American Racehorse - Spring 2017

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A Division of Center Hills Farm

DEN’S LEGACY (Medaglia d’Oro-Sunshine Song, by War Chant)

MR. NIGHTLINGER (Indian Charlie-Timely Quarrel, by Time for a Change)

NEW FOR 2017 A Grade 1-placed and Grade 3 winner by a top international sire

KIPLING (Gulch-Weekend Storm, by Storm Bird)

2017 FEE: $2,500

Sire of Breeders’ Cup winner and $3.3 million earner KIP DEVILLE

NEW FOR 2017 A Grade 1-placed and Grade 3 winner and sire of LINGERLONGER ($195,883) 2017 FEE: $2,000

2017 FEE: $2,000

POLLARD’S VISION (Carson City-Etats Unis, by Dixieland Band) Oklahoma’s leading sire by progeny earnings for 2016 2017 FEE: $3,000

SAVE BIG MONEY (Storm Cat-Tomisue’s Delight, by A.P. Indy)

THE VISUALISER (Giant’s Causeway-Smokey Mirage, by Holy Bull) Sire of Will Rogers Downs Horse of the Meet WELDER ($177,151)

Sire of multiple stakes horse Mimi’s Money ($130,073)

2017 FEE: $2,000

2017 FEE: $2,000

All fees are stands and nurses All stallions are nominated to the Oklahoma Bred Program, Oklahoma Stallion Stakes and Iowa Stallion Stakes

Mighty Acres

675 W. 470 Rd. • Pryor, Oklahoma 74361 Phone: 918-825-4256 • Fax: 918-825-4255 Randy Blair: 918-271-2266



by Gone West-Midway Squall by Storm Bird 2017 Stud Fee: $5,000

by Stephen Got Even–Run Sarah Run by Smart Strike 2017 Stud Fee: $10,000

Sire of Fla. 3 year old champion Flora Dora 59% winners from starters

ntives e c n I g n Shippi Mares e t a t S f o For Out

Bred on the same cross as Millionaire Eclipse Champion Speightstown who had five winners last weekend from 5 furlongs to 11⁄16 dirt and turf

Donald R.Dizney

Standing: First Dude & Bahamian Squall • Contact Roger Brand, Jimmy Alexander or Melissa Anthony for stallion inquiries AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017 899 S.W. 85th Ave., Ocala, FL 34481 • (352) 237-3834 Fax: (352) 237-6069 •



Coady Photography


YEAR AFTER YEAR! For nearly 50 years, the Asmussen name has been synonymous with success, in Texas and beyond! Asmussen Horse Center and El Primero Training Center would like to say thank you to all the buyers at the Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. We wish you good luck with your purchases and hope they end up joining the long list of stakes winners from our program, including: BLING ON THE MUSIC – Two stakes wins and a Grade 2 placing with earnings of $153,082 after topping the 2016 Texas 2yo sale

Bling on the Music



COUNTRY CANDY – By our stallion INTIMIDATOR, she has earned nearly $125,000 with two stakes wins SHADED – Completed a sweep of both divisions of the Texas Thoroughbred Sales Futurity last year and has earned nearly $90,000

Congratulations to trainer Steve Asmussen and his team on a huge weekend on March 25-26, as five-time graded stakes winner GUN RUNNER, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm, finished a game second to ARROGATE in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1), and Calumet Farm’s HENCE won the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) to earn enough points to qualify to the Kentucky Derby (G1)!


Gun Runner went over the $4 million mark in earnings in Dubai.

Keith Asmussen, 956-763-8907

Dr. Steve Velasco, veterinarian • Dee Martinez, office manager, 956-763-7594 P.O. Box 1861 • Laredo, TX 78044 • Phone: 956-723-5436 • Fax: 956-723-5845 Email: • Website:


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.

For more information or to inquire about advertising, contact Denis Blake at (512) 695-4541 or visit


Online: Facebook: Twitter: @AmerRacehorse Email: Phone/Text: (512) 695-4541 • Fax: (512) 870-9324

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 • Senior Art Director Amie Rittler • Graphic Designer Julie Kennedy • Copyeditor Judy L. Marchman

Contributors Jonathan Horowitz J. Keeler Johnson Craig McDougal Will Velie Photographers Ackerley Images Denis Blake Coady Photography The Galloping Lane Photography Joy Gilbert Martha Kelley/Dubai Racing Club Wickedgood | Cover Photo

Copyright © 2017 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. 4 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017



Spring 2017


Why the Triple Crown goes through Oaklawn

30 The racing industry is facing serious immigration issues

Departments Fast Furlongs 12 State Association News


The Marketplace Classifieds


Features From Hot Springs to Louisville and Beyond 22 How Oaklawn Park became the place to prep for the Triple Crown

39 Meet the

Thoroughbred version of two-sport star Bo Jackson

Immigration Issues 30 A look at what new policies and executive orders mean for the racing industry The Bo Jackson of Horse Racing Arapahoe Park-based Thoroughbred is competing on the track and in the arena


Stars of Texas 50 The Lone Star State’s best shine at Sam Houston



MAIMONIDES Vindication – Silvery Swan, by Silver Deputy

2017 Fee: $1,500 Property of Matt Edwards

● A $4.6 million Keeneland September Yearling ● Broke his maiden at first asking by 11 ½-lengths at Saratoga, going 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04.41 under a hand ride ● Placed in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes in just his second career start ● Half brother to G1 winners and successful sires EL CORREDOR and ROMAN RULER ● Sire of multiple stakes winner BREWING ($272,438) and multiple winner Xixixi, a half brother to Triple Crown winner AMERICAN PHAROAH

Shawn Lindsey, Farm Manager Aline Ladouceur, Office Manager

28314 N. County Road 3250 Wynnewood, OK 73098 (405) 563-8973 - Office (405) 543-2569 - Fax

EUROEARS Langfuhr – Unky and Ally, by Heff


2017 Fee: $1,500 with considerations Property of Jim & Marilyn Helzer

● Sired the earners of nearly $820,000 in 2016 alone, his runners include two-time stakes winner EURO K SHOTGUN (earnings of $152,245 with four wins in five starts), stakes winner TAXMAN’S QUEST (undefeated in two starts with earnings of $75,434) and Eurodevilwoman (winner of four straight at Keeneland, Churchill and Oaklawn with earnings of $156,865) ● Average earnings per starter of more than $27,500 ● A six-time stakes winner, EUROEARS won the G1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar in a six-furlong track record time of 1:08.17 and ran second in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen


RASCAL CAT Pulpit – Razzi Cat, by Storm Cat

2017 Fee: $1,500 Property of Murray Irving Cluff

● From the same paternal bloodlines as CALIFORNIA CHROME, racing’s second all-time leading earner with a bankroll of nearly $15 million ● $1.3 million Keeneland September Yearling ● Proved his soundness, durability and versatility with 68 lifetime starts and more than $200,000 in earnings while running until age 9 and winning on multiple surfaces and at multiple distances ● Great demeanor and easy to handle

Shawn Lindsey, Farm Manager Aline Ladouceur, Office Manager

28314 N. County Road 3250 Wynnewood, OK 73098 (405) 563-8973 - Office (405) 543-2569 - Fax


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 or 1-800-557-9055, and comes with a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee.


RIVER OAKS FARMS It Pays to Breed in Oklahoma!



Tiznow – Storm Tide, by Storm Cat

Forest Wildcat – Wichitoz, by Affirmed

Sire of G3-placed SW EXTINCT CHARM in his first crop!

Sire of 2 stakes winners from 19 starters in 2016!

2017 Fee: $1,000

2017 Fee: $1,500



A G2-winning and G1-placed runner on the turf!

Impeccable bloodlines and a proven stakes sire!

2017 Fee: $1,500

2017 Fee: $1,250

Exchange Rate – Ada Ruckus, by Bold Ruckus

Danzig – Strategic Maneuver, by Cryptoclearance

River Oaks Farms Inc. all fees are stands and nurses

3216 U.S. Hwy. 177 North • Sulphur, Oklahoma 73086 Inquiries to Lori or Francisco Bravo Ranch: (580) 622-4412 • Francisco: (940) 367-4457 • Lori: (940) 367-4380 Fax: (580) 622-4411 • Email:

Accredited Oklahoma Stallions • Nominated to the Oklahoma Stallion Stakes, Iowa Stallion Stakes and Minnesota Stallion Stakes

RIVER OAKS FARMS It Pays to Breed in Oklahoma!


A.P. Indy – Lovely Regina, by Deputy Minister


Maria’s Mon – True Flare, by Capote

A perennial leading sire in Oklahoma!

New to River Oaks for 2017! 2017 Fee: $1,250

2017 Fee: $2,500



Smoke Glacken – Baydon Belle, by Al Nasr (Fr)

Bernardini – Moonlight Sonata, by Carson City

A proven sire of graded stakes performers!

A G2 winner standing his first season in Oklahoma!

2017 Fee: $2,500

2017 Fee: $2,500

River Oaks Farms Inc. all fees are stands and nurses

3216 U.S. Hwy. 177 North • Sulphur, Oklahoma 73086 Inquiries to Lori or Francisco Bravo Ranch: (580) 622-4412 • Francisco: (940) 367-4457 • Lori: (940) 367-4380 Fax: (580) 622-4411 • Email:

Accredited Oklahoma Stallions • Nominated to the Oklahoma Stallion Stakes, Iowa Stallion Stakes and Minnesota Stallion Stakes

fastfurlongs Regional Stallion Rosters Continue to Expand for 2017

The flurry of stallion announcements and relocations that closed the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes, Grade 3 Risen Star Stakes and Grade 3 out 2016 continued into 2017 as several new faces landed in Texas, Salvator Mile Handicap. He also finished second in the Grade 1 Florida Oklahoma and Indiana. Derby. I Spent It, a Grade 2 winner by Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, From five crops to race, Notional has sired the earners of more than has been relocated to Oklahoma for the 2017 breeding season and will $7.2 million. His leading earner is Far Right, winner of the 2015 stand at Merrick Ranches in Sayre. The 5-year-old stallion will stand for Southwest Stakes (G3) and runner-up to American Pharoah in the a fee of $2,500 as property of Joe Merrick. Arkansas Derby (G1). Far Right raced in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and I Spent It emerged as one of the top 2-year-olds of 2014 after break- has banked $701,866. ing his maiden at first asking at Belmont Park. In just his second Maimonides, a $4.6 million Keeneland yearling with a brief but career start, he drew clear to win brilliant racing career, has been the Grade 2, $300,000 Toyota relocated to stand at J&M Saratoga Special Stakes by 2 ¾ Equine Reproduction Center lengths despite having a trouin Wynnewood, Oklahoma. He bled trip. He followed that up will stand for a $1,500 fee as with a second-place effort in property of Matt Edwards. the Grade 1, $350,000 HopeA son of the undefeated ful Stakes, also at Saratoga. He Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) earned $347,640 in seven career winner and champion 2-yearstarts. old colt Vindication, MaiOut of the winning Sky Mesa monides brought a bid of $4.6 mare Rateeba, I Spent It has million from Zayat Stables at a female family that includes the 2006 Keeneland September graded stakes winners Zavata, yearling sale. In his career debut She’s Tops and Dixie Union. for trainer Bob Baffert, he rolled “We are very fortunate to to an 11 ½-length win in a have him and think he’s from Saratoga maiden race. He folan up-and-coming sire line with Notional, formerly one of the leading sires in Oklahoma, has been relocated to lowed that up with a third-place all the success we’ve seen from Indiana. finish in the Grade 1 Hopeful Super Saver and the interest in his young sons likes Runhappy and Stakes at Saratoga but came out of that race with bucked shins and was Competitive Edge,” Merrick said. “We really think I Spent It is going eventually retired. to be an asset to the breeding program in Oklahoma.” Maimonides is a half brother to Grade 1 winners and successful sires I Spent It formerly stood in Florida, and his first crop of foals are El Corredor and Roman Ruler. As a sire, Maimonides’ top performer is weanlings of 2017. Brewing, a multiple stakes winner at Oaklawn and earner of more than Notional, who stood the last two breeding seasons at Rockin’ $270,000. Maimonides is also the sire of Xixixi, an older half brother to Z Ranch in Oklahoma, has been relocated to Indiana to stand at Triple Crown winner American Pharoah who won two races and now Swifty Farms. He will stand for a fee of $2,000 as property of Randy stands in Pennsylvania. Haffner, Tommy Wente and David Bogue, according to an article on Da Stoops, a multiple stakes-winning son of Distorted Humor, has been relocated to Rockin BB Ranch in Tecumseh outside of OklahoSired by In Excess (Ire), Notional earned $733,240 with victories in ma City. The 14-year-old stallion will stand for $1,000 as property of 12 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017

Danny Caldwell, a perennial leading owner at Oaklawn, Remington Park and Prairie Meadows. Da Stoops earned $640,906 with a career record of 16-5-5-4 that included four stakes wins. While known primarily as a sprinter with three of his stakes wins coming at six or seven furlongs, he also proved he could go a distance of ground with a 5 ¼-length win in the $250,000 Cal National Snow Chief Stakes at 1 1/8 miles at Hollywood Park. He also finished second in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes at Hollywood and third in the Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park, and he ran fourth in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita. As a stallion, Da Stoops has sired the earners of more than $4.2 million, topped by multiple stakes winner and $323,720 earner Redneck Humor, who in his first start this year set a six-furlong track record at Sunland Park with a clocking of 1:07.42. “I owned a horse by Da Stoops named Da Belldozer who later went on to place in a couple of stakes, so that’s part of what attracted me to him,” Caldwell said. “Da Stoops could run 1:08 and change, he could also stretch out, and he ran well at an early age. We usually breed for speed in Oklahoma, so he’s an excellent fit and I think he’s going to be a good cross with a lot of mares here.” C’Mon Tiger, a stakes-placed son of Storm Cat, has been moved to Texas and will stand at Seven S Farms in Mission. He will stand for a $800 fee as property of Marco Sandoval.

