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Updated: 4 days 17 hours ago

2024 Kentucky Race Dates Set

Tue, 2023-10-31 19:27

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) on Tuesday approved a Thoroughbred racing calendar for 2024 that largely mirrors the template that has been in place for the past three seasons.

The board's unanimous approval included a conditional “optional dates” placeholder for Ellis Park's July and August calendar that has to be solidified into a three-dates-per-week commitment before the end of this year.

The gaming company Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), which owns Ellis, Churchill Downs Racetrack, and Turfway Park, had requested additional time to figure out if swapping Fridays for Mondays will be feasible for 2024.

So Ellis got awarded 18 mandatory dates (which will be run on Saturdays and Sundays) and 30 optional dates. Waqas Ahmed, the KHRC's executive deputy director, told commissioners that he expected Ellis would eventually end up picking up seven more mandatory dates from that optional allotment of 30.

“The obvious goal at Ellis is to run three days a week,” Gary Palmisano, Jr., CDI's  executive director of racing, said during the KHRC meeting. “As we approached the race dates application deadline, the idea was tossed around of potentially running Saturday, Sunday, Monday rather than [this season's] Friday, Saturday, Sunday.”

Leaving that placeholder for now, Palmisano said, “is going to allow our team a little bit more time to conduct some due diligence [and] make sure the horsemen are on board; make sure test barn workers can get there; make sure we can actually cover potential Monday racing.”

CDI must notify the KHRC by Dec. 31 as to how it will satisfy the commission's condition that calls for “at least” three days of racing per week at Ellis in 2024.

Assuming Ellis ends up with 25 mandatory dates, the total number of race dates in Kentucky will rise slightly in 2024 compared to the assigned dates for 2023, up from 211 to 215. The total mandatory dates for the other tracks are Churchill (83), Turfway (67), Keeneland (33) and Kentucky Downs (7).

Here's a chronological look at the state's 2024 Thoroughbred schedule:

Turfway: Jan. 3-Mar. 30 on a Wednesday-Saturday evening schedule.

Keeneland: Apr. 5-26 on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule.

Churchill Downs: Apr. 27-June 30 on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule, with exceptions on GI Kentucky Derby week and the Memorial Day holiday week.

Ellis Park: July 4-Aug. 27 with Saturdays and Sundays anchoring the schedule, plus additional dates to be announced and an opening-day Thursday card on Independence Day.

Kentucky Downs: Aug. 29-Sept. 11 for seven dates with three “optional” dates in case of rainouts.

Churchill: Sep. 12-29 on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule.

Keeneland: Oct. 4-26 on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule.

Churchill: Oct. 27-Dec. 1 on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule.

Turfway: Dec. 4-28  on a Wednesday-Saturday evening schedule with a Christmas Day  exception.


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Old Friends Resident Tom’s Ready Dead at Age 10

Tue, 2023-10-31 17:21

MGSW Tom's Ready (More Than Ready) was euthanized on Monday, Oct. 30 at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, due to complications following colic surgery, Old Friends Farm announced on Tuesday. The 10-year old dark bay stallion was donated to Old Friends by owner Gayle Benson in November of 2020.

The $145,000 Saratoga Select Yearling amassed a career line of 21-5-4-3, $1,036,357 over three seasons and captured the 2016 GII Woody Stephens S. and GIII Ack Ack S., and the 2017 GIII Bold Ruler S. He also placed in six other graded stakes in the care of trainer Dallas Stewart.

“Tom's Ready helped Old Friends a lot,” said Michael Blowen, President and founder of Old Friends. “He was donated by Gayle Benson of GMB Racing, sending a message that a first rate breeding and racing operation trusted us to provide superior retirement and health care for their horse.”

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MGISW Dr. Schivel to Stand at Taylor Made After BC Sprint Finale

Tue, 2023-10-31 15:12

Dr. Schivel (Violence-Lil Nugget, by Mining for Money), a Grade I winner at both two and three, will retire after making his final start in this weekend's GI Breeders' Cup Sprint and take up stud duty at Taylor Made Stallions in 2024, the farm confirmed Tuesday. A fee will be announced at a later date.

First or second in nine of 14 lifetime starts, the earner of $1,327,100 was campaigned by Red Baron's Barn, Rancho Temescal, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, and William A. Branch, and trained by Mark Glatt.

“We are very excited for the opportunity to stand Dr. Schivel in partnership with Tim Cohen, Dean Reeves, and Bill Branch,” said Taylor Made's Travis White. “It's very special to have a horse that was talented and precocious enough to win a Grade I at two and then come back to win another Grade I as a 3-year-old, beating older horses. Dr. Schivel, who has defeated 13 Grade I winners in his career, has been a sound, extremely consistent horse and his Breeders' Cup Sprint as a 3-year-old was a remarkable performance.”

Winner of the GI Del Mar Futurity at two, he returned at three to add a win in the GI Bing Crosby S. and GII Santa Anita Sprint Championship before rounding out the season with a close-up second in the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint. This year, he was third in the Bing Crosby and won the Santa Anita Sprint Championship in his latest start Sept. 30.

White added, “He has remained in Grade I form throughout his racing career, and Mark Glatt said Dr. Schivel has been all class from day one. He is a big, good-looking son of Violence and breeders will really like what they see.”

Bred in Kentucky by William A. Branch and Arnold R. Hill, the 5-year-old is out of Lil Nugget, a half-sister to multiple Grade I winner and millionaire Ultra Blend. Dr. Schivel's first two dams are both Grade I producers.

