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National HBPA Opposes Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020

Statement from the National HBPA Board of Directors

On September 9, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (HISA) with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The bill takes regulatory authority from state racing commissions and creates a new regulatory body responsible to the Federal Trade Commission. The new federal authority would establish and enforce a national racing medication and track safety program for the horse racing industry. Senator McConnell announced his legislation was a compromise within the industry, but there can be no compromise without consulting the views of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), which represents close to 30,000 race horse owners and trainers.

The National HBPA has reviewed the proposed legislation and affirmatively states at this time we oppose the HISA.

  • Banning Lasix before studying it “is putting the cart before the horse,” as Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR), a veterinarian, stated during the September 9 markup of the companion legislation in the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. The legislation works to phase out an important, protective medication, commonly known as Lasix, over the next three years. Lasix is the only known medication to treat a condition called Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH), or bleeding in the lungs. EIPH threatens the health and wellbeing of many racehorses and until an alternative treatment is developed, the National HBPA believes that Lasix should be utilized on race day. Science and national veterinary leadership continue to support the administration of Lasix on race-day.
  • The new authority regulating horseracing nationwide will be governed by a board with a majority of members having no experience in the horseracing industry. And the board will be handpicked by the same elite interest groups pushing this legislation.
  • The legislation will be paid for on the backs of our membership. Unlike other legislation, Congress has not authorized any federal dollars to be spent on the proposed authority. The new authority will end up levying millions of dollars in fees on horsemen to pay for the new regulatory scheme. Given the economic hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, these new fees will likely put many small business owners and operators out of business.

The National HBPA and its affiliates remain strongly committed to the welfare of our human and equine athletes and will remain persistent in its efforts to achieve industry reforms that are fair and beneficial for all.

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Texas Commission Approves 42-Day Lone Star 2021 Season

The Texas Thoroughbred Association sought a longer meet from Lone Star Park.

During a teleconference meeting Sept. 29, the Texas Racing Commission approved a schedule for 2021 race dates in which Sam Houston Race Park and Lone Star Park will be the only tracks to run Thoroughbred meets in the state. The state’s other major track, Retama Park, will run exclusively Quarter Horses next year.

Because Retama Park agreed to transfer some of its Thoroughbred purse money, Sam Houston extended its application and was approved for seven more days than what it had originally planned. The track will now run a 46-day Thoroughbred meet from Jan. 8-April 3 before Thoroughbred racing in the state shifts to Lone Star Park for a 42-day race meet from Apr. 16-July 18. Both Sam Houston and Lone Star will also run shorter Quarter Horse meets.

The 42-day meet by Lone Star is a reduction of approximately seven race days from historical averages since 2012, Mary Ruyle, executive director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association, told commissioners before their vote, while opposing the shorter schedule.

 

Read BloodHorse Article

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Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act Passes In House

Congressmen Paul D. Tonko and Andy Barr’s bipartisan national horse racing reform bill, H.R. 1754, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday. The bill would designate the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to design and implement uniform national horse racing medication and racetrack safety standards.

“After nearly six years working to advance this bipartisan legislation to modernize horseracing in the United States, we are at long last rounding the final turn,” Congressman Tonko said. “Our Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act puts the health and well-being of our equine athletes and jockeys firmly at the center of the sport, and delivers commonsense medication and track safety standards that will lift this noble sport to higher standards of integrity and safety. These long overdue reforms will help restore public trust in the sport and put it on a path to a long and vital future, supporting countless jobs and driving economic activity in communities across our nation. I thank my longtime collaborator and friend, Congressman Barr, for leading with me in this effort to restore integrity to this sport of kings. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to advance their companion legislation without delay and deliver it swiftly to the President to sign into law.”

“With today’s HISA passage in the House, we continue our momentum and move one step closer toward historic reform for the horse racing industry,” said Congressman Barr. “This legislation, developed through a highly deliberative and bipartisan process, will ensure the safety of our equine athletes and increase the popularity, public confidence, and international competitiveness of the sport. I want to thank my House colleagues for supporting this legislation which will usher in a new era for this great Kentucky, and great American, industry.”

