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ISSUE 52 – TRIPLE CROWN 2019 $6.95



Roadster strikes for Speedway Stable in the Santa Anita Derby


A respected horseman with a boutique barn on the up

M A N D AT O RY L AY O F F Would mandatory layoffs for horses be a good thing?


The lengths that different tracks are going to maximize fields for their races



The news agenda in racing this spring has been dominated by the unfortunate events at Santa Anita, which have provoked much debate both inside the inner sanctum of racing and in the wider news media industry—which is always going to be influenced by sensationalism and through social media, which is often dominated by fiction or “Chinese whispers” rather than fact. Tim Ritvo succinctly summed up the sentiment when talking to The TDN in early March: “Unfortunately, the news media was looking for a train wreck. They sit out here (Santa Anita) and wait for something bad to happen. During the time when we had two Triple Crown winners stabled here, we saw one camera crew. It’s not just racing. It’s every aspect of journalism. Bad news sells, and good news doesn’t get the coverage it deserves.” No one knows what the outcome of all this is going to be. But hats off to those who have stepped above the parapet and made some bold and radical changes to the century-old ways which racing “laws” have been governed. We’ve been here before. It’s now been a long 11 years since the outcry following the Eight Belles tragedy at Churchill Downs. The industry learned from that sad day and instigated a bunch of changes designed for the improvement and better management of the Thoroughbred racehorse. But now we need to step up our game again. That’s the bottom line. If the industry carries on with the view that “it’s always been this way,” then we might as well sign a collective industry death warrant. Personally, I believe that while this is the greatest challenge racing has faced for years—to gain a positive foothold in public perception in the face of adversity—it also gives us the biggest opportunity to get good practices understood. For me, we need to go back to basics and start with the conditions in which some horses are stabled. These can often be poorly ventilated, and the bedding under many horses’ hooves is a magnet for dust particles and fairly inefficient for the conditioning of hooves—which undoubtedly results in muscular skeletal issues. Put together bad bedding and bad ventilation could be a toxic combination that will undoubtedly lead to instances of upper airways diseases and EIPH. If we can start improving the management of where the horses spend most of their days, then surely we are making their time on the racetrack much easier and safer to manage. Today’s trainers, breeders and owners have a responsibility for the care and management of the Thoroughbred. While it’s in our hands to determine the future, let’s not pass up this opportunity to act in a collective but positive way to improve the horses’ lot. It’s in all of our interests that this happens, and this time we simply can’t afford to waste energy on navel-gazing and picking holes in others’ opinions without offering up innovative solutions ourselves. That being said… Wherever your racing takes you between now and the end of July - good luck!


FOR OVER $5.4 MILLION Apr 13 MIZDIRECTION S F/M, 3 & Up, abt 61/2 F (T) $75,000 Apr 14 TOKYO CITY CUP (GIII) 4 & Up, 11/2 M $100,000 Apr 200 KONA GOLD S (GII) 3 & Up, 61/2 F $200,000 Apr 27 SANTA MARGARITA S(GII) 3 & Up, 11/8 M $200,000 Apr 27 CRYSTAL WATER S 3 & Up (CA), 1 M (T) $100,000 Apr 28 SINGLETARY S 3 YO, 1 M (T) $100,000 May 4 SENORITA S (GIII) F, 3 YO, 1 M (T) $100,000 May 4 ANGEL’S FLIGHT F, 3 YO, 7 F $75,000 May 11 SANTA BARBARA S (GIII) F/M, 3 & Up, 11/2 M (T) $100,000 May 12 FRAN’S VALENTINE S F/M, 3 & Up (CA), 1 M (T)$100,000 May 18 LAZARO BARRERA S (GIII) 3 YO, 7 F $100,000 May 19 DESERT STORMER S (GIII) F/M, 3 & Up, 6 F $100,000 May 25 TRIPLE BEND S (GII) 4 & Up, 7 F $200,000 May 25 CHARLES WHITTINGHAM S (GII)3 & Up, 1 1/4 (T) $200,000 May 25 DAYTONA S (GIII) 4 & Up, abt 61/2 F (T) $100,000 May 26 MONROVIA S (GII) F/M, 3 & Up, abt 61/2 F (T) $200,000 May 26 SUMMERTIME OAKS (GII) F, 3 YO, 11/16 M $200,000 1 May 27 THE GOLD CUPatSANTA ANITA (GI) 3 & Up, 1 /4 M $500,000 May 27 SHOEMAKER MILE (GI) 3 & Up, 1 M (T) $500,000 May 27 GAMELY S (GI) F/M, 3 & Up, 11/8 M (T) $500,000 Jun 1 SANTA MARIA S (GII) F/M, 4 & Up, 11/16 M $200,000 Jun 1 HONEYMOON S (GIII) F, 3 YO, 11/8 M (T) $150,000 Jun 2 CINEMA S 3 YO, 11/8 M (T) $150,000 Jun 9 DESERT CODE S 3 YO, abt 6 1/2 F (T) $75,000 Jun 15 THOR’S ECHO S 3 & Up (CA), 6 F $100,000 Jun 16 AFFIRMED S (GIII) 3 YO, 1 1/16 M $100,000 Jun 16 POSSIBLY PERFECT S F/M, 3 & Up , 11/2 M (T) $75,000 Jun 22 SNOW CHIEF S 3 YO (CA), 11/8 (T) $200,000 Jun 22 DREAM OF SUMMER S F/M, 4 & Up (CA), 1 M $100,000 Jun 22 WILSHIRE S (GIII) F/M, 3 & Up, 1 M (T) $100,000 Jun 23 MELAIR S F,, 3 YO (CA), 11/16 M $200,000 Jun 23 SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO S (GIII) 3 & Up, abt 13/4 M (T) $100,000 Jun 23 SIREN LURE $75,000 3 & Up, abt 61/2 F (T) Jun 23 AMERICAN S (GIII) 3 & Up, 1 M (T) $100,000

James Kasparoff Stakes Coordinator




Editorial Director/Publisher Giles Anderson (1 888 218 4430) Sub-Editor Jana Cavalier Advert Production Shae Hardy Circulation/Website Anna Alcock (1 888 659 2935) Advertising Sales Giles Anderson, Anna Alcock 1 888 218 4430 Photo Credits: Michael Reaves, Joseph Cantin, Eclipse Sportswire, Horsephotos, Rick Samuels, Laura Palazzolo, Alex Evers, Shutterstock, Dubai Racing Club Photographer “At Large” Frances J. Karon Cover Photograph Eclipse Sportswire Design ATG Media

Trainer Magazine is published by Anderson & Co Publishing Ltd. Contact details Tel: 1 888 659 2935 Fax: 1 888 218 4206 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, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, the Alberta Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association and the Virginia Thoroughbred Association.

Education Ed cati tii ! Integrity I t it Service

Alan F. Balch was hired as the executive director of the California Thoroughbred Trainers in April 2010. His professional career in racing began at Santa Anita in 1971, where he advanced to the position of senior vice president of marketing 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. Alex Campbell is a freelance writer based in Toronto, Canada, covering Woodbine Racetrack. He earned the Jockey of Club of Canada’s Sovereign Award for Outstanding Writing in 2013. His work has appeared in the Daily Racing Form, The Blood-Horse, Canadian Thoroughbred and Harness Racing Update. Ellie Crispe is a veterinarian with extensive experience in racetrack veterinary practice. After completing her residency in equine medicine and surgery at Murdoch University, she went on to complete a PhD. in exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. She is currently the senior veterinarian with Simon Miller Racing in Australia. 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 honorable mention while with the Philadelphia Daily News and has written for The Blood-Horse and USA Today. Bill Heller is an Eclipse Awardwinning author of 26 books, including biographies of Hall of Fame jockeys Ron Turcotte, Randy Romero and Jose Santos. Bill and his wife Marianne live near Gulfstream Park in Florida. Bill’s son Benjamin is an accomplished marathon runner in Troy, N.Y. Guy Lester is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine who has extensive clinical and research experience in both Australia and the U.S. He is currently professor of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida.

Jeff Lowe is a freelance writer who previously served as media director for Team Valor International for seven years. Lowe also was the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup beat writer during a nine-year stint at Thoroughbred Times. He won the 2008 Bill Leggett Writing Award for a magazine story on the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He grew up around the harness racing business as his father was the long-time general manager of the small racetrack in Delaware, Ohio, that puts on one of the sport’s most prestigious races, the Little Brown Jug. Catherine Rudenko is an independent registered nutritionist with a focus on Thoroughbreds. Based in the UK, Catherine has worked in the USA, Europe and Asia with trainers and studs creating feeds and feeding plans customized to their needs and climate. With a keen interest in education and research, Catherine works with professional bodies and universities to promote knowledge of nutrition and its importance in the management of Thoroughbreds and other breeds.

Peter J. Sacopulos is a partner in the law firm of Sacopulos, Johnson & Sacopulos in Terre Haute, Ind., 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. Sacopulos has written extensively on equine law issues and is a frequent speaker at equine conferences. Denise Steffanus, 2017 Eclipse award winner, is a freelance writer and editor based in Cynthiana, Ky. A long-time 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. A Pittsburgh native, she is a licensed Thoroughbred racehorse trainer and a member of American Mensa. Judy Wardrope Mechanically inclined by nature, Wardrope has applied her curiosity regarding how things work in several directions, including a 17-year stint as a locomotive engineer. Combined with an avid interest in horses, she started looking beyond straight legs and subjective descriptors to explain what she was seeing in individual horses.

Trainer Magazine (ISSN 17580293) is published 4 times a year, February, April, July and October by Anderson & Co Publishing and distributed in the USA by UKP Worldwide, 3390 Rand Road, South Plainfield, NJ 07080. Periodicals postage paid at Rahway, NJ and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Trainer Magazine, Anderson & Co Publishing C/O 3390 Rand Road, South Plainfield NJ 07080





The Key To A Faster Race Time BY: MARK HANSEN


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 or 800-780-4331.










52 Recruiting runners

The lengths that different tracks are going to maximize fields for their races, by Bill Heller.

12 Mark Hennig

Now in his 26th year as a racehorse trainer, Jeff Lowe meets a respected horseman with a boutique barn on the up.

22 Australian EIPH report

New research on the impact of EIPH from an Australian perspective but with worldwide implications, by Ellie Crispe and Guy Lester.

28 Niall Collum –

Canadian trainer profile

He’s worked for the likes of Ballydoyle and Godolphin and is now entering his third season with a license in his own name. Based at Woodbine, Collum talks to Alex Campbell about his goals and visions for his barn.

36 Determining distance


Judy Wardrope profiles six elite racehorses, examines their conformation traits and asks what made them great racehorses.

44 CTT trainer profile – A regular on the Californian circuit, Powell discusses his career to date and shares his concerns with Ed Golden about the decline in breeding of Thoroughbreds in The Golden State.


Kentucky Derby – in association with RoadStallion

Profiles and mini-biographies for owners whose horses have been featured on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” by Bill Heller.

68 Mandatory layoff


Alan F. Balch column

10 Trainer of

the Quarter – Brendan Walsh

94 #soundbites

– this quarter Bill Heller asks: Is there too much racing?

Would mandatory layoffs for horses be a good thing? Denise Steffanus investigates.

76 Exercising horse sense

In this article, Peter J. Sacopulos focuses on insurance protection for trainers and riders, equine liability laws, and proper safety procedures and equipment.

82 Tying-Up

Catherine Rudenko looks at how to deal with cases of “exertional rhabdomyolysis” otherwise known as Tying-Up.

88 PHBA – Mick Ruis and his

Leonard Powell

@ train e r_ mag

60 On the Road to the


secret stallions

Emily Shields talks to Mick Ruis about his expanding breeding program in Pennsylvania.

/ t rai ner magaz i n e


/ t r ai n e rmag azine

Visit to download our current digital editions and access back issues of both European and North American Trainer

Filly out of Alasema 30 days att Frankfort rankfort Park Farm Bred by Brennddan & Olive Gallagher Colt out of Just Smart 21 days at Sparks View Farm Bred by Caperlane Farm

Colt out of Taleoftheprincess 35 days at Hidden Brook Farm Bred byy Danica Cochran

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Kent Barnes, Stallion Manager (859) 224-4585 Standing Albertus Maximus • Mohaymen • Tamarkuz

Filly out of Afillyation 24 days at Clearview Stable Bred by Equus Bloodstock





BELOW: Capriole, the most difficult of the airs above the ground, jumping straight up from a standstill with raised forehand, requiring enormous equine power and precision horsemanship to train.

The phenotype, on the other hand, is all of a horse’s observable characteristics—its conformation, quality, substance, and soundness. Who is guarding or enhancing the conformation, quality, substance, and soundness of our Thoroughbreds? Apparently not the breed registry! The next “white paper” we need to see from The Jockey Club about “reform” needs to take a deep, honest look at best practices for breeding, foaling, nursery, and every medication or veterinary practice that gets a Thoroughbred sold, whether or not in the auction ring and beyond. Any breed registry that permits, tolerates, or encourages the breeding of unsoundness to unsoundness is not breeding a better horse, that’s certain. Nor should the registry turn a blind eye to any cosmetic or medicinal practice that could possibly compromise substance or soundness. If the registry will concentrate on the true integrity of the breed—its soundness—it won’t need to waste nearly so much breath on the conduct of others. Those of us who grew up in non-racing horse sport all remember The Sportsman’s Charter. It proclaims that sport ceases when it becomes a business only, something done for what there is in it. “The exploitation of sport for profit alone kills the spirit and retains only the husk and semblance of the thing.” I believe this is exactly what’s been overtaking racing, killing it, for decades now. There’s a reason that Keeneland and Saratoga and Del Mar succeed and inspire: their profits are turned back into the sport. They race limited seasons of the highest quality. They don’t exist for return on investment, except for the sport itself. But The Jockey Club boasts of its “group of commercial, forprofit subsidiaries and commercial partnerships.” Presumably those profits should benefit the sport. Do they, if protection of live cover, stud fees, auction prices, unsound pedigrees, and bloodstock profiting are weakening the breed? Do they, if their own professional journalists are muzzled? Do they, if their contributions to the U.S. Congress are wasted on the fool’s errand of banishing Lasix?


nyone who has witnessed the saga of racing at Santa Anita this winter needs no repeated recitation of the facts . . . to say that the sport as we have known it is jeopardized in California, and perhaps North America, is a gross understatement. It’s worth remembering that that very word—jeopardy—is derived from gaming; when a position in chess and other games is equally divided between winning and losing, there’s danger. Just how endangered we are, only time will tell. So, of course, The Jockey Club released “a major white paper.” But like all the other stakeholders, they couldn’t resist pointing at everyone else except themselves. Again we heard their self-serving, political, and self-destructive refrain that “race day” and other therapeutic medications are culprits for what ails us. They threw in unspecified “cheaters and abusers” for good measure, as though that’s the public face of racing we embrace! All this, despite the simple fact that in the same state, during the same months, with the same medication rules as at Santa Anita, with the same or worse weather, another track—under the same ownership—maintained its position as one of the safest courses in America. Doubtless it escaped The Jockey Club that the all-weather synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields was a principal factor in differentiating the two tracks! But it hadn’t escaped anyone knowledgeable in California that main track and turf maintenance at Santa Anita beginning in January, as well as management of the racing program itself, may have been seriously flawed. And that the inherent issues are far greater than any isolated, dramatic spike in serious injuries at one place. Therefore, it’s now essential, especially for the sport’s leadership, to go back to the objective, unemotional truths of basic horsemanship—not self-defeating posturing—to try to see where we stand throughout the world. From the beginning of horses in sport, which is to say at the beginning of recorded history, the objective was to breed and train a swifter, stronger, better horse. For all this innocent animal’s many gifts to humankind, whether in work, commerce, war, exploration, sport, art, pleasure, or otherwise, horsemanship must begin with breeding. Responsible, logical breeding. Racing simply demonstrated who could breed a better horse. Glory followed. And later, riches. Racing stock is the proof of breeding stock. The Jockey Club’s principal purposes are to improve the Thoroughbred breed and protect its integrity. It’s the breed registry. It sets the standard for breeding. At least it should. But that’s where our problems really begin, because the Thoroughbred breed is based on genotype, not phenotype. The genotype is the set of genes a horse carries, and our breed registry protects “integrity” by taking elaborate steps to be sure that there are no stray non-Thoroughbred genes in our horses. The way things are going, we might well need some!



The for-profit racing associations and affiliated entities, whether public companies or private, exert the most pressure to exploit our once-great sport financially, all in the name of return-on-investment. Consider this: At around 20,000 Thoroughbred foals a year these days, the foal crop is about where it was in 1966. In that year, Santa Anita raced 11 weeks. California racing had no overlaps between northern and southern dates (except during the summer fair season). The majestic colossus that is Santa Anita was dark from April until Christmas. Now, with the same number of foals as 1966, California has year-around racing throughout the state – north and south simultaneously. Santa Anita by itself races about 32 weeks. Can that much racing possibly be in the best interests of horses and the sport? The collision between those interests and unrestrained financial gain is palpable. All those of us who have turned a silent or blind eye to this, including me, cannot avoid our own blame for what has happened. We have not put the interest of the horse or the breed first, as basic horsemanship would teach us to do. Speaking of which, there’s another trumpeting elephant in our midst: the whip. All those of us who can still remember our first serious riding lessons know we were taught not to get on without a stick. Then came the hard part: how and when to use it. Over the thousands of years of horses serving humans, understandings and opinions about this have evolved, to be sure. The humane, sensible use of the stick is probably more debated than ever before. But it’s undeniable that those who’ve never been around or on horses have even less comprehension of its propriety than the rest of us. Is its proper use teachable to jockeys, let alone the public? For purposes of racing, let’s remember the jocks’ modern position on a race horse deprives them of most use of their legs . . . wrapping your legs around a horse’s barrel to say “go forward” is far preferable to using the stick, of course. But with thousands or millions of dollars riding along with the jocks in a given race, don’t those players who fuel our whole sport deserve the best (humane) effort possible to put their nose on the wire first?



