Shire horses racing…to the brink?

26 06 2013


The Express (UK) reports that Shire horse numbers have dropped to an alarming low in their native Britain. While the Shire Horse Society takes steps to preserve the breed, a comment at the bottom of the article caught my eye:

The revelation comes ahead of a shire horse race to be held at Lingfield Park racecourse in Surrey.

On June 15, eight shires will take to the track in Britain’s first professional race over two furlongs.

The Showerking Flying Feathers Maiden Stakes was won by Joey; video here:


Eight Belles

3 05 2008

Eight Belles

(Image source: New York Times)

I know. I know. Go read these:

Why we care…or not

Please don’t create a cult around her

Read this one twice:

Breeding out the usefulness?

UPDATE: oh hello Washington Post, nice of you to ask the same questions… 😉

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The Morgan Mile

28 08 2007

The Girls!, originally uploaded by poe_kayla.

From last year’s press release:

For the second year in a row the Morgan Mile Road Race created history as Morgan Horses were started from “scratch” and raced eighty rods down the same road that Justin Morgan did over two hundred years ago. More than one hundred spectators lined the Morgan Mile in Brookfield, Vermont as twelve Morgan horses raced in an official race sponsored by the Vermont Morgan Horse Association. Modern-day registered Morgans trotted down the historic Morgan Mile Road where the famous Morgan horse named Figure and later called Justin Morgan or the Morgan Horse raced down this old Vermont road. He was raced against two New York running horses in 1796, defeating both easily. That stretch of road is known as the “Morgan Mile” to this day and is located close to the place Justin Morgan is said to have lived.

The next race will be held September 15th on the Morgan Mile Road in Brookfield Vermont. More info:

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Synthetic racetrack surfaces: the pros and cons

21 08 2007

After Barbaro’s very public injury, and nineteen equine deaths at Del Mar last year, the California Horse Racing Board mandated that synthetic racing surfaces be installed at all major thoroughbred tracks before the end of this year. So far, the reviews are mixed: the surfaces are springier, drain well, and don’t require watering. On the other hand, race times are slower and some trainers are reporting that their horses are getting sore back muscles from running on the new stuff. More here

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“Name the foal” contest

17 08 2007

Playing with the standardbred foals, originally uploaded by The DeBruler Family.

If you’re going to the California State Fair, stop by the Budweiser Grandstand from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (PDT) on race days to admire a Standardbred foal and get a chance to win $15,000.

Fairgoers are invited to meet the baby racer and participate in the naming contest along with “play to win” games and activities about horses and harness racing.

Contest entry forms will be available at the harness racing exhibit and online at and More details

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The Palio di Siena

17 08 2007

The Palio

This year’s running of the Palio horse race in Siena, Italy left viewers stirred but not shaken (sorry, I had to) as film crews captured the event for the next Bond movie:

[T]o the relief of the Siena authorities, the huge crowd and – presumably – the film producers, all horses and jockeys survived the dangerous bareback race.

Several jockeys were unseated as horses crashed into the wall at the notoriously tight San Martino bend, falling beneath the pounding hooves of their rivals. Miraculously none was hurt.

Instead, with Daniel Craig watching from a window high above the Campo, the square where the Palio is run on packed sand, Siena put on a classic show of colourful pageantry and excitement to a background of medieval drums and flags. Link

From Wikipedia: “The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as the Palio), the most famous palio in Italy, is a horse race held twice each year on July 2 and August 16 in Siena, in which the horse and rider represent one of the seventeen Contrade, or city wards. A magnificent pageant precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.” Is this the world’s longest-running horse race?

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What would *you* pick as the greatest finish?

16 08 2007

Red Rum at Castle Park, Bristol 1980, originally uploaded by Floyd Nello.

The online betting shop Blue Square has picked Red Rum’s 1973 Grand National win as #6 in their top ten list of the greatest sporting finishes:

The 1973 Grand National is probably the most replayed horse race in television history. Few who tuned in on the last Saturday in March will ever forget the race – it was pure sporting drama, played out over four and a half miles, over thirty formidable fences. Top class chaser Crisp carried top weight in the 1973 Grand National, and his bold jumping, front-running style ensured the ex-Australian star was well clear of his field for most of the race leading horse betting punters who had backed him thinking they had made a wise sport bet. Legendary race commentator Peter O’Sullevan took up the microphone as the leaders turned for home…

