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Updated: 3 hours 34 min ago

Sports Leagues Fire Return Salvo to Stifle $150M Damages Claim

Wed, 2018-07-18 17:08

The four major United States professional sports leagues and the National College Athletic Association have collectively fired a return legal salvo in an attempt to dismiss a claim by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA) that Monmouth Park and the state were allegedly deprived of nearly $150 million in revenue while the legality of sports betting was fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case dates to October 2014, when Monmouth’s operator, Darby Development LLC, first believed it had the authority to take sports bets on National Football League games. The leagues joined forces and filed a lawsuit in an attempt to halt the bet-taking, but had to post a $3.4 million bond, which the court deemed to be Monmouth’s projected revenue losses for a month while the temporary restraining order (TRO) was in effect.

But the case ended up taking 42 months—as opposed to just the one month that the bond covered—to resolve.

And when the Supreme Court finally issued its landmark decision to strike down the federal law barring wagering on team sports on May 14, 2018, Monmouth soon after sought damages in U.S. District Court based on all the bet-taking revenue it allegedly lost, extrapolating the initial $3.4 million bond to extend over the entire time frame from when the TRO went into effect until Monmouth was legally allowed to begin accepting wagers.

The leagues’ July 16 memorandum of law in opposition to the NJTHA’s motion for judgment states, in part, “NJTHA is not entitled to recover anything from the TRO bond, and its motion should be denied for several reasons,” outlined as follows:

“First, as a matter of law, NJTHA may not recover damages allegedly sustained after the expiration of the TRO on November 21, 2014.

“Second, NJTHA’s effort to recover more than the amount of the bond for damages allegedly sustained after the expiration of the TRO by asserting that the Leagues acted in bad faith in pursuing their rights under PASPA is frivolous and should be rejected.

“Third, NJTHA is not entitled to recover anything under the bond because, as a matter of law, it was not “wrongfully enjoined” by the TRO.

“And fourth, NJTHA has not proven the existence or amount of any alleged damages during the four weeks that it was restrained by the TRO.”

The NJTHA now has until Aug. 13 to file its reply in federal court.

Globetrotting Lady Aurelia Retired

Wed, 2018-07-18 16:59

‘TDN Rising Star’ Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy-D’ Wildcat Speed, by Forest Wildcat), the fleet filly who won Group 1 races in both England and France, has been retired. The news was first reported by TVG.

According to trainer Wesley Ward, the filly is sound and doing well, but owners Stonestreet Stables and Peter Leidel thought that since her recent form had been a bit below norm it was a good time to call it a career.

Lady Aurelia last raced in the G1 King’s Stand S. at Royal Ascot June 19. As the 2-1 favorite, she finished seventh. She was also beaten in her prior start, the Giant’s Causeway S. at Keeneland. She was the 3-5 favorite in that race and finished second.

“This morning she was bucking and kicking and playing in her stall,” Ward said. “It was probably selfish of me to do so, but I pitched them to let me keep going with her because I thought she still has that fire in her. She’s feeling good and is perfectly sound and the Breeders’ Cup is at Churchill this year. She’s trained her whole life right down the street at Keeneland. Ward continued, “Maybe cooler heads prevailed. Looking at the bigger picture she hasn’t been the same lately. Mentally, physically she seems to be fine, but when she had laid it down on the racetrack in her last couple of runs she hasn’t been as good as she was last year. In the last race at Ascot, she just didn’t fire on the day, for whatever reason.”

To Ward, Lady Aurelia is the type of horse every trainer dreams of having.

“If you’re lucky, you get blessed with something like her maybe once in your career, so I was very lucky and fortunate to be able to train her,” he said. “She’s been very special to me and my family and she gave us life-long memories from what she accomplished at two and three going over to Royal Ascot. She had a fantastic run. She’s certainly the most accomplished horse I’ve ever trained and the best 2-year-old I ever trained.. To come back and be vindicated at three (with a win in the King’s Stand) was very special. I’ve had some great horses and she’s certainly at the top of that list.”

Lady Aurelia is the only American-based horse to win a Cartier Award, Europe’s version of the Eclipse Awards. She was named champion 2-year-old filly in 2016 thanks to wins in the G2 Queen Mary S. at Royal Ascot and the G1 Prix Morny in France. Her 2017 King’s Stand win made her a two-time winner at Royal Ascot.

The $350,000 KEESEP yearling, bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, won five of 10 career starts, good for $834,945 in earnings. She ran more times in Europe (6) than she did in the U.S. (4).

The owners have yet to decide who she will be bred to.

Oaklawn to Stage Two $1M Races in 2019

Wed, 2018-07-18 16:39

Having already announced an historic extension of their winter meeting into May for the first time, officials at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, said Wednesday that the GII Rebel S. will see its purse boosted by $100,000 to join the GI Arkansas Derby as seven-figure events to be staged in 2019. New to the stakes schedule are the $250,000 Oaklawn Invitational S., a nine-furlong test on Kentucky Derby day May 4, and the $200,000 Oaklawn Mile, the centerpiece of the track’s May 3 program.

“The Rebel S. has become a significant prep in its own right and warrants a one-million dollar purse with runners like Smarty Jones, Lookin at Lucky, Curlin, Oxbow, Will Take Charge, American Pharoah and Creator,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “We’re extremely proud to offer the richest and most proven path to the Triple Crown.”

Oaklawn is the only track in the country to offer a pair of seven-figure lead-up races into the Triple Crown.

Some of the track’s other black-type races have seen their purses increased. The GIII Fantasy S., the local prep for the GI Kentucky Oaks contested on the opening day of the Racing Festival of the South, will be worth $500,000 in 2019, up $100,000 on 2018, while the GIII Bayakoa S., a steppingstone to the GI Apple Blossom H., sees its prize money hiked to $200,000 from its previous level of $150,000. The Bayakoa is part of a triple-stakes card on President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 18, sharing the bill with the $500,000 GIII Southwest S. and the $500,000 GIII Razorback H.

