Saffie Joseph Jr. Resumes Training at NYRA; Gets 23 Stalls at Saratoga

Saffie Joseph Jr | Sarah Andrew photo

Saffie Joseph Jr. has nominated Violet Gibson (Ire) (Expert Eye {GB}) to the Wild Applause S. at Belmont Saturday, June 24, and has been given 23 stalls for the summer at Saratoga Race Course, according to an email from NYRA's Vice President of Communications, Patrick McKenna.

“Following consistent and productive dialogue between Saffie Joseph Jr. and NYRA, Joseph Jr. will resume training and racing at NYRA tracks,” McKenna wrote. “He has nominated Violet Gibson to the $150,000 Wild Applause and has been allotted 23 stalls for the 2023 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course. NYRA will adjust accordingly should the investigation in Kentucky reveal any wrongdoing.”

Two of Joseph's trainees died of unexplained causes in the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby, causing Churchill Downs to suspend him indefinitely, and scratch his Derby entrant, Lord Miles (Curlin) from the race.

While Joseph was never officially forbidden from running at NYRA, the association issued a statement after the Churchill ban that made it clear he would not be running at New York tracks.

“Following recent events at Churchill Downs, which remain under investigation by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, NYRA has engaged in discussions with trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.,” said McKenna at the time. “Mr. Joseph has no horses stabled at Belmont Park and, to our understanding, is not currently planning on shipping horses to New York or entering races at Belmont Park while the matter is under investigation. NYRA will continue to evaluate our response should new information come to light.”

“In general, after what happened at Churchill, we wanted answers,” said Joseph in explaining his absence from New York. “I was going to give NYRA respect until I got answers, thinking it would be four weeks maximum. Obviously, this carried over a much longer period.” The necropsy result released on the first of the two horses, Parents Pride, was inconclusive, according to a statement from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on June 3. The report said that bloodwork did not detect any prohibited substances or overages of allowed medications. A necropsy report on the second horse, Chasing Artie, is still pending.


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