When jockey Javier Castellano fell to the track after the ninth race at Aqueduct on Wednesday, I thought to myself that bad things happen in threes. Castellano’s fall came on the heels of recent spills involving Hall of Fame riders Calvin Borel and John Velazquez.
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Last week’s Breeders’ Cup came and went as advertised, a thrill ride like no other in horse racing. So many highs and lows that it would take a book to fully chronicle.
More often than not, the Breeders’ Cup decides, on the playing field, who will be the Horse of the Year. This should be one of those years, as the top three candidates — Game On Dude, Wise Dan and Princess of Sylmar — will be racing at Santa Anita Park.
The Breeders’ Cup offers two of the best betting days of the year for horseplayers. The Daily Racing Form Breeders’ Cup Advance edition is available in all race books. You’ll need a week to get familiar with 172 horses that pre-entered into 15 championship races.
If I were 30 years younger, I’d be tempted to send in a resume to be a brand ambassador for America’s Best Racing, sponsored by The Jockey Club.
Last week the New York State Gaming Commission dismissed charges against jockey Luis Saez that alleged he used an illegal electrical device in winning the Travers Stakes on Will Take Charge.
As if you hadn’t seen enough drama last weekend, this weekend offers up 20 more graded stakes. Included are eight Grade 1 races as racing’s super stars prepare for the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1 and 2.
The next eight days will tell a lot about the horses prepping for the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 1 and 2 at Santa Anita Park. By the way, the grand Great Race Place is opening today and will show off more than $15 million of improvements.
There are two $1 million stakes in North America this weekend at a racetrack you might not guess: Parx Racing. With two seven-figure purses fueled by an on-site casino, the Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion co-headline an outstanding card in Bensalem, Pa.
When Ken McPeek won his first horse race as a trainer, I was there. McPeek had invited me and a mutual friend to River Downs because his horse Final Destroyer had a big shot.
Rarely in life does one get a second chance, much less a third shot at redemption. Horse racing might just get a third chance, namely in key national television exposure.
I am old enough to recall when statistical data was bare bones in the Daily Racing Form. Old-school handicappers, who kept their own records, had a big edge over those who relied solely upon past performances.
Two of the year’s most important races are this weekend in the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday and the $1 million Pacific Classic Stakes at Del Mar on Sunday.
The Arlington Million on Saturday holds a special place in American racing history. It was the world’s first million-dollar horse race and has had so many rich highlights, including a nose win by John Henry over The Bart in the first running in 1981.
Kevin Brockley, a Saratoga Race Course patron, won a contest at the New York track for a free $15,000 win bet in Saturday’s Whitney Handicap. He placed the wager on race favorite Fort Larned.
The question I am most asked is this: Do you bet your own selections? The reference is to my daily handicapping of the Southern California racetracks that appears in this newspaper.
The three colts who won this year’s Triple Crown races are taking different paths to the $1 million Travers on Aug. 24 at Saratoga. The prestigious Travers is called the Midsummer Classic for good reason.
The past three Eclipse Awards for outstanding jockey have gone to Ramon Dominguez. Unfortunately for him, there won’t be a fourth.
There is a lot of talk about how historic it would be in the Travers at Saratoga to have the winners of this year’s three Triple Crown races facing off.
There are only nine calendar days until the last summer meet at Betfair Hollywood Park ends on July 14. Then after the final 28-day fall meet ends on Dec. 22, the track of “Lakes and Flowers” will be closed forever.
Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year, makes his third start of the season Saturday in the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs. He has already won two Grade 1 stakes — the Makers 46 Mile and the Turf Classic — so this should be an easier task.
Someday a public relations class will do a case study on what has been happening lately to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. At the center of it all are seven horses that died suddenly, while under his care, in a 16-month period.
The Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on Saturday marks a turn-the-page moment in racing from the end of the Triple Crown. Orb, Oxbow, Palace Malice plus the other top 3-year-olds will return soon enough in the Haskell and Travers. But for now the attention will be on the older horses.
The Belmont Stakes on Saturday is anything but anticlimactic for those of us who follow horse racing. Though there is no horse going for a sweep of the Triple Crown, the Belmont is a classic race with great history to it.
Great athletes always seem to make the right moves at the right time. For example, compare these winning moves by jockey Gary Stevens and LeBron James.