NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK
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DE FRANCIS DASH HAS SOMETHING XTRA
Eclipse Award honors in the sprint division could well be on the line this Saturday when seven top sprinters enter the gate for a stirring 12th running of the Grade I, $300,000 Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash.
Xtra Heat was installed as the 2-1 second choice in the six-furlong DeFrancis Dash, but the Laurel Park-based filly could well go off the post-time favorite by virtue of her smashing second-place finish in the $1 million Penske Auto Centers Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 27th at the World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park. Purchased in the spring of 2000 for just $5,000 by Kenny Taylor, Harry Dietchmann and trainer John Salzman, Xtra Heat has won 17 times with three seconds in 21 career starts, earning $1.25 million (just under a million of it this year).
"The horses coming from California are the best in the country," said John Salzman of Xtra Heat's likely competition. "The main concern is figuring out how to beat them. I'm sure they're going to know that she's pretty sudden away from that gate and they're going to try a little harder. They're not going to throw their hands up in the air and let me go. But she runs hard. She'll run her race. She's training terrific. She couldn't train any better than what she's done."
Kona Gold, drew post seven and was made the 3-2 morning line favorite for Saturday's race despite finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. The seven-year old, who won the 2000 Breeders' Cup Sprint, has won three graded races this year, including the Grade I San Carlos Handicap.
"I like the seven post," said Kona Gold's trainer Bruce Headley. "That is where we wanted to be. Everyone's saying the winner of this race wins the Eclipse Award and for a while we were thinking Kona Gold was a horse of the year candidate. But after the Breeders' Cup performance, people were questioning his abilities and my training methods. We wanted to be closer to Xtra Heat a few weeks ago, but it didn't happen so we changed our training approach, working him short quick eighths for this one and we plan on being right with the filly on Saturday."
McArthur & Chapman's Caller One arrived Tuesday afternoon for the De Francis showdown on the same flight from California as Kona Gold's. Caller One finished third in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, after chasing Xtra Heat every step of the way. David Flores picks up the mount on the James Chapman-trained Phone Trick colt, who has won nine of 16 starts. Caller One is listed as the race's third choice at 7-2.
Delaware Township finished sixth in the Breeders' Cup and the Ben Perkins-trained chestnut colt will get the services of jockey Jerry Bailey in the DeFrancis Dash. A winner of two graded races this year, Delaware Township finished second in the Grade II, $200,000 General George Handicap at Laurel on February 19.
The complete DeFrancis Dash field from the rail out is: Say Florida Sandy (jockey: Ramon Dominguez, morning line odds: 8-1); Xtra Heat (rider TBA, 2-1); Delaware Township (Jerry Bailey, 8-1); Early Flyer (Chris McCarron, 12-1); Caller One (David Flores, 7-2); Boots on Sunday (Roman Chapa, 30-1) and Kona Gold (Alex Solis, 3-2).
Post time for the Dash, the ninth race on a ten-race card that includes five others stakes, is 4:06 p.m. (ET)
SATURDAY'S COLONIAL CUP COULD DECIDE YEAR-END STEEPLECHASE HONORS
As usual, Saturday's $100,000 Colonial Cup Steeplechase will be a key factor in determining the steeplechase Eclipse Award. Eleven horses have been entered in the 32nd edition of the Colonial Cup, including this year's Breeders' Cup Steeplechase winner Quel Senor. His chief rivals figure to be It's A Giggle, Al Skywalker, Lord Zada and last year's Eclipse Award Champion All Gong. The $100,000 stakes, will be run in Camden, S.C., at 2 3/4 miles over 17 traditional brush fences.
Despite the presence of five other Grade I winners, Breeders' Cup Steeplechase victor Quel Senor tops the list of Colonial Cup entrants. Owned by Coppertree Farm and trained by Tom Voss, Quel Senor sports three wins from six starts this year and is second on the 2001 earnings list behind Praise The Prince. Quel Senor defeated that rival and seven others in the $250,000 Breeders' Cup on Oct. 20 in Far Hills, N.J. The French-bred would solidify his championship hopes with another victory at Camden. Two other top championship contenders will race in the Colonial Cup.
Jennifer Majette's Al Skywalker won the year's first Grade I event, the Bank of America Carolina Cup, over the same Camden course. The speedy California-bred stands fifth on the 2001 earnings list with $114,881, and returned to action with a stakes victory at Montpelier on Nov. 3.
Bill Pape's It's A Giggle, hero of Saratoga with three wins including the Grade I New York Turf Writers Cup, can jump back into the championship picture with a Colonial Cup win. The son of Northern Baby has the right trainer in Jonathan Sheppard, who is looking for his 14th score in the historic race. A victory by either Quel Senor, Al Skywalker or It's a Giggle would strongly bolster that horse's Eclipse award credentials by making him the only steeplechaser to have captured two Grade I races this year.
