Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale Set for March 31

The 2020 Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, at Lone Star Park. The breeze show will be held at the Dallas-area track on Sunday, March 29. The auction is a joint venture by the Texas Thoroughbred Association and Lone Star Park. 

“Our yearling and mixed sale at Lone Star Park in August had gross sales and average prices both jumping by more than 20 percent, and we expect that momentum to continue into the 2-year-old sale,” said Tim Boyce, sales director. “The Southwest area has been strong for many years, and now with this very important legislation recently passed to boost the industry in Texas the region will get even stronger.” 

Sale graduates will be eligible for the 2020 Texas Thoroughbred Futurity to be run in divisions for fillies and colts/geldings at Lone Star in July. The estimated purse for each division is $100,000. 

“With new legislation passed to enhance purse money at Texas tracks and funds for the Accredited Texas-bred program, there is a lot of optimism for 2020 and beyond,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association. “We’ve already noticed an uptick in interest as breeding season approaches, so that bodes well for the future of Texas racing and breeding.”

The entry deadline for the sale is January 15, 2020, and consignment contracts and more information is available at www.ttasales.com.

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Risen Star, Louisiana Derby, Lecomte Will All Be Longer In 2020

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced that 56 stakes worth a combined $7.13 million will be offered during the upcoming 2019-20 racing season, which is set to begin Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28.

“We are proud to once again continue our growth and support of the thoroughbred racing industry with our purse allocations and this diverse and dynamic stakes schedule” said Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots president Doug Shipley. “We look forward to our 148th racing season and the continuation of bringing many of the best horsemen and jockeys from around the world to enjoy the high caliber racing at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.”

The “Louisiana Derby Day” card on March 21 will feature eight stakes worth a total of $2.425 million, including the 107th running of the Grade 2 $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby for 3-year-olds.

Previously run over nine furlongs on dirt, the distance of Louisiana Derby has been extended to 1 3/16th miles. The third and final local prep on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, the race is worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers. Run at 1 1/16 miles, the 52nd running of the G2 $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks for 3-year-old fillies offers the same number of points en route to the G1 $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks.

“We’ve also lengthened the Lecomte from 1 mile and 70 yards to 1 1/16 miles and the Risen Star from 1 1/16 miles to nine furlongs,” said Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones. “The Lecomte has always been a popular early season prep for the horsemen and we wanted to provide the horses a longer run into the first turn. The elongated distances of the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby will help differentiate our races from the other Kentucky Derby preps. We consulted with key participants from recent years, and they were in favor of the slight alterations.”

We are proud to once again note 2019 has been a banner year for 3-year-olds who campaigned at Fair Grounds:

  • G2 Risen Star runner-up Country House, who was also fourth in the Louisiana Derby, was the adjudicated winner of the G1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
  • G3 Lecomte and G2 Risen Star winner War of Will won the G1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
  • Serengeti Empress and Liora, the one-two finishers in the G2 Rachel Alexandra, also ran first and second in the G1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
  • Street Band, winner of the G2 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks, won the G3 Indiana Oaks at Indiana Grand and the G1 Cotillion at Parx.
  • G3 Lecomte runner-up Hog Creek Hustle, who also competed in the G2Risen Star and G1Louisiana Derby won the G1 Woody Stephens at Belmont.
  • Mr. Money, who competed in both the G2 Risen Star and G1 Louisiana Derby, rattled off four consecutive G3 victories prior to finishing second in the G1 Pennsylvania Derby.

A pair of nine furlong, high-impact stakes for older horses are also scheduled on the Louisiana Derby Day program – the G2 $400,000 New Orleans Classic and the G2 $300,000 Muniz Memorial Stakes, to be run over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course. In addition, four undercard stakes are slated for the lucrative card, including the $100,000 Tom Benson Memorial for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass and a trio of Louisiana-bred events – the $75,000 Costa Rising Stakes, a 5½-furlong turf sprint, the $75,000 Crescent City Derby for 3-year-old males at 1 1/16 miles and the $75,000 Crescent City Oaks for females at 1 mile and 70 yards.

