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Updated: 18 hours 43 min ago

D J Stable, Green Group’s Len Green Talks Making the Horse Business Profitable On Writers’ Room

Wed, 2020-12-02 18:52

It’s no secret that the horse business is a tough one if your primary goal is to make money. But your chances are better the more experience and expertise you accrue, and The Green Group’s Len Green has decades of both. Wednesday, the tax, accounting and consulting firm’s founder and principal of successful racing outfit D J Stable joined the TDN Writers’ Room presented by Keeneland to impart his advice on turning a profit in racing, discuss what tax changes could be coming down the pike with a new presidential administration in 2021 and reminisce on some of his favorite memories in racing.

“One, you really have to learn about setting [your horse investment] up so it looks, sounds and smells like a business,” Green said when asked for his advice for new owners. “Instead of writing checks out of your own regular checking account, which has personal deductions on it, etc., set up an LLC. It gives you protection in terms of liability, but it also gives you the appearance that you’re running it as a business. Two, you have to have some strategy. Three, you’ve got to keep on changing that strategy every couple of years.”

Elaborating on the last point, Green talked about making the eventual move from strictly racing claiming horses to the substantial owning and breeding program he now oversees, one that included champion 2-year-old filly Jaywalk (Cross Traffic) in 2018.

“You get used to a particular pattern of doing business and it really takes a shock sometimes to get you out of your comfort zone,” he said. “Our comfort zone was winning races. It was great, winning 30% of the time, but you were losing the horse because if the horse won for $25,000 our trainer would drop it down to 20. It would win at 20, but by that point, someone would claim the horse from you, and that horse may have originally cost you 100 [thousand]. His theory was, you run it where it belongs, which is correct, but that’s a great pattern to lose money with. So at a certain point in time, we said, ‘Hey, let’s get out of this claiming game. It’s too difficult to make money.'”

Elsewhere in the show, the writers reacted to an intriguing weekend of racing across the globe and, in the West Point Thoroughbreds news segment, lamented the slap-on-wrist punishments trainers continue to receive despite overall positive movement on drug issues in the sport. Click here to watch the podcast; click here for the audio-only version.

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24 Stakes on Tap at Laurel Winter Meet

Wed, 2020-12-02 16:04

Laurel Park’s winter meet will feature 24 stakes worth $2.65 million. The highlight of the schedule is the $250,000 GII General George S. and the $250,000 GIII Runhappy Barbara Fritchie S., both to be run Feb. 13. Laurel’s winter stakes schedule will also include two new stakes races to be run Jan. 16–the $100,000 Spectacular Bid S. for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs and the $100,000 Xtra Heat S. for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs. The $75,000 Not For Love S. and $75,000 Conniver for Maryland-bred/sired horses, not raced earlier this year due to Covid restrictions, will return Mar. 13.

Laurel Park’s Apr. 17 program will feature the $125,000 Frederico Tesio S., a ‘Win & In’ for Triple Crown nominated horses to the GI Preakness S., and the $125,000 Weber City S., a ‘Win & In’ for the GII Black-Eyed Susan S.

“We’re optimistic about our winter racing season and believe this stakes schedule will provide us with some big weekends and a lot of strong cards and competitive races,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club.

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Shocker–Gulfstream Races Go Off at Post Time

Wed, 2020-12-02 15:48

After years of dragging its races out and running as many as seven or eight minutes after the listed post times, Gulfstream Park had a major surprise for horseplayers Wednesday on the opening day of the Championship Meet. The races were run at their advertised post times.

The change was ushered in by Aidan Butler, who had been working at the California tracks for The Stronach Group, the owners of Gulfstream, before he was recently promoted and reassigned, with his new duties including overseeing Florida racing.

“There are so many reasons why it is the right thing to do,” Butler said. “It’s the right thing to do from the aspect of the enjoyment of the sport. It’s the right thing to do when it comes to professionalism and being efficient. It’s the right thing to do for the animals. You don’t want them hanging around out there when it’s hot and going around and around in circles. Going forward, the team at Gulfstream and the team at The Stronach Group, we want to try to be the best at everything we do. That might sound cheesy, but that’s what we are striving for. That involves everything we do.”

Butler was aware of several postings on social media praising Gulfstream for the new strategy, many of them from horseplayers who had grown tired of having to guess when a Gulfstream race was actually going to be run.

“I didn’t expect the amount of feedback we have been getting because I just saw it as an operational tweak,” he said. “This is one of many things we want to tweak. I see that it is being well received.”

The post time drag was instituted as a means to increase handle, the idea being that giving bettors so much extra time before a race is actually run would lead to more money being put through the windows. Having to wait for the Gulfstream races could also have had the effect of keeping people from betting on other tracks. However, another possibility was that no extra money was actually being bet because players knew they could wait until the very last minute to place their bets and weren’t fooled by the post times that were listed.

Butler was among those that didn’t believe that the drag was having a positive impact on handle.