“We couldn’t be more excited about our new stakes and racing schedule,” Cella said. “We are now able to present some of our best racing during the best time of the year weather-wise in Arkansas. While the Racing Festival of the South will remain the focal point of the season, we look forward to growing the new stakes races and providing our fans with world-class racing into May.”

Oaklawn will stage 30 stakes events worth $8.85 million during the 2019 season, which runs Jan. 25 through May 4.

Depth of Class–Rest of the ’18 Freshman Sires

Wed, 2018-07-18 14:58

It’s been 11 years since the first yearlings from Tapit, Candy Ride (Arg), Medaglia d’Oro and Speightstown hit the market. That epic sire class now has 68 Grade I winners between them, according to the TDN Sire Lists, and no fewer than 88 active sire sons.

We haven’t seen a comparable group since–and really, not many before. But the incoming freshman, those with their first yearlings in 2018, hold as much latent promise as any of the past three decades, and it wouldn’t be a shock if we look at them the same way 11 years from now.

American Pharoah is the runaway market leader, and for obvious reasons. His first-crop weanlings–the first available by a Triple Crown winner in 36 years–averaged $467,307 from 13 sold in 2017. That’s a massive figure about 3 1/2 times the average number of the crop’s leading sire for the past five years. He is joined by Honor Code, Tonalist, Liam’s Map, Carpe Diem, Constitution, Palace Malice, and Bayern, each one a multiple Grade I winner.

A month ago, we launched a videos series that put a spotlight on these stars, and spoke with connections about what to expect now that their first foals are yearlings.

In this last installment of the series, we’ll focus on some of those freshman sires who stood for $15,000 or less. These are sires that, though without the big price tag, aren’t exactly short on credentials. They include Gainesway’s GI Breeders’ Cup Mile hero Karakontie (Jpn), WinStar’s Grade I winner Daredevil and the impeccably bred Commissioner, and the Grade I winners Mr Speaker and Lea, who stand at Lane’s End and Claiborne, respectively.

Lea (First Samurai) was maybe the surprise sire of the lot last year, when 17 of 21 weanlings on offer sold for an average of $88,294. A $230,000 session topper at Keeneland November was notable, and that off a $12,500 fee (he’s now down to $7,500). Lea’s race record reflected his transatlantic pedigree. Out of a Galileo (Ire) mare, he was first or second in 13 of 19 starts and earned $2.3 million; he beat Will Take Charge in the GI Donn H., ran third in the G1 Dubai World Cup, and was a close-up second in the GI Woodbine Mile on turf.

“He’s very versatile, and I think that’s what led his weanlings to sell so well,” said Claiborne’s Walker Hancock. “I think a lot of buyers saw that potential in his offspring, that he could be dirt or turf, and that’s very attractive.”

Karakontie (Jpn) (Bernstein) is another with an international pedigree, hailing from the family of the current phenom Alpha Centauri (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}). The Japanese-bred Flaxman colorbearer is a great-grandson of Miesque, so his second dam is a half to Kingmambo. A Group 1 winner at two, Karakontie emulated Kingmambo’s victory in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains as a sophomore. Then, like Miesque, he shipped to Southern California to win the BC Mile while still a 3-year-old. His 2017 weanlings average $68,866 off at $15,000 fee.

“I think his stock have progressed very well,” said Gainesway’s Michael Hernon. “They have plenty of size. He dominates his mares, and I think [his yearlings] strongly resemble him. He got very strong initial support from [Gainesway owner] Antony Beck, who really gave this horse a huge chance, breeding 40 of his own mares in year one. Maria Niarchos has also supported the horse well through the first three years.”

WinStar has four freshman sires in 2018. Carpe Diem and Constitution headline, but both Daredevil and Commissioner have offered breeders bang for the buck. Daredevil (More Than Ready), at $12,500 initially, very much fit the mold of that explosive Todd Pletcher-trained 2-year-old who looks like any kind. In fact, he’s not completely dissimilar from his sire, another Pletcher pupil. Daredevil romped in his six-furlong debut at Belmont in 1:09.87, then beat Upstart by 2 1/2 lengths in the GI Champagne S. with a huge 107 Beyer.

“More Than Ready has established himself as one of the best 2-year-old sires, year in and year out, not only here in America, but worldwide,” said WinStar’s Sean Tugel. “His 107 Beyer in the Champagne was the fastest 2-year-old mile in over 20 years. So he set himself apart from many other sons of More Than Ready with his early speed and Grade I ability.”

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Daredevil had three sell at Fasig-Tipton July for an average of $63,000.

It’s easy to remember Commissioner (A.P. Indy) as the Classic-performing 3-year-old he was. The striking colt was just touched off a head by Tonalist in the GI Belmont S., and returned at four to win a trio of graded stakes, the GII Hawthorne Gold Cup H. among them. But the half to the good sprinter Laugh Track (Distorted Humor) was early enough to break his maiden at Saratoga as a 2-year-old, albeit in a rare nine-furlong main-track event for juveniles. He went for $7,500 in his first year.

Commissioner had a big group of 10 at July. Seven sold for an average of $60,714, led by a pair of colts who made $100,000 each.

“Being by A.P. Indy, sometimes you can get labeled as a little bit later-developing horse,” said Tugel. “But the fact that there [was] such a large cross-section of his crop in the first sale shows that there’s quite a bit of precocity to him. Not only to himself, but to his first crop of yearlings.”

Lane’s End’s Mr Speaker (Pulpit) was bred to be a sire. He’s out of a Grade II-performing Unbridled daughter of Personal Ensign and thus shares a cross with Tapit. As a runner, he was a versatile sort for Shug McGaughey. He aired by four lengths in the GIII Coolmore Lexington S. on the Poly at three, then upset a deep field in the GI Belmont Derby over turf a few starts later. Backers of Mr Speaker, who stands for $10,000, had to be encouraged by the $180,000 yearling colt that sold at Fasig July. (Another by the sire was bought back for $95,000.)

