Thursday, September 30, 2010

Afghan versus Golden

In this video, there is no doubt that the afghan would win against either of my goldens. However, this one gives a duel to the finish!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rachel Retires

So on the heels of yesterday's post about Zenyatta, we have the news yesterday that her arch rival, Rachel Alexandra, will be retired, effective immediately. So much for a meeting of two of the most powerful women in racing...

Rumor has it, that this was inevitable, despite the fact that Rachel had turned in a bullet four furlong workout the day before. She never really returned to her three year old form throughout her four year old career, and the owners figured it was time to, as they put it, "introduce her to Curlin."

Zenyatta, meanwhile should now be a shoe-in for Horse of the Year, and looks to extend her amazing streak this Saturday in preparation for the Breeder's Cup Classic.

As always, the leave taking was done with class as exhibited by Mr. Jackson: "Rachel Alexandra owes us nothing. As a 3 year-old she set standards and records that no filly before her ever achieved. And I suspect it will be quite a while before a 3 year-old filly ever equals or surpasses her achievements. Although her fans were thrilled by a series of spectacular victories, I believe, they, as we, were simply awed time and again by her sheer beauty, courage and athleticism."

Let's hope she has a blissful retirement and takes to motherhood as easily as she took to the track.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Powerful Zenyatta

So have you happened to read Oprah's Power List in the October issue? In it, she lists 20 women who "blew us away this year."

Guess who is #18? None other than Zenyatta--Queen of the undefeated streak--currently at 18 and going for 19 on October 2. Laura Hillenbrand has the following to say about the 6 year old mare:

"She's absolutely perfect at her profession, and that is very rare--not just in sports but in all things. It's difficult to win even one race, let alone 18. And Zenyatta has done it."

Click here to read the entire list and the rest of Hillenbrand's entry. Miss Z is certainly one for the ages. Glad to know Oprah is paying attention!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Crunch Time!

This is a picture of Sabina's dog, Maddie and me strolling the streets of Greenwich Connecticut where we were for a photo shoot earlier this summer. Strolling seems like a word that is not going to be in our vocabulary for a while as we are entering the home stretch for the book.

The editorial deadline is October 1--which feels like tomorrow--so things are a bit frantic on my end.

Forgive if my posts are sporadic. My priorities are pretty much: book, book and more book.

You can always keep up with our progress on our Facebook group, Lick Your Plate!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lenny, a Disappointing Seventh

Lentenor finished a disappointing seventh out of eight in the Kent Stakes at Delaware Park yesterday. He broke well, seemed like he settled nicely along the back stretch but when he was asked to run at the top of the stretch, he just didn't have the goods.

There was some head bobbing as they turned for home--perhaps it was a lead change thing again--but Lenny never looked comfortable or actually, even interested, in getting himself up with the front runners in the second half of the race. Lots of discussion about whether or not he is a turf or dirt horse. I truly think he can run on either surface. I just think he was outclassed yesterday.

They were slow fractions but those were some nice horses that he ran with. Can he hold his own with them? Maybe but he still needs some seasoning and, frankly, he looked green and gangly coming down that stretch.

It is possible that he needs another bit of a hiatus until he comes into his own and is ready to pay closer attention to the business of winning. It is a timing issue and Dyanformers, as we all know, are characteristically, late-bloomers. You don't want to take his head out of the game, but you don't want him to continually be in races where he is chasing the winners.

Nicanor was perfectly placed and delivered the goods. Lenny's was a far tougher race and would probably do better in an allowance situation the next time out.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wire to Wire for Nicky!

It's all Nicanor--wire to wire under Ramon Dominguez on the turf at Belmont. He went to the lead and stayed there--fending off a late running challenge from Skip a Date to win by a nose. He pulled away coming down the stretch when he felt the presence of other horses behind him.

Proof that Nicky likes to be a front runner and is capable of shifting into another gear. Let's hope Lenny has an impressive an outing this afternoon and that the Jacksons' racing luck continues.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pickens Get Her Wish!

