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Monday, January 19, 2009

The Sunshine Millions 2009

The Sunshine Millions 2009 is held on the January 24th at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California and at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. The brainchild of prominent horseman Frank Stronach, half of the eight Sunshine Millions races are run at one track and half at the other.

The Classic is one of four Sunshine Millions races that will be run at Gulfstream Park. The other four races, including the $500,000 Turf, will be run at Santa Anita. Total prize money is $3.6 million.

The Sunshine Millions matches California-breds against Florida-breds, but in the entries taken at both tracks on Monday the Florida-breds led by a wide margin, 59-34.

In the four races at Gulfstream Park, just seven California-breds were entered, compared to 39 Florida-breds. The Classic has just two California-breds, compared to 13 Florida-breds, three of whom wound up on the also-eligible list.

At Santa Anita, the spread was equitable, with 27 California-breds and 20 Florida-breds making up the 47 entries in four races.

Here are the race post times and tracks.
Sunshine Millions Dash Stakes - Gulfstream Park, Race 7 (Post time 4:07 )
Sunshine Millions Fillies & Mares Sprint- Gulfstream Park, Race 8 (Post time 4:36 )
Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf- Gulfstream Park, Race 9 (Post time 5:05 )
Sunshine Millions Turf - Santa Anita, Race 6 (Post Time: 2:15 )
Sunshine Millions Oaks - Santa Anita, Race 7 (Post Time: 2:45 )
Sunshine Millions Sprint Stakes - Santa Anita, Race 8 (Post Time: 3:15 )
Sunshine Millions Distaff Stakes - Santa Anita, Race 9th (Post Time: 3:45 )
Sunshine Millions Classic - Gulfstream Park, Race 10 (Post time 5:45 )


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kentucky Horse Racing Industry Struggles

It's a wager on the horse racing industry. Some lawmakers are betting that slot machines in racetracks will boost Kentucky's signature sport. House Bill 158 would allow video lottery terminals at Kentucky racetracks.

Supporters say the race is on to pass this bill because Indiana and other states are becoming more competitive for horsemen. Indiana allows other gaming revenues, like slot machines and video poker. Also off track betting sites are becoming a big competition.

"A lot of trainers and owners are starting to move their horses out to Pennsylvania, Indiana and West Virginia," said Ron Geary, owner of Ellis Park.

Geary says horsemen are passing up Kentucky venues for states with more racing purses. Fifteen other states have alternative gaming.

"We really need this legislation in order to stay in business and also to keep our signature industry," Geary said.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo filed the bill and says the plan could bring in $700-million into Kentucky. The new bill could be voted upon by mid-February. Unlike last year's gambling proposal, this year's effort in Frankfort wouldn't require amending the Kentucky state constitution.

Local leaders say the bill could save what some call a struggling industry.

"It's apart of the very fabric that makes up the state of Kentucky. The thoroughbred industry is part of this fabric that we call Kentucky and gaming goes along with the industry," said Sandy Watkins, Henderson County Judge Executive.

The bill calls for revenues to be spent on problem-gambling treatment, elementary education and drug-treatment programs.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Equine Herpes Virus

An outbreak of a common horse virus is causing some concern in the racing community. In late December, veterinarians found a number of horses in Louisiana had contracted equine herpes and several tracks there have now quarantined their barns.

Equine herpes disease is highly contagious among horses and can be contracted through the air or even from people's clothes. It can cause a host of problems for horses, including causing mares to abort, respiratory illness and neuro-muscular failure. In its most deadly and virulent form, the disease can lead to peracute pulmonary vasculitis, a lung disease which can kill an adult horse in 24 hours. It is not dangerous to humans, but can cause neurological problems including inability to stand or walk. If left untreated it can be fatal.

On January 4th, Oaklawn Park became the first horse racing track in the nation to ban the shipment of horses from Louisiana race tracks, an attempt to stem the potential spread of the equine herpes virus. A horse at New Orleans' Fair Grounds racetrack tested positive for the disease on Dec. 24.

