Dan Liebman

Letter To The Editor: Ercel Ellis and The Decision That Altered My Life

For me personally, what a weird coincidence that earlier this week, TDN published a wonderful essay by its columnist Chris McGrath, who spent time with three of the industry's "elder statesman," among them Ercel Ellis. For it was Ellis who, 40 years ago this coming week, made a decision that altered the course of my life. McGrath obviously had a wonderful time at Lil's Coffee House in Paris, Ky., listening to the yarns spun by Ellis, now 92, renowned veterinarian Bob Copelan (97), and the youngster of the trio, Stone...

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A Brere Jones Remembrance: Letter to the Editor, by Dan Liebman

One of the first horsemen I met when hired to cover the Thoroughbred industry full time in 1984 was Brereton Jones, who with his wife, Libby, owned Airdrie Stud on Old Frankfort Pike. As journalists, we must always keep a distance from those we cover, in order to remain neutral in our coverage. But when reporting and writing about a specific topic day in and day out, you can't help but become friends with some of those you encounter. Brere and I instantly became friends. We had many on-the-record conversations,...

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50 Years Ago Today, I Was At Secretariat's Derby

It hit me hard the other night how old I have become. My brain was slowly processing that it was 50 years ago I saw Secretariat win the Kentucky Derby. I exaggerate. A lot. I caught a brief glimpse of Secretariat as he flew by my strained vantage point. After insistent begging, my older sister and her friends relented and took me with them to my first Derby. It was May 5, 1973 and we were in the infield. Frankly, at age 14, my day was already complete way before...

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Letter to the Editor: Computer Assisted Wagering

Thoroughbred Daily News has written extensively about Computer Assisted Wagering and the players and clubs that by using such methods have placed a stranglehold on our pari-mutuel system. Just a week ago in this space, Dan Ross had a wonderful column on the subject and what it has done to handle in California. It is hard to say no to someone wanting to bet a huge amount on Thoroughbred racing, and it is understandable in giving them rebates to reward their action. But it is harming the game and small...

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A Fan Witnesses the Risk of Sports

I am a man comprised of many parts. Certainly among them: sports fan. Yes, the big three--basketball, football, baseball--but also soccer, hockey, and, of course, horse racing. I've attended a Summer Olympics, where I witnessed amazing track and field, swimming, and boxing. I also saw two sports for the first (and last) time--judo and team handball. My father, before the interstate was even finished, would drive my siblings and I to Crosley Field in Cincinnati to watch our beloved Reds. As a youngster he took us to Kentucky football and...

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Op/Ed: Corniche Connections Should Consider Dennis Diaz Wisdom

In 1985, owner Dennis Diaz had a decision to make after his runner, Spend a Buck, won the GI Kentucky Derby. Under ordinary circumstances it would be on to the GI Preakness S. two weeks later. But, as Lee Corso would say: "Not so fast." In this particular year, before the Triple Crown prep season had begun, Garden State Park owner Robert Brennan offered a $2-million bonus to any horse who won the track's two preps plus the Kentucky Derby and GIII Jersey Derby. Diaz and trainer Cam Gambolati sent...

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Spending Time Reflecting

We reflect more as we age, mostly because we simply have more to reflect on. If only wisdom worked the same way. So, it is a reflective state of mind I find myself in today with the news of the passing of Mary Anne Hockensmith, who died at age 97 Monday at her beloved Woodlake Farm outside my hometown of Frankfort, Ky. Having spent some time there as a youth, I was fortunate for about 14 years, until last fall, to live on a farm that--as the crow flies--was a...

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Op/Ed: Guild Members: You Should Not Be Proud

Perhaps no collection of companies makes decisions based more on hard data, charts, statistics and actuarial tables then those that make up the insurance industry. Non-smokers get better rates on health insurance. Middle-aged drivers pay lower premiums than do those a generation or two younger. Those driving in Los Angeles traffic pay more than those who live in rural areas of the country. Apply for a term policy and the insurance company can list your premiums for the rest of your life. They know what the statistics show, based on...

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Letter to the Editor: Kent Barnes

While Dan makes some good points regarding the many differences between running a race for 3-year-olds on the first Saturday in May compared to the first Saturday in September Derby ("A Year Without a Derby Makes the Most Sense"), I disagree with him about removing the name of the race.  Perhaps history books will place an asterisk behind the 2020 winner, but there are too many players involved in this game, owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, grooms, etc. who work tirelessly each year to produce a Kentucky Derby winner. For most...

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Letter to the Editor: Ron Parker

Some years back, when I was writing extensively about Dosage and the Kentucky Derby, a quote I included in an American Turf Monthly article (November 1990) from Dosage guru Dr. Steven Roman would certainly support Dan Liebman's proposal to simply cancel this year's Kentucky Derby ("A Year Without a Derby Makes the Most Sense"). Delaying it four months simply makes it another stakes race, not the challenge for young horses, some of which may not even have reached their actual 3-year-old birthday. "It is critical to understand," Dr. Roman stated,...

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Today's Act of Kindness: PM Advertising

In every crisis, it's possible to find examples of kindness and generosity, of people reaching out to help total strangers out of the goodness of their heart. Starting today at the TDN in this series, we're going to try to bring you a little bit of good news every day. I noticed the post on Instagram early Tuesday morning. "In these uncertain times, PM Advertising is offering our services free of charge to the first 5 service-related companies that need promotional material created. If you need help getting the word...

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