05/18/2016 4:14PM

Maiden-race victory by three-time winner raises questions


A horse who won a maiden race in New York on Sunday despite having won three non-sanctioned races in China last year has raised questions in some quarters about the reporting of horses’ performances in foreign jurisdictions when they are imported to the U.S.

The horse, a 4-year-old New Zealand-bred colt named Mongolian Prince, won the sixth race at Belmont Park at odds of 16-1 by a head. Trained by Todd Pletcher, he had previously started in a maiden race at Gulfstream Park in Florida on March 18, finishing fifth at odds of 4-1. Those are the only starts the horse has made in the U.S.

However, according to information contained in an article when he was imported to the U.S. by the colt’s owner, Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry Group, the horse raced five times in China as a 3-year-old, winning three times and finishing second twice. Those races were not conducted under rules governing sanctioned races, so the races did not count officially, and the horse was considered a maiden under international rules.

The lack of information in his past-performance data about the Chinese races has generated discussion about whether all racing experience should be noted in published horse records. It’s a gray area: While it’s obvious that a race at Longchamp in Paris on a Saturday should count, what about a race at a bush track in Louisiana with no accredited stewards, placing judges, or an official timer? What about a simulated race at a private farm in central Kentucky among an owners’ eight 2-year-olds who are getting ready to be shipped to a track?

Internationally sanctioned races are those that are conducted under the auspices of an organization that has agreed to the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing, and Wagering of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, an umbrella group for stud books and regulatory authorities. The International Agreement contains provisions ensuring that horses competing in sanctioned races are registered Thoroughbreds and that the rules of the race conform to minimum standards of integrity, according to the IFHA.

While China does not have an organization that has agreed to all aspects of the pact, one regulatory authority in the country, the China Stud Book, has “signed some articles” of the agreement, according to the IFHA, and there have been races run in the country that were considered sanctioned races in the past – most notably several stakes races run in 2013 and 2014 – because they were run under the rules of French racing in a special arrangement. The races won by Mongolian Prince were run at racecourses governed by the Chinese Equestrian Association, another regulatory authority that has not signed any articles of the International Agreement.

Bob Curran, the vice president of communications for The Jockey Club, said that the Asian Racing Federation, a regional association of Asian racing countries that does not include China as a member, has told the Jockey Club that “350 to 500” races are currently conducted in mainland China, to the best of its records. However, because China has not signed on to a provision of the International Agreement regarding the export of race records, the Jockey Club did not receive any race records regarding Mongolian Prince when he was imported to the U.S. from China.

In a different case, race records did accompany the importation documentation of an Irish-bred horse, Beat of The Drum, when she was imported to the U.S. in 2015 after running twice in China in late 2014. In that case, the Chinese races were run under the special arrangement with the IFHA, under the French rules. Beat of The Drum had run five races in England before running in the two Chinese races.

Making the matter more frustrating to some bettors, Mongolian Prince was by some accounts a very good horse in China, even if it’s unclear what quality of horses he was competing against, or even if he was competing against registered Thoroughbreds. His owners said he won one race by 21 lengths.

Jockey Club officials acknowledge that the situation is complex and can often be confusing, and they said they would attempt to address the lack of uniformity in meetings down the road.

“The Jockey Club will be conferring with our international colleagues to discuss this situation further,” Curran said.

Howard Glazer More than 1 year ago
Does the DRF/Equibase still refuse to recognize South Dakota (FtP and BCF) thoroughbred races? I remember seeing horses running at Canterbury as maidens with South Dakota victories clearly visible in their PPs not too long ago. I believe those running lines appeared with a symbol in front of them signifying "unsanctioned race." Is this still the case?
David G. More than 1 year ago
Okay, so now that the North American racing industry is aware of this, will the horse be allowed to be entered in a preliminary non winners of one next time out?
Chuck Seddio More than 1 year ago
its all about the china govt ripping us off on trade,trump is right !! china is stealing everything from us,the racing form in bejing was outsourced from kentucky.
Mike Oliveto More than 1 year ago
Will LaTulippe More than 1 year ago
Wait, how the hell does what the public thinks is a second-time starter drift all the way to 16-1?  Especially a Pletcher trainee?
Chris Anthony More than 1 year ago
Todd  Pletcher  wins again 
I don't have a problem with the race. The horse won  on the square.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
He was a winner, already, it was a maiden race.  Do you understand maiden race ?
Chuck Seeger More than 1 year ago

Anyone who thinks this type of information is going to be disclosed to the public is simply delusional.  First off, if it did, how could it be verified?  Second off, how often does it actually happen?

If you want something to change, make all trainers disclose at the time of entry for any horse who hasn't run in 90 days why they haven't run, even if nothing was wrong with the horse.  How many times do you see horses with extended layoffs run and win?   The public has no idea what created the layoff.  The answer could be part of the past performance profile.  If down the road it surfaces the trainer has been giving BS reasons in these types of situations, put him out of business.  The public has  right to know why a racehorse has not been racing.  Of course now I am being delusional for thinking this industry would ever do something that could help the people who keep it alive. 

Nick Pavletic More than 1 year ago
If bettors haven't adjusted in the last twenty years to BET layoff horses, then they haven't won man bets over that time frame.  Fragile creatues these racehorse... YES?  Therefore FRESH is the ONLY play!
JungLisss4Life More than 1 year ago
For me, its all about disclosure. That horse past performances should have been noted for the betting public, and having that on display, am sure a few pundits would have taken a stab at him for the win. And the Track should have have someone notifying the track attendees of the situation, and have it flashed across the monitor for simulcast bettors as well, so that we the betting public can make an informed betting decision. Too sneaky for me. I wonder if people who bet on the race can sue the racetrack for non_disclosure and get their betting wager back if they can prove they actually made a bet on the race?
Dan Cronin More than 1 year ago
Nice to report it now and not 3 mos ago. Paulick and TDN knew about it and said NOTHING when the horse was entered at GP anf NY , they said nothing,  now after he wins at 16/1 now u guys report it , where were you when the horse was entered?  The publications could have stopped him from running and used social media to get the word out yet everyone sat and did nothing .
Lance More than 1 year ago
Another thought - if this were his first race in the US, you could argue he was a ringer.  But he had already run and lost at Gulfstream.  So his odds were in line with existing US form.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
GP race was first out in some time, this was the second start after layoff.  So, he was ready.
Lance More than 1 year ago
How can you suspend people who didn't break any rules?

We have the same situation with the Aiken Trials - while the results are often publicized, the winners still run as maidens once they reach a sanctioned track.