OUR FRIEND GUS SCHICKENDANZ DIES

COURTESY OF THE TDN

Gus Schickedanz with his longtime trainer Mike Keogh | Dave Landry

By Kelsey Riley

Gustav Schickedanz, a leading owner/breeder in Canada, foxhunting enthusiast and construction magnate, died peacefully on June 17 aged 90 at his home in Schomberg, Ontario, with his family by his side.

What Gus achieved in the Thoroughbred business, with a broodmare band rarely totaling more than 20, was truly remarkable. His pride and joy was his homebred sire Langfuhr (Danzig), who in 1996 won the GI Vosburgh S. and GII Forego H., and in 1997 the GI Carter H. and the GI Met Mile. Langfuhr, standing first at Vinery and later at Lane’s End where he is today pensioned at age 26, would carve out a reputation as a reliable sire of runners over all surfaces and across all distances, his Grade I winners including Whitney H. and Woodward S. winner Lawyer Ron, Arlington Million and Gulfstream Park Turf S. winner Jambalaya and Beldame S. and Gazelle H. winner Imperial Gesture.

Gus’s entire program was built on cultivating his own families and using predominantly his homebred stallions, and thus it is no surprise Langfuhr would go on to be the linchpin of his breeding program in the 21st century. Such a strategy gave Gus Wando, the 2003 Canadian Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year; 11-time stakes winner Mobil, GII Nijinsky S. winner Last Answer and dual Grade III and Canadian Classic winner Marlang. Gus bred Langfuhr from his own homebred mare Sweet Briar Too (Briartic), and he bred the dams of both Wando and Marlang as well. Last Answer, who won his stakes race at age seven, was the 14th and last foal out of Gus’s foundation broodmare Victorious Answer (Northern Answer), who he purchased in 1976 from Windfields Farm. Victorious Answer was Gus’s first stakes winner and produced two black-type winners, and her daughters and granddaughters produced a further 14 stakes winners. Last Answer, who won his stakes race at age seven and ran 44 times, perhaps embodies everything that Gus’s breeding program stands for: the belief in his own carefully nurtured families to produce tough, sound, classy athletes.

Other standouts bred and raced by Gus include the GII Monmouth Oaks winner (and Wando’s dam) Kathie’s Colleen (Woodman), 1999 Queen’s Plate winner Woodcarver (Woodman) and Canadian champion sprinter Glanmire (Briartic). He bred the only Canadian-bred winners of the Kentucky Oaks (Gal in a Ruckus, 1995) and Arlington Million (Jambalaya, 2007). Gus’s horses have earned 10 Sovereign Award trophies, and another testament to his homebred program is the fact that three of those were for Broodmare of the Year. Gus is a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and in April he received one of Canadian racing’s highest honors, the Sovereign Award of Merit. In presenting Gus with his award, Glenn Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm said, “Gus is a true horseman. This is a man that wakes up early to look at his horses. He lives on the farm with his family. He’s a master horseman and rider. He knows a horse from every stage. There is nothing this man can’t do that’s related to a horse.

“If you want the definition of a true homebred program you need look no further than at what Gus has done. The stallion he breeds to is his own stallion, and he breeds it to his mare that is out of another mare he bred and he races the offspring. Gus has been an absolute beacon for all of us.”

Gustav Schickedanz was beating the odds long before he entered the racing game. He was 15 when the Russians attacked his town in Germany in the midst of World War II in 1944 and, with his elders brothers in the army and his father ill, it was up to Gus to lead his family to safety. They all survived.

Six years later, with opportunities limited in war-torn Germany, Gus seized the opportunity to emigrate to Canada, the first country accepting German immigrants after the war. He arrived in July 12, 1950, with the clothes on his back, a toothbrush and $3 in his pocket. He found a job the following day laying bricks for a German contractor for $1.10 an hour and as he later recalled, “I was never unemployed.”

