Skip to:

Thoroughbred Daily News

Subscribe to Thoroughbred Daily News feed
Thoroughbred Horse Racing’s Leading Worldwide Source of News & Information
Updated: 7 hours 2 min ago

Valiant Minister Colt Works a Bullet at OBS Friday

Fri, 2021-04-16 16:57

A colt from the first crop of Florida stallion Valiant Minister was one of two to breeze a bullet quarter mile in :20 3/5 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale under-tack show Friday. Hip 996 will attempt to follow in the hoofprints of his Bridlewood-based sire, who topped OBS's 2015 June sale after a bullet work, selling to Charles Chu of Baoma Corp. For $680,000 after breezing an eighth in :9 4/5.

“I remember Valiant Minister when he sold here,” said SGV Thoroughbreds' Steve Venosa, who consigns Hip 996. “Eddie Woods had him and he topped the sale. He went out to Bob [Baffert] and unfortunately the horse only had one race, but he ran tremendous.”

Donato Lanni purchased Hip 996's dam La Nonna (Unbridled's Song) on behalf of Baoma Corp. for $72,000 at Keeneland January. This colt is her first foal and Venosa snatched him up for $40,000 at the OBS October Sale.

“I came into the October Sale at OBS and Lisa McGreevy at Abbie Road Farm had him,” Venosa said. “I went to look at all of the Select horses and I really loved this colt. He was the only horse I wanted to buy and I bought him for my partnership.”

The horseman continued, “He was always very forward from the first day we put the tack on him. He did everything right and had a great mind about him.”

Venosa was very pleased with the colt's sharp work Friday (video).

“You never know until you lead one up there,” Venosa said. “The track has been interesting this week. The first day was canceled because we had a lot of rain. Then Monday the track didn't look like it's normal self early, but it righted itself the second day. It's been kind of crazy. I think the wind yesterday really affected a lot of horses.”

He continued, “We were watching the weather and monitoring the rain coming. We had two going today and crossed our fingers the weather would cooperate. We were going back and forth between working a quarter or an eighth, but we figured we'd go ahead and send him a quarter. He is plenty fit enough. We knew he'd go up there and perform and he did.  Everybody back at the barn was excited. We have a great team and you are only as good as your team.”

The other :20 3/5 worker Friday was Hip 925, a colt by Not This Time, from the Pick View consignment.

“We were expecting a really good work out of him,” said Pick VIew's Joe Pickerell. “He is a big, strong, mature, classy colt, who has been one of our fastest horses on the farm all year. We were pretty confident he would work well if he duplicated what he has been doing all year.”

There were also five fillies to work a bullet eighth in :9 4/5: Hip 866, a daughter of Temple City (video); Hip 889, a filly by Outwork (video); Hip 917, an Uncaptured filly (video); Hip 955, a daughter of Practical Joke (video); Hip 975, a filly by Fury Kapcori (video).

The post Valiant Minister Colt Works a Bullet at OBS Friday appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Preakness Prep Federico Tesio Returns to Pimlico

Fri, 2021-04-16 16:06

For the first time since 2015, Maryland's local audition for the GI Preakness S. will provide horses with an opportunity to prep over the same Pimlico Race Course main track that serves as home for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

The $125,000 Federico Tesio S. headlines seven stakes worth $750,000 in purses on the Spring Stakes Spectacular program Saturday, Apr. 24, originally scheduled to be run at Laurel Park. With the ongoing evaluation of Laurel's main track, live racing has been shifted to Pimlico, effective Thursday, Apr. 22.

Laurel's spring meet, delayed seven days to an Apr. 8 opening amid an equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) quarantine, was scheduled to run through May 2.

For the sixth straight year, the Tesio will serve as a 'Win and In' qualifier for Triple Crown-nominated 3-year-olds to the 1 3/16-mile Preakness S. Saturday, May 15.

The Preakness highlights a program of 10 stakes, six graded, worth $2.25 million Saturday, May 15.

A total of six stakes, four graded, worth $1 million in purses help comprise the May 14 GII Black-Eyed Susan Day card.

The post Preakness Prep Federico Tesio Returns to Pimlico appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Encouraging Reversal: All Oregon Fairs Now Expected to Race

Fri, 2021-04-16 15:35

The in-flux nature of racing at Oregon's summer fairs took an encouraging turn Thursday when Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) executive director Jack McGrail announced that all four stops on the circuit now intend to host mixed meets in 2021.

That's an improvement from the update McGrail provided at the March ORC meeting, when the status of Eastern Oregon Livestock Show meet in Union and Harney County Fair in Burns were both considered to be in limbo because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Those two fairs will join Crooked River Roundup in Prineville and Tillamook County Fair in Tillamook, both of which had already expressed commitment to racing in 2021.

“Our four fair meets are all tentatively scheduled to run this year, which is rather surprising,” McGrail said during the Apr. 15 teleconference meeting. “But we're very pleased about that. The situation is somewhat fluid [because of ever-changing pandemic restrictions]. But we do feel that all four meets are going to run.

“Things will look a little bit different, and logistically there are some challenges,” McGrail continued. “But we've provided additional funds to the fairs to work through some of those challenges, including additional sanitation measures and cordoning off people, and [to offset] the fact that they might have some revenue losses or some reduction in revenue due to limitations on attendance.

“But that they're all going to run is a good thing, and they'll all be going to run on their traditional race dates, excepting Harney County, which is going to try, as an experiment, to move to a two-day meet July 24 and 25. We're hoping that those dates, which come on the heels of the Crooked River Roundup, will encourage more horsemen to travel out to [Harney]…”

As posted on the ORC website, the 2021 fairs schedule will look like this: Eastern Oregon (June 11-13); Crooked River (July 14-17); Harney (July 24 and 25), and Tillamook (Aug. 11-14).

McGrail explained that Grants Pass Downs, which transitioned from a fairs track to being the lone commercial licensee in Oregon in 2020 after the closure of Portland Meadows, has agreed to make small schedule adjustments to its 35-day meet so it better dovetails with the fairs circuit.

Rod Lowe, the Grants Pass Downs racing director and chief operating officer, said during the meeting that “200 plus” horses are already training at the southern Oregon track in anticipation for the May 10 season opener. He added that all 450 stalls on the grounds are expected to be allocated, but “if anybody else comes in, then we'll try to accommodate them also, somehow.”

