According to the New York State Gaming Commission, the protocol for determining whether or not to cancel racing due to weather is as follows:
“The determination whether to cancel racing due to extreme weather conditions is a situational decision, to be first considered by NYRA. The Stewards and the Commission’s Equine Medical Director, however, have final authority whether to allow racing. The Commission’s decision making rests with the best interests of the health and safety of the equine athletes.”
When asked if there are written New York State regulations concerning the cancellation of racing in extreme weather, the Commission responded “No.”
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) is continuing its tradition of premium giveaways with four scheduled during Summer 2018 meet at Saratoga Race Course. The finest thoroughbred racing has been offered at the Race Course since 1863.
All giveaways are free with paid admission, while supplies last. Season pass or tick plan holders are guaranteed to receive each premium Saratoga giveaway if they are enter Saratoga Race Course through the designated season ticket holder lines on giveaway days and redeem the giveaway by 3 p.m. All redemptions may be claimed starting when gates open to the general public.
Monday, August 6, gates open 11 a.m.
It never rains in Saratoga, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours*
NYRA SARATOGA BLANKET
Monday, August 20, gates open 11 a.m.
NYRA SARATOGA WINDBREAKER
Sunday, September 2
Plan ahead to avoid NYRA ticket supplements of 20% – 40%
The cost of a 2018 Grandstand season pass is $40; a Clubhouse season pass is $65. Season passes do not include reserved seating and are valid for one admission.
Single-day Grandstand admission is $5 and Clubhouse admission is $8 for guests who purchase their tickets prior to the day of the event. Single-day Grandstand admission is $7 and Clubhouse admission is $10 when purchased at the gate.
Barbaro Sibling Madame Milan Breaks Maiden Friday at Laurel
Second-Time Starter by Bernardini Wins by 1 ¼ Lengths as 4-5 Favorite
Everything’s Copa Springs 13-1 Upset in Maiden Triumph
LAUREL, MD – Lael Stables’ homebred Madame Milan, a juvenile half-sister to 2006 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Barbaro, took advantage of a stretch out in distance to earn her first career victory in a competitive maiden special weight that kicked off Friday’s nine-race program at Laurel Park.
Madame Milan ($3.80) was favored at 4-5 in the $40,000 event that attracted 10 2-year-old fillies including progeny of Hall of Famers Ghostzapper and Tiznow, Kentucky Derby winners Orb and Street Sense and fellow Grade 1 winners Giant’s Causeway, Ice Box, Paynter and To Honor and Serve.
By 2006 Preakness (G1) winner Bernardini out of the Carson City mare La Ville Rouge, Madame Milan completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.93 over an All Along Turf Course layout labeled firm. It was 1 ¼ lengths back to runner-up Dancingwithpaynter, who was 6 ¼ lengths clear of Luna in third.
Third by a length in her debut going about 7 ½ furlongs on the Delaware Park turf Sept. 9, Madame Milan settled under jockey Daniel Centeno from the rail post and saved ground racing in mid-pack squeezed to her outside by Ferdinada as Dancingwithpaynter took the field through fractions of 24.07 seconds, 50.29 and 1:15.84.
Madame Milan continued to gain ground inside around the far turn and into the lane before Centeno swung to the middle of the track to reel in a stubborn Dancingwithpaynter and edge clear for trainer Arnaud Delacour.
“She ran pretty good the first time at Delaware going 7 ½. I told Arnaud that going farther is going to be easier for her,” Centeno said. “Today the track was pretty soft and she broke a little slow so I just sat off the pace and waited to run and when I put her in the clear in the stretch she just took off. I went to put her outside [Dancingwithtpaynter] and she went right to the lead and galloped out real good and everything. I think the distance helped her a lot.”
Elizabeth Mateo and Mark Taylor’s Everything’s Copa swept to the lead after straightening for home and ran down pacesetting Guess What for a one-length win in Friday’s third race, a $40,000 maiden special weight for fillies and mares 3 and older.
Everything’s Copa ($29.20), a sophomore daughter of Malibu Moon who drew in off the also-eligible list, found herself wide and in the clear around both turns from her far outside post under jockey Sheldon Russell. They moved into a contending position at the top of the stretch and collared Guess What approaching the wire to win in 1:49.90 over a firm Dahlia Turf Course.
