Chicago Barn to Wire


Racing on the Air Racing to History Weekend Stakes Races
News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications, (212) 907-9280.


It's a Thoroughbred racing all-star game of sorts Friday night at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, located in the heart of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, when 12 of America's top jockeys do battle in the fifth annual NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship.

Benefiting the Jockeys Guild's Disabled Jockeys Fund, the NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship is a unique four-race event in which jockeys earn points for each top-three finish they achieve in any of the four races. Mounts for each jockey are drawn by lot based on a system designed to assign each jockey an equal chance of winning the competition.

This year's lineup of All-Star riders is: Robby Albarado, Ronald Ardoin, Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey, last year's Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey Tyler Baze, this year's Kentucky Derby-winning rider Jorge Chavez, Hall of Famer Pat Day, Hall of Famer-elect Earlie Fires, David Flores, Aaron Gryder, Corey Lanerie, Hall of Famer and the world's winningest jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. and Edgar Prado. As a group, the All-Stars have won more than 49,000 races and their mounts have earned over $1.2 billion in purse money.

"Baseball, basketball and hockey all have their midseason all-star breaks," said Lone Star Park President and General Manager Corey Johnsen. "In Thoroughbred racing, we have the Triple Crown and then there's a break before the road to the Breeders' Cup Championship. The NTRA All-Star Championship in late June is a perfect fit to showcase the talents of our sport's human stars."

Again, fans at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie and at participating simulcast outlets can participate in the special All-Star Jockey Wager. The bet requires fans to select which jockey they think will score the most points over the entire four-race series. Win, place, show, exacta and trifecta wagering will be offered. The four All-Star Jockey Championship races Friday night will be the third, fourth, sixth and seventh races on the Lone Star Park card.

The NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship will be televised nationally via same-day tape delay on ESPN2 from 11:00 p.m-12:00 a.m. (CT). Jeff Medders, Randy Moss and Kenny Rice will handle the coverage on the telecast.

Meanwhile, fans have until 11:59 p.m. (CT) tomorrow to take part in a special Internet and e-mail promotion in conjunction with the NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship. Fans can log on to,, or and predict which one of the 12 competing riders will win the competition. One of those correctly selecting the winner will receive a guaranteed cash prize of $7,500, with other prizes to be awarded as well to other contestants.


Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS) and emergency relief for horse owners and breeders was discussed in the House Agriculture Committee yesterday. The economic crisis facing many owners and breeders in Kentucky was raised by Congressman Ernie Fletcher (R-KY) during consideration of the agriculture emergency aid bill for 2001. This bill includes monies that must be distributed by September 30 of this year.

Fletcher described his proposal to provide low-interest government loans for breeders who lost 30% of their foal crop and could show that they suffered serious economic injury because of MRLS. Fletcher emphasized how small owners and breeders were particularly hard hit by this disaster. He did not offer the proposal as an amendment to the emergency aid bill because it was apparent that the Committee felt this provision would be better discussed as part of the broader farm bill, which will be considered by the Committee next month.

"This is the first step in what may be a long, but important process," said Jay Hickey, President of the American Horse Council. "Horses have never been able for agricultural emergency relief, so we will have to overcome various problems including institutional inertia to make breeders eligible for such assistance. Clearly we need to fully document the serious economic effect of MRLS on the industry and the need for assistance."

Today, Hickey, NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith and other industry leaders will meet with Congressmen in Washington D.C. as part of a new Congressional Horse Caucus, headed by Congressman Fletcher and Congresswoman Karen L. Thurman (D-FL). The Caucus is designed to educate Congressmen about the horse industry's $34 billion agribusiness.


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association today announced a 20 percent increase in the number of subscribers to its new monthly e-newsletter and a 58 percent increase in the number of issues e-mailed to fans since the program debuted in May. In the inaugural month, more than 100,000 issues of the newsletter were sent to nearly 78,000 unique subscribers. By June, more than 123,000 issues were mailed to nearly 93,000 unique subscribers. Consumers can opt to receive multiple editions of the e-newsletter, growing the number of issues beyond the number of unique subscribers.

The program, managed by precision e-mail marketer e-Dialog, has resulted in across-the-board increases in subscriber rates. Since the first e-newsletter, Churchill Downs has grown its database by 24 percent; Belmont Park by 29 percent; Turfway Park by 58 percent; and Prairie Meadows by 242 percent.

