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Updated: 18 hours 22 min ago

Churchill Delays Stable Reopening

Tue, 2020-03-24 18:01

Churchill Downs Inc. will delay the reopening of its stable areas at both Churchill Downs Racetrack and the auxiliary training center Trackside until Tuesday, April 14. The decision was made after ongoing consultation with public health officials amid public health concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Churchill Downs’ stable areas have been closed since Dec. 31 for annual winter renovations and were originally scheduled to reopen Tuesday, March 17.

“Together, we are in the midst of an unprecedented global health crisis and every tough decision we make is made with the best real time information we have from government officialsand public health experts,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “We understand how trying the impact of this decision is on our horsemen, but we will continue to work tirelessly with public health experts toward a satisfactory resolution so our horsemen and their horses can return home safely as soon as possible.”

Churchill Downs’ 38-day Spring Meet is scheduled for April 25-June 27. With respect to postponing the opening of the Spring Meet, a decision will be made closer to that date using the most recent information while working with and seeking guidance from public health experts and authorities.

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OBS Reschedules Juvenile Sales

Tue, 2020-03-24 17:27

The Ocala Breeders’ Sale Company has rescheduled its 2020 Spring and June Sales of 2-Year-Olds in Training in response to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. The Spring Sale, originally scheduled for Apr. 21-24, will now be held June 9-12. The June Sale, which was slated for June 10-12 will now be held July 14-17.

The Spring Sale under tack show will be May 31-June 6 and the June under tack show will be July 6-11. The Spring Sale catalog will stay as is and entries will be accepted from the June Sale through May 4.

“As we all continue to deal with the current circumstances,” said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. “We need to balance a sense of social responsibility with providing our consignors the best opportunity to market their horses and give buyers the best place to obtain them.”

In an effort to provide another opportunity to buy and sell 2-year-olds, OBS is considering adding a 2-Year-Old in Training session to the October Yearling Sale, presently scheduled for Oct. 6-9.


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Charles Town Suspends Live Racing

Tue, 2020-03-24 11:21

Charles Town has suspended its live racing program following West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s statewide “stay at home” order which will shut down non-essential businesses as of 8 p.m. Tuesday. The track will remain open in the mornings for horsemen on the grounds to continue with light training.
As of Monday evening, West Virginia had 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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Derby Museum Offers Virtual Tours

Tue, 2020-03-24 10:41

The Kentucky Derby Museum is now offering virtual tours that are designed to let fans experience “Derby Day Everday.” Through the tour, guests can view collections, exhibits and go on personal virtual tours of iconic Churchill Downs with a museum tour guide. The online museum is updated daily and each day curatorial experts bring visitors featured artifacts, fun facts, oral history videos, educational lessons, and activities they can do at home.

“Traditions provide an anchor for us in a constantly moving world,” says Chris Goodlett, Director of Curatorial Education for the Kentucky Derby Museum. “Since its inaugural running in 1875, the Kentucky Derby has served as such. This international sporting and cultural event brings people together at a specific place and time to share a unique experience with family and friends. As we move past a calamitous time, this tradition may become even more important, just as it did for those coming out of wartime in the 1940s.”

Patrick Armstrong, CEO of Kentucky Derby Museum added, “Our mission at the Kentucky Derby Museum is to engage, educate, and excite everyone about the Kentucky Derby experience. We take our role in the rich history and tradition of the Derby to heart. We feel this is more important to share than ever before–especially during these challenging times and we feel bringing this virtual museum online will help connect and educate the community and our visitors.”

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Woodbine Postpones Opening of Thoroughbred Meet

Tue, 2020-03-24 09:54

Woodbine Entertainment has suspended the opening of its Thoroughbred meeting indefinitely following the announcement that the Government of Ontario is mandating all non-essential businesses closed by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. Woodbine’s backstretch will be limited to only essential care for horses and regular training operations will not be permitted.
“Considering we will only be allowing for the essential care of the horses on our backstretch, we will not be in a position to open the season as scheduled Apr. 18,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. “As previously communicated, we are currently in discussions with government agencies to help provide the support needed for horse people and the horses during this time of no racing.”

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USVI To Serve As Home To Training Program In Advanced Horse Care

Mon, 2020-03-23 15:55

Edited Press Release

The US Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections has partnered with the Virgin Islands Equestrian Equine Therapy Project, Inc. (VIEETP), to provide The Elite Program, a training course in horse care and horse training, to eligible inmates at the Golden Grove Correctional Facility in St. Croix.

The goal of the program is to provide job skills and equine assisted therapy to incarcerated men and women thereby lowering the rate of recidivism and increasing wage-earning opportunities for the inmates upon release.

