Hangin' With Haskin

Haskin: Belmont Pedigrees Befuddling

One would think that analyzing the pedigrees for the Belmont Stakes hopefuls would be fairly easy, considering the extreme distance of the race and the lack of true mile and a half horses. It should be pretty obvious who the stayers are and which horses are going into the race on the proverbial wing and a prayer.... Read More

Chrome Sweet Chrome

Once again, we have reached the gates of the pantheon. Beyond beckons the ghosts of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Citation, and the seven other Triple Crown winners who have attained immortality. Will a California-bred of obscure and unheralded parentage be allowed to enter when so many have been turned away? ... Read More

Haskin's Derby Report: A Whopper for Hopper

There are heavy rains, torrential rains, and the rain that all but drowned Churchill Downs Monday morning. The lightning came fast and furious; one bolt knocked out light, and the flooding came just as fast. Some of the thunder claps were so loud and strong, several horses became noticeably spooked. But not at Todd Pletcher's barn, where "spooked" and "upset" are not acceptable words. The serenity of Pletcher's barn supersedes all.... Read More

Haskin's Derby Report: Pletcher on Parade

It sounds as if this could be the last nice morning we get in a while, and fortunately, most of the Derby works have been completed. As typical of Derby works, the good ones drew waves of excitement, while others were overblown as bad works.... Read More

Art Sherman, Dave Erb "Swap" Stories

With California Chrome's trainer Art Sherman being thrust into the Kentucky Derby spotlight at age 77, so too will the great Swaps, as Sherman was the immortal Cal-bred's regular work rider and accompanied the colt cross-country by train to Louisville, Ky. for the Derby, where he slept in the straw next to the horse. ... Read More

The Real Story Behind the '50-1' Shot

A couple of years ago, I wrote the back story of Mine That Bird's amazing Triple Crown journey. Now, with the motion picture '50-1' having its premiere in Albuquerque, N.M. Wednesday, March 19, I have added to it (and it is quite lengthy) in an effort to tell the entire story as I witnessed it.... Read More

"Horseplayers" and Pioneer Days

"Horseplayers," mainly Team Rotondo (Peter Rotondo Sr. and Jr. and Lew Davis), brings me back to a time long ago in my life; a time of smoke-filled busses and a cacophony of thick Brooklyn accents moaning about the double they almost hit and how "da faw hawse is a lock in da toid." OK, that was a bit exaggerated, but effective nonetheless.... Read More

The Selling of the 1989 Triple Crown

It was 25 years ago this spring. There hadn't been a sweep of the Triple Crown in what then seemed to be an interminable 11 years. Racing fans had been spoiled by the Roaring Seventies when three horses swept the Crown and two others captured the first two legs. And on three other occasions, a horse won either the Derby and Belmont or Preakness and Belmont. So in eight of the 10 years, a horse captured two legs of the Triple Crown.... Read More

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