News and STORIES
Final Belmont Tweaks and More
Tacitus Has Final Belmont Stakes Tuneup
Tacitus, with Jose Ortiz up for trainer Bill Mott, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.42 over Belmont’s dirt strip the morning of June 2 in preparation for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.
Working in company with Juddmonte maiden Tide of the Sea(1:01.50), Tacitus finished strong down the lane, galloping out well in front of his workmate. Mott said he was pleased with the final breeze ahead of the 1 1/2-mile Belmont set for June 8.
“He was moving very good, very level, and very even. He went along in :12s every furlong and went out strong enough,” Mott told NYRA publicity. “It was very similar to last week. Once he gets in his rhythm, he moves very nicely.”
Mott said Tacitus’ physical appearance has impressed him as the colt trains into the “Test of the Champion.”
“I haven’t weighed him, but visually it looks like he’s in good flesh,” the trainer said. “I think he’s done well. He’s a good eater.”
Getting Back To Work
Runnymede Racing’s Alwaysmining exited his first work since a relatively disappointing Preakness Stakes showing in good order as his connections continue to examine their options for the multiple stakes winner’s next start.
“It was a nice, solid work,” Rubley told Laurel Park publicity of Alwaysmining’s half-mile breeze in 48.60 seconds Saturday over the all-weather surface at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., fifth-fastest of 35 horses. “He started off nice and easy in 12 and change and finished up in 11 and change – exactly what I was looking for.”
Alwaysmining had won five consecutive stakes and was 3-for-3 this year after his 11 ½-length romp in the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio Stakes on April 20 at Laurel, which earned him an automatic berth in the Preakness. In that race, he was third in a threatening position approaching the stretch before dropping back.
Rubley indicated that she may cut Alwaysmining back for his return to racing. He is nominated to the $150,000 Easy Goer June 8 at Belmont Park, contested at 1 1/16 miles, along with the Matt Winn (G3) June 15 at Churchill Downs. Other upcoming spots for 3-year-olds include the 1 1/16-mile Affirmed (G3) June 16 at Santa Anita and the 1 1/8-mile Ohio Derby (G3) June 22 at Thistledown.
Illinois Sports Betting Legislation to Help Racing Industry
In addition to allowing a Chicago casino, Illinois tracks Arlington Park and Hawthorne will receive 1,200 “gambling positions” along with the opportunity to take sports bets both on-site and online. Gambling positions are determined by the number of players, with slots equaling one, blackjack measuring six, and craps taking eight.
While sports bets don’t necessarily have to feed racing purses like casino counterparts, the bill does also eliminate the practice of “recapture,” in which tracks were keeping money intended for purses. New revenue streams should allow tracks to operate without doing so.
“We did it, Illinois horsemen,” Mike Campbell, president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said in a statement Monday. “For two decades, year in and year out, we have urged Illinois lawmakers to let tracks offer casino-style gaming for the purpose of boosting purses – and helping Illinois racing compete on a level playing field with other states already doing just that.
“Our industry during those years lost thousands of jobs as thoroughbred owners and trainers left this state for the chance to win better purses elsewhere. Jockeys, backstretch workers, blacksmiths, veterinarians, shippers – and so many other professionals whose livelihood is linked to live racing – left, too. Thoroughbred breeding here was decimated.”