Google Website Translator Gadget

Friday, October 2, 2015

Schedule Set for TCA Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium for Retired Racehorses

One month from now the Breeders’ Cup Festival begins in Lexington, Kentucky. The week of festivities begins with the TCA Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at the Kentucky Horse Park where $100,000 in prize money will be distributed to owners of 200 Thoroughbreds that have recently been trained in in 10 different riding sports. The event is sponsored by Thoroughbred Charities of America and organized by Retired Racehorse Project (RRP).

The weekend is a celebration of the talent and trainability of the off-track Thoroughbred and includes 10 seminars, 70 vendors, a marketplace of horses trained for the event, polo, show jumping, cattle work, dressage, barrel racing, eventing, competitive trail riding, show hunters, field hunters, and a freestyle event. A Sunday afternoon finale presents the top three scorers in each sport leading to the crowning of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred.

RRP today released the official schedule, including 40 seminar presenters and 25 judges. Highlights include:

*Retired Jockey Rosie Napravnik competing on Makers Mark Secretariat Center’s Dare Me in the eventing competition,

*Premiere showing of Bernie Traurig and’s A Tribute to the Thoroughbred Sport Horse, featuring vintage footage of great Thoroughbred show horses with commentary from Hall of Fame riders,

*Seminars on soundness and pre-purchase exams, health, selling, managing aftercare organizations, a trainers’ forum, how racehorses are trained, tips for horse shopping on racetrack backsides, selecting prospects, England’s program to promote off-track Thoroughbreds, and re-training Thoroughbreds for a living, with presentations by Stuart Brown, DVM, Michael Blowen, Eric Dierks, Louise Robson, Laine Ashker, Tik Maynard, Patricia Cooksey, Denny Emerson, and many more,

*Judging with commentary by Maggi Moss, Michael Dignelli, Graham Motion, Elisa Wallace, David Hopper, Bernie Traurig, and others,

*Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine Launch Party at Horse Park Visitors Center with Shades of Grass Band, and

*A special demonstration by Olympian Phillip Dutton on Icabad Crane, the winner of the 2014 Retired Racehorse Project America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest.

For more information, go to

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Florida Could “Decouple” Horse Racing, Breeding Right Out of Business

By Bill White, President, Florida Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association

Florida HBPA President Bill White
Governor Rick Scott has certainly been proactive when it comes to criss-crossing the globe in his efforts to relocate businesses and resulting jobs to Florida. But since millions of taxpayer dollars are spent annually to lure various corporations to the Sunshine State through agencies such as Enterprise Florida, it's hard to fathom why our elected officials are actually now entertaining the ill-advised notion of "decoupling" slot machines from horse racing--a lucrative industry that takes no public funds.

Indeed, Florida seems committed to doing anything and everything imaginable to compete with other states for business--except when it comes to horse racing.

Prior to 2005, the lure of other states' slot-fueled skyrocketing purses was quickly siphoning off Florida's leading stables, jockeys, owners, trainers and horses. Our balmy winter weather was no longer enough keep them--or wagering dollars they attracted--here during critical pre-Triple Crown training months. Those knowledgeable about horse racing's pari-mutuel economic cycle knew that something had to be done. So, with great resignation and plenty of trepidation, Florida's horse racing officials acquiesced to support slots, with the proviso that their proceeds would be used to lure good horses--inevitably generating business, jobs and economic prosperity.

When voters approved slot machines at sanctioned pari-mutuels to help us compete on the national horse racing scene--the mission was no different than that of Enterprise Florida's incentives.

It's been 10 years since the initial "deal" of Florida's slot referendum, the resulting revenues of which were earmarked to put Florida's horse racing industry on a level playing field with other states. By design, these funds spurred our breeding industry, creating jobs and increasing tax revenues in turn.

So just imagine our lawmakers' embarrassment once they realize--perhaps all too late--that by approving decoupling, they will have both inadvertently expanded gambling--almost overnight--as well as chased our horsemen right into the welcoming barns of more racing-friendly states.

For Florida, it's live horse racing, not stand-alone casinos, that creates million of dollars in yearly economic benefit through tourism, small businesses, jobs, taxes and a vibrant breeding industry the produces the same. Whether it's Thoroughbred racing in South Florida and Tampa, or Central Florida breeding and Ocala sales, racehorses in Florida are big business.

