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Updated: 18 hours 43 min ago

Derby, Oaks Post-Race Tests Clear

Wed, 2022-05-11 14:53

The post-race tests for banned substances in GI Kentucky Derby and GI Longines Kentucky Oaks horses have cleared, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced Wednesday.

“The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has received laboratory results from post-race samples taken on May 6, and May 7, 2022, at Churchill Downs,” said the KHRC press release. “All samples for both days were cleared. This includes the post-race samples from the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.”

The post Derby, Oaks Post-Race Tests Clear appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Joe Clancy to Receive Old Hilltop Award Preakness Week

Wed, 2022-05-11 13:45

Joe Clancy, editor of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine and co-owner with brother Sean of ST Publishing, Inc.–parent company of The Saratoga Special newspaper and thisishorseracing.com–has been named recipient of the 2022 Old Hilltop Award for covering Thoroughbred racing with excellence and distinction.

Clancy will be presented with the Old Hilltop May 19 at the Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico Race Couse. The Alibi Breakfast began in the 1930s on the porch of the old Pimlico Clubhouse and features a gathering of media, owners, trainers, jockeys, horsemen and fans to celebrate the Preakness and gain interesting and humorous race predictions.

Clancy grew up with horses and worked for his father, trainer Joe Clancy Sr., through high school and college. The 1987 University of Delaware graduate covered his first Preakness for Maryland's Cecil Whig newspaper in 1990 (Summer Squall) and has written about racing and other topics for The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun and others. Joe lives in Fair Hill, Md., with his wife Sam. They are the parents of three sons–Ryan, Jack and Nolan.

In addition to the Old Hilltop Award, Joe has been recognized with the Maryland Jockey Club's David F. Woods Memorial Award for coverage of the Preakness in 2014, 2016 and 2020; an Eclipse Award for his coverage of the 2014 Preakness (with his brother); and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association's Charles W. Engelhard Award for outstanding coverage of the Thoroughbred industry.

“You can't just read the list of Old Hilltop Award winners. You have to stop and think about the names–Red Smith, Joe Hirsch, Jim McKay, Billy Reed, Howard Cosell, Shirley Povich, Bill Nack and all the rest. To receive an award given to people like that is truly humbling,” Clancy said. “Anyone who does this for a living simply covers the races as they come. After a while, you look up and realize you've built a career. I'm proud of this honor, and of my work, but I don't know if I'll ever be in the same league as those people. Thank you to the Maryland Jockey Club for recognizing the work of the media, to everyone at Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine, to my brother Sean and co-worker Tom Law for the inspiration (and the editing) and to the horses and horse people who let me tell their stories.”

Tickets to the Alibi Breakfast can be purchased here.

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2022 HOF Class Headed by Beholder, Tepin

Wed, 2022-05-11 12:56

Eight new members have been elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, including Eclipse Award winners Beholder (Henny Hughes) and Tepin (Bernstein) in the contemporary category, both chosen in their first year of eligibility. The other members of the class of 2022 are divisional stalwarts Hillsdale (Take Away) and Royal Heroine (Ire) (Lypheor {GB}) and, via the Historic Review Committee, Classic-winning trainer Oscar White.

Among the Pillars of the Turf, owner/breeding/racing official James Cox Brady, track announcer and official Marshall Cassidy and renowned owner/breeder James Ben Ali Haggin will also be honored.

The new inductees will be honored 10:30a.m. Friday, Aug. 5 at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs, NY.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on the Museum website at www.racingmuseum.org. The event is open to the public and free to attend.

 

Story to be updated

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Weekly Rulings: May 3-9

Tue, 2022-05-10 16:26

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

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

CALIFORNIA
Track: Santa Anita
Date: 05/06/2022
Licensee: Daniel Dunham, trainer
Penalty: $300 fine
Violation: Lack of documentation proving pre-race examination
Explainer: Trainer Daniel Dunham is fined $300 for violation of California Horse Racing Board rule #1581.1 (b)(1) (Entries – Documentation not provided that Mr. Dunham's attending veterinarian conducted an examination 72 hours preceding entry to the race).

Track: Santa Anita
Date: 05/06/2022
Licensee: Ryan Curatolo, jockey
Penalty: Four-day suspension
Violation: Careless riding (reinstatement of original ruling)
Explainer: Having received notice from the California Horse Racing Board that the appeal of LATS Ruling #90 (April 15, 2022) has been withdrawn, the original ruling is reinstated. Jockey Ryan Curatolo is suspended for 4 racing days (May 13, 14, 15 & 20, 2022). Pursuant to California Horse Racing Board Rule #1766 (Designated Races), the term of suspension shall not prohibit participation in designated races.

Track: Santa Anita
Date: 05/07/2022
Licensee: Emily Ellingwood, jockey
Penalty: $500 fine
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: Jockey Emily Ellingwood is fined $500 for violation of California Horse Racing Board rule #1688(b)(8)(d) (Use of Riding Crop–more than six times) during the third race at Santa Anita Park on May 6, 2022.

KENTUCKY
Many of the following rulings were not posted on the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission website in time for inclusion last week.

Track: Keeneland
Date: 04/24/2022
Licensee: Gerardo Corrales, jockey
Penalty: $500
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: After a hearing before the Board of Stewards, Gerardo Corrales, who rode Cool Rags in the third race at Keeneland on April 24, 2022 is hereby fined $500 for his improper use of the crop by exceeding the allowable use in the overhand manner (2nd offense).

