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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: 21 min 42 sec ago

Busy day for Belmont Stakes contenders

May 29, 2015

Several serious contenders who will take on Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah in next week’s 147th running of the Belmont Stakes turned in their final serious workouts Friday morning at Belmont Park.

Advocate analyzes slaughter situation in video series

May 29, 2015

Horseman and longtime equine advocate Alex Brown launched a three-part video series earlier this year with a goal of educating people on the controversial issue of horse slaughter in the United States.

Brown calls the series “Horses: Sports, Culture, and Slaughter” and it’s his attempt to “provide a 360-degree view of the issue of horse slaughter, through the lens of horse sports, horse cultures and horse history.”

Saturday Special – May 30

May 29, 2015

One week to go until everyone finds out if Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner American Pharoah has what it takes to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner. Still plenty of racing coast-to-coast and around the world for this week’s edition of Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow, Cowboy Cal and the late Sky Classic.

Penn National Race Course rolls out quite a card and gets it going with five straight stakes worth more $1,075,000, including featured $500,000 Penn Mile for 3-year-olds on the grass.

Preakness Day Scenes

May 29, 2015

The 2015 Preakness will be remembered for many things – American Pharoah's performance, a record crowd and (oh yeah) the storm. It blew through just as the horses were leaving the paddock, turned the track into a mess, promote an evacuation of the infield and did little to dampen the spirits. Maggie Kimmitt captured some of the moments before, during and after the race May 16 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. 

Breeding Watch: Strong strike Rate

May 28, 2015

It was a good holiday weekend for the Three Chimneys Farm duo of Sky Mesa and Exchange Rate, who combined to sire three graded stakes winners in North America.

Field of dreams or dreamers?

May 28, 2015

The field for next Saturday’s Belmont Stakes continues to evolve with contenders coming and going almost as fast as children jumping in and getting out of chilly backyard pools that opened over the Memorial Day weekend.

The buzz over Belmont breeze

May 27, 2015

No we’re not talking about the unofficial official drink of the Belmont Stakes.

We’re talking about American Pharoah’s breeze at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning, his first recorded workout since six days before the Kentucky Derby and a serious tightener in between the Preakness Stakes and next week’s Belmont Stakes.

Belmont Stakes preview bucket

May 26, 2015

Memorial Day weekend in the books and less than two weeks until the racing world finds out if the list of Triple Crown winners will round to a perfect dozen in the 147th Belmont Stakes.

Our team at This Is Horse Racing will be on the scene at Belmont Park next week to cover American Pharoah’s run at immortality in the June 6 Belmont. In the meantime we’re happy to offer a sampling of some of the great advance coverage of the race by track publicists across the country. Our first preview bucket features news from the New York Racing Association, Churchill Downs and Santa Anita Park.

A little quick news from Tuesday, too, as American Pharoah breezed a half-mile in :48 at Churchill Downs. More on that workout later Tuesday.

Fair Hill 2015 preview & picks

May 22, 2015

Get out your money. Real money, not your fiver with your friend back at the barn and not your two dollars at evens at the chalkboard. It’s Fair Hill time – real betting, real money. This is not Fantasy League.

Saturday Special – May 23

May 22, 2015

Memorial Day weekend. It’s a time for parades, cookouts, an extra day off for some and most importantly, a time to remember those who served our country with distinction and honor. It’s an important weekend in the racing world, too, even though it falls between the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow, Cowboy Cal and the late Sky Classic, gets the three-day holiday weekend off to a proper start.

Breeding Watch: Power move

May 22, 2015

While Pioneerof the Nile’s American Pharoah took another step toward ending the American Triple Crown drought, another grandson of classic winner Unbridled sired a pair of stakes winners last weekend at Pimlico Race Course.

Juddmonte Farm bred and raced both American Pharoah’s grandsire Empire Maker and his close relative First Defence. Empire Maker, by Unbridled out of the great Broodmare of the Year Toussaud, was a distance specialist and upset Funny Cide in the 2003 Belmont Stakes.

First Defence, on the other hand, was better up to a mile. That’s not entirely surprising since as he’s by Unbridled’s Song out of Toussaud’s Grade 1-winning sprinter Honest Lady, by Seattle Slew.

