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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.


Officials of Breeders' Cup Limited and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) have completed negotiations and signed a contract yesterday, April 2, with Lone Star Park and Magna Entertainment Corporation (MEC) to hold the 2004 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Lone Star Park in the Dallas-Forth Worth suburb of Grand Prairie, Texas. The 21st running of the Breeders' Cup, consisting of eight races with purses and awards totaling $13 million, will be run next year on Saturday, October 30, 2004, and will be televised live by NBC Sports.

This will be the first time that Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie will host the Breeders' Cup and the first time that the event will be held in Texas and the Southwest.

"We are delighted to make it official that the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships are coming to Grand Prairie, Texas and Lone Star Park next year," said D.G. Van Clief, Jr., Breeders' Cup president and NTRA vice chairman. "The Dallas-Fort Worth area is one the nation's great sports markets and Lone Star Park has done an excellent job of establishing first-class racing there. We look forward to working with the Lone Star/Magna team.

"We also want to salute Governor Rick Perry, members of the Texas State Legislature, Grand Prairie Mayor Charles England, and the Texas Racing Commission for supporting next year's Championships."

During its 19-year history, the Breeders' Cup has been held at Arlington Park in Illinois, Aqueduct Racetrack and Belmont Park in New York, Churchill Downs in Kentucky, Hollywood Park and Santa Anita Park in California, Gulfstream Park in Florida and Woodbine Racetrack in Ontario, Canada. This year's Breeders' Cup will be run on October 25 during the Oak Tree Meeting at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., marking the event's third visit to Santa Anita.

"The signing of this agreement represents a true team effort with virtually thousands of Texans involved, including the Governor," said Corey Johnsen, president of Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie and MEC Group vice president. "There is tremendous enthusiasm in the Lone Star state surrounding this championship event, and we're very excited to showcase horseracing in Texas to a worldwide audience."


A 10-horse field, including three 3-year-olds trained by Bob Baffert, was entered for Saturday's $750,000, Grade I Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita, Calif.

Baffert said his three starters -- Domestic Dispute, Kafwain, and Indian Express -- "all drew decently. We will need a lot of racing luck with all of them." Baffert said the outside post should suit Domestic Dispute's running style because he likes to "be in the clear." Baffert said "we need to let him run earlier."

Trainer Bob Hess Jr. said undefeated Ocean Terrace has had two solid works since his victory in the El Camino Real Derby. "In his last race he was flipping his ears when they came to him in the stretch and he was playing cat and mouse with them."

Trainer Ron Ellis said San Felipe Stakes runner-up Atswhatimtalknbout continues to improve with each race. "He's coming around with every race," Ellis said. "We used to have to school him every day for a week going into an allowance race. He has really improved, and we only had to school him once for this race.

The field in post position order for the Santa Anita Derby, which will be shown on ESPN Saturday from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET., with jockeys and morning-line odds is: Ocean Terrace (jockey: Kent Desormeaux, morning line odds: 6-1); Indian Express (Tyler Baze, 30-1); Iron Lad(Mark Johnston, 50-1); Buddy Gil (Gary Stevens, 5-2); Ministers Wild Cat (Victor Espinoza, 10-1); Atswhatimtalknbout (David Flores, 9-5); Flirt with Fortune (Martin Pedroza, 30-1; Kafwain(Pat Valenzuela, 4-1); Logician(Jose Valdivia, 15-1); and Domestic Dispute(Corey Nakatani 15-1).


The NTRA Spring Pick 3 will be offered on the three nationally televised Kentucky Derby prep races on April 5 (ESPN, 5:00-6:00 p.m., all times Eastern). The three featured races on the telecast are Gulfstream Park's Aventura Stakes (5:10 p.m.), the Illinois Derby from Hawthorne Racecourse (5:25 p.m.) and the Santa Anita Derby (5:45 p.m.).

Minimum wager for the NTRA Spring Pick 3 will be $1.00. Gulfstream Park will serve as the wagering hub for the NTRA Spring Pick 3. Fans should ask for Gulfstream Race 11. Takeout is 20%. Free Equibase past performances for the three races will be available at NTRA.com after entries are drawn. Last year's Illinois Derby winner was War Emblem, who went on to capture the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes en route to year-end honors as Champion 3-Year-Old.


Empire Maker, the record-breaking winner of the Grade I Florida Derby, has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite for the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2003 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), which opens its four-day run today, Thursday, April 3.

