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Pinhook Market Trends Point to ‘Up’ Market in 2018

MarketWatch: Yearling-to-juvenile pinhooks

 

If the recent cycle of North America’s 2-year-olds in training market stays true to form, this year should be an “up” year for yearling-to-juvenile pinhookers. The market has been on a moderate roller coaster since 2014, with the percentage of profitable horses sold ranging between 41% and 50%. The rate of return has fluctuated more, ranging from 25% to 55% during the past five years but on a generally upward curve.

Profitability and ROR are derived from similar assumptions. A horse is considered profitable if its 2-year-old price minus a 5% sale commission exceeds the yearling sale price plus $20,000 for the cost of breaking, training, and upkeep. ROR is the percent difference between the average yearling price plus maintenance cost and the average net 2-year-old price.

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Bridgmohan to Miss Remainder of Fair Grounds Meet

Shaun Bridgmohan
Shaun Bridgmohan

Coady Photography

Bridgmohan to Miss Remainder of Fair Grounds Meet

Jockey suffered broken collarbone March 5 in Mardi Gras Stakes spill.

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan confirmed via Twitter that he will miss the remainder of the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots meet, which concludes March 24.

According to his agent, Anthony Martin, Bridgmohan, 39, suffered a broken right collarbone after being unseated from his mount, Oxford Comma, in midstretch of the Mardi Gras Stakes March 5. Oxford Comma was vanned off and humanely euthanized. “He’ll [Bridgmohan] see the orthopedic doctor tomorrow, and he’ll go for surgery on Friday,” Martin said. “I think four to six weeks is the recovery time.”

 

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Newborn Foals Most at Risk from Equine Flu

 

Newborn foals are among the most at-risk members of the horse population, the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association’s veterinary adviser, James Crowhurst, said Feb. 7, following the confirmation of an outbreak of equine influenza in Great Britain.

While cases of the highly contagious virus have so far been confined to horses of racing age, Crowhurst, who is also a consultant clinician at the Newmarket Equine Hospital, said the TBA was understandably worried.

 

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Growth in Average Daily Purses Among U.S. Tracks

MarketWatch: Top 10 tracks by percentage increase

 

Changes made in 2017 to federal tax withholding and reporting on winning pari-mutuel wagers was expected to boost overall handle figures by promoting more churn through the windows. Higher churn was then expected to boost purses, which are fueled largely from a percentage of wagering.

Expectations came to fruition, with Equibase reporting growth in both United States purses and handle reported for 2018. Wagering increased 3.3% to more than $11.26 billion and purses grew 3.5% to more than $1.11 billion.

Just how deeply were racetracks affected by this growth?

Significantly, according to an annual review of average daily purses compiled per track by BloodHorse MarketWatch. Look for a complete breakdown in the Feb. 16 issue of BloodHorse magazine. In the meantime, MarketWatch wanted to see which of the larger race meets saw the biggest increases in average daily purse between 2017 and 2018.

Our annual purse review includes racetracks that ran at least five live dates and paid gross purses of $100,000 or more. These criteria fit 84 racetracks in 2017, of which 46 (55%) reported an increase in average daily purses compared with 2016. In 2018, 80 racetracks met the criteria and of these 50 (62.5%) reported an increase in average daily purse.

Among racetracks running 50 or more days of live racing, Delta Downs reported the largest increase in average daily purse—a 32% increase to $273,809. Since 2001, Delta Downs has had the benefit of slots machines to enhance purses. The top 10 racetracks by percent increase in average daily purse include only two that do not offer any kind of alternative gambling. Those who reported growth without the benefit of slot machines or card tables are Arlington International Racecourse, up 14%, and Golden Gate Fields, up 7.9%.

Arlington was able to increase its purses in 2018 due to an underpayment in the 2017 purse account and because state lawmakers approved more than $1.6 million for owners awards and stakes races, according to the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders Fund. Arlington paid an average $239,114 in purses last year, which apparently helped raise field size slightly from 7.23 starters per race to 7.46.

Golden Gate Fields was reportedly able to grow its handle by separating its post times from the biggest races across the country, racing secretary Patrick Mackey told the San Francisco Chronicle last August. With bettors more engaged due to the changes in withholding and some additional help from bad weather and cancellations in the East, Golden Gate was able to increase its out-of-state handle by 48% and bolster its total handle by 18%.

