A Shot of Ascot

Each year, I keep thinking there is no cure for Triple Crown trail withdrawal, and each year I am reminded that there is a cure, and it’s called Royal Ascot, which thankfully comes only 10 days after the Belmont Stakes. But, that poses a new problem. What is the cure for Royal Ascot withdrawal? That one we haven’t been able to figure out.

The five days of Berkshire bliss not only provide the ultimate in beauty, grace, pageantry, and top-class racing, it means five mornings of curling up on my couch with a bowl of Wheaties, light years from the world of top hats and tails, lords, dukes, and earls, and traffic congestion.

How much more contrast can you have than watching close-up shots of The Queen and her elegant pastel-colored garb while stuffing an onion bagel in your mouth?

If watching Royal Ascot makes you feel as if you are on some nirvana-like high, then TVG is guilty of being the supplier. Not only do I become addicted to the event, but also to Graham Cunningham’s brilliant analysis and quick wit, Simon Bray’s enthusiasm and informative interviews, and John McCririck’s mere presence, which still makes me smile and often laugh out loud after nearly three decades. I can’t help it, I love the guy. With executive vice president of television, Tony Allevato, running the show, this is five days of pure cathartic entertainment.

At this year’s Royal Ascot meet was heard a line that has to be considered a classic. After jockey Luke Nolen eased Black Caviar before the wire of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes for whatever reason, nearly resulting in the super mare's her first career defeat, Cunningham borrowed a fitting comment that was heard after the 2005 International at York when jockey Richard Hills waved his whip in celebration, only to lose the photo. Cunningham seized the opportunity, calling Nolen’s move, “Premature jock elation,” which had to be the most provocative thing heard at Royal Ascot since Eliza Doolittle fell out of character and shouted in her cockney accent, “Come on, Dover, move yer bloomin’ arse.”

As for Nolen, he goes down as the luckiest person at Royal Ascot. Considering how vilified he was after the race, his actions could very well have proven life-altering had Black Caviar been beaten. Even the great Australian jockey Roy Higgins said the incident would "haunt him and haunt him." The headline in the Racing Post read, "The Blunder From Down Under," while the Sunday Mirror headline read, "Luk-y Devil." And this was after a victory.

This year’s Royal Ascot meet was unique in that its most indelible image was not even at Royal Ascot, but more than 10,000 miles away in Federation Square, in Melbourne Australia, where thousands of young people gathered well past midnight to watch Black Caviar on a large screen. Seeing so many young adults burst into celebration after the great filly narrowly scored her 22nd victory in as many starts and her first outside her homeland, made you realize just how universal racing is and to what extent horses are revered around the globe. This was one huge party, with surrounding pubs filled to capacity, all because of one racehorse.

Pardon the overused cliché these days, but over the past few years in Thoroughbred racing, females are the new males. Our heroes for the most part are now fillies and mares, an international phenomenon unlike anything ever seen before. America had Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, Australia has had Black Caviar and Makybe Diva, France had Goldikova and Zarkava, Japan had Vodka and Buena Vista, and England had Ouija Board.  

Since 2005, fillies have conquered the boys in the Preakness Stakes (Rachel Alexandra), Belmont Stakes (Rags to Riches), Breeders’ Cup Classic (Zenyatta), Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Zarkava and Danedream), Breeders’ Cup Mile (Goldikova three times), Melbourne Cup (Makybe Diva three times), Japan Cup (Vodka), Hong Kong Cup (Snow Fairy), Canadian International Championship (Sarah Lynx), Woodward Stakes (Rachel Alexandra and Havre de Grace), Caulfield Cup (Southern Speed), Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Sarafina), Grosser Preis von Baden and Deutschland Preis (Danedream), Prince of Wales's Stakes and Hong Kong Vase (Ouija Board), Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Black Caviar), Dubai Sheema Classic (Dar Re Mi and Buena Vista 1-2), Woodbine Mile (Ventura), July Cup (Fleeting Spirit), and Haskell Invitational (Rachel Alexandra), not to mention a United Arab Emirates Derby victory by Khawlah and a Queens Plate score by Inglorious. Japanese superstar filly Buena Vista finished first in last year’s Japan Cup only to be disqualified in what was an extremely unpopular decision.

But there is still room for male heroes, as few and far between as they have become, and this year’s Royal Ascot meet also provided a stage for the world’s greatest horse, Frankel, who has crossed over from greatness to legend with his breathtaking victories. With Frankel (who romped by 11 lengths in the Queen Anne Stakes) and Black Caviar bookending the 2012 Royal Ascot meeting, there was plenty of room in between to relish such special moments as The Queen capturing the Queens Vase, the indefatigable So You Think winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Simenon winning the 2 ½-mile Ascot Stakes on June 19 and the 2 5/8-mile Queen Alexandra Stakes four days later on June 23, and Godolphin breaking out of a slump by finishing first and second in the Ascot Gold Cup.

And there were the four Betfair employees from around the world who won half-interest in the filly Ceiling Kitty (bred by Betfair co-founder Andrew Black) in a company-run contest. It was great seeing them rejoice in disbelief when the filly captured the group II Queen Mary Stakes at odds of 20-1 in England and 29-1 in the States. One of the four employees was Heather Ralston, who started at TVG (which is owned by Betfair) as a receptionist and now works in sales.

Unlike the countries mentioned earlier that have been dominated recently by great females, England actually is on quite a run with colts. In addition to Frankel, they had Irish-trained superstar Sea the Stars capture the 2,000 Guineas, English Derby, Eclipse Stakes, and Juddmonte International, as well as the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France and Irish Champion Stakes in Ireland, and are on the verge of witnessing their first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky in 1971 with the brilliant Camelot, another colt trained in Ireland. But will he forsake the St. Leger for the Arc, as Sea the Stars did?

As TVG came on the air each morning, they showed a long-range shot looking up the lush green Ascot straightaway, with the inside and outside rails accentuating the undulating nature of the course. Then came the Royal Procession, with the British bookmakers laying odds on what color The Queen would be wearing that day. The devious side of me can’t help but imagine The Queen checking out the odds and making a killing every day by wearing the longest-priced color and loading up with the bookies. That’s even better than past-posting. Hey, I’m only joking.

Royal Ascot has changed considerably since my only two trips there in 1977 and ’78. I remember police officers trying to confiscate my camera on two occasions; first for photographing an empty walking ring well before the first race and the other time for standing too far over on the press balcony while photographing people entering the Royal Enclosure below me. I was OK standing on one side of the entrance and shooting, but move a few feet to the left and I was a criminal. It took an angry mob of media members to gang up on the police officer who tried to come up the stairs and take my camera.

But those really were special times, especially looking out on the course, engulfed by a sea of green, with waves upon waves of women’s hats – all different – and men’s hats – all the same. Fortunately, ignorant Yank reporters were OK wearing just everyday suits and going hatless (I had hair back then, so I didn’t mind).

Once in a while you will find a year like 2012, when great racing is mixed in with great drama to titillate the fancy. But never before can I remember so many fascinating subplots, highlighted by The Queen winning her own Vase, one of the most controversial rides in decades, an amazing exhibition of durability and staying power, four contest winners taking home a grade II prize, and two equine legends destined to take their place among of the pantheon of greats.

How much more can you ask for sprawled out on a couch in your pajamas?


Leave a Comment:

Paula Higgins

Great review of Ascot Steve! Yup, the whole Ascot thing was a hoot in away that our races typically aren't. What a bunch of characters the Brits and Aussies are. My favorite memory was seeing the Queen pat Black Caviar on the head. It was a nice gesture to a mare who gave it her all inspite of the muscle tears. She is a great horse. Frankel is spectacular. Will be interesting to see if he can get the longer distance in his next race. Felt bad for Luke Nolen. I almost keeled over when I saw him just sit there as Moonlight Cloud was roaring up on the side. I thought that was it and it almost was. I was really happy for the Australians who love Black Caviar like we love Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra. They remind me of us as a country when we were younger. They are as happy go lucky as the British are uptight. Amazing they are in the same Commonwealth. The Queen continues to amaze me. She is an impressive human being who still gets up every day and goes to work for the British people. She is one of a kind and maybe she will live as long as her mother did. It as great to see Prince Phillip hand her the vase.

24 Jun 2012 10:54 PM
Man o' War

Beautiful, Steve!

There's not too much more you could ask for.

24 Jun 2012 11:10 PM
Karen in Indiana

It was a wonderful way to ease the disappointment of the end of this Triple Crown season. While I would have liked to have been able to watch it as you did, knowing that the DVR would have it for me when I got home made the day go faster. Frankel was as awesome as the build up, it was great to see the real So You Think show up, and Black Caviar has more than proven herself and should be retired. I also gained a lot of respect for Aidan O'Brien for manning up and admitting that he had been training SYT incorrectly.

24 Jun 2012 11:22 PM

Thank You, Steve! A poetic description of a gathering that most of us will never attend! I am just glad that I can sit on my couch too and watch! Nelly is achingly beautiful and I hope we have not seen the last of her, understandable if they retire her, however. The girls do seem to be dominating the headlines. I can't help but think that it is good for racing to have dominant females, I do long for a male horse we can cheer for, however!

24 Jun 2012 11:47 PM

My experience with watching Royal Ascot included HRTV internet streaming, which starting on the second day they ran "live", along with TwinSpiresTV online, and both were satisfactory. Oddly I can't get TVG online in my area.

Loved Frankel and of course Nelly was great, but both these horses did what was expected, and thrilling as those were, I loved the So You Think wonderful win of the Prince of Wales' probably the best. I was bowled over by Aidan O'Brien's mea culpa that seemed to go on forever, and in various publications was reported with slight variations. My favorite quote from that day after he admitted he finally figured the horse out after a year and a half of getting it wrong:  "Time to pull our socks up and get it right!"  Then there was this:  "We're just delighted to get him back and all I can say is sorry it took me so long to get him back to where everyone in Australia said he was. If he wasn't such a great horse I'd have made a right mess of him."  On the one hand, it was funny, and on the other it gave a candid glimpse of a rather humble man, who, though perched atop the pinnacle of horse racing success, was able to publicly admit he had been wrong about his approach with the horse. That had to warm the hearts of SYT's fans in Australia and the former trainer, Bart Cummings.

Finally an observation: At least half the races were marathon type races of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 miles in length!  That is amazing, and we in this country can hardly get up enough horses to show up for the occasional "odd" marathon style race, and the purses are generally pretty pitiful. It seems that everything we are doing in this country runs counter to what has made the sport successful elsewhere in the world: we shun horses with stamina and durability in favor of "speed, speed, speed"...pretty soon all we will have are a bunch of Trinnibergs running around and we won't have any runners left that can run around the block; and while we watched Simenon wheelback with two marathon races within four days of each other, because, well, because, gee, they don't shoot their horses up with lasix and have to spend 2-4 weeks recovering!  

All in all, it was a great week of racing.  So, bring on Saratoga!!!

