Blasi Rehired by Asmussen: Will Work Out of Saratoga Barn

BlasiScott Blasi, the assistant trainer who was fired by Steve Asmussen after a disparaging video was released by PETA earlier this year, has been rehired and will work out of Asmussen’s barn at Saratoga. Asmussen explained the timing of the re-hiring as a necessity since his operation is spread thin by key races in West Virginia this weekend. Asmussen has barns all around the country and needed Blasi to help out at Saratoga.

Asmussen also told that with Blasi his operation is better.

Blasi said he was glad to be… Read the rest of this entry >>

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Del Mar: Back on the Turf Wednesday

Del Mar#5Del Mar race secretary, David Jerkins, has written three races for the turf Wednesday as grass racing returns to the seaside track following a one day suspension last week. Races 1,3,and 6 will be run on the new turf course that was the scene of four fatal equine injuries last week. The horses had to be euthanized after suffering catastrophic leg injuries while running on the the turf course, the injuries all coming in the first eight days of the new meet.

Saturday evening, track president Joe Harper, after consultation with the Throughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Trainers, the Jockeys’ Guild and the California Horse Racing Board, decided to move the two grass races scheduled for the Sunday, off the turf and onto the polytrack while track superintendent, Lief Dickinson, went over the new course with a fine tooth comb. They watered the track and then aerated it on Monday. Mother Nature… Read the rest of this entry >>

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Shadwell Mile at Keeneland: Newest $1 Million Race

Keeneland#24Keeneland announced Tuesday that the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile will carry a purse of $1 million for its 29th running on Saturday, Oct. 4. With the increase, the Shadwell Turf Mile becomes Keeneland’s first stakes worth $1 million and will rank as one of North America’s richest races held at a mile on the turf.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Shadwell Farm has sponsored the Turf Mile, for horses 3 years old and older, since 1999. The purse was increased to $750,000 in 2012.

The Shadwell Turf Mile, which serves as the cornerstone of Keeneland’s signature Fall Stars Weekend, is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, with the winner automatically qualifying for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). The Shadwell Turf Mile has been won by such champions as Wise Dan, Gio Ponti (twice), Favorite Trick, Itsallgreektome and Steinlen (GB) and major stakes winners Court Vision, Thorn Song, Perfect Soul (IRE) and Landseer (GB). Shadwell Stable (Rick Nichols, lessee) won three editions of the… Read the rest of this entry >>

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Del Mar Jockey Colony: Veterans Mixed With Rising Stars

dmr-jockeysIf one positive can come out of last week’s horrific events at Del Mar, it’s that, with the exception of exercise rider Joe Duran, no rider was seriously hurt in any of the accidents.

The latest on Duran is that he is standing after a couple of days of physical therapy. He had surgery Saturday for four fractured vertabrae. He also suffered three broken ribs and a busted foot when he was unseated when Dance With Fate bolted and ran into a rail.

Jockeys are a tough bunch and the group at Del Mar is tough and good. Hank Wesch has the story:

Gary Stevens would really rather be part of it than one step removed.  Rather be on the inside of the Del Mar jockey colony looking out, than the outside looking in, a Hall of Fame rider providing an expert opinion.

Impending full knee replacement surgery, from which he intends to recover and ride again, has sidelined Stevens.  But it’s put him in a unique position to ponder and give an objective assessment of a 2014 jockey group that is an intriguing mix of young, old, established and rising, in terms… Read the rest of this entry >>

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R-Free Roll Springs Upset in Monday’s G2 Honorable Miss at Saratoga

R-Free Roll#2R Free Roll, making her first start for trainer Danny Gargan, sprung a minor upset on Monday at Saratoga, shooting straight to the lead and holding firmly in the stretch to take the G2 Honorable Miss Handicap for filly and mare sprinters.

Leaving from post 3 under jockey, Paco Lopez, R Free Roll beat Merry Meadow and 6-5 favorite La Verdad to the lead and had a clear advantage through an opening quarter-mile in 22.03 seconds. Merry Meadow drew within a half-length through a half in 45.15, but R Free Roll brushed away the bid and comfortably held off My Wandy’s Girl to prevail by 1 ¼ lengths. Merry Meadow finished an additional… Read the rest of this entry >>

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Delaware Park Cancels Monday Card, Re-scheduled Wednesday

Delaware Park#2Those of you looking forward to playing a little Delaware Park mixed in with the Saratoga card just had your plans foiled by Mother Nature. Delaware Park canceled its Monday card after a vicious storm blew through the area Sunday night, causing a washout that damaged the track at the 1/8 pole. They have re-scheduled the entire eight race card on Wednesday, which became available after track officials canceled the original Wednesday card because of lack of entries.

All of this comes on the heels of a purse reduction last week that track officials said was necessary to complete the 81-day meet. Apparently, the Delaware casino, which provides much of the money used in the race track purses, has seen a drop in business due to other casino competition and the closing of a nearby highway. So, effective August 2nd, purses for many higher-level overnight races will be reduced.

All overnight stakes have been eliminated. An unfortnate hit for the track and the everyday race players who got the occasional mid-week stakes race on a Monday or a Tuesday. Other changes include maiden special weight has been reduced to $30,000 from $35,000, a non-winner of one-other-than-allowance has been reduced to… Read the rest of this entry >>

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Bayern Dominates, Untapable 5th in G1 Haskell at Monmouth Park

Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO.

Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO.

Trainer, Bob Baffert, won his unprecedented seventh G1 Haskell with Bayern, who went wire-to-wire, drawing off in the last 16th of a mile on the Monmouth Park main track to win.

The 3-year old son of Offlee Wild bounded out of the gate and grabbed the early lead, as everyone expected. Bayern got mild pressure on the backstretch and then his rivals turned up the heat as they neared the top of the stretch. That’s when Bayern turned it up a notch, shifting into another gear and pulling away from the field, eventually winning by seven lengths. Albano, laid close to the pace only, like the rest of the field, to get dusted by Bayern. He rallied up the fence to claim a distant second. The filly, Untapable, was a non-threatening 5th.

Baffert did not make the trip to the Jersey Shore, opting instead to remain in California, but in a phone interview he said, “It’s so… Read the rest of this entry >>