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Updated: 1 week 1 day ago

Churchill To Host 12 Stakes Worth $3.7 Million During September Meet

Mon, 2023-08-21 15:18

A dozen stakes cumulatively worth a record $3,775,000 will be offered during the 14-day September Meet at Churchill Downs, which runs Sept. 14-Oct. 1 (pending Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund final approval).

The meet will offer horsemen plenty of opportunities to prep for the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita, led by the GII Lukas Classic for 3-year-olds and the GIII Ack Ack–a Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” race for the Dirt Mile–Saturday, Sept. 30.

Additionally, the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks series will kick-off Saturday, Sept. 16 with the GIII Iroquois and GIII Pocahontas, respectively. Both races for 2-year-olds have been shortened by a half-furlong to the one turn, one-mile distance.

The condition book of scheduled races for the September Meet features 135 races and a record $15,133,000 in prize money for a daily average of $1,080,929. Maiden special weight races have a $120,000 purse while allowance races range from $127,000 to $141,000. All purses, including claiming races, include prize money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

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Bejarano’s Trip To Spa Results In Three-Day Suspension

Mon, 2023-08-21 14:25

Rafael Bejarano's trip from Kentucky to New York to ride just one mount Saturday in the GI Alabama S. resulted in disqualification from fifth to sixth and a subsequent three-day suspension issued Sunday by the Saratoga Race Course stewards for “careless riding.”

The incident involved Bejarano and the 4-1 Taxed (Collected) swerving inward and cutting off the 5-1 Gambling Girl (Dialed In) and Irad Ortiz, Jr. about 70 yards into the 10-furlong stakes.

The Equibase chart stated Bejarano's filly “stumbled at the start recovering inwards a step, raced to the outside of Gambling Girl, and tucked directly in front impeding that rival.”

Gambling Girl “bobbled heavily” and “lost two to three lengths of ground,” the chart stated.

Ortiz objected after finishing sixth and the stewards lit the inquiry sign before making the DQ official.

Bejarano opted not to appeal his days, and will serve them Aug. 26, 27 and 30.

Riding primarily at Ellis Park this summer, the 41-year-old Bejarano is currently tied for second in the standings there in wins. He ranks third in purse earnings.


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NYRA To Honor Funny Cide At Saratoga

Mon, 2023-08-21 13:41

The New York Racing Association will pay tribute to GI Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide (Distorted Humor), one of the most successful and popular New York-breds of all time, on New York Showcase Day, Aug. 27, at Saratoga Race Course.

Funny Cide, who died earlier this summer due to complications from colic, earned more than $3.5 million during his six-year  career, including when he became the first New York-bred to win the “Run for the Roses”. He was later named the 2003 Eclipse Award winner for Champion 3-Year-Old Colt.

“Few of us will ever forget Funny Cide's remarkable 2003 season, which helped shine a light on the growing success of the New York-bred program,” said NYRA President & CEO Dave O'Rourke. “NYRA is honored to celebrate his life and career on this most appropriate of days: New York Showcase Day at Saratoga.”

Funny Cide's remains will be buried at Saratoga during a brief ceremony starting at 11 a.m. inside Gate C and just a short distance from the horse path. Saratoga Race Course will be the final resting place for the two-time New York-bred Horse of the Year.

“Funny Cide was instrumental in helping to elevate the New York-bred program to national prominence and was a fan favorite wherever he ran,” said Najja Thompson, executive director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. “His connection to the city of Saratoga Springs extends beyond being foaled locally at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds and campaigned by Sackatoga Stable. Residents of the city and racing fans understand the great impact he made on our sport. It is an honor to have him recognized on New York Showcase Day and for visitors to Saratoga Race Course to be able to pay their respects to him going forward.”

Funny Cide's connections, Sackatoga Managing Partner Jack Knowlton, trainer Barclay Tagg, assistant trainer Robin Smullen and Hall of Fame jockey Jose Santos, will be on hand to sign an array of memorabilia, including Funny Cide posters and bobbleheads, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Jockey Silks Porch. Suggested donations will benefit the Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST) and the New York Race Track Chaplaincy, a pair of non-profit organizations dedicated to the care and well-being of members of NYRA's backstretch community.

Later in the afternoon, following the annual running of the Funny Cide S. presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, NYRA will present a video compilation of his career. Funny Cide retired in 2007 and resided at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, until the time of his passing in mid-July.

“Sackatoga Stable is most appreciative of NYRA's recognition of the impact Funny Cide has had on and off the track throughout his storied career,” said Knowlton. “We are particularly proud of the impact he has had on the New York-bred program in its growth since his 2003 Kentucky Derby victory. Always a fan favorite, it is particularly fitting that Funny Cide's remains will be buried at Saratoga Race Course in a place where fans can remember the 'Gutsy Gelding.'”