After making one start in Ireland, C’Mon Tiger won three of his first four starts in the United States, breaking his maiden going a mile and then winning two allowance races at Santa Anita. He also finished a close second in the Santana Mile Handicap at Santa Anita, defeating Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Wilko. He is a half brother to Horse of the Year, two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner and leading sire Tiznow and to multiple graded stakes winner and $2.8 million earner Budroyale. His female family includes Grade 1 winners Oxbow and Paynter. C’Mon Tiger previously stood at JEH Stallion Station in Oklahoma. The Storm Cat stallion Western Gambler has been relocated from New Mexico to Texas and will stand at South Plains Veterinary Clinic in Slaton, near Lubbock. He will stand for a fee of $750 as property of Louis “Bud” Farr, DVM. Bred by Overbrook Farm out of the Gone West mare Western Eternity, Western Gambler sold for $275,000 as a 2-year-old. Although he did not reach the winner’s circle in six starts on the track, he has found success as a stallion. Among the horses he has sired are Texas-bred Worthington, a stakes winner at Ruidoso Downs and Louisiana Downs; Kimbell, twice stakes-placed last year; and Captain Gambler, a stakes winner and Group 1-placed runner in South Africa. The stallion’s newest stakes winner is Hute, who won the $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile Stakes at Sunland Park in February to improve his record to 4-2-1-0 with earnings of $70,200.


fF Partly Mocha Named Horse of the Meet at Sam Houston

Coady Photography

Partly Mocha, owned by Sarah and Kenneth Ramsey and trained by Mike Maker, was named 2017 Horse of the Meet for the Thoroughbred season at Sam Houston Race Park. The 8-year-old son of Half Ours won the $75,000 Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint in January and returned one month later to take the $50,000 Bucharest Turf Sprint. The chestnut gelding was stakes-placed at Charles Town and Gulfstream before winning his two turf sprints in Houston. His record now stands at nine wins from 36 starts with earnings of $445,392. The leading owner, trainer and jockey awards were presented on the final day of the meet, March 14. Steve Asmussen won his ninth training title at the northwest Houston racetrack. He started 86 horses, finishing with a record of 29 wins, 19 seconds, 12 thirds and earnings of $377,222. Asmussen, who was inducted last year into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, continues to be a loyal supporter of Texas racing. He and his family reside in Arlington, Texas, and his parents, Keith and Marilyn, operate Asmussen Horse Center in Laredo. “We had a really great meet; we really did,” Asmussen said. “I don’t know if people know what incredible track surfaces there are at Sam Houston. Year after year, I am able to run considerably older horses here. They come out of their races sound with fresh legs and do well for the remainder of the year.” The two-time Eclipse Award winning conditioner relied on his longtime assistant, Pablo Ocampo, to oversee the Houston barn. “He does a tremendous job,” said Asmussen of Ocampo, who will head next to Lone Star Park. “He is the longest continuous employee I have ever had! Without a doubt, Pablo has played an important role in each of the Houston titles.” Mindy Willis had an outstanding season, finishing second in the standings with 17 wins. Karl Broberg was third with 16 victories followed by Bret Calhoun, who won six stakes to finish with 15 wins and the second-highest earnings of $315,876. Jockey Iram Vargas Diego repeated as leading rider for the second title of his career. The 37-year-old jockey was born in Guerrero, Mexico, and came to the United States in 2001. He began hot-walking horses in Illinois and started galloping at Fairmount Park. Diego has ridden in Texas for the past four years and has steadily earned the respect of horsemen. Diego, who rode first call for Asmussen, had 172 starts, winning the

Partly Mocha (red silks) title with a record of 49 wins, 32 seconds and 22 third-place finishes. His mounts earned $597,468. “I want to thank God and the trainers and owners who gave me such a great opportunity,” Diego said. “For Steve to have confidence in me means so much. I wasn’t sure I could win my second title here as Deshawn [Parker], David [Cabrera] and Lindey [Wade] are all such good riders. It has been a great meet.” Diego also thanked horseman J.R. Caldwell and his agent of three years, Bradley White. David Cabrera won 35 races to finish second in the standings for the third year in a row. The 24-year-old native of Guanajuato, Mexico, has leading rider titles at Lone Star Park and Retama Park and was third in 2016 at Remington Park. DeShawn Parker, who held the Sam Houston title in 2015, was third with 27 victories, and Sasha Risenhoover had an excellent meet, finishing fourth with 26 winning mounts. Texas businessman Jose Luis Espinoza won his first Sam Houston leading owner title with 11 wins. Espinoza’s horses made 30 starts this meet; his winners were a mix of maidens and allowance runners with stable star Atlantico Norte winning three of his four starts. Jerenesto Torrez trains for Espinoza, and they have had a long and successful association. “I am very pleased to learn of this honor,” Espinoza said. “Jerenesto and I have worked together for 26 years, and he and his crew do an excellent job.” The title went down to the wire as Steve Asmussen was in striking distance but finished in a tie for second with End Zone Athletics. Each had 10 wins for the season.

For more racing and breeding news, go to 14 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017

Rachel Alexandra Subject of New Book that Includes Her Texas Connections A new book for young readers chronicling the story of champion racemare Rachel Alexandra was released on March 1 and includes her connections to Texas. Written by Deb Aronson and published by the Chicago Review Press, the book is titled Alexandra the Great: The Story of the Record-Breaking Filly Who Ruled the Racetrack. The book includes numerous Texas mentions, as Rachel Alexandra received her early training at Diamond D Ranch in Lone Oak. On the track, she was first trained by Hal Wiggins, a past president of the Texas Thoroughbred Association, and then by Steve Asmussen. Following is the overview from the publisher: When a little foal with a white upside-down exclamation point on her forehead was born one morning in Kentucky, the heart of America’s horse racing region, problems mounted quickly. Rejected by her mother, the filly would need to be accepted and nursed by another mare. As she grew, the tall, knock-kneed girl remained skinny and scruffy, with paltry muscles. Considered an “ugly duckling,” she was unsuitable as a champion racehorse, her owner proclaimed, and must be sold. But two days before the sale, an examination revealed a medical condition—now she was impossible to sell! What would become of this problem filly? Alexandra the Great tells one of the greatest underdog tales in American sports—the story of Rachel Alexandra, who grew up to become one of the most remarkable racehorses in history. Despite dominating every filly her age, her owner refused to let her compete against male horses. When a new owner saw her potential and raced her against bigger, stronger males, Rachel Alexandra thrived and went on to win the Preakness, the first filly to do so in 85 years, and the Woodward, a feat never before achieved by a filly. Having grown into a strong, muscular, dominating athlete, Rachel Alexandra was named 2009 Horse of the Year, broke records, graced the pages of Vogue magazine and showed people around the world exactly what it means to “run like a girl.” Including vivid details gleaned from interviews with Rachel Alexandra’s owners, veterinarian, beloved jockey Calvin Borel and more, Alexandra the Great gives readers an exciting and emotional look at both the humans and horses who pour their hearts and souls into the world of Thoroughbred training and racing. The book is available at and numerous other booksellers.

TTA Sets August 21 Date for Yearling Sale The Texas Thoroughbred Association has announced that the Texas Summer Yearling and Mixed Sale will be held Monday, August 21, at the Texas Thoroughbred Sales Pavilion on the grounds of Lone Star Park. Last year’s auction marked the first to be operated by the TTA in partnership with Lone Star Park and recorded substantial increases over the final Texas yearling sale operated by Fasig-Tipton in 2014. The sale-topper was a Texas-bred colt by leading Texas sire Too Much Bling who sold for $105,000. “After not having a yearling sale in Texas in 2015, I think the results last year proved that there is still ample demand from buyers and

quality stock being offered by consignors,” Sales Director Tim Boyce said. “With this spot on the calendar we expect to be able to draw horses from all around the region, and the central location of Dallas/ Fort Worth makes it easy for buyers and sellers to get here.” “Our 2-year-old sale last year has already produced several stakes winners, and over the years this yearling sale has done the same, most recently with multiple graded stakes winner Texas Chrome, so we look forward to having another quality catalog this year,” TTA Executive Director Mary Ruyle said. For more information, go to AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017 15


Turf Writer, Texas Racing Historian Bill Mooney Passes Away

Stemmans.Com 800.544.6773

The Horse Supply Specialists Servicing Evangeline Downs & Evangeline Downs Training Center each race day. Stemmans Inc. 117 E. Gloria Switch Road P.O. Box 156 Carencro, LA 70520 337-234-2382 337-316- 2694 -Don’s Cell




for journalists; and who has taught us all how to face overwhelming adversity with great strength, courage, grit and class; and … has made incredible contributions to horse racing that will last in perpetuity.” A two-time Eclipse Award winMooney with 1996 Breeders’ ner for writing, Bill was known for Cup Classic winner Alphabet his relentless pursuit of accuracy, Soup at Old Friends painstaking research and terrific storytelling during his work for The Thoroughbred Record, The Thoroughbred Times and The Blood-Horse. He had been a frequent contributor to The New York Times and numerous magazines. For The Texas Thoroughbred magazine, Bill wrote an extensive and meticulously researched series titled “The Forgotten History of Texas Racing.” The articles covered the Texas tracks of the 1930s, including Arlington Downs and Fair Park in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Alamo Downs in San Antonio and Epsom Downs in Houston. If not for Bill’s efforts to tell the stories of those tracks and the horsemen of that era, far less would be known about the history of horse racing in the state. Bill’s magnificent and voluminous histories and storytelling were typed with one finger, a byproduct of being in a horrific auto crash at age 15. During his six-week hospital stay, his passion for horse racing was kindled by an orderly who was a fan and would bring him the race charts from the Providence (R.I.) Journal. Bill received an undergraduate degree from North Texas State University and his master’s and doctorate in English at Michigan State University. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, noted circus performers James P. Mooney Jr. and Maria Anna Antalek, and a brother Jim. He is survived by another brother, John. Memorial gifts may be made to Hospice of the Bluegrass, 2312 Alexandria Dr., Lexington, KY 40504, and Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Center, 1841 Paynes Depot Rd., Georgetown, KY 40324, where founder and close friend Michael Blowen is naming a road for Bill.

Courtesy Old Friends

William P. “Bill” Mooney, the award-winning turf writer who ranked among Thoroughbred racing’s premier historians of any generation, died peacefully at his Lexington, Kentucky, home January 28 after a devastating two-year battle with renal cell carcinoma. He was 69. Bill was a friend and mentor to many, offering his wise counsel to both aspiring and veteran journalists and also to cancer patients. In his last months, he showed us not only how to live but how to die with courage and grace. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and the Kentucky Senate in December recognized Bill for his contributions to the horse industry and valor in confronting the cancer he knew would kill him. The Senate proclamation on the motion of Sen. Reggie Thomas read in part that Bill “has worked tirelessly to preserve for posterity horse racing’s illustrious history, using details and descriptions which, for the reader, bring to life the colorful world of horse racing, both today and throughout history.” Mayor Gray declared December “Bill Mooney Month in Lexington,” the proclamation stating in part that Bill “is a kind, loving person who goes out of his way to help others in need; who has been a role model

Horse of the Year and Kentucky Derby Winner Charismatic Dies Shortly After Returning Home

Charismatic (center) winning the Kentucky Derby Dual classic winner and 1999 Horse of the Year Charismatic died suddenly on February 19 at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, Kentucky. The 21-year-old stallion had returned to the United States from the JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan on December 4 to be pensioned. The story of Charismatic’s journey back home was

featured in the November/December 2016 issue of American Racehorse. A necropsy revealed that Charismatic suffered a catastrophic and unforeseeable fracture of his pelvis that resulted in fatal bleeding. “Right now, everyone is pretty much inconsolable,” said Old Friends President Michael Blowen. “Last night, at 6:30, he was fine. He was a really tough horse and he deserved a much longer retirement. But none of us, unfortunately, has a magic wand. Everyone at Old Friends takes solace from the few great months that this great champion gave us.” Bred in Kentucky by Parrish Hill Farm and William Farish, and trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Charismatic won, at long odds, the 1999 Kentucky Derby (G1) after vying in claiming races just a few months earlier. He went on to capture the Preakness Stakes (G1) and found himself an unlikely Triple Crown contender. But in the Belmont Stakes (G1), the chestnut colt suffered multiple fractures in his left front leg just a few strides before the wire. It was only through the heroic efforts of jockey Chris Antley, who quickly dismounted and held Charismatic’s injured left front leg off the ground, that the injuries were career-ending and not life-ending. Charismatic earned that year’s Eclipse Award as champion 3-yearold colt, as well as Horse of the Year honors, and retired with five wins from 17 starts and earnings of $2,038,064. He entered stud at Lane’s End in 2000 and stood there for three seasons before relocating to Japan in 2002.

