Category Archives: retirements

I died a little inside…

This is not really news, but damn I wish I hadn’t read it:

Raven’s Pass retired today to stud in Ireland

I’m actually a little surprised they didn’t try to race him in the DWC.  At least give him one start as an older horse.  Jess JAckson is looking like a saint right about now.

Leave a comment

Filed under RAven's Pass, retirements

Thank You, Mr. Bush

Thank You, Sincerely, Mr. Bush

Alysheba, 1987 KY Derby Winner, 88 Breeders Cup Classic winner, will return to the US.

Alysheba, 1987 KY Derby Winner, '88 Breeders' Cup Classic winner, will return to the US.


I thank Mr. Bush every day, believe it or not.  Usually, it is for some dumb thing the government has done, or for the latest war fatality.  But today I learned something that I must sincerely, no joke, thank Mr. Bush for his involvement.

First, some background:

In 2000, ALYSHEBA, ’87 KY Derby and ’88 BC Classic champion , an iron horse of the 80s, was sold to Saudi Arabia to stand at stud.  While his many fans were sad to see him go, it was a quiet journey to a mysterious land.  Not many updates came out of Saudi Arabia, but fans were content that he was getting the best care. 

In 2002, news shocked the racing world that the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand had been murdered in a Japanese slaughterhouse.  The horse was also a Breeders’ Cup classic winner and fan favorite.  No one had been notified that the big red son of Nijinski II (the 1970 English TC winner) had completed his sire career.  Nobody knew that he had been sold for mere pennies to the kill buyers.  His American owners were outraged that they had not been given the opportunity to bring Ferdinand back to the states for a proper retirement.

Fans immediately began checking in with their favorite classic winners standing overseas.  Most of them were doing fine, and the foreign stud farms were put ON NOTICE that any American horse had BETTER be returned to the US.

Many such champions were returned, like Gato Del Sol, or the stable full who have been retired to Old Friends.  But still no word from Alysheba.

Yesterday’s top story was that finally, ALYSHEBA is coming home!!!

And it is all due to President Bush’s state visit to the Middle East.  According to the article linked above, Bush visited King Abdullah’s stables and was shown Alysheba.  Surprisingly, Bush recognized the horse’s name and accomplishment. 

Bush presented the king with an ornate western saddle, which inspired his Highness to return the favor.  It is an awesome gift, and a tribute to all of the fans and friends of the horse. 

Oh yeah, Alysheba will live out his days at the KENTUCKY HORSE PARK, in John Henry’s old stall.

Alysheba broke old John’s earnings record with his ’88 BC Classic win, and he was ridden by Chris McCarron. 

The ’88 Classic was the 2nd one in which Alysheba competed.  He was 2nd in the 1987 Classic as a 3yo – the older horse who beat him was Ferdinand.

Thank you, Mr. Bush.

Leave a comment

Filed under Breeders' Cup, retirements


Big Brown suffered this career-ending hoof injury Monday morning during a workout.  Photo from

The Crack Heard 'Round the Track: Big Brown suffered this career-ending hoof injury Monday morning during a workout. Photo from

Breaking news that I am not surprised about but still hoped I wouldn’t hear :

BIG BROWN was injured during a turf workout at Belmont and will not race in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. 

Now the big showdown for Horse of the Year is shot and I won’t be surprised if Curlin opts out, too.  Of course, I hope J Jackson and S Asmussen go ahead and run the champ, since he is already out there in Cali.  Curlin also worked beautifully on the Pro-Ride this afternoon. 

With Brown out, the race takes a differnet turn pace-wise.  There are no quick early speed ponies definite for the race, except for maybe Casino Drive.  CD won his first start in Japan wire-to-wire, but in his subsequent 2 starts has settled off the pace.  Bobby Frankel hasn’t committed Mast Track to the classic, but he may change his mind after today.  Well Armed, winner of the Goodwood, could go in classic as well and would be a pace setter, and could be a dangerous one if he gets an easy lead.  Pace makes the race is what the old fogies like to harp, but it really is important for those deep closing horses like Tiago, who I was liking as a 2nd choice for my exactas. 

Go Between will have home track advantage as well and recently posted a nice workout.  The pre-entries come out thursday, so I will have a better grasp of who to expect by then.  Until then, let’s take a moment to remember the career of BIG BROWN!

I attended this year’s Kentucky Derby, and here is what I wrote back then, on May 4, on myspace:

First Up: BIG BROWN.  I said it all month long to anyone who’d listen: He’s either a freak or a flop, and he declared his membership in the FREAK Fraternity with his authoritative victory.  He started from the grandstand and took back just off the easy pace set by Bob Black Jack & Cowboy Cal, then unleashed a furious rally off the final turn, streaking by Eight Belles to win by 4.5.  From the Infield backstretch, I didn’t see him at all when the field stampeded past.  I caught a brief glimpse of the colt when the horses warmed up before the post.  They galloped around to the backside for a minute or two, and through my binocs I saw him, Eight Belles, Monba, Colonel John & Adriano.  Big Brown was impressive in scope and size even from my horrible vantage point.  He has outrun his experience and pedigree this far, so I am excited to see what his fate will be in the rest of the Triple Crown. 

Big Brown caused a sensation this spring the likes of which I won’t soon forget, from his trash-talking trainer to the UPS sponsorship.  It is only a shame that we won’t be able to see him race as an older horse.  If he was sound, he would have been incredible – can you see him at the Dubai World Cup?  In the Jockey Club Gold Cup?  IEAH thinks big & Brown actually liked the grass- if he was sound, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see them get a little closer to the Arc than other horses herewith unnamed;-) 

But that is the other side of things.  Big Brown will not retire sound & battled hoof problems his entire brief career.  Is that really a trait we want passed along?

1 Comment

Filed under Big Brown, Breeders' Cup, Kentucky Derby, retirements