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.
Jockey Tony D'Amico was taken to a Louisville hospital for evaluation after being injured when he was thrown from his mount during the running of Wednesday's 10th race at Churchill Dow
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.
Churchill Downs Inc. officially reported Tuesday that its results for the third quarter that ended Sept. 30 would be down from its earlier projections.
Churchill Downs Inc. announced Tuesday that it sold a 19% stake in Kentucky Downs, including debt owed to CDI, to Kelley Farms Racing.
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.
The richest autumn stakes schedule in the history of Churchill Downs will offer a roster of 12 events with total purses of $2.35- million during its Oct. 31-Nov. 27 "Fall Festival of Racing."
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.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey will receive the 2004 Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award at the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners annual dinner Nov. 13 at the Kentucky Derby Museum.
Churchill Downs Inc. announced Thursday that Ben Huffman has been named director of racing and racing secretary for Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, La.
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