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Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

Smarty Jones Crew Returns to Churchill Saturday

Six weeks after the thrilling victory by Smarty Jones in the 130th running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), owners Pat and Roy Chapman and trainer John Servis make a triumphant return to Churchill Downs on Saturday to be honored for their Derby win and their exciting run at the Visa Triple Crown.

New York Turf Writers Honor Mineshaft

Mineshaft, Eclipse Award winner as Horse of the Year and best older male, has been named winner of the New York Turf Writers Association's Secretariat Award as New York's Horse of the Year for 2003.

Perfect Drift Defends Stephen Foster Title

Perfect Drift Defends Stephen Foster Title

Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift, an upset winner over eventual Horse of the Year Mineshaft in last year's running of the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), will face some of the toughest handicap rivals in American racing when he bids for a second consecutive victory in Saturday's $750,000-added event at Churchill Downs.

Puerto Rico's El Comandante to Get VLTs

The Puerto Rican government has granted approval for up to 6,000 video lottery terminals to be placed at El Comandante Racetrack in San Juan and its approximately 700 off-track betting outlets on the island.

Pletcher Barn Favored in Ohio Derby

Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out grade II stakes winners Limehouse and Pollard's Vision in Saturday's $350,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II), going 1 1/8 miles at Thistledown. Limehouse is listed as the 5-2 morning line favorite while Pollard's Vision will go off at 3-1.

Azeri Works Bullet Five Furlongs

Azeri's lackluster performance in her first test against males in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) apparently has not dulled her enthusiasm for morning training. The champion older mare in 2002 and 2003 breezed five furlongs at Churchill Downs Wednesday in 1:00.

Churchill Images Featured on Race Car

Churchill Images Featured on Race Car

The historic Twin Spires of Churchill Downs and the image of Thoroughbreds racing toward the finish line will adorn a Kentucky-based NASCAR Busch Series car that is scheduled to compete in the Meijer 300 on Saturday, June 19 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky.

Team Smarty to Party at Churchill Downs for TRF

Smarty Jones' breeder/owners Roy and Patricia Chapman and trainer John Servis will not only celebrate their Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victory at Churchill Downs on Saturday, they'll also be supporting a good cause as they attend the third annual "Out to Pasture" Party.

"NTRA Super Saturday" Makes TV Debut

"NTRA Super Saturday," five shows of horse racing coverage airing on ABC and ESPN, will make its debut Saturday on ESPN with a two-hour telecast (4:00-6:00 p.m. ET) featuring five graded stakes from four different race tracks with reporters stationed at each venue.

Laurel Park Project to Force Relocation of Horses

The Maryland Racing Commission June 8 narrowly gave the go-ahead to Magna Entertainment Corp., parent company of the Maryland Jockey Club, to begin rebuilding the turf and dirt tracks at Laurel Park despite strong objections by horsemen.

Calif. Legislators Hear Racing's Issues

Small crowds, slots and rebate shops; those woes top the list. Horse racing representatives were given the opportunity June 8 to tell a California Senate Governmental Organization sub-committee what's troubling the sport and they had plenty to say.

Seattle Fitz Headed to Brooklyn

West Point Thoroughbreds' Seattle Fitz, the handy winner of the (gr. III) Schaefer Handicap at Pimlico on Preakness Day, will be entered in Saturday's $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park, according to West Point president Terry Finley.

Bill to Authorize Lease of Jersey Tracks Progresses

The New Jersey Senate Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee on June 7 approved a bill that would permit the state to lease Monmouth Park and Meadowlands, two racetracks operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

Racing At Its Very Best

Racing At Its Very Best

By Ray Paulick -- Haven't we been here before? A horse, one that by the first Saturday in June is carrying too heavy an impost--an entire industry--for any Thoroughbred, is caught and passed in the cruel stretch of New York's Belmont Park.

A Tough Translation

A Tough Translation

By William Nack -- Of the many images that kept resurfacing in the mind's eye in the wake of Saturday's Belmont Stakes, none was more vividly or repeatedly recalled than the two scenes played out in and around Penny Chenery's set of box seats near the finish line.

Stephen Foster or Brooklyn for Midway Road?

A decision is expected June 8 on whether William S. Farish's Midway Road will run in the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), the main event on Churchill Downs' $1.85-million "Stephen Foster Super Saturday" scheduled for June 12, or in the $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park the same afternoon.

Belmont Wagering, Attendance Marks Fall

Records in attendance and handle for Belmont Park and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) were set Saturday as Birdstone upset heavily-favored Smarty Jones in the 136th running of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) before a crowd of 120,139. The previous attendance record was 103,222 during the Belmont Stakes two years ago.

KTA Contributes $100,000 to Support KEEP

The Kentucky Equine Education Project received another vote of confidence June 4 when the board of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders contributed $100,000 to KEEP, which was launched in early May.

Summer Wind Dancer Blows Away Hawthorne

Summer Wind Dancer, knocking on the door for trainer Jeff Mullins, picked up her first win since November 2, 2002, catching even-money favorite Pesci in mid-stretch and blowing away from her six rivals for an easy victory in the $108,600-added Hawthorne Handicap (gr. III) Sunday at Hollywood Park.

Servis: Smarty Jones Had a 'Bulls-Eye' on Him

Servis: Smarty Jones Had a 'Bulls-Eye' on Him

Trainer John Servis said he was "disappointed" for owners Roy and Patricia Chapman that Smarty Jones' bid for the Visa Triple Crown Challenge came up short when he finished a gutsy second to Birdstone in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) but that he was proud of the effort given by the colt Saturday.

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