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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.


Santa Anita Park’s 66th winter/spring meeting of Thoroughbred racing begins today with a key stakes event for three-year-olds.

The 51st running of the $200,000 Malibu Stakes tops the opening day of the 85-day meet which runs through Sunday, April 20. In all, 63 stakes events worth an aggregate $12,925,000 will be run during the Santa Anita meet, including 43 graded stakes and 11 Grade I events.

The first Grade I is the seven-furlong Malibu for foals of 1999. It’s the first leg of the Strub Series that includes the $200,000 San Fernando Breeders’ Cup Stakes (Gr. II) on Jan. 11 and the $400,000 Strub Stakes (Gr. II) on Feb. 1. Lusty Latin and U S S Tinosa, third and fifth place finishers in the Santa Anita Derby, are expected to run, as are My Cousin Matt, winner of the Dec. 7 NTRA Great State Challenge Sprint at Sam Houston Race Park, and Debonair Joe, who pulled off a 52-1 shocker in Hollywood Park’s Vernon O. Underwood Stakes under jockey Julie Krone. The complete field for the Malibu in post position order: Mayakovsky, jockey: Tony Farina, morning line odds: 5-1; Sunday Break, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; Timely Action, Alex Solis, 8-1; American System, Pat Valenzuela, 10-1; U S S Tinosa, Russell Baze, 12-1; Castle Gondolfo, Corey Nakatani, 12-1; Shah Jehan, David Flores, 20-1; My Cousin Matt, Ramon Dominguez, 5-2; Total Limit, Laffit Pincay Jr., 8-1; Debonair Joe, Julie Krone, 12-1; and Golden Hare, Mike Smith, 6-1.


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that NBC has won the Media Eclipse Award for National Television – Feature with its segment on War Emblem's sale by Russell Reineman to The Thoroughbred Corp. of Prince Ahmed Salman just prior to the Kentucky Derby, which the colt won. Produced by Alexander Piper, the piece aired during NBC Sports' Preakness telecast on May 18. This is NBC's third Eclipse Award and Piper's first. "Alex is clearly one of the emerging bright lights in feature producing," said David Michaels, NBC Sports VISA Triple Crown senior producer. "His piece on War Emblem was beautifully told and artfully produced. Alex worked very hard to tell this compelling story and his Eclipse Award is richly deserved."

Judges for the National Television – Feature category include Paul Lucey, a producer for FOX Sports Net – New England; Stu Kirshenbaum, a two-time Emmy award-winning freelance producer whose subjects include Thoroughbred racing; and George Butler, producer of such acclaimed documentaries as Pumping Iron and The Endurance.

"NBC did a masterful job of conveying the mixed emotions of War Emblem's former owner and former trainer in the days after the Kentucky Derby," said Kirshenbaum. "I think it underscored the essence of Thoroughbred racing ... both sides involved in the sale of War Emblem took a gamble and hoped for the best."

The NTRA also announced today that Fox Sports Net Southwest's telecast of Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, which aired Dec. 8, 2001, won the Media Eclipse Award for Local Television. The production team included Craig Wilkie, Ed Pappas, Matt Celli, Ty Ezell and five-time Emmy award-winning director Michael Sheehan.

"I'm pleased that the group that has produced this show for the last 11 years has been recognized with this award," said Bryan Krantz, president and general manager of Fair Grounds. "We're especially grateful because this project is a labor of love for everyone involved with it."

Judges for the Local Television category include Dan Guido, a videographer and electronic photo journalist whose credits include ESPN's "SportsCenter" and Major League Baseball's "This Week in Baseball"; Robert Fishman, a multiple Emmy Award-winning director for CBS Sports; and Rob Duboff, marketing consultant and executive-in-residence at Boston College.

"The overall production, which included the talent, the race coverage, the photography and the features within the telecast, were of network quality," said Guido. "I would put it in a category with a Breeders' Cup telecast."

Eclipse Award winners will be honored at the 32nd annual Eclipse Awards Dinner, to be held Monday, Jan. 27, 2003 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Eclipse Awards are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. Eclipse Awards also are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. The awards are presented by the NTRA, the National Turf Writers Association and Daily Racing Form.

The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies.


Adverse track conditions as a result of the Christmas Day winter storm led to the cancellation of Aqueduct's nine-race card today. Rain, freezing rain and snow fell over the area throughout most of Christmas Day.

"We're confident that racing will resume tomorrow," said NYRA President and Chief Operating Officer Terry Meyocks. "We will offer free general parking and free admission to both the grandstand and clubhouse for tomorrow's card."

What was to be today's featured race at Aqueduct, the Grade III, $100,000 Gravesend Handicap, was rescheduled for Sunday.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

December 28 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

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

January 4 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

January 7 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2


Dec. 27, 1982: English trainer Michael Dickinson saddled 12 winners, a record.

Dec. 27, 1987: D. Wayne Lukas set a single-season record for stakes wins by a trainer, 92, when he saddled High Brite to win the Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita Park.

