Hangin' With Haskin

Classical Grass

In June of this year, Catholic Boy was winning the Pennine Ridge Stakes on grass at Belmont Park and 17 days later we watched Yoshida run his tail off to be beaten 1 1/4 lengths in the 15-horse Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot following his victory in the Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.... Read More

Visiting Marchmont Cemetery and Damascus

Looking at Damascus' grave, I could once again vividly see those Belair white with red polka dots silks that he carried to so many spectacular victories. Those colors are ingrained in the memory and still evoke images and feelings of a time long gone; of innocence, the unbridled joy of victory, the gut-pounding sadness of defeat, and butterflies in the stomach.... Read More

Big Red: The Early Years

Since this story was first published in 2002, I have spoken to several other employees of Meadow Stud who remember Secretariat and have wonderful recollections of him as a baby and a yearling, and some of his wild adventures. So, with the annual Secretariat Festival in Lexington, Ky. on October 12-14 just around the corner, I thought I would update the original article to include new stories of the mischievous Big Red and the docile Riva Ridge from those who knew them well.... Read More

Beware of the Classic Prep Losers

The Breeders' Cup Classic preps are in the books, and what we have is, in simple terms, a mish mash on paper. The anticipated East vs. West showdown between Accelerate and Diversify didn't pan out with the performance of Diversify in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.... Read More

Sizing Up Secretariat's Competition

@font-face { font-family: "Cambria Math"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; }div.WordSection1 { } Saturday will mark the 45th anniversary to the day of Secretariat's defeat at the hands of Prove Out in the Woodward Stakes. I have written extensively about Prove Out and how that upset... Read More

Is Larry Doing What's Best?

p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; }.MsoPapDefault { margin-bottom: 10pt; line-height: 115%; }div.WordSection1 { } Larry Best's comments about pulling the brilliant Instagrand out of training, his thoughts on the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown, and admitting... Read More

Invasor Flourishing Back Home in Uruguay

When I visited Haras Cuatro Piedras in Uruguay in 2008, I couldn’t have imagined the farm would one day be home to Smarty Jones for several years and then the country’s greatest equine hero, Hall of Famer Invasor, who at the time was residing at Shadwell Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Invasor never developed into a top stallion in the United States, due no doubt to a pedigree considered unfashionable... Read More

BC Classic: To Prep or Not to Prep

The question that has to be asked is, are trainers beginning to take the same approach to the Breeders' Cup Classic, especially with the recent success of horses skipping the traditional Classic prep races and training up to the race?... Read More

The Tuesday That Changed the World

Not only is today the 17th anniversary of 9/11, it falls on the same day of the week; that infamous Tuesday. Although I have written about that catastrophic day’s effect on racing, it is something that needs to be addressed from time to time for those who weren’t around and those who need to be reminded of those two gut-wrenching months for the Sport of Kings, from September 11 through the Breeders’ Cup, run in New York. The stories have been melded together and reworked to portray the entire picture from beginning to end.... Read More

Young Girl Finds a Hero in Her Own Backyard

Mariah Lester is an aspiring racing journalist about to enter college, where she hopes to lay the foundation for a career in writing about the recently discovered sport she loves and horses such as her local hero Stopshoppingdebbie, Queen of Emerald Downs, who opened the door to a wonderful new world. Because of her passion, astute writing style, and ability to tell her story in a captivating manner... Read More

With Catholic Boy, Always Keep the Faith

We don't have horses like this come around very often, so we should embrace Catholic Boy, as we should any gifted horse who brings a distinctive flair to the sport, on one hand specializing in nothing, and on the other hand specializing in everything.... Read More

Summers Made Biscuits From Scratch

All of Chad Summers' horses had their heads out the stall anxiously awaiting dinner. One was pawing the ground, some were nickering, some were squealing. Well, all but one. In the end stall, Mind Your Biscuits had other things on his mind. The seventh race was going off and he peered intently out the back window taking in all the action. ... Read More

The Empire State Strikes Back

Now it is as if New York-breds have lost their identity, melding into society to such a degree that you tend to forget that horses like Diversify and Mind Your Biscuits are New York-breds. Many breeders now plan their strategy regarding where a horse is foaled to make sure they have a horse classified as a New York-bred in order to cash in on the lucrative incentives. ... Read More

Backyard Bliss

What do the 2018 Triple Crown winner, the Kentucky Oaks, Acorn, and Coaching Club American Oaks winner, the Haskell and Blue Grass winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up, the Belmont Derby winner, the Golden Shaheen winner and Met Mile runner-up, three of the leading contenders for the Whitney, and the Curlin Stakes runnerup have in common? They are all owned or co-owned by residents of Fifth Avenue in... Read More

How We Remember the Great Ones

People wonder why I often hark back to the horses of the '60s and '70s, and don't reminisce as much about incredibly gifted horses such as American Pharoah, Bernardini, Barbaro, Point Given, I'll Have Another, Big Brown, Uncle Mo and other brilliant horses who were retired at 3. ... Read More

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