Lowe explained that Grants Pass is in the midst of an approval process to have an adjacent three-acre piece of property converted to stabling, which will add 200 more stalls.

Lowe also noted there is currently a shortage of licensed riders to exercise horses during morning training at Grants Pass.

“We're a little short on exercise riders [and] jockeys at this point,” Lowe said. “A lot of them are still at other racetracks, and they're starting to dribble in. But so far we've been able to keep up. They've had to really run from barn from barn to get on enough horses to get everybody out; they're getting by.”

Grants Pass Downs will race Mondays and Tuesdays with a 5:15 p.m. (Pacific) first post.

Shortly after Lowe's update, the open-public commission meeting was “Zoom bombed” by an obscenity-spewing disruptor whose intrusive and lewd comments did not appear to be connected in any way to the racing community. The tele-meeting had to be stopped, and to deny further access to the troll, a private link to continue was emailed to commission participants; this prevented TDN from covering the remainder of the meeting.

The post Encouraging Reversal: All Oregon Fairs Now Expected to Race appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Pletcher Works Derby Quartet at Churchill

Fri, 2021-04-16 14:24

On a busy Friday morning at Churchill Downs, GI Kentucky Derby contenders Bourbonic (Bernardini) (five furlongs, 1:01.60), Dynamic One (Union Rags) (five furlongs, 1:01), Helium (Ironicus) (five furlongs, 1:01.80), Known Agenda (Curlin) (five furlongs, 1:00.40) and Sainthood (Mshawish) (five furlongs, 1:00.40) all recorded published workouts in preparation for the 147th running of the “Run for the Roses” Saturday, May 1.

All five horses worked at 7:30 a.m. and D J Stable's unbeaten GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium was the first of the quintet to work.

“The most important thing about the work is [jockey] Julien [Leparoux] was happy,” said trainer Mark Casse.

Trainer Todd Pletcher arrived two weeks early in Kentucky and was on-site to watch his Derby contenders work Friday morning. Pletcher's first duo of St. Elias Stable's GI Curlin Florida Derby winner Known Agenda and WinStar Farm and CHC Inc's GII Jeff Ruby Steaks runner-up Sainthood worked through fractions of :12.60, :24.40 and :36.40. They galloped out together through six furlongs in 1:13.40.

“Because of the spacing of their last two races, I wanted a more serious work out of them,” Pletcher said. “I thought both horses got over the surface well and that's what was most important about getting them up here early to work over it. All four of these horses have probably been workmates at one point and I paired these two together because of that spacing of their last race.”

The next Pletcher duo to work was Calumet Farm's Bourbonic and Repole Stable, Phipps Stable and St. Elias Stable's Dynamic One. The one-two finishers of the GII Wood Memorial S. began their work together through an opening quarter-mile fraction of :24.40 and half-mile time of :48.60. Dynamic One finished in front of Bourbonic at the wire and continued to gallop out ahead through a six-furlong time of 1:13.20. Bourbonic completed a six-furlong gallop out in 1:14.60.

“I thought it would be good to work both of these horses together after coming out of the same race,” Pletcher said. “I'd say we were definitely surprised at winning the Wood. [Bourbonic] has always trained a little bit light but we always thought that the further the distance, the better it would be for him. He likes to drop back and make one run.”

Medina Spirit Works at Santa Anita…

Medina Spirit (Protonico), second in the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Apr. 5, worked five furlongs in 1:00 (4/43) at Santa Anita Friday.

“He worked five eighths, galloped out strong and looked good,” trainer Bob Baffert said.

Meanwhile, a decision on 'TDN Rising Star' Concert Tour (Street Sense)'s participation in the Kentucky Derby remained on hold. The Gary and Mary West colorbearer, already at Baffert's Churchill base, was a disappointing third as the 3-10 favorite in last Saturday's Arkansas Derby.

“Nothing yet,” said Baffert. “I'll be talking to Gary, but we wanted to give the horse a week and see what's happening. “He looks good but there's no decision yet.”

The post Pletcher Works Derby Quartet at Churchill appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Thistledown to Open with 10% Purse Increases

Fri, 2021-04-16 10:11

After a delayed and somewhat abbreviated 2020 meet due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio's JACK Thistledown Racino will open Monday, Apr. 26, for a full 2021 season with a 10% boost in purses. The 100-day meet will feature cards on a Monday through Thursday schedule with special Saturday cards beginning on Derby day May 1. The highlight of the meet is the 87th edition of the GIII Ohio Derby, which is the only graded event in Ohio. It will be worth $500,000 this year and will be run June 26.

“We are excited to get back to our full slate of racing,” said Thistledown's director of racing, Patrick Ellsworth. “We worked closely with the Ohio State Racing Commission and the Horsemen's group last season to establish safe protocols that allowed us to race a shortened season. Now it's time to look ahead to the 2021 season.”

The Thistledown meet will conclude Oct. 14.

The post Thistledown to Open with 10% Purse Increases appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Canadian Horse of the Year Goes to Mighty Heart

Thu, 2021-04-15 21:00

Dual Canadian Classic winner Mighty Heart (Dramedy), a homebred for Lawrence Cordes, was named Canadian Horse of the Year at the 46th Annual Sovereign Awards ceremony held Thursday evening. It marked the second year in a row Canada's championship awards were held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Trained by Josie Carroll, Mighty Heart began his sophomore campaign in July with a maiden special weight victory at Woodbine, then went on to capture the Sept. 12 Queen's Plate S. and the Sept. 29 Prince of Wales S. The one-eyed fan favorite also earned the champion 3-year-old male honor.

Josie Carroll also trained the winner of the champion 3-year-old female title in Curlin's Voyage (Curlin). Running for the partnership of Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and Windsor Boys Racing, Curlin's Voyage won both the Woodbine Oaks and the Fury S.

Champion older main track male honors went to the Gary Barber and Lucio Tucci runner Skywire (Afleet Alex), who won the GII Autumn S. and the GII Eclipse S. Live Oak homebred Souper Escape (Medaglia d'Oro), winner of both the GIII Seaway S. and the GIII Trillium S., took home the champion older main track female award.

The Sovereign for champion 2-year-old colt was awarded to Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber's Gretzky the Great (Nyquist), winner of the GI Summer S. and Soaring Free S., while champion 2-year-old filly honors went to Charles E. Fipke's homebred Lady Speightspeare (Speightstown), who captured the GI Natalma S.

