Martin Panza

This Side Up: Seeking the Essence of Travers Quality

In an age that takes such relish in discovering offense where none is intended, I suppose we will eventually have to stop referring to a "Graveyard of Champions". Never mind that most horsemen would perceive a fairly benign destiny in themselves being laid to rest in Saratoga, with the implicit likelihood of an exit--a Parting Glass, indeed--achieved by some excess of bliss or excitement. For the squeamish tastes of today, the metaphor is doubtless becoming a little too sanguinary. Be that as it may, there's no denying that Saratoga's long...

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Asmussen's Next Target: Juan Suarez

The Week in Review by Bill Finley Steve Asmussen moved past Dale Baird Saturday to become North America's all-time leading trainer in wins with 9,446. But for such a goal-oriented individual, it's no time to rest. To be number one in the world, Asmussen still has to catch Peruvian trainer Juan Suarez. And it won't be easy. Suarez, as of Saturday, had 9,886 wins--or 440 more than Asmussen. On the same day that Asmussen won one race from 13 starters spread across four racetracks, Suarez had three wins on the...

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Martin Panza to Leave NYRA

Martin Panza will leave his position as Senior Vice President of Racing Operations at the New York Racing Association (NYRA) effective at the conclusion of the Belmont Park fall meet Oct. 31. Panza has been in charge of the leadership and oversight of racing functions at NYRA since he joined the organization in 2013. He has also been responsible for the overall development, planning, and execution of NYRA's stakes offerings and daily racing programs, including changing the scheduling of major stakes on individual days to blockbuster events featuring multiple significant...

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NYRA Honors Carmen Barrera

The New York Racing Association will unveil the new Carmen M. Barrera Horsemen's Lounge Thursday at Saratoga Race Course. Formerly known as the Saratoga Room, the horsemen's lounge has been renovated and renamed to honor the memory of Carmen M. Barrera, NYRA's longtime director of horsemen's relations who died unexpectedly Aug. 8, 2019. "NYRA and New York's racing community at large owe Carmen a debt of gratitude for her decades of service to our sport," said Martin Panza, NYRA Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. "That she will now have...

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NYRA Announces New Partner For Concussion Management

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has announced a collaboration with the New York Institute of Technology's Center for Sports Medicine that establishes the CSM as the official concussion management team for NYRA. The CSM will play a leading role in continuing to develop concussion protocols for jockeys at Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct. "NYRA clearly prioritizes the health and safety of the world class athletes riding at their racetracks," said Hallie Zwibel, D.O., medical director and director of the Center for Sports Medicine at New York Institute of Technology. "This...

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Record Overnight Purses at Belmont Spring/Summer Meet

The upcoming 48-day spring/summer meeting at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, will offer the richest overnight purse structure in the history of the New York Racing Association, the organization said Thursday. Open-company maiden allowance races will feature purse money of $90,000, while first-, second- and third-level allowance races will be worth $92,000, $94,000 and $96,000, respectively. New York maiden special weight races will carry prize money of $75,000, while horses bred in the Empire State will benefit from an $85,000 purse for non-winners of two/ $45,000 claiming and an...

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Thoroughbred Safety Coalition Adds Reforms to Platform
Thoroughbred Safety Coalition Adds Reforms to Platform

Members of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition Steering Committee voted unanimously to adopt four new medical and operational reforms to further reduce the use of medication in racing, enhance consistency across racing jurisdictions and promote transparency, according to a press release from the organization Monday. The Thoroughbred Safety Coalition is an industry-led effort to advance safety measures in Thoroughbred racing. "These new reforms set the stage for another productive year of advancing meaningful changes to strengthen the culture of safety in thoroughbred racing," said the release. The following recommended reforms have...

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NYRA Stakes to be Run Without Lasix in 2021

In accordance with its commitment to eliminate race day medication, the New York Racing Association will prohibit the use of Furosemide--more commonly known as Lasix--within 48 hours of all stakes races conducted at NYRA tracks beginning Jan. 1, 2021. In April of 2019, NYRA led the formation of a coalition of leading racing organizations founded to address race day medication in a uniform and consistent way throughout the sport. The initiative commenced Jan. 1, 2020, with NYRA prohibiting Lasix in all 2-year-old races at the three NYRA tracks. Beginning Jan....

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After Raising Purses, NYRA Hoping For Strong Winter Run at Aqueduct

It's racing during the frigid winter months at a blue-collar racetrack, so Aqueduct may not always be the easiest sell. But New York Racing Association (NYRA) officials are expecting a strong five-month run once the track opens Nov. 6, counting on robust purses to convince owners and trainers to choose the Big A over options like Gulfstream and Oaklawn. Typically, purses decrease once the fall meet at Belmont is over. Racing at Aqueduct handles less than it does at Belmont and there is a drop off in the quality. But...

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NYRA Releases Aqueduct Winter/Spring Schedules With Extended Purse Bumps

The New York Racing Association announced Thursday the schedules for the 2020-21 winter and spring meets at Aqueduct Racetrack. In addition, NYRA announced that the purse increases now in effect across a number of categories at the Belmont Park fall meet will be extended to the fall, winter and spring meets at Aqueduct. Purses for open claiming and maiden claiming races at NYRA are the highest in the country. The open $25,000 claiming category will see a $4,000 increase to $50,000, while the $40,000 maiden-claiming condition will now offer a...

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NYRA Announces Purse Increases Starting Oct. 18

With impressive gains in handle and with the reopening of the casino at Aqueduct, NYRA will increase purses starting Oct. 18 and for the remainder of the Belmont meet. Like many tracks, NYRA was forced to make purse cuts due to COVID-19 related problems that reduced revenue sources. Rather than an across-the-board purse increase, NYRA will put more money into certain categories, in particular maiden races. The purse for an open maiden special weight race will go from $63,000 to $80,000. New York-bred maidens will see a purse increase from...

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Time to Change Jockey COVID Protocols?

Have saddle, will travel--a well-worn aphorism. But is it a wise one to emulate in this time of the coronavirus? Within the past week, Flavien Prat, Victor Espinoza, Eduard Rojas Fernandez, Luis Saez and Martin Garcia have all tested positive for the virus--a chain of events that can be traced back to Los Alamitos over the July 4 weekend, said Derek Lawson, Prat's agent. "There's no question that that's where it happened," he said, of Prat's infection occurring at the Southern California facility. But against a broader surge in coronavirus...

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