Churchill Downs

Decision to Close HHR has brought Urgency to the Forefront

Two days after Keeneland Association and Red Mile announced they would be shutting their joint historical horse racing (HHR) venture at the Lexington harness racino while imploring the Kentucky legislature to provide "more clarity" regarding the disputed legal status of HHR, Vince Gabbert, Keeneland's vice president and chief operating officer, was called upon during the Jan. 26 Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) teleconference to explain why that decision was made in the absence of any formal order from state officials to cease HHR, which is ongoing at other licensed locations...

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Joe Sharp Handed 30-Day Suspension, Will Appeal

Trainer Joe Sharp has been hit with a 30-day suspension and fined $2,500 by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) after five horses he trained tested positive for the medication levamisole during a 16-day period at Churchill Downs in November, 2019. Sharp has said that the levamisole was found in an over-the-counter dewormer he purchased and used to treat his horses. He said he consulted with veterinarians before using the product and was told that it complied with pertinent racing and medication regulations. In addition to the Kentucky positives, eight...

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Backside Learning Center Bourbon Raffle to Fund COVID Efforts

The Backside Learning Center (BLC) will be hosting a Bourbon Bonanza Raffle on February 11. All proceeds will help fund efforts toward COVID-19 vaccine education, access and promotion for backside workers and their families at Churchill Downs. The drawing will take place at 4 p.m. on February 11 and the deadline for entry is February 10 at 10:59 p.m. Participants will enter to win one of two, eight-bottle baskets with values ranging from $1,000 to $3,000. The first basket, called Cupid's Collection, features Pappy Van Winkle 12-year-old Lot B, Kentucky...

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The TDN Kentucky Derby Top 12 For Jan. 26

Two new shooters debut on the Top 12 this week and there was a large leap forward from the previously ranked No. 10 contender all the way up to the No. 2 spot. Four qualifying races on the Road to the GI Kentucky Derby points series are on the docket for the next two weekends. 1) ESSENTIAL QUALITY (c, Tapit--Delightful Quality, by Elusive Quality) O/B-Godolphin (Ky); T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: GISW, 3-3-0-0, $1,335,144. Last Start: 1st GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile, KEE, Nov. 6 Accomplishments Include: 1st GI Claiborne Breeders'...

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KY Supreme Court Won't Hear HHR Legality Case

The Supreme Court of Kentucky ruled Jan. 21 that it will not rehear an appealed Sept. 24 decision that told a lower court to re-examine the legality of historical horse race (HHR) gaming in the commonwealth, keeping the most crucial form of funding for purses at the state's five Thoroughbred tracks in peril. HHR handled $2.2 billion during the Commonwealth's most recent fiscal year, and revenue from that form of gaming annually contributes tens of millions of dollars to the Kentucky purses. This form of gaming has been operational--but challenged...

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From TDN Look: While the Horses are Away

It's three days before Christmas, a time when most young Americans can be found lounging on the couch binging on Netflix and cookies, but Merlin Cano is busy on the backside of Churchill Downs. Most of the trainers have already packed up and headed for warmer climates. A few trucks roll by carrying used straw or unused hay, remnants of the hive of activity this backstretch was just a few weeks ago. All is quiet for now, but Merlin knows there is still much to be done. Merlin is a...

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Mike Anderson Named President of Churchill Downs Racetrack

Mike Anderson has been named the 14th President of Churchill Downs Racetrack, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced Tuesday. Anderson brings to the role 24 years of leadership experience at CDI, having recently served as Vice President of Operations, where he led the planning, construction and opening of over $300 million in capital projects across CDI's properties. He joined CDI in 1996 as Controller and has held a number of roles with the Company, including Vice President of Corporate Finance, Investor Relations, Risk Management and Treasurer. Anderson will report to Bill Mudd,...

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Asmussen Honored with KY Thoroughbred Owners' Warner Jones Horseman of the Year Award

Steve Asmussen--who this year became Churchill Downs' all-time win leader and only the second trainer to achieve 9,000 career victories--is the 2020 recipient of the Louisville-based Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners' Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award. The award recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions to Kentucky racing and sharing the passion exemplified by Jones, who spent 50 years on the Churchill Downs board, including eight as chairman during the iconic track's resurgence. Warner Jones--the first and so far only breeder of a Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and Breeders' Cup...

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The Week in Review: For Plesa, a Bittersweet Ending to Calder Saga

From a racing standpoint, there could not have been a more appropriate way for Calder to go out. There when the track ran its first ever race in 1971, trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. won the last race run at the track that had been rebranded as Gulfstream Park West. Plesa won for the 1,326th time at Calder/GPW Saturday when Diligent (Temple City) won the final race that will ever be run at the South Florida racetrack. "I didn't ask anybody to put me in the last race. It just happened....

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Laoban Colt Graduates in Kentucky Jockey Club

Keepmeinmind (Laoban) entered Saturday's GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. a maiden, but with board finishes in each of his three previous appearances, including two at Grade I level. The bay colt, last for the opening 6 1/2 furlongs, came with a barnstorming finish to graduate in style, earning 10 points towards next year's GI Kentucky Derby in the process. Favored at 2-1, Keepmeinmind was clearly last into stride and was taken in hand by David Cohen, as Smiley Sobotka (Brody's Cause) set the pace at the fence from Oncoming Train...

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Into Mischief 'Rising Star' Makes it Two-for-Two at Churchill

Juddmonte homebred Mandaloun (c, 2, Into Mischief--Brooch, by Empire Maker) overcame an eventful trip to graduate at first asking at Keeneland Oct. 24, good for 'TDN Rising Star' honors, and stayed perfect in an optional claimer at Churchill Downs Saturday. The even-money favorite kept the early leaders within his scope from his outside draw from fourth. The handsome bay was under a ride on the far turn, began to respond with a three-wide move, and kept on coming in the stretch to reel in Twilight Blue (Air Force Blue) and...

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Travel Column Becomes First Graded Winner for Frosted in Golden Rod

Travel Column (Frosted) endured a checkered passage--to say the least--in Saturday's GII Golden Rod S. at Churchill Downs, but showed a fair bit of courage to hit the wire first. A half-step slow out of the gates and pinched back soon after, Travel Column was last to make the clubhouse turn and was taken hold of by Florent Geroux as Farsighted (Bernardini) took them along at a sensible clip. The $850,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga acquisition was slipped a bit of rein at about midway and improved her position into midfield and...

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