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Maclean’s Music’s Drain the Clock Bounces Back in Limehouse

Sat, 2021-01-02 15:27

Looking to atone for his first career defeat when he suffered an equipment malfunction in the Jean Lafitte S. at Delta Downs Nov. 30, Slam Dunk Racing’s Drain the Clock (Maclean’s Music) made light work of his rivals as the 9-5 chalk in Saturday’s Limehouse S. at Gulfstream Park.

Smoothly away beneath Edgard Zayas, the chestnut stalked a fast pace outside of front-running Warrior’s Pride (Poseidon’s Warrior), eased to the front approaching the stretch and kicked home smartly to defeat the blinkered Tiger by a handy margin. Runway Magic (Runhappy) finished third.

“It was a pretty smooth trip,” said the winning rider. “He broke sharp out of the gate. My only worry was that he was moving a little bit in the gate, but everything worked out really well. I was just trying to keep him in the clear and he did it all.”

Drain the Clock, a six-length maiden winner in the local slop on debut Sept. 12, added a one-length allowance tally at Gulfstream West Oct. 28 ahead of his Delta debacle, where an iron broke and he lost his jockey.

Drain the Clock is the 21st stakes winner for his Hill ‘n’ Dale-based sire and has a yearling half-brother by Mineshaft. His dam is due to Vino Rosso for 2021. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

LIMEHOUSE S., $75,000, Gulfstream, 1-2, 3yo, 6f, 1:10.11, ft.
1–DRAIN THE CLOCK, 120, c, 3, by Maclean’s Music
1st Dam: Manki, by Arch
2nd Dam: Private Ice (GB), by Pivotal (GB)
3rd Dam: Midnight Air, by Green Dancer
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O-Slam Dunk Racing; B-Nick Cosato (KY); T-Saffie A Joseph Jr; J-Edgard J Zayas. $45,570. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-0, $91,170.
2–Tiger, 118, c, 3, Dialed In–Sally’s Song, by Unbridled’s Song. O/B-Arindel (FL); T-Juan Alvarado. $14,700.
3–Runway Magic, 118, c, 3, Runhappy–Divine Escapade, by A.P. Indy. O-Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc (J G Sikura) & Bruce Lunsford; B-W Bruce Lunsford & Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm (KY); T-George R Arnold II. $7,350.
Margins: 7HF, 1 3/4, 2. Odds: 1.90, 8.00, 3.30.
Also Ran: Newyearsblockparty, Warrior’s Pride, Highway Bound, Ocean Ride. Scratched: Willy Boi.

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Jesus’ Team Fires Bullet in Pegasus Prep

Sat, 2021-01-02 14:39

GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile runner-up Jesus’ Team (Tapiture) worked a bullet five furlongs in :59.75 (1/6) Saturday at Palm Meadows in preparation for the GI Pegasus World Cup Jan. 23.

“He was very sharp. It was an amazing workout and an amazing gallop out too,” trainer Jose D’Angelo said. “I am very happy with the work today. I think we will have a big chance in the Pegasus World Cup.”

Gulfstream Park.

The conditioner added, “He will have two more breezes, six furlongs next week and four furlongs the next week. Then, he will be ready for the Pegasus.”

Third in the GI Preakness S. Oct. 3, Jesus’ Team was second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Nov. 7 and won the Claiming Crown Jewel S. Dec. 5.

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American Pharoah Colt Stays Unbeaten On Turf in Dania Beach

Sat, 2021-01-02 13:46

Sent off the 16-5 second favorite to build on a front-running maiden victory over course and distance in his turf debut Dec. 19, Calumet Farm homebred Kentucky Pharoah (American Pharoah) repeated the dose Saturday, earning his first stakes success in the Dania Beach S. at Gulfstream.

Quickly into stride from gate two, Kentucky Pharoah had early company to his inside in the form of favored Fighting Force but was intent on rolling forward and was a clear leader turning up the backstretch. Bowling along at a good clip while racing a touch keenly, Kentucky Pharoah settled better on the turn and had plenty left for the final couple of furlongs, proving a comfortable winner in the end.

Kentucky Pharoah was off the board and beaten by double-digit lengths in his first two tries on dirt at Keeneland Oct. 24 and Churchill Nov. 15.

Kentucky Pharoah is the 13th black-type winner for his Triple Crown-winning stallion. The winner’s dam is also represented by a Gun Runner filly of 2019 and a Mr Speaker filly of 2020. She was bred to Goldencents for 2021.

“Fantastic ride,” winning trainer Jack Sisterson said. “We really put it in Kentucky Pharoah’s hands whether he could come back in two weeks. He’s energetic. He was either going to breeze [Sunday] at Palm Meadows, and he probably would have breezed too quick, so why not run him instead.”

