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Updated: 2 hours 35 min ago

Zozos Leads Derby, Oaks Workers at Churchill

Fri, 2022-04-15 12:17

'TDN Rising Star' Zozos (Munnings), most recently runner-up to Epicenter (Not This Time) in the GII Louisiana Derby Mar. 26, continued his preparations for the May 7 GI Kentucky Derby with a five-furlongs work that was timed in 1:00.20 Friday morning at Churchill Downs.

Breezing in the company of his GI Longines Kentucky Oaks-bound stablemate Turnerloose (Nyquist), the Barry and Joni Butzow homebred was out at 5:30 a.m. and broke off about a length behind the GII Rachel Alexandra S. heroine before galloping along through fractions of :24 flat and :48.40. The move began at the half-mile pole and concluded with Zozos on even terms with Turnerloose at the seven-eighths marker. Zozos galloped out three-quarters of a mile in 1:13.60.

“He's a really smart horse,” said jockey Florent Geroux, who will ride Zozos's GI Arkansas Derby-winning stablemate Cyberknife (Gun Runner) in the Derby. “He's starting to come into his own and it was a really nice work this morning. I settled back of [Turnerloose] and he finished up nicely with her. Both horses worked well.”

 

 

Zozos 5F from the half-mile pole 1:00.60. He started one length back of #KyOaks contender Turnerloose and finished even at the 7/8 pole. #KyDerby pic.twitter.com/5HiXJLY5yx

— Kevin Kerstein (@HorseRacingKK) April 15, 2022

 

Hidden Brook Farm and Black Type Thoroughbreds' Hidden Connection (Connect) came out shortly after the Cox pair and covered a similar distance in 1:00 flat, pulling up six furlongs in a strong 1:12.60 with ReyLu Gutierrez aboard, who said the work was “awesome.”

Secret Oath (Arrogate) will face her peers in the Oaks, having finished third to Cyberknife and Barber Road (Race Day) in the Arkansas Derby and returned to the tab Friday morning. The Briland Farm homebred was timed in a slick :59.20 (:12.40, :23.60, :35.20), and Luis Saez, who takes over from Luis Contreras for the Oaks, was in to put the filly through her paces.

“I talked to [jockey] Luis [Contreras] after the race and he was sort of surprised with how much of an explosive kick she had at the three-eighths pole,” said Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, whose last Oaks victory came courtesy of Overbrook Farm's Seaside Attraction (Seattle Slew) in 1990. “With that explosive kick at that point in the race, it was a little too much too soon. She got shuffled back at the start and got into contention but it was too much to ask. We ran in the Arkansas Derby for a million-and-a-quarter [dollars] and I thought we were the best horse going into the race and I still think we were the best.”

 

 

Secret Oath 5F :59.20. Out 6F 1:12. #KyOaks pic.twitter.com/933B6s4oDk

— Kevin Kerstein (@HorseRacingKK) April 15, 2022

The post Zozos Leads Derby, Oaks Workers at Churchill appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Raises Over $50,000

Fri, 2022-04-15 11:29

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's annual Winter Appeal, highlighting the growth of the Second Chances program in New York, has raised over $50,000 for the organization's herd of over 450 retired racehorses thanks in part to a $25,000 grant from Business for Good.

“The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation offers sanctuary for life for a herd of over 450 retired racehorses throughout the country,” said Pat Stickney, the TRF's Executive Director. “We have a rich history in New York and are excited to continue to grow and expand…in the state through the generosity of individual donors and this wonderful grant from Business for Good.”

The post Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Raises Over $50,000 appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Saratoga Dining Reservations On Sale Apr. 20

Fri, 2022-04-15 10:55

Dining reservations for the 2022 season at Saratoga will go on sale Wednesday, Apr. 20, at 10 a.m., The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced Friday. Reservations for the Turf Terrace, Club Terrace, and The Porch will be accepted via Ticketmaster.com. NYRA Bets members and current season ticket and season pass holders will have an opportunity to secure their dining reservations during a pre-sale event.

Full and partial season ticket plans for all or part of the meet at the Miller Time Fourstardave Sports Bar and Pick Six Picnic Paddock are on sale now, as are seats in the clubhouse, grandstand, and Cutwater Stretch. Those reservations are available at NYRA.com. A variety of ticket plans are offered.

The 2022 summer meet at Saratoga begins Thursday, July 14. After a four-day opening weekend, racing will be conducted Wednesdays through Sundays, and will conclude on Labor Day. For more information about dining at Saratoga Race Course, call (844) 697-2849, email BoxOffice@nyrainc.com, or visit NYRA.com/Saratoga/Visit/Dining.

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Mighty Heart Doubles Up as Canadian Horse of the Year

Fri, 2022-04-15 10:34

Canada's 2020 Horse of the Year Mighty Heart (Dramedy) took home the same honors for the 2021 season at the 47th Annual Sovereign Awards, hosted by The Jockey Club of Canada Thursday at the Universal Eventspace just outside of Toronto. A homebred for Larry Cordes, Mighty Heart won the GII Autumn S. and GIII Dominion Day S. in Canada, as well as the Blame S. at Churchill Downs. The popular one-eyed 4-year-old had won the same award last year on the strength of his victories in the Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales S. The Josie Carroll-trained Mighty defeated Pink Lloyd (Old Forester) for Horse of the Year honors by a margin of 63 votes to 55 votes. Town Cruise (Town Prize) was third in the voting with 34. Mighty Heart was also named Champion Older Main Track Male.

Robert Tiller's Pink Lloyd, the now-retired Entourage Stables campaigner, added to his long list of accomplishments and was named Champion Male Sprinter for the fifth consecutive year. Pink Lloyd was the Canadian Horse of the Year in 2017 and had also previously been Champion Older Dirt Male and Champion Older Horse.

The Brandon Evan Greer-owned and -trained Town Cruise was named Champion Male Turf Horse after winning the GI Woodbine Mile S.

