- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman -- A veteran turf writer joins in celebration of legendary horseman Bob Courtney.
By Dan Liebman -- A veteran turf writer joins in celebration of legendary horseman Bob Courtney.
By Dan Liebman -- The time has come for The Jockey Club to follow the USTA's lead and convert Canadian earnings to U.S. dollars.
By Dan Liebman -- The slaughter of American horses after they have outlived their usefulness in other countries could be remedied by contracts stipulating the original owner has the right to buy the horse back if the foreign owner no longer wanted the animal.
By Dan Liebman -- While there is a question of whether a track bias is real or perceived, one thing for sure is that track safety is the main goal of all racetrack superintendents.
William E. "Smiley" Adams, who trained Robert and Verna Lehmann's Master Derby to win the 100th running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) in 1975, died June 19 at the Veteran's Affairs Hospital in Lexington. He was 67.
History was set at Belmont Park Saturday but it was not Funny Cide becoming a Triple Crown winner. Instead, it was trainer Bobby Frankel winning his first Triple Crown race when his Empire Maker won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Ten Most Wanted was second and Funny Cide third.
Bobby Frankel ran one-two in the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap (gr. I) Saturday at Belmont Park, with Denon holding off Requete in the 10-furlong turf race. Frankel sends out Empire Maker in the following race, the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Posse, closing ground with every stride, got by odds-on favorite Midas Eyes at the wire to take the Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Belmont Park Saturday. The 3-year-old Silver Deputy colt covered the seven furlongs over a sloppy track in a good 1:22.03.
One thing we know for sure, Mariensky likes the turf about as soft as it can get. Twice in a week, she has won graded stakes over a very soft Belmont Park turf course.
Shake You Down continued to show an affinity for an off track, running fast fractions over a sloppy surface at Belmont Park to win the $190,000 True North Breeders' Cup (gr. II). It was the fourth straight win for Shake You Down since being claimed by trainer Scott Lake, the last two graded stakes victories.
Funny Cide, who won the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) impressively on an off track, will get his chance to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner on a similar surface. The precipitation moved from a drizzle to a steady light rain at about 1:30 p.m. (EDT). Then it picked up intensity. The track is now rated sloppy. The sealed surface has considerable water standing on it.
With less than an hour until post time for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Funny Cide is the 4-5 favorite of the wagering public. It goes without saying New Yorkers want to see the New York-bred gelding become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.
What more could you ask for. The first race on Belmont Stakes (gr. I) Day was a runaway winner ridden by none other than Jose Santos. The New York-based jockey is the regular rider of Funny Cide, who later today will try to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.
The first order of business in New York on Belmont Stakes (gr. I) Day -- complain about the weather. The first raindrops began falling at 9 a.m., only about nine hours before forecasters predicted. Well, nothing new.
Sure, there is not much in the pool, but the early word is obvious--New Yorkers want New York-bred Funny Cide to become a Triple Crown winner. They are wagering on him to take Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
From his vantage point, he has probably seen as many horses as anyone the past 15 years. But until recently, he never owned one. So while Sackatoga Stable may be new in Thoroughbred ownership, so too is John Henderson.
Linda Rice has a reputation as a trainer of 2-year-olds. She's proud of that. But she is also working hard to expand her reputation. Some attention will come her way on Saturday, when she becomes only the eighth woman to saddle a horse in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Since Funny Cide is a gelding, the obvious winner on the breeding side of things is his sire, Distorted Humor. At least one person has already cashed in. WinStar Farm, where Distorted Humor stands, bought a share from Joseph Federico for $450,000.
When Kenny Troutt and Bill Casner purchased Prestonwood Farm between Lexington and Versailles, Ky., and renamed it WinStar in January 2000, among the horses they acquired in the deal was Belle's Good Cide, who was then carrying a foal who would go on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Funny Cide, a New York-bred gelding, came to Kentucky under the radar screen, but he will return to the Empire State a star, winning the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) impressively Saturday and putting himself in a position to win the Triple Crown.
Obviously, siring a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner is a positive for any stud horse. But for a first crop sire, it can be huge. After all, by the time a stallion's first crop are 3-year-olds, he is covering his fifth book of mares.
Keeneland received approximately 1,500 nominations for its September yearling sale by its first deadline.
