NEW YORK (AP) _ News and notes from around the thoroughbred racing world, compiled by Thoroughbred Racing Communications:
SO HOW BAD IS UNBRIDLED’S SONG’S POST?
Unbridled’s Song’s assignment to post position 20 on the extreme outside was viewed by most as the unluckiest of draws. However, perusing the official Kentucky Derby fact book reveals that nine of the last 16 Kentucky Derby winners broke from po st position 10 or higher. Since fields of 20 or more horses are rare _ only 12 of the Derby’s 121 runnings have had 20 or more starters _ the fact that post 20 has yielded only one winner isn’t abnormal.
Post position one has yielded the highest number of Derby winners with 12, likely due to the fact that there is always a horse breaking from that post. Working the percentages, a horse breaking from post position one has a 9.91 percent of winnin g the Derby. A horse breaking from post 20 has an 8.33 percent chance of winning.
CELEBRITIES TO SPY AT THE 122ND KENTUCKY DERBY
The Kentucky Derby presents an opportunity to see not just equine stars. ``The most exciting two minutes in sports″ always draws an eclectic mix of celebrities, and this year’s event is no exception. Expected at this year’s Run for the Roses are Kelsey Grammar, Dick Clark, Richard Dreyfus, Luke Perry, Charles Bronson, Steve Winwood, Sally Kellerman, Paula Abdul, Walter Cronkite, George Strait, Linda Carter, Roger Ebert, Dixie Carter, Hal Holbrook, model Jerry Hall, Fleetwood Mac band members Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham, John and Christine McVie and sports celebrities George Foreman, George Steinbrenner, Rick Pitino, Denny Crum, Fuzzy Zoeller, Dick Vitale, Paul Hornung, Dick Stockton, Will Wolford, Bryan Cox and Carmen Policy.
CREATING THE PERFECT MINT JULEP
For nearly 100 years, the mint julep has been the official beverage of the Kentucky Derby. The bourbon-based drink is traditionally served in the aptly named julep cup, a silver or silver-plated tumbler.
To make the perfect Kentucky Derby mint julep, make a simple syrup by boiling two cups of sugar and two cups of water for five minutes. Fill a jar loosely with sprigs of fresh mint (uncrushed) and cover with the cooled syrup. Cover and refrig erate for 12-24 hours. The julep cups should also be refrigerated.
Uncover the syrup and discard the used mint. Make each julep one at a time. Fill each julep cup with finely crushed ice. Poor a half-tablespoon of the mint-flavored syrup in each tumbler. Add two ounces of Kentucky bourbon and top each glass with a sprig of fresh mint.
BLOOD-HORSE WEB SITE OFFERS UP-TO-THE-MINUTE DERBY NEWS
Throughout Derby week, horse racing fans everywhere can access up-to-the-minute Kentucky Derby information on The Blood-Horse Interactive site on the World Wide Web. Every afternoon, fans can turn to the site, located at www.bloodhorse.com, to get late-breaking news, notes, quotes and photographs of the Derby horses during morning workouts. There are profiles of each Derby contender, a Derby Diary, a complete Dosage analysis, daily trivia contests, and Equibase past performances on each entrant .
DR. HILL APPOINTED JOCKEY CLUB STEWARD FOR NEW YORK
Dr. W. Theodore ``Ted″ Hill has been appointed as The Jockey Club Steward for the New York Racing Association. The New York State Wagering Board approved the appointment. Hill, the chief examining veterinarian for NYRA since 1982, fills the posi tion vacated by the resignation of Clinton P. Pitts Jr. earlier this year. Dr. Neil A. Cleary will succeed Dr. Hill as NYRA’s Chief Examining Veterinarian.
‘This is a most important position and one which demands the highest levels of respect and integrity,’ said Ogden Mills Phipps, chairman of The Jockey Club. ‘Dr. Hill brings these qualities to it, together with longtime racetrack experience.’
The 46-year-old Hill, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school, joined NYRA in 1977. Previously he had been in private practice as a racetrack veterinarian in Florida, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York.