Canadian Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse was named Outstanding Trainer for the 11th straight year and for the 14th time overall. His 27 Canadian stakes wins in 2021 were a personal record and his list of champions continues to grow with an additional four champions in 2021: God of Love (Cupid) was named Champion 2-Year-old Male, Mrs. Barbara (Bodemeister) was named Champion 2-Year-Old Female, Frosted Over (Frosted) was named Champion 3-Year-Old Male, and Skygaze (American Pharoah) was named Champion Older Main Track Female.

Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation, who sends a number of horses to Casse, won its second straight Sovereign Award for Outstanding Owner with 19 Canadian wins and more than $1.4 million in earnings. Outstanding Breeder honors went to Sam-Son Farm, which led Canadian breeders in purse earnings with just over $2.6 million. Sam-Son has been a major player in Canadian racing for more than 50 years. It was the iconic farm's ninth outstanding breeder Sovereign Award. The Outstanding Groom award went to Denzil Fonseca, who has been a part of the Woodbine backstretch for 40 years. He has been with trainer Mike Doyle for the last 14 of those years.

Other equine awards went to Munnyfor Ro (Munnings) for Champion 3-Year-Old Female, Amalfi Coast (Tapizar) as Champion Female Sprinter, and Jolie Olimpica (Drosselmeyer) as Champion Female Turf Horse. Avie's Empire (Empire Maker) was named Canadian Broodmare of the Year. The 14-year-old unraced mare has produced 2018 2-year-old champion Avie's Flatter (Flatter), who won the GII Nearctic S. and GII Connaught Cup S. in 2021, as well as SW Avie's Mineshaft (Mineshaft) and GSP Avie's Mesa (Sky Mesa).

The Sovereign Award for Outstanding Jockey went to wunderkind Kazushi Kimura, who was a first-time nominee after only his fourth season riding in Canada. He had already won the Sovereign Award as Outstanding Apprentice twice, as well as an Eclipse Award for the same honor in the U.S. His 19% win rate in 2021 included 140 victories and over $5.1 million in purses. Boxer-turned-jockey Mauricio Malvaez won Outstanding Apprentice for the second consecutive year with a total of 28 victories and over $470,000 in earnings for the season.

Ivan Dalos, proprietor of Tall Oaks Farm, was recipient of the E. P. Taylor Award of Merit. Tall Oaks won its first Sovereign for Outstanding Breeder in 2018 and repeated the honor in 2020. It was his mare, Avie's Empire, who took home the aforementioned Outstanding Broodmare award. His broodmare band numbers more than three dozen with many a part of several generations of breeding by Dalos.

The final Sovereign Awards bestowed Thursday included Outstanding Photograph to Will Wong for his image entitled “Welcome Back,” Outstanding Writing to Hayley Morrison for the story “New Races, New Faces: How I Fell for The Fort,” which appeared on the Canadian Thoroughbred website,  and Outstanding Audio Visual/Digital Broadcast to Woodbine Entertainment for airing of The Queen's Plate.

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Cairo Prince, Lope de Vega Fillies Share OBS Bullet Thursday

Thu, 2022-04-14 18:09

The fifth session of the under-tack show for next week's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, suspended just under three hours by heavy rain, produced a pair of :9 4/5 bullet breezers, while two juveniles shared the fastest quarter-mile time of :21 flat Thursday in Central Florida.

First to hit the bullet time of :9 4/5 once action resumed around noon Thursday at OBS was a daughter of Cairo Prince (hip 839) out of the unraced Nippy (Pulpit). The gray filly is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Gibberish (Lea). She is consigned by Hal Hatch's Halcyon Hammock Farm and was purchased by Hatch for $62,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

Also working in :9 4/5 during the same set was hip 859, an Irish-bred daughter of Lope de Vega (Ire) out of stakes winner and multiple group placed Only Mine (Ire) (Pour Moi {Ire}). Purchased by West Bloodstock for €250,000 at last year's Goffs Orby sale, she is consigned to the Spring sale by Niall Brennan Stables.

“I never expect :9 and change, but I expected her to work well,” said Niall Brennan, who is consigning the juvenile on behalf of a client. “She prepped well and she looks fast. She looks like a turf sprinter. And she's very honest. She's a nice, average-sized, strong well-made filly with great balance. And she's an efficient mover.”

Hip 859 is one of 10 Irish-bred offerings in the Spring sale. Brennan said an increased focus on turf racing in the U.S. should make the filly appealing to domestic buyers.

“The stallion is so good–he's a top stallion in Europe–and the mare is young and she could run,” Brennan said of the filly's pedigree. “Turf racing is very popular now in America, too. There is a lot more turf racing, even for 2-year-olds, and the money is great, especially in Kentucky and New York. I don't think people are really that afraid to buy turf horses anymore, even at the 2-year-old sales. If you win a stake and you're in that winner's circle, it doesn't matter if it's a turf race or a dirt race, you're just as happy.”

Hip 851, a colt from the first crop of GI Belmont S. winner Tapwrit, shared Thursday's quarter-mile bullet time of :21 flat. Consigned by Eddie Woods, the gray juvenile is out of Oh Kay See (Notional), a half-sister to Grade I winner So Many Ways (Sightseeing). He was purchased by Quarter Pole Enterprises for $100,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton July sale.

Pick View LLC sent out a filly by Dortmund (hip 864) to also work the quarter-mile in :21 flat. The chestnut is out of Our Conquistadora (Wilburn), a half-sister to graded placed Augment (Aptitude). She was purchased by Thorostock for $25,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall sale.

The breeze show, which was suspended shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday, resumed just before noon and concluded by 4 p.m., but conditions remained good throughout the day, according to Brennan.

