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Updated: 14 min 5 sec ago

Wicked Halo Storms To Matron S. Win At Oaklawn

2 hours 20 min ago

Despite inclement weather in the Hot Springs area on Friday afternoon, Wicked Halo (Gun Runner) returned to action off the break and won the inaugural running of the Matron S. over a wet track with Tyler Gaffalione in-town to ride for the weekend. The 4-year-old filly was making her first start of the year for trainer Steve Asmussen after she ran third in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland Nov. 5.

Prior to that, the classy sprinter strung together a number of stakes victories starting as a juvenile in the GII Adirondack S. at Saratoga Aug. 8 of that year. As a 3-year-old, Wicked Halo won four in-a-row starting at Churchill Downs June 12 in the Leslie's Lady Overnight S. and then in the Tepin S. July 2. She then stepped up to declare victory in the GII Prioress S. at Saratoga Sept. 2 and in the GII Lexus Raven Run S. Oct. 22.

After a trio of scratches, the even-money favorite in this comeback spot was content to settle in third, as Pretty Birdie (Bird Song) and I'm the Boss of Me (Midshipman) tore through the early fractions at :21.15 for the first quarter mile. Around the far turn as rival on the tote Matareya (Pioneerof the Nile) hugged the fence, the gray filly took the overland route and down the lane challenged the 3-2 shot to her outside. With a powerful late kick, she passed the Brad Cox trainee to win by 1 3/4 length.

“Talented group of mares and the exciting part is for her to come back running that fast,” said Steve Asmussen. “She finished off the year in spectacular fashion. I think she had four stakes wins and then was third in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. She got a little break off that. For her to come back and beat a filly the quality of Matayera in such a competitive fashion is very exciting.”

The winner's dam Just Wicked out of Wicked Deed (Harlan's Holiday), also successful in the Adirondack S. in Saratoga Springs, is a full-sister to GSW My Miss Lilly. Wicked Halo is bred on the same Gun Runner and Tapit cross as GISW Society and MGSP Red Route One, who will contest the GI Arkansas Derby on Saturday. Recent siblings include a 3-year-old full-brother named Wicked Again, a yearling full-sister and her dam just foaled another colt by Gun Runner.

MATRON S., $250,000, Oaklawn, 3-31, 4yo/up, f/m, 6f,
1:09.31, my.
1–WICKED HALO, 117, f, 4, Gun Runner–Just Wicked (GSW,
   $208,460), by Tapit. O/B-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (KY);
T-Steven M. Asmussen; J-Tyler Gaffalione. $162,500. Lifetime
Record: MGSW, 12-7-0-4, $1,032,700.
2–Matareya, 117, f, 4, Pioneerof the Nile–Innovative Idea, by
Bernardini. O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brad H. Cox. $50,000.
3–I'm the Boss of Me, 117, m, 5, Midshipman–Glory Park, by
Deputy Commander. ($47,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-Danny
Brown, Charis Brenneman and Greg Compton; B-Edward A.
Seltzer (KY); T-Greg Compton. $25,000.
Margins: 3/4, 6 3/4, 12HF. Odds: 1.00, 1.50, 12.60.
Also Ran: Pretty Birdie. Scratched: Dealing Justice,
Samurai Charm, Teddy's Barino.
Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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Federal Judge in Texas Delays ADMC Thirty Days

2 hours 45 min ago

A federal judge in Texas has issued a 30-day waiting period before the rules of HISA's Anti-Doping Medication and Control (ADMC) can take effect. Those rules went into effect Monday, Mar. 27.

During the month of April, therefore, HISA will turn back the job of collecting samples and testing back to the states, said Lisa Lazarus on a Friday night media call.

The ruling, issued Friday, was the latest in a long back-and-forth bitter struggle between pro-HISA and anti-HISA forces.

The ruling, issued Friday by the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division, was issued in response to a motion filed by the National HBPA arguing that the rule violated a provision of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), which governs the process by which federal agencies develop and issue regulations. It includes requirements for publishing notices of proposed and final rulemaking in the Federal Register, and provides opportunities for the public to comment on notices of proposed rulemaking. The APA requires most rules to have a 30-day delayed effective date. The judge in the case only partially agreed.

After HISA was found unconstitutional by the Fifth Circuit Court, the group went back to the Federal Trade Commission to amend language that addressed that court's concerns.

“When Congress changes a statute in response to a court's opinion, the result is usually a second wave of litigation: Was the attempted remedy sufficient? What new arguments arise?” wrote the court. “But those larger questions are not yet before the Court. Currently, the plaintiffs make a narrow procedural claim that a new anti-doping rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act because not enough time passed between when the rule was published as final and when the rule took effect. When an agency issues a substantive rule—the type of rule that controls our behavior—it must ordinarily wait 30 days between when the final rule is issued and when it takes effect. This ensures that regulated parties have the time to challenge the rule's validity or bring themselves into compliance. But the anti-doping rule took effect the same day that it was published as final. As a result, the rule issued in violation of the APA, so the plaintiffs—and everyone else—will get their 30 days. The Court enjoins implementation or enforcement of the anti-doping rule until May 1, 2023.”

But the court only addressed that 30-day rule required by the APA, and not the HBPA's larger claims that HISA remains unconstitutional despite the added language.

