Dunkelberger's double dampened by downpours

October 09, 2005|By Larry Yanos

Charles Town-based jockey Travis Dunkelberger was a man on the move Saturday but won't get any frequent flyer miles to show for it.

Dunkelberger was scheduled to ride five horses at Maryland Million Day at Laurel Park, then hopped in a car for the journey to Charles Town Races and Slots, where he had another six mounts on the West Virginia Breeders Classics card.

The 28-year-old jockey also was to compete in both features: Riding Cherokee's Boy in the $250,000 Maryland Million Classic and Sheckatoo in the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic.

The jockey's big day was dampened by the weather, however. The Maryland Million was postponed until next Saturday by heavy rain.


Dunkelberger is enjoying another fine year at Charles Town. He is Charles Town's second-leading rider behind Gerald Almodovar. He has had 604 mounts in 2005 and shows 142 wins, 95 seconds, and 84 thirds. His average winning payoff is $7.40.

Pony tales

· The Maryland Million will observe its 20th anniversary next Saturday while the West Virginia Breeders Classsics celebrated its 19th anniversary this week.

· Two added money races have been placed on the Laurel Park fall schedule. The $50,000 Tyson Gilpin Stakes for two-year-olds will be contested Dec. 11. A week later, the $50,000 Hildene Stakes for two-year-old fillies takes center stage. Both races are at 6 furlongs for Virginia-breds.

· Kitten's Joy, the 2004 Eclipse Award winner as champion male turf horse, has been retired by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, the owners and breeders of the 4-year-old El Prado colt.

Kitten's Joy will stand the 2006 breeding season at Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, Ky.

Winner of 9 of 14 career starts, Kitten's Joy retires with career earnings of $2,075,791. He won six of eight starts in his 3-year-old campaign last year and defeated older horses in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic en route to his Eclipse Award honors.

Kitten's Joy was also one of three finalists, along with Ghostzapper and Smarty Jones, for 2004 Horse of the Year. In 2005, Kitten's Joy raced twice - winning the July 4 Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap at Churchill Downs and finishing second in the Aug. 13 Arlington Million at Arlington Park.

· A racing rarity occurred earlier this month at Delaware Park when all three of the training Klesarises won a race.

Robert Klesaris won the first race on the day with the JoJo Marie in a $5,000 claiming event. Not to be outdone, his brother Steve Klesaris followed by winning the third race with Stormin Anna in a $16,000 claimer and also the seventh with Arch Enemy in a 6-furlong allowance.

Then their father Peter Klesaris got into the act by winning the ninth race with Secret Look in an $8,000 claiming race. It was the first time that every trainer in the Klesaris family won at least one race on the same day at the same track.

· Keeneland's 14-day September Yearling Sale came to a close with the honor of being the worlds highest grossing thoroughbred auction ever.

Buyers from the U.S. and abroad traveled to Lexington and spent $384,349,900 during the two weeks, far eclipsing the previous record of $324,904,300 set last year in September.

There were other world records set during the sale including: Number of horses sold, 3,545; number of $1 million or more purchases, 40; and gross sales by a single consignor, $60,997,400 for 360 horses from Taylor Made Sales Agency.

· The Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino in Vinton, La., was damaged by wind and water from Hurricane Rita and it is unclear when the complex will reopen.

Delta Downs was scheduled to begin an 88-day thoroughbred meet Oct. 21. No damage estimate was issued.

Delta Downs is the second Louisiana track to be struck by a hurricane in recent weeks.

The New Orleans Fair Grounds, owned by Churchill Downs, was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. In lieu of running at New Orleans, the Fair Grounds will have a shortened, 37-day meet at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City from Nov. 19, 2005-Jan. 22, 2006.

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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