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Trainers Exam Prep Class in Lexington, Kentucky, November 16-18, 2018

 

Subject: Trainers Exam Prep Class in Lexington, Kentucky 

Dates: November 16-18, 2018 

Location: Keeneland Kitchen conference room 

Lexington, Kentucky 

Registration fee: $299 by November 9; $349 after 

Contact: C. Reid McLellan, PhD 859-321-4377

The Groom Elite Program and Purple Power Equine Services are sponsoring a Trainers’ Exam Prep Class at Keeneland’s Track Kitchen Conference Room in Lexington, KY Friday through Sunday November 16-19. Instructor C. Reid McLellan, PhD, Executive Director of the nationally recognized Groom Elite Program since 2005, participated on the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse’s committee that wrote a standardized National Trainers’ Exam. McLellan has been teaching rules of racing to prospective trainers since 1985 and is continually updating the materials used in this class. 

Each racing jurisdiction has it’s on rule book and a trainer must be aware of those differences when sending horses across jurisdiction lines. Owners take this class to become more aware of the rules under which their trainer is working. Experienced grooms and shedrow foremen desiring to become assistant trainers benefit from this prep class. Even handicappers have taken this class to more completely understand the game as they seek an edge over their competition. 

First day is devoted to terminology, definitions and information that is included on the barn test. The final day is devoted to racing activity including, rules for first time starters, claiming rules (that are changing steadily) and entering horses including an understanding how to determine correct weight to be carried by a horse being entered. Rules differ from state to state and McLellan discusses those important differences. In between, administrative rules are highlighted by a veterinary session on Day 2 that stimulates lively discussion. 

Registration fee is $299 if paid by November 9, $349 after if space is available. Class size is limited to 10 so early registration is recommended. (The June 2017 Lexington class sold out.) 

For more information and to register for this Trainers’ Exam Prep Class, go to www.purplepowerracing.com Dr. McLellan is available by cell phone at 859-321-4377, twitter @creidmac or email creidmac@gmail.com 

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Keeneland Bans ‘Indian Charlie’ Newsletter From Grounds

Keeneland officials have notified Ed Musselman not to distribute newsletter

Keeneland officials have notified Ed Musselman, creator of the popular “Indian Charlie” newsletter, that the one-sheet humorous bulletins he writes and distributes are not welcome on Keeneland’s grounds.

Musselman received a letter Oct. 1 that was dated Sept. 20, 2018, from Keeneland director of security Phillip E. Gardner, and signed by Gardner, Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason, and Keeneland vice president and chief operating officer Vince Gabbert informing him the newsletter, which  is distributed during race meets and sales, “is not allowed to be distributed, by any fashion, on Keeneland grounds … indefinitely.”

The ban includes Keeneland’s main grounds, the Rice Road training center, Red Mile Horse Racing Center, the Thoroughbred Club, and the Thoroughbred Training Center, all owned and/or operated and maintained by Keeneland management.

Gardner states that any failure to follow Keeneland’s request will result in a formal ejection notice being served to Mussleman and any of his employees.

“Once a formal ejection notice is served, and subsequently violated,” said the letter, “the Lexington Police Department will be asked to intervene, and Keeneland management will pursue criminal procedures against all ejected parties as applicable.”

The “Indian Charlie” newsletter and Musselman himself had been ruled off Churchill Downs in 2014 after a controversy arose over a piece Musselman wrote about backstretch workers. Keeneland honored that ban, according to Bob Elliston, Keeneland’s vice president of racing and sales. Eventually, Churchill Downs relented and Keeneland followed suit, but, according to Elliston, Keeneland made the stipulation that Musselman not distribute the newsletter on its grounds.

“When our director of security observed Musselman distributing the newsletter during the recent September sale,” said Elliston, “he was reminded not to do so.”

Musselman maintains that Keeneland officials have known for the past several years that he has been distributing “Indian Charlie” around the Lexington track, and that the newsletter has been available in the track kitchen, racing office, and barn area.

“Keeneland officials are reacting to specific recent articles in the newsletter,” Musselman said. “Keeneland is a great place and I can’t knock it. I respect its private property rights and I will go paperless for any editions that come out during Keeneland events.”

