Breeders' Cup News & Notes
BREEDERS' CUP PRE-ENTRIES 2014
JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
FILLY & MARE TURF
FILLY & MARE SPRINT
Breeders' Cup draws a record 201 Pre-Entries
Led by an international all-star cast of the world's best horses, including Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, undefeated Pacific Classic and Awesome Again winner Shared Belief, Belmont Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Tonalist, Haskell Invitational and Pennsylvania Derby winner Bayern, and European champions Magician and Dank, a record 201 horses, including 38 from overseas, have been pre-entered for the 2014 Breeders' Cup World Championships.
The Breeders' Cup, consisting of 13 Grade 1 races with purses and awards totaling $26 million, will be held at Santa Anita for the third consecutive year on October 31 and November 1. There will be four Breeders' Cup races on Championship Friday and nine Breeders' Cup races on Championship Saturday.
The Breeders' Cup will be televised live by NBCSN and NBC. The $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic will be broadcast live and in primetime on November 1 on NBC (8-9 p.m. EDT).
Goldencents (Dirt Mile), Ria Antonia (Juvenile Fillies), Magician (Turf); Secret Circle (Sprint) and Dank (GB) are the five 2013 winners pre-entered for this year's Breeders' Cup. A total of 37 horses have received automatic qualifying berths into the races through the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" series.
The Breeders' Cup Classic, the climactic event of the Championships, will be run on the main track at 1 1/4 miles. An oversubscribed field of 15 horses have been pre-entered. Since the event's inception in 1984, 11 winners of the Classic have been voted Horse of the Year, and with California Chrome and Shared Belief leading the way, this year's race could produce No. 12.
California Chrome took the sports world by storm this year with rousing victories in Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness for trainer Art Sherman. He ran fourth in his bid to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes. He returned to the races in the 1 1/8 mile Pennsylvania Derby on September 20, but was a disappointing sixth behind Bayern. California Chrome, a son of Lucky Pulpit, has won eight times in 14 lifetime starts.
While California Chrome dominated racing during the first half of 2014, Shared Belief has been the big horse during the second half. Shared Belief was an easy choice for two-year-old champion as he went undefeated and untested in three starts, which culminated in a 5 3/4-length win in the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park in December. The son of Candy Ride missed the Triple Crown season with lingering foot issues, but quickly rose to the forefront of his division off victories in a pair of wins over older horses: Del Mar's Pacific Classic in August and Santa Anita's Awesome Again on September 27. Shared Belief, with the Breeders' Cup's all-time winningest rider Mike Smith aboard, will put his perfect seven-for-seven record on the line in the Classic and would be odds-on to win Horse of the Year, as well as the three-year-old championship, with a win.
Tonalist, trained by Christophe Clement, has built an impressive resume of his own and would warrant a long look for both titles with a Classic win. The son of Tapit didn't break his maiden until January at Gulfstream Park but gained national attention when he upset California Chrome in the Belmont, then secured an automatic berth into the Classic when he beat older horses in Belmont's Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 27.
Front-running Bayern has been a tough competitor all year. He captured Belmont's Woody Stephens in June and had dominant wins in Monmouth Park's Haskell Invitational in July and in the Pennsylvania Derby in September for trainer Bob Baffert. The son of Offlee Wild will try to extend his high cruising speed to 1 1/4 miles in the Classic.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens has decided to pre-enter Travers Stakes winner V. E. Day, and the son of 2007 Breeders' Cup Turf winner English Channel should relish the 1 1/4-mile distance. The remaining group of three-year-olds pre-entered for the Classic includes Candy Boy, third in the Pennsylvania Derby for John Sadler, and Toast of New York, a synthetic specialist who was second to Shared Belief in the Pacific Classic and a winner of the U.A.E. Derby in Dubai back in the spring for Jamie Osborne.
The Classic has been won by older horses in 10 of the past 12 runnings, with Curlin in 2007 and Raven's Pass in 2008 being the only three-year-olds to win in that stretch. This year's group is led by a pair who secured automatic starting berths in the Classic with "Win and You're In" victories: four-year-old Moreno, a son of 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, who won Saratoga's Whitney in August for trainer Eric Guillot, and Majestic Harbor, who rolled to victory in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June for trainer Sean McCarthy.
Imperative, who won the Charles Town Classic in April for George Papaprodromou; Footbridge, who was third to Shared Belief in the Awesome Again; Cigar Street, winner of the Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs for trainer Bill Mott; Zivo, who won Belmont's Suburban Handicap at 1 1/4 miles and was second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup for Chad Brown; and Big Cazanova, a Group 1 winner in South America last year, round out the pre-entries for the Classic.
Friday's headline event is the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff at 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares. Close Hatches was the undisputed divisional leader off a four-for-four record this year for trainer Bill Mott but will need to rebound from an extremely disappointing fourth-place finish at 1-5 in Keeneland's Spinster on October 5. The four-year-old daughter of First Defence, who was second to Beholder in last year's Distaff, won Oaklawn Park's Apple Blossom Handicap in April, the Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park and the Personal Ensign at Saratoga in August to take charge of the division. Close Hatches owns a nine-for-13 lifetime record for Mott, who has won the race an unprecedented five times.