“Plaintiffs' only new argument is that section 553(d), absent good cause, requires an agency rule to take effect 30 days after the final rule is published. In the interest of judicial economy—and because the plaintiffs only seek emergency relief as to the anti-doping rule—the Court will limit its analysis to the sole issue at hand: whether the FTC failed to comply with section 553's required 30-day waiting period and, if so, whether the plaintiffs are entitled to equitable relief,” the ruling reads.

“We launched Monday, for the most part things ran really smoothly,” said Lazarus. “We collected about 700 tests over the course of the week, obviously we're disappointed by the decision out of the Lubbock court, but it has to do with the FTC process, it's not strictly related to HISA. As a result, we're going to suspend operations for a few days, and get ready to go again on May 1, and hand it over back to the states to essentially run the programs. We're providing all the assistance we can to the states while respecting the federal order.”

The National HBPA issued a statement about the ruling Friday night.

“We are very pleased that the National HBPA has defeated HISA in the courts yet again,” said National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback. “It was reckless and irresponsible of the Authority and the FTC to rush to implement these brand-new rules this weekend. Horsemen need time, and we were glad to stand for them once again. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that HISA was unconstitutional in our lawsuit before, and we expect they will do so again.”

HISA's outside counsel John Roach pointed out that states covered by HISA were using the same drug collectors they had been using before Mar. 27, and that they thought the confusion would be limited.

Lazarus said that HISA had considered and rejected the idea of trying to get the 30-day injunction overturned. “Ultimately we're here to serve the industry, and at this point it just creates chaos,” she said. “At this point, it's just 30 days, so we can plan for that, communicate that. So in weighing all the interests, we thought it was best to accept the decision, communicate it, plan for it and use this 30 days to continue to improve our processes. The ruling does make it clear that as of May 1, we're operational again. But I can take a 30-day break better than I can take real questions as to the validity.”

The post Federal Judge in Texas Delays ADMC Thirty Days appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

1/ST Internships for Ed Brown Fellow and Scholar

4 hours 45 min ago

The second round of 1/ST interns placed through the Ed Brown Scholars-Fellows program will be Zaharia Selman and Shaska Davis. The two will spend the next 10 weeks at Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, and Pimlico Race Course.

Ed Brown Fellow Selman graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia last year with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science.

Ed Brown Scholar Davis will graduate this summer from Kentucky State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications.

“We are very excited to embark upon year two of our groundbreaking partnership with 1/ST and to facilitate this tremendous opportunity for Zaharia and Shaska, as they undoubtedly gain professional experience that will place them on the pathway to successful careers in the Thoroughbred industry,” said Ed Brown Society Chairman Greg Harbut.

The Ed Brown Society, founded in 2020, celebrates the rich history of African-Americans in the Thoroughbred industry and creates opportunities for young people of color that will qualify them for professional careers in the industry. 1/ST became the first member of the Ed Brown Partnership in January 2022.

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Klaravich’s Randomized In Order At Aqueduct

6 hours 5 min ago

1st-Aqueduct, $80,000, Msw, 3-31, 3yo/up, f/m, 1m, 1:36.48, ft, 5 1/2 lengths.
RANDOMIZED (f, 3, Nyquist–French Passport, by Elusive Quality), last seen at Saratoga July 24 when she was third sprinting on debut behind Kaling (Practical Joke), made her presence felt from the start at Aqueduct when the 3-2 second choice powered confidently to the front as she was stalked by favorite Gifted (Tapit). As the pair began to separate themselves from the rest of the field, they briefly dueled around the far turn, but it was Randomized who was keen to the task at the top of the lane and striding away she won geared down by 5 1/2-lengths. Second dam Air France (French Deputy) produced MGSW Smooth Air (Smooth Jazz), GSW Overdriven (Tale of the Cat), while her Super Phoebe (Malabar Gold) is responsible for MGISW Got Stormy (Get Stormy). The winner's unraced dam has a 2-year-old colt by Justify and a yearling filly by Frosted. She visited Maxfield last year. Sales History: $420,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 2-1-0-1, $56,600. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O-Klaravich Stables, Inc.; B-Cove Springs, LLC (KY); T-Chad C. Brown.

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Judge Rules Belterra Owes Ohio HBPA $2.7M In ‘Deprived’ VLT Money

7 hours 25 min ago

A money disagreement that has simmered for nearly a decade got a step closer to settlement Thursday when a federal judge ruled the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (OHBPA) is entitled to $2,769,652 in gaming revenues that the present and former owners of Belterra Park withheld between 2014 and 2018.

The dispute arose from Belterra's failure to pay the OHBPA its share of net-win video lottery terminal (VLT) commission from Belterra Park. The quarrel was exacerbated when the two sides disagreed over the rate that was supposed to be the horsemen's lawful cut and whether or not retroactivity applied to that rate, with the OHBPA alleging that Belterra's withholding of money over a four-year period amounted to “unjust enrichment.”

The Mar. 30 order by Judge Algenon Marbley in United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Eastern Division) is not a final judgment. But the judge did write that, “this Court finds that statute requires Defendants to pay Plaintiff the [higher] 9.95% rate from May 1, 2014, to June 30, 2018 [and that] having found that no reasonable jury could find for Defendants on Plaintiff's unjust enrichment claim, this Court GRANTS summary judgment on this issue.”

Dave Basler, the OHBPA's executive director, told TDN via phone Friday morning that the horsemen were pleased with the ruling.

