Final Turn

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For Pete's Sake

By Joe Hickey - Silky catkins on the willows; daffodils grinning 'neath the windbreak: Derby day is a-coming.

Royal Remembrances

By Terese Karmel - When Shakespeare's King Richard III cried out, "a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse," how could the playwright have known what would occur at York Racecourse more than five centuries later?

Permanent Financing

By Edward S. Bonnie - Would you pay $5 per start to support better drug testing, research, and track security? The average Thoroughbred races eight times per year. Hence, the average Thoroughbred owner would pay $40 per year per horse to help ensure competition on a level playing field.

More Than a Milkshake

By Dr. Rick M. Arthur - The California experience has been successful. The tracks and horsemen, on their own and outside of the state regulatory system, eliminated 99% of the problem (25% to 0.2%) in six months.

Never Can Say Goodbye

By Larry Levin - What does a jockey have to do to be banned from Thoroughbred racing?

Hollywood Ending

By Morton Cathro - Racing is full of unlikely scenarios, few of which have been more unlikely than the one featuring Hollywood screenwriter Ethel Hill and War Knight, the Thoroughbred she called "Tuffy."

Time to Unite

By Gary Biszantz - As chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association I feel an obligation to encourage all horsemen to unite and support uniform medication rules for the United States.

Inspired Visionary

By Greg Avioli - John had the amazing ability to synthesize large amounts of information and draw immediate and clear conclusions.

Advice For Men Only

By Victor Zast - To men who are true horseplayers, racing is a daily passion that starts with a scan of the entries and ends with a reading of the results.

Stark Reminder

By D.G. Van Clief Jr. -- The charges outlined in the federal indictments in New York point out the immediate need to improve our wagering systems and the pre- and post-race security of our horses. They are a stark reminder that, as an industry, we must accelerate the pace of the steps we have taken over the last few years to upgrade these areas.

Meritorious Character

By James E. Bassett III -- When one thinks of Charles J. Cella, a myriad of descriptions flash by. "Indescribable" comes easily to mind, overshadowed by "indomitable" or perhaps "indestructible," followed by "unpredictable" or almost surely "unpersuadable." But lest we overlook the obvious, certainly it would be "unforgettable."

Stablemates

By Joe Hickey -- Bonds made as classmates, teammates, roommates, shipmates, and soulmates often last a lifetime. And so, too, can bonds made among stablemates.

Integrity No Easy Task

By Cot Campbell - Our Code of Ethics, presented to the world in mid-December, has been received agreeably. Predictably, there has been commentary on what "they" should have done. I have waited until Jan. 15--when my duties as chairman ended and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association took over--for any personal observations.

Numbers Don't Lie

By Dan Liebman -- Numbers. This business is about numbers. Big numbers... dramatic numbers...incredible numbers. The wildest number of 2004, and in fact perhaps the wildest number ever in the history of this game, is the number of stakes winners sired by Danehill. With only 19 stallions having sired 100 or more stakes winners in their entire careers, Danehill, by Danzig, was represented by 51 in 2004.

Putting the Legs in Legacy

By Lenny Shulman -- For the past few years, Michael Paulson has been busy watching a reality show on TV in his Las Vegas home. His tastes don't necessarily run to "Survivor," "American Idol," or the other garbage that passes for entertainment in the 21st century. Paulson's viewing has been taken up by a horse--Azeri--whom he's watched race by race, frame by frame; remote in one hand, stopwatch in the other.

A Worthy Calling

By Morton Cathro - Sports history is replete with "the streak," that strung-together necklace of accomplishments proudly worn by great teams and legendary athletes: Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak; undefeated heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano's 49 straight victories; golfer Byron Nelson's 11 PGA tournaments in a row; Michael Jordan's seven consecutive NBA scoring records; Citation and Cigar's sweet 16s.

Brush Strokes

By Steve Haskin -- When it came to sheer toughness, Broad Brush was in a class by himself.

Original Thinking

By Pete Spanos - With the leaves still falling from Keeneland's splendid 2004 fall meet, it is appropriate, perhaps obligatory, to offer a fan's salute to the old guard's open minds, adventurous spirits, and free-thinking ways. Yes, I said Keeneland. Who would have thought they could be such radicals?