Great news from Madeleine Pickens--the Bureau of Land Management has agreed to her plan to create a wild horse sanctuary. They plan to start their pilot program with 1,000 horses very soon and hope to have all 36,000 horses in the near future.

Thanks go to Congressman Jim Moran who helped move the legislation forward.

Read all about this exciting development here.

Never doubt that a small number of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world!! Margaret Mead said it first.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My New Namesake

Here's a story that I couldn't resist--for reasons that will become obvious. This is Kit, a rescued sea otter that is making quite a splash at the Monteray Bay Aquarium in California. Since the otter has been rescued, the workers there have been trying to acclimate it to its new environment and to integrate it into group of sea otters that they already have on site.

Things seemed to be progressing amazingly well. Mae, an existing otter had all but adopted Kit when things seemed to fall apart as quickly as they had moved forward. Now it seems, Kit the otter has to go to school--Otter U.

Read more about the continuing adventures of this adorable chap, here. How can you not love a face like that with such a great name!!??

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Brothers Race Back to Back!

A Brothers Bonanza! Back to Back, no less.

It begins on Sept. 24 when Nicanor races at Belmont in the 8th and then continues the next day when Lentenor runs at Delaware park in the Kent Stakes.

On Friday, Nicanor is entered in an Allowance/Optional claiming race at a distance of 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course. Ramon Dominguez will have the mount, post time is 4:43. Nicanor breaks from gate #6 in the seven horse field.

The rest of the field:
#1 Skipadate/Castellano J.
#2 Lemon Cream Pie/Coa E.
#3 No Inflation/Gomez G.
#4 Pleasant Strike/Velazquez J.
#5 Baletti/Leparoux J.
#6 NICANOR/Dominguez R.
#7 Lime Rickey/Maragh R.

Nicanor is not entered to be claimed--no worries.

The next day, Lentenor is in the Kent Stakes at Delaware Park and here are the specifics:

Kent S. - Grade: 3

Purse: $ 250,000. (Includes $50,000 - BC - Breeders' Cup) . For Three Year Olds. By Subscription Of $200 Each, Which Shall Accompany The Nomination; $1,000 To Enter And $1,500 To Start. Supplemental Nominations Of $3,500 Will Be Accepted At Time Of Entry And Shall Include All Other Fees Due As Noted. $250,000 Guaranteed *(includes $50,000 from Breeders' Cup fund for cup nominees only). The host association's money to be divided 60% to the winner, 20% to second, 11% to third, 6% to fourth and 3% to fifth. Any Breeders' Cup fund monies not awarded reverts backto the fund. Weight; 122 lbs. Non-Winners of $90,000 at a mile or over on the turf since July 25, allowed 2 lbs.; $60,000 at a mile or over on the turf since June 25 , 4 lbs.; $40,000 at a mile or over in 2010, 6 lbs. (Maiden, claiming and starter racees not considered in estimating allowances.) Starters to pass the entry box by the usual time of closing. Preference given to Breeders' Cup nominees only of equal racing quality or which have accumulated the highest total earnings on the turf. The winner to receive a trophy from Breeders' Cup Limited. (If deemed inadvisable by management not to run this race over the turf course, it will be run on the main track at One Mile and One Eighth). One And One Eighth Miles. (Turf)

Lennie drew post position 4 and Jose Valdivia, Jr. gets the mount.

Both fields look tough but apparently the brothers are both back to their racing form. Wouldn't that be something if there were back to back trips to the Winner's Circle?!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hi Ho Silver!

Return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear when the most prevalent form of transportation was the horse. Problem is, if you look closely you might notice a traffic light and paved road in this horse's path. And then you would realize it was not yesteryear but yesterday and that this horse in question is actually transporting a local teen to school--by his choice!

