Hangin' With Haskin

A Giant Among Horses

The year 2000 marked a new era in the history of the Breeders' Cup. Aidan O'Brien, the master of Ballydoyle, had sent a handful of horses to America to compete in the World Championships in 1998 and '99 with little fanfare and no success. But this year was different. This year, O'Brien was bringing his best horse, not to conquer the Mile, Sprint, or Juvenile, as in the past, but the big one - the Breeders... Read More

It's Jim French Time Again

The story of Jim French, one of the most indestructible, indefatigable horses of the modern era, has faded into history, taking with it the colt's remarkable feats of durability on the racetrack and the notorious final chapter of his career that ended so unjustly.... Read More

Dr. Fager 1968 Part 5: Farewell, Doc

Dr. Fager emerged from his street brawl in the United Nations Handicap in good shape, despite having to withstand the fight of his life against the tenacious Advocator, the 134 pounds on his back, and the 22-pound weight concession to his adversary. But, unlike his previous races, the Doc was not ready to come back in only 17 days to face his arch rival Damascus in the Woodward Stakes. John Nerud had... Read More

Porter Forms Organization to Save Horses

If you could use a two-word racing term to best describe the ever-growing issue of horse slaughter it would be "blinkers off." After so many years of apathy and ignorance when it comes to the horrific end so many of our Thoroughbreds are subjected to in the name of greed, we indeed are starting to remove the blinkers and are actually taking an active role in preventing this barbaric practice through... Read More

Dr. Fager and the Greatest Year Ever Part 1

No horse has ever excelled at as many facets of the sport in one year as did the legendary Dr. Fager, who combined world-record speed from seven furlongs to a mile and a quarter, despite carrying staggering weights all year; won world-class stakes on dirt and grass; and won major stakes on both coasts and in the Midwest.... Read More

Second Chance at a Dream

It was nine months ago, following a contentious Kentucky Derby trail, that it seemed the name Always Dreaming would be rolling off our tongues for years to come. At least we had the Triple Crown and beyond to look forward to, although the length of his racing career was questionable, as is the case with all 3-year-old superstars. It doesn't take long for breeding farms to attach themselves to a hotshot 3-year-old like a barnacle to a ship, getting into the fray early, usually with the intention of securing an early retirement. But no one thinks of such things during the frenzy that is the Kentucky Derby trail. It's all about now.... Read More

Some Random Derby Thoughts as the Dozen Draws Near

The field of runners embarking on the 2018 Kentucky Derby trail, have gathered, like the massive throng on the Verrazano Bridge before the start of the New York Marathon, and they are now five days into their annual assault on Churchill Downs that will involve four months of blissful torture for owners and trainers who envision the blanket of roses draped over their horse's withers on the First Saturday in May, but are fearful of the many pitfalls that stand in their path. This is the time when every early morning phone call brings a feeling of dread.... Read More

2018 Brings a Volatile and Special 50th Anniversary

Boy, do we have some amazing 50th anniversaries in Thoroughbred racing to look forward to in 2018; anniversaries of some of the greatest horses in history, some of the most amazing performances, and certainly one of the most controversial stories of the century. Many of these will be addressed in columns throughout the year.... Read More

Juveniles Close Out Year With a Bang

Many people believe that once the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, Remsen Stakes, and Los Alamitos Futurity are run, that is the end of the 2-year-old season as far as seeing potential Kentucky Derby hopefuls in action. However, that is not the case at all. History has shown us that the winners of those three graded stakes are not necessarily where you want to look to find the Derby winner. A good place... Read More

Casandra Branick One of Many Heroes

True heroes do not speak of their heroic deeds; they let others speak for them. Casandra Branick, barn manager and exercise rider for trainer Edward Freeman, would rather talk about the heroic deeds of so many others who risked their lives to save horses during the San Luis Rey Downs nightmare. So, it was only appropriate that one of the owners who has horses with Freeman, Dennis Miller, speak up for... Read More

A Time For Heroes

People as a whole can be depended on to come through during times of crisis, but never in memory have so many horse lovers sacrificed so much and worked so diligently in assisting the horses at San Luis Rey Downs through their horrible and frightening ordeal.... Read More

Vox Populi Award Gaining its Niche in History

Why has the name Seabiscuit endured for so many years and why did his story become a best selling book and popular motion picture? When people discuss the greatest horses of all time, you rarely hear Seabiscuit's name mentioned. Other than his victory over War Admiral in a match race and perhaps the Santa Anita Handicap, how many of his stakes victories can you name? The reason Seabiscuit has become... Read More

Bolt d'Oro Taking the Right Path

As a historian and traditionalist, I have stated on several occasions that I am a firm believer, as were the trainers of the past, in starting a horse's 3-year-old campaign in a sprint to sharpen him up for the rigors of the Triple Crown trail, especially those with extensive 2-year-old campaigns competing at two turns at the highest level. ... Read More

Giving Thanks: Thoroughbred Times Days

It was the winter of 1986, and I was in a major lull in my potential writing career. I was actually just becoming enthusiastic about racing again after a brief hiatus in 1982, '83 and '84, during which my wife Joan and I had moved to New Jersey and become fanatic birdwatchers.... Read More

The Unsolved Mystery of Arrogate

We should remember the Arrogate who raised goose bumps on our arms and left us numb from the experience of watching him run. And we should ignore the phantom who floundered at Del Mar, as we would any mirage.... Read More

The Return of Swaps

This was the extent of my racing foundation, and it all started with Swaps and Nashua and two guys talking about them on a bus. After all, how could you not love the name Swaps?... Read More

Mornings With Gun Runner

There is no need for an alarm clock when you're in Saratoga, especially when you're staying with your close friends Avi and Rhoda Freedberg, whose home on Fifth Avenue backs right onto the Oklahoma training track. It is just starting to get light out, and the sounds of horses hooves outside your window are all the stimuli you need to hop out of bed, throw on some clothes, go out to the back porch and... Read More

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