News

Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

NTRA Membership Remains Uncertain

Who's in and who's out? Even the National Thoroughbred Racing Association may not know for a few more days -- at least. At the end of October, 22 racetracks announced they would not renew their memberships in the NTRA for 2001. But that number appears to have grown in recent weeks. Or has it? Though the NTRA had hoped for commitments from racetracks and horsemen's groups late last year, the "deadline" was extended into 2001 while the NTRA continued negotiations with Magna Entertainment, which owns seven tracks, and officials in the Mid-Atlantic region, where 12 tracks defected.

OBSC Preferred Sessions End With Average Decline

Adena Springs South went to $105,000 for Backatem, a 4-year-old stakes winning daughter of Notebook sold as a broodmare prospect, to top the second of two consignor preferred sessions at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Winter Mixed Sale. Consigned by Summerfield, Agent, Backatem was a stakes winner of $89,750 and is a full-sister to graded stakes-placed
Throwthebookatem.

Hawthorne's Top Events to Highlight Spring Meet

The Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II), displaced from its fall date by a scheduling change, will be run this year on Preakness Day, May 19, for a purse of $500,000. The Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT) will be run on the Hawthorne turf on May 12. The changes are part of an overall stakes schedule of 15 events during Hawthorne's split meet. Six will be run during the spring, the remainder during the fall/winter season.

George Steffee III Dead

George (Jed) Steffee III, who was general manager of Richard Duchossois' Hill 'N Dale Farm near Barrington, Ill, from 1976 to 1990, died Jan. 9 at an Aurora, Ill., hospital.

Macho Uno Due in Florida to Begin Classic Quest

Macho Uno, winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and the leading candidate for champion 2-year-old honors, is scheduled to arrive at trainer Joe Orseno's barn at Gulfstream Park Friday, where he'll begin preparing for the classics. Danny Vella, farm manager of owner Frank Stronach's Adena Springs in Ocala, said Macho Uno has been galloping and swimming on a regular basis, and is just about ready for a half-mile work.

The Impact of Early Training on Thoroughbreds

The economics of Thoroughbred racing are such that most owners and trainers aim to have their horses ready for racing as 2-year-olds. On the other hand, we know that lameness problems are the most important reason for wastage in Thoroughbred racehorses, and some perceive that these injuries are due, in large part, to the training and racing of horses too early in life.

Bench Mark Thoroughbred

By John Williams -- As many of us coped with the death of Affirmed on Jan. 12, one underlying theme was evident: it seemed everybody connected to the horse considered it a privilege that he had touched their lives. This had been true all of his life, I am sure.

Remembering Affirmed

By Ray Paulick -- News of Affirmed's death on Jan. 12 reminded me just how much one horse can elicit emotions that change your life.

Istintaj Wins Gulfstream Feature; Forest Heir Victorious at Aqueduct

Istintaj acted up in the starting gate, unseating rider Jerry Bailey, but was perfectly behaved in the running as he rallied to win the $120,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) or 3-year-olds at Gulfstream on Monday. At Aqueduct on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday card, Forest Heir drew clear in the stretch for a 3 3/4-length victory in the Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Crusader Sword Mare Tops OBSC First Session

Proud Crusader, Hip No. 182, brought a final bid of $67,000 to top the opening session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2001 Winter Mixed Sale. Consigned by Double S Farm, Agent, the 7-year-old Crusader Sword mare, in foal to Gilded Time, was sold to R Bar S Thoroughbreds. Proud Crusader is out of stakes winner Very Proud and is a half-sister to stakes winner Proud and True as well as stakes placed Proud Proud Proud and Cut Proud.

Sale Companies to Repossess Horses Bought By Sykes

Having failed to collect on past due accounts, Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton plan to repossess most of the 134 horses purchased late in 2000 by Bernice L. Givens Sykes and offer them at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed auction Feb. 12. Sykes signed tickets for nearly $700,000 worth of stock. She spent $267,700 for 59 horses at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale in Kentucky, and another $431,100 for 75 head at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale in Maryland.