The title of champion male turf horse went to GI Northern Dancer S. winner Say the Word (More Than Ready), an Agave Racing Stable and Sam-Son Farm colorbearer. Augustin Stables homebred Theodora B. (Ghostzapper), who won the GII Dance Smartly S. and the TVG S., took home the champion female turf award.

Always popular, the 2017 Canadian Horse of the Year Pink Lloyd (Old Forester), who had also previously been named champion male sprinter three times, as well as champion older dirt male and champion older horse, was back to add another championship title to his resume with a fourth consecutive champion male sprinter honor. The Entourage Stable champ added four of his 23 total black-type victories in 2020: the GIII Vigil S., the GIII Jacques Cartier S., the GIII Bold Venture S., and the Shepperton S. Artie's Princess (We Miss Artie), a homebred for Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, captured the GII Bessarabian S., the Ruling Angel S., and the champion female sprinter award.

The final equine award given at the Sovereigns is outstanding broodmare, which went to Danceforthecause (Giant's Causeway). The 10-year-old mare has produced two graded winners from two starters, including Grade I winner Say the Word, whose champion male turf horse award would be announced just moments after Danceforthecause's honor. The mare also produced GII Canadian S. winner Rideforthecause (Candy Ride {Arg}), who finished second by a narrow margin in voting for the evening's champion female turf horse award. Danceforthecause was sold by Sam-Son Farm at the Keeneland January sale to Gainesway Farm for $925,000.

Trainer Mark Casse earned his 12th Sovereign Award for outstanding trainer. His trainees won 93 Canadian races in 2020–17 in stakes events–and earned over $5.3 million. Among his runners were aforementioned champions Gretzky the Great and Skywire. Outstanding jockey went to Rafael Hernandez, whose 129 wins in 2020 contributed to his earnings of over $5.4 million. Among his regular mounts were champions Pink Lloyd and Skywire. The Sovereign for apprentice jockey went to Mauricio Malvaez, whose 16 scores topped all apprentices in Canada for 2020. Among his victories was his first black-type win, which took place in the GIII Canadian Derby aboard Real Grace (Mineshaft).

Live Oak Plantation was named outstanding owner with earnings of over $1.1 million. Among Live Oak's best runners of 2020 was champion Souper Escape. Outstanding breeder honors went to Tall Oaks Farm, which led Canadian breeders in purse earnings with $2.2 million. The outstanding groom award went to champion Pink Lloyd's groom Michelle Gibson. She has been a part of Hall of Fame trainer Robert Tiller's operation for almost 10 years.

As had been previously announced, Sam-Son Farm was honored with a special sovereign award. Outstanding photograph went to Will Wong for his work entitled Mambointheforest, which was published on the Ontario Racing website; outstanding writing was awarded to Chris Lomon for “The Pep-Talking Groom, Willy, and a Queen's Plate Crown,” also published on the Ontario Racing website; and Santino di Paola won the outstanding digital audio/visual and broadcast award for his work called Dear Horse Racing, which was published on YouTube by Woodbine.

The post Canadian Horse of the Year Goes to Mighty Heart appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

American Pharoah’s Maven Wires Keeneland Allowance

Thu, 2021-04-15 17:13

7th-Keeneland, $78,525, Alw, 4-15, (C), 4yo/up, 5 1/2fT, 1:02.60, gd, 2 1/4 lengths.
MAVEN (g, 4, American Pharoah–Richies Party Girl {MSW, $357,085}, by Any Given Saturday) became the first North American winner for his sire on debut over the Aqueduct main track just shy of two years ago and was the last of 22 lots to go through the ring for the boutique Goffs London Sale, but was retained by owner Richard Ravin on a bid of £725,000 (about $912,000) that would otherwise have topped the event. The chestnut rewarded that confidence with a victory in the G3 Prix du Bois at Chantilly, but he was only 10th in the G3 Molecomb S. the next month and was returned stateside. The front-running winner of a course-and-distance allowance first off a 342-day absence last July, Maven was a disappointing sixth in Saratoga's Mahony S. Aug. 27 and was 11th of 12 in the GIII Franklin Stamps S. at Kentucky Downs Sept. 16 before going missing. Returning here as a first-time gelding, Maven shot out of the stalls beneath John Velazquez while chased by 'TDN Rising Star' Boldor (Munnings). Maven looked vulnerable passing the eighth pole, but he finally switched his leads and he kept on well thereafter to secure a 2 1/4-length success as the 5-2 favorite. Maven is the only foal from a treble stakes-winning daughter of GSW Very Special Lite (Majestic Light), also the dam of GSW Strategic Partner (Kris S.), GSP Victory Light (Victory Gallop) and the dam of SW/GISP Light the City (Street Sense). Sales history: £725,000 RNA 2yo '19 GOFLON. Lifetime Record: GSW-Fr, 7-4-0-0, $200,338. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O-Richard Ravin; B/T-Wesley Ward (KY).

The post American Pharoah’s Maven Wires Keeneland Allowance appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Laurel Weekend Cards Cancelled Due to Ongoing Track Issues, Racing Will Move to Pimlico

Thu, 2021-04-15 16:36

Live racing will be cancelled from Saturday, Apr. 17 through Monday, Apr. 19 at Laurel Park due to the ongoing evaluation of the main track surface conditions, the Maryland Jockey Club and 1/ST RACING announced Thursday. As part of regular track maintenance, the MJC identified Apr. 14 that the main track had not responded sufficiently to wintertime cushion repairs. Gallops will be allowed during an abbreviated training schedule Friday, Apr. 16.

Due to the uncertainty of the timeline to rehabilitate the main track surface cushion at Laurel Park, 1/ST RACING and the MJC submitted an application to the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to move live racing to Pimlico Race Course, effective Apr. 22 on an emergency basis. The application has been granted and live racing will be moved to Pimlico Race Course until further notice.

Dr. Mick Peterson from the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory (RSTL) along with 1/ST RACING's Senior Track Superintendent and MJC's Chris Bosley have been working together to assess the cushion replacement options using RSTL approved materials and to identify a project timeline.

“We understand that the timing of this Laurel Park main track maintenance is not ideal for our horsemen, but the safety of the horses and our riders must be our top priority,” said Aidan Butler, Chief Operating Officer, 1/ST RACING. “We have full confidence that Dr. Mick Peterson, Dennis Moore and Chris Bosley will manage this project quickly and will deliver a rehabilitated main track surface cushion that will offer superior training and racing to the benefit of Maryland horsemen for years to come.”

