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 Features

Featured stories from our publication.  For archived features, click here.

Start-Up Life: Owner/breeder Dorman takes Determined Stud to next level

Matt Dorman’s best day as a handicapper came at the 2015 Breeders’ Cup, when he hit the pick four. Found (Ire), 6-1 winner of the Turf-G1, helped fuel the big payout and Dorman remembered that day as he signed for a $300,000 yearling filly out of Found’s full-sister at Keeneland September last year.

State of Play: West Virginia stallions cover all angles as breeding season arrives

You might as well start at the beginning. A conversation about West Virginia-based stallions starts with Fiber Sonde.

The 16-year-old will stand his 13th season at John McKee and Cyndy O’Bannon’s Beau Ridge Farm in Kearneysville, and will no doubt be in demand again given that he led pretty much every statistical category in 2020 and held his own in the region and beyond with 53 individual winners from 96 starters. The half-brother to $90,000 Kentucky stallion Speightstown will stand for $1,000. McKee knows that’s a bargain, but also manages his stallion’s book carefully.

Federal Future: Racing must learn to live with new law

First, it’s 65 pages. Second, it’s full of formal, legal and otherwise long-winded language that will test even an English teacher’s inner voice, but United States Senate Bill 4547 – the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 – brings vast change to the country’s racing industry.

Equistar, Eckenrode find niche in Pennsylvania

Rodney Eckenrode considers Equistar Training and Breeding a work in progress.

The full-service operation in the southeastern Pennsylvania township of Annville not far from Penn National Race Course opened its doors in 2004 and heads into the 2021 breeding season as one of the Keystone State’s top stud farms. Equistar stands five stallions, including Pennsylvania legend Smarty Jones, and offers a multitude of services from foaling and boarding to breaking, training and layups.

Force of the Filly: Swiss Skydiver proves resolute in history-making score for McPeek

Kenny McPeek held the hose in one hand, the shank in the other. Water splished and splashed this way and that. As her trainer talked and unwrapped mint after mint, Swiss Skydiver just stood there, like a lead pony, somebody’s foxhunter, maybe a veteran turf horse trying to make one more start before the autumn weather went the wrong way.

Working Man’s Horse: Laki comes through for Dilodovico in De Francis

Two minutes to post in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes-G3 on Preakness Day at Pimlico and Damon Dilodovico is busy, really busy. A military honor guard is coming through the paddock with the Woodlawn Vase – one of the most valuable trophies in sports with an estimated replacement value of $4 million – and Dilodovico is at least partly responsible for the timing of the live television show going out to millions. He gets instructions through an earpiece, relays updates through a microphone. The honor guard, and the 30-pound trophy are early. Dilodovico tells them to wait, organizes a table (a grateful soldier shakes out his arms) and lets his bosses know it’s all under control.

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