Derby on Speed Dial

It’s raining. Hard. It rained yesterday. Hard. Today is Derby Day at Churchill Downs. Get out the wellies and trilby, it’s proper chasing weather. At least the trainers will have a built-in excuse; didn’t handle the track, couldn’t stand up out there, was slipping and sliding like a fat man on a frozen pond. Ah … Read more

Paint By Numbers – Brown 20

Richard Dutrow sidled between a throng of people and the concrete wall of the trainer’s tower on the backside. Muttering all the time. “Excuse me, Babe. Get away from all these people. Let me slide in there.” Dutrow slid and stood by himself, leaning along the outside rail. His eyes glanced left and then right, … Read more

Who’s That Guy?

The thin green sign hangs from the white nylon rope, just like all the others around the backside of Keeneland. The wind knocks it into the concrete side of Barn 29, just up the hill from the track kitchen. A simple nameplate denoting a parking place. White, stenciled lettering. Every trainer stabled at Keeneland has one.

Sovereign Duty wins Royal Chase

"Image"Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard swept the first two placings in Keeneland’s only steeplechase, the $160,125 Royal Chase (Gr. I) Thursday afternoon as Sovereign Duty rallied in the final yards to edge Sweet Shani by a neck. The winner, ridden by Danielle Hodsdon, covered the 2 1/2 miles and 13 fences in 4:58.13. Best Attack finished third.

Back on Track

Todd Pletcher’s back. Did he really go anywhere? The reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer appeared to spin off the Derby trail as the Derby preps began to wane. The Toyota Blue Grass loomed as the last tollbooth. In typical Pletcher style, he paid the toll for his car and the car behind him (and tipped the … Read more

Spring Ahead

Welcome to Keeneland. Happy Spring. The Keeneland faithful spent the last two days apologizing for the weather – I told them, ‘don’t listen to the Florida sun chasers, if you’ve spent the winter in Pennsylvania, this is spring.’ Yes, finally spring. Finally Keeneland. Handicapped the Ashland and parked myself next to Bobby Frankel for the … Read more

Your Turn, Brother

The first time, it shocked me. The bustling field for the Supreme Novices Hurdle turned down the racecourse for the first, the Cheltenham crowd erupted with its traditional roar, the bon voyage for the greatest jump racing in the world. Yeah, they cheer the start of the race, the start of the Festival. That was … Read more

Mile Markers

It was a Bruce Haynes roadtrip. Get up at 3 in the morning, coffee in the thermos, a bag of almonds, suit on a hanger, radio on blare and on the road. It’s only 480 miles from Landenberg, Pa. to Bristol, Va., should be there by 10:30.  First speeding ticket by 8:00 – 77 in a … Read more