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Union Rags Colt Supplemented To 2023 Texas Summer Yearling Sale

Mon, 2023-08-21 13:29

A colt by Union Rags is the latest yearling supplemented to the 2023 Texas Summer Yearling Sale. Cataloged as Hip 271, the New York-bred colt is out of a Mineshaft half-sister to graded-stakes placed Divine Elegance (Uncle Mo) and from the family of SW/GISP Standard Deviation (Curlin).

This addition, as well as the eight previously supplemented yearlings, is posted on the interactive catalog and will all be featured in a paper supplement catalog available on the Lone Star Park sales grounds and sale pavilion ahead of the sale which begins Aug. 28.

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Aspray Back in Winner’s Circle in Lake Placid

Sat, 2023-08-19 16:43

Ran Jan Racing's immaculately bred Aspray (Quality Road), who tasted defeat for the first time in her career in the GI Belmont Oaks Invitational S. July 8, atoned for that effort in no uncertain terms with a powerful two-length victory over her previously unbeaten stablemate Surge Capacity (Flintshire {GB}) in Saturday's GII Lake Placid S. at Saratoga. Soviet Excess (Uncle Mo) charged home late to deny a Chad Brown 1-2-3 sweep, finishing just ahead of favored Tax Implications (GB) (Mehmas {Ire}).

Drawn beautifully in gate two, Aspray bounced away in good order and secured the ideal position in transit, riding the rails as Heavenly Sunset (Candy Ride {Arg}) led from Gloria's Princess (Cairo Prince) at an even gallop. Traveling sweetly beneath Flavien Prat for the run into the final half-mile, Aspray was waited with nearing the quarter pole, popped off the inside and into the three-wide line to deliver her challenge in upper stretch. The homebred quickly put the pacesetters to the sword with about a furlong and a half to race, pinched a winning break and was never in any sort of danger. Surge Capacity appeared to take an awkward stride or two in a bit tight down the backstretch, but had a clear shot at the winner in the stretch and just couldn't reel her in.

Victorious in an off-turf maiden on Tampa debut Jan. 14, Aspray followed up with a facile 2 1/2-length success trying the grass for the first time in Oldsmar Mar. 22. With Prat in the boot for the first time, the bay made up a double-digit deficit with a wide rally to take out the May 19 Hilltop S. at Pimlico and was wide on both turns last time in the 10-furlong Oaks, finishing 2 1/2 lengths behind European raider Aspen Grove (Ire) (Justify) in fourth.

“[Aspray relished the] cutback in distance and she really appreciated the ground today, too,” said Brown, winning his fifth Lake Placid in the last seven years and third straight. “She didn't mind a little cut in the ground. She worked out a beautiful trip from that inside post. Flavien [Prat] really took advantage of that.

“I trained her a little too far last time, but you had to try since it was such a prestigious race we were pointing towards. I thought she could do it. Flavien [Prat] knows the horse so well, he came back after the race and he was adamant about the race being a little too far for her and that we should cut her back in distance to 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles and we'll be fine. He was right.”

Brown indicated that Aspray would likely make her next start in the GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland over nine panels in October, an event he won last year with Gina Romantica (Into Mischief).

Pedigree Notes:

Aspray is a 35th worldwide winner at the group/graded level for Lane's End's Quality Road and is bred on the exact same cross as Cairo (Ire), a Group 3 winner last season at two in Ireland and most recently runner-up to Paddington (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}) in the G1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas in May. Aspray is the 164th GSW worldwide out of a daughter of the late Galileo.

Aspray's dam was raced by the Coolmore partners, finishing runner-up to Beauty Parlour (GB) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches in 2012 before returning to Ireland to win the G3 Dance Design S. and G2 Blandford S. Robert Naify and Jan Vandebos's Ran Jan Racing paid a sales-topping $2.2 million for Up, in foal to War Front, at the 2015 Keeneland January Sale.

The mare, a half-sister to Group 1-winning juvenile and Cheveley Park sire Dutch Art (GB) (Medicean {GB}), has proven a commercial success and her offspring have done their part at the races. Her foal of 2017, Monarch of Egypt, became the first winner and 'TDN Rising Star' for American Pharoah and went on to be second in the 2019 G1 Phoenix S. for the Coolmore partners. He was later sold to Hong Kong interests, was unplaced in the 2021 BMW Hong Kong Derby and is now conditioned by the Hayes brothers in Victoria, Australia, where he won in handicap company in May. Khartoum (Pioneerof the Nile), a $1-million KEESEP grad in 2019, was Group 3-placed for Coolmore in Ireland and was sold to continue his career in Saudi Arabia, where he was an 8 1/2-length winner in allowance company at King Khalid Racecourse in Ta'if Aug. 4.

