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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.

ELEVEN ENTERED IN SATURDAY'S $1 MILLION FLORIDA DERBY

A field of 11 was entered to compete in Saturday's 51st running of the $1 million, Grade I Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. The mile and an eighth test will be televised live on ESPN from 5:00-6:00 p.m. (ET) with a probable post time for the Florida Derby of 5:40 p.m.

As usual, the Florida Derby drew some of the leading 3-year-olds in training. The chief rivalry is between John C. Oxley's Booklet and Starlight Stable's Harlan's Holiday, who have run one-two in that order in both the Grade III Holy Bull and Grade I Fountain of Youth Stakes, with the margins diminishing each time. Booklet has a chance to become the first horse in history to sweep the three major 3-year-old distance events at Gulfstream.

Booklet comes equipped with the same owner-trainer-jockey team as that which captured the 2001 renewals of the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby. Last year, Oxley, trainer John Ward Jr. and rider Jorge Chavez combined to pull off the Florida Derby-Kentucky Derby double with Monarchos. Booklet drew Post 4 for Saturday.

Harlan's Holiday's trainer Ken McPeek has changed jockeys for the Florida Derby, naming Edgar Prado to ride in place of Tony D'Amico. McPeek has maintained that the mile and a sixteenth of the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth were a bit too short for his colt and expects a new order of finish because of the extra sixteenth of a mile in the Florida Derby. The Gulfstream morning line maker agrees with the trainer, and installed Harlan's Holiday, an Ohio-bred son of Harlan who breaks from Post 2, as the 5-2 favorite.

The complete Florida Derby field from the rail out is Monthir, Harlan's Holiday, Nokoma, Booklet, Peekskill, Smooth Jazz, Puck, High Star, D'Coach, Personal Reward and Blue Burner.

INTEREST IN HORSERACING UP SECOND YEAR IN A ROW

The number of people in the United States who said they have an interest in horseracing increased for the second straight year, it was announced this week by TNS Intersearch - ESPN Sports Poll at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's fourth annual Marketing Summit in Las Vegas. More

PRESIDENT SIGNS BILL ALLOWING BONUS DEPRECIATION ON HORSE PURCHASES

The "Economic Stimulus" package signed into law last Saturday, March 9, includes new depreciation provisions that can be very beneficial for horse purchases. The new rules apply back to purchases after September 11 of last year.

The new depreciation rules allow a 30% bonus depreciation in the year of purchase, as well as regular depreciation on the balance. To qualify for the new rules, these requirements must be met: (1) the horse must be purchased during the three-year period from September 11, 2001 to September 11, 2004 and be placed in service during the period from September 11, 2001 to January 1, 2005, and (2) the original use of the horse must commence with the purchaser.

The second requirement appears to leave out horses purchased after they have been raced by someone other than the purchaser. It is unclear whether a horse that has been raced but has never been bred would qualify if purchased for breeding. But, it is clear that a horse purchased for racing that has never been raced can qualify for the new bonus write-off.

"We are seeing a growing acceptance among legislators that horseracing, breeding and ownership are facets of a unique agribusiness that involve many small-business people," said Greg Avioli, NTRA Deputy Commissioner. "The result of this legislation is that investment in Thoroughbreds now is more advantageous from the tax standpoint. This will benefit current investors in our industry and, we hope, encourage additional investment and job creation."

"As it applies to horses, this revision of the depreciation schedule is a step in the right direction and has been long overdue," said Keeneland President Nick Nicholson. "We will continue to work with the NTRA and other industry interests to educate legislators about our business."

CIGAR AMONG NOMINEES FOR RACING HALL OF FAME

Cigar, the two-time Horse of the Year which reeled off 16 consecutive victories, is among three Contemporary Male runners nominated to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame. The complete list of this year's nominees is:

Jockeys Kent Desormeaux, Eddie Maple, Jack Westrope
Trainers Buddy Delp, Sonny Hine, Mel Stute
Contemporary Female Horse Dance Smartly, Flawlessly, Serena's Song
Contemporary Male Horse Ancient Title, Cigar, Precisionist
Horse of Yesteryear Morvich, Noor, Swoon's Son

A 14-person committee selected the nominees, and voting will be in the hands of more than 140 Thoroughbred racing journalists and historians. Details of all nominees' careers are provided to the voters. The winner in each category will be announced during Kentucky Derby Week, on Tuesday, April 30, in the Churchill Downs press box in Louisville, Kentucky.

For contemporary horses, Hall of Fame eligibility begins when five calendar years have passed since a horse's last race. Allen Paulson's Cigar was retired in 1996, at age six, after his second Horse of the Year campaign. He established record earnings of $9,999,815 and won 19 of his 33 races. Cigar had a perfect record of 10 wins in 10 starts in 1995 and the next year won the first Dubai World Cup as he stretched his winning streak to 16, matching the modern North American mark of Citation.

