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Close Hatches makes it no contest in G1 Personal Ensign

Edited NYRA release:

Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Close Hatches left no doubt about her status as the leader of this year’s distaff ranks. On Friday at Saratoga Race Course, the 4-year-old daughter of First Defence went to the lead and never looked back, running away to a dominant five-length victory in the Grade I, $500,000 Personal Ensign for fillies and mares.


Close Hatches was favored at 9-5 in the Personal Ensign against six competitors, all graded stakes winners, including four-time Grade I winner and Ogden Phipps runner-up Princess of Sylmar. After racing in second outside of Antipathy during the opening stages, Close Hatches claimed the top spot on the first turn after the early leader was taken firmly in hand by her rider.


Ahead by 2 ¼ lengths through an opening quarter-mile in 23.05 seconds, Close Hatches dictated a steady pace along the backstretch, running the half in 46.61 over the muddy, sealed main track. She held a two-length advantage through three-quarters in 1:11.12 and drew clear in the stretch under hand urging from jockey Joel Rosario.


Fiftyshadesofhay finished second and was 3 ¾ lengths clear of third-place finisher Stanwyck. Antipathy, second choice Princess of Sylmar, Belle Gallantey, and Majestic River completed the order of finish.


Close Hatches, who is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for Juddmonte, completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.62. The Personal Ensign was her third straight Grade I victory and fifth top-level triumph of her career.


“I did not expect it to be wire-to-wire. It looked like another horse was going to go to the lead,” said Rosario. “It looked like Irad (Ortiz, Jr.) took a little hold (of Antipathy) and I just took my position. Turning for home, I expected Princess of Sylmar to show up, but she didn’t. (My horse) looked good out there; she was doing it nice and easy and it was a good race for her. She’s a nice filly with a long stride. I’m not surprised she went that fast.”


As a 3-year-old, Close Hatches won the Grade I Mother Goose and Grade I Cotillion and was second to Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She opened her 4-year-old season with victories in the Grade II Azeri and Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park before defeating Princess of Sylmar and Antipathy in a blanket finish in the Grade I Ogden Phipps. Beholder, the 2013 champion 3-year-old filly, was fourth in the Phipps.


Overall, Close Hatches is 9-2-0 in 12 starts. The $300,000 winner’s share of the Personal Ensign purse enhanced her bankroll to $2,682,300.


“She’s already a Grade I winner, and she just carried on that tradition today,” said Mott.


Trainer Todd Pletcher made no excuses for Princess of Sylmar, who entered the Personal Ensign off a second to Belle Gallantey in the Grade I Delaware Handicap on July 12.


“It seemed like she was in a decent position and handling [the mud] pretty well,” said Pletcher. “She’s run OK on an off track before.”

Byron ‘Scooter’ Hughes named Kentucky Farm Manager of the Year

Trainer Byron “Scooter” Hughes, best known for conditioning venerable multiple graded stakes winner Rahystrada, has been selected to receive the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Manager Club’s “Ted Bates Farm Manager of the Year” award and will be honored during the organization’s annual reception on Sept. 26 at The Red Mile in Lexington.

Hughes continues a legacy as his father Gail was awarded the Farm Manager of the Year honor in 1987.  The younger Hughes assisted his father in operation of Far Cry Farm and Hughes Management, graduated from the University of Kentucky and then worked at John Hettinger’s Akindale Farm in Palling, N.Y., helping establish it as a stallion station and breeding farm.

Primarily based at The Thoroughbred Center, Hughes gained his share of acclaim in bringing alone Rahystrada. After owner Robert Courtney Jr. purchased Rahystrada privately, Hughes took over the gelding’s training during his 4-year-old season. The chestnut son of Rahy would go on to win three editions of the Grade III Arlington Handicap in 2010, 2012 and 2013 and finished third in the 2012 running of the Grade I Arlington Million.

Rahystrada retired at age 9 with 14 wins from 46 starts and $1,383,730 in earnings.

Other notable horses trained by Hughes include stakes winner Solo Cat and Seniga, a multiple stakes-placed winner.




LoPresti: Wise Dan to be entered in Bernard Baruch

When in doubt, most learned horsemen let their charges tell them what they’re ready to do or not do. Right now, the message trainer Charlie LoPresti is getting from two-time defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan is that he needs to run, pronto.

