Jenny - Clean

IN a new service for followers of the letsgohorseracing web-site we plan to run a regular round-up of global racing news which we feel sure will be of interest to our readers.

We run this courtesy of many horse racing news services throughout the world and wish to record our thanks for the opportunity to reproduce these stories from so many wonderful sources.


IT would appear that while most other sports in the United States were in decline in 2009, racing has been holding its own as the second largest spectator sport after football with over 5.7 million attendees – marginally up on 2008.

This is the seventh time in as many years that more than 5.7 million people have passed through US racing's turnstiles.

“Our feeling is that we're doing well, but could do better,” said Stephen Atkin, chief executive of the RCA. “We want to take it to seven million within the next three to five years.

“Racing For Change and the RCA are all one big happy family and there's a lot of enthusiasm from every course. Obviously, 2010 is going to be difficult, but hopefully we can hold our own and improve the figures significantly.

“The figures confirm the continuing appeal of racing as a leisure activity and that the sport can meet people's ever increasing desire for value.”

Last year attendances peaked in July when nearly 900,000 people went racing while they dipped to their lowest in February, with just 138,000. Saturday was the most popular day with Tuesday the least popular.

In all 3,391,562 people went to 595 turf Flat fixtures, 2,037,488 people went to 506 jumps fixtures while 267,318 sampled the delights of the all-weather.



A $1 MILLION turf sprint has been added to the card for the inaugural Dubai World Cup meeting at the new billion-dollar Meydan racecourse on Saturday March 27.

The Group 3 Al Quoz Sprint will be run over the straight course, which distinguishes Meydan from the Nad Al Sheba track that was used for 14 years.

The traditional 6f race on the card, the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, worth $2m, has been retained as part of an eight-race card.

Despite speculation to the contrary, the race - formerly a straight 1200m dirt contest - will be run on the inner Tapeta all-weather circuit, around a bend.

The Al Quoz Sprint was a race formerly held earlier in the carnival, with a purse of only $200,000 when it was won by J J The Jet Plane in February 2009.

Meydan Board member and racehorse owner Malih Al Basti said: “The highest-rated sprinters are predominantly turf horses and with the rich history of the Golden Shaheen attracting the best from the US, we will now attract the best turf sprinters in the world with the addition of the Al Quoz Sprint.

“The new race is positioned perfectly on the international calendar to enable horses to run in Dubai and then go on to international sprints either at Royal Ascot or Singapore.”

Talks between racing officials from the UK, Australia and Hong Kong are expected to take place in Dubai in March to determine whether the Al Quoz Sprint should become part of the Global Sprint Challenge at a later stage.

With the Dubai World Cup raised to $10 million for its 15th running and a seventh race included for thoroughbreds, the card will offer a total of $26.25 million in prize-money.

The other alterations from previous years, due to the configuration of the new course, are that the Dubai Duty Free will be run over 1800m instead of its previous 1,777m, and the UAE Derby will be extended by 100m from its traditional 1800m distance.

Meydan is due to open on Thursday, January 28, for the six-week, nine-meeting carnival.

Meydan Chairman and Chief Executive Saeed Al-Tayer said: “This year’s running of the Dubai World Cup will not only be a milestone for the sport in the UAE, but also for the rest of the world, as Meydan begins to fulfil its core mission - to be the thoroughbred destination of the world.”

DUBAI WORLD CUP NIGHT PROGRAM - Saturday March 27 2010

Dubai World Cup (Group 1), $10m, 2000m, Tapeta AW

Dubai Sheema Classic (Group 1), $5m, 2400m turf

Dubai Duty Free (Group 1), $5m, 1800m, turf

Dubai Golden Shaheen (Group 1), $2m, 1200m, Tapeta AW

UAE Derby (Group 2), $2m, 1900m, Tapeta AW

Godolphin Mile (Group 2), $1m, 1600m, Tapeta AW

Al Quoz Sprint (Group 3), $1m, 1200m, turf

Dubai Kahayla Classic for purebred arabians (Group 1) $250,000, 2000m Tapeta AW



THE New York Racing Association is calling for harsh penalties for horsemen who directly or indirectly sell a horse for slaughter.

The policy announced also asks horsemen to support horse rescue, adoption initiatives and to find humane ways of dealing with horses unable to continue racing.

Owners or trainers would have their stalls permanently revoked from NYRA tracks Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga if it is determined their horses ended up being sold for slaughter.

The policy comes several months after New York horse breeder Ernie Paragallo was banned from racing when 177 malnourished horses were discovered at his upstate farm.

