Ellis Park will offer the highest purses in the track's 97-year history at its 2019 summer race meet, including a record nine stakes that could be worth at least $100,000 each. Purse money and supplements for Kentucky-bred horses are projected to average $330,000 a day at the 29-date meet that runs June 30 through Labor Day. That's more than double the $155,000 average-daily purses offered only four years ago.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order on May 23 permitting the use of microchips as a means to identify racehorses—Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses—who are entered to race at any of Ohio's seven racetracks, as well as at the Buckeye State's county fairs. "This executive order will ensure that the Ohio State Racing Commission will be able to uphold the integrity of racing by identifying horses using the most updated technology," Bill Crawford, executive director of the Ohio State Racing Commission acknowledged.
The California Horse Racing Board approved its support of SB 469, a bill that would allow the CHRB to immediately suspend a license to conduct a race meeting if needed to protect equine health and welfare. It was one of several items the CHRB undertook at its May 23 meeting at Santa Anita Park to continue to improve protocols designed for the safety of horses and riders.
The return to the Turf of Peter M. Brant, a man of deep engagement with wider concerns of art and society, has not just enriched the sport’s cultural fabric. It has also now secured the future of a valuable piece of its heritage in Payson Park.
Following the Lasix dosage reduction protocol that was approved for Santa Anita Park in March, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) on Thursday voted to approve similar agreements to allow racing secretaries at four other tracks to also establish conditions that will lower the allowable maximum race-day dosage of the drug from 500 mg to 250 mg.
In a rare hearing on horse racing in the California state Capitol in Sacramento Wednesday, industry leaders such as Mike Smith, Bob Baffert and The Stronach Group (TSG) Chairman and President Belinda Stronach took turns before state lawmakers to discuss the efforts the sport has taken to improve the welfare and safety of the sport’s equine and human athletes, as well as the measures that still need to be instituted.
The Colonial Downs Group’s request to obtain a license to operate Historical Horse Racing and live simulcast wagering at its next Rosie’s Gaming Emporium site was approved today at the Virginia Racing Commission meeting. The new Rosie’s complex will be located in South Richmond at the site of a former Kmart building on Midlothian Turnpike. It is 120,000 square feet, will have 700 Historical Horse Racing (HHR) terminals, a prominent OTB/live simulcast area, a dining area, large bar, both smoking and non-smoking sections and a higher limit HHR area. It will have 840 parking spaces and a capacity of 3,000 people. The opening is scheduled for late June.
The death of race horses, particularly in the United States, has made headlines about the safety of the sport. Horse racing journalist Katie Lamb argues the thoroughbreds are being put in danger while veterinarian Dr. Larry Bramlage argues they are not, that safety is paramount.
Nominations for the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards open May 21 and will close July 15. The TIEAs were held in America for the first time in 2016. Godolphin, the global racing stable founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the principal sponsor of the awards in association with The Jockey Club, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and the Breeders' Cup. Godolphin also sponsors the equivalent Stud and Stable Staff Awards in Ireland, Australia, Britain, and France.
The Drug Testing Standards and Practices (DTSP) Committee of the Association of Racing Commissions International (ARCI) has released for industry and public comment Proposed Revised Penalty Guidelines for violations of the antidoping or medication rules in horse racing.
A native of central Kentucky, Mark grew up working around Gainesway Farm where his father Joe was manager for forty years. In 1991 Mark graduated from Clemson University with a B.A. in English. Upon graduation, Mark returned to the horse business where he worked for Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally in California before spending a year in Dubai working in Sheikh Mohammed’s Dubai Racing Operation. In 1994 Mark joined his brothers full time as partner in Taylor Made Sales Agency. He is currently Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Taylor Made. Mark is the previous President of the Consignors and Breeders Association (CBA) and remains a member of the CBA Board of Directors. In addition to serving on the Board and as Secretary of KTA/KTOB, Mark is also a former trustee of the Breeders’ Cup.
