Tag Archives: horse racing

Willie Mullins Looking to Rule the Punchestown Festival Again

Credit: Telegraph Sport via Twitter.

Irish Champion Trainer Willie Mullins is set to run a strong team at the Punchestown Festival later this month. The Irish meeting is the last major international meeting in national hunt racing, and attracts the best horses from the UK, France and Ireland.

Mullins ended the Cheltenham Festival with six winners, a fine total considering he drew a blank on the opening two days after a slow start to the week. He also had four winners recently at the Irish Grand National meeting at Fairyhouse, including with Thomas Hobson who prevailed in the Grade A Glascarn Handicap Hurdle ahead of the highly regarded Veinard, who was tipped up by Oddschecker, while JP McManus-owned After Rain was in the third.

The feature race next week is the Punchestown Gold Cup, where Mullins is bidding for his fourth success in the three-mile, one-furlong contest. The Irishman is set to saddle Djakadam, who has been second in this Grade One contest in 2015 and 2016. Djakadam finished fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which was won by Sizing John last month where he went off as the +300 favourite. He was travelling really well in the race until he made a bad blunder at the second-to-last fence, which really cost him any chance of coming out on top. Mullins will be confident his horse can deliver again at Punchestown as he was successful at the same track earlier in the campaign in the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase.

The Punchestown Champion Hurdle could be the race in which Mullins’ star mare Annie Power makes her return to the track in what would be her opening run of the campaign. The 2016 Champion Hurdle winner was unable to defender her crown at Cheltenham due to a leg injury. She currently tops the betting at +200 to win this prestigious hurdle race, which may also feature her stablemate Arctic Fire, who defied top weight in the County Hurdle last month. Vroum Vroum Mag, meanwhile also has an entry, as she will be bidding to go one place better than her second-placed finish in the Mares’ Hurdle behind Apple’s Jade.

Nichols Canyon caused a surprise at Cheltenham in the Stayers’ Hurdle where he prevailed at odds of +1000. The seven-year-old appeared to enjoy the step up to three miles where he got the better of Lil Rockerfeller by just under a length, while the short-price favourite Unowhatimeanharry was third. The first three home at Cheltenham are set to do battle again at Punchestown, where Mullins will be hoping his hurdler can topple his rivals again in which he is +150 to do so.

Credit: Racing Post via Twitter

Mullins also has the favourite for the Punchestown Champion Chase, where the Ryanair Chase winner Un De Sceaux is set to drop back down to two miles. The former Arkle winner went up in distance at Cheltenham to prove he is very versatile; however, the Champion Chase trip is thought to be his optimum trip.  Un De Sceaux is set to meet Cheltenham runner-up Fox Norton in Ireland, while Gods Own and Rock The World both have entries in the leading two-mile race over fences.

In the Trainers’ title at the meeting, Mullins is odds-on to gain compensation for losing his trophy at Cheltenham to Gordon Elliott. His rival also had six winners at the Festival last month but finished the week with more seconds to gain the prize on checkback. Mullins is locked in a battle with Elliott for the Irish Trainers’ Championship where he is second going into the last big meeting of the season.

8th April Horse Racing – Grand National (Aintree)

The Grand National is a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. First run in 1839, it is a handicap steeplechase over 4 miles 514 yards (6.907 km) with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps. It is the most valuable jump race in Europe, with a prize fund of £1 million in 2016. An event that is prominent in British culture, the race is popular amongst many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year.

The course over which the race is run features much larger fences than those found on conventional National Hunt tracks. Many of these, particularly Becher’s Brook, The Chair and the Canal Turn, have become famous in their own right and, combined with the distance of the event, create what has been called “the ultimate test of horse and rider”.

Who will win the 2017 Randox Health Grand National? It’s the question everyone is asking, and without the aid of a crystal ball or a time machine we’re all forced to study Grand National odds to help us find the winner.

The Grand National betting market is of course the most popular of the year and once again it is looking like the National’s odds is wide open with any number of horses in with a genuine chance. Vieux Lion Rouge is a major contender for David Pipe this season. Favorite backers have found it hard to find Grand National winners in recent years but confidence is growing that Vieux Lion Rouge could become the third market leader to prevail at Aintree in the last decade.

The most recent running of the race, in 2016, was won by Rule the World, ridden by jockey David Mullins for trainer Mouse Morris. The next Grand National is on 8 April 2017.