KEENELAND SETS RECORD HANDLE
Wagering on Keeneland’s spring meet exceeded $99 million. Combined mutuel handle for the 15-day meet was a record $99,072,764, a 21 percent increase from 1995 when $81,617,532 was bet on the same number of days. The average daily on-track handl e was $1,333,556 _ an increase from last year’s average of $1,325,380. On-track attendance declined by 1.5 percent. Attendance in 1996 totaled 206,294, an average of 13,753.
NYRA GOES ON LINE
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) debuted its new online site on the World Wide Web on Wednesday, May 1, coinciding with opening day at Belmont Park. The site’s URL is www.nyracing.com.
A wide range of information will be available, including general details about each of the NYRA tracks _ Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct _ as well as early entries 48 hours prior to race day, scratches, results, full charts of each race, phone b etting information, jockey and trainer statistics, press releases, a children’s guide for family fun and an opportunity for fans to provide feedback to NYRA management.
``It’s a good way to recruit the younger potential fan and reach a new audience,″ said Steve Crist, NYRA’s vice president of communications and development. ``We think thoroughbred racing and handicapping are a great fit with computers.″
DELAWARE PARK TO ADD MONDAY TWILIGHT RACING
Delaware Park Racetrack and Slots Casino will add five Mondays to its racing calendar beginning May 20. The special twilight card will feature five live races from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The Monday twilight cards will be offered on consecutive Monda ys through June 24, with the exception of Memorial Day, May 27, on which a full card is scheduled.
The famous Budweiser Clydesdales will help kick off the start of the twilight cards at the Wilmington, Del., racetrack on May 20. Families will be able to get a close-up look at the preparation involved in hitching the team. The Clydesdales wil l also perform on the track in between two races. There will also be a dinner barbecue and other family activities in the picnic grove.
RACING ON THE AIR
May 2 Racehorse Digest 2:30-3 a.m. ESPN
May 2 Racehorse Digest 1-1:30 p.m. ESPN
May 2 Up Close at the Derby 6-6:30 p.m. ESPN
May 3 Breakfast on the Backside, Churchill 7-9 a.m. ESPN2
May 3 2-Day at the Kentucky Oaks, Churchill 3:30-5 p.m. ESPN2
May 3 Kentucky Oaks, Churchill 5-6 p.m. ESPN
May 3 Up Close at the Derby 6-6:30 p.m. ESPN
May 3 Derby Night of the Stars 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ESPN2
May 4 Derby Night of the Stars 5:30-7 a.m. ESPN2
May 4 Breakfast on the Backside, Churchill 7-9 a.m. ESPN2
May 4 2-Day at the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Noon-2 p.m. ESPN2
May 4 Kentucky Derby Special 2-4:30 p.m. ESPN
May 4 Kentucky Derby,Churchill 4:30-6 p.m. ABC
May 4 Kentucky Derby Wrap-Up 6-7 p.m. ESPN2
May 5 2-Day at the Kentucky Derby, Churchill 3:30-5:30 a.m. ESPN2
May 5 Kentucky Derby Wrap-Up 5:30-6:30 a.m. ESPN2
May 8 Racehorse Digest 3:30-4 p.m. ESPN
RACING TO HISTORY
1769: Namesake of racing’s annual awards, Eclipse made his first public appearance in a heat race at Epsom, England. The chestnut won his first trial easily, prompting gambler Dennis O’Kelly to predict ``Eclipse first, the rest nowhere″ at the start of the second heat. O’Kelly’s forecast was correct. Eclipse won the second 4-mile race by nearly a quarter-mile.
1902: Jockey James Winkfield, the last African American rider to win the Kentucky Derby, won his second consecutive Derby aboard Alan-a-Dale. Winkfield headed for Russia the following year, reportedly to ride for the czar. He later rode extensively throughout Europe and became fluent in several languages before retiring at the age of 48. It is believed Winkfield rode as many as 2,300 winners.
1952: The first coast-to-coast, network-televised Kentucky Derby aired on CBS. Favorite Hill Gail won the Derby, giving his jockey Eddie Arcaro a record fifth victory in the Kentucky Derby, and his trainer, Ben A. Jones, the record for mo st number of wins (six). Arcaro’s record was matched on this day in 1969 by jockey Bill Hartack. Jones’s record has not been equalled.
