The Stronach Group

The Week in Review: Live Racing Hinging on Definition of ‘Essential’

Aqueduct Racetrack has been commandeered by the State of New York to be converted to a COVID-19 hospital. One day after an official from Santa Anita Park predicted a humanitarian crisis could erupt if live racing got shut down, county health officials ordered the spectator-free racing there to cease. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano announced last Thursday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the sport's most prominent participant to disclose an infection. Later that same day, six Belmont Park backstretch workers were additionally confirmed as COVID-19...

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Craig Fravel Joins TDN Writers’ Room

As the overseer of two of the biggest tracks still running races in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, The Stronach Group's CEO Craig Fravel has a lot of responsibility right now. As Saturday's GI Curlin Florida Derby at Gulfstream nears and the GI Santa Anita Derby follows next weekend, Fravel stopped by the TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland to talk with Bill Finley about this tumultuous time. "Things seem to change on an hourly basis," Fravel said. "I think I was in Florida a week and a...

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Stronach Exec Warns of ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ If California Racing Ceases

Whether or not horse racing should continue at the state's tracks was not an actionable agenda item on Thursday's California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting, but the topic came up early and often as COVID-19 concerns dominated the discussion. The crux of the debate centered on Santa Anita Park and whether or not continuing to race without spectators present constituted an "essential business" exemption under the statewide stay-at-home mandate designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. The CHRB has allowed racing to continue with health-related restrictions at the...

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TDN Writers’ Room for March 26, With TSG’s Craig Fravel

Santa Anita and Gulfstream are only two of the six tracks still racing in the U.S. This week, we check in with Craig Fravel from the Stronach Group to talk about the precautions they're taking. Also, the writers talk about the latest developments in horse racing with the coronavirus, and the challenges horsemen face.

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Gulfstream to Pause Racing Friday for Coronavirus Protocol Implementation

Gulfstream Park issued the following announcement late Thursday night:  Gulfstream Park will suspend racing for one day, Friday, March 20, to update its protocols in a number of areas, including the Jockeys' Room. Racing is scheduled to resume on Saturday, March 21. Last week, Gulfstream Park took strict measures to limit exposure by closing the facility to the public for live racing and simulcast. Gulfstream Park has operated in full compliance with all government and local health orders, while ensuring the protection of the essential personnel that care for the...

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Legislation to Pay for Rebuild of Pimlico, Laurel Clears Another Hurdle

The Racing and Community Development Act of 2020, which authorizes $375 million to pay for the rebuilding of Pimlico and the refurbishing of Laurel, was passed Wednesday by the Maryland General Assembly, reports the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. The bill will now go to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who is expected to sign it. If signed by Hogan, the Act will go into effect June 1. It has sailed through both Maryland houses. The House passed the conference committee version of the bill by a vote of 113-14 a short...

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Finding Dates for Preakness, Belmont No Easy Task

Perhaps this will neatly fall in line, with the GI Preakness S. being run two weeks after the GI Kentucky Derby and the GI Belmont S. three weeks after that. That would mean a Sept. 5 Derby, a Sept. 19 Preakness and an Oct. 10 Belmont. Four weeks later, Keeneland would host the Breeders' Cup. That may be the best thing when it comes to restoring some order to a Triple Crown that has been turned upside down by the coronavirus, but it doesn't come without its own set of...

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Kentucky Derby Rescheduled for Sept. 5; No Dates Set for Preakness, Belmont

The GI Kentucky Derby has been moved from May 2 to Sept. 5 as a result of the coronavirus, Churchill Downs officials announced Tuesday. "Throughout the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority has been how to best protect the safety and health of our guests, team members and community," Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a statement. "As the situation evolved, we reached the difficult conclusion that we needed to reschedule. At no point did we ever consider canceling the Kentucky Derby." In the aftermath of...

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Badgett Rejoins The Stronach Group

Bill Badgett, former General Manager of Gulfstream Park and current President of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, will rejoin The Stronach Group, effective immediately, in the capacity of Executive Director, Florida Racing Operations. "We are thrilled that Bill will be returning to lead our 1/ST Racing operations in Florida," said Craig Fravel, Chief Executive Officer, 1/ST Racing. "Florida is a key priority for our company and Bill's daily presence and expertise will be instrumental as we grow our racing program with the highest of integrity and modern-thinking." Badgett...

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Arizona HBPA to Gaming: Pull Turf Paradise Signal from Stronach Affiliates

The Arizona racing industry is now well into month two of the simulcasting stand-off between an arm of The Stronach Group (TSG) tasked with distributing the company's signal and the Arizona Department of Gaming. In a leveraging bid, the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) this week voted to withdraw the Turf Paradise signal from all Stronach Group affiliates. According to a letter from the Arizona HBPA to the Arizona Department of Gaming dated Mar. 11, such a move would involve the following TSG-affiliated entities: Santa Anita, Golden Gate...

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Stronach Group Announces Mandatory Stand-Down Period for Horses of Indicted Trainers

All horses who were under the custody of trainers named in the federal indictment earlier this week will undergo a mandatory minimum of a 60-day stand-down period and are prohibited from racing at any Stronach Group racing facility during that time, The Stronach Group announced Thursday. "Our goal is to keep these horses safe and from competing if there is any possibility that they may have performance- enhancing drugs in their system," said Dr. Dionne Benson, Chief Veterinarian, The Stronach Group. "This is being done, not only to first and...

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The Week in Review: Martinez Looking to Go Deep at Churchill Downs

During his baseball career, Victor Martinez was known for being cool under pressure and good in the clutch. It appears that he has a horse with the same attributes. It looks like the presence of a former Major League All-Star is going to spice up this year's GI Kentucky Derby. Martinez, who debuted in the majors in 2002 with the Cleveland Indians, played a season-and-a-half for the Boston Red Sox, and retired after playing for the Detroit Tigers in 2018, is the owner of GII Tampa Bay Derby winner King...

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