“There was a lot of rain, which kind of surprised everybody,” he said. “Looking at the forecast last night, there was nothing about it and then suddenly this morning we were all seeing this come in. We got some of the breeze show in and they made the right call to suspend it. It got heavy and there were thunder storms. It rained for a good hour, hour and a half. There was a lot of water, but they gave the track a chance to drain, they harrowed it. It's an amazing surface that they had that much rain and half an hour after it stopped we were back breezing. The track was in excellent condition.”

The under-tack show continues through Saturday with sessions beginning daily at 8 a.m. The Spring sale will be held next Tuesday through Friday with bidding commencing each day at 10:30 a.m.

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ERC Returns for Fourth Season

Thu, 2022-04-14 17:01

Officially kicking off its fourth season, the Empire Racing Club (ERC) will offer a reduced membership price of $400 through the official re-launch date of May 1. Membership dues for both new and returning members will be $475 beginning May 2, 2022. Membership is open to both licensed and unlicensed enthusiasts looking to enjoy the social and educational benefits of the Club.

The ERC will once again be managed by famed race-caller Tom Durkin. Training the current roster of runners for the 2022 season are Hall of Famer Mark Casse; two-time Hall of Fame nominee Christophe Clement; and four-time leading trainer in New York, Linda Rice. ERC team runners currently include stakes winner Proven Strategies (Sky Mesa), in addition to Community Adjusted (Summer Front) and Freedomofthepress (Mshawish), who is entered to run at Aqueduct Saturday, Apr. 16.

“AND WE'RE OFF!!!!!!! Once again, the Empire Racing Club is off and running for another new year of New York Thoroughbred racing,” said ERC Managing Partner Tom Durkin. “The Empire Racing Club makes possible to members the thrill of owning a racehorse and being part of the game with a behind the scenes experience. The Club will have a number of runners to follow this year. It's what we call 'action'. See you in the winner's circle!”

Similarly to last season, ERC members receive regular updates about their horses via conference call, email and social media. The Club will offer the opportunity to visit the backstretch for morning training and the paddock when the ERC horses run, and will host dedicated ERC events.

“The new season will continue to feature the ERC Educational ZOOM Series in addition to the popular Race Day Events at NYRA tracks,” said ERC Coordinator Christina Bossinakis. “New for this year, the ERC will craft initiatives to offer interested members the opportunity to dip their toe into various levels of ownership, including the claiming game. Whether the goal is to enjoy the social scene, take advantage of the educational aspects or to gain a stake in the game, there will be something for everyone.”

Spearheaded by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA) in 2019, the ERC is a non-profit organization designed to introduce new fans to racehorse ownership.

For more information, visit www.empireracingclubny.com

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Oklahoma Training Track Opens Saturday

Thu, 2022-04-14 11:27

The Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga will open for training Saturday, Apr. 16, NYRA announced Thursday. The barn area at the Oklahoma will open to licensed trainers and staff beginning Friday, Apr. 15. Prior to the opening of the 2022 summer meet July 14, the Whitney Viewing Stand will be open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning Friday, Apr. 29 from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. The Whitney Viewing Stand is accessible through Gate 21 on East Avenue and is free of charge.

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First Starter Is A Winner for MGISW Bolt d’Oro

Thu, 2022-04-14 10:41

Spendthrift Farm's freshman sire Bolt d'Oro, a MGISW by Medaglia d'Oro, sired his first winner from his first starter Wednesday when his son Pop d'Oro captured a trial race at Turf Paradise in front-running fashion. He won by a length while stopping the clock in :52.03 seconds for 4 1/2 furlongs. Owned and trained by Jose Luna Silva, the dark bay colt was bred in Arizona by H & E Ranch and is out of the Unbridled's Song mare Just Like Pop.

The post First Starter Is A Winner for MGISW Bolt d’Oro appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

PHBA Releases 2022 State-Bred Stakes Schedule

Thu, 2022-04-14 10:29

The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association has released the 2022 stakes schedule for state-bred horses with 27 stakes to be run at Pennsylvania tracks throughout the year totaling over $4 million.

The stakes action kicks off Apr. 25 at Parx Racing with two seven-furlong $100,000 races for older horses: the Unique Bella for fillies and mares, and the Page McKenney H. Seven $100,000 stakes will be carded on Pennsylvania Day at the Races Aug. 22 at Parx, including the first two events of the inaugural 2-year-old PA-Sired PA-Bred Stallion Series. The 2-year-old sire series continues on Parx's Pennsylvania Derby Day card Sept. 24 with the $200,000 Prince Lucky S. and Imply S. Also carded are two $200,000 races for older horses, the Plum Pretty for fillies and mares and the Alphabet Soup H. on the turf.

New on the calendar is the $100,000 Jump Start S. for Pennsylvania-sired and bred older horses over seven furlongs Oct. 18 at Parx. Presque Isle Downs will host five $100,000 PA-bred stakes starting in July. Penn National's Penn Mile card June 3 includes four $100,000 Pennsylvania-bred stakes. In late November, Penn National is once again the host track for the $200,000 Shamrock Rose for juvenile fillies. The final stakes on the schedule is the $200,000 Pennsylvania Nursery at Parx.

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Letter to the Editor: Jenine Sahadi

Thu, 2022-04-14 10:29

Since the FBI announced in 2020 that their years-long federal investigation into cheating allegations in horse racing had caught admitted “doper” Jorge Navarro, suspected “doper” Jason Servis and a host of other co-conspirators, the lines separating these criminals and most of the rest of the industry's participants with largely minor legal drug positives have been significantly blurred.

Fast forward to the 2021 Kentucky Derby, a full 14 months after Navarro and Servis were arrested and charged with federal conspiracy charges related to drugging of their horses, social media erupted with rumors that Medina Spirit had tested positive for a “banned substance.” The information leaked just days after his victory and seemingly before the colt's trainer, Bob Baffert, had been notified there was a post-race positive.

From that time until now, much of the information that has trickled out has come mostly from speculation or been based on half truths and information twisted to suit a negative agenda. Rarely have details involving Medina Spirit been based on fact. Factor in the press tour Bob Baffert went on defending himself and his position that nothing nefarious was in play–for better or worse–and the perfect storm had developed.

