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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

OwnerView Accepting Nominations for New Owner of the Year Award

OwnerView today announced that nominations are being accepted for its second New Owner of the Year Award.

The award, honoring a new Thoroughbred owner who has been successful in the sport and has had a positive impact on the industry, will be presented at the Thoroughbred Owner Conference at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., which runs from Monday, October 31, through Thursday, November 3, 2016.

The conference is scheduled for the same week as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and the presenting sponsors are Breeders’ Cup, Keeneland, and The Stronach Group.

The first new owner award was presented to Sol Kumin at the Thoroughbred Owner Conference at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., in January.

Nominees for the New Owner of the Year Award must have owned Thoroughbreds for less than three years, have had an interest in a horse at the time it won a stakes race in 2016, and have had a verifiable owner’s license in 2016.

Anyone, including current owners, can nominate an individual who meets the criteria for the award. Thoroughbred performance, nominee’s promotion of the sport, and humanitarian activities will be considered. A selection committee that includes industry personnel and established owners will choose the winner.

The deadline to nominate an owner for New Owner of the Year is Saturday, October 1. To submit a nomination, please contact Gary Falter for a nomination form at gfalter@jockeyclub.com or (859) 224-2803.

The Thoroughbred Owner Conference agenda includes panels featuring business considerations for racehorse ownership as well as Breeders’ Cup-winning owners, jockeys, and trainers. NBC Sports horse racing and hockey analyst Eddie Olczyk will deliver the keynote address, and television journalist Nick Clooney will serve as the moderator for a panel titled, “Racehorses in Hollywood,” which will feature producers, directors and actors of movies with horse racing themes.

The social events for the owner conference at Santa Anita include the Breeders’ Cup post-position draw and reception, a conference dinner and reception, tour opportunities at the Rose Bowl stadium and Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, an afternoon of lunch and live racing, and reserved seating for both days of Breeders’ Cup championship racing.

More information about the Thoroughbred Owner Conference, including online registration, can be found at ownerview.com.

OwnerView is a joint effort spearheaded by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to encourage ownership of Thoroughbreds and provide accurate information on trainers, public racing syndicates, the process of purchasing and owning a Thoroughbred, racehorse retirement, and owner licensing.

National HBPA Sets Dates for 2017 Convention

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) will begin its 2017 Convention on March 8th and continue through March 10th, 2017 at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Convention will conclude on March 11th with a full board meeting of the members of the NHBPA.

The NHBPA March event will be the only convention in 2017. Elected HBPA horsemen from across the country will, through committee meetings, panels and presentations, discuss issues and challenges the industry is facing. The NHBPA is the largest Thoroughbred horsemen’s association in North America. It represents approximately 30,000 owners and trainers throughout the United States and Canada. The NHBPA’s goal is to provide leadership and help shape the future of the Thoroughbred racing industry.

Discussions at the convention will revolve around topics such as equine nutrition, exchange wagering, equine veterinary topics, equine research and legal updates, member benefits, matters regarding equine aftercare, and media relations.
 
Details as to the agenda, as well as registration and hotel arrangements, will be posted on the NHBPA website at www.nationalhbpa.com when available.

The NHBPA Convention will be open to anyone involved in the racing industry as an owner, trainer, veterinarian, rider, racetrack official or operator, fan or in any other capacity.

“This convention is an excellent opportunity for individuals and our state affiliates to network, share concerns and become educated on topics affecting our national horsemen” said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the organization. “The NHBPA represents the important perspective of its owners and trainers in addressing and helping shape the future of the Thoroughbred racing industry.”

Monday, September 19, 2016

Nominations for $1.11 Million Claiming Crown Due Nov. 6

Nominations for the Dec. 3 Claiming Crown at Gulfstream Park will close Nov. 6.

Scheduled to be hosted by Gulfstream for the fifth consecutive year, the 18th Claiming Crown will offer nine starter stakes for a total of $1.11 million in purses for horses (3-year-olds and up) that have raced in a claiming race at a qualifying level at least once.

The nomination fee is $100 per horse, per race. Horses that are not nominated to the Claiming Crown by Nov. 6 can be supplemented on entry day for fees ranging from $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the race.

More information can be found by clicking here.

Laurel Park will also host its Claiming Crown Preview Day and offer automatic qualifying races for all nine Claiming Crown races on November 6.

The $200,000 Jewel will once again highlight the Claiming Crown event that honors the blue-collar horses that provide the foundation for day-to-day racing programs at tracks across North America. Horses that raced for a claiming price of $35,000 or lower since Jan. 1, 2015 are eligible for the 1 1/8-mile race on the main track.

In addition to the Jewel, the Claiming Crown will include: $125,000 Tiara (1 1/16 miles on turf for fillies and mares that raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or lower); the $125,000 Emerald (1 1/16 miles on turf for horses that raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or lower); $110,000 Iron Horses (1 1/16 miles for horses that raced for a claiming price of $7,500 or lower); $110,000 Express (six furlongs for horses that raced for a claiming price of $7,500 or lower); $110,000 Glass Slipper (one mile for fillies and mares that started for a claiming price of $12,500 or lower); $110,000 Rapid Transit (seven furlongs for horses that started for a claiming price of $16,000 or lower); $110,000 Canterbury (five furlongs on turf for horses that raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or lower); $110,000 Distaff Dash (five furlongs on turf for fillies and mares that raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or lower).

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Interactive, Electronic Edition of The Horsemen's Journal Fall 2016 Issue is Now Available

The interactive, electronic version of The Horsemen's Journal's Fall 2016 issue is now available online. It is an enhanced version of our Fall issue, which is currently being mailed. To view it, click here.

Features in the issue include:

REMEMBERING TOM METZEN SR.
Racing has lost one of its most passionate advocates for horsemen

CANADIAN CONNECTION
Horsemen head north of the border to Vancouver for the National HBPA Summer Convention

HORSE RACING AND THE HUMANE SOCIETY
Why the entire horse industry should pay close attention to HSUS’s involvement in the sport

AN UNLIKELY AND UNWELCOME UNION
The partnership between The Jockey Club and Humane Society is not good for racing

YEARLING PREP
Initiate changes early that will make your yearling more marketable

METHAMPHETAMINE
A substance of emerging environmental concern for racing

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.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cammack, Daddy’s Boo Take Claiming Crown Prep Races at Kentucky Downs

Cammack (Photo by Reed Palmer Photography)
From the time that owner-breeder David Block saw that Kentucky Downs was having a starter-allowance race with a purse of $75,000 as an automatic qualifier for the Claiming Crown, Sunday’s race was on the dance card for Cammack.

The Claiming Crown is designed to serve as a Breeders’ Cup-style championship for claiming horses, which are the backbone of American racing. The Claiming Crown is a partnership between the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association to give these important blue-collar horses and their owners and trainers their own special day in the sport’s limelight.

