Articles posted May 8, 2001

Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

Churchill Revenue Up; Economy Impacts Simulcasting Handle

Churchill Downs reported Tuesday that first quarter revenues rose 22 percent to $31.7 million, compared with $25.9 million for the same period last year. The company reported a net loss of $11.0 million, or 84 cents per share on 13.0 million average shares outstanding, compared with a net loss of $8.8 million, or 89 cents per share on 9.9 million average shares outstanding, in the first quarter of 2000. Weakness in the economy has affected the simulcasting handle, but improvements in the Churchill Downs Simulcasting Network's marketing and presentation could offset the losses.

Haskin's Derby Story: Strong Dose of Monarchos

A stoic John T. Ward Jr. stood alone on the Churchill Downs grass course, watching Monarchos return from his magnificent triumph in the 127th running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The third-generation Kentucky horseman was a stark contrast to the emotions that poured freely around him. Assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff, who dreamed of winning the Derby when she was 10 years old, was overcome with tears as she hugged her mother and exercise rider Bryan Beccia. When lifelong dreams come true, the only words the mind can muster are, "Oh my God!" It was as if a part of Azeff would not let her believe this was really happening.

Equine Researchers Outline Steps Being Taken on Fetal/Foal Loss Syndrome

Thoroughbred industry leaders, veterinarians, researchers, and farm managers met with the media at the Gluck Equine Research Center in Lexington, Ky., for a press briefing on the current fetal/foal loss syndromes occurring in the state. While there are no answers as to why so many mares are aborting in near-term or having stillborns in late term, there are defined paths being taken that everyone involved hopes will lead to the cause.

Estimate: Foal Losses Could Have $150 Million Impact on Kentucky Economy

With Kentucky's share of the Thoroughbred foal crop in the United States at an all-time high of nearly 30%, the repercussions of the excessive foal loss that many Central Kentucky farms are experiencing may be felt for years to come. Based on figures compiled by The Blood-Horse, the economic impact of the problem could easily exceed $150 million, if foal losses amount to 20% of the anticipated 2002 crop. A 1997 national economic impact study conducted by Barents estimated the Kentucky breeding sector to be a $900 million industry annually.

Estimate: Foal Losses Could Exceed $150 Million Impact on Kentucky Economy

With Kentucky's share of the Thoroughbred foal crop in the United States at an all-time high of nearly 30%, the repercussions of the excessive foal loss that many Central Kentucky farms are experiencing may be felt for years to come. Based on figures compiled by The Blood-Horse, the economic impact of the problem could easily exceed $150 million, if foal losses amount to 20% of the anticipated 2002 crop. A 1997 national economic impact study conducted by Barents estimated the Kentucky breeding sector to be a $900 million industry annually.

Derby TV Ratings Show Marked Increase

With help from a later start, the final hour-plus of the Kentucky Derby telecast outdrew last year's by about 40 percent. NBC Sports' debut broadcast under a five-year, $51.5 million deal to air thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown series produced a 9.2 national rating from 5:30 to 6:42 p.m. EDT Saturday.

Derby Winning Owners Strike Mother Lode

They don't call the major producers "gushers" at Oxley Petroleum. In the natural-gas exploration business, they're known as "high-flowing wells," exploding like the stride of John C. Oxley's Monarchos as he gobbled up the hallowed ground of the Churchill Downs stretch the first Saturday in May.

Murray Smith Hits Home Run With Monarchos

Florida pinhooker Murray Smith was looking for a quick profit when she bought Monarchos privately as a yearling for $100,000 in the spring of 1999. But the big payoff didn't come until two years later, when the gray colt charged down the Churchill Downs stretch to win the Kentucky Derby.

Buying Culled Mare Pays Off For Breeder Squires

No one likes to use the word "cull" when talking about broodmares. But everyone does it. In fact, if you don't, you never improve your stock. When he "retired" to Kentucky and decided to become a horse breeder 10 years ago, Jim Squires went out looking for "culled mares." They weren't hard to find. But who would have thought they included the dam of a future Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner?

Officials Shake Bushes for MassCap Nominees

It may be early, but the connections of rising star Broken Vow and multiple grade 1 stakes winner Sir Bear have indicated their short-term goals will likely include the grade 2 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs June 2. Track officials will visit two racetracks this weekend to line up nominees for New England's marquee event.

Addition of Griffinite Increases Prospective Preakness Field to 13

Jennifer Pederson, trainer of Paraneck Stable's Griffinite, called Pimlico officials Monday to confirm that the Lafayette winner will run in the Preakness Stakes May 19. Pederson said the son of Unbridled's Song, who finished third in the Lexington Stakes in his last start, will ship to Pimlico tomorrow. The addition of Griffinite brings the total number of prospective starters to 13.

FAQs: An Interview With Dr. Doug Byars on Excessive Foal Loss

Dr. Doug Byars, a veterinary reproductive specialist at Hagyard-Davidson-Mcgee near Lexington, offers the latest information and advice to horse owners and farm managers concerning the excessive loss of late-term and near term foals. He was interviewed by Kimberly S. Graetz, editor of The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care (www.thehorse.com) and a contributing editor to The Blood-Horse.

2001 Breeding Season Crisis: Many Mares Losing Foals; Links to Related Stories

Two "syndromes" of unknown origin that began in late April are causing Central Kentucky farms to lose an excessive number of foals and fetuses. The first syndrome results in what broodmare owners know as "red bag," or premature placenta separation. The placenta comes out before the foal, often causing the foal to suffocate if the birth is unattended. The second syndrome was discovered a short time later, when veterinarians began to perform 60-day ultrasound fetal checks and found many mares either were not pregnant or in the process of ending their pregnancies. Some farms have experienced losses from 25-75% of next year's foal crop. There is no evidence the problems are slowing down.

Last Call

By Ed Schuyler -- Often it is best to make a quick exit, and that's what Monarchos gave me for my 33rd and last Kentucky Derby.

Derby Dreams

By Ray Paulick -- John and Donna Ward's stable is thriving, in large part because of a team approach to their operation.

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