NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK
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|News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled
by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.
NTRA ANNOUNCES "GREAT STATE CHALLENGE"
At its second annual membership meeting today in Lexington, Ky., the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced the six-race, $1.5 million "Great State Challenge," pitting top horses representing several states in a championship-style event to be staged annually beginning next year.
The NTRA/Breeders' Cup will fund a guaranteed purse of $150,000 for each race, plus $50,000 in purses for Breeders' Cup-nominated horses. An additional $50,000 will come from each participating state's breeders' fund, to be paid to each individual state-bred horse that finishes in an awarded position, making each race worth a total of $250,000.
"The Great State Challenge offers every participant a chance to compete for substantial purse money on a national stage," said Keith Chamblin, NTRA senior vice president-industry relations and marketing. "We've received input and support from virtually every sector of the industry, and we anticipate that the Challenge will evolve into a premier event on the racing calendar in a very short time."
Modeled on the World Thoroughbred Championships, the six Challenge races will be limited to 14 horses each and restricted to jurisdictions where the official horsemen's association is a dues-paying member of the NTRA. The top eight state horsemen's associations paying NTRA member dues will be guaranteed one horse in each race. Based on current dues, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Texas will receive automatic berths in the races.
The races are
The state with the overall best performance in the challenge will receive a trophy. Points will be allocated for each race on a 10-8-6-4-2 basis, with the NTRA State Challenge Champion being the top point-holder.
BREEDERS' CUP ULTRA PICK 6 TO CARRY $3 MILLION GUARANTEE
Officials of Breeders' Cup Limited and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that the guaranteed value of the 2001 Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 will be $3 million, a decrease from the previous $5 million level.
"The aftermath of September 11 has roiled the insurance markets and affected the underwriting of the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6," said D.G. Van Clief, Jr., president of Breeders' Cup Limited. "We've been unable to find an underwriter to handle the contract."
The 18th running of the eight-race $13 million Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships will be held Saturday, October 27 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. The Championships will be televised live on NBC from 1:00 - 6:00 p.m. ET.
"I'm confident that this change will have minimal impact on the overall handle for the Ultra Pick 6," said Kenneth E. Kirchner, director of simulcasting for Breeders' Cup Limited. "With the full fields and competitive nature of the races, the betting should be comparable to prior years. Remember that just two years ago, the Ultra Pick 6 produced a $3 million winner. There is no other bet like this in racing." Last year's Ultra Pick 6 handle was $5,123,453.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP FEATURED ON "THE ROAD TO THE WORLD THOROUGHBRED CHAMPIONSHIPS"
Three-year-old fillies take center stage in this week's "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships," the three-month racing series airing on the ESPN networks, with Saturday's running of the Grade I, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup from Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. The race will air live on ESPN from 4:00-5:00 p.m. ET. More
NINE PRE-ENTERED IN BREEDERS' CUP STEEPLECHASE
Defending steeplechase champion and Breeders' Cup Steeplechase winner All Gong rates slight favoritism among a solid group of nine horses pre-entered in the $250,000 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase to be run Saturday, October 20 at the Far Hills Races in Far Hills, N.J.
Second in all four of his starts this year, All Gong hasn't won since his course-record-setting performance at Far Hills last fall but still casts a long shadow thanks to ability, history and timing.
"He's coming up to it probably better than last year," said trainer Bruce Miller. "The race he had at Shawan Downs (September 29) was a better prep than he had last year, and he's better than he was this time last year."
The Breeders' Cup Steeplechase is the richest race run over fences in the United States and will be contested at 2 5/8 miles. The weight-for-age race is part of a championship day at Far Hills, which offers six races worth $475,000 in total purses. The Far Hills Races will be run for the 81st time, with another sellout crowd of 45,000 or more on hand. The steeplechase meet benefits New Jersey's Somerset Medical Center and has contributed more than $12 million over the years.
All Gong, a seven-year-old English import, will have to contend with eight talented foes, including seven Grade I winners. Tops on the list is the 'now' horse It's a Giggle. The son of leading U.S. jump sire Northern Baby won three at Saratoga, including the New York Turf Writers Cup. The Jonathan Sheppard-trained speedster led at every stop of his triple at Saratoga and will likely attempt the same feat at Far Hills.
Sheppard worked It's a Giggle with Breeders' Cup Turf contender With Anticipation and another horse October 9 and was pleased. The workout was a 2½-mile gallop that gradually increased in speed while twisting through a figure-eight pattern in a 100-acre field on Sheppard's Pennsylvania farm. "They start at a hand-canter, and pick it up, pick it up, pick it up," said Sheppard. "It's a Giggle leads, but by the time they are done they are going flat out, and they finish together. It's a long, slow stamina-building type of thing."
