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Updated: 23 hours 51 min ago

KY HBPA Donates $25K to Tornado Relief

Fri, 2021-12-17 14:28

The Kentucky HBPA is donating $25,000 to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund set up by Governor Andy Beshear's office. The fund is assisting those impacted by the devastating tornadoes that ripped through eight southwestern Kentucky counties Dec. 11-12, killing at least 77 people and demolishing entire towns.

“Our mission since inception has been helping those in need,” said Rick Hiles, President of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association. “Our motto is 'horsemen helping horsemen,' but we're also Kentuckians helping Kentuckians. It's just hard to fathom the extent of the needs facing the tens of thousands of people whose world has been upended.”

HBPA members are encouraged to donate or volunteer for the overall relief effort. Donations to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund can be made here.

The post KY HBPA Donates $25K to Tornado Relief appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Poseidon’s Warrior Relocating to Texas

Fri, 2021-12-17 14:19

GISW Poseidon's Warrior (Speightstown–Poised To Pounce, by Smarten), sire of Grade I winner and multi-millionaire Firenze Fire, is relocating from Pennsylvania to Century Acres in Hempstead, Texas, for the upcoming breeding season in a deal brokered by Jamie LaMonica and Brenden Heeney. He will stand the 2022 season for $3,500 S&N. In addition to Firenze Fire, Poseidon's Warrior is also represented in 2021 by stakes winners Warrior's Pride and Navy Commander.

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Navarro Gets Maximum Prison Sentence of Five Years

Fri, 2021-12-17 11:44

NEW YORK–Jorge Navarro, who catapulted to the top of the trainer ranks thanks to his widespread use of an arsenal of illegal, performance-enhancing drugs, was sentenced to five years in prison Friday by Judge Mary Kay Vsykocil of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Five years was the maximum sentence allowed after Navarro pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit drug adulteration or misbranding.

Navarro, 46, is scheduled to begin his prison sentence on or around Feb. 15. It has yet to be determined where he will serve his sentence.

Navarro's attorney Jason Kreiss asked Vsykocil to sentence his client to four years, but ran headfirst into a judge who was in no mood to show Navarro any leniency. Rather, she continually lashed out at the disgraced former trainer, calling him a callous, calculating cheater who showed no regard for the well-being of the Thoroughbreds under his care. Vsykocil went so far as to declare that she wished the applicable laws allowed her to sentence Navarro for more than five years.

“For years, Mr. Navarro, you effectively stole millions, cheating other trainers, owners and jockeys you competed against,” she said. “You also demonstrated, Mr. Navarro, a collective, callous disregard for the well-being of the horses. The bottom line is you likely killed or endangered the horses in your care.”

Navarro's defense team tried to portray him as someone who, despite the charges against him, loved horses. Vsykocil wasn't buying it.

“The reality is someone who loves horses does not subject them to such cruel and dangerous treatment,” she said.

She also brought up the brazen manner in which he operated. In their pre-sentencing letter, government lawyers said that Navarro “considered his prolific doping a badge of honor.”

“You were so open, so brazen about your crimes that you were dubbed 'The Juice Man' and even kept in your barn a pair of Crocs that had the words 'Juice Man' running across the toes,” she said.

The hearing, which lasted about 90 minutes, began with government lawyers laying out their case as to why Navarro deserved the maximum sentence. U.S. Attorney Sarah Mortazavi said that Navarro's “career as a racehorse trainer was a sham based on a fraudulent scheme” and called him “unprincipled and dangerous.” Kreiss maintained that Navarro was a skilled horseman who succumbed to the pressures of his profession and made some bad choices.

Mortazavi zeroed in on the case of XY Jet (Kantharos), who Navarro drugged before a Feb. 13, 2019 allowance race at Gulfstream and also before his victory in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen in Dubai. Two weeks after his final career start, XY Jet died, which Navarro claimed at the time was due to a heart attack.

“It was tragic what happened to XY Jet, but not surprising,” Mortazavi said. “He was dead of a heart attack two weeks after his last race. That was a potent reminder of Navarro's hypocrisy.”

Navarro entered the courtroom surrounded by his wife and several other family members. When it came his time to address the court, he grew emotional, openly crying.

“I was hungry to be a winner and somewhere along the line the pressure got to me,” he said. “I thought I had to win to be respected in the horse racing industry. I became a selfish person who only cared about winning and I lost my way. I chose to become a horse trainer because of my love for the horse. It was the horses that brought me my greatest joy. I take responsibility for all that I have done and apologize to the people that I have hurt. I  should have quit when I started feeling all that pressure, rather than putting the horse and the people who believed in me through this.”

