Trainer Bob Hess Jr. is hoping Fog City Stable's D'wildcat can approximate his last performance when he meets unbeaten Lasersport Saturday in the $150,000 San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs. D'wildcat smoked a maiden allowance field in his second career start Jan. 6 in a six-furlong time of 1:08.76, only four ticks off the track record. D'wildcat breezed four furlongs in :49.20 Tuesday in his final San Vicente tuneup.
Tiznow will face a similar cast of characters as he did while winning the Jan. 13 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) in Saturday's grade II Strub Stakes at Santa Anita. The nine-furlong Strub will be Tiznow's first start since adding the Horse of the Year title to his 2000 resume. The Strub will be televised on the ESPN2 network at 6:30 p.m. (ET).
Eight of the best handicap horses in training, including grade 1 winners Captain Steve, Albert the Great and Sir Bear, clash Saturday at Gulfstream Park in the first major event of the year for older runners, the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) at a mile and an eighth. The Donn will be televised on ESPN2 as part of a broadcast that includes the Strub Stakes and San Vicente Stakes from 6:30-7:00 p.m. (ET).
The Illinois Racing Board Wednesday gave Fairmount Park permission to cut its live racing schedule but not before threatening the Southern Illinois track with sanctions if it fails to upgrade the backside At a special meeting sought by the track, the board agreed to allow Fairmount to push back its opening from Feb. 6 to March 16 and to cancel racing on Easter Sunday and the day after Memorial Day -- a total decrease of 23 day
In the first stakes of the year at Fair Grounds for 3-year-olds, Sam Lord's Castle defeated Wild Hits in the Le Comte Stakes.
Laffit Pincay, racing's all-time winningest rider, set another record on Tuesday afternoon in New Orleans, La., when he became the first two-time winner of the Big Sport of Turfdom award presented annually by the Turf Publicists of America.
The votes are in and the major players are in New Orleans for tonight's Eclipse Awards dinner. In addition to Horse of the Year, Eclipse Awards will also be presented for other equine and human achievements during 2000. Complete results and profiles of the winners will be posted on Bloodhorse.com at 10:30 p.m. (ET). An Eclipse Awards Special will air on ESPN2 on February 4 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. (ET).
Windsor Castle, purchased by a Dogwood Stable partnership after winning the grade II Remsen Stakes last year, has been dealt a setback that will cause him to miss the Feb. 17 Fountain of Youth Stakes. Dogwood president Cot Campbell said Windsor Castle developed a fever several days after a Jan. 6 workout. "It's nothing serious and he's normal now, but it's thrown a monkey wrench into (trainer) Frank Alexander's schedule for him," Campbell said.
There wasn't much separating Macho Uno and Point Given in both the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and the Experimental Free Handicap for males. Macho Uno held off Point Given by a nose in the Juvenile and was assigned one pound more than that rival on the Experimental. Ranked a pound below Point Given was A P Valentine, who turned in a powerful run to win the Champagne Stakes (gr. I), but then ran last in the Juvenile. Overall, nine horses were weighted at 120 pounds or more, the same number as in 1999.
Officials at Philadelphia Park announced Monday that the purse for its marquee event, the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. III), would be increased from $300,000 to $500,000 for its 23rd renewal, set for Labor Day, September 3. The purse boost makes the 1-1/8 mile Pennsylvania Derby the richest race in the history of Pennsylvania horse racing.
Gander had such an impressive workout here on Saturday that trainer John Terranova II and owners Mike and Ted Gatsas have decided to run him in Saturday's $500,000 Donn Handicap to be run over 1 1/8 miles. Gander earned the bullet work when he went six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 handily. According to Gulfstream Park, possible Donn starters, with weights and jockeys, are: Captain Steve, 120, Jerry Bailey; Albert the Great, 119, Jorge Chavez; Pleasant Breeze, 116, (Indefinite); Sir Bear, 116, Eibar Coa; North East Bound, 116, Jose Velez Jr.' Gander, 115, John Velazquez; Rich Celebration, 112, Jose Santos; Noble Ruler, 111, Pat Day; Tempest Fugit, 111, Edgar Prado; and Vision and Verse, 114, (indefinite).
