Augustin Stable's Rochester and Lyn and Michael Shanley's Whitmore's Conn, major players in the turf marathon division this year, will be among the choices in the 31st running of the $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. II). The McKnight is one of four stakes worth a total $600,000 to be run at Florida's Calder Racecourse on Saturday.
Joseph Graffeo's millionaire winner Two Item Limit tried turf for the first time in her career last out without success in the My Charmer Handicap (gr. III) three weeks ago. The 4-year-old filly returns to the main track for Saturday's $100,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap at 1 1/16 miles. The race is one of four stakes with a total $600,000 in purses on the Grand Slam II program at Calder Racecourse on Saturday.
Trainer Christophe Clement has made quite an impression in the Tropical-at-Calder turf stakes the last decade and none more so than the $200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at 1 ½ miles on turf. The race is one of four stakes with a total $600,000 in purses on the Grand Slam II program at Calder Racecourse on Saturday.
John Oxley's Booklet and Sez Who Racing Stable's The Judge Sez Who, major 3-year-old stakes winners this season, face off against Bea Oxenberg's 7-year-old Best of the Rest and other older stars in the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III). The race is one of four stakes with a total $600,000 in purses on the Grand Slam II program at Calder Racecourse on Saturday.
- By Tom Precious
Vernon Downs, the troubled Standardbred facility near Syracuse, New York faces an uncertain future after regulators gave an outright denial to its 2003 license.
Donald E. Jacobs, whose training career at Finger Lakes Race Track
extended over 40 years, died Dec. 21
- By Victor Ryan
Churchill Downs Inc. president Tom Meeker will speak to state legislators on regulatory issues facing the pari-mutuel industry during the National Council on Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) winter meeting January 11 in South Beach, Florida.
By Ray Paulick -- Creative breeders are continuing to explore new ways to promote their stallions.
By John McEvoy -- An automated system of charting races will inevitably lead to a loss of jobs.
Live racing at Philadelphia Park could be suspended Jan. 1, 2003 if management and horsemen are unable to come to terms on a new live racing agreement, which expires at the end of December. Horsemen are particularly concerned over language in the contract that protects their share of purse revenue.
Gulfstream Park's opening weekend, from Friday, January 3, through Sunday, January 5, features five stakes, free grandstand admission, giveaways and rolled-back prices on selected food and drink favorites, weekend appearances by leading thoroughbred trainers, concerts, and more.
Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Sheila Laxon underwent surgery at Melbourne's Alfred Hospital on Dec. 23 after suffering pelvic and rib injuries after a track fall earlier in the day.
The relative strengths of the breeding industries in the main European countries can be partially gauged by looking at the level of stallion contributions to the European Breeders' Fund in 2002.
Critical Eye reached millionaire status in closing out her career with a victory in the Dec. 21 Ladies Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct
Hollywood Park made gains following a disappointing opening weekend due to rain, but was unable to erase the deficit. Attendance and handle figures were down from 2001 following Sunday's conclusion of the 35-day Autumn Meet.
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