Monthly Archives: July 2021

Virginia Equine Veterinarian, Owner Dr. Doug Daniels Elected National HBPA President

Horse owner and equine veterinarian Dr. Doug Daniels has been elected president of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which represents thoroughbred racing owners and trainers through affiliates in a number of states.

Daniels, who was unopposed for the National HBPA presidency, has been vice president of the Virginia HBPA and a member of the National HBPA’s executive committee since 2019. He succeeds Leroy Gessmann, who had been president since 2015. In addition to his own Virginia Equine PLLC veterinary practice, Daniels has and continues to work for the Virginia Racing Commission when needed as a regulatory veterinarian at the commonwealth’s thoroughbred, standardbred and steeplechase race meets.

Jami Poole, president of the Mountaineer HBPA who chaired the nominating committee, said of Daniels: “Having someone with the credentials of Dr. Daniels lead the National HBPA speaks to the commitment of our organization, and should be a message to all that we are leading into the future and we are ‘horsemen helping horsemen.’”

“It’s a pivotal time for the industry in general,” Daniels said. “I feel very fortunate to be involved and to have the opportunity to give back to an industry that’s been good to me personally and professionally. My hope and my goal would be to use my education and my work experience and knowledge of equine medicine to the betterment of the membership.”

He takes over the helm at a time when the National HBPA is challenging in federal court in Texas the legality of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). The National HBPA long has advocated for enhanced safety regulations, security and tougher sanctions for cheaters but believes policies must be implemented with transparency and input from horsemen’s and veterinary representative groups.

“Because of the pending federal legislation, I feel like this is a good time for the membership to have a veterinarian with a voice to look out for their interests,” Daniels said.

As a horse owner who keeps a couple of racehorses in training as well as a broodmare or two at any time, Daniels said he “all too painfully” knows the concerns facing owners.

“If there is some noise to be made, some massaging or finessing to be done, I plan to be all up in it,” he said of the challenges facing owners and trainers. “Medication policy, worker’s compensation and immigration issues are going to require a lot of continued attention.

“I definitely enjoy what I do for a living, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But I’m looking forward to branching out into this next aspect of my professional career. It’s one I’ve not taken lightly and it’s one I discussed with my family at length before taking this step. I’m excited about it. I’m excited about the people I’ll be working with at the HBPA, in particular with (CEO) Eric Hamelback. We’re so lucky to have him. He makes my position so much easier.”

Daniels grew up in Kansas, his parents raising and racing horses in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas. He attended undergraduate and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Auburn University, graduating cum laude. Daniels ventured into horse ownership once his vet practice became established. He has raced in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Daniels was elected at the National HBPA’s full board meeting late last week at Prairie Meadows racetrack in Altoona, Iowa, which included the election of all National HBPA Officers. The only change other than the election of president Daniels was that of the National HBPA’s East Region vice president. The East Region affiliates elected Sandee Martin, president of the Pennsylvania HBPA. Re-elected as vice presidents were: Kentucky HBPA president Rick Hiles (Southern Region), Arizona HBPA vice president Lloyd Yother (West Region) and Indiana HBPA president Joe Davis (Central Region). Hiles also remains in the position of first National HBPA vice president. The secretary-treasurer, an appointed position, remains Lynne McNally, executive vice president of the Nebraska HBPA.

Hamelback concluded with saying the overall meeting was positive and productive. He said among the topics discussed at the meeting were fixed-odds wagering on horse racing and the importance of revenue sharing for horse owners, legislative efforts revolving around H2B and H2A visa programs, continued discussions of HISA implementation, and the signature Claiming Crown. Additionally, the NHBPA Full Board recognized and approved an affiliate, the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association. That organization will be returning with its members as an affiliate under the National HBPA.

Jockey Maria Rosana Scaldaferri Wins First Race In America Wednesday at Colonial Downs

Jockey Maria Scaldaferri from Argentina at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ. Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

The 30-year-old rider had been winless in 27 U.S. starts until the ninth on Wednesday when she piloted Leanne Hester’s homebred Tempting Moment to a gate-to-wire effort at odds of 15-1. The 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint attracted a field of thirteen $10,000 claimers who competed for a $25,000 purse.

