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HORSE RACING

Horse racing notes: Racing license of Marvin Johnson suspended by Indiana Racing Commission

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The racing licenses of Nebraska hall of fame owner/trainer Marvin Johnson and his veterinarian were suspended by the stewards of the Indiana Racing Commission.

Johnson’s horses have raced in Indiana the past several years.

The ruling does not detail what Johnson and veterinarian Cynthia Loomis are alleged to have done. Both rulings include language indicating the summary suspensions are “for actions not in the best interests of racing and which compromise the integrity of operations at a racetrack.”

Johnson told the Thoroughbred Daily News that Loomis, his regular veterinarian throughout the Horseshoe Indianapolis meet, was “observed treating a horse that was in that day, which is obviously against the rules.”

Johnson said recent surgery limited his involvement at the stable.

“All I do is hire my vet to be responsible for me,” Johnson told the Thoroughbred Daily News. “I trusted her fully with the horses and the times that my horses get treated.”

Johnson, the leading trainer at Horseshoe Indianapolis in money and second in wins, added that “this is not a cheating matter” and that he was cooperating fully with the commission.

Since getting his training license in 1974, Johnson’s horses have won 2,133 races. He tied for the trainer title at Ak-Sar-Ben in 1993 and was the leading trainer at Grand Island’s Fonner Park eight times.

Long-awaited return

It had been awhile — almost 39 years, to be exact — since jockey Kim Sampson won a race.

Sampson returned to the winner’s circle this spring for the first time since October 1983. She won that race almost four decades ago at Fairmount Park in suburban St. Louis before stepping away from the sport.

After working several jobs, friends from her racing days talked her into returning to the track at age 63.

She won a race this spring at Fairmount and now is waiting to hear if she’ll land a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest time between victories. It should be a no-brainer since the current record is 12 years and 260 days.

“You’re never too old to do anything,” Sampson told a St. Louis TV station.

Sampson, who has 83 career wins, said she will retire from riding for good later this year.

Another veteran rider

Jimmy Quinn, Britain’s oldest jockey, is still going strong at 55.

Quinn rode his first winner in 1985 and has won more than 1,300 races. He recently posted the victory in a $100,000 race aboard a 16-1 long shot.

The jockey, who rode in more than 1,000 races one year, said he has no immediate plans to retire.

Classic upset 

Classic Causeway surprised most bettors last weekend when he captured the $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational in New York.

The son of Giant’s Causeway went wire to wire and paid $55.50 to win in his debut on the turf.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux and trained by Ken McPeek, Classic Causeway won by three-quarters of a length for his fourth win in nine starts.

Wish comes true

Cody’s Wish, a 4-year-old son of Curlin, has an interesting backstory.

The horse was named for 16-year-old Cody Dorman, who has a rare genetic disorder that has led to thousands of seizures and multiple surgeries.

The Godolphin racing stable sponsored Dorman’s family in 2018 at Make-A-Wish Day at Keenland Racetrack in Kentucky. During a farm tour, Dorman and the then-unnamed colt developed a bond.

After that meeting, a farm employee named the colt “Cody’s Wish.”

The horse was won three races at Kentucky’s Churchill Downs, including the recent Hanshin Stakes. Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Junior Alvarado, Cody’s Wish won the event by a head.

Another Gaffalione 

Tyler Gaffalione recently clinched his eighth riding title at Churchill Downs.

The 27-year-old finished the spring meet with more than 60 wins. Tyler’s father Steve and grandfather Bobby both were jockeys who rode at Ak-Sar-Ben.

Tyler Gaffalione rode White Abarrio two months ago in the Kentucky Derby.

Winning another riding title isn’t the only big news this month for Gaffalione, who is also getting married.

Cornhusker winner

Officiating surged to the lead in deep stretch to capture the $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows in suburban Des Moines.

The son of Blame went off at 8-1 odds under jockey Javier Castellano to win the six-horse event. Fleetridge ran second and post-time favorite Warrant was third.

The race previously was contested at Ak-Sar-Ben before the Omaha track closed after the 1995 season.

Goldberg, 82

Hank Goldberg, a longtime racing broadcaster for ABC and ESPN, died earlier this month in Las Vegas at age 82.

Known as “The Hammer,” Goldberg had been a sports columnist at the Newark (N.J.) Evening News for more than 30 years. He also did a radio talk show in Miami before joining ESPN to provide handicapping opinions and analysis on NFL games for 20 years before his health declined in recent years.

Zippy nets honor

The final word on Zippy Chippy, the retired horse who was winless in 100 starts who died recently at age 31.

He was honored on opening day at New York’s Saratoga Race Course. Zippy began his career with an eighth-place finish in 1994 and ended it 10 years later by running eighth in a maiden race.

The closest he ever came to victory was a second-place finish by a head in start No. 87.

The Saratoga tribute was held in the winner’s circle — a destination Zippy Chippy never visited himself.

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Mike covers high school sports, primarily volleyball in the fall, girls basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. He also reports on horse racing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MPattersonOWH. Phone: 402-444-1350.

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