Chicago Barn to Wire


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


According to figures released this morning by Nielsen Media Research, last Saturday's telecast of the Kentucky Derby on NBC earned a final rating of 8.1 and a 21 share, making it the most-watched sports program of the weekend. The ratings for the show, NBC's first Derby in its new five-year deal with Triple Crown Productions, represent a 40% increase over the 5.8 rating (17 share) generated by last year's Derby, which was aired by ABC. Each ratings point is equivalent to approximately one million viewers, while "share" tracks viewership among those television sets in use at a given time.


With 1,074,531 households tuning in, ESPN's Kentucky Derby Special last Saturday was the most-watched horseracing telecast in the network's history.

The program, which earned a rating of 1.31, aired from 2:30-5:00 p.m. (ET) and included extended analysis and features on that day's Kentucky Derby, interviews with celebrities and live coverage of three stakes races on the Derby Day undercard at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Host Chris Fowler, analyst Randy Moss, commentator Jack Whitaker and reporters Jeff Medders, Jeannine Edwards, Gary Seibel and Sharlene Hawkes comprised ESPN's on-air team for the telecast.

The ESPN family of networks will again have an expanded array of programming (see television listings below) leading up to the second jewel of horseracing's Triple Crown, the 126th Preakness Stakes, to be televised live from Baltimore's Pimlico Racecourse Saturday, May 19, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC.


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has reached an agreement in principle with CNBC to televise a new series of races beginning this summer. Carrying a potential bonus of $1.3 million, the NTRA Two-Year-Old Challenge is a series of races for two-year-old colts and geldings from top tracks across the country leading up to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, part of the Breeders' Cup Championship to be run at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. The Breeders' Cup Championship will air October 27 on NBC. More


Tracy Farmer's 4-year-old Albert the Great ranks among the leading older horses in training this year and shoulders topweight of 121 pounds against only five rivals in Saturday's $750,000 Pimlico Special at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

Jockey Jorge Chavez, who won last Saturday's Kentucky Derby aboard Monarchos, is the regular rider of Albert the Great as well, and will be aboard for the 36th running of the historic Special, contested at 1 3/16 miles.

Trained by Nick Zito, Albert the Great completed an outstanding 3-year-old season last year with a win in Belmont's prestigious Jockey Club Gold Cup and a strong fourth-place finish behind Horse-of-the-Year Tiznow in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. The horse has come back in top form in his two starts this year. He finished a close-up second to Captain Steve in the Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream Park in early February and a track record victory in the Widener Handicap (G3) at Hialeah on March 24. Zito will be bidding for his third Pimlico Special victory, having taken the event in 1992 with Strike the Gold and in 1996 with Star Standard.

Taped coverage of the Pimlico Special, along with coverage of Pimlico's Hirsch Jacobs Stakes (part of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship Series) and the Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes from Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, can be seen on "NTRA 2Day at the Races" from 7:00-7:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2. The complete Pimlico Special field from the rail out is: Include (rider: Jerry Bailey, morning line odds: 3-1); Pleasant Breeze (Corey Nakatani, 6-1); Albert the Great (Jorge Chavez, 4-5); Milwaukee Brew (Edgar Prado, 5-1); Laredo (Rick Wilson, 20-1); and Sergeant York (Harry Vega, 8-1).


Some 60 invited riders from the horse industry, including Sydney Olympic Gold Medalist David O'Connor, 2001 Miss Rodeo America Tara Graham, AQHA President J. D. Blondin, a host of political guests and other VIPs will saddle up - western style - this afternoon to ride New York City's Central Park. More


Monarchos' 4 3/4 length win in last Saturday's 127th running of the Kentucky Derby resulted in donations to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation of $7,670 from Monarchos' owner John C. Oxley and another $7,670 from the syndicate that owns the colt's sire Maria's Mon for a total of $15,340. Oxley and the Maria's Mon syndicate had earlier pledged one percent of Monarchos' earnings in the Derby to the foundation.