Hester’s 6-year-old Gone Clubbing gelding led by 1 1/2 lengths early on, carried a five-length cushion into the top of the stretch and crossed three lengths ahead of Fashionable in 1:04.05. The winner paid $32.20 and marked his first win in 12 starts.

The day’s last race matched a jockey with a horse, both of whom were in search of a much-needed victory.

Scaldaferri aboard Tempting Moment July 21. Picture courtesy of Coady Photography.

“I’m so happy,” said an emotional Scaldaferri after the race. “You can’t imagine how happy I am. I’ve put in so much hard work to get to this point. I rode at Gulfstream for three years then at Monmouth for a short time before coming here and didn’t win at either place. I thought it was going to be easier by now. This means so much to me because I got sick so many times last year and only made one start. I had pneumonia at one point, would feel better, get going then get sick again and have to start all over.”

The win came in Scaldaferri’s third start this week at Colonial. She had four starts at Monmouth before arriving in Virginia and only had one in 2020.

“This is my first win ever in America,” she proclaimed again as she walked back into the paddock all smiles. “I’ll be back riding here all season, for sure.”

Tempting Moment’s owner/breeder/trainer Leanne Hester is from Gloucester.

Colonial Downs continues its 7-week season Monday July 26 with nine races beginning at 1:45 PM. Three open stakes will be contested — the $150,000 Buckland, and $100,000 Da Hoss and Andy Guest Stakes.

Colonial Downs Opens Its Racing Season With Record Opening Day Handle

Donna Dennehy, Nick Hahn & Karen Godsey in the paddock on opening day.

“We would like to thank the horsemen, our fans on and off site and our team for starting the meet on the right foot,” said John Marshall, Executive VP Operations for the Colonial Downs Group. “What a delight it was to see 2,500 fans at Colonial Downs on a Monday afternoon with such enthusiasm.  We appreciate our fans for urging a new all-time Colonial Downs all-source handle opening day record.  Looking at today’s card, Colonial Downs has arrived at a whole new level.”

Horacio Karamanos scored three wins on the opening day card including this one atop Passion Play in the Bert Allen Stakes.

Story lines were aplenty in the nine-race program as Colonial’s all-time leading rider Horacio Karamanos reached the winners circle three times including a gate-to-wire victory atop Reiley McDonald’s Passion Play in the 1 1/16th miles Bert Allen Stakes. The 5-year-old Hold Me Back gelding crossed two lengths ahead of Forloveofcountry, who had a four-race win streak snapped. The winner, a Mary Eppler trainee who broke his maiden two years ago in New Kent, pushed his bankroll to $197,947. Betting favorite Chess Chief finished fourth.

“I expected someone else to go to the front, but when my horse broke out of the gate and took the lead, I tried to control the pace and at the half mile mark, knew I had plenty of horse left,” said Karamanos. “I’m so happy to come here and win this much. This is like my home. I broke records here and feel so happy when I’m back at Colonial Downs.

Karamanos also scored aboard Cavalier Cupid and My Sweet Story.

Grateful Bred, jockey Jevian Toldeo and trainer Madison Meyers in the winners circle after capturing the Meadow Stable Stakes.

Gordon Keys’ Grateful Bred’s win in the 5 1/2-furlong Meadow Stable Stakes gave Middleburg, Virginia-based trainer Madison Myers her first stakes win. The 5-year-old Great Notion gelding raced three-wide around the turn, took the lead at the top of the stretch and crossed 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Sky’s Not Falling. He is now 4-for-5 on the turf with earnings of $159,765.

“It’s pretty important and exciting to get my first stakes win,” said Myers. “I can’t thank Mr. Keys enough for giving me a chance with a horse like this. We only have a handful of horses, so for him to leave him with me and let us go down this route is very special. He won a Maryland-bred allowance four weeks and this was the goal, so we worked him once in between.”

Myers added that winning in Virginia made it extra special win. “The horse is Maryland-bred and Virginia-Certified, and we want to support both programs. We moved to Virginia 8 1/2 years ago, bought a house and just had a baby, so we’re pretty settled here now.”

Owners David & Dana Ross and jockey Sheldon Russell discuss Gold For Kitten’s impressive win in a $60,000 allowance. Ross’s Kitten’s Joy filly is now a perfect 4-for-4.

