W W W. A ME RI CA NRA CEH ORSE. C OM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
AK-SAR-BEN: The Lost Gem of Nebraska Racing ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: FINDING A BARN BUDDY FOR YOUR HORSE A YOUNG HORSEMANâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S LOVE FOR ANIMALS A FAMILY TRADITION IN INDIANA
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ABOUT AMERICAN RACEHORSE
American Racehorse (formerly Southern Racehorse) covers Thoroughbred racing and breeding in the Southwest, Midwest and Midsouth regions. The magazine is mailed to all members of the following associations: • Alabama Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association • Arkansas Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Horsemen’s Association • Colorado Thoroughbred Breeders Association • Georgia Horse Racing Coalition • Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association • Iowa Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association • Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association • Minnesota Thoroughbred Association • North Carolina Thoroughbred Association • Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma • South Carolina Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association • Texas Thoroughbred Association • Plus hundreds of Louisiana horsemen.
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Published by Pangaea Enterprises LLC d/b/a American Racehorse American Racehorse P.O. Box 8645 • Round Rock, TX 78683 Physical Address American Racehorse 1341 Meadowild Drive • Round Rock, TX 78664 Editor/Publisher Denis Blake • firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Art Director Amie Rittler • email@example.com Graphic Designer Julie Kennedy • firstname.lastname@example.org Copyeditor Judy L. Marchman
Contributors J. Keeler Johnson Tammy Knox Jen Roytz Denise Steffanus Photographers Bob Dunn Collection at the Durham Museum Bob Dunn/Winner’s Circle Custom Photography Coady Photography iStock.com/sshepard Linscott Photography Omaha World-Herald/John Savage Photography Collection at the Durham Museum ©ricardoferrando/Adobe Stock Bee Silva ©Viktoria Makarova/Adobe Stock Cover Photo Bob Dunn Collection at the Durham Museum
Copyright © 2016 American Racehorse All rights reserved. Articles may not be reprinted without permission. American Racehorse reserves the right to refuse any advertising or copy for any reason. American Racehorse makes a reasonable attempt to ensure that advertising claims are truthful but assumes no responsibility for the truth and accuracy of ads. 2 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
The magic of Ak-Sar-Ben
Departments Editor’s Letter 4 Fast Furlongs 12 State Association News
The Marketplace Classifieds
A young horseman with a big heart
The Lost Gem of Nebraska Racing Ak-Sar-Ben still evokes fond memories more than 20 years after its closing
Continuing a Legacy 29 Amy Elliott carries on the breeding program started by her late husband Jim More Than a Good Deed A 12-year-old boy claims a 12-year-old horse for retirement
Barn Buddies 45 Companions and toys provide an outlet for a horse’s need to socialize and romp Sweet Summer Stakes 48 A recap of black-type events in July and August
Finding a pal for your horse
AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 3
EDITOR’S LETTER This issue marks the fourth anniversary of American Racehorse, which is a bit surprising to me because it doesn’t seem nearly that long since this magazine started as Southern Racehorse covering just two states, Texas and Oklahoma. I had serious concerns whether a printfocused venture could succeed in a digital world of 140-character tweets and Facebook posts considered too long if people need to click “more.” Of course, I’m happy to report that the magazine is indeed succeeding and has added coverage of nearly a dozen states and state breed associations since those original two. Starting in 2017, however, there will be a slight change to the format of the magazine. After the upcoming November/December issue, we will switch to a quarterly format instead of six bi-monthly issues. While the magazine has been even more successful than I could have imagined when it first launched, rising postage and printing costs are hard to ignore, especially during the summer months when advertising is light, and the fact is that it takes a tremendous amount of time to get each issue to print with a limited but dedicated staff and no full-time employees. The good news is that this new format will allow us to include more long-form articles, like the one in this issue about the gone but not forgotten Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack in Omaha, Nebraska, and the excellent piece in the previous issue about King Ranch. We plan to include more articles like those in the future. So you are going to receive a thicker, more robust magazine, but you’ll just get it four times per year instead of six. The annual Stallion Register in December will remain unchanged. Obviously a quarterly magazine is not ideal for delivering timely news content about the racing industry and from the 12 state associations we have partnered with, but neither was the every-other-month format. We will continue to deliver the same level of news coverage in the magazine, and at the same time increase our efforts to deliver information through our website, americanracehorse.com, and through social media on our Facebook page at facebook. com/americanracehorse and via @AmerRacehorse on Twitter. I encourage you to use those to stay up to date on everything happening in the Southwest, Midwest and Midsouth regions. For those of you who have paid subscriptions, we will extend your subscription by increasing the remaining number of issues you will receive by 50 percent. So if you signed up for a one-year subscription (six regular issues) and have four left, we will increase that to six, and we’ll round up any partial issues for those with an odd number of issues remaining. Getting back to this issue, I like to think that I’m a member of a somewhat exclusive club of people who have been to more than 50 racetracks in their lifetime. I’m not even sure of the exact count, as I racked up quite an extensive list during my time working for the American Quarter Horse Association. Some were big and beautiful; some were small and rundown. Some were forgettable, and some I would love to visit again. I would imagine many of you have the same feelings about the racetracks you’ve been to over the years, and opinions might vary about particular tracks. One track, however, seems to be almost universally remembered with great fondness: Ak-Sar-Ben. While American Racehorse doesn’t cover racing in Nebraska, which sadly has struggled mightily since Ak-Sar-Ben closed, the track that got its name from spelling Nebraska backwards had a big impact on racing around middle America. Many of today’s leading horsemen got their start there, and some of today’s racehorses can trace their pedigrees back to horses who ran there. Even though it’s been closed now for two decades, I still hear it come up in conversation fairly often and see references to it on blogs and racing-related websites. Although I never made it to Ak-Sar-Ben in person, I think I have a pretty good feel for what made it special. On the surface at least, there wasn’t anything that distinctive about the Nebraska oval. No pink flamingos like at Florida’s Hialeah Park, no grand marble staircase like at Illinois’ Arlington Park and no iconic twin spires like at Kentucky’s Churchill Downs. But that might have been part of why the track still lives on in the memories of so many—it was the horses
4 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
and horsemen that made it special, not the structure itself. On page 19 of this issue, you’ll find what I think is a tremendous article about Ak-Sar-Ben by J. Keeler Johnson, who also penned the King Ranch feature in the last issue. What makes the Ak-Sar-Ben article even better are some of the photos that accompany it, for which I’m thankful to Chris Kotulak (who you probably know from the Remington Park TV broadcast but who who also worked as track announcer at Ak-Sar-Ben) and to Bob Dunn, the longtime track photographer at Ak-Sar-Ben who put in a lot of work tracking down some old photos. I also want to thank David Edwards and Joe Anania, who both provided photos of their extensive collections of Ak-Sar-Ben memorabilia. I do hope that you enjoy reminiscing about Ak-SarBen or learning about it for the first time if you are too young to remember it. If you do have a particular memory that you’d like to share, please send it to us at info@ americanracehorse.com. We hope to print some of those in a future issue of the magazine. I’d like to share one memory of my own, which is somewhat related to Ak-Sar-Ben. On page 15 of this issue, you’ll find a news item about the passing of the great Oklahoma-bred Clever Trevor at the age of 30. He was featured in the first issue of this magazine (you can view the online version on our website), and if not for him I’m not certain this magazine would even exist, because I’m not sure I’d have entered the racing industry. After starting his career at Ak-Sar-Ben, Clever Trevor took an unlikely path to the Kentucky Derby, including two starts in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, at Blue Ribbon Downs as a 2-year-old. As a 3-year-old in 1989, he won the first Remington Park Derby during the second season of racing in Oklahoma City and instantly became a hometown hero. He wasn’t a factor in Sunday Silence’s Kentucky Derby and was sent to Minnesota for his next start, the St. Paul Derby at Canterbury Downs (now Canterbury Park). I was going to high school in Minnesota at the time and watched that race in person. Although I wasn’t quite old enough to bet, I didn’t let that technicality stop me from placing a wager on what was quickly becoming my favorite horse. I remember watching him win the Grade 1 Arlington Classic and cheering him on when he gave the great Easy Goer a scare while running second to him in the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga. I’m not even sure exactly why I liked Clever Trevor so much, but I’m guessing it was because he was the underdog, a Southwest/Midwest horse who went toe-to-toe with Sunday Silence and Easy Goer, and later Housebuster. There were other horses around that time that turned me into a racing fan, but I will never forget Clever Trevor. When I raced a few Minnesota-bred horses of my own many years later, it gave me some hope that I could have a big-time horse, even though I didn’t. I tried to keep up to date on Clever Trevor after his racing career was over and enjoyed seeing occasional updates and articles about him being retired at the farm of his trainer, Donnie K. Von Hemel. I wrote an article about him in
2004 for Thoroughbred Times, and the article about him in the first issue of this magazine in 2012 remains one of my favorites. Clever Trevor was a great story both on and off the track. He was a perfect example of how a horse without a million-dollar pedigree can still turn into a million-dollar horse, and he was a perfect example of how much horsemen love their horses even after they are done racing. So thank you to his late breeder/owner Don McNeill, and his trainer, Donnie K. Von Hemel and his wife, Robin, and their daughter, Tess, for making sure Clever Trevor’s incredible story had a happy ending. One last thing (in keeping with the new long-format style, this will be the longest editor’s letter yet in this magazine), I need to once again thank the boards and members of the Texas Thoroughbred Association and Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma for their support in getting this magazine off the ground, and to the other state associations that have since joined. At the TTA’s awards banquet in June, I was honored and surprised to receive the Allen Bogan Memorial Award as member of the year. For those who may not know, Mr. Bogan covered horse racing in Texas for more than 60 years and was the first editor of The Texas Thoroughbred magazine after it was launched shortly after the TTA itself was founded in 1955. He turned the magazine, and his column “The Morning Line,” into a must-read for horsemen and racing fans around the country. Texas didn’t even have pari-mutuel racing during his long tenure with The Texas Thoroughbred, yet he helped make it a nationally respected publication that endured for more than 50 years. I never knew Mr. Bogan, as he passed away in 1997 before I came to Texas and just as the Lone Star State saw the return of Thoroughbred racing for the first time since the 1930s, but I think Anne Lang, a subsequent editor of The Texas Thoroughbred, summed him up perfectly: “He was perhaps the last of what I fear is a dying breed: a first-class gentleman of the old school. There will never be another one like him.” In reading through old magazines and hearing about what Mr. Bogan and others did to bring pari-mutuel racing back to Texas, I don’t think The Texas Thoroughbred magazine would have survived as long as it did without his passion and dedication. Sadly, I served as the last editor of that magazine when it shut down due to declining ad revenues and the general struggles of the Texas racing industry. While that was the right decision to make, it was still unfortunate for the industry in Texas and around the region. So while I am certainly no Allen Bogan, I am pleased that I could at least in part carry on his legacy of reporting on and preserving the history of this sport all around the region through this magazine. So thank you again to the TTA for the award, and thank you again for everyone who has helped make this magazine possible. Sincerely, Denis Blake, Editor/Publisher
AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 5
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Illegal DopIng Meets Its Match trainers praise natural alternative By: Mark hansen
The 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 bloodbuilding results. EPO-Equine® 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 double-blind trial investigating the blood building properties of the active ingredient in EPO-Equine® in healthy horses. For 42 days, one group of horses was supplemented with the active ingredient in EPOEquine® 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 EPO-Equine® contains a dozen different herbs, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory 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, EPOEquine® 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. EPOEquine® can be ordered at www.EPOEquine.com or 1-800-557-9055, and comes with a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee.
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To view a complete list of ad rates or for more information, go to www.americanracehorse.com/advertising Contact Denis Blake at (512) 695-4541 or firstname.lastname@example.org 8 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
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The 2017 American Racehorse Stallion Register is the most affordable and effective way to advertise your stallion to thousands of potential breeders in the Southwest, Midwest and Midsouth regions, as well as breeders in Kentucky, Florida and around the country. Only American Racehorse goes to virtually every Thoroughbred breeder in:
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H 2017 STALLION REGISTER DEADLINE IS OCTOBER 10! H Get more information at www.americanracehorse.com, call (512) 695-4541 or see the Stallion Register Reservation Form on the following two pages.
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The 2017 American Racehorse Stallion Register, to be published in December 2016, is the only resource for breeders that covers the Southwest, Midwest and Midsouth regions. The Stallion Register will go to EVERY member of the state breeder associations in Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, plus hundreds of breeders in Louisiana, New Mexico, Kentucky and Florida. American Racehorse has a wider distribution across the region than The Blood-Horse for a fraction of the price.
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10 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
2017 Stallion Register DEADLINES
Stallion Statistical Page Reservations: October 10, 2016 ONE FORM PER STALLION (please type or print) Stallion__________________________________________________________ Year Foaled___________________ Sire______________________ Dam________________________ Dam’s Sire______________________________ Standing at___________________________________________ Address__________________________________ Inquiries to________________________________ Phone (____ )_________________ Fax (____ )____________ Email___________________________________________ Website_______________________________________ Property of_______________________________________ Address_______________________________________ Phone (____ )_________________ Fax (____ )____________ Email______________________________________ Year Entered Stud_________ 2017 Fee_________________ Live Foal Guarantee? Yes / No Stallion is accredited/registered in (list state or states) ______________________________________________________ Stallion is nominated to the stallion/sire stakes programs in (list state or states)__________________________________ Other accreditations or eligibility_______________________________________________________________________
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fastfurlongs Lane’s End Texas Closes, Stallions Stay in State at Valor Farm
12 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
as property of the McNairs. The combination of stallions gives Valor Farm six of the top 10 active stallions in the state by 2016 progeny earnings. “We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to stand these top stallions that Danny and his team have done such a great job with,” Carson said. “Keeping these horses in Texas is important. The response we’ve gotten from our clients already has been great; people are excited to have them in North Texas.” Valor Farm also announced the addition of Stonesider to its roster for the 2017 breeding season.
Lane’s End Texas, one of the Lone Star State’s leading Thoroughbred farms, closed in July, and the three stallions standing there—Too Much Bling, Grasshopper and Congaree—have been relocated to Valor Farm near Pilot Point, Texas. Located near Hempstead and formerly known as Huisache Farm, Lane’s End Texas stood many of the top Texas stallions over the past two decades, including the state’s all-time leading sire Valid Expectations. William S. Farish, owner of Lane’s End Texas as well as Lane’s End in Kentucky, has been a perennial leading owner and breeder in Texas. The stallions were managed by longtime farm general manager Danny Shifflett. “I have been very blessed during my time at Lane’s End to work for someone like Mr. Farish and enjoy the type of animals he has produced and the care that he allows you to give to those horses,” Shifflett said. “We had a great staff with some remarkable people who were here for many, many years. We really appreciate the support we received from the Texas industry and from around the country.” The three Lane’s End Texas stallions will join the roster of another elite farm in the state, Valor Farm. Started by the late Dorothy and Clarence Scharbauer Jr. in the early 1990s, Valor has also been home to many top Texas stallions over the years including Hadif, Magic Cat and Rare Brick. The farm’s 2016 roster included Crossbow, Early Flyer, Jet Phone and My Golden Song. It was also announced that the Scharbauers’ son Douglas has taken over ownership of the 393-acre facility. “He loves the business,” Valor Farm General Manager Ken Carson told Daily Racing Form. “He loves the farm, and so it’s just going to roll right on.” Too Much Bling, currently the leading Texas sire by 2016 progeny earnings, had his offspring sweep both divisions of the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity this year at Lone Star Park, with both being bred by Farish. From 195 foals of racing age, Too Much Bling has sired 21 stakes winners, or 10.8 percent, which ranks him highest among all stallions in North America. The stallion will stand for Janice and Robert McNair, Farish and Scharbauer. Grasshopper, currently ranked second on this year’s active Texas sire list, is the sire of Assault Stakes winner Supermason (also bred by Farish) and Texas Chrome, a six-time stakes winner and winner of the Grade 3 Super Derby this year. Farish retains ownership of Grasshopper. Congaree, who moved to Texas in 2015, is the sire of six graded stakes winners, including three Grade 1 winners. Congaree will stand
Leading Texas sire Too Much Bling The winning son of Giant’s Causeway entered stud at Highcliff Farm in 2008 and most recently stood in New York at Keane Stud. He was relocated as part of a desire by the McNairs to consolidate their stallion interests. Carson said he is tickled to have Stonesider on the roster, because Valor has not had a Northern Dancer-line stallion since the farm stood Magic Cat, a son of Storm Cat. Magic Cat was sold and relocated to Minnesota in 2011. Injury curtailed Stonesider’s racing career, which included winning his first start at Belmont Park as the favorite in a field that included future Grade 1 winner Flashy Bull and Grade 3 winner Tasteyville. To date, Stonesider has sired four stakes winners, including multiple stakes winner Galiana, who earned $641,861.