DANIA BEACH S., $75,000, Gulfstream, 1-2, 3yo, 1mT, 1:34.07, fm.
1–KENTUCKY PHAROAH, 118, c, 3, by American Pharoah
1st Dam: Strut the Course (Ch. Older Mare-Can,
MGSW, $1,035,035), by Strut the Stage
2nd Dam: Bold Course, by Trajectory
3rd Dam: Bold Courant, by Bold n’ Flashy
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O/B-Calumet Farm (KY); T-Jack
Sisterson; J-Julien R. Leparoux. $46,035. Lifetime Record:
4-2-0-0, $72,819.
2–Fighting Force, 118, c, 3, Air Force Blue–No Splits, by Smart
Strike. ($55,000 Wlg ’18 KEENOV; $100,000 RNA Ylg ’19
KEESEP; $400,000 2yo ’20 OBSAPR). O-Michael B. Tabor, Mrs.
John Magnier & Derrick Smith; B-Royal oak Farm LLC, et. al.
(KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $14,850.
3–Cave Hill, 120, c, 3, Frosted–Painted Lady, by Broad Brush.
O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brendan P. Walsh. $7,425.
Margins: 3, 3/4, NK. Odds: 3.20, 0.60, 8.80.
Also Ran: Lauda Speed, It’s a Gamble, Omaha City. Scratched: Like a Saltshaker.

Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Team Authentic Leading No. American Money Winner of 2020

Fri, 2021-01-01 17:03

By virtue of victories in the GI Kentucky Derby and in the GI Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic and combined with a third seven-figure success in the GI Haskell Invitational S., the ownership group that campaigned leading Horse of the Year hopeful Authentic (Into Mischief)–Spendthrift Farm LLC, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC and Starlight Racing–finished 2020 as the leading owner by earnings with a total of $6,790,000. The partnership raced Authentic for his final four races.

In total, Authentic won five of his seven starts in 2020 and led all horses by North American earnings with $7,170,000 ahead of the recently retired Tiz The Law (Constitution, $2,388,300), GI Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf victress Tarnawa (Ire) (Shamardal) and Eclipse Award candidate Improbable (City Zip).

Godolphin was second among leading money winners, with $5,703,770 (80 wins from 361 starts), followed by Klaravich Stables Inc., which earned $5,323,398 (70/272). End Zone Athletics Inc. was the leading owner by wins, with 163 trips to winner’s circle from 801 starters (20.3%), good for earnings of $2,867,917.

After finishing second in 2018 and 2019, Steve Asmussen topped all trainers by money won, sending out the winners of 422 races from 2,278 starts and earnings of $20,204,064. He outdistanced Brad Cox (216 wins/903 starts, $18,983,832) and Bob Baffert (94 wins/323 starts, $18,983,832).

Irad Ortiz, Jr. topped all jockeys by money won, with an even 300 winners from 1,266 mounts for earnings of $21,050,726. Joel Rosario was second (194/1,052, $18,235,197) and Luis Saez (268/1,398, $16,511,372). Ortiz was also the nation’s winningest jockey of 2020, finishing 29 winners clear of Tyler Gaffalione and Saez.

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TCA Holding Series of Fundraising Auctions

Fri, 2021-01-01 13:42

Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) will hold a variety of fundraising auctions over the first two weeks of the new year, featuring approximately 200 stallion seasons from over 10 states as well as a silent auction of non-season items.

The TCA’s Online Season Auction features over 150 seasons and runs from Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 9 a.m. through Friday, Jan. 8 at 4:30 p.m. EST. Featured in the online auction are seasons to such sires as Candy Ride (Arg), English Channel, Ghostzapper, Gun Runner, Liam’s Map, More Than Ready, Outwork, Paynter, Speightstown, Tapiture, Union Rags and Violence.

A Select Season Auction will take place Tuesday, Jan. 12, following the conclusion of selling on day two of Book 1 of the Keeneland January Sale. Offered in this auction are seasons to Blame, Constitution, Curlin, Laoban, Nyquist (with a 2022 breed back) and Quality Road. For information on how to bid on select seasons, contact Erin Crady (

A silent auction of non-season items gets underway Jan. 6 at 9 a.m. EST and continues through Tuesday, Jan. 12. Items in the silent auction include equine air transportation with Tex Sutton, a Fasig-Tipton auction and sales package, a halter worn by dual G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Enable (GB) and signed by her trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori; and a halter worn by Tapit, among others.

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Brown, Ortiz Register Year-End NYRA Titles

Thu, 2020-12-31 17:18

Chad Brown won his sixth consecutive New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) year-end training title with 91 wins while Jose Ortiz compiled his second riding crown with 142 victories as racing in 2020 was capped with the conclusion of the Aqueduct card on Dec. 31.

Klaravich Stables was the runaway winner as top owner, racking up 48 wins, 14 more than the next-closest competitor, Repole Stable, to finish as the leading owner for the second straight year at NYRA tracks, which encompasses Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack.

Ortiz posted a record of 142-139-95 in 707 mounts to win his first year-end title since 2016. His 2020 saw him win his 2,000th career race while posting $9.62 million in earnings with a 20.08% winning percentage on the NYRA circuit.

