Hangin' With Haskin

Casandra Branick One of Many Heroes

True heroes do not speak of their heroic deeds; they let others speak for them. Casandra Branick, barn manager and exercise rider for trainer Edward Freeman, would rather talk about the heroic deeds of so many others who risked their lives to save horses during the San Luis Rey Downs nightmare. So, it was only appropriate that one of the owners who has horses with Freeman, Dennis Miller, speak up for... Read More

A Time For Heroes

People as a whole can be depended on to come through during times of crisis, but never in memory have so many horse lovers sacrificed so much and worked so diligently in assisting the horses at San Luis Rey Downs through their horrible and frightening ordeal.... Read More

Vox Populi Award Gaining its Niche in History

Why has the name Seabiscuit endured for so many years and why did his story become a best selling book and popular motion picture? When people discuss the greatest horses of all time, you rarely hear Seabiscuit's name mentioned. Other than his victory over War Admiral in a match race and perhaps the Santa Anita Handicap, how many of his stakes victories can you name? The reason Seabiscuit has become... Read More

Bolt d'Oro Taking the Right Path

As a historian and traditionalist, I have stated on several occasions that I am a firm believer, as were the trainers of the past, in starting a horse's 3-year-old campaign in a sprint to sharpen him up for the rigors of the Triple Crown trail, especially those with extensive 2-year-old campaigns competing at two turns at the highest level. ... Read More

Giving Thanks: Thoroughbred Times Days

It was the winter of 1986, and I was in a major lull in my potential writing career. I was actually just becoming enthusiastic about racing again after a brief hiatus in 1982, '83 and '84, during which my wife Joan and I had moved to New Jersey and become fanatic birdwatchers.... Read More

The Unsolved Mystery of Arrogate

We should remember the Arrogate who raised goose bumps on our arms and left us numb from the experience of watching him run. And we should ignore the phantom who floundered at Del Mar, as we would any mirage.... Read More

The Return of Swaps

This was the extent of my racing foundation, and it all started with Swaps and Nashua and two guys talking about them on a bus. After all, how could you not love the name Swaps?... Read More

Mornings With Gun Runner

There is no need for an alarm clock when you're in Saratoga, especially when you're staying with your close friends Avi and Rhoda Freedberg, whose home on Fifth Avenue backs right onto the Oklahoma training track. It is just starting to get light out, and the sounds of horses hooves outside your window are all the stimuli you need to hop out of bed, throw on some clothes, go out to the back porch and... Read More

An Unexpected Loaded Gun for the Classic?

But let's start by being more logical. The Classic is simple: Arrogate or Gun Runner? That is where everyone will be focusing their attention. In the two previous showdowns between these two antagonists, Arrogate proved to be the fastest gun alive.... Read More

Angles Galore on European Longshots

This has to be one of the deepest contingents of European invaders, with a number of proven contenders, such as Highland Reel, Ribchester, Ulysses, Churchill, Marsha, Queen’s Trust, Rhododendron, and Roly Poly; and top-class juveniles Mendelssohn, Happily, Masar, James Garfield, U.S. Ranger, and Beckford. But the European danger does not end there. There actually are a number of live longshots who could very well be sitting on a huge upset, based on the fact that they have underachieved on soft going, but love it firm. ... Read More

Why Gunnevera Should Run Well at Del Mar

In the case of Gunnevera, he has one main weapon, and that is a wicked turn of foot and an explosive move on the far turn. As powerful a weapon as that can be, it is not meant to be sustained over a distance of ground. Gunnevera's move is so quick and powerful and is made so early, he can sustain it for about a quarter of a mile, perhaps a bit farther. ... Read More

Still Dreaming After All

Ulcers, good news? Most definitely when it not only provided an explanation for Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming's abrupt form reversal, it virtually plucked him out of retirement and put him on the path for a 4-year-old campaign. ... Read More

The Empire That Almost Was

In the case of Classic Empire, there is no doubt the greatness was there. And there is no doubt it was confronted by enough obstacles to prevent it from fully surfacing. But it did on occasion manage to trickle out, just enough to show the world what might have been.... Read More

Zenyatta Video the Perfect Holiday Gift

The new "Zenyatta: Queen of Racing" video is out, but I must issue a warning to all those who purchase it. If you were a fan of Zenyatta, have plenty of tissues close by. You're going to need them. If you weren't a fan of Zenyatta, have them close by anyway, because you will be by the end. The memories keep coming throughout, reminding us that Zenyatta was so much more than a racehorse. She was a spiritual force who affected people unlike any other Thoroughbred. ... Read More

Why Are Trainers Abandoning the Prep Races?

Once upon a time, not too long ago, Thoroughbred trainers considered prep races, well, prep races; short for prepare. As in prepare your horse for the ultimate goal. As in have him or her primed, fit, and sharp for their big test, which in the case of the Breeders' Cup, often determines the Eclipse Award winners.... Read More

Poo Pooing the Preps

We have entered a new era on the Triple Crown trail, where many trainers now plan only two preps for the Kentucky Derby. It has proven successful over the past decade, so more and more trainers are adopting that philosophy.... Read More

West Coast Offense

With his 7 1/4-length romp in the grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, West Coast has now rattled off four consecutive stakes victories, all dominating scores, including wins in the Travers Stakes, Los Alamitos Derby, and now the Pennsylvania Derby, catapulting himself intro a clear-cut lead for the 3-year-old championship.... Read More

One Final Party For Penny and a Fond Farewell

Well, Penny, after wishing you a Happy Birthday every couple of years, I must update my sentiments one final time. Although it isn't your birthday, it is the day you have entered the gates of racing's pantheon, and ethereally speaking, have been reunited with those the two noble steeds who would help define your life, as well as the man you so admired and cherished, who was responsible for bringing... Read More

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