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Friday, December 8, 2017

How You Can Help the Horses and Horsemen Affected by the California Wildfires

In times of need, horsemen have always reached out to help their fellow horsemen. This is one of those times, as you have probably seen the devastation caused by the wildfires in California, and in particular what transpired at the San Luis Rey Training Center where many horses were saved through the heroic efforts of horsemen and others who risked their lives to help. Sadly, approximately 25 horses are known to have perished, and many others are injured or displaced. Now is the time for horsemen to pitch in and help those affected.

The most critical need right now is money, rather than donations of tack, feed, bedding, etc. Donated money can be used to buy those needed supplies more efficiently and faster than trying to ship supplies to those affected. So, the National HBPA is asking all horsemen to please consider making a monetary donation to a GoFundMe account set up by The Stronach Group, Santa Anita Park and Del Mar. Any amount helps, and 100% of the donations will go directly to those affected by the Lilac Fire.

“The National HBPA stands with all the horsemen impacted by these fires, and we salute everyone who has offered to help,” said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA. “The horses and horsemen in California need our help now and in the coming weeks, so please give what you can to support them.

“The National HBPA Foundation will also be stepping up to help, and horsemen can donate to that as well,” Hamelback added.

To make a donation to the GoFundMe account, go to, or to donate to the National HBPA Foundation, go to

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Maker holds strong pair for Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream Park

Having dominated the event like no trainer in its history, Mike Maker can add to his record 15 career Claiming Crown victories when he sends out both Capital Letters and Flashy Jewel in Saturday’s $200,000 Jewel at Gulfstream Park.

The 1 1/8-mile Jewel for 3-year-olds and up that have started for a claiming price of $35,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2016 is the richest of nine stakes on the 11-race $1.11 million Claiming Crown Day program that kicks off Gulfstream’s 2017-18 Championship Meet. First race post is noon.

This marks the sixth straight year in South Florida and 19th overall for the Claiming Crown, created in 1999 to honor the blue-collar horses that are the foundation of the racing industry nationwide. Total handle for the Claiming Crown has surpassed $10 million each of the past three years, topped by a record $11.1 million in 2016.

Also on the Claiming Crown program are the $125,000 Emerald at 1 1/16 miles and $110,000 Canterbury at five furlongs, both on turf; the $110,000 Iron Horse at 1 1/16 miles, and the $110,000 Rapid Transit and $110,000 Express at seven and six furlongs, respectively, all for 3-year-olds and up.

Fillies and mares 3 and older take center stage in the $125,000 Tiara at 1 1/16 miles and $110,000 Distaff Dash at five furlongs, each contested on the grass, and the $110,000 Glass Slipper at one mile on the main track. First race post time Saturday is noon.

Other highlights of Gulfstream’s 89-day Championship Meet include the $600,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe program Dec. 9, the first time the event has been held in North America since its 1966 inception; second running of the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the world’s richest horse race, Jan. 27; 67th renewal of the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) for 3-year-olds, Gulfstream’s signature race, March 31; and the 47th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, being hosted in Sport of Kings Theater for the sixth straight year Jan. 25.

Maker, 48, won his first Jewel with the prophetically named Miami Sunrise at Ellis Park in 2007, repeating in 2010 and 2012, the latter part of a four-win day with primary clients Ken & Sarah Ramsey in the Claiming Crown’s Gulfstream debut. Like Maker, the Ramseys own a record 15 Claiming Crown wins.

Douglas Nachman’s Capital Letters has won two of three starts since being claimed by Maker for $30,000 out of a third-place finish July 21 at Ellis Park. He was a gutsy neck winner in the first start for his new connections Sept. 22 at Churchill Downs then came back to run ninth – beaten less than four lengths – in his turf debut Oct. 19 at Keeneland.

Last time out, the 5-year-old Afleet Alex gelding rolled by 3 ¼ lengths in an off-the-turf optional claiming allowance going 1 1/16 miles Nov. 16 at Churchill, prompting Maker to keep Capital Letters on dirt for the Jewel.

“His last race was spectacular and we’re expecting another big effort from him,” Maker said. “When we claimed him, he was bred for the turf but he wasn’t running terrible on the dirt. We kind of caught some soft going at Keeneland though he didn’t run a bad race. We felt we’d hold off on the experiment until after the Claiming Crown. He’s a very versatile horse, which is a nice asset to have.”

Michael Hui’s Flashy Jewel ran second in the seven-furlong Rapid Transit during last year’s Claiming Crown for previous trainer Eddie Kenneally. Maker claimed the 5-year-old Flashy Bull gelding for $80,000 this summer at Saratoga, and he was seventh in the Lukas Classic (G3) Sept. 30 at Churchill Downs in the lone start for his new connections.

Flashy Jewel ran four times during last winter’s Championship Meet, winning the 1 1/16-mile Old Hickory Feb. 20, finishing third by 3 ¼ lengths in the March 25 Skip Away (G3) and second to Grade 1 winner Greenpointcrusader in an optional claiming allowance Jan. 27.
“The horse is doing well. Though it’s going to be a very competitive field he’ll get a bit of a class relief. The biggest concern there is the distance and whether he can get the mile and an eighth,” Maker said. “We know he likes the track and he’s faced some tough customers in his previous races so hopefully the class relief will carry him a little bit further.”

Corey Lanerie has the call on Capital Letters from Post 7 in the field of 13, while Tyler Gaffalione is named onFlashy Jewel from Post 12.

Trainer Jorge Navarro will counter Maker with two contenders of his own, Chunnel and Flowers for Lisa, who together have won 13 of 74 career starts. Final Turn Racing Stable’s Chunnel, a 6-year-old son of champion grass horse English Channel, takes a three-race win streak into the Jewel, the most recent a 6 ¼-length romp over optional claiming allowance foes going one mile Oct. 14 at Parx.

Overall Chunnel has won four of eight starts for Navarro since being claimed for $16,000 in February. Third in each of his three career tries at Gulfstream, he will be ridden by Nik Juarez from Post 1. He shares the 124-pound topweight with Canadian-based Gigantic Breeze, winner of the Presque Isle Downs Masters in his most recent start Sept. 14, but who has never raced on dirt.

Flying P Stable’s Flowers for Lisa, bred by the Ramseys, was taken for $20,000 out of a runner-up finish July 21 at Navarro’s summer base of Monmouth Park. The Flower Alley gelding has been worse than third once in seven lifetime tries at Gulfstream, including three wins, but will be trying 1 1/8 miles for the first time. Paco Lopez rides from Post 13.

