NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK
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|News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled
by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.
McCARRON TO COMPETE FRIDAY IN ALL-STAR COMPETITION, RETIRE SUNDAY
Legendary jockey Chris McCarron, horseracing's all-time leader with more than $264 million in purse earnings, will be in action tomorrow night in the sixth annual NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship. Last weekend, the 47-year-old Hall of Fame jockey announced that his career on the racetrack would end Sunday at Hollywood Park, his Southern California base, after 28 years in the saddle.
"I thought I might even make [the Jockey Championship] my last night of riding," McCarron said. "But Judy [McCarron's wife] said, 'You have to retire at Hollywood Park.'"
McCarron will be honored at Lone Star Park on Friday with a ceremony in the winner's circle following the first race, which is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. (CDT). The sixth annual NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship starts with the fourth race, scheduled for 8:10 p.m. (CDT).
"The time has come for me to hang up my tack and focus my attention in a different direction," McCarron said. "I am completely satisfied with my accomplishments over the last 28 years on the racetrack. I cannot think of anything else I wish to accomplish in the saddle. I am going to take a brief vacation and explore other avenues. I hope to be able to lend my expertise to further promote the sport of horse racing. Most importantly, my family is thrilled that I will now have more opportunity to spend time with them."
One look at the great horses McCarron has ridden reflects the respect he has earned for his riding ability. Alysheba, John Henry, Precisionist, Paseana, Flawlessly and Tiznow are among his best mounts. There's also Alphabet Soup, Bayakoa, Best Pal, Bien Bien, Danzig Connection, Dehere, Exotic Wood, Flying Paster, Free House, Gilded Time, Glorious Song, Go for Gin, Lady's Secret, Lemhi Gold, Miss Alleged, Northern Spur, Pine Bluff, Sunday Silence, Touch Gold, Turkoman and Twice The Vice.
McCarron, one of nine children who grew up in the Boston suburb of Dorchester, Mass., got his start in racing through his older brother and former jockey Gregg McCarron and the late New England-based trainer Odie Clelland.
On Jan. 24, 1974, at age 18, McCarron rode in his first race, finishing last at Bowie Race Course in Maryland aboard a horse named Most Active. Sixteen days later, he won his first race and exploded onto the racing scene by becoming the leading rider at Pimlico, Delaware Park, Bowie and Laurel. He won that year's Eclipse Award as the nation's leading apprentice (or rookie) while amassing a record 546 victories - a mark that stood for 15 years. He has been among the nation's leading riders ever since.
After winning eight consecutive riding titles at Laurel and Pimlico (1974-77), McCarron relocated to Southern California later that spring and went on to win 25 Southern California riding titles (three at Santa Anita's winter/spring meeting; six at Hollywood Park's spring/summer meeting; five at Del Mar; five at Oak Tree; and six at Hollywood Park's autumn meeting).
McCarron was the regular rider of three greats who were honored as Horse of the Year: John Henry (1984), Alysheba (1988) and Tiznow (2000). He's won the Kentucky Derby twice (Alysheba in 1987 and Go for Gin in '94), the Preakness Stakes twice (Alysheba in '87 and Pine Bluff in '92) and the Belmont Stakes twice (Danzig Connection in '86 and Touch Gold in '97).
He was a 21-time winner of races worth at least $1 million. Nine times he finished first in Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship races, including a record five Classic victories: Alysheba in '88, Sunday Silence in '89, Alphabet Soup in '96, and Tiznow in 2000-01).
McCarron became one of only three jockeys to win an Eclipse Award as an apprentice and journeyman when he was recognized as the nation's outstanding jockey of 1980. He was the national earnings leader four times (1980-81, '84 and '91) and the national win leader three times (1974-75 and '80). In his first year of eligibility, 1989, McCarron was enshrined in Racing's Hall of Fame. He ranks sixth all-time in career wins with 7,137 and first in earnings with $264,169,099 (through Wednesday). He's won with an amazing 20.9% of his 34,229 mounts and finished in the top three 51.1% of the time.
