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Grants Pass Downs Cancels 2022 Meet

Tue, 2022-04-12 18:11

Grants Pass Downs will not hold a 2022 meeting due to lack of horses. The meet was initially announced in February.

“As a result of the Oregon Racing Commission's vote to deny an operating license to The Flying Lark, Grants Pass Downs has lost its economic engine,” said Travis Boersma, owner of Grants

Pass Downs. “While we remained hopeful we would be able to host a viable race meet, the uncertainty here and across the industry has resulted in a drastic reduction of race horses at Grants Pass Downs. At this point, it's clear running the meet isn't feasible.”

Grants Pass Downs became privately funded by Boersma beginning in 2019. The track, race meet and purses were slated to be funded by profits from The Flying Lark entertainment venue.

“This is the result of the state and its leadership's lack of understanding of, and appreciation for, the equine industry and the needs of rural Oregon. I believe this is just the beginning of a ripple effect that will be felt in communities throughout the state due to the actions of leadership,” said Boersma.

The cancellation of the race meet is expected to eliminate approximately 50 jobs during the racing season, in addition to the more than 200 lost with the denial of The Flying Lark.

“Saving horse racing in Oregon has always been one of my top priorities,” added Boersma. “Moving forward, it's my sincere hope the horsemen's associations, private investors and the state can come together to find a path to continuing this sport.”

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HISA Under Discussion at ARCI Conference’s Tuesday Session

Tue, 2022-04-12 15:48

LEXINGTON, KY–The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) was a popular topic of discussion on Tuesday at the Association of Racing Commissioners International's (ARCI) 88th Annual Conference on Safe Horses and Honest Sport.

Early in the day's session, a panel was held on the potential legal issues that could arise with the implementation of HISA. John Roach, HISA's general counsel, joined panelists Nolan Jackson and Joel Turner of Frost, Brown, Todd, LLC.

The first issue examined concerned HISA's possible qualification as a Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), a federal law that places special emphasis on open meetings, public involvement and reporting. The legal implications of if HISA does qualify could mean that its authority would be required to give advanced notice of its meetings and make meetings available to the general public. Jackson said that HISA's authority appears to have taken the position that FACA does not apply.

“It's important to note that HISA has not complied with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, at least not up until this point in time,” he explained. “Perhaps that is because FACA is fairly narrow in scope. It only applies to advisory committees that are established by law or utilized by the federal government  in some way. It only applies to federal advisory committees that exist to provide advise or recommendations to the federal government, generally meaning the President or a federal agency of some kind.”

The second issue put forward during the panel focused on the six-month limbo period later this year concerning HISA's anti-doping and medication control policies.

While HISA's Racetrack Safety Program is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2022, yesterday HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus said they will be making an announcement about an agreement with an enforcement agency for the Anti-Doping and Medication Regulation Control (ADMC) program by next month and hope to launch the program on January 1, 2023. While she said yesterday that until then, states would continue with their own oversight, several legal questions were brought up in the panel regarding potential issues that could arise for state regulators.

“I think we have a couple different issues here,” Turner said. “First, HISA has not promulgated the rules yet, so you [regulators] are scratching your heads and asking what happens after July 1. Second, there's a statement [within the act] of exclusive and independent jurisdiction that would seem to raise the question about whether or not you can continue to regulate on a state-by-state basis.”

Turner emphasized HISA's burden to create a detailed anti-doping and medication regulation program in the short period since Congress passed the bill enabling HISA in December 2020.

“Under the circumstances, I think it's very understandable why we haven't gotten to the point where we have medication and anti-doping rules,” he said. “They're very complex to begin with and to get consensus on those rules can be very challenging. I'm looking at it from the perspective of an owner or trainer that is charged with a medication violation after July 1. What is the lawyer going to tell them about how he can defend that case? In this instance, we really have a gap.”

“The problem is that the authority's jurisdiction as defined in the act is really broad,” Jackson later added. “The act talks about national, exclusive, independent jurisdiction on the part of the authority. It leaves little room for states to think about what they're left to address. I think that while HISA has taken the position that states are able to continue enforcing their rules beyond July 1, there is an expressed preemption clause in the act, albeit specific, that could be an obstacle if this were to come up in litigation.”

While Jackson and Turner expressed their opinion that there was a definite gray area for regulators regarding anti-doping and medication regulation within the later half of this year, Roach said he believed the matter was much more clear cut, stating that HISA has taken the position that they will not preempt until they act.

“As it relates to the preemption issue, the text in this statute is pretty clear to me,” he said. “We do not preempt your laws until we promulgate regulations that are approved by the Federal Trade Commission. If we have not promulgated, you are free to continue to do what you are doing.”

Roach used the example of regulations regarding the riding crop to explain further. On July 1, HISA standards regarding the riding crop will go into effect because they are addressed in the Racetrack Safety Program. Other issues concerning safety on the racetrack that are not addressed in HISA's new regulation–in his example he mentioned drunkenness on the backside–will be left for the states to take on themselves.

Roach pointed out the advantages for state regulators once the ADMC program does go into effect as cases begin going through HISA's appeal system.

“When we talk about cases in the news for drug violations that have gone on for over a year, once HISA is up and running, the state courts have no more role,” he explained. “We will have a consistent approach and from a legal standpoint, you're not going to have to worry about injunctions in all different kinds of state courts. The one assurance I can give you, whether it's with lawsuits filed or any kind of legal issue, we are hiring the best that we can find to help us make sure we can implement this act in a way that can be defended at every point because we know how important it is to this industry.”

Roach later added that if an issue does arise in a state before January 1, 2023, HISA and possibly the Federal Trade Commission would be available to extend their assistance.

Later in Tuesday's session Steve Keech, HISA's Technology Director, gave a presentation on HISA's database registration process. The database is in the works now but has no set launch date. It will include data on horses and industry participants involved in 64 different racing-related occupations.

