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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.

CHAMPION 2-YEAR-OLD VINDICATION INJURED, TO MISS TRIPLE CROWN

Bob Baffert said Thursday he was "devastated" by an injury to undefeated Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion Vindication that has taken the $2.15 million son of Seattle Slew off the Triple Crown trail.

Vindication, owned by the Padua Stables of Satish Sanan, suffered an injury to his left front suspensory while in training for his first start of 2003.

Vindication won the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by 2¾ lengths under jockey Mike Smith last Oct. 26 at Arlington Park in Illinois. Prior to that, he won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park by six lengths on Sept. 14. His first two victories came at Del Mar last July 27 and Aug. 22. The dark bay or brown colt, bred by Payson Stud., Inc. in Kentucky, has earned $680,950. On Jan. 27, he won an Eclipse Award as racing’s champion 2-year-old of 2002.

The injury is expected to sideline Vindication for more than two months. It also means that, as has been the case since the birth of the Breeders’ Cup in 1984, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner will not go on to win the following year’s Kentucky Derby.

THOROUGHBREDS WITH NASCAR-INSPIRED NAMES

Greg and Donna Griffith have an affinity for horsepower, both equine and automotive. When not working with the 75 Thoroughbreds they breed, break and train at their 60-acre D & G Thoroughbreds, Inc. in Ocala, Fla., they often are following NASCAR on television or in person at one of its stops throughout the Southeast.

The Griffiths have combined their passion for both sports in a unique way by naming some of their young Thoroughbreds in tribute to their favorite NASCAR drivers.

What began as a simple gesture will come full circle on Feb. 10 in Daytona, Fla., when the Griffiths meet with Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip, whom they've honored with a two-year-old Thoroughbred colt named Sherrillsfordposse.

Waltrip, who drives car #15, lives in Sherrills Ford, N.C. and his crew is known as the Sherrills Ford Posse.

"My husband's been a NASCAR fan for 30 years but I never understood why we always had to rush home on Sundays," said Donna. "I had never been to a NASCAR race until two years ago when Michael Waltrip won the Daytona 500 and I got caught up in the whole atmosphere. I liked Michael Waltrip's personality and I was hooked."

A walk down the Griffith's shedrow is like a walk down pit road. Among Sherrillsfordposse's stablemates are:

  • Harvick - a three-year-old colt named for Kevin Harvick (car #29)
  • J. Gordon - a three-year-old colt named for Jeff Gordon (car #24)
  • Dirtymoposse - a two-year-old colt named for the close circle of friends of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (car #8)
  • Steveneedsaposse - a three-year-old colt named for Steve Park (car #1), who doesn't yet have a posse
  • Coddle Creek - a two-year-old filly named for the road in Mooresville, N.C. on which the Dale Earnhardt Incorporated headquarters is located

The seeds for the meeting with Waltrip actually were planted last May when the Griffiths submitted a name application for Dirtymoposse to The Jockey Club's Registry in Lexington, Ky.

Little did they know at the time that two Registry employees -- Betsy Given and Amy Cottrell -- had NASCAR ties. One of Given's good friends, Robyn Snell, writes for NASCAR-oriented web sites while Cottrell is an avid fan who attends several races each year.

Shortly after The Jockey Club granted the name (after verifying its meaning and legal status), Given and Cottrell notified Snell, who wrote an article about the equine Dirtymoposse for Dalejrpitstop.com. A second article by Snell about Dirtymoposse and his high-octane stablemates was later published on TeamRacin.com.

Appreciative of the Griffith's efforts, Waltrip, through his office staff, arranged to meet the couple in what should be an educational experience for both.

"He (Michael Waltrip) has taken an interest in Sherrillsfordposse and has asked for pictures and progress reports," said Donna. "He'd like to witness all the stages and procedures a horse goes through in preparation for a racing career."

Only time will tell if Sherrillsfordposse and his mates thunder down the stretch like their NASCAR counterparts, but when they start their fans can follow the progress of these horses through Virtual Stable, a free e-mail notification service of Equibase that is available through www.equibase.com and sends users an e-mail notice whenever Thoroughbreds they've chosen to follow have worked out, are entered to race or have competed in a race.

FICK NAMED TO JOCKEY CLUB POST

Dan Fick, the executive director of racing for the American Quarter Horse Association since 1985, has been named executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club, it was announced today by Alan Marzelli, the president of The Jockey Club.

In his new position, Fick will oversee all matters concerning The American Stud Book and will represent The Jockey Club as it interacts with industry organizations both domestically and abroad.

Fick will be based in The Jockey Club's office in Lexington, Ky. and will report to the president of The Jockey Club. He is tentatively scheduled to start the new job in late March.

"We're very excited to add someone with Dan's background and experience to our team here at The Jockey Club," Marzelli said. "He knows how this industry works, he knows many of the people in it and we're confident that his appointment will complement the talents and abilities of our existing management and staff."

