OH Tracks to Get VLTs, But What About Purses? Tom LaMarra, Blood-Horse Date Posted: 7/10/2009 4:45:43 PM Last Updated: 7/13/2009 1:56:57 PM Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland said July 10 he will sign an executive order authorizing video lottery terminals at Ohio’s seven racetracks, but questions remain as to how much revenue—if any—purses and breed development will receive. The announcement culminated weeks of bickering between Ohio Republicans and Democrats over a two-year budget that was to take effect July 1. The state has been operating with temporary budgets. Republicans wouldn’t agree to authorize VLTs legislatively, though they will have to pass a bill that includes implementation requirements. Strickland had a choice to authorize VLTs via executive order or drop the plan, which he proposed. ―Under the bipartisan agreement, I will issue a directive instructing Ohio’s Lottery director to expeditiously take all necessary actions to implement video lottery terminals at Ohio racetracks,‖ Strickland said in a July 10 statement. ―The General Assembly will acknowledge the Lottery’s authority to implement video lottery terminals and provide for a statutory definition of video lottery terminals and other implementation requirements in (the budget bill). ―With this understanding, I am confident that the legislature can now move quickly to enact a balanced budget that rightly prioritizes education as the foundation of Ohio’s economic revival, reduces state government spending while minimizing the impact on critical health and safety services, and does not raise taxes on Ohioans or Ohio businesses struggling through this recession.‖ Strickland hasn’t yet signed the order; the state legislature is expected to take more action on the budget July 13. All parties, however, have agreed on the plan. Horsemen haven’t seen the executive order, but they said previous drafts included no protection for horsemen or percentages for purses and breed development programs. They said they wouldn’t comment until they see the executive order and companion legislation, but expressed concern purses and other protections won’t be part of the plan. Earlier reports indicated the racetracks, which will serve as agents for the Ohio Lottery and have been involved in negotiations with state legislators, proposed 4% of VLT revenue for horsemen, the lowest figure in the country. The Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association told lawmakers 10% is the magic number. Strickland in June said racetracks VLTs would be about plugging a ho le in the state budget, which is short about $3.2 billion, not about saving Ohio's troubled horse racing industry. Racing officials have said they would work to fund purses "adequately," but they offered no specifics. Indiana looks to counter possible gambling competition Lesley Stedman Weidenbener, Louisville Courier-Journal Posted: July 12, 2009 INDIANAPOLIS — Concerned in part about potential competition from Kentucky and Ohio, Indiana lawmakers will study the state's gambling industry to see how best to position the casinos and protect state revenue. Although the Kentucky General Assembly failed to pass a bill last month to allow slot- like video terminals at racetracks, Hoosier officials think the commonwealth will eventually act to stop India na riverboats from siphoning dollars from Kentuckians' pocketbooks. And Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland announced Friday that he will sign an executive order authorizing video lottery terminals at the state's racetracks. He said he will direct the Ohio Lottery to move quickly to have the terminals installed as a way to shore up state revenues. "The foremost issue we need to look at is the possible competition from other states," said Rep. Trent VanHaaften, the chairman of the House Public Policy Committee and a member of the Indiana study group. "We have to look at how we deliver gaming in Indiana," said Van Haaften, D-Mount Vernon. "We need to see how it should look in 2010, as opposed to how it was seen back in 1993," when the state's casino law passed. That could mean eliminating the requirement that Indiana's riverboat casinos be capable of cruising — even though none of them do — or allowing them to rebuild on land. It could mean changing the casinos' tax structure so that owners are encouraged to develop larger resort properties and by simplifying an admisions tax so owners aren't punished financially when patrons come and go from the casino floor. Or it could mean allowing casinos to give free drinks to customers, a common practice in Las Vegas. All those ideas and more are listed in the new state budget bill that created the study committee. "We need to look at things that will keep the industry healthy but don't allow it to spread to the point where it becomes a social problem," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, who will be a co-chairman of the study committee. Patrick Neely, the executive director of the Kentucky Equine Education Project, a group lobbying for slots at horse tracks, said Kentucky officials should pay close attention to what the proposed changes might be, particularly as they pertain to Indiana's two racetrack casinos. Already, so-called "racino" revenue has bolstered purses at Indiana tracks, luring horses that would otherwise race in Kentucky. "The Indiana legislature has done a good job so far at protecting their horse industry and furthering their interests," Neely said. "We're not going to be surprised if they try to put Kentucky at a further competitive disadvantage." Indiana has 10 riverboat casinos, which were authorized by the 1993 law, on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. The Ohio River boats include Horseshoe Southern Indiana in Harrison County, just a few miles from downtown Louisville. Lawmakers later authorized a land-based casino at French Lick in Southern Indiana and, more recently, the installation of the slots-only racinos at the state's two horse tracks in Anderson and Shelbyville. Combined, the casinos pay more than $800million annually in taxes to state and local governments. Mike Smith, executive director of the Casino Association of Indiana, said it's time to take a look at how the industry is maturing and how it can be improved — including whether changes in the tax structure could encourage development that brings in more