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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kentucky Downs Officials and Horsemen Excited About Claiming Crown Preps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Tracks to Hold Automatic Qualifying Races for 2016 Claiming Crown

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 11, 2016

Eddie Olczyk to Deliver Keynote Address at Thoroughbred Owner Conference III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 8, 2016

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Coady Photography Announces Amateur Photo Contest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

#KyDerbyKids Twitter Initiative Expands into 2-Year-Olds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among the highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

New England HBPA Files Lawsuit to Protect Horsemen’s Rights

(from New England HBPA press release)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brockton Stall Applications

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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

The seventh Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, scheduled for Tuesday, June 28, will be streamed live at grayson-jockeyclub.org/WelfareSafety/default.asp?section=50. (A link to the live stream will be available at jockeyclub.com.)

The summit, underwritten and organized by The Jockey Club and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, is being hosted by Keeneland Association in the Keeneland sales pavilion in Lexington, Ky.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thoroughbred Charities of America Announces Five New Board Members

Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) announced today the appointment of Bob Beck, Terry Finley, Leslie Howard, Dr. J. David Richardson, and Jaime Roth to its Board of Directors.

“We are very pleased that Bob, Terry, Leslie, David and Jaime have joined the TCA board,” said Mike McMahon president elect of TCA. “I look forward to working with each of them as we work to grow TCA. Erin Crady [TCA Executive Director] and I have been working hard to set several initiatives in place for an active board.”

Beck is an attorney in the Lexington office of Stites & Harbison, PLLC. He is a transactional lawyer and practices in the areas of corporate law and mergers and acquisitions with particular emphasis on equine transactions. From 2008 until December of 2015, Bob served as Chairman of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. In addition to Thoroughbred Charities of America, he has served on other boards including the American College of Equine Attorneys, the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation and the Vanderbilt Law School Board of Advisors.

Finley is the President of West Point Thoroughbreds, Inc. a horse racing partnership management company he founded in 1991. He has served on numerous industry boards of directors including the Breeders' Cup (2004-2011), the NTRA Horse PAC and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (2005-2011). Finley currently serves on the boards of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and the Catholic Leadership Institute. He continues to offer his time, talent and treasure to various veterans’ causes including serving on the board of the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund.

Howard obtained a degree in Accounting from the University of Kentucky and practiced as a Certified Public Accountant with Dean Dorton & Ford for six years before venturing into the private sector in 2005, accepting the position of Chief Financial Officer at Stonestreet Farm. Lesley is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Kentucky Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Manager’s Club, Thoroughbred Club of America, Gunns Chapel United Methodist Church and serves on the board of the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center. She also serves as a Racing Commissioner for the State of Kentucky.

Richardson is a surgeon in Louisville, Kentucky who has been involved in the horse business for his entire adult life. He is chief of surgery at the University of Louisville Hospital and vice chair of the Department of Surgery. He is a former chair of the American Board of Surgery and is a Regent of the American College of Surgeons. Richardson is a member of The Jockey Club and has served as president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. He is the chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

Roth is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and holds a degree in Journalism as well as a Masters in Sports Business from New York University. In 2012, Jaime and her parents Larry and Nanci Roth started LNJ Foxwood Stables. In only four years the family owned stable is in full swing and has emerged as a competitive racing outfit in the U.S. and abroad.

The five newly elected board members join current board members Shannon Arvin, Braxton Lynch, Bob Manfuso, Nathan McCauley, Mike McMahon, Herb Moelis, Graham Motion, Dr. Jim Orsini, Dr. Scott Palmer, Dan Rosenberg, Bo Smith, and Ned Toffey.

TCA’s mission is to provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers, by supporting qualified repurposing and retirement organizations and by helping the people who care for them. TCA distributes grants to several categories of Thoroughbred-related nonprofits including rehabilitation, retraining, rehoming and retirement organizations; backstretch and farm employee programs; equine-assisted therapy programs; and research organizations.  Since its inception in 1990, TCA has granted over $21 million to more than 200 charities that successfully meet the criteria set forth in its annual grant application. From 2000-2015, more than 95% of TCA’s expenditures were allocated to program services including direct grants. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

Innovators' Circle Now Accepting Entries

Horse racing's premier pitch competition, Innovators’ Circle, is now accepting entrants at InnovateRacing.com.