The cry of "Go, Big Blue" resounded throughout the New York area on Super Bowl Sunday. Although it was silenced following the New York Giants' defeat to the Baltimore Ravens, don't be surprised if it is resurrected by Gang Godolphin around the first Saturday in May. That's when Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum and his faithful followers will invade Churchill Downs bearing gifts and exuding confidence. Boxloads of Godolphin jackets, shirts, and caps will turn Churchill Downs into a sea of blue. Over the past two years, three members of Maktoum's Marauders made it to the starting gate on Derby Day, their coats shining like burnished copper. But there really wasn't a Derby horse beneath those glistening exteriors.
Regular rider Chris McCarron was up as Tiznow breezed six furlongs over a muddy Santa Anita track Saturday morning for trainer Jay Robbins. Officially Tiznow covered the six furlongs in 1:12.20 and, according to McCarron, galloped out strong, completing one mile in 1:40 as he prepped for Saturday's Strub Stakes.
In a meeting Saturday on the backstretch with a group of about 50 horsemen, Gulfstream president Scott Savin detailed Magna Entertainment Corporation's plan to create a rivalry between its flagship tracks, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita, by running a daylong series of races on each coast that would pit Florida and California horses against each other. Magna would foot the bill for 36 Gulfstream horses, each accompanied by a groom, to fly to Santa Anita for six starter allowance races, each with a purse as high as $80,000, on Feb. 25. Approximately two weeks later, the process would be reversed and Gulfstream would host California runners.
Daniel M. Borislow's Talk Is Money was tested all the way to the finish line by Marciano but prevailed in an all-out drive to win the $50,000 Miracle Wood Stakes, Saturday's co-feature at Laurel Park. In successfully negotiatiing two turns for the first time, the $1.8 million yearling purchase remained undefeated in two career starts.
California tracks will have their backstretch housing inspected if they want a license to conduct a horse racing meeting from the California Horse Racing Board. The state's racing board is nearing completion of an amendment to its license application that would require tracks to pass the inspection before the meet is approved. The new regulation is primarily due to a sweep last summer by state inspectors who found backstretch workers often live in substandard conditions.
When Kona Gold was scratched by trainer Bruce Headley, the Palos Verdes became a showdown between 8-year-olds Big Jag and Men's Exclusive.
Nany's Sweep, a 13-1 long shot ridden by Kent Desormeaux, rallied boldly in the stretch and caught Serenita in the final yards for a one-length victory Saturday in the grade I Santa Monica Handicap for fillies and mares at Santa Anita Park. Nany's Sweep ran seven furlongs in 1:22 2/5 on a fast main track and paid $28.20, $10 and $2.20. Kathy Walsh trains the winner for Budget Stable.
Champion sprinter Kona Cold was among the seven horses entered for Sunday's 49th running of the Palos Verdes Handicap, but was scratched out of the race due to his weight assignment. The 7-year-old gelded son of Java Gold started last year's championship campaign with a win in the Palos Verdes and was assigned top weight of 126 pounds for Sunday's renewal.
The unanimous choice for champion sprinter of 2000 would have faced last year's second- and third-place Palos Verdes finishers -- Big Jag and Freespool, respectively. Big Jag has been assigned 120 pounds and Freespool 116.
The racing program on June 2 at Philadelphia Park will be devoted to Pennsylvania-breds. The afternoon will feature five $50,000 stakes, a $30,000 stakes, and four starter handicap events. The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association hopes the program lays the groundwork for even bigger state-bred days in coming years.
A field of 11, led by City Zip and Yonaguska, has been entered for Saturday's Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. The seven-furlong, $150,000 race is the third leg in the series of races leading up to the Florida Derby. City Zip, a multiple grade II winner, is the 122-pound topweight in the Hutcheson. Yonaguska, who finished in dead heat with City Zip for first in the Hopeful Stakes, will tote 119.
The three major tracks in Southern California have acknowledged a need for backup generators in light of the possibility of power blackouts, but Hollywood Park is prepared to invest $4 million in equipment to ensure the facility doesn't go dark. Rolling blackouts brought on the by the state's energy crisis forced Los Alamitos to switch to afternoon racing for a couple of programs last week.
