Hangin' With Haskin

Remembering City Zip and His Epic Hopeful

This article first appeared in Blood Horse magazine on September 9, 2000. Let's make a horse racing movie. You know, the kind they used to make in the 1940s and ‘50s. It doesn't matter if the plot is implausible. People love this kind of stuff. First we need a girl. There's always a girl, one who loves horses, having been around them all her life. What better choice than Linda Rice, who comes from... Read More

Lady Eli’s Amazing Story Continues

It was August 17, 2014 and Sol Kumin and Jay Hanley couldn't have been more thrilled. They were about to see the immediate results of their recently formed partnership. Hanley, a building contractor who previously had owned one New York-bred filly, had built a summer house for Kumin on Sheep Pond Road on Nantucket Island and the two soon became friends and decided to buy some horses together. Hanley... Read More

Secretariat Photo Album

I have posted photos of Secretariat over the years, including a collection of shots seven years ago, but never all of them in one place. I figured it was time to put all these photos together in a single blog, just to have them archived and easily accessible.... Read More

Secretariat Still Omnipresent After 44 Years

It was 1973, and America was desperately looking for a sports hero. By June they had found one in the form of a flashy powerful chestnut horse named Secretariat, who was so popular he appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek , and Sports Illustrated in the same week. And this was before his iconic procession into history in the Belmont Stakes, in which he became the first horse in 25 years to sweep... Read More

Long, Hard Struggle For Female Jockeys

When Diane Nelson passed away on July 5 at age 54, her days riding regularly on the tough New York circuit were long forgotten by many. But those who followed racing in the Big Apple on a daily basis remember her as a top rider, who like so many females before her, was never given the opportunity to ride world class horses and compete in championship races on a regular basis. Nelson is remembered as... Read More

Arrogate, Where Are You?

The more Arrogate accomplishes, the more we want to see if he can top it. Unlike the vast majority of today's champions, we want to know just how high a ceiling our champions have, as we saw years ago when horses ran every two to three weeks and kept piling new feats on to their record.... Read More

Hammer Time: My Wildest Assignment Ever

It didn't take the M.C. Hammer long to make a major impact on the sport with the exciting filly Lite Light, who surged into national prominence that year by capturing in succession the Las Virgenes Stakes, Santa Anita Oaks, Fantasy Stakes, and culminating with a 10-length romp in the Kentucky Oaks.... Read More

To Royal Ascot and the Stayers: Thanks For the Memories

When Royal Ascot ended its five-day meet Saturday, there was a sense of sadness, as if something beautiful, yet comforting, was taken away after filling four and a half hours each morning with a kaleidoscope of images and colors and unbridled emotion. It was like saying goodbye to an old friend, even though the friendship lasted less than a week. It was more than the great racing or the pure spectacle... Read More

Nerud's Influence on the Breed Continues to Grow

Here we are once again following yet another John Nerud coup. Just to quickly catch up since my last Nerud column about his powerful influence on Arrogate's pedigree, he is now responsible this year alone for Arrogate, Always Dreaming, Tapwrit, Gun Runner, Classic Empire, and after today, Lady Aurelia, who crushed older horses and males in the group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. ... Read More

The Truth About Patch

Humans and animals overcoming physical handicaps and going on to achieve great things has always been a sure way to bring out the sentimental side of people, who admire grit and resolve in the face of adversity. It most certainly sparks tremendous fan interest and inspires heartrending features in all forms of publications. In today's animal-conscious society, where such stories trend daily on YouTube... Read More

The Day Hansel Defied Lasix

To set the stage for Hansel's Belmont victory, one must go back to Churchill Downs, where the colt had thrown in an inexplicably bad performance in the Kentucky Derby, finishing 10th as the 5-2 favorite after looking like a winner at the top of the stretch. He then threw his head up and began to retreat, much to everyone's surprise.... Read More

The Amazing Tapit: The Whole Story

Tonalist...Frosted...Creator...Tapwrit. If not for Triple Crown winner American Pharoah defeating Frosted in 2015, Tapwrit would have been Tapit's fourth consecutive Belmont Stakes winner, an achievement that would have put him right up there with the great Woody Stephens, who saddled five straight Belmont winners in the 1980s. As it is, Tapit has earned his place in Belmont lore with his remarkable... Read More

Belmont Analysis: End of a Long Odd Journey

So, here we are at the end of the road--the often unpredictable Belmont Stakes, without the Kentucky Derby or Preakness winner, without the favorite Classic Empire, a late defection; and with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the head of the Japanese invader Epicharis, the morning line second choice. The favorite is a horse who was beaten 16 1/2 lengths in the Kentucky Derby and who wasn't even going to run in the Belmont until his trainer had a change of heart.... Read More

Farewell to a Friend: RIP Holy Bull

It saddened me he to learn of the death of Holy Bull, and brought back a flood of memories, especially with my daughter Mandy, who had her photo taken with Holy Bull on numerous occasions and became very close to him. I am reprinting my column on the story behind this remarkable racehorse, who was a joy to be around.... Read More

A Different Twist for One Belmont Starter

Let's start off by saying that what has happened in the past often has no bearing on what is going to happen in the future. But in Thoroughbred racing, they call it the past performances for a reason. And sometimes you will find similarities between present horses and horses of the past that at the very least will prove interesting, whether they have any bearing on the result of a race or not. ... Read More

25 Years Ago: A.P. Indy Gets His Classic

There was no doubt that A.P. Indy would be a heavy favorite in the Belmont Stakes. Everything was falling into place. All that was left was for the colt to have his all-important major work. Unfortunately. the night before the work it poured at Belmont, turning the track into a quagmire.... Read More

Epicharis and Belmont a Perfect Fit

But if you want to get a bit more adventurous and take a shot on a horse who not only could win the Belmont, he could win in impressive fashion, then why not take a good hard look at the Japanese invader Epicharis.... Read More

Preakness Wrapup: Clouds Got in the Way

It was March 23, 16 days before the Wood Memorial and Blue Grass Stakes, and Chad Brown was discussing his Blue Grass Stakes starter and main Kentucky Derby hopeful Practical Joke. Brown was providing the typical upbeat obligatory comments you usually hear from a trainer of a Derby horse, providing reasons why he thinks the colt will run well in the Blue Grass and will be able to move forward off it and get the mile and a quarter on the first Saturday in May.... Read More

NYRA Stakes Change: From a King to a Chief

Of all the stakes on NYRA's calendar to change to the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial, none would have made the Hall of Fame trainer happier than the King's Bishop, named after a horse he trained and run at the track in which he scored his most memorable upset the same year he won a grade I stakes with King's Bishop.... Read More

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