Johnny Jones, Who Found Success With Thoroughbreds And Quarter Horses, Dies In Texas

 

John T.L. Jones Jr. (photo courtesy of Jones family)

John T.L. Jones Jr. passed away on Friday, November 16, 2018, surrounded by family at his home in Quanah, Texas.

Born in Quanah on July 7, 1934, the horseman most people knew as Johnny Jones was a prominent member of the Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred industries in many capacities, as a trainer, breeder, owner, and the head of Walmac International in Lexington, Ky., from 1976 to 2005, where he oversaw the stallion careers of major sires Nureyev, Alleged, and Miswaki.

When John Gaines dreamed up the concept of the Breeders’ Cup and presented his idea to industry leaders in the early 1980s, he credited Jones as the person who got everybody to work together after they’d hit a standstill. It was especially gratifying to Jones when Cajun Beat, a horse he co-bred with H. Smoot Fahlgren, won the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Jones was also involved with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Favorite Trick, the 1997 Horse of the Year whose breeding rights had been purchased by Walmac in August of his 2-year-old season.

Jones is the only person to breed a 2000 Guineas winner, King of Kings, co-bred with Ron Con Ltd.; and an All American Futurity winner, Ochoa, Quarter Horse racing’s all-time money leader who also won the Rainbow Derby and All American Derby.

Prominent among the other Thoroughbred horses Jones bred was top sire Unusual Heat. In the Quarter Horse world, he bred or co-bred champions Ochoa, Noconi, and Brenda Beautiful, all of whom he raced in partnership in his name or that of his J Bar 7 Ranch.

Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame member Jones was a founding partner of Four Star Sales and was formerly on the boards of both the Breeders’ Cup and the Keeneland Association. He also served on the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Jones was predeceased by his first wife, Janice, in 2003 and married Brenda Kinsolving in 2007. He is survived by sons John III (Mia), Hutton (Paula), Levi (Paula), and daughter Julie Mogge (Guy); eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren; stepchildren Jenna Decker (Jeff), Ashley Crow (Josh), and CJ Kinsolving (Kaitlin), and seven step-grandchildren.

Visitation will be Monday, Nov. 19, from 6-8 p.m. CT at Smith Funeral Home, 210 W Third Street, Quanah, TX 79252, with graveside service at Quanah Cemetery on Tuesday at noon.

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When Laminitis Strikes, What’s Your First Line Of Defense?

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Barbaro, Edgar Prado, and Dr. Dean Richardson at New Bolton during the Derby winner’s treatment for laminitis

The most important time to take action against laminitis is when a horse shows early signs or a high-risk event occurs that might trigger laminitis. Triggers for laminitis range from exposure to black walnuts to injury to physiological disruption from colic, high fever, retained placenta, or carbohydrate overload. In essence, anything that causes a horse significant trauma might set in motion a cascade that ends in laminitis.

Laminitis is regarded by many in the veterinary field as the most horrific disease to attack horses because in severe cases, it literally causes the hoof capsule to slough off when the laminae that make up the connective tissue between the interior structure of the hoof and the hoof wall die. Theories about what actually happens to the horse physiologically to cause laminitis are numerous, and researchers still seek answers to many questions about the disease.

Dr. Hannah Galantino-Homer is the director of the Laminitis Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. The laboratory is part of the Laminitis Institute founded by the university after the tragic death of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. The colt was euthanized after an eight-month battle against laminitis at New Bolton Center after fracturing his right hind leg at the beginning of the Preakness Stakes.

If you think laminitis is a threat, call your veterinarian immediately. Time is of the essence.

Galantino-Homer said several things can be done while waiting for the veterinarian to arrive. First, move the horse to a confined area with soft footing. This can be a round pen with a deep sand base or a stall with at least six inches of bedding, either shavings or several bales of scattered straw.

“This allows them to distribute the weight more, and it encourages them to lie down if their feet are really sore,” she said.

Next, ice the horse’s feet. Studies show that cryotherapy reduces pain and inflammation. This can be done by standing a horse in ice and water, using ice boots, packing crushed ice in a bag and securing it to the horse’s foot with bandage, or pulling pantyhose over the horse’s lower limb and filling it with ice. If you are fortunate to have a Game Ready system, this is an ideal use for it.

More importantly, icing can slow down the cascade of events.

