By Ray Paulick -- Lone Star Park was a sight to behold Oct. 30 when the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships came to town. An enthusiastic crowd of 53,717 horse lovers from around the world was on hand to take part in the most important day in the history of the Texas racing industry.
By Gary West -- The message echoed through the grandstand and spread through the crowd. In the stable area, people from Europe, California, Kentucky, and New York gladly picked up the message and passed it along. Now, if only the so-called leaders in Texas aren't deaf.
Bobby Frankel had it all figured out as he spoke with owner Ken Ramsey outside barn B2 two days before the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Lone Star Park. He knew he had the best horse in the day's biggest race, the $4-million Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I). More importantly, he was convinced he had the horse of a lifetime--the one all trainers dream about.
They got down and dirty in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), turning the Sport of Kings into a rip-roaring, Texas-style rodeo. With front-running Star Over the Bay starting to fade, Powerscourt charged to the front on the final turn. Then Better Talk Now attacked from the outside, cutting in front of Magistretti. Meanwhile, the 7-10 favorite, Kitten's Joy, frantically swung his head to the left and right, looking for running room as the field headed to the wire.
J. Paul Reddam has fired plenty of bullets in his two decades of racehorse ownership, but the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships presented an unusual opportunity for the man who has made his fortune selling mortgage loans. Reddam was listed as owner--either outright or in partnership--of starters in four of the eight Cup races at Lone Star Park.
It was at dinner 225 years ago, at his home "The Oaks" near Epsom, England, that the 12th Earl of Derby proposed a race for 3-year-old colts to complement the race run that afternoon for 3-year-old fillies named for his residence, that he had won with a filly named Bridget. It might have been fairer to let his friend and dinner companion, Sir Charles Bunbury, give title to the new race. Instead they flipped a coin and Derby won. Otherwise, it would be the Kentucky Bunbury contested every May at Churchill Downs.
In the days prior to the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) trainer Todd Pletcher was dogged with questions about Speightstown's chances of being named champion sprinter. The soft-spoken Texas native would only say that Speightstown would have to win the six-furlong race in order to be considered a champion.
It wasn't hard to spot the connections of Singletary at the post position draw three days prior to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Amid a sea of dark suits and conservative ties, trainer Don Chatlos Jr. and Little Red Feather Racing syndicate manager Billy Koch commandeered a center table while dressed in Chicago Bears jerseys bearing the name and number (50) of their horse's namesake, accessorized with athletic wristbands.
A rundown on some of the major participants in Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Some will be retired, while others remain in training and will attempt the Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park.
Ouija Board proved those who pounded her to 9-10 odds-on favorite correct in their thinking. What they probably didn't figure on were the incredibly slow fractions that she closed on to win the $1,410,000 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).
Eugene and Laura Melnyk's Speightstown roared to the front in early stretch, opened up a commanding lead, then held off the late run of Kela to win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) by 1 ¼ lengths. The son of Gone West covered the six furlongs in 1:08.11.
Breeders' Cup day started off with a bang, longshot Wishingitwas taking the D.R. Horton Metroplex Mile, the one stakes run at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, prior to the eight World Thoroughbred Championship races.
On the heels of a record wagering day, Lone Star Park was set to host its first Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships with an improved weather forecast and a flurry of activity the morning of the event at the Texas racetrack.
If there is one sure thing when it comes to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships it's that you can count on several longshots coming in, with one or two monster-priced horses lighting up the tote board. So, once again, here are several bombs to keep an eye on.
Breeders' Cup and Lone Star Park executives met the afternoon of Oct. 29 to discuss plans given the possibility of a heightened terror alert in the United States, but the strategy already was in place, according to an official close to the situation.
Weather forecasters have downgraded the chance of showers or thunderstorms in the Grand Prairie, Texas area to 20% for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Lone Star Park Saturday afternoon.
Plans for enhanced security, drug testing, and licensing by the Texas Racing Commission have been in the making for more than a year in advance of the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Lone Star Park. It's the first time Texas has hosted the Cup.
If looks have anything to do with the outcome, sophomore Society Selection has an outstanding chance to get Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens his first win in a Breeders' Cup race Saturday in the $2-million Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel (gr. I).
The financial implications of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships -- before, during, and after the event -- are huge, speakers said Oct. 29 during a seminar sponsored by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association at Lone Star Park.
The International Jockey Championship had a distinctive Texas flavor Oct. 28 when Dallas native Jerry Bailey sealed the title aboard Promise Of War in the third and final series event for owner Keith Asmussen and trainer Steve Asmussen of the Lone Star state.
The proposed lease of Meadowlands and Monmouth Park, the two racetracks operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, is off for now. The state has been considering the lease agreement since late 2003.
John Woodley, a jockey and exercise rider at Fairmount Park in southern Illinois was named the recipient of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America's White Horse Award Thursday afternoon at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Speightstown will enter the gate for Saturday's $1-million Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Lone Star Park as one of the heavy favorites to win the six-furlong race, but a win could almost guarantee end of the year divisional honors.
Recently retired jockey Patti Cooksey, California training legend Noble Threewitt, and Steve Haskin of The Blood-Horse were honored Wednesday night in Dallas at the annual National Turf Writers Association awards dinner.
Tamweel, a solid second in the Overbrook Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland Oct. 10, got some solid exercise over the track at Lone Star Park Thursday morning and is geared up for the Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel (gr. I).
Several trainers immediately began plotting strategy following Wednesday's post position draw for the $4 milllion Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), which likely will affect the two likely favorites, Pleasantly Perfect and Ghostzapper.
Mr. and Mrs. Martin Wygod's Sweet Catomine, winner of the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) and Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. II) in three career starts, is the 5-2 choice in Saturday's Breeders' Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
Fog City Stable's Roman Ruler, who is only a neck away from being four-for-four in his career, was installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite in a field of eight for the $1.5-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park.
With the defection of defending older filly champion Azeri to the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), Ashado and Storm Flag Flying were installed the morning-line favorites for the $2-million Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel (gr. I).
The burning question of whether or not Lord Derby's Ouija Board would go in the V05 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf or the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (both gr. IT) ended at the draw for the World Thoroughbred Championships Wednesday morning when she was entered in the Filly & Mare Turf and was made the 8-5 morning-line favorite.
When Tom Proctor won the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) in 1994, his One Dreamer paid $96.20. If Indy Groove wins the Distaff – Presented by Nextel Saturday at Lone Star Park, Proctor said she might pay twice that.
There are at least two trainers who think the correct move with Azeri is to run in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) rather than the Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel (gr. I). One is D. Wayne Lukas, who trains Azeri. The other is Patrick Biancone.
Given the money and time that go into preparing a racetrack for the Breeders' Cup, it would seem inappropriate to use the word "test." But when the World Thoroughbred Championships is held Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park, it will be just that.