Steve Haskin Turf Writer
Thursday, Sept 27, 2007
Now that the Triple Crown has concluded with a different winner of each race and an historic victory by the filly Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes, it's time to reflect on the three races and look ahead to the Travers and Breeders' Cup Thoroughbred Championships.
To set the stage, Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for the The Blood-Horse magazine and an authority on the Triple Crown, will take questions during a special Talkin' Horses online chat at noon, Friday June 15.
Haskin is an award-winning Turf writer renowned for his Kentucky Derby commentary. During his nearly three decades at Daily Racing Form, Steve made a name with his "Derby Watch" columns.
Haskin--who has won five Red Smith Awards for his Kentucky Derby coverage--is the author of Horse Racing's Holy Grail - The Epic Quest for the Kentucky Derby and biographies of Dr. Fager, John Henry, and Kelso—all published by Eclipse Press.
How do you separate friendships with owners and trainers and the objectivity you need to do your job?
That is an excellent question, and is one of the reasons why I try not to make any friendships with trainers. The closest I've had to an actual friendship, meaning going out to dinner on occasion, is Nick Zito, and I've known him for 17 years, before I started covering races to the extent I am now. I don't go out with him as much as I used to. I like hanging out with Bobby Frankel at his barn, but we don't socialize, and I haven't had dinner with Baffert in many years. So, other than an occasional dinner with Zito, I really don't have what you would call friendships with trainers or owners, although there are several owners I'm closer to than most. You can't completely distance yourself from people. But I have to maintain objectivity or I'm not doing my job well.. That is why I rarely bet (I will bet $50-70 on the Derby or a bomb in the Classic) and don't make Future Book bets or partake in handicapping contests. Objectivity is very important to me.
Thanks for the opportunity, Steve. One of fun things about the Breeders’ Cup is seeing the European horses. Can you please tell us some of the Euro horses that we might watch for or learn more about in the Mile, Turf, Distaff, and Classic?
The Euro invasion is one of the main aspects of the Breeders' Cup that I love most and what makes it such a special event. But remember, it's usually the lesser regarded horses in Europe that do the most damage in the Breeders' Cup. So far, we've a star-studded group from Ballydoyle coming, headed by Dylan Thomas for the Turf, George Washington for the Mile or Classic, superstar Peeping Fawn for the F&M Turf, Duke of Marmelade could aim for the Mile, but the Turf is not out of the question, and they have Excellent Art for the Mile. We have to watch the result of the Arc de Triomphe, but Authorized could come out of that race, as could Zambezi Sun, both for the Turf. We've got Darjina, who beat colts in the Prix du Moulin for the Mile, as well as Godolphin's Ramonti, Echo of Light, Tariq, and Turtle Bowl. A horse to watch for the Sprint is Benbaum, a fast, hard-knocker who's won 11 of 34 races.
To read the complete transcript of this chat, along with many others, check out Best of Talkiní Horses.
Best of Talkin’ Horses features provocative “chats” with some of Thoroughbred racing’s most prominent names. Adapted from “Talkin’ Horses,” the popular weekly online chat series hosted by Bloodhorse.com, this edited collection provides additional insights by Ron Mitchell, editor and moderator of “Talkin’ Horses."
Editor's Note: BloodHorse.com moderators retain editorial control over Talkin' Horses discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests; guests may decline to answer questions. Opinions expressed by guests of Talkin' Horses are those of the guest and do not represent the opinions of Blood-Horse Publications, its employees, associates, or affiliated organizations. Guests, dates, and times of Talkin' Horses discussions are subject to change.