October 3, 2023

Best of Hanson 2018: An Anthology

Justify sports the garland of roses after winning the 144th Kentucky Derby under jockey Mike Smith at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 5, 2018 (c) Bob Newell/Horsephotos.com

Continuing a tradition started in 2015, I’ve gone back through the past 12 months and compiled a list of what I think were my better takes and historical features published at Brisnet.com during the course of 2018 that readers may (or may not) have missed. Enjoy!

You can share thoughts and comments with me via Twitter (@VPHanson)

In chronological order:

Sham and his brief reign as king of Santa Anita

Forty-five years on from his racing days, a look back at Secretariat’s noted Triple Crown rival and his time as the leading three-year-old in California.

Where Gun Runner rates among the best of the last 25 years no easy task

In a widely misinterpreted piece, I note how longevity tends to color how we view the comparative talents of horses at present and those of yesteryear.

Bold Venture a Kentucky Derby winner that consistently beat the odds

On the 85th anniversary of his birth, the story of a Kentucky Derby winner who later became a prolific sire of Derby winners.

A Day at the Races: Oaklawn Park

Nearly a quarter-century after my last visit, thoughts on my visit and weekend experience at the Hot Springs, Arkansas, track for the Rebel (G2).

2018 Preakness storylines mirror those of a distant year

On the eve of the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, I noted how the storylines leading up to this year’s race paralleled those of a long-ago edition.

Top 10 U.S. racing achievements unlikely to be repeated

In the wake of Justify’s Triple Crown sweep, how I ranked it among the achievements on the track unlikely to be seen again.

Where history and racing mix: A profile of Montpelier and Mongo

The story of my visit to a founding father’s Virginia estate and the best flat runner ever born and raised there.

Hillsdale: The Hoosier Hot Shot

In the lead-up to a return trip to the Indiana Derby (G3), I looked back at the most accomplished Thoroughbred ever bred in the Hoosier State.

Yesterday and Today: Opening Week at Saratoga

On opening weekend of the Saratoga meet, I looked back at highlights of the Spa’s opening week 50 years before.

O Canada: Remembering the 1988 Arlington Million

A look back at the one and only time the Arlington Million (G1) was run outside Arlington Park…and the U.S.

Why Accelerate deserves R-E-S-P-E-C-T in Horse of the Year debate

I first waded into the potential Horse of the Year debate in August following Accelerate’s tour de force victory in the Pacific Classic (G1).

Loving it Live: 100 Racetracks and Counting

The story of racing fan Michael Podd’s worldwide quest to visit his first 100 racetracks.

Why a “Yes” for Accelerate is not a “No” for the Triple Crown

In the wake of the Breeders’ Cup, my response to a columnist’s concerns about the Triple Crown reputation being potentially diminished unless Justify earned Horse of the Year honors.

Passing of Robert Levy triggers remembrance of Bet Twice

The death of a prominent racetrack executive and owner brought back memories of one of his best runners.

Furl Sail: A champion who blazed a trail from Fair Grounds

The Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) continues to yield future champions. A look back at the trailblazing filly that started it all.

Forgotten Turf: The story of Minnesota’s first Thoroughbred racetrack

Perhaps saving the best for last, an in-depth history of Minnesota’s long-forgotten first dalliance with Thoroughbred racing in the late 19th century.