Chicago Barn to Wire

NTRA THOROUGHBRED NOTEBOOK

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

FANS TO AGAIN VOTE ON RACING'S "MOMENT OF THE YEAR"

Sports fans can log onto the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Web site, www.ntra.com, and vote for the second annual "NTRA Moment of the Year" starting tomorrow. Voters can choose from among 10 images, drawn from the year's racing through the Breeders' Cup. Those selecting the winning image automatically will be entered in a random drawing for a trip for two to the Eclipse Awards ceremony, Monday, Jan. 29, 2000 in New Orleans, where the "NTRA Moment of the Year" will be announced. The moments were selected to illustrate a wide range of human emotions as well as outstanding displays of equine athleticism. The images and events that fans can choose from are:

  • Fusaichi Pegasus' win in the Kentucky Derby
  • After a three-year hiatus, racing returns to beautiful Arlington Park
  • Hallowed Dreams goes into the record books with her 16th consecutive victory
  • Unshaded nips Albert the Great in thrilling Travers Stakes
  • Riboletta stops Beautiful Pleasure in memorable Beldame Stakes showdown
  • She's a Devil Due caps stranger-than-fiction story with win in Walmac Alcibiades Stakes
  • Laffit Pincay Jr. gains an unprecedented 9000th career win in the saddle
  • Gary Stevens cements comeback with winning ride on War Chant in the Breeders' Cup Mile
  • Kona Gold breaks the track record en route to victory in the Breeders' Cup Sprint
  • Tiznow and Giant's Causeway battle it out through the stretch run of the Breeders' Cup Classic

To make voting easy for fans and novices alike, the moments will include a photo, short description and, where possible, video streaming of the event.

"The fans really responded well to this promotion last year when they awarded Chris Antley and Charismatic the NTRA Moment of the Year for their touching scene following their Belmont Stakes disappointment," said Keith Chamblin, NTRA vice president-industry relations & marketing. "And that's what the NTRA Moment of the Year is all about. It's the fans' counterpart to the Eclipse Awards, which are voted on by the media. The NTRA Moment of the Year provides fans with a unique way to salute the people and horses that make our sport so appealing."

FIVE NEW RACES MAKE THE GRADE FOR 2001

The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association announced today that five American races have been upgraded to prestigious Grade I status for 2001 based on the outstanding fields these races have attracted in recent years. The five races moved up from Grade II to Grade I are the Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap and San Carlos Handicap, both run at Santa Anita Park; the Jim Dandy Stakes and Forego Handicap, both staged at Saratoga Racecourse; and the Prioress Stakes which is contested at Belmont Park. None of the existing Grade I races in 2000 were downgraded to Grade II for 2001.

NICK ZITO TO APPEAR ON "ESPN'S 2-MINUTE DRILL"

Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Nick Zito will appear Monday, December 4, as a celebrity panelist on the popular new game show "ESPN's 2-Minute Drill". The program, to air nationally on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. (ET), is hosted by Kenny Mayne.

"ESPN's 2-Minute Drill" tests its contestants' sports knowledge with a series of rapid-fire questions. In round one, Zito asks three contestants questions pertaining to Thoroughbred racing. In round two, Zito joins Mayne and fellow guests Stuart Scott, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg in asking a variety of general sports trivia questions.

With his appearance, Zito joins Dale Earnhardt, Marcus Camby, Franco Harris, Johnny Bench and Regis Philbin among celebrities to be featured on the show.

"I really enjoyed myself on the show. The people I was on with were a great bunch of guys. It was a great experience and I liked the studio audience too," said Zito, who donated his honorarium for appearing on the show to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

"It was great having Nick on the show," said Mayne. "The fact he kept running out to an OTB down the street to check on his horses didn't really set the show back too much. And the barn manure he dragged onto the set cleaned up without a great amount of effort."