ABOVE: Albert Ostermaier on Caliostro Neopolitano Aleros, a rare black Lipizzan stallion at Santa Anita in 1983, performing the courbette, a strenuous high school movement in which the rearing horse leaps forward three or more times without coming down.

Personally, I think they do. But to me, that doesn’t include brutal windmill whipping, whether or not for show, nor any use of the stick resulting in welts or worse. I believe it was an epic mistake (and bad horsemanship) to try to define “excessive use” of the whip in written rules, since the obvious is so obvious, and the less than obvious cannot be defined literally. The stewards and jockeys should know it when they see it. Or do it. And the penalties for it need to be as draconian as the behavior. Such extreme behavior engenders opposite and extreme opinions. Just so we know the fundamental belief of the most vocal opponents of all racing, and how relentless and unforgiving of contrary viewpoints they are, here it is: “Simply put, speciesism is a bias in favor of the human race over other animal races, just as one particular set of humans may be biased against another. It is the misguided belief that one species is more important than another.” Please read that again, and think about it. So much for what we have learned about animal husbandry through the centuries. So much for horsemanship itself. We are being instructed that humans are not more important than any (other) animal, from eel to bovine to equine. The very word “husbandry” is now an affront. Even the word “humane” is wrong, since it implies “speciesism” in that humans should treat animals with kindness, compassion, and sympathy, rather than as equals. I flatter myself to believe that the great many horses and other animals I’ve been responsible for appreciate the care and love I’ve given them. No, I don’t anthropomorphize them in the intellectual sense, but I name them and talk to them and feed them and care for them, and I see in their eyes what I believe is appreciation. Yes, they occasionally have looked askance at me or with condescension, to be sure, and with an air of superiority at times, but they accept speciesism. They know who’s bringing the feed and the treats. Anyone who doesn’t believe in human superiority over (other) animals must never have seen one unable to care for itself, whether in the wild or domesticated, and been drawn to help it, as only a human could. Well, you might be saying, racing’s not the only sport suffering from a dramatic, ongoing collision between financial gain and sporting spirit. They all are! Yes, I suppose that’s true. But ours involves an animal—the noblest animal of all. Ronald Duncan said it best: Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride, friendship without envy, or beauty without vanity? Here where grace is laced with muscle and strength by gentleness confined. He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity. There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent; there is nothing so quick, nothing more patient. (The world’s) past has been borne on his back. All our history is in his industry. We are his heirs; He is our inheritance. Everyone in racing is responsible for the state of the sport today, and the imperiled state of racing in North America, California, and at Santa Anita. The only innocent ones in the whole picture are the horses.

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Bill Heller Dubai Racing Club/Neville Hopwood, Mathea Kelley

t’s an easy decision for a trainer to continue with his three-year-old on the road to the Kentucky Derby when he runs super in a key prep race. Imperial Court Racing’s three-yearold colt Plus Que Parfait was about as far away from super as a horse can get in the Gr2 Risen Star Stakes at The Fair Grounds on February 16, finishing 13th by 20 ¼ lengths under Julien Leparoux. Trainer Brendan Walsh’s faith in Plus Que Parfait sent him halfway around the world to race in the $2.5 million UAE Derby in Dubai March 20. With blinkers added and a new rider in Jose Ortiz, Plus Que Parfait won, earning his spot in the starting gate for the Run for the Roses on May 4.




He will be the first Kentucky Derby starter for his 45-year-old Irish trainer whose success in the United States continues to build just eight years after he saddled his first starter at the end of 2011. “It’s been going great,” he said. “It’s a tough business, but I’ve been very lucky. It was pretty tough the first couple of years.” He wasn’t kidding. He had just four winners in his first full year in 2012 and only eight the following year. More recently, he’s already clinched his fourth consecutive year with at least $2 million in earnings. That’s quite an accomplishment for a young man who fell in love with horses at a young age. His father’s farm near the coastal village of Shanagarry in County Cork in southeast Ireland had a few dairy cows and sheep, but no horses. Regardless, Walsh said, “I loved horses since I was a

kid. My dad bought me a pony when I was eight. He won 200 pounds in a raffle, and he bought the pony. That’s the kind of man he was.” Walsh attended the Jockey School at The Curragh, then landed a job with Sheikh Mohammed’s Kildangan Stud. He then spent three-and-a-half years as an assistant to trainer Mark Wallace at Newmarket and three years with Eddie Kenneally in the United States. “I’ve worked around some great horsemen,” Walsh said. “I think you just take a little bit from everybody. You try to piece it all together.” He’s done that well enough to increase his stable size from six in 2012 to more than 60 now. “It’s very manageable for me,” he said. “I don’t want to get a huge number of horses.” The one that can take him to new heights is his UAE Derby winner. And


he wouldn’t have won that race if Walsh didn’t panic after his poor performance in the Risen Star Stakes. “The owners are based in Dubai, and we had been kicking this around for some time,” he said. “We couldn’t really pinpoint why he didn’t run well at The Fair Grounds.” Walsh decided to add blinkers. “He’s laid back and he needed something to wake him up,” Walsh said. “His one work


in Florida before we went to Dubai was particularly good—five furlongs in 1:01 and change. I was on the horse he worked with.” Watching the UAE Derby, Walsh said, “When they turned for home, I said, `He’s going to get a piece of it.’”

He got the biggest piece. “It worked out great,” Walsh said. Whether or not the Kentucky Derby works out great, Walsh is just happy to be in it. “I’ve been all over the world, and there’s nothing like it,” he said. “To be part of it is very exciting.”




Mark Hennig’s Unique Career on a New Upswing Jeff Lowe

Michael Reaves

A B r e a k o u t S t a r i n H i s 2 0’S , Key Part of Edward Evans’ Op e r a t i o n , S t e a d y S u c c e ss a t 5 4

12 issue 52






he launch of Mark Hennig’s training stable in 1993 was a racing rarity with its immediate impact in major races. He parlayed a strong start into one of the most influential training jobs of a generation, helping to develop Edward P. Evans’ stable into a powerhouse on the track and a feeder for a vaunted broodmare band. As the tide began to change in the mid-2000s, Hennig had to rebuild with owners like Lee Lewis who supported him from the start but carried far fewer horses than the dozens he had received every year from Evans, and from developing new clientele even as the owner ranks contracted significantly in North America. “I was very fortunate to have the kind of horses I did starting out,” said Hennig, whose first stakes winner, Star of Cozzene, swept the Gr1 Arlington Million and Man o’ War Stakes along with the Gr2 Caesar’s International and Manhattan Handicap in 1993. “There are a lot of trainers and owners who are capable of picking out nice horses and training them too. It’s all about having the access to them. I have had years when I didn’t have the access to them and I think it’s shown. It’s no different than a basketball coach. It’s a lot easier to coach a team with Lebron James on it than to coach a team with me on it.”



Hennig, 54, always seemed to have at least one marquee horse he could count on, like Wesley, a striking gray who captured the Gr2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga in 2008; and the fleet filly Merry Meadow, who clicked off four Graded stakes triumphs in 2014 and ‘15 in the filly and mare sprint division. Little by little, depth and quality increased and Hennig, based at Belmont Park and Saratoga in the spring and summer and Gulfstream Park in the winter, now sits in a plumb position. His 2018 season was his best by purse earnings in 10 years and featured a return to the Triple Crown trail with the meteoric Strike Power, who sped to victory in the Gr3 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park around one turn in just his second career start. He then finished a solid second in the Gr2 Fountain of Youth Stakes over a route of ground, only to struggle after getting caught up in an intense pace duel in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. In 2019, Hennig is back on the Triple Crown trail with Bourbon War, a colt with a resumé more similar to his trainer’s previous classic runners Personal Hope and Eddington. Personal Hope was one of the first horses Hennig received when he went out on his own in late 1992, after five years as an assistant to D. Wayne Lukas. Hennig was there for a nice stretch of heady days for Lukas Racing, with Hall of Famers Winning Colors and Lady’s Secret and Horse of the Year Criminal Type all in the shedrow. Lee Lewis had horses with Lukas at that time, as did the Team Valor syndicate led by Barry Irwin and Jeff Siegel, who were so impressed with Hennig that they presented him with an offer that would spark his own career. At age 27, Hennig became the private trainer for the Team Valor roster, with the caveat that he could also oversee six horses for other owners. Lewis sent him Personal Hope, who had started once for Lukas as a juvenile in 1992 before going to the sidelines with an issue.






Hennig also filled the half dozen “public stalls” with horses owned by Evans. Between the three sources—Team Valor, Lewis and Evans—Hennig got off to a momentous beginning. While Star of Cozzene starred in the turf division for older males, Personal Hope immediately landed a dirt maiden win at Santa Anita and would go on to glory in the Gr1 Santa Anita Derby in 1993 before finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby. Star of Cozzene tore through that same season with six Graded stakes wins and developed an epic rivalry with Claiborne Farm’s homebred Lure, who would beat the Team Valor runner into second in both the Gr2 Turf Classic on Derby Day and the Gr3 Dixie Handicap on the Preakness card, before Star of Cozzene turned the tables with victories over Lure in the Manhattan at Belmont and the Caesars International at Atlantic City. They were both entered for another showdown in the Arlington Million, but after a spate of heavy rain, Lure was scratched and Star of Cozzene strolled to a 3 1/4-length victory at 4-to-5 odds. “Star of Cozzene was a real hard-trying horse,” Hennig said. “When it was soft, there was no beating him. We had Star of Cozzene with Wayne and he was a nice horse, not beat far in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. After that, Team Valor sent him to Francois Boutin in France, and when he came back it looked like it just didn’t agree with him. He was light and had tailed off. It was an amazing turnaround once he got back here and started flourishing. The one winter we had him in California it rained a lot and that really got his season rolling. He went back East and had that great series with Lure. Where Lure was dangerous on firm turf, Star of Cozzene was just terrific on soft turf; and when he won the Arlington Million, it had just rained and rained, and he won it easily. We had a lot of fun with him.”






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Growing up in central Ohio, Hennig spent much of his high school years on the backstretch of Beulah Park outside Columbus, where his father, John, was a top-flight trainer who would occasionally make his presence felt at Keeneland, Churchill Downs, and in South Florida. The elder Hennig ended up with a barn at Churchill with a staff that not only included his son, Mark, but also eventual trainers Kiaran McLaughlin and George Weaver. It was there that McLaughlin met Mark Hennig’s sister, Letty. They have been married for more than 30 years. “Growing up, we would all work in the barn,” Hennig said. “We would go in real early in the morning and, before I had my driver’s license, I would get a ride home and get ready real quick and go to school. I would go back there after school and maybe run a few horses. The work ethic was instilled in all of us that way. It was about good horsemanship and working hard. When I went off to Ohio State for college and came back, my dad encouraged me if I was going to be in the horse business and wanted to train horses that I should work for some other outfits. I think that is the most unselfish thing any father could do for their son. He introduced me to Jack Van Berg, and I worked for him for a while and then I went to work for Wayne after that. I was so lucky to have that kind of foundation for my career.” In 1994, from the six non-Team Valor stalls, Hennig scored a Gr1 win for Evans with Prenup in the Jerome Handicap and also captured the Gr3 Chicago Breeders’ Cup Handicap with Evans’ mare Minidar, and Evans soon prevailed on him to be a key player in his master plan as an owner-breeder. “When I first went to Mr. Evans’ farm, he had around 25 broodmares in Virginia, and he explained to me that his plan was to build a broodmare band up to have 65 to 75 mares and then cull out the bottom third every year and hopefully we would be replenishing them with fillies coming from the track,” Hennig said. “We would be buying some yearlings to supplement what he was breeding, which of course was a nice breeding program. I took a lot of pride in that band we were fortunate enough to build together.” In 1994, Hennig picked out a yearling for Evans to purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, spending $75,000 on a Quiet American filly named Quiet Dance who would go on to become Gr2-placed and a Black-Type winner but would have a much greater legacy at Evans’ Spring Hill Farm in Casanova, Va., where she produced five stakes winners, headed by 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, Gr1 winner Funtastic and Gr2 winner Quiet Giant, who would also become the dam of a Horse of the Year in 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Gun Runner. Evans mostly retained fillies for his racing program, and Hennig did well with a long list of them, among them the 11-time stakes winner Gold Mover who would bank







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$1,523,010; Summer Colony, who captured the Gr1 Personall Ensign and five other Graded stakes and earned more than $1.4-million; and Raging Fever who accounted for the Gr1 Matron and Frizette Stakes as a two-year-old and also the Gr1 Ogden Phipps Handicap as a four-year-old. Evans, who died in 2010, bred more than 200 stakes winners. “Mr. Evans was a very smart guy,” Hennig said. “I really respected that when he would do his matings, he would bounce things off of me. Not that he was necessarily going to do what I suggested, but he would ask questions about the mare who was coming home or some of the horses you already had out of the mare. He was always looking to learn and improve his program.” Lewis has been the mainstay among Hennig’s owners, winning more than $900,000 with the Gr2 Cotillion Handicap heroine Mystic Lady. Besides Lewis’ colt Personal Hope, Hennig has never had another starter in the Run for the Roses. He came painfully close in 2004 with Eddington, who failed to crack the full field of 20, which at the time was determined by Graded stakes earnings. Eddington had been nosed out for second in the Gr1 Wood Memorial Stakes, with the $75,000 difference between second and third costing him a spot in the Derby. Instead, Eddington would wait for the Preakness Stakes and finished third behind Smarty Jones at Pimlico, where he would return to conquer the Gr1 Pimlico Special Handicap a year later. Bourbon War has been creeping forward in similar fashion, breaking his maiden impressively upon debut in



miid-N Novemb ber. He fini i ish hed d fourth h in th he Gr2 Remsen Stakes a few weeks later and followed with a sharp allowance win at Gulfstream over eventual Sunland Park Derby winner Cutting Humor. Bourbon War came on strongly to finish second in the Gr2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream on March 2nd and then running fourth in the Gr1 Florida Derby on March 30th. “Personal Hope was probably a little farther along at this stage than Eddington and Bourbon War,” Hennig said. “They were different horses. Personal Hope always had flashes of speed. He was always a horse who trained really crisp from day one where (Bourbon War) has been more of an evolution. I don’t think he’s a finished product.” Hennig has trained for Bourbon War’s co-owner Bourbon Lane Stable for a few years and goes back many moons with Jamie Hill, who heads Bourbon Lane along with Michael McMahon. “I knew him when he worked for Wayne, and I have been around him a lot, including through some clients of ours that we help with matings,” Hill said. “They breed to race and have had horses with Mark, and so we were always in his barn and appreciated how he handled himself. When we started thinking about having a New York-based trainer who would winter in Florida, he was high on our list. “This horse is still maturing and is a good fit for Mark’s style, which is to look ahead and have the horse ready for a big race,” Hill said. “He doesn’t drill his horses fast. He lets them come into their own and figure things out and not peak too soon.”

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AN A US T R A LI A N PE R S PE CT I V E WIT H WO RL D WI D E IMP LI CAT I ON S E X E R C I S E - I N D U C E D P U L M O N A RY H E M O R R H A G E First published in European Trainer Magazine




Figure 1. A thoroughbred racehorse with epistaxis after racing. Figure 2. Standing post-race endoscopy.




xercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) is a common disease of racehorses. The precise cause of EIPH is yet to be fully determined, but a well-accepted theory is that lung blood vessels rupture in response to the extremely high blood pressure and low airway pressure experienced during strenuous exercise. The barrier that separates the airway from the blood vessels is ultra-thin to facilitate the efficient exchange of gases, but this predisposes to breakage. The condition is most frequently described in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses, but it has also been identified in racing Appaloosas and Quarter Horses, as well as horses involved in other high-intensity athletic activities, including showjumpers, 3-day eventers, barrel racers, steeplechasers and polo horses. EIPH is not unique to horses and has been reported in human athletes, as well as racing greyhounds and camels. Our group at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia has had an interest in EIPH, which has led to three recent publications in the Equine Veterinary Journal.1-3

How common is EIPH?

Blood from both nostrils—also known as epistaxis—is the most obvious manifestation of EIPH and occurs



between 1.5 and 8.4/1000 race starts, varying with racing jurisdiction. Epistaxis represents a severe manifestation of EIPH, and basing surveys on its presence vastly underestimates the true prevalence of lung hemorrhage. There are several techniques used to diagnose EIPH, but endoscopy of the trachea 30-120 minutes after racing or galloping is a common and reliable method. Occurrence and severity of pulmonary hemorrhage is typically graded using a 0-4 scale. Using endoscopy, we reported a prevalence of EIPH post-race in Australian Thoroughbreds racing on turf tracks of around 55%, with most positive horses having low to moderate volumes of blood in the trachea. EIPH is less common if horses are examined after trialing and reduced further if examined after track gallops. The prevalence of EIPH increases when horses are examined on multiple occasions after racing; and in fact, all horses in our research population that had seven monitored race-starts experienced EIPH on at least one occasion.

What is the effect of EIPH on race-day performance?

It is generally considered that EIPH has a negative impact on racing performance, but evidence for this assertion is surprisingly lacking. We performed 3,794 post-race endoscopy exams on over 1,500 Australian horses and










Figure 3. Endoscopy images illustrating progressive degrees of hemorrhage from grade 0 through grade 4. Figure 4. Severity of EIPH detected post-race among thoroughbreds racing in Western Australia (3,794 observations collected from 1,567 horses).



A pattern of increasing endoscopic EIPH severity over a racehorse’s career is suspected but has not been proven. Another Australian research group examined 744 Thoroughbreds post-race with endoscopy, looked back 12 years later and compared EIPH score to their career performance. There was no association between any grade of EIPH and career duration, lifetime earnings, or the number of wins or places. These observations led to the conclusion that a one-off diagnosis of EIPH is an unreliable predictor of overall career performance.






