Week in Review

The Week In Review: For Syndicate Partners, What's In A Name (Or Ten)?

Right now within TDN's Top 12 rankings for the GI Kentucky Derby, seven horses are owned by multiple-entity partnerships. One syndicate maxes out at 10 individual owners, another at eight. If the horses from those larger partnerships (or other syndicates-there are plenty of them and they are growing in number worldwide) make it into the Derby field, they won't have to worry about getting the satisfaction and distinction of seeing their names in print as owners. But that's only because as a courtesy, Churchill Downs takes the extra step of...

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Three-Year-Layoff Winner a Study in Patient Horsemanship

The Week in Review by T.D. Thornton When Silver Seeker (Central Banker) made his second start off a nearly three-year layoff Saturday at Aqueduct, the betting public was skeptical of the Midwest shipper's chances, dismissing him at 19-1 in a second-level allowance/optional claimer for New York-breds. The price seemed about right if all you had to go on were the gelding's past performances, which showed just a ninth-place November prep at Hawthorne for Gene LaCroix, an obscure-to-horseplayers trainer riding an 0-for-30 losing streak that dated to Sept. 20, 2020. Bettors...

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With His Exercise Rider Aboard, Promising Post Time Wins Again

The Week In Review, By Bill Finley When Eric Camacho retired from riding in 2016, he thought he knew what his future would be. He'd work as an exercise rider in the mornings and step aside in the afternoons and let someone else get all the glory and the big paychecks. Never did he imagine he'd win another race, let alone get the mount on an undefeated 2-year-old who might just be good enough to be pointed toward the GI Kentucky Derby. But after Post Time (Frosted) won Saturday's Maryland...

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For Blue-Collar Claimers, Black-Type Thanksgiving Feast

The Week in Review by T.D. Thornton The annual Claiming Crown races were two weeks ago. But a surprise black-type feast for blue-collar campaigners took place over Thanksgiving weekend, when horses once claimed for tags as low as $10,000 and $16,000 ran away with three of five stakes at Laurel Park, and an 8-year-old gelding bought last year for $10,000 topped a blanket-finish trifecta of previously claimed sprinters in the GIII Fall Highweight H. at Aqueduct. The relic known as the Fall Highweight--in which nominees are assigned weights scaled several...

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The Appleby Phenomenon

The Week in Review, by Bill Finley Winning Breeders' Cup races is supposed to be hard. Doesn't Charlie Appleby know that? The Breeders' Cup annually brings together the best trainers in the U.S. and many of the best in Europe. Wayne Lukas has won the most races, 20. Bob Baffert is next with 18. Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher are always forces. Aidan O'Brien brings a small army to the Breeders' Cup every year and has 16 winners to show for it, including three this year. But Appleby stands alone....

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Week in Review: Sky's the Limit When You're 5-for-5

The unbeaten 2-year-old Iowa-bred gelding Tyler's Tribe (Sharp Azteca), who has never been headed while winning five dirt races by a combined 59 3/4 lengths, will have considerable rooting interest on Friday in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. But he's no longer the only five-for-five juvenile in North America after a win Saturday by the filly Back to Ohio (Midshipman), who cruised to a 7 1/4-length romp against Ohio-bred stakes company at Mahoning Valley. It's not unusual for 2-year-olds to rack up wins if they compete largely against...

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Bringing Back Flightline at Five and Why It Makes Sense

The Week in Review, by Bill Finley Even on a day when he merely worked out, Flightline (Tapit) was front-page news after his early morning breeze Saturday at Santa Anita. That's how much he has captivated the sport; it's the reason why everyone is so hopeful that his career does not end after the GI Breeders' Cup Classic and that his owners can resist immediately cashing in on the hundreds of millions he will make at stud. The group has collectively said that no decision will be made until after...

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Rich Strike Is For Real, And Other Thoughts

The Week in Review, by Bill Finley Reflections on an interesting weekend of racing: (*) No, Rich Strike did not win the GII Lukas Classic S. at Churchill Downs. A very game Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) had a second surge and came back just before the wire to nip him by a head. But not only was there no shame in losing, this was the best race of Rich Strike's career-better, yes, the GI Kentucky Derby-and finally put to rest that he was a one-race wonder who just got lucky...

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Week In Review: Another Milestone For Kentucky Downs

Another record was set Saturday at Kentucky Downs when $21,065,982 was wagered on the 12-race card. Perhaps even more impressively, Kentucky Downs out-handled Del Mar, where $19,423,928 was bet. Del Mar ran 11 races on Saturday. That a wagering record was set was hardly a surprise considering that the card at Kentucky Downs was also the best ever offered at the sport's most unique racetrack. There were six graded stakes on the card and five of them were worth $1 million. The average field size was 11, the type of...

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Was Flightline's Pacific Classic the Best Performance Since Secretariat's Belmont?

The Week in Review, by Bill Finley Some more thoughts on Flightline (Tapit) while trying to come up with the right superlative to describe his win in the GI TVG Pacific Classic. Words like spectacular, stunning, sensational just don't seem good enough. (*) It's tempting to try to compare him to Secretariat. The thing is, that's simply impossible. One has run just five times, the other ran 21 times, won the Triple Crown, was a two-time Horse of the Year and had his picture on the covers of Time, Newsweek...

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The Week in Review: McPeek is Different, And That's Why He's Successful

The book on training the modern racehorse goes something this: Give them at least six weeks off between races, start them no more than five times a year and never take a chance. It's a book that, apparently, Ken McPeek has never read. Among top-tier trainers, there is no one like him. He'll run fillies against the boys, run back in a week and he's not afraid to throw a 50-1 bomb into a race or, in the case of 2022 GI Belmont S. winner Sarava (Wild Again), a 70-1...

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The Week in Review: Is the 'Fresh Horse' Angle Getting Stale?

For the second year in a row, the GI Preakness S. was won by a fresh horse who didn't run in the GI Kentucky Derby. Since both of Saturday's top two Preakness finishers--Early Voting (Gun Runner) and Epicenter (Not This Time)--were publicly declared out of the GI Belmont S. even before the last of the crab cakes cooled at Pimlico, it will be up to another relatively rested horse to step up and snag the third jewel of the Triple Crown. That's not an unfamiliar scenario, and recent history tells...

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