Churchill Downs Suspends Racing and Relocates Spring Meet Amid Safety Concerns

Churchill Downs Suspends Racing and Relocates Spring Meet Amid Safety Concerns

Churchill Downs Suspends Racing and Relocates Spring Meet Amid Safety Concerns

Churchill Downs suspends racing operations and relocates Spring Meet

Churchill Downs has made the decision to suspend racing operations starting from June 7 and move the remaining races of the 2023 Spring Meet to Ellis Park. This move comes in response to the unfortunate deaths of 12 horses at the renowned Louisville track over the past six weeks. The Spring Meet will continue at Churchill Downs for races held on Saturday and Sunday before transitioning to Ellis Park from June 10 through July 3.

Recommendation to suspend races and emergency meetings

The decision to relocate the Spring Meet to Ellis Park follows multiple emergency meetings between Churchill Downs and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA). HISA released a statement recommending the suspension of races at the track. The meetings involved regulatory veterinarians and veterinarians from HISA, as well as track surface expert Dennis Moore, who conducted an inspection and reported no major concerns.

Churchill Downs’ CEO expresses need for review and cooperation

Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) CEO Bill Carstanjen expressed the need for a comprehensive review of details and circumstances to strengthen the surface, safety, and integrity protocols at Churchill Downs. He announced the move to Ellis Park, stating that it would help maintain the industry ecosystem with minimal disruption. CDI and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) have shown cooperation and thoughtfulness during these challenging moments.

Concerns and calls for safety improvements

The Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association raised concerns about the relocation of the Spring Meet without conclusive evidence of a track problem. The association emphasized the importance of finding solutions that improve safety for horses and suggested discussions on allowing therapeutic medications that reduce the risk of breakdowns. It called for drastic steps such as relocating an active race meet to be taken only when there is certainty that it would make a difference.

Reactions from horse owners and trainers

One horse owner, speaking anonymously, found it odd that new safety precautions were implemented and shared with horsemen before the announcement of the move to Ellis Park. Trainer Ron Moquett expressed support for the move, stating that as long as the horses are taken care of, he is okay with the changes. Chauncey Morris, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association (KTA), echoed the sentiment of adapting to enable a thorough review and supported Churchill Downs’ request to transfer the remaining dates to Ellis Park.

New safety measures and continuation at Ellis Park

Churchill Downs held a final meeting with HISA before announcing new safety measures, which will continue to be enforced when the Spring Meet moves to Ellis Park. These measures include restrictions on the number of starts for horses and ineligibility standards for poor performance. Track-based incentives will also be paused, and discussions are underway regarding the allocation of funds to lower-placed finishers. Ellis Park, with its 6,000-seat grandstand, will not only host the remaining races of Churchill’s Spring Meet but also hold races from July 7 to August 27.

"Analyzing Tapit's Legacy and Contenders for the Belmont Stakes, and Speculation Surrounding Pimlico's Future"

"Analyzing Tapit's Legacy and Contenders for the Belmont Stakes, and Speculation Surrounding Pimlico's Future"

Where Facts Turn to Rumors: The Essence of Horse Racing

Where facts and transparency become rumors and translucency. Where dashed Triple Crown hopes turn a perfectly good classic into a run-of-the-mill Grade 1. It has to be our sport of kings. Here is to the memories of red Kentucky roses and dyed Maryland daisies and hopes for something other than wilted carnations next month on Long Island.

Tapit’s Legacy Shines: Trice as Nice

Tapit is not just Trice as nice. This is the time of year when anything with the word Tapit gets my attention. Of the 12 Belmont Stakes horses he has sired, four won, including Tonalist in 2014, Creator in 2016, Tapwrit in 2017 and Essential Quality in 2021. Four others also hit the board, including Frosted in 2015 and Hofburg in 2018 in losses to Triple Crown champions. One more of Tapit’s sons and four of his grandsons finished in the top five since 2020, the year his colt Tiz the Law won the nine-furlong, COVID running of the Belmont. No wonder Tapit Trice has my attention among the names in the mix for this year. So, too, do Arcangelo, Hit Show, Kingsbarns, and Red Route One, because their dams were sired by Tapit. At 22, he may not be a stallion in his prime as he was in the mid-’10s, but anyone ignoring Tapit on the pedigree lines should think twice. Or trice.

Analyzing Contenders: Which Baffert Will Lead in the Belmont Stakes?

