In an attempt to keep Thoroughbred racing alive in Massachusetts, the New England HBPA has formed a coalition that is intent upon building a new, non-profit equine center and racetrack in the state.
An official with Rockingham Park, which remains open for simulcasts but hasn't offered live racing since 2009, confirmed March 24 that the property will be put on the market.
The sunny disposition of those on track was the polar opposite of the one seen last Oct. 4 for the 2014 meet's closing day, when the dismal crowd figured they were witnessing the bitter end of live racing.
Suffolk Downs, which on Sept. 5 will offer its first live racing program in almost a year, said it will subsidize the shipping of horses from seven tracks in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Though Suffolk Downs had published a condition sheet for races Aug. 8, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission July 23 delayed action on the track's application for three live racing dates this year.
A day after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission took no action June 11 on the supplemental application by Suffolk Downs for three days of live racing in 2015, local horsemen remained deeply divided on the plan.
New England horsemen have asked Suffolk Downs to request three days of live racing this summer, and with $1.5 million available for purses, pots would average $500,000 per program.
The New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association posted a statement on its website Mar. 24 discounting the likelihood of a 50-day meet operated by horsemen at Suffolk Downs in 2015.
A deal that would allow horsemen to lease Suffolk Downs and operate a live race meet in 2015 and 2016 appears to be close at hand, representatives said at a hearing of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Feb. 19.
Lou Raffetto, former Suffolk Downs vice president of racing, is teaming with the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in its efforts to structure a deal that would restore live racing at the track.
Joe Morris will step down as general manager of Golden Gate Fields to become president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, The Stronach Group announced April 17.
After less than two years on the job, Lou Raffetto announced Feb. 28 that he is stepping down as president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, effective immediately.
Like dealing with a bad tooth, California racing representatives are coming to terms with the fact that Betfair Hollywood Park will eventually have to be replaced.
Racing from Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields would be available on television network TVG under a content swap currently being negotiated, an executive from The Stronach Group told the California Horse Racing Board.
The bronchodilator clenbuterol, possibly being misused for its anabolic steroid properties, will be severely curtailed for the next year at all California racetracks.
The California Horse Racing Board gave final approval April 26 to a rule change that eliminates "jail time" for most horses that are claimed.
Trainer John Shirreffs has been named to chair a newly created medication advisory panel for the California Horse Racing Board to provide consultation with the agency's medication and track safety committee.
Exchange wagering in California drew some strong opposition from The Stronach Group and several horsemen's organizations during its first California Horse Racing Board committee hearing Feb. 9 at Santa Anita.
The California Horse Racing Board received a surprise visit Jan. 19 from Santa Anita owner Frank Stronach, who told the board he wants to guarantee Santa Anita's long range future.
The California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association announced Aug. 20 that it has submitted more than 1,100 signatures to the state horse racing board seeking an election to decertify the current horsemen's representative.
A reduction in the allowable level of the common pain reliever phenylbutazone in post-race tests was approved on a split vote by the California Horse Racing Board July 21 over the objections of horsemen.
Lou Raffetto, formerly the chief operating officer and president of the Maryland Jockey Club, has been named president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.
The National Steeplechase Association's 19-race spring season begins March 20 with the traditional Aiken Spring chase in Aiken, S.C.
The National Steeplechase Association announced that Lou Raffetto will leave his position effective June 30 to pursue other opportunities within the Thoroughbred racing industry.
The inaugural U.S. Steeplechase Championships are set to go Saturday, Oct. 17, with six events being conducted in Far Hills, New Jersey, and five races from the International Gold Cup in The Plains, Virginia.
- By Ryan Conley
Chris Dragone knows he is wading into some fiery situations as the new head of the Maryland Jockey Club, but said he is more than willing to take whatever heat necessary to right a rocky ship.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced Nov. 28 that president and chief operating officer Lou Raffetto Jr. will be leaving effective immediately to pursue other opportunities, and that Chris Dragone, a former senior vice president and general manager at the MJC, will take over his duties.
Live racing returns to Laurel Park Sept. 5 on the heels of the Maryland State Fair meet, which continues through Sept. 3 at Timonium.