“He’s got a great syndicate behind him and the support has been excellent,” said Lane’s End’s Bill Farish. “I think certainly being bred the way he is, you’d think that dirt is a real possibility, and the fact that he was a really good turf horse himself, I think he’ll be versatile. I think what we’re seeing in his yearlings is not making us thinking any differently.”

To view the entire videos series on this year’s freshman class, click here.

California Chrome to Receive Comeback Award

Tue, 2018-07-17 17:19

The 2018 Rood & Riddle Comeback Award, presented to a horse who “has performed at the highest levels of competition, faced a medical/ surgical issue, received veterinary care by a Rood & Riddle veterinarian, and subsequently returned to compete at his/ her previous performance level” has been awarded to California Chrome.

Winner of the 2014 GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S., the flashy chestnut was aimed for an English campaign following his runner-up effort in the G1 Dubai World Cup, but was subsequently sidelined and was treated by Dr. Larry Bramlage, who decided to treat California Chrome medically and give him a break. Returned to trainer Art Sherman in late 2015, the California-bred won the 2016 World Cup to assume the mantle of world’s richest horse at the time. California Chrome now stands stud at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky.

“We are extremely pleased to present the 2018 Rood & Riddle Comeback Award to California Chrome,” said Dr. Tom Riddle. “He exemplifies the characteristics of an outstanding equine athlete who suffered a health issue, returned to elite competition and continued his winning ways.”

Previous winners of the Comeback Award include multiple horse of the year Wise Dan and the World Champion Fine Harness Saddlebred mare Tempt Me.

KHBPA ‘Excited’ Over Pending Ellis Sale; Smooth Transition Expected

Tue, 2018-07-17 17:15

The weeks-long rumored sale of Ellis Park got a step closer to reality on Tuesday, when the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) approved the transfer of Ron Geary’s 70% ownership to Saratoga Casino and Hospitality Group (SCHG).

With the deal expected to close within days, the message to the Ellis backstretch community from leadership in the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is to expect an untroubled management transition, largely because SCHG is a known entity. The gaming and hospitality company, based in Saratoga Springs, New York, has owned a 30% minority stake in Ellis since 2012.

“We’re excited with the sale. We worked with Saratoga in the past when they purchased a portion of Ellis Park, so it would seem like this is the most seamless way to continue on a pretty good meet,” Marty Maline, the KHBPA executive director, told TDN via phone shortly after the commission meeting concluded.

“Any time you have any kind of situation where you get new [racetrack] management, you can kind of be a little bit disjointed and lose your continuity,” Maline said. “But with them already being familiar with Ellis Park, I think it will be a smooth transition. We understand it will be fairly soon, and I think it will work very well. I think it will be business as usual.”

When TDN attempted to contact Ellis general manager Jeff Hall to discuss short-term expectations, he said he was involved in a meeting with attorneys about the pending sale and would not be able to speak on the record. SCHG officials in New York could not be reached for comment prior to deadline for this story.

But Geary, Ellis’s outgoing owner, said via press release that it is his understanding that SCHG’s intent is to keep the current Ellis management team intact.

“That’s what I recommended,” Geary said.

As for his reason for selling, Geary said this: “It’s been 12 years, and I just turned 71. My wife and my two kids and my nine grandkids for years have asked me to slow down. I think it’s time. I’ve enjoyed working with Saratoga over the years. It’s been a really fun and fast-moving 12 years. I feel like we’ve had some great successes and we’ve brought it a long ways with so many people’s help. I know Saratoga will be focused on continuing the progress.”

When Geary teamed with SCHG in 2012, the 30% stake cost $4 million. Geary then invested that money into the launch of historical race gaming at Ellis.

The terms of the pending deal for the remaining 70% stake were not disclosed.

This year Ellis is offering a record $230,000 a day in purses, made possible in part because of a relationship with Kentucky Downs in which the KHBPA facilitated the transfer of $2.9 million in purses from Kentucky Downs to Ellis to bolster purses and encourage horsemen to stay in Kentucky for the summer.

“With the extra purse money that we were able to provide from Kentucky Downs, we’ve been able to entice more horsemen from areas such as Churchill and even Chicago in maiden-allowance and allowance races,” Maline said. “Even our claiming purses have allowed us to have a better body of horse, and obviously with the fuller fields, the race meeting is going very well.”


Sequel Mares and Foals Die in Van Fire

Tue, 2018-07-17 16:31

Three mares and their accompanying foals died Tuesday in a van that caught fire in an accident on the way from Kentucky to New York, Sequel Stallions New York announced Tuesday afternoon. Among the horses who died were Red Diamond Stables’s La Java (Medaglia d’Oro) and her colt by Constitution; Starship Stables’s Starship Voodoo (Roar) and her colt by Macho Uno; and Sequel’s own Southern Sunshine (High Cotton) and her filly by Orb.

“These were not just any mares, as they were foremost in our hearts,” read a post on Sequel New York’s website. “We send our condolences to all the connections that are sharing in this loss.”


King, Leonard, TDN to Partner on Australia-New Zealand Edition

Tue, 2018-07-17 16:00

Thoroughbred Daily News Australia-New Zealand, a comprehensive website and eNewspaper, will debut on Aug. 15, 2018. TDN AusNZ is co-founded and owned by Gary King, the Vice President of International Operations of TDN, and Vicky Leonard, formerly the Marketing and Projects Manager at Arrowfield Stud.

It will operate in partnership with the world-renowned Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN) brand, but will be its own distinct entity and ownership structure. The company will be based in Sydney, Australia.

“I’m delighted to be launching TDNAusNZ with Vicky Leonard,” said King. “I have always wanted to develop a product for the Australasian marketplace, and that time has arrived. Vicky’s reputation within the industry for creativity and forward thinking needs no introduction.”

