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Commentary: Holding Court

Commentary: Holding Court

By Dan Liebman - A contemporary of Bob Courtney's was asked how he would best describe the 86-year-old owner of Crestfield Farm, who retired from selling horses following the Keeneland January sale. "If you asked 100 people who the most honest guy in the sale pavilion is, all 100 would say Bob Courtney," he said.

Commentary: Broad Cast

Commentary:  Broad Cast

By Dan Liebman - During dinner with colleagues the night of Dec. 29, a member of the party returned to the table and mentioned how the New York Giants were leading the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter. A television in an adjacent room was showing the game on CBS.

Commentary: Hall of a Career

Commentary:  Hall of a Career

By - Dan Liebman - I never met Dale Baird. In fact, I never even saw one of his horses win in person. But in 2005 I voted for him to gain inclusion in racing's Hall of Fame.

Commentary: By the Numbers

Commentary:  By the Numbers

By - Dan Liebman - Usually, if sales of young horses are up, so too are sales of broodmares and broodmare prospects. As this issue devoted to the auction market shows, 2007 was a bit different.

Commentary: Pitching In

Commentary:  Pitching In

By - Dan Liebman - Compile a list of important issues facing the Thoroughbred industry in 2008 and integrity would surely be included. Well, racing is not alone.

Commentary: Another World

Commentary:  Another World

By - Dan Liebman - On Dec. 9, the Cathay Pacific International Races were held in Hong Kong. The following day, the Breeders' Cup announced it was adding three new races to its World Championships program. The terms "international" and "world" may imply the same thing, but there is little that is similar about the two events.

Commentary: Step Lively

Commentary:  Step Lively

By - Dan Liebman - In 2007, at least one Thoroughbred flat race was run at 129 different racetracks in North America (another 24 ran steeplechase races only). Of those racetracks, nine now have a synthetic track surface.

Commentary: Rough Ride

Commentary:  Rough Ride

By - Dan Liebman - In some ways, jockeys are no different than coal miners, oil-rig workers, and police and firemen. There is inherent risk in their everyday job. But you can't think about the risk. To dwell on it would make the job impossible to perform.

Commentary: Performance-based

Commentary:  Performance-based

By - Dan Liebman - In a perfect world, professional athletes would all have one-year contracts. The results of their previous season would determine whether or not they would receive a raise for the following year.

Commentary: One Small Step

Commentary:  One Small Step

By - Dan Liebman - It was an item that didn't draw many headlines. But, as Neil Armstrong so eloquently said about one small step, it can lead to a giant leap.

Commentary: To Market

Commentary:  To Market

By - Dan Liebman - There were many longtime industry participants at Monmouth Park Oct. 26-27 for the first Breeders' Cup World Championships spread over two days. But perhaps more importantly, there was a newcomer to the sport intently watching the goings on.

Commentary: Have Courage

Commentary:  Have Courage

By - Dan Liebman It was a routine early December night in Kentucky, when suddenly residents of South Frankfort were startled by late night fireworks. The pyrotechnics display from near the state capitol could mean only one thing -- Kentucky's first female governor had closed the deal to land the Toyota manufacturing plant.

Commentary: New Chief

Commentary: New Chief

By Stacy Bearse - It is my privilege to introduce Dan Liebman as the editor-in-chief of The Blood-Horse. Dan is the sixth chief editor in the long history of this publication.

Commentary: The Hearty Boys

Commentary: The Hearty Boys

By Evan I. Hammonds - The Triple Crown races of the spring are in the books, and the summer races at Saratoga and Monmouth have been run. The true test of sophomore runners comes in the fall, when they take on older horses for the first time.

Commentary: Spending Time With The Old Man

Commentary: Spending Time With The Old Man

By Eric Mitchell - It's been almost 20 years since I'd seen the Old Man, and the first time for Matthew. You know how time gets away. The Old Man's health has not been too good lately so a visit was essential.

Commentary: Substandard

Commentary:  Substandard

By Dan Liebman - For baby boomers, 60 is the new 40; for airlines, 6 a.m. is the new 8 a.m.; and, according to a recent advertisement in The Blood-Horse, for the Thoroughbred industry, 6% stakes winners from foals is the new "gold standard."

Commentary: Surfers and Sellers

Commentary: Surfers and Sellers

By Evan I. Hammonds - One thing we should already know about next year's round of yearling sales is that there will be changes to the conditions of sale. The Sales Integrity Task Force has until the end of the year to come up with recommendations to the Kentucky legislature to address several issues involving the sale of horses in the Bluegrass State.

Commentary: Three Weeks of September

Commentary: Three Weeks of September

By Eric Mitchell - In many ways, Keeneland September has already established itself as an event. Why else would consignors continue to offer more horses there? They have to believe they are selling at the epicenter, and that there is no better place to be.

Commentary: Running Start

Commentary:  Running Start

By Dan Liebman - Thankfully, someone at the time did have an interest in standing Danzig, Storm Cat, and Mr. Prospector, respectively. And, our breed has been changed forever because of their decisions.

Commentary: Battle Lines

Commentary:  Battle Lines

By Evan I. Hammonds - Advance deposit wagering, which most sources agree accounts for about 10% of handle on Thoroughbred racing, is the sport's latest battleground.

Commentary: Scandalous

Commentary: Scandalous

By Ray Paulick - Racing has no commissioner, so when a substance, possibly cobra venom, was found in a trainer's barn a month ago, there is no swift and decisive action, only inaction.

