Whats Going On Here

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Bumpy Ride

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.

Ayes for Texas

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.

Slot the Vote

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.

AARP News

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.

The Shipping News

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.

Maryland Oh Maryland

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.

Staying Motivated

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.

From Texas Tea

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.

Fallon's World

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."

Striking Out

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.

Air It Out

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.

Horse Racing 2025

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.

Step Up to the Plate

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.

Cowboy Up

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.

Tired of Weighting

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.

Between the Lines

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."

Taking Care of Business

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.

Ethics For Sale

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.

Serving with Distinction

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.

Garden Party

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.

Business or Sport?

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."

Ethics Update

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.

Racing At Its Very 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.

Golden Years

By Ray Paulick -- Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed both raced at four, enhancing their reputations...

Building Blocks

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.

An Outrage to Owners

By Ray Paulick -- Regulations that keep a trainer from defrauding an owner are not important enough to be enforced...

Bonus Round

By Ray Paulick -- Smarty Jones' win in the Derby will feed the dreams of thousands who own or breed on a modest scale...

Dust at the Downs

By Ray Paulick -- Rather than focus on inconveniences, Derbygoers should take a look at what will be the finished product...

Song Well Sung

By Ray Paulick -- Robert Sangster was not only forward-thinking, he was universal in his approach to the business...

Spring Blossoms

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.

Gotcha

  • TOBA

By Ray Paulick -- In racing's ongoing drug war, the fiercest battles are being fought on the backstretch.

Buyer Beware

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.

Busch League

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.

No Laughing Matter

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).

Sugar and Spice

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.

Muscle Tussle

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.

Raises For Roses

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.

Damascus Is Most Underrated Horse of All-Time

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.

Forever Young

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...

High Priority

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.

Capital Idea

By Ray Paulick -- An organized visit to Frankfort on Feb. 3 is strongly urged to let the horse industry's voice be heard...

A Complete Guide to Living

By Ray Paulick -- As legacies go, few people will have one as prodigious as Joe Taylor, the master horseman and farm manager who died in a Dec. 19 automobile accident. Overshadowed by the death of Taylor was the Dec. 14 passing of Jeanne Vance, who with husband Milton J. "Laddie" Dance Jr. raced champion Lemon Drop Kid.

Year Book

By Ray Paulick -- Let's hope other track operators have learned something from the NYRA investigation. Meanwhile, a review of other top events of '03 shows optimism for the New Year within racing, breeding, and auction sectors of the industry.

Frank Talk

By Ray Paulick -- Will 2004 be a turning point for the Frank Stronach-led Magna Entertainment, which frequently has stumbled and struggled since entering the racetrack ownership business in 1998 with its purchase of Santa Anita Park? Also, will Keeneland bring back the July yearling sale and will the Thoroughbred Championship Tour kick off in 2004?

Join the Club

By Ray Paulick -- Considering the shortage of horse owners in the U.S., maybe it's time to emulate the successful racing clubs that are popular in Japanese racing.

Lobby Horse

By Ray Paulick -- Millions of dollars have been raised, and important legislative battles have been won, including the vote on the Internet bill, as a result of the NTRA's legislative activities.

Signaling Trouble

By Ray Paulick -- In an age of telephone and Internet betting and rebates the price of the signal must be re-examined.

Cup Runneth Over

By Ray Paulick -- The 20th running of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships had everything a racing fan could ask for: heart-pounding finishes; championship performances, boxcar mutuels, and human interest stories.

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