News

Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

Peeping Tom Earns First Grade I Win in Carter Handicap

Peeping Tom rated just off the pace set by Hook and Ladder and swept to the lead on the outside to post a 1 1/2-length victory in the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I), Sunday's feature race on closing day of the Aqueduct meet. The winner earned his first grade I win and stopped the timer in 1:21.33 for the seven furlongs run on a fast track.

Aqueduct Race Report: Bailey's Big Win

Polite applause, or the local equivalent of a heart pounding ovation, greeted 43-year-old Jerry Bailey and Gaviola upon their triumphant return. The broad-grinning Hall of Famer had just guided the roan filly to a popular triumph in the May 6 Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) and in the process recorded career victory number 5,000. Within this snapshot atop Aqueduct's rubber tiled paddock lived the dichotomy of the modern Kentucky Derby weekend in New York.

Ameerat Upsets Muwakleh for One Thousand Guineas Win

Michael Jarvis-trained Ameerat dueled for the lead with Muwakleh through the final furlong of the one-mile Sagitta One Thousand Guineas (GB-I) Sunday at Newmarket, earning a neck-length victory in the first British Classic of the year for fillies. Ameerrat's win earned Jarvis his first British classic wins and the third for jockey Philip Robinson.

Ratings Up 26% in NBC's Initial Kentucky Derby Telecast

NBC, which paid a reported $51.5 million to telecast the Triple Crown for five years and end a 26-year run for ABC, saw a 26% increase in the overnight ratings for Saturday's Kentucky Derby. In figures compiled by the A.C. Nielsen Co., the Derby garnered an 8.3 rating in 51 television markets nationwide and a 20% share. That's up from the 6.6 rating and 17 share the Derby received in 2000 on ABC.

Trainer Ward on Derby Win: Faith in Horse Justified

After checking on the horses at his Keeneland-based stable near Lexington, Ky. trainer John Ward arrived at Churchill Downs Sunday morning to reflect on the significance of winning his first Kentuckky Derby with Monarchos on Saturday. "As far as having any euphoria about winning the race, I was happy that we won the race and everything...I guess the feeling is it is a reinforcement that everything you believe isn't just a myth," Ward said.

Monarchos Wins Kentucky Derby!

Monarchos exploded to the lead as the field straightened for home and won the 127th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Saturday. The track had been playing fast all day and it did again in the Derby, Monarchos recording the second fastest winning time in Derby history. He covered the 1 1/4-miles in 1:59.97. Secretariat ran 1:59 2/5 (before timing in hundredths) in 1973.

Richly Blended Romps in Withers

Richly Blended rebounded from a third-place finish behind Kentucky Derby runners Congaree and Monarchos in last month's Wood Memorial (gr. II) to win the one-mile, $150,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III) by 4 1/4 lengths Saturday at Aqueduct. With the win, Richly Blended remains undefeated in races contested at one mile or less.

Derby Crowd Second-Highest in History; Betting Sets Record

Amid sunny, hot, humid wearther, the second-largest crowd in Kentucky Derby history was on hand at Churchill Downs on Saturday. The track reported attendance of 154,210, which susrpassed last year's 153,204. The largest crowd for the Derby was the 163,628 for the 100th renewal in 1974. While on-track betting declined, Churchill reported overall handle on the day rose to a record $107.3 million.

Derby Crowd Second-Highest in History

Amid sunny, hot, humid wearther, the second-largest crowd in Kentucky Derby history was on hand at Churchill Downs on Saturday. The track reported attendance of 154,210, which susrpassed last year's 153,204. The largest crowd for the Derby was the 163,628 for the 100th renewal in 1974.

Mott's Hot Day Continues at Aqueduct

Shortly after Bill Mott trainees Iftiraas and Dream Supreme won their respective stakes races Saturday at Churchill Downs, another of his charges led at every call to win the $112,900 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct. Under Richard Migliore, Strategic Mission completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.62 on a firm turf course.