Up's yearling Medaglia d'Oro filly is cataloged as hip 384 to the upcoming Keeneland September Sale. She was among the first book of mares bred to Flightline this season.

Saturday, Saratoga
LAKE PLACID S.-GII, $200,000, Saratoga, 8-19, 3yo, f, 1 1/16mT, 1:42.85, gd.
1–ASPRAY, 120, f, 3, by Quality Road
                1st Dam: Up (Ire) (MGSW-Ire, G1SP-Fr, $379,468),
                                by Galileo (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Halland Park Lass (Ire), by Spectrum (Ire)
                3rd Dam: Palacegate Episode (Ire), by Drumalis (Ire)
1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O/B-Ran Jan Racing, Inc. (KY);
T-Chad C. Brown; J-Flavien Prat. $110,000. Lifetime Record:
5-4-0-0, $226,210. *1/2 to Monarch of Egypt (American
Pharoah), G1SP-Ire, GSP-Eng, $268,084. Werk Nick Rating: A.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Surge Capacity, 122, f, 3, Flintshire (GB)–Strong Incentive, by
Warrior's Reward. O/B-Klaravich Stables (KY); T-Chad C.
Brown. $40,000.
3–Soviet Excess, 118, f, 3, Uncle Mo–Westit (GB), by Tapit.
1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. O/B-Wertheimer Et Frere (KY);
T-Todd A. Pletcher. $24,000.
Margins: 2, HD, NK. Odds: 3.35, 4.20, 28.25.
Also Ran: Tax Implications (GB), Prerequisite, Gloria's Princess, Heavenly Sunday, Junipermarshmallow. Scratched: Leave No Trace, Undervalued Asset.
Click for the chart and the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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Woodbine And Bet365 Bring Horse Racing To Ontario Bettors

Fri, 2023-08-18 12:30

Woodbine Entertainment and bet365 have made horse racing now available to Ontario sports bettors, the track said in a release Friday.

“This a great day for Ontario sports bettors and especially for the horse racing industry in the province,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. “For over a year, we have been working hard with regulators, government agencies and our partners at bet365 to develop the technology and satisfy all requirements to allow players to access pari-mutuel horse racing betting products using accounts with legal gaming operators in Ontario with the customer experience at the forefront. Betting on horse racing in Ontario is now on its way to becoming more accessible than ever.”

In addition, Woodbine Entertainment and bet365 created a four-year marketing partnership, in which the latter receives naming rights for the apron winner's circle, inner turf course and paddock. Additionally, bet365 will have naming rights for stakes races throughout the year.


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Santa Anita Returns Traditional Pick Six

Fri, 2023-08-18 10:09

Santa Anita Park will return to a traditional $1 Pick Six when its 18-day Autumn Meet opens on Friday, Sept. 29, the track said in a press release early Friday.

Officials have responded to the wishes of a vast number of players seeking a return to a more traditional format with 70 percent of the net pool paid to tickets which correctly select all six winners and 30 percent paid in a consolation payoff to those players who select five of six winners.

As is the case with the traditional Pick Six format, in the event there are no tickets with all six winners, 70 percent of the net pool is carried over to the next card and 30 percent is paid out to winning consolation tickets.

The Pick Six will again be comprised of the final six races on each day's program with a mandatory payout in place on closing day, Sunday, Nov. 5.

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Alabama Rolls Strong Draw Amid This Weekend’s Graded Stakes

Fri, 2023-08-18 09:00

“What's in a name?” Spurning Master Shakespeare and embracing anecdotal evidence, consider the tale of how Saratoga's Oklahoma Training Track got its name. Horsemen complained that the distance across Union Avenue to the main course was such a hike that it might as well be in Boomer Sooner land.

Another piece from the past concerns the name of the Alabama S. Dating to 1872, the race was given that moniker after the Derby-winning owner William Cottrell of Mobile asked if it could be dubbed after his home state, instead of him. We need these names and the history within. What's in a name? Plenty.

Speaking of the Alabama S., another Grade I edition of the fabled race arrives this Saturday and it's a good group of filles that have assembled. As is her running style, Wet Paint (Blame) was up in the final jumps to win the GI CCA Oaks, her first at the elite level, at Saratoga last month. She'll once again face Sacred Wish (Not This Time) and GI Longines Kentucky Oaks runner-up Gambling Girl (Dialed In), who finished second and third, respectively.

