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Roseann Cherasaro visiting the Eight Belles statue at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs. (Photo courtesy of Roseann Cherasaro)

By Mike Curry, America’s Best Racing

Roseann Cherasaro missed the call to the post for the inaugural Major League Horse Racing season but like some of horse racing’s most beloved stars she proved a powerful finisher, pulling away to win easily with 722,387 game bucks.

The MLHR is a free-to-play game that asks players to place a win-place-show bet on four different horses each week from within a set schedule of races. Players earn game bucks to use for betting each week by completing social media activities, such as using Twitter hashtags and liking or sharing specific items on Facebook. When Cherasaro was introduced to the game by a close group of friends, she quickly plunged into the Twitter universe.

“I had to learn how to Tweet to get points,” she said with a laugh. “We started four weeks late — we have a couple of us who all hang out on the horse racing forums — and we had a lot of catching up to do. So I had to learn how to Tweet, but you still had to pick the right horse.”

Cherasaro credited Joha with giving her some momentum heading into the homestretch of the MLHR season. He won the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland Race Course and paid $19.40 to win, $10.80 to place and $7.00 to show in a deep race that featured 13 well-matched 2-year-olds.

“Joha helped me,” Cherasaro said. “I had Shanghai Bobby, before the Breeders’ Cup. I had a lot of good ones. I had some longshots and I had some misses, but Joha is the one who pops into my head because he got me a lot of points.

“I had a swing and a miss at Philly Park [in the Cotillion Stakes (G1)] with My Miss Aurelia and Questing, because I picked three horses in that race and there was only win-place money.”

Cherasaro said her strategy for the game was more than just trying to find the most likely winner.

“My strategy was more about who I thought was going to be 1-2-3 and then how I was going to be able to make some money with it,” she said. “I did pick some favorites, but I also picked some horses with good prices because I’m not a chalk player.”

Cherasaro has been a lifelong horse enthusiast and horsewoman. She got her first horse as a 12-year-old and built a lifelong passion for both horses and the sport of racing. A Philadelphia, Pa., native, Cherasaro worked with racehorses at Liberty Bell Park, Philadelphia Park, and Garden State Park. She also cared for horses on layups — an extended break from training that serves as a freshening of the mind and body for a racehorse — on her own farm.

No longer involved in the Thoroughbred industry from a hand-on perspective, Cherasaro has found other ways to quench her passion for horse racing.

She tries to visit at least one new track per year, including a trip to Churchill Downs for the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1). As a friend of the connections of Musket Man, she enjoyed an up-close view of the Churchill Downs backstretch during 2009 Derby week, experienced the walk over to the track for the Derby with Musket Man, and watched first-hand as he finished third in the sport’s signature race.

CHERASARO AND HER NIECE, DANIELLE BODEN, AT CHURCHILL

MLHRInside

Photo courtesy of Roseann Cherasaro

Cherasaro traveled this year to Aqueduct for the first time for the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1), and next year she is planning a trip with her MLHR friends to Santa Anita Park for the 2013 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Major League Horse Racing also proved a fun way to stay involved in the sport she loves.

“It was fun. I think it was Susan White or Kim Brewer who told me about the game,” said Cherasaro, who along with White and Brewer swept the top three spots in the MLHR standings.

“I had a blast playing the game. It was something we looked forward to, and we’d talk about which horses we liked every week.”

2012 MAJOR LEAGUE HORSE RACING WINNER

Roseann Cherasaro

Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pa.

Residence: New Hope, Pa.

Occupation: Private contractor

Favorite horse in training: Trinniberg

Favorite all-time horse: Secretariat

Favorite track: Churchill Downs

Home track: Parx or as we call it "The Pha"

Other hobbies: Gardening

How did you become a horse racing fan? I always loved horses and owned them for a large part of my life. I worked on the track in the 70s then fell in love with Thoroughbreds

What is your favorite racing memory? Big Red's Belmont, Rachel Alexandra's Woodward

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