The teen in question attends a local all-boys prep school and he lives about four miles away from school--about a five to ten minute car ride, depending on the traffic. Which means he could technically roll out of bed at say, 7:15 and be at school by 7:30, no sweat. Especially if he slept in his clothes!

But no, this lad has chosen to rise at dawn and leave his house at 6:00 AM on horseback! No joke--rain or shine, young Roby Burch age 16 rides his big white Percheron, Jet, to school, where he installs him in the corral he built for him next to the headmaster's house.

"It's a nice way to start the day," he says. He gets to school by 6:45, waters and feeds his horse, changes his clothes and he's good to go. The return trip takes place at 5:45 PM, after football practice. Burch says he is going to continue the routine even when the time changes and it gets dark earlier.

"Most kids my age are trying to prove their toughness on the football field," he comments. "I'm riding my horse in 30 degree weather."

For Roby's sake, I hope we have a mild winter.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Lost Dogs

It's football season and here in Philadelphia that usually means some sort of controversy. At the moment, the buzz is about second string quarterback, Michael Vick, who ended up playing for the entire second half last week when our starter was injured with a concussion in the first half.

Here's the kicker: Vick played better than the starter, Kevin Kolb. So, as you can imagine the pit-bull activists are starting their engines, lest we forget Vick's past.

This on the heels of a fascinating interview by local NPR host, Marty Moss-Cohane, with Sports Illustrated writer, Jim Grant, whose new book about Vick's dogs was recently released. The Lost Dogs documents what became of forty seven of Vick's dogs that were rescued, as well as gives a history of the pit bull.

Many of Vick's dogs have been rehabilitated and are now family pets and some are even therapy dogs.

I don't want to get into a pros or cons discussion about pit bulls, but I thought it was interesting that a Sports Illustrated writer would pursue this topic. Give it a read and let me know what you think!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Lymphoma Treatment Shows Promise in Dogs

On the tails (sorry for the pun) of my most recent article for the Penn Gazette on comparative oncology, comes some great news from the University of Illinois, where researchers have identified a new target for the treatment of lymphoma. They are testing a new drug on this target in dogs who already have this disease.

And most astounding news of all is that the drug seems to be working. In fact, at low doses, the medicine, named S-PAC-1, "arrested the growth of tumors in three of six dogs tested and induce partial remission in a fourth."

As for side effects, well according to the study, they were "mild." More importantly there was no brain damage (neurotoxicity) from the drug. Apparently adjusting the dosage, minimized or eliminated what side effects there were.

Researchers emphasize that these results are preliminary and that approval by the FDA for use in humans could take years. However, the study was funded by the NIH, as part of their comparative oncology program and they will continue to support a clinical trial of S-PAC-1 in companion animal dogs.

"If you look at the genetic signatures of canine lymphoma and human lymphoma, they're very, very similar and their response to therapy is very, very similar," said one of the study's lead investigators, Paul Hergenrother. "So there's lots of reasons to be optimistic about a compound that has some effect in the canines, that it could have a similar effect in humans."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Top Jock

So remember Ben Hur, the charioteer? Well, it turns out that he probably was an extremely well paid athlete.

According to Penn professor, Peter Struck, whose findings are reported on the website of Lapham's Quarterly, a history magazine, the leading charioteer of his day, one Gaius Appuleius, earned the modern day equivalent of about $15 billion. To put that into perspective, consider that Tiger Woods' earnings (in a good year) just top $1 billion.

Pretty good chunk of change for riding behind horses, don't you think. Romans, of course, were the ultimate fans of chariot racing and the concept of trotters probably dates back to those chariots.

You can read more about how Professor Struck computed these earnings, here. "I don't propose that I've come to some hard and fast solution," he says. "What I do think that I've done is make accessible a sense of the utter magnitude of this guy's worth. It's extraordinary."