“Any kind of damaged tissue tends to compound the damage by releasing more things that cause more damage, more inflammation,” Galantino-Homer said. “You’re slowing all that down. You’re slowing the metabolism of the white blood cells that have been activated by tissue damage going on. So you’re trying to slow all that down.”

Administering a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is the next measure but be sure to get your veterinarian’s approval first. The horse’s history, current medical condition, and potential cause of laminitis must all be factored into what the horse should receive.

“Veterinarians have preferences for what they use,” Galantino-Homer said. “For a horse owner in a first-aid situation, it would be whatever you have on hand—Bute, Banamine. It’s medical management for painkilling and inflammation, and it is going to depend on other clinical aspects. Such as a horse with colitis, you have to worry more about kidney damage. So they may manage pain differently.”

When your veterinarian arrives, he or she will examine the horse to determine the best course of treatment. This commonly includes tubing the horse with mineral oil and activated charcoal to protect the intestinal mucosa, particularly in the case of carbohydrate overload. When colitis is a threat, your veterinarian may recommend Bio-Sponge to combat bacterial overgrowth, Galantino-Homer said. Developed by the late Dr. Doug Herthel’s Platinum Performance laboratory, Bio-Sponge oral paste is an intestinal adsorbent that grabs onto damaging agents and carries them out of the horse’s body when it defecates.

Because laminitis is a complex disease and every horse is an individual, no set plan of treatment can be applied to every horse. Long term, expect the horse to require the care of a farrier knowledgeable about laminitis and therapeutic shoeing. Your veterinarian also may recommend management changes for the horse, including a nutritionist to modify the horse’s diet.

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Justify To Stand For $150,000 In First Season At Coolmore

by | 09.23.2018

Justify, winner of the 2018 Triple Crown, will debut at stud for an advertised fee of $150,000 during the 2019 breeding season, leading the projected 17-horse stallion roster at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky.

The 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy arrived at Ashford Stud on Sept. 17 after initially being retired in July and residing at WinStar Farm until the stud deal with Coolmore was formally announced. He is the second Triple Crown winner to be retired to Ashford Stud in the last three years, following 2015 Horse of the Year American Pharoah, who debuted for the 2016 breeding season for an advertised fee of $200,000.

Other new additions to the Coolmore roster include Grade 1 Hollywood Derby winner Mo Town (Uncle Mo), who will stand for $12,500, and Breeders’ Cup and UAE Derby winner Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy), the half brother to red-hot Into Mischief and Beholder, whose fee has yet to be determined. The latter, trained by Aidan O’Brien, is set on a track for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

The official fees are as follows:

  • Air Force Blue: $20,000
  • American Pharoah: $110,000
  • Classic Empire: $35,000
  • Competitive Edge: $7,500
  • Cupid: $12,500
  • Declaration Of War: $25,000
  • Fusaichi Pegasus: $7,500
  • Justify: $150,000
  • Lookin At Lucky: $17,500
  • Mendelssohn: TBA
  • Mo Town: $12,500
  • Munnings: $20,000
  • Practical Joke: $30,000
  • Tale of the Cat: $25,000
  • Uncle Mo: $125,000
  • Vancouver: $15,000
  • Verrazano: $15,000
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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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Lanerie Sweeps Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes With Tobacco Road, Serengeti Empress

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Tobacco Road and Corey Lanerie win the Ellis Park Juvenile

Corey Lanerie swept Ellis Park’s pair of 2-year-old stakes but in completely different fashion Sunday: Serengeti Empress led all the way to an electrifying 13 1/2-length blowout over the late-running Include Edition in the $75,000 Ellis Park Debutante. A race later, Tobacco Road wore down stablemate Whiskey Echo to take the $75,000 Ellis Park Juvenile by three-quarters of a length.

Lanerie won four races out of five mounts on the card to take the lead — 24-22 over Shaun Bridgmohan — in the jockey standings for the first time this meet, for which he missed the first six days following the death of his wife, Shantel.

“When I came back here, I didn’t know how well I would do after Shantel’s passing, just if people would give me back my mounts right away,” Lanerie said. “It’s been a blessing. I took off where I left, kind of kept on winning. My business didn’t seem to linger at all. Once I saw I had a little chance, I kind of made it a goal to try to do it and be leading rider for Shantel.”

Trainer Tom Amoss loved Serengeti Empress even before the 2-year-old filly won her first start by 5 1/2 lengths July 4 at Indiana Grand. He was extremely disappointed when the daughter of Alternation was fourth in Saratoga’s Grade 3 Schuylerville, a race in which Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano dropped the whip turning for home.