“I’m pretty happy about it and I’m very proud of the work we put into it,” Ortiz said. “This is why you work this hard. It was a tough year. We couldn’t work horses in the morning like we normally could, but we made it through and I’m just happy we’re all healthy coming out of this.”

Brown compiled a 91-81-83 record with 411 starters to become the first NYRA trainer to record six straight training titles since Gasper Moschera from 1993-98. He won two individual meets, leading the Belmont spring/summer with 23 wins and the Belmont fall with 22 victories. He ended 2020 ahead of Todd Pletcher, whose 81 wins were the second-most among conditioners.

The four-time reigning Eclipse Award Champion trainer racked up earnings of more than $7.4 million while winning more than 22% of the time. Brown’s starters finished on the board at a 62.04% clip.

Headed by Seth Klarman, Klaravich Stables won at least a share of four of the five individual NYRA individual meets in 2020. Klaravich won the Belmont fall and spring/summer outright, as well as Saratoga, while tying Repole Stable for the recently concluded Aqueduct fall meet.

In total, Klaravich sent out 171 starters, going 48-30-39, winning at a 28.07% clip, while racking up earnings of $3.23 million in the process. Repole Stable’s stellar 34 wins was second-most on the circuit.

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Pennsylvania Casinos Reopen Monday

Thu, 2020-12-31 13:15

Pennsylvania casinos have been greenlighted to reopen as of Monday, Jan. 4, rekindling revenue streams that fund Thoroughbred purses in the state.

Governor Tom Wolf announced Dec. 30 that because COVID-19 mitigation efforts have been working to tamp down the spread of the pandemic, he will allow more stringent safety restrictions that went into effect Dec. 12 to expire as planned.

But that doesn’t mean a full-blown opening for the 13 casinos in the state: Mitigation efforts will roll back to what they were on Dec. 11, which still caps casinos at 50% of occupancy. Similar restrictions were also eased for other social activities, like indoor dining, gyms, theaters and high school sports.

Parx and Penn National are the only two Thoroughbred tracks operating in Pennsylvania at this time of year.

“I think that’s really good news. We can go back to getting monies from the casinos, and that’s very important to us,” said Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Sal DeBunda in a video message posted to the organization’s website Dec.31.

DeBunda noted owners will still not be able to enter the winner’s circle to pose with their horses, “so it’s not a total open situation, but it’s back to the old rules before the mitigation rules were put in.”

Earlier this week, Penn National had announced a contingency plan to stay open through the month of January based on maintaining a nightly handle benchmark of $1.4 million in the event that Wolf had decided to extend the casino shutdown.

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2020 FanDuel Racing Moment of the Year Voting Open

Thu, 2020-12-31 11:43

Eleven of the most memorable events from the last 12 months of Thoroughbred racing are up for the 2020 FanDuel Racing NTRA Moment of the Year, which is determined by fan voting and recognized at the upcoming Eclipse Awards. To vote or to view the complete listing of eligible moments, visit the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) website Voting can also be executed via Twitter, where every retweet or use of the official hashtag for the moments as presented on the @NTRA account will be counted as one vote. Votes for the poll must be submitted by Jan. 12 at 11:59 p.m. (ET).

The FanDuel Racing-NTRA Moment of the Year, which will be revealed during a virtual ceremony for the 50th Annual Eclipse Awards Jan. 28, 2021, will be presented from Spendthrift Farm in Lexington and streamed on multiple platforms and televised on TVG.

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Top Videos of the Year

Thu, 2020-12-31 07:28

It was a record-breaking year for video production at the TDN, and for video views, with over 3.8 million TDN videos and advertisers’ commercials shown on our platforms. We took a look to see what you were watching the most. Here are our top 10 videos of the year, as watched on the TDN’s YouTube Channel and the TDN site combined. Click on the red links below to watch.

  1. Zenyatta and Her Candy Ride Filly at Lane’s End. 108,960 views. She may be the fan-favorite of all time.
  2. Meet the First Foal from Songbird, By Arrogate. 91,160 views. Even though this video was published in March of 2019, it had legs, racking up over 90,000 views in 2020.
  3. The Incomparable, Invincible, Unbeatable Cigar. 56,962 views. This 20-minute video wasn’t published until October 16 under the TDN Look banner, but still racked up an impressive amount of views…even if it was a little depressing when Tom Durkin told us that what he had really said was “unconquerable” and not “incomparable.” Whoops.
  4. A.P. Indy Turns 30. 51,968 views. Here’s another video with legs: published in March, 2019, it racked up over 50,000 views in 2020 alone.
  5. Authentic Retired to Spendthrift. 49,163 views. The retirement and arrival of the sure-to-be Horse of the Year at Spendthrift was seen almost 50,000 times.
  6. The Late Arrogate’s First Yearlings go to Market. 44,189 views. Between the video on his Songbird foal and this one featuring his first yearlings, Arrogate was a popular, if sadly tragic, topic for viewers in 2020.
  7. Taylor Made Stallions on the Rise, 41,217 views. Katie Ritz talks to Frank and Ben Taylor about first-crop sire Not This Time, Midnight Storm and Taylor Made’s new arrival, Instagrand.
  8. Songbird Celebrates Her Second Mother’s Day. 33,296 views. This addition gives Songbird has two of the top 10 videos of the year. People clearly love checking in with the top mares.
  9. Volatile Settling in at Three Chimneys, 26,182 views. New stallion visits are always popular, and Volatile sat just off the pace of Authentic as this year’s leader.
  10. Tour Newmarket With John Berry, 23,052 views. Early on in the pandemic, we tried to help people feel as if they were getting out of their homes with video tours. John Berry was kind enough to take us on a multi-part tour of Newmarket and the series drew tens of thousands of views.

