In the Money

Horse racing insight that's loose on the lead

OBS sales topper headed to Churchill Downs

June 21st, 2013

From Churchill Downs Press Notes

June 20

Tracker Jacker , who sold Wednesday for a sales-record $525,000 at the OBS June 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age sale, is scheduled to leave Ocala on Thursday afternoon and should arrive at trainer Mark Casse ’s barn at Churchill Downs on Friday.
The colt from the first crop of Pioneerof the Nile was one of six horses bought by the sale’s leading buyer, Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell ’s Conquest Stables.
“We liked his looks, how he went and his pedigree,” Casse said. “We liked everything about him.”
Casse advised on a total of eight purchases at the sale and said five of them will join his string at Churchill Downs.
“When you spend that kind of money, you’re looking for a Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks-type horse, Casse said. “That’s one of the reasons they’re going to Churchill. You can’t do enough training there and we love Churchill because it’s a safe track and is good for young horses.”
Casse said Tracker Jacker and the other purchases could debut during Churchill Downs’ new September Meet.
“One or two could be ready before and we’d run at Arlington or Woodbine or Ellis, but we are looking at September,” Casse said. “We’ll have horses at Churchill and Arlington this summer and we’ll send the occasional horse to Saratoga, but we’re not going to have a string there this year.”
Casse, via phone from his barn at Arlington Park, said he will be at Churchill Downs on Friday to saddle Conquest Stables’ Conquest Two Step for his debut in the fourth race. A 2-year-old colt by Two Step Salsa, Conquest Two Step was purchased at the OBS April Sale for $420,000.


Paynter victorious in return to the races

June 14th, 2013

Iron horse beats colitis, laminits, wins convincingly in first race back on track

Paynter not only emerged from a life-threatening bout with colitis and laminits to race again, he stamped himself as a 4-year-old to watch with an emotional, long-striding win in a $63,866 allowance Friday at Betfair Hollywood Park.

The 2012 Haskell Invitational champ, a son of Awesome Again out of the Cee’s Tizzy mare Tizso, grabbed the lead early under jockey Rafael Bejarano and never conceded despite early pressure from Majestic City. He won by 4 1/2 lengths as the heavy favorite for trainer Bob Baffert and owner Ahmed Zayat, who was jubilant after the significant victory.

“First of all, I want to thank the connections for giving me this opportunity,’’ said Bejarano. “I had a lot of pressure in the first part of the race, but I knew I had a lot of horse underneath me. I had a lot of confidence in this horse and I knew he was going to win easily. We had a fantastic trip.’’

Paynter, making his synthetic track debut, went seven furlongs in 1:21.86.

“He is just an incredible, phenomenal horse,’’ said Baffert. “I can’t believe he is back. He’s just a great horse.’’

Ahmed Zayat: “He is so courageous. He’s a true trooper, a special horse. He loves to do what he does, which is what he did today. What else can you say? Thank you, thank you Lord.’’

Majestic City was second and Fly Lexis Fly finished third.


Wagering: Stephen Foster card at Churchill Downs

June 14th, 2013

An update from Churchill Downs on the multi-race wagers available for Saturday’s Stephen Foster card:

There will be three Pick 4 wagers Saturday night (Races 1-4, 3-6 and 6-9) with the latter an all-stakes Pick 4 that concludes with the Regret. The two Pick 5s will cover Races 2-6 and 5-9. Both the Pick 4 and Pick 5 are 50-cent minimum bets. Meanwhile, the $2 Pick 6 will be held on Races 4-9.

The President of the United Arab Emirates Cup, an Arabian Stakes race, is race 10 and is not included in the multi-race wagers.

All-Stakes Pick 4:

Race 6: Grade 2 Fleur de Lis (fillies and mares 3yo & up)

Race 7: Grade 3 Matt Winn (3yos)

Race 8: Grade 1 Stephen Foster (3yos & up)

Race 9: Grade 3 Regret Stakes (TURF, 3yo fillies)

Top jockey Ramon Dominguez retires

June 13th, 2013

Jockey cites recent injury as cause for retirement from riding

NYRA issued this statement from Ramon Dominguez on Thursday:

“Riding thoroughbreds has always been my passion and my calling.  When I was 13 and watched my first horse race in Venezuela, I knew that I would become a jockey, and my riding career has brought happiness and success beyond what I ever expected.

