News

Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

Florida Officials Tracking Requests for Horse Shipments; Van Companies Busy

Officials with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Animal Industry, reported early Thursday afternoon that in 2 1/2 days they have received applications for 71 permits for horse shipments from Kentucky to Florida. In the wake of the recent foal/fetal loss outbreak in Kentucky, the state of Florida enacted temporary regulations requiring all horses from the Bluegrass State be tracked through the issuance of a permit from the state's Commissioner of Agriculture.

National Rating For NBC's Derby Debut Was Up 40 Percent

NBC Sports' debut broadcast of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) attracted 40 percent more viewers than a year ago. The national rating for the 5 p.m. to 6:42 p.m. program earned an 8.1 rating and captured 21 percent of viewers compared with last year when the Derby earned a 5.8 rating and a 17 percent market share. The rating is the highest since 1992 when the Derby earned a national rating of 8.9 and a 26 percent market share. Each rating point currently represents slightly more than one million households.

Team Valor's Dr. Greenfield Heading For Belmont Stakes

Remember My Memoirs, who finished a fast-closing second to A.P. Indy at 18-1 in the 1992 Belmont Stakes? Well, that English import's owner, Team Valor, will have another one just like him in this year's Belmont Stakes. Dr. Greenfield, who was purchased by Team Valor after breaking his maiden by 7 lengths on the all-weather (dirt) track at Lingfield on Nov. 9, captured Thursday's 1 1/4-mile Dee Stakes at Chester over highly regarded Grandera.

Horse Fever Hits Florida

Members from the equine, business and artistic community are coming together in a demonstration of solidarity to show their true colors, as Marion County braces for an outbreak of horse fever.

Hialeah May Not Open in 2002

Hialeah Park may close for good when the historic South Florida racetrack ends its meet May 22. Efforts by track owner John Brunetti to restore the regulation of racing dates failed, so he said he'll start making plans to develop the property.

Del Mar Goes On-line with Stakes Nominations

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has gone on-line with nominations for this year's Del Mar Debutante, Del Mar Futurity and the other races making up Del Mar's $6.3 million stakes schedule. On-line stakes nominations can be made using a major credit card and Del Mar's secure server.

Derby Winner Monarchos Arrives at Pimlico for Preakness

John Oxley's Kentucky Derby hero Monarchos arrived at Pimlico Race Course Wednesday with plans to gallop under regular exercise rider Bryan Beccia Thursday. Trained by John Ward, Jr., Monarchos was accompanied on the flight by 3-year-old stablemate Hero's Tribute and a maiden, as well as the stable pony, and arrived under the supervision of assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff. Ward is due in Baltimore Saturday.

Cat Chat Remains Undefeated; Xtra Heat Upset in Nassau County

Cat Chat scored a nose victory Wednesday in Belmont Park's opening day feature, the $150,000, Nassau County Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies. Favored Xtra Heat, who had lost only one of 13 previous career starts, was runnerup with Shooting Party another 2 1/4 lengths behind. The loss ended a six-race win streak for Xtra Heat.

Lone Star Park to Manage New Texas Track; Amphitheater in Plans

A $14-million racetrack/amphitheater has been announced for Amarillo, Texas. Construction on the facility, along Interstate 40 near the famous Cadillac Ranch art display, is expected to begin this summer. It will provide more than 400 jobs upon completion. The 275-acre track-amphitheater complex is being built by Yellow Rose Entertainment Inc., along with strategic managing partner Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie.

Richly Blended Definite For Preakness; Two Withdrawn

The pace for the 126th Preakness Stakes just got a bit faster with the announcement that Gotham and Withers winner Richly Blended definitely will run. The son of Rizzi has won four of his five career starts, all on the front end. His only defeat came in the Wood Memorial, when he finished third to Congaree and Monarchos. Jockey Rick Wilson said the colt's saddled slipped in the race.

Diagnostic Lab Releases Numbers

As of noon today (May 9), the University of Kentucky's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center stated that a total of 371 aborted/stillborn fetuses had been submitted for diagnostic testing/evaluation since April 28, 2001. The total includes 25 submitted by noon on May 9, and 28 submitted May 8.

Foal Loss Meeting to be Broadcast Via Internet

The Keeneland Association announced Wednesday that Thursday's inforamtional meeting concerning later term abortions and early fetal deaths will be offered on its Website. The meeting, organized by the Kentucky Farm Managers' Club and the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners, begins at 5 p.m. (ET) in Keeneland's sales pavilion.

Keeneland Files Suit Against Sykes

Keeneland has taken legal action against Bernice Givens Sykes, who never paid for the 59 horses that she purchased for $267,700 at last November's breeding stock sale. A lawsuit was filed in early April in the Fayette Circuit Court in Lexington, claiming that Sykes still owes Keeneland $232,740.81. Keeneland recovered some of the amount owed by repossessing the horses and selling nearly all of them privately.

Cases of Foal Loss Syndrome Reported in Ohio

A veterinarian in Morgan County, Ohio, suspects that five cases of red bag delivery within the past week--plus 10 pregnant mares that are now empty--could be the same syndrome that horse owners and veterinarians in Kentucky are dealing with, according to Grant Frazer, BVSc, MS, Associate Professor at The Ohio State University.

Feed Additive Might Help Protect Mares During Foal Loss Syndrome

Veterinary and diagnostic professionals in Kentucky are working feverishly to identify the cause of the recent abortion and early fetal loss syndromes. One of the most probable causes is mycotoxins in pastures. If that is the case, then a mycotoxin binder used for other animals--and now being produced locally as a feed additive for horses--could offer the first preventative treatment for the current situation.

Could Foal Loss Syndrome Be Slowing?

The highest number of foals/fetal samples taken to the Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center in Lexington, Ky., during the current problem with late-term abortions and early embryonic loss occurred on Derby Day, May 5, according to the Center's Director, Lenn Harrison, VMD, Dipl. ACVP. On that day, 73 foals/fetuses were brought in for examination. Word from at least two veterinarians is that while early pregnancy mares might still be at risk for losing their pregnancies, the loss of these late-term foals is slowing.

Florida Issues Permit Process Guidelines on Horses Travelling From Kentucky

In the wake of the outbreak of late-term fetal/foal deaths and near-term abortions in mares in Central Kentucky, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued guidelines for the equine industry on horses from Kentucky entering Florida. The guidelines require a permit to be obtained prior to shipment by veterinarians who issue Official Certificates of Veterinary Inspection. It also recommends to Florida farms that mares from Kentucky be kept isolated from other horses and their health be closely monitored. There has been no ban issued on shipment of horses from Kentucky to Florida.

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.

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