Evan Hammonds

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Commentary: Feeling the Chill

by Evan Hammonds - Cold lies the heart of Thoroughbred racing following Eight Belles' untimely end after Kentucky Derby 134. The dark side of the toughest game in town showed itself once again on the national stage, this time in the nation's biggest race.

Morning Line: It's All in the Draw

Morning Line: It's All in the Draw

The best drama in Louisville today takes place in the racing office on the backside at Churchill Downs. It's the pill pull to see what order post positions will be drawn later this afternoon in the made-for-television post position show on ESPN.

Sunday Morning Line: Twice on Sunday

Sunday Morning Line: Twice on Sunday

Mike Barnes is a big LSU fan. He can't help but hide it. The exercise rider's helmet has the distinctive "LSU" logo that adorns the Tiger's football helmets. "I bleed purple and gold," the Louisiana native says. "I've been a fan since birth."

Friday Morning Line: A Brand New Day

Friday Morning Line: A Brand New Day

On the chute, trainer Graham Motion is on his pony, circling his John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) runner Better Talk Now. They're waiting to go onto the soggy turf course for a last-minute tune-up.

Thursday Morning Line: The Final Countdown

Thursday Morning Line: The Final Countdown

Manning the Otis Elevator that serves as the stewards elevator at Monmouth Park is Ed Thayer. He knows the equipment....he's been operating the elevator for the past 11 years.

Tuesday Morning Line: Getting a Bead on the Draw

Tuesday Morning Line: Getting a Bead on the Draw

After the post position draw, which clocked in right at one hour to introduce all the dignitaries and draw 11 races, trainer Todd Pletcher takes a seat at table. He's quickly surrounded by a circle of cameras, tape recorders, and notebooks.

Morning Line: Monday Monday

Morning Line: Monday Monday

Walking in through the main gates at Monmouth Park, it's amazing the transformation that has taken place here. We take in a deep breath. What's that familiar aroma? No, it's not New Jersey...its fresh paint.

Breeders' Cup Morning Line Begins Monday

Breeders' Cup Morning Line Begins Monday

Starting Monday, Oct. 22 and running through Saturday, Oct. 27, The Morning Line returns to bloodhorse.com. The feature, now in its second year, offers a colorful, behind-the-scenes look at the participants and players of the Thoroughbred industry during racing's major events.

Commentary: The Hearty Boys

Commentary: The Hearty Boys

By Evan I. Hammonds - The Triple Crown races of the spring are in the books, and the summer races at Saratoga and Monmouth have been run. The true test of sophomore runners comes in the fall, when they take on older horses for the first time.

Commentary: Surfers and Sellers

Commentary: Surfers and Sellers

By Evan I. Hammonds - One thing we should already know about next year's round of yearling sales is that there will be changes to the conditions of sale. The Sales Integrity Task Force has until the end of the year to come up with recommendations to the Kentucky legislature to address several issues involving the sale of horses in the Bluegrass State.

Commentary: Battle Lines

Commentary:  Battle Lines

By Evan I. Hammonds - Advance deposit wagering, which most sources agree accounts for about 10% of handle on Thoroughbred racing, is the sport's latest battleground.

Secretariat Film In the Works

A movie about the life and times of Secretariat, with the backing of Walt Disney Studios, is in the works. Filming for the major motion picture could begin as soon as the end of the year according to principles tied to the project.

Derby Day Morning Line

Derby Day Morning Line

Standing outside the Gold Room on the sixth floor of the clubhouse of Churchill Downs is Lisa Underwood. Underwood is the executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

May Day! Storm in May to Pick First Post Position

May Day! Storm in May to Pick First Post Position

The connections of Storm in May will have first choice when post positions are selected later this evening thanks to pulling the No. 1 pill during the pill pull at the racing office. In all 22 horses were entered. Reporting for Duty and Delightful Kiss did not draw into the body of the field due to lack of enough graded earnings.

Tuesday Morning Line: Day Before the Draw

Tuesday Morning Line: Day Before the Draw

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas holds court for an assembling of media in front of his spotless barn. He's the only trainer without a Derby horse who can still provoke a good half-hour worth of questioning.

Evan Hammonds' Kentucky Derby Starting Gate

Welcome to Derby Week, or week 11 of the "Starting Gate," one person's look at this year's Kentucky Derby lineup. As we approach Wednesday, entry day, this how we would handicap the top 20 contenders for the May 5 Run for the Roses. Actual entry into America's greatest race is reliant on graded stakes earnings -- this lineup is based on some speculation, past performances, and potential performance on Saturday.

Not So Special

Not So Special

By Evan Hammonds - During this year's Preakness weekend at Pimlico, the "Magna Entertainment Experience" surrounding the second jewel of the Triple Crown will not be nearly as enriching. On Jan. 25, the Maryland Jockey Club stuck a fork in the Pimlico Special (gr. I) for 2007.

Wednesday Morning Line at the Breeders' Cup

Wednesday Morning Line at the Breeders' Cup

Right before the draw of the Breeders' Cup races takes place on the fourth floor of the clubhouse at Churchill Downs, Lisa Underwood surveys the scene. She's not eating breakfast from the buffet, but that's not to say she doesn't have a lot on her plate.

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