UofL Equine Business Program Names New Director

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Sean Beirne, an early graduate of the University of Louisville’s Equine Industry Program in the College of Business, has been named the program’s new director.

Beirne, who has worked in various capacities in the horse racing industry nationwide, has most recently been employed by industry vendor Roberts Communications Network. He was on the Colorado Racing Commission for the past eight years, serving as chairman from July 2015 to June 2017.

Beirne“On Nov. 1, I will begin what I consider to be my ‘dream job,’” Beirne said. “I am thrilled beyond words to receive the opportunity to come back to my alma mater and prepare students to become the future leaders of our great sport of horse racing.”

He replaces Tim Capps, who died following a stroke in April 2017.

Beirne earned his bachelor’s degree from the equine program in 1990. He earned his first undergraduate degree, in political science, from UofL in 1986.

Beirne and his wife, Mary, are both Louisville natives. Mary Beirne graduated from UofL’s School of Nursing.

The Equine Industry Program at UofL is an accredited business degree with an equine focus. Graduates can be found in all aspects of the industry, from training to broadcasting.  Beirne attended the UofL Equine program at the same time as AGOS Founder Rich Nilsen.

For more information, contact Terri Burch, interim director of the Equine Industry Program, at terri.burch@louisville.edu or 502-852-4859.

John Asher was the Kentucky Derby’s beaming ambassador

Horse Racing Has Lost a Legend in John Asher

John Asher was the Kentucky Derby’s beaming ambassador

Just a few of the quotes from those who knew him:

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert: “John was the warm human face of Churchill Downs. I was always happy to see him. He was as Kentucky as the Derby, bluegrass, bourbon and hot browns. I can’t imagine Derby week without him.”

Morning line odds maker and retired track announcer Mike Battaglia: “I’m heartsick to hear about the passing of my good friend John Asher. My deepest condolences go out to Dee and all of his family. John was loved by many and will be deeply missed.”

Trainer Chuck Simon: “John was just a great person. When I first started training in Kentucky I didn’t know that many people and used to hang out with (late track announcer) Luke Kruytbosch who was my friend from Arizona. Back then, Luke was stationed near the old Press Box and Gold Room for the big players and John was always around. He always took the time to come over and talk to me every time he saw me and ask how my horses were and if I had anything that he could include in a press release – knowing that free press is a godsend for a new trainer starting out. He barely knew me yet he was trying to help me out.

So a few years later I had a horse named Pirate King that John liked. The horse was working really well and even though it was the weeks leading to Derby, which for John was Christmas, every time the horse worked John would email me the clocker’s sheet for the day with a little note, ‘make sure you let me know when he runs, I want to bet a few bucks.’

I don’t think he was a big betting man really but for some reason he took a liking to this horse. So, I enter the horse for opening day of the CD spring meet which of course is the weekend before the Derby. John sees me on the backstretch the day before and says, ‘Well, is he ready?’

I said, ‘He’s pretty live, John. You’ve seen the works.’ So he says good luck, see you in the winner’s circle. The horse gallops at 20-1 and the first thing I think of is John probably laughing as the horse crossed the wire. So, we go in the winner’s circle and I don’t see him. After the race I text him and he doesn’t answer. So, I figure he must be busy as it is Derby Week and he is swamped. The next day he comes to the barn and gives me this sheepish look. I said, ‘You didn’t bet him, did you?’ He said all morning I was thinking I have to remember to get a bet in on Pirate King and then I got tied up in a press conference then there was some emergency then the governor’s office called then I got called into the meeting.

John said he heard Luke say over the loud speaker, ‘Pirate King still going strong.’  He said, ‘Damn I knew that horse was gonna win.’ But, he was happy that he won even though he didn’t get a bet down at 20-1. He was a great guy who loved the Derby and loved Churchill Downs and loved Western Kentucky sports and loved his family more than anything. Few people I ever met were as naturally kind as John Asher was. It’s hard to believe that both Luke and John are both gone.”


Tim Sullivan Courier Journal Longtime Churchill Downs spokesman John Asher dies at 62

Glasgow Daily Times Full coverage: John Asher was the Kentucky Derby’s beaming ambassador | Tim Sullivan

Women in Racing Symposium in Saratoga Springs on Sunday

Saratoga_NatMuseumofRacing and HallofFame

copyright AGameofSkill.com

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame will present a symposium on Sunday, Aug. 19 featuring accomplished women involved in various aspects of thoroughbred racing. Comprised of seven of the most recognizable women in the sport — Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone, Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliot, champion steeplechase jockey Blythe Miller Davies, record-breaking trainer Linda Rice, iconic owner/breeder Charlotte Weber, industry leader Stella Thayer and top racing analyst Gabby Gaudet — the panel will be moderated by longtime television commentator Charlsie Cantey. The symposium begins at 10 a.m. in the Museum’s Hall of Fame Gallery and is open to the public and free to attend.


