Callaghan loses top US filly Abel Tasman after silks row
Abel Tasman, a leading hope for the Kentucky Oaks, has been removed from Simon Callaghan after a row over the silks she raced in for her 2017 debut.
The filly was due to run in the colours of the China Horse Club, which bought a 50 per cent interest from Clearsky Farms in December, in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes on March 4, but after a mix-up she ran in Clearsky silks.
In finishing second behind Unique Bella at Santa Anita, Abel Tasman confirmed her status as one of the leading three-year-old fillies in the US but on Thursday the owners switched her to Bob Baffert.
In a series of tweets, Callaghan said: "Today Abel Tasman was removed from my barn. This move happened at the insistence of co-owner China Horse Club. Although the filly should have run in their silks in the Santa Ysabel Stakes she did not due to a mix-up, which was no fault of ours and we apologised for.
"This mistake was impossible for China Horse Club to accept and they took the drastic step of removing her from our care."
Callaghan said on the day of the race jockey Joe Talamo had weighed out in the wrong colours and when sent back to change them the China Horse Club silks could not be found.
Quoted in the Daily Racing Form about the switch Callaghan said: "It’s a pretty heartless thing to do. China Horse Club brings a lot of money into the game, but they bring no class."
Callaghan, the son of of former trainer Neville Callaghan, trained in Newmarket for two seasons before moving in 2010 to California, where he has enjoyed multiple Grade 1 success and saddled Firing Line to finish second in the 2015 Kentucky Derby.
China Horse Club, which has growing racing interests around the world, has not commented.