The bill approved by the House today also has companion Senate legislation introduced recently by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “Our bipartisan legislation to recognize a national standard for Thoroughbred racing is receiving support from all corners. Now, it’s earned the approval of the House. Today’s vote was another important step toward protecting our beloved sport for the horses, jockeys, trainers, breeders, and fans. I’d like to congratulate Congressmen Andy Barr and Paul Tonko and their colleagues for championing this legislation in the House. I look forward to their continued support as work continues to pass this bill into law.”

Alex Waldrop, President And CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association: “Today’s historic passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) by the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelmingly favorable bipartisan vote reflects broad industry support for much-needed national standards for anti-doping and medication control as well as racetrack safety. Today’s action would not have been possible without the longtime support of Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY) who have demonstrated time and again on key issues as diverse as internet wagering and tax reform, they understand the importance of our multi-billion-dollar industry that accounts for nearly 500,000 jobs nationwide.”

Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action: “After nearly six years of pressing the House to pass anti-doping legislation we’re thrilled to see our efforts and advocacy have brought the elimination of doping in U.S. horseracing closer to the finish line. We applaud Reps. Tonko and Barr for their tremendous leadership, H.R. 1754 puts the welfare of the horse at the center of the enterprise, and we call on the Senate to saddle up and swiftly pass this measure that will ensure the future of the sport.”

New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) President and CEO Dave O’Rourke: “NYRA has long supported a national approach to medication control and anti-doping across the sport of horse racing. The safety and welfare of the athletes competing at NYRA tracks is our highest priority, which is why NYRA supports the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act and urges quick consideration by Congress.”

Staci Hancock, Managing Member of the Water Hay Oats Alliance: “The members of WHOA applaud Congressmen Paul Tonko and Andy Barr for their bipartisan leadership in working with all segments of our industry. Today’s passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act marks a much anticipated and long awaited day for our horses and horse racing. WHOA’s grassroots efforts have been focused on enacting legislation for drug free racing under the independent oversight and management of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The passage of HISA in the House of Representatives today is an important milestone on the way to setting these reforms into law.”

Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund: “With 8.5 horses dying on average at the races every week, congressional intervention is imperative to protect these magnificent animals. In record time, Chairman Pallone, Reps. Tonko and Barr have led passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act on the House floor. We urge the Senate to swiftly pass this bill to end equine racehorse doping and increase track safety. As horses continue to race, we owe them every opportunity to cross the finish line healthy and intact for another day.”

United States Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis T. Tygart: “The introduction of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act marks a historic moment for Thoroughbred horse racing, and USADA is honored and humbled to carry out the anti-doping responsibilities detailed in the Act, implementing uniform rules through our independent model in service of clean competition. As with Olympic sport, one set of rules, enforced independently and uniformly, is the bedrock of any meaningful anti-doping program. This game-changing, bipartisan legislation will protect the health and safety of equine athletes and provide clean competitors a level playing field.”

Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association President Dan Metzger: “Passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is in the best interests of owners and breeders, would enhance equine health and safety, and would bring much-needed uniformity to our industry.”

Doug O’Neill, owner of Doug O’Neill Racing Stable: “Racing needs the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act to create a vibrant national anti-doping system for Thoroughbred racing throughout the United States and to mandate a meaningful racetrack safety standards program for U.S. racetracks. Both will protect our equine athletes and provide superb integrity standards.”

Barry Irwin from Team Valor International: “Passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act will bring a higher level of integrity and safety to horse racing. Having our sport contested on a level playing field with the aid of USADA is especially meaningful to me, and it’s something I’ve been promoting for more than 16 years.”

Trainer, Janet Elliot: “It is time for U.S. racing to join the rest of the world and enact uniform international rules and standards and abolish the use of race-day medication. Eliminating performance-enhancing drugs is imperative for the health and safety of our equine and human athletes.”

Joe Harper, CEO of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club: “Our sport needs the uniformity that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) will provide. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is unwavering in its commitment to the welfare of our human and equine athletes. Our goal is to ensure our sport is conducted at the highest levels of safety and integrity, and the medication and safety reforms within the HISA will help the industry meet and exceed that goal.”

Ted Kuster from Shawhan Place: “The leadership provided by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is a must for American racing to survive. Rules and regulations must be the same in all states, and this act will ensure that happens. I would like to thank Rep. Barr for his perseverance in getting this bill where it is today.”

