News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications.
LOOKIN AT LUCKY BIDDING TO BECOME 2YO CHAMP IN CASHCALL FUTURITY
Lookin At Lucky, an unlucky second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, will try to solidify his credentials as the best 2-year-old in the country with a victory in Saturday’s 29th running of the $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.
The son of Smart Strike suffered his lone defeat in five starts when he drew the 13-post in the Juvenile and was forced to run wide while falling just a head short of Vale of York. Prior to that, he won four straight races including three graded stakes — the Best Pal, the Del Mar Futurity and the Norfolk.
Lookin At Lucky is one of three Futurity entrants trained by Bob Baffert, who seeks a record fifth victory in the Grade I event after matching D. Wayne Lukas’ record of four when Pioneerof the Nile won in 2008.
Real Quiet, who became Baffert’s first Futurity winner in 1997, went on to win the 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Point Given, the 2000 Futurity champ, won the Preakness and Belmont in 2001 and was named Horse of the Year.
Real Quiet is one of six Futurity grads to win the Derby. The others are inaugural starter Gato Del Sol, who won the 1982 Derby, Ferdinand (1986), Alysheba (1987), Thunder Gulch (1995) and Giacomo (2005).
Baffert, whose other Futurity win came with Captain Steve in 1999, will also send out Generous Stakes runner-up Marcello and The Program in the 1 1/16-mile event on Saturday. The eight-horse field will line up as follows from the rail out:
Lookin At Lucky, with Garrett Gomez up; Brady Blue Eyes, Joe Talamo; The Program, Victor Espinoza; Marcello, Jose Valdivia Jr.; Make Music for Me, Mike Smith; Noble’s Promise, Robby Albarado; Seattle Ruler, Martin Garcia, and Wildlee Special, Alex Solis. All carry 121 pounds.
Lookin At Lucky, owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, could clinch an Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding 2-year-old with a victory Saturday. He enters the Futurity with earnings of $843,000.
Noble’s Promise, a son of Cuvee trained by Ken McPeek, led in deep stretch in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile before settling for third, beaten less than one length. He has won three of five starts including the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. He enters the CashCall Futurity with earnings of $583,500.
Baffert moves Marcello back to the main track after the son of Johannesburg finished second on turf in Hollywood’s one-mile Generous Stakes on November 28. He will be making his ninth start, while The Program will be starting for the fifth time. The Program enters following a second in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Hollywood Park on November 27.
Seattle Ruler is trained by Mike Harrington, who sent out Swiss Yodeler to an upset victory in the 1996 Futurity. The son of Roman Ruler won the Barretts Juvenile, finished ninth in the Norfolk and third in the Hollywood Prevue.
Make Music for Me, still seeking to break his maiden, ran second in the Best Pal and Del Mar Futurity; Brady Blue Eyes broke his maiden at Hollywood on November 22, and Wildlee Special broke his maiden in his third start on November 20 at the Meadowlands.
On Sunday, Hollywood Park will run the two-year-old filly counterpart race to the CashCall Futurity: the Grade I, $300,000 Hollywood Startet.
FAIR GROUNDS RECEIVES NTRA SAFETY AND INTEGRITY ALLIANCE ACCREDITATION
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Fair Grounds is the 13th racing facility to be so designated by the Alliance. Churchill Downs and Keeneland were accredited in April; Belmont Park received accreditation in May; Delaware Park and Hollywood Park were accredited in June; Monmouth Park was accredited in July; Arlington Park and Saratoga Race Course received accreditation in August; Calder Race Course, Turfway Park and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club were accredited in September; and Oak Tree and Santa Anita received accreditation in October. Pimlico Race Course was granted provisional accreditation in May.
The accreditation of Fair Grounds was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Fair Grounds hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, and interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, regulators and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Celeste Kunz, DVM; racing official Richard Lewis; and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
“Fair Grounds was reviewed on December 3 and 4 during its current meeting,” said Ziegler. “It exceeded prescribed benchmarks on many fronts and should be acknowledged for industry-wide best practices in the areas of post-mortem veterinary examinations, veterinarian’s list protocols and planning and procedures in case of catastrophic injury.”
“It should be noted that Fair Grounds is the fourth Churchill Downs, Inc., track to be accredited this year,” said Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of the NTRA. “CDI is to be commended for treating the accreditation process as the imperative initiative that it is.”
“We are pleased that Fair Grounds received high ratings in so many aspects of our racing operations,” said Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of Racing at Fair Grounds. “Everyone here at Fair Grounds is strongly committed to the safety of our human and equine competitors.”
The Alliance, formed in October 2008 with the goal of establishing national uniform standards in the areas of safety and integrity, includes 55 racetracks in North America and every major national horsemen’s organization. Alliance certification standards cover five broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication, testing and penalties; and safety research. Within those five categories, specific standards focus on areas including:
· Systematic reporting of equine injuries
· Aftercare of racehorses
· Pre- and post-race veterinary examinations
· Post-mortem examinations
· Health and safety of jockeys
· Riding crops and their use
· Horse shoes and hoof care
· Safety research
· Safety equipment for jockeys and horse handlers
· Exogenous Anabolic Steroids
· Alkalinizing agents (TCO2)
· On-track emergency medical care for humans and equines
· Out-of-competition testing
· Freezing and retrospective testing of post race samples
· Continuing education
· Security assessment and training
The accreditation program initially will focus on human and equine safety, but will be expanded to cover additional areas, including wagering security.
ROSARIO EQUALS HOLLYWOOD PARK RECORD WITH SIX-WIN DAY
Joel Rosario equaled the Hollywood Park record originally set by the great Bill Shoemaker in 1953 with six wins last Friday at the Inglewood, Calif., racetrack.
Rosario, a 24-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, connected with his six remaining mounts after finishing second in the first race on the eight-race program. Cadillac, his scheduled mount in the seventh race, was scratched.
“The first time I do this in my life,” Rosario said. “I won five before and was second and third, but now six, so I am very happy. I feel great, not many jockeys do that, so I am very happy for this.”
Rosario’s wins came on Pick To Click ($6.80), Yankee Romance ($2.60), Madeline Ruby ($6.40), A Clever Ten ($5.40), Free Lunch ($3.20) and Stockings ($3.40). He rode each winner in the Pick Six with the exception of Hunch in the seventh race. With more than 1,000 perfect tickets, the Pick Six payoff was a mere $80.80.
Shoemaker set the Hollywood Park record of six wins with eight mounts on June 20, 1953, and also scored with six of seven mounts on June 24, 1970. Laffit Pincay Jr. rode six winners from nine mounts on April 27, 1968, and Kent Desormeaux rode six winners out of 10 mounts on July 3, 1992.
FUNNY CIDE MAKES USA TODAY ‘TOP 10 OF THE DECADE’ LIST
In today’s issue of USA Today, sportswriter lists his 10 selections for top ten sports breakouts since 2000. Included in Kimball’s top ten list is Funny Cide for his upset win in the 2003 Kentucky Derby.
“Even as a gelding, Funny Cide had an ‘everyman’ quality,” wrote Kimball.
Other top breakouts in Kimball’s list include Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez, Phil Mickelson, Roy Williams and the Bowl Championship Series. Fans are encouraged to vote for their favorites at sports.usatoday.com.