Friday, April 30, 2010

Preppy Loves the Derby

Hello Lovelies,

Tomorrow is the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby. I big puffy heart the Derby. I big puffy heart thoroughbreds, all that muscle and power and speed. I love the hustle and bustle of the track on race day. I love the gorgeous jockey's silks. I love the big beautiful hats the silence that falls on the track right before the start, and the communal groans when something unexpected happens. Some people think horse racing is cruel, a lot is asked of the horses and they do get hurt. But overall these animals are guarded, sheltered, looked after, massaged, fed, and cared for far better than even your average household pup (and that's saying a lot because our pups are spoiled rotten). To truly understand horse racing, one must understand that there are different kinds of horses. To speak of it in terms we are most familiar with... there are different kinds of horses like there are different kinds of dogs. Some breeds of dog love to run and are so fast and agile its breathtaking, some breeds of dogs are very smart and they love to use their nose to track and find things to watch them work is humbling, some breeds of dogs are patient and loyal and loving they'll let your child ride them, poke them, pull their ears, take bones right out of their mouths and they'll just be happy to have the family around. In the same way there are different kinds of horses and thoroughbreds well, they love to run. They know they're fast and they love to open up that big powerful stride and get those mighty hearts pumping. Many of them get excited and happy to step on a race track, in the same way your dog gets excited to go for a run with you, even though the run is going to be hard and tire them out. Yes, there are terrifying injuries and it's heartbreaking when that happens. There are approximately 2 deaths for every 1,000 starts, an average of 0.2%. Truthfully, terrifying painful things (like cholic -where the intestines of the horse twist on themselves and the horse becomes septic and feels as though its stomach is ripping apart) can happen with a happy horse just grazing in a field. As long as the horse isn't being abused intentionally, or overtrained, or ran with an injury... then really thoroughbreds are in general a pretty lucky and happy group of horses.

So, now for the Derby! Just for the shear joy of looking at horses, I'm going to show you pictures of each horse, and if I know about the jockey I'll share what I know there too. I'm also sharing with you the post position. The post position is what starting gate the horse is assigned to. All of the trainers/owners draw for the order in which they'll get to pick post position. Post position is very important. You don't want to go first because you want to see where the competition is and you don't want to go last because then you don't really get a choice... some horses like to set the pace so putting them right next to another pace setting horse might tire them out too early, some horses don't like to have a blind side so putting them up against the rail or far on the outside might cause them to startle during the race, some horses love being smashed into the middle of the pack and finding a hole to push through, others hate being smashed into the middle of the pack and would prefer to take an outside track to the front... there's a whole lot of strategy and superstition that goes into picking a post position.

1st  -which is the inside lane closest to the rail... we have the 3 to 1 favorite Lookin' At Lucky they're not happy with this post position, and that kind of stress can really rattle the confidence of a jockey. No horse has won from this post in 20 years. This horse is stunning... and look at that star on his forehead... I'm a sucker for a thoroughbred with a star!

Lookin' At Lucky will be ridden by Garret Gomez (one of the most winning Jockey's in America) Gomez is a little old for the jockey game at age 38, but he's experienced... he's had 6 Derby starts and has yet to win the coveted race. 

2nd pole - 10 to 1- Ice Box Ridden by Jose Lezcano - Ice Box was a surprise 20 to 1 winner of the Florida Derby, he's only had 7 starts but, and he didn't even place in four of them. I could be wrong, but I think the biggest field he's run against would be the 11 horse field in the Florida Derby... a 20 horse field is a whole new race!

3rd pole - 12 to 1 Noble's Promise Ridden by Willie Martinez- He had a trip in the Arkansas Derby and after the race he had a lung infection, he's fully recovered now, but it's not a good way to go into the derby... he has also never won a race on a conventional dirt surface. He's raced against Lookin' At Lucky 3 times and never been able to beat him. I don't know that I would put money on him... but he sure is pretty!

4th - 15 to 1 - Super Saver ridden by Calvin Borel. I don't know much about this horse, but I do know he was the favorite for the Arkansas Derby and he ended up taking second, he was out paced from the start by Line of David.

