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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

ARCI to Host "Town Hall" Meeting Feb. 22 at Gulfstream

As part of an effort to build a consensus on addressing the problems of racing and any regulatory structural reforms necessary, the ARCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International) is holding a series of "Town Meetings" to obtain local and regional input from industry participants, leaders and fans.

On Monday, February 22,at 10:30am, RCI's second town hall will be held at Gulfstream Park.

Those planning to attend and participate are asked to pre-register (there is no cost). This will assist in planning a productive session to explore options currently being put forward.

Please click here to pre-register.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Videos Now Available Online from Thoroughbred Owner Conference

Jim Rome
The stirring and at times emotional keynote address that CBS Radio personality and Thoroughbred owner Jim Rome delivered at OwnerView’s Thoroughbred Owner Conference at Gulfstream Park in January is proving to be just as popular online as it was in person.

A video replay of Rome’s 50-minute speech has been downloaded more than 2,600 times since he made it on January 13, 2016. It was made available later that day on the America’s Best Racing website (americasbestracing.net) and its YouTube channel and on the OwnerView website (ownerview.com) the following day.

Rome described his introduction to Thoroughbred ownership as well as some of the highs and lows he and his wife, Janet, have experienced, including the death from colic in early December of the Eclipse Award and multiple stakes winner Shared Belief.

“It is hard to imagine someone describing his or her passion for Thoroughbred racing in a more eloquent manner than Jim Rome did at our conference,” said Gary Falter, vice president of operations for OwnerView. “His remarks really resonated with those who have owned horses and those who are new or prospective owners, and many of our attendees considered his presentation the highlight of the conference.”

Falter also said that other video segments from the Thoroughbred Owner Conference, as well as still photographs, are now available on the OwnerView website. National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback was among the panelists at the event and spoke in the “Acquiring Your Thoroughbred Racehorse” panel.

Among the video topics:
•         Acquiring Your Thoroughbred Racehorse: What are your options?
•         Pursuing Your Dream: Fascinating Success Stories from Thoroughbred Owners
•         An Overview of Ownership: What Every Owner Should Know
•         Jockeys - The Hands Behind the Reins

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 aspects of ownership such as 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.

The Thoroughbred Owner Conference presenting sponsors were Keeneland Association, the New York Racing Association, The Stronach Group, and Woodbine Entertainment Group.

Additional information about OwnerView is available at ownerview.com or by contacting Gary Falter at gfalter@jockeyclub.com or (859) 224-2803.

National HBPA Winter Convention Kicks Off Wednesday

Horsemen from around North America will converge on Clearwater Beach, Florida, beginning Wednesday for the National HBPA Winter Convention at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort. The event, which runs through February 7, is hosted by the Tampa Bay Downs HBPA and will include an afternoon at the races at the Central Florida track.

The agenda will include a full slate of meetings and panels on Thursday, Friday and Saturday covering a wide range of topics, including establishing public relations, the importance of media awareness, the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance and NTRA Advantage, Thoroughbred aftercare and racetrack benevolence, how horsemen can work with and not against professional gamblers, and how to better market the sport. Also included in the agenda are presentations by the Association of Racing Commissioners International and the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians.

Horsemen will also meet to discuss important topics facing the industry, including medication, model rules and legislation.

Stella Thayer, president and treasurer of Tampa Bay Downs, is the keynote speaker for the convention.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Former National HBPA President, Texas Horsemen's Partnership Chairman John Roark Passes Away

John Roark
(from Texas Horsemen's Partnership news release)On Saturday, January 23, 2016, the Texas racing industry lost a longtime supporter and leader, former Texas Horsemen's Partnership Chairman and National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) President John O. Roark. Roark, 76, passed surrounded by his family following a brief hospital stay.

Roark was a native of Bug Tussle, Texas, where he grew up on a "cotton-pickin" farm. He earned an undergraduate degree from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 1962, graduated from South Texas College of Law four years later, and began his law career in 1967 in Houston working for Morgan and Dudensing, specializing in labor law. He became regional counsel for the National Maritime Union for the Texas Gulf Coast in 1971, a position he held while with at the firm of Musslewhite and Roark.

In 1974, John, his wife Kaki, and their three children moved to Temple, Texas, where he maintained a law practice until the time of his death. Roark was a trial lawyer and was first board certified in personal injury trial law 1985. He was also certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in civil trial law. He was a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and was been elected to Who’s Who in American Law. Roark had also served as a municipal court judge for the City of Nolanville, Texas since 2007.

John became involved in Thoroughbred horse racing in the early 1980s, when he owned part of a training center behind Louisiana Downs. John campaigned horses all over the Midwest and South for over three decades. He became involved with Chaplain Les Riggs at Louisiana Downs and helped Chaplain Riggs to form Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meetings. He also became involved in the Louisiana HBPA and its legal problems with the racetracks in Louisiana in 1987.

Roark began racing horses in Texas in 1994. At the same time, he became involved with other Texas horsemen and was one of the founding members that formed the Texas Thoroughbred HBPA (TTHBPA). Roark was president of that organization on more than one occasion. While under John’s leadership, the TTHBPA was involved in negotiations with the Texas tracks and other industry organizations that resulted in comprehensive contracts and purse agreements raising the benefits for owners and trainers. He was also instrumental in the movement to consolidate all Texas purse accounts at one financial institution and centralize the horsemen's accounts at the tracks, thus increasing the convenience and benefits to all horsemen. He was also a strong leader in improving the assistance programs which benefit horsemen.

John served as chairman of the Texas Horsemen's Partnership, which serves all horse breeds racing in Texas. Additionally, he served for five years as president and chairman of the board of directors of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) from 2001 through 2006. In addition, he served on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), where he served as co-chairman of NTRA Charities. Roark's leadership helped horsemen solve various disputes across the country.

John was a certified lay-speaker in the United Methodist Church and served on the administrative board of his local church in Temple. He was a member of the executive board of the United Way of Bell County, Texas and served in several other fundraising capacities through his affiliation with the National HBPA and with the Backside Benevolence Fund. He also helped with the organization of the Jockey Challenge at Lone Star Park, which raised money for the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund. Additonally, Roark served for a period as general counsel to the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America.

The highlight of Roark’s racehorse ownership came in the fall of 1988, when a savvy campaigner he owned in partnership, Ile de Jinsky, triumphed in the River City Handicap (Gr. III) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. According to Roark, "He won that race on a bowed tendon. He was a real honest horse. That's the only graded stakes race I've won, too."

