Month: July 2021
LIVE THOROUGHBRED RACING RETURNS TO SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 2022
Request For 50-Day Thoroughbred Meet Granted at Tuesday’s Texas Racing Commission Meeting
HOUSTON, TX – Sam Houston Race Park will kick off its 2022 live racing season on Thursday, January 6 with an expanded 50-day Thoroughbred meet. The Thoroughbred meet will conclude on Saturday, April 9. The dates were approved by the Texas Racing Commission on Tuesday, July 27.
Sam Houston Race Park was granted 46 Thoroughbred days in 2021and had one of the most successful seasons since it opened in 1994 as the first Class 1 racetrack in Texas. One of the major highlights was its $5.3 million handle for the annual Houston Racing Festival. Houston Ladies Classic (G3) winner St. George Stable’s Letruska continues to deny her rivals in graded stakes competition across the United States. She currently tops the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, a weekly salute to the ten leading Thoroughbreds in North America.
Sam Houston Race Park also received approval for their annual Quarter Horse racing season. The 25-day meet will begin on Friday, April 22 and continue through Saturday, June 18.
“We are pleased that we have approval for next year’s live racing schedule,” said Dwight Berube, Sam Houston Race Park’s General Manager. “We are in the midst of planning for 2022 and look to build on the momentum that we were able to achieve this year.”
Further information on purses, stakes schedule, stall applications, training hours and condition books will be forthcoming.
About Sam Houston Race Park
Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 miles from downtown Houston. The Park offers a variety of attractions including a Suite Level featuring luxurious suites overlooking the racetrack, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and theJockey Club. For more information on upcoming live racing, shows, events and tickets, please visit www.shrp.com.
Jockeys Support PDJF Saturday
Jockeys across the country will join in a show of support for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund Saturday. At some 25 racetracks, riders will wear armbands and participate in fund-raising activities raise funds for the PDJF and raise awareness of National Disability Independence Day, which marks the 31st anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The PDJF is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to approximately 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.
Racetracks, along with their jockey colonies, participating in the promotion this Saturday (unless otherwise noted) include: Arizona Downs (Monday, 8/2); Arlington Park; Canterbury Park (Sunday, 8/1), Colonial Downs Racetrack (Monday, 8/2); Delaware Park; Del Mar Thoroughbred Club; Delta Downs, Ellis Park, Emerald Downs; Evangeline Downs, Fan Duel Sports Book and Horse Racing (formerly Fairmount Park); Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack (Tuesday, 8/3); Golden Gate Fields; Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino; Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races; Indiana Grand Racing and Casino (Thursday, 7/29); Los Alamitos Race Course; Monmouth Park; Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort; Penn National (Friday, 7/30), Pimlico Race Course; Prairie Meadows; Ruidoso Downs; Sam Houston Race Park; and Saratoga Race Course.
OAKLAWN RENEWS COMMITMENT TO CLENBUTEROL FREE RACING
Hot Springs, Ark. (Thursday, July 29, 2021) – Working in partnership with the Arkansas Racing Commission and the Arkansas HBPA (Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association), Oaklawn has announced, subject to regulatory approval, the prohibition of Clenbuterol or any other beta2-agonist within 120 days of a race. This restriction is part of Oaklawn’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the safety and integrity of its racing program.
Conducted by Industrial Labs, the presence of Clenbuterol and other beta2-agonist will be determined through blood, urine and hair follicle testing.
“Banning the use of Clenbuterol and other beta2-agonists further proves our commitment to the safety and integrity of our racing program,” said Oaklawn President Louis Cella. “Every decision we make is to enhance the experience of our horsemen and fans at Oaklawn. When we say “Racing First,’ we lead by example.”
Oaklawn’s 2021-2022 season runs from Friday, Dec. 3 to Sunday, May 8. The schedule features a total of 36 stakes worth $12,300,000, highlighted by the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and three $1 million stakes races – $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2), $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1). All allowance races will be worth a minimum of $100,000 as part of the richest purse structure in Oaklawn’s 118-year history.
