Hangin' With Haskin

Darby Dan Days

If it were not for Graustark I would not be writing this blog. That's because I would not be writing for the Blood-Horse. ... Read More

Debunking the Myths

Exploring some of the current theories of horse racing including: The Europeans whipped our butts in the Breeders' Cup and are superior to American horses, and Big Brown should not be considered for Horse of the Year because he beat a bunch of inferior horses this year.... Read More

Welcome Home, Alysheba

The day after the 1987 Preakness Stakes, I stopped at a service area on I-95 in Maryland on my way back home from the Preakness and called Jack Van Berg, asking if I could do a feature on him for the Thoroughbred Times, which had only been in existence for about a year. I had never met Van Berg, who was on top of the world at the time and who looked like a sure bet to saddle racing's next Triple Crown winner following Alysheba's impressive victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.... Read More

Horse of the Year Follies

So, will it be Curlin or Zenyatta for Horse of the Year? That is the question everyone - fans, writers, horsemen - either seem to be asking or are adamant about one way or the other. Obviously, a case can be made for either one.... Read More

Where to Begin

How does one even begin to comment on this year's wild and crazy Breeders' Cup? Pro-Ride form, the absence of any injuries, the filly phenomena, the European butt-whipping, Santa Anita, Horse of the Year, ESPN's new camera shots? That's just for starters.... Read More

P.G. and a Horse Called Volponi

Volponi's victory will always be one of the special moments I've experienced in racing. Not only did I love him in the race and pick him in my final column, I also touted him as my best bet of the entire Breeders' Cup and was the only one to select him on a Chicago radio show. As I ended my column..."I'll leave you with one word: Volponi!"... Read More

Invasor Remembered

With the unfortunate retirement of Big Brown, the Breeders' Cup pre-entries, a weekly column to write, and preparation for the Classic occupying most of my time this week, I thought, because of the interest shown in Invasor on my last blog and in several recent e-mails, I would reprint two stories (a commentary and parts of my Classic recap).... Read More

Tradition!

Will victories over a synthetic surface in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and either the Breeders' Futurity, Norfolk or Del Mar Futurity merit a national championship over dominating scores in the Hopeful and Champagne?... Read More

Wanderin Wonder

Many horses like Wanderin Boy go through their entire career overlooked by the fans and media. They're always dependable, showing up in many of the grade I stakes, and while they turn in huge efforts at times, they're just not able to get to the finish line first and make that leap into the big-time.... Read More

Tiznow Wins For America

Thoroughbred racing has always been confined to its own small world, safe and protected from the tumultuous events that surround it. There have been individual stars that have transcended the sport and reached out to touch mainstream America. But never before had the Sport of Kings been woven into the often tattered fabric of history. ... Read More

Tiz and The Iron Horse

A look at the leading North American sires list shows Tiznow ranked No. 2 and Giant's Causeway No. 3. What else is new? They wouldn't have it any other way.... Read More

A New Friend at Old Friends

It's a little before 6 a.m. Although the sun is beginning to rise back home, Lexington, Ky. is still dark. Outside my window at Old Friends, there is a sprawling network of paddocks, housing a number of top-class stakes winners and champions and some not not-so-well-known horses.... Read More

Lava Man to the Rescue

June 19, 2003 was a warm, humid day in Stockton, California, with a brisk 20 mile-an-hour-wind. The fourth race on the card, a $12,500 maiden claiming race for 2-year-olds, had no particular meaning, and you can bet no one paid any attention whatsoever to the fourth-place finisher -- a 35-1 shot named Lava Man, who was racing for his owner, breeder, and trainer Lonnie Arterburn, along with several partners.... Read More

Why Curlin Will Run in the Classic

Actually, I have nothing concrete to back that up other than a line from a movie. And it sounded like a good head. But, really, when Jess Jackson opened the door after the Woodward, saying he's going to have trainers like Dick Mandella keep him informed about the Santa Anita surface, it gave racing fans a ray of hope that maybe it could happen.... Read More

View From the Verrazano

As we approach the seventh anniversary of 9/11, I thought, rather than rehash how one of the most cataclysmic events in American history affected the racing world, I would reprint a story I wrote of my visit to Belmont Park four days later on Sept. 15 in order to recapture the atmosphere and the emotions that prevailed at the time, as well my own observations and feelings.... Read More

Breakfast With The Doc

I just returned from Saratoga and another Travers Stakes. It is this annual pilgrimage to the mecca of racing that makes me briefly forget all the problems the sport is facing and remember the way it used to be.... Read More

Hats Off to Larry

The morning of the Kentucky Derby, in a corner of Barn 43, all was right with the world. Larry and Cindy Jones were still beaming over the impressive victory of Proud Spell in the previous day's Kentucky Oaks. Their African Gray parrot, Buddy, was whistling up a storm outside his cage in the office. Proud Spell was having her picture taken with several visitors. And in the next stall, Eight Belles was awaiting her chance at history in the Run for the Roses. ... Read More

Where Should Big Brown Run next?

This is about the three choices for Big Brown's prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic -- an undetermined grass race at Belmont Park, the Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita, or the Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita the same day.... Read More

The Horse of Tomorrow

With many of our top 3-year-olds being retired and deprived of a 4- or 5-year-old campaign, and with so many major races taking place on synthetic surfaces, you have to wonder what the horse of tomorrow will be like; the ones the fans all over the country will get to see run and become familiar with on a long-term basis.... Read More

Mixed Feelings

I don't know how I feel anymore. I hate to become too wrapped up in all this Curlin vs. Big Brown banter and then have it all become moot when they go their separate ways. If it turns out to be nothing but idle chatter, then what good did it do other than provide us with amusement or indignation, depending on how you reacted to it?... Read More

The Unbeatable Horse

How many times have you heard the expression, "No one would have beaten him today?" Throughout history, there have been numerous horses who, for one or two races, turned in performances so extraordinary, you can't imagine anyone beating them.... Read More

Magnificent "7"

These are the horses and stories that stir our souls and reach deep into our heart...and remain there. Horses like Commentator, Evening Attire, Better Talk Now, The Tin Man, and Perfect Drift -- just to name a few -- are the ones who feel like old friends. The longer they stay around the longer they amaze us with their youthful exuberance.... Read More

Happy Anniversary, Big Red

I naturally turned around to see who it was. There before me, stretched out and gobbling up the ground with gigantic strides was a big, powerful chestnut. I recognized the blue and white colors of Meadow Stable on the colt's equipment, and figured it could only be their highly touted 2-year-old Secretariat, who was already making a name for himself at the Saratoga meeting.... Read More

Heroes and Flip-Flopping

Although there were only a couple of so-called glamour races this past weekend, there were enough heroes that emerged to make me start having second thoughts about certain subjects I've been commenting on. ... Read More

It's Trivia Time

So, enough about Big Brown and Curlin for now. It's time to delve into something much lighter. Every so often starting now, just to break up the monotony of my often long-winded comments, I will toss in 10 trivia questions. As soon as you know the answer or think you know the answer to a particular question, send it in, because the first person to send in the correct answer gets a point.... Read More

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