Proportion of examinations

reported that inferior race-day performance was limited to horses with severe EIPH (grades 3 and 4); this reflected only 6.3% of all examinations. Horses with the highest grades of EIPH (grade 4) were less likely to finish in the first three, finished further from the winner, were less likely to collect race earnings, were slower over the final stages of the race, and were more likely to be overtaken by other competitors in the home straight than horses without EIPH. Interestingly, horses with EIPH grade 1 or 2 were more likely to overtake others in the home straight, compared to horses without EIPH (grade 0). It is highly unlikely that low-grade EIPH (grade 1 or 2) confers an athletic advantage; a plausible explanation is that horses that are ridden competitively to the finish are functioning at their maximal physiological limit, compared to horses that are eased up and overtaken during the finishing stages of the race because they are not in prize contention or are affected by interference in the home straight. Another interesting finding was that horses with moderate to severe EIPH (grades 3 or 4) raced the early and mid-sections of the race faster than horses without EIPH. It is possible that these horses reach the breaking threshold of the small lung blood vessels at an earlier stage in the race compared to horses that start the race slower, compounding the severity thereafter. A study of barrel racing horses reported that horses with the most severe grade of EIPH were faster than horses without EIPH, a finding which may also reflect this rapid acceleration increasing the risk of EIPH. It may be wise for trainers to instruct jockeys riding horses with a history of moderate to severe EIPH to refrain from racing in this manner.

What is the effect of a one-off diagnosis of EIPH over a horse’s career?




EIPH Grade






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Grade 0

0.60 0. 0.40

What are the risk factors for EIPH?

0.20 0.0 0






Grade 1

0.40 0.20 0.0 0






Grade 2

0.40 0.20 0.0 0






Grade 3

0.40 0.20 0.0

Proportion of horses






Grade 4

0.60 0.40 0.20 0.0 0





Current EIPH score 0-4 Figure 5: Bar graphs demonstrating EIPH score variability in thoroughbred racehorses. The previous EIPH score (0-4) is demonstrated on the right vertical y-axis, corresponding to the current EIPH score (0-4) on the horizontal x-axis. N=747; number of observations= 2,227.

Is EIPH a progressive disease?

EIPH is typically described as a progressive disease, but again, evidence is lacking. In our Australian Thoroughbred population, EIPH scores were often erratic from one race start to the next, especially as the EIPH severity increases. We were able to identify factors which were associated with change in EIPH score from one race start to another and which might help manage horses that are prone to EIPH. Increasing the number of days between races was associated with a transition from a higher to a lower grade of EIPH and racing in cooler weather was associated with a transition from a lower to a higher EIPH grade at the next observation. There are also likely to be unmeasured intra-horse and race factors that could also account for the variation in EIPH scores from one race start to another. Although in individual


horses, EIPH severity can differ from race to race, from a population perspective, we concluded that EIPH is a mildly progressive condition.


Several investigators have found an association between temperature and EIPH. Cold weather on race day increases the chances of diagnosing EIPH and increases the chances of diagnosing more severe grades of EIPH. Furthermore, for horses that previously had no or only mild EIPH, racing in colder weather was more likely to be associated with a worsening of EIPH grade at the next observation. The reason that EIPH worsens with cold weather is unknown, but this phenomenon could mimic cold-induced pulmonary hypertension reported in other species. It may reflect the ambient temperature during training rather than specifically the temperature at the time of the race. Avoiding cold weather during training or racing may reduce the risk of EIPH in horses with a history of moderate to severe EIPH. Lifetime starts was a predictor for EIPH risk in our studies; a stronger risk was the number of races in a current racing preparation reflecting a straightforward, short-term cumulative association between EIPH and racing. Trainers frequently recognize that horses with EIPH perform well “fresh,” meaning that they perform at their best early in a racing preparation. From a management point of view, limiting the number of races in a racing preparation for horses prone to EIPH could reduce disease severity. No studies have identified an association between EIPH and sex, altitude or racetrack surface. Other factors that have been investigated such as track firmness and race distance have mixed results in the literature. In Australia, bar shoes are typically used when horses have short-term foot problems. We found that the application of one or more bar shoes increased the risk of EIPH and severity in our racing population. The reason for this is unknown, but it may not be a direct effect of the shoes; instead we speculated that subclinical hoof pain could increase cardiovascular pressures during racing. We found horses wearing bar shoes were less likely to collect prize money, collected less prize money and finished further behind the winner than horses racing in standard plates. Trainers and vets should reconsider or delay racing a horse that requires a bar shoe for a short-term foot issue.

IN CONCLUSION, FROM OUR STUDIES LOOKING AT EIPH IN AUSTRALIAN RACEHORSES, OUR KEY FINDINGS WERE: • Endoscopy is the preferred method of detecting EIPH and should be performed 30-120 minutes after racing; • Horses prone to moderate or severe EIPH should avoid racing or training during the colder months; • Trainers should consider changing the riding tactics of horses with severe EIPH, settling the horse in a mid-field or back marker position; • The number of races in a racing preparation should be limited for horses with EIPH; • It is helpful to increase the interval between races for horses with severe EIPH; • It is prudent to reconsider or delay racing a horse with a short-term foot issue rather than use a bar shoe.


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Saturday June 1

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Sunday June 9

$100,000 Lyphard Stakes 3 & up, fillies & mares, 11⁄16 miles, turf

$100,000 Robellino Stakes 3 & up, 11⁄16 miles, turf

Saturday June 22

$100,000 Crowd Pleaser Stakes 3YO, 11⁄16 miles, turf

$100,000 Power by Far Stakes 3 & up, fillies & mares, 5 furlongs, turf

Sunday July 7

$100,000 Leematt Stakes 3 & up, 1 mile

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$100,000 Banjo Picker Sprint Stakes 3 & up, 6 furlongs

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$100,000 Mrs. Penny Stakes 3 & up, fillies & mares, 11⁄16 miles, turf

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Saturday August 3

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Saturday September 21

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Wednesday November 27 Saturday December 7

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N IA L L COLLUM Alex Campbell


rainer Niall Collum brings plenty of experience at the highest level of international racing to his training program. The 46-year-old native of Clonmel, Ireland, now based at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada, has worked for major European operations Coolmore and Godolphin, and has traveled with their horses to some of the biggest races in the world, including the Breeders’ Cup, the Melbourne Cup, and races in Dubai, Hong Kong, and Japan. His journey in the sport of horse racing started off when he was a 12-year-old in Ireland, riding horses at a pony camp. At 14, Collum got his first job in racing as a work rider for Irish trainer Pat Flynn. Collum not only rode horses in the mornings during training but also performed work around Flynn’s yard. It was that first job that kicked off Collum’s now more than 30-year racing career. “I was offered a job for the summer with Pat Flynn, and I ended up staying there,” Collum said. “I didn’t go back to school and stuck with the horses to my parents’ horror. Back then, it was different too because we did everything. We rode out and we mucked out. You didn’t just ride the horses and go home. We’d have to do everything first hand.” Collum had aspirations to be a flat jockey, but eventually grew to a point where that career wasn’t going to be possible. Although the flats weren’t an option, Collum continued working with Flynn for a little while longer before making a move to England to pursue a career as a steeplechase jockey.



Joseph Cantin

“A guy who I knew said I would do very well to go to England,” Collum said. “I went to Toby Balding in England. He was a big jump trainer at the time. He said if I put my head down and worked hard, I’d get on there, which I did. I rode a nice few winners for him over the jumps. I rode my winners and everything, but things weren’t really taking off for me.” Collum returned to Ireland and flat racing, joining Aidan O’Brien’s stable as a work rider. Collum knew O’Brien after spending some time working for O’Brien’s father-in-law, Joe Crowley, and worked with O’Brien and horses owned by Coolmore at Ballydoyle. “I went back to him and spent five years there working with the best horses in the world and got to travel the world to all the big races,” Collum said. “It was a great experience, and I loved every bit of it.” Collum spent five years working with O’Brien before looking for his next opportunity. This time, it was Godolphin who was expanding its operations, and Collum took the chance to work with them in both the United Kingdom and Dubai. “After five years, you’re looking for something to freshen up, and the opportunity came up with Godolphin to go to Dubai,” Collum said. “They were getting big at the time. I got offered the job to go with them, and I did. We would spend the winters in Dubai and the summers in England. I think it was the best thing I ever did to be honest with you because it opened up a whole new world for me.” Collum was once again a work rider with Godolphin, but his connections in Dubai and his prior experiences in Ireland would help him





get into training. Collum worked for Godolphin for six years before making the switch to training and caught on with Eddie Kenneally, serving as an assistant trainer at Belmont Park in New York. He worked for Kenneally for a year before deciding it was time to go off on his own. Collum set up a racing syndicate and purchased horses to train, but ran into an immigration issue that would throw his career into turmoil. Collum had traveled with his then girlfriend and now wife, Andrea Dube-Collum, to Montreal, Canada for a weekend getaway. Following the trip, Collum was denied entry upon his return to the United States, putting his syndicate in jeopardy. “I had all of the proper VISAs; it was just one of those things where they weren’t letting me in and that was it,” Collum said. “They refused my entry, and I lost a lot of money after just buying the racehorses and getting set up.”




“I TRAINED A LOT OF WINNERS FOR THEM, AND THINGS WERE REALLY STARTING TO TAKE OFF WHEN I JUST FELT IT WAS IN ME TO GO BACK TO AMERICA.” Not knowing where to turn, Collum traveled back to England to regroup and figure out the next step of his career. “I really didn’t know where I was going to go or what I was going to do,” he said. “I applied for a job to be a trainer with Ismail Mohammed and the royal family in Dubai. I applied for that job, and I didn’t hear anything for ages.” While Collum was waiting for an answer on the job with Mohammed, the United States Embassy in London told him it was a case of misidentification and granted him a 20-year business VISA. Collum returned to the United States but was only there for a couple of months before hearing back on the training job. He had a successful interview back in England for the position and would wind up managing Mohammed’s stable in the UK for a short time before thinking of returning to North America.

“I trained a lot of winners for them, and things were really starting to take off when I just felt it was in me to go back to America,” Collum said. “It’s where I wanted to go. The VISA thing didn’t really work out, so my wife being Canadian, we decided to have a go in Canada at Woodbine. It’s been a bit of a journey, but the last two years since I’ve started at Woodbine have been successful, so I’m starting to work on moving on up.” Collum established his stable at Woodbine in 2017 and sent out his first starter at the track, Reimagined, for owners Bill and Jason Copeman in June of that year. Reimagined ran fourth in his first start with Collum, but in his third start, Reimagined recorded Collum’s first win in North America. Collum said the first win out on his own was very meaningful for him. “I just started off with one horse and I was very, very successful with that horse,” he said. “It gave me massive ISSUE 52 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM







confidence going forward. Going out on your own, under your own name, those horses represent you when they go up there. It was a great boost for me going forward. I was delighted for the owners. It gave me confidence in myself to know that my knowledge was good.” Collum’s stable has expanded up to 10 horses, and he’s brought on a pair of new clients, including Brian O’Leary’s Polo Management Services and Bob and Marilyn Carey. So far, Collum has recorded three wins in 45 starts at Woodbine since June 2017, along with 13 in-the-money finishes. With all of his previous experience as a work rider, along with his assistant training jobs along the way, Collum takes a very hands-on approach in his own training. “I do most of the work myself at the moment,” he said. “I’m still a small stable with 10 horses. I have a couple of employees, but I still work ride myself. I muck out in the mornings. I do a bit of everything.” Collum said his typical day usually begins at 4:30 in the morning to prepare for training. He’ll ride the horses out on the track himself, and then return to the barn to help out his staff with the remaining daily tasks. Collum said he enjoys riding his own horses in the morning to get a sense of where they are in their training. “After being a work rider with some of the best trainers in the world and the bigger outfits, I do know myself from sitting on them, what they need and what they don’t need,” he said. “It is an advantage that I have ridden for so many years, and it does give you insight into horses’ characteristics and what they need. Horses are individuals and you do have to cater to their needs.”

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After the horses are done in the mornings, Collum will spend his time doing office work, coordinating race entries, along with dealing with veterinarians, farriers and his owners. When it comes to picking out races for the horses in his stable, Collum said he will rely on the physical appearance of the horse and how they’re moving on the track during training, as opposed to focusing on pedigrees. “A lot of people emphasize breeding on a horse,” he said. “For me, it gives you a guideline for sure, but I think a lot of people rely heavily on the breeding instead of looking at the individual that’s in front of you. If you look at the individual that’s in front of you, for me, you can ascertain much better as to what distance he needs for racing. Take Reimagined for instance. They were running him over two turns, and I remember looking at this horse and watching him gallop in the mornings saying, ‘this horse is a sprinter.’ I brought him back sprinting and he was very successful for me.” Another example of Collum’s success in moving up a horse at Woodbine is with Sevencomingout, another horse owned by the Copemans at the time. Sevencomingout had yet to make his racing debut when he came to Collum in the summer of 2017, which was his 3-year-old year. Sevencomingout finished third in his first race, but broke his maiden two starts later before being claimed by another stable. “Sevencomingout was a horse that Jason had bought from another owner, but he had some serious problems,” Collum said. “He was in training with a big trainer at Woodbine, and he did no good with him. The owner at the time wanted to wash his hands of this horse. He won



really well, and the horse got claimed on us so it was a win-win situation for us all around. I got more of a kick out of him because of the issues that he had. Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but it was a job well done. The owners were very good in letting me train the horse the way he needed to be trained for sure. They believed in me, which is great.” Collum has worked for a number of trainers throughout his career, but he noted that O’Brien was one that had a bigger influence in shaping his own training methods. “He is very detail oriented,” Collum said. “Through the years, I’ve seen what a lot of trainers do, but I think Aidan’s eye for detail is massive. We all know that horses need to go out every day and gallop every day, and do their work; but I think where a lot of people miss out is the small things are the big things. The devil is in the detail for sure. I think a lot of people gloss over that. They’re big things to take in, and I think Aidan really distilled that in me going forward.” Collum is actively looking to expand his stable as the 2019 Woodbine season draws closer. Down the line, Collum said he felt a stable of 20 would be the maximum number of horses he’d be able to take on, while still being able to provide complete focus on every horse with his hands-on training approach. “We obviously want to grow and expand,” he said. “I would definitely not like to have many more than 20 horses. As a trainer, because I’m quite hands on and I like to know what’s going on with the horses, I think 20 is a good number that I could do the job 110 percent. Any more than that and I would be stretching myself for sure.”



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f we watch an international athletic track meet, we can easily discern structural differences in the athletes for various events. The body proportions differ (e.g., the shot putter has a much lower center of gravity than the high jumper). And, as we get more specific, we can even see that the sprinters differ from the middle-distance runners, who also differ from the long-distance runners. This is especially true at the upper level of sport. While all are built efficiently for their particular distance, those efficiencies differ from distance to distance. We would not expect a marathon runner to win a sprint at the Olympics, would we? Why not? Likely because that marathon runner would be at a mechanical disadvantage for short distances no matter how athletic or how fit he or she was. Like humans, horses are best at the distances in which they are mechanically efficient. The more fitness a horse has, the better it will do, but horses, like humans, are always best at the distance that suits their underlying structure. In this article we will look at horses that are built to run classic distances, horses that are built to be milers and horses that are built to sprint. We will not only examine them for distance preferences based on



structure, we will also look at points for athleticism and soundness because those are also important factors in being a superior racehorse.


Although only started six times—all as a three-yearold—he was undefeated, earned $3,798,000 and won the Triple Crown. Many race fans were looking forward to him running in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but that was not to be. The 16.3+ hand stallion was photographed in November 2018 at Ashford Stud in Kentucky, where I was told that the injury that halted his race career was to his right hind fetlock. He is an imposing figure, and it is obvious that he is built to specialize in classic distance races. His lumbosacral (LS) gap, which is just in front of the high point of croup, is bisected by a line drawn from the top of one hip to the top of the other. This means he was able to transfer his power upward and forward without undue strain on his back. In other words, he is strongly coupled or had a good transmission, which is a definite factor for athleticism. The rear triangle is of equal length on the ilium side (from top of hip to point of buttock) and the femur side (point of buttock to stifle protrusion), meaning that his rear spring matched and did not impede the natural range


of motion of the hind leg. And what gave him such a great range of motion? A stifle protrusion that is well below sheath level. His hind leg was capable of reaching well under him and extending well back through the natural range of motion, providing a ground-covering stride. A line extend up and down through the naturally occurring groove in his forearm (a.k.a. the pillar of support) emerges well in front of his withers—a factor for lightness of the forehand—and into the rear quarter of his hoof—a factor for soundness. Considering that all parts from the top of the scapula to the knee function as one apparatus, we can see that when the top of his scapula rotates back, his point of shoulder rises, his elbow comes forward and his forearm follows, giving him excellent reach through the forequarters. This means that both his hindquarters and his forequarters had matching ranges of motion. That equates with efficiency of stride. The rise of the humerus from elbow to point of shoulder gave him another factor for lightness of the forehand, and a base of neck well above the resulting high point of shoulder added yet another factor for lightness. From a structural perspective, he was designed to excel at classic distances and stay relatively sound. My only knock against him, and it is a purely personal one based on observation regarding longevity, is that I tend to avoid horses whose fetlocks have a roundish appearance.



He won the first two legs of the Triple Crown among other Gr1 wins and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at three. He was second in the Dubai World Cup (Gr1) at four and won it at five, then was second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic that same year. His racing career ended after a lone start at six. His totals: 27 starts, 16 wins and $14,752,650 in earnings. He was photographed at Santa Anita Park the day after the 2016 Classic as he was preparing to ship out, which is why his legs are wrapped. Although most people may not see California Chrome as resembling Justify, when we examine the underlying structure, we find that the two horses are remarkably similar. Both have an LS gap that is in line from hip to hip, both are equal on the ilium and femur sides of the rear triangle, both have similar stifle placement (classic distance), both have a pillar of support that goes with lightness and soundness, and both have a humerus of similar length as well as a base of neck well above the point of shoulder. There is a slight difference in the rise of the humerus, with Justify having a steeper rise from elbow to point of shoulder.

