I spent the better part of my weekend updating the homepage here at Triple Dead Heat. This site is still a work-in-progress - so please excuse the mess - as I work to add on a few features that fans of Woodbine racing will hopefully appreciate.
The observant readers will notice six new tabs across the top of the page. They are: Feature Stories - Woodbine News - SnowBirds - Photo Gallery - Stallion Farms and Home.
The tabs are meant to help readers navigate through this site with ease and also to provide quick access to a variety of up-to-date information.
What follows is a quick explanation of the Tabs.
1. SnowBird - (noun) - People from Canada who spend winter in warmer climates of the southern United States.
From Attard(s) to Vella, this page will list the various entries and results of our local trainers competing in warmer climates while Woodbine is dark. And yes, I appreciate that trainer Scott Fairlie is not likely standing in the winners circle at Philly Park in shorts and t-shirt, but for our purposes, Fairlie is a SnowBird.
The arrival of this tab does not mean I will stop writing about items such as the win by Heart of Cold for Fairlie at Philly Park; Grand Adventure's fifth place finish in the F. W. Gaudin Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds for Mark Frostad or the hard fought place finish by Sterwins for his new trainer Mark Casse at Gulfstream. The SnowBird tab simply provides a way for readers to click through and look at the results (with links to the charts!)that matter most to them.
Best of all, it updates each morning even if I haven't written a blog post. So feel free to come back and visit daily.
2. Woodbine News
Though this tab has a boring name, the information contained within will sometimes be quite exciting. This new feature scours the web for stories about Woodbine: the horses, the trainers, the jockeys and our races and the fun stories will be selected and available on the Woodbine News tab.
For instance, the current top story details the successful return of jockey Patrick Husbands at the Garrison Savannah racetrack in Barbados. This story comes courtesy of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation.
There's also a story from The Racing Post regarding trainer John Gosden, who has appointed 21 year-old William Buick as his new stable jockey. The story makes the Woodbine News tab as it mentions Buick's big win here at Woodbine with Lahaleeb.
Click on the Woodbine News tab now to read the details.
While these news subjects might become the focus of a future post, readers can enjoy instant access to this information on a daily basis whether I post about the topic or not.
3. Photo Gallery
Since the launch of Triple Dead Heat in July 0f 2008, I have taken thousands of photographs at racetracks across North America. Many of those photos made an appearance in this blog as part of a Photo Essay series where I let the pictures do the talking.
The Photo Gallery tab archives each of these photo essays from racetrack adventures at Woodbine, Fort Erie, Mohawk, Churchill Downs, Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Saratoga to name a few.
As well, there are series of photo essays dedicated to mornings on the backstretch and visits to farms across Ontario. In time, I will be linking to a Flickr or Picasa web-based gallery. For now, please enjoy the Photo Essay archives.
4. Stallion Farms
This section is still a bit raw. Essentially, the Stallion Farms tab is an ongoing list of links to thoroughbreds standing at stud, starting with the Canadian farms and followed by the Kentucky stallion farms.
If you're a fan of stallion Judiths Wild Rush and want to find out more about the horse, this tab provides a link to the website of Stone Briar Stables where Judiths Wild Rush is standing in 2010 with a fee of $3500.00 LFG.
This page is still being developed.
5. Feature Stories
I've written hundreds of posts on a variety of subjects in the brief lifetime of this blog. It is frustrating to think that a really fun or informative post from 2008 is essentially buried in the Blogger archives never to be seen again.
To remedy this, I've gone through the less than modest process of curating my own archives and linked the "Best of Triple Dead Heat" in an easy find format. There are five sections that link to these stories in descending chronological order:
Of note, I've interviewed Steve Asmussen, Ian Black and Richard Migliore.
This section includes cool features such as Emma-Jayne Wilson adopting a horse; Julia Brimo recovering from injury; or the whereabouts of former Woodbine legends Benburb and Thornfield
FOR THE HORSES
This section links to pieces on the charitable work of Alex Brown, LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society and the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society.
A small section of original racing fiction that I would love to grow in the future.
Yes, shopping. The lovely Amy will often take me along on her antiquing adventures. To keep busy as we wander through flea markets, estate sales and the like, I keep an eye out for horse racing memorabilia and have posted several of the finds on this blog. The shopping adventures where I've dug up win photos from Greenwood Racetrack, equine magazines from the early 1900s and more now have a home in the Features tab of Triple Dead Heat.
The Features section also includes a home for last year's online diary: SOUTHDALE: PATH TO THE QUEEN'S PLATE.
In 2009, trainer Ian Black generously provided me with access to his barn to observe the training regimen and prep races for the colt Southdale. Over several weeks I observed the big horse become a favourite for the Queen's Plate only to suffer an injury during his second place finish in the Plate Trial. Though Southdale missed the big dance, the blog posts covering this classy fellow and his connections were the highlight of my 2009 season at Woodbine.
When you're tired of clicking through the tabs and want to find your way back to the main home page of Triple Dead Heat simply click on the Home tab and voila you're back to the front door.
It's a work in progress and I'm not done yet...but I invite you to browse the sections and post a comment with your complaints!
Those of you who have spent any length of time squinting at html will feel my pain - or make the obvious suggestion of WordPress. Forgive me, but I'm stubborn and resistant to change. I'm not sure if that's the Irish or male genetics kicking in on that one but please be patient!
In time, this site should look great - for now, it ain't a beauty, but hey it's alright.
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A touching story from New York Daily News writer Jerry Bossert regarding jockey Richard Migliore's compassion following an unfortunate breakdown on the track:
"The soon-to-be 46-year-old got to his hands and knees and crawled over to comfort his fallen mount, Honest Wildcat, who suffered a fracture to his right front leg.
Petting the fallen animal's neck in his dirt-covered silks, Migliore stayed with the horse until the EMS staff arrived, placing the jockey on a stretcher and taking him to North Shore University Hospital.
Honest Wildcat was taken off the track on the equine ambulance with a splint placed on his injured limb, but sadly was put down. "
The full story can be found on the New York Daily News website.
Congratulations to the good folks at Three Chimneys! The first Big Brown foal arrived over the weekend.
Three Chimneys Farm announced today that Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown was represented by his first foal, a filly out of the Seeking The Gold mare Impressive Attire. The filly, located at Swifty Farms in Indiana, was born on January 12, 2010.
More details on the Three Chimneys website.
That's all for now as I continue to work on cleaning up the site. Until the next post, please check back daily for the latest information on the SnowBirds and Woodbine News tabs.