Especially for a jockey!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pup Aid

So you've heard of Live Aid, Farm Aid and now there's something called Pup Aid! I kid you not. The UK's first ever boutique, music festival and celebrity-judged dog show aims to raise awareness of the puppy farm industry across the pond.

For those of you with lots of miles to burn, it will take place on Sunday Sept. 19th in Brighton at the Stammer House. Oh, and your dog(s) is welcome!

You could enter your dog in the "Scruffs" competition, to be judged by British television stars. Categories include "Most Glamorous Six Legs"--that's dog plus owner as well as Best Stand Up--that's dog who stands best on his/her hind legs.

Other events include a parade of rescued ex-puppy farm dogs as well as rare British breeds and a dog-themed karaoke contest for humans. And here's why I really would love to have a first hand report: British chefs will be cooking up treats for dogs as well as people!

So drop me a note if you just happen to have a British holiday planned. . .

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Farmer and The Dog

It seems as if chefs are not the only celebrities in the food industry these days. The new hero of the farm to table movement is, you guessed it, the farmer. And according to the Inquirer, local (Lancaster county) farmer, Tom Culton, is the leader of the pack.

Thirty year old Culton is a third generation farmer--his family has actually been in the Lancaster area since 1740--and has updated his produce as well as his personna. Not content to sell the standard carrots and celery, Culton peddles such gourmet veggies as purple Brussels sprouts (his signature item), Flageolet beans and Rouge vif D'Etampes pumpkins.

Never heard of some of these items? Chances are you will, especially if you dine among the high end restaurants that Culton sells to. Once a week he sends a truck to New York and you can bet the establishments in Philly snap up his wares at the local Head House Square Farmers Market.

All of which has got us thinking about adding some celebrity farmers to the mix for book 2 in the Lick Your Plate! series. Some chefs have their own gardens or even farms from which they can pick their wares. Others rely on the local communities to supply them with very fresh produce.

All we can think is that farmers and dogs go very well together. . .

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Jacksons Buy a Dynaformer Filly

This is the latest addition to the Jackson's Lael Stable: a Dynaformer filly out of the mare, Bank Audit. The Jacksons purchased her for a hefty $900,000 at the second select session of the Keeneland September yearling sale, as reported by Bloodhorse.

She is a beauty and given Dynaformer's age, the Jacksons are hedging their bets in their desire to continue his bloodline, just in case the next Barbaro offspring is not a girl. It will be interesting to see if this filly is a typical Dynaformer late bloomer like her brothers.

Meanwhile it looks as if Lentenor will have his next start at Delaware Park on September 25 in the $250,000 Grade III Kent Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. No word yet on Nicanor's next race.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Splish Splash Taking a Bath

We were recently in Aspen and took a hike up into the mountains where the guide pointed out branches on low bushes with berries that had been nibbled by black bears preparing for their hibernation.

I guess a bath is also part of that preparation. The following came via an email:

Some people living in Colorado Springs were wondered why their water barrel was almost empty every day. They set up a camera and caught a bear bathing. Well, he's back.
Big Al came for his weekly bath again this week. He really looks like he enjoys the experience. He needs a bigger tub, will think about that for next year.

How Sweet It is...

They must really need another one when they wake up in the Spring!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bo's Summer Vacation

So what did you do on your summer vacation? Bo Obama saw more of the U.S. and kept a photo diary. Click here to see where the first pooch rested his paws!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chat with Todd Gray, Lick Your Plate! Chef

This is Todd Gray, executive chef of the Equinox Restaurant in Washington, D.C. He is the owner of two rescued German Shepherds and the spokesperson for Michelle Obama's Chefs Move to Schools initiative in which top chefs are paired with neighborhood schools to help them create good and healthy meals.

He and his wife Ellen are also in our book, Lick Your Plate! (in front of the White House with their wonderful dogs) and movers and shakers in the farm to table movement in the D.C. area.

Last summer when Michele Obama hosted 700 chefs on the White House lawn to kick off her Kids Fit initiative, Todd gave the keynote address about his work volunteering at the Murch Elementary School.