Keech gave an overview on how an owner will register within their system and he also explained that the system will link with other databases such as Equibase and InCompass Solutions. The database will include information on every horse in the system, from their current location and vaccination record to when they were last on a vet's list.

The 'Q and A' section of Keech's session led to much discussion on what this data would be used for and what would happen if an individual did not register. Attendees raised questions regarding how grooms would know to register, noting the current challenges behind getting backside workers appropriately licensed. They also asked who would be a responsible if a groom did not register.

Lazarus jumped in to explain that their authority is aware of and working through these issue. She said HISA will soon be launching a communication campaign to spread the word and that they have already asked several jockeys for help in advising on how to make the registration process user friendly. Lazarus explained that the program will also be offered in Spanish and said that no one will be responsible if an individual is not registered, instead it will become a question of whether or not they will be able to participate and be allowed onto the backside.

The ARCI convention continues April 13 with several presentations including an analysis of the pending federal court challenges to HISA.

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Top Line Juveniles Coming Out Running at OBS

Tue, 2022-04-12 14:44

Torie and Jimbo Gladwell's Top Line Sales consignment was responsible for both of the co-fastest furlong workers–both consigned on behalf of owner Marc Tacher–and it shared the co-fastest quarter-mile breeze during Tuesday's third session of the under-tack show for next week's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training in Central Florida.

A filly from the first crop of champion Accelerate (hip 461) shared Tuesday's fastest furlong time of :9 4/5. The bay is out of Full Moon Frolic (Vindication), who is a daughter of graded placed Frolicing (Royal Academy) and from the family of graded placed Mokat and Frolic's Dream. Isidro Centeno signed for the ticket at $35,000 at last year's OBS October sale.

A daughter of first-crop sire Army Mule (hip 441) also shared the :9 4/5 bullet time. She is out of the unraced First Fed Biz (Fed Biz), a half-sister to graded placed Bourbon Cowboy (Cowboy Cal). Elusive Thoroughbreds acquired the filly for $60,000 at last year's OBS October sale.

“Both of them are speedy fillies who do everything right,” Torie Gladwell said of the bullet duo. “They are both smart, easy-training fillies. They are not the real hot-blooded type. You ask them to do it and they show up and do what you ask them to do. They are very similar actually.”

Top Line sent out a colt from the first crop of GI Met Mile winner Mor Spirit (hip 410) to work the day's co-fastest quarter-mile of :20 3/5. The juvenile is out of the unraced English Chocolate (Midnight Lute), a daughter of stakes winner Unbridled Danz (Unbridled's Song). Alex Silva signed the ticket on the youngster at $50,000 at the Fasig-Tipton October sale.

“He's a really big, strong colt and he doesn't look like he should go :9 4/5,” Gladwell said. “He's not a little Quarter Horse type, he's a big, two-turn type colt with plenty of speed and plenty of fitness. And that's why we decided to go a quarter with him. Omar Ramirez owns him and he trained him, so he gets all the credit for getting him ready.”

Of the bullet time, Gladwell added, “He prepped sharp. We were thinking :21 flat or :20 4/5 at the best, so the :20 3/5 was a little bit of a surprise.”

Equaling the :20 3/5 quarter-mile time was hip 384, a son of GI Belmont S. winner Tapwrit. Consigned by Blue River Bloodstock, the gray colt is out of Dulce Arabe (Chi) (Speightstown). Bred by International Equities Holding–which also bred Monday's bullet quarter-mile worker–he was purchased by Katuska Arenas for $16,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

All of Tuesday's bullet workers are by first-crop sires.

“We typically gravitate to first-crop stallions, just because there is that unknown,” Gladwell said. “For us and for the buyers. And they seem to sell really well as 2-year-olds.”

Tuesday's bullet workers continued a week of strong results for Top Line Sales, which was represented by three :9 4/5 breezes during Monday's second session of the under-tack show: hip 206, a colt by Uncle Mo; hip 258, a son of Nyquist; and hip 301, a colt by City of Light.

“All three of those horses are serious colts,” Gladwell said. “We thought that all three could go in :9 4/5, so if they hadn't gone that fast, we probably would have been a little disappointed. They all prepped good, they are training good and they are all sound, good-trying horses.”

Through three of seven sessions of the under-tack show, Gladwell said conditions had remained largely consistent.

“That's a question for all the people up there clocking all the gallop outs,” she said when asked to compare conditions from day to day. “I heard a couple of people say that today the gallop outs were a little bit slower than yesterday, so I think the track was maybe a little faster yesterday than today, but not by much. I think the gallop outs were a little telling today, but the eighths seemed to be pretty consistent.”

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

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Oaklawn to Honor Hall of Famers

Tue, 2022-04-12 13:41

Oaklawn will host its first even Hall of Fame Day Apr. 16. The day, honoring members of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, will be highlighted by several special events, including winner's circle presentations. The feature race will be the GIII Count Fleet Sprint H. Race fans will receive a commemorative poster while supplies last, and an autograph session with Hall of Fame members will take place on the north end of the Grandstand from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“There are only a few other racing towns that can garner the enthusiasm and love for racing as Hot Springs, Arkansas, and we know this event will be a huge hit among our fans,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “We are excited by the response we have received from the Hall of Fame members in the first year of this event, and we look forward to honoring some of our industry's greats.”

Scheduled to appear are 11-time Oaklawn leading trainer Steve Asmussen, Bill Boland, Calvin Borel, Ramon Dominguez, Earlie Fires, Sandy Hawley, Chris McCarron, Bill Mott, Don Pierce, Laffit Pincay Jr., Edgar Prado, Jose Santos, Gary Stevens and Nick Zito.

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Former Jockey Julio Pezua Injured

Tue, 2022-04-12 13:27

Former jockey Julio Pezua, winner of over 1,300 races, was injured last week in a spill at Belmont Park. The 65-year-old suffered several fractured vertebrae in his neck, requiring surgery, and is still hospitalized on Long Island.