California Chrome

I Want Revenge





I Want Revenge

Spinning World

Fatal Bullet

He won the Gotham Stakes (Gr3) by 8 ½ lengths in record time plus the Wood Memorial (Gr1) as a threeyear-old and was angled towards the Kentucky Derby, where he was the morning-line favorite; but injury to the right front fetlock forced him out of work for over a year. His final start, as a six-year-old, was in an ungraded stakes race that saw him finish second. His best races were at distances just over a mile, and he earned $928,000 from 14 starts. He was photographed at the Keeneland Sale in November 2018, shortly before his untimely death due to a virus. His LS placement provided him with strength and athleticism, and like the previous two horses, he displayed equal length in the ilium and femur sides of the rear triangle. However, his stifle protrusion is not as low as either of the classic winners. The level is just below the bottom of his sheath, which equates with a slightly shorter range of motion and a slightly quicker stride rate. His pillar of support emerges well in front of his withers and into the rear quarter of his hoof— both favorable attributes. His humerus is similar to that of California Chrome in length and rise, and his base of neck is well above the point of shoulder. Because his forehand resembles that of California Chrome, it makes the maximum range of motion of his forehand slightly longer than that of his hindquarters. A horse can’t really move that way, so he or she has to compensate. The horse can either restrict the full range of motion on the “long” side, or they can dwell in the air on the “short” side. Those that shorten their stride on the forehand usually display a certain muscling pattern. That was not the case with this horse. Horses with a shorter stride on the forehand usually appear to “climb” or suspend their forehands and do not appear to be particularly smooth in their gait. Horses with a shorter rear stride tend to dwell in the air with the hindquarters, and the easiest way to accomplish that and move smoothly is to hollow their back. This appears to be more the case for this horse.

Spinning World




He was once first (equaling the track record at Hollywood Park) and once second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (beaten by Da Hoss). He also counted the 2000 Guineas and several French stakes among his wins. His 14 starts garnered him eight wins and $1,734,477 in earnings. He was photographed at Coolmore in Ireland, and yes, the muzzle was part of his usual equipment when brought out of the stall. Again we find an LS placement that provides strength and athleticism as well as a rear triangle that is even on the ilium and femur sides. His stifle placement—just below sheath level—resembles that of I Want Revenge and is common among milers. His pillar of support offers factors for both lightness and soundness, and the steep rise to his humerus plus the high base of neck adds even more lightness to the forehand. As with the previous horses, there really isn’t much horse in front of that line.


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While his humerus angle did not contribute to lightness of the forehand, his base of neck did help in that department. Essentially, he is not heavy on the forehand, but may seem so when compared to the horses that have all three factors for lightness in that regard.


ABOVE: California Chrome


Fatal Bullet

He was the Champion Sprinter as well as Horse of Year in Canada, set track records at 6.5f (on Woodbine’s Polytrack) and 6f (on Turfway Park’s all-weather surface), had 39 starts and 12 wins for earnings of $1,377,256; plus he raced until he was six years of age. He was photographed as a three-year-old at Santa Anita Park prior to the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Sprint that saw him finish second to Midnight Lute, who won the race for the second year in a row and set a record in so doing. As we have seen in the previous athletes, his LS gap is positioned in the optimum location for the demands of racing. Likewise, his rear triangle is equal on the ilium and femur sides. As one might expect, his stifle placement is higher (just at the bottom of his sheath) than horses specializing in races beyond sprint distances. This limits his range of motion, but at the same time quickens his stride rate, which aids in acceleration. Naturally, a horse with a shorter stride must take more steps than a counterpart with a longer stride, but he can get up to speed quicker. The difficulty for the sprinter is maintaining that speed over a particular distance while fighting the effects of lactic acid and fatigue. While his pillar of support does not emerge as far in front of the withers as on the previous horses, it does add a degree of lightness. It also emerges into the rear of his hoof, which benefits soundness. His humerus does not show as much rise from elbow to point of shoulder as any of the previous horses. This means that when his scapula rotated rearward, causing his point of shoulder to rise and his elbow and forearm to move forward, his knees would not be as high, and his stride would seem to skim the surface more than the other horses. That is not contrary to producing a quicker stride rate, particularly during the acceleration phase.


He set a new track record for 6.5f (Del Mar artificial surface) and was pre-entered in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (5.5 f ) as a six-year-old, but he did not run in that race. Although his career boasts 28 starts and earnings of $344,842, there is evidence of fairly long gaps (layoffs of 237 days, 76 days, 60 days, etc.) between some races. He was photographed, fresh from exercise just prior to the Breeders’ Cup races of 2008 at Santa Anita Park. Like the others, his lumbosacral gap is in line with hips for transfer of power and athleticism. His stifle placement is similar to that of I Want Revenge, yet he did not excel at the same distances as that horse. That is because his rear triangle is not equal on the ilium and femur sides. In fact, his femur side is considerably shorter. In this manner, his hindquarters differ from all the others in this article. A shorter femur changes the ellipse of the rear stride. The horse not only does not reach as far under the body with the hind leg, but the majority of the stride is out behind the horse. Aside from affecting the ellipse, this construction puts additional stress on the hind legs, especially from the hock down. As indicated, we can see evidence of stress to the right hind tendon as well as swelling in the left hock.

KNOWING THESE BASIC POINTS OF BONE STRUCTURE IS HELPFUL IN DETERMINING DISTANCE PREFERENCES AS WELL AS SOUNDNESS AND ATHLETICISM. The long layoffs can easily be explained by this single factor in his construction. And one can easily speculate that, without the shorter femur, he would have been best at distance from a mile to a mile and an eighth. His pillar of support emerges well in front of his withers for lightness and just into the rear quarter of his hoof, which is better for soundness than if it emerged behind the hoof. His humerus also shows similar rise to that of I Want Revenge, and his base of neck is certainly high enough to add lightness to the forehand. Despite the fact that he resembles I Want Revenge in stifle placement and rise to the humerus, the short femur determined that he would not do well at the same distances as that horse. Knowing these basic points of bone structure is helpful in determining distance preferences as well as soundness and athleticism, but one must keep in mind that no part of the horse works in isolation. Each part affects other parts, which is why we must consider the entire horse when making assessments.

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eonard Powell can live without neither, although with a workload that consumes the majority of his very existence, he still finds time for required sustenance and moments of exultation when they present themselves. The 42-year-old Frenchman is a world-class horseman, weaned on Thoroughbreds from early youth, starting on his family’s 200-acre stud farm in Normandy followed by stops around the globe in Australia, England, Singapore and the United States, and calling California home since 2004. When attempting to buttonhole him in person, however, an APB might come in handy. At Santa Anita, his base of operations, a sighting at the track’s popular early morning watering hole, Clockers’ Corner, is rarer than a Triple Crown sweep. Leonard Powell is either sedulously conducting business at his barn, or high upon horseback supervising jogs, gallops and breezes on the track. A former amateur jockey in France, where he rode in steeplechase races as well as on the flat, landing in the winner’s circle on occasion, his work schedule is Trumpian sans the tweets. “I wake up at 3:45 and leave the house just after four,” Powell said explaining a typical day—his accent as thick as one of France’s nearly 300 varieties of cheese. “I get to the barn just after 4:30, check the horses and provide any medications as needed. “The first set of horses goes out at 5 o’clock, so from 5 o’clock until 10 o’clock I’m on horseback, either on a Thoroughbred or a pony. At 10 we

school horses if necessary, review their condition with a veterinarian or myself, check on the horses that worked the day before or that morning. “That takes us to 11:30 or 12. Usually from 12 to about two I go over paperwork that needs to be done in the office. In the afternoon, we go to the races when we have horses running, or back to the barn feeding, walking or grazing them until 4:30.” Powell’s day begins well before he arrives at the barn. He commutes from his West Hollywood home to the Arcadia track, a stretch of 25 miles. “I was living in West Hollywood when I was stabled at Hollywood Park (which closed in December of 2013),” Powell said. “I have three daughters (Louise, 14, Blanche, 13 and Jeanne, 9) and they were going to a bilingual school that taught French and English. “When I moved my barn to Santa Anita, the kids were doing very well, so I decided to make the commute instead of them. I didn’t want them to change schools. “Actually, my commute in the morning is easy, because at 4 o’clock, there’s not much traffic. I can make it in 25 minutes going with the traffic. In the evenings, when I’m against the traffic, it can take 45 minutes.” Married to Mathilde—his sweetheart from their days at Caen University—all their children enjoy racing, particularly Jeanne who rides and spends time with her father at the track on weekends. Of the 25 head Powell has in training, by far the most celebrated is an 11-year-old gelding named Soi Phet. The tassel-haired trainer was not suffering from insipience when he made the claim for $16,000 at Hollywood Park on May 23, 2013. ISSUE 52 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM



Since then, the California-bred son of Tizbud has achieved success of mythic proportions, and after a recent freshening, is expected to resume his racing career. “I’m going to take my time with him,” Powell said, “but I would expect him to return to the races at some point.” When Soi Phet posted a 47-1 upset winning Santa Anita’s $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes by a head at age 10 in 2018, he was believed to be the oldest horse ever to win an added money event at the storied track, which opened on Christmas Day, 1934. The Crystal Water was his 58th career start. “At the time I claimed him, he had all his conditions,” Powell explained. “He had only won a maiden 20, he was a non-winner of two (races), he was a Cal-bred; it was the spring of 2013, and the Del Mar meet was coming up with very generous purses. “When I took him, it was because he had conditions left, and I felt I could move him up.” Wow and double wow! Eight stakes wins and a million dollars in earnings later, Powell now looks like the Nostradamus of trainers. When he has occasion to give a leg up and pre-race instructions to jockeys Brice Blanc, Julien Couton, Florent Geroux, Julien Leparoux and Flavien Prat, fellow Frenchmen all, the bilingual Powell does what comes naturally. “If the owner of the horse is there,” Powell said, “I speak English so that he can understand. But if it’s only me and the rider, we speak French.” Prat’s agent, Derek Lawson (who’s fluent in French) has known Powell “for a long, long time—more as an individual before I knew him as a trainer. The riders I represented in the past never really rode much for Leonard. Flavien, obviously, is the exception and has won more races for him.

“It was Leonard who invited Flavien to come to the U.S. when he was a 17-year-old apprentice nine years ago, and Leonard introduced me to Flavien. The fact that they are French accelerated a natural bonding.” Added Prat, “The first time I came to the United States, Leonard helped me quite a bit. He’s been somebody I can always count on if there are problems, and that is especially comforting when one comes from a different country. “He’s more than a trainer to me; he’s a friend. If I need advice, I know he’s going to be there.” As dedicated and adept as he is, Powell understandably requires aid and receives it from a crew that includes six grooms, six hot walkers and three exercise riders. He has implemented the best of both worlds in his training regimen, employing useful aspects from Europe and the U.S. “I would describe it as a hybrid between both,” he said. “You can’t devote as much time riding the horses here as we do in Europe . . . but we spend more time on horseback than a typical American trainer. “Our (workout) sets (usually comprised of three or four horses) last about 40, 45 minutes rather than 20 minutes or less, so we only do seven sets in the morning.” Evidence abounds that racing is in his blood. “I was raised on a horse farm,” said Powell, who was born in Deauville, “a half a mile from the race track there. My parents’ farm was about 20 miles from the track, so I was always attracted to horses. When I was in high school and middle school, I rode for trainers before school on weekends, and when I turned 16, I rode in races while still in high school. “Every chance I had, even in college, I would work for different trainers and learn from them. At 18, I learned a lot during a year working for Dick Mandella, but subsequently returned home to attend Caen University.






“After that, I worked in Australia for two years, then in Singapore for six months. I later came back to the U.S. because I really liked my earlier experience w wiith i Mandella, and as they say, this is the land of opportunity.” Mandella recalled his working relationship wi with i Powell as relatively brief, “but he was there long enough. He was a good kid, and I’m very proud of how he developed, provi vided i for his family and made a name for himself. “He’s taken good care of his horses, especially Soi Phet, at age 11 and still racing at a high level. The game should be proud of him for that.” Though his familial background is Jewi wish, i Powell is not a practitioner of the faith, and although he was born in France, he never had to go through a bureaucratic morass to become a United States citizen. The process came about legally, however, not by crawling through a tunnel or over a wall. “I was lucky enough to be born a citizen,” he said, unraveling a strange tw twi wiist of fate, “because my father (Davi vid) i is A Am merican, m even though he was born in Ar Arrgentina. “My grandmother escaped Nazi Germany just before World War II and married an American in Argentina who was working for the U.S. Embassy there. “So, my dad was born a U.S. citizen because his dad-— my granddad-—was an American citizen also working for the American Embassy.”




Despite ill-conceived attempts by the uninformed, ytize t the hoi polloi, and uneducated and ignorant to proselyt despite the risks being greater than the rewards, Powell and racing soldier on. “I think it’s a combination of two things,” he said of his focus on the challenging trek for gold and glory. “It’s the love of the animal, for sure—the passion for the horses— and the spirit of the competition. Everyone wants to wi win, i and even if you’re 15 or 20-1, you always hope you’re going to w wiin. i “As long as you’re in the race, you always have a chance. As long as you have horses, you have a chance. That’s what makes you get up in the morning, thinking you have a chance. “Of course, you lose more than you w wiin, i but the vviictories i provi vide i an emotional high. It’s very much like golf. You hit one good shot and forget about the 10 bad ones you hit before, and that’s what keeps you going.” Powell used to be a regular on the links until his children came along. “I like golf, but now that I have kids, I don’t have time for it, and you need time to play golf. My focus is on my family and my horses. “I have no room for hobbies.” A stagnant horse population has created a major racing void, not only in California but in heart of the American breeding industry, Kentucky, “and that’s very worrisome,” Powell said.





“In California, what concerns me most are the lack of people willing to breed horses. I’m sure the major reason is the cost and the upkeep. Many people don’t mind buying horses, but expenses after that are a deterrent. “We need manual labor to care for the horses, and that’s a major part of the cost. If we want to generate new owners who are willing to buy horses, we need to find ways to diminish overhead. “That may come with mechanical and artificial means of implementing care rather than by humans.

“IN CALIFORNIA, WHAT CONCERNS ME MOST ARE THE LACK OF PEOPLE WILLING TO BREED HORSES.” Otherwise, the minimum wage will continue to increase, especially in states like California, where the governor is talking about $15 or $20 an hour. “If so, trainers will have to increase their daily rate (cost per horse, which can range approximately from $80 to $125 per horse depending on the trainer). That’s going to drive potential owners away and reduce the horse population. “All that said, California racing remains popular and successful. We have very good horses, as evidenced by the fact that the last two Triple Crown winners (American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018) came from California (each was voted Horse of the Year, trained by Bob Baffert and headquartered at Santa Anita). “It’s not quality we’re lacking; it’s quantity for sure, and if you’re going to choose, it’s always better to have quality than quantity. “But it would be nice to have both.”





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emember the classic poster of Uncle Sam pointing at you saying, “I Want You” that was used to attract soldiers for World War I and II? Uncle Sam wanted you for the Army. Picture a race secretary pointing at you exclaiming, “We Want You.” Not soldiers for the Army, of course, but shippers needed to fill their daily race cards. The need has never been greater, thanks to a foal crop that has plummeted in the last two decades. Asked if the New York Racing Association has had trouble filling fields, Martin Panza, NYRA’s Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, said in late February, “What racetrack in America doesn’t? The number of horses has greatly dropped.” He’s not kidding. The Jockey Club reported that the foal crop has dropped from 40,333 in 1990 to 19,925 in 2018. What makes those numbers even more impactful is that race tracks these days are trying to sustain year-round racing.




In response, several tracks have been offering incentives for shippers. And the leader of the pack is Del Mar’s Ship and Win Program—which is in a partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners of California—has been offering incentives since 2011. “We set the bar very high,” Del Mar Racing Secretary David Jerkens said. “It’s a lucrative program. It’s an attractive enhancement.” And Jerkens said this year’s programs at both Del Mar meet in the summer and the fall and will be enhanced from last year when field size for the summer increased from 8.5 in 2017 to 8.7 in 2018. The amount of the increase in bonus payments was expected to be announced in April. “Last year we had 107 horses participate just in the summer and 49 in the fall,” Jerkens said. “Any time you can add more than 100 horses to your inventory, that’s beneficial. Bigger fields create larger handle and larger purses.”


Here’s how it works...

When it began, Del Mar offered a $1,000 check for shippers making their first local start plus a 20% bonus on top of whatever purse money was earned in that first start. Those numbers grew last year to a $2,000 check and a 30% bonus. To qualify, a horse must have made his last start outside California and not raced in the state the previous 12 months. First-time starters are not eligible. To date, more than 1,000 horses have participated in Ship and Win. According to Del Mar, those horses have made more than 1,500 starts at its track and more than 3,500 starts at other tracks in California. Surprisingly, most of the benefactors of Del Mar’s program are local horsemen. “Seventy percent of our starters from Ship and Win have been local owners and local horses,” Jerkens said. Trainer Bob Hess Jr., whom Jerkens said is the “poster boy for the program,” has been on-board with it from day one. “This is a wonderful program,” Hess said. “I have

horses at Gulfstream Park, and I try to bring at least 10 horses to Del Mar. It’s been great. It’s been a win-win. It’s obviously good for Del Mar, but it’s also good for Santa Anita because horses come here and stay here.” Trainer Richard Baltas is another fan of Ship and Win. “The idea is to get them here,” he said. “I claimed a horse at Keeneland last year, then, after the meet was over, I brought him back here and he won twice. People transfer horses out here from back East. Obviously, it could always be better, but we definitely need something. A lot of trainers don’t have money to buy new horses. No horses mean small fields. It’s a problem in California.” The program helps solve that problem. “The idea is to get horses to ship to California, and, hopefully, they stay in California,” Jerkens said. “So it benefits Santa Anita and Los Alamitos, too.” To maximize that possibility, Santa Anita began offering its own “Ship and Stay” Program in 2017. Originally, the program offered non-California-bred horses who last started outside California and had not raced in the state the previous year a 20% bonus for the horse’s first start at Santa Anita and a 10% bonus of $1,000—whichever was higher—for a horse’s second and third starts. All that money was split between the horse’s owner and trainer. The program has been tweaked, and this year bonuses will be given to the trainer only: 10% for a first start and 10% or $1,000—whichever is higher—for the horse’s second and third starts.