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Classic Winner Tiz the Law Retired

Wed, 2020-12-30 14:36

Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law (Constitution–Tizfiz, by Tiznow), winner of the GI Belmont S. and GI Runhappy Travers S. this summer, has been retired from racing. It was announced shortly after the Belmont that the sophomore colt would stand at Coolmore America’s Ashford Stud upon retirement.

“The entire Tiz The Law team is deeply disappointed that Tiz The Law will be unable to race as a 4-year-old as planned,” stated Jack Knowlton, Operating Manager of Sackatoga Stable. “He has provided the 35 owners a unique opportunity to compete and succeed at the highest level of Thoroughbred racing. His impressive victory in the GI Travers at Saratoga Race Course was particularly rewarding for the Saratoga based stable. Sackatoga Stable is looking forward to the next chapter of his career as a stallion.”

“From day one when he broke his maiden at Saratoga we have been watching him closely and he has everything you look for in a stallion prospect,” said Coolmore America manager Dermot Ryan. “He has an outstanding race record, he’s a very good-looking individual and he boasts a strong pedigree. [Trainer] Barclay Tagg, [assistant trainer] Robin Smullen and their team have done a fantastic job with him and we are also grateful to Jack Knowlton and his partners in Sackatoga Stable for letting us be a part of him.”

Bred in New York by Twin Creeks Farm, Tiz the Law began his 2-year-old season with a 4 1/4-length maiden special weight win at Saratoga, then came back for another open daylight victory in Belmont’s GI Champagne S. The connections immediately announced the striking bay would skip the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, held that year at Santa Anita, in favor of the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. at Churchill Downs in order to get a start over the track to prepare for the 2020 Kentucky Derby. The track came up sloppy and Tiz the Law finished third in the Kentucky Jockey Club in what would be his only loss in his first seven career starts.

Trainer Barclay Tagg regrouped and Tiz the Law was unstoppable through this spring and summer despite the interrupted racing schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He reeled off consecutive, powerful wins in the GIII Holy Bull S. and GI Curlin Florida Derby, as well as in the aforementioned Belmont and Travers. Tiz the Law was the first New York-bred to win the Belmont since 1882.

Second in the rescheduled GI Kentucky Derby to likely champion Authentic (Into Mischief), Tiz the Law was last seen finishing off the board behind that same foe in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic. He retires with a record of 9-6-1-1 and earnings of $2,735,300.

“While it is unfortunate that Tiz’s racing career has been cut short, we have been extremely fortunate and blessed to have had him in our lives,” said trainer Barclay Tagg. “Robin and I were able to pick him out and train him to win the Grade I Champagne as a 2-year-old and three Grade I races [Florida Derby, Belmont Stakes and Travers] as well as run 2nd in the Kentucky Derby this year. He has taken his owners and Barclay Tagg Racing Stable to places that most owners and trainers only dream about. We look forward to his career as a Stallion with Ashford Stud.”

The four-time Grade I winner will now join two other Belmont S. winners from the last five years at Ashford, which also stands Triple Crown winners American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) and Justify (Scat Daddy) in Versailles, Kentucky.

Tiz the Law’s dam won the 2009 GII San Gorgonio H. and is a full-sister to 2014 GIII Precisionist S. winner and GISP Fury Kapcori. Her granddam is a half-sister to 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick (Phone Trick).

Tiz the Law’s stud fee will be $40,000 and he will be available for inspection at Ashford starting Jan. 4.

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MGSW Mr. Money Retired to Journeyman Stud

Wed, 2020-12-30 13:03

Mr. Money (Goldencents–Plenty O’Toole, by Tiznow) has been retired from racing and will enter stud in 2021 at Brent and Crystal Fernung’s Journeyman Stud in Ocala, Florida. Mr. Money will stand as the property of Allied Racing LLC and Spendthrift Farm for $5,000 live foal in the 2021 breeding season.

During his juvenile season, Mr. Money hit the board in his first two starts before breaking his maiden by 3 3/4 lengths going a mile and a sixteenth at Churchill Downs. The bay rounded out the season with a fourth behind Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the GI Sentient Jet Breeder’s Cup Juvenile.