revenue. "It's an industry very important to economy of the state," he said. "‚Ä¶ What we have here is a great opportunity. But there's also a great opportunity for huge encroachment into our market from Ohio and Kentucky and further expansion in the Chicagoland area." Supporters of slots in Kentucky had hoped that encroachment could begin soon. The Kentucky House passed a bill during June's special session that would have allowed video slots at seven of the eight Kentucky tracks and used some of the proceeds to boost purses and fund breeding incentives. Proponents argued that Kentucky must act to compete with states that authorized casino-style gambling to support their racing and breeding industries. But the bill died in the Senate, and the chamber's president, David Williams, R-Burkesville, said the proposal has no chance to pass in 2010. Rep. David Osborne, R-Prospect, said that just gives Indiana — as well as Pennsylvania and West Virginia — more time to poach Kentucky's horses, trainers and breede rs. "I'm in the horse business and we've been screaming from the top of the rooftops for a long time that this was going to happen," Osborne said. "We've been seeing little bits and pieces of it, but this year was dramatic," primarily because of the changes brought by the Indiana racinos. The idea for Indiana's new study emerged as House and Senate leaders were trying to beat back attempts to insert gambling- related measures into the state budget bill — even though the proposals had not been considered by legislative committees. In particular, some northwestern Indiana lawmakers said in April that they would not vote for the budget unless it allowed Gary to move one of its two underperforming casinos on Lake Michigan to a new location in the city while essentially selling the other gambling license to another Indiana community. The controversy contributed to lawmakers' failure to pass a budget on the session's last day and led to a special session in June to write a new spending plan. Just before the special session, Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, announced that his chamber would not consider any budget bill that included gambling provisions — except for the language creating the study committee. Now, all the ideas that have been discussed largely behind closed doors will be aired in public hearings. Kenley expects the first hearing to be held before Labor Day; then the group likely will meet through the fall before preparing recommended legislation for the 2010 session. One of its most important roles will be considering the gambling industry as a whole, rather than looking at problems or proposals from individual venues. Ernest Yelton, executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, said he applauds the study because changes sought by one casino can affect the rest of the industry. "Some may be simple on their face but they can have a domino effect," Yelton said. "They need to study them and see which ones have merit." Kevin Flanery ne w Churchill president Matt Hegarty, Daily Racing Form Posted 7/13/2009, 11:09 am Churchill Downs Inc. on Monday named Kevin Flanery, its senior vice president of national public affairs and communications, as the president of its Louisville track. Flanery will take over a position last held by Steve Sexton, who in January was moved to a new subsidiary at Churchill's parent company. Flanery will report to Bill Carstanjen, who is the chief operating officer of Churchill Downs Inc. Flanery was first hired at Churchill in 2005 as vice president of national public affairs. He has been most closely associated with Churchill's public-relations efforts surrounding the company's attempts to get authorization for slot machines at its racetracks. In 2008, Flanery headed up a public-relations campaign to get authorization for slot machines at the company's Calder Race Course in Florida. Voters approved the machines in a referendum early that year. Churchill and other Kentucky racetracks have been aggressively lobbying for slot machines over the past several years, but so far, the efforts have been unsuccessful. During a special session in June, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed a bill legalizing slots at all seven state racetracks, but the bill died at the committee level in the Senate. The legislation is expected to be resurrected next year, or in another special session that may be called in the fall. Prior to joining Churchill, Flanery was a secretary of the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet and president of Hagan Properties, a real-estate development company. He graduated from Bellarmine University with a degree in psychology and received his law degree from the University of Kentucky. No Ruling Yet in West Virginia Exclusions Tom LaMarra, Blood-Horse Date Posted: 7/10/2009 11:34:21 AM Last Updated: 7/11/2009 3:43:36 PM No ruling was issued July 8 after a hearing in the ongoing exclusion case involving horsemen at Charles Town Races & Slots in West Virginia. The hearing was held in Kanawha County, W.Va., Circuit Court. The horsemen are attempting to have the West Virginia Racing Commission hold hearings on their exclusion; track owner Penn National Gaming Inc. is seeking to stop the action. Both sides were told to prepare proposed orders in the case, said Doug McSwain, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association general counsel who is representing Dick and Janene Watson and Patty Burns. The judge can sign one of the orders, who prepare his own, when the next hearing is held. ―The judge had a lot of hard questions for both sides,‖ McSwain said. ―He’s going all the way to the heart of the question.