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DVD Review

2004 The Year in Pictures
From Horsephotos.com
DVD, 57 minutes plus credits and trivia quiz

2004 The Year in Pictures is the first DVD from the Horsephotos.com team and it is chock full of the excellent photographs you have come to expect from their staff of photographers. Produced by Horsephotos co-owner Harold Roth, it is a joint project from Horsephotos, Daily Racing Form, and NTRA. Featuring narration by NBC sportscaster Kenny Rice, live race calls from Dave Johnson and Tom Durkin, and commentary from jockeys Stewart Elliott and Edgar Prado, it recalls some of the best moments from the 2004 racing season in America plus the Dubai World Cup and Arc de Triomphe.

While it doesnít have any true video, other than the interview segments with Stewart Elliott, it uses the many pictures taken by the Horsephotos team combined with effects like panning across photographs and switching to various views of the same race to create the illusion of movement. This is tied together by the narration, highlighting specific parts of pictures, and background music, mostly light jazz.

The Triple Crown races get more coverage than most with a live race call by Dave Johnson, plus extended coverage of the Kentucky Derby and all the contenders. Half of the DVD is in-depth looks at the eight Breedersí Cup races, starting with shot of the program and pictures of the top contenders in the race. A somewhat abridged race call by Tom Durkin, likely cut to fit the photographs available and to make it flow better, is played over the moving montage of images from the race at just about all points around the track. Other races included on the DVD are: Louisiana Derby, Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby, Illinois Derby, Arkansas Derby, Wood Memorial, Blue Grass Stakes, summer races at Saratoga, Arlington Million, and Pacific Classic. A few others get a short view, but these are the ones getting the full treatment.

As a bonus, you get a ten question trivia quiz featuring events from 2004. It isnít an interactive quiz, but instead shows the question and gradually eliminates the wrong answers to finally show the correct answer with a photo of the person or horse to which the question relates. Light jazz music plays in the background while the questions play out over a time of seven minutes.

The thing that may disappoint some viewers is the lack of ability to use any of the photographs in the production as wallpaper on their computer. Everything is in video format and is only viewable on your DVD player (standalone or in your computer), there are no pictures on the DVD you can access or save.

If you want to relive some of the best races of 2004, this DVD is an excellent choice and your only cost effective choice since actual video of the races is expensive and hard to get. You get a race call for the big races and the illusion of movement with the way they edited together the photographs, so it is a good compromise. You definitely get a look at all the top horses of the year multiple times and you can always pause your DVD player to take a closer look at your favorites.

2004 The Year in Pictures has a list price of $24.95, plus $5 shipping and handling, and is available from Horsephotos.com.

Rating:     4.5/5

Also available from Horsephotos along with author Frank Scatoni is Saratoga: The Ultimate Racing Experience.

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