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Updated: 12 hours 18 min ago

Zandon Tabbed as 3-1 Kentucky Derby ML Favorite from Post 10

Mon, 2022-05-02 15:29

LOUISVILLE, KY – With all of the morning buzz surrounding Zandon (Upstart) since his dramatic come-from-behind victory in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S., Mike Battaglia installed the handsome dark bay as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby after drawing right in the middle in post 10.

The Jeff Drown colorbearer, a $170,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase, has posted a pair of much-discussed breezes for Chad Brown following his breakthrough win at Keeneland, including a visually impressive five-furlong move in 1:00.40 (7/43) at Churchill Downs Apr. 29. Flavien Prat rides.

“Perfect,” Brown said of the draw. “We're ready to go.”

Potential Derby favorite Zandon out for a spin this morning

— Steve Sherack (@SteveSherackTDN) May 2, 2022

Epicenter (Not this Time), drawn on the inside in post three, was made the second choice at 7-2. The $260,000 KEESEP graduate enters off impressive victories for Winchell Thoroughbreds and Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen in the GII Risen Star S. and GII Louisiana Derby. Asmussen has failed to find the mark with 23 previous starters in the Run for the Roses.

“Like any race, you want to get away nicely from the gate and go from there,” Asmussen said. “How long he stands in there, how long it takes to load, 150,000 people staring at him–it's a lot. [Jockey] Joel [Rosario] is very confident in rhythm of the horse. So, if he is away cleanly Joel will let him be who he is.”

The top two choices have met once before. Zandon was back in third after a slow start and wide trip while making his first start of the season in Epicenter's front-running Risen Star score.

Louisville native Brad Cox, promoted to first with Mandaloun (Into Mischief) following the well-documented medication disqualification of the ill-fated Medina Spirit (Protonico) in last year's Derby and subsequent suspension of Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, will look to put them back to back. He has entered the trio of Cyberknife (Gun Runner) (post 16), Tawny Port (Pioneerof the Nile) (post 18) and 'TDN Rising Star' Zozos (Munnings) (post 19).

“I think with the Derby starting at the head of the stretch, and a quarter of a mile to the first turn, they'll be able to get into position,” Cox said.

Former Baffert runners, unbeaten 'TDN Rising Star' Taiba (Gun Runner) (post 12) and 'TDN Rising Star' Messier (Empire Maker) (post six), punched their tickets to Louisville for trainer Tim Yakteen following a one-two finish in the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby.

Taiba, a $1.7-million Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-old purchase by Medina Spirit owner Zedan Racing Stables, looks to become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby in just his third start since Leonatus in 1883. Messier, a 15-length winner of the GIII Robert B. Lewis S., is the third choice on the morning-line at 8-1; Taiba is listed at 12-1.

Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, seeking his third win in the Kentucky Derby, will be represented by the trio of: GII Wood Memorial S. winner Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo) (post one), GI Curlin Florida Derby runner-up and 'TDN Rising Star' Charge It (Tapit) (post eight) and Louisiana Derby third Pioneer of Medina (Pioneerof the Nile) (post 11).

Live coverage of the Kentucky Derby will be provided by NBC from 2:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. (ET). Post time for the Derby is 6:57 p.m.

From the rail out, the complete field of 20 for the Kentucky Derby:

1-Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo) (10-1)

2-Happy Jack (Oxbow) (30-1)

3-Epicenter (Not This Time) (7-2)

4-Summer Is Tomorrow (Summer Front) (30-1)

5-Smile Happy (Runhappy) (20-1)

6-Messier (Empire Maker) (8-1)

7-Crown Pride (Jpn) (Reach the Crown {Jpn}) (20-1)

8-Charge It (Tapit) (20-1)

9-Tiz the Bomb (Hit It a Bomb) (30-1)

10-Zandon (Upstart) (3-1)

11-Pioneer of Medina (Pioneerof the Nile) (30-1)

12-Taiba (Gun Runner) (12-1)

13-Simplification (Not This Time) (20-1)

14-Barber Road (Race Day) (30-1)

15-White Abarrio (Race Day) (10-1)

16-Cyberknife (Gun Runner) (20-1)

17-Classic Causeway (Giant's Causeway) (30-1)

18-Tawny Port (Pioneerof the Nile) (30-1)

19-Zozos (Munnings) (20-1)

20-Ethereal Road (Quality Road) (30-1)

Also-Eligibles: Rich Strike (Keen Ice) (30-1) and Rattle N Roll (Connect) (30-1).

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Women in Racing, TAA to Be Featured at Churchill’s Champions Day

Mon, 2022-05-02 15:10

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) will be present on Churchill Downs's Champion's Day Tuesday at the Ladies in Racing Symposium, followed by a race presentation on the undercard. Champions for a Change will feature Ladies in Racing with a symposium of influential women in the Thoroughbred industry. A powerhouse panel of women will be featured, and all tickets have access to the symposium.

Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance supporters Shannon Arvin, Keeneland Association president & chief executive officer, and Dora Delgado, Breeders' Cup World Championships executive vice president & chief racing officer, are among the panelists for the symposium.

Fans can purchase tickets in the brand-new Homestretch Club at Churchill Downs in support of Thoroughbred aftercare or online here. Tickets are $110 and all-inclusive of food, beverage, and alcoholic beverages. $10 of each of these tickets will be donated to Thoroughbred aftercare organizations, including the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

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Nest Favored at 5-2 in Kentucky Oaks for the Ages

Mon, 2022-05-02 15:08

LOUISVILLE, KY – Just how deep is the 14-horse field assembled for Friday's GI Kentucky Oaks?

