Final Turn

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Desert Spectacle

By Steve Haskin - And then, of course, we come to the remarkable Invasor, who along with Asiatic Boy, moved the breeding industry in Argentina to a new level and put all of South America on the global map, even though that continent has been producing champions in the United States for decades.

The Decline of the Sport

By Morton Cathro - Too many days of racing. Too many short fields. A multitude of breakdowns. Too many drug issues, with prominent trainers under scrutiny. Too many top horses retired prematurely to the breeding shed. Squabbles, lawsuits, and the ethics of dual agency...Are these and other concerns threatening the viability of racing and the loyalty of its fans?

He's the Man

By Cynthia Biamon - And then he emerged...heading straight toward one of the world's most famous tracks and to his thousands of fans. His blinkers revealed just enough of hungry eyes, eyes that were taking in the surroundings, sizing up the competition, and readying to devour all opponents.

Hope Springs

By Richard Zwirn - The initial stages of grieving -- denial, anger, bargaining, sadness -- sped through my mind in a blur. I tried reminding myself how fortunate we are: healthy kids, roof over our heads, food on the table, good friends. Still, it wasn't easy, this feeling of loss, the waste of a lovely, full-term foal.

Major League

By Stan Bowker -- With 38 pari-mutuel horse racing states and 38 sets of rules, achieving uniformity in anything, especially disqualifications for interference, is a constant challenge.

Rewarding Innovation

By T.D. Thornton -- North American racing has a widely acknowledged economics problem. Its chief funding mechanism, pari-mutuel wagering, is failing after serving the sport well for decades. What was once an efficient method of extruding profits is now an anachronism whose constraints are choking back betting growth.

It's the Horse, Stupid

By Sarah Reschly - If racing learns one thing from the spectacular outpouring of public emotion during Barbaro's eight-month ordeal, it should be this -- it's the horse, stupid. Your fans love your horses. From a marketing standpoint, the horse is racing's greatest asset; however, the business does little to protect it, and in so doing, is risking everything.

Final Chapter

By Sean Clancy - In early January, I found myself at my kitchen table, trying to figure out an end to the book I was writing on Barbaro and Matz. I couldn't shake Matz' voice from my head, "How do you know that's the end? Maybe there's a lot more to the story..."

Not So Special

By Evan Hammonds - During this year's Preakness weekend at Pimlico, the "Magna Entertainment Experience" surrounding the second jewel of the Triple Crown will not be nearly as enriching. On Jan. 25, the Maryland Jockey Club stuck a fork in the Pimlico Special (gr. I) for 2007.

Benny's Drive

By Deirdre B. Biles - The death of former NASCAR champion Benny Parsons Jan. 16 brought back a lot of memories, reminding me that my roots aren't in horse racing but in another sport where horsepower is just as important.

Derby Leaver

By John McEvoy -- Personal Seat License fees for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks is a "knockout punch" for veteran ticketholder.

Seasons of 2006

By Patricia Ranft - It's been a tumultuous year in Thoroughbred racing, although most years have their share of turmoil in this sport. Emotions changed with the seasons, resulting in a 2006 that won't soon be forgotten.

Seize the Moment

By Dr. Joan C. Hendricks - We have a unique chance now to build on the current positive public perception. Let's use this opening to encourage more investment, attendance, bigger gates, wider viewership and sponsorship, and perhaps even a broader base for philanthropy.

Not On the Level

By Barry Irwin - Our sport is not ready for prime-time exposure because it is corrupt at its very core. The essence of racing is handicapping a race and betting on it. If one cannot present a level playing field, what is there to promote?

Tough Guy

By Ed Golden - Paul Kallai was a tough guy. At Garden State Park, which is now an elaborate shopping center in Cherry Hill, N.J., he once tried to scale a 12-foot wall to attack a fan who was criticizing him for his ride on a losing horse.