Starting his American riding career at Calder in 1985, Pezua won several graded races, including the 1987 GI Manhattan S. and 1992 GI Met Mile. Since his retirement from riding races, he has remained at Belmont as an exercise and breeze rider.

Owner Aron Yagoda started a Gofundme to raise money for Pezua's lengthy recovery. Click here to donate.

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Breeders’ Cup CEO Drew Fleming Named to Sports Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 List

Tue, 2022-04-12 12:10

Breeders' Cup President and Chief Executive Officer Drew Fleming was named to Sports Business Journal's 2022 40 Under 40 Class. The 40 Under 40 list is a prestigious annual recognition of the best young talent in sports business from across the United States. Fleming's inclusion on this year's list marks the first time an executive working in the sport of horse racing has ever been named a Sports Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree. The 2022 awardees will be honored Tuesday, Nov. 15 at a celebration in New York City.

“Drew's strong and steady leadership at the Breeders' Cup and his work across the racing industry over the last several years have been incredibly impactful and beneficial to our sport,” said Barbara Banke, Chairman of the Breeders' Cup Limited Board of Directors. “I'm so proud that he is being recognized and honored for his contributions not only to racing, but to the entire sports industry. Drew is a wonderful ambassador for our sport, and I look forward to the Breeders' Cup's bright future under his leadership.”

During his tenure as President and CEO of the Breeders' Cup, Fleming has significantly increased international participation in the World Championships, and has expanded the global presence of the Breeders' Cup to additional broadcast outlets. He also led the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic and navigated the Breeders' Cup through regulatory changes that seek to prioritize safety and integrity as the industry continues to modernize.

“I am extremely grateful for this honor from Sports Business Journal and am so lucky to live my dream every day as the CEO of the Breeders' Cup,” said Fleming. “The racing industry has a bright future ahead of it, and I am proud to be among the many young leaders in this sport who are prioritizing safety and integrity, bringing in new generations of racing fans and bringing the unparalleled excitement of Thoroughbred racing to guests and viewers around the world.”

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New Vocations’ Open Barn & BBQ Returns Apr. 29

Tue, 2022-04-12 11:34

After a two-year pause due to the pandemic, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program will host its fifth Annual Open Barn & BBQ Friday, Apr. 29 from 3-8:30 p.m. at the program's Lexington, KY facility.

This year's event–held concurrently with the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, which will take place at the nearby Kentucky Horse Park–will be part of the nation's oldest and largest racehorse adoption charity's year-long 30th Anniversary celebration.

“We can't wait to welcome guests back to New Vocations at Mereworth Farm,” said Anna Ford, New Vocations' Thoroughbred Program Director. “We've made a few exciting changes to the event this year and this Open Barn & BBQ will be the best one yet.”
Guests can expect an expanded educational program featuring live demos by: retired GI Kentucky Oaks and Breeders' Cup-winning jockey, aftercare advocate and OTTB trainer Rosie Napravnik; New Vocations' Lexington Trainer and Facility Director Leandra Cooper; and Veterinarian Dr. Sarah Escaro.

Jen Roytz–manager of Brownstead Farm, past executive director of the Retired Racehorse Project and an OTTB owner and rider–will moderate the sessions. Attendees will have the chance to meet adoptable horses, tour the facility's barns, enjoy live music from Trippin' Roots and partake in a celebratory 30th Anniversary dessert. Guests will be able to enjoy delicious delights from four food trucks and a boutique bar (two drinks included with each ticket), featuring the event's signature Peach Kentucky Mule or other selections from Jackson Family Wines, Braxton Brewing, Pinhook Bourbon and Tito's Handmade Vodka.

Guests can also bid on exciting items and experiences (including a trip to Africa) in the always-popular silent auction and–new for 2022–will have the chance to try their luck in a wine pull. All proceeds from these fundraisers will go directly to support New Vocations' mission to rehab, retrain and rehome retired racehorses.

Gates will open at 3:00 p.m. with the first demo getting underway at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here ($30 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under). Proceeds from the event will benefit New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

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Opening Session of 2022 ARCI Conference

Mon, 2022-04-11 18:36

   LEXINGTON, KY – The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) hosted the first day of their 88th annual conference on Safe Horses and Honest Sport on Monday, April 11 at the Griffin Gate Marriott in Lexington. The three-day event is held in conjunction with the meetings of The National Racing Compact and The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority.

ARCI President Ed Martin opened the first session, emphasizing that racing currently sits at a crossroads in the sport's history with the impending implantation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

“We are going through a massive change in the regulation of the sport in general,” he said. “We have a responsibility ultimately to the general public, secondly to the industry and sport that everyone in this room loves and in many cases comes from, and we have a moral responsibility to these wonderful animals that are the cornerstone of our sport.”

Martin introduced speaker Liza Lazarus, the CEO of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA), who spoke on the current state of HISA and implored regulators that to “give us a chance” as they begin to put their regulations into action.

“The industry is facing pressure from the public and from owners, trainers and riders [asking] where is this industry going and what we can do to make it the best version of itself,” she said. “I know that all of you who work for state racing and gaming commissions are on the front lines regulating and doing good work. We are not coming in to say that your work isn't good work, instead we want to take it further and really focus on uniformity.”

She noted that there is much for racing to do in order for it to catch up with other sports in terms of uniformity.

“Our mission it to make the sport safer for horses and jockeys and to provide consistency and clarity around rules and consequences for racing participants,” Lazarus said. “Above all else, we must adhere to our mission of enhancing equine safety and the integrity of the sport. We believe that national uniform standards will benefit all participants who want to play by the rules and we approach the creation and implementation of the rules with a spirit of collaboration with the industry.”

The start date for HISA's Racetrack Safety Program is July 1 of this year. Lazarus said this program will have a significant impact on equine safety by establishing national standards for racetrack accreditation, expanding veterinary oversight, enhancing claiming rules, setting surface maintenance and measurement standards, collecting nationwide data and conducting research on medications, treatments, injuries and fatalities.