Track: Keeneland
Date: 04/27/2022
Licensee: Declan Cannon
Penalty: Three-day suspension
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: After a hearing before the Board of Stewards, Declan Cannon, who rode Hometown Hero in the first race at Keeneland on Apr. 24, 2022 was found to have violated the crop regulation. This being his first offense, Mr. Cannon was given the option and chose to serve a suspension. Declan Cannon is hereby suspended 3 racing days, April 30, May 3, and May 4, 2022 for his improper use of the crop by exceeding the allowable use in the overhand manner.

Track: Keeneland
Date: 04/27/2022
Licensee: Tyler Gaffalione
Penalty: $500 fine
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: After a hearing before the Board of Stewards, Tyler Gaffalione, who rode Official Business in the first race at Keeneland on Apr. 24, 2022 was found to have violated the crop regulation. This being his first offense, Mr. Gaffalione was given the option and chose to pay a fine. Tyler Gaffalione is hereby fined $500 for his improper use of the riding crop by exceeding the allowable use in the overhand manner.

 

Track: Keeneland
Date: 04/27/2022
Licensee: Gregory Romero, jockey
Penalty: $500
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: After a hearing before the Board of Stewards, Gregory Romero, who rode Danzel in the third race at Keeneland on April 23, 2022 is hereby fined $500 for his improper use of the crop by exceeding the allowable use in the overhand manner (2nd offense).

Track: Keeneland
Date: 04/27/2022
Licensee: Gregory Romero, jockey
Penalty: Four-day suspension
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: After a hearing before the Board of Stewards, Gregory Romero, who rode Memphis Prayer in the second race at Keeneland on Apr. 24, 2022 was found to have violated the crop regulation (3rd offense). Gregory Romero is hereby suspended 4 racing days, May 11-14, 2022 (inclusive) for his improper use of the crop by exceeding the allowable use in the overhand manner.

Track: Keeneland
Date: 04/29/2022
Licensee: Johan Rosado, jockey
Penalty: $500 fine
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: After being represented at a hearing before the Board of Stewards, Johan Rosado, who rode Fortune's Fool in the third race at Keeneland on Apr. 27, 2022 was found to have violated the crop regulation. This being his first offense, Mr. Rosado was given the option and chose to pay a fine. Declan Cannon is hereby fined $500 for his improper use of the crop by exceeding the allowable use in the overhand manner.

Track: Churchill Downs
Date: 05/02/2022
Licensee: Joseph Rocco Jr.
Penalty: $500 fine
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: After being represented at a hearing before the Board of Stewards, Joseph Rocco Jr., who rode Thundering Crowd in the eighth race at Churchill Downs on Apr. 28, 2022 was found to have violated the crop regulation (2nd offense). Joseph Rocco Jr. is hereby fined $500 for his improper use of the crop by exceeding the allowable use in the overhand manner.

Track: Churchill Downs
Date: 05/04/2022
Licensee: Rene Diaz, jockey
Penalty: $500 fine
Violation: Excessive use of the whip
Explainer: After a hearing before the Board of Stewards, Rene Diaz, who rode Formal Order in the first race at Churchill Downs on Apr. 30, 2022 was found to have violated the crop regulation (2nd offense). Rene Diaz is hereby fined $500 for his improper use of the crop by exceeding the allowable use in the overhand manner.

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Jack Christopher Eyes Bigger and Better Things

Tue, 2022-05-10 15:02

After Jack Christopher (Munnings) romped in the GI Champagne S. at Belmont Park last year, his connections were optimistic that the horse had the talent to get them to the winner's circle at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. That happened, just not the way anyone had planned. Not ready for the GI Kentucky Derby after seven-month layoff, Jack Christopher ran instead in the GII Pat Day Mile S., which he won by 3 3/4 lengths. While the victory was somewhat of a consolation prize, it set the colt up for what still could be a very productive year.

“I was very impressed,” trainer Chad Brown said. “He was coming off a long layoff and going into a graded stakes on Derby Day. There were a couple of really nice horses in there. So I thought it was a big test for him, a big challenge. He passed it well. I was so pleased and so relieved that he's back and ready to move forward.”

Jack Christopher was expected to go off as the favorite in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but was withdrawn after Brown discovered that the horse had a shin problem. He subsequently had a screw inserted into his left shin to repair a stress fracture. Had Brown decided to rush things he might have had Jack Christopher ready in time to make the Derby, but he decided to go a more cautious route.

“We decided to give him enough time and not rush him back,” the trainer said. “It was the right approach.”

Jack Christopher had his first published workout on the year on March 27 at Payson Park and made steady progress from there. In order to make the Derby, he would have had to have run in a prep race in order to pick up points. Once Brown realized that wasn't going to happen, he settled in on the Pat Day Mile. He liked the distance and the timing and how it might set the horse up for the rest of the year.

“At the mile, it worked out perfectly,” Brown said. “He was able to find his stride down the backside. He broke a little tardy and had to be used just a touch to get into position. When Jose (Ortiz) sat back on the horse against the bit the horse was a comfortable mover, just tugging along gently the entire race. He was running within himself.”

The Pat Day simply confirmed what Brown already knew, that this is a very good race horse.

“He's very special. He is an incredible talent,” he said.

Yet, Brown couldn't escape the obvious. He has what very well might be the most talented 3-year-old in training and won a graded stakes race on Kentucky Derby day. Only it wasn't the Kentucky Derby.

“It is bittersweet,” he said. “You only have one crack at the Derby. But that's part of what makes the Derby so difficult to win. There is a small window. Could he have won the Derby? We'll never know. Now it's in the books and the horse didn't make it. There are a certain number of people out there who believe this is the most talented colt in this crop. With previous crops through history, sometimes the most talented horse in the crop does not make the Derby. I'm not saying that's the case here. There are still long careers to be had out of this crop with many different horses. He's one of them. Ultimately, we'll find out down the road who the most talented horse is.”

