Life Is Good is really good

  Athletes are often placed in categories based on potential. Then they compete and we find out what they are made of. After the Whitney on August 6, 2022, everyone should know about a really “special” competitor. Since the day he first toed the track, Life Is Good...

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San Diego and Bing provide positive results at Del Mar

  The magnificence that is the Del Mar meet provided another positive test result on the second Saturday of operation in 2022. Wait a minute…don’t get too excited in the wrongly manner. This is a positive-positive result. The beauty of racing at the Seaside Oval is...

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Cyberknife looks sharp in the Haskell

  In the quest to determine who is the best three-year-old male of 2022, the Haskell Stakes on July 23 may have provided a clue. Cutting up the rail, Cyberknife made the lead late and held off the talented Taiba in this grade 1 run at Monmouth Park. So what tells us...

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Baffert sending Taiba to the Haskell

When Bob Baffert talks Haskell, people listen. A simple but true statement. Why would the hall of fame horse trainer open ears when discussing the centerpiece of Monmouth Park’s racing season? Perhaps his nine wins (2001,20002, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015,...

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McPeek barn builds a Classic win in Belmont Derby

Ain’t it great when a good plan comes together. It’s especially satisfying when the formulation happens to be one few others could figure. Kenny McPeek is one of those recognizable figures in the Thoroughbred racing game. Having enjoyed much success during a decorated...

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Shedaresthedevil answers in the Fleur de Lis

In days of yore, if you didn’t want to talk to anybody you just took the phone off the hook. In today’s society, it is much more difficult to “ghost” yourself as many forms of communication make us accessible. If people have questions about you, it is important to...

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Mandaloun looks to measure up in Stephen Foster

   Since 1982, the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs has been a two-turn test for some of the best in the Thoroughbred racing game. In recent years it has been made a “win and you’re in” event for the Breeders’ Cup Classic which has ramped things up even more. As is...

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Three-year old season in full swing

The Triple Crown races are now in the rear view, but the three-year-old Thoroughbred season is in full swing. Florida Derby hero White Abarrio will headline a field of eight in the $500,000 Ohio Derby on June 25. Races like the Haskell, Jim Dandy. Travers, Shared...

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Who really won the Matt Winn Stakes ???

  If you happened to see the Matt Winn Stakes on June 12 at Churchill Downs the very same question may be boggling your brain.   One of the things that makes Thoroughbred racing the greatest sport in the world is the pure rush of adrenaline that accompanies that...

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Belmont stakes full of opportunities

  The 154th running of the Belmont Stakes on June 11 will tell us a little something about the three-year-old division. Always at the forefront this time of year, the 2022 class of sophomores appears to be rather balanced. The mile and a half “test of a champion” is...

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Can Nest win the Belmont Stakes ???

  What do question marks in the title tell us?... Is it the author has no real clue about the subject matter? Did he pass grammar class with a flying “D” which he thought stood for diploma? Or is it simply life is full of questions and the author is seeking answers?...

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Jose Ortiz rides Early Voting to Preakness win

  Why did Early Voting win the 147th Preakness Stakes? Well, that’s easy… he ran the fastest. Okay, smartypants…give me something other than the obvious. The role of the rider in these “big” races cannot be underscored. Often times in these events the jockey is way...

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Creative Minister hopes to measure up in Preakness

There comes a time in every athlete's life when you have to figure out just how good you really are. You can’t know how big you are unless you stand next to the measuring tape. For one striking Thoroughbred, the Preakness Stakes will tell us just how tall he currently...

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Was Rich Strike supposed to win the Kentucky Derby ???

  The 148th Kentucky Derby was a real head-scratcher…or was it? Let us expound upon a theory that should have told us all how this miraculous mile and a quarter was going to unfold. As a believer in the omens of horse racing, this sport oftentimes mirrors the game of...

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Kentucky Oaks day very special too

Everyone knows the Kentucky Derby. But what about the Kentucky Oaks?...This too is a day of magnificence in the world of Thoroughbred racing. For 148 years now it has been a ladies first mentality at Churchill Downs. The Friday before the world’s most recognizable...

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Hillbilly Take on Kentucky Derby 148

  On May 7, twenty of the best three-year-old Thoroughbreds in the world will gather for a run at immortality. A win in the Kentucky Derby is truly a life-altering achievement. Who is going to win this 148th race for that of so coveted blanket of roses?... Here’s a...

