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NORTH AMERICAN EDITION

ISSUE 45 – AUGUST-OCTOBER 2017 $5.95 www.trainermagazine.com

THE QUARTERLY MAGAZINE FOR THE TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT EVELO OPMENT O OF FT THE HE T THOROUGHBRED HOROUGHB

The vital role of the

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE

MIKE STIDHAM On the quest for winners

FIELD SIZES

Do today’s horses last the distance?

DUNCAN T AY L O R “Out of the box thinking”


| OPINION |

GI LE S AN DE RS ON PUBLISHER’S OPINION

t would be fair to say that the filly and mare division has been where the most competitive action has been so far this summer. Just look at the three grade one races won by Abel Tasman; the Royal Ascot victory (against the boys) for Lady Aurelia; the enigmatic Songbird and not to forget everyone’s darling Lady Eli. It’s great to see these horses perform consistently at the highest level and given the consistent form they all seem to be in, it’s going to set up neatly for some top box office showdowns come the first weekend in November at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup. But for success in the afternoon, much work needs to take place in the morning where in addition to dedicated barn crews, many trainers rely on the input of their work riders. So in this issue of the magazine we focus on the vital roles this group of men and women play in getting their charges to the afternoon races. Racing now has a very progressive broadcast partnership with NBC. Between now and the Breeders’ Cup in November, NBC will be charged with bringing the narrative of racing into houses across North America. As Duncan Taylor shares with us, the way that racing is portrayed to the masses, could be made clearer with a set “brand” to highlight the major races run in the long road to the Breeders’ Cup weekend and during this timeframe, why not set up a series of handicapping championships aimed to educate the novice race player, with the aim of getting them into the winner’s circle at the Breeders’ Cup? In this issue we also consider what can be done to increase field sizes across the country as well as taking a detailed look at New York which seems to be a constantly evolving racing state on an upward trend of improvement. Bill Heller finds out from Chris Key about the plan to introduce proper evening racing at Belmont Park to ignite passion for the game from a whole new younger racing market. Oh and not to forget our trainer profile! In this issue we talk to Mike Stidham who shares the amazing journey of his lifetime in racing from South Florida to his new base of Fair Hill in Maryland. Along the way, Stidham has had his fair share of success but also at times, his fair share of failure. It’s hard to believe that in 1990, he was down to just three horses and was forced to supplement his income with a newspaper round but such is his core belief in succeeding, he soon worked out a plan which seems to be working to this day. Finally, as always, Sid Fernando provides us with an excellent commentary on the issues facing us the racing and breeding industries. In this issue he looks at one of racing’s most contentious issues of the moment – The Horseracing Integrity Act 2017. Wherever your racing takes place this summer – good luck!

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CONTENTS F E AT U R E S

A visit with Duncan Taylor, one of the driving forces behind Taylor Made Farm and Sales Agency, by Giles Anderson.

10 Mike Stidham

Bill Heller profiles the trainer who is not satisfied with anything less than winning races.

22 Fields of Dreams

Everyone agrees that small field sizes are a problem, but what can be done to attract and keep more horses in training? By Denise Steffanus.

30 Hocus Pocus or

Cutting-Edge Science?

Dr. Celia Marr on predicting and diagnosing roaring in horses.

34 The Morning Riders Who Make the Afternoon Horses

58 Why the Grass is Getting

Contributors

The importance of insurance for limiting liability in unique situations, by Peter J. Sacopulus.

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72 Don’t Forget the Jockey

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The Sid Fernando Column

Bill Heller ponders the implications of the recently announced addition of a turf course to Aqueduct.

66 No Place for Negligence

Thomas Wittle on the interaction of horse and rider, and what factors influence their work in tandem.

42 No Foot No Horse

84 2016 PHBA Champions

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The PHBA honour their 2016 winners at the 38th Annual Iroquois Awards Banquet.

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Alan F. Balch TRM Trainer of the Quarter

Suppliers Directory

80 Racing goes Eventing

Racing and eventing disciplines will come together at Plantation Fields this September, by Jenny Autry.

Dr. Catherine Dunnett writes on how nutrition affects horses’ hooves.

REGULARS 04 06 08

Greener in New York

Jockeys may get the glory but it’s the exercise riders who pave the way to racing success, by Ed Golden.

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48 Thinking Outside the Box

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Visit trainermagazine.com to download the digital edition of this issue.


EXPERIENCE THE THRILL ALL SUMMER LONG!

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LIVE RACING DAY

PRINCESS ROONEY (GII) SMILE SPRINT(GII)

FTBOA FLORIDA SIRE STAKES SATURDAY, AUG. 5 SATURDAY, SEPT. 2 SATURDAY, SEPT. 30

BREEDERS’ CUP Challenges Races “Win and You’re In”.

SIMULCASTING DAY

W E L C O M E

SUMMIT OF SPEED SATURDAY, JUL. 1 Featuring

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Editorial Director/Publisher Giles Anderson Editor Frances J. Karon Design ATG Media Editorial/Photo Management Suzy Stephens (1 888 659 2935) Advert Production Shae Hardy Circulation/Website Anna Alcock (1 888 659 2935) Advertising Sales Giles Anderson, Scott Rion, Oscar Yeadon 1 888 218 4430 Photo Credits: Alamy, Eclipse Sportswire, Anne-Armelle Langlois , Shutterstock, Taylor Made Sales Agency Cover Photograph Eclipse Sportswire

Trainer Magazine is published by Anderson & Co Publishing Ltd. Contact details Tel: 1 888 659 2935 Fax: 1 888 218 4206 info@trainermagazine.com www.trainermagazine.com North America PO Box 13248, Lexington, KY 40583-3248 United Kingdom 14 Berwick Courtyard, Berwick St Leonard, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP3 5UA

Trainer Magazine is the official magazine of the California Thoroughbred Trainers. It is distributed to all ‘Trainer’ members of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and all members of the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association, as well as all members of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders

Dr Catherine Dunnett BSc, PhD, R. Nutr. is an independent nutritionist registered with the British Nutrition Society. She has a background in equine research, in the field of nutrition and exercise physiology, with many years spent at The Animal Health Trust in Newmarket. Prior to setting up her own consultancy business, she worked in the equine feed industry on product development and technical marketing. Jenni Autry is the Managing Editor of Eventing Nation, the leading online news source for eventing in North America. She has covered events on three continents, including the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France, the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She is a contributor to Practical Horseman and Horse & Hound, and her sports commentary can be heard on the Eventing Podcast. She also crunches numbers and compiles statistical analysis for EquiRatings. Bill Heller Eclipse Award winner and author of 25 books including biographies of Hall of Fame jockeys Ron Turcotte, Randy Romero and Jose Santos, is a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame Communications Corner. He spends summers in Saratoga and winters in South Florida. Professor Celia Marr is an equine clinician at Rossdales, Newmarket. She is a RCVS and European Specialist in Equine Medicine and Honorary Professor at the Glasgow University Veterinary School. She has previously worked at veterinary schools in Glasgow, Pennsylvania, Cambridge and London and in racehorse practice in Lambourn. She is Chairman of the Horserace Betting Levy Board’s Thoroughbred Research & Consultation Group and Editor-in-Chief of Equine Veterinary Journal. Peter Sacopulos is a partner in the law firm of Sacopulos, Johnson & Sacopulos in Terre Haute, Indiana where he represents clients in a wide range of equine matters. He is a member of the American College of Equine Counsel and serves on the Board of the Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and Indiana Thoroughbred Breed Development Advisory Committee. Mr. Sacopulos has written extensively on equine law issues and is a frequent speaker at equine conferences.

Tom Witte is a Consultant Equine Surgeon and is recognised as an RCVS, American and European Specialist. He trained as an equine surgeon in Kentucky and then Cornell University in New York and currently practices at Oaklands Veterinary Centre. Tom gained his PhD in the Structure and Motion Lab at the Royal Veterinary College while completing a Horserace Betting Levy Board Research Training Scholarship and subsequently developed a research program studying the mechanics of racing encompassing the horse, jockey and their environment. Alan F.Balch was hired as Executive DIrector of California Thoroughbred Trainers in April 2010. His professional career in racing began at Santa Anita in 1971, where he advanced to the position of Sr. Vice PresidentMarketing and Assistant General Manager, and was in charge of the Olympic Games Equestrian Events in Los Angeles in 1984. He retired in the early 90s to become volunteer president of the National Equestrian Federation of the USA, as well as of the National Horse Show of Madison Square Garden. He remains president of USA Equestrian Trust, Inc. Denise Steffanus is a freelance writer and editor based in Cynthiana, Kentucky. A longtime contributor editor for Thoroughbred Times, she earned the prestigious Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award and the USA Equestrian (now the U.S Equestrian Federation) Award for Media Excellence. Steffanus, a Pittsburgh native, is a licensed Thoroughbred racehorse trainer and a member of American Mensa. Ed Golden is the author of Santa Anita’s widely acclaimed “Stable Notes,” hailed by peers as “the best in racing.” A native of Philadelphia, he earned Eclipse Award honourable mention while with the Philadelphia Daily News and has written for The Blood-Horse and USA Today. Sid Fernando (@sidfernando) is president of eMatings LLC and Werk Thoroughbred Consultants, Inc. He is the former bloodstock editor of Daily Racing Form and also blogs about racing and breeding.

Education Ed cati tii ! Integrity I t it Service

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/TRAINERMAGAZINE

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A DV E R T I S E M E N T

PUSHING THE LIMITS:

HOW SOME TRAINERS ARE GAINING “THE EDGE”! BY: MARK HANSEN

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he pressure to win is so enormous that many horsemen resort to whatever it takes to get a piece of the purse or a decent sale… even if it means putting their horses’ lives in mortal danger by doping them with illegal synthetic erythropoietin (EPO) drugs to boost endurance. Veterinarian Gary Smith said, “It’s a problem all over the industry. There is no way horses should be put on (synthetic) EPO.” So how do racers win? How do you gain a competitive edge without harming your horses or risking your livelihood? The answer may be found in a safe all-natural horse supplement that supports natural EPO function. Why is EPO boosting so critical? Just like in people, a horse’s muscles require oxygen for fuel. Red blood cells are the body’s oxygen-carrying cells. A higher red blood cell count = more oxygen = more muscle energy. Elevated muscle energy helps the horse perform harder, faster and longer during endurance events. All horses naturally produce EPO in their kidneys to stimulate production of new red blood cells from bone marrow. In short, EPO is a natural “blood builder.” With EPO doping, trainers try to boost the EPO effect to get a winning performance every time. They use a synthetic EPO (recombinant human EPO), even though the side effects can harm the horse. That’s one reason why it’s illegal. Fortunately there’s another option. EPOEquine® is a safe, highly effective natural dietary supplement scientifically engineered for performance horses. A Kentucky trainer who refused to give out his name, said, “I don’t want my competition to know about this.” He found EPO-Equine to be so effective that he’s

dead set against disclosing who he is, who his horses are, or even where he trains and races. He first started ordering a single jar of EPO-Equine® once a month. Now he’s ordering several CASES each month. And he won’t tell BRL exactly why. He said respectfully, “Sorry – no way.” Bioengineers at U.S. based Biomedical Research Laboratories (BRL), first discovered a completely natural EPO-booster for human athletes (and it’s working miracles for top athletes and amateurs around the world). Seeing these results, horse trainers contacted BRL and asked about using this natural formula for their animals. That’s when the BRL team dug deeper and discovered a proprietary, horse-friendly strain of a common herb that promotes optimal blood-building results. EPOEquine® is based on the blood-boosting abilities of a certain strain of Echinacea that’s astounding researchers and trainers alike. (It’s not a strain you can find at the local health store.) Veterinarians at the Equine Research Centre in Ontario, Canada ran a doubleblind trial investigating the blood building properties of the active ingredient in EPOEquine in healthy horses. For 42 days, one group of horses was supplemented with the active ingredient in EPO-Equine and another group of horses was given a placebo. The supplement delivered significant blood building results, increasing red blood cell count and hemoglobin levels. Researchers also observed improved blood quality and increased oxygen transport in the supplemented horses. Improved blood levels leads to elevated exercise physiology and performance. The patent-pending formula in EPOEquine ® contains a dozen different herbs, antioxidants and anti-inf lammatory components combined to promote natural red blood cell production… for remarkable speed, strength and stamina right out of the gate. Trainers find it easy to add just 1 scoop (3.2 grams) of EPO-Equine® to the horse’s daily feeding routine in the barn or on the road. Within a few weeks of daily use, you can expect to see increased red blood cell levels with no undesirable side effects. An increase in red blood cell levels can improve muscle performance, supercharge endurance, and enhance recovery after hard exercise. Nothing else is scientifically proven to deliver these benefits in a completely safe and natural formula. Compared to the cost of veterinarians, drugs, icing, tapping the knees, and putting the horse on Bute; or even the consequences of being banned for synthetic doping, EPO-Equine® is very affordable at the low price of just $59.95 per jar. Or save $180 if you are ready to commit to a larger trial of 12-jar case for just $539.55 with FREE shipping. EPO-Equine ® can be ordered at www.EPOEquine.com or 800-780-4331.


| CALIFORNIA THOROUGHBRED TRAINERS |

SELF-INTEREST RIGHTLY UNDERSTOOD hen Viscount Alexis de Tocqueville journeyed from France to philosophize about “Democracy in America” in the early 1800s, he didn’t have racing in mind as he developed his observations on that distinctly American virtue of self-interest rightly understood. Over the last halfcentury, however, I’ve often thought of them as I’ve observed the evolution of our racing, particularly in California, first from the standpoint of track operators, and lately from the standpoint of horsemen. I was originally a suit with responsibilities of marketing and managing Santa Anita, later adding Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows. I brought a perspective to my work that began with horses, since my earliest profession in the sport was handling their cleanliness and bodily functions. As with so many of us. I always wondered at and about the majesty and attraction of racing to the masses, over centuries, which seemed to survive and prosper despite our many gross mistakes and calamities in its management. Wherever in the world you look, racing has been a regulated sport from its very earliest days. Which is to say that governmental authorities learned almost from day one that complete freedom in its operation would lead inevitably to scandal and swindle involving one participant or another. Most often, the “public” would be victimized; this led to regulations constantly citing the “public interest” upon their promulgation. And that, in turn, led to innumerable scandals and swindles based on various official scoundrels reaping their own harvests off unsuspecting victims, always in the name of the “public interest.” I cite this sordid history not to entertain but to educate: what is loosely referred to as “the free market” doesn’t exist in contemporary racing. If it ever did, in fits and starts, it was squashed, altered, or hindered. By statute, regulation, and rule. Even the vaunted principle of caveat emptor, which is the mother’s milk of buying and selling horses, has been under

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Viscount Alexis de Tocqueville

assault by regulators and governments forever. Yes, the buyer should beware, but first let us accord him the government’s “protection” in all kinds of ways (just read the fine print in any sale catalogue), and provide him access to courts if he still claims to have been unaware of his risks. And then there’s the routine interference in the “free market” by stud books themselves, and their own rules. Let’s see now . . . requiring live cover? Is that really in the best interest of the horse or the breed? Is it justified by anything other than economic interests of the few as opposed to the many? The very idea that there are true free markets even for our breeding and selling is sheer nonsense. Right now, throughout America, but particularly in California, we’ve reached yet another crisis point because tracks (supposedly in righteous observance of free-market principles) are reluctant to impose stall limits on mega-trainers. Were the situation we face not so serious, this would be laughable. Of necessity, the tracks themselves don’t operate in anything like a free market, subject to onerous regulation beginning with their licensing, as to racing dates, not to mention takeout, purses, and other essentials. For their part, horsemen sign stall applications with fine print so dense that almost none of them bother to read it, relinquishing some of the most precious rights they enjoy outside the track enclosure.

Over the last 25 years or so, the elimination of stall limits at operating tracks has perhaps been the most pernicious factor in the overall decline of American racing, causing great harm in a gradual and subtle way. Tracks are charged above all in making the contests, race after race, day after day, that present attractive betting propositions for the public. That’s where stall limits came from in the first place. In California, the stall limit was 32 per trainer for decades. Decades of ever-increasing prosperity, I might add. The more trainers who operated at or near the limit, the better and more attractive the sport was for the betting public. To the contrary, it is never in the track’s interest, or the public’s, to have dozens upon dozens of horses of the same conditions concentrated in mega-barns. Most important, it’s therefore not even in the enlightened longer-term interest of those relatively few barns! Or the horses’ interests themselves. Or the sport’s. Anyone’s. One of the very few things we can all agree on is that betting fuels the entire economy of racing, from bloodstock prices to purses to operating returns on track investments. In a world now saturated with competitive gaming opportunities, we owe it to ourselves and our sport to provide only the best possible betting contests. That means optimal field sizes with diverse and independent interests that the public wants to bet on enthusiastically . . . which has become increasingly less likely as the mega-barns accumulate stock and control. Even the mega-trainers and their clients should willingly embrace the axiom that the horse and the sport must come first, before their own selfish short-term interests, “sacrificing” to ensure a long term. For many reasons, even their own self-interests (rightly understood) demand stall limits, and the intricate but broad, productive free-market ramifications they engender. Especially for themselves! Tocqueville believed that in America, the pursuit of self-interest was enlightened, resulting in great virtue for the common wealth. And great wealth in the bargain.


| EXCELLENCE IN EQUINE NUTRITION |

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Peter Miller, right, with St. Joe Bay (Kent Desormeaux up) in the winner’s circle after winning the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes at Santa Anita Park on February 4, 2017

TRAINER OF THE QUARTER

PET ER MIL L E R

The TRM Trainer of the Quarter has been won by Peter Miller. Miller and his team will receive a selection of products from the internationally acclaimed range of TRM supplements, as well as a bottle of fine Irish whisky. Bill Heller harlie Whittingham would be mighty proud. Peter Miller, the 50-year-old trainer who was the runaway winner of the Santa Anita spring meeting that concluded in July, is the same kid Whittingham hired as a groom the day after Miller graduated from Beverly Hills High School.

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Eclipse Sportswire “I think he would be proud,” Miller said on July 12th. “That makes me just smile, thinking about Charlie. He was my idol and my boss. I learned a lot, not just about horses, but about life. I learned about discipline, hard work, organization. Charlie was one of the hardest workers around. People don’t think about that. It doesn’t

just magically happen. You have to put the hours in. He was a drill sergeant. You better be there at four o’clock, have your work done, and come back every afternoon.” Miller’s latest title, one he captured with 36 victories – 11 more than Phil D’Amato and Richard Baltas tied in second – was his eighth Southern California training title. Among those 36 wins was Stormy Liberal’s score in the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes. Overall, Miller ranks 16th nationally, with more than $3.3 million in earnings through mid-July. Miller was born in Santa Monica, grew up in Beverly Hills, and wanted to be a jockey. His family owned horses, racing as Winning Ways Stable. When Miller was 10, he went to a jockey school. He spent every subsequent summer at the track, walking hots for Joe Manzi, Mike Mitchell, and Hal King. When he was 14, he was told by a doctor that he would probably be too heavy to become a jockey, so Miller refocused and set a new goal: becoming a trainer. At 4:30 a.m. the morning after he graduated from high school in 1984,


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Miller walked into Hall of Famer Charlie Whittingham’s barn and caught a huge break. One of assistant trainer Rodney Rash’s men hadn’t shown up, so Rash put Miller to work. He’s been at the track ever since. “They liked me enough to say, ‘Okay, come back tomorrow,’” Miller said. “I felt like I hit the lottery. This is a dream come true. I just wanted a job anywhere.” After working for trainers Mike Mitchell and Don Warren, and a brief stay as racing manager for John and Betty Mabee’s Golden Eagle Farm, Miller went on his own in 1987. Twenty years later, Miller got his first Grade 1 win, with the two-year-old filly Set Play in the 2007 Del Mar Debutante, followed over the years by Grade 1 wins by Comma to the Top, Heir Kitty, and, most recently, Finnegans Wake in 2015. Miller has won four Del Mar training titles, one more than he has at Santa Anita. He was also the leading trainer at Los Alamitos once.

| EXCELLENCE IN EQUINE NUTRITION |

But he struggled early in his career, so much so that he spent five years running a jewelry store in Oceanside in the mid 1990s before returning to the track fulltime after Walter Greenman sent him his 20 second-string horses. Soon, Miller was up to 75 horses and well on his way. His current stable numbers 100. “San Luis Rey Downs is my main base,” he said. “My second string is at Santa Anita.” He’s not quite sure what sparked the incredible success he’s had since the summer of 2016. “The first part of last year, we were slumping, slumping, and slumping,” he said. “Since Del Mar, we’ve been first or second in every meet. We’ve been on a great run. Having live horses is everything. I have owners who allow me to spot them, and I spot them aggressively. It takes a team. We’ve got a real good team behind the scenes.” Asked where he’d like to be five years down the road, Miller replied, “You like to get better horses and better clients. That’s always your goal.”

