Keeneland 2019 April Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale Set For April 9

Keeneland officials announced September 14, 2018, that the 2019 April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale will be held Tuesday, April 9. The Preview Day, which will offer breezes over both the main dirt track and turf course, will be held Monday, April 8.

“Keeneland looks forward to the return of the April Sale, and we anticipate we will see several 2018 September Yearling Sale graduates participating,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said.

“The April Sale affords horsemen several unique advantages,” Elliston said. “One is the opportunity to present a consignment before a number of prominent owners and trainers at Keeneland for opening weekend of the Spring Meet, which begins April 5, and includes the Toyota Blue Grass. Another is the chance to breeze your juvenile over Keeneland’s dirt track and turf course, two of the best racing surfaces in the country.”

Keeneland conducted its April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale from 1993-2014. The sale has been on hiatus since 2015.

The April Sale has a proven record of success, having produced 2017 champions Lady Eli and Roy H in its final edition in 2014. The auction counts six classic winners among its graduates: Belmont (G1) winner Palace Malice; Preakness (G1) winner and champion Lookin At Lucky; Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness winner and champion Big Brown; Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner and champion Thunder Gulch; and Kentucky Oaks (G1) winners Keeper Hill and Gal in a Ruckus. Champion Beautiful Pleasure also is an April sale graduate.

Lone Star Special Moving to Cherokee Ridge Farm in Carencro

 

lone-star-special-copyAfter standing at The Horse Of Course in Benton Louisiana since 2016, Lone Star Special is moving to Cherokee Ridge Farm in Carencro for the 2019 breeding season in order to be more centrally located for Louisiana Breeders.

Lone Star Special (Malabar Gold-Sunshine Special) is an Unbridled line stallion who is among an elite number of stallions that moves his mare up. Only 32 % of all sires have a lifetime AEI higher than their mares CI. Lone Star Special has an AEI of 1.49 vs his mare’s CI of 1.11. His statistics of 66% winners, $71,209 average earnings per starter, 16% blacktype horses and 17% two-year-old winners, compete with leading national sires.

Lone Star Special is the sire of two Graded Stakes horses, both accredited Louisiana-breds.

Recently retired to the breeding shied, G2 Super Derby winner Mobile Bay ran from ages three to six, hitting the board in 21 of 29 lifetime starts. He won eleven stakes, often showing speed in route races of 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles, including the G2 Super Derby, open company stakes such as the Sunland Park Handicap, the Maxxam Gold Cup and the Zia Park Derby, as well Louisiana Bred Stakes including the Louisiana Champions Day Classic at the Fair Grounds twice.  He placed in another five stakes including the G3 Oklahoma Derby. His Lifetime earnings of $1,246,440 rank him 4th among all-time Leading Accredited Louisiana Bred Runners. A multiple Accredited Louisiana Bred Champion, Mobile Bay was named 2015 3YO Colt or Gelding and Horse of the Year, 2016 Older Male and Horse of the Year, and 2017 Older Male.

Multiple stakes winner, Wheatfield ran 2nd in the ’17 G2 Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream. She was named 2016 4YO & Up Louisiana Bred Champion Filly or Mare. She has earned black type in 11 stakes events, many against open company, and currently has $391,603 in lifetime earnings.

While changing locations to Bill Langford’s Cherokee Ridge Farm in Carencro, Lone Star Special’s 2019 fee will remain reasonable at $2,500 according to owner, Tigertail Ranch’s Irwin Olian. 

“From a very small group of foals, Lone Star Special has done remarkably well.  He has demonstrated the ability to throw runners capable of competing at the national level in Graded Stakes as well as other highly professional runners including four other stakes horses,” says Tigertail Ranch’s Irwin Olian. “His ability to move up his mares puts him in very rare company among Louisiana sires and suggests there will be a lot more good things to come from him in the future”

“We are grateful for the excellent work that John Doherty has done managing Lone Star Special in north Louisiana, but feel it is important to expose him to a broader group of mares in central and south Louisiana.  We are very excited about moving him to Cherokee Ridge Farm where he will be under the able management of Bill Langford. We hope Louisiana breeders will recognize the unique opportunity that Lone Star Special represents to get a top class racehorse and support him as he deserves.”

