Final Turn

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Public Perception

By Bob Summers -- The racing industry might learn something from what I overheard recently at an off-track betting parlor in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

The Gripes of Wrath

By Graeme Beaton -- It may be one of the eternal truths that emerges on judgment day--that the cost of horse ownership is really a tax on stupidity.

Weighing In

By Larry Levin -- The recent running of the Strub Stakes (gr. II) followed a pre-race diversion into the arcane area of weight assignments. Toccet's connections protested their impost of 123 pounds, arguing that the allowance conditions of the race, properly interpreted, called for only 117. The conditions were so poorly worded that Toccet's owner had to appeal the decision of Santa Anita's officials to the stewards to resolve the matter in Toccet's favor.

Knock of an Angel

By Amanda G. Simmons -- If the walls of her "sunflower" room could only talk...she was a stranger to no one, and an impeccable hostess to all; she was an elegant woman from old Virginia stock, but a modern woman who pursued her career in the Thoroughbred industry long before it was fashionable.

Here Comes Malicious

By Morton Cathro -- Racing fans shopping for that increasingly scarce commodity, the equine hero, are finding slim pickings these days as the shelf life of star Thoroughbreds continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate.

A Humane End

By Priscilla Clark -- Cries of outrage are still being heard wherever horse lovers express their views, and the terror and suffering Ferdinand undoubtedly endured in a slaughterhouse sparked profound soul searching throughout the racing community.

Colorful Commentary

By Frances J. Karon -- A colleague remembers Joss Collins as a man even more colorful than the multi-colored shirt that was his trademark.

Countdown

By Terese Karmel -- Each winter as I watch the icicles hanging off my roof, my thoughts turn to those summer days I spend in Saratoga. Around the end of January, my partner and I start asking ourselves whether we're more than halfway to opening day.

Groundhog Day

By Ray Paulick -- Kentucky legislators can't learn everything about the horse business in the few weeks that remain before the session deadline to file bills. It requires professional lobbyists, but it also takes commitment from the rank and file.

King Lou

By Harry Miller -- For more than 22 years, the first ad in the Classified Advertising section each and every week was always for Lou Salerno's Questroyal Farm. Lou has now decided to devote all his energies to another of his passions, fine art. He has passed the torch to Chris Bernhard, who calls his farm Hidden Lake.

A Happening

By Cot Campbell -- The prime necessary ingredients to attract and retain horse owners are: glamour, recognition, tax benefits, and profit. In that order.

Grand Opportunity

By Jim Squires -- Being both an incurable reformer and a glutton for punishment, it is hard not to be envious of the opportunity Gov. Ernie Fletcher has given his newly constituted Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

Looking Forward

By Tim Smith -- We'll remember 2003 for its highlights, but right now it's time to hazard some predictions for 2004...

NTRA Stables

By Victor E. Zast -- The NTRA should purchase a stable of horses that will be worthy of public attention, that will be the "stuff" of what effective advertising is made, that will race in the races it puts on TV, that will campaign for as long as their legs have some run in them--a dynasty of horses that will become as accomplished over time as the New York Yankees or as familiar to the man in the street as Funny Cide was this spring.

Giving Back

By Tom Molloy -- With VLT revenue resulting in even higher purses, it would seem to strengthen a case for an open dialogue to discuss a re-negotiation of fees with an emphasis on formally directing a fair portion to the grooms, hotwalkers, and others.

Czeched in the Stretch

By Paul Deblinger -- When the Breeders' Cup announced a few years ago that it would become the World Thoroughbred Championships I thought, why would a successful brand change to an unwieldy new brand? Would there really be an effort to make it a true world championship?

Mixed Emotions

By Dan Liebman -- The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is a day for celebration. But this year it also left pedigree lovers feeling a twinge of sadness. Of the nine winners on the day, four are by sires now deceased.

Of A Certain Age

By Victor E. Zast -- Old race fans never die, they just get old and sentimental...

Same Goal

By Graeme Beaton -- We're all after that one horse that will show them who's best! The dream of that "Big One" keeps us going.

King Knocker

By Neil Pessin
"ENTER THEN KNOCK." I will always remember that sign hanging on the office door of Fair Grounds racing secretary and director of racing Mervin Muniz. Quite a bit of "knocking" occurred in that little office over the many years that Mervin was racing secretary. If you were the subject of the knocking and were present at the time, it was futile to try and defend yourself. There was even a horse named after Mervin--King Knocker.

Downs Home

By Dick Downey -- Kentucky Downs, a diamond in the rough among racetracks, has a lot to offer horses, horsemen, and racing fans.

