Connections

Michael Dubb with jockey Jose Ortiz
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Dubb ‘Takes Chances,’ Pleasure In Helping Others

To understand Michael Dubb is to go far beyond his stature as the preeminent owner on the rugged New York circuit. His greatest satisfaction has nothing to do with the 78 wins last season that secured his third consecutive New York Racing Association owner’s title and fifth in seven years. It has everything to do […]

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Ethan West (left) and Aaron West chat with jockey Leandro Goncalves at Thistledown (John Engelhardt photo)
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Building A ‘Family’ Business

At age 28, trainer Aaron West has built a solid, mid-sized, family-run Thoroughbred operation in southeastern Kentucky, just 20 minutes north of the Tennessee border. West’s definition of family, however, extends a bit beyond his wife and two daughters. The Indiana native first got a taste for racehorses when his uncle and grandfather made a […]

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Toby Richard rides  Bodemeister into the barn at WinStar
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: On Top Of WinStar’s Stallions

It’s hard to imagine a person with more zeal for his job than Toby Richard. The dedicated WinStar Farm employee is up before the sun every day to oversee the training of the farm’s soon-to-be 2-year-olds, striding into the barn with a big smile and a hearty “Good morning!” And while working with the young […]

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Apprentice jockey Luis Ocasio at the Escuela Vocacional Hipico in Puerto Rico
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Banging The Drum For An Eclipse Award

The Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice jockey has gone to some big names in racing over the years: Chris McCarron, Steve Cauthen, Richard Migliore, Kent Desormeaux, Tyler Baze and Julien Leparoux, among others. Some of the “hustling tyros” – as Jack Karlik, aka Sweep, my 1980s handicapping mentor at Daily Racing Form, used to refer […]

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Promising juvenile Mastery and the Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook have given Dobson plenty to cheer about lately
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘Sports Junkie’ Dobson Enjoys Ride With Mastery, Thunder

When asked how he got into the Thoroughbred industry two decades ago, Everett Dobson gives the simplest of answers. “I bought a racehorse.” Things have gotten considerably more complex since then. The Oklahoma native purchased quite a few more racehorses, then a farm, then started a breeding operation. He also bought a top-class golf course […]

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"I’ve earmarked the Derby; that’s my race, that’s where I want to be," says Wilkes
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘You Don’t Get In The Way’ Of Good Horses

Success on the racetrack often comes in bunches. That was certainly the case last weekend, as trainer Ian Wilkes won a total of three stakes races at Churchill Downs. Starting on Thursday, Thatcher Street won the Grade 3 River City Handicap. Linda took the G2 Mrs. Revere on Friday, and on Saturday the talented juvenile […]

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Classic Empire holds off the late rush of Not This Time in the BC Juvenile
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Simms’ Investment In Warrendale Paying Off

This racing season has reminded Hunter Simms of the apparent wisdom in a somewhat risky investment in 2010. After working for Kitty Taylor’s Warrendale Sales, he came to the longtime consignor and offered to buy into the business she launched in 2002. “It was [a risk],” Simms remembered. “We had come off a good year […]

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Kruljac, left, with Tyler and Wayne Seltzer, owners of Finest City
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘There’s Nothing More You Can Dream For’

In the midst of a weekend flush with flamboyant outfits, extravagant decorations, and thrilling stretch drives, 28-year-old Ian Kruljac stood in contrast to it all. A reserved man dressed in an understated navy suit for the big day, Kruljac didn’t say much as he stood on the track apron during the post parade, eyes glued […]

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Texas Chrome owner Danny Keene: "I just fell in love with his eyes."
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘As A Horse, He Deserved It’

In the fall of 2014, a 69-year-old plumbing-contractor-turned-Thoroughbred-owner found himself eyeing a smallish, white-legged chestnut yearling in the back ring of Fasig-Tipton’s Texas mixed sale. “He wasn’t even marked in my book,” confessed owner Danny Keene in his distinctive Texan drawl. “But the colt came up, and I thought, ‘Oh, I like this colt, I wonder […]

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Zenyatta and John Shirreffs
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Life After Zenyatta

This weekend marks seven years since John Shirreffs’ most famous trainee, Zenyatta, upset the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a year after she won the Ladies’ Classic. Ahead of this Saturday’s Juvenile, Shirreffs will take 2-year-old colt Gormley to the same saddling area where he readied Queen Z for her triumphs at Santa Anita […]

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