Dr. Riddle from Rood & Riddle: “In addition to its emphasis on safety, fairness, and integrity, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act represents a step in the direction of nationwide uniformity and cooperation, which our industry greatly needs.”

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey: “I have had the good fortune to win the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, nine Breeders’ Cup races, four Travers stakes, and an Eclipse Award as the outstanding trainer in North America, so I know a little about U.S. horse racing. The HISA, which includes racetrack safety to further enhance the anti-doping program in the Horseracing Integrity Act, will bring meaningful standards to help protect Thoroughbred racehorses and to safeguard the integrity and future of our sport.”

Antony Beck President and CEO of Gainesway Farm: “As an owner and breeder, nothing is more important to me than the welfare of my horses. Horses are the heart of this industry, and they deserve our respect. There is no place in our sport for race-day medication, and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act will ensure our horses race medication-free.”

Cathy Liss, president of Animal Welfare Institute: “The senseless loss of life occurring on racetracks must stop now,” said Cathy Liss, president of AWI. “The Horseracing Integrity Act would provide much-needed oversight and directly improve the welfare of racehorses in the United States. We thank Reps. Tonko and Barr, as well as Sens. McConnell, Gillibrand, McSally, and Feinstein, for working to see this legislation to the finish line, and we urge the Senate to quickly send this bill to the president’s desk.”

Horseracing’s Storied Organizations

CHURCHILL DOWNS INCORPORATED: “It is critical to the future of Thoroughbred racing that the safety and integrity of our sport be governed by world-class, uniform standards across the United States. The leadership of Senator McConnell and Congressman Barr has been instrumental in our shared goal of bringing the Thoroughbred industry together to achieve this goal.”

KEENELAND: “This groundbreaking legislation and the collaborative effort behind it speaks to the commitment those of us in the Thoroughbred industry have to establish uniform safety and integrity standards across the U.S. and bring American racing in line with international guidelines.”

THE JOCKEY CLUB: “The Jockey Club has long pursued a collaborative solution within our industry to establish national reforms ensuring clean competition and improved safety for horses and humans alike. We strongly believe that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is vital to developing uniform and effective medication and safety regulations that will enhance the integrity and safety of American horse racing and improve the sport.”

BREEDERS’ CUP LIMITED: “This legislation gives us an opportunity to make the single most significant and far-reaching safety and integrity enhancement in the history of Thoroughbred racing by bringing our sport into the 21st century and protecting its future for generations to come.”

1/ST RACING: “At 1/ST RACING our priority is to ensure the safety of our horses and riders and we believe that the investment into equine health and safety is not on only the right thing to do, it is crucial to the future of Thoroughbred racing. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Actrecognizes that industry stakeholders including the owners, trainers, breeders, jockeys, and racetrack operators must be unified toward a new standard of equine health, safety, and welfare.”

Anti-Doping and Animal Welfare Groups

U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY: “The introduction of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act marks a historic moment for thoroughbred horse racing. This game-changing, bipartisan legislation will protect the health and safety of equine athletes and provide clean competitors a level playing field. USADA is honored and humbled to carry out the anti-doping responsibilities detailed in the Act, implementing uniform rules through our independent model in service of clean competition. As with Olympic sport, one set of rules, enforced independently and uniformly, is the bedrock of any meaningful anti-doping program.”

WATER HAY OATS ALLIANCE: “Without federal legislation mandating that USADA enact ‘clean’ drug rules, reliable testing, qualified labs and strict penalties for violators, the sport of American horse racing faces an uncertain future. With Senator McConnell’s leadership and the continued efforts of Representatives Andy Barr and Paul Tonko in the House, WHOA’s members look forward to the day when our great sport can rebuild its reputation, protect our beloved horses and their jockeys, and reclaim racing’s place as one of America’s top spectator sports.”

HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES: “We cannot continue to look the other way when a racehorse is severely injured or killed during training or a race. This measure will advance necessary reforms that will make or break horseracing in the United States.”

Top Trainers

DALE ROMANS, All-time Win Leader at Churchill Downs: “My colleagues and I love this game and love our horses. We want them both to flourish with safety and integrity. It is time for me to announce I support the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) in order to unify our medication control under the aegis of USADA, and for our sport to develop and enforce one rulebook of standards and procedures for the health and safety of horse and rider.”