The panelists will discuss their careers and introduction to racing and be available to meet racing fans after the program.


About the panelists:

Janet Elliot: A native of Ireland, Elliot became only the second woman inducted into the Hall of Fame and the first woman trainer enshrined in 2009. An assistant to Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard for 11 years, Elliot went out on her own in 1979 and has trained some of the top steeplechase horses in the game, including Eclipse Award winners Flat Top and Correggio. She ended Sheppard’s 18-year run as the leading money-earning steeplechase trainer in 1991 and led all steeplechase trainers in wins that year. Elliot topped all steeplechase trainers in earnings for a second time in 1998. She won the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase in 1986 with Census and won that race again with Flat Top in 2002.


Elliot has won the Colonial Cup six times, the Iroquois five times, the Temple Gwathmey four times, the American Grand National three times and the New York Turf Writers Cup twice. She ranks fourth all time in earnings among steeplechase trainers with more than $8.3 million.


Gabby Gaudet: An on-air analyst for the New York Racing Association, Gaudet is the daughter of trainers Eddie and Linda Gaudet and sister to trainer Lacey Gaudet. She began her career as an analyst and paddock reporter for the Maryland Jockey Club while still a student at Towson University in 2013. In addition to working at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, Gaudet has since covered racing at Arlington Park, the Breeders’ Cup and Gulfstream Park. She joined NYRA for the first time prior to the 2016 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course and took on an expanded role the following year.


Julie Krone: The first woman inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000, Krone is the most successful woman jockey of all time with 3,704 wins and purse earnings of more than $90 million. She became the first woman to win a Triple Crown race when she piloted Colonial Affair to victory in the 1993 Belmont and the first to win a Breeders’ Cup race when she rode Halfbridled to win the 2003 Juvenile Fillies.


Krone won 22 Grade 1 races in her career, including the Pacific Classic, Hollywood Derby, Malibu Stakes, Carter Handicap, Shuvee Handicap, Meadowlands Cup, Ballerina Handicap, Man o’ War Stakes, Sword Dancer Handicap, Vosburgh Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, Frizette Stakes and Flower Bowl Handicap, among others.


Blythe Miller Davies: The first woman to win the National Steeplechase Association jockey championship, Miller Davies announced her retirement in 2003 after 15 years in the saddle, 204 steeplechase victories and more than $5 million in purse earnings. She won two NSA championships (1994 and 1995) and ranked seventh on the all-time list of career wins at the time of her retirement.


Miller Davies, daughter of trainer Bruce Miller, rode five-time champion and Hall of Fame member Lonesome Glory, two-time champion Flat Top and champion All Gong, as well as NSA Grade 1 winners It’s A Giggle, Campanile, Victorian Hill and Uptown Swell. In addition to her father, she rode for Hall of Fame trainers Jonathan Sheppard and Janet Elliot, among others.


Linda Rice: In a career that began in 1987, Rice has become the most successful woman trainer in American racing history. Through July 22, she has won 1,772 races with purse earnings of more than $69 million (both records for a woman). Two of her horses, La Verdad and Palace, surpassed $1 million in career earnings and La Verdad won an Eclipse Award for champion female sprinter. Rice has won 44 graded races in her career, including seven Grade 1 events. She has won five training titles on the New York Racing Association circuit, including the 2009 Saratoga meet.


Stella Thayer: The first woman president of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Thayer purchased Tampa Bay Downs in 1986, outbidding New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Along with her ownership of the track, Thayer serves as its president and treasurer. A member of The Jockey Club and a past member of its Board of Stewards, Thayer is also a thoroughbred owner and breeder and a past president of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations.


Charlotte Weber: Owner of the 4,500-acre Like Oak Stud in Florida, Weber has enjoyed success as an owner and breeder for 50 years. A member of The Jockey Club and a vice president of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Weber has campaigned numerous top horses, including Breeders’ Cup Mile winner and champion turf horse Miesque’s Approval and Grade 1 winners My Typhoon, To Honor and Serve and Zo Impressive. Live Oak earned a second Breeders’ Cup win in 2017 when World Approval won the Mile. World Approval is a half-brother to Weber’s other Mile winner, Miesque’s Approval.