Who Baffert will want to lead in Belmont Stakes?
Bet the under on the Belmont. There are 13 horses listed on the early Brisnet past performances who are under consideration to start in 15 days in the Belmont. It would be great if the field were that large. But it will not happen. There have not been that many in seven years. Before every Memorial Day, we hear about all sorts of possible starters just as we do every summer about how loaded the Travers (G1) will be. Then reality sets in, and the fields are more modest. If Bob Baffert brings National Treasure and Reincarnate and Arabian Lion to go the 1 1/2 miles, that would be great. The same goes for Brad Cox with Angel of Empire and Hit Show. And Todd Pletcher with Forte, Tapit Trice, Kingsbarns, and Prove Worthy. And Larry Rivelli with Two Phil’s, although it looks like he is more likely to be racing next at Churchill Downs in the Matt Winn (G3) the day after. I would be happy if half of them showed up.

Speculation Surrounding the Future of the Preakness at Pimlico

Pimlico or bust. There are three sure things about the middle of May. Better weather, Mother’s Day invoices, and speculation about the future of the Preakness. Except for the COVID year of 2020, I have gone to every renewal since 2007. Every year I hear stories about how track management does not want to be there anymore. How the Preakness will be moved to Laurel or Gulfstream or Santa Anita or to late May or early June? The race goes on at Old Hilltop, where the last major renovation came when the old clubhouse burned down in 1966. 1/ST Racing boss Aidan Butler told the Los Angeles Times that he prefers to keep the Preakness and all of Maryland racing at a rebuilt Pimlico. That represents a 180 from the move-to-Laurel, abandon-Pimlico plan of Butler’s predecessor Tim Ritvo. Of course, the Maryland state government will want to put its haphazard oars and dollars in this brackish water.  Come May 18, 2024, Preakness 149 will be at Pimlico. 

National Thoroughbred League: Revolutionizing Horse Racing with City-Based Teams and Innovative Racing Format

National Thoroughbred League: Revolutionizing Horse Racing with City-Based Teams and Innovative Racing Format

National Thoroughbred League: Revolutionizing Horse Racing with City-Based Teams and Innovative Racing Format

Introducing the National Thoroughbred League: A New Era in Horse Racing

The National Thoroughbred League (NTL) is set to revolutionize the world of horse racing, aiming to keep the sport’s biggest stars competing longer and capture the attention of new audiences. Co-founded by Randall Lane and Robert Daugherty, the NTL aims to create a city-based league, similar to other major professional team sports, and bring the thrill of Thoroughbred racing to a wider fanbase.

Creating Stars and Fostering Team Affinity

Lane envisions a scenario where star horses like Flightline, American Pharoah, and Smarty Jones continue to race against each other, creating incredible excitement in the world of Thoroughbred racing. The NTL aims to create a formula that builds stars and establishes team affinity, allowing fans to consistently root for their favorite teams. Spectacular events, reminiscent of the pageantry seen in the Preakness and Kentucky Derby, will also be a key focus, as fans love deluxe weekends and celebrations around big races.

Team Owners and Racing Schedule

The NTL has already announced its teams, owners, and racing schedule, marking an exciting step forward for the league. Lane and Daugherty themselves are owner-operators of the New York and Los Angeles teams, respectively, while other markets feature top financiers and entrepreneurs as managing partners. The league has partnered with Wazuzu Racing, a leader in Thoroughbred tokenization and blockchain applications, and secured investments from renowned figures in the industry.

The NTL Draft and Racing Format

The league will purchase active racehorses and make them available to the teams to build a six-horse roster through a draft held in August. The NTL’s racing format will consist of a series of five events called Cups, featuring three consecutive races. Each team will have two horses in each race, with points awarded based on performance. The goal is to accumulate the most points during the series to claim a $1 million bonus at the end of the season. The format ensures drama and strategy in the races, with varying point values assigned to different races.

Prioritizing Horse Health and Aftercare

Horse health remains a paramount concern for the NTL. The league will appoint a chief equine medical adviser and closely monitor soundness issues, aligning with the rules and requirements set by the national Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA). All horses acquired by the league will be owned by the NTL, and retirements will be managed through an agreement with the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance to ensure a suitable home for retired horses.

