NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK
|News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled
by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.
HURLEY'S SONGANDAPRAYER TO FACE DOZEN IN SATURDAY'S FLORIDA DERBY
Winner of the Feb. 17 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., Songandaprayer will try to duplicate that winning effort after drawing post nine for Saturday's Grade I, $1 million Florida Derby, a major Kentucky Derby prep race also to be run at Gulfstream. Songandaprayer is owned by former Duke University basketball star Bobby Hurley, who spent $1 million for the son of Unbridled's Song as a yearling.
The wire-to-wire running of the Florida Derby can be seen on Saturday as part of SportsCenter on ESPN2 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. (ET). Expanded coverage of the Florida Derby can also be seen on Sunday's "Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby" telecast which will also feature the live running of that day's Louisiana Derby from Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
The complete Florida Derby field from the rail out is: Radical Riley (to be ridden by Eduardo Nunez); Invisible Ink (John Velazquez); Outofthebox (Jerry Bailey); Trailthefox (Olivier Peslier); Turnberry Isle (Pat Day); City Zip (Corey Nakatani); Monarchos (Jorge Chavez); Dream Run (Jon Court; Songandaprayer (Edgar Prado); Talk is Money (Michael McCarthy); You Know Who (Kent Desormeaux); Cee Dee (Richard Migliore); and It's So Simple (Eibar Coa).
FANS NAME YEARLING COLT AFTER DALE EARNHARDT
Auto racing fans from throughout the country have been paying tribute to Dale Earnhardt in a wide variety of ways since he was killed in the final lap of the Daytona 500 on February 18. Two of them recently came up with a unique way to pay homage: they named a Thoroughbred racehorse in honor of the NASCAR driver who was fondly known by his legion of fans as "The Intimidator."
Mark Toothaker and Frank Newman of Van Buren, Ark. have registered a yearling colt with The Jockey Club and named him D E Intimidator. The bay colt is by Ordway out of the mare Keen on Gold and -- in an eerie coincidence that neither owner was aware of until it was pointed out to them -- was foaled on February 18, 2000, exactly one year prior to Earnhardt's death.
"I listened to or watched all of Dale Earnhardt's races and he was always my favorite driver," Toothaker explained. "The sport is really going to miss him and we just thought this would be a nice way to pay tribute to him."
Newman admired Earnhardt's competitive spirit and hopes his equine namesake displays some of it. "He was a heck of a driver, he did all he could to win and we'll be very happy if this horse wins half as many races as Dale did," he said. "We gave the colt this name primarily as a memorial tribute, but maybe it will also do some good for our sport if auto racing fans follow this horse when he gets to the races."
D E Intimidator is presently stabled on a farm in Alma, Ark. and the longtime Thoroughbred owners have yet to decide who will train him when he begins preparing for his racing career next year.
KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURE WAGER POOL 2 OPENS TODAY
The second of three pools in Churchill Downs' 2001 Kentucky Derby Future Wage is set to open today, and the mutuel field, which represents all three-year-olds other than the 23 individual horses listed in the pool, is expected to again attract strong support.
The mutuel field was a 3-1 favorite at the end of Pool 1 and Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia has installed that wagering interest as the 5-1 favorite for this weekend's pool, which opens at noon (ET) today and will close at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 11. Point Given, who closed as the 7-1 second choice in Pool 1, occupies that slot again in the Pool 2 morning line odds at 6-1. Next in line are Dollar Bill at 8-1, Millennium Wind at 10-1, and a pair of 12-1 shots: A P Valentine, owned by basketball coach Rick Pitino's Celtic Pride Stable, and Street Cry.
"The fans have solidly backed the mutuel field in the early pools of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager in its first two years, and I think they'll do it again in this week's Pool 2," said Battaglia. "The Derby picture remains as wide open at this stage as it has been in several years, and few of the top contenders have raced enough this year for the fans to form any strong opinions."
The Kentucky Derby Future Wager allows fans to pace wagers on contenders for the Kentucky Derby weeks in advance at odds that may be more attractive than those they would receive on Derby Day. The Kentucky Derby Future Wager is a $2 minimum wager and is a win bet only. The third and final pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager is scheduled for April 5-8.
Fans at racetracks and satellite outlets in a record 28 states wagered $510,815 in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager during its four-day run from Feb. 15-18. The total was the largest for a single pool in the history of the Future Wager, which was offered for the first time in 1999, and marked the first time that a single pool had exceeded the $500,000 mark. Total wagering for all three pools in 2000 was a record $1,158,919, up from the $676,233 wagered on all three pools in 1999.
KUTZ WINS 2001 GEORGE WOOLF AWARD
Jockey Dean Kutz has been named the 52nd winner of the coveted George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, bestowed each year by a vote of fellow jockeys to a rider whose career and personal character reflect positively on themselves and the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Kutz, 44, will receive the award in a ceremony at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. on Mar. 25.
A native of Harvey, N.D., Kutz has won 2,773 races in his career. He was born with only one kidney, which failed in 1984, and had a transplant procedure performed that year. In March of 1999, Kutz lost his larynx during surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his throat.
"I'm thrilled to have been voted as the Woolf Award winner by my fellow jockeys," Kutz said. "It's been a tough couple of years but I'm hopeful to return to riding again soon. I'm too young to quit."
Known as "The Iceman," George Woolf was a champion jockey who piloted Seabiscuit in his epic 1938 match race victory over 1937 Triple Crown winner War Admiral. Woolf died as the result of an accident during a race at Santa Anita on Jan. 3, 1946.
Past winners of the Woolf Award include Eddie Arcaro, Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay Jr., Angel Cordero Jr., Pat Day, Chris McCarron and Jerry Bailey.
FOURTH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL JOCKEY CHALLENGE SUNDAY
The Fourth Annual British Airways International Jockey Challenge is all set for Sunday, March 11, at Santa Anita Park in Arcardia, Calif.
The unique event pits four of Europe's best jockeys four of America's finest riders in a four-race challenge. Team USA has won the event two of the three years, including last year by a margin of 56-28.
This year the American team will be comprised of Laffit Pincay Jr., Kent Desormeaux, Corey Nakatani and Victor Espinoza. Members were chosen by fan voting on-track and on-line. The legendary Bill Shoemaker captains Team USA for a fourth straight year.
Pincay, racing's all-time leading jockey with 9,088 victories (through Mar. 4), will make his third appearance in the event. Team USA is unbeaten with Laffit in the lineup, posting victories in the 1998 and 2000 IJC. Desormeaux previously participated in 1999 and finished second in the individual standings that year with 18 points.
Nakatani and Espinoza, two of Southern California's leading riders, will be making their debuts in the red, white and blue silks of Team USA.
Team Europe, captained by Steve Cauthen, includes IJC veterans Kieren Fallon, Frankie Dettori and Olivier Peslier. Johnny Murtagh, one of Ireland's top riders, will be making his first appearance in the event. Fallon led Europe to victory in 1999 and is third all-time in individual points with 28.5.
RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)
RACING TO HISTORY
WEEKEND STAKES RACES (unrestricted stakes worth $75,000 and up)
FRIDAY, MARCH 9
SATURDAY, MARCH 10
SUNDAY, MARCH 11
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