By Ray Paulick - It is probably an understatement to say that 2005 is going to be a challenging year for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association/Breeders' Cup. The direction and mission of the organization could be subject to change as it navigates crossroads on the near horizon.
By Ray Paulick -- Racing will be saying farewell this year to a man who has had an enormous influence on the sport over the last decade, as Carl Pascarella retires as chief executive officer of Visa USA.
By Ray Paulick -- There was something a bit unsettling about how the California racing industry began a crackdown in February 2004 against the use of "milkshakes"--the loading of bicarbonates through a stomach tube as a performance-enhancing aid in Thoroughbreds.
By Ray Paulick - Some unsolicited advice for Cot Campbell, chairman of the Sales Integrity Task Force: Get an unlisted telephone number. Campbell's stewardship of this most difficult issue was inspiring, and his phone soon should be ringing off the hook with inquiries and job offers from scores of failed committees, task forces, and do-nothing organizations within the Thoroughbred world and beyond.
By Ray Paulick - The execution of Magna's vision has been difficult given its isolationist philosophy.
By Ray Paulick - In many ways, the Japan Racing Association is the envy of the racing world. As a branch of the national government's ministry of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, the JRA controls all facets of the industry, including racecourse management, scheduling, marketing, licensing, drug testing, and pari-mutuel operations.
By Ray Paulick - Though its brightest days may be in the past, the Japan Racing Association has decided to allow a little more sun to shine on a sport and industry that for the past 50 years has virtually been closed to outsiders.
By Ray Paulick -- The Kentucky Equine Education Project is critical to the future of all horse breeds in Kentucky.
Ray Paulick - David Guillory has never watched a replay of the race that ended his riding career. He's never wanted to. Guillory remembers turning into the stretch, seeing a horse just in front veering in on him, and yelling at the horse's rider. He doesn't recall what happened next, but he doesn't need to see a videotape to remind him.
By Ray Paulick - The Nov. 7 dispute between a group of riders and the management of Churchill Downs was not the first and surely will not be the last time jockeys have taken action to express displeasure with their plight.
By Ray Paulick -- Lone Star Park was a sight to behold Oct. 30 when the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships came to town. An enthusiastic crowd of 53,717 horse lovers from around the world was on hand to take part in the most important day in the history of the Texas racing industry.
By Ray Paulick -- Comedian George Carlin would have you believe that "paper or plastic" and "aisle or window" are the only real choices in America these days. With important national, state, and local elections coming up Nov. 2, I beg to differ.
By Dan Liebman -- In Florida for a few days this past winter, Gulfstream Park was an obvious place to spend a couple of hours. Keeping in mind Florida is a leading retirement center, it was no surprise that the average age of the patrons at the track that day was similar to that necessary to receive a "Here's Your Medicaid Card" welcome.
By Dan Liebman - For whatever reasons--there are surely many--this could be the first time in the history of the Breeders' Cup that no starter that last raced in England makes the trip for one of the event's turf races. If that is the case, it will be a shame.
by Dan Liebman -- In a feature story in last week's issue of The Blood-Horse, Airdrie Stud owner and former Kentucky governor Brereton C. Jones said he is personally against slot machines. If truth be told, there probably isn't a single horse breeder who actually hoped the day would come when slots would be necessary for the survival of racing.
By Dan Liebman - An article about Dubai published in the Chicago Tribune travel section July 4, 2004, states that the ruling Maktoum family's oil riches bring in about $250 million a day, or roughly $1 billion every four days.
By Dan Liebman - William S. Kilroy was racing a small, modest stable in Louisiana 30 years ago when he decided he wanted to enter the breeding side of the business. He approached a family friend with whom he had much in common, and the two hatched a plan to execute Kilroy's wishes.
By Dan Liebman - Journalists live for good stories. More so, good quotes. So, when British jockey Kieren Fallon said the following, it was like music to a columnist's tone-deaf ears: "We all know you can't fix races. It doesn't happen. It does in a fairy-tale world but not in the real world."
By Dan Liebman - If only the Aug. 21 ESPN telecast of the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), Alabama Stakes (gr. I), and Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) had followed the baseball game between Colorado and Montreal rather than Richmond and Redmond.
By Dan Liebman - In early September, the first meeting is scheduled to be held of the new task force examining the Thoroughbred sales arena. The group is being organized by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and is in response to the questions raised by the Alliance for Industry Reform (AIR) and its founder, Satish Sanan.
By Dan Liebman -- There are so many interest groups involved that this is probably not even a realistic vision. Sure, at such events as the Jockey Club Round Table and Arizona Symposium, many of racing's leaders do assemble. But after a few meetings, they return to their own little worlds.
By Dan Liebman -- Hall of Fame trainer P.G. Johnson recently died; his plaque doesn't mention he won the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) with Volponi. Johnson not only trained the colt, but he and his family owned and more importantly to many of us, bred him as well.
By Dan Liebman -- About 10 years ago, Robert A. "Cowboy" Jones quit keeping track. But it's safe to say the number is more than 50,000. While others spend billions each year on diet books, diet pills, diet fads, and diet programs, Cowboy Jones lost 50,000 pounds in a sweatbox. Didn't cost him a penny.