The post Laurel Weekend Cards Cancelled Due to Ongoing Track Issues, Racing Will Move to Pimlico appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Violence Colt Swiftest at OBS Thursday

Thu, 2021-04-15 15:21

A colt by Violence (hip 641) became the seventh horse of the week to work in under :10 seconds when he secured the furlong bullet time of :9 4/5 during Thursday's fourth session of the under-tack show ahead of next week's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. The bay colt is consigned to the Spring sale by Raul Reyes's King's Equine as agent for his breeder, Aaron and Marie Jones LLC.

The colt will be making his second trip through the sales ring next week in Ocala after RNA'ing for $27,000 at last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

“We weren't getting enough for him as a yearling, we didn't think,” explained the Jones's longtime advisor Frank Taylor. “So Mrs. Jones decided to take him to the 2-year-old sale.”

Taylor continued, “Mrs. Jones usually has about 10 foals a year and usually there is one or two that we don't get enough for and we'll send to Raul to get ready for the 2-year-old sales.”

The colt is out of C'Mon Sister (Successful Appeal), who is a half-sister to multiple Grade I winner Iotapa (Afleet Alex).

“He's a very scopey, two-turn looking horse,” Taylor said. “He's from a heck of a family, there are a lot of good horses in that family.”

Of the colt's bullet breeze, Taylor said, “He's been training great all winter and Raul thought he was going to do really good. So we weren't overly surprised, but :9 4/5 is awful good. He had an amazing breeze. We are obviously very happy it and now we're hoping to have some luck in the ring. Hopefully he'll continue on to be a top horse.”

A colt by Pioneerof the Nile (hip 786) turned in Thursday's fastest quarter-mile breeze, covering the distance in :20 4/5 for consignor Eddie Woods. The dark bay colt is out of Fancy Day (Ire) (Shamardal), who is a daughter of graded winner Tizdubai (Cee's Tizzy). Tizdubai is a full-sister to champion Tiznow.

Bred by WinStar Farm, the juvenile RNA'd for $145,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

The under-tack show continues through Saturday, with each session beginning at 8 a.m. The Spring sale will be held next Tuesday through Friday and bidding begins each day at 10:30 a.m.

The post Violence Colt Swiftest at OBS Thursday appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Midshipman Firster Gives Ward Another at Keeneland

Thu, 2021-04-15 13:44

1st-Keeneland, $59,286, Msw, 4-15, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f, :51.84, gd, 8 3/4 lengths.
AVERLY JANE (f, 2, Midshipman–Sh Sh Shakin', by Richter Scale) gave her trainer a third juvenile winner in as many days at Keeneland, rolling home to score as much the best in the Thursday opener. Sent along to vie for the lead from between rivals, the half-sister to Chattel (Giant Oak), SW, $111,540, ultimately settled outside of pacesetting Royal County through an opening quarter in a quick :21.68. She wrested command from that one in upper stretch, pinched an imposing break and was taken in hand for the final 80 yards, winning by 8 3/4 lengths as the 3-2 chalk. Chi Town Lady (Verrazano) and Nakatomi (Firing Line) won the baby maidens Sunday and Wednesday, respectively. Averly Jane's third dam includes English SW & MGSP Elrafa Ah (Storm Cat), the dam of champion and G1 Dewhurst S. winner Mujahid (Danzig). Sh Sh Shakin is the dam of a yearling colt by Brody's Cause. Sales history: $35,000 Ylg '20 FTKOCT. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $36,000. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O-Hat Creek Racing; B-University of Kentucky (KY); T-Wesley A Ward.

The post Midshipman Firster Gives Ward Another at Keeneland appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Steve Asmussen Talks ‘Family Horse’ Super Stock On Writers’ Room

Wed, 2021-04-14 18:32

One of the few major races left to win for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen is the most significant prize in racing, so a win in this year's GI Kentucky Derby would satisfy an ultimate career goal. But if he were to do it with Saturday's GI Arkansas Derby victor Super Stock (Dialed In), a horse with the Asmussen family's fingerprints all over him, it would represent the sentimental success of a lifetime. Wednesday, Asmussen joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland to discuss Super Stock, the permanent chip on his shoulder, who he would pick between some of his legendary trainees head to head and more.

Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Asmussen talked about his emotional connection to Super Stock, who is co-owned by his father and was ridden to victory by his oldest son for his first stakes win last summer.

“We've been very fortunate in racing, had many successes, but a circumstance in which you can leg your son up on a stakes winner for your parents is quite unique, to say the least, and is a very special experience,” he said. “I have so many emotions about it. You imagine having that kind of success going into a race, but I did not realize what it actually meant, and the outpouring of love, respect and support since the [Arkansas Derby] for my parents and who they are has been the best part for me. This is my mom and dad's story. They supported us unwaveringly and put me and Cash in the positions we've been in to have success in this business. They're both 79 years old and unique circumstances allowed them to keep this horse. Dad has had Grade I winners in the past, he's just sold them all. That probably would have happened with this horse as well if not for the pandemic. It's brought mom and dad to the forefront and gotten them the respect and admiration that I know they deserve.”

Asked how it would change his life to win a Derby after coming up empty with his first 21 starters, Asmussen said, “I don't know yet, but I'd hate to lose this chip on my shoulder, lose the edge. The next horse that you run is the most important horse. Our motto around here is, 'Everything matters or nothing matters.' So don't lose that chip. We've got to keep it in front of us. We get tremendous opportunities and we respect them and want to make the most of them. Whenever Super Stock won, it was meant to be, so that's what we're looking for going into the Derby. It'll happen, if it's meant to be.”

Elsewhere on the show, the writers reacted to the weekend's big races and handicapped all five participants' chances to win the Writers' Room Derby Chase fantasy 3-year-old contest. In the West Point Thoroughbreds news segment, they lamented yet another slap-on-the-wrist fine for a trainer with a drug positive and lauded Indiana Grand's decision to broadcast video explanations for all of its steward decisions. And, in welcoming new sponsor the Minnesota Racehorse Engagement Project, they talked about TDN's most-read story of the week, which featured trainer Joe Orseno railing against the Lasix ban in stakes races. Click here to watch the podcast; click here for the audio-only version.

