Keeping with the trend that has become the norm over the last 14 years, Oaklawn’s purses are on the rise again.

Beginning with Saturday’s race card, Oaklawn will increase purses for all overnight races by as much as $4,000.

“This is only possible because of the tremendous support we continue to receive from our horsemen and fans,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “We promised a New Level of Racing at the beginning of the season and we are delivering. Our field sizes (9.5 avg.) are among the highest in nation, we have horsemen participating from both coasts as well as the Midwest, and the fans are responding. We could not be more excited about the rest of the season.”

First level allowance races will be worth at least $90,000, after receiving a $4,000 increase, and maiden special weight races will be boosted to $87,000, with a $2,000 increase. Purses for all claiming races with a claiming price of $20,000 or more will also receive a $2,000 bump, and all other overnight purses are increasing by $1,000 per race.

“Everything is coming together nicely,” Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith said. “We have completed the expansion of our casino, and construction is moving right along on the hotel and event center. This is an exciting time for Oaklawn and we are very happy to share our good fortune with the horsemen. It’s awesome to be offering the richest winter racing in North America with allowance races starting over $90,000.”

The purse increase was welcome news to the horsemen.

“I think it’s great,” said trainer Mike Puhich, who is among several new trainers wintering at Oaklawn this year. “Most tracks are kind of hoarding the money, and these guys are throwing it back to the horsemen, which is always good. You love to see that.”

Added trainer Brad Cox, perennially among Oaklawn’s leading trainers. “We’re supporting the program already, but it’s great. These are the best purses in the country. It’s rewarding to show up and have a barn here. It makes it worth your while. It’s great for wintertime racing.”

“I try to run more horses where the money’s at,” owner Mike Waters said. “Every time Oaklawn announces a purse increase, the California and the East Coast guys all take notice. It’s a nice place to run for these purses, that’s for sure.”

Keeneland and Churchill Downs Reinforce Commitment to Safety with Racing and Training Reforms

Darren Rogers, Churchill Downs Communications

Keeneland and Churchill Downs today jointly announced major changes in racing and training policies to strengthen safety protocols at both race tracks. Reforms include mandatory veterinary inspections prior to workouts and race entry and enhanced reporting and transparency requirements for trainers and attending veterinarians with regard to the fitness of horses to work and race.

These reforms also apply to horses stabled at Keeneland’s The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington and the Churchill Downs Training Center in Louisville.

In a significant step to promote integrity in racing, Keeneland and Churchill Downs will ban the race-day use of Lasix in all 2-year-old races under the International Medication Protocol authority granted in 810 KAR 8:050 of the Kentucky Administrative Regulations beginning with Keeneland’s 2020 Spring Meet and following at Churchill Downs Racetrack’s 2020 Spring Meet. Kentucky’s Thoroughbred race tracks supported sweeping medication reforms, including the Lasix ban, adopted by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) in late 2019.

Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason and Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said in a joint statement: “These meaningful reforms further advance our commitment to create the safest possible environment for racing and training. Race tracks, horsemen and the veterinary community share a responsibility for the welfare of our human and equine athletes and to promote the sport for generations of fans to come.”

Changes will become effective with the opening of the stable areas at Keeneland and Churchill Downs. Trainers and attending veterinarians must agree to the following conditions in order to participate in the racing programs at either track:

A trainer is not permitted to enter a horse in any race unless the horse has been found fit to race by the attending veterinarian during the three days immediately prior to entry, and

A trainer is not permitted to work a horse unless the horse has been found fit to work by the attending veterinarian during the five days immediately before the work.

Trainers and attending veterinarians are obligated to inform the equine medical director at the appropriate race track and the KHRC of any changes in a horse’s fitness after an examination has been conducted.

Additionally, all horses at Keeneland and Churchill Downs will be subject to veterinary inspections by the tracks’ respective equine medical directors and to veterinary monitoring.



Sophie Doyle to compete in Friday’s
International Jockey Challenge in Saudi Arabia


New Orleans (February 25, 2020) – It’s been a mix of successes, obstacles and setbacks, but one thing is certain, the 2019-2020 racing season has been one of enlightenment for the ladies of the Fair Grounds jock’s room.

They each have unique backgrounds and are at different stages of their careers, but when it comes to the spirited competition they live every day, Sophie Doyle, Chantal Sutherland, Erica Murray and Aubrie Green are each other’s greatest supporters.

