Hangin' With Haskin

The Day Hansel Defied Lasix

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

The Amazing Tapit: The Whole Story

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

Belmont Analysis: End of a Long Odd Journey

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

Farewell to a Friend: RIP Holy Bull

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

A Different Twist for One Belmont Starter

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

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

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

Epicharis and Belmont a Perfect Fit

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

Preakness Wrapup: Clouds Got in the Way

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

NYRA Stakes Change: From a King to a Chief

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

Always Dreaming Just an Old School Kinda Horse

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

Always Dreaming's Journey on the Derby Dozen

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

Derby Recap: Johnny on the Pony

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

The Derby Past vs. Present: No Contest

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

Waiting For Arazi

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

Awesome Addition to Old Friends

With Awesome Gem arriving at his new home at Old Friends April 7 I thought it would be an appropriate time to reprint a column I wrote in 2010 on this old warrior and the person whose life he changed.... Read More

John Nerud and the Making of Arrogate

John Nerud's influence can be found in both the male and female family of Arrogate, the sensational Travers, Breeders' Cup Classic, and Pegasus World Cup winner who set off a frenzy of emotion and superlatives with his incredible victory in the Dubai World Cup.... Read More

Arrogate and How We Define Greatness

Arrogate is as great as each individual perceives him, and it has nothing to do with competition or longevity. Years from now, Arrogate's Hall of Fame plaque will be there among the others, and nowhere will it mention the quality of his competition.... Read More

Tracks Need to Follow NYRA’s TV Expansion

Back in racing’s glory days, which people my age call racing in the 1960s and ‘70s, there was little in the way of televised races. There was no simulcasting, no home computers and cell phones, and once a week during the ‘60s, TV viewers in New York would tune in to the affable and folksy Win Elliot broadcasting the races from Aqueduct, which was the center of the racing universe, where the likes of... Read More

Guest Blog: Mandy Haskin in Dubai

With the Dubai World Cup preps concluded and the big night only a few weeks away, I thought I would get everyone in the mood by reprinting a feature my daughter Mandy wrote for Dubairacenight.com in 2010 about her experiences.... Read More

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