“We had competitive races for leading rider and trainer, and not a lot of races with 1-5 or 2-5 shots winning,” Mackey told the Chronicle. “The days of (trainer) Jerry (Hollendorfer) and (jockey) Russell (Baze) winning every race at 2-5 are gone. It’s a different product where you can find betting value. When you have gamblers behind you, they keep coming back.”

 

Leading Racetracks by % Increase in Avg. Daily Purse, ‘17-’18

Includes racetracks running 50 or more live race dates in 2018

Track (State)

’18 Dates

2018 Avg. Starter”

2018 Daily Avg. Purse

% Chg. Avg. ‘17-’18

2018 Gross Purse

Delta Downs (LA)

83

8.68

$273,809

32%

$22,726,110

Mahoning Valley Race Course (OH)

100

8.61

$150,644

18%

$15,064,430

Gulfstream Park (FL)

198

8.30

$469,242

17%

$92,909,925

Arlington Int’l Racecourse (IL)

71

7.46

$239,114

14%

$16,977,066

JACKS Thistledown (OH)

100

7.29

$166,986

12%

$16,698,586

Aqueduct (NY)

91

7.16

$541,328

10%

$49,260,878

Albuquerque Downs (NM)

53

8.04

$89,165

9.6%

$4,725,732

Churchill Downs (KY)

70

8.23

$567,787

9.3%

$39,745,062

Laurel Park (MD)

156

7.77

$342,471

8.9%

$53,425,438

Golden Gate Fields (CA)

150

6.93

$152,590

7.9%

$22,888,444

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Keeneland Adds Horses of Racing Age to April Sale

Addition designed to complement 2-year-olds, offer variety to buyers.

 

Keeneland has expanded the April Sale, which traditionally features only 2-year-olds in training, to include horses of racing age this year, the Lexington operation announced Jan. 30.

The April Sale is scheduled for April 9, immediately following the spring meet opening weekend that kicks off April 4. Headlining the nine stakes that weekend are the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) and $500,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1), both classic prep races.

“Keeneland’s spring meet is a convergence of horsemen heading home from their winter bases,” said Bob Elliston, Keeneland’s vice president of racing and sales. “The addition of a horses of racing age component to the April Sale complements our racing program and offers variety to buyers in town for opening weekend.”

Entry deadline for the online horses of racing age catalog is March 15, and entries for the 2-year-olds in training catalog close Feb. 1. Supplemental entries will be accepted after both deadlines.

Keeneland conducted the April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale from 1993-2014. At the 2014 April Sale, the auction house sold 38 head for a total of $8,769,000 and an average of $230,763, including future champions Lady Eli and Roy H. The sale topper, a Malibu Moon  colt out of Tap Your Heels, the dam of Tapit , brought $1 million. The sale has been on hiatus since then.

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Bill Aims to End Export of Horses for Slaughter

Similar legislation was filed in 2017 but stalled in committee.

 

Bipartisan legislation filed in the United States House of Representatives Jan. 30 aims to halt the shipping of horses to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.

Representatives Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, and Vern Buchanan, a Florida Republican, reintroduced Wednesday the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, which would prohibit horse-slaughter plants from operating in the U.S. and end the export of horses across the border for this purpose.

Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action, said the act is a permanent solution as opposed to the current de facto ban in place since 2006, which is accomplished by not funding regulatory appropriations to allow such plants to operate. Irby noted the bill includes 219 co-sponsors in the 115th Congress, more than half the House.

Similar legislation, the Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2017, stalled in committee despite having more than 200 co-sponsors.

“Horses have a special place in our nation’s history, and these majestic creatures were not raised as food for humans,” Schakowsky said. “The SAFE Act would prohibit any horse slaughter plant from opening and also end the sale or transport of horses and horse parts in the U.S. and abroad for the purpose of human consumption. I am proud to reintroduce this bill and work with Congressman Buchanan to put an end to this practice.”

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in America,” Buchanan said. “I will continue to lead the effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky to ban domestic horse slaughter and end the export of horses abroad for slaughter.”