“We felt throughout that that was money that was owed to the horsemen, and felt strongly that that was something that we needed to pursue legally until it was resolved,” Basler said. “The money obviously would be a benefit to our purse account.”

The initial complaint filed Dec. 18, 2020, explained that when VLT gaming was first legalized by Ohio in 2009, the state authorized racinos to retain 66.5% of revenues, with “between 9% and 11%” of those net-win proceeds to then be paid to Thoroughbred and Standardbred entities.

That range of percentages was set five years before any actual VLT gaming happened at Belterra, and in 2012 the state authorized the Ohio State Racing Commission to set the actual rate that would go to the horsemen. But until a new, firm rate got set, 9% was to be used as the placeholder to determine purse proceeds, according to an escrow agreement negotiated between Belterra and the commission.

Belterra didn't open for VLT gaming until May 1, 2014, largely because the track formerly known as River Downs was undergoing a substantial renovation to rebrand the property as Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center. The capital expenditures for that project were to be a factor in determining the new calculation rate for purse money, but the complaint alleged that Belterra stalled and tried to overstate the costs it incurred fixing up the property, an allegation that Belterra denied.

Eventually, on June 27, 2018, the racing commission set the percentage of Belterra Park's net-win VLT commission that it owed to the OHBPA at 9.95%. The OHBPA interpreted that rate to mean both retroactively and moving forward, while Belterra argued that the OHBPA was not due any retroactive funds, because Belterra and the commission had negotiated over the catch-up payments and had factored that aspect into the escrow agreement.

Four days after that final rate was established, the OHBPA did, in fact, begin receiving its full 9.95% from Belterra. But the bone of contention that led to the lawsuit had to do with the retroactivity surrounding the remaining .95% beyond the 9% stipulated in the escrow agreement. The OHBPA argued that Belterra never made good on the four-year difference between the placeholder rate and the revised rate, which is how the plaintiffs arrived at the $2,769,652 figure.

“Here, Plaintiff argues, because Belterra Park was the only racino in the state with which Plaintiff failed to reach agreement on the VLT commission rate, the parties entered a temporary 'escrow agreement' of 9% pending an administrative ruling by the Racing Commission,” the Mar. 30 order stated.

“Plaintiff maintains that the Escrow Agreement was only meant to be temporary; it could not set the commission rate because it was not a method authorized by the statute. As such, Plaintiff argues, the 9.95% commission rate must be backdated because the statute considers only one fixed rate that is to be applied from the moment the first coin is dropped,” the order stated.

The judge agreed with the HBPA's reasoning, explaining the decision this way: “This Court finds the best way to apply the statute is to do so based on its plain meaning. Plaintiff was due payment using a rate determined by the Racing Commission in the absence of an agreement with Belterra Park. The Racing Commission did eventually determine a commission rate of 9.95%. This commission rate is thus applicable for the entire period that Belterra Park operated its VLT gaming.

“Indeed, the statute provides that the Racing Commission must set the rate within six months. This did not happen. No authority indicates, however, that the Racing Commission's tardiness has any relevance to this case. As such, this Court finds that statute requires Defendants to pay Plaintiff the 9.95% rate from May 1, 2014, to June 30, 2018,” the order stated.

The OHBPA had also asked to be paid prejudgment interest on the outstanding payment. But the judge denied that request at the Mar. 30 summary judgment stage on a legal technicality because the plaintiffs failed to state whether they sought the interest “pursuant to statute or common law.”

The order did state, though, that the OHBPA could file a separate motion for prejudgment interest, which leaves that aspect of the case open for the time being.

Also unknown at this stage is whether the defendants plan to appeal. There are multiple parties involved on that side of the case.

Belterra Park itself is named as a defendant, as is the racino's current owner/operator, Boyd Gaming Corporation.

Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc., (which, according to the suit, owned Belterra between 2011 and 2018) and Penn National Gaming, Inc. (which, according to the suit, briefly had an ownership interest in Belterra in 2018), are also listed as defendants.

David Strow, Boyd's vice president of corporate communications, answered a Friday query from TDN about a possible appeal by emailing that the company did not wish to comment on the court order at this time.

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Kentucky House Passes HISA Funding Review Resolution

7 hours 58 min ago

One day after Kentucky's state senate adopted a resolution by voice vote to urge a review of the HISA funding methodology, the Kentucky House of Representatives did the same. House Resolution 98, “A resolution expressing concerns regarding the unintended consequences of the current funding methodology of the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act,” was adopted by a voice vote in the House.

The resolution was sponsored by Republican representative Matthew Koch, and Democratic representative Al Gentry.

The language is identical to that of its companion resolution in the Senate, contained in Friday's TDN.

The sponsor of the Senate resolution was Damon Thayer, who commented upon what he felt was a need for the review.

“While I support the HISA goals of uniformity and standardization of racing rules, its implementation so far has been less than inspiring and it may still be ruled unconstitutional,” said Thayer in a text. “Now HISA is trying to force a funding model that is unfair to Kentucky racing and potentially taxpayers with an unfunded mandate the punishes us for our success. I do not support this approach and this Resolution, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate, memorializes that and urges consideration of a different formula. At best, HISA should be funded with an annual federal government appropriation, but at the very least should not have a funding model that is punitive to successful racing states like Kentucky.”