On January 18, the “Road to the Derby Kickoff Day presented by Hotel Monteleone” features a pair of key 3-year-old events — the G3 $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, now run at 1 1/16 miles, and the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for fillies at 1 mile and 70 yards. The top four finishers in each race receive 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively.

Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the January 18 program — the $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes at 1 1/16 miles over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, the $100,000 Louisiana Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, the $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes at six furlongs and the $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass.

On February 15, “Louisiana Derby Preview Day presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln” features a pair of key 3-year-old stakes — the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln, now run at 1 1/8 miles, and the Grade II $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes presented by Fasig-Tipton, increased by $100,000 for this year’s renewal, for fillies to be contested over 1 1/16 miles. The top four finishers receive 40-20-10-5 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively.

The Rachel Alexandra has produced the last two Kentucky Oaks winners in Monomoy Girl (2018) and Serengeti Empress (2019) and 2014 winner Untapable also took down the Run for the Lilies. The Fair Grounds is hopeful the Rachel Alexandra will soon achieve the Grade 1 status is deserves.

Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the February 15 program — the G3 $200,000 Mineshaft Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, the G3 $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes for at nine furlongs on turf, the $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes at 5½ furlongs on turf and the $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

The December 21 “Santa Super Saturday presented by Coca-Cola” card offers a six-pack of $75,000 stakes. Four of the races are for older horses — the Tenacious Stakes at 1 mile and 70 yards, the Bonapaw Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, the Blushing K.D. for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf, and the Buddy Diliberto Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The other two are six furlong events for juveniles – the Sugar Bowl Stakes for the boys and the Letellier Memorial Stakes for the girls.

Louisiana Champions Day presented by Acadian Ambulance will be held on December 14. With the races run over various divisions and distances on both dirt and turf, the program features ten stakes restricted to Louisiana-breds. Each Louisiana Champions Day is worth $100,000 with the exception of the Louisiana Champions Day Classic, which carries a $150,000 purse.

Named in honor of the Hall of Fame jockey who passed away in August, The Randy P. Romero Memorial Overnight Stakes (formerly Captain Maestri) will be run on February 1 (3-year-olds, one mile on turf).

Named in honor of the longtime horse racing reporter and author who passed away in July, The Bob Fortus Memorial Stakes (formerly the Tiffany Lass) will be run on December 26 (fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, 1 mile 70 yards on dirt)

Stakes races named last racing season in honor of the late Thoroughbred owner and New Orleans icon Tom Benson, who owned the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, and Shantel Lanerie, the late wife of long-time jockey Corey Lanerie and the inspiration for the Shantel Lanerie Breast Cancer Foundation, also remain on the schedule on March 21 and February 8 respectively.

Take note that the open undercard stakes on “Road to Derby Kickoff”, “Louisiana Derby Preview Day” and “Louisiana Derby Day” as well as the Thanksgiving Day Classic will now be run for $100,000, up from $75,000. In addition, Fair Grounds has eliminated handicap conditions for stakes races. These races will now be weighted under allowance conditions.

The 80-day, 2019-20 Fair Grounds racing season run conclude Sunday, March 29. Regular post time will be 12:30 p.m. CT. The exceptions are Louisiana Derby Day (March 21 at 11 a.m. CT), “Twilight Racing” (December 7 and January 25 at 3 p.m. CT) and “Starlight Racing” (March 13 and 27 at 5 p.m. CT).

“On the heels of a banner 2018-19 season, we’re excited to offer another outstanding stakes program to horsemen and fans,” said Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones. “Our biggest days are direct feeders into the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, and the recent results of the horses who have participated with us in New Orleans speak for themselves. This year will be no exception. We are equally excited to see an enhancement in purse money for some of our stakes and we are confident that the program and our day to day racing product we will be well supported by our horsemen.”

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Illinois Racing Board Threatens to Shut Down Arlington

Board may deny track 2020 dates after gaming refusal.