Uncharted Haven Survives Inquiry to Win San Gorgonio

Trainer Robert Frankel, who's won three of the last five runnings of the San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita, saddled a strong one-two entry in this year's renewal on Monday's Martin Luther King Holiday card, with front-running Dancingonice the perfect complement to stretch closer Uncharted Haven. As it turned out, Dancingonice carved out the fractions and set things up perfectly for her 3 Plus U Stable barnmate, and Uncharted Haven took down the top prize in the nine-furlong turf race for fillies and mares.

Buckle Down Ben Favored in Holy Bull

Buckle Down Ben, third in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II), has been installed the 5-2 morning-line favorite among eight 3-year-olds entered in Saturday's $100,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/16 mile Holy Bull is one of the steppingstones to the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) on March 10. All four of Buckle Down Ben's races have been around two turns and he has won two them, including the Laurel Futurity (gr. III) at 1 1/8 miles in Maryland on Nov. 4.

Arlington Unveils New Fan Loyalty/Rewards Program

Arlington Park announced Monday the kickoff of its new Twin Spires Club fan loyalty and rewards program, part of a national program with Churchill Downs and replaces Arlington's former program, the A-Club. All A-Club members who were active in 2000, have been automatically transferred into the Twin Spires Club.

Japan Sire List: Sunday Silence on Top -- Again

Sunday Silence's 2000 progeny earnings of $53,672,791 (¥6,065,025,400) makes for some interesting comparisons, and perhaps none is more fascinating than comparing it to a weekly average. With 52 weeks in a year, that comes out to a little more than $1 million a week, which is what his average was in 1999, when his runners earned a grand total of $52,346,090.

New York Horse Interests Looking at VLTs For Tracks

An unusual meeting of the usually fractious factions in New York's racing industry quietly met near the state Capitol recently to explore whether a renewed effort should commence to bring video lottery terminals to racetracks. The session, called by a Standardbred breeders group, led to the creation of a committee of the often-competing interests to determine if they can get together to end years of stalemate over the VLT issue.

Native Dancer Book Latest in Legends Series

Eclipse Press, the equine book publishing division of The Blood-Horse, Inc., has announced the publication of Native Dancer, the seventh book in the Thoroughbred Legends series.
Author Eva Jolene Boyd owes her interest in Thoroughbred racing to Native Dancer, whom she saw on television in 1953. She continued to follow Native Dancer's racing career and later, his stallion career, keeping track of his deeds for posterity. Now, this effort has culminated in Native Dancer.

Another Longshot Win For Seattle Slew Filly

Longshots finished 1-2-3 in the $117,500 First Lady Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Sunday. Another put away favored Bam Bam Bull nearing the sixteenth pole and drew out to win by 3 1/4 lengths at 10-1. Curious Treasures, a 25-1 shot, was second and Dynamite Diablo, 29-1, finished third in a field of 11. Katz Me If You Can, who broke lengths behind the field, managed to get up for fourth.

Echo Eddie Skims the Rail For Stakes Triumph

Echo Eddie, a consistent gray son of Restless Con, found room along the rail entering the stretch and went on to a hard-earned 1 1/2-length victory in the $109,600 Sensational Star Handicap at Santa Anita Park on Sunday. Ridden by Iggy Puglisi, Echo Eddie won for the sixth time in 11 career starts and paid $4.60 as the favorite in the field of eight California-breds in the 6-1/2 furlong race.

Desormeaux Joins 4,000 Win Club

Jockey Kent Desormeaux posted his 4,000th career victory when he won Sunday's first race at Santa Anita Park with Temporary Appeal. Desormeaux, 30, is a three-time Eclipse Award winner who became the youngest rider to reach 3,000 wins when he rode Maisonsaire to victory on April 16, 1995, at Santa Anita at age 25.

Jockey Feats at Suffolk Downs on Sunday

Jockey Taylor Hole reached the 1,000 win milestone when he booted home 5-1 shot Salt State in the ninth race at Suffolk Downs on Sunday. Also at Suffolk on Sunday, apprentice rider Oscar Colon earned his first career win with his first mount in the United States when he scored with Stage Trick in the fourth race.