DELTA DOWNS RELEASES STAKES SCHEDULE FOR 2018-19 THOROUGHBRED SEASON

– THE 84-DAY MEETING GETS UNDERWAY WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17

 

VINTON, LA. – Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel today announced its 2018-19 Thoroughbred stakes schedule. The track will offer 28 stakes races during an 84-day season that runs from October 17, 2018 through March 9, 2019. The schedule includes $2.175 million in total purse money.

 

The stakes activity will kick off with a quartet of added-money events on opening weekend. On Friday, October 19 the track will host the $100,000 Magnolia for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares and the $50,000 My Trusty Cat for open-bred 2-year-old fillies. Delta Downs will close out the weekend on Saturday with the $100,000 Gold Cup for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds and upward and the $50,000 Jean Lafitte for open-bred 2-year-olds.

 

On Saturday, February 9 the track will host another edition of Louisiana Premier Night featuring 10 stakes races for Louisiana-bred horses. The highlight of the program will be the $150,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship for older horses competing at 1-1/16 miles. The Louisiana Premier Night card will offer a total of $895,000 in stakes purses.

 

Delta Downs will race Wednesdays through Saturdays during the upcoming season. First post time each evening is scheduled for 5:25 pm Central Time.

 

For more information about the upcoming season at Delta Downs, including the complete stakes schedule, visit the track’s website at www.deltadownsracing.com. Fans can also get information on Facebook with the track’s page ‘Delta Downs Racing’ and on Twitter with the handle @deltaracing.

Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting fun, casino action, live horse racing and great dining experiences. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana, on Delta Downs Drive. From Lake Charles, take Exit 7 and from Texas, take Exit 4.

DELTA DOWNS RELEASES STAKES SCHEDULE FOR 2018-19 THOROUGHBRED SEASON

– THE 84-DAY MEETING GETS UNDERWAY WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17

 

VINTON, LA. – Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel today announced its 2018-19 Thoroughbred stakes schedule. The track will offer 28 stakes races during an 84-day season that runs from October 17, 2018 through March 9, 2019. The schedule includes $2.175 million in total purse money.

The stakes activity will kick off with a quartet of added-money events on opening weekend. On Friday, October 19 the track will host the $100,000 Magnolia for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares and the $50,000 My Trusty Cat for open-bred 2-year-old fillies. Delta Downs will close out the weekend on Saturday with the $100,000 Gold Cup for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds and upward and the $50,000 Jean Lafitte for open-bred 2-year-olds.

On Saturday, February 9 the track will host another edition of Louisiana Premier Night featuring 10 stakes races for Louisiana-bred horses. The highlight of the program will be the $150,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship for older horses competing at 1-1/16 miles. The Louisiana Premier Night card will offer a total of $895,000 in stakes purses.

Delta Downs will race Wednesdays through Saturdays during the upcoming season. First post time each evening is scheduled for 5:25 pm Central Time.

For more information about the upcoming season at Delta Downs, including the complete stakes schedule with nomination deadlines, visit the track’s website at www.deltadownsracing.com under the ‘HORSEMEN’S INFO’ tab. Fans can also get information on Facebook with the track’s page ‘Delta Downs Racing’ and on Twitter with the handle @deltaracing.

Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting fun, casino action, live horse racing and great dining experiences. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana, on Delta Downs Drive. From Lake Charles, take Exit 7 and from Texas, take Exit 4.

G1SW Daaher to Stand at Circle H

G1 Cigar Mile H. winner Daaher is moving from Shadwell Farm in Lexington, Kentucky to Circle H Farms in Abbeville, Louisiana for the 2019 breeding season.

A 2004 son of Awesome Again out of the stakes winning Irish Open mare Irish Cherry, Daaher won the G1 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct by 2 1/2 lengths, earning a 114 Beyer Speed Rating in the process at age three. The same year he won the G2 Jerome Handicap at Belmont by 2 1/4 lengths, earning a 110 Beyer for his effort.

