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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: 36 min 6 sec ago

Saturday Special – February 13

February 12, 2016

Anyone need the cure for those wintertime blues? Look no further than the Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud as we preview the best races from racetracks across the country that are getting in the spirit of the season this President’s Day holiday weekend.

Bret Calhoun and Cowboy Dan

February 11, 2016

As David Allen Coe’s friend Steve Goodman wrote, the perfect country and western song says something about mama, trains, trucks, prison and gettin’ drunk. Well, David (and Steve) never met Cowboy Dan.

He was a cheap Texas-bred Thoroughbred, a $1,600 yearling, whose life ought to play at Ryman Auditorium. He’s trainer Bret Calhoun’s Horse Who Changed Everything and boy did he. Foaled in 1995, the dark bay son of Walesa and the Kennedy Road mare Dimpled Darling sold to Tommy Landreth at the Texas Thoroughbred Association yearling sale and joined Calhoun’s fledgling stable at Delta Downs in 1997.

Here & There – February 11

February 11, 2016

Full on winter is finally gripping essentially the entire Northeast, with biting temperatures, snow and strong winds whipping down city streets and across the farm fields and paddocks. The Super Bowl is over and winter festivals are in full swing. We’re a day late again posting our (mostly) weekly hodge podge from the world of racing and hopefully not a dollar short.

Beautiful Song

February 10, 2016

Mike Smith let the question dangle, let it roll around in his head, let it swim like a whiskey over ice. Over the phone, it’s hard to see, but there’s no doubt, Smith looked up at the sky, squinted his eyes like mail slots and blew a kiss in the air.

Royal Delta, Zenyatta, Azeri, Sky Beauty, Inside Information, Heavenly Prize…

Saturday Special – February 6

February 5, 2016

Super Bowl weekend typically features a pretty strong slate of racing and 2016 is no exception with cards worth noting at Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park and several venues overseas. Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow and Cowboy Cal, gets you ready for the day before the big football game.

Brandon Valvo's Horse Who Changed Everything

February 4, 2016

When I was a kid, I grew up near Saratoga Springs, New York. Although I lived about 15 minutes from Saratoga Race Course, it would be years until I made my first visit. Much closer to our house, just a minute down the road, was the Saratoga County Airport.

Here & There - February 4

February 4, 2016

We’ve got an abbreviated version of Here & There this week. Truth be told, typically if we’re light on content we might wait a week but this is no ordinary week because we’ve got something pretty cool we want to share. Check it out below, along with a few quotes in Worth Repeating and By the Numbers.

Here & There - February 4

February 4, 2016

We’ve got an abbreviated version of Here & There this week. Truth be told, typically if we’re light on content we might wait a week but this is no ordinary week because we’ve got something pretty cool we want to share. Check it out below, along with a few quotes in Worth Repeating and By the Numbers.

Stallions shine at Country Life Farm

February 4, 2016

Mike Pons leans on a podium set up on some wet stone dust next to the door of the breeding shed. Behind him stands a Bobby’s Potty. Over his shoulder, 2 feet of snow gradually slides off the roof – landing periodically with a great “Schwalam.” In front of him, guests at Sunday’s Country Life Farm stallion show listen intently.

Beat goes on for Cathryn Sophia

February 1, 2016

A handful of strides out of the gate Saturday found Cathryn Sophia in a very unfamiliar position at this stage of her young career – actually behind rivals – and John Servis admitted to feeling a wave of doubt sweep over him as he watched from the stands at Gulfstream Park.

The Special, NYTB team up for 2016

February 1, 2016

ST Publishing, publishers of the daily newspaper The Saratoga Special and the racing website This Is Horse Racing, will team for the third consecutive year with the New York Thoroughbred Breeders to produce a commemorative program for the organization’s Annual Awards Banquet this spring.

Withers & Toboggan Day at Aqueduct

February 1, 2016

In an early season showdown of Eastern-based 3-year-olds at Aqueduct, Dennis Drazin's Sunny Ridge (ridden by Manny Franco, trained by Jason Servis) gets the better of Flexibility and Vorticity in th $250,000 Withers while Bob La Penta's Sassicaia, a $1.6 million son of Bernardini, takes the rescheduled $150,000 Toboggan sprint stakes for jockey John Bisono and trainer Rudy Rodriguez. Tod Marks has the photo recap. 

A Day at Country Life Farm

January 30, 2016

Maryalnd's historic Country Life Farm hosted its annual stallion show Saturday, and didn't disappoint with four stallions, some world-class crab soup, an industry pep talk from Mike Pons, dogs of all shapes and sizes and plenty of sunshine to go along with the snow. TIHR's Nolan Clancy manned the camera and these were among his best shots. Nobody did more for the show than Freedom Child, who showcased his presence, athleticism – and balance – while taking his turn. Click on the photo below to launch slideshow.

Weekend Interview: Cate Johnson

January 30, 2016

Cate Johnson started her career in racing on the frontside in public relations, spent nearly a decade on the backside as office manager for one of North America’s top trainers and will return to her roots in the promotional world in a few weeks when she begins work as director of development at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

A native of Troy, N.Y., and resident of Saratoga Springs, Johnson will begin work with the Hall of Fame in late March after wrapping up a lengthy stint with Kiaran McLaughlin that started in 2008.

Saturday Special – January 30

January 29, 2016

The hideousness of last weekend’s snowstorm is largely in the rearview mirror and thankfully yielding to a huge weekend of action with significant races on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. To say this week’s Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud is loaded would be a significant understatement since it features key preps for the Cheltenham Festival and the Kentucky Derby. Does it get any bigger than that?

Vorticity, Lawrence eye Withers breakthrough

January 29, 2016

When Chuck Lawrence goes to work at Fair Hill Training Center, he knows the score even if he’s the only one keeping it.

Flying Changes: ‘Catcher’ enjoys fast start to second career

January 29, 2016

Tucked away amidst evergreen-lined fences in Sandy Spring, Maryland, is the lovely Avalon Farm. Trails wind through the woods that surround a beautiful, rustic main house, making the farm look truly like something out of a dream and the perfect home for the dream-like Thoroughbred.

A visit to South Carolina

January 28, 2016

While the Mid-Atlantic was  shoveling snow, they were training away in South Carolina as evidenced by the images captured by Maggie Kimmitt on a visit to the Camden Training Center and Springdale Race Course in Camden. The small town has a little bit of everything when it comes to horses – steeplechasers, 2-year-olds, retirees, foxhunters, even a memorial to one of steeplechasing's all-time greats. 

Dawalan’s Story: From the start

January 28, 2016

At Haras de Saint Crespin, part of the Aga Khan Studs in France, a nearly white broodmare roamed a green field with her foal. Brown, but destined to take on his mother’s color, he faced a bright future filled with – perhaps – classic wins, a trip to America like his brother, the great Daylami, or maybe a victory in the famed Arc de Triomphe like another brother, Dalakhani.

But that’s not exactly how it turned out.

Horse Who Changed Everything: Mighty Forego

January 27, 2016

I was lucky, fortunate, to have grown up in a golden age of horse racing. Raised two blocks from Aqueduct Racetrack in South Queens, my buddies and I could hear the crowd roar every day as we played Wiffle Ball in the driveway. Every decade has it legends. But I had Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Alydar and Ruffian in my backyard.