‖ The next hearing date hasn’t been set. It’s widely believed the ruling will be appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court by either side. The WVRC planned to hold hearings on the exclusions, but PNGI appealed through the court system. Observers believe the case and its outcome could set precedent. Saratoga Open House on July 26 Edited NYRA release, Blood-Horse Date Posted: 7/10/2009 2:05:04 PM Last Updated: 7/11/2009 9:15:39 AM The 29th annual open house at Saratoga racecourse, scheduled for Sunday, July 26, will include five races -- four steeplechase races and one turf race -- presented by the National Steeplechase Association. Presented by the New York Racing Association, the annual open house will be held from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and will feature carnival games, lively music, giant inflatables, circus shows, a pet walk, handicapping seminars and an array of food and beverages -- all to benefit local charities. Admission and parking are free. The National Steeplechase Association will get a jump on the racing season, presenting five races - four jump races and a turf race – along with a special luncheon on the dining terrace and box area for race sponsors and patrons of the event. There is no pari- mutuel wagering on these races, which get underway at 1:30 p.m., 2:05 p.m., 2:40p.m., 3:15 p.m., and 3:50 p.m. The Islip Horsemen’s Association Long Island Drill Team team will demonstrate its moves and skills as more than a dozen horses execute intricate pinwheels, circles, and V formations. The team will perform on the main track at 11:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. The open house will include the sixth annual mascot race, which pits area sports team’s mascots against one another in a one-of-a-kind race. Veteran runner Rowdy the River Rat and first timers Spike the Albany Firebird and Phlex the Adirondack Phantom will race tail for tail down the main track. Additional area mascots are expected to join the competition. While the mascots race on the main track, patrons can bring their pets for a leisurely stroll in the backyard. The Best in Show Pet Walk will take place at open house near the Union Avenue gate from Noon to 2:30 p.m. Pet owners are encouraged to donate $5 to the Classroom Enrichment Fund, which is dedicated to helping local schools receive newspapers and other learning tools in their classrooms. After making its debut appearance last year, the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology will again make a stop at open house bringing its educational and explorative Leaping Lizards and Rocking Reptiles exhibit to the Spa. Featuring shows under the Carousel at 11:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m. and 3 p.m., kids and families will have a chance to meet these cold-blooded creatures while learning all about their behaviors, habitats and lifestyles. The backyard will play host to a variety of activities including pony rides, inflatables, face painting, caricatures and a petting zoo. Young racing fans can participate in the interactive backyard circus in the festival tent, or try their skills in the inflatable obstacle course, the Adrenaline Rush. Captain Squeeze & The Zydeco Moshers, a strolling swing jazz band, will make their way through the track playing jazz favorites, while Mark Rabin performs cover songs underneath the bandstand from such artists as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. The open house will also offer patrons a glimpse into the inner workings of the track with free backstretch tours. The tours will run every half hour beginning at 11 a.m. at the clubhouse entrance. The day's activities will also include handicapping seminars in the Paddock Pavilion with handicappers Nick Kling and Tom Amello from the Troy Record’s ―Track Facts‖ and Julie Hoxsie, a Thoroughbred breeder and trainer and the associate producer of Off Track Betting’s "Down the Stretch" program. Among the acitivities to benefit charities, visitors can have their photo taken and laminated on a 3‖x 4‖ photo magnet, available for a minimal donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Upstate New York/Vermont Chapter. Again this year, the Saratoga Economic Opportunity Council, a non-profit program that provides aid to low- and/or fixed-income families in crisis, will greet patrons at the gates in an effort to collect non- perishable canned goods. Each patron who donates two non-perishable canned items will receive a commemorative 2009 NYRA calendar, while supplies last. All proceeds from food and beverages benefit local charities and non-profit organizations such as Living Resources, the Saratoga-Wilton BPOE, the Jewish Community Center, the Children's Museum of Saratoga, the Racing City Chorus, the Brookside Museum, Saratoga EOC, the Saratoga Rowing Association and the Knights of Columbus. Season passes for the upcoming 2009 Saratoga Race Course season will be available for purchase at the grandstand customer service center. The passes are $75 for clubhouse and $35 for grandstand. The passes are good for the entire 36-day Saratoga meet, including Travers Day, Saturday, August 29. For up-to-date information on open house and other special events, please visit www.nyra.com/saratogaevents.shtml Montblanc Added as Breeders' Cup Partner Edited Breeders' Cup release, Blood-Horse Date Posted: 7/13/2009 1:27:58 PM The Breeders’ Cup and Montblanc announced they have entered into a partnership, designating Montblanc as the exclusive promotional partner in the timing category for the 2009 Breeders’ Cup. The 26th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. on Nov. 6-7. The event will be televised live on ABC and ESPN. As part of the new relationship, Montblanc will: --Present a Star Nicolas Rieussec timepiece to the winning owner of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic and Breeders’ Cup Classic in the Winner’s Circle --Provide VIP gifts for all participants (International VIPs, owners, breeders, jockeys, etc.) --Have product displays in premium areas at Santa Anita Park According to a release, Montblanc is owner of the patented rights to the Star Nicolas Rieussec timing movement. Almost two hundred years ago King Louis XVIII commissioned Nicolas Rieussec to develop a timing system that could record the exact times run by individual horses. The watchmaker Rieussec succeeded—to an accuracy of a quarter of a second—at a horse racing event held in Paris in 1821, according to the release. Montblanc has crafted this method of timing, based on the principle of turning discs and fixed indices, into the Star Nicolas Rieussec Monopusher Chronograph, the release said. Portland Meadows to Race 79 Days in 2009-2010 Edited Portland Meadows release, Blood-Horse Date Posted: 7/9/2009 8:28:58 AM Last Updated: 7/10/2009 10:03:05 AM Portland Meadows has been awarded 79 racing days for 2009-2010 meet that will begin Monday, Oct. 5, and conclude Saturday, May 1. Racing will be conducted on a Monday- Wednesday schedule from Oct. 5 through Feb. 24. Live racing will then shift to two days per week, racing Monday and