Holding Court

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

Presence of Heroes

By Steve Haskin -- The American racing fan is starving for a hero. Not one of these short-term heroes that are merely a brief flash of light, but one that can keep the fire aglow. Well, guess what? We have been in the presence of such heroes for the past several years and aren't even aware of it.

Hine Sight

By Victor E. Zast -- Sonny and Carolyn Hine knew a lot about life and how to live it; yet horses, and each other, were all that they ever had

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.

A Penny Saved

By Steve Montemarano -- A horse no longer able to race finds two homes, where he gives as much as he gets from his caretakers.

People's Horses

By Bud Lamoreaux -- Funny Cide can give racing an ingredient that has been lacking for 25 years.

Written in Darkness

By Gary West -- When Jose Santos and Funny Cide left behind their rivals at Pimlico, and left even further behind the suggestions of impropriety, the jockey stood in the irons and kissed his right hand. He flashed the victory sign, and then he opened his hand to the world, as if to show again that it held nothing.

Many Cides

By Dan Liebman -- General sports columnists try their best to cover the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), but they often fall short.

Slew Of Memories

By Paula Turner -- While ponying a horse off old Hopeful, I remembered when the horse came to me. It was the same year as that fuzzy-tailed colt, Seattle Slew, whose comical appearance pulled at my heart, causing me to name him Baby Huey.

Thanks, Mom

By Richard Zwirn -- Soon, we will celebrate Mother's Day. Of course, I will send my mom a card, my mother-in-law some chocolates, and my wife will undoubtedly receive all sorts of handcrafted gifts from our children. The mothers in our broodmare band will also be recognized.

Too Soon

By Billy Reed -- A wall in the Churchill Downs press box is devoted to photos of deceased journalists who honored the Kentucky Derby with their passion and their talent.

No Robbery

By Laura Hillenbrand -- Seabiscuit's story did have a "fairy-tale ending," but he didn't need me to give it to him.

Seabiscuit Revisited

By Morton Cathro -- With both a PBS documentary and a Spielberg-backed movie based on "Seabiscuit: An American Legend" about to debut, it behooves one to take yet another look at one of the most exhaustively researched and finely crafted works ever written about a racehorse and his time.

Not Again

By Billy Reed -- Aw rats, not again. That was my reaction. Vindication, the unbeaten 2-year-old champion male and favorite for the 129th Kentucky Derby, will miss the world's most coveted race because of a strained ligament in his right foreleg.

The Pensioner

By John Russell -- Despite the generosity of the sport at large, the funds directed toward the survival, care, and rehabilitation of most of the horses that are no longer wanted on the racetrack or in the breeding shed are relatively small.

Current Memories

By Steve Haskin -- To anyone, the name Little Current evokes tranquil images of a gently flowing river or stream. To me, it evokes a different kind of tranquility; one of lazy spring afternoons and newborn foals and carefree yearlings dashing up and down rolling hills with joyous abandon. It also evokes images of a very special Triple Crown.

On the Corner

By Victor E. Zast -- A non-scientific poll conducted on a Chicago street corner finds that a majority believe Seabiscuit is racing's Horse of the Year for 2002.

On the Corner

A non-scientific poll conducted on a Chicago street corner finds that a majority believe Seabiscuit is racing's Horse of the Year for 2002.

Off the Charts

By John McEvoy -- An automated system of charting races will inevitably lead to a loss of jobs.

Needed: Honest Effort

By Barry Irwin -- It is high time the entrepreneurs who have invested billions of dollars in facilities and politicians that can appoint individuals to racing boards make an honest effort to listen to the concerns of those folks who wager on horse racing.

Following the Storm

By Dean Arnold --A stalwart racing fan recounts his chance sighting of Storm Flag Flying, one of racing's newest starlets.

Bye Buddy

By Dan Kenny -- The track will never be the same without Buddy Abadie, who died recently.

Melbuhn Musings

By Victor Zast -- The Melbourne Cup is only race in the world for which a holiday is proclaimed and on which 90% of a country's population will bet.

Money Machine

By Steve Haskin -- The late Walter Annenberg, who ran the Daily Racing Form, is remembered as the owner of a "damn good, very profitable newspaper in its time."

Back to the Future

By T. D. Thornton -- News broke in August about the proposed Equibase plan to propel the sport into the future with real-time tracking of horses, merging tradition with technology. Good luck Equibase. I'm confident you have the horse, but not entirely certain you'll find an industry eager to bankroll the bet.

Adjust Now

By Dan Liebman -- Walking around the Keeneland sale grounds during the September yearling auction, one heard many reasons for the "correction" in the marketplace.

Shareholder With a Heart

By Eric Mitchell -- Let's get something straight up front. Robert Wehle was more than "the man who owns all the stallion shares." He was a passionate student of pedigrees and an enthusiastic teacher of the breeding business.

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