“I don’t believe what they were doing was productive,” he said. “All that it ended up doing was causing confusion. We all want horse racing to be taken super seriously and as a really good wagering sport and an enjoyable thing to be involved with. Then all these things happen across the industry, and I’m not just talking about post times, that are a little bit rinky dink. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s not what you would find at an ‘A class’ sporting event. We need to refocus a little bit and find things like this and address them.”

Speaking prior to the day’s fourth race, Butler said it was too early to tell if the change had negatively impacted handle with gamblers having to adjust to a new schedule and possibly getting shut out. A possible plan to first take the drag down to three or four minutes was discussed but then abandoned.

“They had been doing this for such a long time that we were thinking of backing into this slowly,” he said. “But then even if handle was going to be a little light at first because people weren’t getting their bets in, we decided to get right into it. Sometimes you are better off having that shock so more people hear about what you are doing and more people will pay attention.”

While Gulfstream was one of the first and worst offenders when it came to the post time drag, the majority of tracks in the U.S. followed their lead to the point where it is rare to see races go off on time anywhere. Butler said that, going forward, all of The Stronach Group tracks will strive to have their races go off on time.

“We’re going to try to be as efficient as we can with these times,” he said. “There might be times where we don’t want to end up crashing into other racetracks. That’s not going to be the norm. The norm, hopefully, will be what you saw today at Gulfstream.”

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Eclipse Awards Ceremony to be Virtual in 2021

Wed, 2020-12-02 15:37

The Eclipse Awards Ceremony honoring champions of 2020 will be held Jan. 28 as a virtual event with portions hosted from Spendthrift Farm in Lexington. Winners in 17 human and equine categories will be announced in a virtual ceremony streamed live on multiple outlets, including TVG and Racetrack Television Network, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. The finalists for the 2020 Eclipse Awards will be announced Jan. 16.

“Aligning the 50th Eclipse Awards with a historic property like Spendthrift Farm serving as the backdrop for the broadcast is a natural,” said Keith Chamblin, National Thoroughbred Racing Association Chief Operating Officer. “Earlier this summer when it became clear that the 2020 Eclipse Awards ceremony would need to be a virtual event, we began discussions with Spendthrift about hosting portions of the event. Not only is Spendthrift one of the leading stallion farms in the world, steeped in a great tradition of champions, under the leadership of B. Wayne Hughes it has led the way in introducing innovations to the industry like Safe Bet, Share the Upside and”

The Eclipse Awards are voted on by representatives of the NTRA, Daily Racing Form, and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. In addition to Spendthrift Farm, Eclipse Awards sponsors include Keeneland, Roberts Communications, Four Roses Bourbon, Daily Racing Form, Breeders’ Cup, FanDuel, The Stronach Group, TVG, Dean Dorton, Jackson Family Wines, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, and Hallway Feeds.

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No Lasix in Maryland’s Graded Stakes Starting in 2021

Wed, 2020-12-02 14:56

The Maryland Racing Commission (MRC) voted unanimously  Wednesday to expand a race-day Lasix ban that began this year with 2-year-olds to include horses of any age competing in graded stakes starting in 2021.

“A few months ago, the commission passed an emergency regulation restricting Lasix to any horse that’s two years old for the next three years, as part of [a negotiated] agreement between the HBPA and The Stronach Group,” J. Michael Hopkins, the MRC’s executive director, explained prior to the vote during the Dec. 2 teleconference meeting.

“Moving forward, it also included graded stakes races beginning in calendar year 2021,” Hopkins said. “What this regulation does is extend that restriction for 2-year-olds to include any horse [of any age] running in a graded stakes going forward in accordance with that agreement.”

Prior to the vote, commissioner David Hayden, who has bred Thoroughbreds at Dark Hollow Farm near Baltimore for three-plus decades, asked for a clarification on the current Lasix rule for 2-year-olds. He wanted to know if the current crop of juveniles who have been racing without Lasix this season will be able to receive it in Maryland once they turn three Jan. 1.

Hopkins confirmed that yes, the current crop of juveniles will be permitted Lasix in less than a month after starting their Maryland careers without it.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Hayden replied. “But, what do I know?”

The MRC unanimously approved two other rule changes during Wednesday’s meeting.

The first tweaked the existing regulation on shock wave therapy. Currently, Hopkins explained, horses can’t race in Maryland for 10 days after receiving that treatment. The revised version of the rule now prohibits shock-waved horses from working out on the track during that same 10-day post-treatment window.

Another rule change will require trainers and assistants to affirm that they have participated in four hours of continuing education programming prior to being granted a license. Although this rule doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2022, the coursework itself must be completed during calendar year 2021.

The MRC also proposed a new rule, based on recent discussions with horse people and track officials, to extend the right for a new owner to void a claim if the state veterinarian observes that a claimed horse is lame while cooling out in the test barn up to one hour after a race.

Although this rule still has to be published in the state register and go through a public commentary phase before it can be voted in for good, Hopkins suggested that commissioners adopt it as an emergency regulation simultaneous to that process, “to move it forward in a more expeditious manner.” Thus, it takes effect right away.