And the Claiming Crown Emerald prep became Cammack’s sixth straight victory, as he held off the late-running Procurement by a head. He covered a mile and 70 yards in 1:41.96, just off the course record of 1:41.70 and paid $4.60 as the big favorite in the field of 10.

“This horse, you can do whatever you want with him,” said winning jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. “He can go to the front or stalk. He’s so good right now, he’s King Kong. He’s won six in a row and was just a tick off the track record. He’s very game. If you’re going to beat him, you better go by him running because if not he’s going to dog you to the wire.”

The streak started in his second start after being off 16 months with an injury and gelded. After his long layoff, trainer Chris Block ran the new gelding in a pair of $25,000 claiming races before hitting allowance company. The third win in his streak was the $54,000 Black Tie Affair for Illinois-breds at Arlington Park.

“We had no idea what he was going to do coming back,” said Chris Block, son of David Block. “Obviously by running for $25,000 a couple of times, I didn’t expect him to be on this kind of roll.”

Sunday’s race carried the same conditions as the Dec. 3 Claiming Crown Emerald at Gulfstream Park, being for horses that started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2015 or ’16. The Emerald is definitely on the agenda.

Cammack now is 8-1-4 in 21 starts, earning $239,804 with the $45,000 payday The Blocks, who race and breed as Team Block, love Kentucky Downs and have had good success sending their stakes horses down here from Arlington Park. But as virtually all of their homebreds are Illinois-breds, they usually are running for only the base pot, the not Kentucky-bred purse supplements that double or more than double the purse. But this starter race was all unrestricted money.

David Block said when he saw the $75,000 starter-race was being held, “It wasn’t hard to figure that one out. We don’t get that kind of opportunity too often. This is like winning a stakes for us, especially winning down here in Kentucky and competing at a higher level. So far we’ve done pretty well.”

Cammack is well-bred, being by the popular Coolmore stallion Giant’s Causeway and out of a mare (Fort Pond) that produced Fort Prado, a millionaire, multiple graded-stakes winner and 18-time winner. Fort Prado ran in the Kentucky Downs Turf Dash three straight years finishing third, second and finally winning in 2009.

“He’s not his half-brother, but he’s come back with that kind of instincts,” Chris Block said. “You see how they come and challenge him and to put one away and another.”

Daddy's Boo (Photo by Reed Palmer Photography)
Horses with experience winning at Arlington Park swept the double in the Claiming Crown preps with Florent Geroux guiding Daddy’s Boo to a 5 1/4-length score over Yum Yum to take the Claiming Crown Tiara prep. The Florida-bred mare by Sweet Return (GB) recorded her ninth career victory and improved her bankroll to $196,614. She runs for owner Patricia’s Hope LLC and is trained by Larry Rivelli.

Daddy’s Boo won an allowance/optional claiming race at Arlington in July, and also has experience at Gulfstream Park with a victory in last year’s Mary Todd Starter Stakes.

“We were thrilled to have these two races,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ senior vice president and general manager. “They were full fields and very competitive. Both the winners were very impressive and should be tough to beat at Gulfstream.”

Friday, September 2, 2016

Inaugural Thoroughbred Industry Employee Award Finalists Announced

Following a huge response from the industry, with over 110 nominations received, the finalists for the inaugural Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards presented by Godolphin have today been announced.

The Awards recognize and reward the outstanding skills, commitment and contribution of the Thoroughbred industry employees who are at the heart of our sport. The Shortlist Judging Panel had the difficult task of selecting just three finalists for each category.

The second and final stage of judging will take place during the week of October 3rd with a separate judging panel deciding the winners in each of the categories. The winner of the Thoroughbred Industry Community Award has already been decided as only one prize is awarded in that category.

The TIEA ceremony will be held on opening day of Keeneland’s fall meet, October 7th. A total of 13 individuals will be recognized in five different categories: Leadership Award Farm, Leadership Award Racing, Dedication to Breeding Award, Dedication to Racing Award and a Thoroughbred Industry Community Award.

Reid McLellan, Chairman of the Judging Panels, said, “We couldn’t have been more pleased with the response by the industry in this the first year of the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards here in the United States. It wasn’t the easiest process to determine the finalists as each category was very well represented. But with Godolphin’s and Sheikh Mohammed’s generosity, we are now able to recognize and reward these individuals who truly make up the backbone of the Thoroughbred industry.

“On behalf of my fellow judges, I want to congratulate the finalists and look forward to meeting all of them in person during the final judging process in October. Having gone through this judging process, I am impressed by the individuals that we have taking care of our equine athletes. It’s an honor to be involved with such a wonderful program like this and I look forward to this year’s event and many more to come in the future.”

In addition to a commemorative trophy for the winners, three individual awards in each category will be distributed. The winner in each category will receive $10,000, while the other two finalists will receive $2,500 each. On top of this, farm and racing employees associated with each award recipient will receive monetary recognition. The winner of the Industry Community Award will receive $10,000 and an additional $5,000 will be given to the charity of their choice. Total prize money for the five awards will be $115,000.

The finalists are:

Leadership Award – Farm Farm
Victor Espinoza with  Brookdale Farm
John Hall with Taylor Made
Matt Koch with Shawhan Place LLC

Leadership Award – Racing Stable
Jimmy Barnes with Bob Baffert Stables
Melissa Cohen with Richard Violette Stables
Laz Guerra with Mike Maker Stables

Dedication to Breeding Award Farm
Everett Charles with Stone Farm
Leon Hamilton with Ashview Farm
James Sebastian with Claiborne Farm

Dedication to Racing Award Stable
Jose "Vinny" Castenada with Marty Jones Racing Stable
Danny Ramsey with Kenny McPeek Racing
Raul Rodriguez with Art Sherman Racing

Thoroughbred Industry
Community Award winner Entity
Israel "Izzy" Vega with Racetrack Chaplaincy of California

Friday, August 12, 2016

Tom Metzen Sr. of National, Arizona and Minnesota HBPAs Passes Away

Tom Metzen Sr., a tireless worker for horsemen in Arizona, Minnesota and across the country, passed away on August 10. At the time of his passing, Metzen was First Vice President and Central Region Vice President for the National HBPA, President of the Minnesota HBPA and Executive Director of the Arizona HBPA.

“The entire horse racing industry has lost one of its biggest fans and one of its most vocal advocates,” said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA. “To know Tom was to know his heart and thus his passion for the horse and his love of our industry. His tireless efforts toward promoting racing, advocating for horsemen and supporting backside programs will be sorely missed and may likely never be matched. I am honored to have known Tom and even more proud to have worked alongside him.”