Unbeaten champion 2-year-old filly and 'TDN Rising Star' Echo Zulu (Gun Runner), a game front-running winner by a nose while making her sophomore debut in the GII Fair Grounds Oaks, was installed as the third choice on Mike Battaglia's Kentucky Oaks morning-line at 4-1. Last term's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies heroine, a $300,000 Keeneland September Yearling graduate, was assigned post seven at Monday afternoon's draw held at Churchill Downs.

“She trains like a horse that expects to win and that's a wonderful thing,” Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen said of the L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds colorbearer. “She got tired in her first race off the bench, but the fast fillies are inside of her and we are pleased to draw on the outside of them.”

Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House's Nest (Curlin), a head-turning heroine of the GI Central Bank Ashland S. at Keeneland, was given the nod as the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Oaks. The $350,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase will break from post four. Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, also represented by longshots Goddess of Fire (Mineshaft) (post five) and Shahama (Munnings) (post 13), looks to capture his second straight Oaks after saddling Malathaat (Curlin) to a popular score last year.

“I'm happy with the draws for Nest and Goddess of Fire,” four-time Oaks winner Pletcher said. “We were hoping to be somewhere in the middle. With Shahama, it's OK. She isn't real sharp away from the gate, so she may have a better chance out there than if she was stuck down inside.”

The ultra-impressive unbeaten GII Gulfstream Park Oaks winner Kathleen O. (Upstart), assigned post 10, is the second choice at 7-2. Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey won the Oaks in 1993 with Dispute.

Secret Oath (Arrogate), a runaway winner of the GIII Honeybee S. and third as the favorite while facing males in the GI Arkansas Derby, drew the rail for the legendary D. Wayne Lukas, who is seeking his fifth Oaks victory. She is 6-1 on the morning-line.

From the rail out, the complete Kentucky Oaks field with morning-line odds:

1-Secret Oath (Arrogate) (6-1)

2-Nostalgic (Medaglia d'Oro) (15-1)

3-Hidden Connection (Connect) (20-1)

4-Nest (Curlin) (*5-2)

5-Goddess of Fire (Mineshaft) (15-1)

6-Yuugiri (Shackleford) (30-1)

7-Echo Zulu (Gun Runner) (4-1)

8-Venti Valentine (Firing Line) (20-1)

9-Desert Dawn (Cupid) (20-1)

10-Kathleen O. (Upstart) (7-2)

11-Cocktail Moments (Uncle Mo) (30-1)

12-Candy Raid (Candy Ride {Arg}) (30-1)

13-Shahama (Munnings) (15-1)

14-Turnerloose (Nyquist) (20-1)

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Horseshoe Indianapolis to Join Fox Sports Broadcast

Mon, 2022-05-02 14:25

Horseshoe Indianapolis is partnering with Fox Sports Network beginning Tuesday, May 3, the track announced Monday. Several races will be running alongside Churchill Downs this GI Kentucky Derby week during the daily broadcast from Fox Sports.

“We are excited to be included in such a powerhouse lineup of Thoroughbred racing offered during Derby Week,” said Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of Racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis. “We begin our racing program at approximately 2:30 p.m. both Tuesday and Wednesday and will feature our first six races on Fox Sports 2, which offers a daily program broadcasted nationally. To be linked with such prestigious racing dynasties as Churchill Downs is a real boost to our Indiana Thoroughbred racing program.”

The partnership with Fox Sports Network will continue during the 2022 racing season with more broadcasts of live Horseshoe Indianapolis racing coming up in June and July. More details on dates and times will be released at a later date.

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NYRA Hosting Series of Job Fairs for Belmont Stakes Racing Festival

Mon, 2022-05-02 13:36

The New York Racing Association will hold a series of jobs fairs to fill temporary employment positions in support of the 2022 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, which will take place at Belmont Park from Thursday, June 9 to Saturday, June 11. To fill the approximately 700 temporary positions required to support the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival operation, NYRA will hold three job fairs at Belmont Park from May 12 to May 14 to hire betting clerks, white caps, cashiers, hospitality team members, ticket scanners, program sellers, ushers and supervisors. Betting clerks and cashiers must be at least 18 years of age, present a current resume and have a minimum of three years of cash-handling experience. The job fairs will all be held on the fourth floor of the Belmont clubhouse, from 4-7 p.m. May 12, from 12-6 p.m. May 13 and from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 14.

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Stallion Curlin to Mischief Retired

Mon, 2022-05-02 13:30

Curlin to Mischief (Curlin–Leslie's Lady, by Tricky Creek), who hails from one of the most prominent families in Thoroughbred racing, has been retired from stud duties at Rancho San Miguel, Climax Stallions announced Monday. A half-brother to champion Beholder (Henny Hughes) and super-sire Into Mischief (Harlan's Holiday, Curlin to Mischief is the sire of two regional champions during his stud duties has been recently plagued by infertility. Curlin to Mischief will now have the opportunity to live out his days in a new role as an amateur friendly riding horse for Ellie Stilson at her Daisy Acres facility in Kentucky. Curlin to Mischief is scheduled to arrive in Kentucky from California once arrangements can be made.

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Corniche Moved to Pletcher Barn

Mon, 2022-05-02 13:23

Last year's champion 2-year-old colt Corniche (Quality Road) has been moved to trainer Todd Pletcher's barn from suspended conditioner Bob Baffert's outfit, his owners Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner of Speedway Stable said in a joint statement Monday. Baffert is currently serving a 90-day suspension handed down by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission that began Apr. 4 and runs through July 2.

“Since Corniche's previous trainer, Bob Baffert, cannot begin training until the first week in July and, after a discussion with Bob, we felt that for Corniche to be ready to compete in June, it is necessary that we make a trainer change at this time,” Fluor said. “To that end, Todd Pletcher will commence training Corniche in early May. K.C. and I are most appreciative of Bob's brilliant handling of Corniche's 2-year-old campaign and ultimately providing Speedway Stables with its first Breeders Cup winner and Eclipse Award champion.”

