December 14, 1989 |
On the track, the decade began with Spectacular Bid's perfect tour of America in 1980. Some horses have had years as good. Few horses ever have been better than "the Bid" was in 1980. The decade ended with the wonderful finish of the 1989 Breeders' Cup Classic between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer. Sunday Silence won for the third time in four meetings, but both horses left their backers waiting for more in 1990. In between, the decade offered the wonderful spirit of John Henry, the rags-to-unheard-of-riches saga of Spend A Buck, the perfection of Personal Ensign and the elegance of Alysheba.
September 13, 2008 |
Craig Donnelly, who has been handicapping thoroughbred races in The Inquirer since 1971, when he was a senior at Radnor High School, has retired from the newspaper and will no longer be making selections. Over the years, Donnelly has picked the races at Garden State Park, Philadelphia Park, Atlantic City, Meadowlands, Liberty Bell Park, and Keystone. He once picked all eight races correctly at Delaware, and the most impressive horses he saw run in person were Spectacular Bid in 1979 and Afleet Alex in 2005.
May 4, 2013 |
Trying to predict the winner of a horse race is a fool's game, and doing so for the Kentucky Derby - a jostling, 20-horse charge over a distance none of them has previously mastered - is a game for only the bravest of fools or the most foolish of the brave. Bill Handleman was my professor as I learned those hard lessons. He was a devoted addict of the calculus required for balancing the limits of a horse's pedigree, its will to run, the savvy of its trainer and jockey, the bias of a particular racetrack, the conditions of the day, the fickle nature of racing luck, and all of those factors as they were measured against the other horses in the race.
September 14, 1988 |
Fate was after jockey Matt Vigliotti during the last week of February at Garden State. One night, he was thrown clear as his mount crashed though the outside rail. Then, he was tossed in a gate accident. Finally, he was dropped in the paddock Feb. 26. The third time was no charm. Vigliotti suffered a broken left thigh. Yesterday, 6 1/2 months after being injured, Vigliotti was back. The 30-year-old rider, who has won 977 races at Philadelphia Park (only Tony Black, Rick Wilson and Jake Nied have won more)
July 17, 2004 |
Jockey Stewart Elliott was sitting on a stool, wearing blue-and-white checks, half-reading a racing form in the shaded paddock at Monmouth Park Racetrack. It was just before the sixth race on a hot Sunday in Oceanport, N.J., and his next mount was about as far from Smarty Jones as one could imagine. It was St. Patrick's Day in July. If you wore green to the track, you got into the grandstand for free and heard a bagpipe band play songs like "You're a Grand Old Flag," not "My Old Kentucky Home," as Elliott heard at the Derby.
October 30, 1995 |
A race track press box is among the most cynical places on earth. A more- hardened bunch you will rarely see. Everything is scrutinized with skepticism. It is the very nature of the business. Truth and horse racing are not often synonymous. It's trying to get to the truth that makes the sport such a riddle. Very few of those in the press box don't back their opinions with cash. That, too, is the very nature of the game. And it leads to cynicism. What then to make of the polite applause that broke out a few minutes after 3 p.m. Saturday in the press box at Belmont Park.
August 3, 1989 |
When normal people near the age of 58, they contemplate retirement. Bill Shoemaker will be 58 on Aug. 19. And he is exactly six months away from retirement. But he definitely is not normal. Shoemaker, in the midst of a yearlong farewell tour around the world, brings his road show to Philadelphia Park tomorrow and Saturday. He will sign autographs, pose for pictures, give interviews and ride in at least four races on Saturday. (All for a casual $10,000 fee. This is, after all, still America.
April 20, 1987 |
The 2-year-old champion hasn't won the Kentucky Derby since Spectacular Bid in 1979. If nothing else is clear about this year's Kentucky Derby, it became evident Saturday that Capote, last year's 2-year-old champ, won't win it. After his weak effort in the Wood Memorial, there is some question if he should even be in it. But Capote is trained by Wayne Lukas, the man who has won everything - except the Derby. Lukas probably will be there May 2 - along with Capote, and perhaps as many as three other horses.
March 12, 2005 |
Undefeated Declan's Moon is off the Kentucky Derby trail with a minor knee injury and won't return to horse racing for at least 5 months. Trainer Ron Ellis said yesterday that the injury - a hairline fracture to a bone that runs from the shoulder to the knee - was discovered several days after Declan's Moon won the Santa Catalina at Santa Anita last Saturday in his 3-year-old debut. The injury is not career-threatening, Ellis said in a phone interview from California, but "it looks like he's probably going to be out of training about 60 days, and we don't have 60 days to spare.
October 29, 1995 |
Call a sculptor. Get the monument started. Citation, Man o' War and that legendary crowd of racetrack warriors can expect company. A late-blooming 5-year-old horse named Cigar banged on the door of thoroughbred immortality at Belmont Park yesterday, winning the $3 million Breeders' Cup Classic in record time - and in the mud. His time over a track that had been soaked by 10 hours of rain was 1 minute, 59 2/5 seconds, a stakes record by a full...