Sal Sinatra, the president of the Maryland Jockey Club, which owns Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, gave commissioners a brief update on the grass course at Laurel.

“We’re putting our turf course to bed,” Sinatra said. “We have some sand coming in next week; we have a deep drill-and-fill process that’s going to happen the week after on the turn. It doesn’t drain. We’ve reached out to some consultants [and] a company from Virginia is coming to dig down about 12 to 18 inches to put some sand in that turn to help with drainage. Just preparing [for next season] as we move forward.”

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Wanamaker’s Releases December Catalogue

Wed, 2020-12-02 13:38

The on-line auction company Wanamaker’s has released the catalogue for its December sale. The catalogue for the company’s sixth and final sale of 2020 can be viewed at and includes weanlings, yearlings, broodmare prospects and broodmares. Live bidding begins at 8 a.m. Dec. 10 and the first listing will close at 5 p.m.

“Reflecting on the development, launch, and operations of Wanamaker’s before and through COVID-19, Liza [Hendriks] and I really want to thank the industry, our sellers, and our buyers for putting their support and trust behind us. We are looking forward to this sale and continuing our monthly auctions in January of next year,” said Wanamaker’s co-founder Jack Carlino.

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Los Al to Allow Owners at Winter Meet

Wed, 2020-12-02 12:16

CHRB licensed owners with horses entered to race will be permitted to attend the races at the Los Alamitos winter meet, which begins Friday, Dec. 4. Owners will also be permitted to bring up to two adult guests. Owners wishing to attend the races should email or call Elsa Peron, Administrative Assistant of TOC ( to secure access, and reservations can be made up until 24 hours before race day.

On race days, owners must show their license when entering Los Alamitos Racecourse and park in the designated area. Owners will enter through the main entrance gate, where they will be required to be on the owner reservation list, provide their CHRB owners license, and undergo a Covid-19 health screening including a temperature check. Masks will be required to be worn at all times, and owners must respect social distancing guidelines.

The first come, first served seating is located in the outdoor area of the Vessels Club. There will be food and beverage service available, as well as parimutuel machines. At this time, owners may not enter the paddock or the winners circle. Any violation of this strict policy will result in a forfeiture of racetrack privileges.

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Tight Ten to Stand in PA

Wed, 2020-12-02 11:55

MGSP Tight Ten (Tapit–Devils Humor, by Distorted Humor) will stand at Mountain Springs Farm in Pennsylvania. He will have an introductory fee of $2,500 live foal and additional mares can be bred for $2,000 each. A lifetime breeding right to Tight Ten will be awarded to breeders after booking four mares.
A debut winner at Churchill as a juvenile, the Winchell homebred was second in both the 2018 GII Saratoga Special S. and GIII Iroquois S. for trainer Steve Asmussen. He retires with a record of 14-2-3-1 and earnings of $132,369.

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21-Day Vet’s List Stint Recommended for Clenbuterol in KY

Tue, 2020-12-01 14:43

The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council (EDRC), which serves as an advisory board to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), advanced a Dec. 1 recommendation to that full board that would require any horse who receives clenbuterol to be restricted via the veterinarian’s list for 21 days and then test clear of that substance prior to being removed from the list and allowed to compete.

Kentucky’s current clenbuterol regulation requires a prescription that must be filed with the KHRC within 24 hours of dispensing the drug and a withdrawal time of 14 days, according to Bruce Howard, DVM, who serves as the equine medical director for the KHRC.

Howard explained prior to the vote that the switch would align Kentucky with a clenbuterol model rule enacted by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium on Aug. 24.

Within the past year, a number of racing jurisdictions have tightened clenbuterol restrictions based on evidence showing the medication has been widely abused for its repartitioning effect that promotes lean muscle mass. Originally, clenbuterol was developed and is still prescribed as a potent bronchodilator that effectively treats respiratory issues.

On Jan. 1, the California Horse Racing Board enacted a clenbuterol rule that requires a prescription for appropriate usage plus a stint on the vet’s list until the drug clears. On May 1, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency started banning clenbuterol 28 days out from race day at tracks country-wide. On Oct. 22, the Maryland Racing Commission advanced a rule proposal similar to California’s, and the New York State Gaming Commission did the same Nov. 30.

In addition, more restrictive “house rules” will be in effect at Gulfstream Park and Oaklawn Park during their race meets, and racing commissions in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Virginia are also expected to clamp down on clenbuterol abuse by changing or writing new regulations.

“The KHRC office has received concerns and comments from numerous trainers and owners who feel that clenbuterol is being misused,” Howard said. “They’re concerned that clenbuterol is being used for the anabolic-type [steroid] effect rather than the therapeutic effect prescribed. There have been instances where veterinary records show clenbuterol is being dispensed to numerous horses in a barn, and in some cases the entire stable.

“The KHRC staff would propose that horses being prescribed clenbuterol for medically therapeutic purposes be placed on the veterinarian’s list for 21 days, with blood and urine testing negative for clenbuterol required for being removed from the veterinarian’s list,” Howard continued.