National Thoroughbred Racing Association president and CEO Alex Waldrop said Wednesday he has not read through the entire bill yet, but one potential concern would be that the legislation could hinder transport of horses to Mexico or Canada for legitimate reasons, like racing or breeding.

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, and Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, intend to introduce a similar bill in the Senate soon.

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Kent Desormeaux Rides 6,000th Winner

 

Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux reached a milestone only 18 others in North America have met Jan. 27 at Santa Anita Park, when he rode X S Gold to victory to secure his 6,000th win.

The California-bred filly by Golden Balls didn’t seem to have much of a chance to catch loose leader Madaket Sunset in the one-mile turf allowance, but like he’s done so many times before, Desormeaux got his mount to find her best stride late in the stretch.

With 3 1/2 lengths to make up and a furlong to run, X S Gold, a homebred for trainer Jim Cassidy and DP Racing, rallied on the outside to get up by a head at the wire.

“I can humbly say that I’m truly honored and proud of the number—6,000,” Desormeaux told on-track host Peter Lurie after the race. “I can definitely attest that it wasn’t easy to get here, especially the last two months. … I also know that I am truly appreciative of everyone that gave me the confidence to take the reins.”

The 48-year-old jockey—who has won seven Triple Crown races, six Breeders’ Cup races, and three Eclipse Awards (top apprentice in 1987 and top jockey in 1989 and 1992)—said he still has more goals in his sights.

“I can’t wait to wake up every day and pass Eddie (Delahoussaye, who has 6,383 wins, 15th all-time),” Desormeaux said. “I’m a very goal-oriented jockey, so I have about 380 more wins to go. I’m not going anywhere before then.”

The Louisiana-born jockey began riding in 1986, and his highest victory total came in 1989, when he rode 597 winners from 2,312 starts. His best earnings season came in 2008, when he brought in more than $15.6 million in purses. He won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) with Big Brown  that year. It was the second time he won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, after he did it with Real Quiet in 1998.

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Songandaprayer Pensioned from Stud Duty

Songandaprayer, a grade 1 winner and sire of 38 black-type winners, has been pensioned from commercial stud duty, according to Journeyman Stud near Ocala, Fla., where the stallion stood in 2018.

Bred in Kentucky by Donna Wormser, the son of Unbridled’s Song was purchased by agent Buzz Chace for $470,000 at the 1999 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. Pinhooker Robert Scanlon later sold the colt for $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale to basketball star Bobby Hurley and his wife, Leslie.

Hurley and his wife, along with D.J. Stable, won the 2001 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G1) and placed second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) with Songandaprayer. He was retired at 3 with 3-1-1 record out of eight starts and $380,480 in earnings.

Songandaprayer entered stud in Florida in 2002 at Marablue Farm, which bought D.J. Stable’s interest. He stood at Marablue for three seasons before being transferred to Hartley/DeRenzo, Walmac South (also in Florida) for a season and then was sent to Walmac Farm in Kentucky. He stood five seasons at The Stallion Station@Copper Crowne before ending his stud career at Journeyman.

Songandaprayer was Florida’s leading freshman sire in 2005 with over $1 million in progeny earnings and three black-type winners, including multiple graded stakes winner What a Song. As a sire, he had 63% winners from foals and 90 black-type performers, which included three champions. His 15 crops to race earned more than $51.5 million and averaged $58,021 per starter.

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UNDERPRESSURE POWERS HOME IN LA CHAMPIONS DAY CLASSIC

By Meredith Daugherty

 

Underprressure_12-8-2018-F
Underpressure with Corey Lanerie aboard wins the 28th running of the Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

With storm clouds looming over Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Dec. 8, a sloppy track and the threat of continued rain did nothing to deter Underpres- sure, who claimed his first stakes win since 2017 in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes.

Sent out from post 2 in the headlining race on the Champions Day card, Underpressure broke well under jockey Corey Lanerie and settled back on the rail off the pace in fourth.

First to the front from the break, Ready Prospector maintained a comfortable 1 1/2-length lead and set fractions of :23.83, :47.98, and 1:13.34 for the first
six furlongs. Zenucci tracked the pace in the three path on the outside, a slim head in front of Autumn Warrior in third.