70 horses in all will attempt to navigate the 30-fence, four mile, 514 yard steeplechase course, with the race scheduled to begin at 5:15pm BST/DST on Saturday. List of Grand National 2017 runners and riders: full list of horses and jockeys for Aintree race.

The Grand National has been broadcast live on free-to-air terrestrial television in the United Kingdom since 1960. From then until 2012 it was broadcast by the BBC. Between 2013 and 2016 it was shown by Channel 4; the UK broadcasting rights transfer to ITV from 2017. An estimated 500 to 600 million people watch the Grand National in over 140 countries. It has also been broadcast on radio since 1927; BBC Radio held exclusive rights until 2013; however, Talksport also now holds radio commentary rights.

The Course

The Grand National is run over the National Course at Aintree and consists of two laps of 16 fences, the first 14 of which are jumped twice. Horses completing the race cover a distance of 4 miles 514 yards (6.907 km), the longest of any National Hunt race in Britain. As part of a review of safety following the 2012 running of the event, from 2013 to 2015 the start was moved 90 yards (82 m) forward away from the crowds and grandstands, reducing the race distance by 110 yards (100 m) from the historical 4 miles 880 yards (7.242 km). The course is also notable for having one of the longest run-ins from the final fence of any steeplechase, at 494 yards (452 m).

The Grand National was designed as a cross-country steeplechase when it was first officially run in 1839. The runners started at a lane on the edge of the racecourse and raced away from the course out over open countryside towards the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The gates, hedges and ditches that they met along the way were flagged to provide them with the obstacles to be jumped along the way with posts and rails erected at the two points where the runners jumped a brook. The runners returned towards the racecourse by running along the edge of the canal before re-entering the course at the opposite end. The runners then ran the length of the racecourse before embarking on a second circuit before finishing in front of the stands. The majority of the race therefore took place not on the actual Aintree Racecourse but instead in the adjoining countryside. That countryside was incorporated into the modern course but commentators still often refer to it as “the country”.

Minella Rocco Promoted to Grand National Favouritism after Finishing Second in Gold Cup

The only horse to have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season is Golden Miller way back in 1934. But many have won the Aintree spectacular after running in the Cheltenham showpiece, the most recent being the ill-fated Many Clouds who finished sixth behind Coneygree in the 2015 Gold Cup before beating Saint Are by a length and three quarters at Aintree just under a month later.

The 2017 Randox Health Grand National is likely to feature several leading candidates who ran with great credit in the championship contest at Prestbury Park, namely the runner-up to Sizing John – Minella Rocco – and the Paul Nicholls-trained Saphir Du Rheu who was bang in contention for most of the race until the closing stages, eventually coming home in a respectable fifth place, beaten just over six lengths. One position further back was Minella Rocco’s stablemate More Of That who could also take his chance in the Aintree marathon, giving owner of both JP McManus the chance of a second National following Don’t Push It (ridden by the legend that is AP McCoy) in 2010.

The new 10-1 favourite with most bookmakers, on the Grand National free bets 2017, Minella Rocco will have to defy the record books if he is to prove victorious in three weeks’ time as no seven-year-old has won the great race since Bogskar in 1940. The son of Shirocco will not be found wanting on the stamina front however as his length and a quarter victory over the high-class Native River in the four mile National Hunt Chase at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival will testify. Having failed to complete the course in two of his four starts this season, however, negotiating those formidable Grand National fences may turn out to be more of an issue for the horse who, despite set to carry 11st 6lb, could be well handicapped.

Also likely to receive a hike in the ratings is Saphir Du Rheu who will be receiving 2lb from Minella Rocco and will attempt to emulate Bindaree (2002) and Many Clouds (2015) as the third eight-year-old to win the race this century. After taking a Grade 1 over the Mildmay fences at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in 2015, the Al Namix gelding was seen as a potential Gold Cup winner, but, only six then, the grey (always popular with once-a-year players) may be about to fulfil that potential with more experience under his belt and at the 25-1 available with several bookmakers is sure to prove popular with punters come the day of the race.

More Of That took the scalp of the great Annie Power in the 2014 Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham but has not carried that form on over the bigger obstacles. Too soon to write off just yet, it would be no surprise to see this classy contender play a leading role if taking to the race, making the 25-1 on offer with Coral and Ladbrokes a tempting proposition.

