Tag Archives: horse racing

Cheltenham Gold Cup Puzzle Looks Tough to Solve

The Cheltenham Festival is the centerpiece of national hunt racing in the UK and Ireland. The biggest race of the entire week is without a doubt the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a race that racing fans and punter savior. This Cheltenham horse race attracts excitement and attention, and the 2020 renewal is no different.

The standout feature of the Cheltenham Gold Cup so far is how wide open it looks. By now in most years we have had a strong favorite who has shown ability far superior to those in opposition. However, with holes to pick in most form lines, and horses impressing before disappointing or the other way around, this could be the most open Gold Cup we have seen for years.

That will please punters betting on the race, who will be able to get good value on the selections they fancy. Those with free Cheltenham bets will be able to spend them on this race and get a big price, rather than backing an odds-on favorite like we will have in some other races at the meeting.

Free bets are a great way for punters to bet at the Cheltenham Festival and there will be many free bets in the UK on offer for the upcoming horse racing. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the pinnacle of the national hunt calendar, and a huge betting heat that everyone wants to be involved with.

Who Are the Main Cheltenham Gold Cup Contenders?

You will find many household names in this Cheltenham horse race, with plenty of fan-favorites taking to the track. With many horses coming back year after year to run in this race again, they quickly become adored by the public and this is one of the main reasons why the love for this race is so strong.

Ireland Holds Strong Hand to Win Another Gold Cup

Willie Mullins, who trains in Ireland, holds a strong hand here, with both the winner from last season and one of the most talked about horses from last season both expected to line up. Al Boum Photo won the race last season and he is set to defend his crown after returning with an impressive win at Tramore over the Christmas period.

While his victory in the race last season was a surprise to some, he was foot perfect on the day, relished the stiff finish of the Cheltenham course and demands plenty of respect going back there as the champion.

His stablemate Kemboy also ran in the Gold Cup of 2019, but unseated his rider early in the race which prevented him from getting involved. The rest of his form is top class though, and includes a win against Al Boum Photo after the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year as well as a win at Aintree where he beat King George dual winner Clan Des Obeaux.

He has only been seen once this season and was disappointing when only managing to finish fourth at Leopardstown but he is clearly a high quality horse on his day who could take a lot of beating.

Nicholls and Tizzard Lead British Challenge

We have just mentioned Clan Des Obeaux, and he is another in with a chance this season. The Paul Nicholls trained runner will have landed many winning free bets for punters when landing his two King George titles, but can he win a Gold Cup? He struggled to get home over the distance of 3m2f last year and seems to need a flat three miles to be seen at his very best which is a worry for him.

There is no doubt that this horse is full of class, and if terms of ability he could well be the best horse in the race. However, the test of a Cheltenham Gold Cup over 3m2f and on a stiff track is not what he needs, and for that reason there will be many who think he simply cannot win the big one, no matter how good he is over shorter.

The youngster emerging as a star horse is definitely Lostintranslation, though he has to bounce back from a disappointing run in the King George. He was excellent as a novice last season and backed that up with a win in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November to show he is the real deal.

However, he was pulled up when running poorly in the King George, and that does leave a question mark over his name. He is the ideal Gold Cup horse, which is a big positive, and unlike Clan Des Obeaux, he needs the stamina test of a Gold Cup to be seen at his best.

He will head straight to the race without a prep run, but if you can forgive him his run in the King George, he is the one horse in this field who could go on to win multiple Gold Cups as he is still only a youngster.

Those with free Cheltenham bets to spend will have their favorite from the field of runners, but so far, the general feeling is that this race is wide open.

Patch, 2017 Kentucky Derby Contender, Arrives at Old Friends

Patch with assistant farm manager Antonio Marin.

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 20, 2020 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY, welcomed 2017 Kentucky Derby contender and graded-stakes-placed Patch.

The son of Union Rags out of the A. P. Indy mare Windyindy, Patch was donated to the non-profit organization by owner Calumet Farm following his three-season racing career. His last start was in the Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga this past August.

A 30-1 long shot in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, Patch became the season’s feel-good story after it was revealed that he had lost his left eye as a two-year-old but overcame his adversity to make it to the Churchill Downs starting gate on the First Saturday in May.

Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, Patch eventually finished 14th in that race behind winner Always Dreaming.

