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New Penalties Proposed for ARCI Drug Violations

Thu, 2019-04-11 15:01

The Drug Testing Standards and Practices (DTSP) Committee of the Association of Racing Commissions International (ARCI) is considering a major change to the recommended penalties for violations of the association’s drug rules to dramatically increase sanctions on those violations that can be considered “doping” or “equine endangerment”.

An ARCI workgroup has been quietly working for the past year to put together a system to increase penalties for violations categorized as “Doping of Equine Endangerment.” Penalties for such violations would be effectively doubled from the existing Class A penalties, with a first violation requiring a two to five-year suspension of the trainer and a minimum $50,000 fine, which could be increased to $100,000 with aggravating circumstances. A second violation in any jurisdiction would trigger a license revocation.

The proposal would also impose a $25,000 fine on an owner if there is a second lifetime offense in the owner’s stable in any jurisdiction. A third offense would suspend the owner for a minimum of 30 days to as much as a year and impose a minimum fine of $50,000 which could be increased to $100,000. Because of the seriousness of these violations a summary suspension would be required, pending any appeal.

Existing penalties for medication overages would remain the same and many would be re-categorized as a “Treatment Misapplication & Mismanagement.”

The proposal also contains a minimum $500 fine for a first-time failure to keep or report required treatment records. A second offense would bring a $2,500 fine, a third offense a $5,000 fine plus a referral to the commission for possible license review.

The draft documents are posted online and anyone interesting in commenting or making a related proposal may do so by emailing comments or documents to

Bc Challenge Series Races Announced

Thu, 2019-04-11 14:42

This year’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series will consist of 86 automatic qualifying races, whose winners receive a berth to the World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Nov. 1-2. The series includes 64 Grade/Group 1 events in 11 countries and features eight new races. Click here for the full schedule.

One of the new races in the series this year if the G1 Qatar Prix de l’arc de Triomphe, which provides an automatic entry to the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf. Both races were won by the mighty Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}). The other new races are the G1 Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini S. (BC Turf), the G1 Darley Prix Morny (BC Juvenile Turf Sprint), the GI Fourstardave H. (BC Mile), the GI Jockey Club Derby (BC Turf), the GIII Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (BC Turf Sprint), the GI Cotillion S. (BC Distaff) and the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines (BC Turf Sprint).


Lexington’s Ashwood Training Center Set to Reopen

Thu, 2019-04-11 11:57

Ashwood Training Center, formerly Victory Haven Training Center, is scheduled to reopen May 1 after significant construction and improvements over the past year. Located on Russell Cave Road, Ashwood Training Center features a six-furlong track, nearly 300 stalls, 30 turnout paddocks, indoor and outdoor arenas, a walking machine and open land to ride horses away from the track.

Managing the day-to-day operations is owner Marc Ricker, a third-generation horseman from Paris, Kentucky. Ricker grew up working on his family’s Sunny Oak Farm before moving to Florida to pursue a career in private equity. Upon his father’s passing in 2013, Ricker made the move back to Kentucky to help his mother with the family farm. He began leasing the property from Lucian Anderson three years ago.

“Growing up on a farm and loving horses, I was glad to come back,” he said. “This facility has so much to offer horsemen, all in a quieter environment than a traditional racetrack. Trainers can choose to send their horses to the track, work in one of the arenas or take them out over the gently rolling hills around the property. Kenny McPeek’s facility is next door and he also allows horses stabled at Ashwood to walk over and use his turf gallop.”

Ricker and his team are also offering those looking to lease stall space at Ashwood the option to do personalized improvements to make their barns more user-friendly and customized to their trainers’ needs.

“Ideally, we’d like to have a week or two notice before someone moves in so we can go through the space and go over improvement requests,” said Ricker. “Each new lease is given a move-in allowance to personalize his or her space.”

In addition to traditional breaking and training amenities, the farm also features a rehabilitation division, which includes an Aquatread and Theraplate and can offer laser and pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapies.

“Our goal is to be one of the premier training and rehab facilities in the region,” said Ricker. “Matt Frazier partners with us to handle the rehabilitation side of the farm. He’s an excellent horseman and has a deep understanding of how to bring horses back to perform at their best after an injury.”

A licensed trainer of both Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses, Frazier also came up in the horse industry under the tutelage of his father, Dan Frazier.

“We never had the money to buy the best horses, so my dad would pinpoint proven runners who needed some attention for physical issues. We’d rehabilitate them and move them up,” explained Frazier, who has trained the likes of Stinkin Rich, Indiana’s all-time leading Quarter Horse earner, and Skyline Lover, an 11-time stakes/graded stakes winner.

Ricker and girlfriend Kathryn Kinder also operate Alliance Bloodstock, a sales prep and consignment division of the farm. Much like Ricker and Frazier, Kinder also got her formative experience on her family’s farm. With a background in both show horses and Thoroughbreds, she eventually took on the role of broodmare manager for her father, Ralph Kinder’s farm.

“Sales prep and preparing young racehorses are surprisingly similar. The biggest difference is taking the yearlings to the walking machine or hand-walking them instead of sending them out to the track to train,” said Ricker.

Ashwood Training Center currently has stalls available for lease and is also open to ship-ins by appointment. Ricker and Kinder are planning a spring open house on May 11, as well as several other events throughout the year.

“Our open house event will include a breeze show, crawfish boil and live music, and after that event we plan to host breakfast trackside for horsemen and the public alike who want to see the facility or simply learn a bit about what goes into the day-to-day training of young racehorses,” said Ricker. “We have a great area that’s away from the barns and perfect for events.”

Added Kinder, “Later this year we’re planning to have a few rodeos, which will have live music and food vendors, and maybe some concerts as well.”

For more information on Ashwood Training Center or to schedule an appointment, go to To stay updated about their events throughout the year, follow them on Facebook at .

TAA Launches Aftercare Survey for Industry

Wed, 2019-04-10 16:19

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance has launched an online survey to gauge Thoroughbred industry participants’ views on Thoroughbred aftercare. The survey is now live and can be accessed here. The TAA encourages all Thoroughbred industry participants, from owners and trainers to breeders, horseplayers, and fans, to take the survey and share their feedback.

“Understanding the Thoroughbred industry’s views on current aftercare initiatives is a priority for the TAA as we plan for the future,” TAA president Mike Meuser said. “Equine welfare and aftercare is of the utmost importance for the future of our sport, and knowing where we currently stand will help us best serve the industry going forward.”

ARCI Scientific Advisory Group: No Link Between Furosemide and Breakdowns

Wed, 2019-04-10 15:26

The Scientific Advisory Group of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) has reported that there is no current science linking furosemide treatments to muscular skeletal issues that may be a contributing cause of equine breakdowns in racing, according to a press release from ARCI Wednesday.

The group reported to a meeting of the RCI’s Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee that they discussed the issue at their meeting Apr. 2 and were not aware of any published studies or papers providing any evidence of such a link.

“There remains an attempt on the part of some organizations and individuals to leave the impression that the current equine welfare policy of permitting the voluntary race day use of furosemide under controlled and transparent circumstances is somehow tied to the tragic equine deaths that have occurred at Santa Anita and elsewhere,” said ARCI President Ed Martin in a statement.

