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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.

MAYAKOVSKY MAY STAY HOME TO TACKLE CAME HOME

The speedy three-year-old Mayakovsky, winner of the one-mile Gotham Stakes March 17 at Aqueduct, is back at his home base in California. Original plans had called for him to New York for Aqueduct's Wood Memorial on April 13. But after working five furlongs yesterday in :58.60 at Santa Anita, Mayakovsky's trainer, Patrick Biancone said that Mayakovsky is now "50-50" to instead run in the April 6 Santa Anita Derby, a race expected to feature Came Home, the impressive winner of Santa Anita's March 17 San Felipe Stakes. "He looked super," said Santa Anita clocker Chuck Russell of Mayakovsky's morning drill. "He did it real easy." Biancone said that he'll speak with Mayakovsky's owner Michael Tabor this week before making a decision.

A Florida-bred by Matty G, Mayakovsky broke a 55-year-old Saratoga Race Course record in his debut (1:03.32 for 5 1/2 furlongs last July 25), then came back five weeks later at Saratoga to finish second, two lengths behind Came Home in the Grade I Hopeful Stakes. Mayakovsky had been on the sidelines since a hairline fracture of his left hind leg was discovered after the Hopeful.

ILLINOIS CHAMPIONS DAY SET FOR SATURDAY AT SPORTSMAN'S PARK

The top Illinois breds in the land will be in the spotlight when Sportsman's Park presents the 2002 edition of Illinois Champions Day this Saturday. Each of the six stakes races on Illinois Champions Day has been increased in value to $100,000, up from last year's level of $75,000 per race.

Chicago Six, second in Sunday's $104,450 Sportsman's Park Breeders' Cup Handicap, returns on just six days rest to defend his title in the 1 1/16-mile Milwaukee Avenue Handicap. Last year, the Jere R. Smith Sr. trainee won both races in a seven-day span en route to being named Illinois champion handicap male of 2001. The 7-year-old son of Wild Again will carry top weight of 127 pounds including jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr.

Illinois Champions Day takes on additional significance for all competitors this year due to the creation of the NTRA Great State Challenge, to be run for the first time on December 7 at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston. The NTRA Great State Challenge consists of six races with purses of an estimeated $250,000 each for top state-bred performers around the country, including those from the state of Illinois.

Highlights of Illinois Champions Day will be telecast on NTRA "2Day at the Races" on ESPN2 from 6:00-6:30 p.m. (ET). There will be full coverage of at least two of the races in their entirety plus the stretch drive of a third.

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). The service is available at no charge through www.ntra.com and www.equibase.com.

The Virtual Stable race series notification service, developed in conjunction with the NTRA, Churchill Downs, Maryland Jockey Club and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) will notify users via e-mail on a once-daily basis of workouts, entries and results for the top contenders for the Kentucky Derby and Visa Triple Crown. Notifications will also include a list of upcoming televised races as well as active links that place users a click away from additional information such as entries, charts programs, and editorial content from www.kentuckyderby.com and www.nyra.com.

"This latest enhancement to Virtual Stable is another important step toward increasing fan participation in our sport, a commitment shared by both the NTRA and Equibase," said Hank Zeitlin, Equibase Company's executive vice president of marketing and sales. "The race series notifications put our sport's premier events on fans' radar screens months ahead of time by identifying the contenders and updating their progress leading up to big race days."

Fans can sign up for the free service through either www.ntra.com or www.equibase.com. Notifications will begin on March 13, prior to the Florida Derby. Visa Triple Crown notifications will conclude with the Belmont Stakes on June 8. A similar service will be available beginning during the heat of summer racing to help fans follow the progress of contenders on the Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships, which culminates with the 19th running of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on October 26 at Arlington Park.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

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

March 30 NTRA 2Day at the Races; Gulfstream Park Handicap (Gulfstream Park), Illinois Champions Day (Sportsman's Park); 6:00-6:30 p.m., ESPN2

April 3 Racehorse Digest, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

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

April 6 Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby; Santa Anita Derby (Santa Anita Park), Illinois Derby (Sportsman's Park); 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN

April 9 Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA, Blue Grass Stakes, 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic

April 10 Racehorse Digest, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

RACING TO HISTORY

March 29, 1917: Man o' War, who would go on to win 20 of his 21 career starts, was foaled at Nursery Stud, Lexington, Ky.