Gus’s elder brothers Gerhard and Kurt, as well as their cousin Dani, arrived in Toronto the following year and the quartet shared an apartment and worked as stonemasons and carpenters. In 1953 they incorporated their construction company Schickedanz Brothers.

Anyone who has ever spent time around Gus could attest to his devotion to family and his loyalty, and the fact that the Schickedanz’s were able to build an extremely successful business as a team and run it harmoniously for more than 60 years is a testament to those qualities. In a biography commissioned by the Schickedanzes in 2011 for family and friends, Gus explained that it was set out in the beginning that the running of Schickedanz Brothers would not be majority rule; all four had to agree on a decision to move it forward. With four stubborn German men at the helm this admittedly led to many a late-night deliberation, but in the end they all emerged on the same page. Today, Schickedanz Brothers owns land in the Greater Toronto Area and as far afield as British Columbia, Alberta, Florida and South Carolina. Shortly after the company was founded Gus married his wife, Ann, and they had four daughters: Lisa, Tina, Susi and Heidi.

Later, when Gus began to grow his breeding and racing operations, those same family values shone through not only in his dedication to his equine families but in his loyalty to his long-serving-and equally as loyal and hard-working-farm manager Lauri Kenny and trainer Mike Keogh. Kenny and Keogh are often described in racing circles as Gus’s “adoptive sons” and have been paramount in his racing success.

Gus, in Germany, had been on the backs of horses nearly from the time he could walk–“I believe I rode at age two and a half, bareback and barefoot,” he recalled-but his passion was set aside for his first decade in Canada to focus on building his business and his family. In 1960, he at last got back in the saddle with the purchase of a handful of Trakehner horses-this breed, originating from his homeland, would be Gus’s mount of choice for Foxhunting and carriage driving. Gus later kept a small string of Trakehners that shuttled between his farms in Ontario and South Carolina, and he rode every morning until well into his 80s. His faithful servants included the geldings Ethos and Kronprinz, and in 2006 he traveled to Germany and paid a record price at auction for Songline, a young Trakehner stallion in training who went on to be a very successful eventer.

In the early 1970s, Gus began buying well-bred fillies-the likes of Victorious Answer-to lay the foundation for his Thoroughbred empire. As Gus well knew himself he also needed the right land on which to nurture his athletes. In 1976 he purchased Longleaf Plantation near Aiken, South Carolina. A few years later followed the property he would dub Schonberg Farm in Schomberg, Ontario–Schonberg meaning ‘beautiful hill’ in German.

When it came to a Thoroughbred, Gus knew what he liked: the compact, strong type as opposed to the longer and leaner, with a short back with “just enough room for a saddle,” he’d often say. He had shares in Woodman and Clever Trick that served him extremely well. His most inspired splurge, however, would prove to be on a nomination to the booked-out Danzig at a Matchmaker auction at Fasig-Tipton in 1990. Gus selected his homebred stakes-winning filly Sweet Briar Too to use the nomination for her first mating, and the result was Langfuhr.

A foal of 1992, Langfuhr was the crown jewel of Gus’s best-ever crop of foals that also included Kathie’s Colleen and My Intended, who later foaled the Canadian champion 2-year-old filly My Vintage Port. Of 20 foals born at Schonberg Farm that year, 17 started, all were winners and seven were stakes winners. The next best individual crop was perhaps the 2000 group that yielded Langfuhr’s sons Wando and Mobil, between them the winners of 18 stakes races and almost $4.4-million. It was those two sons of his prized Langfuhr that pulled Gus back from the brink after a major health scare in 2001, when he suffered a series of strokes. Gus had a Richard Stone Reeves painting of Langfuhr that hung above the fireplace in his sitting room, and he once told me that he sometimes sat for hours and just studied it. When he passed through Lexington en route to South Carolina each winter, Gus would stop and spoil Langfuhr with a giant bag of carrots-the stallion grooms at Lane’s End will tell you the horse knew the sound of Gus’s voice.

