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Mohawk: Another Gold Series victory for Kadabra Queen

Daily Racing Form - Sat, 2018-08-18 19:59
<p>Mohawk Racetrack hosted the 2-year-old trotting colts and fillies on Friday evening, and the novices put on an impressive show in a trio of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series divisions.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p>

OBS October Yearling Sale Supplements Now Online

Blood-Horse - 1 hour 6 min ago
The supplemental catalog to the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2017 October yearling sale is now available on the company's website at

Regulations on Pari-Mutuel Withholding Adopted by IRS

Blood-Horse - 1 hour 6 min ago
The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced Sept. 25 that they will formally adopt modernized regulations regarding the withholding and reporting of pari-mutuel proceeds.

New York Clocker Suspended at Least 10 Years

Blood-Horse - 1 hour 6 min ago
State regulators in New York revoked the license to work in the racing industry of a former head clocker at the New York Racing Association for his role in an alleged conspiracy involving electronic trespassing of internal NYRA records.

Sporting Chance Sidelined with Knee Chip

Blood-Horse - 1 hour 6 min ago
Grade 1 winner Sporting Chance is out for the year after having a chip removed from a knee

Coal Front Suffered Condylar Fracture in Gallant Bob

Blood-Horse - 1 hour 6 min ago
Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners' Coal Front won the Gallant Bob Stakes (G3) by a half-length Sept. 23 at Parx Racing, but trainer Todd Pletcher said the victory in the six-furlong race on Pennsylvania Derby Day included a setback.

Bull Market for Yearlings in 2017

Blood-Horse - 1 hour 6 min ago
Now that Keeneland's marathon September yearling sale is complete, a clear trend has emerged showing cumulative higher gross, average, and median prices and declines in total offered and sold.

Mohawk: Filion sweeps Ontario Sires Stakes events as part of a five-win night

Daily Racing Form - Mon, 2017-09-25 23:12
<p>The temperature wasn&rsquo;t the only thing that was hot Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack, as driver Sylvain Filion had a big night at the office.</p> <p>The veteran picked up five victories on the 10-race card, including scoring victories in both Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings.</p> <p>Filion&rsquo;s first victory came in the $94,800 opening OSS Gold split with heavy favorite R First Class. The Ben Baillargeon trainee won by 3 1/2 lengths in a sharp 1:53 2/5.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p>

Efforts mobilizing to help horses in Puerto Rico in wake of Maria

Daily Racing Form - Mon, 2017-09-25 19:34
<p>Equine organizations within the U.S. are attempting to organize relief efforts in the Caribbean for horses in need of care following the arrival last week of Hurricane Maria, which had especially devastating effects on Puerto Rico and its main racetrack, Camarero.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p>

Efforts moblizing to help horses in Puerto Rico in wake of Maria

Daily Racing Form - Mon, 2017-09-25 19:34
<p>Equine organizations within the U.S. are attempting to organize relief efforts in the Caribbean for horses in need of care following the arrival last week of Hurricane Maria, which had especially devastating effects on Puerto Rico and its main racetrack, Camarero.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p>

Legal Landscape Shifting Around Bedrock Rules

Thoroughbred Daily News - Mon, 2017-09-25 18:49

The Week in Review

From a legal standpoint, these are interesting times in the Thoroughbred industry, particularly if you lean toward the “question authority” mindset.

Racing’s “absolute insurer” rule, which places the ultimate responsibility for anything having to do with the care of a Thoroughbred squarely on the shoulders of its licensed trainer, was declared unconstitutional last month by a circuit court judge in Kentucky because its rigidity deprives trainers who are accused of improper equine treatment of their due process rights.

The decision is currently being appealed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and even though the ruling does not directly affect absolute insurer regulations in other states, the final outcome is being watched closely because that long-accepted trainer responsibility standard forms the basis for anti-doping and medication control rules in most United States jurisdictions. More challenges in other states could be in the pipeline.