Horse Racing Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle – National Hunt Racing

The Cheltenham Festival is a meeting in the National Hunt racing calendar in the United Kingdom, with race prize money second only to the Grand National in Aintree. The event brings in more than £20M through ticket sales, hospitality, sponsorship and other income, and there is some £4.3M in prize money on offer, the most of any jump festival in the world. Meanwhile, the four-day event is also estimated to bring in £100M to the wider Gloucestershire economy.

The 28-race steeplechase event is run by the Jockey Club and culminates in the Gold Cup day on Friday. The Festival ran from Tuesday, March 14 to Friday, March 17, 2017.

On Tuesday, March 14, Buveur D’Air, ridden by Noel Fehily, won the 2017 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle, the Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race in Great Britain which is open to horses aged four years or older. “It’s fantastic. To win one was great; to win two is special,” said Fehily, whose first Champion Hurdle win came on Rock On Ruby in 2012.

The race is now known as the Stan James Champion Hurdle. It is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about 2 miles and ½ furlong (2 miles and 87 yards, or 3,298 meters), and during its running there are eight hurdles to be jumped. The race is the last leg of the Triple Crown of Hurdling and is scheduled to take place each year on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Cheltenham Champion HurdleThe Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious hurdling event in the National Hunt calendar. Its list of winners features many of the most highly acclaimed hurdlers in the sport’s history, and several of these, such as National Spirit, Istabraq, Hatton’s Grace, Persian War and Lanzarote, have had races named in their honor.

Sizing John, ridden by Robbie Power and trained by Jessica Harrington, powered home to win the revered Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday, March 17.

The Timico Gold Cup is one of the most significant Jump races in the season, and nothing can rival the Cheltenham roar as the horses charge up the famous hill.

National Hunt racing – Sport of horse racing in the United Kingdom

National Hunt racing is the official name given to that form of the sport of horse racing in the United Kingdom, France and Ireland in which the horses are required to jump fences and ditches. National Hunt racing in the UK is divided into two major distinct branches: hurdles and steeplechases. Alongside these there are “bumpers”, which are National Hunt flat races. In a hurdles race, the horses jump over obstacles called hurdles; in a steeplechase the horses jump over a variety of obstacles that can include plain fences, water jump or an open ditch. In the UK the biggest National Hunt events of the year are generally considered to be the Grand National at Aintree and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Jump racing is most popular in Britain, Ireland and France. In Ireland the sport receives much higher attendances than flat racing, while in England it is more balanced, but the different seasons (there is little top-class flat racing in Britain from November through March) mean that most fans of the sport can enjoy both forms of racing.

The Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil, sometimes referred to as the French Champion Hurdle, is a Group 1 hurdle race in France which is open to horses aged five years or older. It is run at Auteuil over a distance of 5,100 meters (about 3 miles and 1½ furlongs) on Sundays at the Galop, March 26, 2017.

The NAAS Kilcock Novice Chase is a Grade 3 National Hunt novice chase in Ireland which is open to horses aged five years or older. It is run over a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs (4,023 meters) and during the race there are 13 fences to be jumped. It is scheduled to take place March 26, 2017.

Aintree Grand NationalNational Hunt horses are often bred for jumping, while others are former flat horses. National Hunt horses do not have to be Thoroughbreds: many French-bred jumpers are Selle Français or AQPS.  Many horses begin their racing careers in amateur Point-to-Pointing where they compete over steeplechase races of 3 miles.

The two main highlights of the National Hunt calendar are the Cheltenham Festival meeting and the Grand National meeting.

The Cheltenham Festival is held at Cheltenham Racecourse over four days in the second week of March. It features eleven grade one races, culminating in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the best and most prestigious Chase race in the world, on the Friday. The Grand National meeting, held at Aintree over three days every April, is the next major racing event to be held. Many of the best horses come to these festivals, which are watched by a huge television audience worldwide. Hundreds of millions of pounds are gambled on these festivals.

Top Events This Winter Beginning with the London International Horse Show at Olympia

The anticipation for this year’s winter horse show competition and horse racing is tremendous with some of the top riders in Show Jumping and Dressage scheduled to compete this month. December begins with the annual international horse show at Olympia. The Shetland Pony Grand National holds all the excitement of the horse race on a miniature scale! Shetland Ponies and their riders race around the arena at a fast and furious pace – it really is one of the highlights of Olympia. Horse racing and betting enthusiasts can check scheduling and horse racing odds at 888sport Horse racing betting.

