Mrs. Miles Valentine, whose steeplechasers captured four runnings of the Grand National, died on Sept. 20 at her home near Unionville, Pa. She was 96. Born in England, Mrs. Valentine had served as chairman of the board of the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association and was awarded a 1998 Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association award as Pennsylvania's outstanding owner-breeder. Her top homebred runners included Grand National winner Deux Coup... Sebastian Madrid was named the jockey of the month for September at Calder Race Course. Madrid will receive the award following the third race race on Sept. 23.... Wertheimer Brothers homebred Okawanto, a juvenile son of Kingmambo, won the Prix la Rochette at Chantilly Racecourse in France on Wednesday. Trained by Criquette Head, Okawanto was the 2-5 favorite coupled with last-place finisher French Tune. The victory was the second in as many starts for the winner, who previously won the Prix de Fontenoy at Longchamp...Through the first nine days of the Meadowlands Thoroughbred meet, on-track handle has increased 7% to average $671,400 per night, resulting in a 1% boost in purses to average $220,964. On-site handle at Meadowlands has totaled more than $23 million, up 25%, and total attendance (live and simulcast) of 86,167 represents an 18.5% gain...Gary M. Garber's Flame Thrower and Harold Queen's Burning Roma have joined City Zip and Yonaguska as juveniles eligible for bonuses up to $1.3 million as part of the "NTRA Two-Year-Old Challenge." Burning Roma won the Futurity Stakes and Flame Thrower took the Del Mar Futurity. Under the bonus format, the owner of an eligible horse will receive $250,000 for a victory in seven televised races for 2-year-olds as well as the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. If that horse was sold at public auction, the consignor will receive $50,000. An additional $1-million will be paid to the owner if the horse goes onto win next year's Kentucky Derby. The challenge's presenting sponsors are Breeders Cup Ltd. and TheGreatestGamecom...Hall of Fame rider Chris McCarron will be at Rockingham Park on Saturday for the afternoon's live races. McCarron, who grew up in Dorchester, Ma. worked on the backside at Rockingham in his early teens before becoming a jockey. While at the track, McCarron will meet with fans in the booth in the grandstand and autograph caps...Long-Run Thoroughbred Retirement Society is pleased to announce the formation of Ontario's first formal retirement and placement program for Thoroughbred racehorses that are no longer racing competitively or able to continue with their racing careers. The not-for-profit group will use a network system to place retired racehorses into "suitable and appropriate" new homes. Tax-deductible donations, details on adopting one of Thoroughbreds, and general information are available from Long-Run at (416) 675-3993, extension 3440 or write to Long-Run Thoroughbred Retirement Society c/o Woodbine Racetrack, P.O. Box 156, 555 Rexdale Blvd., Rexdale, Ontario, Canada. M9W 5L2.

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