Langfuhr, the tenacious, come-from-behind sprinter who went on to beat the odds year-after-year as a sire, perhaps embodied everything Gus had endured and accomplished in his own extraordinary life, and it was plainly obvious that the consummate horseman never once took that for granted.

I met Gus in the summer of 2004 when I was 15 years old on the Woodbine backside after stopping by to see my favorite horse, Wando, on the morning of a race day. I probably bombarded him with stats about his horse, and Gus told me to come back to the barn after the race and meet his wife Ann and farm manager Lauri Kenny. Wando didn’t win that day, but when my parents brought me back to the barn we found them in great spirits. Lauri invited me to visit Schonberg Farm, and I showed up about two weeks later. Lauri told me to give him a call if I was looking for a summer job the following year. I showed up for my first day of work the following fourth of July and, for the next four years, was at the farm just about every moment I wasn’t in class.

There are a few things I’ll never forget about Gus. Every morning, seven days a week, he walked down to the barn in a checkered shirt, blue jeans, black boots and a riding helmet, his dog Moby at his heels. He stopped en route to his morning ride to look at each mare and foal as they were turned out. He would then head on about a mile walk down to his barn of riding horses. As Gus aged and slowed down a little, he only started his walk earlier; he never drove to his morning ride.

Gus lived on the farm from the time he purchased it and he truly knew every building, every fence line and every tree. He often got down and dirty during big projects and he’d frequently drive the tractors and pull the wagons during haying season.

I remember Lauri telling me before I started that as a boss Gus was “tough, but fair,” and that couldn’t have been more true. He expected hard work, but if you delivered, he and Ann truly did treat you like family. When Ann took off for a drive around the farm she’d come armed with food for whoever she saw along the way. If she forgot, she’d turn around and return with something.

Gus’s positive attitude was infectious. When asked how he was, his response was almost always, “if I was any better, I wouldn’t know what to do.” He would grab your arm and squeeze it during conversation when he was excited, and sometimes slap you on the back so hard you’d lose your breath. Many a jockey surely suffered a bruised thigh when returning aboard a winner thanks to his exuberant slaps. On the contrary, if he lost, Gus was the ultimate sportsman. “That’s horse racing,” he would say, followed by his trademark, “amen.”

What Gus gave me is completely immeasurable. A massive leg up and education in the racing business, yes, but more importantly, memories that will last a lifetime and a second family that I remain very close with. Gus, you were the most incredible, inspiring, irreplaceable man. Today, I’ll raise a glass of Oban (and the other half) to you and say thank you. Amen.

Pletcher: Coal Front Finally Getting The Credit He Deserves Ahead Of Metropolitan

Courtesy of the Paulick Report

Jose Ortiz celebrates his first Dubai winner aboard Coal Front

It is a tribute to the strength of the field for Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap that a horse who hasn’t lost since last winter and whose most recent effort toppled an international gathering of standouts is no better than fifth choice on the morning line for the historic eight-furlong test.

Earning accolades the hard way is something the Todd Pletcher-trained Coal Front is well versed in, however. The son of Stay Thirsty has had his career interrupted due to various ailments, but has returned in recent months with his best form yet – something that will be needed in an especially salty edition of the Met Mile featuring six Grade 1 winners in the field of nine.

After winning the Grade 3 Gallant Bob in September of 2017, Coal Front went to the sidelines and didn’t resurface until the following November when he was fifth in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap. He has failed to put a foot wrong since, ending his 2018 season with a victory in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector last December and then successfully stretching out to 1 1/16-miles in taking the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap in his 2019 seasonal bow on February 18.

That outing earned the 5-year-old ridgling the chance to dive into some ambitious waters overseas in the Grade 2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan Racecourse March 30. With 200 meters to go, he appeared set to settle for runner-up honors behind defending race winner Heavy Metal. When the finish line was ultimately breached, though, it was Coal Front’s dark bay frame getting up just in time to give his seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer his first-ever win on Dubai World Cup night.“The win in Dubai was a lot of fun for our whole team. To have our first win in Dubai was great but also rewarding because of the horse,” Pletcher said of Coal Front. “He’s had some layoffs along the way and he’s always come back and been remarkably consistent. It was fun to see him get the credit he deserves.”

