Dan Liebman

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Commentary: Sex Sells

By Dan Liebman - Sure, this is no Bobby Riggs versus Billy Jean King but that's what marketing is all about -- taking something people aren't sure they care about and making them realize they should care about it.

Garden State

By Dan Liebman - New Jersey's Monmouth Park was formally announced as the host site in the fall of 2004, and from the look of the plant in mid-March, the first-time site will be ready to take racing's center stage, though much still remains to be done.

In It To Win It

By Dan Liebman - On the night of the 36th Eclipse Awards Jan. 22 in Beverly Hills, Calif., every equine flat winner had one thing in common: all raced on Breeders' Cup World Championships day.

Worldly Feel

By Dan Liebman - Despite the fact they added "world" to the name of the event several years ago, most people still simply call it the Breeders' Cup. But the 23rd edition, run Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs for a record sixth time, had a worldly feel to it.

Juvenile Preview: Pletcher Youth

Leading trainer Todd Pletcher has started three horses in previous runnings of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). This year alone he has three entrants in the race sponsored by Bessemer Trust, including the probable favorite. And with the year Pletcher has had, one unlike anyone before him, the 39-year-old conditioner is not entering many horses that don't fit.

The Big Battles

By Dan Liebman - Many famous bidding wars have taken place at Keeneland, but never has the competition been as fierce as that between the ruler of Dubai, and the master of Ireland-based Coolmore Stud.

One Reason Why

By Dan Liebman - Even Carl Hanford, on the day of his induction into the Hall of Fame, said the reason he was selected for membership was because of one horse. He's right, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

Waiting for Logic

By Dan Liebman - From the belt buckles to the Longhorns, things are big in Texas. How's this for big--one billion dollars. That's billion, with nine zeros.

Match Point

By Dan Liebman - There has been a great deal of emotion lately at Hilary Boone Jr.'s Wimbledon Farm near Lexington--first with Barbaro, and now with both Barbaro and Bernardini.

Standing Tall

By Dan Liebman - Nathan Fox is looking for the next Karen and Mickey Taylor. He has a beautiful new seven-stall stallion barn and office to show them. But will he ever find them? He is optimistic. He is also realistic.

Belly-to-Belly Business

By Dan Liebman - You may think it is ludicrous to spend $16 million for an unraced horse--any unraced horse--and for 99.99% of the buyers in the world, you would probably be right. But for the buyer and underbidder on this colt, Coolmore and Darley, respectively, it can make sense.

Clearance Sale

By Dan Liebman - Like many businesses, the Thoroughbred industry enters the new year facing countless serious issues. In New York, the racing association is threatening bankruptcy; in Maryland, Texas, and Kentucky, slots are needed to compete with neighboring states that are reaping their benefits; in Louisiana, a natural disaster has changed the landscape; in California, there is a shortage of horses; in Florida, purse levels are below those of other major racing states.

International Flavor

By Dan Liebman - Standing outside the quarantine barn at Belmont Park a week prior to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Nick Clarke, retired head of the International Racing Bureau, was reflecting on the foreign participation over the history of the event.

High Drama

By Dan Liebman - Keeneland sales director Geoffrey Russell said the action during the select sessions of the September yearling sale was "like theater, the best theater anybody's seen in a long time."

Due Day

By Dan Liebman - Countless times that patented Pat Day ride has been witnessed and marveled at--that uncanny ability to give a horse a breather on the turn for home so there would be enough in the tank for the stretch drive.

Measure of Greatness

By Dan Liebman - Perspective may be needed to realize something is indeed great. That is why it is commonly written that men are best judged after death. The time to reflect by future generations helps identify and define those who were great.

Riders Up

By Dan Liebman - A politician wins the primary but is defeated in the general election. A pro football player on a winning Super Bowl team is traded to the worst team in the league. A rider wins the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and then two weeks later loses the Preakness (gr. I).

New Dawn at the Downs

By Dan Liebman - On May 7 in Louisville, Ky., when the most famous race in the land is run at the most famous track in the land, the race will look the same as it did a year ago. The Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is still for 3-year-olds, still at a mile and a quarter, still the first Saturday in May, and the winner still gets a garland of roses.

A Breed Apart

By Dan Liebman - What does is take to operate a Thoroughbred breeding farm in the height of the breeding season? In this issue of The Blood-Horse, we attempt to show you.

John Gaines: In His Own Words

The following is the transcript of a question and answer session by John Gaines with Dan Liebman, executive editor of The Blood-Horse, which appeared in the pages of the magazine in October, 1999.

Ghostly Vote

By Dan Liebman -- In Smarty Jones and Ghostzapper, Eclipse Awards voters were faced with two clear and deserving choices for 2004 Horse of the Year. Now they have spoken.

2004 Eclipse 2YO Female: Sweet Catomine

At the five-sixteenths pole in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Sweet Catomine was blocked and in need of racing room. But having to check was no big deal for the daughter of Storm Cat. Corey Nakatani steered her out of harm's way and she rolled by the other 11 members of the field as the crowd at Lone Star Park cheered her on.

