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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.

BELMONTSNOTWHATHESTALKNBOUT

Trainer Ron Ellis has announced that Atswhatimtalknbout, the fourth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, will bypass the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 7. After working out last Tuesday, Atswhatimtalknbout developed an abscess that turned into quarter crack. The quarter crack was patched, but Atswhatimtalknbout worked a mile in an unsatisfactory time of 1:46 4/5 yesterday at Churchill Downs. Today, Ellis removed the patch only to find another quarter crack forming.

"There's another one starting to form right in front of the old one," Ellis said. “The foot's just not stable. The right thing to do is to take him home and left the foot heal up. It's disappointing, but his better days are in front of him." Atswhatimtalknbout is scheduled to fly back to California on Monday.

Elsewhere on the Belmont Stakes front, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide had an easy day after putting in a sharp 5-furlong work yesterday in 59 2/5 seconds.

Kentucky Derby runnerup Empire Maker galloped over the main track at Belmont this morning. According to Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, everything is status quo for the son of Unbridled. "The track was still a little wet this morning, but it was in good shape," Frankel said. "He'll gallop for the next couple of days and work either Sunday or Monday, depending on the weather."

Empire Maker sat out the Preakness while his stablemate, Peace Rules, was fourth beaten 10½ lengths after setting the pace.

In two Belmont Stakes starts, Frankel has had to settle for second both times. Favored Aptitude (2000) and Medaglia d'Oro (2002) both missed by less than two lengths.

Dynever, winner of the Lone Star Derby, galloped a mile and a quarter over Belmont's main track this morning, according to trainer Christophe Clement. The Dynaformer colt will work this weekend.

In his Texas victory, Dynever was blocked behind horses for a majority of the stretch run. Once clear, the colt kicked in and got up for the victory. "You can only do that if you have the best horse," Clement said. "If you don't have any racing luck, in order to win you must have the best horse."

Clement is happy with the progress made by Dynever this spring, but realizes he has his work cut out for him in the Belmont Stakes.

"The two best horses on paper are Funny Cide and Empire Maker," Clement said. "They finished 1-2 in the Wood Memorial and 1-2 in the Kentucky Derby. As of now they are the best three-year-olds in the race. I don't think there's much between them. Can I compete with them or not? I'm not sure. We'll find out if we belong to that group or not in the Belmont."

BELMONT WEEK FUN GETS STARTED MONDAY WITH "DAY-NIGHT DOUBLEHEADER"

There's no racing at Belmont Park this Monday, but maybe that's a good thing because there will be more time to take part in two big events in New York City that should get Belmont Stakes week off to a big start.

At noon, Gallagher's Steak House (228 West 52nd St.) is the setting for a special luncheon at which Hall of Fame jockeys Steve Cauthen and Jorge Velasquez, the riders for 1978 Visa Triple Crown winner Affirmed and his arch rival Alydar, respectively, will unveil official artwork by James Fiorentino celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1978 Triple Crown. That year's incredible trio of races, in which Alydar finished second to Affirmed each time, marks the 11th and last time a horse has captured the Triple Crown. The general public may attend the Gallagher's function. Cost is $30 per person, which includes a steak dinner. Call John Cirillo at 212-972-5337 for reservations or additional details.

Allow a few hours for your steak to digest, then get ready to party at Opal Restaurant and Lounge (2nd Ave. and 52nd St.) at a "Welcome Home Funny Cide" event to benefit the Manhattan chapter of Ronald McDonald House. Festivities get underway at 7:00 p.m. A $40 donation gets you hors d'oeuvres and open bar for three hours. Several active jockeys will be behind the bar, serving drinks. There will also be some surprise celebrity guests and a charity auction featuring several sports and show business memorabilia items. A D.J. as well as late-night karaoke will round out the entertainment. Again, the public is welcome, but those interested are urged to arrive early as space is limited.

