NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK
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|News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled
by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.
CONGAREE MAY DENY A SECOND ROUND OF BREW IN THE BIG 'CAP
One of America's most storied races will have its 66th renewal on Saturday when seven face the starter in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap, a race won in the past by such Thoroughbred racing legends as Seabiscuit (1940), Round Table (1958), Affirmed (1979), Spectacular Bid (1980) and John Henry (1981, 1982).
Topping this year's "Big 'Cap" field is Congaree, the Bob Baffert charge who seeks his fourth consecutive stakes win. Congaree, installed as the 4-5 morning line favorite, comes in to Saturday's race off dominating wins in Santa Anita's San Pasqual and San Antonio Handicaps and Aqueduct's Cigar Mile. The main question will be his ability to successfully negotiate the race's 1¼ mile distance. Jerry Bailey has the mount on Congaree, who will break from post position six. Congaree is owned by Stonerside Stable, an operation headed by Robert McNair, owner of the NFL's Houston Texans.
The second choice in the early odds is 7-2 shot Milwaukee Brew, the Santa Anita Handicap's defending champion. A win on Saturday would put the Bobby-Frankel trainee in select company. Only John Henry has won the prestigious event twice.
Santa Anita Park will sweeten the pot for fans by offering a free Seabiscuit audio bobblehead doll free to all its Thoroughbreds members. The doll features not just the obligatory bobbling head, but also includes Joe Hernandez's stretch call of Seabiscuit's 1940 triumph in the Big 'Cap. Thoroughbreds is the track's frequent players club and is free to join.
TRAINER O'CONNELL SETS TAMPA BAY RECORD
Trainer Kathleen O'Connell recorded a Tampa Bay Downs record last Sunday by winning four races on the card. The previous mark was three winners, shared by several trainers over the course of the track's 77-year history.
"I thought all four had a great shot," said O'Connell. "They were all in good spots either picking up a condition or finding a soft spot making for a great day."
GRAYSON-JOCKEY CLUB RESEARCH FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES 2003 GRANTS
Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation's board of directors has approved funding of $748,116 for a slate of 19 research projects for 2003, increasing the organization's total for equine research since 1983 to more than $10 million.
The research funded in 2003 will take place at 11 universities in the United States and Canada and includes the launch of 10 new projects and the conclusion of nine two-year projects begun last year. The 2003 budget raises the total provided since 1983 to $10,297,575. This amount has underwritten 178 separate projects at 31 universities.
The Foundation board, chaired by John Hettinger, met in Florida recently to act on the recommendations of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation's 33-person Research Advisory Committee. The committee, chaired by Dr. Larry Bramlage, involves private veterinary practitioners and university research veterinarians from across North America. It annually evaluates all proposals sent to the Foundation and ranks them for the board on the basis of the excellence of scientific methodology and impact on the horse industry.
The new slate of projects addresses key issues of health and soundness which affect a great many horses of various uses and breeds. These include laminitis, West Nile Virus, pneumonia, and cartilage repair.
March 1 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
March 4 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
March 8 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
March 9 CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby; Louisiana Derby (Fair Grounds) and El Camino Real Derby (Golden Gate Fields); 6:00-7:00 p.m., ESPN
March 11 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
Feb. 27, 1982: Florida apprentice Mary Russ became the first female jockey to win a Grade I stakes in North America when she captured the Widener Handicap aboard Lord Darnley at Hialeah.
Feb. 28, 1957: John Longden became the first jockey in history to reach 5,000 victories.
March 1, 1969: Tuesdee Testa, 27, became the first female jockey to win a race at a major American Thoroughbred track when she won the third race at Santa Anita Park aboard Buz On.
March 1, 1991: Pat Day, 37, became the sixth rider in history whose mounts earned $100 million when he rode Wild Sierra to a second-place finish in the first race at Oaklawn Park.
March 2, 1940: Beaten by a nose in both the 1937 and 1938 Santa Anita Handicaps, Seabiscuit finally won the Big 'Cap in his final race. He retired the then-leading money-winning horse in the world.
March 2, 1966: Kelso, Horse of the Year 1960-64, ran his last race, finishing fourth at Hialeah Park.
March 3, 1966: Ogden Phipps' Buckpasser won the Flamingo Stakes by a nose, under the guidance of Bill Shoemaker. The colt was such a prohibitive favorite among the field of nine that the race was declared a non-wagering contest and was dubbed "The Chicken Flamingo."
March 3, 1985: Bill Shoemaker became the first jockey in history to win $100 million in purses after he won the Santa Anita Handicap aboard Lord at War (ARG).
March 3, 1993: Russell Baze had his 4,000th career win, with Frank Musso, at Golden Gate Fields.
March 5, 1988: Carl Gambardella had his 5,000th career winner, aboard John's Goldenapple, at Suffolk Downs.
March 6, 1965: Jockey Earlie Fires rode his first winner, Carnation Kid, at Oaklawn Park. By year's end, Fires had amassed nearly $600,000 in purse earnings to earn the title of champion apprentice jockey.
March 6, 1988: Julie Krone became the winningest female jockey in racing history when she won the 1,205th race of her career riding a filly named Squawter in the ninth race at Aqueduct Racetrack.
March 8, 1987: Carrying 126 pounds, Zany Tactics set the world record for six furlongs, 1:06 4/5, at Turf Paradise. On Feb. 21, 1993, his time was equaled by Honor the Hero, also at Turf Paradise.
March 8, 1985: Chris McCarron rode his 4,000th career winner, Hawkley (GB), in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park.
March 9, 1977: Seattle Slew made his three-year-old debut, at Hialeah. He won a seven-furlong race in 1:20 3/5, breaking the track record.
March 10, 1808: Diomed, the winner of the inaugural Epsom Derby in 1780, died in Virginia at age 31. He had been imported to the U.S. 10 years earlier and subsequently became an influential sire.
March 10, 1993: At age 41, jockey Eddie Delahoussaye had his 5,000th career winner, aboard Ackler in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park. He was the 14th rider in North American Thoroughbred racing to reach that plateau.
March 11, 1943: After siring 350 foals that won over $3 million, 26-year-old Man o' War was retired from stud duty.
March 12, 1966: In the last race of his 40-year career, John Longden won the San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita Park, aboard George Royal. He retired with a then-record number of victories, 6,032.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28
SATURDAY, MARCH 1
SUNDAY, MARCH 2
TUESDAY, MARCH 4
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