Archives for March 2021

Mayor of Prescott Valley: Arizona Downs Horse Racing is a Benefit to Area

Arizona DownsAs Mayor of Prescott Valley, I am proud of our thriving community. We have a diverse community with residents from across the nation choosing to relocate to our area. From outdoor recreation to exploring local shops, to enjoying a day at Arizona Downs, we have something for everyone…

Horseracing has been an important industry to Arizona since statehood, representing our state’s ranching and old west roots. For rural Arizona, ranching, breeding, and farming are embedded in our community and a local economic driver.

Arizona Downs is part of our state’s history and as we continue to grow and thrive, we must also modernize the industries that are at our core. For the past decade, Arizona’s horse racing industry has suffered due to increased competition from other states. As efforts to bolster the local horse racing industry have increased across the nation, Arizona has lagged behind. Since 2004, Arizona horse tracks have seen live race attendance drop 45% and parimutuel handles drop $55M a year.

This decline in revenue impacts every small business owner and employee that is involved in race days. Arizona has a lot to offer and can easily become a national destination for horse racing. The Arizona Legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 1794 which will support Arizona horse racing and generate more than $100M in new state tax revenues. By implementing Historic Horse racing in the state, purses will increase from $80,000 to $300,000, attracting horses and revenues from California. It will also attract $300M in capital investments and help create nearly 4,000 new jobs…

PA Gov. Wolf is at it Again. Seeks to move money from Penn horse racing to college scholarships

Horse racing in Pennsylvania supports 20,000 jobs, according to the industry, which is supported by hundreds of millions of dollars from slot machines. There is now a push to take some of that money and give it to college students.

Insiders say hold your horses.

Governor Ed Rendell signing Act 71 in 2004. It was called the Race Horse Development and Gaming act.

“Watch the jobs in the horse racing industry double,” Rendell said.

The law legalized casino gambling and steered a cut of slots revenue to the horse racing industry. It’s about $250 million a year — but too much, critics say.

“After 15 years and $3 billion, the horse racing industry is fat and happy but it can’t stand on its own four hooves?” asked Sharon Ward, of Education Voters of Pa.

Ward is with Education Voters of Pa., a group that supports Governor Wolf’s plan to siphon $199 million from horses and bet on college scholarships.

“Imagine if we spent that money on college students who would then be productive and taxpayers in Pennsylvania,” Ward said.

Russell Williams, owner of Hanover Shoe Farms, disagrees…

Comparing the Greats: The Most Influential Sires of the Late 20th Century

In the world of modern Thoroughbred racing, lineage is everything. While there will always be unexpected superstars whose breeding is nothing to write home about, the majority of top-tier equine athletes have been bred in the black for generations.

Some stallions, in particular, have a knack of producing offspring to rival – even exceed – their own on-track prowess. The 20th century gave rise to many of these super sires, but three stand out when it comes to sorting the best from the rest.

Take a look at the horses who we believe are the most influential sires of the 20th century.

Sadler’s Wells

Foaled on the 11th April 1981, this striking bay stallion was the foremost son of another racing great: the incomparable Northern Dancer. Winning a phenomenal 18 sires championships across three countries, Sadler’s Wells produced more than 320 stakes winners, among them 80 horses with Grade 1 victories to their names.

While most of his offspring are found in Europe, Sadler’s Wells’ progeny has won major races around the world. At least one of the foals he’s sired has taken victory in each of the five British classics, and many have proven dominant in North America too.

As well as producing many phenomenal racehorses, Sadler’s Wells was also an incredible broodmare sire. His grandchildren through his daughters including several racing greats, from Arc de Triomphe winner Sakhee to 2000 Guineas champion Henrythenavigator, Taghrooda, Peeping Fawn, and Conduit.

His sons have also proved influential in the breeding shed. Among the most notable are champion sires Galileo, El Prado, and In The Wings, with the former looking set to out-produce even his magnificent sire.

Danehill

Foaled in 1986, Danehill became a champion sire on both sides of the equator during his prolific stud career. The handsome bay made his mark when he became the all-time leading sire of stakes winners, with 349 victories among his offspring and a phenomenal 89 Grade 1 wins.

Danehill left his greatest legacy in the UK, where he was crowned champion sire three times. He also headed the general sires log in France on two occasions. Most notable among his progeny is one of his grandchildren: the incredible Frankel.

Danehill’s own sons have also enjoyed impressive careers at stud, with the two most prominent examples being Dansili and the titular Danehill Dancer. Among his grandsons are several younger stallions too, such as Teofilo and Siyouni.

Galileo

Keeping it in the family, we also have to include Sadler’s Wells’ most famous stallion son on this list – the wonderful Galileo. Foaled in 1998 and still active in the breeding shed today, this striking blood bay was the winner of the Epsom Derby and Irish Derby, winning six of his eight starts.