Dec. 31, 1966: Ogden Phipps' Buckpasser, trained by Eddie Neloy, won the 13th consecutive race of his three-year-old season after taking the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Park. He was voted Horse of the Year and also took top three-year-old and handicap horse honors for 1966.

Dec. 31, 1982: After a year-long battle for leading rider honors, Pat Day edged Angel Cordero Jr. by two races, which he won after chartering a plane to fly to Vinton, La., where he rode Dana's Woof Woof and Miltons Magic to victory during the evening program at Delta Downs. Day won the title -- his first -- with 399 wins to Cordero's 397.

Dec. 31, 1989: Jockey Kent Desormeaux set the world record for most number of wins in a single season, 598, when he rode two-year-old East Royalty, trained by Phil Thomas Jr., to victory in the tenth race, the Inner Harbor Stakes, at Laurel. He surpassed the old record, set by Chris McCarron, by 52.

Jan. 1, 1942: Racing in California was officially canceled. On Dec. 16, the West Coast military authorities had requested that Santa Anita Park postpone its meeting indefinitely due to war conditions.

Jan. 1, 1975: Secretariat was represented by his first Thoroughbred foal, a filly named Miss Secretariat, born in Kentucky to the mare My Card.

Jan. 2, 1945: As the end of World War II approached, racing throughout the U.S. was banned indefinitely at the request of James F. Byrnes, War Mobilization Director. While Thoroughbreds could not be transported in the U.S. for racing purposes, the Office of Defense Transportation subsequently approved the shipment of racehorses to tracks that were more than 300 miles beyond U.S. borders. The ban was not lifted until May, causing the rescheduling of the Triple Crown races.

Jan. 2, 1997: Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. posted his 8,500th career victory aboard Tacomolly during the seventh race at Santa Anita Park.

Jan. 4, 1946: Canadian-born jockey George Woolf, known as "The Iceman" for his coolness in the saddle, died after falling head first from his mount, Please Me, during a race at Santa Anita Park the previous day. He was 35. During his career (1928-1946) Woolf had 3,784 mounts, 721 wins, 589 seconds and 468 thirds, with earnings of $2,856,125. Since 1950, Santa Anita Park has annually presented the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award to a rider who demonstrates high standards of personal and professional conduct, on and off the racetrack.

Jan. 5, 1944: A bill permitting off-track betting was introduced in the New York State Assembly. Over the next several decades, a series of bills would be introduced in favor of OTB, which finally gained legal sanction in New York in 1970.

Jan. 5, 1980: Spectacular Bid began his undefeated four-year-old season, winning the Malibu Stakes by five lengths at Santa Anita. The gray colt finished his 1980 campaign a perfect nine-for-nine.

Jan. 6, 1998: Bill Mott was named to take over 1997 undefeated two-year-old Favorite Trick, replacing trainer Patrick Byrne, who accepted a job as a private trainer for owner Frank Stronach.

Jan. 8, 2000: Steven Walker of Lincoln, Neb., captured the inaugural $200,000 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championships, held in Las Vegas. Walker would be presented with the first-ever "DRF/NTRA Handicapper of the Year" award on Jan. 17 during the Eclipse Award ceremonies in California.

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

Malibu Stakes, 3yo, $200,000, Grade I, 7F, Santa Anita Park
Christmas Handicap, 3&up, $75,000, 6F, Mountaineer Park

Furl Sail Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $75,000, 1 M (T), Fair Grounds

La Brea Stakes, 3yo fillies, $200,000, Grade I, 7F, Santa Anita Park
La Prevoyante Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $200,000, Grade II, 1˝ M (T), Calder
W.L. McKnight Handicap, 3&up, $200,000, Grade II, 1˝ M (T), Calder
Fred W. Hooper Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M, Calder
Gallant Fox Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 5/8 M, Aqueduct
Stage Door Betty Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $100,000, 1 1/16 M, Calder
Woodchopper Handicap, 3yo, $100,000, 1 1/16 M (T), Fair Grounds

San Gabriel Stakes, 3&up, $150,000, Grade II, 1 1/8 M (T), Santa Anita Park
Riley Allison Futurity, 2yo, $100,000, 6˝ F, Sunland Park
Gravesend Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 6F, Aqueduct
Sugar Bowl Stakes, 2yo, $75,000, 6F, Fair Grounds

New Year’s Eve Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $75,000, 6F, Mountaineer Park

Monrovia Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $100,000, Grade III, 6˝ F (T), Santa Anita Park

El Conejo Handicap, 4&up, $100,000, Grade III, 5˝ F, Santa Anita Park
Tropical Park Derby, 3yo, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M (T), Calder
Tropical Park Oaks, 3yo fillies, $100,000, 1 1/16 M (T), Calder
Lafayette Handicap, 4&up, $75,000, 1 M, Golden Gate Fields

Louisiana Handicap, 4&up, $75,000, 1 1/16 M, Fair Grounds



Racing television schedule



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