The problem now for Brown and owners Jim Bakke and Gerry Isbister is that there is no obvious next step when it comes to the next race. The GI Preakness S. comes up too soon and is not under consideration. The GI Belmont S. is out because it would be asking too much to go from a mile to a mile-and-a-half. Brown isn't in love with the idea of cutting back in distance, but he also wants to keep Jack Christopher on a steady schedule. With that in mind, he said the seven-furlong GI Woody Stephens S., run June 11, Belmont day, will be next. The larger goal is the GI Haskell S. on July 23 at Monmouth.

“When we decided to take some extra time with the horse and take him out of consideration for the Derby, the race I spoke to Mr. Bakke about was the Haskell,” Brown said. “I told him he wasn't going to make the Derby but the Haskell is really the target. I do think the horse will get a mile and an eighth.”

That's the sort of a race where he could meet Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike (Keen Ice) along with a number of other top horses from this division. It will be a test, but one he seems capable of passing. Is Jack Christopher an “incredible talent?” We're about to find out.

The post Jack Christopher Eyes Bigger and Better Things appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

NBC Derby Broadcast Averages 16 Million Viewers, Most Watched Derby Since 2019

Tue, 2022-05-10 12:06

NBC Sports' presentation of the 148th GI Kentucky Derby averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 16.0 million viewers–marking the eighth consecutive year that the event topped the 15-million mark, excluding pandemic-impacted events. It was the most watched Derby since 2019, with viewership peaking at 19 million from 7-7:15 p.m. ET, shortly after Rich Strike (Keen Ice) crossed the wire first at 80-1, marking the largest Kentucky Derby peak audience since 2017, ahead of the 18.5 million for the controversial 2019 disqualification of Maximum Security. The TV-only average audience of 15.8 million viewers is NBC's most-watched program since Super Bowl Sunday.

Led by Peacock, which live streamed the Derby for the first time, the event posted a record Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 247,300 viewers across NBCUniversal streaming platforms. The overhead replay of the race with Larry Collmus's call has been viewed more than 36 million times across NBC Sports' flagship Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok handles and the NBC Sports YouTube channel–the most-viewed Derby video ever on NBC Sports' social media platforms and six times the consumption of Justify's Triple Crown-winning run in the 2018 Belmont Stakes (6 million views). In addition, the video is the most-viewed moment ever for NBC Sports' TikTok account (11.6 million views).

NBC will broadcast GI Preakness S. weekend on its family of networks May 20-21, with coverage of the Triple Crown's middle jewel beginning at 4 p.m. ET May 21 on NBC and Peacock.

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Knicks Go Named Honorary Postmaster for Preakness

Tue, 2022-05-10 10:58

Maryland-bred Knicks Go (Paynter), the Eclipse Award winner as champion older horse and Horse of the Year for 2021, has been named the Honorary Postmaster for Preakness 147.

Bred by the mother and daughter team of Angie and Sabrina Moore and foaled at their GreenMount Farm in Glyndon, Md., Knicks Go will be recognized Thursday, May 19 during the Alibi Breakfast at historic Pimlico Race Course.

In 1996, the United States Postal Service opened a temporary Preakness station at Pimlico the week of the Preakness. It returns this year after being canceled in 2020 and 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Past honorary postmasters have included Hall of Fame trainers D. Wayne Lukas and Nick Zito, champions Cigar and Ben's Cat, and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

“It's really exciting. I love Preakness and it's something I've looked forward to every single year since I was a little kid,” Sabrina Moore said. “To be honored during Maryland's biggest week is great. I'm super flattered. It's unbelievable.”

Knicks Go is the third Maryland-bred to earn Thoroughbred racing's top annual honor. Hall of Famer Cigar was champion older horse and Horse of the Year in 1995 and 1996. Before the Eclipse Awards were established in 1971, Challedon was named Horse of the Year in 1939 and 1940.

During his championship season, Knicks Go won five of eight starts including three Grade I races–the Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park, Whitney at Saratoga and Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar–and earned more than $7.3 million in purses. Retired after running second in defense of his Pegasus title Jan. 29, Knicks Go finished his career with 10 wins, four seconds and a third with $9,258,135 in purse earnings, second only to Cigar's $9,999,815 among Maryland-breds.

Knicks Go is standing stud at Taylor Made Stallions, Inc. in Nicholasville, Ky. for a $30,000 fee.

“Looking back at it, it's like those days are now just starting to get further and further away,” Moore added. “I realize how special it's been. Now it's just memories, and I get to look back on all of the things that he's done. It helps you get through every other day just pushing on and, hopefully, working on the next big horse one of these days.”

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Claiborne Stalwart Flatter Dies at 23

Tue, 2022-05-10 10:50

Flatter (A.P. Indy–Praise, by Mr. Prospector), a successful stallion at Claiborne Farm for nearly two decades, was euthanized May 9 at the age of 23 due to the infirmities of old age, Claiborne announced Tuesday.

The bay was a second-generation homebred for Claiborne and Adele Dilschneider and a full-brother to GSW and successful sire Congrats.

Flatter was the kind of sire you'd like to have 10 of,” said Claiborne's Bernie Sams. “He was solid and consistent year in and year out. He started at the bottom and worked his way up to being a successful and respected stallion. He was popular among people who bred to race and was a successful commercial sire as well. He will be greatly missed.”

