NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK
|News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled
by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.
ROAD TO THE ROSES FANTASY CHALLENGE TO LAUNCH FEBRUARY 10
The EDS "Road to the Roses Fantasy Challenge," a rotisserie-style fantasy game that lets racing fans pick their own stable of Kentucky Derby horses, trainers and jockeys, will go live this Saturday, Feb. 10. The game's top winner will receive a trip to the Kentucky Derby and a $5,000 betting voucher. More
GROSS PURSES IN THE UNITED STATES SURPASS $1 BILLION MARK
Gross purses for Thoroughbred races in the United States topped $1 billion for the first time last year according to statistics recently released in "The Jockey Club Fact Book." The final tally for U.S. purses in 2000 is $1,030,839,223, an increase of seven percent against 1999 figures.
A RECORD 439 ARE NOMINATED EARLY FOR 2001 VISA TRIPLE CROWN
In a smashing show of enthusiasm from Thoroughbred owners worldwide, a record number of 439 three-year-old horses have been nominated to the 2001 Visa Triple Crown and the $5 million Visa Triple Crown Challenge during the recently completed early nomination period for the world's most prestigious trio of horse racing classics.
The overall nomination number well outdistanced the previous record of 422 set in 1986, the first year of the common nomination process under the auspices of Triple Crown Productions, headquartered at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Helping to push the nomination field to a new standard was a record 53 nominations from Europe, far surpassing last year's record total of 24.
"We are just ecstatic over these records and the enthusiasm of our European Thoroughbred neighbors," said Edward P. Seigenfeld, Executive Vice President of Triple Crown Productions, based at Churchill Downs. "This proves once again that the Visa Triple Crown has become a premier international event."
The Visa Triple Crown Challenge, which offers a $5 million bonus to any owner whose horse wins the three races, starts with the 127th running of the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs. That will be followed two weeks later on May 19 by the 126th Preakness Stakes, at 1 3/16 miles over the Pimlico Race Course oval in Baltimore, Md., and will be concluded with the 133rd Belmont Stakes on June 9 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
SEABISCUIT BIOGRAPHY DUE OUT MARCH 6, EXCERPTED IN TALK MAGAZINE
Eclipse Award-winning writer Laura Hillenbrand's highly anticipated biography, 'Seabiscuit: An American Legend,' is set for release on March 6, 2001. The Random House book recounts the true story of a crooked-legged, undersized racehorse who became a Depression-era cultural icon and the nation's number one newsmaker with the help of three men: a half-blind failed prizefighter who was abandoned as a boy at a racetrack; a virtually mute mustang breaker that the Indians called "The Lone Plainsman"; and a bicycle repairman who made a fortune by introducing the automobile to the American West. Soon to be the subject of a Universal Pictures feature film, the Random House book is excerpted in the February issue of Talk magazine.
"Seabiscuit's triumph remains a terrifically appealing Cinderella story, but it's Hillenbrand's instinctual feel for the drama of the sport and her formidable literary talents that bring the tale to life," wrote bestselling author Stephen Ambrose in W Magazine. "'Seabiscuit' is one hell of a ride."
TURFWAY PARK AND FEMALE JOCKEY COLONY RACE TO FIGHT BREAST CANCER
Valentine's Day, February 14, will be Ladies' Night at Turfway Park in more ways than one. The Florence, Ky., racetrack is designating a race on its Valentine's Day card for female riders only. For that special race and any other race won by a female jockey on the 10-race program, Turfway will donate $500 to the local affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, a national organization dedicated to the fight against breast cancer.
Women jockeys have taken Turfway by storm this winter. Headed by leading rider Kris Prather's 46 victories as of February 4, the female riders have won almost 40 percent of all races run thus far this meet. Prather is not only leading rider at Turfway Park, but entered the week of February 5 as the leading rider in the nation in total victories. Jennifer Bramblett is third in the Turfway standings with 13 wins and three other female riders - Greta Kuntzweiler, Rhonda Collins and Patricia Cooksey - are in the top 20.
Since 1982, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, credited as the nation's leading catalyst in the fight against breast cancer, has raised $240 million for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment. Of the money Turfway will be donating, 75 percent will stay in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area to help fund education, screening and treatment projects. The remaining 25 percent will benefit the Komen Foundation National Research Grants Program.
RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)
RACING TO HISTORY
WEEKEND STAKES RACES (unrestricted stakes worth $75,000 and up)
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14
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