Saturday, February 21, 2015

Midwest Paddock Report

I had teased a few posts back about a new venture we were working on and now we're ready to unveil it.

The Midwest Paddock Report is a combined effort of my photographer better half, Heather Frisbie, and I to bring a spotlight on racing here in the Heartland.  I can't guarantee a lot of things in life, but one thing I can guarantee is that we will have growing pains.  As painstaking as it was for two non-techies to build this site, I can absolutely guarantee that once we get rolling we're going to find all kinds of things we wished we would have done differently.

Ideally we would launch with comprehensive coverage of the entire Midwest from Ohio to the Dakotas and down to Oklahoma.  Ideally.  However since we are a two-person operation working on a limited (read: "no") budget, we are starting with a still ambitious, but much more doable, agenda of covering Minnesota and Iowa. 

While our focus in owning and breeding has been in Thoroughbreds, we are going to try and include our Standardbred cousins as well.  I don't know if that's going work but we'll see.  My roots in harness racing go back to college and trips to now defunct Lewiston Raceway in Maine which was my first continuous exposure to live horse racing (after an amazing Preakness experience in 1985) with college classmate and lifelong friend Paul Mooney.  I really enjoyed harness racing, have owned small pieces of pacers in the past and have included Scarborough, Dover and Pocono Downs, the Meadowlands and Pompano Park in my travels over the decades.  Admittedly the popularity isn't the same as Thoroughbreds and if the interest isn't there we will pare back to "the Flats", but we're going to give it a go.  Where we have dual meets going we will also cover the major stories in regional Quarter Horse racing with the same caveat.

We have a section that we call "Around the Region" where we will preview and recap stakes races around the Midwest and performances that should be highlighted.  We're hoping to rely on readers to pass along story ideas and horses to watch to help us bring those stories to the people.

Speaking of people, we will be spotlighting folks in racing from time to time in our "In the Paddock" section.  We'll take movers, shakers and all around interesting people and ask them 5 questions.  A quick look at what they do and how they affect the game.

We'll also touch base on the bigger picture in our "National Scene" section.  Admittedly I'm not altogether sure how we're going to do that and it's really not going to be our focus, but it's important to give some regional perspective to the Triple Crown Trail and the Breeders' Cup.

Currently we're relatively advertising free with the exception of a couple of spots for Google AdSense, but that will change - mostly as I get adept at creating advertising and working with the widgets to be able to place the ads where I want to so they look good and deliver value without detracting from the site.  While we may be a labor of love right now, we don't intend on it being that way forever so feel free to inquire since this will get some priority in our development queue.

We're going to be looking to inject personality into our coverage.  We'd like to be a place where you come for your Midwest racing news as if you'd be sitting down with coffee with your neighbor and discussing the last night's race.  We'd like to entertain as well as inform and generate discussion.

Before I wrap, I'd like to thank family and friends that have reviewed and critiqued the birth process.  You've all be indispensable.  Truly indispensable was Frank Vespe, founder of the wonderful Mid-Atlantic on-line magazine, The Racing Biz, who provided us with advice and continues to be an inspiration.

We invite you take a look and let us know what you think.  While you're there, follow the Midwest Paddock Report on Twitter and you'll soon be able to "like" our Facebook page as well. We look forward to hearing from you!

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