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Thursday, January 08 2009


AFTER TRAGEDY, OUR KHRYSTY KEEPS SPIRIT ALIVE


At just under five feet tall and weighing about 110 pounds, Khrystina Bixa was small. She was also tough, and determined to make life better for herself and her two young children

Long hours of rubbing horses had given Khrystina a chance to think about the direction in which she was heading and she decided she would make things right. She even talked of buying a house.





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Wednesday, January 07 2009


AQUEDUCT NOTES, Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Aqueduct Racetrack will be open for live racing six days next week, Wednesday, January 14, through Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 19.

There will be no live racing on Tuesday, January 20 and Wednesday, January 21, but the Big A will be open for simulcasting on those days.

Tuesday night marked the third straight year that a New York jockey has joined New York Jets, Giants, Islanders, Red Bulls and other top athletes at the annual “MDA Muscle Team,” a gala event at New York’s Chelsea Piers that raised nearly $1 million in support of the work of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.





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Monday, January 05 2009


JUSTWHISTLEDIXIE WHISTLES IN RUTHLESS


By Francis LaBelle Jr.

Justwhistledixie, the most accomplished of the field Sunday, proved to be a deserving favorite as she scored a 3 ½-length victory over Gnome’s Delight in the 32nd running of the $70,795 Ruthless Stakes for three-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm, the Dixie Union filly overtook longshot Indian Rush, who had gone the first quarter in 22.41 and the half in 46.05 on Aqueduct’s fast inner dirt track. With jockey Rajiv Maragh in the irons, Justwhistledixie ran by her target and was never seriously challenged, as she completed the sprint in 1:10.81 for her third straight victory after two losses.





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Thursday, January 01 2009


INDIAN RUSH SEEKS WIN BEFORE STARTING VACATION


For the past four winters, trainer Karl Grusmark has been making his mark at Laurel Race Course in Maryland. But for 2009, the 65-year-old New Englander will be calling New York his home, aiming his 15-horse stable at Aqueduct’s inner track meet.

He will be firing one shot in Sunday’s 32nd running of the $65,000-added Ruthless Stakes for three-year-old fillies when he saddles Robyn Kalaidjiam’s Indian Rush in the six-furlong sprint.





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`BELLE’ RINGS IN NEW YEAR RIGHT FOR ALBERTRANI


By Francis LaBelle Jr.

Like a lot of us, trainer Tom Albertrani is not exactly upset that 2008 is over.

Recent weeks have been especially harsh on Albertrani, who was winless with his first dozen starters to open Aqueduct’s inner track and close out the year.

But 2009 is here and Albertrani started off a winner with his only starter on Thursday afternoon, as Darley Stable’s Zada Belle dismissed four rivals in the 88th renewal of the $69,265 Interborough Stakes for fillies and mares at six furlongs.





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HAYNESFIELD TAKES NEXT STEP IN COUNT FLEET


Aqueduct Racetrack in January might not be where one would expect to find the next Kentucky Derby winner, but it was just five years ago that a Pennsylvania-bred colt named Smarty Jones took the first step on the road to winning the Derby when he took the Big A’s Count Fleet Stakes, the first three-year-old stakes of the year in New York.

On Saturday, trainer Steve Asmussen finds out if Turtle Bird Stables’ Haynesfield can take that same step as he faces six other sophomores in the 34th running of the $65,000-added Count Fleet. The one mile, 70 yard race is included on the resumes of 1993 Preakness winner Prairie Bayou and 1992 Travers winner Thunder Rumble and was won last year by Giant Moon, who went on to complete in the Preakness, finishing eighth behind Derby winner Big Brown.





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DELOSVIENTOS RINGS OUT 2008 WITH GALLANT FOX VICTORY


By Jenny Kellner

When longshot Lord Kipling ranged up near favored Delosvientos on the far turn of Wednesday’s $84,050, 1 5/8th mile Gallant Fox Handicap, owner and trainer Giuseppe Iadisernia was not in the least worried. For almost 11 furlongs, the five-year-old gelding had been cruising along on an uncontested lead, and if past history was any indication, Delosvientos would handle the challenge with ease.

And that’s just what he did. Shaking off his rival, Delosvientos pulled clear to an 11 ¼-length victory in the 70th edition of the Gallant Fox a snowy New Year’s Eve, extending his record at 12 furlongs or more to five-for-five.





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BLOWING KISSES LOOKS TO CONTINUE SUCCESS IN INTERBOROUGH


For the past two month, Jeff Barkley has been settling into his new role as the trainer of record for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Stables, a position that opened up when Larry Jones announced he would be retiring after the Breeders’ Cup in 2009. A former assistant to Jones, the 47-year-old native of Indiana had been out on his own for the past three years, racing primarily at Prairie Meadows and Turfway Park.

He was successful enough, having complied a 10-12-8 mark from 66 starters through the first 10 months of 2008, but when the call came from Porter, there wasn’t much hesitation.





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Monday, December 29 2008


A CHANCE TO LOOK BACK, AND AHEAD, ON NEW YEAR’S EVE


For many people, New Year’s Eve presents an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and perhaps to make plans for the coming year.

For Thoroughbred owner and trainer Gary Katz, it’s a chance to take a deep breath and marvel at life’s funny twists and turns.

Wednesday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack, Katz will be saddling his five-year-old gelding Critical Acclaim in the $75,000-added Gallant Fox Handicap, a one mile, five-furlong marathon that is the final stakes race of the year in New York. The race, which drew a field of 10, will be Critical Acclaim’s last start for some months as Katz, 55, also takes a break to return his other full-time job as a practicing attorney.





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Saturday, December 27 2008


FABULOUS STRIKE SHOWS NEW DIMENSION IN GRAVESEND VICTORY


By Jenny Kellner

Trainer Todd Beattie had always thought Fabulous Strike was capable of rating behind horses. But having consistently drawn inside, the five-year-old son of Smart Strike just never got the opportunity and scored most of his victories on the lead .

On a foggy Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack, Fabulous Strike finally got the chance to show a new dimension. Taken back by jockey Ramon Dominguez as True Quality shot to the front in the Grade 3, $103,100 Gravesend Handicap, Fabulous Strike rallied through the stretch and went on to a 1¾-length victory in the six-furlong race, the final graded stakes of the year in New York.





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Monday, December 15 2008


BORROWING BASE SCORES FIRST STAKES WIN IN LADIES ‘CAP


In the middle of December, a mile and one quarter might not be the most popular distance for fillies and mares. But Sunday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack, it suited Borrowing Base just fine.

The five-year-old New York-bred daughter of Personal Flag scored the first stakes victory of her career in the 137th running of the $82,100 Ladies Handicap as she rallied through the stretch to beat Nijinsky Bullet by three lengths.





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Friday, December 12 2008


CALENDAR PROMO BRIGHTENS AQUEDUCT HOLIDAY SCHEDULE


It’s always good to know what’s going on, and fans at Aqueduct Racetrack on New Year’s Day, Thursday, January 1, 2009, will be able to keep track of New York’s biggest races when they avail themselves of the 2009 New York Racing Association Calendar.

Because there is no admission or parking charge, Aqueduct fans will receive their NYRA calendars free on track with the purchase of any Post Parade magazine on New Year’s Day, or they can simply purchase a $1 coupon that may be redeemed for the calendar.





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