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Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: A Wind, a Songandaprayer

It was a tale of two works at Churchill Downs this morning. The formula was something we see many times prior to the Kentucky Derby: two horses with similar running styles come off the same race, have two completely contrasting works, and both their trainers are ecstatic. It was a perfect example how different horses need different types of works. The beaming smiles on the faces of trainers Dave Hofmans and John Dowd told the story following Millennium Wind's five-furlong work in 1:01 3/5 and Songandaprayer's deceiving :59 drill over the same distance.

Finger Lakes and Western OTB To Open Special Betting District

An agreement has been reached between Finger Lakes Race Track and the Western Regional OTB to open a Finger Lakes Special Betting District in the western New York area. The deal, contingent upon Western Regional OTB obtaining an operating license from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to re-open Batavia Downs, will aid the expansion of simulcast wagering at Finger Lakes and local OTB parlors. Both sides have been working on a deal since Finger Lakes approached Western with the proposal in March 2000.

Matty G Colt Tops Third Session Of OBS Spring Sale

Matty's Man, a colt from the first crop of Matty G, sold for $210,000 Wednesday to top the third session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. Matty's Man, who worked a quarter-mile in :21 3/5 during the April 20 under tack show, was bought by Robert Scanlon, agent. Consigned by Eisaman Equine, agent, the colt is out of stakes-placed Joy to Raise, by Raise a Man.

Maryland, Virginia Agree on Summer Schedule

Under the plan approved Wednesday by the Maryland Racing Commission, Thoroughbreds will cease racing in the state from July 8 to Aug. 7. During that period, Colonial Downs, the track in Virginia managed by the Maryland Jockey Club, will run its 25-day meet.

Millionaire Lu Ravi Retired

Lu Ravi fell just short of attaining her grade I goal when she finished second to Gourmet Girl in the April 8 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park. Now with $1,819,781 in earnings, eight stakes wins, and three second-place finishes in grade I races, trainer Carl Bowman and owner Yoshio Fujita have retired the 6-year-old mare.

Drug Task Force Hires Methods Director

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Wednesday that Dr. Scot Waterman will fill the new position of director of procedures and methods for the NTRA Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force. Waterman will be based in Lexington.

Massachusetts Racetracks Ink Simulcasting Pact

Suffolk Downs; Plainridge Racecourse, a Standardbred track; and two Greyhound tracks, Raynham-Taunton and Wonderland, have an agreement in place that allows for cross-breed and cross-species simulcasting, according to published reports. The racing law in Massachusetts expired last year, so the tracks are operating on an extension.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: A Shining, Crisp Dollar Bill

It was one of those intoxicating spring mornings that only Churchill Downs in late April can bring: blue skies, crisp temperatures that put an extra jump in your step, and the sight of Kentucky Derby horses, decked out in their striking gold saddlecloths, strutting over the track with adolescent enthusiasm. Although there were no works on tap this morning, we were able to take advantage of the leisurely atmosphere to get excellent close-up studies of many of the contenders as they galloped against the picture-book backdrop of the Twin Spires.

NTRA Services Hub Handle Tops $6 Million

The NTRA Services wagering hub in Oregon handled $6,133,521 for the first quarter of 2001, by far the highest figure for a three-period since the first report was submitted early last year. The handle, generated by bettors in Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and Oregon, is almost twice as large as the handle recorded for the first three months of 2000.

NTRA Reaches Out to Mainstream Media

About 400 newspapers in major markets or horse racing markets have received a CD-ROM from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to facilitate coverage of Thoroughbred racing. The disk contains photographs of owners, trainers, jockeys, and horses, as well as logos and graphics. The package is similar to those produced by other sports leagues.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Point Given, Congaree Pass First Test

If opposing trainers were looking for any holes in the Baffert Brigade, they sure didn't find them this morning, as Point Given and Congaree both turned in brilliant works over a deep track that trainer Bob Baffert described as demanding. Baffert, always nervous before big works, was looking forward to getting these out of the way. Heavy rains at around 8 p.m. the night before didn't help soothe his nerves any, but morning brought bright blue skies and a drop in the temperature from the previous day.

