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Stud Notes: Old Faithfuls

We live in a world where there are so few things we can really count on: the proverbial death and taxes, of course. And Old Faithful, the reliable geyser in Yellowstone that erupts every ninety minutes, to the awe and admiration of tourists who don’t realize they’re standing on a spot that may explode into magma and boulders and unbreathable ash at any moment. But in the thoroughbred world, there are some stallions that can be counted on, and Thursday, May 17, exemplified that. Let’s start with Curlin, twice Horse of the Year, who had fallen on hard times just a few years ago, not producing runners as expected.

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Twelve Years On. Barbaro Remembered. The Triple Crown Winner That Should Have Been.

Barbaro1Saturday May 6th 2006. It was the day I saw the Kentucky Derby won by the horse who was going to become the first Triple Crown winner in 29 years. The unbeaten, stunningly handsome, bright bay beauty Barbaro completely laughed at his Derby competition, as he trounced the field by a facile 6 1/2 lengths. It was immediately clear that this was a creature who was on a very different level to the three previous gallant Triple Crown contenders I had flown across the country from California to Belmont Park to cheer on. And Barbaro's running style and physique told me that the mile and a half of the Belmont Stakes would be a positive, not a negative. This fella had Triple Crown Winner stamped all over him.

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Stud Notes: Declaration of War and other sons of War Front

Like Giant’s Causeway before him, Declaration of War stood his first season at stud at Coolmore Ireland before being imported by Coolmore America, where he stands for $25,000, stands and nurses. And again, like Giant’s Causeway, whose only European crop yielded the champion Shamardal, Declaration of War’s European crop has yielded a Two-Year-Old Champion Colt and now a Group One classic winner, Olmedo. On Sunday, May 13, Olmedo won the Poule d’Essai des Poulains-G1 at Longchamps, just outside of Paris, to cement his reputation after winning the Prix du Jockey Club-G1 as a two-year-old and being named French Champion.

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Supreme Court Knocks Down PASPA, Monmouth Park Wins Right to Sports Betting

After nearly seven years of legal wrangling, Monmouth Park Racetrack has won its right to sports betting after the Supreme Court announced this morning that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional. “This is the culmination of the hard-work and dedication of a large group of individuals, all of whom contributed to today’s victory and will undoubtedly contribute to our future success,” said Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, operators of Monmouth Park. “We started this fight back in 2012 and are grateful that the Supreme Court has recognized that we’ve been right all along. We can now shift our focus on commencing sports betting, which will be off and running at Monmouth Park as soon as possible.

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Stud Notes: Will Take Charge’s First Winner

First, the disclaimer: I am in love with Will Take Charge. I loved him on the track, and then, when I saw him in the flesh at Three Chimneys Farm shortly after his retirement, he took my breath away. I could have looked at him all day. He’s a large horse, with tons of bone, and that amazing head and white face: both handsome and pretty, the only horse I can think of that can embody both the masculine and feminine ideals of beauty.

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Stud Notes: Notable Firsts (and Seconds!)

The very fast Cross Traffic, who stands at Spendthrift Farm, in Lexington, Kentucky, for $7500 stands and nurses, was represented by his first winner, Dreaming Diamonds. Out of the D’Wildcat mare Xuniel (and representing, therefore, the tried and true Unbridled’s Song/Storm Cat cross), Dreaming Diamonds took a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs by 3 ¼ lengths on Thursday, May 3.

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No Nonsense Australian Racing Authorities Show Zero Tolerance for Cheating With Lifetime "Milkshaking" Bans

Upon reviewing one US jurisdiction's rules of racing, in this example, the California Horse Racing Board's rules, the penalty for a licensed trainer caught for a first "Milkshaking" event is a 30 day suspension plus a fine. A second offence - 60 days plus a fine. And if the trainer is found "Milkshaking" a third time? The penalty is a 90 day ban plus a fine - with a maximum imposable suspension of 365 days in the presence of "aggravating factors".

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Ghostzapper's Wonderful Derby Weekend!

Amidst the pomp and pageantry and bitten fingernails of Derby/Oaks weekend, with Justify shining in the slop and Monomoy Girl fighting like a tigress down the stretch, one stallion quietly racked up wins: Ghostzapper. The sire of both Proctor’s Ledge, the winner of the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Mile and Holy Helena, the winner of the Sheepshead Bay S.-G2 at Belmont, Ghostzapper completed his superfecta when American Gal, out of the Ghostzapper mare American Story, won the Humana Distaff S.-G1 at Churchill, not to mention the hero of the day, as splendid a horse as you will ever see, Justify, being out of a Ghostzapper mare.

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Stud Notes: Kentucky Derby Retrospective

This year’s very strong, exciting Kentucky Derby field was marked, as well, by the supremacy of certain sires to a surprising degree. What were the odds that nearly half of the field would be comprised of the get of three stallions? Scat Daddy, sire of the winner, Curlin, sire of the second placed horse, and Medaglia d’Oro, whose promising offspring failed to impress. What’s no surprise is that these three stallions are leaders in three-year-old earnings as well.

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The Perfect (Imaginary) Derby Horse

I was a writer of fiction first, novels and short stories, and for a long time, this line of work supported my Thoroughbred habit, until that habit became a full-time job, more interesting to me than writing fiction. I do, however, like to make things up—characters, worlds, fantasies, metaphors. I have a vivid imagination. So it occurred to me—why not create the perfect, imaginary Kentucky Derby contender?

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The Interviews: Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer Graham Motion

GrahamMotion Kentucky Derby, Dubai World Cup and multiple stakes winning trainer Graham Motion moved to the US from his native England in 1980. Since starting to train in 1993 Graham's horses have won more than 2000 races and over $100 million in purses. Graham talked to Thoroughbred People about the Fair Hill training center where he is based, Derby winner Animal Kingdom, the legendary Better Talk Now and his training career so far.

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Stud Notes: Malibu Moon

What’s not to love about Malibu Moon? Perhaps his curmudgeonly displeasure at open house stallion shows at Spendthrift, where viewers are warned not to pet or offer fingers to the old man, now 21. But currently at number eight on the leading stallions list, with his Magnum Moon considered the favorite for the upcoming Kentucky Derby, and his sons turning into sires themselves, he seems a bargain at $75,000, while the Tapits and War Fronts of the world are priced far higher. Malibu Moon has already sired a Kentucky Derby winner, Orb, and his list of graded stakes winning sons and daughters takes over his page in the Stallion Register.

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