TODD PLETCHER, Two-time Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer: “I thank you for your leadership and vision in sponsoring the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) to reform anti-doping practices for Thoroughbred racing and to create a meaningful program of racetrack safety standards to better protect and nurture our equine athletes. You will have my support for this initiative, which is both critical and timely for the Thoroughbred industry.”

JANET ELLIOT, Hall of Fame Trainer: “It is high time that America joins with the rest of the racing world, and develops uniform international rules and standards. It is absurd that each state in the country has its own set of rules. In order to have top class racing we must work together to abolish all race day medication. The elimination of performance enhancing drugs is imperative for the health and safety of our equine and human athletes, and the long-term health of the breeding industry. I support the efforts made by WHOA and wish to see the progression of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.”

Veterinary Leaders

ROOD AND RIDDLE EQUINE HOSPITAL: “In addition to its emphasis on safety, fairness, and integrity this bill represents a step in the direction of nationwide uniformity and cooperation, which our industry greatly needs.”

HAGYARD EQUINE MEDICAL INSTITUTE: “Hagyard supports independent oversight of uniform laboratory standards, testing, and accountability. A uniform set of rules to govern horse racing’s therapeutic medications will help racing achieve the highest level of welfare for the horses and jockeys crucial to our industry. Hagyard Equine Medical Institute understands that any effort that can enhance the safety of horseracing requires the support of the veterinary community. We are encouraged by the spirit of compromise demonstrated and we appreciate the collaborative efforts put forth by multiple industry stakeholders.”

Top Industry Associations

NATIONAL THOROUGHBRED RACING ASSOCIATION: “We thank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his willingness and unique ability to bring the industry to the table to craft this comprehensive legislation. We also applaud Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for their pioneering efforts in support of federal anti-doping and medication control standards in the form of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which served as the basis for this historic compromise.”

KENTUCKY THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION: “The Kentucky Thoroughbred Association endorses the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020, to be introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, adding independence and accountability to the original principles of uniformity in laboratory standards, testing and penalties.”

NEW YORK THOROUGHBRED HORSEMAN’S ASSOCIATION: “Horse Racing is at a crossroads. The 2019 breakdown crisis and this year’s shocking indictments of veterinarians and trainers have exposed the industry’s uneven commitment to both equine safety and competitive integrity. What’s been obvious for years, to owners, trainers, bettors and fans – is that our industry’s institutions need structural change.”

THOROUGHBRED HORSEMEN’S ASSOCIATION: “It has been our widely-expressed view that the original Horseracing Integrity Act, as proposed, should encompass mandatory equine safety and welfare standards for all racetracks and horsemen, and the creation of an investigative and enforcement arm of the industry. We intend to continue to be a constructive participant since the legislation, if enacted, will require substantial industry support and assistance.”

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October Calendar of Events

 Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association would like to share the following list of dates of interest to Louisiana horsemen and women.

Brought to you by Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders AssociationWhispering Oaks Farm and  Equine Sales CompanyClick images to link to more information

Oct 1

  • 2020-21 Membership Dues are now past due. Fees are now $85.
  • Louisiana Champions Day Early Bird Nominations are due
  • LTBA Board of Directors Meeting, 12:00 noon Boutin’s, Carencro

Oct  12

  • Columbus Day

Oct 15

  • Louisiana Horse Stallion Register Stallion Submissions are due
  • Louisiana Horse Stallion Register Farm and Service Directory submissions are due along with payment

Oct 16

  • Consignment Deadline. Equine Sales Company Open Yearling and Mixed Sale for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses. NEW Sale Date, Nov. 21

Oct  17

  • Fair Grounds, Deadline for Stall Application

Oct 26

  • Fair Grounds, Barn Area Opens

Oct 31

  • Halloween

 

Would you like to sponsor a newsletter? Reach @ 2,500 readers.

Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, linda@louisianabred.com or Roger 504-947-4676, roger@louisianabred.com for cost and availability.

Do you have a date pertaining to Louisiana-breds that you would like included in an upcoming calendar? Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, linda@louisianabred.com or Roger 504-947-4676, roger@louisianabred.comfor consideration.

