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SATURDAY'S "CITGO RACING TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY" FEATURES SANTA ANITA AND ILLINOIS DERBYS LIVE ON ESPN
With the 2002 Kentucky Derby only a month away, "Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby," the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)- produced series on the ESPN networks, heads into the homestretch with a live doubleheader consisting of the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and the Grade II, $500,000 Illinois Derby from Sportsman's Park in Cicero, Ill. The show will air Saturday from 5:00-6:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.
Steeped in tradition, the 1 1/8 miles Santa Anita Derby boasts six winners who have gone on to capture the Kentucky Derby, including Swaps (1955), Lucky Debonair (1965), Majestic Prince (1969), Affirmed (1978), Winning Colors (1988) and Sunday Silence (1989). Last year's winner, Point Given, finished out of the money at Churchill Downs, but went on to victory in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes and became Horse of the Year. In the late 1990s, three consecutive Kentucky Derby winners started in the Santa Anita Derby, including Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and Charismatic (1999), although each came up short on the West coast.
The Santa Anita Derby is expected to feature a field of eight, led by Came Home, who is coming off back-to-back wins in the Grade II San Rafael and Grade II San Vicente Stakes, and Mayakovsky, who won the Grade III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct his last time out. Came Home and Mayakovsky hooked up in last year's Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga, finishing first and second, respectively. Also scheduled to run are the Bob Baffert-trained Danthebluegrassman, winner of the Golden Gate Derby, Easy Grades, USS Tinosa, Lusty Latin, Jack's Silver and Tracemark.
Repent, runner-up to Johannesburg in the 2001 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile, tops a field of 10 in the 1 1/8 miles Illinois Derby. Coming off a win in the Grade II Louisiana Derby, Repent, who drew the outside post, will face Peekskill, Publication, Fonz's, Changeintheweather, One Tuff Fox, War Emblem, Robin Zee, Boston Common and Secret Command.
Hosting Saturday's telecast will be Jeff Medders, joined by Randy Moss and Charlsie Cantey.
CITGO RACING TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY (all times Eastern, schedule subject to change)
4/6 ESPN 5:00-6:00 p.m. Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita/Arcadia, CA
4/13 ESPN 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wood Memorial Aqueduct/New York
4/20 ESPN2 6:00-7:00 p.m. Coolmore Lexington St. Keeneland/Lexington, KY
4/28 ESPN2 2:00-3:00 p.m. Triple Crown Special Studio Show/Tulsa, OK
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horseracing interests, including the American Quarter Horse Association, charged with increasing popularity of horseracing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited also conduct the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of eight races and $13 million in purses and awards, the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program and the Great State Challenge. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA Web site, NTRA.com.
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