While his own internal debate continues, LoPresti said the current plan is to go ahead and enter champion Wise Dan in the Grade II, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap going 1 1/16-miles on the turf at Saratoga August 30. The race would be the first start for Morton Fink’s homebred champion gelding since undergoing emergency colic surgery on May 16.

After Wise Dan worked five furlongs in 1:01.64 on the Saratoga main track this past Saturday,  LoPresti indicated he was leaning towards waiting until the Grade I Woodbine Mile on September 16. On Tuesday afternoon, LoPresti said that it was becoming harder to keep the 7-year-old  chestnut son of Wiseman’s Ferry on the ground and that by entering the Bernard Baruch, it gives him more options in case anything goes awry.

“We’re going to enter him and look at it,” LoPresti said from his Saratoga base on Tuesday. “If I don’t enter him, I don’t get a chance to look and see what my competition is, what the weight spread will be, all that stuff. It’s like something that you’re cooking and you can overcook it. I would love to run him in the Woodbine Mile but I might overcook him if I wait that long.

“He’s dragging (exercise rider) Damien Rock around,” LoPresti continued. “He drug him around Monday like he never even worked. He’s wanting more. So how much more can I do…we’re going to have to find out.  I’ve got him right, I’ve got to run somewhere. I can’t just sit on him forever.”

Should Wise Dan end up being assigned an exceptional amount of weight in the Bernard Baruch or  if a deluge of rain were to soak the course that day, LoPresti reiterates he could still end up bypassing that contest and have the Woodbine Mile – a race Wise Dan has won the last two years – as a back up.

Even if the six-time Eclipse Award winner does run in the Bernard Baruch, a trip to Canada may still not totally be ruled out depending on how stressful a race he has in his return effort.

“He’s an amazing horse and I wouldn’t rule out anything,” LoPresti said. “If the Bernard Baruch comes up an easy race and it’s basically a paid workout for him, why wouldn’t I turn around and run him in the Woodbine race. Of if the Bernard Baruch is too tough on him, I have the option of skipping the Woodbine race and going to the Shadwell (at Keeneland in October). I have to have options and that’s why, if I don’t enter him in the Bernard Baruch, I’ll never know.”

Winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile for a third straight year is the main goal for Team Wise Dan. Before being felled by surgery, the champion gelding served notice that such a plan was more that capable of becoming reality as he captured the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in his seasonal bow on April 11 and then won the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 3.

Even though the 10-time Grade I winner did have to undergo surgery, the process was largely exploratory as they did not have to resect any portion of his bowel.

“Basically all we were dealing with was healing his incision,” LoPresti said. “The surgeon said the only thing that is going to stop this horse (on his comeback) is if he colics again. It’s made me realize that nothing for sure in what you do, you should never take anything for granted.”





Hardest Core an unlikely, deserving hero of Arlington Million

By Alicia Wincze Hughes

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Illinois – The heart and soul  of Arlington Park is rooted in the fact it was literally built on creating surreal results from seemingly impossible conditions.

Twenty nine years ago, the oft-proclaimed “Miracle” edition of the track’s signature Grade I Arlington Million race was improbably contested 25 days after a fire burned the old facility the earth.


The 31,164 in attendance who witnessed Saturday’s 32nd running of the 1 1/4-miles turf showcase can say they saw a rendition of the test that was a ridiculous marvel to behold its own right.

Hardest Core wasn’t just an upset victor. The 4-year-old gelding who crossed the wire one length in front of six rivals is an example of why hope and chance is the very lifeblood the drives the Thoroughbred industry.


The former would-be steeplechase prospect who nearly died shortly after landing in his new owners’ care last November ran by reigning Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Magician to capture an edition of the Arlington Million that would conservatively be described as a stunner and tear-jerker.

On past credentials, Hardest Core wasn’t in the same zip code as his six challengers in the field that featured defending race winner Real Solution, the aforementioned Magician and Canadian champion Up With the Birds.


In terms of backstory and heart, try finding a equal to the gelded son of Hard Spun. Gregory Bentley purchased the horse for $210,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale and gifted him to his son Andrew – who has Down Syndrome – as a 30th birthday present.


While the Bentleys initially thought the dark bay horse could have a future in steeplechase racing, all plans shifted when Hardest Core nearly lost his life after complications upon him being gelded.


“We got him cut and the next day, he was laying down acting colicy in the field. When I got to him I saw that his intestines were coming out,” said trainer Edward Graham, a former steeplechase rider. “We weren’t sure if he was going to get up, by some miracle he got up. We got him to the New Bolton Center (in Pennsylvania) and…they cut like 15-18 feet (of his intestines).