HANDICAPPING CHAMPIONSHIP BACK TO BALLY'S NEXT JANUARY

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that Bally's Las Vegas will host the $212,000 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship for the second consecutive year. The Championship, now in its fifth year overall, is slated for January 23-24, 2004.

The DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship features a series of handicapping tournaments for horseracing fans in local markets. The participants from each local market who qualify for the National Handicapping Championship form the team representing their racetrack or OTB in Las Vegas.

More than forty NTRA members (tracks, OTBs and related Web sites) will send at least 51 teams of four to the 2003 National Championship. A continuously updated list of host tracks and OTBs for the tournaments appears on the NTRA Web site, ntra.com, and on the Daily Racing Form site, drf.com. The list of participating sites is also published weekly in Daily Racing Form.

Also participating will be the defending champion, Steve Wolfson Jr., a 35-year-old high school teacher from Holly Hill, Fla. Wolfson won the top prize of $100,000 last year and special recognition as "Handicapper of the Year" at the Eclipse Awards ceremony held in Beverly Hills, Calif.

"Bally's is proud to host the National Handicapping Championship once again," said John Avello, Director of Operations for Race and Sports at Bally's Las Vegas. "This event is where every serious tournament player wants to be come January, and we look forward to yet another memorable competition."

"Horseplayers drive our industry, and that's why we're so delighted to recognize some of our game's sharpest, most devoted customers," said Steven Crist, chairman and publisher of Daily Racing Form. "With big money and the ‘Handicapper of the Year' title at stake, the National Handicapping Championship always generates an electric atmosphere, and we look forward to returning to Bally's, which did such an outstanding job with the Championship last January."

FANS CAN WIN A TRIP TO L.A. FOR SEABISCUIT PREMIERE

Now through July 6, fans can register for a chance to win a trip to Los Angeles for the July world premiere of the major motion picture, Seabiscuit. The prize includes round-trip airfare, two nights' hotel accommodations and limousine service in Los Angeles.

Sweepstakes contestants can enter online at www.ntra.com, NTRA member Web sites or at participating NTRA member facilities at designated areas. The contest is open to U.S. and Canada residents 18 years of age and older. No purchase is necessary, and only one entry per day -- ontrack or online -- is permitted. NTRA-member racetracks accepting entries include: Belmont Park, Calder Racecourse, Canterbury Park, Del Mar, Emerald Downs, Keeneland, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Remington Park, Sam Houston Race Park, Thistledown and Woodbine.

"If you're a horseracing fan, this is the opening night to end all opening nights," said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president-industry relations and marketing for the NTRA. "I'd like to thank our friends at Universal Pictures for the opportunity to offer this once-in-a-lifetime trip to our customers."

Seabiscuit, based on the best-selling book by Laura Hillenbrand, stars Tobey Maguire, Academy Award winner Chris Cooper and Jeff Bridges. It also marks the acting debut of active rider Gary Stevens, who was recently named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

May 31 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

June 1 Funny Cide Visa Triple Crown Special, 1:30-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

June 3 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

June 3 Thoroughbred Classics (Belmont Stakes), 6:00-6:30 p.m., ESPN Classic

June 4 Thoroughbred Classics (Belmont Stakes), 9:30-10:30 a.m., ESPN Classic

June 6 Acorn Stakes and Flash Stakes (Belmont Park), 4:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN2

June 6 Funny Cide Visa Triple Crown Special, 6:00-7:00 p.m., ESPN2

June 6 Thoroughbred Classics (Belmont Stakes), 6:00-6:30 p.m., ESPN Classic

June 7 Funny Cide Visa Triple Crown Special, 4:30-5:30 a.m., ESPN2

June 7 Wire to Wire: Belmont Stakes Edition, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

June 7 Thoroughbred Classics (Belmont Stakes), 8:00-8:30 a.m., ESPN Classic

June 7 Belmont Stakes Special; True North Breeders' Cup Handicap, Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup Handicap and Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap (Belmont Park); 3:00-5:30 p.m., ESPN

June 7 Belmont Stakes (Belmont Park), 5:30-7:00 p.m., NBC

June 7 2003 Triple Crown Highlights Show, 7:00-7:30 p.m., ESPN

June 10 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

RACING TO HISTORY

May 29, 1897: Scottish Chieftain, owned by Marcus Daly, became the only Montana bred to win the Belmont Stakes.