25 Jun 2012 12:19 AM

@captainsmistress: Male horse we can cheer for? Union Rags - Duh. He won the Belmont brilliantly and he's not moving to Japan for the kaching!

Steve: I can't believe you let Nolen off the hook: "...for whatever reason,..."? Wanna bet BC got her injuries when Nolen had to "restart" her? That was an incompetent ride. Kudos to BC for overcoming an amazingly poor ride.

As for the TC, I'm glad IHA did not win. The trainer and owner are not worthy and the horse had a good run, but may not be the real deal, as is evidenced by Reddam's own admission of lack of interest from domestic breeders.

Our sport will flourish again when we remember it is HORSEracing, not horseRACING.

25 Jun 2012 12:57 AM

it was great Frankel the highlight of the week

25 Jun 2012 3:46 AM

yes, racing is alive and well in other countries besides the us.  so this is news?  the great horses aways find the will to win, despite "the most controversial ridde in decades" (hardly).  the queen collects a cup rhat was long overdue.  frankel wins by light years, as was expected.  please tell us something new.

25 Jun 2012 6:42 AM
Rachel NH

There's always been great fillies every generation, it's just maybe now a few of them have a large enough fan base the good ol' boys can't ignore them.

I mean even as recently as Rags winning the Belmont I can remember a certain writer we all adore commenting she won because of the 5 lbs, despite the stumble she overcame (that War Emblem gets his excuse of "insurmountable stumble and lost all chances") and her wide trip all the way...

I come from the generation that's seen Winning Colors, Genuine Risk, Dahlia, Miesque, Serena's Song, Xtra Heat, Urban Sea, Ruffian, Go For Wand, Shuvee, Lady's Secret, Personal Ensign, Chilukki, Susan's Girl, Azeri, Rags, Dark Mirage,  Silverbulletday, Mom's Command, Chris Evert, Davona dale, Gallant Bloom,  etc.

25 Jun 2012 7:20 AM
Sam Not Spam

Us?  Uptight?  Hey, we have a policy on horse names and they allowed Ceiling Kitty, and we all know what Ceiling Cat is watching you do...

I'm not sure we have the answer as regards durability though, most of our top 3yo will have 3 or 4 races this year before retirement.  The days of taking on all comers are largely over, and we certainly don't have the lead up to the Classics that you do in the US that seems to give horses a solid foundation.  The likes of Frankel and Black Caviar are sadly appreciated for their rarity, race horses that remain in racing.

25 Jun 2012 7:36 AM
Tiara Terces

Steve, you really captured in words the way I felt about the Triple Crown letdown being ameliorated by the pageantry of Ascot.  I did have a rather ridiculous desire to see the Queen's carriage pulled by the beautiful grays turned white race the other carriages to the finish line.  Unfortunately, I guess that would be a bit undignified.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed Frankel's and Black Caviar's triumphs live and went to the video recording of So You Think's (NZ) victory.  I remember when I was young we could only get a three sentence blurb in the local newspaper about any horse racing other than the Triple Crown.  Now we have a visual and print feast from all over the world.  You really captured the remarkable power racehorses, regardless of their gender,  have over people everywhere. Those Aussies looked as thrilled as if they had won the World Cup.

Racehorses teach us a valuable lesson:  we are not the only species that relishes competition and victory.  Sorry, PETA, but I have a feeling they would not trade what they do on the track for life in the pasture, at least when they are youthful and healthy, despite the risks.

Anyway, we still have big events coming: the Haskell, Saratoga and Del Mar, the Breeder's Cup, Japan Cup and so much more.

25 Jun 2012 7:55 AM
El Kabong


After watching the Ascot, I always find myself paying more attention to the lawn and roses in my yard for some reason. What a great event this year. It's a ways off by I can't wait for the Melbourne Cup. I'm addicted to that race.  I have a very good friend from college who married an Australian and now lives in Christchurch NZ. He counts on me to come up with a stayer every year for his office pool. In 5 years, I could only give him one winner, Americain, which was not a popular pick in the office since So You Think(NZ-bred) was the darling of the crowd.

Great read, thanks.

25 Jun 2012 9:20 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Fascinating read. Royal Ascot would be something really special to see in person. I'm craving an onion bagel now but I don't have any so I put it on my shopping list along with cream cheese. Can't wait to see what Frankel does next. Good for the Aussies to see their hero win in England. It really proves who Black Cavier is, what they've known all along. What a nightmare that would have been for the country forever if she had been nipped because of a jockey error. He probably would have seeked asylum in England or elsewhere.

25 Jun 2012 9:32 AM

I can't imagine thousands of people in the U.S. staying up until 1 am to watch a horse race. Maybe once, but not now. It was so inspiring to see the support for Black Caviar and the sport in Australia! And maybe the greater popularity of mares is because most of them stick around longer than the males do nowadays. You can't build a following when you race a handful of times and then are whisked off to stud. RachelNH, loved your comment. I'm from the same generation. How lucky were we?

25 Jun 2012 10:06 AM

Beautiful piece Steve. I experienced much the same feelings while viewing R. Ascot the past week.

Black Caviar was, for me, by far the highlight. What a truly remarkable mare she is to have accomplished that victory despite all the obstacles (and I'm not referring to her pilot). Despite her slim margin of victory, and the time, that win (under the circumstances) and her body of work suggests that she may well be the greatest turf sprinter ever. Her trainer really impressed me-best trainer interview I've ever heard. But, I feel many have it wrong re-Luke Nolen. I applaud his ride, as he chose the well-being of his mount over all else, despite the "heat" of the moment. How many other jocks would have had the mental fortitude or presence of mind to do the same? He risked glory and criticism for the good of the mare. OK, he might not have realized he was cutting it so close, but his mindset was clearly focused on Black Caviar's best interests. For me, his ride may prove almost as memorable as the greatness of Black Caviar. I hope her owners will take a page from her rider and now retire her-there is nothing more to prove.    

25 Jun 2012 10:38 AM

Regarding fillies and mares, let's not forget Cicada.

25 Jun 2012 12:03 PM

I watched Royal Ascot on HRTV all week, and of course, got to see other UK tracks as well.  It was so much fun.  Loved the pomp and circumstance, but..even more...loved how well all of the horses were turned out, dapples gleaming like dancing stars.

However, I do feel that the "big" name stars overshadowed the tremendous accomplishments of other horses in other races.  Yes, Frankel was purely amazing, but do people really accept that he received a 147 TimeForm rating for the mile when the highest rating Sea The Stars ever received for his routes was 140.  I just can't swallow that.

And did anyone at all take notice that when Sea Moon brilliantly won his race, the 2 horses behind him, Dunaden and Red Cadeaux were the same horses who won and placed in the 2011 Melbourne Cup?

When the Ascot Stakes ran on Tuesday, I was totally taken with Al Khawaneej, the last horse to load because they weren't certain he would fit into the gate.  He was beautiful, and a son of Arch.  Imagine my chagrin when a little known gelding, accustomed to hurdles, totally stomped everyone in the 2m4f race.  Simenon simply amazed me.  I was totally awestruck when on Saturday, the same Simenon was turned right back in the 2m5f Queen Alexandra Stakes to dominate the field by over 7 lengths.  Royal Ascot had its share of stars, I'm certain.  But this little known Simenon just may have had the biggest heart.

My heart was in my throat when Black Caviar neared the finish line.  Did we all hold our breath with the same sense of dread?  Wow!

Luke Nolen owes many thanks to Black Caviar who refused to let us down.

And I love So You Think.  And I don't know that O'Brien wasn't training SYT just as Bart Cummings instructed him.  Cummings ran SYT in 3 major G1 stakes within 2 weeks.  He won the Cox Plate on Oct 23rd, the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes on Oct 30th, and came in 3rd in the Melbourne Cup on Nov 2nd.  That's hard work.  O'Brien simply followed that example.  So You Think left the Queen's Carlton House in his dust.  (Do you think that only a teenaged Irishman would have the guts to pass the Queen's horse?)

It was great to see the Ramsey silks at Royal Ascot, but Big Blue Kitten ran into a buzz saw called So You Think.

And the trainer-jockey combination of John Gosden and William Buick really dominated the Royal Ascot week.  And I love that Gosden loves to bring his horses to the Breeders' Cup.  

What a thrill the entire week was!  

25 Jun 2012 12:08 PM
steve from st louis

Boy, do the British do racing justice! Less is definitely more. It's a shame racing in the United States is so overdone due to the need for tax dollars. New York racing used to close in November and open again in March. Florida racing was just the opposite. Now, we have 18-hour simulcast days in Vegas and everyone and their brother is operating racinos.

Maybe that's why the boutique meets as Saratoga, Keeneland, Del Mar and Oak Tree at Santa Anita are the best versions of racing in the states. Always will be.

25 Jun 2012 12:31 PM
El Kabong


I remembered Dunaden but not Red Cadeaux which is crazy since the winning margin was wafer thin. But, I guess since Dunaden was in my mix and Cadeaux  was not I was quick to dismiss his place. That was a great finish. Maybe we'll see all three again in November? I know Dunaden and Red Cadeaux will be there.

25 Jun 2012 1:00 PM
Sam Santschi

Thanks Steve.  My 3rd favorite was Princess Highway.  Great performance.  After the BC near loss, was hoping to watch French racing on Sunday, specifically Meandre but no luck.  Anyone out here know when or if we will ever get access other than on Arc Day?  Perhaps we do but where?

25 Jun 2012 1:11 PM
Linda in Texas

An Onion Bagel in the morning??

Brave soul he who ate the first oyster.

Even braver he who 'eateth' an onion bagel before 6 PM.  

Funny one Steve. Your dry wit is always refreshing. I love the dead pan look on your face sometimes. Like you say something just baiting Lenny. And he always takes the cue. Sort of like Abbot and Costello or The Smother's Bros.

How 'bout Musketier, winning his race at Woodbine against Simmard, remember them? Musketier is 10 years old. And still winning. I know that some say 10 years old is young or is it 'are young.' But when you consider that so many who win a nice race are immediately retired to the breeding shed. I sometimes wonder if that is the best plan.

Musketier looked great, a gray you know.

As for Black Caviar, i wonder if

the jockey pulled her up due to a snap or tension that arose with her

muscle issue and he felt it. I don't think he really pulled her up for the misjudged the wire reason.

I think he knew she pulled something and might have had a brief consideration of totally pulling her up in case it was a life threatening injury. They never know. But as long as she stayed on all fours, they went for it. That is my take on it and when he was interviewed he chose his few words very carefully. And now it is revealed she tore some back muscles. He knew it when it happened. I respect him and i hope no one is unkind to him in their assessment. Which had she really injured herself with a life threatening issue, he would really have taken the heat.

Just my opinion. She won regardless and we will never see a Black Caviar against Frankel. That is a given.

My thoughts now are pre Saratoga.

I hope it is a wonderful month of racing.

25 Jun 2012 1:12 PM


LOVED this "taste" of Ascot!    One day I'd love to make it "over the pond" to actually take part in it.   I have a feeling our British cousins take their racing seriously as a SOCIAL outlet as well as sSporting!

