Charles Town gets out of gates early for start of 2006

January 01, 2006|By Larry Yanos

Charles Town Races & Slots kicks off its 2006 live thoroughbred racing schedule today with a 1 p.m. card.

"We'll be running a minimum of 220 days in 2006, Thursday, Friday and Saturdays in January and February," said Wayne Harrison, president of the Charles Town Divisision/Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

Harrison said the Charles Town-based horsemen wanted to race more days in January and February but agreed with management on a contract that calls for 10 races on Thursday and Friday and 12 on Saturday.

Post time for Fridays and Saturdays in January and February will be 6:30 p.m., while the post time for Thursdays will be 7:15 p.m.


"The good news is that we will get a significant purse increase," Harrison said. "That's very encouraging to see. And with the 220 live racing days allotted, it gives us an opportunity to make up in December any lost days in January and February."

Harrison said the lighter live racing schedule in January and February was a recommendation by a special committee from Kentucky, who viewed the Charles Town situation last year.

"They were in complete agreement that the racetrack was being used too much, we needed more down time," Harrison said. "Hopefully, we can add more live racing dates in March and the remainder of 2006."

Charles Town Director of Racing Richard (Dickie) Moore said live racing will be added on Wednesdays in March.

Swan song

Maryland-based trainer Ronald Cartwright sort of rode out into the sunset.

The 75-year-old conditioner saddled his last horse when he sent out Stone Prince to a ninth place finish in the fifth race last week at Laurel Park.

A former star steeplechase rider, Cartwright turned to training in the early 1960s, first as an assistant to Mike Freeman before heading out on his own by the end of the decade.

During the '90s, he finished in the top 15 of the state's trainer standings seven times.

"I've been in this for 60 years and will miss it," said Cartwright. "It has been a great run. I've had a really good life and enjoyed this very much. I had a lot of nice horses and had a good time."

Cartwright's most famous charge was Mz. Zill Bear, who won 15 of 41 starts, including 10 added money scores.

The daughter of Salutely won stakes races in Maryland for five consecutive years (1992-1996) and captured the Maryland Million Ladies three consecutive years ('93-94-95).

Cartwright saddled six Maryland Million winners and won three races in 1993, including the Classic with Forry Cow How. He led the state in stakes wins that year with 10.

Other multiple stakes winners he conditioned included Miss Slewpy (a graded stakes winner), Redcall (second in 1994 DC International), Cormorant's Flight, Palliser Bay, Winter Leaf and Irish Colony, who he guided from a low-level claimer to added money winner in 2003.

Cartwright visited the winners' circle nearly 850 times in his career.

Over the airwaves

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced that Sirius Satellite Radio has won the Media Eclipse Award in the Audio and Multi-Media Internet category for its live coverage of the 2005 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.

In the first-ever national live radio broadcast of all eight Breeders' Cup races, Sirius devoted eight hours of coverage on Sirius Channel 125, led by co-hosts Dave Johnson and Bill Finley.

In addition to pre-and post-race analysis, and Johnson's race calls, the Sirius team conducted on-site interviews with jockeys and trainers throughout the day.

The broadcast, which aired on Oct. 29, also included pre-recorded vignettes titled "Where Are They Now?," featuring interviews with connections of former Breeders' Cup champions.

Honorable mention in this Audio and Multi-Media Internet category went to WBAL Radio in Baltimore for "Baltimore's Last Preakness?" produced by Mark Miller and Mike Wellbrock on May 21 about the future of racing in Maryland.

The Eclipse Awards are given to horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.

The 2005 Eclipse Awards will be held Jan. 23 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif.

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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