01/10/2009 5:20AM

Remembering Joe


Most of us have at least one guilty pleasure.  In my younger days, my guilty pleasure was to rush to the local newsstand, grab the Form, venture off to some lonely corner, and greedily devour the latest words from Joe Hirsch.  To read a Joe Hirsch column was akin to receiving a personal audience with The Dean himself. He peeled back the curtain, and allowed access to the almost-mythical characters that we would otherwise only view from afar.  Secretariat, "The Bald Eagle," and Pincay all knew Joe, and through his writings, they morphed into flesh and blood.  He was the conduit to our heroes, and in doing so, became a legend.
Each one of his masterpieces showcased his unbridled passion, his unparalleled work ethic, and his amazing knowledge. Present and future generations of turf writers will attempt to emulate him, but will inevitably fall far short of their goal.  How can one fill the shoes of a giant?

johnnyz More than 1 year ago
Calvin, Thanks for the 1981 NY Times Breeding article. While many years ago, so much holds true today. As I normaly do with any print, (except DRF articles lol) was just speed reading untill the article started quoting Richard Broadbent. "Suddenly, like a skeet shooter blasting clay pigeons, Broadbent begins knocking down some of horse breeding's most cherished assumptions: ''They tell you, 'Breed the best to the best and hope for the best.' Right?'' he asks. ''That's ridiculous. A lot of people don't have the slightest idea who the 'best' really are. You've heard them say, 'The better the race mare, the better the foal'? It's a joke. 'Don't breed to a stallion over 14 years old'? Another joke.'' Though most stallions (and mares, for that matter) stop breeding at around age 20, Nashua, racing's first million-dollar syndicated sire, is still servicing mares at 29. Broadbent rejects the popular notion that Secretariat has been a failure at stud, considering his racing record and the superb mares (nine times above the average production index) sent to him. The 1973 triple crown winner's computer printouts are excellent - indexes that show him to be in the top 1 percent of all North American sires. ''He's a disappointment because people expected him to be able to duplicate himself,'' Broadbent says, ''and that's asking for the moon. He's a superior sire, but his shares are still overpriced.'' Despite a price of $250,000 per share, Broadbent is still advising his clients to buy. ''When you're dealing with genealogy,'' says Broadbent, ''it's an inexact science. When you're dealing with horse breeding, it's a geneticist's dream. Tell me anywhere else where you can measure all the results that have taken place with every single member of the breed. Really some profound words IMO! While very simple on the surface the meat of his words are deeper than I could put into proper perspective in a life time. I also love the fact that Navite Dancer got some "love" at the end of the article. Rarely, IMO is his importance as a sire concerning today's thoroughbred even mentioned. While maybe old hat to most, it was news to me when I read today that Santa Anita's showviver was back: Santa Anita's popular online handicapping contest "ShowVivor," will once again be available for fans to play beginning Saturday. The contest will feature $5,000 in prize money, with $3,000 going to the top finisher. Prizes will also be awarded to the first runner up ($1,500) and the second runner up ($500). Participation is free and contestants will be required to select one horse per day to finish first, second or third in a race of the player's choice. If a selection finishes lower than third, that player is eliminated. In order to participate, players must register at www.santaanita.com by 12:15 p.m. (PST) on Saturday. All selections must be registered online no later than 10 minutes before first post time at Santa Anita.
PGM More than 1 year ago
Primo, LOL! Todd Saunders, Don't beat yourself up over 4 conos. At least you pulled out something. I'd chalk this up as a bad day at the office, wash your hands of it, and move on.
chicago gerry More than 1 year ago
Primo, That was funny! Other- Calhoun on Indygo Mountain prior to the LeComte: " He's not 100%". "I was surprised when they told me he was the favorite".... "We drew the 9 post too, so we'd have to get pretty lucky on the first turn".... "I wish he were more sound...".
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
I have read many details from folks here (including Dan) regarding the audible rooting, and even exhorting of horses during races. Of course, we all hear this at the track, and also at the OTB, but I suppose this phenomenon occurs at home as well. I watch an awful lot of the NFL. I never wager on it, as I simply enjoy the game and the never ending supply of over-the-top performances that the league provides. There is nothing on earth like it, and you should here me when I watch a game…any game. I can’t explain it, but I am a junky, and I yell, scream and exhort as if I am at the game. But when it comes to horse racing, I am as cool as a cucumber (or celery, I suppose). I am dispassionate when it involves one of my horses, just as someone from a different planet would be. I don’t recall uttering a peep during a race where I had money on it, ever. I always root aloud when friends have money on a race that I don’t, but when my money is on the line, nothing. I dunno. I just thought of this after some of the posts this weekend. What about the rest of you? Am I weird (okay, don’t answer that)?
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Lurker Thank you for the Splash of Vanilla with her Dam, Maid of Gold: "Palomino Filly in Keeneland Sale" link. What BEAUTIFUL horses. So, where have you been ? Want to play in our games, here ? SR Vegas
Lane More than 1 year ago
Awesome idea Ray. I hope we see something in the next year. Joe was awesome, and remember Dan, Steve, and several others on the DRF staff now are very impactful and we look forward to your every word. Thanks in advance for the times you have made so great for us "horseplayers" and those who wish to be called such. Lane
Gary More than 1 year ago
Dan or other knowledgeable bloggers, When I was on the Three Chimneys site looking at the records for Smarty Jones' babies, I noticed that his fee is listed as "private." This something that I haven't seen before. Does it mean that Three Chimneys is reserving all his services for their own operation, they don't want to publish the fee or some other reason? Thanks, Gary
chicago gerry More than 1 year ago
lurker, What a beautiful picture picture of Splash of Vanilla. Thanks a lot for posting it!
Calvin Carter More than 1 year ago
Annie, Here's a list of 100 Thoroughbreds to keep an eye on from Gary West. http://startelegramsports.typepad.com/west_points/2009/01/potential-triple-crown-noisemakers.html
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
Annie; No, not scary at all. I do understand your rationale, and actually applaud your flexibility (from a handicapping stand-point, of course). While I am able to adapt as post time approaches, more often than not, I am far too dogmatic in my approach. I make my bed, and then I lie in it (unless it is just a mess, which happens sometimes). And I'm funny here, especially when it concerns posting my picks. If I post them, I almost always bet them. The exceptions are when obvious overlays become obvious underlays, and when real-life situations arise which preclude me from making bets on the selections I have posted. Last Wednesday, I handicapped an entire Gulfstream card, and I think I posted my plays here, but I was unable to wager on the races due to changes in the schedule at our local OTB. That saved me a few bucks! Anyway, thanks for explaining that to me, and I do understand, but maybe someday...