• 1 Big hurdles 
on the horizon for jump racing
  • 2 Won Mugg
  • 3 Ben’s Cat leaves us all wondering why
  • 4 La Reine’s Terms
  • 5 McDynamo
  • 6 Loose Horse: Ben’s Cat gone too soon
  • 7 Don’t fumble racing’s future
  • 8 The Big Hurt-Horses do their parts to ease pain after injury to champion jockey Paddy Young
  • 9 Sundown 
at Pimlico
  • 10 Fickle Fate
  • Big hurdles 
on the horizon for jump racing

    Back when Steeplechase Times was a thing, we used to write like this. If the jump game needed a reminder, a prodding, a nudge, an awakening, Steeplechase Times provided it. Sometimes, people agreed. Sometimes, they went crazy. This time. . . I don’t know, but here goes. To put it simply, jump racing needs new ideas, new people, new horses, new racing opportunities. Going it alone with little to no revenue from wagering, the National Stee­plechase Association, its race meets and host racetracks somehow offer about $6 million in prize money each year. That’s actually staggering when you think about it – what would flat racing’s purses be without wagering? – but total purses arent’ really the problem. Opportunity is.
    Read More
  • Won Mugg

    The story of Liz Currey Silva and Won Mugg started with a chance encounter in a tack store around 15 years ago. Silva, then in her early 20s, had a small operation retraining off-the-track Thoroughbreds for eventing. While on staff at Bit of Britain, a local saddlery in Oxford, Pa., she was approached by trainer Wendy Kinnamon, who wanted to know if Silva knew of anyone who’d like a job galloping racehorses.
    Read More
  • Ben’s Cat leaves us all wondering why

    You can always train the other guy’s horse. That’s what my father says whenever anyone second-guesses someone else’s handling of a horse, a child, a sports team, a business, pretty much anything. It’s easy to question decisions from the sidelines, difficult to actually make decisions in the barn or on the field or in the executive chair.
    Read More
  • La Reine’s Terms

    To Mid-Atlantic racegoers, he was a familiar sight. From early 1998 until October 2005, La Reine’s Terms went to the post 40 times in the recognizable black and gold silks of his owners/breeders, Howard and Sondra Bender. He ended up in the winner’s circle on 16 of those occasions, and by the time he headed into his well-earned retirement, he won 10 stakes, was graded stakes-placed and had bankrolled $804,591.
    Read More
  • McDynamo

    Goodie, Frisky and Mickey D. One is a now-white Welsh Cob type “somewhere between 30 and 40 years old.” That’s Goodie. Frisky, the smallest one, is a sleek black Lear jet who regularly devastates fields on the local pony racing circuit. And the third, a tall bay, is a living legend. Mickey D, you see, is McDynamo. And all three are irreplaceable family members at trainer Sanna Neilson’s 25-acre homestead in Cochranville, Pa. “He likes everything the same,” groom and caretaker Karen Andress said of the three-time Eclipse Award-winning steeplechaser. “He likes his routine. In the mornings all I have to do is whistle and he’ll come running around. I don’t have to go out here and holler and carry on.”
    Read More
  • Loose Horse: Ben’s Cat gone too soon

    Turned loose. All those times Ben’s Cat had risen like a ravenous black wave, gathering, menacing, consuming what hindered his path. His late-rushing gusto turned witnesses breathless and exhilarated, the outcomes confirming him a natural phenomenon. Turned loose. In the surreal shadows of stall 28, King Leatherbury’s Laurel Park barn, Fern Augusti made one last round on a warm June Wednesday turned stifling by its consequence. She ducked under the webbing, as she’d done a thousand times across nine years as his groom, prettied Ben’s Cat’s forelock and embraced him. It was time to let go.
    Read More
  • Don’t fumble racing’s future

