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The Week in Review: January 23, 2020
THURSDAY, JANUARY 23, 2020
by: Valerie Mellema
As we get closer to the Pegasus World Cup, there's a lot more action going on in the horse racing industry. Here's a look at this week's top stories.
Racehorses Bound for Singapore Delayed Due to Cocaine Seizure
Six racehorses bound for Singapore for British trainer James Peters had their flight delayed on part of their journey from Argentina via Amsterdam. The Martinair Holland flight was bound for Amsterdam when police were dispatched for the drug sting. The six Argentine-bred horses included two older raced horses and four unraced 2-year-olds. While the horses had nothing to do with the drugs and were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, trainer James Peters had a hard to explain story for his owners. According to local reports, three members of the crew were arrested as well as five other people. It is being described as one of the biggest drug hauls ever found on an aircraft.
Omaha Beach Preps for the Pegasus
Entries for the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) will be taken January 22nd. Richard Mandela's OMAHA BEACH is expected to be the morning-line favorite. The colt took his final breeze of five furlongs in 1:00.72 January 19th. Rider Fernando De La Cruz said he felt "like a Porsche." OMAHA BEACH will be headed to stud at Spendthrift Farms following the Pegasus.
While eyes have been on Omaha, other contenders for the Pegasus include MUCHO GUSTO, MIDCOURT, REALM, TENFOLD, HENLEY'S JOY and NEXT SHARES.
LA County Task Force Finds No Animal Cruelty at Santa Anita
In a 17 page report released by the task force assigned by the LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey stated there was no evidence of animal cruelty or criminal wrongdoing in the equine fatalities that took place over the last year at Santa Anita Park. However, the report did call for numerous equine safety improvements. The task force reviewed multiple necropsies, training and medication records, veterinarian records and interviewed multiple track experts, Santa Anita executives, employees, horsemen and other officials. The report stated that the 49 horse deaths were neither the highest or lowest of the period. In fact, 71 deaths occurred from 2011-2012. The lowest number of equine deaths took place in 2010-2011 with 37. Interestingly, that is the timeframe in which Santa Anita switched from synthetic to a dirt track before the winter meet.
Ahmed Zayat Sued for $23 Million
Ahmed Zayat, owner of Zayat Stables, and who campaigned AMERICAN PHAROAH is facing a $23 million lawsuit and is on the brink of bankruptcy. The suite reportedly involves selling shares of the Triple Crown winner. The Lexington Herold-Leader reported a Fayette County judge will allow a third party to assume control of Zayat Stables. The New York-baed MGG Investment Group states that Zayat defaulted on millions in loans last September and the newspaper alleges that Zayat stated he has exhausted his savings and has resorted to loans from friends and family as well as payday lenders.
MGG states that because Zayat cannon properly fund Zayat Stables, they fear the stable's value will dissipate and that his current equine holdings will be considered collateral. According to the lawsuit, he has already sold off multiple breeding shares to the Coolmore stallion and hid the money rather than paying off his debt. Two other stallions, BODEMEISTER and MAJID, are also tied to the lawsuit. Court documents show that he has discussed a herd dispersal with Fasig-Tipton. Zayat has filed bankruptcy before in 2010, after which the stables was reorganized. He has a reputation in the racing community for being untimely in the paying of his bills.
Have a great week!
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