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The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation is calling for donations to assist backstretch workers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak across the United States. All donations to the foundation will be designated for COVID-19 relief until further notice.
The foundation’s current priority is addressing the immediate need to stock food pantries at racetracks around the country, and it is coordinating with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America in this effort.
Those who would like to contribute should visit tjcfoundation.org/donate. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, checks cannot be accepted at this time. All donations are tax-deductible.
“The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation works with chaplaincies and horsemen’s groups across the nation on a daily basis to help the men and women who care for our equine athletes and are the backbone of our industry,” said Shannon Kelly, executive director for the foundation. “With many racetracks currently closed for live racing and instituting strict quarantine procedures due to the pandemic, backstretch families face significant financial strain, and the foundation is poised to utilize its resources to help those in need.”
The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation is a charitable trust that provides, on a confidential basis, financial relief and assistance to needy members of the Thoroughbred industry and their families. Recipients of the Safety Net Foundation’s support represent virtually every facet of the Thoroughbred industry, from jockeys, trainers, exercise riders and grooms to office personnel and other employees of racetracks, racing organizations, and breeding farms. Assistance can come in any number of forms, including financial aid, medication, surgical and hospital costs, therapeutic equipment, voice-recognition computers for quadriplegics, and wheelchair-accessible vans. Since 1985, The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation has provided more than $16 million in assistance.
Frank Bruno Behler “Pappa Frank” entered Heaven on March 16, 2020. He was 87 years old and was preceded in death by his parents Frank & Jeannette Behler.
He leaves behind his loving daughter, Judy Lee Behler and his best friend Ron Tenhundfeld.
A native New Orleanian, he graduated from SJ Peters High and later served honorably in the US Army during the Korean Conflict. His entire life was focused on one career, training race horses. He traveled to many race tracks in his career, with a large stable of runners, successfully gathering training titles, track records and stakes wins. He loved racing in New Orleans and his heart was his home based Fair Grounds Race Course, where he bought his first race horse as a teenager. Many years were spent in Ohio at River Downs and in Kenner at Jefferson Downs.
His favorite stories were about race tracks he went to only once and the reasons why. Of the thousands of wins and endearing animals entrusted to his care, he had 1 favorite, a filly he bred named Judy’s Diamond. She in turn loved only him, making him proud with her overall achievements, which were many.
Until the day of his passing, he spent his days walking the fields at his home in Folsom, caring for several retired racers and his barn cats. There will be a family service at graveside due to the restrictions of the current pandemic. When the situation allows, a celebration of his life will be held for his many friends and family.
JACOB SCHOEN & SON in charge of the arrangements. To sign the family guestbook, please go to www.schoenfh.com.
The challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic have led to new protocols for Thoroughbred breeding to minimize risk of infection among farm staff and related personnel charged with transporting and handling horses.
The Jockey Club recommends that all North American, Central American, and Caribbean Thoroughbred stud farm operations at a minimum follow guidelines from the Kentucky Department of Ag Guidelines for COVID-19: Breeding Shed Activity issued by E.S. “Rusty” Ford from the Office of the State Veterinarian, Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
With vans and individuals visiting multiple facilities each day during the breeding season, it is important to adopt standard practices in how people and horses visiting sheds are managed. The essential elements enumerated in the guidelines are reproduced below with permission from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture:
|KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF AG GUIDELINES FOR|
|COVID-19: BREEDING SHED ACTIVITY|
|BREEDING SHED ACTIVITY: With vans and individuals visiting multiple facilities each day we do recommend adopting standard practices in how we manage people and horses visiting sheds.|
|1. Submission of documentation for mares booked to be bred would best be done electronically. We’ve seen numerous reports where handled paper can be contaminated.|
|2. Eliminate outside individuals (van drivers and mare attendants) from coming into the prep area and shed. To accomplish this, the van would arrive, the mare would be offloaded and handed off to a shed employee (using the shed’s shank) who would handle the mare through the process. The van driver and anyone accompanying the mare to the shed should remain outside in the parking area while maintaining social distance with other individuals.|
|3. After cover, the mare would be returned to the loading area and handed off to the attendant for loading onto the van. If there is need for a mare’s attendant to witness the cover, this should be accomplished from outside – looking in, videotaped or virtually.|
|4. The shank would be cleaned before returning to the shed or reuse and attendant would wash hands [recommended addition by The Jockey Club: or preferably disinfected with acceptable products efficacious in preventing the spread of viral or bacterial agents and the use of disposable gloves by attendants are recommended where practicable].|
|5. Breeding equipment (leg straps, collars, boots etc.) would be cleaned before reuse [recommended addition by The Jockey Club: or preferably disinfected with acceptable products efficacious in preventing the spread of viral or bacterial agents and the use of disposable gloves by attendants are recommended where practicable].|
|6. Additionally, maintaining enhanced biosecurity in our daily activity is essential to all of these mitigations.|
|Implementing these practices, and any other action you can take to eliminate people from congregating in common areas will be beneficial and could be critical in our ability to continue transporting horses to/from sheds.|
For information on COVID-19 in the United States, please visit the Center for Disease Control.