Next month, the United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case from New Jersey challenging the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 {PASPA), which is the backbone for the nationwide prohibition on sports betting in all but four grandfathered states (Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware).

A ruling on the PASPA case could be expected a few months later. But as a pre-emptive strike in case some sort of federal action nullifies the near-nationwide ban on sports betting, this past Wednesday a Kentucky state senator filed a bill to establish a framework to allow sports wagering at any horse track or off-track wagering facility in the commonwealth.

Without such a regulatory framework in place, sports betting might become legal at the federal level anyway, depriving Kentucky (and its racing industry) of a slice of the revenue stream while simultaneously providing daunting competition to pari-mutuel horse betting.

Also last Wednesday, a federal judge in Indiana struck down a version of the Thoroughbred industry’s long-standing “jail” rule that prohibits claimed horses from racing outside the state for 60 days. As of this writing, no appeal has been filed by the defendant, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.

Theoretically, a federal precedent is now on the books striking down the jail restrictions for claimed horses, meaning owners should be free to race horses they purchase via claims whenever and wherever they choose. But in practice, expect that few, if any, state racing commission regulations or “house rules” at racetracks will change as a result of this court order.

The federal court’s specific directive not to enforce the jail rule (because it is an unfair restriction of interstate commerce) only applies within Indiana, and trainers who wish to challenge similar jail rules in other states should expect that they will have to initiate their own lawsuits in order to do so, at which time they could cite the Indiana federal ruling as a precedent to bolster their cases.

California could be the first jurisdiction where the jail rule first gets batted around like a legal pinata.

In July, a proposed amendment to California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) rule 1663 to provide that a claimed horse in ineligible to race in any other state than California (except in a stakes race) until 60 days after the close of the meeting was pushed off the agenda for further study by the CHRB’s Legislative, Legal and Regulations Committee before being potentially brought back before the full board for action.

At the time, that measure was presented as a commission-level way to improve short fields by cutting down on the number of horses being claimed in California that end up being transferred to other states where they are lured by gaming-enhanced purses. Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Santa Anita Park currently have house rules that call for similar jail restrictions, but the CHRB does not have a direct say in enforcing those house rules.

CHRB officials testified at that July meting that the legal landscape might be ripe for instituting a commission-mandated jail rule because, in their opinion, the federal scope pertaining to interstate commerce had narrowed, thus making a jail regulation better legally defensible.

But the Sep. 20 federal ruling out of Indiana seems to contrast sharply with the above-stated CHRB reasoning.

The CHRB has an agenda item pertaining to discussion and action on rule 1663 scheduled for its meeting this Thursday. Yet the CHRB also posted a notice on its website announcing that Wednesday’s Legislative, Legal and Regulations Committee has been canceled, and the claim-jail rule change had been agenda item No. 1 for that committee meeting.

Now it remains to be seen whether the claim-jail rule will come up for a vote at all on Thursday, or if it will resurface in some different structure.

Sophmores jinxed?

The year’s final graded two-turn stakes for male 3-year-olds were run over the weekend. If you were holding your breath for either the GI Pennsylvania Derby at Parx or the GIII Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park to produce a dominant, bust-out winner to carry the divisional flag as a serious threat against older rivals in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic, you’d best exhale right now.

This is not so much a knock on Pennsylvania Derby victor West Coast (Flatter) as a frank assessment of the lack of depth within the 3-year-old male division as a whole.

West Coast, after winning his fifth consecutive race (and second straight Grade I route), appears to be peaking at just the right time to factor in the Classic. But he has yet to face a stern, deep-stretch, battle-searing test to get a true read on how he would stand up to the likes of Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) and Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg}) over ten furlongs.

In the July 15 GIII Los Alamitos Derby, West Coast dropped far back, gave up significant ground on both turns, and looped a subpar group of stakes horses at 2-5 odds. The Aug. 26

GI Travers S. shaped up to be a corker of a race on paper, but West Coast was really the only horse who brought his “A” game. After establishing a moderate early pace, no other horse–including all three winners of this year’s Triple Crown races–mounted realistic challenges to either soften up West Coast’s lead or cut him down late in the Saratoga lane.