Musselman, who has been producing the “Indian Charlie” sheets since 1994, said the next “Indian Charlie” newsletters are scheduled for Oct. 21-23 around the Fasig-Tipton October Sale.

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Record Average Sale Price Highlights Strong Keeneland September Renewal

by | 09.23.2018

 

There was plenty to be excited about in advance of this year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale, but it was the surprises that helped propel the bellwether auction from a strong edition into the kind not seen since the economic crash of the mid-2000s.

A combination of factors – from a favorable economic climate, to the first crop from a Triple Crown winner, to a somewhat unexpected appearance from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the Godolphin operation – came together to produce one of the strongest renewals of the Keeneland September sale in its history. At the end of 13 sessions, the auction finished with a record average sale price, the second-highest all-time median price, and the fourth-highest gross.

A total of 2,916 yearlings changed hands at this year’s sale for $377,130,400, up 23 percent from last year’s 12-day auction, when 2,555 horses brought $307,845,400. The gross surpassed last year’s final total during the seventh session, and it finished as the highest since 2007, the last full sale before the market crash, when 5,553 horses sold for $385,018,600.

The average sale price settled at a record $129,331, up seven percent from $120,487 in 2017, and surpassing the previous record of $112,427 set in 2006. The median was down 12 percent to $50,000 from a record $57,000, but it entered a four-way tie for the second-highest ever, joining a three-sale run from 2013 to 2015. The final buyback rate of 24 percent marked a small improvement from 25 percent last year.

At the top of the market, 27 horses sold for seven figures, more than the last two Keeneland September sales combined, and the most since 2007. It was the fifth-most horses sold for $1 million or more in the sale’s history.

“I think the gross is so high because the top end is as strong as it’s ever been,” said consignor Scott Mallory. “You start adding million-dollar horses on there, it gets the gross up pretty quick. I think there’s a shortage of good horses. I hear trainers tell us all the time there’s a shortage of good horses.”

While there are plenty of pieces that go into making a sale of this caliber, Keeneland’s director of sales operations Geoffrey Russell said none of the figures would have been possible if the quality of horseflesh in the ring did not match the demand.

“It has to be the horse, and this is what we come back to,” Russell said. “This is a very good crop of horses. Yes, all the other external factors of depreciation, new tax laws, stock market, all the other factors, have helped raise the bar, but If those horses aren’t top quality, they’re not going to give you extra money just because they have it in their pockets. The credit goes to the breeders and consignors that have had an exceptional crop this year.”

Suzi Shoemaker of Lantern Hill Farm put more stock in the economy’s effect on buyer activity – particularly the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which dramatically increased the tax benefits for yearling buyers. However, Shoemaker also noted that the sport’s efforts to shine up its image could be slowly reaching the people with money to spend.

“I think the tax cuts have had a huge effect on everyone’s emotional landscape,” she said. “People just feel like they can have some fun with their money. A lot of these people have corporations or big businesses and I feel like they can use their cash for more discretionary items like racehorses.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in our industry with bringing people in, and taking care of our racehorses when their careers are over,” Shoemaker continued. “Drugs are still a problem, but I think it’s being addressed. My feeling is we’re moving forward on these things. Yes, I know we still have a lot of problems, but I think we’re addressing them and we’ve got a solid core of people. We may or may not be growing it, but we’re keeping who we’ve got.”

Sheikh Mohammed Ups The Ante

The story of the 2018 Keeneland September sale, and especially its select Book 1, cannot be told without making reference to the presence of Sheikh Mohammed, who appeared at the sale in person for the first time in several years.

With the head of the operation in attendance, Godolphin more than doubled its spending at the September sale, going from 17 purchases totaling $8,065,000 last year to 27 yearlings for $19,960,000. It was the biggest performance by a single buying entity since 2006, when Godolphin landed 34 horses for $59,945,000 including the $11.7-million Meydan City, whose sale price is still the highest ever for a yearling at auction.

The operation of Sheikh Mohammed signed tickets under the name of both Godolphin and Godolphin Japan, shoehorning certain horses for his Asian interests.

Sheikh Mohammed’s arrival was a welcome surprise for the Keeneland staff. The ruler of Dubai also spent time looking over his horses at his U.S. base of operations at the former Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky., and he left the sale to attend the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C.