The four-color e-newsletters include local news from each participating track or organization as well as NTRA-produced information on nationally televised races, consumer promotions, upcoming events, statistics and links to horseracing Web sites. E-newsletter participants include: Los Alamitos, Prairie Meadows, Canterbury Park, Keeneland, Belmont Park, Aqueduct, Saratoga, Lone Star Park, Sam Houston, Autotote, Churchill Downs, Hollywood Park, Arlington Park, Calder Race Course, Ellis Park, Hoosier Park, Turfway Park, Suffolk Downs and Golden State Rewards Network.

Fans can register online for the e-newsletter at the NTRA Web site,, at the Web sites of its participating member organizations or at the Breeders' Cup Limited Web site,, and request as many different newsletters as they wish. The e-newsletter is available in HTML, AOL and text formats and includes a forwarding mechanism that encourages users to share the newsletter.

"The first set of mailings have had significantly higher response rates in comparison to traditional direct mail, averaging over 15 percent click-through rates and a low unsubscribe rate of less than one percent," said Keith Chamblin, NTRA vice president-marketing and industry relations. "We're very pleased with consumer response to the e-newsletter and the rapid growth in our databases."


Although there was no Triple Crown winner on the track this year, each of the Triple Crown races represented a boost for equine research. The owners of both winning colts, Monarchos and Point Given, had each pledged one per cent of the purses to Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. More


"It gets tougher every year," says Steve Walker, the 1999 Daily Racing Form/NTRA Handicapper of the Year. Walker is referring to the competition at the qualifying events since the promotion began in 1999. "You can't have an average score anymore and think you'll make it to the finals," said the Lincoln, Neb. resident. "I saw that last weekend in South Dakota's qualifier. This year's fourth-place qualifier had a higher score than last year's winner," he remarked. Walker said he was in the hunt for a time in that qualifying contest, but he wasn't able to hold on.

That hasn't stopped him; in fact, he now seems even more determined to earn a berth to the January 2002 NTRA/DRF National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas, worth $200,000 in total prizes. On Saturday, June 23, Walker will arrive at Prairie Meadows in the Des Moines, Iowa suburb of Altoona to compete with other handicappers as part of the national promotion. Prairie Meadows will send its top four handicapping qualifiers on a round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations-paid journey to Las Vegas, with the top seed receiving 25% of the Prairie Meadows contest entry fees.

A water quality assessment supervisor for the Nebraska State Department of Environmental Equality, Walker collects and analyzes water quality data. He sees a strong correlation between the tasks he performs in his job and the same thinking strategies he employs at the betting window. "I like working with numbers," says Walker. "People enjoy watching the 'Millionaire' show and working puzzles. Reading a horse's past performance charts and trying to handicap a winner are more challenging. I think handicapping is the ultimate puzzle."

Walker said he read authors Steve Davidowitz and Andrew Beyer to help him understand the basics of handicapping but refining his skills, he said, came about by studying and strategizing on his own. He first became interested in handicapping races when his graduate school roommate took him to the races at Nebraska's Lincoln State Park. After that, Walker studied everything he could get his hands on to be better at the game. After about eight to 10 years' participation in local handicapping contests, Walker entered the 1999 DRF/NTRA handicapping contest at Horsemen's Park in Omaha, winning the trip to Las Vegas. "I didn't know anyone the first year," Walker said, "so I didn't know how good the handicappers were. I think that helped me because I wasn't so nervous."

After Walker saw the talent on hand at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, however, he was less confident "I wasn't sure that I belonged there," he said. And going into last year's Las Vegas finals, for which Walker qualified by winning a local tournament in South Dakota, he said he wanted to prove that winning the 1999 contest wasn't a fluke. "Last year, I studied harder than ever, but I think I studied too hard and didn't get enough rest the night before the contest. The first day I was very tired and felt like a zombie. I didn't do very well the first day."

Walker's advice to those just getting into handicapping: "Just do it. Get some experience." Walker relies on a combination of handicapping techniques, but what he enjoys most is selecting the longshots. "I study how the longshots come in and try to find a key for what's repeatable."

