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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.

MAGNA ENTERTAINMENT TO ACQUIRE LONE STAR PARK

Magna Entertainment Corp. (MEC) (NASDAQ: MIEC) has entered into an agreement with Lone Star Race Park, Ltd. and LSJC Development Corporation to acquire Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie for a purchase price to be satisfied by the payment of $80 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities, including a capital lease obligation of approximately $19 million.

The transaction, subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of certain conditions, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2002.

"This is a great moment for the future of Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie and horse racing in Texas," said Lone Star Park Chairman Bob Kaminski. "Lone Star Park has had unprecedented success in its short history and now the baton is being passed to Magna Entertainment Corp., a financially strong and committed ownership group. Lone Star Park will be very well positioned for the future."

The Dallas/Ft. Worth area racetrack, established in 1996, is one of the most modern pari-mutuel wagering facilities in the United States. More than six million people have passed through the turnstiles and wagered in excess of $1.2 billion since live racing began on April 17, 1997.

"The acquisition of Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie represents another step in MEC's program of expanding its racing and wagering operations through the ownership of the country's premier racetrack properties," said Frank Stronach, Chairman of MEC. "We are delighted to welcome the management and staff of Lone Star Park to the MEC family and we are committed to maintaining excellent relations with the City of Grand Prairie."

TOYOTA BLUE GRASS STAKES TO AIR LIVE ON NBC APRIL 13

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has announced that two and one-half hours of coverage of the final major prep races for the 2002 Kentucky Derby will air live on April 13 on ESPN and NBC, three weeks before the Run for the Roses. The ESPN (3:30-4:30 p.m., ET) and NBC (4:30-6:00 p.m., ET) telecasts will feature the Wood Memorial and Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, respectively, and together offer comprehensive coverage and analysis of the horses and races likely to play key roles in the Kentucky Derby.

The May 4 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., will be televised by NBC, with same-day pre-event coverage offered by ESPN and ESPN2.

The $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, N.Y., airs on ESPN as part of the CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby Series. The Wood has produced each of the last two Kentucky Derby winners, Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) and Monarchos (2001). The NBC telecast of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes will originate from Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky., and will recap the 2002 Triple Crown prep race season as well as preview the Kentucky Derby.

"This new April 13 'doubleheader' will help introduce more fans to the leading Kentucky Derby and VISA Triple Crown contenders," said NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith. "This expanded coverage also, we hope, will help continue last year's impressive TV ratings momentum for the Triple Crown."

"Keeneland is proud to be the host track for this new NBC telecast," said Keeneland President Nick Nicholson. "The Triple Crown Prep Show is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Thoroughbred racing and reaches sports fans when interest in the Triple Crown is nearing its peak."

The enhanced network coverage of the Triple Crown prep season complements the NTRA's newly expanded Road to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on ESPN, the summer racing series that continues on CBS, the second year of the Bessemer Trust Two-Year-Old Challenge on CNBC as well as the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and its Preview Day, both on NBC.

WISH JOHN HENRY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY

As part of a celebration of his 27th birthday, John Henry will appear in public at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., this Saturday, March 9. Saturday's appearance, in the Hall of Champions barn at 1:00 p.m. (ET), will be the first for the gelding since he recovered from successful colic surgery earlier this year. John Henry, who retired in 1984 as racing's then-all-time leading money winner with purse earnings of $6,597,947, has been a resident at the Kentucky Horse Park since 1985. John Henry was honored as Horse of the Year in 1981 and 1984. He also won four Eclipse Awards as champion grass horse in 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984 and another Eclipse Award as champion older male in 1981.

ALBERTO-CULVER RENEWS CUP SPONSORSHIP

Alberto-Culver today reached an agreement in principle with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and Breeders' Cup Limited to renew its presenting sponsorship of the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, one of eight races comprising the $13 million Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Alberto-Culver has been a Breeders' Cup sponsor for 14 years, most recently in connection with the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, for which it was presenting sponsor in 2000 and 2001. More

WILLIE NELSON NOT ON THE ROAD AGAIN APRIL 5 AT LONE STAR

Native Texan Willie Nelson will perform at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Tex., in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, on April 5 as a part of the track's "Texas Legends Weekend." The concert by Nelson, one of country music's top stars for some five decades, is scheduled to begin following the live racing program that begins at 6:30 p.m. (CT) Lone Star patrons who pay the regular $3 admission charge can stay for the concert at no extra charge. There is a $10 admission fee after 9:00 p.m. on the night of the concert, which is scheduled to begin at approximately 11:00 p.m.

