Steve Haskin

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It's Official: Rockport Harbor Retired

The roller coaster career of Rockport Harbor finally came to an end Monday when owner Rick Porter officially announced the colt has been retired following his latest injury suffered in the Razorback Handicap (gr. III).

Rockport Harbor to Stay in Training

Rockport Harbor, who re-injured his right, hind foot in the March 12 Razorback Handicap (gr. III), will remain in training after an encouraging report from blacksmith Sonny Broadus, owner Rick Porter said Thursday night.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Change is in the Air

If you're tired of the same old cast of characters that have been playing the major roles so far, you're going to love next weekend's mixed bag of stakes races. After Saturday, many questions will be answered, and don't be surprised to see some new, exciting faces take center stage on the Triple Crown trail.

Velazquez to Stick With Bluegrass Cat

After agonizing for days whether to ride Bluegrass Cat in the March 18 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) or Keyed Entry in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) the same day, John Velazquez and agent Angel Cordero decided to stick to their commitment and ride WinStar Farm's Bluegrass Cat.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Fountain Blues

You know it's a strange day on the Triple Crown trail when you have four stakes and the two most impressive horses seen are in a maiden race and a workout. Although heavy favorites Brother Derek and First Samurai emerged victorious, the latter on a disqualification, it still left most people wanting more.

Steve Haskin's Weekend Preview: Samurai's Sword Will Prove Deadly

First Samurai finally gets his opportunity to show what he can do going two turns when he heads a field of nine in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), one of four 3-year-old stakes to be run on Saturday. The other big-name horse in action is Brother Derek, who will be a heavy favorite in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II).

Kentucky Derby Trail: Lawyer Ron Makes His Case

Lawyer Ron took another step forward with his victory in Saturday's Southwest Stakes, extending his winning streak to four. But he still left a major question unanswered. Despite the lack of stakes action last week, there were several horses around the country who stepped up and made people take notice.

Steve Haskin's Weekend Preview: Davis Cup Runneth Over

What has happened to the Sam F. Davis Stakes? Saturday's race has drawn a field that in the past would have been considered a super field for the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), for which the Davis has been an obscure prep. Perhaps the presence of so many accomplished horses can be attributed to Gulfstream Park's configuration.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Lurking in the Wings

It is mid-February, and although the 3-year-olds look to be a solid bunch, there are few standouts. With question marks surrounding some of the leading contenders and the top spots up for grabs, it's time to check out the second wave, which includes several horses whose bandwagons are ready to take on passengers.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Seeing Through the Slop

What could have been a revealing weekend at Gulfstream Park was instead a muddy mess that left us with just as many questions as we had going in. We also had to try and digest some huge performances by former claimers in lesser races and several defeats that may have outshone the victories.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Believe in the Cause

Several of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps fell apart last weekend, and the Southern California invaders got hammered by the boys up North in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III), but we did see an honest, classy colt in Cause to Believe, and there was plenty of other news on the Derby trail.

Kentucky Derby Trail: 10 to Watch

It's hard to believe that betting in the first Kentucky Derby (gr. I) Future Wager pool is here already. We all are aware this is pretty much a riskier bet in January, considering most of the horses in the starting field will be grossly under-priced and many will not even make it to the race. With that said, here are 10 new faces to the Derby trail that bear watching.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Stevie Defeat No Big Deal

Before we get to this week's races, any trainers out there happen to catch the Colts' surprising loss to the Steelers? Did the Colts look rusty, out of sync, a bit soft, not battle tough? Remember how they basically phoned it in the last few games, resting their stars? Well, it's possible that's what can happen when horses are rested too long before the Kentucky Derby.

A New Year, Same Old Proven Cure

The new year has begun, and all across the country, 3-year-olds are preparing for the grueling march to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The horses that remain from last year's classic crop are just beginning their journey to the Breeders' Cup. But the main headlines should belong to Proven Cure, who truly is the star of the year so far.

Kentucky Derby Trail: On Your Mark, Get Set...

It's time once again to officially embark on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail. Now is as good a time as any to preview what's to come by listing the most accomplished and promising youngsters. Many of these names will be only that in a few months, but for now, this is how the classic division shapes up as we begin the road to the May 6 Derby.

