Secret Circle Relocating to Elite Thoroughbreds

The son of Eddington won two Breeders’ Cup World Championships races.

Secret Circle , the winner of two Breeders’ Cup World Championships races, is being relocated from Kentucky to Michele Rodriguez’s Elite Thoroughbreds in Louisiana in a deal brokered by Chad Schumer of Schumer Bloodstock.

A brilliantly fast horse for Bob Baffert, Secret Circle pulled off a rare achievement when he won the 2011 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint and two years later captured the Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). Out of 16 lifetime starts, the son of Eddington  was winner or runner-up in 10 graded stakes. He retired with more than $3.67 million in earnings.

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Purses Up, Pari-Mutuel Handle Down in 2019

Decline in pari-mutuel handle ends a four-year stretch of gains.

For all of racing’s problems in 2019, there certainly were plenty of locations where horsemen had reason for optimism behind strong purses. But, there most assuredly are numbers of concern in the year-end economic indicators released Jan. 6 by Equibase.

Fueled by strong purse growth in Kentucky—specifically Churchill Downs—purses for races in the United States increased 4.5% in 2019 to $1,167,921,650 compared with 2018. It’s the second straight season of strong growth for U.S. purses as they improved 3.5% in 2018.

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Jockey McMahon Earns Milestone Victory

C.J. McMahon earned his 1,000th career win Jan. 1 at Delta Downs.

 

Multiple graded stakes-winning jockey C.J. McMahon celebrated the new year with a milestone win Jan. 1 at Delta Downs.  Riding 3-5 favorite Cavallotto in the fourth race Wednesday, McMahon delivered a front-running score in the one-mile claiming event to secure the 1,000th victory of his career. Cavallotto is trained by Karl Broberg, who in 2019 finished as the leading conditioner by wins in North America for the sixth straight season.

Broberg regularly calls on McMahon and in 2019 the pair teamed to win 132 races from 489 starts, including a victory in the Bluebonnet Stakes with Ima Discreet Lady in April at Lone Star Park.

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Bill Oppenheim: Into Mischief Tops the Charts

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For the year-end tables of leading sires in various categories of APEX ratings, which measure the frequency that stallions sire runners who meet certain earnings percentage thresholds, sires have to have had 200 or more year-starters going back as far as seven seasons (a horse is counted as one ‘year-starter’ each year it races, as with the average earnings index). The top category is ‘A Runners’, which measures the top 2% of earners in each jurisdiction each year.

On Jan. 14, 2016, we published the leading sires by A Runner Index for the years 2009-15 (Thoroughbred Daily News, Jan. 14, 2016). The top three sires were Galileo (4.09 A Runner Index), Into Mischief (4.07), and War Front  (3.89).

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H-2B Visa Program Relief Expected to be Signed Into Law

Bill would allow more access to H-2B visas.

 

Horse trainers who utilize the H-2B guest worker visa program to fill various backstretch positions will likely have increased access to those visas as a result of language included in the 2020 spending bill passed by Congress this week and expected to be signed by President Donald Trump Dec. 20.

The bill gives the secretary of homeland security the discretion to release additional visas above the statutory cap and also includes related labor provisions that have been in place for several years.

 

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Nominations Ongoing For Randy Romero Pure Courage Award

Nominations accepted through Jan. 15, with a presentation to be made March 21.

Following the death of Hall of Fame jockey Randy Romero this past summer at 61, supporters in his native Louisiana are keeping his legacy alive at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans. Besides the track naming a race after the famed jockey—the Feb. 1 Randy P. Romero Memorial Stakes—a group of nine friends have created the Randy Romero Pure Courage Award to honor a North American jockey who, like Romero, battled back from injury and adversity to achieve success.

The recipient of the award will receive a bronze trophy in a presentation at Fair Grounds on Louisiana Derby Day March 21, organizer Rick Mocklin said.

