In what could be one of the most exciting spectacles seen on a Sydney racetrack in many a moon, Godolphin’s last minute nomination for Kementari in the Gr1 Winx Stakes on Saturday is now an official acceptance. What makes the clash potentially so mouth-watering, aside from Winx being on the brink of history if she makes it win 26 in-a-row, is that the darling of Australian racing is building towards the Cox Plate distance of 2040m in October, while Kementari is still a realistic prospect of getting a slot for The Everest (1200m). Taking nothing away from Pierata’s gallant first up win in the Gr2 Missile Stakes (1200m), luckless Kementari was gobbling up ground off the winner over the concluding stages and should be cherry-ripe second-up for Saturday’s 1400m journey. Adding to the allure of the clash where Winx is first-up is that both candidates like to wind up from off the pace. Kementari has drawn 7, two outside Winx in stall 5, while D’Argento (9) is also likely to get back and come with his customary late dash. Winx is a $1.14 chance ahead of Kementari at $7.50 and D'Argento at $15. Biggest roughie in the field is Oriental Runner at $401. Early on Wednesday afternoon, TAB reported a $140,000 bet on Winx for Saturday was accepted at $1.12, eclipsing the $124,500 placed on her at $1.18 in this year's Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Racing NSW has announced the findings of the recently published Deloitte Access Economics report into the economic benefits to the New South Wales economy if the local racing industry can achieve parity with its interstate counterparts in terms of share of TAB wagering tax. The additional revenue could be used to boost prize-money across NSW, further develop The Championships into an event comparable with Melbourne's world-class Spring Racing Carnival and provide funding for upgrades to racecourse facilities. Deloitte Access Economics estimates that by achieving parity, the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry will contribute a further $172 million to the local economy, including $48 million from The Championships and autumn carnival. Racing NSW Chief Executive, Mr Peter V'landys, welcomed the report: "Thoroughbred racing is a significant contributor to the NSW economy as well as its social fabric," Mr V'landys said. "However, it is not always about economics as it shouldn't be underestimated the social and entertainment value racing has in regional areas." He added, "Racing NSW is seeking parity with interstate racing with respect to Government's share of TAB wagering revenue. The report by Deloitte Access Economics gives some insight into what could be achieved by the thoroughbred racing industry if successful."
Dual Gr1 Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls (O'Reilly-Iguazu's Girl, by Redoute's Choice) will return to his birthplace in New Zealand to stand at Waikato Stud when he retires from racing later this year, reports bloodstock.racingpost.com. The son of champion sire O'Reilly was bred by the farm before being sold at the New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Sale for NZ$160,000 to Guy Mulcaster, bloodstock advisor to the horse's Sydney trainer Chris Waller. Waikato later secured a share in the 4YO when he won the 2012 Gr1 NZ 2,000 Guineas. Sacred Falls, who has won 8 of his 18 starts, claimed his third Gr1 victory when landing back-to-back wins in the Doncaster Mile at Randwick on Saturday for Waller. Speaking to Australia & New Zealand Bloodstock News, Waikato Stud's general manager Mark Chittick said: "Sacred Falls will be at stud this year and we're getting pretty close to setting our service fees. We did speak about it last week and obviously he was going to be 'fee to be advised'. There's probably been a little bit of change after Saturday, so it's a good position to be in." Chittick added, "I went down to watch him gallop at the beginning of his three-year-old spring campaign and I said straight away he was the closest thing I'd seen to [dual Group 1 winner] O'Reilly galloping since O'Reilly." Sacred Falls is one of five horses from the Waller yard entered for Saturday's Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick, in what could be his last race. From the Redoute's Choice mare Iguazu's Girl, Sacred Falls is a three-quarter brother to Gr3 winner Splashing Out. Other family members include 8-time stakes winning mare Lady Iguazu (2nd dam), Victoria Derby winner Omnicorp, Gr2 Sandown Cup winner Pharostan, and Gr2 winner Crimson, dam of stakes winner Abidewithme and Miss Scarlatti.
This morning at 9am the Australian Turf Club will make the final 300 tickets available for Saturday's Randwick race meeting for a chance to see what could be Sydney's Black Caviar swansong. The Club has advised that, the extra 300 tickets aside, the race day is a complete sell out and no tickets will be available for sale at the gate. Should she be successful, undefeated Black Caviar would win her 25th race straight, a prospect trainer Peter Moody is most optimistic about given the champion's near best time at Caulfield in a recent track gallop. Saturday will also see the official opening of the new Theatre of the Horse – a purpose-built amphitheatre which will showcase the horses before and after each of the nine races on the program – as well as the ground and first floors of the new grandstand.
Holiday Season Odd Spot: In what could be a world first, runners competing in the final race over 1600m at Dubbo in central-western NSW finished in racebook order - all 9 of them. Racecaller Colin Hodges declared: "What would be the odds about this happening? It defies belief that 9 horses could go around in a 1600m race & finish exactly as the handicapper intended. I've seen a couple of 5 and 6-horse fields finish in order, but never a 9-horse field." For those wondering about the possibility of this occurring: it's 362,880-1. The complete finishing order was:
The California Horse Racing Board also announced its permission for Commerce Casino in Los Angeles "to offer wagering on horse racing" as the 1st of "what could be as many as 45 mini-satellites for horse racing in the state". Casino spokesman Rod Blonien confirmed "remodeling is underway" which will make room for 9 tables (with 4-seats-per-table) & 10 self-service betting terminals for punters & the horse racing section is expected to open "in 2-4 weeks".
Victorian Racing Minister Rod Hulls announced immediate implementation of 20 recommendations (flowing from the report by retired Judge Gordon Lewis on Integrity Assurance In the Victorian Racing Industry) "to improve integrity services & systems within the racing industry". Hulls noted: "When Judge Lewis released his review, I asked the working party to report back to me by 30 September & highlight what could be implemented quickly & I am happy with the interim work that has been done to date". The interim report examined Judge Lewis' 63 recommendations & highlighted those targeted for immediate implementation. Hulls added many of the remaining recommendations "require legislative or significant structural change"; a final report is due to be presented to Hulls on December 31.
Technology entrepreneur & thoroughbred owner Halsey Minor "has set his sights on the purchase & renovation of the revered Hialeah Park Race Track in Miami," reported thoroughbredtimes.com. Virginia multimillionaire Minor, 43 (who campaigns multiple Gr1-winner Dream Rush & stakes-winner Fierce Wind) confirmed he will meet Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti "in the coming weeks" & declared: "My principle goal is to kick-start thoroughbred racing. What could be better than the resurrection of one of the industry's decaying icons?" Minor (a "horse fanatic & history buf who shelled out US$15.3 million last year to buy Carter's Grove Plantation in Williamsburg in Virginia to preserve the historic property & use it as part of a thoroughbred breeding operation") estimated it would cost US$20-40 million to "restore the property to the way it looked a half-century ago at the apex of its and racing's popularity". Minor added: "Assuming I can work something out with Mr Brunetti, I think we could get it back up & running in pristine form in 3 years." Hialeah Park opened in 1921 & is "one of the oldest existing recreational facilities in South Florida. It played host to some of the country's best horses, served as a playground for the rich & famous through its heyday & for decades was hailed as one of the world's most beautiful racetracks". The track (which held its final race in May 2001) "is officially designated a sanctuary for the American flamingo by the Audubon Society & in 1979 was listed on the US National Register Of Historic Places".