Horse behavior, anatomy and physiology, first aid, ground training, and stable management are part of the basic curriculum preparing successful program participants to work in many positions in the equine business including as racetrack grooms, farriers, vet techs, and barn managers.  All horses in the program will be retired Thoroughbred racehorses.

“This is a unique and exciting set of circumstances,” said C. Reid McLellan, Executive Director of The Elite Program that teaches Groom Elite certification courses to backstretch workers in racing jurisdictions across the mainland United States, as well as to inmates in a number of Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation prison-based programs. “We will be able to nurture the strong passion for horses that already exists on the island.”

Carolyn Smith, founder of the Virgin Islands Equestrian Equine Therapy Project, Inc. (VIEETP) has been involved with horses in the Virgin Islands her entire life and is thrilled that the program has support from Governor Albert Bryan Jr., his administration, in particular the Bureau of Corrections, and the horsemen in the Virgin Islands.

“We have plans to create a sustainable, thriving equine-centered economy where horses are part of competitive riding programs, training programs for jockeys and backstretch workers, equine therapy programs for disabled people, and equine learning programs in our schools and for at-risk youth,” said Smith. “Thoroughbreds are already beloved on the island and these programs will help turn that passion towards economic progress for the island.”

The program will begin in the near future on the grounds of the correctional facility where board fencing, a teaching area and shelter will be erected. Not only will the inmate participants be involved in horsemanship training, they will also launch a unique sustainable agricultural project growing peanut hay on the grounds of the correctional facility.

“This program could not have come at a better time,” said Wynnie Testamark, Director of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections. “We are in the process of reviewing the strengths and challenges of each of our inmates and this program will provide an effective avenue for success in our increasing concentration on reentry and rehabilitation. I am impressed with the success that the program has had in other U.S. facilities.”

In addition to providing vocational training to incarcerated islanders, The Elite Program will be able to offer programs that will also give local citizens advanced and highly marketable horse care and training skills.

“As the island of St. Croix prepares for horse racing at a recognized level, training for its citizens to work at the track and provide for the horses when their racing careers are over will be necessary,” said Smith.  “This program will pave the way for success.”

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UPenn Researchers Launching Study On Lasix, Bisphosphonates’ Impact On Catastrophic Injuries

Mon, 2020-03-23 14:17

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine are launching a novel study exploring possible effects resulting from the combined use of furosemide, commonly known as Lasix, and bisphosphonates in equine athletes. Led by Dr. Mary Robinson, assistant professor of veterinary pharmacology and director of the Equine Pharmacology Laboratory at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center, the study is poised to be the first comprehensive analysis of the two drugs that, when used concurrently, could be capable of diminishing bone integrity and compromising cardiac function in racehorses.

“The beauty of this study is that it will use a multi-disciplinary approach to assess the interaction between these two drugs that we know are administered to racehorses,” said Robinson. “By coupling our state-of-the art imaging technologies with the scope of expertise among the other investigators on this project, we will be able to produce solid, unbiased data that will address some of the unknowns surrounding the use of these medications.”

Also used in human medicine to treat heart conditions, lasix is known to cause a short-term loss of calcium and increase the risk of fractures in human patients. But because horses can quickly recover from a calcium deficit, Lasix alone is unlikely to be the root cause for catastrophic, racing related breakdowns which.

“As racehorse owners and enthusiasts, we have a deep love for the sport and for our horses. There are so many theories about injuries–it’s a constant concern–and there’s so much to learn, but yet very little has been done in this area in order to so,” said Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stables. “Ultimately, we hope this research will empower us, as an industry, to make more informed decisions or exercise a greater degree of confidence in how we care for these animals that mean so much to us.”

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Letter to the Editor: Brad Weisbord on the Coronavirus

Mon, 2020-03-23 12:26

The virus is not a joke. The virus does not just infect old people. The virus is not like the flu. Most of the youth around the world is missing the point. The virus will make you want to die if it doesn’t kill you first.

On Monday (3/18) my wife said to me in the middle of the night, “What’s wrong with you? You’re gasping for air.” My response was, “I think I have a chest cold developing.” It felt like there was phlegm stuck in my chest.

On Tuesday morning, I could not get out of bed. She suggested I leave the apartment, and head to a vacant one-bedroom apartment my grandma (who is in Florida) has in the same NYC building. We have a 7-week-old baby, and the last thing I wanted to do was infect her and my wife. I took my pillow and left. Eight days later, I’m still here.

