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Kentucky Horsemen’s Group Sues Churchill, Keeneland, Commission Over Lasix House Rules

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This week would begin the first 2-year-old races of 2020 in Kentucky, and is meant to mark the start of a partial phaseout of furosemide on race day. The Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is hoping to put a stop to that phaseout.

The horsemen’s group filed a civil suit in Franklin County Circuit Court May 15 seeking to remove racetracks’ legal ability to card Lasix-free races, as well as requests for an emergency and a permanent restraining order and a temporary injunction to stop Churchill Downs and Keeneland from running 2-year-old races without Lasix under house rules. The suit names the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, Keeneland Association, and Churchill Downs Inc. as respondents.

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Keeneland and Churchill Downs Reinforce Commitment to Safety with Racing and Training Reforms

Darren Rogers, Churchill Downs Communications

Keeneland and Churchill Downs today jointly announced major changes in racing and training policies to strengthen safety protocols at both race tracks. Reforms include mandatory veterinary inspections prior to workouts and race entry and enhanced reporting and transparency requirements for trainers and attending veterinarians with regard to the fitness of horses to work and race.

These reforms also apply to horses stabled at Keeneland’s The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington and the Churchill Downs Training Center in Louisville.

In a significant step to promote integrity in racing, Keeneland and Churchill Downs will ban the race-day use of Lasix in all 2-year-old races under the International Medication Protocol authority granted in 810 KAR 8:050 of the Kentucky Administrative Regulations beginning with Keeneland’s 2020 Spring Meet and following at Churchill Downs Racetrack’s 2020 Spring Meet. Kentucky’s Thoroughbred race tracks supported sweeping medication reforms, including the Lasix ban, adopted by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) in late 2019.

Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason and Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said in a joint statement: “These meaningful reforms further advance our commitment to create the safest possible environment for racing and training. Race tracks, horsemen and the veterinary community share a responsibility for the welfare of our human and equine athletes and to promote the sport for generations of fans to come.”

Changes will become effective with the opening of the stable areas at Keeneland and Churchill Downs. Trainers and attending veterinarians must agree to the following conditions in order to participate in the racing programs at either track:

A trainer is not permitted to enter a horse in any race unless the horse has been found fit to race by the attending veterinarian during the three days immediately prior to entry, and

A trainer is not permitted to work a horse unless the horse has been found fit to work by the attending veterinarian during the five days immediately before the work.

Trainers and attending veterinarians are obligated to inform the equine medical director at the appropriate race track and the KHRC of any changes in a horse’s fitness after an examination has been conducted.

Additionally, all horses at Keeneland and Churchill Downs will be subject to veterinary inspections by the tracks’ respective equine medical directors and to veterinary monitoring.

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Keeneland, Fasig-Tipton And Ocala Breeders’ Sales Announce Major Reforms To Medication And Riding Crop Policies For 2-Year-Old Sales

Officials from Keeneland Association, Fasig-Tipton Company Inc. and Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company Inc. today jointly announced significant changes to policies regarding medication, including restriction of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and a ban on bronchodilators at all 2-year-old sales, and limited use of riding crops at under tack shows. The revised Conditions of Sale for each sales company take effect March 2020.

These proactive measures demonstrate continued uniformity among the United States’ three largest Thoroughbred auction houses and are the latest round of leadership reforms undertaken in recent years, following action in 2009 to ban the use of anabolic steroids in sales horses and last year’s ban on the off-label use of bisphosphonates in horses younger than four years old.

Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason, Fasig-Tipton president Boyd T. Browning Jr. and OBS President Tom Ventura said in a joint statement: “We continue to refine and adapt our policies with the overriding goal of protecting both the human and equine athletes while providing our customers the best opportunity for success at the racetrack.”

Medication Reforms

The following changes in the medication rules will be in place for all 2-year-old sales at each of the three auction companies:

– No more than one NSAID may be administered. Stacking of NSAIDS is prohibited; and

– Bronchodilators (Clenbuterol, Albuterol and all other bronchodilators) are prohibited substances and may not be administered.

