At the races

First win at Saratoga gets a smile

First win at Saratoga gets a smile

August 13, 2006|by LARRY YANOS

Winning a horse race always brings a smile to the face of a thoroughbred owner and trainer.

And winning at a racetrack as prestigious as the Saratoga (N.Y.) Race Course is especially satisfying.

Earlier this month, West Virginia Breeders Classics, Ltd. president Carol Holden stood in the winner's circle at the historic upstate New York oval following Burletta's win in a $25,000 maiden race for fillies and mares at 7 furlongs.

"It was my first win ever at Saratoga. It was pretty exciting," Holden said.

Burletta, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly, was supposed to run on the turf at 1 1/16 mile on Aug. 2, but the entire race card was cancelled because of the extreme heat and humidity in upstate New York.

It was the first time in the 138-year-old Saratoga history that a complete racing card had been cancelled.

The race was then rewritten for a mile on the grass and eventually wound up being 7 furlongs on the dirt on Aug. 4.


"I wanted to try her on the grass but running on the dirt was fine with me. She just needed a race," Holden said. "And winning the race was delightful."

Ridden by jockey Javier Castellano, Burletta won in 1:26 and returned winning mutuels of $6.90, $4.60 amd $3.10 as the betting favorite.

Burletta, a 3-year-old filly by Vicar, now shows a win, a second-place finish and a third-place finish at Saratoga.

Earlier in her career, she finished off the board at Gulfstream Park in Florida and was third twice at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.

The thoroughbred was bred by Holden and Traitt LLC and is trained by Ian R. Wilkes.

Her next outing?

"We're looking for another race at Saratoga later this month," Holden said.

· Jockey Travis Dunkleberger, battling for leading riding honors at Charles Town Races & Slots, took a day off from competition last Sunday and journeyed to Mountaineer Park.

It was a good move.

Dunkelberger rode two winners on West Virginia Derby Day.

Although not competing in the featured event, the Charles Town-based rider still gained victories aboard Outcashem in the $85,000 West Virginia Lesgislature Chairman's Cup and aboard Cherokee's Boy in the $125,000 West Virginia Governor's Stakes.

Outcashem, trained by Scott Lake, returned a winning mutuel of $3.40 and covered the 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.81.Cherokee's Boy, trained by Gary Capuiano, returned a winning mutuel of $7.40 and covered the mile-and-sixteenth in 1:44.72.

Outcashem was coming off a victory in the $100,000 Charles Town Dash on July 4. He is one of the finest sprinters in the country.

Pony Tales

· Leading jockey Thomas Clifton and fellow rider Edilberto Rodriguez are recovering at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center from injuries sustained in a chain-reaction spill during the third race Thursday night at the Penn National.

Clifton's mount - I Wish I Slew - came into tight quarters with another runner - Fire Mound - as the field approached the first turn.

The 7-year old gelding fell to the ground and Rockpile, ridden by Rodriguez, was unable to avoid the fallen horse.

John Krulock, Clifton's longtime agent, informed track officials on Friday that his rider had suffered a broken nose, collarbone and broken ribs. He also underwent a non-surgical procedure to halt internal bleeding from a lacerated liver.

Clifton was expected to be in intensive care for 24 to 48 hours. Rodriguez sustained injuries to his back. Doctors were hopeful he could avoid surgery and he is expected to be placed in a partial body cast for an undetermined period of time.

Clifton, the track's leading rider last year with 161 wins, was atop the standings again this season with 96 wins, 61 seconds and 56 thirds from 399 mounts.

Rodriguez rode 69 Penn National winners in 2005 and was ahead of that pace this season with 54 victories from 442 trips to the gate.

Veteran rider Tracy Hebert recorded his 3,000th career victory at Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino Wednesday night.

The 46-year-old native of Erath, La., rode My Foriels On to victory in a $25,000 claiming event - his only mount on the program.

After beginning his career in Louisiana in 1979, Hebert won riding titles in the 1980's at Jefferson Downs and Delta Downs before relocating to Kentucky during the 1990 season.

· Equibase Company LLC, the thoroughbred industry's official database for racing information, has expanded the menu of racing and handicapping information available on its website to include Spanish-language race programs and downloadable race result charts for all North American racetracks.

· The National Thoroughbred Racing Association 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 ay

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