|Oxbow Never Looks Back in Preakness Upset|
Date Posted: 5/18/2013 8:40:42 PM Last Updated: 5/19/2013 9:55:49 PM
Calumet Farm's Oxbow gunned to the front from the gate in the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 18 and never looked back to post a 1 3/4-length victory at 15-1 (VIDEO).
Heavy favorite Orb, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), made a bid on the backstretch, fell back along the inside, and then rallied mildly to finish fourth. Itsmyluckyday ran second, with Mylute third.
Gary Stevens rode the winner for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who captured the Preakness for the sixth time. Oxbow, winner of the grade III Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) earlier this year, covered the 1 3/16 miles at Pimlico Race Course in 1:57.54 on a fast track.
Only Robert Wyndham Walden, with seven training wins from 1875-88, has more Preakness victories than Lukas.
Oxbow joined the Lukas-trained Codex (1980), Tank’s Prospect (1985), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995) and Charismatic (1999) as a Preakness champion. Oxbow’s triumph also created history for Stevens, who became the oldest jockey, at 50, to ride a Preakness winner. Eldon Nelson was 45 when he rode Bee Bee Bee to an upset win in 1972.
The Lukas-trained winner also made more history for his owner, Calumet Farm, which celebrated its record eighth Preakness success and first since Forward Pass’s victory in 1968.
A 3-year-old colt by Awesome Again out of the Cee's Tizzy mare Tizamazing, Oxbow was bred in Kentucky by Colts Neck Stables.
Oxbow finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby after making a solid move on the backstretch on the sloppy track. He snapped a four-race loss string since his win in the Lecomte. The victory, his third from 11 starts, was worth $600,000 and boosted his career bankroll to $983,500.
"He didn't get a lot of respect even after his great performance (in the Derby)," said Stevens, the Hall of Fame rider who returned to competition this year after a seven-year retirement. "We came back and breezed him (May 12), and what you saw (in the Preakness) is exactly how he acted in the workout.
"We came in here with a lot of confidence," added Stevens after his third Preakness triumph. "When I hit the half-mile pole, I said, 'Are you kidding me? Is this happening?' The race was over at that point. I just walked the dog to the half-mile pole."
Oxbow broke from post 6 and quickly opened up by almost two lengths over Goldencents in second, Titletown Five in third, and Itsmyluckyday, widest of all in fourth. The first quarter-mile was :23.94 and the half-mile in :48.60; that was the point jockey Joel Rosario moved Orb, who was sixth, off the rail.
The 7-10 favorite moved in tandem with Departing to his outside, but then Orb encountered a little traffic and dropped to the rail again. At that point Oxbow had cruised through six furlongs in 1:13.26 and began extending his lead.
Itsmyluckyday, ridden by John Velazquez, gradually gained outside as Goldencents and Titletown Five faded after a mile in 1:38.14. The only horse to make up any ground in the lane was Mylute, who finished a half-length behind Itsmyluckyday under Rosie Napravnik after rallying from ninth and last.
Orb, who had dropped back to seventh, rallied again for fourth by a half-length over Goldencents in fifth.
Departing appeared to have some run from the inside entering the stretch but flattened out and finished sixth. The final three were Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, and Titletown Five.
Oxbow paid $32.80, $12, and $6.80. Itsmyluckyday returned $7.80 and $5, while Mylute paid $5.20. The exacta paid $301.40 and the trifecta $2,061.60.
"I think I got a Hall of Fame ride," Lukas said immediately after the Preakness. "Once the gate opens, they have to make decisions. I'm happy for Gary, and I'm happier for (Calumet owner Brad Kelley), who is trying to revive Calumet. It's very gratifying.
"As I was saying earler, I get paid to spoil dreams. You can't mail it in. It's a different surface and a different time. You gotta line them up and run them."
Trainer Shug McGaughey, who was high on how Orb had trained at Belmont Park and Pimlico leading up to the Preakness, said it appeared the colt was in good shape but may have been uncomfortable with his inside position through much of the race.
"I'm disappointed, but I know how the game works," McGaughey said. "I would be disappointed any time you have this kind of opportunity and don't get it done. This was quite a run for a couple of weeks. We'll pack it up and go back home and see what kind of horse we've got down the road."
McGaughey said two races in two weeks had nothing to do with Orb's performance, because Oxbow, Itsmyluckyday, and Mylute all ran in the Kentucky Derby as well.
"I think he just got himself in a position where he wasn't comfortable, and then without (a good) pace in front of him, they really spread out a little more than maybe I had hoped," McGaughey said. "That probably affected him more than anything else."