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is the leading private source of funding for research to enhance the health and safety of horses. This year, the foundation is allocating over $700,000 for 11 new research projects. In the past two decades, it has contributed some $9 million to more than two dozen universities for more than 160 projects.

"These were very generous pledges from the Oxleys and from the syndicate owners of Maria's Mon," said Edward L. Bowen, president of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. "Our foundation exists to enhance the health and welfare of all horses and these donations will help us do that."


Hall-of-Fame riders Jerry Bailey and Pat Day are the leading vote getters thus far for starting berths in this year's fifth annual renewal of the NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship, which will again take place at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, located in the heart of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Bailey leads the pack of 30 nominees with 18% of the popular vote, with Day in second at 13%. Gary Stevens is running third with 11%. Laffit Pincay Jr. is fourth with 9%. And 2001 Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Jorge Chavez is tied with Chris McCarron for fifth position, each with 7% of the vote.

Through May 22, fans may log on to, or and vote for two jockeys they would like to see invited to compete in the NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship. The two riders receiving the most votes will receive automatic invitations to the event. Nine riders named to the Championship will be determined, as in the past, by committee, with one spot reserved for the leading rider at host track Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie. ESPN2 will televise the June 22 Championship on a same-day-tape basis. The one-hour telecast will air at 12 midnight (ET).

In addition to fan voting, there will be a special Internet and e-mail promotion in conjunction with the Championship. After the final field of 12 riders is determined, fans can log on to,, or and select their choice to win the competition. One of those correctly predicting the winner will receive a guaranteed cash prize of $7,500, with other prizes to be awarded as well to other contestants.

Registered fans may also receive a series of customized e-mail messages that will preview the NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship and contain hotlinks to handicapping information and horseracing sites. e-Dialog, a Massachusetts-based direct marketing firm whose clients include the NFL and Ticketmaster, will be providing data collection and e-mail communication services for the promotion.

The NTRA All Star Jockey Championship will receive additional support from NBC 5/KXAS-TV, based in Dallas/Ft. Worth. NBC 5/KXAS-TV and will offer extensive on-air and online promotional support throughout the month of June leading up to the Championship. The station will also supply prizes toward the Internet and e-mail-based promotion.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

May 12 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

May 12 NTRA 2Day at the Races, Pimlico Special (Pimlico), Hirsch Jacobs Stakes (Pimlico), Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes (Lone Star Park), 7:00-7:30 p.m., ESPN2

May 15 Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA, Preakness Stakes, 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic

May 16 Racehorse Digest, 1:00-1:30 p.m., ESPN

May 16 Preakness Stakes Post Position Draw, 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN

May 17 Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA, Preakness Stakes, 7:00-7:30 a.m., ESPN Classic

May 18 Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA, Preakness Stakes, 9:30-10:00 a.m., ESPN Classic

May 18 2Day at Pimlico, Gallorette Handicap and The Very One Stakes (Pimlico), 3:30-5:00 p.m., ESPN2

May 18 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (Pimlico), 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN

May 18 Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA, Preakness Stakes, 5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN Classic

May 18 Handicapping the Preakness, 8:30-9:00 p.m., ESPN2

May 19 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

May 19 Breakfast at Pimlico, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., ESPN2

May 19 2Day at the Preakness, Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap and Sir Barton Stakes (Pimlico), 1:30-3:00 p.m., ESPN2

May 19 The Preakness Special; Dixie Stakes, Pimlico Distaff Handicap and William Donald Schaefer Handicap (Pimlico); 3:00-5:00 p.m., ESPN

May 19 Preakness Stakes (Pimlico), 5:00-6:30 p.m., NBC

May 23 Racehorse Digest, 1:00-1:30 p.m., ESPN


May 10, 1842: Fashion, representing the North, competed against Boston, representing the South, in a match race at Union Course. Described by contemporaries as the best race ever run in America, with $20,000 put up on each side, the match was won by Fashion before a crowd estimated between 50,000 and 70,000.

May 10, 1910: George Woolf, namesake of a jockey's award given annually by Santa Anita Park, was born in Cardston, Alberta.