Recognizing this, Florida has traditionally gone to great lengths to provide additional economic and agriculture-based incentives to invest, buy, breed and sell racehorses here at home. Part of that includes ensuring that live racing days remain a mandatory part of the gambling equation with the economic incentive of revenue dollars from slots.

But to big casinos vying to rid themselves of Florida horse racing's tie to slot machines, live racing days are nothing but an inconvenient dent in their corporate bottom line. Hence the recent frenzy of private meetings and out-of-sight scurrying to cobble together a "decoupling" power grab insidiously disguised as "free enterprise."

Bandying cliches like "equal playing field" or "let the market decide," big casino executives are giddy, sensing imminent blood in a scheme they have carefully packaged to profit through Florida's inevitable loss when they finally convince legislators to decouple.

The bottom line: Our government should use gambling to create tax revenue and economic impact--not to pad the pockets of casino-only interests.

Over 10,000 Florida horse breeders, owners and trainers oppose "decoupling."

We urge Florida legislators to do the same.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

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

The interactive, electronic version of The Horsemen's Journal's Fall 2015 issue is now available online. It is an enhanced version of our Fall 2015 issue, which is currently being mailed. To view it, either click here or click on the flipping magazine icon above.
Features in the issue include:
  • MILE HIGH MEETING - The National HBPA elects Leroy Gessmann as president at its Summer Convention in Denver
  • WHERE IS THE POSITIVE? - The National HBPA and the racing industry should focus on the reasons to be optimistic
Much more than a PDF, the interactive electronic edition of The Horsemen's Journal includes the ability to save, print, email, or share content on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Please enjoy this exciting offering from the National HBPA and share it with anyone you think might enjoy it.

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

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Claiming Crown Horse of the Year to be Awarded at TOBA National Awards Dinner

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders announced today that a Claiming Crown Horse of the Year will be awarded at the 30th annual TOBA National Awards Dinner. This new award will be presented by the National Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association at the dinner on September 11 at Hill 'n' Dale Farms in Lexington, Ky.

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. The National HBPA's Industry Awards Committee reviewed the 2014 past performances of all horses that ran in the 2014 Claiming Crown and evaluated the victories of those who won the eight races in the December event at Gulfstream Park. The committee narrowed down three finalists, and ultimately selected St. Borealis as the inaugural Claiming Crown Horse of the Year. Owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey and bred in Kentucky by R-Cher Family Farm LLC, St. Borealis won three of her six starts and earned $96,152. Her three 2014 wins were under the Ramseys' ownership, and her most notable win was a 1 3/4-length victory in the Claiming Crown's $125,000 Tiara Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

"The $1.1 million Claiming Crown is an important event, not only to the National HBPA, but to our industry as a whole," said Eric Hamelback, chief executive officer of the National HBPA. "Claiming horses fill the vast majority of race cards at tracks everyday across North America, and the Claiming Crown was designed to showcase and reward those hard-working horses along with the owners and trainers who campaign them. We developed this award to further honor a deserving horse who exemplified excellence throughout the year culminating with the Claiming Crown."

"We are very proud to recognize the Claiming Crown Horse of the Year at the TOBA National Awards Dinner," said Dan Metzger, president of TOBA. "The dinner honors outstanding achievements in our sport and the Claiming Crown Horse of the Year award is very much deserved."

The dinner is sponsored by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, Stoll Keenon Ogden, Stronach Group and Adena Springs, H.E. “Tex” Sutton Forwarding Company, Jackson Family Wines (Official Wine Sponsor of the 2015 National Awards Dinner), Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Woodford Reserve, Zoetis, National HBPA, FLAIR Nasal Strips, NTRA Advantage, Daily Racing Form, The Horse and Blood-Horse.

Tickets for the National Awards Dinner may be purchased at

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bright Future for Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding in Iowa

Country music superstar Toby Keith is among those who are convinced that blue skies remain ahead for the Iowa Thoroughbred industry and for racing at Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino (PMRC).

“I have the ability to race my horses anywhere in the country but I send them to Iowa because the purses are lucrative, the racing is competitive, the racing surface is safe and always well-maintained, the facility is fan-friendly and modern, and the staff does a great job,” said Keith, the owner of Dream Walkin Farms, who won the $100,000 Saylorville Stakes with Ghost Locket during the prestigious Prairie Meadows Festival of Racing on June 26th.

