August 30, 2009 |
The previous night's winter storm has subsided, and the rising sun now punctures holes in the morning mist, casting the lush karri forest in a gentle silhouette. With the windows open, I cruise down the eucalyptus-lined highway. My eyes are on the road, but my mind is on the mission. I am prospecting for black gold. And I will find it here in Western Australia, 3 1/2 hours south of Perth. This is not the outsized outback of red dirt and snapping crocs and sweltering heat. South-Western Australia is a distinct territory -- verdant, enchanting and largely untouched . The treasure lies in the Great Southern Forests region, in groves of oak and hazelnut trees, away from the typical tourist spots of Oz. Sometimes, I think I am the sole proprietor of this secret, but then I remember that Thomas Keller, Ferran AdriÃ and Michael Mina know it too -- so well that they're already using Western Australia's PÃ©rigord black truffles, this black gold, this diamond of the kitchen, in their restaurants around the world.
January 7, 2009 |
Santa Anita maintenance crews spent Monday and Tuesday turning over its synthetic Pro-Ride surface after an examination determined the track was firmer than it was during the recent Oak Tree meet. Ian Pearse, managing director for the Australia-based Pro-Ride, was brought in to assess the synthetic track after there were five horse breakdowns, including three fatalities, in the first four days of the Santa Anita fall meeting.
September 28, 2008 |
$250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship. 1 1/4 miles. Turf. 3-year-olds and up. The finish: 1. Red Giant, 2. Out of Control, 3. Transduction Gold. The scoop: Red Giant, a 4-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, overtook Out of Control in a stretch duel to win by a head in a world-record time of 1:57.16. Jockey John Velazquez had Red Giant perfectly placed in third for much of the race during a sizzling pace by You Got Me Rocking.
September 24, 2008 |
The 40th Oak Tree horse race meeting at Santa Anita begins today, but it will not be business as usual. This is projected to be 26 days of new things, new people and new ideas. Plus another new track surface. The goal is to whet the appetite of race fans with a menu of appetizers, leading to the main course, the Oct. 24-25 Breeders' Cup. That, of course, is horse racing's richest day. It is the Kentucky Derby with a fatter wallet, a two-day boxing card with all main events.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 8, 2008 |
Firefighters battling to protect Big Sur are working in forests riddled with thousands of flammable dead trees, making the savage Basin Complex fire burn hotter and travel faster, forest experts say. Hundreds of thousands of tanoak and oak trees in the area have been killed in recent years by a disease known as sudden oak death, producing fuel that allows flames to spread more quickly through redwoods and other evergreens, they said. Firefighters also complain of smoldering tanoak logs that keep the ground treacherous even after the flames pass through, said Jeff Kwasny, Big Sur ecosystem manager for the Los Padres National Forest.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 2008 |
In Berkeley's long-running battle over whether to save an old oak grove or build an athletic facility, one thing was clear Thursday: Despite a judge's ruling this week, the fight is far from over. UC Berkeley, which wants to build a training facility for its athletes, and Stephen Volker, an attorney for groups fighting the plan, both say the ruling by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Miller gives their side a boost.
March 30, 2008 |
In 1921, George Washington Smith designed three Ojai homes in a district being developed by industrialist Edward Libbey. At the time, Libbey owned a 500-acre wooded area known as Arbolada. He asked Smith for designs that might define the area. Smith, who popularized the Spanish colonial revival style in the '20s, did just that, creating residences that harmonized with the surrounding landscape, as if they had grown among the oaks. One of those Smith-designed homes is now on the market.
November 3, 2007 |
If there were such a thing as a comeback-jockey-of-the-year award, Tyler Baze would be a shoo-in. Baze, who turned 25 in October, was battling an eating disorder, depression and an alcohol problem all at the same time earlier this year. It got so bad that in May he quit riding during the spring-summer Hollywood Park meet.
October 8, 2007 |
Lava Man may have reached the bottom of the mountain. It has been a phenomenal run for the 6-year-old, but after finishing sixth and last in the Grade I Oak Tree Mile Sunday at the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita, Lava Man's future is in doubt. It was the second consecutive disappointing finish for horse racing's leading active money-winner with earnings of more than $5.2 million. Lava Man also finished sixth in Del Mar's Pacific Classic Aug. 19.