Hernandez Brothers Both Win Stakes at Keeneland

Change of Control provided Colby Hernandez with his first Keeneland stakes victory.

 

When two siblings ride stakes winners at a track on the same card, more often than not it is the dynamic duo of Irad Ortiz Jr. and his brother, Jose—both Eclipse Award-winning jockeys.

But they aren’t the ones. On April 10 at Keeneland, brothers Brian Hernandez Jr. and younger brother, Colby, managed the unique accomplishment. Colby notched his first Keeneland stakes win on Change of Control  in the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway Stakes, a half-hour before Brian recorded his 12th Keeneland stakes triumph when he rode King Fury  to victory in the $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes (G3).

It wasn’t the first time the two won stakes on a specific card, suspects Brian, the elder of the two.

 

Read BloodHorse article

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.

 

Read Paulick Report article

LOUISIANA DOWNS 2021 THOROUGHBRED LIVE RACING SEASON TO GET UNDERWAY ON SATURDAY, MAY 1

The 84-Day Meet Will Run Through September 22

 

Bossier City, LA – The 2021 Thoroughbred racing season at Louisiana Downs will commence on Saturday, May 1. The dates were approved by  Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC).

 

The stable area opened on April 8 for horsemen who have been allocated stalls for the 2021Thoroughbred season.  Ship in hours will be from 11:00 am–5:00 pm and trainers must contact Natalie Moses at (318) 820-8324 prior to shipping. The 2021 Quarter Horse live racing season concluded on April 7 with those conditioners continuing to ship to Delta Downs or other upcoming Quarter Horse meets.

 

“Our Quarter Horse meet recently wrapped up and we are happy to return to our previous Thoroughbred schedule, which was delayed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing. “We look forward to welcoming our Thoroughbred trainers for a successful racing season.”

 

The first condition book for May 1-24 is available on Equibase. Further information on the Thoroughbred stakes schedule will be forthcoming, but officials have confirmed that the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby will not be contested in 2021.

 

The 84-day meet will continue through Wednesday, September 22 with live racing to run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 2:45 pm (Central).  There will also be one Sunday race card on  July 4. For details on simulcasting and special events, visit Louisiana Downs racing.com.

 

About Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

PREAKNESS 146 TO INCLUDE LIMITED CAPACITY FAN ATTENDANCE ON SATURDAY, MAY 15

BALTIMORE, MD1/ST and the Maryland Jockey Club announced today that Preakness 146 will run with a socially distant, limited crowd of 10,000 in attendance when it returns as the second jewel of the Triple Crown Series on Saturday, May 15 to Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The decision to include fans was made in consultation with and by approval of local and state health and governmental authorities and includes the approval for a limited number of fans for Black-Eyed Susan Day on Friday, May 14.

A limited number of tickets will go on sale to the public on Monday, April 5. Tickets will be available for Preakness Day and Black-Eyed Susan Day at www.preakness.com, by emailing tix@preakness.com or by calling the Preakness 146 Box Office toll-free at 1-877-206-8042, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET.

As a result of the enhanced health protocols and required social distancing guidelines, the seating manifest has been changed to reflect altered ticket options and viewing locations. Existing ticket holders, those who opted to carry over their tickets from Preakness 145 due to COVID-19 restrictions, will have the opportunity to relocate to the nearest equivalent seating area for this year’s event beginning on March 24.

“We are thrilled to be able to welcome fans back to Pimlico Race Course for Preakness 146,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, 1/ST. “While fan attendance will be limited due to COVID-19 protocols, the excitement of the Preakness is not limited. The 1/ST team has worked tirelessly and in cooperation with Baltimore City and the State of Maryland to thoughtfully and safely prepare for an exciting and memorable day of world-class Thoroughbred horse racing and entertainment.”

In full consideration for the health and safety of guests, horsemen, those on the backstretch and employees, 1/ST EXPERIENCE will deliver an entirely re-imagined entertainment and curated hospitality experience inclusive of COVID-19 protocols.  From indoor dining in the Grandstand to premium outdoor viewing from the 1/ST Turn Suites and the iconic Turfside Terrace, guests will enjoy everything the Preakness has to offer in safety. Corporate Village Suites will feature luxury open air cabanas, lounge seating and the best race day views from their new spot on the home stretch. Individual tickets range in price from $150 to $500 with pricing available on request for suites.