Innovators’ Circle, inspired by the TV show Shark Tank, was created to bring new technology and business concepts to the horse racing industry.

The process of bringing innovation to a sport steeped in tradition is challenging; Innovators’ Circle creates an environment to overcome those obstacles.

The cash prize for this year's competition is guaranteed at $15,000. Finalists also receive space at the 2016 Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming, Dec. 5-7 in Tucson, Arizona, to showcase their product or idea to the racing industry.

Last year’s contest attracted more than 85 entries from five continents. Four finalists from the initial pool of applicants made their pitch to the judges at the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming. The winner received $15,000. Another earned $1,000 based on an audience vote. All received significant exposure and access to horse racing industry executives from around the globe.

The contest creators are committed to reaching out to both people within horse racing and those outside the industry. The website, InnovateRacing.com, provides background information and links to industry resources.

“The goal is to cast as wide a net as possible to bring in new ideas,” said Hai Ng, who, along with the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program produces the event.

“We know there are a lot of fresh ideas out there for horse racing,” said Doug Reed, director of the RTIP. “We want to help make sure those ideas get a chance to be heard.”

For more details about entering the contest, visit www.innovateracing.com.

Friday, June 10, 2016

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

The interactive, electronic version of The Horsemen's Journal's Summer 2016 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:

*SPEAKING FOR HORSEMEN ON CAPITOL HILL
An update on the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 from the National HBPA’s CEO

*XYLAZINE: REDISTRIBUTION OF REPUTATION
How a meeting in Baltimore still affects medication regulation years later

*COVERING YOUR ASSETS
How equine insurance works and whether it’s right for you

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

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

HBPA Provides Assistance to Horsemen Affected by EHV-1 Outbreak

Horse racing, by its very nature, is a game of chance, where the best horse may not always win due to a slow break from the gate or traffic on the turn. The sometimes unpredictable outcome of a race is part of what makes the sport popular. Handicappers and horsemen know almost anything can happen on the track, but outside of the race, unpredictable events can be devastating to owners and trainers of racehorses.

Such was the case with a tornado that hit the backside of Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma earlier this year and the restrictions at tracks in Iowa and Nebraska due to an outbreak of Equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) that originated in New Mexico. Luckily for horsemen in Oklahoma, Iowa and Nebraska, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and its state affiliates stood ready to assist those affected.

At Fonner Park in Nebraska and Prairie Meadows in Iowa, numerous horsemen were impacted by restrictions on horses shipping in and out of those facilities as a precaution to prevent the potential spread of EHV-1. While those restrictions worked well to protect horses at both tracks, some horsemen endured hardships. Both the Nebraska HBPA and Iowa HBPA, together with the National HBPA, provided financial assistance to member horsemen to help lessen the impact of these unexpected events. Similar assistance was provided to horsemen affected by the tornado in Oklahoma.

“We are very happy that Fonner Park and Prairie Meadows now have the ‘all clear’ and things are back to normal, but those were some tough weeks for horsemen,” said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA. “The motto of the HBPA has always been ‘Horsemen Helping Horsemen,’ and this was just another example of that and one of the benefits of HBPA membership. Even though horsemen compete against each other every day on the track, there is also a sense of family among horsemen around North America, and we are glad to be able to provide assistance to horsemen in times of need like this.”

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Registration Now Open for NHBPA Summer Convention in Vancouver

Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
The National HBPA’s Summer Convention will head north to picturesque British Columbia, Canada, for a gathering on July 13-17 in Vancouver at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre. Registration is now open at http://nationalhbpa.com/convention/

Hosted by the British Columbia HBPA, the event will include an extra day compared to most previous summer conventions. The extended agenda will allow for a variety of topics to be covered in the meetings and forums, and as always the convention will conclude with a full board meeting of the NHBPA Board of Directors.

Outside of the meetings, attendees will enjoy an afternoon at the races at Hastings Race Course and a unique dinner cruise.