Diamond Bachelor returns to the dirt for just the third time in 10 starts since finishing second by a half-length to repeat winner Royal Posse in last year’s Jewel. The 6-year-old War Front gelding is winless in nine starts this year, seven of them in stakes, three of them graded. Last out he was fifth behind such Jewel contenders as Dreaming of Gold and Indian Guide in the Bull and Whistle Handicap Oct. 1 at Gulfstream.

Grade 1-placed Dream Saturday will making his first start since being claimed for $20,000 out of a seven-furlong victory Sept. 29 for Mike Anderson and trainer Peter Walder’s Aventura Stable. Third in the 2015 Carter (G1), the Any Given Saturday gelding has placed in four stakes through his 25-race career, running third in the Trinniberg and Perfect Season Stakes at Gulfstream this summer and fall.

Dream Saturday has tuned up for the Jewel with three works at Gulfstream since mid-November, including back-to-back five-furlong bullets in 59.78 seconds Nov. 18 and an eye-catching 58.37 Nov. 25, the fastest of 34 horses.

“Since I’ve had him he’s been great. I gave him a little bit of time with this race in mind,” Walder said. “I think horses tout themselves and his last few works have been great. He continues to do well. I know it’s a bit of a stretch looking at his PPs whether he can go the distance or not, but he’s got the back class and sometimes those horses – when you get them mentally right – they’ll run for you.”

Gladys Martinez’s Clubman has won four of his last five starts for trainer Jonathan Maldonado, the exception coming when he came from next-to-last in a field of 11 to run fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Maryland Million Classic Oct. 21 at Laurel Park. He bounced back with a two-length triumph in an open six-furlong entry-level allowance Nov. 6.

“He’s ready to run,” Maldonado said. “He worked very impressive the other day, going five-eighths in a minute flat. He’s doing really, really good. We’re looking forward to the race.”

Completing the field are stakes winners Dreaming of Gold and Turco Bravo; multiple stakes-placed Indian Guide; Fearless Dragon and Jay’s Way.

(from Gulfstream Park news release)

Gianna’s Dream Looks to Conquer Gulfstream in $125,000 Claiming Crown Tiara

Well-traveled Gianna’s Dream, whose 17-race career has taken her to 10 tracks in eight states, is set to make her Gulfstream Park debut attempting to extend her recent win streak in Saturday’s $125,000 Claiming Crown Tiara on Opening Day of the 2017-18 Championship Meet.

The Tiara, contested at 1 1/16 miles on the grass, is among nine stakes worth $1.11 million in purses on the 11-race Claiming Crown Day program and one of three for fillies and mares 3 and older, along with the $110,000 Glass Slipper at one mile on the main track and the $110,000 Distaff Dash, a five-furlong turf sprint.

This marks the sixth straight year in South Florida and 19th overall for the Claiming Crown, created in 1999 to honor the blue-collar horses that are the foundation of the racing industry nationwide. Total handle for the Claiming Crown has surpassed $10 million each of the past three years, topped by a record $11.1 million in 2016.

First race post time Saturday is noon.

Jordan Wycoff’s Gianna’s Dream, a 4-year-old Oklahoma-bred daughter of Twirling Candy, enters the Tiara off back-to-back stakes victories at Remington Park, where she has earned four of her nine career victories.

Each of her last four wins have come at the Tiara’s 1 1/16 miles, including an optional claiming allowance triumph July 15 at Laurel Park and the Oklahoma Classics Distaff Turf Stakes last fall at Remington. In her only other try at the distance, she was third in the Winter Memories Stakes last November at Aqueduct.

Trainer Mike Maker claimed Gianna’s Dream for $25,000 last summer at Saratoga, wheeling her back nine days later for the first of six wins from 10 starts for her new connections, four of them in stakes. She also finished third by 1 ¼ lengths in the 1 1/8-mile Violet (G3) Aug. 19 at Monmouth Park.

“She’s been in good form so we’re looking forward to the race,” Maker said. “She’s been keeping some good company and Gulfstream should fit her well. She’s run well wherever she’s gone and we aren’t expecting anything different on Saturday. She’s a very laid-back, classy filly that takes it all in stride. Nothing seems to bother her.”

Maker-trained stablemate Peru, bred in England and owned by Ken & Sarah Ramsey, is also entered to make her second start since being claimed out of a neck victory going seven furlongs July 16 at Belmont Park. In two starts since, she came from dead last to finish fourth by less than two lengths in a one-mile allowance Oct. 27 at Keeneland, and came up a nose short following a slow start in a one-mile claiming event Nov. 17 at Churchill Downs.

The Ramseys and Maker each hold the record in their respective categories with 15 career Claiming Crown victories.

“We claimed her over the summer with the Claiming Crown in mind,” Maker said. “The distance won’t be an issue at all for her. She was super unlucky to lose her last race, but she’s doing well and she’s ready to go.”

Tyler Gaffalione rides Gianna’s Dream from outside Post 12, while Julien Leparoux is named on Peru from Post 5.

Based in Canada with trainer and co-owner Kevin Attard, Starship Jubilee returns to Gulfstream where she owns six wins from 11 career starts and kicked off a five-race win streak over the winter that included the one-mile Nassau (G2) and 1 ¼-mile Dance Smartly (G2) at Woodbine. The 4-year-old Florida-bred Indy Wind filly hasn’t raced since finishing third by less than two lengths in the Canadian (G2) Sept. 16.

Starship Jubilee will carry topweight of 124 pounds including jockey Jose Lezcano from Post 9.

Martini Glass, owned by Vince Campanella and trainer Keith Nations, has been first or second in seven of eight races this year including runner-up finishes behind Songbird in the Delaware Handicap (G1) and Romantic Vision in the Spinster (G1), both on dirt. She has raced twice on the grass this year, winning a 1 1/16-mile starter in April at Tampa Bay Downs and running sixth in the All Along Stakes Sept. 16 at Laurel Park.

Stirrup Trouble’s Temple Fur is the lone horse returning from last year’s Tiara, where the 4-year-old daughter of  Temple City ran eighth by 3 ¾ lengths. All five of her career wins have come at Gulfstream, where she won the 1 1/16-mile Mary Todd in February.

Also entered are multiple stakes winner Dynatail, stakes-placed Quebec; Arthemisa, Flattermefabulous, Judy’s Chance, Valedictorian and Vendita.