Last year's champion steeplechaser All Gong looks to rebound from a fall in the Breeders' Cup for trainer Bruce Miller. Stakes newcomer Lord Zada may also be a factor in the race. Lord Zada impressed many with a second to Quel Senor in the Breeders' Cup, and the son of Lord Avie will this time have the services of champion jockey Gus Brown.
Other entrants in the Colonial Cup are Hokan, Cold Cat, Pinkie Swear, Plumb Bob, Walkin N' Memphis and Feeling So Pretty, who is the lone female in the field.
AUCTION NETS $272,650 FOR NTRA CHARITIES-NEW YORK HEROES FUND
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has confirmed that net proceeds from a Nov. 9 auction to benefit the NTRA Charities-New York Heroes Fund totaled $272,650. The top bid was $125,000 for a breeding season to Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Point Given, who enters stud in 2002. The second-highest bid was for a season to Unbridled's Song, which sold for $90,000. A season to champion sprinter Artax sold for $25,000, with a Triple Crown package selling for $10,000 and a trip to the 2002 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships bringing $9,000.
The NTRA, Breeders' Cup Limited and the New York Racing Association established the Heroes Fund to benefit the families of the rescue workers and victims who perished in the September attacks against the United States. "We are grateful to the many individuals who supported this auction with donations and to members of the racing community for bidding generously to help those directly affected by the events of September 11," said NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith.
Members of the international horseracing community have contributed approximately $5 million to the fund, including more than $2 million raised through pledges of purse earnings from owners, trainers and jockeys in the October 27 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
The charity auction was conducted by the Lexington, Ky.-based Thoroughbred auction house of Fasig-Tipton.
November 17 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
November 18 AQHA 2Day at the Races, Texas Classic Futurity Trials (Lone Star Park), Texas Classic Derby Trials (Lone Star Park), Marathon Handicap (Los Alamitos), 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN2
November 21 Racehorse Digest, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
November 24 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
November 25 Japan Cup, 1:15-1:25 a.m., ESPNEWS
November 25 NTRA 2Day at the Races; Early Times Hollywood Derby (Hollywood Park), Matriarch Stakes (Hollywood Park), Hoosier Juvenile (Hoosier Park), Japan Cup (Tokyo), Z. Wayne Griffin Stakes (Los Alamitos); 11:00-11:30 p.m., ESPN2
November 28 Racehorse Digest, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
Nov. 15, 1990: Alydar, one of the top sires in America and runner-up in all three Triple Crown races to Affirmed, was euthanized at Calumet Farm.
Nov. 15, 1995: Jockey Julie Krone rode her 3,000th career winner, in the fourth race at Aqueduct, aboard Dustin's Dreamer.
Nov. 16, 1951: The Pimlico Special, then a winner-take-all $15,000 contest, became the first race to be televised nationally. The winner was C.T. Chenery's Bryan G.
Nov. 17, 2000: Officials of Breeders' Cup Limited announced the addition of an interactive stallion nomination system to the company's Website.
Nov. 18, 1961: Jockey Eddie Arcaro rode his last career race, finishing third on Endymion in the Pimlico Futurity. He retired with a then-record $30,039,543 in purses.
Nov. 18, 1972: Secretariat capped his two-year-old racing season with a 3½ length victory in the Garden State Stakes at Garden State Park. The winner's share of the purse was $179,199, the most Secretariat ever won in a single race.
Nov. 18, 1979: In the eighth race at Aqueduct, Laffit Pincay Jr. had his 4,000th career win, aboard Gladiolus.
Nov. 19, 1956: Jockey Fernando Toro won his first career race at the Hipodromo in Santiago, Chile.
Nov. 19, 1995: Jockey Russell Baze became the first rider to have won 400 races a year for four consecutive years, after he rode Royal Boutique to victory at Golden Gate Fields.
Nov. 21, 1971: Secretariat completed his preliminary training at Meadow training center.
Nov. 22, 1990: Jockey Pat Day marked his 5,000th career winner when he rode Screen Prospect to victory in the Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs. Day was the twelfth rider in history to hit 5,000.
Nov. 25, 1997: Officials from Churchill Downs and the Maryland Jockey Club announced a new method for drawing post positions for the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. The traditional blind draw would be held to establish a selection order, then a horse's owner/trainer or authorized agent would choose his preferred post position among those still available.
Nov. 26, 1946: American Air Lines transported six horses from Shannon Airport, Eire, Ireland, to Newark, N.J., completing the first trans-Atlantic flight for Thoroughbreds. The plane arrived in the U.S. on Nov. 27.
Nov. 26, 1992: Sandy Hawley became the ninth North American rider to win 6,000 races. His record victory came aboard Summer Commander in the second race at Greenwood Racecourse.
Nov. 28, 1982: The brilliant Landaluce, who won her five lifetime starts by a total of 46½ lengths, died of a viral infection. She was buried in the infield at Hollywood Park, where she had won her first two races. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Landaluce was later voted champion two-year-old filly of 1982 over another undefeated filly, Princess Rooney.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18
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