Preakness 139: My Favorite Week Yet

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Wednesday: Dan & I went by the Stakes Barn to see some of the Preakness contenders and scope out Pimlico for the week ahead.

DERBY WINNER CALIFORNIA CHROME

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Next we joined a sunrise tour and heading out to the apron of the track to watch Social Inclusion & Ride On Curlin work.

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To make it better? Coffee & a stand of apples and carrots {healthy snacks for horses and people alike}.

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All jacked up on coffee and the thrill of Preakness week..

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Social Inclusion & Ride On Curlin out at the Stakes Barn after their works.IMG_2633 IMG_2634

Later at night we were having our Pre-Preakness party at Mt. Washington tavern so we went there to make sure everything was in place and to grab some lunch. It was the most adorable place and I absolutely love the decor.

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After lunch and running errands it was time to head back to Pimlico for the Post Position Draw — one of my favorite events of the week- they really know how to treat the media & connections.

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After the draw we headed back out to Mt. Washington Tavern for an awesome Pre-Preakness celebration – new fans, old fans & industry connections were all there!

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Thursday

The morning got off to an early start with the Alibi Breakfast.

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I got to see the Woodlawn Vase – the most valuable trophy in ALL of sports – WHAT A BEAUT! It made by Tiffany & Co in 1860 out of sterling silver. It originally cost $1,500, was appraised for $1 million in 1983 & is said to be estimated at $4 million {but is truly priceless}.

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Black Eyed Susans for breakfast? Why not, it was Preakness week!

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This breakfast dates back to the 1930s when a group of trainers, owners, jocks & other people would gather around on the porch on the Pimlico Clubhouse to brag about their horses. today it’s a breakfast celebration with media, owners, trainers, jockeys and horsemen celebrating Preakness week and a chance for the Maryland Jockey Club to recognize people who have made significant contributions to the industry.

Of course I had to take a picture near the Preakness sign at the Stakes Bam 😉

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Later that night I invited my friend Acacia to attend the Maryland Jockey Club’s ‘This Ain’t Our First Rodeo’ Party on the waterfront with me & what a wonderful time we had!

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The decor was gorgeous, the food was delish & I absolutely love seeing so
many familiar faces {and meeting new ones).

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After eating we ended up deciding to sit down and take in the scene when this year’s Kentucky Derby winning jockey Victor Espinoza walked by – we asked for a picture & all ended up sitting down talking for hours — stand up guy & great jock and now our new friend!

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I also got to catch up with my fantastic friends Christine & Blake of CAMHATSNYC
& meet Ms Racing Queen, Linsey Toole.

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Friday

Black Eyed Susan Day started off as anything but wonderful — It was torrential downpouring outside and there wasn’t a drop of sunshine in the sky. Luckily, the sun came out around noon and it turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day.

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Later that night, after the races, Acacia and I met back up with our new friend Victor
and went to dinner with him & some friends.

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Saturday

PREAKNESS DAY! and what a beautiful day it was- from start to finish I couldn’t have imagined a better day!

We got to the track super early so Dan could talk to our friend Stan on Maryland Horse Radio.

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After preparing some tweets &  taking in the scenes from the press box  we headed out to explore the infield, met up with some of our guests & bloggers and took in everything Preakness had to offer.

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Before I knew it it was time for race #12, the race we had all been waiting on, the 139th Preakness Stakes. Would California Chrome and Victor be the first to cross the finish line & keep the dream of a 2014 Triple Crown alive? I sure hoped so! My top three horses were California Chrome, Ride On Curlin & Social Inclusion {& yes, they came in 1, 2, 3- hip hip hooray!}

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THEY DID IT!

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The bid for a Triple Crown is alive & well! Here’s a picture of Acacia & I with our new friends Rich & Vicki from dinner the night before RIGHT after Cali Chrome won. I had chills & tears were shed – what an awesome ride!

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Later that night we headed out to the stakes barn for the after Preakness party – everyone was there.

Dan & I had to get in a selfie with our MD jock friends

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Awesome bugler friends Sam & Ryan!

