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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: 19 min 44 sec ago

Turning Point

July 30, 2015

Smart Transition isn’t the only 3-year-old colt that is also the first foal of a hugely successful racemare in trainer John Shirreffs’ barn, nor is he the most well known.

That spot belongs to Cozmic One. He’s the first foal out of Horse of the Year, three-time champion older female and $7,304,580-earner Zenyatta. Winless in two starts, he isn’t close to following in his mother’s footsteps although he deserves a pass because, seriously, who could?

The career of Smart Transition is on a better track.

Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with Al Stall Jr.

July 30, 2015

Trainer Al Stall Jr. didn’t waste much time getting his 2015 Saratoga meet off to a strong start, sending out Dating Lady Luck to finish second in allowance company Opening Day and Paid Up Subscriber to a win another allowance the second day.

Worth the drive

July 30, 2015

In advance of Equine Advocates' 14th Annual Awards Dinner and Charity Auction Thursday night at Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs, local freelance writer and marketing consultant Alyssa McClenning made the trip to the organization's base in Chatham, N.Y. 

“Are we going to take my car, or yours?” I ask my friend while eyeing his 1998 VW Cabrio.

The 5-speed is stripped down to its black primer, the morning sun catching spots of rust.

“Let’s take mine,” he says, “it’s better on gas mileage.”

Stakes Return for Noble Cornerstone

July 29, 2015

Listening to and paying attention to the cues given by Noble Cornerstone has produced positive results for trainer Tom Morley in 2015.

The gelding needed time to grow up at the end of his 3-year-old season, Morley gave it to him and he returned to the races even more successful this year.

Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with Leah Gyarmati

July 29, 2015

Leah Gyarmati looks down her shedrow, deep in the corner of Clare Court and Greentree and thinks about her 20 horses here and 17 at Belmont Park. It’s the most she’s ever trained.

“I’ve never had to leave that many behind,” she said. “It’s just different. Trying to stay on top of everything. It’s not my favorite way of doing it, but it’s nice to have a good group of horses.”

Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with Mark Casse

July 28, 2015

Seven-time Sovereign Award-winning trainer Mark Casse is back at Saratoga with a strong hand and it was on full display Friday morning when a set including Whitney Invitational-bound Noble Bird and Coaching Club American Oaks-bound Conquest Eclipse went to the track with some maiden 2-year-olds and allowance horses.

Heavyweight Clash

July 28, 2015

Who says all the stars are jammed into the Saturday cards, never to be seen during the week at Saratoga Race Course due to a reconfigured stakes schedule?

Consider Wednesday's $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap.

The 6-furlong sprint drew only five entries, undoubtedly because of the presence of two older mares with collective earnings of nearly $2.8 million. They’ve won 14 stakes – eight of them graded and two of them Grade 1. One’s an Eclipse Award winner, the other on her way to a New York-bred championship and maybe more.

Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with Todd Pletcher

July 28, 2015

Todd Pletcher won his fifth consecutive and 11th overall training title at Saratoga Race Course in 2014, just one of the accomplishments that paved the way to a record seventh Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding trainer. He won 28 races at Saratoga last year, 10 fewer than his career best in 2011 but enough to win by five over Chad Brown.

Monday picks from The Special

July 27, 2015

Monday’s nine-race card at Saratoga Race Course closes the book on the first “week” of the meeting. We don’t publish a Monday edition – except during sales week – but our team of handicappers continue to make selections and we’ll post the picks online every week.

Familiar foes set for Lucky Coin

July 26, 2015

Talent, determination and a little bit of luck often dictate the success of a racehorse’s career. That’s exactly the case with Sandy’z Slew, a top contender for Monday’s Lucky Coin Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

Talking Horses: Part 2 with Martin Panza

July 25, 2015

The second and final installment of a Q&A which began in Saturday's edition of The Saratoga Special.

Martin Panza is in the midst of his second season as the head of the racing department at Saratoga Race Course. He’s wearing multiple hats at the current meeting, in his main role as senior vice president of racing operations and also in the job where his roots are, as racing secretary.

Small filly, big chance

July 25, 2015

Tim Thornton’s been coming to Saratoga Race Course for four decades, starting as a teenager when he worked for the old Shawnee Farm that brought a consignment to sell across the street at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select sale. He came later as a friend of Hall of Fame trainer John Veitch, “messed around with him, went to the races, that kind of stuff,” and in more recent years he’s come in his role as general manager of Airdrie Stud.

Saratoga Tips and Touts: Billy Blake’s Late Pick 4

July 25, 2015

The Saratoga Special intern and 2014 National Handicapping Contest qualifier Billy Blake will serve up some wagering advice for This Is Horse Racing during this year’s Saratoga Race Course meeting. He starts with Saturday’s $500,000 guaranteed late pick 4, which caps a big card at the Spa that includes the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes and Grade 1 TVG Diana Stakes.

Big crowd packs Saratoga for Opening Day

July 24, 2015

Thousands of people milling. Cigar smoke wafting through the air. Women wearing heels. Men wearing ties. A fan rides through the crowd on his cooler. Horses dance into the paddock, onto the track.

The sun rises and sets on the 152nd Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course. And Opening Day offered a little bit of everything – big crowd, big upsets, tornado warning, and even a fallen tree that crushed half a dozen cars on the backstretch.

Panza at helm for second Saratoga season

July 24, 2015

Martin Panza is in the midst of his second season as the head of the racing department at Saratoga Race Course. He’s wearing multiple hats at the current meeting, in his main role as senior vice president of racing operations and also in the job where his roots are, as racing secretary.

He also played a key role in reconfiguring the Saratoga stakes schedule for 2014 and even more in 2015.

All Class: Tepin takes aim at Diana

July 24, 2015

The filly that gave her connections a big scare nearly a year ago is becoming a pretty intimidating force herself heading into the first Grade 1 stakes of the 2015 Saratoga Race Course meeting.

New names, faces dot Spa

July 24, 2015

Saratoga Race Course’s exceptional atmosphere and high-class racing places it on a pedestal, reserved only for the finest racetracks in the country. That reputation draws not only several of the most superlative horses from across the nation, but numerous top trainers and jockeys. As the 2015 racing season springs opens there are plenty of familiar names among the trainer and jockey rosters along with a handful of new ones.

Season of Change

July 23, 2015

Put away the countdown clocks, stop checking the calendar and put in for that vacation time if you haven’t done it already. It’s time for Saratoga, 2015 edition.

Bode Miller buys Fair Hill barn

July 22, 2015

Fair Hill Training Center is, after all, on a hill – just not quite the kind of hill Bode Miller normally works. The Olympic skier continued his foray into Thoroughbred racing by purchasing a barn at the Maryland Thoroughbred facility this month.

Saturday Special – July 18

July 17, 2015

One week. That’s all that’s left until Opening Day at Saratoga. Time to get those last licks in, whether it’s on the golf course, on the lake, in the garden, at the gym or on the running trails, because next week this time you’ll be fully immersed in the experience that is the Spa. The Saratoga Special's seasonal office is unpacked, ready to go, but idle. For now.