Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Setting my alarm on the Darby Dan challenge

Some of the coolest contests in the horse racing industry of late have been the Darby Dan Fantasy Stakes.

Darby Dan Farm -- which stands a slate of stallions including Perfect Soul, Magna Graduate, Repriced, Sun King and Suave -- on a couple of prior occasions has hosted these online contests in which "Darby dollars" are spent to create a competition stable for a given race or races. In this case, for the races of Breeders' Cup weekend. The horses you choose score points for you based on their finish.

There are cash prizes, but the grand prize winner is rewarded with a complimentary season to one of the Darby Dan stallions, valued at up to $15,000.

I really enjoy playing Darby Dan's contests, and others, such as Road to the Roses, "the official fantasy game of the Kentucky Derby."

But, being a busy (and sometimes forgetful) sort, I also have an unsettling habit of neglecting to finalize my entry or set my roster of runners for a given week.

This time, I've plugged in a warning alarm on my cell phone. I don't want to pick my stable too early for Darby Dan's Breeders' Cup challenge; there could be scratches, or other news that causes me to rethink my entry. So I really do want to enter at the last minute, so to speak, much like I end up placing my bets on those rare visits to the track.

At noon on Friday -- the deadline is 3 p.m. Eastern -- I'm going to take a break from whatever it is I might be doing and fill out my stable.

Because even though the contest is a lot of fun, without that alarm, I just might forget. And I'm always kicking myself when I realize that I've missed a deadline just 15 minutes or a half-hour after I've missed it.

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