On Saturday, West Coast settled willingly, alternated heads down the backstretch with 18-1 pacemaker Outplay (Bernardini), shrugged off that rival just prior to the quarter pole, then had the length of the Parx stretch all to himself for an unchallenged 7 1/4-length win. His next closest competitors were Irap (Tiznow), who raced erratically and was subsequently vanned off with a fractured sesamoid, and Giuseppe the Great (Lookin At Lucky), a 47-1 long shot.

At Remington, 7-5 favorite Battle of Midway (Smart Strike) encountered similar early traffic woes that hampered his effort in the GI Haskell Invitational back in July. But in the Oklahoma Derby he settled enough down the backstretch to remain poised to pounce off the far turn.

His Haskell nemesis Girvin (Tale of Ekati) was briefly pocketed three-eighths out but thereafter failed to rally when roused, and the horse who got clear run after a stalking, mid-pack trip in the Oklahoma Derby ended up being Untrapped (Trappe Shot), a capable sort who has picked up minor awards in graded stakes since January but needed until Sunday night at Remington to record his second lifetime victory.

Ladies first?

In contrast, the filly 3-year-old division looks as if it will provide a bit of intrigue at the Breeders’ Cup when its top-seeded sophomores square off against older distaffers.

Mike Smith’s slingshot move up the rail aboard 4-5 favorite Abel Tasman (Quality Road) proved to be a premature tactic in the GI Cotillion at Parx, allowing It Tiz Well (Arch) to be the main beneficiary after that filly rated kindly behind the fully engaged Abel Tasman and pacemaker Lockdown (First Defence).

But don’t make the mistake of chalking up It Tiz Well’s Parx win to circumstances of attrition. After winning the GIII Delaware Oaks in July, It Tiz Well turned in a much-better-than-it-looks performance when setting solid fractions and holding for second behind Elate (Medaglia d’Oro) in the GI Alabama S. at Saratoga Aug. 19, and she has quietly been building a capable, under-the-radar resume heading into the championship time of the year.

As for Abel Tasman, neither Smith nor trainer Bob Baffert expressed post-race doubts about how the loss on Saturday will affect her readiness for the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The extra half-furlong stretchout from the Cotillion to the Distaff will work in Abel Tasman’s favor, and a blinkers-off change might also result in less keyed-up antics that have required Smith to move early in both of her last two tries.

Elate will get her first taste of older competition this Saturday in the GI Beldame at Belmont Park. Right now she’s the queen of the 3-year-old filly division based on her emphatic Alabama victory and her gutsy, close-quarters stretch battle in the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks when beaten a head by Abel Tasman.

And even though her complete-control win at 1-5 odds in Sunday’s Remington Park Oaks amounted to little more than a rousing public workout, last year’s 2-year-old filly champ Champagne Room (Broken Vow) signaled that she too might have a say in the Distaff fray. The win represented her first start since February (ankle chip surgery), and was only her second outing since Champagne Room won last November’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Irap Has Successful Surgery

Thoroughbred Daily News - Mon, 2017-09-25 17:43

Reddam Racing LLC’s Grade II winner Irap (Tiznow), who sustained a fractured front left sesamoid when finishing second in Saturday’s GI Pennsylvania Derby at Parx, had successful surgery on the leg at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center Monday morning, trainer Doug O’Neill announced on his stable’s Facebook page.

“Dr. Dean Richardson and Dr. [Chris] Ryan said that Irap was/is a 10 out [of] 10 in terms of a patient,” O’Neill relayed. “They were both very happy with how the 3-hour surgery went. His coming out of anesthesia [in a pool of water] went ‘flawless,’ according to both vets. Once out of the pool, he calmly walked right back to his stall. He’s such a classy colt.”