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Calhoun has a real Oaks Connection

  The Kentucky Oaks is one of those races horsemen dream about. Although it does not get the same notoriety as its twin brother, the Kentucky Derby, this race was born the very same year (1875) and has been run every year since. Sending a fast filly to the starting...

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Golden Pal teaches class in Shakertown Stakes

  Opening weekend at Keeneland Race Course featured some fantastic action in the world of Thoroughbred racing. Stakes races galore produced some exciting finishes. There was one runner that even offered up an educational session. That is said because Golden Pal was...

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Pletcher building an Oaks Nest in Ashland

The Spring of every year can be about building young racehorses. For trainer Todd Pletcher, one of the focal points is constructing a solid Nest. Fabulously successful over the years, this Texas-born Thoroughbred trainer has proven to be one of the best in the game....

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Was losing winning for Smile Happy ???

One of the most interesting things about the Kentucky Derby is you just can’t know who is going to win. When you combine a huge number of runners with a distance none have ever run before and add the inexperience of most of these three-year-olds it equals uncertainty....

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Derby prep trifecta

  The great thing about Thoroughbred horse racing is that the thrills are always there. The springtime, however, lends an all-new excitement as dreams of Kentucky Derby glory are dancing through the minds of many.  Of course, the key to winning the world’s most famous...

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Big Easy picks for Fair Grounds on March 26

Louisiana Derby day is a FANtastic day of competition. Makes it even better is if you can cash a couple tickets ! Here are two late plays that we hope can make your walk back to the window Big and Easy . OAKS/DERBY DOUBLE Sometimes in these exotic wagers we lake to...

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Call Me Midnight hopes to strike in Louisiana Derby

    The Spring of every year can be a magical time in the Thoroughbred racing game. Three-year-olds everywhere have Kentucky Derby dreams dancing through their heads as big prep races all across the country provide hope to all. Favorites want to continue on the road...

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Early Kentucky Derby 148 countdown

Now that it is mid-March it is absolutely time to unfurl the Kentucky Derby flag. Thoughts of spring for the normal sports fan usually encompasses the world’s most famous race. When did  this hillbilly turf writer begin contemplating Derby 148?... The day after Derby...

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Forbidden Kingdom allergy medicine for Mandella

  Thoroughbred trainer Richard Mandella has been fabulously successful during his days in the game. Not long after sending his first starter to post back in 1974, this California native became a staple in his home state. A hall of fame career has been full of...

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Hail to the Chief !!!

Kentucky Downs graduate Dowagiac Chief earned his first Stakes victory with a powerful score in the Black Gold Stakes at The Fair Grounds on March 5. Trained by Tom Amoss, the Chief assumed command early in this mile and a sixteenth tussle over the New Orleans turf...

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Express Train rolling into the Big Cap

  The Santa Anita Handicap has long been one of those resume-building races. First run back in 1935, the roll call of winners features some of the best names in the business. One blossoming California-based runner hopes to add his name to the list come March 5....

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Saudi Cup and Rebel Stakes a pair of Thoroughbred Shockers

The two “biggest” races in the Thoroughbred world on Saturday, February 26 produced a pair of HUGE upsets. Upon completion, the shocking finishes left me feeling …shocked. On the other side of the globe, the third running of the world’s richest race featured runners...

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Fair Grounds Late pick four is a barn door

Today's late pick four at The Fair Grounds down in New Orleans appears to be like the barn door on Uncle Ellis's farm....WIDE OPEN !!! All of them are stakes races with larger fields and no real prohibitive favorites. This means the betting money should be spread...

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Messier enjoys OH My moment in Lewis Stakes

If you enjoy athletic excellence, this Hillbilly turf writer has a suggestion…YouTube the Robert B Lewis Stakes and check out the performance by Messier. Run on February 6 at Santa Anita, this grade 3 mile and a sixteenth race has become a springboard for young...

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Romans looking to raise his Game in Holy Bull

  Thoroughbred trainer Dale Romans and success have been synonymous over the years. Huge graded stakes wins all over the country during a spectacular career as a conditioner surround even bigger success at his home track, Churchill Downs. So, with that in mind…what’s...

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Newgrange grows from a spicy Southwest win

  Growing young athletes can be challenging in any sport. When things get a little spicy, you oftentimes figure out just who can handle the hot sauce. Newgrange is just one of the talented three-year-old colts in the Bob Baffert barn. Having liked what he has seen in...