Let's Move On

By Victor Zast - Why has Thoroughbred racing decided to put its future into the hands of a public relations agency?

Winning Counts

By Dan Arrigo -- When I became involved in Thoroughbred racing in the 1950s, it was a sport of numbers. Now, it seems to be more of a business of numbers than a sport, but most racing fans still spend more time looking at the figures on a tote board--or on TVG--than they do admiring colorful silks or counting horse's legs in the post parade.

Long Memories

John W. Greathouse Jr. - The jockeys at Churchill Downs and Hoosier Park who recently chose to sit out the meet over insurance issues have made a grievous mistake. And don't think for one second that the trainers and owners will soon forget what these riders did.

Crowning Champions

By William Keith - Each year, the Thoroughbred industry has a great championship day--the Breeders' Cup. At the end of the big day, we have winners, but NO champions. Instead, that determination is put on hold. The fans are asked to wait. Three months later, in the middle of winter, last year's champions are finally announced. By then, it's stale news.

Critical Crossroad

By Gary West -- The message echoed through the grandstand and spread through the crowd. In the stable area, people from Europe, California, Kentucky, and New York gladly picked up the message and passed it along. Now, if only the so-called leaders in Texas aren't deaf.

Racing Needs Independent Agency

By Barry Irwin -- Racing is at a crossroads on many fronts these days. The New York Racing Association has its back up against the wall. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association is in a leadership transition. The Thoroughbred Championship Tour is trying to get off the ground. Purses face erosion from off-shore betting schemes. But the single greatest problem facing the game--how to restore integrity to the race itself--is not receiving the attention it so desperately requires.

Local Entertainment

By Gary West -- So far it has been very amusing--all these folks boarding up the windows of their prejudices and then fleeing to the mountains of their preconceptions. And it could be entertaining indeed Oct. 30 when they have to scurry to escape the avalanche.

Milkshakes and Miracles

By Morton Cathro - The recent death of a world-renowned scientist and the current flap over medications and "milkshakes" have combined to stir memories of one of the more sensational and far-reaching episodes in the annals of the American Turf.

A True Equine Hero

By Jay Stephens -- This year's opening day of the Keeneland fall meeting--Oct. 8--features a long overdue salute to Whirlaway. The "Calumet Comet" was the first Triple Crown winner to prep at Keeneland, and the opening day festivities will celebrate that fact. But there is much more to celebrate with regards to Whirlaway than simply his preparation at Keeneland or his victorious run at the Triple Crown in 1941. Whirlaway was a true equine hero.

Weird Tales

By Evan I. Hammonds - Gonzo journalist Dr. Hunter S. Thompson coined the phrase, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." The wacky, win-at-any-cost world of sports today is plenty weird and offers multiple examples on a weekly, if not daily, basis that make the phrase one of fact, not speculation.

Special Work

By Lucy Young Hamilton - Many causes connected to racing deserve our best efforts and generosity. I am personally connected with several, and believe in each of them, but the work of Grayson-Jockey Club is special. Here the good graces of those in racing directly benefit the animal that makes it all possible.

Evening Stables

By Joe Hickey - Of all the great memories bequeathed to me by my boss, the great breeder E.P. Taylor, none is more special than those of accompanying him on many one-on-one after-hour visits to the Windfields Farm barns during "evening stables."

Good Intentions

By Dr. Ted Hill - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone and Banamine, and some prednisone or similar steroid to reduce inflammation in aching joints, tendons, and ligaments, the supporters argued, would simply help horses withstand the rigors of frequent racing.

Bold and Daring

By Morton Cathro - When Golden Souvenir, a maiden, romped home by four lengths Aug. 1in the final leg of the Pick Six to ignite the biggest payoff in California horse racing history, the winner's circle at Del Mar, "where the Turf meets the surf," suddenly was engulfed in a tidal wave of humanity celebrating the $2,100,117 bonanza.