The action removes a roadblock to construction of a riverboat casino, some revenue from which will be used to pump money into the Illinois racing industry.
A field of 10 was entered Thursday morning for Saturday's 44th running of the $200,000 Santa Monica Handicap, a seven-furlong grade I main track event for older fillies and mares. Probable favorite, Breeders' Cup Distaff runnerup Surfside drew post No. 6 and will carry highweight of 121 pounds. "She's all set and in the box," said trainer D. Wayne Lukas Thursday morning.
Odds-on favorite Keemoon took control with five furlongs to run, then shook off a late bid from Juvenia to win the $75,725 Reloy Handicap for older fillies and mares Thursday at Santa Anita Park. Keemoon, under Gary Stevens at 121 pounds, completed the about 1 1/2 miles in 2:29 1/5 on a "yielding" turf course and returned $3.40, $2.60 and $2.10.
The California Horse Racing Board approved a regulatory amendment Thursday increasing by $5 the minimum fee paid to jockeys on mounts that finish worse than third in a race, as requested by the Jockeys' Guild and supported by the horse-racing industry. The amendment also changes the timetable for when the fee is considered earned. Previously the fee was earned when the mount set foot on the racetrack to begin the parade to post. That meant that if a horse was injured in the saddling paddock and had to be scratched from the race, the rider did not earn a fee. Now jockeys will be entitled to the fee when they weigh out for the race with the clerk of scales before they go to the saddling paddock.
Veteran racing executive Leonard (Lenny) Hale has left his post as vice president of racing for the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park and Pimlico Racecourse. According to a statement from MJC, the organization reached an "amicable parting" as of last Saturday, Jan. 20.
According to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, this is the upcoming schedule for races on television:
City Zip, the speedy Carson City colt who vaulted to national prominence last summer by becoming the first horse in 40 years to sweep Saratoga's major 2-year-old stakes, arrived in South Florida last Sunday to prepare for Saturday's grade II Hutcheson Stakes. Meanwhile, Daring Pegasus will be seeking his second straight stakes victory when he starts in the Hutcheson, his first start outside the state of Kentucky.
After Saturday's seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes, just one more stakes preview will remain on the Gulfstream Park schedule for the March 10 Florida Derby. Likely to await the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) are the major 3-year-olds in Florida – Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Macho Uno, and Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner A P Valentine. Another pointing directly to the mile and an eighth Florida Derby is Buckle Down Ben, winner of the Laurel Futurity (gr. III) last season and second in the Holy Bull.
Fairmount Park racetrack announced Wednesday that it will postpone the opening of its 2001 Thoroughbred race meeting originally scheduled for Feb. 6 until March 16 as a result of a ruling issued in the circuit court of Madison County (Illinois) that orders the payment of over $4 million in purse money earned in 2000-2001 by Fairmount Park to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. According to the ruling, the funds are to be used at state and county fairs.
This year's schedule, which runs through December, will feature more than 60 stakes from about 30 different tracks. The NTRA has released the schedule for the first quarter of 2001.
NTRA Productions has released the "Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby" series, which will feature 15 races that lead up to the first leg of the Triple Crown. The series begins Feb. 18 and concludes with a Triple Crown Special April 29.
Some changes have been made to this year's Claiming Crown, scheduled for Aug. 4 at Canterbury Park. There will be one less race, but the same amount of purse money, and a new eligibility requirement organizers hope will generate more nominations for the event.
Presentations of Horse of the Year, Trainer of the Year and Race of the Year highlight the inaugural TVG "Viewer Choice Awards" to be aired live on the TVG Network on Monday, January 29 from 9-10 PM EST (6-7 PM PST). Hosted by TVG anchors Caton Bredar and Greg Wolf, the ceremony will honor 14 categories of achievement in Thoroughbred, harness and quarter horse racing. The winners were selected through on on-line poll of TVG viewers, with over one million votes cast over a two-week period.
Mother Nature continues to impact American racing, with Turfway Park canceling its Wednesday night card. Rather than snow and cold temperatures that usually cause a cancellation, this time the culprit was warmer temperatures that caused thawing and uneven areas in the mostly frozen track, Turfway officials said.