“Patch is a great horse and he has a great story,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “He is beloved by fans, and we are so looking forward to welcoming them this year. Patch has already stolen the hearts of everyone at Park Equine, where he spent a week while we made paddock space available, and everyone here is really excited about him.

“Our gratitude goes out to Calumet for entrusting us with Patch,” Blowen added, “as well as to Park Equine, and to the people at Sallee Horse Vans for transportation.”

Old Friends is planning a “Welcome Home Patch” day at the farm sometime in the near future. Announcements will be made soon with date, time, and details.

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Grade 1 Winner Next Question Euthanized

Next Question, known as Q, at Old Friends at Cabin Creek in New York.

GREENFIELD CENTER, NY – JANUARY 17, 2020 – Grade I winner Next Question was euthanized on January 16 at Old Friends at Cabin Creek due to complications from a paddock accident. He was 12.

Based in Greenfield Center, NY, Cabin Creek is an official satellite facility of Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, KY.

Affectionately known as Q, Next Question (Stormy Atlantic-Seattle Stardust, by Slew City Slew) initially retired to Old Friends at Cabin Creek in 2014, where he lived for one year before returning to his owners, Three Diamonds Farm, for a second career. He returned to Old Friends at Cabin Creek in November of 2019.

Racing for Three Diamonds Farm and trainer Michael Trombetta, Next Question’s greatest accomplishment came in the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack, where he upset the field at 16-1. Other accolades include a placing in the 2013 Around the Cape Stakes at Belmont Park, and participation in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita Park.

In 2013, his career ended with three wins, one 2nd, and two 3rd’s from 13 starts, and earnings of $424,391. He was bred in New York by Dr. Lance G. Bell.

“Q was a kind, sweet horse who was well loved by everyone who cared for him throughout his life,” said Old Friends at Cabin Creek owner and manager JoAnn Pepper. “We are heartbroken to carry on without him, and grateful to Three Diamonds Farm for allowing us to have this time with Q.”

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Cajun Beat, 2003 Breeders’ Cup Sprint Champion, Dies at 20

Cajun Beat at Old Friends in Georgetown (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 17, 2020 – Cajun Beat, the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Sprint Champion, has died.

The 20-year-old son of Grand Slam had been pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY, since 2016. Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen made the announcement of his passing this morning.

Details of Cajun Beat’s death are pending following a full necropsy.

Co-owned by Padua Stables and John and Joseph Iracane, Cajun Beat proved himself a consistent winner in his three seasons on the track. He broke his maiden at Calder in only his second start as a two-year-old, and captured his first stakes early in his three-year-old year, winning the Hallandale Beach Stakes at Gulfstream. He followed that with a win in the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway.

A month later Cajun Beat entered the starting gate for the 2003 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita at odds of nearly 23-1, but just over a minute later he put himself, trainer Steve Margolis, and jockey Cornelio Velasquez in the limelight by cruising to a 2¼ length victory.

His time of 1:07.95 was, at the time, the third fastest ever in the Sprint.

The following year Cajun Beat earned two more graded wins — including a victory on the grass in the Hollywood Turf Express at Hollywood Park for new trainer Bobby Frankel — before retiring in 2005 with Padua Stables.

He joined Old Friends in 2016 along with his closest friend, Padua’s Pride.

“He was a lovely horse, a real champion,” said Satish Sanan of Padua Stables. “With all of the horses we’ve had, he was one of our favorites — he was my wife’s favorite. He didn’t show much talent until we gelded him, and then he became a hell of a sprinter. He gave us a lot of thrills. We were very grateful to Old Friends for taking he and Padua.”

“Cajun Beat was as sweet as he was speedy,” said Old Friends’ Blowen. “Yesterday, after his unexpected death, his long-time pal, Padua’s Pride, stood over the body, nudging him, as if he was trying to get him up. All of this with the setting sun in the background. He earned every bit of it… to die with the dignity that the rest of us can only hope for.”

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Hats Off to the Horses 2020

The “Einstein” modeled by Dagmar Steiner (Photo by Laura Battles)

The “Einstein” is the latest design on the block in the Old Friends 11th Annual “Hats Off to the Horses” auction

The annual “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” online fashion auction kicks off with a beautiful Derby-style chapeau going on the virtual block to raise money for Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY.

This is the 11th consecutive year that Old Friends has joined with acclaimed milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of the Massachusetts-based Maggie Mae Designs® to auction off four handcrafted Derby hats between January and April, each inspired by one of the non-profit organization’s 200-plus retired racehorses. To date this online fundraiser has garnered over $37,000 for Old Friends.

