Evan Hammonds

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Good-bye to '05

By Evan Hammonds - Against my mother's "if you can't say something nice" advice, I'd like to rip into my own personal list of the seven most annoying things about 2005--some serious, some with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Big Numbers

By Evan I. Hammonds - There have been some gaudy numbers put up over the last couple of weekends by horses and humans alike. Some add spice to the coming Kentucky Derby (gr. I); some show a renewed vigor in the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

That's Show Biz

By Evan Hammonds -- A pat on the back goes to all involved at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association for putting together a smooth and slick presentation of the 34th Eclipse Awards Jan. 24. A special nod should be given to Debbie Blair, the event coordinator and vice president of customer service at NTRA/Breeders' Cup.

2004 Eclipse 3YO Female: Ashado

Ashado is the kind of horse that an owner and trainer dream about: Tough, consistent, and brilliant enough to compete at racing's highest level. Her command over the 3-year-old filly division throughout 2004 and her tough-as-nails victory against older fillies and mares in the Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel (gr. I) are clear reasons she's the recipient of an Eclipse Award.

Distaff Recap: Long Shadow

Twice during the running of the Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel (gr. I), sophomore filly Ashado pushed around older rivals like she was the toughest kid on the playground.

Nextel Distaff Preview: Heavy Lies the Crown

Azeri is already among elite company: Horse of the Year in 2002, back-to-back champion older mare in 2002 and 2003, and all-time leading North American female earner. With a victory in the Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel (gr. I), she would join the brilliant Bayakoa as the only two-time Distaff winners in history.

Weird Tales

By Evan I. Hammonds - Gonzo journalist Dr. Hunter S. Thompson coined the phrase, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." The wacky, win-at-any-cost world of sports today is plenty weird and offers multiple examples on a weekly, if not daily, basis that make the phrase one of fact, not speculation.

Derby Doings

By Evan I. Hammonds -- This year, there is one absolute. For the first time since 1956, the Kentucky Derby will be run without the presence of Joe Hirsch.

Ashado Pulls Away in Spinaway

Ashado pulled away late from Be Gentle down the stretch to win the $200,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) on Friday afternoon at Saratoga by 1 1/2 lengths. The seven-furlong Spinaway, the first grade I stakes in North America for 2-year-old fillies, was run in 1:24.08.

Ashado Pulls Away in Spinaway

Ashado pulled away late from Be Gentle down the stretch to win the $200,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) on Friday afternoon at Saratoga by 1 1/2 lengths. The seven-furlong Spinaway, the first grade I stakes in North America for 2-year-old fillies, was run in 1:24.08.

Distorted Humor Share Brings $500,000

A share in Distorted Humor that brought $500,000 was the highlight of the Stallion Access Champagne Sale of selected seasons and shares that was held Friday evening in Fasig-Tipton's Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

TIEC's Legends: The Quotable Gaines

Thoroughbred innovator John Gaines was part of a panel discussion named "Legends of the Turf" at the Thoroughbred International Exposition & Conference. Never one to shy away from his opinion, Gaines offered up the following adages Saturday afternoon:

TIEC's Legends: The Quotable Gaines

Thoroughbred innovator John Gaines was part of a panel discussion named "Legends of the Turf" at the Thoroughbred International Exposition & Conference. Never one to shy away from his opinion, Gaines offered up the following adages Saturday afternoon:

Funny Cide: Big Man on Campus

Funny Cide, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (both gr. I) winner who will attempt to become Thoroughbred racing's 12th Triple Crown winner in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), galloped 1 ½ miles the wrong way around the Belmont Park oval Thursday morning. His demeanor following his exercise has the Funny Cide team brimming with confidence for the "Test of a Champion."

Star Bright: Belmont Celebrities

Funny Cide's bid to win the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on Saturday is turning New York into a "one-horse town." Sackatoga Stable's hero will not only bring out the equine stars to challenge him and run on the undercard, but will bring out a gaggle of luminaries from Hollywood and New York as well as heavyweights from the political arena.

P.G. Johnson on Santos: 'He's Cool'

Jockey Jose Santos, who will ride Funny Cide in his bid for the Triple Crown Saturday afternoon in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), has a lot of people in his corner. Count among them Hall of Fame trainer P.G. Johnson, who compared him to the legendary Braulio Baeza.

Belmont's Media Blitz

While track officials are hoping for a record crowd for Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) to watch Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide bid for the Triple Crown, they have already set a record...for press credentials.

Acorn: Six to Take On Storm Flag Flying

Storm Flag Flying, last year's Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly, will likely face six challengers next Friday in the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, according to New York Racing Association racing secretary Mike Lakow.

Carolyn Hine Tearful in Hall of Fame Announcement

A tearful Carolyn Hine, wife of the late Hubert "Sonny" Hine, graciously accepted the announcement of her husband's induction into the Racing Hall of Fame at a press conference at Churchill Downs the morning of April 29. Hine, who trained Horse of the Year Skip Away, joins jockey Mike Smith, Precisionist, and Dance Smartly in the Hall of Fame class of 2003.

Hammonds Wins Magical Mythical Tour

The Blood-Horse's own head-to-head competition, where executive editor Dan Liebman and managing editor Evan Hammonds were given mythical $1,000 bankrolls to bet the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, was no contest.

Mile Preview (9/25): Will He or Won't He?

In a surprise announcement on Sept. 24, it was reported that Rock of Gibraltar, who has won a record seven consecutive group I wins, may not go in Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot, and head straight for the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).

Mile Preview (9/12): Steady as a Rock (of Gibraltar)

The announcement earlier this week that NetJet will sponsor the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) wasn't the biggest news concerning the World Thoroughbred Championship's grass event. Rock of Gibraltar's emphatic victory in the NetJet Prix du Moulin de Longchamp in France on Sept. 8 kept the European superstar right on target for a trip to Arlington Park.

Triple Crown Threat: War Emblem Wins Preakness

War Emblem will have shot to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner following his dramatic victory in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico. Following a wire-to-wire score in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) two weeks ago, jockey Victor Espinoza rated War Emblem off a quick pace, got to the lead on the turn, then held off a strong rally by Maryland-bred Magic Weisner to win by three-quarters of a length.

Seeing Red

By Evan I. Hammonds -- As it approaches its 18th running, and on the heels of record television numbers from this year's Triple Crown, now is the best time to risk taking the World Thoroughbred Championships out of the art house and into the neighborhood multiplex.

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