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Pegasus provides big hello and a fond farewell

  The sixth running of the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park may not have turned out to be the dogfight to the finish, but it was a big hello and a fond farewell. Life Is Good came into this mile and an eighth run over the south Florida dirt with a reputation for...

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Knicks Go-Life Is Good showdown in Pegasus…Who Ya Got???

What is the top matchup this sports weekend ?...That’s an easy one… It’s the battle between Knicks Go and Life Is Good in the Pegasus at Gulfstream Park on January 29. Virtually even on the morning line (Knicks Go 6-5, Life Is Good 7-5), many view this face off of...

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Knicks Go looks for one more flight in Pegasus

    From the ashes rises the Phoenix. Were they talking about a racehorse when they made that famous statement? Well, we are because it absolutely pertains to the magnificent Knicks Go as he prepares for the final start of his racing career. Back in 2018, this now...

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Brickyard Ride wires’em in Cal Cup Sprint Stakes

Gate to wire wins can be extremely exciting. For those that enjoy them, Brickyard Ride has to be one of your favorites. Trained by Craig Lewis, this five-year-old California-bred has been predictable throughout his career. When the gates open you better fasten those...

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THE HILLBILLY HORSE AWARDS

My oh my how time flies. A couple of blinks and 2021 is in the history books. As we reflect on this past revolution around the sun, it’s time to do a little ciphering and figure out just who will be named as winners in the Hillbilly Horse Awards for 2021. The great...

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Can Mackinnon keep on winning?

January 1 obviously marks the beginning of a new year. But it also could be the dawning of a new day for a talented young Thoroughbred. Mackinnon had a fabulous two-year-old year running out of the Doug O'Neill barn. Showing a tremendous turn of foot down the lane,...

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Hot Rod Charlie ready for another run

  Gentlemen…start your engines. Is that the phrase Thoroughbred trainer Doug O'Neill has beckoned to the last couple of years? Perhaps not, but he is tuning up a Hot Rod for what he hopes will be another big season of running. Hot Rod Charlie has been a real bright...

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DR. Schivel capping a great campaign in the Malibu

  The grade 1 Malibu Stakes on opening day at Santa Anita has long been a showcase for speedy three year olds. This 2021 edition offers up more of the same, but one of the entrants may view it as a little more than just a chance to display his talent. Dr. Schivel...

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Maxfield one of best ever at Churchill Downs

Debate is one of the great things about sports. The conversation spurs some deep pondering as somebody may think this one is the best while others have contrary thoughts. This can be especially true in the world of Thoroughbred racing. Being the oldest “professional”...

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Maxfield runs at history in the Clark

    The Clark is one of the most historic races in the long and illustrious life of the fabled Churchill Downs. When the ponies go to post for the 147th running on November 26 the books may have a little more to add to the story of this edition. Maxfield is a powerful...

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Del Mar’s hall of heroes a special place

  For those of us that enjoy the games of sport, there are those special places that raise the hair on your arms. Down south, we call it a case of the chicken skin. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience it on more than one occasion at several different venues. Now...

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Del Mar defines Breders’ Cup in 2021

   The Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar on November 5 and 6 could quite likely be the Webster entry for this blessed event. Let us expound upon the definition of these World Thoroughbred Championships… It all starts with the venue. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is just...

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Knicks Go enjoys a Classic run in the Classic

    How many times can we use the word “Classic” in a sentence and it still be okay? Hopefully four is permissible so here we go…The 2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic featured a classic run by a classic race horse in a classic setting. Run at the iconic Del Mar Race Course...

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Corniche was brilliant in the Breeders Cup Juvenile

Future Stars Friday at the Breeders' Cup featured upsets, big runs, and a little of the bizarre. But the best of a big day was a brilliant run by one of the favorites. Coming into the Juvenile race, Corniche had a few things causing question marks. Could he overcome...

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Astronaut is shooting for the stars in Breeders’ Cup

  The Breeders’ Cup is a great opportunity for Thoroughbreds to gain glory.  Runners from across the globe will descend on Del Mar for the 2021 edition with eyes on the prize. One thing to remember in this instance…If you are shooting for the stars…be an Astronaut!  ...

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Looking for Mo at the Breeders’ Cup

 The Breeders’ Cup is always a huge showcase for talent in the Thoroughbred racing game. Often times it also can crown champions as a win against this type competition can solidify a horse’s qualifications. One entrant in this year’s Mile brings an impressive resume,...

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