Over the past few years, and with bi-partisan support in both houses of the state legislature and from Governor Terry Branstad, a longtime supporter of racing, the Thoroughbred industry has stabilized in Iowa and continues to support the state-wide agricultural network.  Favorable legislation passed in 2011 established a minimum of 67 live Thoroughbred racing dates at PMRC each year and a minimum 11% of PMRC’s gross gaming revenues for purses each year.

Since those issues were resolved, the Iowa Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which represents more than 1,200 Thoroughbred owners and trainers, and the management team of PMRC have moved forward in a spirit of cooperation with impressive results that bode well for the future:

In a single year- 2014 to 2015- the positive results include:
• Thoroughbred breeding in Iowa has increased 17%. This counters the national trend where foal crops have stayed flat.
• Combined on-track at PMRC and off-track wagering at PMRC increased 19%.
• Attendance on-track is up - year-to-date through June is above yearly projections 4.6%.
• Horsemen and women from out-of-state and around the country are coming to Iowa to participate in the Thoroughbred program and are contributing to the local and state economy.
• PMRC backside stall use is up 5% during its peak usage.
• Horses per each PMRC live race average 7.3 and remains stable, while other tracks in the region and across the country have difficulty filling races.

“The upswing we are experiencing is dramatic and every trend indicates that will continue,” said Leroy Gessmann, the president of the Iowa HBPA and a longtime owner and breeder in the state. “Although there were some tough issues we had to work through, the horsemen and track management have come together to ensure that the Thoroughbred industry not only survives, but thrives, in this state that has a long and proud history with horse racing.”

Gary Palmer, president and CEO of PMRC, said, “We see racing continuing to be a part of our overall business and don’t have any plans or desires to change that. Horse racing is integral to the state of Iowa’s agricultural business and benefits the state substantially by having this home-grown industry. While we may invest $20 million in purses and another $10 million in running the racing operation, the economic impact of horse racing in our state is significant.”

While there has been some recent opposition expressed concerning PMRC’s live racing schedule change, Palmer explained the reasoning. “Horse racing is an added incentive to bring fans and their families out to the entire complex, which is why PMRC advocated a Thursday through Sunday racing schedule,” he said.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Are We Positive HR 3084 and USADA are Good for Racing?

One day after The Jockey Club’s Round Table Conference, the press has been inundated with comments, criticism and concerns revolving around the support of The Jockey Club, along with the American Humane Society and others, for H.R. 3084.

As has been stated in several press statements, and after full review and discussion of the H.R. 3084 at the National HBPA (NHBPA) Summer Convention in Denver this past weekend, it can still be said definitively that the NHBPA stands opposed to the current Barr/Tonko bill, H.R. 3084. It can also be stated once again, the NHBPA, like other horsemen’s groups as well as the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), wants to work toward all racing jurisdictions using uniform medication and violation rules. However, the NHBPA and its state affiliates collectively believe it cannot be put in the hands of a private organization.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) undoubtedly is a professional organization with experience. However, the reality is that the current makeup of the organization has no experience in equine testing. The number of human samples they test pales in comparison to the number of equine samples tested each year. To add to the complication, the new association will be comprised of board members clearly defined to have no industry ties. This component, along with six USADA members from the current USADA Board, equals 11 members with only periphery knowledge of our sport. Forgive us, but we see that as a significant issue.

Take into account H.R. 3084 also seems to put the regulatory actions currently conducted by state regulatory agencies into the hands of the created USADA entity. Thus laboratory testing programs, investigatory programs, and hearings conducted for rule violations all shift to a private entity given the power to trump state rights.

It must be understood that the most important aspect in all of this current media deliberation is the welfare of our equine athletes. Somehow that message is not being conveyed, and to the contrary, it seems as the voice of a small number of constituents is being viewed as the voice of the majority and they are controlling the message. Those who continue to publicize our industry as a sport riddled with doping and cheaters cannot prove nor backup these allegations with facts. The use of the word “doping” is unbelievably incorrect and shows ignorance on the topic. The usage of therapeutic medications is not doping in human or equine athletes. Neither of these allegations: “our sport is riddled with cheaters” or “doping runs rampant throughout Thoroughbred racing” can be substantiated through fact or science, and the NHBPA stands by facts and science.

It is time for those of us who have the knowledge and understanding of the truth and facts to stand together and contradict those who spread falsehoods riddled with unsubstantiated allegations. The NHBPA is, and continues to be ready, to answer the question “Where’s the positive?”