At the end of 2021, it was announced that HISA Authority was unable to reach an agreement with The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as an enforcement agency for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. Lazarus said to expect an announcement next month regarding an anti-doping control program, which will likely start in January of 2023. Until then, the states will continue with their own oversight.

Lazarus also discussed the economic impact that will come with the implementation of HISA.

“The cost allocation model approved by the FTC [Federal Trade Commission] accounts for the number of starts and the purse levels per start in each state to ensure that costs are distributed fairly and equitably across the board. We're going to work diligently to make sure that we use efficiencies and minimize costs. We are looking for supplemental funding to help the industry bear the cost of these rules and regulations.”

She continued, “The promise to you is that at HISA, we are going to do our very best. We really want this to work. We love this industry, we care about the horse and we recognize that many of you have spent your lifetime in this industry. We're going to do our best to get it right and our philosophy will always be to collaborate. Our one ask in return is that you would just give us a chance. We are going to do our very best to get it right, but we are going to make mistakes and we're going to have to look at things over again because this has never been done before. I ask that you give us a chance to get it right and that if you have a criticism, you tell us and give us a chance to fix it so we can work together. There's not going to be positive change unless it is done as an industry.”

Robert Lopez, Chair of the Washington State Horse Racing Commission and outgoing Chair of the ARCI, also spoke via teleconference about HISA in the opening session of the day, but pointed out that he had hoped a closer relationship could have developed already between the ARCI and HISA.

“We see many exciting possibilities to improve upon the good work that we collectively do,” he said. “But we also see how missteps and missed opportunities might make it more difficult for the industry and those in it to survive in the highly-competitive marketplace. During my tenure, we offered to help guide HISA through the maze of various state governments. We offered our best advise on how to make this all work, but [this advise] was often ignored. Perhaps it was the enormity of the challenge they face and the fact that almost all involved have never done this before. They are certainly within their rights to do so, but to ignore the wisdom of those who understand the challenges of the state government was inexcusable.

He concluded by saying that he hoped their partnership could improve in the future throughout the implementation of HISA rules.

“The HISA Racetrack Safety rules going into effect this summer are based upon the hard work that has been done by all of you [regulators] over the years as they have relied heavily on the ARCI model rules. We take that as a compliment. I trust that our new colleagues at HISA will come to the level of commitment and expertise we all share for the safety and honesty of the sport of horseracing and the welfare of both human and equine participants.”

During the day's second session, Dr. Susan Stover, a professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Chair of the Racetrack Safely Committee and board member of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, gave a lecture on 'Protecting Our Horses.' She discussed current data on injuries and fatalities in horse racing, noting that almost all come from pre-existing conditions. She emphasized that if such conditions can be caught early, horses are able to return to the racetrack in many cases without issue.

The day's third session featured a panel of the Equine Welfare Committee.

Scott Chaney, the Executive Director of the California Horse Racing Board, spoke on the many changes that have taken place in California since 2019. He said that the year brought forth a watershed moment for the state not necessarily because of an increased number of fatalities, but because of increased media attention. Chaney said that in implementing new regulations, which have now proven to be successful, they focused on four different categories: medication control, identifying high-risk horses, education and research, and perception and transparency.

Scott Palmer, the Equine Medical Director of the New York Gaming Commission, represented the Mid-Atlantic Program.

In regards to medication, Palmer said that there was a significant decrease in the total number of positive tests in the Mid-Atlantic region in 2016 and 2017 following the implementation of their Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan. Since then, the total number of positive tests were constant from 2017 to 2021 except for a decrease in 2020.

Ann McGovern concluded the panel as the representative for HISA's Safety Program, which goes into effect July 1. She said that the positive results outlined by Chaney and Palmer are an example of what can be achieved under effective regulations and noted that HISA looked at various pre-existing successes in the industry as they were outlining their program.

“We want to assist racetracks as they adopt the medication and safety standards that are outlined by HISA,” she said. “We want to provide educational opportunities for all the industry members and through research, we want to identify injury-reducing best practices. Our regulations rely heavily on the industry sending us data and we are requiring members of the industry to provide data.”

McGovern explained that with the collected data, HISA will conduct research to give input to the industry and make improvements. She added that the data will not be used to monitor trainers and veterinarians, but to give everyone more information.

John Roach joined McGovern on the panel to explain the different components of HISA, specifically the differences between Rule Series 2100 and 2200.

Roach said the 2100 series revolves around the accreditation process for racetracks, noting that every racetrack under HISA authority will be granted an interim accreditation as many racetracks will have work to do in order to meet HISA standards. Rule violations will not take place during that time as long as racetracks are working in good faith as they move forward to meeting the outlined standards.

“We realize that there are going to be tracks that this is going to be a bit of a heavy lift for,” McGovern said. “Most racing jurisdictions [present today] are meeting the majority of the standards already and I don't think it will be that difficult to get to standard of HISA if you are not already there, but for the smaller tracks that might find it more difficult, we're not going to ask them to have all this in place on July 1. What we're looking for is a good-faith effort to do what is necessary to save horses and reduce injuries in jockeys.”

In contrast, Rule Series 2200 includes rules that will be enforced starting on July 1. Examples of these regulations include the limited use of the riding crop, as well as enforcement of safety vests and safety helmets. These rules will be enforced with sanctions set forth in the regulations immediately upon implementation.

“We know that things change and as research tells us and as you tell us, these rules will evolve,” McGovern said. “If there's something we didn't get right, we are open to suggestions. We are working as hard as we can to get everything up and running, but the next steps are to education everyone in the industry as to what HISA means, what the regulations are, and what will be needed in order to comply. I think we're all in this for the same reason. We want to save horses lives, reduce jockey injuries and deter and remove the bad actors in our industry who make the good guys look bad.”

Monday's session concluded with a panel on the topic of if cheaters should be given a pass for cooperating, which featured United States Trotting Association President Russell Williams and Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission's Executive Director Tom Sage, as well as a panel on Federal-Jurisdiction Cooperation in Canada with Canadian Pari-Mutual Agency's Executive Director Lisa Foss, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's Director of Regulatory Compliance Brent Stone and Horse Racing Alberta's Supervisor of Racing Doug Fenske.

