By Ray Paulick -- Major League Baseball is trying to come to grips with a growing drug scandal involving anabolic steroids that some people feel already has tarnished some of the sport's most sacred records. It's one scandal that, for now, racing has managed to avoid.
Triple Crown hopeful War Emblem had his final serious work for Saturday's Belmont Stakes when he worked five furlongs in 1:01 at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning. "Whew, I'm glad that's over," a relieved trainer Bob Baffert said as the colt pulled up.
By Ray Paulick -- Racing fans from the baby boomer generation were spoiled by the remarkable careers of the three most recent Triple Crown winners, Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978). Maybe that's why the knockers are lining up to take their shots at War Emblem as he bids for the Triple Crown.
Will the third time be the charm for Bob Baffert? No other Thoroughbred trainer in history has accomplished what Baffert has in a remarkable six-year span--point three different horses to the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with the Triple Crown on the line.
By Ray Paulick -- Mike Pegram calls Bob Baffert "an artiste." Bob Lewis says he is "unbelievable." And Prince Ahmed Salman, whose colors have been carried to victory in four consecutive Triple Crown races by the Baffert-trained duo of Point Given and War Emblem, proclaims the conditioner a "genius."
Sarava made his North American stakes debut a winning one when the Ken McPeek-trained colt rallied for an impressive victory over Withers Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Shah Jehan in the $100,000-guaranteed Sir Barton Stakes for 3-year-olds on the Preakness undercard.
Irish-bred Mr. O'Brien got a rail-skimming ride from Pat Day to win the $100,000 Woodlawn, the first stakes race of Saturday's Preakness program at a cloudy and cool Pimlico race course in Baltimore, Md.
With only two horses left to be drawn, including Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner War Emblem, and the first and last choices for post positions remaining, trainer Bob Baffert was poised to be either the straw that stirred the Preakness post position drink or a man without a plan.
By Ray Paulick --Sometimes it's easy to forget what's important about the game. People can argue long into the night about seemingly important issues like marketing, takeout rates, or medication and drug testing, but then a remarkable talent like Seattle Slew comes along and reminds everyone that the horse is king of this sport.
Trainer John Ward said Tuesday he's ready to "ambush" Saturday's Preakness field after Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I) winner Booklet worked a half-mile in :48 and galloped out in five furlongs "1:02 and change" at Churchill Downs under Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day.
Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem and Harlan's Holiday, who was unplaced as the Derby favorite, both worked at Churchill Downs on Tuesday in preparation for Saturday's Preakness Stakes. Meanwhile at Pimlico, final works were turned in by Crimson Hero and U S S Tinosa.
Trainer Robert Frankel made it perfectly clear the morning after the Kentucky Derby what his plans are for Medaglia d'Oro, who finished fourth with a troubled trip, eight lengths behind the victorious War Emblem. "I'm going to win the Preakness with him," Frankel said.
By Ray Paulick -- Handicapping 101 teaches things like pace, trips, and class, but does not cover what the late oddsmaker Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder used to refer to as the "intangibles." When it comes to handicapping the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the intangibles sometimes seem just as important as the measurable factors.
By Ray Paulick -- Three jewels in the Triple Crown? Not nearly enough, it says here. The series of classic races that ushers in springtime as much as the crack of the bat on opening day has far too much history, far too many heroes, to say there are only three jewels.
While the Thoroughbred industry makes an aggressive push toward unification on the issue of drug testing and medication, two organizations involved in the regulation of racing -- the Association of Racing Commissioners International and the National Association of Pari-Mutuel Regulators -- continue to go their separate ways.
By Ray Paulick -- Just as the automobile replaced the horse and buggy a century ago, the manufacture of automobiles has supplanted in importance the breeding and racing of Thoroughbreds in Kentucky, based on the recent actions of Gov. Paul Patton and state legislators.
A projected revenue shortfall due to mare reproductive loss syndrome has led Breeders' Cup officials to negotiate with racetracks for a 1% cut of simulcast handle on stakes that include purse enhancements from the Breeders' Cup.
By Ray Paulick -- As live foal reports from The Jockey Club confirm the full impact of last spring's Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome, the breeding industry continues to be frustrated by uncertainty over the cause of the problem.
By Ray Paulick -- I've never been to an old-fashioned tent ministry revival, but the crowd fervor was straight out of Elmer Gantry when Henryk de Kwiatkowski took the stage following his purchase of Calumet Farm at the March 26, 1992, bankruptcy auction.
Teamwork and dedications were a central theme at the 31st annual Eclipse Awards dinner, a black-tie event held Monday night at the Fontainebleau Hilton Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla., where champion 3-year-old colt Point Given was crowned 2001 Horse of the Year.
It's only fitting that Tempera is the first horse to represent trainer Eoin G. Harty with an Eclipse Award. The daughter of A.P. Indy gave Harty his first career stakes win on Aug. 4, 2001, when she romped to a nine-length victory in the Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar.
"You're killing me!" Bob Baffert called out to fellow trainer Bobby Frankel, who was posing for pictures in the winner's circle following Juddmonte Farms homebred Mizzen Mast's romping victory in the Feb. 2 Strub Stakes (gr. II). "I may have to go back to Los Alamitos."
The late John M.S. Finney once compared the science of Thoroughbred breeding with Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. "Where E represents equine investment," Finney said, "M represents money, and C represents confusion--E equals MC squared."
Johannesburg was the "big horse" for Hennessy prior to last year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, having won all six of his races in Europe, three of them in group I company. His 1 1/4-length triumph in the Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I) put Hennessy on top of the list of leading sires of 2-year-olds in 2001 and convinced management of Irish-based Coolmore to jump the son of Storm Cat's 2002 stud fee from a previously announced $20,000 to $45,000 live foal.
Talks between Magna Entertainment and the TV Games Network are over, according to TVG president Mark Wilson, who has been negotiating with Magna chief executive officer James McAlpine in hopes of striking a deal to bring Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, and other Magna tracks to TVG's racing and wagering network.