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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.


Everyone in racing was looking forward to a rematch between Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide and Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker in the 134th running of the Grade I, $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday. But following Funny Cide's dull, third-place finish in the Haskell and a high post-race temperature of 102, chances looked slim that the overachieving gelding would compete in the storied "Mid-Summer Derby" for three-year-olds at a mile and a quarter.

Over the past few days, however, Funny Cide has perked up and worked well. Although the horse is not definite for Saturday's Travers, trainer Barclay Tagg said the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner is "75 percent" likely to run. The Travers (6:25 p.m. EDT) will be shown live on ESPN as part of a special “SportsCenter at Saratoga” telecast from 5:00-7:00 p.m. (ET).

"It's kind of a push to get him into this race," said Tagg. "You hate to miss the Travers, you hate to miss a $1 million race, but you've got to do what's best for the horse or you'll miss the rest of the year."

"It would be tremendous, obviously, for this horse to win," said Jack Knowlton, managing partner of Sackatoga Stable which owns Funny Cide. “You look ahead to three-year-old of the year and a win here would certainly put him in a good spot."

Bobby Frankel -- trainer of Empire Maker, who was installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite -- has a similar view, but it comes from the other side of the fence. "If they all run their best race, I think I should win," he said. "If he wins this race, he's definitely the leading three-year-old for awards."

Frankel also entered recent Haskell Invitational Handicap winner Peace Rules for the Travers, but Peace Rules is not expected to see action.

The field for Saturday's Travers from the rail out is as follows: Congrats (jockey: Mike Luzzi, morning line odds: 15-1), Strong Hope (John Velazquez, 4-1), Peace Rules (Jerry Bailey, 8-5), Ten Most Wanted (Pat Day, 6-1), Empire Maker (Jerry Bailey, 8-5), Wild And Wicked (Shane Sellers, 20-1), Funny Cide (Jose Santos, 3-1) and Sky Mesa (Edgar Prado, 4-1).


Gary Ross, director and screenwriter of the motion picture Seabiscuit, will be the keynote speaker at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Annual Meeting, which will be held September 21-23, in conjunction with the NTRA’s Marketing Summit, at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Ross’ remarks, which will be delivered during lunch on September 22, will cover a variety of topics, including what horseracing can do to better appeal to mass audiences.

Ross, a longtime fan of Thoroughbred racing, was part of the syndicate that earlier this year bought a minority interest in Kentucky Derby contender Atswhatimtalknbout, who finished a strong fourth in the Run for the Roses. His directing credits include Seabiscuit and Pleasantville (1998) and he served as the screenwriter for those two films, as well as for Dave (1993) and Big (1988).

"The passion Gary Ross has for the sport of horseracing should be obvious to anyone who has seen Seabiscuit," said Keith Chamblin, the NTRA’s senior vice president-marketing & industry relations. "Gary’s unique perspective and refreshing candor will make for a highly insightful and entertaining keynote, and we are delighted that he accepted our offer to join us and share his views."

For additional information about the NTRA Annual Meeting or NTRA Marketing Summit, please contact Fritz Widaman of the NTRA at 859-223-5444.


MSNBC will present "Thoroughbred: Stable to Stardom," an in-depth look at horseracing on Sunday, August 24 from 10:00-11:00 p.m. (ET). NBC News Anchor Forrest Sawyer hosts the one-hour documentary.

"Our producers went behind the scenes to document a year in the high stakes business of Thoroughbred racing, and soon realized they were capturing the dramatic story of a very special season, rich with heroes, villains and stunning surprises," said Scott Hooker, Executive Producer, MSNBC.

Shot over an entire year, this inside look at the racing world follows determined trainers through their highs and lows of the sport. "Thoroughbred" takes the viewer into the minds of the jockeys, the trainers and the owners of these remarkable animals, the people who are willing to stake their dreams on the legs of a horse.

Forrest Sawyer, and Janet Tobias of Sierra Tango Productions, and Scott Hooker are the executive producers of "Thoroughbred."