Celebrity Owners and Future Growth

The NTL has already attracted some celebrity owners, including rapper Nelly, rapper and record executive Rick Ross, and NFL player Kayvon Thibodeaux. Lane sees this as an opportunity to add diversity and fresh ideas to the sport. The league will handle promotions for racing weekends, while individual teams will promote their franchises and build their brands within their respective markets. Future growth through sponsorships and revenue-sharing agreements with racetracks is envisioned.

Exciting Times Ahead for Thoroughbred Racing

With its innovative approach and focus on extending the careers of racing stars, the National Thoroughbred League promises to bring excitement, exposure, and new audiences to the sport. The inaugural 2023 NTL Season One schedule is as follows:

  • Sept. 2-3: Nashville (Kentucky Downs)
  • Sept. 15-16: Seattle (Emerald Downs)
  • Oct. 13-14: New York and New Jersey (Meadowlands)
  • Nov. 10-11: Los Angeles (Los Alamitos Race Course)
  • Dec. 30-31: Tampa, Championship Weekend (Tampa Bay Downs)

Tickets for N

TL events will go on sale starting Tuesday, May 23, and can be found at the NTL official site. Racing enthusiasts can look forward to a new era in Thoroughbred racing filled with thrilling races and unprecedented entertainment.

Updates and Rankings: Female Sprint Division and Other Exciting Developments

Updates and Rankings: Female Sprint Division and Other Exciting Developments

Updates and Rankings: Female Sprint Division and Other Exciting Developments

Joe’s Picks: Exciting Developments in Female Sprint Division

I am keeping a close eye on the action in the female sprint division. While the 3-year-old males have been in the spotlight recently, there are other divisions with compelling storylines worth watching.

During the Preakness undercard, a new contender emerged in the female sprint division – Maple Leaf Mel. This impressive filly dominated the Miss Preakness Stakes, a sprint race exclusively for 3-year-old fillies. With an unbeaten record of four wins, Maple Leaf Mel is becoming a formidable contender in a division that is growing more intriguing by the week.

Before delving into the details of Maple Leaf Mel’s rise and the challengers aiming to dethrone the reigning female sprint champion, Goodnight Olive, let’s review the updated rankings following the recent race results.

Older Dirt Males

  1. Stilleto Boy: Currently holding the top spot due to his strong performance in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2), where he narrowly missed victory by two noses against Proxy. With a head-to-head win record and a Grade 1 victory, Stilleto Boy deserves recognition.
  2. Proxy: Despite a previous off-the-board finish in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) and a Santa Anita Handicap (G1) runner-up position to Stilleto Boy, Proxy displayed potential by closing well and securing his first stakes win in the Oaklawn Handicap.
  3. Smile Happy: Showed great promise with an impressive victory in the Alysheba (G2) on Kentucky Oaks day. While she may excel in races up to nine furlongs, her effectiveness in longer distances remains to be seen.
  4. Art Collector: Demonstrated consistency with a runner-up finish in the Alysheba and a previous second-place finish in the New Orleans Classic (G2) behind West Will Power. His current form suggests he’s a force to be reckoned with.
  5. West Will Power: Despite a disappointing performance as the favorite in the Alysheba, West Will Power showcased his potential by winning the New Orleans Classic. Future races, potentially at Saratoga, will shed light on his true capabilities.

Next 5: Cody’s Wish, Defunded, Last Samurai, Rattle N Roll, Hopper.

Older Dirt Females

  1. Clairiere: Secured divisional leadership with a strong comeback win in the Apple Blossom (G1), surpassing Secret Oath. While finishing as a runner-up in the Azeri (G2), Clairiere has the opportunity to solidify her position in the division in the upcoming Ogden Phipps (G1) on Belmont Stakes day.
  2. Secret Oath: Despite another commendable performance in the La Troienne (G1), where she finished second to Played Hard, Secret Oath maintains her spot in the rankings. The upcoming Phipps race will further test her capabilities.
  3. Search Results: Showed resilience by finishing closely in third place, just two heads behind the winner, in the La Troienne. Search Results remains a significant contender and will compete in the Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park.
  4. Played Hard: Made a successful seasonal debut with a victory in the La Troienne, adding to her impressive record of three graded stakes wins out of 15 career starts. Her next race will be the Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs.
  5. A Mo Reay: Started the season strongly, winning two stakes races, including the Beholder Mile (G1). However, her performance in the La Troienne fell short of expectations. Trainer Brad Cox will strategize her next move, potentially aiming for the Phipps or races at Saratoga.

Next 5: Nest, Pass the Champagne, Fun to Dream, Adare Manor, Frost Point.