Glorias Princess outside Verstappen | Sarah Andrew

Also present are a pair that Wet Paint bested in the GIII Honeybee S. earlier this year at Oaklawn Park. GSW Taxed (Collected), trained by Randy Morse, certainly turned heads when she won the GII Black-Eyed Susan S. at Pimlico May 19, but she was last seen running second to Kenny McPeek trainee Defining Purpose (Cross Traffic) in the GIII Indiana Oaks. That gray filly's best effort this year came when she won the GI Ashland S. at Keeneland Apr. 7, a race which included third-place runner GSW Julia Shining (Curlin), who returns for Todd Pletcher's barn here.

McPeek, who has won the Alabama twice, said when asked about the distance test for Defining Purpose, “She's been a filly that has been a bit of an overachiever from the beginning. She was a $14,000 RNA as a young horse, so everything she's accomplished up until now is all gravy. She's extremely smart and is very willing. She loves her tasks and she's an easy filly to train. She's training fantastic.”

The Saratoga Saturday card includes the GII Lake Placid S. for 3-year-old fillies and up on the inner turf. Chad Brown as a quartet ready, which includes GSW and GISP Prerequisite (Upstart), SW Aspray (Quality Road) and a pair of Klaravich Stables-owned entries in GIII Lake George S.-winner Surge Capacity (Flintshire {GB}) and Tax Implications (GB) (Mehmas {Ire}), who was second in that race. Looking to record the first stakes victory of her career is Gloria's Princess (Cairo Prince). The gray filly graduated from the maiden ranks at Churchill Downs May 3 and then won an allowance condition at Ellis Park for trainer Brendan Walsh June 25.

Anisette | Benoit

Heading west, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is holding its own Grade I event, as the Del Mar Oaks has drawn a field of 10. Out of these 3-year-old filles that will be going nine furlongs on the grass, Anisette (GB) (Awtaad {Ire}) performed impressively with a strong late turn of foot to win the GII San Clemente S. for trainer Leo Powell July 22, while the Richard Mandella trainee Window Shopping (American Pharoah) netted her own Grade II when she won the Summertime Oaks June 3 at Santa Anita. Also from the Hall of Famer's shedrow comes Ruby Nell (Bolt d'Oro), a $1.2-million '22 FTFMAR purchase by Spendthrift Farm, who won in gate-to-wire fashion against optional claimers at Del Mar July 22.

Two tracks that will sport their own weekend graded stakes races include Monmouth Park and Woodbine Racetrack. The 'Shore's Greatest Stretch' will host the GIII Philip H. Iselin S. for older horses going a mile and a sixteenth on the dirt. As the heavy morning-line favorite, 'TDN Rising Star' Zozos (Munnings) comes in for Brad Cox off two stakes wins in a row.

Heading north to Canada, Woodbine hosts the prep for the GI Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Saturday as 11 are scheduled to go to the post for the GII King Edward S. Turf veteran GISW 'TDN Rising Star' Shirl's Speight (Speightstown) returns to the races after he ran fourth in the G1 Dubai Turf on World Cup Night back in late March, as he will square off against GSW Treason (Constitution), who was second in the GIII Dominion Day S. in Toronto July 1.

Treason | Michael Burns

“He's [Shirl's Speight] still carrying a bit more weight than I'd like him to, but I need to run him in this race to get to the [Woodbine] Mile, anyway,” said Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield. “He's working lights out, but he always does.”

Shifting to Sunday's card which includes the King's Plate S., a pair of graded races are on tap with the GIII Bold Venture S., for 3-year-old males and up, over the Tapeta at 6 1/2 furlongs and the GII Dance Smartly S., for 3-year-old females and up, going 1 1/16th over the grass. Patches O'Houlihan (Reload) will try to notch his sixth win in what will be his seventh career start in the Bold Venture, while in the Dance Smartly, 'TDN Rising Star' Salimah (El Kabeir) ships in for trainer Chad Brown and the 2022 Canadian Horse of the Year Moira (Ghostzapper) looks to return to winning ways. Il Malocchio (Souper Speedy) goes from Tapeta to turf after she won the GIII Trillium S. last time.

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Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Celebrates Successful Presence At Saratoga

Thu, 2023-08-17 18:11

Throughout two weeks in early August at Saratoga, which included Whitney Weekend and the Fasig-Tipton sales, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) made a significant impact through multiple avenues, the organization reported in a press release late Thursday.