A statement from Rick Hiles, the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) president, read:

“We applaud the Kentucky Senate, led by sponsors Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer and John Schickel, and the Kentucky House of Representatives, with Reps. Matt Koch and Al Gentry the sponsors, for their resolution that raises many of the concerns we have about the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act and the private Authority corporation it created and granted broad powers.

“No matter the inflammatory rhetoric slung at the National HBPA, the resolution–which passed unanimously in both the Senate and House on Thursday–shows that reasonable persons understand that HISA was rushed into existence with a flawed process. They understand our stated concerns about unintended consequences that could devastate portions of our industry across the country, including Kentucky.

“It's gratifying to have leadership that understands that the HISA challenge by the National HBPA, many of its affiliates including Kentucky, the United States Trotting Association, several state racing commissions and attorneys generals and others is because we all want our industry to be strong and to do better and better. All these parties are in complete support of measures that promote integrity, uniformity and fair racing but this must be accomplished only through lawful, accountable and transparent means.

“Prominent in the resolution is the very real threat that the financial structure set up by this unfunded mandate will jeopardize small and medium-sized tracks and smaller stables. That in turn will have a huge impact on Kentucky's breeding and racing industries, as well as the agribusiness that is fueled by horse racing.

“Kentucky is blessed to have legislative leadership such as Senators Thayer and Schickel and Representatives Koch and Gentry, among others, who understand our industry, its complexities and appreciate that racing in Kentucky and elsewhere has many levels that contribute to the entire ecosystem. To destabilize parts of it, we believe, will have unintended consequences to all involved in the industry from top to bottom.”

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Wide Draw and All, Forte an Overwhelming Presence in Florida Derby

9 hours 34 min ago

Big Brown (Boundary) took no prisoners from post 12 with a powerful, wire-to-wire performance in the GI Curlin Florida Derby before capturing the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2008.

It's champion Forte (Violence)'s turn now.

Last term's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, an eye-catching winner while kicking off his sophomore campaign in the GII Fountain of Youth S. Mar. 4, towers over his 11 rivals on paper in Saturday's Florida Derby. But with a well-documented short run to the first turn going 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park, Forte must overcome a disadvantageous wide draw in post 11. He is the 4-5 morning-line favorite.

Regular rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. remains as confident as ever no matter the post.

“He does everything I ask him,” Ortiz said of the Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable colorbearer. “He's always there for me. He can stay all day on his stride. He has a turn of foot but he stays. He stays with that speed–that's good on dirt. I know what he wants to do and how he likes to run. I have a lot of confidence in him.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher added, “The Fountain of Youth couldn't have gone any better for us. As impressively as he's won a couple of these races, he's kind of come to the wire with his ears up taking everything in. Obviously, as these races get a little more difficult, he'll need to stay focused.”

The Florida Derby field also includes: last term's GII Remsen S. winner and disappointing GIII Sam F. Davis S. eighth-place finisher Dubyuhnell (Good Magic); last out GII San Felipe S. fifth-place finisher Fort Bragg (Tapit); and Fountain of Youth third Cyclone Mischief (Into Mischief).

Gulfstream's absolutely stacked 14-race program features 10 stakes races, including the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks; GII Pan American S.; GIII Orchid S.; and GIII Ghostzapper S.

Wide-Open Arkansas Derby…

While the 11-deep GI Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn may lack a standout or star power like its Gulfstream counterpart, it should nonetheless present some fantastic wagering opportunities.

Red Route One (Gun Runner) and Reincarnate (Good Magic), a rallying second and third in a sloppy renewal of the local prep in the GII Rebel S. Feb. 25, could vie for favoritism. The former adds blinkers for Steve Asmussen. Reincarnate, a game winner of the GIII Sham S. Jan. 8 for previous trainer Bob Baffert, looks like the one to beat after an eventful trip in his first try for Tim Yakteen in the Rebel. He is the 5-2 morning-line favorite.

“We didn't have the best of luck last time,” Yakteen said. “Hopefully, we'll get a clean break away from there and Johnny [Velazquez] will play the break and put himself where he feels the horse is going to be most comfortable. Obviously, we'd like to be closer to the pace than necessarily be completely out of it like we were the last time.”

Angel of Empire (Classic Empire) will be out for respect after upsetting the GII Risen Star S. at 13-1 for Brad Cox while GIII Holy Bull S. winner Rocket Can (Into Mischief) won't have to worry about facing Forte again just yet after finishing a solid second behind the current GI Kentucky Derby favorite in the Fountain of Youth.

The Arkansas Derby program also includes GI Kentucky Oaks prep GIII Fantasy S., featuring the highly regarded Godolphin homebred Wet Paint (Blame), and the GIII Oaklawn Mile S.

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HIWU Issues Statement On Dietary Supplements

10 hours 52 min ago

Edited Press Release

The Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU) calls the Thoroughbred industry's attention to regulations regarding the possession and use of dietary supplements under the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA)'s Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program.

The ADMC Program permits the possession and use of dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, and homeopathic products. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, such products are not considered drugs, and therefore do not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, Covered Persons should be aware that dietary supplements are not regulated, and that positive test results stemming from the presence of a prohibited substance in a supplement, whether or not it was properly labeled, will be prosecuted by HIWU as ADMC Program violations.

The FDA defines a drug, in part, as a “substance that is intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.” Consequently, supplements with “drug claims” on the label, e.g., “treats ulcers,” “mitigates bleeding,” or “prevents tying up,” are considered unapproved animal drugs that lack FDA approval. All drugs that are not approved by the FDA are categorized as Banned Substances (S0) under the ADMC Program.