This new hat was inspired by the multiple graded stakes winner Einstein and it is showcased here by equine artist Dagmar Galleithner-Steiner.

The hat will be up for bid for 10 days only from 8 pm (EST) January 1st through 8 pm (EST) on January 11th. Interested bidders can go to the Old Friends website at www.oldfriendsequine.org and follow the link, or CLICK HERE to visit our eBay page.

To read more and to view additional images of the hat, CLICK HERE.

About the Horse

Einstein is the Brazilian-bred son of 1985 Horse of the Year Spend a Buck. Throughout his career he accomplished what few racehorses have done. He earned graded stakes victories on three different track surfaces: the Turf Classic (on turf), the Clark Handicap (on dirt), and the Santa Anita Handicap (on synthetic). Other races Einstein called his own include the 2006 and the 2008 Gulfstream Turf Handicap, the 2007 Mervin H Muniz Jr Memorial Handicap, and dual runnings of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in 2008 and 2009. In all, he finished his career with wins in 11 of his 27 starts — five of them Grade 1 stakes — and earnings of $2.7 million.

About the Hat

The distinctive red, black, and gold silks of owner Frank Stronach’s Racing Stables provided the hues for this stunning Derby hat. A foundation was created using a base layer of red dupioni silk overlaid with a swirling black scroll lace. A red silk under brim creates a bold, elegant effect when the wearer’s face is upturned, while the edge of the brim is trimmed with a double layer of black silk organza ruffles, which allows light to pass through the sheer fabric.

To further showcase Stronach’s stable colors, a red silk-organza Marguerite fleur with a red dupioni rose curl center adorns the front of the hat, while a black button with gold edging provides an accent in the back. For a final touch, black silk organza leaves and three black silk organza “feathers” were added to reflect Einstein’s dark bay coloring.

As always, several strands of the horse’s tail hair have been braided and woven into the trim.

Bidding on the “Einstein” is open now.

For more information about Old Friends, see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org or call the farm at (502) 863-1775.

Maggie Mae Designs® Custom Millinery offers magnificent hats for all occasions, from glamorous racing events such as the Kentucky Derby and the Royal Ascot to stunning bridal wear and handsome cocktail fashions. Every hat is carefully handcrafted by milliner Sally Faith Steinmann from her home base in South Harwich, MA. Salons of her fashions can be seen on her website at www.maggiemaedesigns.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Maggie Mae Designs (508) 430-1626, sally@maggiemae.com

9 English Horse Racing Fields to Offer Betting Games on Holiday Season

2019 is about to end a few more weeks, but betting games just got even brighter for all sports fans around the world, especially in horse racing, as it continues to saddle up in many racing fields. For instance, many English horse racing fields are bound to host different racing events that are scheduled to commence in the last few weeks of December. However, the stakes remain high.

The said horse racing events may not be popular compared to other tournaments you usually know, but they still offer excellent value to bet. In fact, some legendary horses try to find their luck in these races at the same time. It serves as their training ground for the upcoming big races next year.

If you’re one of those bettors who like to stretch your bankroll by earning more, here are some horse racing tracks were the doors are still open for you to gamble. Rest assured that you can log in to your trusted bookies to learn the current odds of these upcoming races and ultimately apply your track betting strategy to earn big.

Fontwell Park Racecourse

Fontwell Park Racecourse is open on December 26, 2019, for some racing events that you can surely wager. It is situated in West Sussex, England. This racing event will commence on December 26 that will feature turf racing events with more than ten entries that will grace the said show. It’s definitely a great way to start earning after the Christmas celebration.

Huntingdon Racecourse

The Huntingdon racing tack will open on December 26 for bettors who want to wager after the holiday season. This racing field is located in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England. In one calendar, this racecourse will hold seventeen race meetings, including Peterborough Chase, that will take place on the same date mentioned above.

Market Rasen Racecourse

Market Rasen Racecourse is another English racecourse that is set to open a significant number of wagering games on December 26, 2019. This racetrack is located in Lincolnshire, England. Also, one of the most notable races that happen in this racing field is the National Hunt, which takes place during the winter season.

Sedgefield Racecourse

The Sedgefield horse racing field is one of the English racecourses that regularly open in October. However, since they also pay tribute to one of the best races in England, which are the National Hunt, the field is set to open on December 26, 2019 to hold horse racing shows. Sedgefield is located in Durham, England.