Graded Stakes Winner American Lion to Oklahoma, Shermanesque to Texas The Southwest had two early additions to the stallion ranks for the 2017 breeding season as American Lion and Shermanesque both relocated to the region. American Lion, a multiple graded stakes-winning son of Horse of the Year and two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Tiznow, will stand at Francisco and Lori Bravo’s River Oaks Farms in Sulphur, Oklahoma, for an introductory fee of $1,000 as property of a partnership. The 9-year-old stallion, who is out of the Storm Cat mare Storm Tide, formerly stood at Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky. “We are excited to be standing him in Oklahoma,” said Francisco Bravo. “As a multiple graded stakes winner and a strong contender on the Kentucky Derby trail, he’s the most accomplished son of Tiznow to stand in this region.” American Lion won two of three starts as a 2-year-old, with a daylight maiden victory at Keeneland and a score in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes in California. As a 3-year-old, he finished third in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita and then won the Grade 3, $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne. He also ran in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, finishing 11th, and retired with earnings of $417,800 from nine starts. American Lion’s first crop of runners are 3-year-olds of this year. His
leading runner is $248,734-earner Extinct Charm, who won last year’s $100,000 Damon Runyon Stakes at Aqueduct and finished second in this year’s $154,500 Betfair.com Pegasus Stakes (G3) at Monmouth and $164,150 New York Derby at Finger Lakes. Shermanesque, a multiple graded stakes-placed son of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, will stand at Broughton Farm in Midland, Texas, as property of Misti Broughton. He will stand for an introductory fee of $750. A $350,000 Keeneland yearling purchase, Shermanesque broke his maiden at Churchill Downs at first asking as a 2-year-old and then posted three consecutive placings against graded stakes company in the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) at Churchill, the Saratoga Special Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G2) in New York and the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park. He retired from racing after five starts with a bankroll of $104,516. Shermanesque is out of the stakes-winning T. V. Commercial mare T. V. Countess, and he is a half brother to champion 2-year-old filly and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner Countess Diana. Shermanesque’s leading runner is 11-time winner Lemon Sherbert, a stakes-placed earner of nearly $250,000. The stallion formerly stood at Whispering Oaks Farm in Louisiana.
AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 13
Crossbow, Lentenor, Sangaree and Zulu Magic All Sire First Winners From Texas to Indiana to Michigan, four stallions in the states covered by American Racehorse recorded their first winners from their initial crop of 2-year-olds. Texas stallion Crossbow, who stands at Valor Farm near Pilot Point, was represented by his first winner on August 26 when his Texas-bred daughter Crossbow Huntress won a maiden special weight contest at Evangeline Downs. Bred, owned and trained by Caroline Dodwell, the filly opened up a four-length lead at the top of the stretch and cruised to the wire to win by 2 ¼ lengths under jockey Alfredo Contreras. Crossbow Huntress came into the race off a second-place effort in her last start, and she has now earned $15,800 in three starts. Crossbow is a son of Bernardini out of two-time Grade 3 winner Forest Heiress, who is a full sister to Grade 1 winner and successful stallion Wildcat Heir. Crossbow’s female family also includes Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Louis Quatorze and Grade 1 winner and $2.8 million earner Awesome Gem. On the track, Crossbow hit the board in eight of 11 starts with four wins and two stakes placings, including the Grade 3 James Marvin Stakes at Saratoga. Sangaree, an Awesome Again stallion standing at R Star Stallions in Anderson, Indiana, was represented by his first winner on August 11 when his gelded son Sung rolled to a maiden special weight victory for Indiana-breds at Indiana Grand. The gelding won by 2 ¼ lengths in a time of 1:04.42 for 5 ½ furlongs. The chestnut runner, who is trained by Barbara McBride, was bred by Amy and Jim Elliott and runs for Elliott Ventures. Sung finished second by a neck in his career debut, and in two starts he has banked $27,200. Bred by Stonerside Stable and campaigned by Godolphin Racing LLC, Sangaree earned $365,710 on the track. A versatile runner who won from distances of 6 ½ furlongs to 1 1/16 miles, he earned a stakes victory at Santa Anita Park and placed in six other stakes, with five of those being graded including the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap. Sangaree is out of the Grade 1-placed mare Mari’s Sheba, who is also the dam of multiple Grade 1 winner and $3.2 million earner Congaree. Indiana stallion Lentenor, a stakes-winning full brother to Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Barbaro, had his first winner on July 11 when his daughter Macy’s Attitude won a maiden special weight race at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia. The Kentucky-bred filly, who runs for trainer Tommy Short and Robert Heyer, was bred by the famed Calumet Farm. Macy’s Attitude had finished second in two consecutive starts before breaking through with her maiden win. She is the first starter for her sire.
A son of Dynaformer out of the Carson City mare La Ville Rouge, Lentenor broke his maiden on the turf at Gulfstream Park, picked up two more grass wins at Parx Racing and Tampa Bay Downs, and then captured the Kitten’s Joy Stakes on the turf at Colonial Downs. His victory at Tampa came in a course record time for 1 1/16 miles. All told, Lentenor hit the board in 10 of 17 starts and banked nearly $185,000. Lentenor stands at Indiana Stallion Station in Anderson as property of Calumet Farm. Michigan stallion Zulu Magic got his first winner on August 19 when his daughter Poof Its Magic scored a 10-1 upset in a $20,000 allowance prep race for the Michigan Sire Stakes at Hazel Park. It was the first career start for the 2-year-old filly, and she won by 2 ¼ lengths in a time of :48.52 for four furlongs. The Michigan-bred runs for breeder and owner Jenny Barbeau and is trained by Reid Gross. Zulu Magic, a multiple winning son of champion and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Johannesburg, stood the 2016 breeding season at Davidson’s Tracks-N-Time LLC in Midland, Michigan.
The Horse Supply Specialists Servicing Evangeline Downs & Evangeline Downs Training Center each race day.
14 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Stemmans Inc. 117 E. Gloria Switch Road P.O. Box 156 Carencro, LA 70520 337-234-2382 337-316- 2694 -Don’s Cell
Oklahoma-bred Standout Clever Trevor Dies at Age 30 Remington Park as a 2-year-old. As a 3-year-old, the Donnie K. Von Hemel trainee won the inaugural Remington Park Derby (now the Oklahoma Derby) and raced in the 1989 Kentucky Derby (G1), where he finished 13th. The gelding rebounded to win the Grade 2 St. Paul Derby in Minnesota and Grade 1 Arlington Classic in Illinois before running a game second to Easy Goer in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. He also ran in the 1991 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), finishing sixth. After retiring from the track, Clever Trevor spent most of his remaining years on the farm of Donnie K. Von Hemel and his wife, Robin, and daughter, Tess. “He was a brilliant,” Von Hemel told Daily Racing Form. “He was a great racehorse who really put a young trainer on a successful path. I was very fortunate that he came along during the early part of my career, and I’ll forever be indebted to that horse. He meant so Clever Trevor winning the inaugural Remington Park Derby (now the Oklahoma Derby) much to me and my family. It’s a sad day, but he had a Oklahoma-bred Clever Trevor, who won the first Remington Park wonderful life.” Derby in 1989, was euthanized on July 22 due to deteriorating health, Clever Trevor, Von Hemel and McNeill, who passed away last year, according to Daily Racing Form. He was 30 years old. are all members of the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Remington A 1986 gelded son of Slewacide bred and owned by Don McNeill, Park annually honors the gelding with the Clever Trevor Stakes. Clever Trevor won half of his 30 career starts and banked nearly $1.4 The first issue of Southern Racehorse/American Racehorse had a million. He began his racing career at Ak-Sar-Ben in Nebraska and then feature article about Clever Trevor, which can be accessed through took his home state by storm with stakes wins at Blue Ribbon Downs and americanracehorse.com.
Lone Star Park Meet Concludes with Increases in Handle Lone Star Park concluded its 20th spring Thoroughbred season with a 6 percent increase in off-track live wagering, raising the total amount wagered on the live racing product by 1.8 percent. “We’re happy with the increase in live product wagering, especially the off-track numbers,” said Lone Star President and General Manager Scott Wells. “It shows that interest from national simulcast customers has increased in our live product offering.” Attendance during the meet, which was conducted over 50 dates between April 7 and July 17, totaled 362,457, a slight decline of 1 percent compared to 366,720 during the 50-date 2015 season. Average daily attendance was 7,249 compared to 7,325 a year ago. A total of 80,806 music fans attended the six concerts (one less than in 2015) that made up the highly successful 2016 Lone Star Music Series. Attendance per concert averaged 13,468 versus an average of 13,392 in 2015. Total on-track simulcast wagering was $25.7 million compared to the $26.7 million wagered in 2015, a decline of 3.9 percent.
On-track live wagering slipped 7.9 percent to $11.2 million compared to last year’s total of $12.1 million. The total amount wagered on the live product, both on and off-track, rose 1.8 percent to $41.6 million versus $40.8 million last year. Daily averages were $832,433 compared to $817,320 one year ago. Overall, there was a slight decline of just 0.4 percent in all-sources wagering. A total of $67.3 million was wagered during the meet as opposed to $67.6 million wagered in 2015. On the track, a total of 3,582 starters competed in 451 races. The average field size was 7.94 compared the 2015 average (U.S. and Canada) of 7.82, according to The Jockey Club. Lone Star Park’s average daily purses were up 5.5 percent at $147,801 compared to $140,099 last season. With 99 wins, C.J. McMahon won his second consecutive riding title. Karl Broberg captured his third consecutive Lone Star Park training title with 61 wins. Lone Star Park’s all-time leading trainer, Steve Asmussen, captured his first ever owner title at the Grand Prairie track with 22 wins.
For more racing and breeding news, go to AmericanRacehorse.com AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 15
Texas-bred Stymie Added to Hoofprints Walk of Fame at Saratoga The Saratoga 150 Committee in July announced the two newest inductees to the Hoofprints Walk of Fame at Saratoga Race Course: the outstanding filly Los Angeles and Hall of Fame Thoroughbred Stymie. Modeled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hoofprints Walk of Fame was installed outside the Saratoga clubhouse gates in 2013 in conjunction with the sesquicentennial celebration of the first organized race meeting in Saratoga Springs, New York. The Hoofprints Walk of Fame honors the most prolific and notable horses to compete at the track during its illustrious history. The bronze plaques prominently feature the Thoroughbred’s name alongside the names of its sire, dam, owner, trainer and jockey. The plaques also feature the horse’s year of birth and signature wins at Saratoga Race Course. Other Walk of Fame honorees include Affirmed, Man o’ War, Native Dancer and Secretariat. Although her home was California, with owner E.J. “Lucky” Baldwin, Los Angeles won 16 stakes races at Saratoga from 1887, when she won
the Spinaway, through 1891, when she won the Saratoga Cup. She won from five furlongs to two miles, and her other major Saratoga victories included the Kenner Stakes and the Texas-bred Stymie retired with earnings of Congress Hall. $918,485, a record at the time. Stymie, bred in Texas by Max Hirsch and foaled at King Ranch, made 131 starts in his career, including five at Saratoga as a 5-year-old in 1946 within 26 days. He won the Whitney Handicap at 1 ¼ miles—conceding 17 pounds to the runner-up—and the Saratoga Cup at 1 ¾ miles, the latter in a walkover. When he retired from the track in 1949, his earnings of $918,485 made him the richest racehorse of all time. Originally trained by Max Hirsch, Stymie proved to be one of the greatest claims in history when he was haltered for $1,500 by trainer Hirsch Jacobs for his wife, Ethel.
Orphaned Fillies Sweep Exacta in Arapahoe Park Stakes
At left, a one-week-old Last Dragoness, and at right, a 2-year-old Last Dragoness winning the CTBA Lassie at Arapahoe Park. Bill Vanlandingham’s homebred Emma’s Dilemma, a daughter of Crafty Shaw trained by Kenneth Gleason, also got her start in life thanks to JNP Horses. “A month or so later, Bill called me because he’d lost his good mare Vanasee, who had Emma’s Dilemma at her side,” Hillman said. “A mutual friend told Bill about my experience, so he called JNP and they brought him a mare, too. Bill was lucky; his nurse mare accepted his foal in three days, if I recall correctly.” Emma’s Dilemma added another stakes placing on July 30 when she finished second in the Arapahoe Debutante Stakes. She now has a win and three seconds in four starts with earnings of $24,711. “JNP Horses, along with similar operations, do some great, tireless work for breeders,” Hillman said. “That work might go unnoticed sometimes, but it’s so valuable in situations like these two orphaned foals.”
16 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Courtesy Mark Hillman
Starting life as an orphan can be tough for humans or horses. In the case of a Thoroughbred, one of the main concerns is getting a foal the milk needed for nutrition and growth in the early stages of life. Nurse mares can play a vital role for an orphaned foal, but only if such a mare is put in place quickly enough, and if both the mare and foal accept the new arrangement. Although proven to be untrue, there is a perception that orphaned foals will not flourish, as they are always trying to “catch up” to their counterparts who had the benefit of nursing from their actual mother. In what is surely a racing rarity, a pair of orphaned foals finished first and second in the $43,755 CTBA Lassie on July 9 at Arapahoe Park near Denver, as Last Dragoness prevailed over Emma’s Dilemma in the race for 2-year-old Colorado-bred fillies. “Just over two weeks after Last Dragoness was born, I lost her mama, Sea Dragoness, to colic,” said Mark Hillman, who bred Last Dragoness and races her in the name of Hilltop Stable. “Little ‘Nessy’ refused all forms of milk substitute, so after a week I was desperate and found Jim and Nancy Pearson’s JNP Horses in Hugo, Oklahoma. Jim was bailing hay and coordinated with Nancy, who brought our nurse mare ‘Rose’ within 24 hours. It took about two weeks for Rose to finally let Nessy nurse without her head being tied, but she finally did.” Last Dragoness, a daughter of Smoke Glacken, has turned out to be quite a racehorse, as she now has two wins in as many starts and has banked $32,073. The filly is trained by John Hammes and was ridden in the CTBA Lassie by Alfredo Triana Jr.
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THINK THOROUGHBREDS ARE JUST FOR RACING? THINK AGAIN! Thoroughbred horses are amazing, intelligent athletes, and when they are through racing they excel in a variety of other equestrian events. Just ask Olympian Boyd Martin, who rode the Thoroughbred ex-racehorse Blackfoot Mystery in the eventing competition at the Rio Summer Games! The Paddock Foundation, formed by the Texas Thoroughbred Association, works tirelessly to find second careers and new homes for ex-racehorses. Our Roses to Ribbons Old Fashioned Horse Fairs offer you the chance to meet and purchase these athletes in a relaxed, informative environment. We invite you to visit us online at www.paddockfoundation.com and attend one of our upcoming Horse Fairs: November 12, 2016 • Retama Park near San Antonio March 2017 • Sam Houston Race Park in Houston July 2017 • Lone Star Park near Dallas/Ft. Worth
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THOROUGHBRED RACING AND RETIRED RACEHORSES? American Racehorse magazine covers the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry in Texas and around the country, plus each issue features an article about an off-track Thoroughbred (OTTB). Check us out online at www.americanracehorse.com and learn how you can subscribe. Or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americanracehorse or follow us on Twitter at @AmerRacehorse.