Rosario said Orb "had a hard time keeping up" at the half-mile pole. "I used my stick to try to get him going," the jockey said. "He usually takes you there and always runs hard, but today he never took off. He just steadied. Today was not his day."
Eddie Plesa, who trains Itsmyluckyday, said his colt ran his race but "simply got beat by a horse that was trained perfectly by Wayne Lukas."
Tom Amoss, who conditions Mylute, said the late runner was compromised by the soft pace. "We've got nothing to be ashamed of," he said. "I actually look at this like a missed opportunity because my horse ran a big race today."
Lukas said it's too soon to make a decision on the June 8 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), though he suggested he'd like to race Oxbow at Belmont.
"The horse wasn't even blowing when he came back (after the Preakness)," Lukas said. "But I haven't had a chance to cool him out, and I need to talk to (Brad Kelley) about the Belmont."
Stevens said Oxbow won with something left and predicted he would be a tough competitor in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont.
Fifth in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) prior to the Kentucky Derby, the bay colt has raced six times this season, winning twice and finishing second in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) by a head to stablemate Will Take Charge.
|New Federal Drug Legislation Introduced|
Date Posted: 5/20/2013 10:54:23 AM Last Updated: 5/20/2013 1:20:30 PM
A U.S. Senator and four members of the House of Representatives have introduced the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2013 to regulate/prohibit substances, methods, and treatments that may be used in racing.
The legislation, introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Reps. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), is not the same as the bill they introduced in the last Congress, according to the American Horse Council.
The bill calls for a new "independent anti-doping organization" to be responsible for "ensuring the integrity of horse races that are the subject of interstate off-track wagers and the safety of persons involved in such horse races," according to the AHC. "The bill gives this anti-doping organization authority to permit/prohibit the drugs and medications that may be administered to a horse in a race subject to an interstate off-track wager and set the withdrawal period for its administration."
The legislation prohibits a horse from receiving any medication/drug within 24 hours of a race. There is a two-year exception for furosemide (Salix or Lasix) used for 3-year-olds under the current Association of Racing Commissioners International rules and administered by a veterinarian with a client-patient relationship.
The legislation specifically designates the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)—a private, non-governmental agency that is the official anti-doping agency for the U.S. Olympics—to be the organization responsible for overseeing the initiative.
According to the AHC, the bill charges USADA as the overseeing agency to develop and enforce rules for permitted and prohibited activities, including:
*Permitted substances, methods, and treatments that may be administered in the context of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship;
*Guidelines for the use of such permitted substances, methods, and treatments, including withdrawal times before a race; and
*Prohibited substances, methods, and treatments that may not be administered.
Under the legislation, USADA would also be charged with organizing programs for anti-doping education, research, testing, and adjudication to prevent a horse from racing under the influence of medications or drugs. In developing the rules and programs, USADA may consult with state racing commissions, racetracks, horsemen's groups, and others.
USADA would have the authority to exclude any person from racing for the first violation of the rules against the use of any prohibited medication/drug and for the third violation of the rules against the use of permitted medications/drugs. Also, USADA has discretion to suspend any exclusion if a person assists in identifying other violations of the rules or federal or state laws under the legislation.
The AHC said the bill does not amend the Interstate Horseracing Act; rather it prohibits interstate wagering under the IHA without the "consent" of USADA. To offer interstate off-track wagers, the racetrack putting on the race, and the off-track system accepting the wager, must have the consent of USADA, in addition to the other consents presently required by the IHA. As part of granting this consent, the racetrack must have an agreement with USADA that includes the terms and conditions regarding compliance with the new rules and specifies payments to USADA to fund the costs of regulation and enforcement. USADA is charged with ensuring that all costs incurred in carrying out its duties and responsibilities under the new law are paid by the industry.
By tying the new requirements, even indirectly, to interstate wagering, it applies the new prohibitions and requirements to any race that is simulcast interstate under the IHA, the AHC reported.
The House bill (H.R. 2012) was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, on which Reps. Pitts, Whitfield, Schakowsky, and Eshoo sit.
The Senate bill (S. 973) was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
|Seven More Al Zarooni Horses Test Positive|
Date Posted: 5/20/2013 12:59:14 PM Last Updated: 5/20/2013 1:06:32 PM
British racing authorities announced May 20 that seven more Godolphin Stable horses trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni have tested positive for steroids, including the winner of the world's oldest classic.
Al Zarooni already has been banned eight years after he acknowledged giving anabolic steroids to 15 horses in one of the largest doping scandals to hit the sport in Britain.
After tests on all Godolphin-owned horses in Newmarket, the British Horseracing Authority reported that seven based at Al Zarooni's Moulton Paddocks yard tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol.
