Lenny Shulman

Vella on His Own with Knights Templar

Four years ago, when he was the farm trainer for Frank Stronach at Adena Springs South near Ocala, Fla., Danny Vella had the satisfaction of seeing former pupils Perfect Sting and Macho Uno win Breeders' Cup races. At this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Vella is seeking an even bigger thrill--training a winner of his own.

Charles Nuckols Jr. Dead

Charles Nuckols Jr., an icon of the Thoroughbred industry, died Sept. 2 at his home near Midway, Ky. Nuckols, 83, had been fighting a variety of ailments the past several years, and died of complications from congestive heart failure.

Lakow Joins Hill 'n' Dale Farm as G.M.

Mike Lakow, who was relieved of his duties as racing secretary in a July shake-up of the New York Racing Association, has been named general manager of John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farm near Lexington.

U.S. Court of Appeals Backs Pincay, McCarron

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has denied an appeal by the former business managers of retired jockeys Laffit Pincay Jr. and Chris McCarron, leaving in place an $8-million award, including interest, given to the jockeys by a Los Angeles federal judge.

New York Mutuel Clerks Ratify New Pact

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union of New York, division of mutuel employees, Local 3, has overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with the New York Racing Association, averting a possible work stoppage or sickout on Belmont Stakes day June 11.

Jockey Guidry Takes Long Way Home

Jockey Mark Guidry took the overland route to get back to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Forget about going seven-wide on the final turn, Guidry went about 2,000 miles out of his way to find the mount that would bring him back to Louisville the first Saturday in May.

Won't Get Fooled Again

By Lenny Shulman - In its first big test under the new, open, responsive management of executive director Ingrid Fermin, the California Horse Racing Board proved itself quite capable of continuing the Keystone Kops routine perfected by the regime of former executive director Roy Wood.

Dutrow Suspended 120 Days; May Only Serve 60

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., who trains Sis City, the likely favorite in Friday's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), was suspended for 120 days beginning June 1 for three separate violations incurred over the past two years, but half of the suspension could be stayed.

Frankel Kinda Misses Media Horde

In the days leading up to the Kentucky Derby two years ago, all the action swirled around Barn 43, where trainer Bobby Frankel gave daily press conferences that were only a chorus or two of "Hail to the Chief" short of presidential.

Wygod Denies CHRB Charges

Embattled owner Marty Wygod fired back Tuesday at the complaints filed against him by the California Horse Racing Board concerning events around Sweet Catomine's run in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) last Saturday.

Paths Plotted for Top Runners

Hangovers weren't the only thing to come out of the Eclipse Awards dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., Jan. 24. Various connections gave voice to their private plans as to where they hope to run prominent horses in the coming months

2004 Eclipse Older Female: Azeri

Hers is a familiar name in these pages, and her star has not diminished over time. Azeri, 2002 Horse of the Year and champion older mare in 2002 and 2003, has now made it a three-peat in that category. The 2004 Eclipse puts North America's all-time leading money earner for fillies and mares on her own plateau--ahead of Paseana (1992, 1993), Bayakoa (1989, 1990), and Susan's Girl (1973, 1975), the only other two-time Eclipse Award-winning older mares.

Pat Valenzuela's Suspension Overturned by CHRB

The California Horse Racing Board Friday cleared the way for jockey Pat Valenzuela to regain his riding license when it voted to adopt the ruling of an administrative law judge that overruled a board of stewards' suspension of the rider.

Putting the Legs in Legacy

By Lenny Shulman -- For the past few years, Michael Paulson has been busy watching a reality show on TV in his Las Vegas home. His tastes don't necessarily run to "Survivor," "American Idol," or the other garbage that passes for entertainment in the 21st century. Paulson's viewing has been taken up by a horse--Azeri--whom he's watched race by race, frame by frame; remote in one hand, stopwatch in the other.

Leading Female Earner, Horse of the Year Azeri Retired

Azeri, North America's all-time leading money-earning female, has been retired from racing. Michael Paulson, who heads his father's Allen Paulson Living Trust that raced Azeri, made the decision to retire the 6-year-old daughter of Jade Hunter rather than race her a few more times, as was under consideration.

Ruhlmann Arrives at Old Friends

Ruhlmann, an eight-time stakes winner who earned better than $1.8 million, has arrived at Alfred Nuckols Jr.'s Hurstland Farm near Midway, Ky., as part of the Old Friends retirement program.

Ruhlmann, Bonnie's Poker to Old Friends

Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement program based in Midway, Ky., announced the arrival of Bonnie's Poker and expects the arrival of Ruhlmann in the next few days, according to president Michael Blowen.

Guild Grievances Include Cease and Desist Letter, Lawsuits

The management company that represents jockey Jerry Bailey sent a cease and desist letter to Jockeys' Guild president Dr. Wayne Gertmenian and Guild vice president Albert Fiss Nov. 19. The letter requested they stop accusing Bailey of having played a role in canceling insurance policies that benefited jockeys.

Jockeying for Position

It is an issue covered nearly daily in the news and business columns of newspapers across America. Kentucky schoolteachers recently threatened a walkout over it; grocery workers in California struck for months because of it. Workers and employers everywhere struggle to make ends meet while having to feed its spiraling costs. Health insurance, along with health care costs, could be the single most important issue facing this nation, and it is one that jockeys and the racing industry have been struggling with for decades.

Well-Bred Fillies in Demand at Keeneland Sale

A 2-year-old daughter of Storm Cat and a 3-year-old Unbridled filly were both bought by Arch Bloodstock to top Tuesday's session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale. The session average was up 36.7% and the median rose 50% over the comparable day one year ago.

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