Local News

Keeneland and Turfway Park have announced a ban on ‘toe grabs’ at those tracks starting September first. The move comes a few days after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission issued a recommendation on the devices.

Toe grabs are worn on a horse’s hooves and trainers use them to help the horse get better traction on dirt surfaces. Frank Angst with the Thoroughbred Times says they’ve become controversial recently.

“The vets that have studied this believe that that creates pressure in the cannon bone, and the bones in the lower leg, and that can contribute to breakdowns,” says Angst.

The Racing Commission’s recommendation called for limiting the length of toe grabs to two-millimeters.

Also this week, Churchill Downs, Inc. announced it is laying off an undisclosed number of employees. T he company operates its namesake track in Louisville, as well as Calder Racecourse near Miami, Fairgrounds Racecourse in New Orleans, and Arlington Park near Chicago.

Thoroughbred Times writer Frank Angst says he believes the layoffs are partially the result of a weakening economy but can also be traced to an ongoing dispute with horsemen over online wagering.

“I would say the on-track handle has been affected greatly by our poor economy, and the off-track handle has been affected greatly by this dispute with horsemen,” says Angst.

Angst says more than 80-percent of wagering in the horse industry is now off-track, and Churchill missed out on those bets because its races were blocked from online broadcast due to the dispute.