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Updated: 22 hours 42 min ago

Efforia Named Japanese Horse of the Year

Tue, 2022-01-11 10:34

Efforia (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}) became the first 3-year-old since Orfevre (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}) in 2011 to be named Japanese Horse of the Year as year-end honors were revealed Tuesday. The Carrot Farm colorbearer received 277 of the 296 possible votes, easily outdistancing the globetrotting Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), who received 18 first-place votes for the top prize. Efforia was also unanimously named champion 3-year-old male.

A son of the Heart's Cry (Jpn) mare Katie's Heart (Jpn) and from the same family as fellow Horse of the Year Admire Moon (Jpn) (End Sweep) and multiple champion Hishi Amazon (Theatrical {Ire}), Efforia won the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) to run his record to a perfect four-from-four in April, then was just caught on the wire by Shahryar (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) the following month. Rested thereafter, Efforia outbattled last year's champion 3-year-old and Triple Crown hero Contrail (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) to take out the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) and closed his season with a sound success in the G1 Arima Kinen late last month. Efforia trains on in 2022

For third straight season, Contrail has taken home championship honors, this time as older male. Sparingly campaigned, the son of Rhodochrosite (Unbridled's Song) was third in a boggy-turf renewal of the G1 Osaka Hai on his 4-year-old debut in April and runner-up in the Tenno Sho before dominating the G1 Longines Japan Cup in his career swansong in November (video).

The exploits of Loves Only You at home and abroad were rewarded with champion older female honors. The 2019 G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) heroine made just two of her six seasonal appearances in Japan, winning the G2 Kyoto Kinen in February ahead of a third to Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) in the G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic and a victory in the G1 FWD QE II Cup in Hong Kong in April. Runner-up to Sodashi (Jpn) (Kurofune) in the G2 Sapporo Kinen, Loves Only You became the first Japanese winner at the Breeders' Cup meeting, scoring the GI Filly & Mare Turf in dramatic fashion (video) before concluding her career victoriously in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup in December.

Though not as brilliant as in her championship 2-year-old season in 2020, Sodashi was named best of her generation in 2021, winning the G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) and the aforementioned Sapporo Kinen over Loves Only You.

Gran Alegria (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) successfully defended her title as Japan's champion sprinter/miler, her third championship overall after being named best 3-year-old filly of 2019. Facile winner of the G1 Victoria Mile against fellow females in May, the daughter of the late Tapitsfly (Tapit) fell just short in defense of her crown in the G1 Yasuda Kinen before getting a breather. A gallant third to Efforia in the Tenno Sho, she backed up to arguably her best trip and defeated top 3-year-old miler Schnell Meister (Ger) (Kingman {GB}) to win the G1 Mile Championship for the second year in a row in November (video).

With victories in the G1 Asahi Hai Futurity and G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, respectively, Do Deuce (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) and Circle of Life (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}) took home top honors in the 2-year-old male and filly divisions. T O Keynes (Jpn) (Sinister Minister) was named champion dirt horse on the strength of a powerhouse score in the G1 Champions Cup, while legendary 10-year-old Oju Chosan (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}) was tabbed champion steeplechaser for the fourth time in his career.

 

WATCH: Efforia stamps his authority on the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn)

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NYTB Hosts Annual Stallion Season Auction Through Wanamaker’s

Tue, 2022-01-11 09:50

The New York Thoroughbred Breeders (NYTB), in partnership with Wanamaker's, has opened its annual stallion season auction. A total of 49 stallion seasons are available, ranging from Kentucky sires Candy Ride (Arg), Union Rags, and Honor Code to New York stallions War Dancer, Mission Impazible, and Honest Mischief. The seasons are no guarantee and non-refundable.

A percentage of proceeds from seasons sold for stallions standing in Kentucky will be donated to the Foundation of Appalachian Kentucky for those impacted by recent tornadoes in the region.

Live bidding began Tuesday and will close Thursday, Jan. 13, at 5 p.m. ET. Listings will end in three-minute increments.

In addition, Wanamaker's, which hosts monthly online Thoroughbred auctions, will also hold its January Sale from Jan. 19-27 with entries closing Jan. 18.

For more information on both sales, visit wanamakers.com.

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MHBA Announces New Incentives, Awards for Steeplechase Horses

Mon, 2022-01-10 18:34

The Maryland Horse Breeders Association (MHBA) Board of Directors recently voted unanimously to begin an award program for Breeder, Owner and Stallion bonuses for registered Maryland-breds at sanctioned steeplechase race meets in Maryland. Beginning in 2022, registered Maryland-bred horses that run first, second or third will receive 30% on purses earned at National Steeplechase Association-sanctioned meets in Maryland. This program is modeled on the current bonuses paid to Maryland-breds that run at Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and Timonium.