The most competitive Show Jumping competition since the Olympics will be taking place in Olympia this week with gold medallists from England, France and Germany competing in what will be one of the most talented and exciting international shows in recent memory. The Frankfort Festhalle will also be taking place this month from December 15-18. Of the top 30 riders, 17 will be competing in Mechelen from December 26-30.

Fans Invited to Join Charismatic’s “Inner Circle”

Charismatic wins the Derby! (Photo by Barbara Livingston)

GEORGETOWN, KY – NOVEMBER 21, 2016 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY, is inviting fans to become a member of Kentucky Derby winner Charismatic’s “Inner Circle”.

On October 26, Old Friends announced that the dual-classic winner and 1999 Horse of the Year would be returning to the United States from Japan, where he has stood as a stallion since 2002.

Old Friends is launching a “Certificate” campaign to support Charismatic’s overseas journey. The lion share of his trip is being sponsored by his former owners through the Robert & Beverly Lewis Family Foundation, and also by the Austin, TX-based vodka brand, Tito’s Handmade Vodka. But additional funds are still needed.

“In 2015 we launched a certificate campaign for the return of Derby winner War Emblem, and it was a great success,” said Old Friends President Michael Blowen. “Since announcing the news about Charismatic we have received so many calls and requests about doing it again — so the certificates are back by popular demand,” Blowen added.”

Fans who donate $199.90 — a nod to Charismatic’s 1999 Derby win — will earn a limited-edition share certificate featuring a four-color photo by Eclipse-Award winning photographer Barbara Livingston and a personal signature from Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who campaigned Charismatic throughout his career.

Certificate holders will be also invited to a private meet-and-greet reception at Old Friends to be held in April of 2017 (exact date to be announced by January).

Only 300 certificates will be produced.

Charismatic, a one-time claimer, captured the hearts of racing fans when he miraculously won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness stakes against all odds. He found himself on the threshold of becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner when near-tragedy struck during the Belmont Stakes.

In that race, Charismatic surged before record crowd of over 85,000, but then he dropped back and was passed by eventual winner Lemon Drop Kid. As Charismatic crossed the finish line in third place, he was quickly pulled up having suffered multiple fractures in his left front leg.

In a very memorable moment, his jockey, the late Chris Antley, jumped off and held the colt’s leg off the ground until help arrived, thus avoiding more serious damage.  As Daily Racing Form’s Jay Hovdey noted at the time: “The Triple Crown was lost, but Charismatic was saved.”

The injuries, while not life threatening, did end his racing career. But Charismatic earned that year’s Eclipse Award as Champion 3-year-old colt as well as Horse of the Year honors, and retired with five wins from 17 starts and earnings of $2,038,064.

The now 20-year-old stallion will return to the United States in early December (arrival date to be announced) and will be pensioned at Old Friends. This marks the third Kentucky Derby Champion to be repatriated from Japan by Old Friends. In 2014 the farm welcomed 1997 winner Silver Charm and the following year 2002 winner War Emblem.

You can order a Charismatic certificate by calling Old Friends at (502) 863-1775 and using a credit card.  Or you may mail in an order by sending a check or money order for $199.90 to Old Friends, 1841 Paynes Depot Road, Georgetown, KY., 40324. Please include your name, address, and phone number.

Certificates are expected to be mailed by late December.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for more than 165 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

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

Plenty Left to Play For in 2016 Racing

Despite just a few months remaining of what has already been an exhilarating year in the world of horse racing, a number of high profile races are yet to take place, with iconic events on either side of the Atlantic set to have punters meticulously deliberating over the horse racing odds among bookmakers. Starting off this weekend, the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot kicks off the chasing season in style, while the upcoming Breeders’ Cup and King George VI Chase are certain to bring the curtain down on this year’s action with a bang.