The clenbuterol proposal was the only item on Tuesday’s EDRC agenda, and it drew little discussion among board members, who had already broached the subject during a September meeting.

However, Andy Roberts, DVM, who represents Standardbred interests on the EDRC, again voiced concerns he raised in September about the need to treat harness horses differently than Thoroughbreds when it comes to clenbuterol because of how frequently Standardbreds race.

“I don’t want to diminish the concerns about clenbuterol because I think that it’s not illegitimate to want to control its administration to legitimate therapeutic purposes,” Roberts said. “However, I think the Standardbreds are taking it really quite strongly in the shorts on this one, because our horses race almost every week. There’s almost no opportunity to put the horses on clenbuterol already.”

Roberts noted that several states have shorter withdrawal times for Standardbreds on clenbuterol, and he said that Kentucky’s current 14-day standard backed by out-of-competition (OOC) testing protocols should be enough to catch abusers. He added that recent OOC testing at The Red Mile did not result in any clenbuterol positives

“That’s because you’ve taken the drug out of my hands on a therapeutic basis,” Roberts added.

Howard disagreed that tightening clenbuterol further would be harmful to Standardbreds.

“If a horse is severely ill enough that you feel you need to prescribe this drug, we’re trying not to take this out of your hands for therapeutic purposes,” Howard said. “I think this is a compromise to try and get away from the anabolic effect but still leave it in the hands of the private veterinarians…. I think it’s the perception of this anabolic-type effect or repartitioning effect that is what’s got everyone up in arms. When trainers are looking for that type of effect, that’s where the misuse or abuse of this drug takes place.”

Roberts countered: “First of all, it’s not an anabolic effect. It’s a repartitioning effect. And I know that’s splitting hairs, but it is not the same. Second, that repartitioning effect [has been shown in published studies] to last 11 days. So [the repartitioning effect] is gone before the drug is gone.”

Roberts warned fellow EDRC members about the danger of recommending rules based largely upon speculation that wrongdoing is occurring, adding that he already believes Standardbred trainers are withholding legitimate clenbuterol administration out of fears of triggering a positive.

“People would rather leave horses sick and end up with pleuropneumonia than treat them with clenbuterol. That means we are over-regulating,” Roberts said.

The board briefly debated a suggestion to have different rules for each breed, but KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil said that was not how the KHRC operates on issues like this one.

“No, this is an all-encompassing rule in Kentucky. One racing commission, [all] breeds. It would encompass the Standardbred horses the same as it would Thoroughbreds,” Guilfoil said.

The EDRC passed the measure by voice vote, with Roberts the lone dissenter.

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Lone Star Announces 48-Day 2021 Schedule With 20 Stakes

Tue, 2020-12-01 12:52

Lone Star Park’s Thoroughbred Racing Season will begin Thursday, April 22, 2021 and have an increased 48 days of racing before concluding July 11, the track announced Tuesday. The calendar features live racing every Friday, Saturday & Sunday at 2:35 p.m., select Thursdays at 6:35 p.m. and select Mondays at 2:35 p.m. Special Triple Crown post times of 1:35 p.m. and a July 4 twilight post time of 5:00 p.m. will round out the schedule.

Lone Star’s 2021 stakes schedule will run a total of 20 stakes worth a combined total of $2,225,000. At the top of the schedule is the $400,000 GIII Steve Sexton Mile for 3-year-olds and up, the new $300,000 Texas Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles (plus up to $100,000 for Texas-breds) and the $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff on turf. Those stakes, plus several other six-figure events, are all to take place on Memorial Day, May 31 as the track revives Lone Star Million Day, which was last held in 2011.

Purse levels will average an estimated $252,000 per day with maiden races at an estimated $36,000. Find the entire stakes schedule on Lone Star’s website here.

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Hieronymus Announces Retirement From Keeneland

Tue, 2020-12-01 12:00

G.D. Hieronymus, who has served as Keeneland’s Eclipse Award-winning Director of Broadcast Services since 2000, has announced his retirement effective Feb. 1, 2021. Hieronymus will continue to work during Keeneland’s Spring and Fall race meets and on special projects for the track and its industry and philanthropic partners.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this institution for the past 20 years,” Hieronymus said. “Keeneland’s Broadcast Services is synonymous with excellence. We have raised the bar for our industry and I am proud of this legacy. I’m grateful to my amazing crew and the countless relationships I have made throughout my career and I’m excited to continue my work with the Keeneland team while also expanding my work in the industry.”

“On behalf of the entire Keeneland family, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to G.D. for his leadership, passion and commitment to Keeneland and the Thoroughbred industry,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “While G.D. has always celebrated the rich history of our sport, he continues to pave the way for innovations that strengthen racing. We wish G.D. all the best in his retirement and look forward to his continued collaborations with Keeneland.”