With 8 crops of racing age, Daaher is the sire of 8 blacktype winners including G2 stakes winner Gypsy Robin ($598,900) G2 placed stakes winner Clothes Fall Off ($485,660) and 2018 multiple stakes winner One Last Empress.

In an agreement between Shadwell Farm and Circle H Farms, Daaher will be standing for a 2019 fee of $3,000 Live Foal.

Breeders’ Cup Host Sites Announced Through 2021

Breeders’ Cup officially announced Santa Anita Park, Keeneland, and Del Mar as the host sites for the next three editions of the World Championships.

In a press conference Aug. 17 at Santa Anita, it was announced the Arcadia, Calif., track would host the two-day event for a record-setting 10th time Nov. 1-2 in 2019. Keeneland, which hosted its first Breeders’ Cup in 2015, will welcome the 2020 edition Nov. 6-7. Del Mar—a first-time host in 2017—gets the event back Nov. 5-6 in 2021.

All three tracks planned press conferences Friday to announce Breeders’ Cup plans.

“Everybody knows how great Santa Anita is, so it’s never a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ for this place,” Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel said after the announcement Friday at Santa Anita. “Given the success of Del Mar and Keeneland, the same holds true for those.”

Churchill Downs is hosting the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Nov. 2-3, the ninth time the Louisville oval has put on the fall spectacle. With Friday’s announcement confirming a California-Kentucky rotation for the next three seasons, the two states will have combined to host 14 consecutive editions of the event.

“The Bluegrass served as the ideal backdrop for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup, and we could not be more excited to have Keeneland serve as the host of the 2020 edition of the World Championships,” said Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason. “Building on the success of the event for the industry and the community, we anticipate an even greater spectacle in 2020 and look forward to the Breeders’ Cup returning home once again.”

The last time the Breeders’ Cup was held at a track outside of Kentucky or California came in 2007, when Monmouth Park hosted the first year the event was expanded to a two-day format, and Fravel said Friday there is still interest from tracks outside of the two states.

“When I started in 2011, there was an option of two places, and there wasn’t anybody else in the mix to hold an event like this. One of the things we tried to do with Keeneland and Del Mar was to validate the different track model for holding the event, and that’s what happened,” Fravel said. “To me, we have greater and greater options going forward. We have inquiries from Laurel Park, who has made no secret of their interest, and our friends at Monmouth Park, now that they have sports wagering and some new dollars coming in … I think they’d like to be considered, and obviously we’ve talked about New York.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a static rotation. I hope to create an environment where people are wanting us to be there, asking us to be there, and doing what’s best for racing to encourage us to come.”

Tim Ritvo of The Stronach Group, which owns both Santa Anita and Laurel, said he would have liked for Laurel to be one of the three future sites but was hopeful for a 2022 bid for the Maryland track.

“We were hoping to get (Laurel) involved in this round, but we’re eager to make a strong bid for 2022,” Ritvo said. “We weren’t really ready yet, with the facility, but we had a great meeting yesterday about the build-out will look like, and the state is going to put together an advisory committee to give a really big push for 2022.”

Ritvo also said there will be $5 million in renovations at Santa Anita before the 2019 Breeders’ Cup, including new open-air suites in the grandstand and improvements to the upper levels of the clubhouse area. He said the upper-level grandstand suites would be like a “deck at your house, where you can sit and be casual.”

Regarding a potential Breeders’ Cup at a New York Racing Association track, Fravel said “capital improvements” would likely be required for a successful bid.

“I know they have a plan. It’s just the timing that’s unclear,” Fravel said. “I’m hopeful that within the next six months or so, we’ll have a clear picture of what their plan is. … There would have to be more concrete indications of what would happen and when. The experience, unfortunately, in New York is that best-laid plans get waylaid by factors outside of people’s control.”