3-Year-Old Males

  1. Forte: Despite the recent focus on other 3-year-old male rankings, Joe emphasizes that Forte holds the clear top position. Unaffected by the results of the Triple Crown races, Forte has a flawless record against his rivals Mage and Blazing Sevens. He is expected to run in the Belmont next.
  2. Mage: Analyzing Mage’s third-place finish in the Preakness, it becomes apparent that the race dynamics and fresh competition played a role in his performance. As a previous maiden and Kentucky Derby winner, Mage has the potential to shine in upcoming major events.
  3. Angel of Empire: Despite falling short in the Kentucky Derby, this Arkansas Derby (G1) victor exhibited potential and remains a strong contender. The deep Belmont Stakes could be Angel of Empire’s chance to reclaim his standing in the division.
  4. Two Phil’s: Impressed Joe with a resilient performance in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished a commendable runner-up. Although he won’t participate in the Belmont, his upcoming races in the Matt Winn (G3) or Ohio Derby (G3) will serve as stepping stones for the Haskell Stakes (G1) and Travers (G1) at Saratoga.
  5. Tapit Trice: Despite a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, Tapit Trice remains a favorite for the Belmont. Joe believes this talented colt will redeem himself and become a top contender in the event.

Next 5: Practical Move, National Treasure, Arabian Knight, Blazing Sevens, Arabian Lion.

3-Year-Old Females

  1. Pretty Mischievous: Secured the top spot with an impressive victory in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), maintaining an undefeated record and displaying consistent performance.
  2. Wet Paint: While finishing fourth in the Kentucky Oaks, Wet Paint previously showcased her dominance in the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn. Her Oaks loss marked her first defeat on dirt.
  3. Faiza: Disappointed as the favorite in the Black Eyed Susan (G2), finishing third and ending her five-race winning streak. Nevertheless, Faiza’s previous graded wins make her a strong contender in the division.
  4. The Alys Look: Secured a third-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks and previously finished third in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) behind Southlawn.
  5. Gambling Girl: Narrowly missed victory in the Kentucky Oaks, losing by a neck. Although winless this season, Gambling Girl showcased promise with placements in two graded stakes races.

Next 5: Taxed, Southlawn, Defining Purpose, Dorth Vader, Julia Shining.

Turf Males

  1. Modern Games: Recently won the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (G1) in a thrilling fashion, recovering from a disappointing performance in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1). With a previous Eclipse win and a start in the US, Modern Games claims the top spot.
  2. Chez Pierre: Could Chez Pierre finally establish dominance in this division? His upcoming participation in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) holds the key. Winning two consecutive Grade 1 races would be a significant achievement in a division lacking a clear leader. Chez Pierre’s remarkable victory in the Maker’s Mark Mile, where he surpassed expectations, adds to his potential.
  3. Casa Creed: Despite being a 7-year-old, Casa Creed is currently in peak form. He showcased his ability in the Turf Sprint (G3) in Saudi Arabia, finishing second by a narrow margin. This race marked his first start of the season.
  4. Up to the Mark: Surged up the rankings after an impressive victory in the Turf Classic (G1) on Kentucky Derby day, signaling his emergence as a potential divisional leader.
  5. Hong Kong Harry: Rebounded from a disappointing performance in the Kilroe Mile (G1) to secure a commendable runner-up position in the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. Hong Kong Harry’s impressive record of five wins out of six starts last season positions him as a strong contender in the Shoemaker Mile.

Next 5: Gold Phoenix, Spooky Channel, Never Explain, Annapolis, Ottoman Fleet.

Turf Females

  1. War Like Goddess: Returned to the races with an outstanding victory in the Bewitch (G3) at Keeneland, establishing herself as the best long-distance grass horse in the US, regardless of gender.
  2. In Italian: Dominated the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland, earning her the top position for now. With a previous runner-up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, she is a force to be reckoned with. In Italian’s next challenge awaits in the Just a Game (G1) on Belmont Stakes day.
  3. With the Moonlight: Finished second to In Italian in the Jenny Wiley. Her two victories in Dubai’s Group 2 races establish her as a significant player in the division.
  4. Didia: Undefeated in four starts since arriving from Argentina, Didia secured a victory in the Modesty (G3) last time out.
  5. Caravel: With four consecutive wins, Caravel, a turf sprint specialist, is poised to compete at Royal Ascot.