Monday, August 10, 2015

National HBPA Elects Gessmann as President

Leroy Gessmann
The National HBPA Board of Directors elected Leroy Gessmann as president of North America’s largest horsemen’s association during the NHBPA’s Summer Convention held Aug. 6-9 in Denver. Gessmann is president of the Iowa HBPA and most recently served as First Vice President and Central Region Vice President for the National HBPA. Gessmann takes over for Robin Richards after she served a three-year term.

Gessmann, who owns and operates several family-style restaurants in Iowa, raced Sure Shot Biscuit, the all-time leading Iowa-bred money earner and only millionaire with a bankroll of $1,025,480. Gessmann also owned graded stakes winner Miss Macy Sue, who finished third in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

“I thank the board for their faith in me and will do everything I can to keep this organization going in the right direction,” said Gessmann.

The board also elected regional vice presidents for the association: Tom Metzen Sr., president of the Minnesota HBPA, will serve as Central Region Vice President and First Vice President; Past President Robin Richards, who is on the board of the Virginia HBPA, will serve as Eastern Region Vice President; Rick Hiles, president of the Kentucky HBPA, will serve another term as Southern Region Vice President; and J. Lloyd Yother, president of the Arizona HBPA, will serve as Western Region Vice President.

In addition to the elections, the Summer Convention featured NHBPA committee meetings and forums for horsemen to discuss important topics in the industry.

“I am very pleased with the outcome of our National HBPA Summer Convention” said Eric Hamelback, who presided over his first convention as CEO of the National HBPA. “This convention gave our members a great mixture of organizational business and educational forums. The overall feeling of our members was that of positive energy and re-energized vigor. As horsemen, owners and trainers who pursue our profession in the racing industry, we understand that it is up to us to spread the message of the majority, and that message is filled with positive and factual information that needs to be heard. It will be up to the National HBPA to ensure the message of our affiliates and members is heard.”

In the Legislative Affairs Forum, the panel pointed out several issues with the recently introduced Barr/Tonko Bill H.R. 3084, known as the “Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015.” The bill calls for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to take over equine drug testing from state racing commissions.

Panelists pointed out USADA’s lack of experience with equine drug testing, especially that USADA did not do the testing for equine athletes during the Olympics, and raised questions about how the testing would be paid for.

In the Medication Forum, panelists discussed the past, present and future of equine drug testing. Dr. Steven Barker of Louisiana State University mentioned how drug testing methods have become so advanced that “positives” are being called for tests that find trace levels of a substance that could not possibly affect performance and most likely was caused by environmental contamination.

“In fact, many (tests exceeding) current threshold levels could just as easily be caused by or exceeded by environmental contamination,” he said. “Our ability to test has exceeded what was intended by the laws. There is no pharmacological effect to these small levels.”

Linda Gaston, president of the Arkansas HBPA, was bestowed the National HBPA’s Industry Service Award, becoming the first woman to ever been so honored since the award began in 1999. Gaston was recognized for her dedication to helping horsemen both in her home state and across North America.

The Board also presented a resolution to outgoing Western Region Vice President and Washington HBPA President Ron Maus, thanking him for his years of service, particularly in the areas of financial planning and budgeting for the National HBPA.

The National HBPA will hold its Winter Convention in Clearwater Beach, Florida.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Innovation Contest Headlines Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming

Innovation and technology touch every part of the racing industry from wagering platforms to video of the race to data collection of all forms. Developing innovative ideas is time consuming and costly and nurturing new concepts in a sport steeped in tradition are difficult at best. Other industries facing similar issues have encouraged and embraced innovation with pitch competitions like Shark Tank.

The University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, in conjunction with its partners Hai Ng and Vin Narayanan, today announced racing’s first pitch competition. The event, named the Innovators’ Circle, will be held at this year’s annual Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming. Participants will pitch their ideas and/or products to top executives in the racing and gaming world. The winning ideas will earn cash prizes; if a judge really likes the idea, an offer for a deal could be made.

The event is open to everyone, not just those already involved in the industry. The contest's website,, provides a background on racing and educational tools to help educate the racing newcomers who wish to participate. Full instructions on how to enter the contest are also found there.

“As racing strives to grow in an increasingly competitive gambling environment, we believe that inviting entrepreneurs - who may or may not be involved in horse racing - to pitch their ideas will create tremendous excitement and potentially some new visions for our industry,” said RTIP Program Director Doug Reed.