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)

June 23 NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship (Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie), 12:00-1:00 a.m., ESPN2

June 23 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN

June 27 Racehorse Digest, 1:00-1:30 p.m., ESPN

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

June 30 NTRA 2Day at the Races; Mother Goose Stakes (Belmont Park), Aristides Handicap (Hollywood Park), Vanity Handicap (Hollywood Park), TTBA Sales Futurity (Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie), 11:30 p.m.-12:00 a.m., ESPN2

July 1 NTRA Champions Series; Hollywood Gold Cup (Hollywood Park), United Nations Handicap (Monmouth Park), Suburban Handicap (Belmont Park), Stars & Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf (Arlington Park), 4:30-6:00 p.m., CBS


June 21, 1924: Exterminator, winner of the 1918 Kentucky Derby, concluded his seven-year racing career. Exterminator raced until he was nine, winning 50 of his 100 starts. He seldom carried less than 130 pounds in handicap races. Like other geldings Kelso, Forego, and John Henry, Exterminator improved with age, enjoying his greatest success when he was seven.

June 21, 1947: Assault won the Brooklyn Handicap and dethroned Whirlaway as the then money-winning champion of the world. The victory boosted his earnings to $576,670.

June 21, 1975: S. Kaye Bell became the first woman to train the winner of a $100,000 stakes race when she sent Mr. Lucky Phoenix to win the Michigan Mile and One-Eighth Handicap at Detroit Racecourse.

June 22, 1935: Seabiscuit won his first race, at Narragansett Park.

June 23, 1985: With a victory aboard Greinton in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Laffit Pincay Jr. became the second jockey in history to surpass $100 million in purse earnings.

June 24, 1893: The field for the American Derby at Washington Park was held at the post for an hour and 40 minutes, the longest pre-race delay in history. Boundless, with "Snapper" Garrison aboard, won the $49,500 race, which was witnessed by a crowd of 48,000. Garrison and three other riders were each fined $250 for bad conduct at the start.

June 24, 1952: Jockey Eddie Arcaro rode his 3,000th career winner at Arlington Park. He was the first American-born rider to reach that mark.

June 24, 1972: In the fastest workout of the day for six furlongs, Secretariat went the distance in 1:12 4/5 at Belmont over a sloppy track. He would make his debut 10 days later, in a July 4 race for maiden runners at Aqueduct.

June 24, 1973: Charlie Whittingham swept the top three spots in the Hollywood Gold Cup Invitational Handicap when his trainees Kennedy Road, Quack and Cougar II finished first, second and third, respectively.

June 24, 1977: Alydar, at odds of 2.10-1, broke his maiden by 6 3/4 lengths at Belmont Park.

June 24, 1979: Affirmed, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., became the first horse to top $2 million in earnings after he won the Hollywood Gold Cup.

June 24, 1990: Criminal Type became the first horse to win consecutive $1 million races after capturing the Hollywood Gold Cup. He had previously won the $1 million Pimlico Special on May 12.

June 25, 1999: Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. was the winner of the NTRA All-Star Jockey Challenge at Lone Star Park.

June 25, 2000: Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus was syndicated by Coolmore Stud for a reported $70 million.

June 26, 1938: Nearco ended his career a perfect 14-for-14 by winning the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp.

June 26, 1986: Jockey Sandy Hawley won his 5,000th career race, aboard Mighty Massa, at Canterbury Downs.

June 26, 1992: Jockey Dave Gall became the eighth rider in history to ride 6,000 winners when he rode Nana's Nice Boy to victory at Fairmount Park.

June 26, 1994: Jockey Chris McCarron rode his 6,000th career winner, Andestine, in the Milady Handicap at Hollywood Park. He was the 11th rider to reach 6,000 and the third-youngest, behind Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr.

June 26, 2000: Hall of Fame trainer Lucien Laurin, conditioner of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, died at the age of 88.

June 27, 1860: The Queen's Plate, the oldest continuously run stakes race in North America, was first run. Don Juan was the winner, after winning two of the three heats that comprised the event.

June 27, 1932: Calumet Farm recorded its first victory in a Thoroughbred race with two-year-old Warren Jr., who won by a nose at Arlington Park to earn $850.

June 27, 1986: Jockey Kent Desormeaux rode in his first race ever, finishing third aboard a $2,500 claimer named Ducknest Coal Mine, at odds of 35-1, in the second race at Evangeline Downs.

June 28, 1977: Steve Cauthen, on his first day as a journeyman jockey, won with his first three mounts at Belmont Park.

June 28, 1989: Arlington International Racecourse opened in Arlington Heights, Ill. It had been rebuilt after a fire destroyed the old facility, July 31, 1985.

June 29, 1968: Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye won his first race, at Evangeline Downs, aboard Brown Shill.

June 29, 1968: Gamely, Princessnesian and Desert Law-all owned by William Haggin Perry and trained by Jim Maloney-finished 1, 1A and 1B, respectively, in the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park.

