John Sikura

Is The Derby Purse Fair? Opinion From The Industry

In the Sept. 30 edition of the Thoroughbred Daily News, we ran an interview with John Sikura in which he raised questions about the funding mechanism and purse of the Kentucky Derby. In the article, Sikura says: "(The Kentucky Derby is) "The single event that drives the commerce of the industry. The point of entry to virtually everybody that owns a horse: 'I want to win the Kentucky Derby.' If you're fortunate enough to do so, there should be a financial reward that recognizes that--not just pride in achievement. A...

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Letter To The Editor: Breeders Need To 'Look Within' As Well

I read with much interest the recent article involving the interview with John Sikura from Hill 'n' Dale farm. I happen to agree with some of his points, especially that fixing many of the issues currently present in racing will require the combined sacrifice and agreement of many facets of the racing industry. However, what struck me the most in this article was that, once again, a member of the breeding community in racing does not seem to think anything with their own business needs to change. From a business...

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Catching Up with 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Winner Lady Eli

Lady Eli had a sensational career that got rolling with a Breeders' Cup win at two and culminated with an Eclipse for champion turf female at five. In between, she fought a life-threatening battle with laminitis and captured the hearts of racing fans. She delivered her third foal, an Into Mischief colt, Mar. 6 at Coolmore America and was bred back to Justify. "The Breeders' Cup is the ultimate race test of champions to define and prove yourself against the ultimate competition," said Hill 'n' Dale's John Sikura, who now...

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Sikura: No Simple Solutions for a Fractured Sport

At a time that so plainly demands leadership, where better to come than the desk of John Sikura? A man of notably independent outlook, the owner of Hill 'n' Dale can be relied upon for a perspective that combines candor and detachment with flair and imagination. And those are all assets that appear to be in short supply right now. For while our community's emotional response to the traumas at Saratoga this summer was one of shared horror and grief, the polarization of opinion since has been emotive. Much as...

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The Dirt-Versus-Synthetic Debate: Gold Cup Starter Tyson Could Provide Some Answers

Does dirt form transfer over to synthetic tracks and vice versa? And do the progeny of traditional Kentucky-based dirt stallions run, for the most part, just as well on synthetic as they do on dirt? These are some of the many questions being asked after a rash of breakdowns over the last few months has led some to call for synthetic tracks, which, statistics show, are safer than dirt and turf courses, to replace dirt tracks. While one horse and one race is not much of a sample size, the...

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Tyson Keeps Punching In Seagram Win

Never off the board in his four prior career starts, Tyson (Tapit) avenged his sole defeat--a third behind Treason (Constitution) in the GII Eclipse S. June 4--with a win last time out over that rival in the GIII Dominion Day S. July 1. Heavily bet down to 2-5 going for his second straight graded-stakes win, the 4-year-old wasted no time going right for the lead and assumed command a path off the rail ahead of Carrothers (Mshawish). Always under a wrap by jockey Rafael Hernandez, Tyson was briefly headed as...

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GISP Loggins To Stand At Hill 'n' Dale At Xalapa

GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity runner up and 'TDN Rising Star' Loggins (Ghostzapper) will stand alongside his sire at Hill 'n' Dale it was announced Monday. "Loggins was a brilliant two year old, breaking his maiden in hugely impressive fashion at Churchill and narrowly beaten by Champion Forte in the GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity in only his second start. It is too bad he got hurt as I am certain he was a Grade I talent. I love the influences in his pedigree and he is a stunner to look at....

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Magic Formula for Curlin Succession

With barely a dozen race days to be eked out of its remaining two years, the Steve Pini Memorial S. of September 2017 formed part of a pretty low-key bookend to the history of Suffolk Downs. The Boston track's opening era, after all, had been propped up by Seabiscuit himself. But it turns out that this race, honoring the late track superintendent, deserves a rather lengthier footnote than anyone might have imagined at the time. Over an extended mile of turf, a 5-year-old daughter of Big Brown overtook Queen Caroline...

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Letter to the Editor: John Sikura

I grew up in the 'Golden Age' of Canadian racing and breeding. Windfields, Sam Son and Stafford Farms are a few great breeders that come to mind. Thriving yearling sales and horses like Deputy Minister, Kennedy Road and Kamar also come to mind. Founded by the great E.P. Taylor, the consistent goal was a thriving industry with stewards of the turf to elevate Woodbine to the highest standards of thoroughbred racing. Secretariat made his final start at Woodbine and the most influential sire of my lifetime, Northern Dancer, was born...

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Hill 'n' Dale Stallions Sparkle at Eclipse Awards

Flightline was clearly the star among stars at the Eclipse Awards ceremonies held Jan. 26 in Palm Beach, Florida, but a trio of stallions that call the rustic environs of John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale at Xalapa home stole the show from a sires' perspective, accounting for half of the evening's 10 winners among the Flat divisions. Success at the Eclipse Awards is obviously directly correlated with horse racing on its biggest stages, and the results from the first weekend of November, not far away from Xalapa at Keeneland Race...

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Keeneland November Closes With Gains in Gross and Average

With the Breeders' Cup returning to Lexington for the third time, headlined by the mighty Flightline (Tapit), the buzz in Lexington was electric from late October all the way through the nearly two weeks of breeding stock sales that followed the World Championships. Combine that with a deep and diverse buying bench and high demand and the result was gains in both gross and average for the 10-day Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, which ran from Nov. 7-16. "With the close of the November Breeding Stock Sale, Keeneland is nearing...

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'Can't Miss' Keeneland September Sale Starts Monday

LEXINGTON, KY- The 79th renewal of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale opens its 12-day run Monday with the first of two Book 1 sessions beginning at 1 p.m. Consignors started showing Book 1 yearlings Friday and an international cast of shoppers were getting second looks at those elite youngsters on a misty Sunday morning in the Bluegrass, while also getting a head start on Book 2 horses who will start selling Wednesday. "I think the activity is very good, particularly for Book 1," said Peter O'Callaghan, whose Woods Edge Farm...

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