Hangin' With Haskin

Adventures With Mike Marten

Racing people to Mike were not just figures to photograph. They were sources of information, which he always wanted to absorb. He wanted to get inside of people and that is why his head shots were so revealing.... Read More

J.B., Silver Charm, and American Pharoah

The racing and breeding world was shocked to learn of the death at age 53 of J.B. McKathan, who along with his brother Kevin, helped propel the comet known as Bob Baffert back in 1996, while establishing the McKathan Brothers Farm in Ocala as one of the best classrooms for young 2-year-olds to get their start.... Read More

Phyllis Wyeth and Union Rags Made History Together

I just learned of the death of Phyllis Mills Wyeth on Jan. 14 at age 78. Known for her philanthropic endeavors as well as her family history in the Sport of Kings, she had a love affair with her homebred colt Union Rags that has earned a place in the history books, most notably the chapter on the Belmont Stakes.... Read More

The Year It All Began

Fifty Years. Half a decade. A lifetime ago. Seems like yesterday. There is something about anniversaries, excluding weddings and births, that make us remember events we normally don't give that much thought to. When you reach way back and pull out a 50th anniversary, it brings your life into perspective. There is no year in memory that evokes more nostalgia and brings back historical events than 1969... Read More

Hard Luck Derby Horses over the Past 50 Years

When you think of hard-luck horses in the Derby, the first horse that comes to mind is Native Dancer, who was interfered with early and came up a head short of not only winning the Derby but retiring undefeated. We have had other hard-luck horses in the past 50 years for whatever reason who might have been cost a victory or at least a far better placing. There no doubt are others that I am missing, but here is a list of those who come to mind who had their one chance at Kentucky Derby immortality compromised because of bad luck.... Read More

New Mindset for Derby Dozen

As I prepare for the latest onslaught of Derby horses and Derby performances and the same old trainer names, I have come to the stark realization that nothing is the same as it was. Gone is the old formulated thinking. Gone is the same old logic. And gone are the same old historical perspectives. And there is one horse responsible for that. His name is Justify. ... Read More

Sam Riddle on Man o' War Part Two

Unfortunately, Sam Riddle's recollections of Man o' War's 2-year-old campaign were not among the aforementioned papers discovered in Mary Simon's box of old articles and papers. But what follows is a riveting account of Big Red's three-year-old campaign.... Read More

Sam Riddle Tells Inside Story of Purchasing Man o’War

Reading the transcript was an amazing journey back in time that seemed as if it were written today and that Man o’ War was still alive at stud and War Admiral was about to embark on his Triple Crown odyssey. It provided an up close and personal look at Man o’ War through Riddle’s eyes from the time he purchased him throughout his racing career, with the exception of his 2-year-old campaign, which was missing.... Read More

Winx Elevates Vox Populi Award to New Level

The Secretariat Vox Populi Award, created by Secretariat's owner Penny Chenery in 2010, annually recognizes the horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the general public and gained recognition for Thoroughbred racing. With approximately 80% or higher of the votes coming from the States each year, it was not a surprise that the award had been won every year by an American horse ... until now.... Read More

Weep No More For Graded Stakes Committee

The weeping is over. The complaining fruitless. So just accept the direction Thoroughbred Racing is heading. The American Graded Stakes Committee is no doubt comprised of knowledgeable, intelligent people who know what they are doing and follow their formulas and equations with great awareness when juggling graded stakes, especially those rated grade 1.... Read More

Giving Thanks For Justify

In the days leading up to the 1979 Belmont Stakes, with Spectacular Bid having dominated his opposition in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, if someone had asked you to give thanks that we were about to witness a Triple Crown winner, you might have been inclined to laugh in their face.... Read More

Harvesting the Crop of 2013

It seems that most every year, people at some point criticize the 3-year-old crop without knowing what history has in store for it and what gems lie hidden beneath the surface. If any crop seemed destined for anonymity and being deemed inconsequential it was the crop of 2013, the crop that has now written its own chapter in the annals of the sport.... Read More

Analysis of the Breeders' Cup Classic

I must start off by admitting that this is one race where my opinion changes, not by the day, but by the hour. I must also admit that two of my favorite horses are in the field, both of whom I would love to see win. They are CATHOLIC BOY and MIND YOUR BISCUITS. I have been a huge fan of Catholic Boy from the moment I laid on him in the paddock before the Remsen Stakes, and Mind Your Biscuits has added... Read More

Breeders' Cup: Always Room For Improvement

The Breeders’ Cup is always looking to make changes in order to improve the event. It started back when the Filly and Mare Turf was added. Some of the changes since have been good and some bad. For years, I have been an advocate for an all juvenile day on Friday, promoting it by saying, “Come see next year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses.” So, I was thrilled to see Breeders’ Cup make the... Read More

A Lot at Stake For Accelerate

Accelerate's connections are just focusing for now on winning the Breeders' Cup Classic. But the truth is the 5-year-old is embroiled in a hot rivalry with a horse he has never faced and never will. We are all aware, especially judging by the weekly NTRA poll, that a victory by Accelerate in the Breeders' Cup Classic could actually snatch Horse of the Year honors away from Justify, who would become... Read More

Is the Derby Winner in This Year's Juvenile?

Here is a rundown of horses pre-entered in this year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile who could join Street Sense, Nyquist, Good Magic, and Classic Empire as major factors in the Kentucky Derby, based on pedigree and performance, mostly visually, as statistics do not always reveal what a brilliant 2-year-old will do going a mile and a quarter at 3.... Read More

Bombs Away! Don't Ignore Pavel in Classic

With the depth of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, you are going to get some huge prices on horses that don’t deserve to be huge prices. But remember, depth does not always equate to strength, and at this point we really don’t know just how strong the Classic field is.... Read More

Classical Grass

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

Visiting Marchmont Cemetery and Damascus

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

Big Red: The Early Years

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

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