Symptoms and Actions:

Tuesday–Woke up with aches and pains all over. Very much like if you have a bad cold or the flu. A deep chest cough started. Coming from my lungs, not phlegm in your throat. When you cough, nothing happens, but feeling pain. No temperature immediately (mine was 97.2). Hard to want to do anything, I did not have any appetite or sense of smell. In bed Tuesday night I took my temp again, 99.8. The fever had started.

Wednesday–Woke up with a 100.4 temp. News spreading that NYC is the #1 hot spot in America (1/3 of the cases in the country). I had been careful since returning from Saudi, so figured there is no way I have COVID-19. I call my PCP and he agreed to see me. I wait in the car, they bring me out a mask and gloves, and he empties the office. Flu test, strep test, stool culture, blood panel. Everything “normal” was negative. The only bad sign was my SPO2 (oxygen) level was 91%. Normal is 95%-100%. He said, you can try to call the CDC and get tested, but you have the COVID-19 virus. With the NYC hospitals overrun, and the only testing being done for medical professionals, he thought I should head home and come back on Friday to make sure my chest X-ray was clean. Wednesday night, I sat in bed, hacking cough, struggling for a normal breath. Did not sleep for even one hour.

Thursday–Temp came down to 99.6. Managing temp and pain with Tylenol. Gastrointestinal issues start. I couldn’t keep anything inside. I started Immodium to help with that. Aches and pains pretty much gone. Shortness of breath getting worse, way worse. Like you’re suffocating to death. Cough getting worse, and more painful. Thursday night you start to think it’s better off to be dead.

Friday–Head back to the Dr. Chest X-ray is still clean of pneumonia. He tells me my body is fighting well. But days 5-7 are when people turn for the worse, potentially requiring supplemental oxygen and hospitalization or it can head in the right direction. He suggested I buy a pulse oximeter, to measure my oxygen at home. That will help me tell if my lungs are severely compromised. I get the oximeter, which reads 92%-93%. Gives me some comfort I can monitor my levels at home. I finally get four hours of sleep, before a terrible headache comes on. Take Tylenol to relieve the pain.

Saturday–Temperature is gone. Stomach issues cleared up. Shortness of breath was the same, awful. Cough still getting worse.

Sunday–No temperature. Shortness of breath the same. Cough terrible. Finally get seven hours of sleep with the help of Tylenol Cold PM.

Monday–Finally woke up and felt a normal breath, first time in a week. The virus had raised to my nose. Nose felt a little stuffed, but I would live with a lifetime cold rather than dealing with the respiratory issues

Studies suggest 40-80% of people will get this COVID-19 virus before a vaccine is developed (approx. 1 year from now). I’m healthy, young and have never smoked. There were 72 hours I wanted to die (days 4-6). What does COVID-19 do to the elderly, or people with underlying health issues….10%-20% DEATH.

This virus has already killed thousands and is going to end up killing hundreds of thousands around the world. Money can’t buy you a cure.

So–STAY INSIDE for a few weeks. FLATTEN THE CURVE! DO NOT visit your parents or grandparents. You might not show symptoms, but that doesn’t mean you can’t infect them!

In time, when the curve flattens, we will resume normal life, knowing the hospitals can care for the very sick. Trust me, I have been to hell and I’m crying for anyone that is dealing with any major respiratory symptom.

If you do get it, my advice:

*      A test won’t help

*       Drink as many fluids as possible

*       Force yourself to a bland diet (mine was English muffins, chicken soup, bananas).

*       Keep temp down with Tylenol (not Advil). Immodium helps with the stomach.

*       Monitor your oxygen levels with your finger pulse oximeter

*       DO NOT visit the ER unless you are in a dire state, as they will only treat you if you need oxygen.

Stay safe. We’re one world. One love.

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Op/Ed: A Year Without Derby Makes Most Sense

Mon, 2020-03-23 10:31

A few weeks ago, I felt like a lone wolf howling in the wind (not the first time). I was calling for Keeneland to call off its April meet and for Churchill Downs to go ahead and announce the cancellation of the Kentucky Derby.

Based on what I knew of the coronavirus spread in other countries and that it had reached our shores, it seemed obvious to me that within days we would begin cancelling events at a rapid pace.

The first sports leader to acknowledge such was NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who shut down his league for a month. In just a matter of days, most other sports fell like dominoes.

Now, of course, both Keeneland and Churchill Downs took the actions I expected and most other racetracks have correctly shut down for live racing.

Churchill subsequently announced the Derby would be contested Sept. 5, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, thus four months after its originally scheduled date.

Without a doubt, the Derby is the world’s most recognizable and important race. It is the sport’s once-a-year opportunity to make new fans, to perhaps capture the imagination of someone who at some point will be able to invest in the industry.