Named a 'TDN Rising Star' off a dazzling debut romp last summer at Del Mar, Corniche legitimized that distinction with subsequent victories in the GI American Pharoah S. and GI Breeders' Cup Classic to lock up his Eclipse Award. He has yet to start as a 3-year-old and has been laid up at WinStar, where he recorded a pair of workouts in the past few weeks, going three furlongs in :36.80 (2/5) Apr. 15 and a half-mile in :48.94 (2/3) Apr. 23. The $1.5-million OBS April buy will be sent straight to Pletcher at the conclusion of his time at WinStar.

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Beautiful Empire Streaks Home in Star Shoot

Sat, 2022-04-30 17:55

Beautiful Empire (Classic Empire)'s furious kick carried the day for conditioner Mark Casse, rallying from last to lead home a 1-2-3 finish for the Mark Casse barn in a brisk rendition of the Star Shoot S. at Woodbine.

The filly was far back in her first two starts over conventional dirt at Churchill Downs before breaking her maiden Dec. 10 over the synthetic at Turfway Park to conclude her juvenile season. The chestnut began her year with a close runner-up effort Jan. 8 at the venue on first-time Lasix and finished third in a stacked rendition of the Valdale S. Feb. 12 and most recently overcame a bump at the start of a local allowance Apr. 16 to draw clear by four lengths.

Allowed to settle after the break here, the 7-2 third choice tracked from last early and quickly made up ground from that rail spot coming into the lane. Under right-hand urging from Emma-Jayne Wilson, Beautiful Empire kicked into high gear in the final furlong to clear rivals and win by 1 1/2 lengths over Aubrieta (Speightster). Diabolic (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) rounded out the Casse trifecta. The time for the six-furlongs was only just off the track record set by the venerable Pink Lloyd (Old Forester).

“I was actually angling to go to the outside, and the rail kind of opened up,” said Wilson post race. “Good horses, when you ask them, they run. And that's exactly what happened. She's been running lights out the whole winter. She was primed for a big effort. It was a big effort last time and she stepped up again today.”

The victress is her dam's first black-type earner and second winner from three to race. She has a 2-year-old half-brother by American Pharoah. Humor Me Colonel is expecting a foal by Munnings this season. She is also the fourth stakes winner for her young sire (by Pioneerof the Nile). Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

STAR SHOOT S., C$131,500, Woodbine, 4-30, 3yo, f, 6f (AWT), 1:08.70, ft.
1–BEAUTIFUL EMPIRE, 120, f, 3, by Classic Empire
                1st Dam: Humor Me Colonel, by Colonel John
                2nd Dam: Halo Humor, by Distorted Humor
                3rd Dam: Gilded Halo, by Gilded Time
($320,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP). 1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O-John C. Oxley; B-Springhouse Farm (KY); T-Mark E. Casse; J-Emma-Jayne Wilson. C$75,000. Lifetime Record: 7-3-1-1, $157,494.
2–Aubrieta, 122, f, 3, Speightster–Amethea, by Henny Hughes. O/B-Manfred & Penny Conrad (ON); T-Mark E. Casse. C$30,000.
3–Diabolic (Ire), 124, f, 3, Dark Angel (Ire)–Seafront (GB), by Foxwedge (Aus). (£90,000 Ylg '20 GOFOR). O-D. J. Stable LLC and Nexus Racing Club; B-Yeomanstown Stud (IRE); T-Mark E. Casse. C$13,750.
Margins: 1HF, HD, 1. Odds: 3.60, 3.45, 2.35.
Also Ran: Howdyoumakeurmoney, Miss Alacrity, Parlance.

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GoFundMe Campaign Launched for Steven Moyer

Sat, 2022-04-30 15:49

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Steven Moyer, 55, a former trainer and current racing official at Laurel Park, who was seriously injured while doing yard work at his home. Moyer sustained severe burns over 30% of his body in an accident Apr. 19 and is expected to remain in the Intensive Care Unit for several weeks.

A native of Annapolis, Md., he worked for Maurice Zilber in France in his youth, then later for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito in Kentucky and was a longtime assistant to trainer Jimmy Jerkens in New York and Florida.

The GoFundMe campaign was set up by Elvis Trujillo Jr., a fellow racing official. The initial goal is $10,000. All proceeds from the campaign will go directly to help Moyer and his family pay for medical bills as well as during his recovery. To make a donation, visit the link here.

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Busy Saturday Morning for Kentucky Derby and Oaks Workers

Sat, 2022-04-30 15:35

It was an action-packed Saturday morning at Churchill Downs for GI Kentucky Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks workers.

At 5:15 a.m., the Brad Cox-trained duo of GI Arkansas Derby winner Cyberknife (Gun Runner) and GII Louisiana Derby runner-up and 'TDN Rising Star' Zozos (Munnings) worked six furlongs together in 1:11.20 (1/4) and 1:11.40 (2/4), respectively. At 7:30 a.m., GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. winner Tawny Port (Pioneerof the Nile), with newly named jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., worked five furlongs for Cox in 1:01.60 (30/57). “There's a lot of excitement leading into these final Derby works,” Cox said. “You start to get a little anxious as the days near closer to the Derby. Things went very smooth this morning.”


Cyberknife 6F 1:11.20 outside Zozos 6F 1:11.40 #KyDerby

— Kevin Kerstein (@HorseRacingKK) April 30, 2022

The Kenny McPeek tandem of GI Toyota Blue Grass S. runner-up and 'TDN Rising Star' Smile Happy (Runhappy) and GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks S. winner Tiz the Bomb (Hit It a Bomb) worked a half-mile together in :48 (28/130).