    Shortly after the 2016 presidential election, I read a column about a foreigner’s view of American government. In short, the outsider compared our democracy to a football – as in we kick it back and forth from Republican to Democrat, liberal to conservative, world-view diplomat to hard-core nationalist and so on every four years. The conclusion was that maybe the country would be better off if democracy was treated like a Faberge egg – don’t kick it, cradle it like the fragile, delicate, valuable thing it is.
    Read More
  • The Big Hurt-Horses do their parts to ease pain after injury to champion jockey Paddy Young

    Sometimes, the horses just know. They must. Paddy Young, a five-time champion jockey closing in on his 200th American win (a figure reached by just nine people) and the dean of the colony, went down with a head injury at the Radnor Hunt Races May 20 – shocking his wife and children, fellow jockeys, racegoers and the sport. 
    Read More
  • Sundown 
at Pimlico

    We found ourselves in the gloaming, the twilight often summoned by Bill Nack in his racing stories to represent the awareness of time passing that doesn’t seem like a real thing until you find yourself in it. After the Woodlawn Vase had been presented for the 142nd Preakness Stakes, we hung around for the 14th race that followed because why hurry off from something you don’t want to see end?
    Read More
  • Fickle Fate

    Her name is Fickle Fate. It suits her, especially considering that the pensioned broodmare leads the life she does today because trainer Ann Merryman got her wires crossed 22 years ago when she went to the Keeneland September sale in 1995 to purchase a broodmare prospect for a client.  “I used my own discretion, but it turned out he didn’t want her,” she said. 
    Read More

2016MidAtlanticAuctionArt

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Post Time

  • See Horses

    See Horses

    A mare and foal find their reflections while getting a drink at Maryland’s Country Life Farm.
  • GHOSTS IN THE MIST

    GHOSTS IN THE MIST

    Announcer Dave Rodman must have had fun with this one. Thoroughbreds charge through the gloaming during a rainstorm at Laurel Park in July.
  • Galloping Ghost

    Galloping Ghost

    Retired MD-bred turf star Better Talk Now, who died of colic in June at age 18, puts in some work on a frosty turf course at Churchill Downs.
  • Taste Of Maryland

    Taste Of Maryland

    Lead pony rider Alena Marchant gets some refreshment on Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico.
  • Joys Of Spring

    Joys Of Spring

    A Malibu Moon colt out of Safe Journey – a half-brother to stakes winners Joy and O Dionysus – got caught up in the moment at Maryland’s Dark Hollow Farm while Mom enjoyed some spring grass.
  • Open Door Policy

    Open Door Policy

    The Mares (and Foals) at Country Life Farm were in view on a nighttime visit.
  • PEEK-A-BOO

    PEEK-A-BOO

    A Bonita Farm foal peeks around its mother Bay of Bengal during a late-winter visit. Photo by Anne L. Frederick
  • Fog Warning

    Fog Warning

    South Carolina’s Aiken Training Center was shrouded in mist during a winter training session.
  • Protect this fence

    Protect this fence

    Newly turned yearlings at Sagamore Farm line up for the camera (well, one clearly is distracted) during a short-lived January snow. Jocelyn Brooks photo.
  • Worm’s eye view

    Worm’s eye view

    Under a striking autumn sky, Spartianos and Luis Garcia battle for position late in the Maryland Million Turf at Laurel Park Oct. 22. They finished second to Phlash Phelps in the $125,000 race. Scott Serio/EclipseSportswire
  • Red Sky at Night

    Red Sky at Night

    Ghost Hunter looks all right before loading in the gate for the Presque Isle Mile at Presque Isle Downs Sept. 18. He ran his winning streak to five in the $200,000 stakes. Coady Photography.
  • The shadow

    The shadow

    Convey, a mare at the Safely Home division of Dark Hollow Farm in Upperco, Md., stops the camera of Lucas Richardson during a summer visit. Richardson, who turns 9 on Oct. 11, won a blue ribbon in the Maryland State Fair photo contest for the image – judged the best in the Animals (black and white) division for photographers under age 16.
  • Big Sky Country

