Monday, October 3, 2011

The Beginning

Welcome to the website of a new collaborative endeavor, TURF. What you will find here is essentially a hub, or portal to the individual websites of an international group of horse racing bloggers who write on all aspects of the sport—breeding/bloodstock analysts, racehorse owners and trainers, performance and medical experts, photographers, handicappers, fans and historians. Our common bond: a profound love for the sport of horse racing, the individuals involved and—most importantly—the horse.

In case you missed it this past week:

In preparation for “Super Saturday,” racing historian Kevin Martin (Colin’s Ghost) made a compelling argument for why the Jockey Club Gold Cup is historically America’s greatest race while Teresa Genaro (Brooklyn Backstretch) outlined why the great Kelso was “the most successful gelding of all.” Ah, the good old days! When the JCGC was run at two miles—and Kelso won it five consecutive years. Esteemed pedigree guru Sid Fernando explored how the decline of stamina in American racing has impacted the breeding shed. On the West Coast, Chris Hernandez (Giving My Ten Cents) previewed the G3 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes on Santa Anita’s opening day; Anthony Falbo (The Turk) picked apart Saturday’s G1 stakes at Santa Anita—and then came back to evaluate his analysis. Owner Ted Grevelis (Owning Racehorses) did the same kind of self-evaluation after moving his mare Tabby Lane up in class at Remington Park.

With the international racing world’s focus on Longchamps, particularly Sunday’s running of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, both French-based trainer Gina Rarick (Gallop France) and New York racing/politics pundit Alan Mann (Left at The Gate) regaled us with on-track tales of the Arc, while Bill Pressey (ThoroEdge) rightly predicted a new Arc stakes record (although not quite from favorite So You Think). Hoof specialist Fran Jurga (Hoof Blog/The Jurga Report) also posted 10 outstanding videos of French horse racing commercials—some hysterically funny, others profoundly beautiful. She also addressed the more serious issue of illegal immigration—namely this week’s admission by Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee that he had once worked illegally in Canada as a racetrack horseshoer.

In Asia, Japanese-based photographer Kate Hunter (Keiblog) previewed this past weekend’s Group 1 Sprinters Stakes (she’s also the go-to gal for news about champion Silver Charm who stands stud in Japan); Alastair Middleton (perhaps better known by his nom de guerre, Gyongmaman) continued his excellent coverage of racing on the Korean peninsula with the final leg of the Korean Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup.

Woodbine insider Keith McCalmont (Triple Dead Heat) put together a moving, richly illustrated farewell to the recently-retired Rahy’s Attorney. Gene Kershner (EquiSpace) noted the unexpected passing of Tim “Tiznow” Reynolds and efforts by ThoroFan to establish a memorial fund to support the educational future of his surviving 8-year-old daughter. The Turk also provided a moving tribute to his friend, including details of the Tim “Tizway” Memorial run at Charles Town on Friday.

As always in this sport, it was a week of astonishing high points—Arc winner Danedream shattering the course record, Havre de Grace cruising in the G1 Beldame, Uncle Mo crushing the G2 Kelso, beloved warrior Awesome Gem just falling short of catching Game on Dude in the G1 Goodwood. It was also heart-breaking—the deaths of Banned and Fleet Indian, the shocking performance by Blind Luck in the G1 Lady’s Secret, the fatal on-track heart attack suffered by AUS-G1 Golden Slipper victress Crystal Lily, and the retirements of Life at Ten and Cape Blanco. It can be a brutal game, but as in life, you take the good with the bad—just hopefully not in the same measure.

This week, with the big event just a month or so away, our individual blogs will be linked by a common theme: the Breeders’ Cup. We won’t spoil the surprise, but suffice to say you’ll being hearing updates on old favorites, analysis about what to be looking forward to in Louisville, and, of course, some contentious criticism of the event. Look for updates here on individual blog postings, read up on our founding members and our members’ blogs, friend us on Facebook and most definitely follow our individual bloggers on Twitter for handicapping and racing commentary.

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