Ancient Title and Precisionist, the other contemporary males nominated, both were based on the West Coast but, like Cigar, scored major victories in the East as well. Kirkland Stable's Ancient Title won 20 stakes through the age of eight, including the Strub Series at Santa Anita: the Malibu, San Fernando, and Strub Stakes. He and Precisionist are among only five horses to sweep that series. Ancient Title won the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga in his Eastern foray and had a career record of 24 victories from 57 starts and earnings of $1,252,791 during the 1970s.

Fred W. Hooper's Precisionist was voted champion sprinter of 1985, the year he won the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Aqueduct, but his other five grade I victories were scored from one mile to one and one-quarter miles. These included the Woodward Stakes and Swaps Stakes. Precisionist won 20 of 46 races and earned $3,485,398.

The contemporary filly and mare category includes both Sam-Son Farm's Canadian-bred Dance Smartly and the filly that surpassed her as the all-time North American distaff leader in earnings, Serena's Song. Dance Smartly won Canada's Triple Crown and Molson Export Million in 1991, the year she also won the Breeders' Cup Distaff. She was voted Horse of the Year in her homeland and champion 3-year-old filly in the United States. Dance Smartly won 12 of her 17 races and earned $3,263,836.

That earnings record was topped by Robert and Beverly Lewis's Serena's Song, the champion 3-year-old filly of 1995, who had a career record of $3,283,388 with 18 victories in 38 races. Serena's Song challenged males several times in major races and defeated them in the Jim Beam Stakes and Haskell Invitational. Her other major victories included the Santa Anita Oaks, Mother Goose, and Beldame Stakes.

Also nominated is Harbor View Farm's Flawlessly, which reigned in consecutive years (1992-93) as champion female on grass courses. In addition to winning the Beverly D. and other important events, Flawlessly won a pair of top turf races, the Matriarch and Ramona Handicaps, three times in succession. She won 16 of 28 races and earned $2,572,536.

Nominated in the Horse of Yesteryear category, for horses that last raced more than 25 years ago, Morvich was the first California-bred to win the Kentucky Derby. When he won the run for the roses in his first start of 1922, he was unbeaten in a career of 12 races. Oddly, Morvich never won another race and was retired with a record of 12 wins in 16 races and earnings of $172,909. He raced for owner Benjamin Block.

Charles S. Howard's Noor, champion older male of 1950, was renowned for his four consecutive victories over the great Citation. Irish-bred Noor had a career record of 12 victories in 31 races in Europe and North America and earned $394,863.

The third Yesteryear nominee, Swoon's Son, was a hardy campaigner of the 1950s, primarily in the Midwest. E. Gay Drake's Swoon's Son won 30 of 51 races and earned $970,605. In his many stakes triumphs, he owned victories over champions Round Table, Needles, and Nearctic.

Hall of Fame eligibility criteria for jockeys requires at least 15 years of action. Kent Desormeaux was the Eclipse Award winning apprentice of 1987 and has since won two additional Eclipse Awards for riding excellence. He holds the record for number of wins in a year, 598, and was the national leader in wins for three consecutive years. He also has led riders in earnings once and has two Kentucky Derby victories, on Real Quiet in 1998 and Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. Through 2001, Desormeaux had won 4,159 races (20 per cent of his rides) and his mounts had earned $156 million.

Eddie Maple, who retired in 1998, won two runnings of the Belmont Stakes, on Temperence Hill (1980) and Creme Fraiche (1995). He also rode the great Secretariat in the last race of that champion's career, winning the Canadian International at Woodbine in 1973. Other champions ridden by Maple included Conquistador Cielo, Devil's Bag, and Foolish Pleasure. Maple won 4,398 races (13 per cent) from 1965 through 1998 and earned $105 million.

Jack Westrope was the nation's leading apprentice at age 15 in 1933, when he rode 301 winners. By the time of his death in a riding accident in 1958, Westrope had won 2,467 races (14 per cent) and ranked eighth among 20th Century North American jockeys in wins to that date. Among Westrope's most notable victories were Stagehand's defeat of Seabiscuit in the Santa Anita Handicap, Cravat's victories in the Suburban Handicap and San Juan Capistrano, and Parlo's Delaware Oaks triumph.

Trainers are eligible for Hall of Fame nomination when they have been head trainers in Thoroughbred racing for at least 25 years. Buddy Delp is known as trainer of 1979 Kentucky Derby-Preakness winner Spectacular Bid, which he steered to an unbeaten 4-year-old season as Horse of the Year in 1980. Delp has won stakes races with 68 different horses, and his most recent major campaigner, Include, won the Pimlico Special and three other important races in 2001. Delp trained his first winner in 1962 and has won 3,533 races, or 21 per cent of his total starts, to earn more than $37 million.

