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Updated: 9 hours 13 min ago

Into Mischief’s General Jim Sweeps to Swale Win

Sat, 2023-02-04 14:34

Charting a consistent if unremarkable course heading into Saturday's GIII Claiborne Swale S., Courtlandt Farms' General Jim (Into Mischief–Inspired by Grace, by Curlin) exploded from off the pace, collaring favored Super Chow (Lord Nelson) late en route to a length score in 1:23.34 in the seven-furlong test. Sent off at 8-5, the $850,000 KEESEP graduate was getting blinkers on for the first time since a fourth-place finish in Gulfstream's Mucho Macho Man S. last time out Jan. 1. Lifetime Record: 6-3-0-2, $229,033. O-Courtlandt Farms; B-Fifth Avenue Bloodstock & Centerline Breeding (KY); T-Shug McGaughey.

Saturday, Gulfstream Park
CLAIBORNE FARM SWALE S.-GIII, $125,000, Gulfstream, 2-4, 3yo, 7f, 1:23.34, ft.
1–GENERAL JIM, 120, c, 3, by Into Mischief
               1st Dam: Inspired by Grace (SP, $138,984), by Curlin
               2nd Dam: Harve de Grace, by Boston Harbor
               3rd Dam: Ms. Cuvee Napa, by Relaunch
Ylg '21 KEESEP). O-Courtlandt Farms, LLC (Donald Adam);
B-Fifth Avenue Bloodstock & Centerline Breeding (KY);
T-Claude R. McGaughey III; J-Luis Saez. $77,500. Lifetime
Record: 6-3-0-2, $231,533. Werk Nick Rating: A.
   Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Super Chow, 120, c, 3, Lord Nelson–Bonita Mia, by Warrior's
Reward. ($70,000 Ylg '21 FTKJUL; $75,000 2yo '22 OBSAPR).
O-Lea Farms, LLC; B-Spendthrift Farm LLC (KY); T-Jorge
Delgado. $25,000.
3–Two of a Kind, 120, c, 3, Overanalyze–Freud's Irish Miss, by
Freud. 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. O-K and R Racing Stable and
Town Branch Racing; B-C. W. Swann & Wetherbee Holdings,
LLC. (KY); T-Brian A. Lynch. $12,500.
Margins: 1, 11, 3HF. Odds: 1.60, 0.80, 5.10.
Also Ran: Keanu, Aaraj. Scratched: King Sparrow.
Click for the chart or the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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Fair Grounds Hosts Handicapping Contest Feb. 18

Sat, 2023-02-04 14:24

To go along with their Louisiana Derby Preview Stakes Day card, Saturday, Feb. 18 the Fair Grounds Racetrack in New Orleans will host a handicapping contest. As part of a continuing series, organized by administrators Bill & Mary Hirsch, the top four places will receive prize money. With an entry fee of $100.00, which must be submitted by Friday, Feb. 17, the pot is expected to be at minimum $5000. For more information concerning the schedule and the rules, please email

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TAA to Auction 2023 Lexitonian Season

Sat, 2023-02-04 13:41

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) will offer a Lexitonian 2023 breeding season for auction Monday, Feb. 6 from 6-9 PM EST. Donated by Lexitonian's trainer, Jack Sisterson, the offer entails a 2023 No Guarantee Season with a Breed Back.

Standing at Lane's End for $7,500 LFSN, the Grade I winner's first foals will arrive this year.

“He's a horse who fights,” said trainer Jack Sisterson. “He has the talent, the will, and the heart. He's a class act winning and placing second in multiple Grade I races…Lexitonian brought a lot of great opportunities to our barn which we are forever grateful for–if it were not for the horses, we wouldn't be here. I'm happy for this opportunity to give back to these wonderful horses.”

To register and bid in the one-day only auction, visit:

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Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. Wins Seven Straight at Gulfstream

Fri, 2023-02-03 16:44

Leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. equaled the record for most wins by a jockey on a card at Gulfstream Park Friday after riding the winners of seven consecutive races on a nine-race program.

Ortiz shares the Gulfstream record with four other jockeys: Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey (3/11/96), Tyler Gaffalione (7/4/17), Luis Saez (1/24/18; 3/29/18) and Paco Lopez (3/21/20).

Ortiz became the only jockey in Gulfstream history to win seven races in a row.

“It feels great. Everything worked out so good today. Everything came out perfect out there. It was one of those days where everything goes your way, so you enjoy it,” Ortiz said. “We had some live horses, and we always try to look on the positive side with them and ride them all with confidence. But every day doesn't work like today. It's hard, but today was one of those days.”

