NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK
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|News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled
by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.
TEN PRE-ENTERED FOR BREEDERS’ CUP STEEPLECHASE
Call it a Breeders’ Cup Showdown, as 10 horses -- including the race’s previous two winners -- were pre-entered for the $250,000 Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase which will be run Oct. 19 at the Far Hills Races in Far Hills, N.J.
All Gong, the 2000 Breeders’ Cup winner, and Quel Senor, the 2001 victor, both come off quality preps for the 2 5/8-mile stakes. The former, owned by Tennessee resident Calvin Houghland and trained in Pennsylvania by Bruce Miller, finished third in the Legacy Chase on Sept. 28. The latter, owned by the Far Hills-based Coppertree Farm and trained in Maryland by Tom Voss, won a training flat race on Sept. 29 but is winless in three hurdle starts this year.
"He ran very nicely in the flat race, and he did everything we hoped," said jockey Cyril Murphy of Quel Senor. "There’s no question the ability is there. It’s just a matter of slapping it all together and being ready on the day. If he shows up in good order and runs the way he can, they won’t beat him."
The returnees aren¹t the only story line as 2002 leading earner It’s A Giggle looks to keep his championship hopes alive with a quality start. Meanwhile, Zabenz, an Australian-based horse who won the New York Turf Writers Handicap at Saratoga, will take yet a different path to the Breeders’ Cup which is part of a $500,000 championship day of steeplechasing at Far Hills, and will be broadcast on NTRA 2Day at the Races on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 20. Trainer Robert Smerdon kept Zabenz in Saratoga through much of September, and moved to Belmont Park for final preparations. Owned by English resident Michael Watt, Zabenz finished sixth in a flat race over the turf on Sept. 22. and may start in a similar race on Friday at Belmont.
The pre-entry list (with owner, trainer, probable jockey and 2002 steeplechase earnings): All Gong (Calvin Houghland, Bruce Miller, Chip Miller, $63,000). Anofferucantrefuse (Fox Ridge Farm, Tom Voss, Roger Horgan, $87,795). Double Leaf (Timber Bay Farm, Jonathan Sheppard, Michael Traurig, $27,420). Flat Top (Nancy Gerry, Janet Elliot, Rob Massey, $40,331). It’s A Giggle (Bill Pape, Jonathan Sheppard, Gus Brown, $172,620). Pelagos (Michael Hoffman, Bruce Miller, Tom Foley, $40,400). Quel Senor (Coppertree Farm, Tom Voss, Cyril Murphy, $10,500). Tres Touche (Contrarian Stable, Ricky Hendriks, Dave Bentley, $77,778). Turkish Corner (Kay Jeffords, Bruce Miller, TBA, $5,000). Zabenz (Michael Watt, Robert Smerdon, Craig Thornton, $71,260).
Final entries close Tuesday, Oct. 15. The Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase will be featured on that day’s NTRA Media Teleconference beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern, with several key race competitors taking part.
NATIONAL HANDICAPPING CHAMPIONSHIP TO BALLY’S IN 2003
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has announced that Bally’s Las Vegas will host the $212,000 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship for the first time. The Championship, now in its fourth year, is slated for January 17-18, 2003.
The DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship features a series of handicapping tournaments for horseracing fans in local markets. The participants from each local market who qualify for the National Handicapping Championship form the team representing their racetrack or OTB in Las Vegas.
Forty-four NTRA members (tracks, OTBs and related Web sites) will send 51 teams of four to the 2003 National Championship. A continuously updated list of host tracks and OTBs for the tournaments appears on the NTRA Web site, ntra.com, and on the Daily Racing Form site, drf.com. The list of participating sites is also published weekly in Daily Racing Form.
Also participating will be the defending champion, Herman Miller, a landscaper from Oakland, Calif. Miller, whose participation brings the total number of competitors to 205, won the top prize of $100,000 last year and special recognition at the Eclipse Awards ceremony held in Miami. In addition, the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship will again host a separate media tournament for charity. Last year’s media tournament was won by Team Penthouse, a handicapping quintet that included two Penthouse Pets. Team Penthouse will also be back at this year’s event to defend its title.