Roark once said of his longtime love of the horse racing industry, "You know, people don't get into this business to make money. I don't know how to describe it, actually, but horse racing has the power to draw. To me, the best people in the world are in the horse business. We all seem to have something in common, even if I can't exactly say what it is."

John is survived by his wife, Kaki, and their three children, son Wayne Roark; son Allen Roark and his wife, Sarah Yarbrough Roark; and daughter Sharon Roark Walters and her husband, Lee Walters; as well as grandchildren Hannah, Christian, Max, John, and Jameson.

A funeral service will be held at First United Methodist Church, 102 North 2nd Street, Temple, Texas 76501, at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 30, 2016. The service will be followed by a reception in the Family Life Center that will include a slide show and an opportunity for people to share stories about John. There will not be visitation prior to the funeral service.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Glen Berman Named Executive Director of Florida HBPA

Glen Berman
Glen Berman will take the helm of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (FHPBA) as Executive Director on February 15, 2016, the organization announced today.

Berman, a practicing attorney and registered pharmacist, has held the position of Executive Director and General Counsel for the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) since 2009.

Reporting to the FHBPA Board of Directors in his new role, Berman will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the FHBPA's programs, staff and mission implementation. Based at the FHBPA's headquarters at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, he will lead the FHBPA's efforts to advance, foster and promote horse racing throughout Florida, as well as represent the interests of the FHBPA's 8,400 licensed Thoroughbred owner and trainer members in all matters affecting horsemen overall. Berman will work with racetrack management, regulators, elected officials and various racing and breeding associations—both local and national—to further strengthen and improve Florida's successful horse racing industry.

"The vote for Glen to come on board was unanimous, and we're confident he brings the kind of leadership and experience that will pave the way for horsemen's continued success in Florida for many years to come," said Board Member Adam Lazarus, who chaired the national search to replace the outgoing Kent Stirling.

"Many of the challenges facing Florida horsemen parallel those we've faced and met in Illinois during the past six years--a tumultuous time," Berman said. "I'm looking forward to applying that experience and working with the dedicated FHBPA Board to fully explore all the exciting opportunities Florida holds as one of the major focal points of the world's horse racing market."

During his time at the ITHA, Berman oversaw dual ITHA offices at Arlington and Hawthorne. He was responsible for purse contract negotiation with both racetracks, as well as for the direction of the ITHA's legislative efforts, including the drafting and lobbying of gaming legislation. He represented the ITHA at all Illinois Racing Board Meetings and helped create "Galloping Out," a non-profit dedicated to finding new homes for retired Thoroughbreds.


A graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent, Berman was awarded his Juris Doctor in 1982. Prior to that, he attended North Dakota State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and minored in Journalism.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Thoroughbred Owner Conference Concludes, Next Edition to be Held During Breeders’ Cup

OwnerView’s second Thoroughbred Owner Conference, sponsored by Keeneland Association, the New York Racing Association, The Stronach Group and Woodbine Entertainment Group, concluded with presentations on a wide range of aspects of Thoroughbred ownership and a keynote address by horse owner and CBS broadcaster Jim Rome.

Approximately 200 people attended the two-day event, including both longtime horse owners and new or prospective owners.

In the closing remarks for the conference, William M. Lear Jr., vice chairman of The Jockey Club, announced that the third OwnerView Thoroughbred Owner Conference will be held on the days leading up to the 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in early November.

“Our first two owner conferences have been very well received, and we thank The Stronach Group for hosting this edition as well as our third conference to be held in November 2016,” said Lear. “Holding the next one during Breeders’ Cup week will allow current and prospective owners to experience the sport of horse racing at one of its finest hours.”

“We are thrilled that the next owner conference will coincide with the Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup president and CEO. “Competing in the Breeders’ Cup represents the pinnacle of success for an owner, and we anticipate that prospective owners will be impressed by the unparalleled racing and entertainment experience offered by the Breeders’ Cup and our hosts, Santa Anita Park.”

OwnerView also announced that two of the presenting sponsors, the New York Racing Association and Woodbine Entertainment Group, have expressed interest in hosting future editions of the Thoroughbred Owner Conference. A schedule of future conferences will be developed later this year.

This edition of the owner conference included panels with prominent owners, jockeys, and leaders in the racing industry that covered numerous aspects and recommendations regarding Thoroughbred ownership. National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback was among the speakers.

Former NYRA announcer Tom Durkin served as the master of ceremonies once again.

In the keynote address Wednesday morning, Rome described his passion for Thoroughbred racing.

“I’ve been doing radio and TV work for 30 years, and I have a great job,” he said. “But my best days at work are not as good as the most electric, surreal days I’ve enjoyed at the track.”

He described his introduction to Thoroughbred ownership as well as some of the highs and lows he and his wife, Janet, have experienced, including the death from colic in early December of the Eclipse Award and multiple stakes winner Shared Belief.

“Penny Chenery, the owner of Secretariat, wrote to me afterward and told me that the highs will outweigh the lows when you own Thoroughbreds…We’re going to stay in the game. It’s been an amazing experience. We love the game mostly because we love the animals.”

“The Stronach Group has been thrilled to host this event,” said Mike Rogers, president of The Stronach Group’s Racing and Gaming Division. “We want to do anything we can to help grow our industry, and when people are all pulling in the same direction as we are with this initiative, it’s great for the sport.”

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 aspects of ownership such as 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.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

TOBA Owners Concierge Launches VIP Program at Gulfstream Park

In the continuing effort to enhance owners’ on- and off-track experiences; the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association announced the launch of the TOBA Owners Concierge VIP Program, an extension to its pilot concierge program.

The new VIP program is designed to provide owners with a higher level of personalized on- and off-track care. Services include the creation of a personalized portfolio to help serve each VIP member; outlining and assisting with hotel, dining and transport options, in addition to serving as a liaison between VIP members and racetrack hospitality.

The TOBA Owners Concierge Program is a partnership between the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and Fasig-Tipton.

Structured around Gulfstream Park’s 2016 Championship meeting in Hallandale Beach, Fla., the service will be offered free of charge to existing and new TOBA members. The introductory period runs from Jan. 1, 2016 through March 31, 2016. For more information and the complete list of VIP services, click here.

“Since its launch last spring, the TOBA Owners Concierge has been very well received by every segment of the industry and we are excited to continue the development of the program, while bringing a higher level of individualized care to owners and horsemen,” said Christina Bossinakis, TOBA Owners Concierge Director.

The new service is also designed to assist horsemen, who are often charged with making or facilitating race day arrangements for their clients.

