Music Mogul, Horse Owner Jerry Moss Dies at 88

by Bill Finley and Dan Ross Jerry Moss, who rose to fame in both the music business and in horse racing, died Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 88. Moss owned horses in partnership with then his wife, Ann, and while they campaigned many top horses, none could compare to the superstar in Zenyatta (Street Cry {Ire}). A winner of a remarkable 19 races from 20 career starts, she was named Horse of the Year in 2010 and champion older mare in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Her lone defeat came...

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Jockey Avery Whisman Passes Away at 23

Jockey Avery Whisman, who rode in the Mid-Atlantic region after beginning his career in 2018, passed away Wednesday at the age of 23 after what his family described as a "prolonged illness." He was at his parents' home in Versailles, Kentucky at the time of his passing. Whisman had not ridden since accepting mounts Aug. 23 at Presque Isle Downs. Though Whisman had been ill, his mother, Salli, described his passing as "a sudden an unexcepted event." "He absolutely loved the sport," Salli Whisman said. "He was an incredible horseman....

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The Week in Review: 31 Shades (and Counting) of Derby Gray

   Gray horses have been in a GI Kentucky Derby rut the past 15 years. No fewer than 31 consecutive grays (or roans) have gone to post without winning on the first Saturday in May (or September) since Giacomo roared home in front at 50-1 in 2005. That's the longest Derby drought for grays in terms of consecutive starts since 1930, when Churchill Downs began compiling detailed records related to horse colors. There's an asterisk as to whether it's the longest stretch in terms of years. There was a 17-year...

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The California Series: John Shirreffs, Part Two

Great expectations don't necessarily begin with lofty intent. Most new licensees start out hungry for that one lionheart of any stripe to announce their arrival. Those trainers who are routinely sent the big weekend warriors learn to acquire a more refined palate, to remodulate their ambitions accordingly. But scant few are fortunate enough to have harnessed the sort of thunderbolt that doesn't just electrify a trainer's career but leaves a patch of scorched earth for posterity. And really, how many ever expect to? In part one, we deconstructed some of...

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The California Series: John Shirreffs

In a new TDN series, we curry lessons and wise counsel from veteran Californian figures who, like gold nuggets panned from the Tuolomne River in the High Sierras, have unearthed career riches on arguably the toughest circuit in the States. We begin this series with John Shirreffs. Born at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Shirreffs was raised around horses on his family farm, and was deployed to Vietnam with the Marine Corps before embarking on a career in racing, using a 10-year stint at the Loma Rica Horse Ranch in Northern California...

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Mike Smith Talks Honor A. P., Derby Memories On TDN Writers' Room

As a Hall of Fame jockey and two-time winning rider of the GI Kentucky Derby, Mike Smith knows his way around Churchill Downs. After having his morning-line favored mount Omaha Beach (War Front) scratched the week of the race last year, Smith is back aboard a major contender in Saturday's Run for the Roses. Wednesday, the 55-year-old rider who's still at the top of his game joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland. Calling in via Zoom from Louisville as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Smith talked...

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