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Updated: 18 hours 35 min ago

Jockey Dylan Davis Rides 1,000th Career Winner

Fri, 2022-05-13 17:45

Jockey Dylan Davis reached 1,000 career victories with a late-rallying finish aboard the Christophe Clement-trained Heels Together (Hard Spun) in Friday's fifth race at Belmont Park.

“It feels great. Obviously, I couldn't have done this without the horses, my agent Mike Migliore, and my supporters–countless trainers and owners to get me here,” Davis said. “It feels really special. I love doing this and I love the game. I wasn't really keeping track of the number I was at,” Davis added, with a laugh.

The son of accomplished jockey and current NYRA circuit trainer Robbie Davis, Dylan Davis began his riding career in 2012 at Saratoga Race Course. In 2021, he amassed record earnings of $9,493,444 when he visited the winner's circle 130 times from 927 starts.

Davis' first Grade I triumph came aboard Mutamakina in the E.P. Taylor in Oct. 2021, also trained by Clement.

“Christophe is a trainer that really pushed me along through the tougher circuit here,” Davis said. “He gave me a lot of opportunities. What I needed is someone with the support like him to help get the job done.”

This year, Davis earned his first riding title when he posted 63 wins at the 2021-22 Aqueduct winter meet, finishing nine clear of Trevor McCarthy. The meet included three four-win days for Davis and victories in six stakes races for total purse earnings of $3,411,574.

The post Jockey Dylan Davis Rides 1,000th Career Winner appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Kumin Joins The Steeplechase Community

Fri, 2022-05-13 14:38

If you check out the entries for the second race at Tennessee's Percy Warner Park, the Sloan maiden hurdle, and notice the connections of first-time starter Montmartre d'Ange (Fr) (Montmarte), they will look quite familiar. The 4-year-old is owned in part by prominent Thoroughbred owner Sol Kumin's Madakat Stable (along with Paul and Molly Willis, and CFC Stables).

Kumin has been involved in the likes of Triple Crown winner Justify, Monomoy Girl, Lady Eli, Midnight Bisou, Yoshida, Whitmore, Mind Your Biscuits, Authentic, Exaggerator, and Catholic Boy. So how did Kumin come to be involved with a jumper?

“I have a friend named Paul Willis from Boston that has been raving about Keri (Brion) and he owns jump horses and trains with her,” Kumin said. “I started doing some diligence on her operation and I liked what I saw and learned. I plan to send her a few flat horses as well to train. I love horses and I love racing. I truthfully don't know much about jump racing, but I feel like I am in good hands and will ease my way in and see if it's enjoyable. I expect it will be.”

The post Kumin Joins The Steeplechase Community appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Will Walden Gets First Training Victory at Churchill

Fri, 2022-05-13 14:27

2nd-Churchill Downs, $86,540, Msw, 5-13, 2yo, f, 5f, :58.73, ft, 1 length.
DAZZLINGDOMINIKA (f, 2, Ghostzapper–Trappingsofsilver, by Trappe Shot) improved for a seventh to 'TDN Rising Star' Love Reigns (Ire) (U S Navy Flag) sprinting over the Keeneland turf course Apr. 29 to become the first winner in the young career of trainer Will Walden Friday at Churchill Downs. Quickly into stride from her outside draw, the chestnut was overtaken to her outside by Ski Slope (Frosted) with 3 1/2 furlongs to race, but held her spot at the fence for the run around the turn. Kept to task by Gerardo Corrales, Dazzlingdominika was back in front approaching the eighth pole and held sway late to hold the debuting Vicki Rose (Jimmy Creed) by a length at odds of 7-1. The first foal out of a half-sister to 2013 GI La Brea S. winner Heir Kitty (Wildcat Heir), Dazzlingdominika has a yearling half-brother by Mastery and a foal half-sister by Complexity. Sales history: $33,000 RNA Wlg '20 KEENOV; $30,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 2-1-0-0, $53,720. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O-Ready Made Racing LLC; B-Halcyon Farm, Tim Wickes & Elizabeth Barr (KY); T-William Walden.

 

 

Young Will Walden, son of Elliott, saddled his first career win in his 4th start as a trainer in Friday's second race with 2yo filly Dazzlingdominika ($17.60). Now 287 wins back of his father, who ranks 23rd all-time at CD.

