ascot aug08
This is a single article. Click HERE to go to the main page.

Friday, January 11, 2008


The racing news for 2008 has been centred on one track - SANTA ANITA - and its struggles with its Cushion track. Jockey Garret Gomez is quoted as saying there are jagged rocks coming out og the track. Eeks. Racing started up again there yesterday, let's see what happens.

This weekend, lots of stakes action at Santa Anita and elsewhere. Tomorrow's post will examine some of these races...


Stay tuned for a contest in which you form a team of 10 1st crop stallions and you get points for winners, wins, stakes wins, graded wins etc...
Prizing to be announced later. So get out those SIRE BOOKS and start studying.

Twists and turns follow Curlin

copyright Tom Wolski, The Province

Published: Friday, January 11, 2008

You can't make this stuff up. If the recent bizarre incidents in the life of outstanding race horse Curlin are not good enough for a future Movie of the Week, then try and find a better story.

Midnight Cry's stable, owned by Shirley Cunningham and William Gallion, co-owners of Preakness Stakes and $5 million Breeder's Cup Classic winner Curlin, are accused of defrauding 418 clients of $42 million involving the diet drug Fen-Phen as part of a $200-million lawsuit.

As a yearling and on the advice of bloodstock agent Ken McPeek, Midnight Cry Stables purchased Curlin in 2006 for $57,000.

They then sold 80 per cent of the horse to Jesse Jackson's Stonestreet Stables and two partners for a reported $3.5 million after his maiden win at Gulfstream Park in Florida in 2007.

Two days ago, Jackson bought his partners out and now retains 80 per cent ownership of Curlin.

On Monday, a Kentucky judge assigned the cash value of all of Midnight Cry's assets to those Fen-Phen plaintiffs.

Also dropping a lawsuit on Cunningham and Gallion is bloodstock agent McPeek, who is seeking a5 per cent commission he says was promised on any sale of Curlin.

While Jackson maintains Curlin will race this year, lawyers for the plaintiffs are asking for foreclosure of the debt and putting their 20 per cent of the horse up for auction.

A hearing is set for Jan. 22 in Kentucky.

Meanwhile Curlin, who is a lock to win an Eclipse Award for horse of the year, continues on his way back to the races.

Last Sunday and after winning the Classic, Curlin impressed railbirds with an impressive workout at the Fairgrounds in New Orleans, La. Which leads to a question.

After Curlin wins his first race and if all lawsuits are not settled between plaintiffs, owners and lawyers, would there be room enough for him in the winner's circle?

Rain check

According to connections for Canmor Farm's popular Hastings Monashee, her much-anticipated debut at Santa Anita racetrack in California may be over.

After missing her racing debut last Monday when races were cancelled due to unsafe track conditions at Santa Anita, they are hoping she will race this upcoming Monday.

"Monashee is doing great, much better here than when we took her to Toronto," said trainer Traci McCarthy by phone from Santa Anita.

"Unfortunately, with all the rain here, we came to California at the worst possible time.

"We had entered her last Monday and they cancelled races. She has been re-entered in a race for this upcoming Monday."

from San Bernadino Sun

Racing resumes, but decision on track is delayed

By Art Wilson, Staff Writer

Article Launched: 01/10/2008 10:31:29 PM PST

As racing returned to Santa Anita for the first time in six days Thursday, president Ron Charles delayed an announcement on the future of the track's controversial Cushion Track surface while officials huddled with synthetic-track expert Ian Pearse.

Charles had promised a decision by Thursday afternoon on how Santa Anita was going to proceed for the remainder of its winter-spring meet, but problems finding the right soil for a proposed conventional dirt surface and last-ditch efforts to try to salvage Cushion Track have made the final decision "day-by-day."

"It's so hard to say, because as we continue to look for a solution to repair the existing surface, we're also having a problem locating the highest quality dirt," said Charles, who was promoted this week to chief operating officer of Magna Entertainment Corp., Santa Anita's parent company.

Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said finding the high-quality sandy loam soil that Santa Anita covets for a dirt track is difficult to locate.

"I've kind of spoke at meetings that that's probably our biggest reason for needing synthetic tracks is because the natural resource supply here is pretty low," Mandella said.

Said Charles: "If and when we do go to a dirt surface, it will be absolutely state of the art and a very good sandy loam dirt."

Asked if he was more confident a solution to Cushion Track's drainage problem could be found, Charles said he was "cautiously optimistic."

"We've had some encouraging results today," he said. "If we're unable to do that with the continued testing, and we'll be back in the lab again tomorrow, then we would still be looking at potentially a dirt surface."

Pearse, the developer of Pro-Ride, a synthetic surface that is used at several training centers in Australia and was installed late last year at Skylight Training Center outside Louisville, Ky., was summoned by Santa Anita in a late-hour attempt to fix its Cushion Track. Pro-Ride was one of four companies Santa Anita considered for its artificial surface when Charles and jockeys Aaron Gryder and Richard Migliore traveled to Australia last summer to check it out.

Charles said Pearse arrived Thursday morning and was at USC most of the day testing materials he believes could help the Cushion Track drain properly. If the tests prove successful, Charles said they would consider testing it on parts of the racetrack.

"The most important thing right now is to make the right decision going forward," Charles said. "We just don't want to rush into something and wish we had taken another day, another two days, three days, whatever it takes. Once we make a decision we want to have a real comfort level that we made the right decision."

Charles was non-committal when asked if Pro-Ride might be considered as a permanent surface at Santa Anita when the meet concludes.

"After the meeting, we'll take a step back and try to look at it objectively, and I think everything will be considered," he said.

Charles said he has been working seven-day weeks during a crisis that began in early December when the track was closed for nearly three weeks as workers tried to fix the drainage problem. He said he's been on call 24 hours a day and, despite his recent promotion, he's focused solely on fixing the mess at Santa Anita.

"I will be at my lowest weight in about 20 years in another week," Charles joked.

In an unprecedented move, Santa Anita was forced to cancel three consecutive days last weekend when more than seven inches of rain fell on the Arcadia track and made the racing surface unusable.

"I'd say we lost about a half-million dollars," Charles said.

He added that Cushion Track officials, who admitted in a press release last week that they erred in the formula they used for Santa Anita's surface, want to talk to track officials next week about negotiating an agreement.

"They see the seriousness of it," Charles said.

Santa Anita's Cushion Track was reopened for training Tuesday morning and only six horses worked. The number was up to 116 by Wednesday, and 243 horses worked over the surface Thursday morning.

The four stakes races that were washed out last weekend will be run this weekend, and Santa Anita will card 11 races Saturday and Sunday and nine Monday to make up some of the lost racing.

There will be a special first post of 11:45 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and first post Monday will be 12:45 p.m.


Post a Comment