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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