Aidan Butler

Coronavirus Fallout: Aqueduct, Santa Anita Race On, But Closed to Public; No Fans at Dubai World Cup

With escalating fears over the spread of the coronavirus, racing will continue, but without the public at racetracks across the globe. The upcoming Dubai World Cup card Mar. 28 at Meydan will go ahead without spectators and, and effective immediately, Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, Aqueduct, Turfway and Laurel Park will continue to race, but all will be closed to the public. "We heard Gov. Newsom's call and we are responding accordingly for the protection of our customers and employees," said Aidan Butler, Acting Executive Director, California Operations, The...

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Santa Anita to Fund Loyalty Bonus Program

Santa Anita Park has announced a new program to reward the owners of horses who have supported the current race meeting with a Loyalty Bonus to horses who have raced from Dec. 28 through Feb. 29. From Mar. 6 through the end of the season June 21, all eligible horses will receive an additional 10% bonus in their first start during that period (paid on first through fifth place earnings). The bonus money will be fully funded by Santa Anita and The Stronach Group and is separate from the purse...

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Santa Anita Welfare Crisis: One Year On

This Sunday marks a year to the day Battle of Midway (Smart Strike) suffered catastrophic injuries during a morning workout at Santa Anita, unleashing a tempest of opprobrium the likes of which the industry has never before faced in terms of intensity and sustained impact. Of course, Battle of Midway's fatal injury wasn't alone the catalyst--the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Breeders' Cup winner was one of three fatalities at the track within two days. His death was also the 18th to mar the facility since racing had resumed towards the end of...

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Santa Anita Cancels Racing Feb. 6

When condition book three for the Santa Anita winter/spring meet came online Jan. 29, conspicuously absent were any races for Thursday, Feb. 6. Track officials confirmed Friday that racing has in fact been canceled for that afternoon, meaning there will be no live Thursday programs until Feb. 27. In January it was announced that the track would be dark Feb. 13 and 20. There is holiday racing scheduled for Monday, Feb. 17. The California horse population has been on the decline for some time and the local product has faced...

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Golden Gate Fields Cancels Thursday Card

Golden Gate Fields has cancelled its Thursday race card after an issue with a main gas line led to a loss of hot water at the facility. "There had been an issue with the gas lines that do not belong to us, and when it was fixed, it caused some issues in other areas, when they re-pressurized the lines," explained Aidan Butler, chief strategy officer at The Stronach Group. "It doesn't appear to be serious, but as a precaution, we decided to cancel Thursday's racing." Live racing is scheduled to...

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TDN Q&A: TSG’s Aidan Butler on Santa Anita, part 2

New to running racetracks, Aidan Butler, The Stronach Group (TSG)'s chief strategy officer and acting executive director of California Racing Operations, has worn all sorts of suits belonging to all sorts of worlds--horse racing, legal affairs, business management, and technology--that he says have prepared him for the task. He founded a sports equipment company called GuardLab, which specializes in mouthguards, for example. He was managing director of a large litigation law firm called Gilbert's, its area of expertise in intellectual property--though he isn't, it should be noted, an attorney. Butler,...

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TDN Q&A: TSG’s Aidan Butler on Santa Anita, part 1

When Aidan Butler, The Stronach Group (TSG)'s chief strategy officer, arrived at Santa Anita earlier this Spring, he did so in the midst of a welfare crisis unfolding on a national stage. Since then, TSG has solidified Butler's position within the company, where he will additionally serve as acting executive director of California Racing Operations. In terms of the crisis, Del Mar's summer meet--at which there were no race day fatalities and only four training-related deaths, two of which were the result of a freak accident--has had the effect of...

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