While the 2019 Preakness Stakes (G1) field lacked any of the first four horses to reach the wire in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), horseplayers had plenty of interest in the Baltimore classic. Perhaps the debate that followed the disqualification of Maximum Security from victory in the Derby brought more interest to the Preakness May 18 at Pimlico Race Course as bettors turned up in force, wagering a record $99,852,653 on the 14-race card, up 2.8% from the record set in 2017 at $97,168,658 (also a 14-race card).
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has announced it will serve as the host for the inaugural American Youth Racing Experience (AYRE) this summer, a unique opportunity for young men and women to see and take part in the Thoroughbred game in "up close and personal" fashion.
The third International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR), held in conjunction with the European & Mediterranean Horseracing Federation's (EMHF) General Assembly at Øvrevoll Racetrack in Oslo, Norway, concluded May 16 with presentations on topics including the challenges regulators face when it comes to aftercare, the versatility of the Thoroughbred, an aftercare toolkit, and case studies of aftercare programs in France and Greece.
Luis Saez has filed an appeal of a 15-day suspension handed down by the stewards at Churchill Downs for his ride on Maximum Security during the May 4 Kentucky Derby, according to his attorney. Saez also filed a request for a stay of the suspension until his appeal can be heard.
Facing a virtual collapse of the state breeding industry, Arlington International Racecourse is converting its "state-bred" races to "states-bred" affairs, including not only Illinois-bred horses but those hailing from Louisiana and Arkansas. In addition to providing additional horses for races that have seen dwindling fields, racing secretary Chris Polzin said the newly carded events will be considered "open-company" races, offering owners of actual Illinois-breds a chance at supplementary earnings.
Maximum Security’s owners on Tuesday sued the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and its members, staff and the stewards who disqualified the horse in the 145th Kentucky Derby. The federal lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Frankfort on Tuesday, called the disqualification process “bizarre and unconstitutional” and seeks to have the stewards’ decision reversed and the original order of finish reinstated “confirming that Maximum Security is the official winner of the Derby who remains undefeated.”
Mike Willman still wakes up each day — or, oftentimes in the middle of the night — thinking of a number. He’s then reminded of that upon arriving to work as Santa Anita Park’s director of publicity. “It’s 23,” Willman said, referring to the total equine fatalities as a result of racing or training since the winer meet began back on Dec. 26.
Dermot Ryan is the manager of Ashford Stud, the American division of Coolmore Stud. A native of Co. Tipperary, Ireland, Dermot graduated from the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course before taking a position with Coolmore Stud in Ireland. Following eight years working for Coolmore in Ireland, Dermot relocated to Coolmore America in 1993. Dermot was a founding member of the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association and also spent two terms on the board of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Foundation.
The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) has launched the Empire Racing Club, a non-profit organization designed to introduce fans to racehorse ownership. New York’s beloved retired racecaller Tom Durkin will serve as managing partner, and Eclipse Award-winner Todd Pletcher will be the Club trainer.
Walker is the fourth generation of Hancock’s to run his family’s Claiborne Farm which was established in 1910. Claiborne has been a part of his entire life as he learned to work and handle horses at the early age of eight. After attending Sayre School in Lexington, Walker went on to attend the University of Florida where he majored in Animal Sciences with a minor in Agricultural Sales and Marketing. During summer vacations from school, Walker would work at Claiborne with the yearling sales prep team. As a requirement from his major, he needed to fulfill an internship within his respective industry. Walker had the opportunity to fill that obligation in the summer of 2010 working alongside the Keeneland Sales Inspection team. Upon graduation from Florida in May of 2012, Walker went to work for trainer Al Stall, first at Saratoga, then at Keeneland. For the 2013 breeding season, Walker was the resident vet technician at Claiborne. Once the breeding season ended, he spent time shadowing his father Seth, as well as Claiborne’s farm manager Bradley Purcell, taking a larger role in the Keeneland September Sale consignment as well as day-to-day farm operations. In early 2014, Walker became the President of Claiborne Farm and Seth Hancock became Chairman of the Board.