Joining the Keeneland team in July 2000 as the Director of Broadcast Services after 19 years at Hammond Communications, Hieronymus celebrated many groundbreaking achievements and award-winning productions, including:

  • Development of the first high definition control room at a Thoroughbred race track in North America.
  • Seven-time recipient of the International Simulcast Award.
  • 2004 Eclipse Award recipient for Local Television Achievement.
  • Directing award-winning commercials and features for Keeneland, Thoroughbred farms and other industry partners.
  • Serving as director of photography for the Kentucky Derby Museum film “The Greatest Race,” which continues to be featured today.
  • Winner of the 2012 Charles W. Engelhard Award from the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association for outstanding service and coverage in media for the Thoroughbred industry.

In addition to his continued collaboration with Keeneland, G.D. looks forward to spending more time with his wife, Laura, and daughters, Kelly and Lindsay.

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Diodoro Fined $5K, Gets Stayed 60-Day Suspension for Lidocaine Positives

Mon, 2020-11-30 17:49

Two 3-hydroxylidocaine positives detected in separate horses six days apart at Canterbury Park in August and September have resulted in a $5,000 fine and 60-day suspension for trainer Robertino Diodoro.

The suspension part of the penalty has been stayed so long as Diodoro does not incur a Class 1 or 2 or Penalty Category A or B medication violation before Jan. 31, 2021.

Lidocaine is classified as a Class 2, Penalty Category B substance on the Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule compiled by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI).

For a first offense, the ARCI’s recommended Category B penalties are a “minimum one-year suspension absent mitigating circumstances [and a] minimum fine of $10,000 or 10% of total purse (greater of the two) absent mitigating circumstances.”

The positives were reported in lower-level claiming horses that ran second and sixth.

According to a Nov. 30 Minnesota Racing Commission ruling, Diodoro back on Nov. 18 had “waived his right to a formal hearing and agreed to accept a Board of Stewards ruling calling for a 60-day suspension effective Dec. 1, 2020 through Jan. 30, 2021, and a $5,000 civil penalty.” Another stewards’ phone conference with Diodoro on Monday preceded the release of the ruling.

That ruling continued: “Due to mitigating factors, the Board of Stewards ordered a stay of the 60-day suspension for 365 days beginning Dec. 1 providing Diodoro has no Class 1 or Class 2, Category A or B medication violations within that timeframe. If Diodoro is the subject of a Class 1 or Class 2, Category A or B medication violation within the timeframe, the 60-day suspension will be reinstated immediately…”

The ruling did not address specifics of the mitigating factors.

The first positive came from Hey Kitten (Haynesfield) who ran second as the 9-10 favorite Aug. 26 in a $10,000 claimer for owner Heads Up Racing. The 3-year-old filly was claimed that day and hasn’t started since, although she shows recent workouts at Turfway Park. According to the ruling, her 3-hydroxylidocaine finding was reported at 58.4 pg/ml (the threshold is 20 pg/ml).

On Sept. 1, Catty Krys (Discreet Cat) ran sixth as the 23-10 second favorite in a $7,500 claimer for owner Empire Racing Stables, LLC. She too was claimed by a new outfit, and has since started four more times at Remington Park and Charles Town Races without cracking the top three placings. According to the ruling, the 6-year-old mare’s 3-hydroxylidocaine finding was reported at 56.6 pg/ml.

According to the ruling, “The Board of Stewards took into consideration that the second violation occurred before the first violation was reported to the Stewards and was not known by the trainer. Therefore, the Board of Stewards treated the two violations as one, which is standard practice.”

The ruling stated that Diodoro requested split-serum sample testing for confirmation and the presence of 3-Hydroxylidocaine was recorded “in both split sample serums well above the threshold level,” the ruling stated.

Both horses were disqualified for purse and placing purposes only. The ruling did not address the status of the claims made by new owners on the days both tested positive.

Around the same time that Diodoro’s two Canterbury horses returned the Class 2 positives, the trainer had four other horses disqualified for Class 4 positives that turned up earlier in the year at Oaklawn Park and Will Rogers Downs.

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Newby, Merz Appointed To New Roles At Santa Anita

Mon, 2020-11-30 17:39

Officials at Santa Anita have announced that Nate Newby has been promoted to the position of general manager, while Chris Merz will add racing secretary to his current role of director of racing.

Newby has most recently served Santa Anita as its senior vice president and general manager and comes as Aidan Butler transitions to his new position as chief operating officer of 1/ST Racing and president of 1/ST Content in Florida. Butler previously headed California operations for Santa Anita’s parent company The Stronach Group. Newby, who has been at Santa Anita for nearly 20 years, has been the vice president of marketing since 2013. A hands-on horseman, Newby also is a skilled tournament director and handicapper.

Merz returned to Santa Anita earlier this year after a short stint as racing secretary for the Maryland Jockey Club. He also served as the stakes coordinator at Santa Anita and Del Mar, and the assistant racing secretary at Los Alamitos, prior to joining the Maryland Jockey Club.

“These well-deserved promotions are a reflection of the great bench strength in place at Santa Anita,” said Craig Fravel, CEO of 1/ST Racing, in making the announcement. “Both Nate and Chris helped guide Santa Anita through a very difficult time and, with Aidan now heading up our company’s East Coast operations, we are fortunate to maintain the continuity of the team.”

