NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK
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by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.
A WEEK OF OPENINGS
It’s safe to say that Thoroughbred racing hasn’t had an "opening week" like this in quite some time.
Tomorrow marks the much anticipated opening of the major motion picture Seabiscuit, which is based on the Laura Hillenbrand bestseller. Early reviews have been promising, with the noted critics Ebert and Roeper giving the film two thumbs up.
Getting an advance look at the movie earlier this week was President George Bush who hosted a special screening at The White House that included Seabiscuit star Tobey Maguire, director Gary Ross, Laura Hillenbrand, as well as DreamWorks honcho Steven Spielberg. Reportedly, the President was moved to tears during the film and also called Maguire "Red" (after jockey Red Pollard, whom Maguire portrayed in the movie) upon meeting him.
Meanwhile, racing had two key openings yesterday as both Del Mar and Saratoga, two of the most prestigious race meetings in the world, each staged their lidlifting programs yesterday.
Whether it was Seabiscuit fever, the typically great Del Mar weather or something else, fans came to the San Diego area track in droves, setting a new opening day attendance mark of 40,682. Not only was that the highest opening day figure ever, it was the second highest attendance in the history of the track, behind only the 44,181 who came out to see Cigar lose his 16-race winning streak in the 1996 Pacific Classic.
Meteorologists were less kind to Saratoga patrons. A strong crowd of 28,220 braved torrential rain at the Saratoga Springs, N.Y. oval. The headcount was shy of last year’s record opening day mark of 32,913, a figure achieved in bright sunlight. But yesterday's tally still represented the third largest opening day crowd since Saratoga expanded to a six-week meeting in 1997.
ESPN will have live coverage of a pair of Grade I races from Saratoga, the $250,000 Test Stakes and the $500,000 Diana Handicap, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. on Saturday as part of the "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships - Powered by Dodge" series.
FUTURE BETTING ON 4 BREEDERS' CUP RACES AVAILABLE THIS WEEKEND
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has set the fields for this weekend's Period 1 of the Breeders' Cup Future Bet. Medaglia d'Oro, winner of the Oaklawn Handicap and Strub Stakes earlier this year, has been listed as the morning line favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic at 5-1 odds. Mineshaft, recent impressive winner of the Suburban Handicap, is listed next at 6-1, and Belmont Stakes victor Empire Maker is next at 8-1. Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide is listed at 15-1. Odds were established by Mike Watchmaker of Daily Racing Form.
The Future Bet is a special wager that challenges fans to select in advance the winners of Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races to be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Races open for wagering this weekend are the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge, the Breeders' Cup Distaff Presented by Nextel, the Breeders' Cup Sprint and the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf. Pools open tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. ET and close at 9:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 27.
"We're pleased to again offer future betting on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, thereby offering early betting value on future champions," said Ken Kirchner, NTRA senior vice president of product development. "These wagers also have the benefit of giving added exposure to the nation's top horses throughout the weeks leading up to Championship day at Santa Anita."
Under Breeders' Cup Future Bet rules, each race will offer individual pari-mutuel wagering on 23 runners plus one field entry consisting of all horses not in the body of 23 for each respective race. All betting, available at outlets nationwide, will be win-only with a minimum wager amount of $2.00. At the conclusion of wagering on July 27, odds for all entries become final. No refunds are made on horses that do not ultimately compete in their designated races. Fans will wager on the Future Bet with the Classic being Race 1, the Distaff as Race 2, the Sprint as Race 3, and the Turf as Race 4 in the Future Bet pools.
The early favorites for the four races are: Breeders' Cup Classic -- Medaglia d'Oro at 6-1; the Breeders' Cup Distaff -- Azeri at 8-5; the Breeders' Cup Sprint -- Shake You Down at 4-1; and the Breeders' Cup Turf -- High Chaparral (IRE) at 8-1. Dollar Bill, one of the horses originally available for wagering in the Breeders' Cup Classic, was suspended from future bet wagering yesterday after it was disclosed that the horse had suffered an unspecified injury and would be out of action for at least two months. That change now leaves 22 individual horses plus a field entry available for early wagering on the Classic. There will not be a replacement for Dollar Bill.