“We classified her as one of the best in the barn,” Amoss said by phone from New York after Serengeti Empress’ 13 1/2-length laugher over the late-running Include Edition in the $75,000 Ellis Park Debutante. “A big disappointment at Saratoga when Castellano dropped the stick on her and just quit riding her. I’ve never figured out what went wrong in that race. But she came back to show what she was today.”

Serengeti Empress rolled through testing fractions of 22.21 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 45.29 for the half and 1:09.66 for three-quarters of a mile before finishing the seven furlongs in 1:22.29. She paid $4.80 as the 7-5 favorite in the field of 11 two-year-old fillies.

“My filly broke really well right from the gate,” Lanerie said. “She was in hand pretty much all the way around there. When I got to the quarter pole, I kind of pushed the button and she went on and finished all the way to the wire. I had plenty left on the gallop-out. She was so far in front by herself that I think she was getting a little lost. I was keeping her busy. But she didn’t need any encouragement today. She was going to win.

“The sky’s the limit, I think. Tom has done a fantastic job with her, him and his team. I’m sure he’ll get her as far as he can go and do his best. She’s a good one.”

Vickie Foley, trainer of Alexis Harthill’s Include Edition, said she was “loving it,” seeing the fast pace. “But that filly didn’t come back at all,” she said wistfully. “She’s a runner.”

Include Edition trailed the field for half the race, having to come six-wide on the turn. She took second by 1 1/2 lengths over 107-1 shot Lucky Girasol, who won a $16,000 maiden-claiming race at Ellis Park July 29.

Said James Graham, rider Include Edition, who came from well back to win her debut July 15 at Ellis Park: “She tries. She’s just not that quick early. Like in her first race, you say, ‘Oh yeah, maybe a little green and stuff.’ Sent her away a little bit, couldn’t keep up. I tucked in, saved a little ground, made a huge run around the turn. I passed everybody and I looked up and Corey’s 15 in front!

“I think she’ll be better at two turns, and she’s in the growing stage. I like her, I like what she might be able to become. She got a little bit of an education. They were so bunched up in turn and said, ‘OK, I can’t wait and try to go on and hope to kick home.’ Because she’s not quick, she’s just steady. She ran her race, tried her butt off.”

Amoss bought Serengeti Empress for $70,000 for Joel Politi of Columbus, Ohio, at Keeneland’s 2017 September yearling sale. He said the filly will return to his Churchill Downs base and could be pointed for that track’s Grade 2, $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes, whose winner gets an automatic berth and entry fees paid in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 2, also at the Louisville track.

Asked what he liked about Serengeti Empress before she ran, Amoss said, “
“Super intelligent. Went through all of her drills without blinking an eye. I mean, every time we challenged her she was up to it. So when we made her first start with her, it was more because that’s where the maiden race (at Indiana Grand) appeared at that time. We wanted to go to Saratoga, which we kind of pushed that issue together because they were close together. Just happened to have a maiden race at Indiana Grand as opposed to Ellis, so that’s where we ended up.”

Rounding out the field were Shanghai Rain, Somewhere, Profound Legacy, Kristizar, Bivian B, Spice It Up, Wakeeta and La Coyota.

Corey Lanerie completed his sweep of the stakes by guiding Tobacco Road from eighth to a three-quarters of a length triumph over Whiskey Echo in the $75,000 Ellis Park Juvenile, with Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen training both horses. Manny Wah finished another head back in third in the field of 10 two-year-old colts and geldings.

“He had a completely different trip from the filly,” Lanerie said, referring to Serengeti Empress’ front-running 13 1/2-length romp over Include Edition in the $75,000 Ellis Park Debutante a race earlier. “He doesn’t have as much speed as she did. He broke really good, and then the speed just kind of ran away from him. I had to kind of keep him busy the first quarter of a mile. Once he found his stride around the turn, from the three-eighths to the quarter pole, I could tell I had a lot of horse. It was just trying to time it right and get him to the front at the right time.

“Actually at the quarter pole, I thought I had the two in front of me with ease. I hadn’t really asked my horse. I didn’t think the two in front, that they had that much. When I got to his (Whiskey Echo’s) hip, he proved me wrong. I got a little worried at the eighth pole. And then by the sixteenth pole I was kind of taking control and getting away from them.”