1958: CBS used a split screen for its telecast of the Kentucky Derby, necessitated by the presence of the popular runner Silky Sullivan, who was famous for running far off the pace. Most of the screen was allotted to the main group of r unners, with a small corner given over to Silky Sullivan. Although he was one of the favorites for the race, Silky failed to deliver his customary winning drive in the stretch and finished 12th, beaten 20 lengths by the victorious Tim Tam.
1969: Jockey Bill Hartack won his fifth Kentucky Derby aboard Majestic Prince, tying Eddie Arcaro’s 1952 record. Majestic Prince was trained by Hall of Fame jockey John Longden, the only man to have trained and ridden a Kentucky Derby win ner.
1980: Diana Firestone’s Genuine Risk became the second filly to win the Kentucky Derby. Regret won it in 1915; Winning Colors, in 1988.
1986: Charlie Whittingham, at age 73, became the oldest trainer to win his first Kentucky Derby when he sent Ferdinand to victory. Ferdinand’s rider, Bill Shoemaker, was the oldest jockey (54) to take the Run for the Roses. Whittingham t opped himself in 1989, winning the Derby a second time, at age 76, with Sunday Silence.
1898: African American jockey Willie Simms won the second Kentucky Derby of his career when he rode Plaudit to victory. Simms also has the distinction of being the only African American jockey to win the Preakness Stakes, the second leg o f racing’s Triple Crown, aboard Sly Fox later that same year. Simms is also credited with introducing the short stirrup riding style in England, later popularized by jockey Tod Sloane.
1905: Belmont Park opened for its first race meet.
1957: Bill Shoemaker, aboard Gallant Man, misjudged the finish line for the Kentucky Derby and stood up in the irons prematurely. Gallant Man lost the race by a nose to Iron Liege. Round Table was third and Bold Ruler was fourth in this historic finish.
1968: Dancer’s Image became the first horse to be disqualified from the Kentucky Derby because post-race testing revealed an illegal medication. Forward Pass was declared the winner, giving Calumet Farm its eighth Derby winner, a record.
1973: Secretariat became the first horse to complete the 1 1/4-mile course for the Kentucky Derby in less than two minutes when he won the 99th Run for the Roses in a record 1:59 2-5 _ 3-5 faster than Northern Dancer’s 1964 mark of 2 _ to set a track and stakes record that still holds. He ran each successive quarter-mile of the race faster than the previous one, with times of :25 1-5, :24, :23 4-5, :23 2-5 and :23.
1895: African American jockey James ``Soup″ Perkins guided the favorite Halma to a wire-to-wire victory in the 21st running of the Kentucky Derby. Perkins, who was 15, joined fellow African American jockey Alonzo Clayton as the youngest jo ckey to ride a Derby winner.
1896: African American jockey Willie Simms guided Ben Brush to victory in the 22nd Run for the Roses. Two years later, Simms would win the Kentucky Derby aboard Plaudit, giving him a perfect record in the Kentucky Derby, two wins in two attempts.
1896: The distance of the Kentucky Derby was shortened from 1 1/2- to 1 1/4 miles by secretary Charlie Price, who reasoned that the longer distance was too difficult for three-year-olds so early in the spring.
1938: The Kentucky Derby Glass made its debut. First used as a water glass for the track restaurant, the mint julep glass has been a part of the Derby tradition for more than 50 years.
1949: Calumet Farm’s Ponder won the 75th Kentucky Derby, which was first telecast on a limited basis by local TV station WAVE.
1988: Winning Colors, the first roan and the third filly to win the Kentucky Derby, provided trainer D. Wayne Lukas with his first Derby win in 13 attempts.
1992: Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. announced his retirement from race riding.
1915: H.P. Whitney’s Regret became the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby, 40 years after the race’s inception in 1875.
1937: Mary Hirsch, daughter of Max Hirsch, who had conditioned 1936 Kentucky Derby winner Bold Venture, became the first woman trainer to saddle a runner in the Kentucky Derby. The horse, No Sir, who was also owned by Miss Hirsch, finished 13th in a field of 20.
1945: The wartime government ban on horse racing in the United States was lifted.
1982: Chris McCarron won his 3,000th career race, aboard Aggrandizement, in the ninth race at Hollywood Park. At age 27, he was the youngest rider to reach that plateau.