Archive for October, 2009

Jockey Julia Brimo in critical condition following spill

Jockey Julia Brimo, who suffered injuries when her mount, Golden Stride, clipped heels and fell during today’s first race at Keeneland, has been listed in critical condition by the University of Kentucky Medical Center.

Brimo was traveling along the rail on Golden Stride inside of Gihon midway through the 1 1/8-mile race over the Polytrack. When she attempted to advance, it appeared Brimo and her mount bumped with Gihon and the ricochet back caused Golden Stride to clip heels with Major Advantage just in front of her.

Keeneland medical personnel initially reported her vital signs were stable in the track’s first aid room.

A native of Ontario, Canada, Brimo won the Sovereign Award as the top apprentice jockey in Canada for 2003, when she rode 75 winners. After being involved with hunters and jumpers, Brimo began her riding career in 2001 and scored her first career victory in June 2002 at Fort Erie aboard a 13-1 shot named Four Storms.

In May 2007, Daily Racing Form reported that Brimo had galloped horses for trainer Mark Casse in Ocala, Florida, during the most recent winter and spring and then had galloped horses at Turfway Park, Keeneland and Churchill Downs for Casse and for trainers Mark Frosted, Roger Attfield and Dallas Stewart.

Among the horses Brimo galloped for Casse was Sealy Hill, who was named Canada’s 2007 Horse of the Year.

Jeff Johnston, the Midwest regional representative for the Jockeys’ Guild, said Guild national manager Terry Meyocks was at the hospital with Brimo but had no further details about her condition or her injuries.

At Keeneland, Brimo had ridden in two previous races during the fall meeting prior to the start of racing today. In her career, she has 163 wins from 1,612 mounts. Horses she has ridden have earned $5,536,274.

Golden Stride fell halfway through the 1 1/8-mile race but suffered no major injuries.

HorseplayerPro to hold live chats at Churchill

HorseplayerPro has entered into an agreement with Churchill Downs Incorporated to provide interactive on-line chats during November’s Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds live racing cards. The first CDI chat will coincide with Churchill Downs’ opening day, Sunday, November 1.

The live chats begin every raceday with 30 minutes to post for the first race and go through the entire card, giving at-home fans and players a chance to ask HorseplayerPRO and Churchill Downs handicappers for advice, while also chatting with other racing fans. Fans can log on to Churchilldowns.com or Horseplayerpro.com to take part in the free service. The Churchill chats will be hosted by Jeremy Plonk and Joe Kristufek, with frequent on-track analysis from track announcer Mark Johnston, Jill Byrne, John Asher, Darren Rogers and more.

HorseplayerPRO also will team with Breeders’ Cup Ltd. in presenting the official live chats of the Nov. 6-7 championships. The full-card, two-day chats will be available at Breederscup.com, Breederscup360.com and Horseplayerpro.com. At Breederscup.com, the chats are integrated alongside the live simulcast video presentation shown at tracks and OTBS around the world.

NYRA hands down six-month penalty for Mullins

The New York Racing Association announced today that it has imposed a six-month penalty on trainer Jeff Mullins for violating monitoring barn rules and regulation earlier this year. For the term of this penalty, Mullins will be denied entry in NYRA races and denied access to NYRA grounds.

On April 4, 2009 at Aqueduct, Mullins administered Air Power, a cough medicine, to the horse Gato Go Win in the security barn prior to his expected start in the Bay Shore Stakes. The horse was scratched by the stewards and not permitted to race.

Following an administrative hearing conducted over two days where NYRA’s integrity counsel  Getnick & Getnick and presented NYRA’s case and where Mullins was represented by counsel, Mullins was found by an adjudicative panel to be in violation of the charges. Following a review of the panel’s findings, NYRA senior management imposed the penalty announced today.

“The events leading up to the imposition of today’s penalties demonstrates NYRA’s twin commitments to racing integrity and due process,” said Steven Duncker, chairman of NYRA’s Board of Directors in a statement. “NYRA got it right on the race day and thereafter. The horse was scratched. NYRA provided a full and fair hearing. I am proud of NYRA’s demonstrated seriousness in handling this matter.”

Added NYRA Integrity Counsel Neil Getnick,” Racing integrity is a top priority for NYRA at all times. Today’s penalty reinforces NYRA’s commitment to maintaining a level playing field for its owners, trainers and the public.”

Medaglia d’Oro to stand for $100,000 in 2010

Medgalia d’Oro, sire of leading Horse of the Year candidate Rachel Alexandra, will stand for an advertised fee of $100,000 in 2010, Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley operation announced today.

Darley purchased a majority interest in Medaglia d’Oro earlier this year from Stonewall Stallions, where he stood this past year for $60,000.