The five meets that qualify for this program this year are: My Lady's Manor, Grand National, Maryland Hunt Cup, Fair Hill, and Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs. The bonus applies to NSA-sanctioned steeplechase and flat races with listed purses at Maryland meets. Bonuses will not apply to training flat races.

“We believe this program rewards those Maryland-bred horses that have successful careers over jumps and the people who breed, own and race them here,” said Richie Blue, Jr., MHBA president. “This community is an important part of Maryland's horse industry. Much of the land that is called 'horse country' is due to their vision and efforts to preserve green space.”

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Report: Baffert Threatens to Sue Churchill Over Derby Ban

Mon, 2022-01-10 18:11

According to a report in the New York Times, Bob Baffert has threatened to sue Churchill Downs and its CEO Bill Carstanjen if the track does not lift a two-year ban that will keep the trainer from competing in the 2022 and 2023 runnings of the GI Kentucky Derby.

The ban was put into place after Medina Spirit (Protonico) tested positive for the substance betamethasone following his win in last year's Derby. In addition, Churchill is not awarding any points to Baffert-trained horses who compete in preps for the Derby and the GI Kentucky Oaks. Baffert trains Corniche (Quality Road) who will be named 2021 2-year-old champion, and is the early favorite for the Derby.

The news broke at about the same time that a tweet from the Churchill Downs public relations department was posted that read: “CDI is committed to protecting the integrity and future of the racing industry–for the horses, our fans, our partners, our team members and the betting public. No one is above the rules, including Mr. Baffert, and we remain intent on holding him accountable for his actions.”

The Times acquired a complaint in which Baffert contends that his due process rights were violated by the ban and that his exclusion from Churchill Downs and the Derby is unlawful.        According to the Times, Baffert is seeking a preliminary injunction that will allow him to race at Churchill and other tracks owned by Churchill Downs and end the practice of denying his horses qualifying points for the Derby and Oaks. Baffert is also seeking millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.

Generally, the courts have upheld the rights of privately owned racetracks to ban participants when the track determines their participation is not in the best business interests of that racetrack.

Baffert's motion has yet to be filed.

Carstanjen told the Times that Baffert's threatened case was “completely meritless” and that on Apr. 7, 2021, Baffert signed an agreement–as the track requires all horse trainers to do–that he would follow its conduct and medication rules.

“This threatened lawsuit is yet another tactic from Mr. Baffert's well-worn playbook of obfuscating the facts, inventing excuses to explain positive drug tests and attempting to blame others to avoid responsibility for his own actions,” Carstanjen told the Times. “We are considering any and all legal options available to us to set the record straight and ensure Mr. Baffert is held accountable for all the reputational damage he has caused us. The irony is not lost on us that despite all of his violations, he is the one threatening to file lawsuits claiming to be aggrieved.”

Carstanjen did not rule out countersuing Baffert.

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Fishman Adds Lawyer Known for Defending Controversial Clients

Mon, 2022-01-10 18:05

An attorney who has been in the headlines for defending high-profile clients such as the convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted NXIVM “sex cult” leader Keith Raniere, and the convicted Mexican drug lord and murderer Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera on Monday got added to the legal team for Seth Fishman, the indicted Florida veterinarian whose trial in the nationwide racehorse doping conspiracy case begins Jan. 19.

The New York-based lawyer Marc Fernich, who has extensive experience defending clients in the United States District Court (Southern District of New York) venue where Fishman's trial will commence, announced his appearance as co-counsel with a Jan. 10 filing in that court.

Fishman is charged with two felony counts related to drug alteration, misbranding, and conspiring to defraud the government.

Last month, Fishman was called before Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil to answer allegations made by prosecutors that he was still selling purportedly performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) even as he prepared to face a trial related to the sale of many of those same substances. At a bail revocation hearing, Fishman was ordered to surrender all of the substances stored at his Boca Raton business, but the judge stopped short of revoking his pre-trial release privileges.

Fernich, according to the bio on his firm's website, specializes in the study of legal precedents in intense regulatory environments. This expertise “enables Fernich to construct subtle, novel and creative arguments that other attorneys may miss” and it centers on “sophisticated appeals and legal motions that can toss charges at the trial level or pave the way for future appeals.”

Lisa Giannelli, whom the feds allege ran an online sales business called Equestology that was closely related to Fishman's venture, will also go on trial at the same time as Fishman.

Six of 27 defendants named in the original indictment have now been sentenced after pleading guilty to charges in the federal government's prosecution of an alleged “corrupt scheme” to manufacture, mislabel, rebrand, distribute, and administer PEDs to racehorses all across America and in international races.

Giannelli and Fishman will be the first to push their cases to a trial. The indicted former trainer Jason Servis, the highest-profile of the remaining defendants, is in a third trial grouping that does not yet have an assigned court date.