Many of his offspring continue to dominate on track in 2021. Indeed, those who follow horse racing will find that many of the horses listed in the races at popular, bonus-offering sportsbooks like BetMGM descend from Galileo and his own famous sire, Sadler’s Wells. Judging by the way the reputations of this remarkable stud’s offspring proceed them, it’s no surprise that they are fan favourites for wagering in the US and Europe.

Galileo’s most famous son is Frankel, but he’s not his only notable progeny. The leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland in 2008, 2010, and every year consecutively between then and 2019, Galileo commands a stud fee of around 600,000 euros, making him the most expensive stallion in the world. His many Grade 1 winners include Love, Teofilo, and Serpentine.

Which of these three incredible sires do you feel has had the greatest influence on modern Thoroughbred racing?

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in England

Cheltenham Festival attracts record viewership on first dayCheltenham Festival attracts record viewership on first day

The Cheltenham Festival 2021 attracted record viewership on only its first day, with both the average and peak audience up significantly on the previous year.

ITV Racing drew in an average of 1.1 million viewers, with a total of 1.5 million tuning in to watch the Champions Hurdle, won by Rachel Blackmore, riding the hugely anticipated Irish racehorse Honeysuckle.

The viewership spike has been largely attributed to the number of people working from home or on furlough due to the ongoing pandemic, in addition to the absence of spectators at the actual racecourse.

Nielsen Sports went as far as to predict that the festival would see its biggest television figures for over a decade, pointing to a general 250,000 increase in television viewership due to people working from home and furlough schemes…

Hong Kong Horse Racing at Sha Tin – March 21

Karis Teetan excited by Russian Emperor’s BMW Hong Kong Derby prospects

By Leo Schlink for HKJC

Seeking his first BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) triumph, [jockey] Karis Teetan believes impeccably-bred Russian Emperor is capable of delivering breakthrough success at Sha Tin on Sunday (21 March).

Editor’s Note: Sha Tin races late Saturday night into Sunday morning U.S. time.

By Irish super sire Galileo out of champion Australian mare Atlantic Jewel, Russian Emperor charged to the line when second over 1800m in the Hong Kong Classic Cup behind Healthy Happy on 21 February, fuelling Teetan’s belief the Ascot G3 winner is ready to fire.

The Impact of the Hong Kong International Races“I’m looking forward to the Derby this season, I would say this could be my best Derby ride since I got to Hong Kong,” the Mauritian said of Douglas Whyte’s charge. “I’m excited and looking forward to it.

“Of course, it’s going to be interesting for Douglas, too. For a new trainer to have a horse like that in the Derby is pretty interesting.

“Hopefully, we do well and his trial was good last week and so we’re looking forward to it.”

Teetan’s best Hong Kong Derby finish so far is eighth – a position attained by Thunder Fantasy (2015) and also Amazing Beats (2020).

Winner of the G3 Hampton Court Stakes (1993m) at Ascot on 17 June, 2020, Russian Emperor improved significantly in the Hong Kong Classic Cup to emerge as one of the leading Derby contenders.

The gelding clocked a race-best 22.31s for the final 400m, sweeping from 10th to fail by a neck.

Like Teetan, Irishman Neil Callan harbours ambitions of success in Hong Kong’s coveted Classic aboard Packing Waltham.

“He trialled really nice, it was my sit on him,” Callan said. “He’s a typical European, French horse.

“He’s not a horse you want to be bustling along early, so we’ll just let him find his feet. Once he balances himself up – he’s not a very big horse – and gets into his stride, he hits the line quite strong.

“So, I think the step up in trip is going to be a big plus for him. Obviously, it’s a very open race. There are horses rated higher than him, but I think he can maybe surprise a few. I do like the way he trialled.”

Matthew Chadwick, veteran of six previous Derby rides, partners Silver Express – one of three John Size entrants – and hopes the son of Canford Cliffs can stay the 2000m journey.

“He’s a nice, kind horse and if he can relax – and it’s against his own age group – it’s an unknown, but we’re hoping for the best,” Chadwick said.

“I’ve ridden in the Derby before but this time it’s a bit more special. There’s an important question mark against this horse’s name (in terms of stamina), but it looks like this is my best chance – that’s the way I’m seeing it.”

1 of These 4 Horses Could Win the KY Derby

Just when it appeared safe to come out of quarantine and not be bombarded with theories about what would happen if this team or that team were to “run the table.” We pretty well know what happens now in the usual context of that phrase. Exactly one team really…

KY DERBY FUTURES: WHO’S HOT?