However, HIWU is instituting a 30-day grace period for the possession of supplements with labels that make such prohibited drug claims.

Through Apr. 30, 2023, HIWU will not prosecute Covered Persons for the possession of supplements with labels that include drug claims. However, if a Covered Horse receives a positive test result for a Prohibited Substance as a result of the use or administration of one of these products, HIWU will prosecute the positive test result as an ADMC Program violation.

HIWU recommends that supplement manufacturers ensure that product labeling and website information are in compliance with FDA requirements for dietary supplements. They should also contact any vendors, distributors, or other clients to replace or relabel inventory as needed.

Questions about dietary supplements should be directed to Dr. Mary Scollay, HIWU's chief of science, at

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Sports Betting Legalized In Kentucky

11 hours 23 min ago

Just before the Kentucky State Legislature was to adjourn Thursday evening, House Bill 551–legislation to legalize, regulate and tax sports betting in the Commonwealth of Kentucky that seemed a longshot as late as Thursday morning–passed the Kentucky State Senate by a vote of 25-12. Governor Andy Beshear was to sign the legislation, which required 23 votes in favor, into law Friday morning.

“After years of urging lawmakers to legalize sports betting, we finally did it!” Beshear tweeted Thursday evening. “Today's result shows that hard work pays off. Kentuckians will soon be able to place their bets here, and for the first time, we are going to keep those dollars to support our roads and bridges, schools and communities.”

According to a report in the Louisville Courier Journal, the Kentucky Speedway and the state's horse racing tracks could pay a fee to operate as sports betting facilities, with bets allowed on site as well as on licensed websites and phone apps. Wagers placed at tracks would have an excise tax of 9.75%and online wagers 14.25%.

Early Thursday, it appeared that HB 551 was going to be short of the 23 required votes, but according to the Courier Journal, the bill was placed on the orders of the day and was on the House floor half an hour later.

The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) issued a statement applauding the passage of the bill, which reads, in part:

“KEEP and Kentucky's horse industry have been actively involved for the past several years in advocating for sports wagering legislation that protects the role of Kentucky's signature industry in the landscape of wagering options and provides new revenue for the state.

HB 551 accomplishes this by allowing for sports wagering to be offered in-person at Kentucky's racetracks. Additionally, sports wagering will be governed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, a testament to the trust that wagerers place in Kentucky's horse industry.

Overall, this bill will benefit Kentucky's horse industry and community by offering new revenue sources for the industry, as well as attracting new fans to the sport through the in-person experiences at Kentucky racetracks.”

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Kentucky State Senate Resolution ‘Urges’ Federal HISA Funding Review

Thu, 2023-03-30 18:20

Kentucky's state senate adopted a resolution by voice vote Mar. 29 that will “urge” the overseers of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) and elected federal politicians “to review the funding methodology of HISA and ensure that they provide uniform treatment to all states,” according to a summary of the measure posted on the web page of the Kentucky General Assembly.

Senators Damon Thayer and John Schickel sponsored the resolution, which was both introduced and passed on Wednesday.

The resolution describes itself as a means of “expressing concerns regarding the unintended consequences of the current funding methodology of HISA.”

A phone message left for Thayer on Thursday seeking details about what impact he believes the state resolution might have at the federal level did not yield a return call prior to deadline for this story.

The text of the resolution reads as follows:

“WHEREAS, the Senate recognizes the need for the safety and welfare of horses and jockeys, confidence in the fairness of competition, consistent oversight and regulation, and national uniformity and harmonization in the rules of the horse racing industry; and

“WHEREAS, the Senate believes that HISA, IF implemented properly, can achieve these objectives and enhance the reputation of horse racing in the United States; and

“WHEREAS, the Senate is aware that concerns have been raised by others regarding the unintended consequences that may arise from the current funding methodology, which does not provide uniform treatment to all states and may place undue economic pressure on horsemen and the racing industry in Kentucky; and

“WHEREAS, the Senate acknowledges that it is important to the prosperity of Kentucky horse racing that the safety of the human and equine athletes and the integrity of the sport be paramount;

“NOW, THEREFORE, Be it resolved by the Senate of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

“1. The Kentucky Senate urges the Federal Trade Commission and the HISA Authority to review the funding methodology of HISA and ensure that they provide uniform treatment to all states.

“2. The Clerk of the Senate is directed to transmit a copy of this Resolution to the Commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission, the Board of Directors of the HISA Authority, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, and Kentucky's Congressional delegation.”

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Echo Again Victorious In Oaklawn Debut

