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Opening Statements Underway in First Horse-Doping Trial

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
A New York federal jury heard opening statements Jan. 20 as the horse doping conspiracy trial of Dr. Seth Fishman and Lisa Giannelli got underway.

Gift Box's First Reported Foal is a Kentucky-bred Colt

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
Grade 1 winner and three-time graded stakes winner Gift Box's first foal arrived Jan. 19 at St. Simon Place.

Illinois Horsemen Seek $750K Purse Underpayment From AP

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
Illinois horsemen charge Arlington International Racecourse owes more than $750,000 in purse money and hasn't responded to requests for payment.

'Seabiscuit' Star Popcorn Deelites Dies at 24

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
Popcorn Deelites, one of several Thoroughbreds that portrayed Depression-era hero Seabiscuit in the 2003 Oscar-nominated film, has died. The 24-year-old gelding had been retired at Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, Ky., since 2005.

CA Task Force Seeks Sudden Death Research Support

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
Speaking before the California Horse Racing Board Jan. 20, CTT executive director Alan Balch presented areas of focus by a California accident prevention task force he heads, including research into equine sudden deaths.

Thunder Moon Warms Up for Saudi Target

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
It's not too often we see a trio of rivals rated 105 or higher, including a group 1 and group 3 winner, do battle at Dundalk on Jan. 21 in January but that is exactly what we have here. Thunder Moon takes on rivals in warm up for Saudi target.

Imbesi Goes All-In on Social Inclusion

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
Social Inclusion is standing privately at Imbesi's Briardale Farm near Belleview, Fla., south of Ocala, where the owner/breeder hopes to eventually relaunch the stallion's career and reintroduce him to the commercial market.

Smart French Youngster Trident Sold to Hong Kong

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
Bloodstock agent Jamie Piggott, who brokered the deal with the ownership partners at Coolmore, confirmed that the son of Wootton Bassett had been bought for a seven-figure sum.

International Contenders Take on Godolphin in Dubai

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
Night two of the Dubai World Cup Carnival Jan. 21 at Meydan features some promising 3-year-olds, the return of Rebel's Romance, and early preps for the middle-distance and sprint turf events on the March 26 Dubai World Cup (G1) card.

Aqueduct Reveals Spring Stakes Schedule

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
The New York Racing Association announced Jan. 20 the stakes schedule for the 15-day Aqueduct spring meet, which will feature 13 stakes worth $2.7 million in total purses. The meet will begin Thursday, March 31 and continue through Sunday, April 24.

Clary Embraces Training After Father's Death

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
As Jaylan Clary embarks on her first full year as a Thoroughbred trainer, her thoughts are never far from the man who made it possible. That's her dad, Mike Neatherlin, who died from COVID-19 on Sept. 5 at age 65. 

Baffert's Motions to Stop NYRA Disciplinary Case Denied

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
The Honorable O. Peter Sherwood has rejected two motions by attorneys representing Bob Baffert intended to stop or delay the New York Racing Association's Jan. 24 disciplinary hearing with the embattled trainer.

TVG's Fair Grounds Coverage Highlights TV Schedule

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
This week's schedule of racing on radio, television, and streaming, as compiled by America's Best Racing.

Oaklawn Cancels Jan. 21 Race Card

Blood-Horse - Fri, 2022-01-21 07:57
Due to the effects of winter weather, training and racing has been cancelled at Oaklawn Jan. 21 while the Thursday race card at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races has been postponed and will move in its entirety to Jan. 26.

Meadowlands: Cassar looks to strike a high note with his weekend quartet

Daily Racing Form - Thu, 2022-01-20 22:50
Trainer Darran Cassar will send out four horses this weekend to race at the Meadowlands, with half of them having a rather unique background. Both Hockey Hanover and Lifeonthebeach A, entered on Saturday night, were recently members of the sport's premier stable of Ron Burke. Purchased by Cassar's connections, the trainer hopes he can perhaps do one better than Burke.

Testimony begins in federal horse-doping trial

Daily Racing Form - Thu, 2022-01-20 19:37
A federal jury heard opening statements Thursday in the trial of Seth Fishman and Lisa Giannelli, who were among more than two dozen people connected to horse racing who were indicted in 2020 on charges of misbranding or adulterating drugs.

Prosecutor: Fishman Trial Will Include Testimony of Trainers

Thoroughbred Daily News - Thu, 2022-01-20 19:30

A New York federal jury heard opening statements Jan. 20 as the horse doping conspiracy trial of Dr. Seth Fishman and Lisa Giannelli got underway.

