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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

OwnerView’s Thoroughbred Owners Conference Kicks Off October 13 in Lexington

Approximately 300 owners, prospective owners and other industry stakeholders are expected to be on hand when OwnerView’s first Thoroughbred Owners Conference kicks off Monday, October 13, with a tour of Keeneland racetrack and a welcome reception at Adena Springs Farm.

The conference is sponsored jointly by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, the Keeneland Association, The New York Racing Association Inc., and the Stronach Group, and all formal presentations and panel discussions will take place Tuesday and Wednesday at the Keeneland sales pavilion.

A limited number of spots are available for those wishing to attend. All conference details, including the complete schedule of events, registration forms, host hotel information and other tourism tips for the Bluegrass Region are available at ownerview.com.

Tom Durkin, who recently retired as the track announcer at the New York Racing Association tracks, will serve as master of ceremonies for the conference.

Tuesday’s agenda features a series of panels involving racetrack executives, owners, trainers, jockeys and bloodstock advisors.

Legendary golfer and longtime Thoroughbred owner/breeder Gary Player will deliver the keynote address for the conference late Tuesday afternoon. Player has owned the 20,000-acre Gary Player Stud in South Africa since 1974 and is consistently among the leading breeders in South Africa. He has frequently implored those involved in horse racing to come up with innovative ideas that would generate interest in the sport.

Wednesday’s agenda includes a panel discussion devoted to the care of horses and people in the Thoroughbred industry and a segment with young people with a family history in the sport. Ogden Mills Phipps, the chairman of The Jockey Club, will deliver closing remarks for the conference Wednesday afternoon and a closing reception is scheduled at Stonestreet Farm.

“This conference is a natural extension of our efforts to retain and attract owners, and we’ve seen keen interest from the panelists and speakers as well as those who have registered to attend,” said Gary Falter, vice president of operations for OwnerView. “Once again, we are grateful to Keeneland for making its facility available and to all four racing organizations for their sponsorship support.”

OwnerView is a website and information resource developed by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to assist both current and prospective Thoroughbred owners by providing accurate information on trainers, public racing syndicates, the process of purchasing and owning a Thoroughbred, racehorse retirement, and owner licensing.

The need for a central resource to encourage Thoroughbred ownership was identified in the comprehensive economic study of the sport that was commissioned by The Jockey Club and conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2011. The OwnerView site was launched in May 2012.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Statement from the National HBPA on Dr. Larry Bramlage's Lasix Comments

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association thinks it important to respond to remarks made by Dr. Larry Bramlage during his acceptance speech after receiving an award at the Thoroughbred Club of America’s 83rd Testimonial Dinner. Dr. Bramlage is a superb veterinarian and well deserving of recognition. We believe he also cares deeply for the horse and the industry. However, we do take strong exception to comments made by Dr. Bramlage. In his speech, Dr. Bramlage calls for banning race day administration of furosemide (Lasix), the diuretic proven to reduce Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH or “bleeding”).

Dr. Bramlage fully appreciates the fact that Lasix benefits the racehorse: “Let there be no doubt about what I am saying. I believe furosemide is valuable to the horse when racing.” We agree with his position because conclusive medical science exists on the topic and shows the use of Lasix eliminates bleeding in some horses and reduces the severity of bleeding in others.

However, Dr. Bramlage trots out the tired argument of The Jockey Club, of which he is a member, that Lasix must be eliminated because the “general public can’t understand it and the continual drumbeat of journalists, most of whom truly have no idea of what they are talking about, will become a death knell if we don’t stop it.” He further says, “It is not the drug that is bad, it is the public argument that plays out in the press that hurts us the most.”

Dr. Bramlage says the public “can’t discriminate between furosemide and cocaine…”  We are confident it can. If The Jockey Club invested the time, money and effort spent to date on politicizing the use of furosemide into a campaign of education and enlightenment, we believe the public and the limited number of full-time racing journalists would have a far different perception of Lasix use.

Credible efforts by the collective voices of this industry to tell the truth would eliminate the confusion about which Dr. Bramlage complains. All responsible participants in horse racing and breeding should recognize that sacrificing good science on the altar of political pandering and public misperception is bad policy – for the industry and for the horse.

Rather than working to educate the public and the media, The Jockey Club and, unfortunately, Dr. Bramlage have chosen to give up and not work to correct public misperceptions that ignore science. The impact of doing this is clear: the losers will be the racehorse and those who own them. Dr. Bramlage acknowledges this in his remarks, making it clear that to forbid the use of race day Lasix will “be terminal to some horses’ careers ...”

The National HBPA in its Mission Statement and everyday efforts encourages the highest standards of horsemanship to continuously improve the care, health and safety of the horse, and to support the development, adoption, implementation and enforcement of nationwide uniform rules that promote safety and integrity in racing. Our mission is incompatible with accepting anything less for our horses.