During his tenure at the AQHA, Fick was responsible for marketing and promoting racing opportunities and events for American Quarter Horses. He also served on numerous industry committees, including the American Horse Council's Racing Advisory Committee, the NTRA Thoroughbred Industry Council, the Racing Medication and Drug Testing Consortium, the advisory council of the Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona and the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America board of directors, among others.

Fick, an alumnus of the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program, was the assistant director of racing at the AQHA from 1980-1983 and then served stints with the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission and the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering before returning to the AQHA in 1985.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

February 8 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

February 11 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

February 15 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

February 15 Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby, Fountain of Youth Stakes and Hutcheson Stakes (Gulfstream Park), 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN

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

RACING TO HISTORY

Feb. 7, 1969: Diane Crump became the first woman jockey in America to compete in a parimutuel race when she finished tenth of 12 aboard a 48-1 shot, three-year-old Bridle ’n Bit, in the seventh race at Hialeah Park.

Feb. 7, 1996: A racing oddity occurred at Oaklawn Park when all the winners of seven consecutive races started from the number one post position.

Feb. 7, 1999: Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye picked up his 6,000th career victory aboard Sweetcakesanshakes in the third race at Santa Anita Park. Delahoussaye became the 14th rider in North American racing history to reach the 6,000-win mark.

Feb. 8, 1941: Whirlaway began his three-year-old season with a win in a six furlong allowance race at Hialeah.

Feb. 9, 1894: The Jockey Club was incorporated. As originally conceived, it was to assume the management of racing, previously overseen by the Board of Control. Included in The Jockey Club’s functions were licensing, allotment of racing dates, appointment of officials and the interpretation and enforcement of racing rules.

Feb. 9, 1940: After a year’s absence from competition, seven-year-old Seabiscuit, champion handicap horse of 1937 and 1938, returned to racing at Santa Anita, where he finished third in a handicap race. Seabiscuit ran three more races in 1940, concluding his career with a win in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Feb. 9, 1974: Jockey Chris McCarron rode his first winner, a five-year-old gelding named Erezev, at Bowie Racecourse. By year’s end, McCarron had established a then-record number of winners for a single season: 546. Fifteen years later, on Nov. 30, 1989, jockey Kent Desormeaux eclipsed that mark.

Feb. 10, 1998: Undefeated Two-Year-Old Champion Favorite Trick was named 1997 Horse of the Year.

Feb. 11, 1933: The Jockey Club released data showing that as of 1932, the U.S. had surpassed Great Britain and Ireland in foal production for the first time, to become the world’s leading producer of Thoroughbreds.

Feb. 12, 1981: Julie Krone rode her first career winner, a $3,500 claimer named Lord Farkle, which was owned and trained by Les St. Leon, in the sixth race at Tampa Bay Downs.

Feb. 14, 1966: Buckpasser suffered the only defeat of his three-year-old season when he finished second in a non-betting race, the Black Caesar Purse, at Hialeah. He went on to post 13 consecutive victories in 1966 (12 of them in stakes races), but was unable to compete in any of the Triple Crown races because of a hoof injury.

Feb. 14, 1990: Ladbroke at Golden Gate Fields inaugurated co-pooling of its wagers with those of a sister organization, Ladbroke Racing Wyoming. The co-pooling of wagers across state lines, made possible by California legislation that had gone into effect Jan. 1, was a first in U.S. racing.

Feb. 15, 1974: Future Triple Crown champion Seattle Slew was foaled at White Horse Acres, Lexington, Ky.

Feb. 16, 1891: At the urging of Pierre Lorillard, the Board of Control, composed of seven representatives of the racing industry, was formed to govern Thoroughbred racing. The Board’s powers extended to matters of licensing; allotment of racing dates; and the regulation of purse payments. The Board, as the governing body for racing, was succeeded by The Jockey Club, formed in 1894.

Feb. 16, 1999: Jockey Julie Krone became the first female jockey to win 3,500 races, taking the third race at the Fair Grounds.

Feb. 17, 1985: Laffit Pincay Jr. had his 6,000th career win, aboard Doria’s Delight in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park.

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

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8
La Canada Stakes, 4yo fillies, $200,000, Grade II, 1 1/8 M, Santa Anita Park
Sabin Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Gulfstream Park
The Very One Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $100,000, Grade III, 1 3/8 M (T), Gulfstream Park
Tanforan Handicap, 4&up, $100,000, 1 1/16 M (T), Golden Gate Fields
Endeavour Stakes, 4&up (F&M), $75,000, 1 1/16 M (T), Tampa Bay Downs
Pan Zareta Handicap, 4&up (F&M), $75,000, 6F, Fair Grounds
Whirlaway Stakes, 3yo, $75,000, 1 1/16 M, Aqueduct

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9
Las Virgenes Handicap, 3yo fillies, $200,000, Grade I, 1 M, Santa Anita Park
Whirlaway Handicap, 4&up, $125,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M, Fair Grounds
Deputy Minister Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 6½ F, Gulfstream Park

-30-

 

Racing television schedule

 

 


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