Metzen was a member of the Canterbury Hall of Fame, and he enjoyed great success at the Minnesota track as an owner. He campaigned three horses to win Horse of the Year titles at Canterbury: Shot of Gold, Prime Step and Chisholm.

“We owe Tom a great debt of gratitude, as his contributions to making Canterbury Park and the Minnesota horse racing industry what they are today are unmatched,” said Canterbury President and CEO Randy Sampson. “I am personally grateful for the friendship and partnership I have been fortunate to share with Tom for the past 25-plus years. We didn’t always agree, but one thing we did always agree on is that we can accomplish a lot more when the track and horsemen work together. With Tom’s leadership of the HBPA, Canterbury Park and our horsemen became the model for how to work together to achieve success.”

His service to the Minnesota racing industry also included time as chairman of the Minnesota Racing Commission and president of the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association. Among his accomplishments in Minnesota, Metzen was instrumental in the establishment of the Claiming Crown at Canterbury. The event for blue-collar claiming horses debuted in Minnesota in 1999 and has been held there 10 times, most recently in 2010.

On a national level, he served on numerous committees for the NHBPA, including budget and dues, The Horsemen’s Journal, insurance and public relations. He also served on the NHBPA’s Executive Committee and chaired the organization’s National Assistance Committee.

In 2007, Tom received the National Industry Service Award. This award is the premier award of the National HBPA given in recognition of dedication, service and leadership to the horse racing industry.

“Tom was my mentor and my good friend,” said National HBPA President Leroy Gessmann. “He will be missed by all the horsemen and horsewomen he worked so hard for, not only in Minnesota and Arizona but all across the county. Whenever I had an issue I was struggling with, Tom was always there to help me out. As chairman of the National Assistance Committee, he went out of his way to help fellow horsemen and horsewomen in need. Tom will be missed by all.”

“Tom was a great family man, horseman and my friend for over 10 years and he will surely be missed,” said Arizona HBPA President J. Lloyd Yother. “Tom spent tireless hours working to protect and improve the interests of Arizona horsemen and horsewomen. He was instrumental in getting advance deposit wagering legislation here as well as getting added money for Arizona breeders in open races and funds for Arizona breeders awards. When there was a benefit or someone in need, Tom and his wife Karen were always there to support the cause.”

Tom was preceded in death by son Thomas Jr. and brother Jim. He is survived by loving wife of 56 years Karen; children Tim and Kathy (Tim) Machacek; grandchildren Nick (Tamara), Laura (Carl), Travis (Kayelynn), Luke (Shahara), Kayla, Adam and Allison; great-grandchildren Mya, Ava, Colton and Cooper; brother David (Leslie); sister-in-law Sandie Metzen. He is also survived by many nieces & nephews.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, August 16, at 11:30 a.m. at St. James Lutheran Church located at 460 W. Annapolis St. in West St. Paul, Minnesota. Family will greet friends on Monday, August 15, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Kandt and Tetrick Funeral Home at 140 8th Avenue North in South St. Paul and will greet friends on Tuesday one hour before service at church. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to SSP Educational Foundation.

For more details on the memorial, go to http://www.kandt.org/book-of-memories/2673328/Metzen-Thomas/service-details.php.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Nominations Now Open for RTCA’s White Horse Award

Do you know a hero within the horse racing industry? Race Track Chaplaincy of America (RTCA) is currently seeking nominees for our 14th Annual White Horse Award (WHA). The WHA is presented annually at Race Track Chaplaincy of America’s White Horse Award Luncheon to an individual who has done something heroic on behalf of human or horse. It is a way of recognizing those unsung heroes of horse racing, whether their actions are of a headline-grabbing, or the quiet and not-so-obvious kind of heroism.

This year’s White Horse Awards Luncheon will take place on Thursday, November 3, at the Embassy Suites in Arcadia, California, just prior to the beginning of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships being held in the same city at Santa Anita Park. In addition to the White Horse recognition, two other awards will be presented—the Tribute to Excellence and Community Service Awards.

To submit a nomination for either the White Horse, Tribute to Excellence, or Community Service Awards, visit www.rtcanational.org for a complete list of rules and selection criteria, as well as downloadable nomination forms. The deadline for submission is September 15, 2016. For more information, please contact the RTCA National Service Center at (859) 410-7822.
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More about the White Horse Award – The WHA was established in 2003 to recognize individuals within the horse racing industry for their acts of selflessness and bravery. The most recent recipients include an outrider who rescued a horse from an infield lake at Los Alamitos and a young man who rescued a fellow jockey when her horse suddenly collapsed at the end of a race, trapping her beneath it. For many people in the horse world, events like these are “just another day at work,” but RTCA wishes to recognize these heroic acts of love. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” John 15:13

More about the Race Track Chaplaincy of America - The overall mission of the RTCA, through its Councils and Chaplains, is to make disciples for Jesus Christ through teaching, preaching, and ministering to the spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and educational needs of those persons involved in all aspects of the horse racing industry. For more about the support RTCA provides to chaplains at race tracks across the United States please click here, “Follow” us on Facebook at “Race Track Chaplaincy of America.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

31st Annual TOBA National Awards Dinner Winners Announced

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s 31st annual National Awards Dinner will be held Saturday, September 10 at Stonestreet Farm in Lexington, Ky. The National Awards Dinner honors the achievements of Thoroughbred owners and breeders in the four major North American racing regions and breeders in 25 states and Canada.

The following regional owners will be honored:

*Eastern Region Owner of the Year: Stonestreet Stables LLC
*Midwestern Region Owner of the Year: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey
*Southern Region Owner of the Year: Zayat Stables, LLC
*Western Region Owner of the Year: Reddam Racing LLC

A National Owner of the Year will be selected from these regional owners. The National Owner of the Year will be announced at the Awards Dinner.

The state and Canadian breeders of the year are:

Arizona: Triple AAA Ranch
Arkansas: McDowell Farm
California: Reddam Racing LLC
Canada: Tall Oaks Farm
Florida: Jacks or Better Farm
Illinois: Richard & Karen Papiese
Indiana: Justice Farms
Iowa: Poindexter Thoroughbreds
Kentucky: Godolphin
Louisiana: Set – Hut, LLC
Maryland: Dance Forth Farm
Massachusetts: Langdon Wilby & Mary Beth Reis
Michigan: Campbell Stable LLC
Kansas: Pam M. Davis
Minnesota: Curtis A. Sampson
New Jersey: Holly Crest Farm
New Mexico: A & A Horse Farm, LLC
New York: Eklektikos Stable LLC
North Carolina: Chandley Farm LLC
North Dakota: Backhaus & Sons
Ohio: 3 Clovers Farm & Blazing Meadows Farm
Oregon: Oakhurst Thoroughbreds
South Carolina: Franklin G. Smith, Sr.
Texas: Runaway Farm
Virginia: Keswick Stables
Washington: Coal Creek Farm

TOBA’s National Breeder and National Small Breeder of the Year will be announced at the Awards Dinner.