Dr. Bramlage titled his speech, “I did the best I could!” hoping that when in Heaven he could tell his boyhood pet horse, Buckshot, just that. We sincerely believe Dr. Bramlage has done that as a practicing veterinarian. But if we are complicit in allowing good science to be unseated by public relations pandering, and if racehorses become the casualty of organizations jockeying for political position, none of us could meet any of our horses in Heaven and make the same claim to them.

Mrs. Robin Richards
President & Chairman

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ron Rippey Award for Handicapping Media Announced

Brisnet.com will present the first-ever award for handicapping media at the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters dinner on Wednesday, October 29, at The Derby in Arcadia, Calif.

The inaugural Ron Rippey Handicapping Media Award is open to any article, blog post, or video pertaining to a handicapping topic published (in print or online) this year. Eligible topics include how to handicap/bet a race, post-race trip notes, or general essays on money management or use of speed ratings. The award is open to anyone with published content related to handicapping and offers a $1,000 cash prize plus reasonable accommodation to attend the NTWAB dinner to receive the award.

“Handicapping horse races is both an art and a science, and the ability to produce compelling content about the topic is a specialty that deserves recognition,” said Brisnet.com Director of Marketing Ed DeRosa. “We not only want to acknowledge the good work done in this regard but also encourage people to continue to produce this type of content, and who better to honor than successful handicapper and newspaper columnist Ron Rippey.”

Rippey won the 2006 National Handicapping Championship, was a 10-time qualifier for the prestigious annual event, and a beloved regular on the contest circuit. He also wrote about racing and made picks for the Newark Star-Ledger and contributed Spotlight Selections to Brisnet.com for major race days. Rippey died August 26.

“Ron’s enthusiasm for both playing the game and writing about it was infectious,” DeRosa said. “He wanted to beat you, but he wanted you to have fun while he did it, which is the essence of good handicapping content.”

Steve Byk, Jessica Chapel, and Paul Rolfes will serve as judges for the inaugural award, and the trio brings together a mix of media experiences:

*Byk is host of the long-running ‘At The Races’ on SiriusXM, publisher of DerbyTrail.com, & managing partner of Dee Tee Stables;

*Chapel founded her eponymous JessicaChapel.com—one of the longest-running blogs in racing—in 2004, helped launch Daily Racing Form blogs in 2007, and currently works on BreedersCup.com digital media initiatives; and

*Rolfes is an editor with the Louisville Courier-Journal who writes about horse racing and previously covered & handicapped both breeds for the Columbus Dispatch.

For more information or to submit an entry, e-mail RippeyAward@Brisnet.com by Tuesday, September 30.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Minnesota HBPA Announces Election Results

The Minnesota HBPA election results were announced September 4.

There were four candidates running for two open owner positions on the board of directors.  

Tom Metzen Sr., Owner/Director and current President, was reelected for another three-year term.

Owner Claudia Goebel, new to the board, will also serve three years.

Owner/Trainer Bernell Rhone will serve another term and ran unopposed.

The board elected Tom Metzen Sr. as President and Jack Walsh as Vice President for 2014-2015.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Interactive, Electronic Edition of The Horsemen's Journal Fall 2014 Issue is Now Available

The interactive, electronic version of The Horsemen's Journal's Fall 2014 issue is now available online. It is an enhanced version of our Fall 2014 issue, which is currently being mailed. To view it, either click here or click on the flipping magazine icon above.
Features in the issue include:

  • Meet Me in OKC - Horsemen come together for the NHBPA Summer Convention in Oklahoma City
  • Supplying Demand - Steuart Pittman and the Retired Racehorse Project aim to bring back demand for Thoroughbreds in other disciplines
  • Wandering Withdrawal Times and the RMTC Model Rules -Time for the RMTC to get “days”
  • Prepurchase Exams for the Layman - Evaluating a horse on your own before going ahead with an official veterinary exam can save you money
  • Embracing Technology May Improve Racehorse Performance - High-speed treadmills show promise

Much more than a PDF, the interactive electronic edition of The Horsemen's Journal includes the ability to save, print, email, or share content on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Please enjoy this exciting offering from the National HBPA and share it with anyone you think might enjoy it.

All hyperlinks/URLs and email addresses in the electronic edition are working, clickable links. So be sure to click on some of them - especially those in the advertisements to get more information on the great products and services being offered by the companies supporting your horsemen's organization.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Charles Town HBPA Launches Online Newsletter

The Charles Town HBPA has just launched the first edition of its online newsletter titled Beyond the Paddock. According to the first issue, the goal of the newsletter will be to “educate you on horse racing's large impact on the financial well being of our entire community. We will share stories with you about...Real People...Real Jobs...Real Impact!”

