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Updated: 10 hours 42 min ago

Champion Sistercharlie to Race in 2020

Thu, 2019-12-12 12:39

Peter Brant’s 2018 champion turf mare and GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Turf heroine Sistercharlie (Ire) (Myboycharlie {Ire}), who added three more Grade I wins in 2019 before finishing third in defense of her Breeders’ Cup title, will race next season at the age of six.

“Sistercharlie is a horse of a lifetime and I am so excited for her to get to continue to thrill fans for another year,” Brant said in a release. “Her 2019 campaign was extraordinary, including her track record at Arlington [when winning the GI Beverly D. S.]. She has proven herself against the strongest competition and, working with [trainer] Chad [Brown] and his team, I can’t wait to see what 2020 holds.”

Brown added, “Sistercharlie is extraordinarily talented and consistently brilliant. She’s a true champion and a rare horse. It’s very exciting–a gift, really–to have another year with her. She’ll tell us when she’s ready to go again and we’re looking forward to a successful, healthy 2020 campaign.”

A Group winner and Group 1-placed in France, boasts seven victories thus far at the highest level and has earned $3,662,003 from a record of 15-10-3-1. She is expected to be a finalist for a second Eclipse Award for her 2019 campaign.

“Horses like Sistercharlie don’t come along very often,” said Sistercharlie’s regular rider and Hall of Famer John Velazquez. “For her to run race after race like she does, always in the top races against the best competition, shows how fantastic she is. I am thankful for the opportunity to ride such an incredible horse.”

The post Champion Sistercharlie to Race in 2020 appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

O’Dwyer Considering Lecomte, Withers for Shotski

Thu, 2019-12-12 12:17

Appearing on this week’s TDN Writer’s Room podcast, trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer said that GII Remsen S. winner Shotski (Blame) will make his next appearance in either the GIII Lecomte S. at the Fair Grounds or the GIII Withers S. at Aqueduct. The Withers is scheduled for Feb. 1 and the Lecomte is set for Jan. 18.

“Obviously, it is exciting,” O’Dwyer said. “It’s a logical thing to think you have a [GI] Kentucky Derby horse after winning a race like the Remsen, where you get 10 Kentucky Derby points. We’re going to freshen him up a little bit and want to give him six to eight weeks. We will either go to the Fair Grounds for the Lecomte S. or back to Aqueduct for the Withers. They are the two immediate races we have in our sights. I’ll keep him at Laurel and train him there, as long as the weather doesn’t get nasty. I do have stalls at the Fair Grounds, so I can always ship him down there if need be. If he does run in the Lecomte, I’ll ship him down there when I see fit.”

Though he broke his maiden going six furlongs at Laurel, Shotski seemed to thrive when stretched out to nine furlongs in the two-turn Remsen.

“Even when we first got him, we always thought he’d be a nice two-turn horse,” O’Dwyer said. “Most of the better two-turn horses can win going short. They have to have some tactical speed if they are going to compete at a higher level, which I feel he proved he can. He won a sprint at Laurel going in1:10. And, at the same time, when you stretch him out he relaxes and can get the distance. He certainly proved that when he won the Remsen.”

Shotski was the first graded stakes winner for the trainer.

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Donna Barton Brothers to Deliver Keynote at National HBPA Convention

Thu, 2019-12-12 11:39

Donna Barton Brothers, the former jockey and current NBC Sports racing analyst, equine welfare advocate and author, will be the keynote speaker at the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association annual convention in March in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

“Donna is exactly the type of inspirational keynote speaker we seek for the National HBPA Convention: Someone who is passionate about and committed to horse racing but also is not blind to our challenges,” said Eric Hamelback, chief executive officer of the National HBPA. “Donna is an outstanding ambassador for our industry, but she also doesn’t ignore or sugarcoat issues we face. Few have been able to share as eloquently why we all are in love with horses and horse racing–and why we each then must do our part to confront our problems and to make the industry better.

“That is the overarching mission of our convention: to provide or work toward solutions for the complex issues we face and to share information and programs that make a difference. Donna will set the tone for three days of sessions that are designed to be informative but also upbeat, because there is so much to promote and cherish about horse racing.”

Brothers will deliver her keynote address on Mar. 25, the opening day of the three-day event held at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Spa in Hot Springs.

“I am honored and appreciate that Eric would ask me to come speak,” said Brothers, who also serves as chief operating officer for the Starlight Racing and StarLadies Racing partnerships. “I respect all the work Eric has done in the industry to make sure the horsemen’s agenda is seen and heard, and also listening to the horsemen and trying to be an advocate for what’s best for the horses and horsemen.

“If he sees me as an ambassador, I’ll take it. But we are many. I think it’s come to a time where we all need to see ourselves as ambassadors of horse racing, because we need a lot of champions right now… It’s going to take a tag team in today’s culture to get done what we need done.”

Brothers, who is on the executive committee of both the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation, recently penned a well-circulated piece on her website entitled PETA is a Bully.

“I just see organizations that are doing really good things for horsemen or horses, and they need help here and there,” she said. “I cannot sit idly by and not help at times. I’m never going to say no to opportunities to help the industry, because horses and horse racing have made me. They are the reason I’m able to live comfortably, so it would be wrong for me to say, ‘You know, I’ve got mine. You guys figure it out.'”

Other speakers on panels or presentations include:

Indiana Grand’s Roy Smith, Oaklawn Park’s Kevin Seymour and industry consultant Javier Barajas on maintaining racetracks, a panel moderated by Horsemen’s Track & Equipment executive vice president Randy Bloch.

Horse owner and economics professor Marshall Gramm, Thoroughbred Idea Foundation executive director Pat Cummings and industry consultant Dick Powell in a discussion moderated by racing broadcaster and commentator Steve Byk on the future of wagering in the industry.

Equine scientist Dr. Tim Potter and toxicologist Dr. Vanessa Fitsanakis of Robson Forensic on risk assessment, investigations and toxicology applications in minimizing exposure to environmental contamination and inadvertent transfer of prohibited substances in horses.