Irap, who upset the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at 33-1 in April, was 18th in the GI Kentucky Derby before coming to hand in the summer months, annexing the GIII Ohio Derby and GIII Indiana Derby and running third in the GI Travers S.

Keeneland's Fall Stars Weekend Draws All-Star Roster

Blood-Horse - Mon, 2017-09-25 16:16
Stakes include five grade 1 "Win and Your In" races that grant automatic berths for the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Del Mar Nov. 3-4.

Grade 1 Winner Paola Queen to be Offered at Keeneland

Blood-Horse - Mon, 2017-09-25 16:16
Paola Queen, winner of the 2016 Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course, has been consigned by Elite Sales as a broodmare prospect to the 2017 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Efforts Afoot to Assist Thoroughbreds at Camarero

Blood-Horse - Mon, 2017-09-25 16:16
Officials at Hipodromo Camarero said they are working to ensure that Thoroughbreds at the track in Puerto Rico are cared for while the facility works toward reopening following damage from Hurricane Maria.

Keeneland to Host Public Celebration of Penny Chenery

Blood-Horse - Mon, 2017-09-25 16:16
Memorial service will be held Monday, Oct. 9, at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion.

Upgrades for Three Dubai World Cup Carnival Races

Blood-Horse - Mon, 2017-09-25 16:16
The Meydan Group announced Sept. 25 that three races in the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival have been upgraded, adding prestige to the meet at Meydan Racecourse. 

Dayton: Hannelore Hanover favored to win Trotting Derby

Daily Racing Form - Mon, 2017-09-25 16:04
<p>Hollywood Dayton Raceway will proudly present the fourth annual Dayton Trotting and Pacing Derbies on Friday night (Sept. 29).&nbsp; The 17 horses entered in the track&rsquo;s signature events have combined earnings of $19,615,182 with 347 wins, including most of the major stakes throughout North America.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p>

‘Bucket List’ Sparks a Deferred Dream

Thoroughbred Daily News - Mon, 2017-09-25 16:03

For most people, crossing an item or two off a “bucket list” is enough to yield an enormous amount of personal contentment.

Patricia Akiona goes about her goals a little bit differently.

The effervescent 50-year-old law enforcement retiree–a new grandmother who cares for two ex-racehorses on a small farm in Snohomish, Wash.–belongs to that subset of uniquely driven bucket-listers whose achievements instead serve the purpose of sparking deeper involvement into lifetime aspirations.

In May, Akiona finally checked off her bucket list a long-planned trip to attend the GI Kentucky Derby and a tour of a Bluegrass breeding farm.

But she didn’t stop there. Thanks to a fortuitous confluence of circumstances–and Akiona’s charismatic ability to connect with people and make requests that others might consider beyond feasibility–she later managed to parlay that visit into a two-week, fully immersive experience as a hands-on horse worker for Lexington’s Mill Ridge Farm during the just-completed Keeneland September yearling sale.

She paid her own way in terms of travel, lodging, expenses, and meals, and neither asked for nor received compensation for her labor at a time when Thoroughbred farms in the region are having difficulty attracting quality help.

“The first couple of days, it was so surreal. I kept thinking I’m going to wake up from a dream,” Akiona said in a phone interview last Friday after completing another day of chores and shadowing Mill Ridge personnel, which she has treated like a mid-life internship. “It was like all the stars just lined up. And I’ve had the goofiest grin on my face the whole time I’ve been here.”

Akiona traces her attraction to Thoroughbreds to age six, when she was enthralled by the televised pageantry of Secretariat’s 1973 Triple Crown triumph. Her grandmother introduced her to live racing at the now-defunct Longacres racetrack in the Green River Valley of Washington, where the grade-school girl was able to get up close to racehorses in person for the first time.

After several years of “begging and pleading” to hang around with horses her neighbors kept, Akiona announced at age 16 to her parents that she was intent on making a career out of working with racehorses at the track.