Prairie Meadows Introduces New Racing Club, Kelly Von Hemel to Train Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel will offer an exciting behind-the-scenes look at Thoroughbred ownership during the 2017 meet. The property is introducing the Prairie Meadows Racing Club I to provide its members a low-risk pathway to becoming a racehorse owner. The club is a low-cost, social and educational glimpse into the life of Thoroughbred ownership. It offers an exclusive experience with many benefits including special club events, viewings of the horse’s workout sessions, priority valet parking, special accommodations on race days, a dedicated Facebook page with frequent updates and more. The club gives 200 people a chance to be a part of this thrilling experience with Prairie Meadows’ Hall of Fame trainer, Kelly Von Hemel, who will select and train the club’s horse. A one-time membership fee of $300 is required and will be available for purchase at the Prairie Meadows Gift Shop or The membership fee will be used to purchase the horse and cover costs associated with the horse’s care and training. “Racing has always been a huge part of my life, and I am very excited to share my knowledge and experience with the club’s members,” Von Hemel said. “I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of Prairie Meadows Racing Club and cannot wait to give our members a firsthand look at Thoroughbred ownership.” Von Hemel comes from a family of veteran Thoroughbred trainers,

highly respected throughout the nation’s racing industry. He took out his trainer’s license in 1985 and worked as his father’s assistant until going out on his own in 1990. Von Hemel served on the Iowa Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Board of Directors from 2002 to 2011. He was re-elected in 2014 and currently serves on the board. Nearly half of Von Hemel’s 1,390 career wins have occurred at Prairie Meadows. He reached his 1,000th career win milestone at the track in 2007. Von Hemel conditioned Prairie Meadows’ Racing Hall of Famer Sure Shot Biscuit, a 13-time stakes winner and the first Iowa-bred to reach $1 million in career earnings. His other notable horses include Miss Macy Sue, Semaphore Man, Irish Party and Maya’s Storm. The club has been organized as a 501(c)(7) not-for-profit social club. Members should not join with any profit motive or expectation of profit. After payment of all horse-related expenses and other club costs, all purse earnings or proceeds from the sale of the horse may be distributed to the members but will not exceed their membership fee. The remainder will be donated to a local charity. Von Hemel will make all decisions regarding the club’s horse, and John Hernandez, Prairie Meadows’ horsemen’s liaison, will serve as the club’s director. For additional information, visit AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017 17

Coady Photography

Alex Birzer Reaches 3,000 Win Milestone at Oaklawn

Alex Birzer

Jockey Alex Birzer became the 174th jockey in North America to win 3,000 races when he guided Numancia to victory in the sixth race at Oaklawn Park on February 26. Birzer, 43, hit that number with his fifth mount of the day, after three winners the previous day moved him within one victory of the milestone. “I’m speechless,” Birzer said. “My agent [Brian Assmann], and to all my people that

ride me, I just thank you. “This is wonderful. It looked like it might set up this way last fall and

I had it in my mind that it would be great to reach this here. I just love Oaklawn. I love the people here. The patrons are just unreal with the way they treat us. It’s a great racing atmosphere.” A son of the nation’s heartland, Birzer is a veteran jockey who used successful Oaklawn meets to springboard into dominating performances at other tracks. He led the standings four times at The Woodlands outside Kansas City, Kansas, and holds three titles at Prairie Meadows, where he hit the 2,000-win milestone June 4, 2010. A very special riding feat came on August 15, 1997, when Birzer won six of eight races at Columbus in Nebraska. It was the day after his daughter Jordan LeAnn was born. Birzer’s biggest wins during this Oaklawn meet have come aboard Iowa -bred Chanel’s Legacy in the Dixie Belle and Martha Washington stakes.

Arrogate’s Dam Bubbler Has Strong Southwest Connection

Mathea Kelley/Dubai Racing Club

Arrogate, who was bred by Clearsky Farms and sold for $560,000 to owner Juddmonte Farms as a Keeneland September yearling, has earned $17,084,600, surpassing California Bubbler (inside), winning the Gallery Furniture Chrome as the all-time Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park in 2009. richest Thoroughbred based in North America. “I can’t believe we won,” said Arrogate’s trainer Bob Baffert, who also conditioned Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, after Mike Smith piloted the Kentucky-bred to Arrogate surpassed California Chrome as a come-from-behind the all-time richest racehorse based in North win in Dubai. “That America with a victory in the Dubai World Cup. is a great horse right there. It was terrible, terrible; he walked out of the gate. I tell you what—Mike Smith did a great job. He didn’t panic, he just thought, well, I’ll just get him around there. Mike Smith, what a job he did. Unbelievable. This is the greatest horse we have seen since Secretariat. Unbelievable.” Arrogate is Bubbler’s first foal to race, and she has a 2-year-old filly by Medaglia d’Oro and a yearling filly by Giant’s Causeway. The runner-up to Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup, Gun Runner, also has a connection to the region as his trainer is Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, and the son of Candy Ride (Arg) has won graded stakes at Oaklawn and Fair Grounds.

Coady Photography

Arrogate has captured the attention of the horse racing world and the public at large with his spectacular rise to stardom, mostly recently showcased with a dominating win in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 25 at Meydan Raceourse in the United Arab Emirates. The 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song won with relative ease despite a horrendous break out of the gate, leaving him last in the field of 14. That victory, along with impressive wins in the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga, $5.52 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita and inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes at Gulfstream Park, has made Arrogate an international sensation, but his roots go back to a mare who raced exclusively in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. Arrogate’s dam is the Distorted Humor mare Bubbler, bred in Kentucky by her owner, Du-Zee Stable, and trained by Bret Calhoun. Bubbler made her racing debut at Remington Park with a 6 1/2-length maiden win and followed that up with a 7 1/2-length allowance/optional claiming victory in Oklahoma City. The filly closed out an undefeated 3-year-old campaign with a neck victory in the $100,000 Gallery Furniture Distaff Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park. Bubbler captured three more stakes as a 4-year-old with wins in the $57,600 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds, $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff Stakes in Houston and $50,000 Irving Distaff Stakes on the turf at Lone Star Park. She concluded her racing career at Lone Star with a third in the $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff Handicap (G3) on the turf. She was retired later in 2010 due to injury with a record of 9-6-0-1 and earnings of $211,622. “She did a lot in a short period of time,” Calhoun told Mary Rampellini of Daily Racing Form. “She started off running in those stakes pretty inexperienced and moved up the ladder pretty easily. Horses like her don’t come along often.” After being retired from racing, Bubbler sold for $170,000 to Eamon Clearly at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall mixed sale. She was consigned to that same sale in 2016 by Clearsky Farms in foal to Into Mischief but did not meet her reserve when the bidding stopped at $4.7 million. 18 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017


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By J. Keeler Johnson • Photos by Coady Photography

American Pharoah’s use of the 3-year-old races at Oaklawn as a launching pad to Triple Crown immortality was the culmination of an upward trend in the track’s stakes program. 22 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017



It all started with a Pennsylvania-bred racehorse, a centennial absolute Triple Crown domination by horses that have run at the anniversary and one of the biggest bonuses ever offered in the sport historic Arkansas oval. of horse racing. The year was 2004 and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, The Years after Smarty Thirteen years have passed since Smarty Jones’ exploits captured the was about to celebrate its 100th anniversary of racing. Track President Charles Cella was looking for a way to attract a higher-quality group attention of the nation, and during that time 36 Triple Crown races have been run. Twelve of 3-year-old colts to of those have been compete in Oaklawn’s won by nine different series of Kentucky horses that prepped at Derby (G1) prep races, and the idea was Oaklawn, a phenomenal success rate that conceived to offer a equates to an average of $5 million bonus to one Triple Crown race any horse that could win per year by horses win the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derfrom Oaklawn. by and then add the Furthermore, Oaklawn runners have ever-elusive Kentucky finished in the Triple Derby. Like many special Crown trifectas at an bonuses, the chance even more astonishing of a horse actually rate—22 horses have completing the sweep combined to record was slim, but then a 32 top-three finishes horse named Smarty in Triple Crown racSmarty Jones earned a $5 million bonus in 2004 for es since 2005, which Jones burst onto the capturing the Rebel Stakes, Arkansas Derby and works out to nearly scene and proceeded Kentucky Derby, and he brought added attention three trifecta finishes to change the course to the Triple Crown preps in Hot Springs. per year. of racing history. Of course, this is not to imply that Oaklawn had never produced Hailing from the Keystone State and owned by the husband-andwife team of Roy and Pat Chapman (who raced under the a Triple Crown contender before Smarty Jones. Quite to the conname of Someday Farm), Smarty Jones was the quintessential trary, the Arkansas Derby was a significant precursor to Triple Crown “People’s Horse,” proving the old adage that a good horse can success during the last three decades of the 20th century. Elocucome from anywhere and the “Sport of Kings” truly is the “King of tionist (1976 Preakness winner), Temperence Hill (1980 Belmont Stakes), Sunny’s Halo (1983 Kentucky Derby), Tank’s Prospect (1985 Sports.” First, Smarty Jones won the Southwest Stakes, Oaklawn’s prep for Preakness), Pine Bluff (1992 Preakness) and Victory Gallop (1998 the Rebel. Then he won the Rebel itself, cruising to an easy victory Belmont Stakes) all won the Arkansas Derby prior to their Triple in a fast time. Three weeks later the Arkansas Derby (then a Grade 2) Crown race success, and 1992 Kentucky Derby winner Lil E. Tee fell to Smarty Jones as well, setting him up for a “run for the bonus” prepped for the Run for the Roses by finishing second in the Arkansas Derby. in the Run for the Roses. But it was Smarty Jones who ushered in a new era, and if Smarty Over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, Smarty Jones stalked the pace, took command in the homestretch and pulled away to win with Jones started the ball rolling, then it was Afleet Alex that gave the ball ease. The $5 million bonus was his and Oaklawn could celebrate the a strong kick to send it careening across the field. An accomplished fact that one of the most popular Derby winners in recent memory 2-year-old, Afleet Alex won the 2005 Arkansas Derby by eight lengths and later stunned the racing world with breathtaking victories in the had spent the winter in Arkansas. At the time, no one could have known that Smarty Jones was Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, one of just three horses to opening a veritable floodgate. As Oaklawn entered its second centu- complete that double in the last 20 years. A third-place effort in the ry of racing, the track simultaneously entered a new era—an era of Kentucky Derby, just a length behind longshot winner Giacomo, is AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017 23

with American Pharoah, who prepped for the series with easy wins in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby. Through 2016, Baffert has also won six of the last seven editions of the Rebel, as well as two Arkansas Derbies and four editions of the Southwest. Even when Baffert’s Oaklawn runners don’t make an impact on the Triple Crown, they frequently achieve success in other major races. In recent years, Oaklawn’s Derby preps have been host to such memorable Baffert trainees as Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Bayern, Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Secret Circle and the multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter The Factor. Steve Haskin, a noted Triple Crown authority who pens the popular “Derby Dozen” column for The Blood-Horse magazine and website, believes that Baffert and other top trainers are largely responsible for Oaklawn’s streak of success and that the success of One year after Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex (center) took the reins Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex brought in the big-name and kept Oaklawn in the Triple Crown spotlight. conditioners. “That captured the attention of mega-trainall that kept him from Triple Crown immortality. The 2006 season was a quieter one for Oaklawn, but that was only ers Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher, who each year had an army of because future champion Lawyer Ron happened to misfire in the Derby horses that they needed to separate,” Haskin explained. “It Kentucky Derby. After sweeping Oaklawn’s Derby prep races, Law- was when Pletcher, and especially Baffert, began separating their yer Ron went on to become the 2007 champion older male and set 3-year-olds and sending horses to Oaklawn that the track became a still-standing track record at Saratoga when he won the Whitney the place to prep a horse for the Derby, and the successes kept piling up. Pletcher made the first impact by finishing second in the Handicap (G1). At that point, the gloves were off. Over the next few years, Curlin, Rachel Alexandra, Super Saver and Lookin at Lucky all used Oaklawn as a springboard to Triple Crown race success, essentially paving a path from Hot Springs to Louisville and marking the way with neon signs. From some perspectives, the rise of Oaklawn is surprising. Why would Arkansas’ only racetrack—racing only four months each year and located far from other established centers of racing—become the go-to place for Derby contenders to spend the winter? Let’s examine some of the factors that have contributed to Oaklawn’s success.