Justify Named Kentucky Horse of the Year

Wed, 2019-04-10 14:54

Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy) was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders during Wednesday’s KTOB Awards Luncheon at Keeneland. The KTOB recognized 12 other Kentucky-breds at the luncheon, led by Broodmare of the Year Stage Magic, the dam of Justify.

“It was another exceptional year for Kentucky-breds at the racetrack, punctuated by Justify’s historic Triple Crown,” said Chauncey Morris, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/ Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders. “Our award recipients–both equine and human–exemplify the dreams and aspirations of our industry, and we’re proud to celebrate their memorable achievements.”

Breeders’ Cup, NBC Release 2019 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Television Schedule

Wed, 2019-04-10 13:45

The 2019 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series; Win and You’re In, presented by America’s Best Racing will consist of 11 live programs featuring over 20 automatic Breeders’ Cup qualifying races, the Breeders’ Cup and NBC Sports announced Wednesday.

The series will kick off June 8 during NBC Sports’s coverage of Belmont Stakes Day, with the GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. and GI Ogden Phipps S. offering automatic berths into the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and GI Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, respectively.

“NBC Sports continues to be the leader in televising the best in domestic and international Thoroughbred racing and we are delighted to partner with them again to deliver our fans the best in Breeders’ Cup Challenge races throughout the summer and fall leading to the World Championships,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “We also thank our participating racetracks in the 2019 series and the support of our presenting sponsor America’s Best Racing.”

The complete Breeders’ Cup Challenge TV schedule can be found here.

Reversal On “No Whip” Day at Santa Anita

Wed, 2019-04-10 12:16

In the latest move in the ongoing chess games at Santa Anita, jockeys will carry and use their crops under the existing rules when race-riding at the track this Friday. This reverses a decision the Jockey’s Guild touted last week, that the jockeys would ride on Friday without one.

“We will comply, for the time being, with the request from the Thoroughbred Owners of California to not proceed with the jockeys not using riding crops during the races at Santa Anita Park on Friday, April 12,” said Jockeys’ Guild President and CEO Terry Meyocks, in a joint press release between the Jockeys’ Guild and the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC).

“For the past month we have received virtually no support from industry organizations in California until contacted by the TOC in the last day and a half,” Meyocks said.

“In the interest of moving forward to create a safer environment for both equine and human athletes, we have agreed to work with the TOC to come to a mutually agreeable position on riding crop usage in California to be submitted to the CHRB,” Meyocks added.

Currently, jockeys are permitted to use the whip three times in succession before putting it down to give a horse time to respond.

According to the press release, the Guild will ask the jockeys at Santa Anita and Golden Gate to use the new 360 GT riding crop, which was used by jockeys at Keeneland Racecourse over the weekend. Former jockey Ramon Dominguez helped develop this new crop.

“Jockeys, who take great personal risk every time they ride, are focused on safety and are vigilant caretakers of their horses,” said Greg Avioli, president of the TOC, in the press release. “We appreciate the Guild’s willingness to continue to work with us on policy options that protect horses and riders while ensuring that races are run fairly for all participants.”

The TDN had reached out to the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) for comment, but did not hear back before deadline. A spokeswoman for The Stronach Group said they had no comment “at this time.”

Jockey Mike Smith, who had previously supported the no-whip Friday, told the TDN that racehorses are “powerful animals,” and as such, was on board with the Jockeys’ Guild’s change of plans. “[We need] more negotiations and to talk about it, instead of all of a sudden doing something that’s never been done before in the history of racing, as far as I’m aware. I’d like to see us all work together in figuring out what’s best for the horses and our industry.”

The back-and-forth over the no-whip Friday at Santa Anita follows a proposed rule change approved by the CHRB at its scheduled meeting last month, which restricts riders to using riding crops only “to control the horse for the safety of the horse or rider.” The proposed rule change will be put out for a 45-day public comment period, and can be amended before the board votes on it again. The proposed rule has not yet been noticed.

The day of whip-less races at Santa Anita was advertised as a fact-finding mission. The Jockey’s Guild explained that after each race on Friday Apr. 12, “data” would be gathered from input from the jockeys. The information collected during the trial experiment was intended to be submitted for consideration during the public comment period.

A letter TOC president and CEO Greg Avioli wrote to the Jockeys’ Guild–which was distributed to jockeys at Santa Anita Wednesday morning, and on which trainer Bob Baffert was cc’d—laid out clearly his organization’s position on the issue of both the no-whip Friday and the proposed CHRB rule change.

“Our only request from you and your Guild members is to postpone any implementation of the Friday ‘no whip’ rule until after the CHRB rule making process is completed in the coming months,” Avioli wrote.

Avioli added that “to go through with the planned ‘racing without whips’ this Friday will almost assuredly put our California racing industry back on the front pages in a very unfavorable light,” and he emphasized the potential risk of injury “to horses or jockeys, that could have major negative long-term implications for everybody.”

Furthermore, Avioli wrote that the TOC does not support the CHRB’s proposed revision to the whip rule. The revisions are “unworkable for many reasons,” the letter states. As such, the TOC requests “that we join in the Jockey’s Guild in presenting to the CHRB a joint position on what appropriate changes could be to the existing crop rule that would be acceptable to both of our organizations.”

“We are most definitely in a time of crisis right now that has the potential to radically change for the worse horse racing in California and other states down the road. For example, we know for certain there are a number of organizations currently working on a statewide anti-horseracing ballot initiative in California. In this time of upheaval and real threats to our industry, we must find common ground where we can with core industry stakeholders including the jockeys,” Avioli wrote.

In Wednesday’s press release, Baffert, a TOC board member, said that “we owe it to the riders to work with them to ensure that they’re on board with the steps we are taking to create the safest environment possible for our athletes.”

Tapit Filly Highlights Resurrected April Sale

Tue, 2019-04-09 19:00

LEXINGTON, KY – The Keeneland April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale returned from a four-year hiatus Tuesday in Lexington and a filly by leading sire Tapit provided the fireworks when selling for $1.3 million. The filly (hip 130) was consigned by Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds and was purchased by bloodstock agent Chad Schumer on behalf of Prince Sultan bin Mishal Al Saud, who continued to be a new and active participant at the spring’s 2-year-old sales. The April sale began with a section of horses of racing age and the graded stakes placed 3-year-old filly Sweet Diane (Will Take Charge) was the section’s highest-priced offering when selling for $500,000 to Ina Bond’s River Bend Farm.

“I thought the trade today was very good,” said Keeneland’s Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell. “I thought the racehorses were well received. And I think it continued on very well to the 2-year-old sale. The Tapit filly, obviously, was on everybody’s list–with a good update and a great work. It just shows the money’s here for those kind of horses.”

Through both portions of the sale, 67 head sold for $6,083,500. The average was $90,799 and the median was $40,000.

In all, 22 juveniles sold for a total of $3,387,500. The average was $153,977 and the median was $55,000. With 39 2-year-olds going through the ring, 17 failed to find new homes. At its last edition in 2014, 38 juveniles sold for $8,769,000 for an average of $230,763 and a median of $200,000.

“We’re in a rebuilding process for this sale, so some people are willing to rebuild with us and some people wanted to take a wait-and-see approach,” Russell said. “We hope they saw and will participate next year.”

