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

Hong Kong great Douglas Whyte, who has his final ride at Sha Tin on February 10 before starting a training career. See story below. Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club

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


NYRA chief forced to step down

North America: NYRA’s board of directors has accepted the resignation of chief executive and president Chris Kay, effective immediately. Senior vice president and chief revenue officer David O’Rourke has been named interim CEO.

The executive, who led NYRA’s recent return to private control, was asked to end his 5½-year tenure, but, as of yet, there is no official reason for his removal, with most board members citing it was a personnel matter or refusing to comment.

However, The Albany Times Union, reports that Kay was forced to step down after allegations surfaced that he had used NYRA employees for maintenance and yard work at his Saratoga Springs home for an extended period of time.

Too Darn Hot matches Frankel’s juvenile rating

Europe: Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s homebred Too Darn Hot has been confirmed as Europe’s champion 2-year-old of 2018. His rating of 126, revealed at the announcement of the European 2-year-old classifications on Wednesday, is the highest for a juvenile since Frankel shared top honours with Dream Ahead on the same rating in 2010. There has been no juvenile rated higher since Xaar in 1997.

The son of world #1 sire Dubawi is favourite for both the 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby. The Darley stallion is responsible for the best two juveniles of 2018 in Too Darn Hot and Quorto. The pair went into winter quarters as the unbeaten winners of seven races between them.  

2018 was a strong year at the top of the 2-year-old tree in Europe, with no fewer than six horses rated at 118 or above. However, overall, 44 juveniles achieved a rating of 110 or above in 2018, which is slightly down historically, with the average since 2010 sitting at 47.

Douglas Whyte to start training

Asia: Douglas Whyte, the record 13-time champion jockey in Hong Kong, has announced his retirement from riding, which has seen the South African ride more than 1,800 winners in Hong Kong.

The 47-year-old intends to become a trainer in Hong Kong after his final ride at Sha Tin on February 10. Whyte has already received a trainer’s licence form from the Hong Kong Jockey Club and said he was “incredibly excited to receive the call that my application had been successful”.

Stronach battle intensifies

North America: Belinda Stronach has countersued her father for millions of dollars in a statement of defence that alleges he lost vast sums of money on pet projects.

She claims in an Ontario Superior Court of Justice filing that she is owed about $33 million from her father, Frank Stronach, from funds she gave him for a run at politics in Austria and to settle unpaid taxes in the country.

Stronach sued his daughter and others last year for more than $500 million over alleged mismanagement of the family’s assets and trust funds. He accused his daughter, as well as former business partner Alon Ossip, of appropriating family funds for their personal benefit.

“Frank’s entrepreneurial approach to the business was ultimately out of synch with market demand,” a statement of defence read. Belinda Stronach said she had to intervene to stem losses from the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on a cattle ranch, a golf course and other projects.

Goldikova’s date with Dubawi

Europe: Pierre-Yves Bureau, racing manager for owner-breeders the Wertheimer brothers, has confirmed that 14-time G1 winner Goldikova will mate with world #1 sire Dubawi this season.

Bureau said the 14-year-old daughter of Anabaa, who is in foal to world #2 Galileo and due in a few weeks, is “doing very well” and will “will visit Dubawi – she has a yearling filly by him [already named Goldistyle] who we think is very nice”.

He also confirmed that Goldikova’s G1-winning half-sister, Galikova, will travel to Kentucky for a date with War Front, explaining that they are sending her to America “for obvious pedigree reasons but also because I think physically it will work very well”.

Death of a Breeders’ Cup hero

North America: Calumet Farm has confirmed that 2006 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Red Rocks died in September at the age of 15.

Red Rocks, from the first crop of world #2 sire Galileo, was bred by Ballylinch Stud and was the third foal and first Pattern winner produced by Pharmacist.

He retired in 2009 with more than £1.62 million in earnings, but his record as sire, initially at Centro Equino Arcadia in Italy, was slightly less remarkable: 43 per cent winners from foals and three black-type winners out of seven crops of racing age.

His 2018 fee at Calumet, where he moved in 2015, was $10,000.

Dispersal of Curlin breeder’s stock

Europe: Arqana has revealed that this year’s February Mixed Sale will conclude with the dispersal of Lebanese owner-breeder Issam Fares’ equine holdings.

A total of 43 lots will be offered from Haras de Manneville, including 16 broodmares, one filly, seven horses in training, five 2-year-olds and 14 yearlings. Fares – the breeder of Curlin and Miss Alleged – sold a selection of mares at the December Sale.

The auction will also feature dispersal from the estate of the late Marquise de Moratalla, the leading owner-breeder whose famous red-and-white silks were carried by the likes of The Fellow, First Gold, Prime Number and 2011 Poule d’Essai des Poulains winner Tin Horse.

The Channel Consignment will present 12 mares and fillies, some of them in training, from the Marquise de Moratalla estate, constituting the first phase of the total dispersal of the squad. The latter will end during Arqana’s 2019 sales for foals, yearlings and mares.

Windhaven Stud owner dies at 81

North America: Canadian racing is mourning the loss of the owner of Windhaven Stud, Bill Graham, at the age of 81.

He earned a Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding breeder in 2012 and was inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame in 2014.

Graham also served on the Woodbine Entertainment board for 17 years. Only last month, the Jockey Club of Canada announced that he would be presented the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit for his lifelong dedication and commitment to Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Canada.

“Bill was a passionate Thoroughbred horse owner and breeder who was always motivated to improve the industry to the benefit of all involved,” said Woodbine chief executive Jim Lawson.

Extra entries for Fasig-Tipton sale

North America: Fasig-Tipton has catalogued an additional 52 entries for its 2019 Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale supplemental catalogue.

The new entries, catalogued as hips 477-528, include black type-credentialed racing and broodmare prospects, in-foal mares, and short yearlings.

The Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale will be held on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 4-5, in Lexington, Kentucky. The supplemental catalog will be offered on Tuesday, Feb. 5, following the conclusion of the main catalog.

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