“Three days after the operation, he was in the feed tub, banging the feed tub. He’s tough.”


Such fortitude is possessed by the most exceptional of animals and with his recovery underway, Hardest Core also convinced his people he probably still had something left in terms of flat racing, having won three of his prior eight starts.


In his first start for Graham and the Bentley family at Parx this June, he won a 1 1/16-miles allowance turf test by three lengths. The Cape Henlopen Stakes at Delaware Park produced the same results and after debating between the Million and going in the American St. Leger on the day’s undercard, the former won out – as did the gelding himself.


“I’m very proud of Andrew’s continued interest in racing and…it’s just another example of believing in people and what they can accomplish given the chance,” said Gregory Bentely, who lives in Unionville, PA and works in the software business. “We were pretty philosophical about his expectations (after surgery) but his resilience was amazing. We didn’t want to rule out anything in terms of his potential because you could say it’s all been upside.

“He has a certain character and steadfastness.”

There is also the matter of his athleticism and turn of foot.

Sent off at odds of 11-to-1 under jockey Eriluis Vaz, Hardest Core saved ground on the inside path while tracking midpack just inside of Real Solution as Side Glance cut fractions of :25, :49.45 and 1:13.67 on the front end.

Magician, who stalked Side Glance throughout, angled out under Joseph O’Brien and began unleashing the kick that earned him Breeders’ Cup accolades as the field rounded the final turn.

Vaz did a masterful job of keeping Hardest Core balanced as he bobbled slightly while swinging out to take aim at the two leaders. Despite drifting out in the lane, the duo kept coming en route to hitting the wire in 2:01.51 over a course rate firm.

“He’s a good horse, he’s a nice horse, and I knew he was going to make his run,” said Vaz. “I have to thank the owner and the trainer, they have been so supportive, and it’s amazing.”


Real Solution, who was attempting to become the first back-to-back winner of the Million, faded badly after racing along in third early on, finishing last in the seven-horse field.


“I had a beautiful trip, unfortunately he didn’t show up today,” jockey Javier Castellano said.

Previously trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Hardest Core improved his record to six wins from 11 career starts with $842,580 in earnings.

A trip to the Breeders’ Cup Turf was earned should his connections so chose as a virtue of his Million triumph.

Graham laughed he had ‘no idea’ was the next immediate goal may be. They also didn’t rule out one day trying the gelding over fences.

No one would question them right now for thinking he can achieve all that is asked.

“I only get excited (watching Hardest Core),” Andrew Bentley said. “Never nervous.”

In the day’s other Grade I contests at Arlington Park, Team Valor’s Euro Charline made it worth her connection’s while to ship her halfway across the globe as she prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Grade I winner Stephanie’s Kitten in the $750,000 Beverly D.


Euro Charline, who had been running in England, became the first 3-year-old to win the 1 3/16 miles Beverly D. and will now remain in the states under the care of trainer Todd Pletcher.

The Grade I, $500,000 Secretariat Stakes saw even-money favorite Adelaide live up to his billing when he stalked the pace of front-running Tourist and overtook that one despite drifting way wide in the stretch to triumph by 1 1/2 lengths.


Adelaide was making his second start in the states, having run second in the Grade I Belmont Derby on July 5.

Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676.  Blog: Twitter: @horseracinghl.


Wise Dan progresses toward comeback, Woodbine Mile now likely

The race that will mark the anticipated comeback of two-time reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan is something trainer Charlie LoPresti admits he is still wrestling with. But the champion gelding continued to please his connections in his preparations, working five furlongs in 1:01.64 over the Saratoga main track on Saturday morning.

He did really good we were really pleased with him,” LoPresti said from Saratoga. “Last week was when I really pushed him because I felt like he had enough bottom in him. That was the work I really tightened the screws down on and I expected him to work like his old self. It’s just been a slow process getting him to where I wanted him to be.”

Following what was Wise Dan’s sixth work back after undergoing emergency colic surgery at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital on May 16, LoPresti said he felt Morton Fink’s homebred has “really turned the corner in the last three weeks” and that the biggest challenge right now is picking out a spot that best sets the 7-year-old gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry up for his fall campaign.

The Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga on August 30 remains under consideration for Wise Dan, but LoPresti said that he and Fink are currently leaning toward waiting for the Grade I Woodbine Mile – a race Wise Dan has won the last two years – on September 16.