On Friday night, in his fourth NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship, McCarron will make his final out-of-state riding appearance. He is the 9-2 second choice on the morning line to win (behind 1999 event champ and fellow Hall of Famer Laffit Pincay Jr., who is listed at 4-1. Other riders taking part are Robby Albarado, Russell Baze, Jorge Chavez, 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winning rider Victor Espinoza, David Flores, Corey Lanerie, Edgar Prado, Mike Smith, Alex Solis and John Velazquez. This remarkable assemblage of talent has won more than 50,000 races - including 16 Triple Crown classics, 31 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races and 71 races that carried purses of $1 million or more each. Their collective mounts, totaling more than a quarter-million rides, have earned in excess of $1.4 billion.
NEW HEAD-TO-HEAD WAGERING PLANNED FOR BREEDERS' CUP
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and Breeders' Cup Limited have announced plans for a new proposition wager -- Head2Head -- that matches two horses against each other in a "race within the race." The organizations expect to debut the new wager at the Oct. 26, 2002 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park, located in Arlington Heights, Ill.
Head2Head challenges fans to predict which of two designated horses will finish in front of the other in a given race. Plans call for a Head2Head bet to be offered on each of the eight Championship races, with the Head2Head-designated horses to be named at the post position draw on Wednesday, Oct. 23. Breeders' Cup advance wagering -- including the Head2Head bets -- begins on Friday, Oct. 25.
To make the new wager attractive to sports bettors already accustomed to proposition bets, NTRA officials are seeking a low takeout rate of 10 percent for the Head2Head wager. Breeders' Cup will also offer "Europe versus America" wagers on the day's three turf races (Breeders' Cup Mile, Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf and John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf), which regularly attract large contingents of European-based runners.
Head2Head will be marketed to fans through NTRA-produced television programming, print advertising in track programs and in Daily Racing Form, the closed-circuit event programming at simulcast sites on Championships day and on the NTRA Web site, NTRA.com, in the weeks leading up to the World Thoroughbred Championships. To educate new and novice players about the wager, a select group of handicappers will offer Head2Head picks for Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships races as part of the $1 million Breeders' Cup Challenge online game, which begins Labor Day on NTRA.com.
"This wager gives newcomers a simple way to join in the game: pick one horse to outrun the other," said Ken Kirchner, senior vice president of product development for the NTRA. "We also think that Head2Head has a lot of potential with sports bettors who are accustomed to similar proposition bets in football, basketball and other sports. The objective is to introduce a fun, new wager with the potential to allow fans to cash many tickets during the course of the day."
Head2Head is the latest wager to be offered by Breeders' Cup on the World Thoroughbred Championships. The Breeders' Cup Future Bet, announced in April, offers pari-mutuel pools of 23 runners plus one field consisting of all horses not in the body of 23, for each respective pool. Two separate pools will be offered on the Breeders' Cup Classic, Distaff and Sprint, and one pool each will be offered on the other five Breeders' Cup races. The pools will be offered July 4-7, Aug. 9-11, Aug. 30-Sept. 2 and Sept. 20-Sept. 22.
The Head2Head wager will be conducted pending approval of the Illinois Racing Board.
BREEDERS' CUP ANNOUNCES NEW INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and Breeders' Cup Limited have unveiled a new international rankings system, the World Thoroughbred Rankings, for horses being pointed to the eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races, which will be held this year on Oct. 26 at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill.
An international panel of racing officials will produce weekly rankings for the world's top 10 Thoroughbred runners in each division. Rankings will be determined by a weighted analysis of the horses' performances in select graded stakes from around the world and will be used during NTRA-produced television programming and in publicity, print advertising and marketing programs for the World Thoroughbred Championships. Rankings through June 9 are available at www.ntra.com.
The initial rankings will reflect six of the eight divisions: the Distaff, Filly and Mare Turf, Mile, Turf, Sprint and Classic. The Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies divisional rankings will commence in late summer.
"The new rankings are designed to make it easier for all Thoroughbred racing fans, regardless of what country they live in, to follow the horses that are expected to compete in the World Thoroughbred Championships," said D.G. Van Clief, Jr., president of Breeders' Cup Limited. "As our fans become more familiar with the names and accomplishments of these horses, we believe they'll enjoy the Breeders' Cup both as a world-class championship event and an outstanding day for pari-mutuel wagering."
