Lenny Shulman

Belmont TV Review: Missing the Point

While NBC's Belmont Stakes telecast showed improvement over its Preakness effort, there seems to be a basic flaw in the 90-minute format of these classic productions -- the race comes too late in the show, leaving little time for replays, interviews, and analysis.

Analyzing NBC's Preakness: 90 Minutes is 30 Too Many

They have similar hair styles and both train good horses, so perhaps Bob Baffert was beginning to panic when Kentucky Derby winner John Ward got all the air time to launch one-liners on NBC's coverage of the Preakness. With Baffert's Point Given knotting the score with Ward's Monarchos, however, expect a tight battle of witticisms for the upcoming Belmont.

Derby Winning Owners Strike Mother Lode

They don't call the major producers "gushers" at Oxley Petroleum. In the natural-gas exploration business, they're known as "high-flowing wells," exploding like the stride of John C. Oxley's Monarchos as he gobbled up the hallowed ground of the Churchill Downs stretch the first Saturday in May.

Horse of the Year Tiznow Sidelined 60 Days

2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow sustained an injury during a workout last Friday, and a nuclear-imaging test conducted Monday revealed a problem with his lumbar vertebrae. "The prognosis is good, but we're going to have to walk him for 60 days before resuming training with him," said conditioner Jay Robbins Tuesday morning from his Santa Anita barn. The injury knocks Tiznow out of the May 12 Pimlico Special (gr. I).

Slew Back with a Bang

Seattle Slew, back in the breeding shed after major surgery last year, has gotten 19 mares in foal from 22 reported covers as of April 19. "He is doing unbelievably well," said Mickey Taylor, who owns and is the syndicate manager of the son of Bold Reasoning. "He is a very happy horse and pleased to be back at work. He's feeling better all the time. In the past month or two he's gotten a lot stronger, and neurologically he's gotten better as well."

Keeneland Report: Pincay, the Millennium Man

One week before the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), Laffit Pincay Jr. sat comfortably in a rocking chair half a continent away from Keeneland in the Santa Anita Park jocks' room. Asked to pick his biggest thrill in racing, Pincay could be forgiven if he tussled awhile with the question. After all, there have been 35 years of memories: the ascension to all-time leading rider; induction into the Hall of Fame; six Eclipse Awards; seven wins on one card; historic stakes wins on horses like Affirmed and John Henry. Yet his answer came before the question had time to dry--his win aboard Swale in the 1984 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

Dollar Bill Bucks The Web

For those who want to get their information straight from the horse's mouth, Dollar Bill has started his own website. Well, maybe there was human intervention somewhere in there, but Mary and Gary West's 3-year-old classic contender writes in the first-person on the site, which is aimed at his fans, known as 'Billsters.'

Tap Dance Steps to Bonnie Miss Victory

Tap Dance waltzed home by daylight to capture the 31st running of the Bonnie Miss Stakes (g. II) at Gulfstream Park March 16 under Jerry Bailey. With the win, Bailey set a track record, capturing his 13th stakes win at the meeting.

Cecil Asks Tanaka to Remove Horses From Barn

In a bit of a man-bites-dog story, Southern California trainer Ben Cecil asked owner Gary Tanaka to remove his five horses from Cecil's barn around the first of March. The horses include Falcon Flight, who won the 2000 El Rincon at Santa Anita Park and was third in this year's San Luis Obispo Handicap, and Polaire, who captured the Glendale Handicap at Turf Paradise this year.

Family Matters: Startac's Pedigree Profile

They keep asking questions of Startac, and so far he's come up with all the right answers. Being a son of champion Theatrical, who won multiple grade I stakes, including the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr.IT), at 12 furlongs, Startac figured to have no problem with distance limitations. Just to prove the point, he broke his maiden at first asking in August at Del Mar going one mile on the turf. In five lifetime starts, he has never raced at less than that distance.

Eclipse Awards: 2-Year-Old Filly: Caressing

Caressing picked the right time to run her best race when she won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Churchill Downs in November. The division was one of the most wide open throughout 2000, and Caressing soared to the top echelon and an Eclipse Award with her half-length victory over Platinum Tiara.

Mellon Estate Gives $5-Million to Horse Adoption Program

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF), the nation's largest organization providing homes for retired and injured racehorses, has received a $5 million endowment gift from the estate of horseman Paul Mellon. And according to TRF president John Stuart, that amount represents just the beginning of a major funding drive.

Antley's Death Ruled Overdose

The death of jockey Chris Antley has been ruled an accidental overdose by the Los Angeles County coroner. In a report finalized Thursday, the coroner attributed Antley's death to multiple drug intoxication. Initially, Pasadena, Ca., police ruled the jockey's death a homicide after finding his body face down in a hallway of his Pasadena home Dec. 2. Four drugs were found present in Antley's body, according to toxicology tests performed by the coroner.

The Charismatic Chris Antley

By Lenny Shulman -- As tortured as he was inside, Chris Antley was warm and engaging to friends and strangers alike. His openness in revealing his inner thoughts was disarming. He told stories about trainers that would have cost him his business had they been printed. Chris Antley may well have trusted everyone else, including the person who ended his life, too much, and himself not enough.

Churchill Racing: Surfside Makes Case for Eclipse Award

The next battle for Surfside, which comes not on the racetrack but at the ballot box, will likely prove more difficult than did her facile win in the Nov. 24 Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. Having left a string of mostly older males in her wake in the Clark, the filly now faces just one foe, Jostle, for the crown of best 3-year-old filly, in what will likely be a photo finish.

Wire Act

By Lenny Shulman -- The racing industry is a lot like Europe in the Dark Ages -- come up with a new idea and be prepared to burn at the stake.

With Turf Victory, Perfect Sting Ends Near Flawless Season

She wasn't perfect, but she was a good bit closer to it than any of her rivals this year. Showing once again the resolute heart she'd displayed on five occasions since running sixth in this event last November, Perfect Sting stole away over the Churchill Downs turf to hijack the title of best grass filly or mare in 2000. And she did so in daring style, equaling a course record for the 11 furlongs in capturing the $1,108,360 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).

Handicapped

By Lenny Shulman -- How can you build a fan base for a sport whose athletes retire before their prime?

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