Paragallo was arraigned in August on 35 counts of animal cruelty and could face up to two years in prison and $35,000 in fines.

The policy also comes at a time when horse racing is under intense scrutiny for a range of issues, including the illegal use of drugs, overuse of legal medications and lax oversight and weak penalties on matters concerning the welfare of horses. The NYRA also instructed owners and trainers to know with whom they are dealing when buying and selling horses.

“We are fully committed to protecting our sport’s equine athletes,” said Charles Hayward, NYRA’s president and chief executive. “This policy sends the message that horse slaughter will not be tolerated and that those participating in this practice, either knowingly or for lack of due diligence, will not be welcome at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, or Saratoga.”



FOUR retired racehorses from Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts moved into their new home recently, stepping into sawdust-covered stalls built for them by prison inmates at a 90-acre farm not far from the rocky coastline where the Pilgrims first stepped ashore.

The horses will live at the Plymouth County Sheriff's Farm, where the prisoners converted part of an unused dairy barn into a stable for thoroughbreds that otherwise might be destined for slaughter.

Sheriff's officers aboard Clydesdales and Shires – part of Boston's Mounted Unit before it was disbanded this summer for budgetary reasons – led the racehorses to their stalls.

‘These are great athletes,’ said Suffolk Downs majority owner Richard Fields, who through his family foundation has committed $US135,000 to build and operate the stable.

‘The horses are the real stars of our great sport and they deserve to be taken care of appropriately when they are retired from racing.’

Along with saving the horses, the program gives inmates a chance to learn how to care for the animals and gives them a chance to be licensed as a groomsman, hot-walker or other jobs on the racetrack's backstretch. Inmates who care for the animals also get out of prison for the day and qualify for good-behavior time for their work.

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation has found homes for 3,000 retired racehorses over the past 26 years, finding them adoptive homes or farms where they can live out their retirement. About 600 have gone to prisons in nine states, according to executive directory Diana Pikulski.

Among them are Future Fantasy, which earned $236,860 in his five-year racing career and won nine of his 11 victories at Suffolk Downs. Red Miah, a 10-time winner on the track, frolicked outside in a pen, while Energy Center and Charlie Business nuzzled inside the stable in stalls made of freshly cut pine.

Fields has been a leader in thoroughbred racing's no-slaughter movement since he bought into Suffolk Downs in 2007. If a horse that ended its career at the East Boston oval winds up slaughtered, the trainer and owner will lose their stalls at the track permanently.

But Fields knew that taking a stand wasn't the end of the problem. ‘Once you put in a no-slaughter policy, you have to find a home and another life for the horses,’ he said. ‘I can't think of a better use for them than to be here as part of this therapeutic program.’



INTERNATIONAL jockey Mick Kinane has announced his retirement following a 35-year career in which he won many of horse racing's glamor events, including the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe aboard champion Sea The Stars.

The 50-year-old Kinane made the decision two months after guiding Sea The Stars to victory in the Arc de Triomphe to cap the horse's 6-for-6 season.

In a statement to Britain's Press Association, Kinane said: ‘This is the time to retire from race riding.’

He said he  was still fit but decided to end his career ‘on an incredible high.’

Kinane won the 1990 Belmont Stakes aboard Go and Go. He's also won English Derby three times, the Irish Derby, the Japan Cup, three Breeders' Cup races and the Melbourne Cup.



AMERICAN Hall of Fame jockey, Gary Stevens, has decided to give up the training of his 14-horse stable to devote his time to television work.

Stevens' assignments include NBC's coverage of the prep races for the Triple Crown and a role on a racing-oriented show to be aired by HBO later this year.

“It's all too much - and a new baby (a daughter, Madison),” Stevens told Daily Racing Form.

Stevens, who has saddled only the one winner after beginning his stable last spring, will send out as many as seven starters through January, including turf-specialist and G1 winner  Diamondrella.

Four horses left his barn recently with the remaining 10 set to go to other trainers in the near future.

“I'm putting all my stuff in storage,” he said. “Ten years from now Angie and I would like to raise Maddy in Kentucky.”



SINGAPORE star, Rocket Man, rated the top three-year-old sprinter in the annual World Thoroughbred Rankings published recently, has successfully come through his first racecourse trial since being injured in July and is being prepared for the Dubai Carnival.

Out for six months with a fractured cannon bone, the Singapore-trained four-year-old returned to action at the Kranji track in Singapore for a 1000m trial, which he completed under regular rider Robbie Fradd in 60.45secs.