Owner Wins Golden Gate Derby With First Horse

Carl J. Odegarrd's Hoovergetthekeys split the leaders in the stretch and overcame a bumping incident to win the $150,000 Golden Gate Derby (gr. III). The 3-year-old gelded son of Mt. Livermore was ridden by Ron Warren Jr. to defeat Padua Stable's High Cascade, the 17-10 favorite in the seven-horse field.

Magna Membership Hinges on Breeders' Cup Board

Though he made no commitment to rejoin the National Thoroughbred Racing Association during a Sunday morning forum, Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach said he'll be back in if the NTRA and Breeders' Cup, now joined in a strategic partnership, pledge to democratically elect officers. Stronach also indicated he would be willing to represent Magna on the NTRA board should his tracks rejoin.

New Orleans Woman Wins Handicapping Contest

Judy Wagner of New Orleans captured the title of "DRF/NTRA Handicapper of the Year" as the nation's top horseplayer Saturday with a victory in the $212,000 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The title of Handicapper of the Year will be presented to Wagner on Jan. 30 at thoroughbred racing's annual Eclipse Awards ceremony in New Orleans.

Pentatonic Avenges DQ With Affectionately Victory

Deprived a victory last time out when she caused interference, Sheila Sherry's Pentatonic stayed far back and out of everyone's way Saturday afternoon in the grade III, $110,500 Affectionately Handicap at Aqueduct. As a result, jockey Aaron Gryder had all the room he needed to send the 6-year-old Cure The Blues mare on a six-wide rally through the lane produced a victory. It was a nice way to start the New Year, as Pentatonic ended 2000 by winning the Ladies Handicap on Dec. 16, only to be disqualified and placed second as she bore in on Strolling Belle.

Full Field Contests Gulfstream's Mr. Prospector Stakes

Well-rested and ready to roll, Delaware Township will take some beating in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) that headlines the holiday card at Gulfstream Park Monday. A full field of 14 older horses was entered for the Mr. Prospector, which was run as the Hallandale Beach Handicap last year. The six-furlong event will be offered as the ninth race on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday card.

Lasersport Remains Undefeated After San Miguel Victory

In the $107,500 San Miguel Stakes for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita on Saturday, 8-5 favorite Lasersport remained undefeated with a two-length victory over Early Flyer in 1:08 3/5 for six furlongs. By 1992 champion juvenile Gilded Time, Lasersport won his first two starts in Kentucky late last year and then was purchased privately by Bill Herrick and sent to trainer Darrell Vienna at Santa Anita.

Santa Anita Racing Report: Tiznow Returns With Victory


Making his seasonal debut in the Jan. 13 San Fernando, 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic winnerTiznow beat Walkslikeaduck by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:42.05 as Wooden Phone held on for third. It was not the blowout most expected a potential Horse of the Year to serve up in his 4-year-old debut. For those clutching tickets at 3-10, the final margin was way too close for comfort. But considering the recent interruptions and the chore of sating a high-maintenance competitor, Robbins was satisfied--and thoroughly relieved.

'Typical' Keeneland January Sale Concludes With $39-Million Gross

Gross sales totaled $39,657,700 for 1,207 horses during Keeneland's six-day January Horses of All Ages Sale which ended Saturday afternoon. It was the fifth highest total in the history of the auction but short of the $60,951,200 paid for 1,239 horses and two stallion shares a year ago in January. This year's average was $32,856 compared to $49,183 in 2000.

Santa Anita Braces For Possible Power Outage

Santa Anita officials said racing wouldn't stop, although the tote boards would be shut down, if the track faced a power outage. The wagering information, which is controlled by computers, wouldn't be lost. Furer said there are about 22 tote machines that could be up and running during a blackout. Escalators and elevators would be immediately turned off before the blackout to ensure no one gets hurt or trapped. The track is equipped with an emergency generator that would provide lighting.

Bertrando Colt Tops Keeneland Sale Session

Advanced Edition, a stakes-placed 4-year-old, brought a top price of $115,000 during Friday's session of Keeneland's January Horses of All Ages Sale. Harold Loewenstine, Jr. bought the bay colt by Bertrando out of Irish Anthem by Kleven. Advanced Edition finished third in the Hawthorne Juvenile Stakes as a 2-year-old and second in the Kentucky Colonel Stakes last year at three.

