The weekly TRC industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
Breeders’ Cup stays at Santa Anita
This year's Breeders’ Cup World Championships will go ahead at Santa Anita on November 1-2, the board agreed unanimously at a meeting in Lexington yesterday. There had been speculation that the meet could be switched to Churchill Downs after a spate of fatalities at the California venue this year.
This will mark the tenth time the event will be held at Santa Anita, the most of any host venue over the 36-year history of the Breeders’ Cup.
“Foremost among the core values of the Breeders’ Cup are the safety and integrity of the competition and we hold ourselves, our host sites and our competitors, to the highest standards of both,” said Craig Fravel, President and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup.
“It is clear that meaningful and effective reforms and best practices have been implemented in recent months at Santa Anita through the collective efforts of the Stronach Group, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Trainers, and the California Horse Racing Board.
“We fully embrace those reforms and will devote our time and energy in the coming months to further advance those efforts. We look forward to showing the world the best in Thoroughbred racing at one of its finest venues.”
For more information, visit the Breeders’ Cup Safety & Integrity web page.
Point of no return
Europe: Godolphin’s star sprinter Blue Point has been retired and will join the Darley stallion roster with immediate effect.
The son of Shamardal won 11 of his 20 starts, making the frame in a further six. Only last week he became the first European-trained horse in almost 100 years to win both the G1 King’s Stand and G1 Diamond Jubilee in the same week at Royal Ascot,
Trainer Charlie Appleby called the “natural athlete” a “pleasure to train” who will be a “missed by everyone in the yard [Moulton Paddocks]”. His partner in 15 of his races, William Buick, heaped praise on the “fastest horse I’ve ever ridden”.
The world #1 trainer added: “Blue Point is sound and well but owes us nothing so we will retire him on a high. He will now enjoy a break over the summer and will then begin his new career at stud.”
Now Currie is facing fraud charges
Oceania: Disgraced Queensland trainer Ben Currie has been charged with fraud over the alleged doping of his horses after a 14-month investigation. Currie, who is already disqualified for 7½ years for drug and jigger-related offences, has been granted bail to face the Toowoomba Magistrates Court in July.
State police said the alleged doping was done in a way to circumvent current testing in Queensland’s racing industry, but the disqualified conditioner told reporters after being released, “I don’t even know what the charges are to be honest.”
Hollendorfer kicked out
North America: The Stronach Group on Saturday gave trainer Jerry Hollendorfer 72 hours to remove his horses from Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita, saying he did not “embrace the new rules and safety measures that put horse and rider safety above all else”.
The decision came a few hours after a horse trained by Hollendorfer, American Currency, had to be euthanized following a workout on Santa Anita’s training track, the 30th horse at the track to die from injuries sustained during racing or training there since the meet began and the fourth of Hall of Famer Hollendorfer’s trainees.
The New York Racing Association does, however, plan to honour its agreement with Hollendorfer for stalls at Belmont Park and Saratoga, where he moved about 20 horses this spring.
He intends to move his 46-horse string at Santa Anita to Los Alamitos – who “will gladly provide stall” – and the 40 horses previously based at Golden Gate Fields are moving to Alameda County Fair Grounds.
Elsewhere in global news …
Europe: Leading jockey Hayley Turner, who ended a 32-year drought to become only the second female to ride a winner at Royal Ascot, has launched racing’s first-ever Milliners’ Award at next month’s Moët & Chandon July Festival, which is raced at Newmarket’s July course. More here
Europe: Qatar has extended its backing of next month's five-day Goodwood festival until 2024, ending uncertainty around the biggest sponsorship deal in British racing history. Though still colloquially referred to as Glorious Goodwood, the five-day festival has been called the Qatar Goodwood Festival since a ten-year sponsorship deal was signed in 2014. More here
North America: The California legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 469, giving the California Horse Racing Board complete authority to immediately suspend racing over safety and welfare concerns for horses and jockeys. The bill was passed 78-0 in the Assembly and 40-0 in the Senate. Text of Senate Bill 469
Europe: A report compiled by Henham Strategy and commissioned by the Great British Racing International and Ascot, said that racing “is a soft power asset already working for the UK internationally”. However, it added, “It can do more, and government needs to be shown the significant role that racing can play in a global context.” More here
North America: World #14 trainer Steve Asmussen has been sued by the U.S. Department of Labor for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 by underpaying over 100 grooms and hotwalkers in New York. This is the third lawsuit from the Department of Labor against the Hall of Famer since 2012. More here
Europe: The catalogue for the three-day Arqana August Yearling Sale in Deauville on the Normandy coast boasts 338 youngsters from major international sires, including Dark Angel, Dubawi, Frankel, Galileo, Kingman, American Pharoah, Kodiac, Lope De Vega, Sea The Stars and Siyouni. Full catalogue here
Europe: The executive committee of France Galop, the governing body of French horseracing, has reported group-wide losses of €21 million as part of its 2018 accounts, with the vast majority of loses being portioned at the PMU’s racing revenues falling well short of forecasted targets. More here
Europe: Championship Horse Racing – a proposed team series in the UK – has been forced to postpone its somewhat optimistic launch of July “until next year”. More here