Tripoli springs upset to win Pacific Classic at Del Mar

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DEL MAR, Calif. — Tripoli came off the rail, went around frontrunning Tizamagician to take the lead turning into the stretch, and went on to win the $1 million Pacific Classic by 1 1/4 lengths at Del Mar.

Tripoli ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.37 to earn his first stakes victory under Tiago Pereira, the Brazilian-born jockey who won with his only mount on the 11-race card. It was Pereira’s first win in a million-dollar race in the U.S.

“When it was time to run, I had plenty of horse,” Pereira said. “But once we got in front, he started looking around, waiting on other horses. I looked around and knew we were not going to get caught.”

The 4-year-old colt trained by John Sadler paid $15, $7.80 and $4.80 at 6-1 odds.

Tripoli earned an automatic berth into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 6.

Tizamagician returned $7.60 and $5.20. Dr. Post, who shipped in from New York for trainer Todd Pletcher, paid $4.20 to show.

Express Train, the 5-1 favorite, finished sixth.

“He kind of lost interest on the backstretch, so I thought I had no horse,” jockey Joel Rosario said. “But when I wheeled him outside, he gave me a strong finish. I don’t know how to explain it.”

Magic On Tap, trained by six-time Pacific Classic winner Bob Baffert, finished last in the nine-horse field. Earlier in the day, filly Private Mission won the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes to give Baffert his first stakes victory of the summer meet.

Tripoli didn’t race as a 2-year-old, and then ran on turf in his first 11 starts before being switched to dirt in June. He finished second in the San Diego Handicap last month at Del Mar in his stakes debut. The colt has four wins in 14 career starts and earnings of $811,960.

“This horse has matured and just keeps coming along, and today he proved himself,” co-owner Kostas Hronis said. “We didn’t know if he could go a mile and a quarter, but today we found out.”

It was the third win in the race for owner Hronis Racing, whose Accelerate won in 2018 and Higher Power in 2019.

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.”