“The TDN has an excellent reputation as a customer-focused brand delivering quality bloodstock editorial. I am excited to continue that mission with TDNAusNZ,” said Leonard. “We will launch with an interactive digital platform, designed for our increasingly mobile lives and to provide innovative opportunities for advertisers.”

King will continue in his current role with TDN as Vice-President of International Operations, but will also be a managing owner of TDNAusNZ. “We plan on bringing many of the same qualities that has made TDN so successful, but we have some exciting new additions tailored for an Australian/New Zealand audience.”

Just as the TDN before it, and the popular TDN European edition which King oversees, TDNAusNZ will be aimed at the busy industry professional with the goal of delivering the information he or she needs in a comprehensive yet digestible offering.

“It’s difficult to allocate time each day to filter through various media sources,” said Leonard. “Yet our roles depend on keeping up with the most essential industry news, stallion trends and pedigrees; plus up-to-date race and sales results. We need quality information at our fingertips, and we need to understand what it means for us, our business and our clients.”

TDNAusNZ will investigate, interpret and deliver the most valuable content in an easy-to-read, palatable format. It will dissect and discuss important events, tell stories and analyse industry trends, and bring relevant ideas from the outside world to help grow the readers’ knowledge and help them in their business. Breaking news will be covered and circulated immediately.

The paper will be delivered in a mobile-optimised format that works in conjunction with the daily routine of readers. Over time the TDNAusNZ platform will develop additional interactive and helpful tools, guided by feedback from readers and advertisers.

Kelsey Riley, TDN International Editor, will be a frequent contributor to TDNAusNZ. TDNAusNZ has hired Paul Vettise and Brendan O’Brien as associate editors. The publication will also use a global team of freelance journalists.

“I’m very excited to be apart of TDNAusNZ,” said Riley. “I have made frequent trips to Australia the past five years to cover sales for the TDN, and have long felt that there was room in this thriving marketplace for a dynamic digital product like TDNAusNZ. I think users will find it to be a good blend of components that have traditionally served TDN readers well, and innovative new ideas.”

Click here to sign up for free to TDNAusNZ.

Gary King
+1 732 320 0975

Vicky Leonard
+61 405 601 152

Finger Lakes Barn Quarantined for Strangles

Tue, 2018-07-17 15:18

A confirmed case of strangles has led to a state-imposed quarantine of Barn 19 at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack and at a separate off-track training stable in Ontario County.

The national Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) database reported Tuesday that the precautionary quarantine was mandated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets after a horse (that was not identified) became clinically ill July 10 after leaving the track July 8.

“Both quarantined premises have biosecurity procedures in place,” the EDCC reported. “Horses in Barn 19 will not be allowed to race until July 29 but will be allowed to train under certain restrictions. If there are any confirmed cases or signs consistent with strangles found, the quarantine may be extended. Officials will continue to monitor the situation.”

Strangles, also known as “equine distemper,” is a contagious upper respiratory tract bacterial infection that can produce coughing, nasal discharge and fever while causing lymph nodes to swell. Left untreated, the swelling can cause airway obstruction leading to death (thus the name “strangles”).


Hall of Fame Jockey Manny Ycaza Dies

Tue, 2018-07-17 15:09

Panamanian-born Hall of Fame jockey Manuel (Manny) Ycaza, who laid the groundwork for jockeys of Latin American origin in finding success in the United States, passed away July 15 in New York. He was 80 years old.

According to biographical information from the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Ycaza began riding horses as early as age six and was riding professionally in his native Panama already as a 14-year-old. He also rode for a time in Mexico before shifting his tack to the U.S.

The first two-time winner of the prestigious D. C. International in 1959 and 1960–both times with the Cain Hoy Stable-owned and Woody Stephens-trained Bald Eagle-Ycaza was subsequently hired by owner E. P. Taylor of Windfields Farm to ride Canebora and the duo teamed to take the 1963 Queen’s Plate. Ycaza added an American Classic to his resume the following season, guiding Rokeby Stables’ Quadrangle to victory in the Belmont S. to short-circuit the Triple Crown bid of Northern Dancer, owned, ironically, by Windfields. Ycaza tasted further success in New York in 1968, piloting Dark Mirage to the first Filly Triple Crown, then consisting of the Acorn S., the Mother Goose S. and the Coaching Club American Oaks.

Ycaza won four riding titles at Saratoga and in 1959, posted 41 wins, a record that stood for 38 years. Though his aggressive riding style landed him in frequent hot water with stewards, Ycaza was selected by his peers as winner of the George Woolf Memorial Award in 1964, retired from the saddle in 1971 due to injuries and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.

“People say to me that I must be rich by now,” Ycaza said in a June 1960 Sports Illustrated article. “I say, ‘No, to be rich is not to have only money. To be rich is to be warm in here, in the heart. If you have five friends, you are the millionaire.'”

According to Daily Racing Form, visitation will be held Friday, July 20, from 2-5 p.m. and from 7-9 p.m. at the Fox Funeral Home, 98-07 Ascan Avenue, Forest Hills, NY. A funeral mass is to be held Saturday, July 21, at 9:30 a.m. at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs with burial in the Mt. St. Mary cemetery in Flushing, Queens.

Del Mar Opens With Strong Field Sizes

Tue, 2018-07-17 12:11

Del Mar opens its doors for its 36-day summer meet Wednesday with large fields highlighting the opening day card. While the first three races on the card are claiming events with nine horses signed on for each, the back end of the day features ample quality–including an overflow field of 16 entered for the grassy Oceanside S. for 3-year-olds, which goes as race eight. While in years past the Oceanside would often be split into two smaller divisions due to the over-subscription, the track has opted to run the popular race in one larger division in recent seasons.

In total, Del Mar will run 41 stakes races during the meet, which runs until Labor Day Sept. 3, highlighted by the $1-million GI TVG Pacific Classic Aug. 18. An emphasis on turf racing is evident from the outset, with four grass races–including the Oceanside–carded on opening day.