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Volatile Sires First Foal

Mon, 2022-01-10 17:54

Brilliant GISW Volatile (Violence–Melody Lady, by Unbridled's Song) has sired his first foal, a filly, born at Mallory Farm. Bred by Torie Gladwell out of the winning mare Jeweled (Sidney's Candy), the chestnut hails from the female family of GI Kentucky Oaks heroine Summerly. “We sold her dam, who was drop dead gorgeous, to Bob Baffert as a yearling,” said Gladwell, also of Top Line Sales. “We were fortunate enough to be able to get her back. The filly has the same qualities as the mare, great looking, well balanced, full of substance, with a ton of class.  We couldn't be more delighted.” Volatile stands at Three Chimneys, where he will command a fee of $15,000 LFSN in 2022.

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Amplify Reopens Mentorship Program Application

Mon, 2022-01-10 17:31

Edited Press Release

Amplify Horse Racing, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit promoting education and careers in the Thoroughbred industry to youth and young adults, has reopened its mentorship program application for 2022. The program formalizes the process of pairing young adults interested in pursuing a Thoroughbred industry career, with experienced industry professionals who can offer guidance.

The initial pilot program, launched in 2021, matched 12 individuals from eight different states with industry mentors. The pairs worked together for three months to develop their knowledge of the Thoroughbred industry, and create an educational plan that included tailoring resumes to be applicable to the industry, shadowing mentors at industry events, and applying for jobs and training programs.

Nearly all mentees from 2021 have since taken steps toward pursuing a career in the industry by enrolling in college equine programs, being hired for industry internships and jobs, or targeting vet school.

The objectives of the program are:

  • Improve accessibility of the Thoroughbred industry
  • Develop newcomers' understanding of the industry by leveraging the passion, knowledge and experience of industry professionals
  • Facilitate meaningful conversations between young adults and industry professionals about employment expectations
  • Create a pathway to employment by connecting education and workforce

Mentee candidates should demonstrate a strong interest to learn and desire to work in the Thoroughbred industry. The suggested age range is 18-25, and there are no restrictions based on academic achievement. Amplify prioritizes applicants with little to no industry work experience, and they must be residents of the United States or Canada. The 2022 program application timeline is Jan. 10 through Aug. 12, and the program duration for each mentor-mentee pair is three months, as determined by acceptance and start date. Eligible mentors can apply at any time.

Amplify Horse Racing is driven by Annise Montplaisir, the organization's Co-Founder and President, and Equine Education Coordinator for the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) Foundation.

“I am pumped for Amplify Horse Racing to resume offering this mentorship program,” said Montplaisir. “It is an amazing inlet for young adults to take their first steps into the industry with the guidance of someone who has already navigated that path. Additionally, it's a great way for industry employers to positively educate about the sport, the jobs that are in high demand, and the best way to prepare for a career.”

“The Amplify Mentorship Program is a fantastic way for students with an interest in exploring careers in the Thoroughbred industry to make connections and develop a professional network,” said Jen Roytz, who served as a mentor in 2021. “Amplify does a fantastic job of laying out a framework for the mentors and mentees to follow, allowing students to gain an appreciation for the array of career opportunities that may be complementary to their college major, work experience, strengths and interests.”

“The Amplify Horse Racing Mentorship is an amazing way to make connections and network within the industry,” said Trisha Smith, a 2021 mentee. “I do not come from an industry background, and feel that programs like this are crucial to help new people get into the sport. Everyone I met as a result of the program was so helpful during my job search. [Program coordinator] Annise Montplaisir was very supportive throughout the program, and because of various job posts she sent me, I am now living my dream and working in the Thoroughbred industry.”

To learn more about the program and apply today, visit amplifyhorseracing.org/mentorship, and contact info@amplifyhorseracing.org for more information.

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Court Orders Gargan To Pay $132K After Alleged Labor Laws Violations

Mon, 2022-01-10 16:41

A federal court has ruled that New York-based trainer Danny Gargan must pay $132,631 in back wages and damages to 52 employees. According to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, Gargan failed to pay his workers overtime wages they had earned.

The fine includes an assessment of $37,368 in civil money penalties for what the Department of Labor is calling a “willful wage theft and for falsifying records in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

“The defendants took advantage of their employees by underpaying them and then tried to hide this illegal behavior by falsifying their payroll records,” Wage and Hour Division District Director David An said in a statement. “Gargan Stables Corp. and Danny Gargan have learned that disregard for federal labor laws and their employees' rights have costly consequences. We suggest other employers review their own pay practices to prevent violations. The Wage and Hour Division has many tools to assist employers and workers in understanding the law.”

Gargan is just one of many New York trainers fined by the Department of Labor for similar violations. The list includes Chad Brown, Kiaran McLaughlin, Linda Rice, Jimmy Jerkens, Steve Asmussen, Leo O'Brien and George Weaver.

