- By Vic Zast
Curtain rises on Fasig-Tipton Yearling Sales. Read Blog
Curtain rises on Fasig-Tipton Yearling Sales. Read Blog
Well-known national racing commentator and former jockey Donna Barton Brothers is the author of a new book, "Inside Track: Insider's Guide to Horse Racing."
Talkin' Horses is hosted by Ron Mitchell and Greg DePalma. This week's guests are Donna Barton Brothers, Ron Geary and Tom LaMarra for our new Handicapping segment. Listen Now!
He may have been cocky and charismatic, but to Norah Pollard her father was even more than that: John "Red" Pollard was a superhero.
Sue Dowling, who bred the stakes-winning gelding Ranger Heartley with her husband, Craig Upham, decided to name the horse after a local heroic army ranger, Sgt. Jeffrey Hartley, who was killed in Iraq in April 2008.
Dwight New has been stockpiling Secretariat items for more than 35 years and according to the legendary horse's owner, Penny Chenery, it is the largest collection of Secretariat memorabilia she has ever seen.
Julia Brimo is grateful for small and large things. She's thankful that she can now scratch her nose with her left hand and for the constant support -- emotional and financial -- of Cindy Werner and dozens of others.
Instinctive. Accomplished. Seasoned. These are not words typically used when speaking about an apprentice jockey. They are accurate, however, when describing Amanda Tamburello.
Thunder Rumble, the 1992 Travers (gr. I) and Jim Dandy (gr. II) winner is the 4th horse to make his home at Cabin Creek, a newly opened satellite farm operated by Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm.
Give up or fight. Those were the two choices Robin Cleary was left with more than 13 years ago after a tragic riding accident left her a quadraplegic.
16-year old Maria Rose Michalak's book, Eight Belles: Triumph Beyond the Wire cronicles Eight Belles' days as a foal, as well as her lineage, training, and racing career, and also recounts the positive changes that have occurred in Thoroughbred racing as a result of Eight Belles' death.
In all of Karen Murdock's 37 years of experiences she has never encountered a horse quite like Lukas. Starting out as a downtrodden "racetrack reject," Lukas is now known to many as one of the most intelligent animals on the planet because of Murdock's soft-spoken training techniques.
Steve Hiatt never thought he would win an award for doing the thing he enjoys more than anything else in the world-helping horses.
There must be steel coursing through the veins of the Campbell family. Three generations of these steel-driving men have been blacksmiths, shoeing some of the finest Thoroughbreds on the East Coast.
For more than a decade it seemed that Lady Luck was refusing to smile upon the Last Call Racing Partnership of Chicago residents Clyde Peterson and Tim Fella, until Mizzcan'tbewrong came along.
Charlie Gillespie's 2% ownership of 3-year old colt Bunker Hill helps him cope with clinical depression.
Some people have to overcome one large obstacle to achieve their goals. DeShawn Parker climbed three different hurdles to get what he wanted.
In mid-July, Ruben Beltran, Consul General of Mexico, paid a visit to Anna House, a childcare center located on the backstretch of Belmont Park for the working families at the New York racetrack.
A painting worth thousands left in the trash has since prompted a zeal-filled quest for Gordon Burnette to give acclaim to the long forgotten, but well-revered 19th century equine artist Thomas J. Scott.
On Aug. 5, as it is does from time to time for the community, Saratoga Race Course recognized the historic neighboring town of Mechanicville. For trainer Chad Brown, who comes from this small town southeast of Saratoga Springs, it was a chance to relax for a little while with high school friends and family, a break from the intensity of running an up-and-coming stable.
For nearly a quarter of a century, Denny Brace has guarded the gap at Saratoga's Clare Court training track, among the loveliest spots at the racecourse, as if he's watching over the crown jewels.
Despite losing to Birdstone in heartbreaking fashion in the Belmont, Smarty Jones touched Madison Scott's heart. And from that point on she became "Smarty's No. 1 Fan," an unofficial title that became official July 6 when Three Chimneys Farm and Smarty's owner, Pat Chapman, arranged for the 15-year-old Scott to spend a week with her favorite horse.
For most women with six children and six grandchildren, the next step in their life includes things like retirement and relaxation. But for Sherry Kirk, there will be no baking cakes, sewing, or taking strolls on the beach. Those things can wait another 20 years. For now, she is just getting started on the second half of her riding career.
When Jon Hall, yearling manager at Taylor Made Farm, heard that his daughter had been diagnosed with breast cancer, he decided to do something to fight the disease that was threatening her life.
When it came time to do the right thing by the bay gelding, there was no hesitation. P. Kerney would be retired with dignity and live the rest of his life like a former racehorse should: as a retrained Thoroughbred with a useful second career.
