Dan Liebman

In It To Win It

By Dan Liebman - On the night of the 36th Eclipse Awards Jan. 22 in Beverly Hills, Calif., every equine flat winner had one thing in common: all raced on Breeders' Cup World Championships day.

Texas-bred Champions Honored

The 2006 Texas-bred champions were honored Saturday night as guest speaker Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable told the crowd there will always be room for the little guy in racing.

2007 Stud Fees: More Declines than Increases

A few years ago, Jay Brunker believed a breeder could slightly overbreed a mare and not get hurt by the decision. Now, the owner of Grade I Bloodstock is not so sure, and he is cautioning his clients to be conservative in their mating decisions.

Worldly Feel

By Dan Liebman - Despite the fact they added "world" to the name of the event several years ago, most people still simply call it the Breeders' Cup. But the 23rd edition, run Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs for a record sixth time, had a worldly feel to it.

Juvenile Preview: Pletcher Youth

Leading trainer Todd Pletcher has started three horses in previous runnings of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). This year alone he has three entrants in the race sponsored by Bessemer Trust, including the probable favorite. And with the year Pletcher has had, one unlike anyone before him, the 39-year-old conditioner is not entering many horses that don't fit.

Hall of Famer Precisionist Euthanized

Precisionist, a champion, Breeders' Cup winner, and member of racing's Hall of Fame, was euthanized Sept. 27 at Old Friends near Georgetown, Ky., less than four months after arriving at the facility. The 25-year-old horse was suffering from an inoperable tumor.

The Big Battles

By Dan Liebman - Many famous bidding wars have taken place at Keeneland, but never has the competition been as fierce as that between the ruler of Dubai, and the master of Ireland-based Coolmore Stud.

One Reason Why

By Dan Liebman - Even Carl Hanford, on the day of his induction into the Hall of Fame, said the reason he was selected for membership was because of one horse. He's right, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

Waiting for Logic

By Dan Liebman - From the belt buckles to the Longhorns, things are big in Texas. How's this for big--one billion dollars. That's billion, with nine zeros.

Match Point

By Dan Liebman - There has been a great deal of emotion lately at Hilary Boone Jr.'s Wimbledon Farm near Lexington--first with Barbaro, and now with both Barbaro and Bernardini.

Standing Tall

By Dan Liebman - Nathan Fox is looking for the next Karen and Mickey Taylor. He has a beautiful new seven-stall stallion barn and office to show them. But will he ever find them? He is optimistic. He is also realistic.

Trickey Trevor Starts Derby Stakes Program

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Russell Baze have won a lot of races together, mostly in northern California. But Saturday they began the stakes program on Kentucky Derby day with a win in the $229,000 Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II).

Pletcher Gets Hotter with Oonagh Maccool

It is Todd Pletcher day at Churchill Downs Friday. When he sent out Oonagh Maccool to an easy win in the $271,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares, the trainer was notching his fourth winner of the day...and that's from four races in which he had runners.

Man of Illusion Gets Clean Trip and Win

This time Man of Illusion had a clean trip. In his first start in this country, the Australian-bred horse had tons of trouble and still was beaten only two lengths in Keeneland's Shakertown (gr. IIIT). Friday, he had clear sailing and won the $116,000 Aegon Turf Sprint (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.

Pletcher Perfect 3-for-3 After Edgewood Score

Trainer Todd Pletcher is having a perfect day at Churchill Downs Friday, winning all three of the races in which he had entries. The third was Magnificent Song, who won the $114,900 Edgewood Stakes, the first undercard stakes on Kentucky Oaks day.

Belly-to-Belly Business

By Dan Liebman - You may think it is ludicrous to spend $16 million for an unraced horse--any unraced horse--and for 99.99% of the buyers in the world, you would probably be right. But for the buyer and underbidder on this colt, Coolmore and Darley, respectively, it can make sense.

Eclipse Award: Ashado, Older Female

You have to go back 20 years to find a distaffer who won an Eclipse Award at three and came back the following year to win the older female title as well. Ashado is in elite company.

Clearance Sale

By Dan Liebman - Like many businesses, the Thoroughbred industry enters the new year facing countless serious issues. In New York, the racing association is threatening bankruptcy; in Maryland, Texas, and Kentucky, slots are needed to compete with neighboring states that are reaping their benefits; in Louisiana, a natural disaster has changed the landscape; in California, there is a shortage of horses; in Florida, purse levels are below those of other major racing states.

International Flavor

By Dan Liebman - Standing outside the quarantine barn at Belmont Park a week prior to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Nick Clarke, retired head of the International Racing Bureau, was reflecting on the foreign participation over the history of the event.

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