“I like that this is a home game for us,” McPeek said. “Both Brian [Hernandez, Jr.] and Corey [Lanerie] have been around this oval all their lives, and both are solid journeyman riders. I don't have much concern about them finding their way around there. Both Corey and Brian are due a signature horse, so maybe one of them's got it this week.”


Smile Happy (@coreylanerie)/Tiz the Bomb (@b_hernandezjr) 23.80, 48/100.20 #KyDerby

— Kevin Kerstein (@HorseRacingKK) April 30, 2022

Todd Pletcher breezed the trio of GII Wood Memorial S. winner Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo) (four furlongs in :48.60) (55/130); and GI Curlin Florida Derby runner-up and 'TDN Rising Star' Charge It (Tapit) and Louisiana Derby third Pioneer of Medina (Pioneerof the Nile), who worked a half-mile together in :47.40 (9/130).

“From here, we'll do the usual stuff–like visiting the gate and galloping. We'll be galloping up to the Derby,” Pletcher said.


Mo Donegal (@iradortiz) inside My Prankster 48.60/ 101.80. #KyDerby

— Kevin Kerstein (@HorseRacingKK) April 30, 2022

Other Derby horses on the worktab Saturday include: Arkansas Derby runner-up Barber Road (Race Day) (four furlongs in :48.80) (67/130); GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Classic Causeway (Giant's Causeway) (six furlongs in 1:13.20) (3/4); and GII Rebel S. winner Un Ojo (Laoban) (four furlongs in :47.60) (14/130). Happy Jack (Oxbow), a distant third in the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, covered a mile in 1:39.60 (1/1) at Keeneland. Florida Derby winner White Abarrio (Race Day) breezed a half-mile in :48.28 between races during an impromptu workout on Saturday afternoon's program at Gulfstream Park. “Wow. That's all I can say is 'wow,'” trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. said. “He worked super.”


Barber Road 25.80 48.80/ 102.40 #KyDerby

— Kevin Kerstein (@HorseRacingKK) April 30, 2022

Four Kentucky Oaks candidates had their final works Saturday morning at Churchill Downs: Bourbonette Oaks heroine Candy Raid (Candy Ride {Arg}) (four furlongs in :48.80) (67/130); GI Central Bank Ashland S. runner-up and 'TDN Rising Star' Cocktail Moments (Uncle Mo) (five furlongs in 1:00.80) (15/57); unbeaten GII Gulfstream Park Oaks winner Kathleen O. (Upstart) (four furlongs in :47.80) (20/130) and GIII Gazelle S. heroine Nostalgic (Medaglia d'Oro) (four furlongs in :48.60) (55/130).

“She's not necessarily a strong morning worker,” Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said of Kathleen O. “So, we're very pleased with what we saw today. I'm excited. We're excited. We got through today and we know she always shows up on race day. This morning was right up there with some of her best. We're glad to be back in Kentucky with her and we're thinking with her running style she'll appreciate the longer stretch here [at Churchill Downs].”

Desert Dawn (Cupid), upset winner of the GII Santa Anita Oaks, worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 (19/53) at Santa Anita Saturday.

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Keeneland Spring Meet Concludes with Record Handle

Sat, 2022-04-30 13:26

Keeneland closed its 2022 Spring Meet Friday with all-sources handle in excess of $219 million to establish an all-time meet wagering record for the track, and a third consecutive season of record handle. The Lexington oval offered record average daily purses of $1.147 million, attracting an average of 9.1 starters per race.

“This Spring Meet was unmatched in many measures, most of all the fact that everyone seemed to revel in the energy of having fans back in full force on race days,” said Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin. “Keeneland is a special place because of the support we receive from the Central Kentucky community, our horsemen, handicappers, sponsors, fans and employees. This spring season sets the stage for a huge racing year that continues with the Fall Meet in October and the return of the Breeders' Cup World Championships on Nov. 4-5.”

All-sources wagering (not including whole-card simulcasting at Keeneland) for the Spring Meet totaled $219,284,979, eclipsing the previous record of $181,009,626 set during last year's 17-day Fall Meet. The total represents a 33.16% increase over last spring's record $164,680,229. Average daily all-sources handle was $14,618,999.

A number of individual handle records were also set during the Spring meet. Record single-day all-sources handle of $28,137,728 was set on GI Toyota Blue Grass Day, Saturday, Apr. 9, which featured 11 races including five graded stakes. Wagering on the 11-race card the following Saturday, Apr. 16, totaled $27,304,001 to be the second-highest single-day handle in Keeneland history. Record Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagering also was realized on Apr. 16. The Pick 4 handled a record $1,357,298, exceeding the previous mark of $1,065,002 set on Blue Grass Day 2018. The Pick 5 handled a record $1,539,098 to surpass the $1,485,090 established on 2021's Blue Grass card.

On-track wagering this spring totaled $16,190,832, up 75.52% from last spring's $9,224,273 when COVID-19 limited attendance for the meet. Average daily on-track wagering this spring was $1,079,389.

The Keeneland Turf Pick 3, a wager on the final three turf races each day that was inaugurated last fall, handled a total of $1,543,399, for an average of $128,617 per day.

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Acting Out Tops Keeneland April HORA Sale

Sat, 2022-04-30 09:20

Acting Out (Blame), who most recently caused a 6-1 upset of the Carousel S. at Oaklawn Park Apr. 2 (video), was hammered down to Bill Farish, acting as agent for his parents Will and Sarah, to lead the way at Friday's Keeneland April Horses of Racing Age Sale held following the conclusion of the closing-day program at the racetrack a handful of steps up the hill.