Mended Seeks 10th Straight Victory in $110,000 Glass Slipper

Troy and Maritza Onorato’s Mended, riding a nine-race win streak, ships in from Golden Gate Fields for the $110,000 Glass Slipper in what will be the 4-year-old Broken Vow filly’s first career start outside of California.

Regular rider Ricardo Gonzalez will be making the cross-country trip to remain aboard Mended, undefeated since being claimed for $12,500 by trainer John Martin out of a fourth-place finish Jan. 6 at Golden Gate – the only blemish on her 2017 record.

During her streak Mended has won by a combined 36 ¼ lengths, racing on dirt, turf and synthetics. Her two victories came in optional claiming allowances going a mile July 27 at Del Mar and a mile and 70 yards Sept. 23 during the Oak Tree at Pleasanton meet.

Tormenta de Oro and Moonshine Promise, the past two winners of the Glass Slipper, are set to meet in the one-mile race for fillies and mares 3 and up which have started for a claiming price of $12,500 or less since Jan. 1, 2016.

Owned and trained by Patrick Marcondes, Tormenta de Oro is winless since last year’s Glass Slipper, where the Benny the Bull mare rated just off the lead before forging a short advantage late and emerging by a neck in a three-way photo finish. In her most recent start, she was no factor running sixth behind Glass Slipper rivals Ventina and Amaluna.

Loooch Racing Stables’ Moonshine Promise is a hard-knocking 8-year-old Will He Shine mare with 21 wins from 74 lifetime starts including the 2015 Glass Slipper, a race where she dueled for the lead before pulling away to score by five lengths – one of three wins from five career tries at Gulfstream.

Moonshine Promise put together a four-race win streak this spring and summer at Tampa Bay Downs and Thistledown, where she has made each of her last six starts, the most recent coming Oct. 24. She is reunited with trainer Peter Walder after finishing eighth in last year’s Glass Slipper for trainer Anthony Rini, beaten 2 ¼ lengths.

“It’s two years later so I don’t know if she’s the same horse, but she’s been training good,” Walder said. “I sent her to the farm for a little bit. I know she’s happy to be back in the barn.”

Roger Moore’s Amaluna was third by two necks in last year’s Glass Slipper, a half-length ahead of New Life Stable’s Arella Princess, who also returns Saturday. Amaluna has won two of her last three starts for trainer Aubrey Maragh, while Arella Princess will be making her debut since being claimed by trainer Gerald Procino for $6,250 out of an Oct. 28 win at Gulfstream Park West.

Babie Monster, Battle Tale, Delusional K K, Falina’s Song, Northern Screamer, Star Eighty and Sugar Cube and Untrue round out the field.

Nicks Trio Takes Aim at $110,000 Distaff Dash

Ralph Nicks-trained stablemates Eila, Mojo’s Queen and Shakakan are among a competitive field of 13 set to line up in the $110,000 Distaff Dash for females 3 and up that have run for a tag of $25,000 or less.

Eila, also owned by Nicks, was fourth by 2 ½ lengths in last year’s Distaff Dash. She spent the spring and summer racing in Maryland and New York without success but returns to Gulfstream since an optional claiming allowance win April 13 – one of five victories and two seconds from eight career tries over the local turf.

Hallmarc Racing’s Mojo’s Queen won her lone start at Gulfstream, a five-furlong maiden claiming turf sprint last December. Nicks also had her up north in the spring and summer but she returned to run third in a five-furlong optional claiming allowance Nov. 3 on the Gulfstream Park West turf.

Bell Racing’s Shakakan will be making just her third start of 2017 and first since a front-running neck victory Aug. 12 at Gulfstream in an optional claiming allowance going five furlongs. She beat older horses in a similar spot at Gulfstream Park West last October in her first try back on the grass since breaking her maiden in July 2016 at Gulfstream.

Six other horses enter the Distaff Dash off last-out victories – Blue Bahia, Imnaha, In Mid Heir, Island Reward, My Sister Caro and My Sweet Dove. Rounding out the field are 2017 Xtra Heat Stakes winner Ring Knocker; Kasuga, second by a head in the Royal North (G3) July 29 at Woodbine; Heart Astray, who has finished in the top three in seven of eight starts this year; and World Gone Wright.

(from Gulfstream Park news release)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Clay Whitham to Deliver National HBPA Convention Keynote Speech in New Orleans

Clay Whitham
When Eric Hamelback, the National HBPA’s chief executive officer, sought a keynote speaker for the organization’s 2018 convention in New Orleans, he wanted someone to follow in the steps of other recent headliners who offered inspiration mixed with constructive insight on how to improve the sport.

So he asked Clay Whitham.

Whitham co-manages with his mother, Janis, the racing and breeding operation the family’s Whitham Thoroughbreds. The Whithams keep about 10 broodmares and a similar amount of horses in training. Clay Whitham also is president of Frontier Bank in Lamar, Colo.

Sponsored by the Louisiana division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, the National HBPA Convention will be March 13-17 at New Orleans’ Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel in the French Quarter. Details on registration and agenda will be available soon at

“We want the HBPA convention to provide food for thought, different perspectives and well thought-out suggestions and strategies on how to better our industry,” said National HBPA president Leroy Gessmann. “We do not turn a blind eye to our problems, and we welcome constructive criticism. But it is in all of our best interest to celebrate everything that makes horse racing and its amazing equine athletes and human participants so special.

“With that, I am honored Mr. Clay Whitham has agreed to be our 2018 convention keynote speaker. Clay brings not only insight from managing a small but highly successful breeding and racing operation but as a skilled businessman as well. Following Kentucky Downs’ Corey Johnsen, Oaklawn Park’s Eric Jackson and Tampa Bay Downs’ Stella Thayer, we feel Clay fits the pattern of our previous speakers. He will be able to express positive inspiration and correlate that with a rock-solid business perspective. I can’t wait to hear his observations as to what racing is doing right, and how we can improve.”

“We really enjoy being part of the Thoroughbred industry,” Whitham said. “Speaking at the National HBPA Convention seems like an opportunity to give something back, to share. We certainly support what Eric and the National HBPA are doing."

Janis Whitham and her late husband, Frank, started in the Thoroughbred industry more than 40 years ago after growing up on farms and being involved with Quarter Horses. Their breakthrough came when Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally acquired the Argentine mare Bayakoa on the Whithams’ behalf. She became the first two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (1989-’90), then worth $1 million and which at the time twice required the Whithams to put up a $200,000 supplemental-entry fee to make her eligible to race for the $450,000 first-place purse. The Breeders’ Cup rules for supplements and making Southern Hemisphere horses eligible for the program subsequently changed.