EQUINE SALES COMPANY MODIFIES DATES FOR 2019 2-YEAR-OLD SALE

2019 DATE FOR 2YR OLD IN TRAINING SALE MOVED TO
APRIL 2ND!!
Equine Sales Company has announced that its 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, traditionally held in early May, will instead be held earlier in 2019. The dates have been set for Tuesday, April 2, with the breeze show set for Sunday, March 31, in Opelousas, Louisiana.
“Our Board of Directors and Sales Committee responded to feedback received from our dedicated buyers and consignors and think this will be good fit for everyone,” said Foster Bridewell, Sales Director of Equine Sales Company. “Many 2-year-olds in this region have traditionally been prepared to race opening weekends of Evangeline Downs, Louisiana Downs and Lone Star Park. This shift in date will allow buyers and their trainers to purchase horses that will hopefully be ready to run in the early Summer races.”
Consignment information and deadlines for the 2-year-old sale will be posted in the future at www.equinesalescompany.com

Oaklawn Park to Extend 2019 Meet Three Weeks

Oaklawn Park 2019 meet will run through first Saturday in May.

 

Oaklawn Park plans to make the most significant change to its racing schedule since World War II.

The Arkansas oval is a momentum-driven meet that traditionally runs its biggest race, the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), on closing day. But in 2019, Oaklawn will open Jan. 25 and run through May 4, three weeks after the Arkansas Derby. Other than 1945, when the track had to postpone its season until the fall because of wartime restrictions, Oaklawn has traditionally concluded its racing season with the Arkansas Derby in mid-April.

Late April 11, the Arkansas Racing Commission unanimously approved Oaklawn’s request to race 57 days in 2019, a dramatic philosophical shift for a track that prides itself on the status quo. Oaklawn’s new schedule pushes its start date two weeks later than normal and end date three weeks later than normal, meaning dates for the Hot Springs, Ark., oval will conflict, or further conflict, with venues that normally receive its horses following the meet’s conclusion.

“Frankly, it’s all about the weather,” said Oaklawn President Louis Cella, whose family has owned Oaklawn for more than a century. “We wanted to make sure that was right for the city of Hot Springs. This was not just a one-dimensional decision, just for Oaklawn. This is for our horsemen. We hear it all the time over the years. Can we get out of January?”

Oaklawn was scheduled to race 57 days this year, but it lost two dates in January to winter weather. Over the last decade, Oaklawn has lost 14 days in January due to winter weather.

“I love it,” trainer Mac Robertson said of the new schedule. “I hate January racing. January is just a hard month to train in Arkansas. Now, they’ll even get better horses coming in.”

Cella said the new schedule, which was endorsed by the Arkansas division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, had been discussed for “every bit of three years,” adding his late father, Charles, was aware of the talks. Charles Cella, known for being fiercely independent, was Oaklawn’s president from 1968 until his death in December.

Louis Cella said talk of the new dates began to intensify last summer. But word of a potential change didn’t begin to leak out until late March.

“It has been a secret, and we tried to keep it internally,” Cella said. “However, there are no secrets at a racetrack. I was walking through the grandstand last week and I had two fans come up to me, slapping me on the back, congratulating me with the new schedule.”

Asked if the new dates open the possibility of installing a turf course or reviving 2-year-old racing for the first time since the 1970s, Cella said, “No and No.”

“But I never want to cut it off and say ‘No,’ definitively,” Cella said. “But that’s not on the radar. That’s not something we’ve discussed, nor is this a decision that we’ve made in anticipation of that.”

David Longinotti, Oaklawn’s director of racing, said the new schedule will not change the placement of the Arkansas Derby, which will continue to be run three weeks before the Kentucky Derby, or the normal Thursday-Sunday racing format.

Oaklawn has run the Arkansas Derby three weeks before the Kentucky Derby every year since 1996. It had previously been two weeks before the Run for the Roses. Now, Oaklawn’s 2019 season will end on Kentucky Derby Day.

At this time, Longinotti said he doesn’t envision any plans to alter the 3-year-old stakes schedule for males or females.

“My guess is, if I were a gambling man, I’d probably put the Smarty Jones (Stakes, G3) on opening day, and then progress from there with our 3-year-old series,” Longinotti said. “We still have 57 days to cover. We’ve got one more weekend to cover than we did this year, 15 weekends instead of 14. Lots of meetings between Sunday and probably late June and early July.”