I THINK HE WOULD BE PROUD. THAT MAKES ME JUST SMILE, THINKING ABOUT CHARLIE. HE WAS MY IDOL AND MY BOSS. I LEARNED A LOT, NOT JUST ABOUT HORSES, BUT ABOUT LIFE.

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PROFILE

Bill Heller

Eclipse Sportswire

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ow do you reconcile a win-only mentality in a profession where a 25 percent success rate is as good as it gets? “I struggle with it to this very day,” trainer Mike Stidham said. “If I expect a horse to win and he doesn’t, I don’t want anybody to be around me for a little time. I’ve always been a very competitive person. I’m an action junkie who loves competing and I want to win. It’s not the greatest way to live because it’s impossible to do.” Fortunately for the 59-year-old conditioner, his horses have been winning more often than ever in his 38-year-old career as he builds a national presence after winning his first training title at the Fair Grounds in 2016, the same year he finished 36th overall in the country by earnings, with $3,747,766. That remains his most successful year to date thanks to a career-high 105 victories from 608 starts. Those numbers are remarkable considering he was almost forced out of the business when he won just six races in 1989 and three in 1990. Yet now, as he has his whole life, he wants more. He wants better. “I’m the kind of person who’s hard on myself,” Stidham said. “I always want a reason why. ‘Why didn’t he run good? What did I do wrong?’ I’m a very self-conscious person who thinks a lot, worries a lot, and is a perfectionist. In this business, there’s not a lot of perfection.” That didn’t prevent the late Hall of Fame jockey Bill Hartack, a close friend of Stidham’s family who was a mentor and like a kind uncle to Stidham, from feeling the same way. “My mother would cook dinner and he would come over,” Stidham said. “One night, I asked my dad why Bill was so upset. My dad said, ‘He rode seven and only won five.’ When he was riding, he expected to win every race. When he didn’t, he wasn’t easy to be around. He was very serious. That’s why he was so successful.”

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| MIKE STIDHAM |

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PROFILE

Hartack, though, just like Stidham, had a softer side. “He was two different people,” Stidham said. “When he came to our home on days he wasn’t riding, he was like a little kid. He really was. He took us to amusement parks and played with us. I think that was his release.” Stidham’s now-84-year-old mother, Anita, agreed: “They would go to the movies. He’d take a lot of Michael’s friends to Disney. He’d take a day off and take all the kids to the movies all day long. They used to do fun things.” After Hartack passed away in 2007, Stidham and several other friends established the Bill Hartack Charitable Foundation, which rewards each year’s winning Kentucky Derby jockey with a ring. Ticket sales for the event and ads in the program raise money, and the winning jockey chooses which charity he wants to help. Already, donations have been made to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the Winners Foundation, and the Racing Employee Assistance Program. At the event, the Stidhams bring and display Hartack’s five Kentucky Derby trophies that he left them. The Foundation gives Stidham’s mother another reason to smile about her son. “I couldn’t be any prouder,” she said. “He excels in everything he does and he’s a good person.” And his over-competitive drive? “That I believe he got from Bill,” she said. “Michael was around him a lot growing up. He picked up some of Bill’s traits. Michael was very competitive, all his life, in everything he did. He always wants to win.” Asked how many times people have told him to calm down or lighten up, Stidham said, “A million,” and laughed before continuing, “Usually every day with Hillary.” Hillary Pridham, Stidham’s English-born assistant trainer and exercise rider since 1999 and life partner since 2001, put it this way: “We look at things a little

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| MIKE STIDHAM |

differently. I’m always seeing the glass half-full. He’s halfempty. That will always be that way.” Yet they are lights out as a team. “It works,” Pridham said. “You’ve got to be on the same page.” Stidham calls Pridham “the backbone of the operation.” Stidham inherited a lifetime with horses from his father, George, a jockey who rode in West Virginia and New Jersey in the mid-1950s and ‘60s before becoming a trainer, and later a business manager for Hartack. He also filled in as Hartack’s temporary jockey agent when the rider fired the previous one. Stidham is the youngest of three children. His brother Steve, who was the track photographer at Hollywood Park, is a photographer living near Houston. Stidham’s sister, Cyndi, is an esthetician (facialist) in North Hill, California. Born in New Jersey, Stidham was raised in south Florida and lived just three miles from Hialeah. “My father had a very close relationship and worked for Bill Hartack,” Stidham said. “I learned the basics of the racetrack from them. My dad started training in South Florida, and that’s when I learned the business from the bottom up.” Thanks to Hartack, Stidham got to visit with members of the Oakland Raiders, whose owner, Al Davis, lived by the slogan, “Just win, baby.” It was a perfect fit for Stidham, who remains a huge Raiders fan and lists Raiders offensive line coach and former Vikings head coach Mike Tice as one of his clients. “One winter, Bill had some Raiders come to dinner at our house,” Stidham said. “One of the players was Jim Otto (a Hall of Famer many consider one of the best centers of all time). I’m a kid and playing football. How cool was that? They signed my football. That kind of thing is impressive. I was 12 or 13. My stable colors are black and white. I wanted black and silver for the Oakland Raiders.”


PROFILE

As much as he loves the Raiders and enjoyed their resurgence last year, his love for animals is profound. “He had two dogs growing up, Labradors, Bow and Arrow,” his mother said. “He got them as puppies. He just treated them like they were friends. We got a doghouse. They wouldn’t go into the doghouse. He’d go into the doghouse to show them how to do it.” Stidham confessed, “The sad part about that is that it’s a true story. I was probably less than a teenager. You got to show them the way in.” Asked if the dogs laughed when he did it, Stidham said, “They were laughing like hell.” When he was 13 his parents bought him a Palomino pony, which Stidham named Mr. H, a monogram Hartack used back then. Well, as cool as a visit by a Hall of Famer to his house was, Mr. H gave Stidham an even bigger thrill. They were in a movie together – after a dye job. In 1979, a remake of the 1931 Academy Award winning film The Champ was made starring Jon Voight, Faye Dunaway, and Ricky Schroder – who would, at the age of nine, win a Golden Globe Award for “Best New Male Star of the Year.” Stidham recounted, “We were stabled at Hialeah and they came to our barn and asked if they could use our barn for the movie. And they get into a scene where the horse is going to run, and it’s Flamingo Day, and everything is pink. They asked if we could use food coloring to change my Palomino to pink.” With the help of a hairdresser, Mr. H turned pink. “He’d be leading the horses out for a race in the movie,” Stidham continued. “I got to ride the pony leading the post parade out. They used my dad and myself and some others in the barn in the movie as extras. My dad actually rode as a jockey in one of the simulated races. He was Jockey No. 1.”

14

TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 45

| MIKE STIDHAM |

PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO TAKE US SERIOUSLY.

When Stidham graduated from high school, his parents gave him a racehorse, Regal Row. “But it didn’t turn out good,” his mother said. “He ran the horse once and after he came back, he was hanging his head in the stall. Each day he got worse and worse.” Stidham explained, “He got really sick, really sick and wound up with colitis. We went through this long process trying to save him. This horse was everything to me.” His mother had to get written permission to be allowed on the backstretch, which she did so the two of them could sleep in a small veterinary clinic room overnight as the horse’s condition worsened. “That’s how he was with animals,” his mother said. After a week, they knew the horse would never get well. “Finally, it was his horse,” she said. “He was the one to decide to put him down.” He did. “That was a sad story,” he said. “It was a lesson for how tough this business can be.” Stidham wanted to keep learning lessons at the racetrack, not in college, but his father would have none

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Caution Federal (USA) law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. Storage Conditions Store at 68°F – 77°F (20-25°C). Excursions between 59°F – 86°F (15-30°C) are permitted. Indications For treatment and prevention of recurrence of gastric ulcers in horses and foals 4 weeks of age and older. Dosage Regimen For treatment of gastric ulcers, GastroGard Paste should be administered orally once-a-day for 4 weeks at the recommended dosage of 1.8 mg omeprazole/lb body weight (4 mg/kg). For the prevention of recurrence of gastric ulcers, continue treatment for at least an additional 4 weeks by administering GastroGard Paste at the recommended daily maintenance dose of 0.9 mg/lb (2 mg/kg). Directions For Use • GastroGard Paste for horses is recommended for use in horses and foals 4 weeks of age and older. The contents of one syringe will dose a 1250 lb (568 kg) horse at the rate of 1.8 mg omeprazole/lb body weight (4 mg/kg). For treatment of gastric ulcers, each weight marking on the syringe plunger will deliver sufficient omeprazole to treat 250 lb (114 kg) body weight. For prevention of recurrence of gastric ulcers, each weight marking will deliver sufficient omeprazole to dose 500 lb (227 kg) body weight. • To deliver GastroGard Paste at the treatment dose rate of 1.8 mg omeprazole/ lb body weight (4 mg/kg), set the syringe plunger to the appropriate weight marking according to the horse’s weight in pounds. • To deliver GastroGard Paste at the dose rate of 0.9 mg/lb (2 mg/kg) to prevent recurrence of ulcers, set the syringe plunger to the weight marking corresponding to half of the horse’s weight in pounds. • To set the syringe plunger, unlock the knurled ring by rotating it 1/4 turn. Slide the knurled ring along the plunger shaft so that the side nearest the barrel is at the appropriate notch. Rotate the plunger ring 1/4 turn to lock it in place and ensure it is locked. Make sure the horse’s mouth contains no feed. Remove the cover from the tip of the syringe, and insert the syringe into the horse’s mouth at the interdental space. Depress the plunger until stopped by the knurled ring. The dose should be deposited on the back of the tongue or deep into the cheek pouch. Care should be taken to ensure that the horse consumes the complete dose. Treated animals should be observed briefly after administration to ensure that part of the dose is not lost or rejected. If any of the dose is lost, redosing is recommended. • If, after dosing, the syringe is not completely empty, it may be reused on following days until emptied. Replace the cap after each use. Warning Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion, contact a physician. Physicians may contact a poison control center for advice concerning accidental ingestion. Adverse Reactions In efficacy trials, when the drug was administered at 1.8 mg omeprazole/lb (4 mg/kg) body weight daily for 28 days and 0.9 mg omeprazole/lb (2 mg/kg) body weight daily for 30 additional days, no adverse reactions were observed. Precautions The safety of GastroGard Paste has not been determined in pregnant or lactating mares. Efficacy • Dose Confirmation: GastroGard ® (omeprazole) Paste, administered to provide omeprazole at 1.8 mg/lb (4 mg/kg) daily for 28 days, effectively healed or reduced the severity of gastric ulcers in 92% of omeprazole-treated horses. In comparison, 32% of controls exhibited healed or less severe ulcers. Horses enrolled in this study were healthy animals confirmed to have gastric ulcers by gastroscopy. Subsequent daily administration of GastroGard Paste to provide omeprazole at 0.9 mg/lb (2 mg/kg) for 30 days prevented recurrence of gastric ulcers in 84% of treated horses, whereas ulcers recurred or became more severe in horses removed from omeprazole treatment. • Clinical Field Trials: GastroGard Paste administered at 1.8 mg/lb (4 mg/kg) daily for 28 days healed or reduced the severity of gastric ulcers in 99% of omeprazole-treated horses. In comparison, 32.4% of control horses had healed ulcers or ulcers which were reduced in severity. These trials included horses of various breeds and under different management conditions, and included horses in race or show training, pleasure horses, and foals as young as one month. Horses enrolled in the efficacy trials were healthy animals confirmed to have gastric ulcers by gastroscopy. In these field trials, horses readily accepted GastroGard Paste. There were no drug related adverse reactions. In the clinical trials, GastroGard Paste was used concomitantly with other therapies, which included: anthelmintics, antibiotics, non-steroidal and steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, diuretics, tranquilizers and vaccines. • Diagnostic and Management Considerations: The following clinical signs may be associated with gastric ulceration in adult horses:inappetence or decreased appetite, recurrent colic, intermittent loose stools or chronic diarrhea, poor hair coat, poor body condition, or poor performance. Clinical signs in foals may include: bruxism (grinding of teeth), excessive salivation, colic, cranial abdominal tenderness, anorexia, diarrhea, sternal recumbency or weakness. A more accurate diagnosis of gastric ulceration in horses and foals may be made if ulcers are visualized directly by endoscopic examination of the gastric mucosa Gastric ulcers may recur in horses if therapy to prevent recurrence is not administered after the initial treatment is completed. Use GastroGard Paste at 0.9 mg omeprazole/lb body weight (2 mg/kg) for control of gastric ulcers following treatment. The safety of administration of GastroGard Paste for longer than 91 days has not been determined. Maximal acid suppression occurs after three to five days of treatment with omeprazole. Safety • GastroGard Paste was well tolerated in the following controlled efficacy and safety studies. • In field trials involving 139 horses, including foals as young as one month of age, no adverse reactions attributable to omeprazole treatment were noted. • In a placebo controlled adult horse safety study, horses received 20 mg/kg/ day omeprazole (5x the recommended dose) for 90 days. No treatment related adverse effects were observed. • In a placebo controlled tolerance study, adult horses were treated with GastroGard Paste at a dosage of 40 mg/kg/day (10x the recommended dose) for 21 days. No treatment related adverse effects were observed. • A placebo controlled foal safety study evaluated the safety of omeprazole at doses of 4, 12 or 20 mg/kg (1, 3 or 5x) once daily for 91 days. Foals ranged in age from 66 to 110 days at study initiation. Gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT) levels were significantly elevated in horses treated at exaggerated doses of 20 mg/kg (5x the recommended dose). Mean stomach to body weight ratio was higher for foals in the 3x and 5x groups than for controls; however, no abnormalities of the stomach were evident on histological examination. Reproductive Safety In a male reproductive safety study, 10 stallions received GastroGard Paste at 12 mg/kg/day (3x the recommended dose) for 70 days. No treatment related adverse effects on semen quality or breeding behavior were observed. A safety study in breeding mares has not been conducted. For More Information Please call 1-888-637-4251 Marketed by: Merial, Inc., Duluth, GA 30096-4640, U.S.A. Made in Brazil ®GastroGard is a registered trademark of Merial, Inc. ©2016 Merial, Inc. All rights reserved. Rev. 05-2011

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TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 45

“I learned you don’t let your heart lead you. You have to treat it as a business.”

of that. “The whole time I was growing up, my dad struggled in racing,” Stidham said. “He told me and my brother, ‘You’re not going to be a jockey. You’re not going to be a trainer. You’re going to be a vet so you have options in your life. So you don’t end up like me.’ “He was looking out for us,” Stidham said. “So I went to a junior college in Dade County. I wanted to get out of there. All I wanted to do was be at the track, but I stayed for two years. Then I went to the track. I became his assistant.” He quickly ventured on his own with castoffs from his father’s stable. Stidham was 21. “As a young guy, you screw up a lot,” he said. He calls his handling of Brabbler, a horse he and a friend bought for $1,000, “one of his worst mistakes.” The horse made 21 starts for Stidham and his father, posting three wins, five seconds, and two thirds and then was claimed for $7,500. “I’ll never forget,” Stidham said. “I was mad. That was my horse. A few races later, I claimed him back for $4,000. When I did, he was in bad shape.” Brabbler made just one more start, finishing sixth in a $5,000 claimer, and never raced again. “I learned you don’t let your heart lead you,” Stidham said. “You have to treat it as a business. That’s when I learned to separate the business aspect from the emotional part. Those kinds of lessons you learn the hard way.” Stidham’s early career was jumpstarted by Harold Goodman, a Houston businessman whose company, Goodman

Manufacturing, would become the second largest heating, ventilating, and air conditioning operation in the country, currently with some 4,000 employees. Goodman had horses with Stidham’s father, and he asked him one day if it was okay to take his son out of town, first to Louisiana then to California. “He wanted to race for big purses and see if his horses were good enough for California,” Stidham said. Stidham’s father said yes and wished his son good luck. On the way to California, Stidham stopped at Louisiana Downs. “(Goodman) had two good horses, Me Good Man and Viterbo,” Stidham said. “I wound up winning stakes with both of them. I won the first stakes race ever run on grass at Louisiana Downs with Me Good Man (on July 4th, 1980).” That success prompted Stidham to write his father a letter. “I thanked him for his advice, all the things he taught me,” Stidham said. “I had success right away. I wanted to thank my dad.” Stidham’s stable moved on to California, where Stidham quickly realized the local training competition included the likes of Hall of Famers Charlie Whittingham, D. Wayne Lukas, and Laz Barrera. Thanks to his father and Hartack, Stidham got an interview with Max Gluck, who used a handful of trainers for his Elmendorf Farm stock. “I had the opportunity to have lunch with him and he just hired me,” Stidham said. “He gave me six horses. It was fantastic. He was an old school owner who everyone respected.”


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PROFILE

BELOW: Fair Hill allows Stidham to train each horse individually

18

| MIKE STIDHAM |

Another future Hall of Fame trainer, Richard Mandella, who had trained for Gluck, offered Stidham advice. “He says to me, ‘He’ll try to bulldoze you, to have you do everything his way. You have to be able to stand up to him,’” Stidham said. “I thought, I can’t use that advice now in my life. I’m 23 years old. I couldn’t stand up to him. Later in my life, I could respect what Mandella told me. Now we’re best of friends.” Then, for the second time, Goodman gave Stidham an extraordinary boost. “He could see the future,” Stidham said. “In the mid-‘80s, he said, ‘Texas is going to get parimutuel racing back. I want to have a stallion I can stand in Texas. I’m going to send you – this is when Bobby Frankel was importing horses from France – to France. Find me a horse with a pedigree.’” Stidham journeyed to France and chose Manzotti, a winning three-year-old son of Nijinsky II out of the Tom Rolfe mare Shufleur. Manzotti struggled early in his racing career, winning just one of his first 12 starts, then at five in 1988 took his game to another level, winning four of his final nine starts – including three Grade 3 stakes races – with

TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 45

three seconds and one third. He earned a total of $441,170 in North America. Accordingly, Stidham’s earnings topped a half-million dollars that year for the first time. Stidham’s rising success was short-circuited when Manzotti was retired to a stud career in Texas and many of his clients decided to drop out of the business because of the economy. “It’s 1989 and I’ve got five horses left,” Stidham said. “I said, ‘Here it is.’ What my dad told me was going to happen was happening. I was married. I had one daughter. I was $60,000 in debt.” Stidham won six races in 1989 and half as many the following year. “You want to know the truth?” Stidham asked. “I took a job throwing newspapers from my car at 3 a.m. in the morning, I’d get done around 4:30 or five, go to the barn, and with no help, did the work myself. I’m dead. How am I going to survive this? Who’s going to want to hire a guy with three or four horses?” Stidham saw only one logical step to stay solvent: head north. “The only thing I could do was leave southern California and go to northern California and ask trainers to send me their second-string horses,” he said. “Dick Mandella, John Sadler, and a couple other trainers sent me horses. After three months, I was up to 30 horses. But northern California was a dead end.” When Manzotti went to stud, a superstar, Two Altazano, emerged from his limited first crop of foals. Goodman’s homebred filly had just won the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Oaks as three-year-old in 1994 when Stidham took over her training from William Stice, and she went on to win the Grade 2 Fantasy; the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks by 6½ lengths, to provide Stidham with his first win at that level; and the Grade 2 Monmouth Oaks. After Two Altazano’s victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks, Goodman told Stidham that he thought Manzotti was going to be a successful stallion. “He asked me, ‘Would you come to Texas and be my private trainer?’” Stidham said. “I wanted to get out of northern California anyway.