New Orleans (March 23, 2020) – Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots returned to the traditional Thanksgiving Day opening for the start of the 148th racing season, but the meet concluded six racing days prior to the scheduled March 29 closing date due to a “stay-home” order issued by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, following public health concerns in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some eight days earlier on Friday, March 13, Fair Grounds was ordered to conduct live racing with no patrons, only essential employees, licensed horsemen (including owners) and credentialed media were allowed on track.
On what would be the final racing day of the meet, in front of an empty grandstand with only essential employees and horsemen with a horse in the race allowed to be present, Clint Gasaway, Lance Gasaway, Madaket Stables, and Wonder Stables’ Wells Bayou captured the 107th running of the Twin Spires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) in front-running style, earning 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, which a week earlier was pushed back to Saturday, September 5. Extended to the 1 3/16ths-mile distance for the first time, the Louisiana Derby drew a full an overflow field, and 14 horses started.
Trainer Brad Cox won the final three stakes, and four races in total, on the Louisiana Derby Day card, taking the Mervin Muniz Memorial Classic (G2) with Gaining Ground Racing’s Factor This and the Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks with Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Bonny South (G2) prior to her Derby win with Wells Bayou.
Earlier in the meet, Cox won the first division of the Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford-Linclon with Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, and Doheny Racing’s Mr. Monomoy, a half brother to 2018 champion 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl.
The Risen Star, which was extended to 1 1/8-miles for the first time, drew 23 entrants and thus was split into two divisions. The original $400,000 purse and Kentucky Derby qualifying points (50-20-10-5) remained the same for both divisions.
Cox, who led all trainers with 12 stakes wins at the meet, took home his third consecutive trainer’s title winning with 40 of his 147 starters. Locally-based Ron Faucheaux, who won his 500th career race during the meet, finished second with 34 wins. Tom Amoss (29), Steve Asmussen (26) and Bret Calhoun (22) rounded out the top five.
James Graham (63 wins) held off Mitchell Murrill (60) and Colby Hernandez (60) to take down his second Fair Grounds’ jockey title, with the first coming during the 2014-15 meet.
Florent Geroux, who finished fourth in the standings with 56 wins, led all jockeys in purses earned with $2,939,706 and stakes victories with ten. Shaun Bridgmohan was second with nine stakes scores.
Brian Hernandez, Jr., who completed the top five in the standing with 45 wins, scored career victory 2,000 on December 19, when guiding the Jimmy Baker-trained Afleet Roger to the winner’s circle.
In what was a tight owner’s race, Winalot Racing, LLC edged Maggie Moss 13-12, with Godolphin, LLC (11), Earl J. Hernandez, Keith J. Hernandez and John Duvielh (11) and Calumet Farm (10).
Prior to her disappointing fourth place finish as the 1-5 favorite in the Fair Grounds Oaks, Winchell Thoroughbreds and Thomas Reiman, William Dickson, and Debbie Easter’s Finite won both the Silverbulletday and the Rachel Alexandra (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton. Her victory in the Silverbulletday represented the 1,000th career stakes win for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who joined D. Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher as the only trainers to achieve this feat.
Fourteen horses won three races at the meet. In addition to Finite, Factor This (both graded), Bobby’s Wicked One, Play On, Hieronymus, and Louisiana-bred Net a Bear, Vacherie Girl, Ninety One Assault and each won two stakes.
Allied Racing Stable’s By My Standards returned to the scene of his 2019 Louisiana Derby win to take the New Orleans Classic (G2) for trainer Bret Calhoun and jockey Gabriel Saez.
Prior to finishing fifth in the Louisiana Derby and second in the first division of the Risen Star, John Oxley’s Enforceable won the Lecomte (G3). The race was extended from 1 mile and 70 yards to 1 1/16-miles.
For the 2019-20 racing season, Fair Grounds eliminated handicap conditions for stakes races. These races are now weighted under allowance conditions.
Crescent City Oaks
Fair Grounds, 3-21-20, 8.32 furlongs
Three Year Old Fillies, Accredited Louisiana Bred, $75,000
Breeder: Georgia Farms Inc
Owner: L. William and Corinne Heiligbrodt
Trainer: Steven M. Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana, Jr.
