Posts in category "ponderings"

Scenes from Springtime at Hawthorne

The sun is out, and the dirt is freshly worked.  It's a good day to be at the track.
Hawthorne’s spring meet started on March 3, and I have been out there for every race day so far.  It’s my home track, and the evening post times mean I get to enjoy racing under the lights all the time. Between the beautiful horses, the thrilling action, and the friendly people, there is no place... Read more »

Rethinking Illinois Champion Categories

Late last week, we published our votes for 2016 Illinois champions, along with rationale. Ever since compiling my ballot, I have had my mind on a shortcoming in the Illinois-bred awards categories.  Illinois should replace “Older Male” and “Older Female” with more specific categories that recognise older males and females that go route distances on the main track. There... Read more »

Life, Death, and Words

In the summer of 1949, W. C. Heinz had an hour to sit at his typewriter and describe a harrowing race and its aftermath.  What he wrote in that hour, on that rainy day, bubbles to the front of my mind whenever I open up my laptop and start writing words about horses.  The dialogue, the images…what... Read more »
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Yes, There *Are* More Than Three Horse Races a Year

I watched a little horse racing when I was young.  Specifically, I watched three races a year: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.  Everything else eluded me.  I had no clue about prep races, the handicap division, horses who ran on grass, or lunchpail horses who did not run for seven-figure... Read more »

Hats Off to Hapman

Until what age can a racehorse run?  It depends. Some horses retire at two, three, four: to go to stud, because of injury, or because they just don’t want to be racehorses. Many others run longer, despite what those who watch just the Kentucky Derby may know.  Hawthorne’s Friday card was drawn today, and all... Read more »

A Quietly Special Morning at Woodbine

In most corners of the Woodbine backside, it’s a normal Sunday morning. Horses are getting tacked up and going out to train. Old warriors stroll confidently there. Ponies calm the nervous. The horses come back from their exercise, get bathed, walked, brushed. They go out into the yard for a few bites of grass, or... Read more »
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Back Where It All Began

I’ve hinted in prior writing for Picks & Ponderings that even though I’ve covered the Chicago circuit of Arlington and Hawthorne for years, I’m not originally from Chicago or its collar communities.  I’ve just never disclosed the information as to where I was prior to Chicago as it’s almost never germane to the discussion of... Read more »

#HorseHooky and Wonderful Surprises

COLLINSVILLE, IL  — I try to keep an open mind when visiting a new racetrack for the first time.  But, deep down in my mind, I figured Fairmount Park would be a little bit sleepy. Paul and I went last Tuesday.  My previous experience with midweek racing, up on the Chicago circuit, involved a sparsely... Read more »

Into That Good Night

Effective August 15th (thus making Arlington Million week my final assignment), I will be moving to a role as a Contributor to Picks & Ponderings on an ad hoc basis  While I will still be involved, I will be involved on a smaller and more sporadic scale.  Picks & Ponderings shall not cease publication, nor... Read more »
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A New Dawn for Big Event Racing

During NBC’s Preakness coverage the network teased its coverage, to begin in 2017, of the Royal Ascot meeting in Britain.  NBC Sports Group also composed a press release about it.  Similar attention was given to the Donn Handicap Pegasus World Cup next January at Gulfstream (though there is no official advisory yet). The idea of... Read more »