Schumer looked at Tuesday’s results as something to build on going forward.

“I think it’s a good format,” Schumer said. “I think they need more horses, obviously. But it’s the first year back doing it and I’m sure it will improve.”

Dean De Renzo appreciated the extra time the April sale provided he and Randy Hartley to prepare the sale-topper.

“She is a May foal, and we have taken our time with her,” De Renzo said. “We wanted to target a sale that is a little later in the year. We hope that Keeneland continues having this sale because we love the timing and we love to sell here.”

Saudi Prince Continues Juvenile Buying Spree at Keeneland

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud, who burst onto the juvenile sales scene as a major buyer at last month’s OBS March sale, continued to play at the top end when spending a sale-topping $1.3 million to acquire a daughter of Tapit (hip 130) Tuesday at Keeneland. Emmanuel de Seroux’s Narvick International signed for the prince’s eight purchases at OBS, but it was bloodstock agent Chad Schumer signing the ticket at Keeneland.

“She is a tremendous physical,” Schumer said. “I thought she had a superb breeze [a co-bullet :10 flat] and her gallop-out was very strong. She is a lovely filly and obviously the full-brother makes a big difference. Hopefully, she’ll be a Grade I horse. At that sort of money, she almost has to be. It’s a lot of pressure, but she’s beautiful and we couldn’t be happier with her.”

Consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, the bay filly is out of Grade I winner My Conquestadory (Artie Schiller). Her 3-year-old full-brother Bourbon War is on the GI Kentucky Derby trail and co-owners Bourbon Lane Stable watched intently as the filly sold Tuesday.

“She is by one of the leading sires of all time, it’s a massive pedigree. So it’s not an unexpected number,” Schumer said of the final price.

Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud’s eight purchases at OBS were led by a $650,000 daughter of Speightstown.

“He’s just starting to develop a nice stable in the U.S.,” de Seroux said after signing the ticket on that filly at OBS. “In the U.S., I believe this will be his first group of horses.”

It was the highest bid the veteran Schumer had ever made and, after signing the ticket, he admitted, “I think once you get above a certain number, it’s kind of numbing. I don’t know how to explain it. I haven’t done it before, so it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

The last time Keeneland hosted an April sale in 2014, Schumer came home with a more modestly priced juvenile and future graded stakes winner in Saham (Lemon Drop Kid).

“The last time they had the 2-year-old sale here, I was lucky enough to buy a graded stakes winner,” Schumer. “Saham won the [2015 GIII] Jefferson Cup and I think we gave $100,000 for him.” @JessMartiniTDN

Tapit Filly Sells Well for Baccari

While Chris Baccari typically enjoys his pinhook successes at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale with horses acquired as weanlings, he made a nice score Tuesday with sale-topping hip 130. He acquired the $1.3-million Tapit filly for $775,000 as a Keeneland November weanling in 2017.

SF Bloodstock had paid $1.5 million for Grade I-winning ‘TDN Rising Star’ My Conquestadory (Artie Schiller) while she was carrying hip 130 at the Conquest Stables dispersal at the 2016 Keeneland November sale

Given the buzz the Hartley/De Renzo-consigned miss had garnered after her :10 flat breeze, Baccari said he wasn’t surprised by what hip 130 brought.

“With the kind of pedigree she has–she goes :10 flat, she goes :20 1/5 and :32 2/5, and she looks the way she does. That’s why I had to give so much for her as a foal,” he said.

When asked what he thought of the return of the Keeneland April sale, Baccari said, “I feel safe with this surface, and I wanted to support the sale. It just seemed like the right thing to do. For me, being a person who also races, I want to have them on a good surface where I can go from here [and race them] if I have to.”

Shortly after selling hip 130, Hartley/De Renzo offered hip 142 on Baccari’s behalf, but the :10 1/5 breezer was bought back for $550,000. The daughter of American Pharoah was bred by Baccari’s Seclusive Farm along with Chester and Anne Prince and James Murphy and RNA’d for $385,000 as a KEESEP yearling.

Baccari raced hip 142’s dam Seacrettina (Sea of Secrets) after paying $65,000 for her as a September yearling in 2007. She was a stakes-winning juvenile for him in Baccari’s native Texas. He sold a Medaglia d’Oro colt out of her for $500,000 at September in 2017. —@BDiDonatoTDN

Sweet Diane Leads Racing Prospects

Sweet Diane (Will Take Charge), on the GI Kentucky Oaks points board thanks to a third-place finish in the GII Fair Grounds Oaks, will be joining the barn of trainer Eddie Kenneally after selling for $500,000 to Ina Bond’s River Bend Farm. It was the highest price at the horses of racing age section of the Keeneland April Sale Tuesday.

“We are basically a broodmare farm,” explained River Bend manager Larry Weeden after signing the ticket on the sophomore filly. “We are branching out and going in a new direction and trying to do some racing. We have high hopes that this will turn into something fun.”

The addition of Sweet Diane will double River Bend’s racing stable. The operation currently has Island Song (Speightstown) in training with Kenneally and that 3-year-old gelding was fifth in a maiden special weight at Keeneland Saturday.

“We’ve been selling yearlings here for almost 30 years,” Weeden said. “We’re a small broodmare farm, usually 12 horses or smaller. We are just trying to focus on quality over quantity.”

Weeden continued, “We have a colt that has been running as a 3-year-old at a little bit lower end. And we’ve been having some fun with it, so rather than have to buy an expensive broodmare, we decided to make our own. Not that she was cheap, but if you get a really good racehorse and she makes offspring that run, it costs a lot of money.”

Sweet Diane (hip 90) is out of stakes-placed Inside Passage (Tiznow), who is a half-sister to Glinda the Good (Hard Spun), dam of champion Good Magic. Rick Kanter’s Stallionaire Enterprises purchased her for $130,000 as a Keeneland September Yearling in 2017. She RNA’d for $95,000 at last year’s OBS April sale.

Sweet Diane currently sits 16th on the Kentucky Oaks points board, but Kenneally confirmed the filly would skip the Run for the Lilies.

“We’re just going to take our time with her and get to know her,” Kenneally said. “She is coming from a good operation, so hopefully that will make my job easy.”

Sweet Diane broke her maiden by 13 3/4 lengths at Penn National last September. She missed by just a neck when second in the Hut Hut S. in December and returned this year with a third-place effort in the Feb. 9 Suncoast S. In her final outing for trainer Mike Stidham and Stallionaire Enterprises, Sweet Diane was third in the Mar. 23 Fair Grounds Oaks (PPs).

Stidham admitted it was bittersweet watching Sweet Diane go through the sales ring at Keeneland Tuesday.

“We started her as a 2-year-old and watched her go through all the races that she’s been in,” Stidham said. “She’s been a sweetheart and we hope she continues on to the Grade I status.”

Of the filly’s final price tag, Stidham added, “You never know, but we were hoping somewhere in the $400,000 to $500,000 range and she certainly made it. We are delighted.”

Sweet Diane was consigned by Elite Sales, which sold eight horses of racing age Tuesday for a total of $1.3 million and an average of $163,750 to lead all consignors at the April sale.