At three, the Bret Calhoun trainee annexed the GIII Pat Day S., GIII Matt Winn S., GIII Indiana Derby and GIII West Virginia Derby before finishing second, beaten a nose, by Math Wizard (Algorithms) in the $1,000,000 GI Pennsylvania Derby, finishing ahead of GI Preakness S. winner War of Will (War Front), GISW Improbable (City Zip), and GI Breeder’s Cup Dirt Mile winner, Spun to Run (Hard Spun). This term, the 4-year-old won the GIII Ack Ack S. and retires with six wins from 18 starts and earnings of $1,360,430.

“Mr. Money is as well named as a horse can be,” Brent Fernung said. “He went where the big money was and took home a bunch of it. He won four consecutive graded stakes as a three-year-old and probably should have won the Pennsylvania Derby as well!”

He continued, “As a son of leading third crop sire, Goldencents, Mr. Money brings that super prolific Into Mischief sire line to Florida in the form of a truly top racehorse.”

Mr. Money is the second foal out of the Tiznow mare, Plenty O’Toole. She has three other foals of racing age, including additional winner Julia’s Kitty. Plenty O’Toole’s stakes producing dam, O’Toole (Distorted Humor), is a full-sister to G1 Dubai World Cup winner, Well Armed who earned over $5 million.

Chester Thomas, whose Allied Racing LLC raced Mr. Money in partnership with Spendthrift Farm said, “I couldn’t be more proud to stand Mr. Money at Journeyman Stud. He was an incredibly talented race horse with tons of class coupled with speed and endurance. I intend to breed a dozen or so of my own mares to Mr. Money. I have a huge amount of confidence in him.”

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MTA Hosts Online Stallion Season Sale, Includes New Incentive

Tue, 2020-12-29 17:31


The Minnesota Thoroughbred Association (MTA) will conduct its 2021 Stallion Season Auction Jan. 3-11, featuring over 50 stallions from Kentucky, Florida, Oklahoma and Minnesota. The on-line auction will be hosted at

A new incentive is also being offered for this year’s auction from the Minnesota Breeders’ Fund. Breeders who purchase a stallion season through the 2021 MTA Stallion Season Auction with the resultant foal born in Minnesota will receive a $1000 check when the foal is registered with the Minnesota Racing Commission in 2022.

“As we leave 2020 behind, organizers at the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association are excited to provide breeders with many terrific stallions to build on in the future,” said Kay King, Executive Director of the MTA.

Bids will be placed on a rolling basis for all eight days of the sale. New stallion seasons may continue to be added through the duration of the sale. For the latest Stallion Season Auction list, visit

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If Casino Stays Closed, Penn Racing to Hinge on Break-Even Handle

Tue, 2020-12-29 16:11

The Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (PHBPA) met with the management of Penn National Dec. 28 to come up with a contingency plan to keep racing going through January using purse money already “on deposit” in the event that Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19-related closure of Penn’s Hollywood Casino extends past the currently mandated Jan. 4. date.

“Penn National has agreed to continue live racing through [January], provided the handle generates a break-even scenario for the company,” Todd Mostoller, the PHBPA’s executive director, wrote in a one-page memo to members issued Tuesday afternoon. “This is estimated to be a handle of roughly $1.4 million per night.”

Mostoller wrote that the PHBPA and Penn “are confident that we can achieve that handle level. Should we be unable to do so, however, Penn National management will likely wish to temporarily shut down racing.”

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Empire 6 to Feature Daily Mandatory Payout in January

Tue, 2020-12-29 15:36

The New York Racing Association, Inc. announced the Empire 6 wager will offer a daily mandatory payout in the month of January beginning with Aqueduct’s New Year’s Day card, which is highlighted by the 151st renewal of the Jerome S., a one-turn mile for sophomores offering 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers. First post on Friday’s nine-race card is 12:20 p.m. EST, with the Empire 6 set to kick off in Race 4 (1:50 p.m.)

Featuring a $0.20 bet minimum and 20% takeout, the Empire 6 wager requires bettors to select the first-place finisher of the final six races of the card. The full pool, minus takeout, will be distributed to bettors who select the first-place finisher in the greatest number of races on the card.

“Our loyal community of horseplayers has continually expressed interest and support for wagers that reward the daily player with the opportunity for impressive payouts,” said Joe Longo, NYRA Director of Simulcasting. “This pilot program is designed to be responsive to those sentiments while helping NYRA to determine the future of the Empire 6.”

Aqueduct will offer 19 racing dates in January with live racing conducted Thursday through Sunday, with the addition of a special Monday card Jan. 18 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The Empire 6 was launched in August 2019 with a jackpot provision in which the full pool would be paid out only to a single ticket selecting the first-place finisher in all six races, otherwise 75% of the day’s net pool would be distributed to those who selected the first-place finisher in the greatest number of races with the remainder added into a jackpot and carried to the next day’s Empire 6.

