Calhoun looking for a Breeders’ Cup Connection

    Having a good two year old is always exciting. Having a good two-year old that is headed to the Breeders’ Cup makes for even more pep in the step. Bret Calhoun has been in the Thoroughbred game for quite some time now. Having registered his first win as a trainer...

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Knicks Go

Knicks Go was indeed victorious in his final prep for the Breeders’ Cup. In winning the Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs on October 2, this Brad Cox trained son of Paynter picked up his fourth win in six starts this year. In leading gate to wire, Knicks Go covered the...

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October opens with a Classic trifecta

  The entire calendar features great things in the Thoroughbred racing game, but this time of year can be especially exciting as folks try and find their way to the Breeders’ Cup. Staged in early November, these year-end world championships are the greatest two days...

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Hot Rod Charlie team enjoying an amazing year.

    Have you ever felt that raw horsepower of a Hot Rod when the tires are smoking and the exhaust is rolling? The dual line double pumping carburetor and Edelbrock intake are throwing the gas down into those bored cylinders which translates into a ton of torque. As...

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Pennsylvania Derby looks like a Quaker State showdown

  In recent times, the Pennsylvania Derby has morphed into one of those races that is circled on the calendar as a spot for big-time three-year old colts. The timing between this race and the Breeders’ Cup is one reason. The fact these horses get to compete against...

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2021 Kentucky Downs meet offers some great takeaways

That comet you just saw streaking across the sports sky was the 2021 Kentucky Downs meet. Indeed a bright shining light, here are a few take outs from a spectacular six days in the sport of Kings.   As has been the case over the past few years, one of the September...

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Turf Sprint might be race of the day at Kentucky Downs

  Those that are familiar with Kentucky Downs realize the only predictable thing here is unpredictability. A short meet combined with the undulating terrain of the only European style course in this country means anything can happen. Now if you are looking for a sure...

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The Sunday play is …Kentucky Downs of course

  There are plenty of plays you can make on a Sunday. Play golf, play checkers, play with your dog, and maybe even play with your kids. Sunday, September 5, the play should be Kentucky Downs. The wonderful world of Thoroughbred racing has so many positive layers it’s...

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Medina Spirit alive and well after Shared Belief

  If there were any questions about the quality of Medina Spirit, they were answered in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar on August 29. A determined runner with lots of courage, this Bob Baffert trained colt came into the Shared Belief with something to prove....

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Live Racing begins at Kentucky Downs on September 5

  Stop the grinning and drop the linen, we are about to have live horse racing at Kentucky Downs. The turf track located just north of the Tennessee state line will conduct it’s live racing meet beginning Sunday, September 5. Recent times have seen this European-style...

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Baffert has Belief in his Spirit

  Most people have a reason to believe in something. Normally there will be evidence to support this backing. One Thoroughbred trainer has every reason to have one of his runners entered in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar on August 29. Medina Spirit is one athlete...

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Mo Forza goes yard off the bench in Del Mar Mile

  One of the toughest assignments is coming off the bench and getting thrown into the heat of battle. Producing at any time is tough, but coming in cold, especially in big situations, and getting the job done is really challenging. California has seen a few famous...

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Astronaut Caps a big day at Del Mar

   The sport of Thoroughbred racing has so many wonderful layers. Let’s take a moment or two to spin a tale of the magnificence of Del Mar on one of their biggest days. Pacific Classic day is always a star on the calendar. The 2021 edition featured five graded stakes...

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The Stormy she is a coming to Kentucky Downs

  Folks in the South enjoy when a good Storm rolls in. The air cools down and the humidity vanishes. That time leading up to the deluge can be really nice as the wind blows through your hair (if you have hair that is !) and you sit on the back patio waiting on the...

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Shirreffs takes the Train to the Pacific Classic

   When legendary crooner Bing Crosby opened Del Mar and belted out those famous lyrics in the track’s theme song did he have current California trainer John Shirreffs in mind? Back in 1937, Bing had no idea that a horse whispering guy like John Shirreffs would be...

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Hot Rod Charlie headed to Pennsylvania Derby

HOT ROD CHARLIE HEADED TO PENNSYLVANIA DERBY   As the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar looms in early November, trainers are plotting their course to the Seaside Oval. One talented three year old with eyes on the prize has now decided his road to these World Championships...

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In the Whitney all Knicks did was Go

    As we all know, sometimes big sporting events can feature some big disappointments. The Whitney Stakes at Saratoga on August 7 was NOT one of those events. Featuring as talented a five horse field as you will find on a day not called the Breeders’ Cup or a Triple...

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Whitney looks better than a barbecue sandwich

WHITNEY LOOKS BETTER THAN A BARBECUE SANDWICH   So what makes a good barbecue sandwich?...Well of course it is all those tasty ingredients. The Whitney Stakes at Saratoga on August 7 has plenty to offer any hungry horse racing fan. A grade 1 race that is flat loaded,...