“We are thrilled with that result,” Elite’s Brad Weisbord said after watching Sweet Diane sell. “It was way in excess of the reserve. I think it’s a big deal for this Keeneland Horses of Racing Age sale to get it started off with a result like that. We’re delighted for Michael Stidham and Stallionaire Enterprises–they gave us a chance and they are not people we do a ton of business with. We are thankful for Eddie Kenneally and his group for buying the filly. They are going to be in for some great graded stakes fun in the summer and fall.”

Of Elite’s April consignment, Weisbord said, “We had, for an Elite group, overall a marginal group of horses because we are playing at the top end of the market. So we’re used to selling graded winners in November. It’s a little bit of a different go for us, but our clients who support us all year long wanted to trade out some racehorses for their 2-year-olds coming in. So obviously, we wanted to accommodate them.” @JessMartiniTDN

O’Neill Back on the ‘Map’

Dennis O’Neill landed the Keeneland April Sale’s second-priciest 2-year-old and most-expensive colt when he went to $350,000 to secure a member of Liam’s Map’s first crop as hip 126. Consigned by Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables, Inc., Agent IV, the grey was a $190,000 KEESEP grand and covered a furlong in a co-fastest :10 flat.

The colt, who is out of GSW Jenny’s So Great (Greatness), will head to Dennis O’Neill’s brother Doug O’Neill and will be campaigned by a group that includes Erik Johnson’s ERJ Racing.

“He was my favorite,” said O’Neill. “Honestly, he’s one of my favorite horses that I’ve seen at a 2-year-old sale. I thought he’d be more than that and honestly didn’t think I’d have a chance to get him. I was really surprised by what I got him for. Erik Johnson, the hockey player, is going to own a big piece of him, and is really, really excited.”

Johnson had sold sophomore colt Weekly Call (Will Take Charge) for $65,000 through the Elite Sales consignment during the horses of racing age portion of the auction.

“I just loved his breeze,” O’Neill said of hip 126. “He looked like he wasn’t comfortable on the track–he was kind of getting in and out down the lane–so to do what he did and then to go back and look at him on the shank, he’s a gorgeous horse. Big, beautiful horse.”

O’Neill had purchased a pair of Liam’s Map weanlings ($310,000 and $65,000) on behalf of Liam’s Map’s co-owner Vinnie Viola at the 2017 Keeneland November sale.

“I’ve talked to Vinnie Viola about him a little bit and I really think he’s got a big, big chance to make it as a sire,” O’Neill said.

A winner of the 2015 GI Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland, Liam’s Map was represented by a $400,000 filly at Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream.

When asked how he was finding the market at Keeneland April, O’Neill said, “I’m glad I came–I wasn’t planning on coming, it was kind of a last-minute thing. I think it’s been a buyer’s market. I think the small catalog kept a lot of people from coming out here. I didn’t see many people from California at all. But I’m really happy with how it’s gone.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Higher Power Heading West

Fresh off a win in last Saturday’s GI Santa Anita H. with private purchase Gift Box (Curlin), the California-based barn of John Sadler picked up another promising racing prospect in Higher Power (Medaglia d’Oro) Tuesday. Agent David Ingordo did the bidding, and came out on top at $250,000. The well-bred colt was consigned on behalf of his breeder, Josephine Abercrombie’s Pin Oak Stud, by trainer Mike Stidham’s Stidham Racing as hip 83.

“He looked good and well cared for,” Ingordo, who did not disclose which of Sadler’s owners he was buying for, said. “We thought he might have a little future on the turf over the tighter surfaces in California. John and Mike Stidham are friends and Mike mentioned the horse to him.”

Higher Power won two of his first three starts before heading into stakes company. He was third in last April’s Northern Spur S. at Oaklawn, and was subsequently transferred from Donnie K. Von Hemel to Stidham. Finishing third twice and fourth once in three Fair Grounds optional claiming tries since the trainer change, he returned to winning ways in a muddy, rained-off heat at Fair Grounds Mar. 16. Click for past performances.

Out of MSW and MGSP Alternate (Seattle Slew), Higher Power is a half to MGSW ‘TDN Rising Star’ and young sire Alternation (Distorted Humor) and MSW/GSP ‘Rising Star’ Interrupted (Broken Vow) and hails from the same female family as MGISW and Canadian Horse of the Year Peaks and Valleys (Mt. Livermore). His dam and Interrupted both excelled on the grass.



Tapit Filly Brings Seven Figures at Keeneland

Tue, 2019-04-09 16:29

A 2-year-old Tapit filly lit up the board at the Keeneland April Sale Tuesday, bringing $1.3 million from Chad Schumer, agent.

The full-sister to GII Xpressbet Fountain of Youth S. runner-up Bourbon War, produced by the Grade I stakes-winning Artie Schiller mare My Conquestadory, breezed an eighth in :10 (co-bullet) at the under-tack show.

She was previously a $775,000 KEENOV weanling purchase by Baccari Bloodstock.

The bay was consigned as Hip 130 by Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds, agent. She was bred in Kentucky SF Bloodstock.

Pedigree Insights: Roadster

Tue, 2019-04-09 16:15

The weekend’s 3-year-old action at America’s leading tracks underlined the truth of the adage that success breeds success. In racing, the second wave of success can be expected four or five years after the first and this is what happened in the trials for the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks.

Take a look back to the leading sires’ lists for 2014 and you will find the general sires’ table was headed for the first time by Tapit, who amassed the eye-catching total of 11 individual graded stakes winners, headed by the champion 3-year-old filly Untapable, the GI Belmont S. winner Tonalist and the GI Florida Derby hero Constitution. As a consequence, Tapit’s fee for 2015 was doubled to $300,000.

In fifth position, his highest placing up to that point, came Candy Ride (Arg), whose team of eight graded winners featured champion Shared Belief. The much-missed gelding compensated for missing the Kentucky Derby with Grade I victories in the Pacific Classic, Awesome Again S. and Malibu S. Like Tapit, Candy Ride was to stand at a career-high fee, of $60,000, in 2015.

Turn your attention to the first-crop sires of 2014 and you will find that this championship was taken by Quality Road, thanks largely to Hootenanny, winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and Blofeld, a dual Grade II winner.

An encouraging fifth among the first-crop sires was Munnings, with 27 winners from 53 starters. Much of Munnings’ success came too late to raise his fee for 2015, but his profile received a considerable boost when his daughter I’m A Chatterbox developed into a smart performer in the first few months of her sophomore year.

All four of the above stallions were in fine form over the weekend. With the help of Close Hatches (First Defence), a clear-cut winner of 2014’s Older Female Eclipse Award, Tapit sired Tacitus, the progressive Juddmonte colt who followed up his win in the GII Tampa Bay Derby with another Grade II success in the Wood Memorial. Stamina will not be a problem for Tacitus as he bids to become Tapit’s first Kentucky Derby winner.

Candy Ride is also trying to add a Kentucky Derby winner to his CV, and he has more than one chance. Vekoma improved his record to three wins from his first four starts in decisively landing the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. His only defeat was his third behind Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}) and Tapit’s son Bourbon War in the GII Fountain of Youth S. after a four-month break. And, while Candy Ride’s champion 2-year-old Game Winner has found one too good for him in both of his 3-year-old starts, he has been beaten only a nose in the GII Rebel S. and half a length in the GI Santa Anita Derby.