— Churchill Downs PR (@DerbyMedia) May 13, 2022

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Early Voting Puts in Final Preakness Prep

Fri, 2022-05-13 14:09

GII Wood Memorial S. runner-up Early Voting (Gun Runner) put in his final breeze ahead of the upcoming GI Preakness S. Friday morning at Belmont Park, going five panels in 1:00.63 in company with SW Miles D (Curlin).

Under jockey Jose Ortiz, The Chad Brown pupil went three-eighths in :36.40 before completing the five furlong move in 1:00.63 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:13 flat over the fast main track.

“He hit the times just as I wanted and he galloped out super,” Brown said of Early Voting. “If he comes out of the breeze in good shape, then he's on to Pimlico. Tentatively, I'm thinking of shipping the horse on Tuesday.”

Early Voting skipped the GI Kentucky Derby in favor of this spot. Brown made a similar move with the Klaravich co-owned Cloud Computing (Maclean's Music) after he finished third in the Wood.

“There's a lot of similarities,” Brown said. “They both are lightly-raced, improving horses that are coming out of the Wood and could use a little more time and experience rather than throw them into a 20-horse field in the Derby.”

Miles D is slated for the GIII Pimlico Special S. Friday.

“Miles D worked inside, he's actually a little better outside, but it set it up that way today,” said Brown. “He got a lot of the work this morning. He missed a little time because he got sick before the Oaklawn Handicap, so we missed that race. He should appreciate the distance of the Pimlico Special.”

The post Early Voting Puts in Final Preakness Prep appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Smith, MacAdam To Be Honored At Alibi

Fri, 2022-05-13 13:46

Photographer Patrick Smith and writer Mike MacAdam will be among the honorees at the Alibi Breakfast May 19 at Pimlico Race Course. The Alibi Breakfast features a gathering of media, owners, trainers, jockeys, horsemen and fans to celebrate the Preakness. Smith will receive the Jerry Frutkoff Award for the best Preakness picture of 2021, while MacAdam will receive the David F. Woods Award for best Preakness story. Smith is a staff photographer based in Baltimore for Getty Images. This is his second consecutive win, and third overall in the Frutkoff.

“During the 2021 Preakness, I was camped on the head-on position,” said Smith. “As I watched Flavien Prat guide Rombauer through the field and gain momentum, I know he'd rejoice with an iconic moment if he crossed the finish first – and he did.”

MacAdam, a turf writer and sports columnist for the Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y., has provided daily live coverage of the Saratoga meet. MacAdam's story was entitled: “Preakness Winner Rombauer Runs Out of the Baffert Shadow.” He recently was named Sportswriter of the Year by the New York Press Association for the second time in the last three years.

“It's a gross understatement to say what an honor it is to be recognized by the Maryland Jockey Club with the David F. Woods Award,” MacAdam said.

The post Smith, MacAdam To Be Honored At Alibi appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Tampa Bay Ends Strong 21-22 Season

Fri, 2022-05-13 12:16

Tampa Bay Downs posted significant gains in most major categories during the 2021-2022 season when compared to the 2018-2019 (pre-pandemic) meet–including average daily all-sources wagering handle and total purse money paid to horsemen.

“Our Thoroughbred racing product has been very well-received, both by Tampa Bay area fans and the simulcast market throughout the country,” said Peter Berube, the track's vice president and general manager, who attributed the increases in large part to the ongoing upgrade in the quality of racing and the attractiveness of the turf program. “The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby card (Mar. 12) generated almost $21 million in wagering, which represented a 36% increase from the previous record of $15.2 million set last year and was the most of any racetrack in the country that day. The Racing Office, led by (Racing Secretary) Allison De Luca, does a fantastic job of putting together highly competitive cards and making owners and trainers aware of all Tampa Bay Downs has to offer,” Berube said.

This season's total live all-sources handle for 89 days of racing was $401,467,564, a 1.72% increase from last season and 18.62% above the 2018-2019 mark. Total live on-track handle of $16,324,991 was a whopping 23.41% above last season and 2.98% over 2018-2019. Wagering handle per starter was $64,317, up 10.19% from last season and 28.08% from 2018-2019. The average handle per race was $488,998. Tampa Bay Downs paid out $18,204,465 in purse money in 2021-2022, up 8.02% from 2020-2021 and 17.03% from 2018-2019. The average daily purse distribution of $204,545 is a track record.

Thoroughbred racing will return to Tampa Bay Downs June 30 and July 1 for the 10th annual Summer Festival of Racing.