And....a bit off the topic here....have American breeers LOST their minds?!  NOW I'll Have Another it going to Japan??    WHY do we keep letting these stallions go?  Just because he doesn't have perfect confirmation, etc doesn't mean he wouldn't make a great stud!   After all Beauty didn't do ANYTHING for the THE GREEN MONKEY....remember him?   This is Sunday Silence, Exceller, etc ALL OVER AGAIN!   WAKE UP BREEDERS!

25 Jun 2012 1:36 PM
Age of Reason

"The devious side of me can't help but imagine The Queen checking the odds every day and making a killing every day by wearing the longest-priced color and cleaning up with the bookies." Classic! Literally laughed out loud on that one. Regarding John McCririck, call me a stick in the mud if you will but I've never been very entertained by the British Blowhard's buffoonery. In my humble opinion McCririck is, at best, an eccentric clown whose vaudeville act is only good for brief episodes of comic relief. Is it just me, or has he been holding a cluster of sour grapes against American racing ever since he went to Santa Anita and told the world, "Don't bet on Zenyatta, you're throwing your money away"?

25 Jun 2012 2:12 PM
Bill Two

I'll tell ya, they really know how to put on a show, don't they?  Frankel is a rocket ship and Black Caviar is class personified. To travel to the UK from Australia and beat the best sprinters in the UK is a testament to her class.  I just hope she can race again.  Love to see her come over here. Her jockey can stay in Australia.  As for Frankel I doubt we'll ever see him on this side of the pond and that is a shame. I don't know what to make of the Timeform rating since it is purely based on opinion, but he made me a believer the way he ran away from that field last week.  Incredible horse.

25 Jun 2012 2:28 PM

We need someone in the white house who supports horse sports! Then, imagine what would be out there?!


25 Jun 2012 3:38 PM

I played hooky the first day of Royal Ascot to watch Frankel win.  wow.  I like the description of him as "a beast".  Simply amazing.

Memories aplenty to tide us over through these blistering (and, out here, bone dry) summer days.  How I envy the green grass at Ascot while mine is not just brown to look at, but crunchy to walk on!

I'm with DeltaLady - come on Saratoga!  25 days and counting.......

25 Jun 2012 4:06 PM
steve from st louis

Karen, American breeders would rather breed to well-bred young stallion Flower Alley, winner of the Travers and second in Breeders' Classic and already known sire of a classic winner than to his son, I'll Have Another. Daddy has a 1.73 Dosage Index due to a 10-2-14-2-2 (30)chef expression while I'll Have Another has a D.I. of 2.11 and a chef-de-race expression of 2-4-7-1-0 (14). Breeders will beat a path to Flower Alley's stall before they'd breed to his son.

25 Jun 2012 4:07 PM
Bill Two

Actually, Nolen may be taking some extra heat without good reason.  Since it is now known that BC suffered a torn quad {during the running of the race presumably} it stands to reason that the jock used restraint when he became aware of her distress, which, again presumably occurred nearing the finish line.  Got to give him the benefit of the doubt.

25 Jun 2012 4:21 PM

@Richard Gross

I do not think UR has given us the thrills that the girls have dished up the last few years, that's all I meant.  

25 Jun 2012 4:22 PM

The Royal Ascot was a sweet dessert after a tough meal to swallow here in the states. Frankel is proving what they've been saying about him all along. He is quite an awesome pony. I'm glad Black Caviar managed to hold on in what will probably be her final outing. Freddie, you are still churning out some good French fillies, don't be too disappointed. It's nice to see a horse like Black Caviar go out with a perfect record, be happy for them. There's always next time. I hope Black Caviar's injury mends well, she's somewhat a national hero now. I think I can rest assured that the bay beauty won't be going to Japan anytime soon. All is well that ends well!

25 Jun 2012 4:27 PM

Wow Steve!  Wonderful piece on Ascot.  And now I want an Onion bagel--but not the Secretariat kind.  Loved the jockey elation quote.  

Taking a Shades of Sunday Silence and Belmont blues break with the fine writing of Steve Haskin is such a pleasure.

One brief low spot.  On of the commenters dissed a certain Chestnut's connections and conformation.  I'll not go back to include their handle.  Just a comment.  Be not so quick to dismiss anyone (especially a horse) because of lack of breeding close up in the pedigree or popularity with breeders.  There are a good number of popular studs with conformational faults who pass them along, and there are also a few sale horse with good conformation that are passed up because of unpopular breeding.  I would have loved to see a stamina influence with speed stand in the U.S.  

Again, great read Steve.  Now it's back to the condition book for me.


25 Jun 2012 5:11 PM

I vowed to shut up and leave this year's triple crown fiasco behind me, but it feels like a bitter pill stuck in the back of my throat. I'm going to say this at the risk of crossing the line as far as opinions are concerned. I now think that the Japanese offer was made before the Belmont and that it filtered into the decision to pull IHA out of the final leg of the triple crown. I doubt his injury was serious enough to warrant the call. With the entire country anticipating a 12th triple crown winner, a simple decision to not run the horse was not an option. Reddam was not going to risk serious injury to I'll Have Another with an astronomical amount of cash on the line. He really didn't care about the prestige of owning a triple crown winner. We don't all see the sport in the same light and we all have different values. Even if I'm dead wrong about the exact circumstances surrounding this, something still doesn't add up, and more than likely, I'll go to my grave still wondering about it. Reddam didn't do anything criminal, I just hate when "stinkers" come out smelling like a rose. If someone is going to make an unpopular decision for selfish reasons, they should live with it, and not cover it up for the sake of vanity.

25 Jun 2012 6:35 PM
Thoroughbreds are the best


Are you for real?  Reddam wanting money over the opportunity to own a triple crown winner?  If the horse had run and been injured more seriously you would have panned them for running an injured horse and not caring about the horse.  You have rained on I'll Have Another's parade from day one, his connections could do nothing right for you.  Sad to have to look at a group of people who tried to be accessible and classy in spite of the NY Times and NYRA trying to make sensational stories that make the whole sport look bad.  You clearly bought into their garbage hook, line and sinker. Very sad.

25 Jun 2012 7:37 PM

Great piece on Royal Ascot Steve!  What thrilling races they were.  Congratulations to Frankel and Black Caviar.  How about the salmon color silks with black dots on Nolan?  I've been craving champagne and caviar since she won! She is amazing, I just love her.  I hope her back muscles heal soon, all that 36 hours of flying and travelling had to take something out of her.  I would like to think the jock's ride was mindful of her well-being, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on it.  Great to see the Aussie's celebrating back at their home on TV.  TVG does a great job and Bray and Cunningham are great.  I think it was Cunningham who had said, when he came here for the BC, that smetimes "you have to bow to medical science."  That's who said that and I liked the phrase.

Love the hats!  My hat designer in KY did a few pieces for this Royal Ascot as well.  


Something doesn't add up for me either regarding the Belmont and the scratch of IHA.  Could the deal have been in the works prior to the race?  Who knows, it's possible I guess.  Why was IHA only "going to be galloped" with no works before the Belmont?  His gallops were so strong they were works in themselves?  And why the scratch just about 24 hours before the race?  But if IHA did win the TC wouldn't that have sweetened the breeding deal in the works and made it more lucarative for Reddam?  So many questions and only Reddam knows for sure.  But I agree that some part of the puzzle is missing.  And I don't view IHA going to Japan as "world trade" I view it as "outsourcing" our thoroughbreds for a better price on the commodity. I see it as "selling out" your animal who campaigned his heart out for you in THIS great country, and the animal deserves to live in THIS great country.  I'm not really big on them being shuttled either, it's got to be traumatic and stressful on the animal who has no voice in the matter.  Too much changes, food, water, people, climate, etc.  I'm sure there were deals and offers here for IHA, they just chose the more lucrative one.  And I think Dr. D. hit it out of the ballpark when he said in the other blog that when they stop the meds and breed a sounder, less fragile thoroughbred, we then may see a TC winner.  The overabundance of stallions here is because of all these early retirements at age 3, that has to change too.  The meds may be the key to the entire future of the industry.  But as far as IHA is concerned, I wish he had gotten the opportunity to live here, it makes the Mosses look like saints now, doesn't it.  They love their girl Zenyatta and are involved in her life.  The Mosses are the gold standard of thorougbred ownership, Mr. Reddam should have followed suit.

25 Jun 2012 8:12 PM

I agree with you ksweatman, but please don't be so upset.  It is not worth it.

Like you, I believe the deal was already done.  Reddam does not touch drink;  his high is making money.  Fine.  It does not take anything away from I'll Have Another... not ever in my mind.

25 Jun 2012 8:20 PM
Paula Higgins

From everything I have seen and read, Luke Nolen did not slow down because he thought something was wrong with Black Caviar. He lost track of Moonlight Cloud and didn't realize she was flying up on his side. I think the track sloped up a bit and that was also an issue. I have read that the way the sprints are run in Europe is different than in Australia. So she was a little out of her comfort zone, she had travelled a gazillion miles, and she had lost weight on top of it. I think she did amazingly well, torn muscles and all. Her connections should be congratulated for bringing her to Britain. It was risky and she could have lost.

25 Jun 2012 8:26 PM

Speaking of the Mosses, they spent Mother's Day AND recently Father's Day with Zenyatta at Lane's End!  Photos of them with Baby 12Z frolicking next to them on Zen's website.  By the way, Zenyatta is 60 days in foal to Tapit!!!!!!  This is how ownership after racing should be.

25 Jun 2012 8:32 PM

Off-topic horsey stuff:

Bode and Dullahan confirmed for Haskell, Matz considering Union Rags as well.  Shaping up well, 4 weeks away!

Linda in Texas,

I found some stuff with white horses in it you may like.  There is an old Roddy McDowell movie called "Thunderhead, son of Flicka" from 1943 I think, where he trains the beautiful, rebellious white Thunderhead.  There is a country music video by Miranda Lambert out now on YouTube called "Over You" and a beautiful gray white horse is in the woods with her in it.  And love the Ram Truck commercials narrated by Sam Elliott with the horses running by the truck with a white horse leading the way.

Dr. D.,

Caught another episode of "Mr. Ed." Ed was hiding the phone bill from Wilbur because he was calling Pimlico!!!  He gets on the phone and calls again because his neice was running a race there.  Ed gets the trainer on the phone and he tells the trainer not to train her early in the morning because the family is lazy!  And he tells the trainer not to put blinkers on her because "she likes to read the odds on the toteboard as she runs by it!!!"  What a hoot he was!!!!

25 Jun 2012 9:55 PM

Steve, greatness!

25 Jun 2012 11:06 PM
Needler in Virginia

Royal Ascot saved me from posting thousands of snarky comments about I'll Have Another's owners' decision to send him to Japan. Do I believe any of their reasons or rationale? NOPE, never will; the entire Belmont-detention barn-tendon-retirement- and OH! by the way we sold the horse thing smells like five day old fish to me. I agree completely with ksweatman9's assessment of the episode. While always a pessimist, this is one for the record books, Steve and quite rightly should blight the public face of racing.

