California

Minimum Fine for Mandella's 4C Positive in San Simeon

Trainer Richard Mandella has been fined $500 by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) for a Class 4 and Penalty Category C methocarbamol positive that turned up in the post-race test of Jolie Olimpica (Brz) (Drosselmeyer) after the MGSW mare ran third in the GIII San Simeon S. at Santa Anita Mar. 13. The stewards' ruling was issued May 29. According to the original May 7 complaint, split-sample blood testing had confirmed the presence of the skeletal muscle relaxant. Methocarbamol's 4C categorization is on the least-severe side of the scale...

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McCarthy to Move His Tack to California

Jockey Trevor McCarthy is moving his tack to California later this month. A leading rider in Maryland, McCarthy began riding in New York this winter, enjoying a successful Aqueduct winter meet. As of Sunday, he was fourth in the Belmont spring standings. McCarthy will be represented by Derek Lawson, former agent to Flavien Prat. "I needed a rider and was not going to take one away from another agent here," said Lawson. "I recruited him. I started looking at riders who might fit out here, called him up, he made...

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Super Trainers in California: The Story in Numbers

Over the years, the rise of the so-called super trainer has prompted many a clutched pearl by virtue of a perceived monopoly on the sport. Anecdotally, it can certainly appear as though the same few names wield an outsized impact. But what does the data say? The TDN has crunched the numbers in California from 2007 onward. This is far from a comprehensive overview of the situation, and what emerges is a picture that can be viewed from multiple angles. On the one hand, the numbers suggest that the biggest...

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Sadler Charts Derby Course with Rock Your World

The spoils of victory typically come with a nice polish. Gleaming trophies. Glossy plaques. But not always. "He offered me an egg roll at Clocker's Corner on Sunday morning," said trainer John Sadler, on Ron McAnally's act of largesse the day after Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}), the horse the veteran conditioner bred, careened away with the GI Santa Anita Derby. "It was pretty good, but I don't think it was breakfast food," Sadler added, tongue firmly in cheek, before explaining that McAnally-who also trained both Rock Your World's...

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Political Climate in California

At the start of last month, a small cadre of animal rights protestors snuck onto the Golden Gate Fields racetrack, lay down with arms interlocked in pipes, and halted live racing--as well as a vaccination drive on facility grounds--until police intervention saw their removal. While the incident had a flash-in-the-pan quality, it had the corollary effect of reminding those within the sport here in the Golden State of the somewhat precarious position in which it still finds itself--an important part of the economic puzzle, employing tens of thousands, but one...

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The California Series: John Shirreffs, Part Two

Great expectations don't necessarily begin with lofty intent. Most new licensees start out hungry for that one lionheart of any stripe to announce their arrival. Those trainers who are routinely sent the big weekend warriors learn to acquire a more refined palate, to remodulate their ambitions accordingly. But scant few are fortunate enough to have harnessed the sort of thunderbolt that doesn't just electrify a trainer's career but leaves a patch of scorched earth for posterity. And really, how many ever expect to? In part one, we deconstructed some of...

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Hit The Road Rallies To Win the Kilroe Mile

Hit the Road (More Than Ready) struck a blow for the locals, parlaying a perfect trip into a stirring short-neck victory in Saturday's GI Frank E. Kilroe Mile S. at Santa Anita. Drawn in gate two with the visiting Florent Geroux in the irons, Hit the Road found the perfect spot in the box seat, as Flying Scotsman (English Channel) sped across from his outside barrier to supplant favored Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute). The pace was sensible through the middle stages, with positions largely unchanged, and Hit the Road...

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Economic Shortfalls, Safety Improvements In CHRB Report

The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) has released its annual report, covering both the fiscal year 2019-2020 and the calendar year 2020. As expected, given the onslaught of a global pandemic, it paints a rather grim economic picture, but there are major positives to be gleaned, chiefly in the equine safety arena. When it comes to the business side of the equation, all-breed total handle generation during 2020 declined by 7% over the prior year. Because of a wholesale shift away from bricks and mortar wagering towards ADW platforms last...

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Fenton Elected Chairman of TOC Board

The TOC Board unanimously elected Gary Fenton to serve as the new Chairman of the organization replacing outgoing Chairman Nick Alexander, who stepped down after five years in the role. Fenton has been on the TOC Board since 2016 and has served as Chairman of the TOC Racing Committee since 2018 and TOC Vice-Chairman since 2019. Fenton is the managing partner of Little Red Feather Racing (LRF), California's largest syndicate. He began his career as an entertainment attorney working for the William Morris Agency and media companies including ATG, Carsey-Werner,...

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Seven-Figure Bonus For California Big-Race Sweep

The 'Wild West Bonus,' offering a $1-million payday to the connections of any horse that is able to win the $400,000 GI Santa Anita H. Mar. 6, the $300,000 GI Gold Cup at Santa Anita May 31 and the $750,000 GI TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar Aug. 21, was unveiled Monday morning by officials at Santa Anita Park and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Any horse that manages a sweep would take home a total of $1,870,000. Each of the three events is contested over the Classic distance of...

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Surf Cat Relocating to Rancho San Miguel

Surf Cat (Sir Cat--Trust Greta, by Centrust), the sire of graded winner and 2017 California Horse of the Year Sircat Sally and GSW San Onofre, will stand the 2021 breeding season at Rancho San Miguel in San Miguel, CA. He will command a fee of $2,500, live foal guarantee. A graded winner on dirt and synthetic, short and long, and placed in Grade I company for the late Bruce Headley, Surf Cat has sired 57 winners to date, including the additional stakes horses Tule Fog, K Thirty Eight and Surfing...

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California ADW Agreement Set to Boost Purses by $15 Million

With many wheels of California's daily industry operations greased through wagering made at bricks and mortar venues, a pandemic-driven wholesale betting shift towards ADW platforms has thrown a sizeable wrench into the works, prompting something of a fiscal scramble to readjust. Just last week, the Southern California Stabling & Vanning Racing Committee announced a set of stop-gap funding measures to grapple with a $2-million deficit and maintain the stabling status-quo in the southern portion of the state during 2021. On Wednesday, the Thoroughbred Owners of California ("TOC") announced a new...

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