Next 5: Fluffy Socks, Spendarella, Shantisara, Higher Truth, Queen Goddess.

Male Sprinters

  1. Elite Power: Joe acknowledges Elite Power as the top sprinter on dirt after an overwhelming triumph in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint (G3). With intentions to compete in major races, Elite Power aims to solidify an Eclipse-worthy resume, potentially starting with the Met Mile (G1).
  2. Cody’s Wish: Marked his 2023 debut with a victory in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1). His next target will be the Met Mile on Belmont Stakes day.
  3. Sibelius: Surprised the field by winning the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1), defeating notable contenders like Gunite. Prior to this victory, Sibelius won the listed Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. His earlier win in the Mr. Prospector (G3) at Gulfstream showcased his capabilities.
  4. Gunite: Although Gunite disappointed as the favorite in the Golden Shaheen, his previous runner-up position against Elite Power in Saudi Arabia establishes him as a formidable sprinter.
  5. Repo Rocks: Displayed an impressive performance in his last outing, winning the Westchester (G3) after an underwhelming result in the Carter (G1). With three wins in his first three 2023 starts, Repo Rocks is set to participate in the Met Mile.

Next 5: Doppelganger, Straight No Chaser, Spirit of Makena, Skelly, Hoist the Gold.

Female Sprinters

  1. Goodnight Olive: Despite a loss in the Derby City Distaff (G1), Goodnight Olive maintains her position as the top-ranked female sprinter. As the Eclipse winner from the previous season, she kicked off this year with a victory in the Madison (G1) at Keeneland.
  2. Matareya: Upset Goodnight Olive in the Derby City Distaff, positioning herself as a formidable challenger. The division is becoming increasingly interesting with Matareya, Wicked Halo, and potential new contenders vying for the top spot.
  3. Wicked Halo: Showed her strength by finishing as the runner-up in the Derby City Distaff. With a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last year, Wicked Halo remains a strong contender this season. Her victory against Matareya in her seasonal debut highlights her capabilities.
  4. Frank’s Rockette: Claimed victory in the Hurricane Bertie (G3) at Gulfstream and the Roxelana Stakes at Churchill Downs.
  5. Fun to Dream: Impressed in the Santa Monica (G2) earlier this season, and although she fell short in the Beholder Mile (G1), her performance remains commendable.

Next 5: Echo Zulu, Maryquitecontray, Elm Drive, Maple Leaf Mel, My Destiny.

With new contenders emerging and Goodnight Olive’s recent defeat, the female sprint division has become increasingly exciting and competitive. The rematch between Goodnight Olive, Matareya, and Wicked Halo is eagerly anticipated, while fresh faces like Maple Leaf Mel and the returning Echo Zulu add to the intrigue.

I am thrilled to witness the upward trend in the female sprint division and looks forward to more captivating races in the near future.

A Prayer for Luis Saez: Wishing Speedy Recovery and Offering Condolences

A Prayer for Luis Saez: Wishing Speedy Recovery and Offering Condolences

A Prayer for Luis Saez: Wishing Speedy Recovery and Offering Condolences

In the world of horse racing, every day is a testament to the strength, courage, and resilience of both the magnificent creatures that grace the tracks and the dedicated individuals who guide them. Today, we pause to acknowledge a moment of hardship that has touched our community deeply.

It is with heavy hearts that we address the recent tragic incident involving the legendary jockey Luis Saez and the long-time winner, Havnameltdown. Mid-race, a devastating injury befell Havnameltdown, a horse that has brought joy and excitement to many of us over the years. This unfortunate event has also resulted in significant injuries to Luis Saez, a jockey whose talent and dedication to the sport are unparalleled.

First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to Luis Saez. Luis, your courage and tenacity have always been an inspiration to us all. Today, we stand with you, praying for your speedy recovery. We believe in your strength and resilience, and we know that you will overcome this challenging time. The entire horse racing community is behind you, offering our unwavering support.

To the esteemed trainer Bob Baffert, and the owners Michael Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman, we extend our deepest condolences. Havnameltdown was not just a champion on the race track, but a symbol of the spirit and passion that define this sport. His loss is felt by all of us in the horse racing community.

Bob, your exceptional skill and dedication have shaped many champions, and Havnameltdown was a shining example of your work. Michael, Karl, and Paul, your commitment to the sport and your love for Havnameltdown were evident in every race he ran. We share in your sorrow and extend our heartfelt sympathy.

