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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.

WOOD, BLUE GRASS, ARKANSAS DERBY TO PINPOINT DERBY STARS SATURDAY

Kentucky Derby favorite pro tem, Empire Maker drew the far outside post position in a field of eight entered today at Aqueduct for Saturday's Grade I, $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes, his final race before the May 3 Kentucky Derby. Empire Maker, who in his last race won the Florida Derby by the largest margin (9 lengths) in the race's history, will be piloted by Jerry Bailey. The son of Unbridled was made the prohibitive 3-5 morning line favorite for the Wood. He is trained by Bobby Frankel.

Another Frankel trainee, Louisiana Derby winner Peace Rules, drew post two today and was installed as the 7-5 morning line favorite for the Grade I, $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, another important Kentucky Derby prep to be run Saturday. Edgar Prado will be in the saddle aboard Peace Rules at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.

The third and final Derby prep on what will be a busy Saturday takes place in Hot Springs, Ark. as Oaklawn Park closes out its popular Racing Festival of the South with the Grade II, $500,000 Arkansas Derby. A full field of 12 three-year-olds was entered yesterday for the race. Region of Merit and Aristocat, the one-two finishers in last month's Tampa Bay Derby, head the Arkansas Derby field.

BIG 3 PICK 3 BET ON TAP FOR SATURDAY

A national pick three wager, the Big 3 Pick 3, will be offered on the three nationally televised Kentucky Derby prep races on April 12: the Wood Memorial from Aqueduct, the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland and the Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park. The Big 3 Pick 3 is a $1 national wager in which fans try to pick the winner of each of Saturday's races for three-year-olds planning on running in the upcoming Visa Triple Crown events.

The field for the Wood Memorial will go to post at 4:15 p.m. (ET). The second leg of the Big 3 Pick 3, the Toyota Blue Grass, will be run at 5:15 p.m. and the series will conclude with the Arkansas Derby at 5:45 p.m. ESPN will show the Wood Memorial live during its one-hour "CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby" telecast that begins at 3:30 p.m. (ET). NBC will show a taped relay of the Wood Memorial, along with live coverage of the Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby, on its "NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby" program airing from 4:30-6:00 p.m. (ET).

FANS CAN WIN $5 MILLION BY PICKING EXACT ORDER IN KENTUCKY DERBY

Churchill Downs Incorporated has launched an innovative online contest that challenges players to pick the exact order of finish for the 129th Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2003, in exchange for a $5 million prize.

The Kentucky Derby $5 Million Pay Day is a free, Internet-based contest of skill available at Kentuckyderby.com, the official Web site of the Derby and its sister race, the Kentucky Oaks. The Derby, which offers the largest field in American horseracing -- up to 20 horses -- has always been a tough race to handicap. The Kentucky Derby $5 Million Pay Day adds a new and exciting twist to the nation's longest continuously held sporting event by asking players to pick not just the top few finishers, but the entire running order for the 2003 "Run for the Roses." The contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada (except Quebec), as well as England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"Through this exclusive Kentuckyderby.com contest, we hope to introduce new fans to the sport of horseracing and extend and enhance the Kentucky Derby brand," said Karl F. Schmitt Jr., president of Churchill Downs Simulcast Network, which developed and will administer the contest. "While picking the exact order of finish for the Derby is no easy task, we're confident that a $5 million prize will encourage many to try. The Kentucky Derby $5 Million Pay Day is an attention-grabbing contest with a life-altering prize. It's a fantastic way to reach out to veteran horseplayers, casual race fans and to millions of people in the United States and abroad who haven't been exposed to our sport."

To enter the Kentucky Derby $5 Million Pay Day contest, visit www.kentuckyderby.com. Contestants can register immediately by visiting the official Derby Web site and filling out the required information fields. Contestants who register early can then return to the Web site and make their selections starting at 7 p.m. EDT on April 30, 2003, following the official Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw. Contestants can register and make their selections until 5:45 p.m. EDT on Derby Day - Saturday, May 3 - at which time the contest will close, and no new entries will be accepted. To be eligible to win, contestants must be at least 18 years old.

Contestants are limited to one entry per person, per e-mail address. (For example, a husband and wife may both enter the contest but only if their entries come through separate e-mail addresses.) Contestants will be disqualified if they enter multiple times using one or more e-mail addresses.

The winning payoff will be $5 million if the Derby field consists of 15 or more horses. The winning payoff will drop to $1 million if the field has fewer than 15 horses and to $50,000 if the field has fewer than 12 runners. The prize money will be paid as a 30-year annuity (approximately $178,000 per year before taxes). Multiple winners will split the prize. In the event a horse is removed or "scratched" from Derby 129, the scratched horse will be eliminated from contestants' entries, and the remaining horses will move up in order. Contestants will not be able to change entries once submitted.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

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

April 19 CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby; Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Keeneland) and Federico Tesio Stakes (Pimlico); 6:00-6:30 p.m., ESPN2

April 22 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

RACING TO HISTORY

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.

