In the world of thoroughbred horse racing, the Triple Crown Series (and its protracted string of “qualifying races”) takes center stage from late February to early June. However, when the scorching heat finally gives way to Autumn’s wintery preamble, every horse player worth their salt starts to pine over an impending occasion known as the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Scheduled to unfold on November 3rd & 4th at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA, this year’s 14 race Breeders’ Cup card will ultimately confer a whopping $31 million dollars in combined purse money!
Inside the world of thoroughbred horse racing, there is a title that transcends all other turf trophies combined. Conferred only on those extraordinary occasions when an equine manages to maneuver their way through a next to impossible gauntlet known as the “Triple Crown Series”, the moniker of “Triple Crown Champion” is accordingly rarer than 18kt gold “hen’s teeth”. Correspondingly, it’s worth mentioning that over the last 150 years; only 13 thoroughbreds have managed to successfully scale the “Sport of Kings’” most challenging mountain.
Thanks to a generous referral from Maryland based thoroughbred horse trainers Larry and Connie Smith, I had the privilege of getting an up close look at the 2022 Grade 1 Jonathan Sheppard Steeplechase at Saratoga Racecourse back on Aug. 17th. First squeezing my rental into a small parking space alongside Saratoga’s Stakes Barn, I then sought out an eight year old mare out of Alphabet Soup (1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic Champion) who was rumored to be stabled inside of stall #5. Subsequent to stumbling upon the snow white equine I was in search of, I then shook hands with trainer Kate Dalton and her husband (and jockey) Bernie.
A wise man once told me, “Many a great narrative is camouflaged on that occasion when it first rubs shoulders with the limelight”. Well, believe me when I tell you that this axiom certainly proved true inside the confines of Delaware Park Racetrack on October 4th, 2005. See, because even though the day’s 7th race (a one mile “Maiden Special Weight” turf affair) was captured in dazzling fashion by a 7-1 first time starter, no one in attendance could have possibly realized that the curtain had just gone up on one of thoroughbred horse racing’s most poignant tragedies.
(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) – Churchill Downs Racetrack announced that after consultation with Gov. Andy Beshear and state public health officials the 146th runnings of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve and Longines Kentucky Oaks will occur with spectators under strict guidelines.
Kentucky Derby Week will be held Sept. 1-5 with the Oaks on Friday, Sept. 4 and the Derby on Saturday, Sept. 5.
“We truly appreciate the leadership of the Governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, and all of the hard work, collaboration and guidance that state and local officials and public health experts have provided us to safely and responsibly host Kentucky Derby Week in September with spectators,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “Our team is deeply committed to holding the very best Kentucky Derby ever, and we will take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of all who attend and participate in the Derby.”
Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, has been the home of countless historical moments for over a century, primarily centered around the Kentucky Derby. From the elite champions such as War Admiral (1937), Omaha (1935) and Secretariat (1973) to the major upsets like Giacomo (2005), Charismatic (1999) and Mine That Bird (2009), every Derby leaves a lasting impression on those who attend or watch.
Up until 1988, the Fall Meet at Churchill Downs primarily gave horseracing fans a preview of the upcoming Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders, but would not host very many other notable horses. That changed in 1988 when the Breeders’ Cup, then a relatively new day of championship racing, made its debut under the famous Twin Spires.
Maybe it’s just a sign of the times, but lately, most every horse player I converse with is dead set on procuring a life changing score. The advent, and hence marketing of, elaborate pari-mutual menus which promise acute financial solvency has no doubt led to this “shoot for the moon mentality” among punters yet while attempting to take down Santa Anita Race Course’s pick-6 is admirable, it’s also highly unlikely. On some days (maybe you can relate) I can’t select a single winner never mind six in a row and although keying multiple racers in each leg of a prolonged horizontal wager augments one’s margin for error, bankrolls become devastated when copious equine inclusion goes awry.
Secretariat became a national celebrity when he won the Triple Crown in 1973.
The horse racing superstar captured the Kentucky Derby and then rolled in the Preakness Stakes before turning in a dazzling performance in the Belmont Stakes, winning by an astounding 31 lengths.
The colt known as “Big Red” became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years – setting records in all three legs – and ran himself onto the cover of Sports Illustrated, Time and Newsweek magazines.
Is horse racing a game of skill or a game of chance? Maybe it’s both. To reach the greatest heights in racing, you not only need great skill, but also a bevy of factors to properly align.
In 2015, American Pharoah proved himself early, overcoming troubled starts and bad weather, while taking down the competition time and time again. After his win in the Kentucky Derby (gr. 1), it was clear this was a special horse that could make his own luck.
The Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown racing season is getting close. There are many ways to handicap a race ranging from workout times, pedigrees, past performances and speed. But, what a bout post position?
Check out what horse racing expert Eric Floyd has to say.