Her mortified mom and dad gave her the “not under our roof” rebuttal, which only made Akiona more determined to follow through.

“So I packed my bags, caught a bus, and went to Longacres thinking I would just march in there and somebody would see what a great talent I was with no experience and let me start riding their horses,” Akiona said.

She made it as far as the stable gate, where a gruff security guard told her to go back outside, sit on the bench, and wait for the next bus back home.

Later, when the guard saw the stubborn teenager still lingering outside, he had a change of heart and said Akiona could have a half-hour inside the barn area to find a job. But if she didn’t find one in that time frame, he promised to yank her back outside by the ear.

That was all Akiona needed to hear. She immediately struck up a conversation with an older couple training a small outfit. They gave her a hotwalking job, protectively took her under their wing, and later got her started galloping horses.

“But then life takes over,” Akiona said, matter-of-factly compressing the next three decades of her existence into a single sentence. “I went off to college, got a job, got married, and had kids.”

Settling in Snohomish (“it’s about 40 miles north of Seattle, but light years away if you know what I mean”) to raise a family, Akiona scaled back her racehorse dream to taking in two off-track Thoroughbreds and the possibility of attending the Derby one day. After retiring from 20 years of police work three years ago, she took a part-time job at a local equine hospital, “but I just knew I needed to finish what I started back when I was 16.”

So in 2017, Akiona and her husband, Jon, finally booked that trip to the Derby. They also bought Mill Ridge tour tickets via Horse Country, the central booking outlet for stud farms, nurseries, and equine veterinary clinics that connects tourists with horse destinations in the Bluegrass.

The day the Akionas went to Mill Ridge, Headley Bell, the managing director of his family’s 55-year-old farm, happened to be conducting the tour.

Bell and his son, Price, have been instrumental in the formation and development of the non-profit Horse Country as a way to promote Thoroughbred tourism. Bell told TDN that one or the other of them usually likes to lead the Mill Ridge tours because, “we end up getting more out of the experience than the people on the tour. They’re so gracious and appreciative, and it reminds us how very, very fortunate we are.”

The Akionas and Bell got to talking as they toured the property, and their conversation extended beyond horses, lasting long after other tourists had drifted away.

Akiona went back home, happy she had experienced the Bluegrass. But over the next two months, she couldn’t get Mill Ridge out of her thoughts, because she had the nagging feeling she had left an important question unasked in her interaction with Bell.

Around July 1, Akiona contacted Bell, thanked him again for his kindness during and after the tour, and asked him outright if Mill Ridge ever would consider taking her on as a worker–for free–so she could better learn the business while getting to spend time with young, developing racehorses.

“Let me ponder it,” Bell told her. Akiona thought this might be code for Bell needing time to come up with a tactful deflection.

Yet the Mill Ridge boss phoned back a few days later with an entire itinerary–an equine curriculum, if you will–planned for September.

“And so here I am,” Akiona beamed last Friday, glee evident in her voice.

“I remembered her and her husband, Jon,” Bell said in a separate interview. “He was so accommodating of her. I remember that very, very well. It was just like, ‘This is her world,’ and he was so supportive of her.”

But still, Akiona’s request gave Bell pause. She had horse experience, but stud farms in the Bluegrass can’t just allow any volunteer enthusiast who asks to take a turn at handling stallions, mares, and yearlings during the busy part of the sales season.

“My reaction to her request was sensitivity,” Bell said. “Here was somebody that [the tour experience] touched her like that, and it was the least I could do to try to facilitate her. I remembered meeting her, and she was speaking very much from the heart. I had observed her during the tour, and she was taking it all in, and I was sensitive to that.”

Akiona arrived Sept. 12 and started tagging along with farm manager Marc Richardson, doing turnouts, changing bandages, and holding horses for blacksmithing work. Eventually, she was tasked with handling a yearling filly at the Keeneland sale.

“I actually ended up going into the sales ring, which was just thrilling. I had only seen it live-streamed online. In person it’s completely different. If you look closely at the pictures, my eyes are like saucers because it was so surreal,” Akiona said.

