Storm the Court scores 45-1 upset in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Storm the Court won the $2 million Juvenile by a neck at 45-1 odds on opening day of the Breeders’ Cup on Friday, scoring the biggest upset in the race’s 35-year history.

All of the day’s 10 races – led by five Cup races for 2-year-olds – went off safely at Santa Anita, where 36 horses have died since December.

A handful of protesters calling for the end of racing in California toted signs outside one of the track’s entrances, while industry workers championed their own cause in a gathering a short distance away.

“We’re all trying our best to make this the safest sport that we can,” winning Juvenile trainer Peter Eurton said. “It’s unfortunate when any horse passes and zero tolerance is what we’re looking for.”

Dennis’ Moment, the 4-5 favorite, stumbled out of the starting gate and trailed the field.

Storm the Court set the pace and with a furlong to go, Anneau d’Or came even but wasn’t able to overtake his rival.

“I knew he would fight,” trainer Peter Eurton said. “Just didn’t know how much. Once he did put his head out in front, I knew it might be kind of interesting all the way to the wire.”

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Storm the Court paid $93.80 to win. He ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.93. The victory put the colt into the conversation as the winter favorite for next year’s Kentucky Derby.

Racing resumes Saturday with nine Cup races, topped by the $6 million Classic airing in prime time on NBC.

Not since Vale of York won the 2009 Juvenile at 30-1 odds, paying $63.20, had there been a bigger upset in the Juvenile.

Storm the Court followed in his sire’s hoof prints.

Court Vision was a 64-1 shot when he stunned Goldikova to win the BC Mile in 2011, paying $131.60 – third-highest in Cup history.

Anneau d’Or finished second and Wrecking Crew was third.

Dennis’ Moment wound up last.

“Out of the gate, I said to myself, `Oh man,”‘ Irad Ortiz Jr said. “I asked him for run early, he gave it to me and put a good effort into the turn but then at the quarter pole he slowed down.”

Eight Rings, trained by Bob Baffert, was sixth.

“When they turned for home, my horse was completely out of it,” Baffert said.

European horses were shut out on Future Stars Friday, when five different jockeys and trainers won. Brothers Irad Ortiz Jr. and Jose Ortiz each earned victories.

Four Wheel Drive was the day’s only favorite to win, taking the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint by three-quarters of a length under Irad Ortiz Jr. Sent off at 3-2 odds, the 2-year-old colt paid $5 to win.

Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien went 0 for 5 on the day.

In other races:

– Structor won the $1 million Juvenile Turf by three-quarters of a length under Jose Ortiz. He paid $12.60 at 5-1 odds.

– British Idiom earned a neck victory in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies for jockey Jose Castellano and trainer Brad Cox. She paid $7.40 at 5-2 odds.

– Sharing scored a 1 1/4-length win in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf for jockey Manny Franco and trainer Graham Motion.

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.”