Aidan O'Brien has sprung a surprise in announcing his team for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, with Powerscourt, the Arlington Million (gr. IT) winner, missing his intended assignment in the John Deere Turf (gr. IT), and 3-year-old Oratorio, winner of two prestigious group I races this season in the Coral Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes, lining up for the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - Emotions have run high the three previous times Belmont Park has hosted the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. They have run the gamut, too, from the pain and sorrow experienced when three runners died in 1990, to the exhilaration of Cigar's captivating run down the stretch in 1995, to the enduring human spirit shown in 2001, when Americans were still reeling from the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
One of the most exciting horses scheduled to run in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 29 is First Samurai. Undefeated in four races, the son of Giant's Causeway is his division's leader heading into the Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I).
The biggest change for this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is that the order of the races will be different from past years.
Trainer Todd Pletcher worked a bunch of his potential Breeders' Cup starters, including champion Ashado, at Belmont Park Monday.
With the rains that inundated the Northeast over the previous week long gone, the sunny skies at Belmont Park Monday made for one of the busiest workout days in a long time as a slew of contenders for the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships got in some much-needed exercise.
Grade I winner Island Sand, likely for the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), breezed five furlongs over Belmont's fast main track Sunday morning in 1:01 3/5. Among the other workers at Belmont were Breeders' Cup contenders Artie Schiller and Happy Ticket.
Michael Wrona will fill in for Trevor Denman as the Oak Tree Racing Association's track announcer at Santa Anita Park Oct. 28-29. Denman will be in New York, fulfilling a network television commitment on NBC with the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
With two grade I victories and earnings of more than $1.5, no one would have been surprised had trainer Patrick Kelly and owner Peter Schiff retired Riskaverse after the 2004 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT). But with the event returning to Belmont Park in 2005, they decided on another season of racing for the 6-year-old mare.
Lord of the Game, a $10,000 claim who has gone on to become a grade II winner and bankroll nearly $540,000, worked Thursday morning over a fast track at Hawthorne Racecourse under jockey Eusebio Razo, as he prepares for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. II).
The Thoroughbred Thank You Fund, established by 1986 West Point graduate and retired Army officer Terry Finley, plans to bring 200 New York-based military personnel and West Point cadets to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park Oct. 29. Included will be New York reservists from the 369th Harlem Hellfighters Battalion and the 69th Infantry, who recently returned from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- By Tom LaMarra
As Breeders' Cup officials continued to deal with the fallout from the announcement the New York Racing Association could be nearing insolvency, they indicated Oct. 11 it's all systems go for the Oct. 29 World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park by launching a $2-million marketing push only 18 days before the event.
Trainer Tim Ritchey and veterinarian Patricia Hogan said today Afleet Alex's injured leg is still in the healing process and he will not be ready for the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Afleet Alex took a tremendous step forward in his comeback bid Friday morning by working a half-mile in :46 flat over the main track at Belmont Park.
- By Tom LaMarra
The Breeders' Cup board of directors didn't take formal action during an Oct. 4 retreat but did reach consensus on extension of the organization's management agreement with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
It was a weekend that helped shape the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), Emirates Airline Distaff (gr. I), and John Deere Turf (gr. IT). Of course, no big weekend at Belmont Park this fall would be complete without a controversy surrounding the use of pacesetters.
Tim Ritchey still has designs on making a run at the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) with his dual classic winner Afleet Alex, and he plans on working the 3-year-old colt after the break Friday morning at Belmont Park.
Cross a strapping stamina-oriented stallion with a precocious speedster of a mare. What do you get?
Imperialism's transformation from Classic contender to come-from-behind sprinter was probably no great surprise to those familiar with the career of his sire Langfuhr.
Cash is King Stable's Afleet Alex, who had not worked since his surgery for a hairline fracture, added to his growing list of amazing feats when he drilled five furlongs in a bullet :59 4/5 Friday morning, closing his final eighth in :11 2/5. Trainer Tim Ritchey said afterward the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) is very much in the picture.
Fans who come to Keeneland during closing week Oct. 26-Oct. 29 will have a chance to win one of six "dream" prizes as part of Keeneland's "Dream Week" giveaway.
With his disappointing fourth-place finish in Saturday's Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II), Perfect Drift has now become a longshot special for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I). And that makes him even more enticing, as he tries to emulate Volponi, another versatile, hard-knocking warrior who saved his best performance for the Classic.
Although it has drawn only six entrants, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket Saturday is overflowing with talent. The lone 3-year-old, Dubawi, leads a quality field.
Bill Heiligbrodt, a Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association trustee, has replaced John Amerman as the TOBA representative on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors.
Officials of Breeders' Cup Limited and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced that the 2005 Breeders' Cup Charity Celebration, to be held Oct. 28 at historic Roseland Ballroom in New York, with proceeds benefiting the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund aiding hurricane victims, the Fund for Public Health in New York and the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.