"We know there are thousands of entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators out there who have great products and ideas that could change the horse racing industry," said Hai Ng, event producer/partner, Neomancer LLC. "We want to create a platform that will let the best concepts rise to the top. Having worked with many start-ups in a wide variety of industries, we have discovered that some of the best innovations come from outside the target vertical; once that breakthrough idea takes hold, the industry latches on and blossoms with it.”

The 42nd annual Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming will be held from December 7-9, 2015 at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

Monday, August 3, 2015

National HBPA Summer Convention Kicks Off Aug. 6

The National HBPA’s annual Summer Convention will commence on August 6 and run through August 9 at the Grand Hyatt Denver in Colorado. The meeting of North America’s largest horsemen’s association is being hosted by the Colorado Horseracing Association.

The first full day of the convention on Friday will include a legislative affairs forum focusing on ways horsemen can effectively work with government officials to ensure their understanding of the impact and importance of horse racing.

The panel will be moderated by Brian Fitzgerald, the NHBPA’s government relations liaison. The speakers will include: Kelley Brooks, principal at the lobbying firm Stealey II Inc.; Daniel J. Hartman, division director for the state of Colorado’s division of racing events; William “Bill” White, president of the Florida HBPA; and Mark Hillman, a Colorado farmer and breeder and former Colorado State Senator.

Friday’s schedule will also include NHBPA committee meetings, forums on benefit providers and public relations, and industry awards.

On Saturday, Kent Stirling, chair of the NHBPA’s Medication Committee and executive director of the Florida HBPA, will moderate a medication forum covering a range of topics related to equine drug testing and regulation.

The panel will include: writer/handicapper Richard Halvey; Dr. Thomas Tobin, professor of veterinary science at the Gluck Equine Research Center and the Graduate Center for Toxicology at the University of Kentucky; Dr. Clara Fenger of Equine Integrated Medicine in Georgetown, Kentucky; and Dr. Steven Barker, professor of veterinary medicine at LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

The day will conclude with an afternoon of racing at Arapahoe Park.

“The National HBPA is honored to have Arapahoe Park and the Colorado Horseracing Association host our summer convention for 2015,” said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA. “The events and forums will be such that our entire membership will be able to enjoy themselves, as well as have a chance to be educated on current affairs affecting our racing industry.”

On Sunday, the National HBPA Board of Directors will meet to elect a new president to take over for outgoing president Robin Richards.

Monday, July 20, 2015

TOBA to Hold Educational Events and Members Meeting in Saratoga Springs

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association is holding two educational events, as well as its annual Members Meeting, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. the second week of August.

August 9-10: Pedigree & Conformation Clinic
Pedigree discussions include general theory, such as in-breeding, out-crossing and nicking as well as overall conformational factors. The clinic identifies common conformation faults and includes live conformation workshops of both Fasig-Tipton sales yearlings and horses in training. New features of this annual clinic are discussions on stride analysis, sales catalogue analysis and morning workouts, as well as an afternoon watching live racing at Saratoga Race Course. Speakers include Edwin Anthony, Carrie Brogden, Bob Feld, Sean Feld, Jay Kilgore, Tim Leith, Jason Litt, Tom McGreevy, Reid McLellan, Dan Metzger, Tom Morley and Mark Taylor.

August 12-13: Thoroughbred Ownership Seminar
This seminar features the owner/trainer relationship, options for acquiring horses, business topics, online resources, retirement and more. Attendees will also enjoy an afternoon of racing at Saratoga Race Course. New components to this annual seminar are the jockey and jockey’s agent panel, shoeing the racehorse, conformation and appraisal of sale horses and a tour of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Speakers include Ron Anderson, Jeffrey Cannizzo, Erin Crady, Ramón Dominguez, Jeremiah Englehart, Donna Freyer, Jamie Hill, Allen Katz, Bruce Levine, Robb Levinsky, Michael Levy, Mike Ryan, Anna Seitz and Carrie Asalon.

Wednesday, August 12: TOBA Members Meeting at Courtyard by Marriott
TOBA members wanting to become more informed about TOBA’s work in the Thoroughbred industry are welcome and encouraged to attend the open Members Meeting at 8:30 a.m. (EDT) at the Courtyard by Marriott. No RSVP is necessary.

