Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sportsman's Steeplechase Weekend Picks

This coming weekend offers some great Steeplechase events. I will endeavor to provide some picks for those of you attending the races who care to place a wager.
First, the Virginia Gold Cup runs on Saturday in Plains, Virginia. While many of the 50,000 who attend this event have no idea that a horse race is taking place and are there only to drink, gawk at each others GTH pants,chat up the hot preppy D.C. wenches, and show off their uber prep Spring outfits, the serious Sportsman is there to enjoy the racing with his cocktails and tailgating. A serious Sportsman also likes to place a wager on a race.
So, allow me to suggest Erin Go Bragh as my pick to win the Gold Cup race. I saw this horse win the Pennasylvania Hunt Cup in November '09 and was impressed with his speed and stamina. His Trainer, Mr. Fout, has big chops in this game and has entered the race because he really feels the horse in ready for another big win.
I also like Bubble Economy, Seeyouattheevent and J. Alfred Prufrock. These are horses that I have seen race and could be good bets for their odds depending on what the Punters are doing that day and whether there are many scratches in the Field on race day.

The next day is the Winterthur Point to Point races. This is a much smaller event with correspondingly smaller purses so it draws less of the steeplechase elite horseflesh, jockeys and trainers...particularly because the big money was to be had down in Virginia the day before. You can check out our friend Brian's Blog at Delaware Blue Blazer for some fine photos and commentary on this event. My pick for the main race at The Point to Point is South Monarch. According to some trainers I know this entry is at a training peak and poised for a really good outing. A back- up pick for this race is Gather No Moss. Again, depending on the odds at race time and what other horses have scratched, Gather No Moss could be a better money maker.
Of course, the Kentucky Derby is on Saturday. I will not venture any prognostication on that race as it is fully covered in newspapers, websites and I will freely admit I suck at picking winners on Grade I Stakes races as they all look so good on paper. I am always looking for the better odds for exacta pairings.
Unfortunately, while I have been to the Winterthur event and the Gold Cup in the past, I will not be attending this year as my lacrosse team has games both Saturday and Sunday.
Author's pejorative tone was intended regarding drinking and chatting up hot D.C. wenches...I am for it!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Adirondack Summer

I skipped out of the office early today to watch my son's Middle School Lacrosse team play a home game. While sitting in ever-present city traffic I began to calculate just how long it will be until I am back in the Adirondacks enjoying the Summer with my Wife and my Kids. It will be approximately 114 days until we are sitting on the Boat-House deck on Upper Saranac lake enjoying the view. It seems like a long time but these days time is ripping by....What are the highlights of your Summer plans?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another Book Suggestion

I recently finished this excellent book. It is the story of a young man from Rhode Island and his experiences at West Point, Oxford,and Army Ranger School. The later chapters follow his deployment in Afghanistan.
The pace and style of this biography is very engaging and within the first few pages you begin to care about the author and admire him. He is clearly an extremely bright, motivated and driven man. His accomplishments are inspiring,his sense of duty is laudable, and his personal insights are interesting.
I enthusiastically endorse this book to all out there in the Blogosphere.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Back in October 2008 I finally found the pick-up truck I was looking for. Pictured above is my 2006 Ford F-150. Admittedly,not a rare vehicle. However, the package that I was looking for was hard to find. Specifically I was looking for a stripped down model. It had to have real 4 wheel drive,AC and essentially nothing carpeting, no fancy bells and whistles. According to the salesman, most of the models that are so equipped end up in the Midwest as farm trucks and are thus hard to find in the Northeast. This was to be my rig for hunting,camping,tailgating,hauling and other similar activities. The rubber floors make it easy to clean when you have hauled your hunting buddies and the muddy dogs back from the duck blinds or the goose pits. The real 4X4...(NOT some emasculated "all wheel drive") is perfectly suited to pulling a duck boat up an icy, muddy boat ramp and crossing muddy fields and snowy trails.
One of my favorite incidents was when a fellow duck club member got his Chevy Blazer stuck axles deep in mud in one of our fields after a goose hunt. The F-150 and a tow rope made short work of that problem...pulled the lesser vehicle free with no problem.
As a friend once said: "Once you have a pick-up you wonder how you ever lived without one." Indeed, it is as utilitarian as it gets...and I loan the beast out to friends frequently for moves and trips to the dump and general hauling.
The payload holds a full spread of goose full body decoys or several hunters and their has a back seat for the kids, or for guns and gear,or for the dogs.
I scored a set of custom camo seat covers on Ebay that were year and model specific. This keeps the seats from taking too much mud and abuse.
My 16 year old daughter drives it during the week when I am not using it and the kids at her high school...the one's driving BMWs and Acuras..are envious.
It is great for tailgating at Steeplechase races and Football games.Every Sportsman should have one.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Calvin and Hobbes...certainly on of the best offerings of the "Funnies" ever to grace a newspaper.Some call them comics...growing up at my house it was always "the funnies"....who has the funnies? Where are the Sunday funnies?
Bill Watterson created Calvin and Hobbes...made us laugh and think and smile for a short 10 years; then he just put down his pencils. I miss the little boy and his tiger to this day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Vintage Lacrosse

