Chicago Barn to Wire

NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK

News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.

HORSE OF YEAR TIZNOW TO RETURN SATURDAY IN THE STRUB

Annointed 2000 Horse of the Year just last Tuesday night at Thoroughbred Racing's Eclipse Awards in New Orleans, Tiznow will return to the races and break from the outside gate as the favorite in the Grade II, $500,000 Strub Stakes for four-year-olds at Santa Anita Park. The Strub Stakes, which drew a field of six, will be televised live (approximate post time 6:47 p.m. ET) on ESPN2 as part of the 2001 debut of the "NTRA 2Day at the Races" series airing Saturday from 6:30-7:00 p.m. (ET). Also on the program will be taped coverage of Saturday's Donn Handicap from Gulfstream Park and the San Vicente Stakes, run earlier on the Saturday Santa Anita card.

The complete Strub Stakes field from the rail out is: Jimmy Z (jockey: Laffit Pincay, Jr.), Nurdlinger (Tyler Baze), Wooden Phone (Corey Nakatani), Capo Di Capo (Victor Espinoza), Tribunal (Gary Stevens), and Tiznow (Chris McCarron).

TORRES TO HEAD RTCA

Living up to its new fund raising slogan, "A New Day for RTCA," the Race Track Chaplaincy of America hired its first executive director in over a decade, Dr. Enrique Torres. An adjunct professor at the prestigious Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., The New York Evangelical Seminary in New York City and the Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Mass., Torres worked as an RTCA Associate Field Director last summer, visiting Chaplains, backstretch workers and track executives at 10 different tracks.

"I genuinely felt the call when I walked the backstretch and saw the need," said Dr.Torres. "I never dreamed the Lord would call me to this position. But when I saw the holistic ministry that was being performed at the tracks, it touched my heart and I realized it would take a team effort to fill the needs. My commitment is to do all that I can."

Founded in 1971 to provide for the spiritual, emotional and material needs of track workers, the RTCA also announced a campaign to raise $1 million. Don Price, the campaign's director and a past Executive Secretary for the Virginia Racing Commission, said the money is needed to fund a permanent office and pay a full time professional staff, something the organization has never had. This, Price said, will increase the number of chaplains and improve their education. It will also standardize and increase track social service programs such as English As a Second Language, GEDs and immigration compliance education.

Hall of Fame Jockey Pat Day, the RTCA's spokesperson, said he believed a permanent office and staff headed by Torres will have a "snowball effect," increasing Chaplains and services to workers. "We have to have a competent executive director if we are going to move forward and have the impact the racing industry needs and the people working in it deserve. I'm convinced he's the man who will take the Chaplaincy to the next level."

TRF TO RECEIVE $5 MILLION FROM MELLON ESTATE

The estate of the late Paul Mellon has announced a $5 million endowment gift to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, the nation's leading thoroughbred retirement and rescue organization. Mellon was one of the most distinguished and admired horsemen in Thoroughbred racing history.

"The endowment will be a significant help in meeting our present operating expenses for seven large farms and the feeding of more than 350 Thoroughbreds," said John Stuart, TRF president. "It will also provide a base that allows us to continue confidently to expand our horse rescue programs. We can only regard this as an important testimonial from one of racing's giants, and we are profoundly grateful for this generous gift."

A pioneer in horse rescue programs, the TRF remains the largest organization of its kind in the nation, providing lifetime homes for former racehorses at TRF-operated and satellite farms in Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin, and through private adoptions. Major farms include facilities at Wallkill Correctional Facility in Wallkill, N.Y., Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington, Ky., and now, Marion County Correctional Institution in Ocala, Fla., where inmates learn vocational and life skills through their care of the horses, and at the Charles Hickey School in Baltimore, Md., where at-risk juveniles benefit from a similar program. At the Exceller Farm in Poughquag, N.Y., racehorses are rehabilitated and retrained for private adoption.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

February 3 "NTRA 2Day at the Races," Strub Stakes (Santa Anita), San Vicente Stakes (Santa Anita), Donn Handicap (Gulfstream), 6:30-7:00 p.m., ESPN2
February 4 Eclipse Awards Special 4:00-5:00 p.m., ESPN2
February 5 Racehorse Digest, 4:30-5:00 a.m., ESPN
February 7 Racehorse Digest, 1:00-1:30 p.m., ESPN
February 10 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
February 14 Racehorse Digest, 1:00-1:30 p.m., ESPN

RACING TO HISTORY

Feb. 1, 1941: Golden Gate Fields opened for its inaugural race meet. After a five-day "season," the track was forced to close because severe rainstorms washed out the racing surface. The advent of World War II prevented the facility from reopening until Sept. 9, 1947.