  • NYRA's Community Outreach Booth showcased TAA's efforts and accomplishments.
  • Honored with the distinction of having two named races on Aug. 5-6, drawing attention to their vital work.
  • Received a $25,000 donation from James and Shari Ough.
  • Facilitated a memorable experience for the winners of the VIP package in the Off to the Races VIP Experience Auction, donated by NYRA and the National Racing Hall of Fame.
  • Visited various facilities in Saratoga to assess accreditation requirements, ensuring the well-being of retired racehorses.
  • Held their annual in-person board meeting, where the board convened to discuss strategies for advancing the organization's goals.

Finally, the TAA issued a special thank you to those within the racing community that came together and made donations in honor of Maple Leaf Mel.


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Late NYRA Photographer Bob Coglianese to be Honored at Saratoga

Thu, 2023-08-17 17:59

Friday's first race at Saratoga is named in honor of Bob Coglianese, the late NYRA track photographer who passed away in December. Coglianese, who would have been celebrating his 89th birthday, spent more than half of a century documenting racing history. Friends from his decades at the track are welcome to join in the winner's circle presentation following the race and all are encouraged to turn their attention to the on-track screens for a video tribute. If you would like to honor his legacy, the Coglianese family recommends donations to the Belmont Child Care Association, the Backstretch Employee Service Team, or the New York Race Track Chaplaincy.

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Market Street Will Try Turf in With Anticipation

Thu, 2023-08-17 16:39

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – In an atypical move, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said that GIII Saratoga Special S. runner-up Market Street (Street Sense) will likely make his next start on grass in the Aug. 31 GIII With Anticipation S.

Lukas, 87, built his exceptional career with dirt horses and most years saddles far fewer horses on the grass. So far in 2023, just six of his 193 starters (3%) have run on turf. Since the beginning of 2019, 11.9% of his starters have been on turf. His most recent graded stakes winner on turf was Skyring (English Channel) in the 2014 GII Mervin Muniz Jr. H.

In the last four-and-a-half seasons, Lukas has had 38 2-year-old starters on turf from a total of 301 runners (12.6%) and has a record of 0-1-4.

Conditions permitting, Lukas's first 2-year-old runner on the grass this year could be Seize the Grey (Arrogate) Friday in the Skidmore S. With a rain forecast of 90% Thursday night and 100% Friday, there is a good chance that the New York Racing Association will move the turf races to the dirt.

Lukas has targeted the 1 1/16 miles With Anticipation for Market Street because he is planning to run Just Steel (Justify) in the GI Hopeful Sept. 4. Just Steel finished second by three lengths to 'TDN Rising Star' Pirate (Omaha Beach) on July 15 and broke his maiden by a nose on Aug. 5.

Market Street set the early pace in the 6 1/2-furlong Saratoga Special, but Rhyme Schemes (Ghostzapper) unleashed an impressive run in the stretch and matched his Ellis Park maiden score with a 9 1/2-length victory. Lukas said he was pleased with Market Street's run in the Special–“I thought it was good enough,” he said–even though he was a distant second to a spectacular performance.

“That's what happens up here,” he said. “You run a real good race and all of a sudden you look up and there's one that is really good. You have to deal with them.”

Lukas said Market Street will not train on the turf before the With Anticipation, but with his running style should be able to handle the surface change.

“We're not smart enough to have a crystal ball to tell whether they like it or not,” he said. “That's always a conversation among trainers. I always say, 'I don't think anybody knows till they try it.' I've really got a couple other horses backed up, so it's kind of a nice fit for him to drop in there.”

Lukas noted that in this wet summer at Saratoga Race Course the With Anticipation might end up on the dirt.

Through Wednesday's racing, Lukas has a record at Saratoga of 2-9-0 from 25 starters. Both of his wins and five of his seconds have come from 13 starts with 2-year-olds. He said he has five maidens in his barn.

“Our 2-year-olds should all come around a second time now pretty strong,” Lukas said.

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CHRB Awards ’24 SoCal Dates, But Warns NorCal Uncertainty Could Be Factor In Final Say

Thu, 2023-08-17 16:29

Southern California's racing calendar for 2024 will nearly mirror this year's dates template, with the exception of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club being awarded a fifth week at its fall meet to dovetail with that track's hosting of the Nov. 1-2 Breeders' Cup.

But several California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) commissioners who voted in favor of next year's SoCal schedule at the Aug. 17 monthly meeting made it clear those dates allocations were not to be considered a “rubber stamp” approval that couldn't change at some point in the future.

That caveat was relevant because of the uncertainty unleashed upon the statewide industry July 16 when 1/ST Racing, which owns both Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields, announced that Golden Gate would cease racing at the end of this year.

