The Stronach Group

Riders Up Documentary Takes Look Behind Scenes at “First Sports Bubble”

As the  realities of the coronavirus started to spread across California and the country, the team at Santa Anita wasn't sure how to prepare for what could have quickly escalated into a dire situation for the track and the sport. But what began as a scramble of sorts led to a well-coordinated plan. Racing would successfully return to the historic Southern California track and with an innovative wrinkle. During the racing week, the jockeys were required to live in a bubble in campers situated on track. What might at first...

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‘Maryland, My Maryland” Won’t Be Played at Preakness

The Stronach Group, which operates Pimlico, has confirmed that the song "Maryland, My Maryland" will no longer be played before the running of the GI Preakness S. The story was first reported by the www.theracingbiz.com. The song, which has been played at Pimlico since 1909, has stirred up controversy because its lyrics are meant to encourage Maryland to join the Confederacy. The sixth verse includes the following lines; "Dear Mother! burst the tyrant's chain, Maryland! Virginia should not call in vain, Maryland! She meets her sisters on the plain-'Sic semper!'...

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No Spectators At Preakness 145

The Stronach Group and the Maryland Jockey Club announced that Oct. 3 GI Preakness S. at Pimlico will proceed without fans in attendance. The 145th Preakness will air live on NBC from 4:30-6:00 p.m. ET. The Preakness, like the other two Triple Crown races, are a Breeders' Cup 'Win and You're In' events for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic in November. "The Stronach Group and the Maryland Jockey Club have been working closely in consultation with local and state health and governmental authorities for the past several months to thoughtfully...

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New Turf Chute Will Give Santa Anita Extra Sprint Options

Santa Anita Park has broken ground on a new turf chute adjacent to the main dirt track's seven-furlong chute that will allow sprints up to 6 1/2 furlongs to be conducted on the grass oval. The new configuration won't be ready in time for the upcoming meet that commences Sept. 19. But once the extension is completed, track management is going to consider reopening the currently closed 6 1/2-furlong downhill turf course for select usage. Aidan Butler, the chief strategy officer and executive director of California racing operations for The...

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Stronach Litigation Settled

The litigation between Frank and Elfriede Stronach, Belinda Stronach, Frank and Nicole Walker, Alon Ossip and Stronach Consulting Corp. has been dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice as the result of a settlement, The Stronach Group announced in a statement issued Thursday. Belinda Stronach will remain Chairman and President of The Stronach Group with full control of all of the company's racing, gaming, real estate and related assets, including the new 1/ST brands. Frank and Elfriede Stronach, through their own personal entity, will take control and ownership of...

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24 Stakes Slated for Santa Anita Autumn Meet

Santa Anita Park's autumn meet (Sept. 19 through Oct. 25) will feature 24 stakes over 18 racing days--more or less in line with 2019's meeting minus last year's Breeders' Cup World Championships. The Arcadia oval will host seven "Win and You're In" qualifiers for this year's Breeders' Cup at Keeneland: the $100,000 Speakeasy S. on opening day for GII Juvenile Turf Sprint hopefuls; the GI Rodeo Drive S. (GI F/M Turf), GI American Pharoah S. (GI Juvenile), GI Awesome Again S. (GI Classic) and GII Chandelier S. (GI Juvenile Fillies)...

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Santa Anita to Honor Chillingworth With Stake During Autumn Meet

Sherwood Chillingworth, the longtime director and executive vice president of the Oak Tree Racing Association who passed away last October at 93, will be honored with The Chillingworth S.-formerly the LA Woman S.--to be contested during Santa Anita's Autumn season. Prior to 2009, the Grade III contest for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up was run during the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita as the Louis R. Rowan S., named after one of the founders of the Oak Tree Racing Association. "Chilly was one of the sport's true gentlemen,"...

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Maryland Racing Commission Study to Scope Juveniles in Lasix-Free Races

The Maryland Equine Safety, Health and Welfare Advisory Committee, which falls under the Maryland Racing Commission, has approved a plan for post-race video endoscopies of all starters in 2-year-old races in the state through the end of the year. Details of the survey study designed to determine the extent of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging were released Tuesday morning by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and follows Sunday's announcement of an agreement to card Lasix-free 2-year-old races in the state through Dec. 31. Private veterinarians who practice at Laurel will conduct the...

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2YO Racing Stalemate in Maryland Ends

The Maryland Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee has approved the Maryland Racing Commission's emergency regulation that will facilitate Lasix-free 2-year-old races, it was announced Sunday evening. No races for juveniles have been held in Maryland this year due to a stalemate between the state's racing factions over the use of the anti-bleeder medication. It was announced on July 16 that The Maryland Jockey Club, The Stronach Group and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association had reached an agreement for a Lasix-free pilot program through 2023. While no 2-year-old races are...

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Anatomy of California Response to Pandemic

When Victor Espinoza rolled through the gates of Los Alamitos racecourse on the afternoon of Saturday, July 4, he did so anticipating a quick in-and-out with few disruptions. The Triple Crown-winning jockey had two mounts, in the eighth and ninth races, neither of them hot fancies. Approaching the jocks' room, however, Espinoza paused. "There wasn't enough room for all of us," said Espinoza of the room's quarters, which had been split between Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred riders. "We were stacked in there like sardines." Events from that afternoon have played...

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The Week in Review: Met Mile–and Vekoma–Both Benefit from Role Recasts

One of the most welcome schedule changes imposed upon the racing calendar by the COVID-19 pandemic was the repositioning of the GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. to headline status on the July 4 holiday at Belmont Park. In 2014, the Met Mile got yanked off its decades-long anchor as the Memorial Day feature in New York, reassigned to a supporting role on GI Belmont S. Day. This move was part of the prevalent (but not always aesthetically pleasing) national practice of stacking graded stakes on big-race Saturdays. It never felt like...

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New Maryland Whip Policy Starts Six-Strike Count at Quarter Pole

Effective Aug. 1, from the quarter pole to the finish wire, Maryland jockeys will be limited to six whip strikes--either overhanded or underhanded--with no more than two of those blows in succession without giving the horse a chance to respond. Prior to the quarter pole, jockeys will be allowed an unlimited number of strikes, provided they are delivered in an underhand manner, which is considered less harmful to horses. The Maryland Racing Commission (MRC) unanimously voted to approve the policy modification during its Thursday teleconference meeting. It's based on a...

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