Ohio HBPA Board Seeks Members Input on Proposed New OTF Stakes Schedule

The Ohio HBPA Board of Directors is seeking the opinions of its members regarding a proposed plan to change the current Ohio Thoroughbred Fund Stakes Schedule in 2020.

The proposed changes would create a “Best of Ohio” type program at each thoroughbred track featuring five $100,000 stakes races. This would replace the current program which has the Best of Ohio at one track each year with five $150,000 stakes.

The proposed changes would not impact the total number of Ohio Thoroughbred Fund stakes run in 2020 it would remain at 43, nor would it impact the total amount spent on Ohio funded stakes races. Rather it would take 10 existing stakes which were run for $75,000 in 2019 and make them $100,000 events in 2020 and also reduce the five Best of Ohio Stakes run for $150,000 in 2019 to $100,000 each in 2020.

Below is a look at how the proposed OTF Stakes Schedule could look in 2020 if it were adopted by the Ohio State Racing Commission.

2020 Proposed OTF Stakes Schedule

March 21 3-year-old fillies $75,000 Southern Park Stakes 6 furlongs Mahoning Valley

April 11 3-year-old $75,000 Howard B. Noonan Stakes 6 furlongs Mahoning Valley

April 18 3-year-olds & up F & M Accredited $75,000 T. F. Classen Memorial Stakes Mahoning Valley

May 9 Best of Ohio Belterra Park Program
3-year-olds & up $100,000 Babst/Palacios Memorial Stakes 6 furlongs
3-year olds $100,000 Tall Stack Stakes 6 ½ furlongs
3-year-old fillies $100,000 Tomboy Stakes 1 1/16 miles Turf
3-year-olds & up F & M $100,000 Mackey Memorial/Angenora 6 furlongs
3-year-olds & up $100,000 Gendelman Memorial Handicap 1 1/16 miles turf

May 16 3-year-olds & up Accredited $75,000 Rowland Memorial Handicap 6 furlongs Thistledown

May 31 3-year-olds $75,000 Green Carpet Stakes 1 1/16 miles turf Belterra Park

June 6 3-year-olds & up F&M $75,000 Petro Memorial Handicap 1 1/16 miles Thistledown

June 20 3-year-olds & up Accredited $75,000 George Lewis Memorial 1 1/16 miles Thistledown

June 27 3-year-olds $75,000 Cleveland Gold Cup 1 1/8 miles Thistledown

July 4 2-year-olds $75,000 Hoover Stakes 5 ½ furlongs Belterra Park

July 4 3-year-old fillies Accredited $75,000 Cincinnatian Stakes 1 1/16 miles Turf Belterra Park

July 11 2-year-old fillies $75,000 Miss Ohio Stakes 5 ½ furlongs Thistledown

July 12 3-year-olds & up F & M $75,000 Vivacious Handicap 1 1/16 miles Turf Belterra Park

July 18 3-year-olds & up Accredited $75,000 Buckeye Native Stakes 1 1/16 miles Turf Belterra Park

July 19 3-year-old fillies $75,000 Queen City Oaks 1 1/16 miles Belterra Park

August 8 Best of Ohio Thistledown Program
2-year-olds $100,000 Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes 6 furlongs
2-year-old fillies $100,000 Tah Dah Stakes 6 furlongs
3-year-olds & up $100,000 Honey Jay Stakes 6 furlongs
3-year-olds & up F&M $100,000 Pay the Man Stakes 1 1/8 miles
3-year-olds & Up $100,000 Governor’s Buckeye Cup 1 1/4 miles

August 9 3-year-old Accredited $75,000 Horizon Stakes 1 1/16 miles Turf Belterra Park

September 6 3-year-olds & Up F & M Accredited $75,000 Miss Southern Ohio Stakes Belterra Park

September 13 3-year-olds & Up F & M $75,000 Scarlet & Gray Handicap 6 furlongs Thistledown

September 20 2-year-olds Accredited $75,000 Loyalty Stakes 6 furlongs Belterra Park

September 26 3-year-olds & Up Accredited $75,000 Catlaunch Stakes 1 1/16 miles Thistledown

October 3 2-year-old Fillies Accredited Emerald Necklace Stakes 6 furlongs Thistledown

October 10 3-year-olds & Up F & M $75,000 Diana Stakes 6 furlongs Thistledown

October 31 Best of Ohio Mahoning Valley Program
3-year-olds & Up F&M $100,000 Best of Ohio Distaff 1 1/8 miles
2-year-olds $100,000 Juvenile Stakes 1 1/16 miles
2-year-old fillies $100,000 John Galbreath Memorial Stakes 1 1/16 miles
3-year-olds & Up $100,000 Best of Ohio Sprint
3-year-olds & Up $100,000 Best of Ohio Endurance 1 ¼ miles

November 7 3-year-olds & Up F&M Accredited $75,000 Ohio Debutante Handicap 1 mile Mahoning Valley

November 21 3-year-olds & Up $75,000 Cardinal Handicap 6 furlongs Mahoning Valley