The suspension of wagering on Trust N Luck (declared out, April 2) will leave Pool 3 with 23 wagering interests that include 22 individual horses and a mutuel field that includes all other 3-year-old Thoroughbreds. Wagering on Pool 3 opens at noon (all times Eastern) today and concludes at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 6.

The first Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (KOFW) also opens at noon today. That four-day pool will conclude on Sunday at 5:30 p.m., one hour before the conclusion of betting on KDFW Pool 3.

Storm Flag Flying, winner of the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and champion 2-year-old filly of 2002, has been installed as a narrow morning line favorite for Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.

There are 23 wagering interests in the first KOFW pool, which includes 22 individual horses and a mutuel field that contains all other 3-year-old Thoroughbred fillies.

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager and the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager is a $2 minimum wager and is a win bet only. The winning payouts for Pool 3 will be determined by the odds that are in place at the pool's close. Wagering is available at racetracks and satellite wagering outlets in 34 states.


A field of six has been entered in Saturday's $500,000 Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap, which will be contested at a mile and a sixteenth at Oaklawn Park, Hot Springs, Ark.

Azeri, weighted at 123 pounds and making her much anticipated 2003 debut, will have her regular rider Mike Smith aboard for the journey. Affluent, runner-up to Azeri in the 2002 Apple Blossom will try to even the score with a win in this year's running.

Azeri's trainer Laura de Seroux said about her brilliant mare, "She's been training sensationally, much faster than she trained last year. She's also physically stronger than she was last year. She seems to be reaching the peak of her maturity."

The field with jockey and assigned weights are as follows: Azeri (jockey: Mike Smith, 123 pounds); Take Charge Lady (Shane Sellers, 118 pounds); Affluent (Alex Solis, 117 pounds); Mandy's Gold (Rene Douglas, 116 pounds); Bien Nicole (Don Pettinger, 115 pounds) and Rhiana (Carlos H. Marquez Jr., 110 pounds).


Thoroughbred industry and agriculture reporter for The Courier-Journal, John Harrell died Tuesday, April 2, in Louisville after a brief illness.

Harrell joined the newspaper six months ago after gaining a reputation in the horse-racing industry as a hard-working and talented reporter while at the Thoroughbred Times, an industry publication. Harrell had worked for the Courier's Sports section from 1988 to 1992.

In more than 100 stories he wrote in his short time since returning to The Courier-Journal, Harrell was recognized as an authority on the Thoroughbred industry. His reporting ranged from racing's efforts to legalize slot machines to the effects of tobacco's decline.

"More important than anything else, John was a super person who was a pleasure to be around. He always had a smile on his face and was eager to contribute in any way he could. He was a fine young journalist who was only going to get better," said Bennie Ivory, executive editor and vice president for news at The Courier-Journal.

Harrell was being treated at Norton Suburban Hospital when he was stricken Sunday night.

Survivors include his wife of almost 12 years, Laura, and their 4-year-old daughter, Hannah. Those wishing to donate to the John R. Harrell Memorial Fund for Hannah Ramey Harrell can do so at any PNC Bank branch. The account name is the John R. Harrell Memorial Fund for Hannah Ramey Harrell. The tax i.d. number is 13-4245704.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

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

April 5 CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby; Santa Anita Derby (Santa Anita Park); Illinois Derby (Hawthorne); and Aventura Stakes (Gulfstream Park); 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN

April 8 NTRA Thoroughbred Classics (Blue Grass Stakes); 7:00-7:30 p.m., ESPN Classic

April 9 NTRA Thoroughbred Classics (Blue Grass Stakes); 2:00-2:30 a.m., ESPN Classic

April 9 NTRA Thoroughbred Classics (Blue Grass Stakes); 5:00-5:30 a.m., ESPN Classic

April 9 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

April 12 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

April 12 NTRA Thoroughbred Classics (Blue Grass Stakes); 8:00-8:30 a.m., ESPN Classic

April 12 CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby; Wood Memorial and Bay Shore Stakes (Aqueduct); 3:30-4:30 p.m., ESPN

April 12 NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby; Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Keeneland) and Arkansas Derby (Oaklawn Park); 4:30-6:00 p.m., NBC

April 15 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2


April 6, 1954: Two future champions, Bold Ruler and Round Table, were foaled at Claiborne Farm, Paris, Ky.