“She was different from the get-go,” said Bell. “She had enough experience–and I wouldn’t have done it if she hadn’t–to be able to show the yearling with a level of expertise that I felt comfortable with allowing her to go through with the entire process.”

The Mill Ridge crew members who did similar jobs were polite and helpful, even though they initially didn’t know what to make of her.

“First they were kind of like, ‘Who is this chick?'” Akiona recalled with a laugh. “But after a couple of days, they must have heard through the grapevine, and they were like, ‘So you flew out here on your own dime and you’re not getting paid?’ I said, ‘Yep.’ Then they started speaking to each other in Spanish. I only caught a few words, but I know what ‘loco’ means. But they were so kind to me, especially considering how green I was.”

After the sale, Akiona wrapped up her crash course with trips to training barns at Keeneland and a night of racing at Churchill Downs.

Anne Sabatino Hardy, the executive director of Horse Country, said in the two years since the tour-selling service started selling tickets, Akiona’s query and Mill Ridge’s response stand out.

“She’s the first one to my knowledge that’s made that type of request,” Hardy said. “While experiences like Patricia’s are a long way down the road [from being regular Horse Country offerings] it’s kind of cool to see how the members really care about how the guests perceive the experience. They want to invest in it, and it’s been really cool to see them put their time, effort, energy, and dollars into making those things happen with their guests.”

Bell said, “the whole Horse Country experience is going to continue to evolve. We feel that you grow the relationship with the horse starting on the farm. Our goal is to totally allow that opportunity to connect the fan with the horse and understand where the horse comes from and how they’re cared for.”

Bell emphasized that this commitment to agri-tourism isn’t limited to Mill Ridge.

“Claiborne now has a visitor center. I mean, who would have thought Claiborne would have a visitor center?” Bell said. “And Taylor Made has a restaurant and a golf course. WinStar and Darley have trams that shuttle fans when they come through. We’re going to have 40,000 people through [Horse Country-booked tours] this year. What I see occurring in time is the racetracks will do something similar to this. And it can be a worldwide thing, this model, for different countries to utilize and start seeing the impact.”

As for Akiona, she’s already made it known that she’d gladly pay again for a similar immersive experience. “I mean, what’s a dream cost?” she said.

Yet even if a return trip to the Bluegrass doesn’t materialize, Akiona said she has now achieved a sense of fulfillment that extends beyond just checking an item off her bucket list.

“Look, I want to leave no stone unturned when it’s time for me to go to my final resting place,” she said. “The only thing that would have been terrible is if I had this opportunity and didn’t take advantage of it. I guess the moral is ‘It doesn’t hurt to ask.’

“I’ve lived a blessed life. I have such a great family, such a great husband. I’ve got my horses, a little farm, and I’ve got a wonderful job that I absolutely love going to. But there was still that little piece left unfinished. And this experience has made me whole. It’s now come full circle from when I was 16 years old.”

Paola Queen Consigned to KEENOV

Thoroughbred Daily News - Mon, 2017-09-25 16:00

Grade I winner Paola Queen (Flatter) has been consigned by Elite Sales as a broodmare prospect to this year’s Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, Keeneland announced Monday.

Bred in Kentucky by CFP Thoroughbreds LLC, the bay captured the GI Test S. in a 55-1 shocker last summer at Saratoga and was second earlier in the year in the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks. Originally bought by Grupo Seven C Stable for $180,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, she hammered to SF Bloodstock for $1.7 million at last term’s KEENOV sale.

“She is a beautiful specimen,” Tom Ryan of SF Bloodstock said. “The Test has always been an indicator of class and brilliance. All combined makes her very special.”

Paola Queen joins ‘TDN Rising Star’ Cathryn Sophia (Street Boss) and Her Emmynency (Successful Appeal) as Grade I winners being offered by SF at Keeneland November, which runs from Nov. 7-18.


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