 

Any questions or need more info call

Roger A. Heitzmann III, Secretary/Treasurer

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association

504-947-4676

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Asmussen, Closing in on All-Time Training Record, to Saddle Three in Preakness

1 of 15 Victories at Pimlico in Graded Stakes, Seeks Third Preakness Win
BALTIMORE – Steve Asmussen last week became only the second trainer to win 9,000 races, the landmark win coming on Troy Ounce in the second race at Oklahoma City’s Remington Park. That left him 446 victories — since whittled to 437 heading into Friday’s racing — shy of becoming the sport’s all-time winningest trainer, with the late Dale Baird accruing 9,445 in a career spanning 1961-2007.
Only 15 of Asmussen’s wins have come at Pimlico Race Course, but they’ve accounted for 11 graded stakes and more than $3.3 million in purses, including Preakness (G1) victories in 2007 with two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and two years later with the filly and 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. Asmussen’s Pimlico wins have come out of 57 starters after going 0 for 10 from 1998 through 2006.
Now Asmussen will try to win the Preakness for the third time with a trio of horses: George Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds’ Max Player, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Pneumatic and Calumet Farm’s Excession.
Asmussen also plans to run Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Tenfold in the Pimlico Special (G3), a race he won last year after finishing a close third in the 2018 Preakness to eventual Triple Crown winner Justify. Asmussen has nominated horses to other stakes at Pimlico and expects to again be a presence at Old Hilltop.
“We think we will have a lot of live action for the weekend, and I expect a couple of winners to add to the total,” said Asmussen, the 2017 and 2018 winner of Pimlico’s $50,000 bonus to the trainer whose horses earn the most points racing in the Preakness festival’s stakes. “At this stage, we’re just blessed with some extremely talented horses and it is an important event for us. Preakness weekend has always been a big deal to us, and we’ve been fortunate to have fastest-enough horses to run in the races they offer.”
Max Player officially entered the Preakness picture on Wednesday, two days after a sparkling workout of 1:00 1/5 at Churchill Downs, the fastest of 21 works that day at the distance. While Asmussen is well-known for putting a significant work into his horses 12 days before a race, he is not a trainer who drills his horses or goes in expecting an extremely fast work. So when his horses do that, handicappers have learned to pay extra attention.
“He’s an extremely impressive horse and I think he’s doing really well,” Asmussen said. “His work Monday was excellent. His gallop-out was huge. He came out of it in very good shape, went back to the track with a whole lot of energy. Very exciting horse at the right time.
Hall sent Max Player to Steve Asmussen a couple of weeks before the Kentucky Derby (G1), in which he closed from well back to be fifth. The colt had previously been trained by New York-based Linda Rice, including winning Aqueduct’s Withers (G3) and finishing third in the Belmont (G1) and Travers Stakes (G1), both won by Derby runner-up Tiz the Law.
“We’ve secured Paco Lopez to ride him,” Asmussen said. “We’re hoping he’s able to stay a little closer, not give himself a margin that is impossible to overcome with the Preakness being a little shorter than the Derby. But he is doing really well. He’s a very clean-legged, good-moving horse with a great attitude.”
Excession hasn’t raced since he was second by a fast-closing three-quarters of a length at 82-1 odds in Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes (G2). That March 14 race was won by Nadal, who before being injured was one of the top choices for the Kentucky Derby.
A son of Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, Excession will be ridden by Sheldon Russell, won of Maryland’s leading riders.
“He needed some time after the Rebel,” Asmussen said of Excession. “He’s been working well recently. His race against Nadal was very impressive. Just a weird year that he’s allowed him to take a break and come back” and still make a Triple Crown race.
Pneumatic won Monmouth Park’s TVG.com Pegasus Stakes in his last start to run his record to 3 for 5, with a fourth in the Belmont Stakes. Asmussen also is shooting for a third victory in the $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3), including a repeat with Tenfold. That son of Curlin loves Pimlico, having finished a close third in the foggy running of the 2018 Preakness Stakes won by Triple Crown hero Justify.
Like Pneumatic, Tenfold is owned by Asmussen’s long-time client Winchell Thoroughbreds.
Joe Bravo, who was aboard for the Pegasus, will be back on Pneumatic for the Preakness, Asmussen said. “We feel great about how he’s doing, knowing that this is by far the toughest race he’s ever been in.
“I believe it’s quite obvious there are some extremely talented 3-year-olds left that are doing very well. It ought to be a great race. Pneumatic, coming off his lifetime best, deserves the opportunity.”
Tenfold has ground out $1.1 million the hard way, winning last year’s Pimlico Special and Saratoga’s Jim Dandy (G2) in 2018 while earning many more checks by finishing second, third and fourth in 19 career races. When he returns to Pimlico, Tenfold will be attempting to win for the first time since the 2019 Special 10 races ago.
“Solid horse. Right now it’s not easy to find lucrative purses for horses that need to run as far as he does,” Asmussen said. “The Pimlico Special was probably equal to his Jim Dandy victory. He’s a Grade 2 winner of a million dollars. He’s a pretty damn good horse.”
In his last two starts, Tenfold shipped to California for a third in Santa Anita’s Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) then second in the Charles Town Classic (G2). “He’s huge,” Asmussen said at Churchill Downs. “I don’t think the tight turns of the Charles Town Classic suited him. But this year’s calendar has made finding a suitable spot for most horses difficult.”
Pneumatic and Tenfold will ship in from Saratoga, where their training is being overseen by Asmussen chief assistant Scott Blasi.
Asmussen currently is the meet-leading trainer at Churchill Downs (where he became the all-time win leader in June), Lone Star Park, Remington Park and Louisiana Downs. The record-breaking and goal-oriented horseman isn’t shy about acknowledging he wants to be racing’s all-time win leader.
“I read it or I heard it somewhere that if they don’t want it to be important, then why do they keep count?” he said with a laugh. “Right now, after reaching a goal as significant as 9,000 wins, you feel a great amount of gratitude for the opportunities that we’ve been given and the effort that all the help has put into it to get it done.”
At his current strike rate, Asmussen figures to be the sport’s all-time win leader within 1 1/2 years. Then what?
“The open-ended, unanswered question of what’s next, then every victory you lift your arms and say, ‘new world record,’” he said cheerfully. “Every one you win, if you get fortunate enough to get to it, and afterward, you’re the only one who ever did it.”
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Albarado to Ride Swiss Skydiver in Preakness