Along with online registration, the NHBPA website also includes information about hotel rates, transportation and a detailed agenda. 

United States citizens are reminded that a valid passport is needed for travel to Canada.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Nebraska State Vet Releases Quarantine at Fonner Park

Nebraska State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes has released the quarantine issued for Fonner Park in Grand Island after three confirmed cases of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) were detected there last month.

“The horses at Fonner Parker were quarantined for 21 days where they were monitored closely.  During that time, no further cases were confirmed so the quarantine has been lifted,” said Dr. Hughes.  “We continue to ask horse owners and facility managers to take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease by remaining vigilant and following strict biosecurity measures.”

EHM is the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) and cases of the disease have been confirmed in several locations around the country this year.

The disease is spread through direct or indirect contact with infected horses, so Dr. Hughes encourages operators of horse shows and exhibitions to review their biosecurity plans and minimize the opportunity for horses to have direct or indirect contact with each other. Indirect contact includes the use of shared water and feed sources, as well as the use of shared equipment. In addition, Dr. Hughes said he recommends horse owners planning to travel to shows and exhibitions contact the venue prior to transporting their horses to inquire about entrance requirements for the event.

Biosecurity measures horse owners should take at their own operations include requiring individuals to wash their hands before and after contact with each horse, disinfecting boots and changing clothes that come into contact with horses other than their own.

“If possible, horse owners should avoid contact with other people’s horses, and isolate horses returning from shows or exhibitions for 3 to 4 weeks,” said Dr. Hughes. “Owners who will be co-mingling their horses also should consider contacting their veterinarian to discuss their horses’ current vaccination status and weigh the benefits of vaccination.”

EHM symptoms include: fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy and the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable.

EHV Restrictions Lifted at Prairie Meadows

With the May 10 lifting of preventative measures instituted to protect Iowa horses from the outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus elsewhere, the Iowa HBPA applauds the cooperation between the horsemen, Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino and regulatory officials.

The Iowa division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association appreciates the inconveniences and trying 21 days owners, trainers and their employees faced while about 130 horses were in isolation, the payoff being that not a single positive was called at Prairie Meadows. With everyone working together, an EHV-1/EHM threat that originated in other states was nipped at the bud by quick and decisive action before a threat could possibly morph into a devastating problem for horsemen and racetrack alike.

“The Iowa HBPA says ‘thank you!’ to all our members and their employees during these last couple of weeks during the restrictions for working with us,” said Leroy Gessmann, president of the Iowa HBPA and the National HBPA. “And also ‘thank you!’ to Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, the state veterinarians and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

“Some have criticized the response as knee jerk or an overreaction. But the overall response by horsemen was an understanding that this action was necessary to prevent a potentially crippling outbreak from occurring here. All officials worked with the HBPA as we tried to balance horsemen’s needs to continue to train, work, break horses from the gates with the importance of having protocols in place to keep non-exposed horses from being contaminated by potentially exposed horses.”

The airborne EVI-1 strain of Equine Herpes Virus is highly contagious and can cause different diseases in horses, the majority affecting the respiratory system. It can also develop into the neurological disease myeloencephalopathy, known as EHM. EVI-1 can be spread through contaminated water buckets, feed tubs, grooming tools, track, clothing and human touch, and as such requires rigid bio-security protocols.

When EVH-1/EHM became an issue at New Mexico’s Sunland Park in January, Iowa officials and the HBPA began discussions on how to handle the situation should a case present itself. The decision was made to be aggressive and proactive in order to prevent an outbreak here.

Those measures were put into effect April 18 when one horse was euthanized and two others tested positive for EHV-1/EHM at Nebraska’s Fonner Park after horses exposed to those index cases had shipped into Prairie Meadows. Among those pressing for such diligence were HBPA board members directly impacted by the aggressive measures.

While there was not a quarantine at Prairie Meadows, approximately 130 horses in five different barns were placed in isolation, their temperatures monitored daily and with separate training hours. Those horses could not be transported to another barn and no other horses were allowed in the barns. The measures were to end after 21 days if no horses tested positive or showed symptoms of equine herpes. Those 21 days are now up without incidence.