After three races, Tobacco Road has followed the identical path as Lookin At Lee, the 2017 Kentucky Derby runner-up ridden by Lanerie. Both horses are trained by Asmussen and owned by Lee Levinson’s L and N Racing. Both horses finished fifth at Churchill Downs in their first start, won at Ellis in their second and took the Ellis Park Juvenile in their third. Tobacco Road just now needs to run out $1.1 million and be at least second in a Triple Crown race to keep up the comparisons.

“It was a good day,” Levinson said by phone from Tulsa. “The comparisons continue. The best part was how he finished, because he was pulling away at the end. Boy, can you imagine at a distance? You never know but, boy, he sure looks like he’s got distance, doesn’t he?

“… When he came around the turn, you could just see him coming. He was catching them with every stride. We were pretty excited. We thought we had a great chance. But you never know, watching those races. How many times have you watched and they’re coming up like gangbusters and just stop?”

Mitch Dennison, Asmussen’s assistant trainer at Ellis Park, has had Tobacco Road in his care all summer and said the winner was showing a lot in his timed workouts in company.

“He’s very competitive and he always just has his ears up, is very happy and has kept very good weight,” he said.

Though the early pace (22.47, 45.66) was similar to what Serengeti Empress set in the Debutante, the boys finished much slower, with Tobacco Road wrapping up the seven furlongs in 1:23.99. after the six furlongs slowed down to 1:11.02. But there also was more competition for the lead, with Manny Wah and Whiskey Echo right up on the pace battling long shot S S. Trooper.

Whiskey Echo, the program favorite who went off second choice behind Tobacco Road, won his first start at Belmont Park and then was third in Saratoga’s Grade 3 Sanford Stakes. Asmussen said by phone that both colts will go to Churchill Downs and be considered for that track’s Grade 3, $150,000 Iroquois, whose winner receives an automatic berth and entry fees paid to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 2 at the same track.

“They’re both really nice colts, obviously,” Asmussen said. “We felt good about our chances going in. Whiskey Echo off the third in the Sanford, I thought this was the perfect spot for him. And then when Tobacco Road ran so well there a couple of weeks ago, it was obvious to run him back at Ellis. But both colts ran well and handled more ground, and that’s kind of what it’s all about right now.”

Said Shaun Bridgmohan, rider of runner-up Whiskey Echo: “The horse tried really hard. He gave me what he had. The winner came on the outside and got us all. But me and Channing (Hill, on Manny Wah) were running right along. The winner just outgamed us today.”

Overanalyzer finished fourth, followed by Mine Inspector, S S Trooper, Shanghaied Roo, Pradar, Lady’s Weekend and Veritas.

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Lapsed Law Shuts Down Racing, Simulcasting In Massachusetts

by | 08.01.2018

Simulcasting and live horse racing in Massachusetts have been shut down – temporarily, officials hope – after enabling legislation expired on July 31, according to published reports.

A bill that would have renewed legalized wagering on live and simulcast races was never enacted before lawmakers went home Aug. 1. The bill passed the Senate and House but dit not receive a required procedural vote, according to reports.

Suffolk Downs in East Boston announced on Twitter it was not able to open for simulcasting on Wednesday. The track had scheduled live racing for this weekend.
“It looks like hundreds of peoples’ jobs fell victim to the clock here,” Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer of Suffolk Downs, told WGBH public radio on Wednesday morning. “We’ll get up in the morning, notify our employees and look at our options but they seem pretty dire for now. We literally have hundreds of people and hundreds of horses scheduled to ship in for the weekend for live racing.”

Tuttle told WGBH he is hopeful lawmakers will address the issue during what is anticipated to be a lightly attended informal session on Thursday.

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Ask Your Veterinarian: How Much Does Environment Influence OCD Lesions?

by | 07.09.2018 | 2:38pm

Question: What do we know about environmental factors that could make a horse more or less likely to get OCD?

Answer: Osteochondrosis (OC) is widely understood to be a disturbance of endochondral ossification (the formation of bone from cartilage) and is arguably one of the most clinically relevant developmental orthopedic diseases in the equine patient. Although it was once thought that OC lesions were static, sequential radiographic studies on foals, weanlings, and yearlings revealed that the characteristic lesions of OC could increase in size or completely regress (“heal”) up to 12 months of age. The timeline of this lesion formation and regression is different for each joint, and has supported the idea that there are number of environmental factors, in addition to genetics, that play a role in the progression of osteochondrosis.