For Angelina Costa, her family, and the legions of professionals and volunteers at the Saratoga Therapeutic Equestrian Program, the weekly sessions are therapeutic as well as enjoyable. This farm, along with dozens like it throughout the country, helps children with a wide range of physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities by teaching them to ride.
Don Blowe never guessed that Halo Silver, who quickly proved she was a valuable producer, would be fighting for her life. But thanks to the generosity of a Kentucky veterinarian, who donated his services to help the daughter of Silver Buck, her story will hopefully have a happy ending.
Barbara Luna discovered that even greater than her love of campaigning runners was the passion that came from helping retired racehorses have a second chance.
As the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) approaches, discussions often turn to the last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed in 1978, or to Secretariat's 31-length spectacle in 1973. Dan Silver, the new director of communications and media relations for the New York Racing Association, appreciates those historic races, even though he wasn't born when they occurred. Silver is only 29 years old.
Thomas Allen Pauly's love for painting subjects of Thoroughbred racing was developed somewhat like the intricate portraits he produces from his Chicago-area studio: layer by layer.
Meeting people was a big part of Marcia Taylor's job at Fasig-Tipton, and she never got tired of making new acquaintances during her nearly 30 years with the Thoroughbred auction firm.
The best story of Kentucky Derby weekend was 7-year old Rachel Mattson and Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra.
After watching a Discovery Channel show documenting how residents of Greensburg, Kansas, were rebuilding their tornado-ridden city as a "model green community," horse industry veterans Chad and Tammy Hassenpflug became determined to support that community in a special way.
Only a fool can be trusted with the Holy Grail, and William "La-Tee" Braud meets all of the qualifications.
As he was a full brother to three-time champion Skip Away, whom many consider as one of the greatest racehorses of all time, big things were expected from Skipingo when he was purchased as a yearling for $300,000 in 1998.
Job security is a two way street. It's a continual dance of give and take. In the transient labor pool of American race tracks, finding good help on the backstretch is like catching fire-flies in a bottle.
It took only one fundraiser for Mary Lee-Butte to become a permanent fixture at the Blue Grass Farms Chaplaincy. After organizing the chaplaincy's first fundraiser in 2003, she said they just couldn't get rid of her.
Even though Iain Holmes didn't pioneer the concept of using a Thoroughbred racehorse's name to raise awareness for a cause, the fact he's used that platform to promote the act of saving lives via organ donations still deserves some accolades.
Turning into Woodstock Farm, visitors are greeted by a canopy of towering sycamores and pines lining a road that slopes down to the original training barn and track, all the way to the tranquil beauty of the Bohemia River.
In the fall of 2005, Shake the Bank, his name stitched across the front of Breeders' Cup hats, was best known as the rabbit for 2004 John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner Better Talk Now.
With 14 Kentucky Derby winners and many successful stallions having stood at the nearly century-old farm, Claiborne is among the most influential Thoroughbred breeding operations in American history.
Because of the owners, trainers and jockeys who frequent The Pamplemousse restaurant near Del Mar in Southern California, co-owner and chef Jeffrey Strauss gets more than his share of tips.
Even though Ted Watkins is only a casual fan of Thoroughbred racing, he might know more about the breed's early history than some of the sport's most enthusiastic admirers. He owns a copy of the first edition of An Introduction to a General Stud-Book, which was printed in England in 1791.
When Windswept Lady arrived at Shannon Hahn's Argyle, N.Y-based Double L Stable Equine Rescue and Sanctuary near Saratoga Springs with her newborn foal, the outlook looked grim for the granddaughter of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.
When Ruberto Racing Stable Inc. claimed Frazee's Folly in January of 2005 he was already a 9-year-old who had been through 11 different owners and won 10 of 65 lifetime starts. For most Thoroughbreds, that is a full career, and then some.
Attorney Jim Philpott has taken a lot of journeys throughout his life. And though he was casually involved with horses at a young age, he never imagined his career path after law school would eventually revolve around the Thoroughbred world.
Exercise riders have a special trash talk all their own, usually along the lines of how the horse they are aboard can trounce anything on four legs in this century or last. That's why few people paid any attention in 2007 when Steve Willard, riding a huge unraced filly from John Shirreffs' barn, told a Hollywood Park outrider, "This is the second coming of Ruffian."
The 10th annual Daily Racing Form National Handicapping Championship will be held in January, 2009, in Las Vegas, and carries with it a $500,000 first prize, and an Eclipse Award as Handicapper of the Year to the winner.
On Dec. 17, tributes poured in for South African master horseman Felix Coetzee, who said goodbye to Hong Kong racing after an "experiment" that lasted 16 years, to be reunited with his family in Cape Town.
Many Thoroughbred farm workers consider themselves lucky if they played a part in buying, selling, or raising at least a couple successful horses throughout their careers.