Top News

  • Putting wraps on 2021 steeplechase season

    It started in February, maybe even earlier knowing some horse people. Owners, trainers, jockeys – probably even horses – fretted about the next race meet on the 2021 National Steeplechase Association calendar. And now there is nothing to fret over. The season started in March with a single race on the Cheshire Point-to-Point card near Unionville, Pa., feeling half-normal and half-not considering the Covid-torpedoed 2020 version, and drew to a close Nov. 14 near Charleston, S.C.
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  • Patches

    Flip, Red Sail, Charlie Brown, Whitey, Peanut Butter, Paul Brown, John Warner, Yahtzee . . . it took what seemed like hundreds of horses to teach me how to ride one. That batch there included some ponies of various shapes, sizes and dispositions, a couple of lesson horses at Mary Warner’s Derbydown Farm in Pennsylvania and a racetrack lead pony.
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  • Here & There

    Wrapping up a topsy turvy Breeders' Cup World Championships, staged for the 38th time at Del Mar in Southern California.
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  • Locked Up

    Knicks Go takes field all the way to win Breeders' Cup Classic to lock up Horse of the Year and close memorable two-day World Championships at Del Mar.
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Latest Features


We've got an abbreviated version of Here & There this week. Truth be told, typically if we're light on content we might wait a week but this is no ordinary week because we've got something pretty cool we want to share. Check it out below, along with a few quotes in Worth Repeating and By the Numbers.

Video of the Week

You've no doubt heard of Fair Hill Training Center by now. Started in 1983 as an idea way before its time, the place is now a state-of-the-art Thoroughbred training center. It thrives all year and boasts a mile dirt track, a 7-furlong Tapeta surface, an equine therapy center, 18 barns, classic wins, Breeders' Cup wins, champions and more. Here's a look you've never seen - some drone footage taken by Jake Rockefeller.

The training center makes up 300 acres of a 5,600-acre state natural resources  property complete with hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, acres of rolling fields, the Big Elk Creek, one of the last covered bridges in Maryland and all the wildlife you could think of (deer, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, eagles, coyotes, birds, beavers and the like). Beyond the training center and the nature, the tiny community of Fair Hill - at the intersection of Routes 273 and 213 north of Elkton, Md., west of Newark, Del. and just south of the Pennsylvania state line - is home to This Is Horse Racing, the National Steeplechase Association, the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, Fasig-Tipton's Midlantic office, the Fair Hill Races steeplechase meet, the Cecil County Fair, plus a bank, a gas station, a deli, a restaurant, a liquor store and a W.L. Gore office building. All, well most, can be seen in the sweeping footage.

Thanks Jake for the view. Enjoy the ride.



Worth Repeating
"It's a fine line because with a young horse, sometimes you say, 'ok, we need to work them through it a little bit,' to see if they'll get over the hump and go on. Other times you say, 'you know what, we're just not getting there, let's pull the plug and give them more time to mature and see if they come around.' " - John Servis, who took the latter route with recent Forward Gal winner Cathryn Sophia

"If I have to eat chicken marsala one more night I think I'll be sick." - Erich Zimny, vice president of racing operations at Charles Town Races, on dealing with being stuck inside for days due to the massive snowstorm earlier this month

"I could live on Putnam Market and Wheatfields." - Lexington-based bloodstock agent Sean Feld, in Saratoga in late January to help promote Zivo during open house at Irish Hill Century Farm

"My first day at Palm Meadows and it's overcast and about as warm as Saratoga." - Cate Johnson, office manager for Kiaran McLaughlin, after traveling south from upstate New York last week

"When we were getting ready to run, Chuck Zacney said, 'well, I didn't give a lot of money for her so if you want to run her for 40 I'm fine with that.' I told him, 'I don't think you want to do that. We'll pass on the 40 and wait for the maiden special weight.' " - Servis on Cathryn Sophia

"We try to get our horses to run early, if they're good enough. We tried to get him in maiden special weight and the race didn't go. We tried a Jersey-bred race and it didn't go. There probably wasn't any place else to go. It was unlikely that somebody was going to take an unraced Jersey-bred for $40,000. But I was a little nervous." - Owner/breeder Dennis Drazin, who did run Withers winner Sunny Ridge in a maiden claimer to start his career last summer

"He's back in a big, big way." - Meydan announcer Terry Spargo after Frosted romped in $250,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 Thursday


Big News of the Week
The New York Racing Association added three stamina-testing stakes to its spring schedule at Belmont Park, including a pair for fillies and mares. The new races are the $100,000 Flat Out, a prep for the 1 1/2-mile Brooklyn Invitational June 11, at 1 3/8 miles on dirt May 15; the $200,000 Belmont Coronation Invitational at 1 15/16 miles on the grass for fillies and mares Thursday, June 9; and $150,000 Rags to Riches Invitational at 1 ½ miles on dirt for fillies and mares Friday, June 10. NYRA acknowledged it was adding the races as "a small effort to bring back the importance of stamina in the breed." Here's hoping they keep them around for a while, unlike other jurisdictions or marquee events that have added similar events in the past and scrapped them due to (perceived or real) lack of interest.


By the Numbers
Weight assigned champion filly Songbird in The Jockey Club's 2015 Experimental Free Handicap, five pounds more than co-seconds Catch A Glimpse and Rachel's Valentina.

126: Weight assigned to champion Nyquist, two more than Swipe and five more than Brody's Cause and Hit It A Bomb.

368: 3-year-olds nominated to the 2016 Triple Crown series by the early deadline in late January.

488: Trainers that submitted applications for the Retired Racehorse Project's Thoroughbred Makeover event Oct. 27-30 at the Kentucky Horse Park.

741: Horses entered in the Thoroughbred Makeover.

$830,526,891: Total handle on races in the U.S. in January, up 2.2 percent from January 2015.