The historical racing facility at Derby City Gaming in Louisville, Ky. helped drive Churchill Downs Inc. to a successful first quarter in 2019. Money from those machines will provide a boost to Churchill Downs' spring meet purses, most notably an increase of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) purse from $2 million to $3 million but perhaps most importantly for the state's racing, an $18 million boost to the meet's overnight purses.
Keeneland and Churchill Downs Incorporated jointly announced today that the two industry icons have each committed $100,000 in contributions to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. This contribution will enable the sponsorship of two Grayson-approved projects. For the initial two years, 2019 and 2020, the funds will sponsor Dr. Sue Stover's Grayson-funded research project, "Training Programs for Prevention of Fetlock Injury." Projects to be funded in 2021 and 2022 will be determined at a later date.
A coalition of leading Thoroughbred racing associations and organizations announced today a new initiative committed to phasing out the use of the medication Furosemide (Lasix) beginning in 2020 and eliminating the use of Lasix in stakes races held at their racetracks beginning in 2021. Coalition racetracks that have signed on to this initiative include all tracks owned or operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and The Stronach Group as well as Del Mar, Keeneland, Lone Star Park and Remington Park, Los Alamitos Racecourse (Thoroughbred), Oaklawn Park and Tampa Bay Downs. Taken together these tracks represent 86% of the stakes races assigned graded or listed status in the United States in 2018. The coalition tracks will work diligently with their respective horsemen’s associations and racing commissions towards implementing this effort.
Churchill Downs Incorporated on Thursday announced significant initiatives to improve safety protocols and procedures ahead of the 2019 Kentucky Derby. These initiatives highlight the company’s strong and ongoing commitment to equine and jockey safety.
Born November 1, 1957, Baker grew up on Long Island working for his father George Baker who trained there for 20 years. In addition, he had the opportunity to work for Frank & David Whitely and Shug McGaughey. Shug helped him get started as a trainer in 1990. Baker has been training since then and has trained for the Kleins, George Steinbrenner, Greentree Stable, and Brereton Jones among others over the years.
Justify, winner of the 2018 Triple Crown, was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders during today’s KTOB Awards Luncheon at Keeneland. The KTOB recognized 12 other Kentucky-breds at the luncheon, led by Broodmare of the Year Stage Magic, the dam of Justify, and awards were also bestowed upon numerous individuals for their exemplary contributions to the industry.
Churchill Downs Inc., in partnership with Keeneland Association, broke ground April 9 on a $150 million, state-of-the-art, live and historical horse racing venue near Oak Grove, Ky. The new facility will be called Oak Grove Racing & Gaming.
Hard Rock International is the new owner of Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky after the track was included in a three-way deal that saw a Cincinnati casino change ownership as well.
Chris Baker is a 30-year industry veteran with international expertise in multiple facets of the Thoroughbred business. The 1986 University of Maryland graduate initially worked in the broodmare, stallion and racing divisions at Lane's End Farm. He then headed overseas, learning the training craft in racing jurisdictions as varied as England, Australia, and New Zealand. Repatriated to California, Chris was an assistant trainer to Hall of Famers Neil Drysdale and Richard Mandella, working with such Champions as A.P. Indy, Kotashaan, and Phone Chatter, before training on his own. A return to farm management eventually brought Chris to Ned Evans' Spring Hill Farm in Virginia, where he served as General Manager for 11 years until that operation dispersed in 2011. During his tenure, Spring Hill produced more than 100 stakes winners and was twice honored as TOBA's National Breeders of the Year. Chris then served as General Manager at WinStar Farm before joining Three Chimneys in December, 2013.
The US-Bred 2018 magazine is scheduled to be delivered early next week but the digital version can currently be viewed on the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association website.
Hard Rock International is buying Jack Cincinnati Casino and Turfway Park. On Friday, Jack Entertainment announced that it has entered into contracts to sell Jack Casino in Downtown Cincinnati and Turfway Park in Florence to Hard Rock International and VICI Properties for $780 million, pending regulatory approval.