Previously trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer for the ownership group of Sherman Racing Inc., Zivka Akin and Robert Hawkins, Acting Out won three of 10 starts in California and was placed in the Camila Urso S. sprinting on the turf at Golden Gate last year, but switched to the Arkansas oval this term and was a wire-to-wire allowance winner Mar. 11 before besting heavily favored 'TDN Rising Star' Frank's Rockette (Into Mischief) in the Carousel. She was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency as hip 23.

“She is a six-furlong specialist, so she will [continue] sprinting and hopefully be back here to [race in] the [GII] Thoroughbred Club of America S. in the fall,” said Farish. “We hope we can make some of the purchase price back [by racing her] before retiring her at the end of the year.

“When the catalog came out, she was one that just stood out in the catalog,” Farish added. “When we saw her–she looked fabulous, a beautiful mare, really correct. She looks like one who would have nice babies. [Her pedigree] goes back to a Stuart Janney III family, and we hope to breed her one day.”

Acting Out is out of a half-sister to Janney III's Grade III-winning turf mare Onus, also a daughter of Blame, and to the dam of the promising 3-year-old multiple graded-placed turf colt Limited Liability (Kitten's Joy), who flew home to win a grass allowance at Keeneland Apr. 16. The stakes-placed third dam Meghan's Joy (A.P. Indy) has left behind the likes of graded winners Ironicus (Distorted Humor), On Leave (War Front), Norumbega (Tiznow), Hunting (Coronado's Quest) and Quiet Harbor (Silver Deputy).


WATCH: Acting Out sells for $600,000 at Friday's Keeneland April Sale


The ELiTE-consigned Blue Devil (Uncle Mo) was the most coveted of the male racing prospects, selling to Rocket Ship Racing LLC, agent/William Denzik for $260,000. The 3-year-old was offered as hip 32 on behalf of his previous owners SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Siena Farm and Golconda Stable and trainer Rodolphe Brisset and made a favorable impression in his lone racetrack appearance to date, missing by a neck in a six-furlong maiden over the Turfway synthetic Apr. 2. The same connections were also represented by Blackadder (Quality Road) (hip 89), who was purchased by Claiborne Farm, agent, for $250,000. Hailing from a Stone Farm family, the colt holds an entry for the GI Preakness S. by virtue of his victory in the El Camino Real Derby Feb. 12.

Another Brisset trainee made his way down to the sales pavilion only hours after winning his maiden at the track a few hours earlier. Summer Anthem (Temple City) was offered by Gainesway, agent, as hip 104, and was snapped up by Kirk Wycoff's Three Diamonds Farm for $150,000 to continue his career. The 3-year-old gelding proved a tenacious winner of Friday's fourth race in a meet-fastest clocking for the 8 1/2-furlongs on turf.

Other offerings to have won during the meet and sold Friday were the I.C. Racing-consigned Shannon (Nyquist) (hip 100), who broke her maiden at 24-1 in an Apr. 22 turf sprint and was purchased for $240,000 by Hidden Brook, agent; and Atras (Astern {Aus}) (hip 102), a 3-year-old gelding who graduated by 2 1/2 lengths in an Apr. 23 turf sprint and fetched $150,000 from Clay Scherer.

As reported earlier, a share in Airdrie Stud's Upstart sold for $450,000 as the final hip up for bidding.

For the single-session auction, a total of 58 horses were reported as sold for $5,349,000, good for an average of $92,224 and a median price of $50,000. The 2021 event saw 37 horses sell for $2,440,000 for an average of $65,946 and a $45,000 median.

“From start to finish of the sale, the energy was strong and the enthusiasm at every level was really encouraging,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy said. “Joining the race meet and sale and having them on one day really, really worked. The atmosphere was incredible with a real buzz. That's something we want to replicate and build on not just for the April Sale, but all sales moving forward.”

Added Keeneland's Director of Sales Cormac Breathnach: “It's so important to us to have the brick-and-mortar event built around the race meet and have the support we got up front from so many consignors and owners with really good horses. That first group–the 73 horses that were initially entered–really turned heads. We are incredibly grateful to them. That feeds into the race meet, and people see a chance to cash in or a chance to buy. And to be able to accommodate those horses that had run well during the meet in the sale showed our flexibility. To see it all come together is very rewarding.”

Keeneland will welcome buyers and sellers back to Lexington for its benchmark September Yearling Sale Sept. 12-23.

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Upstart Share Sells for $450K at Keeneland April

Fri, 2022-04-29 21:41

Offered as the final hip at Friday's Keeneland April Horses of Racing Age Sale in Lexington, a share (2.5% fractional interest) in Airdrie Stud's Upstart (Flatter–Party Silks, by Touch Gold) was hammered down for $450,000 to Mike Freeny, who operates Dunquin Farm in nearby Paris, Kentucky, with his wife Pat.

A Grade II winner and placed no fewer than six times in Grade I company at distances between eight and nine furlongs, Upstart has been represented by three winners at the graded level, with two representatives from his second crop set to feature prominently at Churchill Downs next weekend. Jeff Drown's Zandon presented the stallion with his first Grade I winner when running out an extremely impressive winner of the Toyota Blue Grass S. Apr. 9 and continues to train forwardly towards next Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby. The sire's 3-year-old daughter Kathleen O. is undefeated from four starts to date, including a latest success in the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks Apr. 2, and is expected to vie for favoritism in the May 6 GI Longines Kentucky Oaks.

“I did expect to pay that for it, but that was my limit,” Freeny said. “He's got some good horses on the Derby trail and on the Oaks trail. He's a good producer and his horses are running and we're sure pleased to have a share.”

Airdrie's Bret Jones said the decision was made to offer the share in an effort to strike while the iron's hot.

“We thought the share had a chance to sell very, very well,” he said. “The timing is right. The stallion sure seems right. When you have a public auction, people get competitive and I've just met our partner, Mr. Freeny, for the first time and I couldn't be happier about it. We're very happy to have him come on board. We've got a lot to root for this coming weekend and I like our chances with Upstart having another big weekend a week from now.”