The post Steve Asmussen Talks ‘Family Horse’ Super Stock On Writers’ Room appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Cupid Filly Earns OBS Bullet Wednesday

Wed, 2021-04-14 17:27

The under-tack show ahead of next week's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training reached its halfway point with its third session Wednesday and a filly by Cupid (hip 576) became the second juvenile of the week to work a quarter-mile in :20 2/5. Out of Callipepla (Yes It's True), the bay filly is consigned by Jenn and Quincy Adams's Q Bar J Thoroughbreds.

“That was a 'wow' work,” Quincy Adams said Wednesday afternoon. “She galloped out strong. She's so classy. She is just a princess. She walked back to the barn like an older horse. She's a cool horse.”

Q Bar J purchased the filly for $42,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic October Yearling Sale.

“She was just big and scopey and had muscle like she was going to be fast, but also looks like she could get two turns,” Adams said. “She's filled out in all the right places. She has that big hip that everybody likes–that big motor–and she's got a real big slinky walk. She has some scope to her and she's got some size.”

The filly is from the first crop of GI Gold Cup at Santa Anita winner Cupid (Tapit).

“We've had three Cupids and we really liked all of them,” Adams said. “They've all been kind of different, but the biggest thing that I've seen is that they all have good minds.”

A filly (hip 317) by another Coolmore first-crop sire, champion Classic Empire, worked the bullet quarter-mile of :20 2/5 during Tuesday's second session of the six-day under-tack show.

Twenty-eight juveniles shared Wednesday's fastest furlong time of :10 flat. Three were from Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables consignment, which sent out one of three juveniles by Juddmonte's late champion Arrogate to share the day's fastest furlong.

Hip 490, a gray colt by Arrogate (Unbridled's Song), turned in his :10 flat breeze just minutes into the day's session. Out of Ask the Question (Silver Deputy), he is a half-brother to multiple Grade I winner Heart to Heart (English Channel) and was purchased by Dunne for $155,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale on behalf of the pinhooking partnership responsible for last year's highest-priced colt, a $1.25-million son of Quality Road.

“He's been one of our talking horses all year,” Dunne said. “He's just a beautiful horse. He's got the best of both worlds. He's got the stretch and length of an Unbridled's Song and he's got the power of a Silver Deputy. He's a really nice colt.”

Wavertree also sent out a filly by Curlin (hip 594) to work in :10 flat Wednesday. Out of the unraced Catch the Flag (A.P. Indy), a full-sister to Canadian champion Catch the Thrill, the juvenile was purchased privately after RNA'ing for $120,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearling Showcase.

“The Curlin is a beauty,” Dunne said. “She is as pretty as a picture, a medium-sized filly with a ton of class. She has always worked well and we weren't surprised when she showed up to work today.”

Rounding out the trio of Wavertree's :10 flat workers was hip 530, a son of Runhappy out of Bible Belt (Pulpit). The dark bay colt is a half-brother to graded placed Hardworkcleanlivin (Colonel John). He was purchased by Columbia Bloodstock for $250,000 as a weanling at the 2019 Keeneland November sale before RNA'ing for $120,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

“The Runhappy was an expensive foal who went into a yearling sale when Runhappy was not the flavor of the month, shall we say. So they called an audible and figured they would give him more time,” Dunne said. “He was an expensive foal and when you look at him, you can see why.”

Wavertree had one of six juveniles to work in :9 4/5 Tuesday, when hip 253 shared the week's fastest furlong so far. Bred by Brenda and Philip Robertson, the son of Cairo Prince RNA'd for $35,000 at Keeneland last September.

“He's a really cool horse,” Dunne said. “Philip Robertson owns him and he really liked him as a yearling. He drew one of the later books at Keeneland and he wasn't willing to give him away. He figured he would take a shot down here and it looks like he might have been right.”

The majority of Wavertree's OBS March consignment worked quarter-miles at the under-tack show ahead of last month's sale, but an increasing emphasis on gallop-out times prompted Dunne to limit his April consignment to furlong works.

“Regardless of how far a horse works, they want to clock them galloping out from the wire to the five-eighths pole, which is an extra three-eighths of a mile,” Dunne explained. “They just do the gallop-outs by how fast they went, not by how far they went. The horses who go eighths obviously gallop out a better three-eighths than the horses who went a quarter. We had some horses that I thought worked really, really well in March going quarters and they wanted to come back and knock them for how they galloped out. Whereas if they had gone eighths, that wouldn't have been an issue. To my mind, there is no advantage to going a quarter anymore. It's all become too much about what they do after the wire as opposed to what they do to the wire. So that was our reasoning to backing them up.”

In addition to hip 490, Arrogate also had a pair of fillies share Wednesday's furlong bullet. Hip 463, a daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Amen Hallelujah (Montbrook), was purchased for $150,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale by Nice Guys Stables and worked in :10 flat for Mayberry Farm.

Also working in :10 flat, hip 486 is a daughter of multiple Grade I winner Artemis Agrotera (Roman Ruler) who is consigned by Sequel Bloodstock on behalf of Chester and Mary Broman. Her half-brother Chestertown (Tapit) topped the 2019 OBS March sale when selling for $2 million.

Also working in :10 flat Wednesday were:

Hip 423, a colt by Outwork (video) consigned by All Dreams Equine; Hip 435, a filly by Practical Joke (video) consigned by Eisaman Equine; Hip 446, a colt by Tapiture (video) consigned by Grassroots Training & Sales; Hip 470, a filly by Klimt (video) consigned by Top Line Sales; Hip 477, a colt by Shaman Ghost (video) consigned by AVP Training and Sales; Hip 478, a colt by Wildcat Red (video) consigned by Coastal Equine; Hip 487, a filly by Maclean's Music (video) consigned by Dynasty Thoroughbreds; Hip 488, a filly by Secret Circle (video) consigned by Top Line Sales; Hip 496, a filly by Tapiture (video) consigned by Top Line Sales; Hip 512, a filly by Maclean's Music (video) consigned by Paul Sharp; Hip 526, a colt by Connect (video) consigned by Eddie Woods; Hip 537, a filly by Cairo Prince (ld   HYPERLINK “” video) consigned by Craig L. Wheeler; Hip 546, a colt by Gormley (video) consigned by GOP Racing; Hip 549, a colt by Liam's Map (video) consigned by Scanlon Training & Sales; Hip 550, a filly by Twirling Candy (video) consigned by Old South Farm; Hip 566, a filly by Nyquist (video) consigned by Lucan Bloodstock; Hip 572, a colt by Klimt (video) consigned by Centofanti Thoroughbreds; Hip 575, a colt by Violence (video) consigned by S G V Thoroughbreds; Hip 584, a colt by Street Boss (video) consigned by Coastal Equine; Hip 591, a filly by Practical Joke (video) consigned by Two Oaks Equine; Hip 593, a filly by Upstart (video) consigned by Paul Sharp; Hip 601, a filly by Munnings (video) consigned by Mayberry Farm; and Hip 608, a colt by Gormley (video) consigned by Grassroots Training & Sales.