They include Encke, a 25-1 shot when he won the 2012 St. Leger (Eng-I) denying the favored Camelot the Triple Crown. A test on Encke after the race was negative.
Al Zarooni has appealed the severity of his initial suspension by the BHA. Any further action is on hold until that matter is resolved.
Saeed bin Suroor is set to assume control of the stables. All of the Dubai-born trainer's horses were also checked by the BHA and tested negative.
|CO: Curtain Rises on Arapahoe Park''s Summer Meet|
Coming off some of the best performances in Colorado racing history last year, Arapahoe Park will begin its 2013 season on May 25. The Aurora racetrack will conduct 39 days of live horse racing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, along with Memorial Day Monday. First post time for the daily card featuring Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and Arabian races will be at 1 p.m.
The track’s marquee Thoroughbred stakes will be the $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity at 6 furlongs for 2‑year-olds on August 18. Last year’s Gold Rush Futurity was won by Colorado-bred Get Happy Mister by 9 1/4 lengths. As a 3-year-old this year, the Tangarae Farms’ Get Happy Mister has shined outside Colorado as he won the 1-mile, $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas on April 13.
In addition to the big performances on the racetrack, Arapahoe Park’s posting an increase in wagering handle for the third year in a row translated into extra prize money available for horsemen. Purses on all overnight races were increased during the final month of last season, and the closing weekend of the meet featured an additional three races each day.
“The quality of our on-track product and the success we had on the business side last year have us all excited about the 2013 meet,” Arapahoe Park plant manager Bill Powers said. “We really believe that Colorado racing has nowhere to go but up.”
The top Quarter Horse stakes of the season will be the $150,000, Grade 3 Mile High Futurity at 400 yards for 2-year-olds on August 18 and the $75,000 Mile High Derby at 400 yards for 3-year-olds on August 17. Like Get Happy Mister, a Quarter Horse that raced at Arapahoe Park last year also made a splash on the national scene when Ultimate Wave won the 400-yard, $200,000 Grade 1 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship at Prairie Meadows in Iowa on October 27. Owned by Junior’s Quarter Horses, Ultimate Wave had qualified for that race on Quarter Horse racing’s championship evening by winning the 400‑yard, $42,100 Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge. This year’s renewal will be held on June 8 with trials run on opening day, May 25.
The feature races of the meet for Arabians will be the 1 1/8-mile, $25,000 Grade 3 Soaring Eagle Ranch Distaff for fillies and mares aged 3-years-old and up on August 17 and the 1 1/4-mile, $25,000 Grade 3 Crow Valley Ranch Classic for 3-year-olds and up on August 18.
|Trainer Romans Fined for Immigration Filing Glitch|
Date Posted: 5/17/2013 12:14:51 PM
A ramp-up in document inspections by federal immigration officials has resulted in a $150,000 fine for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Dale Romans.
While others around the Churchill Downs backside were focused on the then-upcoming Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Romans was being summoned to the track's security office to meet with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. He was told he was being fined for technical and procedural violations in connection with a 2011 I-9 audit investigation.
Romans has filed an appeal.
Form I-9 is a government document all employers are required to use to verify the identity and employment eligibility for their employees. Any worker hired after Nov. 6, 1986, must complete this form. Exceptions apply to casual domestic workers with jobs in a private home, independent contractors, and people providing services that are employed by a contractor but, for the most part, every business and every employee is required to use this form.
"It's just a paperwork issue," Romans said. "We try to do everything by the book. I withhold taxes on every single person; we try to have all the I-9s that we can."
Over the last several years, ICE has increased I-9 audits and inspections, with more than 3,000 occurring last year. Audits can be triggered by various factors—notification by a current or former employee or even competitor, political policy agenda, or just being in an industry that commonly employs foreign nationals.
An inspection consists of 1) a notice of intent that demands the employer submit the requested I-9s, 2) an inspection of these documents to determine discrepancies or suspect documents, and 3) determination of any violations. If technical or procedural violations are found, the employer is given time to comply and correct the violations.
Romans said he never got notification of the reported violations and so missed his opportunity to correct any problems.
"Everything was going through the office for a long time and they (ICE) said that they sent three registered letters to my house, when I'm never at my house," Romans said. "There's no evidence of the registered letters coming. I don't know why they changed from my office to my house."
The fines laid against Romans relate to missing I-9s, improperly completed I-9s, and failure to respond. Penalties for substantive violations can range from $110 to $1,100 per violation, so multiple violations can quickly add up to a hefty fine.
