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NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK
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|News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled
by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.
EUCHRE, BREW THE FAVORITES FOR SATURDAY'S BIG 'CAP
A field of 14 of the nation's leading horses in the Classic division, headed by the Stronach Stable entry of Euchre and Milwaukee Brew, was entered for Santa Anita's marquee race, the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday.
It would be the largest field since 17 went postward in the 1983 edition won by Bates Motel under jockey Terry Lipham.
Installed as the 7-2 morning-line favorites, Euchre and Milwaukee Brew are both conditioned by Bobby Frankel, the Eclipse Award winner as the nation's top trainer the last two years. The Hall of Famer is seeking his first Big 'Cap win, having lost nine previous times. His best effort was a second with Triteamtri in 1989.
The morning line odds reflect the competitiveness of the 65th edition of the Big 'Cap. Five other horses were assigned odds of 8-1 or less in the Grade I race to be decided at 1-1/4 miles on the main track. Next in line at 9-2 is Futural, to be ridden by Chris McCarron. The Hall of Fame rider, who will be 47 on March 27, has ridden in 18 Big 'Caps, winning three: aboard Alysheba in 1988, Free House in 1999, and Tiznow in 2001. Trainer Craig Dollase said Futural was "about 75 percent" ready for his one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita on Feb. 9, the 6-year-old gelding's first start since last Aug. 19, when he finished sixth in the Del Mar Classic.
Asked how Futural felt under him during the race, jockey Chris McCarron smiled and said, "about 75 percent."
Seriously, McCarron expects a major improvement from Futural, a Florida-bred chestnut with a fondness for the Santa Anita track, where he shows four wins, a second and two thirds in nine starts. "He got a little tired in his last race," McCarron said. "He put in a good effort, but when he got to the eighth pole, I could feel that he wasn't going to really gain much on the leaders (Sky Jack and Reba's Gold). He started to get a little tired. I expect a lot more of him on Saturday."
McCarron worked Futural Sunday at Hollywood Park, going six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.80. "I was impressed with his work," McCarron said. "He had a lot of energy, he did it very comfortably and he galloped out well. He acted like he was moving forward after his last race instead of backwards."
The field for the 65th running of the Santa Anita Handicap, for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/4 miles, with jockeys, weights, and morning-line odds: Cagney, Mike Smith, 115 (8-1); Fancy As, Gary Stevens, 114 (6-1); Sky Jack, Laffit Pincay Jr., 116 (5-1); Giant Gentleman, Alex Solis, 114 (5-1); Seinne, Victor Espinoza, 112 (30-1); Kudos, Eddie Delahoussaye, 115 (15-1); (f) Last Parade, Brice Blanc, 113 (30-1); Freedom Crest, Corey Nakatani, 114 (15-1); (a) Euchre, Garrett Gomez, 118 (7-2); Futural, Chris McCarron, 118 (9-2); (f) Dig For It, Jose Valdivia Jr. 112 (30-1)); Irisheyesareflying, David Flores, 116 (15-1); (a) Milwaukee Brew, Kent Desormeaux, 113 (7-2), and Western Pride, 116, Patrick Valenzuela (15-1). a-Stronach Stable entry. f-field.
ZIPPY CHIPPY TO MAKE 93RD ATTEMPT AT FIRST VICTORY TONIGHT
Thoroughbred racing's most celebrated ne'er-do-well, the 11-year-old gelding Zippy Chippy, will try once more for his ever-so-elusive first win tonight in the first race at Penn National Racecourse in Grantville, Pa.
Zippy Chippy, loser of all 92 of his previous starts, will face eight other fellow nonwinners in tonight's race, a five-furlong sprint which is scheduled to be run at 7:25 p.m. (ET).
The Penn National morning-line oddsmaker has installed Zippy Chippy as the 30-1 rank outsider in the field of nine-perhaps because the veteran racehorse has not recorded a Beyer Speed figure above 0 since September of 2000. Still, Zippy Chippy does have a few intangibles in his favor. On the experience front, his 92 starts are 78 more than the rest of the field's combined total of 14. Zippy Chippy has also amassed career earnings of $29,266; his eight opponents have earned a combined $4,001.
Nevertheless, Zippy Chippy will need to vastly improve upon his only other 2002 outing when he ran last of seven at Penn National on January 31, beaten by a total of 32 3/4 lengths.
SLEW OF RACING BOOKS TO SOON HIT THE SHELVES
As reported in last Tuesday's USA Today by Deirdre Donahue, a number of horseracing books will soon appear in bookstores nationwide, with publishers hoping to approximate the success of last year's runaway bestseller "Seabiscuit," authored by Laura Hillenbrand.