But you came along like Mighty Mouse and saved the day with your Ascot recap. Held my breath for Frankel AND So You Think AND Black Caviar but when we got to see Simenon TWICE???? The way he popped out of those fields and found a whole 'nother gear?? No words, just NO words, can describe the feeling. My dream now is to move to Ireland and work for Mr Mullins. Hell, I can muck out and hotwalk with the best of 'em, even if I am a really crabby old broad; besides, at my age I like horse FAR better than most people.

Cheers and safe trips to all horses everywhere; the people are gonna have to find their cheers elsewhere.

25 Jun 2012 11:31 PM
Arts and Letters

Ascot was wonderful.  Barring the death of The Nile, it was pretty much perfect.  Everything Steve mentioned, plus a couple of wins for Frankie.  I managed to get the BBC coverage (we don't get TVG in Canada).  Clare Balding was a great commentator, but I really, really wish they'd retire Willie Carson.  Wonderful jockey, but sooo painful to listen to.  I'm also not a fan of Mcririck - watching him shout at the people standing around him at various meets and constantly calling his co-commentator "Female" -- arrgh!

Love the distance races and the fact that no one over there blinks an eye at it, unlike the hysteria that surrounds the Belmont every year - oh my god, we're asking the horses to run a whole mile and a half! Can you imagine the furor over here if a horse ran five miles in four days (a la Simenon)?  I really get the impression when watching British races that the long distance ones are among the most popular.

Bring on Newmarket!  

26 Jun 2012 12:24 AM
Stellar Jayne


As always a great and entertaining article - thank you.  Frankel and Black Caviar were wonderful to watch.  Two great racing stars!

Yes, the fillies have really been giving us great racing memories, thanks for reminding us.

Onion bagels at any time of day are good, especially smothered with cream cheese and lox!

26 Jun 2012 1:45 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   That is so funny !!! Reading the odds on the toteboard as she runs by so don't use blinkers is hilarious. Thanks.

26 Jun 2012 8:17 AM
Karen in Indiana

There were a lot of things I enjoyed about Royal Ascot - beautiful course, big fields, no ponies (means the jockeys have to interact with the horses before the race), and no tongue ties.

26 Jun 2012 9:14 AM
Mike Relva


So you don't think IHA trainer's long history of rule breaking had anything to do with the type of coverage he received? Please.

26 Jun 2012 10:52 AM

The Best Breed, I never bought into anything concerning I'll Have Another's connections. In fact, I supported them, and stood in their defense repeatedly. My first inclination that something was amiss was the lack of emotion they displayed after the Belmont bail-out. The normal reaction would've been extreme disappointment, almost to the point of inconsolable sadness. It wasn't there, it was as if they were acting out the part to benefit I'll Have Another's adoring fans. You can't mask strong emotions like that. The snappy decision to retire the promising colt told me there were never any plans to race him in the future. Another thing, it would've been a bit tougher to sell the 12th triple crown winner to Japan, more backlash from the public and IHA's fans, which would then, be legions. Who in their right mind would rather have 15 or 20 million dollars instead of a triple crown? A whole lotta folks, most folks in fact. Not everyone appreciates the beauty and the sheer glory of the sport. Surprising enough, not everybody "gets it" when it comes to the sport of kings. I'm not trying to demonize anyone, I have nothing personal against Reddam. I don't like the fact he sold IHA to Japan, but that was his right to do so. The thorn in my side stems from the fact that I have a deep appreciation for the truth, and I don't like being duped. Other than that, how I feel, what I think, won't change a thing. My heart goes with you "Red", I'll think of you often and always wish you the best.

26 Jun 2012 11:06 AM

Every year, I wait for Royal Ascot because it is exactly what you said it was, Steve: a great boost of wonderful racing just when there is a bit of a lull (except for the Queen's Plate, of course).  Too bad it was too wet for Ward's babies and sprinters this year.  Yay! for the Black Caviar connections -- making the long trip out of her comfort zone just to prove her abilities.  (Would Nolan have been part of a Jeopardy category with Dick Francis if she had lost?  "Biggest Jockey Mistakes"  Francis was riding one of the Queen Mother's horses in one of the big steeplechase races in the 50's and was leading but for some weird reason, his horse appeared to try to take another jump in the stretch and sprawled out on the track just before the finish and he lost.  Another answer in that category would be whoever it was who was riding in the Kentucky Derby and stood up before the finish, thinking that the race was over at that point, and then found out he was wrong and tried to re-start his horse and finished second -- Iron Leige won that year, didn't he? Was it Shoemaker?).

Congrats to The Queen for her win in "Her" Vase.  It always kills me to see those two words and only those two words written down as "Owner" or "Breeder" for her horses.  

Anyways, on the I'll Have Another front, I was disappointed that he's going to Japan but for all  paranoid types (aren't we all?  it ain't paranoia if we're REALLY being followed), look at the article in today's BH about Sunday Silence.  If the big breeders are only into flavour of the month, what's an owner to do?

Finally, I liked the fillies in the Queen's Plate.  Too bad there is no exactor bet for horses that finish 2nd and 3rd - I would have made a killing.  Congrats, however, to Strait of Dover and English Channel.

26 Jun 2012 11:55 AM

With all due respect (and it certainly IS due) to Frankel and Black Caviar, I'm really surprised not to see more about Simenon.  In the US, we freak out about asking horses to run three races over five weeks--Simenon ran an equivalent or greater distance over *four days* and came out of it asking for more.  That's an awesome (in the original meaning of the word) achievement!

As for the other two--Nolan is probably really grateful to his horse, because if she hadn't managed to find one more ounce of courage and win it, he would never have been able to return to Australia.  And Frankel makes a mockery of the Breeder's Cup.  How can anyone claim to have the best in the world if they haven't even set foot on a track with that horse?

26 Jun 2012 1:01 PM
Fran Loszynski

The queen honored us with a royal visit to the Kentucky Derby a few years ago, we should honor the Ascot in respect. She loved her visit that day.  I also hear she has interest in a few horses here in Kentucky. When you watched her ride in procession when she was young, what a great horsewoman she is. Hip Hip Hoorah to the Ascot.

26 Jun 2012 1:27 PM
Paula Higgins

Alex'sBigFan, I laughed out loud over the Mr. Ed story. What a riot. I loved that show as a kid. Always funny and that horse was a hoot.

About the situation with IHA, I think the decision to ship him to Japan was Paul Reddam's. That's where the money trail ends. mz, Henry Kissinger used to say something like (paraphrasing here) "even a paranoid has enemies." I don't think horse racing should be all about money. I think Reddam would have done just fine money wise if he had stayed in the U.S. But clearly there was bigger money in Japan. I remember when Zenyatta was setting the world on fire, Jerry and Ann Moss were told to name their price for her. They said "no" to every offer and that she would never be for sale. I think IHA deserved that kind of response too. But for some people, this is as much a business as it is a sport. For people who would say that Reddam doesn't have the financial resources of a Jerry Moss, I would say he has enough so that keeping him here should not have been an issue. ksweatman, it is hard to know the truth of the Belmont situation with IHA. But your scenario is plausible.

26 Jun 2012 1:55 PM
Ida Lee

As usual great article. I enjoyed the Royal Ascot as a whole and the Black Caviar experience was wonderful although incredibly stressful. Wonderful because the cameras were on her from the moment she hit the grass and I could not keep my eyes off this incredibly beautiful creature and, of course, she won the race she had to win.  The stress came when my husband screamed...he dropped the reins...slowed her down. I started shaking from head to toe and could not believe my eyes. I had been concentrating on the finish line which is what Nolan should have been doing. And then the English commentators start reporting on the race like she had lost...Well, now we know. Frankel can beat her at any distance ...definitely a disappointing performance...blah, blah, blah.  She has to go through the stress of travelling 10,000 miles for 36 hours to be disrespected in this way? And by people with silly hats and ridiculous outfits? As it turns out, not only was Black Caviar slowed down before the finish line, she has 2 pulled muscles on her back and a severe bruise and she still won. That to me makes her a champion among champions. Sorry about the rant...every time I think about it, it gets more annoying. Anyway, Frankel was stupendous as was So You Think. The young people of Australia were great to watch. You could actually see the love and admiration they have for their beloved Mare. At least her people know the Treasure they have in their Black Caviar and so do I.

26 Jun 2012 4:43 PM

What I really like about Royal Ascot is that top class sprinters and milers on turf are celebrated no less than the routers.

Summer Front appears to have a very bright future on Turf (my early pick for the Breeder's Cup mile if Frankel doesn't show up) if he stays healthy. Then maybe his connections could consider a trek to Royal Ascot next year.

26 Jun 2012 6:10 PM
El Kabong

Stellar Jayne,

Agree on the bagel 24/7, but I have to have the thin slice of red onion and capers with the cc and lox.


you are making me regret my decision to kick cable to the curb. Thanks for the Mr.Ed episode story it was hilarious.

Luke Nolan interview on Bloodhorse is terrific. No question he just genuinely made a mistake and he wasn't pleased with himself but I'm sure he had a few beverages later in the night and put it all behind himself.

Ksweatman9, The Best Breed

It is possible the deal was in the works early on, but I can't help but think if they were only fiscally motivated they would have run him. He would have been worth more. I think anyone who has been at this as long as Reddam and ONeil would have done just about anything to be a part of the hallowed halls of horse racings immortals. No questions asked. Winning the Triple Crown is as the commercial states.......Priceless. Interesting theory though. I think they may have known before they publicly stated though that something was amiss with IHA but were honestly hoping it would not prevent IHA from running.  Tough horse pill to swallow and it's bound to work up a lot of speculation. I do love a good conspiracy theory but ultimately the lure of a place in history is the irresistible opium of any man or woman.

26 Jun 2012 6:29 PM
Arts and Letters

mz - Devon Loch's collapse in the Grand National had nothing to do with jockey error.  The horse just collapsed under Dick Francis.  There are lots of theories as to why (noise, exhaustion, the horse thought he saw another fence, etc) but no one really knows why, not even the jockey.

27 Jun 2012 12:41 AM
Linda in Texas

Alex'sBigFan-you are always thinking about everyone else. You do know we all appreciate you a bunch, don'tcha'?

I will go You Tubing and take a look.

A huge black and white mama cat showed up, and for some reason i call her Flicka. Never had a cat named Flicka.

I am old and remember Mr. Ed. But i don't remember him being as funny as the story you just told about running by the tote board.

Now ABF, will Zenyatta's next foal most likely be Tapit's or Zenyatta's color? You sure it won't come out looking like one of the pony's at Gulf Stream? Gray and brown spotted?

You know which color i would love. A huge big gray the size of Zenyatta and filly or colt, either one.

I am now going to take a look at her Z12 and the Mosses. Thanks so much for the info.