“You never know,” said Bob Elliston, Keeneland’s vice president of racing and sales. “ Every year, we hope, and every year I think there’s probably hope on their end that he’s coming as well, but things get in the way. As soon as we see that big plane with that flag on the tail, we know then.”

While Sheikh Mohammed was gone by the sale’s traditional “dark day” on the first Friday of selling, Airdrie Stud general manager Ben Henley speculated that his strong buying had a ripple effect on the sessions that followed.

“People are getting outbid on those horses early and getting pushed back a book,” Henley said. “It kind of keeps happing all way down and it’s a domino effect on the whole marketplace.”

With the figures reaching heights not seen since the mid-2000s, Sheikh Mohammed’s presence also brought with it the return of the classic bidding slugfests between Godolphin and the Coolmore partnership. Though the prices did not reach the delirious heights they did in the previous decade, the competition was fierce between the two entities.

Godolphin accounted for seven of the auction’s million-dollar horses, while Coolmore took home a trio of seven-figure yearlings, including the sale-topper.

Coolmore’s reverence to Claiborne Farm sire War Front continued to be on display at the September sale when it landed Hip 458, a $2.4-million colt out of the Grade 1-winning Smart Strike mare Streaming. The colt’s third dam is Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour, putting him in the family of champion Rags to Riches, Belmont Stakes winner Jazil, and Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Man of Iron, among others.

Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency consigned the colt, as agent.

New Catalog Format Draws Mixed Reviews

For the third straight year, the Keeneland September sale introduced a new format for the first week of its sale. After last year’s renewal started with a single ultra-select Book 1 and finished the week with three sessions of Book 2, the 2018 edition expanded Book 1 into four sessions and pushed Book 2 into the weekend.

Elliston said the quality of this year’s total catalog had a strong influence in blowing out the first book. Horses were spread out to nearly every barn from one to 49 on the Keeneland backstretch for Book 1, which was designed to give each horse space to properly show themselves without being too crowded.

Any logistical issues that might have stemmed from the spread-out nature of the Book 1 horses were inadvertently quelled when washout rains on the Sunday before the opening session led Keeneland officials to delay the start times for all four Book 1 sessions by two hours, giving prospective buyers an extra eight hours to inspect the horses.

“Every year, the inspection team looks at the depth of the crop that’s there, and we tailor it to that,” Elliston said. “People make a lot of the format, but really, we’re the only ones that have to deal with format because we’re the only people that sell the numbers that we do. That’s a responsibility that we take very seriously, to create an environment conducive to buyers and sellers getting the most they can.”

While the high returns are hard to deny, expanding the Book 1 offerings did create a tough draw for some horses that might have been placed in Book 2 in prior catalog configurations. Instead of benefitting from a “big fish, small pond” effect, some sellers were concerned their horses at the level below the very elite might have gotten lost in the shuffle while more suitable buyers waited until the later sessions to arrive at the ale.

“It’s going to be hard for them to adjust the format when the sale’s been so high, but it’s been kind of tough on the consignments,” Mallory said. “I had some in Book 1 where I sold horses in Book 2 that weren’t nearly as good for a lot more money just because of the way the format was. They’ll work it out, though. It’s hard to please everybody, and when you’re trying to get 4,500 head through the sale, you’re not going to get everything where it needs to be.”

The first week of the sale might have had some placement casualties, but sellers were generally pleased with how their slots shook out in the middle sessions. Shopping activity, both in terms of inspecting horses and buying them, remained robust well into the later books.

“Most of these horses that we have here, the consignors are so on top of it, on top of knowing what we have and where they belong,” said Carrie Brogden of Select Sales. “Placement is incredible to me. Too far early can really hurt you, but too far back, they can still find you.”

Uncle Mo, War Front, American Pharoah Drive Sire Power

Uncle Mo, a resident of Ashford Stud, led all sires by gross for the first time, with 65 yearlings sold for $22,392,000. It was the highest gross produced by a sire at a Keeneland September sale since Storm Cat put 24 through the ring for $30,485,000 in 2006.

The top sire by average sale price was War Front, whose 18 horses sold brought an average of $782,500. It was War Front’s second time leading the sale, after achieving the same feat in 2015.