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Sunday I left MD and headed back to NY and have since been preparing for the The Third Jewel of the Triple Crown –THE BELMONT STAKES! in just three short week.

XO, V

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My Preakness Betting Strategy

Victoria Garofalo  

Best feel-good story of the year is no doubt California Chrome — he is a just use in ALL exotics, and he may just be going to Belmont in Pursuit of Triple Crown, June 9 — at odds on … there is money to be made beating him.

Social Inclusion — perhaps most raw talent in the field, won his first two races by daylight (7 ½ and 10 lengths, including a Gulfstream Park track record at 1 1/16 mile, beating highly regarded Honor Code). He could take this field all the way at a square price.

Ride On Curlin — my personal favorite Triple Crown horse — gets a big jockey switch from Calvin Borel, who strangled the horse back to his familiar rail position only to make late run form 19th to seventh. He “dances every dance” and makes a good trifecta or superfecta here.

Kid Cruz is the sole local winner (2-for-2 in Maryland) and has an off-the-pace running style. I see him rallying late at big odds.

Selections: California Chrome, Social Inclusion, Ride On Curlin and Kid Cruz.

Strategy: $1 exacta box – 3,7,8,10 = $12

$1 trifecta – 3,8 with 3,8,10 with 3,7,8 10 = $8

– See more at: http://www.americasbestracing.net/en/the-latest/abrv/2014/5/16/six-strategies-for-betting-the-preakness/#sthash.WkgpyJHd.dpuf

April Showers Bring… AN INCREDIBLY FUN & BUSY MAY for horse racing!

What a crazy last few weeks I’ve had & crazier ones to come!

Opening Day at Belmont, {Kentucky Derby}, a trip to Sagamore Farm, a pitstop at Delaware Park, Monmouth Opening Day AND Man o’ War Stakes.

Let’s start with opening day 2014 at Belmont – my sweet baby cousin Taylor joined me for a beautiful, fun day at our beloved Belmont Park.

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Sagamore Farm is one of my favorite farms I’ve ever visited. Known for famous racehorses Native Dancer, Bed o’Roses & Discovery it holds an incredible amount of history. The farm was originally owned by Margaret VAnderbilt who gave it to her son Alfred G. Vanderbilt II for his 21st birthday present. The farm was sold in 1986 to James Ward.  In 2007 CEO of Under Armour, Kevin Plank, bought the farm with plans to restore it and is doing just that — he is an incredible person for our beloved industry.

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& i became BFF with Tizgale.

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We were lucky enough to take some new fans out to the farm for a tour, headed over to Ryleigh’s Oyster for happy hour.

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After the delicious happy hour we headed back to the AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS farm house for a great Q&A panel of racing experts. I want to decorate my future house just like this one — seriously in loveeee.

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Pitstop at Delaware park — the paddock was adorable & I played blackjack for the first time {yes, i left up $1.00 but like betting the ponies WAYYYY better}.

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The next day I went to visit the awesome hat designer, my friend, Christine Moore & her husband Blake to pick a hat for Preakness and catch up with them. Her studio is full of stunning creations and it was so cool to see her at work!

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Next was Opening Day 2014 at Monmouth Park.

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Last on this post is the Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont where we hosted an awesome group of new fans and had an all around awesome day. Tailgating at Belmont is oh so fun!

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One of my favorite horses from last year Palice Malice won EASY!IMG_2514 IMG_2525

& here’s me by the NEW ABRV featuring WISE DAN THE MAN!IMG_2531

Looking forward to the Preakness craziness ahead!

Win, Place, Show Dining in Maryland

Looking for a place to eat Preakness week? I’ve put together three dinners at three restaurants at three prices for two people. With tax and a tip the meals should be close to $200, $100 and $50, respectively, for two people. Bon Appetit.

$200: The Oregon Grille

ORGrill

Located in the middle of Maryland horse country The Oregon Grille is a horse racing fan’s paradise – equestrian-themed décor housed in a magnificently renovated 19th century stone farmhouse, this is where you go to eat after a winning day at the races. If you’re dining after 5 p.m., make sure the gentlemen in your group remember their jackets!

