• Distinctiv Passion is a sharp winner of the Midnight Lute Stakes Posted 1 hour ago
  • Divine Oath holds on for the win in the W.L. McknightPosted 2 hours ago
  • Speechify rolls late in the Mr. ProspectorPosted 2 hours ago
  •  Rise Up skips away in a sloppy WoodchopperPosted 2 hours ago
  • Irish Mission best in the La Prevoyante Posted 2 hours ago
  • Bayern ditches blinkers, breezes 4F in  :47.80 at Santa Anita (13/61)Posted 3 hours ago
  • Irish Jasper gets up for the win in the Gasparilla Posted 4 hours ago
  • California Chrome sports blinkers, covers 5F in 1:00.60 at Los Al (5/15)Posted 4 hours ago
  • Overcontrol announces himself with a strong debut performance at Gulfstream Posted 4 hours ago
  • Shared Belief refuses to lose in the Grade 1 Malibu! Posted 1 day ago

HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne


Older Comments...

Does anyone think they'll retire Secret Circle?
  • Mary Z. · Maybe. But, he had three big efforts after his layoff in 2014, so maybe not yet. Who knows what deals are in the works. · 15 minutes ago
What a performance by Bolo!!!! Drew away powerful to win the Eddie Logan, keep an eye on him, he will be a good one when he turns three
I have a question to pose. All I seem to read on this site is how people really love this horse or that horse and think they are very good horses but then they go and tear the horse down while building up a case for their "favorite". My question is why should I believe any of these three year old horses are better than average ability for a dirt horse? The fields they have faced when looking into their resumes are not strong. Bayern needs the race to go exactly his way or else he gives up. Not a trait I would like in my champion horse. California Chrome got hot in the earlier part of the year but then could not close the door when he needed to in the Fall and had to run against a poor field of turf runners to win a race. And Shared Belief seems steady enough but has not had that breakthrough race on dirt that you really want to see of an American Horse of the Year and a champion, and yet his field in the Malibu was classier than the turf race the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner ran in but Shared Belief's win has been less well received. And yet all these horses are considered better choices for Horse of the Year than a horse who defeated Flintshire who in my opinion is pounds better than any of the dirt horses running in your country as far as class is concerned. So, I would like to know what the three horses in the running for Horse of the Year have done to make them more worthy of that award than Main Sequence? And I do understand that dirt is the main surface of racing in the US.
  • tmallios via Disqus · There is no logic to the thought process. Main Sequence based on his record and the races he won is head and shoulders the obvious selection for top honors. Unfortunately for him he is a turf horse that is not named Wise Dan. The U.S. Media tends to Romanticize most and all races. They neglect to realize that this is a bottom line game. You either win or lose. If Main Sequence accomplished his record on the dirt,he would of been a unanimous choice. Then you would never of heard the ridiculous response that he only ran 4 times. Would they of rather he went 4 for 8. Then they would of given him the Award?????? · 1 hour ago
Always been a fan of Distinctiv Passion & Heir Of Storm
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  • Mary Z. · Not today for Secret Circle. Congrats to the winner, Distinctiv Passion. Wow, really nice paying exacta, SSilence. · 1 hour ago
  • Mary Z. · Bigger than usual show prices with Secret Circle coming in fourth. · 1 hour ago
Glad to see you working Honor Code! Keep us posted on your return to racing....just take your time.
Christophe Clement tells DRF's Mike Welsch that Tabreed, who was runner up to Irish Mission in the La Prevoyante Handicap, has race for the last time and in 2015, will be bred to Australia, article on DRF
Wow,evil. 7,14,3 and 6. I like Avie's Quality, but not in this. If he surprises me, great.
There are so many inherent errors in utilizing Beyer's to compare performances I hardly know where to begin. FINAL time is approached a myriad of different ways and WITHOUT that consideration, the final time is meaningless.
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  • travel_vic · simple, PROOF is in the pudding. There is NO single way to cap a race just some are MILES ahead of the crowd and then MANY approaches are no better nor any more relevant than throwing a dart at the form. All these HUMAN stats to try and tell us how the HORSE does belong to the first and largest manure pile. · 2 hours ago
  • travel_vic · since you actually know little to nothing about the methodology, let me enlighten you that the FIRST fraction is never evaluated for projection. The ENTIRE projection PIVOT is the second call....Always has been...matter of fact several calculations 2nd fraction, velocity TO the 2nd call and % median are ALL based upon the first TWO fractions. · 2 hours ago
Like Maximova & Irish Mission. Honey Lake is interesting.
  • Mary Z. · 12,1,4,5 · 3 hours ago
  • Mary Z. · 12,1,3,5 final. Man, that pace was weirdslow. The 12 can run with boys. Good mare. I underestimated the Euro 3. · 3 hours ago
Been a while but is Barbaro's Mum still alive?
Diversy Harbor/ Three Hearts / Rusty Slippers / Winning Rhythm
Taris, purchased for $2.35 million in November, will be sidelined until the second half of 2015 after injuring an ankle during a second-place finish Friday in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita. On Saturday, trainer Simon Callaghan said the injury was diagnosed in the hours after the La Brea, adding Taris will undergo surgery Monday to stabilize her right front ankle. Callaghan described the injury as a non-displaced condylar fracture that will require the insertion of screws to repair the break. Article on DRF