The 30-year-old jockey, who was recently awarded the Eclipse Award for the 2022 racing season, swept Races 2-8 on the nine-race card.

“It's my first time winning seven races in one day,” Ortiz said. “So, I feel great.”

The three-time Championship Meet titlist at Gulfstream guided Dignified ($7.20) to victory in Race 2 to start his streak before also scoring aboard Little Jewel ($4.20), Lakota Territory ($5.60), Riveting Spirit ($7), Tape to Tape ($4.20), Rhymes Like Dimes ($4.40) and Six Minus ($7.40) in Races 3-8, respectively.

Ortiz, who finished fifth aboard favored Maclin in Race 1, finished seventh aboard Turn On the Charm in Race 9.

Ortiz leads the Championship Meet standings with 44 winners, 10 more than defending champion Luis Saez.

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Busy Weekend For Derby Preps on Both Coasts

Fri, 2023-02-03 16:41

Saturday's graded stakes races stretch out from coast to coast and feature significant GI Kentucky Derby implications, but not entirely for the reasons we've come to expect. In South Florida, it is business as usual for the Derby preps while on the West Coast all things Kentucky Derby took an unprecedented turn.

On the heels of a very successful GI Pegasus World Cup weekend, Gulfstream Park offers a tremendous card with five graded races, including the 34th running of the GIII Holy Bull S. named for the Hall of Famer and 1994 Horse of the Year, who won that year's GI Florida Derby. Forty Kentucky Derby points are on the line with the winner collecting the lion's share.

Cyclone Mischief (Into Mischief) enters off a 5 3/4-length allowance romp at a mile over this surface Jan. 8. The $450,000 KEESEP yearling purchase is out of a half to GSW Suddenbreakingnews (Mineshaft) and hails from the female family of MGIW Composure (Touch Gold).

“I think he's one of the best 3-year-olds in the country, and he's training like one,” trainer Dale Romans said. “There are a lot of good horses out there, but we're in a good spot right now.”

Legacy Isle (Shackleford) would be undefeated and the only stakes winner so far of the bunch after wiring the Mucho Macho Man S. on New Year's Day, but was disqualified for bothering a rival in the lane and was placed second.

Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott entered two in the Holy Bull, Rocket Can (Into Mischief) and Shadow Dragon (Army Mule).

The GIII Claiborne Swale S. doesn't offer any Derby points and isn't considered a Derby prep, but it is named after the 1984 Derby winner and Hall of Famer who died suddenly eight days after the GI Belmont S.

The streaking Super Chow (Lord Nelson) drew the outside in the six-runner test, which will be contested at seven furlongs. The winner of five of his six career races is coming off three straight listed stakes wins and makes a jump back into graded company. He broke his maiden in his debut July 2 at Gulfstream and was third in the GII Saratoga Special S. before shipping back to Florida to collect his last three wins.

“He's in his best shape ever,” trainer Jorge Delgado said. “He's been maturing race to race. He's been showing a lot of class. From race to race, he's a more professional horse. He's becoming a man.”

Not to be overshadowed by the boys, 10 fillies are set to race seven-eighths on the main track in the GIII Forward Gal S.

Atomically (Girvin) is the likely favorite in her first start since an even seventh-place finish in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 4. It was her first start for trainer Todd Pletcher after being sold privately to a group headed by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners after winning the Florida Sire My Dear Girl S. over the Gulfstream Park main track Oct. 1.

Ginger Brew S. winner Cairo Consort (Cairo Prince) is the 2-1 morning-line favorite against eight other sophomore turf fillies in the 1 1/16-mile GIII Sweetest Chant S. The Todd Pletcher-trained filly won Woodbine's Catch A Glimpse S., was second in the GI Natalma S. and third in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. This race will be her first start beyond a mile.

Only four will line up in the GIII Robert B. Lewis S., a 1 1/16-mile test offering 41 Road to the Derby points to the top-four finishers on a 20-8-6-4-2 scale. This is where the race's Kentucky Derby implications take a turn. Each of the four runners are trained by a single trainer and that trainer–currently–is forbidden from participating in racing at Churchill Downs.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has saddled a record 10 winners of the Robert B. Lewis–including the last four in a row–sat in a Louisville courtroom for two days this week. His team of attorneys is seeking an injunction against his two-year ban from competing at Churchill Downs following Medina Spirit's post-race positive for the prohibited steroid betamethasone after crossing the wire first in the 2021 Derby. Medina Spirit also won the 2021 Lewis.

Arabian Lion (Justify) will lead his stablemates. The $600,000 OBSAPR 2-year-old was a dismal fifth in the GII Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 17 at odds of 2-5 but has been working lights out for his return here.

