Chelsea Hackbarth

Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘I Got My Eyes Closed, I Can See It All Over Again’

His hands are the thing I notice first. The disparity of strength and frailty is alarming: perpetually curled, the man’s long, slender fingers are a sharp contrast to the gnarled knuckles and calloused palm that graces mine when he nervously shakes my hand. The man’s face might not reveal the truth about his age, but […]

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Crowder’s Quiet Presence Makes Him ‘One Of Those Masters Of A Wild Horse’

He’ll pull up to the barn in his old green SUV, nodding a greeting and fetching his gear from the tack room. The way he walks, heavy saddle on one hip, bridle in his other hand, is perfectly reminiscent of a cowboy from the old black-and-white Westerns. He’s just a bit bow-legged, and the clinking […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Up-And-Coming Irishman ‘On A Heck Of A Ride’

Trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer saddled his first stakes winner in January, watching a filly he picked out of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile sale for $55,000 score in the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes. Last Saturday, Needs Supervision raced wide throughout and was knocked around a bit on the far turn to finish fifth in the G2 Rachel Alexandra. […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Well Defined Creates ‘Something To Talk About Again’

While his contemporaries were walking between classes on the university quad, Farm Manager Larry King continued his post-secondary education under his father at Florida’s Waldemar Farm. His studies included everything from the day-to-day operations of a top-flight breeding farm to a 1975 Kentucky Derby victory with Waldemar-bred Foolish Pleasure. Forty-six years later, King was thrilled […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: No ‘Genie In A Bottle’ Needed For Derby Prospect Tax

If you’re going to do something, do it well. Danny Gargan has worked every day of his life on the racetrack, but he didn’t start out wanting to be a horse trainer. It’s a curious beginning for the conditioner and part-owner of G3 Withers winner Tax, a strong prospect on the Road to the Kentucky […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Wings Locked Up ‘Just Happier At The Racetrack’

Every good horseman will tell you that a racehorse does his best running when he’s happy. The hard part, of course, is figuring out how to put him in that headspace; horses aren’t always logical creatures. About a year ago now, trainer Clinton Stuart tried sending his hard-knocking gelding Wings Locked Up home to his […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘If You Ever Listen To Me Again, I’m Firing You’

Just before Big Changes went in the starting gate for Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Turf, one of the Gulfstream commentators mentioned that he was a little bit worked up. “What she didn’t know is that he’s geared like that,” said owner Steve Landers, 65. “That’s just the way he runs.” Neither Landers nor the betting public […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘I’ve Bought A Lot Of Slow Ones, Too’

It was his 898th training victory, but easily the one that meant the most to Canadian-born Don Schnell. His Escape Clause won the G3 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Saturday by 5 ½ lengths, then jogged back to meet her owner and trainer in the winner’s circle for his first graded stakes […]

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Exercise Rider Severely Injured, Two Horses Killed In Head-On Collision At Fair Grounds

An accident during Monday’s morning training hours at the Fair Grounds resulted in the death of a pair of Thoroughbred racehorses and severe injuries to one exercise rider, Roderick “Roddy” MacKenzie. According to various individuals with knowledge of the situation, an unnamed young horse from the barn of Joe Sharp unseated his rider and took […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘Hope Is For Free’

The last-minute pick-up mount on Saturday at Santa Anita had jockey Geovanni Franco and agent Jim Giannone dreaming big. With Joel Rosario feeling under the weather, Franco was gifted the opportunity to ride Grade 1 winner Next Shares in the G2 San Gabriel Stakes. “When my agent told me, I got really excited,” said Franco, […]

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