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PROFILE

ABOVE: Stidham believes communication with owners plays a huge part of training

20

I signed a two-year contract. I went there and we won the Coaching Club American Oaks. We just won a Grade 1 for an owner who owns the stallion, the mare, and the horse. Of all my accomplishments, that’s the one I’m the most proud of. I’m a year into my contract. Manzotti’s yearlings are looking good. Things are going great.” Then Goodman died of a heart attack. “Here I am in Texas,” Stidham said. “I was only training for Mr. Goodman. I wasn’t looking for outside clients. I know nobody. I’ve got seven months left in my contract.” Goodman’s sons and daughters decided to stay in racing. “They agreed to pay out my contract for the other seven months and let me take on outside clients,” Stidham said. “It was great for them to be that kind. And I started to pick up outside clients. People had seen how I had done.” Then Hillary Pridham and the internet came into Stidham’s life. They have kept him on a roll. Hillary had no background in racing, but began riding a pony when she was three. She was 11 when she was placed on a Thoroughbred for the first time. “That was it,” she said. Six years later, she went to a technical college in England with a management program for Thoroughbred racing. “It gives you a background with everything, similar to Darley’s program,” she said. She came to the U.S. and spent 10 years working for trainer Noel Hickey at Arlington Park. Winters were spent at the Fair Grounds. Pridham decided she needed a change and parted ways with Hickey. “Mike was expanding,” she said. “He had heard that I was quitting. He asked me to come work for him.” Before she joined his operation, Stidham had never posted a million dollars in earnings. With her in 1999, he won $2.1 million. “There are a lot of people in the business who will say it was her, but the ball was already rolling in the right direction,” Stidham said. “I hadn’t ever needed an assistant before then. Hillary had a huge part

TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 45

in keeping the ball rolling. She’s a fantastic horsewoman.” She understands that they don’t share the same feeling when one of their horses finished second. “When you’re on them every day, you have more compassion,” she said. “When a horse runs his eyeballs out for you and finishes second, I say the horse ran great. Mike looks at it as we’re second. We didn’t win. We’re both very honest. The only time I saw him happy when we were second was when Willcox Inn finished second to Wise Dan in the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland. (At 48-1, Willcox Inn was 2¼ lengths behind two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the 2012 Shadwell Mile.) We were more than two lengths better than the rest of the field. He ran huge. Mike was actually happy.” Willcox Inn – whose two-year-old debut resulted in a maiden win over future Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in second – kept both of them happy. Purchased as a yearling for $50,000, he topped $1 million in earnings. Some 20 years ago, Stidham’s secretary, Linda Maxwell, told him she was going to get an email address for him. “What’s an email address?” he asked. She said, “You’re going to thank me for this years later.” Indeed. “What I saw was that Hall of Fame trainers, guys as big as you could be, these guys were sitting there with no horses,” Stidham said. “These were the greatest horsemen and these guys had no horses. At that moment, I realized that they were great horsemen but bad communicators. I started getting clients who were upset with great trainers who didn’t let their clients know that their horses were racing or how they were training. It was right about the time that computers were starting.” He came to a conclusion: “I realized that times had changed. There are a lot of good horsemen out there. I realized there was more to racing and training a successful stable and a lot of it has to do with communicating with owners. They want to know what’s going on with their investments. They don’t want to just


| MIKE STIDHAM |

get a bill at the end of the month without knowing how their horses are doing.” To that end, Stidham has a website and sends owners videos of their horses working. “That really helped me get over the hump of being successful,” he said. “That’s just a sign of the times. You either get with that or you’re in real trouble.” Now with a stable of more than 100 horses currently based at Fair Hill in Maryland, Stidham said his most important belief is “training each horse individually and having a program that works for that horse. You want to achieve a level of fitness. To get to that, you have to keep them mentally sound and physically sound. You want to do enough with a horse without overdoing it. You have to know what works for one horse.” He knows enough to have won 1,738 races with earnings of more than $52 million through the end of June. One of his clients is Tice, the Oakland Raiders offensive line coach who played tight end in the NFL for 15 years. “Years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to Mike when I was down in New Orleans,” Tice said. “He’s a big Raiders fan. We just hit it off. He and Hillary have become friends with me and my wife Diane. I think the main thing in horse racing is running horses where they belong. I think he does a great job of placing horses, especially on turf. He’s a great trainer.” Tice; Joel Quenneville, the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks in the National Hockey League; Mike Pegram; and Marty Nixon bought a two-year-old for $150,000 in April of 2015 for Stidham to train. They named the son of Discreet Cat Gridiron Cat. Compromised by an injury, he won one of seven starts before being claimed for $30,000. “The group wants to do another horse with Mike,” Tice said. That would be fantastic for Stidham. “Mike invites me to whatever games I want to see,” Stidham said. “Two of my three daughters, Samantha (27) and Stephanie (23),

I TOOK A JOB THROWING NEWSPAPERS FROM MY CAR AT 3 A.M, I’D GET DONE AROUND 4:30, GO TO THE BARN AND DO ALL THE WORK MYSELF. live in San Jose, so it’s a great reason to visit. My youngest daughter, Camille (17), lives outside Denver. My daughters are very important for me.” John Adger, the former racing manager for Bob and Janice McNair’s Stonerside Stable, which was sold in 2008, has been sending Stidham horses for years. “I met Mike through a mutual friend of ours, kind of his mentor, Harold Goodman,” Adger said. “When we started Stonerside in 1994, I asked Mike if he’d be interested in taking a handful of horses.” Adger is more than pleased with the results: “Hillary is one of the best horsemen I’ve ever met. She gets on horses. She’s outstanding. Mike spots his horses well. He puts horses where they belong.” Stidham and Hillary are where they belong. They spend winters in New Orleans at the Fair Grounds, where each own a house. Spring and summers had been spent at Arlington Park in Chicago for 20 years, but they moved their operation to Fair Hill in Maryland this spring and live in an apartment there. That allows them to race at Delaware, Belmont, and even Woodbine. Their client base has expanded. Godolphin sent a string of horses for them to train two years ago. “People are starting to take us seriously,” Pridham said. Stidham, who always takes his craft seriously, has taken the time to appreciate his journey: “When I think back on it, I’m amazed I was able to survive and continue in the business. I’ve been helped by a lot of great people.” ISSUE 45 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

21


“100% Adena Breeding” HOLY HELENA, winner of the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks and $1,000,000 Queen’s Plate, is by GHOSTZAPPER out of an Adena-bred mare.


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by GIANT’S CAUSEWAY by GHO HOST STZA ZAPP PPER ER by WILD AGAIN

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OF

| RACING |

Denise Steffanus

Alamy, Horsephotos

R

acing secretaries nationwide are clamoring for horses to fill races while industry groups try to find a solution. But it’s a complex issue. Everybody with a role in the decline in field size seems to point the finger at someone else. Trainers, owners, racing secretaries, breeders, consignors, track management, and the horses themselves all have been blamed. The simplest explanation for the decline in entries is that there are fewer horses. But when you compare statistics for 1990 and 2016, disregarding horses not old enough to race, they tell a different story. When looking at horses of racing age, the 2014 foal crop (the youngest horses eligible to race in 2016) was 43% of the 1988 crop (for the 1990 racing season). But the number of races in 2016, compared with 1990, declined by 52%.

22

TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 45

Today’s racetracks have full barns, and many impose a limit on the number of horses a trainer can have on the grounds. So why aren’t these horses racing? “People say, ‘Well there’s nothing in the (condition) book that I can find.’ But there are plenty of races,” said Jim Cassidy, president of California Thoroughbred Trainers. He thinks trainers sit out races primarily to protect their win percentage because owners look at this statistic when they select a trainer. So rather than race a longshot, trainers will instead breeze the horse and wait for a sweet spot that all but guarantees them a win. Ron Ellis, who has a stable of 32 horses in California, is known for taking his time with his horses. He disagrees with the premise that trainers are holding back horses that could be racing. “I really think that if horses are doing well, trainers run them,” he said. “That only

makes sense because that’s basically how we make our money, off the commissions of horses that are racing and winning. “It’s my feeling that trainers, if they have a horse that’s doing well and it’s sound, they would prefer to run it over not running it. Trainers don’t run horses when they’re not doing well. I don’t think they sit on horses that are doing well is basically what I’m saying.” Training philosophies have changed since the days when trainers raced a horse to keep it fit and hoped to take home a check in the process. Also gone are the days when owners were delighted just to watch their horses race. “Most owners want instant success, and this is the problem,” Cassidy said. “They don’t want to go out there and finish fifth or sixth. They want to win. And this places a lot of pressure on the trainers.” Cassidy believes the type of horses breeders produce goes hand in hand with


| HOW CAN FIELD SIZES BE INCREASED |

an owner’s desire for instant success. Buyers want speed horses who have proven themselves as ready to run at twoyear-old sales. “You have so many commercial breeders now, and all they do is breed speed to speed and softness to softness, and we wind up with horses that are very tender, soft, can’t take the pressure, can only run so many times and they get hurt easily,” he said. Jockey Joe Bravo, a fixture on the East Coast, takes it one step further. He blames consignors for cranking down on twoyear-olds to produce insane fractions in breeze shows. “Couldn’t they two-minute lick these horses instead of going all out and having a baby put everything on the line? It would be nice to keep those horses around, and they would stay around a lot longer if they weren’t asked to do so much at a young age,” he said.

Consignors and breeders

David O’Farrell, farm manager of his family’s Ocala Stud in Florida, which has been a leading consignor at two-year-old sales since 1958, said Bravo has it all wrong. “Studies have shown, and it’s proven, that two-year-olds-in-training sales produce horses with higher than average earnings, more average starts, and a higher percentage of starters than yearling sales or homebreds,” he said. O’Farrell cited studies done by Dr. Larry Bramlage, chief of surgery at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, whom he calls “the most well-respected veterinarian in the equine world.” Bramlage presented the data on behalf of the Thoroughbred Safety Committee at the Jockey Club’s 2008 Round Table Conference in response to industry questions about the durability of the breed, training and racing practices for

two-year-olds, and the current training philosophy, among other issues. Bramlage told participants that preparation for sales did not compromise the horse’s ability to race when compared to the breed average. “This data is definitive,” he said. “It shows that horses that began racing as two-yearolds are much more successful, have much longer careers, and, by extrapolation, show less predisposition to injury than horses that did not begin racing until their threeyear-old year. It is absolute on all the data sets that the training and racing of twoyear-old Thoroughbreds has no ill effect on the horses’ race-career longevity or quality.” O’Farrell said the industry needs to look at so-called “super trainers” when it comes to the decline in field size, a point Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of The Stronach Group, made in several interviews after his recent move to Santa Anita. ISSUE 45 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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meet, largely because these horses are the elite runners fans want to see. Broberg said changes in claiming rules and entry rules would enable trainers to race more often. He is especially frustrated with the rule that a claimed horse must run at a 25% higher claiming price for 30 days after the claim. “Say I claim a cheap $5,000 horse,” he said. “In the past in Louisiana, I could run that horse back within two or three weeks. Now, I’m forced to sit on that horse, unless it’s proven to be worth more, for 30 days.” Broberg objects to restrictions on how soon a trainer can run a horse back, citing Louisiana’s rule that states a trainer is not permitted to enter a horse that is already in a race, even though entries are taken seven or eight days in advance. “That has cost them a ton of starts from me, because when a horse is doing good, the best thing you can do for that horse is get him right back in,” he said. “Not all horses are the same, but with many horses, when one’s hot, you want to get it right back in there.”

Jockey Joe Bravo wishes consignors of horses in training did not push two-year-olds so hard

Racing secretaries Ritvo told the Los Angeles Times: “We have a lot of super trainers, who have these huge 200-horse outfits. Are they good for the game? A lot of us would argue no. Those guys that have them have worked hard. They’ve developed great skills and they are great guys. But how does a smaller guy get started if the owners are giving all their horses to the same guys? Let’s face it, if you have a 2,000-horse population, are you better with 25 trainers or 100 trainers? We’re better off with 100. Why? Because rather than having 20 two-year-olds, not willing to run them against each other, this population would get spread out.”

Super trainers

When the finger points at super trainers, Karl Broberg bristles. “They have no idea how our operations work,” he said. In 2016, Broberg had the secondhighest number of starts (1,566) nationally. His win score was 55%. The Louisiana-based trainer, with about 130 horses in training, typically has strings running at six racetracks. His horses compete from Texas and Louisiana to Iowa to the Kentucky-Ohio circuit. Some of you may not have heard of Broberg, and the names of his top horses

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probably aren’t familiar. Broberg’s highest racing achievement was with Diva’s Diamond in 2015, when she was second to Untapable in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park. This is the only time he has hit the board in a graded stakes in his eight-year career. Broberg’s stable consists primarily of claimers, allowance horses, and those competing in local stakes. Yet, year after year, he takes home leading trainer titles at many of the tracks where he competes. Nationally he has been the top trainer by wins since 2014, ranking second behind Steve Asmussen in 2013. Unlike high-profile super trainers such as Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown, Broberg is a blue-collar trainer with whom most horsemen can identify. He scoffed at the notion that a super trainer with, say, 20 horses fitting the same conditions would make most of them sit out a race in favor of the one or two he thinks have the best chance to win. He explained that his operation functions like six smaller stables at various tracks; he doesn’t have all 130 horses stabled at a single track. Most super trainers operate the same way, because many racetracks limit stall allotments to 35-40, Broberg said. One exception is Saratoga Race Course, which allows high-profile super trainers to bring 100 or more of their horses to the boutique

Racing secretaries are responsible for drafting condition books and adding extra races during the meet when the need arises. Three principal components help a racing secretary put together a meet that produces the best possible racing product: past experience of the type of races expected to be in demand; a database of the past performances for every horse named on stall applications; and good, open communication between the racing office and trainers. Since 2003, Rick Hammerle has been the racing secretary for Santa Anita, where he also is vice president of racing. Outside California, he did stints at racetracks in New Jersey and Florida. “My job is to provide races literally for every horse that is on the backside in a certain period of time,” he said. Hammerle has an open-door policy to encourage trainers to let him know what conditions they are looking for if they can’t find them in the book. He even accepts lists from trainers of the types of races they would like him to write—in fact, he welcomes suggestions. “Most of them know the pattern,” he said. “They know there are going to be certain races that are going to be there every couple of weeks, and they don’t need to ask for them. But they may have a horse that’s returning after a layoff or


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West Point Thoroughbreds

Owners

a special-conditioned horse that they’re looking for something, and they ask if I can put it in there.” Santa Anita canceled four Thursday cards during its spring meet because of lack of entries. Hammerle said the weather was to blame, not the racing office or the trainers. “Here in California, and specifically at Santa Anita, we got pelted by two months of steady rain, right at the beginning of our meet,” he said. “When it rains, all those horses that weren’t quite ready all of a sudden are a month behind, and some of them are two months behind because they just couldn’t get them consistent training on the racetrack. That really pushed us back here.” If Mother Nature cooperates, Hammerle is confident things will be fine, especially with track management, trainers, and owners all working toward a successful meet that will draw fans and increase handle. Field size has a direct impact on handle. Gamblers bet more money on larger fields, because larger fields offer more betting opportunities and a greater potential for longshots to come in. For the fans, who are the bedrock of the racing industry, larger fields offer more excitement. Even though they may not singularly wager as much as

professional gamblers, collectively their dollars are a large part of the handle. Attract more fans and you attract more dollars. New owners evolve from avid fans, and more owners translate into more horses.

Economics Is the Issue

Bramlage is especially interested in what is causing field sizes to decline, so he has studied the trends in racing to determine their impact. To him, the answer is straightforward—economics. The cost of racing a horse has gone up, but purses have not kept pace, except at the high end of the sport, he said. “If you look at the economic model and all the factors that go into that—the trainer’s strike rate, the cost of racing, and our inability to be patient with a horse— they have to be successful fairly early on or we give up on them,” Bramlage said. “But that’s just not with racing. That’s with stallions and everything, because the economic pressures are a lot higher than they used to be when racing was generally in the hands of the philanthropist families, where Darby Dan is racing because they like their colts and mares and they’ll give them all the chance they can, and they might give them 20 starts before they give up on them. Now, for most people, they probably don’t give them five starts.”

An information sheet for potential owners issued by West Point Thoroughbreds estimates the cost to maintain a horse at $50,000 to $60,000 per year. This includes an average day rate of $100 for training; veterinary and farrier bills; transportation and other miscellaneous costs; and, if necessary, a quarterly call for $600 to $750 additional funds for unanticipated expenditures. This means the meter is ticking on any horse that is not earning its keep. So while some people view fewer starts per horse as a decline of durability in the breed, Bramlage sees it as a lack of patience with young horses who aren’t performing. In a nutshell, owners are cutting their losses and moving on to another horse they hope will do better. Similarly, trainers rely on commissions on purse money for their livelihood, with their day rates devoted to covering expenses. If their horses don’t get a check, neither do they. An interesting statistic Bramlage uncovered is that the average starts per horse rise and fall with the value of yearlings at sale. “The reason is that when yearling values go up, horses retire faster … Starts go back up when sales prices go down, because horses stay in training longer,” he said. Presumably this trend is intended to protect the owner’s investment in a high-dollar yearling by racing the horse only when it has a good chance of winning in order to maximize its value in the breeding shed. Bramlage said it is now common for trainers to scratch horses if the morning line is unfavorable, alleging the horse is ill. There’s even a term for it, “30-to-1 fever,” he said. Modern racing has become more of a business than a sport.

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Potential solutions

The California Horse Racing Board’s Race Dates Committee met on May 24 to brainstorm ways to increase entries and field sizes in California. One suggestion was to charge trainers stall rent, which they could recover pro rata each time they raced. This would discourage trainers from using the racetrack as a training center while racing few horses. Changes in claiming rules and scratch rules also were mentioned as a possibility. An unpopular suggestion was to initiate a single racing circuit in California, where the show would travel from track to track like a carnival, instead of tracks in the north and south operating simultaneously. Fred Pope, a Lexington advertising executive and racing commentator, has been on this soapbox for decades, arguing that the salvation of racing would be a national circuit featuring celebrity horses. His “talent-centric” idea, as he calls it, would elicit racing groupies, like those fans who follow NASCAR, wanting to see their favorite runners in action. The racing industry scoffs at Pope’s idea every time he trots it out. Yet, he keeps tilting at that windmill. Horses aren’t Indy cars. Their bodies simply cannot withstand the kind of national campaign that circuit racing would impose upon them. The average number of starts per horse in 2016 was 6.2—hardly enough appearances to sustain a successful campaign on a nationwide circuit. Gone are the days of champion John Henry, who made 83 starts during his eight seasons on the track; Hall of Fame mare Pan Zareta, who raced 151 times over 22 tracks in three countries during her five-year career; and the ultimate fan favorite, Seabiscuit, who traveled coast to coast, racing 89 times between 1935 and 1940.

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Weekend racing only

Some of the nation’s racetracks that are having difficulty filling races have cut back to a three-day weekend of live racing. Horsemen on both coasts think weekendonly racing would be a hardship for everyone whose livelihood is the track— right down to the maintenance crew that sweeps the grandstand. Essentially, their full-time job would become a part-time, weekend job. But because their track job would entail working either Fridays or Mondays, they would have difficulty finding a job through the week. Beyond the economic hardship, Bravo said weekend-only racing would be physically tough on riders. “It’s tough to keep your fitness during the week without riding,” he said. “You see the tracks with the least racing days, they try to put more races on the card. Instead of like a ten-race card, they try to run 12 races. It makes it hard if you’re doing nothing for four days and then you get thrown into the weekend of riding a bunch of races. It’s physically demanding, and it’s hard to keep your weight, it’s hard to keep your timing. “A lot of us have tried to do it at tracks where they have shorter racing days or are just racing weekends, but it’s physically demanding. I’m lucky, I’m very small so I can keep my

ABOVE: Rick Hammerle, racing secretary of Santa Anita, welcomes requests from trainers

weight down. But for a heavier rider, you’re asking them to cut back four days and not eat. It’s pretty tough.” Tracks that cut back to weekend-only racing risk losing the best of their jockey colony to tracks that offer them more opportunities to ride. “I wouldn’t mind seeing shorter racing days but compacted into a full schedule instead of just weekends,” Bravo said. “Dragging it out makes it hard on everybody. The majority of gamblers and a lot of the higher-end people have nothing going on during the week. What is there to do for daytime entertainment if you take horseracing away, go to a movie theatre or the mall? What’s better than watching horses run around every half hour and have action from one o’clock to five every day during the week?”

