The Stronach Group

MD Horsemen Press For Swift Return Amid Track Woes

Laurel Park, which hasn't hosted racing since Jan. 2 and was closed for 18 days in late autumn over safety and weather-related woes that have plagued its new multi-million-dollar dirt surface, is now scheduled to next card racing for Sunday, Jan. 16--but only if Mother Nature cooperates. The Maryland racing community and Laurel executives traded updates and opinions on the controversial, work-in-progress track restoration project Tuesday afternoon in a 30-minute videoconference. But when Mike Rogers, the president of the racing division for The Stronach Group (TSG), which owns Laurel's corporate...

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After Fatality-Free Month, Snow Poses First Challenge to New Laurel Surface

The work-in-progress new dirt racing surface at Laurel Park has made it through 10 racing dates and nearly a month of training without a catastrophic injury after being closed for 11 days in late autumn after eight equine fatalities. But a Monday snowstorm followed by a sharp drop in overnight temperature provided the first 2022 challenge to a track that has historically been prone to problems during winter weather. Training was cancelled at Laurel Monday and Tuesday but will reopen Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. without timed workouts being permitted as...

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GGF Fatalities Down Overall, but November Spike Concerns CHRB

Golden Gate Fields twice came within one vote Wednesday of having its upcoming December-June license to conduct racing either curtailed or not granted at all because of California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) concerns over a recent four-horse uptick in equine fatalities. The meet was eventually approved by a 4-3 vote, with CHRB chairman Gregory Ferraro, DVM, casting the deciding vote and pledging that he will be personally responsible for making sure Golden Gate executives understand that the "or else" consequences of not having a better safety record could mean the...

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Cluster of Deaths At Laurel Puts Maryland Racing In Limbo

Seven Laurel Park horses have died since Nov. 6, and eight total have perished this autumn after sustaining fractures while racing or training over the newly installed main dirt track there. The most recent death occurred in Laurel's eighth race Nov. 28, and training has been curtailed in the three days since then. A portion of the surface has been dug up in mid-stretch to allow an influx of track maintenance consultants to try and discover if there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. Laurel's next scheduled...

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Hollendorfer Files Motion for Preliminary Injunction to Race at Santa Anita

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, barred from The Stronach Group (TSG)-owned facilities since June of 2019, has filed a motion for preliminary injunction to be able to enter and race horses under his name at Santa Anita for the upcoming 2021-2022 winter/spring meet--the latest salvo in an ongoing legal feud between the Hall of Fame trainer and various corporate entities under TSG umbrella. According to a filing with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, dated Sept. 26, Hollendorfer requests the preliminary injunction to prohibit the owners of Santa Anita Park from "unlawfully...

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2022 Maryland Dates to Include August Meet at Pimlico

The inclusion of an August race meet at Pimlico Race Course for the first time in 17 years was the only major change in the 2022 slate of racing dates approved Thursday by the Maryland Racing Commission. Although not discussed at the Oct. 28 meeting, one obvious benefit to the mid-summer move from Laurel Park to Pimlico will be the ability to give Laurel's turf course a break during the hottest time of the year in Maryland. Pimlico last ran in the late summer back in 2005, when its calendar...

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1/ST Racing COO Aidan Butler Joins Writers' Room

In the news plenty recently for cracking down on clenbuterol violations with out-of-competition testing, suspending a jockey over a suspected betting coup and overseeing the successful installation of a third, synthetic surface at Gulfsteam Park, 1/ST Racing's Chief Operations Officer Aidan Butler is making a name for himself in the industry as a proactive, no-nonsense executive. Wednesday, he joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland as the Green Group Guest of the Week to discuss all of those recent stories, the improved safety record at Santa Anita, long-term plans...

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Stronach Group Warns About Buzzer Use in Training and Racing

September was a busy month for buzzers. On Sept. 15, the Monmouth Park board of stewards suspended jockey Tomas Mejia for 10 years and fined him $5,000 for possessing an electrical device--commonly referred to as a "buzzer"--during a race run there Sept. 3. That same day at Indiana Grand, leading Quarter Horse jockey, Sammy Mendez, was "summarily suspended for actions not in the best interest of racing," and is awaiting a full hearing before the track's board of stewards. According to the Paulick Report, the suspension is connected to use...

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This Side Up: Grounds for Optimism

Surface tensions in our business have run pretty deep in recent years, nowhere more so than at Santa Anita. After a failed revolution, with a synthetic track, they eventually backed into a terrifying breakdowns crisis. Racing in California still has its problems, of course, not least the cloud currently over its premier barn--which, after that curious hesitation last week, instead gives its most controversial resident a home game Saturday in the GI Awesome Again S. But given our community's fury right now with another racetrack proprietor, who this week cashed...

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Eclipse Awards Ceremony to be Held at Santa Anita Feb. 10
Eclipse Awards Ceremony to be Held at Santa Anita Feb. 10

Next year's 51st annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony, honoring Thoroughbred racing's champions of 2021, will be held at Santa Anita Park, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters announced Tuesday. Held in conjunction with the Stronach Group, the Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony at Santa Anita will take place Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, prior to the NFL's Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 13. Additional information will be announced in the coming weeks. The Stronach Group hosted the...

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Training Over New Main Track at Laurel to Start Aug. 10

The extensive, expensive, and months-delayed installment of the new main track from the base up at Laurel Park is now close enough to completion that executives with The Stronach Group (TSG) have greenlighted Aug. 8 as the move-in date for horses and Aug. 10 as the first day of training. Speaking via videoconference, Steve Koch, the senior vice president of racing for TSG, which owns both Laurel and Pimlico Race Course, said July 28 that the "whole oval really is an entirely new racetrack." Years of piecemeal repair jobs failed...

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Dennis Drazin Talks Eventful Monmouth Meet On Writers' Room

While the 2021 meet at Monmouth Park is less than three weeks old, several years worth of drama has already been packed in at the Jersey Shore staple this spring, and Wednesday morning, the track's chairman and CEO Dennis Drazin joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland to discuss it all. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Drazin talked about the fraught implementation of the New Jersey Racing Commission's whip ban, the latest attempt by the Jockeys' Guild to put pressure on Monmouth...

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