May 29, 1907: Colin began his undefeated career, breaking his maiden by two lengths at Belmont Park.

May 29, 1946: Two-year-old fillies Chakoora and Uleta became the first Thoroughbreds to complete a transcontinental flight. They were flown from New York to Inglewood, Calif., by the American Air Express Corporation, for a 2,446-mile trip that lasted 20 hours due to adverse weather conditions.

May 30, 1903: Flocarline became the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes.

May 30, 1908: Jockey Joe Notter misjudged the finish of the Belmont Stakes and eased up on his mount, Colin, whose career record to that point was 13-for-13. Notter barely recovered from his mistake to hold off the drive of Fair Play, who came within a head of defeating Colin. When he retired, Colin's record stood at 15 wins in as many starts.

May 30, 1936: Omaha, the Triple Crown winner of 1935, won the Queens Plate at Kempton Park, England, for owner William Woodward.

May 30, 1941: Hollywood Park introduced the "vibrationless camera," developed by Hollywood cameraman Lorenzo del Ricio. Eight patrol judges with the cameras, which were attached to their binoculars, were stationed at intervals around the track. Jockey Nunzio Pariso was the camera's first victim: he was shown on film crowding a rival on the far turn.

May 30, 1969: Patricia Barton won her first career race, at Pikes Peak.

May 31, 1969: Racing returned to Pennsylvania when Liberty Bell racetrack opened, near Philadelphia. The state had not had legal racing since 1802 and became the 30th state to adopt parimutuel wagering.

May 31, 2001: Jockey Pat Day became just the third jockey in history to win 8,000 races, hitting the milestone by winning the sixth race at Churchill Downs aboard Camden Park. Day joined Laffit Pincay Jr. and Bill Shoemaker in the 8,000 club.

June 1, 1881: Pierre Lorillard's Iroquois became the first American-owned and -bred horse to win a European classic race when he won the Epsom Derby under one of England's greatest riders, Fred Archer. Iroquois won seven of nine starts as a three-year-old, including England's St. Leger Stakes.

June 1, 1946: Assault became the seventh horse to win the Triple Crown, with a victory in the Belmont Stakes.

June 1, 1973: In his final tuneup for the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown, Secretariat went six furlongs in 1:11 3/5, doing the first three furlongs in :35 2/5 and five furlongs in :59.

June 1, 1978: In his first start ever on the turf, eventual four-time champion grass horse John Henry won a $35,000, 1 1/16-mile claiming race by 14 lengths at Belmont Park. John Henry was voted champion turf horse for the years 1980-81 and 1983-84.

June 1, 1999: Mr. Prospector, the most influential sire of his generation, died in his stall at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky. He was 29.

June 2, 1943: Trainer Hirsch Jacobs claimed two-year-old Stymie for $1,500. By the end of 1947, Stymie had become the world's leading money-winning Thoroughbred, with earnings of $816,060 and 22 stakes victories.

June 2, 1947: After a six-year layoff, 13-year-old Honey Cloud won the second race at Aqueduct. His jockey, Clarence Minner, had not ridden in 10 years.

June 3, 1943: To further the war effort, the Navy took over Tanforan racetrack and used it as a training base.

June 4, 1870: Ed Brown became the first African-American jockey to win the Belmont Stakes, with Kingfisher.

June 4, 1913: At odds of 100-1, Aboyeur became the first horse to win the Epsom Derby by an on-course disqualification after Craganour, who won by a head, was disqualified for bumping. During the race, a suffragette had rushed onto the track and pulled down the King's horse, Anmer. The suffragette, Emily Davison, died of a fractured skull.