20 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Omaha World-Herald/John Savage
Courtesy Chris Kotulak
Courtesy Joe Anania
who experienced the ‘Aks Magic,’ many of them get glassy-eyed recollecting the gem that it was. “There is a piece of my heart that remains attached to Nebraska horse racing,” added Kotulak, who now serves as an analyst and TV host at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. Thanks to its location near the center of the continental United States, AkSar-Ben was a major part of horse racing in the Midwest and became a seasonal stopping place for some of the region’s greatest trainers and jockeys. One of the most prominent horsemen to frequent Jack Van Berg (right) and Don Von Hemel are two of the many training icons Ak-Sar-Ben is Jack Van Berg, a Hall of Fame trainer who has won a Kentucky who raced in Omaha. Derby, two renewals of the Preakness Stakes, a Breeders’ cumference and featured “an imposing grandstand of steel and concrete,” as Daily Racing Form reported at the time. Cup Classic and more than 6,400 other races, ranking The first race meet was small, distributing a little more him as the fourth-leading trainer in history by races won. For many years, Van Berg’s dominance of Ak-Sar-Ben than $400 in purse money per race, but it was embraced by knew no bounds; in fact, he was the leading trainer at Akhorsemen and fans alike. The newly constructed barns— which would soon be applauded for their quality—filled Sar-Ben for a staggering 19 consecutive years from 1959 rapidly in advance of the meet, and fan attendance was through 1977. For good measure, he added another title strong throughout the eight days. The races were also at- in 1984. Like Kotulak, Van Berg has fond memories of Ak-Sartractive from a wagering standpoint; Daily Racing Form later noted that the five pari-mutuel wagering machines Ben and the racing fans that supported the track. at the track were “found inadequate to handle the volume of business.” From these humble beginnings, Ak-Sar-Ben would rise through the ranks to become a prominent racetrack on the national stage, but even after decades of operation, Ak-Sar-Ben retained its special identity. “I think what made Ak-Sar-Ben special was that their summertime meet was a working vacation for horsemen and a genuine vacation destination for race fans,” remembered Chris Kotulak, who worked at Ak-Sar-Ben for 15 years and served as the track announcer in 1994. “The facility was simply magical the way it was nestled into a cozy, quiet, tree-filled neighborhood, yet with a number of popular steakhouses nearby. I think the 4 p.m. weekday post-time was also very popular with the race fans. Of course, horse racing is much From 1921 to 1995, some of the best horses and jockeys in different now. But to this day, when you speak to someone the sport broke from a starting gate at Ak-Sar-Ben.
Omaha World-Herald/John Savage Photography Collection at the Durham Museum
Courtesy Chris Kotulak
This 1941 photo shows a typical crowd in the early days of the racetrack.
Omaha World-Herald/John Savage Photography Collection at the Durham Museum
“[Ak-Sar-Ben] had a good stable area, but it used to be the barns were clear around, so the public could drive right through the stable area,” Van Berg said. “Before they put the barns behind the fence, people would come out on Sunday morning after church and they’d come to the barns to see all the horses.” And come they did! Nowadays, having a crowd of 10,000 people attend a day of racing is a significant achievement; at Ak-Sar-Ben, this was commonplace. In 1955, the average daily attendance surpassed 10,000 for the first time and stayed above that mark for 32 consecutive years. According to Van Berg, Ak-SarBen was a very important part of This 1950s photo shows plenty of open fields around Ak-Sar-Ben, but the the local community. “Part of it was [Ak-Sar-Ben] was surrounding area continued to be developed. The grandstand was torn down in a nonprofit organization, so they 2004 to make way for a mixed use development called Aksarben Village. gave every little town in Nebraska a rescue unit, an ambulance and fire trucks,” he exSome of Van Berg’s best memories in a memoryplained. “And they did so much for the kids—4-H and filled career occurred at Ak-Sar-Ben and are chronicled scholarships and stuff. People would come there just for in the book JACK: From Grit to Glory, which was writa great afternoon.” ten by Kotulak. THE REGIONAL STARS Being tucked away in Nebraska, far from the U.S. racing epicenters like New York, Kentucky and California, Ak-Sar-Ben was destined to develop its own identity, one that was based in large part on local horses that were treated like stars and beloved as much—if not more so—than any Kentucky Derby winner. Of course, that’s not to say that Ak-Sar-Ben didn’t embrace a Kentucky Derby winner when given the opportunity. The 1935 Triple Crown winner Omaha—who shared a name with the town in which Ak-Sar-Ben was located—eventually retired to Nebraska and was a frequent visitor at the track, much to the delight of racing fans. Such was Omaha’s local legacy that when he died in 1959, he was buried at the track.
AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 21
Courtesy David Edwards
Ak-Sar-Ben Media Guide
But Ak-Sar-Ben had plenty of its own star horses as well. Through the decades, but particularly in the 1980s, AkSar-Ben was a stopping point for some of the best horses in the Midwest, including the beloved and seemingly ageless Who Doctor Who. Owned by Herb and Nancy Riecken and trained by Herb, Who Doctor Who was a sensational sprinter who won 27 races from 49 starts at Ak-Sar-Ben from 1985 to 1992, including four straight renewals of the Beef State Stakes and three editions of the Speed Handicap. In 1987, he won a six-furlong allowance race at Oaklawn Park in such impressive fashion— stopping the clock in 1:08 45 Nebraska-bred Who Doctor Who became a local legend in his home state and across the ⁄ —that the legendary jockey Midwest during a career that included 64 starts, 33 wins, 16 seconds and five thirds Pat Day gave him a major with earnings of $813,870. compliment. “When Pat got off the horse,” remembered Kotulak, “he reportedly said to trainer Herb Riecken, ‘If I’d have been on him in the Count Fleet [a Grade 3 race held the day before at Oaklawn], we’d have won the race.’ ” The voice of Terry Wallace, the longtime Oaklawn announcer who also spent years at Ak-Sar-Ben, bellowing “Who Doctor Who” as the gelding chalked up victory after victory still resonates with racing fans to this day. Competing during the same time period as Who Doctor Who was the remarkable filly Explosive Girl, a fan favorite that won six stakes races in Omaha from 1987 to 1989, including two consecutive renewals of the Ak-Sar-Ben Budweiser Breeders’ Cup Stakes. With two such popular horses racing at the same track during the same years, it was only natural that they should run against each other, and while such dream The track ran a promotion in which fans could “own” a matchups rarely come to fruition, this one did. On July piece of Who Doctor Who, or at least receive a portion of the money the Doctor Stat gelding earned at the track. 23, 1988, with 21,043 racing fans in attendance, Who
22 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Ak-Sar-Ben Media Guide
Bob Dunn/Winner’s Circle Custom Photography
Doctor Who and Explosive Girl faced off in a one-mile and 70-yard match race at Ak-Sar-Ben. “The race, I believe, was dreamed up by the Aks marketing department because both horses had established quite a reputation at Aks,” Kotulak recalled. “Explosive Girl [had] won five straight at Aks the year before at age three, and at age four in 1988 [she] had won three straight at Aks before the match race. Meantime, I think ‘The Doctor’ had won 20 previous Aks races, so it was a nobrainer to have the race.” The match race was billed as a This famous 1975 photo by Bob Dunn shows a tornado approaching Ak-Sar-Ben “Battle of the Sexes” by track man- on a day with nearly 9,000 people in attendance. The twister was reportedly on agement, and as a special promo- course for the track but then veered. Still considered one of the most destructive tion the track gave away T-shirts to tornadoes in U.S. history, it caused more than $1.1 billion in inflation-adjusted people in attendance. damage but remarkably only three deaths. “Fans could choose between a blue and white Explosive Girl T-shirt or a red and white known as a sprinter and would be running a longer disWho Doctor Who T-shirt,” Kotulak explained. “I opted tance than usual. But under a great ride from jockey for a Doctor shirt … I was a Doctor fan all the way, as I’m Tommy Greer, Who Doctor Who took the lead and sure were the majority of fans.” the rail when Explosive Girl reared at the start, then With all this support, Who Doctor Who was sent off eased up slightly to give Explosive Girl a small lead as the favorite at 2-5 despite the fact that he was primarily around the first turn. The filly remained in front down the backstretch and into the final turn, but Who Doctor Who was still running easily and reclaimed the lead when Explosive Girl began to tire. From there, Who Doctor Who pulled away in the homestretch to win by 3 ½ lengths. “When Tommy Greer hustled Who Doctor Who around [Explosive Girl] and to the rail, the race was pretty much over before they reached the first turn,” Kotulak recalled. “She never really threatened in the final quarter.” Another Ak-Sar-Ben veteran was Orphan Kist, a tough-as-nails mare that ran exactly 100 times at tracks across the Midwest from 1986 through 1993. As a sprinter, she knocked heads with Who Doctor Who more than a few times over the years, beating him in the 1989 Speed Handicap and again in the 1991 Nebraskaland Handicap, Explosive Girl, nicknamed “The Queen of Ak-Sar-Ben,” in which she held him off by a desperate head after a long compiled a record of 40-15-10-5 with earnings of $467,592. stretch battle.
AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 23
At the time, some of the stakes purses weren’t very big at Ak-Sar-Ben—the Nebraskaland Handicap carried a purse of $25,000, and others considerably less—but thanks to their longevity and talent, Who Doctor Who and Orphan Kist retired as the all-time richest Nebraskabreds of their respective genders, with Who Doctor Who earning $813,870 with 33 wins in 64 career starts and Orphan Kist retiring with $631,997 with 28 victories. In the penultimate year of racing at Ak-Sar-Ben, one last star came along. Dazzling Falls, a Nebraska-bred son of the Ak-Sar-Ben stakes winner Taylor’s Falls, won three of his four starts at Ak-Sar-Ben during the summer of 1994, including the Laddie Stakes and Juvenile Stakes. From there, he rose to even greater heights. As a 3-year-old in 1995, he won the $300,000 Remington Park Derby and the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (G2) before finishing 13th in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He rebounded quickly to win the $200,000 Alabama Derby at Birmingham Race Course and finish second in the $300,000 Ohio Derby (G2), and with the latter performance, he surpassed Who Doctor Who as the richest Nebraska-bred racehorse of all time. He eventually retired with earnings of $904,622.
THE NATIONAL STARS As important as Ak-Sar-Ben was on a regional level, the track also had a national impact. In 1966, Ak-Sar-Ben created the Cornhusker Handicap, an 8 1⁄2-furlong race worth about $30,000 to the winner, and the race quickly established itself as a target for well-known horses from major tracks. Royal Gate Dancer, pictured here with a young fan, was among the Gunner, a talented colt that had proven himself against top many nationally prominent horses to compete in Omaha.
24 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Bob Dunn/Winner’s Circle Custom Photography
Ak-Sar-Ben Media Guide
Before the days of simulcasting in the mid-1980s, large Pick 6 carryovers fueled huge on-track crowds at Ak-Sar-Ben. Here the toteboard shows a record payout for a single winning ticket.
company at Arlington Park and Aqueduct, won the inaugural Cornhusker by defeating Sammyren, a gelding that had won Aqueduct’s Discovery Handicap in 1965. The Grade 1-placed True Statement and Star de Naskra, future winner of Saratoga’s Whitney Stakes, were among the Cornhusker winners of the 1970s. Through the years, Ak-Sar-Ben added new stakes races to its schedule, and by the mid-1980s, the track was home to seven graded stakes races. The Juvenile Stakes (G3) for 2-year-olds was a springboard to future success for young horses, while the Governor’s Handicap (G3), Omaha Gold Cup (G3) and Cornhusker (G2) were prime targets for 3-year-olds and older horses. AkSar-Ben’s most important race still lives on as the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap, which has Grade 3 status and a $300,000 purse at the Iowa track. It helped that Jack Van Berg brought some of his best horses to race at Ak-Sar-Ben, some of whom got their start in Omaha. In 1983, a Van Berg trainee named Gate Dancer broke his maiden at first asking at Ak-Sar-Ben. In 1984, Gate Dancer captured the Preakness Stakes (G1) and then came back to Ak-Sar-Ben to win the Omaha Gold Cup. The following year, Gate Dancer—adorned with eye-catching white “earmuffs,” which he wore in addition to blinkers—returned to Ak-Sar-Ben to score a decisive victory in the Cornhusker.
Bob Dunn/Winner’s Circle Custom Photography
Bob Dunn/Winner’s Circle Custom Photography
In the 1984 Omaha Gold Cup, Preakness Stakes winner Gate Dancer was all alone at the wire. Six years later, the Cornhusker was won by another national star. In 1991, Black Tie Affair—a seven-time graded stakes winner that had finished third in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1)—shipped to Ak-Sar-Ben to contest the Cornhusker and won easily by 3 ½ lengths. That victory marked the third of six straight wins achieved by Black Tie Affair during his 1991 campaign, and after ending the season with a determined victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Black Tie Affair was voted the Eclipse Award as Horse of the Year. Another Eclipse champion that raced at Ak-Sar-Ben was My Juliet, the champion sprinter of 1976. A sensationally fast and consistent filly who won 24 of her 36 races, My Juliet had already won stakes races at Churchill Downs and Pimlico before she shipped to Ak-Sar-Ben in the summer of 1975. There, the future champion won the six-furlong Princess Stakes and stretched her speed around two turns to finish second in the Omaha Gold Cup against colts, even finishing ahead of 1975 Preakness Stakes winner Master Derby. Other notables included Bersid, an ultra-tough mare who raced at Ak-Sar-Ben from 1980 to 1985 and earned 16 wins in Omaha, and Nebraska-bred Amadevil, who notched 33 career wins with many of those in his home state. Mariah’s Storm launched her career in the waning years of Ak-SarBen, as she broke her maiden at first asking in 1993 and captured the Ak-Sar-Ben Oaks (G3) the following year. The Don Von Hemel trainee went on to earn more than $700,000 and as a broodmare produced European Horse of the Year and leading stallion Giant’s Causeway. To recount all the talented horses that raced at Ak-SarBen would require an article of encyclopedic proportions,
but two others were Clever Trevor and Timeless Native. Clever Trevor, an Oklahoma-bred conditioned by Donnie K. Von Hemel (Don’s son), kicked off his racing career with two wins at the Omaha track and returned to capture the 1991 Ak-Sar-Ben Handicap. In between, he won the inaugural Remington Park (now Oklahoma) Derby in Oklahoma City, raced in the Kentucky Derby (G1), won the Arlington Classic (G1) and finished a game second to Easy Goer in the Travers Stakes (G1). Timeless Native was a star at Ak-Sar-Ben, where he won the 1983 Omaha Gold Cup and the 1984 Cornhusker Handicap, but he was also good enough to make a mark in New York, where he finished second in the Vosburgh Stakes (G1), Fall Highweight Handicap (G2) and Jim Dandy Stakes (G3). Star jockeys also visited Ak-Sar-Ben. John Lively, a Midwest rider who won the 1976 Preakness Stakes aboard Elocutionist, won 10 titles as the leading jockey at the track and rode a record 129 winners during the 1986 meet. He also celebrated a milestone at Ak-Sar-Ben in 1986 when he won his 3,000th race. One year earlier, Pat Day—a future Hall of Fame member and the winner of nine Triple Crown races and four Eclipse awards— celebrated the same 3,000th-win milestone with a victory at Ak-Sar-Ben. THE END OF AN ERA As the decade shifted to the 1990s, Ak-Sar-Ben slowly began to fade from prominence. Average daily attendance, which had climbed steadily through the decades, peaked in 1978 at 16,018 and dropped sharply after 1985, plunging to less than 5,000 in 1991. The decline
AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 25
Courtesy Chris Kotulak
Van Berg agrees that the expansion of gambling in other states hurt Ak-Sar-Ben, particularly the coming of slot machines at tracks like Prairie Meadows. “They were going to lose out if they didn’t get [slot machines] in Nebraska,” he said. “Prairie Meadows was bankrupt at the time before they got them.” In 1995, after 75 years of racing, Ak-Sar-Ben held its final meet. On August 7, a larger-than-usual crowd of 6,039 turned out for a 10-race card that included six stakes races. Herb Riecken won two races; Don Von Hemel, a 10time leading trainer at Ak-Sar-Ben, won another. And at 8:03 p.m., a dozen horses left the starting gate to contest the Nebraska Breeders’ Sweepstakes Sophomore Stakes. Just over a minute and 45 seconds later, a Nebraska-bred gelding named Cody’s Ninja Star crossed the wire first by a half-length. It was the last race ever held at Ak-Sar-Ben. The great track remained in use as a simulcast facility through 1998, after which it was developed by Douglas The monument for 1935 Triple Crown winner Omaha was County, which had purchased the track in 1992. Accordonce near the Ak-Sar-Ben grandstand entrance. Although ing to Van Berg, Nebraska-based owner and breeder Don he never raced at Ak-Sar-Ben, Omaha stood in Nebraska Everett tried to buy the track, but the county wouldn’t at the end of his stallion career and appeared at the track sell it. several times. Omaha was buried on the track grounds in Said Kotulak, “Many believe the intent all along was to 1959, but as the clubhouse was expanded in later years his reform the area into a new space, and they did. It is now exact burial location was lost and his remains have never part of the University of Nebraska–Omaha campus, and been found. it has transformed into an entertainment area with retail in attendance was mirrored by a decline in the quality and apartment living.” In October 2004, the great steel and concrete grandstand of racing. One by one, Ak-Sar-Ben’s graded stakes races lost their grades; the stakes purses, once strong enough to was demolished and Ak-Sar-Ben faded into history. But draw top-class horses, began to dwindle. The Cornhusker more than two decades after the track last ran, the memowas worth $250,000 in 1986, but by 1991, it was worth ries of Ak-Sar-Ben still shine brightly as those who knew half that. The Juvenile Stakes, worth $75,000 at its peak, the track fondly recall the glory days when large crowds gathered to watch horses run at a place where “Nebraska” was worth just over $18,000 in 1993. A variety of factors contributed to Ak-Sar-Ben’s decline, spelled backward had a very special meaning. H but one of the biggest was the expansion of gambling in Nebraska and other nearby states. J. Keeler Johnson (also known as “Keelerman”) is a writer, “I believe the closing of Aks was due to competition,” Kotulak said. “Beginning in the 1980s, Bluff’s Run—a dog blogger, videographer, handicapper and all-around horse ractrack—opened in Council Bluffs [Iowa], followed by Rem- ing enthusiast. Johnson writes for the Bloodhorse.com blog ington Park, Canterbury, Prairie Meadows and The Wood- Unlocking Winners and is a frequent contributor to America’s lands. The lottery also came to the state and keno too. So the Best Racing (americasbestracing.net). He is also the founder of the horse racing website theturfboard.com. monopoly that Aks had [on gambling] slipped away.”
