• 1 Den Mother: Holden makes it work at Country Life
  • 2 Patience rules in racing’s longest game
  • 3 Ineluctability
  • 4 Hard decisions at San Luis Rey
  • 5 Oscar and Ozzie
  • 6 Twill Do
  • 7 Back in 
the Game: Three new stallions at Bonita 
join crowd in Maryland
  • 8 Recipe 
for Tears: Three-year-old filly Crabcakes comes through
in Maryland Million Distaff for Houghton family
  • 9 Ben’s Cat, 
one more time, with feeling
  • 10 Holy Land: New Jersey’s Westampton Farm offers regional training option
  • Den Mother: Holden makes it work at Country Life

    The first assignment Christy Holden was given when she showedup to work at Country Life Farm as a 15-year-old may have sealed her future. “Josh Pons handed me a piece of paper, a pen and a thermometer and told me to go out in the field and take the temperatures of the foals,” Holden, now 48 and general manager of Country Life and Merryland farms in Maryland, remembers on a cold, snowy morning early in 2018.
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  • Patience rules in racing’s longest game

    Where are the mares? Last month, the magazine featured an article on the region’s stallions – pointing to at least nine new names – and the excitement of the various farms about the possibilities.
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  • Ineluctability

    Ineluctability. Now that’s a word you don’t hear every day. It means inevitability; something not to be avoided or resisted. It’s also the official Jockey Club name of the now 31-year-old gelding adopted by Fran Burns 16 years ago. She calls him Ben, but the literal meaning of his registered name couldn’t have been more prophetic.
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  • Hard decisions at San Luis Rey

    Fourmatt would have outrun the flames, and been at least a half-mile away in 44 seconds. Owhata Chief would have smelled the smoke a week ahead of time and simply walked out of the barn, by himself, and built a new life. No Way Tom would have walked circles in his stall – that’s all he ever did –  and probably created some sort of protective vortex. Rollicking Run would have waited in her stall – calm, polite, patient to a fault. Her neighbor Lovely Duckling would have run through the back wall of her stall and cow-kicked the first person she encountered. Odd Man would have tunneled out of the barn, then run back in to try to rescue the feed cart. The fire at San Luis Rey Downs training center in California last month struck with such speed, force and danger that trainers and grooms turned horses loose as a last resort. Like plenty of other people in racing, I saw harrowing video of herds of panicked horses galloping through the stable area, read accounts of missing horses and heard tales of heroic efforts to save horses.
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  • Oscar and Ozzie

    My husband passed away seven years ago, so it’s just me now. But I keep referring to ‘we.’ This is our farm; we bought it when we first got married.” It would be nearly impossible for Robin Townsend to relay any account of her life with Thoroughbreds without referring to Donald Townsend. And the story of two special homebreds has the late Maryland trainer written all over it.
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  • Twill Do

    It all started with $700. That’s what Joseph Magner spent at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic’s Winter Mixed Sale in December 2000. The seven bills bought him a Yarrow Brae weanling colt bred in Maryland by Tom and Chris Bowman from the Wild Again mare A Little Wild. And the chain of events that transpired over the next 17 years became the unusual and amazing tale of Twill Do.
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  • Back in 
the Game: Three new stallions at Bonita 
join crowd in Maryland

    When first-year stallion Norumbega died last June from colic, Bonita Farm’s Bill Boniface considered the prospects of starting over – again – and talked himself out of it. “This is the end,” he said of Bonita’s stallion program. The Darlington, Md., farm stood Etched, but the stallion wasn’t proving to be a commercial success and he would soon be sold to Korea. The aging Mojave Moon, pensioned and reduced to the role of teaser, would keep the stone stallion barn from being empty but Bonita had stood its last stallion.
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  • Recipe 
for Tears: Three-year-old filly Crabcakes comes through
in Maryland Million Distaff for Houghton family

    Bernie Houghton grew up a farm boy in Maryland and Pennsylvania, rode hundreds of steeplechase races, went skydiving. He’s nobody’s sissy, but even he struggled with his emotions after Crabcakes won the Maryland Million Distaff at Laurel Park Oct. 21.
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  • Ben’s Cat, 
one more time, with feeling

    Tractors rumbled, birds chirped and the sun tried to warm a chilly November morning. Next to the historic Laurel Park paddock, 100 or so fans gathered to salute one of Maryland’s grandest Thor­oughbreds – the wondrous Ben’s Cat – one more time. The people wore orange ties, orange jackets, orange sweatshirts and sweaters, orange scarves, orange hats, orange fleeces, even orange lipstick – all for Ben’s Cat, who did more for orange than Tropicana. Flying owner/trainer/breeder King T. Leatherbury’s orange and white silks, the nearly black gelding made 63 starts, won 32, earned $2.6 million, collected four Maryland-bred Horse of the Year titles. Along the way, he won fans, stopped a few hearts with photo-finish wins (and rare losses) and became an equine celebrity. He died in July, less than a month after being retired. Colic got him, after eight seasons of racing didn’t.
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  • Holy Land: New Jersey’s Westampton Farm offers regional training option

    Horsemen often seek a little divine intervention when it comes to the health and success of their Thoroughbreds. It can come through prayer, a rosary hung from a rear-view mirror, a small statue or picture in a tack room, or even a St. Christopher’s medal tucked under a saddle, like classic winner Smarty Jones often carried.
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Post Time

  • Dashing Through The Snow

    Dashing Through The Snow

    While not quite as fast as the 1970s Pennsylvania-bred legend, this red fox kept pace just fine during a December snowstorm at Parx Racing.
  • Hunting Party

    Hunting Party

    Maryland’s Green Spring Valley Hounds head out for their 125th Opening Day in November.
  • HORSES IN THE MIST

    HORSES IN THE MIST

    The equine life at Shamrock Farm in Woodbine, MD., took on an ethereal look on a September Morning. Photo by Christie Steele
  • 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
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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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Say It Again

  • "Oh, thirty-five hundred? Never thought of that."
    Auctioneer Joseph Mast Settling for for a bid at Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic
  • "Ice cream...ice cream..."
    Parx Racing Employee Pushing the steam cleaner around the paddock between races
  • "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
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Popular Stories

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Connections

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