Horses Need No Translation

By Vic Zast - Despite their abiding love for sumo wrestling, karaoke, pachinko, and baseball, the celebrants of bounty descended upon Tokyo Race Course, home of the world's third-richest horse race -- the Japan Cup (Jpn-I). Standing a foot taller in a shirt size I can't buy at the souvenir stands, and realizing I know nothing about which horses to bet on or how to even bet them, I am feeling like a gaijin among insiders.

My Ears Are Bent

By Pete Pedersen - Today I'm beginning to forget yesterday, but as a retired racing official, I cannot forget the language of the racetrack through the ages.

Phar Lap Redux

By Morton Cathro - News reports from Australia alleging that the country's legendary wonder horse, Phar Lap, died not of colic but of deliberate arsenic poisoning, has thrust affluent Atherton, a secluded enclave on the San Francisco peninsula, into the limelight once again.

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.

I Guarantee It

By Evan I. Hammonds - We're pretty sure there are no guarantees in Thoroughbred racing. However, let's step out for Breeders' Cup XXIII at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. There are a few "automatics." I guarantee it.

Hail to the Chief

By Andrew Rosen - Chief's Crown delivered some of the most thrilling victories and some of the most agonizing defeats. Even with all of the highs and lows, I feel honored to have been a part of Chief's Crown's legacy. His win in the first Breeders' Cup race ever run will always be remembered.

Good Neighbors

By Michael Gobb - Despite Keeneland's importance to the global equine industry, its allure to tourists, and its numerous charitable contributions, many in Central Kentucky may not fully realize the value of having Keeneland as a neighbor and community partner. Blue Grass Airport experienced Keeneland's generosity firsthand Aug. 27.

Remembering Fitz

By Jason Shandler - As I watched the crowd of several hundred pile into St. Paul's Church in Philadelphia, I found myself asking: I wonder just how many of these people Fitz Eugene Dixon Jr. actually helped? My guess was that the majority benefited in one form or another from Dixon's life.

The Golden Boy

By Jack Shinar - California lost the golden boy of its golden age of horse racing Sept. 26 with the death of Precisionist at the age of 25. The champion was laid to rest at Old Friends retirement home near Georgetown, Ky., where he had spent his final months.

Crystal Clear

By Davant Latham - He was not quite the fairy tale horse; he was too real for that. He was brilliant, vibrantly alive, and physically imposing, but has passed quietly into that soft, black night. He was Lost in the Fog.

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.

It's Common Sense

By John Oxley - I believe the vast majority of owners and trainers want a level playing field where horsemanship counts and the best horses win. I believe they also want to see the cheaters severely punished. Repeat offenders should be eliminated from our sport. These are the objectives of the RMTC.

A Real Bluegrass Man

By Jim Cullen - I first met Dan Mallory through an associate at work. I was a staff writer for an industry trade publication and wanted to breed a mare to a freshman stallion I thought would be popular. The only problem was I didn't own a mare.

Riding Out

By Wayne Sweezey - The boiling heat wave had recently passed through upstate New York and on this day temperatures were cooler and more tolerable. Saratoga's paddock was bright and colorful and crowded; a grade I was about to be run.

Track of Dreams

By Tammy Thomas Curlin - When I read about Churchill Downs' reluctance to re-open Fair Grounds in New Orleans for live racing this year I was reminded of that famous line "If you build it, he will come" from the wonderful movie Field of Dreams.

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?

Pilgrimage With The Past

By Sue Sefscik - The Central Florida day dawned clear, bright, and slightly windy with low humidity. It was the perfect day to take a 90-minute drive from my home on Florida's east coast to Ocala, located nearly halfway across the state.

Second Season

By Evan Hammonds - Major League Baseball just celebrated its All-Star Game last month in Pittsburgh, representing the traditional midpoint as "America's Pastime" heads into its second season and hits the turn on its run to the World Series in October. So, too, is Thoroughbred racing entering its second season.