Competitive Bunch in Oceanside

The morning line odds board tells the story in Wednesday’s Oceanside, with Desert Stone (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) established as the slight 4-1 favorite. The colt carries a two-race winning streak into the opening day feature. Due to the race’s restriction for sophomores who have not won a $50,000 stakes purse at a distance over a mile in 2018, a number of the top contenders must answer questions about the two-turn trip. Holly and David Wilson’s Calexman (Midshipman) was a course-and-distance winner last November, but recently has enjoyed success sprinting down the hill at Santa Anita. Rail-drawn Arawak (Uncle Mo) shortens up in distance off an even third-place finish in Santa Anita’s nine-furlong Rainbow S. and could be dangerous if able to replicate his close fourth-place finish in the GII American Turf S. at Churchill Downs May 5.

The race also features an appearance by Faversham (Lucky Pulpit), a California-bred full-brother to 2014 and 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome.

Accelerate’s Turn to Take the Spotlight?

While North America’s all-time richest Thoroughbred Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) was undoubtedly the talk of the town heading into the 2017 summer meet, Hronis Racing’s Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky)–the horse who defeated him twice in last year’s GII San Diego H. and GI Pacific Classic (when both finished behind Collected {City Zip})–has inherited the throne as the headliner of the 2018 meet. Accelerate has seemingly taken his game to a new level this year, capturing the GI Santa Anita H. and the GI Gold Cup at Santa Anita, and is expected to follow a similar path to 2017, with a start in this Saturday’s San Diego as a springboard to a tilt in the Pacific Classic.

Don Alberto Stable’s Unique Bella (Tapit) will get her share of the spotlight as well with an expected appearance in the July 29 GI Clement Hirsch S. The ultra-talented ‘TDN Rising Star’ was last seen notching a decisive victory in the GI Beholder Mile S. at Santa Anita June 2.

Bonuses for Horsemen and Bettors Alike

If the robust opening day entry box was any indicator, the Del Mar team’s efforts to bolster the quality and quantity of the racing product are off to a successful start. Most notably, the track’s “Ship and Win” program seeks to incentivize participation from out-of-town barns that send horses to Southern California for the summer months.

“We’ve enhanced our Ship And Win program so that it’s now $2,000 for the initial start,” said Del Mar racing secretary David Jerkens. “Last year it was $1,500, two years ago $1,000. Plus a 30% purse bonus. We aggressively put the word out everywhere that we could. The [2017] Breeders’ Cup exposure helped with a lot of people seeing Del Mar for the first time. Ian Wilkes, I think especially attributes that partly to his being here.”

Bettors focusing on the Del Mar meet will also feature a new late Pick 5 wager on the day’s final five races that offers a “bonus” payout to any gambler holding the lone winning ticket on the bet. With a bonus of $1 million on weekends and $500,000 on weekdays, the move puts Del Mar in line with a number of other tracks who have moved to offer “jackpot” payouts in recent years. Del Mar will also feature a new early Pick 4 that begins on race two every day.

Mutuel Tellers’ Strike Averted

According to a Tuesday release from Del Mar officials, the track has reached an agreement in principle with the Pari-Mutuel Employees Guild of California, Union Local 280, for a new collective bargaining agreement that will extend through the 2019 summer season at Del Mar. The two sides had reached an impasse over staffing levels. Wagering locations on Wednesday’s opening day program will be staffed at maximum levels.

Handle Increase at Belmont Meet

Mon, 2018-07-16 16:12

Belmont Park’s spring/summer meet, which concluded Sunday, recorded a 9.1% increase in all-sources handle over 2017, according to figures released Monday by the New York Racing Association. All-sources handle for the 53-day meet was $634,276,776. Average daily handle was $11,967,486, an 11.1% increase over 2017.

The meet was highlighted by Justify (Scat Daddy)’s sweep of the Triple Crown in the June 9 GI Belmont S. All-sources handle for that card was $137,954,895, the second-highest one-day handle in NYRA history behind Belmont Stakes Day in 2014.

The July 7 Stars & Stripes Racing Festival, comprised of five graded stakes, generated all-sources handle of $24,612,465, the highest such handle figure since NYRA launched the Stars & Stripes Racing Festival in 2014.

Lady Lucy Joins D’Amato Barn

Mon, 2018-07-16 15:48

Lady Lucy (Into Mischief), purchased for $200,000 at last week’s Fasig-Tipton July Horses of Racing Age Sale, has shipped out west to the Del Mar barn of trainer Phil D’Amato and could see graded stakes action in the Aug. 5 GII Sorrento S. The juvenile was purchased by Little Red Feather Racing and Louisville attorney Sam Aguiar in a 50-50 partnership.

Bloodstock agent Tom McCrocklin signed the ticket on Lady Lucy (hip 465) last Monday night at Fasig-Tipton.

“I’m trying to buy Into Mischief yearlings and can’t get them for $200,000,” McCrocklin said. “This is a filly who has already broken her maiden at Churchill Downs and I can get her for $200,000. She’s not perfect in front, but to me when you get to a horses of racing age sale, it’s no longer a beauty contest. The PPs are more important to me. And we thought, when all was said and done, we got great value. The consignors don’t want to hear this, but we had quite a bit more money we were willing to pay for her.”

Lady Lucy defeated Sunday’s Texas Thoroughbred Futurity winner Adventurous Lady (Kantharos) when she broke her maiden at Churchill Downs June 15 for owner Bernard Schaeffer and trainer William Connelly. It was the filly’s second career start.

“Of course, with these 2-year-olds with one or two starts, you don’t know if they are going to be able to transfer that form to the stakes level,” McCrocklin said. “We’re very happy to get her. She’s a typical Into Mischief, very compact. From the knees up, she is very pretty and she vetted very clean. We’re hoping to get her to the Sorrento and the [Sept. 1 GI] Del Mar Debutante. Obviously, with the sale and shipping her out there, she’s lost some time as far as training, but that’s what we are hoping for.”