The Baffert Factor Few trainers in history have enjoyed as much success in Oaklawn’s Kentucky Derby prep races—and, by extension, the Triple Crown—as Bob Baffert. The Hall of Fame trainer completed a historic sweep of the 2015 Triple Crown 24 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017

Trainers Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher and Steve Asmussen, who sent out Creator to win the 2016 Arkansas Derby, have helped make Oaklawn a primary stop on the road to Louisville.

Arkansas Derby and then winning the Kentucky Derby with Super Saver. He followed with Arkansas Derby wins by Overanalyze and eventual Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Danza. “But it was Baffert who wound up owning Oaklawn Park. He made his first big splash in the Arkansas Derby in 2012 when Bodemeister romped by 9 1/2 lengths and then finished second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness to I’ll Have Another. And then, of course, American Pharoah used his romp in the Arkansas Derby as a springboard to sweep the Triple Crown,” Haskin continued. Another trainer who has played a major role in Oaklawn’s success is Steve Asmussen. The Hall of Fame trainer has won more than 7,500 races over the last 30 years to rank second all-time behind the late Dale Baird, who compiled 9,445 wins while racing mostly in West Virginia. “Last year’s Arkansas Derby winner, the eventual Belmont Stakes winner Creator, was trained by Oaklawn mainstay Steve Asmussen, who has won the Arkansas Derby three times, including a romp by Curlin,” Haskin said. “He also saddled Nehro to second-place finishes in the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby. So it appears that Oaklawn owes its success, and the success of the Arkansas Derby, to three of the most prolific trainers in the country, who have dominated racing there over the past decade.”

Money Talks Another factor that certainly hasn’t hindered Oaklawn’s attempt to attract Derby contenders is the track’s impressive purse structure, both for stakes and overnight races. At a time when many tracks have had to cut purses or reduce racing dates, Oaklawn has been able to propel the value of its Derby prep races to astonishing heights. With a purse of $1 million, the Arkansas Derby is tied as the richest Derby prep in North America, and the Rebel Stakes isn’t far behind with a purse of $900,000, making it one of the richest Grade 2 races in the nation. All told, horsemen who send their Derby contenders to Oaklawn are able to compete for more than $2.5 million in purse money across four stakes races,

Rachel Alexandra used the Fantasy Stakes as a springboard to five consecutive Grade 1 wins and a Horse of the Year title.

Don’t Forget the Fillies! While the Triple Crown colts draw most of the attention at Oaklawn Park each winter, the track has been a proving ground for top fillies as well. Oaklawn’s signature event for 3-year-old fillies—the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3)—has been nothing less than a gold mine for champions and Grade 1 winners. Two names in particular stand out: Eight Belles and Rachel Alexandra. In 2008 the gray/roan filly Eight Belles swept unbeaten through three stakes races at Oaklawn, culminating with the Fantasy. Her dominance led to a start against colts in the Kentucky Derby (G1), where she famously ran second before suffering fatal injuries while galloping out. The saga of Rachel Alexandra had a happier ending. The brilliant filly won the 2009 Fantasy Stakes by an easy 8 ¾ lengths as a precursor to her legendary 20 ¼-length romp in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs. Two weeks later, she tackled colts in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and won in gate-to-wire fashion, beating Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird by a length. Other notable 3-year-old fillies to emerge from Oaklawn in recent years include Kentucky Oaks winner and Eclipse champion Blind Luck and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winners Round Pond and Stopchargingmaria. AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017 25

substantially more money than is available at tracks like Santa Anita ($1.65 million), Gulfstream Park ($1.85 million), Aqueduct ($1.45 million) and Fair Grounds ($1.6 million).

The Oaklawn/Churchill Racing Circuit While it’s easy to assume that “dirt” means “dirt” and all tracks with a dirt surface are pretty much the same, this is far from the case. Some tracks are sandier than others, while some contain more clay, and the way each track responds to moisture can be a different matter entirely. As a result, there’s no guarantee that a horse well suited to Santa Anita or the Aqueduct inner track will adapt to Churchill Downs. However, it has been said by many trainers that the racing surface at Oaklawn Park bears a great similarity to the track at Churchill, making it easier for horses that have run at Oaklawn to transition to the occasionally tricky track under the famed twin spires in Louisville. You can argue that this is clearly demonstrated by the fact that Oaklawn and Churchill form a racing circuit, even though many miles and multiple states separate the two tracks. In the spring, many horsemen at Oaklawn shift their stables to Churchill and enjoy success during the Kentucky Derby meet, while in the fall, horsemen at Churchill wrap up for the year and head south to get ready for Oaklawn.

The Future Although trends on the Triple Crown trail tend to ebb and flow over time, the future looks bright for Oaklawn Park. With a strong purse structure and the support of the nation’s top trainers, the Arkansas Derby has risen solidly to Grade 1 status, and one can even make a case that the Rebel Stakes—currently a Grade 2—might be deserving of an upgrade in the near future. “It’s amazing to think of how far our 3-year-old stakes program has come over the last dozen years,” Oaklawn Director of Racing David Longinotti said in a press release. “The Rebel’s purse was $125,000 in 2003 and is now the richest prep in March. Thanks to the success of our overall business plan, we’ve been able to deliver on the promises we made to our racing fans several years ago. Our goal has always been to bring the highest quality of racing to Arkansas. This is a testament to that commitment.” 26 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017

In any case, the path forward seems clear: Judging from the recent past, handicappers and horseplayers analyzing the Triple Crown would be well advised to pay extra close attention to what transpires in Oaklawn’s Kentucky Derby prep races, while horsemen with promising 3-year-olds should strongly consider a trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas. May 2017 prove to be just as successful! H

Notable Triple Crown Runners Since 2004 That Have Prepped at Oaklawn Year


Oaklawn Park Highlights

2004 Smarty Jones 1st Arkansas Derby 1st Rebel Stakes 1st Southwest Stakes 2005 Afleet Alex 1st Arkansas Derby 6th Rebel Stakes Andromeda’s Hero 3rd Arkansas Derby 2006 Steppenwolfer 2nd Arkansas Derby 3rd Rebel Stakes 2nd Southwest Stakes 2007 Curlin 1st Arkansas Derby 1st Rebel Stakes Hard Spun 4th Southwest Stakes 2008 Eight Belles 1st Fantasy Stakes 1st Honeybee Stakes 1st Martha Washington S. Denis of Cork 1st Southwest Stakes Anak Nakal 7th Rebel Stakes

Triple Crown Highlights 1st Kentucky Derby 1st Preakness Stakes 2nd Belmont Stakes 1st Preakness Stakes 1st Belmont Stakes 3rd Kentucky Derby 2nd Belmont Stakes 3rd Kentucky Derby

1st Preakness Stakes 2nd Belmont Stakes 3rd Kentucky Derby 2nd Kentucky Derby 3rd Preakness Stakes 2nd Kentucky Derby 2nd Belmont Stakes 3rd Kentucky Derby 3rd Belmont Stakes

2009 Rachel Alexandra 1st Fantasy Stakes 1st Martha Washington S. Summer Bird 3rd Arkansas Derby

1st Preakness Stakes


Super Saver Lookin at Lucky

2nd Arkansas Derby 1st Rebel Stakes

1st Kentucky Derby 1st Preakness Stakes



2nd Arkansas Derby

2nd Kentucky Derby

1st Belmont Stakes

2012 Bodemeister 1st Arkansas Derby 2nd Kentucky Derby 2nd Preakness Stakes Atigun 5th Arkansas Derby 3rd Belmont Stakes 11th Rebel Stakes 2013 Oxbow

5th Arkansas Derby 2nd Rebel Stakes

1st Preakness Stakes 2nd Belmont Stakes

2014 Danza Ride On Curlin Commissioner

1st Arkansas Derby 2nd Arkansas Derby 3rd Rebel Stakes 3rd Southwest Stakes 6th Arkansas Derby

3rd Kentucky Derby 2nd Preakness Stakes 2nd Belmont Stakes

2015 American Pharoah 1st Arkansas Derby 1st Kentucky Derby 1st Rebel Stakes 1st Preakness Stakes 1st Belmont Stakes 2016 Creator Cherry Wine

1st Arkansas Derby 3rd Rebel Stakes 4th Rebel Stakes

1st Belmont Stakes 2nd Preakness Stakes

For a recap of the 2017 Arkansas Derby, run April 15 after press time for this issue, go to Other Notable Horses That Ran in Oaklawn’s Derby Preps Year


Oaklawn Park Highlights

Later Highlights

2004 Borrego 2nd Arkansas Derby

1st 2005 Pacific Classic (G1) 1st 2005 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1)

2005 Flower Alley 2nd Arkansas Derby

1st 2005 Travers Stakes (G1) 2nd 2005 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)

2006 Kip Deville 9th Rebel Stakes 1st 2007 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) 1st 2007 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) 1st 2008 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes (G1) 1st 2009 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) 2nd 2008 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) Lawyer Ron 1st Arkansas Derby 1st 2007 Whitney Handicap (G1) 1st Rebel Stakes 1st 2007 Woodward Stakes (G1) 1st Southwest Stakes 2008 Tres Borrachos 3rd Arkansas Derby Gayego 1st Arkansas Derby

1st 2008 Swaps Stakes (G2) 1st 2011 San Diego Handicap (G2) 3rd 2011 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) 1st 2009 Ancient Title Stakes (G1) 3rd 2010 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1)

2009 Hamazing Destiny 8th Rebel Stakes Flat Out 6th Arkansas Derby 4th Southwest Stakes 1st Smarty Jones Stakes

1st 2012 Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) 2nd 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) 1st 2011 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) 1st 2012 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) 1st 2013 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) 3rd 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)

2011 The Factor 7th Arkansas Derby 1st Rebel Stakes Caleb’s Posse 12th Arkansas Derby 2nd Rebel Stakes 6th Southwest Stakes 1st Smarty Jones Stakes

1st 2011 Pat O’Brien Stakes (G1) 1st 2011 Malibu Stakes (G1) 1st 2011 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) 1st 2011 King’s Bishop Stakes (G1)

2012 Secret Circle 2nd Arkansas Derby 1st Rebel Stakes 1st Southwest Stakes Unbridled’s Note 12th Rebel Stakes 9th Southwest Stakes

1st 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) 1st 2015 Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) 2nd 2014 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) 1st 2012 Eddie D Stakes (G3) 1st 2013 Daytona Stakes (G3) 2nd 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1)

2013 Will Take Charge 1st Rebel Stakes 6th Southwest Stakes 1st Smarty Jones Stakes

1st 2013 Travers Stakes (G1) 1st 2013 Clark Handicap (G1) 2nd 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)

2014 Bayern 3rd Arkansas Derby Hoppertunity 1st Rebel Stakes Tapiture 4th Arkansas Derby 2nd Rebel Stakes 1st Southwest Stakes

1st 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) 1st 2014 Haskell Invitational (G1) 1st 2014 Clark Handicap (G1) 1st 2016 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) 1st 2014 West Virginia Derby (G2) 2nd 2014 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1)

J. Keeler Johnson (also known as “Keelerman”) is a writer, blogger, videographer, handicapper and all-around horse racing enthusiast. Johnson is the author of the blog Unlocking Winners and is a regular contributor to America’s Best Racing ( He is also the founder of the horse racing website, AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017 27


EXOTIC BAY Buzzards Bay – Exotic West, by Gone West

• A son of millionaire BUZZARDS BAY, winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap and Grade 2 Californian Stakes.

• Out of the GONE WEST mare Exotic West, dam of six winners including EXPRESSION, a stakes-winning earner of $439,528 who placed in two graded stakes.

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An already tenuous labor situation for the racing industry now faces more uncertainty, but there are things horsemen can do to help.

Ackerley Images

A look at what new policies and executive orders mean for the racing industry By Will Velie with Craig McDougal


reetings, horsemen, from the front lines of the immigration debate. My friends say to me, “man, you must really be busy,” but I explain to them it’s not the type of busy that I ever want to be. As I write this, 57 days into the new administration, what I see so far are frustrated business owners, many scared people and more apprehension than I have witnessed in my 22 years of practicing law as an immigration lawyer. No matter what you think of President Donald Trump and his administration’s immigration policies, there is one thing we can all agree on: Our industry and horsemen are caught in a pincer movement between a government reduction in the availability of legal working visas and stepped up enforcement and removal of undocumented immigrants. Between the executive orders that prioritized nearly all undocumented immigrants for immediate removal signed by President Trump on January 25 and the U.S. Congress’ failure to reauthorize the returning worker exemption for H-2B visa employers, our fellow North American and international horsemen are unable to come to the United States or remain here if they do not have proper working documents. These horsemen are arguably some of the most talented in the world. If you are a trainer or a breeder, you probably work side-by-side with some of these men and women every day, and if you are an owner, you are surely thankful they are there to look after your horses.


