NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK
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|News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled
by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.
WAR EMBLEM BACK ON THE TRACK
Visa Triple Crown hopeful War Emblem was feisty and playful as he returned to the track at Churchill Downs in Louisville today for the first time since his victory in last Saturday's Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The Thoroughbred Corp's Kentucky Derby winning son of Our Emblem stood in the starting gate and then galloped a mile over a "fast" track under exercise rider Mick Jenner. He was bouncing and shaking his head as he cantered off the track after the gallop in the company of a pony ridden by John Good, the assistant to trainer Bob Baffert.
"You can't get to the bottom of this one," said Good. "I think he's put on weight since the Preakness. It's like the more you do with him, the tougher he gets."
A victory in the Belmont Stakes at New York's Belmont Park on June 8 would make War Emblem the 12th horse to sweep the Visa Triple Crown and the first since Affirmed in 1978. He would also be the first to collect the $5 million Visa Triple Crown bonus that goes to the horse that takes all three races.
Baffert is in California and is scheduled to return to Louisville on Friday. He will travel to Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Tex. over the weekend, where Stonerside Stable's Congaree is scheduled to make his 2002 in Monday's Lone Star Park Handicap. War Emblem is expected to have a full workout next Tuesday or Wednesday.
SUNDAY BREAK, OTHER BELMONT HOPEFULS READY FOR SATURDAY'S PETER PAN
Ten years ago, trainer Neil Drysdale came to New York with A.P. Indy. A.P. Indy missed the first two legs of the Triple Crown -- the Kentucky Derby and Preakness -- because of a quarter-crack in his left-front hoof, but Drysdale's patience and the horse's natural talents were rewarded. A.P. Indy, the eventual Horse of the Year, recorded victories in the Peter Pan and the 1½-mile Belmont Stakes.
Sunday Break, another Neil Drysdale-trained three-year-old who this year missed the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, will make his first start since finishing third in Aqueduct's Grade I Wood Memorial on April 13th, when he goes to post in the Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan for three-year-olds at a mile and one-eighth. In this afternoon's post position draw, Sunday Break drew post two in a field of eight sophomores.
While A.P. Indy missed the first two legs of the Triple Crown because of injury, Sunday Break was excluded from the Kentucky Derby because he did not have enough graded stakes earnings to crack the top 20 entrants. The three-year-old son of Forty Niner could have run in the Preakness, but Drysdale opted for the path A.P. Indy blazed a decade ago. The move would give Sunday Break a race over the track before the Belmont Stakes - one advantage that War Emblem will not have when he tries to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner in the 134th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 8th.
"If you're not running in the Kentucky Derby, why is it necessary to run in the Preakness?" Drysdale said. "I think not running in the Derby or Preakness will help him because he's a late developer. Time for any three-year-olds at this time of year is going to help."
Sunday Break, owned by Koji Maeda, had a three-race win streak snapped in the Wood Memorial when he finished one-half length behind Buddha and Medaglia d'Oro. Despite the loss, it was a much-improved effort over a late March allowance in which the colt sat a perfect trip behind lesser competition, made the lead in the stretch but ducked in twice, nearly costing him the win.
A trip to the starting gate for the Belmont Stakes is not a certainty for Sunday Break, but a solid effort Saturday will likely land him a place in the oldest and longest final leg of the Visa Triple Crown.
"The horse has been training very well and I'm pleased with him," Drysdale said. "He likes the track here. We'll see how he does in the Peter Pan, then decide on the Belmont Stakes."
Sunday Break figures to be a heavy favorite breaking from post two with regular rider Gary Stevens aboard.
Withers Stakes winner Fast Decision is likely to be the second choice in the Peter Pan, coupled in the wagering with Fireballer. Fast Decision, who breaks from the rail with Jose Santos, burst onto the scene as one of the top three-year-olds with a mild upset in the May 4 Withers. The son of Gulch won consecutive seven-furlong races at Gulfstream Park over the winter.
