NBC broadcaster Tom Hammond, who has worked on all 18 Breeders' Cup programs to date, will likely miss the Oct. 26 telecast while recovering from heart surgery.
The contest to determine the world's fastest Thoroughbred will feature approximately a dozen speedsters from all types of backgrounds. In addition, the NAPA Auto Parts Sprint (gr. I) will mark the only Breeders' Cup race featuring a "War of the Sexes." As many as three fillies and mares--Kalookan Queen, Carson Hollow, and Xtra Heat, will take on the boys to see which gender will prevail over six furlongs.
They're all in the books now. All the prep races for the Breeders' Cup Sprint have been sprinted, and the field for the six-furlong contest is coming into focus.
Take Charge Lady, Xtra Heat lead Bluegrass parade of Breeders' Cup contenders.
Don Sturgill, prominent Lexington equine attorney who served as general counsel for both the national and Kentucky chapters of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, died Wednesday morning, Oct. 2, of a heart attack at his Lexington home.
The last round of preliminaries for the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) takes place coast-to-coast this weekend, but we may not learn as much as we'd like about the top contenders.
The $17-$18 million deal to send Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem to Japan to stand at stud includes the 10% stake Chicago industrialist Russell Reineman had in the horse.
The queen of the sprint division, Xtra Heat, did nothing to hurt her chances for a return crack at the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) with a devastating five-length score in the $150,000 Endine Stakes (gr. III) at Delaware Park Sept. 7.
Icecoldbeeratreds turns closing day into a wrap party for Mike Pegram and Bob Baffert.
Inesperado remains undefeated in the U.S.; Frankel remains in a league of his own.
David Milch plans to end a 20-year stint as a Thoroughbred owner with a dispersal of his racing stock at Fasig-Tipton's Select Mixed Sale Nov. 3.
At a time when the mare Ipi Tombe becomes the first Zimbabwe-bred imported to North America, the horses remaining in her native land face injury and slaughter due to a government land grab.
Finally, bobblehead-doll mania reaches to equines. A likeness of the great Secretariat is now available in bobblehead form to commemorate next year's 30th anniversary of Big Red's sweep through the Triple Crown.
David Milch's Disturbingthepeace takes the Pat O'Brien for sixth straight win.
A three-year-old drug-positive case against trainers David Donk, Todd Pletcher, and Mark Hennig has been dropped by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
It is small wonder too that Serena's Song was tabbed for induction into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame this year as top contemporary female. She was brilliant and she was hickory, starting 38 times in a 30-month racing career. It's one thing to race often, it's another to capture 17 graded stakes and hit the board in another 14. She faced the best in her division, butted heads with the boys, and never took a backward step.
Barely two months after realizing his dream of winning the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Prince Ahmed Salman died in his sleep of a heart attack Monday, July 22, at age 43.
The Thoroughbred industry today is still paying for a bad decision made more than 40 years ago. Not only did its popularity plummet as a result of being off television during that medium's original boom time, but more recently the struggle to get possession of the sport's archives and control and coordinate its television presence has cost the industry millions of dollars.
Trapper Anthony "Flash" Wilcox rids Thoroughbred farms of unwanted visitors.
In the 1970s, when he attended the University of Kentucky, Gary Drake would forgo class and head out to Keeneland "with $4 in my pocket trying to make my fortune." It's unlikely Drake made a score equal to the one he enjoyed when his New Phoenix Stable's Sarava shocked both him and the rest of the racing world by capturing the June 8 Belmont Stakes.
By Lenny Shulman -- Belmont Stakes Day was about War Emblem, Bob Baffert, and Sarava. It was also about a place called New York.
Groom Tom Wade, 43, cared for and lived with Seattle Slew for more than 20 years. He shared his thoughts of the great horse with The Blood-Horse features editor Lenny Shulman.
Though not as glorious as his salad days on the racetrack, in the last two years of his life Seattle Slew again showed the mettle that made him a champion in all he endeavored.
One year after his Point Given delivered to Prince Ahmed Salman a crushing defeat, the 43-year-old Saudi Arabian media magnate found his way to the Kentucky Derby winner's circle in the hoofprints of his speedy 2002 victor, War Emblem.
An attorney for The Thoroughbred Corp. says his client is not obligated by contract to split the $1 million bonus earned by War Emblem for winning the Illinois Derby (gr. II) and the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
John C. Mabee, who parlayed a corner grocery store into one of the country's most prominent breeding and racing operations, died April 24 at the Casa Palmera Care Center in Del Mar, less than a week after suffering a major stroke. He was 80.