“This is going to be great for racing and great for Arkansas,” Arkansas Racing Commission Chairman Alex Lieblong said. “I applaud Mr. Cella and Oaklawn for thinking outside the box. This is proof again of their commitment to quality racing.”

Arkansas Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Board (HBPA) members agreed.

“We are essentially trading January race days, when there is always the chance of cancellation due to weather, for April race dates, when Arkansas weather is at its finest,” said board member Bill Walmsley, who has served as national president of the organization. “The later closing should be an additional enticement to the top racing stables to come to Arkansas, and continuing to race following the Arkansas Derby will keep the excitement for racing going another three weeks.”

Linda Gaston, President of the Arkansas HBPA Chapter, said the shift will create more exciting days of racing.

“This makes all the sense in the world,” she said. “Oaklawn is one of the top tracks in America with some of the richest purses. It stands to reason that showcasing racing in the best possible weather will benefit the entire program. Our board supported this plan unanimously.”

The change to the racing calendar will also have an impact on the economy for Hot Springs and Central Arkansas, according to Gary Troutman, President of the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce and Metro Partnership.

“Oaklawn has always been one of the pillars of our economy,” Troutman said. “This change to the racing schedule will greatly enhance our local businesses that rely on racing fans coming to town.”

Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, agreed. “Oaklawn continuing to race after the Arkansas Derby should be a major bonus to the tourism business in our area,” he said. “The weather is always better in April and May than it is in early January, and that will mean larger crowds at Oaklawn. This means more visitors at our hotels and restaurants, so it’s a win-win.”

Oaklawn will maintain its regular Thursday—Sunday schedule. In addition, it will race Presidents’ Day, Feb. 18. The Arkansas Derby, which has become one of the most productive Triple Crown prep races over the last 15 years, will be run April 13.

“Arkansas Derby Day will still be the pinnacle of the season,” Cella said. “But now, live racing at Oaklawn will also be part of the Kentucky Derby experience three weeks later, when our racing fans will be able to cheer on the horses representing them in Louisville.”

Oaklawn has never hesitated to try new things. In the 1970s, Oaklawn founded the Racing Festival of the South, whose multi-stakes card format has been copied by numerous racetracks. In the ’90s, Oaklawn was the first track to implement full-card commingled simulcasting, which is now a staple around the world. At the turn of the 21st century, Oaklawn created Instant Racing, which eventually led to the creation of Electric Games of Skill and 18 consecutive seasons of purse increases.

Based on traditional dates of other tracks, Oaklawn’s new schedule means it will overlap with Keeneland‘s entire spring meet, the first week of Churchill Downs, and a handful of days at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie and Prairie Meadows.

Trainer Will VanMeter has wintered at Oaklawn every year since going out on his own in 2013, but he also has strong ties to Keeneland.

VanMeter grew up in Lexington—his father Tom is a prominent Kentucky sales consigner and equine veterinarian—and has permanent stabling in Keeneland’s Rice Road barn area.

“We had to beg, borrow, and steal just to get a foothold there,” said VanMeter, a former assistant under Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. “We don’t want to lose it.”

VanMeter said it will be difficult to predict how things will shake out until the new schedule is run for the first time.

“I think it’s going to affect everybody on an individual basis because every individual trainer, owner, (and) jockey have different goals, different desires to compete at different jurisdictions,” VanMeter said. “Us personally, Keeneland and Oaklawn are the two places that we want to compete and have a presence at. We’re going to find a way to satisfy both those desires.”

VanMeter’s biggest client is Arkansas lumberman John Ed Anthony, who has campaigned Eclipse Award winners Temperence Hill, Vanlandingham, and Prairie Bayou. VanMeter is scheduled to receive his first horse for another prominent Arkansas owner, Frank Fletcher, when the Oaklawn meeting ends Saturday.

“I think the future of racing is very strong in both places,” VanMeter said. “We want to grow our business through people that want to compete at Oaklawn and people that want to compete at Keeneland. We’re going to find a way to make it work.”