Texas is in scorch mode. Ran some errands and it showed 111 on my temp gauge on the rear view mirror.

The oil was melting on some streets we just had repaved and it was slushing like rain. Even my 7 foot tall Sun Flowers are

wilting. Left for me by a sweet morning dove who coos at me every time i go out in the garage. I think he is a widower.

Now i read that Churchill is cancelling racing on Wednesday due to triple digits and my son said it is moving into the DC area by Sunday. I am not a summer person.

So stay cool everyone.

Ida Lee i like your enthusiasm.

Thanks for the rundown and the ranting. We all love it. And you are indeed spot on mate, Black Caviar is a true champion and beautiful too. And Frankel. Not much more to say, Mr. Frankel had the last say so in him. I think of him often and know the racing world is missing an important link in the chain.

And Ksweatman9 - a lot of us are right with you about "Red". i love his big heart full of win and just him, period. I think he is a beautiful horse. Hitch in his gitalong makes me no never mind.

He has plenty of other great traits that will no doubt show up in his foals.

Looking like Bodemeister, Union Rags and Dullahan running in The


I need to stop and quit taking up so much space. Have a good week everyone.

And Thanks Steve. You have spoiled us all. I expect everything i read to be at least on par with your ability, but that just ain't happenin'. I know ain't ain't a kosher word, speaking of onion bagels i like them with chopped liver and hard boiled eggs, but sometimes i like to rebel and wonder if Gertrude Dodge my English Professor heard me somewhere up there in the wild blue yonder. She was English. And taught English. She would be proud, i used to be shy and she would always call on me to speak.

Now i won't shut up. Another word

i couldn't use growing up.

Buenos Noches.  

27 Jun 2012 1:30 AM

Great piece Steve!

I'm from the generation of great fillies too -- what about Petite Etoile, Trillion, her magnificent daughter Tryptich and who could forget the greatness that was Allez France?  Those gals stayed in training and beat the boys on a regular basis.  Good as Black Caviar and Zenyatta were (are), they do have some pretty heady company.

As for this year's Triple Crown fiasco, can we please put it to bed?  I don't remember half this much fallout from the Big Brown debacle only a few years ago....trainer was much worse, horse was pulled up for no apparent reason, but no media blitz over Dutrow....why?  He even ran a horse in this year's Preakness but didn't get butchered by the media the way IHA's connections did.  O'Neill is by no means the demon that he's been typecasted to be.  (Speaking of Typecast, there was another wonderful mare...)

27 Jun 2012 6:02 AM

This was one amazing Royal Ascot meet; it started with the King (Frankel) and ended with the Queen (Black Caviar).

I've been waiting patiently for a year for the Aussie Queen of Sprinting to meet the Queen of England; the Queen appears to be a fan of Nelly. And BC proved herself to truly be the Wonder From Down Under. She won by pure guts, class, and will to win after sustaining multiple injuries.

Incidentally, Carlton House, owned by the Queen and who finished second to So You Think, qualified for the Breeders Cup. I am wondering if Queen Elizabeth is going to take him to the Breeders Cup this year. And when she comes stateside she always visits Lane's End. Wouldn't it be something if the Queen of England visited the two queens in Kentucky. I know she will definately enjoy meeting Zenyatta.

27 Jun 2012 9:12 AM
Criminal Type

I tremendously enjoyed Royal Ascot. What fun and great racing. This is what racing was meant to be. I was most impressed by the durability of the European horses. For the life of me I just don't understand why American breeders continually focus on speed. Yes, I know it's a business, and Yes, I know speed is necessary, but what good is it if the horse can only run 7 or 8 furlongs before becoming a traffic problem.  The stamina of the Euros was vividly on display at Ascot. Simenon, was incredable practically bookending the meet over distances our American horses have probably never trained at, even at a jog. With the exception of Fair Hill, I don't know of a training center that has overland gallops and hacking trails. Frankel was frankly, amazing. I loved seeing So You Think beat the Queens horse, Carlton House. I've always thought he was better then we saw when he came to the Breeders Cup. And Black Cavier, well, what can you say about her ? She triumphed over torn muscles and a suspect ride to beat some of the best sprinters in the world. The Aussies should be proud, and I wouldnt be to hard on the jockey, He knew she wasn't quite right and not handling the soft going well. I think his concern for the horses welfare may have had him a bit off focus for a few seconds. Doesn't matter, She won.

Just a little aside for those of you questioning the timing and circumstances regarding IHA's injury, retirement and sale.  I just read Doug O'Neill cashed a $100 future wager ticket, purchased in February on I'll Have Another to win the Ky Derby.  Payoff $20,000. He said he makes future bets all the time which suonds logical, but then he must of had a lot of faith in the horse too. Those who said, he had very little commercial value to breeders were correct, why go to the conformationally challanged son when you can go to Three Chimney's and get the proven sire.

One more thing, Michael Matz was quoted "If your trying to make a case for 3 yr old Champion I suppose you have to run in the grade 1 races " meaning Union Rag's is being pointed to the Haskell and not the Jim Dandy (GR2). He is expected to continue on to the Travers at Saratoga. Im not sure Johnny V will be able to ride by the Haskell, but I'm thinking he will be. Bodemeister and Dullahan are both committed to the Haskell. Paynter to the Jim Dandy.  GO RAGS !

27 Jun 2012 11:38 AM

Snakes and Frogs alive!!!! Now we have froggy fluid and cobra venom in our thoroughbreds!  I've just read the Dermorphin testing article.  I hope IHA is not one of the Derby runners who was on it.  

An Ole Railbird,

I addressed your comment about the "fragility in the breed" just now but in Steve's other Big Red article.  Please see it there.

27 Jun 2012 7:10 PM
Stellar Jayne

Well said ksweatman9!  May IHA be virile, enjoy a long life and be well cared for by the Japanese.

27 Jun 2012 7:38 PM
Lammtarra's Arc

WOW the comments on here about Mr.Reddam is just short of shocking.  You IGNORANT folks who have done nothing but smear his name need a dose of reality ASAP!. Japan is the TOP country in the world breeding stayers, they DOMINATE the Japan Cup, Hong Kong Vase, and even the DWC in 2011.  They have CHAMPIONS Standing stud over there....AMERICAN CHAMPIONS.  Roses In May, Silver Charm, Empire Maker, I'll have another, and they had the great Sunday Silence.  WHERE ARE ALL Of YOUR BIG SHOT AMERICAN BREEDERS WHO WOULD RATHER HAVE UNSOUND HORSES LIKE QUALITY ROAD, ESKENDREYA, BIG BROWN, TIZWAY ETC ETC ETC.....BUT PASS UP ON TRUE STAYERS.  Not surprising because you folks cant see past your own IGNOARNCE.  Just keep bashing a great owner because your hot shots at Lanes end, 3 chimney's, Spendthrift, Taylor made, Airdrie, and so forth couldn't make a reasonable offer for a great TRUE stayer like IHA.  But they are VERY fast over at 3 chimney to remove Flower Alley's stud fee (which was $7500) and put up a please inquire line instead......which means UP goes his fee, but TO HELL with his more talented son.  You all make me sick.  Hate him all you want, US CANADIANS celebrate the great run he had, and I say he should boycott running any of his horses on American tracks the way you all just disrespect him on all the forums. I am glad he is over seas, that is WHERE TRUE STAYERS BELONG. Oh and for your information Sunday Silence's Progeny earned their owners over $500,000,000....put that in your pipe and smoke it!.

27 Jun 2012 7:46 PM
Lammtarra's Arc


I take my hat off to you sir for a well written article from the perspective of a seasoned horse fan.  I very much enjoy the Week long Festival at Ascot, and I was VERY impressed with Sea moon, and found that Dunedin, and Red Cadeaux were more for 2 miles and up, so they just needed more distance to really enforce their dominating staying abilities.  The performance from Simeonin was just incredible and was by far the REAL stand out all week.  I also enjoyed the part about the fillies.  We had Inglorious win up here in the Plate last year, Sarah Lynx also(I was there for both), but you also forgot Never Retreat(didn't win in open company) but she was very solid up here, and down there for the last few years. Very nice touch on the column sir.  Cheers.

27 Jun 2012 7:55 PM

Wow, now that's horse racing,

Black Caviar showed so much heart and courage.  What a horse!

Frankel also a fantastic champion.

So You Think, just thrilling.

Thanks Steve for adding to the thrill of it all.  Guess the Brits know how to put on a great show.  Tons of respect all around.

27 Jun 2012 8:39 PM


Black Caviar - she is fabulous!  What a great champion she is, digging down deep, overcoming all sorts of obstacles, and still winning the race.  That was incredible to watch, no matter how thin the margin of the win.  She is mighty impressive.  I hope her connections do the right thing by her now and let her retire and have babies.  She's more than proven herself, and has accomplished all that has been asked of her, and much more besides.  It's time to properly reward her for all of her brilliance and hard work.


I'm still going through withdrawal from this year's contests.  I was deeply invested in this year's races because of I'll Have Another.  I saw something in him in his very first race and I have followed him throughout his career.  His talent, intelligence and calm, professional manner tipped me off that he was the real deal, and he proved me right.  IHA has rewarded me for my loyalty many innumerable times over, and I love him as if he was my own horse.

That's why it disappointed me so much that Mr. Reddam did not say just say "no" to all of that money offered to him, and keep IHA here on this side of the Pacific.  He could have said no, it's not as if he needs the money from the sale of I'll Have Another.  If IHA was my horse, and I was in the same position financially, I would have turned down the money and kept my horse near me.  That's how much I love him.  I had hoped that was how much Mr. Reddam loved him as well.  

This is a business, and from a business standpoint, Mr. Reddam made a great business decision.  IHA's new Japanese owners knew a good investment when they saw one, jumped at it and offered an enormous amount of money to procure I'll Have Another.  I applaud them on their far-sightedness because they made a superior breeding move and business move that has the potential to earn them hundreds of millions of dollars down the road in the future.  It was a very bright decision on their part.  And I know they will treat I'll Have Another like a king, as he greatly deserves.  I just wish that Mr. Reddam had shown more loyalty to I'll Have Another, who raced his heart out for the Reddams and for all of us.  He deserved to have some loyalty shown to him in return.  

And in answer to some of the comments above, the decision to sell IHA was totally Mr. Reddam's.  That's who the totality of the $30 million selling price for IHA went to, so the buck stops with him.  Several of the posters also said that nobody from IHA's team showed any emotion when IHA was sold.  Yes, one person did.  Mario Gutierrez did.  He looked so incredibly sad in almost every shot we saw of him after the retirement announcement.  And in person, at the Retirement Ceremony, he looked crushed as he sat on IHA.  The look on his face was sad as he sat there lovingly rubbing IHA's neck over and over again.  Neither Mario or Doug could have done anything about Mr. Reddam's decision to sell, or to stop it for that matter. After all, Mr. Reddam was IHA's owner not them, and he held all of the cards, no matter what anyone else might think, including IHA's trainer and jockey.  I don't hold either of them responsible for this decision.  The decision was Mr. Reddam's alone.  