Kempton Race Park

Kempton Race Park is one of the biggest and most famous horse racing fields in England. It is located in Surrey, which showcases some of the UK’s flat racing shows. The racing park is set to open on December 27, 2019 to host some horse racing events. Some of the most famous horse racing show that happens in this field include King George VI Chase, Sirenia Stakes, and BetBright Chase.

Wetherby Racecourse

On December 27, 2019, the Wetherby racecourse will also open its doors to many horse racing fans for betting games to play. This race park is located in West Yorkshire, England. It also holds racing events such as flat horse racing shows and the National Hunt. Some of the most anticipated races that this racing field hosts include Charlie Hall Chase and Castleford Chase.

Catterick Racecourse

Catterick Racecourse is an England-based racing field that will hold horse racing shows like the National Hunt on December 28, 2019. It is situated in North Yorkshire. Catterick Racecourse will give way for bettors to earn money after the holiday season through the betting games.

Leicester Racecourse

The Leicester racecourse in Leicestershire, England is another horse racing destination you can surely visit to play wagering games. It will hold horse racing tournaments on December 28, 2019, featuring the best of thoroughbred racers in the United Kingdom. One of the most celebrated horse racing events that this racing field will house is the King Richard III Stakes during April.

Doncaster Racecourse

Doncaster racecourse will also host horse racing events for betting purposes on December 29, 2019. This racing field is located in South Yorkshire, England. Apart from the National Hunt, the other horse racing events they host every year include St. Leger Stakes, Lincoln Handicap, and Doncaster Cup.

Takeaway

Horse racing is one of the many sporting events that offer massive waging prizes and betting opportunities to many sports bettors all over the world. If you’re one of these bettors who still want to earn more this holiday, then attending one of these betting games is a good avenue to make it happen.

Update to AQHA Racing Awards and Publicity Policy

The American Quarter Horse Association is committed to the welfare of horses, as well as the integrity of American Quarter Horse racing.

In an effort to recognize only those whose standards help to maintain the integrity of our sport, the Association created the Racing Awards and Publicity Policy in 2018. This policy prohibits any horse or trainer of record with racing violations from being considered for AQHA awards or publicity.

Effective January 1, 2020, any horse associated with a trainer who is added to the violations list during the year will be required to pass a hair test, in addition to meeting the other requirements, before it will be removed from the AQHA Awards and Publicity list.

This recommendation originated from the AQHA Racing Committee, and was then approved by the AQHA Racing Council, followed by the AQHA Executive Committee.

Violations include positive tests for Class 1 or Class 2 substances, clenbuterol, any prohibited substances in the presiding jurisdiction, or any medications other than those defined by ARCI as being a controlled therapeutic medication, and also include as a violation the failure to report for out-of-competition testing.

The full AQHA Policy Concerning Awards and Publicity of Horses and/or Trainers with Racing Medication Positives, as well as a list of trainers and horses with violations, is available on the AQHA website. Information will also be posted about the standard procedure for the collection and testing of hair.

For more news and information, visit www.aqharacing.com.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

Full Speed Ahead on Race Night at Olympia

Race Night returned to Olympia, The London International Horse Show on day five of the Show, with fast and furious action throughout.

The Markel Jockeys Jumping in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund saw Bridget Andrews’ team of girls beat their male counterparts, including Sir AP McCoy, as a selection of the country’s best jockeys tested their mettle over show jumps. There was further racing action from The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National, which saw wins for Zak Kent on Briar Smokey Joe and Lucas Murphy riding Cranford Fantastic.

The afternoon performance kicked off with the opening FEI Driving World Cup Leg presented by Eurofip International and, in a repeat of last year, it was Australia’s Boyd Exell who dominated proceedings, thus heading into the second session in pole position.

In Show Jumping, The Father Christmas Stakes, an accumulator class, was won by home favourite William Funnell, with the main class of the day, The Longines Christmas Cracker, going to Ireland’s Darragh Kenny.

The competition was fierce in the FEI Driving World Cup Leg presented by Eurofip International, with drivers aiming to gain maximum points towards their FEI World Cup Final qualification.

First to go was Britain’s Daniel Naprous, whose fast driving has impressed many on the circuit; however, on this occasion 16 seconds to add took him out of contention. Boyd Exell was next into the arena, driving the clean skillful lines for which he is renowned, putting the pressure on those to come.

