Posts in category "ponderings"

San Luis Rey Fire Relief

Here in Chicago, we’re lucky.  As I gaze out over Hawthorne this morning, the only smoke I see comes from the stacks in Stickney, a few puffs here and there.  Contained.  Dissolving.  Gone in seconds.  Otherwise, the air is clear and cold. In California, they’re not so lucky. Rails, fences, and barn walls may make... Read more »

Scenes from 2017 Hawthorne Gold Cup Day

Racing didn't get underway until late afternoon, but I was at the track bright and early.  I volunteer with CANTER Chicago, a racehorse retirement organisation, and we were there to take photos and get listing information for this beauty, Eben Zabeel.  Regally bred, and with the strongest neck I've ever seen in a Thoroughbred, he's just a little too slow to be competitive anymore.  Fortunately, off-track thoroughbreds are versatile, and Eben Zabeel will turn heads in whatever riding career he does next!
The Hawthorne Gold Cup (G3) made a thrilling return this past weekend.  We’ve already reviewed the stakes races themselves — but if you want to look a bit closer at the horses, stories, and curiosities that made Saturday such a good day at the track, you’ve come to the right place.

A visit to Godolphin's Greentree training center

Greentree is aptly named, with a track that sweeps through the grass, past boughs and mountains.
I already envisioned Saratoga as a sprawling horse heaven nestled in the Adirondacks.  I knew the Thoroughbred track, the home of the Travers and the Alabama and the New York Turf Writers Cup.  I knew the grandstand and back yard draped with so many red awnings, the wooden barns, the Oklahoma Training Track.  I knew the... Read more »

Equestricon, from a smaller circuit perspective

If you’re looking for picks, they’ll be back next week. If you’re looking for ponderings, read on. I spent the first half of this week at Equestricon.  Despite the exhausting timing – it fell right after the Arlington Million – I’m glad I went. I knew there would be a social aspect to it.  Though... Read more »

Harness Racing, Up Close

During the spring and fall Thoroughbred meets, I live at Hawthorne.  When the Thoroughbreds move north for the summer, to Arlington, I follow. However, in the last two summers, Hawthorne has hosted live horse racing in the summer as well.  Once the Thoroughbred meet ends, the heavy machinery comes out to remove the dirt and... Read more »

Keep It Positive

When I was in high school, there was no audio-visual club or AV club for me to join. But based on what other people have told me or how AV clubs are portrayed in media, I figure AV clubs fall into categories. Category one is the AV club that shows foreign films or independent films,... Read more »

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 »

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 »