fanfriggintastic hill runners. Sweet Swap gets the dreaded 1 post, but r8 on Sunday should be extra-exciting. Hopefully the only scratch is Indianapolis who already ran on Friday.
Shared Belief earned a 99 beyer speed figure for his victory yesterday in the G1 Malibu Stakes
  • Show All 4 Comments
  • Hannah Etienne via Disqus · I was expecting around 101 · 8 hours ago
  • Exterminator · I thought it'd be around 100. Nice race, not the best of his we've seen, but let's hope this didn't take too much out of him so he comes back strong. · 6 hours ago
In keeping with its theory that big race days mean big business, the New York Racing Association has beefed up Travers Day at Saratoga in 2015 to include seven stakes, six of which are Grade 1s, worth $5.1 million in total. Former Grade 1 standalone events such as the Sword Dancer Invitational – which had its purse doubled to $1 million – and the Personal Ensign – which received a 50 percent purse increase to $750,000 – have been added to the Aug. 29 Travers Day program. The Grade 1 Forego, previously run on the final Saturday of the meet, has been moved to Travers Day and had its purse increased by 40 percent to $700,000. The Grade 1 Travers for 3-year-olds, the centerpiece of every Saratoga summer, retained its purse of $1.25 million from a year ago, as did the Grade 1, $500,000 King’s Bishop. The Grade 2 Ballston Spa, for fillies and mares on turf, had its purse increased from $250,000 to $400,000. The last two years, with 14-race cards that included four stakes, all-sources handle on Travers Day has averaged $40.6 million. Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations, said his goal is to have Travers Day 2015 handle between $70 million and $80 million. To do that, Panza said, “We need some other big races that can attract top horses.” ...The Million Dollar Sword Dancer is a shot across Arlington's bow
  • tmallios via Disqus · Reading in between the lines,this is now a terrible precedent that NYRA has established,and is sending out a terrible message towards the game. They are telling us that these once great races can no longer support themselves and stand on their own merits. From a Marketing and profitability angle, it is the right move . This maximizes the Big on track crowd,but more important it maximizes the huge Off-Track Crowd that tunes in. They figure that at Saratoga,85 % of the crowd would show up if they raced Thorobreds or Mules. They are there for the experience. But the game is suffering,pretty soon other enues will follow suit. · 7 hours ago
The Bowling Green Handicap has been moved to Saratoga race Course for 2015, the race will be run August 1st
The G1 Sword Dancer Invitational purse has been elevated from 500k to $1 million dollars for the 2015 running, part of the now released 2015 Saratoga schedule, article on DRF
Secretariat <3 I love him <3
This horse actually has so much talent, she was gaining in the stretch in the Juvenile but was cut off and lost all chance. Easily could've been 2nd and possibly 1st with a cleaner trip.
  • winstarfarmfan · My good friend has part-ownership in this filly. He was furious she recieved such a poor ride from Rosario in the Breeders Cup. They have high expectations for this filly. They think she has a lot of potential and are very excited for her to start her 2015 season. · 18 hours ago
honestly tmall I wouldnt have been surprised if SB didnt fire at all. His resume was better than most and he has had a bullseye on him all year and has often been in tight and cutting back from the 2 classic routes I thought was a horrible idea and i was already thinking he was a great bet against. Conquest was always well thought of but never delivered. I expected more of Indianapolis as he seemed to be the horse right there but down the back stretch you could clearly see SB was struggling. The cutback does hurt. As a trainer and an athlete I know this plus he spotted them all. He did not have an easy trip. I figured he would lose or win kind of easy but they went too slow early AGAIN. That is what you failed to see. They went slow and he overcame that and that is what kept him running better. I twice this year thought he would lose when he won with similar trips. The BC I knew he was done but had TONY and Bayern. Today does not help nor hurt HOTY. Those that say how tough he had it and that probably GOD coulda won the BC, yes I said it, he couldve the way the race was run, suggests Bayern has no shot. The main horse is Main Sequence and Wise Dan. If they give it to SB I wouldnt be surprised. CC had a perfect trip and couldnt win on the paved highway on either Belmont or BC day and could not muster an impressive pass of a horse either. At least SB did not have any horror races amongst the other top 5 three year olds. I would have thought if Pharaoh ran and won there would not even be a three year old on the HOTY ballot. But I have seen worse as people would say SB did an a la Zenyatta stay in CA and he proved he is at the very top at many a distance. Can he run out of CA? He only lost once and every other three year old lost sometimes badly like the horror runs of Bayern more than once. He had every excuse to have lost today and should not have even been in this race IMO but I think they are trying to do what they did last year. It would be hard pressed to see a horse win two eclipse awards wo a BC win. If he won by two more lengths that wouldve been different.
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  • hannahWTC1 · "but they went to slow early AGAIN" 45 half is to slow? · 23 hours ago
  • Ruffianlover · Chrome ran the best race out of any horse in the classic. Went wide the entire time, and it was only his second race after a layoff- he wasn't even in his best shape. Which is why he demolished the field in the Hollywood Derby on a surface he had never run on before. Also Chrome not even at his best, was gaining on the top two with every stride. Hardly ran a bad race compared to others who had zero excuses like Tonalist · 19 hours ago



Meet Andrew Champagne


A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.