Hinchinbrook, 11, Passes Away

Mon, 2018-07-16 14:38

Hinchinbrook (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}–Snippet’s Lass {Aus}, by Snippets {Aus}), a champion first-season sire during the 2014/15 season, has died after sustaining a broken hind leg, Yarraman Park Stud announced early Monday morning. The three-quarter brother to champion sire Snitzel (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}), slated to cover a full book of mares at A$55,000 this coming season, was 11.

“We are devastated as you can imagine,” said Harry Mitchell of Yarraman Park. “He’s been a special horse for us and we believed in him from the start. He wasn’t an easy horse to get going as he was not the most fertile, but he kept proving himself and getting that good horse. It just breaks your heart, but it’s something that happens. It happened to Northern Meteor (Aus) and it happened to Scat Daddy, as sad as it is, you have to regroup and move on.”

Bred by Francois Naude in Queensland and foaled and raised at Yarraman Park, the bay won the G3 Skyline S. and also ran third in the G1Inglis AJC Sires’ Produce S. to end his juvenile season. At three, the Peter Moody trainee faced off against worldbeaters Black Caviar (Aus) (Bel Esprit {Aus}) and Hay List (Aus) (Statue of Liberty) among others, but did manage to fill the frame when third in the G1 Oakleigh Plate and G1 William Reid S. The September foal ended his career with a runner-up performance in the G1 All-Aged S. and retired to stand at Yarraman Park sporting a record of 14-2-1-6, $566,585.

Hinchinbrook’s success at stud-he started out at A$16,500-was immediate, with MG1SW Press Statement (Aus) flying the flag from his first crop. Already the sire of 14 black-type winners to date, the 11-year-old has been represented by G1 Champagne S. victress Seabrook (Aus) among his five black-type winners and 100 scorers who have earned north of A$6.2 million for the 2017/2018 season alone. Hinchinbrook’s influence will continue to be felt for many years, as he covered books of 148 and 129 mares, respectively, at fees of A$38,500 and A$44,000 the past two breeding seasons.

Pedigree Insights: Crown Walk

Mon, 2018-07-16 12:36

At last week’s unmissable stallion parade at Dalham Hall Stud, mention was made of the comparative youth of the Darley stallion team, with the stallions on show featuring such as Brazen Beau, Buratino, Charming Thought, Golden Horn, Night of Thunder, Postponed, Profitable, Ribchester, Slade Power, Territories and The Last Lion.

However, youth was not integral to the production of a spate of winners last week for Sheikh Mohammed’s breeding operation, now known as Godolphin. The second-oldest member of the Dalham Hall team, Dubawi enjoyed a group race double with the homebreds Crown Walk and Quorto and also sired the very promising ‘TDN Rising Star’ Rabbah-bred maiden winner Al Hilalee. Dubawi is 16, one year younger than Iffraaj.

Another to sire a pair of Group/Graded winners was Medaglia d’Oro, the senior member of Darley’s American team, at 19. He supplied Group 2 winners on either side of the Atlantic thanks to Elate in the U.S. and to Gyllen in France. Godolphin also added another Group 3 success to its tally via the Darley-bred Inns of Court, whose sire, the 21-year-old Invincible Spirit, also sired Godolphin’s promising juvenile winner Lover’s Knot.

And it wasn’t just the stallions who were past the first flush of youth. The ex-English Crown Walk, winner of the G3 Prix Chloe, was foaled when her dam Dunnes River was 17 and Dunnes River herself was foaled when her sire, the extraordinary Danzig, was 21. It’s a similar story with Gyllen. This conqueror of Crossed Baton in the G2 Prix Eugene Adam, was foaled when his dam Miss Halory was 16 and Miss Halory in turn was foaled four months before her sire, the equally extraordinary Mr. Prospector, died at the terrific age of 29.

These family histories act as a joint reminder that top-class producers–both stallions and broodmares–often remain capable of coming up with the goods at a time when many breeders would consider them past their prime. Both Dunnes River and Miss Halory have produced previous Group/Graded winners. Miss Halory, a half-sister to no fewer than five graded winners out of Halory, including the Irish Group 2 winner Van Nistelrooy, is also the dam of the Grade III-winning Storm Cat colt Stormalory.

Dunnes River had only a neck to spare when she won a mile maiden race as a 3-year-old at Goodwood on her only appearance, However, she has thoroughly deserved her retention for Sheikh Mohammed’s blue-blooded broodmare team. Indeed her record must have been especially pleasing to His Highness, who likes nothing better than putting Dubai in the spotlight.

When Dunnes River produced her second foal, a colt by Halling, in 2004, the colt must have impressed the Darley team. In between covering Dunnes River in 2003 and the birth of the colt, the elegant Halling had been transferred from Dalham Hall to the Emirates Stud in Dubai. Although Halling will be best remembered as a dual winner of both the G1 Eclipse S. and the G1 Juddmonte International, he had also flourished on the sand track at Nad Al Sheba in Dubai, winning his first four races there. Unfortunately, he finished last in the inaugural running of the Dubai World Cup–just as he had done in the previous year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Dunnes River was duly sent to Dubai for further assignations with Halling in 2005 and 2006. This proved to be a shrewd move. Dunnes River’s English-sired Halling colt was Boscabel, who defeated the future St Leger winner Lucarno in the G2 King Edward VII S. for Mark Johnston.

Cutlass Bay, Dunnes River’s second Halling colt, was even better. Cutlass Bay had looked set for great things when he defeated the future Grand Prix de Paris winner Cavalryman–another of Halling’s UAE produce–in the G2 Prix Grefulhe in May 2009. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to race again until April 2010, when he extended his unbeaten record to four in the G2 Prix d’Harcourt, and he showed further progress in landing the G1 Prix Ganay on his fifth.

Crown Walk is therefore her third group winner. There was very nearly a fourth, as Dunnes River’s first foal, the Fantastic Light gelding Crested, had been beaten just a nose in a Grade III at Hawthorne in 2007. The mare’s record stands at nine winners from 11 starters and she also has a yearling colt by Dawn Approach.

