Connections

Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: New Home But Familiar Success For Jaramillo

When X Y Jet blasted through the first half-mile of the Gulfstream Park Sprint in under 44 seconds, new majority owner Gary Hartunian’s heart jumped into his throat. “What’s this horse doing?” he said out loud.    The fraction likely made the gelding’s backers nervous as well. After all, X Y Jet had four straight […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Trainer Von Hemel Prefers Grounded Approach

When Suddenbreakingnews won the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes under jockey Luis Quinonez, the gelding earned the 15th spot on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with ten points toward a start in the race. As pleased as trainer Donnie Von Hemel was by the performance, he said he’s not booking his tickets to Louisville anytime soon. “It’s […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Harrigan’s Work Unseen But Impactful

You won’t see Bill Harrigan’s name on a track program very often, even though he’s had his hands on more than two dozen Grade 1 winners over the years. They include horses like Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist, Donn Handicap winner Graydar, and Cotillion Stakes winner I’m a Chatterbox. Owner of Miacomet Farm in Georgetown, Ky., […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Promising Filly Evokes Memories Of ‘Alex’

When 3-year-old filly Cathryn Sophia loaded into the gate for last month’s Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream Park, owner Chuck Zacney could hardly bear to watch. “I actually closed my eyes prior to the start, and I was just waiting for the call of the race,” he said. When Zacney didn’t hear his filly’s name […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Collected’s Roots Are Strong At Runnymede

On a recent wintertime walk alongside a paddock of mares, Brutus Clay gestured to a group of blue ash trees on his Runnymede Farm near Paris, Ky. The sturdy specimens, like many things on the property, are older than the state they reside in, having sprouted three or four centuries ago. As the latest in […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Carrying A ‘Banner’ For The Backstretch Melting Pot

The racetrack has a way of bringing people together across cultures and across miles. “We’ve got just about every country in America on the backside. That’s the racetrack,” said Stanley Gold. Gold, trainer of Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes winner Awesome Banner, should know all about the draw of the racetrack—he logged thousands of miles on […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘I Never Thought I Could Actually Do It’

Serious doubts accompanied Mshawish as he entered the gate for the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope Stakes last Saturday; he went off as the third choice in the field of five. The Grade 1 winner on turf had only one prior start on the dirt — a fourth in the Cigar Mile. When Mshawish rallied from last […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Thinking Small Works Just Fine For Ron Moquett

One day a fellow trainer overheard Ron Moquett telling a prospective owner, “sorry I can’t take any more horses.” The flummoxed trainer pulled Moquett aside and asked him why in the world he would say no to somebody who wanted to hire him. “The trainer told me that the best horse they ever had was […]

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Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Liking The Sound Of It

In the music industry, superstars don’t come along that often, and being able to spot a budding star before anyone else is a rare and coveted skill. Sound familiar? After decades of experience with a record company and a lifetime at the racetrack, owner/breeder Stewart Madison has a unique understanding of the similarities between both […]

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