Although no definitive cause of osteochondrosis has been determined, factors such as nutrition and exercise have been shown to play a role in the development and progression of OC lesions. Of these possible etiologies, the role of nutrition has been most closely investigated. Initial research into the effect of diet on OC focused largely on dietary energy level, usually in relation to a high growth rate.  Although the results of many of these studies seem to be conflicting, many support the conclusion that high growth rate (a combination of genetics and diet) is associated with an increase in the severity of OC lesions. It is important to note, however, that this is a combined effect: decreasing nutritional plane below maintenance levels will not decrease the incidence or severity of OC lesions and can lead to other dietary imbalances.

Studies investigating the role of trace elements (copper, zinc, calcium, and phosphorus) have determined that low copper levels (which can be induced by increased zinc) are linked to decreased resolution of OC lesions, and copper supplementation, to a certain extent, was able to reduce the severity of cartilage lesions. Investigations into the role of calcium and phosphorus in OC have determined that high calcium diets failed to produce OC lesions, whereas high phosphorus diets (five times NRC) reliably produced lesions in foals.

The role of exercise in the formation of OC lesions seems intuitive; it is well known that exercise is vital to the formation of a functional articular cartilage surface and OC is a developmental defect in articular cartilage. Investigations into the exact role of exercise in OC however, have yielded conflicting results.  In some studies, increased exercise was correlated with decreased incidence in OC, whereas other research was unable to find decreased incidence in OC lesions with exercised horses but did notice a decrease in severity of existing lesions. As with nutrition, it is clear that although exercise can play a supporting role in decreasing the incidence or severity of OC, no single factor is responsible for the course of the disease.

Since the process of cartilage metabolism and bone formation is highly dynamic, especially during the first year of age, it is widely thought that there are certain periods of times (“windows of susceptibility”) during which environmental factors can play a pivotal role in the severity of OC lesions. Research investigating these developmental periods, as well as the exact pathogenesis of osteochondrosis, will yield more answers and recommendations in the future.

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Bloodlines: Changing Times For Infertility Insurance On Regional Sires

by | 07.03.2018 | 8:57am

Stallion farms based outside of Kentucky will no longer easily be able to purchase first-year infertility insurance on stallion prospects that are “lesser-priced horses,” according to well-placed sources with connections to the insurance agencies and stallion operations.

Although not something that’s obvious to the general public, insurance against infertility is one of the nearly invisible layers of business that allows the great bloodstock machine to work smoothly year after year by protecting the investment and confidence of stallion operations and their syndicate members.

First-year infertility insurance is a policy written to protect a farm or buyer “in case you’ve syndicated a horse for major money that somehow has a congenital problem,” said Lynn Jones of Equus / Standarbred Station insurance. “These policies are written so that if a stallion isn’t able to get 60 percent of his mares in foal, then the farm or syndicate isn’t left holding the bag.”

Instead, by going through an insurance agent and underwriter, stallion buyers spread the risk of loss from that inevitability: the subfertile or infertile stallion. To arrange for a policy, Jones said, “You want a qualified vet to do the initial examination. They will measure the testicles, run a blood test, and the result is a huge protection device. But you can’t collect him or have a semen evaluation. Everyone goes in blindfolded, so to speak. It’s so commonplace that it’s now a built-in cost of the acquisition.”

The principal underwriters of insurance policies for horses, whether for accidental death (AD&D) or first-year infertility, are Lloyd’s of London, Great American, and NAS Swiss Re. These are giant international risk underwriters that back the insurance policies that local and national agents sell to farms or individuals.

One agent in Central Kentucky who preferred not to be named said that “Horse insurance, as a percentage of their equity underwriting, doesn’t amount to a rounding error to these major underwriters. But they perceive an elevated risk in regional markets relative to Kentucky and are being more selective.”

None of the selectivity applies to stallion operations in Kentucky because “we can be a little bit spoiled by the horse market and general environment here in the Bluegrass,” one agent said. “This is the epicenter of the stallion market. In regional markets, you can find variation in horsemanship – both in stallion and mare management, as well as in the availability of world-class veterinary facilities and specialists.”

As a result of this change of availability for first-year stallion fertility insurance, some regional breeders will have to make hard decisions about adding stallions to their rosters.

One regional breeder already has collided with this unexpected situation. He said, “Late last year, I bought a stallion prospect off the racetrack, called my Kentucky agent to get a quote for infertility insurance, and was told – eventually – that they had found an underwriter to cover it, but the rate was more than double what I would have paid the previous year.”

