The Racing Hub

Outside commentary from the people who care about and participate in Thoroughbred racing

Curragh, Take Me Away

  • 27 Jun 2008 12:16 PM

In order to remove myself from the problems that are confronting American racing right now, for one weekend, I am intent on going across the pond for my action. ... Read More

Injured Mare Brings Controversial Topic to a Head

  • 25 Jun 2008 8:36 AM

Have you ever tried explaining to a friend who is attending the races for the very first time, why these majestic animals that are bred to run, must be whipped? You feel that familiar flush of embarrassment, knowing what you are about to say is something you don't believe yourself. ... Read More

Royal Ascot Summary

  • 23 Jun 2008 9:40 PM

Vincent O'Brien and Aidan O'Brien are of no relation, but you couldn't tell it from their results. The younger O'Brien won four Group 1 stakes last week at Royal Ascot, saving his greatest feat for Thursday when Yeats won his third consecutive Gold Cup for the Coolmore connection. ... Read More

Royal Ascot Day 4

  • 20 Jun 2008 2:14 PM

The next to last day of the 2008 Royal Meet at Ascot Race Course came up windy and cloudy with the ground much harder than most European runners desire. Rain would not fall until the fifth contest of the day.... Read More

Royal Ascot Coverage

  • 20 Jun 2008 9:21 AM

The Group 2 Norfolk Stakes was the first race on the card of day three at Royal Ascot. The son of Forest Camp out of the Forty Niner mare, Brittan Lee, won his first start at Carlisle by a double-digit margin. Today, he squeaked out a win over the Irish-bred Spin Cycle with English bred Prolific and Flashmans Papers were third and fourth. It sounds foolish to say that the next three looked better than the winner, but that could prove to be the case when the distances become more taxing than the five furlongs traveled today. ... Read More

Big Brown is No Curlin

  • 16 Jun 2008 9:44 AM

Unlike last Saturday, this time the superstar delivered. Big time. There is only one true superstar on the Thoroughbred racing planet right now, and it isn't that worn-out 3-year-old who dissolved into a Big Brown meltdown in the Long Island heat during last Saturday's Belmont Stakes. ... Read More

The Great Days Are Now

  • 4 Jun 2008 10:31 AM

These are the delicious days, the days of debate and doubt as we wait for the Belmont Stakes, the toughest race to win in the United States and the last leg of the Triple Crown. There is no better time to be a horse racing fan.... Read More

To the Swift - Red Smith on Alydar

  • 3 Jun 2008 9:13 AM

The tack boxes spaced along the shedrow at Barn AA are painted red and blue, the devil's red and deep blue of Calumet Farm's racing silks. These are the colors Whirlaway and Citation carried when they swept the Triple Crown races of 1941 and 1948. They are the colors flown by Pensive and Ponder and Hill Gail and Iron Liege and Tim Tam when those good ones dashed home first in the Kentucky Derby.... Read More

Racing Imitates Wall Street

  • 1 Jun 2008 7:38 AM

Barron's, last week, asked this question: "This economy keeps dispensing with decades of statistical precedent. We have a 23-year-high inventory of unsold homes, a 49-year-low in per-capita home sales, a 28-year-low in consumer confidence, and an all-time high in inflation-adjusted oil prices. With it all, is it impressive of inexplicable that the Standard & Poor's 500 is merely at a one-month low, and just 12% below an all-time high?" ... Read More

From Seattle Slew to the Small Time

  • 30 May 2008 8:54 AM

Right now, Bill Turner is the only living trainer of a Triple Crown winner. His horse, the great Seattle Slew, was undefeated in nine races, a streak that ended with his Belmont Stakes win in 1977. Bill might lose that distinction June 7, if Big Brown takes the Belmont, but for now the reporters are still dropping by his barn in the mornings, asking whether he thinks Big Brown will win, or just collecting memories of that past Triple Crown campaign.... Read More

Goal in Sight for Big Brown

  • 19 May 2008 11:12 AM

For the seventh time in 12 years, a 3-year-old Thoroughbred will take unwavering aim at one of the most difficult feats in sports when undefeated Big Brown advances to the Belmont Stakes on June 7 at New York's Belmont Park. There is one reason to believe that this colt, unscathed through five races in which he demolished the opposition by a combined 39 lengths, can succeed where Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic, War Emblem, Funny Cide and Smarty Jones all fell short. ... Read More

Great Horse?