The complete Peter Pan field from the rail out is: Fast Decision (jockey: Jose Santos), Sunday Break (Gary Stevens), Deputy Dash (Mike Luzzi), Essayons (Richard Migliore), Ibn al Haitham (Jerry Bailey), Fireballer (Edgar Prado), Heir D'Twine (John Velazquez) and Puzzlement (Jean-Luc Samyn).
FINAL NUMBERS INDICATE 127TH PREAKNESS IS ONE TO REMEMBER
The Maryland Jockey Club today released the final handle numbers, including the non-commingled figures, for Saturday's 127th Preakness Stakes and despite cold and rain in the morning, betting records were set for the second straight year, while attendance was the second highest in history.
"We are absolutely thrilled with the success of the day," said Joe De Francis, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Maryland Jockey Club. "It is the culmination of a lot of hard work and we couldn't be more pleased with the results."
Wagering on Preakness day's races at Pimlico and its five off track betting facilities generated $10,403,781, a 1 percent increase over last year's $10,308,817.The national spotlight helped Pimlico Race Course set out-of-state records as $56,728,666 was wagered on the 13-race card, an 18 percent increase over the $48,027,666 wagered in 2001.
Betting on the Preakness, including in-state and out-of-state, shot up to $47,695,192, a 17.2 percent increase over last year's $40,694,884.
The final all sources handle, including in-state, out-of-state and separate pools at out-of-state venues, topped out at $71,468,223, a 14 percent increase over last year's $62,728,672. Attendance was 101,138, the second highest in Preakness history behind last year's record crowd of 104,454.
NBC Sports released its final numbers this morning, and according to Nielsen Media Research, the Preakness generated a 5.7 national household rating/14 share (5-6:45 p.m. ET), the highest rating for Maryland's signature race since 1990's 7.2/21 on ABC.
The 5.7 national rating represents a two percent increase over last year's 5.6/16 and an impressive 58 percent gain over the 3.6/10 ABC generated for its final Preakness in 2000.
The rating peaked from 6-6:30 p.m. ET with a 7.8/19 (eight percent better than last year's 7.2/19 from 6-6:30 p.m. ET), as War Emblem stamped his imprint on the middle jewel of the Visa Triple Crown.
May 22 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
May 25 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
May 28 Wire to Wire, 1:30-2:00 p.m., ESPN2
June 2 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
June 4 Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA, Belmont Stakes, 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
June 5 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
May 23, 1936: Rushaway, ridden by John Longden, won his second derby in as many days, taking the 1¼-mile Latonia Derby at Latonia in Covington, Ky. Rushaway had won the 1 1/8-mile Illinois Derby, run at Aurora, outside Chicago, the previous day.
May 23, 1992: Jockey Jacinto Vasquez had his 5,000th career win, aboard Susan Pixum, at Calder Racecourse.
May 23, 1992: Angel Cordero Jr. made his first start as a trainer, with Puchinito, who finished fifth in the fifth race at Belmont Park.
May 24, 1905: Harry Payne Whitney's Tanya became the second (and last) filly to win the Belmont Stakes. Ruthless was the first filly to win the Belmont, in 1867. Whitney also won the Kentucky Derby with a filly, Regret, in 1915.
May 24, 1977: At odds of 13-1, Louis and Patrice Wolfson's two-year-old colt Affirmed won his maiden race by 4½ lengths at Belmont Park, ridden by jockey Bernie Gonzalez.
May 25, 1991: Jockey Steve Cauthen won his fourth European derby, the Derby Italiano, with Hailsham, trained by Clive Brittain. Cauthen has also won the Epsom Derby twice, the Irish Derby and the French Derby, in addition to his Kentucky Derby win with Affirmed.
May 25, 1998: Jockey Eddie Maple announced his retirement at Belmont Park while accepting the 1998 Mike Venezia Award. Maple ended his career with 4,398 career victories and earnings of $105,318,593.
