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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.

McPEEKS ARE RACING'S "BIGGEST SPORTS"

The Turf Publicists of America (TPA) has announced that trainer Ken McPeek and his wife Sue have been voted the 2002 winners of the organization’s Big Sport of Turfdom award, which is presented annually to a person who enhances coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with the media and Thoroughbred racing publicists.

The McPeeks will receive the award at the 36th annual Big Sport of Turfdom luncheon, sponsored by United Tote and the Keeneland Association, at Mastro’s Restaurant in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Monday, Jan. 27, the same day as the Eclipse Awards. The McPeeks are the second husband-and-wife team to receive the award from the TPA: Bob and Beverly Lewis won it in 1995. The TPA is an organization consisting of approximately 200 publicity and marketing personnel from racetracks and racing organizations around the country and the Big Sport of Turfdom Award has been presented every year since 1966.

"Throughout the year, and especially in the months leading up to and including the Triple Crown, Ken and Sue consistently made themselves available to a wide range of media representatives," said Bob Curran Jr., president of the TPA. "They did so through good times and bad and we’re proud to honor them with this well-deserved award."

On the racetrack, McPeek-trained horses won approximately 80 races and over $6.4 million in purses. The highlight of the year was Sarava’s victory (at odds of 70-1) in the Belmont Stakes, but McPeek’s stable also won the Florida Derby, the Blue Grass Stakes and the Louisiana Derby.

His other stakes winners included, among others, Repent, Harlan’s Holiday, Take Charge Lady and Minister’s Baby. Previous winners of the Big Sport of Turfdom include: Penny Chenery, Jack Klugman, Joe Hirsch, Jim McKay, Laffit Pincay Jr. (only two-time winner), Tim Conway, Carl Nafzger, Chris McCarron, the Cigar team of Allen Paulson, Bill Mott and Jerry Bailey and most recently, Bob Baffert, Mike Pegram, D. Wayne Lukas and Laura Hillenbrand.

RACING TO KENTUCKY DERBY TV SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today unveiled an expanded, nine-show "CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby" series for 2003, airing on the ESPN networks and providing comprehensive coverage of key VISA Triple Crown prep races.

Beginning with live coverage of the Grade I Fountain of Youth Stakes and the Grade II Hutcheson Stakes from Florida's Gulfstream Park on February 15, "CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby" will present 17 races, including 12 that will air live. In 2002, the series featured 14 races, seven of which were live. Among the 2003 highlights will be live telecasts of four Grade I races (Fountain of Youth, Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial). Races will emanate from 11 different venues in seven different states.

"With more races and more live racing than ever on the CITGO series, fans will enjoy the most complete, up-to-the-minute coverage of all the horses on the road to the Kentucky Derby," said Chip Campbell, NTRA senior vice president – television and sponsorship.

The complete schedule is as follows:

Date Network Time (ET) Race Grade Division Track

2/15/03 ESPN 5-6 p.m. Fountain of Youth (LIVE) I 3-year-old Gulfstream Park
Hutcheson Stakes (LIVE) II 3-year-old Gulfstream Park

3/9/03 ESPN 6-7 p.m. Louisiana Derby II 3-year-old Fair Grounds
El Camino Real Derby (3/8) III 3-year-old Golden Gate Fields

3/15/03 ESPN2 4-4:30 p.m. Florida Derby (LIVE) I 3-year-old Gulfstream Park

3/16/03 ESPN2 4:30-6 p.m. San Felipe Stakes (LIVE) II 3-year-old Santa Anita
Tampa Bay Derby (LIVE) III 3-year-old Tampa Bay Downs
Gotham Stakes (LIVE) II 3-year-old Aqueduct

3/22/03 ESPN2 4-5 p.m. Lane's End Stakes (LIVE) II 3-year-old Turfway Park
Rushaway Stakes 3-year-old Turfway Park

4/5/03 ESPN 5-6 p.m. Santa Anita Derby (LIVE) I 3-year-old Santa Anita
Illinois Derby (LIVE) II 3-year-old Hawthorne
Aventura Stakes (LIVE) 3-year-old Gulfstream Park

4/12/03 ESPN 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wood Memorial (LIVE) I 3-year-old Aqueduct
Bay Shore Stakes (LIVE) III 3-year-old Aqueduct