In these challenging times, let us remember the spirit of unity and resilience that defines our community. Let us stand together, offering our support to Luis Saez in his journey towards recovery, and remembering Havnameltdown for the champion he was.

As we move forward, let us carry the memory of Havnameltdown in our hearts, and let his spirit inspire us to continue to strive for excellence, just as he did on the track. And to Luis, we look forward to seeing you back in the saddle, stronger than ever.

In the face of adversity, the horse racing community remains strong and united. Today, we are reminded of the risks and challenges of the sport we love, but also of the strength and resilience of those who dedicate their lives to it. Our thoughts and prayers are with Luis Saez, Bob Baffert, Michael Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman during this difficult time.

May the road to recovery be swift and smooth, Luis. And to Havnameltdown, may you gallop freely in the eternal pastures. You will be missed, but your legacy will live on in the heart of the horse racing community.

Celebrating the Victorious Equestrian and Human Athletes at Vernon Downs

Celebrating the Victorious Equestrian and Human Athletes at Vernon Downs

Celebrating the Victorious Equestrian and Human Athletes at Vernon Downs

Vernon Downs Celebrates Unforgettable Victories of the Week

In the realm of horse racing, Vernon Downs proudly recognizes the extraordinary achievements accomplished by both equestrian and human athletes. Let’s delve into the riveting triumphs that unfolded during the recent events at this renowned venue.

Driver of the Week: John MacDonald

For a second consecutive week, John MacDonald stands tall as the esteemed recipient of the Joe Harrington’s Winning Wheels Driver of the Week award. MacDonald’s exceptional finesse and unwavering dedication propelled him to a remarkable five victories on Saturday. Notably, his masterful performance alongside Natameri in the Open Pace, outshining the esteemed millionaire Racine Bell, showcased the pinnacle of his skills.

Trainer of the Week: Jessica Okusko

Jessica Okusko emerges as the worthy recipient of the highly regarded Black Stallion Trainer of the Week accolade. Collaborating harmoniously with driver John MacDonald, Okusko’s profound training acumen led to three notable victories on Saturday. Alongside the triumph of Natameri, her impressive winning streak also included triumphs with Sugaree Express and Syracuse Express, underscoring her expertise and talent in conditioning racehorses.

Groom of the Week: Kayla Lum

Acknowledging the vital role played by devoted grooms, Vernon Downs proudly presents the distinguished Bourbon Express Groom of the Week honor to Kayla Lum. Lum’s unwavering commitment to the welfare and care of the equine athletes is evident in her meticulous attention to detail and relentless dedication. Her unyielding efforts ensure that the horses under her care are in optimal condition, fostering their success on the racetrack.

Longshot of the Month (April): Ocean Blue

It is with great enthusiasm that we celebrate Ocean Blue as the recipient of the prestigious Golden Gro Longshot of the Month (April) award. This remarkable gelding defied the odds and captivated the audience with an extraordinary performance. On Saturday, April 22, Ocean Blue astonished bettors by paying a remarkable $53 on a mere $2 wager. This remarkable feat was made possible through the combined efforts of driver Steeven Genois, trainer Michelle Warner, and the ownership team of Donn Lewandrowski and Gail Farrell.

Heartfelt congratulations are extended to all the winners for their exceptional achievements. Their remarkable talent, unwavering dedication, and tireless pursuit of excellence continually enhance the racing experience at Vernon Downs.

Preakness Possibilities: Mage Leads the Way

Preakness Possibilities: Mage Leads the Way

Preakness Possibilities: Mage Leads the Way


Kentucky Derby (G1) victor Mage stands atop the initial list of contenders for the 148th Preakness (G1) at Pimlico on May 20. Despite not racing as a two-year-old and having only three lifetime starts heading into the Run for the Roses, Mage followed in the footsteps of Justify by triumphing in the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Mage: The Rising Star

If this rapidly-improving colt, trained by Gustavo Delgado, continues to thrive, he will attempt to replicate Justify’s success in the middle jewel. Mage boasts an impressive pedigree as the grandson of two previous Preakness winners.

Rematch Possibilities

The Preakness could potentially see a rematch between Mage, Derby fourth-place finisher Disarm, and 10th-placer Confidence Game. (Update: Disarm and Confidence Game have since been ruled out of the Preakness).

