Time is running out to accredit 2017 Louisiana bred foals. Louisiana Accreditation fees are $75 for weanlings. On January 1, 2017 foals become yearlings and the rate increases to $250.
Following the recent passing of Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, several horsemen at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots have shared stories of the conditioner and how he has influenced their training careers.
A native of Columbus, Nebraska, Van Berg is the all-time leading trainer at the Fair Grounds having won ten training titles at the New Orleans oval, which include six consecutive leading seasons from 1965-71. In addition, he also holds the record for most victories during a single season at the Fair Grounds when he won 92 races during the Winter Meet in 1973-74. In 1985, Van Berg was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame and six years later in 1991, was inducted in Fair Grounds’ Hall of Fame.
Trainer Tom Amoss was a product of the Van Berg barn and began working for him in high school when he hot walked for Van Berg during Christmas break one year. Coincidentally, Van Berg was stabled in Barn 12 on the Fair Grounds backside, where Amoss is currently operates.
“I worked for him in high school right here in this very barn,” Amoss recalled. “It was my first job on the racetrack as a hot walker and it was about 1977 or 1978. Even then I had hopes of being a trainer one day and I always had a notebook with different things that I observed and wanted to stay with me for when I got to be a trainer. One thing that I learned from Van Berg that I still use today is his feed program. In today’s world, a lot of trainers give the horses premixed feed and that’s what they do. A vast majority of them do that, but we don’t. We have a recipe that we use that involves a lot of different products and I can’t tell you how often I get compliments about how great our horses look in the paddock. That is a direct tribute to the Van Berg feeding program.
“He instilled the importance of hard work and being at the barn,” Amoss added. “I don’t just mean in the mornings, but in the afternoons as well. It’s those things that always stuck with me. There are guys that can do it without being at the barn as much as I am, but for me it works if I am around as much as possible, and that’s the Van Berg way of doing things.”
Amoss continued to work for Van Berg during his college years and assisted the trainer’s Fair Grounds division which was supervised by trainer Frank Brothers, Van Berg’s assistant at the time.
“Van Berg was one of the first to have different operations spread throughout the country,” Amoss said. “You see that a lot with today’s trainers, but not back then. I went to work for Frank Brothers who was his assistant trainer and managed the Louisiana division of horses, so I didn’t get to see Jack that much and remarkably he remembered me. I don’t know how much of that is him trying to appease me when I say hello to him or if he actually does remember me but I’ll say this, he had a great memory. I’d like to think it was the latter.”
Van Berg also was responsible for getting trainer Wayne Catalano involved in the racing industry. Catalano often rode for Van Berg as a jockey prior to becoming a trainer.
“Jack Van Berg was a big part of my career and my life,” Catalano said. “Growing up, I was a young boy here in New Orleans and not doing so well in school. My uncle took me to the track and said, ‘You’re small enough if you want to be a jockey’. I didn’t know anything about the racetrack so he brought me and my brother to Jack Van Berg. I came here to the racetrack not knowing anything about the races or about the track or the backside or anything like that, but Jack really taught me a lot. I started working for Jack up in Chicago when I turned 16 and he taught me all about the horses and horsemanship.
“If it weren’t for Jack, I wouldn’t be in the position that I’m in right now in my life,” Catalano added. “He got me here. He’s very well missed and the horsemanship that he taught me brought me a long ways. He made you work hard and he was very strict but he was the kind of guy that would teach you and show you. He always helped everybody come along. He gave me a jump start in my riding career and later on when I was done riding and I started training he gave me another jump start there and even gave me a couple of his own horses. One year, he was short of an assistant at Keeneland go I just kind of filled in when I was galloping horses for him. It was toward the end of my (riding) career when I was trying to become a trainer so I was focusing on that.”
While trainer Al Stall, Jr. did not work directly for Van Berg, he was a friend of his and was stabled next to him during his final years at Churchill Downs.
“I knew him personally and I was stabled right next to him during his last couple of years over at Churchill,” Stall said. “Whenever he would be out watching his horses work on his scooter or when he was inside his truck on the backside, you would always see four or five people surrounding him. It was like he had his own little entourage.”
Stall shared a story of Van Berg taking him to airport following a race at Arlington Park.
