Archives for October 2018


In the years since the Breeders’ Cup inaugural in 1984, there have been many exciting races.  Sorting out the best is certainly a matter of opinion.  Following are my personal six most memorable races, along with links to the race replays from YouTube.

No. 6:  1994 Juvenile Fillies

Stablemates Flanders and Serena Song battled for the entire 1 1/16 mile race for 2-year-old fillies.  Despite suffering a career-ending injury, Flanders prevailed by a nose.  Serena Song’s racing record put her in the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.

Race Replay Link

No. 5:  1991 Juvenile

Arazi arrived at Churchill Downs with a record of six consecutive Group wins in France.  His come-from-behind surge in the Juvenile devastated the other 2-year-old colts and electrified the crowd.  He returned for the 1992 Kentucky Derby but disappointed.  He again returned to Louisville for the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Mile but was not a factor and was retired from racing.  But for one race, the 1991 Juvenile, Arazi put on a scintillating performance for the ages.

Race Replay Link

No. 4:  2009 Classic

In 2008, Zenyatta won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff as a 4-year-old.  In 2009, she was entered in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and came from last to first to become the first (and still only) mare to win the race.  She also was the first horse to win two different Breeders’ Cup races.  She remained undefeated until she ran second in her last race before being retired, the 2010 Classic at Churchill Downs.

Race Replay Link

No. 3:  2000 Classic

The 3-year-old colts Tiznow and Giant’s Causeway fought one another down the stretch at Churchill Downs with Tiznow winning by a nose.  Giant’s Causeway had won five straight Group I turf races in Europe and he nearly overcame the disadvantages of travel from Europe to Kentucky, a 5-hour time differential, and unfamiliar dirt racing surface.

Race Replay Link

No. 2:  1988 Distaff

Winning Colors had become the third filly to win the Kentucky Derby in 1988.  She was in the Distaff at Churchill Downs against the undefeated 4-year-old Personal Ensign.  With 50 yards to go, Winning Colors looked to be the sure winner as Personal Ensign appeared to have little or no chance to catch her…but miraculously catch her she did, winning by the slimmest of margins.  Personal Ensign retired with a record of 13 wins from 13 starts and both she and Winning Colors are in the Hall of Fame.

Race Replay Link

No. 1:  1989 Classic

This nail-biter of a race was the classic of the classics.

Sunday Silence and Easy Goer had raced against each other three times prior to the 1989 Classic.  Sunday Silence beat favored Easy Goer in the Kentucky Derby and barely beat him again in arguably the best Preakness of all time.  Easy Goer got a measure of revenge in the Belmont by trouncing Sunday Silence.  In the 1989 Classic at Gulfstream Park, Sunday Silence held on to win by a neck over the fast-closing Easy Goer.  Both colts are in the Hall of Fame.

Race Replay Link

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W. COTHRAN CAMPBELL, 1927-2018 ordinarily does not publish obituaries, but in the case of the late “Cot” Campbell an exception is required because of the lasting impact he had on horse racing with his pioneering of partnerships.

In the glory days of American horse racing, mega-wealthy families like the Mellons, Phippses, Vanderbilts, and Whitneys were active racehorse owners and linchpins of the sport.  As their participation began to fade, a new genre of everyday people without great wealth were able to become owners via partnerships.  Thus Mr. Campbell made a contribution of inestimable value to propagating horse racing, both in the United States and internationally.

Growing up, Mr. Campbell was no stranger to horses, as he rode and showed American Saddlebreds and his father went broke investing in racehorses.  Mr. Campbell made his mark in the business world as the founder of a highly successful Atlanta-based advertising agency.  He eventually took up the partnership business full time and moved his operation to Aiken, South Carolina, and introduced countless people to horse racing under the banner of Dogwood Stable.   Dogwood-owned horses won major stakes, including the Preakness and the Belmont.

In August 2018, Mr. Campbell joined esteemed company when he was inducted by the National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame into its Pillars of the Turf.

“Cot” Campbell’s exploits are recorded for posterity in three books he wrote.  He candidly addressed the alcohol demon he fought and overcame as a young man.  His example and counsel surely inspired others facing addiction.

Rest in peace, “Cot” Campbell.

Copyright © 2018 Horse Racing Business


The names of legendary bettors include John “Bet-a-Million” Gates, “Pittsburgh Phil” Smith, “Diamond Jim” Brady, and Art Rooney.  None of them had the astounding results of the low-profile and scholarly 61-year-old Bill Benter, a onetime Eagle Scout currently residing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Interestingly, Smith, Rooney, and Benter are all from the Steel City.)

Mr. Benter was featured in a Bloomberg Businessweek article titled “The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code.”  The article stated:  “Benter wanted to conquer horse betting not because it was hard, but because it was said to be impossible.”  And, according to Bloomberg, he succeeded:  “Bill Benter did the impossible.  He wrote an algorithm that couldn’t lose at the track.  Close to a billion dollars later, he tells his story for the first time.”

Very few people can make a profit betting on horses, much less a living.  To come across an individual who won almost a billion dollars betting horses is incredible.  This feat makes him the greatest horse-racing bettor of all time.  Click here to read his fascinating story as told to Kit Chettel of Bloomberg Businessweek.

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