Dr. Schivel is the second-highest earner for his sire Violence, a Top 10 General Sire in 2023. In addition to Dr. Schivel, Violence is also represented by the reigning Champion 2-Year-Old Male Forte, a four-time Grade I winner. Violence is also the sire of GISW Volatile, who had yearlings sell for $1,150,000 and $700,000 at the Keeneland September Sale. With a current yearling average of $134,973, Volatile has the third-highest yearling of all first-crop sires.

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Prominent Horsemen Pledge Breeders’ Cup Earnings to Support Fight Against Antisemitism

Tue, 2023-10-31 12:00

In a movement spearheaded by Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber, a group of 36 prominent horsemen have joined together in support of the fight against antisemitism. The horsemen have pledged a donation of a portion of their  Breeders' Cup earnings to the organization Stand Up to Jewish Hate.

“Together, we support the fight against Jewish hate and antisemitism and stand with Israel's mission to eliminate all forms of terrorism,” a statement from the group read. “In a united effort, we are committed to donating a portion of earnings from the Breeders' Cup this weekend to benefit Stand Up To Jewish Hate. We welcome everyone from the Thoroughbred Horse Racing community and all its fans to join us. Please visit to learn more or donate.”

The statement is signed by: Rory Babich of St. Elias Stables, Craig Bandoroff of Denali Stud, Gary Barber, Antony Beck of Gainesway Farm, Craig Bernick of Glen Hill Farm, Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds LLC, Alex Bregman of Bregman Family Racing LLC, Gary Broad of Walmac Farm, Mark Casse of Casse Racing, Everything's Cricket Racing, Gary Fenton of Little Red Feather Racing, Al Gold of Gold Square, Stuart Grant of The Elkstone Group, Len and Jon Green of DJ Stables, John Heims, Racing Secretary Monmouth Park, Larry Hirsch of Highlander Training Center, Jay Hovdey, Billy Koch of Little Red Feather Racing, Sol Kumin of Madaket Stables, David Levine, Mike Levy of Muirfield Insurance, Michael McCarthy of Michael McCarthy Racing Stable, Peter Miller of Peter Miller Racing Stable, Graham Motion of Herringswell Stables, Todd Pletcher of Todd A. Pletcher Racing Stables, Inc., Jay Privman, Eddie Rosen, The Roth Family of LNJ Stables, Len Schleifer of Pantofel Stable, Brian Spearman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Vinnie Viola of St. Elias Stables, Adam Wachtel of Wachtel Stable, Bradley Weisbord of Elite Sales, Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Steve Weston of Parkland Thoroughbreds and Aron Yagoda.

Founded by Robert Kraft, Stand Up to Jewish Hate's mission, according to its website is “to win the hearts and minds of non-Jews and Jews through powerful positive messaging and partnerships, motivating and equipping them to be defenders of and upstanders for the Jewish community.”

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Arcangelo Scratched from Classic; Retired to Lane’s End

Tue, 2023-10-31 11:46

ARCADIA, CA — After missing the last three days of training with a foot issue, leading 3-year-old Arcangelo (Arrogate-Modeling, by Tapit) was withdrawn from Saturday's $6-million GI Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita and will be retired to begin his career at stud at Lane's End Farm in 2024.

A powerful winner of this year's GI Belmont S. and GI Travers S., the gray had a warm hind foot and had a shoe pulled on Saturday. He was listed as the 7-2 second choice on the morning line for the 1 1/4-mile centerpiece.

“We're just running out of time,” trainer Jena Antonucci said late Tuesday morning. “Horse first. Unfortunate to miss the opportunity, but to have a healthy horse is our priority, so we'll work through diagnostics the next couple of days and assess what is truly going on and make the right decisions for the horse.”

Arcangelo, an absolute steal for $35,000 as a KEESEP yearling by Jon Ebbert's Blue Rose Farm, retires with a record of 6-4-1-0 and earnings of $1,754,900. He also won this spring's GIII PeterPan S. One of five Grade I winners for the gone-too-soon Arrogate, Arcangelo is the most recent produce from the unraced Modeling, a $2.85-milllion purchase by breeder Don Alberto Corp. at the 2014 KEENOV sale. Arcangelo's third dam is the legendary broodmare Better Than Honour, who has produced Belmont winners Jazil and Rags to Riches.

“I made the owner's decision–I want to retire him,” Ebbert said. “You know how horse racing is. You don't want to keep pushing things.”

Antonucci became the first female trainer to saddle the winner of a Triple Crown race with Arcangelo's win in this spring's Belmont.

“We'll always be grateful to the horse,” Antonucci said. “He's a one of a kind, kind of guy, and a heart of a champion, obviously. Way overperforming to any expectations. We're eternally grateful for his honesty to us.”

Ebbert added, “We are absolutely so blessed. This ride has been amazing. It's been the most incredible year of my life. No worries, it just wasn't in the cards for us. That was it.”

Lane's End's Bill Farish added, “He was the exciting 3-year-old of the year. He certainly would have been a candidate for Horse of the Year had he won the Breeders' Cup Classic. To have him come to Lane's End is very exciting.”

“He's by Arrogate who has really emerged as a stallion that would have been very successful and we lost him too young.”

“We're thrilled to have him come to the farm. Obviously, we would have liked to have him come to us after running in the Breeders' Cup, but that's the way things go sometimes.”

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