Certainly, this is a time of concern for the racing industry, but I am not without hope. I have heard that the legendary negotiating strategy of Trump, the author of The Art of the Deal, involves issuing an opening offer that is more extreme than where he intends to settle for the final accommodation. Perhaps the strategy of declaring all undocumented folks a priority for removal and substantially limiting access to legal working visas is the opening offer for a policy that will include a comprehensive immigration solution that protects the borders while allowing for a visa system that responds to market realties and lets hard-working folks who haven’t committed crimes, other than coming to the United States without proper documentation, to have a shot at the American dream. THE FIRST OF A ONE-TWO PUNCH: EXECUTIVE ORDERS On January 25 and 27, President Trump signed three executive orders directly addressing immigration issues in the United States. The executive order that received the most attention was the so-called “Muslim ban.” While this has affected perhaps tens of thousands of people, the other two orders affect millions. Unfortunately, with all the press coverage of the “Muslim ban,” the extremely far-reaching executive order called “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” and the so-called “build the wall” executive order named “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improve-


ments” received little coverage relative to the number of people who will be affected by them. In short, these two orders shuffled the priority listing that the previous administration had established for removing undocumented individuals from the country. Whereas the previous priority for removal were felons, drug criminals, people who had been previously deported and gang members, the new executive orders make almost all people here without legal authorization an equal priority for removal. Essentially anyone who is charged, convicted or suspected of having committed a criminal offense shall be detained and placed into removal proceedings. When you consider that improper entry into the United States is considered a crime, unless the entrant is a minor, this makes practically all people here without legal permission a priority for removal. While in the abstract of legal theory this may seem like a reasonable remedy for people who have come to the United States without permission, it is important to remember that many of these people have been here for more than a decade, have American citizen children and play essential roles in their jobs and communities. I have regular conversations with trainers, often who are politically conservative, who say to me, “What can I do to help make someone legal?” They go on to explain, “He is my best worker. We have worked together for years, and I trust him like family. His kids and my kids go to school together, and we go to the same church.” I have to explain to them that if the person came here without permission, there is no legal mechanism to help get him legal. He cannot fix his papers in the United States if he is not here legally, and the law says that if he goes home to apply for a legal working visa, he will be slapped as soon as he leaves with a 10-year bar from returning as punishment for his unauthorized stay in the country. As you can guess, this is usually where the conversation ends. Until now, I have always let them know that as long as they don’t drink and drive or fight with their spouse, they should be alright until the government gets its act together enough to create a pathway for the law-abiding, hard-working folks to fix their papers and step fully into a lawful place in the community. The new Trump executive orders have changed this calculation. The new orders are dense and have a lot of overlapping components that are already reaching into every corner of the immigrant community. The order regarding public safety states that priorities for removal from the United States are any unauthorized immigrant who: • has been convicted of any criminal offense, for example, driving with no driver’s license; • has been charged with any criminal offense; • has committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense; • has engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency; for example, used false information to gain a racing license; • has abused any program related to receipt of public benefits; or • is a person who, in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise poses a risk to public safety or national security. This last provision is as open-ended as it sounds and includes any person who has overstayed a visa to the United States. As you can see, these removal priorities include any person who came here without permission or overstayed a lawfully issued visa, except in some cases for individuals who entered the United States before they were adults. The order regarding building a wall, which was signed on the same day as the public safety order, puts in place the enforcement mechanisms that execute the removal priorities. In addition to building the wall, the order:

The issue of work visas for backside workers has taken on added importance under the new administration.

Denis Blake

• expands “expedited” removal from the United States without access to a judge or attorney; • requires mandatory detention; • makes repeated unlawful entry a felony punishable by five years in prison; • deputizes local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws; and • prosecutes the parents of children who are apprehended entering the United States illegally. Taken in total, the combined effect of the two orders radically reorders removal priorities for undocumented immigrants, making all people in the country without authorization an equal priority for deportation. THE SECOND PUNCH: DISAPPEARING WORK VISAS To complete the one-two combination, along with stepped up enforcement and removal, Congress this year allowed a vital provision in the H-2B visa law to expire and did not reauthorize it. As you may know, the H-2B visa is the main visa horsemen may use to obtain lawful working visas for their grooms, hot walkers, exercise riders and any other worker who is not a jockey athlete. The H-2B visa is assigned an arbitrary quota of 33,000 visas every six months. The quota season opens in October and six months later in April. The quota is continually filled to capacity every season as soon as the filing window opens. Keep in mind that those 66,000 visas annually are not used just by the racing industry but also by many other industries such as hotels, restaurants and landscaping. AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017 31

Congress had previously released some pressure from the quota by allowing workers who had previously held an H-2B visa in the past three years to not be counted against the quota. This returning worker provision allowed employers to know that as long as they hired any interested Americans first, they could hire their same people on legal H-2B visas from the previous year and remain in compliance while they remained in business. The shortage of interested Americans on the backside of tracks has long been an existential threat to trainers who will be forced to shut down if they do not have sufficient help to care for their horses. As a result of Congress’ refusal to reauthorize this provision, the quota was reached as soon as the filing window opened. Trainers who have consistently gone to great lengths to recruit and hire Americans first before turning to the H-2B visa program were unable to get their workers even though they have faithfully followed the law for years and hired properly documented workers. A total of 90,000 applications were received at the opening of the H-2B filing season for 33,000 available quota spots. Even the best-organized trainers who filed as soon as the window opened had only a one-in-three chance of getting their workers. The trainers who do not get their workers are confronted with a choice of breaking the law and hiring undocumented workers or turning away horses and even shutting down. The problem cannot be overstated.

Grooms are sometimes overlooked and rarely make it into photos with the equine and human athletes, but they are vital to the industry. Denis Blake


As much as everyone would like to hire Americans to fill their groom and hot walker positions, there are simply nowhere near enough Americans interested or available to fill these jobs. It is important to remember when you hear pundits say that employers are hiring H-2B workers instead of Americans so they can pay lower wages that the H-2B program requires an employer to pay a wage usually nearly double minimum wage and engage in an expensive supervised recruitment campaign that requires two published newspaper advertisements and referrals from unemployment rolls. The employer may not typically require educational or experience minimums from American workers. Still, despite these recruitment efforts, trainers cannot come close to meeting their labor needs in the American labor market. WHAT TO DO The one-two combination to trainers has been severe and constitutes a threat to the safety and viability of many of their livelihoods. If there are not sufficient workers on the backside of the track, horses and people get hurt. A trainer can only muck out so many stalls by himself before he has to turn away horses. If the combination of removal and reduction in access to legal visas continues, many trainers will downsize or shutter their businesses. I was asked once how I remain in this line of work and I answered, “Because I am an optimist.” There is a solution, and the solution starts with the horsemen. The first action horsemen can take is to contact their U.S. representatives and senators. Simply go to to find out who represents you and how to contact them by email, snail mail or phone. For those so inclined, you can contact many members of Congress via Facebook or Twitter. You might be surprised at how receptive your member of Congress is to your input. They are very happy to hear from a local constituent who is a small business owner who creates jobs and value in the community. Reach out to them and tell them that your industry needs a legal channel to act as a safety valve and release some pressure when there simply aren’t enough workers to fill chronically underfilled jobs. The returning worker provision comes up for reauthorization in midApril, and Congress can solve this problem with no political liability and earn the goodwill of its constituents in the process. It is amazing what a phone call can achieve. The second and ultimate solution to this chronic issue that our industry faces is education. Perhaps the main lesson that I have gained from walking the tracks and seeing the state of labor in horse racing is that we as a sport must invest in developing a talent bench of educated grooms, hot walkers and assistant trainers in this country. Not only will these educated Americans grow the ranks of horse racing followers, but it will also clearly demonstrate to the public and the government that we are serious in seeking to cultivate American talent first before we turn to venturing into the immigration system. Fortunately, we have among us one of the best resources available to the industry in the Groom Elite program and its beloved educator and veterinarian Dr. C. Reid McLellan, who travels the country training interested Americans (and non-Americans) to be grooms and assistant trainers. McLellan goes to the tracks, inner cities and correctional facilities nationwide giving free clinics to any and all comers who want to better themselves and embark on a journey that can take them all the way from groom to trainer. Some of our very best trainers in the sport started out as grooms and worked their way up. Our good faith demonstration can show the decision-makers that we are not simply asking for a viable visa program to avoid hiring Americans. In the alternative, we as an in-

dustry at our own expense offer free educational programs across the United States to any American who wants to learn the great skill of caring for Thoroughbreds. Until The Art of the Deal comes to fruition for our industry to survive the one-two punch of losing longtime essential workers and having no legal way to bring supplemental horsemen from abroad to step into spots Americans aren’t available to fill, we have to make our needs known to our government leaders and demonstrate to them and the public that we are doing everything we can to meet our needs by educating as many Americans as we can to take the reins of the industry. H

Programs like Groom Elite, which provides horsemanship education for inmates and others around the country, can help lessen the racing industry’s reliance on immigrant workers.

Attorneys Will Velie and Craig McDougal are with Horseman Labor Solutions, an immigration services company that represents horsemen throughout the United States in immigration matters. For more information, go to or call (877) 678-RACE.

Courtesy Groom Elite


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The Galloping Lane Photography

Thoroughbred Geno’s Bambino is a winner on and off the track.

The Bo Jackson of Horse Racing Arapahoe Park-based Thoroughbred is competing on the track and in the arena By Jonathan Horowitz


t’s now more common than ever for a Thoroughbred racehorse to embark on a second career away from the track, but rarely does one alternate between two pursuits. That’s part of what makes Geno’s Bambino special, as the Arapahoe

Park veteran recently competed in the show arena and now has his sights set on a return to racing this year. Though perhaps not as famous as Bo Jackson, who showcased his athleticism as a rare star in both professional football and baseball, Geno’s Bambino is doing his part to highlight the versatility of the Thoroughbred. AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017 39

Just like Geno’s Bambino, athlete Bo Jackson performed double duty. © Wickedgood |

Because of the one-dimensional focus on speed and the yearround nature of horse racing, it is rare for racehorses to attempt a second sport while they are racing, although obviously many will go on to new careers as jumpers, polo ponies and more after retiring. Geno’s Bambino, a 6-year-old California-bred, used his offseason from racing at Arapahoe Park near Denver to train for and ultimately compete in “Colorado’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred” at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo on March 11. The competition, presented by Retired Racehorse Project, CANTER Colorado and Arapahoe Park, was designed to showcase the versatility of the Thoroughbred breed, which can succeed as race, sport and pleasure horses. The organizations also showcased booths and demonstrations about racing and riding during the three-day expo at the National Western Complex in Denver. For the event, Geno’s Bambino and four other finalists were asked to demonstrate a variety of skills in a freestyle format. The bay gelding’s competition included award-winning Colorado-based eventers Churchita and Faster Than Duke, hunter-jumper Light After Dark and racehorse-turned-ranch-horse-turned-eventer Royal Mr. G. Geno’s Bambino’s most recent start came at Arapahoe Park on August 13, 2016, in a 5 1⁄2-furlong claiming race that he captured by a half-length under jockey Mike Ziegler. Trainer Neil Koch claimed Geno’s Bambino out of that race for $2,500 on behalf of owner Kate Anderson. Because Koch races exclusively at Arapahoe Park—the trainer’s last start outside of Colorado came in 2012—Geno’s Bambino will likely return to racing when the 2017 season at Arapahoe Park begins on May 19. The long break allowed the veteran of 38 starts and four wins in Colorado, California and Nebraska to begin a second career in com40 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017

© Wickedgood |

petitive trail and obstacle training at Golden Creek Equine in Cheyenne, Wyoming—and to show off what he’s learned at the March expo. “To have a horse who is still active in racing and be able to do what he does is quite simply amazing,” said his rider, Kaitlyn Rinker, 19. “He is extremely trustworthy. I have not only put my own life into his hands but would trust him to take care of any little kid.”

