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Updated: 2 days 20 hours ago

Encino Withdrawn from Kentucky Derby, Epic Ride Draws In

Tue, 2024-04-30 13:07

Godolphin homebred Encino (Nyquist), winner of the GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. at Keeneland Apr. 13, has been scratched from Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby. Trainer Brad Cox said that Encino will not run in the Kentucky Derby after being off after training Tuesday morning.

Also-eligible Epic Ride (Blame), a longshot third for trainer John Ennis while making his dirt debut in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Apr. 6, will draw into the field.

Encino will not run in the @KentuckyDerby per trainer Brad Cox. Also-eligible Epic Ride draws into the field. More to come.

— Churchill Downs PR (@DerbyMedia) April 30, 2024

The post Encino Withdrawn from Kentucky Derby, Epic Ride Draws In appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

TDN Writers’ Room Team Takes a Deep Dive into the Kentucky Derby

Tue, 2024-04-30 11:02

In a special edition of the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland, the team of Bill Finley, Zoe Cadman and Randy Moss discussed all 20 horses entered in this year's GI Kentucky Derby, focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

The consensus pick was Sierra Leone (Gun Runner), the winner of the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. He was picked on top by both Cadman and Finley.

“He's in great form, seems to be improving and should love the 1 1/4 miles,” Finley said. “He'll need a fast pace up front, but there's enough speed in this race that I think he will get it.”

Moss did not agree, picking Fierceness (City of Light).

“I'm not going to over think this,” he said. “If all the horses in the race run to their maximum potential, he will win,” he said. “He is solidly the best horse in the field.”

Asked for their sleeper pick, Finley went with Just a Touch (Justify), Moss chose Honor Marie (Honor Code) and Cadman selected Domestic Product (Practical Joke).

“Domestic Product is super live,” Cadman said. “If he gets into trouble, he should be ok. He's nimble. He's cat-like. He gets better every time.”

In the GI Kentucky Oaks, Cadman selected Just F Y I (Justify), Finley took Thorpedo Anna (Fast Anna) and Moss selected Ways and Means (Practical Joke).

This week's Green Group Guest of the Week was TDN European Editor Emma Berry. She was brought in to discuss Saturday's running of the G1 2000 Guineas and the horse who will be the favorite, the remarkably talented City of Troy (Justify).

In our breeding spotlight section, we took a look at the WinStar stallion Nashville, the Coolmore stallion Jack Christopher and a pair of stallions at Pleasant Acres, Verifying and Magic on Tap.

The Coolmore sire this week is Tiz the Law.

The TDN Writers' Room podcast is also sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders' Association, Coolmore, West Point Thoroughbreds, WinStar, Pleasant Acres Farm, 1/ST Racing and

For the audio-only version, click here.

To view the podcast, watch the video below.

The post TDN Writers’ Room Team Takes a Deep Dive into the Kentucky Derby appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

NYRA, Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady Announce Partnership

Tue, 2024-04-30 10:17

Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady will be the official casino partner of Saratoga Race Course and the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and will be the presenting sponsor of the $750,000 GI New York S., in a partnership announced by the New York Racing Association Tuesday.

The New York Presented by Rivers Casino will headline day two of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival June 7 and NYRA has increased the purse of the race $150,000.

Rivers Casino will also become the presenting sponsor of The Backyard at Saratoga Race Course. The Rivers Casino Backyard will feature branding and activations highlighting the gaming and entertainment options available at the Casino and Resort located in Schenectady just a short drive from Saratoga.

“We're incredibly honored to be an official casino partner with NYRA for the Belmont S. and the Saratoga Race Course summer meet,” said Joe Lodise, General Manager at Rivers Casino & Resort. “This partnership celebrates the rich heritage of the track and the Belmont S., and fits perfectly with our commitment to provide the very best in gaming and entertainment. We're beyond thrilled to have Rivers Casino showcased throughout the iconic grounds and look forward to all the exciting racing.”

Rivers Casino will also become the presenting sponsor of Military Appreciation Day at Saratoga Race Course and of one premium giveaway item to be offered to fans during the 2024 summer meet.

“NYRA thanks Rivers Casino & Resort for its support of New York horse racing,” said Tyler Lippard, NYRA Director of Corporate Partnerships. “This will be a truly historic summer season Upstate, and Rivers Casino & Resort is a Capital Region partner well aware of the reach and impact of Saratoga Race Course. We look forward to a strong partnership.”

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Coach Clint Name and Auction to Honor Longtime Starlight Partner

Tue, 2024-04-30 09:59

Starlight Racing has named a 2-year-old colt Coach Clint (Laoban) in honor of the late Clinton Glasscock, a longtime member of the partnership and a tennis coach at St. Xavier High School. Coach Clint is in training at Keeneland with Brendan Walsh and will be moving over to Churchill Downs in May.

Starlight Racing is hosting an auction to allow individuals to bid on and acquire 10% of the horse's net earnings for the entire duration of the operation's ownership of the colt, with proceeds from the auction benefitting the Davenport Family Scholarship at Bellarmine University and the Bellarmine Men's Basketball Program, both passions of Glasscock.

The 10% owner of Coach Clint will be entitled to racing privileges associated with the actual ownership experience provided by Starlight Racing. This unique opportunity not only celebrates Glasscock's passion for horse racing, but also honors his enduring commitment to philanthropy and community service.

The auction will take place at the Davenport Derby Dash, to be held Wednesday at Audubon Country Club at 6 p.m.