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Report: Baltas Under Scrutiny at Santa Anita

Thu, 2022-05-12 17:57

Trainer Richard Baltas is currently restricted from entering horses nor are his horses permitted to engage in timed works at Santa Anita Park, according to the Paulick Report.

“We are conducting an investigation into matters concerning trainer Richard Baltas,” Aidan Butler, chief operating officer of 1/ST, which runs Santa Anita, told the Paulick Report via text message. “Pending completion of that investigation and any final decision based on the results, horses trained by Mr. Baltas are not permitted to enter races at 1/ST Racing venues nor engage in timed works.”

According to the Paulick Report, the news comes in the wake of a sesamoid injury suffered by the Baltas-trained 4-year-old filly Speedcuber (War Front) in the stretch of a maiden special weight event on the turf May 7 following which she was added to the vet's list. She succumbed to her injuries two days later. Baltas trainee Noble Reflection (Liam's Map), who was entered for the 10th race May 8, was listed as a stewards' scratch.

A statement read: “The CHRB is investigating the circumstances surrounding the late scratch of Noble Perfection from the 10th race at Santa Anita on May 8 and does not comment on pending investigations.”

According to California Horse Racing Board records, three Baltas trainees have suffered fatal musculoskeletal injuries in the past 12 months. In March, the Santa Anita stewards fined Baltas $1,000 after trainee Lookin At Sweetie (Lookin At Lucky) tested positive for methocarbamol when working Jan. 3 for removal from the veterinarian's list. Lookin At Sweetie won a maiden claiming race Jan. 21, prior to the methocarbamol positive coming to light.

When reached for comment by the TDN's Dan Ross, Butler declined to share any further details at the moment. TDN has also reached out to Baltas for comment, but did not receive a response prior to press time.

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Hogan To Receive Charles J. Hesse Award

Thu, 2022-05-12 14:50

Edited Press Release

Dr. Patricia Hogan, DVM, one of the leading equine surgeons in the country, has been named the recipient of the Charles J. Hesse Award that will be presented during the eighth annual Charles J. Hesse Golf Outing on June 13 at the Beacon Hill Golf Course in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey.

The Hesse Golf Outing is sponsored by the New Jersey Horsemen's Charitable Organization.

A New Jersey native, Hogan is among a few equine surgeons equally proficient in both soft tissue and orthopedic surgery disciplines. She has devoted her life to the care of horses and owns the Hogan Equine Clinic in Cream Ridge, NJ, where she and her staff donate their surgical skills to retired race horses, including those in Second Call, Monmouth Park's Aftercare Program.

The Hesse Award is given to someone who “epitomizes hard work and dedication to New Jersey's Thoroughbred Community.”

Hogan is internationally renowned for her equine surgical skills and has been a leader in the field of equine surgery for two decades.

Previous winners of the Charles J. Hesse Award (none was given in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions, nor was one presented the first year of the golf outing in 2014) are: Marianne Hesse (2021); Gov. Phil Murphy and Tammy Murphy (2019); Mike Musto (2018); Dennis Drazin (2017); Dr. Angelo Chinnici (2016) and J. Willard Thompson (2015).

For more information on the afternoon golf outing and/or the dinner later that evening, contact Liz Dowd at 732-239-4569 or Oliver Keelan at 732-859-8042.

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Yibir Blows Out for Man o’ War

Thu, 2022-05-12 14:34

Reigning Eclipse Award-winning turf male Yibir (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) took to the Belmont turf course Thursday morning for some light work ahead of his appearance in Saturday's GI Man o' War S.

With rider Shane Fetherstonhaugh aboard, the 4-year-old schooled a bit in the Belmont paddock before heading out to the track around 9 a.m., where he was allowed to stretch out through the final stages.

“He went out to the turf so he could have a light canter and then he just had a little blowout down the straight for a couple of furlongs to open up his lungs and stretch his legs,” said Chris Connett, traveling assistant to trainer Charlie Appleby. “Shane was very happy with him and the way he was moving and covering the ground.”

Impressive winner of the $1-million Jockey Club Derby Invitational at the Long Island oval last term, Yibir made his 4-year-old debut in the G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, dropping a heartbreaking decision to G1 Japanese Derby hero Shahryar (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}). Last seen finishing second in the G2 Jockey Club S. at Newmarket Apr. 29, Yibir arrived in New York early Sunday and cleared quarantine Tuesday.