“I want to thank 1/ST and The Maryland Jockey Club for working to ensure that all the proper safety and public health protocols will be in place for Preakness 146,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Having fans back at Pimlico is another sign we are on the road back to normal, and I look forward to once again presenting the Woodlawn Vase.”

“The Preakness is a Baltimore staple and the center of American horseracing since 1870. I am excited to welcome fans back to Pimlico Race Course in Park Heights,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Sustaining the health and safety of Baltimore residents is my top priority, and I am confident the staff at 1/ST and the Maryland Jockey Club will protect the health of fans by following the safety guidelines set forth by the City of Baltimore and State of Maryland.”

Preakness 146 weekend will open with Black-Eyed Susan Day on Friday, May 14 and will once again feature the $250,000 George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2). This year will mark the 97th running of this historic race. Last year, 1/ST and the Maryland Jockey Club announced the renaming of this race to honor the late George E. Mitchell and his work within the Park Heights community. The 146th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) will take place on Saturday, May 15 as part of an incredible weekend featuring the finest contenders in Thoroughbred horse racing who will compete for a total of $3.25 million in purse winnings.

NBC Sports will broadcast Preakness 146 live on NBC from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. ET on race day, Saturday, May 15, with extended coverage beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, InfieldFest, the beloved annual music festival tradition at the Preakness that brings together fans for legendary performances, unique hospitality and curated activations, will not proceed as usual. Instead, 1/ST EXPERIENCEwill introduce a new, socially distant live component, Preakness LIVE, that will run concurrently with the NBC broadcast and will be livestreamed featuring musical entertainment that will celebrate Baltimore’s richness and diversity. Tickets for Preakness LIVE will be announced in the coming weeks.

Since the outset of the pandemic, 1/ST and the Maryland Jockey Club have implemented stringent, industry-leading COVID-19 health and safety protocols to protect the community, riders, horsemen, those who work on the backstretch and 1/ST employees. COVID-19 protocols for Preakness 146 will include non-invasive thermal temperature scans on guest arrival, expedited entry for fully vaccinated guests, enforced physical distancing and queue line markers, increased sanitation throughout the facility, accessible hand sanitization stations and a mandatory masking policy. Preakness 146 health and safety protocols can be found here:  Click here to view.

Wagering on Preakness 146 can be enjoyed regardless of where fans are viewing the race day card with handicapping tools available on the 1/ST BET app. Part of the 1/ST TECHNOLOGY suite of handicapping and betting products, 1/ST BET is changing the game by delivering a user-friendly experience that suits everyone from the experienced horseplayer to the first-timer.

For more information on Preakness 146, please click here or follow the excitement on social media @PreaknessStakes and #Preakness.

Who Took the Money Overcomes All Obstacles, Remains Undefeated in Crescent City Derby

State-bred Star Gets Loose Pre-Race, Still Holds Off Stablemate

 

Gabriel Saez aboard Who Took The Money outduels Highland Creek and Adam Beschizza to win the 49th running of the Crescent City Derby at Fair Grounds.  Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

 

To say trainer Bret Calhoun had some anxious moments prior to the $100,000 Crescent City Derby would be like saying Saints fans won’t miss Drew Brees.

Allied Racing Stable’s homebred Who Took the Money, the overwhelming .40-1 favorite, decided to give his 11 3-year-old rivals a fighting chance when he flipped over in the post parade, tossed jockey Gabe Saez, and briefly ran off. Once corralled and deemed fit to run by a state veterinarian, he was all business, rallying along the rail and holding off his game stablemate Highland Creek by a nose.

“He’s a big strong horse and he’s still learning is lessons,” Calhoun said. “Both the horse and jockey were very game in their performances.”

Who Took the Money settled in sixth early on behind longshot leaders Wise Verdict and Wrongwayhighway, while Highland Creek settled in third. The field bunched entering the far turn when Adam Beschizza and Highland Creek opted to tip out wide, while Saez and Who Took the Money held the rail, and scooted through the large opening inside when the leaders fanned off the turn. Who Took the Money kicked clear but Highland Creek was resolute, though he ultimate came up short, with the winner traveling the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.73. It was a length back to Unanimously in third.

Saez was been aboard Who Took the Money in both of his prior two starts and chalked up the pre-race incident to bad luck. But once the gates opened, it was business as usual.