No medication may be administered 24 hours prior to a horse’s performance in an under tack show. The schedule for administration of permitted medication at Keeneland’s April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale will be governed by the rules of racing as set forth by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Use of a Riding Crop and Spurs at an Under Tack Show

All three sales companies now prohibit the excessive use of a riding crop on the track. Under the enhanced guidelines, a rider may remove his or her hands from the reins and strike a horse once behind the girth only prior to the starting pole at which the horse begins to breeze. At any time after the start of the breeze, a rider may only use the riding crop while both hands are holding the reins and may not strike the horse behind the girth. A rider is prohibited from striking the horse in any manner beyond the finish line. In situations where the safety of the horse or rider is in jeopardy, a riding crop may be used in front of the girth. Spurs are not allowed.

Any infraction of this policy may result in a substantial fine to be paid by the consignor, and chronic offenders may be banned from riding on the sales grounds.

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Lifetime Breeding Right To Court Vision A Rare Sight At Keeneland January Sale

Court Vision produced the second highest win payout in Breeders’ Cup history

Not every offering at the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale can be found at the end of a shank.

Friday’s closing session of the January auction will feature Hip 1671S, a lifetime breeding right to Breeders’ Cup Mile winner and veteran stallion Court Vision, who began his stud career in Ontario, relocated to Spendthrift Farm’s Kentucky base, then was moved to Acadiana Equine at Copper Crowne in Opelousas, La., for the 2017 breeding season. It’ll be the first time a stallion share, season, or breeding right has been offered at a Keeneland sale in nearly a decade.

Canadian horseman Sean Fitzhenry purchased the lifetime breeding right to Court Vision when the son of Gulch retired to Park Stud in Ontario in 2012, and he continued to support the stallion when he was moved to Kentucky in 2016. However, the breeding right had gone unused since Court Vision was sold to a group based in Louisiana and relocated to the state.

 

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Fasig-Tipton, Keeneland Push Back Starting Dates Of November Mixed Sales

Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland have pushed back the starting dates of their respective signature November mixed sales by a day to allow more time for travel and inspection following the Breeders’ Cup, which takes place Nov. 1-2.

Fasig-Tipton has adjusted the date of its selected breeding stock sale, The November Sale, to Tuesday, Nov. 5. The sale had previously been scheduled for Nov. 4.

Keeneland announced that its 2019 November Breeding Stock Sale will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at noon, and run through Sunday, Nov. 17. The November Sale was originally scheduled to begin Tuesday, Nov. 5.

 

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Keeneland September Sale Produces Near-Record Returns, Record-Priced Filly

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The 2019 renewal of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale didn’t keep up with last year’s record-setting edition when it came to the measurables. Even so, the returns from this year’s auction established a steady cruising altitude for the marketplace, showing it’s fully clear of the Great Recession that brought the Thoroughbred industry to a screeching halt a decade ago, and it proved it can still hit some of the pre-bust economy’s most dizzying heights.

A lot has changed from then to now, but two pillars remain unweathered from the glory days of the mid-2000s: The first is that horse that ticks all the proverbial boxes will bring serious money. The second is, if the horse ticks them with authority, Godolphin and the Coolmore partnership will meet in the back ring to do battle for them.

 

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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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Louisiana Partners Score With Louisiana Bred Colt at Keeneland

Louisiana Partners Hit a Home Run

Perry Judice and David Meche purchased Semillon (Eskendereya), carrying her first foal by Outwork, for just $35,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November Sale and were rewarded Monday when the resulting [Louisiana-bred] colt (hip 132) sold to Chris White for $120,000.

Consigned by Select Sales, the bay colt hails from the family of GISW Cotton Blossom, GSW Vicarage and MSW Miss Atlantic City.

“We were not expecting him to bring quite that much,” said Meche, owner of Muscadine Farm. “He has really put on a lot of flesh in the last 60 days. It is night and day. He has really grown. He was ready. He looked the part and we thought getting him in the sales ring as soon as we could was best.”

Meche continued, “We like the colt because if his attitude. He is a tough colt and he has a good walk. That is what we liked the most about him.”

This is not Meche and Judice’s first rodeo when it comes to pinhooking a yearling they purchased in utero.

“We have always bought and sold and had success selling some young babies in the past,” Meche said. “We foal out, prep them and bring them here. Our goal is to buy quality mares in foal to young stallions to bring the foals back to market.”

He added, “The mare is rebred and in the regional market in Louisiana.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

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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 http://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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