Oaklawn's ban was quickly picked up by the Texas Racing Commission, and other tracks are considering similar action.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

California horse racing chairman steps down

California Horse Racing Board Chairman Richard Shapiro resigned his position yesterday at the board's monthly meeting at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.

“No one asked me to do this; to the contrary, I have been asked to stay,” Shapiro said in a 10-paragraph statement announcing his resignation that came as a surprise to fellow board members.

The Shapiro-led board of the past four years could not be criticized for inactivity. It mandated synthetic racing surfaces for the state's major tracks and took an aggressive stance regarding drug testing and enforcement of penalties, especially in the areas of excessive carbon dioxide levels – so-called milkshaking – and more recently steroids.

However, on Shapiro's watch the Bay Meadows track in San Mateo has been closed for commercial development and Hollywood Park appears destined for the same fate in the next year or two.

Shapiro is the third board member to step down in 2008 following Marie Moretti on March 31 and John Amerman on May 28.

In early July, Governor Schwarzenneger appointed David Israel and Bo Derek to replace Amerman and Moretti.

Shapiro, 55, from Hidden Hills, is a former president of Western Harness Racing. He owns and serves as president of Winco Real Estate Services Inc. in Calabasas.

Board membership is essentially a voluntary position although there is some monetary compensation.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Curlin's Ownership Remains Divided

Ownership of reigning Horse of the Year Curlin remained divided Monday after a judge's surprise ruling rejecting a proposed sale that would have consolidated control of the horse under winemaker Jess Jackson.

Judge Crittenden stated that the $4 million offer by majority owner Jess Jackson was canceled because the minority owners and former clients did not approve of the transaction. Attorneys William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham, Jr., the minority owners, have been disbarred for improper conduct in the representation of more than 400 clients who sued the manufacturer of the diet drug fen-phen.

That means Curlin's ownership likely will remain split when he stands as a stallion next year at Lane's End Farm, collecting a $75,000 stud fee. Jackson announced last week that he had picked the Versailles, Kentucky, farm owned by Will Farish, a former U.S. ambassador to Britain, as the horse's new home.

Curlin's career includes wins at the Preakness Stakes, Jockey Club Classic, Stephen Foster Handicap and Dubai World Cup. His winnings of $10.5 million have passed Cigar to make him North America's richest race horse in history.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Steve Asmussen breaks own record for wins with No. 556

Steve Asmussen
Trainer Steve Asmussen eclipsed his own record for most North American victories in a season when Prophesy rallied from off the pace to win the opening race on Sunday at Remington Park.

Prophesy’s victory gave Asmussen his 556th win of the year. He set the previous record in 2004 when he amassed 555 victories.

Asmussen trains more than 200 horses, and has stables at tracks around the country, including Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York and Texas. He trains claimers as well as Grade 1 stake horses.

"The success we've had with the Curlins and the Pyros has been fantastic," Asmussen said. "But we came from a small, midwestern track, and I like to think that we remember where we came from."

Asked about reaching 600 wins before the end of 2008 horse racing season, he said "Churchill closes this week and Woodbine and Remington are right behind them, so there aren't a lot of opportunities. Five-ninety, maybe."


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Raven's Pass Wins Breeders' Cup Classic

Defending Breeders' Cup Classic champion Curlin gave it his best run, but came up short in today's big race. In dramatic fashion, the win would go to Raven's Pass, who handled the synthetic surface quite nicely at Santa Anita.

Raven's Pass was recently purchased by Sheikh Mohammed and ran in the Classic in the colors of Sheikh Mohammed's wife, Princess Haya of Jordan. It was rider Frankie Dettori who took this magnificent colt across the finish line first.

"I now have a very cheekie Italian jockey," said trainer John Gosden. "Look at him! He's throwing goggles everywhere!"

Raven's Pass paid $29.00. Henrythenavigator and Tiago took second and third.

Get all your Breeders' Cup results and updates at the Bodog Racebook.