The undisputed queen of the three-year-old fillies is Untapable, who has dominated her rivals in all five starts against her peers this season for trainer Steve Asmussen. The daughter of Tapit won her first four starts of the year, including Churchill Downs' Kentucky Oaks in May and Belmont's Mother Goose in June, but then was a disappointing fifth when favored in the Haskell at Monmouth Park in July. Untapable rebounded with a win in Parx Racing's Cotillion on September 20 and will put her seven-for-10 career record on the line when she tests older fillies and mares for the first time in the Distaff.
Belle Gallantey, who won Belmont's Beldame on September 27 for Rudy Rodriguez; Don't Tell Sophia, who upset Close Hatches in the Spinster; Iotapa, who won the local Vanity in June and Clement Hirsch at Del Mar in August and was third in the Zenyatta for John Sadler; Ria Antonia, who upset last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and was second in the Spinster for Tom Amoss; and Valiant Emilia, who won the Cesar del Rio in Peru in June, now under the care of trainer Gary Mandella stateside, have all been pre-entered.
While the Classic and Distaff figure to have deserving and identifiable favorites, the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf and $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf are shaping up as deep and wide open affairs. The Turf, run over 1 1/2 miles, is led by Main Sequence, who has done little wrong in winning all three U.S. starts for trainer Graham Motion: Monmouth Park's United Nations in July, Saratoga's Sword Dancer Invitational in August and Belmont Park's Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on September 27. The five-year-old son of Aldebaran is seven-for-17 lifetime in a career that started in Europe and has had a nose for the finish line in his three starts this year, as all three wins have come in photo finishes.
Coolmore's defending Turf champion Magician will also attract support for Aidan O'Brien. The four-year-old son of Galileo, has won just once this year, but has been second in three Group 1 races, including the Arlington Million. Two Breeders' Cup Challenge winners in Big John B, who won the Del Mar Handicap in August for Phil D'Amato and Hardest Core, who took the Arlington Million on August 16 for Eddie Graham, also merit respect as do Imagining and Twilight Eclipse, who have lost photo finishes to Main Sequence for Shug McGaughey and Tom Albertrani, respectively.
In addition to Magician, Europe figures to send formidable foes in Flintshire, who was last seen finishing second to Treve in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe; Brown Panther, winner of the Irish St Leger on September 14 and Telescope, for trainer Michael Stoute, a four-time winner of the Turf who won the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and was third in the Juddmonte International at York this summer.
The Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, run at 1 1/4 miles, is led by Stephanie's Kitten, who could be the favorite off her sharp win in Belmont's Flower Bowl Invitational on September 27 for trainer Chad Brown. Emollient earned an automatic berth into the race when she won the local course and distance prep, the Rodeo Drive, on September 27 for Mott and will look to better her fourth-place run in last year's race. Tough competition should come from Fiesolana, who earned an automatic Filly & Mare Turf bid with her win in Leopardstown's Matron Stakes in September for trainer Willie McCreery and defending champion Dank, who has started just twice this year, most recently a fifth-place finish in Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Wise Dan's defection from the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile has opened up the race considerably as 25 horses have been pre-entered. Obviously, who captured the Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita in June for Phil D'Amato, has been third and fifth, respectively, in the last two editions of the Mile at Santa Anita. Tom's Tribute, who won Del Mar's Eddie Read and Del Mar Mile this summer for Jim Cassidy, is in the best form of his career and looms a major contender as well.
The Europeans counter with Toronado, who won the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot for trainer Richard Hannon Jr. The four-year-old son of two-time Breeders' Cup Turf winner High Chaparral lost the Prix de Moulin de Longchamp by just a head in his most recent start on September 14. Trade Storm, who captured the Woodbine Mile on September 14 for David Simcock has been pre-entered. Anodin, a full-brother to three-time Mile winner Goldikova, exits a second in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville in August for Freddie Head and was third to Toronado in the Queen Anne, could also be formidable.
The $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint is oversubscribed with 21 horses pre-entered. Run at six furlongs, the Sprint will bring together a quartet of stars who will look to dethrone defending champion Secret Circle: Palace, who won Saratoga's Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap in July and the Forego in August for trainer Linda Rice; Private Zone, who defeated Palace in Belmont Park's Vosburgh on September 27 for trainer Alfredo Velazquez; Rich Tapestry, who came from Hong Kong and upset Secret Circle in winning his U.S. debut in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship on October 4 for trainer C.W. Chang; and Work All Week, who remained undefeated in nine dirt starts when he won Keeneland's Phoenix on October 3 for trainer Roger Brueggemann.
The Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, run at seven furlongs, could be the most balanced race of the weekend, with trainer Wesley Ward's Judy The Beauty, who was second in the race last year, leading the way. Artemis Agrotera, who earned an automatic bid in Saratoga's Ballerina in August for trainer Mike Hushion; Leigh Court, who captured Keeneland'sThoroughbred Club of America on October 4 for trainer Josie Carroll; Midnight Lucky, who dominated Churchill Downs' Humana Distaff in May in her only start of the year for Baffert; and Sweet Reason, a one-turn dynamo who won Belmont's Acorn in June and Saratoga's Test in August for trainer Leah Gyarmati, are also major contenders.