PRIVMAN TO SIGN BREEDERS' CUP BOOK IN TEXAS ON SATURDAY

Author Jay Privman will appear at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Tex., this Saturday, Dec. 2, to sign copies of his new book, "Breeders' Cup: Thoroughbred Racing's Championship Day." Privman will be signing books at the Dallas/Ft. Worth area track from 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (CT), and again from 6:00-7:00 p.m. The oversized book features 208 pages of text and more than 300 full-color photographs that trace the history of the Breeders' Cup.

RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)
December 2 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
December 3 "NTRA 2Day at the Races," Clasico del Caribe (El Comandante), Hollywood Turf Cup Handicap (Hollywood Park), 6:00-6:30 p.m., ESPN2
December 6 Racehorse Digest, 1:00-1:30 p.m., ESPN
December 7 Racehorse Digest, 3:00-3:30 a.m., ESPN
December 9 Racehorse Digest, 5:30-6:00 a.m., ESPN
December 13 Racehorse Digest, 1:00-1:30 p.m., ESPN

RACING TO HISTORY

Nov. 30, 1989: Jockey Kent Desormeaux surpassed Chris McCarron's 15-year record for most number of victories in a single season when he rode his 547th winner for the year, at Laurel.

Dec. 1, 1962: Ten thousand fans attended a ceremony at Tropical Park in honor of Carry Back's retirement. By Saggy out of Joppy, Carry Back was known as "the people's horse." He retired after 55 starts and earnings of more than $1 million.

Dec. 1, 1982: In the first race to feature mother and daughter jockeys, Patti Barton rode against her daughter, Leah, at Latonia. Patti finished fifth aboard Tam's Angel while Leah was tenth on Diane's Ms. Lolly.

Dec. 2, 1936: Fair Grounds, New Orleans, La., licensed its first female trainer, Miss Meryl Eckhardt of Flint, Mich.

Dec. 7, 1957: A two-year-old colt named Silky Sullivan won the one-mile Golden Gate Futurity after making up 27 lengths, establishing a running style that became legendary. Horsemen still invoke the name of Silky Sullivan when referring to a horse that runs from far off the pace.

Dec. 8, 1989: Power to Geaux paid a record $2,922 for a $2 wager made at AKsarben on the simulcast of the 11th race from Fair Grounds. The previous record for a payoff on a $2 wager was set June 17, 1912, when Wishing Ring paid $1,885.50.

Dec. 10, 1977: In his second year of riding, Steve Cauthen became the first jockey to win $6 million in a single season when he rode a three-year-old filly, Little Happiness, to victory in the sixth race at Aqueduct. Cauthen was dubbed "The Six Million Dollar Man," and "Stevie Wonder" by his admirers and was named 1977 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated, the Associated Press, ABC's Wide World of Sports and The Sporting News. He also received three Eclipse Awards, being voted an award of merit in addition to earning top honors as both a journeyman and apprentice jockey.

Dec. 11, 1983: John Henry became the first racehorse to surpass $4 million in career earnings when he won the Hollywood Turf Cup with jockey Chris McCarron at Hollywood Park.

Dec. 12, 1942: More than 20,000 racegoers turned out to watch 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway win the inaugural Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds, staged in part as a war relief effort by the newly formed Thoroughbred Racing Associations.

Dec. 13, 1986: Jockey Kent Desormeaux had his first career stakes win, aboard Godbey, in the Maryland City Handicap at Laurel.

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

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2
Hollywood Turf Cup, 3&up, $400,000, Grade I, 1 1-2M (T), Hollywood Park
Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, 7F, Calder Racecourse
Kennedy Road Stakes, 3&up, $100,000, 6F, Woodbine
Queens County Handicap, 3&up, $75,000, Grade III, 1 3-16M, Aqueduct
Hail Emperor Stakes, 3&up, $75,000, 1 3-16M, Laurel Park

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3
Native Diver Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1-8M, Hollywood Park
Valedictory Stakes, 3&up, $100,000, 1 3-4M, Woodbine
Tenacious Handicap, 3&up, $75,000, 1 1-16M, Fair Grounds

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