The Upstart share was the second-priciest offering at the sale. The Taylor Made-sales consigned hip 23, recent Carousel S. winner Acting Out (Blame), fetched $600,000 from Will and Sarah Farish. A full report will appear in Sunday's TDN.

Additional reporting by Sue Finley

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Cohen Cross-Examined As Giannelli Trial Recesses for Weekend

Fri, 2022-04-29 19:55

Day three of Lisa Giannelli's horse doping trial Apr. 29 featured the cross-examination of a key government witness.

Former New York harness trainer Ross Cohen had testified that Gianelli had sold him performance-enhancing drugs that he used to secretly dope horses under his care.

He agreed to cooperate with the government after his arrest in 2020 in connection with the FBI's sweeping horse-doping probe.

The investigation led to charges against a number of individuals including the prominent trainer Jason Servis.

Under questioning by Giannelli attorney Louis Fasulo in U.S. District Court in New York, Cohen was asked about his cooperation agreement in which he admitted to fixing races years ago as well as to doping horses.

Fasulo wanted to know if that was his incentive for becoming a cooperator–to avoid being charged with bribery and facing substantially more punishment.

“My incentive was to try to make right for my wrongs and tell the truth,” Cohen said in response.

Under further questioning, he said it could have been an incentive but then wasn't sure.

“I guess it could have been,” Cohen testified. “I don't know if it was an incentive or not at the time.”

Giannelli is on trial for conspiring to distribute adulterated and misbranded performance-enhancing drugs which were intended to enhance the performance of horses competing at racetracks across the country.

She worked with Seth Fishman, a veterinarian found guilty in February of manufacturing PEDs that were purchased by trainers to dope horses. Prosecutors say Fishman's drugs were designed to avoid post-race testing.

Fasulo told the jury that when Giannelli worked for Fishman out of her home in Delaware, she didn't do anything wrong because her actions didn't involve criminal intent.

Cohen was reluctant to talk about his race-fixing past under Fasulo's probing, part of an effort to damage Cohen's credibility.

At first, Cohen testified he couldn't remember how many races he fixed by bribing drivers to hold their horses back.

“It was more than five, I don't think it was over 20,” he told the jury.

He also couldn't remember how many drivers he paid off, then admitted, “maybe 10.”

When questioned by prosecutor Sarah Mortazavi, Cohen said his cooperation deal doesn't prevent prosecutors from other jurisdictions from charging him with bribery.

He hasn't been sentenced yet and said it would be up to the judge to determine his punishment.

The day concluded in the afternoon with the prosecution reading into the record portions of a witness's testimony from the Fishman trial.

The witness was Courtney Adams who worked for Fishman as an office manager for five years. She was unavailable to testify against Giannelli.

In her testimony, Adams said that Giannelli helped with labeling Fishman products. Prosecutors contend some of those labels violated federal regulations.

“She would suggest edits so the client would know what the product was,” Adams said in her testimony.

During the reading, prosecutors also showed the jury a 2013 text in which Fishman said that Giannelli made over $250,000 in 2012.

During her cross-examination, which was also read into the record, Adams admitted to Fasulo that she didn't know if that was true or not.

The trial resumes Monday.

The Thoroughbred industry's leading publications are working together to cover this key trial.

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Churchill Spring Meet to Air on FOX Sports

Fri, 2022-04-29 16:52

The racing action from Churchill Downs Racetrack throughout the 2022 Spring Meet will be broadcast on FOX Sports' “America's Day at the Races,” which will air every race day on either FS1 or FS2. The Kentucky Oaks and Derby cards will be shown on tape delay.

Produced by the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) in partnership with FOX Sports, “America's Day at the Races” is hosted by Greg Wolf with a team of handicappers and racing analysts that includes Paul LoDuca, Andy Serling, Maggie Wolfendale, Acacia Courtney, Richard Migliore, Gary Stevens and Jonathan Kinchen. The full schedule can be found on NYRA's website.

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War Like Goddess Goes Back-To-Back in Bewitch

Fri, 2022-04-29 16:37

Those who swallowed the 1-5 on the comebacking War Like Goddess (English Channel) in Friday's closing-day GIII Bewtich S. at Keeneland were made to sweat it out, but the gaps finally came with time ticking away and the George Krikorian colorbearer proved best following a trip that can best be described as adventurous.

With Joel Rosario somewhat controversially taking over at the controls from Julien Leparoux aboard the 2021 Eclipse Award finalist, War Like Goddess settled in third position in a scratched-down field of just five turf marathoners, but the pace more resembled that of a Standardbred race, causing War Like Goddess to race extremely keenly, tugging for her head while behind the walking tempo passing the grandstand for the first time.

Continuing inside and still traveling freely past halfway in a near-farcical 1:19.88, War Like Goddess settled slightly better for the run into the final turn, but nevertheless was shuffled back and locked away in desperate need of daylight as they turned for home. It looked for a stride or two like she might not get out in time, but she muscled her way through with about a furlong to race and was home first.

“I was concerned about how much pace there would or would not be in the race, and there wasn't any,” said winning trainer Bill Mott. “Actually, I'm not so sure I've been in a race on firm turf that was any slower than this, so it was quite a challenge for [jockey Joel Rosario] to keep her in behind those horses and wait until they turned for home. I think Joel did well with the way it didn't set up for us, and the filly was good enough to win.”

Winning is something War Like Goddess has become accustomed to, as she was batting .750 entering Friday's title defense. Winner of the GIII Orchid S. prior to annexing this event last season, she added soft wins in the GII Glens Falls S. and GI Flower Bowl Invitational S. at Saratoga last summer and was the 23-10 pick in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Allowed to settle for the opening mile, she went for a wide, if a touch premature run, about three furlongs from home and could not quite hold on late, finishing third to Japan's Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), who secured the Eclipse in the process.