Wednesday in March and April, and closing day will be Saturday program on Kentucky Derby Day, May 1. During the 2008-2009 meet, all sources average handle was $676,595, which was 27.21% higher than the previous meeting and marked the third consecutive year for an increase in handle. The stakes schedule for the 2009-10 meeting will be released soon. Portland Meadows barn area will open up for full-time training on Wednesday Aug. 5. Geary's horse scratched at Ellis because of rule change Jennie Rees, Louisville Courier Journal Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 When an emergency racing regulation was passed dealing with licensing issues, a little-known provision went into effect: Officers or corporate executives of racetracks in Kentucky cannot run horses they own at their track. This provision became much more public when Saturday morning the Ellis Park stewards scratched Ellis owner Ron Geary's horse Grasmere Park from the eighth race of the opening-day card. Actually, the gelding was taken out of racing consideration much earlier, with Kentucky Horse Racing Commission executive director Lisa Underwood notifying Geary of the problem on Thursday, said chief state steward John Veitch. Entries were taken Wednesday. Veitch said Geary had not been aware of the regulatory change, understood it and wanted to comply with the rules. The change went into affect since last year's Ellis Park meet. Veitch said the ownership licensing regulation was tightened in the wake of Einstein's jailed owners, the fen-phen disbarred lawyers Shirley Cunningham and Bill Gallion, leasing the top handicap horse to their wife and girlfriend, respectively. Unlike New York - where Einstein was not permitted to run because of licensing issues, Kentucky then required only the lessees to be licensed, not the leasor. Now both those who get the horse through a lease arrangement and the original owners must be licensed in Kentucky. (Einstein now runs in Kentucky without impediment because a court-appointed receiver has control over the horse.) But while the commission and Frankfort were at it, other changes were made to address seeming conflicts of interest. The only other racetrack head impacted by the rule change would be Corey Johnsen, the president of Kentucky Downs in Franklin and a horse owner. Geary and Johnsen are free to run horses at any track in the state but their own. The regulation does not apply to stockholders and board members of a Kentucky track as long as they are not officials of the corporation, Veitch said. For instance, Churchill board chairman Carl Pollard is free to run his horses at Churchill Downs; the many breeders on the Keeneland board can run at that track. It's a Bird hearing scheduled Mary Rampellini, Daily Racing Form Posted 7/10/2009, 6:17 pm The Arkansas Racing Commission has scheduled a July 21 hearing on It's a Bird's positive test for Naproxen following his April 4 win in the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap. The hearing will be heard during the commission's regularly scheduled meeting at the Ledbetter Building in Little Rock, Ark. Oaklawn concluded its meet April 11. "Since the stewards are gone, this one is going straight to the commission," said Ron Oliver, executive director of the commission. Naproxen, a nonsteriodal anti- inflammatory sold for human use under the brand name Aleve, is a Class 4 medication violation. Arkansas has a zero-tolerance policy on the drug. Possible penalties are loss of purse, fine and/or suspension. It's a Bird has established himself as one of the top handicap horses in the nation this year for trainer Marty Wolfson. He won the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park in January, and followed that up with wins in the Oaklawn and the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 25. In his most recent start, It's a Bird was seventh in the Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont Park on July 4. Kirk Ziadie gets 60-day ban Mike Welsch, Daily Racing Form Posted 7/10/2009, 6:13 pm Kirk Ziadie, who has won the last two Calder training titles and two of the last three Tropical at Calder championships, has been issued a 60-day suspension by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering after one of his horses, Not Acclaim, tested positive for the tra nquilizer acepromazine on March 19, 2007, at Gulfstream Park. According to state steward Kevin Scheen, Ziadie's suspension was to have been effective on June 18, but neither Ziadie nor the Calder stewards were notified of the decision until June 26 because of an error by the division. Scheen said Ziadie immediately filed an appeal and was granted a stay of the suspension by the First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee. "The matter is out of our hands and in the hands of the appellate court at the mo ment," Scheen said on Friday. Ziadie, who was also issued a $1,000 fine to go along with his 60 day suspension, is third in the standings at the Calder meet with 15 victories through Friday. Ziadie, the son of veteran south Florida horseman Ralph Ziadie, is the trainer of Marina Ballerina, who was scheduled to compete in Saturday's Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder. 'Zero Tole rance' an Issue in Asmussen Case Dan Johnson, Blood-Horse Date Posted: 7/9/2009 11:43:30 AM Last Updated: 7/10/2009 10:04:20 AM Even after an eight-hour hearing July 7, the arguments still aren’t over concerning a May 2008 drug positive for one of Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen’s horses. Asmussen’s Timber Trick tested positive for a lidocaine metabolite after winning a maiden race at Lone Star Park in Texas 14 months ago. Asmussen and his attorneys contended that lidocaine, a local anesthetic, wasn’t injected into the filly, and they believe the level found was so minute the positive is the result of accidental contamination. That argument continued July 8 when Asmussen’s attorneys, Karen Murphy and Maggi Moss, filed an objection that cited other cases in which the quantitative amount was considered by the Texas Racing Commission. One of the defense requests that had been turned down was to have the blood tested to show the amount of the lidocaine metabolite. ―It’s so minuscule, they need to quantify it,‖ Moss said after the hearing. ―We said we’d stand behind the truth even if it was lidocaine.