Crown Walk’s graduation as a group winner will have been all the more pleasing for Sheikh Mohammed because her second dam is Elizabeth Bay, a million-dollar purchase as a yearling in 1991, when the Sheikh was in the process of building his broodmare band.

Along with the likes of Machiavellian, Kingmambo, Coup de Genie, Distant View, Miswaki and Lycius, Elizabeth Bay helped knock a hole in the theory that Mr. Prospector’s progeny were less effective on European turf than American dirt. She was unbeaten at two, when she won the G3 Prix Eclipse, and she later went within a neck of winning the G1 Coronation S. She also won a stakes race in the USA.

Crown Walk’s third dam Life At The Top was also very talented–talented enough to record Grade I victories in the Mother Goose S. and the mile-and-a-quarter Ladies H., in addition to finishing second in the Kentucky Oaks and CCA Oaks. The next dam, See You At The Top, was a half-sister to the Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner Bold Forbes and to Priceless Fame, the dam of Saratoga Six.

In addition to her powerful female line, Dunnes River was bred to a highly successful pattern, with Danzig as her sire and a Mr. Prospector mare as her dam. This nick produced 16 black-type winners from 62 foals, which equates to a magnificent 26%. Others bred this way included the Group1 winners Dayjur, Pas de Reponse and Brahms.

Crown Walk therefore has a suitably illustrious pedigree for a filly who became the 100th group winner sired by the truly excellent Dubawi. Like Galileo before him, Dubawi owes some of his impressive total to the years he shuttled to Australia. Dubawi shuttled for four years, compared to Galileo’s five, and it is fair to say that his progeny suited Australian conditions better than Galileo’s. Fourteen of his Australian-sired foals feature among his 100 group winners, including six which won at Group 1 level in Australasia or South Africa.

That means that Crown Walk is the 86th group winner from Dubawi’s British crops, but Dubawi–still only 16 and with several very high-priced crops in the pipeline–is sure to sail past the magic 100 with these British crops alone. The promising Quorto has already become group winner number 87 and Al Hilalee shapes as though he will quickly join the club too.

Ring Weekend Retired

Mon, 2018-07-16 12:36

West Point Thoroughbreds’ Grade I winner Ring Weekend (Tapit–Free the Magic, by Cryptoclearance) has been retired sound from racing and will be retrained for a second career with Olympian Phillip Dutton. Ring Weekend, who annexed the GI Frank E. Kilroe Mile S. for trainer Graham Motion in 2015, retires with a record of 8-5-4 from 33 starts and total earnings of $1,571,576.

“While Ring Weekend is still sound and competitive, it’s time to hang up his cleats and let him move onto new frontiers,” said West Point president Terry Finley. “The partners and West Point team are forever grateful for him showing up time and time again. He did it the right way for far longer than most of today’s horses. We’re incredibly grateful for Graham and his team for the job they’ve done with him over the past five years and for their role in his transition to a new career.”

Ring Weekend won a total of six graded stakes throughout his career. Dutton was part of the partnership that campaigned the gelding on the racetrack. He recently welcomed Ring Weekend to his farm in West Grove, Pennsylvania.

“It’s really cool that Phillip [Dutton] was able to be part of Ring’s racing career, and now has him for the next phase of his life,” said Motion. “He’s a special horse who knows he’s a good one, and we’ll miss having him in the barn.”

Bred in Kentucky by Gainesway, Ring Weekend was acquired by West Point and Vinnie Viola’s St. Elias for $310,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.


Ghostzapper ‘Rising Star’ Stays on a Roll at Woodbine

Sun, 2018-07-15 19:11

Ivan Dalos’s homebred Gamble’s Ghost (Ghostzapper) was tabbed a ‘TDN Rising Star’ nearly three years ago in an eye-catching debut win at Woodbine, and on Sunday she registered her fifth career graded stakes victory with a dramatic rallying score in the GIII Ontario Matron S. at the Toronto oval. It was the second consecutive win for the 5-year-old mare, who won the GIII Trillium S. over an identical local trip June 17.

Settling off the pace towards the back of the pack behind measured fractions of :24.65 and :50.21, the dark bay angled four wide to commence her rally on the far turn and was left with all but one rival to pass at the head of the lane. She shifted out further to the center of the course in search of a clear path once straightened out for the drive and uncorked a strong, sustained rally to forge past Let It Ride Mom (Into Mischief) and claim the win.

Gamble’s Ghost has now won graded stakes at Woodbine in four consecutive years–a streak that began with a third-out score in the GIII Mazarine S. In 2015. She followed with a win in the GIII Selene S. in May 2016 and found the winner’s circle in the GIII Maple Leaf S. traveling 10 furlongs last November. She returned from a winter layup with an even third-place effort in a May 21 no conditions allowance event and used that race as a successful springboard to her tally in the Trillium last month.

Pedigree Notes:

Dalos acquired Gamble’s Ghost’s dam Gambling Girl for $8,029 as a yearling at the 1994 Canadian Breeders Yearlings Sale and the mare went on to capture the 1996 La Prevoyante S. in his colors. In addition to MSP Purrfect Bluff (Lion Heart), she is also responsible for Forest Gamble (Forest Wildcat), herself the dam of last term’s Victoria S. winner Blueblood (City Zip). The winner’s second dam Dawn’s Deputy is a half-sister to Group 1 winner and successful dual-Hemisphere sire Bluebird (Storm Bird).

Sunday, Woodbine

ONTARIO MATRON S.-GIII, C$140,400, Woodbine, 7-15, 3yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16m (AWT), 1:44.88, ft.