“My father was a conservative fiscal person,” Clay Whitham said. “He just had that much confidence in the horse. He thought she was much the best and wanted to make sure that the horse and trainer Ron McAnally got the chance to prove what they could do.”

If Bayakoa’s foals were not all that memorable on the racetrack, her daughters produced the likes of the Ian Wilkes-trained Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned, now a stallion at Adena Springs; Grade 1 winner and millionaire Affluent; graded stakes-winner Walkabout, and the stakes-placed Izarra and Moonport. Affluent produced the Whithams’ 2017 Grade 3 Iowa Derby runner-up McCormick.

The Whitham broodmare band mostly traces to three mares bought by Frank and Janis: Bayakoa, Listen Well (from whom graded stakes-winners Listening, Beautiful Noise and Linda descend) and Tuesday Evening (whose descendants include graded stakes-winners Green Sun, Madame Pandit, Mea Domina, Fiscally Speaking and most recently the well-regarded McCraken).

The Whithams breed to race, but they also sell some yearlings each year. Among the horses tracing to Listen Well is her great granddaughter La Coronel, winner of Keeneland’s Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup for owner John Oxley.

“Part of the challenge for everybody in this industry is to figure out how your operation is going to work and what is sustainable,” said Clay Whitham, whose three brothers and sisters also are involved in the stable to varying degrees. “I am a banker. I work every day with customers who are trying to make their businesses work. From a business standpoint, you’ve got to break even before you can make money. In the horse business, people approach it from different perspectives as far as their expectations. We do want our program to be sustainable, to come as close as it can to paying its way.

“But as a horse owner, it isn’t all financial. You better enjoy what you’re doing, because that’s part of what you’re getting out of it. As a smaller owner, we say, ‘Bring on Juddmonte Farms.’ We enjoy the competitive side of it.”

Said Hamelback: “Clay and the Whitham family embody the best of our sport. They have stuck with their established bloodlines and successfully produced good and sound horses. They have a proven program and one that ensures each horse will be given every opportunity to become great. The payoff for that perseverance and steadfast belief, along with their love of the sport, can easily be seen in Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned, a horse I know very well and one I have tremendous hopes for as a stallion for the future. From their perseverance you also see multiple Grade 1 winner Affluent, descendants of their great champion Bayakoa, as well as most recently the stakes horses McCraken and McCormick.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Claiming Crown Attracts 294 Nominations for Championship Meet Opener at Gulfstream

Four defending champions are among 294 nominations to the 19th running of the $1.11 million Claiming Crown set for Saturday, Dec. 2, opening day of Gulfstream Park’s 2017-2018 Championship Meet.

This year marks the sixth consecutive year Gulfstream Park will serve as host to the nine-race Claiming Crown, created in 1999 by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to reward and pay tribute to horses and horsemen that provide the foundation for day-to-day racing programs at racetracks throughout the country.

“We’re thrilled to be kicking off our Championship Meet once again with the Claiming Crown,” said Gulfstream’s General Manager Bill Badgett. “We’re happy with the increase in nominations and grateful for the support from horsemen throughout North America. Our partnership with the National and Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Associations and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association continues to grow, as does interest in the race from the betting public. We’re looking forward to the kickoff of our Championship Meet with the Claiming Crown.”

Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker, who hold their respective records with 15 Claiming Crown wins apiece, are well-represented in 2017 with 29 total nominations. The Ramseys have seven nominees, all trained by Maker, who also has 22 nominations for other owners.

Total handle for the Claiming Crown has topped $10 million each of the past three years topped by a record $11.1 million in 2016, when the event attracted a total of 281 nominations.

“The National HBPA once again looks forward to the Claiming Crown being held at Gulfstream Park with our partners from TOBA. This event continues to gain momentum as a premier day in Thoroughbred racing,” said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA. “We are pleased with the increase number of nominations, and the overwhelming success we have seen from entries in qualifying races. Special thanks again to the Florida HBPA, all of the racing management at Gulfstream Park, the great team at TOBA and to horsemen from all around, for having an even stronger commitment to the Claiming Crown in 2017.”

“We are very appreciative of the support from the participating owners and trainers with the increase in nominations,” said Dan Metzger, president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. “The Claiming Crown's position on the racing calendar has been solidified as a ‘can't miss’ event by horsemen from across the country and with the expected large and competitive fields, this year's races promise to deliver an exciting day of racing for our entire sport.”

The richest event on the Claiming Crown program is the $200,000 Jewel at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and up which have started for a claiming price of $35,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2016. Among the 27 nominees are three from Maker – Capital Letters, 2016 Rapid Transit runner-up Flashy Jewel and Futile – along with Diamond Bachelor and multiple stakes winner John Jones, who ran 2-3 behind Royal Posse last year, and Gigantic Breeze, twice Grade 3-placed at Woodbine this summer.

Two-time Grade 2 winner Starship Jubilee, Delaware Handicap (G1) and Spinster (G1) runner-up Martini Glass, multiple stakes winners Dynatail and Gianna’s Dream and Grade 3-placed Cuddle Alert are among 29 nominees to the $125,000 Tiara at 1 1/16 miles on turf for fillies and mares and up which have run for a tag of $25,000 or less.

Most popular among horsemen with 52 nominations is the $125,000 Emerald for 3-year-olds and up that have started for $25,000 or less going 1 1/16 miles on turf. Cammack and Laythatpistoldown, separated by a nose when fourth and fifth, respectively, in a five-way photo finish during last year’s race, are nominated, as are Gigantic Breeze, John Jones and stakes winners Black Tide, D’craziness, Special Ops, Spring Up, Swagger Jagger and Threeohtwocassie.

Grade 3 winner Doctor J Dub; Bull Dozer, a winner of 21 of 79 career starts and $632,663 in purse earnings; stakes winners Bass River Road and Helloitsme; and Proper Freud and Express Bet, second and third, respectively, in last year’s race, are among 37 nominees to the $110,000 Express at six furlongs.

Nominated to defend their 2016 victories are Super Spender in the $110,000 Canterbury at five furlongs on turf, Tormenta de Oro in the $110,000 Glass Slipper at one mile, Chepstow in the $110,000 Iron Horse at 1 1/16 miles and Shaft of Light in the $110,000 Rapid Transit at seven furlongs.

New to the Claiming Crown program last year, the $110,000 Distaff Dash at five furlongs on turf for fillies and mares 3 and up that have run for $25,000 or less returns with 23 nominations led by My Sister Caro, Lady Coventry and Eila, who ran second, third and fourth, respectively, in 2016.

