NEWS: nytb

Action Alert! – Finger Lakes E-Petition

Friday, February 5th, 2016

NYTB, in partnership with the New York Farm Bureau and Finger Lakes Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association, has posted an online petition to support proposed legislation (S.4367/A.6345-A) designed to hold Finger Lakes horsemen’s purses and the Fund “harmless” from the negative effects of the nearby Lago Casino and Resort.

This issue touches everyone involved in New York breeding and racing. Once the Lago Casino and Resort opens for business, Finger Lakes operator Delaware North is projected to lose up to 40 percent of its gaming revenue. If not mitigated by legislation, this loss of revenue will extend to the Finger Lakes horsemen’s purse account and the Fund.

Please sign this Action Alert Petition today and spread the world to other stakeholders! This critical issue needs grassroots support!


NYTB announces 2015 NY-Bred Divisional Championship Nominees

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

By Sarah Mace

The New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) is pleased to announce the nominees for the New York-Bred Divisional Champions of 2015. New York turf writers, handicappers, chart callers and racing analysts will vote on the winners of each division. The voters will also choose the 2015 New York-Bred Horse of the Year.

The 2015 New York-Bred Divisional Champions and Horse of the Year will be announced at NYTB’s Annual Awards Banquet on the evening of Monday, April 4, 2016 at the Saratoga National Golf Club in Saratoga Springs, New York. Also to be honored at the banquet will be Broodmare of the Year, Champion Trainer, Champion Jockey and Outstanding Breeder.

A list of the 2015 New York-bred Divisional Championship Nominees by category follows, along with links to their Equibase Horse Profiles:

Champion Two-Year-Old Male:

Dr. Shane
Get Jets
Sudden Surprise

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly:

Frosty Margarita
She’s All Ready
Super Surprise

Champion Three-Year-Old Male:

International Star

Champion Three-Year-Old Filly:

Bar of Gold
Hot City Girl
Temper Mint Patty

Champion Older Dirt Male:

Empire Dreams
Royal Posse
Saratoga Snacks

Champion Older Dirt Female

La Verdad
Princess Violet

Champion Male Turf Horse:

King Kreesa

Champion Female Turf Horse:

Discreet Marq
Invading Humor
Old Harbor
The Tea Cups

Champion Male Sprinter:

Breakin the Fever
Loki’s Vengeance

Champion Female Sprinter:

Hot City Girl
La Verdad
Princess Violet
Tricky Zippy


NYTB Seats 2016 Board, Gallo re-elected Board President

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

By Sarah Mace

The Board of Directors of New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) held its first meeting of 2016 on Thursday, January 21. The newly-seated Board re-elected Thomas J. Gallo, III, founder and managing owner of Parting Glass Racing, Thomas J. Gallo III Sales Agency, LLC and owner of Blue Stone Farm, as Board President.

Gallo had just completed serving the remainder term of past-president Barry Ostrager who resigned from the NYTB Board last May following his nomination to serve as a judge in the Civil Branch of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Vivien Malloy will continue her service as NYTB Secretary / Treasurer and Mallory Mort will continue in the position of NYTB Board Vice-President.

NYTB Officers and Board of Directors for 2016


  • Thomas J. Gallo, III, founder and managing owner, Parting Glass Racing and Thomas J. Gallo III Sales Agency, LLC; owner, Blue Stone Farm – President
  • Mallory Mort, manager, Gallagher’s Stud – Vice-President
  • Vivien Malloy, owner, Edition Farm – Secretary/Treasurer


  • Chester Broman
  • Wally Burleson
  • Lois Engel
  • Seth Gregory
  • Michael Lischin
  • Joanne T. Nielsen
  • Suzie O’Cain
  • Joan M. Taylor, DVM

NYTB Stallion Season Offerings Now Available for Online Viewing

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Stallion season offerings for the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) annual Stallion Season Auction can now be viewed online on the bidding platform. The annual auction raises funds that enable NYTB to carry on its two-fold mission of promoting New York breeding and racing and protecting the welfare of industry stakeholders.

The official auction link is:,-Inc-Season-Auction-Bidding-Opens-01-18-16.html.

Bidding begins on Monday, January 18 at 9:00 a.m. and will continue until the close of the auction on Wednesday, January 20 at 6:00 p.m.

Participants must register with prior to bidding.  All bids will be subject to the rules and conditions of the auction.  Each season’s conditions are posted.

For questions please contact or call 518-587-0777.

2015 NYTB board election results

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

By Sarah Mace

The New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) concluded its annual board election on Tuesday, December 15, 2015. This year NYTB members voted to fill six seats on the board for candidates to serve two-year terms from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017.