"Bally’s is delighted to host the National Handicapping Championship for the first time," said John Avello, director of operations for race and sports at Bally’s Las Vegas. "In just three years, this event has become the unquestioned leader in its field. It’s the event that every serious tournament player sets his sights on, and we look forward to providing a memorable experience at Bally’s."
"Horseplayers fuel our industry, and that’s why we’re so pleased to work with the NTRA and Bally’s to recognize some of our game’s very best customers," said Steven Crist, chairman and publisher of Daily Racing Form. "With so much prize money and the ‘Handicapper of the Year’ title at stake, the National Handicapping Championship features a uniquely intense and electric atmosphere."
BREEDERS’ CUP VIP TRIP UP FOR BIDS ON EBAY
An all-expenses-paid trip for two to the October 26 Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships can be had for the right price on Ebay. What’s the right price? That’s up to the bidders. So far the high bid is only $4,250.
"Only $4,250?" you ask. That’s because the package includes round trip air transportation to Chicago, a two-night stay at the Chicago Renaissance Hotel, two grandstand seats to the sold out event, a $2,000 betting voucher, two nights’ limousine service, tickets to a pre-event party and post-event breakfast, a gift pack, a private handicapping session with Daily Racing Form chairman and publisher Steve Crist and much more.
Bidding remains open until approximately 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday, October 11.
SUNDAY’S SOPRANOS EPISODE HEADING TO THE TRACK
This Sunday’s episode of the hit HBO series The Sopranos will have a racing theme and include footage shot earlier this year at Aqueduct and Monmouth Park. The episode, entitled Pie-O-My, is also scheduled to include an appearance by successful New York-based jockey Aaron Gryder.
"This week, the sport of kings becomes the sport of wise guys," reads the Sopranos page on HBO.com. "When Ralph buys a racehorse, Tony discovers he has a knack for picking the ponies."
The episode will air Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET.
October 10 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Mile), 6:00-6:30 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 10 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Sprint), 6:30-7:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 11 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Mile), 9:30-10:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 11 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Sprint), 10:00-10:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 12 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
October 12 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Mile), 9:00-9:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 12 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Sprint), 10:00-10:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 12 The Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships; Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (Keeneland); Diadem Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Ascot, Berkshire, ENG); 3:30-4:30 p.m., ESPN
October 13 NTRA 2Day at the Races; West Virginia Breeders’ Classics (Charles Town); 5:00-5:30 p.m., ESPN2
October 15 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile), 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 15 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Turf), 6:00-6:30 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 15 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Classic), 6:30-7:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 16 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
October 17 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile), 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 17 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Turf), 6:00-6:30 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 17 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Classic), 6:30-7:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
October 18 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile), 9:00-9:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 18 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Turf), 9:30-10:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 18 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Classic), 10:00-10:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 19 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
October 19 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile), 9:00-9:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 19 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Turf), 9:30-10:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 19 Thoroughbred Classics (Breeders’ Cup Classic), 10:00-10:30 a.m., ESPN Classic
October 20 NTRA 2Day at the Races; Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase (Far Hills Race Meeting); 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN2
October 24 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
Oct. 10, 1974: With female riders still a novelty, Lincoln Downs staged a $5,000 match race between jockeys Denise Boudrot and Mike Lapensee. The race, dubbed the ‘contest of the sexes,’ was won by Boudrot. In a rematch one week later, in which the riders switched their mounts from their previous encounter, Boudrot again prevailed.
Oct. 11, 1924: A crowd of 60,000 assembled at Latonia to watch the third and final International race, for which a French colt, Epinard, was the headliner. Epinard, who had finished second in his two previous Internationals, did so again, losing as the even-money favorite to Sarazen.
Oct. 12, 1920: In the final race of his career, three-year-old Man o’ War defeated 1919 Triple Crown winner Sir Barton in a match race, the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup, at Kenilworth Park. Sent off at odds of 1-20, Man o’ War won by seven lengths in his 14th consecutive victory.
Oct. 12, 1966: Damascus, owned by Edith W. Bancroft, broke his maiden at Aqueduct Racetrack, winning by eight lengths.
Oct. 12, 2000: A new ESPN Sports Poll measuring fan interest in major sports during the first half of 2000 showed an interest growth in horseracing of 8.5 percent when measured against the same period in 1999.
Oct. 13, 1927: Arlington Park opened. The track, built by H. D. Brown, had a steeplechase course and a polo field and was adjacent to tennis courts, a golf course and a one-mile training track.