4/19/03 ESPN2 6-6:30 p.m. Coolmore Lexington Stakes II 3-year-old Keeneland
Federico Tesio Stakes III 3-year-old Pimlico

4/27/03 ESPN2 1-2 p.m. Triple Crown Special

FANS TO AGAIN SELECT RACING'S BEST MOMENT

Voting is underway at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Web site, www.ntra.com, for the fourth annual "NTRA Moment of the Year." Voters can choose from among 10 images, drawn from the year's racing through the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Those selecting the winning image automatically will be entered in a random drawing for a grand prize of $1,000. The winning moment will be announced at the Jan. 27, 2003, Eclipse Award ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The moments were selected to illustrate a wide range of human emotions and achievements as well as outstanding displays of equine athleticism. Listed chronologically, the images and events that fans can choose from are:

  • War Emblem wires the field in the Kentucky Derby.
  • The sports world mourns the passing of the last living Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew.
  • War Emblem proves the Derby was no fluke by capturing the Preakness Stakes.
  • Sarava registers the biggest upset in Belmont Stakes history.
  • Chris McCarron wins his farewell race aboard Came Home in the Affirmed Handicap.
  • You barely outfinishes Carson Hollow in a stirring renewal of the Test Stakes.
  • Pat Day becomes the leading money-earning jockey of all time, riding With Anticipation to victory in the Sword Dancer Handicap.
  • Azeri dominates her opponents in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.
  • Storm Flag Flying reclaims the lead in deep stretch to become a third generation Breeders' Cup winner in the Long John Silver's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
  • Volponi springs the upset in the Breeders' Cup Classic for Hall-of-Fame trainer Phil Johnson.

The first-ever "NTRA Moment of the Year" was the touching scene involving Charismatic and jockey Chris Antley following the 1999 Belmont Stakes. The following year's winner was the stretch run of the 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic, which saw Tiznow hold on for a dramatic victory against Giant's Causeway. Last year, it was Tiznow again as fans selected his stirring repeat victory in the Classic over Sakhee.

"The NTRA Moment of the Year is the fans' counterpart to the Eclipse Awards, which are voted on by the media and racing officials," said Keith Chamblin, NTRA senior vice president-industry relations & marketing. "It provides fans with a means of saluting the people and horses that make our sport so appealing. They've responded enthusiastically to this award during the last three years, and we look forward to seeing which Moment they select as this year's winner."

NEW YORK'S TRIPLE TIARA FOR FILLIES WORTH $2 MILLION NEXT YEAR

The New York Racing Association will offer a $2 million bonus in 2003 to any three-year-old filly that can sweep the Mother Goose Stakes, the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama Stakes. The series will take over the "Triple Tiara" title previously bestowed upon the Acorn, the Mother Goose and the Coaching Club American Oaks Stakes. The Mother Goose will be run on Saturday, June 28 at Belmont Park. The 1 1/8 miles race will have its purse increased from $250,000 to $300,000 and will be televised nationally on CBS. The Coaching Club American Oaks will be contested at 1 ½ miles on Saturday, July 19 at Belmont Park. The purse has been increased from $350,000 to $500,000.

The $750,000, 1¼ miles Alabama Stakes will be run at Saratoga on Saturday, August 16 and televised on ESPN. All three events are Grade 1 races. "Three-year-old fillies compete in the shadow of their male counterparts and we think they deserve more appreciation than that," said NYRA Chairman and CEO Barry K. Schwartz. "Winning all three races is a very difficult challenge and one that deserves a significant reward. We believe ultimately that this will become the filly counterpart to the Triple Crown."

In the past, four fillies have won all three of the races involved - Shuvee (1969), Mom's Command (1985), Open Mind (1989) and Sky Beauty (1993). NYRA's complete stakes schedule is expected to be released tomorrow.

NEW SECRETARIAT GIFT ITEMS AVAILABLE IN TIME FOR HOLIDAYS

As the upcoming 30th anniversary of Secretariat's historic Triple Crown sweep approaches, Secretariat.com is offering new merchandise designed for both the casual fan and avid collector.

Among the new items is a video that contains digitally remastered footage of "Big Red" with improved sound and color. The 110-minute video features never-before-seen footage of Secretariat from the personal archives of his owner, Penny Chenery; film footage from 18 of the horse¹s 21 starts including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes shown in their entirety. The video also contains the highly acclaimed mini-doecumentary "Life and Times of Secretariat", which was originally produced in association with ESPN.