Newtown Anner Stud Farm’s Tasting the Stars earned her third stakes win in the Nellie Mae Cox for Virginia-bred and sired horses with Feargal Lynch in the irons. The John Kimmel trainee was fifth heading into the final turn, launched an inside bid turning for home, and won by 2 1/4 lengths. The 5-year-old Bodemeister mare previously won the Brookmeade at Laurel and Just Jenda Stakes at Monmouth. She is now 5-for-7 with earnings of $204,600.

Robin Petrine & Lisa Cox — both daughters of Nellie Mae Cox — shown in the winners circle after presenting a trophy to the connections of Tasting The Stars in Monday’s Nellie Mae Cox Stakes.

Robin Petrine & Lisa Cox — both daughters of Nellie Mae Cox — shown in the winners circle after presenting a trophy to the connections of Tasting The Stars in Monday’s Nellie Mae Cox Stakes.

Big Lick Farm’s Puppymonkeybaby prevailed in the M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes, her second straight win, and gave trainer Sara Nagle her second win of the day. The lightly raced 3-year-old Hit it a Bomb filly was sent off at 24-1 and was making just her third lifetime start. Winning jockey Jevian Toledo collected his second stakes win — he also guided Grateful Bred to victory. Betting favorite Street Lute, winner of seven dirt stakes, finished sixth in her first effort on grass.
Colonial Downs continues its summer meet with a nine-race card Tuesday at 1:45 PM. The season continues every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday thru September 1.

111 Horses Enter Colonial Downs’ 9-Race Opening Day Card on Monday July 19

Opening day of the third Colonial Downs racing season under ownership of the Colonial Downs Group attracted a full entry box when the draw for Monday’s (July 19) card was conducted Wednesday afternoon.

A total of 111 horses are slated to compete in nine pari-mutuel races, five of which feature 14-horse fields and another with 13. Of the nine, all but one will be contested over the Secretariat Turf Course including four $100,000 stakes. Post time is 1:45 PM. A pair of non-betting steeplechase races will kick off festivities at 12:15 PM prior to the pari-mutuel program.

Colonial Downs will have no attendance or capacity restrictions when the summer race season opens July 19.

The Meadow Stable and M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes, both Virginia-restricted, boast fields of 14 and will run at 5 1/2 furlongs. The stakes are open to Virginia-bred, sired and certified horses.

Lothenbach Stables’ Elusive Mischief, winner of the 2019 Meadow Stable Stakes during Colonial’s “Racing Revival” campaign, looks to make it two straight in the event, which was not run in 2020. The 6-year-old Into Mischief gelding sports a bankroll of $214,409 and will be ridden by Chris Landeros. Ed and Susie Orr’s Boldor is a three-time stakes winner with earnings of $360,517. The 5-year-old Steve Asmussen trainee captured the 2019 Punch Line Stakes for Virginia-breds. Paco Lopez will ride. Louis Ulman & H. Neil Glasser’s Kenny Had a Notion also is a three-time stakes champ and is 4-for-8 lifetime.

Virginia-Certified and Maryland-bred sensation Street Lute headlines the Gilpin field. The 3-year-old Street Magician filly is 8-for-11 with seven stakes wins on her resume. The John Robb trainee, owned by Lucky 7 Stables, has yet to race on turf. She will be ridden by Xavier Perez. 2020 Gilpin winner Virginia Beach will try to defend her title. Country Life Farm’s 4-year-old Twirling Candy filly is conditioned by Michael Trombetta and will have Julian Pimentel up top. A pair of Kentucky-breds — Sally Thomas & Olga Payne’s Momentous Miss and David Ross’s Larimar — are in as well. The former has raced only twice, but had a successful career debut in a maiden special weight at Keeneland last fall. The latter, who broke her maiden last summer in New Kent, invades from Charles Town fresh off back-to-back allowance wins.

Street Lute wins the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship December 5, 2020 at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

A third Virginia-restricted stakes showcases 5-year-old Into Mischief horse, Chess Chief. The Dallas Stewart trainee has amassed $688,920 in earnings and plans to use the Bert Allen Stakes as a prep for the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. The Virginia-bred won the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic Stakes in March and finished fifth most recently in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill. Jockey Florent Geroux will direct Chess Chief from post five in a field of seven. Troy Johnson, Charles Lo and Jagger Incorporated’s Forloveofcountry brings an impressive four-race win streak into the Allen, though all have come on dirt. The Jamie Ness trainee will be ridden by Jaime Rodriguez.