Equine attorney Peter Sacopulos on horsemen’s rights and betting-systems expert Michele Fischer on fixed-odds wagering.

Godolphin’s Katie LaMonica on the Godolphin Thoroughbred Industry Service Awards that recognize those in the trenches in horse racing and on breeding farms

The Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau with a final update on electronic foal-registration papers and micro-chipping

The convention’s sessions conclude that Friday morning with the Kent Stirling Memorial medication panel. An afternoon at Oaklawn Park for the races will follow.

Visit nationalhpba.com for more information.

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Calumet Releases 2020 Roster, Fees

Thu, 2019-12-12 10:30

   Calumet Farm has released its 2020 stallion roster and stud fees, with stalwart English Channel (Smart Strike) to command a fee of $35,000 (up $5,000 from last term) for this coming breeding season.

Also back for 2020 is Hightail (Mineshaft), sire of this year’s GI Awesome Again S. winner Mongolian Groom and $500,000-plus earner Dynatail from a limited number of runners. His fee is private.

“As the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, Hightail offers the breeder both precocity and speed,” said Calumet General Manager Eddie Kane. “He is also demonstrating that his progeny can carry that speed at a distance and continue to develop with age.”

MGISW sprinter Ransom the Moon (Malibu Moon) is back for his second year at stud, and will again stand for $7,500.

“He is beautiful, and if he replicates himself we are set,” Kane said. “He is about 16.2 and has a beautiful neck and topline with a strong hip and hind leg. Looking at his profile, He looks like a Classic distance horse but he has the speed to win at six furlongs.”

Keen Ice (Curlin) ($20,000), Bal a Bali (Brz) (Put It Back) ($15,000), Mr. Z (Malibu Moon) ($5,000) and War Correspondent (War Front) ($5,000) will all have first yearlings in 2020.

“Our roster features a wide variety of bloodlines possessing soundness, quality conformation, and a propensity to winning Classic two-turn races on both dirt and turf,” Kane said. “We are focused not only on building long-term relationships with breeders, but also sharing in the commercial and racing success of our stallions. We have a variety of offerings to fit the needs of any breeder.”

The complete 2020 Calumet roster is as follows:

English Channel (Smart Strike) – $35,000
Keen Ice (Curlin) – $20,000
Bal a Bali (Brz) (Put it Back) – $15,000
Big Blue Kitten (Kitten’s Joy) – $10,000
Oxbow (Awesome Again) – $10,000
Ransom The Moon (Malibu Moon) – $7,500
Real Solution (Kittens Joy) – $7,500
Mr. Z (Malibu Moon) – $5,000
Optimizer (English Channel) – $5,000
Raison D’Etat (A.P. Indy) – $5,000
War Correspondent (War Front) – $5,000
Hightail (Mineshaft) – Private

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Listen to the December 11 TDN Writers’ Room with Jeremiah O’Dwyer

Thu, 2019-12-12 07:43

Jeremiah O’Dwyer, trainer of the promising two-year-old Remsen Stakes winner Shotski, joins the writers–Joe Bianca, Bill Finley, Jon Green and Brian DiDonato–to talk about his plans for getting the son of Blame to Kentucky Derby day. The affable O’Dwyer is this week’s Green Group Guest of the week. He is an Irish native and former jockey and assistant to Al Stall, and talks about his success in America and the path that got him to this point in his life. Facing a boring morning commute? Listen to the TDN Writers’ Room in your car by clicking here.

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Jockeys’ Guild Responds to Proposed Whip Rule Changes

Wed, 2019-12-11 17:30

The Jockeys’ Guild released a statement Wednesday responding to recent pushes from within the industry to regulate and in some cases eliminate whip usage. The most recent call for reform came from Terry Finley on TDN‘s Thoroughbred People with Patty Wolfe podcast. The Guild’s statement reads:

“As the organization representing jockeys throughout the United States, the safety of both our equine and human athletes are paramount and of the utmost importance. Furthermore, it must be recognized that the Jockeys’ Guild and our members are adamantly opposed to any animal abuse and any person who does so should be fully punished for such occurrences. However, it is the opinion of the Jockeys’ Guild, which is made up of highly regarded and respected jockeys, that the current riding crops are humane. While the Guild and its members are supportive of any changes that improve the well-being of the horse, we do believe that it is important to recognize that use of the riding crop is still necessary, not only for safety, but also for communication, control of the horse, and assurance of maximum placing. This cannot be emphasized enough.

“The proposals by the California Horse Racing Board, The New Jersey Racing Commission, and The Jockey Club, to eliminate the use of the riding crop but for safety purposes, will have serious consequences and could result in even greater risks and dangers. It is the opinion of the jockeys, those whose lives are at risk, that there could be catastrophic consequences for both the horses and the jockeys if the riding crop is eliminated but for safety purposes.

“Since the initial discussion before the CHRB in March of this year, the Guild has strongly been opposed to the elimination of the use of the riding crop but for safety purposes. We are also on record stating that it is our belief that, we as the industry, including the owners, horsemen, racetracks, and the regulators, can reach mutually agreed upon regulation with regards to the use of the riding crop, that will be safe and humane to the horse, while still allowing the riders to use it in a controlled manner but still in the best interest of racing. However, the Guild and the jockeys were not afforded the opportunity to be included in the discussions before the proposals were published and the concerns that we have expressed were not addressed, including those as outlined in the letter to the CHRB dated November 19, 2019 which is attached.

“Recognizing that the industry is at a crossroads and the need for reforms, the Guild’s Board of Directors, after much discussion, has made a proposal of significant changes to the current ARCI model rule. While much of the ARCI rule was similar to the British Horseracing Authority and other international standards, there were three areas where we will be proposing amendments. Most significantly would be with regards to the limiting of the number of times the riding crop is to be used in the forehand (“up”) position and being able to lift the crop only to the helmet level.