I’m fighting my head about it to be honest with you,” LoPresti said. “I’m not sure what the right thing to do is. If I run him in Bernard Baruch, I blow any chance of going to Woodbine with him. Mr. Fink and I talked about it a little bit last week and…he’s leaning and I am more leaning towards the Woodbine race to be honest only because the loves that turf course.

“He doesn’t have to carry the weight, it’s a million-dollar Grade I race. It’s not about the money with him, it’s about the Grade I status and the kind of horse we still think he is.”

If Wise Dan does head to Woodbine rather than the Bernard Baruch, LoPresti says the “perfect world” scenario have him head to the Grade I, $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland in October as his lead up to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, where he will attempt to claim that test for the third consecutive time.

We could run him at Woodbine, run the Shadwell,  the Breeders’ Cup and if he comes out of the Breeders’ Cup and it all went right, could run in (Grade I) Clark (Handicap on the dirt at Churchill Downs in November) and put him away,” LoPresti said.

Grade I Verrazano to retire to Ashford Stud

Multiple Grade I Verrazano has been retired from racing and will stand at Ashford Stud for 2015, owners Coolmore Stud announced Thursday.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien said in statement that the son of More Than Ready was found to be lame following his ninth-place finish in the Group I Coral Eclipse Stakes on July 5 and said the injury would prevent him from contesting the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park this year.

“Although it is not a significant injury, time would not permit us to have him ready for the Breeders’ Cup so the decision has been made to retire him,” said O’Brien. “It’s very disappointing as he ran two lovely races on his first two starts for us and we had been looking forward to a great season with him.”

Previously trained by Todd Pletcher, Verrazano was initially slated to retire to Ashford Stud, the Kentucky-based arm of Coolmore Stud, for the 2014 season. It was announced in February that the bay colt would actually remain in training this year and he was transferred to O’Brien’s Ireland-based Ballydoyle Stables for a campaign on turf. He finished second to Toronado in the Group I Queen Anne Stakes on the opening day of the Royal Ascot meeting and was third to Olympic Glory in the Group I Lockinge Stakes.

While being campaigned by Let’s Go Stable, Verrazano burst on the scene as a 3-year-old, winning his first four career starts including the Grade I Wood Memorial. After finishing a disappointing 14th in the Kentucky Derby last May, Verrazano came back to win the Grade III Pegasus Stakes and Grade I Haskell Invitational before running seventh in the Grade I Travers Stakes.

In his final outings last season, Verrazano ran fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and was third in the Grade I Cigar Mile, both against older horses.

“Verrazano is a striking individual to a look at: a really gorgeous horse,” Pletcher said. “He always impressed me, both in the mornings and in the afternoons. His run in the Haskell was a monstrous effort. He just blew them away that day.”

Collmus to be new track announcer for NYRA; search for new Churchill voice underway

Seven months after announcing noted race caller Larry Collmus as just the seventh track announcer in Churchill Downs history,  officials with the Louisville oval are having to again search for a new voice as it was announced on Wednesday Collmus was taking over the position for the New York Racing Association beginning in April 2015.

Collmus succeeds the legendary Tom Durkin as the voice of NYRA. Durkin announced in May he would be calling his final race for the circuit at Saratoga on August 31, bringing a close to his 43-year career – the last 24 of which have been spent with NYRA.

Collmus was announced as the Churchill Downs track announcer this February, replacing British-based Mark Johnson who had served in that role from 2009-2013. Collmus will honor his one-year contract with Churchill and continue to call the upcoming September and Fall meets this year.

“We pretty much knew when were hired Larry that there was one job in the country that could lure him away from Churchill Downs and that was the NYRA job,” said Darren Rogers, senior director of communications for Churchill Downs. “We didn’t expect it to happen so quickly but you know when the announcement of Tom Durkin’s retirement was revealed in the spring, that obviously changed the landscape and moved up that timetable.

“The opportunity for him to take the post at NYRA I know for him is a once in a  lifetime opportunity,” Rogers continued. “He can call a lot of great races over there and the number of racing days are well beyond the 70 or so that we typically offer during the calendar year at Churchill Downs. We wish Larry the very best and we understand.”

Since Collmus also serves as the voice of the Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown races for NBC Sports, he will still get to call the Kentucky Derby for the national television audience.

“We have no leverage with the Derby,” Rogers laughed. “He’s going to call it anyway.”

