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Louisiana Bred Half Ours Colt Zips Fastest Quarter of the Week at OBS

By Jessica Martini

The under-tack show for next week’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s July 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Sale reached its midway point Wednesday in Central Florida and a Louisiana bred colt by Half Ours (hip 383) turned in the week’s fastest quarter-mile so far, covering the distance in :20 1/5. The bay colt is consigned by Sergio Centeno’s Blue River Bloodstock and is out of All About Ju Ju (Into Mischief).

“He prepped in :21 1/5, so I expected he could go :21 flat to :20 4/5, but he worked really, really good,” said Centeno.

Centeno’s brother Jaime purchased the colt for $8,000 at last year’s OBS October Sale.

 

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Lone Star Cancels Through Week; Melancon Tests Positive for COVID-19

By Bill Finley

 

With Lone Star Park officials having little to say about the abrupt shut down of racing after Sunday’s first race, it was unclear when racing would resume at the Dallas area track or if the meet will be canceled.

Citing a conversation with racing secretary Tim Williams, the Daily Racing Form reported Monday that the three days of racing scheduled for this week would not be held.

Lone Star’s decision to stop racing may be related to the news that jockey Gerard Melancon has tested positive for the coronavirus. A regular at Delta Downs and Evangeline Downs, Melancon last rode June 28 on shipper Mocito Rojo (Mutadda) in the Lone Star Mile.

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Tom Amoss Joins TDN Writers’ Room to Talk No Parole, Serengeti Empress, Racing Broadcasts and More

By Joe Bianca

With a newly-minted Grade I winner in his barn and another set to hit the track this weekend, trainer Tom Amoss joined the TDN Writers’ Room podcast presented by Keeneland Wednesday morning for an illuminating discussion that covered a wide variety of topics, big and small. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Amoss explained the success of barn stars No Parole (Violence) and Serengeti Empress (Alternation), talked about what he’s learned from branching out into broadcasting and offered his take on why racing has a difficult time catching cheating trainers.

“When No Parole was first making his debut against state-bred company at the Fair Grounds, I recall vividly calling [owner] Maggi Moss and telling her, ‘Hey, this isn’t just a good Louisiana-bred sprinter, this is a very good racehorse,’” Amoss said. “He’s now a Grade I winner, he’s undefeated going one turn in four starts. In the back of our minds, if the horse stays healthy and does good, when he gets to the end of his 3-year-old year, where his maturity level will catch up to the older horses, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint is a possibility. And of course, we think he’d make a heck of a stallion. He’s gorgeous, good looking. He just won an important stallion race [Saturday’s GI Woody Stephens S.]. So we’ve got that on our mind as well.”

 

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Kentucky Derby, Oaks Will Have Spectators

Strict guidelines to be enforced; number of fans yet to be announced.

 

Churchill Downs Racetrack announced June 25 that after consultation with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and state public health officials, the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) will occur with spectators under strict guidelines.

Kentucky Derby Week will be held Sept. 1-5 with the Oaks set for Sept. 4 and the Derby Sept. 5.

The number of fans is yet to be announced.

“We truly appreciate the leadership of the governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, and all of the hard work, collaboration and guidance that state and local officials and public health experts have provided us to safely and responsibly host Kentucky Derby week in September with spectators,” said Churchill Downs’ president Kevin Flanery. “Our team is deeply committed to holding the best Kentucky Derby ever, and we will take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of all who attend and participate in the Derby.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we have established a comprehensive set of operating procedures, which include a multitude of precautionary measures to be followed while fans are in attendance at our facility. We are determined to keep our customers, employees and communities as safe as we responsibly can.”

Churchill Downs’ plan was developed in conjunction with advice and counsel set forth by the Louisville Metro Health Department and Kentucky’s Healthy at Work guidance. Some of the steps that will be taken to ensure guest and employee safety include:

•    Venue capacity reductions to limit overall crowd density, including general admission, outdoor reserved seating, premium dining, and suites. More information on ticketing and seating areas will be released in the coming days and also will be sent directly to ticket holders.
•  General admission tickets will be limited to a specified number and only grant access to the infield. No general admission will be allowed in the “front side” or paddock areas of the facility.

•    Access throughout the facility will be limited.

•    Credentials for employees, media, and guests will be reduced.

•    Barn area access will be restricted to essential personnel. Guests and parties in the barn area for morning workouts and during race days will be eliminated.

•    Changes in venue operations to limit person-to-person touch points.

•    Team member protocols established to protect employees and guests.

•    A revised Fan Code of Conduct that establishes expectations for guests coming to the Derby.

•    Guests will be consistently and frequently encouraged to wear a mask at all times unless seated in their reserved seat or venue. This includes when:
Riding on a shuttle
Traveling through the venue
Going to the restroom
Placing an in-person wager
Purchasing food or beverages from a concession stand
Guests will be asked to wash their hands for 20 seconds or sanitize them frequently.
Guests will be encouraged to socially distance themselves from others when possible.