The first issue includes a letter from Charles Town HBPA President Randy Funkhouser along with information about the economic impact of horse racing in West Virginia. To find out more or to sign up for the newsletter, visit the Charles Town HBPA website at www.cthbpa.com.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

McCarron, Jenkins and Crump to Judge America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest

Chris McCarron, Rodney Jenkins, and Diane Crump will team up at Pimlico Race Course on Sunday, October 5 to provide commentary and insight on the performances of ten Thoroughbred ex-racehorses performing in ten equestrian sports during the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover: A Marketplace and National Symposium.

America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest is designed to educate the equestrian public about the process of training an ex-racehorse for a second career. The horses are new to their respective disciplines, but their trainers are experts. The public has been watching their progress on the RRP website (RetiredRacehorseProject.org) and will vote for their favorites from September 25 – 28. A second round of voting will take place during the October 5 demonstrations and immediately after.

“We chose these judges not only because they are three of the most accomplished horse people in America, but also because they are three of the most entertaining personalities in racing,” said RRP President Steuart Pittman. The role of the judges is to comment on each performance and question the trainers in a format similar to that of Fox Television’s American Idol. They do not decide the winners but can influence the popular vote with their commentary. The event offers $10,000 in purse money and can be watched live at BloodHorse.com. It will be emceed by Stan Salter of Maryland Horse Radio.

The contestants represent the sports of dressage (Nuno Santos with Now and Then), eventing (Phillip Dutton with Icabad Crane), foxhunting (Christy Clagett with Saba Rock), show jumpers (Armand Leone and New Vocations with Discreet Dancer), show hunters (Bev Strauss and Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue with D’Sauvage), polo (Juan Carlos Gonzalez and Marisa Bianchi with It’s A Little Chilli), ranch work (Dale Simanton with Rikim), barrels and western dressage (Patrick King with Pookie’s Princess), steeplechase (Jazz Napravnik with So Outspoken), Pony Club (Hannah Gilhool with Mad Bomber).

Chris McCarron retired as a jockey in 2002 as America’s all-time leader in earnings. He won two Eclipse Awards, was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame, and later served as General Manager of Santa Anita Park and as a racing analyst for TVG. In 2005, he created the North American Racing Academy to train future exercise riders, jockeys, and horsemen.

Diane Crump, was the first American woman to ride at a major track (Hialeah in 1969), the first woman to win a stakes race, and the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby (1970). She won 228 of her 1682 races as a jockey. After retiring from race riding she created Diane Crump Equine Sales, Inc., a successful business that matches horses and buyers in the sport horse market.

Rodney Jenkins trains a strong barn of some forty racehorses out of Laurel Park, but made history in the horse show world. He not only dominated both the hunter and jumper rings throughout the 70s and 80s, but he did it primarily on Thoroughbreds. His most famous winner was Idle Dice, a Charlestown claimer who won 31 Grand Prix in his career, including two at the age of 21. Rodney is in the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame, the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, and was Maryland’s leading racing trainer in 2004.

The America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest is a part of the Thoroughbred Makeover: A Marketplace and National Symposium October 4-5 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The weekend includes a Thoroughbred Marketplace sponsored by Thoroughbred Charities of America, seminars about transitioning racehorses to second careers, and demonstrations by top Thoroughbreds in multiple disciplines. Marketplace entries are being accepted at RetiredRacehorseProject.org and the catalogue of horses can be viewed there during the week before the event.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Simulcast Conference Deadline Approaching

“Is Racing Keeping Pace with Technology” will be the theme of the 22nd annual International Simulcast Conference in Delray Beach, Fla., on Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The conference, which will be held at the Marriott Delray Beach, will feature presentations and discussions on available technology and how it can be used to the benefit or detriment of pari-mutuel racing.

As technology continuously exercises increased impact on consumer trends, conference sessions will be devoted to the influence of technology from a competitive perspective, in enhancing the viewing and wagering experience, and what response technology may require for the industry to stay current with consumer demands.

Among the areas to be discussed:
•Mobile device use on-track
•High definition production and home delivery
•Fan and bettor experience

The International Simulcast Conference is co-sponsored by the TRA and Harness Tracks of America, in association with the American Greyhound Track Operators Association. Conference attendance requires registration with the TRA. Hotel rooms are still available and reservations may be made by calling the Marriott Delray Beach at 561-274-3200 and requesting the “International Simulcast Conference” block. The deadline for hotel reservations is September 12. Conference registration deadline is September 19. For more information, including the conference registration process, please visit www.tra-online.com.

Monday, August 18, 2014

HBPA Horsemen Reaffirm Their Support of Lasix

The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) restated its strong support for the continued use of Lasix at its summer convention held August 15-17, 2014 in Oklahoma City. Lasix is currently the only recognized treatment for pulmonary bleeding, a serious exercise induced disease that affects nearly all race horses. In doing so, the National HBPA joins the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (THA), the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) and the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT) in supporting Lasix use. Together these four horsemen's groups have nearly 50,000 owner and trainer members who race in the United States and Canada.

