Lone Star Park kicked off its 2018 Thoroughbred Season last week with notable increases in handle. Total handle on the opening night card was $1.5 million the highest single-day handle since Memorial Day 2011 and a 55% increase over opening day last year. The total handle for the 4-day combined opening weekend was the best since 2012 and climbing 26% over 2017.
Field sizes averaged 9.39 per race, considerably higher than the 2017 national average of 7.70 reported by The Jockey Club.
Lone Star Park’s purses are up nearly 14% from a year ago, partially supported by a reduction in race dates, plus an increase of the track’s 2017 all-sources handle. The purse increase has also attracted more horses than in recent years including a few new stables.
An upgrade conversion to high definition broadcast video distribution is in place and will help showcase what Lone Star Park has to offer.
Plans on the horizon to help continue the momentum include a schedule of select race days that feature Guaranteed Pick-4 Pools. The first on the schedule is Sunday, May 6, which features the Grade 3, $200,000 Steve Sexton Mile. Lone Star Park will offer advance wagering on Kentucky Derby Day for the entire card as well as a $50,000 Guaranteed Late Pick-4 Pool.
Led by record-setting GI Arkansas Derby and GII Rebel S. days, Oaklawn Park reported an 11% increase in total handle during its recently-concluded 2018 season.
An estimated crowd of 64,500 turned out Apr. 14 to watch undefeated ‘TDN Rising Star’ Magnum Moon (Malibu Moon) capture the GI Arkansas Derby, contributing to a total handle of $16,159,771 on the 12-race card, a figure that broke the previous single-day record of $15,133,537 set on Arkansas Derby day in 2000. Four weeks earlier, 37,500 saw Magnum Moon capture the Rebel on a day that handled $10,771,984, the highest non-Arkansas Derby Day yield in the 114-year history of the track.
“Despite missing two days due to weather in January and 16 inches of rain in February, we are extremely excited to have ended the meet with a double-digit increase in handle,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “It’s a testament to the great product we were able to put on the track this season. I want to thank the owners, trainers and jockeys who put on the greatest show in racing. I also want to thank our entire management team and staff for such an incredible season. Most of all, a huge thank you goes out to our fans for their continued support.”
The Hot Springs oval raced 55 of 57 days for total handle of $209,695,403. The average total daily handle of $3,812,644 was up 15% over 2017. Export handle also saw the big gains during the 2018 season, growing by 15% to $175,125,149 despite racing two fewer days than 2017.
Oaklawn will start a new tradition in 2019 when it opens Friday, Jan. 25 and continues its season through Saturday, May 3, marking the first time that the track has raced after Arkansas Derby Day. The 2019 Arkansas Derby will be run Saturday, Apr. 13.
April 24, 2018
The American Horse Council (AHC) is pleased to announce the adoption of a Safe Sport Code of Practice.
“The reputation and integrity of equestrian sports and all equine related programs and activities is maintained when all person’s act, and are seen to act, in a way which is of the highest ethical standards,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have further brought to light the importance of maintaining a safe environment for all, and the equine industry is no exception to this.”
This Code of Practice, unanimously endorse by the AHC Board of Trustees reads:
To behave ethically necessitates an awareness of power differentials among all persons involved. This statement is intended to inform ethical judgments as persons consider asymmetric power relations among themselves and others they work with in professional roles. We recognize that this statement’s strength and requisite influence depend on its circulation, discussion, reflection, and use by the equine industry. It is the industry’s expectation that all equine organizations recognize “Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017” and US Center for Safe Sport, and adopt programs to support these initiatives.
The American Horse Council and its members are:
- Committed to contributing to an environment, which makes participation a positive and rewarding experience.
- Committed to creating and maintaining a community where all persons who participate in equine related programs and activities can work, learn and compete in an atmosphere free of all forms of emotional, physical and sexual harassment and misconduct.
- Committed to protecting the rights, safety, dignity, and well-being of the persons involved in all aspects of our industry, thus condemning all forms of harassment regardless of whether it is based on age, ethnicity, race, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, religion or marital status.
- Committed to providing just treatment in cases of disputes and that there are proper and accessible mechanisms that are available in a timely manner to resolve disputed issues through due process.