It was 1 ½ lengths back to Stated in third. Peace Front, the 5-2 favorite from New York-based trainer Chad Brown, was never in contention and faded to sixth.
Everything’s Copa was making her eighth career start and second at Laurel, where she was sixth behind In the Lee, subsequent allowance winner that was fourth in the Commonwealth Oaks (G3), and next-out winners West Coast Bias and Kitten Smitten June 30.
“We liked her all the time and finally today she threw a nice race,” winning trainer Guadalupe Preciado said. “Every time she ran we thought she’d be OK but [she lost] seven times. I think now she’ll go to Florida.”
Matthew Espinosa’s first trip to the racetrack won’t be his last. After spending opening day at southern California’s Del Mar Thoroughbred Club with friends and family, Espinosa is hooked, “I’m definitely going to go back, I had a lot of fun, a calm day. You can have a good time betting on horses and the people watching is a whole different world!”
Originally a digital star with an army of social media followers numbering in the tens-of-millions, 20-year old Matthew Espinosa is the lead in the 2016 film Be Somebody, and he shares his rise to success in his book, More Than Me. Before hitting the track, his impression of racing mostly came from media, ”The closest I came to horse racing were random clips, like on Entourage.”
America’s Best Racing hosted Espinosa and his crew at Del Mar and had handicapper-racing pundit Jose Contreras guide the newbies in the basics. “I brought my friend Q, my sister and her boyfriend and they were talking that it was a lot of fun, a lot more fun than we expected. We didn’t know what to expect, none of us had been there before. It was really cool for all of us, placing bets, understanding how it all works. I won two races, I’m 100% into new experiences!”
Billy Koch of Little Red Feather Racing invited Matthew Espinosa and company down to the winner’s circle if the Little Red Feather horse won. Alas, it was Koch’s horse was nipped at the wire. Koch mentioned there are ways of having fun as an owner in a partnership. Asked about that later, Espinosa didn’t rule it out in the future when he’ll have more time for hobbies.
The opening day fashion parade caught Espinosa’s eye. “I was randomly taking photos of people with really cool outfits. I was thinking this is really unique, I gotta document this. I was very under-dressed. I’m like ‘Whoa, what’s going on here?’ Gotta step it up with a suit the next time. Is there some kind of checkeredsuit.com?”
Last year Delaware North, FLRT’s owner, lobbied for and received tax incentives for their on-site racino on par with tax incentives granted del Lago. The horsemen, who constitute the backbone of horse racing at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racing, were unsuccessful in having the law revised to protect purses from a projected precipitous decrease caused by the expected migration of players to the new casino.
Racing purses are in part funded by revenue from video lottery terminals (VLT) at the Finger Lakes racino. VLT players siphoned off to the del Lago casino will result in a decreased revenue stream for FLRT purses.
Lower purses mean reduced income for the owners and trainers who populate Finger Lakes’ backstretch. With diminished purses, there would be fewer horses and races; and less need for the jockeys, exercise riders, grooms, hot walkers, farriers and veterinarians who are the fabric of track life.
The races at FLRT are chock-full of horses bred, raised and trained in New York. The robust thoroughbred industry in central and western New York is supported by incentives from the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding & Development Fund that is funded in part by a micro percentage of VLT revenues.
Lower VLT revenues will diminish the funding streams that sustain the incentives that attract breeders and owners to the NY-bred program. Without the protections afforded in S01003, industry downsizing is inevitable. When breeding and training facilities reduce operations or shut down, jobs evaporate. Every horse farm has a web of suppliers – including feed stores, landscapers, small machinery repair shops, lumber mills and farm machinery dealers. When a farm closes, negative outcomes ripple throughout its community.
All is not lost.
Never a collective to act before necessity, last year the legislature left bills similar to S01003 languishing. With the clock ticking – del Lago is scheduled to open February 1, now is time for legislators to tweak the original legislation and counteract the predation of FLRT operations. *
Under current law, race tracks within the same designated geographic region as a new casino are protected. The challenge that FLRT faces is despite proximity FLRT and del Lago are in different regions. The revised law will extend protection to racetracks within 50 miles of del Lago, regardless of region.
