Cool N Collective: Back in the gate at 13

In September of 2008, I went to Suffolk Downs to see Commentator run in the MassCap. Earlier on the card, in a $16,000 allowance optional claimer, a name in the program caught my eye. Cool N Collective? I knew that name…why was it familiar? It was familiar because for much of his then-nine-year racing career,…

Wednesday morning quick picks

I frequently count myself lucky to live in a city with newspapers that cover racing daily. Both Ed Fountaine at the New York Post and Jerry Bossert at the Daily News provide handicapping, insight, and race recaps every racing day of the year; their focus is both local and national. Bossert was on a roll…

Brian’s back!

A very warm welcome back to Brian Nadeau, who will once again guide Backstretch readers through the Derby trail, with insight and handicapping on all major Derby prep races. In addition to his work at the Saratoga Special and Steeplechase Times, Brian is now handicapping NYRA races at Horseplayernow.com. He’ll be participating in “Countdown to…

Next steps

Here at the Backstretch household, we’re trying to get used to life without Madison. Several friends have recently lost close family members, and the tragedy of the world beyond our borders is horrifying beyond contemplation, so the loss of a cat does require some perspective: still, in our little world it’s been a rough couple…

Madison Genaro, 1996-2010

She came to me, along with her brother, in September of 1996. I had left my cat back in the States when I’d moved to England in 1995, and, having decided to remain in London for the foreseeable future, I was no longer going to live without a cat. I grew up with tabbies and…

In the Aqueduct Handicap, Stymie 2, mares 0

Today at Aqueduct is the 91st running of the Evening Attire. Well, OK, not exactly: the race has been run, with a few gaps, since 1902; formerly the Aqueduct Handicap, the race was re-named to honor the gelding who won it in 2002 and who was retired in 2008 at age 10. In its former…

Hello, Hialeah

I came to racing too late to make it to Hialeah to see Thoroughbreds; the shuttered track has been presented to me as a Shangri-La, the epitome of all that was good and right and beautiful about racing. I mourned that I never got to see it. But I lucked out: Hialeah would be open…

Lost Aptitude

It’s all about the girls this weekend at Aqueduct, with the Busanda on Saturday and last week’s Ruthless being brought back on Sunday; both races are for three-year-olds, with the former at a mile of 70 yards and the latter at six furlongs. This site is in the middle of its third winter, so the…