 

The Illinois Racing Board Sept. 17 threatened to deny Arlington International Racecourse racing dates for 2020 unless its owner, Churchill Downs Inc., can demonstrate within one week a concrete commitment to racing. The board adjourned its annual dates-award hearing until Sept. 24 and appointed a three-member committee to listen to “any new proposal which Churchill may wish to make.”

The action stems from a CDI decision not to apply for a gaming license at Arlington under terms of a new state law—an action that would cost purse accounts many millions of dollars a year. The decision, after years of Arlington lobbying for the right to run casino games, came some five months after CDI took a majority stake in Rivers Casino, located less than 15 miles from Arlington.

 

Read BloodHorse Article

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2020 Fee Announced for Mobile Bay

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Mobile Bay with jockey Edgar Prado aboard wins the 36th running of the Grade II $400,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

 

Two-time Accredited Louisiana Bred Horse of the Year, Mobile Bay, who stood his first season at stud for a complimentary fee to approved mares at Carrol Castille’s Whispering Oaks Thoroughbred Farm will remain at Castille’s Carencro breeding facilty for the 2020 breeding season for a fee of $2,500 live foal stands and nurses.

Mobile Bay, a 2012 dark bay or brown son of Lone Star Special out of Tranquility Bay,  ran from ages three to six, hitting the board in 21 of 29 lifetime starts. He won eleven stakes, often showing speed in route races of 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles, including the G2 Super Derby, open company stakes such as the Sunland Park Handicap, the Maxxam Gold Cup and the Zia Park Derby, as well Louisiana Bred Stakes including the Louisiana Champions Day Classic at the Fair Grounds twice.  He placed in another five stakes including the G3 Oklahoma Derby.  His Lifetime earnings of $1,246,440 rank him 4th among all-time Leading Accredited Louisiana Bred Runners. A multiple Accredited Louisiana Bred Champion, Mobile Bay was named 2015 3YO Colt or Gelding and Horse of the Year, 2016 Older Male and Horse of the Year, and 2017 Older Male. Mobile Bay is owned by Irwin Olian’s Tigertail Ranch and was trained for his entire career by popular local favorite Victor Arceneaux.

“He is a gorgeous, imposing individual standing 17 hands, weighing 1300 pounds, with textbook conformation.” says Olian.  “Mobile Bay has the capacity to hold his own physically against any stallion in the country. His sire Lone Star Special has the rare quality of moving up his mares. I expect Mobile Bay will move up his mares significantly as well. Both represent the best of the Unbridled sire line and I believe will serve to establish a new branch of that line.”

Owner Irwin Olian offered free breeding in 2019 to to attract a large book of mares to enable Mobile Bay to compete as a sire at the national level, and to show his appreciation for the thrills and excitement that Mobile Bay has given him and the horse’s many fans in Louisiana and elsewhere, as well as to give something back to breeders in the Louisiana breeding program in gratitude for all the benefits.

Mobile Bay was very well received in his first year at stud, covering some 30 quality mares. His first crop will arrive in 2020.

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DELTA DOWNS RELEASES STAKES SCHEDULE FOR 2019-20 THOROUGHBRED SEASON

84-DAY MEETING GETS UNDERWAY TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8 

VINTON, LA. – Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel today announced its 2019-20 Thoroughbred stakes schedule. The track will offer 26 stakes races during an 84-day season that runs from October 8, 2019 through February 29, 2020. The stakes schedule includes $2.245 million in total purse money.

This year’s stakes activity will kick off on opening weekend with a pair of added-money events. On Friday, October 11 the track will host the $100,000 Magnolia for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares and on Saturday, October 12 the $100,000 Gold Cup for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds and upward will take center stage to close out the first week of racing.

The richest race day of the season will happen on Saturday, February 8 when Delta Downs hosts another edition of Louisiana Premier Night, which will offer a total of $895,000 in purse money for Louisiana-bred horses. The highlight of the evening will come in the $150,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship for older horses. The most famous winner of the Championship was Star Guitar, who scored four consecutive victories in the race between 2009 and 2012 and later finished his career as the highest earning Louisiana-bred in history with over $1.7 million in purses won.