After finishing fourth on debut, Flatter reeled off a four-race winning streak before finishing third in the GII Washington Park H. in his career finale. He was retired with a record of 6-4-0-1 and earnings of $148,815.

Entering stud at Claiborne in 2004, Flatter is thus far represented by 692 winners with combined progeny earnings in excess of $84.1 million. He has sired 59 stakes winners and 21 graded/group stakes winners, including Grade I winner Search Results, who carried his flag to victory in the GII Ruffian S. Sunday at Belmont.

Other notable top-end runners for Flatter include West Coast, 2017's Eclipse champion 3-year-old male, a multiple Grade I winner who earned over $5.8 million in his career. His son Flat Out was also a multiple Grade I winner and earned over $3.6 million. Other Grade I winners by Flatter include Taris, Paola Queen and the aforementioned Search Results. In total, he has seven runners who earned seven figures on the racetrack, including emerging young stallion Upstart. He also sired Canadian champion Avie's Flatter.

As a broodmare sire, Flatter's daughters have produced Grade I winners Juju's Map (Liam's Map) and Taiba (Gun Runner), Grade II winner Merneith (American Pharoah) and Brazilian MG1SW Fast Jet Court (Courtier).

Flatter's passing leaves a huge hole in all of our hearts,” said Claiborne president Walker Hancock. “He was a homebred of ours that was tough as nails until the day he passed. He was a farm favorite and will be sorely missed. We will look for his legacy to continue through his sons at stud.”

Flatter will be buried at Claiborne Farm.

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Servis to Stand Trial in January 2023

Mon, 2022-05-09 17:36

A federal judge has established trial dates for the remaining Thoroughbred-related defendants in the alleged international doping conspiracy case that has already netted several convictions and a number of guilty pleadings.

The most prominent name among the indicted individuals is the barred trainer Jason Servis, whose case will be tried alongside that of New York-based veterinarian Alexander Chan on Jan. 9, 2023.

Servis amassed gaudily high win percentages during the 2010s decade prior to getting arrested on three felony drug misbranding and conspiracy to commit fraud charges in March 2020.

According a trove of wiretaps the government has produced as evidence against him–plus implicating testimony from plea-bargaining defendants who are already imprisoned–Servis allegedly doped almost all the horses under his control in early 2019, including MGISW Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first in the GI Kentucky Derby, but was DQ'd for in-race interference. Chan is alleged to have assisted with the alleged conspiracy.

Another trial grouping set for Sept. 12, 2022, will decide felony charges against former trainer Michael Tannuzzo and Florida-based veterinarian Erica Garcia, both of whom are alleged accomplices of the now-imprisoned former trainer Jorge Navarro.

Alluding to previous setbacks that have caused complications in the court calendar, United States District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil wrote in her May 6 scheduling order, “These are firm trial dates. The Court will not accept delays.”

Previous reasons for pushing back the trials have included conflicts on the calendars of defense attorneys, delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the massive volume of evidence against the defendants that has been introduced.

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Cabrera Earns First Oaklawn Riding Title

Mon, 2022-05-09 17:28

Despite missing the final 13 racing days due to injury, David Cabrera earned his first Oaklawn Park riding title with 62 victories when the Arkansas track concluded its racing season Sunday. Cabrera was one win ahead of Francisco Arrieta and eight-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana was third with 47 victories.

“This is a dream,” Cabrera said. “This is a dream and I really thank my agent. He's a very, very good agent. To me, having him is something very good. He's my secret weapon.”

Cabrera, who has spent the last few weeks recovering at his home in Jones, Oklahoma and is targeting a return to the saddle in late May at Lone Star Park, sustained head, neck and upper back injuries in an Apr. 8 spill, which occurred when his mount, Mostly Awesome, clipped heels in upper stretch and fell. Cabrera was unseated and tumbled hard to the ground. He said he has no memory of the accident.

“Actually, it's the like the last five days that I've started to feel normal,” Cabrera said. “Before that, I was having trouble with my senses. I was still acting a little weird. Everything, I think, has come back to normal.”

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen won 65 races to capture his 12th Oaklawn training title. Asmussen had shared the record for most career Oaklawn training titles with the late Hall of Famer Henry Forrest. Asmussen (820) is poised to surpass the late Bob Holthus (867) as the winningest trainer in Oaklawn history at the 2022-2023 meeting.

John Ed Anthony topped all owners at the meeting in victories (19), purse earnings ($2,083,402) and stakes victories (five). Anthony set a single-season Oaklawn record for purse earnings. M and M Racing of Mike and Mickala Sisk set the previous mark ($1,782,351) in 2019. Anthony also surpassed the late Sharon Hild at the meet to become Oaklawn's all-time winningest owner. Anthony has 279 career Oaklawn victories, the first coming Feb. 16, 1972.

 

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Robert Raymond Passes Away

Mon, 2022-05-09 15:54

Robert “Bobby” Raymond passed away Sunday at Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, Fla., from septic shock. He was 74. Raymond trained 1,294 winners during his 43-year career and finished eighth in the 2020-2021 trainer's standings at Tampa Bay Downs.

The longtime trainer suffered an infection in a cut on his leg and was rushed to the hospital last Friday. His condition gradually worsened over the next two days before he passed away at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

“He never stopped fighting. His heart was so big,” Rob Raymond said of his father. “He hardly ever took a minute for himself. He had a great love for the animals and all the people he was involved with. He never had a problem helping someone on the backstretch who was in need. He touched so many people, and the outpouring of love and affection we've received the last 24 hours has been unbelievable. We've had people calling offering condolences from Cuba to Canada.”

