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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Suspension Deal Storybook Ending for Biancone

- Patrick Biancone won the 7th at Keeneland on Friday with Storybook. His horses will run under the name of his assistant Francois Parisel starting on Sunday with Arosa in the Dowager Stakes. Under the terms of his suspension deal with the KHRA, the new Kentucky rules that prohibit him from transferring horses to an assistant or relative don't begin until Nov 1. So his Breeders' Cup horses will run under Parisel's name, and Biancone will be able to partake in any purse monies earned.

Not only that, but until Nov 1, he'll be free to be at his barn, on racetrack property and involved with his horses; that according to the Louisville Courier Journal. So his "suspension" is one in name only when it comes to the Breeders' Cup. That makes his statement that he does "not want to cast a cloud over racing's most important day" seem even more disingenuous than it did on its own. I don't see anything indicating that he'd be prohibited from standing in the winner's circle or being interviewed by Jeannine Edwards on ESPN.

Some of the trainer's owners came strongly to his defense. Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds told the Form:

"I'll be honest with you, I didn't appreciate a lot of people in this industry crucifying the guy before he had his day in court....I heard all the talk and innuendo. But he didn't have his shot at due process, and no matter what anyone says, this is still America." [DRF]
But Biancone has a record, and a pretty damning one at that. And since this is still America, I think we're all free to infer what seems obvious; if we're wrong, than we're wrong, but Biancone brought that speculation on all by himself by his past actions. He had his due process to the tune of over four months of earnings, including anything derived from the Breeders' Cup, after the discovery of the substance in his barn, and it seems to me that the KHRA bent over backwards to make the suspension as palatable as possible. After the first six months, during which he'll be permitted to attend sales other than the spring session at Keeneland, "any [financial] arrangement he makes with owners or his assistants, we have no control over," [John] Veitch said.

- Storybook won with an unbelievable last burst in the stretch after being second to last turning for home. She's a three-year old Darley bred that Biancone trains for Joseph Allen. Storybook is by Halling (Diesis), out of a Gone West mare, and was making her first start on turf after three on Polytrack. Her second dam is Danish, who won the G1 QEII Challenge at Keeneland in 1994.