“An additional proposal was submitted to the CHRB, which incorporates the existing ARCI Model rule, along with the Guild’s proposed changes. This proposal also includes that after a race, horses will be subject to inspection by a racing or official veterinarian looking for any signs of distress from the riding crop, including cuts, welts, or bruises in the skin. Any adverse finding shall be reported to the stewards. This clause has been a part of the ARCI Model Rule for many years.

“The Guild is working with the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition to reach an agreed upon proposal. It would be our hope that establishing such rule, similar to many of the international standards, would lead to a universal riding crop usage [standard]. The ultimate goal is to establish a standard that is in the best interest of the welfare of the horse, as well as the industry as a whole, including the betting public. Such uniformity would be the best interest of the horses, enhance the perception of our industry, and still provide for fairness to owners, the betting public, horsemen and the jockeys.”

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Handle, Races Run Up at Aqueduct Fall Meet

Wed, 2019-12-11 17:26

With significantly more races run, and staying on the turf, the New York Racing Association’s fall meet at Aqueduct racetrack saw a sharp rise in all-sources handle to $205,249,710. Handle was up 49% compared to 2018’s figure of $137,213,915, but so were the number of races held, with 86 grass races and 233 total races run through the end of 25-day meet Dec. 8, compared to 31 turf races and 198 total races run over 22 days in 2018. On-track handle this meet was $20,712,645 vs. $16,168,219 last year. Average daily handle was up 31.6% ($205,249,710 vs. $137,213,915), while handle per betting interest was up 8.7% ($104,880 vs. $96,494). Betting handle for the meet’s biggest day, the GI Cigar Mile H. card held last Saturday, was up 45% from 2018, in part due to a mandatory payout of the Empire 6, which was introduced by NYRA in August.

Chad Brown was leading trainer with 17 victories to lead all conditioners for the fourth consecutive NYRA meet. Irad Ortiz, Jr.’s 29 wins earned him the riding title, while Klaravich Stables and Drawing Away Stable tied for leading owner. The 2019-20 Aqueduct winter meet begins Dec. 12.

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Terry Finley Calls on Jockeys to Lead Way, Advocate for Whip Reform on Thoroughbred People Podcast

Wed, 2019-12-11 17:18

Appearing on the TDN‘s new “Thoroughbred People with Patty Wolfe” podcast, West Point Thoroughbreds’ Terry Finley reached out to North American jockeys and called on them to support efforts to wean the sport off the practice of riders being allowed to strike horses with the whip. The Guild has never publicly supported any proposals to reduce the use of the whip.

Finley made a plea to Jockeys’ Guild Chairman John Velazquez, asking him to encourage the Guild to back a movement to adopt the experimental rules now in place at Woodbine. Currently, Woodbine jockeys are not allowed to cock their whips and strike horses with an overhand motion and can only hit them underhanded.

“I’ll talk right here and now to Johnny V.,” Finley said. “There are very few people that I respect more inside or outside the industry. Johnny, you are a leader. You have done an incredible job as the leader of the Jockeys’ Guild. I really believe, and a lot of my partners also believe, that this is a golden opportunity for you to support the experiment that is going on at Woodbine. If you want my input, and I don’t know if you do, I would do this for a year and not even talk about it until the calendar turned into 2021. I think we will all be pleasantly surprised. The world won’t fall apart and we’ll be sending a much better signal to the public, our fans and the fans of the future.”

Finley said that he had a change of mind about whipping when visiting Las Vegas with a crew of classmates from his alma mater, West Point.

“We were watching a race from Belmont and I got all of them to the windows in the simulcast center,” he said. “We had won race. They all call me ‘Fin-Dog’ and one of my best friends says, ‘Jesus Christ, Fin-Dog, they are beating the shit out of those horses.’ I didn’t know how to respond. I felt like a schmuck. Here’s this business that I beat the drum for so much, then I had to hear a dear friend say that about it to me and in front of everybody. That really got me thinking about this issue.”

Finley also rejected the idea that the solution regarding the whip is to better educate the public and to get across the message that the whip does not hurt the animal.

“What I respectfully disagree with is when they say that we should keep things the way they are and should just educate the public more,” he said. “I will tell you there’s nothing you will be able to do when there’s a little girl on the apron at Saratoga by the eighth pole and she hears (the sound of whipping) and looks up and says ‘Daddy, they are beating those horses.’ What kind of education platform can you possibly have that would impact that little girl?”

Finley’s take on the whip was part of an overall theme where, in the podcast, he called on the industry to continue to work feverishly to solve its safety problems. Putting an optimistic spin on racing’s situation, Finley said that racing’s problems in 2019 will some day be seen as something that, inevitably, changed the sport for the better.

“Every day we have to think and act in a prudent way and take care of our business,” he said. “If we do that, the cumulative effect in two or there years will be that we see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ll look back and we’ll look at 2019 as a watershed year that instigated the change for better in our industry. I am going to do everything I can and so will my team. We have vowed to do everything we can to play our part. We have the problems identified. The finger pointing is done. Let’s take action. Let’s get after this thing.”

To listen to the podcast, click here. It is also available via Apple podcasts on your iPhone or iPad.

The post Terry Finley Calls on Jockeys to Lead Way, Advocate for Whip Reform on Thoroughbred People Podcast appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Summer Front Colt Graduates at Gulfstream

Wed, 2019-12-11 15:46

5th-Gulfstream, $41,000, Msw, 12-11, 2yo, 1mT, 1:34.92, fm.
SUMMER TO REMEMBER (c, 2, Summer Front— Psychadelacized, by Distorted Humor) was second behind next-out GI Summer S. winner Decorated Invader (Declaration of War) in his 1 1/16-mile debut over the Saratoga turf Aug. 10. Sent off the 1-2 favorite in this second go, the bay colt went quickly to the front and traded blows with Intentional Walk (Tapit) through a quarter in :23.65 and a half in :47.69. He put that foe away with a furlong to run and drew clear to graduate by 1 3/4 lengths. A $200,000 KEENOV weanling, Summer to Remember is the 16th winner for his freshman sire (by War Front). Psychadelacized, in foal to To Honor and Serve, was purchased by Brereton Jones for $210,000 at the 2014 Keeneland January sale. Out of Taegu (Halo), she is a half-sister to El Fasto (El Prado {Ire}), who is the dam of the Jones’s GI Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can (Proud Citizen). She is also a half to multiple graded stakes winner Classic Elegance (Carson City). Her Cairo Prince yearling filly sold for $95,000 at this year’s Keeneland September sale and she was bred to Creative Cause this year. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. Lifetime Record: 2-1-1-0, $42,000.
O-Waterford Stable; B-Brereton C. Jones (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.