“It was just one of those things that happens every so often,” Saez said. “I was able to save ground on the inside and got through and he kicked on from there.”

Who Took the Money has come a long way in a short period of time for Calhoun, as he was an unraced maiden on the morning of February 5 and is now 3-for-3 and a stakes winner. Wild and hard to handle early on, Calhoun opted to geld the son of Street Boss prior to his career debut and Who Took the Money won by 4 ½ lengths. He entered off another easy win in a March 6 two-turn state-bred allowance, and is now 3-for-3.

Calhoun and Allied’s owner Chester Thomas teamed to win the Louisiana Derby (G2) in 2019 with By My Standards, and while Who Took the Money isn’t in that class, the latter still had plenty of reason to celebrate.

“We’re having a lot of fun with these Louisiana breds,” Thomas said. “You’ve got to give it to Gabe, what a heart, he rode a wonderful race. What can you say, Bret and everyone has done a great job.”

Classy John Better Than Ever in Costa Rising

Former State-Bred Champion Pulls Off Shocker

 

Classy John with jockey Colby Hernandez aboard captures the 11th running of the $100,000 Costa Rising Stakes at Fair Grounds.  Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir

Grade 1 winner No Parole may have garnered all the pre-race headlines but Valene Farms’ Classy John got the money as he pulled off a shocker by a head over X Clown in the $100,000 Costa Rising. Run at 5 ½ furlongs over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, the costa Rising was the second of three state-bred stakes on the Louisiana Derby (G2) undercard, and while the other two went to a pair of heavy favorites, Classy John blew up the board at $61.

Colby Hernandez and Classy John pressed X Clown for the majority of the first 5 furlongs, as the duo ran in tandem and were never more than a head apart, while carving out fractions of 22.59 and 45.54. Meanwhile, No Parole, the .40-1 favorite making his turf debut, broke slowly from the inside and wasn’t allowed to show his customary blazing early speed, as he was bottled up on the backside. Classy John took charge in midstretch and opened a 1 ½-length lead, only to see X Clown re-break and rally again, only to fall a whisker short. Monte Man, who won the Costa Risa the past two years, rallied late to finish a half-length over No Parole in third. Classy John stopped the timer in 1:03.17 over a turf course listed as “good.”

Hernandez was aboard for Classy John’s last two starts and knew his charge had plenty of tactical speed, but after seeing No Parole behind him, he decided to take advantage.

“Obviously I knew No Parole was the horse to beat and I knew where he was,” Hernandez said. “(When he broke slow) I took his spot and from there he just fought hard all the way for the win.”

Classy John has been a reclamation for trainer Dallas Stewart, as he was a 2-year-old Louisiana-bred champion in 2018 but went off form since and entered off 12 straight losses dating back to a win in the Louisiana Futurity here on the main track in December 2018. Stewart never lost faith with the 5-year-old son of Songandaprayer but did try a career and surface change in January, when Classy John was seventh over the Stall-Wilson. He re-emerged in his last, when second, beaten a head, behind two-time defending Costa Rising champion Monte Man and clearly moved forward Saturday, while upping his lifetime record to 4-for-17.

“We were struggling a little bit so we tried him on the grass and he ran OK the first time and the second time he ran great,” Stewart said. “Today was just an awesome performance. He beat a grade 1 winner today and a horse (Monte Man) who has won 17 races, so I think that establishes himself as a nice horse on the turf.”

No Parole had every chance when produced off the far turn after his slow break, yet flattened out a bit late to finish third. The 4-year-old son of Violence was one of the best 3-year-old dirt sprinters in the country last year for trainer Tom Amoss and won the Woody Stephens (G1) at Belmont Park in June. Luis Saez was aboard for the Woody Stephens and definitely wasn’t in the position he envisioned shortly after the start.

“He was in the right position turning from home but he didn’t break that well,” Saez said. “From there they went slow and everyone came back and we couldn’t be there (in front) in the spot we wanted to be.”

Reserved Seats Available for Lone Star

Reserved seating for Lone Star Park’s 2021 Thoroughbred Racing Season will go on sale Monday, Mar. 22. The season opens Thursday, Apr. 22 and continues through Sunday, July 11.
Lone Star Park has implemented a new ticketing system for 2021. Customers can purchase any ticket type, including general admission for any date at http://www.LoneStarPark.com/Tickets beginning Monday at 6 a.m. or by calling the reservation line at 972-263-PONY at 9 a.m. Monday.