Steve Lym, who has served as Santa Anita’s vice president of racing since late 2018, has been appointed senior VP for racing development for 1/ST Racing and will be assisting Butler in his new role.

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Breeders’ Cup Extends Late Foal Nomination Deadline to Feb. 28

Mon, 2020-11-30 17:36

In advance of the major Thoroughbred auctions scheduled in January and February of next year, the Breeders’ Cup announced Monday that it has extended the late nomination deadline for all 2020 North American foals to Feb. 28, 2021. This late foal nomination will be the last opportunity for horsemen to nominate weanlings of 2020 to the Breeders’ Cup program at a fee of $1,500.

The $1,500 nomination entitles each foal with lifetime racing 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 and now up to Feb. 28 of their yearling year.

“We want to provide buyers and sellers the Breeders’ Cup Advantage for yearlings, either sold or purchased in January and February, to become fully-nominated individuals to the Breeders’ Cup program,” said Dora Delgado, Breeders’ Cup Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Officer.

Nomination fees for 2020 foals not nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by Feb. 28 will be increased to $12,000 for an individual sired by a Breeders’ Cup-nominated stallion and to $18,000 for an individual sired by a non-nominated stallion before July 15 through the racehorse nomination program.

For more information and to nominate online, visit

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New York Advances Clenbuterol Restrictions

Mon, 2020-11-30 16:32

The New York clenbuterol clampdown that was foreshadowed earlier this month by New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) equine medical director Scott Palmer, VMD, has been codified into a series of proposed rule amendments that advanced Nov. 30 by a unanimous 5-0 commission vote.

The new clenbuterol regulations follow a model rule of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) that was approved last August. After publication in the New York State Register and a public commentary period, the commission will have to vote again to formally adopt the changes.

According to a brief written by NYSGC general counsel Edmund Burns that was included in the informational packet for Monday’s meeting, “The proposed rule amendments would require the attending veterinarian to receive written approval of the Commission’s Equine Medical Director of a clenbuterol treatment plan for an identified horse prior to the start of such treatment.

“The proposal would also require horses treated with clenbuterol to be placed on the veterinarian’s list and not be removed until a workout for a regulatory veterinarian is performed and the horse is found to be negative for clenbuterol in blood and urine…

“In addition, horses on the veterinarian’s list for clenbuterol use would be required to submit to periodic tests while on such list to ensure that no more clenbuterol is administered to the horse than necessary to complete the pre-approved treatment regimen and to ensure that muscle-building and fat-reducing effects have dissipated before the horse is removed from the veterinarian’s list.”

Over the course of about two decades, clenbuterol in Thoroughbred racing has devolved from being a legit drug administered to effectively treat airway diseases to a substance of performance-enhancing abuse that is now more often intentionally given to bulk up horses, allowing them to gain a pharmaceutical edge that makes the animals stronger and faster.

Speaking during a Nov. 11 video press conference hosted by stakeholders and regulators who make up an alliance of Mid-Atlantic racing interests, Palmer described the abuse of clenbuterol in this manner as “basically an end-run around on our anabolic steroid ban.”

Beyond the NYSGC, the Maryland Racing Commission, Gulfstream Park, and Oaklawn Park are among the jurisdictions and racetracks that have recently or are in the process of tightening clenbuterol rules to some degree. On May 1, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency started banning clenbuterol 28 days out from race day at tracks country-wide. Back on Jan. 1, the California Horse Racing Board enacted clenbuterol rules that are similar to New York’s proposal.

Additionally, NYSGC executive director Robert Williams told commissioners Monday that “Pennsylvania has indicated that it will soon commence regulatory change, and it is expected that Delaware, New Jersey and Virginia will also consider the rule proposal.” West Virginia, he said, needs to change its clenbuterol rules via the state legislature.

Also on Monday, the commission unanimously adopted 13 new rules during the monthly meeting, with six pertaining specifically to Thoroughbred racing. They were:

A rule to restrict the administration to Thoroughbred horses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) “such that only one clinical dose may be administered during the week before the horse races. The proposal would limit the administration to the intravenous route, and adopt stricter thresholds for the two most commonly used NSAIDs, flunixin and phenylbutazone, as has been recommended by the RMTC and adopted as a model rule by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI). The proposal also reduces the list of NSAIDs that could be administered lawfully within one week before the horse races to only three by eliminating the NSAIDs that are not widely used and for which the appropriate lab threshold is unclear.”

A rule requiring trainers to maintain a record of serious bleeding episodes, kept for up to four years, unless given to a subsequent trainer or owner or reported to the NYSGC. The commission will establish a reporting system to collect such information, and a trainer will be permitted to delegate this duty to the treating veterinarian.

A rule to allow a horse eligible for furosemide administrations to be removed from the furosemide list for the limited purpose of running in a race whose conditions forbid the administration of furosemide.