When he’s right, Coal Front’s talent has rarely failed to garner him the best kind of attention. Owned by Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, Coal Front has won 7-of-9 career starts including an allowance victory over future Grade 1 winner Patternrecognition in an allowance race at Belmont Park in June 2017.

“In Coal Front’s case, I think one thing that has allowed him to get even better this year is he’s learned to relax early on in his races,” said Pletcher, who has won the Met Mile twice previously, saddling Quality Road to victory in 2010 and Palace Malice in 2014. “I wish we wouldn’t have drawn the 1 hole but hopefully he’s seasoned enough to overcome that.”

MUCHO GUSTO DRAWS RAIL IN LAZARO BARRERA STAKES

Mucho Gusto wins the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park
Mucho Gusto wins the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Benoit Photo

Mucho Gusto Draws Rail in Lazaro Barrera Stakes.

Sold by KIRKWOOD for $625,000 at Timonium last year

In his first start since finishing third as the favorite in the Sunland Park Derby (G3), Michael Petersen’s Mucho Gusto will return to sprinting in the $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) May 18 at Santa Anita Park.

A seven-furlong test for 3-year-olds, the Lazaro Barrera attracted six entries, with Mucho Gusto drawing the rail. Regular rider Joe Talamo will be aboard.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Mucho Gusto led the 1 1/8-mile Sunland Park Derby early while racing inside before fading in the stretch in the March 24 test at Sunland Park. Before that effort, the son of Mucho Macho Man  drew off to a 4 3/4-length victory in the Feb. 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) on a sloppy track at Santa Anita.

Last year, Mucho Gusto scored his maiden win at six furlongs at Los Alamitos Race Course and followed with a clear victory in the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) going seven furlongs at Del Mar. He then earned a runner-up finish to stablemate Improbable—Saturday’s morning-line favorite for the Preakness Stakes (G1)—in the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity (G1).

Also returning to sprinting Saturday is Del Secco DCS Racing’s Sparky Ville, who won the seven-furlong Feb. 10 San Vicente Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. Trained by Jeff Bonde, the son of Candy Ride  will be making his first start since an off-the-board finish in the April 27 California Derby at 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields.

ENTRIES: LAZARO BARRERA S. (G3)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, May 18, 2019, Race 8

  • Grade III
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo
  • 4:30 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1Mucho Gusto (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Joseph Talamo 124 Bob Baffert 4/5
2 2Sparky Ville (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Victor Espinoza 124 Jeff Bonde 5/2
3 3Principe Carlo (CA) Ruben Fuentes 120 Marcelo Polanco 12/1
4 4Vantastic (FL)Keeneland Sales Graduate Flavien Prat 120 Peter Eurton 5/1
5 5Manhattan Up (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Tiago Josue Pereira 120 Philip A. Oviedo 6/1
6 6Synthesis (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Rafael Bejarano 120 George Papaprodromou 12/1

Pletcher-Trained Coal Front ‘Going According To Schedule’ For Met Mile

Pletcher-Trained Coal Front ‘Going According To Schedule’ For Met Mile

by NYRA Press Office | 05.10.2019 | 2:08pm

Jose Ortiz celebrates his first Dubai winner aboard Coal Front

Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners’ Coal Front continued his preparations for the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap when he breezed four furlongs in 50.55 seconds on Friday morning at Belmont for trainer Todd Pletcher.

The move was the son of Stay Thirsty’s second work since an overseas triumph in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on March 30 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

“I thought he worked really well, consistently with what we’ve been seeing before he went to Dubai,” Pletcher said. “It seemed like he shipped back with some good energy, good weight and all the all the signs that you would hope for coming back from a long trip like that. I was very happy with the breeze this morning and everything is going according to schedule so far.”