June 4, 1941: Three days before his race in the Belmont Stakes, which would complete his Triple Crown, Whirlaway worked 1¼ miles in 2:02 2/5.

June 5, 1884: James McLaughlin became the first jockey to ride three consecutive Belmont Stakes winners, when he rode Panique to victory. He previously won with George Kinney (1883) and Forester (1882). McLaughlin repeated his feat in 1886-88, with each of his wins aboard horses owned by the Dwyer brothers. McLaughlin's triple was matched by jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. in 1984.

June 5, 1901: William C. Whitney's Volodyovski won the Epsom Derby, making him the second American owner (after Pierre Lorillard in 1881) to have won the race. Whitney leased the English-bred horse for the express purpose of winning at Epsom. Whitney's trainer, John Huggins, was the first American to train an Epsom Derby winner.

June 5, 1937: War Admiral became the fourth winner of the Triple Crown, with a win in the Belmont Stakes.

June 5, 1943: Count Fleet ended his racing career by winning the Belmont Stakes by 25 lengths. He was the sixth American Triple Crown winner. Count Fleet was such a heavy favorite for the race, going off at odds of 1-20, that no place or show wagering was allowed.

June 5, 1969: Jockey Mary Bacon won her first race, at Finger Lakes. Among apprentices, she finished 23rd in the races-won category that year, with 55 victories in 396 starts and purses of $91,642. Bacon was the first female to join the list of leading apprentices.

June 5, 1985: Steve Cauthen won the Epsom Derby aboard Slip Anchor and became the only American jockey to win both the English and Kentucky Derbies. Cauthen had previously ridden Affirmed to victory in the 1978 Kentucky Derby.

June 5, 1993: Julie Krone became the first female rider to win a Triple Crown race when she won the Belmont Stakes with Colonial Affair.

June 5, 1999: Charismatic lost his bid to become the 12th Triple Crown winner when he fractured his left front cannon bone and sesamoid while finishing third to Lemon Drop Kid in the Belmont Stakes. June 6, 1919: Man o' War won his first race ever, a five-furlong contest over a straightaway at Belmont Park. He won by six lengths, running the distance in 59 seconds, and went off at odds of 3-5. In each of his 20 subsequent races, Man o' War was the odds-on favorite.

June 6, 1972: In preparation for his colt's July 4 racing debut, trainer Lucien Laurin put blinkers on two-year-old Secretariat for the first time. Secretariat responded by working a half-mile at Belmont Park in :47 3/5, the fastest time he had ever worked up to that date.

June 6, 1987: Bet Twice became the first horse to receive a Triple Crown bonus after winning the Belmont Stakes over rival Alysheba. He earned $1 million in addition to the first-place money.

June 6, 1992: Jockey Carl Gambardella won his 6,000th career victory, aboard Nip of Gin, at Rockingham Park.

June 6, 1998: Real Quiet was denied the Triple Crown when Victory Gallop edged him at the wire in the Belmont Stakes before an audience of 80,162. The crowd was the second-largest in the track's history and just shy of the mark set in 1971 when Canonero II failed in his Triple Crown bid before 82,694 spectators. Total handle on the Belmont Day card was a record of $55,613,482.

June 7, 1930: Gallant Fox became the second winner of the Triple Crown after he won the Belmont Stakes under Earl Sande. Gallant Fox subsequently sired another Triple Crown winner, Omaha.

June 7, 1941: Whirlaway won the 73rd running of the Belmont Stakes and became the fifth horse to win the Triple Crown.

June 7, 1947: Owner William Helis had three stakes wins in three different states. Rippey won the Carter Handicap at New York's Aqueduct; Jobstown won the Absecon Handicap at New Jersey's Atlantic City and Elpis won the New Castle Handicap at Delaware Park.

June 7, 1980: Genuine Risk became the first filly to compete in all three Triple Crown races. She won the Kentucky Derby and finished second in both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

June 7, 1986: Trainer Woody Stephens saddled Danzig Connection to win his fifth consecutive Belmont Stakes. Stephens won the previous races with Conquistador Cielo (1982), Caveat (1983), Swale (1984) and Creme Fraiche (1985).