Navarro has also been ordered to pay $25.8 million in restitution to the owners, trainers and jockeys he defeated from 2016 to when he was arrested in March 2020. Government lawyers revealed that Navarro is to pay that money to the racetracks he competed at during the run and the tracks will then be responsible for distributing the money. It is not clear if he has $25 million, or anything close to it, at his disposal.

Kreiss admitted that Navarro “will never be a licensed trainer in the U.S. ever again.” But much of his future remains murky. He will be subject to three years of supervised release after finishing his sentence, but Kreiss reiterated his belief that Navarro, who is not a U.S. citizen, will eventually be deported to his native Panama. Navarro has been in the U.S. for 35 years and has said he has no connections to anyone in Panama. Because of his immigration status, he cold also be sent to a prison under the control of  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rather than to a federal minimum-security prison in Florida, where he is now residing.

The post Navarro Gets Maximum Prison Sentence of Five Years appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Core Beliefs First Stallion to Stand for Broad at Walmac Farm

Fri, 2021-12-17 11:41

Near millionaire and MGSW Core Beliefs (Quality Road–Tejati, by Tactical Advantage) will be the first stallion to stand at historic Walmac Farm since Gary Broad purchased the property in 2018, it was announced Friday. The soon-to-be 7-year-olld will stand the 2022 breeding season for $7,500 LFSN, and breeders will have the option to secure a lifetime breeding right (one and done) for $10,000.

A $350,000 Barretts March juvenile buy, Core Beliefs was third in the GI Santa Anita Derby at three before taking the GIII Ohio Derby later that year. He added the GII New Orleans H. in 2019 and racked up $953,988 in career earnings from a record of 18-3-2-5. By top sire Quality Road, he is a half to the stakes-placed juvenile Downtown Driggs (Dr. Caton) and hails from the female family of GISW See How She Runs (Maria's Mon) and Canadian champion grass horse Hasten to Add (Cozzene).

“We're excited about resurrecting historic Walmac Farm,” said Broad. “We have been working hard the last two years making improvements to Walmac, and the timing is perfect to launch the stallion operation with Core Beliefs, a horse that we really believe in. He is a multiple graded stakes winner by Quality Road and he has all the necessary ingredients to be a successful stallion. We're looking forward to introducing him to breeders for the upcoming breeding season. I can't wait for breeders to come out and see him. I think they will really like his physical.”

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Arrogate Filly Impresses Against Florida-breds

Thu, 2021-12-16 18:23

10th-Gulfstream, $53,000, (S), Msw, 12-16, 2yo, f, 6 1/2f, 1:17.21, ft, 8 lengths.
AVOW (f, 2, Arrogate–Peace Preserver {GSW, $382,166}, by War Front) loomed large on pedigree and price tag against this Florida-bred bunch and with an upbeat tab on display, and dominated at even-money to kick off her career auspiciously. Away awkwardly to be last early, the bay split horses and came into the frame as the leading group looked taxed following a :45.55 half. Avow swung wide for clear sailing, took over with ease in upper stretch and poured it on from there to prevail by eight lengths. Sheza Spitfire (He's Had Enough) did well to hang on for second after showing the way. The 11th winner from the first crop of her late sire (by Unbridled's Song), Avow's GSW dam is a full to GISW Jack Milton. Bridlewood purchased Peach Preserver for $1.9 million in foal to Galileo (Ire) at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. Her yearling colt by More Than Ready bought $30,000 at FTKOCT, and she most recently visited Authentic. Sales history: $300,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $31,800. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O-Bass Stables, LLC; B-Bridlewood Farm (FL); T-Todd A. Pletcher.

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CDI Denied Illinois OTB Licenses

Thu, 2021-12-16 17:57

The Illinois Racing Board (IRB) on Thursday deadlocked 5-5 on a vote to allow Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), to retain control over simulcasting in 2022 at inter-track wagering (ITW) outlets that the gaming company currently operates under its expiring Arlington International Racecourse licensure. The tie in the voting meant the measure did not advance, and it did not come up for a re-vote.

Several IRB commissioners and executives with the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) expressed sentiments that Illinois racing will be better off in the long run without CDI's involvement after the gaming corporation intentionally missed a 2019 racino licensure deadline and then entered a purchase-and-sale agreement this past September to sell the iconic racetrack for development.

But the denial of ITW licensure to Arlington will also create near-term purse revenue problem for Illinois horsemen, because no one will be running those simulcasting facilities until a new licensee gets approved to take them over.

Executives of Hawthorne Race Course have indicated an interest in running the venues that Arlington will be vacating, and earlier this year Hawthorne already started operating several ITWs that Arlington walked away from. But state law dictates the number of ITWs any given track owner can control, and Hawthorne will need that law changed if it wants to operate any ITWs beyond the one parlor remaining under its current allotment.