ABOVE: Martin Panza BELOW: Richard Baltas







In any fashion, Santa Anita’s program strengthens the Del Mar program—a fact not lost on Panza, who was the Director of Racing at Hollywood Park before taking his job with NYRA. “I’d been in California and saw what Del Mar did,” Panza said. “It works at Del Mar. We did it at Hollywood Park. It’s a good idea. It makes sense.” Accordingly, he had NYRA initiate its own shippingincentive program in 2018, one it is continuing this year for shippers who come to race at either Aqueduct or Belmont Park. “We did Oaklawn and Gulfstream Park last year,” Panza said. “We did expand it a bit. I don’t think we have to do it. But it makes sense to get horses back in New York. It makes business sense. We just want to help the owners. This helps a bit. Give any owner some help with expenses.” NYRA’s program this year offered incentive for horsemen based at Fair Hill Training Center, Oaklawn Park, Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs who raced during the Aqueduct Spring Meet from April 5 through April 20, or during the Belmont Park Spring/Summer meet from April 26 through July 7. Those horses’ owners will be credited with an $800 shipping stipend, excluding stakes races. A first-time starter must have had their previous three works at Fair Hill to be eligible or display a pattern of workouts at Fair Hill, as determined by NYRA. Additionally, horses who made their previous start at Oaklawn Park were eligible to NYRA’s Ship and Win Program, which offered a 30% purse bonus for their first two starts as well as a $1,500 shipping stipend for a start during the Aqueduct Spring Meet and the Belmont Park Spring/Summer Meet, excluding stake races. Shippers who made their previous start at Gulfstream Park or Tampa Bay Downs were eligible for a shipping subsidy for a start during the Aqueduct Spring Meet, excluding stakes races. Owners who shipped horses from either Florida track and made their first New York start from March 8 through the 31st received $2,000. Florida shippers making their first New York start from April 5 through April 20 were credited $1,500.


First-time starters were excluded from the Florida and Oaklawn Park stipends. “Our idea was to get horses from Oaklawn Park and Florida,” Panza said. “There were so many of our horses that raced there.” NYRA isn’t ignoring horsemen who keep their horses at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. On March 16, 2018, NYRA announced an innovative loyalty program rewarding horses who have made five or more starts at NYRA tracks in one calendar year, from April 2, 2018, through April 1, 2019, and for horses who finished first through fifth in all races except maiden, though a maiden race was counted as a start. Horses that made five or six NYRA starts competed for 5.0% more purse money; with seven to nine NYRA starts, 7.5% more; with 10 or 11 starts, 12.5% more, and with 12 or more starts, 15.0% more. Only a maximum of two starts for a 30-day period were counted. A horse wasn’t credited with a NYRA start if he was beaten by 25 lengths or more, or if the horse was placed on the veterinarian’s list for lameness or unsoundness. “We’re doing it again next year,” Panza said. “It was $1.7 million for horses who stay in New York.” Hoping to bolster its two-year-old stakes program in 2016, NYRA upped its purses for two-year-old maiden races from $75,000 to $100,000. That purse level will be continued this year. “We needed to show people that NYRA maiden races for two-year-olds will go,” Panza said. But he was hoping for a better response. “We were disappointed with the field size,” he said. “We’re still struggling to get more than six or seven horses in those races. But we’ll continue to offer it. It strengthens the stakes for Belmont and Saratoga.” Oaklawn Park isn’t far behind that lofty maiden purse payoff. On March 18, Oaklawn Park announced its third purse increase in less than two months. Maiden purses were raised to $90,000 and allowance races to $95,000.


BELOW: Louis Cella


“In fact, just a few years ago, we were running open maidens for $40,000 and proud of it,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “Now they are at $90,000.” Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn., came up with a novel aid to shippers for its 66-day meet beginning on May 3. Canterbury Park offered a loan up to $25,000 to an owner whose horse arrives at the track prior to Opening Day. The loan will be repaid through an agreement between the owner and Canterbury Park. The terms and conditions of the loan were available with the 2019 stall application. “Competition for horses is fierce across the country,” track President Randy Sampson said. “Shipping horses from meet to meet is a cost of doing business, but it is also an up-front cost that can create a cash flow challenge. With



the loan program we are looking to erase that barrier, help trainers ship their stock to Canterbury, and with the purse structure here, repay that loan throughout the meet.” Additionally, to help owners, Canterbury Park is offering every Thoroughbred starter in an overnight race one percent of the purse or $250—whichever is greater— and a $250 participation bonus through the initial condition book from May 3 through June 2. Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto will again offer a graded stakes turf bonus program it began last year for its 133-day 2019 meet from April 20 through December 15. Shippers who have never started at Woodbine and who have won a Gr1 or Gr2 stakes earlier in 2019 will receive a $75,000 bonus for winning a Gr1 stakes or a $50,000 bonus for winning a Gr2 stakes at the Toronto track. On March 5, Gulfstream Park announced that horses who finish from fifth to last will receive a stipend of $500 or $750. “That’s a 15-20% reduction to owners’ expenses every month,” Stephen Screnci, president of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, said. Just four days later, the Maryland Jockey Club announced an incentive program for graded stakes winners of the previous 12 months, excluding the Gr1 Preakness Stakes on May 18. If a Gr1 or Gr2 winner competes in either the $150,000 Bald Eagle Derby or the $200,000 Laurel Futurity, their entry and starting fees will be waived. Both stakes will be run on September 21. “As Maryland racing continues to grow, we’re hoping this incentive will strengthen our stakes schedule and help us build some stakes to the graded level,” Maryland Jockey Club Racing Secretary Chris Merz said. Tracks around North America are doing everything they can to attract more horses for their races. Shipping has never been more attractive.




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OWNERS ON THE TRIPLE CROWN TRAIL A selection of profiles on owners whose horses are likely starters in one of the Triple Crown races this year.

ABOVE: left to riighht; Jamie Hill, Mark Hennig, Dr. Jim Hill and Mike McMahon.


Bourbon War – Bourbon Lane Stable & Lake Star Stable

Both Mike McMahon and Jamie Hill, long-ttime friends and partners of Bourbon Lane Stable, co-o owner of Kenttuck ky Derb by conttend der Bourb bon War w wiit ith Lak ke Star Stab ble,, were born intto raciing g. Butt each h had d to creatte his own path intto thee Tho oro oughb breed ind dustryy. McMahon’s parents, Joe and A An nne n McMahon, operate high hly-successffull McMah hon at Saratoga Th horough hbred ds farm just outside Saratoga Springs. Mike atte tended Cornell University, y starting in pre-vvet but ultimately majoring in business management. About to graduate, he intervie iewed for a job wiitth a high-profil ile commodity broker, but the intervi viewer i asked him what he would purchase aft ftter he established himself. Mike said, “I’ll probably buy some mares.” The resp ponse? “What’s a mare?” Mike didn’t get the job. “I blew the intervi view,”” he said. vie Jusst a weeek later,, Mike accompanied his father on a trip p to the November Keeneland Sale in Lexinggton. t “Dad boughtt a ho orsse, and d hee got a call fro om thee creeditt offffi fic ice rigghtt


Bill Heller Eclipse Sportswire, Michael Reaves

aft fterwards,” t Mike said. “A guy from Hong Kong was in the off ffi fice, i and he said he had come all the way to buy this horse. Would my dad take a profi fit and sell the horse to him? They fit worked out a deal. That was an epiphany for me. I realized there was a lott more to the busiiness than I’ve been exposed d to beffore in Sarattogga. I knew I coulld diffferenttiatte myy busineess fro om myy dad’ss, no ot to be und der hiss shaadow.” After graduating from Cornell in 1993, Mike went to d and d complleted d th he Iriish h Natiionall Stud d course. Irelland He worked for trainer Scotty Schulhofer for two summers in Saratoga. Then he moved to Kentucky and put in 4 ½ years wit ith EQUIX Biomechanics before starting his own company, McMahon Bloodstock, in 2001. McMahon, 48, has emerged as an industry leader in taking care of Thoroughbreds after their racing careers conclude. He is the president of Thoroug ghbred Charities of America, and Bourbon Lane Stables has sett up p Bourb bon Lane Stab ble Pad ddock k att Mike Blowen’’s Old Friends Farm in Georg getown,, Kentuckyy, where anyy Bo ourb bon Laanee equinee can reetiree.

Hill’s father, long-time New York Racing Association veterinarian Jim Hill, was co-own wner n of Triple Crown wn w wiiinner Seatt ttle t Slew, one of the greatest horses of all time. “He was an incredibly tough horse,” Hill said. “He was picky allowi wiing humans to be w wiith i him. He let me in. I would sleep in his stall w wiiith him. If somebody came in, he’d chase them away.” Hill, 46, dropped out of Auburn University after poor i support. He ran off ff grades ended his father’s ffiinancial to Mexico, studied ffiiilm, and then, after six months, returned to Auburn payi ying i his own way. “After college, for about six months, I thought I was going to work in the film indusstry,”” he said. “Not good people. I startted pinfil fi hook king g. Mike and d I were friiend ds in Sarattog ga. We botth moved here (Kentuckyy) almost the same time.” In 2011, McMahon welcomed in a partner when Hill purchased a 50 percent interest in McMahon Bloodstock, wh hich h became McMah hon & Hiill Bllood dstock k LLC. Th hey also operate Spruce Lane Pinhook. “W We started wiitth no markup,” McMahon said. “W We think we have partners, not clients. We thought the industry needed that. It was an opportunity for Jamie and I.”

ABOVE: Bourbon War BELOW: By My Standards

They created Bourbon Lane Stable Lane Stable LLC in 2010, and its interests include horses in England, South Africa and New Zealand. “We tried to tie ourselves to a quintessential Kentucky product,” McMahon said. “Bourbon is huge here.” It’s huge enough that McMahon and Hill created Pinhook Straight Bourbon Whiskey. All successful Bourbon Lane horses get a batch produced in their honor. The bourbon is now selling in 22 states. Bourbon Lane Stable offers two partnerships, one with a yearling and one with a two-year-old, every year. Each partnership buys at least three horses to spread risk. “We believe we can grow our business and our industry by offering entry-level players a fair deal,” McMahon said. He is pleased with the stable’s progress. “We’ve grown the numbers every year,” he said. “W We hope there’ss the same progression. We want to have the best partnerships available, just growi wing i the whole pie. We handle bloodstock. We have Pinhook Partnership w wiith i a leading presence of purchasing weanlings. We want to keep growi wing i that, too.” “It’s been a long quest to have a horse at this level,” McMahon said. “We haven’t gotten to that level yet. Jamie and I have both had a lot of good horses, but here we are. It makes it a little more personal.” ving i Greg Burns and Mike Winter’s Lake Stable as Havi a partner is even better. “Greg lives in Saratoga and has been a friend of mine and a partner in race horses for a long time,” McMahon said. “Our ffiirst i horse together was Executive Search. We bought him from my father’s consignment in 2004 in Saratoga.” When asked how much fun he’s havi ving i w wiith i Bourbon War, McMahon said, “Too much, probably.” Then he laug ghed, adding “We’vee seen the highs and lowss.”” If theyy hit thatt ulltimatte high in one off the Triiple Crown races,, theyy won’t celebrate w wiith i champ pag gne. Theyy’ll be drowning themselves in bourbon.

By My Standards – Allied Racing Stable LLC

Kentucky native Chester Thomas has spent a huge chunk of his life in coal mining. But it wasn’tt his only focus. “II’vve been around horses all my life,” Thomas said. “M My dad own need a couple of horses. We spent a lot of time at Keeneland.”




LEFT: Chester Thomas

horses including multiple stakes winner Viam. But By My Standards has taken him to a whole new level. Will By My Standards do it again? “We’re really excited to be where we are with this horse,” Thomas said. “I can’t wait to get my family to Churchill Downs.”

Game Winner / Maximum Security – Gary & Mary West

Now, seven years after he sold his coal supply company, Green River Collieries. Thomas runs horses under the name of Al Alllied Racing Stable. Thomas, 60, maintains a stable of 16 to 18 horses, none more special than By My Standards, who followed an easy victory i wiith w i an impressive score in the Louisiana maiden vi Derby. It was Thomas’ 100th career vi victory i and his ffiiirst graded stakes wi wiin. “We don’t run horses in spots we don’t expect to w wiiin,” Thomas said. “He galloped out real strong in his maiden wi wiin. We thought he was going to run huge.” And he did—wi winning i by three-quarters of a lengt gtth. Thomas’ reaction? “Oh, my goodness, words can’t describe it,” he said. By My Standards’ next start w wiiill be in the Kentucky Derby. “I’vee been to a lot of Derbies,”” Thomas said. “I loved d Gatto dell Soll, Reall Quiiett, Aly lysh heb ba. Theyy were alll sp pecial. Being g a Kentuckyy native and havi ving i g gone to so many Derbies makes it even more special to even think about win inning it. Obvio iously, if you’re a horseman, the fi first fir Saturd day off May is a speciiall day.”” Thomas, who was the leading own wn ner at Ellis Park in 2016 and second there in 2017, has campaigned other good



BELOW: Joell Rosario and owner Gary West talk after Game Winner takkes The American Pharoah Stakes.

A victory in the 2019 Kentucky Derby by Game Winner, their 2018 two-year-old champion colt, or by Florida Derby winner Maximum Security, would give legendary philanthropists Gary and Mary West their first Kentucky Derby triumph more than 35 years after they claimed their first horse, Joe Blow, for $13,500 at their home track, Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha, Neb. He would win 23 races for them. Seventeen years ago, the West’s Gr1 Wood Memorial wi wiinner Buddha (the morning line favorite for the 2002 Kentucky Derby), stepped on a stone the morning before the Run for the Roses and was retired. Just two years ago, they campaigned 2017 Champion Three-Year-Old Colt, West Coast, who missed the Triple Crown but won the Gr1 Travers and Pennsylvania Derby and ffiinished i third in the Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. More importantly, realizing a life-long dream of w wiinning i the Kentucky Derby would give back to the Wests, and havi ving i spent much of their lives ffu u filling ulfi i Gary’s promise while under ffiire i in Vietnam, Gary shared his story w wiith i Bryce Miller in his March 3, 2019, piece in the San Diego Union Tribune: “I told God, `If you somehow get me out of this, I wi will i do something nice for the world.’ I didn’t know what it was, but I said, ‘I’ll do it.’” The 73-year-old West has repaid that debt many times oveer, helping mulltiple thoussands of seniorss fi find adequaate fin heallth care in a conffusiing g, frusttratting g syysttem thatt seems to chang ge overnig ght. Who could have imagined that a nine-yyear-o old pinsette ter in a four-llane bowling alley who later dropped out of college and d work ked d in a meat-pack king pllant woulld be ab ble to fund d his vast philanthropic umbrella by becoming a billionaire in business?

Born in the small city of Harlan, Iowa—50 miles from Omaha—West was a little kid when he toiled in is parents’ small bowling alley. He remembers dodging pins flying all over the place. When he was older, he worked in a meatpacking plant in Omaha before going to Vietnam with his Army Reserve unit. When he returned, he tried college but dropped out of Dana College before the first semester ended, landing a job as a staffing coordinator at a hospital in Council Bluffs. He was promoted to assistant hospital administrator, learning first-hand about health care and helping others. West left the hospital, and with Mary’s help, began West Corporation, a telecommunication company, in 1986. It became one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world with 35,0 000 employees and $3.5 5 billion in annual sales when they sold it privately for a reported $1.45 billion in 2006. Here’s what they did w wiith i the money: In November 2006, they established the Gary and Mary West Foundation, a 501(c)(3) private, non-operating foundation funded solely by the Wests to prevent outside infl flluence. The Foundation provi vides i funding to support initiatives which lower the cost of seniors’ health care; enables seniors to successfully age wi with i access to high-quality tyy, aff ffordable f health care and support servi viices that preserve and protect their dignity ty, y quality ty of life and independence. Based in Solana Beach, Calif., the Foundation has awarded 518 grants totaling more than $211 million to non-profi fits i in their current home, San Diego, and their adopted home city ty, y Omaha. In May 2009, they began the West Health Institute, funding medical research. In January 2012, they began the West Health Policy Center, offe feriing policy reesearcch and educcation. Theyy allso creatted d the Garyy and d Maryy Westt Seniior Wellness Center,, a uniq que communityy-based care model provid iding low-iincome seniors in San Diego two meals a day and access to more than 30 non-p profi fit organizations fit and d support servi vices. i In 2016 6, th hey ad dded d th he Gary and d Mary West Senior Dental Center. They also opened the Gary and Mare West Senior Emergency Care Unit in La Jolla, Calif., which received a Level 1 Gold accreditation in May 2018. And they began a national program, Civi vica i Rx, a nonstock, non-profi fit i corporation off ffering f generic medications to combat the ungodly costs of modern medication. Perhaps most remarkable about their lives, the Wests don’t see how trully remark kab ble they’’ve been—h hellpiing a massiive numb ber off vvu ul ulnerab ble peop ple. “I think k mostt peop ple woulld do someethingg similaar to whaat Maaryy and d I aree doingg und der the same circumstances,” Gary said in that San Diego Union Triibune story. “So we’’re no heroes, but we do hope to be good d role models if we can.” Good role models in Thoroughbred racing for decades deserve a wiin nner’ss circle photo on the fiirrst Saturday of May. Besides, Gary West has been a game win inner his whole life.

