Ray Paulick

Funding the Future

By Ray Paulick - Concern was expressed in this space June 21 that Kentucky's newly created breeders' incentive program could become a divisive issue, one that might sidetrack far more important initiatives down the road than the one that has earmarked an estimated $12 million in annual stud fee taxes for a breeders' fund.

Track and Field

By Ray Paulick - In an industry where horse owners and racetrack management often find themselves on opposite sides of an issue, racetrack safety is something upon which both parties certainly can agree. A safe racetrack can help reduce the frequency of injuries to horses and riders and thereby provide long-term economic benefits to both owners and tracks.

The $12-Million Question

By Ray Paulick - It is up to leaders within Kentucky's Thoroughbred industry to devise a program to distribute money for its incentive program, and an industry-imposed deadline of July 1 to finish the job is fast approaching.

Fleeting Moments

By Ray Paulick - Winners and losers from the 2005 Triple Crown, the last one sponsored by VISA...

Hall Pass

By Ray Paulick - There have been a number of critics (notably in the media) who have said the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame needed a change in election procedures that each year designated inductees in jockey, trainer, male horse, and female horse categories. They wouldn't name names publicly, but these critics charged that the Hall of Fame was electing too many individuals who simply did not belong.

Still a Jewel

By Ray Paulick - It's hard to believe, but 10 years ago the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) attracted just 37,171 people, a pitiful turnout for what is annually one of American racing's biggest days.

Afleet's Feat

By Ray Paulick - Only a handful of people were watching on the morning of April 26 when Afleet Alex recorded his first workout over the Churchill Downs strip in preparation for this year's Kentucky Derby.

Fresh Air

By Ray Paulick - A lot of grayhairs frowned initially when the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup signed an eight-year deal with ESPN, moving racing's championship day to a cable network beginning in 2006. NBC Sports has broadcast the event every year since its inception in 1984.

Kentucky Pride

By Ray Paulick - It's been a long time coming for Alice Chandler, who took the reins at Mill Ridge Farm in 1962 after the death of her father, legendary horseman Hal Price Headley.

Bellamy's the Boss

By Ray Paulick - The "new" Churchill Downs will provide a spectacular setting, and the Thoroughbred foal crop of 2002 has brought forth an intriguing group of candidates...

Where Are They Now?

By Ray Paulick - Conglomerate ownership was designed to bring economies of scale to the racetrack segment of the industry. Statistical evidence, along with unconfirmed reports that Hollywood Park may be sold to developers, suggests it hasn't worked very well in Southern California.

Trail Mix

By Ray Paulick - The road to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) changes from time to time, and so do the roadmaps printed by the racetracks and used by owners and trainers to get their horses to Churchill Downs in optimum condition on the first Saturday in May.

Stacked Deck

By Ray Paulick - Only one trainer in the modern era of Thoroughbred racing--D. Wayne Lukas--has started more horses in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) than Nick Zito. Beginning with Thirty Six Red in 1990, Zito has sent 14 horses postward in the Run for the Roses. Two of them have won: Strike the Gold in 1991 and Go for Gin in 1994. He's sitting in the catbird seat with as many as five potential contenders for the 2005 Kentucky Derby.

Century Mark

By Ray Paulick - On May 4, 2005, it will be 100 years to the day since Belmont Park opened its doors to the public for the first time.

Hollywood Ending?

By Ray Paulick - The good old days? They weren't that long ago for horse racing fans in Southern California.

$1.9-Million Songandaprayer Colt Tops Barretts Sale

Bob Lewis outlasted fellow Californian Sidney Craig in the bidding for a Songandaprayer colt at Tuesday's Barretts selected sale of 2-year-olds in training, paying $1.9 million for a horse who breezed a quarter-mile in what announcer John Henderson said was a world record time of :20.6 seconds.

For Keeps

By Ray Paulick -- The horse industry now has a strong voice in Frankfort that will be heard.