“Crisp is still well clear in the 1973 Grand National and this great Australian chaser Crisp with twelve stone on his back and ten stone five on the back of Red Rum, who’s chasing him and they look to have it absolutely to themselves. At the second last… Crisp is over. And clear of Red Rum who’s jumping it a long way back. In third is Spanish Steps then Hurricane Rock and Rouge Autumn and L’Escargot. But coming to the final fence in the National now… and it’s Crisp still going in great style. He jumps it well, Red Rum is about fifteen lengths behind him as he jumps it. Crisp is coming to the elbow he’s got two hundred and fifty yards to run.” Then, suddenly things changed…

“Crisp is just wandering off the true line now. He’s beginning to lose concentration. He’s been out there on his own for so long. And Red Rum is making ground on him. They have a furlong to run now, two hundred yards now for Crisp, and Red Rum is still closing on him, and Crisp is getting very tired, and Red Rum is pounding after him and Red Rum is the one who finishes the strongest. He’s going to get up! Red Rum is going to win the National! At the line Red Rum has just snatched it from Crisp! And Red Rum is the winner!

The race was run in a time 19 seconds faster than the previous record set by the immortal Golden Miller some fifty years earlier and proved that on the day both Red Rum and Crisp put up truly exceptional performances.

Well, you know me; this always has me weeping like a willow. What’s your pick?

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Suspension for jockey who kicked his horse

28 06 2007

From the Associated Press via

A jockey who kicked his horse in the stomach before a race was suspended for 30 days and fined $1,000 by Philadelphia Park officials on Monday.

The decision against veteran jockey Victor Molina came three days after his 40-minute disciplinary hearing for kicking 2-year-old colt Yes Yes Ohyes. Molina, a 27-year veteran who’s been racing at Philadelphia Park since 1988, hoped for only a fine and was surprised by the severity of the penalties issued by the track’s stewards.

“The kick wasn’t what I’m about,” Molina said by phone. “The penalty doesn’t warrant what I did. I got punished a little harder than other ones. I think most people around the track, if you asked them, would say it was a little too harsh. People in the industry wouldn’t judge me the way I’ve been judged.”

Molina’s agent, David Yannuzzy, said he was considering an appeal. The suspension was retroactive to June 19 — the day after Molina was ejected from the park — and continues to July 18. Yannuzzy blamed the officials for overreacting because Molina’s kick was simulcast to tracks around the country and was live on racing channel TVG, prompting fans who saw the act to call the track and complain.

“They felt the people pulling the slots would be upset if he didn’t get enough time,” Yannuzzy said. “This is not the first time horses have been hit by jockeys at races. Every time it’s a $250 fine. That’s it. But they said, ‘Oh, we had all these hits on e-mail and TV.'”

Messages left at Philadelphia Park for track officials were not immediately returned, and a spokesman said the stewards had been asked not to comment on the decision.

Molina said the feisty horse flipped in the starting gate last Monday and his head struck the jockey flush in the chest. Molina’s chest went numb and he lost his cool.

Once Yes Yes Ohyes was scratched from the race, Molina removed the saddle and kicked the colt’s belly. Molina said the pain and threat of injury triggered his temper.

“I know there’s been a lot of attention because it was on TV,” Molina said. “I’m not trying to justify it. I shouldn’t have done what I did. Did I hurt the horse? Did I try and hurt the horse? That’s not what I did.”

The colt was gelded last week.

Molina has apologized to the owners, track officials and fans, and volunteered to talk to the media to show his remorse. Molina said he was he embarrassed that the kick stained what was a virtually unblemished reputation and record.

“I would have hoped they took into consideration my record and everything else,” he said. “To say people aren’t going to come and bet because I kicked a horse, that’s not going to happen. I’m sorry. I feel bad about it.”

Related posts:

Move over, Zidane…

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Pic o’the day: she stoops to conquer

9 06 2007

Rags to Riches

Image source

Rags to Riches edges out Curlin to become the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in 105 102 years. I’ll say it: I cried.

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Disney being sued over Ruffian film

8 06 2007


Image source

The LA Times reports that Disney’s upcoming movie about the great filly Ruffian have been marred by controversy, as a jockey and trainer claim they were not consulted about the details of her life:

The complaint alleges violations of trademarks held by Jacinto Vasquez, Ruffian’s jockey, and trainer Frank Whiteley. The movie, set for release Saturday, is falsely billed as a true story, according to the complaint. Ruffian’s caretakers also claim the movie purports to rely on their insider experience and intimate knowledge when they had nothing to do with the production.