Gargan said he decided to settle with the Labor Department after years of contesting the charges.

“You can't fight them and I fought them for three years and that's why they are mad at me,” he said. “Obviously, I'm not the first guy this has happened to. At some point, you have to settle with them. It weighs on you. Kiaran McLaughlin retired over this. It's a hard thing to be part of.”

The Department of Labor charged that Gargan paid certain employees a fee per horse handled and not per hour as stated in their payroll records. The division also determined that he falsified payroll records to give the appearance that employees were paid by the hour when they were not.

Gargan said the latter charge was not true and that the problem boiled down to his failure to use a time clock.

“We didn't falsify anything,” he said. “We just had time sheets. That's the way we were told to do it. It turns out you have to have an actual time clock. It's not like we lied or anything. They got their overtime. But they don't accept the time sheets and anyone who doesn't have a time clock in New York is going to get a big fine. Believe me, I pay my help.”

As per the court's ruling, Gargan will be required to hire a compliance monitor to review payroll and record keeping practices and to install an electric timekeeping system to record the amount of hours an employee has worked. He must also train employees in a language they will understand about the proper use of the timekeeping system and post and provide employees with information and documents in English and Spanish informing them of their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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Preakness Art Competition Announced

Mon, 2022-01-10 15:38

Edited Press Release

1/ST and the Maryland Jockey Club have partnered with the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) to launch The Art of Racing, a unique art competition to honor the second jewel of the Triple Crown Series and its impact on Baltimore. Established more than four decades ago, the relationship between the Maryland Jockey Club and MICA takes a step forward with this community-wide call for entries of original, two-dimensional visual art that depicts the unique elements of Thoroughbred horse racing and the GI Preakness S.

From now until the submission deadline of Mar. 1, 2022, artists may submit their entries here, after which all submissions will be available for public viewing. From Mar. 2 through Mar. 20, visitors to the The Art of Racing website can cast their vote for their favorite work of art. The top 10 vote-getters will then be entered into the finalist category, with the winning piece selected by an esteemed panel of judges representing the artistic, business, philanthropic and political communities that allow Park Heights to thrive as the home of Preakness 147.

The winning artist of the inaugural competition will receive a $4,000 stipend and two tickets to Preakness 147 on May 21, 2022. In addition, their work will be reproduced on Preakness 147 merchandise with the Park Heights Renaissance as the beneficiary of all sales proceeds, which will be used to support the activities of the non-profit organization as it pursues affordable housing for families and provides employment opportunities for members of the Park Heights community.

The Art of Racing is part of the ongoing partnership between 1/ST and the Park Heights Renaissance that included honoring the late community advocate George E. Mitchell through the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan S. and the George E. Mitchell Park Heights Community Fellowship Grant. The Art of Racing builds upon the legacy of these initiatives by recognizing and honoring individuals who, much like Mitchell himself, demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to the Park Heights community.

“The visual elements behind the Preakness Stakes captivate the imagination both on race day and year-round,” said David Wilson, Chief Marketing Officer, 1/ST. “The Art of Racing commemorates and celebrates one of the most iconic sporting events in Maryland, and nationwide. It also represents the opportunity for a modern visual interpretation of the Preakness Stakes as we redefine the sport to connect with a new generation of fans.”

“The Preakness is one of the most esteemed public events for Maryland and this inaugural competition celebrates its importance in a unique way,” said Dr. Leslie King-Hammond, the founding director of the Center for Race and Culture at MICA and a member of the judging panel for The Art of Racing.

There is a long history between MICA and the Preakness that began in the 1970s when then-MICA professor Raoul Middleman led his classes in painting murals of Pimlico Race Course. The seven murals Middleman created with his students, which live in perpetuity behind the course's grandstand, provide an intimate look at a tradition defined by history and character.

“Raoul Middleman enriched the lives of his students by giving them the hands-on opportunity to experience commercial artmaking,” said Dr. Tiffany Holmes, MICA's Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. “The Art of Racing builds upon Professor Middleman's legacy by commissioning artists from MICA and across Maryland to provide their interpretations of Maryland's time-honored tradition of Thoroughbred racing.”

For more information on The Art of Racing, please visit www.preakness.com/the-art-of-racing or follow @PreaknessStakes and #Preakness on social media.

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Letruska to Make ’22 Debut in Royal Delta

Mon, 2022-01-10 13:44

Letruska (Super Saver), who will be named 2021's champion older mare next month, will kick off her 6-year-old campaign in the Feb. 26 GIII Royal Delta S. at Gulfstream, reports trainer Fausto Gutierrez. The race will serve as a prep for the Apr. 23

GI Apple Blossom H. at Oaklawn.

The winner of last year's Apple Blossom, Letruska will attempt to become the first horse to win back-to-back runnings of that event since Azeri, who won it in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Letruska is currently stabled at Palm Meadows.