Still well back by 3 1/2 lengths as the six-horse field entered the final turn, Underpressure ignored the onslaught of mud kicked back from his competition and angled out four wide to make his bid for the lead. Taking command in the stretch, the 4-year-old colt drifted toward the rail and wobbled as Grande Basin moved up to his
outside to issue a late challenge.

Coming under the left-hand whip, Underpressure dug in and turned back Grande Basin to win by 3 1/2 lengths. Final time in the 1 1/8-mile test for Louisiana- breds was 1:52.82.

Grande Basin took second, followed by Mageez another five lengths back in third. It was another four lengths back to Autumn Warrior in fourth, a neck ahead of Ready Prospector in fifth. Zenucci rounded out the order of finish, more than 19 lengths behind the winner.

 

It was the third win of the year for Underpressure,
a three-time stakes winner owned by Mallory Greiner and trained by Chris Richard. The son of Birdstone took a pair of allowance races at Canterbury Park over the summer. Underpressure finished third in last year’s Classic behind Mobile Bay and Grand Basin.

Bred in Louisiana by James McIngvale out of the Charismatic mare Charming Colleen, Underpressure is a half brother to the stakes-winning filly Goodprofit. He improved his record to 8-6-6 from 25 starts, with earnings of $468,132.

The 13-race Champions Day card awarded a total seven Thoroughbred stakes winners Saturday. The 2-year-old filly Midnight Fantasy took the Louisiana Champions Day Lassie Stakes in Race 5 for trainer Joe Sharp to remain unbeaten in two starts. Valene Farms’ Classy John ran away with the Juvenile Stakes two races later by 4 1/4 lengths. His victory was followed by that of Magic Vow in the Turf Stakes.

Al and Bill Ulwelling’s Remember Daisy followed Underpressure’s runaway success with her own impressive triumph in the Ladies Stakes. It was the third consecutive victory for the 3-year- old daughter of Misremembered, who entered the race off a win in the Nov. 15 Tom Benson Memorial Overnight Stakes at Fair Grounds.

 

Givemeaminit and Ours to Run closed out the day with wins in the Sprint Stakes and Ladies Sprint Stakes. BH

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Wide-Open Classic Headlines Louisiana Champions Card

Seven Thoroughbred stakes are part of 13-race lineup.

A wide-open field of seven, including stakes winners Underpressure, Grande Basin, and Mageez, is set for the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes—the featured race on the Dec. 8 Louisiana Champions Day program at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

The 13-race Champions Day card (beginning with three Quarter Horse races) features seven stakes for Thoroughbreds, highlighted by the 1 1/8-mile Classic. With two-time defending race winner Mobile Bay retired, the path is clear for another state-bred to add more black type to his résumé.

Grande Basin and Underpressure were second and third, respectively, behind Mobile Bay in the 2017 edition of the race. That runner-up effort is a part of a 15-race losing skid William Deckwa Jr. and John Carbo’s Grande Basin is attempting to snap. The 6-year-old Good and Tough gelding most recently finished second in the Nov. 16 Mr. Sulu Overnight Stakes on the turf at Fair Grounds.

Mallory Greiner’s Underpressure, a 4-year-old son of Birdstone , has won two of 10 starts this season but has dropped his past five outings. The Chris Richard-trained colt enters off a sixth-place finish in the Nov. 17 Delta Mile Stakes at Delta Downs.

Double Dam Farm’s Mageez also is trying to get back on the winning side of things. The 5-year-old son of Musket Man won an optional-claiming allowance race at Fair Grounds in February but has lost his seven starts since.

Other notable horses on the Champions Day program include the Al Stall-trained Minit to Stardom, who won her first three starts by open lengths, including a 7 1/4-length win in the Louisiana Champions Day Lassie Stakes at Fair Grounds last December. The daughter of Star Guitar  was sixth in the Longines Test Stakes (G1) in August and, in her first start since that effort, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the $100,000 Ladies Sprint Stakes.

Grade 1-placed Givemeaminit, another offspring of Louisiana legend Star Guitar, is part of a field of 10 entered for the six-furlong, $100,000 Sprint Stakes.

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