June 7, 1997: In his bid to become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown, Silver Charm was outdueled during the stretch run of the Belmont Stakes by Touch Gold. Silver Charm held on for second and became the 13th horse to have lost the Triple Crown after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. On-track attendance at Belmont was 70,682, third-highest in the track's history.

June 8, 1935: Omaha, son of Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox, became the third winner of the Triple Crown with a win in the Belmont Stakes.

June 8, 1985: Brushwood Stable's Creme Fraiche became the first gelding to win the Belmont Stakes.

June 8, 1991: Julie Krone became the first female rider to compete in the Belmont Stakes. Her mount, Subordinated Debt, finished ninth as the third-longest shot in the field. Also on that date, Mane Minister became the only horse to finish third in all three Triple Crown events.

June 8, 2002: A record Belmont Park crowd of 103,222 witnessed War Emblem fail in his bid to become Thoroughbred racing's 12th Triple Crown winner at the 134th Belmont Stakes. War Emblem finished eighth behind longshot Sarava, who paid $142,50 to win as the highest priced winner in Belmont Stakes history. Belmont Park's previous attendance record was 85,818, set in 1999 when Charismatic finished third in attempting a Triple Crown sweep.

June 9, 1888: James McLaughlin set the record for most number of wins by a jockey in the Belmont Stakes, six, when he rode Sir Dixon to a 12-length victory. McLaughlin's record was matched by Eddie Arcaro in 1955.

June 9, 1887: Only two horses competed in the Belmont Stakes. It was the smallest field in the race's history, which again had only two starters in 1888, 1892, 1910, and 1920, the year Man o' War won the Belmont by 20 lengths.

June 9, 1945: Hoop Jr. won the Kentucky Derby, which was run one month after a national wartime government ban on racing was lifted.

June 9, 1973: Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths -- the longest winning margin in the race's history -- while setting a track record of 2:24, which has not been surpassed. The time was 2 3/5 seconds faster than the mark set by Gallant Man in 1957. Secretariat's victory made him the ninth Triple Crown winner and first since Citation had swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1948.

June 9, 1979: Spectacular Bid lost his chance for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes, finishing third to winner Coastal. Trainer Bud Delp alleged that the colt had sustained a foot injury after stepping on a safety pin the morning of the race.

June 9, 1984: Riding Swale in a wire-to-wire victory, Laffit Pincay Jr. won his third consecutive Belmont Stakes, becoming the only rider in this century to accomplish that feat. Pincay rode Caveat to victory in 1983 and Conquistador Cielo in 1982; all three of his mounts were trained by Woody Stephens. Jockey James McLaughlin also rode three consecutive Belmont winners, once from 1882-84, and again from 1886-88. Swale's Belmont was also the first in which a female trainer saddled a horse for the race. Sarah Lundy sent Minstrel Star to a last-place finish.

June 9, 2001: Preakness Stakes winner Point Given won the Belmont Stakes by a whopping 12 ¼ lengths, besting eight rivals in a time of 2:26 2/5 for a mile and a half, the fourth fastest time in Belmont Stakes history. A P Valentine finished second as he did in the Preakness and Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos came home third. Point Given became the 45th horse to capture two legs of horseracing's Triple Crown and the 17th to take just the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

June 10, 1890: The Preakness Stakes was run outside Baltimore, at Morris Park in New York, under the auspices of the New York Jockey Club. Suspended for three years, the race was next run at the Brooklyn Jockey Club's Gravesend Course, 1894-1908.

June 10, 1938: Hollywood Park opened in Inglewood, Calif. In its inaugural year, Hollywood Park attracted such racing stars as Lawrin, who had given jockey Eddie Arcaro his first Kentucky Derby victory, as well as Ligaroti and Seabiscuit, whose rivalry later reached its pitch in a match race contested at Del Mar on Aug. 12, 1938.