Form Revives American Racing Manual

The Daily Racing Form has brought back the popular "American Racing Manual," according to an announcement from Steven Crist, editor and publisher of Daily Racing Form. The 2000 American Racing Manual covering the 1999 Thoroughbred racing season, is now available and the 2001 volume, detailing the 2000 racing campaign, is slated to be released in spring, 2001. The Form is offering 50 percent off the 2001 edition for those who order the 2000 edition, which costs $60.

IRS Quits Probe Into Uncashed Tickets at Arlington

The Internal Revenue Service reportedly has decided not to pursue the possible theft of about $1 million in uncashed pari-mutuel tickets at Arlington Park. The Chicago Sun-Times. reported the IRS has sent Arlington a letter stating lack of jurisdiction is the reason for quitting the case.

Judge Protects Beulah Park's Online Wagering

Beulah Park's online wagering service called Winticket.com got full approval by the Ohio State Racing Commission before the service was developed, said an Ohio judge. Therefore, the judge said, state officials cannot arbitrarily decide they want the service stopped until online wagering is further evaluated.

Triple Crown Winner Affirmed Euthanized

Affirmed, whose victories over Alydar in the 1978 Triple Crown races live forever in racing lore, was euthanized Friday. Affirmed was buried at Jonabell, along with the flamingo pink and black silks of owner/breeder Lou and Patrice Wolfson's Harbor View Farm. "It has been a privilege and honor to be the caretaker of Affirmed," said Jonabell general manager James Bell. "He will be greatly missed and certainly never forgotten. His tremendous heart, class and courage made him a genuine pleasure to be around – a true gentleman and champion."

It's Official: Certain Won 1999 Arkansas Derby

After several years of legal action, the attempt by owner James Jackson to overturn the disqualification of his horse Valhol from victory in the 1999 Arkansas Derby has ended. On Thursday, the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling stripping Valhol of the victory and the winner's $300,000 purse.

Philly Park Phone Bet to Cut Jersey Customers

Management at Philadelphia Park sent a letter to all of its Phonebet customers in New Jersey advising them that it expects to receive formal notice from the New Jersey Racing Commission to stop accepting their phone wagers. "Once the commission issues this formal directive (expected to be on Jan. 20), you will receive notice from us and all New Jersey accounts will be closed," the letter states.

Dixie Union to Stud at Diamond A Farms

Dixie Union, who was retired due to a minor tendon injury following his victory in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I), will stand at stud at Gerald Ford's Diamond A Farms near Versailles, Ky. Diamond A raced the colt in partnership with his breeder, Herman Sarkowsky. Dixie Union will stand for a $30,000 live foal fee as the property of a syndicate managed by William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm.

Unbridled Time Returns in San Miguel

Bob and Beverly Lewis' Unbridled Time, winless since taking his first two career starts last spring, returns to competition Saturday in Santa Anita's San Miguel Stakes. The son of Unbridled's Song, who cost $1.15 million as a yearling, will carry top weight of 121 pounds and Chris McCarron in the six-furlong San Miguel.

Pleasant Breeze Ends Layoff in Skip Away

With topweighted Pleasant Breeze making his first start in nearly five months, the entry box filled to the brim for Saturday's $100,000 Skip Away Handicap (G3) at Gulfstream Park. A total of 14 horses were entered for the Skip Away, with Pleasant Breeze the likely favorite as he goes from Post 10 with Jorge Chavez named to ride.

What's In a Name? Election 2000

Thoroughbred owners often look to major news stories of the day for inspiration when devising names for their horses and the fallout from the November 7 presidential election has apparently provided them with all sorts of new material. The Jockey Club's Registry in Lexington, Kentucky has issued foal certificates or reserved names for these Thoroughbreds in the past two months: All Four Chads, Chad, Chadsanddimples, Count The Chads, Dangling Chad, Don't Countess Out, Electoral College, Florida Recount, No More Chads, Palm Beach Ballot, Tooclosetocall and Win for Chad.

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