Seth Benzel, Todd Pletcher's New York assistant, will open a public racing stable of his own starting May 1.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Even though he had Tale of Ekati in his barn, trainer Barclay Tagg suggested Big Truck might be his most promising juvenile. The potential Big Truck possessed finally turned into performance in the Tampa Bay Derby, which he won with a gutsy drive against Atoned. Tagg believes Big Truck can handle the Kentucky Derby distance of a 1 1/4 miles. His pedigree raises some doubt.
Gary Sciacca was permitted to begin training horses in New York March 18 after serving a 120-day suspension under the trainer-responsibility rule.
Saratoga Russell, who finished eighth as the 8-5 favorite in the March 8 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) Aqueduct, will undergo a myectomy March 13, according to trainer Rick Violette.
With the March 12 announcement of the resignation of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer effective March 17, officials at the New York Racing Association said they don't anticipate his resignation would affect recent legislation that grants NYRA a new franchise. It could, however, impact other aspects of the franchise moving forward.
Louis Olah, the longtime "colors man" in the jockeys' rooms at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga, died the evening of March 8 following a brief illness. He was 79.
The New York Racing Association, which has had to delay its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, was given another extension by the state to continue racing at its tracks.
Trainer Richard Schosberg, who has been preparing his New York-bred Giant Moon for the March 8 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, is anxious to see if the colt will continue to show an affinity for long distances as he looks toward the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Officials cautioned that a delay in the New York Racing Association emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is not a sign of a larger problem for the deal giving NYRA a new 25-year franchise extension.
The Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust has given the New York-based Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T) a $40,000 grant that will make it possible for backstretch workers to have on-site dental services at Saratoga Race Course in 2008, it was announced March 1.
Visionaire, third to Pyro in the Risen Star Stakes (gr.III) at the Fair Grounds Feb. 9, will run next in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct March 8, majority owner Barry Irwin said Feb. 28.
A 13-member New York State Task Force on Retired Race Horses has been appointed to "investigate the feasibility of creating a larger market and alternative employment opportunities for retired race horses, as well as the costs and benefits of installing artificial turf at race courses."
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Many top stallions began their stud careers in the regional markets, like City Zip, whose national profile is improving because of runners like General George Handicap (gr. II) winner Bustin Stones. City Zip began at Contemporary Stallions in New York and now stands at Lane's End Farm near Versailles, KY. The son of Carson City has sired nine stakes winners and a total of 21 stakes horses from his first 141 starters.
HorseRacing TV began showing races from Aqueduct Feb. 21 after being granted the non-exclusive rights to provide the New York Racing Association circuit to its viewers as the result of an agreement reached in late December.
Statistics in The Jockey Club's 2008 online fact book, which was released Feb. 14 and is available through the publications and resources section of the organization's website at http://www.jockeyclub.com, reaffirm the beneficial impact of "racinos" on state Thoroughbred racing and breeding industries.
- By Tom Precious
The New York Racing Association, written off as dead a year ago by its competitors, has won the rights to a 25-year exclusive franchise to continue operating Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga racetracks.
While unveiling what he called the framework of a Thoroughbred franchise agreement, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno blasted the New York Racing Association Feb. 7 for attempting to scare its workers and horsemen by threatening a shutdown Feb. 14.
A tentative deal is within reach to give the New York Racing Association a 25-year franchise to run Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga, legislative sources said Feb. 6, the same day NYRA indicated live racing at Aqueduct could end Feb. 14.
More than 40 stallion seasons will be offered Feb. 14 during a telephone auction held by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders.
The Thoroughbred Owners of California has given limited consent to New York's off-track betting corporations to accept wagers on California races, but is holding firm on its stance against allowing wagers from the companies'out-of-state account deposit wagering customers.
Charles Wait, president of the Adirondack Trust Company in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has resigned from his position on the New York Racing Association's board of trustees, citing his dissatisfaction with the position of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno as the main reason for his decision.
William A. Levin, who won the 1971 Travers Stakes with Bold Reason, died Jan. 26, one day after his 84th birthday.
With another deadline looming that could shut down racing at Aqueduct Feb. 14, rumors are circulating among horsemen that the New York Racing Association might not be willing to accept another temporary extension to keep racing going.
New York horseman Larry Doyle has purchased a 330-acre farm near Midway, Ky. where he plans to breed, raise, and board Thoroughbreds.
Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who campaigned 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, say they are not involved with plans to unveil a statue in New York's Central Park that memorializes the late classic winner.
A Republican-dominated state panel overseeing Thoroughbred racing in New York has curbed the ability of its new chairman to broker deals with the New York Racing Association. The chairman was appointed by Democrat Gov. Eliot Spitzer. The move came the same day Spitzer released his 2008 state budget plan, which includes revenue from a proposed casino at Belmont Park.
The Daddy's first reported foal is a filly born Jan. 21 at Hidden Lake Farm near Otisville, N.Y.
Go Go Shoot misbehaved in the starting gate but was all business when the gates opened and cruised home a 3 1/2-length winner of the $81,725 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes on a frigid afternoon at Aqueduct Jan. 21.
Negotiators in New York have agreed to another temporary extension to keep racing operating while talks continue on a longer-term franchise deal to operate Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga, officials said Jan. 21.
- By Tom Precious
Negotiators trying to reach a deal on a new Thoroughbred franchise in New York are still at an impasse, and now the talks have turned to approving another extension to permit the New York Racing Association to temporarily continue running racing.
A rule that would permit stewards to disqualify a horse should his rider carelessly strike another horse or rider with his whip was recently adopted by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
Still going strong at age 10 and one of the most popular horses on the New York circuit, Evening Attire makes his 64th career start in the $75,000 Aqueduct Handicap Jan. 19.
The New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. will cease operations June 16 unless state officials provide regulatory relief before then, according to a Jan. 16 report to the corporation's board of directors.
Alfredo Callejas, who trained horses in New York from 1977 until his retirement in 2004, died at his home in Beverly Hills, Fla. on Jan. 12, according to his son, Bernardo Callejas.
Bonus Size, a New York-bred owned by Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable, was found not to be eligible to run in several races in which he earned purse money and was disqualified and unplaced in the order of finish of those races.
Zayat Stables' Z Fortune put himself near the top of trainer Steve Asmussen's 3-year-old list when he came from off the pace to take the $100,000 LeComte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Jan. 12.
The odds are stacked in trainer Todd Pletcher's favor to come away with a win in the $75,000 Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct Jan. 13.
The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association released a statement Jan. 10 urging the state to address issues of importance to the 6,000 members of its group as negotiations continue on the long-term extension of the New York Racing Association franchise.
Sunriver, a grade I winner in 2007 and a full brother to champion Ashado, will enter stud at Empire Stud near Hudson, N.Y.
A group of New York jockeys is asking all parties in the ongoing negotiations for the New York racing franchise to come up with creative solutions to the problems facing the industry.
Trainer Richard Schosberg's Derby dreams didn't come to fruition with Maria's Mon, the champion 2-year-old male of 1995, after an injury kept the colt on the sidelines for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Thirteen years later, however, Schosberg can start dreaming again with the undefeated Giant Moon.
Trainer Jennifer Leigh-Pedersen was suspended 60 days by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board from an incident in March 2005, when state investigators found injectable bottles in the office of her Aqueduct barn.
- By Tom Precious
The temporary extension given to the New York Racing Association to operate Aqueduct has allowed government officials to boost the rhetorical wars against each other over the failure to devise a long-term franchise deal.
- By Tom Precious
Racing will continue to be run at Aqueduct on New Year's Day under an agreement reached Dec. 31, but government negotiators failed to resolve the permanent Thoroughbred franchise issue in New York.
The New York Racing Association has entered into a content exchange agreement with TrackNet Media Group for 2008, NYRA officials said Dec. 28. In addition, NYRA has new deals with TVG and Youbet.com for the upcoming year.
With talks going down to the wire, the New York Racing Association has reached an agreement with a state government oversight panel to at least continue running racing on a brief, temporary basis.
Stonesider, a 4-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, will enter stud at Joe Barone and Carl Lizza's Highcliff Farm near Delanson, N.Y
Millionaire Wild Desert, winner of Canada's greatest classic, has arrived for stallion duty at Joe and Anne McMahon's McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds near Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
- By Tom Precious
The new head of a state government panel that will oversee Thoroughbred racing in New York Jan. 1, 2008, said he could not guarantee that horses will be running at Aqueduct in two weeks.
- By Esther Marr
More than 200 racing trophies of the late Ethel D. Jacobs, North America's leading owner for three years, and her husband, Hirsch Jacobs, a Hall of Fame trainer, are being auctioned at Christie's in New York Jan. 17, 2008.
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