COVID-19

Doping Trial Pauses for Weekend, But Court Filings Don't

Although the federal racehorse doping conspiracy trial for veterinarian Seth Fishman and his assistant, Lisa Giannelli, paused for the weekend, attorneys for both sides remained busy on Saturday and Sunday, filing requests with the court over the admissibility of evidence regarding an equine fatality and the way witnesses must testify while wearing masks as a pandemic precaution. On Sunday morning, the prosecution filed a motion in United States District Court (Southern District of New York) that asked for permission to present evidence related to Fishman being investigated in Delaware more than...

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Dan Mearns Passes Away

Dan Mearns, the former managing editor of the Blood-Horse and the Thoroughbred Record, passed away Sunday, January 16 due to complications from Covid-19, according to his brother, Greg, who posed the news on Facebook. "Dear Friends of Dan," he wrote on Mearns's Facebook page. "This post is from his brother, Greg. I am heartbroken to report to you that Dan sadly and suddenly left us on Sunday, January 16, 2022 due to complications from Covid. His last communications with family were, `you don't want to get this,' and `make sure...

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TBA's Flat Stallion Parade Returns

The Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Flat Stallion Parade will return after a two-year hiatus at Tattersalls in Newmarket on Feb. 3. Free to attend, the event will feature 12 stallions embarking on their first and second seasons at stud in Great Britain and will begin at 11 a.m. prior to the start of the Tattersalls February Sale. Hosted by racing broadcaster Gina Bryce and Tattersalls' Shirley Anderson-Jolag, the parade's dozen stallions are: A'Ali (Ire) (Society Rock {Ire}), who stands at Newsells Park Stud; Bangkok (Ire) (Australia {GB}), a resident of Chapel...

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Rodriguez Castro Tests Positive for COVID

Jockey Luis Rodriguez Castro tested positive for COVID-19 and will remain off his mounts through Thursday, Jan. 20, according to the New York Racing Association Saturday. Rodriguez Castro will be permitted to return to competition Friday, Jan. 21 should he remain asymptomatic. All members of the NYRA jockey colony are vaccinated and adhere to established protocols. In addition, the jockey quarters at Aqueduct Racetrack have been altered to provide maximum physical distancing and reduce density. NYRA follows the most updated federal and state guidance regarding contact tracing, testing, required isolation,...

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Defense Request to Delay Doping Trial a No-Go

A request by defendants Seth Fishman and Lisa Giannelli to delay next week's start of their trial in the alleged nationwide horse doping conspiracy because of COVID-19 concerns was not granted on Thursday by the judge handling the case. Although no specific court order answering the motion had been filed prior to deadline for this story, a summary entry on the court docket describing what happened at a Jan. 13 pre-trial conference contained the notation, "Trial to begin January 19, 2022," which is the originally scheduled start date. In two...

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Jockey Christian Ramos Tests Positive for COVID-19

Jockey Christian Ramos has tested positive for COVID-19 and will remain off his mounts at Aqueduct through Sunday, Jan. 16, the New York Racing Association, Inc. announced Thursday. All members of the NYRA jockey colony are vaccinated and adhere to established protocols. In addition, the jockey quarters at Aqueduct Racetrack have been substantially altered to provide maximum physical distancing and reduce density. Ramos sought testing Thursday after experiencing mild symptoms. He received the test result early Thursday morning and was not on-site at Aqueduct. NYRA follows the most updated federal...

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Ascot to Reduce Attendance at Royal Meeting

Crowd capacity numbers will be reduced at Royal Ascot beginning in 2022, Ascot Racecourse announced on Thursday. After feedback from racegoers attending the smaller scale Royal Ascot in 2021, attendance caps will be instated across the Royal Enclosure, Queen Anne Enclosure, and Windsor Enclosure for the five-day meeting from June 14-18, 2022. In addition to reducing capacity in the Royal Enclosure by 1,000 guests (-7%) to 12,500, a new area for circulation has been added-the Royal Enclosure Gardens. The Queen Anne and Windsor Enclosures have been reduced by 4,150 (20%)...

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Citing Pandemic, Defense Asks for Delay in Doping Trial
Citing Pandemic, Defense Asks for Delay in Doping Trial

Attorneys for Seth Fishman and Lisa Giannelli, the first two defendants scheduled to face trial on Jan. 19 in the years-long alleged international horse doping conspiracy, Wednesday asked the judge in the case to delay the trial over concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a highly-redacted document filed Jan. 12 in the United States District Court (Southern District of New York), Fishman's attorney, Maurice Sercarz, wrote that he and Giannelli's lawyer "respectfully submit that the present trial should be adjourned until there has been a substantial reduction in the...

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Franco Tests Positive for COVID-19

Jockey Manuel Franco tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday and will remain off his mounts until Sunday, Jan. 9. All members of the New York Racing Association jockey colony are vaccinated and adhere to established protocols. In addition, the jockey quarters at Aqueduct have been substantially altered to provide maximum physical distancing and reduce density. Franco has not experienced symptoms and was proactively tested because of standard contact tracing following the positive tests of jockeys Jorge Vargas, Jr. and Jalon Samuel Dec. 31. Vargas and Samuel will be permitted to ride...

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Negative LFT Required For UK Weighing Room Entry

Every person entering a UK weighing room on a raceday will be required to present on arrival evidence of a negative Lateral Flow Test (LFT) beginning on Jan. 5, the British Horseracing Authority announced on Thursday. This mandate dovetails with the requirements introduced on Dec. 15, and is in response to the continued increase in COVID-19 cases. The LFT should be completed on each day of racing prior to travelling. Proper evidence of a negative LFT must be demonstrated either via the NHS App, or an NH text message or...

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Numbers Limited For Irish Stallion Trail

Next year's Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (ITM) Irish Stallion Trail will be open only to breeders and those directly involved in the breeding industry owing to ongoing concerns over rising Covid-19 infections.  More than 25 stallion farms are planning to open their doors on Friday, Jan. 14 and Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. In previous years the trail has been open to racing fans and members of the public. Those who have already registered will unfortunately no longer be able to attend. Visitors wishing to attend the trail will need to register...

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New COVID Protocols Begin Dec. 15

In accordance with the updated UK Government protocols for sports venues, the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) issued an outline of protocols that enter effect Wednesday, Dec. 15. "Racing must continue to do all we can to protect the health and livelihoods of our people and maintain business continuity," said Dr. Jerry Hill, BHA's Chief Medical Adviser. "These measures are considered essential to support this objective at a time where cases of the Omicron variant of the virus are increasing exponentially and other sports are facing COVID-related fixture cancellations. All...

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