The winning candidates are:

Chester Broman
Seth Gregory
Michael Lischin
Joanne Nielson
Suzie O’Cain
Joan M. Taylor, D.V.M.

Five additional members of the NYTB Board will be serving the second year of their two-year terms in 2016:

Wally Burleson
Lois Engel
Thomas J. Gallo, III
Vivien G. Malloy
Mallory Mort

Whittemore, Dowen & Ricciardelli, LLP, an accounting firm from Queensbury, NY, administered the election process by receiving the ballots directly from members of the association, confirming the validity of the ballots, and then tabulating and certifying the election results. Whittemore, Dowen & Ricciardelli, LLP reported the official results to NYTB in a letter dated on December 15, 2015.

Click here to read Whittemore, Dowen & Ricciardelli, LLP’s letter certifying the results of the election.

A perfect “Spa City” retirement, courtesy of breeder Adam Madkour

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Spa City Fever and Kelly McCombs at Questroyal North

Spa City Fever and Kelly McCombs at Questroyal North

By Sarah Mace

There are few things New York racing fans like better than honest hard-trying geldings “of a certain age.” Witness the jubilation in early November when 9-year-old multiple stakes winner and turf specialist Compliance Officer wired a 10-horse field of $32,000 claimers to capture his first victory since June 14, 2014 at odds of 18-1. Race caller John Imbriale gushed from the booth: “They’re not going to catch Compliance Officer! The old boy rolled today!”

Although some of these highly accomplished “old boys” find themselves eventually descending the claiming ladder with uncertain futures, others – happily – have story-book endings to their careers. Be Bullish became the poster child for the dream retirement in May. Former owner Mike Repole claimed back the popular 10-year-old multiple stakes winner for $16,000 out of his 87th start, a winning effort at Belmont, to retire him to Old Friends Cabin Creek in Saratoga Springs.

What follows is the story of another popular “old boy” from the New York racing circuit who retired just as happily this year. In this case, the horse’s breeder stepped up to the plate to hit the grand slam.


Spa City Fever, a 9-year-old gelding by former New York stallion Roaring Fever, is a flashy blaze-faced chestnut with a couple of white stockings. He was bred by Adam Madkour, President and CEO of Saratoga Spring Water, and became a stakes winner of over $700,000. Spa City Fever was truly an iron horse. With almost no time off to speak of over the last seven years, he won 10 of 63 starts, finished in the money in over fifty percent of his races, won one stakes race and placed in nine more.

Spa City Fever loomed large in Madkour’s small racing operation, which currently consists of two broodmares and a few horses in training. The gelding’s late dam Lady Di Huntley, a multiple winner and $234,500-earner, produced six New York-bred winners from six foals to start, three of them bred by Madkour – Spa City Fever (2006) and two full siblings, both chestnuts. Spa City Princess (2007) is a Grade 2-placed multiple stakes winner and earner of $251,309. The mare’s last foal, gelding More Zen Tea (2008), is a ten-time winner of over $250,000 and scored his most recent victory on December 12.

Alex M. Robb 12/31/11 (NYRA/Adam Coglianese)

Alex M. Robb 12/31/11 (NYRA/Adam Coglianese)

Unraced at two, Spa City Fever broke his maiden at three for trainer Pat Kelly. The following year he marched through his state-bred conditions and won his first open allowance. At five he transitioned from turf to dirt and started almost exclusively in New York-bred stakes. On New Year’s Eve 2011 he became a stakes winner, capturing the Alex M. Robb.

In the spring of 2012 Madkour sold Spa City Fever privately to Rising Graph Stable, a partnership group headed by Thoro-Graph. Madkour seems to regret the sale in retrospect.

“[Spa City Fever] is extremely special,” said Madkour. “It was tough watching him in somebody else’s hands when I didn’t own him for a while. It was very difficult.” In the event, and given some time, Madkour successfully executed a long-term plan to get this “special” horse back into his own hands.


Spa City Fever excelled first-out for new trainer Mike Hushion, posting a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 100 as a close runner-up in Aqueduct’s open Bryan G. Stakes. Not long after, however, his form tailed off and, by the end of the year, he began to appear in claiming company. On April 12, 2013 he was claimed for $62,500 by trainer David Jacobson as owner and trainer.

Madkour missed his opportunity to get the gelding back this time. “I happened to be out of the country,” recalled Madkour. “[They] put him in for $62,500 and I didn’t see the notification so I could not even put a claim in.”