“The Royal Delta is here at home at a mile-and-a- sixteenth. It's a perfect race for her to come back in,” Gutierrez said.

Letruska will have her first work of 2022 this Sunday at Palm Meadows.

“She's in good form and never lost condition,” the trainer said. “She's ready to have her first workout. It will be three furlongs.”

Gutierrez did not have any races picked out for Letruska after the Apple Blossom, but said he is interested in running her at Churchill Downs and at Keeneland since she will be stabled at Keeneland after leaving Florida. He ruled out a start against males.

Among the more popular horses in the sport, Letruska, who began her career in Mexico, started eight times last year at seven different racetracks. Her season began in January with the GIII Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston and concluded in November in the GI Breeders' Cup Distaff at Del Mar.

“She had a spectacular year,” Gutierrez said. “She ran from January to November. She never stopped. She traveled around all over the country. She won at six different tracks and won four Grade I's. When she was in the best form I tried to go to the most prestigious races with her.”

Letruska finished 10th in the Distaff, where she was done in by a vicious early speed duel.

“There was a lot of speed in the Breeders' Cup,” Gutierrez said. “But that is part of racing. Every race is different and the Grade I's are never easy. I didn't expect her to have an easy race and gallop alone in front.”

After the Breeders' Cup, Gutierrez and owner-breeder German Larrea Mota-Velasco decided to bring her back for another go as a 6-year-old. Gutierrez said Letruska will have a lighter schedule in 2022 than she had last year.

“She is in good form and I think she will have another very good year,” he said. “I need to come up with a calendar with fewer races. She might have six races this year. The Breeders' Cup is in Kentucky at Keeneland, which will be good for her. I prefer that since it means she won't have to travel.”

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TAA Accreditation Application for 2022 Now Available

Mon, 2022-01-10 11:08

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) accreditation application for 2022 is now available. Thoroughbred aftercare non-profits, including those accredited for 2021 that want to remain accredited, must complete the application by Apr. 1 to seek accreditation for the coming year.

Accreditation status with TAA is determined after a complete review of five areas of an aftercare organization: operations, education, horse health care management, facility standards and services, and adoption policies and protocols. Organizations will be subject to site inspections of all facilities housing Thoroughbreds.

Organizations that receive accreditation are eligible for financial grants from the TAA, which awarded $3.7 million to accredited organizations in 2021 and has awarded more than $24.5 million since 2012.

Visit ThoroughbredAftercare.org/Accreditation for the application.

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Grayson-Jockey Club Calls for Research into EHV Vaccine

Mon, 2022-01-10 10:15

Edited press release

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation has issued a formal call for research applications focused on the development of a nucleic acid-based vaccine against equine herpes virus (EHV). Dr. John Ballantyne and Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation have committed $2 million to fund this research.

“We are so grateful to Dr. Ballantyne for his generosity in supporting efforts to address EHV, a disease that affects all horses,” said Dell Hancock, chair of the foundation. “This gift will enable Grayson to continue its commitment to funding critical research for horses, and our research advisory committee looks forward to seeing what proposals are submitted.”

“As a horse owner with a biotechnology background, I recognize the danger of EHV and see the potential for nucleic acid-based vaccines for combating this disease,” said Dr. Ballantyne. “I am proud to work with Grayson to support EHV research.”

Grayson is interested in research proposals focused on EHV-1, EHV-3, and EHV-4, with a multivalent or pan-valent approach. Researchers must have the ability to conduct an in vivo proof of principle of efficacy in the equine model in-house or through collaboration. Applications from established equine investigators collaborating with experts from other fields (e.g., human vaccinologists) are strongly encouraged. It is anticipated that this research will span three to four years and possibly multiple projects.

Grant applications are due October 1, 2022, and can be submitted at grayson-jockeyclub.org.

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is traditionally the nation's leading source of private funding for equine medical research that benefits all breeds of horses. Since 1983, the foundation has provided more than $30.6 million to fund 397 projects at 45 universities in North America and overseas.

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New Vocations Adds Florida Facility

Mon, 2022-01-10 09:31

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program has opened a satellite facility at Trillium Sport Horses near Ocala, Florida. Erin MacDonald, an international three-day eventing rider, will oversee the facility's focus on rehabbing, retraining, and rehoming retiring Thoroughbred racehorses.

“On average, 60 horses each year are shipped more than 700 miles from Florida to our Lexington facility,” said Anna Ford, the program director for New Vocations. “Horses coming from Florida racetracks and training centers will now have a much shorter travel distance and duration as they start their next chapters.”

New Vocations, the nation's oldest and largest racehorse adoption charity, now has nine facilities in six states. Ford said a Florida location near Ocala had been in the plan for some time, but was delayed by the pandemic.