Nomination lists and past performances are available at

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Don't Miss the November 5 Claiming Crown Nomination Deadline

The $1.1 million Claiming Crown is set for December 2, 2017, at Gulfstream Park, and the nomination deadline is fast approaching!

The deadline for regular nominations for the nine Claiming Crown races is November 5. Regular nominations are just $100, compared to the supplemental nominations due November 29 that range from $2,500 to $5,000 depending on the race. So it pays to nominate early!

For more information about eligibility requirements, nominations, field selection, purses and to download a nomination form, go to the new Claiming Crown website at

You can also download the Claiming Crown brochure that includes all the information you need to know.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Polo Trainer Charlie Caldwell Wins "America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred" Title

Charlie Caldwell and Old Tavern (GRC Photo)
Charlie Caldwell entered the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, on a whim.

He was already retraining Thoroughbreds off the track for polo, and his friend and fellow polo player Clare Pinney convinced him to enter. After winning the initial round of the Polo division on Thursday, the 17-year-old unexpectedly found himself in the position of competing his mare Old Tavern in the Finale for the title of America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred and a share of $100,000 in prize money.

To prepare, Caldwell talked to Tommy Wayman, the legendary horseman and polo player with whom Caldwell and "Taberna" trained all summer in Big Horn, WY.

"He said to just speed her up, speed everything up, that’s what the judges are looking for now," Caldwell said. "So I just did everything I did on Thursday, just a little quicker."

It must have worked, because not only did he win the division, one of the judges offered to buy his horse.

The top five riders in the initial round returned for the Finale, first demonstrating their horses' skills -- rollbacks, quick turns, lead changes, and lateral movements -- and then picking up a mallet and making some shots.

The judges chose Caldwell over Buck Schott, last year's winner, who finished second, third and fourth. (He was catch riding his father Trey's two months, since the elder Schott sustained an injury and couldn't compete.)

Then it was up to the spectators -- both those in the arena and those watching the livestream at home -- who were asked to vote by text message and choose among the winners of each of the 10 disciplines for the America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred title.

Caldwell's fellow finalists were up against a teenager in a texting competition. They never stood a chance.

He earned 27 percent of the overall vote and $15,500 in prize money, thanks to a big in-person cheering section and putting out word on Facebook.

"I have a lot of polo friends who know a lot of people," he said with a smile. "So thank you to all those people!"

Caldwell, of Coldwater, TN, purchased Taberna from her breeder, Larry Curtis of Middleburg, VA, in November. The mare is just 3 years old; she trained to race, but never had an official start. She's by Peak Dancer and out of Modest Madame (by King Cugat).

"I’ve never ridden a Thorougbred with as good a mind as her. She’s incredibly patient and calm about everything," he said. In fact, the mare has already started playing in games, which most green polo ponies don't do until their 4- or 5-year-old year.

Caldwell has only been playing polo for four years, switching over from the sport of polocrosse.

The soft-spoken teenager was measured in his responses, but his big grin told the story. "I’m very happy. Very pleased with the results," he said with a smile.

Caldwell also beat his identical twin brother, Harry, who finished ninth. "i think he kicked everyone’s butt pretty good," Harry said of his brother, adding that they'll have to have a rematch at next year's competition. The brothers are extremely competitive, but also love to play on a team together, he said.

This year's Makeover saw about 300 off-track Thoroughbreds compete in 10 different divisions.

Full results for all divisions are available here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Interactive, Electronic Edition of The Horsemen’s Journal Fall 2017 Issue is Now Available

The interactive, electronic version of The Horsemen’s Journal’s Fall 2017 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:

One of racing’s most passionate and vocal advocates for commonsense medication policies will be sorely missed

Some reactions to the Murray Rojas verdict and the NHBPA’s legal support are off-base

The Charles Town naproxen experience and why it matters to all racing jurisdictions

Celebrating the greatest of them all: Man o' War

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.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

TOBA Honors Top Owners and Breeders at 32nd Annual National Awards

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association's 32ndAnnual National Awards Dinner was held at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday, September 9. Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence were named TOBA's National Owner of the Year, and WinStar Farm was named the National Breeder of the Year. Robert Manfuso was named National Small Breeder of the Year and Leslie's Lady, dam of Beholder, was honored with the National Broodmare of the Year title.

The National Awards Dinner, hosted by Jill Byrne of Breeders' Cup Limited, also honored the achievements of Thoroughbred owners in the four major North American racing regions and breeders in 23 states and Canada.

Royal Posse, who won the 2016 Claiming Crown Jewel Stakes, was honored with Claiming
Crown Horse of the Year, presented by the National HBPA.

The Rood & Riddle Sport Horse of the Year went to Zine Dine, owned by Hailey Rogge. This award was presented to the owner of the ex-Thoroughbred that has accumulated the most points in competition, as tracked by the United States Equestrian Federation.

In addition, the Heubeck family received the Robert N. Clay Award. 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.

The State Breeders of the Year toured Claiborne Farm and were honored at an awards luncheon at Dudley's on Friday, September 8.
A complete list of winners is as follows:

Regional Owners of the Year:
Eastern Region: Juddmonte Farms
Midwestern Region: John Oxley
Southern Region: Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence
Western Region: Spendthrift Farm

State Breeders of the Year:
Arkansas: McDowell Farm
California: Heinz Steinmann
Canada: David and Adrian Munro
Florida: Gilbert Campbell
Illinois: Barney and Anne Gallagher
Indiana: Michael E. & Penny S. Lauer
Iowa: H. Allen Poindexter
Kansas: Rocking G Horse & Cattle
Kentucky: WinStar Farm
Louisiana: Irwin Olian
Maryland: Robert Manfuso
Massachusetts: Kenneth Posco
Michigan: Lisa Campbell
Minnesota: Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick
New Jersey: Daniel Lopez
New York: Chester & Mary Broman
North Carolina: Nancy Shuford
Ohio: Tim Hamm
Oregon: Neil Knapp
South Carolina: Franklin G. Smith Sr.
Texas: Craig Upham
Virginia: William M. Backer
Washington: Jean and Jeff Harris

National Broodmare of the Year:
Leslie's Lady

Claiming Crown Horse of the Year:
Royal Posse

Rood & Riddle Thoroughbred Sport Horse of the Year:
Zine Dine

Robert N. Clay Award:
The Heubeck Family

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Remembering One of Our Own ... Horseman Kent Stirling Passes Away

Kent Stirling (Photo by Denis Blake)
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kent Stirling, who left us on Wednesday, September the 6th. Kent Stirling has long been known as a passionate and tireless advocate for the rights of horsemen throughout the racing industry. The most arduous debates and challenges facing horsemen the past three decades have been over the use of therapeutic medication, and no one has carried the water more for thoughtful discussion and reasonable policy in the best interest of horses than our own Kent Stirling. The racing industry has not only lost one of its biggest fans, but has also lost one of its most vocal advocates.