War Front finished tied with Darley‘s Medaglia d’Oro for the most seven-figure horses, each with five.

As expected, the auction was a coming out party for Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, whose first yearlings had a big impact on the final figures. In total, the member of the Ashford Stud roster had 47 yearlings sell for a combined $19,585,000 (third-highest) and an average of $416,702 (fifth-highest among those with three or more sold).

American Pharoah finished with three horses past the seven-figure mark, led by the auction’s second-highest price, Hip 91, a $2.2-million colt out of the Grade 2-placed stakes-winning Indian Charlie mare Kindle, who sold to the Godolphin operation. Woods Edge Farm consigned the colt, as agent.

To view the sale’s full results, click here.

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Keeneland 2019 April Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale Set For April 9

Keeneland officials announced September 14, 2018, that the 2019 April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale will be held Tuesday, April 9. The Preview Day, which will offer breezes over both the main dirt track and turf course, will be held Monday, April 8.

“Keeneland looks forward to the return of the April Sale, and we anticipate we will see several 2018 September Yearling Sale graduates participating,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said.

“The April Sale affords horsemen several unique advantages,” Elliston said. “One is the opportunity to present a consignment before a number of prominent owners and trainers at Keeneland for opening weekend of the Spring Meet, which begins April 5, and includes the Toyota Blue Grass. Another is the chance to breeze your juvenile over Keeneland’s dirt track and turf course, two of the best racing surfaces in the country.”

Keeneland conducted its April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale from 1993-2014. The sale has been on hiatus since 2015.

The April Sale has a proven record of success, having produced 2017 champions Lady Eli and Roy H in its final edition in 2014. The auction counts six classic winners among its graduates: Belmont (G1) winner Palace Malice; Preakness (G1) winner and champion Lookin At Lucky; Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness winner and champion Big Brown; Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner and champion Thunder Gulch; and Kentucky Oaks (G1) winners Keeper Hill and Gal in a Ruckus. Champion Beautiful Pleasure also is an April sale graduate.

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Sports Wagering Symposium Outlines Changing Landscape

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In a gravelly voice that clearly has spent many hours cheering teams and horses, race and sports book legend Victor Salerno offered racing some verbal encouragement as it prepares for fast-emerging legal sports wagering.

Salerno, a 40-year veteran of the race and sports book industry in Nevada, offered that encouragement at the Sports Wagering and Impact on Horse Racing Symposium presented by BloodHorse and Breeders’ Cup Sept. 6 at Keeneland. Three panels at the symposium outlined the opportunities and potential challenges for racing, as legal sports wagering comes online throughout the country. Racing relies on pari-mutuel wagering as its economic engine.

“You shouldn’t be afraid to do this,” Salerno said of tracks also offering sports wagering, noting tracks that do so will increase their foot traffic, providing opportunities to reach new customers. “Racing’s a great sport; we have to keep it going.”

At the three-hour presentation, panelists touched on wide-ranging topics related to sports wagering, including the benefits and challenges of offering sports wagering at tracks; opportunities for current advance-deposit wagering companies to expand to sports wagering or partner with sports wagering sites to cross-promote one another; an opportunity for racing to provide needed content for wagering in this new environment; the addition of non-pari-mutuel wagers in racing, like fixed-odds bets; and challenges that could include a competitive disadvantage as high-takeout racing in an atmosphere where low-takeout sports betting will be readily available.

Monmouth Park vice president of business operations Bill Knauf offered some firsthand experience since the New Jersey track brought in William Hill to operate on-track sports wagering in June. Knauf said the sports betting crowd is largely male and younger than the typical horseplayer. He noted the sports betting crowd has helped the track improve its simulcast handle as bettors are showing up early and staying late to watch West Coast baseball games.

Knauf said tracks have plenty of available parking, interior space that readily can be used to build first-rate sports books, and through their simulcast operations are familiar with bringing in multiple TV signals. He noted tracks routinely offer more such signals than even a Las Vegas sportsbook.

Panelist Victor Bigio, an online gaming marketer at Sportech, said tracks also have the space to host eSports events that are quickly gaining in popularity with young people. He said tracks should take advantage and offer those events and accept wagers on them.