Pedigree Notes:

Calumet Farm acquired Misty North for $30,000 in foal to Cape Blanco (Ire) at the 2014 Keeneland November Sale and it took just $1,200 for them to part with War Like Goddess at the 2017 November Sale. Bought back for the upset price of $1,000 at Keeneland September the following fall, she showed enough to fetch $30,000 at OBS June in 2019. Calumet sold Misty North for $1,000 at KEENOV in 2019 and the mare produced a colt from the second crop of Bal a Bali (Brz) in 2020, her last listed produce.

Friday, Keeneland
BEWITCH S.-GIII, $298,500, Keeneland, 4-29, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 1/2mT, 2:31.26, fm.
1–WAR LIKE GODDESS, 118, m, 5, by English Channel
                1st Dam: Misty North, by North Light (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Misty Gallop, by Victory Gallop
                3rd Dam: Romanette, by Alleged
($1,200 Wlg '17 KEENOV; $1,000 RNA Ylg '18 KEESEP; $30,000
2yo '19 OBSOPN). O-George Krikorian; B-Calumet Farm (KY);
T-William I. Mott; J-Joel Rosario. $186,000. Lifetime Record:
GISW, 9-7-0-1, $1,079,684. Werk Nick Rating: F.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Family Way, 120, m, 5, Uncle Mo–Susie's Baby, by Giant's
Causeway. ($775,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP; €150,000 3yo '20
ARQDEC). O-Hunter Valley Farm, Debra L O'Connor, and Marc
Detampel; B-Diamond Creek Farm (KY); T-Brendan P. Walsh.
3–Core Values, 118, f, 4, Honor Code–Sweet Awakening, by
Street Cry (Ire). 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($230,000 Ylg '19
KEESEP). O-BBN Racing, LLC; B-John Bates, Ron Kirk & Michael
Riordan (KY); T-Victoria H. Oliver. $30,000.
Margins: 1 3/4, 1, 1 1/4. Odds: 0.20, 3.50, 24.70.
Also Ran: Breeze Rider, La Lune (GB). Scratched: Luck Money, Stand Tall.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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Agave Racing Stable to Present Major Gift to Ed Brown Society

Fri, 2022-04-29 15:49

Agave Racing Stable, owned by Mark Martinez, will be presenting a major gift to the Ed Brown Society (EBS) Saturday Apr. 30, in the Winner's Circle at Santa Anita Park, after the running of the inaugural Ed Brown Memorial. The race's namesake was born into slavery in 1850 in Lexington, KY. He went on to apprentice under Ansel Williamson, the African-American trainer of the first Kentucky Derby winner, Aristides. Ed Brown went on to become one of the most accomplished horsemen in thoroughbred racing, winning the Belmont Stakes as a jockey, the Kentucky Derby as a trainer and numerous stakes races as an owner.

EBS was founded by Living The Dream Stables, thoroughbred racing syndicates managed by Greg Harbut and Ray Daniels.  Martinez's Agave Racing Stable, Living The Dream Stables and Rockin Robin Stables own Miss Bigly (Gemologist), an entrant in Saturday's GII Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita.

“As a third-generation horseman, and one of the few African American professionals in the industry, I am extremely excited about Agave Racing Stable's gift to advance our mission,” said EBS Chairman Greg Harbut, whose great-grandfather was the groom of Man O' War.

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Summer Anthem Added To Keeneland April Sale

Fri, 2022-04-29 15:46

Summer Anthem (Temple City), impressive winner of Friday's fourth race at Keeneland, has been added to the Keeneland April Horses of All Ages Sale, to be held following the conclusion of the closing-day program at 6:30 p.m. The 3-year-old gelding will be consigned by Gainesway, agent, as hip 104.

Trained by Rodolphe Brisset for September Farm LLC and Black Fern LLC, the dark bay gelding was making his first start on turf Friday after just being beaten on the wire in a one-mile maiden allowance over the Turfway synthetic track on debut Feb. 26.

Sent off the 9-5 favorite, Summer Anthem chased in second behind a longshot runaway leader. He enjoyed first run and took over in the stretch and dug in to fend off Pancake House (Maclean's Music) by 3/4 of a length in the smart time of 1:41.61.

An $8,000 purchase at OBS January in 2020, Summer Anthem is a son of Summer of Fun (Include), third in Keeneland's GIII Jessamine S. and in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2012. She became a full black-type winner in Saratoga's Auntie Mame S. the following summer.

“He's a good-looking son of Temple City out of a mare that could really run, stakes winner and graded-stakes placed,” said Gainesway's Sean Tugel. “He showed a lot of talent in his first start and he came out today and validated that. He ran the fastest mile-and-a-sixteenth maiden special weight race of the meet so far. He's got the ability, he's got the talent and there's no better way to prove it than to take him over to the sales ring and take advantage of the sale being here today.”

The idea was hatched while Summer Anthem was being unsaddled.

“It literally came together in about two minutes,” Tugel explained. “We were in the winner's circle and the whole Keeneland sales team was there. We kind of threw it out there and they thought it was a great idea. So we just kind of collaborated. That's one of the ideas behind the sale. We're just going to roll the dice and hopefully people appreciate the offering.”

Added Brisset: “We've always liked the horse and were looking to run him on the grass after that very good effort first out. He should have won that day but became extremely green when he took the lead. He was way more mature today and 1:41 3/5 is an extremely solid time. (Ragozin) numbers should come back in his favor.”

Summer Anthem is available for inspection at Barn 18. His post-race veterinary evaluation will be available in Keeneland's Repository.