The racing panel includes Howard Battle, director of stakes at Keeneland Racecourse, Frank Gabriel, vice president of racing and operations at Arlington Park, Nigel Gray, senior handicapper for The Jockey Club [England], Mike Lakow, racing secretary for the New York Racing Association, Garry O'Gorman, senior handicapper for the Irish Turf Club, Tom Robbins, director of racing for Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, and Gerald Sauque, senior handicapper for France Galop.
June 22 Wire to Wire, 4:30-5:00 a.m., ESPN
June 26 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
June 29 NTRA Summer Racing Tour; Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap (Monmouth Park), Mother Goose Stakes (Belmont Park) and Arlington Classic (Arlington Park); 5:00-6:00 p.m.; CBS
June 29 NTRA 2Day at the Races; Beverly Hills Handicap (Hollywood Park) and Texas Stallion Stakes (Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie); 11:00-11:30 p.m., ESPN2
June 30 Wire to Wire, 5:00-5:30 a.m., ESPN
July 3 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
June 20, 1908: With his final victory in the Tidal Stakes at Sheepshead Bay, Colin retired undefeated after 15 starts. No major American racehorse approached this record until 1988, when Personal Ensign retired with a perfect 13-for-13 career.
June 21, 1924: Exterminator, winner of the 1918 Kentucky Derby, concluded his seven-year racing career. Exterminator raced until he was nine, winning 50 of his 100 starts. He seldom carried less than 130 pounds in handicap races. Like other geldings Kelso, Forego, and John Henry, Exterminator improved with age, enjoying his greatest success when he was seven.
June 21, 1947: Assault won the Brooklyn Handicap and dethroned Whirlaway as the then money-winning champion of the world. The victory boosted his earnings to $576,670.
June 21, 1975: S. Kaye Bell became the first woman to train the winner of a $100,000 stakes race when she sent Mr. Lucky Phoenix to win the Michigan Mile and One-Eighth Handicap at Detroit Racecourse.
June 22, 1935: Seabiscuit won his first race, at Narragansett Park.
June 23, 1985: With a victory aboard Greinton in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Laffit Pincay Jr. became the second jockey in history to surpass $100 million in purse earnings.
June 24, 1893: The field for the American Derby at Washington Park was held at the post for an hour and 40 minutes, the longest pre-race delay in history. Boundless, with "Snapper" Garrison aboard, won the $49,500 race, which was witnessed by a crowd of 48,000. Garrison and three other riders were each fined $250 for bad conduct at the start.
June 24, 1952: Jockey Eddie Arcaro rode his 3,000th career winner at Arlington Park. He was the first American-born rider to reach that mark.
June 24, 1972: In the fastest workout of the day for six furlongs, Secretariat went the distance in 1:12 4/5 at Belmont over a sloppy track. He would make his debut 10 days later, in a July 4 race for maiden runners at Aqueduct.
June 24, 1973: Charlie Whittingham swept the top three spots in the Hollywood Gold Cup Invitational Handicap when his trainees Kennedy Road, Quack and Cougar II finished first, second and third, respectively.
June 24, 1977: Alydar, at odds of 2.10-1, broke his maiden by 6 3/4 lengths at Belmont Park.
June 24, 1979: Affirmed, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., became the first horse to top $2 million in earnings after he won the Hollywood Gold Cup.
June 24, 1990: Criminal Type became the first horse to win consecutive $1 million races after capturing the Hollywood Gold Cup. He had previously won the $1 million Pimlico Special on May 12.
June 25, 1999: Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. was the winner of the NTRA All-Star Jockey Challenge at Lone Star Park.
June 25, 2000: Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus was syndicated by Coolmore Stud for a reported $70 million.
June 26, 1938: Nearco ended his career a perfect 14-for-14 by winning the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp.
June 26, 1986: Jockey Sandy Hawley won his 5,000th career race, aboard Mighty Massa, at Canterbury Downs.
June 26, 1992: Jockey Dave Gall became the eighth rider in history to ride 6,000 winners when he rode Nana's Nice Boy to victory at Fairmount Park.
June 26, 1994: Jockey Chris McCarron rode his 6,000th career winner, Andestine, in the Milady Handicap at Hollywood Park. He was the 11th rider to reach 6,000 and the third-youngest, behind Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr.
June 26, 2000: Hall of Fame trainer Lucien Laurin, conditioner of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, died at the age of 88.
