Turfway Park

The Week in Review: 31 Shades (and Counting) of Derby Gray

   Gray horses have been in a GI Kentucky Derby rut the past 15 years. No fewer than 31 consecutive grays (or roans) have gone to post without winning on the first Saturday in May (or September) since Giacomo roared home in front at 50-1 in 2005. That's the longest Derby drought for grays in terms of consecutive starts since 1930, when Churchill Downs began compiling detailed records related to horse colors. There's an asterisk as to whether it's the longest stretch in terms of years. There was a 17-year...

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WVRC Chair Wants Charles Town to Switch to Synthetic

Although he stopped short of saying that a surface change at Charles Town Races might soon be mandated by state racing regulators, West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC) chairman Ken Lowe Jr. made it clear during Tuesday's meeting that he will be advocating for a synthetic surface to replace the traditional dirt that comprises the track's six-furlong oval. Lowe's Apr. 20 comments came against the backdrop of 11 equine fatalities at Charles Town so far in 2021. The track is closed for racing Wednesday through Saturday this week to perform maintenance...

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Under Glare of Probing Questions, Curious Answers in Kentucky

The Week in Review by T.D. Thornton In theory, state racing commissions are supposed to provide a layer of checks and balances by making both racetrack operators and horsemen accountable for their actions. In practice though, that often doesn't happen because regulators in many jurisdictions fail to ask probing questions of licensees during open, public meetings. In Kentucky, for example, if you want the most concise on-the-record snapshot of what's going on with the circuit, the best source generally isn't a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) meeting. Instead, the proceedings...

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Floroplus DQ'd From Turfway Win For Lidocaine

Floroplus (City Zip), a Turfway Park-based gelding who won three straight races in March, has been disqualified for the second of those victories after post-race testing revealed a 3-hydroxylidocaine (lidocaine) positive. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has voided the win and redistributed purse money for the Mar. 18 victory by Floroplus in an $18,000 claiming sprint. Trainer Kim Hammond has been penalized with a $500 fine and a 30-day suspension, 15 days of which will be stayed because of "mitigating circumstances (number of violations in relation to overall record)." The...

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MSW Purses to Top $100K During Derby Week and at KY Downs

Purse levels for maiden special weight (MSW) races on the Kentucky circuit are projected to push past the $100,000 mark both during GI Kentucky Derby week at Churchill Downs and in September at the Kentucky Downs all-turf meet. In addition, Kentucky Downs plans to expand its stakes program to include two new $1 million races in 2021, giving the venue a total of three stakes at that level. (Read more details here). Ben Huffman, the director of racing at Churchill Downs, confirmed during a video meeting of the Kentucky Thoroughbred...

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Turfway Park Meet Concludes with 36.5% All Sources Handle Increase

A stout 36.5% increase of all sources handle, along with a rise in starters per race, topped Turfway Park's 38-day Winter/Spring meet that opened Jan 1. and concluded Saturday. Turfway Park's meet saw overall handle grow to $81.7 million, a $21.9-million increase from 2020. All sources handle per day was up 32.9%. The average field size topped 9.8 horses per race compared to 2020's 9.7 starters per race. "We can't thank our owners, trainers, jockeys and horseplayers enough for supporting our meet," Turfway Park's General Manager Chip Bach said. "Our...

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Godolphin homebred Wins Bourbonette Oaks

Adventuring opened her career with three off-turf races at Fair Grounds, most recently romping to a 6 1/2-length maiden score going one mile and 70 yards in New Orleans Feb. 16. Moving to the synthetic for this stakes debut, the bay filly was well off the pace set by the loose-on-the-lead Spritz. She made eye-catching progress on the far turn and stormed to the lead into the stretch, momentarily drifting out as the pacesetter fought back along the rail, but Adenturing powered clear once righted for a confident tally. Adventuring...

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Like the King Sizzles in Steaks

M Racing Group LLC's Like the King (Palace Malice) parlayed a farther back than normal trip into a breakout victory in Saturday's GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park, earning 100 GI Kentucky Derby qualifying points in the process. Off at 7-1, the Wesley Ward pupil broke cleanly from the rail but was unhurried by Drayden Van Dyke and settled into a midpack spot while hugging the fence around the first turn. Dropping farther back down the backside behind a strong pace, he was switched out for clear sailing heading...

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Morey Barn Ready to Make Some Noise

Trainer William Morey picked up three for his stable while shopping the 2-year-old sales in Ocala last spring. Two of them, led by the streaking GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks-bound Hush of a Storm (Creative Cause), will compete on Saturday's loaded program at Turfway Park. "Two have won stakes, and, of course, the other filly hasn't made the races," Morey said. "We've had some bitter and sweet, but lots of sweet along the way." Hush of a Storm, a $75,000 OBS Spring purchase (:21 3/5; consigned by de Meric Sales) by...

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Citing Need to 'Chase Profitability,' CDI Outlines Different Paths for IL, KY Tracks

An earnings conference call with investors Thursday morning underscored that Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), intends to sell Arlington International Racecourse near Chicago for "non-horse racing" purposes. The gaming corporation with six Thoroughbred tracks in its portfolio also announced Feb. 25 that the previously halted reconstruction project at Turfway Park has resumed now that a Kentucky bill to legally redefine historical horse race [HHR] gaming has been signed into law. But pandemic-delayed flagship property plans for a hotel, HHR facility, and track amenities expansion at Churchill Downs itself all remain on...

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HHR Bill With Support of Kentucky Senate President to be Filed Feb. 2

A Kentucky State Senator whose district includes Turfway Park said Thursday that he intends to file legislation and hold a hearing next week to make historical horse race (HHR) gaming legal, "maintaining the status quo" for the revenue flow that annually contributes tens of millions of dollars to purses in the state. "Next week, I will file legislation to keep historical horse racing operational in Kentucky," Senator John Schickel (R-Union) stated in a Jan. 28 press release first published by WTVQ.com. "The bill, which I am pleased to say will...

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Turfway Operator Error Led to Pavement Chunks in New Tapeta Surface

Human error on the part of a heavy equipment operator at Turfway Park has been identified as the cause of several chunks of pavement being discovered in the recently installed Tapeta Footings synthetic track at Turfway Park that just opened for racing in December. During the Jan. 26 Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) advisory board meeting, Tyler Picklesimer, Turfway's director of racing and racing secretary, was asked to update the board on how the new Tapeta surface was performing. Picklesimer told the board members via teleconference that, "We've had no...

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