As a Kentucky-bred myself, there is no greater day each year of my life than the first Saturday in May when the Derby is run.

And that fact brings me to the point of this column.

The Derby cannot be the Derby unless it is run the customary first Saturday in May.

I understand the importance of running it, and understand the economic impact the race has on Churchill Downs, its shareholders and its horsemen. It also has a tremendous and profound impact on those who simulcast the race (and its undercard), the city of Louisville and the state of Kentucky.

Tourism is big in Kentucky, but never more so than on the days surrounding the Derby.

That being said, I would suggest that when the race is run Sept. 5–if the coronavirus has abated to allow it to be run–it not be called the Derby.

One thing that makes a Derby winner so special is that the race is run so early in a horse’s 3-year-old season. Though the methods employed by trainers to point a horse to the Derby have changed dramatically over the years, the date of the race is the constant.

It simply is not the same to win the race at a time of year when many 3-year-olds have not even celebrated their actual third birthday as it will be for whoever wins the race in September.

By September, many horses will have made more starts and raced longer distances than many previous Derby starters and winners, particularly in recent years.

In addition, most horses that were being pointed to the Derby will now have to be rested, then geared back up for a race in early September.

For these, and other reasons, comparing the 2020 Derby victor to past winners will not only be impossible but illogical.

For this year, and this year only, I suggest Churchill change the name of the race. Call it the Louisville Derby or Jefferson County Derby. Do not put the horse’s name on Churchill Downs, do not inscribe the name on the collectible Derby glass, and do not adorn the winner with a garland of roses.

Do not list those connected to the horse–the owner, breeder, trainer, jockey, sire–as having been part of a Derby winner.

Instead let them be celebrated as the connections of the winner of the “race to be named later,” a significant accomplishment in a year in which the racing calendar was thrown a nasty curveball.

Let 2020 be the year the Derby was not run. The history books will note the coronavirus was the reason.

It is hard for a Kentuckian, a lover of racing and its traditions, to suggest such a thing. But it actually is holding on to tradition– that Derby winners are paraded in the winner’s circle the first Saturday in May.

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Texas 2YO Sale Canceled

Mon, 2020-03-23 10:15

The Texas 2-Year-Olds-In-Training Sale scheduled to take place at Lone Star Park Apr. 3 has been canceled, officials at the Texas Thoroughbred Association and the track announced, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. All entry fees are refundable.

“We are obviously disappointed to cancel this sale, especially with a record number of consignments, but it’s really the only option at this point and postponing the sale simply was not feasible,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association. “We are leaving the sale catalogue online and making some enhancements so that potential buyers can view photos and videos submitted by consignors and make contact to negotiate private sales.”

Added sales director Tim Boyce, “We feel this was probably the best group of horses to be catalogued to this sale in over a decade, so we encourage potential buyers to view the horses being offered. We truly appreciate all the support from consignors, so we are working to make the best of this situation and help buyers and sellers get connected.”

All horses entered in the sale will be deemed to have gone through the ring and will therefore remain eligible for the July 12 Texas Thoroughbred Futurity at Lone Star Park, with estimated purse money of $100,000 for both genders. The due date for the  $350 payment for the Futurity will be pushed back one month to May 15.

Over the coming weeks, the TTA will accept photos and videos from consignors to be added to the sale website at The online repository will also be opened to help consignors market their horses. Each consignor’s contact information will be listed so that buyers can make direct contact about a private sale. The TTA will not track or collect commissions on any private sales.

The Texas Summer Yearling Sale is set for Aug. 24 and will also contain a Horses-Of-Racing-Age section.

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Beshear Closes Non-Essential Kentucky Businesses

Sun, 2020-03-22 19:08

As the number of the state’s COVID-19 cases surpassed 100, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear ordered all non-essential businesses to close to in-person traffic by 8 p.m. Monday, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Sunday.

Businesses that can still remain open under the order include grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores and gas stations. Restaurants can continue offering delivery and take-out.

“We have been aggressive, but we’ve been taking one step, and then we’ve been taking another step and then another step,” the Herald-Leader quoted Beshear saying. “And it lets us all work into this new, I don’t want to say normal because it’s not going to be forever, and the more we do, hopefully we can shorten the time we’re going through all of this.”

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Max Player Stays Busy

Sun, 2020-03-22 15:33

George Hall’s Max Player (Honor Code), winner of the Feb. 12 GIII Withers S., worked seven furlongs in 1:27.20 (1/1) at Belmont Park last Wednesday. The sophomore had been expected to make his next start in the Apr. 4 GII Wood Memorial S. before racing was suspended in New York.