“When and if presented with any applications for parlors, we'll take action,” IRB executive director Domenic DiCera said after the vote in response to a commissioner's question about what the next steps were in the process. “At this moment, there's no predictive action that we can take. I think it's been well-stated that potential legislative action is required. So [the fate of the ITWs] is undetermined and unknown at this time.”

CDI's president and chief operating officer, Bill Mudd, was repeatedly grilled by commissioners prior to the vote about why CDI wants to retain ITW privileges even though it is in the process of abandoning Arlington, which is widely considered one of the most opulent Thoroughbred tracks in America.

Mudd said the reason CDI wants to run ITWs is “because we are looking for an alternative racing solution in the state of Illinois, particularly in the Thoroughbred side.” He added that once CDI finds that property, they don't want to have to “recreate” an entire network of ITWs from scratch.

But even though commissioners pressed Mudd for specifics on CDI's vision for a new racetrack, no details were forthcoming, as Mudd held firmly to vague, corporate-speak phrasing the gaming company's executives have been uttering for months.

“In terms of specific locations that we're looking at, I'd say we're looking everywhere,” Mudd said. “What I won't say [or] identify is specific properties that we're looking at. That's competitive information.”

The dialogue soon grew circuitous. Although several commissioners clearly wanted answers, the entire tone of the questioning about why CDI pulled the plug on Arlington stood out in contrast to the perplexing wall of silence that commissioners mostly upheld during the early part of 2021, when CDI's bid-soliciting process for Arlington began.

Commissioner Benjamin Reyes said he didn't believe CDI was truly looking to operate a new racetrack, and he likened what is happening with Arlington to the recent demise of Hollywood Park and Calder Race Course, two other prominent Thoroughbred tracks that went belly-up during CDI's stewardship.

“What's to convince us that you guys are looking for something? I don't think you guys are in the state of Illinois, I'll tell you that much,” Reyes said. “I would recommend to the commissioners that maybe we not give you [an ITW] license, and only consider giving you a license once you come up with a new [track] site. That way you have some motivation to move up finding a location if that's what you really have in the back of your mind.

“In California you did this. In Florida you did this,” Reyes continued, referring to the Hollywood and Calder shutdowns. “And now you did it in Illinois. What's there to [show us] you're operating on good faith? I don't see anything. I'm not convinced of anything that you could do that will help the horse racing industry here.”

Commissioner Alan Henry agreed.

“CDI could have applied for placeholder racing dates in 2022 and cobbled together a year or two of status-quo racing while hoping to finalize their development plans,” Henry said. “Instead, they chose to permanently shut down Arlington Park, in the process condemning both [Thoroughbred and Standardbred] breeds to drastically reduced dates next year and an increasingly perilous future.

“As I interpret what I consider the logical intent of state statutes, the conclusion I reach is that CDI must have an organization license for 2022 in order ultimately to conduct inter-track and off-track betting on racing in Illinois. It does not have that license, nor did it apply for one. Simple common sense tells me that should be end of story. But apparently, it's not.”

Henry continued: “By word and deed, after lobbying for and then rejecting the opportunity to apply for a racino license, then jilting the track, I believe Churchill has acted in a manner that directly subverts this board's mission to support and enhance the state's horse racing industry. By that I mean that in no way, shape, or form does shuttering Arlington Park ensure that Illinois remains competitive with neighboring states or stimulate growth within the industry…or encourage the state's breeding programs. In fact, CDI's actions have done exactly the opposite. And we absolutely should not be enabling them…

“To be clear, this is not about looking backward in anger,” Henry said. “This is about looking forward with confidence that the racing industry is not going to once again be blindsided by a corporation driven by objectives not compatible with a healthy racing industry.”
Prior to the vote, David McCaffrey, the executive director of the ITHA, asked commissioners to hold CDI accountable for its cumulative harmful actions.

“On what planet does a racing corporation that lobbied for years and years to get a gaming bill; that chose not pursue the [racino license granted by the] gaming bill, then chose to sell [Arlington] to a non-racing interest when [other] racing interests had submitted bids to buy the property and essentially harm the game beyond repair [get] held accountable?” McCaffrey said.

IRB chairman Daniel Beiser and commissioners Beth Doria, John Stephan, Henry, and Reyes all voted against granting CDI the ITW licensure.
Voting in favor were commissioners Leslie Breuer, Marcus Davis, Lydia Gray, Charles MacKelvie and Leslye Sandberg.

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Michael Wallace to Leave CHC

Thu, 2021-12-16 17:00

Michael Wallace, the Chief Operating Officer of the China Horse Club, will resign from that position effective Dec. 31, he said in a phone call Thursday. The bloodstock agent has been with the global Thoroughbred firm for eight years, since March, 2014.