Senator Bonacic explains the importance of S01003:
This legislation is necessary to protect horsemen, breeders, and the entire racing industry from the projected loss of revenue at Finger Lakes when Del Lago begins operations. This is a critical issue and that is why the Senate Budget Resolution last year proposed to address it. Unfortunately, it was not resolved in the final budget, but I will continue to fight to protect the horsemen, breeders, and all the jobs created by the racing industry in New York. **
Bonacic’s legislation states:
If an applicant that does not possess either a pari-mutuel wagering license or franchise awarded pursuant to article two or three of this chapter is issued a gaming facility license pursuant to this article, the licensee shall pay:
(a) an amount to horsemen for purses at the licensed racetracks in the region and in the case of region five any licensed racetracks within fifty miles of the licensee’s facility, that will assure the purse support from video lottery gaming facilities in the region and in the case of region five any such licensed racetracks within fifty miles of the licensee’s facility, to the licensed racetracks in the region and in the case of region five any such facilities within fifty miles of the licensee’s facility, to be maintained at the same dollar levels realized in two thousand thirteen to be adjusted by the consumer price index for all urban consumers, as published annually by the United States department of labor bureau of labor statistics; and
(b) amounts to the agricultural and New York state horse breeding development fund and the New York state thoroughbred breeding and development fund to maintain payments from video lottery gaming facilities in the region and in the case of region five any such facilities within fifty miles of the licensee’s facility, to such funds to be maintained at the same dollar levels realized in two thousand thirteen to be adjusted by the consumer price index for all urban consumers, as published annually by the United States department of labor bureau of labor statistics.
* It will be up to Governor Cuomo to sign the legislation into law in a timely manner.
** Senator Bonacic responded to an email query. A spokesman for del Lago Resort & Casino did not respond to an email query.
Stallion manager Richard Barry and trainer Bob Baffert with American Pharoah the day he arrived at Ashford Stud, Versailles, Kentucky. Photo courtesy of Coolmore.
In the year since winning the Triple Crown and 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic, American Pharoah has received international accolades, moved to Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky, there are over 100 little Pharoahs on the way, and his biography was a best seller. Not bad for the genial bay colt.
American Pharoah is still America’s horse
Part of American Pharoah’s popularity is due to his accessibility. When he worked out, fans were at the track at dawn to watch the colt. When Pharoah had a bath, snaps of him covered in bubbles streamed though social media. These days, special tours bring his fans to meet-and-greets at Coolmore.
While racing, Pharoah’s followers were welcomed into his realm. The colt patiently posed for selfies, with carrots his currency. Pharoah’s gentle amiability allowed fans to get close enough to feed him those carrots, without the mayhem or mischief commonly exhibited by 3-year-old colts.
American Pharoah’s breeder-owner Ahmad Zayat negotiated American Pharoah’s career as a stallion during the Triple Crown campaign. The deal struck was after his racing career, Pharoah would transfer to Coolmore at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky.
Retired, American Pharoah’s fans remain legion. Scott Calder from Coolmore explains:
“The level of interest in American Pharoah is unlike anything we have seen in the past. We are very fortunate to have had a lot of great horses retire to Ashford over the years but interest mainly comes from within the industry.
With American Pharoah it is different, he has celebrity status that goes beyond the bloodstock industry. We have had a lot of visitors, interest from the media, cards from well-wishers etc. Thankfully American Pharoah has an exceptional temperament so he takes all the attention in his stride. He seems very content in his new life and the first part of his stud career has been a great success.”
Pharoah’s life on the farm
Calder shares American Pharoah’s routine:
It’s the offseason at the moment, so American Pharoah’s days are pretty quiet. The stallions are given a grain feed early in the morning by the night person – before our stallion staff arrives at 6.30 a.m.
The stallions all have their own paddocks and they are turned out as soon as our staff arrive. We don’t ride any of our stallions, but if they need some extra exercise they are lunged for around 10 minutes in one of our lunge rings.