HorseRacing TV (HRTV) will broadcast from Bay Meadows Oct. 1 as Lost in the Fog looks to remain undefeated in the $100,000 Speed Handicap, his final tune-up for the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) Oct. 29 at Belmont Park.
There are two ways of looking at this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, especially the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I). It is either a depleted group of horses that doesn't measure up to most Breeders' Cups or there is still plenty left to provide a championship-caliber afternoon of racing.
- By Tom LaMarra
With 2006 a little more than three months away, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association continues to push for membership renewals and seek new members in advance of its annual meeting, scheduled for Oct. 10-12 in Lexington.
Defending NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile champion Singletary will get his final prep for the 2005 World Thoroughbred Championships in the $250,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) on Oct. 8 at Santa Anita, a race in which he finished third a year ago.
Saint Liam, the authoritative winner of the Sept. 10 Woodward (gr. I) at Belmont Park, will make his next start in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic, Powered by Dodge (gr. I) on Oct. 29, according to trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.
Steve Taub's Imperialism, winner of the seven-furlong Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) last month, will make his next start in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 1, trainer Kristin Mulhall confirmed Wednesday.
Trainer Graham Motion said Tuesday he will run Shake the Bank as a pacesetter for last year's John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner Better Talk Now in Saturday's $500,000 Man o'War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park.
It is time for a legitimate favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) to step forward and assert himself, and that could happen in Saturday's Woodward (gr. I) when Saint Liam and Commentator hook up again. But this time, trainer Rick Dutrow will be adding a new dish to Saint Liam's menu.
Organizations in the horse industry are forming a major fundraising effort Oct. 8 for victims of Hurricane Katrina to be called "Racing to the Rescue Day." The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships also plans to raise funds for the cause.
With the majority of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races beginning to sort themselves out, it looks as if this year's events for the most part are going to be wide-open races, with no standout. And that means Horse of the Year also is still very much up for grabs.
- By Steve Haskin
Trainer Tim Ritchey said Tuesday that Preakness and Belmont (both gr. I) winner Afleet Alex's fracture is healing nicely, but with an extra week of walking prescribed, there is a question whether the colt can make the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup Classic-Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
- By Tom LaMarra
Mark Shapiro, the ESPN executive who was instrumental in moving the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships to his network in 2006, is leaving ESPN effective Oct. 1 to become chief executive officer of Red Zone, a private entertainment investment company founded by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.
The "Thoroughbred Thank You Fund" will bring New York-based military personnel and West Point cadets as special guests to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park Oct. 29.
In an effort to provide its fans with the most attractive wagering program, officials of Breeders' Cup Limited and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Thursday that, for the first time, the complete race order for the 22nd Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 19, when the Pre-Entered fields for all eight races are released.
Officials of Breeders' Cup Ltd. announced Thursday the election of 13 members to its board of directors through the proportional shareholder voting system by Breeders' Cup foal and stallion nominators. The election results were confirmed at last week's board meeting in Lexington.
- By Tom LaMarra
The Thoroughbred Championship Tour, introduced in 2002 with a projected launch date of 2006, has been suspended because all of the parties needed to move it forward haven't committed to the project, organizers said.
Mark Shapiro, executive vice president who oversees programming and production for ESPN networks and ABC Sports, will deliver the keynote address at The Jockey Club's 53rd annual Round Table Conference in Saratoga Springs Aug. 21.
United Tote and The Race Track Chaplaincy of America will host the "United Tote Backstretch Bonanza," a special event for backstretch workers, at Belmont Park Oct. 25 during the week of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
"Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships Powered by Dodge," a four-month, 15-program series, will return on ESPN networks this weekend. Featuring 33 races in seven of the eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships divisions, the series concludes with a World Thoroughbred Championships special Oct. 28, the day before this year's Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park.
Emirates Airline, in conjunction with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, announced June 20 the "Emirates Airline Racing Around the World Sweepstakes."
- By Tom LaMarra
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association is projecting total operating revenue of $81.5 million by 2010, the last year of its five-year strategic plan. The largest revenue-producer would be Breeders' Cup, which has a joint operating agreement with the NTRA.
As Colonial Downs's opens its summer meet Friday, spectators coming to New Kent will see more racing on its dirt course as well as some changes to the facility, both exterior and interior.
- By Tom LaMarra
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's strategic plan for the next five years clearly reflects a shift in priorities for the organization, though many of the core focus areas remain intact from its first business plan issued in 1997.
Breeders' Cup founder John R. Gaines was posthumously honored as this year's Equine Industry Vision Award recipient by Pfizer Animal Health and American Horse Publications at a June 10 ceremonial breakfast held during the AHP Horse By Northwest Seminar in Seattle.
Albert-Culver Co., which first sponsored a Breeders' Cup race in 1989, has signed on as title sponsor of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and the Juvenile Fillies Division, effective this year. Breeders' Cup, for the first time, now has title sponsors for all eight World Thoroughbred Championships races.
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