Replays: Moonshine Mullin’s Rise to Grade 1 Winner

I’ve been lucky enough to follow Moonshine Mullin’s rise from $40K claimer to Grade I winner this past Saturday.  By happy coincidence, I’ve handicapped and watched his entire five race winning streak.  His emergence — providing value in every single start — is a testament to the handicapping factor known as “form,” or sometimes “condition.”  And it’s also just a great story!

Amazing Fact:  Moonshine Mullin has not been favored in any race during his five-race winning streak!

Watch and enjoy this horse.  His last two stakes wins are embedded. His three earlier wins are well worth watching and links are provided. Quotes are hints of how good this horse was running from the excellent track announcers, Frank Mirahmadi and Larry Collmus.

Race 5:  Churchill Downs, June 14, 2014, Stephen Foster Handicap, Grade I

“Oh! Moonshine Mullin is battling!”

Odds: 10-1


Race 4:  Churchill Downs, May 2, 2014, Alysheba Stakes, Grade II

“They came back to win!”

Odds: 6-1


Race 3:  Oaklawn Park, April 11, 2014, Allowance Optional Claiming $40K

“This is a razor sharp animal”

Odds:  3-1

Watch the replay here


Race 2: Oaklawn Park, Race 6, March 27, 2014, Claiming $80K

“Always traveling best today”

Odds: 5-1

Watch the replay here (requires Windows Media/Flip4Mac)


Race 1:  Oaklawn Park, Race 8, February 13, 2014, Allowance Optional Claiming $40K 

“A dominant, front-running score”

Odds:  7-1

Watch the replay here



On Casual Fandom, the World Cup, and the Importance of Story

I’m never been terribly sure why mainstream media coverage of horse racing essentially disappears post-Triple Crown.  As someone who did not grow up around horse racing (a very suburban, generation X’er, Midwestern childhood — my father is a law professor and my mother writes about macrobiotic foods and healthy living), I too once inhabited the limited place known as the”Triple Crown-only” horse racing world. In comparison to my now deep involvement in the sport of horse racing, I  am very much a casual sports fan for another of America’s part-time sports, soccer.  Like many, I only really pay attention to the World Cup, and I’m enjoying the current one.

So, I ask myself — what keeps me from turning on an MLS game or even the highest-level football, such as the Champions League?  I actually really enjoying watching soccer, and it’s fun to watch the action and opportunities develop so deliberately. I don’t watch outside the World Cup because I don’t know the stories. And knowing the stories — the personalities, the histories, the sentiments —  is essential to the enjoyment of sports.  It’s why rivalries are always compelling theater — the history is known and  usually angry — and its why seven-game series and championship rematches can develop an epic quality.

Yes, the Triple Crown is compelling, but not any more so than other dramatic arcs of racing. Wise Dan’s and Palice Malice’s recent campaigns have been astonishing, and Moonshine Mullin’s rise to grade I winner has been sensational. He is a horse in simply amazing condition. Mucho Macho Man‘s triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Classic is a testament to life after the Triple Crown. Furthermore,  the racetrack and its community tend to be deeply intermingled in ways not typically found in contemporary life.  Rich stories are found in these settings everyday.

We’ve seen recently how much a good story can move the needle.  The American sport-viewing public (and, perhaps, the public in general) has a constant desire for drama and story.  Horse racing — year-round, from all levels — has the ability to provide it.