Many states soon will be making these decisions. Beyond the three racing states that have already launched full sports wagering this year—New Jersey, Delaware, and West Virginia—Sara Slane of the American Gaming Association noted another 19 states have had bills proposed.

William Hill U.S. executive Dan Shapiro noted the planning that went into Monmouth has produced a facility where sports betting and race betting are well-integrated. He said a sports betting facility at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is in the casino and separated from racing. He thinks the Monmouth model has a better chance of success for both sports wagering and race handle.

“What Monmouth has done with that integrated experience is the model we think tracks should look at in the future,” Shapiro said.

Just hours after TVG (FanDuel Group) announced Thursday plans to add a pair of Sunday morning shows that will largely focus on betting the NFL, FanDuel Group general counsel John Hindman said that variety should bring a more diverse group to the racing channel and its various sports and race wagering platforms.

He said the FanDuel platform will market race wagering, noting it will be presented in a way that will make sense to sports bettors. He also noted the benefits of cross-marketing—millions of dollars have been spent promoting FanDuel, initially a Daily Fantasy site, in recent years.

One aspect of betting sports those customers understand, on some level, is takeout in the 5% or 6% range. Ed Hannah of The Stronach Group said with those expectations, racing will need to thoroughly examine its much higher takeout (the amount of money not returned to bettors in winnings, which in racing is retained largely for tracks and purses) as it tries to attract new customers and retain current players.

“Lesson No. 1 is the takeout rate is too high. We need to figure out a more optimal takeout rate,” Hannah said. “There’s a little more wiggle room on multi-race or multi-interest wagers.”

He noted that in the online atmosphere, sports bettors will quickly notice the difference.

“People putting money in their deposits will notice that difference,” Hannah said, explaining that because of takeout, the average sports bettor can make a $100 deposit last much longer than the average horseplayer. “We have to do a lot of thinking about (takeout).”

Sports betting faces its own battle for customers, many of whom currently wager through illegal bookmakers, local or offshore. Panelists noted that one way legal operators will be able to compete is by offering a greater variety of wagers and events. They said the frequency of races, offered throughout the week, should prove attractive to sports betting sites.

Hindman noted that race wagering routinely is one of the top sports in terms of handle in other countries that already allow sports wagering.

While panelists offered a wide variety of opinions and ideas, all acknowledged the fast-changing landscape and racing’s need to be innovative rather than shrink away.

“We can take (the emergence of sports wagering) and put it toward the enhancement of the racing industry here,” Salerno said. “Don’t be afraid.”

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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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Keeneland Reinstates April Sale, Tweaks September Format

Keeneland will reinstate its April Sale in 2019, as one of three changes to its sales calendar announced Thursday. The April auction, last held in 2014, will be staged as a one-day sale of 2-year-olds in training, as well as horses of racing age. Dates for the preview and sale will be announced at a later date.

“Keeneland’s April Sale produced a number of champions and Classic winners, including 2017 champions Lady Eli and Roy H in its final edition in 2014,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “Horsemen are very supportive of the sale returning this spring, and we are excited to expand the auction from previous years by offering a limited number of horses of racing age.”

Keeneland also announced the format for its upcoming September Yearling Sale. Book 1 of the auction, which was one session in 2017, will be held Monday through Thursday (Sept. 10-13) this year and will include approximately 1,000 yearlings with sessions beginning at 11 a.m. After a dark day Friday, Book 2 will be held Saturday and Sunday with sessions beginning at 10 a.m. The Book 2 portion of the 2017 sale was three days. Books 3-6 of the September sale will be held the following Monday through Sunday (Sept. 17-23).

Keeneland introduced a bonus structure tied to its one-session Book 1 in 2017. With the longer Book 1 section in 2018, the bonus will not be applicable to graduates of the sale this year.

“Keeneland engages in an ongoing dialog with our clients to collect their feedback and adapt our sales formats to meet the ‘market of the moment,’” Elliston said of the changes. “The market is fluid from year to year, and our primary goal is to create a sales environment that will produce the best results for our sellers and buyers.”

Finally, Keeneland announced it will open its November Breeding Stock Sale with an exclusive Book 1 session to be held Monday, Nov. 5.

