COVID-19 pandemic

Derby Day 147 Is Here!

LOUISVILLE, KY - Beautiful spring weather, enthusiastic racing fans dressed to impress and the GI Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. This, of course, wasn't the case last year, far from it, as the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down and forced both the GI Kentucky Oaks and Derby to be held spectator-free over Labor Day weekend. Masks, temperature checks and social distancing are more of the norm these days as limited crowds of between 40,000-50,000 (40-50% reserved seating, 60% premium dining areas and...

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Oaks Day Back Where It Belongs

LOUISVILLE, KY - Now, this is much more like it. With a forecast calling for sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s, the GI Kentucky Oaks returns to its traditional spot on the calendar Friday. While last year's delayed GI Kentucky Derby and Oaks were both conducted spectator-free over Labor Day weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, limited crowds of between 40,000-50,000--health and safety protocols in place and all-are expected to be on hand at Churchill Downs this weekend. Following the withdrawal of Ava's Grace (Laoban) earlier this week,...

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Wednesday's Trackside Derby Report

LOUISVILLE, KY - With the Churchill Downs backstretch and apron buzzing with socially distanced and mask-wearing fans, you could feel the excitement building during training hours on a steamy Wednesday morning. Cloudy skies and humid conditions greeted the GI Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders during the special, 15-minute training period beginning at 7:30 a.m. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert held court by the main gap and posed for a quick photo-op holding the lead shank of his overachieving $35,000 OBS July 2-year-old Medina Spirit (Protonico) as the main track was...

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Aqueduct Spring Meet Generates All-Sources Handle of $85,419,050

The boutique 11-day Aqueduct spring meet generated all-sources handle of $85,419,050, a 2.2% increase over the 2019 Aqueduct spring meet, the New York Racing Association, Inc. announced Tuesday. Average daily handle over the 11 days of live racing was $7,765,368, an 11.5% increase over 2019, when average daily handle over the 12 days of live racing was $6,964,947. The 2020 spring meet at Aqueduct Racetrack was canceled in its entirety due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with New York State guidelines instituted to mitigate the spread...

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Preakness Prep Federico Tesio Returns to Pimlico

For the first time since 2015, Maryland's local audition for the GI Preakness S. will provide horses with an opportunity to prep over the same Pimlico Race Course main track that serves as home for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. The $125,000 Federico Tesio S. headlines seven stakes worth $750,000 in purses on the Spring Stakes Spectacular program Saturday, Apr. 24, originally scheduled to be run at Laurel Park. With the ongoing evaluation of Laurel's main track, live racing has been shifted to Pimlico, effective Thursday, Apr. 22....

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Encouraging Reversal: All Oregon Fairs Now Expected to Race

The in-flux nature of racing at Oregon's summer fairs took an encouraging turn Thursday when Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) executive director Jack McGrail announced that all four stops on the circuit now intend to host mixed meets in 2021. That's an improvement from the update McGrail provided at the March ORC meeting, when the status of Eastern Oregon Livestock Show meet in Union and Harney County Fair in Burns were both considered to be in limbo because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those two fairs will join Crooked River Roundup...

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Dispersals Fuel January Market

by Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis Propelled by the strength of a pair of marquee dispersals, the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale churned out a powerful second session in Lexington Tuesday. Early in the day, Peter Brant's White Birch Farm purchased Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom) (hip 403) from the Lane's End consignment of the dispersal of the Estate of the late Paul Pompa, Jr. for $925,000. That bid was matched later in the session when Antony Beck's Gainesway Farm purchased Danceforthecause (Giant's Causeway) (hip 587) from the Sam-Son...

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Stabling in California Stabilized in “Stopgap” Funding Measures

Facing a reported $2-million budget deficit, the Southern California Stabling & Vanning Racing Committee has performed a fiscal juggling act to maintain the stabling status-quo in the southern portion of the state during 2021, with year-round auxiliary stabling assured for the year at Los Alamitos and San Luis Rey Downs, while off-site training will continue at Santa Anita during the Los Alamitos Thoroughbred and Del Mar Fall meets. Last year, the program--funded in equal parts by the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) purse account and the Southern California racetracks--cost approximately...

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Q & A with Everett Dobson, Chairman American Graded Stakes Committee

For the American Graded Stakes Committee, 2020 presented challenges unlike anything it has faced before as the pandemic played havoc with racing schedules and caused the cancellation of numerous stakes. The TDN sat down with the committee's chairman Everett Dobson to discuss the challenges, why it made the changes that it did for 2021 and what might in store for future years. TDN: Take us through what the process entails when it comes to evaluating stakes races. What are the numbers that you crunch? ED: We look at a tremendous...

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NYRA's Support of Toys for Tots to go Virtual

The New York Racing Association, Inc. has announced that it will continue its longtime support of the annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation, which is being conducted virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NYRA encourages fans to donate at https://www.toysfortots.org/donate/ during the upcoming virtual weekend of giving on Friday, Dec. 4; Cigar Mile Day on Saturday, Dec. 5; and on Sunday, Dec. 6. Members of the Marine Corps Reserve will use the funds to collect and distribute new and unwrapped toys for children and families during...

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Golden Gate, Health Department Issue COVID Update; 200 Positive Tests

Golden Gate Fields and the City of Berkeley Public Health issued the following update Friday evening with regards to a COVID-19 outbreak at the track which has shut down racing at least through November: City of Berkeley Public Health continues to work closely with Golden Gate Fields on a significant outbreak where more than 200 people living or working on-site at the racetrack have tested positive for COVID-19. 1/ST RACING, which operates the track, is following all of the City's recommendations for testing, quarantine and isolation. The steps they have...

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Laurel Park to Temporarily Close to Public

In response to current state COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel Park will temporarily close to the public, effective Friday, Nov. 20, at 5 p.m. ET, but will continue to accommodate owners and other licensed horsemen who wish to attend the races. Live racing will continue as scheduled Thursday through Sunday for the remaining days in November, and Thursday through Saturday in December with a special Sunday, Dec. 27 program. There will be no racing on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, Dec. 24 and 25....

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