A PDF of the Code can also be found on the AHC’s website here: http://www.horsecouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Safe-Sport-Code-of-Practice.pdf
A tentative presentation by the U.S. Center for Safe Sport and a roundtable discussion will be held at the AHC’s National Issues Forum on Tuesday, June 12th in Washington, DC to identify best practices and tools to support this practice. Information about the National Issues Forum can be found on the AHC’s website here: http://www.horsecouncil.org/events/ahc-annual-meeting-national-issues-forum-2/.
Stereotypic behaviors such as weaving, cribbing, and stall-walking occur commonly in high-performance horses as well as many companion horses. In addition to being unsightly, potentially damaging to the barn, and raising welfare concerns, stereotypic behaviors also result in important health issues such as dental disorders, temporohyoid joint damage, poor performance, weight loss, and colic.
“Cribbing is the most troublesome of these compulsive behaviors. It involves grasping a fixed object with the incisor teeth and aspirating air with an audible grunt,” explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research.
The exact reason horses crib remains unknown. Some suggest that cribbing horses have unmet dietary or management needs. Others believe that altered biological functions are the culprits, such as decreased antioxidant levels or increased oxidative stress.
Because trace elements such as selenium, zinc, manganese, and copper protect the body from oxidative stress, one research group* recently explored the hypothesis that oxidation status may contribute to cribbing. To test this theory, blood samples were collected from horses during or immediately after an episode of cribbing and when cribbers were resting. Control horses with no known history of cribbing were also tested. Samples were analyzed for various markers of oxidation.
“The most important finding in this study was that serum selenium concentration was significantly lower in cribbing horses than in controls, with the lowest levels measured while horses were actually cribbing,” Crandell said.
Based on these data, the researchers concluded “that alterations in serum selenium, an important component of the antioxidant system, may play a role in the pathophysiology of cribbing behavior in horses, adding further evidence to the theory that cribbing may be related to increased oxidative stress and alterations in essential trace elements.”
Micronutrients imbalances can affect many physiological processes, which is one reason why Kentucky Equine Research nutrition advisors are available for consultation. They can help with feed analysis, recommend ration fortifiers containing vitamins and minerals such as Micro-Max (Gold Pellet in Australia), and antioxidants such as Nano•E, a water-soluble, natural-source of vitamin E, and Preserve PS (Preserve in Australia) to provide natural-source vitamin E, vitamin C, and other antioxidants.
“Management also plays an important part in minimizing stereotypic behaviors. Strategies such as providing environmental enrichment tools, offering free-choice hay or prolonged grazing, and allowing direct visual contact or prolonged turnout time in groups are thought to improve the welfare of affected horses,” Crandell mentioned.
*Omidi, A., R. Jafari, N. Saeed, et al. 2018. Potential role for selenium in the pathophysiology of crib-biting behavior in horses. Journal of Veterinary Behavior 23:10-14.
Article reprinted courtesy of Kentucky Equine Research (KER). Visit equinews.com for the latest in equine nutrition and management, and subscribe to The Weekly Feed to receive these articles directly (equinews.com/newsletters).
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Copyright © 2018 Paulick Report.
Track encourages guests to visit KentuckyDerbyParking.com for parking, arrival & entry information
“Churchill Downs has invested heavily to improve the arrival and entry experience for all our guests and employees. We want to ensure a safe and secure environment, while helping people get in and out of the venue as efficiently as possible,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “We encourage everyone joining us for Derby Week to visit KentuckyDerbyParking.com so you know exactly what to expect before you get to the track.”
Derby Week visitors will be the first to use Churchill Downs’ new expanded entry plaza, which will lead guests from Central Avenue to the newly constructed Paddock Gate that’s replacing previous entrances at Gates 1 and 17.
Churchill Downs has renamed its admission gates to reflect their locations in the venue. Ticket holders will enter Churchill Downs through one of three admission gates: the new Paddock Gate, the Clubhouse Gate (formerly Gate 10) and the Infield Gate (formerly Gate 3). The Infield Gate will only be available to guests with a General Admission ticket. All others will enter through the Paddock or Clubhouse Gates.