26 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Gala
Saturday, OctOber 29, 2016 • 5 p.m. retama park race track, Selma, tX
2016 Inductees Into the texas horse racIng hall of fame: First Down Dash Hugh Fitzsimons, Jr. John T.L. Jones Dr. Nat Kieffer Jay Pumphrey (deceased)
TEXAS HORSE RACING HALL of FAME
maSter of ceremony
cocktails • hors d’oeuVres GourMet priMe riB BuFFet • ciGar roller silent auction • thorouGhBred racinG Valet parkinG
dave appletOn World All-Around Champion Cowboy; Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
SponSorS aS of auguSt 29, 2016:
TEXAS HORSE RACING HALL of FAME
Mr. and Mrs. azopardi • FitzsiMons FaMily pinnacle entertainMent, inc. • Valor FarM Mr. and Mrs. lee Bass • daVid straus and Joe straus, Jr. • John t. l. Jones to make reServationS,
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Amy Elliott carries on the breeding program started by her late husband Jim By Tammy Knox
ong before Indiana had a Thoroughbred breeding program, the Hoosier State had a breeder who was making his mark on the racing industry. Jim Elliott was able to turn his passion into a lucrative business by breeding, raising, racing, buying and selling Thoroughbreds all over the country. The introduction of pari-mutuel racing to the state in 1995 gave Elliott the opportunity to become a pillar of the breeding industry in Indiana, a role he embraced and worked hard to expand for nearly 20 years. A native of the Lafayette, Indiana, area, Elliott grew up around horses and livestock on the family farm. Following service in the U.S. Army, he returned home and soon met his future wife, Amy. Together, they built up a farm in Brookston, Indiana, a business that is still going strong today. “Jim was tinkering with Thoroughbreds when I met him 45 years ago,” Amy said. “A good friend of his partnered up with him on a couple of horses, and he was hooked. Shortly Jim and Amy Elliott worked side by side to build one of the most sucafter we were married, we purchased a 20-acre cessful and longest-running breeding and racing operations in Indiana. farm in Brookston. It used to have bush racJim and Amy began breeding and raising their own ing. It was known as Tippecanoe Raceway and hosted Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred and Appaloosa rac- stock, but the majority of their business centered around ing. A little later we added another farm, and we now Jim’s keen eye at purchasing young horses and turning them around to sell at a profit, more commonly known have a little under 40 acres.” The Elliotts retained the five-eighths-mile training in the racing industry as “pinhooking.” “At one time, Jim had the highest percentage of success track and immediately converted the property to facilitate a broodmare band. At its peak, the farm housed 40 compared to other pinhookers in the U.S.,” Amy recalled. horses, with 26 of those being broodmares. The Elliott “He loved it and he worked very hard at it. Every night, he would study pedigrees. His old partner told him from brand was off to the races. AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 29
Courtesy Amy Elliott
Continuing a Legacy
Courtesy Amy Elliott
30 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Courtesy Amy Elliott
the very start, ‘you’ve got to know pedigrees,’ so he studied. He was also a master on conformation. He was very good at what he did.” Amy became actively involved with the farm, developing an interest in the horses while raising their two children, Michelle and Jason. She would join Jim frequently on prospecting trips in search of new stock, and although horses would come and go, she did have a few special ones. “I have several over the years that have been favorites, but probably the one I favored the most was Yeardley,” she said. “We bought her as a yearling and offered her for sale in the Indiana 2-year-olds in training sale. We wanted $30,000 for her and didn’t get it, so we ended up racing her and she made almost $600,000. She was kind of an ugly duckling, but her earnings helped build our new house. I refer to it as ‘the house that Yeardley built.’ ” Because of his immense knowledge of the breeding industry, Jim was a logical choice to be appointed to the Indiana Breed Development Advisory Committee. He was very instrumental in creating the groundwork and development of the program that is in place today. Jim was also very active in the Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (ITOBA), and was a driving force behind bringing a 2-year-old sale to the state. He was also responsible for bringing new owners into the business through his enthusiasm for the sport. “They [Jim and Amy] built us,” said Herb Likens, current ITOBA president. “My wife, Darlene, and I have been in horses since 1996 and have met a lot of people in this business, but none made more of an impact on me than Jim and Amy. This was the only way they made money, and they were honest about it and had a lot of credibility. We have been in partElliott was known for his innate nership with them over the years on several ability to pick out young horses horses and we’ve had a and get them ready to sell at future auctions. lot of fun.”
Jim Elliott had a love of animals from an early age; he trained his favorite bull and rode him around the family farm. Herb and Darlene Likens have enjoyed numerous purchases and partnerships with the Elliotts over the past two decades. Their latest venture is the partnership on the new Indiana stallion Sangaree, who stands at R Star Stallions in Anderson and just had his first winner in mid-August. Sung, a 2-year-old gelding homebred for the Elliotts, cruised home for the win in a $34,000 maiden special weight at Indiana Grand. The horse, who is one of several currently in training for Elliott Ventures, is conditioned by Barbara McBride, another individual who has a longstanding friendship and business partnership with the Elliott family. “We have been friends with Walter [Abner] and Barb for over 40 years,” Amy said. “Jim met Walter probably 50 years ago and was friends with his brother. He and
Courtesy Amy Elliott
Indiana-bred Sung, bred by Jim and Amy Elliott and running for Elliott Ventures, broke his maiden at Indiana Grand in August to become the first winner sired by Indiana stallion Sangaree, who Amy stands in partnership with Herb and Darlene Likens. Barb have always trained for us and after Walter passed away, Barb took over.” Life took an unexpected turn in early 2016, when Jim became ill and passed away in late January. It was never a question in Amy’s mind to continue the business she built with her husband, and with help from her family and longtime farm employees, Elliott Ventures emerged and has not missed a beat. Amy has taken over the role of studying pedigrees and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the business. She leans on assistant Jeremy Staley, as well as employees Martin Hernandez and Jadier Vergara, to keep the farm running just as Jim ran it for more than 40 years. “We have three employees, and they have been with us for 16 years,” Amy said. “Also, my son, Jason, does maintenance for the farm. Jeremy and Jadier break the young
ones and get them ready to go to the track. They even school them first before they are sent to the track. We work at it every day. It is not our hobby. I don’t quite eat, drink and sleep racing like Jim did, but it’s pretty much my life and I do study pedigrees. And Jeremy is getting pretty good at it, too.” With such a large investment in all aspects of Indiana Thoroughbred racing, Amy is also working hard to see the breeding aspect grow. She is now a board member of ITOBA and assisted in reestablishing the 2-year-old sale after a four-year hiatus, and also supports it with entries. “I offered everything I had that was sellable; some just had higher reserves than what they brought,” Amy noted. “We are trying to build the sale back up. This year’s sale [in June] has already produced three winners and two more that have raced. The Indiana program continues to AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 31
grow and is continuing to get better horses. We are trying to elevate the Indiana-sired program a little more than the Indiana-bred program. We don’t have Kentucky caliber stallions, but the program is becoming more lucrative. It’s still a little hard to sell [Indiana-sired horses], but it is getting better and better.” Likens also sees growth in the Indiana breeding program. The program has taken off a little slower than he would like, but he feels they are now on the right track. “When Rod [Ratcliff ] bought Linscott Photography Indiana Downs [now known as Indiana Grand] in 2013, it was Amy (center) was greeted by friends and family during a surprise birthday party at ranked 23rd for daily average pursIndiana Grand. es,” said Likens. “It has moved up significantly since then. I think the most we could ever impact the breeding and racing industry has in Indiana, get to would be 10th or 11th because it would be hard to which is over $1 billion annually,” Schuster said. “We’re overcome places like New York and Churchill, but we are dedicated to making sure that we not only improve the definitely moving up. As new money becomes available breed here, but that racing’s stakeholders have the tools in the next three or four years, we will see an increase as and environment they need to be successful and can conthe sired program moves above the bred program. When tinue to be a serious impactful agricultural driver for our owner and breeder awards increase, all of a sudden sired state. We want this to be a great state for top quality stalhorses will have lots of potential.” lions to stand as well as being a wonderful home for mares Likens noted that the Indiana Standardbred breeding and foals. We have some work to do in that area, and we program is ahead of both the Thoroughbred and Amer- are very committed to it.” ican Quarter Horse programs. So he has talked to key Amy Elliott is also very aware that all entities workindividuals in the Standardbred industry to get tips and ing together is the key to success. ITOBA, as well as the direction on the best way to elevate the Thoroughbred Indiana HBPA, has a strong working relationship with program within the next five to six years. He also noted racetrack management and other industry groups in the that interest has picked up from the current membership state to move the program forward. of ITOBA. In the last election, nearly 260 of the organi“We are so fortunate to have a casino owner [Rod Ratzation’s roughly 300 members voted, showing the ampli- cliff ] that loves us and supports us,” Amy said. “So many fied interest in the progress of the program. casino operations aren’t supportive and once they get in, “Money fuels everything,” Amy added. “Money buys the horses become a pain. Rod’s goal is to increase the racstallions, which brings in mares. We had the largest state- ing product and also work to make the breeding program bred growth of any jurisdiction in the U.S. last year. We the best it can be.” could do that again this year.” Amy plans to do her part to ensure the legacy and hard Jon Schuster, Indiana Grand’s vice president and gen- work her husband started continues on the path he envieral manager of racing and current appointed member of sioned. The road may not be paved yet, but Amy has no the Indiana Thoroughbred Breed Development Advisory intentions of stopping her journey to build up the breedCommittee, knows there is work to do and notes the com- ing and racing program in the state of Indiana. H mittee has been seeking input to help tweak the program. “The Breed Development Advisory group is very foTammy Knox is the race marketing manager at Indiana cused on improving the already enormous economic Grand. Follow her on Twitter at @IGTammy. 32 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Indiana-bred El Coco Loco, an Indiana sale graduate, has earned nearly $50,000 this year alone and is closing in on $100,000 in career earnings!
ITOBA FALL MIXED SALE Open Sale for Weanlings, Yearlings, Mares and Horses of Racing Age Sunday, October 30 at 2 pm Indiana State Fairgrounds Now Offering:
Online Bidding • Payment by Credit Card Live Streaming of the Sale
Sale Entry Deadline: September 23 Entry fee: $250 Commission: Flat fee of $250, regardless of sales price, including RNAs
AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 33
FOR MORE INFORMATION, GO TO ITOBASALES.COM OR CALL (317) 752-5694
Now is a golden opportunity to get involved in the
Indiana Thoroughbred Breed Development Program! The Indiana Program is one of the best in North America, and it keeps getting better. During 2015, over $15.6 million was distributed to owners, breeders and stallion owners participating in the program. The year 2016 is on track to be even greater.
The program oﬀers: Four Signature Stakes races contested at $150,000* * Includes an additional 25% supplement for Indiana Sired horses ﬁnishing 1st, 2nd or 3rd
Breeder’s Awards where payments are calculated at 20% of the total purse for eligible races. Out of State Breeder’s Awards payments that are 10% of the winner’s share of the purse for eligible races. An additional 40% in purse money for Indiana bred horses that ﬁnish 1st, 2nd or 3rd in eligible open races at Indiana Grand. Stallion Owner Awards – 10% of the total purse for eligible races.
Congratulations to our recent $150,000 Signature Stakes Winners! FIRST INDIANA STAKES
R Luckey Charlie
Sired Supplements: Additional $22,500 paid to the owner Additional $17,500 paid to the breeder Additional $3,750 paid to stallion owner
*Owner of 3rd place ﬁnisher in this race received an additional $3,750 in purse money for being Indiana Sired.
(Cat Dreams – Glisten, by Dixieland Band)
(Adios Charlie – That’swhatshesaid, by Lion Heart)
Don’t miss your chance to compete in Indiana’s lucrative racing program. Make plans to bring your mare to Indiana to foal or visit the upcoming ITOBA Fall Sale, to be held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Sunday, October 30th at 2:00 p.m.
If you have any questions regarding the Indiana Thoroughbred Breed Program or would like to receive additional information, please contact the oﬃces of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission at 34 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 (317) 233-3119 or visit our website at www.in.gov/ihrc.
(Ice Box – Sister Rose, by Service Stripe)
2015 Indiana-bred Filly Nominated to the Breeders’ Cup
By one of PULPIT’S top sons, ICE BOX, winner of the G1 Florida Derby and second in the G1 Kentucky Derby.
His 2-year-olds sold for an average of $116,500 this year and $108,250 for his first crop in 2015!
2016 ITOBA Sale Consignment
Aboxofroses’ dam is Sister Rose, who has produced one of the top earning Indiana-breds in recent history, BUSTER ROSE. A winner of 10 races with a bankroll of $393,493, BUSTER ROSE is a stakes winner on turf and dirt! Check out what he has done on the track: • Won $110,000 Claiming Crown Canterbury Stakes at Gulfstream Park against some of the top turf sprinters in the country. Went five furlongs in :55.96! • Won $87,750 Snack Stakes at Indiana Grand • Third in $58,760 Forego Stakes at Turfway Park against open company • Finished a close fourth while going seven-wide in Grade 3, $150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs • Named 2014 ITOBA Older Indiana-bred Horse of the Year Sister Rose is the dam of three other starters: • Picaboo Rose – In the money in five of six starts, including a second at Churchill Downs. Won maiden special at Indiana Grand in July of this year by 4 ½ lengths. Has earned $44,165 and counting. • Charlie Rose – Maiden special winner with earnings of $32,140 • Thirteen Rose – 3-year-old filly just finished second in July in maiden special at Indiana Grand
Indiana State Fairgrounds
Consigned by: R Star Stallions Anderson, Indiana
KINGSTONS CRUZIN (Grand Chance – Luck Be a Lady, by Ascot Knight)
2016 ITOBA Sale Consignment October 30 - Indiana State Fairgrounds
Indiana-bred Yearling Colt
By GRAND CHANCE, a son of GRAND SLAM, who has sired stakes runner Big Chance and multiple winners Saint Pattie Babie (3 wins with earnings of $77,186), Chance for Glitter (record of 7-3-2-1 with earnings of $64,932 and ITOBA Indiana-bred 3-Year-Old Filly of the Year) and Rosa Maria ($58,968 in 11 starts) Dam Luck Be a Lady has produced $660,043 earner Pisa No Alhambra and Kingstons Cruzin’s full brother Big Chance, who finished third in the Paul Tinkle ITOBA Stallion Season Stakes and has earned $41,866 This colt is Indiana-sired and eligible and paid up to date for ITOBA Stallion Season Stakes CONSIGNED BY DAVE BOGUE - (765) 625-0207
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www.riveroaksthoroughbreds.com AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 37
More Than a Good Deed
A 12-year-old boy claims a 12-year-old horse for retirement
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall
Fredrick Spanabel used his own money to make sure that Good Credentials has a good retirement.