General Admission is just $5 and reserved seating options range from $10 to $25 per person (includes admission) on most race days except on big event days and Kentucky Derby Day, which have separate pricing plans.

Oaklawn to Increase Purses

Hot Springs, Ark. (Tuesday, March 9, 2021) – Oaklawn has announced the largest mid-season purse increase in the history of the track. Over the final eight weeks of the season, Oaklawn will pump another $2.5 million into overnight races, including increasing top allowance races to $110,000. The 15% across the board increase also takes maiden special weights to $93,000 and raises the bottom purse to $27,000.

“It’s been an interesting year to say the least, but it is very gratifying to announce this purse increase nearly a year after shutting the race meet and casino down to fans because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “I wasn’t sure we’d get here a couple of weeks ago with all the bad winter weather, but our horsemen and fans are resilient. February ended with a tremendous weekend of racing and it was exciting to see fans back in the Infield last week. I have no doubt the final eight weeks of racing are going to be exciting, especially with some of our marquee races still to come.”

Saturday’s 12-race card will be highlighted by the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds with Arkansas Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) aspirations, as well as the $500,000 Essex Handicap, $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2), $200,000 Hot Springs Stakes, and $150,000 Temperence Hill Stakes. First post is 12 noon.

“Rebel Stakes weekend has grown to be almost as big as Arkansas Derby Day and we’re excited to be able to welcome more fans back just in time for the richest racing in our history,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “Weather permitting, the Infield will be open every Saturday throughout the end of the meet. The Infield is truly a rite of spring and it was certainly missed last year.”

Oaklawn’s 2021 live meet continues through Saturday, May 1.

Located in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, Oaklawn has been one of the premiere Thoroughbred racetracks in the country since 1904, best known as home of the $1 million Arkansas Derby. The Vegas-style casino features slots, live table games, and sports betting year-round. Live racing held Jan-May and simulcast racing throughout the year. Opening early 2021 are a 200-room luxury hotel, multi-purpose event center, state-of-the-art spa and new dining options. Website – http://www.Oaklawn.com, Phone – 1-800-OAKLAWN.

Fair Grounds Announces Third Purse Increase Of The Meet

Continued Strong Business Prompts Another Daily Bump

New Orleans (March 3, 2021) – For the third time in the 2020-21 meet, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced a 10% purse increase across the board. Much like the first two, the boost was inspired by strong simulcast handle. The purse increase, which includes both open races and Louisiana-bred races, goes into effect for the final 13 days of the meet, beginning with the Thursday, March 11 card. The draw for that card is Thursday, March 4.

“Our handle has continued to be strong, and we are pleased to be able to raise purses for the third time this meet,” Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones said. “We’d once again like to thank the owners, trainers and fans who have been supporting our day-to-day racing product. $60,000 for a maiden special weight pot is a very competitive number to get to.”

Jones also indicated that the purses for all of the non-stakes races carded for the Saturday, March 20th Louisiana Derby Day card will be bumped up to $75,000 apiece. In addition, in order to accommodate the NBC broadcast, post time on that day has been pushed back to 11:20 a.m. CT.To make up for the weather related February 11th cancellation, Fair Grounds has also added Wednesday, March 24th, to the live racing calendar.

Sam Houston Cancels Racing Through Feb. 20

Sam Houston Race Park has canceled live racing through Saturday, Feb. 20, due to continued winter weather, the Houston track announced Feb. 17 via Twitter. Racing on Wednesday had also been canceled.

Five stakes races for state-breds as part of the Texas Preview Day program had been scheduled for Saturday but are now moved back a week.

“Due to ongoing weather conditions in Houston, SHRP has canceled racing through Feb. 20,” Sam Houston wrote in a tweet.

“Texas Preview Day is now rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 27.

“The 5 Stakes Races will not be redrawn.”

Texas Preview Day will feature the $75,000 Houston Turf Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, the $75,000 H-Town Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at seven furlongs, the $75,000 Jim’s Orbit Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings at six furlongs, the $75,000 Miss Bluebonnet Turf Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at a mile, and the $75,000 Two Altazano Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.