Wrapping Up Weekend Oaks Action

Though they seldom get the attention lavished on their 3-year-old male counterparts at this time of year, the 3-year-old fillies are turning in some impressive performances as they prep for the Longines Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 2. An event in and of itself, Oaks Day is much more than the appetizer…

On the Record: Trainers Talk About the PETA Investigation

As was likely the case at backstretches across the country last week, conversations at Florida’s tracks and training centers continued to focus on the New York Times’ story on PETA’s undercover investigation at Steve Asmussen’s Churchill Downs and Saratoga barns last year. Public commentary has been plentiful, abundant in insight, in stridency, in commitment, in sanctimony, in determination, in anger,…

PETA Allegations Scuttle Hall of Fame Nomination

Earlier this month, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame announced the 10 finalists for its 2014 class of inductees. From 84 candidates suggested by turf writers, Thoroughbred industry participants, and racing fans, the Hall of Fame’s nominating committee had selected four jockeys, four horses, and two trainers whose names would go to the…

Looking at Lucky

The Steve Asmussen barn kicked off the Saratoga meet in a winning way when its second starter, My Miss Aurelia, took the fifth race on opening day, a maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies. The performance earned the filly her own article on the NYRA website. But arriving at the barn after the race, Team…

Monday morning quick picks

Day 6 at the Spa dawned cool, dry, sunny, and beautiful; running past the Oklahoma this morning, I watched horses working out in the kind of light foggy sunlight that so many people have captured in photographs of Saratoga. It was sublime. And in my second breeze for the Fasig-Tipton 5K run on August 15th,…

Musing on racing justice

So it’s been a July of suspensions: Steve Asmussen we know about; Rick Dutrow we’ve discussed; and last week Ramon Dominguez served three days for careless riding. Having been in the business for about a decade of assessing infractions and administering consequences, I note these cases with interest. I’ve helped to create discipline policy and…

Forgive and forget?

As a racing fan, I am filled anticipation as we approach the Kentucky Derby, this country’s most anticipated horse race. As a racing fan, I am dismayed that so much Derby attention is being focused on trainers with, shall we say, less than savory reputations. Richard Dutrow, trainer of the acclaimed Big Brown, has racked…