• Lady Shipman dominates in Saratoga's Coronation Cup.Posted 1 day ago
  • Stopchargingmaria out-duels Untapable to win the G3 Shuvee.Posted 2 days ago
  • American Pharoah wins the Haskell completely in hand!Posted 2 days ago
  • Heart to Heart takes them wire to wire in the G3 Oceanport.Posted 2 days ago
  • Casual Smile closes from second last to win the G3 Matchmaker Stakes.Posted 2 days ago
  • Bradester snags the G2 Monmouth Cup in front-running fashion.Posted 2 days ago
  • Rachel's Valentina, daughter of champion Rachel Alexandra, wins her debut at the Spa!Posted 2 days ago
  • Beholder wins the G1 Clement L. Hirsch for fun!Posted 3 days ago
  • Texas Red returns to the winner's circle with a Jim Dandy victory over Frosted!Posted 3 days ago
  • Red Rifle squeezes through rivals to win the Bowling Green.Posted 3 days ago

HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne


Older Comments...

Anyone know where Artemis Agrotera is? No works, no races--?
Slowly but surely, i am beginning to fall in love with Liam in this Whitney. Last November, i said that when the smoke clears,the 4 yr old that all will be talking about is Liam,and not his more heralded counterparts. In this race,he figures to be loose on the lead. Moreno does not have the early zip to go eye to eye with him. I think they will be contennt to sit the Cat Birds seat in here. Yesd Guiliot will throw his already stale line prior to the race."If you are ahead of Moreno,you are going to fast". As far as Javier or Johnny V. not riding him. Do not for a second think that they are disparaging his chances of winning. Their hands were tied and had no say in the riding assignments. By that i mean. If you are Javier,how can you jump off of Honor Code after the Met. If you are Johnny V., how can you jump off of Tonalist and his stellar race record. Bottom line is, that you can't. So do not use this in your handicapping,to downgrade Liam. He will be just like the Pletcher horse of a couple of years ago. Just take them down the road.
This is the one horse I want to see get back on track. So sad that she hasn't made it to Saratoga this year :(
He has been installed as the morning line favorite. :-D
Anyone out there able to recommend any books still in print to help someone learn to handicap? My young cousin is just starting to catch the bug, I am not as much a numbers and form guy as I am a gut and vibe handicapper. It works for me but he wants to get more into the numbers.
Would love to see him the Arlington. So far he's has impressed. I'd love to see him take the next step
Here is the post position draw for the Whitney Handicap: 1. Honor Code (3-1 morning line favorite) 2 Tonalist (4-1) 3. Noble Bird (5-1) 4. Liam's Map (6-1) 5. Moreno (12-1) 6. V.E Day (8-1) 7. Lea (9-2) 8. Coach Inge (15-1) 9. Wicked Strong (20-1) 10. Normandy Invasion (30-1)
Hey there crew on HRN! Haven't been on in a while-busy summer. FINALLY getting to Saratoga for a few races on Whitney Day! Any other earlier races jumping out at anyone??? I want to see some closing horses in the Whitney, but only seems to be a couple legitimate pace setters, so it should be an interesting one to call. Honor Code's last couple finishes are so fun to watch, but it seems like this is one talented group here. Need some help earlier for a bankroll, I have to fly to Florida the next morning and the trip would be WAY more fun if I could take some cash haha! Effinex jumped onto my radar; that last race was a battle, and he didn't back down at all, moved through horses, bid/rebid...I was impressed but I think Tonalist and Honor Code will give us a thrilling last couple furlongs...
  • illhaveanothertriplecrown · Good to hear from you! I agree Honor Code and Tonalist should give us a thrilling end but I think this race is going to end up looking great just about at every post. · 2 hours ago
Plesa said: He came out of the race fine, and he doesn't really have an explanation for his performance. He has endured a grueling campaign and will probably get a 30-60 day refresher on the farm to just be a horse.
  • Dna0571 · Thank you for the update. · 1 day ago
  • Ted via Disqus · I guess that rules out the Travers :-( · 2 hours ago
Consider pointing him toward the Kelso at Belmont, I think he could shape up to be a solid Dirt Miler.
He came into the national limelight in 1988, when his star mare, Personal Ensign, ended her undefeated career in climactic fashion with a stirring come-from-behind victory in the BC Distaff. The following year would be his best, financially, by earning $8,306,888 from only 155 starters, led by his star colt, Easy Goer. In 1992 and 1993, Lure would succeed in winning back-to-back BC Turf Miles. 1995 would provide us with My Flag, BC Juvenile Fillies, and Inside Information, who would romp in the “muddy” BC Distaff, thus gaining the Eclipse Award for Older Dirt Female. Though there has only been 31 runnings of the Breeders’ Cup World Championship series of races, McGaughey, in 2002, would accomplish something that may never again be duplicated. Three direct generations winning a Breeders’ Cup event. More improbable would be the fact that they were three direct females. Grandmother(Personal Ensign-’88 BC Distaff); mother(My Flag-’95 BC Juv Fillies); and daughter(Storm Flag Flying-’02 BC Juv Fillies). In 2004, he was honored to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. After somewhat of a dry spell after 2002, Shug McGaughey was rewarded with his first Kentucky Derby in 2013 with Orb. To get a better grasp on his earnings in 1989, we’ll use Bob Baffert as an example. Baffert’s best financial year was 2013, in which he almost doubled Shug’s most stellar year, earning $15,317,291, but with 570 starters. That’s 3.67 times more starters than Shug used, to attain his numbers. This year, Bob Baffert should