The $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, run at about 6 1/2 furlongs, is contested over one of the world's most challenging turf courses in Santa Anita's undulating hillside course. The race is oversubscribed with a record 29 horses. Home Run Kitten and Ambitious Brew, the one-two finishers over the course and distance in the Eddie D. on September 26, will attract attention for trainers David Hofmans and Marty Jones, respectively. Dimension looked good winning the Kentucky Downs Turf Dash for trainer Conor Murphy. The second- and third-place finishers in last year's Turf Sprint, Reneesgotzip and Tightend Touchdown, should also bear watching.
Goldencents figures one of the shorter prices of the weekend when he looks to defend his title in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, which is run at two turns at Santa Anita, and is limited to 12 starters. The four-year-old son of Into Mischief, who will be trained by Leandro Mora, blitzed the field in last year's renewal and has held his form this year through an abbreviated campaign for then-trainer Doug O'Neill. Goldencents may be just one-for-four in 2014 but did secure a Dirt Mile berth in Del Mar's Pat O'Brien in August and was second in his three other starts, all in Grade 1s.
Bronzo, who earned a Dirt Mile berth in the Copa de Oro de Chile at Hipico Chile in June for Jorge Andres Inda; Fed Biz, who almost upset Shared Belief in the Awesome Again for Bob Baffert; Golden Ticket, second in the race last year for Kenny McPeek; and Tapiture for Steve Asmussen also figure as key contenders.
The 1 1/16-mile, $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile has brought stars from the east and Midwest, but it's California's American Pharoah who headlines the field. A bay son of Pioneerof the Nile, American Pharoah broke his maiden in the Del Mar Futurity in September then backed that win up with a dominant score in the track-and-distance FrontRunner on September 27 to move his lifetime record to two-for-three.
Across the country, Carpe Diem built on his debut win at Saratoga when he remained undefeated in Keeneland's Breeders' Futurity. The son of Giant's Causeway stretched out from 5 1/2 furlongs in his debut to win the Futurity at the Juvenile's 1 1/16-mile distance and looks primed to take the next step at Santa Anita. Daredevil, a son of More Than Ready, looked equally impressive taking Belmont Park's Champagne on October 4 and, like his stablemate, will also put his two-for-two career record on the line in the Juvenile, though he has yet to start on a fast track or at two turns.
The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies is led by Angela Renee, who earned an automatic berth into the race with her win in the track-and-distance Chandelier on September 27 for Pletcher. By the Moon won Belmont's Frizette on October 4 for trainer Michelle Nevin and will attract her fair share of support, as will Cristina's Journey, who stayed undefeated in two starts for trainer Dale Romans when she won Churchill's Pocahontas on September 6.
A maximum of 14 starters are allowed in each of the 13 Breeders' Cup World Championships races with the exception of the Dirt Mile (12). Breeders' Cup Limited has adopted a field selection system to select runners in the event fields are oversubscribed. After pre-entry, any vacancies in the fields will be filled by horses in order of panel preference. Entry for the Breeders' Cup World Championships races will be October 27 by 10 a.m. (PDT). At the time of entry, a maximum of 14 horses (or 12) will be accepted for each race based on the order of preference established at pre-entry.
There will be up to two also-eligible horses for each Championship race. The also-eligible horses will be designated in accordance with the Breeders' Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel's order of preference for each Championship race that is oversubscribed at the time of pre-entry. Scratch time for all Championships races to be contested on both Championship Friday and Championship Saturday will be 8 a.m. on October 31.
Breeders' Cup announces race order, wagering menu
The Breeders' Cup announced Wednesday the order of races, wagering menu and post times for the 31st Breeders' Cup World Championships, to be held on Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1 at Santa Anita Park. There will be a total of 10 races (four Breeders' Cup races) on the Championship Friday program and 12 races on Championship Saturday (9 Breeders' Cup races). Championship Friday begins at 11:25 a.m. (PT) with five undercard races. Champion Saturday first post is 10:15 a.m. and also begins with three undercards races.
The Official race order of the undercard races for both days of the World Championships will be finalized on Monday, October 28 after entries have been taken.
The first Championships race on Breeders' Cup Friday will be the $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (2:25 p.m. -- all times Pacific); followed by the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (3:05 p.m.); the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (3:50 p.m.); and the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff (4:35 p.m.). There will be an Ultra Pick Six starting with the Twilight Derby (race 4) and concluding with the Distaff (race 9). The Marathon Stakes follows the Distaff at 5:10 p.m.
On Championship Saturday, first post time is 10:15 a.m., starting with the Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes, the Golden State Juvenile Stakes and the Ken Maddy Stakes. The order of the Breeders' Cup Saturday races is as follows: $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (12:05 p.m.); $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (12:43 p.m.); $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (1:21 p.m.); $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (2:05 p.m.); $2 million Sentient Breeders' Cup Juvenile (2:45 p.m.), $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf (3:23 p.m.); $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint (4:02); $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile (4:45 p.m.) and the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (5:35 p.m.). There will be an Ultra Pick Six with a guaranteed gross pool of $2.5 million beginning with the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (race 7) and concluding with the Breeders' Cup Classic (race 12).