‖ The commission issued a statement saying the level doesn’t matter since Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for lidocaine, which is rated as a Class 2 violation by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Asmussen’s attorneys had earlier asked a Texas district court for data on a split sample, but were told they had to exhaust their administrative appeals before the court could have jurisdiction. Australia: WA trainer disqualified for five years Posted: 14 Jul 2009 www.Perthracing.com.au Dual licensed trainer Greg Harper has been disqualified by RWWA Stewards in a marathon inquiry that concluded at 6.15 pm on Monday evening. Harper had been charged under AR 178 that he presented Flythaiga at Asco t races on January 31, with an elevated TCO2 level and pleaded guilty. Flythaiga finished fifth to Brave Knight. Harper was disqualified for five years, effective immediately. This was the fourth drug related offence that Harper has been found guilty of and the third involving an elevated TCO2 level. Hollywood track announcer Stauffer hospitalized Steve Schuelein, Thoroughbred Times Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 5:27 PM Vic Stauffer, track announcer at Hollywood Park and agent for meet- leading jockey Joel Rosario, was hospitalized at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank, California, and was undergoing tests on Sunday. Stauffer, 50, was admitted Saturday night, complaining of weakness after attending a concert with his fiancée. Ed Burgart, track announcer at Los Alamitos, pinch- hit for Stauffer behind the mike at Hollywood Park Sunday. Douglas Update: Spirits High, Progress Slow Deirdre B. Biles, Blood-Horse Date Posted: 7/10/2009 7:49:48 PM Last Updated: 7/11/2009 9:13:51 AM Rene Douglas Photo: Four Footed Fotos Rene Douglas, who was seriously injured in a May 23 riding mishap at Arlington Park in Illinois, continues to undergo rehabilitation following his injury. ―Rene’s spirits are high, the work is difficult, and the progress is slow,‖ reported Douglas’ agent, Dennis Cooper, in a message that was sent on July 10 to the 3,632- member Facebook group ―Rene Douglas Get Well Card.‖ Douglas’ rehabilitation was interrupted in June by complications caused by pneumonia, and he had to return to Chicago's Northwestern University Hospital, where he was taken after his accident.. He is now back at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Douglas underwent extensive spinal surgery May 24 after suffering a variety of injuries, including broken vertebrae in his neck and compressed vertebrae in his lower back, when his mount, Born To Be, clipped heels and fell on him during the Arlington Matron (gr. III).\ According to the Facebook message, cards, flowers, and fresh plants can be sent to the Rehabilitation Institute at 345 E. Superior Street, Chicago, Ill. 60611, Rene Douglas, room 744. Racing News Stars of Texas a big day all around for Asmussen Mary Rampellini, Daily Racing Form Posted 7/11/2009, 8:17 pm GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Back in April, the management of Lone Star Park began making plans to honor the track's all-time winningest trainer, Steve Asmussen, at the meet that was upcoming. Saturday, things came together in a big way. Asmussen was feted as Lone Star's man of the year during a card in which he set a record for trainer wins in a meet and swept half of the four stakes that made up the $375,000 Stars of Texas Day. "He's our man," said Lone Star spokesperson Dan Leary. "He's from here. He's reached a pinnacle at the highest levels nationally and internationally and we just wanted to honor and thank him." The stakes portion of Stars of Texas Day opened with the $125,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Stallion Stakes for 2-year-olds. Big Texas Daddy overtook a game Western Forum by three- quarters of a length to give Asmussen a total of 99 wins at the meet, enough to break the record of 98 that trainer Cole Norman set at Lone Star in 2003. Big Texas Daddy ($5.20) stalked the pace and closed well under Justin Shepherd, covering 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.70. Western Forum held second, 7 1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Range War. Big Texas Daddy is a son of Texas's perennial leading sire, Valid Expectations, and he races for Ackerley Brothers Farm. "He was named after Valid Expectations," said Asmussen, 43, who also trained Valid Expectations for Ackerley Brothers Farm. Asmussen's other stakes winner on the card came in the $125,000 fillies division of the Texas Stallion Stakes with Camille's Appeal ($11.40). She closed fast for a 2 1/4-length win, covering the 5 1/2 furlongs for 2-year-olds in 1:03.98. Shepherd was also aboard, one of five winners he had on the card, all for Asmussen. Camille's Appeal was making her first start for Asmussen after being purchased privately by Ro Parra. Asmussen, who trained Curlin to back-to-back Horse of the Year titles in 2007 and 2008, is a resident of nearby Arlington, Texas. He won the Eclipse Award as North America's outstanding trainer of 2008, and currently trains Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra. She is a top candidate for 2009 Horse of the Year. "It's been a great ride, and we want to continue it," said Asmussen. Rachel Alexandra in Bullet Work at Saratoga Blood-Horse Date Posted: 7/13/2009 1:36:05 PM Last Updated: 7/13/2009 1:52:51 PM BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra worked five furlongs in 1:01.38 over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Racecourse July 13. The bullet work, with exercise rider Dominic Terry aboard, was the fastest of the day among 12 working that distance on the training track. ―She’s tremendous; she’s a beautiful animal; she’s doing great,‖ said trainer Steve Asmusse n. ―She was unbelievably light on her feet today and she felt great about doing it. It was about as easy as she could do it. It was exactly what I was hoping to see.