By Jen Roytz Photos courtesy Gail Hirt
It takes some people the better part of a lifetime to figure out what type of lasting mark they want to make on the world. Twelve-year-old Fredrick Spanabel seems to be ahead of the curve. Fredrick has a heart for animals and a mind for business. In his family’s Hazel Park shed row, you can find Finn B Cool, who is Fredrick’s racehorse among his father’s 25 in training. You can also find a menagerie of other animals, including pigeons, chickens, rabbits and a raccoon, in Fredrick’s makeshift animal rescue and rehabilitation area. While Fredrick is saving most of the earnings from Finn B Cool and any other horse he owns for his future college expenses, exceptions are made when a situation warrants it, as was the case on July 2 at the Detroit area track. With his dad listed as the trainer, Fredrick claimed 12-year-old Good Credentials with the sole intention of permanently retiring him from racing.
When Plans A and B Don’t Work, Try Plan C Bred in Kentucky by Pin Oak Stud, Good Credentials spent his career in the claiming ranks at tracks like Evangeline Downs, Hawthorne Race Course and Thistledown and made an honest living, retiring at age 7 with a record of 56-5-12-8 and earnings of $47,402. 38 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
After a five-year layoff from the races, Good Credentials returned to the track at Hazel Park and caught the attention of several horsemen, including one of the youngest at the track. But, on June 18 of this year, Good Credentials ran in the fifth race at Hazel Park for a $4,000 claiming price. The gelding finished sixth, nearly 10 lengths behind the winner. His entry caught the eye of several people, including Jennifer Wirth, a lawyer and founder of One Last Race, a nonprofit that raises and distributes funds to Thoroughbred aftercare organizations. “I saw something on Twitter about Good Credentials coming off of a five-year layoff to run at age 12 and felt something needed to be done, so I contacted Gail Hirt at Beyond the Roses in Michigan and told her about the situation, hoping we could make something happen,” Wirth said. “Gail is in close proximity to the track, so she went up to the backside one morning to talk with a friend about the situation.” Hirt spoke with Kelly Spanabel, whom she had known for years and worked with in the past to help rehome horses. Spanabel offered to speak with the horse’s trainer to let him know that Beyond the Roses would be willing to take in the aging gelding if he were inclined to retire him, but the trainer declined. That was Plan A, and it was a fail. Hirt moved on to Plan B, which was to contact the horse’s owner about retiring him, but she too declined, stating that she loved the horse and wanted to run him a few more times before retiring him. “I do think she loved the horse, but I believe she had a differ-
After being claimed from what would be his last race, the 12-year-old gelding struck a pose for his new owner.
ent opinion of what was in his best interest than myself, Jennifer and the rest of us did,” Hirt said. Hirt needed a new plan. She was in the shed row of Spanabel and her longtime partner, trainer George Iacovacci, hoping they might have some insight or ideas about the situation. “I met George and Kelly about 12 years ago when I was with another aftercare group and kept up a relationship with them when I started Beyond the Roses,” Hirt said. “I was talking with them about the horse and the situation.” The couple were of the same opinion that the horse should not be back at the races after such a lengthy layoff and at his advanced age. “I know the horse’s prior connections,” Spanabel said. “Five years ago, his trainer retired him to be a riding horse. He wanted to make sure he had a good life after racing.” The group felt that something needed to be done, and it looked like claiming him was the way to do it. But the question of how to pay for it was a big one. “I cannot in good conscience take $4,000, which to us is a large sum of money that can sustain our herd for some time, to pay for a claim for a single horse—it is against our policy for how we use our funds,” Hirt said. Little did they know, but Iacovacci and Spanabel’s son, Fredrick, had been listening intently to the conversation and developing a plan of his own. “I’ll claim the horse,” said Fredrick, who has amassed roughly $15,000 in winnings from Finn B Cool in 2016. The words hung in the air for several seconds. As the trio grasped the reality of what the 12-year-old was suggest-
AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 39
ing, he explained his reasoning, stating that maybe if the horse can be recuperated and retrained, he could even eventually be sold as a riding horse, as the family does with many of their own horses. It was a business decision as much as an ethical one. “He went on to explain to us that he had made some money with his racehorse this year, and he would like to use some of it to help a horse in need of being helped,” Hirt recalled. And with that, the group had their Plan C.
A Good Day for a Claim On July 2, Good Credentials went to post in the second race at Hazel Park, a claiming event going four furlongs for 3-yearolds and upward who had not won a race in 2015 and 2016. He was the oldest of six horses by several years and finished fourth by nearly 10 lengths. There was a lone—and surprising—claim submitted for the race. As Good Credentials crossed the wire that day, the claim was validated and he became the property of Fredrick Spanabel—who was the same age as the horse he’d just bought—with his father listed as the new trainer of record. Fredrick and his father took possession of the horse when he came back after the race, and the family was celebrating with hugs, high fives and photos. “Fredrick, his parents and sister were all there celebrating and showering their new horse with affection and peppermints,” said Hirt, who also attended the race. “But the horse’s former owner and trainer were very angry that the horse had been claimed. The trainer was yelling at George, the owner was yelling and upset. It was quite a scene.” Rumors quickly began circulating that Good Credentials’ former connections were going to lodge a formal complaint with Hazel Park’s stewards to contest the claim. “How can you contest a claim?” asked Wirth, who is not only an equine advocate and attorney but has also owned racehorses. “Both the owner and trainer were licensed. It is valid. “Soon after, George was told that there was indeed going to be a stewards’ hearing regarding the claim of Good Credentials,” she continued. “I offered to represent him for free. I wanted to set a legal precedent that you can claim a horse for retirement purposes.”
The Stewards’ Hearing The hearing took place in front of the Hazel Park stewards on July 8 and lasted roughly an hour. Iacovacci appeared with Wirth as his representative. Prior to the hearing, Wirth visited the stable to talk to the family. “It’s a nice family stable,” she said. “They all work together to get things done. Kelly and her daughter, Skylar, exercise (Continued on page 42) 40 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Good Credentials is now enjoying his retirement at a Michigan farm.
How to Keep a Retired Horse Retired After the original story of Good Credentials ran on PaulickReport.com, author Jen Roytz was contacted by the former owners of the gelding, whom she had previously been unsuccessful in connecting with. “I cried when I heard he was coming back,” said Dawn Scott, who owned Good Credentials in 2010 and 2011 before his nearly five-year hiatus from racing. “We did not want this horse to be back at the track. We retired him not because he was hurt but because we felt he had done enough and deserved a great life as a show horse or riding horse. I thought that was what we had given him.” Scott and her longtime partner, Al Talley, are career racetrackers. They had worked for the stable that owned Good Credentials, Scott as a hot walker and Talley as an exercise rider. “The trainer was looking to get rid of a few horses and asked if we wanted him,” Talley said. “We had been around racehorses our whole lives but had never owned one, and Good
Credentials was such a barn favorite—just great to be around—so we talked about it and decided to take him on, along with one other horse.” Scott and Talley told story after story about “Goody,” as he was known around the barn. Scott explained that his favorite treats were pears and that when you gave him a peppermint he would suck on it rather than crunching it up like most horses—something his newest connections had noticed the evening they claimed him. The couple raced Goody through 2010 and 2011. They got their first win as racehorse owners with him, adding another special dimension to the relationship they had with Goody. As they spoke of their fondness of the horse, it was reminiscent of someone talking about a beloved pet, and friend. “We were fortunate,” Talley said. “Having the two horses wasn’t about making money or making a name for ourselves. We’d always been in racing and always loved it and loved the horses, and we wanted to experience being on the other side of it as owners. Even though they were running on the bottom, they paid their way and gave us a lot of fun times, and we spared no expense on them. Goody was checked over by our vet after every race from his ears to his toes. He always came back clean and sound with cold legs and a good attitude—didn’t have any injuries.” As the end of the 2011 Thistledown meet drew near, the couple had several discussions about retiring their charge. While he seemed to still love training and was the same old character he’d always been around the barn, he just didn’t seem to have any interest in competing during races anymore. They contemplated their options as to what would be best for their prized horse and had the representative from the Ohio chapter of CANTER come to look at him. “I just felt in my heart he didn’t want to race anymore, and Dawn did too,” Talley said. “The girl from CANTER loved him. I showed her you could do anything with him—go under his belly and between his legs, rub all over him, walk him with the lead just thrown over your shoulder. He just loves people.” The couple eventually decided to give Goody to Dawn’s niece, a
hunter/jumper rider who trains out of her family’s riding and show stable in Michigan. “We thought being a riding horse and going to shows would be a great life for him,” Scott said. “The first year he was off of the track a girl who had been riding him at my niece’s stable competed with him at shows. They won a load of ribbons together in jumping classes and whatnot. I was so happy to see him loving his life after racing.” That girl fell in love with Goody and eventually worked out an agreement with Dawn’s niece to purchase him. “I’d given my niece the papers, and when she told me she was going to sell him, I mentioned to her to write ‘Not For Racing’ on the back of the papers,” Scott said. “She must have forgotten. I’m not blaming her at all. I should have written it on there myself. She’s not a Thoroughbred or racing person and was selling him to someone who wanted him as a show horse. I imagine the chance of what happened happening wouldn’t even have occurred to her.” His former owners are not sure how many more times Goody changed hands over the next few years. All they knew was that nearly five years after they had retired him from racing, his name showed up on the Hazel Park work tab, and soon after on the entries for a $4,000 claiming race. Even though Scott and Talley thought it wrong to see Good Credentials back in training after five years, there was not much they could do. Asked if they would have done anything differently, they both had the same reaction. They would have written “Not For Racing” on the back of Goody’s papers before allowing him to leave their care. “Horses move from meet to meet, track to track and the papers go from one racing office to the next,” Talley said. “It’s so easy to lose track of them or forget to sign them when a horse gets retired. I wish there was a more mandatory, formal protocol for retiring a horse on paper.” Today, The Jockey Club also has its “Sold as Retired from Racing” form, which formally registers a horse as “retired” in The Jockey Club database, preventing the animal from ever being entered in a race again. The form and protocol were not in existence when Good Credentials was retired. Scott and Talley said they are immensely thankful to 12-year-old Fredrick Spanabel for claiming their former racehorse and equine friend, and they are looking forward to paying his family and Goody a visit in the near future. “I just want Goody to have a great life,” Scott said. “We’re so thankful to everyone involved in getting him back to retirement. I want to get a copy of Goody’s last win photo and give it to Fredrick when we meet him, and I can’t wait to see Goody again.” AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 41
the horses in the mornings; Kelly’s dad acts as the shed row foreman; George trains; and they all pitch in to clean stalls, rub horses, feed and whatnot. As they showed me around and introduced me to their horses, they let me feed them treats and told me stories about each one. They were all very friendly and well cared for. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was definitely impressed.” She also got the grand tour of Fredrick’s own stable of patients— animals he has found or people have brought to him that need help. “This kid is awesome,” Wirth said. “He’s running a critter rescue out of the stable, taking care of pigeons who break their wings or a raccoon who lost its mom. He feeds them and nurses them back to health and they love him. It’s really cute.” When the hearing began, Fredrick, his mother and sister waited outside in case the stewards wanted to call them as witnesses. Wirth wanted to make sure all parties were available for questioning. “It wasn’t until the hearing that we actually learned the grounds for the complaint for the first time,” Wirth explained. “George had horses running the next evening and was worried that they had inadvertently done something wrong by doing what he and his family felt was the ethical and right thing to do—claim the old horse. He knew he could potentially have his trainer’s license suspended or revoked and wouldn’t be able to run his horses or earn a living to support his family and their stable.” The stewards asked the trainer questions about the motivation and validity of claim, and why, of all of the horses at Hazel Park and elsewhere, some of which are 12 years old or even older and still racing, his client and son chose to claim this particular horse. “George explained to them that he and Kelly teach their children to be kind and respectful to animals and find their best use,” Wirth said. “This horse was retired five years ago for a reason. In his and his owner’s/son’s opinion, Good Credentials was not fit to race. He may well be ideal, and from a business standpoint even someday hold increased value, for a different use.” The stewards decided that, based on the information and testimony given, the claim was legal and would be upheld. When contacted, the Michigan Gaming Control Board offered the following statement: The MGCB reviewed and denied a horse claim challenge following a July 2 claiming race at Hazel Park Raceway. Stewards held a hearing July 8, and the horse’s former trainer was served with their decision upholding the claim July 12. “The stewards did an excellent job,” Wirth said. “The majority of the stewards’ questions focused on what Fredrick intended to do with the horse, where the horse was currently located—they were very concerned about the well-being of the horse. To ensure the horse would never run again, part of the stewards’ ruling was that George and Fredrick will fill out the Permanently Retired from Racing paperwork with The Jockey Club, which they are happy to do.” The order was time-consuming and stressful but worth it in the end. “George put his license on the line for this issue, and his son’s 42 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
license, and they were both very aware of the possible ramifications of that,” Wirth added. “That’s a big thing to do to put your entire livelihood on the line to do the right thing for a horse.”
The Future Is Bright After the hearing, it was back to work for Iacovacci and his family, as they had five horses running that weekend at Hazel Park, including Fredrick’s filly, Finn B Cool. With his mom in the saddle and his dad by his side, and perhaps some good karma from the racing gods, Fredrick cheered the South Dakota-bred filly to a three-quarter-length victory in a $5,000 claiming contest on July 9, which added just over $3,000—the winner’s share of the purse—into his owner’s account. As for Good Credentials, he is enjoying his second retirement at the farm of Gail Hirt, who in an effort to help the young owner has allowed him to let the horse down from racing at her stable. “He’s just a good old boy—really easy-going and just a good guy,” Hirt said about Good Credentials. “He didn’t look to be racing fit when he arrived and already looks and acts like he’s been off of the track for a while. He has a little bit of arthritis, but no major health issues. He’s going to get the next few months to just relax and then we’ll see what he might enjoy doing as a second career.” Fredrick is looking forward to playing a part in the retraining process with Good Credentials when the time comes. “We are so proud of him and what he did—everyone at the racetrack is,” said his mother. “He has integrity. He loves animals. He has a passion for doing what is right by them and wants to be a vet when he grows up. I could not be more proud of him.” H Jen Roytz is a Lexington, Kentucky-based marketing, publicity and comprehensive communications specialist with a focus on the fields of equine, health care, corporate and nonprofit marketing. She holds board affiliations with the Make a Wish Foundation, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Retired Racehorse Project, among others. While she currently has no plans to build an arc, she is the go-to food source for two dogs, two cats and two off-track Thoroughbreds. Email Jen your story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This article originally ran in the Paulick Report’s “Aftercare Spotlight” at paulickreport.com. This section is sponsored by the Retired Racehorse Project, which works to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in the marketplace and inspiring an army of equestrians to provide the training that secures their futures. RRP programs include online educational resources, programs at major horse expos, interactive databases including a Bloodline Brag and Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, featuring 300 farms and organizations, and more than 200 online horse listings, with most of the horses having some second career training. For more information, go to retiredracehorseproject.org.