More detailed and additional information will be provided in the coming days online at http://www.KentuckyDerby.com/Updates.

“The impact of the Kentucky Derby extends well beyond the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs,” Flanery said. “It is an incredibly important time for the City of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky both culturally, economically and with respect to our time-honored traditions. Both employees and guests are asked to take an active role in following all guidelines. We must all do our part to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.”

Tickets purchased for the originally scheduled Kentucky Derby Week dates are automatically valid for the new race dates. Guests may arrive on the new dates in September with their printed ticket or mobile ticket to be scanned for entry at the gates. Guests that have purchased a ticket and are not able to attend the newly scheduled race dates, can visit www.KentuckyDerby.com/TicketStatus for more information. Guests who purchased tickets from a vendor or secondary market website other than Churchill Downs, Ticketmaster.com or Derby Experiences must contact those sites directly. Churchill Downs is unable to process refunds for those tickets.

 

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Santa Anita Plans to Issue Condition Book Thursday

By Dan Ross

Santa Anita will put out a condition book April 30 which will target May 15 for the resumption of live racing under strict protocols with no fans present, according to a letter issued by track management Wednesday.

The TDN obtained a copy of the letter, which was sent to Greg Avioli, the President and CEO of the Thoroughbred Owners of California; Alan Balch, the Executive Director of California Thoroughbred Trainers; and Darrell Haire, Regional Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild.

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Churchill Backstretch to Open May 11, Fair Grounds Horses Will Be First In

By T. D. Thornton

Churchill Downs has been cleared by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to open its backstretch area May 11 so long as the track adheres to enhanced pandemic precautions approved by the state.

Beshear announced the clearance Wednesday at his daily COVID-19 video press conference as part of a phased-in reopening for various state industries. Churchill followed up about an hour later with a press release that included specifics pertinent to horsemen.

Neither Beshear nor the track pinpointed an exact date for the return of live racing. But the Churchill release stated “it will be staged at a minimum of four days per week,” Thursday through Sunday.

The following is a listing of racetracks and when horses based there may return to the Churchill Downs stable areas between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.:

  • Fair Grounds (May 11-13)
  • Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs, and horses based at Florida training centers (May 14-16)
  • Oaklawn Park (May 17-19)
  • All other locales (May 20 onward)

 

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Country Day Makes TDN’s List of Regional Value Sires for 2020

Excerpted from TDN

 

By Chris McGrath

After our exhaustive survey of Bluegrass stallions, good manners demand at least a browse through the alternatives available elsewhere in North America. But this must be a very different exercise, and a pretty unsatisfactory one too. The Kentucky market is entirely coherent, with hundreds of stallions clustered within a few miles of each other at fees to suit all budgets. Regional stallions, in contrast, serve regional mares. If you’re in Ohio, you’re not going to van a mare down to Too Much Bling (Rubiano). If you’re in Texas, equally, you don’t need telling that you can’t have too much of that guy.

Each regional market is organic, and value must be judged accordingly. Is your state program sustained by slots, for instance? Are you splitting a fee between 10 buddies from the bowling alley at a couple of hundred bucks apiece? Or are you trying to beat the Bluegrass at its own game–to breed another Chrome in California; or launch another Malibu Moon in Maryland, another Mr. Prospector in Florida?

So this is just a cursory cross-section picked from some (but by no means all) of the principal regions. They’re at various stages of their careers, at different fee tiers, and have only one thing in common: the potential–in a single, highly subjective opinion–to punch above their fees.

 

LOUISIANA

COUNTRY DAY (Speightstown–Hidden Assets, by Mt. Livermore), Peach Lane Farms, $2,500

Having been reduced to just four mares in his sixth season, last year Country Day was moved from Kentucky to make a fresh start in the Pelican State. How apt, then, that at Fair Grounds on New Year’s Day, his daughter Break Even launched her flamboyant spree of six straight wins, highlighted on Oaks day at Churchill by the GII Eight Belles S.

It had been on the equivalent card the previous year that a member of Country Day’s debut crop, Will Call, had become his first graded stakes winner. He went on to run fifth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint–the race in which Country Day himself had enjoyed his finest hour, when second in the 2011 running. Only a few days ago, moreover, Will Call’s sister, Play On, landed her third black-type success; and their sire’s overall record now stands at 59 winners from 78 starters.

You have to look past Country Day’s relatively modest track career to account for a runner as freakish as Break Even, albeit his versatility in terms of surface was replicated when she switched to turf to run away with a Saratoga stake last summer. You very seldom see a horse clock such wild fractions with such a contained, relaxed air. The most striking thing about Country Day’s pedigree is that the bottom line so closely mirrors that of Giant’s Causeway; and, farther back, it traces to the Calumet foundation mare Blue Delight, through one of her three GI Kentucky Oaks winners. His dam, meanwhile, was a graded stakes winner who has produced four stakes scorers besides Country Day.

