View From the Eighth Pole

View From The Eighth Pole: A Mitchell Report For Racing?

Major League Baseball was going through an identity crisis in the late 1990s and early 2000s as Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds shattered home run records that had stood for decades. Attendance at Major League parks was booming and a sport that had lost some some sizzle over a players’ strike that interrupted […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: An Opportunity Lost For Racing

More than 18 million households tuned in to NBC Sports to watch the Kentucky Derby on May 4. According to Sports Media Watch, the A.C. Nielsen ratings actually grew in the minutes after the race to 18.5 million households as stewards deliberated whether or not to disqualify Maximum Security from his apparent win. Controversy followed […]

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View From the Eighth Pole: Staying The Course At Santa Anita

(Editor’s note: On Monday afternoon, the California Horse Racing Board announced that Friday’s special meeting has been cancelled and that discussions about Santa Anita were being moved to the regularly scheduled CHRB meeting on April 18. The following was published prior to the cancellation of the meeting.) The California Horse Racing Board meets this Friday for […]

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Minnesota Racing Commission Responds To Paulick Commentary

In his “View From The Eighth Pole” commentary published on March 11, Paulick Report publisher Ray Paulick took issue with how the Minnesota Racing Commission has handled methamphetamine positives in recent years, including the case of a trainer who had two methamphetamine violations in a four-year period. The editorial, “Regulatory Fairness Left in the Starting […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: The Disappearing Iron Horse

I recently took a trip down memory lane with Tom Durkin, the race caller who worked the announcer’s booth for the Breeders’ Cup’s inaugural running at Hollywood Park in 1984 and didn’t relinquish the microphone until after the 2005 edition, when the telecast moved from NBC to ESPN. Durkin gave fans a chance to relive […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: Horseplayers Deserve Better From Stewards And Regulators

My phone started blowing up Sunday afternoon, shortly after the fourth race at Gulfstream Park was run. There were calls, emails, text messages and Twitter comments imploring me to watch jockey Tony Maragh on a horse named Musical Heart. The 3-year-old gelding by Maclean’s Music, owned by Joseph Bucci and trained by Aubrey Maragh, finished […]

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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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