Roadster – Speedway Stable LLC

No need to abort this mission. Houston oil and gas parttnerss Petter Fluor and d Kane C. Weiiner,, wh hosse fattherss were partners on Thoroug ghbreds decades earlier,, launched Speedwaay Stablees by buying i g theeir ffiirs i st two wo Tho oro oughb breeds

TOP: Roadster with Mike Smith (left) overttakkes Game Winner and Joel Rosario to win the Santa Anita Derbyy. ABOVE: Assistant trainer Jimmyy Barnes and owner Peter Fluer lead Roaddster in the wiinners circle after winning the Santa Anita Derby.

for a combined $2.5 5 million at the 2014 Fasig-T Tipton Novemb ber Breed ding g Stock k Salle. Theyy’ve been sttriiking g oiil ever since. Those ttw w purchases—the beautiful grayy mare wo Hard Not to Like for $1.5 million and Leigh Count for $1 million—ccontinued their graded stakes wiin nning ways for Speed dway Stab bles beffore becomiing vallued d brood dmares. Then Speedway Stables campaigned Collected. On his way to earning just under $3 million, Collected beat Arrogate to win in the 2017 Gr1 Pacifiicc Classic and fin inished second to Horse of the Year Gun Runner in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic. He ffiiinished his career w wiith i eight vviictories, i two seconds and one third in just 15 starts. Now Speedway Stable’ss Triple Crown trail contender Roadster, who, like Collected, is trained by Bob Baff ffert, ffe has them think king ab boutt an even bigger home run in the Run for the Roses. Itt’ss a dreeam thee 7 1-yyear-o old d Flu uor haad gro ow wiing i g up—aa dream he’d forgotten about for a long time. Growi wing i up in Acad dia, Callif., Flluor rememb bers beiing able to hear the feature race at neighboring Santa Anita wit ithout going to the track. “II could hear the call from the feature race in my backyard because they turned it up so loud,” he said. He remembers when his father would wake up very early in the morning w wiiith a proposition: “My father used to wake me in the morningg at 5:30 wi wiith ‘Do you want to go to the training track at Santa An niita?’ I was six or seven years old. I said, `W Will you thro ow in breeakfast? Or at least a dougghnutt?’” At Santa A An n nita,, Fluor’s father had a coup ple horses w wiith i Haall of Faamee Traaineer Chaarliee Whittting t ghaam. “C Chaarliee askeed ISSUE 52 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM



me if I’d ever been on a pony,” Fluor said. “He and my dad helped put me on a pony. We kind of walked around. I thought it was prett tttyy cool. A An nd n then I met Bill Shoemaker, Eddie Ar Arrcaro and Johnny Longden. These were great people and representatives.” When Fluor was 16, he and his father played golf one afternoon w wiith i Arcaro and Shoemaker. “By then, I was taller than they weere,”” Fluo or said. “And they coulld play gollf, I can telll you.”” Afft A ftter colleg ge,, Fluor’s father’s Thoroug ghbred partner,, Charles Weiner, offe fered Fluor a paid internship at his company, Texas Crude Energyy,, located on a street named Bufffal f lo Speed dway in Houston. He’’s stiill th here 47 years later. “I laugh because it’s the only job I’ve ever had,” Fluor said. “M My son says the average man has 8.2 2 jobs. I told him I was under-recruited.” His thoughts of owni ning Thoroughbreds? “II never had them,” Fluor said. “I kind of put them out of my mind. That’s what you do to be successful.” He was more successfu ful than he realized. On the fi ful final day fin of his 18-m month internship, Fluor wr wrote his boss a three-p wro page good d-b bye lettter t off thank ks, incllud ding suggesttions on how the comp panyy coulld grow. “I putt the notte on his desk k,” Fluor said d. “Wheen hee got in,, hee said d, `Whaat’ss thiss?’ I said d, `I did dn’tt want you to come into my off ffi fiice and ffiire i me, but I had some impressiions on how th he company coulld move forward d. He looked at me and said, `Really? Let’s forget the 18-m month deal, and we’lll work on them together and see how it goes.’ I said, `Y Yes sir.’” Now Fluor is a partner wit ith his boss’ son, K.C C., who is 63. “He’s the president of the company, and I’m the CEO,” Fluor said. “We’re partners in both horses and the comp panyy. We’ve had a great partnership p for 30 years. It’s kind of amazing that we have a relationship like that still. I’m his besst friiend d, and d he’’s myy besst friiend d. Our dads were great friends and partners w wiiith horses. It’s a veeryy haappy storyy.”




Weiner agreed: “It’s more like family in a lot of ways. We’re sort of diff fferent f fellows wi with i diff fferent f strengt gths t and weaknesses, and it makes for a great partnership. When you have trust, you can have a real relationship. It’s a wonderful thing.” So is their success on the racetrack. “The luck we’ve had has been remarkable,” Weiner said. Horsses weeree reeintro oducced into Fluo or’’s life fi fi e yeearss ago five wh hen he was invi vit ited d to go to Sarattog ga by his latte friiend d Bob McNair,, the owner of Stonerside Stable and,, later,, the Houston Texans in the NFL. Fluor asked about getting a couple Thoroughbreds wit ith K.C., and McNair connected Flluor wi with i h two great contacts to hellp th hem get started d, bloodstock agents Marette Farrell and John Adger. That led to Fluor and Weiner’ss entrance at the 2014 Keeneland Sale. “W We decided to buy two ready-made horses—fil illies,” Fluor said. “T That got it going.” And how, Hard Not to Like won consecutive Gr1 stakes at Santa Anita and Saratoga, the Gamely and the Diana, the followi wing year. Then Collected arrived. And now, they win hope, Roadster. “We’’ve had d a lott off fun,”” Fluor saiid. And d the success?? “Can’’t beatt lad dy luck k,” he saiid.

Tax – R. A Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch & Corms Racing Stable

Randy Hill, a fin inancial servic ices executive who co-ffounded PCS Research Servic ices, is a horse lifer. “II love the game,” he said. “II love everytth hing about it. My mother took me to Monmouth when I was 12 years old. I rode horses. I had a Tennessee Walking horse. You can ride a T TW Ww wiith i a cup of coff ffee f and not spill a drop.” Hill is also an avi viid wi wine i collector and afi ficionado i of antiq que cars and co-o own wner of Derby contender Tax. Hill has been on wne the Triiple Cro ow wn n traail beforee w wiit ith Maybryy’s Boy, wh ho wo on the 2002 Gr3 Sp pectacular Bid Stakes but suff ffered f an injjuryy in thee Fo ounttain of Yo outh. Hee reecoveereed and d ffiinis i sheed hiss



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stellar career with eight victories, four seconds and six thirds from 43 starts and $322,700 in earnings. Hill jump-started Maybry’s Boy stallion career by offering a $10,000 bonus to one breeder whose mare mated with him at Highcliff Farm in Delanson, N.Y. Elaine and Mike Eddy were the lucky winners on November 20, 2006.

Vekoma – R. A Hill Stable & Gatsas Stables

Vekoma, whose win in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, confirmed his status as a legitimate Triple Crown trail contender, taking his co-owner, Gatsas Stable‘s Mike Gatsas—who owns Vekoma with Randy Hill of R.A. Hill Stable—on a journey he’s never taken and pursuing the Run for the Roses 15 years after his worst day at the track. That’s when his great, gray New Yorkbred gelding Gander—the first horse he purchased who became one of the most popular horses in New York—had a career-ending and life-threatening injury at Saratoga on August 31, 2004, suffering a straight-across fracture of the cannon bone. But the bone healed and Gander survived. The $100,000 Gander Stakes for New Yorkbreds is named in his honor at Aqueduct, March 17. The 2000 New York-bred Horse of the Year retired with 15 victories, including the 2001 Gr2 Meadowlands Cup (10 seconds), including a second in the 2000 Gr1 Jockey Club Gold Cup (nine thirds), and more than $1.8 million in earnings from 60 starts over seven seasons. Gatsas, who then raced his horses as New Hampshirebased Sovereign Stable with his brother Ted, a former state senator and mayor of Manchester, retired Gander to Stone Ridge Farm near Saratoga Springs. “He’s still doing great,” Gatsas said. “Everybody loves him. It was just a great pleasure to go see him last summer. Now my grandkids get to go up and see him. He literally is a member of the family.” Negligee, a two-year-old filly Sovereign Stable purchased after her second start, gave Gatsas his first Gr1 victory



ABOVE AND RIGHT: Vekoma wins The Toyota Blue Grass Grade 2 for owners Randy Hill (left) and Mike Gatsas (right).

when she captured the 2009 Alcibiades at Keeneland. Like Gander, Negligee was trained by John Terranova. Vekoma’s pursuit of the Run for the Roses under the care of trainer George Weaver and his wife Cindy, who exercises Vekoma, is a whole new thrill for Gatsas. “When Negligee won the Alcibiades, that was a great day for us; that was the first grade one stake we ever won,” Gatsas said. “But don’t let anybody kid you. There is only one Derby. I haven’t been this far. It’s a blast. I always wanted to go there with a horse that would be competitive.” He’s delighted to be sharing the chase with Randy Hill, whose box at Saratoga Race Course was right behind Gatsas’. “We met four years ago,” Gatsas said. “I said, `What do you think if we split some horses?’ He said, `Sure.’ We’ve been doing that for four years. We really got to like each other. We’re really having fun with these horses.”

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M A ND AT O RY L AYO FF Denise Steffanus


Eclipse Sportswire, Shutterstock


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atigue causes breakdowns. It’s a scientific fact. If a horse’s ability to repair its body cannot keep up with the accumulation of damage from training and racing, the risk of catastrophic breakdown greatly increases. Human athletes allow their bodies to rest and recuperate during the off season, but horse racing continues year round. The British Horseracing Authority wrote two breaks into its 2019 fixture schedule just so jockeys could have a break. But a horse only gets time off when it has an injury or when its trainer decides it needs freshening. Thoroughbreds are stoic. The tougher the horse, the more likely it will shrug off pain when adrenaline fuels its competitive spirit. That’s when disaster strikes. Dr. Ebrahim Bani Hassan and his team at the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, used an electron microscope to examine the legs of 83 Thoroughbred racehorses after they died or were euthanized, some for reasons other than catastrophic breakdown. The powerful microscope was able to reveal microfractures in the forelegs of 97.4% of the horses and Swiss-cheese-like cavities in the subchondral bone of the hind legs in 97.7% of them. (Subchondral bone, the layer of bone just beneath the cartilage, forms the critical support base for joints.) Trainers don’t knowingly send a horse to the track if it is at risk of breaking down. How many times have we heard trainers and owners say after a catastrophic breakdown, “The horse was sound. How could this happen?” Apparent soundness is no guarantee that a horse does not have serious underlying problems. Bani Hassan wrote in the Australian Veterinary Journal, “Based on the information obtained from the race records and trainer and veterinarian interviews, many of the horses in this study were performing well and were not reported to be showing signs of lameness in the weeks prior to presentation.” Dr. Chris Whitton, a member of Bani Hassan’s team, is the person charged to necropsy every horse that dies at racetracks in Victoria. In an interview with ABC News, Whitton said, “We think that racehorse deaths should

be avoidable. The limb injuries that we investigate are predominantly due to accumulation of damage over time.” Bani Hassan suggested longer and better-managed breaks for racehorses during their careers. “Rest may allow some reduction in the microscopic damage load, and the burden of damage in this population suggests that, in general, a greater proportion of time out of intense race training than is currently practiced is required for Thoroughbred racehorses in order to minimize the risk of subchondral bone injury,” he concluded.

Mandatory layoff

Mandatory layoff of 30-60 days for horses in active training and racing for 12 consecutive months without a break could be one solution. Everyone interviewed about this topic agreed that horses need time off, but most were opposed to making it mandatory. Their argument: Good trainers already give their horses time off as part of their training regimen and racing strategy. What about those trainers who don’t? Some trainers press on with horses because their owners insist on results. Sadly, some trainers’ priority is not the welfare of the horse. Some trainers don’t know better. Racing commissions must adopt new rules when individuals fail to do what is proper. The duration of 30-60 days seems to be the optimum to achieve healing without losing significant condition. During the first 30 days, a horse loses little cardiovascular condition, and it is ample time for microfractures to repair. Bone bruising at the bottom of the cannon bone, a common condition in active racehorses, typically takes 60 days to repair. Horses laid up longer than 60 days quickly begin to lose overall condition. The type and quality of layoff is crucial to healing. Horses must be active during turnout to increase blood flow to areas that are damaged. Keeping the horse in a stall except for daily handwalking can allow bones to weaken further because bone remodeling—replacement of damaged bone with new, stronger bone—depends on physical demand. For trainers in areas with a predominance of farmland, finding suitable turnout is not a problem. But those at racetracks in metropolitan areas or the desert southwest may have nowhere to lay up their horses.




ABOVE: Wise Dan in the backstrech barns at Saratoga Racetrack.

Is mandatory layoff a good thing?

“I’m not sure that a mandatory layoff is ideal because you have to tailor the horse’s schedule to what kind of training the horse can stand,” said Dr. Larry Bramlage, renowned surgeon at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington and a member of the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee. “There are some horses that can handle anything you can throw at them. Then there are horses that can only take a few races, two or three, before they need to back down because they start getting behind. So I’m not generally for forcing a mandated layoff.” Instead, Bramlage advocates educating owners, trainers, and veterinarians that horses periodically need a break from heavy training to allow the horse’s body to rest and repair. Bramlage mentioned Wise Dan, trained by Charlie Lopresti, as a horse whose campaign is an example

RIGHT: Charlie Lopresti FAR RIGHT: Jim Cassidy



of good management. The gelding earned six Eclipse Awards in 2012-13, including two Horse of the Year titles, winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile in both years. Lopresti described Wise Dan’s program, which he said is based on traditional training methods: “If he ran in the Breeders’ Cup, we’d give him a couple of weeks to make sure he came out of that race good and let him down at the track, jog him, and put him in a round pen,” he said. “Then come the end of November, I’d take him home and turn him out, and he’d be out all December and January. Then the end of January, we’d get him back up and maybe start jogging him for a couple of weeks on the farm, and then bring him in here to Keeneland the middle of February.”

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Owners are the obstacle

Lopresti said few owners today w wiill i tolerate layi ying i off ff a horse that is running well, and if their trainer doesn’t comply, they w wiill i move their horses to a trainer who w wiill i give them what they want. He lamented that racing is a business now; it is no longer a sport. “This is a big problem, and it’s hurt my business dramatically,” Lopresti said. “You’ve got these major partnerships that people are investing in, and they want action all the time. A lot of times the trainers get the rap. I’ve basically been told you either take these horses somewhere or you’re going to lose them. I don’t want to mention any names, but I’m talking major farms, major owners. They’ve told me, ‘Charlie, we’d love to send you horses, but we want someone who’s going to run these horses 365 days a year.’” Lopresti stressed that it takes good horsemanship to lay off ff a ffiit i horse. The horse gradually has to be let down, physically and mentally, until its racing edge softens and the horse can be turned out safely to graze. Then it must be given the freedom to move around a paddock for exercise instead of placing it on an automated walker. When returned to training, the horse’s bones must be gth t and resilience before given ample time to regain strengt it is asked for speed work. “Mentally and physically, givi ving i horses time off ff is good, especially for their bones and their mind and their body,” Lopresti said. “There’s nothing like sunshine on their back and green grass.” Jim Cassidy, president of the California Thoroughbred Traiiners, doesn n’t bellieve fatiigue causes break kdowns. “A tired horsee is not going to run,” he said.. “He’s not going to put him mself out there. Why that wou uld make him break a leg or something like that? I don’t feeel that’s true.” When Cassid dy decides one of his horses sh hould have time off ff, f he sen nds it for 30-90 days turnout – depending on the indivi vidu i ual horse’s needs – at Kingf gfi fisher i Farm in California’s San nta Ynez Valley. He doesn’t wo orry about the break sabotagin ng the horse’s comeback. “ The good thing about horses that have been running that a lot of people don’t realize is when they come back, they don’t need to do as much as they did before they were running because they retain so much fi fitness, even fit

though they haven’t done anyt ything t for 60 days or so,” he said. “They still maintain that basic ffiitness, i and they come back pretty quick.” Cassidy feels own wners n are the real obstacle, and trainers can have diff fffiiculty i ty convi vincing i them a horse needs time off fff. “They don’t see what we see,” he said. “And they really don’t want to hear what we have to say about it, even though you explain to them: ‘Look, the horse is not going to run any good, he’s fflllat, he’s wore out, he needs weight.’ You have some that wi will i go along w wiith i you, no problem, but especially out here (in California), it may take you a knife to get “through to them. ... I wouldn’t have any trouble doing that wi with i my owner, but there are a lot of guys who would have diff fffiiculty i tryi ying i to explain it.” Cassidy is concerned about horses w wiith i niggling problems that require constant att ttention t to keep them training and racing. He said a layoff ff could put those horses so far behind because of those issues that they have to work harder to come back to racing, and some may never return. He doubts racing wi will i adopt mandatory layoff fff. If it does, Cassidy believes it w wiill i push horsemen out of the game. “I am so sick of rules and regulations,” he said. “It seems wo w weeks. It’s they have to come up w wiiith a new one every ttw gett tting t to the point where it handcuff ffs f everybody. You’re not training anym ym more, you’re training according to the rules.”

Regulating layoffs

ff is a complex and controversial issue. Mandatory layoff To be eff ffective, f mandatory layoff ff would need to be universally adopted. Otherwi wise, i trainers could simply move th he horse to o compete in a juriisd dictiion wh here mand datory layoff ff is nott the rule. But those jurisdictio ons might be held responsiblee if a horse evading the rule elsewhere breaks down wn whilee competing at one of its trackss.





