Hangin' With Haskin

Arrogate, Where Are You?

The more Arrogate accomplishes, the more we want to see if he can top it. Unlike the vast majority of today's champions, we want to know just how high a ceiling our champions have, as we saw years ago when horses ran every two to three weeks and kept piling new feats on to their record.... Read More

Hammer Time: My Wildest Assignment Ever

It didn't take the M.C. Hammer long to make a major impact on the sport with the exciting filly Lite Light, who surged into national prominence that year by capturing in succession the Las Virgenes Stakes, Santa Anita Oaks, Fantasy Stakes, and culminating with a 10-length romp in the Kentucky Oaks.... Read More

To Royal Ascot and the Stayers: Thanks For the Memories

When Royal Ascot ended its five-day meet Saturday, there was a sense of sadness, as if something beautiful, yet comforting, was taken away after filling four and a half hours each morning with a kaleidoscope of images and colors and unbridled emotion. It was like saying goodbye to an old friend, even though the friendship lasted less than a week. It was more than the great racing or the pure spectacle... Read More

Nerud's Influence on the Breed Continues to Grow

Here we are once again following yet another John Nerud coup. Just to quickly catch up since my last Nerud column about his powerful influence on Arrogate's pedigree, he is now responsible this year alone for Arrogate, Always Dreaming, Tapwrit, Gun Runner, Classic Empire, and after today, Lady Aurelia, who crushed older horses and males in the group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. ... Read More

The Truth About Patch

Humans and animals overcoming physical handicaps and going on to achieve great things has always been a sure way to bring out the sentimental side of people, who admire grit and resolve in the face of adversity. It most certainly sparks tremendous fan interest and inspires heartrending features in all forms of publications. In today's animal-conscious society, where such stories trend daily on YouTube... Read More

The Day Hansel Defied Lasix

To set the stage for Hansel's Belmont victory, one must go back to Churchill Downs, where the colt had thrown in an inexplicably bad performance in the Kentucky Derby, finishing 10th as the 5-2 favorite after looking like a winner at the top of the stretch. He then threw his head up and began to retreat, much to everyone's surprise.... Read More

The Amazing Tapit: The Whole Story

Tonalist...Frosted...Creator...Tapwrit. If not for Triple Crown winner American Pharoah defeating Frosted in 2015, Tapwrit would have been Tapit's fourth consecutive Belmont Stakes winner, an achievement that would have put him right up there with the great Woody Stephens, who saddled five straight Belmont winners in the 1980s. As it is, Tapit has earned his place in Belmont lore with his remarkable... Read More

Belmont Analysis: End of a Long Odd Journey

So, here we are at the end of the road--the often unpredictable Belmont Stakes, without the Kentucky Derby or Preakness winner, without the favorite Classic Empire, a late defection; and with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the head of the Japanese invader Epicharis, the morning line second choice. The favorite is a horse who was beaten 16 1/2 lengths in the Kentucky Derby and who wasn't even going to run in the Belmont until his trainer had a change of heart.... Read More

Farewell to a Friend: RIP Holy Bull

It saddened me he to learn of the death of Holy Bull, and brought back a flood of memories, especially with my daughter Mandy, who had her photo taken with Holy Bull on numerous occasions and became very close to him. I am reprinting my column on the story behind this remarkable racehorse, who was a joy to be around.... Read More

A Different Twist for One Belmont Starter

Let's start off by saying that what has happened in the past often has no bearing on what is going to happen in the future. But in Thoroughbred racing, they call it the past performances for a reason. And sometimes you will find similarities between present horses and horses of the past that at the very least will prove interesting, whether they have any bearing on the result of a race or not. ... Read More

25 Years Ago: A.P. Indy Gets His Classic

There was no doubt that A.P. Indy would be a heavy favorite in the Belmont Stakes. Everything was falling into place. All that was left was for the colt to have his all-important major work. Unfortunately. the night before the work it poured at Belmont, turning the track into a quagmire.... Read More

Epicharis and Belmont a Perfect Fit

But if you want to get a bit more adventurous and take a shot on a horse who not only could win the Belmont, he could win in impressive fashion, then why not take a good hard look at the Japanese invader Epicharis.... Read More

Preakness Wrapup: Clouds Got in the Way

It was March 23, 16 days before the Wood Memorial and Blue Grass Stakes, and Chad Brown was discussing his Blue Grass Stakes starter and main Kentucky Derby hopeful Practical Joke. Brown was providing the typical upbeat obligatory comments you usually hear from a trainer of a Derby horse, providing reasons why he thinks the colt will run well in the Blue Grass and will be able to move forward off it and get the mile and a quarter on the first Saturday in May.... Read More

NYRA Stakes Change: From a King to a Chief

Of all the stakes on NYRA's calendar to change to the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial, none would have made the Hall of Fame trainer happier than the King's Bishop, named after a horse he trained and run at the track in which he scored his most memorable upset the same year he won a grade I stakes with King's Bishop.... Read More

Always Dreaming Just an Old School Kinda Horse

Todd Pletcher and old-school training have never exactly been synonymous. Pletcher is known for being a conservative trainer, preferring long periods of time between races. Pletcher has been known to run impressive maiden winners right back in graded stakes, even in grade 1s, and not using their allowance conditions. Since 2007, Pletcher has not run any of his Kentucky Derby starters back in the Preakness... Read More

Always Dreaming's Journey on the Derby Dozen

As I have done the past several years, I thought it would be interesting to go back week by week and re-live the observations, race reports, workout reports, and any news regarding the eventual Kentucky Derby winner, who in this case first appeared in the Knocking at the Door section on February 28.... Read More

Derby Recap: Johnny on the Pony

Looking back, Brooklyn in the 1950s and ‘60s was a concrete and asphalt Wonderland, a constant whirlwind of activity, a time when sports were born of the imagination, not just on the ball fields and basketball courts. The streets were the arena where stickball, punchball, Johnny on the pony, kick the can, ring-a-levio, and stoopball ruled, and where a kid's place in the pecking order depended on how... Read More

The Derby Past vs. Present: No Contest

Racing fans who were not around before the 1980s may find it difficult to appreciate just how much the dynamics of the Kentucky Derby have changed since then and how much more difficult the race is to win since they incorporated the graded earnings and now points system. In fact, today's Derby bears little resemblance to the Derby of the past.... Read More

Waiting For Arazi

With the recent passing of trainer Lyn Whiting and this year marking the 25th anniversary of Lil E. Tee's victory in the Kentucky Derby, it brought back a flood of memories. Lil E. Tee's stunning score at 16-1 over that year's Cinderella horse Casual Lies was extremely popular in Kentucky because of the always amiable Whiting, a longtime fixture in the Bluegrass, and the legendary Pat Day finally winning his first Derby. But the 1992 Run for the Roses will always be remembered for the phenomenon known as Arazimania.... Read More

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