The Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors voted unanimously to confirm Santa Anita as the host site for this year’s Breeders Cup World Championships on November 1-2.
Craig Fravel, President and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup, said in a press release: “Foremost among the core values of the Breeders’ Cup are the safety and integrity of the competition and we hold ourselves, our host sites and our competitors, to the highest standards of both. “
The Breeders’ Cup will be conducted with the Santa Anita “house rules” that were enacted to improve safety measures at the recently concluded winter/spring meet. Among those rules are a reduction in the allowable maximum dosage of the anti-bleeding medication Lasix and the ban of any other race day medications.
As part of their house rules, Santa Anita has significantly increased veterinary protocols, has required permission slips 48 hours prior to any planned workouts, and increased pre-race screening. Breeders’ Cup plans to have 14 veterinarians on site for the week of the event and 20 vets there for the two days of racing.
The CHRB also created a five-person evaluation committee of stewards, veterinarians, and horsemen to examine entries and disqualify any entry deemed risky by the panel. These evaluations did not include a physical examination of the horses.
Still, many questions remain unanswered.
Will trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who was evicted from his stalls at the TSG tracks Santa Anita and Golden Gate and is currently not allowed to race at those tracks, be allowed to run his horses in any Breeders’ Cup race?
What happens if it rains? The vast majority of the 30 equine fatalities at Santa Anita this winter and spring occurred during the extremely wet months of January and February when the main track was often sealed. Will Santa Anita seal (pack down) the main track if there is bad weather? If so, what will be the consequences if a catastrophic injury occurs?
Senate Bill 469 was recently passed in unanimous fashion by the California state Assembly. The bill gives the CHRB the authority to suspend a race meeting on short notice due to the safety of both the horses and jockeys. If there is a resumption of serious injuries when racing returns to Santa Anita at the end of September, is it possible the CHRB could shut down the meet prior to the Breeders’ Cup?
Fravel said the Breeders’ Cup has a “back up plan” should such an order come from the CHRB, but no specifics were disclosed.
What plans does Santa Anita have as far as maintenance and improvements for their main track and turf course this summer prior to the Breeders’ Cup? Santa Anita management has yet to make any public announcements in regards to any planned changes or improvements for their racing surfaces.
Does keeping the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita present a deterrent to horsemen not only in other parts of the U.S., but from around the world from wanting to bring their horses for the Breeders’ Cup?
Given all of the negative publicity that has surrounded Santa Anita this year, which includes negative segments broadcast on CNN and the HBO show Real Sports, the message to potential participants, horseplayers, and racing fans alike may not be one of celebrating championship racing, but instead just hoping everyone gets around in a safe manner.
Where is transparency?
This past Saturday came word that the NYRA will not allow Hollendorfer to run horses under his name at those NYRA tracks. NYRA officials made no comment on why they have changed their position.
Hollendorfer has a valid trainer’s license in California and New York. There are no rulings against him in either state and he is not under any suspension. And he has yet to hear from Del Mar as to whether he will be allowed to stable and race during their upcoming summer meet.
As a result of the actions of The Stronach Group and the NYRA, several owners have moved horses out of the Hollendorfer stable to race, including Larry Best’s OXO stable that includes some of the most expensive auction purchases in the world. Don Chatlos, the long-time assistant to Hollendorfer, has been retained by Best to be his private trainer in New York and take over the horses leaving the Hollendorfer stable.
Through it all, Hollendorfer has taken the higher road and not pointed any fingers or made any negative comments. He has handled the chaos better than most could. I hope the current impasse is resolved soon.
One track closes, another re-opens
After 84 years, Suffolk Downs, located in East Boston, ran its final race when Successful Saint won the John Kirby Stakes on Sunday under Jose Baez. The track was sold for real estate development purposes in 2014 after it was passed over for the lone Boston area casino license.
On the other end of the spectrum, Arizona Downs, which opened in May and was forced to shut down live racing on June 21 due to an investor backing out and ongoing problems regarding access to out-of-state signals for its Off-Track Betting system, has secured a new investor who will provide the financing to reopen the track on July 20 and continue through Labor Day weekend.
The new financing will help to expand the OTB network to help fund purses for the 2020 racing season.
Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today: Los Alamitos, Thursday, Race 9 – Winding (No. 9). Maiden caught the eye making a good mid-race move before tiring in his last start. He gets to race over his home track this time, and since his owner (Dr. Allred) is also the owner of Los Alamitos, could it be he was prepping for this spot?
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