Concert Tour (+ 590 Circa, 6-1 William Hill). For a change, the flavor of the week did not become the Derby favorite for the moment. He did, however, provide Baffert his record-extending eighth victory in the Rebel Stakes. That it came at the expense of a local favorite (see below) gave the win more significance. Gary and Mary West might have thought they had Derby winners with Game Winner and Maximum Security. They can entertain the notion again with the Street Sense colt out of a Tapit mare. On second thought, his 94 Beyer Speed Figure from Saturday does not measure up to stablemate Life Is Good’s 107 from this month’s San Felipe Stakes.

Hozier (40-1 Circa, 25-1 William Hill). How many Bafferts can you get into one “Who’s Hot?” section? Having shown the ability to rate the pace in breaking his maiden last month at Santa Anita, this Pioneerof The Nile colt closed from seventh in the last 550 yards to finish a distant second in the Rebel. If he is not in Concert Tour’s league, and if Concert Tour is not in Life Is Good’s league, Hozier might not be fast enough even as longer distances are more to his liking.

Risk Taking (45-1 Circa, 20-1 William Hill). His odds shortened at William Hill despite not racing since he won the Grade 3 Withers early last month at Aqueduct. It could not have been because bettors made him 42-1 in this month’s pari-mutuel Kentucky Derby Future Wager. His 1:02.1 workout over 5 furlongs Sunday at Belmont Park could not have been why. He is still on target for next month’s Grade 2 Wood Memorial, but we already knew that. Maybe someone with grand visions for this Medaglia d’Oro colt trained by Chad Brown put a big bet on him.

The Future of Horse Racing?

Las Vegas sportsbook contestIf the US is the room, sports betting is the elephant everyone wants to address…you arrive at 2021, where US bettors have an unprecedented knowledge of sports betting.

“Point spread,” “moneyline,” and “totals” now mean something even to the casual sports fan. The past three years have seen a remarkable increase in layperson sports betting knowledge.

Naturally, that’ll have a huge impact on horse racing.

Horse race bettors–especially casual fans–now have an entirely new vocabulary they can leverage to bet on races. Historically (and even nowadays) horse racing has been dominated by the parimutuel structure. Odds and payouts change based on the wagers that come in from around the world. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for race tracks and horse racing tech providers.

Dr. Laila Mintas says: “Fixed odds will certainly help the cross-sell of racing to sports betting players; it’s not a good experience for someone used to fixed odds to back a horse at 5/1 and get paid 5/2 through the pari-mutuel system.”

“The opportunity for fixed odds betting,” she continues, “is in taking the sportsbook player who has a $50 football parlay on a weekend and giving them the opportunity to place $20 win bets in a format and presentation style which looks like their existing online sportsbook […] this is about bringing betting players to view racing as another sport they can place bets on.”

Response from NTRA’s Alex Waldrop to HPBA Lawsuit regarding HISA

Horse racing tips and best bets this weekend on eve of CheltenhamIn 2020, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed, and the President signed into law, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). Through this landmark legislation, HISA recognizes and empowers the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (Authority) to protect the safety and welfare of Thoroughbred horseracing’s most important participants—its horses—by delivering commonsense medication reforms and track safety standards.

 

HISA has broad support from the Thoroughbred industry, including: organizations such as the Breeders’ Cup, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, The Jockey Club, The Jockeys’ Guild, American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association; the nation’s leading racetracks, including Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, The Maryland Jockey Club, Monmouth Park, The New York Racing Association and Santa Anita; leading horsemen’s organizations such as the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the Thoroughbred Owners of California; prominent Thoroughbred owners Barbara Banke, Antony Beck, Arthur and Staci Hancock, Fred Hertrich, Barry Irwin, Stuart S. Janney III, Rosendo Parra and Vinnie Viola; leading Thoroughbred trainers Christophe Clement, Neil Drysdale, Janet Elliot, Claude “Shug” McGaughey, Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher and Nick Zito; grassroots organization Water Hay Oats Alliance, with more than 2,000 individual members; international organizations the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities and The Jockey Club of Canada; and prominent animal welfare organizations American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animal Wellness Action and the Humane Society of the United States.

 

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), along with several of its state affiliates, seeks to upend this historic and bipartisan effort to protect Thoroughbred horses and ensure the integrity of horseracing. The HBPA has recently filed a baseless lawsuit in federal court in Texas, seeking to declare HISA unconstitutional on its face. Setting aside its fatal threshold deficiencies—including the lack of any concrete or imminent harm—the HBPA’s lawsuit is meritless. HISA is constitutionally and legally sound. On behalf of a broad spectrum of organizations underlying the sport of Thoroughbred horseracing, we offer the following responses to the various claims by HBPA.

1. HBPA Claim: HISA violates the constitutional “non-delegation doctrine.”

Reality: HISA does not violate the non-delegation doctrine because the United States Supreme Court has long recognized that Congress may rely on private entities so long as the government retains ultimate decision-making authority as to rules and enforcement. HISA recognizes and empowers the Authority to propose and enforce uniform national anti-doping and equine safety standards, but only upon review, approval and adoption by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Though this is a first for the Thoroughbred horseracing industry, HISA’s structure is not new. HISA follows the FINRA/SEC model of regulation in the securities industry, and, like that model, is constitutional because any action the Authority undertakes is subject to the FTC’s approval and oversight.

