October 30, 2013 |
WHEN STORM Dixie's career came to an end 5 years ago, Ed Stanco and his five partners in King of Prussia Stable decided they might want to breed their mare. She had won her first race, but never won again. Their superstar trainer, Todd Pletcher, did not exactly give her a rousing endorsement, Stanco remembering him saying, "I wouldn't put a $10,000 stud fee into her. " Pletcher, one of the most intelligent and prudent people in horse racing, got Storm Dixie appraised for about $20,000.
September 24, 2013 |
WHEN PARX management moved the Pennsylvania Derby off Labor Day a few years ago and, then last year raised the purse of its second biggest race, the Cotillion Stakes, and put them both on the same day, they were trying to create an "event. " They officially have an event. Attendance is an irrelevant horse racing statistic in 2013 as 90 percent off all the money is bet away from the race track - online with an account, at an OTB or over the phone. But when you offer something special, you would like to see a big crowd and lots of wagering.
September 18, 2013 |
THREE OF THE BEST trainers in the history of horse racing will be at Parx Racing Saturday, with horses in the three major stakes races: the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, the $1 million Cotillion and the $300,000 Gallant Bob. Horses trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Bill Mott and Jerry Hollendorfer have combined to win more than 15,000 races with purse earnings of more than a half-billion dollars. Each trainer is already in the Hall of Fame and still winning major races. The 1 1/8-mile Pa. Derby, which drew a field of eight, features the rematch between the 1-2 finishers in the Aug. 24 Travers Stakes at Saratoga.
August 30, 2013 |
HORSE RACING is an event-driven sport without enough "events. " The Kentucky Derby is more popular than it has ever been. The Preakness and Belmont Stakes still draw gigantic crowds. The 2-day, end-of-the-year championship event, the Breeders' Cup, draws big crowds and attracts an insane amount of wagering, with the promise of gigantic payoffs every 30 minutes. The "boutique" meets - Saratoga and Del Mar in the summer, Keeneland in the spring and fall - remain wildly popular. But most of the workaday tracks that run long meets simply have no sizzle.
July 30, 2013 |
OCEANPORT, N.J. - The bettors at Monmouth Park and around the country had what appeared to be a dilemma yesterday. Would they make Preakness winner Oxbow the favorite in the $1 million Haskell Invitational? Or would they go for Verrazano, the horse that wins by giant margins, but ran his only bad race in the Kentucky Derby? The bettors went hard for Verrazano. Not only were they right, they were really right. Oxbow got an easy lead in moderate fractions, just like in the Preakness.
June 7, 2013 |
THE BELMONT Stakes is unlike any other race because of the unique distance and the track where it is run. Running a mile and half is unusual enough. That the race is run at Belmont Park, America's only mile-and-a-half racetrack makes it even more complicated. Jockey Gary Stevens calls Belmont Park his favorite track, but he said you have to respect it. "It's like the ocean," Stevens said. "You can have a lot of fun in it, but it can hurt you if you don't respect it. " Riders can get lost at Belmont Park.
June 6, 2013 |
ON THE 40th anniversary of Secretariat's Belmont Stakes win, when the colt ran off 31 lengths in front of the field into an unknown realm, we wait in vain for the next Secretariat or Seattle Slew or Affirmed, the Triple Crown still elusive. No Triple Crown is on the line in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, but we do get a rematch between the winner of the Kentucky Derby (Orb) and Preakness (Oxbow), as well as a terrific betting race, promised by a 14-horse field with much intrigue and more than a few question marks.
May 21, 2013 |
BALTIMORE - Gary Stevens had been retired for 7 years. It seemed like D. Wayne Lukas had been retired for even longer. Stevens, the Hall of Fame jockey, had been on the NBC broadcast team for many of the major races. Lukas, the Hall of Fame trainer, was still in the big races, but always on the periphery, an afterthought, if he was considered at all. Stevens, 50, came back in January because he missed the feeling of sitting on a horse's back. Lukas, 77, never left because he always loved the feeling of being around race horses every day. The racing gods decided there would be no Triple Crown for the 35th consecutive year.
May 20, 2013 |
BALTIMORE - Another year, another Triple Crown hopeful unable to come through. After Oxbow, ridden by 50-year-old Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, upset Kentucky Derby winner Orb in Saturday's Preakness to extend racing's Triple Crown drought to 36 years, the next best alternative for the Belmont Stakes is a rematch. And, it appears one is in the making. Both trainers are giving every indication their classic-winning colts will run in the Belmont on June 8. "You know me," Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said after Oxbow's 13/4-length victory over Itsmyluckyday, with 3-5 favorite Orb finishing fourth.
May 19, 2013 |
BALTIMORE - Rosie Napravnik's motivation for winning the Preakness has little to do with making history. With a victory aboard Mylute on Saturday, Napravnik would become the first female jockey to capture the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. More important to her, though, it would serve as a triumphant return to Pimlico Race Course, where she launched her outstanding career. "You know what? It would be a great accomplishment, but that's not the reason I want to win it, because no other woman has won it before," she said.