Click here for more information about the April Sale.


(6) Summer Anthem with @flothejock denies (11) Pancake House in race 4 today at Keeneland, (12) You Make Me Happy follows.

— Keeneland Racing (@keenelandracing) April 29, 2022

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Repole Purchases Minority Interest in Mo Donegal

Fri, 2022-04-29 14:18

Owner Mike Repole purchased a minority interest in GI Kentucky Derby contender and GII Wood Memorial S. winner Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo), ownership group Donegal Racing announced Friday. The price and ownership stake were not disclosed.

Mo Donegal, a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, captured Aqueduct's GII Remsen S. over future GI Toyota Blue Grass winner Zandon (Upstart). Third in the Feb. 5 GIII Holy Bull S. behind White Abarrio (Race Day) and Simplification (Not This Time), he returned to New York Apr. 9 for the Wood Memorial S., rallying over a speed-favoring track to prevail by a head over Early Voting (Gun Runner).

The Todd Pletcher trainee has won three of five starts for earnings of $621,800. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will be in the saddle on Derby day.

“I am excited to be part of Mo Donegal with Jerry Crawford and the partners of Donegal Racing,” Repole said. “In my 15 years of racing, this will be the first time I am partners with someone who has a bigger entourage than my own. While having some great conversations with Jerry, this partnership made so much sense for Repole Stable. Being trained by Todd Pletcher, being ridden by Irad Ortiz and most special, being a son of my sire Uncle Mo. As a racing fan, I have been incredibly impressed by Mo Donegal, and I am so excited to watch him and his brilliance as an owner.”

Mike Repole is also a partner on top GI Longines Kentucky Oaks contender, and Mo Donegal's stablemate, Nest (Curlin).

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Derby and Oaks Workers Active on Both Coasts

Fri, 2022-04-29 13:35

A trio of GI Kentucky Derby contenders put in their final works ahead of next weekend's Run for the Roses. The only one of the three to work at Churchill Downs was GI Toyota Blue Grass S. winner Zandon (Upstart).

Working on his own at 7:30 a.m. over a fast track with regular morning partner Kriss Bon aboard, the Chad Brown pupil completed the five furlongs in 1:00.40 (7/43). Churchill Downs clockers caught Zandon in fractions of :12.80, :25, :36.80, 1:00.40 and out in 1:12.80 and 1:26.40.

“I just didn't want to take any chances with the weather forecast, even though it looks better for tomorrow,” Brown said. “The track is in fabulous shape. You're not going to get a better track to train over than we got this morning.



Zandon 5F 1:00.40. Splits: 12.80 25 36.80/112.80 126.40. #KyDerby

— Kevin Kerstein (@HorseRacingKK) April 29, 2022


Working about the same time at Gulfstream Park was GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth winner Simplification (Not This Time), who worked five furlongs in 1:00.44 (1/10) for trainer Antonio Sano over a muddy track. Junior Alvarado was aboard for the work.

“I'm very happy with the work,” Sano said. “He went very easy and handled everything. The jockey said he was better than last week. It was a really, really good work for the horse…I am 100% confident in my horse. I know the race is very strong, but I'm confident in the horse. I think this is a better horse than Gunnevera (Dialed In).”

A few hours later at Santa Anita, Messier (Empire Maker), the runner-up in the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, worked six furlongs in 1:11.60 for trainer Tim Yakteen.

Six GI Longines Kentucky Oaks contenders had their final works Friday morning, including the Todd Pletcher-trained trip of Nest (Curlin) (4f :48.60), Shahama (Munnings) (5f 1:01.2) and Goddess of Fire (Mineshaft) (5f 1:01) for next Friday's $1.25 million race over a fast track.

Working first during the 7:30-7:45 a.m. training window for Kentucky Derby and Oaks runners was GI Central Bank Ashland S. victress Nest with Irad Ortiz in the irons. Working in company, Nest produced fractions of :24.20 and :48.60 and galloped out in 1:01 and 1:14.

“It's 21 days after the Ashland and it was a solid work,” Pletcher said. “She finished good and galloped out strong.”



Nest (@iradortiz) inside Inventing (@Ameliajgreen) 4F 48.60 #KyOaks

— Kevin Kerstein (@HorseRacingKK) April 29, 2022


Working together were GII Gulfstream Park Oaks runner-up Goodess of Fire with Humberto Zamora aboard and G3 UAE Oaks winner Shahama with Oaks rider Flavien Prat aboard.

Shahama was on the inside with fractions of :25.40, :37.20, :49.20, 1:01.20 and out in 1:13.60, 1:26.20 and 1:40.40. Goddess of Fire had fractions of :25.20, :37, :49, 1:01 and out in 1:13.40, 1:26 and 1:40.20.

“I wanted them to do a little more than Nest,” Pletcher said. “They both finished well and galloped out strong.”

GII Fair Grounds Oaks runner-up Hidden Connection (Connect) breezed a half-mile in :50.20 for trainer Bret Calhoun Friday at Churchill under jockey Reylu Gutierrez.

“Her work last week was great and today, even though it was easier, it was just as impressive,” Gutierrez said.

GII Rachel Alexandra S. heroine Turnerloose (Nyquist) covered five panels in 1:01.20 under exercise rider Edvin Vargas.

“She's fit and ready to go,” trainer Brad Cox simply stated.

Also on the Churchill worktab was GIII Gazelle S. runner-up Venti Valentine (Firing Line). She worked five furlongs in 1:00.80, with splits of :13, :24.80 and :36.80, galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.

“That's the way she gallops,” said Francisco Abreu, brother to trainer Jorge Abreu, who supervised the filly's workout. “The first part, she's a little anxious, then she calms down a little. It was just a maintenance work for her; she had a strong final work was a week ago.”

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