Newgate (Into Mischief) hasn't reached the winner's circle since breaking his maiden at Del Mar but was a short second in the GIII Sham S. a month ago. The $850,000 KEESEP yearling was also second to last week's GIII San Vicente S. winner and stablemate Havnameltdown (Uncaptured) in the GIII Bob Hope S. at Del Mar Nov. 20. Maiden winner Hard To Figure (Hard Spun) and maiden Worcester (Empire Maker) round out the Baffert quartet.

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Champion Elite Power to Return on Saudi Cup Undercard

Fri, 2023-02-03 16:08

Recently crowned champion sprinter Elite Power (Curlin) will launch his 5-year-old campaign in the $1.5-million G3 Riyadh Dirt Sprint on the Saudi Cup undercard Feb. 25.

The Juddmonte colorbearer capped a five-race winning streak with a powerful, come-from-behind victory in the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint at Keeneland last out Nov. 5. Elite Power, a $900,000 Keeneland September graduate, has posted five workouts for Hall of Famer Bill Mott since the beginning of the new year at Payson Park, including a five-furlong breeze in 1:02.80 (4/8) Feb. 2.

“He had his program tailored out pretty much immediately after the Breeders' Cup that we would go to the Saudi Cup Sprint,” Juddmonte USA General Manager Garrett O'Rourke said.

“Bill [Mott] gave him a little break and has him back in full work now and everything is–touch wood–on target. The horse is doing well and looking good. He seems in great form.”

Looking further ahead this season, O'Rourke added, “I want to clarify it with [Juddmonte] first, but, at the moment, the plan is for him to come back [to the U.S. afterwards] and look to an end-of-the-season campaign. Give him a little break, target some of the summer races and work on up to Breeders' Cup.”

Juddmonte, founded by the late Saudi Prince Khalid bin Abdullah in 1980, was represented in all three prior runnings of the card's main event with MGSW & MGISP Tacitus (Tapit) (fifth, 2020; and seventh, 2021) and promoted GI Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun (Into Mischief) (ninth, 2022).

“It's building into a magnificent event and slotting right into the international racing schedule,” O'Rourke said. “By the time you finish with the Breeders' Cup, you're thinking about the Saudi Cup. It's nice to be able to share our best horses and be able to take on the elite of the world at international events like this. The Saudi Cup is firmly established now as that type of an event.”

Juddmonte homebred Laurel River (Into Mischief), meanwhile, scratched by regulatory veterinarians the day before last year's GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, has been given the green light to resume training with Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. The 5-year-old was last seen recording a career high in Del Mar's GII Pat O'Brien S. last summer.

“We gave him 60 days of doing nothing and another 60 days of just bringing him back slowly and he's here on the farm now and galloping every day,” O'Rourke said. “We checked him out then, we've checked him out again now and everything checks out perfectly fine. He's going back to Bob Baffert in the next week. We always do the right thing by our horses and I'm very confident that the horse is absolutely 100 percent. He's a very capable and talented horse.”

He concluded, “The value of having scrutiny of horses going into big events has been a huge boost to the public's confidence that we're doing all the right things. We will always stand by and respect the decisions that the professionals make.”

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Trainer Reed Gets 5-Day Suspension For Bute Positive At Turfway

Fri, 2023-02-03 15:35

Trainer Eric Reed has been penalized with a five-day suspension and a $1,000 fine for a phenylbutazone positive in a $15,000 claiming winner last month at Turfway Park.

According to a Feb. 1 Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) stewards' ruling, the 2022 GI Kentucky Derby-winning trainer waived his right to a hearing and will serve his days Feb. 10-14 without lodging an appeal.

The ruling stated that the offense was Reed's second for a Class C positive within the past year. The KHRC classifies drugs on an A (most severe) to D (least severe) scale.

Phenylbutazone, also called Bute, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. The test reported a finding of .62 micrograms per milliliter. According to rules posted on the KHRC website, bute is permitted on race day in concentrations at or less than three-tenths (0.3) micrograms per milliliter.

The disqualified winner was Golden Text (Danza), who wired the field in the fourth race Jan. 19, got claimed from owner Jackie Willoughby, Jr., and then had the claim voided because of the drug ruling.

Reed responded to a Friday voicemail request asking for his side of the story by texting that he had already issued statements to two other publications and did not wish to comment further.

Reed told Horse Racing Nation's Ron Flatter earlier in the week that, “I waived my rights because I know I gave the horse Bute paste [which takes longer to clear a horse's system]. I apologize to my friend Jim Willoughby, who owns the horse and had the win taken away. I also apologize to the racing industry. I used a Bute paste instead of the injection because he's the kind of horse who fights you every time you give him a shot.”