Thursday’s 2020 closing Big A card will feature mandatory payouts of the Empire 6, Early Pick 5 and Late Pick 5 wagers, in accordance with New York State Gaming Commission rules. The Empire 6, which has a jackpot of $183,471, begins in Race 3 at 1:46 p.m. Eastern. First post on Thursday’s eight-race card is 12:50 p.m.

For more information, visit

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Arizona Dept. Gaming Launches Wellness Program

Tue, 2020-12-29 15:21

At the December Arizona Racing Commission meeting, Arizona Department of Racing steward Magdaleno Perez announced the launch of the Healthy Humans, Healthy Horses track wellness program, created to address the growing substance abuse problem at the state’s racetracks by supporting racing participants who may be suffering from addiction.

“I commend Magdaleno and the entire racing team in their diligent efforts to move this project forward,” said ADGaming Director, Ted Vogt. “The Healthy Humans, Healthy Horses program will directly support Arizona horsemen and create a safer and healthier backside, driving us forward in meeting our mission to ethically and effectively regulate horse racing, while ensuring it is conducted in a socially responsible manner.”

The 2021 winter meet at Turf Paradise kicks off Jan. 4 and the Arizona Department of Gaming–Racing Division will implement the following measures:

  • Suspension reductions for those who seek help with substance abuse
  • Random drug testing for licensees on horseback
  • Partnering with subject matter experts to address the influx of substance abuse
  • Adjusting fines and suspensions for repeated drug-related offenses
  • Proactively connecting those seeking help with substance abuse to available resources statewide

“A big thank you to the Racing Division for their hard work to support the Arizona racing community,” said Racing Commission Chair, Rory Goreé. “It is a priority for the Commission to help ensure the health and safety of racing participants, and this project furthers that goal while providing necessary aid to those in need.”

For more information, click here.

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Top Stories of 2020

Tue, 2020-12-29 09:46

If nothing else, 2020 was a news-making year. From the indictments to the coronavirus to the passage of the Integrity Act, the news started early and just kept on coming.

For the first time ever, the TDN eclipsed 8 million pageviews. What were the most popular stories among those? We took a look back at the most-read stories of the year; while the indictments and the virus dominated the news, we also found some surprises.

  1. Standardbred Horseman John Brennan Dies of Coronavirus, March 10, 2020.

Coming on the heels of the indictment news, the first racing-related death from COVID-19 was our most-read story of the year.

  1. Cox Refuses to Take Rockingham Ranch Horses, by Bill Finley, March 10, 2020.

Published the same day as the number one story of the year and one day after the indictments, this story details Brad Cox’s unwillingness to take horses formerly trained by Jorge Navarro for Rockingham Ranch. It outstripped even the original indictment story in number of reads.

  1. Jason Servis, Jorge Navarro Face Federal Indictment in Doping Scheme, by Bill Finley and Alan Carasso, March 9, 2020.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed indictments against Thoroughbred veterinarians and trainers, including Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro Monday in Manhattan. A total of 27 defendants were named in four separate indictments, alleging that the two trainers and 25 others engaged in a `widespread, corrupt scheme by racehorse trainers, veterinarians, PED distributors and others to manufacture, distribute, and receive adulterated and misbranded PEDs and to secretly administer those PEDs to racehorses under scheme participants’ control.'” So began the story that would continue to make news for the rest of the year.

  1. Empire Maker Dies, by Alan Carasso, January 20, 2020.

At the age of 20, Empire Maker succumbed to a rare disease that compromised his immune system. We took a look back at his legacy.

  1. Woodford Team Voting for Independence, by Chris McGrath, February 6, 2020.

McGrath’s profile of Shannon Castagnola at Woodford Thoroughbreds was his most-read story for us in 2020.

  1. Baffert Unveils Another Into Mischief Monster, November 22, 2020.

The debut of WinStar Farm’s Life Is Good (Into Mischief) was our most read race-result of the year and sixth most popular story overall.

  1. Harness Trainer Rene Allard Latest Arrested in Doping Scandal, by Bill Finley, March 13, 2020.

Harness trainer Rene Allard, the second-leading trainer at Yonkers at the time of his arrest, brought the number of individuals known to be involved in the doping scandal to 29.

  1. Letter to the Editor, Brad Weisbord, on his Battle with COVID-19, March 23, 2020.

“On Monday (3/18) my wife said to me in the middle of the night, `What’s wrong with you? You’re gasping for air.’ On Tuesday morning, I could not get out of bed.” Weisbord would go on to test positive for COVID-19.

  1. Florida Racing Prepares to Say Goodbye to Calder, by Bill Finley, October 2, 2020.

Finley chronicles the last-ever season at Miami’s Calder Race Course, which had been in operation since 1971.

  1. Despite Fears of Getting Caught, Alleged Doping Conspirators Chatted and Texted Anyway, by T.D. Thornton, March 9, 2020.