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Start off with a ‘Seafood Tower for Two’ followed by a glass of your favorite wine and you’ll be off to the perfect start. For entrees the choice is easy, you can’t go to THE premiere steakhouse in the region and not order steak!

After, if you still have room for dessert (which I hope you will) order a Blueberry Slump ($7) – Baked blueberries with a dumpling-like topping served with Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and tossed with Grand Marnier whipped cream – the perfect end to an amazing meal.

$100 for two: Woodberry Kitchen

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Housed in a refurbished mill building and boosting an exciting menu, Woodberry Kitchen seems to be a foodie’s paradise.  There is not a single bite on the menu that I wouldn’t be happy eating. From the buttered, sea-salted popcorn snack to the Pork Fat Fries – you just can’t seem to go wrong with any selection.

Woodberry Food

Start off with drinks. Go for a Manhampden cocktail which is a Maryland-style rye, California sweet vermouth, WK pantry maraschino, new fashioned & Peychaud’s bitters ($12) or a Snow Shark – NY rye & corn whiskey, sweet nectarine, green & rose hips teas, cinnamon tincture ($12).

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Next up is an appetizer. Maybe it’s the Georgia in me (yes, I’m admitting I was actually influenced by living in the South), but I refuse to pass up a chance to eat Buttermilk Fried Pickles – they serve theirs with a fish pepper mayonnaise – a perfectly ideal way to start off the meal ($6).

One person should order the Voyager Chesapeake Oysters which are made with port cream, smoked ham & browned onions ($15) and the other should be the Fountain Farms Asparagus Flatbread made with ‘ramp pesto, tomatoes, pickled fish peppers, ‘Ewe’s Dream’ ($14) – sharing is the best way to get the most of new dishes.

End the night with a slice of Fig Cheesecake topped with figs, strawberries and honey ($10) and some Apple Cider Sorbet ($7).

$50 for two: Birroteca

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Pizza is one of my all time favorites foods, so when I read all of the different kinds of artisan pizzas on the Birroteca menu I was giddy.

The Chopped Kale salad topped with heirloom beets, pumpkin seeds, radishes, apples and a raisin vinaigrette sounds like the perfect start to your meal ($13).

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Then, share a ‘Duck Duck Goose’ Pizza Pie – It’s Duck Confit, Fig-Onion Jam, Balsamic, Fontina & Asiago and Duck Egg ($17).

Lastly, get some ice cream! I haven’t tried a Takarka Brothers Ice Cream that I didn’t like, but to cap off this meal the Olive Oil and Sea Salt is the perfect choice ($7).

– See more at: http://www.americasbestracing.net/en/the-latest/abrv/2014/5/12/win-place-show-dining-in-maryland/#sthash.Y7dj7LkF.dpuf

Preakness Fashion Guide: Infield to Lux Box

Last year was my first time being at Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness and what an awesome time I had – it really is the people’s party.

The track is abuzz with energy, the music and action in the infield is great, the Black-Eyed Susan drinks are tasty and the horses are insanely talented!

Preakness InfieldFest is a blast – it can get crowded at times so a cross-body bag is easy to throw on and not worry about losing your bag. I adore this blue dress from Gap and figured why not pair it with a fun women’s fedora – fun and flirty. While a fedora is not the kind of hat I think of when I think of the races, I love how it pulls this infield look together – a touch of Coachella in Maryland and a perfect outfit for the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

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Preakness Infield Blue

I’ve always loved espadrilles but when I saw these red BCBG ones I knew I had to find a fun Grandstand or Mug & Vine outfit to tie them into Preakness week, especially since the colors of the Preakness are red, yellow & black. I have a similar straw clutch and love it for the track – big enough to throw my program and other basic necessities into, while still being feminine and statement making. Since the dress is flowy I went with a fascinator for some structure and finished the outfit off with Swarvoski horseshoe studs and a fun glad bangle.

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Preakness Red, Gold & White

Last, but not least is the ‘Lux Box’ look. I was immediately drawn to this stunning Oscar De La Renta dress (quite possibly because I’ve been binge watching Mad Men before bed every night) and although the flowers aren’t Black-Eyed Susans, it’s the perfect color to wear! I love this Christine A. Moore big-brim ‘Britney’ hat – it has the glamour feel without taking away from the dress – perfect compliments. Swipe on some ruby red lip gloss, don your favorite nude pumps, grab a glass of bubbly & you’re winner’s circle bound!