“I feel like sometimes women can get a little bit catty and I think it is better off to be happy and positive,” Doyle said. “Coming into this meet, I was determined to transform the (ladies) jock’s room into a place full of warmth and good, positive energy.”

According to Doyle, their home away from home was painted and decorated. The pink lights cool the energy and meditation music relaxes the environment. When they’re not riding, the female jockeys often do yoga, exercise, and work on their fitness.

“It’s homey and comfortable and I think the atmosphere and the mindset has helped all of us go out there and ride really well,” Doyle added. “We are having a great time in the room and rooting for each other to do well. If you’re having a bad day, we pick each other up. We turn the page and go back out there with a clear head and the right frame of mind.”

Winless from just two mounts here last season, Erica Murray is Fair Grounds’ leading lady with 15 victories this season and she’s in the midst of the best run of her six-year career.

“It is so awesome,” Murray said. “It is so nice to ride with women who support each other. I grew up idolizing Sophie and Chantel, so being able to ride with them is amazing. I know Aubrie (injured) isn’t riding here right now, but we still support each other in every way. It has been such a tightknit room. We all give advice and root for each other. It is very uplifting.”

Injured on January 5 when her mount Stang’s Galaxy flipped in the gate and was scratched, Green was forced to undergo surgery to repair ligament damage in her left ankle.

“When the horse flipped and pinned my ankle, she actually tore a major ligament that holds the tendons in place,” Green explained. “Because of that, my tendons were dislocating.”

Prior to the injury, Green had five Fair Grounds wins at the current stand, including a memorable score aboard 8-1 shot Pound for Pound in the Louisiana Champions Day Classic. She hopes to get back on horses in mid to late April.

“I haven’t been in the room for a couple weeks, but I walk in today and you can just feel the love,” Green said. The camaraderie is great. We all support each other, and are genuinely happy when one of us wins instead of being jealous or mad. Usually when you have a group of girls together you have a lot of cattiness and jealousy. This meet we decided we weren’t going to be like that. We wanted to try to support each other and build each other up. It’s changed the dynamic of our whole meet.”

With 1,007 career wins, 22 graded stakes scores, and a trio of grade one triumphs aboard Game On Dude, Sutherland is easily the most accomplished of the Fair Grounds’ female riders, but most of those successes came earlier in her career in her native Toronto and in Southern California.

She’s been a TV star and featured in magazines, but since moving her tack to Fair Grounds and Kentucky, Sutherland is pressing the reset button, to an extent. A crafty ride aboard She’sonthewarpath put her into the winner’s circle following the Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes less than two weeks ago, and she’s is enjoying this stage of the career journey with Sophie, Erica and Aubrie.

“I’m really happy how we have all bonded and supported each other,” Sutherland said. “I think Fair Grounds has done a great job re-painting the room, giving us really nice TVs and great sofas. It is just a really nice place to live in. We are here so often, so we are all really grateful for that. We are just like sisters!”

Born in England, Doyle comes from a racing family. Her mother Jacqueline is a former trainer and brother James is an accomplished European jockey. She enjoyed success as an apprentice rider back home before crossing the pond into the United States, where she has won 289 races. Last year she won trio of graded stakes with Street Band – the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), the Indiana Oaks (G3) at Indiana Grand and the Cotillion (G1) at Parx. The Cotillion marked the first grade one victory of her career.

This week, Doyle will embark on what she hopes will be another fruitful adventure, as she travels to Saudi Arabia to compete against 13 of the best riders in the world, both male and female, in Friday’s International Jockeys Challenge.

“Ten years ago, we (female jockeys) couldn’t go and race there,” Doyle said of Saudi Arabia. “I’m curious to see just how different it is now.”

Saudi women are treated as second class citizens. They can’t wear clothes or make-up that show off their beauty. Public transportation, parks, beaches and amusement parks are segregated in most parts of the country. In 2015, Saudi Arabia proposed hosting the Olympic Games, but only if the events for women were eliminated.

Times are changing. In 2017, under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi state schools announced offering physical education classes to both boys and girls and they began allowing men and women to attend sporting events. The following year, a royal decree granted women the right to drive vehicles.

“Even though they are allowed to drive now, they still have to have a man present in the car with them,” Doyle said. “I went to Aman one year to get my Visa one year and the woman told me they weren’t allowed to drive cars and that they had never seen it. We took the car off road and I drove them all around this back village. They all had faces of disbelief. Driving a car is just one of many freedoms we take for granted.”