Chess Chief wins a $46,000 allowance at Fair Grounds to kick off his 2020 campaign. Picture courtesy of Hodges Photography.

The Nellie Mae Cox finishes off the stakes four-pack and is open to Virginia-bred and sired fillies & mares. Newtown Anner Stud Farm’s Tasting The Stars, 4-for-6 lifetime and 2-for-3 on grass, leads the field of 11. The 5-year-old Bodemeister mare started her career with three straight wins in 2019, finished sixth in the Virginia Oaks that year, then raced twice in 2020. Her most recent out was a triumph in the Brookmeade Stakes last October at Laurel. Winchester Place Thoroughbreds’ Urban Fairytale is fresh off a pair of respectable third place finishes in the Lady Canterbury Stakes and a turf allowance at Churchill. Florent Geroux will be in the irons.

“We’re thrilled with the enthusiastic response and support from the horsemen,” said Jill Byrne, Colonial Downs VP of Racing Operations. “The entry box was overflowing for the opener and we look forward to offering full fields for fans to wager. Kudos to Allison DeLuca and her race office staff for doing such a great job.”

The Colonial Downs season will continue through September 1 with racing every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 1:45 PM. All races during the summer meet will be broadcast on TVG. Highlight of the meet is the $250,000 New Kent County Virginia Derby (Gr. 3), scheduled for Tuesday August 31.

Return of Horse Racing a Financial Boost for New Kent, State

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium reopened its doors July 1, 2020. Since then, it’s been back offering up its historic horse racing gaming technology to hundreds in facilities across the state. Staff file (Rob Ostermaier / Daily Press)

When thoroughbred racing returns to Colonial Downs on July 19, the people who place bets on the successful horses won’t be the only winners.

The prospect of a summer full of races and the return of the crowds post is a win-win for the economy of New Kent and Virginia as a whole.

New Kent County received $6.7 million in revenue as of June 6 in FY2021 from horse racing and off-track betting, according to figures from the county. Revenue was hit in 2020 when racing was canceled, and Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums closed due to COVID. The county received no revenue during the pandemic closure from March 22, 2020, until the end of the financial year. However, the county received $4.4 million in revenue in FY2020.

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium reopened its doors July 1, 2020. Since then, it’s been back offering up its historic horse racing gaming technology to hundreds in facilities across the state. Staff file (Rob Ostermaier / Daily Press)

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium reopened its doors July 1, 2020. Since then, it’s been back offering up its historic horse racing gaming technology to hundreds in facilities across the state.

“We ended up not bad (in FY2020) and 2021 was even better,” said New Kent County Administrator Rodney Hathaway. He pointed out New Kent receives a percentage of revenues from Rosie’s in Richmond, Hampton, Vinton and Dumfries as well as the locations at the track.

“This is our biggest business and one of our larger employers,” Hathaway said of Colonial Downs. “Definitely as far as tax revenue.”

Hathaway said the prospect of Colonial Downs operating a full season with no capacity restrictions is likely to boost revenues further.

“We are excited that things are getting back to normal for Colonial Downs,” Hathaway said. He said the new owners of the racetrack, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, are very dedicated to horse racing and community-oriented.

Hathaway said the reopening of Colonial Downs in 2019 after five years of closure has also helped other county businesses.

“One of the great things about Colonial Down is they have brought back the Virginia Derby. We are excited about the Virginia Derby event at the end of August,” Hathaway said. “It not only showcases New Kent, it showcases the whole commonwealth.”

Hathaway said the new owners of Colonial Downs want to grow the Virginia Derby to make it “one of the premier events in the country.”

Escort horses walk around on the dirt track at Colonial Downs Aug. 8, 2019. After a six year hiatus horse racing resumed at the track. (Rob Ostermaier / Daily Press)

The lucrative nature of Colonial Downs and Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums is apparent in the financials for just one month — May 2021.