National Licensing Effort to Branch Out

The National Racing Compact has approved criteria for the licensing of trainers, jockeys, and drivers, and plans an event at Churchill Downs the week of the Kentucky Derby to spread the word. The NRC began licensing owners earlier this year.

Game at Its Best

By John Veitch -- There is not a year that goes by, when the first Saturday in May approaches, that 1978 and Alydar don't come to life in my subconscious.

Missing in Action?

The entry box at Churchill Downs doesn't close until 10 a.m. on May 2, but as this is written it appears the 127th Kentucky Derby (gr. I) will be renewed without an entry from the barn of D. Wayne Lukas.

Whitney Tower Filly Tops First Session Of OBS Sale

Stormy Kris, a Whitney Tower filly consigned by Rising Hill Farm, agent, brought $150,000 Monday to top the opening session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2001 spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. John Dolan and Wesley Ward purchased the session topper, who was produced by the Kris S. mare Surely Kris. The filly worked an eighth-mile in :10 2/5, the fastest work at the distance in the sale's first under tack show on April 18.

Dubai Millennium's Condition Deteriorates; Sheikh Mohammed Arrives

Godolphin stallion Dubai Millennium remains in intensive care at a Newmarket clinic following surgery. The condition has worsened to such a point that Godolphin's Sheikh Mohammed arrived Wednesday from Dubai to check out the stallion. Dubai Millennium, who is standing his first season at stud, underwent surgery Monday to relieve a blockage of the small intestine and additional surgery Tuesday night. "He remains in intensive care in Newmarket, but the vets are giving him every possible medical treatment to enable his internal system to function normally again," said Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock advisor John Ferguson. "He's being a wonderful patient, and is comfortable, though clearly unwell."

Hollywood Park Turns Out the Lights to Save Energy

Faced with the possibility of the lights going dark this summer, management planned ahead and purchased four back-up generators to ensure rolling blackouts don't affect operations. But the energy crisis has already come at a cost...The power crisis also prompted Hollywood to bump up its start time on Fridays from 7:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Running lights at night would be too costly considering electricity prices will be increased up to 46% by this summer. The move could result in a drop in on-track attendance.

Steve Haskin's Weekly Derby Contender Reports and Analysis

Each week since Jan. 22, Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, has reported on the leading contenders and analyzed this year's Kentucky Derby. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000.and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997. In 1999, he co-authored "Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby" with trainer Bob Baffert and wrote the book, "Dr. Fager" for Eclipse Press' "Thoroughbred Legends" series in 2000.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: The Action Heats Up

Welcome to Churchill Downs. Many of the names and faces change each year, but the same charge of electricity still ripples through the backstretch. Bob Baffert has two shotgun cartridges aimed right at the Twin Spires, while Nick Zito is back after a one-year absence, and for the first time since Genuine Risk captured the roses in 1980, D. Wayne Lukas will be a spectator.

Horse of the Year Tiznow Sidelined 60 Days

2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow sustained an injury during a workout last Friday, and a nuclear-imaging test conducted Monday revealed a problem with his lumbar vertebrae. "The prognosis is good, but we're going to have to walk him for 60 days before resuming training with him," said conditioner Jay Robbins Tuesday morning from his Santa Anita barn. The injury knocks Tiznow out of the May 12 Pimlico Special (gr. I).

Chamblin to Step Down as RCI President

Rumor became fact Sunday night when Tony Chamblin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International for the past 15 years, announced he would step down, effective July 1. The RCI will form a committee to search for a replacement.

Hollywood Park Race Report: A Fantastic Filly

For some, it may be Mach-speed roller coasters or bungee jumping. Others run with the bulls in Pamplona or go crowd surfing at a punk rock concert. There are precious few experiences, however, that can match the rush of riding a hot-blooded Thoroughbred. Just imagine...you're alone on the lead at speeds beyond belief, riding low with your hair on fire. And then, without warning, your horse shifts direction. Ouch.

Serena's Tune Breezes Toward Oaks; She's a Devil Due Withdrawn

Serena's Tune breezed four furlongs Sunday at Churchill Downs in preparation for her start in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The La Habra Stakes winner won't have to face Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) third-place finisher She's a Devil Due in the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, as trainer Ken McPeek says she is no longer under consideration for that race.

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