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Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

Maryland Breeder/Owner Frank Hopkins Dead

Breeder/owner C. Francis "Frank" Hopkins Sr., a former member of the Maryland Racing Commission, died May 19 of heart failure at his Elberton Hill Farm near Darlington

Lady Tak Proves She's Back in Winning Groove

Lady Tak, ridden by Shane Sellers, surged to the lead on the turn and held off a stretch challenge by Put Me In to score a three-quarters of a length victory in Saturday's first running of the $108,600 Winning Colors Handicap for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs.

Princess Pelona Takes Sloppy 'Guest

Pope McLean's Princess Pelona, making her first start since February, showed no signs of rustiness en route to a front-running, 4½-length tally in the $38,000 Reluctant Guest Handicap Saturday at Arlington Park.

Pletcher's Purge Powers to Peter Pan Win

Pletcher's Purge Powers to Peter Pan Win

Jockey John Velazquez got the high-spirited colt Purge to relax while racing on the outside of the pacesetters and the colt responded to the easy handling with a quarter-mile to go to register a sparkling victory in the $200,000 Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont Park Saturday.

Rock Hard Ten Goes to Gate School

His connections hope that Rock Hard Ten, who threw a fit prior to being loaded into the starting gate for last week's Preakness (gr. I), could improve on his second-place finish in the race with some improved etiquette in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

Tapit Breezes For Belmont Stakes

Tapit Breezes For Belmont Stakes

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Tapit, winner of the Wood Memorial (gr. I), breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:07 2/5 at trainer Michael Dickinson's Tapeta Farm Saturday morning, in preparation for the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

VLTs Spark Interest in Long-Shut Tioga Park

An investment group is taking ownership of Tioga Park, shuttered to racing in upstate New York since 1978, with plans to begin Standardbred racing next year in a facility that it hopes will also include a video lottery terminal casino.

TVG Plans Extensive Coverage of Smarty Jones

Interactive horse racing network TVG plans extensive coverage of Smarty Jones' effort to become Thoroughbred racing's 12th Triple Crown winner, including live coverage of his first post-Preakness Stake s(gr. I) public gallop, Saturday at 8:30 a.m. (EDT) from Philadelphia Park in Bensalem, Pa.

NTRA Inks Deal to Sell 'Smarty' Merchandise

NTRA Inks Deal to Sell 'Smarty' Merchandise

Merchandise featuring the image of dual classic winner Smarty Jones, including t-shirts and caps, will be available at racetracks across the country on Belmont Stakes (gr. I) day under a deal reached between the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the undefeated colt's owners, Roy and Patricia Chapman.

In Quest of a Crown: What Works Best?

In Quest of a Crown: What Works Best?

As trainer John Servis points Smarty Jones toward his Visa Triple Crown quest in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), here's a glance back on the workout schedules for the Derby/Preakness winners, starting with the most recent ones, since 1969. That year seemed a good time to start because it marked the first year that a Derby/Preakness winner went into the Belmont unbeaten.

Peter Pan May Produce More Rivals For Smarty

Peter Pan May Produce More Rivals For Smarty

Yes, believe it or not, there are other 3-year-olds who inhabit the wild and wacky world of Smarty Jones, and several of them will be using Saturday's $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) as a dress rehearsal for their big showdown with America's wonder horse in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

Valenzuela Weighs Appeal to Ride in Belmont

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who was set to serve out the remaining 30 days for a recent suspension handed to him by the Calng Board during the month of June, is considering filing an appeal that will allow him to ride Mercedes Stables' and Madeleine Paulson's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Rock Hard Ten in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
 

Smarty Victim Salty Punch Finally Has His Day

The last time Salty Punch saw Smarty Jones it was a very brief visit, about as long as it took for Smarty to blow by him shortly after the start of the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes last November. Five defeats later, Salty finally has found the winner's circle again, winning the six-furlong Danzig Stakes at Penn National.

Finalists Named for Venezia Memorial Award

Patricia Cooksey, Aaron Gryder, Edgar Prado and John Velazquez have been named as the finalists for the 2004 Mike Venezia Memorial Award. The Venezia Award was instituted by the New York Racing Association to honor riders who "exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship." Venezia was killed in a tragic spill at Belmont Park on Oct. 13, 1988.

Jones on Smarty Jones: 'I Was Blown Away'

Keith Jones believes he has called about 40,000 races in his career, but he clearly remembers the ninth race at Philadelphia Park on Nov. 22 of last year. Jones said it is among the most impressive performances he ever has seen on the track.

KEEP Schedules First Town Hall Meeting

The organization formed to educate the public and legislators on the importance of the horse industry to the Kentucky economy has scheduled its first town hall meeting. The group also has changed its name once again.

Preakness TV Rating Highest Since 1990

Preakness TV Rating Highest Since 1990

NBC Sports' broadcast of Smarty Jones' win in the 129th Preakness Stakes (gr. I) Saturday delivered a 6.1 national rating / 15 share for the full telecast, which is the best since 1990 and a 22% improvement over last year's 5.0/13, according to Nielsen Media Research. The 1990 Preakness, won by Summer Squall, generated a 7.2 rating/21 share.

See Servis' Smarty Comments Live on HRTV

HorseRacing TV (HRTV) will give Thoroughbred racing fans a front row seat on the Smarty Jones bandwagon with special live coverage of trainer John Servis' news conferences on Friday May 21, Saturday May 22, and Monday, May 24.

Phlashback: A Phew Philly Phenoms

Phlashback: A Phew Philly Phenoms

It has been said undefeated Smarty Jones has put Philadelphia Park on the map, but the racetrack adjacent to the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Bensalem Township actually has been home to some outstanding racehorses, including a few that were downright freakish.

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