Feb. 3, 1989: Apprentice jockey Nate Hubbard hung on for second-literally-when his horse, Sweetwater Oak, stumbled near the finish line at Golden Gate Fields and flipped the rider out of his saddle. As he tumbled forward, Hubbard grabbed on to the filly's neck and hung in mid-air until the race was over. The track stewards ruled it an official finish because Hubbard's feet never touched the ground and Sweetwater Oak carried her assigned weight throughout the race.

Feb. 3, 1990: Jockey Bill Shoemaker rode his final career race at Santa Anita Park, finishing fourth aboard Patchy Groundfog in 'The Legend's Last Ride.' He retired with 8,833 wins, a world record.

Feb. 4, 1926: Wheatley Stables, formed by Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps, recorded its first win ever, with a two-year-old filly named Sturdy Stella.

Feb. 7, 1894: The Jockey Club was incorporated. As originally conceived, it was to assume the management of racing, previously overseen by the Board of Control. Included in The Jockey Club's functions were licensing, allotment of racing dates, appointment of officials and the interpretation and enforcement of racing rules.

Feb. 7, 1969: Diane Crump became the first woman jockey in America to compete in a parimutuel race when she finished tenth of 12 aboard a 48-1 shot, three-year-old Bridle 'n Bit, in the seventh race at Hialeah Park.

Feb. 7, 1996: A racing oddity occurred at Oaklawn Park when all the winners of seven consecutive races started from the number one post position.

Feb. 8, 1941: Whirlaway began his three-year-old season with a win in a six furlong allowance race at Hialeah.

Feb. 9, 1940: After a year's absence from competition, seven-year-old Seabiscuit, champion handicap horse of 1937 and 1938, returned to racing at Santa Anita, where he finished third in a handicap race. Seabiscuit ran three more races in 1940, concluding his career with a win in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Feb. 9, 1974: Jockey Chris McCarron rode his first winner, a five-year-old gelding named Erezev, at Bowie Racecourse. By year's end, McCarron had established a then-record number of winners for a single season: 546. Fifteen years later, on Nov. 30, 1989, jockey Kent Desormeaux eclipsed that mark.

Feb. 11, 1933: The Jockey Club released data showing that as of 1932, the U.S. had surpassed Great Britain and Ireland in foal production for the first time, to become the world's leading producer of Thoroughbreds.

Feb. 12, 1981: Julie Krone rode her first career winner, a $3,500 claimer named Lord Farkle, which was owned and trained by Les St. Leon, in the sixth race at Tampa Bay Downs.

Feb. 14, 1966: Buckpasser suffered the only defeat of his three-year-old season when he finished second in a non-betting race, the Black Caesar Purse, at Hialeah. He went on to post 13 consecutive victories in 1966 (12 of them in stakes races), but was unable to compete in any of the Triple Crown races because of a hoof injury.

Feb. 14, 1990: Ladbroke at Golden Gate Fields inaugurated co-pooling of its wagers with those of a sister organization, Ladbroke Racing Wyoming. The co-pooling of wagers across state lines, made possible by California legislation that had gone into effect Jan. 1, was a first in U.S. racing.

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

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 3
Donn Handicap, 3&up, $500,000, Grade I, 1 1/8 M, Gulfstream Park
Strub Stakes, 4yo, $500,000, Grade II, 1 1/8 M, Santa Anita Park
San Vicente Stakes, 3yo, $150,000, Grade II, 7F, Santa Anita Park
Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Stakes, 4&up, $150,000, 1 1/8 M (T), Fair Grounds
Turf Paradise Breeders' Cup, 3&up, $150,000, 1 1/16 M (T), Turf Paradise
Turf Paradise Derby, 3yo, $100,000, 1 1/16 M, Turf Paradise
Arizona Oaks, 3yo fillies, $75,000, 1 1/16 M, Turf Paradise
Correction Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $75,000, 6F, Aqueduct

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4
San Antonio Handicap, 4&up, $300,000, Grade II, 1 1/8 M, Santa Anita Park
Deputy Minister Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 6 F, Gulfstream Park

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