If you want to hear some of Todd's sensible plans for bringing good nutrition to schools, listen to his recent interview with WHYY's Jim Coleman at this link. Better yet, if you want to chat directly with Todd, log on to the live webchat on Monday September 13 at 2:00 P.M. here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11 Tribute

A beautiful tribute to the rescue dogs involved with the September 11 tragedy. Take a moment to remember and have a tissue handy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lick Your Plate Chef Cooks at US Open

This is the link to a great story about one of our chefs in Lick Your Plate, Carmen Gonzalez of Top Chef Masters fame, who recently created some special top dishes at the U. S. Open in New York.
Wonder if she brought her dog Jeeter with her?
Check it out!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rocky Mountain High

Just back from Aspen which has got to be the most dog friendly city in the United States! These are some of the critters that I met while strolling the Farmers Market which was more like a dog parade!

One of my friends joked that you could make a fortune in the Aspen airport renting dogs for the week. It seems like everyone takes their dogs everywhere and everyone has a dog!
This was a baby pool set out for the dogs to cool their paws!

Of course not all of Aspen was dogs. This was just an example of the spectacular scenery that almost became common place. And absolutely no humidity!

More about some chefs I met coming soon!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Carrie the Dancing Dog

I figure if ABC News can post this, then so can I! A dancing dog, extraordinaire! (and in Spanish). Truly she leaves her competition in the dust!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Watch for My Dog Tulip

My local dog park is filled with wonderful people, many of whom have the most amazing lives outside of the confines of the park.

Tow such people are the creators of the wonderful, hand-drawn, animated film called My Dog Tulip that is making a national splash in art cinemas around the country. I happen to be the owner of a CD version, straight from the artists' hands so I can attest to its whimsy.

Watch for it. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Come Be Our Fan!

Here is the link to the Lick Your Plate Fan Group on Facebook. If you are on Facebook, please join our group and get regular updates on the progress of the book. If you are not, please consider joining Facebook so you can be part of the fun.

The photo above is Henry of Bar Henry (in New York City) fame. He is our current choice for cover dog, not that we truly have much of a choice! The decision pretty much rests with the publisher, but we do have some input.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Double Reward

Here is the link to my latest story in the University of Pennsylvania Gazette about the Double Rewards of an innovative program at the Vet School in which mammary tumors from shelter dogs may provide important information about the growth and development of human breast cancer tumors.

The photo above is from one of the dogs who was "saved" from a shelter and adopted out to a cancer survivor.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Warning: Not for the Faint of Heart

Just when you thought you had seen or heard it all comes this video of a woman in England (where Big Brother is literally always watching) dumping a cat in the garbage bin. The cat, named Lola, survived the ordeal and the woman has been apprehended and actually received death threats for her action.

No word on why she did it, other than for her to admit it was "wrong."

So why did she pet it first?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lab Swims with Dolphins

This was sent to me by a friend and it is well worth watching! I only wonder if it was Sam, if he would be smart enough to return to the shore or if he would follow the dolphin out to sea!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dog Philosophy

Some important rules of the road, courtesy of the great website,

We have a lot to learn from our furry companions!

Dog Philosophy:

1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
2. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
3. When loved ones come home, always run and greet them.
4. When it's in your best interest, always practice obedience.
5. Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
6.Take naps and always stretch before rising.
7. Run, romp and play daily.
8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
9. Be loyal.
10. Never pretend to be something you're not.
11. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
13. Delight in the simple joys of a long walk.
14. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
15. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
16. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
17. When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
18. No matter how often you are criticized, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.

Pass it on!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bunny Show Jumping

This video is almost beyond words, except I can't help but wonder if my backyard residents could do such tricks. They certainly leap out of the way of my dogs, but that is usually distance rather than height.

Note the leashes in the above. And I truly do wonder how they prod them on--do they reward them with rabbit pellets?