A trainer for 20 years, highlighted by having multiple Grade 1 winner Nijinsky’s Secret, Stirling was the former president of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association when he became the FHBPA’s first executive director in 1995, a post he held for another 20 years. Along with Dr. Thomas Tobin of the University Of Kentucky Gluck Equine Center, perhaps no one has invested more sweat equity over the decades into understanding and championing the causes of horsemen and horses involving the complicated issues of equine medication than Kent.

Dr. Tobin stated, “In the area of medication regulation, Kent expertly navigated through the enormous increases in drug testing sensitivity in the last 25 years to aid in developing new protocol standards. His leadership helped guide the introduction of regulatory thresholds for therapeutic medications, now used worldwide.”  

Representing the National HBPA and horsemen everywhere, he worked tirelessly toward regulatory uniformity that was in the best interest of horses and the industry. In what was no small feat in a state such as Florida, which does not have a racing commission, he helped direct that state’s passage of uniform medication standards, years in the making, when signed by Gov. Rick Scott in 2015.

For decades, Stirling has worked selflessly for horsemen.

“Kent was a mentor to me and many others, and to know him was to know his heart," said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA, "He was driven by the racing industry and by efforts to put horses and horsemen first. Kent’s tireless efforts promoting racing and advocating for horsemen will likely never be matched and will forever be missed.”

Leroy Gessmann, president of the National HBPA, added, “Kent has been a fixture for this organization for decades, and he will be missed by so many.  His hard work for horses and horsemen may never be matched, but for certain, Kent’s legacy through his accomplishments will be felt by all, for many years to come.”

The National HBPA Office will have further details of arrangements as they are made available.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

How You Can Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

Groups within the veterinary and equine communities are coordinating a major relief effort—consisting of both monetary and supply donations—to aid horses and their caretakers in Texas and Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic flooding.

Monetary Donations
Financial donations are preferred because of the difficulty in getting supplies from outside of the region to affected horses. The AAEP Foundation Equine Disaster Relief FundNational HBPA Foundation, and USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund are all accepting support that will be distributed among credible programs and organizations helping with recovery and rebuilding efforts. Additionally, please consider giving directly to PATH International, as several of their therapeutic riding facilities sustained extreme flooding damage.

Supply Donations
A supply drive is also being coordinated in Lexington, Ky., through a partnership of local equine groups. Click here to see a current list of needed supplies requested by first responders. Supply donations will be accepted at the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) office inside the Kentucky Horse Park:
4033 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, KY 40511

Donation hours are Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Labor Day hours are 7:30 a.m. to noon. Call the AAEP office if directions are needed. After hours donations may be arranged by contacting Keith Kleine at or (859)-327-8750.

The first supply truck will leave bound for a property in Katy, Texas sheltering displaced horses. The AAEP Foundation is working closely with first responders on the ground to determine the most urgent needs and locations for future shipments. The Foundation is grateful for both the support and patience of the community as we work diligently to determine the ever-changing needs of affected areas.

For more information about how to help horses and their caretakers, visit the AAEP Foundation’s Harvey relief page, social media outlets for supporting organizations, and search #HarveyHorseHelp on Twitter.

Supporting Organizations
American Association of Equine Practitioners & Foundation
American Horse Council
American Quarter Horse Association
Breeders’ Cup Limited
Brook Ledge Horse Transportation
Creech Horse Transportation
Equine Land Conservation Resource
Equine Medical Associates, PSC
Hagyard Equine Medical Institute & Pharmacy
Horse Country
KBC International
Keeneland Association
Kentucky Equine Humane Center
Kentucky Horse Council
Kentucky Quarter Horse Association & Youth Association
Kentucky Thoroughbred Association
Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders
Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center
National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association
Park Equine Hospital
PATH International
Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital & Pharmacy
The Jockey Club
Thoroughbred Charities of America
Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
United States Equestrian Federation
United States Hunter Jumper Association

Friday, August 18, 2017

OwnerView Accepting Nominations for “New Owner of the Year” Award

OwnerView has announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2017 New Owner of the Year award, presented by Fasig-Tipton, which will honor a new Thoroughbred owner who has been successful in the sport and has had a positive impact on the industry.

The deadline for nominations is September 15, 2017. The award will be presented at the Thoroughbred Owner Conference in Del Mar, scheduled to be held October 30 through November 1 during the week leading up to the 34th running of the Breeders’ Cup Championships.

Nominees for the New Owner of the Year award must have owned Thoroughbreds for less than four years, have an interest in a horse at the time it won a stakes race in the past 12 months, and have a verifiable owner’s license in 2017.

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

Sol Kumin and LNJ Foxwoods were awarded the 2015 and 2016 New Owner of the Year awards.

“The annual Thoroughbred Owner Conference celebrates Thoroughbred ownership so it is the perfect venue to present such an award,” said Gary Falter, project manager for OwnerView.

To submit a nomination, please contact Gary Falter for a nomination form at (859) 224-2803 or

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

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.

Formed in 1898, Fasig-Tipton is North America’s oldest Thoroughbred auction house.  With headquarters in Lexington, Ky., the company conducts 14 sales annually in Lexington; Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Hallandale Beach, Fla.; and Timonium, Md.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Big Kick Wins Claiming Crown Preview Race at Indiana Grand

Big Kick (photo by Linscott Photography)
For the first time in the history of the track, Indiana Grand, in cooperation with the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), have teamed up to offer a special bid to the Claiming Crown. A special race was held as part of the Wednesday, Aug. 16 racing program with the winner automatically getting a free nomination and shipping allowance to participate in the Claiming Crown Iron Horse during the event at Gulfstream Park on December 2.

A field reduced to five due to four scratches started the one mile and one-sixteenth race on the dirt with Lamu and Manny Cruz busting out along the inside post for the early lead. The duo maintained that spot through a majority of the two-turn race, feeling the presence of Far Out Kailee and Richard Bracho on the outside for most of the way.

