As the Jockeys' Guild prepares for its annual meeting in Irving, Texas, Dec. 6-7, organization management is under increasing fire from the racing industry and some of its own members. Still, the Guild appears poised to make a case for solidarity, and it remains to be seen whether substantial change will come about during the two-day meeting.
Champali, an eight-time stakes-winner who won graded stakes at two and four, has been retired and will stand the 2005 season at the Greathouse family's Glencrest Farm near Midway, Ky. In the process of being syndicated, Champali will stand for a fee of $7,500 live foal.
Churchill Downs president Steve Sexton has set a Dec. 7 deadline for the Jockeys' Guild to respond to a letter asking the organization to account for the $1.25 million CDI racetracks have given to the rider's organization over the past three years.
During a season hampered by ongoing construction, near-record rainfall and the loss of several top jockeys in a dispute with management, Churchill Downs ended its 21-day fall meeting with increases in attendance and on-track wagering while experiencing a slight decline in total wagering from last year's record total.
Azeri, who figured to be the brightest star to shine over the holiday weekend at Churchill Downs in Thursday's Falls City Handicap (gr. II), has not been entered by trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Lukas, along with owner Michael Paulson, wasn't overly concerned with the 126-pound assessment, it was the spread in the weights that will keep her on the sidelines.
Fair Grounds Racecourse in New Orleans kicks off its 133rd season of live racing and first under the ownership of Churchill Downs Inc. Thursday with the traditional opening-day feature, the Thanksgiving Handicap.
The jockey colony of Churchill Downs is holding a fundraiser for recently downed jockey Tony D'Amico from 6 p.m to 10 p.m. Nov. 22. The event will be held at Furlongs Restaurant in Louisville, Ky. There will be a $25 per person door charge, which will include dinner, a cash bar, silent and live auctions and an opportunity to meet with jockeys.
According to information provided on The Jockeys' Guild Web site, jockey Shane Sellers has filed a claim with the National Labor Relations Board stemming from his ejection from Churchill Downs Sunday, Nov. 7.
Trainer Bernie Flint is now pointing Runway Model toward the Nov. 27 Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. The trainer had originally planned to give the Darley Alcibiades (gr. II) winner the remainder of the year off, but said his star filly "had been tearing the barn down" since returning from the troubled third-place effort in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
The $1.2 million "Big Four Weekend" stakes races at Churchill Downs Nov. 25-27 have attracted an outstanding group of nominees that includes Perfect Drift and Colonial Colony, the last two winners of Churchill Downs' Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I); 2002 "Horse of the Year" Azeri; and some of the most promising 2-year-olds in racing.
Shaconage tuned up for her run in Saturday's $150,000 Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) with a good half-mile work Tuesday over Churchill Downs' Matt Win Turf Course. The Mitch Shirota-trained filly breezed four furlongs around the "dogs" in :50.60 over a course rated "good.
The Paul McGee-trained Honor in War turned in a sharp four-furlong work around the dogs Tuesday at Churchill Downs in preparation for Sunday's River City Handicap (gr. IIIT). The son of Lord at War covered the distance over "good" footing in :48.80 under jockey Bill Troilo.
Elisabeth Alexander's Magna Graduate and Old School Stable's Social Probation, two stakes-placed contenders for the $200,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) for 2-year-olds on Nov. 27, turned in solid breezes on a frosty autumn Monday at Churchill Downs.
Hoosier Park in Indiana lost its entire 12-race card the evening of Nov. 12 after all but a few members of the jockey colony refused to ride. The jockeys are protesting over what they believe is a lack of adequate medical insurance, and they also called on the track to install a safety rail.
Jockey Dean Sarvis has been removed from a published list of jockeys who were excluded from riding at Churchill Downs through the remainder of the fall meeting and he will return to the saddle on Friday.