Game Winner’s defeat in the Santa Anita Derby came at the hands of Roadster, a son of Quality Road. The Lane’s End stallion had earlier also landed the GI Santa Anita Oaks with Bellafina, a filly who heads for the Kentucky Oaks with a record of six wins from eight starts. Stamina doubts about Munnings’ unbeaten daughter Fancy Dress Party mean that this unbeaten winner of the GIII Beaumont S. probably won’t be among Bellafina’s opposition.

Roadster probably owes his existence to Hootenanny’s Breeders’ Cup victory, as Quality Road sired Hootenanny from a grand-daughter of that good mare Dance Teacher and Roadster’s dam Ghost Dancing is another of Dance Teacher’s grand-daughters.

This was Ghost Dancing’s first visit to Quality Road and Arthur Hancock received excellent value for his $35,000 investment in his Silver Ghost mare, with Roadster selling for $525,000 as a yearling. Now a winner of three of his four starts, Roadster has already earned more than $700,000 for his buyers, Speedway Stables. His only defeat, when third behind Game Winner in the GI Del Mar Futurity, has been attributed partly to a wind issue, which was corrected by minor throat surgery.

Hancock bought Ghost Dancing for his Stone Farm for $220,000 at the 2011 dispersal of Edward P. Evans’ mares. I am guessing that Hancock liked the fact that the mare is inbred 4 x 4 to Hail To Reason, sire also of Halo, who was twice champion sire during his career at Stone Farm. Coincidentally, Ned Evans also bred and raced Quality Road, so there is a nice symmetry to Roadster’s pedigree.

Ghost Dancing provided Hancock with an immediate dividend, as the Candy Ride colt she was carrying at the time of her purchase proved to be Ascend, winner of the GI Woodford Reserve Manhattan S. over a mile and a quarter on turf for the partnership of Stone Farm and Madaket Stables. Another of Ghost Dancing’s sons, the Tapit colt Moro Tap, once finished a respectable fourth to The Pizza Man (English Channel) in the GIII Stars and Stripes S. over a mile and a half, so there is some stamina here.

Roadster is inbred 4 x 3 to Mr. Prospector, via Gone West and Silver Ghost. Gone West was primarily considered a miler, despite his win in the GI Dwyer S. over a furlong further, and the non-stakes-winning Silver Ghost did his winning at around six furlongs. Normally this wouldn’t encourage me to think that Roadster will be suited by a mile and a quarter, but the way he finished at Santa Anita suggests otherwise.

Hopefully he has inherited some of the stamina which enabled his third dam Dance Teacher to win the GI Ladies H. over a mile and a quarter. This versatile mare also won the GIII Gallorette H. on turf, and Roadster’s dam Ghost Dancing was a minor stakes winner on turf, over 5 1/2 furlongs. It therefore wasn’t too surprising that Hootenanny (whose first foals are being born this year) was successful at Royal Ascot as a 2-year-old before finishing second in the G1 Prix Morny.


Bone Injury: The Science of Rest and Repair

Tue, 2019-04-09 15:33

The recent traumas at Santa Anita have energized all kinds of different welfare agendas, so that as much attention is perhaps now being paid to the whip or medication as to the racing surface. But one question has received surprisingly little air time, given how integral it is to the whole horrible business, and that is whether horsemen could improve their practical understanding of the mechanics of catastrophic limb injuries, and improve routine practices accordingly?

To be fair, it did not take long to put bisphosphonates in the dock, with regard to their misuse in sales preparation to cloak issues in the bone development of weanlings or yearlings. But how about the stresses placed on bone in more mature horses, once in training?

For a premier authority in this field, TDN turned to Professor Chris Whitton, Head of the Equine Centre and Professor of Equine Medicine and Surgery at the University of Melbourne. His insights are such that it would be remiss for anyone working with Thoroughbreds in training, or employing others to do so, not to measure the demands being made of their horses against the science he renders highly accessible to the layman.

Because as Whitton said himself: “The cluster of breakdown injuries at Santa Anita is a tragic reminder of the potential dangers of racing, but these events should not be considered accidental or acceptable.”

With the caveat that more work is required to pinpoint what trainers can do to reduce breakdowns, he assures stakeholders that recent research has progressed the understanding of when, how and what kind of injuries occur. And the critical starting point is that most bone and joint injuries in racehorses are the result of fatigue damage.

“Which means they occur due to the weakening of bone over the course of training and racing, rather than because of a single incidental injury such as a fall or trip,” Whitton explained. “Racehorses apply extremely high loads to their skeletons when galloping, with the highest occurring in the joints that are most commonly injured: the fetlock, and the knee or carpal joint.

“The most important thing to understand about bone fatigue is that it builds up over time. Tiny cracks will accumulate in the bone during training. This means that it is not what the horse was doing on the day an injury occurred that is most important, but rather what the horse was doing in the days, weeks or months leading up to the injury. With every fast gallop or race, a proportion of the lifespan of the bone is used up. Training and racing intensely in the short term might seem to be a successful strategy, if there is no immediate consequence. But by depleting the bone’s reserves it may have set the horse up for future injury.”

Many people may not be aware that bone isn’t hard, “dead” material, but living tissue, capable of “resorbing” damage and adapting to the rigours of racing-so long, that is, as it is given the opportunity.

“Bone is a dynamic tissue, able to both adapt to the loads applied to it and repair bone that has been damaged due to exposure to many loads,” said Whitton. “The need for adaptation is why trainers introduce training gradually, to allow the skeleton to strengthen as the training intensity increases. Less well understood is the bone repair process.”

He explained that specialized bone cells can remove older, fatigued bone; and are followed by cells that produce new bone. Under the pressures of training, however, this repair process slows down. And that lead Whitton to offer perhaps his single most important counsel for horsemen to grasp, “The most efficient way to get good bone turnover is to spell the horse from training, or at least reduce the training intensity for a period.”

On the face of it, this may not appear welcome news to those who feel that modern Thoroughbreds are already raced far less often than their predecessors. As Whitton noted, however, periods of patience may very well yield more resilient and repeatable performance during periods of activity.

“”Resting horses to allow bone repair removes the need for enforced rest when horses suffer an injury,” he remarked. “Those enforced rest periods are nearly always longer than those required to allow enough bone turnover to prevent injury. Even if it doesn’t result in more starts for a horse, it will result in more consistent performance and fewer poor runs.”

In that connection, one of the most common questions Whitton is asked is whether there is evidence to support the anecdotal presumption that 21st Century Thoroughbreds have less robust constitutions than their forbears. If anything, however, he noted that injury rates in Australia have not changed a great deal over the last 20 years-and, indeed, that the figures in the U.S. had until this year been improving.

As for the nuts and bolts of how these disasters occur, Whitton broadly divides them into two types.

“Firstly, bone that is poorly adapted to high-speed work can fail very quickly,” he said. “Typically, this type of fracture occurs six to eight weeks into a training period in a horse’s first preparation, where the skeleton has not previously been exposed to repeated galloping exercise. And, because bone de-adapts when training ceases, horses returning from a period of rest greater than about 10 days to two weeks are also at higher risk of injury.