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6 3:17 PM
Barn Buddies Companions and toys provide an outlet for a horse’s need to socialize and romp By Denise Steffanus
By nature, horses are social creatures. Wild horses establish a complex society within the herd and work off stress by play fighting, running and exploring new surroundings as they wander in search of forage. Domesticated horses live a life remotely different from their natural habitat, especially performance horses. In human terms, being housed in a 12-by-12-foot stall, never touching another horse, amounts to solitary confinement. Show horses have the opportunity to be turned out in a paddock for a few hours a day, or even overnight, but racehorses are generally not as fortunate. Trainers count on pent-up energy to launch their horses out of the gate. Racing provides an outlet for a horse’s need to run in a herd, competing against each other for the lead. Horses, like people, develop ways of coping with stress. If they can’t fulfill the basic emotional needs of their nature, they can develop neurotic behavior and ulcers—just like people do. Solving this problem would be simple if we could turn our performance horses loose to roam the plains in herds. Since this is not a workable solution, we should instead provide a means for them to satisfy their need for companionship and rowdy play. Barn buddies and toys serve this purpose well. AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 45
©Viktoria Makarova/Adobe Stock
Blueprint for Trouble Stable vices, technically called stereotypic behavior, arise from a need to cope with loneliness, confinement and boredom. Within a wild herd, each horse has a “job.” Stallions watch over and protect the herd from danger. They maintain their mare harems and nurture foals. Young bachelor stallions play fight in preparation for the time when they will assume leadership of the herd. Mares care for their young. All the while, the herd roams in search of water and better grazing land. Stabled horses have no contact with other horses except visually. They don’t expend energy play fighting or wandering as they graze. Food is provided two or three times a day. Water is always available. There is simply nothing to do for 23 hours a day except wait for feeding time and the brief opportunity to leave their stalls for exercise. At the same time, they receive superb, high-energy nutrition. It can be a blueprint for trouble.
Just as giving a human being another living thing—person or animal—to care about is a good way to deal with loneliness or stress, a companion gives a horse something to occupy what can be a sometimes boring existence. A buddy can satisfy the need to touch, communicate, interact, watch over, and in some cases battle, just as the horse would do if he were in a herd. Barn buddies can be found all over the backside at any racetrack. Goats, pigs, dogs, cats and even chickens keep these equine athletes company and provide a calming influence. Goats are often the best-suited companion animals. Larger goats, especially surly ones, can hold their own against nips and playful bullying of their equine buddies. They seem content to be tethered near a horse’s stall, sharing its food and hay. Some goats grow so attached to their horses that if left to wander freely, they would follow them anywhere. The movie “Babe” entertained us with the exploits of an almost-human pig. These intelligent little creatures are extremely gregarious and adapt well to life on the racetrack. Pot-bellied pigs have been popular for years as stable companions—and not just for the horses. Like dogs with a snout, they wander freely around the backside, stealing food and attention any way they can. When tired of panhandling, a pig will return home to its horse’s stall 46 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Goats are tough enough for some roughhousing with a horse, making them ideal barn buddies.
and snooze in a corner, enjoying the protection of its massive buddy while he sleeps. The size of a companion animal does not seem to matter for some horses. How often have you seen a cat teetering on a stall door or fence rubbing heads with a horse? It’s a tiny head, indeed, but still fulfills the horse’s need to communicate by touch and smell. Horses who stall walk or weave often are calmed by a companion chicken. The equine buddy more than 300 times the size of his little friend will take care not to step on the chicken and will sometimes completely cease to pace.
Toy Time The need to play fight can translate into oral vices and destructive behavior. Horses during mock battle will nip and paw. Afterward, they groom each other by nibbling on their companions’ manes or along their backs.
foal may be at risk. The best solution is to observe a young horse closely and eliminate stress before it causes problems. The most important need to satisfy is the horse’s desire to graze. A constant supply of quality hay will provide good nutrition and oral gratification without causing the sugar high of sweet feed. Emotional needs can be satisfied by the calming reassurance of a companion, and batting around a toy provides an outlet for rowdy activity. A young horse with a strong genetic predisposition to a particular vice may not be discouraged by buddies and toys, but other horses may be distracted from developing behavior that may damage their performance later in life. Horsemen go to great lengths to meet the physical needs of a horse, through training, nutrition and veterinary care, and looking out for the mental well-being of the animal can be one of the keys to a happy horse, and one who excels on the track. H
Caged in a stall or even turned out in a paddock without a companion, a horse can develop into a cribber, tear down buckets or shred bandages and blankets. A good outlet for destructive behavior, as well as something to satiate a horse’s need to wrap his mouth around something, is a rugged rubber toy. Anything from plastic milk jugs filled with pebbles suspended on a rope to rubber bumpers for mooring boats to expensive commercial horse toys will serve the purpose. Horses will spar with hanging toys because they “punch” back, giving them the opportunity to duck and attack as they would during mock fighting. Stall balls can be kicked and tossed about, allowing the horse to paw and stomp. Rubber toys small enough for a horse to carry in its mouth may save your feed tubs or water buckets from being chewed. At the same time, all this playing is a healthy outlet for pent-up energy.
A stable toy that can “punch” back allows a horse to enjoy some mock fighting.
Preventing Vices Some animal behaviorists believe stereotypic behavior may be hereditary. Only one of several horses raised on the same farm and housed in the same stable may develop a vice. It all depends on how a particular horse decides to cope with stress. There is no way to determine in advance which AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 47
Summer is always a busy time at racetracks across the nation, with many presenting their signature racing events and special days dedicated to state-breds during July and August. As usual, several state-bred horses stepped up to face, and defeat, open company foes. Among the most impressive feats during the hottest months of the year was a sweep of the juvenile stakes at Iowa’s Prairie Meadows by a pair of Texas-breds running for breeder Tom Durant and trainer Randy Morse. Texas-breds also made their presence known in Colorado and Louisiana, as the filly Bling on the Music crushed a mostly male field in the $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity at Arapahoe Park, and Texas Chrome (who won the Gold Rush in 2015) took the Super Derby Prelude Stakes at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. For a recap of the Minnesota Festival of Champions at Canterbury Park, Iowa Classic Day at Prairie Meadows and Michigan Sire Stakes at Hazel Park, see the respective state news pages in this issue. Following is a list of winners bred in the states covered by American Racehorse who won stakes worth $50,000 or more.
$60,000 Blair’s Cove Stakes • Canterbury Park • 5yo gelding by Monarchos Breeder/Owner: Joel Zamzow (Minnesota) Trainer: McLean Robertson Jockey: Geovanni Franco
$85,000 Minnesota Oaks • Canterbury Park • 3yo filly by Angliana • Owner: Astar Lindquist Stable I LLC • Breeder: Todd and Stacy Nelson (Minnesota) • Trainer: Gary Scherer • Jockey: Geovanni Franco
ANOTHER BOND GIRL
BLING ON THE MUSIC
$64,017 Iowa Stallion Filly Stakes • Prairie Meadows • 3yo filly by Don’t Get Mad Breeder/Owner: William Higgins and Brent Davidson (Oklahoma) • Trainer: Brent Davidson • Jockey: Ramon Vazquez
After winning the fillies division of the $93,903 Texas Thoroughbred Futurity at Lone Star Park, Texas-bred Bling On the Music dominated the $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity at Arapahoe Park. The Too Much Bling runner topped the Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale with a bid of $95,000 from Danny Keene, and she has returned $128,882 in three starts.
$93,903 Texas Thoroughbred Futurity (Fillies Division) at Lone Star Park and $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity at Araphaoe Park • 2yo filly by Too Much Bling • Owner: Keene Thoroughbreds LLC • Breeder: W.S. Farish (Texas) • Trainer: J.R. Caldwell Jockey: Luis Quinonez • Too Much Bling stands in Texas at Valor Farm
Breeder/owner Tom Durant, trainer Randy Morse and jockey Ken Tohill took both divisions of the $65,000 Prairie Gold stakes for juveniles at Prairie Meadows. Raising Rumors (pictured) rallied to win against colts and geldings, and Grandma’s Princess completed the Texas-bred sweep against fillies.
48 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Indiana-bred Carmalley Chrome grabbed an early lead in the $150,000 Indiana First Lady Stakes at Indiana Grand and never gave it up to record her second stakes victory. The filly by Cat Dreams has banked nearly $200,000 with four wins in seven starts.
I owa - bred O ne F ine D ream enjoyed a near - perfect meet at P rairie M eadows with four stakes wins and a third - place allowance finish at the I owa track , including an 11- length domination of the $85,009 I owa S tallion S takes . H e ’ s a son of I owa stallion W oke U p D reamin .
A P IS LOOSE
A recap of black-type events in July and August
R LUCKEY CHARLIE
$60,000 Evangeline Downs Princess Stakes Evangeline Downs • 2yo filly by Intimidator Owner: Keene Thoroughbreds LLC Breeder: Keith Asmussen (Texas) • Trainer: J.R. Caldwell • Jockey: Colby Hernandez Intimidator stands in Texas at Asmussen Horse Center
$60,000 Frances Genter Stakes Canterbury Park • 3yo filly by Dazzling Falls • Owner: Joni and Barry Butzow Breeder: Mary and Eric Von Seggern and Marlene Colvin (Minnesota) • Trainer: Joe Sharp • Jockey: Chris Rosier
$60,000 Princess Elaine Stakes Canterbury Park • 7yo mare by Ghazi Breeder/Owner: Bo Vujovich (Minnesota) Trainer: McLean Robertson Jockey: Erik McNeil
$150,000 Governor’s Stakes • Indiana Grand • 3yo gelding by Adios Charlie Breeder/Owner: Richard Batz (Indiana) Trainer: Marvin Johnson Jockey: Richard Bracho $65,000 Prairie Gold Juvenile Stakes 2yo gelding by Sing Baby Sing • Breeder/ Owner: Tom Durant (Texas) • Trainer: Randy Morse • Jockey: Ken Tohill
$90,248 Texas Thoroughbred Futurity (Colts/Geldings Division) • Lone Star Park 2yo colt by Too Much Bling • Owner: Clark Brewster • Breeder: W.S. Farish (Texas) Trainer: Steve Asmussen • Jockey: Iram Diego • Too Much Bling stands in Texas at Valor Farm
$69,215 Iowa Stallion Futurity Prairie Meadows • 2yo filly by Midshipman Breeder/Owner: Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick (Minnesota) • Trainer: Karl Broberg • Jockey: Sasha Risenhoover
$150,000 Indiana First Lady Stakes Indiana Grand • 3yo filly by Cat Dreams Owner: Tom Roche • Breeder: Carmalley Valley Farm LLC (Indiana) • Trainer: Michael Nance • Jockey: Rodney Prescott
M innesota - bred S mooth C hiraz celebrated I ndependence D ay by cruising to a seven - length win in the $60,000 V ictor S. M yers S takes at C anterbury P ark . T he two - time stakes winner is by O klahoma stallion C hitoz , who stands at L ori and F ranciso B ravo ’ s R iver O aks F arms . L ori is the co - owner and co - breeder with A nn S achdev , and F rancisco is the gelding ’ s trainer .
$60,000 Victor S. Myers Stakes Canterbury Park • 3yo gelding by Chitoz $100,000 Snack Stakes • Indiana Grand Breeder/Owner: Ann Sachdev and Lori 3yo colt by Unbridled Express Bravo (Minnesota) • Trainer: Francisco Bravo • Jockey: Dean Butler • Chitoz Owner: Sherri Greenhill • Breeder: Greenhill Racing (Indiana) • Trainer: Jeffrey stands at River Oaks Farms in Oklahoma Greenhill • Jockey: Malcolm Franklin SUCESS IS RACING Unbridled Express stands in Indiana at $100,000 William Henry Harrison Stakes Swifty Farms Indiana Grand • 6yo gelding by Major GRANDMA’S PRINCESS Success • Owner: Charles Watt and $65,000 Prairie Gold Lassie Stakes Willowbrook Stables Ltd. • Breeder: Prairie Meadows • 2yo filly by Sing Baby Everett Hammond (Indiana) • Trainer: Kim Sing • Breeder/Owner: Tom Durant (Texas) Hammond • Jockey: Eduardo Perez Trainer: Randy Morse • Jockey: Ken Tohill $100,000 Shelby County Stakes • Indiana Grand • 4yo filly by Kela • Owner: Dennis Claramunt and Randy Klopp • Breeder: Dennis and Cynthia Claramunt and Randy Klopp (Indiana) • Trainer: Randy Klopp Jockey: Thomas Pompell • Kela stands in Minnesota at Stillwater Equine Clinic
ONE FINE DREAM
$85,009 Iowa Stallion Stakes • Prairie Meadows • 3yo gelding by Woke Up Dreamin • Owner: Umbrella Stables II LLC Breeder: Gary Lucas and Linda Woods (Iowa) • Trainer: Kelly Von Hemel • Jockey: Shane Laviolette • Woke Up Dreamin stands in Iowa at Madison County Thoroughbreds
$85,000 Minnesota Derby • Canterbury Park • 3yo gelding by Einstein (Brz) Owner: Dale Schenian • Breeder: Francisco Bravo and Dale Schenian (Minnesota) Trainer: Francisco Bravo Jockey: Orlando Mojica
PROMISE ME SILVER
$50,000 Valor Farm Stakes • Lone Star Park • 4yo filly by Silver City • Breeder/ Owner: Robert and Myrna Luttrell (Texas) Trainer: Bret Calhoun Jockey: C.J. McMahon
$50,000 Assault Stakes • Lone Star Park 4yo gelding by Grasshopper • Owner: Brad Grady • Breeder: W.S. Farish and E.J. Hudson Jr. Irrevocable Trust (Texas) Trainer: Bret Calhoun • Jockey: C.J. McMahon • Grasshopper stands in Texas at Valor Farm
a pair of third - place finishes against
stakes foes ,
R L uckey C harlie ( outside ) earned $150,000 G overnor ’ s S takes for state - breds at I ndiana G rand . T he gelding has spent his entire eight - race career in the H oosier S tate , where he has earned $154,097. his first stakes victory in the
$100,000 Super Derby Prelude Stakes Harrah’s Louisiana Downs • 3yo colt by Grasshopper • Owner: Keene Thoroughbreds LLC • Breeder: Craig Upham (Texas) • Trainer: J.R. Caldwell Jockey: C.J. McMahon • Grasshopper stands in Texas at Valor Farm
TEQUILA AND SALT
$100,000 Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes Indiana Grand • 3yo filly by Limehouse Owner: Penny Lauer • Breeder: Michael and Penny Lauer (Indiana) • Trainer: Michael Lauer • Jockey: Francisco Torres
O klahoma - bred A nother B ond G irl shipped north to P rairie M eadows to capture the $64,017 I owa S tallion F illy S takes . S he is a daughter of D on ’ t G et M ad , who stood at R ockin ’ Z R anch in O klahoma prior to his death in 2013. AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 49
STATE ASSOCIATION NEWS ALABAMA HBPA NEWS Magic City Classic Nominations Due Soon The Magic City Classic, sponsored by the Birmingham Racing Commission, is scheduled to be run on Friday, December 9, at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots in New Orleans. With $51,000 guaranteed, it is to be run at one mile for registered Alabama-bred 3-year olds and up. Starters are to be named through the entry box on Thursday, December 1. Nominations close November 9 and must be sent by certified mail. For nomination forms, please contact Leda at the Birmingham Racing Commission at (205) 838-7477 or (205) 937-2232. You can contact Nancy Delony at email@example.com for an emailed copy of the nomination form. As in the past, the Alabama HBPA will reimburse qualified travel expenses up to $500 for horses that run fourth and below. With the help of the Louisiana HBPA, the Alabama-bred added monies program for horses running in races at any of the four Louisiana tracks is up and running. Congratulations to Menewa, a 4-year-old bay gelding bred and owned by Bobby Pruitt who has been winning the greater share of the funds at Louisiana Downs. It has been a quiet, hot and humid summer in Alabama with a little excitement being stirred up with Governor Bentley trying to get a lottery vote on the November ballot. No gaming but maybe a step closer. Get your nominations in for the Magic City Classic!