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Sprint Stakes makes for a little ciphering

SPRINT STAKES MAKES FOR A LITTLE CIPHERING The Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar, the Alfred G Vanderbilt at Saratoga, and the Amsterdam also at the Spa featured a trio of outstanding performances this past weekend. All were of the sprint variety and those runs down the...

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No guts no glory Essential in Quality Jim Dandy win

NO GUTS NO GLORY ESSENTIAL IN QUALITY JIM DANDY WIN   As a race horses move through their career they are tested time and again. The answers they provide will reveal certain things. The latest quiz for Essential Quality may not have been the Bar Exam, but it did tell...

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Hillbilly breaks down the Bing

The Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar is one of the coolest races on the calendar. Now, why would a Jed Clampett worshiping hillbilly turf writer hold this race in such high regard?...It starts with the name. Bing Crosby was a visionary that not only was multi-talented...

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Del Mar season off to a great start

  Off and running for the 82nd   year, the Del Mar Thoroughbred meet has been a hot bed for the sport to say the very least. Located as they tout “just a good chip shot from the Pacific Ocean”, this piece of heaven on earth has enjoyed a dynamic opening two weeks....

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Haskell offers a few hillbilly takeaways

                               HASKELL OFFERS A FEW HILLBILLY TAKEAWAYS   The $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park on July 16 was eventful to say the least. Here are a few hillbilly takeaways from this Breeders’ Cup “win and you are in” scamper over that New Jersey...

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Hot Rod Charlie is revving up for the Haskell

HOT ROD CHARLIE IS REVVING UP FOR THE HASKELL     Now that the dust has settled from an exciting Triple Crown series, the three year old male division is preparing for the summer races that will likely decide year end honors. Of course the Breeders’ Cup is the end...

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Who is faster…Gamine or Knicks Go ???

The excellent weekend of Thoroughbred racing over the July 4 extended weekend was spectacular. However, it did leave a hillbilly turf writer pondering about a couple of ponies. A pair of scorching scores by two of the fleetest with four feet was cause for a little...

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Can Knicks make a Go of it ???

As runners prepare for the $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap at Prarie Meadows on Friday, July 2, there is a big ole question mark surrounding the top dog in the hunt...Will we see the super Knicks Go we saw back in January in the Pegasus Cup, or that Clark Kent version...

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Foster and Fleur De Lis winners might deserve a double take

             FOSTER AND FLEUR DE LIS WINNERS MIGHT DESERVE A DOUBLE TAKE   Closing day for the 2021 Spring/Summer meet at Churchill Downs produced lots of great action and some nice paydays. There were however, a couple of winners in the headline events that certainly...

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Looking for a lucky seven at Churchill Downs

It's closing day at Churchill Downs for the 2021 Spring meet and there are seven stakes races on the card...that's right...we said SEVEN STAKES RACES !!! Can we hit the lucky seven and pick all of them correctly?...Let's take a swing ... RACE 5 FLEUR DE LIS Letruska...

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Walsh hopes to keep luck of the Irish going with Maxfield

              WALSH HOPES TO KEEP LUCK OF THE IRISH GOING WITH MAXFIELD   Ahh yes, the luck of the Irish... is it for real? For one of the hottest Thoroughbred trainers in the racing game today it has been. And he hopes to find more of those lucky charms when he sends...

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Mintd and Mint Julep win a classic reminder

                       The Old Forester Mint Julep Trophy For those that are around the sport of Thoroughbred racing long enough, it will be understood that one rule normally applies. The only certain thing in this game is uncertainty. Those floating question marks...

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Running strong in Belmont was Essential

                                       RUNNING STRONG IN BELMONT WAS ESSENTIAL   They have called the Belmont Stakes the “test of a champion” for many years now. This mile and a half saunter around Big Sandy is no doubt a challenge. The 2021 edition saw a champion...

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Hillbilly takes a dive into Belmont pick 4

It's Belmont Stakes day so that means it's a great opportunity to abide by one of our favorite slogans of life...Back a horse and get paid!!! Without further ado let's dive into the pool and hope our plunge will net a payday. The great thing about this sport is it can...

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Belmont a Quality opportunity

BELMONT A QUALITY OPPORTUNITY The Triple Crown races are always a measuring stick for Thoroughbreds. Because of the notoriety and purse money associated with these races, the best of the three-year old division normally shows up. This makes for big chances for young...

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Miller Texas bound with loaded guns

                               MILLER TEXAS BOUND WITH LOADED GUNS   If a gunslinger is going to last, he better have some loaded weapons. When the California Kid heads to Lone Star Park on Memorial Day rest assured, he is bringing an arsenal. Peter Miller has been...