“It was the logical next step to assist trainers with the care of their owners, since they are often the intermediary between the owner and racetrack hospitality,” explained Bossinakis. “By starting at the source, we aim to support trainers and/or the stable’s hospitality staff with the care of their clients. Essentially, we are freeing trainers to focus on their horses, while we look after their owners. It’s a win-win situation for all involved.”

During the introductory period, the TOBA Owners Concierge will continue to offer remote assistance with hospitality at racetracks nationally. For a complete listing of participating racetracks, visit www.ownersconnection.horse.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sol Kumin Chosen as New Owner of the Year by OwnerView

Sol Kumin
OwnerView announced today that Sol Kumin, the owner of Lady Eli, Wavell Avenue, and several other stakes winners, has been chosen as the New Owner of the Year, which honors a new Thoroughbred owner who has been successful in the sport and has had a positive impact on the industry.

The award will be presented at the Thoroughbred Owner Conference at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., in January 2016.

Nominees for the New Owner of the Year Award must have owned Thoroughbreds for fewer than three years, have had an interest in a horse at the time it won a stakes race in 2015, and have had a verifiable owner’s license in 2015.

Kumin, a resident of the Boston, Mass., area, purchased his first Thoroughbred in 2014, and his first win came in March 2014 with Madaket Millie at Gulfstream Park for trainer Chad Brown. Approximately one month later, he submitted the winning bid for future Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Lady Eli.

In his short time in the sport, Kumin has helped form six racing partnerships: Beacon Hill Partners, Great Point Stables, Head of Plains Partners, Madaket Stables, Nantucket Thoroughbred Partners, and Sheep Pond.

He now has an ownership interest in more than 65 racehorses, and nine of them competed in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup: Slumber, Ray’s The Bar (GB), Stallwalkin’ Dude, Sharla Rae, Gliding By, Undrafted, Last Waltz (IRE), Dacita (CHI), and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Wavell Avenue.

Most of his horses are trained by Brown and he also has horses with Richard Baltas, David Jacobson, Bill Mott, Jeff Mullins, Doug O’Neill, Todd Pletcher, Rudy Rodriguez, and Wesley Ward.

Kumin has brought an array of new owners and fans into the game. He has also shown his support for retired Thoroughbreds by donating a percentage of each horse’s Breeders’ Cup earnings this year to New Vocations racehorse adoption program.

“I am honored to be given this award for New Owner of the Year,” Kumin said. “I feel extremely lucky to have been introduced to horse racing at this stage in my life. In a short period of time, I have been fortunate enough to win some races and form some incredible friendships that I know I will have for many years to come.”

Kumin is the CEO and founder of Folger Hill Asset Management. Folger Hill is an equity hedge fund that was launched March 2014. Prior to founding Folger Hill, he spent 10 years with SAC Capital Advisors, most recently as chief operating officer.

The committee that chose Kumin was composed of Price Bell, Reynolds Bell Jr., John Keitt, Kevin Lavin, Stephen Panus, Andy Schweigardt, and Peter Willmott.

The Thoroughbred Owner Conference will be held January 11, 2016, through January 14, 2016, and will feature two days of conference presentations, a welcome reception at Gulfstream Park’s paddock, a gala dinner at Turnberry Isle Resort, a day of racing, and multiple opportunities to network with panelists and industry personnel.

Jim Rome, a prominent Thoroughbred owner and the host of “The Jim Rome Show” on CBS Sports Radio and “Jim Rome On Showtime,” will deliver the keynote address.

The presenting sponsors are Keeneland Association, New York Racing Association, The Stronach Group, and Woodbine Entertainment.

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. More information can be found at ownerview.com.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit VII Scheduled for June 28

The Jockey Club and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation today announced that the seventh Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit will be held Tuesday, June 28, in Lexington, Ky.

The summit, which brings together a cross-section of the breeding, racing and veterinary communities, again will be underwritten and coordinated by The Jockey Club and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and hosted by the Keeneland Association.

The first summit was held in October 2006. Subsequent editions were held in March 2008, June 2010, October 2012, July 2014, and July 2015. Summits will continue to be held annually.

“This year we plan to bring back the summit committee meetings the day after the summit as we have in the past with the first few editions,” said Edward L. Bowen, president, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. “This will help keep ideas fresh and keep committee members focused on initiatives to improve the welfare and safety of our equine and human athletes.”

The summit will be held in the Keeneland sales pavilion and it is open to the public; a live webcast will also be available. A formal agenda and a list of speakers will be announced at a later date.

Among the major accomplishments that have evolved from the previous six summits are the Equine Injury Database; the Jockey Injury Database; the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, which provides science-based testing of racing surfaces to enhance safety for horse and rider; a uniform trainer test and study guide; the racing surfaces white paper and publication of educational bulletins for track maintenance; the publication of stallion durability statistics; the Hoof: Inside and Out DVD, available in English and Spanish; a model rule banning toe grabs greater than 2 mm and elimination of all traction devices on front shoes approved and passed in August 2008; and the movement by state racing commissions to create regulations that void the claim of horses suffering fatalities during a race.  

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 approximately $22.6 million for 324 specific projects at 41 universities. Additional information about the foundation is available at grayson-jockeyclub.org.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Interactive, Electronic Edition of The Horsemen's Journal Winter 2015 Issue is Now Available

The interactive, electronic version of The Horsemen's Journal's Winter 2015 issue is now available online. It is an enhanced version of our Winter 2015 issue, which is currently being mailed. To view it, either click here or click on the magazine icon above.
Features in the issue include:

*CASTELLANO’S CROWN
Gulfstream’s leading rider caps a big Claiming Crown day with a win on Royal Posse in the Jewel

*ALL ABOUT HAY
Forage expert says misconceptions exist regarding different types of hay and their nutritional value

*THE LITTLE RACETRACK THAT COULD
Michigan horsemen persevere to keep racing alive at Hazel Park

*CENTURIES OF PROGRESS
Horse racing has long been a leader in the sporting world for its detection of drug use

*MEETING OF THE MINDS
The second Thoroughbred Owner Conference is set for January at Gulfstream Park

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.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Aussie wins Innovators’ Circle prize at Global Symposium

SWOP Stakes, a racing jackpot based on multiple race outcomes, received a $15,000 cash prize for winning the Innovators’ Circle at the wrap-up session of the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming in Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday.

SWOP Stakes was developed in Australia by Shaun Pyrah, Director of Strategy for Six Faces, an interactive wagering company. The three-judge panel deemed it the most promising of the four finalists in the Innovators’ Circle, a pitch contest to drive innovation in horse racing.

Doug Reed, Director of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program which sponsored the Symposium, presented Pyrah the trophy symbolic of winning the Innovators’ Circle award. Reed said that the Innovators’ Circle would be continued and refined for the 2016 Symposium.