A five-time graded stakes winner at five different tracks, Coal Front has won three races in a row. Prior to his international endeavor, he won the Mr. Prospector on December 22 at Gulfstream Park and the Razorback on February 18 at Oaklawn Park. Both are Grade 3 events.

The colt was bred in Kentucky by Michael Edward Connelly, and LaPenta purchased Coal Front for $575,000 at Ocala Breeders Sales Company’s 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April 2016.

Pletcher also spoke of Marconi, who won his second straight stakes race in Thursday evening’s Flat Out and said that the well-bred son of Tapit would target the Grade 2 $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational as part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on June 8.

In the 1 3/8-mile event over the main track, Marconi sat just off of pacesetter Tour de Force and took command at the top of the stretch to draw off by 2 ¾ lengths under a patient ride by Jose Lezcano.

“It was exactly the way that we thought it would unfold on paper,” Pletcher said. “We were able to get into a good comfortable gallop and I thought he ran a really big race.”

Owned by Bridlewood Farm, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, Marconi is a half-brother to 2013 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. He was a $2 million purchase from the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Pletcher also noted that graded stakes winner Bellavais is possible for the Grade 1 $700,000 Longines Just a Game on Belmont Stakes Day. The daughter of Tapit breezed a half-mile in 49.90 seconds over the Belmont training track on Thursday morning. Two-time winner Last Judgment, ninth in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs last Saturday as the second choice, will target the $150,000 Easy Goer.

Competitive Edge Filly Big Score

The Competitive Edge filly consigned as Hip 129 in the ring at the Keeneland April Sale
The Competitive Edge filly consigned as Hip 129 in the ring at the Keeneland April SaleKeeneland Photo/Photos by Z

Competitive Edge Filly Big Score

Le Competition breezed fastest quarter-mile in pre-sale workout at Keeneland

Breeders Steve and Jane Long knocked it out of the park April 9 at the Keeneland April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale when a filly from the first crop of Competitive Edge  was purchased by Shepherd Equine Advisers, agent, for $235,000.

Consigned as Hip 129 by Kirkwood Stables, the filly named Le Competition breezed the fastest quarter-mile over the dirt, getting the distance in :21 1/5.

Le Competition is out of the Bellamy Road  mare Lefreakcestchic, who was purchased by Ed Price for $14,000 on behalf of Steve Long from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency to the 2017 The February Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s winter mixed sale. At the time, the mare was carrying the Competitive Edge filly in utero.

“We’re floored,” Jane Long said, crediting their 34-year-old son Brooks with the initial purchase. “He did all the homework, liked the breeding, liked the race records, and Competitive Edge as a first-year sire. We were all aboard. We looked at her but we couldn’t be here when she was selling and had gone home and made the bid over the phone.”

Pennsylvania natives, the Longs own three broodmares and are hands-on horse people. When they came to Lexington for the April sale—a 10-hour drive—they also brought two mares with them to drop off at Indian Creek Farm, where they will be bred this season to Practical Joke  and Classic Empire . Le Competition was the last recorded foal for Lefreakcestchic, who was most recently bred to Blofeld for 2019.

“We do everything ourselves,” Jane Long said. “We’re getting just a touch of the commercial side.”

The filly was the first for the Longs in association with Kip Elser of Kirkwood. The agreement was initially put together because Elser wanted to purchase the filly as a yearling.

“We weren’t ready to part with her but we said, ‘If he wanted to buy her as a yearling, maybe he would like to sell her as a 2-year-old,'” Jane Long said. “He was gracious enough to take her.”

The Longs said they enjoyed the days leading up to the sale, which included a trip to Keeneland during opening weekend of the Spring Meet for a stakes-laden Saturday card.

“Keeneland has treated us awesome,” Steve Long said.