"We appealed the fine and we're trying to resolve the issue, but it's not like it's anything illegal or like I did something to rob somebody, or that I profited from not having them. I don't have a problem with having I-9 forms," the trainer said.
Although Romans is now working with his attorney, William Velie, to appeal the ruling, he and his office staff did handle the 2011 audit on their own.
"That's where we made the biggest mistake," Romans said. "We thought we were in good shape and didn't call anybody in to help us through the audit and tried to do it by ourselves. I think if I had called somebody in that we would have gotten through it in pretty good shape. There would have been things that needed to be fixed and changed, but they would have been able to tell us that and, also, the letters wouldn't have gone to my house and nobody answered them."
|Ontario lays out framework for future of horse racing|
Niagara This Week
Posted: May 15, 2013
With the 2013 season now organized and transition funding negotiations completed, the Ontario government is preparing to lay out the framework for the future of horse racing.
Premier Kathleen Wynne, acting in her capacity as Minister of Agriculture, set out the timeline and structure for the horse racing transition panel to prepare its final report on a long-term sustainability strategy for the industry.
“I know how important this industry is to communities across Ontario, and I am confident that the expertise and guidance of this panel will help the horse racing industry move toward a bright, sustainable future,” said Wynne.
A draft plan for the report is due to be released next month, with the finalized version expected to arrive at the end of the racing season. The report will further clarify the government’s plan to integrate horse racing into the broader Ontario Lottery and Gaming modernization strategy and outline the new forms of gambling products that should help tracks generate more revenue.
“Significant strides have been made over the past months to ensure there is horse racing in Ontario for this year and beyond. The panel looks forward to continuing our work with the government and the horse racing industry to ensure a sustainable future for the industry,” said John Snobelen, one of the three members of the horse racing transition panel.
The report will focus on three key points – modernization, growth and government support — and local track CEO Jim Thibert spoke with Niagara this Week about how the Fort Erie track fits into each of those issues.
“For 100 years, this government had a gaming strategy and it was called horse racing, because that was the only form of legal gambling in Ontario,” said Thibert.
“As the government decided to offer more and more gaming products, it eroded the horse racing market and people moved on to alternate gaming sources,” he added.
A jumble of different racing and wagering organizations have to be co-ordinated each season, which creates a lot of red tape that could also be reduced according to Thibert, as long as it’s done carefully.
“It is a very complex situation,” said Thibert. “But we also have to ensure the integrity of our races. Betters have to understand the races, and see that there is a very clear, fair and balanced race, so they have a chance to use their skills to bet and win.”
“All of Ontario’s tracks know that we have to grow. Our revenue has been eroding over time, and it’s caused by a couple of different reasons,” said Thibert.
“One reason is time. It takes 28 minutes between races to prep the track, organize all the horses and jockeys and do the grooming,” said Thibert. “But over the last 12 years, what’s happened with computers and Game Boys is that people now want that instant satisfaction, they don’t want to wait.”
To keep people interested, Thibert said the track needs to be able to offer people entertainment and atmosphere during the downtime between races, and also cater to the instant satisfaction crowd.
“We need to get people to appreciate the pomp and ceremony and tradition of the horse racing system, but also offer viable alternatives, like the instant horse racing betting machines,” said Thibert.
“We need to get moving on these things now, though. We can’t wait. We need these systems to be a part of our business plan next year,” he added.
When the Liberal government decided to scrap the slots-at-tracks revenue sharing program last year, it did so by labelling it a “subsidy” that needed to be ended.
That label was removed and the government later backpedaled from those statements, after the transition panel determined government support is necessary for the horse racing industry, and successful horse racing programs around the world operate with financial support from governments.
“By labelling it a subsidy, they appeared to belittle the industry, and that discouraged people from getting involved,” said Thibert.
“There needs to some level of ongoing support to remain sustainable, because we are still losing ground to Internet betting and other forms of gambling which were brought in by our government and infringe on the marketplace,” he added.
|MT: Horse racing returning to Great Falls|
Great Falls Tribune
Posted: May 17, 2013
Horse racing is returning to Great Falls in July after Cascade County commissioners voted 2-1 Thursday to OK a one-year contract with the Great Falls Turf Club to conduct a four-day meet.
Racing last occurred at ExpoPark in 2010.
Commissioner Joe Briggs voted no, saying that, by his calculations, the county stands to lose as much as $48,000 in the deal, but supporters said racing can turn a profit following initial investments to get the track up to speed.
“I wouldn’t be pushing for this if I thought it was going to lose money,” said Kelly Manzer of the Turf Club, which has worked for two years to revive racing.
She called approval of the contract “a huge step forward.”
“It’s a huge relief,” Manzer said. “Now we can get rolling. And we’re ready to run.”