“The second type of injury occurs in horses that do a lot of high-speed work over the course of their career, or in horses that complete a very large amount of work in a short period of time-in which case, the rate of accumulation of bone damage is greater than the system’s ability to remove it.”

Taking these risks on board would not just reduce the kind of heartbreaking accidents that have lately been making the headlines, but also improve the soundness of the Thoroughbred across the board. As Whitton noted, complete bone fractures are relatively infrequent.

“But less severe injuries to the joint surface due to bone fatigue are common in racehorses,” he said. “Such injuries can result in poor performance and lameness but are hard to identify, unless sophisticated imaging equipment like scintigraphy is used.”

It is difficult, however, for academics to analyze the mere surface data of racehorse rest and injury. As things stand, many horses are obviously rested precisely because they have a problem, which puts them at risk of developing more serious issues in future. By the same token, Whitton would not presume to comment on the potential causes of the recent crisis at Santa Anita.

“Stricter medication rules would improve the overall situation, but are not specific to California,” he remarked. “Having readily accessible information about each horse, including their veterinary, training, and racing history will help us make better decisions about their management.”

Nor does he reproach racing professionals for ignorance about the structural risks to which they might be exposing their horses, as much of the science has only emerged over the last decade. “Having said that, good horse people know these things instinctively, even if they don’t understand the underlying physiology,” he stressed. “They know that it takes time to prepare a horse for a racing career, and that horses need regular breaks from training to refresh. When an injury does occur, however, human nature means we tend to blame what happened at the time of the injury-whereas it’s actually because of what happened in the days, weeks and months that lead up to the injury. That’s quite counter-intuitive.”

And, as such, it’s a vital lesson for everyone to absorb. In short: if you want to reduce the chances of a breakdown, give your horse a break.


Mandella Back In Arkansas With ‘Omaha’

Tue, 2019-04-09 15:17

Trainer Richard Mandella was scheduled to be the second of three guests on Tuesday’s NTRA national media teleconference ahead of this weekend’s GI Arkansas Derby. Instead, given that he was hot walking the just-arrived colt around the shedrow on the Oaklawn backstretch, his appearance was pushed back just a bit before he graciously answered questions on GII Rebel S. hero Omaha Beach (War Front), the likely favorite this weekend, and on the ongoing turmoil at Santa Anita.

“He looks like he traveled really well, everything’s good,” Mandella said, shank in one hand, phone in the other.

One of four horses trained by the Hall of Famer for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm, Omaha Beach–a $625,000 buyback out of the 2017 Keeneland September sale–made his first three starts on turf before missing by a half-length to the well-regarded Nolo Contesto (Pioneerof the Nile) in his first dirt appearance Jan. 4. The half-brother to champion Take Charge Brandi (Giant’s Causesway), whose MGISW second dam Take Charge Lady (Dehere) produced champion Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) and GISW Take Charge Indy (A.P. Indy), graduated by a romping nine lengths in the Santa Anita slop Feb. 2 and exits a narrow success from champion Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the Rebel.

Though Omaha Beach displayed above-average ability on the turf, with a third and two seconds, Mandella explained the reason for the belated switch to the main track

“He finally said to me after his last grass race, ‘Boss, you ought to run on the grass, not me,'” he said in his trademark deadpan fashion. “When he was getting ready for his first start, he was a good work horse, but not a show off. War Fronts had been so good on the turf, I just thought it might be a good way to start. He ran well, so I tried it again and he ran well, so I tried it again. If you beat me in the head enough times, I finally get it. Once we got serious about running, his works have always been like a first-class horse. It’s not a surprise to us that he’s that good.”

Mandella was also typically tongue-in-cheek when asked what his thoughts were in the stretch of the Rebel

“I was fully confident we were going to win that race,” he said laughing. “It scared me to death at the eighth pole when Game Winner looked like he was the dominant horse and then my horse looked at him and dug back in and beat him. I couldn’t have been more proud.”

And with that, Mandella is poised to saddle his seventh horse in the GI Kentucky Derby, now a $3-million race, some 35 years after Bedouin (Al Hattab) finished 15th to Swale in 1984 when total prize money was $250,000. Omaha Beach is set to be his first Derby runner in 15 years and Mandella is confident that his regally bred colt will see out the trip and is happy to be in with a chance.

“He’s so kind and smart, I think he’d do whatever we ask him now that he’s a professional racehorse,” he said. “There’s plenty of competition out there and we’re worried about all of them, but I wouldn’t trade with anybody.”

Arkansas Derby doings aside, Mandella also addressed the current situation in California, including this coming Friday’s whip-free program at Santa Anita.

“It will be an interesting experiment,” he said. “I can sure see not overwhipping horses or whipping a horse that’s just stopping and out of gas–there’s no sense beating them up. I think adjustments are coming and probably should be. Going to zero is probably not going to satisfy the betting public, which is very important. I’d hate to think of a guy having his last horse on the Pick 6, nose and nose, and the boy couldn’t do anything to help encourage it across the wire, what the guy might do. Hopefully the betting public will be patient and ride it out a little bit.

He continued, “Saying that, it’s a question being forced on us by the animal rights people and then the government officials. It’s not something we all just thought to do, but maybe there’s something good that will come of it. It will all work out. It’ll be tried and adjustments made that will make the game better. Whatever they are, I am happy to work with.”

Mandella echoed some of the same sentiments that his colleague Bob Baffert expressed during last week’s teleconference as it relates to his relationship with his equine athletes.

“My horses are my family, same as most of the people that work for me,” he said. “[They’re] our best friends, our relatives, this is our life. They mean the world to us. Saying that, there is always going to be some bad apple in the bunch, you can’t help that.”

He concluded, “Racing maybe needs to do a better job of showing the good in it rather than waiting for the criticism and then trying to defend ourselves.”


Keeneland April Sale Returns Tuesday

Mon, 2019-04-08 17:51

LEXINGTON, KY – The Keeneland April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale returns from a four-year hiatus Tuesday in Lexington with bidding beginning at 2 p.m. and a select offering of 40 juveniles took to the Lexington oval on a drizzly Monday for the auction’s under-tack preview.

“Mother nature didn’t do us any favors with the rain, but the track looks like it is very fair and very safe and allows these horses to demonstrate the kind of exceptional talent many of them have,” Keeneland’s vice president of racing and sales Bob Elliston said. “I’ve been very pleased and I’m tickled at the clients that are here looking at horses. All of the right kinds of buyers in the 2-year-old market are here and we just need a few of them to get on the same horses tomorrow.”

A trio of juveniles shared the fastest furlong of the preview, each covering the distance in :10 flat, while a filly by Competitive Edge earned the quarter-mile bullet of :21 1/5.

A colt by Bodemeister (hip 136) was the first horse of the breeze show Monday morning and promptly set the furlong standard of :10 flat. Consigned by Wavertree Stables, the bay colt is out of stakes placed Resident Alien (Bertrando), a full-sister to Grade I placed Shaggy Mane. The youngster was a $60,000 Keeneland September purchase.

“He’s been a fast horse all year,” said Wavertree’s Ciaran Dunne. “He’s done everything right all year. We expected a big work from him and he delivered.”