Scott Davenport, the Head Men's basketball coach at Bellarmine University said, “Clint's passion was infectious. His efforts in creating the Knight Club helped launch us to Division 1 and showed how devoted he was to Bellarmine Basketball and his time spent mentoring our players away from the court showed how much he cared about the future success of our young men after graduation. Not a day goes by when we don't miss Clint.”

For more information on how to participate in the auction and to bid online visit:

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Resolute Secures Mensa For $740k In Record-Setting FT Digital Flash Sale

Mon, 2024-04-29 16:50

Mensa (Complexity), the first 2-year-old winner for his freshman sire, sold on a final bid of $740,000 April 29 in the one-horse Mensa Flash Sale, a record-setting sum for the Fasig-Tipton Digital platform, the company announced Monday. Offered by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for D.J. Stables LLC Graduate, the colt went the way of John Stewart's Resolute Bloodstock.

Mensa is entered in Thursday's Kentucky Juvenile S. at Churchill Downs, where he has been installed as the morning-line second choice.

“We are always looking to add talented runners to our stable and we're thrilled to have such an exciting 2-year-old colt in Mensa,” said Stewart. “We have already bought several horses on Fasig-Tipton Digital, and obviously love the platform. Fasig Digital delivers quality offerings to the market on a year-round basis, and all the information is right at your fingertips. We're looking forward to 'Thurby!'”

“Today's digital sale results, for our horse Mensa, is a testament to the combined efforts of Taylor Made Sales, our trainer Mark Casse, and of course Fasig-Tipton,” said seller Jon Green of D.J. Stables. “Having purchased and now sold the highest priced horses in digital sale history, it's obvious that we are true believers of that platform. We would like to thank Resolute Racing and sincerely wish them the best of luck with this worthy colt.”

At $740,000, Mensa is the most expensive offering on Fasig-Tipton Digital to date, eclipsing the previous record of $600,000 set earlier this month when broodmare Eileen's Dream sold with her Curlin foal at foot and bred back to Charlatan.

“We would like to thank the Greens and Taylor Made for the opportunity to sell this record setting colt on Fasig-Tipton Digital,” said Leif Aaron, Fasig-Tipton Director of Digital Sales. “His webpage had 2,500 individual visitors, which is remarkable for just a single horse.”

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HRRN And Keeneland Sales Partner For ‘Winning Colors Week’

Mon, 2024-04-29 14:21

1988 GI Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors (Caro {Ire}) will have her accomplishments recognized throughout the week via a partnership between Horse Racing Radio Network and Keeneland Sales, the pair announced Monday. Coverage of 'Winning Colors Week' began April 29 and will continue through May 4 with tributes to Winning Colors held on air and displayed across the network's various social media channels. The Derby winner, purchased by D. Wayne Lukas from Keeneland as a yearling in 1986, was named Champion 3-year-old Filly and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000. Horse Racing Radio Network will also take the opportunity to celebrate the late A.P. Indy during GI Belmont S. week June 3-8.

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Derby 150 Countdown: Quiet Morning at Churchill Monday

Mon, 2024-04-29 13:19

After a busy weekend of works, it was a relatively quiet morning for the 20 contenders for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Monday. Only two Derby horses are expected to have published workouts this week, with Forever Young (Jpn) (Real Steel {Jpn}) and T O Password (Jpn) (Copano Rickey {Jpn}) scheduled to work Tuesday morning. A day before those works, both Japanese runners followed similar routines Monday, warming up in the mile chute for a half-hour before galloping a mile and a half and then returning to the chute to cool down before walking back to the Quarantine Barn.

Trainer Brad Cox's Derby trio, GII Louisiana Derby winner Catching Freedom (Constitution), GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. winner Encino (Nyquist), and GI Toyota Blue Grass S. runner-up Just a Touch (Justify) all returned to the track Monday to jog an easy mile following Saturday works.

“All three horses exited their works in good shape,” Cox said. “They'll gallop the rest of the week and be ready for Saturday.”

Jockey Florent Geroux, who won the 2021 Derby via disqualification aboard Mandaloun (Into Mischief), will be aboard Just a Touch Saturday and was on hand at Churchill to watch the colt train Monday.

“I'm really excited about his chances,” said Geroux. “He's light on experience, but he's a very talented colt. I think he's ready to run a big race.”

The Chad Brown-trained duo of Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) and Domestic Product (Practical Joke) also returned to the track Monday following Saturday works. Both jogged the wrong way once around the Churchill Downs oval during the 7:30 a.m. training period.

While Blue Grass winner Sierra Leone has garnered most of the attention, Brown said not to overlook Domestic Product, who will be making his first start in the Derby since winning the Mar. 9 GIII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.

“The horse has really been giving a great appearance here at Churchill, he's really glowing and beaming with energy,” Brown said. “I couldn't be more pleased with both of the Derby colts. Knock on wood they just go into the race this way. Domestic Product, he's a hell of a nice horse. He just looks terrific.”

Granpollo Stables' Grand Mo the First (Uncle Mo) galloped two miles t 6:30 under Amel Macias for trainer Victor Barboza Jr. An expected longshot in the Derby, the colt is coming off a distant third-place finish behind likely favorite Fierceness (City of Light) in the GI Curlin Florida Derby, but Barbazo sees a different scenario Saturday.

“This time it will be different, a different race,” Barboza said. “The pace will be quicker this time. The last time, nobody fought him. He got away with :24 and :49 and nobody fought him. This will be different.”

Ribble Farms, Michael Eisterman, Earl Silver, Kenneth and Dave Fishbein's Honor Marie (Honor Code) galloped 1 1/2 miles at 7:30 a.m. Monday under regular rider Maurilio Garcia.