The Most Wanted Competition

The eventer Churchita claimed victory in Colorado’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred by soaring over big jumps and being ridden bridleless by Ashley Gubich. In addition, the 6-year-old chestnut mare demonstrated her ability to teach new riders like Gubich’s 3-year-old son, Chase, and myself, an aspiring eventer and the Arapahoe Park announcer. “She’s ‘the people’s horse’ because she is compatible with all levels of riders,” said Gubich, who acquired Churchita from CANTER Texas as an unraced 3-year-old after her original owners decided to

downsize their racing operation. “She has never let me down and does all the crazy things I’ve thrown in front of her—from big jumps with me to being a lesson horse for Chase, Jonathan and other new riders at my barn.” The winner was decided based on feedback from the audience and a panel of judges with $1,000 in prize money up for grabs. Like Geno’s Bambino, Royal Mr. G, who shows under the name Thalweg, also previously raced at Arapahoe Park. After retiring, he worked cattle on a ranch in South Dakota and then became an eventer with rider Kristi Radosevich. Royal Mr. G wowed when Radosevich jumped him in Western tack and Arapahoe Park trainer Cimmaron Gerke roped and pulled a sled with the horse. “He can jump the moon and rope a steer and throw down a gorgeous dressage test and beautiful show jump round,” Radosevich said. Light After Dark, also known by the show name Nightlife, has gone from racing at Arapahoe Park to competing as a hunter over 2-foot-6-inch and 2-foot-9-inch fences, which he demonstrated with his 18-year-old trainer, Molly Dunn, aboard. Dunn also rode him bareback at the show. “I never thought I would be owning or training my own horse, but he proved to me dreams can come true,” Dunn said. “With hard work and a ton of hours serving, lifeguarding, and riding polo ponies, I was finally able to find my dream horse.” Faster Than Duke was stakes-placed with a second in the 2012 Chinook Pass Stakes at Emerald Downs in Washington and had a comprehensive racing career with starts on dirt, turf and synthetic tracks. Now showing as Dukes Up, the horse competes as a beginner novice eventer whose rider, Dominika Hanson, won the Mountain State Eventing Association Central Colorado Chapter’s award for top first-year beginner novice rider. Geno’s Bambino and his brethren may never earn the headlines and accolades of a two-sport star like Bo Jackson, but their accomplishments are impressive nonetheless and their appearances at events like this serve as another example to the uninitiated that Thoroughbreds can be all-stars both on and off the track. H Jonathan Horowitz ( became the youngest person ever to announce a horse race in the United States when at age 14 he called at Los Alamitos Race Course in California in 1999. He has announced at 23 racetracks in the United States and Great Britain and is currently calling at Arapahoe Park in Colorado.

The Galloping Lane Photography

Churchita and Ashley Gubich took home the top prize in the Colorado’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred competition.




2-Year-Olds & Horses of Racing Age

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Don’t miss the Texas Summer Yearling and Mixed Sale! A ugust 21 • L one S tar P ark • C onsignment D eadline : J une 16 T he T exas S ummer

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We Have Your Money...You Have Our Information! Is your name on this list of breeders and owners who have earned money through the Accredited Texas-Bred Program for 2015 racing? For various reasons, the TTA has been unable to pay the individuals listed below. Usually the problem is very simple to correct. Perhaps a transfer form was never completed when you purchased your money-earning Texas Thoroughbred, or maybe you have moved and forgotten to tell us. Please call the TTA’s Accreditation Department at (512) 458-6133 so we can complete your paperwork—and so you can collect your ATB earnings! ALHUSAINI STABLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAGNOLIA RACING STABLE & JIM WARD . . . . . . . . . . SHANNON MCDANIEL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . KELLY MYERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . KEN PULLEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . KATHERINE WRIGHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DENIS MICHELLE GANTT WYNNE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MARLENE YEIGH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

$112.85 $290.50 $470.10 $355.66 $453.65 $123.44 $148.57 $103.70 TEXAS THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING AND AWARDS BANQUET





HAS PURCHASED FUTURE G1 PRODUCERS FOR AS LITTLE AS $2,500!! Before GOMO won the prestigious G1 Alcibiades at Keeneland, Thoroughbred Review purchased her dam for $40,000 at Keeneland November. Before FALLING SKY won multiple graded stakes and earned $484,188, Thoroughbred Review purchased his dam for $9,000 at Keeneland November. Before PAULINA’S LOVE won the G2 Buena Vista Stakes at Santa Anita, Thoroughbred Review purchased her dam for $22,000 at Keeneland January. Before VIRAMUNDO earned his G1 credentials in the Donn Handicap, Thoroughbred Review purchased his dam for just $2,500 at Keeneland November. Before MISS PIPPA earned G2 credentials in Southern California, Thoroughbred Review purchased her dam for just $12,000 at Fasig-Tipton February. Before TENANGO earned G3 status in New York and earned $462,596, Thoroughbred Review purchased his dam for just $10,000 at Keeneland November. Before ALSVID won multiple graded stakes races and earned in excess of one million dollars, Thoroughbred Review purchased his dam for $20,000.

Serious Research for Serious Bloodstock Investors Jason Hall • (208) 356-6227 • AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017 49

Stars O F


Coady Photography


In the span of just 23 days, the Too Much Bling gelding Rumpole earned multiple stakes winner status as he cruised to decisive victories in a division of the Texas Stallion Stakes (pictured) and the Groovy Stakes to improve his record to 5-3-0-0 with earnings of $82,470.

The early part of the year always offers a light schedule of racing in the nation’s midsection, save for Sam Houston Race Park in Texas and Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. Those two tracks each offer a fair share of state-bred stakes with Oaklawn having run two Arkansas-bred stakes before press time for this issue and Sam Houston’s traditional Texas Champions Weekend being split over several days at the end of the meet after the equine herpesvirus outbreak in Louisiana pushed back the original schedule. The Texas Champions races proved to be fruitful for trainer Bret Calhoun and jockey Deshawn Parker, as they teamed to win four of the seven events. The Houston track also presented two divisions of the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes. Following is a list of the Texas-bred stakes winners at Sam Houston with the stakes winners bred in Arkansas and Iowa listed in the state news section starting on page 52. ARCHER CITY $65,000 Texas Stallion Stakes (Two Altazano Division) • 3yo filly by Silver City Breeder/Owner: Douglas Scharbauer • Trainer: Bret Calhoun Jockey: Deshawn Parker

Coady Photography

BRAVURA $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes • 4yo colt by Early Flyer • Breeder/Owner: Victoria Ashford • Trainer: Bret Calhoun • Jockey: Deshawn Parker Early Flyer stands in Texas at Valor Farm CAN’T BE WRONG $50,000 Richard King Turf Stakes • 4yo gelding by Broken Vow • Breeder/Owner: Macassar Corporation • Trainer: Danny Pish • Jockey: Ted Gondron

Exactly four years to the day he was foaled, and on the birthday of his breeder/owner Victoria Ashford, Bravura won the Spirit of Texas Stakes to record his third career black-type win and approach $180,000 in earnings.

KAT’S INFATUATION $50,000 Bara Lass Stakes • 3yo filly by Silver City • Breeder/Owner: Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch • Trainer: Bret Calhoun • Jockey: Deshawn Parker MAGNA BREEZE $50,000 Houston Turf Stakes • 7yo gelding by Magna Graduate • Breeder: Joanne Schapiro • Owner/Trainer: Steve Asmussen • Jockey: Iram Diego MORE THAN MOST $50,000 San Jacinto Turf Stakes • 4yo filly by Indygo Mountain • Breeder: Clarence Scharbauer Jr. • Owner: Douglas Scharbauer • Trainer: Bret Calhoun Jockey: Deshawn Parker RUMPOLE $50,000 Groovy Stakes and $65,000 Texas Stallion Stakes (Jim’s Orbit Division) 3yo gelding by Too Much Bling • Breeder/Owner: Fletcher Properties Inc. Trainer: Robert Young • Jockey: David Cabrera Too Much Bling stands in Texas at Valor Farm

Coady Photography

WITT SIX $50,000 Star of Texas Stakes • 5yo gelding by Drums of Thunder • Breeder/ Owner: Henry S. Witt Jr. • Trainer: Amanda Barton • Jockey: Sasha Risenhoover

After winning six stakes at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and running second in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta, Witt Six earned his first stakes win in his home state in the Star of Texas Stakes. 50 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017

ZIPPIT E $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes • 4yo filly by My Golden Song • Breeder/Owner: Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch • Trainer: Bret Calhoun • Jockey: Deshawn Parker • My Golden Song stands in Texas at Valor Farm


Storm Cat – Western Eternity, by Gone West Coady Photography

HUTE, by WESTERN GAMBLER, wins the $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile at Sunland Park in his stakes debut!

WESTERN GAMBER is by the incomparable sire of sires STORM CAT out of a GONE WEST mare whose dam was a half sister to the great racehorse and stallion MISWAKI WESTERN GAMBLER has sired: • WORTHINGTON: Winner of open stakes at Louisiana Downs and Ruidoso Downs and placed in three others with earnings of $91,671 • HUTE: A rising star in New Mexico who just won the $85,000 Red Hedeman Mile at Sunland Park and has earned $70,200 in only four starts • CAPTAIN GAMBLER: A stakes winner and G1-placed runner in South Africa • Kimbell: Placed in two stakes at Sunland Park, including the $100,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks • Rip: Won at first asking against maiden special weight company at Sunland Park on March 14

2017 FEE: $750 Inquiries to Bud Farr, DVM SOUTH PLAINS VETERINARY CLINIC 1914 North Highway 84, Slaton, Texas 79364 Phone: (806) 828-5895 • Fax: (806) 828-5897 E-mail: • Website:

STATE ASSOCIATION NEWS ALABAMA HBPA NEWS Alabama-bred Update The Alabama HBPA-sponsored Kenneth Cotton Memorial race is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 29, at Evangeline Downs in Louisiana. Conditions will be the same as last year: $25,000 allowance for Alabama-bred Thoroughbreds, 3-year-olds and upward that are maidens or non-winners of two races that broke their maiden for a claiming price of $25,000 or less. It will be run at six furlongs on the dirt with 3-year-olds carrying 118 pounds and older horses, 123 pounds. Entries will be made directly through the Evangeline Downs racing office. We had a field of 10 for the $51,000 Magic City Classic run at Fair Grounds on December 9. Buggin Out, owned and bred by Dennis and Sam Murphy and trained by Ronnie Ward, scored a five-length win over runner-up Ira, who was bred by Hackett Brothers Thoroughbreds Inc., owned by Jerry Hackett and Tracy Nunley and trained by Randy Nunley. In third was Uncle Drossel, owned by Thomas Holyfield, trained by Keith Bourgeois and bred by Daryl and Carl Tuttle. With no live racing in sight and in an effort to support the owners and trainers of Alabama-bred horses, the Alabama HBPA is continuing the supplemental purse distribution to Alabama-breds running in open company at tracks within the U.S. and Canada. Total payouts for 2016 were $17,400, down from $25,000 in 2015. We are continuing to pay out $800 for first, $600 for second, $400 for third and $200 for fourth. All you have to do is notify Nancy Delony at or (205) 969-7048 and let us know when your horse is eligible. In conjunction with the Louisiana HBPA, the Alabama HBPA put up funds for added purse monies for Alabama-breds running at the four Louisiana tracks. This was started as a test, and to date a total of $14,560 has been disbursed, leaving a carryover of $17,440 for the balance of 2017. The funds are added to the purse amount at the track so are included with your earnings from the race run. These added purse monies are in addition to the above mentioned supplemental purse distributions. We are in the process of getting our current elections going and do hope that all members will be supportive and vote after ballots are received. The Alabama HBPA does play an integral part in the livelihood of racing, and the more united we are the stronger the voice we have. The Alabama HBPA looks forward to a successful year for all our membership and fellow horsemen.

ARKANSAS THOROUGHBRED BREEDERS’ AND HORSEMEN’S ASSOCIATION NEWS Arkansas-breds at Oaklawn Congratulations go out to the winners of the first two stakes for Registered Arkansas-breds at Oaklawn Park this year. On February 24, Easter Indy captured the $100,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes for the second consecutive year. The 5-year-old daughter of A. P. Million runs for her breeders, John and Libbie Thiel, in partnership with Martin Brothers Inc. William Martin 52 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017

trains and Walter De La Cruz rode her to victory in 1:11.66 for six furlongs against a field of 3-year-old and up fillies and mares. Racer, a 4-year-old Jonesboro gelding bred by Bob Yagos and owned by Val Yagos, upset heavily favored Weast Hill in the $100,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes on February 25. Jon Court rode for trainer Timothy Martin. Racer clocked six furlongs in 1:10.22 in the race for 3-year-old and up colts and geldings. The ATBHA has paid out $31,500 in bonus purse supplements through the first 33 days of Oaklawn’s 57-day meet for three firstplace finishes, eight second-place finishes and four third-place finishes by Registered Arkansas-breds in open company races. Incentive award payments on the 2016 earnings of Registered Arkansas-breds have been calculated and audited. Breeder and stallion awards are paid on the total North American earnings of Registered Arkansas-breds while owner awards are paid on the total Oaklawn earnings. The 2016 breeder awards will be paid at 14.42 percent, 2016 stallion awards at 6.40 percent and 2016 owner awards at 4.14 percent. Our annual awards banquet was held March 31 at The Clarion on the Lake. Look for a recap of the winners in the next issue.

