Business Notes


Keeneland sale headliner will be pregnant Azeri

The 2003 Horse of the Year, Azeri, will be making news at another auction soon. The three-time champion, in foal to 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, is catalogued for the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale, Jan. 12-17. The top money-earning Thorough bred filly, she won nearly $4.08 million in four seasons of racing. John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency will consign the broodmare for the Allen E. Paulson Living Trust. Azeri stunned the September sale crowd when her first foal, an A.P. Indy colt named Vallenzeri, failed to sell despite a top bid of $7.7 million. Azeri headlines the catalog of 2,379 horses, including 986 broodmares, 834 yearlings, 543 horses of racing age and 16 stallions. Catalogs will be available online at beginning Monday.

Lower Alpha earnings forecast

Alpha Natural Resources on Wednesday warned that the slowing economy could trim as much as $95 million from its expected profit this year. Alpha, which has a division at Roxana in Letcher County, now expects earnings of $175 million to $185 million this year. That's down from an earlier estimate of $230 million to $270 million. Blame for much of the mining company's woes rests with the steel industry. The slowing economy has slashed demand for steel. In turn, that's hurting demand for raw materials such as iron ore and metallurgical-grade coal, which is used to fuel steel mill blast furnaces.

Blood-Horse to reduce ad rates

The Blood-Horse, the nation's oldest continually published weekly news magazine for Thoroughbred racing and breeding, will reduce its print advertising rates by 5 percent effective in January, Blood-Horse Publications announced Wednesday. The Blood-Horse is the flagship publication of Lexington-based Blood-Horse Publications, which also publishes Keeneland magazine and Auction Edge. The Blood-Horse is a publication of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

Courier-Journal cuts jobs

The Courier-Journal says 51 employees have been laid off as part of cutbacks being made by Gannett Co. Inc. A posting on the newspaper's Web site Wednesday says 17 of the employees volunteered for a severance package. Citing a letter from newspaper President and Publisher Arnold Garson, the posting said 18 other positions won't be filled. Executive Editor Bennie L. Ivory declined to say Wednesday how many of the cuts involved the newsroom's staff. The cuts are 6.5 percent of the newspaper's work force and come on the heels of 15 layoffs that were announced in August.


Retail, factory snapshot worsens

The country's economic picture has darkened further as Americans hunkered down heading into the holidays, forcing retailers to ring up fewer sales, and leading factories to cut back production. The Federal Reserve's new snapshot of business conditions nationwide, released Wednesday, suggested the economy was sinking deeper into recession. The Fed didn't use the word "recession," but just two days earlier the National Bureau of Economic Research declared what many Americans already knew in their bones: that the country had been suffering through one since last December. Many economists predict the Fed will cut its rate — now near a historic low of 1 percent — at its last scheduled meeting this year Dec. 16.

Compiled from Staff, wire reports