Archives for June 22, 2020

Illinois Horse Racing and Sports Issue Still Pending

Despite moving to the brink of a two-year contract for horse racing in 2020 and 2021, Arlington Park and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association have yet to put pen to paper on an agreement and forced the Illinois Racing Board to recess its Thursday meeting for approval of this season’s schedule until Friday.

The sides were supposed to have a signed contract in place by Jan. 1, 2020 as part of the $12 billion capital bill Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law last June that also legalized sports betting in Illinois. Arlington Park tweeted Wednesday saying it had reached a tentative agreement with the ITHA, but the two sides had a breakdown prior to Thursday’s scheduled board meeting. The ITHA had issue with the language in the contract because purse projections could change if Arlington does not receive the same amount of race days in 2021 that it has in previous years.

More about this Illinois issue:

Belmont Stakes 2020 wagering recap

Make It a Trio. European Racehorse Stradivarius Wins Gold Cup at Royal Ascot Again

Stradivarius was on hand to produce a breathtaking performance to carve a niche for itself as the third horse to win three successive Gold Cups at Royal Ascot.

Frankie Dettori took his time on the ground which had been softened by rain and initially thought to be unfavorable for John Gosden’s exceptional superstar but eventually closed in on the leader and eventual runner-up Nayef Road. After successfully closing in, he went on to win by a whopping 10 lengths.

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There were doubts if he would be successful with the hat-trick of triumphs due to the downpour that continued till it was almost time for the race. However, Stradivarius, in black and yellow colors was bent on emerging victoriously.

The six-year-old who was released as the 4-5 favorite made the odds appear seemingly generous as he initially settled behind Nayef Road and Withhold before coasting into a winning position as Dettori brimmed with confidence.

Regardless, the odds proved to be well-placed as Dettori was able to applaud the achievement of passing the post in an isolated manner before coming up with his trademark flying dismount as he returned to the winner’s enclosure.

This was the case even as there were no crowds due to the social distancing procedures being deployed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The performance effectively meant that Stradivarius had matched the achievement of the race’s fellow gold hat-trick heroes in the past, namely, Yeats and Sagari. However, Yeats still stands alone after winning it four times in succession for Aidan O’Brien.

Dettori revealed how excited he was in an interview after the race. Dettori said:

“I’m so proud of the horse. He’s been a joy to be around. He’ll go down as one of the great stayers, like Yeats and Sagaro. Who knows, maybe we’ll try for for next year.”

He added: “Even with no crowd I’m quite emotional. A very proud moment.

 

“I was worried about the rain. They were talking up the Martyn Meade horse (Technician) a lot. It was a concern. He actually really surprised me, because he went through it like a hot knife through butter. I had everybody covered. I was surprised I didn’t have anyone to challenge me.

“It’s always that scary moment when you get to the furlong marker – will he pick up or not – but he did and he stretched away by 10. Amazing.

“We purposely all stayed wide on the fresh ground. That helped a little bit, but nevertheless it was still very soft. It just shows what a fighter and how versatile he is. It’s all about Stradivarius today. He’s a wonderful horse.

“You’re never on the bridle in the Gold Cup a furlong out. Usually everybody labours by the three, so it was an amazing feeling and a fantastic performance. The horse deserves it. I’m very proud of him.”

Gosden added: “I’m very proud he’s won three and particularly proud for the man who’s done it, Bjorn Nielsen, the owner-breeder – he’s passionate about breeding and keeps trying to breed a Derby winner, but he’s got a very good Cup horse. For him it is profoundly fulfilling and it’s just a pity he can’t be here today.

“It’s down to Bjorn whether we come back for a fourth. We might just look towards the Goodwood Cup next, he’s won three of them already, then we might take a pull as there is talk of running in an Arc. He ran brilliantly in the Coronation Cup, so an Arc on Autumn ground isn’t out of the question.”