The second of three pools in the 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager will open four days of betting with co-favorites in unbeaten juvenile champion Declan's Moon and the mutuel field, the wagering interest that includes all 3-year-olds other than the 23 individual horses in the March 10-13 pool.
Sweet Catomine, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2004 and winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), has been installed as a solid 4-1 favorite in the second of three pools in Churchill Downs' 2005 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which begins its March 10-13 run on Thursday (March 10).
- By Tom LaMarra
Churchill Downs Inc. has cut off its voluntary financial contributions to the Jockeys' Guild and has sued the organization over what it believes were violations of federal and state law when jockeys opted not to ride last fall at Churchill Downs and Hoosier Park.
Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie has hired John Lies as its track announcer for the 2005 spring Thoroughbred season that runs April 14 through July 17.
Churchill Downs announced March 1 the appointment of Steve Cummins to serve as its new human resources director, responsible for the track's human resources, strategies, plans and practices.
Churchill Downs has appointed Scott Graff, who has served as Churchill Downs' controller since 1999, to the post of vice president of finance.
Kentucky's racetracks have agreed to work to secure $1 million in on-track medical insurance coverage for jockeys.
Godolphin's Balletto, runner-up to champion Sweet Catomine in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and winner of the Frizette (gr. I) at Belmont Park, has suffered a training "setback" that has knocked her out of consideration for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
It's Future Wager time again, and with six of the 23 individual betting interests in Pool 1 running this weekend and six having run last weekend, you pretty much have some idea how the betting will go on more than half the field.
Churchill Downs has launched its first-ever "Speakers Bureau" to make representatives from all areas of the historic track available for participation in events and gatherings sponsored by business, community, and social groups.
"CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby," a nine-show series on the ABC and ESPN networks that provides coverage of key Visa Triple Crown prep races, returns in March, with coverage of the March 5 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) and Swale Stakes (gr. II) from Gulfstream Park.
The most accomplished stars of this year's crop of 3-year-olds--including 2-year-old champion Declan's Moon, 2-year-old filly champion Sweet Catomine, and Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Wilko--are among the 24 wagering interests in the first of three 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools scheduled for Feb. 10-13.
Kentucky racetracks could begin testing for "milkshakes" this spring under their own guidelines, officials said.
The board of directors of The Race For Education, a national education scholarship foundation, has named Donald R. Richardson, senior vice president of racing for Churchill Downs Inc., as the organization's new president. Doug Cauthen, president of WinStar Farm and RFE's president since its inception in 2002, remains on the board.
- By Tom LaMarra
Churchill Downs Inc. has suspended its business relationship with wagering services named in an indictment over alleged illegal gambling and race-fixing, and also is tightening standards for all account wagering services that take signals from the company's racetracks.
Churchill Downs has appointed Stacey Meier to serve as the track's director of marketing. The native of Fort Wayne, Ind., most recently served as director of marketing for the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network, a post she had held since 2003.
With the doubling of the purse for the 131st running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) to $2 million, the total value of purses in Churchill Downs' 2005 schedule of stakes races will reach a record $10 million.
The road to the 2005 VISA Triple Crown is officially open as nomination forms have been mailed to horsemen. Representatives of Triple Crown Productions will begin gathering nomination forms at racetracks across the country beginning the week of Jan. 10.
The Derby is the Derby. But Churchill Downs doesn't want to take any chances with what it considers the signature event in Thoroughbred racing.
- By Tom LaMarra
The Kentucky Equine Education Project has fashioned a short list of legislative initiatives that includes tax breaks and a breed development program but not racetrack gaming--at least not yet.
Midwestern-based jockeys Brian Hernandez Jr., a leading candidate for an Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding apprentice, and Justin Shepherd have agreed to wear the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's logo on their pants.
Ever since the Oct. 15 purchase of Fair Grounds by Churchill Downs Inc., new track president Randy Soth hasn't been getting much sleep.
Churchill Downs has announced the dates for the three pools of the 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager and Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.
Officials at Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino announced today Jason Boulet has been hired as racing secretary for the 2005 racing season. Boulet, currently working as a racing official at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, will assume his duties immediately. A Lafayette, La., native, Boulet has held numerous positions on both the backside and the frontside during his 14-year career.
Churchill Downs announced that Robert Gallow, director of operations for the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars Hockey Club and its Dr Pepper StarCenters, is facility manager of the Louisville, Ky. racetrack.
Tom Meeker, president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs Inc., told racetrack and gaming officials Tuesday that racing has become a remedy for state deficits rather than a means for economic development.
- By Tom LaMarra
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.
- By Tom LaMarra
A claim filed by jockey Shane Sellers with the National Labor Relations Board in connection with his removal from Churchill Downs Nov. 7 has been withdrawn, an NLRB official confirmed Dec. 2.
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.
Louisiana Super Derby (gr. II) winner Fantasticat breezed four furlongs Wednesday at Churchill Downs in preparation for a possible run in the $500,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II) Nov. 26.
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.
- By Tom LaMarra
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.
British jockey Kieren Fallon will fly into Louisville, Ky. Thursday and plans to ride two horses for Team Valor in stakes at Churchill Downs this weekend.
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.
- By Tom LaMarra
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.
Churchill Downs is trimming the maximum size of its overnight fields for races on the main track from 14 horses to 12 beginning Saturday.
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