New owners

The only consensus is that the sport needs more owners. More owners will bring more horses into the sport, and more horses could attract more trainers. Larger fields will attract more fans and drive up handle. Greater handle would enable racetracks to raise purses—the trickledown effect.


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A statue of the great Seabiscuit, who ran 89 times between 1935-1940

In 2011, The Jockey Club commissioned a study to determine how to address the decline in foal crops. The study’s recommendation was to promote new ownership. The Jockey Club initiated such a campaign, developing an owner website at www.ownerview.com and sponsoring a series of Owner Conferences, the next one scheduled for October 30-November 1 at Del Mar. “One of the most important recommendations emanating from the comprehensive economic study of Thoroughbred racing conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2011 centered on the need for a central resource to encourage ownership of Thoroughbreds and provide accurate information about purchasing and owning a Thoroughbred,” said Bob Curran, vice president of communications for The

Jockey Club. “In an effort to reduce the barriers to ownership, The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association subsequently created OwnerView in May 2012, and we continue to provide pertinent information to new, prospective, and current owners through our website and our very popular Thoroughbred Owner Conferences which are held during Breeders’ Cup week each year.” Olympic skier Bode Miller, one of the sport’s new, exciting owners, offered an idea to get more owners into the sport—a tax exempt, not-forprofit entity, similar to a syndicate, to which owners could donate active racehorses, and those who want to be involved could donate funds to support the stable. All donations would be tax deductible through

IT’S A WAY FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE LOW-ENTRY POINT FINANCIALLY AND HAVE OWNERSHIP IN HORSES WITH IT ONLY BENEFITTING CHARITIES, NOT-FOR-PROFITS. 28

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the 501(c)3 status, and any profit would benefit designated charities. “So it’s a way for people to have a superduper, low-entry point financially and have ownership in horses with it only benefitting charities, not-for-profits,” he said. Allowing people to dip their toes in the industry could entice new owners into the sport.

The future?

“Any sport has trends up and trends down,” Hammerle said. “I do think we may have hit bottom four or five or six years ago. We, the industry as a whole, have recognized some of the mistakes we’ve made and made some adjustments. I feel very positive about the way things are going. “I think we’ll continue to see some evolution in the way things are being done, both for the owners and the trainers, and obviously the fans. I think we’ll see a lot more fan involvement with the game. And I’m very high on it. I see some people involved now who really get it and want to do the right thing. So, as I make the trips around the country for the bigger [racing] weekends here and there, I’m very pleased at what I see.”


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Overground endoscopy is currently considered the definitive method to diagnose recurrent laryngeal neuropathy.

DIAGNOSIS OF L A R Y N G E A L P R O B L E M S: HO CU S PO CUS O R CU T T I NG - EDG E SCIEN CE? Celia M. Marr, Equine Veterinary Journal

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ecurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN) is the correct term for the condition better known as roaring or laryngeal hemiplegia. It is extremely common in Thoroughbreds and represents one of the major causes of poor performance or jockey-reported noise. Because it is so important, many young horses are scoped at sales looking for laryngeal asymmetry to try to identify those that may be at risk of having this condition. But scoping at rest is fraught with difficulty – the larynx may be normal at rest only to show signs of weakness during exercise, so positive cases can be missed. Conversely, tired

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Rossdales LLP and EVJ

young horses can have apparently poor laryngeal function at rest that in fact is of little significance. Many question whether subjecting foals and young horses to endoscopy at sales is reasonable, although in part this latter concern is reduced now that videoendoscopy is available. Furthermore, the dynamic endoscopy, overground or on a treadmill, is widely accepted as the best way to evaluate horses suspected of having upper airway disorders leading to dynamic obstruction of the airway during exercise, a population that may or may not have obviously abnormal throats when examined at rest. Nevertheless, there is a need for better tools to evaluate the larynx for clinical application and also to allow researchers to study the condition in more detail. Two recent studies published in Equine Veterinary Journal have addressed this issue.

What is recurrent laryngeal neuropathy?

RLN is actually due to damage to the nerves supplying the larynx rather than being an abnormality of the structure of the larynx itself. The larynx is a cartilage structure which is opened and closed by a collection of muscles that encircle it. Damage to the laryngeal nerves leads to atrophy of the main laryngeal adductor, the cricoarytenoid lateralis (CAL) muscle; and the main arytenoid abductor, the cricoarytenoid dorsalis (CAD). Atrophy (or wasting) of the left CAD muscle means that it can no longer open the arytenoid cartilage during inspiration. This in turn causes dynamic airway collapse at exercise, reducing the amount of air entering the lungs and, if severe, reducing the arterial oxygen concentration. Traditionally, the diagnosis of RLN has been made using endoscopy to determine the degree of arytenoid abduction or asymmetry.


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Are individual clinicians consistent when they assess the larynx?

RLN endoscopy. The left side of the larynx is typically affected by RLN: when viewed with a scope the left arytenoid, a cartilage forming the roof of the larynx, collapses into the airway. Because the larynx is viewed from the front, the left side of the horse is on the right side of the image.

How reliable is endoscopy in RLN?

A team from University College Dublin led by Dr. Charlotte McGivney set out to answer this question, and because it had not been looked at before, they were particularly interested in determining whether different clinicians would have different opinions when examining overground endoscopy images. Dr. McGivney collected video material from 43 Thoroughbreds in flat race training that had undergone overground endoscopy examination, on the same gallop. Videos from individuals representing a range of common upper airway abnormalities and a few horses judged to be normal at the initial examination were included. Four experienced clinicians, all of whom held advanced professional qualifications, then assessed videos of each horse, at rest and at exercise. One of the key findings the assessors were looking for was arytenoid asymmetry because this is relevant to the diagnosis of recurrent laryngeal neuropathy. To add to the challenge, Dr. McGivney duplicated all the videos; the observers knew that there were some duplicates in the study sample, but they did not know how many, and the identity of each horse was removed. In other words, the assessors were unaware if the horses were thought to be normal or not, or whether they had looked at the same animal already. The data was then analyzed to find out how consistent the assessors were; i.e. whether they arrived at the same assessment when they looked at the same horse twice and how much agreement there was between assessors.

The assessment made when the same person looked at the same horse twice was virtually identical in horses with arytenoid asymmetry at exercise. It was not quite perfect but still substantial for arytenoid asymmetry at rest. Overall the results for other conditions were good, although agreement about some of the less common abnormalities such as vocal fold collapse, ventromedial luxation of the apex of the corniculate process of the arytenoid, nasopharyngeal collapse, and grading the epiglottis at rest produced only moderate agreement.

Do experienced clinicians agree with each other when they look at the larynx?

Fortunately, the results here were also fairly encouraging although not quite as reliable as assessments made by one individual. When assessors were deciding whether or not a specific disorder was present or absent, there was substantial agreement for arytenoid asymmetry at rest and exercise. However, when Dr. McGivney looked at specific grades of arytenoid asymmetry assigned by the four independent assessors, the grades assigned for arytenoid asymmetry during exercise were moderately repeatable between observers but there was much less agreement at rest, suggesting there is a degree of individual subjectivity being introduced into the grading of disorders, supporting difference in clinical experience and opinions. There was more grading disparity with some of the other upper airway problems, suggesting that there is a need for better defined grading systems which can be universally applied.

Ultrasonography of the larynx

Transcutaneous ultrasound has been used to evaluate laryngeal structure and vocal fold movement of the equine larynx for a few years now, and in particular ultrasonography can be used to image the CAD muscle. A study published in Equine Veterinary Journal in 2011 by Dr. Katherine Garrett from Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky showed that using ultrasonography to look at the muscles of the larynx through the skin was effective for diagnosis of RLN. The key ultrasonographic features that identify RLN are an increase in the echogenicity (brightness) of the muscle and decrease in its size. Comparing ultrasonography findings with the diagnosis made during endoscopy during exercise on a high-speed treadmill in a group of 79 Thoroughbred racehorses showed that laryngeal ultrasound was very accurate.

THE LARYNX IS A CARTILAGE STRUCTURE WHICH IS OPENED AND CLOSED BY A COLLECTION OF MUSCLES THAT ENCIRCLE IT.

RLN ultrasonography. The top image shows the left, abnormal laryngeal muscle between the white arrowhead that is smaller and brighter than the normal muscle on the right side. TC, CC, and AC indicate the different components of the laryngeal cartilage that are operated by these muscles.

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Novel approaches to laryngeal imaging

An important limitation of transcutaneous ultrasonography is that direct assessment of the CAD muscle is very limited because the muscles above the larynx make it difficult to access. There is a need to have better ways to assess the CAD muscle, not only to improve diagnosis but also because novel treatments are being developed that aim to restore nerve function and glottic opening, and these rely on preventing further muscle atrophy, restoring muscle mass, or improving contractile force. Recognizing this need, a research team lead by Dr. Jonathan Cheetham based at Cornell University has been working on improved imaging

CT larynx. CT reconstruction of CAD muscle: structures are delineated on the 2D CT slices, and individual slices are then combined to produce 3D reconstructions of these muscles. Here the normal right muscle is green, the smaller abnormal left one is yellow.

THERE IS A NEED TO HAVE BETTER WAYS TO ASSESS THE CAD MUSCLE

CT larynx. CT reconstruction of CAD muscle: structures are delineated on the 2D CT slices, and individual slices are then combined to produce 3D reconstructions of these muscles. Here the normal right muscle is green, the smaller abnormal left one is yellow.

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techniques to determine the geometry of the CAD muscle and to characterize the relationship between CAD geometry and laryngeal function. The Cornell group used computed tomography (CT) to create 3D reconstructions of the equine larynx and determine volume and midbody dorsalventral thickness and cross-sectional area of the left and right CAD muscles. By comparing CT findings with autopsy, Dr. Cheetham’s team have confirmed that there is a very close correlation between CT estimates and actual muscle mass. Determining this relationship is important,

as there is a close relationship between a muscle’s volume and its ability to generate force. This is clinically relevant as the degree of force of the CAD muscle determines the muscle’s ability to abduct the arytenoid cartilage and open the rima glottidis. For the research study the procedure was performed under general anesthesia, but it may also be possible perform the same technique in standing sedated horses. The other innovative technique used in the Cornell study is transesophageal laryngeal ultrasound. For this procedure, horses are sedated and a video endoscope is placed into the right nostril to confirm correct placement of a human pediatric transesophageal probe via the left nostril across the nasopharynx into the esophagus. The probe is advanced to image the left CAD muscle ventrally through the esophageal wall. The procedure takes 10-15 minutes to perform and horses typically tolerate the procedure well. To look at transesophageal ultrasonography findings, the procedure was performed in 112 horses with a spectrum of laryngeal


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function and compared with findings in the same horses with conventional resting endoscopy. In 90 of these 112 horses, endoscopy was also performed during high-speed treadmill exercise. The ratio of left:right thickness in the mid body and caudal body of the CAD muscle was significantly reduced in horses with resting grade III laryngeal function compared to grades I and II. Likewise, the ratio of left:right thickness in the mid and caudal body of the CAD muscle was significantly reduced in horses with grade B or C laryngeal function compared to grade A (normal). Resting laryngeal function does not perfectly predict laryngeal function on exercise

and horses evaluated at rest as grade II and III are the most challenging. The Summary addition of transcutaneous evaluation It has long been suspected of CAL muscle echogenicity that resting endoscopy is a highly improves the ability to predict subjective business; individual vets are abnormal arytenoid movement fairly consistent but there is some variability during exercise but it is not when different vets assign grades. However, 100% accurate. Therefore the this research has shown that agreement is transesophageal technique has perhaps a bit better than one might fear. great potential to further enhance Advanced diagnostic imaging techniques, CT, our ability to predict which horses and transesophageal ultrasonography are will develop arytenoid collapse showing great promise as better tools to during exercise. The researchers address how clinicians predict and also concluded that together these monitor laryngeal function. methods show great promise for monitoring atrophy and its resolution in response to reinnervation therapies.

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T HE M ORN IN G R IDE R S W HO M AKE TH E AFTE RNOON H ORSE S Ed Golden

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xercise, as described by that consummate wordsmith, Noah Webster, is “an activity that requires physical or mental exertion, especially when performed to develop or maintain fitness.” To that end, one could say exercise riders are a Thoroughbred’s personal trainer. They spend considerable time with the horses, and are responsible for riding them during their exercise runs on the track, be they jogs, gallops, or breezes. They work closely with each horse’s trainer to keep the steed at peak performance level and provide feedback regarding its condition. Exercise riders can be hired by a trainer, a stable, or work freelance. Trainers also employ jockeys to work horses, but there are beneficial differences to using an exercise rider. “Jockeys are lighter in weight than exercise riders and horses breeze a little bit faster with them on,” said former

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Alamy, Zoe Metz Photography, Eclipse Sportswire

jockey Art Sherman, who trained two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome. “If I don’t want my horse to work too fast, I like exercise boys on them for slower works, because they are heavier (weighing as much as 30-to-40 pounds more than a jockey). “If you want a faster work and put a jock on, that’s fine, but prepping for a race, I like to have the exercise boy on.” Trainer Peter Eurton’s stepfather was trainer Steve Ippolito, for whom Eurton exercised horses before weight issues ended his career as a jockey, so he knows first-hand the value of an exercise rider. “They are one of many people who are really important to your barn,” said Eurton, who runs one of the most diversified and successful operations in California. “They’re your last source of information. As far as working horses is concerned, you need a good work rider at your barn and fortunately we have one in Pepe (Jose Contreras). “Jockeys are okay, but sometimes they can be a bit apprehensive giving you the news straight, especially if it’s not what you want to hear. In a sense, they have a vested interest, so you have to take what they say with a grain of salt, although for the most part, riders do a really good job.” One such jockey is ‘The Man with the Midas Touch,’ Mike Smith, North America’s leading money earner through June of 2017 with more than $14 million, and that’s not counting the $6 million gleaned when he rode Arrogate to victory in the Dubai World Cup in March. Smith’s horses have earned enough purse money this year to balance the budget of a Third World country. The Hall of Fame member, still in peak form as he turns 52 on August 10, maintains that horses are creatures of habit and benefit from a solid foundation, the first level of which is laid by exercise riders. “I use this analogy,” Smith said. “If you send your kids to a bad school, they’re not going to learn what’s right. You’ve got to send them to the best school possible, and it’s the same with horses and exercise riders. “They’re teaching them everything they need to know for the afternoons. If they’re not receiving proper instructions in the mornings, they’re certainly not going to get it right in the afternoon.”


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Bob Baffert, trainer of $17 million earner Arrogate and a barnful of other blueblooded stakes winners, recognizes full well the contribution of exercise riders. “They communicate with the horse, understand how it feels, and report that information to the trainer,” Baffert said. “The exercise rider is accustomed to getting on the same horse every day, so he’ll readily recognize changes in their gate and demeanor. “It’s very important they get along with the horse. We don’t want them to be tough on a horse, but at the same time, we don’t want them to spoil it. “We try to pick the right rider for the horse. Every rider has different strengths, so if necessary, I’ll make a change. “The best I’ve ever had is Dana Barnes (wife of Baffert assistant Jim Barnes), who galloped and breezed our

AN EXERCISE RIDER IS IMPORTANT. HE PLAYS A BIG PART FOR THE MAN IN TRAINING HORSES. [HUEY] BARNES

Dana Barnes, here on Arrogate, is the best exercise rider Bob Baffert has ever had.

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horses for years, and although we don’t let her work too many now, at one time, she was the best.” Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill employs as many as five exercise riders at his mega barn of about 100 runners, including some promising babies. “We strive to have continuity between the man or woman on the horse on a daily basis,” O’Neill said. “I’ve seen some magical things happen when horses are handled the right way, and that can be priceless. “Each exercise rider is special in his or her own way, particularly on a skittish or high-strung horse. The bottom line is you need someone who will go with the horse and not fight it when need be and reserve it when the occasion calls for it. There’s a happy middle ground.” Added long-time O’Neill assistant Leandro Mora: “Jonny Garcia is our main guy but we also have a few freelancing at $15 a head. Ten rides a morning for each rider is about the right number, I’d say. More than 10, they’re pushing it.” Being an exercise rider is not without its inherent dangers. Just ask Diego Sotelo, who started riding at age seven in his native Mexico, “to go hunting with my dad,” but retired as an exercise rider three years ago after an accident that still mystifies him. Now 52, Sotelo was barely out of diapers when he first rode donkeys and later horses owned by folks who used them to deliver milk.


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| TRAINING |

ABOVE: Dihigi Gladney, excercise rider of California Chrome

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“I was punished for that, and then I began to ride in match races with no saddle, no protection, and nobody around to help if you got in trouble,” he remembered. “They were the good old days: no fear, no worries, no problems, just fun. “I was riding Quarter Horses when I was eight years old but stopped at 13 and dedicated myself to attending school until I no longer had interest in my studies. I came to the U.S. in 1986 intending to stay only one year. “But a friend invited me to the races at Hollywood Park. I liked what I saw and I told him, ‘I can do that.’” And so he did, until fate intervened. Nearly three decades and 32 broken bones later, Sotelo called it a career as an exercise rider on September 25, 2014, following a spill that remains clouded in his memory. “I tore my shoulders, my neck, my back, and to this day I don’t know how it happened,” Sotelo says of the mishap. “I was jogging a horse at Santa Anita, stopped in mid-stretch to let him look at something, and next thing I knew I was in the hospital. I remember nothing else about it. “People told me an ambulance picked me up by the finish line, and I woke up in the hospital eight hours later. I lost my memory completely for a while after it happened, and that’s when I decided to retire.

TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 45

| EXERCISE RIDERS |

“I was having episodes with dizziness, my balance wasn’t very good, I was walking like a drunk, so I decided it was enough. You have to be responsible not only to yourself, but your fellow riders. When you’re out on the track and an incident occurs, two extremes are possible: you can help somebody or you can get yourself killed. “I didn’t want to take that chance anymore, so I made the decision I was not going to put anyone’s life in jeopardy.” But all tales of the turf are not so maudlin, although riding a horse is never without risk. It takes confidence and valor. As World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker once said, “courage is doing what you’re afraid to do.” Dihigi Gladney is the Ernie Banks of exercise riders. His love of the game is only exceeded by his joie de vivre. How a black kid from Watts, California, becomes the exercise rider for California Chrome is right out of Aesop’s Fables, but Gladney, 41, dismisses it as pure luck. “When you become a part of that chain, it’s a different feeling altogether,” Gladney said of his California Chrome experience, during which an open line of communications was crucial to success. “If you work together, good things will come,” he said. “The Chrome team never had a bad day where we didn’t communicate with one another. There were times we might not have totally agreed on something, but at the end of the day, we did what was best for our horse.” Gladney has enjoyed a prosperous and pleasurable tour with Team Sherman, not always the case with exercise riders in other barns. “Normally, a trainer might promise an exercise rider so many mounts a day,” he said. “A lot of barns put an exercise rider on salary, in addition to a good stake (bonus money) if they win a big race. A job with a good salary is awesome to an exercise rider. We’re all looking for that. “Freelance riders get about $15 a mount, but there are a lot of bad (read: dangerous) horses out there. A trainer is willing to pay more to have someone get on that kind of animal, and that’s just for the exercise rider. If that horse needs to be accompanied by a pony, which takes an additional rider, then you could be looking at $20 to $55 a day.” So how many horses can a rider get on in three workout sessions that span five hours, starting before sunup and running until 10 a.m., when the main track surface is renovated and prepared for afternoon racing? “Ten is a good number,” Gladney said. “It could be more if someone is trying to break a record, but I’m not trying to break any records. Since I’ve gotten older, I’ve slowed down. It’s not about records to me; it’s about what I can teach the horse.” Gladney, who weighs “136 pounds now without a diet,” works exclusively at Los Alamitos in Cypress, California, where Sherman is headquartered. “The only time I come to Santa Anita,” he said, “is on Saturdays and Sundays for my pony ride business.” With apologies to the milk industry, Gladney calls his avocation “Got Ponies?” which he owns and has available on Family Fun Days at the Arcadia, California, track and for community events and birthday parties. He says his migration from a ghetto to the Sport of Kings was “pure luck,” but it was more than that. When


| TRAINING |

he was a kid, Gladney rode horses in Gardena as a trail guide for his grandfather, John Davis, who had a pony ride business “that kept me out of trouble. “I never thought I would come from Watts to the racetrack. That never entered my mind, let alone becoming an exercise rider and then a jockey who would win nearly 300 races and have a good career. My idol growing up was Charlie Sampson, not only because he was an African-American from the Los Angeles area, but because he was the first African-American world champion bull rider. They called him ‘Pee Wee.’” Gladney followed in Pee Wee’s footsteps, riding bulls as a student at Centennial High School in Compton. He escaped relatively unscathed on the back of El Toro, but fractures later came with the territory. The worst was a broken back on January 5, 2003, that put Gladney out of action for five years, but his positive attitude never waned. “It broke my back,” he told the Fresno Bee in 2007, “but not my heart. As bad as it was, it could have been worse. I would have dreams that I was paralyzed, I could see myself in a wheelchair.” The moniker of “Pee Wee” is like Smith or Jones among popular nicknames, but a first name of Dihigi? Even Gladney isn’t sure of its origin. “Ain’t nobody ever heard of that name,” he said, emphasizing that it’s pronounced DA-ha-jee. “Many people have heard my name, and they’ve told me it sounds like another nationality. ‘What was your mom thinking?’ I said she was in hard labor with me and it was the morphine.

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| EXERCISE RIDERS |

TEN IS A GOOD NUMBER, IT COULD BE MORE IF SOMEONE IS TRYING TO BREAK A RECORD, BUT I’M NOT TRYING TO BREAK ANY RECORDS. DIHIGI GLADNEY

“Really, I don’t have the slightest idea.” Here’s one: there is a city in Bangladesh called Dhormo Sagor Dihigi. Huey Barnes exercised horses for greats such as Charlie Whittingham and Buster Millerick back in the day. Now, at 83, he’s an assistant starter at southern California tracks. “An exercise rider is important,” Barnes said. “He plays a big part for the man training horses. He’s got to care about a horse, take his time with the horse, and want it to do good, and if something’s wrong, he can tell the trainer either way. “If he works a horse and the trainer says he wants to go in such and such a time, the rider shouldn’t be more than a tick off what the trainer said. It’s the clock in the boy’s head that makes him good at what he does. “If he ain’t got a clock in his head, he’s just another exercise boy on a horse.”


| TRAINING |

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| NUTRITION |

N O FOOT NO HORSE F EE D IN G F O R H E A LT HY H O O V E S Dr. Catherine Dunnett BSc, PhD, R.Nutr. Independent Equine Nutrition Alamy, Anne-Armelle Langlois, Shutterstock

T

he expression ‘no foot no horse’ is one that has stood the test of time, and discussions about hoof shape, horn quality, and foot conformation continue to dominate in the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry. Thoroughbreds in particular have a reputation, perhaps undeserved, for poor foot conformation but can frequently experience problems relating to either hoof horn quality or growth rate during their training careers. An inability to retain shoes, the appearance of hoof cracks, thin soles, white line disease, and brittle or crumbly feet are all practical issues related to horn quality that trainers may experience in some horses. While it is easy to perhaps appreciate familial traits in foot conformation and hoof shape, experts also suggest that hoof horn quality is also influenced by genetic factors as well as nutrition, environment, and farriery. Stable cleanliness is also very important, with studies showing that equine feces have a very detrimental effect on hoof horn integrity, especially where the structure of the horn is not robust. The focus of this article is the influence of diet on the hoof and how this relates to a typical racing ration. Hooves contain a large amount of protein, roughly 90% on a dry matter basis, and the most abundant structural protein present is keratin, which contains approximately 18 different amino acids. These chains of amino acids give keratin its primary structure, and the orientation and interconnection of these chains then gives a specialized secondary structure that relates to location and its function. The hoof tissues are complex and show a high level of differentiation to deliver functionality. For example, keratin in the hoof capsule is rich in disulphide bonds (double sulphur bonds) that bridge two cysteine amino acids to form cystine to deliver hardness and strength, whereas the keratin found in the frog and white line region have less of these disulphide bonds (S=S) and more sulfhydryl bonds (S=H), affording less strength but more flexibility. Methionine is a dietary essential sulphur containing amino acid, i.e. it cannot be synthesized from other amino acids in the body. Methionine can be converted to cysteine, which is integral to the form

and function of keratin, and is a limiting amino acid in the equine diet, together with lysine and threonine. There are many factors, many of which are unrelated to diet, that affect the rate of growth of hoof horn. However, like all other tissues, hoof horn requires a constant source of energy, including a supply of glucose. It is also important that certain key nutrients are present in sufficient amounts in the diet to support and drive hoof horn growth and to maintain its integrity, which in turn delivers normal functionality. Studies have shown that it takes about 9-12 months for the hoof wall to grow from the coronary band to the weight-bearing surface and so a great deal of patience is required to see any benefit from changes made to the diet. Biotin is probably the most well-known micronutrient with respect to hoof quality. It is a water-soluble B-group vitamin, used by most cells of the body when converted to carboxybiotin, a component of many enzymes. Biotin is found naturally at a relatively low level in some feed ingredients such as alfalfa, soya, and brewer’s yeast and is also synthesized by many of the resident bacteria found in the horse’s intestinal tract. It is assumed that this bacterially synthesized biotin is available to the horse, as under normal circumstances no supplemental biotin is required. However, this may change where the hindgut environment is compromised and the microbial population suboptimal, which may be the case in some horses in training maintained on a high-starch diet with limited forage intake. Horses with poor hoof horn quality or growth may benefit from additional biotin in the diet. Biotin has been shown to have a positive effect on the intracellular glue or keratin found as an integral part of hoof horn structure. The normal maintenance requirement for biotin in the diet is about 1-1.5mg per day for an average 1,100-pound horse, but studies have revealed that for an improvement in hoof horn quality or growth, the intake of biotin needs to be significantly higher, with levels of 10-30mg per day being cited as beneficial in scientific studies. Typically, between 2-6mg per roughly 200lb bodyweight of biotin has been supplemented in those scientific trials where a positive effect on hoof has been demonstrated over a prolonged period. ISSUE 45 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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BRIEF SUMMARY Prior to use please consult the product insert, a summary of which follows: CAUTION Federal Law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. INDICATIONS LEGEND® Injectable Solution and LEGEND® Multi Dose Injectable Solution are indicated in the treatment of equine joint dysfunction associated with equine osteoarthritis. CONTRAINDICATIONS There are no known contraindications for the use of LEGEND® Injectable Solution and LEGEND® Multi Dose Injectable Solution in horses. RESIDUE WARNINGS Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. HUMAN WARNINGS Not for use in humans. Keep out of reach of children. ANIMAL SAFETY WARNING For LEGEND Injectable Solution 4 mL and LEGEND Multi Dose Injectable Solution – Not for Intra-articular use. The Intra-articular safety of hyaluronate sodium with benzyl alcohol has not been evaluated. PRECAUTIONS Complete lameness evaluation should be conducted by a veterinarian. Sterile procedure during the injection process must be followed. Intra-articular injections should not be made through skin that is inflamed, infected or has had a topical product applied. The safety of LEGEND Injectable Solution and LEGEND Multi Dose has not been evaluated in breeding stallions or in breeding, pregnant or lactating mares. ADVERSE REACTIONS No side effects were observed in LEGEND Injectable Solution clinical field trials. Side effects reported post-approval: Following intravenous use: Occasional depression, lethargy, and fever. Following intraarticular (LEGEND Injectable Solution – 2 mL only) use: joint or injection site swelling and joint pain. For medical emergencies or to report adverse reactions, call 1-800-422-9874. ANIMAL SAFETY SUMMARY Animal safety studies utilizing LEGEND Multi Dose Injectable Solution were not performed. LEGEND Multi Dose Injectable Solution was approved based on the conclusion that the safety of LEGEND Multi Dose Injectable Solution will not differ from that demonstrated for the original formulation of LEGEND Injectable Solution. LEGEND Injectable Solution was administered to normal horses at one, three and five times the recommended intra-articular dosage of 20 mg and the intravenous dose of 40 mg. Treatments were given weekly for nine consecutive weeks. No adverse clinical or clinical pathologic signs were observed. Injection site swelling of the joint capsule was similar to that seen in the saline treated control horses. No gross or histological lesions were observed in areas of the treated joint. For customer care or to obtain product information, including a Material Safety Data Sheet, call 1-888-637-4251 Option 2. ®LEGEND is a registered trademark, and ™ the Horse Logo is a trademark, of Merial. ©2016 Merial, Inc., Duluth, GA. All rights reserved.

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ABOVE: Zinc and biotin are key components to improve hoof quality

Most racing diets will deliver biotin at a maintenance level and are generally not formulated to deliver the higher amount needed to improve hoof horn quality, although there may be exceptions. Where a higher intake of biotin is advised, supplementation is usually the route taken. Remember, however, that 10-30mg of biotin is still a tiny amount and so biotin supplements will always be provided on a carrier to ensure that the quantity fed per day is manageable. As powdered supplements in feed can be problematic for fussy feeders, it is worth using one that is quite concentrated and so delivers the requisite amount of biotin within a relatively small serving. Excessive intake of biotin is not desirable, although, as it is a water-soluble vitamin, any excess will be lost in the urine. There are many cases where biotin supplementation seems to have no beneficial effect, even when fed over a prolonged period. This is because where hoof quality or structure is poor, there can be more than one type of defect responsible in the hoof horn. Dr. Sue Kempson, a noted equine nutrition researcher, showed in the 1980s that it was defects to the outermost layers of hoof horn structure that were most often resolved with biotin supplementation. In contrast, where there is defective horn on the innermost part of the hoof capsule -- which accounted for 94% of her cases -- biotin was ineffective on its own in resolving the issue. However, sufficient biotin in the diet in combination with adequate calcium

and quality protein to supply important amino acids was more successful in improving this type of defect, according to Kempson’s research. Much research has also been carried out on the role of calcium in hoof horn structure and growth. Calcium is needed to activate an epidermal enzyme, or transglutaminase, which is present and active in the cross-linking of keratin fibers and so it is important for cellto-cell attachment. Calcium also plays a role in depositing the intracellular lipids in the horn structure, which influences moisture balance in the hoof and the ability to repel bacteria from the environment. Inadequate calcium in the diet is often characterized by crumbling hoof horn, especially around the nail holes and heels. Dr. Derek Cuddeford, formerly of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, published work supporting the use of alfalfa or lucerne to improve hoof quality and growth by providing a bioavailable source of calcium, as well as an increased intake of digestible protein, delivering an important source of amino acids. Zinc is an important trace mineral with respect to hoof structure and it is needed for the optimum activity of near to 200 enzymes in the body, including those involved in keratin formation. Supplemental zinc has been shown to improve hoof horn quality, but this will only be the case when zinc intake was previously marginal or low. In cattle, research has suggested that organic or chelated zinc, where the zinc is attached to an amino acid or


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Merial is now part of Boehringer Ingelheim. ®LEGEND is a registered trademark, and TM the Horse Logo and TMMAX, Merial Awards Xpress are trademarks, of Merial. ©2017 Merial, Inc., Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. EQUIOLG1605-A (03/16)

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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: The safety of LEGEND has not been evaluated in breeding stallions or in breeding, pregnant or lactating mares. The following adverse reactions have been reported following use of LEGEND Injectable Solution: Following intravenous use: occasional depression, lethargy, and fever. Following intra-articular (LEGENDInjectableSolution—2mLonly)use:lameness,jointeffusion,jointorinjectionsiteswelling,andjointpain.


| TRAINING |

| NUTRITION |

PHOTO.

1

NS = no zinc supplementation S = Zinc supplemenation

fragment, is more efficient in this respect, although this has not been studied in horses. It is believed that zinc is particularly important for adherence of the horn cells together with a sort of intracellular glue. A significant effect of zinc supplementation on the growth rate of hair, another keratin-rich structure, has been reported previously in ponies. In Photo 1, the higher growth rate of mane hair during periods of zinc supplementation in grazed ponies is visually significant when compared with the non-supplemented periods. Copper is also an important cofactor, as it is responsible for activating an enzyme called thiol-oxidase that is involved in the formation of the disulphide bridges in keratin. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is also needed for the development of horn epithelial tissue, although an excessive intake has a detrimental effect on horn structure. While selenium is an important trace element needed in sufficient amounts in the diet, an excess of selenium can have a severe effect on hoof horn structure, as selenium has a relatively narrow margin of safety. Excess selenium in the diet prevents the disulphide bridges being formed correctly with selenium (Se) replacing sulphur (S), making the structures inherently weaker. The requirement for selenium for a typical 500kg horse is in the range of 1-3mg per day, but there is some controversy as to where the safety margin lies with particular respect to hoof horn structure. The scientific literature suggests that 10mg per day is the upper safe limit for selenium in the diet, while more conservative estimates suggest that this may be nearer to 5mg per day. Kempson suggests that horses with persistent thrush that do not respond to conventional treatment may be exposed to an excess of dietary selenium. The most severe cases of selenium toxicity can result in the hooves sloughing off like slippers. Selenium intake should certainly be investigated, especially as it is common practice in racing to use multiple supplements, many of which may contain selenium.

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Most people are aware of the link between excessive or inappropriate nonstructural carbohydrate intake and laminitis. Non-structural carbohydrates, or NSC, consist of starches and sugars as well as fructans, which are the storage polysaccharide of many grasses. Starches and sugars would predominantly be digested in the small intestine, while fructans are usually fermented in the hindgut. When a large amount of NSC reaches the hindgut complex, it is readily and rapidly fermented, leading to significant change in the resident microbial population with associated shifts in pH and mucosal cell permeability. Laminitis can then arise, although the exact mechanism for this remains unclear. However, the clinical signs of laminitis are unlikely to be a ‘cliff edge’ scenario and there may be deleterious effects on hoof stability long before a laminitis attack is suspected. Vets at Rood & Riddle in Lexington, Kentucky, suggest that low-grade chronic laminitis is very common in Thoroughbred horses, and that these are the horses that will go unnoticed until further complications arise such as lameness. They also suggest that abnormal hoof growth is a common finding in these

THE EXPRESSION OF “NO FOOT NO HORSE” IS ONE THAT HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME. cases, with evidence of more heel growth compared to the toe, with a dished dorsal hoof wall and toe cracks. The racing diet may add to the risk of laminitis in some cases, where a very high-starch ration is fed, often exacerbated by large meals which allow an unregulated dumping of NSC into the hindgut leading potentially to chronic hindgut acidosis. This may also impact the biotin status of these animals, as the numbers of biotin-producing microflora are reduced in the resident population. The rations of most horses in training should provide plenty of protein and so should easily fulfill the requirements for methionine and other important amino acids. Racing diets are also generally well-fortified with the key micronutrients including calcium, zinc, copper, and vitamin A needed for good hoof quality. The intake of calcium is usually far in excess of requirements, although the Ca/P ratio can sometimes be a little low, if for example diets are top-dressed with significant quantities of oats. Maintaining the level of calcium relative to phosphorus is also important, as this may impact hoof horn quality. The level of biotin is most likely to be present at a standard maintenance dose in most racing rations and so this is the nutrient that is more likely to require supplementation. However, we should always remember that a holistic approach to hoof quality is required with all aspects of management, feeding, environment, and farriery being considered and improved where necessary.


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BUSINESS SNAPSHOT

DUNCAN

TAYLOR

T HI N KIN G O U T S I D E T H E B O X Giles Anderson

D

Taylor Made Sales Agency

uncan Taylor, as president and CEO of Taylor Made Sales Agency, presides over the farm that bears his family name and has been at the heart of the bloodstock industry for more than four decades. To many, the surname “Taylor” is synonymous with one of the leading U.S. sellers of bloodstock, but for those who attended the Pan-American Conference held in May in Washington, D.C., Duncan Taylor was simply the leading asker of questions. It is clear that Taylor has always had a passion to learn about and understand different aspects of the business. Taylor Made provides services, but these are just some elements to a much bigger industry, and for the industry to grow, it must explore and embrace the different aspects that make the business what it is. This made the PanAmerican Conference a “must-attend” event for Taylor, giving him the opportunity to question and learn from panelists and delegates from around the world. Sitting down with Taylor at the conclusion of the conference the Sunday after the Preakness gave us the opportunity to get his thoughts on the industry.

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| D U N C A N TAY L O R |

ISSUE 45 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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BUSINESS SNAPSHOT | D U N C A N TAY L O R |

TAYLOR ON promoting to racing’s customers

Everything has to start with the customer. At the PanAmerican Conference we heard about marketing but there are four areas of marketing that are important: product, price, place, and promotion last. But we heard a lot about promotion and people doing things that may not actually be even related to the business we are in. Putting on a great concert, having slot machines at a racetrack – all these things that are not bad by themselves but take focus off our core product and what our core customers want and are craving. We need to study how people are betting and what they are betting on. We need to look at our product. We haven’t reinvented ourselves. Our wagering product – win, place, show, pick six – has stayed the same. At the conference it seemed that the two things that others were doing the best were out of the box. In France anyone can play a $2 wager for a million dollar purse every day and all they have to do is pick the first five horses in a race. They can do this on skill or have the computer randomly generate a ticket. It’s the most lucrative bet in France now. They found out what the customer wanted and developed it and now the customer is there buying it. You can do all the promotion in the world but if the product isn’t right they won’t buy the product and don’t come back. We need to focus on new products around the real live race, get people closer to the horse and figure out how to have more interaction with the horses, and basically have focus groups with customers telling us what they want.

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TAYLOR ON focusing on the longer term

We have to take a long-term view. We can’t just think about how we are getting a customer tomorrow, we need to cultivate young people and think about how can they enjoy our sport. What are we doing about the young girls who naturally love horses?

TAYLOR ON why people fall out of love with racing

One of the reasons is purses. Grow the purses. When you buy a racehorse, it’s a costly experience. It’s about $40,000 a year to have a racehorse in training. When you have 30-to-40 horses in training and not much success, it can pull you down. People don’t mind putting up the money if they are having success. We all know the fine line between success and failure can be the horse that was going to be the great one getting hurt. The main reason why they leave the game is the economics are tough..

TAYLOR ON the ownership experience

You’ve got to make sure that the owner feels important and feels appreciated for their investment. They are the ones who have put in the money. Just look at licensing – people who are very wealthy aren’t simply the sort of people who are used to getting fingerprinted four-to-five times a year. We need to simplify the whole experience. They can go buy a yacht or a ball team. They have many different choices so we are competing against those pursuits for the luxury dollar investment. We need to treat them with luxury treatment. You don’t go to the top-end yacht dealer and get fingerprinted!


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BUSINESS SNAPSHOT | D U N C A N TAY L O R |

TAYLOR ON the people’s horse

Geoff Gray, a New York Times writer and editor of True Ink magazine, was traveling through Saratoga and bumps into a trainer at a supermarket line. So he goes to the trainer’s barn, meets a horse, and then goes back to the races and the horse wins. His concept for his magazine is to write about things that people can go and experience. He started writing about the horse business and got himself a big fiberglass horse which he took to every Triple Crown race last year, where he got people to sign the fiberglass horse. He called it “The People’s Horse.” He came to Lexington as he wanted a real horse and wanted to start a racing club for his readers. We got together and I told him that we had THE people’s horse – California Chrome. Now we’re breeding three mares of Taylor Made’s (to California Chrome). The People’s Horse members will get to experience being part of the development of the foals and select by vote the foal to be the next People’s Horse. Geoff being a writer, he’s going to be able to create content to make sure that these people get videos and regular written updates. So far (in three weeks’ time) we’ve had over 200 people sign up. These people are new and some haven’t even been to a horse race. They’re just wanting the experience. It’s all about making the horse business more accessible to more people.

