News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications.
RICHARD GOODALL CAPTURES DRF/NTRA NATIONAL HANDICAPPING CHAMPIONSHIP
Richard Goodall, a 64-year-old retired attorney from Las Vegas, bested 276 thoroughbred horse racing handicappers by a record margin to capture the ninth annual, $1 million Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas on Saturday. Goodall earned the top prize of $500,000 for his victory.
Goodall secured his big payday by amassing $272.30 in mythical money to earn the championship in the challenging two-day event. He finished $78 ahead of the second finisher, which was the largest winning margin in DRF/NTRA Tournament history. The previous high margin was $31.60.
Goodall, who earned a berth for his fifth DRF/NTRA NHC in late December via the NHCqualify.com online contest, bested runner-up Don Beardsworth, who earned $150,000 for finishing second with $194.30.
Goodall aside, the race for the remaining top-five slots almost required a photo finish camera.
Roberta Cote ($194) finished third and earned $100,000. Albert Wong ($193.90) and Harry Seaman ($188.70) finished fourth and fifth and were awarded $45,000 and $30,000, respectively.
The affable Goodall has been an accomplished handicapper and dedicated tournament player for years, but had little success in four previous tries at the rich Las Vegas event until this year.
“This is my biggest thrill, because of my wife [Sally Wang Goodall],” said the winner, whose wife has qualified for the NHC in her own right on six occasions. “It’s very exciting, because I never earned a dime in my other tries. It was all worthwhile, though.”
With his win, Goodall is accorded the title of NTRA Handicapper of the Year, and he will receive special recognition at next year’s Eclipse Award ceremony.
PFIZER AND NTRA CHARITIES TEAM UP TO FIGHT LAMINITIS
Pfizer Animal Health and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that they have joined forces to help fund laminitis research through the NTRA Charities – Barbaro Memorial Fund. The partnership’s aim is to increase awareness of the Fund across the horse industry and encourage further support of cutting edge research into laminitis prevention and treatment.
Owners, trainers and horse enthusiasts alike can contribute directly to the work of the Barbaro Memorial Fund online at RidingwithBarbaro.org. Information on the donation site, and the Fund’s goal, will be featured in 2008 Pfizer Animal Health advertising for several equine products, as well as on displays in select retail outlets across the country and at major equine events. Riding with Barbaro awareness bracelets will be available as part of select display promotions.
“Laminitis is a potentially devastating disease that affects horses at all levels of equine sports and across disciplines – from great Thoroughbred champions like Barbaro, right on to recreational horses loved by their riders and owners,” said Kristin Ruff, marketing manager, U.S. equine business, at Pfizer Animal Health. “We wanted to help raise awareness of the Fund’s mission and encourage all kinds of horse people to donate what they can toward finding a cure.”
“Pfizer’s generous contribution and commitment to promote the NTRA Charities – Barbaro Memorial Fund will help further his legacy, both as a courageous and gifted racehorse and as the inspiration for promising new research on equine health,” said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the NTRA.
The entire horse industry, and horse enthusiasts around the world, watched Barbaro’s story unfold after his tragic injury during the 2006 Preakness Stakes. Despite the heroic efforts of a team of leading veterinarians at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, it was laminitis that finally ended Barbaro’s life in January 2007. While Barbaro will always be remembered for his courage – both on the track and while facing injury – his owners wanted his legacy to benefit all horses.
“Gretchen and I hope Barbaro’s memory can be carried on through advances in medical research, including a cure for laminitis,” said Barbaro’s owner, Roy Jackson.
More information on Barbaro’s legacy, as well as how to get involved with the Barbaro Memorial Fund and make a donation, can be found online at RidingwithBarbaro.org.
CHURCHILL DOWNS TO BE BURIAL AND OFFICIAL MEMORIAL SITE FOR BARBARO
Churchill Downs will be the final resting place for 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, who was euthanized one year ago today after a lengthy battle with laminitis. The announcement was made Tuesday by Barbaro’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, at a Churchill Downs news conference.
Barbaro’s remains were cremated following his death on Jan. 29, 2007, and his ashes will be interred outside of Gate 1 at Churchill Downs, in a large elevated space enclosed by bricks that is currently used as a garden. The site, which will be open to the public, will include a larger-than-life-sized bronze statue of the Kentucky Derby 132 winner that will be commissioned by the Jacksons and loaned to Churchill Downs as part of Barbaro’s official memorial site.
“Churchill Downs is deeply honored to be selected as the final resting place for Barbaro, who first captured our hearts with his impressive win in the 132nd Kentucky Derby and who demonstrated strength and determination in his long battle to overcome both injury and illness,” said Steve Sexton, president of Churchill Downs and executive vice president of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “Barbaro took his place in history on the first Saturday in May 2006 with a brilliant Kentucky Derby victory, but his accomplishments as a racehorse are certainly rivaled by the courage and resolve he displayed after his injury. We are grateful to the Jacksons for entrusting their beloved Derby champion to us.”
“Gretchen and I are pleased to be collaborating with Churchill Downs in this wonderful project,” said Roy Jackson. “In the year that has just preceded, we have spent much time thinking about Barbaro’s memorial and where it would be best placed. Churchill Downs became the obvious site for us. It was here that he ran his best race. It was here where we spent our most memorable day as horse owners and breeders. It was here where his racing fans could visit daily, and it was here at Churchill Downs where he was cordially invited to rest.”