Those attending the Oklahoma City convention heard a panel of nationally recognized experts that stated current medical science does not support The Jockey Club's call for banning the race day use of Lasix, a ban that would inevitably be harmful to horses. The Jockey Club, a 100 member private organization, proposed doing so as part of its support for federal regulation of racing stated at its recent Round Table meeting in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Ironically, The Jockey Club chose to ignore a landmark 2009 scientific study, which it largely funded, conclusively proving the effectiveness of Lasix as treatment for pulmonary bleeding in race horses. The Jockey Club also ignored the advice of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC), an industry wide group of which it is a member. The RMTC found no medical or scientific reason for discontinuing the use of Lasix.  Similarly, The Jockey Club brushed aside racing experience in New York where it is headquartered. With the advent of Lasix treatment in 1995 the incidence of epistaxis in New York racing, the most severe form of pulmonary bleeding in horses, immediately dropped by 80%.

Pulmonary bleeding is inextricably associated with horses, and puts the health of horses and safety of jockeys at risk. Until a better treatment for this progressive disease is identified, there is no possible ethical or humane justification for depriving racing horses and their riders of the protective therapeutic benefits of Lasix.

The National HBPA (www.nationalhbpa.com) based in Lexington, KY is the largest racing horsemen’s representative organization in North America with 29 affiliate organizations and over 30,000 member horsemen. Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supply’s, Equineline.com, Finish Line Horse Products Inc., and Horseman Labor Solutions are proud corporate partners of the National HBPA.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Jockey Club Projects Foal Crop of 22,000 in 2015

The Jockey Club is projecting a 2015 North American registered Thoroughbred foal crop of 22,000, it was announced by Matt Iuliano, the organization’s executive vice president and executive director.

The projections for the 2013 and 2014 foal crops were 23,000 and 22,000, respectively.

“The projection for the 2015 foal crop is based on reports of mares bred received to date, and we estimate that approximately 80% of those reports have been received,” Iuliano said.

Additional foal crop information is available in The Jockey Club’s Online Fact Book at jockeyclub.com/factbook.asp and in the online state fact books.

The foal crop projection, traditionally announced in mid-August, is computed by using Reports of Mares Bred (RMBs) received to date for the 2014 breeding season. RMBs are to be filed by August 1 of each breeding season.

Stallion owners who have not returned their RMBs for the 2014 breeding season are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Interactive Registration, which enables registered users to perform virtually all registration-related activities over the Internet, is the most efficient means of submitting RMBs and is available at registry.jockeyclub.com.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Round Table Conference Available via Live Video Stream

The Jockey Club will provide a live video stream for Sunday’s 62nd Annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing from Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The two-hour conference begins at 10 a.m. EDT, and the live video stream will be available at jockeyclub.com.

The Round Table Conference agenda will feature Brian Rolapp, the executive vice president of NFL Media and the president and CEO of the NFL Network, who will share insights into the National Football League’s media strategies, and Denis Egan, the chief executive of the Irish Turf Club, who will provide an update on jockey safety and welfare initiatives.

The program will also provide updates on medication reform efforts in the United States, a study on equine drug testing and enforcement, an analysis of racing trends and horse inventories, and a report on new fan and owner development initiatives.

A video replay of the Round Table Conference will be available Sunday afternoon and an official transcript of the proceedings will be available on The Jockey Club website the following day.

The Jockey Club Round Table Conference was first held on July 1, 1953, in The Jockey Club office in New York City. The following year, it was moved to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where it has been held every August since.

Transcripts of every Round Table Conference are available in the “Resources” section of The Jockey Club website.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Jockey Club Tour on FOX Returns Sunday

The Jockey Club Tour on FOX returns to historic Saratoga Race Course this Sunday to showcase the nation’s top 2-year-old colts and fillies with coverage of the 109th running of the Toyota Saratoga Special Stakes and the 98th running of the Adirondack Stakes.

The show will air from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. EDT on FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes, and FOX Sports Go, and on-air duties will once again be handled by Greg Wolf, Richard Migliore, Andy Serling, Alyssa Ali, and Simon Bray.

Both of the Grade II events carry a purse of $200,000 and will be run at 6 ½ furlongs on the dirt. Throughout its storied history, the Saratoga Special has been won by champions such as Favorite Trick, Dehere, and Chief’s Crown. Among the champion fillies who have won the Adirondack are My Miss Aurelia and Folklore.

The telecast will look back at the great 2-year-olds that have run at Saratoga through the years and look ahead with a feature about a group of young bloggers from Boston visiting Saratoga for the first time. The show will also include a feature on young female jockey Taylor Rice as well as provide an insider’s look at Saratoga’s unique history as a sporting venue with Sean Clancy, publisher of The Saratoga Special.

