What Did You Read? Paulick Report’s Top Stories Of 2022 - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

What Did You Read? Paulick Report’s Top Stories Of 2022

Trainer Eric Reed and Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike

As we close the book on 2022, it's time for our traditional look back on the most popular stories of the year by traffic, as measured by Google Analytics. We've done this for eight years now (see previous editions of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021).

Many of this year's most popular stories revolve around 80-1 Kentucky Derby upsetter Rich Strike, both his post-race antics and the incredible tales behind the humans involved in the colt's Run for the Roses. 

As always, questionable actions by the sport's top jockeys had plenty of time in the limelight, as did the sentences handed out in the ongoing federal horse doping case.

  1. 'That Man Saved My Horse From Injury': Reed Addresses Post-Derby Incident With Rich Strike, Outrider – Social media was in an uproar after NBC aired footage of Rich Strike and head Churchill Downs outrider Greg Blasi after the colt's Derby-winning effort. The colt became aggressive and attempted to savage Blasi's mount multiple times; Blasi's attempts to get Rich Strike under control were the subject of hot debate, but Eric Reed defended the outrider. The trainer told the Today Show that the outrider's actions actually prevented the colt from hurting himself. The story of Rich Strike's Derby win was also popular with readers, revealing the blue-collar Reed operation to the world.
  2. Three-Legged Quarter Horse Stallion Thriving With New Prosthesis – This is the kind of story you definitely don't hear about every day. Triple Vodka's life was saved from a debilitating joint infection when veterinarian Ted Vlahos fitted the stallion with a prosthetic front limb. Vlahos, one of the most-experienced equine surgeons with prosthetics, explains the procedure and all the precautions that must be taken in-depth. After recovering from the surgery and adapting to his new limb, Triple Vodka was able to complete the 2022 breeding season at the Texas-based Zerlotti Genetics. Unfortunately, an episode of colic stole Triple Vodka's life at the end of 2022.
  3. Fishman Shows No Emotion As He Is Sentenced To 11 Years In Federal Prison – Dr. Seth Fishman, the Florida veterinarian snared in the federal government's sweeping horse doping investigation, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his role in supplying illegal performance-enhancing drugs to multiple trainers, including Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis. He showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down.
  4. Chad Brown Arrested In Saratoga, Charged In Domestic Violence Incident – Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown was arrested by the Saratoga Springs, N.Y.,  Police Department and charged with “criminal obstruction of breathing” in connection with a domestic dispute. Brown later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of harassment.
  5. Explanations And Excuses: Preakness Stakes Connections React In The Race's Aftermath – We published a collection of quotes from riders and trainers of each of the nine entries in the 2022 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, won by Early Voting. Among the best were those from Steve Asmussen, trainer of the runner-up Epicenter: “I was past surprised. I was disappointed. You've got to leave the gates to have any position whatsoever. When they throw up 24-and-1, and you're that far back with a horse that obviously has pace and just gave him too much to do.”
  6. Horowitz: Until It's Addressed, Irad Ortiz Jr.'s Riding Style Will Put Horses And Riders In Harm's Way – Following Eclipse Award winner Ortiz's questionable stretch-ride aboard Life Is Good in the G1 Whitney, Jonathan Horowitz penned this commentary about how dangerous the jockey's riding style can be to everyone else on the racetrack around him. He concluded: “Granted there are other jockeys that do what Ortiz does, but he is the poster child for a type of riding that exploits a gray area that American stewards will seldom address. If basketball referees ignore an extra step driving to the basket and don't call traveling, the consequence may be an extra basket that shouldn't have counted. But, if American stewards continue to ignore or even celebrate Ortiz' race riding, it could lead to injuries for horses and riders. At a minimum, it puts unnecessary strain on horses fully exerting themselves, and you'd think with all of the outcry about horse safety and welfare, this is something those that could make a difference would care more about.”
  7. Jockey Gerard Melancon Arrested In Louisiana On Allegation Of 'Unnatural Stimulation Of Horses' – Jockey Gerard Melancon was arrested Aug. 26 in the final days of the Evangeline Downs meet in Opelousas, La., on a charge of “unnatural stimulation of horses,” reportedly in connection with the “possible possession of an electrical device.” Melancon resumed riding on Aug. 27, and has not been sanctioned.
  8. It's A Boy! Derby-Winning Trainer Reed Has Surprise Foal From Filly In Training At Belterra Park – Rich Strike's 80-1 upset in the Kentucky Derby wasn't trainer Eric Reed's only May surprise. Beautyatitsbest is an unraced daughter of Gio Ponti who had just breezed a slow three furlongs in 40 seconds on May 26. Two days later, she delivered what Reed said is a healthy colt. A chat with the filly's owner revealed she had been exposed to a group of recently-gelded colts.
  9. Jockeys Juarez, Lopez Suspended After Tumultuous Race At Monmouth – Stewards of the New Jersey Racing Commission issued two suspensions after a July 1 race at Monmouth Park: Paco Lopez was given a five-day suspension to run July 29 through Aug. 1 and Aug. 5 for careless riding, while Nik Juarez got an eight-day suspension and a $500 fine for “initiating a physical altercation with another jockey.”
  10. World-Renowned Stallion More Than Ready Euthanized At Age 25 – Few stallions in the world have attained the heights of the remarkable More Than Ready, who began  his stud career at Vinery and would later move to WinStar. A champion sire in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and a world-renowned stallion who has made an indelible mark on the breed, More Than Ready was euthanized at age 25 on Aug. 26 due to the cumulative effects of old age.
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