May 27, 1823: A $20,000 match race between American Eclipse (representing the North) and Henry (representing the South) was held at Union Course, Long Island. Eclipse won in two of three heats, after his original jockey, William Crafts, was replaced by Samuel Purdy before the second heat. The race, witnessed by 60,000 spectators, was the first to have been timed by split-second chronometers, which were imported for the event.
May 27, 1873: A bay colt, Survivor, won the first Preakness Stakes by 10 lengths, the largest margin in the race's history.
May 27, 1878: The entire field of Preakness Stakes horses -- three -- was owned by a single family, the brothers George and Pierre Lorillard. George's horses finished first and third.
May 27, 1882: Trainer Robert Walden won his fifth consecutive Preakness Stakes, with Vanguard. Walden won a total of seven Preaknesses, a record for a trainer.
May 27, 1979: Jockey Chris McCarron, 24, won his 2,000th career race, aboard Stembok, in the second race at Hollywood Park.
May 27, 1981: Bill Shoemaker became the first jockey in racing history to win 8,000 races when he rode War Allied to victory in the first race at Hollywood Park.
May 27, 1985: Under jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., odds-on favorite Spend a Buck defeated Creme Fraiche by a neck to win the Jersey Derby and earn $2.6 million, the largest single purse in American racing history. Two million dollars of the purse came from a bonus to Spend a Buck for winning the Cherry Hill Mile, the Garden State Stakes, the Kentucky Derby and the Jersey Derby. Angel Cordero Jr., the regular rider of Spend a Buck, was committed to ride Track Barron in the Metropolitan Handicap in New York on the same day and was persuaded to give up his mount in the Jersey Derby. Track Barron finished third in the Metropolitan, earning $40,620.
May 28, 1997: Visa USA and Triple Crown Productions announced that they had increased the bonus for winning the Triple Crown to a total of $5 million.
May 28, 2000: Jockey Edgar Prado registered his 4,000th career victory aboard Thunder Breeze in the second race at Belmont Park.
May 29, 1897: Scottish Chieftain, owned by Marcus Daly, became the only Montana-bred to win the Belmont Stakes.
May 29, 1907: Colin began his undefeated career, breaking his maiden by two lengths at Belmont Park.
May 29, 1946: Two-year-old fillies Chakoora and Uleta became the first Thoroughbreds to complete a transcontinental flight. They were flown from New York to Inglewood, Calif., by the American Air Express Corporation, for a 2,446-mile trip that lasted 20 hours due to adverse weather conditions.
May 30, 1903: Flocarline became the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes.
May 30, 1908: Jockey Joe Notter misjudged the finish of the Belmont Stakes and eased up on his mount, Colin, whose career record to that point was 13-for-13. Notter barely recovered from his mistake to hold off the drive of Fair Play, who came within a head of defeating Colin. When he retired, Colin's record stood at 15 wins in as many starts.
May 30, 1936: Omaha, the Triple Crown winner of 1935, won the Queens Plate at Kempton Park, England, for owner William Woodward.
May 30, 1941: Hollywood Park introduced the "vibrationless camera," developed by Hollywood cameraman Lorenzo del Ricio. Eight patrol judges with the cameras, which were attached to their binoculars, were stationed at intervals around the track. Jockey Nunzio Pariso was the camera's first victim-he was shown on film crowding a rival on the far turn.
May 30, 1969: Patricia Barton won her first career race, at Pikes Peak.
May 31, 1969: Racing returned to Pennsylvania when Liberty Bell racetrack opened, near Philadelphia. The state had not had legal racing since 1802 and became the 30th state to adopt parimutuel wagering.
May 31, 2001: Jockey Pat Day became just the third jockey in history to win 8,000 races, hitting the milestone by winning the sixth race at Churchill Downs aboard Camden Park. Day joined Laffit Pincay Jr. and Bill Shoemaker in the 8,000 club.