AARP News

By Dan Liebman -- In Florida for a few days this past winter, Gulfstream Park was an obvious place to spend a couple of hours. Keeping in mind Florida is a leading retirement center, it was no surprise that the average age of the patrons at the track that day was similar to that necessary to receive a "Here's Your Medicaid Card" welcome.

Juvenile Fillies Preview: One for the Books?

The past two years, a homebred filly has come into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) with three straight wins and exited the World Thoroughbred Championships with four victories, a win that made history, and being an easy choice for an Eclipse Award.

The Shipping News

By Dan Liebman - For whatever reasons--there are surely many--this could be the first time in the history of the Breeders' Cup that no starter that last raced in England makes the trip for one of the event's turf races. If that is the case, it will be a shame.

Maryland Oh Maryland

by Dan Liebman -- In a feature story in last week's issue of The Blood-Horse, Airdrie Stud owner and former Kentucky governor Brereton C. Jones said he is personally against slot machines. If truth be told, there probably isn't a single horse breeder who actually hoped the day would come when slots would be necessary for the survival of racing.

Staying Motivated

By Dan Liebman - An article about Dubai published in the Chicago Tribune travel section July 4, 2004, states that the ruling Maktoum family's oil riches bring in about $250 million a day, or roughly $1 billion every four days.

From Texas Tea

By Dan Liebman - William S. Kilroy was racing a small, modest stable in Louisiana 30 years ago when he decided he wanted to enter the breeding side of the business. He approached a family friend with whom he had much in common, and the two hatched a plan to execute Kilroy's wishes.

Fallon's World

By Dan Liebman - Journalists live for good stories. More so, good quotes. So, when British jockey Kieren Fallon said the following, it was like music to a columnist's tone-deaf ears: "We all know you can't fix races. It doesn't happen. It does in a fairy-tale world but not in the real world."

Striking Out

By Dan Liebman - If only the Aug. 21 ESPN telecast of the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), Alabama Stakes (gr. I), and Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) had followed the baseball game between Colorado and Montreal rather than Richmond and Redmond.

Air It Out

By Dan Liebman - In early September, the first meeting is scheduled to be held of the new task force examining the Thoroughbred sales arena. The group is being organized by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and is in response to the questions raised by the Alliance for Industry Reform (AIR) and its founder, Satish Sanan.

Horse Racing 2025

By Dan Liebman -- There are so many interest groups involved that this is probably not even a realistic vision. Sure, at such events as the Jockey Club Round Table and Arizona Symposium, many of racing's leaders do assemble. But after a few meetings, they return to their own little worlds.

Step Up to the Plate

By Dan Liebman -- Hall of Fame trainer P.G. Johnson recently died; his plaque doesn't mention he won the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) with Volponi. Johnson not only trained the colt, but he and his family owned and more importantly to many of us, bred him as well.

Cowboy Up

By Dan Liebman -- About 10 years ago, Robert A. "Cowboy" Jones quit keeping track. But it's safe to say the number is more than 50,000. While others spend billions each year on diet books, diet pills, diet fads, and diet programs, Cowboy Jones lost 50,000 pounds in a sweatbox. Didn't cost him a penny.

Between the Lines

By Dan Liebman -- Among the comments heard at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale were two that were neither profound nor lengthy, but nonetheless quite significant. From Patrick Lawley-Wakelin: "People were more prepared this year." From Walt Robertson: "It is a good time to own a horse."

Ominous Clouds

By Dan Liebman -- Fletcher was very polished in congratulating Smarty Jones' owners, trainer, and jockey. But his ears had to be ringing from Churchill CEO Tom Meeker's comment that, "The sun wasn't shining too bright in Kentucky today but I have a slight feeling it was shining in Pennsylvania."

Bonuses and Purses

By Dan Liebman -- If Smarty Jones wins the Kentucky Derby it will be a great story...but it should not be allowed to distort Smarty Jones' earnings as a racehorse or his sire's place on the list of 2004 leading sires.

It's About Slots

By Dan Liebman -- The future of Maryland racing may not depend on the number of starts per stall, but perhaps the number of slot machines per grandstand.

Holding Court

By Dan Liebman -- A veteran turf writer joins in celebration of legendary horseman Bob Courtney.

Safety First

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.

Hammonds Wins Magical Mythical Tour

The Blood-Horse's own head-to-head competition, where executive editor Dan Liebman and managing editor Evan Hammonds were given mythical $1,000 bankrolls to bet the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, was no contest.

Which 25 Years?

By Dan Liebman -- Let's face facts. Fact One: Bob Baffert will get into the Racing Hall of Fame. Fact Two: Bob Baffert will get into the Racing Hall of Fame on the first ballot. The only unanswered question is what year it will be when Baffert accepts his plaque in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Changing History

By Dan Liebman -- When Macho Uno made his first three starts last year, he was a 2-year-old colt by Holy Bull bred in Kentucky by Stronach Stables. When Perfect Sting made her first 18 starts, she was a filly by Red Ransom bred in Kentucky by Frank H. Stronach. But when each won a Breeders' Cup race at Churchill Downs last Nov. 4, something had changed.

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