Collmus, 47,  also calls races during the winter months at Gulfstream Park and will continue in that role in addition to his duties with NBC Sports. John Imbriale, Director of TV Production for NYRA, will call the 2014 Belmont fall meet and will continue to serve as the main race caller at Aqueduct Racetrack, with the exception of the month of April.

“I’d like to thank everyone at Churchill Downs who treated me very well during my brief time there,” Collmus said. “I am trading one dream job for another. I’m also very happy that The New York Racing Association is also giving me the opportunity to continue my work at NBC and to call the winter at Gulfstream.”

Rogers added that Churchill Downs has already started the process of seeking out a new race caller but that “we really don’t have any timetable.” He downplay the notion that the track would hold an audition-type process similar to the one used when Johnson ultimately got the job.

Several names have already been tossed about on social media sites as possible key candidates for the Churchill position, including that of Bobby Neuman, the current announcer at Calder Race Course and one of the five finalists for the Churchill Downs job in 2008 when the search was on to replace the late Luke Kruytbosch following his unexpected death from an apparent heart attack.

“We have plenty of talented race callers that have a wide-range of talent and individual style,” Rogers said. “We’ll be looking for the candidate who is the best fit for racing at Churchill Downs and the honorable duty of being the on-track voice of the Kentucky Derby. But we’re not a a point to talk about any names at this stage.”




Wise Dan works in company on main track at Saratoga

Edited release:

Two-time reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan took to the Saratoga main track Saturday morning, covering six furlongs in 1:13.25 while working in company with stablemate Luzianna Man.


Saturday’s move was the second time trainer Charlie LoPresti has worked Wise Dan on the dirt since arriving in Saratoga, having drilled him five furlongs in 1:02.04 last weekend. LoPresti and owner/breeder Morton Fink opted to bypass running Wise Dan in Saturday’s Grade II Fourstardave Handicap, not wanting to rush the champion gelding back to the races after he underwent emergency colic surgery on May 16.



“I thought he went really well,”  LoPresti said of Saturday’s move. “We broke a horse off about six lengths ahead of him and he caught him, went to the wire with him and galloped out real good. I guess the time was good. I don’t know what the black letter work was today.



“He got a really good blow out of it, so that told me I was probably a couple breezes short of the Fourstardave. Maybe we could have won it, but I think we did the right thing by giving him a little more time.”



LoPresti added the six-furlong team drill was the most rigorous work Wise Dan has logged since undergoing surgery.


“We worked him pretty hard today,” said LoPresti. “I pressed on him today because he needed that kind of work. If he’s going to start getting ready for some of these races I want to see how he comes out of this. He’s not tired, I can tell you that.”


Wise Dan’s next start is still up in the air, according to LoPresti, who will continue to monitor the six-time Eclipse Award winner’s progress before making a decision. The Grade II, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap, run at 1 1/16 miles on turf is most likely but the Grade I, $600,000 Woodward at 1 1/8 miles on dirt remains a slight possibility. Both races are on August 30.


“The only way I’m going to know (which spot to go in) is in a few weeks time when I see how he progresses,” said LoPresti. “If he’s doing really well, why would I wait six weeks to go to Woodbine (in the Grade I Woodbine Mile] when I can run him in four weeks here? Money doesn’t matter with a horse like him now.


A ten-time Grade I winner and two-time defending Breeders’ Cup Mile victor,  Wise Dan opened his 2014 season by winning the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland and Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs before being felled by surgery.


Curlin, Ashado poised for Hall of Fame induction

Edited release:

On Friday morning, champions Curlin and Ashado will take their place among the racing legends set to be enshrined with the Class of 2014 in the Hall of Fame. On Thursday, their trainers reflected on the careers which landed them the sport’s ultimate honor.


Owned in partnership by Starlight Stables, Paul Saylor and Johns Martin, Ashado won 12 of 21 career starts and banked $3,931,440 in purse earnings from 2003 to 2005, and was voted the champion three-year-old filly of 2004 and champion older female in 2005.


A daughter of Saint Ballado, Ashado notched seven Grade I victories from ages 2, 3, and 4 including the Spinaway at Saratoga in 2003, the  Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 2004 and the Ogden Phipps, Beldame and Go for Wand Handicap in 2005.



“It’s quite an accomplishment for any horse or person to make it to that level, so we’re proud of her for being able to do that,” said her trainer, Todd Pletcher. “She was second in the Breeders’ Cup as a 2-year-old, so she was one place away from being a champion three years in a row.”