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Preakness Lux

Whatever you wear, be sure to upload your pictures to Instagram and use the hashtag #AmericasBestFashion to show up here on our site! Have fun gettin’ ya Preak on!

– See more at: http://www.americasbestracing.net/en/the-latest/abrv/2014/5/11/preakness-fashion-guide-infield-to-lux-box/#sthash.aUyFTQAd.dpuf

The Key to a Perfect Crab Cake

Maryland and crab cakes are synonymous. You can’t go visit Baltimore and not try a crab cake, it just wouldn’t do the Chesapeake Bay justice.

Lucky for me, I was raised in a family of Italians and Puerto Ricans whose mantra is “we live to eat rather than eat to live.” Not only am I ecstatic that I get to be in Baltimore for the Preakness, but anyone that knows me knows that I am also extremely excited to try food from places I’ve yet to go.

The basic ingredients of crab cakes are: crab, mayonnaise, seasoning and some kind of binding like crackers. Pretty much everything else added to that concoction and the way the cakes are cooked are what make each restaurant’s crab cakes unique.

In Baltimore, there are so many well-respected and praised restaurants and so many variations of the Maryland crab cake.  It was hard to find just one to feature but when I found out that Pierpoint Restaurant’s chef and owner, Nancy Longo, was dubbed “Maryland’s unofficial coronated crab cake queen” by Maryland Magazine I knew that she would be the perfect person to chat with to find out what the key to a perfect Maryland crab cake truly was.

Crab Cakes Inside

Restaurant: Pierpoint Restaurant

Location: Fell’s Point. 1822 Aliceanna St., Baltimore, MD 21231

Website: www.pierpointrestaurant.com

Victoria Garofalo: Nancy, thanks for talking some time out to talk with me about your award-winning crab cakes. To you, what do crab cakes mean to Maryland?

Nancy Longo: Crab cakes and Maryland are one in the same.

VG: Opinions about the key ingredient vary from chef to chef, what do you believe is the key ingredient to your crab cakes?

NL:  The ingredients that make up the quintessential flavors of a Maryland crab cake are the fruitwoods [usually cherry and apple] as well as the mustard and old-bay ratios.

VG: What drink do you recommend one enjoying while eating crab cakes?

NL: Around here in Baltimore – Natty Boh [National Bohemian] or Clipper City Beer

VG:  Do you like/recommend tartar sauce or cocktail sauce better with crab cakes (or nothing)? Why?

NL: Tartar sauce because the tomato and horseradish in cocktail sauce is too heavy for the crab cakes we make

VG: What is the best side dish to your crab cakes?

NL: Our brussel sprout slaw is the best side for the crab cakes. 

VG: What does the Preakness mean to you?

NL: I’m a big Pimlico fan. I love to go to the Preakness. My father was a boxer and all his friends were jockeys at Pimlico so it holds a special place in my heart.

Hopefully, you readers are feeling inspired (and hungry).

Nancy was generous enough to share her recipe. Enjoy!

Recipe:

Chef Nancy Longo

Pierpoint Restaurant

Maryland Crab Cakes

(Serves 4: 2 each)

1 pound of jumbo crab meat

1 pound of sweet crab claw meat

20 butter style crackers crushed into crumbs

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

2 teaspoons parsley

1 cup mayonnaise

juice from ½ of one lemon

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 eggs

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

1 tablespoon melted, salted butter

Clean crabmeat and set aside. Combine all of the remaining ingredients in the order listed and mix thoroughly. Add crabmeat and gently fold in so as not to break the lumps. Portion out into 8 crab cakes of equal proportion.

Can be cooked either of two ways:

Broil in a heated broiler in a shallow baking dish with a small amount of water for about 10 minutes, careful not to burn.

OR: Sautee in vegetable oil until golden brown on all sides.