The bay colt, second in the Louisiana Derby, will be the first Derby mount for jockey Ben Curtis.

“I came over to North America in November and I never thought I'd be riding in the Kentucky Derby,” said Curtis, a native of Ireland who was riding in Europe. “It's a fantastic opportunity on a horse who I think could show up brilliantly on Derby Day. His stamina is there, his pedigree is there and everything he's shown to this point says he will stay for the 1 1/4-mile. There's question marks on others in the race, but he crosses off a lot of those question marks.”

Curtis continued, “He's a very laid back, professional horse. A lot of the good ones are. They know how to keep their cool and use the right energy when it matters when the gates open. The way he goes through a race he likes to warm up into it. He puts himself in the right spots. There's a long stretch here and I think it will suit his running style very well.”

Honor Marie won last year's GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. under the Twin Spires.

The post Derby 150 Countdown: Quiet Morning at Churchill Monday appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Sierra Leone Tops Saturday Derby Work Tab

Sat, 2024-04-27 15:26

GI Blue Grass S. winner Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) led a total of nine GI Kentucky Derby hopefuls on the work tab a week out from the Run for the Roses. Breezing in company with stablemate and fellow Derby hopeful Domestic Product (Practical Joke), the pair went five furlongs in 1:00.20 (15/58) through splits of :13, :24.80, :36.40 before galloping out in 1:13.20 and 1:26.20.

“It [the work] was executed perfectly,” said Chad Brown, the trainer for both workers. “I wanted them to a good five-eighths out in three-quarters but well within themselves. [Sierra Leone] is super fit and it was just an outstanding work. I'm just trying to get him in there happy and sound. He's a very rare horse. He's just everything you want as a trainer.”


Watch as Domestic Product and Sierra Leone work five furlongs in 1:00.1. #KyDerby

— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) April 27, 2024

Joining that pair on the Derby work sheet was two more groupings of stablemates–Catching Freedom (Constitution) and Encino (Nyquist)–who also went five furlongs together in :59.20 (2/58) and Dornoch (Good Magic) with Society Man (Good Magic) clocked in four furlongs at :46.60 (2/130). They were joined by Just a Touch (Justify) (five furlongs in 1:00.80 {26/58]), West Saratoga (Exaggerator) (three furlongs in :37.20 {8/27}) and Mystik Dan (Goldencents) (five furlongs in 1:01.20 {35/58}).

“The track is playing super fast right now,” said trainer Danny Gargan. “We thought we'd [Dornoch and Society Man] go in 47 and change, I got them 46 and 4. They went out nice though and … that's kind of the work for everybody, they're all going around the same time. We wanted to go a little bit slower but they looked good doing it, they were in hand, no one was asking them. We're just hoping they come back good, everything looks good and they're cooling out good.”


Society Man and Dornoch finishing a half-mile in :46.3. #KyDerby

— Kevin Kerstein (@HorseRacingKK) April 27, 2024

Trainer Michael McCarthy also confirmed GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks winner Endlessly (Oscar Performance) for the Derby off his work Friday morning.

“It's been done,” said McCarthy. “We'll be running in the Derby.”

GI Kentucky Oaks workers were led by Regulatory Risk (Omaha Beach) (four furlongs in :49.60 {90/130}) and Lemon Muffin (Collected) (five furlongs in a bullet :58.20 {1/58}).

There are several workers lined up for Sunday as contenders look to get their final breezes ahead of next weekend. Scheduled to work Sunday are Stronghold (Ghostzapper), Catalytic (Catalina Cruiser) and Just F Y I (Justify).

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Light Up Racing Issues Statement On ‘Broken Horses’

Sat, 2024-04-27 13:53

Light Up Racing, an industry collective which seeks to counter negative reporting and perceptions about horse racing, issued the following statement Saturday about the Hulu/FX/New York Times documentary “Broken Horses,” which debuted Friday. The statement is printed in its entirety. 

“The recent FX documentary 'Broken Horses' has cast a spotlight on the historical issues and implications of illegal doping in horse racing.

The presentation attempts to address significant challenges within the industry, particularly focusing on the critical issue of racehorses sustaining life-ending injuries and the urgent need for reforms to address doping and medication use.

As Broken Horses highlights, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) is now providing the sport with independent federal oversight for the first time in history, encompassing comprehensive veterinary protocols, enhanced track and jockey safety, and a stringent anti-doping and medication control program. While not in place to address the devastating clusters of fatalities at Churchill Downs in 2023, we can look forward to a safer future under HISA's leadership integrity.

Strategically released just a week before the Kentucky Derby, the documentary unsurprisingly leans into historical drama and sensationalism to boost viewership, focusing on illegal activities that thankfully resulted in imprisonment for the inexcusable acts.

Reporting did not, however, emphasize a 34 per cent reduction in the equine fatality rate over the last 15 years, the result of the significant progress already made towards safer racing practices.

Additional equine safety changes made in the last 24 months, under-represented in the documentary's narrative, include:

  • Every Thoroughbred is required to have a pre-race veterinary inspection every time it races to help ensure horses with pre-existing injuries do not compete. HISA receives close to 3,000 veterinary treatment reports each day.
  • Artificial intelligence is being used to examine compiled data, flagging any horses entered to race who may present potential risk factors for injury. This is similar to how other sports, like the NFL, are utilizing data and AI to enhance player safety.
  • Wearable technology has been implemented, similar to that used in human sports, to identify at-risk horses by the  algorithms that are generated in the process of training and racing.
  • Huge investment in onsite or expedited access to advanced diagnostic imaging like PET scans (an enhanced bone scan), MRIs, and CT scans allow trainers and vets to detect hard-to-identify precursors to injuries.
  • There is now a national vets list that places all horses unfit to compete on a comprehensive list that monitors Thoroughbreds throughout their careers.
  • The void claim rule deters entry of horses with health or soundness issues into claiming races.

