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Arlington Million Preview

With the Arlington Million only a day away, Team Archipenko (pictured) is feeling confident. Jockey Kevin Shea was pleased with what might be considered a slow work by American standards, but that’s standard operating procedure for the 4-year-old Kingmambo colt:

“He’s not the greatest worker and this morning I […]

Flames Over Persepolis

Louise Firouz, the renowned horse breeder who rediscovered the Caspian horse, has died in Iran. Although still very rare, the breed (which DNA analysis has demonstrated to be the likely ancestor of Arabians and other eastern breeds — and thus, by extension, thoroughbreds) was recognized and revived by the American-born Firouz, at enormous personal cost […]

The Preakness: An Odder History Than You Might Imagine

The Preakness is named after Preakness, a colt by Lexington, who was owned by Milton Holbrook Sanford and who was the winner of the inaugural Dinner Party Stakes. Sanford owned Preakness Stables in Preakness, NJ, as well as a stud farm in Kentucky of the same name; apparently he was more than a little fond […]

Horses Americans Should Know I: Makybe Diva

We are taking a slight break from the Triple Crown trail today (although I’ll be talking about Saturday’s Peter Pan and its Belmont implications tomorrow) to deliver the first installment in what will be an occasional series – Funny Foreign Horses Americans Should Know More About. First up: Makybe Diva.

Although bred […]

Who Would You Geld Today?

In the wake of the Derby, one comment that seemed to come up often was a belief that ‘too much’ is asked of top-level three-year-olds at this point in their careers and that delayed training or a lighter schedule could help prevent injuries of the sort Eight Belles suffered. While well-intentioned, it goes against both […]

Twenty Horses, And How They Got That Way

The lull between final Derby preps and the post position draw is an ideal time to reflect on Derby history; specifically, in this instance, how the apparently-now-compulsory 20-horse field came to be.

The first Kentucky Derby, in 1875, had 15 entrants (including Ten Broeck, of “Molly and Tenbrooks” fame, who finished […]

Holiday Hiatus Interruptus

A few brief notes before a return to holiday silence until the new year…there’s a commentary in the Blood-Horse about Fairmount Park (where, as I’m sure you recall, every 18 minutes, the place goes crazy). It seems that the ever-struggling track is cutting their racing season from 90 days to 60; while on the one […]

Brief Digressions

Prompted somewhat by reading Bill Bryson’s quick and entertaining little Shakespeare biography, I’ve entered the DRF’s Winter of Our Discontent Challenge. A small aside is in order here – the Shakespeare title is part of a series called Eminent Lives – something of a modern take on Aubrey’s Brief Lives, which I naturally assume everyone […]

Where Alph, The Sacred River, Ran

As some other TBA bloggers have noted, there was a lovely New York Times article on Karakorum Racing over the weekend. I’ve never loved the way they name their horses (Karakorum Insert-Name-Here) and would be excited to see them named after Silk Road archaeological sites (or even after bits of Coleridge – wouldn’t Stately Pleasure […]

Trad Arr Superfecta

Breeders’ Cup week is upon us, and while you might naturally expect to see something related to the event, today Superfecta HQ is taking you on something of detour. Inspired by this week’s American Routes on sporting music (which included a segment from Churchill Downs and some recordings of ‘Molly And Tenbrooks’ and ‘Stewball’ among […]