News

Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

Tornado Kills Stakes Winner in Ocala

Multiple stakes winner Lucky Lady Lauren was killed by a toppled tree when a thunderstorm and tornado blasted through the Ocala, Fla., area March 29, according to the Ocala Star-Banner. Four other horses were reported killed by the twister.

OBS March Select Sale: Ridin' High

Rubbing his eyes, Randy Hartley tried to stop the tears from flowing. His voice cracked with emotion as he described what it was like to sell a son of Dehere for $1,050,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March select auction of 2-year-olds in training.

The Bottom Line: Slot Machine Gaming Boosts Purses

Slot machines and card tables had an undeniable influence on the 8% growth seen in North American purses in 2000. Out of the top 10 racetracks in the United States and Canada, ranked by growth in total purses, seven offer slot and/or video poker machines and one offers card games. Leading the list is Sunland Park, the New Mexico racetrack nestled against the Texas border town of El Paso. Gross purses at Sunland Park grew 160%, from $1.69 million in 1999 to $4.4 million last year.

Maryland Jockey Club Rejoins NTRA

With a Saturday deadline to land a seat on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors fast approaching, the Maryland Jockey Club has rejoined the NTRA, and its president, Joe De Francis, will take a seat on the NTRA board.

Jersey Purse Supplements Await Signature

A bill that would pump $11.7 million into the New Jersey Thoroughbred racing industry passed the state Assembly Thursday by a vote of 70-3 and has gone to ccting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco's desk to be signed into law. The money would be used for purses at Monmouth Park and Meadowlands this year.

Street Cry: Pedigree Lacking in Stamina

Though the signals are mixed, on the face of pedigree alone it is hard to see many reasons why Street Cry should be able to handle 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May. His sire was a sprinter on grass, albeit a good one; his dam, though a group I winner in Ireland going 12 furlongs, has yet to pass that distance ability on to her offspring; he has a Dosage Index and profile slanted toward speed; and he has yet to win around two turns.

Indiana Riverboats Lose Effort to Get Dockside Gambling

Efforts by Indiana riverboat casino interests to get approval of dockside gambling fell short when the Senate Rules Committee voted 5-3 against the legislation. According to published reports, one factor in the bill's failure was an amendment that deleted authorization for pull-tab gaming at Churchill Downs-managed Hoosier Park and off-track betting sites in the state. The amendment also did away with a proposed OTB site in the resort area of French Lick.

Dollar Bill Bucks The Web

For those who want to get their information straight from the horse's mouth, Dollar Bill has started his own website. Well, maybe there was human intervention somewhere in there, but Mary and Gary West's 3-year-old classic contender writes in the first-person on the site, which is aimed at his fans, known as 'Billsters.'

Senate Researches Racetrack VLTs in Ohio

The Ohio Senate has begun research to see whether the question of racetrack video lottery terminals can be put on the ballot in the seven counties that have tracks. The state needs money to fund its education program and, as the newspaper reported Thursday, also needs revenue to offset a decline in tax receipts. Income from taxes is expected to be $850 million short of projections through early 2003.

Proposed Maryland Track Hits Another Snag

The Maryland Racing Commission on Thursday abruptly cut off testimony concerning construction of a racetrack in the western part of the state so opposing sides could work on an agreement to expedite the tedious process. William Rickman Jr., who wants to build the track in remote Allegany County, offered to write a letter of credit to guarantee its financial viability and stability. Rickman, who owns and Delaware Park and Ocean Downs, a Maryland harness track, is the only applicant for the license to construct the track.

Lights Out For Hollywood Park's Friday Night Racing

Hollywood Park plans to move its Friday night racing to the afternoons to cope with the state's ongoing power crisis. Post time for the first Friday night, April 20, will start at its traditional 7:15 p.m. But the post time for the remaining 12 Fridays during the track's spring meet will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Fair Grounds and Harrah's Reach Slots Agreement

Fair Grounds racetrack has reached an understanding with Harrah's New Orleans casino that could put 300 slot machines at the track by 2003 and up to 700 machines by 2005. "It is not as many machines as at other jurisdictions, but it will allow us to continue to grow the business," said Bryan Krantz, president and general manager of Fair Grounds.