June 29, 1969: Jockey Ray Sibille won his first career race, at Evangeline Downs.

June 29, 1983: Jockey Angel Cordero Jr. won his 5,000th career race, aboard Another Rodger, in the ninth race at Belmont Park. He was the fourth rider in history, behind John Longden, Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr., to hit that mark.

June 30, 1973: Three weeks after he won the Triple Crown, Secretariat scored another victory, a nine-length win in the Arlington Invitational Stakes at Arlington Park, where he was sent off at the shortest odds in his career, 1-20. With no place or show wagering on the four-horse race, which was run with a three-horse field against Secretariat, the track had a minus win pool of $17,941. More than 40,000 spectators turned out for the event.

June 30, 1978: Spectacular Bid won his first race, at Pimlico, by 3 1/4 lengths.

June 30, 1990: Retired jockey Bill Shoemaker won his first race as a trainer, sending two-year-old filly Tempest Cloud to her maiden victory at Hollywood Park.

June 30, 1991: One year after his first victory as a trainer, Bill Shoemaker recorded his first Grade I win, with Alcando in the Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park.

July 1, 1966: Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. won with his first mount in the United States, at Arlington Park, aboard two-year-old filly Teacher's Art, owned and bred by Fred W. Hooper.

July 1, 1998: Hall of Fame jockey Sandy Hawley retired from race riding after competing in the Dominion Day Handicap at Woodbine Racecourse.

July 1, 2000: Jockey Mark Guidry became the 36th jockey in history to win 4,000 races when he rode Manitowish to victory in the fifth race at Arlington International Racecourse.

July 2, 1989: Jockey Steve Cauthen became the first rider in history to sweep the world's four major derbies after winning the Irish Derby with Old Vic. He had previously won the Kentucky Derby with Affirmed (1978), the Epsom Derby with Slip Anchor (1985) and Reference Point (1987) and the French Derby with Old Vic (1989).

July 3, 1937: The Del Mar Turf Club, with crooner Bing Crosby as president and actor Pat O'Brien as one of the club officers, opened for racing.

July 3, 1977: Seattle Slew's nine-race winning streak came to an end in the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park, when he finished fourth, beaten 16 lengths by J.O. Tobin.

July 3, 1982: D. Wayne Lukas-trained Landaluce, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., won the first of her five consecutive victories at Hollywood Park. The daughter of Seattle Slew, owned by Barry Beal and Lloyd French, died of a viral infection in November of that year, but was posthumously voted champion two-year-old filly of 1982.

July 4, 1954: Two-year-old Ribot won his first race, the Premio Tramuschio. He concluded his career in 1956, with 16 wins in as many starts.

July 4, 1972: Two-year-old Secretariat, ridden by Paul Feliciano, ran fourth to winner Herbull in his racing debut, blocked badly throughout the race, at Aqueduct. It was the poorest placing of Secretariat's career.

July 4, 1976: Charlie Whittingham swept the top three spots in the American Handicap at Hollywood Park with his trainees King Pellinore, Riot in Paris and Caucasus. On July 26, he repeated the feat in the Sunset Handicap, with Caucasus first, King Pellinore second and Riot in Paris third.

July 4, 1978: Trainer D. Wayne Lukas won his first $100,000 stakes race-over the turf-taking the American Handicap with Effervescing, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., at Hollywood Park.

July 4, 1998: Elusive Quality ran the fastest mile in history in the Poker Handicap at Belmont Park. The five-year-old horse was timed in 1:31 3/5 over a firm turf course.

July 4, 2000: Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze scored his 7,000 career victory aboard This Is the Moment at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif. Baze became the sixth jockey to join the 7,000-win club.

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

Hempstead Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $250,000, Grade I, 11/16 M, Belmont Park
New Hampshire Sweepstakes, 3&up, $200,000, Grade III, 11/18 M(T), Rockingham Park
Locust Grove Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade III, 11/18 M(T), Churchill Downs
My Dear Stakes, 2yo fillies, $100,000, 5F, Woodbine
Robert F. Kerlan Memorial Handicap, 3&up, $75,000, 5 F (T), Hollywood Park
Miller Lite Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $75,000, 5F (T), Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie
Longfellow Stakes, 3&up, $75,000, 6F, Monmouth Park

Beverly Hills Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $250,000, Grade I, 1 M (T), Hollywood Park
Nearctic Stakes, 3&up, $200,000, Grade II, 6F (T), Woodbine
Obeah Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, 1 1/8 M, Delaware Park




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