Saturday, December 06 2008


NYRA 2009 STAKES SKED FEATURES PURSE BUMP TO 13 GRADE 1 RACES


The New York Racing Association, host to the greatest number of Grade 1 Thoroughbred races in North America, will raise the purses on 13 of them offered at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course in 2009. The hikes are part of the 2009 NYRA Stakes Schedule, which was approved by NYRA’s Board of Directors at its monthly meeting on Wednesday. It now awaits approval from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

The total value of the 2009 NYRA Stakes schedule for 177 stakes races is $34,765,000, of which $28,780,000 is for 113 graded stakes races (40 Grade 1 races, 41 Grade 2 races and 32 Grade 3 races). This includes $350,000 for three steeplechase races: the Grade 2, $100,000-added A.P. Smithwick and the Grade 1, $100,000 New York Turf Writers’ Cup at Saratoga, and the Grade 1, $150,000 Lonesome Glory during Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet.





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Thursday, November 13 2008


HALL OF FAMER H. ALLEN JERKENS RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL


Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens’ first order of business after being released Wednesday morning from Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation Center was to visit his barn at Belmont Park.

“He came home, and said, ‘I’d like to see the horses’,” said his wife, Elizabeth. “We drove him to the barn and he sat on the bench outside, and they brought out every single one of the horses for him.”





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Thursday, November 06 2008


Business Trends mixed at Belmont Fall Meet


The 37-day 2008 Belmont Fall meeting, which ended on October 26, produced mixed business results. All-sources handle on NYRA races was $356.3 million, versus the equivalent 2007 figure of $346.5 million, for an increase of 2.8 percent. As the 2008 meet included four more days than the 2007 meet, there was actually an 8.3 percent decline in the equivalent daily average all-sources handle figure. However, that decrease does represent an improvement over the approximately 10.2 percent all-sources handle decline registered during the 2008 Saratoga meet.

“The decline in all-sources handle at the Fall Belmont Park Meet was disappointing but consistent with national wagering trends,” said Charles Hayward, NYRA president and CEO. “There is no question that the economic climate in New York and around the country has had a negative impact on our live handle as well as the New York State Off-Track Betting Corporations and other simulcast customers.”





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Friday, October 31 2008


NYRA JOINS WITH COMMUNITY GROUPS FOR ELMONT CLEANUP DA


Local community groups, backstretch workers, church organizations and employees of the New York Racing Association will be teaming up on Saturday, November 8 in the first Elmont Cleanup Day.

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, Town of Hempstead Councilman Ed Ambrosino, and Nassau County Legislator John Ciotti are among the government officials scheduled to launch the cleanup effort, set to begin at 10 a.m., rain or shine. With Belmont Park’s Marquee Tent serving as operations base, groups of volunteers will work together to beautify the stretch of Hempstead Turnpike that runs east from the Cross Island Parkway past Meachem Avenue. In addition to tee-shirts for each volunteer and signage prominent throughout the surrounding communities, NYRA is providing buses to transport the workers to six locations on both sides of the road.





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Monday, October 27 2008


ALTESSE GETS JOB DONE IN TURBACK THE ALARM


By Francis LaBelle Jr.

It took a year and the patience of both owner Helen Alexander and Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey to make Altesse a graded stakes winner, but the plan finally came to fruition on Sunday afternoon when the 5-year-old A.P. Indy mare dug in on the rail to defeat favored Spring Waltz by a neck in the 14th running of the Grade 3, $107,600 Turnback the Alarm Handicap for fillies and mares at nine furlongs. The race was the feature on the closing day of the 2008 Belmont Park Fall Championship Meet. Racing will resume on Wednesday with the Opening Day of the Aqueduct Fall Meet. First race post is 12:30 p.m.





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Sunday, October 26 2008


KODIAK KOWBOY TURNS PAGE, EYES HILL ‘N’ DALE CIGAR MILE


By Francis LaBelle Jr.

Fox Hill Farm’s and Vinery Stables’ favored Kodiak Kowboy took the long way home Saturday afternoon under jockey Gabriel Saez, but was horse enough for the journey has he put in a big finish to win the 56th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Sport Page Handicap by a length and three-quarters over Eternal Star.

The seven-furlong sprint for three-year-olds and up was co-featured with the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Handicap on an abbreviated seen-race Belmont Park card, as the rest of the day was devoted to simulcasting of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships from Santa Anita. Sunday will mark the final day of Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet, with racing resuming on Wednesday, October 29 at Aqueduct Racetrack





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SAMYN GETS BEST OUT OF FORMAL DECREE IN KNICK ‘CAP


By Francis LaBelle Jr.

Jean-Luc Samyn is the oldest member of New York’s jockey colony, and all of his experience paid off Saturday afternoon when he guided Godolphin Stable’s Formal Decree to a three-length, gate-to-wire victory over Strike a Deal in the 49th running of the Grade 3, $111,400 Knickerbocker Handicap for three-year-olds and up at nine furlongs on Belmont Park’s inner turf course.

Samyn, who will be 54 on November 6, broke from Post 1 and, with the rail set at 18 feet on the firm course, opened up a measured length on longshot Giant Wrecker and set a pace of .24.93, 48.31 and 1:10.95 Giant Wrecker made one final try, but Samyn and his mount simply rode off to the victory in 1:47.57.





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Friday, October 24 2008


INTERPATATION COULD COME THROUGH FOR BARBARA


Just before the opening of Saratoga Race Course back in July, trainer Bobby Barbara was facing a hard fact. He didn’t think he had horses that could compete at racing’s most prestigious meet.

But his meet was salvaged by the sudden wake-up of Elliot Mavorah’s Interpatation. While the 6-year-old Langfuhr gelding has yet to win in seven starts this year, at Saratoga he ran third to Grand Couturier in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational, came back to run third at Philadelphia Park, and then ran second in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational to runaway winner Grand Couturier.





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