June 26, 2001: The NTRA and Breeders' Cup announced that the Breeders' Cup would now be known as the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. It was also announced that Bessemer Trust Company had signed on as title sponsor of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
June 27, 1860: The Queen's Plate, the oldest continuously run stakes race in North America, was first run. Don Juan was the winner, after winning two of the three heats that comprised the event.
June 27, 1932: Calumet Farm recorded its first victory in a Thoroughbred race with two-year-old Warren Jr., who won by a nose at Arlington Park to earn $850.
June 27, 1986: Jockey Kent Desormeaux rode in his first race ever, finishing third aboard a $2,500 claimer named Ducknest Coal Mine, at odds of 35-1, in the second race at Evangeline Downs.
June 28, 1977: Steve Cauthen, on his first day as a journeyman jockey, won with his first three mounts at Belmont Park.
June 28, 1989: Arlington International Racecourse opened in Arlington Heights, Ill. It had been rebuilt after a fire destroyed the old facility, July 31, 1985.
June 29, 1968: Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye won his first race, at Evangeline Downs, aboard Brown Shill.
June 29, 1968: Gamely, Princessnesian and Desert Law -- all owned by William Haggin Perry and trained by Jim Maloney -- finished 1, 1A and 1B, respectively, in the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park.
June 29, 1969: Jockey Ray Sibille won his first career race, at Evangeline Downs.
June 29, 1983: Jockey Angel Cordero Jr. won his 5,000th career race, aboard Another Rodger, in the ninth race at Belmont Park. He was the fourth rider in history, behind John Longden, Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr., to hit that mark.
June 30, 1973: Three weeks after he won the Triple Crown, Secretariat scored another victory, a nine-length win in the Arlington Invitational Stakes at Arlington Park, where he was sent off at the shortest odds in his career, 1-20. With no place or show wagering on the four-horse race, which was run with a three-horse field against Secretariat, the track had a minus win pool of $17,941. More than 40,000 spectators turned out for the event.
June 30, 1978: Spectacular Bid won his first race, at Pimlico, by 3¼ lengths.
June 30, 1990: Retired jockey Bill Shoemaker won his first race as a trainer, sending two-year-old filly Tempest Cloud to her maiden victory at Hollywood Park.
June 30, 1991: One year after his first victory as a trainer, Bill Shoemaker recorded his first Grade I win, with Alcando in the Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park.
July 1, 1966: Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. won with his first mount in the United States, at Arlington Park, aboard two-year-old filly Teacher's Art, owned and bred by Fred W. Hooper.
July 1, 1998: Hall of Fame jockey Sandy Hawley retired from race riding after competing in the Dominion Day Handicap at Woodbine Racecourse.
July 1, 2000: Jockey Mark Guidry became the 36th jockey in history to win 4,000 races when he rode Manitowish to victory in the fifth race at Arlington International Racecourse.
July 1, 2001, Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel won two Grade I races on opposite coasts, on different surfaces, both via disqualification. First, Senure was elevated to the top spot in the United Nations Handicap, a turf race at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., following the disqualification of With Anticipation for a bumping incident in midstretch. Then, just 30 minutes later and on the same CBS telecast, Aptitude was placed first after Futural was disqualified for a similar infraction in the Hollywood Gold Cup, a top dirt race at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.
July 2, 1989: Jockey Steve Cauthen became the first rider in history to sweep the world's four major derbies after winning the Irish Derby with Old Vic. He had previously won the Kentucky Derby with Affirmed (1978), the Epsom Derby with Slip Anchor (1985) and Reference Point (1987) and the French Derby with Old Vic (1989).
July 3, 1937: The Del Mar Turf Club, with crooner Bing Crosby as president and actor Pat O'Brien as one of the club officers, opened for racing.
July 3, 1977: Seattle Slew's nine-race winning streak came to an end in the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park, when he finished fourth, beaten 16 lengths by J.O. Tobin.
July 3, 1982: D. Wayne Lukas-trained Landaluce, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., won the first of her five consecutive victories at Hollywood Park. The daughter of Seattle Slew, owned by Barry Beal and Lloyd French, died of a viral infection in November of that year, but was posthumously voted champion two-year-old filly of 1982.
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