Chicago Barn to Wire


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


The great racehorse Seabiscuit took America by storm in the late 1930s. Now he has won a race of a different kind with the announcement that the book written about his career, "Seabiscuit: An American Legend," by Laura Hillenbrand, will occupy the top spot on the April 8 New York Times bestseller list for non-fiction after just three weeks in the nation's bookstores.

"We cannot think of another book, certainly in recent memory, that has exploded out of the gate the way 'Seabiscuit' has," said Sally Marvin, associate director of publicity for Random House, the book's publisher. "To have a number one New York Times bestseller after just three weeks on sale is like winning the Triple Crown."

Last week, "Seabiscuit" debuted on the prestigious New York Times list at number eight. This week (April 1), it moved to the number two slot, behind Bill O'Reilly's "The O'Reilly Factor" and just ahead of Mitch Albom's "Tuesdays With Morrie." "Seabiscuit" is believed to be the first sports-related book to reach number one on the Times hardcover non-fiction list since "Into Thin Air," a 1997 account by Jon Krakauer of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest.


In a feature story by Dermot McEvoy in this week's edition of "Publisher's Weekly," horseracing books are targeted as a group enjoying increased popularity within the sports-book marketplace.

"There's an old publishing adage that books on the Revolutionary War and horse racing don't sell, while books on the Civil War and baseball do," wrote McEvoy. "It may be time to update an out-of-date adage, because this spring horse racing and the equestrian arts are hot."

A variety of factors, including consumer research conducted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association showing that some 70 million American adults are interested in horses and racing, were cited in the article by publishing professionals as explanations for racing's popularity surge in the book industry.

Current New York Times bestseller, "Seabiscuit," by Laura Hillenbrand; "The Race for the Triple Crown," a new book by New York Times racing writer Joe Drape; and Eclipse Press' Thoroughbred Legends Series, a series of critically-acclaimed books paying tribute to great horses of the past, are among the releases praised in the "Publisher's Weekly" piece.


A 13-episode series entitled "Thoroughbred" will make its debut on the Animal Planet network on Tuesday, April 3. Narrated by actor Keith Carradine, the series focuses on life at Bonita Farm, a Baltimore-area Thoroughbred farm owned by William Boniface and his family. The half-hour programs will be shown on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. (ET) and again on Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. (ET)

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

March 31 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

April 1 "NTRA 2Day at the Races," Cottonwood Handicap (Albuquerque Downs), Berkeley Handicap (Golden Gate), preview of April 7 "Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby" tripleheader, 5:00-5:30 p.m., ESPN2

April 4 Racehorse Digest, 1:00-1:30 p.m., ESPN

April 7 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

April 7, "Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby," Santa Anita Derby (Santa Anita), Lone Star Derby (Lone Star Park), Illinois Derby (Sportsman's Park), 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN

April 11 Racehorse Digest, 1:00-1:30 p.m., ESPN


March 29, 1917: Man o' War, who would go on to win 20 of his 21 career starts, was foaled at Nursery Stud in Lexington, Ky.

March 29, 1938: In observance of Man o' War's 21st birthday, the celebration was broadcast nationally via radio from Faraway Farm, where he stood at stud.

March 29, 1969: Diane Crump became the first female jockey to win a stakes race when she took the Spring Fiesta Cup at the Fair Grounds aboard Easy Lime.

March 29, 1988: Jockey Pat Day gained his 4,000th victory, aboard Ann's Bid, in the ninth race at Oaklawn Park.

March 29, 1997: The $4 million Dubai World Cup was rescheduled for April 3 after torrential rainstorms hit Nad al Sheba racecourse.

March 30, 1952: New York Governor Thomas Dewey signed a statute transferring licensing authority from The Jockey Club to the New York Racing Commission.

March 30, 1970: Secretariat was foaled at The Meadow in Doswell, Va.

March 30, 1985: Laffit Pincay Jr. became the second jockey in history to surpass John Longden's record of 6,032 victories, riding Sovereignty to victory in the sixth race at Santa Anita Park.

April 1, 1940: New York legalized parimutuel wagering and outlawed book-makers at the state's racetracks.

April 1, 1998: The National Thoroughbred Racing Association officially launched operations with the opening of its office in Lexington, Ky.

April 2, 1938: Future Triple Crown winner Whirlaway was foaled at Calumet Farm, Lexington, Ky.

April 3, 1962: At the age of 46, jockey Eddie Arcaro announced his retirement. He retired with 4,779 victories, including two Triple Crowns, won with Whirlaway and Citation.

April 6, 1954: Two future champions, Bold Ruler and Round Table, were foaled at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky.

April 7, 1973: In his second start as a three-year-old, Secretariat won the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct as the 1-10 favorite. His time of 1:33 2-5 for the mile equaled the track record for that distance.

April 7, 1979: Jockey Steve Cauthen made his first race in England a winning one, with Marquee Universal (IRE), at Salisbury.

April 8, 1971: New York City Off-Track Betting opened for business. Two branches were available to accept wagers: the Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan and an outlet in Queens. Total handle, including telephone betting, was $66,091.

April 8, 1991: Rider-turned-trainer Bill Shoemaker was paralyzed after an automobile accident.

April 9, 1962: Jockey Ron Turcotte rode his first winner, at Fort Erie Racetrack.

April 10, 1969: I Double Dareya was ridden to victory by jockey Gilbert Hernandez at Golden Gate Fields. Hernandez also happened to be the horse's owner and trainer, giving him a triple win.

April 11, 1945 Future Triple Crown champion Citation was foaled at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Ky.

April 12, 1948: After winning seven consecutive races, Citation lost the Chesapeake Trial Stakes by a length to Saggy, but rebounded to post 16 consecutive victories, including the Triple Crown.

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

Next Move Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M, Aqueduct
Bougainvillea Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M (T), Hialeah
Berkeley Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1M, Golden Gate Fields

Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap, 4&up, $200,000, Grade II, 6F, Santa Anita Park




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