What We Know about the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act

Lot of Questions Raised

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The federal bill putting in place a national regulatory body for Thoroughbred racing is considered a near certainty for passage later this year, generating timely questions about how the body will function and deliver on its promise of improving the industry’s drug-testing abilities and the safety of its athletes.

Washington DCThe bill, called the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, was introduced in the Senate last week by Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader. On the same day, a House committee that had not called for a vote on similar legislation for the past five years swiftly approved its passage on a bipartisan basis. Officials who support the effort are now confident the legislation will be approved by the end of this year’s lame-duck session, if not sooner.

“I don’t like to quote odds for anyone, but I rate its chances better than they’ve ever been,” said Bill Lear, vice chairman of The Jockey Club, which has made passage of a federal bill overhauling the sport’s regulation a priority since 2014. “I still think there are lots of hurdles to overcome, but I do think with the bipartisan support in both houses, we are in a position where we should get it done by the end of the year.”

While racing officials who have worked on the bill …

Virginia Peters runs a one-woman horse racing operation at Canterbury Park

Virginia Peters’ sons always believed there was an expiration date on her time at Canterbury Park. Once they finished high school — and were no longer around to help out in the barn — they were certain she would get out of the horse business.

That was 23 years, seven grandchildren and many, many horses ago. Peters, 73, still shows up at the Shakopee track year after year to race the thoroughbreds she breeds at her farm near Jordan. Her tiny operation is dwarfed by most stables at Canterbury, but she will be part of Wednesday’s Minnesota Festival of Champions when her veteran gelding Where’s Jordan runs in the $100,000 Blair’s Cove Minnesota Turf.

The festival celebrates the full scope of the state’s breeding and racing industry, from the high-earning 60-horse barns to the mom-and-pop stables such as the one Peters has run for three decades. A retired teacher, Peters also sews the silks for many fellow horse owners and has served on the board of the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association. She’s become part of the fabric of Canterbury, much like the Festival itself.

“I think my sons have figured out I’m always going to have horses,” said Peters, who currently has two thoroughbreds in training. “Here at Canterbury, I have so many really good friends, and that’s enabled me to keep doing this…

Industry Profile: Racehorse Owner Jack Knowlton

From Fairy Tale to Triumph

In 1995 Jack and five pals of his formed Sackatoga Stable. The name was a play on words. A combination of letters from the crew’s hometown of Sackets Harbor along with Jack’s residency in Saratoga Springs creating an amusing name for the enterprise. They chose the staid checkered colors of maroon and gray that matched those of their high school for the stable’s jockey silks.

They liked the name so much that they named their first horse Sackets Six. Little did they know that eight years later lightning would strike them in the form of a three-year-old gelding with the name Funny Cide…

How Sol Kumin Turned A Labour Of Love Into The World’s Leading Horse Racing Business

Is Sol Kumin the ultimate “hobby-preneur”? Amid a 20-year career on Wall Street, including the launch of his own hedge fund business, Kumin only became interested in horse racing in 2014 when a friend persuaded him to take a stake in a thoroughbred. Six years later, the financier has built one of the world’s most successful racing stables, with a string of winners of prestigious races to his name.

“The racing has turned into a more commercial endeavour but it certainly didn’t start out that way,” reflects Kumin, who confesses he quickly got “hooked” following his initial foray into the sport. “Initially, it was a bit of a journey to understanding there was so much more to this sport; we bought more horses, did some research on how to do things a little differently, and over time it became a business.”

Handicapping Tip of the Day #55 – The Only Race

A sharp trainer uses the condition book to plan the future of a horse especially when it comes to conditioning and training. However, things don’t always work out.

by Art Parker for AGameofSkill.com

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

I became friends with a trainer during my first year of playing the horses – the days when I was learning something new every day. One day I noticed he entered a horse above his usual class. After thinking he couldn’t possibly win, I decided to ask him why. I caught up with the trainer late in the day and asked him that very question after his horse finished seventh in a field of nine.

“It’s the only race I could find for him. He is fit and ready to run. That was the only thing close to where he belongs, so I entered. It looked like it would be another week or so before another race would be available, and I would rather run him and keep him in shape,” the trainer explained.

Understanding the Condition Book

That was before I learned all about a condition book. Once I got my hands on a book, I began to understand. We know that racing secretaries must write races that have a higher probability to fill and to make the races as competitive as possible. What is not possible is to have a ready-made class system that is fair to all and will provide an abundance of opportunities to all horses. Nor is it possible to have enough horses to fill all races and all races be competitive.

Understanding the Condition Book

I borrowed the words from a West Point Thoroughbreds website that best describes a condition book. “A condition book is the schedule of races for a given track during a certain period of time, usually a few weeks or a month. It is this schedule that provides a framework for trainers to develop the training regimens for their horses for this time period. While this seems straightforward, there are a number of factors that can change the timing of races. You see, just because a race is in the condition book doesn’t mean that enough horses will enter the race to warrant it being used. That is why you’ll see substitute races in the book as well. These are races that also get entries and can be used in place of another race on the card.”

A sharp trainer uses the condition book to plan the future of a horse especially when it comes to conditioning and training. However, things don’t always work out. A race perfect for one horse may not fill and a substitute race is used. When that happens a trainer that has a horse ready must find another race that fits his charge, but that is not always possible; hence, the horse may be placed in less than an ideal event.

