Horologist Makes Successful Return From Layoff In Top Flight Invitational

Three-time graded stakes winner Horologist recaptured her 2020 form in notching a comeback triumph in Saturday’s 80th running of the $100,000 Top Flight Invitational, a nine-furlong test for older fillies and mares at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the New Jersey-bred daughter of Gemologist is owned by There’s A Chance Stable, Medallion Racing, Abbondanza Racing, Parkland Thoroughbreds, Paradise Farms Corporation and David Staudacher.

Last season, Horologist put together a successful 4-year-old campaign which earned her New Jersey Horse of the Year honors. Her accomplishments included triumphs in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park and the Grade 2 Beldame Invitational at Belmont Park, where she finished ahead of graded stakes winners Point of Honor and Dunbar Road. Horologist capped off her prosperous season in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland when ninth to Monomoy Girl.

 

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NHBPA, State Horsemen’s Groups File Suit To Halt HISA; Jockey Club ‘Confident Law Is Constitutionally Sound And Legal’

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The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, together with state affiliates in Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia (Mountaineer) have filed a federal civil suit in an attempt to put the brakes on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, names the Federal Trade Commission and several of its employees, as well as the people tasked with forming the Nominating Committee for the new federal authority.

The suit seeks to have HISA and a number of its elements declared unconstitutional, to enjoin defendants from taking any action to implement HISA, as well as nominal damages of $1 and compensatory damages of any fees charged to horsemen by the new authority.

The lawsuit is being handled by The Liberty Justice Center, a non-profit legal center “that represents clients at no charge and was founded to fight against political privilege,” according to its press release about the case.

 

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Churchill Downs To Sell Arlington Park, Pursue Relocation Of Racing License

Churchill Downs Incorporated announced Tuesday that it has launched a process to sell the 326 acres in Arlington Heights, Ill. that are currently the home of Arlington International Racecourse. CBRE will bring the redevelopment opportunity to market on behalf of CDI.

CDI is committed to running Arlington’s 2021 race dates from April 30 – Sept. 25, and does not expect any sale of the Arlington site to close prior to the conclusion of Arlington’s 2021 race meet or that the conduct of the sale process will impact Arlington’s racing operations this year.

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Proper Training Doesn’t Just Make Horses Faster — It Changes Their Organs

Proper training of the equine athlete can produce results in more than just muscle mass: it can and should create physiological changes in the lungs, spleen and heart.

Proper athletic conditioning can increase the actual size of the heart, which is a factor in cardiac output. Cardiac output is a combination of heart rate and stroke volume. The more blood that pumps through the heart, the more oxygen arrives at the muscles.

A horse that has been trained properly will have healthy lungs, which can take in more oxygen. The oxygen is then carried by the blood and distributed to the muscles. Called maximum oxygen uptake, this process provides power for a longer time. If all other equine systems are in order, the horse’s performance level is directly related to maximal oxygen uptake, which can increase by 35 times between rest and intensive exercise.

 

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When It Comes To Training Horses, ‘You Get The Behavior You Reinforce, Not The One You Want’

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Much has been written through the centuries about the process of training horses, much of it specific to the type of work a horse is meant to do. In a recent webinar hosted by the British organization World Horse Welfare however, experts reminded horse owners that it’s critical to take into account the way horses learn and process information when setting up a training program for them, regardless of the job they’re intended to do.

Dr. Gemma Pearson, veterinarian and equine behaviorist, said that horses do not learn the way we do. As a species, they have what Pearson called “limited mental capacity” which isn’t to say they aren’t intelligent, simply that they learn best when complex tasks or situations are broken down into very simple steps where it’s clear what they’re being asked. Pearson used complex dressage movements as an example. Many of them start with a horse learning two different cues from a rider’s leg — speed up, or lengthen stride. It helps horses to feel the rider use different part of the leg for each request, so it’s clear what’s being asked. The same is true for rein cues, which can be broken down into different but related questions. As a horse’s training advances, a rider can combine these clear, well-learned instructions for more complicated results.

 

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Farrier Offers Guidance On Shoeing To Protect Sesamoid Bones In Racehorses

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A number of questions still surround Justify’s left hind foot ahead of the 143rd Preakness Stakes

It’s no secret that the proximal sesamoid bones, which form the back part of the pastern, are a big vulnerability for racehorses. Fractures of the sesamoid bones or failures of the suspensory ligament apparatus that holds them in place are associated with 30 to 50 percent of fatal injuries in Thoroughbred racehorses. So, while we wait for better methods to detect impending injury to those structures, how do we better protect those bones?

(Read more about research on sesamoid bones and their role in a horse’s movement in this Paulick Report feature from January 2021.)

Farrier Steve Stanley, who has worked on racing Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds for some four decades, offered a few suggestions at a recent virtual edition of the Tex Cauthen Memorial Seminar focusing on racing safety.

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Another Milestone For Asmussen: 700 Career Wins At Oaklawn

Steve Asmussen became the second trainer to reach 700 career victories at Oaklawn when even-money favorite Swiftsure captured Saturday’s seventh race at under Ricardo Santana Jr.

Asmussen entered the 2021 Oaklawn meeting that began Friday with 696 career victories at the Hot Springs, Ark., track. He saddled one winner Friday and added victories in Saturday’s fourth race with favored Jalen Journey ($4.40) and sixth race, the $150,000 Fifth Season Stakes, with favored Silver State ($3.80) before reaching the career milestone with Swiftsure ($4).

A two-time Eclipse Award winner (2008 and 2009) as the nation’s outstanding trainer, Asmussen, 55, was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2016. He is seeking his record-tying 11th Oaklawn training title.

 

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Desormeaux Sidelined After Suffering Back Injury In Santa Anita Spill

Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux will be on the sidelines after suffering what he called “a couple lil bone cracks in my back”  as a result of a spill in Saturday’s fifth race at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.

Desormeaux, who turns 51 on Feb. 27, was aboard Scat’s Choice for trainer Vann Belvoir in the $25,000 claiming race going six furlongs on the main track when the horse suffered a catastrophic injury approaching the far turn while just behind the early leader. Desormeaux was thrown to the ground but did not appear to be struck by any trailing horses.

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What We Know (And What We Don’t) About Equine Gastric Ulcers And The Impact Of Treatment On Bones

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Gastric ulcers in horses have been a problem for trainers, owners, and managers for years now, and studies suggest a majority of racehorses and performance horses suffer from them. As a result, they’ve been a topic of much academic research in the past five years.

Dr. Ben Sykes, assistant professor of equine internal medicine at Massey University, sat down with the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation recently to give the public an idea of what we’ve learned in the past five years and what he and other researchers plan to focus on in the next five.

 

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Economic Indicators: Average Wagering Per Race Day Increased In 2020 Despite Pandemic Challenges

Equibase, LLC released its year-end report on Economic Indicators in Thoroughbred Racing on Tuesday, Jan. 5. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Equibase has been providing monthly economic indicators advisories, but this one is for the entire year.

Equibase has provided comparisons between 2019 and 2020 as a whole as well as comparisons between certain portions of 2019 and 2020. The average wagering per race day went up by 32.69% in 2020, which could be linked to more people participating in online wagering. As expected, there was on overall decline in U.S. races, race days, and starts due to a number of tracks having to shut down throughout the year due to COVID-19 safety measures.

 

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