June 7, 2008 |
Since Affirmed last won racing's Holy Grail, the Triple Crown, there have been 29 years of great horses and fascinating personalities training them. There has also been one poster boy for near misses, Bob Baffert. By the time Big Brown is loaded into the gate at Belmont Park this afternoon, all 11 of the Triple Crowns will have been celebrated in the media buildup. So will all the Triple Stumbles since 1978. A head-bob here, a muddy track there, a couple of brain-locked jockeys.
June 13, 2007 |
Turns out, all horse racing needed was a feminine touch. Imagine that, after all the talk about the need for another Triple Crown winner, for one of the boys to step up as Affirmed last did in 1978. Racing has talked itself into a near paralysis over this. If just another War Admiral or Secretariat would bound onto the scene and win all three jewels of the crown, all that declining attendance and sinking parimutuel pools would be reversed. Or so the thinking went.
June 10, 2007 |
She began a mile-and-a-half journey in the 139th Belmont Stakes on her knees in the first stride and staring at 102 years of history. Jockey John Velazquez pulled hard at the reins. "My heart stopped," he said. Then, fortune turned around. A stumbling start, a half a dozen colts, a painfully slow pace and more than a century of male dominance of the Belmont would not stop this filly, not on this day.
June 5, 2007 |
The 4-foot-10 woman with the squeaky voice and the striking blue eyes will be spending a couple of hours at the Windrose Farm in nearby Encinitas today. "I go just about every day, except maybe Sundays," says Julie Krone, the most successful female jockey in the history of thoroughbred horse racing. At Windrose, she will see friends and familiar faces. She will putter around, chat with other horse owners and equestrian instructors, and work with the horses she owns, Miss Piggy and Peter Rabbit.
May 21, 2007 |
The sport of horse racing is certainly a different animal. Everybody involved preaches the need to do things to help it. But just about everybody involved is an independent contractor whose first interest is in helping themselves. We hear how horse racing is a dying sport. Then a record 121,000 people show up at a rickety old racetrack that was built around the time of George Washington and has probably been painted twice since.
June 8, 2006 |
In six of the last nine years, the Belmont Stakes has been alive with the hubbub of a potential Triple Crown. This year, no horse will even run in all three Triple Crown races, much less win them. The Belmont, which bills itself as the "test of the champion," won't have the champion of either the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness for the first time since 2000, and for only the third time in 36 years.