Raymond, a Woonsocket, R.I., product who owned Bobkat Stable farm in North Smithfield, R.I., with his wife Kathy, began training in 1979 at Suffolk Downs in Boston and made Tampa Bay Downs his winter base during the 2003-2004 season.

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Helen Groves Passes Away

Mon, 2022-05-09 14:37

Longtime owner and breeder Helen Groves passed away last Friday at her home in San Antonio, Texas. She was 94. Groves's love of horses began while she was growing up on the historic King Ranch founded by her great-grandfather, Captain Richard King. A skilled rider, she raised and campaigned many champion cutting horses. Known as the “First Lady of Cutting,” Groves was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 1998. She also owned Grand Prix jumpers ridden by Olympian Michael Matz.

Groves's passion for breeding and racing on her own account spanned over seven decades. In the early 1960s, she bred and raced multiple stakes winner Saidam, who won or placed in seven stakes, including the Suburban, Metropolitan, and Carter Handicaps, as well as the Whitney S.

In partnership with daughter Helen Alexander and David Aykroyd, Groves bred and raced the brilliant champion Althea, who in turn produced several stakes winners and stakes producers. Groves and Alexander bred Grade I winner Arch from one of her daughters, Aurora. Also from this daughter of Althea, Groves and Alexander bred and raced GI Spinster S. winner Acoma.

Antics, an unraced mare by Unbridled and yet another granddaughter of Althea and daughter of Aurora, produced one of the fastest one-turn females in years, the dual Eclipse champion Covfefe.

While the family partnership has proven prolific, Groves was not afraid to step out on her own. She bought out her partners in a yearling filly by Street Cry out of Alchemist at the Saratoga sale, instead of taking a considerable gain. Fittingly named And Why Not, she garnered Grade I credentials after breaking her maiden at first asking, also at Saratoga. And Why Not is the dam of multiple graded stakes winner Fearless, winner of 2022 GIII Ghostzapper S. and recently runner-up in the GII Oaklawn H.

In 1987, Groves made an astute purchase from the Tartan/Nerud dispersal, embellishing her formidable broodmare band with the 8-year-old Mochila in foal to Fappiano, and established a pedigree influence that continues to resonate in 2022. From Mochila, Groves bred and raced GI Ballerina S. winner Serape, who later produced record-setting multiple graded stakes winner and stakes producer Batique, who also ran in Groves's colors. Through another of Serape's daughters, Trensa, Groves bred and sold Grade I winners Free Drop Billy and multiple Group 1 winner Hawkbill, who was purchased as a yearling by Godolphin and earned nearly $5 million.

In 2019, Hard Cloth, a granddaughter of Serape produced a colt by More Than Ready which Groves sold as a yearling. Now named Emmanuel, the very promising current 3-year-old recently was third in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S.

Services will be held May 17 at First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation  (www.grayson-jockeyclub.org) or the National Sporting Library (http://nationalsporting.org).

 

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Trainer Bonus Back for Preakness Weekend

Mon, 2022-05-09 13:18

For the sixth consecutive year, the Maryland Jockey Club will over bonus money totaling $100,000 to trainers who run at least five horses in the 15 Thoroughbred stakes that are to be carded for Preakness weekend May 20 and 21 at Pimlico Racecourse.

A total of 16 stakes–10 at the graded level–with combined purse money of $3.8 million will be offered. The trainer who accumulates the most points will earn $50,000, with $25,000 for second, $12,000 for third, $7,000 for fourth, $4,000 for fifth and $2,000 for sixth.

Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen was the leading Preakness weekend stakes trainer in 2018 and 2019, followed by Brad Cox in 2019 and Mike Maker in 2020. Asmussen edged Maker for the top spot again in 2021.

There will also be bonus money totaling $50,000 for trainers with the most points in non-stakes races during Preakness weekend. The points are accumulated in similar fashion with $25,000 going to the leader, $10,000 to second, $7,500 to third, $4,000 to fourth, $2,500 to fifth and $1,000 to sixth.

Nominations are free for all stakes, with the exception of the Preakness, and close Tuesday, May 10. To make a nomination, email stakes coordinator Marie Kizenko at marie.kizenko@marylandracing.com; call 410-542-9400 or 800-638-1859; or fax 410-542-1221.

Entries will be taken Sunday, May 15 for the entire Black-Eyed Susan Day program, with post positions drawn for all undercard stakes. The Black-Eyed Susan will be drawn Monday, May 16, when entries are taken and post positions drawn for the Preakness Day program.

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Tickets Now on Sale for 2022 Breeders’ Cup

Mon, 2022-05-09 12:53

Tickets for the 2022 Breeders' Cup, to be held for the third time at Keeneland Race Course Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4 and 5, 2022, are now on sale at BreedersCup.com/Tickets.

“With the 39th running of the Breeders' Cup World Championships now less than six months away, we're excited to see fans begin making their plans to join us for another incredible two days of racing,” said Breeders' Cup President and CEO Drew Fleming. “We know fans are eager to celebrate racing and watch the best horses in the world compete at Keeneland, and we are working with our partners at both the racetrack and in the Lexington community to ensure that this year's running is the best one yet.”

A reflection of its commitment to a 'curated and intimate' fan experience and to ensure safety and comfort, attendance for the event will be capped at 45,000. Available single-day ticket prices range from $75 to $504 on Friday, and $125 to $689 on Saturday. Two-day packages available for purchase range from $200 to $1,568. All tickets will be sold in advance of the event, as no tickets will be sold on event days at the racetrack.

