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This Is Horse Racing – Original news/feature content about Thoroughbred racing from the team behind The Saratoga Special and more.
Updated: 1 hour 34 min ago

Upset City

3 hours 11 min ago

Eric Guillot stopped in mid-sentence, which is saying something in itself, and barged his way through the crowd to the edge of the racetrack Saturday afternoon.

Laoban, fresh off upsetting the Jim Dandy, stumbled while cantering back, popping Jose Ortiz out of his saddle, into black mane and over Laoban’s left shoulder. Ortiz splayed like a scarecrow thrown from a truck and Loaban loped around the clubhouse turn, reins dangling to his left knee, and aimed at the finish line.

A Fresh Start

July 29, 2016

The sun starts to overpower the fading night sky and the birds welcome the start of a new day near the boundary of the main track at Saratoga Race Course and Godolphin’s Greentree Training Center just after 5:30 Friday morning.

Hannah Ashcroft & Frankel

July 29, 2016

Hannah Ashcroft was standing by the picnic table outside of Graham Motion’s barn at Saratoga Race Course last week, rubbing conditioner into a leather halter with a sponge. From the table you could see horses galloping by on the track, and in the not-so-distant distance, the grandeur of the Saratoga grandstand presided over the entire scene.

Big Shoes

July 28, 2016

As she leaned her back on a railing outside the office of trainer Joe Sharp’s barn on the Oklahoma Training Track Wednesday morning, Dede McGehee was tired from the trip to New York from her home in Lexington, even more so after a stop in Brooklyn to visit her daughter.

The owner/breeder was bright-eyed nonetheless, more so as her homebred colt Dolphus walked out of his stall and to the woodchip-walking ring a few yards away. McGehee, who bred the half-brother to 2016 Hall of Fame inductee and 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the name of her Heaven Trees Farm, came out to see the Lookin At Lucky colt train in preparation for his comeback in today’s $100,000 Curlin Stakes at Saratoga.

Book Excerpt: Ride To Win

July 28, 2016

(Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the book “Ride To Win: An Inside Look At The Jockey’s Craft” by Bob Fortus and Gary West. Recognized earlier this year as a finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, the book explores everything that goes into winning a race from the rider’s perspective. Topics include how jockeys land mounts, strategy, what’s actually happening on the way to the starting gate, what riders are thinking and trying to do as a race unfolds and more. Fortus will be on hand with the Saratoga jockey colony for an autograph signing, with a suggestion donation to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday on the Jockey Silks Room Porch. 

Two for the Show

July 27, 2016

Two John Morrissey Stakes winners stood in their stalls on opposite sides of Union Avenue Wednesday morning

On the Oklahoma side was 2015 winner Moonlight Song, who craned his dark bay neck over the stall webbing to accept a peppermint from trainer Charlton Baker. Staring intently and nodding for more, the 9-year-old gelding finally lost interest and gazed out at the horses striding past to the training track.

Saratoga Yearling Diary No. 6: Final preparations

July 27, 2016

Alfred Nuckols Jr. is feeling the heat as the days count down until the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings. He’s not warm under the collar because of any pressure with his Saratoga-bound consignment of six, quite the contrary, just feeling the effects of the rising temperatures in Central Kentucky the last few weeks.

Saratoga Yearling Diary No. 6: Final preparations

July 27, 2016

Alfred Nuckols Jr. is feeling the heat as the days count down until the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings. He’s not warm under the collar because of any pressure with his Saratoga-bound consignment of six, quite the contrary, just feeling the effects of the rising temperatures in Central Kentucky the last few weeks.

Yearling Diary Photos: Mid-July at Hurstland

July 27, 2016

The final preparations for the six Hurstland Farm yearlings cataloged for next month's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings is well underway in Midway, Kentucky. Check out the photos from Sunday, July 17 and compare a few with how they looked back in the middle of February.

Return Engagement

July 26, 2016

Sarah Sis took several turns around the shedrow before going out for a light jog Monday morning, her feet piercing the brown dirt with every step. Ingrid Mason sat on her pony just outside the barn, half under the overhang and half out in the open air. She liked what she saw as the filly loosened up.

“Go ahead, give her another turn,” she told her small crew.

Songbird sings and soars at the Spa

July 25, 2016

Songbird kicked dirt in the face of the Graveyard of Favorites by winning with devasting ease the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday. Now 9-for-9, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro has moved into rare air as an appreciative crowd at Saratoga Sunday can attest. Photographer Tod Marks has the highlights.

Monday, July 25 picks from The Saratoga Special

July 25, 2016

The first week of the 2016 Saratoga Race Course meeting comes to a close with the Lucky Coin Stakes topping a nine-race card Monday and a tight race atop the handicapping standings in The Saratoga Special.

Leavem In Malibu gives team hope in Prince of Wales

July 24, 2016

The $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes is set for Tuesday, the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown following on the heels of the Queen’s Plate and a race that the connections of Leavem In Malibu probably wish he could leave behind.

Soaring in Saratoga

July 23, 2016

The few days that Songbird has spent in upstate New York make it pretty easy to comprehend why those closest to her say they feel no pressure when it comes to maintaining the California filly’s unbeaten record, growing legend and rightful position atop her division and among the best North American racehorses of 2016.

All but one

July 22, 2016

There’s an elephant in the room, and her name is Tepin.

Last year’s champion turf female and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner is absent from the entries for today’s Grade 1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and that’s likely causing trainers to breathe a sigh of relief. Seven of the 10 fillies and mares entered in the $500,000 stakes have unsuccessfully gone head-to-head with the dark bay powerhouse on at least one occasion.

Irish filly takes aim at Lake George

July 21, 2016

Fozzy Stack took a long deep drag on his cigarette and walked toward the end of the barn where assistant Craig Allen was grazing Lake George hopeful Diamond Fields Thursday morning. The bay filly stood still and stared across the paddock fence.  

“It’s obviously a long journey to get here, but she seems to have taken it quite well,” said Stack, assistant and son of Diamond Fields’ trainer Tommy Stack. “She looks well, we haven’t done anything serious with her since we got here, hopefully she produces.”

Second chance for Olive Branch

July 21, 2016

Olive Branch did everything right on the grounds and racetrack leading up to the OBS March 2-year-olds in training sale. She did most everything right – she is a 2-year-old after all – when she arrived at Rick Violette’s barn at Belmont Park shortly after Ralph Evans bought her for $185,000.

Blazing Through Barriers: The Challenges

July 20, 2016

The first article in this series about Nicolette Merle-Smith and her OTTB mare, Blazing Beryl, offered hints that their journey to the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover might be a seamless journey sans major challenges.

Saratoga, here we come!

July 18, 2016

As the Spa readies for its 148th season, Saratoga Special photographer Tod Marks shares some old and new images of American horse racing's most hallowed ground.

Saturday Special – July 16

July 15, 2016

Do yourself a favor and take a break from packing or loading up the car, truck, horse van, whatever, as you get ready for Saratoga to take in one final Saturday before the biggest meeting in North America gets underway. This week’s getaway Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow and Cowboy Cal as always winds its way across the country and around the world.