“Defendants seek to give credibility to the film as a docudrama by falsely claiming actual knowledge of the details of what happened to Ruffian in her last race that led to her death,” the suit said. “The content can only be a fictionalized account because none of the still-living members of the Ruffian inner circle agreed to participate and/or cooperate in the production.”

The suit seeks an order to halt broadcast of the film and unspecified damages from Disney.

I just hope it isn’t a maudlin piece of crap like Seabiscuit was–am I the only one who absolutely hated that movie? (Hat tip to Raincoaster, btw)

Related posts:

Why we care…or not

Five memorable mares

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Who owns Curlin?

4 06 2007

Curlin wins the Preakness

Image source

CurlinTwo lawyers named William J. Gallion and Shirley A. Cunningham Jr. bought the racehorse Curlin for $57,000 in September of 2005. Since then, Curlin has become one of the best racehorses in the world, winning the Preakness and increasing in value. Right now, Curlin could fetch $30 million.

But do Gallion and Cunningham really own Curlin? It’s complicated. [Log in with BugMeNot] The New York Times reports that more than 400 plaintiffs won a civil suit in which they claimed Gallion and Cunningham defrauded them out of $64.4 million intended to pay for injuries caused by the diet drug fen-phen.

One of those plaintiffs says of Curlin, “He was bought with stolen money.” So all of those plaintiffs are rooting for Curlin’s continued success, hoping that at some time in the future, the courts will rule them the horse’s rightful owners. It may be a long time before we know for sure who owns Curlin, but in the meantime, there’s a legal cloud hanging over the sport’s most-discussed horse. Link

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Chad Johnson to race against a horse for charity

4 06 2007

Some football player named Chad Johnson intends to race a horse for charity on June 9. He’ll square off against 4-year old Restore the Road at River Downs in Cincinnati; the horse will be doing a furlong while Johnson will be running half that distance. Link

Is Restore the Road a TB? They should put Johnson up against a QH and really humble him.

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Race horse research unit will be closing in Newmarket

15 05 2007

thoroughbredhorse203.jpgThe BBC reports that the Equine Fertility Unit at Newmarket will be closing due to funding issues. Ten jobs will be lost and eighty horses put down. In the past, the EFU produced the first test-tube foal in Europe, and said it needed guaranteed funding of £450,000 a year for the next decade to continue its work.

The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, which funds the unit using cash from the Horse Race Betting Levy Board, said this was an unacceptable demand. Professor William Twink Allen, who heads the unit, said the decision to withdraw funding was a short-sighted move.

“I’m gutted really as it is a stupid and illogical decision. We’ve spent 20 years building the unit’s worldwide reputation and the staff to maintain this.

“To lose it for the want of £150,000 year in an industry where a lot of stallions charge that in a fee for a mare is short-sighted.”

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Five fives

11 05 2007

Muscles of that Strawberry Roan, originally uploaded by mveaches.

How’s that for a metapost?

1. Top five reasons not to buy your first horse at auction

2. Five steps to a great horse pasture

3. Top five myths about cutting horses

4. Around the world in five horse races

5. Five True Horse Stories by Margaret Davidson

Related posts:

Fourteen ways to sneak another horse home

Murphy’s horse laws

The Ten Commandments for show ring parents

Things you probably shouldn’t say around non-horse people

16 reasons to date a horseback rider

Five Things You Don’t Know About Me

The truth about horse people

Five famous black horses

Five breeds you’ve (probably) never heard of

Five competitive equine world records

Five memorable mares

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Five memorable mares

29 04 2007

Tell a gelding, ask a stallion, discuss it with a mare


Oh yes, you know what I’m talkin’ about! Here are some ladies you should meet.

1. Ruffian

Foaled in 1972, this niece of Secretariat is considered by many to be the greatest racing filly of the modern era, if not all time. She won all ten starts against fillies, but in a televised match race with Foolish Pleasure on July 6, 1975, both sesamoid bones in her right foreleg snapped. Her jockey, Jacinto Vasquez, tried to pull her up, but she ran on for another 50 yards, unwilling to give up the race. Attempts were made to save her but after waking from anesthesia Ruffian fractured the new cast causing greater damage and she was euthanized. Ruffian is buried near the finish line in the infield at Belmont Park. It has been said of her “The only race she ever lost was the race to save her life.” Read more | The Ruffian Breyer

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