“This is a great venue,” said Jane Long

Kirkwood’s Competitive Edge filly gets fastest quarter in 21.1

Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables sent out Monday’s fastest quarter-mile breezer when Le Competition(Competitive Edge) worked in :21 1/5. The dark bay filly is out of the unraced Lefreakcestchic (Bellamy Road), a half-sister to multiple stakes placed He’s So Chic (Jump Start) and from the family of graded stakes winners Living Vicariously, With Distinction and Sightseeing.

“We had as good and as safe a track as we could possibly have under the conditions,” said Elser, who sent out eight horses to work Monday. “They did a great job with the track. The horses went well and everybody came home well. I think some of them were more confident going over the mud than others, but those are today’s conditions.”

Of Le Competition, Elser said, “She is one that really relished a wet track. I was in the chute, I didn’t see her frontside, but I know she galloped out past me tremendously.”

Diverse Panel Voices Horse Racing Integrity Act Support

Terry Finley at the Ocala Breeders' Sales March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training
Terry Finley at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training

Photos by Z

Diverse Panel Voices Horse Racing Integrity Act Support

Respected panel presented at Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club meeting.

Saying horse racing is at a tipping point in terms of public acceptance, panelists at the April 2 Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club meeting voiced support for the 2019 Horse Racing Integrity Act (H.R. 1754) as a way to move the industry forward.

A full house of both industry veterans and young blood packed into Copper Roux in Lexington, Ky., as a diverse panel of five discussed the importance of recognizing the general public’s perception and where the sport goes from here.

Fasig-Tipton president and CEO Boyd Browning, Kirkwood Stables owner Kip Elser, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital surgeon Dr. Larry Bramlage, Blackwood Stables co-owner Matt Hogan, and West Point Thoroughbreds president and CEO Terry Finley all expressed concern for the future of racing and the belief that the Horse Racing Integrity Act could help move the sport in a positive direction. The bill—sponsored by Rep. Andy Barr, a Kentucky Republican, and Rep. Paul Tonko, a New York Democrat—would establish an independent non-profit to develop and administer national anti-doping and medication rules, as well as develop testing and laboratory standards.

Medication rules currently fall under the jurisdiction of each of the more than 30 states that allow horse racing.

In beginning the Horse Racing Integrity Act conversation, KTFMC president Carl McEntee noted perception is reality.

“It doesn’t matter whatever side of the fence you guys sit on, whether you’re pro or anti any form of drug that we use in this industry,” he said. “The simple fact is that the perception from those not involved in the Thoroughbred industry is poor. They think we beat our horses, we feed them full of drugs, and then we kill them in the end. It’s horrible to say that, but that is the perception.”

Bramlage suggested horse racing take a page from the NFL on how to handle a public relations crisis by making significant rule changes. When the NFL was faced with players suffering concussions and dealing with side effects of depression, suicide, and entering hospice prematurely, the organization changed the game.

“Now you can’t hit somebody with your face mask like I learned when I was a kid playing football. I really liked football,” Bramlage said. “They are the example of how you take what could be a crippling issue—the idea that every kid who plays football is going to end up with a mental disease because they’re hitting their head over and over—to eliminating how they hit their head.”

Bramlage noted he has changed his mind on federal legislation in horse racing, saying he first hated the idea of Congress becoming involved. Now, he believes there needs to be a bill in place that pressures the industry to make positive changes that improve the industry. He said a united industry voice needs to speak for the bill so it doesn’t stall in Congress with divided industry opinions.

“If you read it closely, the government is not taking over our industry unless we screw up,” he said. “They have supervisory capability, but if we do a good job, there’s no reason to step in. There’s no cost to it.”

Browning used the experience of shopping at Whole Foods as an example of how the public’s perception on animal treatment has changed. Consumers now want organic products and to ensure their food was handled ethically.

“I think we’re delusional with many respects within our industry,” he said. “We sit here and argue within our industry about what’s right and wrong, and we don’t know what the hell the general public’s perception of us is.”

He added both track attendance and handle, when adjusted for inflation, are shrinking.

