Whats Going On Here

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Spa-Tacular

By Ray Paulick -- The Saratoga season of 2003 is one New York Racing Association officials will not soon forget, and for good reason. They overcame numerous obstacles to post record numbers at what most people acknowledge is American racing's most important meeting.

Pacific Princess

By Ray Paulick -- Julie Krone is a role model to female riders trying to make it in a racing world dominated by men.

Club Med

By Ray Paulick -- As a move toward uniform drug rules progresses, it's obvious that no policy will please everyone.

Not in Vain

Who are we to tell the Japanese or anyone else how they should discard the horses we once loved? Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Slaughter is legal in the United States, and there is nothing that would guarantee Ferdinand would not have ended up in one of the slaughtering plants here if he fell into the wrong hands.

Eternal Flame

By Ray Paulick -- The fire inside Laffit Pincay Jr. fueled an unparalleled career, sustaining him through 38 years in the saddle.

Tour De Force?

By Ray Paulick -- One of the last things Thoroughbred racing needs is another organization that duplicates or comes into conflict with the work of others. That must be avoided if the Thoroughbred Championship Tour, a concept developed by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, comes to fruition.

Prime Rate

By Ray Paulick -- How big was Funny Cide's run for this year's Triple Crown? In terms of television ratings, no prime-time program received a higher number during the week of the Belmont Stakes than the final hour of NBC's 90-minute race telecast.

Captivating Crown

By Ray Paulick -- A Travers with Funny Cide and Empire Maker is almost certain to attract a record crowd to Saratoga.

Headline News

By Ray Paulick -- Whether he wins or loses in New York, Funny Cide has helped give racing new exposure.

New York State of Mind

When New York-bred Funny Cide goes for a Triple Crown sweep in the Belmont Stakes, the sport of kings will be the king of sports in the Big Apple and throughout the Empire State.

Rush To Confusion

By Ray Paulick -- Most interesting comment in the 48-hour media barrage surrounding the "controversy" of Jose Santos and the 129th running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) came at about hour 24, during a roundtable discussion of journalists on ESPN's "Sports Reporters" telecast the morning of May 11.

Not Running Through Hoops

By Ray Paulick -- Precisionist, one of this year's inductees into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, didn't start in the 1984 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

History Maker?

By Ray Paulick -- Has it really been 25 years since Thoroughbred racing had its last Triple Crown winner? It doesn't seem that long ago to us gray-haired types, but a new generation of racing fans has not had a Triple Crown winner in their lifetime.

Playing Politics

By Ray Paulick -- Barring a last-minute miracle in the Maryland legislature, the horse industries in Maryland and Kentucky came up on the short end of the stick in their efforts to get legislation permitting slot machines at racetracks.

Cold Shoulder

By Ray Paulick -- Expenses from February's ice storm in Central Kentucky could easily exceed $9 million.

Not Worth the Weight

By Ray Paulick -- Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak wouldn't have happened if a racing secretary ruled baseball.

Bad Medicine

By Ray Paulick -- Progress continues in the areas of medication and drug-testing, and those involved in the process should not let a "lack of easy answers" stand in their way.

Lexington on Ice

By Ray Paulick -- The ice storm that socked Central Kentucky could not have come at a worse time for horse farms.

Time to Tune In

By Ray Paulick -- While for some the trail to the Triple Crown begins the minute a healthy foal hits the ground, a more realistic starting point is when the first major prep races are shown on live television.

Statehouse Blues

By Ray Paulick -- The governors of New York and California may strike deals that will hurt the racing industry.

Quality Over Quantity

By Ray Paulick -- The NTRA needs to clearly define for voters what the awards are supposed to recognize and should take control of who votes for the awards, inviting a panel of 50 to 100 of the most qualified and unbiased people in racing to participate.

Wanna Bet?

By Ray Paulick -- An online betting exchange poses a serious threat to horse racing because none of the money wagered is passed on to the industry.

Bluegrass Blues

Kentucky's leadership role in breeding excellence may be slipping and too many of the state's legislators fail to understand the importance of the state's Thoroughbred industry, how it works, and who it represents.

Right to Vote

By Ray Paulick -- Eclipse voters may have potential conflicts of interest, but most take their jobs very seriously.

The Forgotten Player

By Ray Paulick -- Organizations for breeders and owners have to be engaged in the efforts to bring slots to racetracks.

Race to the Wire

By Ray Paulick -- The battle between Elusive Quality and Distorted Humor to be leading freshman sire in North America could be decided in a hearing room of the Jockey Club of England next month.

