Connections

Brian Hernandez, Jr. with the trophy after the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘One Of The Most Underrated Jockeys Out There’

It was with an air of absolute confidence that jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., rode top 3-year-old McCraken in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. While making his first start of 2017, the son of Ghostzapper was impressive, extending his undefeated record and announcing himself a major candidate for the Kentucky […]

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Isabelle de Tomaso (2nd from right in green) with her sister Hope Haskell Jones and trainer Graham Motion after the Holy Bull
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: A Tradition Deep In Sports Cars And Racehorses

Horsepower has always fascinated Isabelle de Tomaso, whose New Jersey homebred colt, Irish War Cry, pulled off a wire-to-wire upset of 2-year-old champion Classic Empire in last Saturday’s Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. A daughter of Amory L. Haskell – founding president of Monmouth Park and the namesake for the Jersey Shore […]

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Paolucci (right of jockey Antonio Gallardo) enjoys the winner's circle after Imperative's Poseidon victory
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘You Can’t Put A Price On It’

Ron Paolucci has enjoyed Thoroughbred racing his entire life but only invested in the ownership side of the business in 2011, when he claimed a filly at his home track of Thistledown for $2,500. Last Saturday, Paolucci was a part of the richest race in the history of the sport, the Pegasus World Cup. “I […]

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"It just seems like the right time now to be moving on to the next phase of my life," Payne says.
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Michelle Payne Still Dreams Big As Retirement Nears

In the space of less than two years, jockey Michelle Payne has gone from well-known in the Australian racing sphere to international celebrity following her win aboard Prince of Penzance in the 2015 Melbourne Cup. Payne was the first woman to win the race in its 155-year history, and doing so at odds of 100-1 […]

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Cathy Schroeder celebrates with jockey Kent Desormeaux in the winner's circle after Blue Tone's victory in the San Gabriel Stakes
Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘A Kiss On Each Cheek’

When 8-year-old Blue Tone crossed the wire first in the G3 San Gabriel Stakes, there was not a single person in the grandstand cheering louder than Cathy Schroeder. She and her husband, Paul, race under the banner of Schroeder Farm, and Blue Tone had just become their first graded stakes winner. “For him to be […]

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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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