Thu, 2023-03-30 17:27

7th-Oaklawn, $103,000, Alw, 3-30, (NW1RX), 3yo, 1m, 1:37.94, ft, 1 1/4 lengths.
ECHO AGAIN (c, 3, Gun Runner–Teardrop {SP}, by Tapit) earned 'TDN Rising Star' status with a commanding 6 3/4-length debut win at Saratoga last summer. Tested for class, he faded to seventh in the GIII Iroquois S. against a stacked field led by Curly Jack (Good Magic), Jace's Road (Quality Road), and Confidence Game (Candy Ride {Arg}). Third in the Remington Springboard Mile S. to cap his juvenile season, he returned to be sixth after setting the pace early in the GIII Lecomte S. behind Instant Coffee (Bolt d'Oro). With the advantage of Lasix for the first time Thursday, Echo Again let Tyler's Tribe (Sharp Azteca) handle work at the front, taking back to be third as Western Ghent (American Pharoah) kept that pacesetter honest. Inching closer into the far turn as the speed began to grow weary, he took over with a three-wide move at the top of the lane and came home nicely, holding off a closing El Tomate (Runhappy) to win by 1 1/4 lengths as 4-5 chalk. Teardrop, herself a full-sister to G1SP Farrier and GSW War Echo as well as a half to GI Forego S. winner Pyro (Pulpit), has already produced Pneumatic (Uncle Mo), SW & GSP, $275,390. She has a 2-year-old Copper Bullet filly named Copperdrop and foaled a full-brother to Echo Again last year before returning to Gun Runner for 2023. Lifetime Record: SP, 5-2-0-1, $168,175. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC; B-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen.

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Churchill Partners with 2X Game Changers

Thu, 2023-03-30 16:28

Churchill Downs has partnered with 2X Game Changers and their Future Healers got Zoo Buddies and Planet Savers programs as part of the first 502'sDay celebration. Participants of 2X Game Changers programs, along with Executive Director Christopher 2X, will visit the Churchill Downs stable area Friday, Mar. 31 at 10:30 a.m. for tours followed by a meeting with Dr. Will Farmer, Churchill Downs Equine Medical Director.

502'sDay was created as a nod to Louisville's area code and to celebrate what makes Kentucky Derby Week special: the local community. 2X Game Changers is a nonprofit organization that promotes early childhood education, parental involvement, mentoring, and community involvement to positively transform the lives of children and young people, end violence long term, and make communities safer in the Louisville area.

The new Planet Savers program encourages youth and family development through animal and land conservation activities and waste and recycling advocacy efforts. The Future Healers got Zoo Buddies program engages kids in a curriculum focused on health and sciences by teaching them nutrition, animal care and behaviors, and how to improve their mental health.

Additionally, as part of the partnership, Churchill Downs is funding the opportunity for members of 2X Game Changers to visit Second Stride's Expansion at Chorleywood Farm in Prospect, Kentucky to interact with retired thoroughbreds.

Churchill Downs will also fund a trip to some of Lexington's most historic horse farms on Apr. 10. On 502'sDay, Churchill Downs will honor our 2x Game Changers throughout the day.

More information about the 2X Game Changers platforms can be found online at

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Rain Limits Training at Santa Anita Thursday

Thu, 2023-03-30 15:51

Santa Anita's main track was closed Thursday morning and the training track was limited to only joggers following yet another rainstorm that hit the area this week. Track officials said just over an inch of rain fell on Santa Anita during this latest series of storms, which began Tuesday. Wednesday morning, prior to the heaviest of the rainfall, both the main track and training track were open to gallopers and joggers. There have been no timed workouts at Santa Anita since Tuesday.

On Friday, an eight-race card is scheduled for Santa Anita which includes three turf races. Jason Egan, Santa Anita director of racing and racing secretary, said on Thursday he expects the card to be a go.

“The weather is supposed to clear out [Thursday], that's why we kept the main track closed to preserve it for racing on Friday,” Egan said. “I think we're going to be in good shape. We also should at least have gallopers and joggers on the main track tomorrow.”

As for the status of Friday's three turf races, Egan said he is hopeful they will remain on the grass.

“We want to wait to see how the rest of today goes weather-wise and then we'll make a determination,” he added.

Following this latest storm, Santa Anita has received more than 34 inches of rain since the start of the Classic Meet on Dec. 26. It's resulted in eight cards to be canceled, though four of those have already been made up. An additional makeup date is scheduled for Friday, Apr. 21.

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Rodriguez, Ness Earn Laurel Winter Meet Titles, Spring Meet Begins Apr. 1

Thu, 2023-03-30 15:10

Heading into Friday's closing day winter meet card, Jaime Rodriguez and Jamie Ness appear poised to top the jockey and trainer divisions for Laurel Park's concluding Winter Meet.

Rodriguez, 32, holds an 11-win advantage over five-pound apprentice Jeiron Barbosa in the rider standings, 58-47, with eight races remaining. Rodriguez is named in four races Friday, while Barbosa is named in six. It will be the first riding title in Maryland for Rodriguez, who also leads with $1.9 million in purse earnings from 209 mounts. He led the Delaware Park standings in 2021 and 2022, averaging 124 wins.

Ness, 48, leads Brittany Russell in wins, 34-28, heading into closing day where Ness has horses entered in two races (Russell has three entered). With $1.219 million in purse earnings, Ness ranks second to Russell ($1.236 million). It will be the sixth Maryland training title for Ness and first since Pimlico Race Course's 2019 spring meet. Others have come at Pimlico in spring of 2012 and 2015 and Laurel Park fall 2011 and 2012.

Ness is coming off a 2022 season where his horses earned a career-best $10.3 million in purses to go along with 326 wins, the fourth time he has topped the 300 mark including a personal best 395 in 2012. He ranked third in North America in wins in 2022 and 2021 (311) and fifth in 2020 (224). Ness earned his 3,900th career win with Time to Cruise March 22 at Parx, where he has dominated the trainer standings since 2020.

Laurel will open its 21-day spring meet Apr. 1 and race Thursday-Sunday through May 7 with the exception of Easter Sunday Apr. 9. Spring post time will be 12:40 p.m. with a special 12:10 p.m. post time on Kentucky Derby Day, May 6.