‖ She took the first three fractions in :12 3/5, :25 and :37 1/5 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14 4/5. This was the first time that Asmussen has been at his Saratoga stable since Rachel Alexandra arrived there on June 28. Immediately after the work, Asmussen said no decision had been made on when the filly will make her next start, although tthe grade II, $1 million Delaware Handicap for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going 1 1/4 miles at Delaware Park Sunday, July 19, is under consideration. ―I think (a decision) to eliminate the Delaware Handicap will have to be made today or tomorrow from a timing standpoint,‖ Asmussen said. ―They are drawing the entries tomorrow (for the race). It’s a timing thing more than anything. Her being a three-year-old filly that has success outside of her division just gives (us) that many more options. I think the only thing that we can state is the obvious – that’s her and she looks good.‖ Jess Jackson, principal of Stonestreet Stables, and co-owner Harold T. McCormick and trainer Asmussen may also be considering the grade I, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks for 3-year- old fillies running 1 1/4 miles on July 25 at Belmont Park and the grade I, $1 million, nine- furlong Haskell Invitational for 3- year-olds on Aug. 2 at Monmouth Park. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro was shipped to Saratoga after winning the Mother Goose by a stakes- record margin of 19¼ lengths. The previous record for the Mother Goose (13½ lengths) was set by Ruffian in 1975. The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro also ran a stakes-record time of 1:46.33 for 1 1/8 miles, surpassing Lakeway’s 1994 record of 1:46.58. Previous to the Preakness, she won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) when trained by Hal Wiggins. Mine That Bird breezes five furlongs Marty McGee, Daily Racing Form Posted 7/13/2009, 1:51 pm Reed Palmer/Churchill Downs Mine That Bird drills five furlongs in 1:02 at Churchill on Monday in preparation for the West Virginia Derby. LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird was sent through another workout Monday over a fast track at Churchill Downs, breezing five furlongs in 1:02 on a cool, sunny morning. Going shortly after the renovation break, and with Jamie Theriot aboard, Mine That Bird galloped out six furlongs into the clubhouse turn in 1:15. The 1:02 clocking was the 12th- fastest of 18 works of the morning at the five- furlong distance. It was the third workout for the gelding since he finished third as the favorite in the June 6 Belmont Stakes. He previously breezed a half- mile on June 29 and July 7. Trainer Chip Woolley has said that Mine That Bird, owned by Mark Allen and Leonard Blach, will make his next start in the Grade 3, $750,000 West Virginia Derby on Aug. 1 at Mountaineer Park in Chester, W.Va. Woolley told Churchill officials Monday that he will breeze the gelding next Monday, and probably will ship him out of Churchill on July 24. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has the mount on Mine That Bird in his next two scheduled starts, including the $1 million Shadwell Travers on Aug. 29 at Saratoga. Mine That Bird won the 135th Kentucky Derby on May 2 before running second in the May 16 Preakness and third in the Belmont. Calvin Borel rode him in the Derby and Belmont. Sariska doubles up in Irish Oaks Alan Shuback, Daily Racing Form Posted 7/12/2009, 5:27 pm It was a stroll in the park for Sariska at the Curragh on Sunday as the English Oaks winner doubled her classic pleasure with the easiest of victories in the $701,000 Irish Oaks. In a performance that recalled that of Montjeu in the 2000 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, and that of Millkom in the 1995 Man o' War Stakes, Sariska cruised to a three- length victory over longshot Roses for the Lady. Midday, a head runner-up in the English Oaks, was a well beaten third, 7 1/2 lengths behind the impressive winner. Jamie Spencer was content to let the even- money Sariska dawdle along near the back of the 10-runner field as Roses for the Lady slogged her way through the heavy ground on the front end, serving as the pacesetter for her John Oxx-trained stablemate Beauty O'Gwaun, who was some eight lengths behind in third, just in front of the 9-2 Midday. Beauty O'Gwaun called it quits more than a half- mile from home as Midday loomed large, but for a moment it seemed as if the 25-1 rabbit might hold on. Sariska, however, was under a double hold as she made up gound by the stride midway through the stretch. The Pivotal filly calmly galloped to the lead at the sixteenth pole, her imperious triumph punctuated b y Spencer's look over his shoulder at Fran Berry, who had no answer aboard the maiden Roses for the Lady. The winning time for the 1 1/2 miles was an inconquesential 2:45.84. This race was all about the class of Sariska, who has now won three straight, the 1 5/16- mile, Group 3 Musidora Stakes having preceded her victory in the English Oaks. Trainer Michael Bell said that Sariska would run next against older fillies and mares in the 1 1/2- mile, Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks at York on Aug. 20, after which an autumn campaign would be mapped out. The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is an intended target, although she would have to be supplemented for that 1 1/2- mile Oct. 4 contest at Longchamp, for which she is now 8-1 with both Ladbrokes and William Hill. Rail Trip breaks through to win Gold Cup Steve Andersen, Daily Racing Form Posted 7/11/2009, 8:58 pm INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It's easy to put a label on a horse. When Rail Trip entered training in 2007, trainer Ron Ellis thought he'd be a Derby horse in 2008. That ended when the colt was diagnosed with a bone chip in an ankle. Earlier this year, after Rail Trip won three two-turn races but was beaten in two stakes, it looked like was a miler. It turns out that Rail Trip is a Gold Cup horse, as in Saturday's $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup. Winning his first graded stakes, Rail Trip stalked 23-1 pacesetter Tres Borrachos to the final turn and pulled clear through the stretch to win the Grade 1 Gold Cup by three lengths. Ridden by Jose Valdivia, Jr. Rail Trip ($21.40) ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.75, a track record on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track synthetic surface. The victory ended a two-race losing streak for Rail Trip, second-place finishes in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap in May and the Grade 2 Californian Stakes in J une. Those losses were preceded by wins in his first five starts. "He's a lightly raced horse and I think he learned a lot off those two races," Ellis said. "I think