COLORADO THOROUGHBRED BREEDERS ASSOCIATION NEWS Arapahoe Park to Race 39 Days Starting May 19 Arapahoe Park will conduct 39 days of live horse racing in Aurora, Colorado, during its 2017 season this summer from May 19 to August 13. The track, which opened in 1984 and has raced every summer since 1992, will feature racing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with nine races each day beginning at 1 p.m. Arapahoe Park’s opening weekend will coincide with the Preakness Stakes on May 20. There will be a special racing program on Memorial Day, May 29, and during the holiday weekend, racing will take place on Monday instead of Friday. Other marquee days include June 17 for the Heritage Ride when Arapahoe Park will partner with the Colorado Horse Council to give fans the chance to bring their horses and ride on the racetrack. June 18 will feature a Father’s Day buffet and festivities that have traditionally drawn one of the biggest crowds each season. The track’s top races, the Gold Rush Futurity for Thoroughbreds and the Arapahoe Futurity (formerly Mile High Futurity) for American Quarter Horses, are scheduled for the meet’s final day, to put an exclamation point on the season. The schedule includes 31 stakes—19 for Thoroughbreds and 12 for Quarter Horses—worth a total of $1.1 million. There will be no Arabian racing at Arapahoe Park this year, though there is the possibility of its returning in the future with a rise in the breed’s racing population. The Gold Rush Futurity for 2-year-olds over six furlongs has become a launching point in the careers of some of the most talented horses ever to race at Arapahoe Park. Since 2011, two winners—Chips All In in 2011 and Texas Chrome in 2015—have gone on to be the first two horses that have raced in Colorado to compete in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Chips All In ran in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and Texas Chrome in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Another Gold Rush winner—

Get Happy Mister in 2012—became the highest-earning Colorado-bred Thoroughbred in history with $384,928 in earnings in a career that also included a victory in the 2015 San Simeon Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita. Arapahoe Park has also introduced a new stakes race for Thoroughbreds with the $30,000 Encantadora Stakes for 3-yearold fillies over six furlongs set for July 9. More information about the stakes schedule, condition book and stall applications is available on the racetrack’s website, Arapahoe Park will have a new racing secretary in 2017, Hank Demoney, who has most recently been a steward at Arapahoe Park and has decades of experience as a general manager, racing secretary and clerk of scales, as well as in other areas of racing management, in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and other states. “I want to keep the races competitive, and hopefully we can get a few more horses and have bigger field sizes,” Demoney said.

INDIANA THOROUGHBRED OWNERS AND BREEDERS ASSOCIATION NEWS Indiana Grand Announces Stakes Schedule Worth More than $4 Million

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino has announced its 2017 stakes schedule for Thoroughbred racing. A total of 35 stakes will be offered during the 120-day racing season that spans April 18 through October 28. Heading the list of Thoroughbred stakes is the 23rd running of the Grade 3, $500,000 Indiana Derby, slated for Saturday, July 15. Indiana’s richest horse race will be surrounded by five other stakes on the card, including the Grade 3, $200,000 Indiana Oaks, providing purses of more than $1.1 million for the evening. The $200,000 Centaur Stakes, now in its 12th running, again highlights the turf stakes schedule. The race is set for Wednesday, September 6, and will be accompanied by three other stakes, including the $200,000 Indiana Grand. Nine of the 35 stakes races on the schedule have been written for turf racing. “Offering a strong stakes schedule to complement our racing program is very important to us,” said Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing. “We work very hard each year to ensure our stakes have the best possible fit on horsemen’s schedules as they begin mapping out a plan for their horses. It’s also very exciting to see the growth of our Indiana-bred stakes, which were all boosted to $100,000 last season. The state’s Thoroughbred breeding industry is on a major growth spurt right now. Owners and breeders are investing and upgrading their broodmares and several new stallions have been added to the roster in 2017. It’s exhilarating to see so much enthusiasm and commitment to racing in the state of Indiana.” Always committed to upgrades and improvements, Indiana Grand is in the process of adding a new track maintenance facility along the backstretch of the racetrack. Also, a new safety rail will be in place prior to the start of the 2017 racing season. The complete 2017 stakes schedule can be found at

Racing will be conducted Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 2:05 p.m. EST with Saturday racing beginning at 6:05 p.m. EST. Thursday racing will be held July 6 through August 24 at 2:05 p.m. EST.

ITOBA Stallion Season Auction Stakes Set for June 10

The $75,000 ITOBA Stallion Season Fillies Stakes and $75,000 Paul Tinkle ITOBA Stallion Season Colts and Geldings Stakes will be run June 10 at Indiana Grand for 3-year-old progeny of eligible stallions going one mile on the main track. Nominations have already closed on these races, but you can still make a late nomination by the entry date for $5,000. Also don’t forget to nominate for the 2018 and 2019 editions of these races. You can find nomination forms and a list of eligible stallions for the 2018 and 2019 races at Below is the list of eligible stallions for the 2017 races (foals of 2014): Action This Day • Article of Faith • American Lion Arromaches • Century City • Domestic Dispute • Dr. Large E Z’s Gentleman • Einstein (Brz) • Giacomo • Goods Grand Chance • Hold Me Back • Indy Bull • Maclean’s Music Magna Graduate • Misremembered • Mr. Mabee • Noble’s Promise • Ocean Indy • Pass Rush • Perfect Shower • Perfect Soul Run Away and Hide • Saintly Look • Sangaree • Sidney’s Candy Sir Shackleton • Star Cat • Storm Account • Strong Hope Tiago • Ventana • Zavata

Dates to Remember

April 23—ITOBA Annual Awards Banquet at Indiana Grand June 10—ITOBA Stallion Season Stakes at Indiana Grand June 11—ITOBA 2-Year-Old and Horses of Racing Age Sale at Indiana Grand October 15—ITOBA Fall Mixed Sale at Indiana Grand

IOWA THOROUGHBRED BREEDERS AND OWNERS ASSOCIATION NEWS Iowa-breds Win Stakes in Arkansas and Arizona Iowa-breds continue to win against open company in advance of the opening of the Prairie Meadows meet with Chanel’s Legacy winning her second six-figure stakes at Oaklawn Park and Kera Kera capturing a stakes at Turf Paradise. After winning the $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes at Oaklawn on January 21, Chanel’s Legacy did it again on February 11 in the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. With Alex Birzer in the irons for trainer Lynn Chleborad, the Dominus filly drew clear to win by 2 ½ lengths with a time of 1:38.51 for one mile. Bred by H. Allen Poindexter and running for his Poindexter Thoroughbreds LLC, the Iowa-bred has banked $235,061 with four wins in eight starts. She made her racing debut at Prairie Meadows last year with a third-place effort in the Iowa Sorority Stakes before moving on to Remington Park, where she broke her maiden and won the E.L. Gaylord Memorial Stakes. Kera Kera, a 5-year-old daughter of Sharp Humor bred by RPM Thoroughbreds, became a stakes winner on February 11 when she AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017 53

STATE ASSOCIATION NEWS won the $30,000 Sun City Handicap going one mile on the turf at Turf Paradise. Jake Barton rode the Iowa-bred for trainer and owner Satchell Stevens. Kera Kera scored her maiden victory and an allowance win at Prairie Meadows in 2015 and picked up another allowance in Iowa last year after taking three consecutive starter allowance contests at Turf Paradise. All told, she has won 10 of 31 starts with earnings of $169,693.

NORTH CAROLINA THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION NEWS President’s Message Well, my first awards dinner as president is behind me now, and I am certainly glad for that. I must admit to being a bit rattled on that evening. A lot of work went into getting to that point, and it was well rehearsed in my mind. It didn’t exactly follow the strict format of my imagination, but I think it turned out pretty well anyway. Thank you to all who were able to attend and to those who sponsored others to attend in your place. The highlight of this year’s event was our guest speaker, retired Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron. Chris rode some of the best horses of his generation. He won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont twice each, though not all in the same year, and he won virtually every other prestigious race there was to win. He defeated the great Cigar on Alphabet Soup, he won back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Classics on Tiznow and he piloted a 9-year-old John Henry to six wins out of nine starts for the remarkable gelding’s second Horse of the Year title. Chris talked about his racing career and his decision to end it after 28 years. He addressed his observations of backside faults and the issues with medication and racing. Chris advocated for running horses without the administration of race-day medication and shock wave therapy. He stressed, for the safety of horses and riders, the importance of giving horses time off to heal from any kind of injury rather than using medication. Chris’ speech was also sprinkled with humor as he spoke of his family, racing mishaps and his journey to success. He also talked about the only jockey school in the United States, which he started and ran after his retirement. He took time to answer questions and later talked to everyone who wanted to engage with him. We were very fortunate to have such a celebrity at our well-attended event. Chris wasn’t the only Hall of Famer in the room, however. U.S. Eventing Association Hall of Fame rider Denny Emerson was in attendance and was presented with the Thoroughbred Charities of America Award of Merit for his work in promoting the use of off-track Thoroughbreds in second careers. His endorsement of the breed and his documentation of their retraining progression on his Facebook page encouraged many of his 54,000 devoted followers to adopt retired racehorses. Denny’s achievements, like Chris’, are too numerous to list. The Chronicle of the Horse named him one of the most influential horsemen of the 20th century. He is the only equestrian to have won both an international gold medal in eventing and a Tevis Cup buckle in endurance. He also gave a captivating speech about his career, the importance of retiring a racehorse sound and joined Chris’ fight for reform in racing. Chris 54 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017

respectfully presented the well-deserved award to Denny. We in the audience witnessed two icons of their respective equestrian sports interacting and bonding. Their aura of nobility helped to create a memorable evening. Together, you just knew their collaboration could accomplish unlimited possibilities. The evening concluded with the presentation of the championship horse awards, Breeder of the Year, NCTA Horseracing Fan of the Year award and the Thoroughbred Incentive Program award. The chart below reflects the achievements of our members and the horses they own or bred. Category Champion 2-Year-Old

Horse Beasley

Champion Claiming Male Fitzfarris

Owner/Breeder 2016 Earnings Breeder Nancy Shuford $36,000 Breeder Nancy Shuford $32,991

Champion Claiming Female More Than Breeder Elizabeth Muirhead $28,340 Special Champion Allowance True Bet Male Champion Allowance Female

Owners George and $55,946 Stephanie Autry

Giovanna Breeder Dogwood $82,085 Blues Plantation

Champion Stakes Horse Pretty n Cool

Breeder Nancy Shuford $76,560

Horse of the Year Beach Patrol

Breeder Nancy Shuford


Nancy Shuford took Breeder of the Year honors, and her mare Bashful Bertie, the dam of Horse of the Year Beach Patrol, was honored as Broodmare of the Year. Chris Stiller won the inaugural NCTA Horseracing Fan of the Year award for his continued support of the organization and the racing industry. Without an investment in a horse, Chris is a member of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association at the highest level and spends each Keeneland meet in Lexington, Kentucky, where he also attends the sales and TOBA seminars. He fell in love with horse racing because of Zenyatta, and he has also agreed to join our board. The last honor is a tribute to the versatility of the Thoroughbred breed, and the NCTA is a proud supporter of The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program. The recipient of this year’s award was Sarah Blanchard, owner of Yes Virginia, by Go for Gin (Chris McCarron’s 1994 Kentucky Derby-winning mount). With rider Keena Mullen aboard, Yes Virginia’s winning dressage scores gave her owner back-to-back 2015 and 2016 recognitions. Sarah also agreed to join our board. The NCTA raised $2,000 from our event’s silent auction. The proceeds are being donated to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farms. Our guest speaker had the honor of choosing these benefactors. I owe a lot to Chris McCarron for coming here and making our affair a success. He didn’t have to say yes, but he did. He didn’t have to donate his time, but he did. He didn’t have to answer my calls or my e-mails, but he did. It reminds me of the quote from Malcom S. Forbes: “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” I was treated with kindness, respect and grace by this celebrated man. I admired and respected him before because he was a successful jockey. Now, I have even more admiration and respect

for him as a man, and all I can offer is my gratitude and a sincere thank you. Rebecca Montaldo, NCTA President

THOROUGHBRED RACING ASSOCIATION OF OKLAHOMA NEWS New Starter Allowance Series Comes to Will Rogers Downs, Several Stakes Get New Names Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs’ 30-day Thoroughbred meet features a new starter allowance series and several stakes renamed to honor top Oklahoma-breds of yesteryear. The spring meet, which began March 13, returns to a more traditional calendar than last year’s meet, running through Preakness Stakes Day on May 20. Races begin at 1:05 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in March, and every Monday, Tuesday and Saturday for April and May. The new starter allowance races are designed specifically for horses that raced on the turf in their most recent starts. “While Will Rogers Downs doesn’t offer turf racing, we do have horses in our population that have been racing on turf at other tracks,” Racing Secretary and Track Announcer John Lies said. “Thanks to this new offering, they now have a division of their own to face each other on our main track, which had a perfect safety record last spring.” The series will run over a six-week period during the meet, offering nine races, including a sprint division and three races for fillies and mares. In addition, the stakes schedule has undergone a makeover but still offers eight races with the same 10 percent purse increase provided in 2016, according to Lies. “Four of the races have been rebranded to bear the names of memorable Thoroughbreds either here in Claremore or in the state of Oklahoma. It’s an exciting change,” he added. The Miranda Diane, formerly the Wilma Mankiller Memorial and now named for the Oklahoma-bred who won six stakes at Will Rogers, guarantees $50,000 on April 3, as does the Highland Ice, formerly the Clem McSpadden Memorial Route 66, the following day. The Highland Ice is named after the accomplished sprinter inducted into the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The Great Lady M., formerly the Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs Classic Distaff Sprint, is set for April 24 with a purse of $55,000. It is renamed in honor of the dam of the Iron Lady herself, Horse of the Year Lady’s Secret. “The Cinema Handicap and Will Rogers Downs Handicap have been moved to create a stakes double header situation on both April 24 and 25,” Lies said. “This gives those same horses the opportunity to come back three weeks later to face each other in a finale of sorts, the final two stakes races in May.” Those races—the More Than Even on May 15, formerly the RPDC Distaff Classic and named after the 2015 horse of the meet, and the Cherokee Nation Classic Cup on May 16—both offer purses of $55,000.