TOBA will also honor the Robert N. Clay Award winner. In partnership with the Equine Land Conservation Resource, this award recognizes a member of the Thoroughbred community who has made an outstanding contribution to preserving land for equine use. Additionally, TOBA will honor Littleprincessemma as the National Broodmare of the Year. This award offers catalog designation from the North American International Cataloguing Standards Committee.

In conjunction with Rood & Riddle a Thoroughbred Sport Horse of the Year will be decorated. This award is presented to the owner of the ex-Thoroughbred racehorse that has excelled in sport horse competitions as tracked by the United States Equestrian Federation. With the National HBPA, TOBA will recognize the Claiming Crown Horse of the Year.

“This year’s National Award winners are all very deserving recipients who represent the highest levels of excellence from every racing and breeding region across the United States and Canada,” said Dan Metzger, president of TOBA. “We are honored to recognize each and every one of them on what promises to be a spectacular celebration at Stonestreet Farm.”

Tickets for the National Awards Dinner may be purchased at www.toba.org.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

DEADLINE August 1st for Inaugural Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards launched in USA

Open to anyone working in a supporting role in racing and breeding, TIEA recognize and reward the dedicated, hard-working people who are the backbone of the industry.

The August 1st deadline is less than a week away for the first-ever Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards (TIEA) here in the U.S. Sponsored by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin, awards will be given in five categories, with a total of $115,000 in prize money to be distributed.

All of us agree that without hotwalkers, broodmare managers, stallion grooms, exercise riders and countless others, our industry wouldn’t be what it is today. So take a few minutes and nominate one of these hard-working people. You’re just a click away! Go here and nominate today!

For more information, go to http://www.godolphinusawards.com/

Or, please contact:

Name: Andy Schweigardt
Company name: TOBA
Telephone: 859-277-5891
Email: andys@toba.org

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ellis Park offering the public an up-close look at preparing horses for races

Photo by Coady Photography
Ellis Park is teaming with its the Kentucky HBPA to provide the public with a behind-the-scenes look at preparing horses for the races.

“Making of a racehorse: Let’s get started!” will be held Saturday, July 30 from 7:30-9 AM Central at Ellis Park. The free event will give racing fans, sports enthusiasts, horse lovers and the simply curious insight into all the preparation that goes into horses springing from the starting gate. Ellis Park starter Scott Jordan will explain the learning process as it unfolds in front of the attendees.

This is a daily-double event. The public will go from the starting gate to the barn of John Hancock, a third-generation trainer at Ellis Park, for a look and lively discussion about everything that happens in a stable in the morning.

Ellis Park provides a unique opportunity for people outside the racetrack to get an up-close view of morning “schooling” as well as horses having timed workouts while breaking from the starting gate. That’s because Ellis’ starting gate during morning training is positioned in its mile chute on the first turn, adjacent to the easily-accessed southern parking lot closest to the Ohio River levee.

Adults and kids of all ages are welcome. The public is invited to start at 7:00 AM CT in the parking area nearest the starting gate, with the program to begin at 7:30. Afterward, fans are encouraged to watch Ellis Park announcer Jimmy McNerney discussing his picks for the day’s races at 9:30 in the lower clubhouse.

The event is a collaboration between Ellis Park and the Kentucky division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which represents more than 6,000 owners and trainers in the commonwealth. The gregarious Hancock, a board member of the Kentucky HBPA, presented the idea of the fan-education event to Ellis president Ron Geary, who embraced the concept.

“We can offer an experience that few tracks can provide,” Geary said. “No one is more passionate than John Hancock when it comes to horse racing, Ellis Park and preparing young horses for the races. Scott Jordan not only is one of the finest starters in the country but he’s outstanding at explaining how young horses go from a potentially scary contraption like the big metal starting gate to walking right in and breaking on cue.

“We encourage existing fans and anyone wanting to learn more about the great sport of horse racing to come out the morning of July 30 for this unique event.”

Said Kentucky HBPA executive director Marty Maline: “The horsemen are always looking for ways to bring new fans into racing, as well as providing even longtime fans with additional insights. We think the public is going to love getting this peek behind the scenes, and we hope this is just the beginning.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kentucky Downs Officials and Horsemen Excited About Claiming Crown Preps

Seneca Destiny (No. 8, white blinkers, green silks) winning a starter-
allowance race last Sept. 16 at Kentucky Downs. Seneca Destiny
went on to finish second in the Claiming Crown Tiara
at Gulfstream Park. Photo by Reed Palmer/Kentucky Downs.
Kentucky Downs, in its never-ending mission of enhancing its lucrative all-grass racing program, will stage two $75,000 starter-allowance races on Sept. 11, with the winners automatically qualifying for the $1.1 million Claiming Crown program Dec. 3 at South Florida’s Gulfstream Park.

“To be part of the Claiming Crown is great for us,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ senior vice president and general manager. “Kentucky Downs is continually trying to move our racing program forward. It’s not just stakes and not just allowance races. We have a great turf course, and this is our way of showing the racing fans and horsemen around the country that we aren’t just about the big races but we support the claiming races as well.”

Claiming Crown Limited announced Monday that Kentucky Downs and Laurel Park will conduct automatic qualifying races for the program designed to serve as a Breeders’ Cup-style championship for claiming horses, which are the backbone of American racing. The Claiming Crown is a partnership between the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association to give these important blue-collar horses and their owners and trainers their own special day in the sport’s limelight.

Kentucky Downs, which offers the richest maiden and allowance purses in America and the country’s only European-style turf course, will run official qualifiers for the $125,000 Claiming Crown Emerald and $125,000 Claiming Crown Tiara. The Claiming Crown races are held under starter-allowance conditions, meaning they are restricted to horses that raced at a certain claiming level or cheaper during a designated time frame.

The $75,000 Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes Prep At Kentucky Downs is for 3-year-olds and older horses that have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2015. The $75,000 Claiming Crown Tiara Stakes Prep At Kentucky Downs has the same conditions but is restricted to fillies and mares. The Kentucky Downs preps will be held at a mile and 70 yards; the Claiming Crown distance is 1 1/16 miles.

The full $75,000 purse for each automatic qualifier race is available to every horse in the field, with no money coming from Kentucky-bred purse supplements. Kentucky Downs also will pay the $100 nominating fee for the Claiming Crown and up to $1,000 for travel expenses for the prep winners.

