Al Khali Joins Brother Japan in Retirement to Stud

Al Khali, the winner of multiple graded stakes races, will be spending his 2016 at the Keene Stud in New York after being put to stud for an advertised fee of $2,500. AlKhali

panax ginseng 900 mg three times daily During his career, Al Khali, the son of Medaglia d’Oro, went from Peru to the U.S., via WinStar/Todd Pletcher to Brous Stable/Wachtel Stable and finally to Bill Mott.

Co-owner Adam Wachtel declared Al Khali to be quite the horse, adding. “he was very unlucky to not be a multiple grade I winner. He should have won the Sword Dancer. He should have won the Pattison. He was just unlucky.”

Wachtel went on to reminisce about Al Khali’s racing days:

“When he won the Bowling Green to beat Winchester, it was one of the most impressive finishes any horse I’ve ever owned had done. In fact, his next race after that was the Pattison at Woodbine. He got beat three-quarters of a length and like in the Bowling Green, he was completely stopped with no place to go. He then rallied to almost get up.

“I flew back from Toronto with Alan Garcia who rode him, and with Edgar Prado. Edgar was talking about the prior race when Al Khali ran past him with that incredible burst. He told me he never had a horse run past him like that. I thought that was pretty cool, coming from Edgar.”

Al Khali’s record upon retirement is 8-5-5 (in 41 career starts), and he earned $1,019,510 during the course of his career. His last race saw him come in seventh-place at the Bowling Green. Al Khali will join his brother Japan, who will also retire to stud status in 2016.

The Golden Gate Stakes Begin Dec. 26th

The Golden Gate Stakes will once again run over 96 days, beginning December 26th, 2015 and ending June 12th, 2016. This will include 12 stakes races worth a combined $1.025 million, highlighted by the El Camino Real Derby slated for February 20th, 2016. The $200,000 race is one of the prep races on The Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Serving as the major, regional stakes race in Northern California, the El Camino Real Derby is a 1 1/8th mile race on dirt. Metaboss won in 2015 with past winners also including Tabasco Cat, Sea Cadet and Casual Lies. You can watch Metaboss’s win at last year’s rendition below (video courtesy of TVG):

The Golden Gate Stakes is held at Golden Gate Fields in Berkley, California just outside of San Francisco. It is owned and operated by the Stonarch Group, who took ownership back in 2011 when its previous parent company, Magna Entertainment Corp, filed for bankruptcy. It’s a fantastic venue to enjoy some early season races over the winter and spring.

January 16th, the Berkley-based racetrack will run the California Derby as a warm-up race for the El Camino Real Derby. The Golden Gate Stakes also includes the San Francisco Mile on April 30th and the All American on May 30th. All three of these races offer $100,00 purses.

The California Oaks runs on February 6th as well, with a purse of $50,000.

One of the more popular events for the Golden Gate Stakes is known as the Turf Extravaganza, which takes place on May 1st with two races highlighting the day. These include the Silky Sullivan for 3-year old colts, and the Campanile for 3-year old fillies. Both races are run over one mile on the turf track, and offer $100,00 purses as well.

The Golden Gate Stakes will conclude with the Albany on June 11th, a 5-furlong sprint for 3yr+ horses.

Stay tuned to Preakness Stakes Wagering as we preview these races closer to their posting dates!

Stronach Group Sues DerbyWars

In a U.S. first, a horse racing contest site is being sued by a racetrack. Specifically, The Stronach Group-owned racetracks have filed a federal lawsuit claiming Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) racing website DerbyWars is operating in an unlawful manner by using their track races in contests on their website without compensation. Horse Racing LLC owns DerbyWars, which was launched in 2011. derby-wars-logo

The suit was filed on December 2nd, in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Stronach tracks are arguing that DerbyWars is damaging their tracks and business, and would like monetary damages in return. The amount of damages they are seeking will be determined at trial.

While horse racing DFS sites such as DerbyWars can cite the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) as a source of protection against such claims, as there is an exception in the law, it’s mostly interpreted as an exception for licensed pari-mutuel wagering.