SMOKED:

To prepare the smoked crab cake, prepare a charcoal grill with hot, grey coals.  Place a small stainless steel bowl of water in the coals in the center of the grill.  In a separate bowl, soak a few fruit wood chips for approximately 1 hour.  Remove wet wood chips from water, and gently drop them on top of hot coals, the wood chips should begin to smoke at this point.  Take grill grate and line it with aluminum foil.  Poke a few holes in the foil and place crabmeat on top.  Then place aluminum lined rack with crabmeat on top of grill and cover.  Allow to smoke for approximately 30 minutes.  Remove crabmeat and cool for 1 hour. Mix cooled crab meat into same manner as recipe above.

– See more at: http://www.americasbestracing.net/en/the-latest/abrv/2013/5/13/the-key-to-a-perfect-crab-cake/#sthash.4eXjHEzy.dpuf

New-Look ABRV Returns This Weekend

Check out the time-lapse video of the 2014 ABRV being wrapped with its new design.

It’s back! The biggest, baddest and boldest bus in the world of sports – the America’s Best Racing RV (ABRV) – makes its grand return this week. The 45-foot long icon of America’s Best Racing’s initiative to develop new horse racing fans has been completely redesigned ahead of its 2014 launch at Monmouth Park on Saturday, May 10 and Belmont Park on Sunday, May 11.

The all-new bus was the official travel vehicle of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team on their thrilling run to the championship game of the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament. The ABRV is wrapped, top to bottom, with a brand-new design showcasing the very best of Thoroughbred horse racing.

Speaking of the best, we also made it a point to showcase 2012 and 2013 Horse of the Year Wise Dan as one of the focal points of the new design.

WISE DAN FEATURED PROMINENTLY

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Inside, it has been fitted with flat screen televisions, among other amenities, that make it the ultimate vehicle to educate new fans about our great sport.

Last year, the ABRV made more than a dozen stops in cities all over the United States to showcase some of the best racing our sport has to offer. This year’s ABRV tour is keeping the same theme with stops all across the nation in an effort to attract a new and younger fan base to the sport of Thoroughbred racing.  Most stops on the 2014 ABRV tour will coincide with the locations and races covered during the new Jockey Club Tour on Fox.

DRIVER’S SIDE

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The ABRV will make its season debut in Oceanport, N.J., for opening day at Monmouth Park. The track, just minutes from the Jersey Shore, is a summer racing landmark and the home of the $1-million, Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Stakes in July. The ABRV will return to Monmouth Park and Oceanport from June 13-16, a trip highlighted by one of the highlights of the U.S. racing calendar: the Grade 1,  $750,000 United Nations Stakes.

PASSENGER SIDE 

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After the ABRV’s initial rollout this Saturday, the bus journeys north to Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., on Sunday. There, the ABRV will host America’s Best Racing guests for a huge day of racing covered by FOX Sports 1, including the Grade 1, $400,000 Man o’ War Stakes, Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian Stakes and the Grade 3, $150,000 Westchester Stakes.

In our continued efforts to bring the sport of Thoroughbred Racing to a new, younger fan base, we will showcase the competition of our great sport as well as the lifestyle, fashion and social aspects of racing.

Last year’s tour was a huge success and we are looking to continue to build upon this as we head into the heart of the racing season for 2014.

2014 ABRV Tour Schedule
May 9-10 Monmouth Park and Oceanport, N.J. Opening Day Celebration
May 11 Belmont Park Man o’ War, Ruffian
and Westchester Stakes
June 13-17 Arlington Park Father’s Day Celebration
July 3-6 Monmouth Park United Nations Stakes
Aug. 14-17 Saratoga Race Course Sword Dancer Invitational
Sept. 11-14 Woodbine Racetrack Woodbine Mile
Sept. 25-28 Belmont Park Jockey Club Gold Cup
Oct. 2-4 Keeneland Race Course Thursday Night Live in Downtown
Lexington and Fall Stars Weekend
Oct. 29-Nov. 1 Santa Anita Park Breeders’ Cup

– See more at: http://www.americasbestracing.net/en/the-latest/abrv/2014/5/7/new-look-abrv-returns-this-weekend/#sthash.gxeuLhiJ.dpuf