all in The Life

For Southern California racing fans, these three words are music to the ear and medicine for the soul: JUSTIFY IS BACK! He arrived with police escort at Bob Baffert’s barn at Santa Anita Park on Sunday afternoon, in a spectacular Bob Hubbard van dressed with decals extolling his Triple Crown victory.

Father’s Day is always an extra meaningful day in horse racing. For so many, myself included, it was our dads who introduced us to the sport of racing, brought us up close to the first horse we saw, or made our first bet for us. If you look around the track today, you’ll find a number of famous fathers and spectacular sires who seem to make noise all year around. We figured we’d go ahead and take a look at some of the most prominent names on that list.

Having grown up around an industry that feeds on excitement and passion, the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival was a breath of fresh air for my fellow young racing fans and me. Some current horsemen grumble about the lack of care with regard to the actual races among young people who attend the big racing days. They say that these kids instead go just to say that they were there and to have an Instagram picture to show for it; however, this past weekend discounted this assertion.

If I were to describe my experiences at the 135th Belmont Stakes, held June 7, 2003, and the 150thBelmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, held last Saturday, parts of each story would mirror each other. On both days, throngs of fans of all ages, demographics, and levels of fandom crammed into Belmont Park to see a Thoroughbred race for the Triple Crown.

In 1970, Arthur B. Hancock III stepped out to extend his family’s already considerable influence on the Thoroughbred world in central Kentucky by assuming managing duties of Stone Farm in Paris, north of Lexington. The Hancock family was renowned for growing nearby Claiborne Farm into a leading breeding and racing entity in Kentucky through two prior generations under the guidance of Arthur B. Hancock and Arthur B. “Bull” Hancock Jr.

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