“The indictments also yield another startling revelation: That some of the defendants–particularly Navarro–allegedly expressed a fear of getting caught by communicating their alleged wrongdoings via phone conversations and text messaging. Yet they allegedly persisted in making alleged doping plans using their mobile devices anyway.” Thornton details those key 2019 conversations.

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NYTB Appoints Thompson to NYRA, NYTBDF Boards

Mon, 2020-12-28 13:36

New York Thoroughbred Breeders has announced Executive Director Najja Thompson will be appointed, as the NYTB’s representative, to the New York Racing Association Board of Directors and the New York Breeding and Development Fund Board of Directors, made effective at a Dec. 18 meeting of the Board. Thompson’s appointment fills the vacancies created with the resignation of former Executive Director Jeffrey Cannizzo, who will join NYRA on Jan. 1 as Senior Director of Government Affairs.

“I feel very fortunate to represent the interests of breeders in New York with this opportunity,” said Thompson. “The state of New York plays an integral part as a leader in our industry, and I’m honored to play a direct role in continuing to better our sport as a member of both the NYRA and the New York Breeding and Development Fund Board of Directors.”

Thompson, a graduate of Florida State University and Vice President of the Turf Publicists of America, worked in various roles in the marketing department, communications office, and most recently in the human resources department at NYRA prior to joining the NYTB Dec. 14.

“The NYTB Board of Directors is pleased to have Najja represent us on both the NYRA and New York State Development and Breeding Fund Boards,” said Thomas Gallo, President of the NYTB. “With his background, experience, and expertise he will be able to be an innovative force in synergizing the accomplished members of all boards to forward the interests of breeding and racing in New York. I am confident he will usher us into a new era of strength through unity in building a bigger and better Thoroughbred Horse industry in New York.”

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HISA Signed into Law

Mon, 2020-12-28 13:08

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act officially became law when President Donald J. Trump signed the COVID-19 relief and government funding legislation Sunday night. The legislation will establish national standards to promote fairness and increase safety in Thoroughbred racing nationwide. The HISA legislation will go into effect no later than July 1, 2022, but could be effective earlier following the formation of an independent national racing authority and approval of an anti-doping and medication control program and racetrack safety program by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC will review the programs developed by the authority, allow for public comment, and once approved by the FTC, the programs will go into effect.

In response to the bill’s passage, Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, released the following statement, “The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act passed the US Congress last week and was signed by the President Sunday night. This passage signifies the beginning of a new era in the storied history of the horse racing industry. The landmark legislation will establish a uniform approach to better protect horses and jockeys, and to bolster the strength and fairness of the sport.

“USADA is honored and grateful to be tasked with the anti-doping duties outlined in the Act. We are excited to spend the near future contributing to the design of a robust set of rules and customizing our gold-standard athlete service and testing model to ensure clean competition for equine athletes.

“Thank you to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his leadership in getting this bill through Congress, and to Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY), and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) the original cosponsors of the Horseracing Integrity Act.

“USADA welcomes the opportunity to partner with horse racing stakeholders to develop uniform rules and to implement robust independent testing and enforcement that will contribute to the longevity and legacy of the sport of horseracing.”

The government spending legislation also provides an extension of the three-year tax depreciation for all racehorses through 2021, allowing taxpayers the option to depreciate, on a three-year schedule, racehorses less than 24 months of age when purchased and placed into service.

The massive $900-billion COVID-19 relief package also means eligible racetracks and farms will be allowed to participate in a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). It also includes provisions for an increased number and extension of H-2B visas.

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Record Opening Day Handle at Santa Anita

Sat, 2020-12-26 21:22

A total of $23,003,159 was wagered on the stakes-packed, 11-race program Saturday at Santa Anita, surpassing the previous record of $20.4 million for the same number of races Dec. 26, 2018, a Wednesday. With the exception of essential licensed personnel, which includes horse owners, the track remains closed to the public.

“We want to thank our fans, owners, trainers, jockeys and other stakeholders for supporting our racing program and contributing to a strong opening day,” said Nate Newby, Santa Anita Senior Vice President and General Manager. “This has been a difficult year for a lot of people and we are happy to be able to provide world class racing for those watching and playing the races from home.

“We can’t wait to welcome our fans and our employees back to The Great Race Place when protocols allow everyone to enjoy our tremendous sport in person. In the meantime, we are thankful to be able to operate as we are currently.”

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Charlatan Romps in Runhappy Malibu

Sat, 2020-12-26 19:11

A pair of Speightstown ‘TDN Rising Stars’–Nashville and Charlatan–looked to have their four rivals over a barrel in Saturday’s GI Runhappy Malibu S., the traditional post-Christmas opening day feature at Santa Anita Park. The former had the benefit of recency, his three wins from as many starts coming by 24 3/4 lengths combined, while the latter was resurfacing for the first time since crossing the line best in the faster of the two divisions of the GI Arkansas Derby May 2. Nashville was sent off the 13-10 favorite to continue his streak, but Charlatan belied his absence with a thoroughly dominating victory, treating those who maintained the faith to a relatively juicy $5.20 as the second betting choice. Express Train (Union Rags) and Collusion Illusion (Twirling Candy) filled out the minors, as Nashville struggled home a well-beaten fourth.

