CARF Issues Statement After 1/ST Ultimatum on NorCal Racing Dates

Ahead of a critical California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting Thursday to decide essentially whether or not to give Northern California stakeholders a fighting chance to build a circuit in the void left by the imminent closure of Golden Gate Fields, 1/ST Racing and Gaming set out their stall Tuesday in a letter to the regulator urging them to decline race dates to the North. In a proposal to the state regulator, the California Association of Racing Fairs (CARF) outlined a 10-week meeting this year that would run from Oct....

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1/ST Racing Says It May Sell Or Close Santa Anita

1/ST Racing, the owners of Santa Anita, have threatened to close or sell the "Great Race Place," making the threats on the eve of a critical meeting of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) in which the future of racing in the northern half of the state will be decided. Santa Anita has been calling for racing to shut down in the North, which, it believes, will help strengthen racing at Santa Anita and the other Southern California tracks. The story was first reported by John Cherwa in the Los...

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Final Golden Gate Fields Meet Potentially Set For 25% Purse Cut

The overnight purses for Golden Gate Fields' final meet are potentially set for a 25% cut due to a longstanding overpayment of the purse account, according to Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) president and CEO, Bill Nader. The Bay Area racetrack is scheduled to race from Dec. 26 through June 9, 2024, after which, the facility is set to close permanently. The purse account, said Nader, is overpaid by some $3.1 million. "There's a pretty big overpayment that's been building," said Nader. "They're looking to claw some of it back,...

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Golden Gate Closure: The Breeders' Takes

Tom Clark is the owner and manager of Rancho San Miguel, where more than 400 horses currently roam a sprawling 250-acres in California's San Luis Obispo County. He owns and manages the farm with his wife, Nancy. They have run it since 2000. The farm is a lynchpin of the state's breeding industry, housing as it does such workhorses of the California breeding shed as Sir Prancealot (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}), Danzing Candy (Twirling Candy) and Mo Forza (Uncle Mo). But Clark harbors a grim prediction for the future of the...

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For the Good of Racing, NYRA Needs to Bite the Bullet on the Belmont

There's no easy fix for the Triple Crown or one that satisfies all three tracks. But a fix is needed. With most trainers reluctant to run their horses back on just two weeks' rest, the GI Preakness S. is reeling. The connections of Rich Strike (Keen Ice), the GI Kentucky Derby winner, committed what would have been considered blasphemy 20 years ago and skipped the Preakness to rest up for the GI Belmont S. This year, Derby winner Mage (Good Magic) was the only Derby starter to run back in...

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Senator Feinstein Pens Letter to Stronach Group About Golden Gate Closure

California Senator Dianne Feinstein issued a letter Wednesday to The Stronach Group (TSG), which owns Golden Gate Fields, requesting answers to the reasons behind the planned closure of the track at the end of the year, and the impacts from the company's decision on other industry sectors. Since TSG announced on July 15 with a short statement light on detail the closure of Golden Gate Fields--a momentous decision that figures to upend a way of life for many in California--the company has remained publicly mum when pressed about the decision....

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Greg Ferraro Q&A, Part II: HISA Rollout “Inconsistent and Uneven”

After Sunday's announcement that The Stronach Group (TSG) will close at the end of the year its flagship Northern California racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, the company at the helm of the sale has gone silent, ignoring all of TDN's requests for comment this week. To bring much-needed illumination on this seismic decision, the TDN spoke Thursday morning with Greg Ferraro, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) chairman. Among several points raised, Ferraro shared his thoughts on the need for a fixed hub of racing in Northern California to secure the...

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Hollendorfer Writs Denied in CHRB Case

The Superior Court of San Diego judge hearing the case between trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) has denied both writs of mandate filed by the trainer. The two writs constituted a twisty legal knot essentially surrounding which entity--the tracks or the agency regulating California's racing industry--had the ultimate jurisdiction to bar the trainer from licensed premises in the state, a hearing for which was held on Oct. 8. According to Hollendorfer's attorney, Drew Couto, both decisions are appealable, "and those decisions are under consideration." The...

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Hollendorfer, Stronach Group Reach Legal Settlement

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and The Stronach Group (TSG)-controlled subsidiary owners of Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields have reached a settlement in the legal disputes that have been ongoing since 2019, according to notice of settlement court filings dated Wednesday. The details of the settlement were not disclosed in the notices, however. It's currently unknown, therefore, if the terms include any remuneration, for example. It's similarly unknown if the settlement terms open the door to the possibility of Hollendorfer once again training and racing at TSG-owned facilities. TDN reached out...

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CHRB Meeting Highlights NorCal Race Dates

The June California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting put to bed a problem that has been brewing for a few months in the North of California. Due to the fallout from COVID-19, and the ongoing issues surrounding stabling and staff accommodation in the north of California, commissioners voted to switch the three-week State Fair--scheduled to run July 14 to Aug. 3 at Cal Expo--to Pleasanton to be run over a shortened window: July 14 through July 20. Golden Gate Fields has also been allocated an additional two weeks of racing,...

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Massive Laurel Horse Move-Out Preakness Week

Difficulties with the dirt track base repair and cushion resurfacing project at Laurel Park continue to mount, with the loose-ended timetable for the work now expected to extend at least until the start of July. Executives with The Stronach Group (TSG), which owns both Laurel and Pimlico Race Course, said during a Friday tele-meeting that they now need to pause work on the problematic and expensive project at Laurel until management can relocate of all horses stabled at Laurel to other facilities in Maryland. This news was delivered two weeks...

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Hollendorfer Files Amended Complaint Against Stronach Group, Writ Against CHRB

Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, barred from The Stronach Group's (TSG) California facilities since June of last year, has fired the latest legal salvo in his ongoing dispute with the company with a first amended complaint against the Los Angeles Turf Club (LATC)--at Santa Anita--filed late last month in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. "We're playing the cards that we are dealt," said Hollendorfer's attorney, Drew Couto, about the reasons behind the latest complaint. "We sought provisional remedies from the outset--we're trying to mitigate his losses by getting...

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