Talkin' Horses - Live Discussions

Steve Haskin Turf Writer

Thursday, Nov 8, 2007

Now that the Breeders' Cup has concluded its first ever two-day, eleven-race schedule, its time to look back on the successes and failures of racing's Championships, as well as to look ahead to the fall stakes and promising 2-year-olds as they begin their journey towards next year's Triple Crown.

To set the stage, Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for the The Blood-Horse magazine and an authority on both the Breeders' Cup and the Triple Crown, will take questions during a special Talkin' Horses online chat at noon, Thursday, Nov 8.

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.

Hudsonville, MI:
Steve, tell do you compare this Classic with what I believe to be the best field ever assembled for a race....the '98 Classic with Silver Charm, etc.? Also, what do you make of that British trainer that said no BC races should ever be run on the dirt again - due to George Washington's unfortunate breakdown?

This Classic did not have the depth of that race, nor did it come close to measuring up against the older horses of '98. I actually think last year's Classic with Invasor, Bernardini, Lava Man, Premium Tap, Lawyer Ron, and Perfect Drift, just to name a few, were a better group. Bolger's comment was way off the wall, and a knee-jerk reaction to the George Washington injury. They race on synthetic surfaces in England, so, of course, he wants to see it in the Breeders' Cup. What I believe they should do when you have a day and track that bad is postpone it a day, like they do other big sporting events. Sure, they'd have to eat the TV contract, but what about all those poor souls who spent $150 and $200 for seats they couldn't use? And what about all the millions of dollars of horseflesh you're subjecting to that kind of track, not only from a safety standpoint, but the loss of value on top-class horses who get beat 30 lengths? You cannot decide championships on a track that bad.

Dover DE:
Hi, I'm Dani, and a huge fan. I've actually submitted many previous questions before and now I'm here again. How did you feel the talented 3 year olds being retired so early, and do you think they'll retire Curlin or keep him going for another year or two?

Thank you, Dani, and it's good to have you back. I think the retirement of so many top 3-year-olds is the beginning of the end of racing as we know it. Simply put, it's all about the money. The breeders run the sport and they know today's owner cannot resist the lure of big bucks. The premise is to breed to breed. When you have someone like Sheikh Mohammed retiring everything he lays his hands on, you know the sport of racing is in trouble. After hearing Curlin's owners say how much they want to keep racing him next year, if they do retire him, then I finally will be convinced that the mutant version of Thoroughbred owner that has spawned from the sportsmen of yesterday is beyond hope. There are so many legal entanglements now with the horse, including one partner being bought out, who knows what they're going to do with him. If they do retire him, I hope they make it fast and painless, so we can move on and find another super horse to cheer on for six months. The shame of it is that Curlin could become one of the all-time greats if he raced next year. So, let's just hope there's one owner/owners out there willing to do the sporting thing for a change.

Best of Talkin HorsesTo 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, this edited collection provides additional insights by Ron Mitchell, editor and moderator of “Talkin’ Horses."


Editor's Note: 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.