Bits and pieces from around the industry
Leading contenders for this year's Kentucky Derby.
Satish Sanan's Clearwater, Fla.-based IMRglobal Corp. will merge with CGI Group of Montreal, Quebec, according to a release from IMRglobal. But the Feb. 22 edition of the St. Petersburg, Fla., Times called it a $438-million stock sale to the Canadian company.
Kenny Troutt and Bill Casner have purchased 314 acres next to their WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky. The addition brings the farm's total land to about 964 contiguous acres.
Lawmakers in New Jersey were to consider a bill Monday that would give
the horse racing industry an $18-million purse boost this year. The Senate Budget and Appropriations committee is expected to pass the
measure, according to Barbara DeMarco Reiche, lobbyist for the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.
Street Cry has his first outing of the year on Thursday, March 1st but another leading Godolphin contender for the American Triple Crown races, Express Tour, needs more time and will have his seasonal debut delayed until the UAE Derby at Nad al Sheba on March 24th.
If Golden Ballet is as brilliant in the Mar. 10 Santa Anita Oaks as she's been in her two starts this year, then beware, boys. Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor, who co-owns the daughter of Moscow Ballet, told The Blood-Horse that if Golden Ballet comes out of the Oaks in good shape, there is a good chance she will then take on the colts.
Trainer John Ward, Jr. had his highly regarded 3-year-old Monarchos out for a five-furlong workout on Monday. With jockey Jorge Chavez in the saddle, Monarchos had a very easy trial and was clocked in 1:04 1/5 breezing. According to Ward, the colt is right on schedule for his next start, the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) to be run over 1 1/8 miles here on March 10.
Pleasant Breeze, fourth in the grade I Donn Handicap, worked five furlongs at Payson Park in 1:02 Monday, prompting trainer Jim Bond to announce the horse as a definite starter in the grade I Gulfstream Park Handicap this Saturday. Meanwhile, trainer Ralph Ziadie entered his perennial handicap star Sir Bear in Wednesday's $63,000-added Cryptoclearance Stakes but is still not ruling out the Gulfstream Park Handicap.
When a non-winners of two allowance race at Santa Anita and the Herat Stakes at Laurel are the two biggest races of the week, then it's time to step off the Derby trail, get out a blanket and some cheese and crackers, and take time to ponder where we've been and where we're heading. But in a year like this, not only do we not know where we're heading, we're really not quite sure where we've been. The only 2-year-olds within 10 pounds of the leader on the Experimental Free Handicap that we can sink our teeth into are Dollar Bill and Millennium Wind. For the sixth straight year, the Experimental topweight will be a non-entity in the Triple Crown.
They won't be seeing it anytime soon, but Illinois racetracks and horse owners each can expect about $10 million a year as their cut of a Cook County riverboat casino. There has been speculation - sometimes wild speculation - since the 1999 revision of Illinois gaming and racing laws about how much racing can expect as its 15 percent share of the adjusted gross annual revenue from the boat. The fiscal 2002 Illinois budget presented by Gov. George Ryan on Feb. 21 provides a semi-official answer: $20 million, split 50/50 between purses and tracks.
Sunline, the leading money earner in Australasia (Australia and New Zealand), is expected to start next in the Apollo Stakes (Aust-II) on March 3, her prep for Dubai. Sydney race fans should pack Warwick Farm as the race will feature a return bout between Sunline and local star Tie the Knot, who resides fourth on the list with $5.5 million (Australian funds).
Black smoke from a flaming pyre of livestock carcasses drifted across a busy highway - a grim reminder for passing commuters of the growing toll of Britain's first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in two decades. More new cases were confirmed Monday. The disease affects only cloven-hoofed animals, but others can carry the virus. Horse racing officials are considering calling a halt to races, as they did during a similar outbreak in 1967.
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