What’s been happening in the racing industry around the world

Irad Ortiz celebrates after winning the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic on Vino Rosso. Photo: Carolyn Simancik/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM

The weekly TRC industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.


Irad’s fantastic weekend

North America: Irad Ortiz Jr won the 17th annual Bill Shoemaker Award, given to the outstanding jockey at the 2019 Breeders’ Cup, for the second year in a row - a triumph for the world #9 predicted by TRC’s Chris Smith and James Willoughby last week.

The Puerto Rican led all riders with four victories at the weekend, notably Bricks And Mortar in the Longines Turf and Vino Rosso in the Longines Classic. He was two clear of two riders, Javier Castellano and Joel Rosario.

Ortiz revealed that he had slightly altered his schedule to peak at the world championships. “My agent [Steve Rushing] and I spoke about it and he told me ‘The Breeders’ Cup can make the whole year. We have good mounts, concentrate on the Breeders’ Cup’ - so I did.”

Fleming is new Breeders’ Cup president

North America: The Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors has voted unanimously to elect Drew Fleming, formerly COO at Breeders’ Cup Limited, as the new president and chief executive officer, effective immediately following the departure of Craig Fravel.

Fleming, who lives in Kentucky, said he was “humbled and honoured” to lead racing’s world championships “at a time when our industry is at a critical juncture”. He iterated that the “safety of our athletes and integrity of the sport” would remain a priority, and the “Breeders’ Cup will continue to lead by example and spearhead reforms until we get this right.”

Chairman Fred W. Hertrich III said, “Drew’s track record at the Breeders’ Cup speaks for itself. He has already played an indispensable role in our work to promote and improve the industry, which he knows inside and out.

“Drew is the right person to lead the Breeders’ Cup through this important time in our industry and into the next chapter of this great sport.”

Blue Prize boosts F-T fall sale

North America: The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale received a major catalogue update with a pair of Breeders’ Cup winners, including Distaff heroine Blue Prize, who sold for $5 million to Larry Best to lead the single-session auction on Tuesday.

While Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning confirmed there was “tremendous competition across the board from buyers around the world that came to buy, and bid aggressively on lots of offerings”, several stars were withdrawn from auction to remain in training in 2020, such as Midnight Bisou.

Fasig-Tipton reported 128 horses sold for gross receipts of $68,011,000, compared to a record gross of $89,473,000 in 2018 from 140 horses sold.

Tuesday’s average price checked in at $531,336, dropping 17 percent from $639,093 in 2018, which was the fourth-highest average price in this sale's history. The median dropped eight percent to $300,000 from $327,500, which was the second-highest median ever.

The buyback rate improved slightly to 24 percent, compared to 27 percent.

Kempton blow for Jockey Club

Europe: The Jockey Club's plans to redevelop Kempton Park racecourse have had another setback as the local council has not included the track among sites proposed for development in a planning consultation launched this week. 

The commercial arm of UK racing had hoped to raise at least £100 million from the building of 3,000 houses to help support a £500m investment in racing, including the creation of an all-weather track at Newmarket.

It is understood the Jockey Club has been examining the council documents. The council consultation runs until January 7, after which the next stage will be the formal “examination in public”.

Elsewhere in racing …

Europe: Godolphin's homebred Thunder Snow has been retired from racing. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, he is the first horse ever to win back-to-back Dubai World Cups. More here

Europe: The Coolmore fees for 2020 have been announced, including those for its three new stallions, Calyx (€22,500), Magna Grecia (€22,500) and Ten Sovereigns (€25,000). The highest listed sire is No Nay Never at a fee of €150,000, although world #2 Galileo’s private fee is believed to higher. More here    

North America: Spendthrift Farm has set fees for the remainder of its 2020 stallion roster, including Breeders’ Cup champions Vino Rosso and Mitole, who have both been retired from racing after their respective victories at Santa Anita. More here

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