For the spring 2016 Will Rogers Downs meet, more than $19 million was wagered on live racing, with four days surpassing $1 million. For more information, visit or call (918) 283-8800.

SOUTH CAROLINA THOROUGHBRED OWNERS AND BREEDERS ASSOCIATION NEWS Farrell on Target for Kentucky Oaks The 3-year-old filly Farrell climbed to No. 2 on esteemed handicapper Mike Watchmaker’s list of leading candidates for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. Farrell, a daughter of Malibu Moon, won her third stakes in a row in capturing the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds on February 25. A homebred for Bob Cummings and Annette Bacola’s Coffeepot Stables, Farrell previously captured the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs in November and the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds in January. While currently trained by Wayne Catalano, Farrell is a product of Franklin “Goree” Smith’s yearling breaking program at the Elloree Training Center in Elloree, South Carolina.

South Carolina-based Cary Frommer Has Sales Topper After selling an Uncle Mo colt at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream 2-year-olds in training sale for $1 million, Aiken-based Cary Frommer returned this year with another Uncle Mo offspring. Her Uncle Mo filly topped the sale, bringing $1.5 million and proving once again that Frommer understands that today’s market demands high-class horses. She purchased this filly at the Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale last summer. She also purchased a More Than Ready colt that sold at Gulfstream for $1 million. Another South Carolina trainer, James Layden, sold a Malibu Moon colt for $300,000.

TEXAS THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION NEWS Five Bills Filed to Boost Texas Racing Industry The Texas Thoroughbred Association and Texas Horsemen’s Partnership are excited to report that five bills have been filed with the Texas Legislature that could benefit the Texas racing industry. Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) filed three bills in the Senate: SB 1971 (co-authored by Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway)) —Would create a purse-matching fund from the state’s general revenue fund that is expected to increase purses by $25 million. Committee substitute language is expected to clarify specifics. SB 1972—Would shift Accredited Texas-Bred funds from the Texas Racing Commission’s budget and establish an escrow account for the money. SB 1973—Would utilize existing state tax revenue on simulcast wagers, which currently goes to the Texas general revenue fund, to help pay the Texas Racing Commission operating costs, which are borne by the racing industry through track and occupational license fees. Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin) filed two bills in the House of Representatives. Kuempel, chair of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee, is a longtime friend of AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SPRING 2017 55

STATE ASSOCIATION NEWS the Texas racing industry and his continued support is greatly appreciated. The House bills are: HB 3925—Would legalize account wagering on Texas racing and create mechanisms for the Texas Racing Commission to license and regulate account wagering operators. HB 3926—Would authorize purpose-driven pari-mutuel wagering at the 10 Texas facilities currently licensed to conduct live or simulcast racing. Purpose-driven pari-mutuel wagering would provide funding for enhanced bulletproof vests and body armor for all peace officers in Texas, funding to increase death benefits for the spouses and families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, and donor-directed funding for 501(c)(3) charitable organizations operating in Texas. It would also increase purse money available for racing in Texas. It can be a long and arduous process to get a bill passed by the Texas Legislature. However, this is the first time in many years that so many beneficial bills have been filed on behalf of the Texas racing industry. We have every reason to hope some or all of the bills will be successful if we all work together. And that means we will be periodically asking for your help—starting now. Please take a few minutes to write a letter or email to Sen. Kolkhorst thanking her for filing SBs 1971, 1972 and 1973 and for her interest in and support for the future of the Texas racing industry. Her contact information is below: The Honorable Lois Kolkhorst, P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711 Please also write a letter or email to Sen. Buckingham thanking her for co-authoring SB 1971 and for her interest in and support for the future of the Texas racing industry. Her contact information is below: The Honorable Dawn Buckingham, P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711 Finally, please also write a letter or email to Rep. Kuempel thanking him for filing HBs 3925 and 3926 and for his longtime and continued support for the Texas racing industry. His contact information is below: Rep. John Kuempel, Room E2.422, P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768 To contact these legislators by email or phone, please go to for an easy-to-use form to submit emails or find phone numbers. It is important for our industry to let Sen. Kolkhorst, Sen. Buckingham and Rep. Kuempel know how much we appreciate their support of a better future for the Texas racing industry. The TTA and THP will continue to keep you informed of any progress regarding the bills. And as any committee hearings are set, we will be asking for your help contacting the committee members asking for their support of our bills. Likewise, for any bills that receive committee approval, we will be asking you to reach out to your local legislators encouraging them to support those bills. We look forward to working with you all this spring as we try to secure a better future for the Texas racing industry!


Awards Banquet Reminder The TTA Annual Awards Banquet will be held June 24 at Lone Star Park. Look for more information soon on the TTA website.

Slew’s Song Named Texas Claimer of the Year Slew’s Song has been named the 2016 Texas Champion Claimer after winning the Texas Thoroughbred Association’s online poll. The 6-year-old mare will be honored along with the other previously announced Texas champions during the TTA’s annual awards banquet at Lone Star Park on June 24. The Texas Champion Claimer award was created by the TTA to honor the hard-working horses who rarely receive recognition but who fill the majority of race cards every day. To be eligible for the online poll, a Texas-bred had to win at least three claiming races in Texas and earn at least $30,000 for the year. Any race in which a horse was not entered for a claiming price, such as an allowance/optional claiming race, was not counted toward the minimum three wins in Texas. By the Valor Farm stallion My Golden Song, Slew’s Song won seven of 15 starts with three seconds and a third and $67,110 in earnings last year at age 5. All seven of her wins came in Texas. Slew’s Song ran for Bryan Henderson for most of the year, and then for Team Bryant Thoroughbreds. She was trained throughout the year by George Bryant. She was bred by Pat Sheetz out of the Classic Alliance mare Classic Mirage. The other candidates were Afoolsbrokenheart, Alamo City and Kitty Blonde.

Lone Star Park Sets Stakes Schedule The 2017 Thoroughbred stakes schedule at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie will offer 11 stakes worth a combined $1 million in purses, headlined by the $200,000 Texas Mile (G3) on Sunday, May 4, and the $200,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (G3) on Sunday, May 28. The 50-day meeting runs Thursday, April 20, through Sunday, July 30. Four Texas-bred stakes make up the Stars of Texas Day card on Saturday, July 22: the $100,000 divisional Texas Thoroughbred Futurities at five furlongs; the $50,000 Valor Farm for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, at six furlongs; and the $50,000 Assault for 3-year-olds and up at one mile. A pair of $65,000 divisional Texas Stallion Stakes for 3-year-olds will be run at one mile on Saturday, May 27. Keeping with tradition, the $50,000 Premiere Stakes will open the meet and kick off the stakes action. The Premiere is for Texas-bred 3-year-olds and up at 6 ½ furlongs. It is the scheduled first race on opening night, April 20. The remaining stakes on the schedule are the $50,000 Wayne Hanks Memorial for Texas-bred females, 3-year-olds and up, at 6 ½ furlongs on Sunday, April 23, and the $50,000 Lane’s End Stallion Scholarship Stakes on the turf for Texas-bred females, 3-year-olds and up, at 7 ½ furlongs on Saturday, June 24.


Land of 10,000 lakes & great Thoroughbred racing!

Mark your calendars!

June 1st - Stallion Auction Stakes Nominations Due June 15th - Yearling Sale Consignments Due August 21st - 2017 MTA Yearling Sale Stakes schedule, nomination & sale consignment forms available at

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BREEDING • BOARDING • FOALING Larry and Sammie Procell Owner/Operators

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Call for more information about my program Heidi Bailey • Valley View, TX • 940-372-5804

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Stephenson Thoroughbred Farms Quality Care for Thoroughbreds • Professional Hands-On Mare Care Provided Year Round • Excellent Prospects For Sale at All Times • Horse Transportation

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the marketpl ace Cl a s sified s 7S RACING STABLES Specializing in breaking and preparing your colts for you and your trainer 7S Racing Stables is located 2 hours west of Lone Star Park in Carbon, Texas. We have for several years been working with young race colts, taking them from breaking to conditioning and race prep while cutting down on owner expense and helping you have your colts prepared for the racetrack experience!



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American Racehorse Advertisers Index 7S Racing Stables...................................... 59 The Art of Horse Racing.......................... 58 Asmussen Horse Center............................. 3 Double Diamond Farm................................1 Biomedical Research Laboratories............ 8 Bluebonnet Feeds........................................ 2 Carter Sales Co.......................................... 36 C’Mon Tiger.............................................. 43 Dodson Training Stable............................ 58 Equine Equipment...............................38, 47 Equine Sales Company............................. 29 Equiwinner................................................. 13 Eureka Thoroughbred Farm.................... 20 Exotic Bay.................................................. 28 Flying H Stables LLC..............................60 Foal to Yearling Halter.............................. 58

Harmony Training Center........................ 43 Heritage Place............................................. 9 ITOBA.........................................................4 ITOBA 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Sale..................... 42 J&M Equine Reproduction.................... 6, 7 John Deere..................................................19 KC Horse Transportation........................ 58 Dan Mahaney Auctioneers........................ 59 Mallory Farm............................................. 58 MBM Horse Transport............................ 58 Mighty Acres...........................................IFC Minnesota Thoroughbred Association.....57 Pike Racing................................................ 45 River Oaks Farms Inc.................10, 11, 21, 57 Santa Fe Horse Transport........................ 58

Southwest Shavings LLC..........................33 Special Rate........................................... IBC Swifty Farms......................................... 34, 35 Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma.............................................37 Thoroughbred Review..............................49 Travis Turner – RE/MAX DFW Associations............................................. 28 TTA Sales..................................................48 Univ. of Arizona Race Track Industry Program.....................................41 Western Gambler....................................... 51 Valor Farm...............................................BC


From the very beginning, Flying H Stables, LLC, along with the clients and connections that board here, have foaled, raised, sold, and competed by breeding Thoroughbreds that can run with the best. Here are just a few: STORM IN MAY – 2007 KY Derby Contender, ArkanDerby (G2 SP)(SW)

NEWS FLASH: ILIAD, foaled and weaned at Flying H Stables, won the G2 San Vicente and finished 2nd in the G2 San Felipe!


ROUGH’N ROYAL – 2010 Foolish Pleasure & Affirmed Division FSS (SP) SECRET ENGAGEMENT – 2015 Campeonato-JuvenilePotrancas (G1 SW) VIEJA LUNA – 2016 OBS Championship Stakes (SW), Treasure Chest (SP)

“Realize the Anticipation” by bringing your mare to an exceptional stallion in Kentucky.

DON’T HOLD ME BACK – 2016 Lieutenant Governors’ Handicap (SW) TELLMEAFOOKYSTORY – 2016 Sleepy Hollow Stakes (SP) WONDERFUL STAR – 2016 Owners Cup Distaff Stakes (SP) CORDON – 2016 Dueling Grounds Derby & Woodchopper Stakes (SP)

VIEJA LUNA, bred, foaled and weaned by Flying H Stables, already has 2 stakes wins in 2017!

Multiple MSW/ALW performers: Iliad (EQB 109), Sammy’s Mineshaft (EQB 105), Sound City (MSW), Ensign Eli (MSW), What a Reward (MSW), Rocky Tough Flying H Bred - Sales Success: $285K, $100K, $95K, $85K, $50K, $40K, $25K, etc. Let Flying H Stables sales-prep your horses for Keeneland or Fasig-Tipton. All new prospective clients that call will be placed in a drawing for one month of FREE board!


Contact Kent or Tracy Hersman at (859) 846-9184 or visit us on Facebook at

2017 VALOR FARM STALLION ROSTER Offering the most dynamic stallion lineup in the region BRADESTER

Lion Heart – Grandestofall, by Grand Slam


2017 FEE: $3,500 Equi-Photo

Arazi – Mari’s Sheba, by Mari’s Book

2017 FEE: $3,000


Bernardini – Forest Heiress, by Forest Wildcat

2017 FEE: $2,000


Gilded Time – Bistra, by Classic Go Go

2017 FEE: $2,500


Dixie Union – Grass Skirt, by Mr. Prospector

2017 FEE: $3,500

MY GOLDEN SONG 2017 FEE: $4,000


Giant’s Causeway – Added Gold, by Gilded Time

2017 FEE: $3,000


Rubiano – Rose Colored Lady, by Formal Dinner

2017 FEE: $4,500

Douglas Scharbauer Ken Carson, General Manager Donny Denton, Farm Manager • David Unnerstall, Attending Veterinarian Post Office Box 966 • Pilot Point, Texas 76258 (940) 686-5552 • Fax (940) 686-2179 •

Billy Miller

Unbridled’s Song – Golden Par, by Gold Meridian