Dinny Phipps remembered: ‘He won the Triple Crown of life’

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NEW YORK — Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps was remembered during a memorial service on Tuesday as a “big man with a big heart” who “won the Triple Crown of life.”

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was among those who spoke with admiration and respect for the owner and breeder of thoroughbred horses who died last Wednesday at the age of 75. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, the family said.

Bloomberg told a near-capacity gathering of about 1,000 people in St. James Church that Phipps earned “his place in the winner’s circle.

“He brought joy to so many people here,” added Bloomberg, a billionaire whose wealth is managed by Phipps’ Bessemer’s Trust. “We’ll all miss you.”

The famed cherry red and black colors of the Phipps Stable have shown up in the winner’s circle of big races hundreds of times in a history that dates to the 1920s. After 50 years in the racing business, Phipps finally won a Kentucky Derby with Orb in 2013.

Phipps never won racing’s Triple Crown – the Derby, Preakness and the Belmont Stakes – but Bloomberg said “he won the Triple Crown of life” – family, business and community.

“Then Dinny went on a victory lap,” Bloomberg added, “building a legacy in a sport that gave him so much.”

RELATED: How to watch the Kentucky Derby

Phipps was chairman of the New York Racing Association from 1976-1983 and head of The Jockey Club from 1983-2015. He donated generously to make racing “cleaner, safer, and better in many ways,” Bloomberg said.

Stuart Janney III, Phipps’ cousin who owned and bred horses with him – including Orb – and longtime friend Carl Navarre, also spoke at the service.

On winning the Derby, Janney said, “It was more fun to win it with Dinny and half as lucrative than to win it alone. I figured he felt the same way.”

Navarre said he first met Phipps during a fishing trip in the Florida Keys in 1975. The third day they went out, Navarre said his boat ran out of gas about 30 miles from shore and, with no radio and darkness approaching, Phipps simply “sat back in the boat, lit a cigar, and said, `You’ll figure it out.’ ”

In concluding his remarks, Navarre called Phipps “a big man with a big heart … and his passing will leave a hole in our hearts.”

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”

Fractional interest in Flightline sells for $4.6 million

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland says a 2.5% fractional interest in Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Flightline has sold for $4.6 million during a special auction before the start of its November Breeding Stock Sale.

Brookdale Farm’s Freddy Seitz signed the ticket for an undisclosed client, the track announced in a release. The sale comes a day after ownership of the 4-year-old son of Tapit retired the unbeaten colt following his record 8\-length victory in Saturday’s $6 million, Grade 1 Classic at Keeneland. Flightline likely locked up Horse of the Year honors with his fourth Grade 1 victory in six starts by a combined victory margin of 71 lengths – dominance that has drawn comparisons to legendary Triple Crown champion Secretariat.

Flightline will begin his breeding career next year at Lane’s End Farms in Versailles, Kentucky, but a stud fee has yet to be determined. West Point Thoroughbreds, part of the bay colt’s ownership, offered the fractional interest. Seitz said the buyer wanted to “make a big splash” and get more involved in the business.

“With a special horse like (Flightline) all you can do is get involved and then just hope for the best,” Seitz said in the release.

“There has never been a horse that has done what he has done for however many years, back to Secretariat. You just have to pay up and get involved, and this is kind of what he’s thinking.”