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.
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.
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.
B. Wayne Hughes was looking for a nice little place in Central Kentucky where his grandchildren could visit and he could keep his broodmares. But when he realized Spendthrift Farm was available, he decided to buy a piece of history along with a farm that met his needs.
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."
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.
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.
Random pre-race testing for "milkshakes"--the loading of bicarbonates through a stomach tube to reduce fatigue-causing buildup of lactic acid--began at Santa Anita Park in late February, but the California Horse Racing Board is referring to the program as a survey because no penalties will be applied if a horse tests positive.
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.
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).
By Ray Paulick -- Horse slaughter is the most emotional issue facing the Thoroughbred industry, and there is widespread support within the industry for proposed federal legislation to ban the slaughter of all horses for human consumption.
By Ray Paulick -- Kentucky legislators can't learn everything about the horse business in the few weeks that remain before the session deadline to file bills. It requires professional lobbyists, but it also takes commitment from the rank and file.
Mineshaft was named 2003 Horse of the Year at the 33rd annual Eclipse Awards, but it wasn't easy taking the spotlight away from Funny Cide, the New York-bred gelding who generated so much publicity during his memorable Triple Crown run last spring and was voted an Eclipse Award as outstanding 3-year-old male.
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.
By Ray Paulick -- Ashford Stud, the Kentucky division of Coolmore, the massive worldwide bloodstock operation that has a dominating presence in Australia and its home base of Ireland, has transformed the stallion business, here and throughout the world, in a major way.
The Juddmonte Farms juggernaut of owner/breeder Prince Khalid Abdullah and prominently represented by trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Jerry Bailey is in position to add to its large collection of Eclipse Awards when the annual black-tie dinner is held Jan. 26 at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla.
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.
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.
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?
Tap Dance City found the boggy Tokyo race course turf to his liking on Sunday, romping to a nine-length victory in the $4-million Japan Cup (Jpn-I) and fulfilling a career-long dream for jockey Tetsuzo Sato and trainer Shouzou Sasaki.
Fleetstreet Dancer, winless for the past year, fought back like a champion in the shadow of the finish line, coming back under jockey Jon Court at odds of 48-1 to shock odds-on favorite Admire Don and win the $2-million Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) by a nose at a drenched Tokyo race course on Saturday.
If Johar becomes America's first Japan Cup (Jpn-I) winner since Golden Pheasant won the 12-furlong international turf race in 1991, he'll not only have to overcome a top-class field that is headed by Japanese star Symboli Kris S. He will, for the first time in his career, be tested on a racetrack that is anything other than fast or firm.
By Ray Paulick -- Slot machines have divided the racetrack community into two groups: the "haves" and "have nots." To join the "haves," owners, breeders, and anyone making their living in the horse industry need to become active.
Someone always seems unhappy after the American Graded Stakes Committee meets each fall and announces upgrades or downgrades to the program for the upcoming year. But graded stakes and the American Graded Stakes Committee have stood the test of time.
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.
By Ray Paulick At The Blood-Horse, we try to condition our writers and editors to "drink the Kool-Aid" when it comes to recognizing the companies that put money up to sponsor races we report on throughout the year.