Nick Williams-trained Tea For Two is currently leading the way in the horse racing odds at bookmakers Betway for the Sodexo Gold Cup. After winning on two of his three starts in novices last season, impressive performances in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton, as well as the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, have led to good to firm going odds for the seven-year-old. Competition for Tea For Two is most likely to come in the shape of Paul Nicholls’ Saphir du Rheu and Southfield Theatre, both of whom are given odds of 7/1 going into the weekend. Paul Nicholls will be heading to Ascot this weekend in the hope of finally claiming victory in one of the only high profile events in which he is yet to win.

Meanwhile, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, California Chrome heads a field of 14 horses, with Arrogate, Effinex and Nyquist all in contention for the race on November 6. The 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner is undoubtedly the favourite in the build up to the famous race, with Betway offering horse racing odds of just 2/1 for the Art Sherman-trained five-year-old. A total of 185 entries have been put forward for events at Santa Anita, the fact that the Breeders’ Cup Classic has seen an increase in prize money to $6 million is only likely to increase the attention placed upon the meeting. The Breeders’ Cup Mile, Sprint and Juvenile are all likely to be as competitive as ever, with thousands of punters heading to California for the festivities.

Finally, the King George VI on Boxing Day at Kempton is set to provide horse racing enthusiasts with a final chance of the year to back their favourites, with the Willie Mullins trained Vautour currently out in front in the horse racing odds from Betway. The likes of Cue Card and Douvan are certain not to make things easy for the 2016 Ryanair Chase winner, however.

Celebrate “Old Friends Day” at Belterra Park Gaming on September 5

Kentucky Derby and Preakness Champion War Emblem is just one of the equine retirees at Old Friends (photo Rick Capone).

GEORGETOWN, KY – AUGUST 29, 2016 – Monday, September 5th, is Old Friends Day at Belterra Park Gaming in Cincinnati, OH.

The day will celebrate the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY that cares for more than 160 retired racehorses. Fans can bid in a silent auction of unique items, as well as meet Old Friends founder Michael Blowen.

The auction will take place on the outdoor terrace overlooking the track. It will start at 1:30 pm and conclude at 4:00 pm.

Among the items up for auction are a set of Old Friends commemorative glasses, posters for such champions as American Pharoah and Zenyatta, decorative horse items, collectible ball caps, artwork, and jewelry.

Old Friends farm in Georgetown is home to over 100 of the organization’s 165 retirees, and star attractions include  Hall of Fame Champion and 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, 2002 Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem, three-time winner of the Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude, and Breeders’ Cup Classic Champion Alphabet Soup.

The farm is open to the public daily by appointment. For tour times and information, call (502) 863 1775.

Belterra Park Gaming, located at 6301 Kellogg Road in Cincinnati, OH 45230, features live racing along the beautiful Ohio River. Post time for the first race is 1:30 pm.

Belterra Park’s 2016 racing season includes over 90 race days and is home to Ohio’s only turf race track. The River Downs Club features simulcast Thoroughbred racing.

For more information, contact Belterra at (513) 232-8000.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for more than 160 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

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

Upcoming Horse Racing Highlights for 2016

After all of the excitement of the Kentucky Derby, it’s time to look ahead to see which top horse racing events are going to provide the best bet for equine entertainment over the coming months.

From traditional race meetings in the racing heartlands of the UK, to some of America’s most dazzling races, here’s a selection of events to keep an eye on, along with some horse racing tips to guarantee a perfect day’s entertainment.

California State Fair

One of the best tips for enjoying a truly glamorous day at the races is to head to the California State Fair in July. Held at the prestigious Sacramento Miller Lite Racetrack, this epic event features three successive weekends of racing action including thoroughbreds, quarter horses and mules all providing quality entertainment for the thousands of racing fans who pack the grandstands.

In 2016 the event kicks off on July 8, but it’s July 23 when the most highly-anticipated races occur with the Governor’s Cup always providing some lucrative betting options. Last year was one of the best California State Fairs yet with the recently introduced Sacramento Golden Bear Sprint offering a fresh challenge for three-year-olds.

Glorious Goodwood

However, for some truly traditional racing entertainment, then it’s best to take a look over to the UK where the Glorious Goodwood event delivers one of the best examples of flat racing in this horse racing-crazy nation.

Beginning on July 26 in the heartlands of West Sussex, the event offers all of the extravagance that you’d expect from UK racing. And with the Sussex Stakes and Nassau Stakes forming the main Group 1 contests, there’s many interesting betting options to be had as several key players are coming on leaps and bounds for what will surely be a hotly contested affair.