“Obviously, it has been a wonderful run with them, from a start-up company to what they are today in a period of eight years,” said the New Zealand native. “It has been a very interesting and rewarding experience. Obviously, we've experienced plenty of highs, including 27 individual Grade or Group I winners that have won 44 Grade/Group 1 races, with five Eclipse Awards in there. We have had Horses of the Year in Australia, America and in Europe, and obviously, Justify, the Triple Crown winner, who might be the epitome of it all.”

Under Wallace's direction, the CHC campaigned the likes of Abel Tasman (Quality Road), Audible (Into Mischief), Australia (GB), Yoshida (Jpn), Life Is Good (Into Mischief), Improbable, and more.

Wallace said that he would most likely return to being an independent bloodstock agent. “I'm going to take some time and think about it. But obviously, I've got a mortgage to pay and a family to look after. Before the China Horse Club, I was an independent and I'm going to go back to being an agent, working the world again, and seeing what business I can find. I would hope that my record would speak for itself and that someone will want to use my services.”

Said Wallace, “I am very appreciative of the opportunity that was afforded me as a young man in New Zealand. That position, on a global scale, was one that came with great responsibility and pressure, but it was a wonderful adventure and a new opportunity to experience new places and new cultures. But everything comes to an end; I felt it was time for a new challenge, and I aim to challenge myself.”

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Vaccarezza Organizes Fundraiser for Tornado Victims

Thu, 2021-12-16 16:44

A fundraising event to help benefit the families affected by last weekend's devastating Western Kentucky tornado will take place at Frank & Dino's restaurant in Lexington on Sunday, Jan. 2. Complimentary food and drinks will be served between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the popular Italian eatery.

WLKY reported Thursday that 16 people, down from a high of 122, are still missing and that the death toll has risen to 76 Kentuckians. More than 1,000 homes and buildings have been destroyed and there are approximately still 3,000 power outages. Surveyors with the National Weather Service have reported that the twister had wind speeds up to 190 miles per hour.

“Every time there's an issue or something happens, we try to do something for the community,” said owner/breeder/trainer and Frank & Dino's managing partner Carlo Vaccarezza.

“I'm closing the restaurant from noon to 8 p.m. and there will be free food and free alcohol. When people come, hopefully they donate. We have people that are very committed that are going to come over and really support the cause. [Kentucky Congressman] Andy Barr–I've spoken to him a couple of times–and the governor's office are really behind this cause. All the money that we collect, we'll write a check and it will help families that were devastated by this horrible situation.”

Vaccarezza, whose two sons Mike and Nick survived a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018, raised approximately $180,000 for the families of the victims during a fundraiser also held at his family restaurant.

Donations can also be sent to Frank & Dino's, 271 W. Short Street, Lexington, Ky., 40507.

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No Parole to Stand at Whispering Oaks in Louisiana

Thu, 2021-12-16 15:59

Grade I winner and 2020 Louisiana Horse of the Year No Parole (Violence–Plus One, by Bluegrass Cat) has been purchased by Coteau Grove Farms and Whispering Oaks Farms and will stand at Whispering Oaks Farm in Carencro, Louisiana, for $3,500 live foal, stands and nurses. Coteau Grove's bloodstock advisor Andrew Cary of Cary Bloodstock brokered the deal.

“We are very excited to be standing Louisiana-bred Grade I winner No Parole at Whispering Oaks, said Whispering Oaks owner Carrol Castille. “We are big supporters of the Louisiana breeding industry and it's great to be able to keep a homegrown
Grade I winner like this here to stand at stud. He showed tremendous talent and fits in perfectly with the other stallions on our roster. We look forward to supporting him with our own mares and think he'll be very popular with Louisiana breeders as well.”

No Parole was purchased for $75,000 as a yearling by Maggi Moss from the consignment of Select Sales as agent for Coteau Grove Farms at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Trained by Tom Amoss, the 'TDN Rising Star' began his career by winning his first three starts by a combined 34 lengths, and went wire to wire to win the GI Woody Stephens S. by 3 3/4 lengths last June. He retires with six wins in 13 starts and earnings of $369,866.

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Equine-Specific Donations to Be Accepted at Kentucky Horse Park

Thu, 2021-12-16 15:38

Multiple equine organizations in Kentucky have joined forces to assist horse owners who have been affected by last week's tornado outbreak. Equine and ag-specific donations will be accepted at the Kentucky Horse Park Dec. 18-20, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Signage will point donors to the exact location behind the Alltech Arena.

Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) employees and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment extension agents have been working diligently to create county-specific lists of items that are needed immediately. Though cleanup efforts will be ongoing, the most-needed equine items requested include buckets, winter blankets, halters, lead ropes, wheelbarrows, plastic totes, grooming supplies, water hoses, hay bags, wheelbarrows, muck tubs, pitchforks, shovels and first-aid supplies. A complete list of needs can be found here.