The late Sonny Hine was best known as trainer of Mrs. Hine's Skip Away, the Horse of the Year in 1998 and an Eclipse Award winner for three consecutive seasons. Skip Away earned $9.6 million, and his portfolio of top quality races included the Breeders' Cup Classic and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Hine also had trained his sire, Skip Trial, among the 46 individual horses with which he won stakes races. Hine won his first stakes in 1972 and had more than 400 wins prior to the availability of The Jockey Club Information System's present statistical compilation. Since 1976, he won 897 races, or 16 per cent of his starts, and earned more than $28 million.

Trainer Mel Stute has been a mainstay in California for most of his career, but toured the nation in 1986, winning the Preakness, Florida Derby, etc., with champion 3-year-old Snow Chief. That same year, Stute had a second champion in the 2-year-old filly Brave Raj, who provided him with one of the two Breeders' Cup victories in his career. Stute, who continues his career, trained his first winner at Portland Meadows more than 50 years ago, in 1947. He has won stakes with 94 horses and available statistics show 1,759 winners (12 per cent) since 1963. His runners earned just under $50 million from 1963 through 2001.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sale Pavilion, Saratoga Springs, New York, on the morning of Monday, August 5.

STOLEN ECLIPSE AWARD STATUE RETURNED
(by Evan Hammonds, reprinted with permission from bloodhorse.com)

An unidentified man returned Barbara Livingston's Eclipse Award the afternoon of March 13 to the offices of The Blood-Horse in Lexington, Ky. The award was stolen at the awards ceremony Feb. 18 at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla.

At around 3 p.m. (ET) a man walked into the lobby of The Blood-Horse carrying the award in an empty 12-pack case of Corona beer. He delivered the box to receptionist Germanus Dickerson and said, "Would you please give this to one of your reporters. It's safe. It's very important."

When Dickerson opened the box, she found the statuette wrapped in a pair of plastic shopping bags. Enclosed was a $20 bill that had a post-it note attached which read "Please return to Barbara D. Livingston." The man who delivered the package quickly left the building.

According to Livingston, detective Juan Sanchez went to a suspect's apartment in Hollywood Beach, Fla. the morning of March 13 to question the occupant. After questioning, the detective said he would issue a warrant for that person's arrest on a charge of grand theft on Thursday if the statuette was not returned. The suspect's apartment contained several Corona beer 12-pack cases.

Also that morning, Livingston sent a heartfelt e-mail message to the suspect asking for the Eclipse Award's return. Livingston listed the evidence she had against the suspect and wrote that it seemed overwhelming. She said she was not interested in prosecuting should she get the award back.

"I've had a very tough winter," Livingston said. "Winning the Eclipse Award gave me a lot of my confidence back. I couldn't believe that it had been taken away."

Livingston praised the work of Sgt. Robert Hundevadt of the Miami Beach police for his help in the case. ESPN also lent a helping hand, providing Livingston with video outtakes of the Eclipse Award dinner that clearly shows the suspect at the event.

Livingston noticed her award was missing during last month's awards ceremony. She said her prize was taken by a woman wearing a red feather boa with a tattoo on her right shoulder. She had contacted police in Miami Beach and a detective had been assigned to the case.

"We are pleased that Barbara Livingston's trophy has been restored," said Peg Hendershot, spokesperson for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. The NTRA presented the Eclipse Awards ceremony. "We are sorry for any inconveniences this may have caused Barbara. We're glad for her that she will get her original award."

The bronze statuette of Eclipse, the second such award for photography that Livingston has earned, will be returned.

ST. PATRICK'S GREAT DAY FOR THOROUGHBREDS TOO

Much as Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated with parades, music, dancing and even a pint or two of an adult beverage, so too is the spirit of Ireland's patron saint celebrated by Thoroughbred owners and breeders who happen to be blessed with the birth of a foal on March 17. More

BOOKLET POISED TO HELP EQUINE RESEARCH

John Oxley, owner of three-year-old stakes winner Booklet, has pledged a portion of future purses won by the colt to equine research. Last year, Oxley won the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby with Monarchos, and forwarded one percent of the winning purses to Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. More

NUMBERS UP AT THE BIG A

With the books closed on the winter portion of the Aqueduct winter-spring meet, business at Aqueduct continues to roll along at a brisk clip.

Daily average attendance for the first 50 days of the year through March 10 shot up 14.9% from 4,523 to 5,197. Daily average on-track handle on Aqueduct races only soared 12.2% to $919,957 from $820,381. Daily average total handle on Aqueduct races only surged 10.4% in spite of limited availability to horseplayers in California this winter. The average stands at $8,262,785 compared to 01's average of $7,484,394.

Including incoming simulcasting at Aqueduct, the daily average on-track and total handle is up 8.1% and 9.8%, respectively.