“Both the Saratoga Special Stakes and the Adirondack Stakes provide fans with an early look at horses on their way to greater glory and attention as 3-year-olds, and it’s exciting to have two top races like this packed into one telecast from Saratoga,” said Jason Wilson, president, TJC Media Ventures.

The show will include a recap of the inductions at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Friday, August 8, and feature another installment of “Saratoga Family Traditions.” In addition, the winner of the Ultimate 48 contest featuring a trip for four to the Travers Stakes in Saratoga (New York) on August 23 and the TVG Pacific Classic in Del Mar (California) on August 24 will be announced.

In conjunction with the broadcast, Racing 101’s Joe Kristufek will be hosting a live fan TweetUP beginning at 2 p.m. ET.  Fans are encouraged to join the discussion at the handle @ABRLive using the hashtag #TJCTour.
 
About FOX Sports 1
FOX Sports 1 is America’s new national multi-sport channel that launched on August 17 in approximately 90 million homes and boasts nearly 5,000 hours of live event, news and original programming annually. The channel has several pillar sports: college basketball and football, MLB (in 2014), NASCAR, NFL (ancillary programs), international soccer, UFC and Golden Boy boxing, and adds USGA events, including the U.S. Open, and FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015. FOX SPORTS LIVE is FOX Sports 1’s flagship 24/7 news, opinion and highlights program, providing around the clock coverage through regularly scheduled programs, hourly updates and an information rich ticker. For more information, visit msn.foxsports.com/foxsports1.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TCA and Retired Racehorse Project Team Up to Present a Thoroughbred Marketplace at Pimlico

Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) and Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) have teamed up to create the TCA Thoroughbred Marketplace on October 4 and 5 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The event is built into the RRP’s second annual Thoroughbred Makeover, a national gathering of the farms, organizations and individuals who transition racehorses into second careers. The weekend includes educational seminars, demonstrations and the America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest.

“The bridges to second careers for these horses include nonprofit placement organizations, professional trainers, amateur trainers, and direct sales from racing owners and breeders,” says RRP founder Steuart Pittman. “This Marketplace invites participation from all of these and will attract a large pool of horse shoppers. If it succeeds we have created a model worth replicating.”

Each horse will be listed in an online and printed catalogue with video links and photographs. Upon arrival at Pimlico they will be observed by a veterinarian whose notes will be posted online for potential buyers and adopters to consider. Blemishes, body condition score, and lameness will be noted. Educational materials will also be available to educate buyers and adopters about the relevance of various injuries and blemishes.

“We are proud to support the efforts of the Retired Racehorse Project and assist in the rehoming of former racehorses via the TCA Thoroughbred Marketplace,” said TCA president Dan Rosenberg.

Rosenberg continued, “effective marketing of these horses must include some transparency about their condition. The more information we provide up front, the more shoppers and adopters we will attract. We believe that it is a good thing to reward racing owners financially for retiring their horses sound. The market value of a sound Thoroughbred ex-racehorse has declined, but by increasing demand and raising that value we offer owners an alternative to running at the lowest claiming prices.”

Each horse will appear on Saturday in the main arena on the track to demonstrate either its skills or potential. None will be auctioned, and neither TCA, RRP, nor Maryland Jockey Club will be a party to any transactions that take place privately during or after the event.

“Retired Racehorse Project is humbled by the support of Thoroughbred Charities of America for this event,” said Steuart Pittman. “The TCA board is like a Who’s Who of horse racing and its enthusiastic support for this event tells us that we are on the right track. We also owe a major thanks to Maryland Jockey Club for donating the use of the facility and providing major staff and marketing support.”

“I attended this event last year and reported back to our board that this was possibly the most effective work being done to facilitate placement of Thoroughbreds in second careers,” said Dan Rosenberg. “We are very excited about this year’s Makeover.”

Interested sellers or buyers can find information about participation in the TCA Thoroughbred Marketplace and the Thoroughbred Makeover at RetiredRacehorseProject.org.

Formed in 1990, TCA’s mission is to provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers by supporting retirement, rescue and research and by helping the people who work with them. TCA raises money for distribution to charitable organizations that work to uphold its mission and has granted over $20 million to more than 200 Thoroughbred-related charities. From 2000-2013, more than 95% of TCA’s expenditures were allocated to program services including direct grants.  Donations to TCA are always accepted and can be made as direct donations or as donations in lieu of flowers, birthday gifts or other occasions. TCA’s largest annual fundraiser is a Stallion Season Auction held each January. For more information please visit www.tca.org. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).                                      

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) works to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in the marketplace and inspiring an army of equestrians to provide the training that secures their futures. RRP offers online directories, educational resources, and public events. Its popular Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico last fall will be expanded on the first weekend of October this year and include a TCA Thoroughbred Marketplace and America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

First Annual PDJF Awareness Day Slated for July 26

Over 30 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racetracks throughout the U.S. have been invited to participate in the first annual Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund (PDJF) Day Across America.  Racetracks, fans, jockeys, and industry leaders are being asked to unite in a show of support for the PDJF and its mission on Saturday, July 26.

