At the Races - Mitchell stays busy

December 05, 2004|by LARRY YANOS

It has been a busy month for West Virginia State Racing Commission member Bryan Mitchell.

The Martinsburg, W.Va., resident attended the commission meeting in Morgantown, W.Va., last week and leaves today for the annual Symposium of Racing at the University of Arizona.

The weeklong session attracts horse racing enthusiasts and administrators from throughout the country.

"It's quite elaborate," Mitchell said. "There are numerous meetings and lectures on various subjects pertaining to horse racing. It's quite involved."

In addition to being a member of the commission, Mitchell is a member of the National Racing Compact - an appointment from West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise - and also is a member of Racing Commissioners International.


Both groups will have separate meetings at the symposium.

"There are many speakers and ideas are presented," Mitchell said. "Every year, talks of standardizing medication rules state to state are presented. Progress is being made in standardizing things but there is still no uniformity. We still have not reached a compromise."

World Series deadline hits

Anyone interested in competing in the 2004 World Series of Handicapping Winter Classic must register by Monday.

The event will be held Saturday at Penn National in Grantville, Pa.

According to WSH Winter Classic spokesman Fred Lipkin, the contest will be based on the live thoroughbred cards run that night at Penn National and Charles Town Races & Slots.

Entry forms and complete rules are available at all Penn National Gaming locations in Pennsylvania or by calling 717-469-3270 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.

Maryland notebook

· Three stakes races were affected when The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association announced its listing of U.S. Graded Stakes for next year.

The Hirsch Jacobs Stakes, a sprint for 3-year-olds on Preakness Day, has been upgraded to Grade III status, meaning that six of the eight added money stakes on the card are graded.

However, the Martha Washington Breeders' Cup Stakes and Anne Arundel Stakes were downgraded from Grade III to ungraded status.

Overall, 15 of the 467 graded races in 2005 will be run at Pimlico or Laurel Park:

Grade I: Preakness Stakes, Pimlico Special and De Francis Dash.

Grade II: Barbara Fritchie, General George, Black-Eyed Susan and Dixie Handicap.

Grade III: Pimlico Distaff, Miss Preakness, Maryland Breeders' Cup, William Donald Schaefer, Gallorette, Hirsch Jacobs, Safely Kept and Laurel Futurity.

· With a win aboard Candy Dancer in Thursday's second race at Pimlico, jockey Ryan Fogelsonger gained his 200th win of the year.

In 2 1/2 years, the 2002 Eclipse Award winner for top apprentice has amassed 746 wins for purses of $14.6 million.

The 23-year-old leads all riders during the current Pimlico fall meet, comfortably in front of apprentice Eric Camacho.

· Ramon Dominguez, who won a pair of Grade III turf races in his Hollywood Park debut last Friday, returned to the Southern California racetrack this weekend to ride two horses he is very familiar with: Breeders' Cup Turf winner Better Talk Now in Saturday's Grade I $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup and My Cousin Matt in the Grade III $100,000 Vernon Underwood today.

Dominguez ranks second nationally in races won and is ninth in earnings. Only Northern California star Russell Baze (1,976) has more trips to the winners' circle this decade.

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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