Arlington Park’s Refusal to Apply for 2022 Race Dates Will Preclude a Future Owner from Racing Next Year
ITHA Press Release
Continuing their campaign to sabotage future gaming opportunities at Arlington Park, track executives are refusing to apply with the Illinois Racing Board for race dates in 2022.
Arlington officials are well aware of interest from other parties in continuing racing at the state’s flagship racing facility, as at least one group of investors has publicly disclosed its plan to purchase Arlington and continue live racing there. But if Arlington does not apply for 2022 dates by tomorrow, thereby preserving an avenue for a future owner of the track to pursue racing, then any new owner of the track will not have the option of racing there next year.
Under Illinois law, a dates application for the next year must be filed by Aug. 1. With Aug. 1 falling on a Sunday this year, the deadline moves up to Friday, July 30 – the last IRB business day before Aug. 1.
“Churchill Downs is writing the book on bad faith, so this latest move is disappointing but not surprising,” said Mike Campbell, president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.
Since 2018, when it announced its intent to purchase its ownership interest in Rivers Casino, Arlington owner Churchill has devoted itself to eliminating the threat of competition that gaming at Arlington might pose to nearby Rivers. Churchill refused to apply for a license to develop Arlington as a racino, even though its lobbyists had spent two decades lobbying Illinois lawmakers for that privilege, and then insisted it would sell the track to another entity that would use the property for a purpose “higher and better” than horse racing.
In February, Arlington Heights Mayor Thomas Hayes told ABC7/WLS-TV in Chicago: “I think it’s clear why [Churchill] did not choose to open a casino at the racetrack property – because it would directly compete with their majority interest in the Rivers Casino.”
ITHA President Campbell added: “Churchill’s commitment to stopping any gaming at Arlington from competing with Rivers is the worst kept secret in Illinois. Company executives have practically contorted themselves to explain and justify their anti-competitive behavior while carefully avoiding any acknowledgment that their true motive appears to be eliminating the threat of competition from Arlington.”
With at least one group of reputable and credible investors poised to purchase Arlington to continue horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering – the highest and best purpose, without question, for one of the finest racing venues in North America – Arlington President Tony Petrillo told a local media outlet that Arlington has a racing dates application in its possession but probably will not file it.
“It’s clear that Churchill Downs cares exclusively about corporate profit and that all other considerations are incidental,” Campbell said. “All we can do in this case is hope that Churchill will recognize the utility, for the sake of its interest in selling Arlington Park to the most capable bidder, of filing the dates application to preserve the possibility of future racing at the track.”
Two Scholarships to be Awarded at Louisiana Cup Day Registration On Site at Louisiana Downs August 21
(BOSSIER CITY, La.) – Louisiana Downs will host Louisiana Cup Day Saturday, Aug. 21, with a post time of 2:45 p.m. CT. The annual event will feature six stakes contests, each worth $50,000 and all for Louisiana-breds: the six-furlong Juvenile for 2-year-olds; the six-furlong Juvenile Fillies for 2-year-old fillies; the six-furlong Filly & Mare Sprint for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up; the six-furlong Sprint for 3-year-olds and up; the Turf Classic at 1 1/16 miles on the grass for 3-year-olds and up; and the 1 1/16 mile Distaff for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up on the lawn.In addition on Louisiana Cup Day, the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) will award two scholarships, each valued at $1,000, to college students.“We had a very successful year of registrations online and are fortunate to have registrants sign up at Louisiana Downs and enjoy the races,” said Roger Heitzmann, secretary/treasurer for the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association. “Students, families and friends are invited to Louisiana Cup Day racing that is a great day of championship racing for Louisiana bred thoroughbreds.”Requirements for the scholarship are as follows:
- Must be a college student enrolled full-time in an Accredited College, University or Community College for Fall 2021
- Scholarships will be awarded by random draw.