May 10, 1919: Sir Barton won the Kentucky Derby after being winless in six tries. Four days later, on May 14, he won the Preakness Stakes, and on June 11, he became the first Triple Crown winner after capturing the Belmont Stakes.

May 11, 1888: Trainer Robert Walden set the record for the most number of Preakness winners-seven-when he sent Refund to victory.

May 11, 1892: African American jockey Alonzo Clayton, age 15, became the youngest rider to win the Kentucky Derby when he guided Azra to victory in the 18th running of the Derby.

May 11, 1935: Trainer "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons sent a two-year-old colt, White Cockade, to victory in the Youthful Stakes at Jamaica, giving his 26-year-old owner, Ogden Phipps, his first stakes win ever.

May 12, 1909: The Preakness Stakes was held in Maryland after 16 runnings in New York. As part of the celebration that marked the return of the Preakness, the colors of the race's winner were painted onto the ornamental weathervane at Pimlico Racecourse for the first time.

May 12, 1917: Omar Khayyam became the first foreign-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby. He was bred in England.

May 12, 1924: Nellie Morse became the fourth and last filly to win the Preakness Stakes. Other fillies to win the Preakness were Flocarline (1903); Whimsical (1906); and Rhine Maiden (1915).

May 12, 1936: Jockey Ralph Neves was involved in a racing accident at Bay Meadows and erroneously pronounced dead. He was later revived at the morgue and he returned to the racetrack the same day. He was ordered to sit out the remainder of the racing card and so missed only a half-day of work because of his "death."

May 12, 1990: D. Wayne Lukas became the first trainer to top $100 million in purses when he sent Calumet Farm's Criminal Type to win the Pimlico Special at Pimlico Racecourse.

May 13, 1845: The Great Sectional Match, the North versus the South, was run at Union Course in New York. Fashion, representing the North, raced against the South's Peytona in a match race won by Peytona. Three years earlier, Fashion had defeated Boston, who represented the South, in another North-South rivalry.

May 13, 1891: Kingman, the only African American-owned horse to win the Derby, did so with jockey Isaac Murphy in the irons. Kingman was owned and trained by African American Dudley Allen. The win gave jockey Isaac Murphy back-to-back Derby victories and made him the first jockey to win three Derbies.

May 13, 1939: Louis Schaefer became the first person to have ridden and trained a Preakness Stakes winner after he saddled Challedon to victory. Schaefer won the 1929 Preakness as a jockey, riding Dr. Freeland. Schaefer's double was replicated by jockey-turned-trainer John Longden, who rode Count Fleet in the 1943 Preakness and trained Majestic Prince to win the race in 1969.

May 13, 1973: Secretariat worked five furlongs in :57 2/5 at Pimlico Racecourse in preparation for the May 19 Preakness Stakes. He was eased after completing his workout distance, but still ran six furlongs in 1:10.

May 14, 1978: Having recovered from the often-deadly Colitis X virus, Seattle Slew won his first start as a four-year-old in an allowance race at Aqueduct.

May 14, 1989: E.P. Taylor, owner of Windfields Farms and breeder of Northern Dancer, died at age 88.

May 14, 2000: Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill., re-opened its gates to racing after being closed for two-years, welcoming a crowd of 35,273.

May 15, 1918: Two horses-War Cloud and Jack Hare Jr.-were declared the winner of the Preakness Stakes, not because of a dead heat, but because the race was run in two divisions.

May 15, 1952: John Longden won his 4,000th victory, riding at Hollywood Park.

May 15, 1954: Nashua won his first race, running 4 1/2 furlongs over a straightaway at Belmont Park.

May 15, 1993: Genuine Risk, the second of three fillies to have won the Kentucky Derby since it began in 1875, gave birth to her first foal after 13 years of failed attempts and miscarriages. The foal, a son of Rahy, was named Genuine Reward.

May 15, 1999: Charismatic, winner of the 1999 Kentucky Derby, won the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse in front a record crowd of 100,311.