The 2015 schedule and registration are available at TOBA members receive a discounted rate for each clinic and non-members can join TOBA today to take advantage of the discount.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

NHBPA Statement on Introduction of Barr/Tonko Bill H.R. 3084

In a statement released to address the “Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015” made by Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Congressman Andy Barr on July 16, 2015, the National HBPA voices strong opposition to this proposed bill. The National HBPA represents the largest group of horsemen within North America among its 30 affiliates. Each of the horsemen’s groups are strong supporters of national uniformity in medication policies, and we all are aware of the significant progress made toward adopting uniformity. In the last year and a half alone our industry has seen an increase in racing states adoption of Controlled Therapeutic Substances utilization to include 70% of the nation’s pari-mutuel handle.  However, we are opposed to any form of legislation that interferes with the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 (IHA). We plan to review and analyze the bill in order to understand the bill in its entirety. At that time we will be prepared to issue further statements to ensure we stand for, and protect, the rights empowered to all horsemen by the IHA.

2015 Claiming Crown Set for December 5 at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park announced today it will kick off its 2015-16 Championship Meet Saturday, Dec. 5 with the 17th running of the $1.1 million Claiming Crown.

It will mark the fourth consecutive year the Claiming Crown has been contested at Gulfstream Park. Last year's Claiming Crown, which had total handle of more than $10 million, featured eight races. This year's Claiming Crown will feature a ninth race - a 5-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares with a purse of $110,000. The feature event will again be the $200,000 Jewel, won last year by the 17-1 longshot Catholic Cowboy.

Created in 1999 to honor the blue-collar horses that are the foundation of the racing industry nationwide, the Claiming Crown historically has drawn entries from all parts of North America and from many of the country's leading stables.

The Claiming Crown is a joint venture between the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA). The Claiming Crown was created to be the claiming horse owner’s Breeders’ Cup; a special racing event, created for the “average owner,” and featuring some of the most competitive horses in the country. The Claiming Crown has been held annually since 1999.

"We're looking forward to playing host to the Claiming Crown once again and kicking off our Championship Meet with this great event," said Gulfstream General Manager and The Stronach Group's Vice President of Racing P.J. Campo. "Support for the Claiming Crown from horsemen around North America has been incredible the past three years, and we're already getting calls about this year's event. We're also looking forward to working with our partners at TOBA and the HBPA to put on another great show."

Dan Metzger, president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said: "We’re very excited about returning to Gulfstream Park for the fourth consecutive year. The Claiming Crown races averaged nearly 12 starters in the previous three years at Gulfstream and with $1.1 million in purses and the new filly and mare turf sprint, the 2015 event promises another great start to the Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park.”

“The National HBPA is extremely pleased that once again we can look forward to the Claiming Crown being held at Gulfstream Park," said Eric J. Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA. "We owe our sincere gratitude to the Florida HBPA and the racing management at Gulfstream Park for having an even stronger commitment in 2015, to ensure this event is a highlight comparable to many of racing’s premier days. Being able to partner with Gulfstream Park and TOBA for this premier event ensures that these races will provide a wonderful opportunity for many owners and trainers throughout the country."

Monday, July 13, 2015

Trainer Gary Contessa Debuts Educational YouTube Channel

Trainer Gary Contessa
(edited news release)
Anyone who’s met Gary Contessa realizes quickly that the respected New York-based Thoroughbred Trainer is passionate about horses and the sport of racing them. His raw enthusiasm is infectious: to hear the man talk about horses is to become entranced.

Contessa loves horses and horse racing, but he has a drive for education, as well. He has observed rightly that one of the reasons why horse racing isn’t growing by leaps and bounds is that the sport is very complicated. It’s complicated, and a uniform network of formal education for the public isn’t in place. Both long-time race fans and potential fans should have easy access to information about everything from the conformation of a horse to discussions of pedigree, wagering, care and how to buy at auction. And it should be fun.

This goal of educating the public was the driving force for the creation of Gary Contessa TeleVision—GCTV on YouTube. The YouTube channel was launched on June 19 and can be accessed by clicking here.

Contessa is believed to be the first Thoroughbred trainer to create a YouTube channel as a means of educating the racing public and helping them to grow both their range of knowledge and their passion for the horses and the sport.

“I’m ready to go: this is a great way to share this business and my experiences in it with everyone,” effused Contessa, “we’ll be creating videos all during the Saratoga meet, and into Belmont fall.”