ARKANSAS THOROUGHBRED BREEDERS’ AND HORSEMEN’S ASSOCIATION NEWS Oaklawn Purses Continue Record Climb Oaklawn Park will open for the 2017 live meet with record purses that include maiden special weights at $72,000 and open allowance races as high as $80,000. The 2017 season will mark the ninth consecutive season the Hot Springs, Arkansas, track has opened with purses higher than the previous year. Maiden special weight purses, which have doubled since 2011, are $4,000 higher than 2016; allowance purses are up by as much as $5,000 and the bottom purse of $23,000 is $2,000 higher than last year and has increased more than 50 percent since 2011. Stall applications and condition books are now available online at oaklawn.com. Stall applications are due October 27. “Oaklawn continues to benefit from ownership that is 100 percent dedicated to racing, a thriving gaming operation and steadily growing handle thanks to better and better racing quality,” Director of Racing David Longinotti said. “It’s exciting that year after year we continue to attract horses the caliber of American Pharoah and Creator, and obviously our fans have responded in a big way.” Oaklawn, which earlier this year announced a historic $8.25 million stakes schedule, opens January 13, 2017. The stable area opens November 14, and the track will open for training November 21. The restricted Arkansas-bred stakes scheduled at Oaklawn in 2017 will feature a purse of $100,000 apiece. The schedule is as follows: • February 24—Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes, 3-year olds & up, fillies and mares, 6 furlongs 50 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
• February 25—Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes, 3-year-olds & up, 6 furlongs • March 31—Rainbow Stakes, 3-year-olds, 6 furlongs • April 1—Rainbow Miss Stakes, 3-year-old fillies, 6 furlongs • April 8—Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes, 3-year-olds & up, 1 1/16 miles
COLORADO THOROUGHBRED BREEDERS ASSOCIATION NEWS Brother to Local Standout Tops Colorado Silver Cup Yearling Sale
A half brother to local stakes winner Way Out West topped this year’s Silver Cup Yearling Sale, hosted by the Colorado Thoroughbred Breeders Association, fetching a bid of $18,000 at the August 5 auction. Kent Bamford and Randy Patterson signed the ticket for Crafty Man, a son of the late Crafty Shaw out of Labar, a stakes-winning daughter of Bianconi. The same pair purchased Way Out West last year for $24,500; the colt has since won $63,699 with wins in the Silver Cup and CTBA futurities. R.J. Winkler purchased the runner-up, a Line of David colt consigned by Al Mazetti, for $15,000. The colt is out of the winning Devil His Due mare Joyous Appeal. Richard Lueck paid $12,000 for the top-selling filly, a daughter of Grade 3 winner El Roblar consigned by Fleming Thoroughbred Farm. This year’s sale catalogued 67 horses. Of 65 that passed through the ring, 39 sold for an average of $5,096, down from 2015 when 33 horses averaged $6,088. Median price dipped from $4,500 to $3,600, and the buyback rate increased to 40 percent from 28 percent. All horses in the sale are eligible for next year’s Silver Cup Futurity at Arapahoe Park. For complete results, go to cotba.com.
INDIANA THOROUGHBRED OWNERS AND BREEDERS ASSOCIATION NEWS ITOBA Fall Mixed Sale Set for October 30 Make plans to join us for the ITOBA Fall Mixed Sale on Sunday, October 30, at 2 p.m. in the Champions Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. There are several improvements to this year’s sale, including online bidding (pre-registration and deposit required) and a live video stream of the sale online. Credit cards will also be accepted as payment (additional fee applies). To request a catalog or receive more information, contact Shelby Mahaney at (317) 752-5694 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The catalog for the sale will be posted at itobasales.com.
Klopp Scores 500th Career Training Win
Indiana Derby Breaks Records
Randy Klopp, a longtime trainer in Indiana, scored his 500th career training win August 17 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The 2-year-old Wing and Wheel rallied to win under jockey Leandro Goncalves to mark the milestone. A native of Connersville, Indiana, Klopp has been among the track’s top 10 trainers for more than a decade. He and his wife, Liz, own a farm in Rushville, Indiana, and also oversee 30 horses stabled at Indiana Grand. The milestone crept up on Klopp, who was unaware he was close to reaching a new plateau in his career. “I never knew I was getting close to 500 wins until a few weeks ago when an owner pointed it out to me,” Klopp said. “And, right after that, everything that could go wrong went wrong.” However, everything went right with Wing and Wheel. The chestnut son of 2011 Indiana Derby (G2) winner Wilburn broke well and got on the lead early in the six-furlong maiden special weight race for Indiana-breds, coasting to victory for Klopp, who co-owns the horse with Ken Meyer. Klopp was introduced to racing by his stepfather, the late Walter Abner. When he turned 18, he joined Abner’s stable and learned the skills of training Thoroughbreds at tracks such as Detroit Race Course, River Downs and Latonia before venturing out on his own. “We have a variety of horses at our farm in addition to the racehorses at Indiana Grand,” noted Klopp. “We have babies, broodmares, weanlings and yearlings along with a few racehorses. Plus, Liz has all of her pony horses there as well.”
The $500,000 Indiana Derby (G2) on July 16 attracted a full and talented field of 3-year-olds to Indiana Grand, and the Bob Baffert-trained Cupid gave the crowd what they wanted to see with a game victory as the 7-5 favorite. The entire Indiana Derby program brought in a total handle of $3,156,859, shattering the track’s previous all-time best handle of $2.7 million. Also, a crowd of 12,974 was in attendance to set a new record for the race. The Indiana Derby race also set a new record for handle, with $914,311 wagered on the 12-horse field, the largest in the 22-year history of the race. Cupid also became the first gray horse to win the race, which is Indiana’s richest horse race of any breed.
Indiana Grand Jockeys Raise Funds and Awareness for PDJF The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) provided its third annual “Racing Across America” program on July 30, and Indiana Grand jockeys supported the event through several different activities during the night. Jockeys first got involved by going up against five police officers from the Shelbyville Police Department in a tug of war competition. Ten jockeys were on one side of the rope and went pound for pound against the officers, winning the event in less than 30 seconds. This is the third year for the tug of war contest, and the jockeys have won the event all three years. Later in the evening, eight jockeys participated in a foot race from the starting gate. Sammy Bermudez defended his title from last year, running down Omar Reyes in the final strides. Jockeys also took turns sitting in a dunk tank to raise money for the PDJF. Fans kept the line hopping throughout the night. Also, Rachel McLaughlin, on-air racing personality for Indiana Grand, spent time in the tank, all for a good cause. The evening also was tagged as “Back to School” night, featuring 16 backpack giveaways provided by the Indiana HBPA. The evening was highlighted by an iPad giveaway that was won by a local fourth grader preparing for school. To complement the evening, “Toy Story” characters Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie roamed through the crowd handing out free school supplies. Also, face painting and a bounce house were provided as entertainment for the younger fans.
Indiana Grand Reaccredited by NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has announced that Indiana Grand has earned reaccreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. This is the first reaccreditation for Indiana Grand, which earned its initial accreditation in 2014 shortly after joining the NTRA. All accreditations carry an effective period of two years. The reaccreditation of Indiana Grand—owned and operated by Centaur Gaming—was the culmination of a lengthy process that began with the track’s completion of an extensive written application and continued as the track hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. An on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing operations. Interviews were conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, veterinarians, stewards and regulators. Alliance certification standards address an extensive list of safety and integrity concerns within six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention, creating a safer racing environment, aftercare and transition of retired racehorses, uniform medication and testing, jockey health and welfare and wagering security. “We are happy to be part of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance,” said Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing at Indiana Grand. “This organization does great work for the welfare of our industry, and we are proud of our team for continuing to receive best practice grades during the evaluations through the Alliance certification standards.” The NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance is a standing organization whose purpose is to establish standards and practices to promote safety and integrity in horse racing and to secure their implementation. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at ntraalliance.com.
AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 51
STATE ASSOCIATION NEWS IOWA THOROUGHBRED BREEDERS AND OWNERS ASSOCIATION NEWS Iowa Classic Day Celebrates Iowa-breds By John Hernandez Prairie Meadows brought down the curtain on its Thoroughbred meet on August 13 with Iowa Classic Day featuring seven stakes for Iowa-breds. The first Iowa Classic race was a steal of a deal for co-owners Tom Allen, Dan Sears, Otto Farms Inc. (Norm Olson) and trainer Dick Clark, who greeted Matchlock and jockey Shane Laviolette in the winner’s circle after their game victory in the inaugural $100,000 Governor Terry E. Branstad Stakes for older colts and geldings. Said Allen: “We bought Matchlock from his owner and breeder Emil Kark for $3,500 right before he won a race in June.” Gov. Branstad himself was in attendance at Prairie Meadows to present trophies to the ebullient connections. A colt by 2012 Iowa Derby (G3) winner Hansen was somewhat of a mystery horse going into the $90,000 Iowa Cradle for 2-year-old colts and geldings. The “knowns” were that the unraced Han Sense was bred by H. Allen Poindexter, bought by owner Kendall Hansen (who also owned Hansen) for $125,000 in the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale, and then supplemented to the Cradle for $15,000. After a tardy start, Han Sense rewarded his connections with an impressive victory as a first-time starter under jockey Ramon Vazquez. Doug Anderson, who handled Han Sense for trainer Mike Maker, said, “He looks like he’ll be a nice one! Allen breeds some really good ones here in Iowa, and I know Mr. Hansen is pleased to have this one in his stable.” Veteran jockey Scott Stevens, on a bit of a “busman’s holiday” at Prairie Meadows, picked up four mounts on Iowa Classic Day and left town with his 4,579th lifetime win in the books after piloting Theperfectvow to victory in the $90,000 Iowa Sorority for juvenile fillies. “Our plan was to get the lead,” explained Stevens, riding for owner River Ridge Ranch LLC and trainer Robertino Diodoro. “With the babies, if they can get the lead, they usually run better. She stumbled a little leaving the gate, but there was some other trouble inside of us, and we were able to get over to the inside and take the lead.” The filly by Majesticperfection gave Poindexter a sweep as the breeder of both 2-year-old stakes. It had been a long time—22 races over three years—since Foxy Fleda had won a race. But breeder and owner Pam Ellison of Rosewood Farm Inc. never lost faith in the now 6-year-old mare. And that unwavering faith was rewarded with a convincing victory in the $100,000 Donna Reed Stakes for older distaffers. “We’re just absolutely thrilled,” said trainer Doug Anderson about the Added Edge daughter. “She got beat a nose here last year in the same race. We gave her the time she needed, almost a month, to be at her best and it all worked out this year.” Jockey Ty Kennedy, riding an Iowa Classic winner for the first time, added, “Early in the race, she didn’t really get too excited. So 52 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
I just sat on her, let her run her race, and when we turned for home, I stepped on the gas and she did the rest.” Co-owner Scott Pope always had confidence in the potential of Mywomanfromtokyo, but before the Hawkeyes Handicap on June 17 his filly had only a single victory on her résumé. Fast forward to Iowa Classic Day, when the daughter of Neko Bay crossed the finish line first in the $103,000 Iowa Breeders’ Oaks to put a giant exclamation point on a three-race win streak that vaulted her to the top of her division in Iowa. “As I said after the Hawkeyes Handicap, we had to work on her mind a bit,” Pope said. “The body was there, the ability was there, but we had to get her mind in the right place.” Pope and his wife, Alison, bred the filly in the name of Crimson King Farm and co-own her with Christine Rhiner. With his impressive victory in the $103,000 Iowa Breeders’ Derby, One Fine Dream left absolutely no doubt that he was the best Iowa-bred 3-year-old on the grounds this season at Prairie Meadows. His conquest was the final jewel in what could be called the “Quadruple Crown” of state-bred stakes for colts and geldings at the Altoona oval, including the Gray’s Lake on June 4, the Cyclones Handicap on June 18 and the Iowa Stallion Stakes on July 16. One Fine Dream led throughout in the Derby, easily repulsing the lone challenge he got from No Holds Barred on the second turn. “It’s been nice to ride him,” said jockey Shane Laviolette about the son of Woke Up Dreamin who runs for Umbrella Stables II LLC and trainer Kelly Von Hemel. “He’s a kind horse, very smart.” One Fine Dream was bred by Gary Lucas and Linda Woods. Trainer and co-owner Paul Pearson, a longtime familiar face at Prairie Meadows, was all smiles after his 7-year-old gelding You Funny Man rallied from off the pace under Alex Birzer to win the second running of the $85,000 Dan Johnson Sprint. “He’s run well for me all season long, so I thought he had a shot in the Sprint,” Pearson said. “We had a little speed to run at, Alex got him rolling, and he looked strong coming to the wire.” The win by You Funny Man capped a stellar season for Pearson, who totaled 16 wins and a 20 percent win rate from 84 starters. River Ridge Ranch LLC co-owns the Humming gelding, and he was bred by Brad Hemba. For photos of all the Iowa Classic winners, go to the Iowa news section of americanracehorse.com.
MICHIGAN THOROUGHBRED OWNERS AND BREEDERS ASSOCIATION NEWS The Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association congratulates the winners of the Michigan Sire Stakes races run on September 3 at Hazel Park. Each race offered a $40,000-added purse. To view photos of the winners, go to the Michigan news section of the American Racehorse website at americanracehorse.com. Following are the winners: 2-Year-Old Fillies: Circle Can Win • Chestnut filly by Gun Power out of Circle the Globe, by Circus Surprise • Breeder: Daniel W. Myers • Owner: Merril L. Spiess • Trainer: Shane Spiess 2-Year-Old Colts/Geldings: Blessed Redeemer • Gray/roan
gelding by Equality out of C R Emmaus Road, by Rehaan Breeder: Guy D. and Deborah R. Russell • Owner: Daniel S. McCarthy • Trainer: Ronald Allen Sr. 3-Year-Old Fillies: Pink Pajamas • Gray/roan filly by Equality out of Chantilly’s Friend, by Crafty Friend • Breeder: Campbell Stable Owner: Mast Thoroughbreds • Trainer: Dr. Robert M. Gorham 3-Year-Old Colts/Geldings: Gun Powder • Dark bay/brown gelding by Gun Power out of Valley Loot, by Demaloot Demashoot Breeder/Owner: Felicia Campbell • Trainer: Ronald Allen Sr. Older Fillies/Mares: Ante My Annie • Chestnut filly by Sky Approval out of Moro Traino, by Moro Oro • Breeder, Owner and Trainer: Denis Cluley Older Colts/Geldings: Boo Dutton • Gray/roan gelding by Equality out of Inty Binty, by Cryptoclearance • Breeder: Twin Cedars Farm • Owner: Kala A. Crampton • Trainer: Jason Uelmen Congratulations also go out to the connections of the Michigan stallions Equality, Gun Power and Sky Approval. Equality is owned by a syndicate and stands at Dickinson Farms in Montgomery. Gun Power is owned by Felicia Campbell and stands at her farm, Campbell Stable, in Jackson. Sky Approval is owned by Denis Cluley and stands at his farm in Mount Pleasant.
MINNESOTA THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION NEWS Champions Crowned on Festival Day at Canterbury By Jim Wells Sunny skies, cool breezes and a surprise or two provided the perfect conditions for the annual Minnesota Festival of Champions at Canterbury Park with a card designed exclusively for Minnesota-bred horses on August 21. The card included a bit of everything, including what might not have been a race for the ages but surely for this particular meet. There was an upset of a solid favorite, a longshot winner from the American Quarter Horse ranks, a honey of a winner in the Bella Notte Stakes, a dry-land winner by the name of Shipmate and a crowd of 7,622 that wagered $268,140 as its contribution to a total handle, including simulcast, of $890,140, the largest total since 1999. Sometimes a trainer can pick up valuable tips from a rider after he has worked a horse. How often he or she listens is another matter. Doug Oliver takes such things to heart, and his horse wound up in the winner’s circle with a check for $36,000 as the upset winner of the $60,000 Wally’s Choice Minnesota Classic Championship. All of the smart money was on odds-on favorite A P Is Loose in this one. The smarter money, it turned out, was on 3-1 second choice Speed Is Life, the Oliver-trained 5-year-old. Jockey Andrew Ramgeet has been telling Oliver after working his horse that he was on a winner. “He kept telling me he could win with this horse,’’ Oliver said. “He’d come back and tell me, ‘He needs this or he needs that,’ ” Oliver said. “We took off the blinkers; we took off the shadow roll.” The result was a neck victory for the gelding by Scipion owned by Ez-Az Thoroughbreds LLP and bred by Daniel Kelliher and Vincent Caldwell.