It is imperative that the progress and efforts of countless individuals dedicated to the daily care and safety of racehorses are acknowledged and not overshadowed by dramatized reporting. The assertions in the presentation that leading trainers 'abuse' horses and neglect basic care are not only unfair but are also logically inconsistent with the practices necessary to prepare elite Thoroughbred athletes to race successfully.

Light Up Racing is in full support of all reforms that will push horse racing to achieve the highest standard in equine welfare and transparency, with the goal of positioning our industry for a sustainable future. A constant pursuit to substantially reduce the fatality rate is non-negotiable.

If you have concerns about horse racing but are interested in gaining a deeper understanding, please contact us. We would be happy to arrange a firsthand look behind the scenes at stables, farms, racetracks, and veterinary hospitals.”

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R.A.C.E Fund To Host Annual Online Auction Fundraiser

Sat, 2024-04-27 13:26

The Retirement Assistance and Care for Equines (R.A.C.E) Fund will host its annual fund drive beginning with an online auction, the organization announced Saturday. The auction, which will kick off on eBay beginning May 10 at 8 pm EST, will include items such as halters from last year's Horse of the Year Cody's Wish (Curlin), California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), Quality Road (Elusive Quality) and Mandaloun (Into Mischief), etc. along with experiences such as a VIP tour of Three Chimneys Farm.

“We have some very exciting and amazing auction items again this year,” said President of the R.A.C.E Fund Marlene Murray. “We would like to especially thank volunteer Roxanne Campbell for her dedication and tireless efforts as well as Claiborne, Darley, Denali Stud, Gainesway, Juddmonte, Lane's End, Taylor Made, Three Chimneys and Christopher Hoff for their generous support by donating such valuable items of racing champions to help us raise funds.”

More information on the R.A.C.E Fund can be viewed here.

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South African Champion Princess Calla Bought By John Stewart

Sat, 2024-04-27 11:15

South African Horse of the Year Princess Calla (SAf) (Flower Alley) has been purchased by John Stewart of Resolute Farm from Mario Ferreira, Stewart announced on X Saturday morning. Ferreira and trainer Sean Tarry had sent the five-time South African Grade 1 winner to America in early March for a crack at the Breeders' Cup.

“We have finalized our international deal and I'm so excited to announce that we have acquired 2023 South African Horse of the Year Princess Calla in a private sale,” Steward said on X. “She is in her final days of quarantine and will be headed to Chad Brown to begin training for a run at this year's Breeders' Cup.”

Bred by Maine Chance Farms, the bay also earned Equus Champion Older Mare honours in 2022/2023 to go with her Horse of the Year title, and of her 12 lifetime wins from two to six, 11 have come at the graded level. Out of G2 Sceptre S. winner and G1 Allan Robertson Championship second Princess Royal (SAf) (Captain Al {SAf}), she brought R600,000 as a Cape Thoroughbred Sales Premier yearling. Princess Calla is also a half-sister to the Grade 3-placed Platinum Sky (SAf) (Silvano {Ger}). Her dam is a half-sister to the dual Equus winner Princess Victoria (SAf) (Victory Moon {SAf}), who earned her championships at two and three.

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Shopping Spree Continues: John Stewart’s Resolute Bloodstock Buys $450k Co-Toppers at Keeneland April

Fri, 2024-04-26 22:30

Led by matching $450,000 co-toppers Dana's Beauty (Not This Time) and Cheval de Guerre (Caravaggio), John Stewart's Resolute Bloodstock purchased four lots for a total of $1.172 million at Keeneland's April Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale on Friday, held following the final race of the Spring Meet. Resolute was the sale's leading buyer.

For the single-session auction, Keeneland sold 54 horses for $3,940,000, for an average of $72,963 and a median of $38,500. With sales of $1.544 million for 16 horses, ELiTE was the sale's leading consignor.

Keeneland sold 67 horses through the ring for $6,743,000, good for an average of $100,642 and a median of $70,000, at last year's auction.

“We were specifically looking for some (Royal) Ascot horses and we picked up a couple broodmare prospects that can continue to race,” Stewart said. “Keeneland always has great horses here, so it's a lot of good fun.”

The 6-year-old mare Dana's Beauty, previously owned by Magic Oaks and trained by Joe Sharp, won Turfway Park's Latonia S. Mar. 23 over Friday's GIII Bewitch S. heroine Chop Chop (City of Light). She is out of the winning City Zip mare City Siren and from the family of GI Preakness S. winner and sire Cloud Computing and GISW Halo America. Sporting a career record of 37-8-4-8 and earnings of $428,167, Dana's Beauty was consigned by ELiTE, agent, as Hip 99.

“Her pedigree works really well in our system,” said Gavin O'Connor, who signed the ticket. “(Resolute's) John (Stewart) himself loved the horse. She won nicely last time out. The long-range plans are to send her to (trainer) Mike Maker and try to just place her right. We'll probably start her fresh as a broodmare next year.”

DANA'S BEAUTY delivers $450,000 at #KeeApril! The stakes winning mare is consigned by @eliteracesales and is by Not This Time.