About the moderator:

Charlsie Cantey: One of the most recognizable broadcasters in American racing history, Cantey was an analyst for ESPN, ABC Sports, CBS Sports and NBC Sports throughout her distinguished career. Cantey began her broadcast career in 1975 at New York’s WOR-TV on the weekly programs Racing from BelmontRacing from Aqueduct and Racing from Saratoga.


From 1977 to 1986, Cantey served as a CBS contributor for NFL, NBA and horse racing coverage. From 1985 to 2002, Cantey was a reporter and analyst for Racing Across America for ESPN. She joined ABC Sports in 1986 and was an integral part of its racing coverage until joining NBC Sports in November 2000 as an analyst for its coverage of the Breeders’ Cup. She worked for NBC for five years, retiring after the 2005 Breeders’ Cup. Cantey covered the Triple Crown races for 17 consecutive years.

Source: Press Release

Cot Campbell among new inductees in Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Saratoga_NatMuseumofRacing and HallofFame

copyright AGameofSkill.com

Partnership Pioneer Cot Campbell among new inductees in 2018 Horse Racing Hall of Fame class.

Joining him in the Hall of Fame’s Pillars of the Turf category are Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, Penny Chenery, Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin, August Belmont I, John W. Galbreath, Arthur B. Hancock, Sr., Hal Price Headley, John Morrissey, Dr. Charles H. Strub, William Collins Whitney, and Harry Payne Whitney.

They joined three other inductees in the class of 2018: thoroughbreds Heavenly Prize and Preakness, and trainer William Lakeland.


The Augusta Chronicle Cot Campbell highlights inductees to National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Source: Cot Campbell among new inductees in Racing Hall of Fame

Former MLB catcher Paul Lo Duca tells story of how he followed the Kentucky Derby during a game

Audio: Former MLB catcher Paul Lo Duca tells story of how he followed the Kentucky Derby during a game

MyNorthwest.com Full coverage: Audio: Former MLB catcher Paul Lo Duca tells story of how he followed the Kentucky Derby during a game

It’s a Wild Ride for Jockey Agents in Horse Racing

Lawson is Prat’s agent — a job deeply woven into the sport’s fabric, but no more recognized than the work on the backstretch performed by dozens of people who feed, bathe and care for the horses.

Average racing fans pore through a day’s program, trying to piece together the puzzle of horses, owners, trainers and jockeys. But most don’t have a clue about how jockeys get aligned with horses, and the complicated dance by their agents that makes it happen.

“We’re salesmen,” Lawson said. “It says on our license that we’re jockey agents, but it might as well say that we’re selling something from Procter & Gamble.”

Read the Rest of this insightful story: It’s a wild ride for jockey agents in horse racing

My Wild Ride – check out the 5-star story of this Southern California trainer

Star Handicapper, Horse Owner Bryan Wagner Passes Away

Bryan and Judy Wagner at 2018 Eclipse Awards, Gulfstream Park, FL 1.25.2018

Horse Racing Has Lost a Great Man

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Wednesday, August 1, 2018) – Bryan Wagner,

a 12-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) and the 2009 NHC Tour winner, passed away Sunday in Atlanta. He was 75. His wife, Judy Wagner, was at his side at the time of his death.

The Wagners have been a constant and popular presence at the NHC and NHC qualifiers around the country since the event’s inception in 1999. Bryan introduced Judy to the art of handicapping on a date at Fair Grounds Race Course in 1994. They were married the following year and the pursuit of winning horses was a shared passion ever since. Judy, a member of the NTRA Board of Directors, won the 2001 NHC and is a 13-time NHC qualifier. (Bryan would have been a 14-time NHC qualifier if not for two years, 2015 and 2016, when he was ineligible to compete due to Judy’s position on the NTRA board.)

Bryan Wagner earned $101,110 at the annual NHC finals in Las Vegas and thousands more at other NHC sanctioned events and contests. In 2009, Bryan and Judy finished one-two on the NHC Tour.