Forte’s Withdrawal

However, Forte, the longtime Derby favorite, was scratched on race day by the state veterinarian due to a foot bruise that developed during Derby week. His Preakness status was initially dependent on his next workout, but Forte has been placed on the vet’s list for 14 days, effectively removing him from contention.

Trainer Cox’s Decision

Trainer Brad Cox has decided not to send any of his Derby runners to the Preakness. Instead, he has been focusing on sending Lexington (G3) winner First Mission to Pimlico. Other notable new shooters include Blazing Sevens, National Treasure, and Red Route One.

The Preakness Field

Here is the field for the Preakness, including post positions and morning line odds:

  1. National Treasure, post 1, 4-1
  2. Chase the Chaos, post 2, 50-1
  3. Mage, post 3, 8-5 favorite
  4. Coffeewithchris, post 4, 20-1
  5. Red Route One, post 5, 10-1
  6. Perform, post 6, 15-1
  7. Blazing Sevens, post 7, 6-1
  8. First Mission, post 8, 5-2

Please note that the post positions and morning line odds are subject to change.

Pimlico looks to highlight Black-Eyed Susan card; adds two-day betting options

Pimlico looks to highlight Black-Eyed Susan card; adds two-day betting options

Pimlico looks to highlight Black-Eyed Susan card; adds two-day betting options

Pimlico Race Course has added additional betting options for the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and Preakness cards.

Expanding Betting Options

Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore has added eight pick-five bets to its wagering menus for the Friday and Saturday cards this week, hoping to leverage the low-takeout bets into substantial handle gains for the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and Preakness cards.

Connecting Races Across Two Days

Two of the new pick-five bets will link races on the Friday card to races on the Saturday card, with both ending in the Preakness, which is scheduled as the 13th race on a 14-race card. Both also include the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

  • The Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness all-stakes two-day pick five will consist of Friday’s Hilltop Stakes (Race 11) and Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (Race 13) and Saturday’s Jim McKay Turf Sprint (Race 10), James W. Murphy Stakes (Race 12), and Preakness (Race 13).
  • The Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness all-dirt two-day pick five includes three races on Friday – an optional claimer (Race 8), the Pimlico Special (Race 12), and the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (Race 13) – and Saturday’s Maryland Sprint Stakes (Race 11) and Preakness (Race 13).

Although hosting bets that link races over consecutive cards are new to Pimlico, Churchill Downs has used the strategy for its Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby cards for several years. A pick three linking the Oaks, the Old Forester Turf Classic, and the Derby had a handle of $625,340 this year, and a pick 6 linking races on Friday and Saturday drew a total of $524,179.

Highlighting Friday’s Card

Peter Rotondo, who consults for Pimlico’s parent company, 1/ST Racing, on wagering issues, said that the intent of adding the multi-day wagers was to draw attention to Friday’s card, which has several races with overflow fields. Pimlico will also offer a double for the Black-Eyed Susan-Preakness.

“We feel the Black-Eyed Susan day card has a lot of full fields, a lot of competitive races, and we want people to focus on it,” Rotondo said. “There’s real growth there to be had.”

Takeout and Minimum Wager

All the pick-five bets will have a 12 percent takeout, which is standard for pick-five bets at Pimlico and its sister track, Laurel. The minimum will be 50 cents.

“Obviously, that’s the big selling point,” Rotondo said.

Possibility of Carryover

The last pick five on the Friday card can carry over if no one selects all five winners. The carryover would apply to the last pick five on the Saturday card, which also will not have a mandatory payout.

“With the fields we have on Friday, there’s a real chance of that pick five having a carryover,” Rotondo said.

The addition of the bets comes after Pimlico hosted its first-ever Preakness Future Bet earlier this year. The pool, which had 28 individual entries and an “all others” option, closed one hour prior to the running of the Derby after drawing $304,326 in bets. Mage, the winner of the Derby, closed at 22-1. Mage is even-money on the morning line

How Race Distance Impacts Horse Performance: Breeding and Past Performances Examined

How Race Distance Impacts Horse Performance: Breeding and Past Performances Examined

How Race Distance Impacts Horse Performance: Breeding and Past Performances Examined

Understanding Race Distance and Horse Performance

Horse racing is a sport that requires a combination of speed, stamina, and endurance. One crucial factor that affects horse performance is the distance of the race. Different horses have varying abilities and strengths, which can make them excel in certain race distances while struggling in others. In this article, we will explore how race distance impacts horse performance and how breeding and past performances play an essential role in evaluating a horse’s potential.