Submissions to the Innovators’ Circle contest came from five continents. The contest, which is based on the TV show “Shark Tank”, was developed by gaming author Vin Narayan and Hai Ng, partner of Neomancer LLC, in conjunction with the Race Track Industry Program.

The other finalists consisted of pitches for an Equine Standing 3D CT Scanner;  “20 Wins A Million,” a no-cost game sponsored by tracks to attract millennials; and the Thoroughbred Stock Exchange, a new model for horse ownership.

Judges of the Innovators’ Circle were John Ford, CEO of BAM Software & Services, LLC; John Hartig, Chairman and CEO of the Daily Racing Form; and Mike Tanner, executive vice-president and CEO of U.S. Trotting Association.

The judges asked the presenters extensive questions after they finished their pitches.  Members of the audience were also given the chance to quiz Innovators’ Circle speakers.

Audience members had a chance to pick their favorite pitch in the Innovators’ Circle who received a $1,000 prize. They voted for the Equine Standing 3D CT Scanner, which has the potential to prevent catastrophic breakdowns by pinpointing horses most susceptible to injuries while racing.

An interesting Wednesday afternoon session addressed “Serious Realities in Fantasy Sports.”

Hai Ng moderated the panel of three on-site speakers with Sen. Raymond Lesniak of New Jersey participating via Skype.

Lesniak said that due to pending court cases, New Jersey is “in limbo” regarding the regulation of fantasy.

He also indicated that people in New Jersey are looking at bringing “historical racing” to the state’s race tracks.

John Ford, CEO of BAM Software & Services LLC, said that he believes that fantasy sports at tracks would help racing because the fantasy sports bettor and the horse racing bettor are remarkably similar people.

“They are both analyzing data and placing wagers,” Ford said.

Jack McGrail of the Oregon Racing Commission disagreed and said he saw no benefit of having tracks offer fantasy sports wagering. “It would not help the pari-mutuel handle”, said McGrail.

Speakers from around the globe came to Tucson to provide an international perspective on simulcasting. They discussed the challenges of different laws, the importance of accurate post times, foreign currency concerns, and the varying cultures of horse racing and wagering.

Moderator Scott Finley addressed the difficulty that pari-mutuel wagering systems have in bucking the well-established bookmaking culture in the United Kingdom, a huge betting market.

Rene Schneider with TSG Global Wagering Solutions, LLC emphasized that when entering markets in new countries, racetracks must tailor their product and pricing to the local landscape.  

In a session titled “Fixing Racing,” Dr. Jennifer Durenberger, a veterinarian, lawyer and past racing commission official said “Of all the things that racing commissions do, the most underfunded is investigation. That ‘boots on the ground’ piece is very critical.”

Durenberger is now COO of Racing Matters.

The Symposium concluded with a “Hasta La Vista” fiesta at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Ideas Plentiful at Tucson Symposium

Innovation is the theme of the 42nd annual Symposium on Racing & Gaming in Tucson and the two-day program got off to a lively start on Tuesday morning with a whirlwind of new ideas for attendees to contemplate.

The opening session was titled “45 Ideas in 45 Minutes” and a diverse panel of racing experts tossed out new ideas to the audience in a fast-paced session.

“Tracks should hire a Director of Animal Welfare, whose tasks include full public communications on incidents,” said Amy Zimmerman, Vice-President and Director of Broadcasting for the Stronach Group. “It’s time for us in racing to tell our story and how much we really care.”

“Racing should take its show on the road,” said Darryl Kaplan, editor of Standardbred Canada’s Trot magazine, “Horses should race down city streets, on beaches, and over frozen canals. Take risks, and bring horse racing to the people.”

Steve Byk, host of “At the Races with Steve Byk,” said that racing should emulate the tax-free shopping day concept by offering takeout rollbacks on target days that generally produce lower handle. Byk suggested that tracks try a “Tax Free Tuesday.”

The ideas came so fast and furious that attendees were told in advance not to take notes because a synopsis of the 45 ideas would be distributed afterwards.

The Racing & Gaming Symposium is sponsored by the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program and was held at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in the foothills north of Tucson. Racing executives and vendors from around the globe gathered in the desert to exchange ideas and to meet students interested in careers in racing.

At the awards luncheon, Bob Baffert, trainer of American Pharoah and a graduate of the University of Arizona accepted the “Big Sport of Turfdom” for Team American Pharoah from the Turf Publicists of America.

Baffert later reminisced in a conversation with Amy Zimmerman about how he fell in love with racing when he trained Quarter Horses in Tucson and also talked about the 2015 season with American Pharoah.

When American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, Baffert said he thought of his now-deceased parents and asked himself, “What did I do to deserve this horse?”

He said that the Kentucky Derby is the hardest of the three Triple Crown events to win.

“If you win that race, you can’t wait to win it again,” Baffert said. “The winner’s circle at Churchill Downs must be the most expensive real estate in the world because so much money has been spent try to get there.”

A trio of panelists talked about efforts to attract new owners to horse racing.

Andrew Offerman, Director of Racing Operations at Canterbury Park, said that the Minnesota track created a Canterbury Racing Club to allow fans to buy into a horse at a reasonable price.

“Every time their horse races we have 500 extra people at the track,” said Offerman.

Sophia McKee, Vice President of Marketing at Emerald Downs, said that her track realized in recent years that it didn’t have a horse shortage as much as it had an owner shortage. Emerald borrowed from the Canterbury concept to create its own racing club. There is now a waiting list to get into the Emerald Downs Racing Club.

The goal is to give people a taste of horse ownership with minimal expense and risk, McKee said, and hope that they later graduate to ownership of horses on their own. That doesn’t happen all that often, she admits, but said that one couple started with a $500 investment one year and got so enthusiastic that they invested $470,000 in horses the next year.

Ellen Harvey of Harness Racing Communications detailed the efforts of the U.S. Trotting Association to appeal to new owners with seminars and camps. One advantage that harness racing offers, she emphasized, is that owners can jog, train, and perhaps drive their own horses which is unlike owning Thoroughbreds.

Harvey said that attendees for the seminars hail mostly from the ranks of racing fans and that efforts to recruit pleasure horse owners have been unsuccessful.

She said that almost 20 percent of the attendees at the USTA owners seminars have followed up by purchasing a horse. In many cases they purchase more than one horse and also bring in partners.

Digital marketing strategies for horse racing were addressed by Sean Frisby and Rob Key.

Key spoke about his family’s background in harness racing and the social media efforts of his Manhattan-based firm Converseon for the United State Trotting Association.