Baffert's record as a trainer–which by industry standards has been cleaner, safer and better than most–was attacked, twisted and manipulated. His personal life–especially his wife and children–came under an all-out assault and was subject to a sea of the most horrific hate imaginable. None of which had anything to do with a post-race positive of a legal therapeutic medication in the Kentucky Derby.

My history with Bob Baffert is well-documented and I haven't always been his biggest fan. However, I knew, in all likelihood, the people saying those things had never met the man. Strangers unconcerned by what it actually means to be a “doper” or “cheater” hurled those epithets as if they actually knew him not only as a person, but also as a trainer.

That said, my disdain for the behavior of his harshest critics is clear and I continue to have the same questions. What is the definition of a cheater? What does it mean?

In what has been one of the most bizarre scenes I've ever witnessed, racing media, political actors, paid social media trolls, disgruntled bettors, along with powerful horsemen's groups and others have perpetuated or fostered a false “Lance Armstrong” narrative about Baffert. They compare Medina Spirit's overage of a legal therapeutic medication to actual blood doping and cheating. I don't really understand why, though I have my suspicions, and for the life of me I cannot fathom how he became the worst thing about horse racing.

Perhaps if we define what a “cheater” or “doper” is, reckless and uninformed attacks on trainers would stop. Educating the media and public on what constitutes cheating versus what is an unintentional overage of a therapeutic medication might actually be a positive development for horse racing. Instead, the industry sits idly by as shows like Saturday Night Live call betamethasone, a medication the industry allows and regulates, to be portrayed as a performance enhancing anabolic steroid. There is never any industry pushback on false narratives.

We have heard from racing's leadership organizations and also from the federal government that untestable drugs may be in use daily. This may be true, although we have yet to see any proof of it up to this point. In the meantime, we have allowed anti-horse racing activists and those who want to end horse racing altogether to spew damaging lies and perpetuate false narratives. These extremists don't hold everyone to the same standards. In fact, some trainers with multiple significant violations seem to get a pass, while others are vilified.

What do I mean by not holding everyone to the same standards? For example, are multiple class 4C positives (e.g. betamethasone) as harmful as one Class 2 (e.g. metformin) positive? Is it a recency equation? If so, are multiple class 4C positives more harmful to both the horse and the image of racing in the public eye than one Class 2 positive? Are we certain that class 4C positives are

“masking” more powerful drugs like EPO, as some allege, and if that's the case, where is the science to support that? Where did this narrative originate? Even more confusing to me is why we even have classifications if we are going to lump all positives into the “doping” narrative? What purpose do the classifications serve, if not to protect the horse and integrity of the game in general?

For years, many of the industry's participants, including myself, have been begging the decision makers for uniform rules and penalties in all racing jurisdictions. This would certainly solve the double-standard issue. It is a daunting task for sure, but certainly one worth the effort from industry leaders–those actually in a position to be heard and effect change in the best interests of the industry. So why hasn't it happened? We have literally had decades to get our ducks in a row and those with the most strength, power, and influence have continued to bury their heads in the sand, or alternatively, added fuel to the fire that is swiftly burning down our industry.

That's not to say all leaders have ignored the issues.

In California, for example, horses are now routinely subject to the most exhaustive pre-race medication and soundness exams in the country. Out-of-competition and thorough testing has become standard and, in rare cases, trainers are being cited for drug overages in workout tests. Is there any other jurisdiction in the country that demands the same strict level of oversight and protocols that California does? If there is, I certainly don't know about it.

California doesn't get sufficient credit from the industry in this area. Critics appearing more concerned with field size than the safety of horses bang the loudest drum to drown out the state's accomplishments. We know equine safety can only help to grow field sizes, as well as, positive public perception. Again, racing industry leadership–or a lack thereof–has played a major role in getting us to this point.

Social media, mainstream and horse racing media, and “experts”, who harbor their own animosity for individuals and the industry, have taken us to a very dark place. Anonymous accounts on social media aim to destroy who and what they don't like. Anyone who presents a rational argument supported with facts is labeled an apologist or far worse. I personally know people who have received death threats. Others have been told they've had background checks run on them. Many have had profane slurs hurled at them. Some of these folks shouting the same vitriol every day are provided cover and support by leadership groups and members of the media who claim to be impartial and to want what's best for the industry. Attacks on owners, who have for decades lost their money with a smile on their face, have ramped up, as well. I will never be convinced this is a good strategy in the short or long run, yet here we are, with many passionate and well intentioned owners accused of being complicit criminals.  Interesting to note that the attackers usually have their own set of immoral behaviors that fly under the radar, but hypocrisy is in full view in 2022.

I don't know where this all ends, but I believe if we can't answer the simplest of questions, like what defines a cheater, or work to achieve uniform rules and regulations throughout the industry, then we are doomed. Change is needed, but we can't allow uninformed critics and activists, who would love nothing more than the collapse of racing to win.

The same standards need to be applied equally for all, in every jurisdiction, from coast to coast. In California, the lessons learned over the past few years have been plentiful. To the racing associations' credit they actually did something–many things–to help the horses and the industry as a whole. Meanwhile, virtually every other jurisdiction continues the status quo while hoping that the frenzy surrounding Bob Baffert will distract from their own breakdown rates and medication violations. Oddly enough, some states have almost no medication violations. Other states should learn from California's mistakes and implement the changes they made to move the industry in a positive direction for a change.

Bob Baffert isn't horse racing's problem, no matter how many times anonymous trolls armed with hatred and half-truths say so on Twitter. Cue the mob.