“The longer he's been here the better he's looking,” Connett added. “He's matured from three to four and he's showing that he's taking it all in stride. We're very pleased with him.”

Yibir has the services of regular rider William Buick in the Man o' War.

The post Yibir Blows Out for Man o’ War appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Derby Winner Rich Strike To Bypass Preakness

Thu, 2022-05-12 13:10

Rich Strike (Keen Ice), who sensationally upended last Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby as the 80-1 longest shot in the field of 20, will bypass the GI Preakness S. at Pimlico May 21, owner Rick Dawson said Thursday afternoon.

“Our original plan for Rich Strike was contingent on the Kentucky Derby–should we not run in the Derby, we would point toward the Preakness, should we run in the Derby, subject to the race outcome and the condition of our horse, we would give him more recovery time and rest and run in the Belmont or another race and stay on course to run with five or six weeks' rest between races,” Dawson said in a statement released by 1/ST.

“Obviously, with our tremendous effort and win in the Derby, it's very, very tempting to alter our course and run in the Preakness at Pimlico, which would be a great honor for all our group, however, after much discussion and consideration with my trainer Eric Reed and a few others, we are going to stay with our plan of 'what's best for Ritchie is what's best for our group,' and pass on running in the Preakness, and point toward the Belmont in approximately five weeks.

“We thank the wonderful Preakness and Pimlico folks that have reached out to us and very much appreciate the invite.”

The Derby winner's defection comes just one day after trainer D. Wayne Lukas confirmed that GI Longines Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath (Arrogate) would back up in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Epicenter (Not This Time), who finished 3/4 of a length behind Rich Strike in the Derby, is also moving on to Old Hilltop, while a decision on third-placed Zandon (Upstart) is pending. The latter's stablemate Early Voting (Gun Runner) is already a confirmed starter in the Preakness.

Claimed for $30,000 out of a second-out maiden victory at Churchill last September, Rich Strike was beaten 14 lengths into fifth by Epicenter in the Dec. 26 Gun Runner S. at Fair Grounds and entered the Derby off a third behind Tiz the Bomb (Hit It a Bomb) in the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park Apr. 2.

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Bidding Open for Fasig May Digital Sale

Thu, 2022-05-12 12:47

Fasig-Tipton has catalogued 24 entries for its May Digital Selected Sale, which may now be viewed here. Bidding is officially open and will close this Tuesday, May 17, at 2 pm EDT.

“Successful results in our initial online auctions are generating substantial interest from sellers in the Fasig-Tipton Digital platform,” said Leif Aaron, Fasig-Tipton Director of Digital Sales.  “This May Digital catalogue features another quality group of breeding stock offerings and some very exciting horses of racing age. Included among the horses of racing age are some impressive recent stakes winners and promising last-out 2-year-old and 3-year-old maiden special weight winners.”

Horses of racing age on offer include Tom's Regret (Tom's Tribute) (Hip 12), an undefeated California-bred 2-year-old filly that defeated colts in the Kentucky Juvenile S. last week at Churchill Downs; and Awesome Strong (Awesome Slew)(Hip 24), a 2-year-old Florida-bred colt that recently won his debut at Gulfstream by six lengths.

Also included among the horses of racing age are Sadie Bluegrass (Bluegrass Cat)(Hip 20), winner of the Camilla Urso S. at Golden Gate Apr. 30; as well as recent maiden special eeight winners Baltasar (Bodemeister) (Hip 17) and Sunny Lane (Mastery) (Hip 21).

The catalogue also offers an attractive group of in-foal mares–including black-type performers and graded stakes producers–in foal to Candy Ride (Arg), Improbable, Independence Hall, Knicks Go, Silver State, Tiz the Law, and Volatile. MSW & GSP Truth Hurts (Tonalist) (Hip 13) is being offered as a broodmare prospect.

Each entry's page features a catalogue-style pedigree, five-cross pedigree, photos, and walking videos. Horses of racing age and racing/broodmare prospect pages offer Daily Racing Form Past Performances, Thoroughmanager past performances, Ragozin speed figures, and race replays. Access to veterinary information and a repository are available on applicable entries.

Location information for entries is also provided, and registered bidders may contact sellers from the entry's page to arrange an inspection or ask for additional information.

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Record Purses for 2022 Colonial Downs Meet

Thu, 2022-05-12 11:38

Colonial Downs will offer a record of more than $600,000 in daily average purses and an expanded stakes schedule for the upcoming 2022 meet, starting July 11. The meet has six extra race days this year.