— Keeneland Sales (@keenelandsales) April 27, 2024

The 2-year-old colt Cheval de Guerre flashed sharp early speed and just got beat by a neck in his 5 1/2-furlong unveiling over the Keeneland turf Thursday. The first foal out of the winning Declaration of War mare Champagne Diet, he is from the family of GISWs Memories of Silver and Winter Memories. The $22,000 KEESEP yearling was campaigned by owner/trainer Eddie Kenneally and Richard Seale. The sale's final offering, he was consigned by Kenneally Racing, agent, as Hip 135.

“I'm not really surprised. I was expecting a good number for the horse,” said consignor and trainer Eddie Kenneally. “He did everything right, but was a little unlucky not to have won. He ran a good race. We had some good people on him and we're delighted to get it done. We've had a good little run with this horse in a short period of time.”

.@rresoluteracing signs the ticket for $450,000 for CHEVAL DE GUERRE, a 2YO Caravaggio colt who was a just-beaten second yesterday in MSW at Keeneland! Consigned by @kenneallyracing

— Keeneland Sales (@keenelandsales) April 27, 2024

After making a huge splash at the yearling and breeding stock sales in 2023, Stewart purchased the former Shadwell Stud property in Midway, Kentucky to launch Resolute Farm.

Stewart spent $8.425 million on 13 yearlings at last year's Keeneland September sale and returned to the fall breeding stock sales at Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland where he once again opened his check book, purchasing 11 mares and weanlings for a total of $17.35 million. The list included the two-time GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Goodnight Olive (Ghostzapper), who brought $6 million at Fasig-Tipton November.

Save the Trees (Preservationist), who stormed down the Keeneland stretch to win his career debut for the Estate of Brereton C. Jones and trainer Wayne Mackey Apr. 19, sold for $335,000 to trainer Mike Maker. Consigned by Airdrie Stud, agent, as Hip 131, the 3-year-old gelding is out of the stakes-placed Forestry mare Canopy Lane. He was previously a $23,000 KEESEP yearling.

“We liked him from day one, so we came here to buy him,” Maker said. “We were at the races the day he broke his maiden; we were impressed by that. We tried to pursue him after that, but were unsuccessful, so we came here tonight to get him.”

Meah/Loyd Bloodstock, agent, paid $310,000 for 3-year-old filly Watchtower (Demarchelier {GB}), who is unbeaten in two races this year. ELiTE, agent for Peter Brant's White Birch Farm, consigned Watchtower (Hip 79), who is out of the stakes-placed Exchange Rate mare Zloty and from the family of GSW & GISP Teeth of the Dog.

“She will go to California to (trainer) Richard Baltas,” David Meah said. “We've had a lot of success together buying horses all over the world. She's a filly who will really fit California racing. She is tailor made for the Del Mar Oaks and the American Oaks. We were pleasantly surprised with the price.”

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Justify’s Parenting Strong on Unveiling, Garners ‘Rising Star’ Nod

Fri, 2024-04-26 19:30

In a debut befitting his princely price tag, Parenting (c, 3, Justify–Iadorakid, by Lemon Drop Kid) kicked away from a well-met group of maidens at Santa Anita Park, and became the newest 'TDN Rising Star' to hail from the Bob Baffert barn.

Hugging the rail after coming out a narrow leader via a scramble for the front, Parenting rolled into the lead off of :22.42 and :45.48 splits, and had put away most of his early competition by midstretch. Shaking loose under hand-urging, Parenting found enough in the tank to comfortably hold Santarena (Omaha Beach) at bay in the stretch. The victor is Justify's eighth 'TDN Rising Star'.

Parenting was a $750,000 OBS April 2-year-old in-training purchase by Gandharvi Stable after breezing :10 flat.

The most recent winner to the races for Iadorakid, Parenting has a yearling half-brother by Vekoma and his dam visited both Maclean's Music and Midnight Lute for 2024. Iadorakid is herself a half-sister to Canadian champion GISW El Tormenta (Stormy Atlantic), GSW Zero Tolerance (Mizzen Mast) and to a course-record setter at Kentucky Downs. This is the family of MGSW His Race to Win (Stormy Atlantic) and Canadian juvenile filly champion Hello Seattle.

#6 PARENTING ($8.80), a three-year-old colt by @CoolmoreAmerica's Justify, breaks his maiden in his career debut for trainer Bob Baffert with @JJHernandezS19 in the irons.

— FanDuel Racing (Formerly TVG) (@FanDuel_Racing) April 26, 2024

6th-Santa Anita, $57,000, Msw, 4-26, 3, 4,/5yo, 5 1/2f, 1:03.69, ft, 2 3/4 lengths.
PARENTING, c, 3, by Justify
                1st Dam: Iadorakid, by Lemon Drop Kid
                2nd Dam: Torreadora, by El Prado (Ire)
                3rd Dam: Fleet of Foot, by Gone West
Sales history: $750,000 2yo '23 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $32,400. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
O-Gandharvi LLC; B-Jason Hall and BCS Thoroughbreds (KY); T-Bob Baffert.

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Keeneland Closes Out Successful Spring Meet

Fri, 2024-04-26 18:37

Keeneland's 2024 Spring Meet concluded Friday with all-sources wagering exceeding $218 million, the third-highest handle in track history. Average daily purse money of $1.16 million attracted Thoroughbred racing's top stables and jockeys, delivering 16 days of quality racing complemented by community and special events that offered family fun with a philanthropic mission.