The under-tack show continues through Saturday with sessions beginning each day at 8 a.m. The Spring sale will be held next Tuesday through Friday with bidding commencing at 10:30 a.m.

The post Cupid Filly Earns OBS Bullet Wednesday appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Derby and Oaks Works Open to Public

Wed, 2021-04-14 16:54

Between Saturday, Apr. 17 and Wednesday, Apr. 28, Churchill Downs will be open free-of-charge daily from 7-10 a.m. for fans to watch the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks contenders work.

Horses train on Churchill Downs' main track daily from 5:15-10 a.m. Beginning Saturday, April 17, there will be an exclusive training window only for Derby and Oaks participants from 7:30-7:45 a.m. following the 7-7:30 a.m. renovation break. Those horses will be identified by special saddle towels which include their names:  yellow saddle towels for Derby horses and pink saddle towels for Oaks contenders.

Churchill Downs will livestream the Kentucky Derby Morning Works presented by across its social media channels starting Monday, Apr. 19. Video also will be broadcast on Churchill Downs' Big Board.

Face coverings are required and guests must practice social distancing. Guests may bring in their own food and beverage during the morning workouts from Apr. 14-23. Food and beverage may not be brought into the facility between Apr. 24 and Apr. 28 because of Kentucky Derby Week security protocols, but Churchill Downs' new Paddock Grill will be open during that period to offer breakfast items for purchase.

The post Derby and Oaks Works Open to Public appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Cuomo Announces Fans Can Return to New York Tracks April 22

Wed, 2021-04-14 16:45

In a surprising development, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that fans may return to the state's racetracks starting Apr. 22. Attendance will be capped at 20% capacity.

A few hours after Cuomo's announcement, NYRA officials were still considering their options and would not commit to allowing fans to attend as soon as Apr. 22.

“The New York Racing Association, Inc. looks forward to welcoming fans back to Belmont Park this spring and to Saratoga Race Course this summer,” NYRA President and CEO Dave O'Rourke. “We thank Governor Cuomo for the opportunity to host fans at our historic tracks for the first time since the start of the pandemic. We will announce ticketing options for fans once we further review the guidelines and protocols set forth for thoroughbred tracks in New York state.  NYRA has dearly missed the passion and excitement that fans bring to the sport of thoroughbred racing. Today's announcement by the Governor is one more indication that we are collectively moving toward a return to normalcy.”

Belmont is scheduled to open for its spring meet Apr. 22.

NYRA spokesman Pat McKenna said that it was premature to predict how many fans will be allowed to attend the GI Belmont S. card and the Saratoga races.

“As the rate of vaccination continues to increase across New York State, we are optimistic that capacity restrictions will continue to ease in the coming months in advance of the Belmont Stakes and the 2021 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course,” he said. “We miss our fans dearly, and look forward to seeing them soon back where they belong.”

NYRA has not been allowed to have on-track fans since March 2020, when the pandemic started to shut down the entire country.

It remains to be seen how many fans will be allowed at each facility under the 20% guideline. The release from Cuomo's office reads, “Spectators will be subject to the State's strict guidance, which is currently in effect for other professional sports competitions with fans. Attendees must show proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccination series prior to entry and are subject to the State's health and safety protocols on face coverings, social distancing, and health screening.”

Cuomo appeared at Belmont Wednesday to do a press briefing, but never mentioned the decision to allow fans back on track. He did take the opportunity to commend the New York racing community for its response to a barn fire Monday in which all but two horses were rescued.

“Due to really extraordinary effort by first responders, the fire department and the staff here at NYRA. Fifty-eight horses were saved,” he said. “Two horses perished, but they did a really outstanding job.”

The post Cuomo Announces Fans Can Return to New York Tracks April 22 appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Trainer Charles LoPresti Retires

Wed, 2021-04-14 16:38

Trainer Charlie LoPresti, who conditioned Morton Fink's Wise Dan (Wiseman's Ferry) to victories in the GI Breeders' Cup Mile and Horse of the Year titles in 2012 and 2013, told Daily Racing Form that he is retired from training.

A New York native, LoPresti began training horses in 1993 and fully 16 years later wa s represented by his first winner at the graded level when Successful Dan (Successful Appeal), a Fink-owned and -bred son of Lisa Danielle (Wolf Power {SAf}) won the GIII Northern Dancer S. His half-brother Wise Dan had his graded-stakes breakthrough in Keeneland's GIII Phoenix S. in 2010 and would go on to become the defining horse of his 27-year career. Having won the Phoenix on the Polytrack, Wise Dan belied odds of 14-1 to win the GII Firecracker H. when making his turf debut in 2011. Highlighting his versatility, he added the GI Clark H. over the Churchill main track to conclude his 4-year-old campaign.

The best was yet to come for Wise Dan, who won the GI Woodbine Mile, GI Shadwell Turf Mile and Breeders' Cup Mile for the first of his two Horse of the Year titles in 2012. He retained his brilliance at the age of six, winning the GI Turf Classic over nine furlongs before successfully defending his title in the Woodbine Mile and Breeders' Cup Mile. He was denied a perfect season when runner-up in the off-turf Shadwell. Wise Dan was a perfect four-for-four at age seven in 2014, winning the Shadwell for the second time, but he missed a three-peat attempt at the Breeders' Cup Mile and was retired with 23 wins from 31 runs and earnings of $7.5 million.

Other graded winners trained by LoPresti included GISWs Turallure (Wando) and Here Comes Ben (Street Cry {Ire}).

LoPresti saddled his final runner last October and retires with 310 winners from 2,205 starters and stable earnings of better than $20 million.

The post Trainer Charles LoPresti Retires appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Arrest Made in Bourbon County Animal Cruelty Case

Wed, 2021-04-14 16:33

Xavier McGrapth, who is the operator of McGrapth Breaking and Training and Whispering Creek Thoroughbreds, was arrested Tuesday by the Bourbon County Sheriff's office, it was announced Wednesday.