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Oaklawn Legend Chindi Passes At Age 29

Fri, 2023-02-03 15:25

A millionaire on the racetrack, but even more popular as trainer Steve Hobby's longtime stable pony, Chindi (El Prado {Ire}) was euthanized Thursday. The snow-white gelding was 29.

Hobby said Chindi's physical condition had deteriorated for several weeks, adding he believes it was because of a neurological disorder triggered by his advanced age, rare to reach for a Thoroughbred racehorse.

“When he got bad, he went fast,” Hobby said on the trainer's stand Friday morning. “I noticed little things riding him, like he kept bearing left and I had to keep correcting him. He wasn't putting his hay in his water bucket. He's done that his whole life. Then he started losing his action in behind. I hadn't taken him to the track for four or five days. It was neurological. He was going to fall down and not get up. I had him out the day before yesterday, in the morning. I just took him out to clean his stall and I almost couldn't get him back in his stall. He was going to fall down.”

Campaigned by Hobby's most treasured client, Oklahoman Carol Ricks (Cres Ran LLC), Chindi had an 18-13-23 record from 81 lifetime starts and earnings of $1,000,838. Ricks, 93, learned of Chindi's death Thursday night from her grandson, Ran Leonard, who now manages Cres Ran's racing operation.

“She was very upset,” Leonard said Friday morning. “I mean, all of us were. But my grandma, she's obviously an amazing human in every way. But she has this really good knack of immediately turning anything like that around and just commenting on how fortunate we were for everything he gave us during his racing career and post-racing career. And, how much he gave to Oaklawn and how much he gave to just racing in general and as an ambassador for the sport. She said something about how he essentially gave us two lives. He had the one life as a racehorse that was amazing and then the whole life as a stable pony. We got more than we could have ever expected out of him. Twenty-nine years is a long time.”

Ricks' late husband, Ran, privately purchased Chindi on the advice of bloodstock agent Omar Trevino, who stumbled across the horse and his dam, Rousing, while looking at some land near Lexington, Ky.

A late-running sprinter, Chindi–the Navajo word for “ghost”– recorded seven career victories at Oaklawn, including the $125,000 GIII Count Fleet Sprint Handicap for older horses at 6 furlongs in 1998. Chindi trailed by 11 lengths after a quarter mile and was still seventh after a half-mile before unleashing his patented stretch kick to win by 1 1/2 lengths under Don Pettinger. Pettinger, now the agent for Oaklawn-based jockey Travis Wales, rode Chindi regularly early in his career.

“Pretty cool horse,” Pettinger said Friday morning. “He was a lot of fun. Got to where I would just let him fall back and he'd be way back there. When you asked him that last quarter mile, he'd kick it in and make up a lot of ground. Everybody would think: 'He's beat, he's beat' because he'd be so far back. He was pretty cool.”

Chindi debuted March 15, 1997, at Oaklawn and retired following a sixth-place finish in the $40,000 Better Bee S. July 3, 2005, at Arlington Park. Retirement at Ricks' Cres Ran Farm north of Oklahoma City didn't agree with the gelding and he quickly transitioned to Hobby's stable pony, a position he held for almost two decades.

“But again, he never really spent any time there (Cres Ran Farm) because he wanted to be at the racetrack with Steve,” Leonard said. “He was every bit as much Steve's horse as he was ours, if not more. They had a bond that was–can't put it into words. I really don't believe in this kind of stuff as a general rule, but my grandma has spent the last two weeks going through all these old Chindi photos and trying to organize them and stuff. And then this happened. It's just kind of like, 'Was something in the world telling grandma?' It's just crazy how things like that happen.”

As the years passed, Chindi's popularity grew, particularly at Oaklawn, where he made 24 career starts. Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe proclaimed March 15, 2020, “Chindi Day,” allowing fans at Oaklawn a chance to again see the gelding in the winner's circle and indoor paddock between races. He was already a morning fixture at Oaklawn, escorting Hobby's horses to and from the track.

“Absolutely,” Hobby said, when asked if Chindi was more popular after his racing career ended. “I don't know why. I think longevity is one thing. People got so used to him and he was just always around. It's like he was immortal. That's why it's kind of got everybody that he died. Like, 'Chindi can't die. He's Superman.' ”

Hobby said he may keep half of Chindi's ashes, possibly sprinkling some at Oaklawn's finish line. The other half, Hobby said, would go to Ricks.

“It was the right choice, had to be done,” Hobby said. “I did the humane thing. He lived a great life and I'm just going to look back on the all the great memories.”