Among the books to be released in March are "Stud: Adventures in Breeding," (to be published by Bloomsbury Press) by Kevin Conley, a writer for "The New Yorker" magazine; and a re-release of William Nack's 1975 classic "Secretariat: The Making of a Champion" (Da Capo). Coming in April are "My Racing Heart: The Passionate World of Thoroughbreds and the Track," (HarperCollins) by Nan Mooney; and "Horse of a Different Color; A Tale of Breeding Geniuses, Dominant Females and the Fastest Derby Winner Since Secretariat," (PublicAffairs) by Jim Squires, the former editor of the Chicago Tribune and the breeder of last year's Kentucky Derby winner, Monarchos.
Also coming this spring is the paperback release of "Seabiscuit" (Ballantine Books). Meanwhile, "Seabiscuit" continues to penetrate current pop culture in ways heretofore unimaginable. Harbor Sweets, Inc. of Salem, Mass. has recently introduced "Sea Biscuits," a peanut butter, flaky biscuit and milk chocolate concoction that should pay off with any racing fan possessing a sweet tooth.
March 2 Racehorse Digest, 5:00-5:30 a.m., ESPN
March 6 Racehorse Digest, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
March 9 Racehorse Digest, 5:00-5:30 a.m., ESPN
March 10, Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby; Louisiana Derby (Fair Grounds), El Camino Real Derby (Golden Gate Fields); 11:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.; ESPN2
March 12 Racehorse Digest, 1:00-1:30 p.m., ESPN2
Feb. 28, 1957: John Longden became the first jockey in history to reach 5,000 victories.
March 1, 1969: Tuesdee Testa, 27, became the first female jockey to win a race at a major American Thoroughbred track when she won the third race at Santa Anita Park aboard Buz On.
March 1, 1991: Pat Day, 37, became the sixth rider in history whose mounts earned $100 million when he rode Wild Sierra to a second-place finish in the first race at Oaklawn Park.
March 2, 1940: Beaten by a nose in both the 1937 and 1938 Santa Anita Handicaps, Seabiscuit finally won the Big 'Cap in his final race. He retired the then-leading money-winning horse in the world.
March 2, 1966: Kelso, Horse of the Year 1960-64, ran his last race, finishing fourth at Hialeah Park.
March 3, 1966: Ogden Phipps' Buckpasser won the Flamingo Stakes by a nose, under the guidance of Bill Shoemaker. The colt was such a prohibitive favorite among the field of nine that the race was declared a non-wagering contest and was dubbed "The Chicken Flamingo."
March 3, 1985: Bill Shoemaker became the first jockey in history to win $100 million in purses after he won the Santa Anita Handicap aboard Lord at War (ARG).
March 3, 1993: Russell Baze had his 4,000th career win, with Frank Musso, at Golden Gate Fields.
March 5, 1988: Carl Gambardella had his 5,000th career winner, aboard John's Goldenapple, at Suffolk Downs.
March 6, 1965: Jockey Earlie Fires rode his first winner, Carnation Kid, at Oaklawn Park. By year's end, Fires had amassed nearly $600,000 in purse earnings to earn the title of champion apprentice jockey.
March 6, 1988: Julie Krone became the winningest female jockey in racing history when she won the 1,205th race of her career riding a filly named Squawter in the ninth race at Aqueduct Racetrack.
March 8, 1987: Carrying 126 pounds, Zany Tactics set the world record for six furlongs, 1:06 4/5, at Turf Paradise. On Feb. 21, 1993, his time was equaled by Honor the Hero, also at Turf Paradise.
March 8, 1985: Chris McCarron rode his 4,000th career winner, Hawkley (GB), in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park.
March 9, 1977: Seattle Slew made his three-year-old debut, at Hialeah. He won a seven-furlong race in 1:20 3/5, breaking the track record.
March 10, 1808: Diomed, the winner of the inaugural Epsom Derby in 1780, died in Virginia at age 31. He had been imported to the U.S. 10 years earlier and subsequently became an influential sire.
March 10, 1993: At age 41, jockey Eddie Delahoussaye had his 5,000th career winner, aboard Ackler in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park. He was the 14th rider in North American Thoroughbred racing to reach that plateau.
March 11, 1943: After siring 350 foals that won over $3 million, 26-year-old Man o' War was retired from stud duty.
March 12, 1966: In the last race of his 40-year career, John Longden won the San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita Park, aboard George Royal. He retired with a then-record number of victories, 6,032.
March 12, 1998: The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and EquiSource reached an agreement in principle for EquiSource to be the exclusive provider of group-purchasing and productivity services for the Thoroughbred racing industry.
March 13, 2000: According to the ESPN Sports Poll, consumer interest in Thoroughbred racing increased by 3.1 percent among people 18 and older during the previous two years.
FRIDAY, MARCH 1
SATURDAY, MARCH 2
SUNDAY, MARCH 3
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