Oct. 13, 1956: At age four, 1955 Horse of the Year Nashua won his last race, the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes at Belmont Park.
Oct. 13, 1984: At age nine, odds-on favorite John Henry won his last race, the Ballantine’s Scotch Classic at The Meadowlands, to earn the richest purse of his career, $740,000, which included a $500,000 bonus for winning both the Turf Classic, run at Belmont Park on Sept. 22, and the Meadowlands’ race. John Henry retired as America’s then-richest horse with earnings of $6,597,947.
Oct. 14, 1952: Jockey Bill Hartack rode his first career winner, at Waterford Park.
Oct. 14, 1953: After a 21-year hiatus as a professional jockey, Earl Sande, 54, won his first race in a comeback, with Miss Weesie, at Jamaica. Sande’s comeback began on Oct. 5 and ended with his win at Jamaica, where he received an ovation from a crowd of 18,184.
Oct. 14, 1968: Sandy Hawley won his first race aboard a two-year-old gelding named Fly Alone, riding at Woodbine Racecourse.
Oct. 14, 1972: After finishing first in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, Secretariat was disqualified and placed second, after bearing in on Stop the Music, who was declared the official winner.
Oct. 15, 1977: In the fifth of their 10 meetings, Alydar won his second victory over Affirmed in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.
Oct. 17, 1970: Nijinsky II ended his career finishing second in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket. In 13 races he won 11 times and finished second twice.
Oct. 17, 1986: Kent Desormeaux made his Maryland debut, in the fourth race, at Laurel Racecourse, Laurel, Md., aboard Shonda’s Shickels. He finished second, but was disqualified for interference and placed fourth.
Oct. 17, 1991: Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. rode his 7,000th victory aboard Dont Cross the Law [sic] at Belmont Park.
Oct. 18, 1956: Nashua, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, was paraded at Keeneland in his last appearance at a racetrack.
Oct. 18, 1973: The owners of Secretariat announced that his last race would be the Canadian International Championship Stakes at Woodbine Racecourse.
Oct. 18, 1976: MacK Miller swept the top three spots in the Long Island Handicap with his trainees Javamine, Nijana and Fun Forever.
Oct. 18, 1978: Jockey Dave Gall became the first rider to win eight races during a single program. He rode 10 consecutive races for the day at Cahokia Downs, finishing second and fifth in his two losing efforts.
Oct. 18, 2001: Unbridled, the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, was euthanized after developing colic.
Oct. 20, 1923: Zev, winner of the 1923 Kentucky Derby, defeated England’s hero Papyrus, winner of the 1923 Epsom Derby, in a $100,000 match race at Belmont Park. The race, the International Special, marked the first time an English champion had been sent to the U.S. to race. For his victory, Zev was awarded $80,000 and a gold cup valued at $5,000. Public interest in the race was so great that it was broadcast on the radio—a first. Within two days, films of the race were distributed at movie theaters in New York City and, eventually, across the nation.
Oct. 20, 1954: Bill Shoemaker rode his 2,000th winner, Florence House, at Tanforan.
Oct. 21, 1961: Eddie Arcaro won the Jockey Club Gold Cup for a record tenth time. His mount, Kelso, won the Gold Cup five straight years, 1960-64, setting the mark for most consecutive victories in a stakes race.
Oct. 22, 1945: El Lobo and Featherfoot became the first Thoroughbreds to be transported by airplane. They were flown from Los Angeles to San Mateo in a twin-engine Budd transport plane piloted by Maj. William Hoelle of the Flying Tiger Line, who landed the plane in the parking area at Bay Meadows. On Oct. 27, El Lobo won the Burlingame Handicap at Bay Meadows, proving that horses could fly (and win).
Oct. 22, 1955: A rare triple dead-heat for first took place at Mexico’s Caliente in the eighth race. Stormsorno, Chance Speed and Beaufair were the three winners.
Oct. 22, 1964: Jockey Bill Shoemaker won the 5,000th victory of his career aboard Slapstick at Aqueduct Race Track.
Oct. 22, 1973: Secretariat was flown to Woodbine Racecourse, where he would compete in his final career race, the Canadian International Championship Stakes.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13
MONDAY, OCTOBER 14
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