Racing Novelist William Murray Dies

Author William Murray, a writer whose series of popular mysteries featuring "Shifty" Lou Anderson blended racetrack characters, magic, and intrigue, died early Wednesday morning from an apparent heart attack at the age of 78.

The Big Chill

By Ray Paulick - Human sports and racing have faced the same challenge: the cheaters are ahead of the labs.

Today's Job Market

By Ray Paulick - This item of interest from the Feb. 25 issue of USA Today: a horse racing groom has the worst job in sports.

Grape Consequences

By Ray Paulick - Jess Jackson, the California vintner who is making headlines for his increasing involvement as a Thoroughbred owner and breeder, undoubtedly was more than a mildly interested spectator when the Supreme Court returned to work in Washington, D.C., the week of Feb. 21. So are many others in the racing industry.

Incomparable Gaines

By Ray Paulick - Best comment I ever heard about John Gaines was from Lexingtonian Arnold Kirkpatrick, who said Gaines was "smarter than a tree full of owls."

Galloping Ghost

By Ray Paulick - Nearing $1 million in earnings, Chindi's days as a runner may be numbered, but they aren't over yet.

Raising the Stakes

By Ray Paulick -- Getting caught is no picnic, but occasional fines, suspensions, and hefty legal bills are included in the price some horsemen have been willing to pay to live on, or over, the edge of the game's rules and regulations.

Crossroads

By Ray Paulick - It is probably an understatement to say that 2005 is going to be a challenging year for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association/Breeders' Cup. The direction and mission of the organization could be subject to change as it navigates crossroads on the near horizon.

Exit Visa

By Ray Paulick -- Racing will be saying farewell this year to a man who has had an enormous influence on the sport over the last decade, as Carl Pascarella retires as chief executive officer of Visa USA.

Shaking Things Up

By Ray Paulick -- There was something a bit unsettling about how the California racing industry began a crackdown in February 2004 against the use of "milkshakes"--the loading of bicarbonates through a stomach tube as a performance-enhancing aid in Thoroughbreds.

Cot To Be Good

By Ray Paulick - Some unsolicited advice for Cot Campbell, chairman of the Sales Integrity Task Force: Get an unlisted telephone number. Campbell's stewardship of this most difficult issue was inspiring, and his phone soon should be ringing off the hook with inquiries and job offers from scores of failed committees, task forces, and do-nothing organizations within the Thoroughbred world and beyond.

No Gift Exchange

By Ray Paulick - The execution of Magna's vision has been difficult given its isolationist philosophy.

Worldwide Woes

By Ray Paulick - In many ways, the Japan Racing Association is the envy of the racing world. As a branch of the national government's ministry of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, the JRA controls all facets of the industry, including racecourse management, scheduling, marketing, licensing, drug testing, and pari-mutuel operations.

Open Book

By Ray Paulick - Though its brightest days may be in the past, the Japan Racing Association has decided to allow a little more sun to shine on a sport and industry that for the past 50 years has virtually been closed to outsiders.

Global Sprint Championship Series Unveiled for 2005

Racing organizations in Australia, England, and Japan announced a six-race series for sprinters, the Global Sprint Challenge, that will use free or subsidized travel instead of a cash bonus as an incentive for participation.

KEEP It Up

By Ray Paulick -- The Kentucky Equine Education Project is critical to the future of all horse breeds in Kentucky.

Every Jockey's Nightmare

Ray Paulick - David Guillory has never watched a replay of the race that ended his riding career. He's never wanted to. Guillory remembers turning into the stretch, seeing a horse just in front veering in on him, and yelling at the horse's rider. He doesn't recall what happened next, but he doesn't need to see a videotape to remind him.

Bumpy Ride

By Ray Paulick - The Nov. 7 dispute between a group of riders and the management of Churchill Downs was not the first and surely will not be the last time jockeys have taken action to express displeasure with their plight.

Ayes for Texas

By Ray Paulick -- Lone Star Park was a sight to behold Oct. 30 when the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships came to town. An enthusiastic crowd of 53,717 horse lovers from around the world was on hand to take part in the most important day in the history of the Texas racing industry.

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