“I remember he would take us to the airport sometimes when we had horses shipping,” Stall recalled. “One time leaving Arlington Park we were in a rush to catch a plane and I had never been so scared in my life, he was driving like a maniac. When we stopped at a toll booth the brakes were smoking, but we made our flight in time.”
In addition to his numerous accomplishments at the Fair Grounds, Van Berg was a nine-time leading trainer in North America by wins and the leading trainer by earnings in 1976. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer in 1984, the same year he trained Gate Dancer to a victory in the Preakness Stakes. His most well-known runner was 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Alysheba who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and was named Horse of the Year the following year. This year, Van Berg enjoyed his most successful season in 20 years this year with 42 victories and $1,223,503 in earnings. He will be missed by many horsemen at racetracks all across North America.
Jay Adcock will be standing three new stallions retiring from the racetrack to the breeding shed for the 2018 season, El Deal, Jay Gatsby and Takeover Target.
El Deal is a 2012 son of Munnings out of a multiple stakes producing daughter of Out of Place. He broke his maiden is his first start as a juvenile and went undefeated through his three year old season. At three El Deal won the Gold Fever Stakes at Belmont Park. Twice stakes placed at four, he won the 2017 G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga at five by eight lengths, and placed second in the G1 Vosburgh Stakes.
El Deal had nine wins, three seconds and one third from 17 life time starts with $575,025 in earnings. He will stand for a 2018 fee of $2,500.
Jay Gatsby is a 2012 son of two-time champion sire Giant’s Causeway, out of a multiple graded placed stakes winning and multiple stakes producing daughter of Rubiano. He is a half-brother to graded stakes winners Teammate, War Front and Ecclesiatic.
With wins in Europe at two and three, Jay Gatsby moved his tack to North America at four winning among allowance company at Belmont and placing in the G2 Bernard Baruch Handicap and the Fasig Tipton Lure Stakes at Saratoga, as well as the G3 Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont.
In all Jay Gatsby accumulated five wins with victories each year while racing from ages two through five. His total earnings on the track were $313,972. Jay Gatsby is standing for a 2018 fee of $1,500 live foal.
Takeover Target is a 2012 son of multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Harlan’s Holiday, who is perennially among the leading sires in North America. His dam is a multiple stakes producing daughter of Empire Maker. He is a full brother to stakes winner Ladie’s Privilege.
Takeover Target broke his maiden in his first start at two at Belmont. At three, he won the G2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga, the G3 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont and placed. At four, he won the G2 Longines Dixie Stakes at Pimlico. At five he ran third in the Fasig-Tipton Lure Stakes at Saratoga.
Over his racing career, Takeover Target has a record of five wins, two seconds, and one third with $826,685 in earnings. He is standing for a 2018 fee of $2,000 live foal.
Catalina Red, a 2012 son of Munnings will be standing at Elite Throughbreds in Folsom, Louisiana for 2018.
Catalina Red broke his maiden in the Inagural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs as a juvenile, following that with a track record setting win in the Pasco Stakes, going 7 furlongs in 1:21.40. At three, he won the Jackson Bend Stakes at Gulfstream Park. As a four-year-old he won the G2 Churchill Downs Stakes and placed third in the G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. In thirteen starts, he had five wins (all in stakes), one second and three thirds while earning $549,885.
Catalina Red is by multiple graded stakes winner Munnings, the #2 ranked third crop stallion for 2016. His dam, Lovely Dream is a stakes placed winning daughter of Freud.
Catalina Red will stand for a 2018 fee of $3,000 live foal.
Sassicaia, a 2011 son of Bernardini and Grade 3 stakes winner of $307,127 has retired from racing and will enter stud at Elite for 2018.
While racing from three to six, Sassicaia earned a record of four wins, six seconds and two thirds from twenty starts, including a victory at five in the G3 Toboggan Stakes at Aqueduct.
Sassicaia is by Bernardini, G1 Preakness winner, ranked among the leading sires in North America. He is out of Hishi Aspen, a winning daughter of Forestry.
Sassicaia enters stud for a 2018 fee of $2,000 live foal.
Grade 2 winner Pick of the Litter will be standing the 2018 breeding season at Peach Lane Farms in Opelousas, Louisiana.