Here & There – May 21

May 21, 2015

Triple Crown mania went into high gear as American Pharoah splashed his way through Baltimore in a powerful victory in the Preakness Stakes. A little more than two weeks and he’ll go for the sweep in the Belmont Stakes. How will he do it? Can he do it? Will he do it?

Everyone wants to know the answer to those questions and so many more. American Pharoah, and the 12 furlongs of the Belmont Stakes, hold the answers.

Winning even when I’m losing

May 20, 2015

The clouds filled the sky in Arcadia, but it was far from a gloomy time at the Great Race Place.

The Santa Anita Preakness Challenge gave some of the best horseplayers across the country an opportunity to strut their stuff. A live-money tournament with a $3,000 bankroll, the contest added even more flavor to a sensational weekend of racing.

Star to superstar at the Preakness

May 19, 2015

The signs were there the day before the 140th Preakness. You just needed to be there and interpret them the right way. It all happened rather quickly. In less than five minutes it became pretty clear who was the star of the show and the primary concern of his five-time Preakness-winning trainer.

Iroquois Recap: Demonstrative meet Jack Doyle

May 19, 2015

It’s a deck. A wooden rectangle, providing a level platform on the side of a grass bank, maybe 10 feet by 20 feet. It could sit overtop an inlet or a pond, a couple of fishing poles, a cooler, a place to watch the sun set.

Once a year, that platform turns into an observation deck for the spring’s best race meet, the Iroquois Steeplechase. Once that day, it becomes the point of collision for spectators and participants in the 3-mile Iroquois Steeplechase. The only 3-mile Grade 1 hurdle stakes in the country, this year’s Iroquois attracted five runners, three champions and a thousand points of view from the observation deck. The race started at 5:18 on May 9. It lasted 5:47.60.

Splashing through Baltimore

May 17, 2015

One of the significant questions American Pharoah faced heading into Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes was how he’d fare coming back in two weeks after the toughest race of his young life. The Kentucky Derby winner seemed poised to handle that test, looking more than just formidable as he trained this week and a standout in the small Preakness field despite an less-than-preferred inside post-position draw.

Then Mother Nature threw a big puzzler at American Pharoah and the rest of the field for the second jewel of the Triple Crown when threatening skies emptied a massive amount of rain down on Pimlico Race Course. By the time the 140th Preakness was complete a little before 6:30 p.m. Saturday it was difficult to say which he dominated more – the rain-soaked sloppy track or his mud-spattered seven opponents.

To sweep or not to sweep

May 16, 2015

Hall of Famers D. Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert and Gary Stevens probably know better than most the significance of a horse going for a sweep of the Triple Crown. They know that the potential of a sweep gives racing a welcome bit of publicity, yet they also know there are equal if not greater factors at work when 3-year-olds contest our country’s classics every spring.

The three addressed the issue in the days leading up to Saturday’s 140th running of the $1.5 million Xpressbet Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, where American Pharoah will attempt to add a second classic to his win two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby.

2015 Preakness Day stakes picks

May 15, 2015

Didn’t get enough stakes action Friday at Pimlico Race Course? You’re in luck because there’s eight more at Old Hilltop Saturday, including the $1.5 million Xpressbet Preakness Stakes featuring the Kentucky Derby one-two-three finishers in American Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund.

Breeding Watch: Sweet victory

May 15, 2015

The progeny of a pair of Relaunch grandsons dominated the stakes action last weekend in Southern California, while the Southwest region saw the first juvenile stakes winner of the year.

When Beholder scratched from Saturday’s Grade 1 Vanity Stakes at Santa Anita Park, the race was widely conceded to Warren’s Veneda. They just forgot to tell Mike Smith and My Sweet Addiction. The pair shrugged off multiple challenges to gain the coveted victory under the gaze of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Saturday Special: May 15

May 15, 2015

Ah yes, the third Saturday in May. The Preakness Stakes, the great toll both on Thoroughbred racing’s highway. Beyond the Preakness, there is plenty of action from around the world, including a strong card at Belmont Park and some stellar racing in England. Here’s your Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak, home of Alternation, Broken Vow, Cowboy Cal and the late Sky Classic.