March 29, 1938: In observance of Man o' War's 21st birthday, the celebration was broadcast nationally via radio from Faraway Farm, where he stood at stud.

March 29, 1969: Diane Crump became the first female jockey to win a stakes race when she took the Spring Fiesta Cup at the Fair Grounds aboard Easy Lime.

March 29, 1988: Jockey Pat Day won his 4,000th victory, aboard Ann's Bid, in the ninth race at Oaklawn Park.

March 29, 1997: The $4 million Dubai World Cup was rescheduled for April 3 after torrential rainstorms hit Nad Al Sheba racecourse.

March 30, 1952: New York Governor Thomas Dewey signed a statute transferring licensing authority from The Jockey Club to the New York Racing Commission.

March 30, 1970: Secretariat was foaled at The Meadow, Doswell, Va.

March 30, 1985: Laffit Pincay Jr. became the second jockey in history to surpass John Longden's record of 6,032 victories, riding Sovereignty to victory in the sixth race at Santa Anita Park.

April 1, 1940: New York legalized parimutuel wagering and outlawed book-makers at the state's racetracks.

April 1, 1998: The National Thoroughbred Racing Association officially launched operations with the opening of its office in Lexington, Ky.

April 2, 1938: Future Triple Crown winner Whirlaway was foaled at Calumet Farm, Lexington, Ky.

April 3, 1962: At the age of 46, jockey Eddie Arcaro announced his retirement. He retired with 4,779 victories, including two Triple Crowns, won with Whirlaway and Citation.

April 6, 1954: Two future champions, Bold Ruler and Round Table, were foaled at Claiborne Farm, Paris, Ky.

April 7, 1973: In his second start as a three-year-old, Secretariat won the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct as the 1-10 favorite. His time of 1:33 2-5 for the mile equaled the track record for that distance.

April 7, 1979: Jockey Steve Cauthen made his first race in England a winning one, with Marquee Universal (IRE), at Salisbury.

April 8, 1971: New York City Off-Track Betting opened for business. Two branches were available to accept wagers: the Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan and an outlet in Queens. Total handle, including telephone betting, was $66,091.

April 8, 1991: Rider-turned-trainer Bill Shoemaker was paralyzed after an automobile accident.

April 8, 2001: "Seabiscuit: An American Legend", by Laura Hillenbrand, took over the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list for nonfiction after just three weeks in the nation's bookstores.

April 9, 1962: Jockey Ron Turcotte rode his first winner, at Fort Erie Racetrack.

April 10, 1969: I Double Dareya was ridden to victory by jockey Gilbert Hernandez at Golden Gate Fields. Hernandez also happened to be the horse's owner and trainer, giving him a triple win.

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

FRIDAY, MARCH 29
Next Move Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M, Aqueduct

SATURDAY, MARCH 30
Gulfstream Park Handicap, 3&up, $300,000, Grade I, 1 M, Gulfstream Park
Potero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap, 4&up, $200,000, Grade II, 6 F, Santa Anita Park
Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade II, 7F, Aqueduct
Berkeley Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, 1 M, Golden Gate Fields
Sunland Park Oaks, 3yo fillies, $75,000, 1 M, Sunland Park

SUNDAY, MARCH 31
Riley Allison Derby, 3yo, $75,000, 1 1/16 M, Sunland Park
Caltech Handicap, 3yo, $75,000, 1 1/8 M (T), Gulfstream Park

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Racing television schedule

 

 


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