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At the races

Breeders Classics again highlight Charles Town Schedule

Breeders Classics again highlight Charles Town Schedule

June 02, 2006|by LARRY YANOS

The impressive 2006 stakes schedule at Charles Town Races & Slots will be highlighted by the West Virginia Breeders Classics Night on Oct. 14.

The eight-race Breeders Classics card for West Virginia bred or sired horses will feature $1.5 million in purse structure - including $500,000 for the mile-and-eighth feature, $350,000 for the filly and mare feature and six more $100,000 events.

"We've come a long way since starting the Classics in 1987," said West Virginia Breeders Classics president Sam Huff.

That year, the total purse structure was $200,000, with half going to the Jim Beam Breeders Classic winner.

"Over the years, we've had great cooperation from management and horsemen but two folks who deserve a special thanks are (former W.Va. governor) Arch Moore and (former W.Va. State Racing Commission chairman) Harry Buch," Huff said. "When Carol Holden and I first proposed the Breeders Classic concept, there were many who questioned whether it could be successful. We got the complete support and understanding of the governor and the commission chairman who both loved horse racing and that meant a lot. Years later, we are bigger and better than ever."

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Huff admits there have been some roadblocks along the way but he's more than happy with the current situation.

"Why wouldn't you be happy?" Huff asked. "We have a great purse structure, a contract with ESPN which allows us national television coverage and our presence has improved the breeding industry in West Virginia. More and more owners and trainers are getting into the business and most are looking for West Virginia bred or sired horses to enter the races."

The Oct. 14 lineup: $100,000 The Triple Crown Nutrition Breeders Classic; $100,000 The West Virginia Division of Tourism Breeders Classic; $100,000 The West Virginia Lottery Breeders Classic; $100,000 The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Dash for Cash Breeders Classic; $100,000 The West Virginia Onion Juice Breeders Classic; $100,000 The West Virginia Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders Classic; $350,000 The Jefferson County Security Bank "Cavada" West Virginia Breeders Classic; and the $500,000 The West Virginia Breeders Classic XIX.

On the tube

Patrons of Charles Town will get to view additional thoroughbred horse racing this week.

Dickie Moore, director of racing at the West Virginia thoroughbred oval, said a special 10-race holiday card will be offered on Monday with post time at 4 p.m.

The simulcasting venue has also been expanded.

"We used to close around 5 on Tuesdays, but we are going to make simulcasting available in the evening as well," Moore said. "Penn National races on Tuesdays now and that track is popular with our fans. We'll also offer Mountaineer Park and Indiana Downs as well as some other thoroughbred and trotting tracks."

Charles Town does not offer live thoroughbbred racing on Tuesdays.

"We run Wednesday through Sunday and we'll probably maintain that schedule the rest of the year," Moore said.

Pony tales

Horse racing fans who wish to send their good wishes to Barbaro and his connections may do so via specially created forms at www.ntra.com and at www.vet.upenn.edu/barbaro.

The form at the NTRA Web site is available by clicking on the "Barbaro: News and Updates" link highlighted on the ntra.com home page.

All messages will be compiled and forwarded to owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson and the rest of the Barbaro team.

"The public's reaction to Barbaro's gallant struggle has been one of incredible compassion, and we are proud to be able to offer an avenue through which people can express their love, concern and caring to those directly connected to Barbaro," said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of communications for the NTRA.

NBC Sports announced its Preakness Stakes coverage last Saturday drew a 5.4 national rating, 14 share for the total program (5-6:50 p.m.), up 6 percent from 2005.

The Preakness broadcast was the highest rated sporting event on Saturday, 86 percent higher than Fox's Major League Baseball Game of the Week, featuring Barry Bonds tying Babe Ruth's home run record and the Yankees/Mets interleague showdown.

Jockey Chris Baker, a longtime fan favorite at Penn National, will be sidelined for several months recuperating from a broken foot suffered last Saturday night in a pre-race accident.

Baker, the dean of local riders in terms of active years at the Grantville, Pa., oval, was enjoying another solid season with 20 wins, 14 seconds and 20 thirds from 108 mounts.

When 149-1 longshot Tatyana crossed under the wire at Pimlico earlier this month, she set off a celebration for those who held winning tickets on the 4-year-old daughter of Romanov.

Among the giant payoffs was a record setting $11,271.20 return for the $2 late daily double, the combination of Tatyana and Running Edition, who won the ninth race at odds of 55-1.

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