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O’Neill enjoying the ride with team Hot Rod

O’NEILL ENJOYING THE RIDE WITH TEAM HOT ROD As we roll down the road of life, it is understood certain trips are better than others. You hang in there during the bad times and rejoice during the good ones. For one of the top Thoroughbred trainers in the world, it is...

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Rombauer’s Preakness Romp makes McCarthy smile

ROMBAUER’S PREAKNESS ROMP MAKES MCCARTHY SMILE   Thoroughbred trainer Michael McCarthy is no stranger when it comes to walking to the winner’s circle. Forgive him if he looks more like a Chesire cat these days as one of his recent trips  to those hallowed grounds was...

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Rombauer gets his Preak on

ROMBAUER GETS HIS PREAK ON   Now that the 146th running of the Preakness Stakes is in the books…what have we learned? First and foremost, the only predictable thing on days like this is unpredictability. Like the first leg of the Triple Crown series (Medina Spirit,...

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Preakness 146 Picks and Pans

PREAKNESS 146 PICKS AND PANS   After the shakeout of another historic Kentucky Derby there is perhaps a little head scratching going on. Regardless of what happened May 1, we are now off to the Preakness. Of course, the folks in Maryland say the reason they run the...

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Maxfield makes a move in Alysheba

MAXFIELD MAKES A MOVE IN ALYSHEBA   Sometimes we find out about some of those “other” horses during the Kentucky Oaks/Derby extravaganza. Graded stakes races lead up to these all-too famous events so that means plenty of top athletes are on display. Often times you...

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Baffert’s Spirit rewards faith in Kentucky Derby

BAFFERT’S SPIRIT REWARDS FAITH IN KENTUCKY DERBY   One of the great things about Thoroughbred horse racing is it allows a hillbilly turf writer the opportunity to get philosophical. Do the words “hillbilly” and “philosophical” belong in the same sentence?... Just...

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KENTUCKY OAKS OFFERS LILLIES FOR THE FILLIES

KENTUCKY OAKS OFFERS LILLIES FOR THE FILLIES

  The day before the Kentucky Derby is quite magical. The Kentucky Oaks is a race for the top three year old females and it too has been contested for 147 years. As we know, girls are the real rulers of the world, so let’s take a quick look-see at the fourteen...

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KENTUCKY DERBY 147 RUNDOWN

KENTUCKY DERBY 147 RUNDOWN

The 147th run for the roses is now upon us. Immortality awaits the winner of this mile and a quarter drive over the Churchill Downs dirt. Which three year old will etch his name in the record books? Let’s take a look at the entrants and get a thought on each. We know...

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Sadler looking for a special piece of Candy

      Remember when you went out on Halloween night and got a sack full of candy. After returning home it was fun to sort through and hopefully you would find the special piece that was your favorite. As the May 1 Kentucky Derby approaches, Thoroughbred trainer...

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Helium is a Derby horse on the rise

HELIUM IS A DERBY HORSE ON THE RISE The time is here to think Kentucky Derby. Which horse are you riding?...What’s that…you don’t know who to pick?...Here is one to consider and he might just provide a nice payday should things go his way on May 1. One of the best...

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Derby prep trifecta is on the table

This Saturday is one of the most magical days in sports. Three races at three different tracks spanning this great nation of ours will provide an opportunity for immortality. With Kentucky Derby qualifying points on the line, runners will be racing towards the first...

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Kentucky Derby countdown is on

Known Agenda wins the Florida Derby (photo by Adam Coglianese) KENTUCKY DERBY COUNTDOWN IS ON   When does a hillbilly turf writer think about the Kentucky Derby?...Pretty much all the time. When does the every day sports fan think about the world’s most famous race?...

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What really makes a Hot Rod run ???

                                   WHAT REALLY MAKES A HOT ROD RUN ??? ANALYZING THE LOUISIANA DERBY So what really makes a Hot Rod run fast? Is it the dual line double pumping quadrajet carburetor? Maybe the bored 40 over cylinders with an Edelbrock intake manifold...

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O’Neill running his Hot Rod in Louisiana Derby

O’NEILL RUNNING HIS HOT ROD IN LOUISIANA DERBY   One of the keys to a good Hot Rod is of course horsepower. One California based Thoroughbred trainer is hoping his has plenty when it comes to the Louisiana Derby on March 20. Doug O’Neill has white-smoked tires all...

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Miller barn drinks a little Rocket fuel

MILLER BARN DRINKS A LITTLE ROCKET FUEL   When CZ Rocket powered to victory in the Hot Springs Stakes on March 13, what did it really mean?...For starters, it means his conditioner got to enjoy a hugely satisfying drink of a very high octane beverage. Peter Miller has...

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Looking for that Golden Hour double

LOOKING FOR THAT GOLDEN HOUR DOUBLE What’s the goal for every speculator?....Low risk high yield . With that in mind, let’s take a swing at the Golden Hour Double on Friday, March 12. This wager involves selecting the winner of the final race at Santa Anita and the...

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