By Dan Liebman -- These days, the country's best older horses rarely line up and race against each other in handicaps. Trainers often decline to run if their charges are asked to carry weight, and racing secretaries know that. Since racing secretaries today aren't going to really weight horses, let's just do away with handicaps and move on.
By Dan Liebman -- Among the comments heard at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale were two that were neither profound nor lengthy, but nonetheless quite significant. From Patrick Lawley-Wakelin: "People were more prepared this year." From Walt Robertson: "It is a good time to own a horse."
By Ray Paulick -- This is supposed to be the time of year when the racing world starts talking Saratoga and Del Mar, and the search begins for the hot 2-year-olds who look like they could be Triple Crown prospects 10 months from now.
By Ray Paulick -- Kentucky's two Thoroughbred auction companies, Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland, were not happy when the subject of ethics in the bloodstock market was broached here in an April 3, 2004, editorial.
By Ray Paulick -- A story in the July 3 issue of The Blood-Horse on the resignation of William S. Farish as the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James took an unfair and undeserving shot at the master of Lane's End Farm, a longtime friend of the Bush family whose three-year tenure as ambassador came at one of the most trying times for America since World War II.
By Ray Paulick -- The intention of the Breeders' Cup to hold the World Thoroughbred Championships at Monmouth Park in 2007 is good news for New Jersey racing and breeding interests, but the industry's economic picture there could be far worse by then than it is today.
By Ray Paulick -- Currently playing across America's racing landscape are two stories that reflect the difficult decision owners of championship-level racehorses face concerning when to have their stars "call it a career."
By Ray Paulick -- The Jockey Club of England reiterated its call for "increased transparency in bloodstock transactions"; the Belmont Stakes on NBC was reality television at its best.
By Ray Paulick -- Haven't we been here before? A horse, one that by the first Saturday in June is carrying too heavy an impost--an entire industry--for any Thoroughbred, is caught and passed in the cruel stretch of New York's Belmont Park.
By Ray Paulick -- Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed both raced at four, enhancing their reputations...
By Ray Paulick -- Somewhere at the Aurora, Canada, corporate headquarters where Frank Stronach sits atop his Magna International and Magna Entertainment Corp. empire, there is a warehouse filled with architectural drawings and miniature models for changes to the racetracks Magna now owns.
By Ray Paulick -- Checking media coverage of the extended Jones family, Smarty's a clear winner.
By Ray Paulick -- Regulations that keep a trainer from defrauding an owner are not important enough to be enforced...
By Ray Paulick -- Smarty Jones' win in the Derby will feed the dreams of thousands who own or breed on a modest scale...
By Ray Paulick -- Rather than focus on inconveniences, Derbygoers should take a look at what will be the finished product...
By Ray Paulick -- Robert Sangster was not only forward-thinking, he was universal in his approach to the business...
By Ray Paulick -- This year's Derby promises to be especially interesting because with all but a couple of the major preps in the books, there is no clear-cut favorite.
By Ray Paulick -- In racing's ongoing drug war, the fiercest battles are being fought on the backstretch.
By Ray Paulick -- The Jockey Club of England apparently is poised to clamp down on the fleecing of horse owners by banning agents and trainers found to be in serious violation of an industry code of ethics from the country's 59 racecourses.
By Ray Paulick -- Michael Busch wields a great deal of power in Maryland. The Democratic speaker of the House of Delegates is such a force that he could single-handedly kill a major industry, one valued at $10.6 billion that provides more than 20,000 jobs in his state.
By Ray Paulick -- This note to Kentucky legislators: Friends Lake, winner of the $1-million Florida Derby (gr. I) March 13, was foaled in New York, the same state that produced Funny Cide, winner of last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
By Ray Paulick -- The victories by Tabasco Cat in the 1994 Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) were looked upon by the late William T. Young as his happiest moments in racing.
By Ray Paulick -- How serious is the drug problem in contemporary sports? Serious enough that President Bush, a former partner in Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers, has called for a White House summit to examine the use of steroids among amateur and professional athletes participating in football, basketball, hockey, baseball, and track and field.
By Ray Paulick -- It's only mid-February, but it's never too early to start talking about the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and the Visa Triple Crown Challenge.
By Steve Haskin -- In 2000, I wrote a book on Dr. Fager for the Thoroughbred Legends series. My admiration for the good doctor knows no boundaries, as he was the swiftest, most dominating, and in general, most unique Thoroughbred I have ever laid eyes on. But not one second went by while writing the book that I didn't feel like a traitor. It was his archrival Damascus, you see, who got me interested in Thoroughbred racing.
By Ray Paulick -- William T. Young will be remembered for many things by many people. He was kind, honest, brilliant, tough, funny, engaging, modest, independent, loving, and loyal...
By Ray Paulick -- This year-end headline could not have gone unnoticed by anyone operating a racing stable--large or small--or by the leaders of organizations whose mission is to improve the economics of the Thoroughbred industry: 2003 Handle Up Slightly, But Purses Decrease.