A well-known Kentucky agent said “it is likely to be more difficult for farms to insure stallions in the regional programs, but we can still get deals done. They might be more expensive, however, but if underwriters get a run of several years that do not generate claims, then they might change their views.”

One option for farms is to self insure, which essentially means to play the odds that your horse will have normal fertility. And Mark Toothaker of Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky said, “Spendthrift doesn’t insure any of its stallions against fertility loss. We don’t have a single horse on the farm insured. So far, we haven’t had a loss.”

And, despite the reluctance among some underwriters, there will be other underwriters available to service those who want to insure for first-year infertility, according to Jones.

He said, “We’ve been doing this since 1980, and, no matter the individual situation, there are underwriters you’ve been working with will take the time to write a policy for that animal.”

The policy just may cost something more.

This is one more dampening effect on the overall stallion market, which is none too robust outside the Bluegrass. Now, it has one more inefficiency to deal with.

Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank’s lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.

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Hernandez: Lanerie’s Presentation Of Churchill Leading Rider Trophy ‘Really Special’

by | 07.01.2018 | 7:26pm

Corey Lanerie presents the leading rider trophy to his friend, Brian Hernandez

Brian Hernandez Jr., winner of the 2012 Ellis Park riding crown, didn’t waste any time taking the first steps toward potentially another riding title, winning Sunday’s second race aboard Menacing on opening day of Ellis’ 2018 meet.

The Louisiana native was at Ellis the day after wrapping up his first riding title at Churchill Downs in his adopted hometown of Louisville, 43 wins to 38 for runner-up Florent Geroux. But the sheer joy that the accomplishment should have brought was countered by the anguish when the tight title tilt with his close friend and 15-time Churchill riding champ Corey Lanerie ended with the sudden death of Lanerie’s wife, Shantel.

Lanerie, who won the last two Ellis Park jockey titles, hasn’t ridden since June 21, when Shantel, who was undergoing treatment for Stage 1 breast cancer, had emergency surgery after an infected colon led to sepsis and cardiac arrest. She died the next day.

“It was a bittersweet moment,” Hernandez, who held a 36-35 lead over Lanerie on June 21, said of winning the title. “As everyone knows, Corey Lanerie and I were close in the standings, and his wife fell ill the last nine days of the meet and she succumbed to it. Our heart goes out to their family. It’s bittersweet to be able to win the title. But I wish we’d had Shantel here with us.”

Lanerie and their 10-year-old daughter, Brittlyn, came to Churchill’s closing day Saturday to be part of the presentation for the meet’s leading jockey.

“That was really special,” said the 32-year-old Hernandez, who in 2004 won the Eclipse Award as America’s outstanding apprentice jockey and in 2012 captured the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Fort Larned. “That was one of the requests Corey asked of me, to go ahead and try to win the title in Shantel’s memory. Like he said, if he couldn’t do it, she’d have loved for me to go ahead and do it. It was really special for him and Brittlyn to come down and get in the winner’s circle presentation and photo. It was just a special family moment.”

Hernandez spent one summer riding at Saratoga’s elite in upstate New York before deciding it made more business sense to stay at home in Kentucky with wife Jamie and their two young kids, riding at Ellis and shipping out for stakes for his clientele as needed.

“Especially the last couple of years, the 2-year-old program at Ellis has really gotten strong,” Hernandez said. “This is a great place to get young horses going in the summertime, and the track is always in great shape.”

Hernandez won 13 races at the 2017 Ellis meet, good for sixth place, while missing a lot of days to ride in stakes out of state.

“That will kind of be the same deal this summer,” he said. “We do emphasize the stakes program, then try to go around the country to ride the better horses. That’s really what it’s all about. You want to be able to pick up better horses and keep moving forward with them.

“And that’s one reason we do come to Ellis, because we pick up some nice 2-year-olds to go with the rest of the year and beyond. It makes it nice because you can come here and ride and then go home at night and spend quality time with the family. And with racing here only three days a week, it’s almost like a little summer vacation.”

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Fourteen Takeaways From The 2018 Jockey Club Welfare And Safety Summit

by | 06.27.2018 | 6:50pm

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation hosted its eighth Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit June 27 at Keeneland, with speakers touching off on disaster preparedness, jockey safety, equine injury, and Thoroughbred aftercare.