 

2. HBPA Claim: The HISA runs afoul of the Appointments Clause.

Reality: The Authority is a private entity, independently established under state law, and recognized by HISA. As such, it is simply not subject to constitutional restraints on appointments (or removal) of its Board members. Indeed, any such claim is at war with HBPA’s non-delegation theory premised on the fact that the Authority is a private entity. On the one hand, the HBPA claims that the Authority cannot take action because it is private entity, but then argues, on the other hand, that the Authority cannot appoint its own Board members because it is effectively a public entity. These two HBPA arguments are in conflict, but have one important thing in common: they are both wrong.

 

3.  HBPA Claim: HISA violates due process protections.

Reality: The HBPA’s due process theory also falls flat. Though the HBPA complains of equine industry participants regulating their competitors, a strong bipartisan majority of the House and the Senate made clear in HISA that a majority of the Authority’s Board members must be from outside the equine industry. To be sure, a minority of the Authority’s Board members will have industry experience and engagement. But it is difficult to understand how that statutory recognition of the value of informed voices constitutes a deprivation of due process. What’s more, with respect to the minority industry Board members, HISA expressly provides for equal representation among each of the six equine constituencies (trainers, owners and breeders, tracks, veterinarians, state racing commissions, and jockeys). Furthermore, the committee tasked with nominating eligible candidates for Board and standing-committee positions is made up of entirely non-industry members. HISA further imposes broad conflicts-of-interest requirements to ensure that all of its Board members (industry and non-industry alike) as well as non-industry standing committee members (not to mention their employees and family members) are required to remain free of all equine economic conflicts of interest.

 

Beyond these robust safeguards, established precedent confirms what common sense indicates: even when a private entity is engaged in the regulatory process, agency authority and surveillance protect against promotion of self-interest. Under HISA, for example, the FTC has the authority to decline the Authority’s proposed rules and overrule any sanctions—ensuring that neither the Authority nor the individuals making up its Board can use their position for their own advantage in violation of constitutional restraints.

 

*****

Contrary to HBPA’s hyperbole, HISA is neither unprecedented nor unconstitutional. HISA emulates the long-established FINRA/SEC model, with even greater protections for all stakeholders. It is disappointing that the HBPA—an entity whose mission is supposedly the welfare of horses and horsemen—would seek to undo much needed reforms to protect the industry’s participants.

Source: NTRA.com

Will Fans Be Allowed at Del Mar this Year?

Drew Brees at Del Mar

Drew Brees at Del Mar

Covid-19 and Horse Racing Attendance

With improving trends in public health data, growth in vaccination rates and the gradual relaxation of limits on attendance at sporting and performance venues in the state, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club officials are looking forward to a return of fans to the seaside track when it opens for its 82nd summer season on Friday, July 16, track officials said today.

Track personnel are planning for spectators on site when the racetrack kicks off a 31-day season that will feature 34 major stakes, a substantial increase in purses and a return to the sun and fun vibe that has been part of its culture since it first opened its gates in 1937.

“We will continue to follow the guidance of local health officials and our medical advisors, but based on what has been announced for other local attractions such as the San Diego Padres and SeaWorld, we are optimistic we will have fans in the stands this summer at some level,” said Del Mar president and COO Josh Rubinstein.  “We have the advantages of a 350-acre site and a facility that can host people quite comfortably with appropriate social distancing as needed.”

With its traditional opening day feature – the Runhappy Oceanside Stakes – topping the bill, the Friday, July 16 kickoff will initiate a Friday-Saturday-Sunday beginning to the first two weeks of the season.  The remainder of the meet will feature Thursday-through- Sunday racing weeks with a finale on Labor Day Monday, September 6.  First post daily throughout the stand will be at 2 p.m. with the exception of Fridays in which first post will be at 4 p.m.

Source: DMTC.com

Horse Racing Ends as Marquis Downs will be permanently shut down. Casino Lives On

Saskatchewan’s horse racing community is in shock after Saskatoon’s Prairieland Park announced it is permanently cancelling horse racing [in Canada].

“For Prairieland to shut the future of horse racing in Saskatchewan down is numbing,” said Eddie Esquirol, president of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association and the owner of 30 race horses.

“There’s 500 people involved in the industry.”

Esquirol said 40 to 50 per cent of people in the industry in Saskatchewan are Indigenous.

He said people are going to be forced to relocate to Manitoba or Alberta if they want to continue with horse racing.

“It’s a real gut punch for the horse racing industry in Saskatchewan,” said trainer Anita Gardipy.

Gardipy’s family has been training horses for many generations.