Trainer Kenny McPeek has assigned a new jockey to Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) runner-up Swiss Skydiver for the Oct. 3 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course. Robby Albarado will have the call on Peter Callahan’s Daredevil  filly.

Tyler Gaffalione piloted Swiss Skydiver to victory in the Aug. 15 Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course and was back aboard for the Sept. 4 Oaks at Churchill Downs. McPeek did not confirm Swiss Skydiver for the Preakness until Sept. 26 following the filly’s five-furlong breeze in 1:00 4/5 at the Louisville track. The Daily Racing Form reported that Gaffalione’s agent, Matt Muzikar, arranged mounts for his rider at the Keeneland meet, which opens Oct. 2, while waiting for McPeek to commit Swiss Skydiver to the Preakness.

The final jewel of the 2020 Triple Crown will be the first race Albarado will have on Swiss Skydiver. The jockey won the Preakness in 2007 aboard future Hall of Famer Curlin .

Read BloodHorse Article

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Hall Of Famer Delahoussaye Views Friday’s ‘Eddie D’ From Afar

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A certified all-time great and longtime member of Racing’s Hall of Fame, Eddie Delahoussaye, for whom Friday’s main event at Santa Anita, the Grade 2, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes, is named, will not be on-hand to present the winner’s trophy along with his wife Juanita.

“With all the Covid stuff going on, we just weren’t able to make it out this year,” said the popular Cajun native from his home in Lafayette, La. “At my age (69), you never know what you’re gonna get! Hopefully things will get back to normal and we can make the trip again next year.”

Retired due to injury in 2003, Delahoussaye, 69, who has worked part time as a blood stock agent and has dabbled in racehorse ownership himself, is in the process of taking on a new role—that of racing commissioner with the state of Louisiana. Although he won’t be officially sworn in until the Louisiana state legislature reconvenes in June, he’s serving in the role of apprentice commissioner in the interim.

Read Paulick Report Article

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DELTA DOWNS WORKS TOWARD REVISED SCHEDULE FOR 2020-21 THOROUGHBRED SEASON

REPAIRS TO RACETRACK UNDERWAY AFTER HURRICANE LAURA

September 28, 2020

VINTON, LA – Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel today announced that it is working toward a revised start date for its 2020-21 Thoroughbred season, following delays caused by heavy damage to the track from Hurricane Laura on August 27.

