Shackled

There are few automatic bets in the Backstretch world. There are the Cats and Kittens, of course, and sometimes horses or trainers I’ve recently profiled, and often the longest price in a short field. But perhaps the most inviolable of these is the “If you pet the horse, bet the horse” maxim…which I ignored on…

Pleasantly Parx

In January of 2007, I went to Philadelphia Park for the first time. I don’t recall that it was particularly cold, but it was gray, and the place had a desolate feel. We sat in the restaurant on the fifth floor; it was perfectly pleasant, but the horses seemed awfully far away: it was tough…

Sparkling Commentary

In 2005, I spent the day of the Whitney on the beach in Massachusetts, visiting friends from my time in London who have no interest in horse racing. Much as I enjoyed the weekend, I’ve never quite gotten over missing Commentator’s thrilling win over St. Liam that afternoon. Watching a horse win by multiple lengths…

Saratoga preview

The annual Saratoga preview, held last night at the National Museum of Racing in the Hall of Fame, was standing room only, with racing fans turning out to hear the thoughts of trainer Nick Zito, jockey Alan Garcia, NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward, and Glens Falls Post-Star writer/handicapper Kyle Brownell. Though the room had…

New York, New York, indeed

Photo credit to ESPN So much to say about today at Belmont: the heat, the crowd, the winners, the losers, the plumbing. It’s a day of stories. But tonight, congratulations to Da’ Tara, the colt called a rank outsider, the longest shot on the board; and to Nick Zito, called a fool for entering not…