In the final turn, Wild About You and Fernando De La Cruz slipped out three wide as Big Kick was still on the rail looking for an opportunity to get out and get on the move. That opportunity arrived coming out of the turn and the 8-year-old Tiznow gelding split horses to grab the lead. The field was still tightly bunched into the stretch, and everyone had the opportunity to overtake Big Kick, but he was strong to the finish line, winning by two and one-half lengths over Wild About You for second. Race favorite Far Out Kailee finished third.

Owned by Maggi Moss of Iowa, Big Kick earned his 13th career trip to the winner’s circle. The well-bred gelding has made 47 career starts and with the win in the $25,000 prep for the Claiming Crown, his earnings are now in excess of $385,000. He came to Trainer Tom Amoss’ barn via a claim last year at Indiana Grand and has found a permanent home.

“He has been a very good starter horse since we claimed him,” said Amoss. “He’s one of the family now. Maggi (Moss) has already told me that when he’s ready to retire, there is already a home for him.”

As far as his future, Amoss said that Big Kick might be a possibility to be included in the $110,000 Iron Horse at the Claiming Crown in December at Gulfstream Park.

“If he won today, we talked and it is definitely under consideration,” added Amoss, a five-time leading trainer at Indiana Grand. “I’m encouraged that Indiana Grand offered $1,000 toward travel expenses to go, so it’s a possibility.”

Amoss added that they may have found the key to Big Kick.

“He’s an old pro,” said Amoss. “The secret to his success for us is that he loves peppermints. Every evening when I walk the barn, I feed him peppermints and he’s repaid us by winning.”

Big Kick has now won over eight different tracks under nine different jockeys. It is the second consecutive win for Mena on Big Kick. It also marked seventh win for the partnership of Amoss and Moss since being claimed in May 2016.

Bred in Ontario by Adena Springs, Big Kick won the 2014 San Juan Capistrano Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita going 1 3/4 miles on the turf.

The addition of the Claiming Crown Iron Horse Stakes “win and you’re in” came to fruition earlier this year. Kevin Greely, director of racing, and Joe Davis, president of the Indiana HBPA talked about the possibility of bringing a connection to the event to Indiana.

“We formed a partnership with the horsemen and decided to offer this race,” said Greely. “It turned out to be a nice quality race for us. Joe (Davis) and I talked and we spoke to TOBA and the National HBPA about adding it. We selected a category that we felt we had horses in the region ($8,000 starter going long) that would fit well in here.”

In addition to $1,000 toward travel expenses for Big Kick courtesy of Indiana Grand and the Indiana HBPA, they will also cover the $100 nomination fee.

The Claiming Crown, held in association with TOBA and the National HBPA, formed in 1999 at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. It was designed to showcase the “blue collar” type horses in eight different races contested on both turf and dirt surfaces at different distances. The “Crown” has moved to different tracks throughout the years. Gulfstream Park will host the event through 2018. All eight races include purses in excess of $100,000.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sunday’s Round Table Conference to be available via Live Stream

The Jockey Club will provide a live video stream for Sunday’s 65th Annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on The two-hour conference begins at 10 a.m. EDT.

In addition to the live stream on The Jockey Club’s website, the event can be viewed on TVG2 and Updates from the conference will be tweeted from @jockeyclub using #tjcroundtable.

A video replay of the Round Table Conference will be available later Sunday afternoon, and an official transcript of the proceedings will be available on The Jockey Club website by Tuesday, August 15.

The agenda, with links to speaker biographies, is available on

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

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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Is There a Hero Residing in Your Barn?

Horsemen are reminded that the August 1 deadline to submit nominations for the 2017 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards is almost here. This year, there will be a total of six awards which will carry total prize money of $128,000, an increase of $13,000 over last year.

Godolphin, the global racing stable founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the principal sponsor of the awards in association with The Jockey Club, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association (TOBA). Godolphin also sponsors the equivalent Stud and Stable Staff Awards in Ireland, Australia, Britain and France.

The Keeneland Association has graciously offered to host the awards again this year which will take place on Friday, October 13th.

A new award category has been added, “The Newcomer Award,” which will recognize an individual who has been working in any area of Thoroughbred racing and/or breeding for less than five years as of May 8th, 2017. In addition to the prize money for this award, the winner will also receive a five-day educational tour to Dubai with flights and accommodation included.

Dan Pride, COO of Godolphin in America, said, “On behalf of Godolphin, we would like to thank everyone that made the first year of the TIEAs a huge success, including the nominators. The involvement of the HBPA, Jockey Club and TOBA, as well as media support from the TDN, BloodHorse, the Daily Racing Form and TVG, was instrumental in bringing these awards to fruition. The first group of nominees was so impressive across the board and we fully expect to see that again this year. It’s extremely heartwarming that the hardworking men and women in our industry receive the recognition that they truly deserve.”

For more information and to nominate online, please go to You’ll also be able to watch the video of the 2016 ceremony, view frequently asked questions and download the nomination form.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Additional Visas for Temporary Workers Provided Until End of Current Fiscal Year

U.S. businesses in danger of suffering irreparable harm due to a lack of available temporary nonagricultural workers will be able to hire up to 15,000 additional temporary nonagricultural workers under the H-2B program under a final rule that the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor submitted to the Federal Register today. To qualify for the additional visas, petitioners must attest, under penalty of perjury, that their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm if it cannot employ H-2B nonimmigrant workers during fiscal year (FY) 2017.

After consulting with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly determined there are not enough qualified and willing U.S. workers available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses in FY 2017.

"Congress gave me the opportunity to provide temporary relief to American businesses in danger of suffering irreparable harm due to a lack of available temporary workers," said DHS Secretary John Kelly. "As a demonstration of the Administration’s commitment to supporting American businesses, DHS is providing this one-time increase to the congressionally set annual cap."

The H-2B Temporary Nonagricultural Worker program was designed to serve U.S. businesses unable to find a sufficient number of qualified U.S. workers to perform nonagricultural work of a temporary nature. Congress set the annual H-2B cap at 66,000. A maximum of 33,000 H-2B visas are available during the first half of the fiscal year, and the remainder, including any unused H-2B visas, is available starting April 1 through September 30. On March 13, 2017, USCIS received sufficient H-2B petitions to meet the full FY 2017 statutory cap of 66,000. In May, Congress delegated its authority to the Secretary to increase the number of temporary nonagricultural work visas available to U.S. employers through September 30. The Secretary took the intervening time to consult with the Secretary of Labor on the issue and to properly develop this rule in accordance with Congressional requirements.