Quarantine Quandry

By Ray Paulick -- Japanese officials are perplexed why owners of the best American horses are showing such little interest in the Japan Cup and Japan Cup Dirt.

Can More Be Less?

By Ray Paulick -- Some track officials and horsemen have begun to question the wisdom of their relationships with offshore and U.S.-based wagering companies that attract some of the game's biggest players through rebates of 10% or more on wagers.

Chills and Thrills

By Ray Paulick -- The competitive races at Arlington Park warmed the chilly 46,118 on hand for the Breeders' Cup races Oct. 26.

This Lady is a Champ

By Ray Paulick -- If she adds the Breeders' Cup Distaff to her list of credentials, Azeri deserves consideration for Horse of the Year honors.

Nearly Flawless

By Ray Paulick -- Remembering a mare who is destined for the Hall of Fame and looking at how the horse industry has changed.

Tough Ticket

By Ray Paulick -- A number of the policies for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships are beginning to resemble those at other major sporting events. That's a good thing, even if it means some people will be unhappy. The Breeders' Cup should be a tough ticket.

Magna Skeptics

By Ray Paulick -- If the investment community is unclear about the direction Magna Entertainment is heading, it isn't alone. People in racing also are wondering exactly what chairman Frank Stronach has in mind for the company that has either acquired or has agreements to purchase racetracks in nine states and in one province of Canada.

Magna Skeptics

By Ray Paulick -- If the investment community is unclear about the direction Magna Entertainment is heading, it isn't alone. People in racing also are wondering exactly what chairman Frank Stronach has in mind for the company that has either acquired or has agreements to purchase racetracks in nine states and in one province of Canada.

Magna Skeptics

By Ray Paulick -- If the investment community is unclear about the direction Magna Entertainment is heading, it isn't alone. People in racing also are wondering exactly what chairman Frank Stronach has in mind for the company that has either acquired or has agreements to purchase racetracks in nine states and in one province of Canada.

Sunday Silenced

By Ray Paulick -- Sunday Silence, who died in Japan Monday at age 16, saved Arthur Hancock's Stone Farm from bankruptcy in the late 1980s.

Sunday Silenced

By Ray Paulick -- Sunday Silence, who died in Japan Monday at age 16, saved Arthur Hancock's Stone Farm from bankruptcy in the late 1980s.

Stuck Market

By Ray Paulick -- What has happened to the top of the yearling market, the sector that outpaced all others during the boom years of the late 1990s and into the first year of the new millennium?

Life's A Beach

By Ray Paulick -- At Del Mar, promotions and activities such as concerts, "family fun club," trackside educational programs, handicapping seminars, and even a day-care facility in association with the local YMCA have helped the track increase business.

Rebate Debate

By Ray Paulick -- Rebate shops have been on the scene several years now, and it appears there has been limited success in slowing down their ability to recruit and retain some of horse racing's biggest gamblers.

Pendulum Swing

By Ray Paulick -- In a reversal of form, Fasig-Tipton Kentucky had the greatest momentum and Keeneland sustained a downturn during the 2002 summer yearling sales.

Global Influence

By Ray Paulick -- The late Howard Battle will be missed, not only at the many racetracks where he worked and by the many younger officials he mentored. His reach extended around the racing world.

Betting on Television

By Ray Paulick -- Personal experience confirms that people would rather bet on races they can watch on television.

A Shared Scandal

By Ray Paulick -- Major League Baseball is trying to come to grips with a growing drug scandal involving anabolic steroids that some people feel already has tarnished some of the sport's most sacred records. It's one scandal that, for now, racing has managed to avoid.

Alive and Kicking

By Ray Paulick -- The attendance, wagering, and television audience numbers posted for this year's Triple Crown series do not support the notion that this is a dying industry.

Triple Interest

By Ray Paulick -- While media interest in this year's Belmont Stakes is unprecedented, the year-round depth of quality of racing is epitomized by the likes of Kona Gold, Xtra Heat, and others.

Great Expectations

By Ray Paulick -- Racing fans from the baby boomer generation were spoiled by the remarkable careers of the three most recent Triple Crown winners, Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978). Maybe that's why the knockers are lining up to take their shots at War Emblem as he bids for the Triple Crown.

The Natural

By Ray Paulick -- Mike Pegram calls Bob Baffert "an artiste." Bob Lewis says he is "unbelievable." And Prince Ahmed Salman, whose colors have been carried to victory in four consecutive Triple Crown races by the Baffert-trained duo of Point Given and War Emblem, proclaims the conditioner a "genius."

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