he got labeled a little too early in his life. All the races he's run have been a build-up to this." The Gold Cup was the first time that Rail Trip was not favored. Owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel, Rail Trip was dismissed as the fifth choice in the betting. Valdivia kept Rail Trip near the front throughout, tracking Tres Borrachos through early fractions of 23.72 and 47.94 seconds. Rail Trip moved alongside Tres Borrachos on the turn and was not threatened in the stretch, turning a lead of 1 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole to three lengths at the finish. "Before I got to the quarter pole, I thought, 'I'm going to try to break this race open,' " Valdivia said. "I didn't think it was a matter if he was good enough. I just kept thinking whether he could get the mile and a quarter. I knew they were really going to have to run hard to get by me." Tres Borrachos, the winner of the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes in 2008, held second, finishing 4 3/4 lengths in front of Life Is Sweet, the only female in the field of 13. Life Is Sweet, who won the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap at Santa Anita in March, was 12th on the backstretch and passed eight rivals in the final furlong to be third. "She ran okay," said jockey Garrett Gomez. "I still believe she doesn't handle this racetrack as well as she does Santa Anita's." Mast Track, who won the 2008 Gold Cup finished fourth, followed by Parading (the 2-1 favorite), Informed, Magnum, Global Hunter, Dakota Phone, Bullsbay, Song of Navarone, Big Booster, and Autism Awareness. Ellis described the win as his biggest personal achievement since 2004 when Declan's Moon was the champion 2-year-old male. Rail Trip has won 6 of 8 starts and $667,790. His first five wins consisted of a maiden race, three allowance races, and the Santana Mile Handicap at Santa Anita in April. The victory was a vindication for Samantha Siegel, who always through Rail Trip had the ability to win a major race. "We gave him plenty of time," she said. "We thought he'd make a good older horse. "He's gotten better after every single race. It took us a little longer to get him to these type of races." Penn Horsemen to Get $400,000 'Thank You' Tom LaMarra, Blood-Horse Date Posted: 7/9/2009 1:31:01 PM Last Updated: 7/10/2009 9:59:22 AM Horsemen at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course are getting a $400,000 ―thank you‖ July 11. The Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association put together the program, which features nine overnight races with inflated purses. A similar program is scheduled for July 18. Purses at Penn National are fueled by revenue from slot machines that became operational in the winter of 2008. The July 11 pots are roughly double the usual nightly average. Entry-level allowance races will go for $60,000 and maiden special weight events for $50,000. The purse for a $5,000 claiming event for non-winners of two races lifetime is $20,000, and the purse for a ―name your own claiming price‖ event at 1 1/2 miles is $40,000. The featured event on the 10-race card is the previously scheduled $75,000 Ligature Stakes for Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares. No race drew fewer than 12 entries. Eight races have also-eligible lists five- and six- horses deep. The program stemmed from discussions during meetings of Penn National's condition book committee. ―(The program) was designed for those horsemen who have supported our program through the lean times,‖ Pennsylvania HBPA executive director Todd Mostoller said. ―Basically, it was put together as an opportunity for them to have preference of entry and good purses, and to say thank you.‖ Penn National is expecting close to 500 people in a tent on the apron that night. The overnight races July 11 are for male horses; races with similar conditions July 18 will be for female horses. ―We’ll see how it goes,‖ Mostoller said. ―We’re really please with the entries we’ve gotten. It might be tweaked (in the future), but it’s certainly something we’ll look to do on an annual basis." Ellis Park: Fans flock to Funny Cide Tim Etheridge, Evansville Courier & Press Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2009 HENDERSON, Ky. — Tom Ausenbaugh was in the clubhouse at Ellis Park, handicapping the 2003 Kentucky Derby in the minutes leading up to the race, when a woman he had never met handed him a picture of a chestnut horse. "This one," she said, "is going to win the Derby." Ausenbaugh laughed it off. But he also purchased a $5 win ticket. Later, after watching the simulcast from Churchill Downs, he was cashing a ticket worth $68.50. The Evansville retiree has been a fan of Funny Cide ever since. "When you win on one, particularly when it's so unexpected, you remember it," Ausenbaugh said Saturday, standing outside the paddock at Ellis Park and watching as the 2003 Derby winner was treated with a bag of peppermints. "I would've been here since it's opening day, anyway, but when I saw he would be here, too, I thought I'd come by and pay my respects. "And believe me, I still have that picture at home." Hundreds of fans filed past the paddock to check out the now 9-year-old Funny Cide, who raced until he was 7 winning more than $3.5 million and now is retired to the Kentucky Horse Farm near Lexington. He's still a star for fans nationwide. "Anywhere I go, all the time, people ask me how he's doing," said Jack Knowlton, one of the partners in the Sackatoga Stable (named for the high school classmates' home town of Sackets Harbor, N.Y., and favorite track, Saratoga) who purchased Funny Cide for $75,000 as a 2-year-old. "I go to Belmont, I go to Gulfstream, all I hear is 'how's he doing?, is he happy?' He's kind of gone but not forgotten. He's a good old horse, and he makes people happy and still does a lot of good." Funny Cide merchandise was for sale on Saturday, and Knowlton accepted donations for his autograph. The money goes to the Kentucky Horse Park's Hall of Champions. It's one way that Funny Cide keeps giving to the game. As a gelding, he wasn't rushed off to the breeding shed, so he raced longer than many modern horses and now serves as an ambassador of sorts. "He ran 38 races, and the wear and tear kind of got to him," said Knowlton. "So (trainer) Barclay Tagg used him as a stable pony for a year, then we took him to