Hangin' With Haskin

Because of a Horse

Thoroughbred racing is facing a crisis unlike anything it has faced before, and it is something those in high positions cannot see or fathom. The country is in a desperate, bordering on panicky, state right now and it has every right to be, because we are dealing with a faceless enemy whose life span is unknown, as is its power of destruction. ... Read More

The Most Surreal Day in Racing History

What can be more surreal to racing fans than the Kentucky Derby (G1) postponed until Labor Day weekend, racetracks throughout America being shut down, and major stakes like the Curlin Florida Derby (G1) run in front of empty grandstands? That is just a minuscule example of how the Coronavirus has affected the entire world, or should I say ravaged the entire world. ... Read More

Make the Belmont Stakes the Derby

There are a lot of decisions to be made in the next few weeks or months regarding the rescheduling of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) and the ramifications it will have on the other two Triple Crown races and several major race meets, especially Saratoga. ... Read More

Remembering War Emblem

War Emblem will always be remembered as one of the fastest, most brilliant, and fascinating horses in many years, with an aggressive personality that spilled out onto the racetrack.... Read More

Max a (20) Million

Sometimes, we just don't appreciate the gifts we are given. It took a $20 million race halfway across the world in a place Americans know little about to finally make many people appreciate the gift that is Maximum Security, who is to the new Saudi Cup what Cigar was to the Dubai World Cup. He has made the race.... Read More

Fair Grounds Makes Huge Move on Derby Trail

Let’s start off by saying that from a historical standpoint, the Louisiana Derby (G2) and the Fair Grounds road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) have not been a successful one. Only one Louisiana Derby winner has gone on to capture the roses in the past 96 years, and that horse, Grindstone, came back to run in the Arkansas Derby (G2).... Read More

Cigars, Beer, and Mustard

I have never taken a puff of a cigar, but the smell is intoxicating, bringing me back to my childhood and Ebbetts Fields and my Uncle Sam's cigars, and then later Yankee Stadium and then the old Madison Square Garden on 50th Street. Those were the special places of my youth where the smell of cigar smoke blended so perfectly with the smell of beer and mustard. Soon those three aromas would come together in the grandstand of Aqueduct Racetrack, which was only eight years old when I first inhabited it in 1967.... Read More

Is Vox and Bricks a Good Mix?

In some years we are fortunate to have a horse that possesses all the attributes to win both the Vox Populi and Horse of the Year. There is an excellent chance this will be one of those years.... Read More

Getting Ready For Yet Another Early Goodbye

So Omaha Beach likely will have one more start in the marked-down Pegasus World Cup before retiring to stud. He will take with him an excellent pedigree, courage in the heat of battle, and exceptional brilliance, but we will always wonder to what heights those attributes could have taken him.... Read More

A Case of Vino

Who should be the champion older horse? There is the distance horse in Vino Rosso and the sprinter/miler Mitole. So, will Vino Rosso take home the Eclipse for champion older male and Mitole the sprint championship or will Mitole nail down both awards and Vino Rosso get nothing?... Read More

Maximum Security: What Might Have Been

Secretariat, Dr. Fager, Affirmed, Hoist the Flag, Cougar II, and now Maximum Security. This is quite an elite group, and to be included would link you with four Hall of Famers and five champions. But, alas, in this context it is a list trainers and owners would prefer not to be on. You see, all these horses were disqualified from first in major stakes; some warranted, some questionable, and some extremely... Read More

Eight Rings Will be Reopening the History Books

Here I am again back on my soapbox, much to the dismay of those who are tired of me preaching the same sermon ad nauseam. But the truth is I don't care about those who have tired of the message. I will keep shouting it from my pulpit even knowing it will fall on deaf ears. But once on a rare occasion, such as in 2016, some trainer will go old school and follow the path to the Kentucky Derby that once... Read More

The People vs. Storm the Court

Between oddsmaker Mike Battaglia and the general public it is quite obvious that no one has a clue what to make of Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Storm the Court. The colt will remain an enigma until he launches his assault on the Kentucky Derby, most likely in next year's Robert B. Lewis Stakes. He also is going to cause a great deal of head scratching when the voting begins for champion 2-year-old... Read More

Remembering Morton Fink, Owner of Wise Dan

With the passing of Morton Fink, I am reprinting a column I wrote the day of Wise Dan's emotional return from surgery in the Bernard Baruch. It culminates with me watching the race with the Finks, two of the most wonderful people you will ever meet.... Read More

Will Tragedy Dim Vino Rosso's Victory?

All of us are deeply affected whenever a horse is seriously or fatally injured in a race. Sometimes it happens in a major race witnessed by a national audience, that without the incident, would be a race watched over and over and enjoyed for its impact on the sport. I have never watched a replay of the Ruffian-Foolish Pleasure match race or the Go For Wand-Bayakoa Distaff or Big Brown's Kentucky Derby... Read More

Clinging to Youth Through Secretariat

No one likes getting old, especially when you still think of yourself as a kid--in my case growing up in Brooklyn and having my world revolve around sports. That spark of youth still burns brightly no matter how old you get. And you even miss the naivety that comes with being young. We looked at everything, especially sports, with a good deal of innocence because we simply didn't know any better. That's why it was fun.... Read More

Z One and Only

It was 10 years ago today, on Nov. 7, that the mighty Zenyatta put on the show of shows. I am reprinting my recap of that special event in order to relive all the magic and excitement.... Read More

The Indelible Image of the BC Juvenile

On Future Stars Friday of 2019, will those watching the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on television remember the gutsy performance by 45-1 Storm the Court as he led a parade of longshots to the finish line or the image of trainer Peter Eurton's daughter Britney, covering the race for NBC, watching the finish in disbelief as she became overwhelmed with emotion. This was no longer about a longshot winning, but about the love and the heart-filled pride of a daughter for her father.... Read More

And So the 3-Year-Old Plot Thickens

The most fascinating aspect of 2019 is trying to envision how historians are going to treat this unique crop of 3-year-olds, whose adventures read something like an Agatha Christie novel, with twists and turns on every page. You just never know what is going to happen next. Not even Christie's super sleuth Hercule Poirot could decipher all the bizarre events that have unfolded this year. But no matter... Read More

Carlos Martin Ready for BC Spotlight

There are times when you just can't help root for a horse, a trainer, or an owner. When you look at trainer Carlos Martin about to embark on the Breeders' Cup trail with the brilliant filly Come Dancing, there are a number of thoughts that run through your head, at least if you have any sense of history and are impressed with hard work and an astute knowledge of horses, racing, and breeding.... Read More

Breakout Time for Pair of Hot Juveniles

As we prepare for the upcoming 2-year-old stakes to determine who the big horses will be for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and even get a long-range look at the Kentucky Derby, there is a good deal of optimism regarding this crop, especially with the combination of brilliance and class exhibited so far. And unlike some other years, most of this year's promising juveniles have pedigrees to suggest they are potential Derby horses.... Read More

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