Thursday, July 9, 2015

National HBPA Foundation Assists Injured Jockey Alyssa Selman

The National HBPA Foundation will be joining many others in providing assistance to jockey Alyssa Selman. Our support will go toward a fund set up to assist Alyssa and her family with medical bills following her racing accident. The incident occurred on June 27 at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Manitoba HBPA will facilitate Alyssa receiving the National HBPA’s well wishes and support. Please contact the Manitoba HBPA or The National HBPA office for further information on needs and support.

Alyssa, 29, is married and has two children. She underwent surgery for damage to her spinal cord and fractured vertebrae, shortly following the accident. Her injuries occurred when she was thrown from her mount after her horse stumbled. Alyssa’s mount clipped heels with another horse on the track which caused her mount to lose footing. Her doctors currently are unable to report if she will fully recover. At this point doctors are concerned about Alyssa’s ability to walk normally after her recovery, but they have not ruled out that possibility.

“The indication from her family is that the surgery was deemed successful,” the track said on its website. “However, the road to recovery will be lengthy. The finality of her back injury cannot be stated at this time.”

Assiniboia Downs will be hosting a fundraiser for Selman on July 19, and donations are also being accepted online. For more information, go to

“I know I speak for all horsemen in saying that Alyssa is in our thoughts and that we are hoping for a full recovery,” said Robin Richards, president and chairperson of the board for the National HBPA.

The National HBPA is the largest racing horsemen’s representative association in North America, with 30 affiliate member organizations representing over 30,000 owners and trainers of thoroughbred racehorses. The National HBPA is proud partners with its corporate sponsors,, Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supplies, Finish Line Horse Products, Horseman Labor Solutions and Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Less Than One Month Until the National HBPA Summer Convention in Denver

Want to get some relief from the heat of August? Plan to attend the largest horsemen's organization in the country at their Summer Convention in the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado, from August 6-9.

Our host hotel, the Grand Hyatt Denver, is centrally located in the heart of downtown, right in the shopping and restaurant district.

On Saturday afternoon, we'll be graciously hosted by Arapahoe Park Racetrack and the Colorado Horse Racing Association.

In conjunction with ROAP (Racing Officials Accreditation Program) we're holding a ROAP Certificate Course at the hotel, just arrive a day early and pay $25. Get more info by clicking here.

You'll find all the online convention registration information, as well as an online hotel booking link posted on the National HBPA's website.

Monday, July 6, 2015

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

The sixth Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, scheduled for Wednesday, July 8, will be streamed live in its entirety at (A link to the live stream will be available at

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. It is free and open to the public.

The summit is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday and conclude at 5:00 p.m. EDT. The complete agenda for the summit is available at

The summit will feature participation from industry leaders including Dr. Larry Bramlage; equine medical directors Dr. Rick Arthur, Dr. Scott Palmer and Dr. Mary Scollay; Dr. Tim Parkin, an equine epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow and a consultant to the Equine Injury Database; and Dr. Mick Peterson, executive director, Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory.

Among the topics to be covered are racetrack surfaces, the equine and jockey injury databases, continuing education, and post-mortem programs.

The event will be emceed by Donna Barton Brothers.

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.

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is traditionally the nation’s leading source of private funding for equine medical research that benefits all breeds of horses. Since 1983, the foundation has provided more than $22 million to fund 322 projects at 41 universities in North America and overseas. Additional information about the foundation and the summit is available at

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jim Rome to Deliver Keynote Address at Thoroughbred Owner Conference

Jim Rome - Photo courtesy Breeders' Cup
Jim Rome, a prominent Thoroughbred owner and the host of “The Jim Rome Show” on CBS Sports Radio and “Jim Rome On Showtime,” will deliver the keynote address when OwnerView, The Jockey Club, and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association host the second Thoroughbred Owner Conference in Hallandale Beach, Fla., in January 2016.

The conference will be held at Gulfstream Park from January 11 – 14 during the week leading up to the 45th Annual Eclipse Awards Dinner, which is scheduled for Saturday, January 16, 2016.

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.

Rome has experienced significant success campaigning horses under the name of Jungle Racing LLC. Mizdirection was a two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champion and earned more than $1.7 million. Shared Belief, the Eclipse Award-winning champion 2-year-old, has won five Grade I events and 10 of 12 races overall, including the Santa Anita Handicap, and is currently ranked behind only Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the weekly NTRA National Thoroughbred Poll.