TAYLOR ON Horse Country

In Kentucky we created something along the lines of what they have done in Sonoma (wine country in California) or the Bourbon Trail. While in the Thoroughbred business we do not have bottles sitting on every shelf advertising us, we do produce bourbon in Kentucky, and it gets people

to come visit distilleries. It’s a natural crossover that they want to come and visit horse farms. A lot of people who buy horses have been to the track as kids. People remember these things so getting them to the farms is another way of introducing them to the wonderful world of racehorses. People are now so far removed from agriculture compared to where we were when I was growing up, so we have to make the farms accessible so that the horse can stay relevant and make it fun. It’s a competitive advantage as the horse is real live experience, not digital.

TAYLOR ON too much racing

Not only is there too much racing, there is not enough brand differentiation of product. At the Pan-American Conference, John Miller from NBC put up a slide on the screen of all the different brands they were involved with in thoroughbred racing – lots of different logos. This is confusing to the potential new customer. If we can brand the key days as something like “worldwide Grade 1 action” then it makes it easier for the consumer to understand. If I go to one of these events, I am going to be watching the best. We’re not making the presentation to the customer easily understandable. For example, if I had watched the Kentucky Derby (on TV) for the first time and then saw a promo for Royal Ascot under the same banner – “worldwide Grade 1 racing” it surely would evoke a good experience and I would know I would be watching the best. It will make it easier for the customer to understand in the long run. I can go watch Lexington Catholic (High School) play football but I know it’s not the NFL, but it’s still football.

TAYLOR ON explaining the product to the new racetrack customer

If I went to Vail or Aspen and never had been skiing before and they said, “Here are your skis, off you go and have a good time,” and I came down a black diamond run, I would have had the most frightful experience ever and would never come back! But sometimes, that’s kind of the way we treat our customers when they play the horses for the first time. There is no place for them to learn. It’s a complicated system. I think we should promote and challenge people to learn how to handicap. They should have some kind of experience which helps teach them from the ground up. Learning about the horse. What does trapped on the rail mean? We’ve got to tutor the fan and give them examples of what this means.

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BUSINESS SNAPSHOT | D U N C A N TAY L O R |

TAYLOR ON the perception of the horse player

I would esteem the player or handicapper who is playing the game. The tracks somewhat look down on them, horse owners can somewhat look down on the handicappers. Yet the handicappers are the ones who need to be esteemed. Horse betting is the smart person’s wager. Betting on horses isn’t down to random chance, you can use your brain.

TAYLOR ON handicapping leagues to grow the fan base

The NTRA or Breeders’ Cup should develop a three tiered league. A beginners league and that ends with a tournament on the Kentucky Derby with a winning purse of $250,000. Have an experienced level that ends with a tournament that ends on the Kentucky Derby race, with a winning purse of $500,000. Also a professional league that ends in a tournament on Derby day (the Kentucky Derby race) winning purse of $1,000,000. Bring the winners to the winner’s circle and present them as the smartest handicappers in the world. Do all of this on TV and you will have others wanting to learn how to handicap and our sport will start to grow. The emphasis will be on our true customer, the handicapper!

TAYLOR ON the racetrack experience

The tracks realize the big days are important now. It used to be that on the big days the customers got the worst experience. The Breeders’ Cup and at the Triple Crown races, they are doing an awesome job. At the Pegasus (World Cup), the Stronach Group made sure that everyone got a first-class experience on the day. If it’s branded a certain way and we can deliver what the customer expects then they’ll keep coming back. But I don’t think that tracks are doing a consistently good job. Everyone jokes about McDonald’s, but their food is consistent. You can drive down the interstate at six McDonald’s, you can trust the brand, you know what you are going to get. That’s not always the case at the racetrack and Grade I racing.

TAYLOR ON what he would say to the racetrack managements

The first thing I would do would be to go Churchill Downs, NYRA, Keeneland, Stronach Group and sit down with them all to figure how we could all win. We’re going to develop a quality racing brand. This isn’t my idea but you need to get the main content providers (racetracks)

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tied in so they are all promoting each other’s main events and it’s all consistent to what we want the brand to be. All of them do better because they focus on growing the number of handicappers and fans.

TAYLOR ON racing coverage in the newspapers

Newspapers listen to their customers. They are in business to deliver what the customer wants. When they see that the customer wants racing covered, they will cover it. It all goes back to building the brand of racing. When you build interest they’ll cover it, but we’ve got to build the interest the right way. It’s our own fault that racing isn’t in the papers, not the newspapers’ fault.

TAYLOR ON the future of the sales market

The breeding stock sales market at the top end is very international. So as the interest in racing worldwide increases or decreases, the sales market will follow that trend. Our yearling and 2 year old market is very closely tied to the stock market and follows that market. In the long run the national interest in horseracing will have an effect on the yearling and 2 year old market.


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BUSINESS SNAPSHOT | D U N C A N TAY L O R |

TAYLOR ON the winter season and new big purse races

TAYLOR ON perception

We need a more uniform medication policy. The perception of drugs is a lot worse than the reality. We need to do better but the United States has really good horses that can compete anywhere in the world. If it was up to me I’d have a chip in the horse’s neck from birth, and any veterinary work that was done on the horse, it would be mandatory for the vet to record it. This way you could look at anything that was done to the horse at any time in its whole life. For example, we’ve done screws and wires, we’ve done screws in knees, trying to make the horses better. It doesn’t bother them in my opinion, if those horses are runners, if they go and compete fine. But if someone doesn’t want that, I don’t want them to go and buy the horse. If they think that’s bad then there is someone who is going to take advantage of that. What I do know is that people don’t want to buy something that is crooked in front. Full disclosure is a great thing. When they think you are hiding something, there is no worse environment to sell something when someone thinks that someone else is trying to scam them.

TAYLOR ON opportunities in the Southern Hemisphere

Sending the horses south is really good. But it’s also good to breed on Southern (Hemisphere) time in the North. We’ve bred mares to Tapit and with Distorted Humor sending mares to Australia to sell. We’ve done good and made some money doing that. It’s another

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These races like the Pegasus are a huge plus. If that can go on for, let’s say, a 3-year period, it will really start to affect the horse market. It’s good for our customers and our sport. I can only talk about our experience with California Chrome. The person who was responsible for keeping Chrome going as a five-year-old was Sheikh Mohammed. If he didn’t have the $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup then he wouldn’t have stayed in training. Would I sign up for the Pegasus (concept) again? It’s more suited for someone who has a large stable and a likely runner. If they changed some things around and looked at it more as a group of people investing in the outcome of growing that property, then I would be very tempted to go back in. Now that the Pegasus team have a year behind them, sponsorship revenues are going to grow. They did a good job, got the right TV coverage, and people understand what it is. market for your stallion. At Taylor Made we want to become more global. There are a lot of opportunities in South America with Sebastian Angelillo heading up our Chilean division, I really do think this a place for growth.

TAYLOR ON the future of Taylor Made

We have a great team at Taylor Made. We have six next generation members of the Taylor family working here now. But it’s not just family; we have other young people like Melissa Couture, Sebastian (Angelillo), Phillip Shelton, Jake Memolo, Leigh Ann Stead and many others. There are different ways of doing things out there. We’re always picking up ideas from our young people. We learn from them. If it’s a better idea, it’s a better idea. It will be fun to see what the young talents ideas are and how they innovate, and with honest and hard work, our brand will stay at the top.

TAYLOR ON what he would tell his 40-year-old self Work just as hard, focus just as hard. Pray more and worry less.


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| BUSINESS |

WHY THE GRASS IS GETTING GREENER IN

NEW YORK Bill Heller

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Eclipse Sportswire


| NEW YORK RACING |

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horoughbred racing on Long Island is changing so fast it’s hard to keep up. As the New York Racing Association (NYRA) made its annual seven-week summer pilgrimage to Saratoga, the future of racing at NYRA’s two Long Island racetracks, Belmont Park and Aqueduct, remains, in a single word, complex. NYRA’s recent, stunning announcement that it was converting Aqueduct’s 40-year-old inner dirt track into a second turf course – the first major renovation of a NYRA track in decades – immediately prompted questions about Belmont Park and possible reconstruction that could close racing there fo or a year or longer. It’s hard to believee that it’s being done solely to add a few grass racees in April and November if the weather allows it. Regardless, having winter racing on Aqueduct’s main traack will make it much more attractive to horsemen simplyy because it allows several different distances of races th han the inner dirt track allowed. The ongoing interrest of the New York Islanders in building a new ho ockey arena on Belmont Park property may or maay not have a lot do with Belmont Park’s future. Reporrtedly, a new arena would not affect Belmont’s existing grandstand and clubhouse. Reading that situation is a diifficult task since New York State is involved and wi will i haave the ultimate say. Then there was a bill that passed the New York State Senate in mid-Junee to allow evening racing at Belmont Park. The legislaation didn’t make it out of the assembly but wi wiill be reiintroduced next year. Meanwhile, in an intervi view i with North American Trainer, NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay said that night racing is one of his priorities at Belmont. Other th hings on Kay’s agenda, in conjunction w wiith i N NY Y YR RA’s new Board of Directors named on June 7th, arre incentive programs for two-year-olds and marathon n turfers; making a concerted effort to att ttract t European shiippers and serve bettors in Japan; and a reshuff ffflling l of majo or stakes to be held on one day. Also, NY N Y YR RA introduced a new multiple-race wager and a new partnership platform m for messaging-enabled commerce.

What’s next?

“We have this mantrra of continuous improvement,” Kay said on June 30 0th, the day of his fourth anniversary at N NY Y YRA. “We’ve maade a lot of good progress with a lot of good people. We try to prioritize enhancing the experience of our guests, improving the quality of racing and safety, and making NYRA financially sustainable for decades to come. I think we have achieved that.” That may be a stretch, but certainly nobody can accuse NYRA of standing pat. “I don’t mind experimenting,” trainer Rick Violette, the president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said. “The trick is the analysis.” NYRA has been operating New York’s three racetracks since 1955 and has the franchise through 2033, the result of a deal with the state of New York. NYRA renounced its claim to owning the valuable land and racetracks in exchange for a 25-year franchise extension, which was approved in early 2008. ISSUE 45 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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“When NYRA gave away the land, they gave up everything,” veteran trainer Mike Hushion said. “To me, it’s the biggest mistake in racing. You have the franchise, but you have no control over it.” Hushion, who retired at the end of the Belmont summer meet, has a point. If the Islanders decide to build a new arena at Belmont Park, the state of New York would be responsible for issuing requests for proposals (RFPs). A public hearing at the Elmont Public Library, not far from Belmont Park, was scheduled for July 10th. “I don’t know how this process is going to unfold,” Kay said. “I don’t know how the decision will be made. I think it’s exciting, and a variety of groups might respond to an RFP. If there is an RFP, I hope they share my interest in developing Belmont Park into a sports and entertainment center.” Kay is more direct about night racing, which would require the installation of lights. A bill that was sponsored by state senator Elaine Phillips, whose district is in the northwest portion of Nassau County, would allow racing “after sunset at Belmont Park, only at the main track in its current configuration, but only if such races conclude

| NEW YORK RACING |

ABOVE: NYRA CEO Chris Kay is making night racing at Belmont one of his priorities

before 10:30 p.m. and only occur on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays.” Kay said, “The important thing is this: we want night racing at Belmont, not at Saratoga. We’ve got to create a new generation of fans. People with disposable income typically work during the day. It makes sense for us to have night racing, two days a week on Thursdays, Fridays, and occasionally Saturdays during the Belmont meets, 38 to 40 days each year.” Kay said the current twilight racing on Fridays at Belmont had less influence on his decision than the success of night racing at Churchill Downs, where three “Downs After Dark” programs, which featured food trucks, live music, and drink specials, attracted 59,200 fans earlier this summer. “They got substantially more fans to come out,” Kay said. “What you have to do is get people out and they’ll come back. They’ll become fans. We have lost a generation or two. How do we get them to come out? After work, it’s different. We want to make it into a party atmosphere.” On the track, Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations, has slowly but surely started to build a new version of racing after he arrived in New York four years ago, following great success at Hollywood Park. “Martin was the first executive I hired,” Kay said. “He is very innovative. He’s strengthened the sport, made it compelling.” Panza has a realistic outlook on racing framed by decades of involvement. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and you never stop learning,” he said. “It’s not the same game more. Trainers want to race two-year-olds once a year, maybe twice. The tail is wagging the dog. We have to put more emphasis on racing, get our stars to run more often, preferably in the United States. It’s the only way the sport can survive.” Where do you start a new vision? With two-year-olds. To that end, NYRA instituted $100,000 maiden races and bonuses for two-year-olds who win a maiden race and a stakes. “When I first got here, there were like 67 twoyear-old starters,” Panza said. “The two-year-old program had collapsed, and you can’t have that. You need to run two-year-old races in May, June, or July. It takes pressure off the older horses. We have all these stakes at Saratoga, we needed to find a way to feed the program. We had to

WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO IS GET PEOPLE OUT AND THEY’LL COME BACK. THEY’LL BECOME FANS. CHRIS KAY

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| BUSINESS |

| NEW YORK RACING |

I APPLAUD THEIR EFFORTS TO GET THE TWOYEAR-OLD PROGRAM OFF TO AN EARLIER START. TODD PLETCHER

get the trainers to believe we will run those races. We’re going to put them in the condition book and we’ll make it go. We’ve gotten almost every race to go, maybe not all of them, but 90 to 95 percent. Last year we had 222 two-year-old starts April to July. That’s nearly a fourtime increase. We incentivized. It worked. Trainers were confident that the races were going to go. We’ll continue to do it because it’s working. It’s money well spent.” Violette thought so. “We need winners for stakes races at Saratoga,” he said. “We have to somehow attract more owners and trainers to come to New York. You see Keeneland, and the races are overflowing. Here, we got five. Martin wants to have $100,000 purses. We’ll see how it goes.” Other trainers weighed in. “I’m not opposed to it,” Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey said. “I know what he’s trying to do: build up the two-year-old program. I think that’s good.” Todd Pletcher, who won four of those $100,000 maiden races this summer, is all for it: “I applaud their efforts to get the two-year-old program off to an earlier start. Increasing the purses and the restoration of the Tremont and Astoria (Stakes) have jump-started the program. For a while, there weren’t many races for twoyear-old in April and May. I think that’s reflective in that the races seem to be filling better this year. It’s good for two-year-olds. It’s good for New York.” At the other end of the racing spectrum is long turf races for older horses. NYRA is also offering higher purses. “It seems fair that they’re diversifying the incentive programs,” Pletcher said.

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Panza said, “We wanted to increase the number of races and the distances of races. For allowance company, you don’t have to be Chad Brown with a stakes horse or a Todd Pletcher with a stakes horse. This is for maiden or allowance winners. We do write long-distance races in New York. We have a stakes program for those types of horses, so we need to have races for those types of horses. We get a lot of horses from Europe. The purses are small there, an allowance for $12,000. If you have an allowance race, why not ship them to New York? We need to bring stamina back in American racing. Long-distance turf horses seem to stay sounder. We need more horses to stay around so there can be fans of them. We do have the resources. We need to lead the industry.” NYRA’s rich turf stakes have resonated in Europe, which was represented by a slew of horses contesting turf stakes on Belmont Stakes weekend. In the $400,000 Grade 3 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes, the top three finishers were based overseas: Red Cardinal in Germany, and St Michel in Britain, and Now We Can in France. The top two finishers in the $500,000 Grade 2 New York Stakes were Hawksmoor and Quidura, who were bred in Europe and began their careers in Britain and Germany, respectively, before being transferred to the U.S. last year. “When we got here 3½ years ago, we established a quarantine and isolation barn to handle three different shipments within a 48-hour period of time,” Panza said. “During Belmont Stakes week, we had horses from Germany, Ireland, France, England, and Japan. It’s a tribute to how far we’ve come.”


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ABOVE: Recently retired Mike Hushion thinks the NYRA has lost control of its three racetracks

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More recently, in the $1 million Belmont Oaks and $1.2 million Belmont Derby on July 8th – Stars and Stripes Day – seven of the 21 three-year-olds contesting the mile-and-a-quarter stakes were foreign-bred: five in Ireland and one each in Great Britain and Japan. In addition to attracting Japanese horses – including Epicharis, who was scratched from the Belmont Stakes – NYRA, which offered a $1 million bonus to any Japanesebased horse if he won the Belmont Stakes – sent its signal to Japan to allow betting on the final leg of the Triple Crown for the first time. “If we can get into the international markets, it’s going to help us grow our business,” Panza said. To that end, Panza has rescheduled major stakes to have a bundle of them on one racing card, an idea that was first initiated at NYRA more than 25 years ago by Allen Gutterman when he created a Breeders’ Cup Preview Day. Panza has built on that idea. This year’s Belmont Stakes Day included five Grade 1 stakes: the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, the $1.2 million Metropolitan

TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM ISSUE 45

| NEW YORK RACING |

Handicap, the $1 million Manhattan, the $750,000 Ogden Phipps, the $700,000 Acorn, and the $700,000 Just a Game, as well as the Grade 2 Woody Stephens. Panza deserves a high-five for luring Songbird out of California to make her much anticipated four-year-old debut in the Phipps. “Having a big day allows us to get new people,” Panza said. “It makes sense in New York. Shippers can come on the same plane. It’s not just about the Belmont Stakes, it’s about Belmont Stakes Day. I think it’s already made an impact. It’s the right way to maneuver. Take a race like the Met Mile. We moved it off Memorial Day. The last three years, the attendance that day was 9,000, 9,000, and 11,000. The race is now run in front of 60,000-to-90,000 people on national TV. It helps the race get more exposure. It’s good for NYRA, It’s good for business. It’s good for the industry.” Hall of Fame California trainer Bob Baffert is on board. Of course he is. On Belmont Stakes Day, he won two Grade 1s, a Grade 2, and a Listed race: the Acorn with Abel Tasman, the Metropolitan with Mor Spirit, the Woody Stephens with American Anthem, and the Easy Goer with West Coast. “NYRA’s done a great job,” Baffert told Lenny Shulman of The Blood Horse. “The money is ridiculous here; the fans are great. It’s tremendous racing.” Though the Breeders’ Cup Selection Committee has apparently forgotten it – the last time the Breeders’ Cup was held in New York was in 2005 – the quality of racing in New York has never been questioned. The pertinent question now is: how will that racing play out? Converting the inner dirt track into a second turf course at Aqueduct wasn’t done solely to add a few grass races in April and November. There is a bigger picture, one which obviously is still being developed. How it plays out will ultimately decide the future of Thoroughbred racing on Long Island.


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NO PLACE FOR NEGL IG G ENC E : LIMITING YOUR LIABILITY IN UNIQUE SITUATIONS

om was brimming w wiith i confi fidence i as he and the groom led his hottest prospect into the wi winner’s i circle followi wing i aw wiin i in an allowance race on the turf. An experienced trainer, Tom was sure that d work k woulld pay offff, and d it had d. Butt in a everyone’’s hard matter of moments, his excitement and exuberance turned into concern. In addition to horses, grooms, and trainers, the wi winner’s i circle was crowded wi with i excited and exuberant spectators, many of whom appeared to have spent little or no time around horses. Tom knew that group ticket packages often included photos in the wi winner’s i circle. He appreciated the importance of

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promoting the sport and creating new fans. But this seemed like too much. Tom, the groom, and their horse were soon surrounded by excited guests. The trainer and the groom warned people not to get too close. They tried to be polite and visi i itors snapped d piicttures wi wit ith answer questtions as the vi smartph hones. Unfortunately, one would-be fan didn’t realize his ffllash l was on, and three bright bursts of light eru upted just a few feet from the horse’s face. The


Thoroughbred spun and kicked the man in the chest, sending him crashing to the ground. Tom and the groom managed to get the horse under control quickly to prevent additional injuries. The EMTs arrived and rushed the man to the hospital. Tom’s big day literally ended in a ffllash. l A few weeeks later, he was served legal papers. The injured man was suing him for negligence. The situation I have just described is hyp ypothetica p al. However, the legal implications are very real. As a trainer, you are responsible for large, powerful, and often highstrung animals in a variety of situations; situations that are far more fflluid l and complex than a casual observver could possibly realize. If a horse gets out of control and causes injury on the backside, in the paddock, or wi winner’s i circle, who is liable? You, as the trainer? The ownerr? The track? A Alll l of the above?

