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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.

MILLER TIME AGAIN AT DRF/NTRA NATIONAL HANDICAPPING CHAMPIONSHIP?

Defending champion Herman Miller of Oakland, Calif. heads a record field of 213 horseplayers at the Ballyís Las Vegas on January 17-18 to vie for horse racingís official title of "Handicapper of the Year" and a first-place prize of $100,000 in the $212,000 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship.

"Iíve been preparing all along, and Iím probably working harder this year than I did last year," said Miller, a landscaper. "I went to Del Mar this year, and the Breedersí Cup in Chicago. I wanted to be a good champion."

In just its fourth year, the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship already is the most important tournament of the year for horseplayers, the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino racebooks, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping Web sites, each of which sends its top four qualifiers to the national finals. The finalists advanced from one of 49 local sites which conducted 81 sanctioned events from February through December, 2002 at locations across North America. This yearís 213 qualifiers reside in 31 states and two Canadian provinces, and come from every imaginable walk of life, from golf pro to kindergarten teacher.

California is represented by the most finalists (43), thanks in part to the fact that 10 qualifying events were held within the state. Other well-represented states include Kentucky (16), Florida (14), Illinois (14), New York, (14), Texas (13), Ohio (11), Washington (11), and Nevada (7).

The NHC finalists are predominantly male, with the 28 women in the field making up 13 percent of the qualifiers. Every age group will be represented, with men ranging in age from 23-year-old Dustin Dooley of Indianola, Iowa (Prairie Meadows) to 85-year-old Martin Kasich of San Francisco (Bay Meadows). Women qualifiers range in age from 23-year-old Jackie Martinez of Los Angeles (Los Alamitos) to 84-year-old Agnes Hovsepian of Sierra Madre, Calif. (Oak Tree).

The event also will include a $10,000 charity media tournament that will mirror the main competition. Four media teams will battle in a winner-take-all competition, with the victorious team splitting the purse, which will be divided equally between NTRA Charities and the designated charity of each member of the winning team. Team Penthouse is the defending charity media tournament champion, and its title will be defended by Deputy Managing Editor Linda Giustino and Penthouse Pets Alexa Lauren, Courtney Taylor and Kyli Ryan.

HONEYMOON IN VEGAS

Some things are sacred. A marriage is certainly one example. But so is the schedule for the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship. And thatís why Scott Brown, an NHC contestant representing Tampa Bay Downs, may feel like his plate is rather full this weekend. Scott and his wife Peggy were married last week in Florida and will be spending their honeymoon at Ballyís Las Vegas where Scott will be doing battle against his 212 opponents.

Till post time do they part.

KEENELAND JULY SALE TO SKIP A YEAR DUE TO MRLS

Citing the devastating effects of Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS) on Kentucky's 2002 foal crop, Keeneland's prestigious July Selected Yearling Sale will take a one-year hiatus, Keeneland officials have announced.

Officials plan to resume the July Sale in 2004. What would have been this year's Selected Sale will instead be incorporated into the first two days--the "selected sessions"--of Keeneland's September Yearling Sale.

"The decision was made only after extensive discussions with our consignors and buyers," said Keeneland President and CEO Nick Nicholson. "Because of MRLS, this year's yearling crop is fewer in number and the majority of this year's crop will not be ready for auction by July. Most of the horses will need until September to physically develop."

When MRLS attacked Kentucky's breeding industry in the spring of 2001, approximately 30 percent of the pregnant mares spontaneously aborted. A significant majority of the horses that were aborted were "early" foals (ones whose dam was bred early in the breeding season in hopes of giving their offspring a physical advantage over foals born later in the year). Typically, early foals comprise the majority of Keeneland's July catalog.

KENTUCKY OAKS INAUGURAL FUTURE WAGER APPOROVED

The Kentucky Racing Commission approved the dates for the single inaugural pool for the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager and the three pools that make up the Kentucky Derby Future Wager at a meeting in Lexington, Ky. on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager will allow racing fans across North America to place wagers on contenders for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI), one of America's most important races for 3-year-old fillies and the sister race to America's greatest race, the Kentucky Derby (GI). There will be a single four-day pool for the first Kentucky Oaks Future Wager and it will run concurrently with the last of three 2003 Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools. The Oaks will be renewed for the 129th consecutive year at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 2.

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which is entering its fifth year, will again include three four-day pools during which racing fans may wager early on contenders for the 129th renewal of the famed "Run for the Roses." Pool 1 is scheduled for Feb. 13-16, Pool 2 is set for March 13-16, and Pool 3 will run from April 3-6. The Kentucky Derby will be run on Saturday, May 3 at Churchill Downs.

The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager will operate under the same rules as the Derby's future bet, which allows racing fans to wager on major contenders weeks in advance of the race at odds that may be more attractive than those they would receive on the day of the race. Both are $2 minimum wagers and win bets only. The list of horses in each pool consists of 24 betting interests, which include 23 individual horses and a 24th interest that is a mutuel field. In the case of the KDFW, the mutuel field consists of all other 3-year-old Thoroughbreds. The KOFW mutuel field will include all other 3-year-old fillies. A panel of racing officials and journalists will select the individual wagering interests for each future wager pool.

The three KDFW pools will open each day at noon (all times Eastern) and wagering on each pool's final day will close at 6:30 p.m. The only difference in the schedule for the Oaks future pool is that it will close at 5:30 p.m. - one hour before the halt of wagering on the accompanying Derby futures pool. Final closing times for wagering in the respective pools were staggered to prevent any confusion that might arise from simultaneous closings.