The ARCI conference continues on Tuesday.

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War Front, Street Boss Fillies Fastest at OBS Monday

Mon, 2022-04-11 15:49

A filly by War Front (hip 276) zipped a quarter-mile in a bullet :20 1/5, while a daughter of Street Boss (hip 346) claimed the fastest furlong work of :9 3/5 during the second session of the under-tack show for next week's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training Monday in Central Florida.

Hip 276 is consigned by Eddie Woods on behalf of her breeder, Oussama Aboughazale's International Equities Holding.

“We were expecting her to be quick, but we didn't know she was that quick,” International Equities Holding's bloodstock manager Frances Relihan said with a laugh Monday afternoon.

The filly is out of Cinnamon Spice (Candy Ride {Arg}), a half-sister to Grade I winner Violence (Medaglia d'Oro) and from the family of champion Sky Beauty. Aboughazale purchased the mare for $700,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton February sale.

“We bought the mare as a maiden and paid quite a bit for her at the time,” Relihan recalled. “She's a beautiful-looking mare and her first foal was a little premature, a Medaglia d'Oro filly that we ended up keeping and she went down to Chile to the breeding program down there. And then she had a Pioneerof the Nile filly that Bobby Flay bought [for $250,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September sale]. She's quite a nice filly, but hasn't started yet.”

With the mare in foal to War Front, the team decided to test the market in 2019, but Cinnamon Spice was led out unsold at $750,000.

“We were trying to capitalize on the market a little bit,” Relihan said. “She was bringing good money, but we kind of got cold feet and decided to bring her home.”

Hip 276 is not the first International Equities Holding-bred filly to record a snappy :20 1/5 work at OBS. The operation sold a yearling by Not This Time out of Sheza Smoke Show (Wilko) for $135,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September sale and the filly returned with a :20 1/5 work before selling to Zedan Racing Stables for $1.35 million at the 2020 OBS Spring sale. Named Princess Noor, she won that year's GI Del Mar Debutante. In foal to Into Mischief, she sold for $2.9 million at last year's Fasig-Tipton November sale.

Results like that led to a modification in Aboughazale's commercial breeding operation which had traditionally offered most of its crop as yearlings.

“The farm is still very much in its infancy with just five years under our belt,” Relihan said. “I won't say we are changing the program, but we are always modifying and trying to see where horses will fit better. If horses aren't ready for the yearling sales, then I think it's great to have that, not as a backup because they RNA'd or something, but to have the objective to take them to the 2-year-old sales.

She continued, “We've seen in the past how you can sell a horse at the yearling sales who might not be mature enough and they might need a little extra time. And then they come into their own and they breeze fast. With Princess Noor, for example, you sell a $135,000 yearling before Not This Time hits and then you see what she breezes in and she sells for $1.3 million.”

The War Front filly is one of seven juveniles bred by International Equities Holding who will be offered at auction this spring.

“She was very beautiful, well-proportioned, and very sharp, but she just needed to grow up a little bit,” Relihan said of the decision to keep the filly out of the yearling sales. “We felt if we put her in September, she would be undervalued. So we put her out for the summer, gave her a chance to grow up and then when Eddie was in town in September, we said, 'Come on out and take a look at her.' We thought we would put her in his program and see what she could do. I was down at the March sale last month with Mr. Aboughazale and we went to the farm to see her and she's one of those fillies that just improves, improves, improves. She loves her work and she's very sharp mentally. She's an exciting filly.”

Cinnamon Spice recently produced a Constitution filly and will be bred back to City of Light this year.

A filly by Street Boss (hip 346) claimed the fastest furlong work of the under-tack show so far when she covered the distance in :9 3/5 Monday. The chestnut is out of Dazzle (Twirling Candy), a full-sister to multiple graded placed Exaulted, and is consigned by David McKathan and Jody Mihalic's Grassroots Training and Sales. Grassroots purchased the filly for $22,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

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

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First Mare in Foal to Hog Creek Hustle

Mon, 2022-04-11 14:57

Keino (Runhappy), owned by Patty Tipton, is the first mare confirmed in foal to Grade I winner Hog Creek Hustle (Overanalyze). Hog Creek Hustle, winner of the 2019 GI Woody Stephens S. and second in that year's GI H. Allen Jerkens S., stands at Buck Pond Farm for $5,000.

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Letter to the Editor: Karl Nobert, ReCellerate, Inc.

Mon, 2022-04-11 14:46

We are writing in response to Bill Finley's article from last week discussing the New York Gaming Commission's suspension of Mr. Wayne Potts.

Our company, ReCellerate, developed the product EquiFlow (concentrated protein serum) that was found in Mr. Potts's barn and the basis for his 45-day suspension, for the treatment of Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (“EIPH”) or bleeding.

Last week,the company issued a press release discussing EquiFlow and addressing some of the misunderstanding about the product in the market. We also confirmed that we have no affiliation with Mr. Potts, we never sold him the product and he has never been involved in one of our investigational studies. We would greatly appreciate it if you would publish a follow-up to Mr. Finley's article citing our lack of affiliation with Mr. Potts and providing information about the product.

We have had incredible success with EquiFlow in investigational testing to date. The product has undergone preliminary testing in horses both here and in Dubai, and the results have shown that the product is both safe and effective for the treatment of EIPH or bleeding. Nearly 40 horses have been involved in such studies. Based on this success and other generated safety data, we are pursuing U.S. regulatory approval.

When approved, EquiFlow will likely be the only federally approved alternative to Lasix. Rather than simply reducing the symptoms of EIPH, our product actually treats the condition by facilitating the regeneration of the ruptured vascular wall that is the source of bleeding.

We would appreciate your assistance with informing readers, including trainers, owners and fans about the ReCellerate product.