Sincerely,

Jenine Sahadi

Retired Trainer

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THA Chairman Alan Foreman Joins Writers’ Room

Wed, 2022-04-13 18:08

Alan Foreman, the chairman and CEO of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland Tuesday afternoon as the Green Group Guest of the Week. Discussing the upcoming 2022 MATCH series for mid-Atlantic horses, a program he spearheaded, and providing updates on the scheduled renovation projects at Pimlico and Laurel, Foreman also called upon his legal expertise to weigh in on Bob Baffert's appeal of the GI Kentucky Derby disqualification and why the THA supports the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

While many in the racing industry lamented the breakdown in negotiations between the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to implement a drug enforcement program, Foreman said he was bullish on HISA's separate safety program, set to take effect July 1.

“The HISA Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program relates to medication, while the Safety Program relates to every other aspect of the health, safety and welfare of the horse and rider,” he explained. “I think that's the most important part of the HISA program, because horses breaking down on the track is our worst nightmare, and horses aren't dying because of medication. When horses break down, it's multi-factorial. For example, we just did our review of the breakdowns in the mid-Atlantic region for the past year. Maryland was having its lowest incidence of breakdown in its history until the track went bad and failed at Laurel in October, and we had a cluster of eight breakdowns in a span of three weeks. We got right on it, but it blew the numbers. So there was a racetrack surface issue. Not a medication issue, not a training issue. The value of the HISA safety program is to work with everyone on racing surfaces and identifying horses at risk so they don't get on the track when they shouldn't be. That program and the uniformity that HISA is going to bring is why it got our support.”

The conversation later turned to the legal back-and-forth involving Baffert over the past year, with Foreman saying, “When we talk about HISA and the manner in which our rules are adjudicated, it isn't so much that our underlying rules are problematic, it's the enforcement process and the way justice is meted out and people can game the system. At the end of the day, I think it all went downhill after Bob's press conference. The rumor was that there had been a positive test at the Derby, and there was no confidentiality so he actually got out in front of the story. But when he came out and said he had no idea how it could have happened, and within five days, the story came out as to how it happened, he was boxed into a corner and he wasn't prepared to accept responsibility and take the punishment. So this has played out in a sense where there's no exit strategy, from either side, frankly. Churchill, by taking the action it did and making very clear that it wasn't backing down, started to press the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to move more expeditiously. And here we are now, but it just took way too long, and that's not acceptable to anybody.”

Elsewhere on the show, which is also sponsored by Coolmore, Lane's End, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, XBTV, West Point Thoroughbreds and Legacy Bloodstock, the writers raved about a tremendous weekend of racing and gave their early impressions on the prospective GI Kentucky Derby and GI Longines Kentucky Oaks fields after the final round of prep races. Click here to watch the show; click here for the audio-only version or find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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Martinelli Named Golden Gate Racing Secretary Through End of Meet

Wed, 2022-04-13 18:04

Golden Gate Fields has tapped Steve Martinelli as their Racing Secretary through the end of the meet on June 12, 2022, replacing Patrick Mackey effective immediately. Martinelli has spent the last seven years as the Assistant Racing Secretary for Golden Gate Fields and is a veteran of the Northern California racing community, having spent the last 15 years working for the Albany track.

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Keeneland Catalogs 73 Horses of Racing Age for April Sale

Wed, 2022-04-13 16:43

Keeneland has cataloged 73 horses for its April Horses of Racing Age Sale, to be held Friday, Apr. 29 following the races on closing day of the Spring Meet. The sale, which will begin at approximately 6:30 p.m. ET and be livestreamed on Keeneland.com, will be conducted as an integrated event, with live auctioneers at Keeneland and with horses presented for sale both physically at Keeneland and at off-site locations. Keeneland also will provide online and phone bidding for buyers who wish to participate remotely.

“We're really excited about hosting the April Sale as a complement to the Spring Meet this year,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy said. “Racing in the afternoon and the sale in the evening will combine to showcase what Keeneland does best and provide a fantastic experience for our clients. The date of the sale should accommodate horsemen as they transition to summer racing.”

On Apr. 29, post time for Keeneland's first race will be 12:30 p.m. to accommodate 10 races, led by the featured GIII Bewitch S. The final race will go off at approximately 5:09 p.m., and the April Sale will begin around 6:30 p.m.

Highlights of the catalog include:

• Western River, a 3-year-old winning colt by Tapit who is a full brother to GI Belmont S. winner Creator and is being pointed at the May 14 GIII Peter Pan S. at Belmont
Acting Out, a 5-year-old daughter of Blame who won the Apr. 2 Carousel S. at Oaklawn.
Battle Bling, a stakes-winning 4-year-old daughter of Vancouver (Aus).
Cazadero, a 4-year-old 'TDN Rising Star' son of Street Sense out of Grade 3 winner and millionaire Wild Gams who won the 2020 GIII Bashford Manor (G3) at Churchill Downs;
Cowan, a 4-year-old stakes-winning colt by Kantharos who was second in the 2020 GII Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and won the 2020 Duncan F. Kenner S.
North Dakota, a 6-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro who is a half-brother to leading sire War Front and won the 2020 GIII Red Smith S.
Sianara, a 4-year-old winning daughter of Malibu Moon who is a half-sister to MGSW 3-year-old Forbidden Kingdom (American Pharoah).

Keeneland will continue to accept approved supplemental entries to the April Sale until the sale date.

Click here for the enhanced digital catalog on Keeneland.com. The catalog, also available through the Equibase iPad app, includes pedigrees, Equibase past performances and race videos, Daily Racing Form past performances, and Ragozin and Thoro-Graph figures. Consignors may upload photographs and walking videos.

Print copies of the catalog will be available at Keeneland beginning April 18. A printed supplemental catalog also will be available prior to the sale.

