By Dan Liebman -- Hall of Fame trainer P.G. Johnson recently died; his plaque doesn't mention he won the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) with Volponi. Johnson not only trained the colt, but he and his family owned and more importantly to many of us, bred him as well.
By Paul Volponi -- Johnson was elected to racing's Hall of Fame in 1997. The honor was a tribute to the trainer's incredible consistency. He was enshrined without a dominating champion. Instead of a Pegasus, he rose on the wings of a work ethic that woke him at 2:30 a.m. each morning as he walked a treadmill and watched tapes of races before heading to the barn.
By Dan Liebman -- About 10 years ago, Robert A. "Cowboy" Jones quit keeping track. But it's safe to say the number is more than 50,000. While others spend billions each year on diet books, diet pills, diet fads, and diet programs, Cowboy Jones lost 50,000 pounds in a sweatbox. Didn't cost him a penny.
By Dan Liebman -- These days, the country's best older horses rarely line up and race against each other in handicaps. Trainers often decline to run if their charges are asked to carry weight, and racing secretaries know that. Since racing secretaries today aren't going to really weight horses, let's just do away with handicaps and move on.
By John Williams -- Of all the runners to have carried the famous flamingo pink silks of Harbor View Farm, Affirmed and his brilliant champion daughter Flawlessly stand above the others in the hearts of Lou and Patrice Wolfson.
By Dan Liebman -- Among the comments heard at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale were two that were neither profound nor lengthy, but nonetheless quite significant. From Patrick Lawley-Wakelin: "People were more prepared this year." From Walt Robertson: "It is a good time to own a horse."
By Lenny Shulman -- The picture lingers in the mind of Trudy McCaffery, and in the memories of racing fans. Two great gray horses thundering down the stretch in the 1997 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), shadow roll to shadow roll, both with one eye on the finish and one fixed on each other, making sure they were running together till the end.
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 Steve Montemarano -- His quick sentences are a collage of racing history. Looking into Jimmy Croll's blue eyes, one senses sincerity. He puts you at ease, and his uncomplicated approach to both people and horses becomes clear. When in Croll's company, there's no struggle to make conversation. Heck no. It's a straight-up affair.
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.
By Morton Cathro -- Horse racing's venerable merry-go-round, better known as the Northern California Fair Circuit, once again is on its dizzying summertime whirl through the county fairs of the Golden State.
By Ray Paulick -- A story in the July 3 issue of The Blood-Horse on the resignation of William S. Farish as the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James took an unfair and undeserving shot at the master of Lane's End Farm, a longtime friend of the Bush family whose three-year tenure as ambassador came at one of the most trying times for America since World War II.
By Earl Ola -- Thirty years ago, there were 220 racetracks in America; today there are just over 100. Belmont's stands where filled for races like the two-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, the 2 1/4-mile Gallant Fox, etc. Today the same races are run at 1 1/4 miles and Belmont's stands are mostly empty for those races.
By Ray Paulick -- The intention of the Breeders' Cup to hold the World Thoroughbred Championships at Monmouth Park in 2007 is good news for New Jersey racing and breeding interests, but the industry's economic picture there could be far worse by then than it is today.
By John W. Greathouse Jr. -- It has been a rough time at our family-owned farm recently. My mother, brothers, and I have had to bury the two best stallions ever to stand at Glencrest Farm. Clever Trick was euthanized June 5 and Wavering Monarch had to be put down just 12 days later.
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 John Gaines -- Kentucky is widely acknowledged as the horse capital of the world, the leading horse state in the United States, and the epicenter of horse industry leadership. Paradoxically, this leadership doesn't extend to our own state capital or to forging an economic partnership with fellow Kentuckians.
By Lenny Shulman -- As the Thoroughbred tribe dispersed from its heady gathering at Belmont Park June 5, still flush with more media coverage than it could have dreamed, the question in everyone's head became, "How do we keep this tidal wave of interest going?"
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 William Nack -- Of the many images that kept resurfacing in the mind's eye in the wake of Saturday's Belmont Stakes, none was more vividly or repeatedly recalled than the two scenes played out in and around Penny Chenery's set of box seats near the finish line.
By Susan Baldrige -- It was a simple farm, nothing fancy, with a quaint farmhouse and an old, stone barn with irregularly shaped box stalls. The farm had one tiny sign with a black horse painted on it that quietly announced you were there. That was exactly three years ago.
By Dan Liebman -- Fletcher was very polished in congratulating Smarty Jones' owners, trainer, and jockey. But his ears had to be ringing from Churchill CEO Tom Meeker's comment that, "The sun wasn't shining too bright in Kentucky today but I have a slight feeling it was shining in Pennsylvania."
By Dan Liebman -- If Smarty Jones wins the Kentucky Derby it will be a great story...but it should not be allowed to distort Smarty Jones' earnings as a racehorse or his sire's place on the list of 2004 leading sires.
By Chip Tuttle -- "...any student of media could tell you the trend away from full-time Turf writers at major metropolitan dailies has more to do with lower circulation, loss of ad pages, and rising costs of newsprint than lack of interest in horse racing."
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 Larry Levin -- The recent running of the Strub Stakes (gr. II) followed a pre-race diversion into the arcane area of weight assignments. Toccet's connections protested their impost of 123 pounds, arguing that the allowance conditions of the race, properly interpreted, called for only 117. The conditions were so poorly worded that Toccet's owner had to appeal the decision of Santa Anita's officials to the stewards to resolve the matter in Toccet's favor.
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 Priscilla Clark -- Cries of outrage are still being heard wherever horse lovers express their views, and the terror and suffering Ferdinand undoubtedly endured in a slaughterhouse sparked profound soul searching throughout the racing community.
By Terese Karmel -- Each winter as I watch the icicles hanging off my roof, my thoughts turn to those summer days I spend in Saratoga. Around the end of January, my partner and I start asking ourselves whether we're more than halfway to opening day.
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.
By Harry Miller -- For more than 22 years, the first ad in the Classified Advertising section each and every week was always for Lou Salerno's Questroyal Farm. Lou has now decided to devote all his energies to another of his passions, fine art. He has passed the torch to Chris Bernhard, who calls his farm Hidden Lake.
By John Y. Brown Jr. -- An associate retorted when Abraham Lincoln died, "now he belongs to the ages--he was a man--take him for all in all, we shall not look upon his like again." I think this can be said of Bill Young...
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.