Opinion Columns

Hovdey: Inordinate helps to keep 12 furlongs in fashion

Every trainer wants a Juddmonte horse. Juddmonte horses have names like Arrogate, Enable, and Frankel. Most trainers would settle for a second-, third-, or fourth-string Juddmonte horse, just to see what it feels like to wade around for a while in the world’s most successful stable.

Out West, Jack Carava’s got himself a Juddmonte horse … sort of.

“Call it six degrees of separation,” Carava said with a laugh.

Hovdey: Miller barn has it going every which way

The crew is still a little giddy at the Pete Miller barn at San Luis Rey Downs, even these two weeks after winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint with Roy H and finishing 1-2 in the Turf Sprint with Stormy Liberal and Richard’s Boy.

On Friday morning, a playful Richard’s Boy was getting a bath, his mottled gray coat showing signs of cool nights, while Stormy Liberal tortured his hay rack nearby and took toothy shots at anyone dumb enough to pass within range. No one took them seriously.

Hovdey: In 1967, it was Damascus by a mile

NYRA Photo
Damascus wins the Travers by a record 22 lengths.

The death this week of Lure, a superb Thoroughbred who meant so much to so many, served to open the floodgates of certain memories. Every fan has a horse like Lure to cling to, as the rock upon which is built a lifelong appreciation of true greatness in the breed, both on and off the track.

My rock was Damascus, and I am not alone. Half a century ago, the son of Sword Dancer took the 1967 season by the throat and would not let go until he had won 12 of 16 starts, racing from March into November, while setting an all-time earnings mark of $817,941 for a season.

Hovdey: Final Grade 1's only count for show and dough

There’s no use fighting it. Not even the traditional calendar has a chance. The 2017 Thoroughbred racing season, as far as championships go, lasted 10 months and a few days, effectively ending the moment Win the Space trundled home last in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 4.

That’s the way John Gaines wanted it when he invented the Breeders’ Cup, and that’s the way it’s been these last 34 years, with only a handful of exceptions to prove that rules are hard to rattle.

Watchmaker: A few lingering Breeders' Cup thoughts

Alternate title: 
Watchmaker: A few Breeders' Cup thoughts

A few lingering Breeders’ Cup thoughts:

** Allow me to echo the widespread praise for the job Del Mar did hosting the Breeders’ Cup. Logistically, everything came off without an obvious hitch. Moreover, the setting is simply gorgeous, so much so that I can’t imagine any racing person who was there on that sun-splashed Breeders’ Cup Saturday wanting to be anywhere else in the world.

Hovdey: 'Vive le Gun Runner' tells story of Breeders' Cup Classic

Alternate title: 
Hovdey: 'Vive le Gun Runner' tells story of BC Classic
Emily Shields
Gun Runner, with Florent Geroux up, wins the Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar on Saturday.

Steve Asmussen sat splayed across most of a bench outside the Del Mar receiving barn, where Gun Runner, Arrogate, and their nine rivals circled in anticipation of the final call for the 34th running of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Asmussen’s tan suit, properly relaxed from a long day of wear, was complemented by a blue shirt the color of the coastal sky still clinging to another hour of daylight. His hair, as usual, had gone rogue, but he seemed otherwise serene in the face of the challenge ahead.

2017 Breeders' Cup results clarify some Eclipse divisions, muddy others

Barbara D. Livingston
Gun Runner's Breeders' Cup Classic victory makes him a cinch to be champion older dirt male.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The first Breeders’ Cup ever run here at Del Mar is over, and it was a doozy, with some wild results and, most unfortunately, a main track bias that impacted many of the results.

Hovdey: Asmussen strapped for another Classic run

I saw Angel kissing Gun Runner.

Okay, as a title for a traditional Christmas song it leaves a lot to be desired. But as a casual glimpse at the bond between man and horse, which happens a lot around the racetrack, it told me all I needed to know about the favorite for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday afternoon at Del Mar.

Hovdey: Mott, Mandella tangle again 21 years after making history

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Bill Mott has a top contender in the Breeders' Cup Distaff in Elate.

Bill Mott was asked to recall the last time he was at Del Mar.

“Well, I’ve sent a number of horses here,” he said, standing near his Breeders’ Cup contingent on the Del Mar backstretch. “Somebody told me we had something like nine wins from 19 runners in the last 20 years.”

Swell. Happy for you, Bill, but you didn’t answer the question. When was the last time William I. Mott, of Mobridge, S.D., was at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, Calif.?

Hovdey: Harper invites world to step right up

Joe Harper had no chance. On his mother’s side, he was awash with the cinematic pomp and circumstance of his grandfather, Cecil B. DeMille. On his father’s side, there lurked the legacy of Harper’s great-grandfather John Chamberlain, a 19th century gambler and tireless promoter who was in business with heavyweights like Boss Tweed and John Morrissey.

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