Starting this week, eligible petitioners for H-2B visas can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and must submit a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA with their petition. A new tip line to report general H-2B abuse and employer violations has also been established.

Details on eligibility and filing requirements will be available in the final rule and on a new webpage to be published when the final rule is posted for public inspection. This page will also include information on how individuals can report abuse in the program.

If members of the public have information that a participating employer may be abusing this program, DHS invites them to submit information to

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit or follow on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook(/uscis), and Instagram (@USCIS).

Monday, July 10, 2017

Calling Horse Racing’s Heroes: 2017 White Horse Awards Deadline Approaching

A hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. There are heroes all around the horse racing industry, and the Race Track Chaplaincy of America (RTCA) wants to recognize these selfless servants. RTCA is currently seeking nominees for its 15th Annual White Horse Award (WHA).  

These awards are presented annually at Race Track Chaplaincy of America’s White Horse Awards program to individuals who have done something heroic or have gone up and beyond on behalf of human or horse. It is a way to recognize those unsung heroes of horse racing, whether their actions are headline-grabbing, or the quiet and not-so-obvious kind of heroism.

This year’s White Horse Awards program will take place on Thursday, November 2, at Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, California, just prior to the beginning of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships being held at the same track. In addition to the White Horse award hero recognition, two other awards will be presented:

Tribute to Excellence Award- Individual who has consistently demonstrated professional excellence and leadership in the horse racing industry;
Community Service Award- Individual who has made significant contributions to the welfare of racetrack chaplaincy ministries.

To submit a nomination for either the White Horse, Tribute to Excellence, or Community Service Awards, visit for a complete list of rules and selection criteria, as well as downloadable nomination forms. The deadline for submission is September 8, 2017. For more information, please contact the RTCA National Service Center at (859) 410-7822.


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 were Bob Hubbard Horse Transportation & KC Horse Transport, two competitors who put aside their business interests to save many horses from oncoming wild fires.

More about the Race Track Chaplaincy of America - The overall mission of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America (RTCA), through its Councils and Chaplains, is to minister 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, please click here, or “Follow” us on Facebook.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Jeff Fager of CBS News to Deliver Keynote Address at Fourth Thoroughbred Owner Conference

Jeff Fager, the award-winning executive producer of “60 Minutes” and a Thoroughbred owner, will deliver the keynote address when OwnerView and BloodHorse host the fourth Thoroughbred Owner Conference in Del Mar, Calif., this fall.

The event will be held at the Hilton San Diego / Del Mar from October 30 – November 1, the week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Breeders’ Cup Ltd. is the presenting sponsor for the conference.

As in years past, the Thoroughbred Owner Conference is designed to educate, inform, and entertain new, prospective, and current Thoroughbred owners through a series of panels and social events.

With Fager at the helm over the past 14 years, “60 Minutes” has maintained its status as the most watched news program in America. Fager also served as the first chairman of CBS News from 2011 – 2014, when he reorganized the news division’s platforms on television, radio and the Internet.

He was the recipient of the 2012 Paul White Award, which recognizes an individual’s lifetime contributions to electronic journalism, from the Radio Television Digital News Association.

This fall, Simon and Schuster will publish Fager’s book Fifty Years of 60 Minutes: The Inside Story of Television’s Most Influential News Broadcast and Owner Conference attendances will receive an autographed copy of it.

Fager became interested in horse racing through his father, Dr. Charles Fager, a Boston-based neurosurgeon.

In 1965, Dr. Fager was credited with saving the life of trainer John Nerud. Nerud then honored the doctor by bestowing his name upon a racehorse.

Dr. Fager the Thoroughbred went on to become the only horse to ever win four different championship awards in the same year, earning Horse of the Year, Champion Older Horse, Champion Turf Horse, and Champion Sprinter in 1968. That year, he set a world record for a mile in the Washington Park Handicap, covering the distance in 1:32.20.

Dr. Charles Fager passed away at the age of 90 on April 8, 2014, and John Nerud died at the age of 102 on August 13, 2015.

Currently, Fager owns and co-owns Thoroughbred racehorses in New York and Ireland. He has campaigned the stakes runners Miss Melinda and Final Chapter.

“Beyond his extraordinary achievement in the field of television news, Jeff and his family have a long and interesting connection to Thoroughbred racing,” said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club.  “We are looking forward to hearing about that history and about his experiences as an enthusiastic Thoroughbred owner and fan.”

Attendees at the owner conference will enjoy three days of conference presentations, a dinner at the Hilton San Diego / Del Mar, multiple opportunities to network with panelists and industry personnel, and the option to attend the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday and Saturday.

Conference details, including the complete schedule of events, registration forms, host hotel information, and other tourism tips are available at

Registrations are available for the full conference and a social-events-only registration is available to spouses or partners of attendees. Both types of registration include Breeders’ Cup tickets.

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.

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 website was launched in May 2012.

Additional information about OwnerView is available at or by contacting Gary Falter at or (859) 224-2803.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Interactive, Electronic Edition of The Horsemen’s Journal Summer 2017 Issue is Now Available

The interactive, electronic version of The Horsemen’s Journal’s Summer 2017 issue is now available online. It is an enhanced version of our Summer issue, which is currently being mailed. To view it, click here.

Features in the issue include:

Silver Charm is one of several Triple Crown race winners enjoying the good life in retirement

A closer look at the concept and what it means for the safety of horses and riders

Remote monitoring devices are set to have a big impact on the horse industry

Noninvasive Chinese therapy uses acupuncture points to ease pain, promote well-being

A primer and a plan for change for horsemen

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.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Images, Presentations and Videos from the Pan Am Conference and IFAR now Available

Images, presentations and videos from the Pan American Conference and the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) are available online.

To view the Pan Am materials, visit and click the Resources tab.

To view the IFAR materials, visit and click Resources tab and then click the link to the presentations.

The IFAR conference, held May 18 and 19, 2017, coincided with the Pan Am Conference, which was held May 17 – 20 in Washington, D.C., and concluded with a trip to the 142nd Preakness Stakes. IFAR is an independent forum that recognizes geographical and industry differences among racing countries and is designed to enhance Thoroughbred aftercare worldwide.

The Pan Am Conference, hosted by The Jockey Club and the Latin American Racing Channel, was a mix of business and social events, including the Preakness Stakes Celebration presented by the Stronach Group and the Gala Dinner of the Pan American Conference presented by Longines, featuring the Longines Ladies Awards, for a global audience surrounding the Thoroughbred industry. The event was attended by more than 400 representatives from 25 countries.