Unbeaten Nyquist Strengthens Position Atop Kentucky Derby Odds

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There was a shakeup atop the odds to win the Kentucky Derby at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com following Nyquist’s victory at the $1 million Florida Derby, which extended the three-year-old colt’s perfect record on the track and made him the +300 betting favorite.

Nyquist’s dominating victory by three lengths in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby marks his seventh straight win and further separates him from early favorite Mohaymen, who also entered the race undefeated but with a fourth-place finish on the day has stalled at +800 on the Kentucky Derby odds.

The Florida Derby had been billed as a showdown between the top two betting choices in the Run for the Roses, and looked to deliver before Nyquist pulled away from the pack in the final turn, paying off as a 6/5 wager.

With his poor showing at Gulfstream, Mohaymen dropped to third on the odds table ahead of the May 7 running of the 2016 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, looking up at Exaggerator, who has vaulted to +750 following a spectacular win at last week’s Santa Anita Derby.

Exaggerator trailed early leader Danzing Candy by 10 lengths before mounting an impressive stretch run on a sloppy Santa Anita Park track to claim victory by 6 1/4 lengths and boost  Kentucky Derby odds that had previously been pegged at a middling +2500

Danzing Candy’s fourth-place finish at Santa Anita ended a three-race win streak and negatively impacted the colt’s betting stock, plummeting from +1200 to +2200 in wagering at Kentucky Derby betting sites.

Brody’s Cause also staged an impressive come-from-behind performance last weekend at Keeneland, claiming a 1 3/4-length win to pay off at 4/1 odds at the Blue Grass Stakes, and now joins the Kentucky Derby favorites at +950 after previously lagging at +1800.

Gun Runner has been idle since posting a second straight win at last month’s Louisiana Derby but has seen his odds climb slightly to +1200, ahead of Destin at +1400, and Mor Spirit, who sits at +1500 following a pair of second-place finishes at the Santa Anita Derby and San Felipe Stakes.

Cupid, the winner at last month’s Rebel Stakes, is also on the rise on the Kentucky Derby betting lines, climbing from +2000 to +1600, and could get a further boost with a victory at this weekend’s Arkansas Derby.

The three-year-old sits alongside Mo Tom, who is coming off a disappointing fourth-place finish at the Louisiana Derby and has just two victories in his last five races.

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.”