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

August 22 Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships -- Powered by Dodge; Personal Ensign Handicap (Saratoga); 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN2

August 23 Wire to Wire, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

August 23 Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships -- Powered by Dodge/SportsCenter at Saratoga; Travers Stakes, King's Bishop Stakes and Fourstardave Handicap (Saratoga); 5:00-7:00 p.m., ESPN

August 24 Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships -- Powered by Dodge; Pacific Classic (Del Mar), and Ballerina Handicap (Saratoga); 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN

August 24 Seabiscuit -- The Making of the Movie, Presented by Equibase; 7:00-8:00 p.m., ESPN Classic

August 27 Wire to Wire, 2:00-2:30 p.m., ESPN2

August 29 Seabiscuit -- The Making of the Movie, Presented by Equibase; 7:00-8:00 p.m., ESPN Classic

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

August 30 Bessemer Trust Two-Year-Old Challenge; Hopeful Stakes (Saratoga), 4:00-5:00 p.m., CNBC

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


Aug. 22, 1972: In preparation for his next start, the Aug. 26 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse, Secretariat worked a half-mile in :46 2/5.

Aug. 22, 1998: Hall of Fame trainer Woodford Cefis "Woody" Stephens died in Miami Lakes, Fla. He was 84.

Aug. 23, 1956: Carl Gambardella had his first career winner, aboard Rollin Warm, at Hagerstown.

Aug. 23, 1974: Frank Whiteley-trained Ruffian won the Spinaway Stakes by 13 lengths at Saratoga Racecourse, ending her two-year-old season with a 5-for-5 record. Ruffian was subsequently voted champion juvenile filly of 1974.

Aug. 24, 1968: Carrying 134 pounds, Dr. Fager set the then-world record for a mile in the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park. The time for his 10-length victory was 1:32 1/5. The previous record was 1:32 3/5, set by three-year-old Buckpasser on June 25, 1966 at Arlington Park.

Aug. 24, 1989: Jockey Larry Snyder won his 6,000th career race, aboard a filly named Speedski, in the first race at Louisiana Downs. Snyder was the sixth rider in history to accomplish that feat.

Aug. 25, 1987: Julie Krone gained her 1,000th career victory, aboard Tiger Higgins in the second race at Monmouth Park.

Aug. 25, 1997: Jockey Pat Day gained his 7,000th career victory aboard Bay Harbor in the second race at Saratoga Racecourse. Day became the fifth rider to reach the 7,000-win plateau.

Aug. 25, 2001: A record Travers Stakes day attendance of 60,486 watched Point Given win the race dubbed the "Midsmummer Derby." The day's total betting handle of $34,529.273 was also a Saratoga record.

Aug. 26, 1953: A syndicate headed by Howard E. Booker of San Francisco, unveiled a proposal for an off-track betting system in New York. Booker's group, planning to use Western Union to compile off-track bets, sought to establish 139 betting offices, to be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Aug. 26, 1972: Secretariat won the Hopeful Stakes by five lengths at Saratoga Racecourse, for his second stakes win in as many tries.

Aug. 27, 1953: The Thoroughbred Racing Associations denounced a plan for off-track betting in New York. John A. Morris, the TRA president, declared: "Although it could mean increased profits for the race tracks, off-course betting would inevitably subordinate racing and bring on an adverse public reaction which would kill a traditionally great sport and an economically significant industry."

Aug. 28, 1988: A winning ride aboard Precisionist in the Cabrillo Handicap at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club made Chris McCarron the fifth jockey to surpass $100 million in career earnings.

Aug. 28, 2001: A study commissioned by Churchill Downs showed that this year’s renewal of the Kentucky Derby had a $218-million impact on the regional economy.

Aug. 29, 1987: Charlie Whittingham became the first trainer to surpass 500 stakes wins when he sent Ferdinand to victory in the Cabrillo Handicap at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

Aug. 29, 1993: Laffit Pincay Jr., 46, became the second rider in North American racing history to ride 8,000 winners when he rode El Toreo to victory in the seventh race at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Bill Shoemaker was the first to hit 8,000, a feat he accomplished in 1981 at age 49.

Aug. 30, 1981: Bill Shoemaker became the first jockey to win a $1 million race when he rode John Henry to a nose victory over The Bart in the inaugural Arlington Million at Arlington Park.

Aug. 31, 1955: In an East versus West showdown, Nashua, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, went wire-to-wire to defeat Swaps, ridden by Bill Shoemaker in a match race at Washington Park. Nashua’s victory avenged his second-place finish, behind Swaps, in the 1955 Kentucky Derby.