Thus, it is extremely difficult for me to announce that due to the severity of the injuries I sustained in an accident at Aqueduct Racetrack on January 18, 2013, my professional riding career has come to an end.  While I hoped and even expected to be able to return to the saddle, as a result of my injuries and upon the advice of my treating physicians, it has been determined that I will no longer be able to pursue my career as a jockey.

I want to personally thank my family, fans, and fellow riders for overwhelming support in the months since my accident.  I chose to make this statement to end speculation about my future, but I am not yet ready to speak publicly.  I will come forward on my own, but in the meantime I ask that you please respect my privacy as I continue my recovery.”

NYRA’s statement on the retirement of Dominguez:

The following statement is issued on behalf of NYRA by Vice President and Director of Racing P.J. Campo:

“All of us at NYRA are saddened to learn that Ramon Dominguez has been forced to end his riding career. Ramon distinguished himself immediately upon moving his tack to New York in 2009. Already a wintertime regular at Aqueduct, Ramon made a seamless transition to riding full-time on the NYRA circuit. He won numerous meet riding titles and many of our top races, en route to becoming New York’s leading rider for each of the past four years.

Ramon’s accomplishments – including the last three Eclipse awards as North America’s top jockey – only tell part of the story, though. He has epitomized class both on and off the racetrack. Universally respected by his fellow riders and beloved by fans, Ramon has built a towering and well-deserved reputation that serves as a standard for all future jockeys. It has been a true privilege to have him in the NYRA riding colony and we wish him and his family the very best in this new chapter of their lives.”



Half-sister to Horse of the Year Wise Dan to debut Wednesday

June 12th, 2013

By J.J. Hysell

Enchanting Lisa, half-sister to Horse of the Year Wise Dan and also Successful Dan, is entered in a maiden special weight for her debut tonight at Presque Isle.

The 3-year-old daughter of War Chant, out of Lisa Danielle, has been working steadily at Keeneland for her first start, a one mile and 70-yard test on synthetic.

The homebred is trained by Charles LoPresti and bred by Morton Fink.

Mucho Macho Man returns Friday at Belmont

June 11th, 2013

By J.J. Hysell

Mucho Macho Man, who was pulled up by jockey Mike Smith in his 5-year-old debut in January’s Sunshine Millions, is ready to return to racing.

The son of Macho Uno is entered in the $90,000 Criminal Type Stakes at Belmont Park Friday at 1 1/16-miles. He faces four foes: Hymn Book, Sovereign Default, San Pablo and Isn’t He Perfect. Jockey Edgar Prado is named to ride.

Mucho Macho Man was considered one of the top older horses in the country in late 2012 after he won the Suburban Handicap and placed second in the Woodward Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

He went off as the favorite in the Sunshine Millions on Jan. 19, but did not finish the race, won by Ron the Greek. Trainer Kathy Ritvo said nothing appeared in post-race tests to point to his poor performance, and she believed the cause might have been the sloppy track.

Mucho Macho Man was sent to Fair Hill Equine Center, where he has been training extensively for several months in preparation for his return.



Breeders’ Cup returns to Santa Anita in 2014

June 10th, 2013

Breeders’ Cup press release

The Breeders’ Cup announced today that Santa Anita Park, in Arcadia, Calif., has been selected as the site for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The 31st Breeders’ Cup, Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious international year-end event, consisting of 14 races with purses and awards totaling $27 million, will be held on October 31 and November 1, 2014, and brings the event to Los Angeles for the third consecutive year. bc logo

Santa Anita Park, which is the site of this year’s Breeders’ Cup on November 1-2, has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships six times, most recently last year’s edition.  The 2014 Breeders’ Cup will be televised by the NBC Sports Group. The 2013 Breeders’ Cup will also be televised by the NBC Sports Group with the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic shown live in primetime on NBC from 8-9 p.m. ET.

“Santa Anita has proven to be an outstanding host for our Championships, providing horsemen and fans around the world with a first class facility and one of the greatest experiences in sports. We are delighted to extend our partnership with Santa Anita for a third consecutive year,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “We also value our relationship with the Southern California business and entertainment community, who have demonstrated long time dedication and support of the Breeders’ Cup since our inception in 1984.”

