Connections

Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Santana ‘Showing Up’ For Asmussen

“He just kept showing up in the barn, every day.” Ricardo Santana, Jr. has been showing up for as long as anyone can remember. He’s in the barns every morning and always gives a top effort in the afternoons. That work ethic is what first earned the 24-year-old Panamanian jockey a chance to ride for […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘Blended’ Friendship, Hometown Dreams

There’s a small town in Kentucky called Tompkinsville, nestled into the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains just north of the Tennessee border. A decline in the local garment industry hit the area hard over the past several decades, and a striking 30 percent of the approximately 2,000 locals live at or below the poverty line. […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Richard Couple Justify-ing Their ‘WinStar Dreams’

The colt exhales, steam from his nostrils wafting up to greet the cool winter air. He lowers his head, licking his lips as the tension melts away. This is a defining moment, one that will set his course for years to come. The man steps to his side, pressing down on the colt’s back with […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Instilled Regard Owner Carves His Own Path

“I’m living through a ‘pinch-me’ moment,” said Larry Best, owner of Grade 1 Kentucky Derby starter Instilled Regard, winner of the G3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds in January after placing second via disqualification in the G1 Los Alamitos Futurity in December. Best knows the son of Arch is a longshot after being the last […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Gunther’s Classic Trio Ready For ‘Chance To Prove Themselves’

From the 22,936 Thoroughbreds born in North America in 2015, the racing world has whittled down to the top 20 candidates for the first Saturday in May. Remarkably, two of the top 3-year-old colts were bred on the same small farm in Central Kentucky; both Justify and Vino Rosso hail from a broodmare band with […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: After ‘Actively Watching,’ DeVaux Ready For Next Step

A favorite subject of racing photographers, Cherie DeVaux has become well-known for her emotional journey with the iron-hearted champion Lady Eli. The mare won the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks in 2015 but stepped on a nail when she was leaving the test barn. Lady Eli developed laminitis, and her chances of survival seemed slim. DeVaux […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Passion Takes Priority For Former Jockey, Techie

Piecemeal, the trajectory of Jeffery Bloom’s career seems a bit unorthodox. The jump from professional jockey to the corporate software technology industry just isn’t something you see every day. Now, the 54-year-old Bloom seems to have found his niche as the managing director of his own racing, pinhooking, and breeding operation. Looking back, the widely-skewed […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Water Jugs, Stopwatches, And The Fox-O-Meter

Standing on the rail during the running of Saturday’s Gulfstream Park Oaks, former University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino was ecstatic when the filly he owns a part of came flying down the outside of the track to score her first graded stakes victory. He turned to trainer Dale Romans and Romans’ long-time partner Tammy Fox […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: More Derby Dreams Take Root In New Mexico

“I think every little boy around the racetrack grows up wanting to be a jockey,” said Todd Fincher. “And probably every little girl, too.” Raised on the fair circuit in Colorado, Fincher was born into a racing family. Daily chores like cleaning stalls, grooming horses, and feeding permeate his childhood memories, but the overarching theme […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Fed Ex, A Leap Of Faith And A ‘Martini’

Trainer Keith Nations and his stable star Martini Glass were quickly dismissed when Nations entered the daughter of Kitalpha in her first graded stakes race last summer. It was the G1 Delaware Handicap, and champion Songbird drew all the attention. To the surprise of many racing fans, Martini Glass gave Songbird a run for her […]

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