Archives for January 21, 2019

KY Derby Stepping Stone: War of Will has no problem with Lecomte’s fast track

NEW ORLEANS – It’s says in some weathered chapter of the horseman’s manual that you can get away with running a turf horse on a sloppy track, and when War of Will, who is turf-bred and made his first four starts on turf, won his dirt debut Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs, he did so on a sloppy track.

But what we apparently have here is not a turf horse who managed a wet-track win, but a natural dirt horse originally miscast as a grass horse.

For as good as War of Will looked beating maidens in the Churchill slop, he looked even better winning the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes over a Fair Grounds main track rated fast.

War of Will, a barely controlled bundle of energy stalking the pace wide down the backstretch under Tyler Gaffalione, inhaled Manny Wah at the top of the stretch and ran off to a four-length win in the Lecomte. The performance was visually impressive and pretty good on the clock, War of Will stopping the timer in 1:43.44 for the one mile and 70 yards. That was nearly two seconds faster than Needs Supervision’s winning time in the Silverbulletday Stakes over the same distance one race earlier.

Asked how War of Will traveled on the fast track early Saturday evening compared to the sloppy Churchill going, jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, “He was better, really.”   Read more…

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Ohio

Mahoning Valley Racecourse concluded its Fall Meet and 2018 calendar season and did so with yet another annual increase in wagering. Since its launch in 2014, the young racetrack in Austintown, Ohio, has seen handle increases each calendar year since opening its doors. All told, wagering volume on the Mahoning product for 2018 increased 10.6% compared to the prior year.

“We are extremely proud to announce yet another increase in handle and both the state of Ohio and Ohio horsemen should also take pride in this accomplishment,” said Vice President of Racing Mark Loewe. “It’s incredibly exciting to see our team, from Racing Secretary Ed Vomacka, his racing office crew, valets, gate crew, and all operate at such a high level year after year. It takes a team effort and we have one heck of a team.”

For the Fall Meet, jockey Luis M. Quinones captured his first riding title at Mahoning Valley, piloting 31 of his 189 mounts to the winner’s circle. Quinones also finished third nationally in 2018 with 281 wins.

“He’s such a hard worker,” said Quinones’ agent Billy Johnson. “He’s out there every morning working hard. He drives from track to track without complaint. I don’t know how he does it, but his work ethic and obvious talent make it a pleasure to work with him.”

While Quinones notched his first riding title, it was more business as usual in the trainer’s standings as Jeff Radosevich collected yet another training title. For the Ohio-based Radosevich, there’s little better than winning another training title on his longtime stomping grounds.

“I have great owners. Obviously, I couldn’t have done any of this without their continued and unwavering support. I love Ohio. Mahoning Valley gives me an opportunity to race year-round from my home. Thank you Mahoning Valley!”

Mahoning Valley held its signature event – the $250,000 Steel Valley Sprint – on November 19 and the marquee race of the meet didn’t disappoint as Trigger Warning won an epic stretch duel with Bobby’s Wicked One. Trained by Mike Rone, Trigger Warning was put on the lead early under Irwin Rosendo and then engaged in a fierce battle with the runner-up from the top of the stretch to the wire and was made the winner after Tyler Gaffalione’s claim of foul was not allowed. In the $75,000 Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Distaff on the Steel Valley Sprint undercard, the gray mare Puntsville was able to hold off a late charge from Lake Ponchatrain to score her 13th victory in 25 career outings.

While she did not take part in any of the unrestricted stakes Mahoning offered during the Fall Meet, Leona’s Reward was tabbed the horse of the meet after dominating Ohio-breds in her three starts in restricted stakes events. Trained by Tim Hamm, Leona’s Reqard romped by eight-lengths over Ohio-bred fillies and mares in the Ohio Debutante Handicap on November 3 and followed that up with a win against the boys in the Ruff/Kirchberg Memorial two weeks later. In her final start of the meet, the daughter of Parents’ Reward returned to face fillies and mares in the Bobbie Bricker and again cruised to a seven-length score. All told, Leona’s Reward banked a total of $135,000 during the Fall Meet for her owners Blazing Meadows Farm LLC and Michael Friedman.

2018 Mahoning Valley Fall Jockey Standings (final)
Rank Jockey Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
1 Luis M. Quinones 189 31 19 16
2 T. D. Houghton 163 25 24 17
3 Christian P. Pilares 122 24 15 22
4 Luis Raul Rivera 120 23 13 17
5 Luis H. Colon 60 22 7 9

2018 Mahoning Valley Fall Trainer Standings (final)
Rank Trainer Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
1 Jeffrey A. Radosevich 108 30 14 4
2 Robert M. Gorham 99 21 15 11
3 Gary L. Johnson 86 17 9 8
4 Jay P. Bernardini 60 13 8 10
5 Rodney Faulkner 102 12 9 8

Source: Press Release

Monmouth Park waiting on multimillion-dollar subsidy for horse racing

New Jersey has brought in over $1 billion in revenue in sports betting since it was made legal last year.

Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport alone made millions – but the owners say that they need more revenue to survive.

They are banking on a subsidy from the state to contribute to racing purses. The $20 million subsidy has been approved in the state Legislature. But now the horse racing industry is waiting for lawmakers to vote on it.

Monmouth Park officials say the subsidy is important for scheduling. A higher purse means better talent coming to race.

Officials say they are used to waiting. They are forced to make changes every year to benefit races, including the date of the Haskell Invitational – one of horse racing’s most well-known races.