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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

News and Notes - April 5

- Ernie Paragallo announced that Achilles of Troy is off the Derby trail; he had been threatening to run him in the Arkansas Derby. This mercifully prevents anyone who was inclined to do so from throwing out good money in this weekend’s Derby futures pool. Paragallo said that the horse had "heat in his left front suspensory,” the same leg in which he said didn’t have heat after he said it did after the horse was vanned off the track after the Gotham. Paragallo added that the colt’s “ass-end is a little sore," and denied that his is as well as the result of him talking out of it. [Daily Racing Form]

- Business is booming at the breeding operations of Maui Meadow Farm in Pennsylvania. Besides the attraction of owning any Pennsylvania-bred with the coming slots expected to reap huge purses and breeders’ bonuses, the Lyman family has a pot of gold in the sire Congressionalhonor, who commands a stud fee of $3500. The horse has some bloodlines that are pretty fashionable these days.

The 5-year-old stallion, whose track accomplishments include a Grade III stakes win, has sought-after bloodlines. He is half-brother to 2005 horse of the year Saint Liam - their dam is Quiet Dance - and was sired by Forestry, the horse whose 2-year-old colt out of Magical Masquerade sold in February for a record $16 million.

Sixty mares, many from out of state, have been booked to Congressionalhonor this season, and the phone just keeps ringing. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
- As the New Jersey harness doping scandal heats up, the New York thoroughbred milkshake scandal is winding down. Matt Hegarty reports in the Form that five of the key figures, including two of the Uvari brothers and trainer Greg Martin, have pleaded guilty to charges ranging from running an illegal gambling operation, to wire fraud, to, in the case of Martin, "giving a racehorse a performance-enhancing substance" and "placing bets on that racehorse to win a horse race.”[Daily Racing Form]

In a separate report from Oklahoma, an Indian tribe is attempting to resolve charges that they did not properly police money laundering at their Tonkawa casino.
Gambling money at the Tonkawa's casino flowed so freely that one or more members of the Uvari Group showed up one day with $300,000 in a duffel bag to spend on races, according to a Treasury Department document, the Oklahoman said. [ Community]
I generally carry my $300,000 in larger bills, and only need a small backpack. Back to the harness case, Dr. Scot Waterman, the executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, told Hegarty that it would be “na├»ve” to think that Aranesp is not being used on thoroughbreds. "It's been on the rumor mill for years, and we've taken the stand that we should assume it's out there.” The assistant to trainer Seldon Ledford and his wife, in whose home the drugs were found by police, are pointing their finger at the boss. "Seldon Ledford had given that to them, both of them stated." [Detective Sgt. Brice] Cote said. [Asbury Park Press]

However, it should be pointed out that none of the horses were actually tested for the drug, which is said to be undetectable. So the evidence appears to be largely circumstantial at this point – the horses improved dramatically, and quantities of the drug and syringes were seized; but there’s nothing but common sense to tie the two together. Thus, the lawyer for driver Eric Ledford said, "I haven't heard anything that would tie Eric to anything….I would like to have him back driving."

- Cesario, so impressive in winning the American Oaks Invitational last July, has been retired with a record of five wins in six starts. Her sole loss had come by a head in the Oka Sho (Jpn-I, Japanese One Thousand Guineas). Breeding plans are undecided. [Bloodhorse]