In 30 subsequent starts for Jacobson, and racing for the most part in conditioned allowance races or otherwise protected from the claim box, Spa City Fever won five races and finished in the money 11 more times, including three stakes placings.

In the spring and summer of 2015, though, Spa City Fever began to appear regularly for a $62,500 tag. On July 29, 2015 he took a precipitous drop in class, entered for $12,500 at Saratoga where he finished a closing fourth as the 5-2 favorite.

Madkour had been monitoring Spa City Fever’s career and was not only in the country on July 29, but at the racetrack. Moreover he was determined not to lose this opportunity to get the horse back. That was easier said than done. Madkour’s master plan needed some good luck in its corner.

Said Madkour, “The whole claiming process was difficult because we were not the only ones who put in a claim for him so we had to shake for him.” Madkour didn’t remember how many exactly, but “It was a handful,” and he named five or six trainers whom he thought had put in a claim. He waited anxiously for ten or 15 minutes at racing office for a latecomer to be summoned by cell phone.

“I’m standing there saying ‘All these people put a claim in, what are my chances?’ My wife was sitting outside.”

The stroke of luck came.

Said Madkour, “I practically had to hold tears back when they pulled my number.”


His next task was to find Spa City Fever a new home. On the recommendation of his now-retired trainer Michael Wilson, Spa City Fever shipped to Questroyal North, Barry Ostrager’s expansive 280-acre spread near Stillwater which is home to a quartet of stallions and a large broodmare band owned by Ostrager and others. The plan was to let him down at the farm and find him a permanent home.

Enter Kelly McCombs, Questroyal’s Office Manager.

Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, McCombs is a graduate of SUNY Morrisville with a BA in Business Administration and Equine Reproduction. She was horse-crazy from early girlhood and had targeted the equine program at Morrisville at age 13. McCombs’ responsibilities at Questroyal for the past two years run the gamut, including stallion contracts, mailings, breeding schedules, shipping, record-keeping and all the rest, but it doesn’t stop there.

An experienced horsewoman with plenty of exposure to broodmares and foals before and during college, McCombs is often to be found in the barns, assisting with newborns and veterinary issues, contributing to sales prep and, on one occasion last winter, delivering a foal solo in a field on an emergency basis when a hasty mare took everyone by surprise.

And as it so happened, McCombs had a long-term crush on Spa City Fever. “I had followed his career for a few years and always loved how classy and hard-trying he was. There was just something about him that drew me in.”

The stars began to align in midsummer.

“I knew that Adam Madkour had once owned him, and when I heard Adam was claiming a horse just to retire him and that the horse would be coming to Questroyal to board, I got very excited,” said McCombs. “I had a feeling it was Spa City Fever. When the trailer arrived and horse was unloaded, it was! [Jay Ryan] the farm manager told me that Adam was going to be looking for a home for him, so I wrote an email to Adam to tell him a bit about myself and about how much I already loved this gelding.”

Spa City Fever 1

Spa City Fever enjoying his new turnout in the fall

Madkour picks up the story from here. “When I retired [Spa City Fever] and I brought him up to Questroyal, I didn’t even know Kelly. Shortly after I brought him up there, she contacted me and said she’s been following his career for a while and that there is a connection between her and the horse. She wanted to know if I’d be willing to give her the horse. So after looking at her background a little bit, we structured a very simple agreement and I turned the horse over to her.”

Delighted with this outcome, Madkour also wanted to make everything go just right for the transition. McCombs took over Spa City Fever’s care after his July 30 arrival at the farm, but Madkour retained ownership until early October expressly to cover any vet bills that might arise as Spa City Fever adjusted to life after the racetrack, and to buy any equipment the gelding needed for his new life, starting with a rain sheet and a winter blanket.

Said Madkour, “I carried him until he got to a point when I know he’s kind of settled, he’s healthy, he doesn’t have any bone issues, because I didn’t want to end up turning over a lame horse to somebody who is going to end up getting stuck with vet bills and will not be able to afford it and then we’re back to square one – me being concerned about the well-being of the horse being in somebody else’s hands. [Kelly’s] plan is to retrain him and you can’t retrain a horse if he’s not healthy. So I wanted to get him to that point until I was assured that he was healthy before I turned him over to her.”

Things are going well as we head deeper into this uncharacteristically mild winter season. “[Spa City Fever] has just been learning to be a horse,” said McCombs “He is thoroughly enjoying his turnout and I have worked with him on groundwork almost every day, whether it be lunging him, grooming or working on some natural horsemanship. All of this is to gain his trust and respect, so that he learns that I am his person.”