Here are a few things I didn’t know before attending this year’s event:

  • Detail matters in disaster planning. Obviously, the San Luis Rey Downs tragedy and a pair of major hurricanes reiterated to everyone in the horse industry that wherever you keep horses, you need disaster plans. One thing people may not think about is the impact beyond the first hours following a hurricane, tornado, fire, or flood. Dr. Roberta Dwyer, extension veterinarian at the University of Kentucky, recalled a serious ice storm in Central Kentucky several years ago which left her farm property without power or vehicular access for a week.Some things you may not have thought of when making plans:
    -If you have well water, a loss of power also means a loss of water for your horses.
    -Your help may not be able to access the farm to look after horses.
    -Fencing or barns may be destroyed or unusable, and the longer access to your property is blocked, the longer it will take to get them fixed
    -Mass power outages will also mean that gas stations and ATMs will be non-functional
    -If you have more horses than trailer space and are forced to evacuate, you need to know which ones are going first and where you’re taking them.
  • An answer to an age-old question: Should horses be inside or out during a weather event? Dwyer said it depends on your barn, its location, and the type of weather that’s headed your way. If your barn is in a low-lying area and there’s a potential for flooding, the horses should be let out so they can seek shelter. If your barn is at the top of a windy hill and a storm system is coming, the barn may not be in the safest place for the horse. In the event of a tornado warning, Dwyer thinks flying debris is a big consideration and keeping horses inside may be the best way to protect them.
  • When it comes to weather at the track, change is a bigger problem than extremity. Horses, much like people, will gradually adjust to the temperature and humidity they’re exposed to. A panel made up of track managers and veterinarians agreed they’re more worried by significant changes in a short amount of time than they are warm or cold temperatures. Dr. Lynn Hovda, chief commission veterinarian for the Minnesota Racing Commission, noted Canterbury Park saw a change from two feet of snow to a high of 106 degrees in six weeks this season, along with significant humidity. That had her worried.Jeff Johnston, regional manager for the Jockeys’ Guild said he is more worried by ice than snow. Track surfaces are usually fine during icy weather because they’re harrowed a lot, but pathways to and from the paddock may not be. Further, Johnston pointed out changes from thaw and freeze can impact dirt surfaces in ways fans don’t think about. Before Turfway put in a synthetic surface, Johnston recalled overnight refreezing would tighten the dirt, but in the midafternoon on a weekend card, the ground would have thawed but not dried and the surface became loose and unsafe. This sometimes prompted race cancellations which the general public found difficult to understand.
  • The Equine Injury Database is starting to look at non-fatal injuries, and the results are pretty interesting so far. We knew that a horse’s appearance on a veterinarian’s list was an increased risk for fatal injury, but of course it also elevates the risk a horse will have a non-fatal injury. This does not seem to multiply with the number of separate instances a horse may have been placed on the list, but it also doesn’t ever go back down to normal again after the horse has been flagged once. Horses who have been on the list once have a 115 percent higher risk for fatal breakdown and a 79 percent higher risk for non-fatal fracture than horses who haven’t been flagged.Track-by-track data has also shown there’s variability in risk patterns post-veterinarian’s list depending on location – and obviously, regulatory body. When a horse comes off the list and is allowed to run, some locations saw the horse’s risk spike higher/spike longer than others.
  • …However, we need much, much more complete reporting before the database can provide us helpful guidelines to reduce risk. Parkin estimates he’s only getting about 25 percent of all non-fatal injuries that happen, between injuries that happen during training or incomplete reporting of injuries during the race day. There’s also a lot of injury risk we still don’t have a statistical explanation for, and more complete data could help fill in some gaps.
  • The private nature of veterinary records could be part of the issue – for Parkin, and for horses. Of course, it would be easier for Parkin to identify trends in horses’ history if he knew what they were being treated with and when. But veterinary records legally belong to the owner of the horse at the time a record was created, and aren’t required to be disclosed to subsequent owners, Parkin, or state officials (with a few limited exceptions). Parkin suspects it’s no accident then, that a horse’s risk of fatal injury is 28 percent higher in its first start with a new trainer than it was the last time it started. Part of that could be the trainer’s lack of familiarity with the horse, but part of it may be that he’s in the dark about what the horse has experienced medically.