On Aug. 16, a 1/ST Racing executive said at a meeting of the CHRB's race dates committee, which reports to the full board, that the company might be willing to push back Golden Gate's closure by six months, to June 2024, pending discussions with industry stakeholders about how to best re-work the NorCal schedule in a way that doesn't harm the $30 million investment the company is making to improve SoCal racing.

That Wednesday news about Golden Gate's possible six-month reprieve prompted differing opinions on Thursday between the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT) and the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) about how the CHRB should handle its scheduled agenda item that dealt with the awarding of the '24 SoCal dates.

Alan Balch, the CTT's executive director, advocated for the CHRB to hold off on awarding the '24 SoCal dates.

“We believe the entire state is interdependent,” Balch said. “We welcomed the [1/ST Racing] suggestion [Wednesday], not only that they would consider extending northern California at Golden Gate, but that they supported additional racing in the future in Northern California after the closure of Golden Gate. Since the state is integrated, because horses run [on both northern and southern circuits], we strongly urge this board not to allocate southern California dates given the pendency of potential legislation, and for many other reasons, until all the stakeholders can get together [to work out a plan].”

Bill Nader, the TOC's president and chief executive officer, said that it was his group's belief that the “absence of insight in knowing what the north might look like didn't really influence the south.”

Thus, Nader continued, it would be “prudent” to award the SoCal dates on Thursday in order to give “the rest of the country some clarity and completeness that California is still strong and has a vision leading into 2024.”

Bill Nader | Horsephotos

CHRB commissioner Thomas Hudnut said he thought the CTT's idea had merit because delaying the awarding of dates to Santa Anita could be used as an aid in negotiating how 1/ST Racing might help the industry absorb the massive gap it is creating in the NorCal schedule.

“We can't force dates on anybody. But we can withhold them,” Hudnut said. “And I think there is some merit in the suggestion of the CTT to avoid awarding any dates right now. The dates are the 'carrot,' and the 'stick' we have is not awarding them pending people getting their collective acts together…”

After listening to industry stakeholders go back and forth for 2 3/4 hours at Wednesday's dates committee meeting, CHRB commissioners Wendy Mitchell and Damascus Castellanos both expressed concerns on Thursday how some entities didn't seem to be acting with enough urgency considering one month has passed since 1/ST Racing let it be known it would walk away from California's lone commercial Thoroughbred license in the north.

“I've been on this board four years now, and we're really at a crossroads more so than I think we've been [at] in my time here,” Mitchell said. “And I'm very concerned…. It is more urgent than it's ever been to have the industry stay in California.”

Said Castellanos: “Everybody has an idea of working together and doing what they've got to do for the industry. But nobody really came to us [Wednesday] with a plan…. So my concern is the urgency…. We can't force dates on anybody. You guys have got to come up with this…. I suggest, as an industry, get together. Figure it out.”

Eventually, Hudnut moved to defer the allocation of the SoCal race dates until the board's September meeting. But no commissioner seconded his motion, so it died.

CHRB chairman Gregory Ferraro, DVM, took a different approach. He not only made a motion that the board take up the SoCal dates issue right away, but he specified that the '24 dates for that region be “the exact replication of the dates we awarded for 2023, with the exception of the one week” during which Del Mar hosts Breeders' Cup.

Santa Anita, this year's Breeders' Cup host, currently has control of that extra autumn week. Its executives did not lodge any opposition Thursday to Del Mar being granted that week in '24.

Ferraro's motion was seconded. Before the final vote was taken, CHRB vice chair Oscar Gonzales reminded commissioners who might be cognizant of Hudnut's “carrot and stick” analogy that the board still has other resources to act as cudgels of compliance, such as the CHRB's powers to halt any licensee's ability to race at any time, or even to deny a license altogether after blocks of dates have been awarded.

“I mean, we have a lot of latitude as the board, so it's among the reasons that I intend to vote for southern California racing dates knowing that this board has been empowered [to make changes after awarding blocks of dates],” Gonzales said. “I believe we are going to be paying very, very close attention to see how things unfold here over the next few weeks and months.”

The motion to award the '24 SoCal dates then passed, with Hudnut casting the lone dissenting vote.

The exact blocks of SoCal dates were not read into the record prior to the vote. But the template they will follow lines up with year's rotation: Santa Anita from Dec. 26, 2023, to late June 2024; then Los Alamitos through early July; Del Mar through mid-September; Los Alamitos until late September; Santa Anita through late October; Del Mar through the first week of December; Los Alamitos until late December.

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NTRA Joins Dean Dorton for Nationwide Survey on Farm Employee Compensation

Thu, 2023-08-17 16:11

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has joined the certified public accounting and professional business advisory firm, Dean Dorton, in conducting a nationwide survey focused on Thoroughbred horse farm employee compensation. The survey includes questions related to average hourly and salary pay rates for various positions, bonuses, health insurance, housing, visa programs, internships, retirement plans, and more.