In Chindi's honor, Leonard asks fans to donate to Thoroughbred retirement charities in their state.

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Churchill Downs To Offer Record 50 Stakes Worth $20.525 Million During Spring Meet

Fri, 2023-02-03 14:11

Led by the $3 million GI Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve Sat. May 6, a record 50 stakes races that total $20.525 million will be staged at Churchill Downs Racetrack during the 44-day Spring Meet which spans April 29-July 3.

The lineup features 28 stakes races that received significant boosts–including the GI Stephen Foster which is now worth $1 million–and one new event, the $175,000 Chorleywood Overnight S.

Derby Week kicks off the Spring Meet with 22 stakes that total a record $13.125 million over the six-day stretch that culminates with the highlight of the annual racing calendar–the 149th running of the GI Kentucky Derby. Nine of the 14 races on Kentucky Derby day are stakes that total $7.65 million. In addition to the Derby, the first Saturday in May will showcase the $1 million GI Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic; $750,000 GI Churchill Downs presented by Ford; $750,000 GI Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery; $500,000 GII Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile; $500,000 GII Pat Day Mile; $500,000 GII American Turf; $500,000 GII Twin Spires Turf Sprint; and $175,000 Knicks Go Overnight S.

One day earlier, Churchill Downs will host the $1.25 million GI Longines Kentucky Oaks. The seven stakes that day total $4.2 million: the Oaks; $750,000 GI La Troienne; $600,000 GII Alysheba presented by Sentient Jet; $500,000 GII Eight Belles; $500,000 GII Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank; $300,000 GIII Modesty; and $300,000 Unbridled Sidney S. presented by Sysco.

Stephen Foster Preview Day is Saturday, June 3 with six stakes that total $1.35 million: the $225,000 GIII Blame; $225,000 GIII Shawnee; $225,000 GIII Arlington; $225,000 GIII Regret; $225,000 Aristides S.; and $225,000 Audubon S.

The $1 million Stephen Foster, which has been elevated to Grade I status, is the centerpiece of closing weekend. The race anchors a six-race stakes card that totals $2.475 million on Saturday, July 1, and includes the $400,000 GII Fleur de Lis; $400,000 GII Wise Dan; $225,000 American Derby; $225,000 Tepin S.; and $225,000 Kelly's Landing S.

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Jockeys And Jeans Stallion Season Sale Reports Gains Over 2022 Totals

Fri, 2023-02-03 13:49

The seventh annual sale of stallion breeding seasons–which ended Jan. 25 to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund–raised $112,050 compared to $72,500 in 2022. The sale marked revenue increases in both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse stallion seasons with increases more pronounced in the Quarter Horse breeding industry, accounting for $71,500 of the total proceeds.

The seasons were donated by breeders in six states, including several leading farms in Central Kentucky. To date, the sale has raised over $600,000 for the PDJF.

“The season donors as well as the buyers in both racing industries upped their game this year to help those former jockeys who gave a big part of lives to this sport and we thank them all,” said Jockeys and Jeans President Barry Pearl.

Jockeys and Jeans, founded in late 2014 by five former jockeys, has raised over $2.7 million for the PDJF through an annual fund-raising event and stallion season sale.

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TERF Awards $10,000 To Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation

Fri, 2023-02-03 13:25

The Thoroughbred Education and Research Foundation (TERF) has awarded a $10,000 research grant to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Inc. The funding will support the work of Dr. Sue Stover at the University of California for research involving motion of the proximal sesamoid bones. The research project will examine how uneven footing, hoof conformation, shoeing, and uneven racetrack surfaces could contribute to fetlock breakdowns.

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‘Countdown to Triple Crown’ Auction Goes Live Saturday

Fri, 2023-02-03 12:52

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame will host a special “Countdown to the Triple Crown” fund-raising event on Saturday. This event, scheduled exactly three months before the 2023 GI Kentucky Derby, will feature hundreds of silent auction items and an online auction of 10 unique items and experience packages to benefit the Museum. Guests can attend the event in person at the Museum from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. or bid on special packages online beginning at noon.

To purchase tickets, visit here or call (518) 584-0400. To view the online auction items, click here. Bidding for the online auction will go be open through Feb. 19 at 11:45 p.m.

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Letter to the Editor: Opposing Is Easy

Fri, 2023-02-03 12:39

As the legal saga that is HISA continues to be bantered around the courts horse racing fans have heard some common themes develop from those in support of and in opposition of the legislation and regulations. Those in opposition have raised many points they have repeated used as arguments for what is wrong with the entire idea and process. One of the themes that has been made as part of every opposition argument is that there is a better way to go about this, and a better set of uniform rules and regulations can be made if the proper players were brought to the table to create them.