Spa City Fever is not the only beneficiary of Madkour’s sense of long-term responsibility to the thoroughbreds in his life. New York racing fans will recognize the name of Spa City Princess, Spa City Fever’s full sister, now the anchor of Madkour’s small broodmare band. They will not, however, know a gelding named Twelfth Night (by Griffinite out of Paper Cut) whom Madkour purchased for $35,000 at the 2013 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred sale in Saratoga.

Madkour kept Twelfth Night in training well into his sophomore year, including time off. He was in no hurry to push the horse until he was ready, but even after a layup, Twelfth Night’s training did not progress. Ultimately, with the help of some candid advice from a second trainer, David Donk, Madkour decided that Twelfth Night should not proceed with training. He said that, with an assist from McCombs, he identified a person in Maryland this fall who loved the horse. Madkour interviewed the person, spent some time with her and ultimately gave her Twelfth Night.

Madkour explained, “I could have sold [Twelfth Night], but it’s about finding these horses the right home and re-purposing them if possible and how can you do anything else? I just don’t get it how some of these people turn their backs, walk away from these horses they bred, they raced. It just does not make sense to me.”

Madkour expanded on his philosophy as a breeder and owner. “I’m not trying to get compliments here or anything. Simply, I think of these horses. They work for you. They race for you. Whether they make money for you or not is irrelevant. They’re still part of your life. They’re like employees almost. [Laughs.] I don’t want to call them pets. They’re a living thing. You bred the horse, you’ve got to take responsibility. You race the horse, you’ve got to take responsibility.”


McCombs, for her part, is over the moon about owning Spa City Fever, whom she has dubbed “Gunner” for daily use. “I am just thrilled finally to have a horse of my own to love and spoil. He is the first horse I’ve ever owned myself. I had to wait until I was 30 to make it happen, but he was well worth the wait.” She will continue working with “Gunner” on the ground through the winter and start riding him in the spring. “I won’t be doing anything serious, just some trail rides and flat work in the ring. He deserves to have a happy, easy life.”

The “old boy” may have run his last race, but his breeder, in collaboration with a horsewoman and long-time fan, have ensured that his future is bright and can join the annals of retirement stories with ideal endings.

NYTB Stallion Season Auction January 18-20

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. will conduct its annual Stallion Season Auction starting on Monday, January 18 at 9:00 a.m. and ending on Wednesday, January 20 at 6:00 p.m. The auction will be held online using the Starquine bidding platform.  Participants must register with prior to bidding.  All bids will be subject to the rules and conditions of the auction.  Each season’s conditions will be posted.

Click here to register and bid at

Stallion State  Stud Fee   Farm 
Alpha NY $8,500 Sequel Stallions NY
Artie Schiller KY $10,000 WinStar Farm
Bahamian Squall FL $5,000 Double Diamond Farm
Bellamy Road NY $7,500 Dutchess Views Farm
Big Brown NY $10,000 Dutchess Views Farm
Boys at Tosconova NY $2,500 Questroyal North
Central Banker NY $7,500 McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds
Cosmonaut NY $5,000 Saratoga Stud
Courageous Cat NY $6,000 Questroyal North
D’ Funnybone NY $2,500 Rockridge Stud
Desert Party NY $4,000 Sequel Stallions NY
Dr Large NY $2,500 Oriskany Creek Farm
Dublin NY $2,500 Keane Stud
Emcee NY $5,000 Sequel Stallions NY
First Dude FL $7,500 Double Diamond Farm
Forty Tales NY $6,500 Sequel Stallions NY
Freud NY $10,000 Sequel Stallions NY
Frost Giant NY $7,500 Keane Stud
Giant Oak KY $7,500 Millennium Farms
Giant Surprise NY $5,000 Rockridge Stud
Girolamo KY $15,000 Darley
Golden Ticket NY $7,500 Questroyal North
Heavy Breathing NY $2,500 Dutchess Views Farm
Here Comes Ben NY $7,500 McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds
Honorable Dillon NY $5,000 Rockridge Stud
I Want Revenge KY $5,000 Millennium Farms
Japan NY $7,500 Waldorf Farm
Jersey Town KY $10,000 Darby Dan Farm
Majestic City NY $3,500 Questroyal North
Major Gain NY $2,500 McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds
Micromanage NY $5,000 Rockridge Stud
Midas Touch (GB) NY $3,500 Rockridge Stud
Mission Impazible NY $7,500 Sequel Stallions NY
Normandy Invasion NY $5,000 Keane Stud
Overanalyze KY $10,000 WinStar Farm
Overdriven FL $3,000 Ocala Stud Farm
Paynter KY $20,000 WinStar Farm
Perfect Soul KY $7,500 Darby Dan Farm
Posse NY $5,000 Rockridge Stud
Rule By Night NY Private Mill Creek Farm
Sir Whimsey NY $2,500 Mill Creek Farm
Soaring Empire NY $3,500 Rockridge Stud
Stonesider NY $3,500 Saratoga Stud
Take Charge Indy KY $17,500 WinStar Farm
Tale of Ekati KY $15,000 Darby Dan Farm
Taste Of Paradise KY $2,500 Crestwood Farm
Teuflesberg NY $5,000 McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds
The Lumber Guy NY $2,500 Keane Stud
Trinniberg NY $5,000 Rockridge Stud

