Illinois Derby handicapping contest for Galloping Out!

The Illinois Derby is coming up on April 22.  Once again, I’m thrilled to be hosting, in conjunction with Danonymous Racing, a contest to benefit Galloping Out!

The contest will feature stakes racing at Hawthorne, including the Grade 3 Illinois Derby, as well as stakes action across the country.  The best $2 win-place return on the day, among players who have donated at least $10 to Galloping Out, wins a signed and framed photo of War Emblem after his Kentucky Derby score!  War Emblem prepared for his Derby win with a victory in the 2002 Illinois Derby.

Head over to Danonymous Racing to read all about the contest, make your donation to Galloping Out, and get ready for the Illinois Derby Challenge on April 22!

handicapping contest this Saturday for Galloping Out!

Million Preview Day is this Saturday at Arlington…and Danonymous Racing and I are doing a contest!

The contest will benefit Galloping Out, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps rehabilitate, retrain, and rehome thoroughbreds who are retiring from Chicago-area racetracks.

Contest races will be posted once the weekend’s races are drawn.  But, they will definitely include all four graded stakes on Saturday’s Arlington card, the Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks, and two other stakes races on Belmont’s Saturday card.

The rules are simple: pick a horse in each race.  You get a mythical $2 win/place wager on each of your picks.  The biggest total at the end of the day wins a picture of Sarah Sis from the 2016 Chicago Handicap, signed by rider Jose Valdivia, Jr.!

Anyone can play, but to be able to win the prize, you have to make a donation of $10 or more to Galloping Out, and send Dan Tordjman ( a receipt from your donation.

So, make sure to head over to Danonymous Racing and get all the details for the contest!

join #TeamRogueclown!

This Saturday is Belmont Day — and the final leg of #Cappers4Causes at Danonymous Racing.  It’s your chance to help a slew of excellent charities, and win a one-of-a-kind prize in the process.

The contest races will be posted later in the week — but, if previous years of the contest are any indication, it will feature Saturday’s marquee stakes races at Belmont.

There’s a friendly little challenge going on between me and Ryan Dickey, to see who can get the most new players for this weekend’s contest. So, if you join, please send up a tweet hashtagged #TeamRogueclown, or put #TeamRogueclown in your message when you send Dan your donation.

Just a $10 donation to the fundraising pool makes you eligible to win a picture of Secretariat, signed by Ron Turcotte.  The fundraising pool will be divided between seven nonprofit organisations:  Thoroughbred Retirement Fund, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Thoroughbred Charities of America, ReRun, Go and Play Stables, Camp Casey, and Kids Beating Cancer.

You’ll be looking at the big stakes races at Belmont anyway…so why not donate to seven great causes, and give contest play a shot?

insurance for CANTER Chicago

I volunteer for CANTER Chicago.  We are currently raising money to buy insurance, in order to continue operating on the backsides of Chicago racetracks.

Atom Splitter, a local racehorse turned track pony who was listed through CANTER last year.

CANTER Chicago helps make it as easy as possible for connections to responsibly rehome their racehorses when they are ready to retire — and as easy as possible for people who are looking for horses, but do not know any racehorse connections personally, to find an off-track horse.

Trainers and owners can get in touch with us to do a listing.  We take pictures and video, as well as get information about the horse.  We use that to put together a listing, and then we market our listings online to people who are looking for horses for a variety of disciplines.

This requires regular visits to the backsides of the tracks in Chicago.  We visit the backside weekly, whether we have listings to take or not.  Though listings are the most visible part of what CANTER does, there is a tremendous amount of value in being there every week no matter what.

As anyone who has been around horses knows, being around horses can be dangerous.  Nothing has happened to one of our volunteers yet, and hopefully it remains that way.  However — hope is not an insurance policy.  We need liability insurance to make sure our bases are covered, just in case the worst happens.

Having insurance in place will ensure that we can continue to visit the backside.

If you can contribute financially, please do.  Since CANTER Chicago is 100% volunteer-run and donation-funded, every cent will go straight to the expenses that we need to continue operating.

If you do not, please consider sharing the link to our insurance fundraiser, especially with people who follow horse racing in Chicago.

