Dan Ross

The Road to the Kentucky Derby…Sort Of…

This intrepid TDN correspondent has just spent the better part of 10 days on a road to the Kentucky Derby. Well, not exactly THE road to the Kentucky Derby. Rather, a long road trip from Los Angeles to Lexington via some of the country's most awe-inspiring national parks and monuments, arriving in the Bluegrass State a week before the Derby. The reason? To deliver to the doyen of XBTV, Zoe Cadman, her beloved RV, "Burt." What follows is an account of this American odyssey. A story of toxic algae and...

[ Read More ]
TIF #FreeDataFriday Volume 28: Improving Racing Integrity

'What happened to the organization once called "the FBI of racing?" TIF Note: We hope you are staying healthy during these challenging times for our world. Over the past months, we have published a series of reports questioning the state of transparency and integrity measures in North American racing. We have made some suggestions that, if implemented, would yield more open reporting in the hopes of creating a sport in which well-intentioned participants have more confidence. The following is another submission in this series. What questions might you have about...

[ Read More ]
John Shear: Ringside Seat to Nearly a Century of Memories

To say there's a touch of the picaresque about John Shear's life story would be like saying Pope Benedict flirts with Catholicism. During an over-stuffed 99 years and counting, Santa Anita's beloved paddock captain has had front row seats to historical game changers on both sides of the pond. He's rubbed shoulders with royalty and assassins, film stars and gangsters. Fate has intervened more than once on his behalf in ways that'll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand taller than a redwood. "You'll have to forgive...

[ Read More ]
TDN Q&A: TSG’s Aidan Butler on Santa Anita, part 2

New to running racetracks, Aidan Butler, The Stronach Group (TSG)'s chief strategy officer and acting executive director of California Racing Operations, has worn all sorts of suits belonging to all sorts of worlds--horse racing, legal affairs, business management, and technology--that he says have prepared him for the task. He founded a sports equipment company called GuardLab, which specializes in mouthguards, for example. He was managing director of a large litigation law firm called Gilbert's, its area of expertise in intellectual property--though he isn't, it should be noted, an attorney. Butler,...

[ Read More ]
TDN Q&A: TSG’s Aidan Butler on Santa Anita, part 1

When Aidan Butler, The Stronach Group (TSG)'s chief strategy officer, arrived at Santa Anita earlier this Spring, he did so in the midst of a welfare crisis unfolding on a national stage. Since then, TSG has solidified Butler's position within the company, where he will additionally serve as acting executive director of California Racing Operations. In terms of the crisis, Del Mar's summer meet--at which there were no race day fatalities and only four training-related deaths, two of which were the result of a freak accident--has had the effect of...

[ Read More ]