The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association may attempt to form a coalition of all horsemen's groups in the country to work toward common goals, one of is which is protection of the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978. Some horsemen believe racetracks have formed cooperatives not only to secure favorable simulcasting rates, but to undermine the federal law that requires horsemen's consent when signals are transmitted.
The re-entry of Magna Entertainment's seven racetracks into the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is expected to have an immediate impact on the NTRA's winter television schedule on ESPN and ESPN2, beginning with its first telecast on Feb. 3. That telecast will feature the Donn Handicap (gr. I) from Gulfstream Park and the Strub Stakes (gr. II) and San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) from Santa Anita. Both tracks are owned by Magna, whose chairman, Frank Stronach, announced on Jan. 17 in a joint statement with the NTRA that he has made a two-year commitment to rejoin the organization.
Last fall, most horses bred by Frank Stronach in his name or that of Stronach Stables were changed to have the breeder listed as Adena Springs. The change pushed Adena Springs to second on the year-end list of leading breeders with $9,929,737, behind Harry T. Mangurian Jr., who bred the earners of $10,757,845 in 2000. The list, compiled by The Jockey Club Information Systems, is for North American-based horses only.
The grade 1 Fountain of Youth, to be run February 17 as the last major prep for the $1 million Florida Derby March 10, is the next scheduled stop on the agenda for grade 3 Holy Bull winner Radical Riley. Runner-up Bukcle Down Ben could also try the Fountain of Youth or may go directly into the Florida Derby off Saturay's effort.
Downturns were recorded in four major statistical categories during the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's winter mixed sale, which was conducted Jan. 15-18 in Central Florida. Compared to 2000's figures, the number sold fell by 5.9% and gross revenue decreased by 27.8%. In addition, the average price and median price suffered declines of 23.2% and 23.6%, respectively. Tom Ventura, the general manager and director of sales for OBS, cited the weakening American economy as a possible factor in the setbacks. He also offered other theories:
David Shimmon, the California entrepreneur who has been one of the Thoroughbred industry's leading yearling buyers since emerging at the Keeneland July sale in 1999, has elected to have D. Wayne Lukas train four of his purchases from last year, including a $4.2 million Seattle Slew colt who topped Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga yearling sale.
Has Derby fever begun its annual rose-colored rise up the old thermometer, or do you still have samurais and geisha girls on the brain? It seems like only yesterday that dusk was settling on Churchill Downs and we were all rejoicing over racing's newest hero. We all felt as if the messiah had finally been delivered in the form of an Adonis-like creature named Fusaichi Pegasus. Then it all disappeared into the murk of a misty Maryland afternoon, leaving us to start our search all over again.