Talkin' Horses - Live Discussions

Steve Haskin

Wednesday November 9, 2005

Steve Haskin is an award-winning Turf writer renowned for his Kentucky Derby commentary. During his nearly three decades at Daily Racing Form, Haskin made a name with his "Derby Watch" columns.

Haskin, who joined The Blood-Horse magazine in 1998 as senior correspondent, has won four Red Smith Awards for his Kentucky Derby coverage and has authored a number of books—Horse Racing's Holy Grail - The Epic Quest for the Kentucky Derby and biographies of Dr. Fager, John Henry (out of print), and Kelso—all published by Eclipse Press and available online from ExclusivelyEquine.

Join Steve as he answers your questions about everything from the outcome of this year's Breeders' Cup races to his early take on next year's class of 3YO Derby hopefuls.

MODERATOR: We've had a tremendous response, so let's get right into it...

Ormond Beach, FL:
Do you think the Breeders' Cup has become the "benchmark" by which voters decide Horse of the Year or are they still able to look at the entire season with regards to deciding? I'm thinking here of Afleet Alex, who I think more than proved the term "heart" just by "surviving" the Preakness, never mind WINNING it!

I think the Breeders' Cup has been the benchmark for most of its existence. That is both good and bad. Although it provides racing with a big year-end event that was designed to decide championships it has also turned the sport's historic and prestigious races into mere preps. It was better in many ways when voters had to actually think about what they were doing and analyze each performance rather than simply go by one race, which often does not have the early-season heroes, for one reason or another. Afleet Alex did define the word heart, but many voters will feel heart is not enough to warrant being voted Horse of the Year. For those who don't rush their vote and really think about it, a case can certainly be made for Alex, based on what he accomplished in all his races. In my opinion, both he and Saint Liam would be a deserving winner, but like Smarty Jones last year, it'll be probably be decided by what have you done lately? That is just the nature of people.

Bloomsburg, PA:
Just read your Breeders' Cup retrospective article on the web site and enjoyed it as I do all of your writings. I have been a Henny Hughes fan since his impressive win at Saratoga this summer. How do you rate his effort in the Bessemer Trust Juvenile? Thanks as always and keep up the wonderful work you do.

Thanks so much. I wasn't surprised by Henny Hughes' performance; he took too much the worst of it in the Champagne. He has proven his brilliance, and you had to admire the way he fought back in the Juvenile. I'm still not sure if he'll be as effective at classic distances, but he could be a Lion Heart type who is capable of winning on any given day under the right circumstances. In short, I think a lot more of him now than I did when he was winning those sprint stakes.

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.