So I wish I'll Have Another great good fortune in Japan.  I hope he has a fabulous, happy and extremely successful career at stud.  He's going to have so much fun!  Have a fabulously happy life, IHA.

On the international front: Thank God for the fillies.  They have made racing fun and interesting over the last decade.  

Unlike many, I'm looking forward to racing in the near future.  There are a lot of exciting horses still racing and lots of great racing ahead.  

But I'm going to miss two great, inspiring horses most of all, and I'm grateful to them for treating me and all of us to their talent, tenacity, heart, intelligence and great will-to-win:  I'll Have Another and Black Caviar.  Thank you both, from the bottom of my heart.

28 Jun 2012 12:12 AM
Mike Relva


Why so angry?

28 Jun 2012 9:33 AM

Soltero:  As to why no fracas was raised about Big Brown...At the time, steroids were in legal use.  BB always ran on steroids, with monthly shots.  BB had not had a steroid injection since April, and it was felt the steroids simply were, by June, flushed out of his system. However, I still, personally, find the jockey responsible for pulling BB up...and yes there was a great furor over Desormeaux's ride at that time.

Fiftyproof. I, too, descry the outrage with Reddam and team.  It's unwarranted, and speculation and conspiracy theories are nothing more than unfounded rumors, thrown out like vitriolic accusations. It smacks of the same type of persecution that kept the media so busy after the Derby.

Sorry, but as much as I love these thoroughbreds, I am not walking around with my head in the cloud of misplaced altruism.

Horse breeding is a business.  Mr. Reddam wants no part of it.  IHA has little stud value in the USA.  I hope IHA re-invigorates the Japanese breeding ala Sunday Silence. It would be the sweetest gift.  It is, after all, a world sport.  Sharing stallions to promote outbreeding just happens to be a very good thing.

And to everyone who believes the USA breeds only for speed, explain then why the most costly stud fees belonged to A.P.Indy...the epitome of speed and stamina.  His sons are now stepping in, and Bernardini now commands the highest fees.  But I would like Mineshaft or Malibu Moon too.  Any grandson of Seattle Slew is simply top notch in my book...add a Secretariat mare...that's what USA breeders are looking for.

As to the Moss' holding on to Zenyatta...guess what?...they are in the breeding business.  Giacomo still stands for them at Adena South.  And the Zen...guess what?...she's in the breeding business now too.

So...I think the nasty comments about Mr. Reddam and O'Neill should stop already.  Unless YOU were willing to outbid the Japanese, you have no say in the matter.  

28 Jun 2012 9:54 AM
Linda in Texas

Physically Imposing Fifty Proof -

Please don't call 'us all' ignorant when you cannot even spell "IGNOARANCE"---.

You sound like a passionate race fan and more to the point a big supporter of I'll Have Another.

You are preaching to the choir for the most part.

A fool it would be to not respect him. After all, he won The Kentucky Derby and he won The Preakness. Not many have. If he had some issues that might flare up, i am sure they were being closely monitored. thus the scratch.

What was done behind the scenes i guess we will never know. "We" don't pay the bills, he is/was Mr. Reddam's horse. Frankly, i am glad they did not run him. The last thing American Racing needed was to

see him breakdown in The Belmont.

He turned a $35,000 investment into millions. I just hope he pays Dennis O'Neill a commission.

You must understand how American Loyalists to American Horse Racing feel losing such an important horse.

The public has no control over the purse strings of the breeding farms. Why they chose not to buy him is their call. He has some great traits as i just said in another post. The greatest one to me is his gutsy will to want to win. You cannot breed or teach ambition, it comes with you when you are born. He has it.

You come across as intimating that it is our fault for how the media treated Douglas O'Neil, most of us found the timing reprehensible to say the least. Perhaps it was one of the reasons the horse was sold to The Japanese gentlemen. But i tend to think it was their offer of train riding bucks. Period.

I must remind you of something that may help dilute your disdain that is unfortunately misplaced.

Just about 30 minutes after Blame won The Breeder's Cup Classic, he was retired to stud. He was vanned to Claiborne and stalled right next to the office. Mention was made in an article that Japanese

Horsemen were in the states looking for stallions. I pretty much figured that Claiborne had a price tag on Blame, but the Japanese passed him up. Think about it. And when you do, it is all about money for the most part.

They obviously did not offer enough for Blame. What goes on in the offices and behind the scenes will be kept there. I may have this all wrong. I leave myself open for correction, always.

It was Mr. Reddam's horse. It was his to do with and it is our loss. The media won on that one. They succeeded in dissing the owner, the trainer and the horse all in one fell swoop, but mostly American Thoroughbred Horse Racing.

I say to them, what the hell good did you do? I am always amazed at the sensational things writers in cubby holes can say about others, while under the cover of a big corporation. Most are faceless and no one knows them. They are cowards and won't have to be questioned in public. Most of them write as if they never committed a single questionable act that the rest of us would call tawdry and reprehensible. I tend to judge the writer long before i believe what they write.

You need to read more of the articles written on Bloodhorse.com

and you will find that they are rarely wrong. And you can always believe what Steve Haskin says and writes. He is a fair man and i hope that you can find it in your

heart to know that hundreds on this blog are sick that I'll Have Another is being shipped to Japan.

No spin will ever help me either, as it obviously won't help you. Some things in life we have no control over. We all are simply spectators.

The Japanese saw something they liked and perhaps needed in their bloodlines. But like you, i will miss him. It leaves a void from The Santa Anita Derby on and that covered several months of hoping and wishing. Here one minute, gone the next.

With I'll Have Another goes our hopes that he has a wonderful life and becomes a hero for The Japanese. To me personally and on a gut level. I will miss him. And I thank him for bringing the kind of excitement that does not come along very often.

I'll Have Another From America To Japan with Love.

God Bless America and Happy Fourth of July everyone.  

The cookie jar stands empty,

we won't be having another.

28 Jun 2012 11:24 AM
Criminal Type

All you begal lovers should try this one. An everything or onion begal toasted with cream cheese, lox, sliced onion and tomato. salt & pepper..big glass of OJ. That was my hangover cure when I was younger. Sounds weird I know, but it worked. I haven't drank in 17 years but still love my begals that way. Don't need the trio of tylenol with it anymore either.

28 Jun 2012 1:04 PM
Lammtarra's Arc

Mike Relva

Angry, yes.  How could you tell?.  when I have to read the BS on every forum about the Reddam's.  I'm Canadian, and I stick up for my fellow Canadian. I have no beef with you.  

28 Jun 2012 1:53 PM

Mike Relva,

It Nationalism. Plain and simple. "Fifty Proof" makes it sound like all unsoundness is genetic and broad-brushes great stars of the track like Quality Road and Eskendereya that promise a lot at stud.

I'll Have Another is a wonderful colt but there's too much intrigue surrounding him ...can't blame some folks for being skeptical and suspicious.

Credibility and integrity are virtues that are priceless and those who sell-out theirs for short-term gain are fools ...the chicken always come home to roost ...sooner or later. There is no smoke without fire in this world ...always pays off in the long run to go the straight and narrow way ...avoiding shady/ borderline methodologies. It is a shame that a shadow should be cast over a classy colt such as IHA. Just my opinion (malice towards none).

28 Jun 2012 1:58 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I've always enjoyed the passion that the Zayat family brings to racing, and it has always been apparent that the decisions they make are much more than about making money. I applaud the Zayat and Moreno families for keeping the great Bodemeister in the United States, and not giving in to the almighty yen. Bodemeister is still in the running for 3yo of the year. He has been tremendous and I really expect him to win the rest of his races this year against the three year olds and he has a shot to win the BC Classic too. The rest will do him good after a very taxing stretch of races that ended with the Preakness. I expect a monster to reappear, and for him to win 3yo of the year, and I also expect him to be a great sire. Thank you Zayat and Moreno families for this great news.

28 Jun 2012 5:35 PM
Linda in Texas

Criminal Type - your fave bagel sounds great. Make that a red onion slice! Wish i had one right now.

But I live in such a one horse town that i cannot even buy lox. I asked for lox one time at

my grocery store meat market and they looked at me like i was lost. The answer to me was, the locks are in the hardware department, mam! Goldie Hawn would have gotten a sock it to me scene!

Another taste of realizty was when my family moved from San Antonio to Comanche to be near my children's father's in laws. I bought an egg plant at an Afilliated Grocery Store and when i was checking out, the checker said, what do i ring this up under?? After resetting my jaw,

I told her it was an Egg Plant and she said she hadn't seen a purple egg before. Just how do you cook it! :)

Funny how a question can ring a loud bell for you and make you realize maybe i was privileged after all!  I giggled all the way home. And that is a true story.

Got to thinking, glad i didn't buy the Brussels sprouts. Those really would have confused her.

28 Jun 2012 7:05 PM
Mike Relva


Wow I was worried. lmao

Guess everyone is dumb on this blog but you. Do I have it right?

28 Jun 2012 7:26 PM

Guys, I'm glad you all liked the "Mr. Ed" episode lines.  If I catch another one I'll let you know.  I enjoy it more now than as a little kid.  It's on my cable in NJ like around 4 or 5 AM and not all the time.  Someone should do a modern day version of it with the racehorses talking.  A great way to target the even younger generation than the NTRA is trying to target now.

As far as the Reddam thing goes, I have always praised Team O'Neill. I admired Reddam and the only thing I don't agree with him on is  this selling IHA to Japan.  I like how he bought or rented houses in all the areas of the TC races to keep his group and team together.  So selling IHA to another country doesn't fit.  Ofcourse we don't know what his overhead is but I still think a lesser offer to keep IHA here would be better for IHA.  I just hope IHA's life is good and everything is "hunkidori" in Japan for him.  I think there is supposed to be a street in Yokahama named "Hunkidori" by sailors?  In some ethereal way the horses belong to the fans, like Secretariat and Seabiscuit, Zenyatta, and IHA as well.  I just think he's America's horse and should get to live out his life in America.  Yes it is a business, but I like the way the Mosses do it, being directly involved in their horses' lives.  I just hope Mr. Reddam made the right decision and IHA has a great life in Japan.

28 Jun 2012 7:40 PM

Dr. D.,

Agreed.  Mr. Zayat is a true champion of the sport.  He loves horseracing and was interviewed by TVG at the Belmont.  He was saddened by the scratch of IHA as well, he even mentioned he wanted to see a TC winner himself even though he was campaigning Paynter.  Kudos to them for keeping Bode here.  I cannot wait to see Bode in the Haskell.  Mr. Zayat is another plus for California racing!

28 Jun 2012 7:45 PM

Dr D:  Still luv ya, but Mr. Reddam deserves a break on his decision.  Kentucky wasn't interested; they have Flower Alley, his sire.

And while you're thanking people for leaving a colt to stud in the USA, thank Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, because he owns Darley and Bernardini. Thank him also for the equally expensive stud, Street Cry, (sire of Zen) who also stands at Darley. And thank him also for allowing the shuttle of Australian Champion Lonrho to spend some time with US Mares while at Darley.