The complete Breeders' Cup Future Bet schedule for 2003 is:
Friday, July 25 -- Sunday, July 27: Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge, Breeders' Cup Distaff Presented by Nextel, John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf and Breeders' Cup Sprint (Period 1)
Friday, August 29 -- Sunday, September 1: Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge, Breeders' Cup Distaff, John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf and Breeders' Cup Sprint (Period 2)
Friday, September 19 -- Sunday, September 21: Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf and NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (Period 3)
July 25 Seabiscuit -- The Making of the Movie, Presented by Equibase; 7:00-8:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
July 26 Seabiscuit -- The Making of the Movie, Presented by Equibase; 2:00-3:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
July 26 Seabiscuit -- The Making of the Movie, Presented by Equibase; 5:00-6:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
July 26 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
July 26 Seabiscuit -- The Making of the Movie, Presented by Equibase; 9:00-10:00 a.m., ESPN Classic
July 26 Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships – Powered by Dodge; Test Stakes and Diana Handicap (Saratoga), King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Ascot, ENG); 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN
July 29 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
August 2 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
August 2 Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships – Powered by Dodge; Whitney Handicap and Amsterdam Stakes (Saratoga); 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN2
August 3 Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships – Powered by Dodge; Haskell Invitational Handicap (Monmouth Park) and Jim Dandy Stakes (Saratoga); 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN2
August 5 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2
July 26, 1962: Jockey Angel Cordero Jr. rode his first winner in the U.S., Counterate, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
July 26, 1973: The New York Racing Association and the Philip Morris Corporation announced the inaugural Marlboro Cup, a race to feature Secretariat and his stablemate, Riva Ridge, that would be run Sept. 15 at Belmont Park.
July 27, 1973: In preparation for the Aug. 4 Whitney Stakes, Secretariat worked a mile at Saratoga Racecourse in 1:34 over a muddy track. His workout time was 4/5 of a second lower than the 55-year-old track record for the distance. He galloped out another eighth of a mile for a final time of 1:47 4/5, which was 2/5 of a second lower than the track record.
July 28, 1951: Citation, then the world's leading money-winning Thoroughbred, was paraded before a crowd of 28,000 at Arlington Park in his last public appearance at a track before being retired to stud.
July 28, 1987: Jockey Angel Cordero Jr. won his 6,000th victory in the Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park aboard Lost Kitty. He was the fourth rider in racing history to accomplish that feat.
July 29, 1953: Jockey Walter Blum rode his first career winner at Saratoga Racecourse.
July 29, 1972: In preparation for a July 31 race at Saratoga, Secretariat went three furlongs in :35.
July 29, 1973: Jockey Pat Day rode his first career winner, Forblunged, in a $2,000 claiming race at Prescott Downs, Prescott, Ariz. His mount earned $347; the winner's share of the $631 purse.
July 29, 1995: Jockey Russell Baze won his 5,000th career victory, aboard Cyrus Says, in the sixth race at Sonoma County Fair. He was the 15th rider to reach that plateau.
July 30, 1870: Monmouth Park opened with a five day race meet. July 31, 1972: Secretariat, ridden for the first time by Ron Turcotte, won his second victory in three starts, on opening day at Saratoga Racecourse. The pair were sent off at odds of 2-5.
Aug. 1, 1945: Open racing resumed in place of the war-time restricted, or zoned, system in England.
Aug. 2, 1864: America's oldest Thoroughbred racetrack, Saratoga Racecourse, opened its inaugural meet with four days of racing. Since then it has been the site of some of racing's most famous upsets. Man o' War suffered his only loss in 21 starts while racing at Saratoga, and Triple Crown champion Gallant Fox was defeated by a 100-1 shot named Jim Dandy in Saratoga's 1930 Travers, prompting the track to be called "the graveyard of favorites."
Aug. 2, 1969: Jockey Robyn Smith, one of the first female jockeys in the U.S., won her first career race, at Ferndale.
Aug. 3, 1971: The yearling Secretariat was shod on his front feet for the first time and transferred to the Meadow training center for breaking.
Aug. 3, 1989: Jockey Jorge Velasquez notched his 6,000th career victory aboard three-year-old filly Maddie Bumpo in the third race at Arlington International Racecourse.
Aug. 3, 2000: Fred. W. Hooper, who won the 1945 Kentucky Derby with the first horse he ever owned and went on to develop one of Florida's leading racing and breeding operations, died in his sleep in Miami, at the age of 102.
Aug. 4, 1973: In his first race against older horses, 1-10 favorite Secretariat was defeated in the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga by Allen Jerkens' four-year-old trainee Onion, who beat him by a length. Secretariat was subsequently found to be suffering from a virus.
Aug. 5, 1988: Trainer Dale Baird won his 5,000th career race with Stuffed Johnnie at Mountaineer Park, becoming the second trainer in history, behind Jack Van Berg, to reach that mark.
Aug. 6, 1951: The National Museum of Racing opened in Congress Park at Saratoga Springs, N.Y. More than 2,000 people attended the opening ceremonies presided over by C.V. Whitney.
Aug. 6, 2001: Jockey Earlie Fires; trainers Richard Mandella and Tom Smith; horse of yesteryear, Maskette; contemporary female horse, Paseana; and contemporary male horse, Holy Bull were inducted into Thoroughbred racing's Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
THURSDAY, JULY 24
FRIDAY, JULY 25
SATURDAY, JULY 26
SUNDAY, JULY 27
MONDAY, JULY 28
THURSDAY, AUGUST 1
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