Once ticket holders arrive at Churchill Downs, a new entry process will help them enter the track safely and efficiently:
- To ensure the safety and security of all Churchill Downs guests and employees, anyone entering the track will walk through metal detectors as part of the security screening measures. Prohibited items are not allowed past the security screening area.
- Next, guests entering through the Paddock or Clubhouse Gates will scan their ticket at one of the new self-scanning entry turnstiles. Or, if someone has a General Admission ticket and is entering through the Infield Gate, an attendant will scan their ticket by hand. Once inside the track, guests are not allowed to leave the venue and reenter.
- Once a ticket is scanned, guests will proceed through the turnstile and follow staff direction and new signs from the admission gate to their seating section or venue.
- As guests make their way to their seating section, they will be greeted by an usher at the appropriate access control point. The usher will scan the ticket for a second time, stub the ticket and then apply an official wristband around their wrist. This wristband allows guests to come and go from their seating section throughout the day. Each ticket may only be scanned once at the wristband locations and must scan as valid to receive a wristband.
Additionally, guests with mobile tickets purchased through the official Ticketmaster Resale Marketplace will follow the same entry process as guests with printed tickets and will receive their wristband at the access control point.
Churchill Downs released a short video letting guests know what to expect before entering the track: https://youtu.be/jNOrSBjuZAU
Prohibited items and items deemed inappropriate for entry into the grounds are the responsibility of the ticketholder and cannot be accepted or checked by Churchill Downs. We urge patrons to plan ahead and leave these items at home. Churchill Downs and its security partners will not store prohibited items for patrons. The full list of prohibited and permitted items can be found at KentuckyDerbyParking.com.
PROHIBITED ITEMS FOR DERBY WEEK (Opening Night through Kentucky Derby Day)
• COOLERS AT ANY GATE – including the Stable Gate (styrofoam coolers and ice are available for purchase in the Infield)
• CANS (any size or type)
• GLASS BOTTLES OR CONTAINERS
• TENTS – NO POLES OR STAKES OF ANY KIND
• LAPTOP COMPUTERS and CAMCORDERS
• CAMERAS WITH DETACHABLE LENSES OR EQUIPPED WITH A LENS THAT IS 6” OR LARGER
• DRONES and REMOTE-CONTROLLED AIRCRAFT
• PURSES LARGER THAN 12” IN ANY DIMENSION
• FIREWORKS, NOISEMAKERS, AIR HORNS, LASER LIGHTS/POINTERS, PEPPER SPRAYS
• ANIMALS (with the exception of service animals for guests with special needs)
• SELFIE STICKS
• ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
• ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES
• WEAPONS (including knives)
• LUGGAGE (including briefcases)
• ANY ITEMS DEEMED DANGEROUS AND/OR INAPPROPRIATE
PERMITTED ITEMS FOR KENTUCKY DERBY AND OAKS DAYS
• FOOD ITEMS IN CLEAR PLASTIC BAGS (maximum size 18”x 18” – no trash bags) *
• BOX LUNCHES in clear plastic bags or containers (maximum size 18” x 18” – no trash bags)
• WATER & SOFT DRINKS – plastic bottles only (sealed, clear and unopened)
• PURSES, BUT NONE LARGER THAN 12” IN ANY DIMENSION (subject to search)
• BABY/DIAPER BAGS – only if accompanied by a child (subject to search)
• SMALL CAMERAS – none equipped with detachable lenses or lenses of 6” or more **
• SMALL PERSONAL MUSIC SYSTEMS, RADIOS & TELEVISIONS ** (no boomboxes) ***
• CELLULAR PHONES, SMARTPHONES & TABLETS **
• SEAT CUSHIONS SMALLER THAN 15”x 15” – no metal arms and/or backs, zippers, pockets or flaps
• STROLLERS (ONLY if carrying a child)
• SUNSCREEN (non-glass containers only)
• CHAIRS (permitted through the Infield Gate ONLY and cannot be carried to the frontside)
• BLANKETS & TARPAULINS (Paddock and Infield Gates ONLY)
* Limit of two bags per person
** Patrons could be required to turn on electronic items
*** Not permitted in hospitality spaces and dining rooms
For more information on arrival, parking and entry, please visit KentuckyDerbyParking.com and download the Churchill Downs and Waze mobile apps.