The sheriff's office released a brief statement Wednesday, which read “On the afternoon of April 13, 2021, Xavier McGrapth who is a suspect in an active investigation involving Equine in Bourbon County came into the Bourbon Sheriff's Office for an interview. Upon conclusion of the interview McGrapth was arrested on an active warrant that was tied to the same case. The Bourbon County Sheriff's Office and the Bourbon County Attorney's Office are working closely together to bring this case to a close. At this time, all horses involved have been removed from the Farm and have been relocated to facilities to best suit the care they need.”

Earlier, McGrapth was charged with 13 counts of animal cruelty in the second degree. It appeared that he had been starving some of the horses under his care, and that at least two of them died.

“I'm relieved in that we've made some progress with Xavier turning himself in,” said Amanda Scarsella, who had sent six horses to McGrapth. “With the news that he has formally been charged and taken into custody, I'm hopeful we can move forward and see some justice served. This is only the beginning. What needs to happen is we all need to use this as a teaching point and as a learning point to change laws. We don't want to see this happen again.”

Five of the horses she had with McGrapth have returned to Scarsella's upstate New York farm. She fears that a sixth horse, a broodmare named Fresh Face (Uncle Mo), may be one of the two dead horses, neither of which have been identified.

“This has been bittersweet,” she said. “We are so glad that they are alive and are home, but it's been pretty gutting to see them this way. My colts are sleeping a monstrous amount of time because they are just so wreak and so tired.”

McGrapth had been advertising his services on Facebook under the names of McGrapth Breaking and Training and Whisper Creek Thoroughbreds. He posted that he was available to break and train young horses and board broodmares. McGrapth had the horses on a section of a farm he leased from longtime Central Kentucky horsemen Steve Johnson. Johnson has said that he did not know that McGrapth was mistreating any of his horses.

The case came to the attention of the Bourbon County Sheriff's office when Alyssa Evans, a client of McGrapth's, came to the farm to check on one of her horses. While there, she saw two dead horses laying in a paddock and alerted the sheriff's office. The sheriff's office began its investigation shortly after receiving Evans' call and first inspected the farm on March 19. The sheriff's office then called on a local veterinarian, Dr. Zach Logan, who inspected 23 horses and reported that 11 were malnourished or severely malnourished and that two others were dead.

The post Arrest Made in Bourbon County Animal Cruelty Case appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Importance of Traceability Highlighted at IFAR Conference

Wed, 2021-04-14 14:16

The International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) continued its 2021 virtual series Tuesday with presentations on aftercare perspectives from racing administrators and regulators representing Australia, New Zealand, the U.K.. and the U.S. This session is the second in a series of four webinars that comprise the 2021 IFAR Conference.

Tuesday's session was moderated by Australia-based broadcaster Caroline Searcy, and the panelist group consisted of Aidan Butler, chief operating officer, 1/ST Racing and president, 1/ST Content (U.S.); Martin Burns, general manager, Welfare & Sustainability, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing; Simon Cooper, director, Weatherbys, General Stud Book (U.K.); and Dr. Anna Smet, animal welfare manager, Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA).

All four speakers discussed the traceability measures that their organizations use or have developed to keep track of racehorses throughout their lives. Additionally, they suggested that having a dedicated individual or resource to contact through an administrative or regulatory body was an instrumental part of driving change toward prioritizing aftercare.

Butler talked about the efforts of 1/ST Racing to track horses at their racing facilities and to coordinate with accredited aftercare organizations to place horses that need homes.

Burns discussed the aftercare landscape in New Zealand and the increased investment in traceability measures in that jurisdiction, where the “culture of compliance” on the importance of submitting this data is developing. He also emphasized how effective aftercare practices, including stories of post-racing successes, are part of the strategy of repelling anti-racing sentiment.

Cooper lauded the benefits of the Weatherbys e-passport over paper documentation, which he described as the key barrier to effective traceability. The digital passport enables immediate documentation of major events in a horse's life, from an owner change and traveling to notification of retirement and vaccinations. Cooper believes that documentation of these events in a horse's life should be mandatory and be submitted to a horse's records within a certain time frame of their occurrence.

Smet described the racehorse welfare plan established by RWWA in 2019, which has resulted in the creation of the Off-the-Track WA Retraining Program and a digital passport to track horses. The goal of the retraining program is to complement established pathways for rehoming post-racing and to provide an alternate option for horses that are not selected by retrainers or sold/gifted easily, such as those in remote locations.

The third session of the 2021 IFAR is scheduled for Apr. 20 and titled, “Global Insights on Aftercare (Aftercare Providers, Equine Charities).”

The post Importance of Traceability Highlighted at IFAR Conference appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Hidden Stash Works for Derby

Wed, 2021-04-14 13:06

BBN Racing's Hidden Stash (Constitution) began preparations for a likely start in the GI Kentucky Derby by working a bullet half-mile in :47.80 Wednesday morning at Keeneland shortly after the track opened for training at 5:30 a.m. The work was the fastest of 23 at the distance for the morning.

A well-beaten fourth in Keeneland's GII Toyota Blue Grass S., the GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby runner-up currently ranks 21st on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. A few horses ahead of Hidden Stash are considered not likely to enter.

“I thought he worked really well and we beat the rain,” trainer Vicki Oliver said. “I was going to work Thursday, Friday or Saturday. I was watching the weather and I wanted to get a decent work in, so we went this morning.”

The post Hidden Stash Works for Derby appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Fourth Purse Increase for Tampa at this Meet

Wed, 2021-04-14 11:10

Beginning with Wednesday's card, Tampa Bay Downs will increase purses by 10% due to continued gains in simulcast revenue. It marks the fourth time purses have been upped during the 2020-21 meeting, which opened Nov. 25 and will continue to May 2, with previous boosts occurring Dec. 16, Feb. 3, and Feb. 20.

“The latest increase is a tribute to our horsemen who strive to deliver a quality product, the racing office for its efforts to provide competitive racing with full fields, and fans around the country who continue to flock to our signal,” said Peter Berube, Tampa Bay's vice president and general manager.

According to the Oldsmar track, purses for each race will increase by $3,000 from their previous levels. Maiden special weights have been raised to $29,000, which includes $1,000 per race from the Florida Owners' Awards program.