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Todd Pletcher Joins TDN Writers’ Room Podcast

Thu, 2023-03-30 14:32

It's that time of the year, when Todd Pletcher is in the headlines virtually every weekend. He won last Saturday's GII Louisiana Derby with Kingsbarns (Uncle Mo), has the favorite in Saturday's GI Curlin Florida Derby in Forte (Violence) and the following week will head to Keeneland for the GI Toyota Blue Grass, where Tapit Trice (Tapit) could be the horse to beat. To get Pletcher's latest thoughts on his wealth of 3-year-old talent we had him join us on this week's TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland. Pletcher was this week's Green Group Guest of the Week.

A key topic was the draw for the Florida Derby. A small field was expected, but when the entries came out, the Florida Derby had a field of 12 and Forte drew the 11 post. That's a big disadvantage, which Pletcher was quick to acknowledge. The 11 post is just 2-for-49 at a mile-and-an-eighth on the dirt at Gulfstream.

“There's no bones about it. I don't like it,” he said. “It wouldn't have been one of my first five choices. I read the other day that since 2006, post 11 is 2-for-49 at Gulfstream going a mile-and-an-eighth. The one thing I will say, you'd have to go back and look at all 49 horses who broke from that post. But I would doubt that too many of them have the credentials that Forte does.”

He said that when the new Gulfstream was being built the Stronach team asked him his opinion as to whether or not they should build a mile-and-an-eighth main track. He told them he was against it.

“If you could go back 20 years, they actually did ask me when they were looking at the blueprints,” he said. “They asked me 'What do you think of a mile-and-an-eighth track?' I told them that I didn't care for it at all. It compromises your race and potentially could compromise anyone who draws an outside post. I've always felt it's not really a fair race for everyone. Between the Florida Derby and the Pegasus, you just hate to see the two most significant races of the meet potentially affected by post position.”

In the Louisiana Derby, Kingsbarns benefitted from a heady ride by Flavien Prat, who got his mount to the lead and slowed the pace down to a crawl. Pletcher said the plan was to be aggressive from the gate.

“Flavien and I spoke about the race,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we were kind of seeing the pace scenario the same way and that we both agreed. There didn't appear to be a lot of pace on paper. We felt like we would come out running, try to establish some position. We felt like the horse was versatile enough that if he made the lead the right way we'd be fine with that. And if someone else was ambitious and wanted to take it, then we could put ourselves in a good stalking position. At the elbow of the first turn, we were a length in front and it was pretty much all good from there.”

Scouting the competition, Pletcher admitted he was impressed with Derma Sotogake (Jpn) (Mind Your Biscuits), the winner of the G2 UAE Derby, who will now be headed to the GI Kentucky Derby.

“I thought it was a very impressive performance,” he said. “I think the track might have been a little bit speed favoring, but I didn't get to watch the whole card. The Japanese horses have just been performing phenomenally everywhere that their horses run. So, yes, I'm concerned. They're certainly improving by leaps and bounds in the way that their horses are performing globally.”

Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by Coolmore,  the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, Woodford Thoroughbreds, Lane's End, XBTV, 1/st Racing, WinStar Farm and West Point Thoroughbreds, the team of Bill Finley, Randy Moss and Zoe Cadman dissected last week's Louisiana Derby and the impressive win by Two Phil's (Hard Spun) in the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks. Did he move up on the synthetic surface or is he a horse that has improved quickly? The trio also gave their handicapping thoughts for this week's Florida Derby and the GI Arkansas Derby.

For the video only version, click here and for Audio only, click here.

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Sunland Park Hosts Fundraiser for Injured Riders

Thu, 2023-03-30 13:38

Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino is playing host to a fundraiser for recently injured riders 19-year-old Bryce Bourdieu and 21-year-old Joree Scriver. The pair will be presented checks by SPRC Simulcast Coordinator and Chaplaincy representative Rayeanne Holland Saturday, Apr. 1, the racetrack's final Saturday of the season.

Raffle prizes included VIP packages at Sunland Park, a Professional Bull Riding event, the Ruidoso Jockey Club and Del Mar Racetrack, as well as a $2,000 saddle, a $1,000 pallet of horse feed and $3,500 custom boots by Mario Garcia.

Raffle tickets are available at the Sunland Park Turf Club, with the drawing scheduled for Apr. 1.

Bryce Bourdieu was injured last August in Texas, where he worked as an exercise rider and assistant starter. The son of popular Sunland Park Racetrack Handicapper Julie Renee Farr and jockey Martin Bourdieu, Bryce is recovering from extensive injuries, two back surgeries and a lower leg amputation. His medical bills are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Joree Scriver was seriously injured during a New Year's Day race when the horse she was riding suddenly fell. She had emergency back surgery to repair several fractured vertebrae and continues to suffer from the surgery, broken ribs a collapsed lung, facial lacerations and a severely bruised spinal cord. She has been receiving rehabilitation care in Colorado.

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Breeders’ Cup Tickets On Sale May 4

Thu, 2023-03-30 12:59

Tickets for the Nov. 3 and 4 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park will go on sale Thursday, May 4. Tickets may be purchased at Fans may sign up to receive pre-sale information at

Ticket options at various price points will be available, including Grandstand Reserved Seating, expanded Clubhouse Box Seating, Grandstand Box Seating, indoor and outdoor premium dining, and General Admission.