And wasn't Secret Circle racing in Coolmore silks?

How many US horses have we seen wearing Judmonte or Godolphin silks?

Face it...horse racing AND breeding is an international business that's working very well.  

Does anyone realize that in 1966, 75% interest in Cigar was sold to Coolmore Stud?  His fertility was insured and a claim was paid out by an Italian-based firm, while ownership reverted to Paulson.  But for a long time, Cigar was tested once a year to check for any improvement. (per insurance requirements)  Most horses sold to stud are insured in the same manner.

28 Jun 2012 8:16 PM

In my last post, I can't help thinking I might have said Ciger went to stud in 1966.  I hope not...I don't think he was around then...(beside..6's and 9's can be very deceptive to my tired eyes)..meant 1997.

28 Jun 2012 8:26 PM
Needler in Virginia

Before I believe that I'll Have Another's life in Japan is guaranteed safe, I'd want to see it in writing. Perhaps Fifty Proof has already forgotten the story of Ferdinand? There just is no room for "non-performance" there, and while I know there are no guarantees of ANYTHING ANYWHERE, at least IHA would have a chance at survival in the US if he failed in the breeding shed. But you should also remember that I have a VERY long memory and will never forgive what happened to our Derby winner of 1984.

No more to say except HOORAY! for Simenon and Frankel and Black Caviar and So You Think and all the Ascot winners. They gave us five days of magic and that's pretty rare these days.

Cheers to the horses; people have to manage their own.

28 Jun 2012 11:19 PM

OK, Fifty Proof.  Where do I begin?  Let me just say that Mr. Reddam may have been born Cdn but hasn't he been living in the US for the last billion years?  How Cdn is he now?  And you gotta understand that some people (even non-Americans) are upset that I'll Have Another is going straight to Japan after almost becoming a Triple Crown winner.  Were you not upset when E.P.Taylor moved the Dancer from Oshawa to Maryland?  I was.  Mightily upset.  But at least Cdns could van our mares to him.  Can't van across the Pacific.

Linda, Linda, Linda:  Fifty Proof (a pretty good runner at Woodbine, by the way) was clumsy, very clumsy but I think we must concede that some American breeders are more interested in fashion and speed than bottom.  Part of Reddam's problems re IHA probably arose from the horse not having a Kardaisian type pedigree and the worry that he might be overlooked by those looking only at speed, speed, speed.  What do you think might happen with Animal Kingdom?  Some South American sire over some German mare.  Where is he going to end up?

This isn't new, folks.  The Brits were not happy when Nasrullah and Mahmoud and Tudor  Minstrel crossed the pond.

As a general point, Fifty Proof, stop channelling Draynay.  Stand your ground but don't berate..  Linda, happy 4th of July for you, happy Canada Day (July 1st) for us and God shouldn't bless countries, God should bless peace around the world.

(whew!  I'm all done for now...except to say that I loved Mr. Ed, Fury, My Friend Flicka and every Marguerite Henry book ever written, even including Brighty of Grand Canyon ...and he wasn't even a horse!)

[...and congrats on the Supreme Court correct decision on Obamacare! ]

29 Jun 2012 12:11 AM


Yes, Sheikh Mo is great for US breeding.  He's got my beloved Hard Spun over at Darley as well.  Street Sense and Henny Hughes are residents too!  Darley's got some roster over there of thoroughbreds!

29 Jun 2012 12:30 AM
Sam Not Spam

Got to chip in here and say that if IHA wasn't sound enough to see out his 3yo season, do you REALLY want him at stud in the US?  OK, the Japanese might get lucky and he might not pass on any confirmation problems to his offspring, but time might prove US breeders right.  Just a thought.  Think of the rules on German stallions, where bleeders and unsound horses don't make it to stud.  Yes, I know that'd exclude brilliant sires such as Danzig, but you have to look at the long-term viability of the breed and maintenance of the gene pool as opposed to short-term gains.  IMHO.

29 Jun 2012 7:21 AM

The arguments that I'll Have Another's alleged soundness issue and/or his trainer's tainted past record cost him a stud career in the U.S. might sound logical, but how does one rectify this line of reasoning with the fact that Big Brown, with his tremendous foot issues and far far more maligned trainer, sold for 50 million dollars hours before the Preakness to a prestigious U.S. stud farm?  A consultation with IEAH to find out how that deal went down before sending Another away might have been in order.

29 Jun 2012 2:20 PM

I won't respond to Mr. Fifty Proof, the name alone tells the story. As for whether or not I'll Have Another would've been worth more had he won the triple crown, I believe that answer to be "no". In fact, I think Blood Horse did an article on the subject. Big Brown vs I'll Have Another, apples and oranges. We all have the right to our opinions, and when something stinks, we don't have to pretend it smells like a rose. Perhaps American breeders weren't interested in IHA. However, how much time was dedicated to really trying to make a lucrative deal for him in the states? He was unloaded like a hot potato. I was also upset about Empire Maker, as well as a whole host of other horses we "betrayed". I'm a sap, what can I say? Not all owners of these magnificent creatures revere them as family members. I need to except that, but I'll never like it.

29 Jun 2012 4:52 PM

Sam: I'll Have Another did not retire unsound.  He has the start of tendonitis.  It will heal..just not well enough to allow him to race.  That's like saying anyone with "tennis elbow" should not have children.

It's not a genetic problem, and has no bearing on the health of progeny.

29 Jun 2012 6:09 PM
Criminal Type

Linda, Very funny about the eggplant.

Alex, I too love Hard Spun and so glad he is doing well at stud. I never really had much doubt that he would. Don't forget that along with the American roster of stallions at Darley, they have 4 or 5 other stallion facilities around the world, including Japan. They own some superior bloodstock, but of course that was Sheik Mohammad's intention, wasn't it?

Slew, I too can't wait to see what we get from Lonhro. I like his look.

29 Jun 2012 6:23 PM

It seems there is a whirling furor over the sale of IHA.

Has anyone actually gone on line to check out Big Red Farms where he will stand?  It's absolutely gorgeous.  Sure looks a lot like Kentucky's finest.

And you might want to check out just how many US bred stallions are standing stud duty in Japan.

Roses In May, Came Home, Empire Maker, Aldebaran, Charismatic, Johannesburg, Stravinsky, Boston Harbor, Silver Charm are just a few.  The Japanese stables are on line, and the winning progeny are listed.  Just check out the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association to stay in touch with any of your favorites.

I realize the fate of Ferdinand still weighs heavily on people's minds.  But times have changed, and Grade 1 winners do have contract clauses that protect them.  And the Jockey Club is often able to follow them in case any progeny come to the US, such as Howe Great..because Hat Trick still stands in Japan.

And some want to believe that Japan is the only country that eats horse meat.  Guess what...so does half of Europe, Asia and South America.  Not pleasant to think about, but a fact, nonetheless.

My point is that the sale of I'll Have Another has stirred up a xenophobic furor, and Mr. Reddam is the whipping boy.  It doesn't seem fair to the owner or the Japanese.  It's a myopic point of view.

29 Jun 2012 7:03 PM

MZ et al,

Great idea.....hmmmm.....van across the Pacific?  Ok, guys, here's what we do!  We hire a special plane, recruit some of our prettiest young fillies like Havre, Blind Luck, Royal Delta, and Plum Pretty because, after all, they are just plum pretties!  Ok, we disguise them as "Geisha girls" and send them on a mission to go get IHA back!!!!!  IHA willingly goes with them, singing, "I think I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so."  (Or however that song goes.)  And voila, IHA is back in the USA and we hide him where????? In Fran's backyard!!!!!!!!  (I know it is reserved for Alex for an emergency, but this is one)!

It is 100 degrees in NJ, the heat has got me!!!!!! But the Geisha girl thing was my 78 year old neighbor's idea, she loves IHA and doesn't like him going to Japan either.  Happy weekend everyone!

29 Jun 2012 7:18 PM
Sam Not Spam

Slew,  you say that but didn't he have issues late last year/early this, needing ultrasound?  And who's to say that confirmation issues can't make a horse more prone to tendonitis?  I'm just pointing out that maybe there should be more selectiveness in horses used for breeding, and a horse that's had issues of any sort at both 2 and 3 represents a gamble for breeders.

30 Jun 2012 12:39 PM

I have no doubt that the Big Red farms are "beautiful", and I'm not foolish enough to think that the horses are neglected. They are investments, large investments, ofcoarse they are well cared for. My concern is for the horses who are no longer productive due to illness or old age. Unless there has been a new revolution that I'm not aware of, the Japanese don't retire their "investments". No horse deserves to draw their last breath in a slaughter house, and for a horse like I'll Have Another, it's unforgivable. If foreign investors would provide safe passage back to the states after the horse was no longer of use to them and contribute to  their retirement, it wouldn't be such a bitter pill to swallow. On the subject of retirement, does anyone know what happened to St. Trinians? The last I heard about the gallant little mare, she was slated to be sold. She's been in my thoughts a long time, and I'd like to know if she settled in a new home and how she's doing.

30 Jun 2012 1:40 PM
Karen in Texas

Slew----Yes, I actually did check out the Big Red Farm site over a week ago, and found it to be user-friendly for Americans. I thought the photos and the video did depict a lush setting, as you said, with undulating hills similar to (dare I say) Fair Hill.

Ferdinand's story was outrageous to most people in the U.S., but in his death he created changes for stallions coming after him. Truly, most contracts now have buy-back, anti-slaughter, or pensioning clauses. And, as I have now mentioned three times on these blogs, Michael Blowen is tracking all American stallions with the help of an agent at Narvick International Japan. The link to that info is on the Viva Big Red blog. By the way, for those who have said no stallions are ever pensioned in Japan--that all go to slaughter--you are incorrect.

I am going to try to link the Big Red Farm site here, and will find a link to verify the pensioning of various stallions recently in Japan.


30 Jun 2012 1:42 PM
Karen in Texas

As I said in my last post, here is a database (and there may be others) that shows stallions being pensioned in Japan, buy-back clauses being attached, stallions being returned to the U.S. for retirement at Old Friends or for duty elsewhere, etc.


30 Jun 2012 1:56 PM
Matthew W

I've seen every Preakness since '71 (on tv), and regarding I'll Have Another's running down Bodemiester in the last 3/8: maybe Secretariat, Spectacular Bid and Unbridled could do that--MAYBE! Fact is, few, very few horses could have done that--Bode was home free and 'Nuther got him, he was every bit a really good colt, and he wins that Belmont by ten! I'll Have Another got the Derby, and took the Preakness--but, oh baby, he was made for the Belmont!

30 Jun 2012 5:32 PM
Criminal Type

Slew, I think your mistaken about Hat Trick. He is a JPN bred, but he is standing at Gainesway in Kentucky for 15K last I heard.