NYS Ag and Markets announces grants of nearly $20 million available to breeding farms

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets (“Department”) has released information relating to funding for the Hudson Valley Agricultural Enhancement Program.  Just under $20 million will be made available in financial assistance to implement farmland protection plans across the Hudson Valley. The Department has indicated that Breeding Farms are eligible applicants for this program.

This grant opportunity is being offered to enable eligible applicants to specifically implement Conservation Easement Projects with owners of viable agricultural lands that are at risk of conversion to non-farm uses.

Further, the funding is designed to enable local initiatives that are intended to maintain the economic viability of the State’s agricultural industry and its supporting land base and to protect the environmental and landscape preservation values with Agriculture.

More information and the application can be accessed here.

NYTB October Events: Empire Showcase; Annual Membership Meeting, Seminar & BBQ

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) will host a pair of events in October in conjunction with two important items on the calendars of most New York breeders: Empire Showcase Day and the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Fall Sale.

Empire Showcase logoEmpire Showcase Day

On Empire Showcase Day at Belmont Park, Saturday, October 24, enjoy a full card of New York-bred racing, including eight stakes races, along with a buffet lunch in the Belmont Room located directly above the finish line overlooking the track. Jackets and ties are required for men in The Belmont Room/ no jeans for this venue.

NYTB is also offering a private charter bus departing from Saratoga Springs at 8:00 a.m. and arriving at Belmont Park at approximately 12:00 noon. The bus will leave Belmont Park after the conclusion of the day’s races. You must reserve your space by October 8th or an additional 25% late fee will apply.

Lunch & transportation: $95.00 per person
Lunch only: $65.00 per person
Please RSVP by October 8, 2015:
(518) 587-0777 or

Click here for event flyer.

2015 NYTB Annual Membership Meeting, Seminar and BBQ

On Sunday, October 25, in advance of the Saratoga Fall Sale on October 26, NYTB will host “Plan to Win – Take Action for Success,” a seminar-style meeting which includes our 2015 Annual NYTB Membership Meeting beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion. The event is sponsored by the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding & Development Fund Corporation.

A panel of veterinarians will discuss developing a plan for your yearling using x-rays as a diagnostic tool and proactive approach to sales preparation. The seminar will be followed by a complimentary guest cocktail hour and fried chicken barbeque.

Those who wish to attend should RSVP to the NYTB office by October 19 at (518) 587-0777 or

Click here for invitation postcard.

Funny Cide to return to Saratoga Race Course Thursday

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Press release

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will welcome the return of Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Jockey Club Gold Cup champion Funny Cide to Saratoga Race Course on Thursday, August 27.

Fans are invited to watch the 2003 Eclipse Award 3-year-old male champion parade in the paddock from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Funny Cide, owned by Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable and foaled at McMahon of Saratoga thoroughbreds farm, was the first New York-bred to win the Kentucky Derby when he accomplished the feat in 2003. He went on to win the second leg of the Triple Crown in 2003 and captured the 2004 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. He retired in 2009 and currently resides at the Kentucky Horse Park.

The appearance of Funny Cide comes one day before New York Breeders’ Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course on Friday, August 28. The popular state-bred card will include six stakes, including the eponymously named $200,000 Funny Cide for 2-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs and the $250,000 Albany for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles.

“We are thrilled to welcome the return of one of New York’s most beloved and successful home-grown thoroughbreds on the eve of New York Breeders’ Showcase Day at Saratoga,” said NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay. “In 2014 we inaugurated Saratoga Showcase Day and it was incredibly well-received by fans and horseplayers. This year we have reserved one of our most high-profile days on the eve of the Travers to showcase the outstanding equine talent that is being produced right here in New York.”