Romero, a winner of 4,294 races and $75.2 million in earnings over a career from 1973-99, was the regular rider of such elite distaffers as Go For Wand and Personal Ensign, with whom he teamed to win the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) in 1988 to finish an unbeaten career. He won 122 graded stakes and riding titles at 10 tracks, including Belmont Park, Arlington Park, Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, and Fair Grounds.

He managed to do this despite a slew of injuries that shortened his career and left him fighting pain for much of the second half of his life. Among these injuries was a near-fatal sauna explosion at Oaklawn Park that burned 60% of his body in 1983, after which he contracted hepatitis C from blood transfusions during skin graph operations. He returned to riding 14 months after the Oaklawn accident.

The 1990s brought more physical setbacks, including when Go For Wand was fatally injured in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Distaff and Romero crashed to the ground, breaking eight ribs and a bone in his shoulder. He finished riding later that decade, with Mocklin acting as his agent for a couple of those years.

“He went through so many things that 10 riders might not go through in their career, but Randy was always looking to ride again,” Mocklin said. “No matter what the injury was, he was looking when he could ride again and get back in the saddle.”

The goal of the Randy Romero Pure Courage Award is to honor a rider who shows the same kind of determination.

Mocklin said the nine people organizing the award—which include trainer Dallas Stewart and Kentucky restaurateur Tommy Walters—are funding the trophy’s purchase and will vote to determine the winner. To be eligible, a rider needs to be nominated before the committee’s Jan. 15 deadline, with nominations made to Mocklin at 504-382-9787 or via email to info@shantellaneriefoundation.com.

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Pound for Pound Wins Louisiana Champions Day Classic

Fair Grounds’ Dec. 14 feature first black-type win for trainer Andrea Ancil Ali.

 

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Israel Flores Horses’ Pound for Pound edged Trevilion to take the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, giving trainer Andrea Ancil Ali and jockey Aubrie Green their first black-type wins Dec. 14 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

The Classic was the highlight on a 13-race card for accredited Louisiana-breds, including three Quarter Horse stakes.

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Into Mischief and Mitole Available to Quarter Horses

Breeding will be via artificial insemination handled by Robicheaux Ranch.

 

Spendthrift Farm has partnered with Robicheaux Ranch and will offer the opportunity for Quarter Horse mares to breed with leading Thoroughbred stallion Into Mischief  and recent Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Mitole  for the 2020 breeding season, it was announced Nov. 20. Quarter Horse mares will be bred via artificial insemination.

Between Spendthrift Farm owner B. Wayne Hughes looking for creative ideas and Ryan Robicheaux, manager of Robicheaux Ranch in Breaux Bridge, La., looking for an outcross, the venture interested both sides of the deal.

 

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Desormeaux Returns to Louisiana to Ride at Fair Grounds

The 49-year-old rider leaves California, his longtime base.

Cajun-born Kent Desormeaux, who began his Hall of Fame career as a jockey at the unsanctioned “bush tracks” of Louisiana on his way to riding more than 6,000 winners, has returned home to Louisiana to ride full time at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots this winter.

Frustrated by reduced opportunities in California, where he has predominantly ridden since 2014, Desormeaux sought a change in circuits. He is experiencing one of his quietest years as a jockey, with 34 winners from 269 mounts and earnings of $2.4 million. He last rode at Del Mar Nov. 10, winning with one of his two mounts that afternoon.

 

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Horse Tests Positive for EHV-1 at Remington Park

The barn’s quarantine is currently set for 14 days.

A horse stabled at Remington Park has been confirmed by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry as testing positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1. As of Nov. 15, the affected barn has been placed under quarantine.

“ODAFF was informed last night of a positive EHV-1 test sample from a horse at Remington Park,” said Dr. Michael Herrin, ODAFF assistant state veterinarian. “This horse was euthanized Tuesday evening, and the barn it was housed in is currently under quarantine.”

Clinical signs for EHV-1 in horses vary to include fever, incoordination, and weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs. Additionally, this disease can cause rhinopneumonitis, a respiratory disease usually found in young horses, and abortion in broodmares. A small percentage of horses infected with the non-neuropathogenic strain of EHV-1 can develop neurological signs consistent with Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy.

 

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