As a racing fan for the last 30 plus years I can say we all desire both uniform rules and a disciplinary set- up that provides for fair due process but quick resolution of issues with proper penalties.  As a veterinarian and animal welfare advocate, I have fought for proper rules to ensure the welfare of these majestic equine athletes. As someone who has been involved in process of creating regulations on the state level for dog kennels in PA, I know all too well how hard it can be to reach consensus and have everyone agree on everything proposed. It is the nature of the process and human nature itself. However, I also have learned through all these areas that when something is not liked or desired, a counter plan or counter offer is usually made to provide an alternative to what is being objected to. The lack of any type of counterproposal or set of rules/regulations being set forth by the people in opposition certainly is puzzling.

All the key players that are claiming to be excluded in this process of creating uniform regs could easily have come together and formed a committee, group, or whatever you want to call it of their own and work on crafting a competing set of rules and how they are to be implemented throughout the country that would alleviate any constitutionality concerns. I have yet to see even an outline proposed from any of these opposition groups on what should be done instead. Continuing with the status quo is not one that will be accepted by anyone as it has shown to be woefully lacking in many areas.

The National HBPA Convention is happening soon. Will any kind of update be given then? Will a new committee be announced? Will we finally see this “better plan” that all opposed to HISA claim can be created? Or…will we merely see the same old statements of HISA being unconstitutional and it needs to be done away with?

It is always easy to be the party in opposition to something. It is much harder to be the ones to craft a plan that will work.

Bryan Langlois, DVM, Racing Fan and Vice-President ThoroFan

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Statement On HISA’s Anti-Doping Rules From ARCI

Fri, 2023-02-03 12:27

The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) has formally asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to set aside and temporarily not approve proposed anti-doping and medication control rules proposed by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) until the constitutionality of the HISA Act is determined by the Courts.

“This has nothing to do with wanting uniform rules or having a central rule-making authority, two things the ARCI supports,” said Ed Martin, ARCI President. “This all has to do with avoiding a situation where an enforcement action is overturned because the authority of the enforcing entity to act is in question. The potential exposure to the entire sport is avoided by leaving the existing state rules and enforcement in place until this gets sorted out.”

The ARCI Board voted unanimously to make a similar request in early December and the FTC shortly thereafter rejected the proposed HISA rules without prejudice citing reasons of the underlying legal uncertainty. With the Fifth Circuit Court's rejection earlier this week of HISA's petition based on changes made recently to the Act, the potential for regulatory chaos remains.

The filing made today reads as follows:

“ARCI requests that the FTC yet again reject the Rules or, at the very least, withhold decision until all legal challenges to the Act are finally adjudicated. As you might know, in addition to the federal court case that led to the Fifth Circuit's ruling, other litigations raising material questions about the legitimacy and constitutionality of the Act remain pending. Moreover, after HISA resubmitted the proposed Rules, the Fifth Circuit denied HISA and the FTC's petition to vacate the court's earlier ruling and for a rehearing, meaning two important things: (1) by mandate of the Fifth Circuit, the preliminary injunction prohibiting HISA enforcement in states within the Fifth Circuit will return to full effect and no longer be stayed; and (2) the Fifth Circuit's decision that the Act is unconstitutional will stand for the time being.

Once again, the FTC is in a unique position to restore some level of regulatory certainty to the horse-racing industry. It should do so by quickly and publicly announcing what it already determined a few weeks ago–that it will not approve HISA's proposed rules at this time. A decision to the contrary would come at too great a cost, as it would lead to regulatory uncertainty, exacerbate existing confusion throughout the horse-racing industry, and seriously compromise public interests.”

Should the FTC approve the HISA rules and penalties were imposed for a violation of those rules, the action could be appealed and potentially overturned and wiped away due to the finding in the Fifth Circuit that HISA is unconstitutional.

Likewise if a racing commission enforces the existing State anti-doping rule and penalties imposed for a violation are appealed using the argument that the federal rule preempts state action the possibility that it can be overturned also exists.

The only way to avoid this Catch-22 is to leave state rules and enforcement in place by delaying final action on the HISA ADMC rules.

The ARCI has not taken a position on the pending litigation, although some member states have and are litigating the constitutionality of the Act. In August, Martin called for HISA to sit down with all litigants and negotiate a way out. That did not happen.

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Sam Houston Postpones Interstate Simulcast Wagering

Fri, 2023-02-03 11:58

Despite previously announcing that interstate simulcast wagering would resume Friday, Feb. 3, Sam Houston released a statement Friday morning postponing it.

