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Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

Indiana Legislator Wants Unity on Racino Issue

Two proposals calling for pull-tab machines at Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs received their first hearing Jan. 26, but after three hours of debate in the House Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee, one thing was clear: Legislation to authorize the machines could meet an early fate.

Lukas to Speak at TTA Conference

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will be the keynote speaker at the Texas Thoroughbred Association's annual conference and awards banquet as part of the association's 50th anniversary celebration. Lukas, a four-time Eclipse Award winner, is the all-time leader among trainers with earnings of more than $240 million and holds the record for the most Breeders' Cup wins by a trainer with 17.

Greyhound Group Sues MEC Over Multnomah

The Oregon Greyhound Association filed a $1-million lawsuit against Magna Entertainment Corp. Jan. 20, alleging breach of contract for the company's failure to renew its operating lease for Multnomah Greyhound Park and for canceling the 2005 dog racing season.

West Virginia Purses Would Help Pay Comp Debt

Representatives of horsemen's groups are working in the West Virginia capital of Charleston to fend off an effort by Gov. Joe Manchin to take $5 million from purse accounts at each of the state's four racetracks to help pay off a $3-billion debt in the state workers' compensation program.

Ghostly Vote

Ghostly Vote

By Dan Liebman -- In Smarty Jones and Ghostzapper, Eclipse Awards voters were faced with two clear and deserving choices for 2004 Horse of the Year. Now they have spoken.

Meritorious Character

By James E. Bassett III -- When one thinks of Charles J. Cella, a myriad of descriptions flash by. "Indescribable" comes easily to mind, overshadowed by "indomitable" or perhaps "indestructible," followed by "unpredictable" or almost surely "unpersuadable." But lest we overlook the obvious, certainly it would be "unforgettable."

Paths Plotted for Top Runners

Paths Plotted for Top Runners

Hangovers weren't the only thing to come out of the Eclipse Awards dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., Jan. 24. Various connections gave voice to their private plans as to where they hope to run prominent horses in the coming months

Drug Consortium Moves on Violations, 'Milkshakes'

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has set a deadline for adoption of recommended uniform medication violations and testing protocol for "milkshakes," which are mixtures of bicarbonate of soda and a liquid force-fed to a racehorse before it competes.

Declan's Moon, Wilko Share Top Weight on Experimental

Undefeated Declan's Moon and Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Wilko share the highweight assignment of 126 pounds on the 2004 Experimental Free Handicap, released Monday by The Jockey Club.

Ramsey Issues Statement on Fine, Suspension

Owner Ken Ramsey, who was fined $25,000 and suspended for seven days by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority for improperly attempting to influence another owner to scratch a horse at Turfway Park, issued a statement Jan. 24 regarding the situation.

2004 Eclipse Award Jockey: John Velazquez

If one didn't get a sense of John Velazquez' inexorable climb to the top during his record-setting (65 winners) Saratoga meet last summer, then surely the pair of statues he earned on Breeders' Cup day made his star shine brighter than ever.

Special Eclipse Award: Dale Baird

In 1996, Dale Baird became the first trainer in history to win 7,000 races. In 1999, he became the first to reach 8,000. And in 2004, yes, he made it to 9,000. That alone makes Baird special, and a deserving winner of a Special Eclipse Award.

2004 Eclipse 3YO Male: Smarty Jones

2004 Eclipse 3YO Male: Smarty Jones

It took a while for it to sink in, but the magnitude of Smarty Jones' accomplishments in 2004 finally hit trainer John Servis like a ton of bricks. "Gosh, I won the Kentucky Derby!" he said to himself while driving recently with jockey Stewart Elliott.

2004 Eclipse 2YO Male: Declan's Moon

2004 Eclipse 2YO Male: Declan's Moon

Jay Em Ess Stable shelled out $125,000 for Declan's Moon at the 2003 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic September yearling sale. A year and a few months later, the gelding has banked $507,300, and the stable has the recipient of the Eclipse Award in the 2-year-old male category.

2004 Eclipse 2YO Female: Sweet Catomine

2004 Eclipse 2YO Female: Sweet Catomine

At the five-sixteenths pole in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Sweet Catomine was blocked and in need of racing room. But having to check was no big deal for the daughter of Storm Cat. Corey Nakatani steered her out of harm's way and she rolled by the other 11 members of the field as the crowd at Lone Star Park cheered her on.

2004 Eclipse 3YO Female: Ashado

2004 Eclipse 3YO Female: Ashado

Ashado is the kind of horse that an owner and trainer dream about: Tough, consistent, and brilliant enough to compete at racing's highest level. Her command over the 3-year-old filly division throughout 2004 and her tough-as-nails victory against older fillies and mares in the Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel (gr. I) are clear reasons she's the recipient of an Eclipse Award.

2004 Eclipse Owner: Ken & Sarah Ramsey

2004 Eclipse Owner: Ken & Sarah Ramsey

The year 2004 turned out to be the type of year for Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey that the couple could only dream about a few years back. In their first appearance as Eclipse Award finalists, they won the outstanding owner trophy, and one of their horses, Kitten's Joy, won an Eclipse Award for best turf male.

2004 Eclipse Older Female: Azeri

2004 Eclipse Older Female: Azeri

Hers is a familiar name in these pages, and her star has not diminished over time. Azeri, 2002 Horse of the Year and champion older mare in 2002 and 2003, has now made it a three-peat in that category. The 2004 Eclipse puts North America's all-time leading money earner for fillies and mares on her own plateau--ahead of Paseana (1992, 1993), Bayakoa (1989, 1990), and Susan's Girl (1973, 1975), the only other two-time Eclipse Award-winning older mares.

2004 Eclipse Sprinter: Speightstown

2004 Eclipse Sprinter: Speightstown

In the days leading up to the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, trainer Todd Pletcher would only say that Speightstown would have to win the six-furlong Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) to be considered divisional champion. Speightstown won the race and now has garnered champion sprinter honors. Pletcher took home the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer.

2004 Eclipse Turf Male: Kitten's Joy

2004 Eclipse Turf Male: Kitten's Joy

Ken Ramsey wants to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) more than any other race, and he tried to make Kitten's Joy a Derby horse. He didn't achieve his goal with the son of El Prado, but the flashy chestnut colt's development into a turf star was a very good consolation prize.

Servis Receives TPA's Big Sport Award

Trainer John Servis, who had the ride of a lifetime last spring with Smarty Jones, received the Big Sport of Turfdom award from the Turf Publicists of America Monday afternoon in Beverly Hills, Calif.

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