The post Keeneland Catalogs 73 Horses of Racing Age for April Sale appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Mo Town Firster Gets off the Mark at Keeneland

Wed, 2022-04-13 15:01

1st-Keeneland, $75,320, Msw, 4-13, 2yo, 4 1/2f, :53.09, gd, 1 3/4 lengths.
MR. GORDY (c, 2, Mo Town–Sky Trail, by Congrats), dismissed at odds of 21-1 for his career bow, broke straight to the lead from the rail and raced just off the inside path around the turn. His lead increased turning for home and he had something left in reserve to hold off a fast-closing Ryvit (Competitive Edge) and win by 1 3/4 lengths to become the first winner for his freshman sire (by Uncle Mo), who stands at Coolmore's Ashford Stud. His dam was bred to World of Trouble for 2022. Sales History: $35,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $48,360. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O-Randle L. Glosson; B-Jamie Valenzuela (KY); T-John A. Hancock.

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Preakness LIVE Art/Music Festival to Highlight Preakness Weekend Events

Wed, 2022-04-13 14:46

Edited Press Release

1/ST EXPERIENCE and Baltimore's own Kevin Liles, CEO and Chairman of 300 Entertainment and Elektra Music Group, have teamed up to launch Preakness LIVE Culinary, Art & Music Festival as part of an expanded Preakness entertainment and cultural celebration set to take place on Black-Eyed Susan Day, Friday, May 20. The festival is a part of 1/ST's new long-term campaign, Baltimore 1/ST, kicking off this year.

In consultation with Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and in collaboration with Liles, Preakness LIVE will be the first event to take place as part of Baltimore 1/ST, a holistic new campaign that heralds the Preakness's lifelong home Baltimore and represents a commitment from 1/ST, owner and operator of the Preakness, to support and build on the optimism and enthusiasm for the future of the city.

“I am incredibly excited about this new collaboration being led by a true son of Baltimore. This will not only improve the Preakness experience, but also support and elevate Baltimore culture through art, sports, fashion, and food year-round,” said Scott. “I look forward to the profound impact this new focus on Baltimore art and culture will have on our city's next generation of creative minds. I want to thank Kevin Liles, 300 Entertainment and Elektra Music Group, and 1/ST EXPERIENCE for their investment in our city and itss unique cultural fabric.”

Taking place in the iconic Pimlico infield, Preakness LIVE will feature performances by Grammy Award winners Ms. Lauryn Hill and Megan Thee Stallion, NAACP Image Award winner D-Nice and Baltimore-bred talent, including rising singer Brittney Spencer, Darin Atwater & The Soulful Symphony, plus a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by WanMor and more. Local talent will also perform on the Charm City Stage throughout the evening. Preakness LIVE is produced in collaboration with Karlitz & Company.

“Baltimore is more than a city, just as the Preakness is more than a race,” said Liles. “What we're building with Preakness LIVE is a movement, not a moment. As a native son of this great city and a life-long fan of the Preakness, I'm so proud to help bring an event of this scale and scope home, creating a cultural milestone both for residents and visitors rediscovering Baltimore's charms.”

Celebrity chefs Tom Colicchio, Marcus Samuelsson, Gail Simmons, and beloved Baltimore chefs Saon Brice of BLK Swan, and Mario Moise of Bar ONE will perform culinary showcases on the main stage. Chefs Colicchio, Samuelsson and Simmons will collaborate to develop unique offerings for guests in the Finish Line Suites, Turfside Terrace and the Home Stretch Pavilions. Preakness LIVE will also debut Restaurant Row made up of a diverse group of local eateries featuring regional culinary delights serving fans on both Black-Eyed Susan Day and Preakness Day.

Baltimore's vibrant art scene will be given a showcase in the Pimlico infield during Preakness weekend with unique installations throughout the art garden, curated by acclaimed Baltimore multidisciplinary artist and founder of “The Last Resort Artist Retreat” Derrick Adams. The art garden will display works from a multitude of local artists as well as entrants of the Preakness 147 Art of Racing campaign, among other exciting activations.

To further connect the Preakness weekend celebrations to Park Heights, Park Heights Renaissance will sponsor and lead the first annual George “Spider” Anderson Preakness Music and Arts Festival in recognition of the first African American jockey to win the Preakness Stakes in 1889. The day-long festival on May 21 will feature live music, arts & crafts, the days' races live streamed, top food trucks and will highlight community businesses and partners.

Tickets for Preakness LIVE range from $49-$175. These and other Preakness weekend tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.preakness.com/tickets. As part of the ongoing partnership between 1/ST and Park Heights Renaissance, tickets for Preakness LIVE and for InfieldFest will be distributed to the Parks Heights community through Park Heights Renaissance.

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Lang Named Sam Houston Director of Racing

Wed, 2022-04-13 14:28

Sam Houston Race Park has named industry veteran Bart Lang as its new Director of Racing. Lang will oversee the racing operations for Sam Houston Race Park, Retama Park in Selma, Texas and Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico. Each of the three racetracks are owned by Penn National Gaming. Inc.

Born in Timonium, Maryland, Lang's first job was working for Bonita Farm, grooming, hot walking and learning the essentials of horse care and training from the highly respected Boniface family. He had tenures in the racing offices of Oaklawn Park, Arlington Park and Hawthorne early in his career prior to becoming the first racing secretary at Lone Star Park. He was on board in the Fall of 1996 throughout the completion of the Grand Prairie racetrack's inaugural season in 1997. Lang directed all racing operations at Lone Star Park for both the Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred meets through May 2020. Most recently, he has served as the stakes coordinator at Oaklawn Park.

Lang, 53, will be based at Sam Houston Race Park, beginning May 16.

“I'm excited about joining the team,” said Lang. “I have over 20 years in the Texas racing industry and know these horsemen and women very well. My tenure at Oaklawn Park has been very rewarding and it has been a pleasure working with many of the most prominent connections in the country.”

He will succeed James C. Leatherman who has accepted a position as a Texas state steward.

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Sports Betting Regulatory Association Announced, HISA Discussed at ARCI Conference

Wed, 2022-04-13 14:21

LEXINGTON, KY–The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) announced the official launch of the Sports Betting Regulators Association (SBRA) during the closing session of the group's 88th Annual Conference on Safe Horses and Honest Sport.