“A big thanks to our horsemen and sponsors, the crowds who turned out daily on track and those who watched and wagered on Keeneland across the country,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “We especially appreciate the cooperation of fans as we navigated the adjustments necessary to hold a race meet during construction of our new Paddock Building. We are proud this Spring Meet continued to offer the exceptional race-day experiences and traditions people know and love about Keeneland.”

All-sources wagering (not including whole card simulcasting at Keeneland) for the Spring Meet, held April 5-26, totaled $218,741,501, a decrease of 2.5% from last spring's record $224,348,745 for 15 days of racing.

On-track wagering totaled $15,831,087 compared with $15,844,092 in Spring 2023.

Wagering was boosted by a number of individual handle records. On Toyota Blue Grass Day, Apr. 6, all-sources handle for the 11-race card that featured five graded stakes totaled $29,261,346, eclipsing the previous single-day wagering record of $28,137,728 set in 2022. Single-race win/place/show wagering of $2,576,663 on the Toyota Blue Grass shattered the 2019 record of $2,068,406. The All Stakes Pick 5 ending with the Toyota Blue Grass handled $1,696,981, breaking the 2022 record of $1,539,098.

The Keeneland Turf Pick 3, a wager on the final three turf races daily, set a handle record of $280,308 on Apr. 13 to best last Fall's mark of $248,094. The wager paid a record $56,593 on April 18.

The Daily Double wager established handle records twice during the Spring Meet: $329,433 on opening Apr. 5 and $470,988 on Apr. 13 to surpass the previous record of $286,255 set Apr. 23, 2022. This Spring, Keeneland reduced the takeout on the Daily Double from 22% to 15%.

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Jockey Club Steward To Change At NYRA Tracks

Thu, 2024-04-25 14:41

Samantha Randazzo will no longer serve as The Jockey Club steward at New York Racing Association Inc. (NYRA) racetracks, the Jockey Club announced Thursday. The move was made with immediate effect. Current NYRA safety steward Juliet Kagno will fill the vacancy for the remainder of NYRA's Aqueduct spring meet and for the Belmont at the Big A spring/summer meet from May 2 to July 7. Former Jockey Club steward at NYRA Dr. Ted Hill will assume the steward position during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga from June 6-9 and during NYRA's annual summer meet at Saratoga from July 11 through September 2. During this interim period, The Jockey Club will conduct an international search for candidates for the steward at NYRA position. Parties interested in the position can reach out here.

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Pair Of Juveniles Added To Keeneland April Sale

Thu, 2024-04-25 14:30

A pair of juvenile fillies–Kiss Cam (Mastery) and Vodka With a Twist (Thousand Words)–have been supplemented to Friday evening's Keeneland April Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale.  Kiss Cam, consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, debuted with a second-place finish in maiden special weight company Apr. 18. Vodka With a Twist, consigned by Ballysax Bloodstock, finished fourth, beaten just two lengths, in a maiden special weight race Apr. 24. The enhanced digital catalog is available for viewing here.

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Ky Appeals Court Denies Zedan ‘Emergency’ Relief for Muth’s Derby Eligibility

Thu, 2024-04-25 14:00

A Kentucky Court of Appeals judge on Wednesday denied a motion by Amr Zedan's incorporated racing stable that would have conferred “emergency” status on his legal quest to get 'TDN Rising Star' Muth (Good Magic) into the GI Kentucky Derby despite a ban by Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI) against the colt's trainer, Bob Baffert.

Technically, the Apr. 24 order by Judge Jeff Taylor didn't decide Zedan's appeal of a lower court's denial of a temporary injunction in full. But from a practical standpoint, it appears that time has all but run out on that appeal being decided before Saturday's entry time for the Derby.

After deciding that that case does not meet legal standards for “emergency” adjudication, Taylor wrote that the case will now be assigned to a three-judge panel “in accordance with this Court's customary procedures.” As of 1 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, no hearing date had been posted on the court's electronic docket. The “case status” section stated that the appeal is “ready to be assigned to motion panel.”

In his 12-page order, Taylor wrote of three key issues that factored into his decision not to give emergency relief: 1) That Baffert himself was not a party to the lawsuit and/or its appeal; 2) That a federal court had already established a precedent in 2023 by denying a Baffert-initiated request to end the CDI ban, and 3) That Zedan Racing Stables had plenty of time-some 10 months before the 2024 Derby-to decide if it wanted to switch trainers to make horses Derby-eligible.

“Any action taken by this Court to allow Zedan to participate in the Derby with Baffert as his trainer would eviscerate CDI's suspension of Baffert, without Baffert ever appearing before this Court,” Taylor wrote. “On its face, that would be totally unfair and unjust for CDI and the other owners who have complied with CDI rules for entry of horses into the Kentucky Derby.

“As it stands, Muth is ineligible for nomination to the 150th Kentucky Derby because his trainer, Baffert, is presently suspended by CDI. Since Baffert is not before this Court to contest his suspension and is otherwise an indispensable party to this action, we decline to grant it the requested extraordinary emergency relief,” Taylor wrote.

“To do otherwise would also affect Baffert' s rights, which are not 'separable from those of parties before the court.' The instant case may also be perceived as a collateral attack on the disciplinary action taken by CDI against Baffert, which has been litigated extensively in the courts,” Taylor wrote.

“[A] federal court in Kentucky upheld the validity of Baffert's suspension by CDI in a final judgment entered in May of 2023. That judgment was not appealed. Accordingly, 'a federal court judgment is entitled to full faith and credit in the state courts,'” Taylor wrote.