Seabiscuit Tops Another List

The great racehorse Seabiscuit took America by storm in the late 1930s. Now he has won a race of a different kind with the announcement that the book written about his career, "Seabiscuit: An American Legend," by Laura Hillenbrand, will occupy the top spot on the April 8 New York Times bestseller list for non-fiction after just three weeks in the nation's bookstores.

Nominations to Mid-American Triple Have International Flavor

The 2001 Mid-American Triple is highlighted by purse increases and 257 nominations, including 45 submitted by the International Racing Bureau.
The series of turf races for three-year-olds kicks off with the 67th running of the grade II Arlington Classic at 1 1/8 miles on June 30, followed by the grade II American Derby over 1 3/16 miles, scheduled to be run for the 87th time on July 22. Total purses for the trio of races have been increased by $100,000 -- a $50,000 boost in each of the first two legs -- from a year ago to $850,000.

Whoa! Two-Year-Olds Start Early in Kentucky

For the first time in recent memory -- maybe for the first time ever -- Turfway has scheduled a 2-year-old race at the tail end of its winter-spring meet. The two-furlong, $29,400 event has lured a field of 10: six fillies, three colts, and a gelding. It's carded as the first race.

TRN Adds Bay Meadows and New Zealand Racing

Viewers of The Racing Network can now watch live racing action from New Zealand, as well as Bay Meadows in San Francisco, California. Bay Meadows will run from April 4 through June 17 on a Wednesday through Sunday schedule with select special Monday cards interspersed. Post times will be 3:45 p.m. (EST) on all days except for Friday's when post time will be 10:15 p.m. (EST). New Zealand programming will air Tuesday through Saturday with a floating post time of 7:30 p.m. (EST) to 8:00 P.m. (EST).

Carolina Cup Kicks Season Into High Gear

The season's first grade I steeplecase race highlights the March 31st racing card in Camden, S.C. In addition to the grade I race, the card also features five other races worth a combined $200,000 in purses. Gates open early to accommodate the crowd, annually the largest on the NSA schedule, and the races start at 1:30 p.m.

Magna Group Hires Second New York Lobbyist

With a decision on the sale of the lucrative New York City Off Track Betting Corp. imminent, one of the groups vying for the contract has hired another influential lobbyist in Albany to help close the deal with state officials if it should emerge victorious in the bidding. The group, led by Magna Entertainment, confirmed Thursday it has retained as its second lobbyist William Powers, who until only last month was the state's powerful Republican Party chairman.

Champion Surfside Retired; Might be Going to Unbridled

William T. Young's homebred Surfside, who was champion 3-year-old filly in 2000 and a finalist for best 2-year-old filly the previous year, has been retired from racing. The daughter of Seattle Slew arrived at Overbrook near Lexington earlier in the week. "She's 100% sound, and was retired so she could be bred," said farm official Ric Waldman, who mentioned Unbridled as a possible mate

Champion Chilukki Retired; Will Be Bred to Storm Cat

Chilukki, who won an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly of 1999 for Robert and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable, has been retired and will be bred to leading sire Storm Cat. Trainer Bob Baffert said the decision to retire the daughter of Cherokee Run was made by the McNairs after some filling was detected in an ankle just before Baffert left for Dubai, where he captured the March 24 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) with Mike Pegram's Captain Steve.

Maryland Racing Commission Rejects Plan For Colonial Downs

In a tense meeting that exposed deep divisions within Maryland's racing community, the state racing commission on Wednesday rejected a plan for ceasing Thoroughbred racing for five weeks this summer so that horses can compete in Virginia. The commission voted 6-2 against the proposal advanced by the Maryland Jockey Club and a task force representing segments of the racing industry in Maryland and Virginia. The plan called for Pimlico and Laurel Park to close for racing from June 10 to July 14 while Colonial Downs, the struggling track near Richmond, conducted a 25-day summer Thoroughbred meet.