Donations will be accepted in the North Exhibit Hall of the Alltech Arena: Kentucky Horse Park 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511. Follow signs for Kentucky Horse Council. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Donations will begin being delivered to specific counties on Tuesday.

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Marc Holliday Elected Chairman of NYRA Board of Directors

Thu, 2021-12-16 15:09

The New York Racing Association's Board of Directors has unanimously elected Marc Holliday as chairman following Thursday's regularly scheduled meeting of the board. Holliday replaces Michael Del Giudice, who retired from the NYRA Board in November.

Appointed to the NYRA Board in 2014, Holliday has chaired the NYRA Equine Safety Committee since 2015. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SL Green Realty Corp, which is New York City's largest owner of office properties. A graduate of Lehigh University, Holliday earned a master's in real estate development from Columbia University.

“I am honored to succeed Michael Del Giudice and grateful for his work returning NYRA to a period of sustained excellence and financial stability,” said Holliday. “Michael skillfully guided the association through a time of uncertainty, and NYRA today is as strong as any point in its history. Horse racing is an engine for the New York economy and deeply intertwined in the cultural fabric of the state. It is a privilege to play a role in the future of the sport I care so deeply about.”

A prominent horse owner and breeder, Holliday founded Blue Devil Racing Stable in 2006. Most notable among a number of Blue Devil stakes winners is the homebred Come Dancing (Malibu Moon), who won the GI Ketel One Ballerina S., GII Ruffian S., GII Gallant Bloom H. and GIII Distaff H. in 2019 on the NYRA circuit. The popular mare added the GII Honorable Miss S. to her ledger last year and is now in foal to Into Mischief.

“NYRA is in a strong position for continued success thanks to the commitment and leadership of the board of directors,” said NYRA President & CEO Dave O'Rourke. “On behalf of the entire organization, I thank Michael Del Giudice for his dedicated service and congratulate Marc Holliday on his new role.”

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Matty Named New PTHA Executive Director

Thu, 2021-12-16 13:16

The Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (PTHA), which represents the interests of horsemen at Parx Racing, has named Jeffrey A. Matty, Jr. as its new Executive Director effective Jan. 1, 2022. Matty has served as Racing Manager for Besecker Racing Stable, an Assistant Stakes Coordinator at Monmouth Park Racetrack, and a Racing Official with Parx Racing. Matty will fill a vacancy left by Michael P. Ballezzi, who announced his retirement earlier this month after 25 years of leadership.

“We are thrilled to have Jeffrey Matty joining the PTHA as our new executive director,” said Salvatore DeBunda, President of the PTHA's Board of Directors. “He brings to the position a clear commitment to advocating for horsemen and a significant amount of passion and energy for our sport.”

“I'm an avid fan of racing, and being born and raised in Bensalem, I fell in love with the sport at Philadelphia Park,” said Matty. “I consider myself a Parx horsemen, so in many ways, this is like returning home. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with and advocate for the owners and trainers who make up the PTHA. I don't look at this position as a job, but as a responsibility–to do what's best for horsemen day in and day out.”

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TERF Awards $10,000 to Maryland Horse Foundation

Thu, 2021-12-16 12:33

The Thoroughbred Education and Research Foundation (TERF) has awarded $10,000 to the Maryland Horse Industry Foundation to be used for a work experience program, the returning of the Maryland Thoroughbred career program, and continued promotion of Marylandhorse.com.

The Maryland Horse Foundation was chartered in 1988 by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association to serve various educational and charitable needs of the Maryland horse industry. The MHF has developed and supports a number of educational programs and is responsible for the maintenance and expansion of the Maryland Horse Library & Education Center.

TERF's grants reflect the values set forth by founders Herb and Ellen Moelis.

To learn more about TERF and/or make a donation, visit terfusa.org.

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Velazquez, Smith Re-Elected to Jockeys’ Guild

Thu, 2021-12-16 11:08

Hall of Fame riders John Velazquez and Mike Smith were re-elected as co-chairmen at the Jockeys' Guild's annual meeting, which was held virtually Dec. 7. The riders in attendance also re-elected Javier Castellano and Julien Leparoux, along with newly elected Quarter Horse jockey James Flores, as vice-chairs; Joel Campbell as treasurer; and Rodney Prescott as secretary. In addition, Alex Birzer, Joe Bravo, and Drayden Van Dyke were re-elected to the board of directors.

The members reviewed 2021 financials and the 2022 budget and had a variety of speakers including Senator Damon Thayer (KY-R); Dr. David Lambert B.V.Sc. (Hons.), M.R.C.V.S, president and founder of Equine Analysis; Ann McGovern, director of Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA)'s Racetrack Safety standing committee; and Nancy LaSala, Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) president, as well as PDJF board member Paul Braverman.