BAZE COULD GET WIN #10,000 AS EARLY AS TODAY
The winningest jockey in North American history, Russell Baze, has six mounts today at Golden Gate Fields near San Francisco as he guns for the three additional victories that would take him to the 10,000-win plateau for his career.
Baze will ride races three through eight on today’s Golden Gate card. His mounts in the fifth and eighth races – Swishing Tiger and Judged, respectively – are morning line favorites.
When Baze reaches $10,000, his two home tracks, Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows, will commemorate the event by making $10,000 contributions to two of Baze’s favorite charities: the Racetrack Chaplaincy and the Winners Foundation.
“The Racetrack Chaplaincy is very special to me, and the Winners Foundation does very good work in an outreach to people here,” Baze told Daily Racing Form.
Baze unseated Laffit Pincay Jr. as North America’s winningest rider on December 1, 2006 when he picked up his 9,531st career victory in a race at Bay Meadows. Earlier this year, on January 9, Brazilian jockey Jorge Ricardo became the first rider to tally 10,000 victories after winning a race in Argentina.
ALL EYES ON DAAHER IN SATURDAY’S GRADE I DONN HANDICAP
The emerging 4-year-old star Daaher will face his biggest challenge yet in Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. Among his eight rivals is the 7-year-old gelding Brass Hat, winner of the Donn in 2006.
Regular jockey Mike Luzzi will fly in from New York for the mount on Daaher for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin as the son of Awesome Again makes his first start since capturing the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 24, his third straight impressive victory and fourth win in seven career starts.
McLaughlin captured a memorable renewal of the Donn last year with 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor, who went on to win the Dubai World Cup in late March, a race that would prove to be his career finale. Daaher is expected to be Dubai-bound for this year’s World Cup with a good effort in the Donn.
Brass Hat is on the comeback trail for trainer Buff Bradley, the owner-breeder’s son, and is set to make his first start since a very good runner-up effort in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on November 23. Regular rider Willie Martinez will be along for the ride.
Two other intriguing prospects in the field of nine are Einstein, a Grade I winner on turf, and Spring At Last, winner of the Godolphin Mile in Dubai last year.
Completing a deep and talented field are Wood Be Willing, Dr. Googles Boogles, A.P. Arrow, Fairbanks and Kiss the Kid.
SEEN – AND HEARD — ON RADIO ROW
Who was that silver-haired quipster doing interviews up and down Radio Row at the Super Bowl in suburban Phoenix yesterday? None other than Bob Baffert who did the series of radio gigs on behalf of the NTRA to promote the upcoming racing season.
Baffert who will saddle Air Commander in Saturday’s Strub Stakes at Santa Anita was asked questions on a number of racing topics. But per Super Bowl tradition, the question he fielded most often surrounded which team he liked in Sunday’s big game.
For the record, Baffert picks the New England Patriots to defeat the New York Giants 38-31.
RACING TO HISTORY
Jan. 31, 1958: Jockey Bill Shoemaker notched his 3,000th career win, aboard Eternal Pere, in the eighth race at Santa Anita Park.
Feb. 1, 1941: Golden Gate Fields opened for its inaugural race meet. After a five-day “season,” the track was forced to close because severe rainstorms washed out the racing surface. The advent of World War II prevented the facility from reopening until Sept. 9, 1947.
Feb. 1, 1999: Owner-breeder and philanthropist Paul Mellon of Rokeby Stable died at his residence in Upperville, Va. He was 91.
Feb. 2, 2001: The Jockey Club announced that gross purses in the United States during 2000 topped $1 billion for the first time, an increase of 7.0 percent compared to 1999 figures.
Feb. 3, 1989: Apprentice jockey Nate Hubbard hung on for second–literally–when his horse, Sweetwater Oak, stumbled near the finish line at Golden Gate Fields and flipped the rider out of his saddle. As he tumbled forward, Hubbard grabbed on to the filly’s neck and hung in mid-air until the race was over. The track stewards ruled it an official finish because Hubbard’s feet never touched the ground and Sweetwater Oak carried her assigned weight throughout the race.
Feb. 3, 1990: Jockey Bill Shoemaker rode his final career race at Santa Anita Park, finishing fourth aboard Patchy Groundfog in ‘The Legend’s Last Ride.’ He retired with 8,833 wins, a world record.
Feb. 4, 2005: Jockey Richard Migliore scored his 4,000th career victory aboard Benjamin Baby in the seventh race at Aqueduct.
Feb. 4, 1926: Wheatley Stables, formed by Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps, recorded its first win ever, with a two-year-old filly named Sturdy Stella.
Feb. 4, 1997: Cigar was named Horse of the Year for the second consecutive year.
Feb. 5, 1997: A six-year-old horse, Isitingood, broke the world record for a mile–1:32 1/5–set in 1968 by Dr. Fager. Isitingood was timed in 1:32.05 over the Santa Anita Park turf course.
Feb. 7, 1969: Diane Crump became the first woman jockey in America to compete in a parimutuel race when she finished tenth of 12 aboard a 48-1 shot, three-year-old Bridle ‘n Bit, in the seventh race at Hialeah Park.
Feb. 7, 1996: A racing oddity occurred at Oaklawn Park when the winners of seven consecutive races started from the number one post position.
Feb. 7, 1999: Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye picked up his 6,000th career victory aboard Sweetcakesanshakes in the third race at Santa Anita Park. Delahoussaye became the 14th rider in North American racing history to reach the 6,000-win mark.
Feb. 8, 1941: Whirlaway began his three-year-old season with a win in a six furlong allowance race at Hialeah.