Wavertree was represented by another bullet worker when hip 126, a colt from the first crop of multiple Grade I winner Liam’s Map, worked in :10 flat during the day’s second set. A $190,000 Keeneland September yearling, the gray colt is out of graded stakes winner Jenny’s So Great (Greatness).

Dunne pinpointed Liam’s Map as his first-season sire to watch earlier in the year and admitted Monday, “This colt is one of the reasons why. He is a beautiful horse. We put him a little later [in the day] just to get everybody’s nerves calmed down and he showed up like we thought he would. He’s a nice horse.”

Wavertree sent out 10 juveniles to work Monday.

“Everybody kind of breezed right in relation to everybody else right where we thought they’d be,” said Dunne.

Of the soggy conditions, Dunne added, “We can make excuses for some of them, but for the most part they got through it and handled it. It was the same for everybody.”

A filly by Tapit (hip 130) also shared the :10 flat bullet. Consigned by Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds, the bay filly is out of Grade I winner My Conquestadory (Artie Schiller) and is a full-sister to GII Fountain of Youth S. runner-up Bourbon War. She was a $775,000 Keeneland November weanling purchase.

Hip 130 was one of three juveniles from Hartley/De Renzo to work Monday. The consignment also sent out a pair of fillies by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah: hip 142 worked in :10 1/5 and hip 155 matched that :10 1/5 time.

Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables sent out Monday’s fastest quarter-mile breezer when Le Competition (Competitive Edge) worked in :21 1/5. The dark bay filly is out of the unraced Lefreakcestchic (Bellamy Road), a half-sister to multiple stakes placed He’s So Chic (Jump Start) and from the family of graded stakes winners Living Vicariously, With Distinction and Sightseeing.

“We had as good and as safe a track as we could possibly have under the conditions,” said Elser, who sent out eight horses to work Monday. “They did a great job with the track. The horses went well and everybody came home well. I think some of them were more confident going over the mud than others, but those are today’s conditions.”

Of Le Competition, Elser said, “She is one that really relished a wet track. I was in the chute, I didn’t see her frontside, but I know she galloped out past me tremendously.”

Tuesday’s renewal will be the first time Keeneland has held an April sale since 2014. The last April Sale produced champions Lady Eli and Roy H. and graduates of the boutique auction include six Classic winners.

“A lot of people would like to have additional opportunities to showcase their horses,” Elliston said of the sale’s reemergence. “And we are very pleased with the quality of the horses that are here and the buyers that are here. I hope we can build on it.”

With the absence of the now-defunct Barretts Spring Sale, the Keeneland auction is even more important to major consignors like Wavertree.

“From our perspective, it’s just replaced Barretts,” Dunne said of the Keeneland April sale. “We have quite a few to sell, so we need venues so we’re not competing against ourselves. This has always been a good spot to sell horses, horses have sold well and horses have done well off of here. So hopefully it works and we have a better turnout next year.”

Elser agreed the 2019 renewal of the April sale will be one to grow on for all parties.

“It’s hard to get something back on the calendar,” Elser said. “I think next year will be a really, really good sale. This year, we’ll have a good sale. But it needs to be used as a confidence builder on both sides, or maybe three if you count Keeneland themselves.”

The Keeneland April sale will open with an offering of 94 catalogued horses of racing age.

“I’m ecstatic about the horses of racing age part of the sale,” Elliston said. “I think they will be very much in demand because there is a lot of great racing getting ready to start around the country, at the rest of our meet, at the Churchill meet, and in New York. There are going to be tons of opportunities to run these horses back and get a return on your investment pretty quickly because they are already made horses and of high quality.”

Elite Sales will offer a 14-head consignment of horses of racing age, including graded stakes placed Sweet Diane (Will Take Charge) (hip 90). Elite’s Brad Weisbord agreed the timing of the April sale is perfect.

“There are a couple of times a year that these racehorses are selling,” Weisbord said. “January and November are generally when the season has been done. So April is the first sale where the season has started and the horses have current form. We only had July as an option–which obviously we’ll be selling at as well–but you have to wait six or seven months to get in and you’re right on top of the summer in that sale. So you’re now right getting started in the spring and then rolling into the summer. So by summertime, you’ll be in full gear with your new trainer.”

Sweet Diane was third in the GII Fair Grounds Oaks and currently sits 19th on the points board for the GI Kentucky Oaks.

“After [divisional leader] Bellafina, I think you can throw a parachute over the next group of fillies,” Weisbord said. “I think they are all running in that 75-84 Beyer range. Sweet Diane has speed figures to compete with those horses. She has Kentucky Oaks points–she’s on the border right now, but there are races like the GII Black-Eyed Susan on Preakness weekend and the GIII Delaware Oaks. It’s extremely hard to buy dirt, long 3-year-old fillies, in form, good looking and she is a gorgeous physical.”

At the crossover from horses of racing age and 2-year-olds in training, a pair of juveniles who already have race form were late supplements to the April sale. Mean Sophia (Smarty Jones), who broke her maiden by 10 1/2 lengths at Keeneland on opening day last Thursday, will sell as hip 95. Competitive Queen (Competitive Edge), second in a maiden special weight at Keeneland Sunday will be offered as hip 96. Both fillies are owned by Savannah Goebel and trained by Cirilo Gorostieta.

Of the pair’s late entry into the sale, Elliston said, “I was in the winner’s circle [Thursday] and I went straight up and I introduced myself to Cirilo. I said, ‘That was very impressive. You know we have a sale next Tuesday.’ He said, ‘Everything is for sale.’ Kyle Wilson and Mark Maronde are running this sale and they got him right in. And then he put another one in–the horse that ran second yesterday. So he has a couple in there and we’re excited for him and hope he does well.”


Race-Themed Lottery Game Exceeds First-Week Sales Goals

Mon, 2019-04-08 17:23

The new $2 Kentucky Lottery game called Win Place Show surpassed first-week sales goals by a whopping 247%, bolstering chances that the quick-pick draw based on the results of daily Thoroughbred races will gain wider implementation beyond its current 90-day trial period in Lexington, Louisville, and northern Kentucky.

“Everyone is extremely happy with those numbers–the Kentucky Lottery and ourselves,” Brad Cummings, the founder and chief executive of the game’s parent firm, EquiLottery, said via phone on Monday. “We have exceeded expectations by a large measure.”

Cummings said Win Place Show, which launched Mar. 31, is the first-ever daily lottery game to feature winning numbers based on the results of a live sporting event.

A lottery player who buys a ticket receives a randomly generated set of numbers corresponding to three horses for the day’s selected race at one of 21 partner tracks across the country. Players win cash prizes if the race results match three in a row, three in any order, or any two exactly, with hitting the trifecta cold resulting in the biggest jackpots.

In a story last week about the launch of the game (read it here), Cummings told TDN that a successful trial period means the game could eventually go live in 3,000 stores in Kentucky alone, and that “in five years the potential is there for Win Place Show to be in 15 to 20 states” via hundreds of thousands of retail points of sale.

“We know one week is not enough to [demonstrate] a full trend, but we are certainly communicating those numbers to our future lottery partners,” said Cummings.

“We know that we are getting repeat players,” Cummings said. “And we’re following exact lottery trends in that Sundays/Mondays are kind of the slowest days, and that we sort of peak on a Friday. I think the different thing here is that there’s some really nice racing on Saturdays, so we get a little bit more of a [sales boost] on Saturdays than most lottery games.”

