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

Classic hero: Tiz The Law and Manny Franco winning the Belmont Stakes last Saturday. Photo: NYRA.com

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

Tiz The Law to stand at Ashford

North America: Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law will stand at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky when his racing career is over, continuing the operation’s remorseless acquisition of America’s leading stallion prospects. The New York-bred is hot favorite for the Kentucky Derby on September 5 and he will join the last two Triple Crown winners, American Pharoah and Justify, at Ashford. Saudi Cup scorer Maximum Security is also due to stand there on retirement.

“We were approached by a number of stallion farms,” Jack Knowlton, the operating manager of Tiz The Law owners Sackatoga Stable. “We ended up feeling that the best place for him was Coolmore. I think they are the pre-eminent stallion operation in the world.”

The son of Constitution is scheduled to run next in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga on August 8 before heading to Churchill Downs in pursuit of the next leg of 2020’s re-shaped Triple Crown.

“Tiz The Law is the outstanding colt of his generation, so we are obviously delighted he'll be coming here,” Dermot Ryan, Coolmore America manager, said in a statement. “From day one, when he broke his maiden at Saratoga, we have been watching him closely, and he has everything one looks for in a stallion prospect.”

Sudden deaths rock British racing

Europe: British racing is in mourning after the sudden deaths of 2009 Grand National-winning jockey Liam Treadwell, 34, on Tuesday and Aintree chairman Rose Paterson, 63, a day later. A minute's silence was held before racing at Haydock on Wednesday in the pair’s memory.

Paterson became Jockey Club Racecourses’ first female chairman when succeeding Lord Daresbury at Aintree after the 2014 Grand National meeting, having been a non-executive director at the course since 2005.

Her husband of 40 years – former cabinet member Owen Paterson – confirmed that her body had been found at their Shropshire home, adding that that her “death has come as a terrible shock to us all”.

Treadwell famously partnered 100/1 shot Mon Mome to victory for Venetia Williams in the 2009 Aintree race, as well as riding nearly 300 winners before a serious concussion forced early retirement in 2016. He had returned to race riding in the 2019-20 jumps season, adding a further eight wins.

He was also assistant to the Bridgnorth-based Alastair Ralph, who described Treadwell’s death as “unbelievably sad” and a “big shock”. Ralph told UK news outlet The Sun, “We found him this morning. It’s all still very raw. It’s just terrible. He had suffered depression and it was ongoing for a couple of years.”

Jocked-off Marquand will ride in the Derby after all

Europe: Frankie Dettori has been booked to ride Epsom Derby ante-post favourite English King, replacing up-and-coming jockey Tom Marquand, who partnered the son of Camelot in an eye-catching victory this month in the Lingfield Derby Trial.

But Marquand quickly picked up another mount after being booked to ride Khalifa Sat in the famous Classic on July 4, according to horseracingplanet.com. Marquand rode the Andrew Balding-trained colt to victory in the listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood last month and will be the jockey’s first Derby mount. The colt is a 33/1 chance in the betting.

It will be Marquand’s first ride in English racing’s blue riband contest.

English King’s trainer Ed Walker – who is yet to saddle a runner in the race – said of the world #1 jockey, “Frankie has experience, knowledge and understanding of these races like nobody else,” which will give connections “the best possible chance”.

Owner Bjorn Nielsen also owns Stradivarius, the star stayer who won a third Gold Cup under Dettori at Royal Ascot last week. The Italian has been his go-to-man when available and, with John Gosden’s lack of a standout Derby contender this year, the connection is an unfortunate but logical one.

The ’jocked off’ Marquand told Sky Sports Racing that the decision was “handled very well by Ed and Bjorn” and was “something they spoke to me about before it all came out”.

Gainesway snap up McKinzie

North America: Gainesway Farm has purchased the breeding rights to four-time G1 winner McKinzie, who will move to the Lexington farm on the conclusion of his racing career.

Gainesway’s General Manager, Brian Graves, said the son of Street Sense’s “speed, versatility, and soundness make him an absolute standout” – he has won G1s at two, three and four from distances of seven to nine furlongs.

Trainer Bob Baffert is pointing McKinzie at the Runhappy Met Mile at Belmont on July 4, which he thinks will “put us in an excellent position to earn Horse of the Year honors and Champion Older Horse of 2020”.

Coronavirus toll at Santa Anita

North America: Seventeen positive tests for coronavirus were taken during the recently concluded spring meet at Santa Anita Park, according to a count from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

After closing to the public on March 13, live racing at Santa Anita was shut down on March 27. The health department allowed the track to resume racing on May 15, and safety precautions included having jockeys live in trailers in the parking lot during the race week.

The Californian track also suffered its 15th horse death of the season, which is half the number of fatalities during its winter-spring meeting last year. The Stronach Group instituted heightened safety protocols after last year’s meeting, but the disruption in racing makes it difficult to assess the success of the measures.

Weatherby steps down as Queen’s Ascot representative

Europe: After 23 years as a Trustee at Ascot and nine years latterly as Her Majesty's Representative, Johnny Weatherby has stepped down from his roles.

The Queen has appointed Sir Francis Brooke, who has been a Trustee since 2011 and Chairman of Ascot Authority since 2018, as the sixth person to hold the position during her reign.

Brooke said that Weatherby retires with the “gratitude of his fellow Trustees and directors, past and present”. He had shown “unstinting, passionate and total commitment to Ascot through times of great change”.

“Under Johnny, the doors of Ascot have been opened wider,” he added. “He passionately believed that the experience of every racegoer should be equally important, and customer service has been a key focus under his leadership.”

Japanese G1 kicks off Cox Plate ‘boost’ series

Asia: To celebrate the 100th running of the WS Cox Plate, Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) has launched the 2020 Ladbrokes Cox Plate Boost Series. 

Over the coming months, the MVRC will partner a number of the leading middle-distance weight-for-age turf G1 races around the world with the winners eligible for a AU$1m bonus should one of them win the 2040m turf race on October 24. 

The first international race to be included in the Ladbrokes-sponsored series will be the G1 Takarazuka Kinen over 2200m on Sunday. This is one of Japan’s most prestigious races, with an honour roll that includes champions such as Deep Impact and Orfevre, as well as Lys Gracieux last year.

MVRC Chairman Don Casboult, said, “2019 was a special year for the Moonee Valley Racing Club with Japanese mare Lys Gracieux winning the 99th running. The MVRC looks forward to developing a stronger association with the JRA and leading Japanese owners and trainers through the WS Cox Plate.“

Elsewhere in racing …

North America: Internationally respected veterinarian Dr Stuart E Brown II has joined Keeneland as Equine Safety Director. More here

North America: Jockey Pablo Morales celebrated his 2,000th career win on Wednesday at Tampa Bay Downs. More here

Europe: Coolmore has confirmed its continued support for the G1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. It will now be known as the Coolmore America Justify Matron Stakes. More here

North America: Bourbon Belle, the dam of Canadian champion Not Bourbon, died on Monday due to old age at owner-breeder Charles Fipke’s farm in Kentucky.

Europe: Gillian & Vimal Khosla will sponsor the G3 Meld Stakes at Leopardstown, which will be renamed The ‘Green Room’ Meld Stakes in honour of their outstanding broodmare Green Room. More here

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