This is a question with no easy answer, and the degree and distribution of liability may vary w wiidely i based on specifi fic i circumstances, including the state in which the event occurred. But examining statutes, cases, and other factors leads us to some defi finite i do’s and don’ts that wi will i help you minimize risk and limit your liability. This examination begins wi wiith a discussion of Equine Activi vity ity Liability ty Acts (EA EALA ALAs), A also known wn as Equestrian n Liability ty Limitation Laws or Equine Immunity ty Laws. These are state laws created to protect racetracks, rodeos, riding schools, stables, and other equestrian or animalrelated businesses from lawsuits over unavoidable

Peter J. Sacopulos

Shutterstock

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Who would be liable if a horse struck someone in a crowded winner’s circle?

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| TRAINER LIABILITY |

accidents. Such laws are based on the concept of inherent risk: the idea that a participant or spectator understands that certain activities carry unavoidable risks and is willingly subjecting himself or herself to those risks. Forty-seven states have some form of Equine Immunity Law on the books. Only New York, California, and Maryland do not. It is true that an EALA often provides a strong defense and may result in a summary judgement—the dismissal of a lawsuit based on an initial review by a court. However, contrary to industry myths, none of these laws guarantee “zero liability” or “blanket immunity.” No Equine Immunity Law is a free pass to behave recklessly or disregard the safety of others. Most spell out exceptions to immunity based on reckless behavior and negligence and/or gross negligence. The owners of a riding school, for instance, would be unlikely to successfully claim they cannot be held liable for putting an inexperienced five-year-old girl on a hot-tempered horse that they knew was a bolter. Additionally, the protections these laws offer vary widely from state to state. Some recognize no difference between a “participant” and a “spectator” in equine activities. Others define these as two separate and distinct categories with very different rights to pursue damages. The laws also vary in determining who is protected from liability. Certain states specifically shield veterinarians or farriers, for instance, while others do not. Some require facilities to post signs warning that sponsors and equine professionals cannot be held liable due to inherent risk. Others require signed liability waivers from participants. Needless to say, the complete list of variations is far too extensive to cover here. If your home state has an EALA, you do receive some degree of liability protection as an equine professional. However, as a trainer, you are likely travel to many states and be governed by different Equine Immunity Laws at different times. You should familiarize yourself with the Equine Liability Law in your home state, as well as any state in which you train/work. If you have questions, consult an experienced equine attorney. An Equine Immunity Law will likely provide you with some level of liability protection in the barn, paddock, or winner’s circle, provided you are behaving rationally and professionally. But in the absence of specific case law establishing firm legal precedents for these unique areas, we must look to case law of a similar nature for guidance. Consider the 2013 ruling in Duban vs. Waverly Sales Company. In this case, a woman was attending an agricultural auction and was trampled by a draft horse. The courts found that certain facts created an exception to Iowa’s immunity statute. In order to use the restroom, the woman and others, who were not actively involved in the auction, had to cross the passageway from the barn to the arena, putting them directly in the path of horses. Additionally, the horse had been startled by the unexpected opening of a trap door in the ceiling. As the owner of the barn and sponsor of the event, Waverly Sales Company was ordered to pay over $230,000 to the plaintiff. In the Ohio case of Smith vs. Landfair, Mr. Landfair was knocked down by a horse he was unloading after a passing wagon spooked the animal. Ms. Smith, the stable manager, rushed to help Landfair, but was kicked and severely injured. She filed a personal injury suit against Landfair for exposing her to an untrained animal and lacking control over his horse. The case was dismissed based on the Ohio immunity statute. On appeal, it was ruled that Ms. Smith was

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REMEMBER THAT AS IN SO MANY AREAS OF LIFE, COMMON SENSE IS YOUR BEST DEFENSE. BE PROFESSIONAL. not an equine activity “spectator,” and had the right to damages. But the state supreme court reversed that decision, noting that Smith had purposefully placed herself in an area of equine activity. The court also ruled that the state’s “good Samaritan” law, which gives citizens who render aid to others the right to sue for damages if they are injured in the process, was negated in this instance by the equine immunity statute. However, the court ordered the lower court to reconsider the case and determine if Mr. Landfair had “wantonly” exposed Ms. Smith to a dangerous animal, creating the possibility of damages. In the 2009 case of Beggs vs. Griffith, Mr. Griffith allowed a neighbor to temporarily board horses on his property, which happened to be for sale. Melody Beggs was touring the Griffith property as a potential buyer when something spooked the horses. The animals ran into Beggs, injuring her. Beggs sued Griffith, citing the Illinois Animal Control Act, which imposes liability on the “owner” of an animal that injures a person who did not provoke the animal and has a legal right to be in the vicinity. Though Griffith was not the owner of the horses, the courts found that he was responsible for their “control” at the time of the incident, and awarded damages to Ms. Beggs. Be aware that the same laws that protect you from liability may limit your ability to pursue suits against others. An example of this is seen in the decision in the case of Shelly vs. Stepp. Mr. Shelly was injured when a horse he was exercising at a racetrack collided with another horse. Shelly sued the track owner. But despite California’s

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| TRAINER LIABILITY |

lack of an Equine Activity Immunity Act, the court dismissed the case under a much broader assumption of risk doctrine, finding that: “racehorses are by their nature difficult to control….” In the Texas decision of Johnson vs. Smith, Gregory Stewart Johnson worked as an independent contractor for Charles Smith. Johnson was bitten in the face while leading a stallion. Though the courts ruled the immunity statute applied, the appeals court ordered the lower court to reconsider the issue of whether or not the owner had properly informed Mr. Johnson that the stallion was dangerous. Some key takeaways emerge from case law. First, any nonprofessional who places him or herself in an area such as the paddock or winner’s circle or the backside of a Thoroughbred racetrack is likely to be viewed as knowingly accepting a high level of risk, even in states that do not have EALAs. However, if you are in charge of a horse, you could still be held responsible for harm to such individuals, despite the fact that the state has a EALA and you do not own the animal. Second, you must protect yourself and your business with commercial equine liability insurance. Find an agent who is experienced in this specialty and represents reputable companies. Learn the details of your coverage. Do not fall for “fig leaf ” policies that sound good and charge low premiums but offer little in the way of effective coverage. Third, if you are not already incorporated, look into doing so. Incorporation often expands liability protection and shields personal property, such as your home, from professional liability. Discuss the advantages with an experienced attorney and follow through accordingly. Fourth, knowledge is power. It is important to thoroughly question an owner regarding possible issues with any horse you train. If a horse has significant issues, you should inform anyone working with the horse, as well as members of the public who may encounter the animal, of all risks beyond those typically viewed as inherent in being around horses. Finally, remember that as in so many areas of life, common sense is your best defense. Be professional. Respect your co-workers, the public, and the animals you train. Prepare for the unexpected. You will not only lower your risk of liability, you will increase the demand for your skills.


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Don’t get left behind. 806.333.8589 www.SpeedSilks.com ISSUE 45 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| TRAINING |

Walker, A.M. and Witte, T.H.

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Racewood Ltd, Alamy


| JOCKEY TRAINING |

D O N ’T F O RG ET TH E J O CK EY Horse-jockey interaction in Thoroughbred racing

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Abstract

The interaction between horse and jockey in racing is a fundamental partnership that can be optimized to achieve peak performance. Performance benefits have been demonstrated for major changes in jockey technique such as the change from seated to the modern martini glass posture. However, if the partnership between horse and jockey does not work effectively together in a synchronized and complementary manner then, irrespective of the ability of the horse, performance may be constrained and the risk of injury of both horse and jockey may be increased. Jockey training techniques have developed rapidly in recent years to involve sport-specific fitness training and technique optimisation, often using mechanical racehorse simulators. Simulators allow carefully controlled, safe, and cost-effective training environments that can be used for prolonged periods to improve fitness, train neural pathways, and develop muscle memory. Simulator training allows the jockey and coach to focus on specific elements of technique with immediate and detailed

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feedback, which in some cases can include physical manipulation to improve position and help jockeys to ‘feel’ the correct posture. Furthermore, additional skills such as correct use of the whip can be practiced in a safe, repeatable, welfare friendly environment. Our research set out to characterize optimum jockey technique, measure the similarities and differences between simulators and real horses, and to measure changes in ability between jockeys of different experience levels. Using wireless sensor technology we have identified targets for skill optimisation with the potential to form the basis for improved feedback to jockeys during training.

Optimizing Performance

Extensive research has been carried out for many years to establish optimal breeding and training of Thoroughbred racehorses to improve performance, reduce race times, and minimize injuries and horse falls. Methods for early prediction of performance extend to genetic, physiological, and microbiological testing, and studies have become so specific that even the effect of girth tension has been


| JOCKEY TRAINING |

FIG 1A

Figure 1: Stirrup force profile during a) gallop on a real horse and b) simulated gallop from an experienced jockey. Red and blue are right and left stirrup forces respectively. The black dashed box indicates one stride cycle.

investigated. This body of work has led to the refinements of tack, breeding, training, and veterinary care that underpin the sport and wider industry. One aspect that remains under-investigated is the jockey. It is self-evident that the jockey plays an integral role in race performance and injury prevention, but the mechanics of the horse-jockey interaction have not been quantified. We do know that jockeys are not a passive load, simply being carried by the horse. On the contrary they are high-performance athletes who work hard during a race to isolate their movement from that of the horse and reduce the negative impact of load carrying on locomotion.

FIG 1B

Research

Recent studies funded by the British Horserace Betting Levy Board and carried out by the Royal Veterinary College in London applied modern sensor technology to measure the biomechanics of the horse-jockey interaction. Advances in technology have allowed movement and force data to be collected in the field for the first time. Data were collected to support and further develop anecdotal and historical theories, which is hoped will facilitate future training. Improved understanding of the repetitive, cyclical movement of jockeys of varied experience and skill level helps to define optimal technique which can then be used as a model for trainee jockeys. Defining this model will provide opportunities to adapt training and feedback to best practice, as undertaken in other elite sports where such feedback has been shown to speed up the rate of skill development. In jockeys this approach has the potential to reduce the risk of injury and falls, and to improve welfare.

FIG 2

Figure 2: Horse pelvis roll during right lead (red) and left lead (blue) gallop. A positive roll indicates a roll to the right with negative a roll to the left. Each line represents an individual stride.

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Simulator vs. Horse

Our most surprising results were obtained when comparing racehorse movement patterns to the movements of a racehorse simulator commonly used for training jockeys. Movement of the simulator, when viewed from the left side, formed an anticlockwise oval trajectory while movement of a real horse, subtracting the effect of forward movement, moved clockwise. In other words, both moved in a cyclical manner but in opposite directions. The simulator also had a larger range of forwards-backwards motion while the real horse had a larger up and down movement. As may be expected, jockey pelvis movement was consistently measured in a cyclical trajectory opposite in direction to that of the simulator and horse. In both cases, the amount of vertical movement of the jockey’s pelvis was found to be less than half that of the horse, supporting previous work showing that the jockey’s legs act like a damper. The jockey’s legs

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| JOCKEY TRAINING |

effectively absorb the movement of the horse resulting in a comparatively stationary, stable position of the trunk, minimizing the impact on the horse of carrying the additional weight of the jockey. Also striking was the difference in force through the stirrups measured during galloping on a horse compared to a simulator; the forces on the horse were more than double those on the simulator. This difference stems from the fact that the simulator cycles horizontally, rather like a rowing machine, resulting in a relatively consistent weight distribution through the stirrups. In contrast, a horse effectively jumps from stride to stride with an aerial phase resulting in higher force peaks (Figure 1). Interestingly, on a simulator left to right symmetry of stirrup forces were more symmetrical in elite jockeys compared to novices. However on a horse symmetry was not significantly different across experience levels, likely due to the inherent asymmetry from horse trunk roll that is absent


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| JOCKEY TRAINING |

Whip use

While the effect of using a whip on jockey position and riding technique requires further detailed analysis, our initial results indicate that with experience jockeys are more able to apply the whip at a specific target time within a stride cycle. Sensor measurements suggest that jockeys move more from side to side during a cycle in which the whip is applied, which combined with twisting of the upper body enables correct contact to be made for optimal effect and to avoid penalties.

in the fixed simulator, where there is very little sideways movement or roll for jockeys to accommodate. The absence of trunk roll on a simulator eliminates one of the more complex elements of the movement to which a jockey must respond and adapt. The direction and timing of the sideways displacement and roll in horses is linked to gallop lead. The start of the stride coincides with the trunk rolling away from the lead leg before rolling towards the lead leg mid-stride and then away again just before the start of the next stride (Figure 2). This movement appears to have less effect on the stability of experienced jockeys who are more balanced and displace less during a stride cycle and may thereby be able to maintain a solid base of support, an important factor in the risk of falling. These differences between simulators and horses raise important questions about the effect of training on a simulator. Although important in the development of sport-specific endurance and stamina, simulators may be deficient in precise skill and technique development.

Jockey Experience

Epidemiological studies have highlighted jockey experience as a key risk factor for injury and falls. Novice jockeys are at higher risk of falling than their more experienced counterparts; however specific differences in technique have not been measured. As with most practical skills, technique changes as jockeys become more experienced. Experienced riders are more stable and balanced than novices. We have measured this as a smaller range of movement and more consistent movement after subtracting the effect of the horse or simulator. More even weight distribution is seen between the left and right stirrups during simulator training, although the importance of this is difficult to judge in light of the inherent asymmetry of horse motion at a gallop.

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Impact on Racing

Defining and understanding what constitutes optimal jockey technique will inform future training and improve safety and welfare of both the horse and rider. By further understanding the differences between a real horse and a horse simulator, training of both novice and experienced jockeys can be optimized and simulators used for maximum benefit in training and rehabilitation. Any counterproductive exercises can be eliminated or adapted as appropriate.

Next Steps

Further investigation is required into non-steady state events such as whip use, jumping, riding out of starting stalls, and riding a finish. Real-time feedback systems should soon be available to aid the development of specific skills, providing opportunities for the objective monitoring of training, development, and performance. In preliminary testing we have found that such feedback is most effective when jockeys have already established the basic neuromuscular fitness and control required for the repetitive cyclical movement exhibited by both racehorse simulators and real horses.

Conclusions

Multiple factors influence the complex interaction between horse and jockey. Differences between a simulated and real horse gallop may limit the suitability of simulator training for skill development, but the benefits to cardiovascular and musculoskeletal conditioning and training cannot be contested. Non-steady state locomotion such as riding a finish or whip use significantly alters jockey movement and technique affecting their interaction with the horse, and these areas warrant further detailed investigation to ensure that any future changes to racing regulations remain evidence based.


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Jennny Autry Jenny Autry

RACING GOES EVENTING

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| PL ANTATION FIELDS |

T

wo worlds are set to collide in September when the mid-Atlantic racing and eventing communities join hands to showcase the versatility of the Thoroughbred breed in idyllic Unionville, Pennsylvania. Plantation Field International Horse Trials, known colloquially as the “Best Event Ever” thanks to its legendary parties on the grounds, will forego its usual theme weekend to instead devote Septemper 14-17 to honoring the Thoroughbred’s storied role in racing and eventing. In announcing a multi-year partnership with Retired Racehorse Project (RRP), Plantation Field will celebrate excellence in Thoroughbred racing culture and bring together two groups that share the same desire to see Thoroughbreds thrive and flourish, both on the track and after their careers as racehorses are complete. Steuart Pittman, RRP’s president, said he hopes the racing community will embrace the concept, venturing from the racetrack to the cross country course in the name of the Thoroughbred. “We hope this will be a real coming together of the racing world with eventing so we can have a positive impact that will support both sports and ultimately the Thoroughbred in the long run,” Pittman said. “The goal is to bring the racing community out to enjoy everything Plantation Field has to offer and introduce the Retired Racehorse Project as a resource. We can help owners, trainers, and breeders sell their horses through our resource directory. If we work together, we can successfully transition horses to second careers after the track.” ISSUE 45 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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Eventing: An Equine Triathlon

Originally developed as a method for training military horses, eventing ultimately i appeared in evolved into a sport that ffiirst the Olym ym mpic Games in 1912. Eventing is essentially an equine triathlon, combining the three phases of dressage, cross country, and show jumping into a sport that demands a well-rounded equine athlete. Considering the grueling ffiitness i test required in the cross country phase — when horses w wiiill gallop and jump for more than 10 minutes over as many as 45 obstacles at the highest level of the sport — the Thoroughbred’s gallop and stamina helped the breed ffiind i a stronghold in eventing. Countless Thoroughbreds have taken top eventing honors in the U.S. and beyond, and the United States Eventing Association’s leaderboard of all-time high scoring horses shows three Thoroughbreds in the top 10. Phillip Dutton knows all too well how perfectly suited the Thoroughbred is to eventing. Hailed the Angel Cordero of the eventing world by West Point Thorroughbreds’ Terry Finley, Dutton won two Olympic team gold medals in 1996 and 2000 fo or his native Australia — both times ridin ng Thoro oughbreds. Since th hen Dutton n has piloted many Thorou ughbreds to top results around d the world. He rode TruLuck k, purcchaased offff th he traack in Oklahoma, to team gold and indivi vidual silver at the 2007 Pan vid American Games. The Foreman came to Dutton from Maryland steeplechasee trainer Bruce Fenwi wick and also went on to have a wic dominant even nting career, placing seccond at the prestigious Burghley CCI4* and Kentuckyy CCI4* and sitting seventh on the

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list of U.S. all-time high scoring horses. “When it comes to the cross country, no horse w wiill i have a better gallop, stamina, and natural athletic ability than a Thoroughbred,” Dutton said. “They also have an incredible amount of heart. When other horses w wiill i get tired and quit, the Thoroughbred w wiill i keep tryi ying i and keep going for you.”

Icabad Crane

Considering Dutt tton’s t history of successfully training Thoroughbreds, he became Graham and A An nita n Motion’s ffiirst i choice when they were looking for an eventing trainer to work wi with i their Thoroughbreds. The Motions ffiirst i had the idea to send horses to Dutton for a shot at a second career when Icabad Crane retired from the track in 2013. Icabad Crane ffiinished i third in the 2008 Preakness Stakes and won or placed in 15 other stakes for owner Earle Mack, earning $585,980. When he retired as an 8-year-old, the Motions took over ownership of Icabad ne and knew the horse didn’t wan nt to Cran stand around in a fie ield. Theey decided d to send him to o Dutton n for training at True Pro ospect Farm, about seven miles from Plantation Field and an hour from the Mottions’ base at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. Itt proved to be a match right from the start, wi with Duttton wit n seeing Icabad Crane’s innate drive and desire to su ucceed in everyt ything he did, which made his transition yth

to an eventing career vviiirtually seamless. i “Icabad was always a very w wiilling horse,” Graham said. “It’s one thing to be athletic, but he also always had the right attitude. His disposition absolutely helped in his new career.” Anita added: “Phillip wouldn’t have competed him if we didn’t think the horse had what it takes. Not only was there a real talent there, but Icabad wanted to do it.” Icabad Crane ffllourished l in his new career, wi winning i his ffiirst i Beginner Novi vice i event and going on to ffiinish i his ffiirst i eventing season w wiith i a wi win i in the $10,000 America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest, hosted by the RRP at Pimlico Racetrack in 2014. Icabad Crane continued to rack up top results, culminating in a wi win i in the Plantation Field CIC* in 2015 in his ffiirst i start at the one-star level. The Motions proudly held the wi winner’s i cooler that day, i and since then they have traded roles w wiith the Duttons, who joined in on the West Point Thoroughbreds partnersh hip on Grade I win inner Ring g Week ken nd. Now the Motions and Dutton hope the greater mid-Atlantic racing and even nting communitiees can unite at Plantattion Field to build on what they started: joining two worlds that both hold an immense respect for the Thoroughbred.