“Word-of-mouth is the most credible and powerful form of advertising,” Key said. “Social media is word-of-mouth turbocharged.”

Key detailed the success of the Harness Racing FanZone and the “Ambassadors” programs in creating more “buzz” for harness racing on social media.

Frisby, the founder and principal of Brand Tenet, talked about “big data” and defined that term as “data sets with sizes beyond the ability of commonly used software tools.”   The four drivers of the value of big data are volume, veracity, velocity, and variety.

Frisby admitted that some data sets “wind up looking like eye charts,” but said that presenting data in a pictorial format makes it much easier to grasp.

The Racing & Gaming Symposium concludes on Wednesday evening after a day which will be highlighted by the “Innovators’ Circle,” racing’s first “pitch session” where contest finalists will unveil their ideas to a panel of judges.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Claiming Crown to be Broadcast Live on Horse Racing Radio Network

Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN), the Eclipse Award-winning broadcast organization based in Lexington, KY and official radio home of the 2015 Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup World Championships, announced they will once again return to Gulfstream Park this Saturday to provide exclusive live coverage of the 17th Claiming Crown on opening day of Gulfstream’s Championship Meet.

HRRN’s Claiming Crown day coverage begins Saturday morning with a special edition of the network’s popular weekly talk show, the Equine Forum, hosted live from Gulfstream Park beginning at 8:00 a.m. ET. Listeners can tune in on SiriusXM channel 93 as well as on select terrestrial affiliates across the country and online at www.horseracingradio.net.

Saturday afternoon, HRRN showcases live coverage of five Claiming Crown races beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET, the Glass Slipper, Canterbury, Express, Emerald and Jewel. In addition, the Tiara, Iron Horse, Distaff Dash and Rapid Transit will be presented on taped delay.

HRRN’s coverage of the 2015 Claiming Crown is presented by top stallion Kitten’s Joy, standing at Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, KY.

Mike Penna will anchor the coverage along with analyst Jude Feld. Gulfstream announcer Larry Collmus will provide the live call of each race.

A complete listing of affiliates along with SiriusXM channel information and live streaming can be found on the HRRN website.

National HBPA Supports AHC Welfare Code

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association is the latest organization to endorse the American Horse Council’s (AHC) Welfare Code of Practice.

The AHC Welfare Code of Practice is a broad set of principles designed to establish good welfare procedures for organizations to follow to “Put the Horse First.” The code outlines in broad strokes what principles organizations are committed to in breeding, training, competing, transporting, enjoying, and caring for their horses. The code encourages everyone to consider the health, safety, and welfare of their horses in all aspects of their activities, including the social and ethical issues.

“The National HBPA along with its supportive affiliates and members strongly support the Welfare Code of Practice established by the American Horse Council. The embodiment of the Code to ‘Put the Horse First’ rings true with our membership and supports our mission statement. Being a part of the Welfare Code should be an indication to everyone looking at the equine industry as a whole, that our goal is to uphold the health and welfare of the horse,” said Eric J. Hamelback CEO of the National HBPA.

The AHC’s code is not intended to supersede an organization’s rules or regulations. Any organization’s more specific rules still govern activities sanctioned and regulated by the organization. Rather the code is a compliment to any such rules and restates the principles to be followed by breed registries, trade associations, various disciplines and the horse community as a whole in pursuing their equine activities.

To review the AHC Welfare Code of Practice, a list of the 52 organizations supporting the code, and a FAQs page, please visit the AHC Website at www.horsecouncil.org.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Blue-Collar Horses Hoping for Big Payday in Saturday's Claiming Crown at Gulfstream Park

The $1.1 million Claiming Crown is set for Saturday, December 5, opening day at Gulfstream Park in Florida. Following is a preview of some of the nine races:

Twocubanbrothersu a Blast from the Past for Rigattieri
When Twocubanbrothersu won back-to-back allowances at Suffolk Downs in 2014, the pair of impressive performances didn’t go unnoticed by trainer John Rigattieri.
           
Eleven months later, when the gelded son of Harlington was entered in a $6,250 claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs, the veteran trainer decided to take a chance on the Kentucky-bred.

“I saw him at Boston and he had good early speed; I knew a little about him from Boston,” said Rigattieri, who claimed Twocubanbrothersu May 3 after a 5 ¾-length victory. “He was a horse I knew could go long.”

Twocubanbrothersu finished third at Delaware Park in his first start for Rigattieri, who co-owns the gelding with Stephen Derany, before winning four straight starter allowance races by a total of 26 ¼ lengths.

“Did I think he’d be this good when I claimed him? No, but I did think he’d be a good distance horse,” said Rigattieri, who had saddled nearly 2700 winners, primarily in New England and Mid-Atlantic.

His streak was broken by a third-place finish in a stakes, before going to Laurel, where he captured back-to-back starter allowances by 10 ¼ lengths and 2 ½ lengths. His most recent victory came in a Claiming Crown ‘Win & You’re In’ race on Nov. 1, earning him a fees-paid berth in Saturday’s $110,000 Iron Horse, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up that started for a claiming price of $7,500 or lower. Daniel Centeno, who was aboard for his two most recent scores, has the return mount.

“He’s done everything right so far. I hope he can keep doing it at Gulfstream Park,” said Rigattieri, whose stable is based at Tampa Bay Downs during the winter.

Rich Daddy Proves to be Wise Investment; Miss Darla Hoping Glass Slipper Fits
           
Along with running for larger purses, the Claiming Crown offers horsemen an opportunity to showcase their talents. After getting Rich Daddy for a minimal price, trainer Jose Garoffalo has helped turn the 4-year-old gelding into a wise investment.
           
The 17th Claiming Crown headlines opening day of Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet on Saturday, with nine races worth $1.1 million in purses.
           
“It is a great idea. It’s a very good stimulus for the owners and trainers,” Garoffalo said. “We can have the chance to prove that we can improve horses. It’s a professional challenge, and at the same time it’s good stimulation for the owners because the purses are very, very good. I think it’s going to be fun.”
           
Entered in the $200,000 Jewel at 1 1/8 miles, Rich Daddy owns two wins, four seconds and purse earnings of $61,285 in seven starts since being claimed for $6,250 out of an 11-length win May 30 at Gulfstream.
           
Rich Daddy had three wins and $70,842 in purses over his first 23 career races, much of it spent on turf. Since making the claim for Winds of Change Racing Stable Corp., Garoffalo has seen a steady progression.
           