Laurel Park's "Ten Days at 10 Percent" promotion didn't produce the desired results as far as handle is concerned, but track officials said the concept--cutting pari-mutuel takeout in half--should continue to be explored.
The Laurel Park fall stakes schedule was approved July 24 at the monthly Maryland Racing Commission meeting.
In a program billed "Ten Days at 10 Percent -- Racing's Best Bet," pari-mutuel takeout on Maryland's live races will be cut in half during Laurel Park's 10-day summer meet that runs from Aug. 10-23.
- By Ryan Conley
Though the net result was slightly less than last year's effort, Pimlico Race Course still realized its fourth-highest wagering day ever May 19 for its card highlighted by the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
The Maryland Jockey Club announced May 14 it will honor the late 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, his jockey Edgar Prado, and his surgeon Dr. Dean Richardson at Pimlico Race Course during Preakness Week.
A wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain that is expected to hit the Baltimore-Washington region Sunday forced Maryland Jockey Club officials to cancel live racing at Laurel Park for Sunday, Feb. 25.
The grade I Pimlico Special will not be carded in 2007 due to a limited amount of purse money.
Helped by an increase in all-source handle during the fall Laurel Park meeting, wagering involving Maryland Jockey Club racing topped $960 million in 2006.
- By Claire Novak
Alex Beitia became the 10th jockey known to be denied access to a U.S. racetrack this month when Philadelphia Park officials cited an ongoing investigation and barred him from working there for an indefinite period.
The Maryland Jockey Club has changed the name of the Sir Barton Stakes to the Barbaro Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds is one of eight added money races on the Preakness (gr. I) undercard.
After a nine-week break, live racing returns to Maryland on Wednesday for an eight-day mini-meet at Laurel Park with a nine-race card, including three on the turf course.
The Maryland Jockey Club concluded its winter meet at Laurel Park on Sunday, posting total wagering figures that are nearly 24% higher than the same dates a year ago.
Live racing shifts to historic Pimlico Race Course April 20 for the spring meeting. The headline event of the eight-week stand is the 131st running of the $1-million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, set for May 20.
Pimlico Race Course will offer a 25-cent Pick Six wager at the spring meeting that opens April 20, the Maryland Jockey Club announced April 5. The wager will have a guaranteed net payout of $5,000, to be split equally among all tickets correctly selecting the winners of the six designated races.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture lifted the hold orders on the detention barn at Pimlico Race Course and an isolated barn at the Bowie Training Center March 8 after the final four horses in those barns tested negative for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). The four are free to be moved back to their original barns to resume normal activities.
The 2006 runnings of the Barbara Fritchie Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) and the General George Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), the marquee races of the Laurel Park winter meeting, have been canceled because of the equine herpesvirus outbreak, officials of the Maryland Jockey Club announced Feb. 20.
Joseph A. De Francis announced Feb. 9 that he is stepping aside as president of the Maryland Jockey Club but will continue as the organization's chief executive officer. Louis J. Raffetto, the MJC's chief operating officer, takes over as president while Chris Dragone becomes senior vice president and general manager.
For the third consecutive Sunday, there will be no live racing at Laurel Park Feb. 12. The Maryland Jockey Club canceled the card due to a shortage of available horses because of the equine herpes outbreak in the state.
The Maryland Jockey Club lifted its self-imposed quarantine on Pimlico Race Course Feb.8, allowing horses from the Baltimore track to compete at Laurel Park for the first time since Jan. 21. Twelve Pimlico-based horses ran on Wednesday's card (after two were morning scratches). Five of the nine races featured Pimlico horses.
- By Sandra McKee
Maryland horsemen, in anticipation of the equine herpesvirus quarantine at Pimlico Race Course being lifted, entered 14 horses for the Feb. 8 card at Laurel Park. But some uneasiness remains given the volatile nature of the virus.
In anticipation of the quarantine at Pimlico Race Course being lifted next week, 11 trainers entered 14 horses Friday for the Feb. 8 card at Laurel Park.
Maryland Jockey Club officials are hopeful they will be able to lift the equine herpesvirus quarantine at Pimlico Race Course Feb. 4, MJC chief operating officer Lou Raffetto said at a news conference at Laurel Park Jan.27. Raffetto placed the quarantine on the track Jan. 21.
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