June 1, 1881: Pierre Lorillard's Iroquois became the first American-owned and -bred horse to win a European classic race when he won the Epsom Derby under one of England's greatest riders, Fred Archer. Iroquois won seven of nine starts as a three-year-old, including England's St. Leger Stakes.
June 1, 1946: Assault became the seventh horse to win the Triple Crown, with a victory in the Belmont Stakes.
June 1, 1973: In his final tuneup for the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown, Secretariat went six furlongs in 1:11 3/5, doing the first three furlongs in :35 2/5 and five furlongs in :59.
June 1, 1978: In his first start ever on the turf, eventual four-time champion grass horse John Henry won a $35,000, 1 1/16-mile claiming race by 14 lengths at Belmont Park. John Henry was voted champion turf horse for the years 1980-81 and 1983-84.
June 1, 1999: Mr. Prospector, the most influential sire of his generation, died in his stall at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky. He was 29.
June 2, 1943: Trainer Hirsch Jacobs claimed two-year-old Stymie for $1,500. By the end of 1947, Stymie had become the world's leading money-winning Thoroughbred, with earnings of $816,060 and 22 stakes victories.
June 2, 1947: After a six-year layoff, 13-year-old Honey Cloud won the second race at Aqueduct. His jockey, Clarence Minner, had not ridden in 10 years.
June 3, 1943: To further the war effort, the Navy took over Tanforan racetrack and used it as a training base.
June 4, 1870: Ed Brown became the first African-American jockey to win the Belmont Stakes, with Kingfisher.
June 4, 1913: At odds of 100-1, Aboyeur became the first horse to win the Epsom Derby by an on-course disqualification after Craganour, who won by a head, was disqualified for bumping. During the race, a suffragette had rushed onto the track and pulled down the King's horse, Anmer. The suffragette, Emily Davison, died of a fractured skull.
June 4, 1941: Three days before his race in the Belmont Stakes, which would complete his Triple Crown, Whirlaway worked 1¼ miles in 2:02 2/5.
June 5, 1884: James McLaughlin became the first jockey to ride three consecutive Belmont Stakes winners, when he rode Panique to victory. He previously won with George Kinney (1883) and Forester (1882). McLaughlin repeated his feat in 1886-88, with each of his wins aboard horses owned by the Dwyer brothers. McLaughlin's triple was matched by jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. in 1984.
June 5, 1901: William C. Whitney's Volodyovski won the Epsom Derby, making him the second American owner (after Pierre Lorillard in 1881) to have won the race. Whitney leased the English-bred horse for the express purpose of winning at Epsom. Whitney's trainer, John Huggins, was the first American to train an Epsom Derby winner.
June 5, 1937: War Admiral became the fourth winner of the Triple Crown, with a win in the Belmont Stakes.
June 5, 1943: Count Fleet ended his racing career by winning the Belmont Stakes by 25 lengths. He was the sixth American Triple Crown winner. Count Fleet was such a heavy favorite for the race, going off at odds of 1-20, that no place or show wagering was allowed.
June 5, 1969: Jockey Mary Bacon won her first race, at Finger Lakes. Among apprentices, she finished 23rd in the races-won category that year, with 55 victories in 396 starts and purses of $91,642. Bacon was the first female to join the list of leading apprentices.
June 5, 1985: Steve Cauthen won the Epsom Derby aboard Slip Anchor and became the only American jockey to win both the English and Kentucky Derbies. Cauthen had previously ridden Affirmed to victory in the 1978 Kentucky Derby.
June 5, 1993: Julie Krone became the first female rider to win a Triple Crown race when she won the Belmont Stakes with Colonial Affair.
June 5, 1999: Charismatic lost his bid to become the 12th Triple Crown winner when he fractured his left front cannon bone and sesamoid while finishing third to Lemon Drop Kid in the Belmont Stakes.
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