Under the arrangement, the club will produce a four-day race meet sanctioned by the Montana Board of Horse Racing July 20 and July 21 and July 27 and July 28 at Montana ExpoPark. The final two dates fall on the first weekend of the Montana State Fair.
Horse racing was scrapped in 2011 and 2012 after California-based Montana Entertainment, which operated horse racing in Great Falls in 2009 and 2010, surrendered its license with the state to run simulcast betting. The company also gave up operating horse racing events at Montana venues, including in Great Falls.
Cascade County, which owns ExpoPark, couldn’t reach an agreement with another party to run racing and commissioners also expressed concerns about the county losing money by running races.
Sparky Kottke, president of the Turf Club, told commissioners that getting the contract signed with the county is necessary to attract donations, sponsorships and revenue from the Board of Horse Racing.
“They keep asking, ‘Do you have a contract with them?’” he said. “Some people are a little reluctant to give us funds when there isn’t a set contract.”
“We’re going to hit the road hard now,” he said.
Manzer said she’s expecting the Board of Horse Racing to contribute $30,000 to the Great Falls events.
Under the contract, Cascade County will contribute $20,000 to the club for running the races and contribute $30,000 in purse money.
Cascade County would receive revenue from concessions sold during the races.
With horse racing added to the entertainment lineup, Manzer predicted the county would see additional revenue from State Fair gate receipts as well. Two of the races will be conducted during the fair.
Commissioners Bill Salina and Jane Weber voted for the contract. Both said they had rarely seen a group so committed to an issue.
“I want to see whether it can work and I want to give the opportunity to have it work,” Weber said.
She called the one-year contract a “testing ground.” “It’s new turf, if I can use that,” she said.
The track has not been maintained properly for several years so that will take an initial investment to make it safe, she said.
Salina said residents had stopped him in the supermarket to talk about horse racing.
“This was driven by a community effort,” he said. “The commission didn’t one day decide we were going to be in the horse racing business. It was brought to us.”
Though he voted against the contract, Briggs said after the vote that he would do what he could to help it succeed. But he questioned whether it can be economically viable in competition with other forms of gambling and if it can be a cost-effective addition to the entertainment package at the fair.
Briggs estimates the contract will result in a net loss to the county between $47,000 and $48,000 because potential revenue increases do not match additional operational costs the county will absorb. That amount includes $19,628 the county paid to have sand hauled to the track, he said. That work already has occurred at the direction of Salina and Weber, Briggs said. The contract, he also argues, has too many undefined expenditures that the county may or may not ending up paying.
Weber noted that the county has a many events at the ExpoPark where the county doesn’t recoup its expenses. The upcoming races need to be promoted, she added, and it needs to be shown that the community really wants horse racing.
“The county looks at this as providing entertainment,” Salina added.
If the county takes in concessions comparable to those received in 2010, Manzer thinks the numbers will work out.
“Ideally, we’re hoping to make a profit and if there’s any profit made it will go back into improving facility and the horsemen purses,” she said.
Residents missed racing when it was gone, she said.
“It didn’t seem like it was that important until the two years it was gone and the people just loved it and they wanted it back and it had been here for years,” Manzer said. “The economic impact is bigger than anybody really imagines.”
|Calder, Horsemen Strike Temporary Agreement|
Date Posted: 5/9/2013 1:01:47 PM
Calder Casino & Race Course and the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association May 9 reached an agreement that extends their purse contract through May 31 and allows Calder to immediately resume sending its simulcast signal to racetracks and other wagering outlets outside of Florida.
John Marshall, Calder vice president and general manager for racing, said he expects the vast majority of Calder's 1,200 non-Florida outlets will carry and take bets on Calder's entire May 9 card. The Miami Gardens, Fla., track has eight races with first post time of 12:50 p.m. EDT.
"Some of those that take our signal don't have the technology to ramp up right away, and might not be back until later (May 9)," Marshall said.
Barry Rose, an owner/trainer who serves as treasurer of the Florida HBPA, confirmed contract extension had been agreed upon.
Marshall said that effective May 9, Calder is restoring average daily overnight purses to about $180,000, their level prior to the four-day signal cutoff that began May 2. Calder had cut overnight purses 20% in anticipation of reduced pari-mutuel handle: a review of Equibase charts indicates Calder all-sources handle was down 50%-75% each of the days compared with the previous week.
Calder was not able to send its signal to tracks, advance deposit wagering companies, and off-track wagering outlets outside of Florida from May 2-5. It continued to receive signals from its regular non-Florida tracks, and continued to send those signals and its own signal to pari-mutuel outlets in Florida.