The stallions spend all morning outside and are brought in before lunch. They all get groomed and then are available for our clients to come and view.
At 2.30 the Ashford Stud tour takes place and American Pharoah is obviously one of the highlights. The tours are booked through Horse Country Inc. and run Monday to Friday for 25 people.
The stallions get their evening feed around 3 p.m. and are bedded down for the evening. All the stallions have cameras in their stalls so they are monitored around the clock, when our day staff leave and night watch begins.
American Pharoah’s your daddy
Untouched Talent is the first broodmare ultrasound scanned in-foal to American Pharoah. She will
(Above, Untouched Talent in foal to American Pharoah.
Photo courtesy of Coolmore.)
likely deliver one of Pharoah’s earliest foals in 2017. The Merck Veterinary Manual says the average gestation for a mare ranges from 335 to 342 days. Anyone who has waited for a foal to be born knows that mares ignore published guides and foal when they are ready – sometimes weeks early, many times weeks late.
Coolmore purchased Untouched Talent in 2012 for $5 million at Fasig-Tipton’s Fall Sale. Her price, a sizeable sum, reflects the success of her first foal, the Grade 1 stakes winner Bodemeister. As a sire, Bodemeister is proving popular in the sales ring and has runners competitive at the graded stakes level.
Calder shares the rationale for pairing American Pharoah and Untouched Talent:
Untouched Talent is the dam of Bodemeister who won the G1 Arkansas Derby and was 2nd in the Kentucky Derby. Bodemeister is by American Pharoah’s grandsire Empire Maker so the resulting foal will be closely related to Bodemeister. While we don’t know for sure if she will be the first to foal we expect her to be one of the early ones.
Starting in January, expect to see streams of Pharoah foals on racing social media.
The horse and his bard
Joe Drapes’ American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner’s Legendary Rise embeds the reader in the ascent of American Pharoah – from his days as a foal to his transformation into racing icon. Drape is an Eclipse Award-winning reporter for the New York Times who covers the horse racing beat.
Drape’s narrative lets us peek behind stall doors, listen to trackside banter and delve into the collaborations that enabled American Pharoah to accomplish what had been so elusive for 37
years – winning the Triple Crown, and, to do what had never been done before – winning the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Catching up with Drape a year after American Pharaoh’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, he answered some questions about the genesis of his book:
When did you go live covering AP for the book?
I covered the Triple Crown for the paper (New York Times) and had no intention of writing a book – frankly because I did not think he would the sweep the series. When he did, I went back and re-reported it with the goal being why was his horse different than the eight previous one’s I saw fail, and who had a hand in his development.
Were you embedded with the AP camp? What kind of access?
No, embed. Regular access. In fact, my coverage was at odds with Baffert and Zayat for most of the last seven years. But we have all dealt with each other pretty much professionally, meaning they continue to answer my questions.
What’s your takeaway from covering such a momentous campaign?
You need an extraordinary athlete, which AP was and was identified as such as a weanling. You need a ton of luck, which he got beginning with banging his ankle on the way to the Saratoga Yearling Sale where he failed to be sold.
Knowing what I know about how much talent, luck and magic is required now, I can see why we waited 37 years for a Triple Crown.
By a cat’s whisker. That sums up the barely discernible distance between Beholder and Songbird at the finish line of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff. Beholder was in front when the pair’s skirmish down Santa Anita’s homestretch ended at the wire.
Beholder, race mare regnant
At 6 years old, the Distaff was Beholder’s last race. Hall of Fame Richard Mandella conditioned Beholder for her entire career and Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens was her pilot. The Distaff was Stevens’ 11th Breeders’ Cup career win, and Mandella’s ninth.
Winning her third Breeders’ Cup race, Beholder joined the rarefied level of Goldikova. Beholder previously won the Juvenile Fillies in 2012 and the Distaff in 2013. Altogether, over four seasons Beholder raced 26 times, with 18 wins and six seconds. She was the Eclipse 2012 Champion 2-Year Old Filly, Eclipse 2013 Champion 3-Year Old Filly and Eclipse 2015 Champion Older Mare. It’s not a stretch to believe that Beholder will be in contention for further Eclipse Awards for the 2016 season, as well as an eventual place in the Hall of Fame.