With a strong racetrack event schedule already in place, and an establishment marketing plan to boot, the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association isn't expected to rejoin the National Thoroughbred Racing Association during the current meet at Gulfstream Park. The Hallandale track is owned by Magna Entertainment, which rejoined the NTRA in mid-January.
Fans attending upcoming Spring Meet races at Churchill Downs may not immediately notice a change, but the jockeys and horses that compete on the historic track will significantly benefit from a new safety rail that is currently being installed along the inside portion of the one-mile dirt oval.
New York Senator Joseph Bruno backed away from his plan to scrap the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, according to his spokesman. There was no reason given for Bruno's change of heart.
American Boss and Mambo Twist, both 6-year-old sons of Lane's End Farm stallion Kingmambo purchased at the 1996 Keeneland summer yearling sale, won graded stakes at different tracks in Japan on Sunday.
The re-entry of Magna Entertainment's seven racetracks into the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is expected to have an immediate impact on the NTRA's winter television schedule on ESPN and ESPN2, beginning with its first telecast on Feb. 3. That telecast will feature the Donn Handicap (gr. I) from Gulfstream Park and the Strub Stakes (gr. II) and San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) from Santa Anita. Both tracks are owned by Magna, whose chairman, Frank Stronach, announced on Jan. 17 in a joint statement with the NTRA that he has made a two-year commitment to rejoin the organization.
The grade 1 Fountain of Youth, to be run February 17 as the last major prep for the $1 million Florida Derby March 10, is the next scheduled stop on the agenda for grade 3 Holy Bull winner Radical Riley. Runner-up Bukcle Down Ben could also try the Fountain of Youth or may go directly into the Florida Derby off Saturay's effort.
David Shimmon, the California entrepreneur who has been one of the Thoroughbred industry's leading yearling buyers since emerging at the Keeneland July sale in 1999, has elected to have D. Wayne Lukas train four of his purchases from last year, including a $4.2 million Seattle Slew colt who topped Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga yearling sale.
While their governor was being sworn in as president of the United States, Texas Thoroughbred owners and breeders were electing new officers and handing out awards at their annual get-together and dinner in Austin.
Ridden by Gary Stevens 1999 two-year-old filly champion Chilukki set leisurely fractions and turned the tables on 3-5 favorite Spain in the $147,000 El Encino Stakes, winning by 2 1/2 lengths. Spain, winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Distaff at odds of 55-1, had upset 7-10 favorite Chilukki in the seven-furlong La Brea Stakes last Dec. 30. Chilukki took command at once in the grade II El Encino and completed 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.55, with splits of :24.17, :48.39, 1:11.95 and 1:36.17 for the mile.
Millennium Wind, a $1.2 million son of Crytoclearance, took a major step towards the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7 with a hard-earned half-length victory over 31-1 outsider Palmeiro in Sunday's $107,700 Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Ridden by Chris McCarron, who won three stakes races at Santa Anita over the weekend, Millennium Wind covered 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.38. The 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt paid $3.20 as the favorite in the field of six and earned $64,620 for owners David and Jill Heerensperger of Seattle, Washington.
Valhol finally got redemption and a stakes win the courts can't take away. In a much-maligned career that began at Fair Grounds less than two years ago, Valhol pranced to the winner's circle after a victory in the $75,000 Diplomat Way Handicap on Sunday. After a well documented win then disqualification in the 1999 Arkansas Derby in only his third career start, the strapping 5-year-old chestnut has been plagued by physical ailments
The National HBPA tackled medication issues during a meeting Sunday, and representatives believe the Thoroughbred industry can do quite a bit to alter the perception that horse racing is rife with medication abuse and use of performance-enhancing drugs in racehorses.
A P Valentine, winner of the grade 1 Champagne and a prospect for the $1 million Florida Derby March 10, breezed a half-mile in :51 at 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning at Hialeah Park. The Zito-trained Albert The Great, a leading candidate for the grade 1 Donn Handicap February 3, also worked Saturday morning at Hialeah, getting a half-mile in :47 3/5 in handy fashion.
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