“We have determined that more time is needed to fully evaluate the many legal complexities surrounding recent court decisions and the HISA amendment enacted by Congress at the end of last year,” the statement read. “While we are eager to export our signal across the country, our commitment to maintaining federal and state compliance remains our top priority. We will export our signal across state lines when we are confident that it can be done in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Until then, we will only broadcast our signal throughout Texas and to approved international locations but will not simulcast to any other locations in the United States.”

The statement can be read in full at

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GSW Rushie Represented By First Foal

Fri, 2023-02-03 11:16

GII Pat Day Mile winner Rushie (Liam's Map) was represented by his first foal, a Florida-bred filly, born Jan. 31. Out of Julia's Pride (Proud Citizen), the filly is bred by Jay Goodwin, Susan Montanye and Andy Pickerell.

“We couldn't be more pleased to congratulate the breeders on a really spectacular Rushie filly. She looks to have his powerful shoulder and plenty of leg, which is exactly what we were hoping Rushie would pass along to his progeny,” said Dex Comardelle of Blue Star Racing. “This is a great start to the season.”

Florida-bred Rushie began his stallion career at Pleasant Acres Stallions in 2022 and is now standing at Blue Star Racing in Scott, Louisiana for the 2023 breeding season at $4,000 LFSN.

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Dustyn Stortzum Named New Fonner Park Announcer

Fri, 2023-02-03 09:20

Dustyn Stortzum, a Nebraska native, has been named the new track announcer to begin the 2023 Thoroughbred racing season at Fonner Park. Stortzum replaces Grand Island native Steve Anderson, who called races for 19 years at Fonner Park but passed away in 2022 after a battle with cancer.

“I would like to thank my mentors, my parents and my sister for supporting me through all the ups and downs in my early broadcasting career,” said Stortzum. “Without their support, I wouldn't be in this position today.”

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Brant Says USDA “Kidnapped” His Horse

Thu, 2023-02-02 16:04

When Peter Brant shipped a collection of newly turned 2-year-olds from the Mocklershill training facility in Ireland to the U.S. on Jan. 13 he had no reason to expect that their transport from Europe to Payson Park in Florida would be anything other than routine. Brant ships horses from Europe to the U.S. all the time.

But in the case of a well-bred 2-year-old named Belle Gambe (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), the filly has been stuck in quarantine at Churchill Downs for more than three weeks, the result of what Brant says is a false positive for a venereal disease called Dourine. What has ensued, he said, has been a nightmarish three weeks during which his pleas to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to release the filly have fallen on deaf ears and Brant's frustrations with the USDA have boiled over.

“She's in quarantine in Kentucky at Churchill Downs and you're in a trap there,” Brant said. “They've basically kidnapped my horse.”

Brant is known for racing some of the best horses on the planet, but he has every reason to believe that Belle Gambe might stand out from the rest. A homebred, she's by Dubawi out of Unaided (GB), by Dansili (GB). That makes her a half-sister to Uni (GB) (More Than Ready), the winner of the 2019 GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf and that year's champion turf filly.

“Obviously, she is a very important horse to us,” Brant said.

According to Chuck Santarelli, the president of Mersant International, the shipping company that brought the Brant horses to the U.S., blood was taken on the horses before they left Ireland and was sent to the USDA lab in Ames, Iowa and they all tested negative. Five horses were tested, four of which boarded the plane to the U.S. However, after they arrived and were under USDA supervision at the Kentucky Import Center, Brant was informed that Belle Gambe had tested positive for Dourine. Because she had not met the USDA requirements to enter the country, the USDA could not release her to the general population and instead placed her in quarantine.

According to the Center for Food Security and Public Health, Dourine is “a serious, often chronic, venereal disease of horses and other equids. This protozoal infection can result in neurological signs and emaciation, and the case fatality rate is high.”

Brant couldn't understand why the other four horses tested negative and Belle Gambe did not or why the filly showed no signs of being sick. He began to look into the situation and found that false positives for the disease being flagged by the USDA were not uncommon. In a 2020 article posted on the website that covered false positives for Dourine and other diseases, the author wrote: “Importing horses into the U.S.A. had become a nightmare for some horse owners whose horses produced 'false positive' blood tests in the quarantine process.”

“The USDA doesn't allow for interpretation anymore because the old guard is gone and been replaced with just bureaucrats who don't understand the testing and won't, and can't, interpret,” Dr. Scarlette Gotwals told the website. “The USDA used to have veterinarians in charge of field operations who would review an individual situation and make an interpretation. Now, no one will do anything outside of a rule book.”