Supplements are still being accepted for the sale and the catalog is being updated daily.
Sale Date: Monday, May 7, 2018
Breeze Show: Sunday, May 6, 2018
by Natalie Voss
The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council (KEDRC) unanimously voted this week to allocate $15,000 to funding ongoing research into biological passport. Although the technology is at least a couple of years from implementation, Dr. Scott Stanley of the University of California-Davis said the passports could solve several problems in drug testing.
Regulators face particular challenges testing for long-acting prohibited substances like erythropoietin (EPO) and drugs creating steroid-like effects in the body. EPO in particular withdraws from the blood very quickly, but its impact (increasing the concentration of oxygen-carrying red blood cells in the body) lingers considerably longer. Both steroids and blood doping agents also tend to be used repeatedly but often weeks in advance of a race. Out-of-competition testing can act as a deterrent for these substances, but regulators still have a short window to actually find a positive level of the drugs in the horse’s system.
Biological passports track the responses of proteins and biomarkers to the administration of drugs like these even after the drugs themselves are gone. Stanley said the technology also gets around a common concern on the part of horsemen: what if a given horse, through no manipulation, is a natural outlier in the range of ‘normal’ for a hormone or protein? Sampling for passports would be taken repeatedly over an extended period of time, allowing regulators to compare a given reading not just with the normal range of the whole population, but also to the horse’s own previous readings.
Before the technology is ready for use at the racetrack though, Stanley and other researchers have to look at a range of markers in the equine body to decide which are the truest indicators of drug administration. Hormones and blood levels fluctuate naturally in response to the time of day, the season, and maybe a horse’s location.
Initial tests on a research horse looking at P27425 (an iron binding protein) produced exactly the results scientists expected. They plan to collect data from 50 to 100 horses in California in over one or more years to see how biomarkers behave in horses and which are the most consistent. When passport testing begins, Stanley anticipates a cross-section of horses will need to be sampled on a monthly basis in addition to post-race readings. As a greater cache of data is collected and stored, the monthly testing will become unnecessary.
The California Horse Racing Board and Grayson-Jockey Club Foundation have already provided funding to the project.
Dr. Andy Roberts, member of the KEDRC, questioned whether different (completely legal) training or feed routines could also cause a noticeable change in a horse’s passport levels. Stanley said it’s possible they could, so changes in passport readings would need to be taken as just a piece of the greater puzzle in what’s going on with a horse.
“Right now we would definitely see it as [a tool to initiate] an investigation: ‘This horse has been flagged for further follow-up’ and we’d get additional sequential samples from that to see if that horse is naturally outside the normal boundary,” said Stanley. “In the future, I think we could have enough additional data to say, ‘The upstream and downstream changes are not consistent with anything other than an administration.’ We just don’t have that data definitively yet to say what those changes should be.”
Unfortunately for equine researchers, the work that has been done on human biological passports with regard to blood-doping agents doesn’t seem as though it will be applicable to horses. The equine spleen is considerably different from that of humans, and its ability to suddenly contract with exertion causes changes in blood levels that would not be typical in a human.
The good thing about biological passports for racing regulators is that the technology won’t care what type of drug a trainer may have used to influence red blood cells or muscle tone, since they measure the body’s reaction instead of the size of drug molecules.
Like drug testing however, Stanley cautioned biological passports will be a constantly-evolving scientific process – but one that could have major impacts on integrity down the road.
“It isn’t a short-term project. It is years-long to get enough data,” he said. “The whole project is underfunded and it would take a long time even if it was fully-funded. I suspect we’ll be looking at more data in a couple years rather than a couple weeks.”
“The long-term intent is to provide deterrence. I truly believe that drug testing is about deterrence. We want to convince people we can test for everything and anything at any concentration that is prohibited. Just as we’re doing in Quarter Horse racing with a lot of hair testing right now, we would like to prevent [violators] from racing rather than penalize them after the race as an unfair competition.”
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Copyright © 2018 Paulick Report.