Nyquist draws No. 13 post as early 3-1 Kentucky Derby fav

0 Comments

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Nyquist has been made the early 3-1 favorite for the 142nd Kentucky Derby, with Exaggerator the second choice in the full field of 20 horses.

Trained by Doug O’Neill, Nyquist is undefeated in seven career races. The colt drew the No. 13 post on Wednesday. Four horses have won from there since 1900, most recently Smarty Jones in 2004. O’Neill, jockey Mario Gutierrez and owner Paul Reddam teamed to win the race in 2012 with I’ll Have Another.

Nyquist broke from the No. 13 post when he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year at Keeneland.

“The post draw didn’t matter to us a ton but we’re happy being more toward the outside for sure,” O’Neill said. “The whole team is pumped up. We’re just very optimistic for a big day.”

Exaggerator drew the No. 11 post and is 8-1 for the 1 1/4-mile race Saturday at Churchill Downs. He’s trained by Keith Desormeaux, whose Hall of Fame brother, Kent, will be aboard.

Creator, Gun Runner and Mohaymen are the co-third choices at 10-1. Creator will break from the No. 3 post with Gun Runner in the No. 5. Both are trained by Steve Asmussen. Mohaymen drew the No. 14 post.

RELATED: How to watch the Kentucky Derby

Mor Spirit, trained by four-time Derby winner Bob Baffert, will break from the No. 17 post. No horse has won from there in the race’s previous 141 editions. Mor Spirit is 12-1, the same odds as Brody’s Cause, who drew No. 19.

Last year, Baffert won with American Pharoah, who swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes to win the sport’s first Triple Crown in 37 years.

“The last time I had the 17 post was Point Given with Gary Stevens (fifth in 2001), and here we are again,” Baffert said. “I wanted the 16. All the speed is on the outside, so there will probably be two different races going on.”

The dreaded No. 1 spot that pins a horse to the inside rail coming out of the gate went to Trojan Nation, who has yet to win a race. Along with Trojan Nation, the other horse listed at 50-1 is Oscar Nominated, whose owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey put up a supplemental fee of $200,000 to get him into the race.

That fee boosted the Derby purse to $2,391,600 if 20 horses start. The winner would receive $1,631,000.

Japan’s entry, Lani, is listed at 30-1. The horse is known to be unpredictable in starting gate, and he will break from the No. 8 post.

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

hisa
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
1 Comment

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

flightline horse
Silas Walker/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.”