November 21 3-year-old fillies $75,000 First Lady Stakes 6 furlongs Mahoning Valley

November 28 2-year-old fillies Accredited $75,000 Glacial Princess Stakes 6 furlongs Mahoning Valley

November 28 3-year-olds & Up Accredited $75,000 Ruff/Kirchberg Memorial Handicap 1 mile Mahoning Valley

December 5 2-year-old Accredited $75,000 Joshua Radosevich Memorial 6 furlongs Mahoning Valley

December 12 3-year-olds & Up F&M Accredited $75,000 Bobbie Bricker Memorial Handicap 1 mile Mahoning Valley

This proposed schedule is put out only to seek input from our membership. If you prefer the stakes schedule stay the way it has for the past several years we would like to know that, likewise if you prefer the new proposed schedule we would like to know.

Please email your comments to Ohio HBPA Executive Director Dave Basler at [email protected] by October 7th as the board will be addressing this item at its next meeting on October 10th.

Belterra Park Schedules Make Up Days

Belterra Park has added three Mondays in September to the live racing schedule to make up for the three programs which were cancelled in July due to excessive heat.

The track will now race on Monday, September 9th, 16th and 23rd.

Thistledown Training Cancelled August 7th

Training has been cancelled at Thistledown on Wednesday, August 7th due to adverse track conditions. A decision on live racing Wednesday will be made later this morning.

Make up days will be scheduled for the two cancelled live days thus far at the track, Wednesday, July 7th and yesterday.

Taking Stock: Beneath Lasix, EIPH Is Real

By Sid Fernando

“Back in the early 1970s, you’d see horses bleeding from the nostrils more commonly than you do now,” said trainer Barclay Tagg, who took out his license in 1971. “I had a horse back then that came back after a race, and he was being washed up and suddenly he starts gushing blood from the nostrils. You barely see them bleed from the nostrils now, and that’s because of Lasix.” Tagg said he was a proponent for the use of the diuretic Lasix to combat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, or EIPH, a condition that results in bleeding in the lungs from exercise and racing. Its extreme manifestation is epistaxis, or bleeding through the nostrils, and this condition has existed for as long as Thoroughbred history has been recorded over the last 300-plus years. That’s a point that gets forgotten when partisans debate Lasix usage.

Lasix officially entered the racing landscape in Maryland in the mid-1970s as a therapeutic treatment to reduce the effects of EIPH and is now used almost exclusively on most racehorses in this country on race days, though race-day Lasix is prohibited abroad. As a diuretic, Lasix lowers blood pressure, and this is thought to mitigate bleeding by relieving pressure on capillaries in the lungs that burst during stress. It was known and used by some trainers at least a decade before it was officially sanctioned, and Northern Dancer was reportedly administered the drug by Dr. Alex Harthill for the 1964 Kentucky Derby. “I was good friends with Dr. Harthill, and I can confirm that. He told me personally that he gave it to Northern Dancer,” Tagg said.

Lasix usage has been controversial for a long time and is even more so nowadays with the mainstream publicity surrounding the fatalities at Santa Anita, which have somehow been publicly linked to the drug–without the evidence of science. For example, one of the first reforms instituted during the eye of the storm by The Stronach Group (TSG), owner of Santa Anita, was a reduction in the race-day dosage of Lasix, which had the effect of implying to the public that larger doses may have played a part in the breakdowns. Joe Drape in the New York Times was more direct, writing: “[Lasix] is also thought to increase the chance of catastrophic injury to a horse’s thin legs.”

I’ve read as many legitimate peer-reviewed scientific papers and studies on Lasix dating back to the 1980s as anyone else, and I’ve yet to come across one that states what Drape did, in one of the most prestigious newspapers in the country no less. TSG’s stance on Lasix is more understandable as a reflexive PR maneuver and a deflection from its racing surface, especially as a Jockey Club-led medication reform federal bill that would ban race-day Lasix was introduced in Congress during this period of tumult at Santa Anita. All of this has unfortunately fudged the lines between cause and effect for legislators like Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has called for a suspension of racing at Santa Anita and a review of medication policies, and journalists like Drape and others reporting on the deaths in mainstream media.

Aside from the black eye of the current fatalities at Santa Anita, racing’s image hasn’t been helped over the last five or so years by partisan debates over earlier versions of the current bill in Congress. A lot of the damage is specifically from the chorus of some of the bill’s supporters in the media equating Lasix with illegal “drugging” despite that Lasix is legal and sanctioned by every racing jurisdiction in this country. This confusion has only added to governmental and public perception outside racing circles that the sport and industry is riddled with chronic drug and animal abuse, and it’s brought to the fore groups like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which was– surprisingly–invited by TSG to the Santa Anita discussions. PETA is now calling for the suspension of racing nationwide until reforms like those instituted at Santa Anita are applied to all tracks in the country, even though the reforms at Santa Anita haven’t completely stopped the fatalities.

