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 TRACK FOR THE NEWLYWEDS IN SUNDAY'S HASKELL
Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner War Emblem returns to action Sunday as the 7-5 morning line favorite in the Grade I, $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. It will be War Emblem's first start since finishing eighth in last month's Belmont Stakes, a loss that denied him the Visa Triple Crown.
Running for the first time since the July 22 death of his owner, Prince Ahmed bin Salman, War Emblem will break from post six and attempt to follow in the footsteps of The Thoroughbred Corporation stablemate Point Given who won last year's Haskell after capturing two-thirds of the Triple Crown. Among the eight others that entered the Haskell this morning to challenge War Emblem, currently third in the World Thoroughbred Classic Division rankings, is Preakness runner-up Magic Weisner, who won the Ohio Derby his last time out.
The complete Haskell field from the rail out is Island Skipper (jockey: A.R. Toribio, morning line odds: 30-1), Peekskill (Jose Santos, 20-1), Puck (Cornelio Velasquez, 8-1), Magic Weisner (Mike Luzzi, 5-1), Mr. Mellon (Pat Day, 12-1), War Emblem (Victor Espinoza, 7-5), Medaglia d'Oro (Jerry Bailey, 7-2), Easyfromthegitgo (Donnie Meche, 12-1) and Like a Hero (Laffit Pincay Jr., 6-1).
The Monmouth Park race will also culminate a whirlwind weekend for War Emblem's trainer Bob Baffert. On Saturday he will wed his fiancée Jill Moss in Coronado, Calif. Then the newlyweds will catch a 5:00 a.m. flight on Sunday morning bound for New Jersey.
The Haskell, along with the Jim Dandy Stakes from Saratoga will air live Sunday on ESPN2 from 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. (ET) as part of the "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships" series.
CIGAR, DELP, OTHERS READY TO ENTER HALL OF FAME MONDAY
The National Museum of Racing's annual Hall of Fame Ceremony will be held this coming Monday at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2002 include trainer Grover (Bud) Delp, jockey Jack Westrope, and Thoroughbred champions Cigar, Serena's Song, and Noor.
The induction ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Sales Pavilion, and as usual, the public is invited. Admission to the event is free. Popular ESPN and NBC racing broadcaster Charlsie Cantey will be the keynote speaker.
The day's festivities will celebrate and honor the career achievements of the new inductees, and such returning Hall of Famers as jockeys Jerry Bailey, Pat Day, Braulio Baeza, Frank D. Adams, Ron Turcotte, steeplechase jockeys Jerry Fishback and F.D. "Dooley" Adams, and trainers Allen Jerkens, Bill Mott, John Nerud, P.G. Johnson, Tommy Kelly, Scotty Schulhofer, Jonathan Sheppard, and D. Wayne Lukas will all be in attendance.
ONE LUCKY FAN COULD LEAVE TRACK $2 MILLION RICHER SATURDAY
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that vouchers worth $4.6 million-including a $2 million grand prize-have been mailed to nearly 900,000 consumers as part of this weekend's NTRA Mystery Mutuel Voucher promotion, presented by Long John Silver's. The voucher giveaway is the NTRA's sixth such promotion dating back to August 2000. The vouchers are redeemable for cash on August 3 at participating racetracks and OTBs. The grand prize for subsequent Mystery Mutuel Voucher promotions will be increased by $250,000 until the grand prize is redeemed.
Mystery Mutuel Vouchers are coded tickets worth from $2 to $2 million that are distributed in local markets via direct mail, accompanied by customized brochures. During the first five Mystery Mutuel Voucher promotions, more than $10 million worth of vouchers have been circulated, resulting in double-digit increases in pari-mutuel handle and attendance at most participating sites compared to the same weekend date from the prior year. The 24 sites participating on August 3 are: Aqueduct, Arlington Park, Blue Ribbon Downs, Calder Race Course, Canterbury Park, Connecticut OTB, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Delaware Park, Emerald Downs, Fairplex Park, Hollywood Park, Hoosier Park, Los Alamitos, Maryland Jockey Club (Laurel Park and Pimlico Racecourse), Meadowlands Racetrack, Mountaineer Park, Prairie Meadows, Retama Park, River Downs, Ruidoso Downs, Sam Houston Race Park, Saratoga Racecourse and Sportsman's Park.
The Mystery Mutuel Voucher redemption coincides with major stakes, including the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga and Del Mar's San Clemente Handicap.