There was just an instant there, with three-quarters of a mile to go, that Sioux Appeal looked like she had some competition in the $60,000 Glitter Star Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship. The front-runner in this 1 1/16-mile race had been in charge from the break, but now Blues Edge looked ready to usurp that command, sticking her head in front. It was only an instant in a race run in 1:45.20. Heading into the stretch, Dean Butler got his filly back in front by a length and increased that to 2 ½ lengths by the time she hit the wire. Sioux Appeal, out of the Mac Robertson barn, was sent off the 5-2 favorite despite a winless record in 2016 with two starts. Much of the trust placed in her was based on her win last year in the Minnesota Oaks and the Northern Lights Debutante. The Successful Appeal filly runs for breeder Jeff Larson. In the $85,000 Northern Lights Debutante, there was a bit of a mystery filly who was two-for-two career-wise with both races at Prairie Meadows. There was nothing mysterious about the jockey, however. Canterbury Park Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens, highly regarded for his ability on 2-year-old horses, was in the irons, having arrived in Shakopee only a week earlier. Stevens was on a filly named Bold Sharokee in the 1992 Debutante as part of the inaugural Festival and brought her home, his first of, after this edition, four winners in the race. This time he was on Shipmate, a Midshipman filly. He tucked her in safely along the rail and she dictated the fractions for this race, stepping it up at the top of the lane with a 4 ½-length lead. With perfect timing, Stevens got her to the wire three-quarters of a length in front of Pinup Girl. That made winners also of trainer Karl Broberg and breeders and owners Cheryl Sprick and Richard Bremer, who also owned a starter in the first Festival Debutante. Honey’s Sox Appeal had fan appeal—big fan appeal—and for good reason. The 3-year-old filly, owned by Bob Lindgren and trained by Mac Robertson, was sent off the 8-5 favorite in the $60,000 Bella Notte Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship and lived up to those expectations in fine fashion. A winner of two allowance races and second in her previous two starts, the Frances Genter and the Minnesota Oaks, the daughter of Successful Appeal was ready and waiting. She won this race with room to spare, kicking clear in the upper stretch under Geovanni Franco to win by 2 ¼ lengths over Rockin the Bleu’s. Lindgren, who bred the filly with Paul Knapper, said afterward that he wanted the rider to stay close, not more than three lengths back, and then go for it—precisely what Franco did. Lindgren celebrated this one and then hoped the half sister to this winner, Thunder and Honey, would score in the $60,000 Glitter Star. Only the first half of his daily double came through for him, although Thunder and Honey did finish third in her race. There was enough star power in the $60,000 Crocrock Minnesota Spring Championship to have rolled out the red carpet. This was a match-up of track stars, horses that have made their marks in numerous ways at Canterbury Park the last few years. It was a lineup that included Heliskier, a two-time Horse of the Year at the track; Hold For More, the 2015 Horse of the Year; and Bourbon County, AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 53
STATE ASSOCIATION NEWS the two-time defending champion in the race. There was also Smooth Chiraz, four-for-six lifetime and winner of the Victor S. Myers Stakes his last time out locally. This one created all sorts of speculation. Heliskier alone had everyone guessing. He hadn’t run in two years, losing to Bourbon County in his last race. He had undergone at least two surgeries to repair knee damage since. Was he ready? Could he run again at this level? “We wished we could have gotten a race in him,” said owner Marlene Colvin. In a three-horse photo finish, Hold For More, under Dean Butler, got the win in front of Bourbon County and Smooth Chiraz, a neck and a head separating the top three with Heliskier two lengths back in fourth. The race was named for a four-time winner of this sprint, Crocrock, owned by Dale Schenian, who owns Hold For More. Francisco Bravo has been the trainer for all five of those victories. “This was a phenomenal group of horses,” Bravo said. “It was just a beautiful race.” Schenian did his trainer one better. “This is the best Minnesota-bred race in history,” he said. “God bless America.” Hey, where’s the fire? That was the perfect question at Canterbury as Fireman Oscar unveiled his stretch run, increasing his margin of victory by a nose, a head, a neck, a half, a length…until he hit the wire 6 ¾ lengths in front of Devil’s Teeth in the $85,000 Northern Lights Futurity. What a way to break your maiden, with a check for $51,000. There’s not much to go on sometimes with these 2-year-olds, although there was something about the Fireman, who was making his second start. He made his debut just two weeks prior, finishing second to another competitor in this race, Chaska. With Larren Delorme in the irons, trainer Dave Van Winkle sent out the Fireman as the 5-1 second choice to even-money favorite Devil’s Teeth, who was a nose in front of Fridaynitestar at the wire. Fireman Oscar become the first winner for stallion Law Enforcement. He was bred by owner Peter Mattson. For photos of all the Minnesota Festival of Champions winners, go to the Minnesota news section of americanracehorse.com.
MTA Yearling Sale Breaks Records at Canterbury The MTA Yearling Sale was held August 22 at Canterbury Park, and the new Expo Center was a fantastic sales arena. A huge crowd watched as 49 of the 62 yearlings presented sold to new owners. A filly by Midshipman out of Lion Cub brought $50,000 as the sale topper. This outstanding filly was consigned by Dove Hill Farm, agent for Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick. Congratulations to Barry and Joni Butzow on their purchase. Gross proceeds of the sale were a record-breaking $517,350. This tops the previous record of $454,100 set in 2014. The 2016 average price per yearling fell just $2 shy of the 2014 record of $10,560. The 2016 median sale price of $6,500 was the highest since 2002 when there was a special bonus offered for a sales graduate winning the Northern Lights Futurity or Debutante and the Minnesota Derby or Oaks. The 2002 median was $7,000, but that year is considered an anomaly. 54 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Congratulations to all of the new owners. We wish you the best of luck with your new Minnesota-breds and look forward to seeing all of you in the winner’s circle often. To the breeders and consignors, a huge thank you! The investment in time, money and prayers (that these babies don’t hurt themselves) is incredible. The MTA appreciates these Minnesota-bred breeders who are the basis of our industry. For complete results, go to minnesotabred.com.
NORTH CAROLINA THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION North Carolina Thoroughbred Association news for this issue is available on the American Racehorse website at americanracehorse.com.
THOROUGHBRED RACING ASSOCIATION OF OKLAHOMA NEWS Will Rogers Downs to Undergo $3.5 Million Upgrade Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is undergoing an extensive renovation that will provide guests an even better entertainment experience once it is completed in the spring. Overall, more than 43,000 square feet of renovations are occurring inside the casino. Construction is underway and slated for completion by April 2017 at a cost of $3.5 million. “We have very loyal guests who enjoy visiting us for live racing, live entertainment and gaming,” said Rusty Stamps, general manager of Will Rogers Downs. “We strive to provide a high-quality experience at all our casinos and felt it was the right time to enhance the experience at Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs.” The gaming floor will continue to offer 250 electronic games in a new location on the south side of the casino. The new layout will offer a more cohesive gaming experience for guests and create the opportunity to introduce some game variety. The popular simulcast viewing area will be relocated to the northwest corner of the casino. It will feature numerous large screen TVs and seating for more than 100 racing fans. The Horseshoe banquet space will allow for 150 additional race fans during major events like the Kentucky Derby. There will also be an indoor paddock observation area that highlights the new simulcast room. When it comes to live entertainment in Claremore, the Dog Iron Saloon is the area’s most popular spot. It will receive VIP treatment with a new bar, new dance floor and new stage area, decorated with country and western accessories. The newest addition to the casino will be the Dog Iron Grill. It will feature two seating areas with room for nearly 90 patrons near the main entrance of the casino. Construction began in June on a new sanitary sewer line that eliminates the outdated lagoon system near the track. The project is a joint effort with the city of Claremore that will connect to the city’s sanitary sewer line near the entrance to the Will Rogers Turnpike. It will provide opportunities for rural customers and Justus-Tiawah School to connect to the line. It is slated for completion in January 2017.
Tactical Cat Filly Tops Carter Sale in OKC, Gross Sales Increase Carter Sales Co. on August 21 held its OKC Summer Sale at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds, and the auction company reported an increase in gross sales compared to last year. In all, 58 of 87 head sold for $450,500. That’s a jump of 13 percent from last year, when 47 sold for $400,300. With the larger catalog this year, the average dipped 9 percent from $8,517 to $7,767. The buyback rate this year was 33 percent, which is down from 36 percent last year. No No Kitty Kitty, a full sister to multiple stakes winner Heykittykittykitty, sold for $57,000 from Millar Equine, agent for It’s Mine Racing, to trainer Ron Moquett as a private sale. Moquett also trains Heykittykittykitty for Westrock Stables LLC, and the 5-yearold mare has banked $495,161 with a record of 21-10-8-1. She is a five-time stakes winner and twice placed against graded stakes company. Heykittykittykitty and No No Kitty Kitty are by Oklahoma stallion Tactical Cat out of the winning New Way mare Eternal Joy. Both were bred in Oklahoma by Diamond G Ranch. Tactical Cat is a Grade 1-winning son of Storm Cat who stands at Raywood Farm in Arcadia, Oklahoma. Moquett’s purchase made him the top buyer with Bryan Hawk just behind with four head purchased for $56,000. Mighty Acres was the leading consignor with 22 sold for $168,000. For complete results, go to cartersalesco.com.
SOUTH CAROLINA THOROUGHBRED OWNERS AND BREEDERS ASSOCIATION NEWS Franklin “Goree” Smith Wins Award Franklin “Goree” Smith, owner and operator of the Elloree Training Center, has been named the 2015 Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association South Carolina Breeder of the Year. This is the fourth consecutive year Goree has been recognized and the sixth time overall he has received this honor. The National Awards Dinner was held on September 10 at Stonestreet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
TEXAS THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION NEWS Too Much Bling Colt Tops Successful Texas Summer Yearling and Mixed Sale A Texas-bred colt by Too Much Bling sold for $105,000 on August 29 to top the Texas Summer Yearling and Mixed Sale held at Lone Star Park. The auction, held by the Texas Thoroughbred Association in partnership with Lone Star Park, marked the first Texas yearling sale since Fasig-Tipton held one at the same location in 2014. The yearling session recorded gross sales of $611,800 with 63 of 92 head sold for an average of $9,711 and median of $2,500. The buyback rate was 31.5 percent. Those results compare favorably to the last Texas sale, when 79 of 120 yearlings sold for $578,600 with an average of $7,324 and median of $4,200. The mixed session this year, which included a dispersal of stock from Lane’s End Texas, recorded 28 sold for $167,700 with an average of $5,989 and median of $2,700.
“We had a few high-dollar RNAs that would have really boosted the average if they had sold, but we are pleased to have a yearling average of close to $10,000 for the relaunch of this sale,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the TTA. “That is considerably higher than the last yearling sale held here in 2014 by Fasig-Tipton, and I think it shows that there can still be a viable auction here for Texas horsemen and those in the surrounding region. We are looking forward to having our second 2-year-olds in training sale this spring.” The sale had to pause for a short time during the yearling session as a strong thunderstorm passed through the area. The delay was to ensure the safety of the horses and handlers, and the TTA and Lone Star Park provided an open bar for attendees during that time. “Given the market conditions now, I think we can be somewhat accepting of the results, as far as the buybacks,” said Tim Boyce, who managed the sale for the TTA. “It’s higher than we’d like to have, but given the fact that we kind of reopened this market, it’s almost like we’re starting over a little bit.” Trainer Danny Pish purchased the $105,000 sale-topper from the consignment of Lane’s End Texas, agent. The colt is out of the Mineshaft mare Fast Find, who has produced two stakes winners by Too Much Bling—Scooter’s Choice and Shaded. The second-highest price was also a Texas-bred by Too Much Bling consigned by Lane’s End Texas. The filly out of the stakes-producing Geri mare Red Cell went to Keith Asmussen. Too Much Bling formerly stood at Lane’s End Texas and for the 2017 breeding season has been relocated to Valor Farm near Pilot Point, Texas. A colt by Uncle Mo went to $155,000 during the yearling session but did not meet its reserve. In the mixed session, two broodmares sold for $45,000 apiece to Ken Carson, agent, as the highest price. One was Paddle Out, a daughter of Valid Expectations in foal to Congaree, and the other was Fast Find, the dam of the sale-topper, in foal to Too Much Bling. The Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale will return in the spring with a date to be announced. To view the complete results, go to ttasales.com.
Texas Racing Commission Grants 2017–18 Race Dates At its meeting on August 9, the Texas Racing Commission approved the following 2017–18 race dates for Texas racetracks: Gillespie County Fairgrounds, 2017—8-day mixed meet: July 1, 2, 15 and 16; August 12, 13, 26 and 27. 2018—8-day mixed meet: July 7, 8, 21 and 22; August 11, 12, 25 and 26. Lone Star Park—50-day Thoroughbred meet, April 20–July 30, 2017. Retama Park—26-day Thoroughbred meet, September 1– November 25, 2017. Sam Houston Race Park—32-day Thoroughbred meet, January 19–March 18, 2018. Sam Houston Race Park was previously granted a 32-day Thoroughbred meet from January 20 through March 14, 2017. In all, the 2017 dates for Texas racetracks include 112 Thoroughbred race days, 70 Quarter Horse race days and eight days of mixed breed racing. AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 55
STATE ASSOCIATION NEWS New Benefits for TTA Members
Roses to Ribbons Event Set for November 12
The Texas Thoroughbred Association is excited to announce a new partnership with HotelStorm to bring exclusive hotel discounts to our members. When you use HotelStorm, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find savings of 10 to 55 percent over other online travel agencies. HotelStorm offers thousands of hotels worldwide, 24/7 concierge and the best hotel prices. HotelStorm is a great resource, whether traveling to Saratoga, Lexington, Ocala, Hot Springs, Sunland Park or Del Mar and everywhere in between! Check with HotelStorm first when making travel plans for horse racing, horse sales, summer vacations, holiday travel, meetings or any other hotel needs you may have. The site can be accessed through texasthoroughbred.com with access code TXHORSE. Please contact Mary Ruyle in the TTA office at (512) 458-6133 with questions.
The next Roses to Ribbons Old-Fashioned Horse Fair has been set for November 12 at Retama Park near San Antonio. The event is organized by The Paddock Foundation, a nonprofit organization started by the TTA to support and advance the care of Thoroughbreds after their racing careers by supporting rescue, retirement, rehabilitation, retraining and rehoming. At the horse fair, racehorse trainers bring horses ready for a new career up to the saddling paddock. There, prospective buyers can look at a large number of available horses in one place. If buyers see a horse that interests them, they make their own deal with the trainer. Some horses are sold right at the event. Other times, prospective buyers will make arrangements to schedule a pre-purchase exam for the horse at a later time. Everything is worked out individually between the buyer and seller. The fair will also feature a variety of vendors, including tack and clothing, equine artists, racehorse re-homing groups and more. For more information, go to paddockfoundation.com.
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American Racehorse Advertisers Index 7S Racing Stables.................................... 59
Pike Racing.............................................. 28
Aboxofroses – ITOBA Fall Mixed Sale....35
Indiana Thoroughbred Breed
River Oaks Farms Inc..............................37
The Art of Horse Racing........................ 58
Development Program......................... 34
Santa Fe Equestrian Services................. 47
Asmussen Horse Center............................1
ITOBA Fall Mixed Sale..........................33
Santa Fe Horse Transport...................... 58
Biomedical Research Laboratories.......... 7
Southwest Shavings LLC....................... 56
Brandon Jenkins Racing Stable.............. 58
KC Horse Transportation...................... 58
Star Bright Thoroughbreds................ IBC
Channon Farm LLC............................... 59
Kingstons Cruzin – ITOBA
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Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Gala.... 27
Equine Sales Company........................... 43
Mallory Farm........................................... 58
MBM Horse Transport.......................... 58
Foal to Yearling Halter............................ 58
Harmony Training Center.......................37
The Paddock Foundation........................18
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AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 59
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Rubiano – Rose Colored Lady, by Formal Dinner Coady Photography
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Dustin Orona Photography
GRASSHOPPER OWNED BY W.S. FARISH
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