With Anticipation will continue his preparations for the October 27 Turf with some speedier moves at Delaware Park, while It's a Giggle will stick to the farm. English jockey Mick Fitzgerald will make the trip to Far Hills to ride It's a Giggle.
Pennsylvania trainer Sanna Neilson has Praise the Prince (NZ) and Lord Zada aimed at the race. The former leads the National Steeplechase Association in earnings this year with $208,242. He was third in the Turf Writers, while giving It's a Giggle 18 pounds. Lord Zada lacks experience (2 for 4) but makes up for that with talent (several stakes wins on the flat and a steeplechase stakes win).
Both horses are owned by Augustin Stable, and one will have the services of leading jockey Gus Brown.
All Gong's stablemate Yellowroad must also factor into any handicapping equation. Unbeaten in two starts over the course, the Kay Jeffords homebred will make his first jumping start of 2001 in the Breeders' Cup. The son of Badger Land defeated Pompeyo (CHI) twice last season, including a Grade I novice win at Belmont.
Another horse on the comeback trail is Pinkie Swear. Based in Maryland with Jack Fisher, Pinkie Swear finished second in the Maryland Million Steeplechase at Shawan Downs September 29 in his first start in over a year. The distance-loving chestnut won the three-mile Iroquois in 2000 and was second in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Grand National over the same distance at Far Hills.
Other Grade I winners on the pre-entry list are Flasher (three times a winner over Praise the Prince) and Hokan (winner of the 1998 New York Turf Writers Cup). Quel Senor completes the field, while racing for Coppertree Farm (a partnership that includes Far Hills Races co-chairman Guy Torsilieri).
The Breeders' Cup Steeplechase will be televised on a one-day delay as part of the 'NTRA Racing to the Breeders' Cup' series final installment, October 21, on ESPN2 from 2:30-3:00 p.m. (ET).
NTRA/BREEDERS' CUP UNVEIL COMBINED OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2002
On Wednesday, officials from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)and Breeders' Cup Limited unveiled the organizations' combined $59.8 million operating budget for 2002 at the NTRA's second annual membership meeting in Lexington, Ky. The 2002 preliminary budget calls for $58.3 million in operating expenses and a $1.5 million surplus. Officials also noted that the organizations expect to meet their budget projections for 2001.
The 2002 budget reflects additional membership revenues from racetracks and horsemen's associations that are expected to rejoin the NTRA in 2002, as well as increased television and sponsorship revenues. The projected 2002 surplus, supplemented by a $1 million allocation from the organizations' combined reserves, will go toward a $2.5 million "special stimulus package," whereby the NTRA will substantially underwrite and subsidize additional promotional days at member racetracks and OTBs next year. Member co-op participation and sponsor involvement could boost the marketing budget for the special promotional program to $4-5 million, NTRA officials indicated.
"The events of September 11 and the downturn in the nation's economy will likely have a negative effect on consumer spending," said NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith. "Recognizing this, we're offering our members some additional programs to get fans back to the races."
The special stimulus package will be in addition to quarterly Mystery Mutuel Voucher promotions, which offer cash prizes to consumers who redeem pari-mutuel wagering vouchers at participating member racetracks and OTBs.
"The promotions will be geared toward our 'light' or casual fans, who need additional incentives to come out to the racetrack more than once or twice a year," said Keith Chamblin, NTRA senior vice president-marketing and industry relations. "At the same time, they will be held on dates when fans will be exposed to great horseracing from coast to coast."
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSES 2001 FARM BILL BENEFITING HORSE OWNERS AND BREEDERS
Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 2001 Farm Bill, which contains two separate provisions for federal economic relief for horse owners and breeders who have suffered substantial losses among their breeding stock. The Farm Bill goes to the Senate. More
OVERBROOK FARM DONATES SEASON TO STORM CAT TO BENEFIT RED CROSS
Keeneland has announced it will offer a 2002 season to Storm Cat in its November Breeding Stock Sale. The season was donated to the American Red Cross by Overbrook Farm and will be sold at the conclusion of the Monday, November 5 session of the sale. Proceeds from the season will benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Storm Cat's stud fee for 2002 is $500,000.
The season is being offered on a "no guarantee" basis; however, Overbrook officials said in the event there is no live foal from the 2002 breeding, the purchaser of the season will have the opportunity to mate a mare with Storm Cat in 2003, assuming the stallion remains breeding sound. Storm Cat was leading sire in 1999 (more than $10.3 million in progeny earnings) and 2000 (more than $9.2 million in progeny earnings). He also has led the juvenile sire list five times.