“He worked really well,” said trainer Linda Rice. “We had planned on shooting towards the Wood Memorial and he had been training really nicely into that race.”

Rice said the recent announcement moving the GI Kentucky Derby to Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs could work in Max Player’s favor.

“Frankly, I think it might help us,” said Rice. “It will give him more time to mature. We didn’t get him started until December of his 2-year-old year, so I really think that’s going to work in our favor.”

Max Player broke his maiden in his second start at Parx last Dec. 17 and was making just his third start in the nine-furlong Withers.

Also making a recent appearance on the New York work tab, Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables’ Mind Control (Stay Thirsty) worked three furlongs in :36.04 (4/36) Saturday at Belmont.

Winner of the 2018 GI Hopeful S. and 2019 GI H. Allen Jerkens S., the 4-year-old is coming off a win in the Mar. 7 GIII Tom Fool H. and had been pointed towards the Apr. 4 GI Carter H.

“He went super well within himself and galloped out very strong,” said trainer Gregg Sacco. “He cooled out great and scoped clean. He continues to train well and he enjoys what he’s doing. We’ll keep him on his natural progression. He’ll work again next Saturday and take it from there.”

Sacco is continuing to keep his stable in running order while awaiting the opportunity to race again.

“We’re going to keep horses on their schedules, but we might ease up a little with the uncertainty. Mind Control’s work was three-eighths and we had him scheduled for a half-mile yesterday,” said Sacco. “We’ll take back with some of them. I have a few unraced 3-year-olds that we were going to do gate work with, so we might ease up a little bit on them.

“We just want to maintain their health and make sure they’re not coming over the webbing,” he added. “It’s important to maintain some normalcy in the routine at the barn.”

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Today’s Good News/Random Acts of Kindness: Blue Grass Farm Charities There for Central Kentucky Farm Workers

Sun, 2020-03-22 14:41

In every crisis, it’s possible to find examples of kindness and generosity, of people reaching out to help total strangers out of the goodness of their heart. To focus attention on the many people in the industry who have stepped forward to help those who have been impacted by the coronavirus, the TDN has launched a series that we hope will put a smile on your face during these difficult times. We’ll do our best to bring you a little bit of good news every day.

So far, life is reasonably normal for the workers who keep the Lexington area farms going. The horses still have to be taken care of, so there have been no mass layoffs. Nor have there been any reports of farm personnel coming down with the coronavirus. But Julie Berry fears the worst is yet to come, and if it does she will be there.

Berry is the executive director of Blue Grass Farms Charities (BGFC), which was established in 2003 to help farm workers and racetrack backstretch workers in Central Kentucky who have fallen on hard times or need assistance. Up until about three weeks ago, providing food for the workers was just a small part of what the charity did. Berry knows that is about to change.

“It’s starting to become about the need for food,” Berry said. “For us, the food pantries have always been a small essential service and it’s about to become our biggest. We are starting to hear stories about pantries throughout the region starting to be overwhelmed. We know this is the calm before the storm.”

Berry said that the charity’s food pantry has already been busier than normal. She believes that is because there are farm workers who have spouses that work in the service industry and may have been laid off from jobs at hotels or restaurants. BGFC can handle the numbers they are now seeing at the food pantries. What Berry is hoping for is that they can use this time to better position themselves for what is sure to come.

“This virus will hit farm workers,” she said. “It’s hitting everybody, there’s no discrimination when it comes to that. We’ll have to see what happens. We’re setting ourselves up to be of assistance and to do everything we can.”

BGFC has just two employees, so Berry has had to be resourceful and rely on her network of volunteers. One asset they have is a partnership with the charity God’s Pantry, which helps BGFC out with donations of fresh produce and breads. But catering to farm workers presents unique challenges. Many are Hispanic and rice is a large part of their diet. Trying to find rice for the pantry has been a challenge.

“Sam’s Club was out of rice and so was Costco,” she said. “I gave it some thought and realized that rice is also something that the Indian population uses quite a bit of. I found an Indian grocery store here in Lexington and they let me buy 60 pounds of rice.”

BGFC has limited resources. They do have a group of volunteers that have already come forward. But there is a definite need for contributions. One has already come in from the TOBA (Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association) and another from the University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union. Berry said she’s not actively soliciting the area farms for money.

“Right now, these farms should be worried about how they are going to take care of their own workers at this point,” she said. “But they should know that if there is a need for assistance, that’s what this charity is here for.”

Berry said she has gotten mixed messages from the workers. Some are worried. Some are not. She said one of the biggest concerns she hears is from seasonal workers who are in the country on H-2B visas.

“These people have no idea how they are going to get home,” she said.