Jozsef Dobrovitz of Hungary could not match the speed of Exell, but tactical driving kept a clean slate and a good finish at 143.83. Koos de Ronde (NED) took a slick no-nonsense approach to the first course and slotted just behind Exell on 136.49, with last to go, Chester Weber (USA), driving very fast and cleanly to finish third and progress into the drive-off.

An uncharacteristic early error from Weber in the second round resulted in elimination and an enforced third place. Koos de Ronde came in meaning business, but his horses could not catch the speed merchant Exell, whose total score was six seconds ahead of his rivals.

Boyd said: “We went very fast, but the whole team is integral to the success. My navigator and long-time groom Emma Olsson was really important as the course had many twists and turns and, of course, Hugh Scott-Barrett as backstep ensures we get through the cones cleanly. I am happy, but we all work hard to make it happen.”

It was a night for the girls as the female jockeys’ team trounced their male counterparts in an exhilarating battle for the Markel Jockeys Jumping in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund. The contest had the packed Olympia audience roaring with excitement as the two teams of five got to grips with borrowed horses and unfamiliar knock-down fences against the clock.

The girls’ team, coached on the night by eventer Pippa Funnell and captained by Bridget Andrews, reversed last year’s result and got off to a brilliant start when Lizzie Kelly flew around clear, including at the final joker fence. Josephine Gordon was fastest of the team, eventually taking second place in the individual rankings behind Jim Crowley, who restored male pride with a flying round.

Nicola Currie also put up a terrific performance and both Bryony Frost, on an enchanting dun Connemara, and team captain Bridget Andrews put in some audacious turns, making up for rails down with their speed. “The girls really performed this year on horses they’ve never sat on,” said Andrews, who married opposing team member Harry Skelton in the summer.

By the time the men’s captain, 20-time National Hunt champion jockey AP McCoy, entered the arena it was all over – which was perhaps just as well, as his mount proved a testing ride.

“The girls were so stylish – they knocked the boys for six and Josephine Gordon was on fire,” said a visibly delighted Pippa Funnell.

“It’s something different and gets the adrenaline going,” said Gordon, “and the fact that we won makes it even better.”

Olympic gold medal-winning showjumper Nick Skelton, who may have some words after his son Harry hit the final joker, admitted that the girls’ speed had his lads on the back foot, “but it was great fun and all in a good cause.”

Britain’s William Funnell scored a thrilling win in The Father Christmas Stakes with Denise Stamp’s Cevin Z gelding Billy McCain. The accumulator competition, in which points are gained for each fence jumped clear and a final optional joker fence carrying double points, encouraged risk taking moves throughout, with the joker catching out many of the fastest riders.

“The crowds love fast classes,” said William. “A lot of riders will be looking for the bigger tracks, so a class like this is a good middle ground.”

Of the 32 starters, 13 remained faultless to collect a maximum of 65 points, and although William hadn’t seen some of the fastest go, he clipped almost a second from the previous best time set by Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro aboard Santiago de Blondel.

“He’s normally in with a chance,” said William of the 11-year-old grey. “He’s careful, and it is nice to have a quick horse to bring along to a Show like this.”

Darragh Kenny became the third Irishman to win the big evening class at Olympia when scooping the Longines Christmas Cracker on his exciting Tokyo Olympic prospect Classic Dream. Kenny was the fastest rider in a thrilling eight-man jump-off, beating the Netherlands’ Bart Bles on Gin D by 1.27 seconds.

William Whitaker’s great show continued with equal third place on RMF Echo with Austria’s Max Kühner on Cornet Kalua, ahead of British young rider Harry Charles, who put up a spirited challenge on Borsato, but had a fence down and finished fifth.

Earlier this year, Kenny was third on the nine-year-old Classic Dream behind Ben Maher and the season’s equine phenomenon Explosion W at the London leg of the GCT tour; this was no mean achievement and his rider admits that he is quietly excited about the chestnut gelding’s prospects.

“I’ve known for a couple of years that he was a proper grand prix horse,” explained Kenny, who will ride Classic Dream in Sunday night’s Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix. “He’s still quite green, but he was exceptional in this jump-off, really picking up, and he’s a horse for the future. He seems to like London anyway!

“I know him inside out and have always thought that he’s a Tokyo horse. He’s a little bit quirky, but he always wants to win.”