The news certainly got the attention of Ken Ramsey, the three-time defending Kentucky Downs champion owner and whose 14 Claiming Crown wins are the most in the program’s 17 years. Ramsey vowed that if he doesn’t have a horse that fits Kentucky Downs’ Claiming Crown preps that “I’ll claim one at Saratoga. We’ll be claiming horses at Saratoga for the Claiming Crown and also for  Kentucky Downs.

“I want to take my hat off to Corey Johnsen and his crew down there for the remarkable job they’re doing,” Ramsey said, referring to Kentucky Downs’ co-owner and president. “I’m delighted they’re putting in those starter-allowance races. They’re trying to put the money back in the industry, where it belongs. I plan on going for my fourth owner’s title. In fact, I’m not even sending as many horses to Saratoga as I normally send. You’re almost prepping at Saratoga to win a race at Kentucky Downs.”

In its 18th edition, the Claiming Crown will be held for the fifth straight year at Gulfstream Park, its nine races with starter-allowance conditions totaling $1.1 million.

Nicholson said Kentucky Downs hopes that owners and trainers sending horses to the Claiming Crown prep races will bring others along. The 2016 Kentucky Downs meet will feature 12 stakes totaling a record $3.95 million. But the claiming races also are lucrative, with $24,000 being the minimum purse.

Kentucky Downs condition book link: http://bit.ly/1rwSnn4

“In any kind of shipping situation, you’re always hoping that the trainer throws a few more on the van, absolutely,” Nicholson said. “Those trainers could have horses that aren’t eligible for the Claiming Crown races, but they might bring a travel buddy to take a shot at a $300,000 stakes or an allowance race, because those purses are $145,000.”

Two Tracks to Hold Automatic Qualifying Races for 2016 Claiming Crown

Claiming Crown Limited announced on Monday that Kentucky Downs and Laurel Park will host automatic qualifying races for the 2016 Claiming Crown at Gulfstream Park on December 3, 2016. The host tracks will pay nomination fees and provide a travel stipend for the winners to compete in the 2016 Claiming Crown.

The Claiming Crown, a joint venture between TOBA and the National HBPA, is racing’s $1.1 million showcase for the country’s best claiming horses. Kentucky Downs will conduct automatic qualifying races on September 11 for the Claiming Crown Emerald (starter $25,000 at 8.5 furlongs on the turf) and Tiara (starter $25,000 for fillies and mares at 8.5 furlongs on the turf). Laurel Park will host its Claiming Crown Preview Day and offer automatic qualifying races for all nine Claiming Crown races on November 6.

“Kentucky Downs is proud to host two Claiming Crown automatic qualifying races at our fall meet,” said Kentucky Downs senior vice president and general manager Ted Nicholson. “Run over our unique, European-style turf course with $75,000 purses, these races are sure to have full, competitive fields and provide two quality contenders for the respective Claiming Crown races at Gulfstream Park in December. We are thrilled to offer these races for our horsemen and fans as we continue to improve the racing product during our race meeting.”

“We’re extremely pleased that Laurel will once again hold qualifying races for the 2016 Claiming Crown at Gulfstream Park. Not only is this a great way to showcase the Claiming Crown in the mid-Atlantic to our fans at Laurel and throughout our off-track betting locations, but it’s a wonderful opportunity for some of our horsemen to earn a trip to South Florida and the Claiming Crown without having to worry about shipping costs,” said Sal Sinatra, vice president and general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “Judging from past experiences at Laurel and Philadelphia Park, this will create an exciting day of racing for horsemen and fans with large, competitive fields.”

“We’re honored and excited that both Kentucky Downs and Laurel Park are part of the road leading to the 2016 Claiming Crown,” said Dan Metzger, president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and chairman of Claiming Crown Ltd.  “The Claiming Crown has evolved into an important event on the racing calendar with owners and trainers and these qualifying races will add both quality and depth to what promises to be another competitive day of racing at Gulfstream Park in December.”

For more information about the Claiming Crown, go to www.claimingcrown.com.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Eddie Olczyk to Deliver Keynote Address at Thoroughbred Owner Conference III

Eddie Olczyk
(Photo by Anne M. Eberhardt) 
Thoroughbred owner and NBC Sports horse racing and hockey analyst Eddie Olczyk will deliver the keynote address at OwnerView’s third Thoroughbred Owner Conference at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Wednesday, November 2, 2016.

OwnerView, the Thoroughbred owner resource developed by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA), is hosting the conference October 31 - November 3, 2016, the same week as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The presenting sponsors are Breeders’ Cup, Keeneland, and The Stronach Group.

The conference, once again, is designed to educate, inform, and entertain new, prospective, and current Thoroughbred owners through a series of panels and social events.

The keynote speakers at the first two Thoroughbred owner conferences were golfer Gary Player and radio personality Jim Rome. A video of Rome’s emotional presentation detailing his Thoroughbred ownership experience has been downloaded more than 5,500 times.

“Like Gary Player and Jim Rome, Eddie Olczyk maintains a deep passion for this sport and he will be sharing the perspectives of an owner, fan and broadcaster to this conference,” said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club. “We are extremely honored to have him as our keynote speaker, especially with the hectic schedule he has for Breeders’ Cup Week.”

The panels for this conference include business considerations for racehorse ownership; Breeders’ Cup winning owners, jockeys, and trainers; and a session about feature films with racing as a backdrop. Among the panelists are Richard Mandella, Art Sherman, Gary Stevens, Mike Smith, Laffit Pincay Jr., Dean Reeves, Barbara Banke, and John Amerman.

As an added bonus, on behalf of the Breeders’ Cup, registration will include one Grandstand Reserved seating ticket for both Breeders’ Cup World Championships racing days on November 4 and 5.

Olczyk played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL), winning a Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994. Following his playing career, he joined the Pittsburgh Penguins game broadcasts for Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and provided analysis for ESPN, ESPN2 and NHL Radio. He served as head coach of the Penguins from 2003 to 2005.

In the course of his NHL career, Olczyk scored 342 goals and recorded 794 points in 1,031 games with the Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, New York Rangers, and Los Angeles Kings. The third overall selection in the 1984 Entry Draft, he was a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic hockey team and is a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Olczyk’s first broadcasting experience took place during the NHL’s labor dispute in 1994, when he served as an on-air handicapper for the Thoroughbred meet at The Meadowlands in New Jersey.

Years later, in his debut as a horse racing analyst on NBC Sports Network’s coverage of the 2014 Gold Cup from Santa Anita, Olczyk correctly picked the long-shot winner in both races on the telecast: Majestic Harbor, at odds of 14-1 in the Gold Cup, and Sheza Smoke Show, at 10-1 in the Senorita Stakes.

Olcyzk then joined the Breeders’ Cup telecast and became part of the Triple Crown on-air team for the 2015 Kentucky Derby.