Two Kentucky legislators with ties to the horse racing industry indicated Nov. 10 that any effort get workers' compensation insurance for jockeys through the state General Assembly would take plenty of homework and perhaps a lot of time.
Despite the absence of 15 riders who were ejected from Churchill Downs for refusal to commit to mounts on the Wednesday and Thursday race cards in a dispute over insurance, jockeys have been named to ride horses entered for those two days, according to a statement from the track.
The Jockeys' Guild, in the wake of the ejection of 15 riders by Churchill Downs, has targeted the racetrack and the state of Kentucky in a rapidly developing conflict over what the Guild believes is inadequate medical insurance in many racing states.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Monday it will form a working group to look into the issue of jockey medical insurance coverage. The panel will be chaired by the NTRA's Terry Meyocks.
The conflict over adequate medical insurance for jockeys continued to escalate Nov. 7 when Churchill Downs escorted several riders from the grounds after they refused to accept mounts for the Nov. 11 program.
Chester Porter, Phil Milner and Randy Bloch's My Boston Gal turned in a sparkling effort in a steady rain with a sharp workout in preparation for Sunday's $200,000 Churchill Downs Distaff Handicap (gr.II).
Trainer Bobby Barnett insists it wasn't planned but admits it's an eerie coincidence his 2004 Breeders' Cup contender Fantasticat now occupies the stall at Churchill Downs that once housed Answer Lively, the horse he trained that won the 1998 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and went on to be named 2-year-old champion.
Horses racing in Kentucky will now be identified the morning of their respective races and before leaving the paddock following a directive from Jim Gallagher, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.
Churchill Downs Incorporated completed its $47 million acquisition of Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans and its five off-track betting facilities on Oct. 15. CDI also announced it closed the acquisitions of two related New Orleans-area operations, Finish Line Management Corp. and Video Services.
Three repeat winners, including The Blood-Horse senior correspondent Steve Haskin, and one newcomer collected divisional honors in Churchill Downs' 22nd annual 2004 Red Smith Kentucky Derby Writing Contest, a competition that honors the finest print media coverage of this year's famed "Run for the Roses."
John G. Dooley has been named track announcer at Fair Grounds Race Course for the 2004-05 season. Dooley has been announcer at Arlington Park for the last five seasons. Arlington's season runs from May until September, allowing him to announce at both tracks.
Churchill Downs Inc. announced Monday that it is revising its earnings outlook for the third quarter of 2004 and further lowering its outlook for the full year to reflect increased spending on alternative gaming efforts and special, non-cash impairment charges for Ellis Park due to softness in business at that racetrack.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, has approved Churchill Downs Incorporated's $47-million purchase of Fair Grounds, according to a release from Churchill Downs. CDI, the Fair Grounds Corporation, and Louisiana Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association are expected to close the transaction on or before Oct. 15.
A red rose in full bloom, a surging Thoroughbred and jockey, and the Twin Spires are displayed on the official logo for the 131st running of the Kentucky Derby, which was unveiled Tuesday at Churchill Downs.
The nation's top three horse racing companies have teamed to study the current jockey scale of weights and make recommendations on potential national reforms to the Jockeys' Guild, horsemen's groups, racing associations and racing regulators.
Andrew Skehan, who previously served as Churchill Downs Inc.'s chief marketing officer, has been named the company's chief operating officer. He will assume his new position immediately and report directly to CDI's president and chief executive officer Thomas Meeker.
An attorney for the Fair Grounds said Louisiana horsemen were on the verge of a settlement Friday night that could spare the New Orleans track from an auction in bankruptcy court later this month over a $90 million video poker judgement.
Breeders' Cup Limited and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority have scheduled a press conference Sunday, Aug. 8 at which they are expected to announce that the 2007 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships will be run at Monmouth Park.
His father, the late Jerry Romans was a Thoroughbred trainer and his older brother Dale is one of the leading trainers at Churchill Downs, but Bruce Marshall Romans, never felt pressured to join the family business.