NEWS AND NOTES
May 3, 2013
Legislation Would Give Usada Authority Over Drugs in Racing
Two lawmakers contend that the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) is the most effective agency to regulate horse racing.
The proposed Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (Senator Tom Udall – D, NM and Representative Joe Pitts – R, PA) would give Usada the authority to develop rules for permitted and prohibited substances, and it also would create testing and stiffer penalty programs for horse racing nationally, replacing the patchwork state-by-state system currently in place.
Unlike previous bills, which were not enacted, the new one would enable Usada to act as the antidoping body without amending the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 or involve any federal agency or regulation, increasing hopes for its passage. It would be financed by the industry — racetracks, horsemen groups, breeders and owners — through either a percentage of the betting handle or a series of fees.
If states and their industry stakeholders decline to adopt and adhere to Usada’s rules and penalties under the proposed bill, they would not be allowed to participate in interstate wagering.
The horse racing industry estimates that a total of $35 million is already spent on integrity issues on a state-by-state basis.
Six Derby Horses Made Salix-Free Debuts
According to a Blood-Horse article, six horses entered in this year’s Kentucky Derby made their initial starts without race-day Salix, but all six—along with every other horse in the field—will receive the diuretic used to prevent exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) prior to the Derby.
The group of six includes Derby morning-line favorite Orb, who was not given the furosemide Salix (also referred to as Lasix) in any of his four juvenile starts. The other four U.S.-based horses who started their careers without receiving race-day Salix are Java’s War, Frac Daddy, Will Take Charge, and Oxbow. Salix is allowed to be administered on race day in the United States and all five U.S.-based horses eventually were moved to race-day Salix.
The sixth horse in the group is Lines of Battle, who has made most of his starts in Europe and Dubai, where race-day Salix is prohibited. He will receive Salix for the first time before the Derby after six previous starts without it.
Orb’s Racing Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey would prefer that no horses race on Salix, but said under the current rules it is difficult to keep pace with rivals that are using the diuretic. After registering his maiden win in his fourth career start, his final effort without Salix, Orb has registered an undefeated season in three starts this year including a victory in the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) while receiving Salix.
Opponents of Salix use have called it performance-enhancing but horsemen who support Salix say it allows horses to run at their optimum level because their breathing is not hindered by EIPH.
Four of the five U.S.-based horses in this year’s Derby field who started their careers without using Salix on race day won in their first starts on the diuretic. The average BRIS speed figure jump for this group going from their final race without Salix to their first race with Salix was 7.5 points (Oxbow was not counted in this statistic because he failed to complete his one race without Salix and was not assigned a speed figure).
Not counting Lines of Battle, who has not raced against opponents using Salix, the five horses who raced without Salix in this year’s field posted a record of two wins from nine starts (22.2%) without the race-day diuretic. In races with Salix, the same group of horses has won 11 of 27 starts (40.7%).
Battle of the X’s Results
Several months ago, 10 trainers from around the country were assigned an off-track Thoroughbred from Dallas and Donna Keen’s Remember Me Rescue to retrain for a rewarding new career. Upon conclusion of last Saturday’s All-Thoroughbred Horse Show at Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, those trainers and horses competed in the Battle of the X’s, a competition to demonstrate that retired or rescued racehorses can be successfully re-trained in different disciplines.
First place went to trainer Danielle Tursky of Second Chance Thoroughbreds in Jackson, Tennessee and her assigned horse, Canuki, who has trained very well as a jumper. Many will recall Canuki as the unsuccessful racehorse who was sold to an equine processing plant located in Quebec, Canada. Thanks to the vocalization and efforts of numerous equine advocates, Canuki was saved and eventually made his way to Texas to be rehabilitated and started down the path of retraining.
Second place went to trainer Farley Sliss of Sliss Performance Horses in Gainesville, Texas for 13-year-old Texas-bred Lady Charlie’s Boy (Conquer – Lady Charlie B.). Lady Charlie’s Boy has now completed 4 months training as a show horse.
Trainer Tommy Mather of Lone Grove, Oklahoma captured third place with six-year-old Florida-bred Future Covenant (Wildcat Heir – Unbridled Treasure), who is in training as a working cow horse. Future Covenant was retired from racing with a record of 20-3-2-2 and career earnings of $100,510.
After the competition, the horses were auctioned, with proceeds benefitting Remember Me Rescue. The previous evening, Lone Star Park hosted a celebrity gala and with live and silent auctions where over $30,000 was raised for RMR.
CNN: Former Racehorses Get a Second Chance at Life
Here’s a great article about second careers for former racehorses that prominently mentions Lynn Reardon of LOPE (“LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers”) and LOPE graduate Wooden Phone. Accessible at http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/03/living/racehorses-second-chances/index.html, the story is currently the top feature on CNN.com.
Martha Claussen has penned a terrific article about Jake Ballis, a Thoroughbred owner from Houston who has shared his experience with a childhood friend, NBA Star Rashard Lewis. The story can be read on the TTA website and Facebook page as well as at http://surebetracingnews.com/jake-ballis-texas-thoroughbred-owner-sharing-the-experience/.
Texas Connection in the Derby
Texas-bred Stage Stop won the $100,000 M2 Technology La Senorita Stakes in 2006 at Retama Park. The daughter of all-time leading Texas stallion Valid Expectations has gone on to produce Grade 3 winner She Digs Me and Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Mylute. Both were bred by TTA member Mike Rutherford, and Mylute is set to run in Saturday’s $2 million Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs with Rosie Napravnik riding.
NOTES…Both of the $75,000 divisions of the Texas Stallion Stakes for 3-year-olds are carded for Saturday, May 11th with a $500 entry payment and a $1,000 starting fee…The $50,000 Lane’s End Stallion Scholarship Stakes will also run that day, with entries closing May 2nd…May 31 is the deadline to accredit foals of 2012 at the member rate of $75…The next meeting of the TTA Board of Directors is scheduled for June 15 at Lone Star Park.