Richard Baltas

Venetian Harbor to Catch in Ashland

The speedy Venetian Harbor (Munnings) will look to run five rivals off their feet in Saturday's GI Central Bank Ashland S. at Keeneland. A runaway heroine of Santa Anita's GII Las Virgenes S. Feb. 8, she set a fast pace and only found the streaking GII Toyota Blue Grass S.- bound Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) too tough as the 4-5 favorite in the GIII Fantasy S. going this same distance at Oaklawn last time May 1. Venetian Harbor fired a five-furlong warning shot in :58 3/5 (1/29) for trainer Richie Baltas...

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Evenly-Matched Group Contests Indiana Derby

It's rare to see a GI Kentucky Derby prep on a weekday, much rarer to find it on a July weekday, but an evenly-matched field of 10 horses will contest the GIII Indiana Derby Wednesday at Indiana Grand with 34 qualifying points for the Run for the Roses up for grabs. Lloyd Madison Farms' Major Fed (Ghostzapper) looks for some racing luck after several wide trips along the Derby trail. A sharp maiden winner on New Year's Day at Fair Grounds, the homebred was second in a division of the...

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Baltas and Brown Face Off in Gamely

The GI Gamely S. looks like a face off between Chad Brown and Richard Baltas as they each saddle a strong pair of runners in this Memorial Day event at Santa Anita. Baltas has the home court advantage and he sends out GI American Oaks victress Lady Prancealot (Ire) (Sir Prancealot {Ire}) with East Coast-based rider John Velazquez in the irons. Also victorious in Keeneland's GIII Valley View S. last October, she was most recently fourth to the reopposing Keeper Ofthe Stars (Midnight Lute) in the GII Buena Vista S....

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‘Entire Ecosystem in Jeopardy’: CA Industry Hit Hard by Pandemic

The financial toll from COVID-19 on the racing industry in California, spurred by the suspension of live Thoroughbred racing, has been sharp and swift. Backstretch healthcare and mental illness services have been pared back, those in charge of other programs reliant on betting revenue are wondering how to bolster coffers if the broader economy nose-dives, while the financial thumb-screws have been further twisted on stretched-thin trainers. What's more, all this is playing out against an economic backdrop that was already shaky. The California Horse Racing Board's (CHRB) latest annual report...

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Santa Anita Welfare Crisis: One Year On

This Sunday marks a year to the day Battle of Midway (Smart Strike) suffered catastrophic injuries during a morning workout at Santa Anita, unleashing a tempest of opprobrium the likes of which the industry has never before faced in terms of intensity and sustained impact. Of course, Battle of Midway's fatal injury wasn't alone the catalyst--the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Breeders' Cup winner was one of three fatalities at the track within two days. His death was also the 18th to mar the facility since racing had resumed towards the end of...

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The Week in Review: Louisiana Mystery Horse Spices Up Derby Trail

There's never been a GI Kentucky Derby contender quite like No Parole (Violence), who stayed undefeated when winning Saturday's Premier Night Prince S. at Delta Downs. He may not be the best 3-year-old in the country, but he is certainly the most intriguing. How good is he? It's impossible to tell. His route to the Derby has included a maiden race, an allowance race and the Prince, all races against fellow Louisiana-breds. Normally, anyone winning those races wouldn't register on anyone's radar, but this horse is different. The 'TDN Rising...

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Munnings Filly Runs Off with Las Virgenes
Munnings Filly Runs Off with Las Virgenes

Venetian Harbor (Munnings) earned her diploma at second asking in her dirt debut in jaw-dropping fashion going 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita Dec. 29, and passed her first two-turn test with flying colors here. The bay broke like a shot and the race was pretty much over from there. She ran off by six lengths beneath Flavien Prat through an opening quarter in :23.20, but began to settle much better from there and let the field come back to her through a half mile in :46.72. She left the...

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Maker Files Complaint Against Zayat; Diodoro May Be Next

Ahmed Zayat's legal problems continue to grow. Trainer Mike Maker filed a complaint in Jefferson County (Kentucky) Court Thursday seeking $120,921 over what he alleged are unpaid training bills. Maker's complaint was filed less than two weeks after a Kentucky court ordered Zayat's assets into receivership, the result of claims by an investment group that says Zayat owes it $23 million. Maker's complaint was first reported by BloodHorse. According to the complaint, Maker trained as many as eight horses for Zayat Stables, which was falling behind on paying its training...

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