“The Breeders’ Cup World Championships are at Churchill Downs the weekend before the November Sale begins, so what better way to continue the excitement than to host a select Book 1 on opening day,” said Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason.

The entire November Sale schedule will be announced later.

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CHURCHILL DOWNS AND KEENELAND ANNOUNCE HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP TO PROPOSE CONSTRUCTION OF TWO NEW RACING FACILITIES IN CORBIN AND OAK GROVE, KENTUCKY

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) (“CDI”) and Keeneland Association, Inc. (“Keeneland”) announced today an historic partnership to propose the construction of two new state-of-the-art racing facilities. One will be in southeastern Kentucky in Corbin (Knox County), and the second will be in southwestern Kentucky in Oak Grove (Christian County). The proposed facilities will feature live horse racing and historical racing machines for guests from Kentucky and beyond.

To share the news, the two companies released a video featuring CDI Chief Executive Officer Bill Carstanjen, Keeneland President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Thomason, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association Executive Director Chauncey Morris and Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Executive Director Marty Maline.

“Horse racing is a $4 billion industry in the Commonwealth that creates thousands of jobs, strengthens our statewide economy and attracts millions of visitors from around the globe,” Carstanjen said. “Churchill Downs and Keeneland share a deep commitment to making Kentucky’s horse racing industry the very best version of itself, and the new racing facilities in Corbin and Oak Grove will help us achieve this by generating much needed funds to increase purses and breeders’ incentives.”

“Keeneland is excited to partner with Churchill Downs on this initiative which builds upon our mission to strengthen the sport and create new opportunities for horsemen and fans,” Thomason said. “Not only will these racing facilities strengthen Kentucky’s vital horse industry, but just as importantly, they will positively impact the Commonwealth and the local communities by stimulating significant economic growth, generating hundreds of new jobs and enhancing tourism and hospitality.”

Churchill Downs and Keeneland are working closely with the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and other state and local officials on a number of incentives and necessary infrastructure improvements to bring the Corbin and Oak Grove facilities to fruition.

“Corbin is thrilled to be a part of this historic venture between two of the horse racing industry’s most iconic names,” Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney said. “The new racing facility will be a welcome addition to our city’s already long list of sites and attractions for local residents and visitors.”

“We are proud of the significant investment Churchill Downs and Keeneland are committed to making in our community, and are excited to see the infusion of tourism, economic development and new jobs it will bring to Oak Grove and Christian County,” Oak Grove Mayor Bea Burt said.

Each facility is contingent on receipt of an initial pari-mutuel racing license by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and Churchill Downs and Keeneland are filing their applications with the commission today.

“Churchill Downs and Keeneland have the support of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association as they move forward with their plans to bring two new racing facilities to our state,” Morris said. “The proposed facilities will benefit our industry and the Commonwealth as a whole through new jobs, greater revenues and more tourism.”

“The Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is excited for what this announcement means for our sport,” Maline said. “We represent more than 6,000 owners and trainers who depend on a strong racing industry, and we know this historic partnership will help draw the eyes of millions to Kentucky’s signature industry.”

For more information, please watch this short video and visit www.historicpartnership.com.


Initial rendering of the proposed Corbin facility

Initial rendering of the proposed Oak Grove facility
About Churchill Downs Incorporated
Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) (“CDI”), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is an industry-leading racing, gaming and online entertainment company anchored by our iconic flagship event—The Kentucky Derby. We are a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with gaming positions in eight states, and we are the largest legal mobile betting platform for horseracing in the U.S., through our ownership of TwinSpires.com. We are also one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of mobile games through Big Fish Games, Inc. Additional information about CDI can be found online at www.churchilldownsincorporated.com.

About Keeneland Association, Inc.
For more than 80 years, the Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. As the world’s largest Thoroughbred auction company, Keeneland conducts sales every January, September and November. Its sales graduates dominate racing across the globe at every level. In April and October, Keeneland offers some of the highest caliber and richest Thoroughbred racing in the world. In 2015, Keeneland hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a private, for-profit corporation that returns its earnings to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses, and it has donated millions of dollars in charitable contributions for education, research and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. To learn more about Keeneland, visit Keeneland.com.