 

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Penn Study Reveals Detectable Shockwave Biomarkers

Wed, 2019-12-11 08:21

Researchers out of the University of Pennsylvania have identified potential biomarkers that would indicate a shockwave machine treatment had been administered to a horse.

This study is the first of its kind to identify a possible biological signal revealing shockwave usage—a breakthrough development for a therapy that leaves no visible trace, but one that has historically generated welfare concerns due to its analgesic effects.

“Because it’s not a drug—it’s applied to the surface of the skin—it’s just not an easy thing to detect,” said Mary Robinson, director of the UPenn School of Veterinary Medicine’s Equine Pharmacology Research Laboratory and the lead researcher on the study, in a press release. The study was published in full Wednesday in Equine Veterinary Journal. “After a lot of trial and error, our study was able to measure changes in levels of five inflammatory factors, some of which we could detect up to three weeks after the shockwave therapy.”

A shockwave machine emits sound waves in doses that can be increased and decreased, depending on the severity and type of injury. Studies on humans and animals show they trigger an anti-inflammatory response within the body and promote the growth of new blood vessels, among other responses. Shockwave can be used to treat things like sore shins and suspensory issues in racehorses, and its use is fairly routine on the backstretch.

Controversy, however, surrounds the analgesic effects from shockwave application. The current scientific consensus is that this effect lasts between two to three days after treatmentOne 2004 study found that analgesia could last up to 35 days after treatment, but experts say that study isn’t relevant to the way shockwave treatments are administered to horses.

Most jurisdictions follow either in full or in part the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s model rule on shockwave usage, which requires that horses given a treatment are placed on a vet’s list and prevented from racing or breezing for at least 10 days. The model rule also requires that shockwave machines are registered with a commission and used only by licensed veterinarians in designated locations.

While most jurisdictions are strict about who can use the machine, fewer of them require shockwave therapy to be performed at specific locations at a licensed facility. Many experts fear that, without adequate oversight and because shockwave therapy leaves no visible trace of use, the machine could be used on a horse to numb the pain of an injury before a workout or race—which is where this new study out of UPenn could play an important part.

Using 11 Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds kept as a study herd at UPenn’s New Bolton Center, the researchers collected blood samples at several timepoints both before and after the horses received a single treatment to a leg. Researchers were looking for 10 different pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory biomarkers—molecules called cytokines—using an ELISA kit.

“We looked a week before giving the shockwave therapy to see if there were any changes in the baseline period, due to changes in time of day or anything else, and didn’t see anything we could define as significant,” Robinson explained, in the press release. “And in the post-shockwave period we went out to three weeks.”

Five of the cytokines studied showed no response to shockwave usage, but the other five—TNF-a, IL1b, IL-1RA, IL-6, and sTLR2—did, researchers found. Levels of one of the cytokines, TNF-a, were “significantly increased” through the three-week post-therapy study period.

In the press release, Robinson explained that more research needs to be conducted before these biomarkers could potentially be used as a regulatory tool to identify shockwave usage.

As such, the UPenn researchers are using a biobank of samples from client-owned animals treated at the New Bolton Center to see if these biomarkers and other indicators change in horses that are actively training and racing, or that have an acute injury.

This study is the latest in a series of recent developments surrounding shockwave therapy. In September, the TDN revealed how research had identified a possible link between its usage and a higher probability of catastrophic injury.

Using the Equine Injury Database (EID), Tim Parkin, a University of Glasgow professor of veterinary epidemiology, worked with a team of racing officials to look at horses that had been reported on the vet’s list for shockwave treatment, then counted the number of days and races since the treatment before that horse was fatally injured.

Parkin found it “statistically significant” that horses that received shockwave therapy in the last 90 days, 180 days, and ever were between 54% and 79% more likely to suffer a fatal injury than horses that had never received such treatments. For horses that received shockwave therapy in the last 30 and 60 days, the risk of fatal injury was also elevated: 26% and 65%, percent respectively, but these numbers (due to small numbers of horses treated so close to a race day) were not statistically significant.

The study-conducted for research purposes and not published in any peer-reviewed journal-wasn’t definitive proof that shockwave therapy is a single factor predisposing horses to a greater likelihood of fatal injury, however.

For example, the locations of the shockwave treatments weren’t identified in the data-an important point if causal links are to be made between treatments and the site of the fatal injury. The numbers do suggest, however, that there might be a correlation between underlying physical issues that necessitate shockwave treatments and a higher prevalence for catastrophic breakdown, Parkin told the TDN.

“Essentially, the pathology that drove the use of shockwave or drove the use of getting on the vet’s list remains-at least the impact of that in terms of risk of injury is retained in that horse for the rest of its racing career,” Parkin said.

Then, earlier this month, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) submitted a letter to the state governor, Gavin Newsom, with a number of recommendations, including that shockwave therapy be prohibited entirely.

According to SoCal-based private veterinarian, Ryan Carpenter, the CHRB’s stance is a “knee jerk” reaction to commonly-held fears surrounding shockwave usage, and that the machine has therapeutic value for continued use on the backstretch. “I think it can be used appropriately and safely,” he said.

And while Carpenter admits that use of the machine requires adherence to an “on your honor system,” the findings of the UPenn study could mark an important breakthrough. “If the biomarkers prove to be of value, then we will now have a way to verify the on your honor system,” he said.

