The movie Lone Survivor depicts the gallantry and heroism of a four-man Navy Seal team on a secret mission deep inside enemy territory in Afghanistan in 2005, and also the ultimate sacrifice of the men who lost their lives trying to save them. The movie is a box-office hit though it is emotionally wrenching to watch.

The sole survivor of the Seal team is Marcus Luttrell. In his book Lone Survivor, Luttrell tells of being raised on his parents’ 1,200 acre horse farm in Texas. He writes about the mid-1980s: “We had 125 head…mostly Thoroughbreds and quarter horses. My mom ran the breeding programs, and Dad took charge of the racing and sales operation…It was nothing for my dad to breed a good-looking horse from a $5,000 stallion and sell the yearling for $40,000.”

After the crash in the oil business in 1986, the bloodstock market plummeted. Luttrell said: “Hard-running colts and mares, which Dad had valued at $35,000 to $40,000, were suddenly worth $5,000, less than they cost to raise. My family lost everything, including our house.”

The Luttrell family–like many people in the horse business–had the fortitude to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of breeding and racing horses. That adversity, however, paled in comparison to what Marcus Luttrell would face in Afghanistan. Very few people could endure Seal training much less what Luttrell suffered in Afghanistan after his fellow Seals were killed in valiant service to their country.

Luttrell truly deserves to be referred to as a hero in a time when that term is used too loosely. In 2006, President George W. Bush awarded Luttrell the Navy Cross for combat heroism.


On his SiriusXM show At the Races, host Steve Byk observed that New York has become more competitive with Florida in winter racing, owing to the incentives and purses being offered in the Empire State from a cut of slots revenues at Aqueduct Racetrack.

According to the Blood-Horse, the number of mares bred in New York soared by 43.1% in 2012 (compared to 2011). This was in contrast to a 3.8% decrease in mares bred in the entire United States. The average price for New York-breds at the Fasig-Tipton Preferred sale in August 2013 increased over 2012 by 15.9%, to $72,480.

If New York continues to be competitive with Florida in winter racing, it is likely to exacerbate the battle between Calder and Gulfstream for entries.


Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has been suspended for the entire 162-game 2014 season, plus playoffs, for using performance enhancing drugs and obstructing Major League Baseball’s efforts to investigate. Joe Tacopina, Rodriguez’s lawyer, stated that Rodriguez passed 12 drug tests, and MLB has not disputed this assertion. Rodriguez was convicted on the basis of testimony against him.

Imagine if a racehorse trainer were banned for a year for giving a racehorse performance enhancing drugs solely on the word of a groom or veterinarian, without the animal ever testing positive for a banned substance. Horse racing provides accused trainers with plenty of due process and requires that there is chemical evidence of misconduct.


The death of European Group I and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner St. Nicholas Abbey from colic is a sad ending to his battle to overcome the fracture he suffered to his right front pastern in a workout at Ballydole in Ireland. After coping with the injury and ensuing complications, the prognosis looked so promising. It evokes memories of the rise and demise of the beloved Barbaro.

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