The Jockeys' Guild Senate members voted to adopt a new policy, whereby winning Jockeys' Guild members of races with purses over $70,000 will contribute 0.005% of their earnings, capped at $200, to the PDJF Riders Up initiative. This would be a separate program from the “one dollar program” that is already in place and would continue to be offered at the tracks that do not offer purses of $70,000 or more.

For more information, visit the Guild's website.

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Aushorse Releases Investors’ Guide

Thu, 2021-12-16 10:30

Edited Press Release

Australia hosts 72 races worth AU$1 million or more and prizemoney across the board has also surged by 82% in the past decade. These statistics and more are included in the latest Aushorse Investors' Guide, which was released Thursday.

Another key statistic out of the guide is that the average prizemoney per race in Australia during the last racing season was over AU$46,000, compared to AU$29,000 in America and Europe, and AU$20,000 in the UK.

“Whichever way you look at it, investing in a racehorse in Australia offers an unparalleled opportunity to get a significant return,” said Aushorse and Thoroughbred Breeders Australia chief executive Tom Reilly.

“When you look at the prizemoney here and in other jurisdictions where anybody can become an owner, there is simply no comparison. The guide has been very popular in recent years and we've received great feedback from people overseas as well as from trainers and syndicators locally who have appreciated having the stats to hand,” added Reilly. Click here for the Aushorse Investors' Guide.

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Fasig-Tipton to Sponsor Chilean Oaks

Thu, 2021-12-16 10:00

Fasig-Tipton will sponsor the Clásico Las Oaks (Chilean Oaks) Friday, Dec. 17 at Club Hípico de Santiago. The Classic has been run in Chile since 1905, and as of 2006 has been contested over 2,000 meters. It will be race 14 of 20 and post time is 6:06 p.m. local time (4:06 p.m. EST).

Y Nada Mas (Chi) (Constitution), owned by Stud Haras Don Alberto, is the likely favorite on the back of five wins from seven starts, with two further placings.

“This is one of the most important races in Chile, but it is especially important to me and my family. We are very grateful to Fasig-Tipton for their sponsorship, recognizing the importance of this race and look forward to another exciting edition on Friday,” said Don Alberto's Carlos Heller.

“Fasig-Tipton is pleased to have the opportunity to sponsor the historic Chilean Oaks, a Classic for Chile's 3-year-old fillies,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning. “Chilean racing and breeding are respected the world over and we are very proud to have our name associated with such an important race.”

 

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Lindy Farms Named Stan Bergstein/Proximity Award Winner

Thu, 2021-12-16 09:56

The Antonacci family's Lindy Farms, a multi-generation Standardbred breeding and racing institution which also owns a Thoroughbred operation, has been voted winner of the Stan Bergstein/Proximity Award. It is the highest award bestowed by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA).

With a 1,000-acre breeding and training operation in Connecticut, the Antonaccis have bred and raced Standardbreds at the highest level. Their stable has included Moni Maker, a trotter that retired as the richest female Standardbred in history with more than $5 million in earnings. Cousins Frank and Guy “Sonny” Antonacci started Lindy Farms in partnership with the Lomangino family in the 1960s. Frank's brother, Jerry, came on board and, in 2000, the two became operating partners of Lexington's Red Mile Racetrack and Tattersalls Sales Company. Frank is also a partner in Meadowlands Racetrack.

Various members of the family have been named to harness racing's Hall of Fame and have held multiple positions in the industry, including director of the Hambletonian Society, trustee of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, and director of the United States Trotting Association. At least five members of the next generation of the Antonacci family are actively involved in Lindy Farms operations and on the boards of harness organizations. This year, Philip Antonacci kicked off his career training Thoroughbreds.

Lindy Farms and the Antonaccis will be honored at USHWA's Dan Patch Night of Champions Awards Banquet, to be held on Sunday, Feb. 20, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.

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GGF Fatalities Down Overall, but November Spike Concerns CHRB

Wed, 2021-12-15 20:17

Golden Gate Fields twice came within one vote Wednesday of having its upcoming December-June license to conduct racing either curtailed or not granted at all because of California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) concerns over a recent four-horse uptick in equine fatalities.

The meet was eventually approved by a 4-3 vote, with CHRB chairman Gregory Ferraro, DVM, casting the deciding vote and pledging that he will be personally responsible for making sure Golden Gate executives understand that the “or else” consequences of not having a better safety record could mean the suspension of racing or a loss of license.

The polite but tense debate Dec. 15 unfolded against the backdrop of Golden Gate actually having fewer equine fatalities from racing and training so far in 2021 (17) than in 2020 (19).

When Golden Gate's license was up for renewal at this time last year, equine fatalities were a non-issue in the voting.

The difference this year has to do with the recency of some of the deaths. Of the 17 on the year so far, four of them have occurred since Nov. 14. The last previous training death at Golden Gate had been in September; the last previous racing death in May, according to stats on the CHRB website.