To further elevate the experience for all fans and participants, Breeders' Cup and Keeneland will invest more than $10.5 million to expand seating areas and enhance hospitality offerings. This investment will add 165,000 square feet of luxury chalets that will provide 7,500 premium dining seats and 1,800 temporary box seats, including Trackside Luxury Chalets, The Silks Lawn Chalet, The Saddling Paddock Chalet and Temporary Loge Box Seats.

Parking on-site at Keeneland is limited and only available to attendees with official pre-paid parking credentials. There will be no day-of-event parking available for purchase. Breeders' Cup will offer public shuttle service to and from Keeneland at one dedicated off-site Park-and-Ride location on Friday and Saturday. More information is available at BreedersCup.com/Transportation.

The Breeders' Cup will be televised live by NBC Sports Group.

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Seattle Slew License Plate Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Mon, 2022-05-09 12:17

The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) Foundation is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its specialty Seattle Slew license plate.

Since its release on May 1, 2017, the number of Kentuckians who have chosen to use the plate has continued to increase annually. From each purchase and renewal of the plate, $10 is donated to the KEEP Foundation to be used for educational initiatives related to the state's horse industry. To date, funding from the license plate has totaled nearly $140,000.

The KEEP Foundation's Seattle Slew specialty license plate would not have been possible without the gracious support of Karen and Mickey Taylor, the owners of Seattle Slew, and Bobby Shiflet, owner of the Tony Leonard Collection, who donated the photo of Seattle Slew that was used for the license plate.

“The KEEP Foundation's Seattle Slew specialty license plate has paid incredible dividends for the Commonwealth by directing these funds toward essential education and workforce development projects,” said Elisabeth Jensen, Chair of the KEEP Foundation Board of Directors. “We look forward to where the next five years will take us and we have no doubts that it will match the incredible success that we have seen over the past five years. The KEEP Foundation will be forever grateful to the Taylors and the Tony Leonard Collection for making this success possible.”

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Elm Drive Cruises to Angels Flight Victory

Sun, 2022-05-08 19:31

Elm Drive took command of the Angels Flight S. and never looked like anything but the winner in an eye-catching 3-year-old bow reminiscent of her early juvenile form.

As brilliant as she was on unveiling June 26 at Los Alamitos, where she dominated a five furlong field of maidens by eight easy lengths, and then a head victorious in Del Mar's GII Sorrento S. Aug. 6 over eventual GISW Eda (Munnings), she was as uncharacteristically dull in her prior two starts. Eased to a distant seventh in the GI Del Mar Debutante Sept. 5 and last Oct. 10 in the 1 1/16m GII Chandelier S. at the Great Race Place, Elm Drive wasn't seen again until this return to one turn contests.

With the scratch of old foe Eda, overcoming a bumper car start to speed to the lead was a breeze; the 2-1 co-second choice had everything her own way as she cruised through a :23.59 opening quarter and a :46.66 half. The big white blaze emerged first into the lane, three on top and going well, and Elm Drive comfortably held off a late rally by Kirstenbosch (Midnight Lute).

“She broke sharp and just showed she was in command every step of the way and a had a little extra to kick away in the stretch,” said trainer Philip D'Amato, the current leader in trainer standings with 38 wins and one more than Bob Baffert for the lead in stakes victories, with 12. “I'm very happy with her comeback. Seven eighths is a tricky distance to win at off the bench and I'm glad we did it. I think she'll get a lot out of this race.”

Elm Drive is her dam's second black-type runner and fifth winner from five older offspring to survive. The mare has a yearling colt by Accelerate and a 2022 colt by Volatile. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

ANGELS FLIGHT S., $79,400, Santa Anita, 5-8, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:23.97, ft.
1–ELM DRIVE, 124, f, 3, by Mohaymen
                1st Dam: Lets Dance Charlie, by Indian Charlie
                2nd Dam: Dance Darling, by Devil's Bag
                3rd Dam: Danzig Darling, by Danzig
($40,000 Ylg '20 OBSOCT; $165,000 2yo '21 OBSMAR). O-Little Red Feather Racing; B-Kenneth D'Oyen (KY); T-Philip D'Amato; J-Ricardo Gonzalez. $47,640. Lifetime Record: GSW, 5-3-0-0, $195,640. *1/2 to Mother of Dragons (First Dude), MSW, $153,995.
2–Kirstenbosch, 120, f, 3, Midnight Lute–Llandudno, by Belong to Me. 1ST BLACK TYPE. O/B-Keith Abrahams (KY); T-John W. Sadler. $15,880.
3–Empire Gal, 120, f, 3, Empire Maker–Double Tapped, by Tapit. 1ST BLACK TYPE. O-Bridlewood Farm and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners; B-Bridlewood Farm (FL); T-Michael W. McCarthy. $9,528.
Margins: 2 1/4, 2 3/4, 1HF. Odds: 2.00, 2.00, 1.80.
Also Ran: Unsolved Mystery, Classical Romance. Scratched: Eda.

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Fixed-Odds Era Begins at Monmouth

Sun, 2022-05-08 19:06

OCEANPORT, N.J.-With a steady stream of customers showing up at the fixed odds windows, Monmouth Park's bold experiment with a new form of wagering the track hopes will energize the sport began Sunday.

Fixed-odds betting was supposed to begin a day earlier, but the opening day of the 2022 meet was canceled due to bad weather.
Monmouth did not release figures regarding how much was wagered on the fixed-odds bets, which made it difficult to assess how successful it was on day one. Because the bets are only available at present to on-track customers and Monmouth is the only track, for now, that players can bet on, expectations are that the handle, at the outset, will be modest.

