View From the Eighth Pole

View From The Eighth Pole: Clean Start Puts Justify In The History Books

It was always about the break. Trainer Bob Baffert has seen how a bad break can cause the best horse in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby to lose. It happened in 2010 with Lookin At Lucky, who had the misfortune of drawing the inside post in a field of 20, then leaving the starting gate […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: ‘The Saratoga Of The South’

They don’t write races at 1 1/16 miles and a few jumps. If they did, Vino Rosso might have gotten the money and 10 Kentucky Derby points in Saturday’s Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Officially, the Curlin colt got just two Derby points while winding up third, beaten 1 ¼ […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: Weighty Issues On The Derby Trail?

Kiaran McLaughlin sat in the Gulfstream Park parade ring late Saturday afternoon, soaking in the success of the previous half-hour. Godolphin Racing’s Avery Island had made a successful 2018 debut at Aqueduct, winning the Grade 3 Withers by two lengths. Victory gave the son of Street Sense 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: Though Times Have Changed, Santa Anita Opening Day Remains Special

During the nine years I lived in Southern California from 1979-‘88, Christmas took on a uniquely special meaning. It had nothing to do with the neatly-wrapped presents under the tree or a visit from Jolly Old Saint Nick. It had everything to do with what happened the day after Christmas. For most of its 83 […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: A Classic Case Of Redemption

Steve Asmussen can be wound a little tight now and then, but the good vibrations he was putting out in the days leading up to the Breeders’ Cup championships at Del Mar were as laid-back and cool as a Beach Boys melody from the 1960s. The trainer of Classic favorite Gun Runner was among a […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: Obstruction In Oklahoma?

I don’t like it when people try to make a fool out of me. I do a good enough job of that without any help. But that’s what the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission staff apparently was trying to do last week when I inquired about the status of the investigation into the wrong horse running […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: Churchill/Keeneland Gaming Partnership A Poorly Conceived Venture

Kentucky Downs had just concluded a record meet, one that saw more than $8.6 million in purse money paid out to owners over five days of racing exclusively over the European-style turf course. Pari-mutuel handle skyrocketed to more than $6 million per day, up by 34 percent over last year’s total (which was 34 percent […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: California Safety Initiative A Model To Follow

Racing in California has a lot of problems. In the last 10 years, Bay Meadows near San Francisco and Hollywood Park near Los Angeles have been closed for development. Land on which most racetracks, farms and training facilities sit is more valuable for other uses, whether residential or business. A 2011 increase in takeout designed […]

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