“I think the Jockey Challenge will continue to help make a difference in the way women are viewed and treated,” Doyle continued. “I think it’s great that they are trying to horse racing to showcase women competing against men. It’s a display of respect for women, and it shows a belief that we do know what we are doing out there (on the track). It will be so refreshing for the women of Saudi Arabia to be able to come to the races and experience us competing against the men. They probably haven’t seen anything like it, and we want them to feel a sense of pride right along with us.”

Fourteen riders will compete in four races, with the winner taking home $30,000. Doyle will be up against some top riders from all over the world, including Mike Smith, Frankie Dettori, Yutaka Take, Olivier Peslier and Emma-Jayne Wilson.

“I am really excited for Sophie,’ Green said. “It and it is an opportunity that I think we all would love. We are all so proud of her, it makes me want to cry.”

“I think it is so amazing,” Murray said. “She is such a good representative for the Fair Grounds jockey colony and women riders.”

“It is super exciting,” Sutherland said. “I am so happy for her. I think it is a great opportunity. I hope she does really well. She is a wonderful person to represent the United States.”

According to the press release promoting the event, the International Jockey Challenge “reflects the values of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which lays out a program of targets for diversification and increased sporting participation among Saudi’s young people.”

On a larger scale, Vision 2030 is a plan to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism.

Doyle, who has spent some time in both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, departed Tuesday night with the hopes of riding Thursday at Meydan in advance of Friday’s event in Saudi Arabia. She’s looking very forward to the competition, but also to having her voice heard.
“You always want to try to support other women and try to help them, not just in your own country, but around the world,” Doyle said.

You can follow the journey and successes of the female riders at the Fair Grounds on Twitter via their personal accounts @sophiedoyle77, @jockeychantal, @EricaAmazing and @jockeygreen and the hashtag #fgbellariders.

“Hopefully maybe other female jockeys around America will follow our example and create a bella hash-tag unique to their racetrack,” Doyle said. “Horse racing is the only sport where women compete directly against men. We face an uphill battle in the States and even more so around the world. By showing the support we have for each other in the Fair Grounds’ ladies jock’s room, I hope we set a good example for others and can continue to raise awareness.”

Undefeated 3-Year-Old No Parole To Point To Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes



Owned by Maggi Moss and Greg Tramontin, sophomore No Parole is undefeated in three career starts against his fellow Louisiana-breds.

The son of Violence worked a half-mile in 49.40 seconds Monday morning at the Fair Grounds, after which Moss posted on Twitter that No Parole would aim for Derby points in the G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 14.

Trained by Tom Amoss, No Parole broke his maiden at the Fair Grounds on Dec. 15, defeating his rivals by 14 1/4 lengths. Next out, the colt won an allowance race by 13 1/4 lengths, and in his most recent start No Parole earned his first stakes victory in the LA Bred Premier Night Prince at Delta Downs.

Out of the Bluegrass Cat mare Plus One, No Parole was bred by Coteau Grove Farms. Moss purchased him for $75,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling sale.

Racing Loses a Legend: A.P. Indy Dies at 31

Classic winner A.P. Indy was the 1992 Horse of the Year.


A.P. Indy, the 1992 Horse of the Year and one of the world’s great stallions, died peacefully Feb. 21 at his longtime home at Lane’s End near Versailles, Ky.

Bill Farish of Lane’s End said everyone at the farm was leaning on one another on a difficult Friday. He noted how much A.P. Indy meant to his father, William S. Farish, who bred A.P. Indy with William Kilroy and later came back to own the horse as part of a partnership.

“Anytime Dad visits the farm, his first stop is to go visit A.P. Indy,” Bill Farish said, adding that Friday was a tough day for his dad.

A.P. Indy, a son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, was the leading sire twice, leading broodmare sire once, and among the leaders on both lists multiple times.


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First Randy Romero Pure Courage Award to Mena

The group of nine friends from Louisiana that launched the Randy Romero Pure Courage Award this year to honor the Racing Hall of Fame rider who died in 2019, as well as current jockeys who overcome adversity, announced their first winner Feb. 20: Miguel Mena.

Mena battled back from severe injuries suffered in a spill March 18, 2018, at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, where he suffered multiple fractures in his right heel and ankle. At the time, he was the meet’s leading rider. He returned to riding later that year and earned a pair of grade 3 wins in 2019 at Keeneland, guiding Bobby’s Wicked One to victory in the Commonwealth Stakes and Peace Achieved to a score in the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes. Organizers noted that Mena prevailed in a close vote that included finalists Tim Thornton, Victor Espinoza, and Kendrick Carmouche.