Partner racetracks are paid a broadcast rights fee if their races are chosen for the daily Win Place Show drawing.

This past Saturday, Cummings noted, the GII Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Race Course was the featured race. Even though the winning result featured the 1-2-3 pari-mutuel favorites in exact order in the 14-horse field, the game’s numbers get assigned by random draw, so no one had a winning ticket, resulting in a double carryover to Sunday that was hit for $2,154.

Despite the promising early start, Cummings repeated a call for continued sales support from people in the racing industry.

“We don’t want to be lulled by this early success,” Cummings said. “We want to go from 247% to 500% [above the sales goals] to make it so incredibly unavoidable that the game flies not just here in Kentucky, but that we start to spread this thing across the country quicker than we ever imagined.”

Horsemen Contribute $170K to Improve Equine Drug Testing

Mon, 2019-04-08 15:02

The Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, led by a $25,000 donation from the New York THA, will contribute a total of $50,000 to fund research to develop an inexpensive test for the detection of potential blood doping agents such as erythropoietin (EPO). The two-year study, an initiative of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, will be conducted by Dr. Heather Knych at the K. L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at UC-Davis. According to RMTC, the goal is to identify more EPO substances at much lower concentrations.

In addition, the New York THA will donate $120,000 to acquire new equipment for the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College.

“The integrity of our sport and the welfare of our horses is of paramount importance,” said THA and NYTHA President Joe Appelbaum. “If these blood-doping and alkalinizing agents are being used in horse racing, we need to dedicate our resources to their detection and eradication. Our horsemen, our bettors and our fans need to know that we have a safe and level playing field.”

Oaklawn Commits $100K to Grayson-Jockey Club

Mon, 2019-04-08 14:51

Oaklawn Park has contributed $100,000 in support of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Grayson announced Wednesday.

“Oaklawn Park and the Cella family believe in the importance of promoting the health of our equine athletes, and we are proud to support Grayson’s efforts to improve the wellness of horses of all breeds,” said Louis A. Cella, president of Oaklawn Jockey Club.

“We are elated that Oaklawn is supporting our work at Grayson,” added Dell Hancock, chairman of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. “We appreciate the Cella family’s generosity on behalf of horses.”

ARCI Considering Banning Entries From Bisphosphonate-Treated Horses

Mon, 2019-04-08 14:47

The Association of Racing Commissioner International said in a statement Wednesday that it is considering a policy that would disallow entries from horses below age four who are treated with bisphosphonates. This comes on the heels of America’s three major sales companies announcing a ban on the controversial drugs.

“The ARCI is considering and accepting input from the industry on adoption and implementation of a Regulatory Policy that would disallow any horse from being entered in a race that has been treated with bisphosphonates prior to age four or for reasons not specifically cited by the US Food and Drug Administration as appropriate use,” the statement read.

Comments on this issue may be submitted to ARCI at

Keeneland April Under-Tack Show Starts Monday at 11 a.m.

Mon, 2019-04-08 09:37

The under-tack preview for the Keeneland April 2-Year-Olds in Training sale begins at 11 a.m. Monday morning. There will be two sets of main-track workers followed by a group of turf workouts. To view the set list, click here. The sale, which begins with an offering of  horses of racing age, will be held Tuesday. Bidding begins at 2 p.m.

The Mackem Bullet Fires in Appalachian

Sun, 2019-04-07 17:14

There was a suitably Japanese flair to the GIII Appalachian S. presented by the Japan Racing Association Sunday at Keeneland as The Mackem Bullet (Ire) relished soft going and ran away in the stretch to earn her first black-type success for owner Katsumi Yoshida.

A third out victress last summer at Carlisle in Great Britain, the bay was third at 20-1 in the G3 Princess Margaret Keeneland S. July 28 at Ascot and was a narrow runner-up twice at 25-1 in the G2 Sky Bet Lowther S. Aug. 23 at York and G1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park S. Sept. 29 at Newmarket. Shipped over for the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, she had some early trouble before finishing an even sixth. Dominating a Turfway optional claimer after being switched to Wesley Ward from Brian Ellison Dec. 31, she was last seen running fourth against males in the John Battaglia Memorial S. there Feb. 15.

Made the third choice back in with her own sex here, The Mackem Bullet tracked from second through strong splits for the boggy course of :24.14 and :49.21. Given her cue three furlongs from home, she swept to the lead soon after straightening and burst clear past the eighth pole. Second favorite and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Regal Glory put in a strong late bid, but The Mackem Bullet had already fled the scene and remained clear to the line.

“She’s really done well here over the winter,” said Ward. “I always thought she’d probably prefer the grass. She had a beautiful breeze here last week over the grass. There was a little question mark about the surface today but I spoke to trainer Brian Ellison in England twice and he assured me she’d be OK, and she was. When Brian sent her to me, the idea was to go back to the [G1 English One Thousand] Guineas, so we’ll have to see what they want to do. I’m lucky they chose me to train her.”

Pedigree Notes:

The Mackem Bullet is the fourth stakes winner and second graded stakes winner for the late dual Group 1-winning sprinter Society Rock, following up 2017 G1 Deauville Prix Morny winner Unfortunately (Ire) in the latter category. Her dam, once a winner in 10 career starts, is a half-sister to Japanese MGSW/G1SP Bounce Shasse (Jpn) (Zenno Rob Roy {Jpn}), GSWs Moonquake (Jpn) (Admire Moon {Jpn}) and Contra Check (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and MG1SP Stubbs Art (Ire) (Hawk Wing). Her second dam is a half to MGSW Just James (GB) (Spectrum {Ire}). Elkmait is responsible for a yearling filly by Mehmas (Ire).

Sunday, Keeneland
APPALACHIAN S. PRESENTED BY JAPAN RACING ASSOCIATION-GII, $200,000, Keeneland, 4-7, 3yo, f, 1mT, 1:39.31, sf.
1–THE MACKEM BULLET (IRE), 118, f, 3, by Society Rock (Ire)
1st Dam: Elkmait (GB), by Trade Fair (GB)
2nd Dam: Rich Dancer (GB), by Halling
3rd Dam: Fairy Flight (Ire), by Fairy King
’17 GOUKSI). O-Katsumi Yoshida; B-Tallyho Stud (IRE);
T-Wesley A. Ward; J-Tyler Gaffalione. $120,000. Lifetime
Record: G1SP-Eng, 10-3-2-2, $305,358. Werk Nick Rating: A.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Regal Glory, 118, f, 3, Animal Kingdom–Mary’s Follies, by
More Than Ready. O/B-Paul P Pompa, Jr. (KY); T-Chad C.
Brown. $40,000.TDN Rising Star
3–Princesa Carolina, 118, f, 3, Tapit–Pure Clan, by Pure Prize.
O/B-Three Chimneys Farm (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek.
Margins: 1 1/4, 2 1/4, 3/4. Odds: 6.60, 3.10, 7.90.
Also Ran: Hard Legacy, Winning Envelope, Primela (Fr), Catch a Thrill, Clause, Angel Alessandra, Naughty Joker, Beautiful Ballad.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.