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The Week in Review: April 4, 2019
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2019
by: Valerie Mellema
Santa Anita Reopens But Not Without Issue
With the 23rd equine fatality this past weekend on the downhill turf course, the spotlight is squarely on Santa Anita. Many in the industry still believe that the track is the real issue and it needs to be addressed by The Stronach Group rather than rules about Lasix and whips. While this fatality did not happen on the main track, the catastrophic injury did occur during the San Simeon Stakes (G3) where the dirt connects the downhill turf course with the regular turf oval.
The result has been twofold. Tim Ritvo, COO of The Stronach Group, told the Daily Racing Form that the downhill turf course will not be used Friday and that the two races carded for that course Friday will be moved to the main track. He also told BloodHorse that Santa Anita request a meeting April 12th with the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) to discuss a possible "reallocation" of Santa Anita's race dates, stating "There has been no discussion with anybody about moving dates. We know the track is in great condition. We know all the things that we're putting in place."
However, there was a meeting advisory that followed a letter written to the CHRB by Senator Dianne Feinstein. In the letter, she stated "I believe that racing at Santa Anita should be suspended until the cause or causes of these deaths can be fully investigated. I also ask for more information about what the California Horse Racing Board is doing to investigate this matter and address some of the concerns that these incidents have rightly raised."
"I understand the Board recently approved measures to strictly limit the use of whips on horses and to phase out the use of race day medications. While these are positive initial steps, please let me know whether the Board is considering other actions that have been proposed by trainers and animal welfare advocates, including the complete elimination of medications such as Lasix and the use of synthetic track surfaces. In your view, would these or other steps be reasonable measures to prevent horse injuries and death?"
Thoroughbred Daily News reported this morning that the CHRB chairman Chuck Winner had a conversation with Feinstein's Chief of Staff Wednesday and is planning to meet with the senator. In the conversation, Winner made it clear that the CHRB does not have the authority to suspend racing and that he has called a meeting on April 12th to discuss the options available to them.
While all of this unfolds, the Santa Anita Derby is still on the schedule for Saturday. There are six horses scheduled for the field, which will be Race 8 on the card with a post time of 6:30pm ET and will include:
Santa Anita will also be running the Santa Anita Handicap as Race 10 with a post time of 7:30pm ET. The field includes:
Keeneland Spring Meet Opens Today
Today, April 4th, marks the first day of the 2019 Keeneland Spring Meet. The meet will continue through April 26th with no racing on Monday, Tuesday or Easter Sunday (April 21st).
Gates will open today at 1pm with races beginning at 3pm. The rest of the dates, gates will open at 11am with the first post at 1:05pm daily.
The top stakes and highlights of the spring meet include the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) and the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1). Both races will run Saturday, April 6th. Each race is worth 100 points towards the Road to the Kentucky Derby and the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.
The Blue Grass Stakes is set as Race 10 on the card with a 6:23pm post time. Here's the field:
JAYWALK and RESTLESS RIDER will meet again in the G1 Ashland at Keeneland. JAYWALK held off RESTLESS RIDER in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. JAYWALK will also be seeking redemption from her recent fourth-place finish int he Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream.
Coolmore Sends Justify South
Coolmore has announced that Triple Crown winner JUSTIFY will shuttle to Australia for the Southern Hemisphere's breeding season. JUSTIFY will stand along with AMERICAN PHAROAH as well as with PIERRO, the Australian Triple Crown Winner.
Monomoy Girl to Miss La Troienne Stakes May 4th
MONOMOY GIRL was scheduled to run in the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes, but has since suffered a mild case of colic that will prevent the mare from returning to training. The mare has been shipped to WinStar Farm while she recovers and will prep for the Ogden Phipps Stakes June 8th.
Wood Memorial Field Set for Saturday
The Wood Memorial, another qualifying race for the Kentucky Derby, is set to run Saturday. The field includes:
Grumps Little Tots (30-1)
TACITUS and HAIKAL already have enough points to secure their spot in the Kentucky Derby.
Diversify Named New York-Bred Horse of the Year
DIVERSIFY was named the New York-Bred Horse of the Year April 1st at the New York Thoroughbred Breeders awards banquet. The gelding won three of five starts in 2018, which included the G1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga. He earned $1,190,000 last year under the late trainer Rick Violette. He was also honored as the Champion Older Dirt Male.
Other awards handed out at the event:
Holiday Disguise - Champion Female Sprinter & Champion Older Dirt Female
Somelikeithotbrown - Champion 2-Year-Old Male
Sue's Fortune - Champion 2-Year-Old Filly
Audible - Champion 3-Year-Old Male
Midnight Disguise - Champion 3-Year-Old Filly
Voodoo Song - Champion Turf Male
Fourstar Crook - Champion Turf Female
Mind Your Biscuits - Champion Male Sprinter
Rule One (Diversify's Dam) - Broodmare of the Year
Chester and Mary Broman - New York Breeder of the Year
Jeremiah C. Englehart - New York Trainer of the Year
Irad Ortiz Jr. - New York Jockey of the Year
Have a great week!
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