Unraced at two, Pick of the Litter broke his maiden at three by 7 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream Park, going on to place third in the G3 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.
At four he won the G2 Hagyard Fayette Stakes at Keeneland setting a new track record of 1:49 2/5 for the mile and one eighth while carrying equal top weight in the contest.
He earned $419,110 from 19 starts, with 5 wins, 4 seconds and two thirds.
A son of Kitten’s Joy (currently ranked 4th among leading sires in North America) out of Eagle Sound, a winning daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus, Pick of the Litter is standing for a 2018 fee of $2,000 live foal.
Entered Hall of Fame in 1985; trained Alysheba.
the son of Hall of Fame trainer Marion Van Berg, died Dec. 27. The 81-year-old conditioner had been hospitalized at Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock, Ark., due to complications from cancer.
Van Berg, who entered the Hall of Fame in 1985, ranks fourth on the all-time win list for North American-based trainers with 6,523 victories. His runners earned more than $85 million.
His most famous runner was Alysheba, winner of the 1987 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1). After being named champion 3-year-old male of 1987, he was dubbed “America’s Horse” and earned Horse of the Year and champion older male crowns following his victory in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Alysheba, who entered the Racing Hall of Fame in 1993, raced for Dorothy and Pamela Scharbauer and earned a then record $6,679,242 (surpassing John Henry) with 11 wins from 26 starts.
Van Berg also had classic success with Gate Dancer, winner of the 1984 Preakness.
Among the many accomplishments of Van Berg, he was the first trainer to reach the 5,000-win plateau on July 15, 1987. In 1976 he set a record for the most wins in a year with 496 and was also the leading trainer by earnings. He won the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer in 1984.
Van Berg’s beginnings were in the West, where he sent out his first winner in 1957. A few years later, he was the leading trainer at Ak-Sar-Ben in Nebraska for years, where he was able to be the leading trainer in the country by wins nine times between 1968-86.
At the time Alysheba came along, Van Berg had more than 150 horses in training for some 35-40 clients. The majority of his horses trained at his center near Goshen, Ky.
A $500,000 sale yearling bred by Preston Madden, Alysheba “was a little light because he hadn’t been prepped that much,” Van Berg said in 1987. “He had an air about him. He was very well balanced, and he had that look.”
While not as accomplished as others for the classics, Alysheba had an entrapped epiglottis, and a new technique was performed by Dr. Scott Merrell following a second-place finish in the San Felipe Handicap (G1). Alysheba returned to the track to finish first in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, but was disqualified and placed third. In a famed Derby stretch run where he bumped with Bet Twice and almost fell, Alysheba rallied under Chris McCarron to win by three-quarters of a length.
The BloodHorse‘s editor, Ed Bowen, wrote after the Derby: “The day after he won the Kentucky Derby with Alysheba, Van Berg spoke of his father’s gruffness with affection. As a boss, Marion Van Berg had a tendency to call his male help ‘boy,’ regardless of whether the individual being addressed happened to be his grown son.
“‘I never sassed him, because I had too much respect for him,” the son said, and he recalled that his father’s technique of helping others learn often was to let them try for themselves, and then point out their mistakes.”
After Alysheba’s win in the Preakness, he failed to land the Triple Crown finishing fourth behind Bet Twice, Cryptoclearance, and Gulch in the Belmont Stakes (G1). Later that year Alysheba finished second to fellow Derby winner Ferdinand in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The following year Alysheba won seven of nine starts and closed out his career with four straight grade 1 wins: the Philip H. Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park, the Woodward Handicap at Belmont Park, the Meadowlands Cup Handicap, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, where he defeated runner-up Seeking the Gold by a half-length.
Van Berg later moved his base to Southern California, but he was unable to maintain his winning level. A mid-1980s land development deal soured, and so did his business. He resurfaced in the 2010s at Oaklawn Park and began to rebuild his stable. He was recognized of late motoring around the backstretches on a scooter and he would often watch his horses train from a pickup truck parked on the grandstand apron.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Today The Jockey Club published a list of more than 42,000 names released from active use. This list is sortable by letter and available on registry.jockeyclub.com and mobile.registry.jockeyclub.com to help customers with name selections for claiming and reserving names. A majority of the released names are from horses more than 10 years old that have not raced or been used for breeding during the preceding five years. Names selected from the list for re-use are subject to approval by The Jockey Club.