April 17, 1972: Future champion filly Ruffian was foaled at Claiborne Farm, Paris, Ky.

April 18, 1970: The New York State Legislature passed a bill enabling off-track betting.

April 19, 1952: Native Dancer won his first race, at Jamaica racetrack.

April 19, 1969: Bill Veeck, promoter and president of Suffolk Downs, staged a $10,000 race featuring all female jockeys, then a novelty in racing. Called the Lady Godiva Stakes, the event attracted such riders as Diane Crump, Tuesdee Testa and Robyn Smith. It was Penny Ann Early, however, who won the race-her first career victory. The previous year, Early had attempted to ride at Churchill Downs, but the male jockeys boycotted and the race was canceled.

April 19, 2000: Jockey Pat Day guided first time starter Unbridled Time to victory in the second race at Keeneland, giving the 46-year-old a record 717 victories at the Lexington, Ky. track.

April 20, 1949: Jockey Bill Shoemaker won his first race, aboard Shafter V, at Golden Gate Fields, Albany, Calif.

April 20, 1999: Trainer Charlie Whittingham died in Pasadena, Calif., of complications from leukemia. He was 86.

April 21, 1923: Eight-year-old Exterminator won his 34th stakes victory, the Philadelphia Handicap at Havre de Grace, setting an American record.

April 21, 1973: In a surprising defeat, Secretariat finished third to stablemate Angle Light and runner-up Sham in the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, his last start before sweeping the Triple Crown. The following day, Secretariat was found to have had an abscess in his mouth, which may have caused him discomfort while racing.

April 21, 1998: Tim Smith was named Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

April 22, 1947: Citation won his first race by -length, at Havre de Grace.

April 22, 1970: Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed into law a bill allowing off-track betting in New York.

April 22, 1976: After winning the Florida Derby at odds of 1-20, Honest Pleasure ran in the Blue Grass Stakes as the 1-10 favorite. Only win wagering was allowed on the seven-horse field. Honest Pleasure won, creating a minus win pool of $41,876.20.

April 22, 2002: Ogden Phipps, philanthropist and Thoroughbred owner and breeder, died at age 93 after a short illness. Winner of an Eclipse Award as outstanding owner and breeder in 1988 and again as outstanding owner in 1989, Phipps won nearly every major stakes race on the East Coast as an owner or breeder.

April 23, 1943: Judy Johnson was granted a license to ride in steeplechase races in Maryland, making her one of the earliest female jockeys.

April 23, 1973: Secretariat and his stablemate Angle Light were flown to Louisville, Ky., to prepare for the Kentucky Derby.

April 23, 1977: Seattle Slew won the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack, his sixth consecutive win and his third win of the season. The race was his final prep for the May 7 Kentucky Derby.

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

FRIDAY, APRIL 11
Fantasy Stakes, 3yo fillies, $200,000, Grade II, 1 1/16 M, Oaklawn Park
Maker's Mark Mile, 4&up, $200,000, Grade II, 1 M (T), Keeneland

SATURDAY, APRIL 12
Wood Memorial Stakes, 3yo, $750,000, Grade I, 1 1/8 M, Aqueduct
Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, 3yo, $750,000, Grade I, 1 1/8 M, Keeneland
Arkansas Derby, 3yo, $500,000, Grade II, 1 1/8 M, Oaklawn Park
Carter Handicap, 3&up, $350,000, Grade I, 7F, Aqueduct
Bay Shore Stakes, 3yo, $150,000, Grade III, 7F, Aqueduct
La Puente Stakes, 3yo, $150,000, 1 M (T), Santa Anita Park
Whimsical Stakes, 4&up (F&M), $125,000, 6F, Woodbine
Shakertown Stakes, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 5 F, Keeneland
California Derby, 3yo, $100,000, 1 1/8 M, Bay Meadows
Irving Distaff Stakes, 3&up (F&M), $75,000, 7 F (T), Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie
Yankee Affair Stakes, 3&up, $75,000, 5F (T), Gulfstream Park
Instant Racing Breeders' Cup, 3yo fillies, $75,000, 1 M, Oaklawn Park
Northern Spur Breeders' Cup Stakes, 3yo, $75,000, 1 M, Oaklawn Park
Suncoast/Coca-Cola Atlanta Cup, 4&up, $75,000, Grade II, 2 3/8 M (Steeplechase), Atlanta

SUNDAY, APRIL 13
Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes, 3&up, $250,000, Grade II, 7F, Keeneland
Providencia Stakes, 3yo fillies, $150,000, 1 1/8 M, Santa Anita Park
Jenny Wiley Stakes, 4&up (F&M), $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M (T), Keeneland
Bob Slater Stakes, 3&up (F&M), $75,000, 5F (T), Gulfstream Park

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16
Doubledogdare Stakes, 4&up (F&M), $100,000, 1 1/16 M, Keeneland

THURSDAY, APRIL 17
Forerunner Stakes, 3yo, $100,000, 1 1/8 M (T), Keeneland

-30-

 

Racing television schedule

 

 


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