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NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK

Racing on the Air Racing to History Weekend Stakes Races
News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.

NTRA CHARITIES - NEW YORK HEROES FUND DISBURSES $2.25 MILLION TODAY

Today at a luncheon honoring New York and Nassau County law enforcement personnel, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Breeders' Cup Limited and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) will distribute $2.25 million from the NTRA Charities - New York Heroes Fund to 11 local organizations aiding families affected by the World Trade Center attack. The ceremony marks the second distribution of Heroes Fund monies to Sept. 11-related charities and brings the fund's total disbursements to $3.5 million.

The NTRA, Breeders' Cup and NYRA formed the NTRA Charities - New York Heroes Fund to benefit the families of the rescue personnel and other victims of Sept. 11 and dedicated the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, run at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., in their honor. Through pledges of purse earnings by owners, trainers and jockeys, World Thoroughbred Championships day raised more than $2 million for the fund.

Leadership contributions to the fund have included nearly $2 million from Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum's Godolphin Stable, which donated 100 percent of its net earnings from the World Thoroughbred Championships; $1 million from longtime owner/breeder Harry T. Mangurian; $133,000 from Coolmore principals John and Susan Magnier, their racing partner Michael Tabor and Coolmore trainer Aidan O'Brien and jockey Michael Kinane, all of whom donated 10 percent of their winnings from Championships day at Belmont; and $125,000 from a breeding season to Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Point Given, donated by The Thoroughbred Corp. and purchased by Robert Courtney at an auction to benefit the Heroes Fund.

A $1 million pledge by owner/breeder Ernie Paragallo, to be paid over several years, and pledges from other sources, will bring the Heroes Fund total to approximately $5 million - well over the fund's original goal of $1 million. With fund-raising programs now concluded, future monies received will be earmarked for scholarship programs aiding children and dependents of Sept. 11 victims as well as armed forces personnel.

"Along with these contributions, we extend our deepest sympathy to the families who have suffered as a result of Sept. 11," said NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith. "We hope that our support will, in some way, provide a measure of comfort and assistance to those who have lost loved ones."

"We salute the courage, professionalism and steadfast determination of the New York firefighters, police, Port Authority and emergency services personnel, and their families," said D.G. Van Clief, Jr., president of Breeders' Cup Limited. "They have sacrificed tremendously but continue to carry on with everyday life and the job of restoring their community. We saw this firsthand during the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont, and our admiration is profound."

Organizations receiving funds today are the Diocese of Rockville Centre (N.Y.) Emergency Relief Fund - World Trade Center Disaster Fund, the Garden City (N.Y.) Community Fund - Family Relief Fund, the Port Authority Police World Trade Disaster Survivor's Fund, the World Trade Center Port Authority Memorial Fund, Salvation Army of Greater New York, The New York Times 9/11 Neediest Fund, the Disaster Relief Fund (Newsday/McCormick Tribune Foundation) the New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund, the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund, the Twin Towers Fund and the Silver Shield Foundation.

"Through assistance to organizations like the Diocese of Rockville Centre and the Garden City Community Fund, we hope to bring immediate relief to families in the area around Belmont affected by Sept. 11," said Terence J. Meyocks, president of the New York Racing Association. "We are also grateful to the law enforcement personnel of the state, county and city who worked tirelessly and professionally under difficult circumstances in the aftermath of the attacks to help us bring the World Thoroughbred Championships to New York."

GRADED STAKES COMMITTEE RELEASES LIST OF GRADED RACES FOR 2002

The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association today presented its listing of U.S. Graded Stakes for 2002, the results of its annual grading session conducted November 27-28 in Lexington, Ky.

The Committee reviewed 751 unrestricted U.S. stakes races with a purse of at least $75,000, and assigned graded status to 486 of them, eight more than were graded in 2001. A total of nine graded races were upgraded, including four new Grade I races and five new Grade II races. Thirteen new Grade III races were identified. Five races that carried Grade III status in 2001 are no longer graded.

Four races were upgraded to Grade I status for 2002: the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, the Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes at Keeneland, and the Stephen Foster Handicap and Humana Distaff Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Four races were downgraded from Grade I to Grade II for 2002: the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga; the Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita; the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs and the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park. The Grade I Gulfstream Park Handicap is scheduled for Grade II status in 2003.

Five races were upgraded to Grade II status for 2002: the Falls City Handicap and Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs; the Lazaro S. Barrera Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park; the Princess Rooney Stakes at Calder Race Course and the Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont.