Taylor wrote that, “despite the effort at artful pleading by Zedan, the denial of Muth as a Kentucky Derby participant by CDI is inextricably intertwined with CDI's banning of the horse's trainer, Baffert, at its racing facilities. And to grant Zedan the relief requested would clearly undermine or evade the adjudication by the federal court in favor of CDI by a non-party to that action.”

CDI had barred Baffert from its properties shortly after the 2021 Derby, which the now-disqualified, Zedan-owned, Baffert-trained Medina Spirit won while testing positive for betamethasone.

Baffert's ban was initially just supposed to last for two Derbies. But in July 2023 CDI extended the penalty through 2024.

Taylor addressed Zedan's claim that his stable relied upon a 2021 public statement by CDI that  Baffert's suspension would be for two years only when Zedan subsequently spent approximately $14-million on seven auction purchases, allegedly thinking that Baffert would be allowed to train them in the 2024 Derby.

Taylor wrote that “Zedan was aware of the dilemma it faced with having Baffert as the trainer of its horses on July 3, 2023. Zedan's failure to take any legal action to address the issue until April of 2024 certainly mitigates against any irreparable injury alleged to have been suffered by Zedan. Any harm incurred by Zedan would have been self-inflicted by its own conduct.”

Zedan could opt to push the appeals process further by asking for a last-gasp appeal in the Kentucky State Supreme Court, but that option seems highly unlikely with the Apr. 27 entry time for the Derby looming within 48 hours.

A public relations firm that has been acting as a spokesperson for Zedan Racing Stable's legal efforts issued a press release on Thursday that stated, “We are disappointed with the single judge decision of the Court of Appeals, and saddened that our horse Muth, one of the fastest three-year-olds in the country, will be denied the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity he earned to contend in the 150th Run for the Roses and, potentially, the Triple Crown.

“Filing this lawsuit was the last thing we wanted to do. That is why [Zedan] reached out to the Churchill Downs CEO this past December and January to attempt to resolve this issue amicably. Zedan Racing Stables was compelled by its substantive business interests to take legal action to secure Muth's rightful opportunity to run in the Kentucky Derby.

“We hope that Churchill Downs will follow up on [the lower court's] request that both sides work out an ongoing agreement in order for Bob Baffert to once again bring horses to Churchill Downs' tracks,” the stable's statement concluded.

Tonya Abeln, CDI's vice president of communications, emailed the following statement in response to a TDN query for comment on the judge's order:

“CDI is pleased with the Kentucky Court of Appeals' Order issued [Wednesday]. We remain focused on the horses and connections who qualified to compete in this year's Kentucky Derby, and we look forward to welcoming another champion into the history books as we celebrate the milestone 150th running of this extraordinary tradition.”

Zedan himself also commented via his PR firm:  “I had the pleasure of speaking with Alex Rankin, the Chairman of Churchill Downs, and I congratulated him on the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby and wish him and racing fans around the world a competitive, captivating, and safe race. I look forward to bringing Muth to the [GI] Preakness [S.].”

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FTC Affirms Wong Suspension and Fine, Case Heads to Federal Court

Thu, 2024-04-25 13:39

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has affirmed an earlier Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) arbitration panel ruling against trainer Jonathan Wong, suspending him for two years and fining him $25,000 for a 2023 post-race metformin positive. Metformin is a type 2 diabetes drug that HISA has classified as a banned substance.

The next step in the appeals process would be a request for review by the FTC of the FTC administrative law judge's decision, according to a Horseracing Integrity and Safety Unit (HIWU) spokesperson.

Wong will instead take the case to federal court bypassing that process, according to the trainer's long-time owner, Brent Malmstrom. This would make it the first HISA-related medication violation case to work its way up to the federal court level.

“If anyone thinks I have enjoyed spending over $510,000 litigating this, they would be mistaken, but to think we will stop now is misguided. I look forward to our ability to force discovery, take depositions, force accountability, and allow this case to be properly adjudicated,” wrote Malmstrom.

In his written ruling dated April 22, FTC chief administrative law judge D. Michael Chappell agreed with the plaintiffs that HISA had departed from the anti-doping medication control (ADMC) program's standards or protocol in key instances.

Nevertheless, Chappell determined that “there is no basis presented by Appellant to support a conclusion that the resulting sanctions were 'arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.”

HISA and the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU) had no comment on the FTC decision.

Though banned from operating in jurisdictions that fall under HISA's authority, Wong operates a stable out of Evangeline Downs, in Louisiana, a state that currently falls outside of HISA legal purview.

The ruling marks the latest twist in a case involving a drug that appears to be playing an out-sized role in the organization's anti-doping crusade.

Metformin ranks as the nation's third-most-prescribed human medicine, according to the consumer healthcare website Healthgrades, with more 20 million patients taking it. As a banned substance under HISA, a metformin positive comes with a possible maximum two-year suspension and $25,000 fine.

The Wong-trainee Heaven and Earth (Gormley) broke her maiden at Indiana Grand on June 1 but subsequently tested positive for metformin.

As a matter of protocol at that time, HIWU initially provisionally suspended Wong at the beginning of June when the A sample returned a positive finding for Metformin.

The HISA Authority subsequently announced that it had modified the rules surrounding provisional suspensions. Under the revised provisions, responsible parties who request B Sample confirmation following a positive test for a banned substance would no longer face a provisional suspension until the B sample findings are returned.

In Wong's case, he was notified on Aug. 9 that the B Sample confirmed the Metformin positive.

Though Wong was technically permitted to return to training for a brief period while the B sample was being processed, he explained at the time that his owners did not wish to transfer the horses back with the B Sample results expected imminently, and effectively has not trained since July 2.