There were, however, some positive signs Sunday. Three windows on the first floor of the grandstand accepted only fixed-odds wagering and the lines to get bets in typically ran three or four deep.

“The holds have been building with every race,” said Dallas Baker, the head of international operations for BetMakers, the Australian firm coordinating the fixed odds bets for Monmouth. “It's an educating process for the customers and an educating process for us as well. We are learning a lot. We are up and writing bets, but there are still a couple of takeaways from today that we need to look at. Ths success for us this weekend was always going to be measured by whether we were up and running and writing bets. We're writing bets and everything is working.”

Some of the customers appeared to be confused by the prices posted by BetMakers, which used the same system in place with overseas bookmakers. The stake is not included in the price. Therefore, a $2 bet on a 4-1 show pays $8, the same as a 3-1 shot in the pari-mutuel pools.

Many of the players were shopping for bargains, hoping they could find a horse going off at 3-1 in the fixed odds that might be 8-5 with the tote.

“I think this will work,” said jockey agent Nick Fulco after betting on the first race. “It will work in big fields, 12-horse fields, the turf races. You'll get 20-1 on maybe an 8-1 or 9-1 shot. Another place it will work is with the first-time starters. In the fixed odds a first-time starter might open up at 10-1, 15-1 and then you'll see them getting bet down. You might get 15-1 on a horse that pays 3-1. I'm going to be shopping around today for the best odds.”

(Note: For the sake of simplicity we have converted the fixed-odds prices to include the stake so that they correspond with the pari-mutuel prices).

Bargains were to be had, starting with the first race. Race winner Rhumjar (Holy Boss) took a lot of late action with the tote and went off at 2-1, paying $6. He opened at 9-2 in the fixed odds and held steady at that price. In the same race, beaten favorite Mr. Extension (Malibu Moon) went off at odds of 9-10 on the tote but could be had 8-5 in the fixed-odds betting.

It happened again in the second race with winner Kingdom Queen (Exaggerator) opening at 20-1 in the fixed odds before drifting down to 15-1. The filly went off at 8-1 in the pari-mutuel pools, paying $18.20. In the fifth race, Hushion (The Lumber Guy) paid $17.20 in pari-mutuel wagering with a $2 fixed odds bet closing at $28.00.

“We've seen massive price differences on some of the winners already today,” Baker said midway through the card. “We've also had 20-1's that were 10-1 on tote. It will show what a great service this is for the customers. Hopefully, this is a nice and easy start to what's going to be a great thing here.”

Bob Filo was typical of the customers that gave the fixed odds a try. A small bettor, he was curious to see how the system worked and was willing to give it a chance.

“I think this is a good idea,” he said. “If you're betting on a horse that you know is going to be a hot favorite you can shop for the best odds. I just wanted to try it. I just bet $5. I'm not sure how much I'll be betting on the fixed odds. I have to get used to it, see if it is worth it. I have to get the feel of it. I'll probably bet some in both pools today. Paco [Lopez] is always on the hot favorite. Maybe his horses won't be so low in the fixed odds. Then again, you might get burned. You could take Paco at 4-5 in the fixed odds and then his horse drifts up and goes off at 8-5. You just don't know.”

Baker said that he had expected to see more big gamblers try to exploit differences in the odds in the two pools.

“I was a bit surprised that we haven't seen a lot of professional money come in,” he said. “I was ready to be here and taking on some more professional money. It's been more just the general patrons getting into it. When the holds get bigger the more professional money will start flowing in.”

Baker has said that fixed odds should be available with online bookmakers in the state within a month or two. Betting will also expand to other tracks shortly and Baker said that his company has signed up about 15 tracks. However, all of the major racetracks are still taking a wait-and-see attitude regarding fixed odds wagering.

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Russell, Barbosa Win Laurel Spring Meet Titles

Sun, 2022-05-08 18:40

Surrounded by her family, Brittany Russell celebrated Mother's Day in style by winning with her only two starters Sunday at Laurel Park and clinching her first career training title. Russell, 32, ended the 22-day spring meet with a flourish, winning five races from nine starters over the final weekend to edge Jamie Ness, 14-13 and snap Claudio Gonzalez's streak at nine consecutive meet titles in Maryland. Gonzalez wound up third with 10 wins.

“It's a huge accomplishment. My team, just how far we've come in a short time, it's going to take me a little bit to wrap my head around it,” Russell said. “I think it's a really big deal for the barn. My crew is amazing. I'm lucky for the clients I have and the barn we've built.”

The battle for leading jockey came down to the final race of the meet when Jevian Toledo finished sixth aboard favored Scintilli and fell one win short of seven-pound apprentice Jeiron Barbosa, 20-19. It is the first riding title for Barbosa, an 18-year-old native of Puerto Rico, who had a five-win edge before missing the final three days of the spring meet serving a suspension.

Barbosa becomes only the third apprentice in a decade to lead the jockey standings at Laurel, following Yomar Ortiz (2013 winter) and Julio Correa (2019 summer). Toledo, Maryland's overall riding champion in 2015, 2017 and 2021, had three wins, three seconds and three thirds in 12 mounts during Barbosa's absence.

“I'm feeling really happy and really grateful with all the opportunities,” Barbosa said through fellow Maryland jockey and family friend Angel Cruz. “To be here my first month and be leading rider of the spring meet, it's a big accomplishment.”

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Rich Strike ‘Looking Great’ After Derby Shocker

Sun, 2022-05-08 13:34

RED TR-Racing's Rich Strike (Keen Ice) left Churchill Downs around 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday to head back to his main base at trainer Eric Reed's Mercury Equine Center in Lexington as a GI Kentucky Derby winner.

