Hangin' With Haskin

Holiday Wishes and a Poll

This final blog of 2008 is to wish everyone a joyous holiday season and say thanks for all the comments over the past six months and all the words of encouragement regarding the historical pieces, most of which combined facts, anecdotes, and personal recollections of the horses and the people.... Read More

The Skip Trip

First it was Holy Bull's rampage in 1994 and then the reign of Cigar. No chronicle of the mid-to-late '90s would be complete without recognizing Skip Away's career, which football pundits would call smash-mouth racing.... Read More

The Garden Party and Other Cigar Stories

Any discussion of the era of the mid-to-late '90s would not be complete without talking about Cigar. What follows are several behind-the-scenes stories about Cigar that, it is hoped, will take the readers to places they have never been.... Read More

Bull's Eye!

I'm sure many people are familiar with the story of Holy Bull and Jimmy Croll, but in keeping with the current historical theme I will tell it again for those who are not familiar with it and those who only know parts of it. It's another one of those racing stories you can't make up.... Read More

Spectacular Days

People are always asking me who is the greatest horse I have ever seen. I tell them that in my opinion, Secretariat and Damascus had the most incredible 3-year-old campaigns, and Dr. Fager, in 1968, was the greatest horse who ever set foot on an American racetrack. But over the course of an entire career, at ages 2, 3, and 4, Spectacular Bid was the greatest horse I have ever seen.... Read More

Viva Canonero! Part 2

As the Kentucky Derby hoopla began to quiet down, a stunned racing world was still trying to recover from the bombshell that had fallen on Churchill Downs. An obscurely bred, crooked legged, harlequin of a horse from Venezuela, who had been ridiculed by the press and local horsemen, had just concluded the most bizarre journey and adventure in the history of the Kentucky Derby.... Read More

Viva Canonero! Part 1

The 1971 3-year-old crop trilogy concludes appropriately with the remarkable Canonero II, whose story is so improbable it would be scoffed at by any responsible movie producer. Because of that, it must be told in two parts. The second part will follow on Monday.... Read More

The Unbreakable, Indestructible Jim French

You may have noticed the two brief mentions of Jim French in the last blog in regard to His Majesty's exploits early in his 3-year-old campaign. Remaining on the subject of Graustark, it is only appropriate to give his son equal billing. I can't think of any horse who deserves to have his accomplishments chronicled and hammered into our psyche, especially in this era of pampered horses.... Read More

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

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