The highly charged topic also is reflective of the industry-wide heightened sense of awareness about equine safety.

CHRB vice-chair Oscar Gonzales pre-empted the vote for Golden Gate's full six-month license by suggesting a shorter three-month license would better allow the CHRB to “monitor the situation as closely as we can.”

Gonzales continued: “There' something going on here, and all I'm asking is allow for there to be a watchful eye on what transpires over the next three months, and then they will come back before us and we will then determine whether they're fit to have racing. And if not, we seek other alternatives.”

His argument had echoes of the CHRB's December 2020 meeting, at which Gonzales pushed hard for granting Los Alamitos Race Course only a six-month Quarter Horse license instead of for a full year over concerns that Los Al's management wasn't doing enough to mitigate the 29 equine deaths that occurred at the track in 2020.

Last year, the CHRB initially voted 5-1 to slice Los Al's licensure in half. Los Al's executives at first threatened closure of the track over the way that license was awarded.

But when the board next convened in January 2021, it restored the full license by a 4-3 vote after a more conciliatory Los Al management implemented a more comprehensive equine safety plan. Since those changes have been made, there have been just 11 racing and training deaths at Los Al so far in 2021.

Commissioner Dennis Alfieri didn't buy Gonzales's line of reasoning.

“I think this is totally different than Los Alamitos, quite frankly,” Alfieri said.

In contrast to what had been perceived as a lack of a safety game plan by Los Al, Alfieri said that The Stronach Group (TSG), which owns both Golden Gate and Santa Anita Park in California, has demonstrated “integrity” by continually investing in equine safety measures.

“[TSG is] all over this. This is not just 'business as usual,'” Alfieri said. He likened the recent four-horse spike in deaths to “accidents” as opposed to some glaring safety defect that TSG is not remedying.

Alfieri also pointed out that track operators in the state are well aware their safety records are examined microscopically by the CHRB.

“The reforms that we've made, and the pressure that we've put on these facilities throughout the state, it has their full attention,” Alfieri said.

Alfieri also noted that it's already within the CHRB's power to halt racing by a vote over safety concerns. He advocated for granting the full six-month license to Golden Gate “so things are organized properly,” and with the stipulation that the CHRB will be reassessing the situation every time it meets monthly.

“I don't understand what three months does. I say let's monitor it every 30 days, and then come back immediately if we see that there's a pattern of serious problems,” Alfieri said.

Ferraro pointed out that he, CHRB executive director Scott Chaney, and equine medical director Jeff Blea already visited Golden Gate last week to meet with trainers and track executives over the fatalities.

“So it's not like we're not doing anything,” Ferraro said. “We can always stop racing. We have the ability to do that. So unless we see some improvement, we can come back and…make a motion to stop racing.”

Both Gonzales and commissioner Wendy Mitchell expressed doubts that the board could actually come up with enough votes to halt racing if it had to, because the severity of the safety issues will always be subjective for each commissioner.

“We're not doing anything to address these deaths that we are seeing,” Mitchell said. “I'm concerned that we're kind of moving past it even though we see something happening.

“Commissioner Alfieri may be absolutely right that if there is a big problem we'll have the vote,” Mitchell continued. “But why are we going to take the risk at this point ahead of something even more catastrophic happening instead of just giving them a shorter license?”

Gonzales's motion on granting Golden Gate just a three-month license failed, 4-3. He, Mitchell and commissioner Brenda Washington Davis voted for it. Commissioners Alex Solis, Damascus Castellanos, Alfieri and Ferraro voted against it.

When Alfieri moved the question for a full six-month meet, the vote carried 4-3 with the same alignment of commissioners.

Upon casting the deciding vote, Ferraro said, “I'm sorry. I take into account Mr. Gonzales's concerns and Ms. Mitchell's concerns. [But] I think you can count on Mr. Chaney and myself and Dr. Blea to make an extra effort to turn things around at Golden Gate.”

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New NTRA President, CEO Tom Rooney Joins Writers’ Room

Wed, 2021-12-15 19:19

It's a hell of a time in racing to become the new head of one of the sport's foremost national organizations, but new National Thoroughbred Racing Association president and CEO Tom Rooney says he's ready for the challenge. Wednesday morning, the former U.S. congressman joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland's final show of 2021 as the Green Group Guest of the Week to discuss what the NTRA's top priorities will be under his stewardship, how his previous experience on the Hill can benefit the industry, what he thinks the NTRA's role should be in racing's ongoing public relations battle and much more.