Pat Day owns Churchill Downs, and the track's all-time leading rider nursed Allamerican Bertie home to upset Take Charge Lady in the Falls City Handicap (gr. III) on Thanksgiving Day.
True Direction and Javier Castellano wore down Crossing Point in the final yard to post the win Thanksgiving Day in the Fall Highweight (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
Yankee Victor, a proven runner at a mile, had his first foals sell at Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton, where they averaged 5.55 times his $15,000 stud fee.
Buyers were anxious to see the members of the first crops by Giant's Causeway and Fusaichi Pegasus. At the Keeneland November sale on Wednesday, it was a mare carrying a member of the second crop by Giant's Causeway that topped the auction's third day.
Twenty-nine minutes before the first Breeders' Cup race today at Arlington, the track condition was upgraded to fast. It began the day as muddy, quickly was switched to good, and then announced as fast.
Sometimes, even horses that want to run long mature early. Such is the case with Tom Durant's Most Feared, who trainer Ronny Werner will send out Saturday in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
There are five horses from this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) set to run Saturday in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). That is the most ever, the previous high being three, most recently in 1999.
There are 91 horses competing in the eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races Saturday at Arlington Park. Of them, only three will not run on Salix.
Top Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien gave the media more time than usual Thursday morning at Arlington, talking for nearly 20 minutes outside the quarantine barn. O'Brien will saddle seven horses Saturday in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
The fans and punters in England are all rooting for Rock of Gibralter in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), but the betting shops sure aren't. Their biggest extension, by far, is on "the Rock."
It might take you awhile to name the 2002 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships trainer that has the highest winning percentage this year.
Laura de Seroux barely had time Wedneday morning to train her horses. She was busy doing interviews. De Seroux has three horses running Saturday at Arlington in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
Before he leaves his stall each morning, Bonapaw nibbles some carrots and then is the recipient of a 60-minute massage. Most people should have it so good.
Caeser Kimmel and Ronald Nicholson's Blazing Fury has been declared out of Saturday's John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT). He suffered a tendon injury after galloping at Belmont Park Tuesday morning.
Allen Paulson died in July of 2000, but the legacy of his breeding successes continues. Paulson, the leading breeder of Breeders' Cup horses by earnings, will be represented by two runners Saturday at Arlington Park in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
The leading Breeders' Cup sire by earnings, Deputy Minister, does not have an entrant this year. That could open the door for another sire to take over that title, the likely candidates being Storm Cat, Seattle Slew, Mr. Prospector, and Sadler's Wells.
Following the 129 grade I races run during the first 18 years of the Breeders' Cup, 75 times the horse led into the winner's circle was bred in Kentucky. That 58% strike rate leads all states or countries in that category.
Besides the eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Day races, the race for leading freshman sire of 2002 could be determined Oct. 26 at Arlington Park.
Quick, name the five best races in the history of the Breeders' Cup. Sure it's subjective, but every list would include the 1988 Distaff (gr. I), which was contested over a muddy Churchill Downs strip.
Sure, a solid favorite has been established, but there are still many questions to be answered in the week's time before pre-entries are taken Oct. 15 for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale finished down just slightly in gross and average, but showed an increase in median price and had fewer buy backs. All in all, pleasing results in a down market.
The sky will not be the limit should the 'Sky' exacta hit Saturday at Keeneland in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II). The heavy favorite in the race will be Sky Mesa and the second choice will probably be Lone Star Sky.
The current favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Storm Flag Flying, gets her final tune up before the World Thoroughbred Championships Saturday when she heads the field in the Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling sale has shown strong numbers through the first two days of the three-day auction. On Monday and Tuesday, gross and average are up slightly, while the median is up significantly and the number of horses bought back is down. The sale ends today.
The big news this week in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) division is not who's in, but who's out. Two of The Blood-Horse top five choices for the Oct. 26 race will now be on the sidelines when the race is run.
During the breeding season of 2001, the number of stallions covering 100 or more mares actually decreased, but the stud horse that mounted the most mares blew the "cover" off the record.
Well, if you want good stories, the results of the races this past weekend affecting the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) division couldn't have been more perfect.
Separating top juveniles is always tough early in the year because so many are unbeaten or have won a majority of their starts. Still, when it comes to the early favorites for this year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), all lists must start with Awesome Humor.