Rosie’s and Colonial Downs representative Mark Hubbard said the enterprise paid $776,604 in taxes to New Kent County in May and just less than $2 million to the state of Virginia. Wagers made at all Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums in Virginia in May 2021 totaled more than $257 million. Almost $46 million was made in wagers in New Kent County alone. More than $237 million was paid out in prizes the same month.

“These numbers are relatively consistent month to month,” Hubbard said. “Our pledge to bring lots of entertainment and fun along with good jobs and significant tax revenues to Virginia and its localities where we operate is being met.”

Jill Byrne, vice president of racing at Colonial Downs, said race days attract about 3,000 people on an average day. The purse for the new season will be a minimum of $500,000 a day.

“It has a big effect, having racing back. If we have over 850 horses stabled back here and trainers coming from all over the country, it will benefit grocery stores and everyone in the local economy,” she said. The racecourse will employ about 200 seasonal workers this year.

The continued development of Colonial Downs could mean even greater future revenues for New Kent and Virginia.

A consultants’ report prepared in 2018 by Richmond-based Chmura Economics & Analytics predicted the venue could generate almost $350 million a year in economic impact.

“The successful revitalization of Colonial Downs could generate $349.1 million in economic impact in Virginia, and support over 1,407 state jobs in 2022 when the operation reaches its full capacity. Colonial Downs operations would also result in $26.4 million in annual tax revenue for the state government, and additional tax revenue for New Kent County and other Virginia localities. In addition, it would contribute $18.0 million per year to Virginia’s horse industry,” the report stated.

David Macaulay,

Virginia-Bred & Kentucky Derby Starter Attachment Rate Joins Moquett Barn After Fasig-Tipton Sale

The following appeared in The Paulick Report July 12. 

Attachment Rate, a multiple Grade 3-placed runner who ran in last year’s rescheduled Kentucky Derby, will move to the barn of trainer Ron Moquett after selling to owner William Sparks for $160,000 on Monday at the Fasig-Tipton July Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale.

The 4-year-old Hard Spun colt was previously trained by Dale Romans for Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister, winning three of 16 starts for earnings of $236,422.

“I think he’s a nice 4-year-old that’s got plenty of life left,” Sparks said after signing the ticket. “We’re going to hopefully find a spot for him by the end of the year, then look forward to taking him to Oaklawn. We’re going to look around and find something at seven-eighths or a mile, and see how he does. I don’t know if we’ve seen the best of him yet.”

After breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park in February of his 3-year-old season, Attachment Rate earned his first Kentucky Derby qualifying points with a third in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes. When the Derby was postponed to September due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was redirected to Gulfstream Park, where he finished second in the Unbridled Stakes. He then returned to Kentucky for the rest of the summer, where he finished fourth in the G3 Matt Winn Stakes, fifth in the G2 Blue Grass Stakes, and second in the Ellis Park Derby before entering the gates for the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

Attachment Rate i shown galloping at Churchill Downs in advance of the 2020 Kentucky Derby. Photo by Coady Photography.

One of the longer-priced horses in the Derby, he broke inward and bumped with rivals early on, and was stuck wide in the middle of the pack for most of the race before fading to 14th.

Attachment Rate was re-committed to shorter races after his classic try, and he came back to win a Churchill Downs allowance race the following month. He ran fourth in the G3 Discovery Handicap to finish his 2020 campaign.

The colt’s 2021 season started on a winning note in a one-mile optional claiming race, then he finished third in the G3 Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland. Later that month, he ran sixth in the G2 Alysheba Stakes. His final start for Bakke, Isbister, and Romans came on June 4, when he ran third in a Churchill Downs optional claiming race.

“I would say that his form earlier this year was good enough, and the owner’s trying to revamp his stable,” said Jake Memolo of consignor Elite Sales. “He’s got 2-year-olds that are coming in that are getting ready to run, he’s going to be buying yearlings, so this is one of the horses that he can take that has some value and see what he can get for him at this point in time.

Attachment Rate during morning workouts at Churchill Downs the week of the ’20 Kentucky Derby. Photo by Coady Photography.

“He ran third, beaten a length and a half, behind Flagstaff in the Commonwealth earlier this year,” Memolo continued. “Flagstaff came back later in the year to win a Grade 1. His form around one turn has been pretty good.”

The novelty of having a former Derby horse, even one that finished at the back of the pack, wasn’t a particular selling point for Sparks, and Memolo said it wasn’t something people brought up while shopping ahead of the sale.

Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III, Attachment Rate is out of the winning Afleet Alex mare Aristra, whose four foals to race are all winners. He hails from the family of champion Caldeonia Road and Grade 1 winners Hymn Book and Data Link.

Prominent Owner/Breeder Bert Firestone Dies at 89

The Firestones raced 17 grade/group 1 winners, including Genuine Risk.

The following appeared at July 12 and was written by Eric Mitchell. 

Firestone’s association with horses started in the show ring. He attended the New York Military Academy where he was on the jumping team and also attended the University of Virginia.

“I think horses were everything in his life,” said Firestone’s son, Matthew.

Bert & Diana Firestone lead Winchester into the winners circle. Courtesy of Coglianese Photography.

After graduation from college in 1954, he worked for a New York brokerage firm and then formed Firestone Properties, a company that planned, built, and leased commercial and industrial properties.

Firestone bought his first Thoroughbred yearling at Fasig-Tipton’s 1966 Saratoga select yearling sale under the name Chance Hill Farm. He would find success in racing early when he won his first stakes in 1969 with a Ridan filly named Ridin’ Easy, who won the Fashion Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack and the Polly Drummond Stakes at Delaware Park. Firestone also bought yearlings overseas, acquiring a colt named King’s Company for 35,000 guineas who went on to win the 1971 Irish Two Thousand Guineas and was later syndicated for $250,000 to stand at Gilltown Stud. According to a 1980 feature in The Blood-Horse, Firestone later bought Gilltown Stud from the Aga Khan and adjacent property to create a 1,200-acre farm in Ireland.

In 1973 he married Diana Johnson, granddaughter of Johnson & Johnson founder Robert Wood Johnson and also an accomplished equestrian with a lifelong passion for horses. Together they bought a 1,400-acre farm in Virginia they named Catoctin after a creek running through the property. They also would later own Big Sink Farm near Lexington.

Teamed up with trainer LeRoy Jolley, the Firestones found success at the highest level. A $45,000 What a Pleasure colt they bought at Saratoga grew to be Honest Pleasure, a three-time grade 1 winner at 2 and the 1975 champion 2-year-old colt. At 3, Honest Pleasure won the Flamingo Stakes (G1), Florida Derby (G1), and Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and was second in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He went on to win the Travers Stakes (G1).

In 1980, the Firestones made racing history with their champion 3-year-old filly Genuine Risk, who became the second filly to win the Kentucky Derby (G1). She would go on to finish second in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and second in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

Genuine Risk wins the 1980 Kentucky Derby
Photo: Milt Toby

Genuine Risk in the winner’s circle of the 1980 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

Through 2016, the Firestones campaigned 51 graded/group stakes winners, which included 17 grade/group 1 winners and five champions. Among their outstanding runners was Theatrical, a six-time grade 1 winner and 1987 Eclipse champion grass horse that put a promising young trainer named Bill Mott on the map.

“I had a private job with them for about five years, and I could not have been treated any better,” said Mott. “They were the ones who got me to New York full-time. They gave me a huge opportunity, and they sent Theatrical to me. He did more for my career than any other single horse. He was my first champion and first Breeders’ Cup winner. I’m forever grateful for those opportunities.”

The Firestones’ other champions included April Run, 1981 champion 3-year-old filly in France and 1982 U.S. champion grass mare; Blue Wind, 1981 champion 3-year-old filly in England and Ireland; Play It Safe, 1981 champion 2-year-old filly in France; and Paradise Creek, the 1994 champion grass horse who also was trained by Mott.

As breeders, the Firestones produced 11 graded/group winners since 1991, including nine-time graded stakes winner and four-time grade 1 winner Paradise Creek. Among the top runners they bred are grade 1 winner Shinko Lovely, grade 1 winner Chief Honcho, and four-time grade 1 winner Winchester.

In addition to breeding and racing, Firestone at one time was a racetrack owner.

Firestone purchased the former Calder Race Course in June 1988 for a reported $65 million. In 1989, Firestone bought Gulfstream Park from the Donn family under the name Catoctin International Racing Corp. He would sell the racetrack to the former Magna Entertainment Corp., which would later morph into The Stronach Group.

Arrangements are pending.