Kenny is now seventh on the Leading Rider of the Show rankings, which is led by Britain’s William Whitaker from Holly Smith. The remarkably consistent Michael Jung from Germany, whose first discipline is eventing, is now in third place from Ben Maher, but all could change in the showpiece Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier.

There was further action from The Voltaire Design Under 25 Championship Qualifier, from which the top 10 riders qualified for the Final on Sunday evening. Georgia Tame rode two immaculate clear rounds to come out on top. “Everyone wants to win this,” said Tame, 22, of the prestigious contest that helped launch former World No. 1 Scott Brash on his path to fame.

She rode with admirable tact on Quintella, a mare that’s talented but clearly not the easiest to handle. “She certainly has her own way of going; you can’t argue with her,” said Tame, having taken over the ride from Shane Breen, with whom she has been based for the past five years.

Only four of the field of 24 went through to the jump-off, with Oliver Fletcher riding Temple Rebus in the only other double clear, finishing in second. Charlie Jones, who is trained by his uncle, Nick Skelton, and Laura Kraut was third on Dexter and Harry Charles was fourth on Valkiry de Zance.

Please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

All Regional Race Finals Will Be Hair Tested in 2020

Beginning in 2020, all horses entering regional final races in the Bank of America Racing Challenge program will be required to pass a hair test, as a condition of entry.

All horses competing in the Bank of America Challenge Championships have been required to pass a hair test as condition of entry for the championship races since 2016, and a committee suggestion approved by the AQHA Executive Committee expanded the rule.

“Our Association is run by its members, and I am proud of those who have stepped up and demanded the expansion of this requirement,” said AQHA Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber. “Our membership is dedicated to protecting our American Quarter Horse athletes as they compete in Challenge races around the world.”

The full Bank of America Racing Challenge regional schedule is available at www.aqha.com/racing. The season begins February 23 with the Hipodromo Distaff, and will conclude on October 9 with the Derby, Juvenile, Distaff, and Distance at Will Rogers Downs.

The 2020 Bank of America Challenge Championships will return to The Downs at Albuquerque on October 24.

Review the Bank of America Racing Challenge Condition Book for full rules and policies.

The World’s Biggest Horse Races

Photo credit – Pixabay.

Horse racing is known as the sport of Kings. For generations, people have flocked to the track to share in the excitement generated by a horse race meet.

The horses and jockeys become household names and often the skills behind the events are underestimated. Trainers put months of work into keeping the horses in great shape; jockeys train incessantly to ensure they’re in tip-top condition.

Horse racing is a science, a sport of tactics, outside variables, and opinion. Across the world, some races are so rewarding and famous that a win can turn the career of a jockey in an instant. Some countries have a signature race, one which not only enthusiasts watch, but even people with no more than a passing interest in sport.

So, here are some of the biggest horse races in the world.

Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs hosts perhaps the most famous horse race in the U.S and one that is recognizable across the world. Inaugurated in 1875, it was first run over the same length as the Epsom Derby in the UK, before shortening to its current length of 10 furlongs just before the turn of the 19th century.

Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack share the record for the most wins by a single jockey, coming in first on five occasions each. In more modern times, Calvin Borel entered the record books for winning three out of four races, as outlined by a Bloomberg report.

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

The French capital is a hotbed of activity for horse enthusiasts, not just in the racing genre. The 11th Longines Masters of Paris saw three French riders in podium places, but the city’s premier horse racing event is rarely as cut and dried.

bwin Horse Racing calls the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Europe’s richest race with a total prize purse in the region of €5m ($5.59m). It came a little later than the Kentucky Derby, first being run in 1920, but it has risen to be one of the major events on the European sporting calendar.

Renowned jockey Frankie Dettori holds the records for the most wins, spanning 13 years. His first victory came back in 1995 on Lammtarra (1995), before winning on Sakhee (2001), Marienbard (2002), Golden Horn (2015), and a double with Enable (2017, 2018).

Grand National

Just across the channel lies the United Kingdom, one of the first countries to embrace horse racing as a passion. The biggest race in the country takes place in the early part of the year having been run ever since 1839 at Aintree on Merseyside.

It’s run over a gruelling four miles and isn’t without controversy; some calls have been made in British media to stop the race from happening.

Perhaps the most famous name in Grand National history is Red Rum; the champion thoroughbred won the race in 1973, 1974, and 1977, finishing second in 1975 and 1976. Such was his legacy, when he died in 1995 aged 30, they buried him at the finishing post of the race he had come to define.