Republicans and Democrats now agree — there needs to be a congressional review into a rash of horse racing deaths at a California race track. Rep. Andy Barr, a Kentucky Republican who co-chairs the Congressional Horse Caucus, will tour the Santa Anita track over the weekend.
College Scholarship Day offers a free, fun day at the races for thousands of college and university students from Kentucky and beyond. Admission is free with a college ID. Full-time students can either pre-register online or register online day of to win one of ten $1,000 scholarships or a $10,000 Runhappy scholarship and prizes from local vendors awarded after each of the day’s races. Students also will enjoy music, free snacks and prize drawings in Keeneland’s College Zone in the North Terrace.
Joe Seitz has been with Brookdale full time since 1997. He graduated from Marquette University with a degree in Journalism and then spent four years as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps. After the service, Joe worked as a racetrack groom and assistant trainer for Carl Nafzger and Todd Pletcher, respectively. Joe was elected as President of the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association (CBA) in 2016 and has served on The Board of Directors of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association (KTA), and the Thoroughbred Club of America (TCA). He now acts as Director of Sales for Brookdale.
Kentucky lawmakers approved legislation March 13 that would restore the ability of horseplayers to claim losses against any gambling winnings they claim. The legislation will go to Gov. Matt Bevin (Republican) for his consideration. Legislation approved for tax year 2018 ended the ability of Kentucky taxpayers to deduct gambling losses from reported gambling winnings, an issue first brought to light by BloodHorse.com. The change negatively impacted horseplayers by significantly increasing the amount of money they would have to list as income.
Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone officially are the new owners and managing partners in Kentucky Downs, finalizing the purchase of the racetrack and year-round entertainment center from the investment group that purchased the facility in 2007. Winchell and Falcone bought Kentucky Downs' assets through their new company, Kentucky Racing Acquisition LLC. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Anne Archer is part of the next generation of Hinkle horsepeople proving the future is bright for Hinkle Farms. Attending New York University and completing her education at Centre College, Anne Archer earned a bachelor's degree with a double major in History and Spanish. She specializes in bloodstock research, acquisition, stallion matings, and sales coordination. She loves nothing more than spending time with the many beautiful thoroughbreds on the farm.
A native of Kilkenny, Ireland, Pat came to Kentucky in 1984 to pursue his love of horses. Starting at Ashleigh Stud, he moved to the new Rood and Riddle, where he received agreat foundation training for 18 months. This led to the job of developing and managing Crescent Hill Farm for 10 years for the Slitz family, from where it was then time to branch out on his own. He started Drumkenny Farm in 1996, which was a 200 acre full service boarding operation. It was during this time that he became a member of various pinhooking partnerships, which not only led to introducing many friends to life as thoroughbred owners, but further revealed his love of the sales business. In 2001, Pat was a founding member of Paramount Sales, and he quickly realized that it would be impossible to fully commit to both jobs, so he decided to step away from the farm and concentrate on bloodstock sales. Since its inception, Paramount has been a top 10 leading consignor. Missing country life, Pat moved to 30 acres in 2013, where he breeds a small band of mares, and pinhooks weanlings with several partners. He and his wife, Lynne, have a daughter, Ali, who is an Athletic Trainer at Florida Atlantic University, and a son, David, who is a senior in high school. Pat loves this industry, and still believes that Kentucky is the center of the thoroughbred world. He is excited to be a part of the KTA, and hopes to be able to help promote Kentucky breeders and horses worldwide.
A change in state tax law in Kentucky for 2018 that removed the ability to deduct gambling losses from any gambling winnings income moved a step toward being changed back to the previous standard March 1. A clean-up bill that Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee chairman Christian McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) said aims to address unintended consequences of the state's tax law changes approved for the 2018 tax year reinstated the ability of filers with gambling winnings to claim gambling losses up to the amount of those winnings.