All Thoroughbred farm owners are encouraged to complete this survey, which will allow comparison and sharing of state-specific results to those of the nationwide respondents. All information from specific respondents will remain completely anonymous.

The deadline to complete the survey is Thursday, Aug. 31.

Click here to complete the survey.

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Honor Code To Stand At Yushun Stallion Station

Thu, 2023-08-17 16:00

MGISW Honor Code (A.P. Indy) has been sold and will stand the 2024 breeding season at Yushun Stallion Station in Japan, Lane's End Farm said in a release Thursday.

The 12-year-old, who will take his place alongside notable sires such as Henny Hughes (Hennessy) will offer an outcross to the many Sunday Silence mares there.

Bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge and campaigned by that farm along with Lane's End Racing, Honor Code entered stud at Lane's End in 2016.

“We are hopeful that on completion of his stud career Honor Code will return to Lane's End. He has provided us with so many memories.  We would love to have him back some day,” said Bill Farish of Lane's End Farm.

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Multiple Grade I Winner Art Collector Euthanized after Developing Laminitis

Thu, 2023-08-17 15:30

Art Collector (Bernardini), a winner of eight stakes, including the 2023 GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the 2021 GI Woodward S., was euthanized Thursday in Saratoga after developing laminitis.

Horse Racing Nation was first with the story.

“This was sudden and a tough experience for me and my wife,” said owner-breeder Bruce Lunsford. “I can summarize this pretty easily. He gave me my highest highs in this business and now my lowest low. That's as simple as I can put it. He will be in my brain and my thoughts for the rest of my life. He was very special. The biggest win of my life was in the Pegasus down in Miami, so this was a really big loss. And he was going to be a great sire.”

Trainer Bill Mott said the problems started only a few days ago but became more serious by the day.

“He started to develop laminitis a couple of days ago and he went in a hurry,” Mott said. “He had a very good work on the fifth of August and was fine the next day. Then he developed what appeared to be a small foot abscess two days later. We were soaking it and treating it. We didn't think it was going to be anything serious, but it developed into laminitis in all four feet. He was with us in Saratoga and was in his stall. He started to get real uncomfortable on Tuesday. Yesterday was a bad day and it was getting worse and we had to make the decision to put him asleep.”

Art Collector was originally trained by Joe Sharp. He was transferred to trainer Tom Drury for his 3-year-old campaign. His first graded stakes win came for Drury in the 2020 GII Blue Grass S., which, because of the pandemic, was run on July 11. He returned with a win in the Ellis Park Derby before finishing fourth in the GI Preakness S., which began a three-race losing streak.

In July of 2021, Lunsford made the decision to turn the horse over to Mott, who helped turn around the horse's career. He won his first three starts for Mott in a streak that included the Alydar S., the GII Charles Town Classic and the Woodward. He scored another win in the Charles Town Classic in 2022. After winning this year's Pegasus, he finished his career with second-place finishes in the GII New Orleans Classic and the GII Alysheba.

He was being pointed for a return visit to this year's Charles Town Classic. Lunsford said the plan was to retire Art Collector after the Charles Town race and then to send him to Claiborne Farm, where he was to stand at stud.

Art Collector won 11 of 21 starts and earned $4,231,290.

“To win the Pegasus, what a brilliant race that was for him,” Mott said. “It may be the biggest race of the year so far in North America. We all have great memories of that. He won 50% of his races. He wasn't just an average race horse. He was pretty special.”

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Sports Betting Three Weeks Away in Kentucky

Thu, 2023-08-17 14:49

With the opening day of sports betting just three weeks away, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has provided a timeline of key dates, including that betting will officially start at 10 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Sept. 7, for in-person bets at licensed retail facilities.

A list of approved retail facilities and mobile applications will be released Aug. 22, following the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) meeting.

“The countdown is on. We are just three weeks away from sports wagering in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are ready to deliver the quality entertainment experience Kentuckians asked for, while bringing money to the state to support pensions and free up funds that can be used to build a better Kentucky.”

Sports Betting Timeline:

Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 1:30 p.m. EDT: KHRC will meet to vote on license applications. This vote will determine which retail facilities and mobile applications will be approved for use in Kentucky.

Monday, Aug. 28, at 6 a.m. EDT: Kentuckians can pre-register an account with approved mobile applications. Allowing pre-registration eases strains on electronic systems that can sometimes happen when many people try to register at once.

Thursday, Sept. 7, at 10 a.m. EDT: Wagerers can place an in-person bet at licensed retail facilities.