ARCI president and CEO Ed Martin explained that the formation of the SBRA has been in the works for several years and was organized to meet a growing need to support government agencies assigned with the responsibility of regulating sports betting within their jurisdiction. Sports betting in America continues to expand and has now been legalized in 33 states.

“With some of the sports that people are allowed to wager on, there is no transparency,” Martin explained. “The states have a responsibility to ensure that everything they allow people to wager on is on the up and up. It's a new era and it's an area that horse racing regulators have tremendous experience in. The world has changed in these past couple of years and there's a need. More and more states have gone into the business of regulating sports betting.”

The goal of the SBRA will be to ensure standards and best practices are set in place to promote integrity and transparency in the sports betting field. Martin said that the SBRA will function as an autonomous committee of the ARCI that will be open to all sports betting regulatory entities, including those that are not existing members of the ARCI. SBRA policies will emulate the rules and standards established already by the ARCI in horse and greyhound racing.

“This is an expansion of what the ARCI will work on,” Martin said. “We will not lessen what we do on the horseracing side in any way. The perception is that we're part of the racing industry, but the reality is that we serve the general public. Based on the integrity concerns that are going on in human sport, and when you look at the comparison of what is done in horse racing in regards to transparency of officials and anti-doping, it's that transparency that provides consumer protection for the public that is wagering on and supporting these sports.”

Martin said that the SBRA will conduct its first meeting on July 10 in Boston in conjunction with the National Conference of Legislatures from Gaming States.

Also during Wednesday's session of the ARCI conference, Ben Liebman, a Government Lawyer in Residence at Albany Law School, examined the pending federal court challenges to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

Liebman looked at the two court cases that have challenged HISA–the federal lawsuit filed by the state of Oklahoma in April 2021 and another lawsuit filed by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) that was dismissed in March 2022 when U.S. District Court Judge James Wesley Hendrix said that while the Court recognized that HISA pushes boundaries of public/private collaboration, the law as constructed stays within the current constitutional limitation.

Liebman said that one of the main issues regarding the case of HISA's constitutionality is the question of to what extent the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority is subordinate to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Liebman used an example comparing HISA and the FTC to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). FINRA, a private, self-regulatory authority that regulates 624,000 financial brokers, is overseen by the SEC. Liebman explained that before a rule created by FINRA goes into effect, the SEC must approve that rule. The SEC's ability to control and supervise FINRA makes FINRA constitutional.

“You have a very strong belief that because of how FINRA has worked, HISA's authority should have the powers that are accorded FINRA,” Liebman said. “This issue becomes a matter of if the Authority controls racing regulation or if it is controlled by and subordinate to the Federal Trade Commission.”

Liebman added that while the FTC can review and approve rules set forth by HISA and can suggest modifications, it cannot promulgate rules itself and has no power over authority members and their terms. This prompts the question of if the FTC has sufficient authority over HISA. In the NHBPA case, Judge Hendrix said that based on how the law is currently written, HISA is subordinate to the FTC because only the FTC can approve its rules and because the adjudicative process does satisfy due process.

Another question that could come forward in the current court cases concerns anti-commandeering, meaning that Congress cannot take over a state's governing apparatus and force it to do its bid. Liebman said the court must determine if HISA would cause states to lose their ability to fund their racing integrity programs and if it would strip law enforcement agencies into federal service via mandatory cooperation. Liebman admitted that this issue alone will likely not lead to a total invalidation of HISA and its power.

Liebman listed several changes that could be made to HISA to help it defend its constitutionality including ending the mandatory cooperation clause, giving the FTC power over Authority member terms and the ability to remove members, giving the FTC greater authority over rules or even the ability to promulgate rules itself, and making all or nearly all Authority members unaffiliated with the racing industry.

“Even if the higher courts change the concepts of delegation and public control of private regulatory power, it's hard to envision that most of HISA cannot be salvaged because it is so much like FINRA,” he said. “It is unimaginable that a court ruling would take a wrecking ball to the current system of financial regulation in the country. Maybe the Authority doesn't always win and maybe it won't get what it wants, but it is likely that it will get what it needs.”

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New Jersey Trainer Hit With Two-Year Suspension After Horse Dies of Clenbuterol Overdose

Wed, 2022-04-13 14:00

Trainer Cody Axmaker has been handed two consecutive one-year suspensions and fined $5,000 by the New Jersey Racing Commission after a horse he trained named Wishful (Storm Wolf) died on or about May 9 at Monmouth Park due to an apparent overdose of Clenbuterol. He was suspended one year for possessing a prohibited substance in Clenbuterol and a second year for failing “in his duty as trainer to protect and guard the horse Wishful against the administration of the prohibited substance.”

The suspension is set to begin May 7, 2022 and continue through May 6, 2024 and comes after Axmaker appeared before the Monmouth Park stewards Dec. 7. Axmaker has appealed the decision.

The story was first reported by the Blood-Horse.

Axmaker has maintained that the incident was an accident and the result of a container of Clenbuterol being mislabeled as aloe vera. According to the ruling from the New Jersey Racing Commission, Axmaker instructed a stable employee to administer aloe vera to the horse Wishful on or about May 4, 2021. The commission maintains that Wishful died about five days later as a result of the Clenbuterol overdose.

Axmaker said that Wishful was not the only horse accidently given the Clenbuterol and that the others recovered.

Maintaining his innocence, Axmaker took to Facebook to explain his side of the story.

“Sometimes accidents happens and, unfortunately, a life was lost because of it,” his Facebook post begins. “Anyone that knows me knows my horses are like my family to me and the last thing I want to do is hurt them.”