Robinson agrees. “Shockwave therapy is great as long as people rest the horse after using it,” she said, in the press release. “We are concerned that it’s being abused in the racehorse industry and that it could potentially result in breakdowns. That’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid.”

 

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Besecker Dispersal Drives Market in Timonium

Tue, 2019-12-10 20:15

The dispersal of prominent owner Joseph Besecker‘s Thoroughbred holdings figured to be the driving force of Tuesday’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December Mixed and Horses of Racing Age Sale, and Besecker-owned offerings dominated the market, producing the day’s top three lots and 10 of the top 12.

The auction featured 249 sales for gross receipts of $4,383,700 at an average of $17,605 and median of $8,000. The RNA rate was 18.9%. Because of the Besecker dispersal, year-to-year statistical comparisons are difficult.

The dispersal alone grossed $3,005,300 (nearly 69% of the total gross) with 95 of 97 offerings sold (the remaining two failed to receive a bid in the ring). The average was $31,635 and median was $18,000.

Topping the one-day sale was Laddie Liam (Golden Lad) (hip 302), the 4 1/2-length winner of the Maryland Juvenile Futurity S. going seven furlongs Saturday at Laurel. The Northview Stallion Station-consigned colt brought a winning bid of $450,000 from the Green family’s DJ Stable LLC. A $14,500 yearling purchase at this same auction 12 months ago, the bay broke his maiden at Laurel second out Sept. 20 for conditioner Hugh McMahon. He was third in the Maryland Million Nursery S. Oct. 19, and added an open first-level allowance going a mile Nov. 14 before running away with the Maryland Juvenile Futurity and earning a career-best 82 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He was a standout,” said DJ’s Jon Green. “We’ve gone to lots of sales, yearling and 2-year-old sales, trying to find a horse of this caliber. You try to find a horse who’s eventually going to be a two-turn Saturday horse, and he’s already there. He’s proven he can win stakes, he’s proven he can handle different distances, and he looks like he’s got the frame and running style to be able to go the extra furlong or two where the big money really is.”

Laddie Liam will be trained by Gary Contessa, who also conditions GII Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint third Another Miracle (American Pharoah) for the Greens.

“We knew that he was going to be the sale topper, and that we were going to have to go against some other big programs to pluck him from the sale,” Green said of the price. “We knew we were going to have to pay a little more of a premium to get him, and we were pleased to get him at the price point we were able to get him at.”

Green said the Heft S. back at Laurel Dec. 28 or the Jerome S. at Aqueduct Jan. 4 were among possible next targets for Laddie Liam.

Mine Not Mine (Golden Lad), fourth behind Laddie Liam Saturday, sold a few hips later for $210,000 to Charles Zacney of Cash is King LLC. He was also offered by Northview on behalf of Besecker as hip 310. A $72,000 pick-up at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale last October, Mine Not Mine is out of GSW Belterra (Unbridled), making him a half to the dam of Cash is King’s 2016 GI Kentucky Oaks heroine Cathryn Sophia (Street Boss).

DJ Stable and Cash is King co-own last year’s champion juvenile filly Jaywalk (Cross Traffic).

The first horse through the ring was part of the Besecker dispersal, and got things off to a strong start. Also consigned by Northview, which handled the majority of the Besecker sellers, Altar Issues (Broken Vow) (hip 1) brought $105,000 from Three Diamonds Farm while in foal to Practical Joke. That remained the top price paid for any broodmare or broodmare prospect Tuesday.

Having produced her first foal, a Not This Time filly, Mar. 26, the 4-year-old is a half to this year’s GIII Fantasy S. and GIII Honeybee S. runner-up Motion Emotion (Take Charge Indy), who took the Zia Park Oaks last month. She also hails from the female family of ‘TDN Rising Star’ Sharing (Speightstown), winner of the 2019 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Besecker/Northview offerings took the top four slots among broodmares or broodmare prospects.

“Blew it out of the water,” Jeff Matty, Jr., Besecker’s racing manager, said when asked how the day’s results compared to expectations. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of Fasig-Tipton–Boyd Browning, Paget Bennett, their whole entire staff. They were tremendous throughout the whole process. We also couldn’t do it, for sure, without Northview Stallion’s David Wade and Paul O’Loughlin. They were instrumental in all of this. It’s not an easy feat by any means.”

As for the sale topper, Matty said, “We knew throughout the week that he was getting more interest. When he won the stakes, the phone started ringing from California and Kentucky and other bigger markets. We had him in that range–I wouldn’t say we were completely shocked by the price, because he’s such a good physical and off of his performance the other day. He wanted no part of seven furlongs. Hugh McMahon did a tremendous training job putting some speed into him and gearing him up for that specific race. But, that horse wants two turns all day long.”

Besecker is founder, president and CEO of both Emerald Asset Management and the Emerald Foundation. The father of four admitted Tuesday evening that it was bittersweet to disband his stable, and that he was too emotional to attend the sale and/or follow it for much of the day.

“I think it’s a real testament to the team that I have,” he said of the dispersal results. “I’ve talked about the process and the people and performance. I think our process was strong; I think my people, Jeff Matty and Paul O’Loughlin being the main two, were unbelievably strong. Those two, plus my trainers, and the sales company, which did a phenomenal job, it verifies what I’ve been saying. If you develop a process and stay with it and you have the right people, you’re going to get performance. I think we had significant performance today.”

The day’s top weanling was a $60,000 Runhappy colt (hip 151) purchased by Jeff Runco, agent for David Raim, and consigned by Takaro Farm. The West Virginia-bred June 7 foal is a half to stakes winners Ullapool (Langfuhr) and John Barleycorn (Spring At Last).

The priciest yearling was hip 221, a $57,000 filly by Jump Start offered by Crane Thoroughbred Services on behalf of Besecker. The Pennsylvania-bred was signed for by Mo Thoroughbreds.

“It was a great day in Timonium,” said Paget Bennett, Fasig’s Midlantic Sales Director. “The place was full for the racehorses. Obviously, there was a lot of interest in the dispersal, and people really battled it out to try and get some of them… I think it exceeded expectations.”

