The weekly TRC industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
Navarro distraught over death of XY Jet
North America: Veteran sprinter XY Jet died on Wednesday of an apparent heart attack in the shedrow following a routine racetrack gallop.
“I owe this horse everything. He put me on the map,” distraught U.S. trainer Jorge Navarro said of the 2019 G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen champion. He described the gelded 8-year old son of Kantharos as “part of my family” who “took us through a wonderful and exciting roller coaster of emotions”.
“Since his arrival at my stable at the end of 2014, I immediately felt that connection with him, which remained until today and will surely remain with me until the day of my departure.
“I do not say goodbye to a horse. I say goodbye to a friend that I will carry forever in my heart.”
Omaha Beach favored for Pegasus
North America: The Stronach Group (TSG) has announced the 17 horses formally invited to participate in the fourth running of the $3 million Pegasus World Cup and 17 potential starters for the second runners of the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf.
Both races will be contested at Gulfstream Park on January 25. TSG has stipulated that they will be contested under a medication-free policy that is consistent with the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities standards, and two percent of all purses will go back to Thoroughbred aftercare.
Omaha Beach is favorite with British bookmakers for the dirt race at a best-priced 5/4, ahead of Spun To Run (11/4) and Higher Power (6). The market for the turf event is headed by the ex-John Gosden-trained Without Parole (now with Chad Brown) at 2/1, with Aidan O’Brien’s globetrotting Magic Wand, runner-up last year, next at 3/1 and the Peter Miller-trained Uncle Mo colt Mo Forza at 5/1.
The 17 invitees for the Pegasus World Cup are listed here
The 17 for the Pegasus World Cup Turf are here
First foal for Justify
North America: The first foal for Triple Crown Champion Justify has been born at Amaroo Farm in Kentucky. The daughter of the 2018 Horse Of The Year, who stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud, is out of Exchange Rate mare Foreign Affair.
Jamie McDiarmid, of Audley Farm, who bred the filly, commented, “She’s got great bone and plenty of leg, a quality first foal for the mare. We couldn’t be happier.”
Foreign Affair is a half-sister to five-time G1-placed and G3 winner So Perfect.
Grant boost for jockeys
Europe: UK-based jockeys will receive a significant boost to their coaching, mental health services and media training after five-year grant of £2.3 million from the Racing Foundation was collectively awarded to the Jockeys Education and Training Scheme (JETS), Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) and Professional Jockeys Association (PJA).
Paul Struthers, PJA chief executive, said, "The life of a jockey is a tough one, and over 100 jockeys have accessed our mental health support services. While we are pleased that more jockeys are coming forward to utilise the services on offer, it has placed significant pressure on our budgets.”
Horror raid at Libyan stud farm
North Africa: Dr Amad Eshaab, general manager at Al Shaab Stud, the largest Thoroughbred breeder in Libya, has been left “so sad and my heart is broken” after the stud was looted and its horses, including six in-foal mares and six stallions, were stolen by armed militia.
The stud, near Tripoli, was overtaken by an armed group from nearby Tarhuna, who entered from the southern side of the city and looted everything from veterinary devices and equipment to furniture, generators, jars and water pumps, as well as shooting two horses in the legs. They had to be euthanized.
Eavesdropper, a Kentucky-bred, stakes-winning son of Kingmambo, who is a half-brother to both A.P. Indy and Summer Squall, was among the stallions stolen.
Magic Millions vendors step in with bushfire donations
Oceania: Vendors in Book 1 of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale this week will donate AU$500 from each horse sold in the auction’s first book to the Australia’s brushfire recovery fund.
The four-day sale is catalogued with 888 horses. 2019’s first book categorised the same number of horses, with 720 sold for revenues of AU$170,862,500. The initiative - along with money donated by the various Magic Millions wings and matching funds by sponsors - is expected to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Australia has been battling blazes across much of its east coast for months. The fires have ravaged three states, claiming 24 lives and destroying almost 2,000 homes.
Calumet back in the top spot
North America: Calumet Farm has broken its 57-year drought by becoming North America's leading breeder by money won in 2019, which owner Brad Kelley hailed a “welcome result of our strategy”.
The historic farm - owned by a trust and leased to Thoroughbred operations headed by Kelley in 2012 - was represented by 410 starters, more than any other North American breeder, which collectively earned $12,576,242 in purses.
It boasted 331 winners at a strike rate of 14 per cent, and finished in-the-money 958 times, representing 40 per cent of all starters.
The 2019 stakes winners included seven homebreds raing in the silks of Calumet, which last claimed the title in 1961.
Elsewhere in racing ...
Europe: The finalists for the 2020 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards have been confirmed, with the three finalists now revealed for each of the six awards. More here
North America: Led by Horse of the Year candidates Bricks and Mortar, Maximum Security, and Mitole, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, DRF and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters have announced the finalists for the 2019 Eclipse Awards. More here
North America: Woodbine Entertainment has announced changes to its senior leadership team as part of a strategic re-alignment CEO Jim Lawson believes will “ensure a bright future for the great sport of horse racing for decades to come”. More here
Europe: British racing is mourning the death of owner-breeder Eddie Aldridge, who died on Friday aged 77. His most notable success was winning the 2005 Prix Morny with Silca's Sister.
North America: The Jockey Club has announced the retirement of Brad Kimbrell, president of InCompass Solutions Inc., effective January 1. More here
North America: Three Chimneys Farm will host its January open house and stallion show on January 13-17. The farm's eight stallions, headlined by 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, will be available for inspection each day. More here