- Must be in good standing with the college or university.
- Must be present to win at the Winner’s Circle when the announcement is made.
- Must have college ID and government-issued ID.
- Must have University ID number or Social Security number.For Louisiana Cup Day:
- Registration: 1:45 p,m. – 2:45 p.m. at the designated booth
- Races begin: 2:45 p.m.
- Drawing Time: The scholarships will be awarded after the fifth race. The scholarship will be deposited directly into the student’s account at the college or university. The student is asked to know the name and address of the college that they are attending.“The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association is paying it forward as it continues to make an investment in the future of our state by investing in our students and the education process,” said Roger Heitzmann, secretary/treasurer for the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association. “This type of investment is for our future, the state, as well as the organization. These scholarships encourage the younger generation to be engaged with LTBA so that our organization stays the top breeding incentive program in the United States.”Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association manages the best incentive program for breeding thoroughbreds in the United States. Since the organization formed, this has led to increased purses, better quality horses, and increased interest in racing and breeding horses. The thoroughbred racing and breeding industry generates over $1 billion and employs over 60,000 people in the state of Louisiana.For more information about Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association visit louisianabred.com or call (504) 947-4676.
Reports of Mares Bred Due at The Jockey Club by August 1
The Jockey Club reminds stallion managers to submit their Reports of Mares Bred (RMBs) for the 2021 breeding season by August 1.
“To ensure that the breeding statistics we release in the fall are as accurate as possible, we request that RMBs be submitted by August 1,” said Matt Iuliano, executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club. “In addition to the utility of covering information in mare produce records and catalog-style pedigrees available through equineline, the number of mares reported bred each year is an important economic indicator of the health of the Thoroughbred breeding industry.”
Stallion managers who submit completed RMBs by August 1 are among the first to receive their Stallion Service Certificates, which facilitates the timely registration of 2022 foals.
Reports of Mares Bred may be submitted via Interactive Registration at registry.jockeyclub.com or a form is available by email, fax, or mail by contacting email@example.com.
Texas Summer Yearling Sale Attracts Record Number of Entries
The Texas Summer Yearling and Horses of Racing Age Sale, set for Monday, August 30, at Lone Star Park, will feature a record number of entries with nearly 250 yearlings consigned to the Southwest’s biggest auction. The sale, held jointly by the Texas Thoroughbred Association and Lone Star Park, will begin at 10 a.m. in the sales pavilion on the grounds of the Dallas-area track.
“This will easily be our largest sale since taking the reins from Fasig-Tipton in 2016,” said Tim Boyce, sales director. “We’ve seen some solid growth over the past few years, despite the challenges of the health pandemic, and now we’ve really hit a milestone this year. We have several new consignors for this sale, and the sire power is stronger than I can ever remember seeing here.”
In addition to nearly 250 yearlings, there are three 2-year-olds in the sale.
“Texas racing and breeding have been on the upswing thanks to the Horse Industry Escrow Account authorized by the Texas Legislature, which has helped boost purses and breeding incentives,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the TTA. “That in turn has increased interest in our sales and allowed us to develop a consignor rebate program. We are also pleased to introduce the Texas Thoroughbred Sales Derby to be run in 2023 to complement the very popular Texas Thoroughbred Sales Futurity.”
Details on the Sales Derby are still being finalized, but the race for sale graduates is expected to offer two divisions (one for fillies and one for colts/geldings) with an estimated purse of $75,000 apiece at Sam Houston Race Park. The Sales Futurity also offers two divisions at $100,000-estimated apiece at Lone Star.
The TTA and Lone Star will host a pre-sale party for consignors and buyers on Sunday, August 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the Alysheba room on the second floor of the Lone Star grandstand.
The yearling sale comes on the heels of the Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale held in April, which posted the highest gross, average and median since the TTA and Lone Star took over both sales in 2016.
Online bidding and live online video will be offered on this sale. For more information and to view the sale catalogue, go to www.ttasales.com.