Not So Smart

By Gary McMillen -- Sometimes it takes a thorn to get rid of a splinter. Like a Maryland blue crab dropped out of a basket, I scurried to the safety of my office. There were questions I needed to ask myself. Smarty Jones did not give me what I wanted but maybe he gave me what I needed.

Smart Send-Off?

By Steve Haskin -- Cries of "Smarty! Smarty!" and "We love you, Smarty," poured out from the large crowd gathered along the rail from one end of the stretch to the other. It was one final burst of emotion from an adoring public who opened their hearts to this dynamo of a horse.

It Won't Be the Same

By Paul Volponi -- Johnson was elected to racing's Hall of Fame in 1997. The honor was a tribute to the trainer's incredible consistency. He was enshrined without a dominating champion. Instead of a Pegasus, he rose on the wings of a work ethic that woke him at 2:30 a.m. each morning as he walked a treadmill and watched tapes of races before heading to the barn.

Remembering Ray Rogers

By Alan F. Balch -- When racing lost Ray Rogers in July at the age of 87, one of our last links disappeared to a different sport we knew so well, not that long ago.

Little Patch of Heaven

By John Williams -- Of all the runners to have carried the famous flamingo pink silks of Harbor View Farm, Affirmed and his brilliant champion daughter Flawlessly stand above the others in the hearts of Lou and Patrice Wolfson.

'Freebie'

By Lenny Shulman -- The picture lingers in the mind of Trudy McCaffery, and in the memories of racing fans. Two great gray horses thundering down the stretch in the 1997 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), shadow roll to shadow roll, both with one eye on the finish and one fixed on each other, making sure they were running together till the end.

A Real Horseman

By Steve Montemarano -- His quick sentences are a collage of racing history. Looking into Jimmy Croll's blue eyes, one senses sincerity. He puts you at ease, and his uncomplicated approach to both people and horses becomes clear. When in Croll's company, there's no struggle to make conversation. Heck no. It's a straight-up affair.

Fairly Spectacular

By Morton Cathro -- Horse racing's venerable merry-go-round, better known as the Northern California Fair Circuit, once again is on its dizzying summertime whirl through the county fairs of the Golden State.

Distance Limitations

By Earl Ola -- Thirty years ago, there were 220 racetracks in America; today there are just over 100. Belmont's stands where filled for races like the two-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, the 2 1/4-mile Gallant Fox, etc. Today the same races are run at 1 1/4 miles and Belmont's stands are mostly empty for those races.

Big Horses

By John W. Greathouse Jr. -- It has been a rough time at our family-owned farm recently. My mother, brothers, and I have had to bury the two best stallions ever to stand at Glencrest Farm. Clever Trick was euthanized June 5 and Wavering Monarch had to be put down just 12 days later.

The Road to Frankfort

By John Gaines -- Kentucky is widely acknowledged as the horse capital of the world, the leading horse state in the United States, and the epicenter of horse industry leadership. Paradoxically, this leadership doesn't extend to our own state capital or to forging an economic partnership with fellow Kentuckians.

A Tough Translation

By William Nack -- Of the many images that kept resurfacing in the mind's eye in the wake of Saturday's Belmont Stakes, none was more vividly or repeatedly recalled than the two scenes played out in and around Penny Chenery's set of box seats near the finish line.

Someday

By Susan Baldrige -- It was a simple farm, nothing fancy, with a quaint farmhouse and an old, stone barn with irregularly shaped box stalls. The farm had one tiny sign with a black horse painted on it that quietly announced you were there. That was exactly three years ago.

Not So Smart

By Gary McMillen -- Sometimes it takes a thorn to get rid of a splinter. Like a Maryland blue crab dropped out of a basket, I scurried to the safety of my office. There were questions I needed to ask myself. Smarty Jones did not give me what I wanted but maybe he gave me what I needed.

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."

Philly Faithful

By Tom LaMarra -- "The Chapmans are people with great hearts, the kind of people that really make the business go. If we didn't have people like them, we wouldn't have a Derby."

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.

Read On

By Chip Tuttle -- "...any student of media could tell you the trend away from full-time Turf writers at major metropolitan dailies has more to do with lower circulation, loss of ad pages, and rising costs of newsprint than lack of interest in horse racing."

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