The post Fourth Purse Increase for Tampa at this Meet appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Potts Identifies Horses Who Perished in Belmont Fire

Tue, 2021-04-13 20:19

The morning after a fire in barn 60 at Belmont Park which claimed the lives of two of his horses, trainer Wayne Potts made an emotional post on Facebook identifying the two horses as graded stakes winner American Sailor (City Zip) and Beastie D (Verrazano) an unraced 3-year-old who was a $15,000 OBS Winter Mixed Sale purchase earlier this year.

The 9-year-old American Sailor won the GIII Troy S. at Saratoga, crossing the line second, but moved up to first upon the disqualification of Imprimis (Broken Vow).

“I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who assisted in removing my horses from the fire this evening,” posted Potts at 1 a.m. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to every single one of you that put yourselves at risk to make sure 58 horses are able to see another day. The actions of so many this evening proved that this industry is a family with a fierce love of the horse that triumphs over anything else.

“I am heartbroken to say that Beastie D and American Sailor were both unable to be saved and perished. Beastie D, a 3yo Verrazano colt was a recent purchase from the Sale in Ocala. While we didn't have him long, his presence was felt as he was an individual with an abundance of class and potential.

“American Sailor was a part of my family and took my operation to a new level. We were preparing for a 9yo campaign and he had been training fantastic. This was a horse that owed me absolutely nothing. He was the pride and joy of my stable and was the horse that took me places in my career that I had only ever dreamed of going. Sailor was so loved by everyone that worked with and around him. He was one of the sweetest horses to be around in the stall, but when he stepped foot on the track–he was nothing but business. He was family.

I want to also express my condolences to my owners Dan Eubanks and Raj and Vedhya Jagnanan who love their horses dearly & to my staff who go above and beyond day in and day out to make sure our horses receive the best care. Thank you again to everyone who has reached out. It is much appreciated. #BELMONTSTRONG.”

The New York Racing Association issued a press release Tuesday night saying that they had “responded to an active fire affecting Barn 60 at Belmont Park. NYRA security was joined by backstretch staff in rendering immediate assistance to the horses stabled in the barn at the time of the incident.”

“The fire was restricted to Barn 60 which holds stalls for horses under the care of trainers Wayne Potts and Jeffrey Englehart. A total of 58 horses were safely evacuated from the barn as a result of the immediate response by NYRA security, backstretch staff and the Elmont Fire Department. Despite the best efforts of those involved in the rescue, two horses under the care of Wayne Potts perished as result of the fire. There were no reported injuries to barn staff or NYRA employees.”

According to the public information officer for the Nassau County Police Department, crews from both Elmont, N.Y., the town in which Belmont sits, and nearby Valley Stream, N.Y. responded to the scene.

“The tragic loss of both horses will be deeply felt by the hard working women and men of the New York racing community, who dedicate themselves to the sport and to the care of these equine athletes,” said Dave O'Rourke, NYRA President & CEO. “That collective dedication and sense of community was on display this evening, when the heroic and selfless response of so many prevented further loss and saved the lives of dozens of horses.”

The press release from NYRA said that firefighters “responded within minutes to extinguish the fire and secure the scene. The New York State Fire Marshal and officials from Nassau County are investigating the cause of the fire, which was not immediately apparent.”

Reports of the fire began to circulate on Twitter shortly after 6 p.m., with several mentioning loose horses.

Reports of the fire began to circulate on Twitter shortly after 6 p.m., with several mentioning loose horses.

Trainer Robert Falcone, Jr. was one of the first on the scene after noticing the smoke on his way to the track kitchen and quickly gathered a group of horsemen to help evacuate the horses from the smoke-filled barn. He also posted a request for help on Facebook.

“I knew something wasn't right, so I ran back to our barn and yelled to my team to grab shanks and halters and hurry up,” said Falcone, Jr. “I thought I'd post it and that someone from the backside is bound to see it and once one person sees it, they'll start calling people.”

Falcone described the hectic scene as the racing community jumped in without hesitation to save as many horses as possible.

“It was really smoky in there,” he said. “We were trying to get through a shedrow full of smoke and get into stalls of horses and you can't see into the stalls. At the same time, there were horses without halters running down the shedrow that you can't see. As you're running in and out, as soon as someone yells, 'loose horse,' you have to get against the wall because you don't know where he's coming from.”

He continued, “As soon as we took the horses out, someone would take them from us and get them to a safe spot. Then we would go back in and get more and come back out again. We started using the cross bar [stall guard] when we ran out of shanks to run back in and keep getting them out.”

Falcone was also in the stall with Potts attempting to save American Sailor, who was one of the two horses lost in the blaze.

“I feel so bad for the horses that died. I was in the stall with Wayne for American Sailor,” said Falcone. “Wayne was standing next to me and the horse was somewhere in the stall and you couldn't even see each other. We were trying to get the horse out but it was impossible to see and communicate. We just had to get out of there. You can only stay in there for so long in all that before you're going to pass out. I feel so bad we couldn't get him out.”

Horsemen continued to show up as the word spread to assist with catching and relocating the many horses running free on the backside. Trainer Brad Cox's assistant Dustin Duggas was among those who jumped to action, welcoming 21 of the horses into his barn. The others were moved to various barns with empty stalls.

“Dustin had 21 empty stalls on his side, so we started counting up horses and sending them over,” said Falcone. “It was pretty quick how fast we organized everything in that time frame and in those circumstances. There's not many of us making a great living doing this. We do it for the horses and even when they're not horses in your barn, when something happens everyone bands together so quickly. It's not even a thought process, it's just somebody needs help and go. We're all here for one reason and it's because we love the horses.”

Wednesday morning, NYRA sent a text to horsemen to ensure they had accounted for all of the horses dispersed around the backside.  The text reads, “Attention Horsemen: Please do a head count of the horses in your barn. If there is a horse or horses in your barn that do no belong to you please contact the safety Steward or stall office.” NYRA's Director of Communications Patrick McKenna said the message was just a “double-check.”

Tuesday night, trainer Raymond Handal Tweeted, “Tragic day. Barn fire out. The horses have been relocated and everyone seems to be situated, hay, water, and feed tubs set for surviving group. The entire racing community came together with a force to help. So sad and heartbroken for the ones that didn't make it.”

Just before 8 p.m. Tuesday night, Kantarmaci Tweeted a video of himself in a barn in front of a horse's stall and said, “Sierra doesn't want me to leave him alone after fire at Belmont Park Race Track.”

The post Potts Identifies Horses Who Perished in Belmont Fire appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.