“We’re ignoring the root issues the public cares about,” he said.

The point was made that the racing industry is capable of working together to make a change. Multiple sales companies put their foot down with off-label use of bisphosphonates, which Bramlage said can disrupt the remodeling process in horses under 4.

“I think it’s wonderful how the industry came together so quickly and has regulated and banned bisphosphonates when they have shown to be dangerous,” Esler said. “Here’s a drug that had legitimate uses when it was first developed. It was prescribed for several years. The side effects and the misuse were discovered, and the industry got together and said, ‘No more.’ I think that is a great example of what this industry can do when our backs are to the wall.”

However, Esler also noted what the industry has yet to agree upon.

“The dragon in the room is Lasix,” Esler said of the diuretic used to prevent or reduce the severity of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. “It is the most divisive issue in the whole industry.”

Finley’s solution to move forward with split opinions, such as Lasix, was to take those issues off the table and have a group of key stakeholders sit down and figure out what they can agree on to better the horse racing industry. He said New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association president Joe Appelbaum could be a driving force.

Finley also pointed out it would only take 600,000 signatures for a horse racing ban to be placed on the ballot in California. The issue already has made national news and caught the attention of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat. Feinstein wrote a letter April 2 to the California Horse Racing Board calling for the suspension of racing in the state until the 23 equine deaths at Santa Anita Park since its Dec. 26 opening day are investigated.

“Certainly, this is an opportunity,” Finley said. “I think five years from now, we’ll look back and we’ll see we either took advantage of an opportunity, albeit a very turbulent period in our industry—I might say the toughest period in our industry in a long time, if ever—or we’ll look back in five years and say we squandered an opportunity.”

Hogan made sure to note that those who work in the industry do so because they love the animals. He encouraged the audience to speak with legislators to make major changes in the horse racing industry.

“You work night and day. Even if you’re at a point in your life where you’re not having to work night and day, but you did to get where you are in this business,” Hogan said. “It’s blood, sweat, and tears all the way in this game. You do it because you love the animals.

“It’s kind of disheartening to see all this stuff in the media now. Every media channel, social media, newspapers across the country, national news.”

Hogan added that if nothing is done to improve the current state of horse racing, the effects could be immediate.

“I’m worried about right now,” he said. “I’m not worried about whether my kids are going to take to any of this stuff going forward. I’m worried about what I’m going to do.”

Bramlage put it bluntly, in terms of the current environment.

“Dead horses and drugs will never be acceptable.”

 

Splashy Kisses Among Supplements To Keeneland April Sale

Splashy Kisses

 

 

Two 3-year-old graded stakes-placed fillies, Sweet Diane and Splashy Kisses, are among six horses – five horses of racing age and one juvenile – supplemented to the Keeneland April 2-Year-Olds In Training and Horses of Racing Age Sale on April 9.

Splashy Kisses, a filly by Blame, finished second in the 2018 G2 Pocahontas Stakes and third in the G3 Sweet Life Stakes at Santa Anita Park in February. She is consigned by Claiborne Farm, agent.

SPLASHY KISSES was a member of the first Kirkwood Gallop Group at Gulfstream, She was sold for $100,000 to Dennis O’Neill / ERJ Racing

The digital Horses of Racing Age Sale catalog is available online by clicking here. The digital catalog features Daily Racing Form past performances, and Thorograph and Ragozin sheets. Sellers also have the opportunity to submit professional walking and/or conformation videos and professional photography of the horses to accompany this information.

 

The April Sale to date has cataloged 73 juveniles in addition to the horses of racing age. An addition to the catalog is a 2-year-old filly by Will Take Charge who is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Big Trouble and stakes-placed Silver Lining John and Silver Sidney, consigned by Wavertree Stables, agent. Click here for the 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale catalog.

Keeneland will host a preview day featuring breezes by cataloged 2-year-olds over both the dirt track and turf course on Monday, April 8, beginning at 11 a.m. The sale on Tuesday begins at 2 p.m.