Authentic morning line favorite in Haskell at Monmouth Park

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Belmont Stakes runner-up Dr Post and Santa Anita Derby runner-up Authentic drew the two inside post positions and were made the top choices for Saturday’s $1 million Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Seven colts were entered in the 1 1/8-mile race, which this year is no longer the first major race for 3-year-olds following the Triple Crown races.

The coronavirus pandemic has altered the world’s sports schedule and the Kentucky Derby and Preakness have been pushed back to Sept. 5 and Oct. 3, respectively.

Authentic has been installed as the 4-5 morning line favorite and will look to give trainer Bob Baffert his record-extending ninth Haskell win. Mike Smith is listed to ride the California-based colt, who drew the No. 2 post position.

Authentic was second to Honor A.P. in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in his last start on June 6. The colt had won his first three starts.

Baffert last won the Haskell in 2015 with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

Dr Post, trained by Todd Pletcher, was made the 5-2 second choice. The colt finished second to Tiz the Law in the Belmont on July 20. The son of Quality Road drew the No. 1 post position and will have Joe Bravo riding for the first time.

Bravo got the mount because regular rider Irad Ortiz could not travel because of recent restrictions established by the New York Racing Association. The NYRA ruled New York-based jockeys who travel out of state cannot compete at Saratoga because of a spike in positive COVID-19 races.

The Haskell will offer points for the Kentucky Derby, with 100 going to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 for third and 10 for fourth. In addition, The Haskell has been designated as “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The owners of Tiz the Law have said they plan to run this year’s winner of the first leg of the Triple Crown in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 8. It would be his final prep for the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.

Also entered in the Haskell in post position order with colt, jockey and odds were:

Jesus’ Team, Nik Juarez, 15-1; Ancient Warrior, Trevor McCarthy, 20-1; Fame to Famous, Jose C. Ferrer, 30-1; Lebda, Alex Cintron, 20-1 and Ny Traffic, Paco Lopez, 7-2.

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.”