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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.

GULFSTREAM PARK OPENS TOMORROW

Gulfstream Park’s 2003 meeting, which runs through April 25, kicks off tomorrow with a 10-race card at the Hallandale, Fla. oval. Topping the Friday agenda is the 23rd running of the Grade III, $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes for 3-year-olds at the distance of six furlongs. The race drew a field of nine, headed by the crack sprinters Super Fuse and Crafty Guy. For Gulfstream fans, however, Friday is merely the beginning.

"We are presenting five stakes during the first three days of our meeting, the largest number in Gulfstream’s history, and have scheduled a greater array of other inducements for our customers than ever as a starter to what we believe will be a great season," said Scott Savin, Gulfstream president and general manager. "Except for the economy, all indicators for Gulfstream 2003 are positive and we are confident Gulfstream’s many attractions will overcome the down economy."

Fans can get in on the action with Gulfstream’s new Progressive Pick 6 starting Friday. The guaranteed pool is $25,000 on Opening Day. The stakes get higher on Saturday when the guaranteed pool doubles to $50,000, whether or not there’s a winner on Friday. And on Sunday it doubles again to $100,000 guaranteed even if someone picks all six winners on each of the days. If no one picks six winners on Sunday, the pool will carry over until someone selects six winners.

Gulfstream also is introducing the Pick 4 which will be offered on the last four races every racing day.

Gulfstream’s weekend Concert Series returns with the largest slate of musical acts ever. Five-time Grammy Award-winner Michael McDonald, known for his stellar work as a solo artist and with The Doobie Brothers, will launch Gulfstream’s 2003 Concert Series on Saturday, January 4, at 2:30 p.m. The following day, Gulfstream welcomes the acclaimed group Sugar Ray to the Entertainment Stage. Concerts run every weekend until Sunday, April 20, and feature such entertainers as Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis and the News, the Beach Boys, Clarence Clemons, America, Sergio Mendes, Air Supply, Grand Funk Railroad, Joe Cocker and Chuck Mangione.

KEENELAND LIBRARY WINS SPECIAL ECLIPSE AWARD

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has announced that the new Keeneland Library, one of the world’s largest public-access repositories for information related to Thoroughbred horseracing and the Thoroughbred breed, has been selected to receive a Special Eclipse Award. The library, which opened this summer, is located on the grounds of Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., and contains more than 10,000 books, 100,000 news and trade publications, 225,000 photos and photo negatives, 1,500 videocassettes and 3,000 files of newspaper clippings.

"We’re extremely honored and wish to thank those responsible for this award," said Nick Nicholson, president and CEO of Keeneland. "Preserving our industry’s rich history is an awesome responsibility first recognized by our founders more than 60 years ago. Our early libraries served a valuable role in documenting our sport’s storied past. Now, with our new state-of-the-art facility, we will be able to expand that role by creating an archival system for the Thoroughbred breed that is second to none."

The winner of the Special Eclipse Award is determined by a committee composed of representatives from the Eclipse Award-presenting organizations: the NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers Association. Eclipse Award winners will be honored at the 32nd annual Eclipse Awards ceremony to be held Monday, Jan. 27, 2003 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

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

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

January 11 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

January 14 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

RACING TO HISTORY

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.

Jan. 11, 1950: Five-year-old Citation returned to racing at Santa Anita Park, having been sidelined by injury since December 1948. Sent off at odds of 3-20, he won easily over a sloppy surface to log his sixteenth consecutive victory. His winning margins for those races totaled 59 ½ lengths.

Jan. 12, 2001: Affirmed, the 1978 Triple Crown winner, Affirmed was euthanized at age 26 due to chronic musculo-skeletal problems. Affirmed is the eleventh and most recent horse to capture the Triple Crown and will always be remembered for the many stretch duels he engaged in against his frequent rival Alydar.

Jan. 13, 1978: Seattle Slew, in training for his four-year-old seasonal debut at Hialeah, first displayed symptoms of the deadly virus Colitis X. The colt was sidelined until May 14, when he won an allowance race at Aqueduct Racetrack as the 1-10 favorite.

Jan. 13, 1989: Jockey Brian Peck was injured when his horse, Top Booking, collided with a deer in the fourth race at Turfway Park. The deer jumped onto the track from the infield, where it had gone to drink from a man-made lake. Top Booking was unharmed, but Peck suffered a broken arm.

Jan. 13, 1997: The National Steeplechase Association became the first horse racing organization in the U.S. to require jockeys to wear "certified" safety helmets, beginning with the 1997 NSA season.

Jan. 13, 2001: Judy Wagner, a grandmother from New Orleans, captured the second annual $212,000 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Wagner received a check for $100,000 and was presented with the "DRF/NTRA Handicapper of the Year" award on Jan. 30 during the Eclipse Award ceremonies.

Jan. 14, 1932: Jockey Eddie Arcaro rode his first career winner, at Agua Caliente.

Jan. 14, 1953: Pimlico’s Preakness Stakes, originally slated for May 16, was put back to May 23, allowing a three-week layover after the Kentucky Derby for the first time.

Jan. 14, 1989: Jockey Kent Desormeaux scored his 1,000th career win in the tenth race at Laurel Racecourse, aboard Eesee’s Taw, in the Francis Scott Key Handicap.

Jan. 14, 1998: Jockey Patricia Cooksey became the second female rider to win 2,000 races when she guided Noble Annie to a five-length victory in the second race at Turfway Park.

Jan. 14, 2001: Jockey Kent Desormeaux gained his 4,000th career win aboard Temporary Appeal in the first race at Santa Anita Park.

Jan. 15, 1932: Australian champion Phar Lap arrived in San Francisco. He was shipped by steamship to the U.S., en route to Agua Caliente in Mexico, where he was to make his North American racing debut in the March 20 Agua Caliente Handicap, the continent’s then-richest race.

Jan. 15, 1969: Barbara Jo Rubin was named to ride in a race at Tropical Park. Thirteen male riders subsequently boycotted the race rather than compete against a female, and were fined $100 each.

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

THURSDAY, JANUARY 2
Louisiana Handicap, 4&up, $75,000, 1 1/16 M, Fair Grounds

FRIDAY, JANUARY 3
Spectacular Bid Stakes, 3yo, $100,000, Grade III, 6F, Gulfstream Park
Truly Bound Handicap, 4&up (F&M), $75,000, 1 1/16 M, Fair Grounds

SATURDAY, JANUARY 4
San Pasqual Handicap, 4&up, $150,000, Grade II, 1 1/16 M, Santa Anita Park
Appleton Handicap, 3&up, $150,000, Grade II, 1 M (T), Gulfstream Park
Mr. Prospector Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 6F, Gulfstream Park
Thelma Stakes, 3yo fillies, $75,000, 6F, Fair Grounds

SUNDAY, JANUARY 5
Santa Ysabel Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Santa Anita Park
Honey Fox Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M (T), Gulfstream Park
Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap, 4&up, $75,000, 1 1/16 M (T), Fair Grounds

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Racing television schedule

 

 


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