April 7, 1973: In his second start as a three-year-old, Secretariat won the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct as the 1-10 favorite. His time of 1:33 2-5 for the mile equaled the track record for that distance.

April 7, 1979: Jockey Steve Cauthen made his first race in England a winning one, with Marquee Universal (IRE), at Salisbury.

April 8, 1971: New York City Off-Track Betting opened for business. Two branches were available to accept wagers: the Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan and an outlet in Queens. Total handle, including telephone betting, was $66,091.

April 8, 1991: Rider-turned-trainer Bill Shoemaker was paralyzed after an automobile accident.

April 8, 2001: "Seabiscuit: An American Legend," by Laura Hillenbrand, took over the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list for nonfiction after just three weeks in the nation's bookstores.

April 9, 1962: Jockey Ron Turcotte rode his first winner, at Fort Erie Racetrack.

April 10, 1969: I Double Dareya was ridden to victory by jockey Gilbert Hernandez at Golden Gate Fields. Hernandez also happened to be the horse's owner and trainer, giving him a triple win.

April 11, 1945 Future Triple Crown champion Citation was foaled at Calumet Farm, Lexington, Ky.

April 12, 1948: After winning seven consecutive races, Citation lost the Chesapeake Trial Stakes by a length to Saggy but rebounded to post 16 consecutive victories, including the Triple Crown.

April 12, 1969: Jockey Sandra Schleiffers, one of the first female riders in America and a former member of the Sisters of St. Francis convent in Clinton, Iowa, won her first career race at Turf Paradise. Schleiffers subsequently became the first woman to be admitted to the Jockeys' Guild.

April 13, 1872: The Louisiana Jockey Club held its inaugural meet at Fair Grounds. The first race, a two-mile hurdle, was won by Templo.

April 14, 1936: The first Maryland race result ever decided by a photo-finish camera took place at Havre de Grace in the second race, in which a 7-1 shot, Alit, was declared the winner.

April 15, 1940: With the start of the racing season at Jamaica, New York became the last major racing state to adopt electronic pari-mutuel wagering, thus eliminating on-track bookmaking.

April 15, 1941: In preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Derby, Whirlaway worked 1 1/8 miles in 1:52 at Keeneland.

April 15, 1943: With many of the country's young men joining in the war effort, women exercise riders were first employed at Pimlico Racecourse.

April 16, 1995: At age 25, Kent Desormeaux became the youngest jockey to reach the 3,000-win mark when he rode Maisonaire to victory at Santa Anita Park.

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

Transylvania Stakes, 3yo, $100,000, Grade III, 1 M (T), Keeneland
Banshee Breeze Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $75,000, 1 1/16 M, Gulfstream Park

Santa Anita Derby, 3yo, $750,000, Grade I, 1 1/8 M, Santa Anita Park
Apple Blossom Handicap, 4&up (f&m), $500,000, Grade I, 1 1/16 M, Oaklawn Park
Ashland Stakes, 3yo fillies, $500,000, Grade I, 1 1/16 M, Keeneland
Illinois Derby, 3yo, $500,000, Grade II, 1 1/8 M, Hawthorne
Oaklawn Handicap, 4&up, $500,000, Grade II, 1 1/8 M, Oaklawn Park
Aventura Stakes, 3yo, $250,000, 1 1/16 M, Gulfstream Park
Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M, Aqueduct
San Bernardino Handicap, 4&up, $150,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M, Santa Anita Park
Las Cienegas Handicap, 4&up (f&m), $100,000, Grade III, 6 F (T), Santa Anita Park
Artax Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, 7F, Gulfstream Park
Grand Prairie Turf Challenge, 3yo, $100,000, 1 M (T), Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie
Harry W. Henson Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, 1 M, Sunland Park
Sunland Park Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, 1 1/8 M, Sunland Park
Miss America Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $75,000, 1 1/16 M (T), Bay Meadows

Arcadia Handicap, 4&up, $150,000, Grade II, 1 1/8 M (T), Santa Anita Park
Lafayette Stakes, 3yo, $100,000, Grade III, 7F, Keeneland
Via Borghese Stakes, 3yo fillies, $75,000, 1 1/8 M (T), Gulfstream Park

Madison Stakes, 4&up (f&m), $125,000, 7F, Keeneland

Stonerside Beaumont Stakes, 3yo fillies, $250,000, Grade II, 7F, Keeneland
Count Fleet Sprint Handicap, 4&up, $150,000, Grade III, 6F, Oaklawn Park



Racing television schedule



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