That is what The Stronach Group is arguing, and they also believe the exception can only be applied when outlets offering horse racing contests have reached an agreement with host racing associations, regulators, and local horsemen’s groups. In this particular case, The Stronach Group says no agreements with DerbyWars have been made.

DerbyWars released a statement, via co-founder Mark Midland. Below is a snippet:

“We are in receipt of the Stronach Group’s lawsuit but find the claims without merit and our attorneys are handling this matter. With DerbyWars, we have seen first-hand the ability of contests to create new fans and re-engage old ones. Horse Racing Labs, the parent company of DerbyWars, was founded to create new ways to grow horse racing.”

2015 Best Jockey Award Goes to Frankie Dettori

Frankie Dettori has been awarded the title of World’s Best Jockey for 2015, beating out Ryan Moore and Triple-Crown winning Victor Espinoza for the crown.

Dettori’s impressive 2015 resume includes five wins in top-100 grade I or group I races. Four of those wins came through riding Golden Horn (Investec Derby, QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, Coral-Eclipse, and Qatar Prix de l’Arc). Golden Horn was named Europe’s Horse of the Year. Frankie Dettori

The other race Dettori won this year was the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, which he accomplished riding Undrafted.

There will be a gala dinner ceremony recognizing Dettori on December 11, which will be part of the Longines Hong Kong International Races, scheduled to be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

In addition to Dettori’s five grade I/group I wins, he also came away the victor in three more group I races: Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, Darley Prix Morny, and Prix de Diane Longines (French Oaks).

Consistency was key in naming Dettori the top jockey of 2015, as he also finished second in four other races, and third in three more.

The tabulation system awards points for top-three finishes in what are deemed the 100 highest-rated grade I and group I races according to the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings Committee. First place is worth 12 points, six for second, and four for third. Dettori earned 100 total points.

Espinoza and Moore actually tied for second-place, with 90 points each. Coming in a close fourth-place with 88 points was Maxime Guyon. The award went to Moore last year.

Private Zone Florida Bound For Rehab

After a very disappointing run at the 2015 Cigar Mile, Private Zone is headed to The Sanctuary in Florida for some much needed rehab. It’s been a gruelling year for the six-year old, and Rene Douglas wants her rested for what we can only assume will be another year of competition in 2016.

Is that the right move?

Private Zone winning the Churchill Downs
An impressive looking Private Zone winning the Churchill Downs

Private Zone was 3-2-1 in seven races this season, and ended her campaign by trailing 5th at the Cigar Mile. She won the Forego Handicap, a GR1 stakes race, while also capturing wins at the Churchill Down Stakes (GR2) and the Belmont Sprint Championship (G3). An early season, second place finish at the Gulfstream Park Handicap (GR2) was coupled with her disappointing second place finish at the Breeders’ Cup Spring, which is another GR1 race. Her other run at a grade one was at the Metropolitan Handicap where she showed at third.

Seven races is a lot for any horse, especially a six-year old gelding and Douglas admitted that the Cigar Mile may have been a mistake. “I blame myself, I don’t blame the jockey or the trainer. That’s got nothing to do with it,” Douglas noted. “The horse was tired after the Breeders’ Cup and only went in to the [Cigar Mile] with four or five days of galloping. You’re not going to win a race like that.”

Douglas has been known to give Private Zone about 90 days off in the winter, and the idea is that the attention the horse enjoys at The Sanctuary in Florida will rejuvenate her in time for the Dubai Golden Shaheen in late March. Private Zone has competed at this race one time in the past, placing 9th back in 2013.

By no means does that guarantee that Private Zone will be ready for the 2016 season. Right now, the intention is to give him the rest he has rightfully earned and asses from there. If her handlers do decide that it’s time to retire him by the conclusion of winter, Private Zone’s career will still be served well. The Good Friends Stable that owns her, and trainer Brian A. Lynch have enjoyed a career record of 7-7-3 in 24 races.

Private Zone has plenty of fans that are eager for a return in 2016, but that news will have to wait. The prize of Good Friends Stable will no doubt enjoy some much deserved, and needed, rest and relaxation as she snowbirds in Florida.