“Eddie’s knowledge of and enthusiasm for the sport of horse racing is infectious,” said Rob Hyland, coordinating producer for NBC Sports Group. “We are happy that what started out as a labor of love for him has turned into a regular role on our horse racing telecasts.”

The social events for the owner conference at Santa Anita include:
*The Breeders’ Cup Post-Position Draw & Reception on Monday, October 31
*Breeders’ Cup Breakfast Marquee near Clockers Corner on November 1
*Conference Dinner & Reception on November 1
*Lunch on November 1 & 2
*A reception featuring racing syndicates from across the U.S. on November 2
*Tour opportunities at the Rose Bowl stadium and Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden on November 3 along with an afternoon of lunch and live racing
*Reserved seating for both days of championship racing, November 4 & 5

Registrations are being taken for the full conference at $750/person. For spouses and partners who are interested in attending just the social events, a registration for social events is available at $400/person. Both types of registrations include the Breeders’ Cup tickets.

Additional information for the conference, including the agenda, speakers, and registration forms, is available at ownerview.com/event/conference.

Friday, July 8, 2016

National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback Addresses The Jockey Club and Humane Society of the United States Partnership

National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback penned an op/ed in the July 7 edition of Thoroughbred Daily News. The article begins:

Everyone wants what is best for horse racing and especially for the Thoroughbred racehorses that make our industry possible. That is why many of us are stunned by The Jockey Club leadership’s latest attempt to use that organization’s considerable wealth and influence to push a piece of federal legislation, not supported by the vast majority in racing, to address a problem that many would agree is nonexistent. Allowing for our equine medication control, testing and sanctions to be placed in the hands of a private entity possessing no experience with the complexities of our sport was deemed by many as “ridiculous as it can get.” Well, think again… It is about to get even more absurd.

To read the complete op/ed in Thoroughbred Daily News, click here.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Coady Photography Announces Amateur Photo Contest

Coady Photography, America’s premier professionals for shooting racetrack pictures, is searching the globe to find the best amateur horse-racing photographer.

The inaugural Coady International Amateur Horse Racing Photography Contest will be judged by an all-star panel of photojournalist experts. The free competition is open to amateur photographers at least 18 years old, with up to three submissions per entrant. All must be original and altered only by the photographer, taken within the last five years and depicting horse racing, including backside and scenic shots. Pictures will be judged on technical ability and creativity. Photos taken by smart phones/tablets or using filters are ineligible.

The best 50 photos, as chosen by Coady staff, will be displayed on Coady Photography’s Facebook page, with those finalists receiving a t-shirt. The top three from the Final 50 will be judged by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Dan Dry; two-time Eclipse Award winner Barbara Livingston; 2015 Eclipse honoree Scott Serio; Blood-Horse’s visuals director Anne Eberhardt Keogh; Churchill Downs’ vice president/racing communications John Asher, a five-time radio Eclipse winner; and Breeders’ Cup media-relations chief Jim Gluckson.

Entries will be accepted Aug. 1-31, with the winners announced Oct. 20. First place is $1,500, with $500 for second and $250 for third. There also will be a $50 award to the “Fan’s Choice” winner, determined by “likes” on Facebook.com/CoadyPhotography.

“We wanted a special way to celebrate Coady Photography’s 55th year,” said Kurtis Coady, the third-generation photographer who heads the family-owned company. “We decided to showcase talents of photographers around the world and to give them the chance to have their work judged by some of the top shooters and multi-media specialists in the country.

“We take pride in innovation and constantly challenge ourselves to be better. Even if we think we’re the best, we welcome the possibility of what we can learn from our contest participants, especially by going global. However, that doesn’t mean that the best amateur racing photographer isn’t right here at home.”

Email contest submissions and questions to contest@coadyphotography.com. Please include raw image with the photo (minimum of 300 dpi). Submissions must be labeled with title of photo and photographer’s name, address, phone number, email address and shirt size (specify male or female).

The Coady Photography footprint spans:
29 tracks in 16 states
43% of U.S. market by racing days
23% of U.S. graded stakes
Official photographer for 110 graded stakes in 2016
Shooters at a track: 5 minimum up to 25 for Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup
Shots taken: 5,000 at a track on a typical racing day – 800,000 in the month lead-ups to the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup.
All in the family: Kurtis and his twin Kevin and older brother Shawn began shooting as children at Arizona’s Turf Paradise and now-defunct Trinity Meadows in Texas. Kevin is a pilot, making for spectacular aerial shots.

Founded in 1962 by Jack Coady Sr., Coady Photography has become the gold standard among track photographers, representing 29 racetracks across the country and this year becoming the official photographer for Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Known for its innovation, Coady Photography delivers unparalleled media service for its clients, including coadywire.com providing stock photography, stakes races, events and head shots of owners, trainers and jockeys from around the country, as well as coadyphotography.com offering for purchase multiple shots from more than 300,000 races. For more information about Coady Photography, call (844) 893-8110 or email Contact@CoadyPhotography.com.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

#KyDerbyKids Twitter Initiative Expands into 2-Year-Olds

Chance Moquett (son of 2016 Derby trainer Ron Moquett) and Bailey Romans (daughter of 2016 Derby trainer Dale Romans) on WHAS-11 last Kentucky Oaks Day with prominent Louisville radio and TV personality Tony Vanetti. (Photo by Jennie Rees)
#KyDerbyKids - the acclaimed social-media initiative where the sons and daughters of trainers in the 2016 Kentucky Derby tweeted about their experiences — is expanding to include kids connected to 2-year-old horses.

Dubbed #KyDerbyKids 2.0, the program has its own Twitter handle of @KyDerbyKids and is designed to broaden the reach and allow more young voices to be heard. #KyDerbyKids is sponsored by the Kentucky division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association and is overseen by veteran turf journalist Jennie Rees.

The target group for #KyDerbyKids participants is anyone under 30 who is involved with or has access to 2-year-old racehorses and who would like to share their thoughts, dreams and adventures in horse racing. The idea to expand #KyDerbyKids came from trainer and Kentucky HBPA board member John Hancock, whose 9-year-old grandson Matt Hillyard is rooted in the stable known for its 2-year-olds.

“We thought KyDerbyKids would be a home run, but it outdid even our optimistic expectations,” said Kentucky HBPA executive director Marty Maline. “Now we have a way to keep it going, with more young people communicating the joy of being around the races and racehorses. The sport keeps talking about the need to reach a younger demographic. What better way than to have the younger generation share their experiences in words and pictures while also giving existing fans an ultimate insider’s view of racing stables?”

#KyDerbyKids 2.0 is being launched to coincide with the July 2 start of the Ellis Park summer meet, whose 2-year-old races have produced a slew of graded stakes-winners, including recent Ohio Derby winner Mo Tom. However, the larger objective is to have kids introducing the public 140 characters at a time to young horses competing all over the country. It’s anticipated that some will make it to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Nov. 4-5, 2016, in either the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile or the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, as well as the 2017 Longines Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands next May 5-6 at Churchill Downs.