Commentary: Now's The Time

Commentary: Now's The Time

By Ray Paulick - Unlike existing news products delivered once a day, BloodhorseNOW.com will be a vibrant, constantly updated online resource pulling in the latest information from racetracks, auction rings, and breeding sheds.

Commentary: Last Laugh

Commentary: Last Laugh

By Ray Paulick - Funny Cide was in more living rooms than any other person or animal leading up to the 2003 Belmont Stakes.

Commentary: Forked Tongue

Commentary:  Forked Tongue

By Ray Paulick - Included in that "it's not illegal if you can't test for it" category is cobra venom, the use of which has been rumored for years. The substance, believed to be 1,000 times more powerful than morphine, can help a horse run through pain by blocking impulses through the nervous system. Use of the substance in horse racing is illegal. Worse yet, it's cruel to the animal.

Commentary: Chip In

By Dan Liebman - Pre-sale surgeries didn't keep horses such as Real Quiet and Curlin from becoming classic winners. Disclosure wouldn't have, either.

Commentary: Follow That Car

By Dan Liebman - But just imagine if the owner of every racetrack in North America could agree to do what is best for the sport overall, realizing what is best for all is best for one. Think of one network carrying every race televised across the continent with a cohesive schedule understood by fans.

Commentary: Jewels Of The Triple Crown

Commentary: Jewels Of The Triple Crown

By Ray Paulick - What fans got this year were three incredible horse races that ended with three very accomplished and deserving winners, punctuated by the history-making performance of Rags to Riches, the first filly winner of the Belmont since Tanya in 1905.

Commentary: Mother's Day

Commentary: Mother's Day

By Ray Paulick - There is a touch of irony that Mom's Command will be inducted into the Hall of Fame the same year as the trainer of Forward Pass, Henry Forrest, who was elected by the Historic Review Committee.

Commentary: Peak Preakness

Commentary: Peak Preakness

By Ray Paulick - The fighting spirit shown by both Curlin and Street Sense in this terrific stretch battle epitomizes what breeding and racing Thoroughbreds is all about.

Bay Watch

Bay Watch

By Ray Paulick - Racing has enough problems without a grandstanding politician using his position to wage a personal war with a state regulator.

High Jinx

High Jinx

By Ray Paulick - Finally, after 23 years, Breeders' Cup officials can let out a sigh of relief. James Tafel's Street Sense proved that life does exist for a horse after winning the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).

Word On The Street

Word On The Street

By Ray Paulick - For some, just getting a horse to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May is the realization of a dream. For others who've been there before, it's about winning -- pure and simple.

Made To Be Broken

Made To Be Broken

By Ray Paulick - This year brings us to a couple of tried and tested chapters from the unwritten trainers' manual regarding the Kentucky Derby: the "two-prep" and "unraced juvenile" rules.

Change of Speed

Change of Speed

By Ray Paulick - Conventional wisdom suggests front-running horses have a huge advantage if they are allowed to set the tortoise-like fractions established in this year's Blue Grass. But Polytrack has thrown conventional wisdom out the window.

Tune In

Tune In

By Ray Paulick - Nobiz Like Shobiz and Tiago have a license to make beautiful music together on the first Saturday in May.

Putting Safety First

Putting Safety First

By Ray Paulick - The CHRB's mandate is not only the right thing to do for the safety of horses, it is a benefit to owners, too, and ultimately for the tracks. Fewer injuries ensures there will be more horses in training, which will lead to larger field sizes, which usually translates to increased pari-mutuel handle. Owners are always happier to have horses racing and training rather than convalescing or recovering.

Garden State

Garden State

By Dan Liebman - New Jersey's Monmouth Park was formally announced as the host site in the fall of 2004, and from the look of the plant in mid-March, the first-time site will be ready to take racing's center stage, though much still remains to be done.

Hoosier Daddy

Hoosier Daddy

By Ray Paulick - Many state racing commissioners talk about cracking down on cheaters in our sport. Indiana regulators are taking serious action.

New York State of Mess

New York State of Mess

By Ray Paulick - If you're a little confused about the future of racing in New York, join the club. If you're not confused, you're probably not thinking clearly.

Turn Signal

Turn Signal

By Ray Paulick -- Twenty years ago, in the infancy of whole-card simulcasting, there were fears that only the so-called "super tracks" would survive -- those offering the highest-quality racing signals to receiving sites around the country.

Fade to Black

Fade to Black

By Ray Paulick -- One of the interesting things about Thoroughbred racing is the penchant so many people have of knocking something into oblivion, and later complaining about the fact it's gone. Take TVG, for example.

Won't Be Fueled Again

Won't Be Fueled Again

By Ray Paulick - Whether they race cars or horses, cheaters are getting more sophisticated today. Blood-doping agents or venom from exotic snakes and sea creatures are believed to be in use by some unscrupulous horsemen as performance-enhancing stimulants or painkillers. In a sense, it's the same kind of rocket fuel Waltrip's team was accused of putting into its Toyota.

Consistently Inconsistent

Consistently Inconsistent

By Ray Paulick - I had to go all the way to Dubai to hear a panel discussion about how racing officials in various American jurisdictions have different interpretations about the most basic rules infraction.

A Life of Giving

A Life of Giving

By Ray Paulick - So many people owe thanks to Jonabell Farm founder John A. Bell III, who served on countless committees with numerous industry organizations for more than a half-century.

Unhappy Ending

Unhappy Ending

By Steve Haskin - Fairy tales are not supposed to have unhappy endings. Barbaro was to leave New Bolton Medical Center, walking soundly with his head held high, and live happily ever after. But Thoroughbreds, despite the fairy tales they inspire, live in a different realm than Walt Disney.

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