the Kentucky Horse Park. "He's been good for the game. His last race, we took him to a little track in New York, Finger Lakes, and they set an attendance record, had the b iggest crowd (12,000) since they opened 40-something years ago." "This horse won a stake every year he raced except when he was 5 and had some injuries," said Knowlton. "The only life he knows is around race tracks. Being a Derby winner, it seems that it's something magical for people. We've taken him to not just the biggest tracks, but to anywhere that it worked out. I think people appreciate that." They did in Henderson, which hadn't seen a Derby winner since 1923 champion Black Gold stabled but did not race in 1927 at what then was called Dade Park. Steve Aichle, a horse owner based near San Diego, came in to visit friends and be part of a crowd estimated at 6,009. He was happy to see Funny Cide, too. "Things like this, it's good for the game," he said. "It's good to see such a nice horse still looking so good, still being part of the game." Breeding News Stallion Lawyer Ron Euthanized Ron Mitchell, Blood-Horse Date Posted: 7/11/2009 12:19:37 PM Last Updated: 7/13/2009 10:11:17 AM Lawyer Ron Photo: Suzie Picou-Oldham Lawyer Ron , the 2007 champion older male, was euthanized July 10 at Stonewall Farm Stallions near Versailles, Ky., due to complications from a recent colic surgery A 6-year-old son of Langfuhr , Lawyer Ron was standing his second season at stud at Audrey Haisfield's Stonewall Farm Stallions, and his first crop of foals arrived this year. ―Not only was he a superior racehorse but his physical presence and contagious personality captivated everyone that saw him,‖ said Clark Shepherd, manager of Stonewall Farm Stallions. ―His first foals are tremendous. When breeders call in to report their Lawyer Ron foals being born, they all ha ve a story to tell. This is obviously a huge loss for us, as well as for the racing and breeding community.‖ Lawyer Ron stood at Stonewall for a 2009 fee of $25,000. Bred by the late James T. Hines Jr. and named for Hines' longtime friend and advisor, attorney Ron Bamberger, Lawyer Ron raced solely for his breeder until an interest in the colt was purchased by Stonewall Farms Racing Div. 1 prior to an unplaced finish in the 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Lawyer Ron retired with a dozen wins and eight placings from 26 races and earnings of $2,790,008. He was trained first by Robert Holthus and then by Todd Pletcher. His dam, Donation, is by Lord Avie. During his championship season in 2007 while trained by Pletcher, Lawyer Ron won a n allowance race before posting a daylight win in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II). Trained in 2007 by Pletcher, Lawyer Ron shipped to Saratoga, where he won the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) while setting a new track record of 1:46.64 for nine furlongs, and won the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) by more than eight lengths. Black Tie Affair Pensioned Blood-Horse Date Posted: 7/12/2009 10:26:15 AM Last Updated: 7/13/2009 10:16:22 AM Photo by Laura Plato Visit to O’Sullivan Farms during NHBPA Summer Convention. Black Tie Affair, 1991 Horse of the Year, has been pensioned at Randy Funkhouser’s O’Sullivan Farms near Charles Town, W.Va., because of complications from arthritis. The 23-year-old son of Miswaki found it difficult to cover mares. ―His fertility was fine last year,‖ Funkhouser said. ―He covered about 36 mares.‖ Bred in Ireland by S. Peakoff, Black Tie Affair was voted Horse of the Year and champion older male after winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) and six other graded stakes for owner Jeff Sullivan and trainer Ernie Poulos. Poulos, a popular trainer on the Illinois circuit, died in March of 1997. Black Tie Affair closed out his Horse of the Year season with six consecutive victories, taking the Stephen Foster (gr. III), Michigan Mile Handicap (gr. III), Cornhusker Handicap (gr. III), Philip Iselin Handicap (gr. I), and Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) prior to the Breeders' Cup. His streak came under four jockeys: Juvenile Diaz, Pat Day, Shane Sellers, and Jerry Bailey. Black Tie Affair was retired after the Classic with 18 wins from 45 starts and earnings of $3,370,694. Black Tie Affair, who entered stud in 1992 at Ben Walden Jr.’s Vinery near Midway, Ky., and later stood several years in Japan, has sired 35 stakes winners, including grade I winner and New York fan favorite Evening Attire and grade I winner and sire Formal Gold. His progeny earnings are $56.2 million. Black Tie Affair stood at O' Sullivan for a partnership managed by Donna Hayes. Black Tie Affair is out the Al Hattab mare Hat Tab Girl. Takeover Target retired with serious injury Thoroughbred Times Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 6:34 PM Takeover Target, Australia’s champion sprinter of 2006, has been retired after sustaining a career- ending injury during a seventh-place finish in the Darley July Cup (Eng-G1) on July 10 at Newmarket in England. The nine-year-old Celtic Swing gelding had surgery to stabilize a cracked cannon bone in his left hind leg at the Newmarket Veterinary Clinic, The Australian reported. Five screws we re inserted into the leg. He also is believed to have fractured the sesamoid bone in the same leg. Takeover Target will remain hospitalized for approximately 60 days before returning to is native country. ―He seems fine after the operation and he needs rest,‖ trainer and co-owner Joe Janiak told the publication. ―He has been a fantastic horse and we have had some great adventures with him.‖ Janiak bought Takeover Target for $1,200 (Australian). He won 21 of 41 career starts, including seven Group 1 races in Australia and Japan and was competitive at the highest level from 2006 to ’08 at Royal Ascot in England. His victories include the 2006 Seppelt Wines Newmarket Handicap (Aus-G1) and Lightning Stakes (Aus-G1) en route to honors as Australia’s champion sprinter. Sent to England the same season, he won the King's Stand Stakes (Eng-G2) and finished third in the Golden Jubilee Stakes (Eng-G1), both at Royal Ascot . He also won the ’06 Sprinters Stakes (Jpn-G1) at Nakayama in Japan. Out of Shady Stream, by Archregent, Takeover Target was bred by Meringo Stud Farm, New South Wales. Janiak plans to retire him to his stable at Coffs Harbour.