The Pure Courage Award will be presented between races at Fair Grounds March 21, which is Louisiana Derby Day. The trophy is being designed by Steve Gibson of Gibson Artworks, and the presentation will be made by Dan Schneider; his wife, Annie; and their daughter, Kristi. The Schneiders are the focus of the highly acclaimed documentary “The Pharmacist.”

Romero, a winner of 4,294 races and $75.2 million in earnings from 1973-99, was the regular rider of such elite distaffers as Go for Wand and Personal Ensign, with whom he teamed to win the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) in 1988 to complete an unbeaten career. He won 122 graded stakes and riding titles at 10 tracks.

Record Number of Entries in Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, New Incentives Announced

The Texas Thoroughbred Association and Lone Star Park are pleased to announce a record number of consignments to the Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. A total of 182 head, pending the addition of supplements, have been entered in the sale set for Friday, April 3, at 12 noon at Lone Star. The under tack show will be held Wednesday, April 1, at 10 a.m. at the track.

This year’s head count is up nearly 35 percent from last year’s 135 (including supplements) and more than double the number in the 2016 sale, which was the first held jointly by the TTA and Lone Star.

“We expected to have more entries after the passage of beneficial legislation in Texas last year, but we were a little surprised by just how much interest there’s been from both consignors and buyers,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the TTA. “We are excited about the two incentive programs related to this sale and the overall increase in purses in Texas and incentives for Accredited Texas-breds.”

The passage of H.B. 2463 is expected to inject up to $25 million annually into the Texas horse industry, and its effect is already being seen with increased purses in 2020 for the current Sam Houston Race Park meet and upcoming Lone Star meet.

In addition, money generated by H.B. 2463 is being used to provide a rebate of up to one-half of the entry fee to consignors at this sale. Plus, all graduates of this sale will be eligible for a new purse incentive program for all races this year at Texas tracks. The incentive is available for all graduates, regardless of where they were bred.

As always, sale graduates will be eligible for the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity this summer at Lone Star with divisions for fillies and colts/geldings offering purses of $100,000-estimated apiece.

The list of nationally prominent stallions in the sale is far more extensive than in recent years, including Animal Kingdom, Bodemeister, Candy Ride, Fusaichi Pegasus, Goldencents, Kitten’s Joy, Maclean’s Music, Overanalyze, Palace, Tapiture and Uncle Mo.

This year’s catalog includes offspring of many of the Southwest’s leading and emerging stallions, including Astrology, Bradester, Court Vision, Custom for Carlos, Early Flyer, Flat Out, Half Ours and Too Much Bling.

For more information and the online catalog, including photos and videos after the under tack show, go to

Enteritis In Horses: A Source Of Colic And Of Mystery



Fan favorite California Chrome may have suffered a bout of enteritis since his arrival to Arrow Stud in Japan, but one veterinarian familiar with the illness says there’s no reason to be concerned about his long-term health.

Enteritis is the inflammation of either the large or small intestine and often results in part of the intestine failing to move its contents along, which causes it to stretch out and become painful. In horses, enteritis presents as a classic colic, with symptoms of abdominal pain like elevated heart rate, lack of manure, and restlessness which could include a horse touching or kicking at its sides. Enteritis in the small intestine is most common in foals, while large intestinal enteritis is most common in adult horses.

Dr. Bryan Waldridge, veterinarian at Park Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., said typical presentations of enteritis will also have reflux of stomach contents through a nasogastric tube. Because the contents can’t keep moving through the intestine as normal, they’ll backfill into the stomach, which causes the horse discomfort. Ultrasound can also show a veterinarian where intestinal contents have backed up.


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Partial Interest Sold in Louisiana-bred 3-Year-Old No Parole

Moss said a decision on an upcoming race would likely not be made until next week.


Unbeaten Louisiana-bred 3-year-old No Parole will have an additional owner when he races next, perhaps a prep race toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). Majority owner Maggi Moss said Feb. 13 she has sold a minority interest in the Violence  colt to Greg Tramontin.

No Parole—3-for-3 in state-bred competition—won his first two races at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in six-furlong sprints before stretching out to two turns in the Feb. 8 Louisiana Bred Premier Night Prince Stakes at a mile at Delta Downs. Spurting to the lead, he relaxed and cruised under the wire 6 1/2 lengths in front under regular rider James Graham.


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