Quikfast N Ahurry
Closing Argument–Wynning Ride
Breeder: Carrol J. Castille
Owner: Whispering Oaks Farm LLC
Trainer: Steven B. Flint
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Sabercat–Shes Dixies Eskimo
Breeder: John Luck
Owner: John Luck
Trainer: Samuel Breaux
Jockey: Diego Saenz
Bill and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s Vacherie Girl returned to the form she flaunted in her first two career starts when she rallied between horses in the stretch and surged clear under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. to prevail by 3 ½ lengths in the $75,000 Crescent City Oaks for Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies.
In her first couple of appearances at Fair Grounds, Vacherie Girl touted her potential by breaking her maiden at first asking by 6 ½ lengths on Nov. 28, then following that up with a 1 ¼-length triumph in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie Stakes going six furlongs on Dec. 14.
After closing out her juvenile campaign with a third-place run in the Dec. 29 Louisiana Futurity, Vacherie Girl had her connections scratching their heads when she ran last of nine during her sophomore debut in the LA Bred Premier Night Starlet Stakes at Delta Downs on Feb. 8. The daughter of Tapiture more than made amends for that off day by putting herself in the mix early in the Crescent City Oaks and responding with authority when called upon for her best run.
With 43-1 shot Georgia Dawn leading Oh Toodles through the opening quarter-mile in :24.08, Vacherie Girl settled a few lengths behind in third with race favorite Steph’sfullasugar sitting off her flank in fourth. By the time Georgia Dawn reached the half-mile in :48.49, Vacherie Girl had dropped back to fourth as Steph’sfullofsugar began making her bid three-wide and threatening the top group with about three furlongs remaining.
Oh Toodles ultimately took command around the far turn and led the charge in early stretch only to have Vacherie come with her kick under Santana, who had maneuvered her down the middle. The Steve Asmussen-trained filly then put away Quikfast N Ahurry to her outside and finished up willingly, covering the 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:43.65 over a track rated fast.
Quikfast N Ahurry held for place honors with Saber Cut third and Oh Toodles fourth. Steph’sfullasugar, the 1-2 betting choice, faded to finish last in the field of seven.
Sebs Princess was a late scratch out of the Crescent City Oaks after rearing in the gate.
Sent off at 5-1 odds, Vacherie Girl was bred by Georgia Farms out of the Officer mare Saucey Officer and improves her record to three wins from five starts with a bankroll of $143,307.
Crescent City Derby
Fair Grounds, 3-21-20, 1 mile and 1 sixteenth
Three-Year-Olds, Accredited Louisiana Bred, $75,000
Power Broker–Tensas Salt
Breeder: J. Adcock & Montgomery Equine Center
Owner: Baronne Farms, LLC
Trainer: Edward J. Johnston
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Breeder: Earl Hernandez & Keith Hernandez
Owner: E. Hernandez, K. Hernandez and J. Duvieilh
Trainer: Sam B. David
Jockey: James Graham
Mr. Besilu–Cat’s Production
Breeder: John A Adams
Owner: John A Adams
Trainer: Beverly Burress
Jockey: Corey J. Lanerie
Baronne Farms’ Sydster made the most of every inch he was given in his stakes debut as the son of Power Broker had things all his own his way en route to the victory in the $75,000 Crescent City Derby for Louisiana breds.
The Crescent City Derby was the first of eight stakes on Fair Grounds’ signature $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) lineup. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the track has been holding races without spectators and allowing only essential personnel on the grounds.
Sent off as 3-2 second choice in the field of eight, Sydster caused some drama before he ever got running when he became fractious in the gate, causing jockey Florent Geroux to temporarily dismount. Once settled and sprung free from post 1, the chestnut gelding was nothing short of professional as he shot to the front and loped along through fractions of :25.05 and :49.36 with 60-1 longshot Luckenbacher tracking him in second.
As Geroux set Sydster down for the stretch run, 4-5 race favorite Langs Day tipped out from his spot along the inside and tried to threaten. Those soft early fractions left Sydster with plenty in reserve, however, to hold off a late surge from Jax Man to the outside and prevail by 1 1/2 lengths in his fifth career start.
Jax Man was 1 ¼-lengths in front of third-place finisher Luckenbacher. City Park was fourth with Langs Day fading to fifth to suffer his first career loss. The final time for the 1 1/16-miles was 1:45.59 over a track rated fast.
Trained by Edward Johnston, Sydster came into the Crescent City Derby off a second-place run in an allowance race at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17. All five of his starts have come over the New Orleans oval and he improved his record to three wins and one runner-up finish with $104,800 in earnings.
Sydster was bred by J. Adcock and Montgomery Equine Center out of the Salt Lake mare Tensas Salt.