Based on the progress of repairs to date, Delta Downs believes it will be able to allow horses to move back on the grounds and start training by late October and begin live racing in late November.

This year’s meet was originally scheduled to run from October 6, 2020 to February 27, 2021 for a total of 84 race days. The end of the season may now be revised and extended along with a change in the total number of race days, pending approval from the Louisiana Racing Commission

Steve Kuypers, Vice President & General Manager of Delta Downs, said: “Boyd Gaming and Delta Downs are committed to hosting a successful 2020-21 Thoroughbred meet here in Vinton, Louisiana.”

As work continues and repairs are completed, Delta Downs will provide further information about when horses will be allowed to be stabled on the backside, when the track plans to begin its season, and the new schedule for live racing. This information will be posted to the Delta Downs website at www.deltadownsracing.com.

Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana on Delta Downs Drive. From Lake Charles, take Exit 7 and from Texas, take Exit 4.

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Delta Downs Looks to Open Delayed Meet in Late November

Stabling and tracking could begin by late October.

Delta Downs, which postponed its race meet when damaged by Hurricane Laura, could begin racing in late November, according to a company spokesman. Delta had been scheduled for its regular Thoroughbred season for 84 days from Oct. 6-Feb. 27.

Track officials are hoping to open its backstretch for training by late October, said David Strow, the vice president of corporate communications for Boyd Gaming, the track owner.

Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm, brought devastating winds causing damage or destruction to barns, the backside dining room, the track toteboard, its data/computer room, and its safety rail and starting gate, Strow said.

“The damage was fairly extensive. The good news is we are making great progress in our repairs, and we’re confident we can have the horses return in late October,” he said.

Boyd is working with the Louisiana State Racing Commission to extend the meet beyond its originally planned ending, though specific dates and the length of the season are still to be determined, according to Strow.

Delta Downs reopened its casino Sept. 16.

For more, Read BloodHorse Article

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STEVE ASMUSSEN TOPS BOTH THE TRAINER AND OWNER STANDINGS FOR THE 2020 THOROUGHBRED MEET AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Jockey Joel Dominguez Clinches His First Leading Rider Title

 

Bossier City, LA – The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, which got underway one month late due to COVID-19, wrapped up on Saturday, September 26. Eleven races were contested today: three from Tuesday, September 22 and eight races from the Wednesday, September 23 card which were canceled due to heavy rain from Tropical Storm Beta.

 

Steve Asmussen Wins Both Leading Trainer and Owner Titles

Steve Asmussen. Coady Photography

It’s been quite a summer for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen who claimed both leading trainer and owner of the meet titles at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

As a trainer, Asmussen started 124 runners, winning 41 races and adding 22 seconds and 23 thirds. He sent a combination of maidens, claimers and allowance entrants, doing well on both the main track and Franks Turf Course. Rue Lala, owned by William and Corinne Heiligbrodt in partnership with Spendthrift Farm LLC, broke her maiden here impressively on September 5 and wheeled back in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies, finishing a game second to multiple stakes winner Mirabeau.

“She is a very nice Louisiana-bred,” said Asmussen. “The Heiligbrodts were one of my first owners and their support means a great deal to me.”

Asmussen credited the racing officials at Louisiana Downs as well as the track surfaces.

“Louisiana Downs stepped up when other tracks were trying to figure out when they might be able to open,” stated Asmussen. “They have excellent track surfaces, which is one of the reasons we support Louisiana Downs and are proud of this accomplishment.”

For the second year in a row, Karl Broberg, finished second with 38 wins. However, Broberg did edge Asmussen in purses with his runners banking $448,275 over $423,440 earned by Asmussen’s string.  Shane Wilson who had not stabled at Louisiana Downs for the past eight years, won 32 races and 2019 leading conditioner Joey Foster rounded out the top four, saddling 24 winners.

Asmussen was able to top his fellow owners with 19 wins from 52 starts. His horses won 37% of their starts with earnings of $147,835.

Wayne T. Davis finished second in the owner standings with 17 wins. His horses earned $188,405 and are conditioned by Shane Wilson. End Zone Athletics, Inc. won 16 of their 75 starts with Tri-Star Racing LLC and M and M Racing finishing in a tie for fourth with nine victories each.