According to New Vocations, MacDonald has years of experience restarting off-track Thoroughbreds. She said, “It is so gratifying to help a Thoroughbred smoothly transition into a second career after the races. I am honored to be working with such an outstanding aftercare organization and to join in their efforts to provide Florida-based horses and their connections with a quality rehabilitation and retraining program.”

The first horses arrived at the Florida facility in late 2021. Three have already been adopted with several more making progress in various stages of rehab and training. For information on donating a horse to the Florida facility or supporting its efforts, click here, call (859) 252-9574, or e-mail anna@horseadoption.com.

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Happy Medium, Venti Valentine Work Toward Next Starts

Sun, 2022-01-09 17:42

Jay Em Ess Stable's Happy Medium (Runhappy) posted his first breeze since his 'TDN Rising Star' performance Dec. 18, which was his third consecutive daylight win. The freshly minted 4-year-old was out for a half-mile work Sunday over the Belmont training track, getting the four furlongs in an easy :51.22.

“He worked well this morning,” said trainer Michelle Nevin. “It was just an easy breeze, which was what I wanted.”

A $300,000 Keeneland September yearling, Happy Medium had debuted with a third at Aqueduct last March before heading to the sidelines for six months, then reappeared to scorch a six-furlong maiden special weight at Belmont Sept. 30 by 9 1/4 lengths. An allowance in the slop at the Big A Nov. 13 resulted in a five-length score and the bay continued his tour de force Dec. 18, again at Aqueduct but this time over a fast track, by seven lengths. In addition to earning 'Rising Star' status, he also earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

Nevin said no specific plans have been made for the gelding's next start.

Also working–albeit in Florida–toward her next start was another New York star from this past fall in SW & GSP Venti Valentine (Firing Line). Campaigned by NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds, the now 3-year-old worked a half-mile in :50.80 Saturday at Palm Meadows Training Center.

“She's doing really good and that was a great run from her last time,” said Edgar Estevez, assistant to trainer Jorge Abreu. “Jorge is very pleased with the way she came out of the race and he decided to give her a little bit of a rest and start her back up down at Palm Meadows. She's taking it easy right now.”

After breaking her maiden on debut Sept. 26 going six panels at Belmont, Venti Valentine captured the Maid of the Mist S. at a mile Oct. 30 and was second by a neck in the GII Demoiselle S. Dec. 4 at Aqueduct at nine furlongs. In the Demoiselle, she earned four qualifying points toward the GI Kentucky Oaks, to be held May 6. Estevez indicated her next start on the path to the Oaks is yet to be determined.

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Pricey Pioneerof the Nile Filly Scores Second Out at Gulfstream

Sun, 2022-01-09 15:36

3rd-Gulfstream, $53,000, Msw, 1-9, 3yo, f, 1m, 1:36.64, ft, 3 3/4 lengths.
FAVOR (f, 3, Pioneerof the Nile–Fame and Fortune, by Unbridled's Song) was a well-beaten fourth as the 3-2 favorite when running into 'TDN Rising Star' Send for Me (Into Mischief) on career debut at Aqueduct Nov. 27. With that experience under her belt and getting more ground to work with here, the $500,000 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase graduate was antsy at the start, but broke well enough to cross over in front of the pack and clear Story Hour (Creative Cause), whose rider lost the irons early into the running. Clearing the chute in third on the outside, Favor was content to track a loose frontrunner up the backstretch, but soon found herself under pressure as Lakota Spirit (Curlin) snuck up to claim the rail spot. Shaken up for a run, the flashy filly hit the top of the stretch almost five wide and continued to wander in the lane, but crossed the wire 3 3/4 lengths in front of Lakota Spirit. Out of the full-sister to GISW Cross Traffic, Favor is her dam's first winner, and is a half to two by Uncle Mo–a 2-year-old colt and a yearling filly. Fame and Fortune was sent to Laoban for 2022. Sales history: $500,000 Ylg '20 FTKSEL. Lifetime Record: 2-1-0-0, $36,600. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O-Stonestreet Stables LLC; B-Diamond Creek Farm (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.

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Bobby’s Wicked One Sires First Foal

Sun, 2022-01-09 14:58

The first foal by Bobby's Wicked One (Speightstown–Wicked Charm, by Ghostzapper), arrived Jan. 5.The filly is out of the Curlin broodmare Cced, winner of $141,063 and campaigned by LNJ Foxwoods. Bobby's Wicked One entered stud in 2021 for Acadiana Equine at Copper Crowne in Opelousas, La.

Winner of the GIII Commonwealth S. at Keeneland in 2019, Bobby's Wicked One defeated champion Mitole (Eskendereya) in his 2-year-old debut and was second to him in his championship season GI Churchill Downs S. Over four years, Bobby's Wicked One earned $547,673 and also defeated the likes of champion sprinter Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect). He stands for $3,500 for Acadiana Equine at Copper Crowne. For more information contact David Tillson, 337-315-2439.

