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Sports Then and Now



Devon Loch Grand National Disaster, 1956 1

Posted on April 14, 2017 by Christina Sommers

Horse-1The day ought to have been another cheerful competition, but destiny had its way by adding an additional Grand National event into the books of history. It was in 1956 with a horse named Devon Loch owned by HM Queen Elizabeth. The name of the Rider was Dick Francis and these characters all made up this historical event.

Dick And The Scars Of Devon Loch

Horse-2Irrespective of having 2 former champions and a forthcoming champion in the steeplechase on this very day, Devon Loch was favored for showing his capability by winning two times that year and being a third runner-up at the Cheltenham that same season. Just as one would have hoped to predict from the horse racing grand national – everything was adding up for a blow at the trophy. There came a boost for his headway when two of the people’s favorites stumbled – leaving just M’as-tu-vu at the forefront and Devon coming sound somewhere in the middle. This horse didn’t encounter any difficulty getting past these obstacles except for when trying to diverge to pass a horse that collapsed before him during the opening circuit. Read the rest of this entry →

Outlander Poised in Strong Position for Cheltenham 0

Posted on March 02, 2017 by Luis Aureliano
Outlander has looked strong in the events leading up to Chetlenham on March 17th.

Outlander has looked strong in the events leading up to Chetlenham on March 17th.

With the Cheltenham Races drawing closer each day, people are taking strong notice of the various horses set to run. The races always draw a big crowd of course, but it’s also one of the most popular times for placing bets. With the Bet365 Cheltenham non-runner no bet offer, at least you know you’re guaranteed to get a refund if your horse doesn’t end up running.

So, who is looking good this year? One horse that is standing out as an early contender is Outlander.

Could Outlander Take Top Spot?

Of course, nothing is for certain, but with the race taking place on March 17 it makes sense to start looking at favourites. Many are calling Outlander as the main contender in the race, and he is believed to be able to beat both Don Poli and Empire Of Dirt, who just so happen to be his stablemates. Owned by Michael O’Leary, he sees the horse as their “main chance” at winning the cup as well.

It’s making it much easier for race watchers, and Outlander’s owner, to make these bold statements thanks to the fact that Outlander trains in the same yard as the other top contenders – Empire Of Dirt and Don Poli. It’s easy to make comparisons when they are sharing space and training at the same time.

Outlander is also coming off a career-best performance that happened during Christmas as the Lexus Chase when he won. Obviously, that puts him and his team in a very confident position heading into Cheltenham. As for the odds, right now the nine year old horse is sitting at 14-1 odds heading into the Gold Cup race.

Now despite his odds at looking good for Cheltenham, he won’t run at Aintree. Read the rest of this entry →

American Pharoah Proves That History Can Be Repeated 1

Posted on June 06, 2015 by Dean Hybl
American Pharoah is the first horse racing Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

American Pharoah is the first horse racing Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

After 37 years and many close calls, it might have been fair to believe that horse racing in the 21st Century was not destined for a Triple Crown winner. However, that was before American Pharoah did what 13 previous horses could not since Affirmed in 1978 and added victory at the Belmont Stakes to wins at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

With his wire-to-wire victory, American Pharoah is now the 12th member of an impressive club that began with Sir Barton in 1919 and also includes well known horses including Secretariat, Affirmed, Citation, Whirlaway and War Admiral.

While much has been made of the 37 year drought, perhaps the real number to indicate just how challenging it is to win the Triple Crown is that American Pharoah is just the fourth winner in the last 67 years. In fact, if you set aside the anomaly between 1973 and 1978 when there were three Triple Crown winners in a six year stretch, American Pharoah accomplished what 20 horses had not been able to complete since Citation in 1948.

That both jockey Victor Espinoza (twice) and trainer Bob Baffert (three times) had been in this position previously gave both of them an interesting perspective and understanding of the pressure and extra demands surrounding a run for the Triple Crown.