Ashado becomes the first horse conditioned by Pletcher – a six-time Eclipse Award winner for outstanding trainer – to be inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame.


“She was very good at 2, very good at 3 and very good at 4, and I’m sure had she raced at 5 she would have been good then, too,” Pletcher said. “She was very consistent, and for me, she was the first Kentucky Oaks winner, first Breeders’ Cup winner, and now first Hall of Fame inductee. It’s pretty cool that she’s the first one to accomplish all that.”


Late wine magnate Jess Jackson purchased Curlin following his impressive maiden victory at Gulfstream Park in February 2007 and moved him to the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen. The Smart Strike colt would go on to earn four Eclipse Awards in two years, including back-to-back Horse of the Year titles in 2007 and 2008.


Part of one of the best 3-year-old crops in recent memory, Curlin was third in the Kentucky Derby, won the Preakness and was second in the Belmont Stakes in 2007 before reeling off wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Breeders’ Cup Classic over older horses. In 2008, he captured the $6 million Dubai World Cup, Stephen Foster, Woodward and Jockey Club Gold Cup – all Grade I – and was second in the Grade I Man o’ War on turf and fourth in the first Breeders’ Cup Classic run on a synthetic surface.


He retired as North America’s all-time leading earner with $10,501,800 in purses, winning 11 of 16 starts.


“I think how he responded to difficult situations is what separated him from anything I’ve ever been associated with,” said Asmussen. “For him to get done what he did in the year that he did, against a very fast group of horses that put up tremendous numbers; to have only started your career in February, run in all three Triple Crown races and then beat older horses with everybody still being around in the Classic at the end of the year, you just don’t do it.


“Not only did he do that, but he goes to Dubai the following year, wins the World Cup and then was one of the few horses to come back and still maintain a Grade I level. He built on what he did instead of chipping away at what he did.”


Ashado and Curlin will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with jockey Alex Solis and trainer Gary Jones. Lloyd Hughes, the first jockey to win the Preakness Stakes three times, and Clifford, an elite racehorse of the 1890s, will also be inducted having been elected by the Museum’s Historic Review Committee. Esteemed sportsmen Edward Bradley and Edward  Taylor will be inducted as Pillars of the Turf, a category designated to honor individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Thoroughbred racing in a leadership or pioneering capacity.


The Hall of Fame ceremonies take place at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion beginning at 10:30 a.m. It is open to the public.


The Museum’s executive committee also announced Thursday that prominent racehorse owner and noted philanthropist Gretchen Jackson has been named president of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Jackson succeeds Stella F. Thayer, who has served as the Museum’s president since 2005. Thayer will continue as a member of the Museum’s Board of Trustees.


Jackson, along with her husband, Roy, owns a 190-acre farm in West Grove, Pa., and have raced and bred thoroughbreds since 1978. Racing as Lael Stables, Jackson campaigned 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and won the Eclipse Award for outstanding owner that year.

Delta Princess, dam of Royal Delta, euthanized at age 15

Delta Princess, the dam of champion distaffer Royal Delta, was euthanized on Tuesday due to a degenerative stifle condition at the age of 15.

By A.P. Indy out of the Group II winner Lyphard’s Delta, Delta Princess was a multiple graded stakes winner on the track, retiring with earning of $740,918. It was in the breeding shed where she truly distinguished herself, producing three graded stakes horses from her first four foals, including three-time Eclipse Award winner, Royal Delta.

Royal Delta captured back-to-back editions of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 2011 and 2012 and retired with 12 wins from 22 starts and $4,811,126 in earnings. Days after her first Breeders’ Cup triumph, Royal Delta was purchased for $8.5 million by Ben Leon at the 2011 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale, the same auction in which Adena Springs purchased Delta Princess for $2.6 million.

“It is with great sadness that we had to humanely euthanize Delta Princess early this morning,” said Adena Springs’ general manager, Eric Hamelback. “Her chronic stifle issue caused her significant discomfort overnight and it was clear that it was our only course of action. She was a remarkable producer throughout her career and we are all deeply saddened that it was cut so short.”

Beyond Royal Delta, Delta Princess’ produce have been highly sought-after at the sales. Her daughter Crown Queen sold as a weanling for $1.6 million at the same  2011 Keeneland November sale and her current two-year-old son Khozan sold for $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton March 2-year-olds in training sale.

Delta Princess produced a colt by Street Cry in 2013, and was barren for 2014. She was in foal to Awesome Again at the time of her death.

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