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Benoit Invests in Top Keeneland Mares to Breed in Louisiana

Excerpted from BloodHorse.com reports

 

Evelyn Benoit is not your typical horse breeder.

Most buyers of a top-class, $850,000 Thoroughbred mare at public auction would plan a mating for the following breeding season to one of North America’s more fashionable stallions.

Not Benoit.

At the Nov. 11 session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, Grovendale’s James Keogh won a bidding war to acquire the multiple stakes winner and graded stakes-placed mare Moment of Majesty for $850,000 from Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency’s consignment.

The 9-year-old daughter of Saint Liam was purchased in the name of Benoit’s Star Guitar Inc., named after the Louisiana breeder’s top homebred Star Guitar.

Keogh said Benoit bought the mare specifically to breed to Star Guitar, who stands at Clear Creek Stud in Louisiana for $4,000—a far cry from the $100,000 fee for Curlin, the Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm stallion to whom Moment of Majesty was bred this year.

A day later, Benoit struck for another high-priced mare to breed to her stallion Star Guitar, going to $550,000 for the durable runner Five Star Momma during the fifth session of Keeneland’s November breeding stock sale.

Sold in foal to top WinStar Farm stallion Tiznow, Five Star Momma topped the Nov. 12 session, in which the sale enters a new realm, beginning Book 3 after the best lots in the auction were offered in Books 1 and 2.

Keogh said Benoit’s decision to breed such an expensive mares to Star Guitar reflects her desire to give the stallion the best opportunity to succeed.

“It’s not about the money with her. It’s about the horses,” Keogh, part of Benoit’s team of advisers, said of the disparity between the mare’s purchase price and the stallion to whom she will be bred. “It’s family to her. She loves (Star Guitar) so much. He means the world to her.”

Racing for Benoit’s Brittlyn Stable, Star Guitar won 24 of his 30 starts, including 22 stakes, and retired as the all-time leading Louisiana-bred earner of over $1.7 million. In his only graded stakes placing and rare venture outside Louisiana, Star Guitar finished third in the Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.

Represented by 36 juveniles of 2016, Star Guitar has had two winners from six starters to date, and Keogh said Benoit is getting ready to send out several of her promising homebreds trained by Al Stall Jr.

Keogh said the breeder has supported Star Guitar since he entered stud, sending some 15 of her 22 broodmares to the stallion annually.

“He’s a beautiful-looking horse. He’s show-hunter pretty,” Keogh said. “He’s a fabulous-moving horse. He wouldn’t break eggs, he’s so light on his feet.”

With his breeding and superb running ability, Star Guitar likely could have been gone to a farm outside Louisiana, but keeping him in the Bayou State fit with Benoit’s support of the state breeding program. Star Guitar’s fee will remain at $4,000 for 2017.

“It’s everything to her to support Louisiana’s breeders’ program,” Keogh said. “She had several offers to stand him in Kentucky, but she wouldn’t consider it because she wants to support Louisiana racing and breeding. She is passionate about racing. She watches racing three hours a day.”

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Louisiana Bred Colt Sells for $350,000 at Keeneland September; A Record High Price for a Louisiana Bred in Keeneland History

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img_4337 An Accredited Louisiana-bred yearling colt by Curlin sold for $350,000 on Wednesday, September 14, Day 3 of the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. This is the highest price ever for a Louisiana Bred to have run through the Lexington, Kentucky Sale.

Bred in Louisiana by Hargroder Farms, LLC, the attractive bay colt is out of Moonlight Lover, an unraced Bernardini mare. Consigned by VanMeter-Gentry Sales as agent, he was purchased by Katsumi Yoshida.

Breeder Don Hargroder says of the colt, “This colt was very special from the time he hit the ground, and we are very proud to have been part of his life. Several years ago, I said my goal was to get national respect with Louisiana breds, and I think we did that with this colt. His dam has a very attractive Lewis Michael filly by her side and we are shopping now for stallions for her next breeding. ”

“As Louisiana follows the trend of the rest of the country with smaller foal crops, our breeders have embraced the idea of quality over quantity,” states Roger Heitzmann, III, Secretary/Treasurer of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association. He continues, “This colt is a prime example of where I believe we are headed. I believe you will see Accredited Louisiana Breds selling at higher prices moving forward.”

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