This year's wagering menu on the 13 Breeders' Cup races features an abundance of wagering opportunities including two Ultra Pick 6s, a low takeout 50-cent Pick 5, 10-cent Superfectas, 50-cent Trifectas, Pick 3's , Pick 4's and Pick 5's, a Breeders' Cup Distaff/Classic daily double and two Super High 5 wagers.
"The Breeders' Cup offers the best betting value of the year for horseplayers around the globe," said Ken Kirchner, President of FalKirk International and the manager of the Breeders' Cup wagering and simulcasting operations for the last 19 years. "With outstanding fields of Grade 1 competitors and low priced betting options like 50-cent trifectas and Pick 3s, Pick 4 and Pick 5s, the Championships yield some of the highest pari-mutuel payouts of the year. The outstanding full fields will ensure that this year's event will live up to its moniker or 'the best bet in sports'"
Each Breeders' Cup World Championships race will feature a maximum of 14 horses and wagering interests with the exception of the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, which is limited to 12 starters. In addition to the standard Win, Place and Show betting, there will be Exacta and Trifecta wagering on every race and rolling Pick 3 wagers beginning with the first race and continuing through all races on both Championship Friday and Championship Saturday. Among the featured wagers this year are:
Departing highlights competitive Fayette
Call Me George was making just his second stakes try in that nine-furlong contest following a fourth-place effort in the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup at Parx Racing on September 1. Pick of the Litter tried graded company as a sophomore but went on a nine-race streak without facing black-type competition before reappearing in the Monmouth Cup over the summer.
Stewart Elliott will be aboard Call Me George while Corey Lanerie has piloting duties on Pick of the Litter.
Long River and Stephanoatseee faced off in their last two races, the Woodward and Jockey Club Gold Cup, and will make it three in a row in the Fayette. Stephanoatseee finished fifth on both occasions, though he was elevated to fourth via disqualification in the Gold Cup, while Long River ran third in that race and seventh in the Woodward.
Both runners are by A.P. Indy, with Long River being a half-brother to classic victor Shackleford and Grade 1 queen Lady Joanne as a son of Oatsee and Stephanoatseee being out of Breeders' Cup Distaff heroine Round Pond. Rosie Napravnik will be holding the reins on Long River while Julien Leparoux will be in Stephanoatseee's irons.
The Fayette field also includes Canadian classic star Coltimus Prime, front-running winner of the Prince of Wales and second in the Ontario Derby in his past two, and dual Grade 3 conqueror Mister Marti Gras, a neck third in the Washington Park Handicap most recently. Grade 3 scorer Code West completes the field.
Bold Ruler field includes Salutos Amigos
Pre-entered to the Breeders' Cup Sprint, Salutos Amigos is part of a short but salty field of seven entered for Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler H. at Belmont Park. Trainer David Jacobson is still waiting to decide whether to keep his charge in New York for the seven-furlong Bold Ruler or ship him to California for the six-furlong Sprint.
A multiple Grade 2-placed gelding, Salutos Amigos exits a close fourth in the September 27 Vosburgh, a race that the winner (Private Zone) and third-place finisher (Palace) are both using as a springboard to the Breeders' Cup Sprint. A three-time winner this season, Salutos Amigos placed in both the Belmont Sprint and True North at Belmont during the summer. Cornelio Velasquez rides the four-year-old son of Salute the Sarge.
River Rocks defeated Salutos Amigos two starts back in a deep allowance/optional claiming event at Saratoga and most recently finished second to Vyjack in the Kelso H. The front-running colt has registered BRIS Speed ratings as high as 109 this year, as well as three consecutive century-topping numbers, and the four-year-old son of Western Pride will be the one to catch from the break. Joel Rosario picks up the mount for John Terranova.
Romansh, winner of the Excelsior earlier this year and an excellent third in the Metropolitan H., will cut back in trip following unplaced finishes in the Woodward, Whitney and Suburban. Jose Ortiz has the call for Tom Albertrani. Grade 3 winner Sage Valley will make his second start of the year for Rudy Rodriguez, finished a neck second in a Laurel Park allowance on October 3, and has the back class to challenge with his best. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be up.
Rounding out the field are expected longshots Cease, Confrontation and Joe Tess.
Later on the program, two-year-old fillies will square off in the $100,000 Chelsea Flower at a mile on turf. Three of the 14 entrants are slated for the main-track only, and Ack Naughty will be the one to beat if the race remains on turf. Conditioned by Chad Brown, the Afleet Alex filly exits a convincing three-length score over Belmont's turf in her career bow.
Report of Mares Bred statistics released by Jockey Club
The Jockey Club on Wednesday released Report of Mares Bred (RMB) statistics for the 2014 breeding season. Based on RMBs received through October 13, The Jockey Club reports that 1,547 stallions covered 34,540 mares in North America during 2014.
The annual statistics represent approximately 92 percent of the mares that eventually will be reported as bred in 2014. According to historical trends, The Jockey Club expects to receive RMBs representing an additional 2,000 to 3,000 mares bred during the 2014 breeding season.
