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Two local horses to surf turf

July 30, 2006|by LARRY YANOS

Outcashem and Man of Illusion, a pair of 2006 multiple-stakes winners, share top weight assignment of 122 pounds for the 34th running of the $50,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Handicap on Thursday at the Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa.

According to Penn National public relations director Fred Lipkin, 36 horses were nominated for the 5-furlong turf sprint and Outcashem and Man of Illusion head the impressive lineup.

Outcashem is one of three Pennsylvania Governor's Cup nominees from the barn of the nation's leading trainer Scott Lake. He is unbeaten in six starts this year and has posted stakes victories at Mountaineer Park and Charles Town.

In fact, he set a track record in his last start when he won the $100,000 Charles Town Dash in :50.1 for 4 1/2 furlongs on July 4.

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Despite impressive credentials, the 5-year-old gelding is a wild card in the race. He has won 17 of 28 career races but has never been tried over the grass.

Man of Illusion has won $103,726 this year from four starts. His biggest score came in the $100,000 Turf Sprint Handicap on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Lake also trains Pisgah, who racing secretary Paul Jenkins has tabbed at 121 pounds. His last start resulted in a half-length win in the $50,000 Mo Bay stakes on July 8 at Delaware Park.

Max West, winner of a $100,000 stakes race this season, is at 120 pounds - one pound more than My Lord. My Lord won the Baltimore Breeders' Cup Turf Stakes at Pimlico during Preakness card on May 20.

Entries for the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup will be drawn on Tuesday morning.

The Governor's Cup will be the first midweek evening stakes ever run at Penn National.

Swinging for charity

Penn National Race Course will host its 11th annual Charity Golf Classic at the Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pa. on Aug. 7.

All proceeds from the event are donated to support the efforts of the Carlino Fund for IBD Research at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Last year, a record $170,000 was raised from the one-day tournament.

All players will receive a gift bag, including a Tommy Armour micro-fibre windshirt and several other prizes along with lunch, golf, and invitations to an evening cocktail reception, post-tournament dinner and awards banquet.

Complete information and registration brochures are available by calling 717-469-3270 or through email at pnrc@pngaming.com.

Pony tales

Robert L. Evans will become the next president and CEO of Churchill Downs - replacing Thomas H. Meeker, who was the track's top executive for 22 years.

Evans, the president and founder of Tenlane Farm LLC, has been involved in the horse racing industry for more than 20 years. He will start on Aug. 14.

Churchill Downs Incorporated owns and operates six racetracks in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisiana.

Steve Asmussen, North America's leading trainer in 2004 and 2005, has been suspended for six months by the Louisiana Racing Commission, a decision he decided not to appeal.

Asmussen's suspension runs through Jan. 10, 2007, leaving his lead assistant, Scott Blasi, to run the Texas-based trainer's operation.

The racing commission suspended and fined Asmussen last month, after a horse he trained, No End in Sight, tested positive for mepivicane, a local anesthetic, after a March 24 race at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La.

The racing commission upheld Asmussen's suspension June 23, giving him 30 days to appeal the action in court. Asmussen declined to pursue an appeal and took the suspension.

Asmussen has said he wasn't in Louisiana at the time and denied giving any medication to the horse, but said the positive test result is the responsibility of the trainer.

Asmussen has training operations at Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Lone Star Park and Louisiana Downs.

Asmussen also faces a separate six-month suspension for an acepromizine positive in New Mexico. That case is pending before the New Mexico Racing Commission, which has not yet held a hearing.

Asmussen is currently the second-leading trainer in North America.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and Breeders Cup Limited have reached a new operating agreement, the organizations announced. Under terms of the new agreement, which runs at least through 2008, the two organizations will continue to work jointly on television, marketing, public relations and sponsorship initiatives and continue to share offices and administrative functions.

The organizations will have separate budgeting and accounting functions and separate chief executives as was the case from 2001-2004.

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 larryy@herald-mail.com

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