September has been not only successful, but historical for Asmussen as on Friday, September 17, he won his 9,000th career victory with Troy Ounce at Remington Park. He is now second to Dale Baird, who holds the North American record for training wins with 9,445. Over the summer, Asmussen has won races at Saratoga, Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs, Lone Star Park, Remington Park and Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

“I believe I won one previous title at Louisiana Downs, but it might have been a year that the Fair Grounds meet was run in Shreveport,” he said.

Asmussen credits assistants Mitch Dennison, who coordinated the Louisiana Downs entries and other duties from his Kentucky base and Misty Drinkwater, who is in her second year of handling the day-to-day duties at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

“Misty deserves a great deal of credit,” added Asmussen. “She is extremely organized and does a fabulous job with our Louisiana runners.”

 

Joel Dominguez Wins His First Leading Rider Title

Joel Dominguez. Hodges Photography.

Jockey Joel Dominguez has made the most of his four-year tenure at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
The 30-year-old native of Durango, Mexico began in 2017 as an apprentice, winning 31 races that year and returning in 2018, losing his bug, but finishing third in the standings as he transitioned to the journeyman ranks. He improved to second last year, but powered to the lead early in the 2020 meet and built an unsurpassable lead over his fellow riders. Dominguez completed the meet with a record of 71 wins, 59 seconds, 50 thirds and $903,325 in purses.

He rode first call for Steve Asmussen this season, who he galloped for in Kentucky when he first came to the United States. His highlights this meet included winning four races on the July 25 card, which included three wins for Asmussen and one for trainer James “Sweet” Hodges.

On Saturday, September 19, Dominguez won two of the six Louisiana Cup Stakes, coming from off the pace aboard Budro Talking for Keith Austin in the Turf Classic and finishing the card with an upset aboard Saltee Stark from the barn of Joe O. Duhon in the Louisiana Cup Sprint.

“I want to thank Steve and all the trainers who put me on mounts,” said Dominguez. “When I was in Kentucky, I worked for Steve and trainer Neil Howard. Steve began to trust me galloping some of his top horses; I remember the first time I worked Rachel Alexandra. That was very special and gave me so much confidence! Neil helped me get my license and we still stay in touch.”

Dominguez paid his dues in Kentucky and his work ethic is applauded by Asmussen.

“Joel is an excellent horseman and has turned into a great jockey,” he said.

Dominguez’ agent is former jockey, Don Simington and the two have a strong bond.

“Don gives me great advice and feedback,” explained Dominguez. “I admire that he is the first one to arrive in the morning and the last to leave. Trainers know him well and he works hard to book me on good horses.”

Dominguez extended his gratitude to his wife Janet, and sons, Andy and Joel Jr. and expressed his thanks to others.

“I also want to thank the Louisiana Downs racing office staff for their hard work as well as my valet Oscar Lara,” added Dominguez. “Mitch and Misty have been great to work with and I appreciate the hard work of all the grooms, hot walkers and exercise riders.  I would not have won this title without so many people helping me!”

Last year’s top jockey Carlos Lozada finished with 40 wins, tying for second in the standings with Jose Andres Guerrero. Next was Jack Gilligan with 37 victories and Gerardo Mora, who won 35 races.

Dominguez will ride next at Delta Downs when their 2020-2021 Thoroughbred season gets underway.

“We thank each of our horsemen for their support since the live racing season began on June 6,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. “This has been a very challenging year due to COVID-19 and a very volatile Hurricane season which has impacted so many people in our state. We look forward to a much better 2021 for our racing industry.”

 

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs to Offer Training and Stall Space to Horsemen

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to offer horsemen an opportunity to train and stable their Thoroughbreds during the months of October through March.

When the Evangeline Training Center closed in 2018, officials acknowledged that many Louisiana Thoroughbred trainers were in need of a facility to stable and train their racehorses.  The Bossier City-Shreveport metroplex offers convenient proximity for shipping to Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana; Fair Grounds in New Orleans; Remington Park in Oklahoma as well as upcoming live meets at Sam Houston Race Park and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Space and availability for Thoroughbreds is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Horsemen are encouraged to contact David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Director of Racing at (318) 741-2511 or (318) 741-2512 for rates and information.

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

 

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