HISA: No Specific Cause for Laurel Fatalities Last Spring, Mirroring No-Fault Findings in Churchill Deaths

A months-long investigation by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority on a cluster of 13 Thoroughbred fatalities at Laurel Park during this year's winter and spring meets has determined that the deaths could not be attributed to any specific, obvious cause. The Nov. 28 report essentially reached the same no-obvious-fault finding that HISA announced back on Sept. 12 after it completed a separate-and similarly exhaustive-report on the 12 equine fatalities that occurred at Churchill Downs in April and May of 2023. "Based on the evidence and information available...

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Toledo, Russell Defend Titles At Pimlico's Preakness Meet

Jockey Jevian Toledo and trainer Brittany Russell defended their titles as leading jockey and trainer respectively as the Preakness Meet at Pimlico Race Course drew to a close Sunday. Toledo, who ranked second in earnings behind only GI Preakness S. winner John Velazquez, finished with a comfortable 10-win margin over co-runners-up Sheldon Russell, Horacio Karamanos and Victor Carrasco. Both Toledo and Russell are represented by agent Marty Leonard. "It feels great. I'm just blessed that God gave me the good health to be here," Toledo said. "My agent does a...

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Mastery Filly Dazzles at Laurel

7th-Laurel, $54,810, Alw (NW1X)/Opt. Clm ($50,000-$62,500), 4-29, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:24.47, gd, 10 1/4 lengths. GOODGIRL BADHABITS (f, 3, Mastery--Dazzler, by Vindication), in a near carbon copy of her Mar. 10 debut over this surface, remained undefeated and proved a handy, open-daylight winner. The 1-5 choice swerved right at the break but shot immediately to the front and never let anyone close as she established a comfortable pace. After a first quarter in :23.18, a half in :46.53, and with her ears flicking on the turn, Goodgirl Badhabits kept rolling...

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Progress At Laurel: Horsemen, Management Nearing Deal To Allow Passero To Examine Track

The impasse between Maryland horsemen and the Stronach Group regarding the condition of the main track at Laurel could be nearing a resolution as the two sides are close to an agreement to let John Passero examine the racetrack. Passero is the former track superintendent at Laurel and Pimlico and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (MTHA) has been insistent on letting him examine the track and have the final say regarding whether or not it was safe and, if not, what fixes were in order. The Stronach Group had brought...

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MJC Issues New Statement on Laurel, Racing will Resume

The Maryland Jockey Club (MJC), which cancelled racing this weekend after two fatalities at Laurel Park Thursday, issued a new statement late Saturday regarding the status of the Laurel surface. The statement appears in full below: The Maryland Jockey Club has cancelled its Thursday, Apr. 27 racing program at Laurel Park due to insufficient entries. The racing office will be open and taking entries Sunday for the Friday, Apr. 28 program. We acknowledge the recent statements in the press regarding the safety of our racing surface. However, we want to...

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Maryland Racetrack Authority Bill Passes House, Heads to Governor's Desk

Legislation which will create the Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority (MTROA) was passed by the state's House of Representatives by a vote of 132-2 on Apr. 10, the last day of the state's 2023 General Assembly session. Previously Senate Bill 720 , which is designed to participate in the development of racing and training facilities in the state and operate in the best interests of Thoroughbred racing, passed the state Senate by a 47-0 vote Apr. 6. The bill also states that, "If necessary, the authority will manage and oversee...

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What's In A Name: Rhea Moon (Ire)

AMERICAN OAKS-GI, $303,000, Santa Anita, 12-26, 3yo, f, 1 1/4mT, 2:00.75, fm. RHEA MOON (IRE), 124, f, 3, by Starspangledbanner (Aus) 1st Dam: Callisto Star (Ire), by Fastnet Rock (Aus) 2nd Dam: Livia Galilei (Ire), by Galileo (Ire) 3rd Dam: Mohican Princess (GB), by Shirley Heights (GB) O-Rockingham Ranch & Talla Racing LLC; B-Kevin J Molloy (IRE); T-Philip D'Amato; J-Juan J Hernandez. For brilliant Group 1 winner RHEA MOON (Ire) (f, 3, by Starspangledbanner {Aus} out of Callisto Star {Ire}, by Fastnet Rock {Aus}) the sky is the limit in...

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Riders Deadheat for Laurel Title, Russell Takes Training Honors

Laurel Park's fall meet ended with a tie for leading rider between journeyman Angel Cruz and 19-year-old apprentice Jeiron Barbosa. In addition, trainer Brittany Russell topped the trainer standings for a third time this year. It was the first riding title for Cruz, who deadheated with Barbosa with 44 wins apiece. Cruz won two races Saturday to secure the tie with Barbosa. The latter is among the contenders for champion apprentice jockey of 2022 and had won both Laurel's spring meet and Pimlico's fall meet titles. Both riders are from...

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For Blue-Collar Claimers, Black-Type Thanksgiving Feast

The Week in Review by T.D. Thornton The annual Claiming Crown races were two weeks ago. But a surprise black-type feast for blue-collar campaigners took place over Thanksgiving weekend, when horses once claimed for tags as low as $10,000 and $16,000 ran away with three of five stakes at Laurel Park, and an 8-year-old gelding bought last year for $10,000 topped a blanket-finish trifecta of previously claimed sprinters in the GIII Fall Highweight H. at Aqueduct. The relic known as the Fall Highweight--in which nominees are assigned weights scaled several...

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Repole Purchases Majority Interest in Mo Money Mo Honey

Mike Repole purchased a majority interest in Robin Doser and Metropolitan Thoroughbreds' undefeated 3-year-old colt Mo Money Mo Honey (Uncle Mo--Stopshoppingdebbie, by Curlin). The colt has been transferred from Benny Feliciano, Jr. to Todd Pletcher. "It's a storybook, man. I keep pinching myself. It's surreal. I'm not sure it's actually happening," said R.J. Bistle, co-owner since 2005 of Metropolitan Moving & Storage in Laurel who races as Metropolitan Thoroughbreds. "It's unbelievable. He arrived in New York okay. I'm sure Todd and his team want to take a look at him...

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Longtime Mid-Atlantic Sale Vet Randall Brandon Dies

Randall Gatlin Brandon, 80, passed away Aug. 15, 2022 in his hometown of Camden, South Carolina. He was the son of the late Gatlin Randall and Frances Johns Brandon. Randy  is survived by his wife Kirsty May Brandon, daughters Julie Carter (Andrew) and Lisa Boyle, both of Portland, Oregon, grandchildren Katie and Emma Carter, brothers Dr. Jeff Brandon (Nancy) of Palm Coast, Florida and Kyle Brandon of El Paso, Texas. He graduated from Washington State University and followed with an internship at Auburn University. After completing his internship, he was...

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Laurel's Training Schedule Adjusted for Track Maintenance

The Maryland Jockey Club outlined a change in the training schedule at Laurel to accommodate a maintenance project on the main track. Expected to take a week, depending on weather. the project is scheduled to begin Tuesday, Aug. 23. According to MJC Track Superintendent Chris Bosley, the work involves a section of the homestretch that was repaired in the fall of 2021. An inspection that was part of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's Racetrack Safety Program, which began July 1, determined that the area requires further review. Racing at...

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