"Based on member participation and voucher redemption rates that far exceed the marketing industry norm, we feel the Mystery Mutuel Voucher promotion is one of the most effective direct mail initiatives in all of sports," said Keith Chamblin, NTRA senior vice president-industry relations and marketing.
"Again we hope to drive attendance and handle at all 24 of our participating NTRA-member sites. This is a very big weekend on the racing calendar with the Whitney on Saturday and the Haskell Invitational, Jim Dandy Stakes and San Diego Handicap on Sunday, and we'd love to help get it off on the right foot with big crowds and a lucky fan going home $2 million richer."
CARLOS SILVA EARNS 3,000TH VICTORY
Jockey Carlos Silva became the 101st rider to win 3,000 races when he guided Buba's Caper to a neck victory in yesterday's 3rd race at Arlington Park.
"I'm so glad I did this here at Arlington, it's such a beautiful place," Silva said. "I have so many people to thank that I can't remember them all. I want to thank all the trainers and owners that I have ridden for, all the jockeys I have ridden with and most of all my family."
Before receiving a mantle clock to commemorate the occasion from Arlington chairman Richard L. Duchossois, Silva was joined in the winner's circle by his family, friends, fellow riders and Arlington President Steve Sexton, Senior Vice President Bill Thayer and Vice President of Racing and Operations Frank Gabriel Jr.
The 46-year-old Silva has been riding in the United States since 1978. He is currently fifth on the list of Arlington's all-time leading riders with 923 victories.
RYAN LEAF STILL IN MIDSEASON FORM DESPITE RETIREMENT
Less than a week after announcing his retirement following three tempestuous seasons in the National Football League, former San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf decided to spend last Sunday at nearby Del Mar. Apparently the excursion was profitable for Leaf, though it was not without incident.
According to a published report by Jay Privman in Daily Racing Form, the signal caller, who was drafted #2 overall behind Peyton Manning in the 1999 NFL Draft, became embroiled in a heated exchange with a parimutuel clerk stationed near the press box following the running of the day's final race. Leaf, known for his difficult relationships with some past teammates, had won a trifecta wager that required him to present identification for tax purposes. Leaf said he did not have such identification and the dispute ensued.
"Perhaps this was a simple misunderstanding," mused one racing insider after reading the Daily Racing Form account. "Maybe the clerk asked to see some I.D., and Leaf heard it as, 'Let's see an INT.'"
August 1 Thoroughbred Classics (Haskell Invitational Handicap), 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
August 2 Thoroughbred Classics (Haskell Invitational Handicap), 9:30-10:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
August 3 Thoroughbred Classics (Haskell Invitational Handicap), 9:30-10:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
August 3 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
August 3 Whitney Handicap and Amsterdam Stakes (Saratoga), 4:30-5:30 p.m., YES Network
August 4 Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships; Haskell Invitational Handicap (Monmouth Park) and Jim Dandy Stakes (Saratoga); 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN2
August 6 Thoroughbred Classics (Sword Dancer Handicap), 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
August 7 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
August 8 Thoroughbred Classics (Sword Dancer Handicap), 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
August 9 Thoroughbred Classics (Sword Dancer Handicap), 9:30-10:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
August 10 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
August 10 Thoroughbred Classics (Sword Dancer Handicap), 9:30-10:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
August 10 Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships; Sword Dancer Handicap (Saratoga); 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN
August 11 NTRA 2Day at the Races; Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (Santa Anita Park) and West Virginia Derby (Mountaineer Park); 1:00-1:30 a.m., ESPN2
August 13 Thoroughbred Classics (Arlington Million), 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
Aug. 1, 1945: Open racing resumed in place of the war-time restricted, or zoned, system in England.
Aug. 2, 1864: America's oldest Thoroughbred racetrack, Saratoga Racecourse, opened its inaugural meet with four days of racing. Since then it has been the site of some of racing's most famous upsets. Man o' War suffered his only loss in 21 starts while racing at Saratoga, and Triple Crown champion Gallant Fox was defeated by a 100-1 shot named Jim Dandy in Saratoga's 1930 Travers, prompting the track to be called "the graveyard of favorites."
Aug. 2, 1969: Jockey Robyn Smith, one of the first female jockeys in the U.S., won her first career race, at Ferndale.
Aug. 3, 1971: The yearling Secretariat was shod on his front feet for the first time and transferred to the Meadow training center for breaking.