The net effect is that the industry is under siege from the outside, and within it there’s a chasm between a cadre of wealthy owners and breeders who are against the use of race-day Lasix and who back The Jockey Club’s federal initiative, and trainers and smaller owners on the other side who don’t support the proposed legislation. “Sure, I’d be for getting rid of Lasix,” Tagg said, “if they found another way to treat bleeders that works. Lasix, if used properly, is not as debilitating as people think, either. If they are treated right the next few days after a race and get plenty of fresh water, an electrolyte jug the day after, and get some grazing, they rebound quickly.”
Deconstructing this entanglement the industry finds itself in first and foremost requires admitting publicly that EIPH is a real disorder and needs to be addressed and treated one way or another if race-day Lasix is ultimately held as the scapegoat for industry ills and is banned.

“Before Lasix, horses were taken off water and food 12 to 24 hours before races,” Tagg said. “You’d feel bad for the poor horses.” Dehydrating them in this manner had the effect of lowering blood pressure, but not as effectively or as humanely as Lasix does. “There was other stuff people would give them, too. Everyone had their potions,” Tagg said, implying that water, hay, and oats alone is a quaint notion.

Dallas Stewart came up as a trainer during the Lasix era and said it’s the most inexpensive and efficient way to treat EIPH. “Sure, there are guys that will give them a bunch of stuff, but that’s expensive versus a $20 or $25 shot of Lasix,” he noted. The cost of treating a bleeder for a small owner or trainer would skyrocket without Lasix, and this is another line of demarcation between the two warring sides.

And one other thought that no one seems to have addressed while pinning the tail on the donkey that is Lasix: if the diuretic leads to “catastrophic injuries,” as Drape wrote, why would it still be allowed for training? Most bleeders use Lasix far more often in morning workouts than they do in the afternoons. A horse that made 15 lifetime starts on Lasix, for example, might have used it five times as much while training in between starts.

Depending on the study, it’s estimated that between 55% to 95% of racehorses experience some level of EIPH, though between only 1% (lower in some studies) to 4% exhibit epistaxis. Bleeding through the nostrils was the obvious indicator of EIPH until the development of the endoscope and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) allowed for the detection of various levels of blood in the lungs and trachea. Most studies indicate that EIPH becomes more prevalent and acute with age and racing mileage, and one study has suggested that EIPH is heritable and that bleeders should be removed from the breeding population, something that’s been put into practice in Germany, where horses that raced on Lasix are not allowed as breeding stock.

One thing is for certain, though: bleeders have been around since the beginning, and many bleeders or descendants of bleeders have had a profound impact on the breed. Bartlett’s Childers (1716), a son of the Darley Arabian–one of the three founding stallions of the Thoroughbred, along with The Byerley Turk and the Godolphin Arabian–was unraced because he was a bleeder (he was also known as Bleeding Childers) but nonetheless became a champion sire and was the great-grandsire of the top racehorse and pivotal stallion Eclipse (1764), to whom most racehorses now trace.

Herod (1758) was a contemporary of Eclipse and a descendant of The Byerley Turk. He, too, has been recorded as a bad bleeder–and keep in mind that these horses were known as bleeders only because they exhibited epistaxis. Herod led the sire list for eight consecutive years, and his son Highflyer led the list 13 times. Today this line is all but extinct but has some representation in modern pedigrees primarily through Ahonoora (1975).

Hermit (1864), a male-line descendant of Eclipse, was another well-known bleeder. He won the Epsom Derby and led the British sire list seven years straight. One of his daughters produced Gallinule (1884), a stakes-winning 2-year-old colt whose subsequent career was marred by EIPH. He led the British sire list in 1904 and sired the outstanding filly Pretty Polly (1901), who founded an influential family whose impact is still felt today.

There are far too many cases of these types to list here, but here’s one more, a contemporary example. Claiborne’s Special (1969) was a talented filly who was unable to race because she was prone to bleeding. Retained as a broodmare, she produced champions Fairy Bridge (1975) and Nureyev (1977), who between them made a total of five starts. Nureyev, a son of Northern Dancer, became an outstanding sire, and Fairy Bridge produced the top racehorse and iconic sire Sadler’s Wells (1981), also a son of Northern Dancer. Sadler’s Wells is, of course, the sire of Galileo (1998), one of the all-time greats.

Reprinted with permission from Thoroughbred Daily News

Ohio Racing Economic Impact Survey

The Ohio HBPA and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association are jointly funding an Ohio Racing Economic Impact Study. As part of that study information is being gathered from Ohio racing industry participants through an Ohio Racing Economic Impact Survey.

We ask that you click the link below and take 5 to 10 minutes required to fill out the survey to help the Ohio HBPA insure the successful future of Ohio racing.


Mahoning Valley Schedules Make Up Days

Mahoning Valley in cooperation with the Ohio HBPA has scheduled five make up dates for weather and track related cancellations thus far during the 2019 winter-spring meeting.

Make up days will be help on Friday, March 15th and Friday. March 29th. The meet which was scheduled to end on Saturday April 20th will now be extended with racing dates added on Monday, April 22nd through Wednesday, April 24th.