Everyone’s favorite source for horse pictures answers the tough questions!
Her blog can be found at this link: http://afleetalexandra.tumblr.com/
1) What made you decide to start a Tumblr blog? And do you feel it has enhanced your experience as a horse racing fan?
I decided to create a racing blog when I posted one horse picture (I forget who it was by now…) and I got a few people who followed because of it. I hadn’t known that Tumblr really had a racing community. I also noticed that there was no other blog at the time that posted solely racing pictures, and none that really explored the history of the sport, which is one of my favorite parts of Sunday Silenced.
I feel like I pay a lot more attention to the sport now. I had only even watched the Eclipse Awards start to finish once before (2009), but I decided to liveblog it this year, as well as the Breeder’s Cup. I d post important news stories that come up within the sport - mostly famous deaths or births. I have also done a lot more research into the history of the sport in the course of looking up pedigrees and the sort, and that really helps me appreciate the great horses of the past and how they factor into horses of the present.
2) How is horse racing in Texas? Is it struggling as in most other states?
Racing in Texas…hm. Well, to start, Texas has a lot more Quarter Horse racing than actual Thoroughbreds. We have (I think) two “major” tracks - Lone Star and Sam Houston. Sam Houston is the bigger of the two, but I find Lone Star to be the better. They are both rather cheap to get into, and in fact you could spend the whole day there, food and all, for about $20 a person.
As to the struggling, well, we’ve never really had that strong of a racing scene in the first place. King Ranch is the only good Thoroughbred producer I can think if around here. Rodeos and western riding we have in spades, but not proper racing. It’s holding steady, mostly because Texas seems to immune to this nation-wide depression.
3) Do you see yourself ever owning a racehorse in the future?
Nope! I love horses, adore the racing scene…but I can’t even see myself actually owning a racehorse. I would never be able to afford one, in the first place, and I would be absolutely terrified to let it race if I did have one. If I ever own a Thoroughbred, it will be long retired, or a baby that never goes to the track.
I could never get into the racing business, with all the politics and partnerships. I’m far too tall to be a jockey, too impatient to be a trainer, and too poor to be an owner. I could be a handicapper, later, but I doubt that I will ever be any good at it. A race caller, maybe? If nothing else, I could be a groom. I think I would like that.
4) Do you feel a certain need to make everyone happy on your Tumblr? Or are you posting stuff out there to make yourself happy and if people go along with it…then fine?
I try to post things that I think people will like, but to a certain limit. I’m not going to censor myself because I have an unpopular opinion, and I’m not going to pretend that I like something that I don’t. I try to make my followers happy, I post their requests when they send them, but I will not refrain from posting my opinions because some of them may get offended.
If people like the stuff I post, that’s wonderful. It’s meant to make everyone happy, myself included. I post pictures of horses I like or find interesting. The list of horses/jockeys/trainers I refuse to feature is very small indeed. But it does exist. If someone were to ask me to post something that I don’t want to, then I won’t. Simple as that.
5) Do you hate…Animal Kingdom?
“Hate” is a strong word here. I do dislike the fact that he won the Eclipse Award, and I also dislike the hype surrounding him (which I have never seen backed up).
To make me actually, physically hate a horse is a very tough thing. I can thing of only two in the past several years that I honestly cannot stand. Both were cases of extreme over-hype and lack of solid proof. If a horse is great, I will support them. If a horse is called “The Greatest Ever” after only winning two races, I find fault with that. I have fallen hard for a few horses before they were really great, but I never claimed that they were.
6) Would Luna Lovegood or Ginny Weasley win in a fight?
The answer, of course, is that the ghost of Bellatrix would show up and murder them both. The end.
7) If you could visit one racetrack that you have not been to, which one would it be?
Churchill Downs, no question. It’s gorgeous, it’s historical, and I would sell a kidney to see Rachel’s track. I admit that I would also like to see Pimlico and Keeneland (don’t ask why, I can’t even explain it), but Churchill will always be #1 for me.
8) If you could visit one alive Kentucky Derby winner, which horse would that be?
Oh, that “alive” really threw me…most of the ones I would visit are long dead. I’m going to go with War Emblem, though I wouldn’t mind Funny Cide.
War Emblem…he reminds me so much of War Admiral, it would be the closest thing to meeting him. I do realize that he lives in Japan, but…maybe he’ll come back before he dies.
9) Why the switch in title from “Pickfair and Pimlico” to “Sunday Silenced”?
I switched the title because…
Well, when I first started my Tumblr, it was meant to split time evenly between horse racing and old Hollywood. The original name reflected that (Pickfair for Hollywood and Pimlico for racing).
After I really started becoming a purely racing blog, I really wanted to change the name, but I couldn’t think of anything. I wanted to name it something reflecting Rachel, but I already had her in my name (AfleetAlexandra), and I wanted to honor another horse with the blog title.
I guess it just came into my head one day, Sunday Silenced. It’s so simple, but perfect for me. Sunday Silence is one of my absolute favorites, and I love how his name just fits easily.
10) Do you feel the older horse division will ever improve? Or is it on a consistent slide that will never fully recover?
This argument gets tossed around almost every year. In 2010, we saw one of our best groups of older males, headed by Quality Road and Blame. Now, barely a year later, people think that the division is dead. It’s a bit of a quick jump, no?
I think the 2012 older male group will be quite good, actually. Caleb’s Posse, The Factor, the return of Premier Pegasus, Shackleford, and any number of other good horses that will continue to race. Including the older turf males (Get Stormy, Prince Will I Am, etc), the field gets even deeper and better.
I think the recent glut of amazing females has turned the sport on its head. Where before, the males divisions were the most hotly contended, the most closely scrutinized, the better group of horses in general, now all of that applies to the females. Arguably, every female Eclipse winner for 2011 was a better horse than her male counterpart (My Miss Aurelia over Hansen, Royal Delta over Animal Kingdom, Havre de Grace over Acclamation). This is unique in the history of racing. Never before has the female dominated the sport so completely. And, in light of that, the older male division is going to continue to look rather…shabby in comparison.