Prairie Meadows’ 2016 thoroughbred meet opened as scheduled on April 28.

“Everyone involved knew this was the appropriate course of action to be taken to ensure racing continued,” Gessmann said. “We are now no longer under any restrictions at Prairie Meadows. This is due to the combined efforts of all involved. We are tremendously thankful for everyone’s assistance, patience and understanding that while nothing about the restrictions was perfect regarding training, racing or simply coming in and out of your own barn, we have been successful in not having a single positive called at our track.

“To our members, we wish everyone the best of racing luck.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

AHC Announces Speakers for 2016 Issues Forum

The American Horse Council’s National Issues Forum on June 14, sponsored by Luitpold Animal Health, in Washington, DC will feature several Members of Congress in line with the theme of “Putting More Horsepower in Congress.” Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is confirmed as the leadoff speaker. Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, has also been invited.

“We would be very fortunate to have the chairmen of both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees address us,” said AHC president Jay Hickey. “The $102 billion equine industry is an important sector of the agriculture community, not only when horses are in their breeding life, but also when they move into their racing, showing, work, or recreation careers. The equine world is still regulated by the US Department of Agriculture in terms of disease control, import/export, interstate movement, and research. The Congressional agriculture committees are important to the horse industry.”

The Issues Forum will also feature a special panel, which will include representatives of the U.S. Equestrian Federation and The Jockey Club, to update the industry on their plans to require the microchipping of horses beginning in 2017. Speaking will be Mary Babick, Vice President of the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association, Summer Stoffel, who serves on the USEF Horse Recording & ID Task Force Committee, and Matt Iuliano, Executive Vice President and Executive Director of The Jockey Club. Each has been intimately involved in their organizations move to requiring microchipping. “This should be a real opportunity for attending organizations to learn first-hand about their plans, how they will affect their members, and how they might want to prepare for the new requirements,” said Hickey.

This year’s National Issues Forum will be held on Tuesday, June 14, during the AHC’s annual convention. The convention will run from June 12 to 15 at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC.

The AHC convention will also feature the inaugural meeting of executive directors of national equine organizations. Organized by Julie Broadway, the new president of the AHC, and David Foley, executive director of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, this meeting will allow the top staff of horse associations to join together to discuss internal, administrative-type issues that each may face in their day-to-day operations. Such issues might include membership retention, dealing with volunteers, and management. This meeting will feature two speakers from the American Society of Association Executives to talk about their peer group formation experience and benefits

The AHC annual meeting will also include the meetings of all the AHC’s committees. This year each committee will be asked to address how its members can get their organizations more involved in grassroots lobbying on legislation and regulations within their jurisdiction. In other words how AHC committees and horse organizations can “Put More Horsepower in Congress.”

Complete information on these Forums and the entire AHC annual meeting, including registration and hotel information, can be found on the AHC’s website, www.horsecouncil.org/ahc-events/ or by contacting the AHC.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards launched in USA

The Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards (TIEA) are launched by Godolphin in partnership with the National HBPA, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) and The Jockey Club. The awards are open to anyone working in horse racing and breeding across the USA in order to recognize and reward the dedicated, hard-working people who are the backbone of the industry and play an invaluable role in caring for our equine athletes.

Speaking ahead of the launch, John Ferguson, Chief Executive and Racing Manager for Godolphin, said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin are proud and honored to be able to launch the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards in America. We speak of our equine athletes at length but it is also important to ensure that those individuals who make up the fabric of the sport and work tirelessly behind the scenes get the merit they deserve. We look forward to watching this initiative become a significant event in the racing and breeding calendar this year and in the years to come.”

Trainers Kiaran McLaughlin and Bob Baffert, owners Maggi Moss and Sol Kumin, breeder and owner John Phillips, Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron and former jockey and broadcast racing analyst Donna Brothers, have all agreed to take on ambassadorial roles in support of the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards.