30 Jun 2012 6:36 PM
an ole railbird

steve my compliments again, only this is double the compilments. i compilment you on a will written articule about the royal ascot race meet. & i compilment you on being an even tempered& understanding person. in that department you are a better man than i. i am talking about the people who blog off subject of the articule. & turn your blog into a place to whine & piss & moan, because " ill have another" went to japan. there were a few comments on the well written story of the ascot races, then "boom", we are off subject. its not enough to vioce displeasure about iha. but then everyone has to put their 2 cents in about ferdinan ,again, &again.  

grow up people, walt disney did not write the scripts of life. life is neither a storybook nor a movie.

once again, steve, keep up the good work .  

enough said " an ole railbird".

01 Jul 2012 8:55 AM

Criminal Type, you're correct.  Hat Trick does now stand at Gainesway for $15k. But he was bred in Japan.  So the Jockey Club carries the paper work from his breeding because they do the follow-up.  Any TB exported or imported does have a lot of paperwork to file with the JC, so that their progress can be tracked.

As far as believing (because of Ferdinand) that IHA is safer in the US than in Japan...tell it to Alydar.  Or perhaps, tell it to the Rasputin of horses, Phar Lap.  Perhaps you believe Europe is safer...tell that to Exceller who met his fate in Sweden.  The Exmoor ponies are disappearing in Great Britain.  Chef Gordon Ramsay tried to re-introduce horse meat on English menus.

Unscrupulous people inhabit any corner of the earth.  It's simply cultural myths and ignorance that cloud our judgement at times.

My point was that it is not fair to villify Reddam or the Japanese because IHA was sold to one of the most beautiful breeding farms in Japan.  

01 Jul 2012 9:23 AM
Karen in Texas

ksweatman9----St. Trinians was sold in January to Sierra Farm for $80,000. Perhaps you can contact them to see how she's doing.


01 Jul 2012 10:51 AM

The conformation issue in the matter of I'll Have Another is just an excuse used by breeders in IHA's case.  It's total b.s.  If breeders are willing to pay to breed with Big Brown, who had many more well-documented physical troubles and ailments than I'll Have Another ever had, then they would have been willing to take the chance to breed their mares with I'll Have Another as well.

The real reason the breeders were not interested in I'll Have Another is they believed they could mate their mares with Flower Alley at the ultra-cheap price of $7,500 instead, whereas they would have had to mate their mares with I'll Have Another at a much, much more higher price because I'll Have Another is the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner who is endowed with great speed and stamina in his background, as well as incredible heart, determination, and a fabulous will-to-win.  They would rather take their chances that they would hit the jackpot with Flower Alley at $7,500 a pop, and, hopefully, come out with a horse of their own that is equally as talented as I'll Have Another.  

As usual, when you get down to the real reason for things, it almost always comes down to money, and people giving in to their greed.  

However, Three Chimneys Farm just put an enormous hole in the breeders's bargain basement breeding plans because Flower Alley's breeding price is now suddenly "Upon Request", meaning the going rate has soared through the stratisphere to mate with Flower Alley because Flower Alley is the sire of the incredibly talented and superior horse, I'll Have Another.  So, the breeders that were looking to get something for almost nothing at a low, low bargain price will now not get the low, low bargain price they were counting on.  

U.S. breeders could have been breeding their mares with the real deal, I'll Have Another, but they let the real deal get away from them to the very wise Japanese breeders because U.S. breeders were trying to get something for nothing.  Now they are going to have to part with much more money anyway to try to obtain another I'll Have Another.  Bad, bad move, U.S. breeders.  You just shot yourselves in the foot again!  Something you've done often the last 30 years or so, that's one of the reasons this sport has markedly declined and is now in such bad shape.  Not only did the Japanese breeders show intelligence and business acumen in the IHA breeding deal, they showed an enormous far-sightedness as well, because they knew a $30 million investment in I'll Have Another has the huge possibility of making them an at least $500,000,000 profit, just as it did with Sunday Silence, whom I'll Have Another is very eerily very much like in characteristics.  That same half billion dollar profit could have belonged to American breeders, but they were short-sighted and got giddy dreaming of keeping more money in their pockets in the short-term. Silly, regretable mistake.

Not seeing the value in a long-term plan when dealing in financial matters always comes back to bite people in the rear end.

01 Jul 2012 5:59 PM

To KSweatman9:  It is my understanding that it is now standard procedure that Japanese breeders must swear contractually long before they purchase a North American horse, that once a horse they have purchased for breeding purposes has fulfilled their breeding commitment, they must promise to give the original owner the option to buy back the horse in question, and the fee to do so is not very high.  That requirement was put in after what was discovered in the Ferdinand case.  The horse industry put on their thinking caps and came up with this solution.  The buy back clause  is in the contract Bob and Beverly Lewis agreed to with Charismatic, and it is standard procedure today whenever a horse is sold for breeding to Japanese interests.  That is why I have much more confidence that I'll Have Another will eventually return back to North America after he fulfills his breeding responsibilities to live out the rest of his life in comfort.  

However, this contractual clause was not in use when War Emblem was sold to Japanese breeders, and War Emblem is very much in danger right now because he is very particular about the mares he mates with, and, therefore, he has sired many fewer horses than his new owners would have liked.  He's not the only one, either.  There are several other U.S. champions who are still on the bubble because they were sold to Japanese breeders before the buy back clause became standard business practice.  So we all need to work to get these great champion horses back to the States.  Japanese breeders seem to want to work with us in this manner, so we should be as diplomatic as possible with them to guarantee we can have our at-risk champions back on U.S. soil and will definitely be able to come home and live out their remaining days comfortably and happily.

01 Jul 2012 6:15 PM

Strangely, I'm not sure why but its difficult to accept that I'll Have Another is going to Japan.  He's not my horse.  I didn't train him and I didn't work with him.

Yet, as a fan I am taking it very personal.  Losing IHA to Japan really really hurts.

01 Jul 2012 7:16 PM

I would like to digress to Black Caviar and Franel who ran in Royal Ascot. Steve. has a special Eclipse award ever been awarded to a horse running outside the US? I think, if this the case, it would lovely if BC and Frankel could be recipients. Incidentally, BC's owners are NOT planning to sell but plan to keep her in Australia and breed her. I hope that there will be some nice stallions visiting Australia to mate with the Wonder From Down Under. It would be interesting who will be chosen.

01 Jul 2012 10:45 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I thoroughly enjoyed your informative, insightful and brilliantly written comments. I hope to read more from you in the future. Thanks.

01 Jul 2012 11:30 PM
Linda in Texas

Dr. Drunkinbum, i second your comments to JoyJackson21, who sounds like she is coming from right up my track also.

And thank you Steve for always posting what some of us feel like writing. Not always on topic, but one never knows what will tweak us to write an off topic comment:

Onion Bagels - Horses being shipped to Japan. Lox. Azeri.Beautiful Farms. Japan. Ferdinand. Sweden. Exceller. No i won't forget and the latest I'll Have Another just digs it all up again.

And to Sagamore Farm's regarding Millionreasonswhy, go my regrets and sympathy in the untimely and deadly accident suffered by a brave filly. Here one minute, gone the next. May she rest in peace.

Off topic but certainly relevant

and deserving of mention.


02 Jul 2012 9:51 AM

Thank you Karen, for the update on St. Trinians, I'm relieved, and Joy, a thank you goes out to you also. I'm aware we have "at risk" horses abroad. It's always on my mind. I'm aware that New York implemented a buy back clause for horses sold to foreign buyers, but I'm not certain about other states. I will try to stay optimistic. It's comforting to know that others care about the issue as well.

02 Jul 2012 11:14 AM
Criminal Type

Linda, I too am having a hard time with Millionreasonswhy..So freaking sad. I've been teary all day. I was at Sagamore on June 2 and got to watch some of their horses work, it was fabulous. I can only imagine how hard this is for everyone at the farm. So sorry for their loss.

Fair Hill on Thursday ! I can't wait ! Noticed Margano worked at FH yesterday. Wondering if the Jacksons have sent all their horses to the Delacourt barn ? I don't think Tagg trains there. Can't wait to see Union Rag's and Teeth of the Dog.  

02 Jul 2012 11:40 AM

To Dr. Drukinbum, Linda in Texas and ksweatman9:  Thank you for your kind words.  They made my day.  I have read your posts as well and I feel a kinship with you.  I can see you are passionate about this sport and the noble horses that inhabit it as I am.  I am new to this website forum and I try to speak what I feel is the truth.  I'll Have Another and Black Caviar have inspired me and stirred me to my very soul this year and they have inspired me to speak up and say what is on my mind in print.  Both of them have the attributes I absolutely love in a horse:  great talent, great heart, tenacity, intelligence, a professional and calm manner, and an incredible will-to-win.  They truly inspire me.  

I will continue to post often on this forum, so I will be interacting with you often, and I look forward to doing so.  It's nice to find a forum that is filled with like-minded people who are also respectful of each other's opinions.  That's rare today.  

Have a great day, each of you.  I will talk to you again soon. - Joy

02 Jul 2012 6:44 PM
Criminal Type

Linda, the Sagamore team has given Millionreasonswhy the ultimate tribute by placing her resting place next to none other then Native Dancer. TT is saying she was spooked by a deer, threw the rider and ran into the rail.

02 Jul 2012 7:26 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Thank you very much. It's great to have you here. It is easy to tell that you have passion, compassion, and a way with words that will truly be appreciated here on the best blog in the world. I really like your description of some of the attributes that we see in a thoroughbred that inspire us. I'll Have Another also had tremendous natural stamina for the classic distances which is one of the reasons I hate to see him go. I am very much looking forward to reading your comments in the future. Thanks for showing up !!!! There is a comradery here of people that love the sport but even more importantly love the horses and are deeply concerned about their health and welfare. It's the greatest game and the stars are one of the greatest creatures on earth, the thoroughbreds, and we owe them the best of care and treatment. I love to see a horse pre-race that has all of the signs of health with a shiny coat and is walking like a champion with a bowed neck who then wins the race and still carries that tremendous, proud energy back to the winner's circle knowing he or she is the champion, the best in the world today, regardless of the race level. Many of them love to race and compete and win, and we love to see them in all of their glory and pride. Magnificent animals with an unbelievable amount of talent, strength, and strong emotions. And it can be very scary out there so courage has to be an intregal part of the makeup of the great ones along with the will to win that you spoke of.

02 Jul 2012 10:25 PM
Linda in Texas

Criminal Type - Jo Ann Jones on HRTV mentioned that she was spooked by a deer after a delay due to weather. I guess maybe a morning shower or something.

And she will be resting in such good company, whole and with her blanket and bridle. She only went out for a morning run and did not return. The sudden aspect of it i guess is so hard to understand

and most upsetting.

Thank you JoyJackson21 you will find there are many who post here who are compassionate. I am the blog empath. Sounds like you might be also. And ditto on Frankel and Black Caviar and so many more. To me they each have their own special quality that sets them apart from another. And it's fun to watch them grow into their own, show up and give it their all.  

05 Jul 2012 9:11 AM

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