When you examine past performances and you see an awful race last time out, don’t quickly conclude that the horse isn’t what he used to be. That last race may have been the only option for the trainer.

Great horse racing videos – the late, great Forty Niner versus two of his top rivals

Top Freshman Sires to Watch according to The Blood-Horse

copyright DarbyAmerica

The top sires to watch include many familiar names, such as Darley’s Nyquist and Frosted , and Claiborne Farm’s Runhappy , who all were represented by a 2019 yearling average of $200,000 or more.

Nyquist and Runhappy had the strongest overall profiles, having ranked among the top sires in all five categories. Nyquist might have a slight edge over Runhappy having been a three-time grade 1 winner and champion at 2. Runhappy definitely had speed as indicated by his 2015 champion sprinter title, but he didn’t win at 2 until Dec. 28 of his juvenile year. The son of Super Saver ‘s first book of dams include 34% who won at 2 (the highest among our 10 sires to watch) and his dams have produced 27% 2-year-old winners to date, which is the co-highest among the top 10 sires along with Taylor Made Stallions’ Not This Time

Top Freshman Sires for 2020:

New Racing Club at Canterbury Park in 2020

“Our mission is to engage new people with thoroughbred racehorse both active and retired…” ~ Joe Scurto

Lakeville, MN…. The first racetrack in North America to create a racing club for thoroughbred racing fans, Canterbury Park has now teamed up with the Minnesota Racehorse Engagement Project (MNREP) to introduce a new version of their successful club platform for 2020.

The new club will not only offer horse lovers the opportunity to experience the pleasure, prestige, and emotional rewards of owning a thoroughbred racehorse, it will also help horses coming off the track as they transition into new careers. All net profits from the club will be going to support local equine organizations that are working with MNREP and Canterbury Park in transitioning retired racehorses. These organizations currently include This Old Horse, University of Minnesota, Crookston Equine Science Program, and Acres of Life.

Joe Scurto, Executive Director MNREP is excited about the opportunity to have a club that will benefit both members as well as horses. “Our mission is to engage new people with thoroughbred racehorse both active and retired. The new club will be able to offer both. The organizations working with us to transition horses will also benefit. People joining will get more than their monies worth and support equine aftercare in the process.”

Industry Profile: Trainer Linda Rice

From The Blood-Horse Magazine:

Linda Rice was 17 years old, a time when the real world begins to come into view for most teenagers. She and her father, Clyde, had attended a Keeneland sale in Lexington, and were driving back to their farm in Pennsylvania when an accident ahead of them caused a….

She left Penn State after two years and took out her trainer’s license in 1987. Clyde understood and was so supportive he assigned her half a dozen horses or so at the outset. Now viewed as the leading female trainer in the United States, Rice was hardly an overnight success.

“It was very difficult getting started,” Rice said. “My father was my first client and then I grew from there. But it was many years of building the business. It’s taken many years and a lot of hard work.”

If she had an advantage in what continues to be an aspect of the industry populated largely by men, it was her upbringing.

“When you grow up around horses, you learn the behavior of horses, the psychology of the horse,” she said. “It allows you to be very advanced and have many years of experience by the time you start training them.”

Can This Technology Get Racehorses Off Drugs?

Thoroughbred horse racing in the US is addicted to drugs. It runs so deep that it has become the norm. And worse, because it is legal, it is seen as beneficial. Instead of a health-first approach to …

These image scanners add a significant diagnostic advantage, as traditional CT scans require the patient to lie down with the anatomy un-weighted, depriving the clinician of the ability to analyze the stressed areas of bone while under loading pressures.

Until this equipment was developed, horses needed anesthesia in order to have a CT scan performed. The inherent risks associated with general anesthesia, the need to go to a hospital for a test, and the cost of this procedure prevented widespread use of CT in the majority of racehorses in training and eliminated its use as a screening tool by racing regulators and track practicing veterinarians…

Learning From Horse Racing Research

Scientific Study on Horses & Injuries in Progress

Preventing injuries is important not only for racehorse health but also jockey safety and public perception, says David Horohov, PhD, chair of the University of Kentucky’s (UK) Department of Veterinary Science and director of the Gluck Equine Research Center, in Lexington. He and his colleagues have been working on a series of studies investigating injury prevention.

An assembled group including James MacLeod, VMD, PhD, and Jennifer Janes, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVP, of the Gluck Center; Laura Kennedy, DVM, Dipl. ACVP, of the UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory; and Mary Scollay, DVM, of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, are evaluating injury risks and possible precursors.

Horohov says their research thus far suggests that orthopedic injuries in racehorses are related to long-term effects rather than acute events. “It’s a chronic injury pattern that eventually leads to an acute failure,” he says.

In addition, Horohov and colleagues, including UK’s Allen Page, DVM, PhD, are looking at whether inflammatory changes that occur in racehorses and sport horses indicate a pathologic (causing disease or damage) condition is brewing.

As bones and muscles experience stress during exercise, they undergo microdamage as part of their normal adaptive process. Ideally, this process helps strengthen both bone and muscle. However, if the horse is overtrained or does not adapt well to training, the result is inflammation and potential injury. Horohov and Page have hypothesized that bloodwork should reveal certain inflammatory marker patterns that indicate systemic inflammation caused by early microlesions.

“Some microlesion formation is likely part of the normal remodeling effort,” Horohov says. “It is when the …