“One of the things I think the board of directors wanted when they brought me on was to really sharpen our focus in Washington, D.C.,” Rooney said. “So much so that we're going to be opening an office there to make sure that I'm back in front of my old colleagues on a daily basis to make sure they don't forget about this issue or that issue. Specifically, the big issues that we deal with are the tax code, immigration–H-2A and H-2B visas for both at the farms and at the track–those are hugely important issues for keeping the trains running on time. And one of the things that I'm very excited about and looking forward to working on very closely is sports betting as it becomes more and more legalized across the United States and includes more sports. We used to be the only game in town when it came to legalized gambling, but now horse racing is separate from the other sports you might find on DraftKings or FanDuel, so if my son, who's in college, is putting a $20 bet on the 76ers and the Packers and wants to boost with a bet on the Breeders' Cup Classic, he can't necessarily do that because of the way everything is set up. We have to make sure–and I'm not sure this is a legislative fix yet–to be in that ballgame if we want to have a new generation of horseplayers. I think I would be neglectful in my job if I wasn't making sure that the one sport that was legal [to bet on] all along continues to be at least part of that game going forward, so I'm going to be working hard on that.”

Asked what he thinks the NTRA's role will be in trying to win the narrative in the court of public opinion when catastrophe strikes, as it so often has recently, Rooney said, “I think it's going to be absolutely huge. Publications and media outlets look for a response from somebody, and we just hired a new communications director who is going to be starting this month, and we are hopefully going to be one of the go-to voices in response to [crises]. For all those people who get up at God knows what hour every day and go down to the racetrack or the farm barn or cover this stuff like you do and want the sport to be successful and something we can be proud of, I think they're sick of being lumped in with this idea that we're all a bunch of cheaters who are drugging horses and don't really care about them and are just using them for our personal benefit. I just don't believe that, and I'm looking forward to being the voice to push back against that. Now, if something went wrong, there also has to be accountability on our side, which is a good thing. [Calfiornia] Senator [Dianne] Feinstein wrote a letter saying she wants transparency and thoroughness in the process [of investigating Medina Spirit's death]. Great. We agree. We want that too. One of the first things I learned in Congress was that you cannot let an accusation that harms you or your constituency go [unanswered], because if you do, it's almost an admission that what they're saying is right. You have to respond. And sometimes the response is tough love. But I think it's incumbent upon groups like the NTRA to make sure that the public has the other side of the story.”

Elsewhere on the show, which is also sponsored by Coolmore, West Point Thoroughbreds, XBTV, Lane's End, Three Chimneys, Hill 'n' Dale and Legacy Bloodstock, the writers discussed the impending sentencing of the Jorge Navarro and, in their year-in-review segments, picked their favorite races and biggest stories of 2021 as well as what horses they're most looking forward to seeing in 2022. Click here to watch the podcast; click here for the audio-only version or find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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Medina Spirit’s Necropsy ‘Currently Underway’

Wed, 2021-12-15 17:54

Medina Spirit's necropsy is “currently underway” and a report on last week's sudden death of the GI Kentucky Derby winner is expected to be publicly released by mid-February, California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) equine medical director Dr. Jeff Blea said Wednesday.

“Completion of sudden death case file reports takes weeks and months to complete due to the in-depth level of analysis involved, and we fully expect a final report in this case in approximately two months,” Blea told commissioners at the Dec. 15 CHRB meeting.

“Tissue samples and specimens will be stored for further testing should the need arise,” Blea said.

Medina Spirit appeared sluggish then collapsed at Santa Anita Park after finishing a five-furlong workout Dec. 6.

The colt's admirable, overachieving career arc of going from a $1,000 yearling buy at a public auction to winning America's most important horse race only glowed for about a week before it was overshadowed by news that the Bob Baffert trainee had tested positive for an overage of betamethasone after winning the May 1 Derby.

No ruling has been issued for that 2021 Derby drug positive, although it has sparked a firestorm of controversy for occurring on the heels of four other Baffert horses testing positive for medication overages within the previous year, two of them in Grade I stakes.

“A sudden death in racing is defined as acute collapse and death in a closely observed and previously determined healthy Thoroughbred racehorse during or within one hour after exercise,” Blea said.

Like with all fatalities that occur on licensed CHRB premises necropsy, the regulatory agency is obligated to perform a necropsy and investigation.

Medina Spirit's necropsy is being carried out by pathologists at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, which works in conjunction with the University of California (Davis) veterinary school.

That particular lab, Blea said, is “arguably one of the best in the country, if not the world.”

Blea explained that “Additional tissue specimens and samples will be shared with other departments at UC Davis, including toxicology, analytical chemistry, and genetics, as well as other university laboratories in the country to help determine the cause of death.”

But a definitive cause might never be known.

Blea called sudden death circumstances “frustrating,” and cited a published study that concluded only 53% of sudden equine deaths eventually turn up a definitive diagnosis. A presumptive cause of death is given 25% of the time, with the remaining 22% “unexplained,” he said.

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