Amoss on Fire as Calendar Turns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Brian Nadeau

Notes Writer/Media Relations

[email protected]

Amoss on Fire as Calendar Turns

New Orleans Native Back on Top of Trainer Standings

New Orleans (January 2, 2021) – In a “been there, done that” kind of career, Tom Amoss has seen a lot of highs around the famed Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots oval. The New Orleans native and LSU graduate has won the local trainer’s title an amazing 11 times, to go with countless local stakes as well, and he was voted into the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame in 1998. But even for someone with Amoss’ gaudy resume, the recent tear he’s been on has been otherworldly, and it has him in contention for title number 12.

Amoss last won the Fair Grounds trainer’s title in 2014-15, and, after a 2-for-16 start to the meet, he didn’t figure to seriously threaten atop the standings as 2020 turned to 2021. The landscape changed in a hurry, however, as the New Orleans native is now in the midst of a wild 11-for-23 streak which began on December 18.  Following his win in the Saturday finale with Defeater, his second of the day, Amoss snagged a tenuous one-win lead over four-time defending champion Brad Cox.

“Obviously, you have some hope going into the races, but racing luck can play a lot into the outcome of races,” Amoss said. “I think, in the end, as a trainer, you’d like to get rid of those peaks and valleys and kind of steady somewhere in between, but it doesn’t work like that. So, when the barn is clicking it’s just time to get out of the way. When it’s not going well—and it was not going well at the beginning of the meet—you have to do what you always do when you get in one of those kind of sour streaks; you’ve got to continue to do the job as you always would, enter, and not hit the panic button.”

My Boy Gus is the type of horse Amoss built his career on, and the type that helped him win 11 local titles, as he claimed the 3-year-old for $40,000 out of his debut at Churchill Downs and immediately won right back with him. But as time has moved on, so have the goals of a stable that grown by leaps and bounds. Amoss won Churchill’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) with Serengeti Empress in 2019 and last year’s Woody Stephens (G1) at Belmont Park with No Parole. After tasting success at racing’s highest level, there’s little wonder he wants more.

“We’re moving in a little bit of a different direction,” Amoss said. “Don’t get me wrong; claiming has always been our bread and butter and will continue to be so. But you get a taste of a horse you develop like Serengeti Empress and one trip to that winner’s circle on Kentucky Oaks Day and to that infield—a place where they don’t take any win pictures except the Derby and the Oaks—you get a taste of that and you want more.”

With a stable that now plays on the national scene, winning his 12th local title wasn’t on top of the “to do” list as 2021 dawned. Amoss looked back fondly on when he was in the midst of building his local Hall of Fame resume, then pondered how another plaque on the wall of the barn would feel.

“If you asked me that question—what would winning the Fair Grounds title mean—10-to-15 years ago, I would have told you it means a lot—because it did,” Amoss said. “Fair Grounds was our major emphasis in the winter and the bulk of our horses were down here. And it was a great motivator to our barn, which works so hard all meet. But a lot has changed since then and what kind of stable we have. If we win the training title it’s great, but it’s not going to have the meaning it once did. And I don’t mean to take anything away from something that would be an accomplishment for sure, but it’s not an emphasis.”

No Parole fits the profile of the new-age Amoss horse. Purchased for $75,000 as a yearling, he won on debut here in his lone start at 2 and then went on to much greater heights at 3. Last year, the newly minted 4-year-old Louisiana-bred son of Violence won the LA Bred Premier Night Prince Stakes at Delta Downs in February then tried Triple Crown hopefuls in Oaklawn’s Rebel (G2) a month later, where he was eighth. Amoss cut No Parole back and he won an optional-claimer there in April before winning the Stephens at Belmont to announce his presence as one of the top sophomore sprinters in the country. No Parole was ninth in the Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga in August and sixth in the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland in October before Amoss decided he needed a break. He’s worked twice since, including a 4-furlong move in a local 48.20 January 2, which has Amoss looking forward to a big 2021.