Santa Anita Derby Update: Cal-Bred Cherokee Kim May Go

Cherokee Kim, winner of a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight on turf March 10, is a possible starter in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7. Probables for the race, with jockeys, are: Point Given, Gary Stevens; Crafty C.T., Eddie Delahoussaye; Palmeiro, Kent Desormeaux; Scorpion, Victor Espinoza; Startac, Alex Solis; I Love Silver, Laffit Pincay Jr., and Cherokee Kim, no rider. Possibles include: Early Flyer, Macabe, and So Urgent.

Only Three Challengers for Champion Sprinter

Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Kona Gold will face only three challengers when he carries top weight of 126 pounds in Sunday's grade II Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs. The Java Gold gelding, who carried 125 pounds to win the March 4 San Carlos Handicap, will be spotting the field from 11 to 16 pounds as he seeks his sixth consecutive victory.

Youbet.com Cuts Losses

Youbet.com, the online pari-mutuel wagering service, reported a 52% reduction in losses for its fourth quarter and a 41% reduction in losses for 2000. For the year ended December 31, 2000, the company's loss before an extraordinary net gain was $16.7 million or $0.86 per common share, a reduction of 32% from the loss of $24.5 million, or $1.45 per common share recorded for the full year 1999. Including the extraordinary item, Youbet.com's net loss for 2000 was $1.7 million, or $0.09 per common share.

Gigi's Magic Wins Jameela

Elizabeth Walsh's Gigi's Magic, making her first start of the year, took the opening advantage and never looked back recording an upset win in the $60,000 Jameela Stakes for Maryland-bred fillies on Pimlico's opening day card.

Serey Handed 90-Day Suspension

Juan Serey, the leading trainer in New York in 2000, had his license suspended for 90 days and was fined $2,000 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board Wednesday for two ergonovine positives in December 1999.

Del Mar Completes Renovation of Turf Course

The renovation, which included the planting of an acre of new sod in the homestretch, marked the first extensive repair of the course since the turns were banked in 1986. The course is named the Jimmy Durante Turf
Course in honor of the entertainer who was a regular at the track for many years.

Del Mar Completes Renovation of Turf Course

The renovation, which included the planting of an acre of new sod in the homestretch, marked the first extensive repair of the course since the turns were banked in 1986. The course is named the Jimmy Durante Turf Course in honor of the entertainer who was a regular at the track for many years.

Report: Garden State to Close for Good in May

The Thoroughbred community figured the April-early May meet at Garden State Park would be the track's last. But the Standardbred community was shocked to find out that this fall's harnesss meet wouldn't go. In fact, the New Jersey racetrack will shut down for good May 29, even for simulcasting.

Delaware Park: Improvements, Newcomers, and ... Money

New faces and capital improvements will be evident at Delaware Park when the Stanton racetrack kicks off its 140-day meet April 7. Lured by $38.5 million in stakes and overnight purses for a daily average of $260,000, trainer D. Wayne Lukas will send 40 horses to Delaware Park for the first time, while Northern California trainers Lonnie Arteburn and Brent Sumja will also make their first trip. Each trainer will be represented by 30 horses.

Average Up at Scaled-Back Texas Sale; Buy-Backs Stabilize

The Fasig-Tipton Texas 2-year-olds in training sale at Lone Star Park concluded Tuesday, with the sales company reporting a total of 193 horses sold for $4,494,900. The sale's average price of $23,290 represented a 3.8% gain over the $22,431 average the previous year when 262 horses grossed $5,876,800. After an opening-session buy-back rate of 50.6%, the percentage of horses not sold stabilized Tuesday. For the sale overall, FT reported a buy-back rate of 44.2%.

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