BAILEY SURPASSES $20 MILLION IN PURSE WINNINGS
Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey became the first jockey to surpass $20 million in purse winnings in a year. Bailey reached the milestone after guiding Hap to victory in the $558,500 Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes at Keeneland last Sunday. Bailey eclipsed his own single-season record of $19,465,376, set in 1996.
QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAM FOR EQUINE DRUG TESTING OUTLINED AT NTRA ANNUAL MEETING
Today at the second annual membership meeting of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), held in Lexington, Ky., the NTRA outlined a proposal for a Quality Assurance Program for equine drug testing. The initiative is one of five recommendations contained in the NTRA Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force Report, released in August. The initial report is available online at the NTRA Web site, ntra.com.
The Task Force, including an alliance of industry stakeholders, proposes to begin proficiency tests for laboratories currently engaged in equine drug testing to determine where and why voids in testing methodologies are occurring at the laboratory level. Using a "single-blind" sample, the Task Force will test laboratories' proficiency at detecting substances in samples that have been identified as having been administratively prepared to include one or more of 40 possible drugs.
Additionally, treated samples will be randomly included in race-day samples submitted for testing under normal procedures. Under this "double-blind" testing, the laboratories and racing commissions will have no information on the samples' origins or contents.
"A workable Quality Assurance Program is the first step in implementing the Task Force's recommendations, and one that is vital for improving national drug-testing practices and procedures," said Jim Gallagher, executive director of the Task Force. "A number of industry groups have been approached about funding this project, and we believe we can move forward quickly once those commitments have been obtained."
Support for the project is expected to come from a wide range of horse industry groups, including the American Quarter Horse Association, California Thoroughbred Trainers Association, Churchill Downs Incorporated, Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, Harness Tracks of America, The Jockey Club, Jockeys' Guild, Keeneland Association, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Magna Entertainment Corporation, North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association, NTRA/Breeders' Cup, the New York Racing Association, Oak Tree Racing Association, Association of Racing Commissioners International, Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Thoroughbred Owners of California, United States Trotting Association and United Thoroughbred Trainers of America.
October 11 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Distaff, 3:00-3:30 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 11 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Turf, 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 12 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Turf, 9:00-9:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 13 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
October 13 The Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships; Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Stakes (Keeneland); 4:00-5:00 p.m., ESPN
October 14 NTRA 2Day at the Races, West Virginia Breeders' Classic (Charles Town), 4:30-5:00 p.m., ESPN2
October 16 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Mile, 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 17 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Mile, 7:30-8:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 17 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Sprint, 6:30-7:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 17 Racehorse Digest, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
October 18 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Sprint, 7:30-8:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 18 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Mile, 8:00-8:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 18 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Mile, 3:00-3:30 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 18 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Sprint, 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 19 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Sprint, 7:00-7:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 20 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
October 21 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase (Far Hills Race Meeting, Far Hills, N.J.), 2:30-3:00 p.m., ESPN2
October 21 NTRA 2Day at the Races; Empire Classic Handicap (Belmont Park), Ticonderoga Handicap (Belmont Park), Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (Keeneland); 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN2
October 23 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Classic, 7:30-8:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 23 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Juvenile, 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 24 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Juvenile, 7:30-8:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 24 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Classic, 8:00-8:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 24 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Classic, 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 24 Racehorse Digest, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
October 25 Thoroughbred Classics, Breeders' Cup Juvenile, 8:00-8:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
Oct. 11, 1924: A crowd of 60,000 assembled at Latonia to watch the third and final International race, for which a French colt, Epinard, was the headliner. Epinard, who had finished second in his two previous Internationals, did so again, losing as the even-money favorite to Sarazen.
Oct. 12, 1920: In the final race of his career, three-year-old Man o' War defeated 1919 Triple Crown winner Sir Barton in a match race, the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup, at Kenilworth Park. Sent off at odds of 1-20, Man o' War won by seven lengths in his 14th consecutive victory.
Oct. 12, 1966: Damascus, owned by Edith W. Bancroft, broke his maiden at Aqueduct Racetrack, winning by eight lengths.
Oct. 12, 2000: A new ESPN Sports Poll measuring fan interest in major sports during the first half of 2000 showed an interest growth in horseracing of 8.5 percent when measured against the same period in 1999.
Oct. 13, 1927: Arlington Park opened. The track, built by H. D. Brown, had a steeplechase course and a polo field and was adjacent to tennis courts, a golf course and a one-mile training track.