May 16, 1884: Buchanan became the first maiden to win the Kentucky Derby. Only two other maiden horses have gone on to win the Run for the Roses: Sir Barton in 1919, and Brokers Tip in 1933.

May 16, 1925: The first network radio broadcast of the Kentucky Derby aired from WHAS in Louisville.

May 16, 1979: Gary Stevens rode his first career winner, named Lil Star, trained by his father, Ron Stevens, at Les Bois Park.

May 16, 1998: Bob Baffert became the first person to train Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winners in successive years. In 1997, Baffert won the Derby and Preakness with Silver Charm; the following year, he won with Real Quiet.

May 16, 1998: During Preakness Stakes Day at Pimlico Racecourse, a transformer went down at 1:00 p.m., causing a power failure in the grandstand. With temperatures in the 90s, the facility had no operating air-conditioning, lights, closed-circuit television, public address system, elevators, escalators or betting windows. A record crowd of 91,122 was on hand and an estimated $1.5 million in on-track handle was lost.

May 17, 1875: America's oldest continuously held sporting event, the Kentucky Derby, was first run. The race was won by Aristides, who was ridden and trained by African Americans Oliver Lewis and Ansel Williamson, respectively. The day marked the opening of Churchill Downs; an estimated 10,000 spectators witnessed the first Derby.

May 17, 1881: James Rowe Sr., then age 24, became the youngest trainer to saddle a Kentucky Derby winner after Hindoo took the 7th Derby for his owners, brothers Phil and Mike Dwyer, both notorious gamblers.

May 17, 1915: Rhine Maiden, in winning the Preakness Stakes, produced the only Kentucky Derby-Preakness wins by fillies in the same year. The 1915 Derby was won by Regret, who did not compete in the Preakness.

May 17, 1930: Two-year-old Equipoise gave owner C.V. Whitney his first stakes victory when he captured the Keene Memorial Stakes at Belmont Park at odds of 3-5.

May 17, 1947: Seabiscuit, owned by Charles S. Howard, succumbed to a heart attack at Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, Calif. He was 14.

May 17, 1976: Sixteen-year-old Steve Cauthen rode his first winner, Thomas Bischoff-trained Red Pipe, in the eighth race at River Downs. By the end of his first year of apprenticeship, Cauthen had won 240 races from 1,170 mounts and $1.2 million in purses.

May 18, 1931: Fifteen-year-old Eddie Arcaro rode his first race, finishing sixth, at Bainbridge Park, Ohio. At year's end, he remained winless after 36 tries.

May 18, 1935: The Seagram family won the Queen's Plate stakes (then called the King's Plate), a record 20th time. From 1891-1898, the Seagrams' horses won the Plate every year.

May 18, 1957: Eddie Arcaro set the record for most number of Preakness Stakes wins by a jockey, six, when he rode Bold Ruler to victory for Wheatley Stable.

May 18, 1968: Judy Johnson became the first female trainer to saddle a horse for the Preakness Stakes. Her horse, Sir Beau, finished seventh in a field of 10.

May 18, 1968: Calumet Farm set the record for most number of wins in the Preakness Stakes by an owner, seven, when Forward Pass won the race by six lengths.

May 18, 1985: Patricia Cooksey became the first female jockey to compete in the Preakness Stakes. Her mount, Tajawa, finished sixth in a field of 11.

May 18, 1996: Jockey Pat Day won his third consecutive Preakness Stakes and his fifth Preakness overall, after riding Louis Quatorze to victory. The win, for trainer Nick Zito, snapped the Triple Crown race win-streak of trainer D. Wayne Lukas, which had run to six, beginning with the 1994 Preakness, won by Tabasco Cat.

May 18, 1998: Trainer Aimee Hall saddled four winners from five starters at Suffolk Downs, with all of the winners being ridden by her husband, Jose Caraballo. The wins are believed to be the first involving a married couple as jockey and trainer.

May 18, 2000: The NTRA and Breeders' Cup Ltd., were given preliminary approval for a consolidation plan under which all business, marketing and administrative duties of the two organizations would be combined.