The stakes schedule is highlighted by the $300,000 GIII Virginia Derby and $200,000 Virginia Oaks Sept. 6. Maiden special weight races during the meeting will carry a $60,000 purse.

As a bonus, once again, all owners will be guaranteed $1,000 per start or their share of the purse money, and all trainers will receive $300 per start as recognition for participation every race, every day.

“In an ultra-competitive racing environment, we look forward to another season with bigger purses and greater incentives for our horsemen and industry stakeholders towards increased participation in the 2022 season,” said Jill Byrne, Colonial Downs Vice President of Racing Operations. “Our team is excited to present a wide-ranging program of racing opportunities on our outstanding racing surfaces.”

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Nashville Retires to WinStar

Thu, 2022-05-12 11:28

CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm's track record-setting Nashville (Speightstown–Veronique, by Mizzen Mast) has been retired from racing and will stand alongside his sire at WinStar, the farm announced Thursday.

Tabbed a 'TDN Rising Star' off his impressive 11 1/2 length debut romp at Saratoga in September of 2020, the $460,000 KEESEP buy followed suit with a dominant Keeneland allowance win a month later, good for a 103 Beyer Speed Figure.

Nashville may not have won the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint, but he was the fastest sprint winner on the card. After sizzling through fractions of :21.54 for the opening quarter and :43.87 for the half-mile, Nashville sailed home the easiest of winners. Geared down in the late stages, he crossed the wire 3 1/2 lengths ahead of his nearest pursuer in the new track-record time of 1:07.89, earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure. Nashville's final clocking proved nearly a second faster than subsequent Eclipse Champion Sprinter Whitmore's time (1:08.61) in winning the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint later that same day.

This season, Nashville continued his winning ways with a 4/34-length, wire-to-wire victory at Fair Grounds in March, covering six furlongs in 1:08.61, the fastest sprint race of the entire Fair Grounds meet and the fastest time at that distance in more than two years.

“Nashville is the fastest horse we have ever had at WinStar,” said Elliott Walden, president, CEO and racing manager of WinStar. “He is a freak of nature. Three times he went :43 and change; he led through the first quarter in every start and led after a half in all but one start. The brilliance he showed will give him a big chance at stud. Speightstown is always a plus, already having six sons to sire Grade I winners.”

By champion sprinter Speightstown, Nashville is out Veronique, a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Almond Roca (Speightstown) and graded stakes-placed Calistoga (Speightstown), who was purchased by James Delahooke for $800,000 in foal to Collected at Keeneland November in 2020 just days after Nashville's powerhouse performance in the Perryville. He hails from the direct female family of GI Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, GI Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago, and graded stakes winner and Grade I-placed Stanwyck. Nashville was bred in Kentucky by Breffini Farm and purchased from the Lane's End consignment.

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Joe Miller Named Additional U.S. Tattersalls Rep

Thu, 2022-05-12 11:15

Tattersalls has tabbed American Joe Miller as an additional representative in the U.S. to work alongside Lincoln Collins, who has long been the Tattersalls North American representative.

“Joe is a perfect addition to the Tattersalls team and his appointment reflects the importance we attach to promoting Tattersalls sales to purchasers and vendors throughout North America,” said Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony. “Having worked alongside our existing North American representative Lincoln Collins for many years, Joe is already wholly familiar with the Tattersalls ethos and sales portfolio, and between him and Lincoln they will cover pretty well every base in what is a key market for Tattersalls.”

A bloodstock consultant and a native of Saratoga Springs, Miller has worked with Collins at Central Kentucky's Kern Thoroughbreds for the past 18 years. In addition to managing a number of high-profile racing and breeding operations, Miller has been a regular buyer at Tattersalls on behalf of numerous clients including Red Baron's Barn and Rancho Temescal, Tracy Farmer, Triton Racing, and Williamson Racing.

“Tattersalls already has an outstanding reputation throughout North America,” said Miller, “and I am enormously looking forward to working alongside Lincoln Collins in promoting the Tattersalls portfolio of European market-leading sales to as wide an audience as possible. Tattersalls graduates, particularly from Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale, have achieved extraordinary results over here in recent years and we will be working hard to build further on this success.”