The upswing continues the strong run at Aqueduct that began with the opening on October 31, 2001. The fall meet at Aqueduct registered daily average gains on Aqueduct races only of 13.1% on-track and 14.1% total.

VIRTUAL STABLE TO HELP FANS FOLLOW TRIPLE CROWN CONTENDERS

Racing fans will be able to track the progress of the leading contenders for this year's Visa Triple Crown more closely as a result of enhancements to Equibase Company's Virtual Stable, the Official notification service of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). More

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

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

March 23 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

March 23 Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby; Lane's End Spiral Stakes (Turfway Park), U.A.E. Derby (Nad al Sheba, Dubai); 6:30-7:30 p.m., ESPN2

March 24 NTRA 2Day at the Races; Explosive Bid Handicap (Fair Grounds), Sportsman's Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (Sportsman's Park), West Texas Derby (Sunland Park), Dubai World Cup (Nad al Sheba); 6:00-6:30 p.m., ESPN2

March 27 Racehorse Digest, 3:00-3:30 p.m., ESPN2

RACING TO HISTORY

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.

March 23, 1927: Future Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox was foaled at Claiborne Farm, Paris, Ky.

March 24, 1851: California's first organized race for Thoroughbreds took place at the Pioneer Course in San Francisco. The city's residents added a purse of $250 to the sweepstakes, which was set at $15 each for the three competitors. T. K. Battelle's colt Boston won.

March 24, 1932: Omaha, the only Triple Crown winner to be sired by another Triple Crown winner (Gallant Fox), was foaled at Claiborne Farm, Paris, Ky.

March 24, 1940: Future Triple Crown winner Count Fleet was foaled at Stoner Creek Stud, Paris, Ky.

March 24, 1941: Upset, the only horse ever to defeat Man o' War, died at age 24.

March 24, 1953: A program for nationwide televising of 10 of the richest races being run in New York and Delaware, was announced. NBC and ABC provided network coverage for the Saturday broadcasts, which were scheduled for April 18-June 20.

Mar. 24, 1997: Assicurazioni Generali, the lead underwriter on the congenital infertility insurance on Horse of the Year Cigar, agreed to pay the $25 million claim filed by owners Allen Paulson and Coolmore Stud. Coolmore received $18.75 million and Paulson got $6.25 million, representing the parties' respective 75% and 25% ownership interests.

March 26, 1943: Future Triple Crown winner Assault was foaled at King Ranch, Kingsville, Texas.

March 26, 1966: Jockey Eddie Maple won his first career race, at Ascot Park in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

March 26, 1992: Henryk de Kwiatkowski purchased Calumet Farm for $17 million at auction. He paid an additional $210,000 for the Calumet name.

March 27, 1953: The ABC radio network announced it would broadcast a series of major East Coast races, beginning April 4 and continuing through Nov. 14.

March 27, 1997: A group of Thoroughbred organizations, including The Jockey Club, Breeders' Cup Ltd., Keeneland Association and Oak Tree Racing Association, announced it would undertake a joint planning process to create a national coordination and marketing structure for Thoroughbred racing.

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

FRIDAY, MARCH 15
Bonnie Miss Stakes, 3yo fillies, $250,000, Grade II, 1 1/8M, Gulfstream Park

SATURDAY, MARCH 16
Florida Derby, 3yo, $1,000,000, Grade I, 1 1/8 M, Gulfstream Park
San Luis Rey Handicap, 4&up, $250,000, Grade II, 1 M (T), Santa Anita Park
Golden Gate Breeders' Cup Handicap, 3&up, $200,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M (T), Golden Gate Fields
Oaklawn Breeders' Cup Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $200,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Oaklawn Park
Swale Stakes, 3yo, $150,000, Grade III, 7F, Gulfstream Park
Victoria Lass Handicap, 4&up (f&m), $125,000, 6F, Fair Grounds
Razorback Handicap, 4&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Oaklawn Park
Cicero Handicap, 4&up (f&m), $100,000, 6F, Sportsman's Park
Toboggan Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, 7F, Aqueduct

SUNDAY, MARCH 17
San Felipe Stakes, 3yo, $250,000, Grade II, 1 1/16 M, Santa Anita Park
Tampa Bay Derby, 3yo, $200,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Tampa Bay Downs
Gotham Stakes, 3yo, $200,000, Grade III, 1 M, Aqueduct
Florida Oaks, 3yo fillies, $150,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Tampa Bay Downs
Pelleteri Breeders' Cup Handicap, 3&up, $150,000, 6F, Fair Grounds
Hillsborough Stakes, 4&up (f&m), $100,000, 1 1/16 M (T), Tampa Bay Downs
Hurricane Bertie Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, 6F, Gulfstream Park

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Racing television schedule

 

 


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