Archive for May 2017

2017 Purple Violet Stakes and Springfield Stakes Preview

Saturday is the first of this summer’s Saturday twilight racing cards at Arlington: first post is at 4:15 instead of the typical 1:25pm for Saturday.  So: set your alarm a little later, go visit the farmer’s market, or enjoy a nice, long brunch before you come out to the racetrack. The nine-race card at Arlington... Read more »

COWBOY CULTURE Rides to Victory in the Arlington Classic

By the time the field crossed the wire in the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs, trainer Brad Cox had an emerging sophomore turf star in Arklow.  Three weeks later and three hundred miles away, the barn has another grass-loving three-year-old on the rise: COWBOY CULTURE, who won the $100,000 Arlington Classic (G3) in convincing... Read more »

2017 Arlington Classic Preview

The Arlington Classic has been run in some form since 1929, though it has only been run on grass since 1994, and at its current distance since 2002.  It began at the American Classic distance – a mile and a quarter on the dirt — but has been run at distances as short as a mile. ... 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 »

2017 Preakness Preview and Saturday Stakes Selections

This week, the eyes of horse racing turn to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes.  ALWAYS DREAMING dominated the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago.  Nine others passed the entry box with hopes of toppling his Triple Crown hopes. Can any of them do it? Here, Nicolle Neulist (NN) and Paul Mazur (PM) discuss each horse in the... Read more »

2017 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Preview, and Friday Pimlico Stakes Selections

The Triple Crown season continues this weekend with the Preakness on Saturday, but Pimlico’s top-shelf stakes action starts up on Friday.  The day’s feature, which Picks and Ponderings previews in detail, is the Black-Eyed Susan: a Grade 2 affair, and the first major dirt route for sophomore fillies after the Kentucky Oaks (G1). The Black-Eyed Susan... Read more »

2017 Hanshin Cup: Determined CREWMAN Gives Trainer Dee Poulos Her First Graded Stakes Win

Saturday afternoon, just after CREWMAN stunned the Arlington Park crowd by winning the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup, trainer Dee Poulos recalled a conversation she had with rider Carlos H. Marquez, Jr. over coffee several days before the race.  Over that morning cup, he made a prediction: “Mama, we’re gonna win the Hanshin.” Marquez proved a far better... Read more »

2017 Hanshin Cup Preview

Arlington Park’s racing season got underway last weekend with Derby hats, close finishes, and places for rider Jose Valdivia and trainer Larry Rivelli at the top of the standings.  The one thing last weekend lacked was stakes racing…but that changes this Saturday with the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup. This race was originally christened in 1941... Read more »

2017 Kentucky Derby Point/Counterpoint and Saturday Stakes Selections

The greatest two minutes in sports.  The fastest two minutes in sports.  The two minutes every year when you can talk to your non-racing friends about your favourite sport, and they’ll actually listen. Whatever you like to call it, this Saturday is the Kentucky Derby.  After an inconsistent, up-and-down prep season, twenty horses have cemented their... Read more »

2017 Kentucky Oaks Preview and Friday Stakes Selections

Welcome to Kentucky Derby week! You’ve come to the right place: Picks and Ponderings will be right here with you through the biggest days of the year at Churchill Downs.  This piece focuses on the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, with written analysis of the Oaks and selections (including live longshots) for all six graded stakes races... Read more »