“They were rolling early, there was a really good horse he was chasing,” said Baffert. “I’m just happy for the whole team and everybody involved, to show he is a really special horse.  Hopefully, we will have a good year [2021] with him.”

The early part of the Malibu played out as most pace handicappers had mapped it–Nashville was quickest out and made the lead with a minimum of fuss, and Charlatan–perhaps not quite as brilliantly fast–was content to chase from second beneath Hall of Famer Mike Smith. Nashville’s opening couple of furlongs were covered in :21.81 and his half-mile split of :43.95 was in line with the :43.87 he’d clocked in winning his debut at Saratoga Sept. 2 and again in his Perryville S. romp Nov. 7. Comparisons with those two races ended right about the quarter pole. Nashville was confronted by Charlatan, but the colt offered little resistance, and Charlatan was off and gone, geared down by Smith in the final 100 yards to score with something left in the tank.

“To run against these types of horses was a feat itself, but I always thought he was a special horse,” said Smith, who won the Malibu aboard McKinzie (Street Sense) and Omaha Beach (War Front) in 2018 and 2019, respectively. “I’ve had the opportunity to watch him, California is his home base, so I’ve seen a lot of him and always wanted a chance to ride him.  When Bob told me I got the call, man I’ve been kind of on cloud nine ever since. He is extremely special.”

Charlatan was deemed a no-brainer ‘Rising Star’ off a 5 3/4-length thrashing of the solid Shooters Shoot (Competitive Edge) on his Feb. 16 debut before treating future GSW Rushie (Liam’s Map) to a 10 1/4-length beating in a one-mile allowance Mar. 14. Forced to ship out of town when coronavirus put a halt to racing locally shortly thereafter, Charlatan was 40 cents on the dollar and reported home six lengths to the good at Oaklawn in early May, only to be disqualified for a drug positive. Charlatan was being pointed for the first leg of the reconstituted Triple Crown–the June 20 GI Belmont S.–but suffered an ankle injury and had not been heard from since.

Pedigree Notes:

Charlatan is the 19th Northern Hemisphere Grade I/Group 1 winner, 59th GSW and 120th black-type winner for Speightstown and the stallion’s fourth top-level winner in 2020, joining Echo Town, Mozu Superflare and Lady Speightspeare. He has an additional Southern Hemisphere Group 1 winner, She’s Happy (Arg). Quiet American is now the broodmare sire of 123 SWs and 43 GSWs and 15 at G1/GI level, including Horse of the Year Saint Liam (Saint Ballado), champion Bernardini (A.P. Indy) and Whywhywhy (Mr. Greeley) from the same Gone West sire line as Charlatan. Authenticity, who was second in the GI Zenyatta S. and third in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita, is the dam of the 2-year-old Bennyfromthebronx (Tapit), a $300,000 Keeneland September yearling who breezed five furlongs in 1:03.80 (6/10) at Payson Park Dec. 22, and a yearling Into Mischief filly.

Saturday, Santa Anita
RUNHAPPY MALIBU S.-GI, $300,500, Santa Anita, 12-26, 3yo, 7f, 1:21.50, ft.
1–CHARLATAN, 120, c, 3, by Speightstown
            1st Dam: Authenticity (MGSW & MGISP, $883,362),
                    by Quiet American
            2nd Dam: Court of Appeal, by Deputy Minister
            3rd Dam: Appealing Missy, by Lypheor (GB)
WIN. ‘TDN Rising Star’ ($700,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O-SF Racing
LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Stonestreet Stables
LLC, Frederick Hertrich, III, John D. Fielding, and Golconda
Stables; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Bob
Baffert; J-Mike E. Smith. $180,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-0,
$247,200. *1/2 to Hanalei Moon (Malibu Moon), SW-USA,
SP-Can, $296,840. Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
   Werk Nick Rating: C+.
2–Express Train, 120, c, 3, Union Rags–I’m a Flake, by
Mineshaft. ($500,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O-C R K Stable LLC;
B-Dixiana Farms LLC (KY); T-John A. Shirreffs. $60,000.
3–Collusion Illusion, 124, c, 3, Twirling Candy–Natalie Grace, by
First Dude. ($50,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $300,000 2yo ’19
OBSAPR). O-Dan J Agnew, Jerry Schneider, Rodney Orr &; B-Donald R. Dizney, LLC (FL); T-Mark Glatt.
Margins: 4HF, HF, 3 1/4. Odds: 1.60, 16.80, 10.00.
Also Ran: Nashville, Independence Hall, Thousand Words.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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