May 19, 1961: Jockey Bill Shoemaker notched his 4,000th career win aboard Guaranteeya at Hollywood Park.

May 19, 1964: Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. won his first race, aboard Huelen, riding at Presidente Remon in Panama.

May 19, 1973: Secretariat's winning performance in the Preakness Stakes was marred by a controversy over the timing of the race. The original teletimer time was 1:55 for the 1 3/16-mile race; Pimlico amended it to 1:54 2/5 two days later.

May 19, 1999: Secretariat was honored as the 35th greatest athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN's SportsCentury, a series of programs profiling the top athletes of the past 100 years. Secretariat was the only non-human to make the top 50.

May 20, 1916: In an unprecedented sweep, Mandarin, Gala Water and Gala Day finished first, second and third, respectively, in the King's Plate at Woodbine for their owner, distiller Joseph Seagram. Three days later, Mandarin and Gala Water again finished one-two, this time in the Breeders' Stakes.

May 20, 1941: Seventeen days after his Kentucky Derby win and 10 days after his Preakness victory, Whirlaway raced against older horses for the first time. Carrying 108 pounds, Whirlaway defeated his four rivals in the Henry of Navarre Purse at Belmont Park.

May 20, 1954: At odds of 13-1, Rex Ellsworth's two-year-old colt Swaps won his maiden race by three lengths at Hollywood Park.

May 20, 1973: Having won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Secretariat shipped from Pimlico to New York in preparation for the Belmont Stakes, final jewel in the Triple Crown.

May 20, 1977: Two-year-old John Henry won his first start ever, a four-furlong maiden race at Jefferson Downs, by a nose. When he was retired in 1984, the gelding had 39 wins, 15 seconds and nine thirds from 83 starts, seven Eclipse Awards and earnings of $6,597,947.

May 21, 1978: John Henry made his first start for Dotsam Stable, winning a $25,000 claiming race at Aqueduct.

May 21, 1992: Jockey Gary Stevens hit his 3,000th winner in the fifth race at Hollywood Park, aboard Sharp Event.

May 22, 1974: Locust Hill Farm's Ruffian won her first start, a maiden race for two-year-old fillies, by 15 lengths at Belmont Park. Sent off at odds of 4-1, Ruffian completed the 5 furlongs in 1:03.

May 23, 1936: Rushaway, ridden by John Longden, won his second derby in as many days, taking the 1-mile Latonia Derby at Latonia in Covington, Ky. Rushaway had won the 1 1/8-mile Illinois Derby, run at Aurora, outside Chicago, the previous day.

May 23, 1992: Jockey Jacinto Vasquez had his 5,000th career winner, aboard Susan Pixum, at Calder Racecourse. May 23, 1992: Angel Cordero Jr. made his first start as a trainer, with Puchinito, who finished fifth in the fifth race at Belmont Park.

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

Pimlico Special Handicap, 3&up, $750,000, Grade I, 1 3/16 M, Pimlico
Hawthorne Derby, 3yo, $250,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M (T), Hawthorne
Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $200,000, Grade III, 1 3/8 M (T), Bay Meadows
Genuine Risk Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade II, 6F, Belmont Park
Eclipse Stakes, 4&up, $125,000, Grade II, 1 1/16 M, Woodbine
Edgewood Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, 1M (T), Churchill Downs
Iroquois Steeplechase, 4&up, $100,000, Grade I, 3M (T), Percy Warner
Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes, 3yo, $100,000, 7F, Lone Star Park
Hirsch Jacobs Stakes, 3yo, $75,000, 6F, Pimlico

Fastness Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1/8 M (T), Hollywood Park
George C. Hendrie Stakes, 4&up (f&m), $100,000, Grade III, 6 F, Woodbine
Francis "Jock" LaBelle Memorial Stakes, 3yo, $75,000, 1M 70 yards, Delaware Park

Hilltop Stakes, 3yo fillies, $75,000, 1 1/16 M (T), Pimlico

Miss Preakness Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, 6F, Pimlico




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