Street Cry, sire of undefeated champion Zenyatta, will remain at $150,000 for 2010, the same fee he commanded this past season. Elusive Quality also stays at $75,000 while Bernardini had his fee reduced to $60,000, down from $75,000 in 2009.

“We have a wonderful line up of stallions and the achievements of Street Cry, Medaglia d’Oro and Elusive Quality throughout this year have been outstanding,” said Oliver Tait, chief operating officer of Darley America. “We are excited by the progeny of our young stallions, some of which will be seen for the first time at the upcoming breeding stock sales and we are looking forward to talking to our clients in the coming weeks.”

Here is the entire Darley America roster for 2010:

Darley America
Street Cry $150,000
Medaglia d’Oro $100,000
Elusive Quality $75,000
Bernardini $60,000
Street Sense $50,000
Hard Spun $35,000
Any Given Saturday $25,000
Henny Hughes $25,000
Discreet Cat $20,000
Street Boss $20,000
Quiet American $15,000
Rockport Harbor $12,500
E Dubai $10,000
Holy Bull $10,000
Consolidator $7,500
Offlee Wild $7,500

Breeders’ Cup boasts 166 pre entries, Zenyatta leaning toward Classic

Led by the undefeated Zenyatta, Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, Belmont Stakes and Travers winner Summer Bird, and European standouts Goldikova (IRE) and Rip Van Winkle (IRE), 166 horses, including 10 defending or former Breeders’ Cup Champions, have been pre-entered for the 2009 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

The 26th Breeders’ Cup World Championships consisting of 14 races and purses totaling $25.5 million, will be held at Santa Anita Park on Friday, Nov., 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7 during the Oak Tree Racing Association meeting. This will mark the first time that the Breeders’ Cup will be held at the same track in consecutive years.

Zenyatta, the 5-year-old super mare, winner of all 13 of her career starts including last year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, has been pre-entered with first preference to race against male horses in the 1 ¼ mile, $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, Zenyatta has won all four of her starts this year against female competition, including most recently the Lady’s Secret Stakes over the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita. Zenyatta, who has also been pre-entered in the Ladies’ Classic on Championship Friday, has never before raced against males. If she can win the 1 ¼ mile Classic, she will surpass the mark of Personal Ensign, who also won all 13 of her career starts while facing top competition.

Zenyatta’s main challengers in the Classic come from an array of international standouts led by Drs. K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman’s 3-year-old Summer Bird, winner of three Grade I races. Trained by Tim Ice, Summer Bird got rolling during the second half of the year, capturing the Belmont Stakes, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Last year, European horses won five Breeders’ Cup races and ran one-two (Raven’s Pass and Henrythenavigator) in last year’s Classic. This year, there are 37 horses from Europe pre-entered. Trainer Aidan O’Brien brings two 3-year-old standouts for this year’s Classic in Rip Van Winkle (IRE) and Mastercraftsman (IRE). Rip Van Winkle captured the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in July and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in September. Mastercraftsman won the St. James’s Palace at Royal Ascot in June and most recently took the Diamond Stakes at Dundalk in Ireland by five lengths. Mastercraftsman has also been pre-entered in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live on ABC/ESPN and in more than 130 foreign countries.

“Based on the strength of the pre-entries, in a little more than a week at Santa Anita, racing fans around the world will be treated to full fields of the best horses from both the US and abroad and to two very enticing days of watching, wagering and rooting for their favorites, said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Greg Avioli.

The 4-year-old Gio Ponti, who dominated the turf division this year in the US with four Grade 1 wins, including the Arlington Million, and the 7-year-old gelding, Einstein, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap, last March, have also been pre-entered in the Classic.

Zenyatta is one of a record 10 defending or former Breeders’ Cup Champions to be pre-entered: Ventura (Filly& Mare Sprint); Forever Together (Filly & Mare Turf); Maram (Juvenile Fillies Turf); Muhannak (IRE) (Marathon); Desert Code (Turf Sprint); Goldikova (Mile); Midshipman (Juvenile); Conduit (IRE) (Turf) and Red Rocks (IRE) (2006 Turf).

John Gosden trained last year’s Classic winner Raven’s Pass. This year, he brings an outstanding 4-year-old filly in Dar Re Mi (GB), owned by Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber, for the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf at 1 ½ miles. Dar Re Mi is also pre-entered in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, where she earned an automatic qualifying berth when she won the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland. She is one of 20 horses pre-entered, who gained automatic berths into the Breeders’ Cup through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series.

The 4-year-old Conduit returns to defend his title in the Turf for owner Ballymacoll Stud and trainer Sir Michael Stoute. Conduit has won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes this year. Stoute also has pre-entered Juddmonte Farms’ Spanish Moon, who captured the Prix Foy at Longchamp and the group 1 Prix de St. Cloud in France this year. Front-running Presious Passion, with four victories this year, qualified by winning the UN Handicap at Monmouth this year, and also tacked on the Clement Hirsch Invitational three weeks ago at Santa Anita.