  • 19 May 2008 9:53 AM

It's hard to find fault in Big Brown's performance here in the Preakness. He was barely asked to run by the jockey Kent Desormeaux and buried an overmatched field. ... Read More

Jockey Chases Triple Crown While Son Can Still See It

  • 16 May 2008 4:05 PM

When jockey Kent Desormeaux and undefeated Big Brown spring into action in the 133rd Preakness Stakes on Saturday, their bid to move to within one win of a Triple Crown will be accompanied by a rush of sights and sounds. The jockeys' bright, shimmering silks will form a montage of colors after the starting gate snaps open. The fans' roar will all but propel the pounding hooves into the first turn at Pimlico Race Course. ... Read More

No Method, Just Madness

  • 16 May 2008 2:10 PM

Rick Dutrow doesn’t mince words. "I think that it’s our race to lose," Dutrow said. "I think that he is the best horse in the race and I think if he breaks with the field, he’ll win the race." He also is right. I'm rooting for Big Brown to pull into Belmont with a shot at a Triple Crown and immortality. ... Read More

The New Shooters' Stakes

  • 13 May 2008 1:56 PM

Bill Christine, - You'll need a scorecard for the 133rd running of the Preakness. Yankee Bravo? That name sort of rings a bell. Behindatthebar? Seems familiar. Giant Moon? I remember him. Vaguely. The Preakness has always been a haven for the Triple Crown's new shooters, but this is ridiculous. This isn't a field, it's a road company of "Ben-Hur." ... Read More

Maddening Media

  • 13 May 2008 11:44 AM

Courtesy of Railbird - The situation with Eight Belles has illustrated my disdain for the media. Unfortunately, most outlets tell the story they want to tell rather than the actual story. The vocal minority gets the soundbytes while anyone who's really in the mix goes ignored. ... Read More

Safety First

  • 8 May 2008 12:33 PM

By Alex Waldrop, Like many of you, I watched Saturday's Kentucky Derby and was in awe of the amazing performance of Big Brown and his talented jockey, Kent Desormeaux. Big Brown ran a race from the 20th post position that was remarkable. And Desormeaux rode a race that even I could appreciate as very skillful. Unfortunately for racing, events unfolded after the race that completely overshadowed Big Brown's impressive performance.... Read More

Behind a Derby Favorite, Tragedy and Redemption

  • 2 May 2008 3:40 PM

For Big Brown, undefeated but having raced only three times, the Derby (4 p.m. ET, NBC; post time 6:04) is a chance to validate the hype that has made such an inexperienced colt the favorite among oddsmakers to win the most prestigious event in American horse racing.... Read More

Top 7 Who Won't Win the Derby

  • 2 May 2008 1:22 PM

There were 38,191 North American foals born in 2005 (hat tip to the Jockey Club), and only 20 will be allowed in the gate in a little over a week. That is, one-twentieth of one percent get into the gate, and yet I am about to tell you that Recapturetheglory, winner of the grade II Illinois Derby is a complete toss. That's because I'm going to give you my Top 7 Who Won't Win the Derby list. ... Read More

The Computer Says the Derby Winner Is...

  • 2 May 2008 11:58 AM

The 2008 edition of C-J Derby DataTrack has now been updated for the last time and contains the Derby Rating, a total based upon a mathematical formula that assigns a value to each of the nearly 60 factors included in the data base.... Read More

How to Pick a Derby Horse if you are a Newbie

  • 1 May 2008 4:34 PM

First, a blog is always about helping people and a "n00b" is slang for newbie, or rookie. You're welcome. So, you're also new to the Kentucky Derby, and you're looking to make your first pick and not look too foolish. Have no fear; I'm here to help you.... Read More

Don't Get Burned - Pick Pyro

  • 1 May 2008 4:30 PM

Courtesy of The New York Times Dean Keppler, author of Betting the Kentucky Derby: How to Wager and Win on America’s Biggest Horse Race from DRF Press, discussed his approach to betting the Derby earlier this week. Now with the post positions set, he gives us his picks: 1) PYRO 2) ADRIANO 3) Z FORTUNE For his reasoning and more on how to bet the race, 9- PYRO (6/1) Steve Asmussen’s Pulpit colt was... Read More

HorseRace Insider - Time to Change Kentucky Derby Eligibility Rules

  • 1 May 2008 10:13 AM

Win, lose or post position draw, this should be the final year that Kentucky Derby eligibility is determined by earnings, graded or otherwise. The system has outlived its utility and no longer makes sense. Twenty Derby starters is the modern rule, not the exception. And it matters not whether that this year's draw involving the filly Eight Belles went smoothly. Using any criteria, she earned her way in.... Read More

World's Most Expensive Mint Julep Cup

  • 1 May 2008 9:26 AM

If you watched the Kentucky Derby post position draw Wednesday on ESPN2, perhaps you caught a glimpse of the internationally famous sports artist LeRoy Neiman - how could you miss his mustache? - scribbling away in the crowd.... Read More

Q&A: Joe Drape from Churchill Downs

  • 1 May 2008 9:22 AM

The Rail invites readers to submit questions for Joe Drape , The New York Times’s Eclipse Award-winning horse racing writer. To submit a question, add a comment below. Joe will be checking in from Churchill Downs throughout the day Thursday to talk about the Derby field, the draw, workouts and anything else readers want to know about. Have a question about synthetic surfaces ? Want to know more about... Read More

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