The day of awareness-building and fundraising with the theme “Taking The Reins” is to become an annual event. Working with their local jockey colony, racetracks will promote the PDJF in fan-friendly ways that may include autograph sessions, photo opportunities, video spots, and much more.

“We have contacted each racetrack that will be running on July 26th and have had a positive response that will raise funds for, and awareness of, the PDJF,” said Thoroughbred Racing Associations President Scott Wells. “Our goal is to educate our sport’s fans that the PDJF is a charity that must be sustained for the welfare of disabled riders and their families.”

“Naturally we are also hopeful that tracks continue to engage their patrons on behalf of the PDJF throughout their race meets,” Wells added. Racetracks are welcome to use PDJF-provided signage and marketing ideas and are encouraged to draw up some of their own.

“PDJF is not just an industry acronym or letters on a ball cap,” said Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, Chairman of Jockeys’ Guild and PDJF Board member. “This organization is dedicated to improving the lives and welfare of the men and women who face lifelong challenges due to their disabilities. They can no longer compete or provide adequately for their families. PDJF Day Across America is an opportunity to educate our fans about the PDJF and emphasize the importance of raising funds.”

The PDJF is a 501(c)(3) charity that provides financial assistance to former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. Founded in 2006, PDJF has disbursed more than $5 million to permanently disabled jockeys, most of whom have sustained paralysis or brain injuries. The fund is a cooperative effort among race tracks, jockeys, horsemen, and enthusiasts.

For more information, go to www.pdjf.org.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dates Announced and Registration Open for RTIP Symposium

University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program today announced that registration is open for the 41st annual Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming to be held December 8-11, 2014, at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson, Arizona. Each year, Symposium panelists address the cutting-edge issues facing the racing industry.

Events in 2014 include the biennial Global Simulcast Marketplace; the one place where representatives of organizations from around the globe can break down the barriers of time and distance to meet in one place, at one time, to buy and sell their racing product.

Visit the conference website www.ua-rtip.org/symposium to register online or to download a registration form. Information on sponsorship of conference events and commercial exhibit/vendor opportunities – including both the main floor exhibit area and private meeting room space – is also found there.

Become a “Friend” of the Race Track Industry Program by supporting the RTIP's 2014 Fundraising Campaign – A donation of $500 before Nov. 14, 2014 qualifies you for free general registration (regularly $550) for the 2014 conference.

Donations at a higher level will qualify for additional free registrations for each $500 increment donated.

How to take advantage of this offer:

1. Become a “Friend of the RTIP” by donating $500 before Nov. 14, 2014. Download form at: ua-rtip.org/news/rtip_fundraising

2. Once you have made your donation, contact Betty Prewitt at (520) 621-5660 or bprewitt@ag.arizona.edu to let her know you’d like to attend the conference and she’ll take care of the registration.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit Available via Live Video Stream

The fifth Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, scheduled to be held on Tuesday, July 8, and Wednesday, July 9, will be streamed live in its entirety at grayson-jockeyclub.org/WelfareSafety/default.asp. (A link to the live stream will be available at jockeyclub.com.) The summit, underwritten and organized by The Jockey Club and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, is being hosted by the Keeneland Association in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion in Lexington, Kentucky.

The summit is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday with the last presentation scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m. The program on Wednesday will also begin at 9:00 a.m., and the last presentation is scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

The two-day summit will feature participation from industry leaders including trainer Todd Pletcher, surgeon Dr. Larry Bramlage, and owner Bill Casner. Topics include racetrack surface technologies, the status of the modern Thoroughbred, and an update on the National Uniform Medication Program.

The complete agenda for the summit is available at grayson-jockeyclub.org/WelfareSafety/default.asp.

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 $20.9 million to fund 310 projects at 41 universities in North America and overseas. Additional information about the foundation and the summit is available at grayson-jockeyclub.org.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Chaplain Tom LaPointe is a True Inspiration on Gulfstream Park Backstretch

Chaplain Tom LaPointe (in white shirt) helps out in a variety of ways on the backside, including organizing trips to a local water park for workers and their families.
When the main track closed at Gulfstream Park one recent morning for a renovation break, a faded old van began to slowly snake its way through the backstretch.

At every other row of barns, the van would stop and Chaplain Tom LaPointe would swing open the back and side doors to reveal boxes of sandwiches, Manatee River tomatoes, Del Monte bananas, burritos and gallons of milk.