By Lenny Shulman -- A hard, fast track surface on Kentucky Derby Day takes its toll on horses that race at Churchill Downs that day.
A Los Angeles federal district court judge dismissed the California Horse Racing Board's morphine case against trainer Bob Baffert April 15.
TVG will unveil a new Sportscenter-type stakes recap show Sunday, April 7 at 8 p.m. eastern time.
Golden Apples peels away from a class-laden Santa Ana field
Belmont Park has agreed to move the Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) back one day to Sept. 29 this year so that the event can be shown as part of a huge Preview Day of live racing on NBC.
By Lenny Shulman -- When compared with the transgressions in other professional and amateur sports, maybe racing isn't so bad.
Johannesburg proved to be a citizen of the world in 2001. The bay colt raced twice in England, once in France, three times in Ireland, and once in the United States. One other thing--he won all seven times. Perfect on the racetrack, Johannesburg easily outdistanced his rivals and was named the 2-year-old male Eclipse Award winner.
John G. Sikura has added 205 acres to his Hill 'n' Dale Farm near Lexington.
John Veitch and Calumet Farm have once again parted company. The trainer confirmed Feb. 7 that he has sent 14 newly-turned three-year-olds back to the farm from his New York base.
Thoroughbred racing will make a rare Super Bowl appearance Feb. 3 during FOX's telecast of football's championship game.
While waiting to hear if she's won the Eclipse Award as 2001's top distaffer, Spain goes postward in Saturday's $200,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) over seven furlongs, her first start of the new year.
The Nov. 1994 death of Canadian owner and breeder John Sikura Sr. has been confirmed as accidental following a review of the case by the Chief Coroner of Ontario. Sikura, 60, died on his way back from a restaurant when he fell asleep behind the wheel of his car in his driveway. The car subsequently burst into flames, Sikura died of smoke inhalation, and General Motors settled a product-liability suit with the Sikura family.
A board of three stewards at Santa Anita Park ruled that no penalty should be assessed against trainer Jesus (Jesse) Mendoza for a morphine positive found in a horse he trained in June, 2000. The Jan. 10 ruling stated that Mendoza had "mitigated the circumstances of the charge."
In 1999 and again in 2000, Jerry Bailey lost photo finishes to Pat Day for leading rider by North American earnings. In 2001, however, Bailey made sure the camera was not necessary by finishing a furlong ahead of his competition. By the time his 12-month rampage across the continent (plus the Dubai World Cup, UAE-I) was in the books, Bailey had absolutely shattered Gary Stevens' three-year-old record for earnings, his $22,597,720 besting the old mark by better than $4 million.
Kentucky farm managers and owners are taking steps to prevent the reoccurrence of mare reproductive loss syndrome while fervently hoping last year's devastation was a one-shot deal. There are almost as many theories of what caused MRLS as there are people addressing the problem, so preventative measures differ from farm to farm.
Jose Valdivia Jr. is a rising star in the bright constellation that is the Southern California riding colony. His recent win aboard Val Royal in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) showed the rest of the world what two continents have already learned--Valdivia, 27, is a profound talent who is carrying forth the grand racing tradition of his family.
NBC, which enjoyed solid ratings in its inaugural year of covering racing's Triple Crown in 2001, partially due to cross-promoting the races with its NBA playoff games, will no longer be televising NBA games when its current contract runs out in the spring of 2002.
The on-again, off-again career of jockey Patrick Valenzuela is on again. Valenzuela, 39, received a conditional license to resume riding from the California Horse Racing Board on Friday and will begin working horses Saturday, according to his attorney, Don Calabria.
Jockey Gary Stevens on Tuesday hired agent Brian Beach to handle his book effective opening day of the Santa Anita Park meeting Dec. 26. Beach also books mounts for Mike Smith.
On Monday, Nov. 19, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed the California Horse Racing Board's case against trainer Bob Baffert over a morphine positive found in a post-race urine sample of a Baffert-trained horse last year.
The motif was unmistakably red at Churchill Downs for the 28th running of the Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) Nov. 10. Besides the bird of that color, University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, the state's most famous Cardinal, was on hand signing autographs for the faithful. The color scheme didn't last for the race's finish, however, when the familiar hue of Claiborne Farm's orange flashed across the wire on the back of its homebred filly Watch.
Johannesburg remains unbeaten in seven starts with a huge win in the Juvenile, trainer Aidan O'Brien's first Breeders' Cup victory
By Lenny Shulman -- Not satisfied with being a champion amateur steeplechase rider in both the United States and Great Britain, a feat no one else has approached, George Sloan desperately sought to popularize his sport by putting it before the American public.
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