June 10, 1944: The only triple dead heat for first in a stakes race occurred at Aqueduct Racetrack in the Carter Handicap. The three winners were Brownie, Bossuet and Wait a Bit.

June 10, 1953: Trainer Charlie Whittingham, at age 40, saddled his first stakes winner when Porterhouse, ridden by Bill Boland, won the National Stallion Stakes at Belmont Park. Porterhouse was later named champion two-year-old of 1953.

June 10, 1972: Laffit Pincay Jr. won his 2,000th victory while riding at Hollywood Park.

June 10, 1978: Steve Cauthen, at age 18, became the youngest jockey ever to win the Triple Crown when his mount, Affirmed, won the Belmont Stakes. Also on that day, Alydar became the only horse to finish second in all three Triple Crown races. Affirmed was the 11th winner of the Triple Crown.

June 10, 2000: The 132nd Belmont Stakes drew a crowd of 67,810, making it the fourth largest in the racetrack's history and the largest Belmont Stakes crowd ever when a Triple Crown was not at stake. The race was won by longshot Commendable, giving trainer D. Wayne Lukas his record 13th win in a Triple Crown race.

June 11, 1898: Willie Simms became the only African American jockey to win the Preakness Stakes when he rode Sly Fox to victory. With this win, Simms became the only African American jockey to have won all three Triple Crown races. His other Triple Crown wins took place in the Kentucky Derby (1896, 1898) and Belmont Stakes (1893, 1894).

June 11, 1919: The first Triple Crown was won by Sir Barton after he completed the Belmont Stakes, then run at 1 3/8 miles rather than the traditional 1½ miles. Prior to his Triple Crown sweep, Sir Barton had been winless in six tries at racing.

June 11, 1921: Grey Lag, under Earl Sande, won the first Belmont Stakes ever to be run counter-clockwise. Previous Belmonts had been run clockwise over a fish-hook course that included part of the training track and the main dirt oval.

June 11, 1955: Jockey Eddie Arcaro tied James McLaughlin's record of six Belmont Stakes wins when he rode Nashua to victory.

June 11, 1966: Jockey Angel Cordero Jr. recorded his first American stakes victory, taking the Christiana Stakes aboard two-year-old Hermogenes at Delaware Park.

June 11, 1973: Triple Crown winner Secretariat simultaneously made the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated.

June 11, 1977: Upon winning the Belmont Stakes, Seattle Slew became the tenth Triple Crown winner and the first Triple Crown winner to remain undefeated, with a career record of nine-for-nine.

June 11, 2001: Final ratings for NBC's coverage of the Belmont Stakes were a 4.5 rating and 13 share, a 61% increase over last year's rating of 2.8 and 9 share. The average rating for all three Triple Crown races was a 6.1 and 17 share, a 49% increase over last year's combined average of 4.1 and 12, according to Neilsen Media Research. The final combined ratings also were the highest since 1992. The Belmont Stakes Day also attracted a record on-track betting handle of $10,581,093.

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

SATURDAY, MAY 31
Sheepshead Bay Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $150,000, Grade II, 1 3/8 M (T), Belmont Park
Louisville Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 3/8 M (T), Churchill Downs
Go for Wand Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, 1 1/16 M, Delaware Park
Turf Monster Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, 5F (T), Philadelphia Park
Ack Ack Handicap, 3&up, $75,000, 7½ F, Hollywood Park
Ponche Handicap, 3&up, $75,000, 6F, Calder
Real Delight Stakes, 3yo fillies, $75,000, 6F, Arlington Park
Skipat Stakes, 3&up (F&M), $75,000, 6F, Pimlico

SUNDAY, JUNE 1
Nassau Stakes, 3&up (F&M), $200,000, 1 1/16 M (T), Woodbine
Manhattan Beach Stakes, 3yo fillies, $75,000, 5½ F (T), Hollywood Park

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Racing television schedule

 

 


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