Seven races were downgraded from Grade II to Grade III in 2002: the Bel Air Handicap, Hawthorne Handicap and Railbird Stakes at Hollywood Park; the Arlington Washington Futurity at Arlington Park; the Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs; the Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct and the Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway Park. The Illinois Derby at Sportsman's Park and the San Bernardino Handicap at Santa Anita are scheduled for downgrade to Grade III in 2003.

Thirteen races were upgraded to Grade III status for 2002: the Memorial Day Handicap and the Miami Mile Breeders' Cup Handicap at Calder Race Course; the Floral Park Handicap at Belmont; the Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park; the Leonard Richards Stakes at Delaware Park; the Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park; the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park; the Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs; the Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico; the Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland; the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds; the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs and the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park.

Three races were downgraded from Grade III to Ungraded status for 2002: the Laurel Turf Cup Stakes at Laurel Race Course; the Reeve Schley Jr. Stakes at Monmouth Park and the Round Table Stakes at Arlington Park. The Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park and the Stymie Handicap at Aqueduct are scheduled for downgrade to Ungraded status in 2003.

SEABISCUIT NAMED SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR IN GREAT BRITAIN

Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit: The True Story of Three Men and a Racehorse (published in America as Seabiscuit: An American Legend) has been named the 2001 winner of Great Britain's famed William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. One of the most prestigious literary prizes in Britain, the Sports Book of the Year Award carries a prize of 10,000 pounds (about $14,300), a free 1,000 pound bet, and a leather-bound copy of the winning book.

Seabiscuit, which was chosen over four other finalists, was published by Fourth Estate, Ltd. in the U.K. and Random House in the U.S. A long-term, number one bestseller in the United States, the book is currently being made into a feature film by Universal Pictures. Seabiscuit is also the subject of an upcoming PBS documentary, for which Hillenbrand is serving as a senior consultant. The award announcement was made to a media-packed audience in London.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

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

December 8 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

December 10 Racehorse Digest, 12:30-1:00 p.m., ESPN2

RACING TO HISTORY

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.

Dec. 7, 1957: A two-year-old colt named Silky Sullivan won the one-mile Golden Gate Futurity after making up 27 lengths, establishing a running style that became legendary. Horsemen still invoke the name of Silky Sullivan when referring to a horse that runs from far off the pace.

Dec. 8, 1989: Power to Geaux paid a record $2,922 for a $2 wager made at AKsarben on the simulcast of the 11th race from Fair Grounds. The previous record for a payoff on a $2 wager was set June 17, 1912, when Wishing Ring paid $1,885.50.

Dec. 9, 1999: Jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr., tied Bill Shoemaker's all-time record by registering his 8,833rd lifetime win aboard I Be Casual in the 4th race at Hollywood Park.

Dec. 10, 1977: In his second year of riding, Steve Cauthen became the first jockey to win $6 million in a single season when he rode a three-year-old filly, Little Happiness, to victory in the sixth race at Aqueduct. Cauthen was dubbed "The Six Million Dollar Man," and "Stevie Wonder" by his admirers and was named 1977 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated, the Associated Press, ABC's Wide World of Sports and The Sporting News. He also received three Eclipse Awards, being voted an award of merit in addition to earning top honors as both a journeyman and apprentice jockey.

Dec. 10, 1999: Laffit Pincay Jr. became the world's winningest jockey when he registered his 8,834th career victory aboard Irish Nip in the 6th race at Hollywood Park and eclipsed the previous mark of 8,833 wins held by Bill Shoemaker.

Dec. 11, 1983: John Henry became the first racehorse to surpass $4 million in career earnings when he won the Hollywood Turf Cup with jockey Chris McCarron at Hollywood Park.

Dec. 12, 1942: More than 20,000 racegoers turned out to watch 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway win the inaugural Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds, staged in part as a war relief effort by the newly formed Thoroughbred Racing Associations.

Dec. 12, 1997: Jockey Russell Baze, the only jockey to win 400 or more races in a year more than three times, accomplished the feat for a sixth straight season at Golden Gate Fields.

WEEKEND STAKES RACES (unrestricted stakes worth $75,000 and up)

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1
Hollywood Turf Cup Handicap, 3&up, $250,000, Grade I, 1 M (T), Hollywood Park
Sam Houston Texan Juvenile, 2yo, $150,000, 1 1/16 M, Sam Houston Race Park
Queens County Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 3/16 M, Aqueduct
Kennedy Road Stakes, 3&up, $100,000, 6F, Woodbine
Queen of the Green Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $75,000, 1M (T), Turf Paradise

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2
Vernon O. Underwood Stakes, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 6F, Hollywood Park
Valedictory Stakes, 3&up, $100,000, 1 3/4 M, Woodbine
Tenacious Handicap, 3&up, $75,000, 1 1/16 M, Fair Grounds

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Racing television schedule

 

 


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