Here's what's happening this week in horse racing!
Sweet Melania Breeders' Cup Bound
After owners Robert and Lawana Low lost one of the top horses, MAGNUM MOON, to laminitis, their 2-year-old filly SWEET MELANIA took the Jessamine Stakes (G2T) easily and is now headed to the Breeders' Cup Juveline Fillies Turf (G1T) at Santa Anita. SWEET MELANIA is a daughter of AMERICAN PHAROAH.
Chance It to Skip Breeders' Cup
The Shooting Star Thoroughbreds Syndicate has announced that CHANCE IT will not run in the Breeders' Cup and will instead be pointed to The Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on November 30th. The decision was due to the horse having run five times in four months and feel he should have some time off rather than run again in 30 days.
Australian Trainer Charged with Animal Cruely
Australian Trainer Darren Weir was charged October 9th, 2019 with multiple animal cruelty and conspiracy offenses. Back in February, the trainer was banned for four years by Racing Victoria after officials found three jiggers and an unregistered firearm in a bedroom during raids on his property. The jiggers are used to give horses electric shocks during training. The trainer was also charged with conspiracy to defraud Racing Victoria officials and causing pain or suffering to a racehorse.
Weir has been one of the most successful trainers in Australia winning the 2015 Emirates Melbourne Cup (G1) with the 100-1 longshot, PRINCE OF PENZANCE, ridden by Michelle Payne. At one point, Weir ran the largest stable in Australia with over 600 horses under his care.
Additionally, Weir's former stablehand, Jarrod McLean, now a group 1 trainer, faces 16 charges including conduct that corrupts betting outcomes, possessing cocaine, and animal cruelty. He will attend a hearing in Melbourne on Tuesday with two of his registered stablehands.
Two races are under scrutiny as well including the Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes (G1), in which there is alleged unorthodox whip action used on TRAP FOR FOOLS. It is believed the whip action was intended to simulate the effect of the jigger. The jockey, John Allen, has not been charged with any offense or wrongdoing.
Rosario to Ride McKinzie in Breeders' Cup Classic
The DRF reported Wednesday that Joel Rosario will replace Mike Smith on MCKINZIE for the BC Classic and will not ride YOSHIDA. Smith rode MCKINZIE in each of his 13 starts, but Baffert elected to make the change when he was defeated in the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita.
Mr. Money to Target BC Dirt Mile
Earlier this year, the connections of MR. MONEY weren't sure if the Breeders' Cup was in their future, citing concerns about track safety at Santa Anita. Trainer Bret Calhoun said Wednesday that things have changed and the decision switched to - the Classic or the Dirt Mile? Two factors swayed the decision towards the Dirt Mile - the unknown of the mile and a quarter and the depth of the track. MR. MONEY returned to work last Friday at Churchill Downs breezing a 48.8 half mile.