NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK
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|News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled
by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.
ONE RACE, THREE BREEDERS' CUP CHAMPIONS
A rare meeting of three Breeders' Cup champions -- including a rematch of the last two winners of the Breeders' Cup Distaff -- headlines what promises to be one of the most memorable renewals in the long history of Churchill Downs' $250,000-added Falls City Handicap, which shares the spotlight with the traditional turkey and trimmings on Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
The 86th running of the Falls City will provide a rematch of Roger Devenport's 2001 Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine and The Thoroughbred Corp's Spain, the 2000 Distaff winner and runner-up in this year's renewal at Belmont Park. Unbridled Elaine unleashed a breathtaking stretch run under Pat Day to nip Spain by a head on Breeders' Cup Day. They will be joined in the field of seven older fillies and mares in the 1 1/8-miles Falls City by Carl Pollard's Caressing, the winner of the 2000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs and the nation's reigning 2-year-old filly champion.
The Falls City is the featured eighth event on a 10-race Thanksgiving Holiday card at Churchill Downs, which will serve more than 4,000 Thanksgiving dinners to a large gathering of racing fans, including many families who gather each year at the home of the Kentucky Derby to celebrate the holiday. Post time for the first race on the special holiday weekend card is 11:30 a.m. (ET).
Eclipse Award championships could be on the line in the Falls City for both Unbridled Elaine, a contender for the 3-year-old filly championship, and Spain, who could still be in the hunt in a wide-open battle as the nation's best older filly or mare. Either filly would do much to solidly her credentials with a win over a star-studded group that includes six Grade I or Group I stakes winners and may be the deepest field in the history of the Falls City, which saw its inaugural running in the first race meet on this site in 1875.
The Dallas Stewart-trained Unbridled Elaine has compiled a record of 6-2-0 in 10 starts and has career earnings of $1,743,390. She missed the first half of the year while recovering from surgery, but a win in the Falls City could cap a late season bid for an Eclipse Award that includes wins in the Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks and Iowa Oaks and a runner-up finish to Macho Uno in a run against males in the Pennsylvania Derby.
"She showed what she could do on Breeders' Cup Day," said Stewart. "She beat the best that day and if she could come back and beat that same filly again, I think you'd have to strongly consider her."
The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Spain had a clear lead in the homestretch in this year's running of the Distaff, only to be passed in the final yards by Unbridled Elaine. The daughter of 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch ran in last year's Falls City, where she lost by a nose to Bordelaise. Pat Day will ride Unbridled Elaine, who will carry 121 pounds as the 9-5 morning line favorite. Spain, who will carry highweight of 122, will be ridden by regular jockey Victor Espinoza and is listed as the 3-1 second choice in the morning line.
Caressing, trained by David Vance, finished fourth in the recent Churchill Downs Distaff. She is listed as the longest shot in the Falls City field at 12-1.
The four other stars in the stellar Falls City field include Miss Linda, winner of the Overbrook Spinster at Keeneland; Acorn Stakes winner Forest Secrets; Printemps, winner of Hollywood Park's Hawthorne Handicap and a Group I winner in Chile; and Rampart Handicap winner De Bertie.
NTRA OFFERING $1.25 MILLION MYSTERY MUTUEL VOUCHER PROMOTION ON NOV. 23
The NTRA will offer fans a chance to win $1.25 million in the Mystery Mutuel Voucher promotion, slated for Friday, Nov. 23 at 13 participating NTRA racetracks. Mystery Mutuel Vouchers are coded tickets that are direct-mailed in local markets and redeemable for cash at participating OTBs and racetracks. Vouchers worth a total of $2.3 million in prizes, including the $1.25 million grand prize, have been circulated to a half-million consumers around the country.
CHURCHILL "PARADE" TO BENEFIT AREA CHARITIES
Churchill Downs will celebrate the holiday season and help local charitable organizations as the historic track holds its inaugural "Parade of Trees" during this final week of the track's 24-day Fall Meet.
Churchill Downs will provide live holiday trees, each approximately seven feet tall, which will be decorated by the participating charities and displayed inside the track gates through Saturday. On the final day of the "Parade of Trees," a panel of celebrity judges will select a Grand Prize winner, and the organization that decorated that tree will receive a six-seat box for the 128th Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2002. The Derby box may then be used by the winning charity as a fund-raising prize.
The celebrity panel will judge the entries in the "Parade of Trees" based originality, theme and the best use of decorations, with the competition's runner-up receiving $250 for its charity.
In addition to the competition, a donation box will be located at each tree, with the tree collecting the highest total of donations receiving an additional $250 as the winner of the "Audience Choice" award. Charitable organizations scheduled to participate in the inaugural "Parade of Trees" include: Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Salvation Army, Downs Syndrome of Kentucky, Disabled American Veterans, Dare To Care, The Family Place, ECHO, Kosair Charities and Dismas Charities.
The Churchill Downs "Parade of Trees" is part of a company-wide program at Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) tracks called "Win, Place and Share." The program is designed to help charities in the hone region of the respective CDI tracks with their fundraising efforts during the holiday season. Other CDI tracks participating in the "Win, Place and Share" program include Calder Race Course, Hollywood Park and Hoosier Park.
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
December 1 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
December 2 NTRA 2Day at the Races; Clasico del Caribe (El Commandante), Texas Classic Futurity (Lone Star Park); 3:00-3:30 p.m., ESPN2
December 5 Racehorse Digest, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
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.
Nov. 30, 1989: Jockey Kent Desormeaux surpassed Chris McCarron's 15-year record for most number of victories in a single season when he rode his 547th winner for the year, at Laurel.
Nov. 30, 1997: Jockey Edgar Prado became the fourth jockey in history to ride 500 winners in a single year.
Dec. 1, 1962: Ten thousand fans attended a ceremony at Tropical Park in honor of Carry Back's retirement. By Saggy out of Joppy, Carry Back was known as "the people's horse." He retired after 55 starts and earnings of more than $1 million.
Dec. 1, 1982: In the first race to feature mother and daughter jockeys, Patti Barton rode against her daughter, Leah, at Latonia. Patti finished fifth aboard Tam's Angel while Leah was tenth on Diane's Ms. Lolly.
Dec. 2, 1936: Fair Grounds, New Orleans, La., licensed its first female trainer, Miss Meryl Eckhardt of Flint, Mich.
Dec. 3, 1997: Jockey Russell Baze became the 12th rider in Thoroughbred racing history to win 6,000 races when he won the fourth race at Golden Gate Fields aboard Clover Hunter.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25
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