5th - 30 to 1 - Line of David - If he can get in the lead from the beginning he might be okay, but he was slow on the last stretch at the Arkansas Derby, and in a 20 horse field someone will catch if you slow for the stretch. His trainer has another horse Sidney's Candy entered, both horses are speedy runners who like the lead early, but a trainer won't usually run two of his own horses against each other... so one horse will be forced to fall behind, in the case of Line of David, if he's left behind so Sidney's Candy can lead... he will most likely stay behind the leaders the entire race.

6th - 30 to 1 Stately Victor Ridden by Alan Garcia - He pulled forward from a slow start to win the Blue Grass Stakes in which he was at 40 to 1 odds. The Blue Grass was a 9 horse race, its a lot tougher to come back from behind in a 20 horse race where everyone is trying to squeeze in to the same hole and work there way towards the front. He's only had one win this year.

7th - 30 to 1 American Lion Ridden by David Flores - He's a front runner, but his fastest in the fastest field he's run in, is much slower than the average lead pace for the Derby field, if he tries to start in his normal fashion, he may tire himself out too quickly for a strong finish.

8th - 50 to 1 Dean's Kitten Ridden by Robby Albarado -He's a hometown boy which means less stress and travel and adjustments... he held steady in training even when the dirt was messy earlier this week, but he's definitely a much better horse on the turf. If he's not fully comfortable on the dirt, in this big field of horses, he may easily balk... he is a true long shot, but sometimes you just gotta cheer for the hometown fella!

9th - 50 to 1 Make Music for Me Ridden by - this horse is running because another horse was pulled due to injury... While many of the other trainers in the Derby have 100's of horses in their barn to choose from, Make Music for Me's trainer only has six horses, and two of them were named to be Derby contenders... says a lot for the trainer, but I'm not sure that makes a winner! He's consistently lost against all four of the top contenders and I think it's likely he'll do the same on Derby day.

10th - 20 to 1 Paddy O'Prado ridden by Kent Desormeaux - Kent is a three time Derby winner, most recently on Big Brown, he has the most Derby wins of any active jockey. I always like to see a nice gray in the field, and he sure is a pretty one... doesn't that coat look soft as velvet?

11th - 10 to 1 Devil May Care Ridden by John Velazquez - First of all this horse is a filly! I la, la, love to see the girls run against those big, rowdy boys! There's just nothing like seeing a little filly hold her own! She loves the distance and she's big for a filly, which should help her keep those boys from crowding in on her. If she wins she'll be only the fourth filly ever to win the Derby. After the heartbreaking second finish from Eight Bells a few years ago, it's about time we had a good strong filly hold her own!

12th - 12 to 1 Conveyance Ridden by Martin Garcia - He's another speed runner, and he's coming out of trainer Bob Baffert's barns. Baffert had a Derby win in 2002 on speed runner War Emblem. Expect Conveyance to come out fast at the beginning, but since he lacks the maximum speed of War Emblem, I wouldn't expect to see him finishing first.

13th - Jackson Bend 15 to 1 Ridden by Mike Smith - I love this horse. He's finished first or second in all his races, which says a lot about his determination to win. Add to that a jockey who's on fire like Mike Smith, and it's going to be a winning combination. Mike is 43, he won the Derby in 2005 on log shot Giacomo. He's repeatedly come in second in the derby, and he's been consistently riding Zenyatta who has gone undefeated in her last 16 starts. Mike's got to be close to retiring and I'm guessing he's just waiting for one more Derby win, Jackson Bend is looking good to get him there.

14th - 20 to 1 Mission Impazible Ridden by Rajiv Maragh - he's got five career starts, but nothing to ooh and ah about... and he's struggled against Conveyance and Dublin. But I love that dark coat of his!

15th - 30 to 1 Discreetly Mine Ridden by Javier Castellano - He's a speed horse, but not as quick as the other front runners, I'd imagine he'll go out too fast for himself, and struggle to get through the distance. To add to his challenge I think that his jockey Javier Castellano is new to the derby, and the combination of nerves and the stress of trying to hold a horse back in a 20 horse field will work against them.

16th - 10 to 1 Awesome Act Ridden by Julien Leparoux - He's the first horse trained in England to run the derby in 15 years. He's another speed runner, coming out fast and in his last race against Eskendereya he ran out of reserves to finish with a sprint. In this field and at this distance I think he'll struggle with the same thing. I'd expect to see him in the top five, but a win seems unlikely.