There will also be a couple of important simulcast dates to take note of during the upcoming season. This year’s set of 14 Breeders’ Cup races will take place on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2. All the action from Santa Anita Park can be watched and wagered on inside Delta Downs’ spacious OTB.

After Delta Downs’ opening weekend, which includes a special Tuesday card to start the meet on October 8, Delta Downs will race each Wednesday through Saturday night during the meeting. Regular post times are scheduled for 4:55 pm Central Time.

To view the entire stakes schedule and to get more information about the upcoming season at Delta Downs,  visit the track’s website at www.deltadownsracing.com. Fans can also get information on Facebook with the track’s page ‘Delta Downs Racing’ and on Twitter with the handle @deltaracing.

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Breeders’ Cup Host Sites Announced Through 2021

Breeders’ Cup officially announced Santa Anita Park, Keeneland, and Del Mar as the host sites for the next three editions of the World Championships.

In a press conference Aug. 17 at Santa Anita, it was announced the Arcadia, Calif., track would host the two-day event for a record-setting 10th time Nov. 1-2 in 2019. Keeneland, which hosted its first Breeders’ Cup in 2015, will welcome the 2020 edition Nov. 6-7. Del Mar—a first-time host in 2017—gets the event back Nov. 5-6 in 2021.

All three tracks planned press conferences Friday to announce Breeders’ Cup plans.

“Everybody knows how great Santa Anita is, so it’s never a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ for this place,” Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel said after the announcement Friday at Santa Anita. “Given the success of Del Mar and Keeneland, the same holds true for those.”

Churchill Downs is hosting the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Nov. 2-3, the ninth time the Louisville oval has put on the fall spectacle. With Friday’s announcement confirming a California-Kentucky rotation for the next three seasons, the two states will have combined to host 14 consecutive editions of the event.

“The Bluegrass served as the ideal backdrop for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup, and we could not be more excited to have Keeneland serve as the host of the 2020 edition of the World Championships,” said Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason. “Building on the success of the event for the industry and the community, we anticipate an even greater spectacle in 2020 and look forward to the Breeders’ Cup returning home once again.”

The last time the Breeders’ Cup was held at a track outside of Kentucky or California came in 2007, when Monmouth Park hosted the first year the event was expanded to a two-day format, and Fravel said Friday there is still interest from tracks outside of the two states.

“When I started in 2011, there was an option of two places, and there wasn’t anybody else in the mix to hold an event like this. One of the things we tried to do with Keeneland and Del Mar was to validate the different track model for holding the event, and that’s what happened,” Fravel said. “To me, we have greater and greater options going forward. We have inquiries from Laurel Park, who has made no secret of their interest, and our friends at Monmouth Park, now that they have sports wagering and some new dollars coming in … I think they’d like to be considered, and obviously we’ve talked about New York.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a static rotation. I hope to create an environment where people are wanting us to be there, asking us to be there, and doing what’s best for racing to encourage us to come.”

Tim Ritvo of The Stronach Group, which owns both Santa Anita and Laurel, said he would have liked for Laurel to be one of the three future sites but was hopeful for a 2022 bid for the Maryland track.

“We were hoping to get (Laurel) involved in this round, but we’re eager to make a strong bid for 2022,” Ritvo said. “We weren’t really ready yet, with the facility, but we had a great meeting yesterday about the build-out will look like, and the state is going to put together an advisory committee to give a really big push for 2022.”

Ritvo also said there will be $5 million in renovations at Santa Anita before the 2019 Breeders’ Cup, including new open-air suites in the grandstand and improvements to the upper levels of the clubhouse area. He said the upper-level grandstand suites would be like a “deck at your house, where you can sit and be casual.”

Regarding a potential Breeders’ Cup at a New York Racing Association track, Fravel said “capital improvements” would likely be required for a successful bid.

“I know they have a plan. It’s just the timing that’s unclear,” Fravel said. “I’m hopeful that within the next six months or so, we’ll have a clear picture of what their plan is. … There would have to be more concrete indications of what would happen and when. The experience, unfortunately, in New York is that best-laid plans get waylaid by factors outside of people’s control.”

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