Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

Fall Meet Gains Recorded by Churchill Downs

In spite of ongoing construction that prohibited the use of most of the track's Clubhouse and wintry weather on the meet's final weekend, Churchill Downs reported gains in on-track attendance and wagering and set another record for total wagering during its 27-day "Fall Festival Of Racing" that drew to a close on Nov. 29.

23% Increase for Tattersalls Dec. Foal Sale

A record-breaking largest ever Tattersalls December Foal Sale concluded in Newmarket last night with a 21,157,000 guineas turnover for 738 sold, up 23% on the amount yielded by 585 sold a year ago.

Good Break Makes Difference for Be Gentle

Be Gentle lost all chance right out of the gate in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). She won the $230,000 Golden Rod (gr. II) Saturday at Churchill Downs by getting out of the gate first and leading all the way. It just goes to show what racing luck can mean.

Ailing Day Wins 34th Churchill Riding Title

Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day took off all of his mounts on the closing day at the Churchill Downs' fall meet – missing his third straight day of action – but the 50-year-old marvel will win his record 34th riding title at the track anyway.

Churchill Ceremony to Mark Project's Progress

Churchill Downs will mark the progress of its sweeping $121 million renovation next week when it holds a special "Topping Off" ceremony. The track has asked its fans to leave their imprint on the renovated facility by adding their signatures to a steel beam that will be placed at its highest point.

Dollase's Irish Warrior Tops Citation Field

Irish Warrior, who rallied boldly for fourth in the recent Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), should be a solid candidate to provide trainer Wally Dollase with a record fifth victory in the $400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Also on the card: the $100,000 Generous (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-olds.

Pesci Gets Lead Role in Hollywood Debut

Pesci had the lead role Thanksgiving Day at Hollywood Park. That is Pesci, the 3-year-old filly namesake of the Oscar Award-winning actor, Joe Pesci. Pesci, making her first start, cruised to an 8 1/2-length victory in the second race Thursday, leaving the actor in a jovial mood.

Watchem Smokey Fires Home in Underwood

Watchem Smokey, ridden by Julie Krone for trainer Bobby Frankel, came from well off the pace to post a one-length victory over Our New Recruit in the $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (gr. III) at Hollywood Park Thursday.

Bailey Positioned for Stakes Run Saturday

Bailey Positioned for Stakes Run Saturday

Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey will wrap up his year in New York on Saturday with a trio of stakes mounts. One behind Mike Smith's record of 68 stakes victories in a year, Bailey will be aboard likely favorites Congaree in the Cigar Mile, Read the Footnotes in the Remsen and Ashado in the Demoiselle.

14 to Go in Clark 'Cap; Tenpins Slight Choice

14 to Go in Clark 'Cap; Tenpins Slight Choice

Joseph Vitello's ultra-consistent Tenpins, a multiple stakes winner that has been worse than second only twice in 15 career races, is a slight favorite in a strong field of 14 older horses entered in Friday's 129th and richest running of Churchill Downs' $500,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II).

John Deere Sponsors Hollywood Turf Festival

John Deere, title sponsor of the $2 million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) and the John Deere Turf Division of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, will be the presenting sponsor of the Hollywood Turf Festival Nov. 28-30.

California Track Slots Proposal Submitted

Major privately-owned California racetracks and card clubs have thrown down the gauntlet in their bid to potentially break Indian tribes' monopoly over operation of slot machines in the state.

Canada's Chopinina Faces Females in Matriarch

Chopinina has run well against some of the top males in North America at one mile on turf over her home Woodbine course in Toronto. Trainer Alec Fehr wanted to find a spot for the 5-year-old Canadian-bred mare at one mile against other females.

Avanzado Clear Choice in Underwood

Fresh off a dominant victory in the Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I), Argentine-bred Avanzado will attempt to reaffirm his standing as California's premier sprinter in Thursday's $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood (gr. III) at Hollywood Park.

Average, Median, Gross Soar at Tattersalls' Foal Sale Opener

Tattersalls' December Foal Sale began in Newmarket, England on Wednesday, with the weakest of the four days. But the 7,944 guineas average was still up by 12% over last year's record and the 5,000 guineas median was up 25%. The session aggregate of 1,421,900 guineas for an expanded catalogue was virtually double the 2002 figure.

Sovereign Award Finalists Announced

The Jockey Club of Canada has announced the three finalists in each of the divisional catagories for 29th annual Sovereign Awards. The finalists were released in alphabetical order. The winners and the three finalists for Horse of the Year will be announced during the Sovereign Awards Gala on Saturday, Dec. 6 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

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