For complete results, visit www.fasigtipton.com.

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A “Toxic” Situation Leads to Uncertainty Over Stormy Liberal’s Future

Tue, 2019-12-10 19:18

A day of finger pointing and controversy involving a two-time GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner began early Tuesday when trainer Peter Miller issued a statement announcing that he will no longer be training Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic) after recommending that he be retired. The statement noted that the 7-year-old would be turned over to a new trainer.

The horse’s current owner, David Bernsen called Miller’s statement “unfair” and “disingenuous.” Bernsen said that Miller had entered Stormy Liberal in a race toward the end of the Bing Crosby meet at Del Mar that did not fill and that he never made mention of retiring the gelding until after Stormy Liberal was removed from his barn.

“I don’t wish anybody bad, but, man, just be professional about it,” Bernsen said. “Don’t fire out some press release and the next thing I know I’m getting bashed on social media. If the horse hadn’t left his barn, I don’t know that he would be talking about how he wanted this horse retired. I don’t want to inflame the situation. All I want is to be is done with Peter Miller.”

The horse had been campaigning for Gary Hartunian’s Rockingham Ranch and Bernsen before a poor effort in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint raised the issue of whether or not he should be retired. Hartunian thought the best course of action was to retire the horse, while Bernsen wanted a decision put on hold until an outside party could evaluate the gelding. When the two owners could not agree, Bernsen bought out Hartunian, and he will be making the final decision regarding whether or not the horse will be retired.

The one thing everyone agrees on is that the relationship between Bernsen and Miller is not a good one. Said Hartunian: “The whole thing started to get toxic and I was in the middle of it.”

The TDN reached out to Miller for a reaction to Bernsen’s comments, but, as of the deadline for this story, the trainer had not responded.

Miller’s statement appeared under the headline “Stormy Liberal going to new trainer after Miller recommends retirement.”

“I am sorry to announce that Stormy Liberal will be leaving our barn to continue racing under another trainer,” it read. “Both my veterinarian and I believe the horse should be retired. In fact, we had already started inquiring for him to retire to Old Friends so he could live out his days in comfort and good care, and allow visitors to enjoy him up close.”

Though careful not to take sides in the dispute between Bernsen and Miller, Hartunian said he also felt the time had come to retire the horse.

“We brought him back this year and it just wasn’t him,” Hartunian said. “He was letting horses pass him that shouldn’t have been passing him. At some point you have to retire a horse and call it a day. David thought otherwise and he had the option to buy me out. Peter and David, they had different views about what to do with the horse.”

Stormy Liberal was claimed for $40,000 in 2016 by the Miller, Hartunian, and Bernsen team. Some 13 months later, he won his first of two Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprints, winning the race at Del Mar by a head. He defended his title a year later at Churchill Downs, winning by a neck. Stormy Liberal returned to make seven starts this year, but failed to win a race. In his most recent outing, he was eighth in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

“It is very rare to claim a horse for $40,000, win two Breeders’ Cup Races and earn the prestigious Eclipse Award,” Miller said in his statement. “It is my professional opinion that he has given and accomplished enough. While the owners certainly have every right to make these choices, and I respect that, I would like the record to show that I was not in favor of this decision. Stormy has been very special to our team, and to me. We will miss him and hope for the best.”

Hartunian and Bernsen agree that after the Breeders’ Cup they had different ideas about what to do next with Stormy Liberal. Bernsen said he was not necessarily intent on running him again, but thought the most prudent course was to have him evaluated before making any decisions. With Bernsen now in full control of the horse, Stormy Liberal has been sent to David Scanlon’s training center in Ocala, where a fresh set of eyes will have a look at him.

“I consider Scanlon a pretty good judge,” he said. “We’re going to get him down there in a situation where we can look at all the options and then decide. I’ve had enough success. I do not need to run a horse in an allowance race somewhere. I may well retire Stormy. All I want to do is have the horse evaluated first.”

Bernsen also said he had advocated for Stormy Liberal to be sent to the Rood and Riddle equine clinic after the Breeders’ Cup for further evaluation, but was rebuffed.

In addition to his comments made to the TDN, Bernsen released a statement of his own in which he said he had misgivings about his relationship with Miller after the trainer was fined $2,500 over alleged remarks he made in 2018 to a female backstretch employee that involved “derogatory words about a licensee’s unborn baby.”

“With regard to the press release issued by Peter Miller after Stormy Liberal was removed from his care…there are two sides to every story. I have had growing personal concerns in doing business with Peter Miller for a couple of years since a well-publicized incident between he and a female employee at San Luis Rey Training Center,” Bernsen said in his statement.  “Over time, that combined with other concerns, the relationship eroded.”

Together, Bernsen, Rockingham Ranch and Miller have enjoyed several wins at the highest level of the sport, including a victories in the 2017 and 2018 GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint with Roy H. (More Than Ready). Bernsen said he has been in the process of ending his ties with Miller and now has just two horses he co-owns with Rockingham Ranch, Roy H. and Wrecking Crew (Sky Kingdom).

“We will see what the fall out from this whole thing is,” he said. “It might be in everyone’s best interest if I take the high road and get out of those two horses. I’ve got plenty of other good ones. There’s life after Peter Miller.”

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Cella Family Honored by RTIP

Tue, 2019-12-10 19:05

The Race Track Industry Program honored the Cella family with its 2019 Clay Puett Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the racing industry during the 46th Annual Global Symposium on Racing awards luncheon Tuesday.

“Oaklawn has been a labor of love for my family for 116 years,” said Louis Cella. “We believe Oaklawn is the oldest continuously owned sports franchise in America and we are very proud of the fact that today we are one of the brightest spots in racing. With our live season starting in just a few weeks, Oaklawn will begin an exciting new era which includes gaming and sports betting and will soon include a high-rise hotel overlooking our homestretch, convention facilities, restaurant and a spa. But at the center of it all, which is our main focus, is our great sport of Thoroughbred racing.”