A rule requiring Thoroughbred trainers “to keep a record of equine drug administrations not recorded in veterinary records, including the drug, dose, and date and time of administration.” This requirement will create a record of drugs that are administered after having been dispensed by veterinarians, and will make such records available for inspection for a period of six months.

A rule to revise the Thoroughbred out-of-competition (OOC) sample collection rule, “intended to conform our existing rule to [the ARCI] model rule [that] has received widespread industry support. The new rule will authorize “an effective collection program that protects the constitutional rights of horse owners and trainers when a regulatory jurisdiction seeks to collect” OOC samples.

A rule to “strengthen the health and fitness protections and upgrade the licensing requirements for jockeys, apprentice jockeys, exercise riders and outriders who ride a Thoroughbred horse,” which also mandates a baseline concussion assessment for all licensees who horseback.

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Baffert Pointing Life Is Good to Sham

Mon, 2020-11-30 14:06

Two-year-old sensation and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Life Is Good (Into Mischief) will likely make his next start in the GIII Sham S. on Jan. 2 at Santa Anita, reports trainer Bob Baffert. The one-mile event carries a purse of $100,000.

“If all is going well, it looks like the Sham will be his next race,” Baffert said. “It will give me a chance to stretch him out. Then I will decide on what’s next and look at races like the Rebel at Oaklawn.”

Owned by WinStar Farm and the China Horse Club, Life Is Good was purchased for $525,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September Sale. He made his debut Nov. 22 at Del Mar and instantly stamped himself as a contender for the 2021 Triple Crown with a 9 1/2-length win in which jockey Mike Smith never appeared to ask the horse for his best. His final time for the 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:15.50 and he earned a 90 Beyer figure.

In the first round of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, Life Is Good was the top choice after the “all others” option. He closed at 5-1, putting him ahead of Essential Quality (Tapit). The winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the likely 2020 champion 2-year-old male, Essential Quality closed at 8-1.

Baffert noted that his 2020 GI Kentucky Derby winner Authentic (Into Mischief) also won at first asking during the Bing Crosby meet at Del Mar before winning the Sham in his second career start.

“You can’t get an allowance race for these horses to fill around here,” Baffert said. “I ran Authentic in the Sham last year after he broke his maiden at Del Mar. The Sham looks like a logical spot.”

Baffert said he is looking forward to finding out more about Life Is Good.

“He’s got a great sire and they way he ran was impressive,” he said. “He’s got raw talent like American Pharoah and Justify. I think Authentic had that raw talent, too. But he was just immature at the time. This horse gives us something to get excited about, but they’ve got to go two turns first. I didn’t know how good American Pharoah was until he did it.”

Should Life Is Good make it to the Kentucky Derby, he will be in position to give Baffert his third win in the race over the last four years and his fourth since 2015. With six Derby wins, he is tied with Ben Jones for most by a trainer.

“I train for all the big guys, like WinStar,” he said. “I’ve made it to point where these people send me good horses and that makes my job easier. And we’ve figured out what to do with them when we do get a good one.”

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Keeneland January to Include Dispersal of Pompa Stock

Mon, 2020-11-30 13:27

Keeneland will offer 39 horses in the Complete Dispersal of the late Paul P. Pompa Jr.–including Turned Aside (American Pharoah), winner of Saturday’s Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship S., and additional 2020 Grade III winners Country Grammer (Tonalist) and Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom)–during the 2021 January Horses of All Ages Sale, to be held Jan. 11-14. Lane’s End will serve as agent for the consignment, which consists of broodmares, foals of 2020, horses of racing age and broodmare or stallion prospects. The January Sale catalog is scheduled to be online at on Dec. 8.

“Mr. Pompa’s industry involvement was admirable on every level,” Lane’s End Sales Director Allaire Ryan said. “He was dedicated to and ever enthusiastic about his investments as a breeder, owner and fan. He created strong relationships around a lifelong passion and never wavered from his philosophy to do right by his stock and enjoy the sport. The success of his breeding and racing operations is a direct result of his daily involvement with trainers, farm staff, agents and caretakers alike. We have valued the opportunity to care for his horses at Lane’s End and will be proud to stand behind his offerings at the January Sale.”

Eight mares in the Pompa Dispersal are in foal to Connect, a Grade I-winning son of Curlin who raced for Pompa and stands at Lane’s End.

Among the horses cataloged in the dispersal are these broodmares and foals of 2020:

  • Mary’s Follies, a Grade II winner by More Than Ready who is the dam of multiple graded stakes winners Night Prowler and Regal Glory as well as 2020 Japanese multiple Group 3 winner Cafe Pharoah.
  • A colt by Connect-Mary’s Follies foaled in 2020.
  • Sustained, a Grade III-placed daughter of War Front who is the dam of Turned Aside and is in foal to Connect.

These fillies of racing age:

  • Off Topic, a Grade I-placed 4-year-old filly by Street Sense.
  • Regal Glory, a Grade II-winning 4-year-old and ‘TDN Rising Star’ who has earned $773,884. Winner of the GIII Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf S. in her most recent race, Regal Glory also won the GII Lake Placid S. and GIII Lake George S. at Saratoga along with the Penn Oaks and Stewart Manor S.

