News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications.
GRADE I WINNER NEGLIGEE TO RUN IN INTRIGUING LEXUS RAVEN RUN
Sovereign Stable’s Negligee, who won Keeneland’s Grade I Darley Alcibiades in 2009 and earned the Sovereign Award last year as Canada’s champion 2-year-old filly, will return to the scene of her greatest triumph Saturday in the 12th running of the Grade II, $250,000 Lexus Raven Run, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
Trained by John Terranova, Negligee has made her three most recent starts on turf, and is still seeking her first win of the year. Her recent dry spell accounts for her being no lower than 6-1 in the morning line.
The tepid 4-1 morning line favorite in the wide open field of 14 is the Ken McPeek-trained Beautician, who was second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, but only has a Saratoga allowance win to show for her eight starts in 2010.
An intriguing longshot in the Lexus Raven Run field is My Irish Girl who, after losing her debut, has reeled off seven straight sprint victories, including a win against older females in the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper at Canterbury Park in July. The 10-1 morning line proposition, who was offered twice in her career for a $15,000 claiming tag, has made her last five starts in five different states – Arkansas, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New Jersey – and Saturday’s race in Kentucky would add a sixth state to the streak.
EMPIRE CLASSIC HIGHLIGHTS NEW YORK SHOWCASE DAY AT BELMONT PARK
Eleven accomplished thoroughbreds will vie for the title of “Best of New York” Saturday afternoon when they assemble for the 35th running of the $200,000 Empire Classic, the centerpiece of New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
In addition to the Empire Classic, New York Showcase day will feature six other stakes races for New York-breds worth nearly $1 million.
With victories in two of the last four runnings, trainer Dominic Galluscio and Majesty Stud have enjoyed considerable success in the Classic, and they’re hoping that tradition will continue with Stormy’s Majesty, as one of four 3-year-olds in the 1 1/8-mile Empire Classic.
The homebred son of Stormy Atlantic is undefeated in four starts against fellow state-breds, including his neck victory over Classic rival and fellow sophomore Ibboyee in the 1 1/8-mile Albany at Saratoga Race Course in August, his first stakes win.
“One of the breeders passed away in April, so it’s very emotional when we run him,” said Galluscio of Stormy’s Majesty, who in open company finished eighth in the Jim Dandy and second in the Star of Cozzene. “He’s very sharp right now, and we are looking forward to the race.”
The consistent Ibboyee, a multiple stakes winner who has been no worse than third in his last eight starts, enjoyed a brief freshening after the Albany, his first start at the Classic distance.
“He’s done well at a mile and an eighth, and we’re happy with the way he’s training right now,” said trainer Todd Pletcher of Ibboyee, who will run as part of an Anstu Stable entry with the 5-year-old gelding Manteca, beaten favorite in the Salute Me Sir in September. “Manteca’s last race was very disappointing. He found himself on the lead when another horse stumbled, and that probably isn’t his best running style. We’re hoping he’ll settle off the pace a little.”
Also running as an entry will be two of owner Chester and Mary Broman’s top sophomores – Mine Over Matter, who beat older horses in the Salute Me Sir, and Friend Or Foe, most recently sixth after an eventful trip in the Travers.
Winner of his first three starts, including a victory over his elders in an allowance and the Mike Lee, Friend Or Foe stepped up into open company at Saratoga, finishing a credible fourth in the Jim Dandy. In the Travers, the son of Friends Lake was carried five-wide on the first turn and emerged from the race with a cut on his left foreleg that later became infected, forcing him to miss some training.
“It definitely knocked him off schedule,” said Friend Or Foe’s trainer, John Kimmel. “He came back, and he’s worked really well. I think he’s back to where he was at the beginning of the summer.”
The Empire Classic also drew a number of familiar faces, including Classic veterans Ruffino, second last year to Haynesfield, and Naughty New Yorker, winless in four editions, as well as multiple stakes winners Giant Moon, Icabad Crane, and Wishful Tomcat, who will be making their Classic debuts.
HOLLYWOOD PARK FANS TO SIGN GIANT “GOOD LUCK, ZENYATTA!” BANNER
Hollywood Park, in conjunction with Oak Tree Racing Association, Breeders’ Cup, Ltd., and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), announced today that a seven-feet-tall, 40-feet-wide “Good Luck, Zenyatta!” banner will be on display at the Inglewood, Calif., racetrack for fans to sign beginning this Saturday. The banner will then be shipped to Louisville, Ky., in advance of the undefeated Zenyatta’s attempt for a 20th career victory in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 6 at Churchill Downs. Zenyatta’s jockey, Mike Smith, will be the first to sign the banner.
“We think this is an innovative way for fans to show their support of Zenyatta as she goes for a second consecutive win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic,” said Sherwood Chillingworth, Director and Executive Vice President of Oak Tree Racing Association. “We encourage everyone to come to Hollywood Park to sign the banner for this outstanding mare who has brought us all so much excitement.”
“Zenyatta’s unforgettable career has thrilled racing fans on every continent,” said Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of the NTRA. “But California is her home, and this banner will give Zenyatta’s hometown fans the opportunity to personally wish her the best of luck as she continues her incredible quest for perfection.”
POST-BREEDERS’ CUP CELEBRATION AT OLD FRIENDS
Old Friends and its 21 retired Breeders’ Cup stars invite fans to join them for a special celebration of 2010’s new Breeders’ Cup champions on Sunday, November, 7 at 1:00 p.m. at Dream Chase Farm in Georgetown, Ky. Expected guests include Triple Crown winning jockey Jean Cruguet, three-time Kentucky Derby winning rider Calvin Borel, and Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux.
The event will feature live and silent auctions of select stallion halters, fine artwork, collectibles, and racing memorabilia. Big-ticket items include a portrait of Horse of Year and Old Friends retiree Black Tie Affair by painter Elaine Winter. Another highlight of the event will be a live demonstration on the making of Raku/horse hair pottery (weather permitting) by the artists of Pottery Rowe in Louisville.
Old Friends is home to 21 Breeders’ Cup starters, including Awad (Turf, 1995), Marquetry (Breeders’ Cup, 1991), Eclipse champion Sunshine Forever (Turf, 1988), and Gulch, who captured the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 1988.
“So many of our retirees contributed to the success of the Breeders’ Cup, and with the 2010 running at Churchill Downs, it seemed like a great time to celebrate their accomplishments,” said Old Friends president and founder Michael Blowen.
Tickets to the Old Friends Breeders’ Cup Celebration are $25, with Old Friends members, shareholders and students with IDs admitted for $15. Reservations can be made by calling 502-863-1775.
JIMMY JOHN’S TO SPONSOR HRRN’S BREEDERS’ CUP COUNTDOWN SHOWS
The Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) has reached an agreement with Jimmy John’s of Lexington, Ky., to sponsor HRRN’s four Breeders’ Cup Countdown shows during Breeders’ Cup week.
HRRN’s coverage of all 14 Breeders’ Cup races will be hosted live from Churchill Downs on Friday from 4:00-8:00 p.m. (ET) and on Saturday from 1:00-7:00 p.m. (ET). The four Breeders’ Cup Countdown shows begin Tuesday morning November 2 from 8:00-10:00 a.m., and will feature interviews with owners, trainers, jockeys, handicappers and more. The shows will originate live from the Churchill backside.
The HRRN broadcasts can be heard on various affiliates throughout the country, and worldwide with live streaming on the HRRN website, www.horseracingradio.net, as well as www.breederscup.com. A complete Breeders’ Cup week schedule, along with broadcast times and station listings, can also be found on the HRRN site.