Page 22 - April 2008 The Game
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22 The Game, April 2008
India and the Track
Left: Phil and Kerry pre- pare to board a plane to escort horses to India Below: Two styles of containers are used for shipping horses, steel and wooden.
Canada’s Thoroughbred Racing Newspaper
ByIPeter Valing
n recent years, thoroughbred horsemen of Indian descent have made their mark on both
transition from traditional breeders to a breeding industry has been completed. The results in terms of horse quality are apparent.
the provincial and national levels in Canada. B.C.- based Bahaduur (Bob) Cheema, owner of True Metropolitan and other promising  eet-footed talents, is perhaps the most notable among their ranks. On the track side of things, the in uence of Indians has also risen. The young and dapper Raj Mutti has been promoted to General Manager of Hastings Racecourse, while photo nishing at the track is being handled by Hardave Gill’s Post Time Technologies. When, a few weekends ago, I over- heard talk of Canadian horses being shipped over to the ancient subcontinent, I thought it interest- ing to look into what pony-loving Indians in India were doing.
Indian Triple Crown winner Astonished was among the  rst Indian horses to be allowed to race outside of the subcontinent. In 1994, he surprised the pundits by winning a Grade 1 stakes race in Hong Kong.
Phil Hall and Kerry Lynn Raven of Hastings- based Hall Racing Stables have made their contribution to the growth and success of thorough- bred racing in India. Over the past couple of years, the boyfriend/girlfriend team has delivered three shipments of North American horses (including some B.C.-breds) to their Indian owners.
It made sense that India had a thorough-
bred racing scene, it being not so long ago
the jewel in the British Imperial crown, and it being home to over a billion Indians, a people well-disposed to having a good time. But how did the scene develop? What was its current state? And what were Canadian horses up to in the land of multitudinous deities.
“It all sort of came out of nowhere,” explained Kerry. “Phil was managing Canmore Farms, and one day a bloodstock agent from India asked him if he knew of anyone who’d be willing to accompany the horses he bought in North America to their new homes in India. Phil proposed the idea to me, and I was on board right away. It turned out that the job called for two people, and so Phil and I have gotten to travel together.”
For answers to the  rst two questions, I began
to pour over websites. As one can surmise there were many: track sites, jockey club sites, gambling sites and a site called Racing World India which bore some resemblance to The Game. Considering India’s current economic boom, it was no surprise to  nd that the country’s thoroughbred industry, too, was growing.
Thoroughbred Paddock and Race Track in Mumbai,
It takes thirty hours or more to get a horse from
a farm in B.C.’s Lower Mainland to Mumbai (Bombay), India. Before the journey commences, the animal spends a month or so in quarantine under a vet’s watchful eye. When he is deemed  t to go, he crosses into the U.S. in a sealed van. Only the vet working for the airline will have access to him before the  ight. Once on board the 747 cargo plane, the animal’s grooms play the roll of steward- ess, ensuring that the passenger has as comfortable a  ight as possible. “We go down into the cargo bay to see them, feed them and water them every two hours or so,” said Kerry.
After its independence, few would have guessed that India would one day support a healthy racing scene. For starters, it had little to no indigenous racing stock. What large scale-breeding did take place was for military purposes, and local horse- men were therefore largely dependent on whatever they could afford from the stables of England and the Middle East. It was a small scene, a nacient scene which nearly came to an end in the early 50s, when Monaji Desai became the Chief Minister of the Bombay state. The puritanical politician sought to outlaw gambling in what was then and remains today India’s racing mecca.
horses. The small number of horses that squeaked through customs would keep the breeders going but only on a very small scale. It wasn’t until the 80s that the trickle of foreign horses turned into a steady stream.
After a short stopover in Seoul, Korea, the horse and his handlers depart on the second leg of their journey. Approximately ten hours later, they arrive in Mumbai. “We’ve got some great connections there,” said Kerry. “Our driver, Ra , picks us up and takes us to a nice hotel while the locals handle
Starved of money, the scene would soon be starved of horses as well. In 1958, the government im-
posed strenuous foreign currency restrictions on the country. Complex import licensing procedures were erected, and eventually a total clampdown on the import of racing stock took place. In the 60s, Indian race tracks were almost exclusively for Indian-bred
As a result, tracks have expanded and local- breeders have prospered. In the words of one commentator writing for Racing World India: “The quality of the Indian-bred has... improved leaps and bounds...Indian breeding has come of age and is poised for a quantum leap in the future.” The
Racing Track in Mahalakshimi. Kerry described
the 1.5 mile turf track as being steeped in old-world charm. Horses and bare-footed grooms resting in the shade of ancient trees as polo ponies dash about in the in eld. As long as racing continues to prosper
in India, such sights will be open to those willing
to spend a few days chaperoning animals to far off lands.
all the paperwork concerning the horses.”
Phil and Kerry have been out to The Mumbai
Canadian-Bred Yearling Sale Update (Ontario)
Did You Know.... That a track license was issued to Post It Stables for Pinnacle Race Course, a new facility in the Detroit, Michigan area.
Pinnacle plans to operate a 63-day meet starting on July 18 through to November 2, 2008.
The license was previously held by Detroit Race Course and then Magna Entertainment Corp who relinquished the license as well as shutting down their Muskegon area track, Great Lakes Downs.
Pinnacle Race Course will bring thoroughbred racing back to the Detroit area for the  rst time since 1988
Silver Willow Farm Foal Report 2008
Not Tonight Honey -  lly out of Out Fox Me by Where’s the Ring
She Need a Hug -  lly out of Executive Woman by Where’s the Ring
The Cat Came Back - colt out of Fair ight Miss by Cats at Home
Sir Costalot - colt out of Providential Miss
by Bold Executive
Lot Lizard -  lly out of Pride of Maple
by Kids Classic Style
The Bull Got Shot - colt out of Splendor of Gold
by Domasca Dan
Robinpetertopaypaul -  lly out of Let Me Wonder
by Domasca Dan
And Congratulations to Plenty O Woman and freshman sire Philanthropist with their big handsome colt.
This is a reminder of the change in the format with this year’s Canadian-Bred Yearling Sale taking place in September in Ontario. Only yearlings nominated into the Selected Session of the Sale will be inspected, with those inspections taking place at the end of April and beginning of May. All other yearlings taking part in the Sale will automatically be eligible for the Preferred Session without the need to be inspected.
Contracts for the Selected and Preferred Sessions will be mailed out in April. This simpli ed process will make it easier for all concerned and is re ective of our ever-chang- ing industry.
Long-regarded as the premier sale of Canadian-Breds in North America, the Selected Session will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 2nd and the Preferred Session on Saturday, Sept. 6th at Woodbine Racetrack. Please visit www.cthsont. com for additional information or contact the CTHS of ce at 416-675-3602.
The Game April 2008.indd
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