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Biomechanics Pioneer Paul Mostert Dies at 94

Wed, 2022-05-11 18:58

Paul Mostert, one of the founders of the study of the biomechanics in racehorses, died May 6 in Lexington at the age of 94, according to a story in the Lexington Herald-Leader. Mostert served in the Navy until the end of World War II, and would go on to get a Ph.D from Purdue University. A mathematics teacher at the University of Kansas, he retired to work in the field of biomechanics and would develop 14 software programs using mathematical models of the biomechanics of racehorses. He was the president of EQUIX from 1985 to 2003. A graveside service is scheduled for Friday, May 13, at 11:30 a.m. at the Lexington (Ky.) Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, his family requests donations to Rhodes College, where he received his Bachelor's Degree, or to the educational university of one's choice.

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Larry Collmus Talks Derby Shocker On Writers’ Room

Wed, 2022-05-11 18:10

Larry Collmus has been calling races at the highest level for a long time, but even his vast experience and expertise could hardly prepare him for what happened in Saturday's stunning GI Kentucky Derby, as 80-1 bomb Rich Strike (Keen Ice) came seemingly from nowhere to surge past the short-priced pair of Epicenter (Not This Time) and Zandon (Upstart) and score the second-largest upset in the 148-year history of the Run for the Roses. Tuesday, Collmus joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland as the Green Group Guest of the Week to recall his shock as he saw Rich Strike rallying up the inside, discuss whether or not he misses being a full-time racecaller, impart his advice for future generations of racecallers and more.

“I wouldn't say a little bit of surprise, I'd say a lot of surprise,” Collmus said of his reaction during Saturday's stretch run. “I honestly wish I had picked him up earlier, but it's tough in the Kentucky Derby trying to follow all of these horses and the moves are usually coming up on the outside, so that's where you're looking for the late moves. And while that's going on, here comes the last possible horse you'd be looking for in Rich Strike. He wasn't even in the race as of 9:00 on Friday. Luckily, as racecallers do, we go by the silks, the jockey's colors, and he was the only red-and-white silked horse in the race, thank goodness. So here he comes on the inside and you're like, that's got to be Rich Strike, and boom, you catch him just in time. I'm glad I caught him at all to be honest.”

The 20-horse Derby is a uniquely difficult challenge as the biggest flat racing field in North America, and Collmus was asked what he does to prepare for such a daunting task compared to a more standard race.

“My preparation varies, but the Kentucky Derby is its own thing,” he said. “So in other words, I'll start like everybody else watching the prep races from January and start to familiarize myself with those horses. Then when we get to crunch time, within 10 days of the race, Churchill Downs will send me a PDF of all the jockey silks, and I will make flashcards to start memorizing the names five, six times a day. That's this horse, that's this horse, and thank goodness I did the also eligibles. Then, of course, you've got [silks] colors that may be similar in the Derby, so you want to know running styles, you want to know what color the horse is, any facial markings, do they have a white blaze, do they not, do they wear blinkers. Anything to separate all those horses. On a day-to-day basis, you don't have to do that because you've got 12 horses max and there's a lot less pressure.”

Elsewhere on the show, which is also sponsored by Coolmore, Lane's End, the KTOB, XBTV, West Point Thoroughbreds and Legacy Bloodstock, the writers broke down all the star-studded action from Derby/Oaks weekend and reacted to the announcement of a trial date for indicted trainer Jason Servis. 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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Veterinarian Louis Grasso Enters Guilty Plea in Doping Case

Wed, 2022-05-11 17:47

Louis Grasso, a veterinarian who served the harness racing industry and who was one of 29 individuals indicted in March of 2020 for his role in a racehorse doping ring, entered a guilty plea in federal court Wednesday before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel. He was charged with one count of drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy, a felony, and could face as much as five years in prison.

The prosecution charged that Grasso's doping led to corrupt trainers collecting over $47 million in “ill-gotten purse winnings.”
He will be sentenced Sept. 6.

The plea was announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District Court, which, in a press release, took the occasion to also comment on a guilty plea entered last month from harness trainer Richard Banca.

“Grasso and Banca represent the corruption and greed of those in the racehorse industry looking to win at any cost,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “In peddling illegal drugs and selling prescriptions to corrupt trainers, Louis Grasso abdicated his responsibilities as a medical professional to ensure the safety and health of the racehorses he 'treated.' By injecting horses with unnecessary and, at times, unknown drugs, Grasso risked the lives and welfare of the animals under his care, all in service of helping corrupt racehorse trainers like Banca line their pockets through fraud. These latest convictions demonstrate the commitment of this Office and of our partners at the FBI to hold accountable individuals seeking to profit from animal abuse and deceit.”