The number of stallions declined 8.9 percent from the 1,698 reported at this time in 2013, and the number of mares bred increased 1.1 percent from the 34,174 reported at this time last year.
The number of stallions covering 100 or more mares increased from 88 in 2013 to 97 in 2014. These stallions accounted for a greater percentage of the total mares reported bred this year -- 36.4 percent of all mares bred in 2014 versus 34 percent of all mares bred in 2013 as reported at this time last year. RMB statistics for all reported stallions in 2014 are available through the Fact Book section of The Jockey Club’s website at jockeyclub.com.
Further book size analysis shows an 8.3 percent increase in the number of mares bred to stallions with a book size of 100 or more in 2014 when compared to 2013 as reported at this time last year; a 12.9 percent increase in mares bred to stallions with a book size between 75 and 99; a 4.8 percent decrease in mares bred to stallions with a book size between 50 and 74; a 1.2 percent increase in mares bred to stallions with a book size between 25 and 49; and a 9.2 percent decrease in mares bred to stallions with a book size fewer than 25.
The stallion Kitten’s Joy led all stallions with 204 mares bred in 2014. Rounding out the top five were Into Mischief, 203; Scat Daddy, 202; Midnight Lute, 186; and Violence, 181.
Kentucky traditionally leads North America in Thoroughbred breeding activity. During 2014, Kentucky’s 233 reported stallions covered 16,826 mares, or 48.7 percent of all of the mares reported bred in North America. The number of mares bred to Kentucky stallions increased 7.2 percent compared with the 15,695 reported at this time last year.
Of the top 10 states and provinces by number of mares reported bred in 2012, Kentucky, Florida, and California, New York, and Maryland stallions covered more mares in 2014 than in 2013, as reported at this time last year.
Leading owner-breeder Hunt dead at 88
Nelson Bunker Hunt, the Texas oil tycoon whose colors were carried to victory in many of the most prestigious races in both the U.S. and Europe throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, reportedly died Tuesday near Dallas. He was 88.
Honored three times with an Eclipse Award as outstanding breeder, Hunt bred and/or raced such standouts as American champions Dahlia, Youth, Trillion, Glorious Song and Estrapade, as well as the noted European performers Vaguely Noble and Empery. Exceller, who registered a victory over Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed in 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup, was another one of his top-class performers.
Hunt, whose fortune ran into the billions at one time due to a heavy investment in silver, was beset by financial problems in the 1980s which resulted in bankruptcy and other legal problems. A dispersal of his bloodstock at Keeneland in 1988 grossed more than $46 million. He eventually returned to owning and breeding Thoroughbreds, but on a smaller scale and without the grand success of earlier times.
Survived by his wife, Caroline, and four children, Hunt's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. (CDT) at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas.
Keeneland, Red Mile announce joint venture on historical racing
The Red Mile and Keeneland Association have agreed, through a new joint venture, to consolidate their efforts around historical racing in Fayette County into the development of a single facility.
Wagering on historical racing will be housed exclusively at The Red Mile. A total of 1,000 terminals are proposed to offer historical racing wagers beginning with a projected opening date of September 2015.
The new venture will request a review of facility and historical racing offering by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
"This is an exciting announcement for The Horse Capital of the World and for the ongoing growth of Lexington," said Joe Costa of The Red Mile. "By making this pari-mutuel wager available in Fayette County, our state's signature industry can enjoy the financial benefits of a crucial new revenue stream for not just owners and breeders, but also the entire horse industry."
Keeneland Association Chief Operating Officer Vince Gabbert also commented on the venture.
"There have always been two driving considerations behind decisions made by Keeneland, and that is the health of the Thoroughbred industry and our local community," Gabbert said. "We feel the best course of action for both our key constituencies is a facility at The Red Mile. Our belief is that the benefits of a more centrally located and fully dedicated facility outweighs locating this wagering option on our property."
The construction on the new $30 million dollar project will begin soon, initially supplying 100 construction jobs, and eventually 150 jobs are projected when the facility is completed and fully operational in 2015.
"There is no question that new revenue streams have already made a difference to the Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries," Costa said. "Here in Kentucky we've already seen what a difference historical wagering can mean to our owners and horsemen."
Revenues from the new wager will be split between the two partners for use in support of live racing, particularly purses.
Tampa Bay Downs reveals 2014-15 stakes
The 35th renewal of the Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby for three-year-olds, which has produced two Kentucky Derby winners since 2007, highlights a 2014-15 Tampa Bay Downs stakes schedule offering $2,660,000 in purse money.
Contested at a distance of 1 1/16 miles, the Tampa Bay Derby headlines the March 7 Festival Day program that includes four stakes races worth a combined $760,000 in purse money, making it the most lucrative day of racing in the track's 89-year history.
The Tampa Bay Derby is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series points system, with the first four finishers earning 50, 20, 10 and 5 points toward a starting-gate berth on the first Saturday in May.
Rounding out the Festival Day stakes card are the Grade 3, $200,000 Florida Oaks on the turf for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles; the Grade 3, $150,000 Hillsborough on the turf for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles; and the $60,000 Challenger for older horses at 1 1/16 miles.