“Two-year-olds are a heart throb for current race fans, and everybody loves Derby horses,” Chance Moquett, the 23-year-old son of trainer Ron Moquett and a charter #KyDerbyKid. “But for me this is about more than that. This is breathing life into our sport through young people. Even if one person my age or younger sees a re-tweet and tunes in to watch a race at Ellis or Saratoga this summer, that's a new set of eyes that may be able to help promote and grow our sport. Speaking from experience, it doesn't take much to fall in love with racing — we hope that we can show people that through social media this summer.”

Kids and young adults interested in participating in #KyDerbyKids 2.0 should email Rees at kyderbykids@gmail.com with name, hometown and the connection to a trainer, owner or jockey involved with 2-year-olds. Please include a photo (with or without a horse) and phone number. Those under 18 should include a parent’s name and contact information. Moms and dads are welcome to help their younger children participate. There is no cutoff date, and kids can participate as often or little as they wish.

"It was an honor to represent my father during the founding year of #KYDerbyKids,” said Hayley Amoss, 23, daughter of trainer Tom Amoss and who created the #KyDerbyKids official hashtag. “What outsiders don't understand are the trials and tribulations that every Derby horse's connections face in hopes of one day winning the roses. KY Derby Kids 2.0 provides the world with unique insight to the journey that every successful 2-year-old takes from the eyes of the horse's biggest fans, the horsemen's family.”

Chance and Hayley are among the originals participants committing  to tweeting about their dads’ 2-year-olds for #KyDerbyKids 2.0. The Kentucky HBPA is donating $100 to the charity of choice for the original participants in #KyDerbyKids. Those “kids” and their designated charity:
                                                                                                                                 
Ashley Amoss: Team Gleason
Hayley Amoss: Kentucky Humane Society's Equine C.A.R.E. program.
Keith Asmussen: Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund
Gustavo Delgado Jr.: Old Friends
Bailey Desormeaux: Houston Children’s Charity
Erin McLaughlin: National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Chance Moquett: Old Friends
Hannah Pletcher: Belmont Child Care Association
Blayne Prochaska: American Freedom Foundation
Bailey Romans: Churchill Downs’ Backside Learning Center
Maddie Stevens: Project Night Night
Wes Stewart: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana
Tess Von Hemel: Rockin' G Equine Sanctuary

For more information, contact Jennie Rees at tracksidejennie@gmail.com.

Welfare & Safety of the Racehorse Summit VII: Efforts Continue to Bear Fruit

The seventh Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit concluded late Tuesday afternoon at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion in Lexington, Ky., following 12 reports on topics ranging from racing surfaces, equine injuries and rider safety to nutrition, biosecurity, and respiratory health for horses.

There were also reports on biomarker research, compounded medications, nutraceuticals, lameness, the importance of the physical inspection, and use of the riding crop.

The summit, which is organized and underwritten by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and The Jockey Club, drew approximately 200 observers as well as an international audience who watched a live video stream.

A video replay of the summit and several of the presentations is available on the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation website (grayson-jockeyclub.org).

The summit once again was free and open to the public and attracted a cross-section of representatives from the world of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, including owners, breeders, horsemen, regulators, veterinarians, racetrack officials, jockeys and media. The live audience also included students from the Kentucky Equine Management Internship program, the North America Racing Academy, and the University of Queensland (Australia).

Among the highlights:

Dr. Tim Parkin, an epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow’s School of Veterinary Medicine, shared some insights regarding the dramatic drop in fatal injuries in 2015 compared to previous years.

“We now have seven full years of data in the Equine Injury Database [2009 to 2015] and the data is now driving our ability to have an impact on risk factors and fatalities.”

Among his findings were that racing horses at a young age reduces the chance of fatal injury.

“The vast majority of studies find that it is good thing and I’m not aware of any studies that say the opposite,” Parkin said. “We also noticed that the number of starts by 2-year-olds increased as fatality rates dropped.”

In addition, a lower risk of fatal injury was found with horses that stay longer with the same trainer, have more time off between races, and race farther than 6 furlongs.

“Our collective efforts are beginning to bear fruit,” Parkin said. “We have seen significant improvement even with a lot of unknown variables. I would urge tracks to continue to report complete data and for those tracks to study their own data.…There is a greater awareness of importance of Thoroughbred welfare and continuous marginal gains are important.”

Parkin also encouraged the sharing of vet lists and the harmonization of medication regulations.

“We started from a standstill and the database has grown quickly,” he said. “It’s very exciting to see the positive impact the EID and subsequent analysis is starting to have.”

Bill Casner, a Thoroughbred owner and breeder, covered respiratory and airway health and talked about steps he has taken to improve environmental conditions for his horses.

Dr. Mick Peterson, executive director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, discussed track surface design and its relationship to the Equine Injury Database.

“Our goal is to make dirt surfaces consistently safe and reduce the risk to horses and riders,” he said. ”We now have a Management Quality System that includes track design data, track inspection data, and track maintenance data. And we can make racing safer when we study the Equine Injury Database, the Jockey Injury Database and the Management Quality System together.”

Later in the program, Dr. Christopher Kawcak of the Orthopedic Research Center of Colorado State University discussed how biomarkers could be used to prevent catastrophic injuries. He said that biomarker analysis for equine injury risk requires sequential diagnosis over time via various imaging techniques.

Sue Finley, senior vice president and co-publisher of Thoroughbred Daily News, moderated a panel of retired jockeys including Gunnar Lindberg, now a Canadian racing official, and Hall of Famers Chris McCarron and Ramon Dominguez who discussed regulations involving the use of the riding crop.

“In Canada, we’ve limited the number of strikes and horses aren’t running any slower,” Lindberg said. “If we want to increase our fan base, we can’t be abusing horses with a whip. We fine riders, even riders coming from out of the country. Once our riders become aware of the regulations, they adhere to the rules.”

“The whip is important for safety and can help you guide a horse around a turn,” said McCarron. “It’s a very useful tool and has prevented a lot of accidents and incidents when used properly.”

The afternoon session featured presentations on athletic training and rehabilitation, compounded medications, equine veterinary care, and lameness diagnosis.

In the final session, veterinarians Dr. Larry Bramlage, Dr. Kevin Dunlavy, and Dr. Mary Scollay discussed the importance of physical inspection from three different perspectives. Bramlage talked about the use of advanced imaging to find underlying causes for a symptom-free horse’s poor performance. Dunlavy talked about assessing a specific issue or problem causing lameness, and Scollay spoke of lameness inspections performed to ensure a horse is sound enough to compete.