Showcasing Thorouughbreds

Th he weekend wi will be dedicated to wil showcasiing the breed, wiitth the RRP taking center stage. The timing is id deal, as Plantation Field takes place annually three weeks prior to the $100,0 000 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, which this year goes fro om Octtob ber 5-8 8 at the Kentucky Horsee Park k.


| PL ANTATION FIELDS |

competitors will be unveiled in the countdown to Plantation Field. “The Thoroughbred community are intrigued with the eventing and show jumping world and are totally committed to providing other outlets for our retirees,” Anita said. “The Real Rider Cup event shows a fun side to this endeavor.” Dutton said he hopes Thoroughbred trainers, owners, and breeders will get involved in support of the RRP and second careers for racehorses. “Retired Racehorse Project is a perfect example of how we can help the transition from racing to a successful second career,” Dutton said. “By attending Plantation Field and supporting the event, you can bring greater attention, participation, and financial support to the successful transition Thoroughbreds can have.” With RRP now on board as Plantation Field’s beneficiary, the event will also serve as a preview show for Thoroughbreds that will compete in and ultimately be available for sale at the Makeover. “That way people can see horses they like at Plantation Field and then go on to the Makeover to shop,” Pittman said. “There will be a number of really nice horses ready to start second careers, and we are excited to show them off at Plantation Field.” Beyond that, Pittman said he hopes Plantation Field will serve as an opportunity for the racing world to see Thoroughbreds galloping across an entirely different type of track — one dotted with cross country jumps. “What we’ve seen is that racing people love eventing when they take the time to go watch the sport,” Pittman said. “They get to see horses galloping on the cross country course, which is something they can get excited about.” In addition to previewing horses that will compete at the Thoroughbred

Makeover, the RRP’s demonstration will also feature celebrity Thoroughbreds, including Makeover graduates from prior years. Icabad Crane will also make a special appearance with Dutton. “Icabad is a perfect example of what Thoroughbreds can do in second careers if given the chance,” Dutton said. “We are continually grateful to Graham and Anita for giving him that opportunity. Our hope is that when people see Icabad at Plantation Field they might be inspired to give a Thoroughbred a second career after the track, whether as a rider, owner, or trainer.” The highlight of the weekend will be the Real Rider Cup, which will pit some of the biggest names in racing against each other for a show jumping competition in the main arena. Rodney Jenkins, Rosie Napravnik, Joe Sharp, Sean Clancy, Michael McCarthy, Erin Birkenhauer, and Sanna Neilson will all make an appearance at the Real Rider Cup, with Zoe Cadman from XBTV acting as emcee for the event. More celebrity

If You Go

In addition to three days of exhilarating competition, Plantation Field features a country fair atmosphere with a sprawling vendor village, a food court, and kid’s corner to provide entertainment for the whole family. Admission to Plantation Field Horse Trials is free on Friday, September. 15, with general admission on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17 priced at $20 per carload.

INFO For more information, visit www.plantationfieldht.com. Tickets and tailgate passes can be purchased in advance on the website. Follow Plantation Field on Facebook for news and updates.

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ISSUE 45 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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| HORSE BREEDERS |

2016 PHBA CHAMPIONS he PHBA hosted its 38th Annual Iroquois Awards Banquet on June 9 at The Hershey Hotel to honor their 2016 champions. Members, board of directors, and top Pennsylvania breeders and owners were present for a great night of dinner, cocktails, and conversation. Hank Nothhaft, breeder of 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and Eclipse Award winner Finest City, was the keynote speaker. Hank, a successful entrepreneur, spoke about his entry into the horse racing industry, and the chain of events leading to the breeding of Finest City. Finest City was voted Champion Older Female, Female Sprinter and 2016 Horse of the Year. Congratulations go out to all of the winners!

T

HORSE OF THE YEAR OLDER FEMALE & FEMALE SPRINTER FINEST CITY Ch.m., 2012, by City Zip – Be Envied, by Lemon Drop Kid. Bred by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC. The Breeders’ Cup, Eclipse Award winner and track record setter was the richest PA-bred runner of 2016, earning $823,200 in eight starts, five of them graded stakes wins or placings. In addition to taking the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, which sealed the Eclipse Award for Champion Female Sprinter, she set a Los Alamitos record of 1:14.48 for 61⁄2 furlongs in the Grade 2 Great Lady M Stakes. Never worse than fourth during the year, she also hit the board in Santa Anita’s Grade 1 Vanity Mile when third behind champions Beholder and Stellar Wind, missed by a head when second in Del Mar’s Grade 2 John C. Mabee and kicked off the year when second, by a head, in Santa Anita’s Santa Monica Stakes-G2.

Moorhead. Named in honor of Alice Moorhead’s father, James R. Kerr, who was Master of Foxhounds of the Rose Tree Hunt, Rose Tree is a member of the first full crop bred by the Moorheads at their Buttonwood Farm near Unionville.

TWO-YEAR-OLD MALE DOWNHILL RACER B.c., 2014, by Jump Start – Encore Saritta, by Consolidator. Bred by Mr. and Mrs. Rodman W. Moorhead III. The Jump Start colt won both his starts at 2, including the Pennsylvania Nursery, and in doing so completed a unique

TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY ROSE TREE B.f., 2014, by Harlan’s Holiday – Amusing, by Distorted Humor. Bred by Mr. and Mrs. Rodman W. Moorhead III. Undefeated at 2 in two starts, the filly won Penn National’s Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies Stakes by nearly 4 lengths for her owner/breeders, Rod and Alice

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Three-year-old filly, lucy N Ethel

double for his breeder/owners Rod and Alice Moorhead and trainer Jonathan Sheppard as the first to ever win both the Blue Mountain Juvenile (with Rose Tree) and Pennsylvania Nursery in the same season. Downhill Racer is out of the first broodmare the Moorheads ever purchased, and is the second foal bred by the couple.

THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY LUCY N ETHEL Dk.b./br.f., 2013, by During – Kid Silver, by Silver Ghost. Bred by Jettany Thoroughbred Corp and J.A.G. Racing Inc. J A G Racing and Jettany Thoroughbred Corp.’s homebred filly made her first two outings of 2016 memorable to remain undefeated in her first four career starts. In her 3-year-old debut, the sensational sprinter won Gulfstream Park’s Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes at 6 furlongs by nearly 4 lengths in January. Upon her return after being sidelined by a bone chip, she captured the Grade 2 Prioress Stakes at Saratoga in September, getting the 6 furlongs in 1:09.33. In just three starts for the year, she earned $242,094 for boyhood friends James Stevenson and Stephen Perry.


| PHBA |

THREE-YEAR-OLD MALE & MALE SPRINTER TOM’S READY Dk.b./br.c., 2013, by More Than Ready – Goodbye Stranger, by Broad Brush. Bred by Blackstone Farm LLC. The richest PA-Bred 3-year-old of the year, the Blackstone Farm-bred son of More Than Ready, sold for $145,000 as a yearling at Saratoga, earned $612,047 in eight starts and won two graded stakes at a mile or less, the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont going 7 furlongs and Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 Ack Ack Stakes against older runners at 1 mile. Shortly after his impressive score at Belmont, Spendthrift Farm announced an agreement had been reached with owner GMB Racing to acquire the breeding rights to the colt.

OLDER MALE PAGE MCKENNEY Ch.g., 2010, Eavesdropper – Winning Grace, by Yarrow Brae. Bred by Dr. James E. Bryant and Linda P. Davis. The only champion to repeat in 2016, Adam Staple and Jalin Stable’s veteran gelding became a millionaire in an abbreviated campaign when winning the 11⁄16-mile Native Dancer Stakes at Laurel Park in January. The son of former PA stallion Eavesdropper trained by Mary Eppler won twice in three starts, highlighted by Laurel Park’s Grade 3 General George Stakes at 7 furlongs, and finished second in the $1.25 million Charles Town Classic-G2 at 11⁄8 miles in his final start of the year. Those three starts yielded the chestnut gelding $429,000, the highest earnings for an older PA-bred male runner in 2016.

FEMALE TURF HORSE AL’S GAL B.m., 2011, by English Channel – Dans La Ville (Chi), by Winning. Bred by Malone Racing LLC. The richest PA-bred turf runner of the year, the first foal bred by Alex Malone’s Malone Racing LLC in Kennett Square did it running long on the grass at seven different tracks, with wins in three stakes, topped by the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor going 11⁄4 miles at Woodbine. Campaigned by Kenneth and Sarah

Ramsey, she also captured the 15⁄16mile Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon Stakes in 2:12.16, less than a second off the course record, and Churchill Downs’ 11⁄2-mile Keertana Stakes. Three times she finished second in graded stakes: in the Grade 1 Beverly D. and Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington, and Keeneland’s Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes. A $50,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sales weanling, the mare brought $800,000 at the same sale five years later.

MALE TURF HORSE GRANNY’S KITTEN B.h., 2012, by Kitten’s Joy – Granny Franny, by Grand Slam. Bred by Kenneth L. Ramsey and Sarah K. Ramsey. Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred hit the board in five stakes in six attempts in 2016, scoring his first career stakes win in Parx’s Alphabet Soup Handicap at Parx, just missed when second in the Leemat Stakes at Presque Isle, and placed in stakes from Canterbury Park to Penn National to the Fair Grounds. Also a two-time allowance winner at Keeneland, the graded stakes-placed runner at 3 finished in the top three in six consecutive outings and earned $186,800 with a record of 9-3-2-2 for the year.

STEEPLECHASER SENIOR SENATOR B.g., 2010, by: Domestic Dispute – Queen Kennelot, by Awesome Again. Bred by Charles C.D. McGill. Bred by Charles C.D. McGill, the gelding won the prestigious Maryland Hunt Cup at age 6 at a grueling 4 miles over timber in one of his two starts. Leading by as many as 23 lengths as he cleared the 22 fences, the Irvin Crawford-owned, Joe Daviestrained bay gelding won the biggest race of his career when taking home the winner’s share of the $100,000 purse.

PA PREFERRED: PA-SIRED, PA-BRED FEMALE DISCO CHICK B.m., 2011, by Jump Start – Disco Flirt, by Disco Rico. Bred by Y. Jerry Kolybabiuk. Y. Jerry Kolybabiuk’s Freedom Acres’ homebred, a daughter of Northview PA stallion Jump Start, made 11 starts in 2016 and finished in the top three

nine times, all in stakes. She won three consecutive stakes in a four-week span – the My Juliet at Parx, Skipat on Preakness weekend at Pimlico, and Foxy J G at Parx – and was graded stakesplaced when third in the Honorable Miss Handicap-G2 at Saratoga on her way to 2016 earnings just shy of $300,000.

PA PREFERRED: PA-SIRED, PA-BRED MALE & LEADING BREEDING FUND RECIPIENT (Horse) ROXBURY N OVERTON Dk.b./br.h., 2012, by Andiron – Centennial Cat, by Tale of the Cat. Bred and owned by J A G Racing and Jettany Thoroughbred Corp. A son of PA sire Andiron, who stands at Xanthus Farms, J A G Racing and Jettany Thoroughbred Corp.’s homebred won the Lyman Stakes at Parx during a win streak that extended to four at the start of the year, and finished second in the Donald LeVine Memorial Stakes while earning over $200,000 in 2016. Counting PA-bred Races, Breeder, Stallion and Owner Awards and PA-Bred Owner-Bonus Payments, his total Fund amount was $174,032.

BROODMARE OF THE YEAR BE ENVIED Ch.m., 2002, by Lemon Drop Kid – While Rome Burns, by Overskate. Owned by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC. Purchased by Hank Nothhaft’s HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC in the fall of 2011, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid produced three PA-Bred foals, all starters in 2016: Breeders’ Cup and Eclipse Award winner and 2016 PA-Bred Horse of the Year Finest City, stakesplaced 2016 juvenile filly Grand Prix, and 3-year-old Silver Train filly Move, who hit the board in four of seven starts.

STALLION OF THE YEAR JUMP START For the second year in a row, Jump Start led all Pennsylvania stallions in Stallion Awards, his total in 2016 was $237,697. The now 18-year-old son of A.P. Indy moved to Pennsylvania in 2010, and two years later took up residence at Northview PA in Peach Bottom, where he is standing his sixth season ISSUE 45 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM

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in 2017. In 2016, he was the sire of seven stakes winners, including PA-Bred 2-year-old champion male Downhill Racer, and 18 stakes-placed, and the earners of more than $5.8 million.

LEADING TOTAL BREEDING FUND RECIPIENT NORTHVIEW STALLION STATION $374,048 in Breeder and Stallion Awards The vast majority of Northview’s awards were earned by the arsenal of Northview PA stallions standing at the Peach Bottom farm, topped by Jump Start and former stallion of the year Fairbanks. Also earning stallions awards in 2016 in the name of Northview were Medallist and Love of Money.

LEADING BREEDER AWARD EARNER THOMAS G. MCCLAY $215,786 in Breeder Awards Thomas G. McClay, of Hummelstown, Pa., has been breeding in Pennsylvania for more than 25 years. A familiar name on the top-5 list of the state’s leading breeders by Fund Awards the past seven years, McClay has led the list the past two years. In 2016, 28 runners bred by McClay earned awards totaling $215,786, topped by the Smarty Jones’ 4-year-old son Amplified ($34,534). Five of the top six McClay-bred runners to earn breeder bonuses of $10,000 or more are by Pennsylvania stallions.

LEADING OVERALL BREEDER OF PENNSYLVANIA-BREDS BLACKSTONE FARM LLC $1,587,775 in purses earned Christian Hansen, Douglas Black and Mark Weisman’s Blackstone Farm in Pine Grove led all breeders by total purse money earned by PA-Breds in 2016, topped by multiple graded stakes winner, PA-Bred 3-year-old and sprint champion Tom’s Ready, who earned $612,047. Tom’s Ready was one of two PA-Bred graded stakes winners to represent Blackstone Farm in 2016, the other Grade 3 Delaware Oaks winner Dark Nile, an earner of nearly $250,000 in six starts, the most for any PA-Bred 3-year-old filly last season.

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THE HORSERACING INTEGRITY ACT OF 2017 he current political regime – as opposed to the previous one – favors diminished government, deregulation, states’ rights, American isolationism/anti-globalism, and antiimmigration, yet into this discernible climate change we as an industry are charging head first to effect changes at odds with these precepts. Making the entire process comical is that most industry participants, from wealthy owners and breeders at The Jockey Club to blue-collar owners and trainers in the provinces, are Republicans who supported this regime in the voting booth, even though we never support each other on myriad industry issues. This, surely, must make us headless horsemen, because we’re probably going to get our heads handed to us on a platter from this regime just as we do from each other. Simply, we engage in mutually destructive warfare because we don’t have the type of leadership to cross the aisle, compromise, and steer a clear course for the benefit of all. Take the case of the migrant workers from south of the border who form a significant part of our breeding and racing industries. Many are dependent on H-2B visas for working legally here. Although the administration did announce recently that an additional 15,000 slots for 2017 have opened up for H-2Bs after pressure was applied from a number of industries, we didn’t do much to stop the lapse of this “returning worker” program last September in the first place, and we’ve done far too little as an industry to advocate for it since. And what little we are doing through the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, of course, flies in the face of a new political and social agenda that isn’t friendly to the Hispanics that overwhelmingly comprise the program. Meanwhile, all of us are facing severe labor shortages at all levels of the game because we didn’t act for the good of all at the expense of our personal political ideology. The Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R.2651), introduced in May, is another example of ignoring climate change (and

T

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the pun is intended) on many fronts. First off, we’re trying to introduce federal regulatory measures while the government is busy dismantling regulations. Moreover, this bill would take away from states their rights to regulate while the winds of politics are in favor of more power for states at the expense of the federal government. At the heart of this bill is one of the most divisive issues in horseracing: 24-hour administering of Lasix. Some of us – the wealthy owners and breeders and their trainers who race at the biggest venues and compete in the big stakes races and who are represented by The Jockey Club – would like to abolish race-day Lasix, while the small timers amongst us – represented by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) – advocate for its continued use as a humane therapeutic medication that prevents exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH). Our Jockey Club group has led the lobbying efforts to get this bill introduced and passed, and part of their strategy is to harmonize medication rules with the rest of the world. It’s right there in the bill, in this section that states: “The use of therapeutic medications in horseracing in the United States must place the health and welfare of the horse at the highest level of priority while achieving consistency with the uses permitted in major international horseracing jurisdictions.” Another section also mentions internationalism. It states the bill “will improve the marketplace for domestic and international sales of United States horses, will provide a platform for consistency with all major international horseracing standards, address growing domestic concerns over disparities with international rules, and provide for the safety and welfare of horses and jockeys.” Now, those of us who are the smaller players in the game are not so concerned with international racing and competition, nor with the international sales of bloodstock, so this bill clearly draws a line

in the sand between the upper and lower echelons of the business. But whatever we may feel about this this bill, a month after its introduction, in June the president of the United States took the country out of the Paris climate accord, which was signed by 195 nations. His stance is crystal clear and anti-global. American isolationism, instead of consistency with international norms, is the flavor of the day. Another irony about the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017, with its international concerns, is that it references the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 (IHA), which was passed specifically so that the federal government “should prevent interference by one State with the gambling policies of another, and should act to protect identifiable national interests” and that “there is a need for Federal action to ensure States will continue to cooperate with one another in the acceptance of legal interstate wagers.” In other words the IHA’s federal intervention was to play referee among states, and internationalism had no place in it. The IHA also was a guardian of the HBPA’s rights, as it specifically protected horsemen in interstate wagering arrangements, saying that a host racing association “must have a written agreement with the horsemen's group” to conduct interstate wagering. Given the deregulating political climate we’re in – recently the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives, led by Republicans, voted to allow horse slaughter plants in the country to open again – the chances of the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 passing into law anytime soon are about as great as a snowball’s chance in hell. But that’s not going to stop some of us from going full steam ahead in its support, while others, just as vigorously, will oppose it. Meanwhile, folks, the polar cap really is melting, and coastal erosion is taking place while we do nothing about it, and perhaps that’s the apt metaphor for the state of horseracing.


Sire of the versatile 3YO colt DUROCHER ($49,080), recent winner of three straight turf events at Gulfstream Park at different distances of 1 1/16 miles, 1 mile and 7 1/2–furlongs!

Also sire of 2016 $100,000 stakes performer and 8x winner LOGAN CREEK ($118,287), stakes-placed HELLO PEOPLE ($51,600), and multiple allowance winner YOU SHOULD BE HERE ($138,993).

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TRACK–RECORD–SETTING GRADED STAKES WINNING SON OF GIANT’S CAUSEWAY OUT OF A CHAMPION DAUGHTER OF THEATRICAL (IRE)

NIAGARA

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BOTH O F

BY LIFETIME AEI

E VOLUTION T H E S I R E L INE V IC E R E G E N T

13x Leading Sire in Canada !

DEPU T Y M I N ISTER

Champion, 2x Leading Sire in U.S. !

AW E SOM E A G A I N

Multiple G1 SW, 4x Top 10 Sire

! G HO S T Z A P P E R

Horse of the Year, 2017 Leading Sire

Awesome Again 14 GRADE 1 Winners

By D e pu t y M i n i ste r

4 Breedersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Cup Champions

11 GRADE 1 SWS 7 Millionaires

Ghostzapper #2 SIRE in 2017

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KENTUCKY: Awesome Again Capo Bastone City Wolf Fort Larned Ghostzapper Macho Uno Mucho Macho Man North Light Point of Entry CANADA: Giant Gizmo Hunters Bay Milwaukee Brew Rookie Sensation Silent Name Silver Max Singing Saint Sligo Bay

Profile for Trainer Magazine

North American Trainer - August to October 2017 - issue 45  

North American Trainer - August to October 2017 - issue 45