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Beautifully Bred Under the Stars Makes the Grade in Santa Ynez

Sat, 2022-01-08 19:31

Sent off the 9-10 chalk to build on a three-length maiden victory at Los Alamitos when last seen Dec. 11, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Under the Stars (Pioneerof the Nile) was made to work for it, but managed to tough out a narrow victory in Saturday's GIII Santa Ynez S. at Santa Anita.

Away alertly enough from the inside stall, the bay–bred on a similar cross to the one that produced Triple Crown winner American Pharoah–held her spot at the fence while being shaded three wide by pacesetting Miss Mattie B (Tonalist), with Big Shamrock (Mr. Big) poking through between. Awake At Midnyte (Nyquist) chimed in three wide at the top of the lane and appeared to have sufficient momentum to reel in the chalk, but Under the Stars sprinted powerfully through the final eighth of a mile to prevail tenaciously.

Under the Stars, a debut third as the chalk behind Awake At Midnyte Oct. 31, filled that same slot behind stablemate and next out GI Starlet S. heroine Eda (Munnings) in Del Mar's Desi Arnaz S. Nov. 13.

“When we came into this race, I was worried about the post, but she's improving,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. “She's a half-sister to Bodemeister, so she has the pedigree to go further and Flavien [Prat] thinks she wants to go further also. It's nice when they're bred that well and the Coolmore gang, the ownership group, they've been real patient. I'm just glad they sent her to us.”

Pedigree Notes:

Under the Stars becomes the 40th stakes/18th graded winner for the late, great Pioneerof the Nile. This is the 302nd stakes/147th graded winner for the legendary Storm Cat as a broodmare sire. Storm Cat also appears prominently in the pedigree of Pioneerof the Nile's top two runners–Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (produced by a Yankee Gentleman mare) and champion Classic Empire (produced by a Cat Thief mare), respectively. Under the Stars is one of four black-type horses for her GSW/GISP dam, most notably responsible for GISW and multiple Classic-placed Bodemeister (Empire Maker); and MGISP Fascinating (Smart Strike). Untouched Talent has also produced colts of 2020 and 2021 by Justify. She was bred to Uncle Mo for 2022. Untouched Talent brought $5 million from Coolmore's M.V. Magnier following the Classics exploits of Bodemeister at the 2012 FTKNOV sale, which was topped by the $10-million Havre de Grace.

Saturday, Santa Anita
SANTA YNEZ S.-GII, $200,500, Santa Anita, 1-8, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:22.51, ft.
1–UNDER THE STARS, 120, f, 3, by Pioneerof the Nile
               1st Dam: Untouched Talent (GSW & GISP, $243,550), by Storm Cat
               2nd Dam: Parade Queen, by A.P. Indy
               3rd Dam: Spanish Parade, by Roberto
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O- Mrs.
John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor, & Derrick Smith; B-Eaton
(KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Flavien Prat. $120,000. Lifetime
Record: 4-2-0-2, $170,520. *1/2 to Bodemeister (Empire
Maker), GISW, $1,304,800; 1/2 to Himiko (American
Pharoah), SP, $177,277; 1/2 to Fascinating (Smart Strike),
MGISP, $166,320. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Awake At Midnyte, 120, f, 3, Nyquist–Midnight Union, by
Union Rags. ($85,000 RNA Wlg '19 KEENOV; $190,000 Ylg
'20 FTKOCT; $320,000 2yo '21 FTFMAR). O-Reddam Racing
LLC; B-Forty Oaks (KY); T-Doug F. O'Neill. $40,000.
3–Miss Mattie B, 120, f, 3, Tonalist–Traffic Blimp, by
Medaglia d'Oro. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK
TYPE. ($10,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP). O-Westlake Racing Stable;
B-R. S. Evans (KY); T-Robert B. Hess, Jr. $24,000.
Margins: 3/4, 6HF, 6. Odds: 0.90, 4.50, 12.60.
Also Ran: Big Switch, Big Shamrock, Mimajoon.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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Life Is Good Tops Pletcher’s Pegasus Workers Saturday

Sat, 2022-01-08 17:56

'TDN Rising Star' Life Is Good (Into Mischief), a dominant winner of the GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile Nov. 6, continues to train forwardly toward his 4-year-old debut in the $3-million GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational Jan. 29 at Gulfstream Park.

Life Is Good was among two dozen horses breezing for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher Saturday morning at Palm Beach Downs. He was clocked in 1:00.41 (5/11) for five furlongs.

“He's a phenomenal workhorse. He's a very talented, gifted animal that when you watch him breeze you kind of look at your stopwatch and it doesn't look like what you'd expect to see when he's doing it. He's doing it so easily,” Pletcher said. “He continues to train very impressively. We're three weeks out and we're happy with where we are.”