Of course, the different component of the equation in 2015 was the horse and American Pharoah proved that he was up to the challenge. That he headed right to the front and then stayed there throughout, actually growing his lead over the final quarter mile, illustrated that he was indeed a champion worthy of immortality. Read the rest of this entry →

Horse Racing in Kentucky: An Upgrade in Tradition 0

Posted on April 03, 2015 by Ashley Andrews
Churchill Downs is the most famous horse track in America.

Churchill Downs is the most famous horse track in America.

Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky is one of the most recognizable track names in the U.S. Opening in 1875, this über famous racetrack has been the home of the Kentucky Derby and Oats ever since the race’s founding, and many other races throughout history. The closing of two earlier tracks in Kentucky paved the way for Churchill Downs to replace them in a major way. As one of the most popular sports at the time, Kentucky needed a horse racing track, and a man named Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. delivered. The track is actually named after the men who leased the land to Clark, John and Henry Churchill.

By 1902, Churchill Downs came under the control of a man named Matt Winn, who turned the track into a prestigious display of thoroughbred racing, steering away from its late-1800s reputation of being a gambling site. Being a 1 ¼ mile track, Winn and his business partners decided to use the track for more than just horses. They built a clubhouse, and began using the facility for things like auto racing and concerts. The reputation, sophistication, and discernment of Churchill Downs came to full realization when it was officially staked as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

Today, the track is still home of the most famous horse races in North America, and continues to expand its capabilities and pliability by introducing events like night horse races, concert tours, and state fairs. The track has reached a total size of 147 acres, far exceeding its original size of 80 acres. This allows for the 150,000 attendants of the Derbies, especially the Kentucky Derby, and the sizable crowds that come for the 360° cinema. Read the rest of this entry →

American Horse Racing Through the Years 0

Posted on August 18, 2014 by Eva Thompson
The horse racing industry in the United States brings in over $26 billion each year.

The horse racing industry in the United States brings in over $26 billion each year.

Horse racing provides a full spectrum of entertainment unlike any other sport. Whether your horse wins or loses, spending a day at the races makes for a great afternoon or evening outdoors watching beautiful animals compete.

The Tradition of Horse Racing
Horse racing has been a long standing tradition among many cultures. The sport dates back all the way to 4500 BC among nomadic tribesmen in Central Asia, who first domesticated horses. Archeological records reveal that the Ancient Greeks, Syrians, Babylonians, and Egyptians also participated in horse racing to entertain the masses and honor outstanding horsemanship required for battles. Later horse racing became popular among British royalty and aristocracy where it received the nickname “Sport of Kings”.

These days, horse racing represents one of the only legal forms of gambling around the world, including Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, the United States, South America, the Middle East, and Australia. Read the rest of this entry →

Two Big Reds That Lost Big at Saratoga 5

Posted on August 11, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Now that the calendar has turned to August, the eyes of the racing world have turned to the historic Saratoga Race Course in beautiful Saratoga Springs, N.Y. This town is wonderful to visit any time of the year, but it really springs to life during the summer racing meet, when top thoroughbreds converge to compete in top-quality races.

Saratoga has been hosting summer races since 1863, and over the years it has become known as the “graveyard of champions.” This refers to the fact that many times, horses that seemed invincible went down in stunning defeat. Although races like these can lead to huge payoffs for bettors, it comes at great expense to champion horses. Two of these horses share that history and also the nickname of Big Red. They were Man ‘o War and Secretariat.

Man o’ War Melts

 

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Man o’ War was a stunning chestnut colt who raced in the years 1919 and 1920. When he competed in the Sanford Stakes for 2-year-olds on Aug. 13, 1919, his reputation was already such that he seemed a lock to win. His previous six victories were so impressive that it seemed it was impossible for him to lose. In fact, this was the only race that he ever would lose in his entire racing career.

Starting gates were not used at this time, and starters had to make sure horses were properly lined up behind a tape barrier and ready to race. Unfortunately for Man o’ War, the tape was sprung when he was apparently backing up. Essentially, he was left at the start. Read the rest of this entry →

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