Churchill Downs, Keeneland announce safety reforms

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland and Churchill Downs will enact safety reforms that include the race-day ban of Lasix for 2-year-olds along with mandatory veterinary inspections before workouts and race entry.

The measures announced Thursday include enhanced reporting of horses’ fitness for trainers and vets. They will take effect for spring meets at Keeneland and Churchill that begin in April and apply to horses stabled at both tracks’ training centers. Bill Thomason and Kevin Flanery, the respective presidents of Keeneland and Churchill Downs, said in a joint statement the reforms “further advance our commitment to create the safest possible environment for racing and training.”

To participate at either track, trainers and attending vets must agree not to enter a horse unless the vet says it is fit to race three days before entry. Trainers also cannot work a horse unless the vet finds him fit five days beforehand.

Changes in a horse’s fitness after an examination must be reported to the tracks’ respective equine medical director and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Horses at both tracks will also undergo veterinary inspections and monitoring by the medical directors.

Stradivarius, 3-time Ascot Gold Cup winner, retired to stud

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LONDON – Stradivarius, one of the most famous racehorses in Britain and Ireland after winning the Gold Cup at Ascot three times, has been retired to stud.

Bjorn Nielsen, the owner of Stradivarius, said he felt it would be unfair to make the horse come back next season as a 9-year-old after time away with a bruised foot.

“It has been a fairytale from start to finish,” Nielsen told British newspaper The Racing Post.

Stradivarius, bred in Ireland and the son of Sea The Stars, won 20 of his 35 races – including seven Group One races – and earned almost 3.5 million pounds (now $3.8 million) in prize money.

Stradivarius won four Goodwood Cups, three Yorkshire Cups and two Doncaster Cups.

Taiba wins $1 million Pennsylvania Derby for Baffert

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BENSALEM, Pa. – Taiba won the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby by three lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Taiba ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.67 and paid $4.80, $3 and $2.60.

It was Baffert’s fourth win in the Grade 1 event at Parx Racing. He also won in 2014, 2017 and 2018. Smith won the race for the third time, all aboard Baffert horses.

Zandon returned $3.80 and $2.60. Cyberknife was another 3 3/4 lengths back in third and paid $3 to show.

Taiba was coming off a second-place finish in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in July. The colt was 12th in the Kentucky Derby under Tim Yakteen, who took over training him while Baffert was serving a 90-day suspension.

“He had a little bit of a rough trip in the Haskell, but we had some time to get him ready for this one,” Baffert said from his base in California. “He proved today he is a good horse. He is getting better and better.”

Baffert Taiba will be pointed toward the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. The colt has three wins in five starts this year.