“His numbers are amazing, unbelievable, considering what we got him for. I don’t think you find horses like that too often, running for that kind of price,” he said. “I was following the horse and I noticed that he usually ran on the turf and the turf didn’t do much, but every time he went on the dirt he was winning by 10, 11 lengths.
           
“I figured he was a dirt horse. I checked the horse before the race where I claimed him, and he looked decent, sound,” he said. “We had to fix a couple of little things but we did it and now we have a brand new horse.”
           
Rich Daddy was a 9 ¼-length winner of a one-mile optional claimer Aug. 27 then was a strong third behind Grade 2 winner East Hall in the Sensitive Prince Stakes Sept. 12, both run over off tracks at Gulfstream. He was 1 ¼ lengths behind Lynx and seven lengths ahead of Souper Lucky, both of which are graded stakes placed.
           
Most recently, Rich Daddy cruised by 6 ½ lengths over multiple stakes winner Bluegrass Singer in an optional claimer going one mile and 70 yards Nov. 13 at Gulfstream Park West.
           
“The last race was impressive, and the race before that was impressive, too, because he ran against East Hall and other stakes horses,” Garoffalo said. “When he won the allowance here the other day he was impressive, too; the numbers were very good. We’re very optimistic. I think the horse is ready for the race, so we’ll see what happens.”
           
Garoffalo is also running 5-year-old Montbrook mare Miss Darla in the $110,000 Glass Slipper for females 3 and up on the main track. The Florida-bred has four wins and two seconds in 12 starts since being moved to Garoffalo’s barn by owner Peter Mattson in January.
           
In the Glass Slipper, Miss Darla will be stretching out to one mile, a distance she has tried just three times in 42 lifetime starts with one second, coming April 23 at Gulfstream.
           
“Miss Darla has been very, very good all year round. She runs good all the time,” Garoffalo said. “The only concern that I have for her is the distance. I’ve been training her for the mile. She usually doesn’t run that far, but she finished second in a tough race in the summer, so we can try the distance again. At that level, she’s always been very competitive. I’ve been looking at the PP’s, and she’s got a shot. She’s one of the more qualified fillies in the race.”
           
Indycott Seeks Repeat, Classic Salsa Eyes Redemption in Claiming Crown
           
As the Championship Meet gets ready to open at Gulfstream Park, trainer Danny Gargan is hopeful that a pair of summer claims will make an impact in the $1.1 million Claiming Crown on opening day.
           
Based in New York, Gargan is pointing Indycott to the $200,000 Jewel, the richest of the Saturday’s nine Claiming Crown races, and Classic Salsa to the $110,000 Rapid Transit. He claimed both for $50,000 at Saratoga on behalf of Midwest Throughbreds.
           
“They’re both nice horses,” Gargan said. “We thought we’d ship down. Midwest likes to participate on Claiming Crown day because we claim a lot of horses, the whole group of us. It’s nice to be here at the end of the year and have the quality of horses to be competitive.”
           
A gelded 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy, Indycott owns two wins in four tries at the Jewel’s 1 1/8-mile distance, including a neck victory Aug. 10 on the day he was claimed. He was third behind multiple stakes winner Tacticus and Grade 1 winner V.E. Day in the Temperence Hill Invitatitonal Sept. 12 at Belmont Park in the first start for his new connections.
           
On Nov. 1 at Laurel Park, Indycott was a gutsy, front-running winner of the Jewel Preview, chased for all of nine furlongs before prevailing by a head over Mr. Palmer, with Lieutentant Seany O another neck back. Both are also nominated to the Jewel.
           
“When we claimed him, we claimed him with the purpose to get him to the Claiming Crown. We thought he might be that kind of horse, but you never know until you actually have them,” Gargan said. “He ran a great race at Belmont. It was a tough race, like a Grade 3. When he came back and ran at Laurel, there was no speed in the race. He just showed a lot of heart and fought the whole way. That’s not really his running style, but because he had the inside post and with no speed, it ended up that way.”
           
Corey Lanerie, coming off two riding titles at Churchill Downs and another at Keeneland this fall, has the mount.
           
Classic Salsa was third in his most recent start, the Rapid Transit Preview at Laurel, where he stumbled out of the gate from post 4 and was rushed up to the lead along the rail before fading to third as the favorite.
           
Claimed July 25, he was second by a length to multiple stakes winner Loki’s Vengeance in an optional claiming allowance Sept. 25 at Belmont in his first start for Gargan. A bay son of Two Step Salsa, Classic Salsa has a second and two thirds in three tries at the Rapid Transit’s seven furlongs.
           
“He’s a speed horse. He stumbled at the start and that cost him any chance of winning. If he hadn’t stumbled, I think he would have won the race,” Gargan said. “He’s probably better going six furlongs, but he’s won going 6 ½. At Gulfstream, speed is so good he might be super good at that distance.”
           
Luis Saez, second in races and purses won during last year’s Championship Meet, has the call.
           
“Both races are coming up really tough, but I think Indycott is going to really like the distance. The mile and an eighth is perfect for him,” Gargan said. “Corey Lanerie has been riding like he’s on fire, and Luis Saez has always done well at Gulfstream.”
           
Walder Hopes Claiming Crown is Beginning of Busy Meet at Gulfstream
           
After starting just 14 horses during Gulfstream Park West’s two-month Fall Turf Festival meet, trainer Peter Walder is looking forward to a busy December at Gulfstream Park.
           
It all starts on Saturday, opening day of the 2015-16 Championship Meet, when Walder will saddle four horses in three of the nine stakes that comprise the $1.1 million Claiming Crown program.
           
Walder is set to run Moonshine Promise in the one-mile, $110,000 Glass Slipper for females 3 and up, and Runs With Bulls and Toh’s Grey Cat in the $110,000 Iron Horse for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles, both on the main track. He will also send out recent purchase Yankee Dealer in the $125,000 Emerald, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
           
A gelded 6-year-old son of Yankee Gentleman, Yankee Dealer has been in the top three in 23 of 36 career starts with 13 wins, 10 of them in 20 tries on turf. He is five-for-nine this year including victories in the Black Tie Affair and Cicero handicaps in Illinois, the latter Oct. 24 in his last start before being purchased privately.
           
“He was presented to us last year, but it was too much money. He came back around to us this year and my owner called me up and said he’s a horse I think we should have,” Walder said. “I looked it up that night and saw he was eligible for the Claiming Crown. I flew to Chicago, vetted him out and bought him.
           
“He’s been training really, really good,” he said. “He’s a nice, old, classy, professional horse. From what I’ve seen out of him, if the race happens to come off the grass because of rain, I’ll run him because he seems to be working well over the track.”
           