Blue Grass Farms Charities is doing important work.  Along with its food pantry, it will continue to help workers who have medical needs, are having housing problems or have fallen behind on their bills. But they can’t do it without the generosity of those in the horse racing business. To make a donation go to, hit the “Donate” button, and you will be directed to Blue Grass Community Foundation link. BGFC is also taking in food donations. Anyone looking to do so can drop the food off at its offices at 2339 Sandersville Road, Lexington. To reach Berry, call  859-219-0910.

Do you know of an individual or an organization that is helping others in racing during this time of need? If so, please let us know. Bill Finley can be reached at

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Sam Houston Cancels Remainder of Meet

Sun, 2020-03-22 14:04

Sam Houston Race Park was forced to cancel its stakes-laden Texas Champions Day card after the second race Saturday night when a transformer blew, and will not hold its final four days of racing, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. Its 2020 Quarter Horse meet set to start Apr. 10 has also been cancelled. “We share in the disappointment this creates throughout the Texas racing industry and for our valued customers and employees,” said Sam Houston Vice President and General Manager Dwight Berube. “Sam Houston Race Park looks forward to a time when our entire community can once again enjoy great racing.”

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Maybe Wicked Retired

Sun, 2020-03-22 11:52

Stakes winner Maybe Wicked (Mizzen Mast–Something Wicked, by Chimes Band) has been retired from racing, breeder and co-owner Oscar Benavides announced Sunday. Trained by Brad Cox, the 5-year-old mare won last year’s West Virginia Secretary of State S. On the board in eight of 15 lifetime starts, she retires with five wins and earnings of $250,283.
“She will have a very deserved rest to start next year’s breeding season,” Benavides’s Montesacro Farm tweeted. “Thanks for all the support she received during her career and thanks to our partner Alejandro Machado for sharing all the joy we had.”

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TDN Continues to Publish With Staff Working From Home

Sat, 2020-03-21 19:08

Saturday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order closing all non-essential shops and businesses. And while we think we’re essential, Thoroughbred publications didn’t make a list that includes grocery stores, pharmacies, pet stores, gas stations and liquor stores. (This is New Jersey, after all.)

We have been publishing the paper almost completely remotely now for almost two weeks, with only one or two people in the office, but now we will be 100 percent remote.

To reach us, please do the following:

Advertising–Email or (they both go into the same mailbox)

Editorial–Email or

You can email me at or call me at 732.614.3124.

For European business, our Senior V.P., Gary King, may be reached at

We will continue to turn out the publication upon which you all depend until we can all see one another again in the office, and see you all on the racetrack or sales grounds.

Be safe, and please let us know if you need anything at all.

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Fair Grounds Suspends Live Racing for Remainder of Meeting

Sat, 2020-03-21 18:50

In accordance with the “stay-home” order issued by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, following public health concerns in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fair Grounds Race Course has suspended live racing operations effective immediately. The Fair Grounds Thoroughbred Racing Season was originally scheduled to run through Mar. 29. The announcement was made following the conclusion of Saturday’s GII Louisiana Derby card.

“Fair Grounds Race Course remains focused on the safety of members of the backside community who are vital to ensuring the care of the horses,” a statement read. “In compliance with the Louisiana Racing Commission’s emergency order, we are committed to facilitating their safe and customary movement to tracks outside of New Orleans. Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is dedicated to doing our part to help fight this public health crisis.”

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Lookin At Lucky Colt Wires LA Derby

Sat, 2020-03-21 18:11

Given the clamor across social media through the week, one thing was certain heading into Saturday’s GII Louisiana Derby–there was absolutely no chance that Wells Bayou (Lookin At Lucky) was going to go off at anything approaching his morning line of 8-1. Those that backed him were instead forced to swallow a price in the vicinity of 3-1, but the bay did not let them down, treating his 13 rivals to a front-running, 1 1/2-length beating.

Exiting the Feb. 17 GIII Southwest S. in which he laid down swift early fractions before sticking on gamely to be second behind Silver Prospector (Declaration of War), Wells Bayou loomed the speed of the speed and bounced very alertly from gate three. Ny Traffic (Cross Traffic) came across from his double-digit draw to apply some pressure, with Mailman Money (Goldencents) close up and GII Risen Star S. winner Modernist (Uncle Mo) three deep, but prominent. The opening couple of furlongs were traversed in :23.56, but Florent Geroux was able to get Wells Bayou to relax enough through an internal half mile in :48.86, good for a composite six-furlong split of 1:12.42, with little change in the order behind.