THOROUGHBRED CLASSICS RETURNS MARCH 12 ON ESPN CLASSIC

Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA will make its 2002 debut with a retrospective on the Florida Derby, Tuesday, March 12 on ESPN Classic. Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA is produced by NTRA Productions in association with ESPN. More

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

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

March 12 Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA, (Florida Derby), 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic

March 14 Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA, (Florida Derby), 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic

March 15 Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA, (Florida Derby), 9:30-10:00 a.m., ESPN Classic

March 16 Racehorse Digest, 5:00-5:30 a.m., ESPN

March 16 Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA, (Florida Derby), 9:30-10:00 a.m., ESPN Classic

March 16 Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby; Florida Derby and Swale Stakes (Gulfstream Park); 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN

March 17 Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby; Gotham Stakes (Aqueduct); 4:00-5:00 p.m., ESPN

March 20 Racehorse Digest, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

RACING TO HISTORY

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.

March 14, 1941: Merrick died at age 38, establishing the longevity record for a Thoroughbred.

March 14, 1973: In his final preparation for the March 17 Bay Shore Stakes, the first race of his three-year-old season, Secretariat worked three furlongs in a blistering :32 3/5.

March 14, 1976: Bill Shoemaker won his 7,000th career victory, aboard Charlie Whittingham-trained Royal Derby II, in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park.

March 14, 1987: Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. became the first rider in the history of Santa Anita Park to win seven races in a single afternoon. In his only loss of the day, Pincay finished third aboard Bob Back in the eighth race.

March 17, 1973: In his three-year-old debut, Secretariat won the Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct by 4 1/2 lengths.

March 17, 2000: Trainer Hubert "Sonny" Hine, trainer of 1998 Horse of the Year Skip Away, passed away after a long illness at age 69.

March 18, 2001: Zippy Chippy beat a Standardbred horse named Paddy's Lady at Freehold Raceway. Because the race was an exhibition, Zippy Chippy officially maintained his record of 89 starts without a victory.

March 19, 1942: The Thoroughbred Racing Associations of the United States was formed, with John C. Clark as president.

March 19, 1949: Jockey Bill Shoemaker rode his first career race, at Golden Gate Fields. He finished fifth, aboard Waxahachie, in an eight-horse field.

March 20, 1932: Phar Lap, legendary champion racehorse of Australia, won his only start in North America, the Agua Caliente Handicap at Agua Caliente Racecourse in Mexico. His time for the 1 1/4-mile race was 2:02 4/5, a track record. The six-year-old Phar Lap died one month later and the cause of his death remains a mystery. During his four years of racing in Australia, Phar Lap won 36 of 50 starts.

March 20, 1969: Less than two months after she became the first woman to ride in a parimutuel race in America, Diane Crump rode her first winner at Gulfstream Park.

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

SATURDAY, MARCH 9
Fair Grounds Oaks, 3yo fillies, $350,000, Grade II, 1 1/16 M, Fair Grounds
Santa Anita Oaks, 3yo fillies, $300,000, Grade I, 1 1/16 M, Santa Anita Park
Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Sprint Handicap, 3&up, $200,000, Grade II, 7F, Gulfstream Park
El Camino Real Derby, 3yo, $200,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Golden Gate Fields
Stymie Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M, Aqueduct
Lost Code Handicap, 4&up, $100,000, 6F, Sportsman's Park
Phoenix Gold Cup Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, 6F, Turf Paradise
Honeybee Stakes, 3yo fillies, $75,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Oaklawn Park

SUNDAY, MARCH 10
Louisiana Derby, 3yo, $750,000, Grade II, 1 1/16 M, Fair Grounds
Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap, 4&up (f&m), $300,000, Grade I, 1 1/8 M, Santa Anita Park
Crème Fraiche Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Gulfstream Park
Battler Star Handicap, 3yo fillies, $75,000, 6F, Fair Grounds

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Racing television schedule

 

 


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