“Who wants a sandwich?” asked the affable LaPointe while handing shopping bags to grooms and hotwalkers streaming out of the nearby barns.

“Hey, Tom, you have a pizza with any pepperoni?” someone shouted.

“For you anything,” LaPointe said laughing. “Come on, take a bag.”

Since the late 1980s, Chaplain Tom LaPointe has been a constant on racetracks in Florida. Whether helping those with substance abuse problems, holding bible study classes, funding a weekly medical clinic each winter, or organizing fishing trips, soccer leagues or barbeques, LaPointe has been ready at a moment’s notice to pitch in and help.

“I love it,” LaPointe said as he handed out bags with food and small-talked with backstretch workers. “I love giving back to these guys. It’s really amazing how I got here. I was asked to share my progression of addiction and recovery with a group of teenagers 30 years ago and it slowly turned into this.”

Gulfstream Park President Tim Ritvo said LaPointe has been a great help to the backstretch workers and their families.

“Tom has been a source of inspiration for many people,” Ritvo said. “People at Gulfstream and Palm Meadows know they can count on him to inspire and help them during good times and bad. He’s always available, always organizing events and meetings, and he’s out there almost every morning giving back to the Thoroughbred community.”

Phil Combest, president of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA), said; “I can’t say enough about Chaplain Tom and the job he does for our backside workers. The guy is absolutely amazing, as are his assistants. Any problem a groom, hotwalker or exercise rider has, his or her first thought is, ‘I’ll go see Chaplain Tom.’ He makes sure everyone has medical care and enough to eat. He provides solace in bad times and fishing trips or picnics in good times. We are really lucky to have this guy on our team.”

Originally from the Bronx, LaPointe, a Christian and a recovering alcoholic since 1980, opened a youth center in South Florida in 1986 and began narcotics and alcoholics anonymous meetings.

“I was working a lot with kids who were high-risk and a guy I knew said, ‘Tom, you have to relax. You’ve got to come for a cup of coffee one morning.’ I met him one morning and he told me he had to make a stop before we got coffee. It turned out he owned a few horses and the stop was at the track,” LaPointe recalled.

“I couldn’t believe how many people worked back here, and some of the guys were a bit raggedy. I told my friend to call me anytime he went. I slowly began to get to know some people, but I wasn’t an insider. I had long hair and I think the guys on the backstretch thought I was a narc and the owners thought I was selling drugs.

“I was making some headway when my friend asked me to help his trainer’s wife, who had a habit. I got her into rehab and suddenly I had credibility.”

After running as many as eight halfway houses and helping backstretch workers at Calder, LaPointe met Jim Ryan of Ryehill Farm. “He asked me why I was doing everything that I was,” LaPointe recalled. “I said, ‘Someone reached out to me at a time I needed it and I thought it would be great to help others in the same spot.’ ”

Ryan not only helped support LaPointe’s programs but also asked him to help backstretch workers at Gulfstream. He’s been a fixture ever since.

LaPointe, who also runs a small, non-denominational church near Gulfstream, organizes a mobile medical clinic to visit Gulfstream each week during the winter as well as a barbeque where dozens of bicycles, appliances and clothes are given out. This summer, LaPointe organized a fishing trip and another barbeque. He also has alcoholics anonymous meetings held in Spanish.

“Things have gotten a lot better on the backstretch, and what Mr. (Frank) Stronach did here at Gulfstream, building these apartments for the backstretch workers, well…it’s like night and day compared to what it was,” LaPointe said. “But I want to give back, help the people I can. I love coming here and I love the people here.”

LaPointe pulls up to another barn and swings the doors of the van open. “You like tomatoes? No. What about bananas. Take some bananas and a sandwich and, please, take some milk….”

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Elite Program Announces Mid-Summer Educational Classes in Louisiana and Oklahoma

Dr. C. Reid McLellan, Executive Director of The Elite Program, Inc. and senior instructor of the nationally recognized Groom Elite certification program announced the following mid-summer class schedule.

July 28 –August 1 Equine Behavior and Care clinic for Teachers, Trainers, Owners and Students at Florida Parishes Campus of Northshore Technical Community College in Greensburg, Louisiana

Clinic will be an intensive four days of continuing education discussing principles of horse care and the teaching of those principles. Using the Groom Elite format of lecture and hands on learning, Dr. McLellan will demonstrate methods of teaching Horse Behavior and how it relates to handling, grooming and riding horses. Participants will see different teaching aids and methods available such as anatomical models and PowerPoint slide shows. Discussion will include how to make your PowerPoint slide show more effective. Horse owners and students interested in learning more about their horses will benefit from the hands on experience and opportunity to work with equine trainers & instructors. Regularly $599, special summer tuition of $499 if registered by July 25. ($399 for students).