Prosecutor Anden Chow began by telling jurors that the defendants had operated a black market drug conspiracy for two decades.

He said Fishman and Giannelli created hundreds of drugs that were used to secretly dope race horses.

The drugs they produced were undetectable in post-racing testing, Chow said, so that trainers who were their customers could increase their chances of winning races by committing fraud.

“For two decades they did their best to avoid getting caught,” the prosecutor said. “They were successful until today.”

Fishman and Giannelli went on trial on charges of conspiring to misbrand and adulterate drugs, including performance-enhancing drugs used to dope horses at tracks across the country.

The opening statements came after a jury of eight women and four men was seated in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Fishman and Giannelli were among more than two dozen trainers, veterinarians, and others busted in 2020 in what prosecutors say is the most far-reaching prosecution of racehorse doping in U.S. Justice Department history. Among those charged was prominent trainer Jason Servis whose Maximum Security finished first in the 2019 GI Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve but was disqualified for interference. Servis has maintained a not-guilty plea and is awaiting trial.

Fishman and Giannelli listened attentively as Chow and their attorneys addressed the jury. Each is free on $100,000 bail.

Chow was the first to address the jury.

He said that the world of horse racing was a highly lucrative business, making it tempting for some to dope horses to get an edge. He said to guard against this, regulators established rules on what substances can be administered to horses and when.

“Fishman and Giannelli sold drugs to get around these rules,” Chow said.

The prosecutor said Fishman and Giannelli, who was his associate, had “hundreds of clients” and were “paid millions of dollars.”

One of the drugs Fishman manufactured boosted red blood cells in horses to increase endurance, Chow said.

He said Fishman described this drug as “the Holy Grail” of drugs.

The prosecutor said Fishman was also obsessed with manufacturing drugs that would be undetectable in post-race testing.

Chow added one of Fishman's clients was trainer Jorge Navarro. He described Navarro as one of the sport's most successful trainers who ran a doping program that relied on Fishman and others.

Navarro has pleaded guilty for his role in the case and has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Chow told jurors that the government's case would include the testimony of trainers who bought Fishman's drugs, text messages, items seized as part of search warrants, and “the words of the defendants on wiretaps.”

During his opening statement, Fishman's attorney Maurice Sercarz said that when Fishman became a veterinarian, he swore an oath promising to always work for the benefit and health of horses.

“This is the calling he answered,” Sercarz said.

He added, “It will be for the government to prove that his intent and purpose was something other than limiting animal suffering.”

The defense attorney told jurors there is great beauty in racing, but there is an ugly side with too many owners and trainers willing to cheat.

Sercarz said it wasn't his client's intention to defraud or mislead anyone.

“The individuals who purchased substances and products from Dr. Fishman knew what they were getting,” he said.

Giannelli attorney Louis Fasulo said his client didn't do anything wrong. She believed the products Fishman manufactured were okay to deliver to others, he said.

He said Giannelli was a high school graduate dedicated to the well-being of horses.

“She went to work and fulfilled her responsibility,” Fasulo said.

After the opening statements, prosecutors called their first witness, Courtney Adams, for limited testimony before the trial wrapped up Thursday. She worked for Fishman's business Equestology in South Florida from 2012 to 2016.

She said that during that time she saw Fishman treat animals “maybe once or twice.”

Prosecutors contend that Fishman's business was more about selling drugs than taking care of horses.

Her testimony resumes Jan. 21.

The leading horse racing industry publications are covering the Fishman-Giannelli trial via pool reporting. 

The post Prosecutor: Fishman Trial Will Include Testimony of Trainers appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Baffert Fails in Latest Attempt to Block NYRA Hearing

Thoroughbred Daily News - Thu, 2022-01-20 18:50

After having failed back in October to get a federal judge to block the New York Racing Association (NYRA) from moving forward with a Jan. 24 hearing that could once again bar him from NYRA tracks, trainer Bob Baffert asked the hearing officer who will preside over the case to either recuse himself and/or dismiss the proceeding entirely because NYRA “self-created” the hearing process when it didn't have the authority to do so.

On Wednesday, hearing officer O. Peter Sherwood said no to both motions.

So starting Monday, at what is expected to be a multi-day hearing, Baffert must answer to a three-count complaint filed against him by NYRA in the form of a “statement of charges.”

Those three counts correspond to Baffert's alleged conduct that is or has been “detrimental” to three entities: 1) The best interests of racing”; 2)  The health and safety of horses and jockeys; 3) NYRA business operations.