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

In addition to a commemorative trophy for the winners, three individual awards in each category will be distributed for first place ($10,000), second place ($2,500) and third place ($2,500) in the first four categories respectively, with a single first-place award given in the fifth. On top of this, farm and racing employees associated with each award recipient will receive monetary recognition. Total prize money for the five awards will be $115,000.

The nominating process for the awards will open on Monday, May 9th and close Monday, August 1st. Please visit www.godolphinusawards.com for more information and to nominate online beginning Monday, May 9th.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Trainers' Kids Share Kentucky Derby 142 on Twitter with @KyHBPA

Horse trainers’ kids might be the ultimate insiders in a Kentucky Derby camp, and they’ll be sharing their up-close-and-personal experiences, insights, hopes and even handicapping on @KyHBPA, the Twitter feed of Kentucky’s largest horsemen’s group, during Derby Week.

In a venture overseen by Hall of Fame turf journalist Jennie Rees and Bailey Romans, daughter of trainer Dale Romans, at least 14 sons and daughters of Kentucky Derby trainers will be tweeting on the @KyHBPA account and with the hashtag #KYDerbyKids. More are expected to be added in the next few days, including some owners’ children or grandchildren.

“It will bring a new eye to horse racing, a more behind-the-scene look at what goes on,” said Bailey Romans, whose dad has Keeneland’s Toyota Blue Grass winner Brody’s Cause in the world’s most famous race. “Everything is about the day of the race — the Kentucky Derby is the greatest two minutes in sports — but there’s more that goes into it than just those two minutes. This will give people an opportunity to see the work involved in making these horses champions.”

The Kentucky division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association is donating $100 to the charity of choice for all the #KyDerbyKids participants. More information on the Derby horsemen’s kids, their charity and the project will be posted on the Kentucky HBPA’s Facebook page.

The #KyDerbyKids venture is expected to expand in accordance with its participants’ suggestions. For instance, at the suggestion of Bailey Romans, there will be video features of kids interviewing their dads, surely asking questions no reporter would think or know to ask, and quite possibly getting answers no trainer would tell the media.

“This is a unique way to bring the passion of the Kentucky Derby and horse racing to teenagers and young adults, actually to people of all ages,” said Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky HBPA. “The Kentucky horsemen are proud to sponsor this terrific endeavor and showcase the amazing sons and daughters of our Derby horsemen. What better way than through social media.”

Other kids, friends or family connected to Kentucky Derby or Oaks horses are welcome to join in by tagging their tweets @KyHBPA and #KYDerbyKids.

#KyDerbyKids (trainer dad) horse(s)*
Ashley Amoss (Tom Amoss) Mo Tom
Hayley Amoss (Tom Amoss) Mo Tom
Keith Asmussen (Steve Asmussen) Gun Runner, Creator
Colby Casse (Mark Casse) Fellowship
Blake Cox (Brad Cox) Dazzling Gem
Bryson Cox (Brad Cox) Dazzling Gem
Bailey Desormeaux (Keith Desormeaux) Exaggerator
Erin McLaughlin (Kiaran McLaughlin) Mohaymen
Chance Moquett (Ron Moquett) Whitmore
Hannah Pletcher (Todd Pletcher) Destin, Outwork
Blayne Prochaska (Scott Blasi) Gun Runner, Creator
Bailey Romans (Dale Romans) Brody’s Cause, Cherry Wine
Wes Stewart (Dallas Stewart) Tom’s Ready
Tess Von Hemel (Donnie K. Von Hemel) Suddenbreakingnews
 *More expected
                                             
For more information, contact Jennie Rees at tracksidejennie@gmail.com

About the Kentucky HBPA: The Kentucky division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association is one of the country’s largest thoroughbred horsemen’s groups, representing more than 6,000 owners and trainers. As an affiliate of the National HBPA that represents 30,000 horsemen in the United States and Canada, the Kentucky HBPA’s responsibilities have greatly expanded as the racing industry has become more complex. In addition to its original general benevolence mission, the HBPA is the leading force for horsemen in negotiating contracts with tracks as well as the advancement of the sport through safety and integrity initiatives, promoting racing and assisting in the development of aftercare programs for retired racehorses.