Best regards,

Karl M. Nobert, ReCellerate, Inc

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Backside Learning Center Hosts Derby Handicapping Social

Mon, 2022-04-11 14:25

The Backside Learning Center will host Thoroughbred Owner's Derby Handicapping Social at the Louisville Thoroughbred Society Thursday from 5-7 p.m. The event, sponsored by Rocket Ship Racing, LLC, will feature a 2022 Kentucky Derby handicapping seminar with a panel of the industry's top experts: Caton Bredar, Joe Kristufek and Brandon Stauble, with NBC's Donna Barton Brothers moderating.

Special guest Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale will be on hand to talk about his personal experiences dedicating much of his life to philanthropy.

The evening also serves as a launch for BLC's “Purses for a Purpose,” an initiative which is designed to allow owners to invest easily and directly in the backstretch workers who are ensuring the success of the racing industry. Through “Purses for a Purpose,” owners can pledge to donate customizable portions of their horses' winnings, with the funds going directly to programming at the Backside Learning Center.

Thursday's event is free with a $20 suggested donation at the door and includes a bourbon raffle and complimentary hors d'oeurves and drinks by Crushed Ice Catering.

For more information and to register, visit:

The Backside Learning Center is a nonprofit organization based in Louisville which is focused on empowering and partnering with area backside workers and their families.

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ABR Preakness Kick-Off Party to Benefit Aftercare

Mon, 2022-04-11 09:57

After a two-year hiatus owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, America Best Racing's Pre-Preakness Party will be held Wednesday, May 18, at the Mt. Washington Tavern in Baltimore, with the proceeds of all tickets sold to benefit the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. A silent auction will be held which will benefit the TAA and the Maryland-based Beyond The Wire Thoroughbred aftercare organization.

“We're thrilled to again be a beneficiary of this party, along with our friends at Beyond the Wire, and we're grateful for the continued support from America's Best Racing,” TAA Operations Consultant Stacie Clark Rogers said. “We can't wait to kick off a great week of racing with this can't-miss event.”

Tickets are now on sale for $25 in advance of the event ($35 on site). Admission includes one drink, a light buffet of bar snacks and appetizers and entry into a drawing for a door prize of two tickets to the May 21 GI Preakness S. at Pimlico. The silent auction will feature items from ABR partners Christine A. Moore Millinery and Old Smoke Clothing Co., in addition to rare racing memorabilia and autographed collectibles.

“We are proud to bring back the Pre-Preakness festivities again this year and owe a lot of thanks to event supporters and sponsors who've enabled us to do it,” said Dan Tordjman, America's Best Racing's manager of Partnerships and Sponsorships. “ABR remains committed to putting the horse first by shining a spotlight on exceptional foundations like the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and Beyond the Wire that do so much in the name of Thoroughbred aftercare.”

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Forbidden Kingdom Out of Derby

Sun, 2022-04-10 17:16

MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Farm's multiple graded stakes-winning 3-year-old Forbidden Kingdom (American Pharoah), who retreated to finish last as the favorite in Saturday's GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, will be taken off the GI Kentucky Derby trail with an epiglottis issue, trainer Richard Mandella told Horse Racing Nation Sunday.

“We are going to look under his epiglottis to see if he has an ulcer,” Mandella said. “But no Derby for sure.”

A runner-up in the GIII Bob Hope S. last fall at Del Mar, Forbidden Kingdom announced himself as a Derby contender with impressive victories in both the GIII San Vicente S. and GII San Felipe S. this winter at Santa Anita. He set the early pace in the Santa Anita Derby, but abruptly threw in the towel on the far turn.

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Pioneerof the Nile’s Matareya Cruises in Beaumont

Sun, 2022-04-10 16:58

Godolphin's Matareya (Pioneerof the Nile), bet hard throughout, ran to the money in Sunday's GIII Beaumont S. at Keeneland, picking up her first stakes win with a daylight romp against six overmatched rivals.

Debuting with a smooth 4 1/2-length wire-to-wire score while geared down late Aug. 20 at Ellis, the homebred disappointed a bit when flattening out to fifth in the GI Darley Alcibiades S. on this strip Oct. 8. Finishing second as the favorite in the Fern Creek S. Nov. 27 at Churchill, the bay was a distant runner-up to sensation Secret Oath (Arrogate) in an Oaklawn allowance on New Year's Eve before putting forth a career-best 91 Beyer when rolling home by 5 1/4 lengths over allowance company Feb. 26 at Fair Grounds.

Hammered down to a smidge above even-money returning to graded stakes waters here, Matareya broke sweetly from her outside draw under Flavien Prat and led in the opening strides before deferring to rail-drawn Lady Scarlet (Union Rags) leaving the chute and heading onto the backstretch. Settling off that rival through a reasonable :22.87 quarter, the chalk began to put more pressure on the pacesetter midway around the turn and neared the stretch menacingly as Prat looked behind him for late runners. Taking control shortly after straightening for home, Matareya drew off powerfully in the final furlong, cruising past the wire 8 1/2 lengths to the good of Radio Days (Gun Runner).

“She broke really well and rated nice,” said Prat. “I was on cruise control all the way around. [Trainer] Brad [Cox] told me this morning that he really liked her, and he was right.”

Asked the key to Matareya's blossoming as a 3-year-old, Cox said, “I'd have to say the cutback [in distance of her races]. We were hoping she'd go long. She trained like she would. Flavien made the comment that he didn't see why she wouldn't. But she's kind of shown us she enjoys the cutback, so we'll probably stick to one turn for now.”

“It's huge for the pedigree,” Cox added of the win. “And huge for the broodmare band at Godolphin, which is one of the best in the world. It was a big win, so we'll let the dust settle and see how she comes out of it, but [the GII Eight Belles S. and GI Test S.] are obviously races we'll look forward to and try to work back from, and–who knows?–maybe try to get her to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint here at Keeneland this fall.”