Bryan Wagner owned and operated a successful insurance company in New Orleans but was perhaps best known as a politician and political operative. He was a member of the New Orleans City Council from 1980-86 and the Council’s first elected Republican in more than 100 years. He was a Louisiana delegate to seven Republican National Conventions and led the delegation in 2008, the same year he masterminded one of the greatest political upsets in the state’s history, helping lawyer Joseph Cao to become the first Vietnamese-American elected to U.S. Congress. With scandals plaguing the incumbent, Wagner saw an opportunity and convinced Cao to switch parties and run as a Republican in a district that traditionally voted overwhelmingly for Democrats.

Wagner, a graduate of Tulane University, was a genuine “only-in-New Orleans” personality, once described in a Rolling Stone feature on the NHC as a gentleman “who holds court like a John Grisham character.” He liked to boast that due to arcane line-of-succession laws, he had technically served as Mayor of New Orleans for a day on three separate occasions. He was a minority shareholder in the New Orleans Saints in the 1980s.

James Bryan Wagner was born March 2, 1943, in New Orleans, to Wiltz Wagner, manager of Municipal Auditorium and president of a bakery supply firm, and Helen Wagner, an English professor at the University of New Orleans. In addition to Judy he is survived by three children – Leslie, Bryan Eustis, and Amanda – six grandchildren, and a brother, Dr. Wiltz Wagner Jr. Visitation (2 p.m. CT) and services (3 p.m. CT) are scheduled for Monday at Christ Church Cathedral Episcopal on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans.

Source: NTRA

Justify a Horse Racing Great?

Justify winning the Belmont – AP source

On a picture perfect Saturday afternoon on Long Island, horse racing, a sport with a long and rich tradition, once again reigned supreme at Belmont Park.

Justify ($3.60), a 3-year-old chestnut purchased for $500,000, etched his name in racing history, becoming only the second undefeated colt to capture the Triple Crown by going wire-to-wire to win the 150th Belmont Stakes.

Source: Post Time: Justify enters pantheon of racing greats

QnA with NFL Star and Racehorse Owner Jacob Tamme

From NFL to Farming: Jacob Tamme Chats Cows and Horse Racing

Q. Advice I would give to anyone considering getting into racing as an owner:

A. Start small. Heck, stay small. There’s nothing wrong with being a 5% partner on a great filly or colt. I’ll take 5% of a really good one over 50% or even 100% of an average one any day. Find the right person or people to partner with and set realistic expectations. If you are starting your own operation from scratch and have the resources to go it alone, even more important to find the right advisors and horsemen to help you get started.

America’s Best Racing Full coverage

Source: From NFL to Farming: Jacob Tamme Chats Cows and Horse Racing

Industry Profile: Jockey Harry Hernandez

It’s been a competitive jockey colony at Arlington International Racecourse so far this meet due to the addition of a few new faces in the jocks room. One of those is Harry Hernandez, who has enjoyed a solid beginning of the 2018 meet with six victories in 29 mounts.

Hernandez, 21, is currently tied for fourth in the standings with Sophie Doyle, who also is riding her first full season at the Chicagoland oval. He has finished in the money at a rate of 48%.

“I’m really excited and I’m really focused on my job,” Hernandez said. “Just trying to stay focused on winning races. I thank God and thank my agent [Ben Allen] and the owners for the opportunities that they have been giving me. I’m just trying to show off my experience.

Hernandez began his riding career in his native Puerto Rico and attended the Escuela Vocacional Hipica, graduating in the same class as leading riders Jose Ortiz, Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Eric Cancel.

Arlington Park racetrack“That school is such a nice school,” Hernandez said. “Before you graduate they make sure that you’re a hard worker and that you’re professional and respectful. Most importantly, they make sure you’re watching your weight because that’s the most important. They teach you how to gallop, teach you how to position. It’s awesome.”

Upon moving to the United States, Hernandez began riding at Finger Lakes in New York where he was consistently finishing in the top of the jockey standings.

“When I graduated I wanted to start riding in Puerto Rico since that’s where I’m from and that’s where my family is from,” Hernandez said. “But I always have wanted to come to the United States. This is where the good money is, it’s where the good owners and trainers are and you’ll learn more riding with good jockeys. This is where you learn more. I always wanted to ride in the United States and make a name for myself here.”

Check out other AGOS Jockey Profiles

It was good friend and accomplished rider Jose Ortiz, however, that gave him some encouragement to give Arlington a try this summer.

“I want to thank God for giving me these opportunities with the trainers and the owners,” Hernandez said. “My family always have supported me. I want to thank my really good friends, especially Jose Ortiz. He was the one who called me up and said ‘Hey, [Ben Allen] is a good agent’. He told me to go try it out.”

Source: Press Release