Costa Rising Stakes
Fair Grounds, 3-21-20, 5 1/2 furlongs, turf
Three-Year-Olds and Upwards, Accredited Louisiana Bred, $75,000
Custom for Carlos–Sarah’s My Angel
Breeder: Val C. Murrell
Owner: Ivery Sisters Racing,
Trainer: Ron Faucheux
Jockey: Adam Beschizza
El Corredor–Magical Mia
Breeder: Gerard Perron
Owner: Gerard Perron
Trainer: Gerard Perron
Jockey: Corey J. Lanerie
Yankee Gentleman–Real Peace
Breeder: Steve Margolis, Wahl & Assoc., George Messina & Kerima Haddad
Owner: Margolis Racing, LLC and Columbus Circle Partners
Trainer: Steve Margolis
Jockey: Chantal Sutherland
(New Orleans – March 21, 2020) — Ivery Sisters Racing’s Monte Man, the beaten favorite by a neck in the $75,000 Costa Rising Stakes one year ago, reclaimed his title in the race he first captured in 2018 when he edged past stubborn pacesetter Letithappencarlos in midstretch to once again prove best in the 5 ½-furlong turf test for Louisiana breds.
The 7-year-old Monte Man has been a thoroughly honest performer, finishing worse than third just twice in 14 subsequent starts since his initial triumph in the Costa Rising Stakes two years ago. The gelded son of Custom of Carlos was recognized for his consistency by the betting public, who made him the 5-2 favorite in the field of 12, and he rewarded that faith with a stalk-and-pounce run over a firm Fair Grounds course Saturday to win by a length and earn his 14th victory from 39 career starts.
When Letithappencarlos was sent to the front in the Costa Rising, Monte Man was kept close to pace by jockey Adam Beschizza who rated his mount to the outside in second through an opening quarter-mile in :21.76. Monte Man began advancing around the far and took dead aim in the stretch at Letithappencarlos, who was still game on the front end after posting a half-mile in :45.59.
Under right-handed urging, Monte Man took over just past the sixteenth and held off Grand Luwegee running on late to hit the wire in 1:03.49.
Yankee Seven got up for third with Letithappencarlos settling for fourth.
Trained by Ron Faucheux, Monte Man was bred by Val C. Murrell out of the Sutter’s Prospect mare Sarah’s My Angel and improved his career bankroll to $582,441.
(March 23, 2020 – Austin, Texas) — The Texas Thoroughbred Association and Lone Star Park have announced that the Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale scheduled for April 3 has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. All entry fees for the sale will be refunded.
It was also announced that all horses currently nominated to the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity at Lone Star Park will remain eligible provided the final payment of $350 is made. All horses entered in the 2-year-old sale will be considered to have passed through the sales ring for the purposes of eligibility for the race. Additionally, the April 15 due date for the final payment has been pushed back to May 15. The Texas Thoroughbred Futurity, with a fillies and colts/geldings division for a $100,000-estimated purse apiece, is scheduled for July 12 at Lone Star. The TTA and Lone Star will make a future announcement should a date change be needed.
“We are obviously disappointed to cancel this sale, especially with a record number of consignments, but it’s really the only option at this point and postponing the sale simply was not feasible,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association. “We are leaving the sale catalogue online and making some enhancements so that potential buyers can view photos and videos submitted by consignors and make contact to negotiate private sales.”
In the coming weeks, the TTA will accept photos and videos from consignors to be added to the sale website at www.ttasales.com. The online repository will also be opened to help consignors market their horses. Each consignor’s contact information will be listed so that buyers can make direct contact about a private sale. The TTA will not track or collect commissions on any private sales.
“We feel this was probably the best group of horses to be catalogued to this sale in over a decade, so we encourage potential buyers to view the horses being offered,” said Tim Boyce, sales director. “We truly appreciate all the support from consignors, so we are working to make the best of this situation and help buyers and sellers get connected.”
The Texas Summer Yearling Sale is set for August 24 at Lone Star and will also include a horses of racing age session.
NEW ORLEANS, LA (March 21, 2020) – In accordance with the “stay-home” order issued by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, following public health concerns in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fair Grounds Race Course will suspend live racing operations effective immediately. The Fair Grounds Thoroughbred Racing Season was originally scheduled to run through March 29.
Fair Grounds Race Course remains focused on the safety of members of the backside community who are vital to ensuring the care of the horses. In compliance with the Louisiana Racing Commission’s emergency order, we are committed to facilitating their safe and customary movement to tracks outside of New Orleans.
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is dedicated to doing our part to help fight this public health crisis. We regret any inconvenience this announcement may have caused our rans fans and will continue to coordinate closely with federal, state and local authorities to minimize exposure risk for those on our property.