Fearless (Ghostzapper) worked a half-mile in :50.04 (15/25). He exits a four-length victory in the GIII Harlan's Holiday S. Dec. 18 at Gulfstream.

“Fearless continues to train really well. Happy with him,” Pletcher said. “We haven't decided [what's next]. I talked to Mike Repole and right now we're leaning toward the mile race [GIII Fred W. Hooper] that day on the undercard.”

Pegasus World Cup Turf candidates Colonel Liam (Liam's Map) and Never Surprised (Constitution) were also on Saturday's worktab. Colonel Liam, the defending Pegasus World Cup Turf winner, went five furlongs in 1:00.46 (6/11) while Never Surprised, winner of the Dec. 26 Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream, had a half-mile move in :51.01 (22/25). Colonel Liam has been off since finishing eighth in the GI Manhattan S. at Belmont in June.

Sweet Melania (American Pharoah), who earned her third career graded win in the Dec. 18 GIII Suwannee River S. at Gulfstream, is being pointed to the GIII Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf. She worked four furlongs in :50.32 (19/25).

“Colonel Liam, very good breeze with him again this morning. We're on a tight schedule, but everything has gone right so far and I think we're approaching the race the way you'd hope. Never Surprised bounced out of the Tropical Derby very well, just a maintenance breeze this morning. Happy with him,” Pletcher said. “Sweet Melania, she was good this morning, too. So far, everything's gone according to plan.”

Pletcher said that Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo), a last out winner of the Dec. 4 GII Remsen S. at Aqueduct, will make his sophomore debut in the GIII Holy Bull S. Feb. 5. Mo Donegal worked five furlongs in 1:00.46 (6/11) Saturday, his third breeze since arriving in South Florida.

“Very good work, happy with him,” Pletcher said. “He's right on schedule for the Holy Bull.”

Pletcher also provided an update on flashy Gulfstream debut winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Emmanuel (More Than Ready). He was scratched from an optional claiming allowance Friday at Tampa Bay Downs.

“He spiked a 102.5 temperature the morning after we entered,” Pletcher said. “It's kind of frustrating. We were kind of hoping to get some two-turn experience at Tampa. He's fine, he's going back to the track tomorrow. Now we've just got to regroup and find out we're going to come back.”

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Speightstown’s Dean’s List Maintains Good Standing with Second Win

Sat, 2022-01-08 15:13

5th-Gulfstream, $55,400, Alw (NW1$X)/Opt. Clm ($75,000), 1-8, 3yo, 6f, 1:09.34, ft, neck.
DEAN'S LIST (c, 3, Speightstown–Mildly Offensive {MSW, $285,826}, by Sharp Humor) was an easy last out winner on career debut, taking the Dec. 11 track-and-trip contest by 5 1/2 lengths. Hammered down to 1-5 favoritism for this sophomore bow while receiving first-time Lasix, the WinStar homebred was jostled a bit at the break, but recovered quickly to emerge from the center of the pack as the controlling speed. Rolling into the final turn off a brisk :22.13 opening quarter, it was a 'Dean' exacta at the top of the stretch as stakes-placed Dean Delivers (Cajun Breeze) loomed large to the outside. The pair locked horns for the stretch battle and Dean's List bravely fought off his challenger to win by a neck. Dean's List has an unnamed 2-year-old half-brother by Carpe Diem. His second dam is MGSW It's Personal (Personal Flag), who also produced MGSW It's No Joke (Distorted Humor). Sales history: $220,000 RNA Ylg '20 FTKSEL. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $64,200. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O-WinStar Farm LLC and Siena Farm LLC; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.

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Distorted Humor’s Iron Works Scores on Debut

Sat, 2022-01-08 14:22

4th-Gulfstream, $53,000, Msw, 1-8, 3yo, 6f, 1:09.76, ft, 4 lengths.
IRON WORKS (c, 3, Distorted Humor–Silverpocketsfull {GISP, $137,671}, by Indian Charlie) was well-supported at 6-5 on debut here and chased Particular (Classic Empire) from second through a quick :45.13 half mile. Making an eye-catching move midway on the final turn, the $550,000 OBS April graduate (:10 1/5) was even with the pacesetter after swinging wide into the lane and pulled clear in the final yards to win by a comfortable four lengths. Particular had to settle for second after making all the early running. The winner is his dam's second foal and second winner. Silverpocketsfull, a half-sister to recent Broussard Memorial S. winner Audrey's Time (Uncle Mo), is also responsible for a 2-year-old colt by Union Rags and a yearling colt by Flatter. She was bred to Liam's Map for 2022. Sales history: $170,000 Ylg '20 FTKSEL; $550,000 2yo '21 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $31,800. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
O-My Racehorse CA, LLC and Spendthrift Farm LLC; B-Sierra Farm (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.

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