“We are honored to host a conference that will build on the success of the inaugural event last year,” said Mike Rogers, president of The Stronach Group’s Racing and Gaming Division. “This is an event that is both educational and enjoyable for new and long-time owners, and we are proud to host it for the first time in the days leading up to the Eclipse Award dinner.”

Attendees at the owner conference will enjoy two days of conference presentations, a welcome reception at Gulfstream Park’s paddock, a gala dinner at Turnberry Isle Resort, a day of racing, and multiple opportunities to network with panelists and industry personnel alike.

“The inaugural Thoroughbred Owner Conference proved to be a hit with experienced owners as well as those who were considering delving into Thoroughbred ownership,” said Gary Falter, vice president of operations for Ownerview. “Jim Rome’s passion for the racing industry as an owner and fan make him an ideal keynote speaker, one who can vividly describe the thrill of owning a Thoroughbred racehorse.”

Gary Player, a legend in the golfing world and a long-time owner, breeder and advocate of Thoroughbred aftercare, delivered the keynote address at last year’s conference.

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

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Canterbury Park, Minnesota HBPA Working to Attract Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah

Canterbury Park and Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association officials announced today that the Mystic Lake Derby would offer a $2 million purse should the owners of American Pharoah, winner of the Triple Crown, agree to race at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack. The race would take place on Sunday, Aug. 30, at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

“Canterbury’s partnership with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has revived racing in Minnesota and allows us to make a proposal that could attract the greatest horse in the last four decades to our racetrack,” Randy Sampson, Canterbury Park President and CEO said. “Our intent is to make the Mystic Lake Derby a major race. Attracting American Pharoah to Canterbury would certainly do that. We and our horsemen owe it to our loyal race fans to at least extend this offer to the connections of the Triple Crown winner.”

In 2012, Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, entered into a joint purse enhancement and marketing agreement that contributes $75 million to horseman purses over the 10-year span of the agreement.

“The 37-year drought has ended and we have a Triple Crown winner. This is a tremendous opportunity for the racing industry and this change to the Mystic Lake Derby puts Canterbury Park into the national racing conversation,” said Eric Halstrom, Vice President of Racing.

The Mystic Lake Derby, already offering the largest purse of Canterbury’s 70-day season at $200,000, was originally scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29, at one mile on the turf. Should Zayat Stables and trainer Bob Baffert agree to bring American Pharoah to Canterbury for this race, it would be the richest race in the history of the track and the largest purse offered this summer in North American racing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

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

The interactive, electronic version of The Horsemen's Journal's Summer 2015 issue is now available online. It is an enhanced version of our Summer 2015 issue, which is currently being mailed. To view it, either click here or click on the flipping magazine icon above.
Features in the issue include:
  • WAKING UP THE MORNING GLORY - What makes some horses train well but race poorly?
  • COLD SALTWATER SPA FOR HORSES - A new spin on a long-used process
  • CARING FOR THOSE WHO CARE FOR HORSES Thanks to a winning partnership, University of Louisville nurses provide quality care for backside workers in Kentucky
  • WHEN THINGS DON’T ADD UP - A handicapper shares his view of racing’s “drug” problem
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, June 8, 2015

Florida HBPA Highlights American Pharoah’s Connection to the Sunshine State

American Pharaoh, who on June 5 became the first horse to win Thoroughbred racing’s coveted and illusive Triple Crown in 37 years, spent his early training time at Florida’s McKathan Brothers Training Center near Ocala, Florida, it was noted by the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA) after the colt’s acclaimed victory in the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes this weekend.

“This is proof positive of the global impact and reach of Florida’s prestigious and economically beneficial horse racing industry,” FHBPA President Bill White said of the historic accomplishment. “The cheering throngs packing the Belmont Park stands in New York should underscore to each and every Florida policymaker the monumental importance of what real horse racing is all about.”

American Pharaoh became the 12th Thoroughbred in all of American history to win the Triple Crown–an annual series of top Thoroughbred races consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

Daily Racing Form reported earlier this year that, before the star colt arrived in trainer Bob Baffert’s barn in 2014, Thoroughbred horse racing professionals in Florida gave the future Triple Crown winner his earliest care and most basic lessons and were among the first to see that glimmer of promise.

“He always made good grades,” said J.B. McKathan, who with his brother Kevin broke American Pharoah at their training center near Ocala. “He’s like the quarterback.”

The FHBPA represents over 6,000 Thoroughbred racehorse owners and trainers who do business in Florida.