“I couldn't sleep last night,” Reed said after achieving his first Grade I victory and second graded victory in a career that began in 1985. “At four this morning I was wondering if this was real or if it was a dream. I got home and my kids and their friends were there with champagne. I finally told them at 2:30 I had to go up to bed. I just kept seeing him in my head come up the rail.”

As the longest shot on the board in a field of 20 horses at 80-1, Rich Strike took advantage of a crafty ride from Sonny Leon to charge past Epicenter (Not This Time) and Zandon (Upstart) in deep stretch to pull off the second biggest upset in Derby history with Donerail at 91-1 in 1913 serving as the biggest longshot winner.

Next on the agenda most likely will be Reed's first trip to Pimlico and a shot at the GI Preakness S. May 21.

“That's probably the plan,” said Reed, who indicated Rich Strike would return to Churchill Downs to work over the track before deciding on the colt's next start. “I'm not going to do a whole lot with him and I don't like to run back quick. You get one like this in a lifetime and you have to protect him.”

A 17 1/4-length victory in a $30,000 maiden claimer at Churchill Downs last September had served as the only win on Rich Strike's resume until Saturday. A fourth-place finish in the John Battaglia Memorial S. and a third in the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks gave Rich Strike 21 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and enough to land a spot on the also-eligible list when entries were taken Monday.

The defection of Ethereal Road seconds before scratch time Friday morning put Rich Strike in the starting gate.

“We were hoping and praying all week just trying to get there,” Reed said. “Then we went a step further than we could have dreamed.”

Despite breaking from post 20, Leon gave Rich Strike a ground-saving trip, immediately moving toward the inside behind a wall of horses shortly after the break and then cutting the corner at the top of the stretch.

“When I saw that move at the quarter pole, I told my dad [Herbert] that might get us on the board,” Reed said. “Then, I don't really remember what happened except my back gave out on me. I ended up on the ground before the horse even crossed the wire. All my friends and family just piled on top of me. He looks great this morning. He ate up everything last night and seems really good. He gains weight after every race and I don't think we've gotten to the bottom of him.”

As for Reed, it was a low-key night as he went back to Lexington where his wife Kay was overseeing the training center and 100 horses.

“My friends drank a lot but I didn't,” said Reed, who has horses entered this week at Horseshoe Indianapolis, Mountaineer and Belterra. “I was happy for my crew and so proud that they got to make the walk [over to the paddock for the Derby].”

Reed's story, coming back to win the Kentucky Derby with his first starter and a first-time Derby rider after a barn fire claimed 23 of his horses and all of his tack and equipment six years ago, is made for Hollywood. And if a movie could been made from this year's Run for the Roses, who would play Reed?

“Maybe Mark Wahlberg,” Reed said with a laugh. “He's short like me.”

One day removed from Epicenter's runner-up effort, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen was on the track alongside assistant Scott Blasi to continue their normal schedule of training. Epicenter exited the Derby in good order, according to the team.

“We'll just try and move forward. I haven't spoken with [owner] Ron [Winchell] yet but I will later and will figure out what we are going to do next,” Asmussen said.

Zandon was back at trainer Chad Brown's Barn 25 at Churchill Downs Sunday morning.

“We had a really good trip but just weren't able to get the job done,” Brown said.

Tami Bobo's Simplification (Not This Time) came out of his fourth-place effort “very well” according to trainer Antonio Sano.

“I was very happy with his race,” Sano said. “I am going to talk with the owner in the next two days and a make a decision on whether to go to the Preakness or to go home.”

Trainer Tim Yakteen was at Barn 37 Sunday morning to see how his two Derby colts–Messier (Empire Maker), who finished 15th, and Taiba (Gun Runner), who ran 12th–were doing the day after Kentucky Derby 148.

The report was good. Both 3-year-olds were none the worse for wear and would “live to fight another day.”

“My family [his wife, Millie Ball, and his two teenage sons] will be on a plane and headed back to California today,” Yakteen said. “I'm going to stick around for a while. There will have to be some decisions made in the next 48 hours about what's next for these two. Taiba is under consideration for the Preakness, but that call has yet to be determined.”

Reflecting on Messier's effort, he said, “I thought Johnny [Velazquez] rode a good race on Messier. I'm not sure, but maybe we have to consider distance limitations with him.”

In the case of Taiba, who was making only the third start of his career, Yakteen felt the horse was hindered by all the kickback he encountered, causing him to “climb some and be very uncomfortable.”

Also, he noted, “His lack of experience certainly could have played a role in the situation.”

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Derby Day Handle Up

Sat, 2022-05-07 23:04

A crowd of 147,294 witnessed Rich Strike's (Keen Ice) 80-1 upset in the 148th running of the GI Kentucky Derby Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby Day program totaled $273.8 million, a 17% increase over 2021 and up 9% from the previous record in 2019 of $250.9 million. Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby race totaled $179.0 million, up 15% over 2021 and up 8% from the previous record of $166.5 million set in 2019. This year's wagering record includes $8.3 million of handle wagered in Japan.

“We are deeply grateful to all of the fans of the Kentucky Derby around the world who once again made this an amazing and memorable experience,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “We expect the Kentucky Derby Week Adjusted EBITDA to reflect another record with $7 to $9 million of growth over the prior record in 2019.”

All-sources handle for Derby Week rose to a new record of $391.8 million, up 25% from 2021 and up 14% from the previous record of $343 million set in 2019.

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