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Meteor Storm Takes Manhattan Handicap

Reserved early, Meteor Storm and Jose Valdivia Jr. came flying down the outside of the course to win the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) Saturday on the Belmont Park turf.

Bear Fan Sets Track Record in Vagrancy

Smarty Jones will have to do a lot to win as impressively as Bear Fan. The 5-year-old mare set a track record in taking the Vagrancy (gr. II) by nine lengths in the first of six consecutive graded stakes today at Belmont Park that will culminate with a run for the Triple Crown.

Stalled VLT Operation Leads Racetrack to Close

Batavia Downs, believed to be the nation's oldest nighttime Standardbred track, will not open for racing this summer because of dwindling revenue and an inability to get financing for its racino operation, track officials said.

Consolidation of Racing, Gaming Sought in New York

New York Gov. George Pataki May 27 proposed a complete overhaul of racing laws in the state, a move that would block the New York Racing Association's bid to get its racetrack franchise extended this year, and provide incentives to get video lottery terminals in operation at Aqueduct.

Funny Cide Breezes Toward Met Mile

Last year's Triple Crown Hopeful, Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide, breezed five furlongs in :59 2/5 beneath exercise rider and assistant trainer Robin Smullen Tuesday morning at Belmont Park. The work was the fastest of 18 at that distance.

Finalists Named for Venezia Memorial Award

Patricia Cooksey, Aaron Gryder, Edgar Prado and John Velazquez have been named as the finalists for the 2004 Mike Venezia Memorial Award. The Venezia Award was instituted by the New York Racing Association to honor riders who "exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship." Venezia was killed in a tragic spill at Belmont Park on Oct. 13, 1988.

Merger Talks Between NYRA, Magna Resume

The New York Racing Association and Magna Entertainment Corp. again are discussing merger possibilities, two months after the NYRA board flatly rejected a bid by Frank Stronach's company to become financial partners.

Elliott Rides in N.Y.; Shake You Down Heads Bold Ruler

One week removed from winning the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) aboard Smarty Jones, jockey Stewart Elliott has been named to ride the John Dowd-trained Whirlwind Charlott in the $200,000 Nassau County Breeders' cup Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park. Shake You Down, one of the more consistent sprinters in training over the last two seasons, heads the Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) on the same program.

Live Racing Returns to Finger Lakes

Live Racing will return to Finger Lakes Race Track on Friday and will mark the first time racing and video gaming will take place simultaneously. Doors will open to the gaming floor at 10 a.m. following an official grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony. Post time for the first race is 12:50 p.m.

New York Breeder/Owner Wilhelmine Waller Dead

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Wilhelmine Stewart Kirby Waller, owner of Tanrackin Farm in Bedford Hills, N.Y., and one of the driving forces behind the formation of the New York Breeding and Racing Program, died April 7 at her home on Tanrackin.

Funny Cide Returns to New York

Funny Cide, the New York-bred winner of last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I), returns to his native state Saturday for a start in the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.

Takeout Rates Again Fuel Conflict in New York

Pari-mutuel takeout wars have begun in New York, where a state senator has introduced legislation to increase the amount the New York Racing Association keeps on wagers. Though the measure's sponsor said the takeout hike is needed to help stop NYRA's financial bleeding, NYRA chairman Barry Schwartz insists the legislation would turn off bettors and decrease purses.

Storm Flag Flying Takes On Randaroo in Distaff BC

The presence of two fillies with near impeccable credentials has kept the entry box light for Saturday's $150,000 Distaff Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at seven furlongs. Storm Flag Flying, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2002, will have her work cut out for her trying to run down Randaroo.

Horsemen's Bill Introduced in New York Senate

Two weeks after floating its legislative proposal around the state Capitol, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has found a legislator to introduce a measure that would force the New York Racing Association to reimburse millions of dollars it borrowed from the horsemen's purse account.

Aqueduct To Close Friday

In anticipation of bad weather expected to hit New York on Friday, Aqueduct has already made the decision to close the track for live racing and simulcasting.

Well Fancied Leads Veteran Cast in Toboggan

Six-year-old Well Fancied, who is coming off the biggest win of his career in the General George Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel Park Feb. 16, will tote highweight of 118 pounds in a field of 10 set for Saturday's $100,000 Toboggan Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.

Law Firm Tabbed to Monitor Operations at NYRA

A Manhattan law firm with broad investigative experience has been named by a federal judge to oversee the finances and operations of the New York Racing Association to ensure it is in compliance with an oversight process ordered last year by the U.S. Attorney's office.

New York Racetrack Denied Operating License

State regulators have denied a 2004 racing application for troubled Vernon Downs, a Standardbred racetrack in central New York. The Feb. 27 ruling by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board prohibits racing at the facility and keeps shuttered a recently completed video lottery terminal casino.

Redskin Warrior Battles Six in Best Turn

Redskin Warrior will make his sophomore debut when he squares off against six rivals in Saturday's $75,000 Best Turn Stakes going six-furlongs at Aqueduct. The Best Turn is the feature on Saturday's 10-race card with a 12:30 p.m. post.

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