Earlier this year, a HISA arbitration panel imposed on Wong the maximum possible sentence for such a violation. The two-year period of ineligibility retroactively started July 1, 2023, when Wong's initial provisional suspension was first imposed.

The panel's ruling also set the case up for review anew before the FTC.

In his appeal, Wong made several claims that the way the blood and urine samples in the case had been processed were a departure from the “rules and standards” of HISA's drug testing program, and that these departures rendered the test results “inadmissible.”

Judge Chappell agreed that some of these “departures” from the ADMC program's rules and regulations indeed occurred, including how HISA failed to “document the chain of custody” of the samples between the time of collection and shipment to Industrial Laboratories for testing.

Chappell also agreed that Brendan Heffron, lab director at the University of Illinois Chicago Illinois (UIC) where the B samples were sent for confirmation testing, failed to “decant” the urine sample according to the ADMC rules.

Chappell disagreed with the assertion that the findings did not undergo “independent review” by two certifying scientists.

Even though one of the certifying scientists conducted his review well after UIC reported its test result to HIWU in contrary to ADMC rules, “there is no evidence to support a conclusion – implied by Appellant – that UIC altered the laboratory package after Benoit's review and prior to certifying the result,” Chappell wrote.

In an unusual turn of events in the case, the Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, conducted “Further Analysis” on the A blood sample sent to Industrial Laboratories, and intended to analyse what should have remained of the B urine sample processed by the Chicago lab.

Wong argued that ADMC rules required such further analysis to have been conducted by UIC—the laboratory that conducted B sample analysis—rather than by the UC Davis Lab.

Chappell rejected this argument by stating that Wong had failed to make this assertion in arbitration, and that “Appellant has failed to rebut the presumption that the analyses of the A and B samples conducted by Industrial and UIC were valid in detecting the presence of a banned substance. In this context, whether the further analysis conducted by UC Davis failed to comply with applicable testing rules is immaterial.”

In his ruling, Chappell concluded that Wong “has failed to meet his burden of establishing that the demonstrated departures from applicable testing standards or protocols could reasonably have caused the AAF. Therefore, pursuant to ADMC Rule 3122(c)-(d), the test results are presumed valid and the departures are not a defense to the possession violation.”

In his written statement, Malmstrom pointed to the parts of the judge's ruling identifying where sample processing procedures had deviated from the stipulated rules. “Better stated, HIWU can issue a fine/suspension but not follow the stated rules, leading you to that conclusion,” Malmstrom wrote.

Because of the possible severity of metformin-related sanctions and its ubiquity in the environment, the drug has been at the heart of several controversial cases that have led some to question whether HIWU is deploying too strict an enforcement approach to the drug.

In justification of its stance, HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus told the TDN earlier this year that “we do have intelligence that metformin is being used intentionally” as a performance enhancer.

According to Malmstrom, the challenge “we and every other trainer face” is the difficulty in proving the root source of adverse analytical findings, especially in ship-in scenarios.

“We have all read about the disproportionate number of tests returning from situations where the trainer shipped their horses to various locations,” Malmstrom wrote, pointing to his “letter to the editor” from last July.

“Due process isn't a scenario where some rules can be followed while others can be ignored. Under the current regulations, you can have your entire economic livelihood taken from you through no fault of your own,” Malmstrom wrote.

“Trainers are not omnipresent and can't always control everything,” he added. “Why are trainers the only ones subject to transparency? Given that environmental contaminations continue to be significant events, a better solution that shares responsibility is needed.”

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Jockey Jevian Toledo Sidelined with Collarbone Injury

Thu, 2024-04-25 13:13

Jockey Jevian Toledo is expected to be out of action until late June after having minor surgery to repair his collarbone, while rider J.G. Torrealba will return to action Friday, five days after they were involved in a spill at Laurel Park.

Toledo was injured during Sunday's fourth race after being unseated when his mount, Jackie A, tripped over Torrealba and Bourbon and Ice, who had stumbled when in tight quarters at the top of the stretch and fell. Both horses walked off the track.

One shy of 1,600 career wins and a four-time annual leading rider in Maryland, the 29-year-old Toledo and five-pound apprentice Torrealba, 22, were both taken to University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center. Toledo was subsequently sent to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

“It was a dislocated collarbone [from] the breastplate. They had to go in, make a little incision and do a tiny surgery on him. He spent two nights at Shock Trauma, but he's home now,” Toledo's agent, Marty Leonard, said. “He's going to be out probably two months. He's disappointed, but he's OK. It could have been much worse.”

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Muth Favored Over Fierceness and Sierra Leone in Preakness Future Wager

Thu, 2024-04-25 13:02

Likely GI Kentucky Derby favorites and 'TDN Rising Stars' Fierceness (City of Light) (9-2) and Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) (6-1) will open as the second and third choices in the Preakness Future Wager when the final pool opens Friday, Apr. 26.

The Preakness Future Wager favorite is GI Arkansas Derby winner and 'Rising Star' Muth (Good Magic), listed at 3-1 after opening at 19-1 in the first Preakness Future Wager, while Bob Baffert-trained stablemate and GI Santa Anita Derby runner-up Imagination (Into Mischief) is 12-1. Muth and Imagination will not run in the Kentucky Derby.

There are 31 individual entries and a pari-mutuel field of “all other 3-year-olds.” The field is 20-1.

The Preakness Future Wager has a $2 minimum and 18 percent takeout. The second and final Preakness pool runs until Saturday, May 4 at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit


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