The 2014-15 Tampa Bay Downs Thoroughbred season, which began July 1, is set to resume November 29 and runs through June 30.
"The Kentucky Derby victories by our 2007 Tampa Bay Derby winner, Street Sense, and our 2010 third-place finisher, Super Saver, have elevated our showcase race to national prominence and made it a significant Triple Crown prep," said Peter Berube, Vice President and General Manager of Tampa Bay Downs.
"By running four stakes on the same card, Festival Day 2015 is certain to be one of the most exciting and memorable afternoons in track history," Berube added. "Our three other Festival Day stakes have produced Breeders' Cup race winners, an Eclipse Award champion and two winners of the Kentucky Oaks. Fans can again expect to see exciting Thoroughbred competition of the highest quality, both on March 7 and throughout the season."
The stakes schedule kicks off December 6 with Cotillion Festival Day, featuring a pair of $100,000, six-furlong races for two-year-olds: the Inaugural and the Sandpiper for fillies.
The second-biggest stakes day of the meeting is the January 31 Festival Preview Day, showcasing three stakes worth a combined $500,000 headlined by the 35th edition of the Grade 3, $250,000 Sam F. Davis for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. Although not part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system, the Sam F. Davis has stamped Kentucky Derby credentials for at least one three-year-old in 10 of the last 11 years.
The Festival Preview Day card also features the Grade 3, $150,000 Endeavour on the turf for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles and the $100,000 Suncoast on dirt for three-year-old fillies at one mile and 40 yards.
The January 24 card features three stakes worth $350,000. Topping the list is the Grade 3, $150,000 Tampa Bay on the turf for older horses at 1 1/16 miles. Other offerings that day include the $100,000 Lightning City on the turf for older fillies and mares at five furlongs and the $100,000 Pelican for older horses at six furlongs.
The track's 13th annual Florida Cup Day celebration on April 4 includes six state-bred stakes races worth a combined $450,000 in purse money, including three on the turf course.
Additional highlights of the stakes schedule include the December 27 Skyway Festival Day card, featuring the $100,000 Pasco for two-year-olds at seven furlongs and the $100,000 Gasparilla for two-year-old fillies. The $100,000 Turf Dash for older horses will be held January 10.
Trainer Marcus Vitali said Wednesday morning that he will keep Grade 1 hero Lochte (Medaglia d'Oro) and Grade 2 victor Valid (Medaglia d'Oro) in Florida rather than going to the 31st Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park in California. Lochte would have run in the Mile while Valid would have been entered in the Dirt Mile. "Both are going to stay home. I think it's in their best interest," Vitali stated. "We have a long winter ahead of us here at Gulfstream and there's plenty of races here. I waited until the very end, but those races are going to come up pretty salty. With the big stakes schedule at Gulfstream, we can sit tight and wait for the right races. Both Valid and Lochte thrive at Gulfstream and Gulfstream Park West." Lochte upset the Gulfstream Park Turf H. (G1) prior to placing in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) and Maker's 46 Mile (G1) earlier this season at Gulfstream, Santa Anita and Keeneland, respectively. He added The Vid S. to his resume on September 13 before finishing second under allowance conditions last out on October 12. Valid has captured three of his last four, including the Monmouth Cup (G2) and Eight Miles West S., and has finished off-the-board only once in nine races thus far this year...
Former trainer Frank Brothers, a member of Keeneland's team that inspects yearlings for the September Yearling Sale, has been selected for induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in June 2015. A trainer for nearly four decades, Brothers won 12 Keeneland stakes, including the 1997 Blue Grass (G2) with Pulpit and the 2004 Ashland (G1) with Madcap Escapade. Brothers is the first racehorse trainer elected to the hall following one owner, John Franks, and seven jockeys (Ronald Ardoin, Eddie Delahoussaye, Eric Guerin, Mark Guidry, J.D. Mooney, Craig Perret and Randy Romero).
Nominations for the $1 million Claiming Crown at Gulfstream Park will close November 8. The eight-race Claiming Crown, to be held opening day of the Championship Meet on December 6, will once again champion the cause of the claiming horses that have provided the very foundation of Thoroughbred racing programs throughout North America. There were some changes announced August 28 to this year's Claiming Crown. The Iron Lady has been replaced with the Canterbury, a five-furlong turf sprint for horses who have been entered to be claimed for $25,000 or less since January 1, 2013. The Glass Slipper, for fillies and mares three and up, was changed to a one-turn mile (from seven furlongs) and the race is open to horses who have been entered to be claimed for $12,500 (instead of $16,000). Both the Canterbury and Glass Slipper have a purse of $110,000...