Trainer Patrick Shaw said Rocket Man would have another trial and one race in Singapore before leaving for Dubai, where he is expected to have a lead-up race before World Cup night on March 27, where he has been entered for both sprint races.



WILLIAM Pike recently landed his biggest win in Hong Kong - the G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy on Craig's Dragon for trainer John Moore – but  will not seek to extend his license at the end of January and will return home to Perth to prepare for the arrival of his first child.

Pike will exchange finding his feet in one of the most competitive and lucrative riding environments, for the pitter-patter of tiny feet back home and he is confident he is making the right decision.

“It is making it a bit harder to leave now that I'm finally riding some winners, but at the same time I am leaving Hong Kong in good stead and I can't see why I won't be able to come back at some stage in the future,” Pike said.

“The best thing for me to do personally at the moment is to head home to Perth, and I might even be able to peg back a few of the boys at home and ride some winners there.”

That is the understatement of the year so far, with Pike being a big fish in a small pond at home in the Western Australian capital where he has won the past two jockey premierships - last season's by an impressive 34 winners.

Pike had struggled to ride many winners until early December last year, but has chalked up 11 for the season and claimed his first Group win at Sha Tin.

Moore booked Pike to ride Craig's Dragon when weights were released because regular rider Darren Beadman would not have been able to ride the gelding at the light weight.

But a subsequent withdrawal of one of Tony Cruz's topweights meant that all weights were raised – by which time Beadman had already accepted another ride in the race for trainer Manfred Man Ka-Leung.

It was a lucky break for Pike - who has made a habit of taking his chances when presented with even a glimpse of a good ride. He combined with leading trainer John Size to secure a treble when Douglas Whyte was in Japan for the Super Jockeys' Series at Hanshin racecourse late last year and has since ridden a number of other winners for the stable.

“This is definitely my biggest win here, and it was lucky in the way that I was booked for the ride,” Pike said. “He felt a very fresh and happy horse in the run and I thought his last run wasn't much of a guide to his chances today.”



MUCH has been made of the amazing success story of star Hong Kong apprentice Matthew Chadwick but there have been suggestions that the apprentice scheme currently operating there should be slowed down.

Alan Aiken, writing in the South China Morning Post, raised questions about the system in the following story, which we reproduce courtesy of the author and the newspaper:

‘OTHER than the consideration of penalty, stewards had few options in the Derek Leung Ka-chun suspension for reckless riding (recently).

Reckless was exactly where the ride fitted in and drove home the point previously made here that the success of the club's apprentice jockey training scheme has come at a price.

We have had inquiries into riding tactics frequently involving the juniors, issues of misconduct and frequently dropped whips, and we have had a significant participation by the apprentices in inquiries into safety aspects of racing through 2009 until the present.

With their greater demand as partners for horses with serious winning chances has come a brighter light on their how their performances stack up in all aspects of riding races.

Whether Leung would have made the same move on a horse with little perceived chance last Wednesday is something we can't know for certain, but anyone's gut feeling would probably be no.

Jockeys would hardly be human if they rode as keenly and aggressively on the horse they see showing 99-1 on the tote board, knowing that running the risk of suspension, or worse, a rush of blood probably carries no real upside that the race might be won as a result.

In the same situation, he might have done what the rules required - to the chagrin of punters or connections of Something Special - and taken hold of his horse and checked.

Instead, the move he did make was clearly culpable - like a third marriage, based as much on optimism and hope as a belief it would all turn out well.

The apprentice training scheme itself isn't to blame - it is to be praised for turning up some very good talents and, along with the permanent weight allowances, reinvigorating the ranks of local riders after they had been all but dead in the water a few seasons back.

The next promising youngster has been touted as Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, who is doing his foundation spell with trainer Andrew Scott and former champion jockey Lance O'Sullivan at Matamata in New Zealand.

Ho's form in the saddle has been enormously promising, though reports on his progress include some frequent mentions in the careless riding department and that is not going to calm Jockey Club nerves.

The goings-on this past year in terms of tactics and interference have given officials some pause to think about slowing down the production line in junior jockeys and there is certainly no enthusiasm for hurrying them back.

While Matthew Chadwick has left the conveyor belt, arguably leaving a space to be filled, Leung and Keith Yeung Ming-lun are very much still on it - respectively 26 and 44 victories away from graduation - and Ben So Tik-hung and Leung's twin brother, Kevin, are under way but a long distance from the finish yet.’



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