Pedigree Notes:
With the victory, Matareya becomes the 43rd stakes winner and 20th graded stakes winner for star sire Pioneerof the Nile, who died at age 13 in 2019. From the final crop of that stallion, she is the second foal to race out of Godolphin's Grade III winner Innovative Idea, a half-sister to GSW Lucullan (Hard Spun) out of MGSW/GISP Golden Velvet (Seeking the Gold), herself a half-sister to GISW and sire Sky Mesa (Pulpit) out of MGSW Caress (Storm Cat). Innovative Idea is responsible for a juvenile Uncle Mo filly and foaled a colt by the same sire last season before returning to the Ashford superstar once more.

Sunday, Keeneland
BEAUMONT S. PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT-GIII, $400,000, Keeneland, 4-10, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:27.55, ft.
1–MATAREYA, 118, f, 3, by Pioneerof the Nile
                1st Dam: Innovative Idea (GSW, $229,343), by Bernardini
                2nd Dam: Golden Velvet, by Seeking the Gold
                3rd Dam: Caress, by Storm Cat
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brad H. Cox; J-Flavien Prat. $241,800. Lifetime Record: 6-3-2-0, $374,267. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus* Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Radio Days, 118, f, 3, Gun Runner–Remembered, by Sky Mesa. ($750,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP). O-Joseph Allen LLC; B-Hinkle Farms (KY); T-Claude R. McGaughey III. $78,000.
3–Reagan's Decision, 118, f, 3, Unified–Twisted Decision, by Old Fashioned. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($25,000 Wlg '19 KEENOV). O-Lael Stables; B-Brandywine Farm (Jim & Pam Robinson) & Parker Place Breeding (KY); T-Cherie DeVaux. $39,000.
Margins: 8HF, 1 3/4, 3/4. Odds: 1.10, 3.40, 16.00.
Also Ran: Lady Scarlet, Majestic d'Oro, Gina Romantica, Chi Town Lady.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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Slipstream Bests Twilight Gleaming in Palisades

Sun, 2022-04-10 16:29

Slipstream (More Than Ready) could do no better than sixth in last year's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar, but closed furiously up the rail to best favored Stonestreet filly Twilight Gleaming (Ire) (National Defense {GB}) in Sunday's Listed Palisades S. at Keeneland.

Quickly into stride from an outside alley, 'TDN Rising Star' Twilight Gleaming outsprinted her male rivals and galloped them along on a drying-out turf course as Slipstream, last year's GIII Futurity S. hero, bided his time at the tail of the field. As her stablemate Golden Pal (Uncle Mo) did in Saturday's GII Shakertown S., Twilight Gleaming was kept well off the rail in upper stretch, and that presented an inviting inside opening for Slipstream, who first rallied underneath Pure Panic in upper stretch and quickened home impressively to post a comfortable victory.

Slipstream defeated future GIII Kitten's Joy S. winner Grand Sonata (Medaglia d'Oro) by 5 1/2 lengths to break his maiden over seven furlongs Sept. 18, then cut back in trip to annex the Futurity by a tight length after racing freely in the early stages. It wasn't the cleanest of trips in the Juvenile Turf Nov. 5 and by the time he could let down, Modern Games (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) had put the race to bed and Slipstream was forced to settle for a close sixth.

One of two winners from the stakes-placed Cake Baby, both black-type winners, Slipstream has a yearling half-brother by Catalina Cruiser and his dam was most recently covered by Game Winner. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

PALISADES S., $188,788, Keeneland, 4-10, 3yo, 5 1/2fT, 1:02.80, gd.
1–SLIPSTREAM, 120, c, 3, by More Than Ready
1st Dam: Cake Baby (SP), by Stormy Atlantic
2nd Dam: Dharma Girl, by French Deputy
3rd Dam: Cashelmara, by Key to the Mint
($170,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP). O-Jump Sucker Stable; B-Burleson Farm & McKenzie Bloodstock (KY); T-Christophe Clement; J-Joel Rosario. $120,900. Lifetime Record: 6-3-0-1, $288,500. *1/2 to Too Sexy (Quality Road), SW, $319,635.
2–Twilight Gleaming (Ire), 118, f, 3, National Defense (GB)–
Thames Pageant (GB), by Dansili (GB). (£75,000 Ylg '20 GOFOR). 'TDN Rising Star' O-Stonestreet Stables LLC; B-Pier House Stud (IRE); T-Wesley A Ward. $29,250.
3–Pure Panic, 118, c, 3, Summer Front–Shock the World, by Hansen. ($24,000 RNA Wlg '19 KEENOV; $42,000 RNA Ylg '20 KEESEP; $170,000 RNA 2yo '21 OBSMAR). O-Pravin A Patel; B-Kendall E Hansen MD Racing LLC (KY); T-Juan Munoz Cano. $19,500.
Margins: 3/4, 5HF, 1 1/4. Odds: 2.70, 0.90, 34.90.
Also Ran: Circle Back Jack, No Nay Franklin (Ire), Classicstateofmind, Baytown Frosty. Scratched: Kaufymaker.

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Six Share Furlong Bullet, Three Share Quarter Bullet at OBS Under-Tack Opener

Sun, 2022-04-10 16:09

A half-dozen juvenile colts and fillies shared the bullet furlong time of :9 4/5 at the first of seven under-tack preview shows for the upcoming OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training Sunday.

The first to shade 10 seconds in their one-eighth breeze was Hip 87, a filly by Tapiture out of the unraced mare Youngnflashy (Flashy Bull) consigned by Grassroots Training & Sales. The filly was bought for $25,000 at Fasig-Tipton October.

Three more fillies posted :9 4/5 time shortly thereafter–Hip 121, by Speightster, consigned by Randy Miles and bought for $105,000 at Keeneland September, Hip 129, by Mor Spirit, consigned by Kings Equine, agent for Spendthrift Farm and a $25,000 Fasig-Tipton November buy, and Hip 137, by Lord Nelson, consigned by Omar Ramirez Bloodstock and a $37,000 Fasig-Tipton July pickup.

