Hangin' With Haskin

Thank You, Dad, For Guiding My Way

The thank you is for a man without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today. He in his own way made it possible for me to enter the world of horse racing and become the writer I eventually aspired to be, meet and marry the most wonderful and beautiful woman, have the most wonderful and beautiful daughter, and complete the cycle by becoming a grandfather this past February. My regret is that my father did not live to see any of it, at least not in an earthly sense.... Read More

Justify Rewrites Triple Crown History

History is a never-ending chain of events, trends, and discoveries that determine how we think and look at the present, and often the future. When history tells us something cannot be accomplished, it provides us with new and seemingly unreachable targets at which to aim. And if and when that target is hit, it provides a sense of timelessness and perpetuity. Some call it immortality.... Read More

When Johnny Came Marching Home

Four days after the Derby, a race was run at Aqueduct that seemed to have no bearing whatsoever on the Triple Crown, as a striking golden chestnut colt with a white blaze owned by Greentree Stable named Stage Door Johnny broke his maiden in his fourth attempt, romping by six lengths in a sharp 1:35 1/5 for the mile. ... Read More

Big Red's Son Risen Star Dominated the Belmont

It was the morning of the 1988 Belmont Stakes and all was not well in the Belmont stakes barn, a four-sided barn encircling an English-style courtyard. In a corner of the barn, Risen Star’s troublesome ankle was being tubbed in ice, and it was still to be determined whether the handsome, strapping son of Secretariat would be able to run in the Test of the Champion.... Read More

Preakness Wrap Up: And Away We Go...Again.

In some ways it seemed appropriate that all we saw of Justify in the stretch of the Preakness Stakes was a ghostly shroud, with his white silks and white face, emerging from the murk that had settled on Pimlico Race Course. This colt has been shrouded in mystery since he burst on the scene in mid-February as if conjured up by some magical potion. Where did this powerhouse of a horse come from? How... Read More

Strategy Could Play a Big Part in the Preakness

Slop or no slop, the Preakness Stakes looks pretty cut-and-dried on paper, or perhaps it should be cut-and-wet. The likely sloppy track will be nothing new to Justify and Good Magic, the two standout horses who dominate the morning line odds, with Justify being made an overwhelming 1-2 favorite. The three keys to the running of the race is where Quip, Justify, and Good Magic will be placed early. I... Read More

Hofburg Enjoying Life at the Spa

There is one horse likely waiting for the Belmont Stakes who is tucked away far from the action, enjoying the tranquility of Saratoga Race Course and unwinding after an eventful trip in the soggy Run for the Roses.... Read More

“A Beast From Day One”

Rick Hammerle has been racing secretary at Santa Anita for 15 years and was stakes coordinator at Monmouth Park for 12 years, and he thought he had heard everything. That is until one day in mid-February of this year. Hammerle had carded a seven-furlong maiden race for 3-year-olds, and Bob Baffert walked into his office to make sure that the race was going to fill. It had to. Baffert had a first-time... Read More

A Super Duper Whopper of a Puzzler of a Derby

In order to tackle this year's fascinating, but perplexing, Kentucky Derby, we have to start by envisioning how the race is going to be run and which horses might take the worst of the pace scenario and which horses might be in the best position to launch their attacks.... Read More

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

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