Separately, NYRA is defending itself in a federal lawsuit initiated by the Hall of Fame trainer with the well-publicized history of equine drug positives over whether or not NYRA violated Baffert's constitutional rights by trying to ban him outright without any type of hearing back on May 17.

NYRA currently has an active motion to dismiss that complaint, but no ruling has yet been issued by the judge, who heard arguments from both sides Jan. 6. That dismissal motion is not directly related to the Jan. 24 non-court hearing Baffert sought to avoid.

“Baffert argues that I must recuse myself because: (i) he supposes, without any evidence whatsoever, that I may have some pecuniary interest in the outcome of this proceeding; and (ii) that I have somehow demonstrated that I have pre-judged the merits of the hearing,” Sherwood wrote in a Jan. 19 ruling. “Both assertions are false. Recusal is not only unwarranted, but acceding to the demands would impair to the efficient administration of justice.”

Baffert had taken umbrage with the fact that NYRA had chosen the rules of the hearing, the charges within it, and the person who would adjudicate it.

Baffert's legal team had argued via the Jan. 12 recusal motion that Sherwood “has refused to disclose the complete and true extent of his relationship with NYRA” and that “Sherwood was chosen after a secret process within NYRA.”

That same filing also stated that, “Baffert's competitors, some of whom raced directly against him in the [GI] Kentucky Derby have their hands all over this 'proceeding.'”

Despite that allegation, Baffert's filing did not state any specific names of owners or trainers whom he believed might be conspiring against him by attempting to influence the hearing.

NYRA had barred Baffert back 16 days after the now-deceased Medina Spirit won the May 1 Derby while testing positive for an overage of betamethasone. In the 12 months prior to that positive, four other Baffert trainees had also tested positive for medication overages, two of them in Grade I stakes.

On July 14, the United States District Court (Eastern District of New York) granted Baffert a preliminary injunction that allowed him to race at New York's top-tier tracks pending the resolution of his overall case.

While that ruling allowed Baffert to start horses at Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack, NYRA additionally took the judge's order to mean the association could move forward with drafting new procedures for holding hearings that could suspend licensees who engage in injurious conduct.

After those rules were made public, NYRA, on Sept. 10, wrote a letter summoning Baffert to appear at just such a hearing, presenting him with the statement of charges.

On Sept. 22, Baffert filed a motion asking a federal judge to hold NYRA in civil contempt for trying to schedule any sort of hearing that could once again bar him from participating at NYRA's tracks. He claimed NYRA's move to initiate that sort of hearing was in violation of the preliminary injunction.

But on Oct. 5, a federal judge dismissed Baffert's “contempt” allegations, underscoring that NYRA could, in fact, move forward with its newly created hearing process because it was entirely separate from NYRA's original May 17 attempt at banishing Baffert.

The post Baffert Fails in Latest Attempt to Block NYRA Hearing appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

DRF's Horse Racing Playbook for Friday, January 21, 2022

Daily Racing Form - Thu, 2022-01-20 18:23
Daily Racing Form has served as the most trusted source of news and information about the sport since 1894, and moving forward we have decided to provide a free daily playbook; something that both hardcore horseplayers and casual observers can reference to get informed of each day's action.

Gift Box Sires First Foal

Thoroughbred Daily News - Thu, 2022-01-20 17:29

'TDN Rising Star' Gift Box (Twirling Candy–Special Me, by Unbridled's Song) was represented by his first foal when the 12-year-old Chelsea Road (Speightstown) delivered a colt at St. Simon Place Wednesday, Jan. 19. The colt was bred in partnership by St. Simon Place and Machmer Hall, who teamed to purchase Chelsea Road–the dam of SP Go Big Blue Nation (Animal Kingdom)–for $65,000 with the colt in utero at last year's Keeneland November Sale, the top price paid for a mare in foal to Twirling Candy.

St. Simon Place's Tommy Wente said of the foal, “He's a big attractive colt. I'm very pleased. [He's] got great leg and substance and a very kind eye.” Carrie Brogden added, “He looks just like his father did as a baby.”

Gift Box, bred by Machmer Hall, was accorded 'Rising Star' status for a first-level allowance victory at Belmont in 2016 and became an older horse of considerable importance for Hronis Racing and John Sadler, winning three graded stakes events, including the 2019 GI Santa Anita H. and back-to-back runnings of the GII San Antonio S. He retired to Lane's End with six wins from 18 starts and earnings of $1,127,060.

The post Gift Box Sires First Foal appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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