shatter those numbers with American Pharoah still running. If you also realize that the purses are so much larger today, than when McGaughey accomplished his personal highs, it gives more depth to his accomplishments. As my tribute to Shug McGaughey, and his character, was the 1989 Preakness Stakes. What would develop as a “stretch run for the ages”, Easy Goer and Sunday Silence would hook up the entire length of the stretch in a run for the finish line never further than a head bob apart. Maybe fifty yards from the finish, Easy Goer would turn his head as if he were aggravated by Sunday Silence, trying to assumedly bite him. That turn of the head possibly cost him what may have been the narrowest of victory. Shortly after the results were posted as official, the network covering the event, assigned an ex-football player to interview the losing trainer. The ex-football player then said something like, “Tough luck Shug. But one question that I would have for you, would be, ‘Is this the way you thought the race would end?’” For a moment, I, as a viewer, was outraged by the question. But, since I had taped the event, I watched Shug very closely after that poser. He took a deep breath as he looked to the sky, and as he slowly dropped his eyes back down to the reality in front of him, he exhaled, and slowly said, “No”(a couple of seconds), “that wasn’t the way I thought the race would end”. What poise!!! What tact!!! What a great Ambassador for the sport!!!! He showed me that to keep your composure in the heat of the moment, is a class thing. Second to none!!!!!! Despite all that the horses that were trained under him accomplished, there always seems to be a sense of being the underdog, or, not appreciated. When talk of the greatest filly or mare of all-time, very seldom is there mention of Personal Ensign, who many talk of her stirring come-from-behind victory, or the fact that she was never defeated. When the name Easy Goer comes up, there is a forever-joined-at-the-hip with Sunday Silence, and the fact that he lost 3 of 4 to him, even though Easy Goer’s lone winning margin victory, was more than the three margins of defeat combined. Even though Lure won back-to-back BC Turf Miles, he would never be named Eclipse Turf Male of the Year. The fact that Paradise Creek lost to Lure three times did not take away that Paradise Creek would be the Turf Male of the Year, the year after
  • Buckpasser via Disqus · That was a great tribute. Needless to say I am a big fan of Shug's. Also it should be noted that as the trainer for the Phipps and Janney families he had very big shoes to fill. Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons was the main trainer for them until he retired, then came Bill Winfrey who trained for AG Vanderbilt and conditioned Native Dancer, Next Move, Bed O' Roses and many others, then came Eddie Neloy who conditioned Gun Bow and other champions. Other top trainers worked for the Phipps too before Shug. · 13 hours ago
  • slewcrew7778 · Why the sudden eulogy? Man, you had me scrambling all over the racing sites thinking he had passed. And right after I posted about Easy Goer. Nice piece, though. · 10 hours ago
What a great field. I can't wait for this race. So many horses I admire are running, I don't know who to root for.
Dortmund, the Santa Anita Derby winner who has not run since the Preakness, had a minor setback this past week when he was cast in his stall at Del Mar and wound up bruising some ribs, Baffert said. Baffert says he isn't sure how long the cast will be on for but say the ribs are getting better and he will return to work soon. Article on DRF
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • Sullivan · Why does he have a cast on? Surely not for bruised ribs? We realize that being cast is not the verb form of applying the medical bandage, right? · 13 hours ago
  • DDAmasa via Disqus · Aww. I was looking forward to seeing him race soon. He's still one of my faves. · 12 hours ago
My choices are Tonalist 1st, Lea 2nd and Effinex 3rd. Noble Bird 4th and Honor Code fifth. This is a really tough field though.
He's pointed to Saratoga as per Zayat today in his most direct statement yet regarding the Travers: https://twitter.com/Steve_Byk/status/628586131869835264 Hopefully he continues to train beautifully and makes it there - fingers crossed.
  • DDAmasa via Disqus · I think Texas Red and Upstart are also heading there. Should be a good race. · 14 hours ago
Anyone know how Khozan is doing? I hope he can make it back this year in the same form and possibly go up against Pharoah at some point before he retires. He was the only horse I thought had a real shot at challenging AP.
  • kenneth nero via Disqus · yea me too he was good! · 5 days ago
  • Michael Williams via Disqus · Been wondering the same thing. Thought he was showing he was going to be a true challenger in the derby. · 14 hours ago
On August 4, Take Charge Brandi worked 3f on fast dirt at Saratoga in 36:11 (b) finishing 2/6.
On August 4, Fast Anna worked 5f on fast dirt at Saratoga in 59:00 (h) finishing 1/4.
What were your top three favorite races this year? Mine: 1. AP in the Belmont Stakes 2. Honor Code in the Met Mile 3. Shared Belief over California Chrome in the San Antonio
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • Ruffianlover · Zipse? Matt? Sullivan? Mary? Laz? Goblin? · 17 hours ago
  • slewfan1977 · Seems like ages ago that Shared Belief beat California Chrome, and people thought it would be the best race of the year! My top 3: 1. American Pharoah in the Belmont 2. Honor Code in the Met Mile 3. AP's Haskell (the complete and utter domination was like a description of Man o' War, and he ran incredible speed figures to boot) · 15 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.

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