Aug. 3, 1989: Jockey Jorge Velasquez notched his 6,000th career victory aboard three-year-old filly Maddie Bumpo in the third race at Arlington International Racecourse.
Aug. 3, 2000: Fred. W. Hooper, who won the 1945 Kentucky Derby with the first horse he ever owned and went on to develop one of Florida's leading racing and breeding operations, died in his sleep in Miami, at the age of 102.
Aug. 4, 1973: In his first race against older horses, 1-10 favorite Secretariat was defeated in the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga by Allen Jerkens' four-year-old trainee Onion, who beat him by a length. Secretariat was subsequently found to be suffering from a virus.
Aug. 5, 1988: Trainer Dale Baird won his 5,000th career race with Stuffed Johnnie at Mountaineer Park, becoming the second trainer in history, behind Jack Van Berg, to reach that mark.
Aug. 6, 1951: The National Museum of Racing opened in Congress Park at Saratoga Springs, N.Y. More than 2,000 people attended the opening ceremonies presided over by C.V. Whitney.
Aug. 6, 2001: Jockey Earlie Fires; trainers Richard Mandella and Tom Smith; horse of yesteryear, Maskette; contemporary female horse, Paseana; and contemporary male horse, Holy Bull were inducted into Thoroughbred racing's Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Aug. 7, 1900: Trainer "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons had his first stakes winner, Agnes D., at Brighton Beach.
Aug. 7, 1988: Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye won his 4,000th race aboard a two-year-old filly named Fawn and Hahn in the fourth race at Del Mar.
Aug. 8, 1970: Jockey Bill Shoemaker won his 6,000th career victory, aboard Shining Count at Del Mar.
Aug. 8, 1987: Kent Desormeaux set the record for most number of stakes wins by an apprentice jockey, 13, aboard King's Snow in the Primer Stakes at Pimlico. The previous record, 10, was held by Steve Cauthen.
August 9, 1999: Trainer, D. Wayne Lukas; jockey Russell Baze, and horses Miesque, Exceller and Gun Bow were inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Aug. 10, 1868: "The Dinner Party Stakes," devised by a group of seven influential Thoroughbred owners after a dinner at Saratoga a few days before, was advertised with a request for nominations. The stakes race, designed to showcase racing in Baltimore, was to be run two years hence, in 1870, at the yet-to-be-built Pimlico Racecourse.
Aug. 10, 1982: Mary Russ became the first female rider to surpass the $1 million mark in earnings when she finished third aboard Bammer in the fourth race at Saratoga Racecourse.
Aug. 10, 1996: Cigar was denied a 17th straight victory when longshot Dare and Go passed him in the stretch of the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.
Aug. 11, 1972: In preparation for his stakes-racing debut, the Aug. 16 Sanford at Saratoga Racecourse, Secretariat worked five furlongs in :59.
Aug. 12, 1943: Representatives of Suffolk Downs donated $625,000 to the National War Fund, the single largest contribution by any sports venue in support of the war effort. Six weeks later, an additional $10,885 was contributed. The track had held an 18-day War Charity meet to fund the donation.
Aug. 12, 1938: In a $25,000 winner-take-all match race, Seabiscuit defeated Ligaroti by a nose at Del Mar. The race pitted father against son, with Charles S. Howard, owner of Seabiscuit, competing with his son Lin, who owned Ligaroti in partnership with crooner Bing Crosby. The race was so closely contested that the jockey for Ligaroti, Noel Richardson, kept rider George Woolf in a leg-lock for part of the stretch run.
Aug. 12, 2000: Hallowed Dreams, bidding to surpass the record of 16 consecutive wins she co-owned with Cigar and Citation, finished third in the Millennium Stakes at Evangeline Downs.
Aug. 13, 1919: Upset scored a win against Man o' War in the Sanford Memorial Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse. The defeat was Big Red's only loss in 21 starts.
Aug. 13, 1938: Mary Hirsch became the first woman to train a Travers Stakes winner when she sent Thanksgiving to victory for owner Anne Corning.
Aug. 13, 1951: At odds of 2-1, Greentree Stable's Tom Fool won his maiden race by four lengths at Saratoga Racecourse.
Aug. 14, 1942: One of racing's oddities occurred at Saratoga Racecourse when Rurales and Joe Burger finished in a dead-heat for first place, giving trainer W.O. Hicks, who saddled both horses, two winners in one race.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 2
SATURDAY, AUGUST 3
SUNDAY, AUGUST 4
MONDAY, AUGUST 5
THURSDAY, AUGUST 8
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