Dandino (Dansili) will miss the chance to build on a fifth-place finish in last year's Melbourne Cup (Aus-G1) after being scratched from Australia's famed race Wednesday. The seven-year-old was ruled out of last Saturday's Caulfield Cup (Aus-G1) with a soft tissue injury, and it is the same issue that will keep him from lining up for the November 4 feature. Co-owner Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock's Darren Dance said future plans for the Marco Botti charge will be decided later next week. "Friday week we will close that off and know what we are doing," he told www.thecourier.com.au. "It's hard to know (what we will do) because I don't know what the owners want to do. I'd like to give (racing) another go, but I'm only a shareholder." ATB will still be represented in the Melbourne Cup by Seismos (Dalakhani), a German Group 1 winner who finished 15th in the Caulfield Cup in his first Australian outing. "We bought him for the Melbourne Cup, so that's his race," Dance added. "Flemington is his track and it doesn't matter whether it's wet or dry." Damien Oliver, who won last year's Melbourne Cup aboard Fiorente, has gained the ride aboard the Johnny Murtagh-trained Mutual Regard (Hernando), a last-out winner of the Ebor H. at York. "I was starting to get concerned when I didn't have (a Melbourne Cup ride) and when Johnny rang me on Sunday I was really pleased to take the ride," Oliver told racing.com. "He's a good stayer. The Ebor is traditionally a good form-guide for the Melbourne Cup. And without a stand-out Melbourne Cup horse this year, I think he's got a good chance."...
Lankan Rupee (Redoute's Choice), a three-time Group 1 winner last season and the world's current highest-rated sprinter, has been turned over in both outings this campaign, but that hasn't stopped punters making him the $3.80 joint-favorite for Friday's Manikato S. (Aus-G1) at Moonee Valley. Lankan Rupee earned his first black-type victory just over a year ago at Flemington, and that listed victory kicked off a six-race win streak that saw the gelding take in the Oakleigh Plate (Aus-G1), Newmarket H. (Aus-G1) and T J Smith S. (Aus-G1). Both his defeats this season have come in the form of second-place finishes at Moonee Valley. He was nailed late by Angelic Light (Holy Roman Emperor) in the McEwan S. (Aus-G2), and couldn't get past the veteran gelding Buffering (Mossman) in the Moir S. (Aus-G1) three weeks later. Buffering embarked on a streak of his own last spring, winning three straight Group 1s beginning with this race, and was a enjoying a homecoming to the winner's circle after four straight losses. Rebel Dane (California Dane) was tabbed a horse to watch last spring after winning the Sir Rupert Clarke S. (Aus-G1), and although he failed to win in six subsequent attempts through June, he finished second to Lankan Rupee in the T J Smith, and has shaped with promise thus far this season, finishing a narrowly beaten third in both the Missile S. (Aus-G2) and the Moir. He is currently joint-favorite with Lankan Rupee. Terravista (Captain Rio) has missed the board just twice in 11 starts, and could be on the rise after going two-for-two thus far this season. The five-year-old gelding was still competing at the benchmark level this time last year, but earned his first black-type victory in his second try at that level when taking the Southern Cross S. (Aus-G3) in February. He added the Liverpool City Cup (Aus-G3) three weeks later but could manage only 11th in the George Ryder S. (Aus-G1) in March before enjoying a long holiday. He opened his spring account with a two-length victory in the Show County Quality S. (Aus-G3) August 23, and added the The Shorts S. (Aus-G2) by the same margin September 20. Bounding (Lonhro), a Group 1 winner in Australia last season, has never finished worse than second in 12 outings. She has filled the runner-up position in her two Australian starts: the Royal Sovereign S. (Aus-G2) and the Gilgai S. (Aus-G2)...
Declaration of War (War Front), a gallant third on his only start on dirt in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), will relocate to Ashford Stud for the 2015 breeding season in a move similar to that made by triple champion sire Giant's Causeway. Beaten only a nose and a neck by Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge in the Classic, Declaration of War is out of a half-sister to Belmont S. (G1) winner Union Rags. Declaration of War stood his first season at Coolmore's headquarters in Fethard, Co. Tipperary where he commanded a fee of €40,000 and proved extremely popular with European breeders. "Declaration of War has an incredibly similar profile to Giant's Causeway who also joined us after standing a single season in Ireland," said Ashford manager Dermot Ryan. A fee will be announced at a later date...
Alexis Tangier (Tiznow) and Diversy Harbor (Curlin) head a field of 14 entered in Saturday's $100,000 Autumn Miss (G3) at Santa Anita. Only 10 will be allowed to start in the one-mile turf test for three-year-old fillies, with four runners on the also-eligible list, and Alexis Tangier brings a two-race win streak into the race for Richard Mandella, capturing her stakes debut most recently, the September 27 Unzip Me. Victor Espinoza has the mount. Diversy Harbor opened her racing career with a pair of victories earlier this year, including the China Doll at Santa Anita in early March, and followed with three straight stakes placings. Runner-up in the American Oaks (G1) three starts back, the Tom Proctor-trained lass will look to turn things around following a couple of unplaced efforts versus stakes foes at Del Mar. Mike Smith rides. Lexie Lou (Sligo Bay), winner of the Queen's Plate on Polytrack three starts back, also rates as a serious contender for trainer Mark Casse...
Eight juveniles will line up in Saturday evening's $200,000 Jean Lafitte S. going a mile at Delta Downs in preparation for the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) on November 22. Only three in the field have prior stakes experience, with Waha Wild (Offlee Wild) breaking his maiden in the Evangeline Downs Star last out on August 30, Sharon's Boy (Scrimshaw) finishing fourth in the Louisiana Cup Juvenile and sixth last out in the Sunday Silence and Big Big Easy (Midshipman) fading to ninth in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile two back. The remainder of the group is comprised of three maiden winners and two still seeking a first career victory...