17th - 12 to 1 Dublin Ridden by Jerry Thompson - His trainer is one of the most experienced trainers still practicing he has 4 Derby wins under his belt. The horse hasn't won a race yet this year, and he's struggled against some of the speed runners that are running the derby. Dublin likes to come from behind and place 2nd or 3rd, which might serve him well in this race full of front runners. The question is will he wait to long to catch up?

18th - 50 to 1 Backtalk Ridden by Miguel Mena - He's proven he's a solid pack runner, he likes to stay in the middle of the field and then sprint to the finish. A good tactic to get through this years race. If the track is dry and clean, he's a long shot. If it's wet and messy he'll stand a better chance.

19th - 50 to 1 Homeboykris Ridden by even the trainers say they're a long shot (the trainer says they should be 100 to 1), looks as though the filly from this trainer in the Kentucky Oaks on Friday stands a much better chance than homeboykris could ever hope for.

20th - 5 to 1 Sidney's Candy Ridden by Joe Talamo - This will be Joe's first Derby start, he was slated to ride favorite I Want Revenge in last years Derby, but the horse was scratched the morning of the race for an ankle injury, smart but heartbreaking move for the trainer. I like Joe as a jockey, he's very young, but he's a fighter, and he takes risks. This horse however, as only run on synthetic... if the horse doesn't take to the dirt Joe's gonna have a hard time bringing him home. However, they caught a huge break with Lookin' at Lucky being stuck on the Pole.  I hope things work out well for Joe this year, heck even getting to ride his mount in the race is an improvement from last year!

So... My picks for the Derby: 1)Jackson Bend 2)Sidney's Candy 3)Devil May Care

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prayers for the Gulf

Hello Loves,

Although, I've already posted once today, I think this issue deserves it's very own post! Are ya'll following the oil spill in the gulf? If you aren't you should be, and be aware that the news media hasn't been providing us with all the information on the full extent of how bad this spill really is... Please drop by Bumpkin on a Swing to see all of the information.

This spill will have a huge impact on the gulf shoreline that has just barely started to return to almost normal after Katrina. It will affect the economy, the wildlife, and the livelihoods of the entire south. I'm usually not a doom and gloom sort of person, but really our hearts should be sick over this... they should be breaking... and we should be praying and crying out...

The frontline of the oil spill is now only 20 miles from the Louisiana shoreline, and there's a good possibility it will hit almost all of the gulf coastline. Once the oil hits the shoreline, it will destroy the oyster habitat along the gulf, it will take years for the commercial fishing and shrimping industries to recover, and all of our favorite gulf shore beaches may never recover. It is spawning season for many fish in the gulf, and many of these fish (such as blue fin tuna) are already struggling due to overfishing, and poor wildlife management... an oil spill of this sort in the middle of spawning season will cause a huge drop in already dangerously low populations. This will also affect sea turtles, sea birds, dolphins...It's not just the surface dwelling animals that will be affected, but also the deep water animals... when Exxon had it's last oil spill in Alaska amongst all the other wildlife that was lost, even wales where washing ashore dead and covered in oil.

Please ya'll, as often as you think of it, pray. Pray that the Lord will protect the wildlife and the coastlines. Pray that the burning of the oil would cause the wildlife to swim far away from the affected area... that the birds and shore dwelling animals will be on alert from all the smoke and will stay as far away from the area as possible. Pray that the teams working to stop the gush of oil from the underwater pipeline will work quickly and efficiently and intelligently. That they may have nimble hands and quick minds to problem solve and to stop these huge leaks (there are three of them). Pray that our media would be honest, and that we would be generous to give to wildlife protection and recovery efforts in the area. I know this is going to sound preachy, but we also need to repent and ask for forgiveness for our lifestyles and habits that destroy the earth. The cars we drive, the manufacturing we support, the products we buy... they all create this insatiable hunger for oil, that leads to things like off shore drilling. We need to ask the Lord to help us be better protectors of our land, to consume less, and give more. I admit I am the worst of these, consumeristic, selfish... I am weak and broken, and in return I abuse and break this wonderful earth that God has given us. I am the first and foremost who needs forgiveness and change... so ya'll together... lets learn from this... lets reflect on how our behaviors can change to be less dependent on oil... how can we together become better citizens of this beautiful planet?