The event was emceed by Donna Barton Brothers, former jockey and current NBC racing analyst who serves on the advisory board for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

“As with so many past editions, this summit clearly demonstrated the tremendous welfare- and safety-related enhancements that are possible when we have such widespread industry collaboration,” said Edward L. Bowen, president of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. “The increasing use of sophisticated data and new technology are certainly helping us move forward, and we are grateful to all those who made presentations, attended or watched our summit today.”

The first Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit was held in October 2006; subsequent summits were held in March 2008, June 2010, October 2012, July 2014, and July 2015.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

New England HBPA Files Lawsuit to Protect Horsemen’s Rights

(from New England HBPA press release)

The New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Inc. (“NEHBPA”) has commenced litigation in the United States District Court in Massachusetts against Middleborough Agricultural Society (“MAS”) and the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Inc. (“MTHA”) seeking to protect the rights of owners and trainers of Thoroughbred horses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and to advance the possibility that live racing will actually be conducted at the Brockton Fairgrounds.

The NEHBPA filed the litigation at this time because it believes the MTHA entered into an illegal Purse Agreement with MAS in order to position itself to receive a portion of the Race Horse Development Fund (RHDF) benefit funding. In the litigation, the NEHBPA seeks orders of court recognizing the NEHBPA as the representative of local horsemen, voiding the purse agreement between the MTHA and MAS, and requiring MAS to negotiate with the NEHBPA as to the protection and advancement of the interest of horsemen. These interests include addressing safety issues, voiding the blanket release granted MAS by the MTHA of all liability it otherwise might have under applicable laws, and negotiation of payment to the purse account of a fair share of the revenue that will be generated.

Efforts of the NEHBPA to advance racing at the Brockton Fairgrounds
When George Carney first announced the intent to conduct Thoroughbred racing at the Brockton Fairgrounds, the NEHBPA proceeded to contact him and seek to work with him to advance the possibility of a safe and successful meet. The NEHBPA continued its efforts to work with Mr. Carney during the months the concept of a meet was discussed but little (if anything) was being done, creating the appearance that the announcements may have been made for the purpose of advancing the application for a gaming license for the Brockton site.

The litigation was filed after MAS refused to deal with the NEHBPA, declining the NEHBPA offer to help address safety and other issues of interest to local horsemen and refusing the NEHBPA offer to recruit horsemen to race at the proposed meet. MAS, instead of negotiating with the NEHBPA (who for decades has been the acknowledged representative of horsemen in New England), entered into a Purse Contract with the MTHA relative to Thoroughbred racing at the Brockton Fairgrounds and possible other locations during the calendar years 2016 and 2017.

Purse Agreement signed by the MTHA
The litigation filed by the NEHPBA alleges that in the Purse Agreement between the MTHA and MAS, MTHA contracted against the best interests of local horsemen by giving away all simulcasting rights and horse racing revenue to MAS without requiring that a fair and reasonable portion of such revenue be paid to the purse account and by otherwise failing to advance the best interests of local horsemen. Under the purse agreement that was signed by the MTHA with MAS, all revenue is retained by MAS with no payments to purse account. As further alleged in the complaint, the purse contract signed by the MTHA provides a 10% kickback to MAS of the funding provided by the RHDF for purses and further gives a waiver of all liability and indemnification to MAS by all horsemen. The complaint basically alleges that the MTHA utterly failed to represent the interest of local horsemen and signed the contract to position the MTHA to receive benefit funding from the RHDF.

The litigation alleges that local horsemen receive no benefits from the Purse Agreement between the MTHA and MAS because under that agreement the MTHA gave away to MAS all revenue sources for purses (other than funding from the RHDF established by the Legislature). The complaint alleges that the contract signed by the MTHA provides a "kickback" to MAS of 10% of the RHDF purse funding in order to advance MTHA objectives at the expense of the horsemen it purported to represent. The RHDF was created by state law in the legislation authorizing casinos and a slot parlor and is intended by statute to supplement other statutory and non-statutory sources of purse funding.

The complaint alleges that a "reading of the entire contract suggests there was absolutely no bargaining or advocacy by MTHA on behalf of the horsemen. The MTHA, through the actions of an un-elected president, appears to have simply permitted the MAS to draft a contract as desired by the MAS and signed it".

The litigation further alleges that George Carney of MAS is also the principal owner and chief executive officer of the Raynham Park Facility in Raynham that failed to pay approximately $300,000 in statutorily required premiums for 2014 and 2015 to the purse account of local horsemen at Suffolk Downs. The complaint alleges Carney refused to negotiate with the NEHBPA because the unpaid premiums would be addressed in such negotiations.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Conditional Approval
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission imposed certain conditions on its approval of the racing at the Brockton Fairgrounds including a safety inspection of the track and appropriate insurance. The NEHBPA does not believe either of these conditions will be met without the assistance of the NEHBPA. MAS continues to reject overtures from the NEHBPA to work together so that a safe meet can be conducted. The litigation seeks to require MAS to negotiate with the NEHBPA on these and other issues of interest to horsemen.

WHO IS THE MTHA?
The litigation asserts that the MTHA is a newly formed organization consisting of a few disgruntled members of the NEHBPA. It alleges that the MTHA has had no elections and adopted no rules governing the organization and that its officers are self-appointed. It alleges that few, if any, horsemen (as that term is defined by the Federal Interstate Horse Racing Act) have consented to be governed by the MTHA. The litigation alleges that the MTHA does not represent any significant number of horsemen and has no legal authority to negotiate for horsemen or enter into a purse agreement with MAS.

Brockton Stall Applications

The New England HBPA has also released a statement regarding stall applications for the proposed meet at the Brockton Fairgrounds. For more information, go to www.newenglandhbpa.com.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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

The seventh Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, scheduled for Tuesday, June 28, will be streamed live at grayson-jockeyclub.org/WelfareSafety/default.asp?section=50. (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 Keeneland Association in the Keeneland sales pavilion in Lexington, Ky.

Biosecurity, respiratory health, racetrack surfaces, equine injuries, nutrition, use of the crop, and rider safety are among the topics to be covered by noted industry and equine professionals.

Donna Barton Brothers will once again act as master of ceremonies.

The summit is scheduled to begin at 8:15 a.m. EDT and conclude at 5:00 p.m. EDT. It is free and open to the public, and registration is recommended for in-person and online. Registration and a complete agenda for the summit are available at grayson-jockeyclub.org/WelfareSafety/default.asp?section=50.

If you have questions for the speakers before or during the summit, please email horsesummit@jockeyclub.com or tweet using #horsesummit.

Among the initiatives that trace their roots to the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit are the Equine Injury Database, the Jockey Injury Database, the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, a uniform trainer test and study guide, and the annual publication of durability statistics by stallion.