  • In case you needed more evidence, bringing a horse back after an injury may not be worth it if the horse is running at the lower levels. That’s because, according to Parkin’s data, they’re probably going to be starting for a purse that’s 20 percent lower than what they were running for before injury. If you’re already running a cheap horse, you have to ask whether it’s worthwhile. Among horses who suffered a non-fatal injury, only 46 percent raced again; those who did had a fatal breakdown rate of 3.1 percent – significantly higher than the .18 percent through the rest of the population.
  • Microchipping can help with more than verifying identity at saddling time. Marc Guilfoil, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, noted that microchips can put a halt to abuse of shockwave therapy – if used correctly. The temporary analgesia produced by shockwave makes it a temptation for trainers to haul horses off-site to apply the therapy close to race time, then come back in. Prevailing wisdom suggests they may lie to the security attendant at the stable gate about the identity of the horse in the trailer (if they are asked for an identity at all) to evade suspicion. Guilfoil expects stable gate attendants can scan microchips to create a digital record of when a horse came on and off the grounds.
  • “Putting an inexperienced jockey on an inexperienced horse is a recipe for disaster.” Peta Hitchens, research fellow in the equine orthopedic research group at the University of Melbourne, presented stats gathered from five years of data from the California Jockey Accident Database. She found an apprentice has a 50 percent higher risk for injury than a fully-licensed rider, and several additional factors could add more risk on top of that 50 percent increase, including: the rider also has less than 250 races to their name; the horse has had less than five starts; the race is a sprint; the race takes place on a dry, fast track. Unsurprisingly, fatal injuries to horses are risky for riders: 60 percent of fatal horse breakdowns were accompanied by a jockey injury.
  • We’ve known rider falls are expensive, but now we know how expensive. Jockey claims in the Finish Line Insurance Group, which protects California riders, averaged a staggering $103,000 each in cases of fatal horse breakdowns. Claims for the average exercise rider fall: $28,000 each.
  • Besides being an important welfare consideration, having a sports medicine physician to look after the jockey colony can reduce costs. Dr. Kelly Ryan, primary care sports medicine physician with MedStar Health, admits her services don’t come cheap. MedStar contracts with the Maryland Jockey Club to allow Ryan to provide sports medicine and general care to jockeys and backstretch workers in the state. She does baseline concussion testing for jockeys and clears them to ride after an injury, but she also treats horse bites and kicks, coordinates follow-up care after accidents, and helps provide sports psychology services when needed.Ryan hears often from people who admire Maryland’s system of providing experienced care to their riders, but who say those services are inaccessible in other areas. Not true, she says. There are sports medicine physicians available nearly everywhere, and if you can’t find one of those, an athletic trainer can serve as a consultant on- or off-site for riders. Athletic trainers in other sports are on the court or field to be the eyes and ears of sports medicine doctors to identify potential problems an athlete may be battling. They’re also a lot cheaper than sports medicine physicians. Another cost consideration: In her role, Ryan says she reduces workers’ compensation claims because she can treat a lot of on-the-job injuries in her office at the track.
  • We’ve heard it before, but the quality of emergency care for a jockey is greatly improved when you have someone skilled on– Ryan is not the person riding in the ambulance to a fallen jockey during a race, but she can act as a conduit.“When you go to the hospital and they have on the paperwork ‘Complaint: rider fell from horse,’ that’s a lot different from the way we saw them, coming off at 40 miles per hour,” said Ryan, who can describe whether and where the rider was stepped on, and how exactly they hit the ground.
  • Language is key when it comes to talking about OTTBs. Jen Roytz, executive director of the Retired Racehorse Project and writer of our Aftercare Spotlight series, revealed one of the biggest misconceptions she encounters when talking to people about off-track Thoroughbreds. “Often they will tell me, ‘Oh I rescued him from the track,’” she said. “I constantly have to, very politely, correct them and say, ‘Why do you feel that horse was rescued?’ When they start talking through it, they convince themselves it wasn’t really ‘rescued.’ The lay person, mainstream public, does not give enough credence to how well cared for these horses are.”
  • Turf racing may be gaining stretch in the American landscape, and that comes with surface concerns. Trainer Graham Motion mentioned that he loves a good turf horse, but anecdotally he has concerns about long-term wear and tear on a track. This theme came up again from surfaces expert Dr. Mick Peterson, who noted there’s no easy way to freshen a turf surface. A few options for tracks trying to figure this out – change the racing schedule to let grass grow at the appropriate season, create short turf-only meets to give courses elsewhere on a circuit a rest, and increase the width of turf tracks.
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