These colts of racing age:

  • Country Grammer, a 3-year-old son who won this year’s GIII Peter Pan S.
  • Spirit Maker, a 2-year-old colt by Empire Maker who won his career debut Saturday at Aqueduct by 1 3/4 lengths.
  • Turned Aside, a 3-year-old colt who won the GIII Quick Call S. at Saratoga in July and captured Saturday’s Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship by 1 1/4 lengths. He has four wins in nine starts with earnings of $241,967.

“We have great respect for Paul–as a horseman, businessman and person–and were so saddened by his passing. Keeneland is honored to be given the responsibility of presenting the Pompa Dispersal,” Keeneland President-Elect and Interim Head of Sales Shannon Arvin said.

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Bravazo Joins Stallion Ranks at Calumet

Mon, 2020-11-30 11:45

Bravazo (Awesome Again–Tiz o’ Gold, by Cee’s Tizzy), who bankrolled over $2 million over the course of four seasons at the track, will enter stud in 2021 at his owner’s Calumet Farm. He will stand for $6,000.

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Bravazo was second in the GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at two and earned his way onto the Triple Crown trail with an upset victory in the GII Risen Star S. in 2018. He would go on to finish second, beaten a half-length by eventual Triple Crown hero Justify (Scat Daddy) in the GI Preakness S., and hit the board in the GI Haskell Invitational S., GI Runhappy Travers S., GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and GI Clark S.

“Bravazo was an iron horse on the track,” said Calumet’s Eddie Kane. “He was a fierce competitor with great resolve and determination. I’m confident he will establish this toughness in his progeny.”

The Calumet roster is topped by English Channel (Smart Strike), the number one turf sire by earnings with eighth individual black-type winners, five of those graded, including GISW and Eclipse Award candidate Channel Maker. English Channel stands for $27,500 in 2021.

Sire (Sire’s Sire) Fee
English Channel (Smart Strike) $27,500
Keen Ice (Curlin) $12,500
Oxbow (Awesome Again) $7,500
Ransom the Moon (Malibu Moon $7,500
Bravazo (Awesome Again) $6,000
Bal a Bali (Brz) (Put It Back) $5,000
Big Blue Kitten (Kitten’s Joy) $5,000
Real Solution (Kitten’s Joy) $5,000
War Correspondent (War Front) $5,000
Hightail (Mineshaft) $4,000
Mr. Z (Malibu Moon) $2,500
Optimizer (English Channel) $2,500
Producer (GB) (Dutch Art {GB}) $2,500
Raison D’Etat (A.P. Indy) $2,500

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Sequel NY Announces 2021 Stud Fees

Mon, 2020-11-30 11:12

Officials at Sequel Stallions New York have announced stud fees for its five-strong roster for the 2021 breeding season.

As was reported last week, ‘TDN Rising Star’ Honest Mischief (Into Mischief) is new to the Sequel breeding barn and will begin his stud career for an advertised fee of $6,500. He will be backed by a Sequel-led syndicate and his breeder Juddmonte Farm will also support the stallion.

Sequel’s perennial leading New York sire Freud (Storm Cat), the full-brother to Giant’s Causeway whose progeny have earned better than $65 million to date, commands a fee of $5,000, while Mission Impazible (Unbridled’s Song), Destin (Giant’s Causeway) and Union Jackson (Curlin) are each available for $2,500. All fees are Live Foal/Stands & Nurses. Multiple mare discounts are available as well as incentives for repeat breeders.

“It is a very tough climate in the sales market anywhere now, but especially in the regional markets. We want to give our breeders a chance to be profitable. The recent sales in Kentucky have clearly demonstrated breeding in Kentucky does not guarantee a profit. The lower stallion fees, no transportation or boarding costs coupled with the lucrative purse structure NYRA offers and resulting awards will give our breeders the opportunity to recover from the dismal 2020 season,” said Sequel owner Becky Thomas.

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Godolphin Flying Start Applications Accepted From Dec. 1

Mon, 2020-11-30 09:25

Applications for the 2021-2023 in take of trainees for the hugely popular Godolphin Flying Start (GFS) program will be accepted beginning Dec. 1, 2020 and will remain open through Feb. 8, 2021. The online portal has been opened a month earlier than normal to provide applicants additional time in a process that has been more streamlined than ever.

GFS is a two-year international management and leadership program for the Thoroughbred industry and provides its trainees with practical, hands-on work and study experiences in five different countries.

“It is fantastic that we have been able to deliver the first- and second-year course during these unprecedented times,” said Clodagh Kavanagh, executive director of GFS. “Trainees have had many of the same experiences as previous year groups as well as enhanced virtual learning and technology. By August 2021, when the new intake of Godolphin Flying Start trainees are due to commence the course, we will be able to deliver the best of our traditional and of our newly developed training and networking capabilities. We look forward to receiving their applications over the coming months.”

For additional information, visit or email Melissa Steele at

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