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News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications.
Unbeaten Massive Drama will face 13 talented challengers as he tries to stretch his winning streak to three with a victory in Saturday’s $750,000, Grade I, 1 1/16 miles, CashCall Futurity, Hollywood Park, Calif., — a race which has helped launch the careers of six Kentucky Derby winner.
Trainer Bob Baffert, aiming for a record-tying fourth Futurity victory with Massive Drama, earned his first in 1997 with Real Quiet, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, falling a nose short of sweeping the 1998 Triple Crown when he was caught at the wire by Victory Gallop in the Belmont.
Baffert, who also saddled Captain Steve and Point Given to win the Futurity in 1999 and 2000, respectively, can match Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas with four winners if he is successful Saturday.
The Futurity, inaugurated in 1981, has also been an important stop for Derby winners Gato Del Sol, Ferdinand, Alysheba, Thunder Gulch and Giacomo.
The main competition for Massive Drama is expected to come from Colonel John, a winner of two of three starts for trainer Eoin Harty, Baffert’s chief assistant when Silver Charm and Real Quiet won back-to-back runnings of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 1997 and 1998, respectively.
Colonel John, a son of Tiznow owned by WinStar Farm, cruised to a three-length victory in the Real Quiet Stakes here in November at the Futurity distance of 1 1/16 miles.
Massive Drama, a son of Kawain owned by Zayat Stables, broke his maiden on a sloppy track at Monmouth Park on Oct. 26, then scored a front-running victory under Kent Desormeaux in the Hollywood Prevue at seven furlongs on Nov. 22.
The contention runs much deeper in the 27th running of the Futurity, which lines up as follows from the rail out: Sierra Sunset, with Russell Baze up; Massive Drama, Desormeaux; Overextended, Martin Garcia; Eaton’s Gift, Rafael Bejarano; Indian Sun, Alex Solis; Slew’s Tiznow, Joseph Talamo; Tres Borrachos, David Flores; Colonel John, Corey Nakatani; Shore Do, Michael Baze; Monba, Garrett Gomez; Old Man Buck, Patrick Valenzuela; Into Mischief; Victor Espinoza; Meal Penalty, Ramon Dominguez, and Referee, Julien Leparoux. All carry 121 pounds.
The Futurity will run as the ninth of eleven races on Saturday’s card. First post time Saturday at Hollywood Park is 12:30 p.m. P.T.

Keeneland Foundation contributed more than $1-million in charitable contributions for the third consecutive year in 2007.
More than $1.2-million was given to over 100 nonprofit organizations in central Kentucky this year. To date, Keeneland has contributed more than $16-million to organizations focusing on areas of health and human services, research, education, arts and culture, animal welfare, and historic preservation.
“We are very fortunate in this community to have so many organizations actively enrich our daily lives,” said Fran Taylor, executive director of the Keeneland Foundation. “Our thanks go to the staff and volunteers whose year-round commitment deserves our recognition.”
The amount given in each category this year was $458,000 for education-related programs; $387,050 for health and human services; $261,547 for arts, culture, and community programs; and $97,525 to equine industry related organizations and animal welfare.
Keeneland Foundation also gave $200,000 from Maker’s Mark Distillery to the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.
Keeneland’s charitable grants program is supported by profits generated through the association’s Thoroughbred racing, sales, and simulcast operations.

Roy and Gretchen Jackson, whose Lael Stable owned and bred 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner Barbaro, donated $300,000 to the Belmont Child Care Association.
The Lael Stable Fund, which provides early childhood education to children of backstretch workers at Belmont Park and Aqueduct at Anna House, received $250,000. The additional $50,000 can be used as needed.
The Jacksons started the fund in December 2006. The non-profit Belmont Child Care Association was formed in December 1998.

Dec. 20, 1987: D. Wayne Lukas-trained Tejano became the first juvenile millionaire when he won the Hollywood Futurity with Laffit Pincay Jr. aboard.
Dec. 22, 1991: Jockey Kent Desormeaux, at age 21, won his 2,000th race aboard Saron Lake, trained by Gary Jones, at Hollywood Park. He was the youngest jockey to reach that mark and did so faster than any other rider.
Dec. 23, 1944: James F. Byrnes, Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion, urged that all racing in the United States cease by Jan. 3 as a means of furthering the war effort.
Dec. 24, 2004: Azeri, North America’s all-time leading female money earner, was retired from racing with a career bankroll of $4,079,820.
Dec. 25, 1934: Santa Anita Park opened in Arcadia, Calif. A five-year-old mare, Las Palmas, won the inaugural race, the California-Bred Handicap, before a crowd of 30,777.
Dec. 26: 2002: Julie Krone became the first woman to ride the winner of a Grade I stakes race in the state of California when she piloted the reformed claimer Debonair Joe to victory in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.
Dec. 27, 1982: English trainer Michael Dickinson saddled 12 winners, a record.
Dec. 27, 1987: D. Wayne Lukas set a single-season record for stakes wins by a trainer, 92, when he saddled High Brite to win the Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita Park.
Dec. 27, 2004: Sylvia Bishop, the first African American woman licensed as a Thoroughbred trainer in the U.S., died at age 84.
Dec. 31, 1966: Ogden Phipps’ Buckpasser, trained by Eddie Neloy, won the 13th consecutive race of his three-year-old season after taking the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Park. He was voted Horse of the Year and also took top three-year-old and handicap horse honors for 1966.
Dec. 31, 1982: After a year-long battle for leading rider honors, Pat Day edged Angel Cordero Jr. by two races, which he won after chartering a plane to fly to Vinton, La., where he rode Dana’s Woof Woof and Miltons Magic to victory during the evening program at Delta Downs. Day won the title–his first–with 399 wins to Cordero’s 397.
Dec. 31, 1989: Jockey Kent Desormeaux set the world record for most number of wins in a single season, 598, when he rode two-year-old East Royalty, trained by Phil Thomas Jr., to victory in the tenth race, the Inner Harbor Stakes, at Laurel. He surpassed the old record, set by Chris McCarron, by 52 wins.
Jan. 1, 1942: Racing in California was officially canceled. On Dec. 16, the West Coast military authorities had requested that Santa Anita Park postpone its meeting indefinitely due to war conditions.