    Big Sky Country

    Laurel Park does its best Montana impression as a runner heads back to the barn in August. Jim McCue photo.
  • Pony Ride

    Pony Ride

    The day after her 600th win, Maryland-based jockey Forest Boyce (right, aboard July 2015 Pensioner on Parade My Lord) leads out some Green Spring Valley Hounds pony camp riders June 20. Boyce was joined at the head of the group by Maryland Hunt Cup winner Liz McKnight. Carol Fenwick photo
  • Family Portrait

    Family Portrait

    Ben’s Cat heads to the Pimlico paddock accompanied by his half-brothers Pair (left, Doug Leatherman aboard) and Hound (Kerry Hohlbein).Lydia A. Williams photo.
  • Hey, It's a Maryland-bred

    Hey, It's a Maryland-bred

    Sister Keys showed off her day-old baby Purple Rain (in honor of Prince, of course) at Seven Dots Farm in Butler, Maryland. Anne Litz photo.
  • Senior Moment

    Senior Moment

    Hansel, who won the Preakness Stakes 25 years ago, enjoys a regal retirement at Lazy Lane Farms in Virginia. At 28, the Virginia-bred is the oldest North American classic winner. Champion 3-year-old of 1991, he won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes and earned more than $2.9 million for Lazy Lane and trainer Frankie Brothers. Douglas Lees photos
  • Final Salute

    Final Salute

    The New Castle County (Del.) Police Department's mounted patrol unit stands at attention at the funeral of Harford County Sheriff's Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey in February in Maryland.
  • Snow Angel

    Snow Angel

    Retired champion Declan's Moon enjoys a roll in the snow from the blizzard of 2016 at Maryland's Country Life Farm. Ellen B. Pons photo.
  • Dawn Patrol

    Dawn Patrol

    Training starts with the sun at Fair Hill Training Center, and all around the region. Kathee Rengert photo
  • The Last Gallop

    The Last Gallop

    The Last Gallop. Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah enjoys his morning work at Keeneland before the Breeders’ Cup. Lydia A. Williams photo
  • Where's Waldo

    Where's Waldo

    Trainer Shug McGaughey’s exercise riders at Fair Hill Training Center are dressed for Halloween, but could pass for Santa’s elves too. The horses don’t seem to care. Kathee Rengert photo
  • Sky Riders

    Sky Riders

    Paris Vegas (right) and Gnostic head back to be unsaddled after a flat race at the Shawan Downs steeplechase meet Sept. 26. Trained by Elizabeth Voss, the Maryland-based stablemates finished first and third, respectively, for jockeys Jack Doyle and Gus Dahl. Lydia A. Williams photo.
  • Flying solo.

    Flying solo.

    Millionaire Eighttofasttocatch, a 12-time stakes winner who retired from the track in December 2014 at age 8, shows off his new skill as an event horse, with a hot-air balloon as a backdrop, at the Maryland State Fair for rider Rumsey Keefe. ©Anne Litz Photo.
  • Fit for a King

    Fit for a King

    Monmouth Park went all out – including a custom-wrapped van – to welcome American Pharoah to the Haskell.
  • Smooth Sailing

    Smooth Sailing

    Madeline Murphy and Bonnie take a dip during the Green Spring Valley Hounds summer pony camp. Carol Fenwick photo.
  • Triple Vision

    Triple Vision

    American Pharoah sees all while getting a bath at Churchill Downs. Six days later, he became racing's 12th Triple Crown winner and first since 1978. Mary M. Meek/Eclipse Sportswire.
  • Sidesaddle

    Sidesaddle

    Sean McDermott hangs on to Choral Society at the Queens Cup in North Carolina. Tod Marks.
  • The Feet

    The Feet

    Hooves flash and fly on the turn at Laurel Park. Lydia A. Williams
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Top Midlantic-bred Poll with The Racing Biz

  • 3yos

    Irish War Cry (NJ) Unique Bella (PA) Fast and Accurate (PA) Bonus Points (MD) Moonlit Song (WV)
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A few days before this magazine went to press, I read an article by associate editor Cindy Deubler and thought about October.