August 12-14 –Trainers Exam Prep Class at Remington Park, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

A popular class for individuals considering taking a state licensing exam to become a racehorse assistant or trainer. Owners and horseplayers are invited to take the class (provided space is available) to learn more about the rules of racing under which racing is governed in most states. Space is limited to 15. Tuition prior to August 5th-$299; Tuition after August 5th-$349.

August 18-20 –Philosophy & Methods of Training Racehorses at Remington Park, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

A recent addition to The Elite Program curriculum, this class was requested by trainers and owners interested in learning about latest information regarding conditioning horses and running a racing stable business. Using an open discussion format, topics include selecting a racehorse, conditioning young horses, owner-trainer interaction and daily training activities. Current topics in racing including proper use of therapeutic medications, options for Lasix-free racing and post racing responsibilities are included in this 2 and ½ day class. Tuition until August 14 -$249.00 –Tuition after August 14 -$299.

Individuals wishing to attend both classes at Remington Park can save $150 off the “door” tuition by paying $499 by August 4th.

Detailed program outlines, information and online registration for each of these three classes is available at www.purplepowerracing.com or by calling Dr. McLellan at 859-321-4377.

America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest Launched by Retired Racehorse Project

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) announced today a lineup of ten Thoroughbred ex-racehorses being trained in ten equestrian disciplines by ten prominent trainers for a purse of $10,000. The teams make up America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest, an event designed to educate the public about the versatility and trainability of Thoroughbreds that have raced.

Retired Racehorse Project’s web site features pages for each horse where training updates and videos will be posted. RRP’s online followers will be asked for commentary and opinion as the horses prepare for appearances on October 4-5 at the Thoroughbred Makeover: a Marketplace and National Symposium at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore. The winners will be determined by popular vote and the input of celebrity judges.

“This is the fourth competition that RRP has organized to prove to the public that Thoroughbreds off the track are the most trainable, generous, and talented four-legged animals on the planet,” said RRP’s founder Steuart Pittman. “The trainers this time are some of the best in their disciplines and the past racing connections of the horses are engaged. Everyone is in it for the horses and the result will be a larger and better educated market of buyers and adopters.”

“As a racing owner nothing is more important to me than educating equestrians who might someday own and care for one of these horses,” said Bourbon Lane Stables partner and RRP vice president Carolyn Karlson. “These ten horses and trainers will inspire us and they will inspire the public.”

The Thoroughbred Makeover at Pimlico also includes this year the TCA Thoroughbred Marketplace (made possible by a grant from Thoroughbred Charities of America), an expanded schedule of educational seminars, special demonstrations, and a sponsor fair.

More information may be found at this link.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hazel Park Raceway becomes first converted racetrack in Michigan

Chrissy and George Kutlenios, president of the Michigan HBPA, stand with their winning Thoroughbred race horse, Wall Cloud. Jockey Angel Ortega Stanley with groom (holding the horse) Santos Perez. Photo by Sharon Greene
By Sharon Greene, The Oakland Press

Thoroughbred horse racing has returned to Oakland County.

Hazel Park Raceway will be the first converted race track in Michigan with new surfaces, new railings, rehabilitated barns, improved facilities and infrastructure.

Horses began moving into the stalls and exercise areas this past Monday, June 16. The horses will begin their race meet on Friday and Saturday nights starting June 27 and June 28 with a Grand Reintroduction planned for Friday, July 4. Every Friday and Saturday evening (16 weekends) until Oct. 11 will have a 7:30 p.m. post time. “I began working and negotiating with all three racetracks in southeast Michigan in 2010,” explained George Kutlenios, president of the Michigan Horsemen’s Protective and Benevolent Association (Michigan HBPA) for two years and board member for five. “After this long-sought agreement was in place in January of 2014, the Michigan Gaming Control Board issued executive orders that allow for Thoroughbred racing to return to the Metropolitan Detroit Area.”

Kutlenios and his wife, Chrissy, are very familiar with operating a business and they understand the cycle of economics in Oakland County as they are successful owners of the Holly Hotel. They live on a 60 acre horse farm in Holly where they have raised race horses and have also kept retired racehorses for the past 12 years.

“The MiHBPA organizes each racing meet, coordinates the availability of Thoroughbred horses to race at Michigan race tracks and generally oversees each race meet every year,” added Kutlenios. “We also provide benevolent services to our members like health and dental care.”

Kutlenios believes that it doesn’t matter if a horseman has one horse or a stable of horses, he sees the Michigan Horsemen’s Protective and Benevolent Association as being the voice of thoroughbred owners, breeders and trainers that race in Michigan and throughout the country.

“We are horsemen helping horsemen,” he said.

To read the complete article from The Oakland Press, click here. For more information about the Michigan HBPA, go to www.mihbpa.com.