seen him win earlier in the year and simply thought he was the prettiest horse I’d ever seen – but it was enough to make me want to learn more. Ever since then, I’ve read everything I could get my hands on and watched every race I could in order to educate myself about the sport of kings.

I consider myself a proficient handicapper and a fairly good pedigree analyst. I have always been fascinated with genetics and bloodlines, and the breeding aspect of the Thoroughbred game is very intriguing to me, especially the female families. I love digging into a horse’s pedigree and finding relations between that horse and other good horses. My favorite bloodline is the La Troienne tail-female line. I have done extensive research on the many branches of this historic mare’s descendants, and continue to be amazed at each new stakes winner I discover that traces back to her.

Another favorite that should be noted is my favorite owner – the Phipps family stable. This historic stable has had such champions as Buckpasser and Personal Ensign carry their colors to victory, and their focus on female lines is another reason I follow their horses closely. In addition, Shug McGaughey seems to me to be one of the real horsemen in the sport nowadays. I’m currently following their horse Streaking with a sharp eye – she is a half to the late Pine Island and has proven to have a lot of talent.

That should be enough about me for now. I plan on trying to make as many posts as possible, and will be cross-publishing my blogs both here and on my TVG Community blog, so check back often. Thanks for reading!