The 2019 John K. Goodman Alumni Award was awarded posthumously to Liz Bracken, this year’s distinguished alumna for her outstanding contribution to the racing industry.

The RTIP’s 2019 Distinguished Student Award, given to the RTIP student who the faculty feels best embodies the qualities and performance that represent the goal of bridging education with opportunity, was shared this year by Alex Sausville and Abel Zander.

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Laddie Liam Lights Up the Board in Timonium

Tue, 2019-12-10 17:30

Laddie Liam (Golden Lad) (hip 302), the 4 1/2-length winner of the Maryland Juvenile Futurity S. Saturday, provided the fireworks he was expected to Tuesday in Timonium. Offered as part of the dispersal of owner Joseph Besecker’s Thoroughbred stock at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic December Mixed and Horses of Racing Age Sale, the Northview Stallion Station-consigned colt brought a winning bid of $450,000 from the Green family’s DJ Stable LLC. A $14,500 yearling purchase at this same auction 12 months ago, the bay broke his maiden at Laurel second out Sept. 20 for conditioner Hugh McMahon. He was third in the Maryland Million Nursery S. Oct. 19, and added an open first-level allowance going a mile Nov. 14 before running away with the Maryland Juvenile Futurity and earning a career-best 82 Beyer Speed Figure. DJ’s Jon Green told the TDN that the colt would be trained by Gary Contessa.

Mine Not Mine (Golden Lad), fourth behind Laddie Liam Saturday, sold a few hips later for $210,000 to Charles Zacney. He was also offered by Northview on behalf of Besecker as hip 310.

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Late Breeders’ Cup Foal Nominations Due Dec. 15

Tue, 2019-12-10 16:48

Late foal nominations to the Breeders’ Cup are due by Dec. 15 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The $1,500 nomination entitles each foal with lifetime eligibility to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and the Breeders’ Cup Racing Programs. All foals sired by a fully-nominated North American Breeders’ Cup stallion are eligible for nomination to the Breeders’ Cup program in their year of birth at the weanling rate.

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ROAP Honors Stewards

Tue, 2019-12-10 16:18

The Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP) has announced the winners of the 2019 Pete Pedersen Award, which is presented to stewards who have demonstrated professional excellence, integrity, and benevolent consideration in the performance of their duties. Braulio Baeza, Jr., Robert Pollock, Kim Sawyer, and Susan Walsh have been honored with this year’s award and were recognized Tuesday at the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program’s Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming Awards Luncheon in Tucson. Pedersen was a nationally recognized California steward and accomplished journalist.

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Miller Recommends Stormy Liberal be Retired, Instead He Will Go to New Barn

Tue, 2019-12-10 15:22

Trainer Peter Miller has announced that he will no longer be training two-time GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic) after being unable to resolve a dispute with one of the 7-year-old’s owners regarding the horse’s future.

“I am sorry to announce that Stormy Liberal will be leaving our barn to continue racing under another trainer,” Miller said. “Both my veterinarian and I believe the horse should be retired. In fact, we had already started inquiring for him to retire to Old Friends so he could live out his days in comfort and good care, and allow visitors to enjoy him up close.”

Stormy Liberal has been campaigned by the partnership of Gary Hartunian’s Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen. Hartunian said Tuesday that he has also believed the horse should be retired and that he has been bought out by Bernsen.

“We brought him back this year and it just wasn’t him,” Hartunian said. “He was letting horses pass him that shouldn’t have been passing him. At some point you have to retire a horse and call it a day. David thought otherwise and he had the option to buy me out. The whole thing started to get toxic and I was in the middle of it. Peter and David, they had different views about what to do with the horse.”

Bernsen responded to an email from the TDN and said he was unavailable for an interview because he was traveling, but did write “there are two sides to this story that led to the removal of Stormy Liberal from Peter Miller.”

According to Hartunian, Stormy Liberal has been sent to David Scanlon’s training center in Ocala, where he will be evaluated before any decisions are made regarding his future. Hartunian speculated that perhaps Stormy Liberal has run his last race after all.

“He will be well taken care of,” Hartunian said. “Dave is going to do a thorough evaluation and after that I think he will probably just retire him. Me and Pete wanted to retire the horse. He said he wanted someone independent to look at the horse and give him an evaluation on him. Once that happens, I think Dave, who is a good guy, will probably say, ‘You guys were right.’ I don’t own the horse anymore and I have no animosity toward anyone. I wish him the best.”

Stormy Liberal was claimed by $40,000 in 2016 by the Miller, Hartunian, Bernsen team. Some 13 months later, he won his first of two Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprints, winning the race at Del Mar by a head. He defended his title a year later at Churchill Downs, winning by a neck. Hartunian believes the second Breeders’ Cup win took so much out of the horse that he was never again the same.

“In the 2018 Breeders’ Cup, with Stormy and World of Trouble (Kantharos) going after one another, I thought that was the hardest fought stretch run I had seen since I’ve been in the game,” he said. “I think Stormy gave it all he had and that was that. He was telling us, ‘Guys, I’m tired. I only have so many fights in me.'”

Stormy Liberal returned to make seven starts this year, but failed to win a race. In his most recent outing, he was eighth in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

“It is very rare to claim a horse for 40k, win two Breeders’ Cup races and earn the prestigious Eclipse Award.” Miller said. It is my professional opinion that he has given and accomplished enough. While the owners certainly have every right to make these choices, and I respect that, I would like the record to show that I was not in favor of this decision. Stormy has been very special to our team, and to me. We will miss him and hope for the best.”

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KEE Catalogs 1,827 for 2020 January Sale

Tue, 2019-12-10 12:32

Keeneland has cataloged 1,827 horses for its five-day January Horses of All Ages Sale. The sale is scheduled for Jan. 13-17.

January Sale catalogs are available online at www.keeneland.com and print catalogs are scheduled to be delivered around Dec. 20.