Breeder’s Cup

However, for all American racing fans, it’s always the Breeder’s Cup that truly delivers what racing is all about. Returning to the legendary Santa Anita Park in California, this promises to be yet another fantastic racing spectacle that should repeat the excitement felt in 2015 when American Pharoah turned in a commanding victory to claim racing immortality.

This year the $5 million Breeder’s Cup will be broadcast live on NBC, but for a true taste of the excitement of top level horse racing with the chance to take advantage of the best tips, it’s best to get to California and enjoy the most intense horse racing of 2016!

MMVS Temporarily Suspended

American Quarter Horse Association, March 7, 2016 – The misuse of medication in the racing American Quarter Horse industry continues to be a serious animal welfare issue, and one that AQHA, with the support of horsemen and the racing industry alike, is working to address. In 2013, AQHA announced the launch of its Multiple Medication Violation System (MMVS). After much discussion, the AQHA Executive Committee has determined that it is appropriate at this time to conduct a thorough evaluation of the MMVS program, as well as how AQHA can best address medication abuse in the racing industry. During this evaluation, the MMVS will be temporarily suspended.

There will be no MMVS penalties issued for races that occurred prior to March 7, 2016, or during the MMVS evaluation period thereafter. With respect to MMVS penalties (or points accumulated toward suspension), which have already been imposed, AQHA is commuting the suspensions and registration revocations effective immediately. Specifically, the end date for any active suspension or revocation will be March 7. AQHA will begin notifying affected individuals and racing jurisdictions by written correspondence.

During the temporary suspension of the MMVS program, AQHA will continue to collect medication violation data on Quarter Horses for the purpose of tracking violation trends.

Additionally, AQHA will also continue to employ the clenbuterol hair testing program for the 2016 regional AQHA Challenge races.

The goals of the MMVS are to provide a national tracking system of drug violators, impose uniform and serious consequences for repeat violators and violators who use forbidden drugs or historically abuse therapeutic medications, and bolster the environment of reciprocity throughout the racing jurisdictions to further curtail violators from simply moving from one jurisdiction to another.

“As with any new program or rule, AQHA continually evaluates the cost and benefit of the program to ensure that AQHA resources are devoted in the most effective way for achieving the goals of the program,” said AQHA President Dr. Glenn Blodgett.

The creation by AQHA of a comprehensive database of drug violations, across all racing jurisdictions, has required tremendous resources and one that going forward would require AQHA to triple the number of staff assigned to the program. These additional staff members would be needed to properly document violations, enter such violations in the database, and to provide notices of violations to both the racing jurisdictions and the violators themselves.

“The AQHA Executive Committee has determined that the time is right to conduct a thorough evaluation of the MMVS prior to allocating additional resources to the program,” said Dr. Blodgett. “In order to conduct the necessary evaluation, it makes sense to temporarily suspend the MMVS program so that the current resources and staff assigned to processing MMVS files can instead turn their attention and efforts to the evaluation process.”

As for the evaluation, it will be conducted with the assistance of the AQHA Racing Council and AQHA Racing Committee to determine whether the MMVS as constituted is effectively and efficiently capturing state rulings, deterring drug violations and encouraging meaningful movement by the racing jurisdictions to adopt uniform rules and penalties that appropriately discipline violators including through the use of a reciprocity component. Another area of evaluation will likely include a comprehensive study of the effects and use of various banned or dangerous medications in the industry. This topic will be discussed during Racing Committee meetings at the 2016 AQHA Convention later this week in Las Vegas.

“Before beginning this evaluation process, we believe many things have already been learned and we as an Association have become more cognizant of the need for real change if the Quarter Horse racing industry intends to grow and thrive,” said Dr. Blodgett. “It has only been through the implementation of the MMVS that a comprehensive national database exists, which contains the data of both violators and drugs that have been the subject of state rulings.

“The AQHA Executive Committee and all of AQHA wishes to thank the members of the Racing Council and Racing Committee, and others in the racing industry, who have provided countless hours of their time in getting the MMVS started,” continued Dr. Blodgett. “We are confident that following our evaluation of the MMVS and the many complicated issues that have been identified since its inception, we will come up with even more positive steps that can be taken to address the problem of medication abuse in racing and ensure that the American Quarter Horse racing industry thrives in the future.”

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqharacing.com.

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