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

Well done old friend: Zac Purton and Beauty Generation after their victory in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday. Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club

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

Turfway Park switched to Tapeta

North America:  Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) has announced its plans to invest $5.6 million to replace the existing synthetic Polytrack surface at Turfway Park with a new Tapeta track. It is expected to be ready for the 2020 holiday meet that begins on December 2.

The Kentucky track became the first in North America to install Polytrack on its main track in 2005, and CDI owns and operates three of the four synthetic tracks in the U.S.

It was also the third track in America to use the state-of-the-art Tapeta synthetic surface, which is produced by trainer Michael Dickenson and his wife, Joan Wakefield.

“The Tapeta team are all delighted to have been chosen to install a Tapeta surface at Turfway Park,” Wakefield said. “We look forward to working with CDI and can only applaud them for a huge commitment in upgrading the entire facility.”

Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs and Turfway Park, believes that the partnership will “provide the safest racing conditions for Turfway’s winter meets” and will support “our goal of bringing a first-class racing product to Northern Kentucky”.

Beauty Generation’s big chance in Dubai

Asia: The world’s highest-rated miler of 2019, Beauty Generation, has landed his eighth G1 contest, and John Moore’s Hong Kong star is believed to be on target for a bid for the $6m Dubai Turf at Meydan on March 28.

The 7-year-old had half a length to spare over Ka Ying Star when winning the US$1.3m Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup over seven furlongs at Sha Tin for the third time. It was the first G1 win of the season for world #4 rider Zac Purton.

The world #13 trainer is confident that Beauty Generation will head to the UAE for what is one of the world’s richest turf races and a possible clash with last year’s winner, the Japanese mare Almond Eye. He feels his veteran will be “very, very competitive” if allowed to bowl along over 1800m at Meydan.

Sad loss of potential Juddmonte star

North America: Juddmonte Farm homebred filly Taraz has been euthanized after severely fractured her left front pastern in a Monday workout at Oaklawn Park.

Taraz, sired by Spendthrift’s Into Mischief, won each of her three career starts by open margins, and was rumoured to be set for an audacious bid at the Kentucky Derby.

A Juddmonte statement read, ‘Given the extreme nature of the damage to the bone and compromise to the blood supply, it was agreed that repair was impractical. Having consulted between trainer Brad Cox, veterinarians and Juddmonte management it was deemed best to euthanize the filly.’

Country House won’t race again

North America: 2019 Kentucky Derby winner Country House has been retired due to a litany of physical setbacks, according to one of the colt’s owners, Guinness McFadden.

Blackwood Stables revealed that the son of Lookin At Lucky - unraced since winning the Derby – has suffered desmitis (inflammation of the ligament) on both front fetlocks, and subsequentially laminitis.

A statement read, “Over the past seven months, our primary focus has solely been on Country House and his health. With the Derby right around the corner and his health much improved, we felt it was an appropriate time to make this announcement.’

Country House was retired with a 2-2-1 record from seven starts and earnings of $2,120,175, which included the infamous Derby win following the disqualification of first-past-the-post Maximum Security.

British bookies pay up

Europe: British racing’s finances have received a boost after it was revealed the Levy Board has secured an extra £5 million owed by bookmakers for the 2018-19 financial year, which had fallen surprisingly by £17 million to £78 million from the previous year.

The board said it was “grateful to bookmakers for their constructive and cooperative approach and the timeliness of their responses to enquiries”.

Chairman Paul Lee added, “The issues involved here are complex, turning as they do on the construction of legislation and its operation, specifically in relation to certain types of bets. All bookmakers have now paid levy on these bets in accordance with the legislation.

“To achieve agreement on this matter is important, not only in effecting a significant increase on the provisional £78m announced for 2018-19 but also for assessing levy liability in the current year and future years.”

BHA executive director Will Lambe said it was “very good news for the sport”.

Elsewhere in racing ...

North America: Woodbine Entertainment has released an updated stakes schedule for the 2020 Thoroughbred meet, with dates adjusted for a handful of early- and late-season events. More here

North America: Keeneland and University of Kentucky HealthCare have kicked off the Kids Club aspect of their new multi-year partnership, now formally recognized as the Keeneland Kids Club in Partnership with UK HealthCare Kentucky Children’s Hospital. More here  

North America: Fasig-Tipton has catalogued 182 entries for the Gulfstream Sale of Selected 2-Year-Olds in Training, to be held on April 1, in the racetrack's walking ring. View catalogue here

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