In the indictment of Grasso, the government portrayed him as a central figure in a scheme to manufacture, distribute and receive adulterated and misbranded PEDs which were administered to horses. The government charged that Grasso and others delivered and received “at least thousands” of units of PEDs issued by pharmacies pursuant to invalid prescriptions.

According to the indictment, Grasso was manufacturing and/or selling “epogen,” pain shots of joint blocks, bronchodilators and a substance called “red acid.” Red acid is believed to reduce inflammation in joints.

It appears that Grasso's doping may have been restricted to harness racing as the indictment does not mention any illegal activities that involved Thoroughbred racing.

Grasso was among four individuals involved with harness racing included in an indictment that also listed trainers Conor Flynn, Donato Poliseno and Thomas Guido III. Poliseno and Guido are scheduled to be tried June 27. Flynn has cooperated with the government and recently testified against Lisa Gianelli, who was convicted of misbranding and drug adulteration.

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TIEA Award Nominations Open

Wed, 2022-05-11 15:35

Nominations for the 2022 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards (TIEA) are open now through Friday, July 15. The TIEAs were held in America for the first time in 2016. Godolphin, the global racing stable founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the principal sponsor of the awards in association with The Jockey Club, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protection Association (NHBPA), the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) and the Breeders' Cup. Godolphin also sponsors the equivalent Stud and Stable Staff Awards in Ireland, Australia, Great Britain and France.

Cash prizes totaling $122,000 will be awarded to winners as well as runners-up in a total of seven categories: Dr. J. David “Doc” Richardson Community Award, Katherine McKee Administration Award, Dedication to Breeding Award, Dedication to Racing Award, Newcomer Award, Support Services and Leadership Award. The Newcomer Award also includes an educational trip to Dubai.

The TIEAs' new category sponsors, which lent their support last year, will be returning as sponsors again for 2022. They are Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Hallway Feeds, NYRA, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, NTRA, along with I Am Horse Racing. Keeneland will once again host the awards ceremony, which will be held Friday, Oct. 14 in the sales pavilion.

For more information and to nominate online, go to www.tiea.org.

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First Starter a Romping Winner for Good Samaritan

Wed, 2022-05-11 15:14

Roger McDaniel's Huntertown (Good Samaritan) was sent off the even-money favorite while making his debut against three rivals at Horseshoe Indianapolis Wednesday and duly romped home an effortless winner. The chestnut pressed the pace three wide through an opening quarter in :23.36, rolled up to the lead into the stretch and strode clear without any encouragement to win by 6 3/4 lengths. Baytown Jagger (Gormley) was second.

Huntertown is the first starter and winner for his freshman sire, Good Samaritan, who won the 2017 GII Jim Dandy S. and 2018 GII New Orleans H.

McDaniel, who campaigned 2010 GI Vinery Madison S. winner Dr. Zic (Milwaukee Brew), was at the Indiana oval to cheer on his homebred Tuesday.

“It was fantastic,” McDaniel said of the result. “Winning his first race and winning it with just a hand ride and by the distance that he did, it was great. He had been working really well. He had had two great workouts, so I certainly thought he was going to win, but I didn't think it would be that way, with a hand ride and by that distance.”

A longtime executive in the electronics industry, McDaniel currently has just one broodmare, Huntertown's dam Charlene's Pal (Proud Citizen). He co-raced that mare's dam, Knockatrina (Langfuhr), and bred and raced Charlene's Pal. He admitted the long association with the family made the result extra special.

“It really does make it special,” he said. “Charlene's Pal's brother [MGSW] Hembree had a really great career. So I was expecting good things and fortunately it's come true.”

Huntertown is Charlene's Pal's first foal.

“Just looking at the match up–you go online and get the rating and it looked like a really good match with the bloodlines,” McDaniel said of the decision to send the mare to WinStar Farm's Good Samaritan.

While he currently has just the one broodmare, McDaniel has high hopes for Charlene's Pal newborn daughter by Flameaway.

“We have a little filly that is beautiful,” McDaniel said.

He added with a laugh, “We are hoping to win the Oaks with her in about three years.”

Asked if he had any offers to buy Huntertown after his smashing debut, McDaniel chuckled and said, “We only left the track about an hour ago. So far, I haven't had any offers. But I've learned from owning a lot of horses that, yes, I would entertain offers.”