Churchill Surface Sizzling Fast

Alannan set a track record, the second established Saturday at Churchill Downs in just three races, in winning the Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II). The race was marred by and injury suffered by Rollin With Nolan.

NTRA Inks TV Pact With CNBC For New 2-Year-Old Series

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has reached an agreement in principle with CNBC to televise a new series of races beginning this summer, the NTRA and CNBC announced today. Carrying a potential bonus of $1.3 million, the NTRA Two-Year-Old Challenge is a series of races for two-year-old colts and geldings from top tracks across the country leading up to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, part of the Breeders' Cup Championship to be run at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. The Breeders' Cup Championship will air October 27 on NBC.

Point Given Gives Baffert a Scare Derby Morning

"Poor Pepe looked like a gerbil hanging on to a piece of PVC pipe," Bob Baffert said Saturday morning after Kentucky Derby favorite Point Given gave the trainer a scare following a routine gallop over the Churchill Downs surface. Baffert said Point Given came off the track, wheeled, and repeatedly reared straight up in the air, flailing his front legs, and causing exercise rider Pepe Aragon to hold on for dear life.

Beautiful Music: Flute Doesn't Give Up in Oaks

Ask Bobby Frankel about Flute, and the 59-year-old trainer starts acting like a teen-ager in love. His eyes grow soft, his mouth stretches into a dopey smile, and his gruff voice turns into a warm purr. "What a sweetheart she is," Frankel said as he patted the friendly bay filly's nose one morning on the Churchill Downs backstretch. "She's a doll; she's my baby. Sometimes, I think she's almost human; she's so nice."

Strategic Late Turf Run

In a thrilling finish, Strategic Partner just got past Baptize, and then withstood an objection to win the $100,000 Crown Royal American Turf (gr. III) Friday at Churchill Downs.

Poetry Reading No Secret

Secret Status won the Kentucky Oaks a year ago. This year on Kentucky Oaks Day, she ran out as the 4-to-5 favorite in the $250,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II). The winner in a photo was the Bob Baffert-trained Saudi Poetry over a fast closing Royal Fair.

Goodbye, Garden: Final Race Run at Jersey Track

A chapter in horse racing history in New Jersey, and in fact nationally, ended early Thursday evening when the last race was run at Garden State Park in Cherry Hill. The $180-million facility will be demolished and replaced with a residential and retail complex.

Sheikh Mohammed Creates Backstretch Buzz

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, who with other members of his family operates Godolphin Racing, created a buzz on the backstretch at Churchill Downs Friday. Godolphin is seeking its first Kentucky Derby triumph with Express Tour. With a strong contingent of horses running in England on Saturday, it was uncertain whether Mohammed would be at Churchill Downs. Mohammed and entourage arrived Thursday in a jet that passed over the racetrack on its approach to the Louisville airport.

Champion Caressing Returns on Top

Carl F. Pollard's Caressing, the 2000 Eclipse Award-winning two-year-old filly who captured the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) here at Churchill Downs last November, made a triumphant return to competition Thursday with a powerful victory in the featured grade III $121,000 La Troienne Stakes. Also on the card, Chilean-bred Separata, an invader from California trained by new Hall of Fame inductee Richard Mandella, sped to the front shortly after the start and never was seriously threatened in winning the $109,700 Mamzelle Stakes for older fillies and mares today at Churchill Down

ESPN Sports Poll

A large majority of casual Thoroughbred racing fans said they had heard of the Breeders' Cup, but more than half did not know it was racing's championship event, according to an ESPN Sports Poll conducted last year.

Jim Host Q & A: ESPN Sports Poll Results

Jim Host discusses his new contract with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to secure corporate sponsors for horse racing and the Breeders' Cup. The Lexington sports marketing pioneer also discusses why an ESPN Sports Poll shows most casual racing fans don't realize the Breeders' Cup is Thoroughbred racing's championship day.

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