The 2014 running of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships marks the 11th time that the event will be held in Southern California and the eighth time that Santa Anita will host the Breeders’ Cup, after hosting the event in 1986, 1993, 2003, 2008 and 2009, 2012, and this year.

Breeders’ Cup officials indicated that no decisions have been made on host sites beyond 2014 and that the organization remains open to visiting markets that can accommodate the two-day event during its traditional fall timing, provide world class hospitality for its participants and guests and showcase the world’s best Thoroughbred racing.

“To be chosen as the host site for a third consecutive year is a clear indication of Santa Anita’s standing in the worldwide racing community,” said Keith Brackpool, Chairman of the Los Angeles Turf Club. “We look forward to hosting this year’s two-day event in November and following that, we’ll immediately begin planning for 2014.  On behalf of our fans, horsemen and employees, we look forward to again celebrating the very best our sport has to offer.”

“In addition to being the two-greatest days in Thoroughbred racing, hosting the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita for the next two years provides us with the opportunity to further develop the Breeders’ Cup brand as a world class entertainment and lifestyle platform,”  said Drew Sheinman, Breeders’ Cup Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.  “We look forward to forging new sponsor and business relationships in the community.”

“The Breeders’ Cup is a world-class spectacle and we are delighted that it will be returning to Santa Anita in 2014,” said Alan Rothenberg, chairman of the Los Angeles Sports Council. “Visitors from all over the world will enjoy our many first-class hotels, restaurants and attractions, and this prestigious international sporting event will boost our local economy by bringing tens of millions of dollars in economic impact to the region.”

Said Jon Miller, President of Programming, NBC and NBC Sports Network: “We are excited that the Breeders’ Cup has chosen to return to Santa Anita. The backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains at dusk makes for a beautiful setting for a great two days of the world’s best racing, topped off by the Breeders’ Cup Classic in primetime on NBC.”

Mickey Segal, the Mayor of the City of Arcadia commented: “The City of Arcadia is extremely proud to be the host city for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.  Santa Anita Park and horse racing are very important to our community, and the Breeders’ Cup provides Arcadia with an opportunity to showcase both the city and the racetrack to the world.  People from all over will come here and celebrate racing in the most beautiful setting in America. As the Mayor of the City of Arcadia, I encourage racing fans from everywhere to come to Arcadia and share this incredible experience with us.”

“The Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau and businesses in the area are thrilled to have the prestigious Breeders’ Cup returning to Santa Anita Park in 2014,” said Michael Ross, CEO, Pasadena Center Operating Company. “Past Breeders’ Cups have made a significant impact on Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley area’s economy by filling our hotels, restaurants and shops. Even our museums have benefited from hosting parties and VIP events.”

Over the years, some of the greatest moments in Breeders’ Cup history have taken place at Santa Anita, including the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic when the great Zenyatta became the first female ever to win the Classic. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup, witnessed by 89,742 over the two days, featured winners representing a cross-section of horses from the US and overseas, highlighted by Fort Larned winning the Classic and the 5-year-old Wise Dan capturing the Breeders’ Cup Mile, which later earned him the  2012 Horse of the Year title.

Bourbonette Oaks winner Silsita returns to turf in Astronomia

June 9th, 2013

By J.J. Hysell

Bourbonette Oaks winner Silsita, who finished 10th in the Kentucky Oaks in her last start, is set to return to turf in Thursday’s Astronomia Stakes at Belmont Park.



Silsita, a daughter of Macho Uno trained by Todd Pletcher, faces a field of seven in the seven-furlong test. Top challengers include Fearless Jacq, Coarsegold, Bella Castani and Barbie Wire.

The Florida-bred reunites with jockey John Velazquez, who guided her to a nose victory over Marathon Lady in the Bourbonette on March 23 at Turfway Park.

Silsita won her debut in a 1 1/16-mile turf race at Calder. After a fourth-place finish on dirt, she returned to turf and posted a solid third behind Coffee Clique and Kitten’s Point in a Gulfstream Park allowance.

Silsita is owned by Tanourin Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.