Florida-bred Runs With Bulls has been first or second in his last five starts, three of them wins including two in a row, all at Thistledown. Based at Gulfstream with Walder, who is also a co-owner, Toh’s Grey Cat has been worse than third once in five races this year, winning a one-mile claimer June 21.
           
“He’s a beast. I can’t take credit for anything, really,” Walder said of Runs With Bulls, a 6-year-old son of Flashy Bull. “He’s a big, good-looking horse and he’s been training really good. He seems like a pretty honest horse and he’s eligible, so why not?
           
“Toh’s Grey Cat, he’s been working really good. We gave him a little break and sent him to the farm for a little bit, and he came back and worked three times,” he said. “He worked in a minute out of the gate the other day, which is good for him. He’s not a great work horse. He ran third in the race a couple years ago, so I just figured why not.”
           
Moonshine Promise is a 6-year-old mare that had also been running recently at Thistledown, and has a lifetime record of 13-12-7 from 51 starts. She ran second in both her recent starts at one mile, and has hit the board in nine of 11 tries at the distance.
           
“She’s another one that just seems to win, so we’ll take a shot,” Walder said.
           
Walder is also considering Sr. Quisqueyano for the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Dec. 12, War Story for the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby and possibly Unbridled Courage in the $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks, both on turf Dec. 19.
           
“I’m looking forward to a good December,” he said.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Churchill Downs and Kentucky HBPA Contribute Nearly $30,000 to Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance

Churchill Downs Racetrack and the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association presented a $28,410 check to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) between races Sunday - closing day Churchill Downs' 21-day Fall Meet.

A partnership agreement signed earlier this year called for Kentucky HBPA member owners to contribute $5 to the TAA for each of their horses that start in races at the historic Louisville racetrack, and Churchill Downs Racetrack would match each contribution.

The $28,410 donation will directly benefit the TAA, a non-profit organization that serves as both an accrediting body for facilities that care for Thoroughbreds at the conclusion of their racing careers and a fundraising engine to support aftercare facilities approved by the alliance.

"We hope this is just the first of many contributions to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance," Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said. "This collaborative fundraising effort has been extremely gratifying and we hope to continue build awareness and grow funding for the TAA, which does tremendous work to benefit the horse."

Participation in the ongoing partnership by Thoroughbred owners is voluntary. Owners who wish to opt-out of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance funding partnership can do so by contacting the Horseman's Bookkeepers at the tracks.

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, a Lexington, Ky.-based 501(c) (3) non-profit organization created in 2012, awarded more than $2.4 million in grants to 42 accredited agencies in 2014.

Based in Lexington, Ky., the TAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designed to serve as both an accrediting body for aftercare facilities that care for Thoroughbreds following the conclusion of their racing careers, and a fundraising body to support these approved facilities. Funded initially by seed money from Breeders' Cup, Ltd., The Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association, the TAA is comprised of and supported by owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, aftercare professionals and other industry groups. In 2013, TAA awarded $1,000,000 to 23 accredited organizations and gave out an additional $2,400,000 to 42 accredited organizations in 2014.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Trainer Mark Casse Explains Why Race-Day Lasix is Essential in America

Trainer Mark Casse
(Woodbine photo)
Trainer Mark Casse, a seven-time winner of Canada’s Sovereign Award as outstanding trainer who has also had great success in the United States, including two Breeders’ Cup wins this year, gave his opinion on Lasix in an interview by Karen M. Johnson published on Thoroughbred Racing Commentary.

Among the topics Casse addressed was the view of bettors when it comes to Lasix, saying, “I read so much about how our bettors don’t like Lasix, and that’s all baloney. The recent Daily Racing Form survey would agree with me. I know some of the biggest bettors in North America, and I’ve asked them, and they said, ‘No. We’re more concerned with the on and off Lasix, because if everybody is on Lasix, it’s a fair playing field.’”

Casse also added, “The day they come up with a better idea than Lasix, I’m fine with that. But first we have to have it.

“The other thing, to sit and listen to all this nonsense about how Lasix has made our horses not able to run much. There are no statistics that confirm that.”

To read the complete article, click here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Claiming Crown Attracts 309 Nominations

Scheduled to be hosted by Gulfstream Park for the fourth consecutive year, the $1.1 million Claiming Crown received 309 nominations for the nine-race event that will highlight the opening-day program for the 2015-2016 Championship Meet Dec. 5.

“We’re extremely pleased with the nominations and appreciate the participation from horsemen throughout the country,” said P.J. Campo, Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group and General Manager of Gulfstream Park. “We’re looking forward to another exciting Claiming Crown and another great Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park.”
           
Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who have won a record 14 Claiming Crown races, are represented by 12 nominees for this year’s event, while trainer Mike Maker, the all-time leader with 14 victories, nominated 21 horses, including eight owned by the Ramseys.
           
California-based trainer Jerry Hollendorfer nominated eight horses, while Todd Pletcher, the 12-time defending training champ for Gulfstream’s Championship Meet, is represented by four nominations. Both trainers nominated two horses for the $200,000 Jewel, the centerpiece of the event created in 1999 to honor the blue-collar horses that are the foundation of the racing industry nationwide.
           
The Jewel, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up that have raced for a claiming price of $35,000 or lower, attracted 32 nominations, including the Pletcher-trained African Fighter and Village Warrior, Hollendorfer-trained Perfect Set and Prime Issue, and the Maker-trained Flashlight, Lieutenant Seany O and Private Tale.
           
Rudy Rodriguez-trained Royal Posse, who won the Evan Shipman Stakes at Saratoga in September and finished no worse than second in four starts since being claimed for $20,000, is on the list of prominent Jewel nominees, including Danny Gargan-trained Indycott, who captured the ‘Win & You’re In’ Jewel starter stakes at Laurel Park Nov. 1.
           
The $125,000 Emerald, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up that started for a claiming price of $25,000 or lower, proved to be the most popular, attracting 55 nominations, including six trained by Maker. Roman Approval, a graded-stakes placed winner of the ‘Win & You’re In’ Emerald starter stakes at Laurel, and Quiet Force, a Grade 3 stakes winner, top the Maker contingent.
           
The $125,000 Tiara, a 1 1/16-mile turf event for fillies and mares that raced for a claiming tag of $25,000 or lower, received 35 nominations, including the Hollendorfer-trained trio of Bottle Blonde, French Alps and Mon Petite. The Ramseys’ Maker-trained St. Borealis, who scored by 1 ¾ lengths in last year’s Tiara, has been nominated to defend her title.
           
St. Borealis is one of four 2014 Claiming Crown winners nominated to make title defenses Dec. 5.
           