STEVE ASMUSSEN COUNTDOWN TO BECOMING THE WINNINGEST ALL-TIME TRAINER IS WATCHED CLOSELY AT LOUISIANA DOWNS
Jockey Joel Dominguez Hopes He is Part of the Historic Event
Bossier City, LA – It’s hard to find a bigger story these days than the impending record-breaking feat of Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen who is poised to surpass Dale Baird’s record of 9,445 career wins.
Racing fans know Asmussen’s tremendous accomplishments at all the major events in North America and beyond, but he has also made a lasting impact at smaller racetracks, and in boosting the careers of young jockeys.
Such is the case of Joel Dominguez, who is currently riding first call for Asmussen at Louisiana Downs.
Now in his fifth year at the Bossier City racetrack, Dominguez earned his first leading rider title last year at Louisiana Downs and currently tops the rider standings in the 2021 Thoroughbred meet. The 30-year-old native of Durango, Mexico galloped for Asmussen in Kentucky when he first came to the United States.
“When I was in Kentucky, I worked for Steve and he began to trust me galloping some of his top horses,” said Dominguez. “I remember the first time I worked Rachel Alexandra. That was very special and gave me so much confidence!”
Riding for Asmussen, who was both leading trainer and owner last year at Louisiana Downs, has been a privilege for Dominguez. He appreciates the quality of their pedigrees and Asmussen’s consummate preparation for each start.
“They are all well-trained,” he explained. “Steve has a mind like a computer; he is really smart and knows each horse. I have learned so much from him!”
While veterans Mike Smith, Stewart Elliott, Jose Ortiz, Joel Rosario and Ricardo Santana, Jr., are in the winner’s circle for the heralded graded stakes victories, Asmussen has played a pivotal role in developing the careers of up and coming Thoroughbred jockeys.
With between one and three Asmussen runners entered daily at Louisiana Downs, Dominguez certainly hopes he will ride the tying or even better, the mount who surpasses Dale Baird’s record.
“I would really like to do that,” acknowledged Dominguez. “But even if it does not happen here, it means so much that he has chosen me to ride for him. I am excited for Steve and really proud to be part of his team.”
Louisiana Cup Day Set for Saturday, August 21
Quality Louisiana-bred horses will take center stage on Saturday, August 21 when Louisiana Downs presents Louisiana Cup Day. Post time will be 2:45 pm (CT) for the annual event that will include six $50,000 main track and turf stakes.
Live racing takes place Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday until the conclusion of the live season on Tuesday, September 21. For more information on the 84-day racing season and special events, visit https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-louisiana-downs/racing.
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.
Harmful H-2B Visa Program Language Removed from Labor Appropriations Bill
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 16, 2021) ― United States Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) on July 15 offered an amendment to the fiscal year 2022 Department of Labor Appropriations bill to remove certain sections from the bill that would have made it difficult for employers to use the H-2B visa program. During committee consideration, the amendment passed yesterday by voice vote.
Specifically, the amendment struck sections 116, 177 and 118 from the bill. The language in those sections would have:
• Prohibited industries from using the H-2B program if they experienced unemployment in any of the previous 12 months over 10 percent;
• Prohibited construction industries from using the program even in seasonal locations or occupations;
• Increased the baseline for wages to at least 150% of the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher;
• Required wage compliance with a collaborative bargaining agreement for your industry in your area, even if you are not a party to the agreement;
• Banned participation in the program for labor/workforce related infractions outside of the scope of the H-2B program.
“Thank you to all who contacted their Representative regarding this issue,” said NTRA president and CEO Alex Waldrop. “We also are grateful to Rep. Harris for offering the amendment to eliminate the language that was so threatening to employers, like horse trainers, who use the H-2B visa program.”
The H-2B visa guest worker program is a nonimmigrant visa program used by many industries that need temporary non-agricultural help when domestic workers are unavailable. For the horse racing industry, trainers rely heavily on the H-2B program to fill various backside positions.
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