Clicked up by Geroux three furlongs out, Wells Bayou braced himself for a challenge from Ny Traffic, but he spurted away in upper stretch and drew further clear as Ny Traffic exhibited some punch-drunk ways in the latter stages. Modernist plugged away to be third, while Major Fed (Ghostzapper) overcame a poor start and wide run around the second turn to be a very good fourth. Enforceable (Tapit) made eye-catching progress around California raider Royal Act (American Pharoah) passing the three-furlong pole and rallied to be fifth.

“The plan was to give him another week,” trainer Brad Cox said. “This spot was more ground which we thought he would enjoy and thought he could establish the lead here. We did some homework on the race to see who was going to be running. You try to put together a game plan and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. In horse racing a lot of time it doesn’t. But this time it did. We are really happy with our assistants and everybody involved who do such an incredible job. We have a great team in place, and it showed today. We just have to figure out how to get him to the first Saturday in September and not May. It is uncharted territory and we will do the best we can.”

Front-running winner of his debut in the Keeneland slop Oct. 26, he retreated to seventh in a one-mile Churchill allowance over similar underfoot conditions Nov. 30 and was done for the year. He defeated his stablemate Something Natural (Violence) in a Jan. 26 Oaklawn allowance–also in the mud–and more than held his own last time, going down by just a length.

Pedigree Notes:

With the victory, Wells Bayou becomes the 54th stakes winner and 35th graded winner for Lookin At Lucky and is bred 4×3 to Danzig. Third dam Miasma is responsible for Mien (Nureyev), the dam of 2008 GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. hero Big Brown (Boundary). Whispering Angel, who was acquired with Wells Bayou in utero for $60,000 at Keeneland November in 2016, is the dam of the 2-year-old filly Romy (Karakontie {Jpn}) and a filly foal of 2020 by Army Mule.

Saturday, Fair Grounds
TWINSPIRES.COM LOUISIANA DERBY-GII, $1,000,000, Fair Grounds, 3-21, 3yo, 1 3/16m, 1:56.47, ft.
1–WELLS BAYOU, 122, c, 3, by Lookin At Lucky
1st Dam: Whispering Angel, by Hard Spun
2nd Dam: Campy, by Theatrical (Ire)
3rd Dam: Miasma, by Lear Fan
’18 KEEJAN; $18,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $105,000 2yo ’19
OBSMAR). O-Clint & Lance Gasaway, Madaket Stables LLC &
Wonder Stables; B-Knowles Bloodstock, Inc. (KY); T-Brad H.
Cox; J-Florent Geroux. $600,000. Lifetime Record: 5-3-1-0,
$845,293. Werk Nick Rating: A++.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Ny Traffic, 122, c, 3, Cross Traffic–Mamie Reilly, by Graeme
Hall. ($27,000 RNA 2yo ’19 EASMAY). O-John Fanelli, Cash is
King LLC, LC Racing & Paul Braverman; B-Brian Culnan (NY);
T-Saffie A. Joseph, Jr. $200,000.
3–Modernist, 122, c, 3, Uncle Mo–Symbolic Gesture, by
Bernardini. O-Pam & Martin Wygod; B-Wygod Family, LLC (KY);
T-William I. Mott. $100,000.
Margins: 1HF, 2 3/4, HF. Odds: 3.20, 26.70, 12.10.Also Ran: Major Fed, Enforceable, Shake Some Action, Silver State, Chestertown, Royal Act, Social Afleet, Mailman Money, Sharecropper, Lynn’s Map, Portos. Scratched: Farmington Road, Mr. Big News. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Munnings’ Bonny South Upsets FG Oaks

Sat, 2020-03-21 17:37

Finite (Munnings) was out to cement her spot at the head of the sophomore filly class in Saturday’s GII Fair Grounds Oaks, but it was her paternal half-sister Bonny South who came with a stinging rally from last in the field of six to cause a minor upset and soothe–at least in a minor way–the sad loss last month of stablemate and fellow Juddmonte homebred and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Taraz (Into Mischief).

Taken hold of immediately by Florent Geroux, Bonny South dropped out to trail, as French Rose (Raison d’Etat) showed the way out of the stretch from Stop Shoppin Tammy (Tapit) and Antoinette (Hard Spun). Finite, customarily closer the pace, tugged for her head beneath Ricardo Santana, Jr. passing the seven-eighths pole and tracked three deep, but keen, as they raced to the midpoint of the backstretch. Finite settled better leading the four-furlong point and seemed to have them right where she wanted them rounding the turn, but Geroux was keeping his powder dry on the Juddmonte homebred, waiting for the right time to pull the trigger. Finite was third in a line of four in upper stretch, with Tempers Rising (Bayern) revving up to her outside, but while the chalk was drifting in badly at the eighth pole, Bonny South was just hitting top gear with ground-gobbling strides and drew off to score impressively. Finite weakened to fourth at 2-5.

