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

Tapit at Gainesway: over 125 black-type winners from 12 crops. See story below. Photo: Michele MacDonald

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


Big changes at the Pegasus

North America: The Stronach Group (TSG) has announced significant changes to the Pegasus World Cup and the Pegasus World Cup Turf at Gulfstream Park on January 25.

Both races will now be run for much smaller purses than previously announced, and horses will be prohibited from competing on Lasix.

The purse for the Pegasus World Cup, run on dirt, has been cut from $9 million to $3 million and the prize for the turf race will drop to $1 million after being run for $7 million in 2019. Contrary to the past three iterations of the once ‘world’s richest race’, owners will not have to pay a fee to guarantee a spot in the races when they were run in.

TSG president Belinda Stronach confirmed that two percent of winnings will go to Thoroughbred aftercare, which she believes “showcases the leadership our industry is taking together to evolve beyond past achievements to create a more modern, sustainable, and safer sport”.

Possible change of target for Maximum Security

Middle East: The Pegasus prize reduction is, however, an “absolute game-changer” for Gary West, owner of leading U.S 3-year-old Maximum Security, who could be aimed instead at the Saudi Cup, which will now be the world’s richest race .

As noted here last week, West wasn't considering the Saudi Cup, but, with a $17 million difference in prize money, he says that “there's now a better than 50/50 chance” that the three-time G1 winner will join the top-class runners who look set to tackle the February 29 contest.

“You don't get a horse like Maximum Security that often, and, when you have a chance to be one of the favourites in the richest race in the world, you have to consider it,” said West.

Bravazo still on target for Gulfstream

North America: On the other hand, D Wayne Lukas' stable star Bravazo is still pointing for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup.

A homebred for Calumet Farm, Bravazo finished fourth in the 2019 World Cup before being sidelined following surgery last March to remove a bone chip from a knee. Bravazo finished eighth in his comeback race, the G1 Clark Stakes last month at Churchill Downs.

Lukas said that he is “more interested to see what the Lasix will do” than the prize reduction, adding that the elimination of race-day anti-bleeder medication “doesn't affect me at all. All those stakes [races] in a year are going to be probably no-Lasix”.

Hawkbill could be ‘the next Kitten’s Joy’

Asia: Darley has announced the 2020 fees for the ten stallions who stand on its Japanese roster, which includes for the first time multiple G1 winners Thunder Snow and Hawkbill, who nominations manager Shotaro Kajiya believes could be a “potential successor to [his sire] Kitten's Joy”.

Thunder Snow, the first horse to win back-to-back Dubai World Cups and a G1 winner from two to five on both turf and dirt, will stand his first season next year at a fee of about $23,000. 2016 Coral-Eclipse winner Hawkbill will stand at a fee of just over $9,000.

Elsewhere, Pyro, who sired no fewer than 29 2-year-old winners on the dirt, and champion sprinter Fine Needle are priced at $23,000. Second-season sire and 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Talismanic will stand at a fee of around $16,000.

Tapit milestone

North America: Tapit has become only the third North America-based stallion to be represented by progeny to win at least $150 million in Northern Hemisphere earnings.

The 18-year-old son of Pulpit sits behind only Giant’s Causeway ($166.5 million) and Smart Strike ($151.7 million). The world #5 dirt sire reached this milestone with 12 crops of racing age, which is four fewer than Giant’s Causeway and seven fewer than Smart Strike.

With seven champions, and over 125 black-type winners from 12 crops, the grey has cemented his status as an all-time leading sire: he was America’s champion sire in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and, is responsible for 28 yearlings to bring over $1 million or more at auction.

Tapit stands at Gainesway for $200,000.

Revamp for Brisbane carnival

Oceania: Brisbane Racing Club has announced that the 2020 Channel Seven Brisbane Racing Carnival will be transformed with a new-look program including a A$1.5 million weight-for-age race on TAB Stradbroke Day.

Eagle Farm will again host three consecutive Saturday meetings during the carnival, culminating in the June 6 TAB Stradbroke Day program, which will feature the A$1.5 million G2 EVA Air Q22, formerly known as the O’Shea Stakes.

Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell is confident that the Q22 will not just be an “exciting addition to the Queensland racing calendar, but the “nation as whole”, providing Australian classic winners with a season-ending target.

Donnacha set for a quick start

Europe: World #25 jockey Donnacha O'Brien, who ended his race-riding career in November, expects to have his first official runners as a trainer as early as next month should his December 17 licence application be successful.

Ireland’s dual champion jockey is already training a small string of around 25 horses from David Wachman’s old yard in Goolds Cross, County Tipperary. Like older brother Joseph, #23 in the global trainer standings, the Irishman found the battle with the scales too much. However, the younger O'Brien is “not expecting to do as well as he’s done” and “won’t have the quantity of horses Joseph has”.

Elsewhere in racing …

North America: The Jockey Club board of stewards has announced it is continuing its consideration of a rule to limit the annual breeding of individual stallions. More here

Middle east: Dual G3 winner Dee Ex Bee, runner-up in the 2018 Epsom Derby, has left Mark Johnston and joined the Salem bin Ghadayer stable in Dubai for the winter.

North America: World #7 trainer Steve Asmussen won his 15th seasonal training title in Oklahoma City with 83 victories. More here

Europe: The British Horseracing Authority has re-appointed Brian Barker CBE QC as chairman of its independent judicial panel for a second three-year term. More here

North America: Copper Bullet, a Graded stakes-winning juvenile and multiple Graded stakes-placed son of More Than Ready, will take up stud duty at Darby Dan Farm for the upcoming breeding season. More here

Oceania: Chairman Amanda Elliott, Katherine Bourke and Eliza Robinson have been re-elected to the Victoria Racing Club board. More here

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