Retiring with a $6+ million dowry, Beholder will join the broodmare band at Spendthrift Farm, Lexington, Kentucky. Formalized plans have been announced, rest assured her connections had their choice of racing’s leading Lotharios. A quick look at Werk eNicks MareMatch pedigree analysis that lists top stallions in the United States and Europe as compatible including Tapit in Kentucky and Fastnet Rock in Ireland.
That being said, Coolmore America has announced that Beholder is booked to visit their brilliant young sire Uncle Mo in 2017, for a 2018 foal. The pairing ranks high with MareMatch as well as with the physical traits and abilities of Beholder and Uncle Mo.
Songbird eager in the wings
Songbird‘s second place in the Distaff is the first time she failed to win. At 3 years old, half the age of Beholder, Songbird has run 12 times, winning 11 races and earning $3.7 million. Rick Porter, her owner, has indicated she will run in 2017. Depending on how she comes out of the Longines Distaff, Songbird could run in the new $12 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park, Florida, on Jan. 28, 2017.
Porter is no stranger to bringing along a maturing filly. His Havre de Grace was a major 3-year-old filly. In 2011, as a 4-year-old Havre de Grace took on the “boys” winning the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga and earning the Eclipse Horse of the Year title.
Video courtesy of the Breeders’ Cup
Bookkeeping and statistics Beholder’s win in the Longines Distaff earned Rick Porter $1,100,000. Her connections received the Distaff trophy and timepieces from Longines. Typically, the winning trainer and jockey each receive 10% of the purse. The team back at the barn may also earn a percentage.
The 2016 Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff, held over 1 1/8 miles, clocked in at a reasonable 1:49.20. Beholder paid $8.60 to win. The Beholder-Songbird exacta paid $12.60. The trifecta of Beholder-Songbird-Forever Unbridled paid $40.40.
Note: all earning and handicapping data supplied by Equibase
Credit: Matthew Stockman, O, The Oprah Magazine Getty Image
She Dances … Zenyatta
Credit: Coady photo
She Guzzles Guinness … Zenyatta
She Is a Premier Athlete, Winning Over $5 Million
Credit: Breeders’ Cup
She Is Profiled in O, The Oprah Magazine as one of O’s 2010 Power List Personalities
“She’s absolutely perfect at her profession, and that is very rare–not just in sports but in all things. It’s difficult to win even one race, let alone 18.
“She always makes me think of those great war beasts of Greek sculpture, or the beautiful horses carved on the Parthenon. She is absolutely enormous–not only very tall [more than six feet from the top of her head] but also very broad, very muscular. She is simply drawn on a different scale from other racehorses.
“In just about every race, she starts out last and then comes flying at the end, breaking her opponents’ hearts. The crowds love it. She clearly knows exactly where the wire is. And she has such a huge stride, it looks like she’s moving slowly when she’s actually covering a lot of ground very fast. We haven’t seen how fast she can really go, because she only goes fast enough to catch the other horses at the wire!
“I’ve seen 40 or 50 thousand racehorses in my life, and I’ve never seen any other horse do that (the dance). I think she’s playing around. She’s definitely enjoying herself–psyching herself up before a race.”
— Laura Hillenbrand, author of 2001’s best-seller Seabiscuit, “The 2010 O Power List”, O, The Oprah Magazine , October 2010.
She is Zenyatta
The iconic six year old Thoroughbred race mare who has stormed down every homestretch to victory, eighteen times. And twice in the World Championship Breeders’ Cup series. She’s preparing to take an unprecedented third Breeders’ Cup World Championship title in November.
Clearly besotted with his charge, trainer John Shirreffs strapped a camera to the helmet of Zenyatta’s exercise rider so her fans can experience the view from the back of a champion. Enjoy the ride!
Between June 1 and June 20, 2016, there were eight equine deaths while in training or racing at the New York Racing Association’s Belmont Park. Over the same time frame in 2015, there were two equine deaths while racing at Belmont Park; in 2014 there was one racing and one training death at Belmont over the same time frame.