Evan Hammonds

Ventura Pulls Upset in Just a Game

Ventura Pulls Upset in Just a Game

Juddmonte Farms' Ventura sat patiently off the pace, slipped through along the hedge at the head of the lane and pulled clear to win the $400,000 Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT) June 7 at Belmont Park. The victory came by three-quarters of a length over a fast-closing Lady of Venice. Time for the one-mile race over a "firm" Widener Turf Course was 1:32.75.

Clever Bertie, 17, Euthanized

Clever Bertie, the Klein family's blue hen mare, was euthanized the morning of May 30 at Fred and Nancy Mitchell's Clarkland Farm near Lexington due to complications from arthritic conditions. The dam of two homebred graded stakes winners was 17.

Belmont Profile: Tomcito

Belmont Profile: Tomcito

The jury is still out on Tomcito, but following throat surgery to correct a breathing problem, he might get another shot at stardom - and Big Brown - in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I)

Disabled Jockeys Fund Receives $500,000

At a news conference held in the press box at Pimlico Race Course May 16, a check for $500,000 was presented by NetJets to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. On hand at the event were jockeys John Velazquez, chairman of the Jockeys' Guild; top rider Edgar Prado; disabled rider Jackie Fires; and Alex Waldrop, president of NTRA Charities.

Commentary: Feeling the Chill

by Evan Hammonds - Cold lies the heart of Thoroughbred racing following Eight Belles' untimely end after Kentucky Derby 134. The dark side of the toughest game in town showed itself once again on the national stage, this time in the nation's biggest race.

Morning Line: It's All in the Draw

Morning Line: It's All in the Draw

The best drama in Louisville today takes place in the racing office on the backside at Churchill Downs. It's the pill pull to see what order post positions will be drawn later this afternoon in the made-for-television post position show on ESPN.

Foaling Dates of Derby Contenders

Foaling Dates of Derby Contenders

Poet T.S. Eliot labeled April "cruelest month," but it is not a bad month on stud farms for foaling winners of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). In fact, over the last eight years, April foals have won three runnings of the Derby. February, the month that gives us both Groundhog Day and Presidents Day despite being the shortest month of the year, has been responsible for five winners.

Morning Line: Super Tuesday

Trainer Nick Zito is holding court with a ring of media members outside his barn. The two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer has two starters for Saturday's running: Cool Coal Man and Anak Naktal. Zito is talking about the subject of the year: synthetic surfaces. We have a feeling he's not a big fan.

Adriano Drills 5Fs in 1:00 4/5

Adriano Drills 5Fs in 1:00 4/5

Adriano worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs Sunday morning in preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The striking chestnut son of A.P. Indy got the distance in 1:00 4/5 under exercise rider Xavier Aizpuru.

Sunday Morning Line: Twice on Sunday

Sunday Morning Line: Twice on Sunday

Mike Barnes is a big LSU fan. He can't help but hide it. The exercise rider's helmet has the distinctive "LSU" logo that adorns the Tiger's football helmets. "I bleed purple and gold," the Louisiana native says. "I've been a fan since birth."

The Morning Line Returns for Derby 134

The Morning Line Returns for Derby 134

It's baaaack. Starting Sunday, April 27, and running daily through Kentucky Derby day, May 3, The Morning Line returns to bloodhorse.com. The feature, first unveiled during the 2006 run up to the Kentucky Derby, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the participants and players of Thoroughbred racing during racing's major events.

Breeders' Cup Morning Line Begins Monday

Starting Monday, Oct. 22 and running through Saturday, Oct. 27, The Morning Line returns to bloodhorse.com. The feature, now in its second year, offers a colorful, behind-the-scenes look at the participants and players of the Thoroughbred industry during racing's major events.

Commentary: The Hearty Boys

By Evan I. Hammonds - The Triple Crown races of the spring are in the books, and the summer races at Saratoga and Monmouth have been run. The true test of sophomore runners comes in the fall, when they take on older horses for the first time.

Commentary: Surfers and Sellers

Commentary: Surfers and Sellers

By Evan I. Hammonds - One thing we should already know about next year's round of yearling sales is that there will be changes to the conditions of sale. The Sales Integrity Task Force has until the end of the year to come up with recommendations to the Kentucky legislature to address several issues involving the sale of horses in the Bluegrass State.

Commentary: Battle Lines

Commentary:  Battle Lines

By Evan I. Hammonds - Advance deposit wagering, which most sources agree accounts for about 10% of handle on Thoroughbred racing, is the sport's latest battleground.

For Gainesway, It's One for the Home Team

Watching the Aug. 18 Alabama (gr. I) on the jumbo monitor on the first floor of the clubhouse at Saratoga, Michael Hernon pumped his fist in the air as Bentley L. Smith's homebred Lady Joanne crossed the wire first in the 1 1/4-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.

Street Sense to Pass Belmont, Focus on Travers

The streets of New York will be a little less crowded next weekend because Street Sense will not be running in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) but instead will be pointed toward the Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga and a fall campaign. The announcement was made by trainer Carl Nafzger at a press conference Thursday morning.

Secretariat Film In the Works

A movie about the life and times of Secretariat, with the backing of Walt Disney Studios, is in the works. Filming for the major motion picture could begin as soon as the end of the year according to principles tied to the project.

May Day! Storm in May to Pick First Post Position

The connections of Storm in May will have first choice when post positions are selected later this evening thanks to pulling the No. 1 pill during the pill pull at the racing office. In all 22 horses were entered. Reporting for Duty and Delightful Kiss did not draw into the body of the field due to lack of enough graded earnings.

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