1st-Horseshoe Indianapolis, $34,000, Msw, 5-11, 2yo, 4 1/2f, :54.29, ft, 6 3/4 lengths.
HUNTERTOWN (c, 2, Good Samaritan–Charlene's Pal, by Proud Citizen) Click for the Equibase.com chart. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $20,400.
O-Roger McDaniel; B-Derby Lane Farm, LLC (KY); T-Rey Hernandez.

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Secret Oath, Epicenter Confirmed for Preakness

Wed, 2022-05-11 15:09

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas confirmed Wednesday that GI Longines Kentucky Oaks heroine Secret Oath (Arrogate) will become the latest filly to take on males in the GI Preakness S., to be held May 21 at Pimlico. The race will also feature a rematch of the top two finishers from the GI Kentucky Derby, as the connections of beaten Derby favorite Epicenter (Not This Time), who appeared home free until passed on the inside in the final strides by 80-1 longshot Rich Strike (Keen Ice), will head to Baltimore for the Triple Crown's middle jewel.

Lukas, who has won the Preakness six times, confirmed Briland Farm's Secret Oath for the 1 3/16-mile test after terming her 'probable' earlier in the day. Lukas, who won his first of four Kentucky Derbys with the filly Winning Colors in 1988, said he had discussed the Preakness for Secret Oath every day with owner-breeders Rob and Stacy Mitchell since her Oaks victory. He added that Secret Oath will only run in Grade I route races from here on out.

“We agonize over it,” Lukas said at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning. “She's gone back to the track, and she was very sharp out there today. I don't see anything about her that would change our decision right now [regarding the Preakness]. She's training well. She's bright. She's sharp and out there playing.

“Let's put it this way: The Derby horses pretty much all had a hard race. Her race was not hard on her,” he added. “Now, you sit back and say, 'Epicenter is going to be the favorite. Chad Brown is putting that other horse [Wood Memorial runner-up Early Voting] in.' What I always did on those, is I list all the horses going and say, 'Can I beat this one?' Yes. 'Can I beat that one?' Maybe. Go right down the line. But I still don't know who's going.

“Epicenter will be difficult. He's a legitimate favorite. He's a very good horse. Nobody can go over there and think they'll just run by him. He is going to be awfully tough to beat. You are taking a shot if you take him on,” Lukas continued. “The other thing that always factors in is that when they are really good like she is right now, you take advantage of that moment, that time frame. We've got it planned out all the way to the Breeders' Cup, but there's a lot of road until then. Things happen.”

Secret Oath jogged a lap around Churchill Downs and then jogged more in the track's mile chute Wednesday morning under Danielle Rosier.

Secret Oath will attempt to become the second filly in three years to capture the Preakness after eventual champion Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) bested Derby victor Authentic (Into Mischief) in 2020's rescheduled October renewal.

Not joining the Preakness lineup, fellow Lukas trainee Ethereal Road (Quality Road) may instead make an appearance on the Preakness undercard in the Sir Barton S. Squeaking into the Kentucky Derby field after the defection of Un Ojo (Laoban), the colt was scratched by his trainer on the eve of the Derby.

David Fiske, Winchell Thoroughbreds' longtime bloodstock manager, confirmed after speaking with trainer Steve Asmussen Wednesday morning that Epicenter will run in the Preakness. The GII Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby winner returned to the track for training earlier in the morning at Churchill Downs, with Asmussen liking what he saw as Epicenter jogged and galloped under Roberto Howell.
Plans call for Epicenter to work an easy half-mile Monday and van to Pimlico Tuesday.

“Steve said he was really pleased with how he went back to the track this morning,” Fiske said. “He said he looked great. I mean, we were going. It was just that [Epicenter] needed to tell us that he wanted to go.”

After watching Epicenter train, Asmussen called bay colt “a remarkable physical [specimen]. He's very strong.”

“I thought he traveled well,” he said of Epicenter's first day back training. “Roberto said he was himself, more of the same. Being himself is a good thing. I thought he took the Derby really well. He laid down like he normally does. He's been nice and relaxed and traveled really good on the racetrack this morning.”

Other confirmed starters for the Preakness include Early Voting (Gun Runner), Simplification (Not This Time), Un Ojo (Laoban), Skippylongstocking (Exaggerator) and Creative Minister (Creative Cause), while possible starters include Derby third Zandon (Upstart), Rattle N Roll (Connect) and Shake Em Loose (Shakin It Up).

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