News and Notes for November 16, 2018

Right Lane Lukasz (Temple City – Wrenice) will compete in a field of 8 for the $150,000 Zia Park Championship Handicap for 3-year-olds and up going a mile and an eighth on November 21st.

The stakes placed 4-year-old gelding was bred by Stewart Hamblen and now runs for Tom Thurman.  Right Lane Lukasz has a career record of 23-3-7-6 with $79,536 in earnings and is the longshot at 50/1.

According to a National HBPA press release, in an effort to continue supporting and promoting Thoroughbred racing and the encompassing industry, the keynote address at the National HBPA’s annual convention in March 2019 will be a panel of representatives from the recently established Thoroughbred Idea Foundation.

The non-profit Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF) was formed earlier this year to create an active forum for the exchange and curation of ideas with the mission of “improving the Thoroughbred racing industry for all stakeholders, especially its primary customers—horseplayers and owners—through the exchange, curation and advocacy of sound, data-driven ideas shared with and implemented by the sport’s existing entities,” according to the organization’s website, 

The panel is scheduled for March 13, opening day of the three-day Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association Convention at the Sand Key Sheraton Hotel in Clearwater, Fla. Panelists will be board members Craig Bernick, Jack Wolf, and Corey Johnsen.

Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA said, “The Thoroughbred Idea Foundation is committed to putting out productive, well-thought-out ideas that we can all back to make our industry better. There is so much going on that it made sense to have a panel of their representatives — who come from different horse and business backgrounds—rather than just one keynote speaker. This promises to be a can’t-miss session, and I know I can’t wait to hear their thoughts and how we can all work together for positive change that benefits every aspect of our sport.”

“Having been on some other industry boards, they can be so large with such large agendas that sometimes it’s hard to focus on specific areas to improve the economics of the business,” said Bernick, TIF’s founder and a prominent owner and breeder through his family’s Glen Hill Farm. “A group that advocates for the financial drivers of the business—owners and horseplayers—to try to improve the sport from an economic standpoint is necessary. They’re just ideas until you can get them implemented. We hope by speaking to the National HBPA that people understand what we’re about, and we’ll be looking to push some of that stuff forward when it makes sense for horsemen. I don’t think we’ll advocate anything that doesn’t make sense for horsemen.”

Corey Johnsen has earned a reputation as one of the country’s premier and most innovative track executives, who with partner Ray Reid turned Kentucky Downs into a major-league player by taking a gamble on instituting historical horse racing to not only help the track but to strengthen the Kentucky circuit. Johnsen also is a horse owner and breeder who started out as a $2 bettor and groom while attending college in Arizona. He was fundamental in the opening of Remington Park and Lone Star Park and currently is involved in the re-opening of Arizona Downs, formerly Prescott Downs. Under Johnsen’s leadership as track president, Kentucky Downs has been named the Horseplayers Association of North America’s top-ranked track for three straight years.  He is current member of the TTA Board of Directors.

TIF does not take money from industry organizations but rather is funded by individuals from a cross-section of the sport. The core belief is that everyone benefits by taking care of owners and bettors.

TIF already has issued two white papers: advocating for “penny breakage,” where payoffs are calculated by rounding down to the penny instead of to the dime in most jurisdictions, and adopting nationwide an interference philosophy where a horse or rider who impedes another horse won’t be disqualified and placed behind the impacted horse if the stewards believe the impeded horse would not otherwise have finished ahead of the horse causing the interference. (The paper recommends stiffer jockey sanctions for careless riding in instances where there’s not a DQ.)

OWNER CONFERENCE VIDEOS AND KEYNOTE SPEECH NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE Videos of all panels and presentations from the fifth Thoroughbred Owner Conference, including the keynote address by Jon Miller, the president of programming for NBC Sports, are now available at

The owner conference, which was co-hosted by OwnerView and BloodHorse, was held at Churchill Downs to coincide with the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Approximately 250 people attended the conference, and guests came from 30 states and Canada. In addition to Miller’s address, the videos feature discussions with prominent owners, trainers, jockeys, and other racing industry personalities, covering topics including Essentials of Ownership; Selecting and Buying at Sales; State Incentive Programs; Aftercare; and the State of the Industry and the Future of Thoroughbred Racing.

“We are happy to post videos from the Thoroughbred Owner Conference each year so that both our conference attendees as well as those who were unable to attend are able to benefit from the insights shared by our speakers,” said Gary Falter, project manager for OwnerView. “Throughout the years, our guests have indicated that our panels have been educational for all types of owners.”

NOTES: Penn National Gaming Inc., with guidance and approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, began two live money sports betting test days at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course at 3 p.m. Nov. 15.