Stanley Gold-trained Grande Shores, who captured the $110,000 Rapid Transit by three-quarters of a length last year, is among 42 nominees for the seven-furlong sprint for horses that started for a claiming price of $16,000 or lower. The Rapid Transit also attracted Ramon Preciado-trained Trouble Kid, who was disqualified from a victory in the $350,000 De Francis Dash at Laurel last weekend. He has finished first in all five races, including the Gallant Bob (G3), since being claimed for $12,500.
           
Jorge Navarro-trained Loverbil, who notched a victory by a neck last year in the $110,000 Express, is among 28 nominees for the six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up that started for a claiming tag of $7,500 or lower.
           
Duane Swingley-trained Buster Rose, a half-length winner last year, is among 41 nominees for the $110,000 Canterbury, a five-furlong turf dash for 3-year-olds and up that started for a claiming price of $25,000 or lower.
           
The $110,000 Glass Slipper, a mile event for fillies and mares that raced for a claiming price of $12,500 or lower, received 28 nominations. The $110,000 Iron Horse, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up that raced for a claiming price of $7,500 or lower, attracted 23 nominations. The first running of the $110,000 Distaff Dash, a five-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares that raced in for a claiming tag of $25,000 or lower, received 25 nominations.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

OwnerView Creates Award for New Owners

OwnerView today announced the New Owner of the Year Award, which will honor a new Thoroughbred owner who has been successful in the sport and has had a positive impact on the industry. The award will be presented at the Thoroughbred Owner Conference at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., in January 2016.

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 2015, and have had a verifiable owner’s license in 2015.

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

“There are awards for owners who have been in the industry for a long time, but we wanted to recognize someone who is new to the sport and is making a difference in the industry,” said Gary Falter, vice president of operation for OwnerView. “The Thoroughbred Owner Conference, which is intended for new and long-time owners and will be held during the week leading up to the 45th Annual Eclipse Awards Dinner, is the perfect venue to honor such an individual.”

The deadline to nominate an owner for New Owner of the Year is December 7. To submit a nomination, please contact Gary Falter for a nomination form at (859) 224-2803 or gfalter@jockeyclub.com.

The Thoroughbred Owner Conference will be held January 11 through 14 and will feature two days of conference presentations, a welcome reception at Gulfstream Park’s paddock, a gala dinner at Turnberry Isle Resort, a day of racing, and multiple opportunities to network with panelists and industry personnel.

Jim Rome, a prominent Thoroughbred owner and the host of “The Jim Rome Show” on CBS Sports Radio and “Jim Rome On Showtime,” will deliver the keynote address.

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.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

NHBPA CEO Eric Hamelback Responds to Charles Hayward's Commentary on Medication Policies

Charles Hayward, president and publisher of the website Thoroughbred Racing Commentary, wrote a piece published today entitled "This patchwork system of medication polices will be U.S. racing's downfall," which can be viewed here.

Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA, would like to address several items in the column. The following is Hamelback's response:

I appreciate the intent of the article that Mr. Hayward has put forth. I would, however, like to address a few points that I believe he fails to address.

Mr. Hayward clearly states that horsemen’s groups are comprised of only trainers and gives no credence to the fact that the National HBPA for instance has a weighted licensed membership comprised of 70% owners. Not to mention that the TOC in California is the Thoroughbred Owners Association and it is a completely separate entity from the California Trainers Association (CTA). Mr. Hayward then points to two politically charged state scenarios involving a complete shutdown of racing, one in Pennsylvania and one in Texas. The implication made by Mr. Hayward is that these two situations would have been avoided under the proposed Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act. These two very specific circumstances, revolving around a shortfall of funds to support racing, would not be addressed by HR 3084, as it is intended to be laid out as a MEDICATION piece of legislation. To the contrary, the bill is an unfunded mandate, which would require jurisdictions to lay out money for drug testing outlined by USADA, an organization which has no stake in the industry and with no incentive to keep costs under control, likely spawning additional crises like those seen in PA and TX.

In contrast to the allegation made recently by Jim Gagliano in a Q&A within The Blood-Horse, where he referred to those who oppose the HR 3084 as “misinformed,” it seems as if it is actually the bill’s supporters such as Mr. Hayward who may be “misinformed.” I take great offense to that label. The inference here is that “if USADA” were in charge the financial woes in these two jurisdictions would be resolved or better yet, not even an issue. Really? A simple read through of HR 3084 very clearly conveys that the “intention” of the bill (as one attorney for the coalition stated to me) is to only govern those issues dealing with medication. So then, Mr. Hayward, how at all would these two issues relate towards the allowing of a private organization such as USADA to be in control? In fact, I, as an informed participant in opposition to HR 3084, can clearly see that the funding mechanism as outlined in the bill (completely established by a weighted board of directors) that will allow USADA to be in control will likely cause true “shortfalls” within racing jurisdictions.

The article then references two issues that have arisen with two high profile trainers. What Mr. Hayward fails to mention to his reading audience, but those of us that are informed picked up on, is that both of these instances would have occurred exactly the same way under the proposed legislation. Why, you ask? Because the Motion case deals with a protocol and threshold established by the RMTC, and the Mott case deals with questioning an overage of Lasix given by a third party. Both of these issues that Mr. Hayward brings up are rules held within the ARCI model medication rules. HR 3084 would not have changed the outcome, and in fact, HR 3084 would initially implement the same set of rules which permit these types of problems to occur. Perhaps if our legislators looked more carefully into the reasons why national uniformity has not been adopted, they would pause before charging full steam ahead into forcing federal legislation into place.

It is misinformed articles such as this that mislead our public into perceptions which simply do not reflect reality. While often not conveyed clearly enough, I will tell you that there is not one horsemen’s group out there today that does not stand up for and want to achieve national uniformity. Additionally, we want strict enforcement of testing procedures, harsh penalties for cheaters, and zero tolerance on performance enhancing drugs. We have worked and will continue to work with the ARCI and the RMTC to ensure uniformity is achieved through research and applications that can be properly established with owners and trainers best interest in mind. While I feel that I could go on, hoping to educate further, I will close with your implication of the situation dealing with Mr. Gorajec in Indiana. Mr. Hayward, if you or others believe that any horsemen’s group would have the financial means to politically affect the termination of a state official, I would say respectfully sir, you are misinformed.  Horsemen’s groups are fighting for the rights of horsemen and horsewomen throughout the country and are leaders in the health and welfare treatment of our beloved athletes, the horse. We do this feverishly for the love and preservation of our industry, and I will make sure that message reaches the public. #WheresThePositive