Brant and his attorney Chapman Hopkins were convinced that Belle Gambe was the latest horse that the USDA had incorrectly flagged as positive and that its rules and testing methods were archaic.

“I have, unfortunately, had to handle dozens of international equine import cases involving false positives over the last decade,” Hopkins said. “The disappointment and outrage felt by Mr. Brant is entirely reasonable and understandable. As I shared with Mr. Brant yesterday, what they are experiencing is the unfortunate result of the USDA's imperfect testing methodologies and quarantine procedures.”

The disease is transmitted almost exclusively during breeding, obviously not a factor with a 2-year-old unraced filly.

“You have to understand this is not my area of expertise, but when Peter called me I consulted with a bunch of people to get some background information,” said Dr. Larry Bramlage. “This is a terrible and unfortunate set of circumstances. Dourine doesn't even exist in Ireland or in the U.S. It's only submitted by sexual contact and she's just a 2-year-old. None of this makes any practical sense. But it's one of those things where it's difficult to circumvent what's written down as the regulations that they have to follow.”

Brant considered his options. One was to ship the horse back to Ireland and have her race there rather than for trainer Chad Brown in the U.S. But he decided to let things take their course. That just led to more headaches.

On the advice of the medical and reproductive team at Rood and Riddle, Brant asked the USDA to treat the filly with a drug called Marquis, which treats protozoal myelitis, to wipe out any random protozoa which could be cause the false positive for Dourine..

“We wanted to have her treated with Marquis but the USDA just plain rejected it,” Brant said.

It was a pattern he would grow familiar with. He said the USDA was, from the start, uncooperative and uncommunicative.

“I have been dealing with them by email but get no response,” he said. “My lawyer has tried talking to them and so has Mersant. They can't get anything out of them. There's been no discussion. There is no flexibility and they just won't use common sense.”

Fourteen days after Belle Gambe tested positive, another test was taken. In the initial test, the filly was positive for Dourine at a dilution of 3+1:10. In the subsequent test, the level had gone down to a dilution of 1+1:10. While that was a step in the right direction, it was not enough to release her from quarantine.

Meanwhile, Brant was growing increasingly concerned about the impact of quarantine on a young horse at a time when they need to be exercised to foster their growth and development.

“I'm of the school of thought that the training period between Sept. and Oct. through the following spring is extremely important for a young horse, whether they run as a 2-year-old or they don't,” Brant said. “It's a very important factor. It's important to get a horse like this into training as soon as possible. She been quarantined for nearly a month and that's damaging to this horse. There are enough hurdles in this game for owner to go through as it is. This is just not unacceptable.”

Perhaps, the worst might soon be almost over. The filly is scheduled for another test on Feb. 10, with the results due on the 12th. If she tests negative the quarantine will be lifted and she can resume training toward her racing debut.

“I hope she tests negative,” Bramlage said. “Everything indicates that she should.”

Brant is prepared for the worst. If she tests positive again, the only two options left are that she will have to return to Ireland or be put down within five days. Just in case, Brant has already reserved a spot on a flight back to Ireland.

“I am not optimistic,” he said. “I am not optimistic at all. There's no rhyme or reason as to why this has happened. The test is faulty and that's all there is to it.”

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TAA Online Benefit Auction Closes Feb. 3

Thu, 2023-02-02 14:21

Off to the Races, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance's (TAA) online benefit auction, closes Friday, Feb. 3 at 10:00 p.m. EST. Beginning last week, the public can bid on 17 VIP experience packages for major 2023 and 2024 race days, that each offer a unique itinerary of horse racing-related bucket list activities.

“The Off to the Races auction is such an exciting way to support retired racehorses,” said TAA President, Jeffrey Bloom. “The TAA staff and our supporters have already done a tremendous job making this year's auction bigger and better than last year. Bid now and join the TAA at one of our amazing 17 race-day experiences.”

Click here, to view and bid on all of the items.

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Tickets to the Belmont Racing Festival On Sale Soon

Thu, 2023-02-02 13:48

Tickets for the 2023 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will go on sale to the public on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. Eastern via, the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) said in a press release on Thursday afternoon.

General Admission tickets start at just $30 and will provide fans with access to the trackside apron bench seating, backyard and grandstand concourse. NYRA will offer advance pre-sale opportunities to NYRA Bets members, returning ticket buyers and others beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 7. All groups eligible for the pre-sale will be notified directly via email.

Highlighted by the 155th running of the GI $1.5 million Belmont S. presented by NYRA Bets, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Secretariat's Triple Crown victory, which NYRA will commemorate throughout the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

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