The catalog includes 800 yearlings, 780 broodmares and broodmare prospects, 190 racing and broodmare prospects, 29 racing and stallion prospects, 26 horses of racing age, one stallion and one lifetime breeding right to the stallion Court Vision, the sire of GI TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Storm the Court. Supplementary entries are being accepted.

“The January Sale appeals to many prominent domestic and international breeders who are able to obtain quality broodmares before the start of breeding season,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “Another popular segment of the market is the selection of racing prospects and horses of racing age, which has yielded successful runners.”

Prominent stakes winners sold as short yearlings at the January Sale include Grade I winner Catholic Boy (More Than Ready) (Travers S. and Belmont Derby), and Grade II scorers Lazy Daisy (Paynter) (Pocahontas S.) and Toinette (Scat Daddy) (Goldikova S.) and Grade III winners Cutting Humor (First Samurai) (Sunland Park Derby), Mr Dumas (Majesticperfection) (Commonwealth Turf), Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man) (Robert B. Lewis S., Lazaro Barrera S., Bob Hope S. and Affirmed S.) and Zuzanna (Wilburn) (Red Carpet H.). Additional 2019 graded-stakes winning grads are Beau Recall (Ire) (Sir Prancealot {Ire}), winner of the GII Churchill Distaff Turf Mile and GII Yellow Ribbon H. and Bellavais (Tapit), winner of the GIII Marshua’s River S.

Stallions represented by yearlings in the catalog include American Pharoah, Arrogate, Bernardini, Candy Ride (Arg), Classic Empire, Constitution, Curlin, Distorted Humor, Empire Maker, Ghostzapper, Gun Runner, Honor Code, Into Mischief, Kitten’s Joy, Lemon Drop Kid, Liam’s Map, Malibu Moon, Mastery, More Than Ready, Nyquist, Palace Malice, Quality Road, Runhappy, Tapit, Tiznow, Uncle Mo, Union Rags and War Front, among others.

Each session begins at 10 a.m. ET daily.

 

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Churchill Downs Opening Night Series Expanded in 2020

Tue, 2019-12-10 11:59

In a collaboration between the Churchill Downs Foundation and Fund for the Arts, Churchill Downs Opening Night Series will be expanded in 2020. Among those added to the 2020 lineup is the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays. Also featured are the Louisville Ballet and Kentucky Shakespeare. Opening Night is Saturday, Apr. 25. Tickets start at $19 and are available www.ChurchillDowns.com.

In addition to the three arts organizations who will be supported by the series, hundreds of other local artists will perform at Churchill Downs Opening Night, presented by Budweiser, to kick off the 2020 Derby week. Over the past four years, over 1,000 artists have participated in the series. The evening’s theme is always orange, the color of creativity and encouragement, and spans 11 live races.

“Actors Theatre is thrilled to join our colleagues at the Louisville Ballet and Kentucky Shakespeare in partnering with the Churchill Downs Foundation and the Fund for the Arts to support some of the most exciting moments of any artistic season: opening nights!,” said Robert Barry Fleming, Artistic Director, Actors Theatre of Louisville. “During the upcoming 44thannual Humana Festival of New American Plays, we will premiere five productions from eight outstanding playwrights. It is thanks to the longtime support, advocacy, and passion of both these partners that we at Actors Theatre can fulfill our mission of inspiring the community and creating work that reflects the wonder and complexity of our time.”

Through the series in 2020, Churchill Downs will be the presenting sponsor of the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays in March and April; the Louisville Ballet’s “Kentucky! Volume 1” in April; and the opening production of this summer’s free Shakespeare Festival in Central Park.

During the Derby Week Opening Night at the track, Fund for the Arts and Churchill Downs will host Louisville’s Awards in the Arts. Seven Awards in the Arts grants are presented, including the National Award in the Arts, National Arts Advocate, Lifetime Achievement, Arts Innovation, Arts Education, Arts Impact and Emerging Leadership. Fund for the Arts and Churchill Downs will also offer three opportunities for funding and recognition for Greater Louisville artists and arts organizations–Call for Artists at Opening Night; Awards in the Arts Nominations; Opening Night Series Call for Project Applications.

Applications and nomination forms, which are due by 11:59pm EST Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, are available online at https://fundforthearts.org/awardsinthearts/ .

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Kentucky Commission Votes for Lasix Phase-Out

Mon, 2019-12-09 17:41

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) voted unanimously Monday to phase out race-day Lasix, according to reports in Daily Racing Form and the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Race-day Lasix administration is scheduled to be barred in 2-year-olds beginning in 2020, and the use of the drug will be eliminated in stakes for all ages starting in 2021.

The Dec. 9 Lasix vote followed a November recommendation to adopt the phase-out by the state’s Equine Drug Research Council, which serves as an advisory board to the KHRC.

The Courier-Journal noted that the KHRC is a state board that is subject to gubernatorial appointment. The monthly meeting had originally been scheduled for Dec. 10, but it was moved up a day to Dec. 9, coinciding with the final day of Governor Matt Bevin’s outgoing administration.

“We do not want to be an island,” Dr. Bruce Howard, the KHRC’s equine medical director, was quoted in the Courier-Journal.

KHRC member Pat Day, a retired Hall of Fame jockey, said, “I can see the need to get it done and be the leader in the pack,” according to the Courier-Journal.

Daily Racing Form‘s Nicole Russo reported on the logistics of the phase-out:

“The proposed rule changes are written to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020 and 2021, respectively. However, the changes are subject to additional formal steps before implementation, which could affect the dates they come into practice. The standard procedure for any ordinary regulation or proposed state law change is a legislative review process and approval, and a public commenting period. Only then can it be implemented on the racetrack. John Forgy, the general counsel for the KHRC, indicated that this process typically takes anywhere from five to eight months…

“[But] unlike ordinary regulations, proposals submitted as emergency regulations may be immediately approved by the governor of the state. The KHRC voted that its Lasix proposal be advanced to the governor’s office to be considered under either category. If the governor chose to give the proposal emergency consideration, it could be approved in time for the Jan. 1 date; if not, it would go through the ordinary process.”

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