I know many of us are experiencing donor fatigue after the difficult spring season with the earthquakes, and the volcanoes, and the tornados in the southern US. But once this oil hits the shoreline, it will take a great amount of labor and money to clean up. Start thinking now about where you can cut back in the next few weeks and months to give to recovery and clean up efforts... even if you can only give a small amount... every dollar really does help!

Preppy Recipe of the Month; What Preppy Wore

Hello Lovelies,

I'm hopefully going to be adding a preppy recipe of the month feature to my blog. I am a very fortunate lady because the preppy boyfriend is a professionally trained chef. He loves to cook for work and even more he loves to cook for me! The PBF is a doer... someone who shows you they love you by doing things for you, he cooks, he picks up dog poo... he loves me! :) (which is good because although I changed many a diaper in my nanny days... I simply cannot pick up dog poo without losing my lunch!)

Anyway, because he's such a great chef and he loves to cook, I usually only cook one meal every two weeks or so... unless he is traveling. When the PBF travels he'll make a few meals before hand so I'll have left overs to eat, but I'm usually left to cook for myself at least once or twice during the week when he's gone. Luckily, I do in fact know how to cook (but shh... we don't spread that around)... so sometimes (by sometimes I mean on the nights when dinner doesn't equal champagne and popcorn) I cook, and I've decided that I might want to share some of my favorite recipes with you!

The beginning of April brought a merge of two events together... the preppy boyfriend was traveling and I had a post-half marathon cold... so what did I do? I made pots and pots of this easy tomato soup... I love this recipe because it isn't huge, it makes about 4-5 servings and it's easy to double if I want extra to freeze. This is perfect when I'm cooking for just me, b/c it's two days of lunches and dinners, and not a ton of extra food!

*I stole this picture from Southern Living... really nobody wants me to attempt photographing in my kitchen after I've used it to cook :) The soup in this cup does look remarkably similar to my recipe though!

Homemade Tomato Soup
1 14oz can chopped tomatoes (sometimes I use plain, sometimes I use chopped tomatoes with garlic or onions or peppers or roasted... really any old can while work)
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced (I usually use two, just to make up for all that cream) - it is important to dice these as small as you can or else the immersion blender has a hard time chopping them up, really trust me it goes much easier if you dice them small!
1 yellow small onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons (or so) olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine 
1/2 cup heavy cream
I always juice one half a lime as well... (the lime makes it taste like La Madeline's tomato soup) If you're not crazy about acid or sour flavors then skip the lime the soup is still great (the PBF says the lime makes it to acidic for him, but he prefers salt to acid, whereas I prefer acid flavors to salty flavors)!
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:  In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened (about 10 minutes). Add the chopped canned tomatoes, chicken broth, and white wine (and lime juice if you want it). Add salt and pepper. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add the cream, and puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth. Taste and if needed and more salt and pepper, I always season conservatively at first because I can always add more later. Then serve.

I have topped this soup with fresh chopped basil, buttery roasted croutons, manchego cheese, and homemade pesto. Each gives it a new flavor and each is delicious, but most the time I just eat it plain and simple with some toasted buttered french bread.

**Just a side note we will be having our Preppy Monthly Blog share at the beginning of May (really where did April go?)... so please submit your favorite post from your own blog in a comment on my blog... between now and the morning of May 1st. You are all so talented I know you have written some beautiful, funny, charming, inspiring posts... so now is the time to share your great work and let preppy Elle brag on you! Nobody has submitted a post yet... so you'd better send your favorites my way :)

What Preppy Wore (and the debut of preppy's new do!)

This shirt dress is one of my least favorite things in my closet... which is why I'm okay to pack it away now... it's just one of those things I like, but I don't just LOVE it... Something about the puffy sleeves, and the hemline... I dunno... I've tossed it to the Goodwill pile several times, but I always feel like I should like it, so I end up keeping it. Do ya'll have clothes like that? 

Bebe black shirt dress (From Ebay) - spring 2009
Dollhouse sandals (From Ross) - Spring 2010
Turquoise Necklace - Gift Summer 2007
White Belt - Forever 21 Summer 2007

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Preppy Discusses Celebrity Fertility; What Preppy Wore Day 3

Hello Lovelies,

Do any of ya'll watch Giuliana and Bill on E!? I must admit, it's not a show I watch religiously but I will record a few episodes here and there to watch when the Preppy Boyfriend is traveling and I can't sleep (in case you didn't know I'm afraid of the dark... really I am... ridiculous yes... but I just can't help it).

