Of course, were joking about the sneeze…

We received an email today noting that if one were to judge the Virginia industry by this blog one might think the only farm producing and racing horses in the Commonwealth is Spring Hill and the only horse worth watching is Quality Road. It wasn’t meant unkindly, it was simply pointing out that there is a lot of info about Evans and his horses here, and a limited amount of stuff about other breeders and their horses.

In short, there is a reason for that and it’s nothing sinister. In fact, it’s a logistics problem. So, we thought we’d take a moment to explain the content and to recruit your help with getting more info about Virginia horses, breeders and horsemen.

Simply put, we don’t have staff out there looking for stories. There are no members of the media representing VA TB Blog, no paid eyes and ears finding and/or writing stories and blog posts for us. Occasionally, folks like Nick Hahn who writes for the trade journals or Vic Harrison of the VRC will send us something, but most of the content is generated from inside the VTA office. Sometimes, other nice folks send us links or pictures – Robin Richards consistently sends links, Sam Maloney sent us some QR shots (including the one below) and Susan Cooney recently sent some great pictures of her steeds training in the deep snow.

So, how do we do it otherwise? Simple, we “borrow” a lot. And the folks we borrow from cover the big boys like Quality Road. For example, it’s easy to find news stories about and photos of graded stakes, but hard to find stakes photos and stories from other tracks for smaller stakes or overnight races. Some, like Jim McCue in Maryland are great at sending us pictures, others, like Charles Town, we are still working on…

Since we can’t collect news the old fashion way, we do it using technology. We read other periodicals and blogs on the Internet looking for relevant news which we reformat or expand upon to post at VA TB Blog. We try to give credit where credit is due. We try not blatantly plagiarize.

We also use handy item called a Google Alert. For example, we have a Google Alert for Quality Road and every time the words “quality” and “road” are used together on the Internet we get an email and a link. We have Google Alerts for a bunch of horses, people, the racing commission, Colonial Downs and words like “Virginia-bred” etc. We get 150 or more Google Alerts each day.

And, as you might expect, the majority of the “quality road” alerts are about pot holes in Madagascar and “quality road bicycles”…Apparently every Tom, Dick or Harry who dies and is worthy of an Internet news story is at some point labeled a “charitable man.” Evans’ stakes winner at Gulfstream a few weeks back named A Little Warm generates hundreds of irrelevant alerts since zillions of places are “a little warm.” The MARE Center-bred graded stakes winner Researcher produced so many alerts we had to bail out. Evidently, there are a lot of people doing research worldwide.

In spite of that Google Alert trick sometimes we simply miss things – like Virginia-bred Tizahit (see above) winning the Grade II Demoiselle at Aqueduct back in November. We had it in the Virginia-bred winners list, but no feature story. Fumble. Plain and simple. Sorry, Susie and Wayne C-T, but we tried to make up for it today (again, see above).

Which brings it around to the question “what did your horse do?” or “what did you do?” That’s what we want to know. We need Virginia breeders, owners and horsemen to help us out by emailing us or calling when something happens that is news worthy.

The next logical question is what is newsworthy? Short answer: EVERYTHING. Send us anything – a win date or chart, a story about how you came to own or sell a winner. No matter what, we will get back to you and get the details and publish the news. Our coverage isn’t limited to “stakes winners,” we’re interested in all Virginia-bred winners and their stories…

Email vta@vabred.org, text or call G. Petty 540-219-9732, or call the VTA office 540-347-4313.