Last year, Augustin Stables’ Forever Together stormed down the course to win the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. The 5-year-old mare, trained by Jonathan Sheppard, is back to defend her title against Yellow Ribbon Stakes winner Magical Fantasy and Juddmonte Farms’ 3-year-old filly Midday (GB), who won the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

The 4-year-old filly Goldikova, one of the top rated Thoroughbreds in the world, seeks to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf again for trainer Freddie Head, who rode Miesque to back to back victories in the 1987-‘88 editions of the Mile. Goldikova has won three Group 1 races this year, including the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville by six lengths. The American challengers include Oak Tree Mile winner Cowboy Cal and Shadwell Turf Mile winner Court Vision. The Michael Stoute trained Zacinto (GB), second to Rip Van Winkle in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Delegator (GB), winner of the Celebration Mile at Goodwood for Godolphin, have also been pre-entered.

If Zenyatta’s connections opt for the Classic, then two fillies who could vie for favoritism in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic are the 3-year-old Careless Jewel, winner of the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga and Godolphin’s 4-year-old filly Music Note, winner of the Ballerina at Saratoga and Beldame at Belmont Park. The John Shirreffs-trained 4-year-old filly Life is Sweet, winner of the Santa Margarita at Santa Anita in the winter, and second to Zenyatta in the Lady’s Secret, has also been pre-entered.

Trainer Bob Baffert has won the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint three times, including the last two years with Midnight Lute. This year he unleashed the lightning fast 3-year-old Zensational for Zayat Stables. A winner in five of six starts in 2009, the son of 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Unbridled’s Song has reeled off consecutive Grade 1 scores in the Triple Bend at Hollywood Park and the Bing Crosby and Pat O’Brien at Del Mar. Among the major contenders are the 4-year-old Fatal Bullet, winner of the Phoenix Stakes Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifier at Keeneland, and Kodiak Kowboy, who captured the six furlong Vosburgh in New York. Godolphin has a late closer in Gayego, who zoomed down the lane to win the Ancient Title at Oak Tree.

Ventura is back to defend her title in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, The 4-year-old filly has had another solid season which included defeating males in the Woodbine Mile on turf. She will face a formidable challenge from the Jonathan Sheppard-trained Informed Decision, who has won five of six starts this year, most recently the Thoroughbred Club of America at Keeneland.

Baffert seeks to win the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for the second straight year with the undefeated Lookin at Lucky, who won both the Del Mar Futurity and the Norfolk Stakes at Oak Tree. From the East comes Paul Pompa Jr.’s D’Funnybone, who won the Saratoga Special and the Futurity at Belmont Park.

The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies features Blind Luck, winner of the Oak Leaf Stakes for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, and Devil May Care, trained by Todd Pletcher, who won the Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park.

Einstein works five furlongs at Churchill, leaves for Breeders’ Cup Tuesday

Multiple Grade I winner Einstein, one of the top American hopes for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, zipped a fast five furlongs at Churchill Downs on Sunday in his final pre-race training move over his home track.

Jockey Julien Leparaoux was aboard the seven-year-old son of Spend A Buck as he covered the distance over a “fast” track in :59.80. The work by the Brazlian-bred star was the fastest of 54 at the distance and was accomplished in the company of a pair of 2-year-old stablemates from the barn of trainer Helen Pitts.

Einstein was timed in fractions of :23.80 and :36, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.80. After he passed his workmates Einstein took aim on another horse that happened to be working in front of him during his run through the stretch.

“We started about three or four lengths behind, but I caught them at the three-eighths pole and he finished very strong to the wire,” Leparoux told the Churchill notes team. “It was perfect. It was a very nice breeze. He is strong and he’s going to be ready for the Breeders’ Cup.” somebody.”

Pitts said Einstein would leave for California on Tuesday and would have only one major work over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita.

“I just wanted him to have a good, fun, happy breeze today,” Pitts said. “When he gets out there he’ll just have an easy half. The hard part is done now.”

Einstein, who was purchased this summer by Stronach Stables, will attempt to snap a three-race losing streak in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and was most recently second in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar on September 6.

Why not take a shot at it? He likes that track out there and who knows?,” Pitts said of the Breeders’ Cup. “Every Grade I in this country is tough, let alone the Breeders’ Cup, but if anybody deserves a shot, he does. I think he’s tough right now. He’s matured a lot and I think he’s doing great now.”

Grade I winner Icon Project retired

Owner Andrew Rosen announced today that his filly Icon Project, winner of the Grade I Personal Ensign Stakes, has been retired due to a tendon injury.  Purchased for $775,000 at the 2006 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Icon Project is a daughter of Empire Maker out of the Grade I-winning mare La Gueriere.  She retires with four wins and earnings of $660,965.