I know there are a lot of crowdfunding campaigns online.  It feels like a lot to you, me, and everyone on the Internet.  But, for people connected to Chicago racing?  This campaign will help keep CANTER Chicago, a vital part of Chicago’s racehorse retirement infrastructure, running.

Thank you!

Cappers for Causes returns!

Danonymous Racing regularly hosts handicapping contests to raise money for racing-related charities.  For the third year in a row, he is hosting Cappers for Causes.  It is a handicapping contest that covers all three weekends of Triple Crown races, and benefits seven different charities: Thoroughbred Retirement Fund, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Thoroughbred Charities of America, ReRun, Go and Play Stables, Camp Casey, and Kids Beating Cancer will also benefit from the contest.

Anyone can play in the handicapping contest, but to be eligible for the prizes, you have to contribute at least $10 to the fundraising pool.  All donations from players will be distributed across the seven charities at the end of the contest.

You can also contribute $100 or more to sponsor the contest, and be a named Capper for a Cause.  The contributions from the Cappers for Causes are what purchase the amazing prizes for the competition (American Pharoah!  Barbaro!  Secretariat!  California Chrome!), with the surplus going back to the fundraising pool that will be distributed to the charities after the contest.  Just like last year, I am in to support ReRun.

The contest has been a huge success in the past.  In 2014, Cappers for Causes raised $1,858.50 for a group of five charities.  Last year, it raised $4,031.00 for the same seven charities who will benefit again this year.

We are hoping to raise even more this year for these deserving organisations — and we can, with your help.

So, head over to Danonymous Racing, see what this is all about, and make plans to join us!

Help a Horse Day 2016

Yesterday was a special day at Hawthorne: Help a Horse Day!  It was a day to shine a light on CANTER Chicago and Galloping Out, two organisations who work day in and day out to make sure horses at Hawthorne and Arlington can find new people and new careers once their racing days are over.

Thoroughbred aftercare, particularly in Chicago, has been close to my heart.  I have been volunteering for CANTER Chicago since last fall, and have also done several Galloping Out fundraisers, including a trivia night and a handicapping contest.  (Keep your eyes out this summer for another handicapping contest on Million Preview Day this July!)

So, head over to the CANTER Chicago blog, catch up on what we did for Help a Horse Day, and get involved in Chicago racehorse retirement!

support CANTER Chicago!

As many of you know from things I have posted here or on Twitter, I have been volunteering for CANTER since October.  It has been amazing.

I have met so many horsepeople, volunteers, and horses in the last five months.  And, I have been able to find a way to get personally involved in racehorse retirement despite being an apartment-dwelling, car-less city person with neither space nor money for my own horse.  I have been out at Hawthorne just about every Saturday morning over the last few months with other local CANTER volunteers to talk to trainers and help take listings.  I have also put my online chatter tendencies to good use; over the last few months, I have had the reins for our chapter’s Twitter account.

Illinois-bred racehorse (and certified snugglebug) Getwutupreyfor: four days before his final racing start, and seven days before beginning his life as an OTTB!
Illinois-bred gelding (and certified snugglebug) Getwutupreyfor: four days before his final racing start, and seven days before beginning his next life as an OTTB!

When I started, we were still CANTER Illinois; the Chicago-area group and the group at Fairmount operated under the same leadership as an affiliate of CANTER USA.  Recently, CANTER Chicago has become its own affiliate.  Everything is official now: we have our own page on the national CANTER site, our own registration as an Illinois nonprofit, our own bank account.

And, this is where CANTER Chicago needs your support.  We are a 100% volunteer-run nonprofit, 501(c)(3).  Even though we’re not paid, there are still start-up and operating costs such as liability insurance (a requirement for having backstretch access at Arlington this summer).

You can help CANTER Chicago continue and expand our services to local racehorse retirement by getting a t-shirt!  We will be selling shirts through the month of March.  The design is based on the Chicago flag, so it shows love for both retiring racehorses as well as the city of Chicago.  I’ve bought one  — I would not be posting this were I not on board, too — and hope you will consider shirts for yourself and your friends.

With your help, we can become an even stronger part of Chicago’s aftercare infrastructure.