Thursday, Sept. 7, at 6 a.m. EDT: Wagerers can only deposit money into their pre-registered account with approved mobile applications.

Thursday, Sept. 28, at 6 a.m. EDT: Approved mobile applications can start taking wagers.
Kentucky chose a tiered implementation, which has been used in multiple states and which allows for testing of policies and procedures before the full rollout that includes mobile applications.

“The KHRC is excited to open sports wagering and is working efficiently to meet the necessary deadlines. This is a careful process dedicated to wagering integrity and protecting bettors in the state of Kentucky,” said Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz.

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Four Supplemented To Keeneland’s Book 1 September Yearling Sale

Thu, 2023-08-17 12:24

Keeneland will supplement four horses to Book 1 of the September Yearling Sale, which begins Monday, Sept. 11, the organization said in a release Thursday.

Opening day of the sale will include a daughter of American Pharoah out of Pushkinskaya (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) (hip 190), consigned by Highgate Sales, agent, who is a full sister to European Champion 2-year-old filly Maybe (Ire).

Four Star Sales, agent, consigns a colt by Uncle Mo (hip 191) and a half-brother to GISP Conquest Panthera (Kitten's Joy) and MGSW Happy Like a Fool (Distorted Humor).

The first supplement on Day 2 is a colt by Gun Runner out of Special Event (hip 391), consigned by Gainesway, agent. He is from the family of Champion older mare and MGISW Queena (Mr. Prospector).

Highgate Sales, agent, also consigns a filly by American Pharoah (hip 392) out of GISP Stopshoppingmaria (More Than Ready).

Click here for the online catalog.

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Caesars Entertainment Launches Caesars Racebook in New York

Thu, 2023-08-17 10:39

Caesars Entertainment launched its horse racing wagering app Caesars Racebook in New York, the casino-entertainment company said in a release Thursday morning.

Fans in the Empire State can now access pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing content from more than 300 tracks around the world, all tied to Caesars Rewards, the gaming industry's loyalty program.

Caesars Racebook's debut in New York builds on recent launches in sixteen states, including California, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland and Ohio. Powered by NYRA Bets, Caesars Racebook is now available in New York on iOS, Android and desktop.

“This is an important expansion of the partnership between NYRA Bets and Caesars Racebook that will contribute to the success of horse racing in New York State now and in the future,” said Tony Allevato, President of NYRA Bets.

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Thoroughbred Owner Conference Series ‘Buying at Public Auction’ Now Online

Thu, 2023-08-17 10:22

The seventh panel of the OwnerView Virtual Thoroughbred Owner Conference held Tuesday, Aug. 15, is now online, the organization said in a release early Thursday.

The session featured bloodstock agents Erin Birkenhauer, Marette Farrell and Mike Ryan, plus auctioneer Tom Biederman discussing horse selection and the bidding process at Thoroughbred auctions. The panel was moderated by OwnerView's project manager, Gary Falter.

Topics included yearling sales, buying 2-year-olds, buying horses in training, the importance of vet records and conformation.

“For people getting into the business for the first time, a great approach is to buy some fillies because you have some exit strategy, you've got resale/residual value,” Ryan said.

There are four more Thoroughbred Owner Conference virtual panels scheduled for 2023, with the next session, 'Claiming', to be held Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. (ET).

There is no fees for the series, but registration is required. Click here for more information.



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Longtime Owner and Philanthropist Alex Campbell Dies

Wed, 2023-08-16 20:09

Lexington, Kentucky native Alex G. Campbell Jr., who campaigned the likes of GSWs winner Karlovy Vary, Mean Mary and Bye Bye Melvin, died in Delray, Florida, Tuesday. He was 95.

In addition to Karlovy Vary, who annexed Keeneland's GI Ashland S. in 2012, Campbell previously campaigned Turk O Witz, winner of the 1995 Santa Maria H. in addition to 1996 Big 'Cap scorer Mr Purple. Also running in his colors, dual graded stakes winner Ultra Brat, and Grade III victor It's Tea Time.

A member of The Jockey Club for 34 years, the longtime horse owner invested in First Security Bank in Lexington, which later sold to Bank One and subsequently to JPMorgan Chase. He was also among the early investors in what later became Humana Hospitals.

The philanthropic Campbell also supported the growth and development of downtown Lexington in the form of Triangle Park and Thoroughbred Park.

“I wish I had met him 30 years ago,” said Graham Motion, who trained Mean Mary and Bye Bye Melvin for Campbell. “He had a big influence on my career personally and professionally in a short space of time. It's part of a generation that we are going to miss in horse racing.”

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