1–GAMBLE’S GHOST, 124, m, 5, by Ghostzapper
1st Dam: Gambling Girl (SW, $209,073), by Secret Claim
2nd Dam: Dawn’s Deputy, by Deputy Minister
3rd Dam: Ivory Dawn, by Sir Ivor
TDN Rising Star O-Ivan Dalos; B-Tall Oaks Farm (ON); T-Josie
Carroll; J-Eurico Rosa Da Silva. C$90,000. Lifetime Record:
19-9-3-1, $721,560. *1/2 to Purrfect Bluff (Lion Heart), MSP,
$368,944. Werk Nick Rating: A.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2—Let It Ride Mom, 119, f, 4, Into Mischief–Golden Marlin, by
Marlin. ($77,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP; $375,000 2yo ’16 OBSMAR).
O-Live Oak Plantation; B-Tim Thornton, Robert Watt, Doug
Glass & Greg Foley (KY); T-Mark E. Casse. C$25,000.3–My Arch Enemy, 118, f, 4, Arch–City Fair, by Carson City.
($90,000 2yo ’16 OBSAPR). O-Gary Barber; B-Scott & Evan
Dilworth (KY); T-Mark E. Casse. C$12,500.Margins: NK, 1, HD. Odds: 2.25, 3.30, 7.00.
Also Ran: Malibu Bonnie, Sister Nation, Moonlit Promise, Just Be Kind, Daddy’s Great Bay, Grizzel (Ire). Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


Brown, Ortiz Jr., Dubb Capture Belmont Titles

Sun, 2018-07-15 18:26

Trainer Chad Brown won his third consecutive Belmont Park spring/summer training title, while Irad Ortiz, Jr. captured the riding title for the first time since 2014 as the 54-day meet concluded Sunday. Michael Dubb was the meet’s leading owner with 19 victories and earnings of more than $2.34 million.

Brown, the New York Racing Association’s leading trainer for the last three years from 2015-17, saddled 34 winners from 156 starts for an impressive 21.79 winning percentage with earnings exceeding $4.53 million. Ortiz, Jr. registered 60 wins with earnings of more than $5.54 million, besting his brother, Jose Ortiz, and Manny Franco, who tied for second with 49 wins.


Free Drop Billy Could Try Turf

Sun, 2018-07-15 18:06

Albaugh Family Stables’s GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity winner Free Drop Billy (Union Rags) could be pointed to GI Secretariat S. on turf at Arlington Park Aug. 11, trainer Dale Romans said Sunday. Free Drop Billy’s dam is the Giant’s Causeway mare Trensa, making him a half-brother to dual turf Group 1 winner Hawkbill (Kitten’s Joy). Free Drop Billy was last seen finishing seventh in the wake of Triple Crown-winning ‘TDN Rising Star’ Justify (Scat Daddy) in the June 9 GI Belmont S.

“He’s got a chance of running there,” Romans said. “His half-brother is one of the best grass horses in the world and we’ve been wanting to try him on grass.”

Romans previously captured the Secretariat in 2004 with Kitten’s Joy (El Prado {Ire}) and in 2010 with Paddy O’Prado (El Prado {Ire}).


Revolutionary Filly a ‘Maiden’ No More After Lynnbrook Shocker

Sun, 2018-07-15 17:08

Maiden Beauty, bidding to be her first-crop sire Revolutionary (War Pass)’s first winner, became his first stakes winner while she was at it while posting a major upset in Sunday’s featured event on closing day at Belmont. Tugging her way up to midpack in between foes early, the bay was shuffled towards the back of the pack into the turn. She came on again to split rivals entering the lane, and was guided out into the clear by Joel Rosario as they straightened. Maiden Beauty leveled off nicely in midstretch, and kicked away to a clear-cut success from much more fancied fellow firster Tossup.

“It was a beautiful trip,” Rosario said. “I was on the inside a little bit and was just looking for room to go outside. She was a first-time starter, but very professional. She finished very strong and it looks like she can go a bit further. I was very pleased with how she ran today.”

Trainer Gary Contessa, not one to shy from putting a maiden in a stakes race, said, “She’s been training really well. [Saturday], we ran a horse called Red Zinger (Will Take Charge), who had a really green trip and ran third [in the Rockville Centre], and she has been beating him pretty good, so I knew she was a hair better than him, so I thought we had a shot today.”

A $15,000 FTNMIX weanling, Maiden Beauty was hammered for $40,000 at OBS April after breezing in :10 3/5.

“She was a buyback for $40,000,” Contessa noted. “I loved the way she moved and I liked the sire, so it worked out.”

The winner’s dam produced two more Revolutionary fillies, in 2017 and 2018.

LYNBROOK S., $100,000, Belmont, 7-15, (S), 2yo, f, 6f, 1:13.41, sy.
1–MAIDEN BEAUTY, 118, f, 2, by Revolutionary
1st Dam: Alpha Charlie, by Eddington
2nd Dam: Stacy’s Squaw, by Indian Charlie
3rd Dam: Lusty Lady, by Star de Naskra
($15,000 Wlg ’16 FTNMIX; $40,000 2yo ’18 OBSAPR).
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O-Pines Stables, John J. Irwin, Paul
Zysset & Sam F. Arci; B-Sandy Glenn Stables LLC (NY); T-Gary C.
Contessa; J-Joel Rosario. $60,000. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0,
$60,000.2–Tossup, 117, f, 2, Pioneerof the Nile–Spritely, by Touch Gold.
($230,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Ralph M. Evans; B-Chester
& Mary R. Broman (NY); T-Richard A. Violette, Jr. $20,000.3–Midnitesalright, 117, f, 2, Midnight Lute–Curio, by
Bernardini. ($9,000 Ylg ’17 SARAUG; $75,000 2yo ’18
OBSMAR). O-Michael Dubb, David Simon & Bethlehem Stables
LLC; B-The New Hill Farm LLC (NY); T-Jason Servis. $10,000.
Margins: 3 1/4, HD, HD. Odds: 22.80, 3.50, 4.70.
Also Ran: She’s Trouble, Icy Lady, Native Dawn, Princess Pinky, Positively Jean. Scratched: Sander’s Empire. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.