So it all makes sense, quite apart from the emergence of Munnings and others to advertise Speightstown as a sire of sires. Country Day, remember, produced Break Even from the most unpromising material: under the first two dams, there is otherwise a solitary black-type third at Canterbury Downs. And nor has he been a one-trick pony.

Country Day was welcomed to his new home only by a couple of dozen mares, but that surely has to change. It’s not hard, after all, to break even at this kind of money–and you might yet get a Break Even of your own.

 

 

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Storm the Court Named Top Juvenile Male

Storm the Court (Court Vision) has been overlooked for most of his young career thus far, but that changed with his recognition as an improbable champion 2-year-old male. Bought by horseman Bryan Rice for just $5,000 as a Fasig-Tipton February yearling in 2018, he blossomed in the ensuing year and sold for $60,000 to the shrewd Marette Farrell after breezing a quarter-mile in :21 2/5 at OBS April as the only representative of his sire in the entire sale. Scoring a 12-1 upset of his debut Aug. 10 at Del Mar, he was stepped up by trainer Peter Eurton into the GI Runhappy Del Mar Futurity next out. That race is infamous for the antics of heavy favorite Eight Rings (Empire Maker), who ducked in sharply soon after the start and unseated his rider. Storm the Court, who also lost his pilot because of the incident, was a mere footnote in the affair. He did little to make a name for himself in the GI American Pharoah S., finished a well-beaten third behind an Eight Rings that was on his best behavior Sept. 27 at Santa Anita. That led to him being dismissed at nearly 46-1 in the GI TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 1 in Arcadia, but the bay kept finding more after setting a quick pace, and dug in resolutely to turn back fellow longshot Anneau d’Or (Medaglia d’Oro) by a head, pulling off the biggest stunner of the World Championship weekend. Drilling steady at his Santa Anita base, Storm the Court is slated to take his first step as a sophomore on the GI Kentucky Derby trail in the Feb. 9 GII San Vicente S.

Accepting the Award…

“I am incredibly honored to accept this award on behalf of the entire Storm the Court team. There are many people who have contributed to this colt’s special moment. Marette Farrell and her team who do all the bloodstock work for Exline-Border are some of the hardest-working people I know. They are honest, diligent and I can confidently say we would not be standing here today without their guidance. Peter Eurton did an excellent job with ‘Storm.’ Peter is an excellent horseman, but he’s like family to us. He has continuously delivered us success on the biggest of stages and we are lucky to have him on our team.” —Ryan Exline of Exline-Border Racing, co-owner

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Louisiana-bred Gives Violence Second Rising Star of the Day

9th at FG , Alw, $46000 (6f) Winner: No Parole, c, 3 by Violence

Maggi Moss’s No Parole (Violence), a 14 1/4-length debut winner here Dec. 15–good for a 90 Beyer Speed Figure–again proved too much for his Louisiana-bred foes to handle as he romped to become the third ‘TDN Rising Star’ of the day and second by Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Violence. Off at prohibitive 1-5 odds, the $75,000 KEESEP yearling seized command early in the wet going, clicked off splits of :21.79 and :44.45 and cruised home all by his lonesome with just a couple of reminders before being geared down late to canter under the line 13 1/4 lengths to the good in 1:10.24. Palvera (My Pal Charlie) was best of the rest.

The winner’s dam was a stakes-winning turf sprinter at Penn National and hails from the extended female family of graded winners License Fee (Black Tie Affair {Ire}) and Greeley’s Galaxy (Mr. Greeley). She has a short yearling filly by Connect.

 

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2YO Eclipse Contender, Storm The Court, Demonstrates the Value of his Sire, Court Vision

 

Championship Shot Brings Vision Back in Focus

Storm the Court | Eclipse Sportswire

By Chris McGrath

There’s been some pretty faint praise for the winner of what generally proves the key race to determine the best 2-year-old colt of his crop. So much so, that plenty of Eclipse voters were plainly hoping that Tiz The Law (Constitution) could pull the championship rug from under the feet of Storm The Court (Court Vision), shock winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, when odds-on for the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. last Saturday.

In the event, Tiz The Law succumbed to the same stage fright that unravelled more fancied horses when Storm the Court emulated his sire, 64-1 winner of the Mile in 2011, as a hear-a-pin-drop Breeders’ Cup winner. His defeat presumably restores Storm the Court to pole position, though the turf winners at the Breeders’ Cup may yet enter the equation. But whoever ultimately gains the laurels, it must be pretty irritating for connections of Storm the Court to hear his success treated as an aberration, sooner credited to inconsistencies in track and opposition than to his own merit.

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