He continued: “Last May I headed for Monmouth which was an 18hr straight haul. I had half of my stable already there with two of my employees. We unloaded my horse trailer as the rain was falling. We had a group of people unloading my belongings into the tack rooms. A container of clenbuterol I used at other tracks to clean up lungs I had stored in my horse trailer was accidentally unloaded and later that evening was misjudged for aloe Vera juice by one of my employees as I left them responsible for feed time that day. Which I never do, but after an 18hr straight haul all you want to do is rest. One of my 15 horses who received this ended up colicing and was treated heavily for days and later lost her life because of this. I feel horrible this all happened as my employee who administrated it did as well. Now I'm facing the consequences of a two year sentence and a $5k fine for a complete accident I did not commit! Just so all you know the truth.”
Clenbuterol is among the more controversial drugs in the sport. It can be used to deal with respiratory problems, but also has properties that act like steroids.

Axmaker, 33, is currently racing at Tampa Bay Downs. He has 117 career wins and was 1-for-38 last year at Monmouth.

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Pimlico Surface Examination on Target for Apr. 17-19

Wed, 2022-04-13 09:59

The Maryland Jockey Club has confirmed that maintenance work on the dirt surface at Pimlico Race Course will begin Easter Sunday, Apr. 17, with plans to reopen the track for training Wednesday, Apr. 20.

MJC Acting President and General Manager Mike Rogers said a favorable weather forecast will allow the project to proceed at the preferred time rather than the following week. The track maintenance crew each year has examined the Pimlico surface prior to the May race meet and last year repaired the base in specific areas.

Traditionally, there is no training on Easter Sunday at Pimlico and Laurel Park. Rogers and Track Superintendent Chris Bosley earlier said the project, which entails an examination of repairs made to the Pimlico surface last spring, would take about three days.

The Pimlico spring meet begins May 8 and concludes May 31.

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Weekly Stewards and Commissions Rulings, Apr. 5-11

Wed, 2022-04-13 09:00

Every week, the TDN publishes a roundup of key official rulings from the primary tracks within the four major racing jurisdictions of California, New York, Florida and Kentucky.

Here's a primer on how each of these jurisdictions adjudicates different offenses, what they make public (or not) and where.

California

Track: Santa Anita
Date: 04/08/2022
Licensee: Ryan Curatolo, jockey
Penalty: $1,000 fine
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: Jockey Ryan Curatolo is fined $1,000.00 for violation of California Horse Racing Board rule #1688(b)(8)(d) (Use of Riding Crop – more than six times – third offense within the past sixty days) during the fourth race at Santa Anita Park on April 3, 2022.

Track: Santa Anita
Date: 04/09/2022
Licensee: Wayne Barnett, jockey
Penalty: Three-day suspension
Violation: Careless riding
Explainer: Jockey Wayne Barnett who rode Wicked Blue in the sixth race at Santa Anita Park on April 3, 2022, is suspended for 3 racing days (April 15, 16, and 17, 2022) for failure to maintain a straight course in the back stretch and causing interference. This constitutes a violation of California Horse Racing Board rule #1699 (Riding Rules-Careless Riding). Pursuant to California Horse Racing Board rule #1766 (Designated Races), the term of suspension shall not prohibit participation in designated races.

Track: Santa Anita
Date: 04/10/2022
Licensee: Drayden Van Dyke, jockey
Penalty: $1,000 fine
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: Jockey Drayden Van Dyke is fined $1,000.00 for violation of California Horse Racing Board rule #1688(b)(8)(d) (Use of Riding Crop–more than six times–third offense within the past sixty days) during the sixth race at Santa Anita Park on April 9, 2022.

Track: Santa Anita
Date: 04/09/2022
Licensee: Brice Blanc, jockey
Penalty: $750 fine
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: Official Ruling of the Board of Stewards Santa Anita Park Winter/ Spring Meet (Association) April 10, 2022 (Date) LATS Ruling #88 Jockey Brice Blanc is fined $750.00 for violation of California Horse Racing Board rule #1688(b)(8)(d) (Use of Riding Crop–more than six times–second offense within the past sixty days) during the eighth race at Santa Anita Park on April 9, 2022. *Rule #1532. Fine shall be paid to the Paymaster within seven calendar days from the date of this ruling, or the license of the person upon whom the fine has been imposed shall be suspended.

Track: Santa Anita
Date: 04/09/2022
Licensee: Emily Ellingwood, jockey
Penalty: Three-day suspension
Violation: Careless riding
Explainer: Official Ruling of the Board of Stewards Santa Anita Park Winter/ Spring Meet (Association) April 10, 2022 (Date) LATS Ruling #89 Apprentice Jockey Emily Ellingwood, who rode Dutch Bus in the eighth race at Santa Anita Park on April 9, 2022, is suspended for 3 racing days (April 17, 30 and May 1, 2022) for failure to make the proper effort to maintain a straight course in the stretch, causing interference which resulted in the disqualification of her mount from first to second place. This constitutes a violation of California Horse Racing Board rule #1699 (Riding Rules – Careless Riding). Pursuant to California Horse Racing Board rule #1766 (Designated Races), the term of suspension shall not prohibit participation in designated races

Florida

The following was reported on the Association for Racing Commissioners International's recent rulings website.

Track: Gulfstream Park
Date: 03/23/2022
Licensee: James Toner, trainer
Penalty: $1,000 fine and purse money redistribution
Violation: Medication violation
Explainer: Stipulation and Consent Order # 2022-007341 – F.S. 550.2415 Violation = Methocarbamol. Respondent fined $1000, made payable to the board of relief fund established at Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred After Racing Program, Inc. In addition, the Owners agree that they shall return all money that was distributed from the purse to Gulfstream Park Racing Association, Inc.

New York

Track: Aqueduct
Date: 04/07/2022
Licensee: Heman Harkie, jockey
Penalty: Three-day penalty
Violation: Careless riding
Explainer: For having waived his right to appeal Jockey Mr. Heman Harkie is hereby suspended 3 NYRA racing days April 8th 2022, April 9th 2022, April 10th 2022 inclusive. This for careless riding during the running of the 1st race at Aqueduct Racetrack on April 3rd 2022.

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