Rounding out the :9 4/5 breezers were Hip 138, an Uncaptured colt named Havnameltdown consigned by Blas Perez Stables bought for $16,000 at OBS October, and Hip 148, a More Than Ready filly consigned by Best A Luck Farm who sold for $75,000 at Keeneland September.

Three 2-year-olds shared the quarter-mile bullet time of :20 3/5, starting with Hip 150, a filly by Bolt d'Oro consigned by Sequel Bloodstock who hammered for $270,000 at Keeneland September. Matching that clocking were Hip 163, a colt by Mendelssohn consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds who was bought for $120,000 at Keeneland September, and the final hip of the showcase, Hip 176, a Bucchero filly named Miss Bellimbusto consigned by Blue River Bloodstock.

The OBS under-tack shows continue daily through Saturday with all sessions starting at 8 a.m. The Spring Sale is set to be held Apr. 19-22.

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Grade I-Placed Curlin Filly Graduates at Keeneland

Sun, 2022-04-10 14:21

3rd-Keeneland, $100,000, Msw, 4-10, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:45.99, ft, 1 1/4 lengths.
DISTINCTLYPOSSIBLE (f, 3, Curlin–Funny Proposition {GSW, $230,295}, by Medaglia d'Oro) closed off nicely to be second on her six-furlong debut at Saratoga last August and was last seen finishing runner-up to Juju's Map (Liam's Map) when last seen in this track's GI Darley Alcibiades S. in October. A slight drift in the markets saw the bay jump at a fairly generous even money Sunday and she hit the ground running before being securing a rail-skimming spot by the time they reached the first turn. Nursed along while drafting in behind pacesetting Al Qahira (Cairo Prince) down the backstretch, Distinctlypossible pushed away from the fence to deliver her challenge three abreast at the entrance to the short stretch. Though she began looking for the wire passing the sixteenth pole, she kept on well enough to best the running-on Miss Yearwood (Will Take Charge) by 1 1/4 lengths. A $200,000 Keeneland September yearling, Distinctlypossible was hammered down to Pete Bradley's Bradley Thoroughbreds for $670,000 at last year's OBS April Sale after working an eighth of a mile in :10 1/5 while never switching her leads. The winner's dam was a $275,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga graduate and went on to win the GII Fleur de Lis H. in the John Oxley yellow and pale blue colors. She is the dam of four winners from as many to race and foaled a colt by Oxley's Darby Dan-based Flameaway (Scat Daddy) in 2021 before returning to that stallion. Sales history: $200,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP; $670,000 2yo '21 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: GISP, 3-1-2-0, $157,350. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O-Bradley Thoroughbreds, Gary Finder, Belmar Racing & Breeding LLC, Tim and Anna Cambron & Team Hanley; B-John C Oxley (KY); T-Chad C Brown.

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Epicenter, Echo Zulu Breeze at Churchill

Sun, 2022-04-10 13:56

With less than four weeks remaining until the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen's duo of top contenders Epicenter (Not This Time) and Echo Zulu (Gun Runner) returned to the worktab Sunday at Churchill Downs for the first time since their respective victories two weeks ago in the GII Louisiana Derby and GII Fair Grounds Oaks.

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Epicenter, the potential favorite in the Kentucky Derby, worked five furlongs in 1:01 flat (7/22) Sunday at 5:50 a.m. while his stablemate, L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds' champion filly Echo Zulu breezed 20 minutes prior and completed five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 (5/22).

Epicenter, with exercise rider Wilson Fabian up, worked outside of fellow 3-year-old Guntown (Gun Runner) through fractions of :13 2/5, :25 2/5 and :37. The duo stayed together for most of the breeze and completed six furlongs in a comfortable 1:14 3/5 and were up seven furlongs in 1:29 2/5.

Bettors tabbed Epicenter as the 9-2 favorite in Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which closed Saturday prior to the runnings of the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby and GII Wood Memorial S.

Echo Zulu, with Fabian in the saddle, worked inside of debut maiden special weight winner Belle Rebelle (Upstart) through opening fractions of :13, :24 2/5 and :36. The duo galloped out six furlongs in 1:14 2/5.

Unbeaten Echo Zulu was named champion 2-year-old filly in 2021, capping off her undefeated season with an emphatic 5 1/4-length score in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI). She dug in during the late stages of the Fair Grounds Oaks to hold off Hidden Connection (Connect) by a scant nose in her 3-year-old debut.

Echo Zulu is a perfect five-for-five and is one of several fillies that could vie for favoritism in the Kentucky Oaks.

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Elliott, Asmussen, End Zone Athletics Take Sam Houston Titles

Sun, 2022-04-10 13:41

Jockey Stewart Elliott picked up his second leading rider title at Sam Houston Race Park as the meet wrapped up its 50-day stand Saturday. Elliott had the support of trainer Steve Asmussen, riding first call for the Hall of Fame conditioner as he piloted 296 mounts, winning 62 races with earnings of $1,490,006. The successful union between Elliott and Asmussen began in Houston two years ago and has continued at Lone Star Park and Remington Park.

“I have to thank Steve Asmussen and all the owners and trainers who gave me opportunities and put me on great horses,” said Elliott. “Also, to my agent Scott Hare, who did a great job, as always. I'm very appreciative to be in this position.”

Asmussen won his 14th training title at the northwest Houston racetrack, following honors as top trainer in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Asmussen started 259 runners, finishing with a record of 51 wins, 41 seconds, 55 thirds and earnings of $1,554,306. He conditions Stonestreet Stable's homebred Pauline's Pearl (Tapit), who captured the richest race of the annual Sam Houston Thoroughbred season, the $400,000 GIII Houston Ladies Classic.

End Zone Athletics, Inc. clearly topped the owner standings, finishing with 22 wins, 29 seconds and 18 third-place finishes from 137 starters. The ownership group, founded by Karl Broberg, has been a force at Sam Houston for over a decade with previous titles in 2018 and 2020.

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