However, recently I read an interview with Giuliana -- I wish I could remember where, I really need to start writing this stuff down -- she was talking about her fertility struggles. I really love how honest she is... she shared that she was frustrated after doing celebrity interviews for years and seeing all these celebrities in their late 30's and early 40's having kids and saying things like it was "easy" and "twins run in the family" when in reality they were having fertility treatments and just not talking about it. Hher doctor told her she needed to gain some weight to get pregnant so she did (7lbs). She mentioned several times that she always thought she could just have kids whenever she wanted... and that she didn't think 35 was that old, she talked about how she was completely taken by surprise when she and Bill ended up needing a fertility specialist to get pregnant. She and Bill are being very open about parts of the process on their show, so if you're interested be sure to record a few episodes... they replay constantly on E!

I really admire her honesty about the situation, but I also couldn't help but think "come on princess how do you not know how your body works?" I realize that I may be more medically inclined than the average woman (thus, the medical school admission), but seriously ladies... please, please learn how your body and your fertility works. It's bad enough that the men in my generation don't understand pregnancy and labor and delivery, we women have no excuse for being taken by surprise when it comes to the natural process of our bodies! With websites like google and webmd where you can ask any question and find any answer without embarrassment please do so, and remember that you can always, always ask your doctor anything. Trust me, even in my short clinical experience I have seen and heard and read so many things on patient charts that nothing takes me by surprise and no question seems stupid.

And just because I have to say it... I do think she is too thin, (I know it's none of my business), but for heaven's sake the girl posted her diet on her blog, and I'm telling you it is extremely restrictive... if you have to restrict yourself that much to 'maintain' your weight... then you're probably not at a healthy weight for your body type! The woman is stunning... but I know I've said it before, and I'll say it again, can we please, please, please get over this obsession with super skinniness in Hollywood... it is unhealthy, I mean if a woman has to gain weight to get pregnant (which by the way is a perfectly normal and natural process for a woman's body), then something is wrong! I'm also saying it because I am a relatively logical woman, with a body image based on scientific knowledge of what's healthy for me... and yet I still find myself needing to be reminded, that I don't need to be stick thin to be beautiful... I will never be stick thin.. and I hate it that every time I pic up a magazine, or turn on a tv, or watch a fashion show, or even drive down the interstate I am subtly reminded that a woman must be "thin, thin, thin" to be beautiful.. can't we please just start acknowledging that for most women to be a size 00 or 0 or even a 2 is actually much too thin! 

So, there's my soapbox for the day... 1) educate yourself about how your own body works 2) please surround yourself with resources that remind you of what a healthy body type is!

**I know Whoopi took a lot of flack for saying that if Giuliana wanted to get pregnant she needed to eat more when Giuliana was on the view... I do think that Whoopi's comment was out of line because it oversimplified the complex issues surrounding infertility... however, I also think it does need to be said that being too thin does in fact decrease your ability to get pregnant when you want... and gaining a few pounds back doesn't necessarily help. When your body doesn't get enough nutrients it starts to shut down non-vital functions, and for women one of the first things to get shut down for malnutrition is reproduction.

And since I know you've been waiting.... drum roll... What Preppy Wore Day 3

Boho Tunic Winter 2009 - I bought this from ( sells the same one, but Alloy offers more discounts like free shipping)
Leggings (these are full length but I fold them to capri) - Papaya outlet Fall 2009
Sandals Fall 2009 -Unlimited (I saw them first at a local boutique, and then a few months later found a pair on sale at Burlington Coat Factory)
Wide Brown Belt - Ebay Spring 2009
White and Gold Rose ring - Forever 21 Spring 2010
Gold Flower Clasp Cuff- Banana Republic Winter 2009

I love this tunic, it has great details, like the little jewels on the collar. The v-neck can go lower, but it has a little snap to keep it closed if you don't want the deep V. One of the things I've noticed the most taking pictures of myself everyday is that I have stupid hair... really I do... at least from the front. So I took a picture of the back of my hair to prove that at least from one angle it isn't stupid! :) I also got my hair colored and cut last night... so be prepared tomorrow for a brand new do (kind of)!