Aug. 31, 1985: Angel Cordero Jr., 42, became the third rider in history—behind Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr.—to have his mounts earn $100 million, while riding at Belmont Park.

Sept. 1, 1881: The Dwyer Brothers’ three-year-old Hindoo won his 19th consecutive race, a purse event at Sheepshead Bay. His winning streak was snapped six days later in the September Handicap at Sheepshead, in which he finished third.

Sept. 1, 1924: A French colt, Epinard, headed the field for the first of three Internationals, of progressively longer distances, to be run at Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Latonia. Epinard finished second in the six-furlong race, which was witnessed by the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII.

Sept. 1, 1947: With a victory by Armed in the Washington Park Handicap, Calumet Farm became the first stable to surpass $1 million in annual earnings. Calumet led all owners for 1947, with total earnings of $1,402,436.

Sept. 1, 2001: Jockey Tim Moccasin capped a streak of 14 consecutive victories, a North American record, at Marquis Downs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. His fourteenth straight win came aboard Intricate Stitch in the fifth race.

Sept. 2, 1901: Seven-year-old Ogden won two races in a single day at Coney Island.

Sept. 2, 2001: Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Jones, best known as the conditioner of Citation, died at age 94 after a lengthy illness.

Sept. 3, 1956: Swaps ended his racing career with a victory in the Washington Park Handicap at Washington Park. He was subsequently named Horse of the Year.

Sept. 3, 1956: Jockey John Longden surpassed Sir Gordon Richards’ then-record number of wins when he rode Arrogate to victory in the Del Mar Handicap to attain his 4,871st victory.

Sept. 3, 1960: Kelso, ridden for the first time by Eddie Arcaro, won the Jerome Handicap.

Sept. 3, 2001: Jockey John Velazquez became the first jockey in history to ride six winners on a single card at Saratoga Racecourse.

Sept. 3, 2001: For the first time in Saratoga Racecourse history, attendance hit the million mark, with a total of 1,011,669 fans going through the turnstiles during the 36-day meet.

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

Personal Ensign H, 3&up (F&M), $400,000, Grade I,, 1¼ M, Saratoga

Travers Stakes, 3yo, $1,000,000, Grade I, 1¼ M, Saratoga
King’s Bishop Stakes, 3yo, $200,000, Grade I, 7F, Saratoga
Fourstardave Handicap, 3&up, $200,000, Grade II, 1 1/16 M (T), Saratoga
Ballston Spa Breeders’ Cup Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $200,000, Grade III, 1 1/16 M (T), Saratoga
Philip H. Iselin Breeders’ Cup Handicap, 3&up, $200,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M, Monmouth Park
Rancho Bernardo Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $150,000, Grade III, 6½ F, Del Mar
Canadian Derby, 3yo, $150,000, 1 3/8 M, Northlands Park
Arlington Sprint, 3&up, $100,000, 6F, Arlington Park
Aspidistra Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $100,000, 1 M (T), Calder
Washington Breeders’ Cup Oaks, 3yo fillies, $100,000, 1 1/8 M, Emerald Downs
Governor’s Handicap, 3&up, $75,000, 1 M, Ellis Park
City of Edmonton Distaff, 3&up (F&M), $75,000, 1 1/16 M, Northlands Park

Pacific Classic, 3&up, $1,000,000, Grade I, 1¼ M, Del Mar
Del Mar Oaks, 3yo fillies, $300,000, Grade I, 1 1/8 M (T), Del Mar
Ballerina Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $250,000, Grade I, 7F, Saratoga
Longacres Mile Handicap, 3&up, $250,000, Grade III, 1 M, Emerald Downs
Ontario Colleen Stakes, 3yo fillies, $125,000, 1 M (T), Woodbine
Gold Rush Futurity, 2yo, $100,000, 6F, Arapahoe Park
Emerald Breeders’ Cup Distaff, 3&up (F&M), $100,000, 1 M, Emerald Downs

Glens Falls Handicap, 3&up (F&M), $100,000, Grade III, 1 3/8 M (T), Saratoga

New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase, 4&up, $100,000, Grade I, 2 3/8 M (Steeplechase), Saratoga



Racing television schedule



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