This is Horse Racing
Week 2. For the 83rd time, the Carolina Cup signals the start of spring in Camden, South Carolina. Short fields reign but the return of champion Demonstrative in the training flat race certainly adds some spice to the card.
Main Sequence, California Chrome, Upstart, Twilight Eclipse ... Meydan to Gulfstream … now, this is a Saturday Special. Presented by new sponsor Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow, Cowboy Cal and the retired Sky Classic, Saturday Special gets started early with the Dubai World Cup card and continues through the early evening at Gulfstream, Fair Grounds and Santa Anita.
As a wise trainer once said, horses – Thoroughbred or Arabian – have the answers. The people just have questions. And of course there are questions about American-based Arabian star Valiant Boy’s trip to Dubai for Saturday’s $1 million Kahayla Classic.
Line of David’s second Derby winner of 2015 vaulted him to the top of the second-crop sire chart while Candy Ride and Lemon Drop Kid saw their latest graded stakes winners emerge in Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks preps at Turfway Park.
He won’t say it, not to a reporter anyway, but Graham Motion really hopes to silence a few people Saturday at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Dual Eclipse Award winner Main Sequence runs in the $6 million Sheema Classic and does so without the anti-bleeding medication Lasix, which is not permitted in Dubai or the bulk of international racing.
Ron Anderson calls people on the phone all day long, hustling rides for jockey Joel Rosario, and has done the same for Jerry Bailey, Gary Stevens, Chris Antley, Garrett Gomez, Corey Nakatani and others. But even Anderson laughed at some of the circumstances around a phone call he made last week.
Six North American stallions command an advertised fee of $100,000 or more for the 2015 season and three of them sired new stakes winners last weekend.
Whew, that was a quick. Where did winter go? Of course, it’s snowing in Virginia as we type. The steeplechase tour starts again with its annual pilgrimage to Aiken, South Carolina for the Aiken Steeplechase. The southern-based horses must have an advantage…not always, as a few of the northern horses have spun around a point-to-point.
Hall of Fame trainer (and person) Allen Jerkens died Wednesday at 85, a loss the racing world mourns. Jerkens has been written about and photographed by generations of writers and photographers now. TIHR's Tod Marks put together this sampling, mostly from Saratoga, of the man at work in the morning and in the afternoon.
Another Saturday Special. The claimers have their day at Aqueduct, Jimmy Jerkens tries for a stakes double during a tough week at Gulfstream Park and Laurel Park spins four stakes on a strong Saturday card.
Ready or not steeplechase fans, it’s time to jump. The 2015 season starts for real Saturday with the 49th annual Aiken Spring Races in Aiken, S.C. The first of six races starts at 1 p.m., but gates open early if you’re planning to be there.
Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens, author of some of American racing’s greatest moments in a career that spanned parts of seven decades, died Wednesday in a Florida hospital due to an infection. He was 85.
Conservative or aggressive? In this game, the question looms with every horse, every race, every decision. It’s always there. Trainer Mark Bradstock and his team faced that choice with novice Coneygree. Be conservative and cast a long shadow in the RSA Novice Chase at Cheltenham. Be aggressive and meld into the shadow of the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Wendy Uzelac Wooley was beside herself. “I found Canoodler!” she squealed into the phone. Anyone who knows her understands the significance of that statement. The “Canoodler Saga” began six years ago when Wendy, then an amateur photographer, was shooting the races at Hawthorne Park in Illinois.
The 2015 Cheltenham Festival wrapped up Friday, ending a truly eventful four-day run that saw record crowds, domination by Irish trainer Willie Mullins, another victory for the indomitable AP McCoy and a victory by Coneygree in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the final program.
Two days from the Ides of March and we’re playing a little catch-up here at This Is Horse Racing.
Cheltenham is in the books. St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. The brackets of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament a few days after that. Next thing you know it will be less than two months until the Kentucky Derby. Oh, wait, the calendar says 50 days to Derby Day.
The Cheltenham Festival continued to amaze on Day 3. Living legend and 20-time champion jockey AP McCoy thrilled the huge crowd when he turned Uxizandre on high to win the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase, his first win in his final Festival. The day also featured a victory by Warren Greatrex and Gavin Sheehan with Cole Harden in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, National Hunt racing’s ultimate pantheon. Sean Clancy was busy again with his camera, collecting snapshots of the memorable day.
Last chance. Make your fortune. Make your memories. The Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup provides the annual crescendo to the Cheltenham Festival, ushering out four days of sport and crowning a king. Looking for horses who come back for more? Here it is as the first five from last year return. The old guards Lord Windermere, On His Own, The Giant Bolster, Silviniaco Conti, Bobs Worth clash with the new recruits Many Clouds, Smad Place, Holywell, Road To Riches, Coneygree, Djakadam and Carlingford Lough.