EDDIE D. RETIRES FROM THE SADDLE

Racing Hall of Fame jockey Eddie ĎDí Delahoussaye (51) announced his retirement this past Tuesday, following his doctorís advise to stop riding. After a successful 36-year career of riding Delahoussaye said, "This is it," telling the Associated Press. "I had a feeling it was gong to happen: I was prepared, Iíve had a great career; I canít complain. Iíve been very fortunate."

Delahoussaye has not ridden since August 30 when he suffered a concussion and fractured a bone in his neck in a spill at Del Mar racetrack in California.

Delahoussaye finishes with 6,384 winners (11th on the all-time list) from 39,213 mounts for earnings of $195,881,170.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

January 18 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

January 21 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

January 25 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

January 25 Sunshine Millions Turf (Santa Anita Park), and Sunshine Millions Dash and Sunshine Millions Classic (Gulfstream Park); 3:00-4:00 p.m., NBC

January 28 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

RACING TO HISTORY

Jan. 17, 2000: The first ever NTRA "Moment of the Year" award went to the post-race scene after the 1999 Belmont Stakes, when jockey Chris Antley held Charismaticís injured foreleg.

Jan. 19, 1955: Swaps won the San Vicente Stakes, the first race of his three-year-old campaign, by 3 Ĺ lengths at Santa Anita Park. He went on to triumph over Nashua in the Kentucky Derby, but was in turn defeated by his rival in a $100,000 match race at Washington Park on Aug. 31, his only loss of that year.

Jan. 20, 1972: Secretariat was shipped from Virginia to Florida to be trained by Lucien Laurin.

Jan. 20, 1979: Odds-on favorite Affirmed, with Steve Cauthen aboard, finished second in the San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita, beaten 2ĺ lengths by Radar Ahead. It was their fourth consecutive defeat together. Cauthen subsequently lost the mount on Affirmed to Laffit Pincay Jr., who rode the horse for the remainder of his four-year-old season, racking up seven victories in as many starts. Affirmed was later voted Horse of the Year for 1979. Cauthen had ridden Affirmed to a Triple Crown sweep the previous year.

Jan. 23, 1994: Pat Day, 40, became the tenth rider in North American racing history to ride 6,000 winners, when he rode Miss Popsnorkle to victory in the first race at Oaklawn Park.

Jan. 24, 1974: Jockey Chris McCarron rode his first race, in which he finished last aboard Most Active, at Bowie Racecourse.

Jan. 25, 2000: According to The Jockey Club Fact Book for 2000, gross purses and total handle rose again in 1999 with North American purses topping $1 billion for the first time in history.

Jan. 26, 1950: Citationís 16-race win streak came to an end in the La Sorpresa Handicap at Santa Anita. Despite giving 16 pounds to the winner, Miche, Citation, carrying 130 pounds, lost only by a neck.

Jan. 27, 1973: Penny Chenery accepted the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year on behalf of Secretariat, who was also voted champion two-year-old of 1972.

Jan. 28, 1979: Bob Baffert won his first race as a Thoroughbred trainer, saddling Flipper Star to win the second race at Rillito Park in Tucson, Ariz. The winnerís share of the $600 purse was $330.

Jan. 28, 1999: The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the National Horsemenís Benevolent and Protective Association announces the creation of the "Claiming Crown," a six-race event to be held at Canterbury Park.

Jan. 29, 1960: Future Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Carry Back finished tenth in his first start ever, a three-furlong race for two-year-old maiden runners at Hialeah. Sired by Saggy, the only horse to defeat Citation during his three-year-old season, out of an undistinguished mare named Joppy, Carry Back became a popular runner and was dubbed "the peopleís horse."

Jan. 29, 1969: Patti Barton, a 24-year-old exercise rider, applied for a jockeyís license in Las Cruces, N.M. The stewards declined to act on the application, which if approved would have made Barton the first female licensed jockey in Thoroughbred racing.

Jan. 29, 1973: Forego, eventual three-time Horse of the Year, 1974-76, broke his maiden by eight lengths in his second career start, at Hialeah Park.

Jan. 30, 1981: Jockey Julie Krone rode in her first race ever, finishing second by three lengths in a six-furlong sprint for $3,500 maiden claimers at Tampa Bay Downs. Her mount, a 22-1 shot trained by Jerry L. Pace, was named Tiny Star.

Jan. 30, 1992: For the second time in one month, jockey Mike Smith won six races in one day at Aqueduct Racetrack. His first six-winner day at Aqueduct occurred Jan. 13.

Jan. 30, 2001: Tiznow was named 2001 Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards in New Orleans.

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

SATURDAY, JANUARY 18
Santa Catalina Stakes, 3yo, $150,000, Grade II, 1 1/16 M, Santa Anita Park
Holy Bull Stakes, 3yo, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Gulfstream Park
Aqueduct Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Aqueduct

SUNDAY, JANUARY 19
El Encino Stakes, 4yo fillies, $150,000, Grade II, 1 1/16 M, Santa Anita Park
Mac Diarmida Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 3/8 M (T), Gulfstream Park
Diplomat Way Handicap, 4&up, $75,000, 1 1/16 M, Fair Grounds

MONDAY, JANUARY 20
San Marcos Stakes, 4&up, $150,000, Grade II, 1ľ M (T), Santa Anita Park
Santa Ynez Stakes, 3yo fillies, $150,000, Grade II, 7F, Santa Anita Park
Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes, 3yo, $75,000, 6F, Aqueduct

-30-

 

Racing television schedule

 

 


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