Breeders' Cup Experiences is the Official Ticket, Hospitality, and Travel Package provider for the 2023 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park. Packages are all-inclusive and provide top-end food and drink, reserved seating, hospitality, and insider experiences. Fans can visit the Breeders' Cup Experiences website,, for more information.

General admission prices start at $50 per person for Friday, Nov. 3, and $75 for Saturday, Nov. 4. Two-day general admission packages will also be available starting at $125. These passes do not include a reserved seat.

All on-site parking will be sold in advance. Pricing ranges from $50 per pass on Friday to $125 per pass on Saturday, depending on the lot. Parking will be sold online when ticket sales go live. A dedicated ride share lot will be available for patrons over the weekend.

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Sonny Taylor Jr. Announces Retirement from NYRA

Thu, 2023-03-30 12:42

Sentell “Sonny” Taylor, Jr., who first joined the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) as an assistant clocker in 1964 at Aqueduct, has announced his retirement. The 85-year-old, currently serving as a NYRA placing judge, will step down on Apr. 2 after 58 years.

“Sonny Taylor is a friend, a mentor and an encyclopedia of racing–and we will miss him,” said NYRA's Senior Vice President, Racing Operations Frank G. Gabriel, Jr. “There's no one else like Sonny, and we look forward to honoring him in a way that highlights his many contributions to New York racing.”

A Chicago native, Taylor attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, where he played collegiate basketball. After working for the U.S. Postal Service, he joined the U.S. Army, serving in Germany, before a visit to New York changed the path of his life. Shortly after his discharge, Taylor accompanied his great uncle and NYRA clocker Earl Williams to the track and was hooked.

With Williams' recommendation, Taylor became an assistant clocker at NYRA, working under the tutelage of Jack Kennedy, a fixture in the racing office; he became an official timer in 1971 and a patrol judge in 1972. Taylor was on hand for Secretariat's record-shattering performance of 2:24 in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont of 1973.

Taylor timed two other Belmonts that resulted in Triple Crowns–Seattle Slew's renewal in 1977 and Affirmed in 1978. In 1981, at the suggestion of the late NYRA board chairman Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Jr., he became a placing judge.

In 2014, Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement honored Taylor with its Frankel Award for Lifetime Achievement. According to Old Friends, among the horses he assisted in placement were Ogygian, Gulch, Kiri's Clown, Awad, Hidden Lake, Polish Navy, Glitterman, Ruhlmann, Sunshine Forever, Commentator and Affirmed Success.

“I've seen plenty of great races and some terrific performances,” he said. “But I think what I've especially enjoyed the most is all the different kinds of amazing people I've met and encountered in racing.”

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Fasig-Tipton April Digital Sale Bidding Now Open

Thu, 2023-03-30 12:34

Bidding on the 33 entries in the Fasig-Tipton April Digital Sale is now open and will close next Tuesday at 2 p.m. The catalogue, which can be viewed at, features horses of racing age, breeding stock, 2-year-olds, and yearlings. There are offerings located throughout the United States, including Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

“There is something for everyone in this catalogue,” said Leif Aaron, Fasig-Tipton Director of Digital Sales. “We expect significant interest and a very active market.”

Among the entries in the digital auction are stakes-placed Buckey's Charm (Kantharos), who was covered by Mandaloun Feb. 20; recent GIII Royal Delta S. third-place finisher Don't Get Khozy (Khozan); multiple stakes-placed K P Slickem (Include), a half-sister to the dam of champion Forte (Violence), who sells in foal to Raging Bull (Fr); stakes-placed Regal Retort (Jimmy Creed), who was covered by Early Voting Feb. 23; stakes-winner Vilao (Grave Digger), who was covered by Omaha Beach Feb. 11; multiple graded stakes-placed Heavenly Hill (City Zip), who sells in foal to Not This Time; Athena's War (Kor) (New Year's Day), a full-sister to Maximum Security who sells in foal to Charlatan; multiple stakes-placed Queens Up (Classic Empire), who sells as a racing/broodmare prospect; graded stakes-placed Danessa Deluxe (Summer Bird), who was covered by Speaker's Corner Feb. 12; and multiple stakes-placed broodmare prospect Tyler's Dream (Carpe Diem).

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MHBA, MTHA Host Tesio Talk

Thu, 2023-03-30 11:36

The Maryland Horse Breeders Association and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association will host a Tesio Talk and continental breakfast in the International Room at Laurel Park on Federico Tesio S. day, Apr. 15.

The “Talking Tesio” event begins at 10:30 a.m. and will feature a continental breakfast followed by a panel discussion with industry leaders about Tesio's influence on the breed. Speakers include Country Life Farm's Josh Pons, J. William Boniface, the owner of Bonita Farm, and Ned Moore, owner of Corner Farm in Clark County, Virginia, bloodstock agent, and consultant for the National Sporting Library.

The Tesio, which has been held annually in Maryland since 1981, honors the great Italian breeder, owner and trainer best known for his breeding theories and his success with Nearco, who was the foundation of a sire line that includes Kentucky Derby winner and legendary stallion Northern Dancer, who stood in Maryland for many years at Windfields Farm, and Bold Ruler, sire of the great Secretariat. He also bred Ribot, a two-time winner of the prestigious Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Tickets to the talk are free with registration before Apr. 13. For more information, call (410) 252-2100 or email

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