“He worked very well and showed he’s getting ready very quickly,” Amoss said. “It would not be surprising to see him in the entry box sometime at the end of January or the beginning of February. He was great for us as a 3-year-old. He won a grade 1 in New York but horses, specifically sprinters, it’s hard to keep them at the top of their game year-round. He tailed off, and that’s not unusual, so it was time to give him a rest and get him ready for his 4-year-old year.”

While No Parole set the bar mighty high winning a grade 1 last year, Amoss has a slew of young horses he’s looking forward to this year. He won with first-time starter Save here New Year’s Day and sent out the highly-regarded Defeater to win the Saturday finale. The 3-year—old son of Union Rags was a $210,000 yearling purchase and ran to that price tag when he ran down a heavily favored Godolphin blueblooded entry. Prior to the race Amoss wasn’t sure Defeater would win on debut, which only speaks to his talent, and his future.

“Defeater is a very, very nice colt but he comes with some difficulties for a trainer,” Amoss said. “He’s not a precocious gate horse. Any of the young horses that are coming up like him, these are developing young horses and no matter how hard you try, you can’t rush that development because a lot of that is getting physically bigger and stronger, as well as mentally understanding the racing. But make no mistake about it, Defeater is a runner.”

And Amoss, is a winner.

-30-

About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 13 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 149th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 108th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 26, 2020 through March 28, 2021. More information can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.

Information set forth in this press release contains various “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”) provides certain “safe harbor” provisions for forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements made in this press release are made pursuant to the Act. The reader is cautioned that such forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time and/or management’s good faith belief with respect to future events, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in the statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statement was made. We assume no obligation to update forward-looking information to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the use of terms such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” and similar words, although some forward-looking statements are expressed differently.

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include the following: the effect of economic conditions on our consumers’ confidence and discretionary spending or our access to credit; additional or increased taxes and fees; public perceptions or lack of confidence in the integrity of our business; loss of key or highly skilled personnel; restrictions in our debt facilities limiting our flexibility to operate our business; general risks related to real estate ownership, including fluctuations in market values and environmental regulations; catastrophic events and system failures disrupting our operations, including the impact of natural and other disasters on our operations and our ability to obtain insurance recoveries in respect of such losses; inability to identify and complete acquisition, expansion or divestiture projects, on time, on budget or as planned; difficulty in integrating recent or future acquisitions into our operations; legalization of online real money gaming and sports wagering in the United States, and our ability to capitalize on and predict such legalization; the number of people attending and wagering on live horse races; inability to respond to rapid technological changes in a timely manner; inadvertent infringement of the intellectual property of others; inability to protect our own intellectual property rights; security breaches and other security risks related to our technology, personal information, source code and other proprietary information, including failure to comply with regulations and other legal obligations relating to receiving, processing, storing and using personal information; payment- related risks, such as chargebacks for fraudulent credit card use; compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or applicable money-laundering regulations; compliance with payment processing and payment transmission regulations; work stoppages and labor issues; difficulty in attracting a sufficient number of horses and trainers for full field horseraces; inability to negotiate agreements with industry constituents, including horsemen and other racetracks; personal injury litigation related to injuries occurring at our racetracks; the inability of our totalisator company, United Tote, to maintain its processes accurately, keep its technology current or maintain its significant customers; weather conditions affecting our ability to conduct live racing; increased competition in the horseracing business; changes in the regulatory environment of our racing operations; declining popularity in horseracing; seasonal fluctuations in our horseracing business due to geographic concentration of our operations; increased competition in our casino business; changes in regulatory environment of our casino business; the cost and possibility for delay, cost overruns and other uncertainties associated with the develop.m.ent and expansion of casinos; concentration and evolution of slot machine manufacturing and other technology conditions that could impose additional costs; impact of further legislation prohibiting tobacco smoking; geographic concentration of our casino business; changes in regulatory environment for our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; increase in competition in the advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; inability to retain current customers or attract new customers to our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; uncertainty and changes in the legal landscape relating to our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; and failure to comply with laws requiring us to block access to certain individuals could result in penalties or impairment in our ability to offer advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming.

Back to all Articles