Also available is a special 30th anniversary poster featuring a rare color photograph captured by photographer Rich Nugent, who was covering the 1973 Kentucky Derby for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Other Secretariat collectibles previously introduced include a Roots fleece throw patterned after the legend's original racing blanket, a wide assortment of photography, and a "Big Red" bobblehead doll. All merchandise can purchased on-line through both Secrtariat.com and NTRA.com as well as at various retail locations.

A portion of all proceeds will benefit charities and causes in the Thoroughbred community, including the Secretariat Bronze Fund and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. Chenery has been working with the Horse Park to raise money for a bronze statue of the horse and groom Eddie Sweat as they appeared in the winner¹s circle on Derby Day in 1973. The statue, by sculptor Edwin Bogucki, is scheduled to be unveiled at the Horse Park in 2003. "The Web site has allowed us to use Secretariat's name and legacy to benefit Thoroughbred racing and preserve its history," Chenery said. "And now the 30th anniversary of that incredible Triple Crown season will allow us the opportunity to retell his story to a new generation."

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

December 14 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

December 18 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

December 21 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

December 26 Wire to Wire, 12:30-1:00 p.m., ESPN2

RACING TO HISTORY

Dec. 12, 1942: More than 20,000 racegoers turned out to watch 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway win the inaugural Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds, staged in part as a war relief effort by the newly formed Thoroughbred Racing Associations.

Dec. 12, 1997: Jockey Russell Baze, the only jockey to win 400 or more races in a year more than three times, accomplished the feat for a sixth straight season at Golden Gate Fields.

Dec. 13, 1986: Jockey Kent Desormeaux had his first career stakes win, aboard Godbey, in the Maryland City Handicap at Laurel.

Dec. 14, 1997: Maybe Jack drew off and won a match race against Pro on Ice at Suffolk Downs, making him the winningest horse of 1997 with 13 victories.

Dec. 15, 1973: Sandy Hawley became the first jockey in history to win 500 races in a single year when he rode Charlie Jr. to victory in the third race at Laurel.

Dec. 15, 2000: Congress passed a package of appropriation bills that included a clarification to the Interstate Horseracing Act (IHA). The amendment to IHA confirmed that interstate simulcasting, commingling of pools and account wagering are, indeed, permitted under the IHA in all states that authorize these activities.

Dec. 17, 1936: Crooner Bing Crosby announced plans to construct a new racetrack, to be called the Del Mar Turf Club.

Dec. 17, 1993: Fire destroyed the grandstand of Fair Grounds, the nation's third-oldest racetrack.

Dec. 18, 1983: Hollywood Park held the first $1 million race for two-year-old Thoroughbreds, the Hollywood Futurity, which was won by Fali Time, ridden by Sandy Hawley.

Dec. 20, 1987: D. Wayne Lukas-trained Tejano became the first juvenile millionaire when he won the Hollywood Futurity with Laffit Pincay Jr. aboard.

Dec. 22, 1991: Jockey Kent Desormeaux, at age 21, won his 2,000th race aboard Saron Lake, trained by Gary Jones, at Hollywood Park. He was the youngest jockey to reach that mark and did so faster than any other rider.

Dec. 23, 1944: James F. Byrnes, Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion, urged that all racing in the United States cease by Jan. 3 as a means of furthering the war effort.

Dec. 25, 1934: Santa Anita Park opened in Arcadia, Calif. A five-year-old mare, Las Palmas, won the inaugural race, the California-Bred Handicap, before a crowd of 30,777.

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

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14
Hollywood Starlet, 2yo fillies, $200,000, Grade I, 1 1/16 M, Hollywood Park
Native Diver Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M, Hollywood Park
Anne Arundel Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M, Laurel Park
Three Ring Stakes, 2yo fillies, $100,000, 1 1/16 M, Calder
What a Pleasure Stakes, 2yo, $100,000, 1 1/16 M, Calder
Garland of Roses Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $75,000, 6F, Aqueduct
Gold Rush Stakes, 2yo, $75,000, 1 M, Golden Gate Fields

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15
Bayakoa Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $150,000, Grade II, 1 1/16 M, Hollywood Park

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Racing television schedule

 

 


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