There figures to be plenty of early speed in Friday night's $100,000 My Trusty Cat S., a seven-furlong prelude to next month's Delta Downs Princess (G3). Among those expected to show early gas are morning-line favorites Vivian Da Bling (Too Much Bling) and Sandy's Song (First Samurai). Vivian Da Bling, a tiring fourth in the Adirondack S. (G2) at Saratoga last time, romped by a combined margin of more than 15 lengths in her first two outings over the summer at Lone Star Park, while Sandy's Song enters off a maiden score at Los Alamitos after placing in two starts over Del Mar's Polytrack. Exiting open company wins at Louisiana Downs are allowance scorer Private Promise (Private Vow) and 7 1/2-length maiden winner Fantasy Queen (K One King). Joy of the Saints (Saint Afleet), a multiple stakes winner in the Louisiana-bred ranks, and Casual Class (Erlton), an eight-length, state-bred maiden winner on debut, also merit respect...
Guy Henderson, a former international business lawyer and equity partner with the global law firm Allen & Overy, has been appointed chief executive of Ascot Racecourse, replacing the retiring Charles Barnett. Henderson will take up his post in January. Henderson is currently chairman of Wincanton Racecourse, where he has been on the board since 2010. He has owned racehorses across Britain for nearly 10 years. Henderson is an overseas member of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and between 2007 and 2013 was chair of The Horse Trust, the UK's leading funder of research and educational projects to benefit equine welfare. "The board is delighted to be announcing Guy's appointment," said Johnny Weatherby, chairman of Ascot. "He has had an outstanding career as a commercial lawyer demonstrating skills ideally suited to the multi-faceted role that chief executive of Ascot now demands. Guy has the skills and experience to build on the legacy that Charles Barnett will leave."
For Thursday or Next Raceday
OCTOBER 24, 2014
by John Mucciolo
There was no graded racing at Belmont Park this past week.
A total of 39 races were held at the Elmont, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 51 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 67 percent of the wins during the week. From 25 races on the main oval, seven animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (28 percent), while none of the 14 races on the lawn were taken all the way on the front.
Speed was best on the main oval on Thursday, when four led at every call en route to victory. We thought the muddy, sealed oval had a lot to do with that, though. With more than half of the races this week won by betting favorites, we can't complain about any biased surfaces.
HORSES TO WATCH
4TH -- KING OF NEW YORK (Street Boss) had no chance reeling in the clear winner who was alone on the lead, but the Kenny McPeek trainee was clearly second best and should be graduating before long.
9TH -- The Chad Brown-trained R Y SQUADRON (Stormy Atlantic) showed speed and held well in the lane to be a clear second to a sharp and more experienced winner in this solid debut outing. The juvenile filly overcame a tricky rail draw and will likely be very tough in her subsequent outing.
3RD -- HIGH NOON RIDER (Distorted Humor) tracked from off the pace, made a nice middle move to get in range and finished up a solid third in a decent first run under Joe Bravo. The George Weaver-trained juvenile colt is a useful prospect to keep an eye on going forward in these ranks at the very least.
6TH -- STREET GAME (Street Cry) was last early, made some headway to the top of the lane and closed with a huge rush in engulfing the early leader and drawing off late. The Michelle Nevin trainee might get a class rise after such a dominant run.
1ST -- TIZQUICK (Tiz Wonderful) was unhurried early, began to get closer nearing the head of the lane and closed with fine energy in proving to be a very popular winner in the opener. The John Kimmel trainee came home in a brisk :23 4/5 and should have a pretty bright future with expected improvement.
4TH -- KHARAFA (Kitalpha) engaged the favorite early, dusted that one and then held off another test en route to a fine stakes win for Timmy Hills. The Empire State-bred put in one of the better races of her lifetime, getting her final five-sixteenths in a strong :29 2/5 on the "good" turf.
8TH -- We've been waiting for a while for EFFINEX (Mineshaft) to duplicate a fine allowance win in the spring, and the sophomore colt finally did at a nice price in here. The Jimmy Jerkens trainee has shown big improvement in a trio of runs since moving to this outfit, posting a 104 BRIS Speed figure beneath Angel Arroyo.
5TH -- STRICT COMPLIANCE (Into Mischief) did everything right but win in a fine first offering for Chad Brown, falling just short in the end behind a decent prospect. The juvenile filly will be in the winner's circle soon with even slight improvement, and could be a nice one with further development.
7TH -- OVERPREPARED (Elusive Quality) pressed the pace, took a lead at the top of the lane and cruised home with authority in a professional debut run for conditioner Todd Pletcher. The well-meant filly could simply be any kind.
A Look Ahead
A pair of graded races will take place this week at Belmont Park. Saturday will play host to the Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler Handicap and Sunday will feature the Grade 3, $200,000 Turnback the Alarm Stakes.
Click here for the monthly October Calendar
At a Glance
AT A GLANCE SCHEDULE
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