I Declare

By Morton Cathro - If recent action by the California Horse Racing Board should become permanent and be embraced by other states, racing might well see the return of the old, largely forgotten "declaring to win" rule invoked by the umbrella-wielding gentleman of yesteryear--with the unintended consequences it sometimes brings.

The Old Lion's Horses

By Bill Shanklin - The train from London takes me to Sevenoaks Station in the gently rolling English countryside. At the nearby taxi rank, finely attired folks are about to embark for Royal Ascot and the afternoon races. My destination is different. I am here for a visit to the home of the most venerated racehorse owner and breeder of any era.

Human Error

By Christine Janks - There is no mystery to me why we are having all these breakdowns. Even one is horrific, but when I see breakdowns occurring on almost a daily basis, I feel that finally the time is right to point the finger back where it belongs.

Shout

By Richard B. Shapiro - A racetrack operator, who shall go unnamed, recently said to me, "It isn't that I don't like you personally, but frankly, I think you are dangerous for the sport." He went on to tell me that I talk too much at the California Horse Racing Board meetings and that I would be better off if I didn't push so hard and just backed off. His view is that I have ideas that won't work for the most part, and I am causing too much dissension in the industry.

A Royal Experience

By Vic Zast - It is wrong to believe that only devotees with a love of the Thoroughbred deserve a place in the Turf Club. Or that to be a genuine fan one must take racing seriously. Racing is best when it's democratic, not burdened by snobbery.

Name Dropping

By Evan I. Hammonds - I don't recall the meeting when it was first discussed, but I remember volunteering. Looking for new avenues of coverage for racing's big events--the Triple Crown, the Breeders' Cup--on bloodhorse.com, the idea of a "blog" came up. "Blog," short for "Web log," is a relatively new concept and is still subject to debate for its actual purpose and application.

Much Is Being Done

By Dell Hancock - As with all accidents, racing's do happen. But we all need to make sure that, while they may never be totally eliminated, we are working hard to rid racing of as many as possible and deal successfully with those that cannot be avoided.

More Than We Know

By Joe Clancy - Other sports hold more popularity than racing, but nobody ever stood on an overpass to wish a linebacker good luck in his surgery. The horses matter, and people care more than those of us in racing know.

How We Failed Barbaro

By Laura Hillenbrand -- In breakdowns, racing has a massive, deadly serious problem, and we all know it. The Thoroughbred industry has a moral obligation to horses and jockeys to pursue solutions on a grand scale and with the utmost urgency. We must summon the best minds, create a truly comprehensive, uniform injury reporting system, and fund a slew of controlled studies. Most importantly, we must be willing to make the difficult choices that follow.

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.

In Perfect Harmony

By Morton Cathro - Nineteenth century philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche said, "Without music life would be a mistake." It's a sentiment with which many passionate music-lovers would agree. Folks passionate about horses could well express a similar sentiment: Without horses life would be a mistake, or at least devoid of meaning.

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.

NYRA's Best Friend

By Neil V. Getnick - I have lost a friend. And New York Thoroughbred racing has lost a friend. He was Peter Karches, the former co-chairman of the New York Racing Association Board of Trustees.

Amazing Actions

By Melissa Radcliffe - When I was 12 years old, something extraordinary happened to me, something that helped shape the person I have become. I met Michael Matz.

One Last Peek

By Tom LaMarra - Racetracks, like mountains, have an aura--almost a personality--for those who take the time to experience them. It is the horses, the people, the smells, the view, and, of course, the memories.

Looking Forward at the Past

By Byron Rogers - Of all the domesticated breeds, the Thoroughbred's lineage is by far the best recorded and most accurately detailed. It is a great testament to the American Stud Book, The Jockey Club, and the industry itself that we do have such records available to us to evaluate, purchase, and breed Thoroughbreds based on their pedigrees and the performance of their ancestors. It is something we have a right to be proud of.

Never Have and Never Will

Dual agency without disclosure is fraud and it is against the law! We would like to make it clear that the signers of this document do not tolerate this, and that we never have and never will participate in these activities.

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