A disappointing fourth on Churchill sprint debut Nov. 14, Bonny South was soundly defeated into second in her two-turn unveiling at this track Dec. 22, but was subsequently awarded the victory upon the demotion of O Seraphina (Munnings) for a drug positive. Trying winners for the first time at Oaklawn Feb. 15, she was the best part of 15 lengths behind a loose leader at one stage, but outfinished Shedaresthedevil (Daredevil) to score by 3/4 of a length. The strength of that performance was validated when the runner-up returned to annex the GIII Honeybee S. next time out.

“I ride her with a lot of confidence,” Geroux said. “Last time out she beat a very nice filly. Today, of course, I thought about Finite, and how she has been running well. I was just hoping she would take a step down, and we would take a step up.”

Pedigree Notes:

The 39th stakes winner and 17th graded winner for her white-hot sire, Bonny South is bred on the exact same cross responsible for Finite and she is the 36th black-type winner and 15th graded winner out of a Tapit mare. Her unplaced dam is a half-sister to Juddmonte’s talented Etoile Montante (Miswaki), winner in France of the G1 Prix de la Foret on Arc weekend and MGSW/GISP in this country. The latter is the dam of MGSW turf marathon distaffer Starformer (Dynaformer).

Second dam Willstar is a full-sister to Viviana, dam of the dynamic distaff duo of MGISW Tates Creek (Rahy), who did her best work on the grass; and Sightseek (Distant View), a seven-time Grade I winner on the dirt. Third dam Nijinsky Star was a half-sister to Six Crowns (Secretariat x Chris Evert), dam of champion Chief’s Crown (Danzig). This is also the female family of Bowman’s Band (Dixieland Band) and the recently retired Pollard’s Vision (Carson City).

Touch the Star is the dam of Bonny South’s 2-year-old full-sister Sun Path, a yearling full-brother and was most recently bred to another Gone West-line stallion in Quality Road.

Saturday, Fair Grounds
TWINSPIRES.COM FAIR GROUNDS OAKS-GII, $388,000, Fair Grounds, 3-21, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:43.57, ft.
1–BONNY SOUTH, 122, f, 3, by Munnings
1st Dam: Touch the Star, by Tapit
2nd Dam: Willstar, by Nureyev
3rd Dam: Nijinsky Star, by Nijinsky II
O/B-Juddmonte Farms Inc (KY); T-Brad H. Cox; J-Florent
Geroux. $240,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-0, $323,350. Werk
Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Tempers Rising, 122, f, 3, Bayern–Marchmont, by Mountain
Cat. ($50,000 Wlg ’17 KEENOV; $70,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP;
$145,000 RNA 2yo ’19 OBSMAR; $170,000 RNA 2yo ’19
EASMAY). O-Mark H. & Nancy W. Stanley; B-Bryan Boone (KY);
T-Dallas Stewart. $80,000.
3–Antoinette, 122, f, 3, Hard Spun–Shuruq, by Elusive Quality.
O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-William I. Mott. $40,000.
Margins: 2 1/4, 1HF, 3/4. Odds: 6.10, 9.50, 7.90.
Also Ran: Finite, Stop Shoppin Tammy, French Rose.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Well-Related Tapit Colt Impresses at Gulfstream

Sat, 2020-03-21 17:18

7th-Gulfstream, $44,700, Alw, 3-21, (NW1$X), 4yo/up, 1mT, 1:32.65, fm.

GOLDEN TAPIT (c, 4, Tapit–Fun House {Broodmare Of The Year, GSW, $432,922}, by Prized) was off the board in his main track debut for trainer Christophe Clement June 20 and was subsequently transferred to Brendan Walsh. Switched to the grass, he won a nine-panel event here Feb. 8 and was favored at 9-5 to repeat here. Racing in mid-pack through a :22.33 first quarter and :45.62 half, the chestnut launched a three-wide bid turning for home. Golden Tapit took control in early stretch and bounded clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths over Kid Bourbon (Lemon Drop Kid). The winner is a full to Untapable, Ch. 3-year-old Filly, MGISW, $3,926,625; and a half to  Paddy O’Prado (El Prado (IRE)), GISW, $1,721,297. Fun House’s only foal since the winner is a 2019 colt by Gun Runner. This is also the family of Grade I winners Tapizar (Tapit) and Pyro (Pulpit). Sales history: $275,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-0, $55,400. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

O-Sumaya U.S. Stable; B-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (KY); T-Brendan P. Walsh.

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