The youth Lacrosse team that I coach has their second game today against Ridley. We had a great practice this week. Most of the boys are playing for their Middle School teams as well as for our team so thay are getting a lot of playing time and stick work. We should make a good showing in this outing and I hope to get another win and see the kids aquire more field sense, get more confident with their skills and have fun.
Lacrosse has obviously been around for a long evidenced by these vintage pictures...that's Jim Brown when he played for Syracuse. Legend has it that he often stated that he liked Lacrosse more than Football. As you may know the Game was originally played by Indian tribes(as depicted in the painting at the Blog Header.)
I read a statistic in The New Yorker that in the early 80's (when I played in High School) there were only about 8,000 to 10,000 kids playing Lacrosse nationwide. Today nearly 500,000 kids are playing. The sport has exploded. In fact, in today's lax climate I tend to doubt I would have been recruited as I was. Actually, one of the cross roads of my life was when I was offered a spot at West Point to play. I had gone to lacrosse camp there in the Summer between my Junior and Senior year of High School. The USMA Coach called me in September and said he wanted me to play for him and would arrange the Congressional appointment. I requested a week to think about it...then I politely declined. I just could not see myself commiting to 4 years of Army service after College....not to mention I was not certain I had sufficient desire for the Academy to endure Beast barracks. We were at Camp at West Point in July and saw first hand what the Plebes are subjected to in the first weeks. I much preferred the vision of guzzling cheap beer at Fraternity parties on the Hill at Lehigh.
In any event, I am still in love with the Sport and thoroughly enjoying watching my Son have the same experience.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Team Butler

Only 2 more weeks until my fighter takes to the ring again. You may recall from earlier post that he had a set-back when hit by a car before his scheduled Feb. 26th fight.
He has rehabbed his injuries and is sparring again and looking tough. He fights a 6 round bout against Norman Allen on April 30th at The Arena in South Philadelphia. As his manager I am very pleased with his progress and excited to have him back on track and back in the ring.

Monday, April 12, 2010

First Lacrosse Game of the Season

I am pleased to report that the Youth Lacrosse team I coach won it's Season opener yesterday. The boys put forth a solid effort and won 7-4. What was really encouraging was the play of our Goalie. He never tended goal in the past...he was a defenseman. He had a great outing and made some nice saves and clears.
Number 13 pictured above is my son. This is a photo from a game 1 year ago. He plays Attack. While he did not score yesterday he had an extremely nice pass to a Middie breaking thru the crease which led to a goal and hence an assist.
We hope this is the start of a fun and winning season. Stay tuned.
Some of the photos are courtesy of Garfinkel Photog.

Friday, April 9, 2010

One of Three

One of the distinct pleasures of being a parent is watching your children grow and develop their own particular tastes,skills and passions. My my middle daughter has become fanatical about all things equestrian. She spent her Summer of '09 at a riding camp in Virginia and literally cried when we went to pick her up.The camp had 30 girls and 40 horses and was located on a 750 acre farm in prime Virginia Horse country. It really was a special place and fostered incredible experiences for the girls.
This past week she went to Colorado during her Spring break to visit her riding camp friend. The friend lives on a Farm that provides riding therapy to special needs kids. She worked and rode and had a fantastic time.
At home, she works at one Barn on Saturdays in exchange for her lessons and earns extra money caring for 2 horses at a Barn up the road from our house. She also babysits. Despite all this, she does very well in school and manages a bustling social life.
This kid really is a delight....she even likes to shoot clay pigeons with me...a Sportswoman in the making!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Maker's Mark Marketing

In addition to my penchant for Rum, I also greatly enjoy a good Bourbon. A stiff dram of fine Bourbon is essential after a long afternoon in a cold duck blind or goose pit. A well made Manhattan is a great cocktail before dining. I also have been known to bang back shots of Bourbon at my favorite local dive bar.
One of my Lehigh buddies sent this link that reports on an interesting marketing program undertaken by the distillers of maker's Mark. Pound for pound Maker's is a wonderful Bourbon Whiskey which is readily available and reasonably priced. As you can guess...I will be on their website about 2 seconds after I finish this post looking to throw in as on of their "Ambassadors."

Hope you can open the link as it is an interesting read. You may have to paste into your browser.That is if you are so inclined. Perhaps Bourbon Dork, a fellow Blogger who has a geat spot discussing America's only original and indigenous spirit, will beat me to it. Cheers.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Is there anything hotter than a pretty woman sporting a pair of Ray Ban Aviators? I think not. Today was very sunny here in Philadelphia and I was wearing my Aviators....having blue eyes makes me very sensitive to sun and I easily get a headache from all the squinting when outdoors on a bright day. Donning a pair of Aviators on bright day is like a cool bath for your eyes...the UV protection does not suck either. I frequently tell people not to skimp on price when buying sunglasses. Few people realize that wearing cheap sunglasses with specious UV ratings is actually worse than no shades at all..why?...because the colored lens opens your pupil wider which consequently lets more harmful rays into your eye. Honestly, I was not thinking all of that when I spotted a gorgeous blond college girl wearing Aviators in Rittenhouse Square...but it is true nonetheless. Ray Ban classic as it gets and top of the game for protection and comfort.

Opening Day

It is Opening day. The Philadelphia Philles start their Season about one hour to be specific. They take on The Nationals to begin the march to October. After the depressing loss to the hated Yankees in an exciting World Series, this City is poised for another great Season. While the Bullpen still has some issues and I think Moyer should not be in the starting rotation, the Phils still have talent and depth which bodes well for another National League Pennant. I personally love early season games since April and May evenings tend to be cooler and thus more comfortable..your beer does not get warm before you can finish it!

Friday, April 2, 2010


Spring is here and the reports are coming in that Stripers are running. That means the boys and I have to get down to the Beach and get cracking. The surf rods and tackle are ready to I just have to juggle my calendar, check the tide charts and load up the truck. If you have never tasted Striper that is on the grill less than an hour after it was hauled out of the are missing a true gastonomic experience.