Name selections can be submitted to The Jockey Club from the registry website or can be submitted via iOS and Android mobile applications. The Naming Application is available for download free of charge and provides a fast and convenient way to reserve, change, or claim a name.
“The Jockey Club’s Registry provides a variety of platforms through which owners and breeders can easily claim and reserve names,” said Matt Iuliano, The Jockey Club’s executive vice president and executive director. “For those who are unsure if a desired name is available or have yet to decide on a name, The Jockey Club’s recently released names list and Online Names Book can help you search for a name and help you immediately identify names that are already in use.”
The list of recently released names and the Online Names Book are updated daily as names are claimed.
Interactive RegistrationTM (IR) is the most efficient means to submit name applications to the Registry. Name applications submitted through IR are preliminarily screened to eliminate direct matches with names unavailable for use. Owners who name their Thoroughbreds through IR receive their first choice approximately 75 percent of the time. More than 1.5 million IR transactions have been recorded since its launch in 1996.
The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club, directly or through subsidiaries, provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives, and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms. It is the sole funding source for America’s Best Racing, the broad-based fan development initiative for Thoroughbred racing. You can follow America’s Best Racing at americasbestracing.net. Additional information is available at jockeyclub.com.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Wednesday, December 20, 2017) – The Tax Bill cleared by Congress for President Trump’s signature contains a number of provisions beneficial to horse breeders and owners, according to an initial assessment by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA).
The tax bill benefits the horse racing industry by slashing corporate tax rates, reducing most individual tax rates, doubling the estate tax exemption from $5 million to $10 million (indexed for inflation occurring after 2011), and generally providing special tax treatment for certain pass-through entities (sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, and S corporations).
The package also includes significant and positive changes to depreciation and expensing of yearlings, breeding stock, farm equipment and other qualifying depreciable property. These include:
- Bonus Depreciation. An increase in bonus depreciation from 50 percent to 100 percent for both new and used property acquired and put into service after Sept. 27, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2023. Bonus depreciation permits first-year, full expensing for purchases such as yearlings, breeding stock, and farm equipment. Current law provides for 50 percent depreciation on new property only. The new benefits will be effective at the 100 percent rate through 2022. Beginning with 2023, bonus depreciation will be phased out at a rate of 20% each year until fully phased out after 2027.
- 179 Deduction. The maximum amount that may be expensed under this provision has been increased from $500,000 to $1 million for new and used property. Additionally, the phase-out threshold for the deduction has been increased from $2 million to $2.5 million. Both the maximum deduction and phase-out amount are permanently extended and will be indexed for inflation.
- Farm Property. Machinery and equipment used in farming operations will be granted accelerated depreciation with a useful life of only five years and depreciation using the 200 percent declining balance method. The current law provides for a useful life of seven years and depreciation using the 150 percent declining balance method.
“At more than 700 pages, the tax bill and accompanying joint explanatory statement are enormous in both size and complexity,” said NTRA President & CEO Alex Waldrop. “While the overall impacts on each individual will vary, in general many of the provisions should have a positive impact on the economics of horse racing and breeding.”
For horseplayers – many of whom may benefit from the reduced corporate, individual, and pass-through entity tax rates – the NTRA successfully worked to defeat a proposed amendment that would have eliminated the itemized miscellaneous deduction for gambling losses entirely. Consequently, horseplayers will continue to be allowed to deduct their losses from wagering transactions (i.e., losing tickets) up to the amount of winnings. However, beginning January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2025, the limitation on losses from wagering transactions (up to the amount of winnings) will apply not only to the actual costs of wagers incurred by an individual, but also to other deductible expenses such as travel and lodging incurred by the individual in connection with the conduct of that individual’s gambling activity.
Waldrop added: “The information presented in this release is not a comprehensive explanation of the tax bill. The NTRA urges every industry participant with tax concerns to consult with your tax advisor for information and planning advice applicable to your specific situation.”
About the NTRA
The NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky., is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance; NTRA.com; the Eclipse Awards; the National Handicapping Championship; NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program; and Horse PAC®, a federal political action committee. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).