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Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

Spain Breezes Toward Holiday Weekend Start

Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Spain breezed five furlongs at Churchill Downs Wednesday as she continues to prepare for a Churchill Downs Thanksgiving weekend stakes race. The 3-year-old daughter of Thunder Gulch has been nominated to both the Falls City Handicap (gr. III, Churchill Downs, Nov. 23) for fillies and mares and the Clark Handicap (gr. II, Churchill, Nov. 26).

Brian Sweeney Dies of Heart Attack

Horseman Brian Sweeney, whose many positions in racing included a stint as executive vice president and general manager of the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, died Nov. 14 of an apparent heart attack at the San Gabriel Country Club in California.

Ownership Initiative Moving Forward

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Nov. 9 its intentions to move forward with key programs, one of which is geared toward owner recruitment. To that end, the results of a survey of 18 Thoroughbred owners were released at the NTRA's Western Conference on Racing at Hollywood Park. The information, as well as additional survey results, will be used to lay the groundwork for a project designed to generate interest in horse ownership--TheGreatestGame.com.

Weanlings Top Keeneland Session

Weanlings sired by Cape Town and Distorted Humor were each sold for $110,000 to top Tuesday's session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. The Cape Town colt, produced from the Sunny's Halo mare Sunday Morning, was purchased by Walnut Green Bloodstock from the consignment of Lakland LLC, agent.

California Board Approves Golden Gate License

With new member John Harris aboard, the California Horse Racing Board raced down to the wire and granted Golden Gate Fields its license approval just in time for the Albany track to open for business on schedule. The CHRB approved Golden Gate's license Tuesday afternoon on the eve of the Bay-side track's fall-winter season, which starts today.

Illinois Derby To Be Kentucky Derby Prep

After years as a haven for horses not quite ready for prime time, the 2001 Illinois Derby will be a prep race for the Kentucky Derby. Since the Illinois Racing Board decreed that that May and early June racing will be conducted at Hawthorne Race Course, Sportsman's was forced to find a new date for its race. Tuesday, the IRB approved April 7 as the day and $500,000 as the purse.

Aptitude, Captain Steve Meet In Clark Handicap

Kentucky Derby (gr. I) runner-up and Clark Handicap (gr. II) contender Aptitude led a parade of candidates for Churchill Downs' closing weekend stakes races who turned in workouts over the Louisville track on Monday and Tuesday. Aptitude breezed six furlongs in 1:15 over a "fast" track on Tuesday. Jockey Joe Deegan was aboard for the move, which came just after the mid-morning break for track maintenance.

Tiz No Fluke

By John W. Russell -- One of the benefits of training for as long as I did is that I often see the progeny of some of my horses race to distinction--rather like a proud parent. Certainly watching Tiznow's brilliant performance in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) was the next best thing to having trained him, and particularly pleasing since I trained both his parents.

Common Sense Regulations

By Ray Paulick -- Our least favorite career politician, Gov. Gray Davis of California (who in late September vetoed every piece of racing legislation he could get his hands on, including a critical account wagering bill), finally may have done something good for the Thoroughbred industry.

Honest Lady Retired

Grade I winner Honest Lady, who closed out her career with a runner-up effort in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), has arrived at Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms near Lexington.

Hialeah Will Return Home for 2001 Meet

Hialeah Park announced that it will run its 2001 meet – scheduled for March 17 through May 22 – at its home track. Hialeah ran its 2000 meet as a lessee at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, and reported gains in attendance and handle as compared to its 1999 meet, run at Hialeah.

Storm Cat Season Sells For $500,000

A single no-guarantee season to leading sire Storm Cat brought $500,000 to top the Stallion Access auction at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's Newtown Paddocks Nov. 10. The top price was $100,000 above the scheduled fee of $400,000 next year for the stallion, who stands at W.T. Young's Overbrook Farm near Lexington.

Stronach Defends Position on NTRA, Offers Views on Industry

Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach recently said Magna's racetracks would withdraw their membership from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association at the end of the year, joining 15 other tracks, including a coalition from the Mid-Atlantic region. Stronach took exception to a subsequent editorial in the Nov. 4 edition of The Blood-Horse suggesting he had "turned his back" on fellow owners and breeders through his decision, and he requested an opportunity to explain his position. He was interviewed by editor-in-chief Ray Paulick during the Keeneland sales on Nov. 8.

She's A Devil Due To Be Freshened for 2001 Campaign

Trainer Ken McPeek said Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) winner She's A Devil Due, who finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), will bypass the $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) November 25 at Churchill Downs. Instead, the conditioner said the 2-year-old daughter of Devil His Due will be given some time off and be pointed toward a spring campaign.

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