Oct. 13, 1956: At age four, 1955 Horse of the Year Nashua won his last race, The Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes at Belmont Park.
Oct. 13, 1984: At age nine, odds-on favorite John Henry won his last race, the Ballantine's Scotch Classic at The Meadowlands, to earn the richest purse of his career, $740,000, which included a $500,000 bonus for winning both the Turf Classic, run at Belmont Park on Sept. 22, and the Meadowlands' race. John Henry retired as America's then-richest horse with earnings of $6,597,947.
Oct. 14, 1952: Jockey Bill Hartack rode his first career winner, at Waterford Park.
Oct. 14, 1953: After a 21-year hiatus as a professional jockey, Earl Sande, 54, won his first race in a comeback, with Miss Weesie, at Jamaica. Sande's comeback began on Oct. 5 and ended with his win at Jamaica, where he received an ovation from a crowd of 18,184.
Oct. 14, 1968: Sandy Hawley won his first race aboard a two-year-old gelding named Fly Alone, riding at Woodbine Racecourse.
Oct. 14, 1972: After finishing first in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, Secretariat was disqualified and placed second after bearing in on Stop the Music, who was declared the official winner.
Oct. 15, 1977: In the fifth of their 10 meetings, Alydar won his second victory over Affirmed in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.
Oct. 17, 1970: Nijinsky II ended his career finishing second in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket. In 13 races he won 11 times and finished second twice.
Oct. 17, 1986: Kent Desormeaux made his Maryland debut, in the fourth race, at Laurel Racecourse, Laurel, Md., aboard Shonda's Shickels. He finished second but was disqualified for interference and placed fourth.
Oct. 17, 1991: Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. rode his 7,000th victory aboard Dont Cross the Law at Belmont Park.
Oct. 18, 1956: Nashua, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, was paraded at Keeneland in his last appearance at a racetrack.
Oct. 18, 1973: The owners of Secretariat announced that his last race would be the Canadian International Championship Stakes at Woodbine Racecourse.
Oct. 18, 1976: MacK Miller swept the top three spots in the Long Island Handicap with his trainees Javamine, Nijana and Fun Forever.
Oct. 18, 1978: Jockey Dave Gall became the first rider to win eight races during a single program. He rode 10 consecutive races for the day at Cahokia Downs, finishing second and fifth in his two losing efforts.
Oct. 20, 1923: Zev, winner of the 1923 Kentucky Derby, defeated England's hero Papyrus, winner of the 1923 Epsom Derby, in a $100,000 match race at Belmont Park. The race, the International Special, marked the first time an English champion had been sent to the United States to race. For his victory, Zev was awarded $80,000 and a gold cup valued at $5,000. Public interest in the race was so great that it was broadcast on the radio-a first. Within two days, films of the race were distributed at movie theaters in New York City and, eventually, across the nation.
Oct. 20, 1954: Bill Shoemaker rode his 2,000th winner, Florence House, at Tanforan.
Oct. 21, 1961: Eddie Arcaro won The Jockey Club Gold Cup for a record tenth time. His mount, Kelso, won the Gold Cup five straight years, 1960-64, setting the mark for most consecutive victories in a stakes race.
Oct. 22, 1945: El Lobo and Featherfoot became the first Thoroughbreds to be transported by airplane. They were flown from Los Angeles to San Mateo in a twin-engine Budd transport plane piloted by Maj. William Hoelle of the Flying Tiger Line, who landed the plane in the parking area at Bay Meadows. On Oct. 27, El Lobo won the Burlingame Handicap at Bay Meadows, proving that horses could fly (and win).
Oct. 22, 1955: A rare triple dead-heat for first took place at Mexico's Caliente in the eighth race. Stormsorno, Chance Speed and Beaufair were the three winners.
Oct. 22, 1964: Jockey Bill Shoemaker won the 5,000th victory of his career aboard Slapstick at Aqueduct Race Track.
Oct. 22, 1973: Secretariat was flown to Woodbine Racecourse, where he would compete in his final career race, the Canadian International Championship Stakes.
Oct. 24, 1877: Congress adjourned to see a race between Parole, Ten Broek and Tom Ochiltree, which was held at Pimlico.
Oct. 24, 1953: Tom Fool won the Pimlico Special Stakes by eight lengths, capping a perfect four-year-old campaign with 10 stakes wins in as many starts. The Special was his fourth consecutive race run as a non-betting exhibition. Tom Fool was voted Horse of the Year for 1953, acing out Native Dancer, who lost only one of his 10 stakes races that year, the Kentucky Derby.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17
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