Anatomy of a Stallion Deal: Afleet Alex to Gainesway

The circumstances surrounding where dual classic winner Afleet Alex would stand at stud began the week after Thanksgiving and moved quickly, culminating in Sunday's announcement that the colt would go to Gainesway Farm near Lexington, Ky.

Steve Haskin's Analysis: Afleet Group of Horses in 2005

Not to take anything away from the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, or Saint Liam's grade I victories in the winter, summer, and fall, or Giacomo's stunning upset in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), or Lost in the Fog's remarkable cross-country odyssey, but 2005 will be remembered for the heroic deeds of Afleet Alex.

Kentucky Derby Trail: A Wonder to Behold

Racing seems to have its share of ills these days, which is why the first injection of Derby Fever is being given out earlier and earlier each year. Even taken in small doses in November, it can start the blood pumping, and what better way to brace for the long winter than by getting a brief whiff of roses or hearing even the faintest strains of "My Old Kentucky Home?"

Saint Be Praised

It was a sunny December afternoon, with temperatures reaching the 50s and gusty winds blowing in from the northwest. The 2,453 hardcore racegoers who ventured to Aqueduct Racetrack on this Friday in 2003 had no way of knowing that they were witnessing the birth of a future winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) and the leading candidate for Horse of the Year honors.

Countdown to the Cup: Here Come the Longshots

If it's the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, you can bet (literally) that there will be several longshot winners. With so many of the grade I races this year appearing to be wide-open, with full fields, there is no reason to think this year will be any different from past Breeders' Cups.

Countdown to the Cup: And They're Off!

The battle lines have been drawn for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and it is now time to plot strategy and assess the competition. And nowhere will that place with more intensity than in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).

Countdown to the Cup: Cavalcade of Stars

It was a chaotic Monday morning on the Belmont work tab, with 21 Breeders' Cup horses having their final tune-ups for the World Thoroughbred Championships. And over at Aqueduct, Rick Dutrow worked his two Breeders' Cup horses, Saint Liam and Silver Train.

Countdown to the Cup: The Most, the Best, and Other Lists

It is still too early to make final selections for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Most of the important works are finished, and the majority of the mounts have been assigned. So, basically there is nothing much to do but wait for the shippers to arrive and concoct lists that may or not prove helpful.

Oh So Close

By Steve Haskin - When Afleet Alex returned to Belmont Park July 28 following surgery to repair a small hairline fracture of his ankle, it was concluded by most everyone that two possibilities existed regarding his future: he either would recover sufficiently to race as a 4-year-old, or his career as a racehorse was over.

Countdown to the Cup: Blowout by Borrego

It was a weekend that helped shape the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), Emirates Airline Distaff (gr. I), and John Deere Turf (gr. IT). Of course, no big weekend at Belmont Park this fall would be complete without a controversy surrounding the use of pacesetters.

Afleet Alex Turns in 'Amazing' Work; Pointing for Classic

Cash is King Stable's Afleet Alex, who had not worked since his surgery for a hairline fracture, added to his growing list of amazing feats when he drilled five furlongs in a bullet :59 4/5 Friday morning, closing his final eighth in :11 2/5. Trainer Tim Ritchey said afterward the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) is very much in the picture.

Countdown to the Cup: Half Empty or Half Full?

There are two ways of looking at this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, especially the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I). It is either a depleted group of horses that doesn't measure up to most Breeders' Cups or there is still plenty left to provide a championship-caliber afternoon of racing.

Dual Classic Winner Afleet Alex Now Galloping

Trainer Tim Ritchey, after getting the OK from Dr. Larry Bramlage, sent Afleet Alex out for his first gallop Friday morning at Belmont Park. Ritchey, who spoke earlier in the day with Cash is King Stable managing partner Chuck Zacney, said he's pleased with the way the colt has been progressing.

Countdown to the Cup: Autumn Blossoms

With the majority of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races beginning to sort themselves out, it looks as if this year's events for the most part are going to be wide-open races, with no standout. And that means Horse of the Year also is still very much up for grabs.

Don't Get Mad Works Mile for Travers

B. Wayne Hughes' Don't Get Mad, winner of the Derby Trial and Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III), tuned up for the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) with a mile work Friday in 1:41 at Santa Anita.

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