“It is a shame that Icon Project’s career ended so prematurely.  She was a very nice horse on the grass, but when switched to the dirt she was electrifying, winning two of three starts, all Graded stakes, each by 13 lengths.  With her pedigree, conformation and class, I look forward to her career as a broodmare,” Rosen said.

Marty Wolfson said, “She was probably the best filly I have ever trained.  The 114 Beyer Speed Figure she ran in the Personal Ensign showed how special and talented she was.  I will miss training her.”

IEAH purchases Group II winner Radiohead

The already loaded Breeders’ Cup lineup for IEAH Stables has received an additional boost. The group has purchased a majority interest in Group II winner Radiohead and will point the son of Johannesburg to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita Park on November 7.

Radiohead captured the Group II Norfolk over five furlongs during the Royal Ascot meeting in June and most recently was second in the six-furlong, Group I Shadwell Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on October 2. The chestnut colt will have to be supplemented to the Breeders’ Cup.

“We finalized the deal two days ago and he will run in the Juvenile Turf,” said Michael Iavarone, president of IEAH. “I think his class in Europe was up there among the best and he was doing things you want to see a 2-year-old do this time of year.”

Radiohead will remain with trainer Brian Meehan through the Breeders’ Cup but will eventually be transferred to Rick Dutrow, IEAH’s primary conditioner.

Though Radiohead has never run beyond six furlongs, Iavarone feels his running style and pedigree will help him stretch out beyond a mile.

“With Johannesburg in his family he could maybe translate to a mile,” Iavarone said. “I’m not worried about the distance though. He’s been doing most of his running at the end of his races rather than the beginning of his races and if it doesn’t work out around two turns…there is nothing wrong with having a great sprinter.”

IEAH’s Court Vision, winner of the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 10, was also in action Friday morning, working four furlongs over the turf at Aqueduct in :49.63 in preparation for his start in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

“He worked fantastic this morning,” Iavarone said of the move.

While Court Vision will head to the Mile, IEAH has opted to point Diamondrella, winner of the Grade I First Lady Stakes at Keeneland, to the 6 1/2-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint instead.

“We felt the 1 1/4-miles (of the Filly and Mare Turf) was probably too long for her and the mile was probably at the end of her scope,” Iavarone said. “Plus, we thought it was best to keep her and Court Vision apart and it gives us the most chances to win as many races as possible that day.”

Tickets available for Thoroughbred Club of America dinner

While Keeneland and the upcoming Breeders’ Cup have the attention of most in the Thoroughbred racing business at the moment, the good people with the Thoroughbred Club of America are preparing to honor one of the most respected members of the industry next month.

Catesby Clay, chairman of Runnymede Farm in Paris, Kentucky, will be the honored guest this season at the 78th annual TCA testimonial dinner. In addition to being a top consignor at major auctions, Runnymede has raised such top runners as multiple graded stakes winner Awesome Gem, Grade I winner Marylebone and Japanese champion Agnes Digital.

The dinner will be held on Sunday, November 15 at the Keeneland Clubhouse second floor main dinning room. The event is open to the public and tickets are $75 per person. Cocktails begin at 6:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, please call Betty Flynn at 859-254-4282 or write P.O. Box 8098, Lexington, KY 40502.

Breeders’ Cup, Betfair reach wagering agreement

Breeders’ Cup Ltd. today announced simulcasting and licensing agreements with Betfair Group Limited which will permit common-pool wagering on the 2009 Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be held at Santa Anita on November 6 and 7.

The landmark agreement marks the first time that Betfair will commingle into the Breeders’ Cup pools. This will provide Betfair’s worldwide customer base of over 2.5m with access to common-pool betting on the Championships.

“Our agreement with Betfair is an important milestone in our ongoing effort to grow the international simulcast wagering market for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships,”  said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO, Greg Avioli. “As more and more international horses participate in our championships, interest levels and wagering handle from around the world continue to increase, allowing us to maintain the highest possible purse levels for the event.”

The licensing agreement will allow Betfair to live video stream the Breeders’ Cup races via its website and to promote exchange wagering for their international customers. The grant of license rights will permit Betfair to use the Breeders’ Cup marks and advertising in the marketing of the Championships.

The agreement will see the Breeders’ Cup receive agreed revenues from Betfair’s tote and exchange betting on the Championships.

Betfair’s Director of Horseracing Stephen Burn commented: “We are delighted to provide our customers with the ability to directly access the tote pools to America’s premier racing event. “Our partnership with the Breeders’ Cup is the beginning of what we intend to be a mutually beneficial partnership with US racing.”

International handle bet directly into the Breeders’ Cup pools on the 2008 Breeders’ Cup World Championships was $17.6 million, up 16% from 2007 and 34% from 2006.

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