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

Bound for Claiborne: Travers Stakes winner Catholic Boy will stand at the Kentucky farm at the end of his track career. Photo: Chris Rahayel

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


Chad Brown in hot water over pay for backstretch workers

North America: An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has determined that world #2 trainer Chad Brown must pay a total of $1,617,673 in back wages, liquidated damages and civil penalties for wilful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Investigators found that Brown, 40, violated the FLSA by failing to pay grooms and hot walkers at Elmont and Saratoga

“The U.S. Department of Labor ensures labour laws are followed to protect workers and offers employers extensive assistance to ensure that they understand their responsibilities,” said, David An, WHD Long Island District director.

“Our enforcement ensures required payments, protects American jobs, and levels the playing field for law-abiding employers.”

Catholic Boy to stand at Claiborne

North America: Claiborne Farm has purchased an interest in dual G1-winner Catholic Boy and confirmed that the son of More Than Ready will stand at the Kentucky farm upon his retirement from racing.

Catholic Boy is a Graded winner at two, three and four and boasts $1.9 million in career earnings. In 2018, he became just the third American 3-year-old in history to win G1 races on dirt and turf, and he was given a 104 Beyer figure for his victory in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga - the highest speed figure for any 3-year-old colt over ten furlongs in 2018.

“[His record] makes him one of the most versatile and unique stallion prospects on the market,” said Claiborne’s Walker Hancock. “Plus, being a son of More Than Ready opens him up to breed to a very wide variety of mares. We are thrilled to stand him at Claiborne Farm upon his retirement.”

In his first start since finishing a disappointing 13th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Catholic Boy won the G2 Dixie Stakes on Saturday over Pimlico’s turf course.

Second turf course plan for Caulfield

Oceania: Caulfield has revealed that, as part of a A$300 million redevelopment, it will have a second inside turf track to be used primarily for night racing, which Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) chief executive Josh Blanksby believes could result in possibly 20 more meetings a year.

MRC’s plans also include a new grandstand, as well new horse stalls and parade rings, with work potentially beginning on the major revamp later this year. Training will cease at Caulfield in 2023, it is expected the $300 million redevelopment could be completed by 2025.

The safeguarding of a 65-year lease last year for racing at Caulfield meant that the MRC could move forward with long-held redevelopment plans for the 18-hectare space.

Into Mischief progeny all the rage

North America: Led by a sale-record $1.8 million Into Mischief filly, this year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training sale at Timonium, Maryland, posted across-the-board gains over the 2018 edition. It was the fifth consecutive year that a seven-figure juvenile topped the late May sale.

In total, 326 juveniles changed hands for $29,374,000, a record gross for the sale and an 18.1 per cent increase over $24,868,500 gross for 333 horses last year. The number of horses that sold for $250,000 or more doubled from 13 last year to 26 this year.

Spendthrift Farm’s Into Mischief, sire of nine juveniles sold for $4,215,000, with an average of $468,333 and a median of $300,000, garnered the most successful results.

Ben Smith guilty on cobalt charges

Oceania: Racing New South Wales stewards have found GI-winning trainer Ben Smith guilty of all ten charges in relation to administering cobalt to his charges Iron Duke and Elaborate. 

Smith has been stood down since September last year after a raid of his Newcastle stable discovered several unregistered products on the property. Stablehands Emma Bickley and Daniel Smith were also found guilty of several indiscretions. 

Stewards will determine Smith’s penalty on June 11, while Bickley and Smith will discover their fate on May 28.

Now Currie is convicted of race-day meds offences

Oceania: Queensland’s Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) stewards have found embattled trainer Ben Currie guilty of 12 charges relating to race-day treatment offences.
The Australian was convicted of treating five runners on the morning of March 24, 2018, the day on which the horses competed at Doomben and Gatton.
Stewards also found Currie guilty of another seven charges of treating horses on the morning of April 7 last year before they were scheduled to race at Toowoomba.
Currie received a four-year ban earlier this month after being found guilty by stewards in Queensland of two charges involving the intention to use an electronic apparatus (jigger) on horses.

New sponsor at Breeders’ Cup

North America: The Breeders’ Cup and Big Ass Fans, the world’s leading manufacturer of fans and lighting, have announced a multi-year partnership adding Big Ass Fans as an official corporate partner of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Big Ass Fans will also be the title sponsor of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, as well as providing on-site custom comfort solutions at the next three Breeders’ Cups - at Santa Anita, Keeneland and Del Mar.


Elsewhere in global news …

North America: The 144th running of the Preakness Stakes set an all-time total handle record on Saturday of $99,852,653, passing the previous mark of $97,168,658 set in 2017. The Maryland Jockey Club also revealed that the attendance Pimlico for the 14-race card was 131,256. Belinda Stronach, president of the Stronach Group, said that the numbers had “surpassed our expectations”. More here

Europe: Trainer John Gosden warned the public inquiry into Lord Derby’s controversial Hatchfield Farm proposals that “urbanisation will inevitably damage Newmarket’s ability to function as a world leader in horseracing”. 

During week three of the hearing, Gosden said the “problem is that we are now so crammed”. Britain’s champion trainer cited examples of Lewes and Epsom as “racing centre demises and closures”, while “looking abroad, even Maisons-Laffitte, which is Newmarket’s twin town, is to close”.

Gosden’s wife, Rachel Hood, is the Mayor of Newmarket and strongly opposes the development.   

Europe: A young rider from the Ebony Horse Club, a community riding centre in Brixton, South London, has been confirmed as the 12th jockey for this year's Magnolia Cup charity race at Glorious Goodwood on August 1. Khadijah Mellah, 18, who is studying for her A-levels, has been a member of the Ebony Horse Club for five years and will join model Vogue Williams and Olympian Victoria Pendleton in all-women charity race. More here

Europe: Godolphin Flying Start has announced the latest intake of scholarship recipients for its two-year Thoroughbred Industry Management and Leadership Program. The class of 2019-2021 is comprised of four men and eight women from Ireland, Australia, the USA, France, Japan, Argentina and the United Kingdom. More here

Europe: Britain’s 2019/19 all-weather champion apprentice, Nicola Currie, now sits in tenth on the list of winningmost female Flat jockeys of all-time in Britain following her victory on Seraphinite at Kempton. It was the 127th victory of her career.

Top is Hayley Turner (world-ranked 385) on 818 – more than double the total of any other rider. The list is of wins in Britain only, so it does not include two of the country's most successful current jockeys, Rachel King (world-ranked 226), who has ridden 228 wins in Australia, and Sophie Doyle (world #432), whose U.S. tally is currently 241.  More here

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