The year’s 10th month includes the Maryland Million, the West Virginia Breeders Classics, the Far Hills Races, champion-ship races at Belmont Park, the first day of the Breeders’ Cup and plenty of other big events in Thoroughbred racing. Other than Triple Crown time and August in Saratoga, October might be racing’s most glossy postcard. 

joeclancy2But Deubler’s feature on the Foxie G Foundation and the plight of some Thoroughbreds it rescued, shoved aside the bright, shiny stuff for a moment.

We’ll run the article in a future magazine, but (in short) the foundation, a horse rescue created by Laurie Calhoun in Maryland, received a call two years ago about some neglected Thoroughbred mares. Their owner had acquired them for breeding purposes, planning to simply give away the foals in hopes of collecting breeder bonuses. It never really panned out. He didn’t follow the steps necessary for Jockey Club registration, he didn’t even plan for adequate care.

Ultimately, the owner came under scrutiny from authorities, charges were filed, the SPCA took in the horses and he was convicted of animal cruelty in Pennsylvania.

But that didn’t even cover all the horses he owned. There were more in Maryland in a similar plight. The result is a ghastly tale of Thoroughbreds left to fend for themselves in a field with no shelter, no visits from the blacksmith, no veterinary examinations and no care save for a sympathetic farmer who gave them some hay.

And that’s where Foxie G got involved. Some mares were pregnant. Some had foals by their sides. All were in need of food, shelter and basic care.

They needed human intervention, and got it.

Calhoun, her husband Jerry and a team of other Thoroughbred volunteers dove in. They didn’t wait for a study. They didn’t consider the economic impact. They didn’t appoint a spokesperson or schedule a meeting. They went to work.

They saved the horses they could, they did some investigative work to uncover pedigrees and race records, they contacted former owners, they worked with the foals, they found homes. Two years later, many are leading productive lives. A 2-year-old filly awaits Jockey Club approval to begin a racing career. A yearling colt was named grand champion Thoroughbred at the Maryland State Fair’s yearling show.

Remember the horses. I guess that’s the point of such a cautionary story.

They were bred for racing, for the sport. They can’t be abandoned. Owners and breeders must be responsible for the horses’ welfare. You can’t give your horse away and assume someone will care for it the way you did. You can’t simply wash your hands of an animal.

This magazine celebrates the Thoroughbred and the people who take part in racing’s big events. We get a chance to cover Thoroughbred majesty on the racetrack. We get the opportunity to profile ex-racehorses who get second chances in the Pensioners on Parade feature. We get to follow the career arcs of yearlings who top the sales, stallions who lead the standings, broodmares who produce winners.

But while you’re celebrating this month, think about Foxie G and all the other organizations doing good work out there. For theirs is a job that’s never finished.

The Foxie G Foundation holds its annual fundraiser Oct. 31, this year titled Witches, Whinnies and Whiskers. . .Oh My!, at Boordy Vineyards in Hydes, Md. Contact Laurie Calhoun at (301) 667-2553 for information.

Say It Again

  • "He was either going to have to fly on a plane by himself with a load of asparagus for $18,000 or we were going to wait for a full plane. So we opted out of the asparagus and waited."
    Trainer Elizabeth Voss On trying to get Modem (GB) over from Ireland
  • "It's like going after a bear with a stick."
    Trainer About running a longshot in a Saratoga Grade 1.
  • "He didn't know how to jump when he got here, he couldn't even jump a log on the ground, I don't know why, he was totally re-schooled."
    Trainer Jack Fisher About hurdle winner Moscato (GB) who raced over jumps in four times in England before being imported.
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Popular Stories

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Connections

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