Breeding and Its Impact on Horse Performance in Different Race Distances

Breeding is a crucial factor that determines a horse’s ability to perform in different race distances. Horses that are bred for speed tend to excel in shorter races, while those bred for endurance tend to perform better in longer races. For instance, Thoroughbred horses, which are bred for speed and agility, are better suited for races ranging from six furlongs to a mile. In contrast, horses such as the American Quarter Horse, which has a muscular build, are better suited for shorter distances such as a quarter of a mile.

Horses that are bred for distance have a greater ability to maintain their speed for extended periods, making them suitable for longer races such as the Belmont Stakes, which is 1 1/2 miles. When breeding horses, breeders look for a combination of speed and endurance, which can lead to a balanced horse that can perform well in various race distances. Breeders consider factors such as the horse’s pedigree, conformation, and racing history to select the best breeding pair.

Analyzing Past Performances to Evaluate Horse Performance in Various Race Distances

Past performances are an excellent way to evaluate a horse’s potential in different race distances. By analyzing a horse’s racing record, you can determine its strengths and weaknesses, which can help you make an informed decision on which race distance to enter the horse. For instance, a horse that has a history of winning sprints may not perform well in longer races, while a horse that has excelled in longer distances may struggle in shorter races.

Another factor to consider when analyzing past performances is the surface the horse has raced on. Some horses perform better on dirt tracks, while others prefer turf or synthetic surfaces. By analyzing a horse’s past performances on different surfaces and race distances, you can get a better understanding of its potential and make an informed decision on which race to enter it.

Conclusion: The Significance of Race Distance in Horse Racing

In conclusion, race distance plays a significant role in horse racing. Breeding and past performances are essential factors that can determine a horse’s potential in different race distances. Horses that are bred for speed tend to perform well in shorter races, while those bred for endurance are better suited for longer races. Analyzing a horse’s past performances can help you evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, providing valuable insights into its potential in different race distances. By considering these factors, breeders and trainers can optimize their horse’s performance and increase their chances of success on the racetrack.

Uncovering the Impact of Surface Changes on Horse Racing Performance

Uncovering the Impact of Surface Changes on Horse Racing Performance

Uncovering the Impact of Surface Changes on Horse Racing Performance

The Importance of Surface in Horse Racing

Horse racing is a sport that heavily relies on the condition of the track surface. The quality of the surface can have a significant impact on a horse’s performance, leading to changes in speed, stride length, and overall race outcome. As such, trainers and jockeys must take into account the surface when preparing their horses for races. Recent studies have focused on the effects of surface changes on horse racing performance, highlighting the need for racetracks to maintain consistent surfaces for fair competition.

Studying the Effects of Surface Changes on Horses

Research has shown that changes in the surface can impact a horse’s overall performance, leading to variations in stride length, stride frequency, and speed. A study conducted by the University of Liverpool found that horses ran slower on deep and heavy surfaces compared to fast surfaces. Another study found that firm surfaces resulted in longer and faster strides, while softer surfaces led to shorter and slower strides.

Furthermore, changes in the surface can also impact a horse’s risk of injury. According to studies, firm surfaces increase the risk of bone and joint injuries, while deep and heavy surfaces increase the risk of soft tissue injuries. For this reason, trainers and racetrack officials must work together to monitor and maintain consistent and safe track surfaces.

Implications for Trainers and Racetracks

Understanding the impact of surface changes on horse racing performance has significant implications for trainers and racetracks. Trainers must consider the surface when conditioning their horses for races, ensuring that they are prepared for variations in the track. Additionally, racetracks must ensure that the surface remains consistent, minimizing the risk of injury and creating a level playing field for all competitors.

This also highlights the importance of proper maintenance and preparation of the track surface. Racetrack officials must continually monitor and adjust the track, taking into account weather conditions and usage. It is essential to create a surface that is safe and consistent for all horses, jockeys, and trainers.

Conclusion: Surface Changes and Their Role in Horse Racing Success

In conclusion, understanding the impact of surface changes on horse racing performance is critical to the success of the sport. Horses rely on consistent, safe, and well-maintained surfaces to perform at their best. Trainers must consider the surface when conditioning their horses, while racetracks must maintain consistent surfaces for fair competition and to minimize the risk of injury. The importance of surface changes in horse racing cannot be overstated, and it is vital that all stakeholders work together to ensure the continued success and safety of the sport.