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All tracks in the United States and Canada use the racetrack-management software InCompass, developed by a wholly owned subsidiary of the Jockey Club. Among the records available on InCompass are the names of horses placed on the Vet’s List at participating tracks. If the name of a horse on the Vet’s List is entered for a race, InCompass notifies the entry clerk, enabling the clerk to reject the entry. This software could be modified to allow identification of horses placed on the Vet’s List only for mandatory layoff, or a separate Mandatory Layoff List could be added to the software. In the alternative, the software could be modified to flag horses who fit the criteria for mandatory layoff, so racetrack officials could evaluate their training and racing records to see if they warrant layoff. Documenting the time a horse is in active training would not be difficult. Any horse housed on racetrack grounds would be considered in active training for races. Workouts and races further would document the horse’s campaign. John Ward Jr., former executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and trainer of 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, said stewards already have the authority to declare mandatory rest for a horse whose performance concerns them. Usually, a commission veterinarian brings the horse to the attention of the stewards, who investigate further. For example, if the horse is descending through the claiming levels yet is not competitive, it could end up on the Stewards’ List for 30 days or more, just to give it a break. “I think there is a reason for not letting that horse access the general public for a little while,” Ward said. “You’re not calling them unsound, you’re not calling a problem with them; you’re just saying that that animal



needs time. … When somebody takes a horse and runs him back in 10 days and runs him back in another 10 days, and you just keep seeing them in the entry box, it’s defrauding the public. And that’s the way I think you need to approach this—protecting the general public from a horse running in a race that has no chance.” Being a former trainer, Ward is concerned what will happen to these horses when they are ordered from the racetrack. He made the analogy of a human moving from five-star accommodations to a shoddy motel. “The other side of the coin is sometimes mandatory rest could be a reduction in the amount of care a horse gets,” he said. “Most of the time it’s a financial scenario. And once you take that horse out of competition and he isn’t getting a check anymore, a lot of people can’t afford to have him around. When you’re looking at a $5,000 horse given a mandatory layoff, the owner is going to find some way to get rid of him, maybe send him to slaughter.” One obstacle to enforcement is verifying a horse has been at rest while laid off. Neither current diagnostics nor a physical examination can determine if a horse has been given the mandatory time off. Regulators would have to take a trainer’s word that the horse did not continue to train while away from the racetrack. This may not be an issue for horses housed at commission-certified training centers, but private farms may escape scrutiny.


Mary Ann O’Connell is the executive director of the Washington Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and a trainer. She thinks mandatory layoff is good in theory, but she doesn’t know how it could be fairly implemented.

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“Some horses don’t need to be turned out because they’re managed correctly,” O’Connell said. “I see trainers here that will give certain horses that need it a break in the middle of the season, so they’re managed well and they plan ahead. But a lot of people are in survival mode, too.” O’Connell said some trainers and owners keep their horses at the track because they don’t have their own farms and they can’t afford to pay for offsite layup. She also is concerned how trainers will survive when they lose the income for horses ordered to mandatory layoff. Frank Petramalo, executive director of the Virginia HBPA and a horse owner, said he finds it unbelievable that any trainer would press a horse for 12 consecutive months without giving it time off. “I find that unusual,” he said. “If any trainer is really drilling on a horse to race for 12 months, and he’s racing during that whole 12-month period, then that’s excessive. I think something like that [mandatory layoff ] would make sense.”

Model rule for layoffs

Proponents of mandatory layoff would start their campaign for universal adoption by petitioning the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) to establish it as a model rule. Model rules are suggested policies. They have no power of enforcement unless they are adopted by individual jurisdictions, who can rely on ARCI to research the issue intensely before recommending it as a model rule.

JUST BECAUSE A PROPOSAL GOES BEFORE THE COMMITTEE DOES NOT MEAN IT’S GOING TO GET ADOPTED. The process begins by filling out and submitting a downloadable form from the ARCI website The form asks for a description and discussion of the issue, along with possible solutions and their impact. Anyone can propose a model rule. Upon receipt of the proposal, a subcommittee evaluates it and passes it to the Model Rules Committee, which makes public the proposal and any pertinent information submitted to the Model Rules Committee on its website Public hearings on proposed model rules offer those on both sides of the issue an opportunity to present their arguments before the Model Rules Committee votes on it. “Just because a proposal goes before the committee does not mean it’s going to get adopted,” said Ed Martin, executive director of the ARCI. “What we try to do is manage the process so anybody who is potentially affected by the regulatory policy has the opportunity to be heard and to be part of crafting what the policy should be.”



Before voting on a model rule that imposes mandatory layoff, Martin said the ARCI typically would ask its Equine Welfare Committee and Regulatory Veterinarians Committee to evaluate the proposal and render their opinions. Horsemen’s groups, such as the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the National HBPA, would be invited to weigh in on the issue. The ARCI placed mandatory layoff on its December 2018 agenda for public discussion, but Martin postponed it to a later, yet unannounced, date because more pressing issues were added to that agenda. “I think it would probably ignite a very sparky debate,” Martin said.


Bone undergoes almost constant turnover when it is stressed. Brittle, damaged bone is replaced by newly formed bone that provides elasticity and strength, which makes the bone more durable. Microfractures, sometimes called stress fractures, are microscopic cracks in bones that occur during high-stress demands, such as fast gallops, workouts and races. The rate at which bone is broken down, especially in young horses in training, may exceed the speed of repair. Cavities form in the bone where damaged cells have resorbed, giving the bone the appearance of Swiss cheese. If collagen, calcium, phosphorus and other elements do not form new bone cells quickly enough to fill the holes, the bone may break. Bone remodeling depends on a delicate balance of providing the horse adequate exercise to encourage and support the remodeling process, but not stressful enough to cause further bone damage. Repair of microfractures takes about two weeks. But if additional stress is placed on the damaged bone by a conditioning program that does not allow the body's repair mechanism to stay ahead of the continuing damage of training and racing, the horse is in danger of catastrophic breakdown.





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This is the second article in a two-part series on managing legal and tax liabilities when hiring exercise riders. Part I examined recent incidents involving riders, how to assure a rider’s status as an independent contractor and hiring basics. This installment focuses on insurance protection for trainers and riders, equine liability laws and proper safety procedures and equipment.

Peter Sacopulos Shutterstock, Eclipse Sportswire, Micchael Reaves, Laura Palazzolo





It is not personal, it is business

This article addresses ways in which professional trainers may reduce their risks and limit their liabilities when hiring exercise riders. However, when it comes to discussing insurance to protect your training business, I must first broaden the topic in order to address some popular misconceptions regarding insurance in general. Whether you view insurance as a necessary evil or as a peace-ofmind protection that is worth the cost, the topic cannot be avoided, especially if you are a professional horse trainer. The first thing a trainer must understand in insuring his or her training business is that there are clearly defined differences between personal insurance coverage and business insurance coverage. Personal insurance policies are designed to cover you and your family’s personal needs, such as your home, its contents, and vehicles that are not typically used for business purposes. Personal policies are not designed to provide insurance for businesses or business activities. Nor do they cover the property, vehicles, tools and equipment that are primarily used in the conduct of business. Those need to be protected by a commercial insurance policy, commonly referred to as business insurance. Unfortunately, many small business owners and other individuals fail to review the full details of their coverage and do not realize this until it is too late. Here are two examples: The owner of a lawn-mowing business had his commercial-grade lawn mowers stolen from the garage of his home. He had stored the mowers there for years and assumed his personal homeowner’s insurance policy would cover the loss. However, because the mowers were used for business purposes, the insurer refused to pay the claim. Faced with the high cost of replacing the mowers, the man chose to shutter his lawn care business. A college student decided to earn extra money by signing up to drive for an online-based meal delivery service. He was involved in an automobile accident while using his car to deliver restaurant lunches to an office building. No one was injured, but the student’s car was totaled, and another individual’s vehicle was significantly damaged. The student was found to be at fault. Both he and his parents assumed the family’s personal auto insurance policy would cover the costs. But the insurance company was not obligated to pay because the accident occurred while the vehicle was being used for commercial purposes. The family wound up paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket to repair the other driver’s vehicle and then had to take out a loan to replace the student’s car. As Kevin Lavin, a partner in Lavin Equine Insurance Services of Louisville, Ky., explains, equine professionals are not immune to overestimating the scope of their personal insurance coverage. “People may believe that because a horse lives in a barn on their property, their homeowner’s policy covers their equine business activity. That’s just not the case.”

business insurer would reimburse you for the value of the lost items according to the terms of your policy. Business liability coverage is designed to pay legitimate claims made against the business by third parties. (The insurance company and the insured being the first two parties.) For example, if you are backing up a truck and trailer at a gas station after a race and accidentally collide with and injure another customer, that gas station customer is a third party who has been injured in the course of your business. A commercial insurance policy on your vehicle and trailer would cover the injured person’s claim—up to the specific limits of the policy, minus any deductibles or shared payments—of paying for any necessary medical care for the person. Should the injured party file or threaten to file a lawsuit demanding more payment, the insurance company would investigate. If the demands are determined to be legitimate, the insurance company would work to settle those claims within the amounts specified by the policy to avoid the costs of going to court. Should the matter go to court, the insurance company would provide legal counsel and pay legal costs and judgments against your business up to the amounts specified by your policy.

Equine experience matters

If you are an independent trainer, you should protect your business and its assets with a commercial insurance policy. It is a serious mistake to believe your personal insurance policy(ies) will do so. Consult with a qualified agent to be certain you have proper commercial coverage, including adequate liability protection. Given the uniqueness and complexities of the horse racing industry, I recommend consulting with an insurance agent or firm that has experience with, and/or specializes

Liability coverage matters

When purchasing insurance, it is important to understand the nature of liability coverage. Insurance claims are most often paid to the policyholder. If, for instance, you have business coverage on the saddles and tack that are used in the course of training and those items are stolen, your ISSUE 52 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM



in, equine insurance matters. Kevin Lavin, whose firm focuses on insurance for trainers and owners, cuts to the chase: “There are various commercial policies for various types of equine businesses, such as stables or riding schools. But if you’re involved in Thoroughbred racing, you need a policy that covers equine athletic activity. If the policy does not cover equine athletic activity, it’s not right for Thoroughbred trainers or owners.”

Trainers, riders and responsibilites

As a trainer who hires exercise riders on a freelance basis, remember, those riders are functioning as independent businesses. In other words, the exercise rider you paid to work a horse at the track this morning is not your employee. He or she is an independent contractor operating his or her own business, and you are a customer of that business. This means that the exercise rider is responsible for securing and paying for his or her own business and health insurance coverage—just as you are responsible for yours. It is a very different relationship from the world of employers and employees, in which employers provide healthcare coverage, workers’ compensation coverage, and other benefits and protections. “One problem is that some exercise riders want to be treated like independent contractors when it’s time to ride or get paid but want to be treated like employees if they get

AS A TRAINER, YOU SHOULD ASK EXERCISE RIDERS ABOUT THEIR OWN INSURANCE COVERAGE BEFORE HIRING THEM. hurt,” Lavin explains. In short, these riders want the trainer or owner to pay for their medical care and other expenses if they are injured on the job. This is perhaps understandable, given the high cost of healthcare. However, unless a freelance rider suffers injury due to negligence on your part as a trainer, the damages and costs incurred by the exercise rider are not the trainer’s responsibility. As a trainer, you should ask exercise riders about their own insurance coverage before hiring them. After all, if a rider’s negligent behavior results in an injury to other individuals, horses, or to a horse that you train, the rider’s business insurer would be the most likely candidate to cover the cost of the damages. It is unrealistic to assume that an uninsured exercise rider has the personal resources to cover the cost of a large medical expense—for a human or a horse. Although exercise riders are generally not an employee of the trainer, assistant trainers, grooms, and others are. Many jurisdictions require them to provide proof of workers’ compensation coverage. Whether required or not, the trainer should consider and have workers’ compensation coverage. Workers’ compensation coverage is designed to cover an employee’s medical costs and lost wages due to injuries and illnesses suffered while in the scope and



course of his or her employment. While most states require businesses that hire employees to fund or partially fund their employees’ workers’ comp insurance, most do not require businesses that use independent contractors to do so. Workers’ comp systems and the rules that govern them are complex and vary significantly from state to state. Trainers are well advised to discuss workers’ compensation coverage with an equine insurance professional to assure compliance with applicable rules and requirements. The question of whether a trainer must have workers’ compensation coverage for jockeys, exercise riders and backside employees is an ongoing topic of intense discussion in the Thoroughbred racing industry. Many concerned individuals and professional organizations are working to ensure these positions are covered by workers’ comp in the event of serious work-related injuries. The creation of fair, affordable and efficient systems of doing so is a tremendous undertaking. But some states, including New York and Louisiana, appear to have found solutions. In states such as these, a percentage of purse money goes towards funding coverage, and trainers pay reasonable stall fees, start fees or other payments to help fund workers’ comp programs.


Rules and regulations

As a trainer who hires exercise riders, both you and the exercise rider should be familiar with the following basic safety guidelines: ● All exercise riders must be properly licensed by the state agency/commission. ● First-time exercise riders, in most jurisdictions, must wear an armband until approved by outriders. ● Exercise riders should be prohibited from cell phone use while on horseback. ● Abusive language or aggressive or intimidating behavior is not tolerated. ● Excessive whipping, including striking the horse in the head or face, is prohibited. ● In manyy jurissdictions,, gallo oping g or jogging g on the inside rail of the racetrack during training is prohibited. ● In many jurisdictions, galloping counterclockwi wise i or “the wrong way” is prohibited.

The nature of EALAs

Just as some people overestimate the scope of their personal insurance coverage, some equine professionals overestimate the protection of Equine Activity Liability Acts. Equine Activity Liability Acts (often referred to as EALAs or ELAs) are state laws designed to promote equine activities and protect and limit equine professionals and equine sponsors from liability. California and Maryland are the only states that do not currently have EALAs in place. EALAs are grounded on the principle of “assumption of risk.” This is the concept that individuals who willingly participate in equine activity know that doing so carries certain inherent risks. Therefore, the right of compensation for accidents and injuries that occur while participating in such activities may be restricted or negated. Contrary to what you may have heard, no EALA guarantees equine professionals “zero liability” or “blanket immunity.” Most include exceptions for injuries suffered due to negligence or recklessness on the part of an equine professional. EALAs can discourage lawsuits, but while an EALA may lead to a lawsuit’s dismissal, it cannot prevent someone from filing a suit. Many involved in the equine industry, including horsemen, believe that Equine Activity Liability Acts provide the owner/operator of a business including trainers, with complete immunity to any horse-related liability. That is not the case. In fact, as a general rule, ELAs do not apply to the horse racing industry. The State of Kentucky provides an example of this general rule. Specifically, the Kentucky statute states in its ELA: “…shall not apply to…participants when engaged in horse racing activities….” KRS § 247.4025(1). Indiana provides an additional example of this general rule. Indiana’s Equine Liability Act provides for the racing exception. Indiana Code 34-31-5-2(a) states: “This section does not apply to the horse racing industry.”




Training hours are strictly enforced. No entering the track before it officially opens or after it is officially closed. In addition to obtaining and maintaining a license, being familiar with and following track rules, independent exercise riders are also responsible for the following: Medical cards – All riders are required to have up-to-date medical cards, including current emergency contact and medical information, on their persons whenever they are on horseback. Cards and holders are available from the racing authority. Proper safety equipment – Exercise riders are required to wear a fastened, approved safety helmet and vest at all times. They must also wear approved footwear that has a hard heel and a hard sole. No tennis shoes or jockey racing boots are permitted. Understanding and following the rules of the track warning system – All racetracks are equipped with an emergency warning system that uses sirens and/or lights. The warning system is activated whenever there is a loose horse, an injured horse, an injured rider, or other emergency situation. At such times, all exercise riders must slow their mount to a jog and allow outriders and any loose horses the maximum amount of room possible. Exercise riders who have yet to enter the track must not do so while the lights and sirens are activated.

Gearing up

As a trainer, you should be aware that tack and equipment kept in poor repair is dangerous for the rider and the equine athlete. It is also a source and basis of liability against the trainer. If you provide the exercise rider with



tack and/or equipment, it should be in good repair. The exercise rider provides his or her own tack or equipment, then the responsibility for the care and condition of the same rests with the exercise rider. Regarding tack, equipment and specifically safety equipment, you, as a trainer, should be aware and follow all recommended equipment standards. A summary of safety equipment standards includes: ● Helmets and vests should carry labels indicating that they meet current safety standards. ● Straps and zippers should be clean, in good working order and fully functional. ● Protective padding should not be removed from helmets or vests or altered in any way. ● Helmets that are cracked, dented or otherwise damaged or that have been repaired no longer meet safety standards and must be replaced. ● Vests that are cracked, torn or otherwise damaged or repaired no longer meet safety standards and must be replaced.


In conclusion, as a trainer, you are well served to seek out an insurance representative that specializes in equine coverage. Also, know that the state equine liability act (ELA) that affords coverage to an equine professional and/or equine sponsor that boards horses, gives riding lessons, etc., affords you, as a professional trainer of race horses, no protection. And, finally, take time to review and make an effort to comply with all safety equipment standards.


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ALL TI ED UP? Catherine Rudenko

Shutterstock, Eclipse Sportswire

First published in European Trainer Magazine





ying-up or ER (exertional rhabdomyolysis) is a problem that every yard will encounter at some point in time with reports of 5-7% of the Thoroughbred population being affected. ER is the general term used to cover two main forms of tying-up, acute or recurrent. ER by definition relates to the breakdown of striated muscle fibers following exercise. These fibers connect to the bone allowing movement of the skeleton. Damage causes anything from mild stiffness to the inability to move. With much still unknown about the condition, the focus falls on reducing risk and ongoing management of those affected with recurrent form. The main area for intervention and management relates to feeds and feeding practices—an area that can be directly controlled by the yard and adjusted as needed for the individuals most affected.

Acute Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

The acute form is typically caused through factors external to the muscle rather than there being an intrinsic muscle defect. It is most commonly seen when the horse is adapting to a new level of work, and the intensity or duration is too strenuous. Where speed work is concerned, the most likely cause is a depletion of cellular high energy phosphates, the muscles’ energy supply, combined with lactic acidosis. Where endurance work is concerned, depletion of intracellular glycogen—the stored form of glucose often combined with over-heating and electrolyte imbalances—is the common cause. The other key factor for an acute episode is dietary energy intake being excessive to the current level of work. The use of high-starch feeds to supply energy for horses in training is a common practice with grains, traditionally oats, forming the basis of such feeds. In the early stages of fitness work, an over-supply of energy relative to need, particularly when starch forms a large part of the diet, is a risk factor.

Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

This form of ER—where episodes are frequent and often seen even at low levels of exercise—has led to the suggestion that much like humans, there is an inherited intrinsic muscle defect. Such defects would predispose the horse to ER. Documented defects relevant to Thoroughbreds include a disorder in muscle contractility or excitation contraction coupling, whereby muscle fibers become over-sensitive, and normal function is disrupted. Risk factors for ER in horses with the recurrent form include stress or high excitement during exercise, periods of jogging (10-30 minutes), infrequent exercise, and overfeeding of energy in a high-starch format relative to need.

Dietary considerations for ER

The amount of energy fed and the type of energy fed are important considerations whether looking to avoid an acute feed-related episode or considering the management of a horse with the recurrent form.




Other nutrients often talked about when managing ER include vitamin E, selenium and electrolytes. Historically the inclusion of vitamin E and selenium were considered important for the prevention of further episodes; however, there is no evidence to support such use. A case of deficiency in either of these nutrients may well put the horse at a disadvantage and could perhaps create a state where occurrence is more notable; however, with the advent of fortified and balanced complete bagged feeds, such nutrients are normally supplied in more than adequate amounts. Their role as antioxidants, which function to “mop-up” damaging free radicals generated through training, is where their use can benefit any horse at this level of work. The use of additional vitamin E is also recommended when increasing the fat content of the diet—a common practice when feeding horses with recurrent ER. Electrolytes do play an important role in normal muscle function, and any deficiency noted in the diet should be corrected. Identifying a need in the diet is more easily done than determining if the individual horse has a problem with absorption or utilisation of the electrolytes. A urinary fractional excretion test (FE) will highlight issues, and subsequent correction through the diet to return the horse to within normal ranges may offer some improvement. However, it is important to note that for horses with recurrent ER, where an intrinsic muscle defect is present, the research to date has shown no electrolyte imbalances or differences between such horses and unaffected horses.

Quantifying ‘low starch and high fat’ feeding

The recommended practice for management of ER is a reduction in starch and an increase in fats. This practice has two ways of benefiting the horse: a reduction in “spookiness” or reactivity and a positive effect on muscle damage as seen by lower CK (creatine kinase) levels following exercise. Positive effects on lowering CK levels were found when a higher proportion of the energy fed came from diets higher in fats and lower in non-structural carbohydrates (starches and sugars). The effect was noted when fed at 4.5kg/day—an amount easily reached and normally surpassed when feeding horses in training. The beneficial diet provided 20% of energy from fats and only 9% from starches and sugars, compared to the more traditional




sweet feed diet providing 45% of energy from starches and sugars and less than 5% from fats.

Finding fats

Top dressing of oils will increase fat in the diet—with a normal intake of up to 100 mls per day. Although the horse can digest higher amounts, palatability usually restricts a higher intake. Pelleted or extruded fat sources are increasingly popular as alternatives to oils for their convenience of feeding and palatability. Straight rice bran and blends of materials such as rice bran, linseed and soya are available from most major feed companies. Oil content will typically range from 18-26% providing 180g-260g of oil per kilogram as fed. Racing feeds will also provide oil in the diet; content is quite varied, typically from 4-10% providing 40g-100g per kilogram as fed. Hay and haylage also contains oil at a low level, typically 2% providing just 20g per kilogram on a dry matter basis.

Choosing carbohydrates

Traditional feeding based on oats and other whole grains will have a higher starch content than feeds using a combination of grains and fiber. Levels of starch found in complete feeds and straights have a broad range from as low as 8% in a complete feed—specifically formulated to have a low-starch content—and up to in excess of 50% for straights such as barley and naked oats.

Starch Content of Commonly Fed Straights and Forage Material

Typical starch content %

Starch content per kilogram (2.2lbs) as fed







Naked Oats









Rice Bran



Sugar Beet (dry weight)








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Examples of the Different Feeding Programmes on Total Starch Intake Example One – ‘High Starch’ Feeding Bowls

Weight (kg)

Starch Intake (g)

Morning Feed

30% Starch Racing Feed




Lunch Feed

30% Starch Racing Feed




Evening Feed

30% Starch Racing Feed








Large Handful Alfalfa Total

Example Two – ‘Moderate Starch’ Feeding Bowls

Weight (kg)

Starch Intake (g)

Morning Feed

18% Starch Racing Feed




Lunch Feed

18% Starch Racing Feed




Evening Feed

18% Starch Racing Feed








Large Handful Alfalfa Total

Example Three – ‘Low Starch’ Feeding Bowls

Weight (kg)

Starch Intake (g)

Morning Feed

10% Starch Racing Feed




Lunch Feed

10% Starch Racing Feed








Rice Bran



Beet Pulp (dry weight)



Large Handful Alfalfa





Small Handful Alfalfa Evening Feed

10% Starch Racing Feed





The level of tolerance a horse has for starch intake when suffering from recurrent ER is somewhat individual, but the general practice is to reduce the intake of starch as low as possible without compromising body condition or providing an insufficient amount of energy to maintain performance. Starch is a valuable carbohydrate needed to provide glucose—the primary muscle “fuel” required during anaerobic exercise where the horse’s heart rate is elevated and the pathway for utilization of fats is closed. For horses in training, a large part of the exercise program is anaerobic and therefore starch is required in the diet. There is no official value at which a feed goes from being a high-starch feed to a low-starch feed. That combined with a lack of information around starch levels for some products can often result in yards having feed programs that are accidentally higher in starch than intended for their horses with ER. A common error is use of a pony feed or cool feed, which is assumed to be more suitable by description but may not be low in starch, only lower in protein than a racing feed. Feed materials today are wide ranging and allow feed companies to create a variety of feeds around different nutritional parameters. It is possible to have a 14% protein feed with a starch content ranging anywhere from around 10% up to 35%. Protein content is completely independent of starch content and cannot be used as a predictor as to what extra level of starch your feed may provide. Obtaining that information from your feed provider is essential when making an informed decision about your feeding program for horses with ER. As the hard feed—whether straights or a complete feed—forms the largest part of the diet by weight for a racehorse, it is the most influential item when looking to


regulate starch intake. When considering starch intake, the total intake needs to be calculated. The amount of starch in a feed is important, for example choosing a feed that is 10% starch is likely a good decision over a feed at 30% starch; but these are just numbers. How much is eaten of that feed in a day is important. Blending hard feeds with alternative energy sources such as beet pulp, oils and alfalfa in the feeding program dramatically lowers total starch intake. Through using a “low-starch” feed in combination with alternative fiber and oil energy sources, it is possible to create a very low total intake without compromising on energy.


Normal Intake • 6.75kg (15lbs) of typical racing feed • Free choice hay consumed at 1% of body weight

Reduced Intake • 5.0kg (11lbs) of typical racing feed • Free choice hay consumed at 1% of body weight

Adjusting feed to workload

Regulating feed to match workload is another important factor in managing horses with recurrent ER. For days of rest or walking, only the “hard feed” should ideally be halved in weight. This practice starts with the evening meal given on the day before rest and continues until the end of the rest day. To meet appetite and maintain condition, the fiber element of the diet needs to be increased to meet the gap left from feeding a reduced amount of hard feed. When soaked beet pulp and alfalfa or similar chaffs are included in the program, these can easily be increased to in part replace the removed hard feed alongside an increased offering of hay or haylage. Oils can be fed as normal on a rest day.

Maintaining a balance

Where the individual horse determines that hard feed intake must be significantly restricted in order to avoid further episodes, it is worth considering if the diet is now providing appropriate levels of key nutrients. Feeds are formulated to be effective between certain ranges based on normal intake for that category of work. In general, horses fed typical feeding rates will be provided with levels above baseline, e.g., greater than 100% for many nutrients, particularly those where benefits arise from a higher level of supplementation such as vitamin E. The examples below show the impact of a reduced hard feed intake. While intake is considered sufficient in meeting the majority of nutrient requirements, the recurrent ER horse with a lower feeding rate is no longer receiving the same level of nutrition, including receiving lower levels of vitamin E and selenium which could be of benefit. In such cases, supplementing the diet through

use of a vitamin and mineral balancer or specifically with individual nutrients concerned will ensure that the horse still receives a consistently high level of nutrition. A total dietary intake assessment is provided by most major feed brands on request or through an independent registered nutritionist. Reviewing the diet as a whole will help identify where improvements can be made, especially for horses with specific dietary needs.

ABOVE: Kentucky Equine Research Recommended Daily Allowance.


Feeding is an important part of reducing risk of an acute episode and in the management of recurrent ER horses. Understanding the starch intake of the total feed program and identifying any gaps or shortfalls in the diet will help you create a diet best suited to the individual. Including alternative energy sources in the feeding plan will create more flexibility in the program, particularly around rest days and ensures appetite is met when hard feed must be reduced. If in doubt as to the contribution of what a feed, forage or supplement is making to your feeding program, consult your feed provider or nutritionist for further advice. ISSUE 52 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM





| PA B R E E D E R S |



Eclipse Sportswire




| PA B R E E D E R S |


ong-time horseman Mick Ruis was not only born and raised in California, but he also has homes there. He originally planned on having his broodmares and stallions there, too, but the lure of the Pennsylvania breeding program was too strong. “When I found out about the program, it was a no brainer,” Ruis said. “I had to make a decision, and the decision was that I wanted to be a Pennsylvania breeder.”

What makes the program so appealing?

“The incentives they give make it a clear choice, business-wise,” Ruis explained. “And there are three tracks in the state and another seven or eight nearby you can run at. It made sense to spend more time on the East Coast.”

One of Ruis’ first Pennsylvania experiences came with The Critical Way, a PA-bred by Tizway bred by Blackstone Farm. In 2017, The Critical Way won the $100,000 Danzig Stakes in just his second start, shipping in from Santa Anita to score. “That’s what started me on it,” Ruis said. “There’s a lot of good races where you can make good money for a Pennsylvania-bred. I’m excited about that.” Blackstone Farm, an operation shared by partners Christian Black, Mark Weissman, and Douglas Black, recently had a banner runner with Pennsylvania-bred Tom’s Ready, a millionaire who retired after the 2017 season. Blackstone sold him for $145,000 as a yearling. The farm is going to be an important part of Ruis’ expansion into the Keystone State. Ruis shipped 18 mares into the Pine Grove outfit, as well as two young stallions. Eleven of the mares were bred in California and will foal in Pennsylvania this spring.






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And with the two stallions, War Envoy and Saburo, Ruis has much to anticipate. War Envoy, by War Front – La Conseillante, by Elusive Quality, is royally bred. His dam was a stakes winner in France; she went on to produce a $750,000 yearling in Falaise—now an unraced sophomore—a $300,000 broodmare in Beychevelle, and a $150,000 juvenile in Kate’s Winnie. War Envoy himself won twice in 26 starts but earned $494,781 racing against some of the best of his generation. He started his career in England and Ireland, placing in multiple graded stakes, then came to America for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Gr1) at Santa Anita. War Envoy actually went favored that day, but finished well back.




After returning to Europe, War Envoy won a handicap at Ascot before moving to the United States permanently in 2015. He contested the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup (Gr1) in Barbados and finished third, then later was one of the runners in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational (Gr1). War Envoy was retired in 2017 with 10 top three finishes to his name. Saburo, a $600,000 juvenile, is by Medaglia d’Oro and out of the stakes placed Lemon Drop Kid mare Kid Majic. She produced 2015 Sovereign Award Champion Older Mare and Champion Female Sprinter Miss Mischief, a graded stakes winner of over half a million dollars. Second dam Call Her Magic, by Caller I.D., won eight of 14 starts, including two stakes races. She is also the dam of J P’s Gusto, a lightning-fast juvenile who won the Del Mar Futurity (Gr1) and $811,760. He ultimately sired Puerto Rican Gr1 winner Remember Willy and dual stakes placed Epic Journey. Saburo’s physical and female family made him a slam dunk as a purchase, but he was injured shortly after making his first two starts. “They are both strapping individuals and nicely bred,” Christian Black said. “Saburo was a very promising horse that showed talent before he was injured. His dam was a stakes performer in her own right. Physically he’s a beautiful horse.” Both stallions are being used privately in 2019, but Ruis is giving thought to making them available to the public in 2020, although the stallions would have to be moved from Blackstone due to the setup there. There is one other son of War Front standing in Pennsylvania,

| PA B R E E D E R S |

Tom’s Ready

Peace and Justice at Northview PA. The only other son of Medaglia d’Oro in the state is Warrior’s Reward. Saburo and War Envoy’s first foals are being born this season. “Their first crop of foals are really nicely boned and looking good,” Ruis said. He is grateful for Black’s help; both men note they have been friends a long time, and Ruis is proud that Black is “well known in the business.” “We have a good relationship,” Black said of Ruis. “He wanted Pennsylvania-breds and to be part of the Pennsylvania breeding program. He’d been exploring it through conversations we’ve had in the past, and it all just came together.”

I HAVE MY DAUGHTER TRAINING FOR ME AT SANTA ANITA, AND I COULD HAVE AN ASSISTANT TRAIN FOR ME IN PENNSYLVANIA. And Ruis’ expansion into Pennsylvania may not stop with breeding. “When this crop becomes two-year-olds, I would love to eventually have them train out of there,” Ruis said. “I have my daughter training for me at Santa Anita, and I could have an assistant train for me in Pennsylvania.”

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#SO U ND B I T ES Once upon a time, racing in most locations had an off-season. That created anticipation for its return. In the Northeast, when racing only lasted from March through November, you actually missed it in the off months, and you got really pumped up for its return. Those days are long gone. Racing these days is yearround, and some tracks offer massive cards on Saturdays, as many as 14 races a day instead of eight or nine. So we asked trainers: Is there too much racing?

# Bill Mott

I think the boutique meets seem to do the best. Longer meets—they never seem to end. People get bored. I think you wear people out with 14 races a day. Eight or nine is enough. I understand what they’re thinking, These guys aren’t stupid. And they look at the numbers. Most places need five days a week. Different people who work around the track need it. You can’t have a full-time employee and race two days a week. It makes no sense. But Instead of running 11, 12 or 14 races, you should run eight or nine. There’s going to be hardcore gamblers who would sit there for 12 hours, but I think they wear other gamblers out. I think they’re wearing people out.



# Graham Motion I think there is too much racing. Look, every race office in the country is looking for horses. I believe that less racing would bring a better product for the bettors. I think less racing, at the end of the day… it’s just common sense to me. People want to see good racing and good fields. Twelve races a day—it’s way too much for everybody, bettors, horsemen and their employees. It’s very stressful for everybody. When your boys are at the track at 4:30 in the morning and still there at 6:30 or 7 or 8 (pm), I think it wears on everybody. Probably the gamblers as well. Jockeys begin at 5:30 in the morning, and they’re there until 7 or 8 (pm). How could a jockey be at his absolute best the entire day? They’ve got to be sharp, thinking quickly and making decisions. How can you keep doing that at 7 o’clock in the evening if you’ve been there all day?

# Al Stall I would say, no, there’s not too much racing. The foal crop is going down, so maybe that will inspire us. There are less opportunities. It could change if we wanted to do it. Cards at Gulfstream Park wear you out with 12 or 13 races. But you don’t have to stay the whole card. Young people now, there’s so much more to do. I would love to be able to educate them about our game.

# Bob Hess Jr.

I don’t think there’s too much racing. But I think nowadays, eight, nine races a day with huge fields is ideal, not 12. I think the average person doesn’t want to be stuck there for more than three hours. In terms of promoting it with young people, eight would be ideal. Again, they don’t want to be stuck there. They get bored.

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# Bret Calhoun No, I don’t think so. You’ve seen tracks shut down. There’s some overlap in a lot of places. But Kentucky is a pretty good example of creating a circuit. If there isn’t a circuit, it’s hard. We have Ellis Park back. Kentucky Downs is an option. Churchill Downs has implemented a summer meet. I know that the horse population is down a little bit. I can see where some people say that (there’s too much racing), but just a few horses are stakes

horses. Most of the horses are claimers and they have to race more often. I think a lot of casinos would like less racing. I get that. But on the other side is that they’re only here because of racing. We can’t forget that. I do think 10 or 11 races a day is too much. I understand a big day. You can run more races those days. Other than that, tracks can’t have that many and fill their cards. There should only be nine.

# George Weaver

# Shug McGaughey Overall, on the East Coast, there is too much racing. I think it would be good if they could consolidate tracks. Running against each other the way they do now doesn’t help racing too much. Long cards put a strain on horsemen. Cutting back to eight or nine races during the weekdays would be good. It would probably enhance fields a little bit.

# Kelly Breen

You can never have enough races. But there aren’t enough horses for the races we have. Fourteen races (as with the Fountain of Youth Stakes March 2 with his Kentucky Derby contender Vekoma) is a long day.

The gambler in me would say absolutely not because I don’t know what to do on a Wednesday afternoon. As far as horsemen, there is a little bit of overlap. In the Northeast, everybody wants to have a big day on a Saturday in the summer. We don’t have a circuit, giving everybody their prime time. We just don’t have tracks cooperating with each other. If we said we highlight one track in one month, it might help.

# Gary Contessa I don’t think so. I think the problem is, there’s a lack of communication between all the jurisdictions, so we wind up with three graded stakes all for the same age and gender on the same day. If we all got together with a single thought of making racing more organized, we could separate these races. Everybody could have a big horse. Nobody consults with another jurisdiction. We could present a better racing product. I see Gulfstream run 12 or 13 a day, but they’re big fields. If you have the horse population, it’s fine. If you can’t, you have to have a good “plan B.” Like at Aqueduct, we could run one race at New York with a Daily Double at another track. So even if you could only card six races at your jurisdiction, you could present seven or eight. I think it could be done.



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Trainer Magazine, North American edition - Triple Crown 2019, issue 52