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

Partners no more: Mike Smith and McKinzie after their G1 Whitney Stakes victory at Saratoga in August. See ‘Jockey switch for McKinzie’ story below. Photo: Annette Jasko/NYRA.com

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


New whip rules to be tested at Woodbine

North America: Woodbine Entertainment will implement new riding rules adding restrictions on whip use in a test period at the Canadian track starting on October 18, which will run through the remainder of the 2019 meet.

The new the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) rule limits urging in Thoroughbred racing to underhand use of the crop only. Also, it allows no contact with the horse with the crop in the cocked position and prohibits any hits to the horse’s belly or surrounding area.

“Woodbine Entertainment is committed to safety and being a leader of change for the betterment of the horse racing industry in Ontario and throughout North America,” said CEO Jim Lawson.

Following the end of the Woodbine race meet on December 15, the AGCO will evaluate the effects of this change to determine if further revisions are necessary.

Jockey switch for McKinzie

North America: Mike Smith will not ride McKinzie, ante-post favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, according to Daily Racing Form

World #5 trainer Bob Baffert has not confirmed a replacement for Smith, who has ridden the 4-year-old in all 13 of his previous starts, including when runner-up in last weekend’s G1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita.

“I'm still going to use Mike on horses,” Baffert said. “But for the Classic, I’m going to make a change. I let Mike know now because I want to give him a chance to get something else.” 

Cesarewitch sponsorship deal

Europe: Emirates has been named as the new title sponsor of the £350,000 Cesarewitch, which forms the second leg of Newmarket’s historic ‘Autumn Double’ along with the bet365 Cambridgeshire, which was run last Saturday.

The Heritage handicap is staged on October 12, the second day of the Dubai Future Champions Festival. The Dubai-based carrier’s commercial commitment will continue until 2022.

Amy Starkey, regional director of the Jockey Club’s East Region, said, “We are delighted to partner with Emirates and look forward to a fruitful association with the airline through their support of this key race at the Dubai Future Champions Festival.”

Jumps stallion role for Crystal Ocean

Europe: Coolmore have acquired the recently retired Crystal Ocean, the joint-best horse in Europe this season on Racing Post Ratings. The son of Sea The Stars will, however, will stand under the operation’s National Hunt banner at The Beeches Stud in Ireland next year.

The Sir Evelyn de Rothschild-owned colt never finished out of the frame in 17 starts and won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot this year, before losing the ‘race of the year’ by a neck to Enable in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at the same track at the end of July and the Juddmonte International at York in August by a head to Coolmore Arc contender Japan.

“We’ve been lucky enough to get some great horses over the years, but Crystal Ocean could be the best of the lot,” said The Beeches Stud manager Bobby McCarthy. “He’s a great outcross option for the many good mares from the Sadler’s Wells line.”

Elsewhere in racing …

North America: U.S. businessman Joseph Allen is the latest Thoroughbred owner and breeder to announce his support for the Horseracing Integrity Act. More here

Oceania: A total of 80 stayers - including 19 trained overseas - remain in contention to land Australian racing’s greatest prize after the first acceptance stage for the Lexus Melbourne Cup closed on Tuesday. More here

Europe: Luca Cumani will succeed Rupert Arnold as horsemen member-nominated director on the British Horseracing Authority board. More here

Europe: The owners of Towcester racecourse in England have sold its remaining fixtures to Arena Racing Company, essentially closing the jumps track, which has been placed into administration and was consequently sold to Fermor Land in August. More here 

Europe: Flutter Entertainment, the parent company of Paddy Power Betfair, is to buy the Stars Group, owner of Sky Bet, to create a global betting giant. More here

North America: Lil Indy, dam of 2019 multiple G1 winner Maximum Security, will be sold in foal to leading sire Quality Road during the premier Book 1 of Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale on November 6. More here

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