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At the races

Charles Town submits live racing schedule for 2007

Charles Town submits live racing schedule for 2007

November 26, 2006|by LARRY YANOS

Charles Town Races & Slots management and horsemen have agreed to a 2007 live racing schedule and have submitted the request to the West Virginia State Racing Commission for approval.

"As in past years, we have agreed to 220 live racing dates for '07," said Charles Town racing secretary Doug Lamp. "We could add dates but 220 is the minimum required by state law. We must run 220."

Usually, the racing commission approves the request with little review.

Charles Town will kick off the 2007 campaign on New Year's Day. Post time is 1 p.m.

In January, February, March and April, there will be live racing every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A Wednesday evening card will be added to the schedule from May through September.

The racetrack will be shut down for a period in April and October for maintenance.

Street Sense impressive

Carol Holden, executive director of the West Virginia Breeders Classics, Ltd., watched Street Sense post an impressive 10-length victory in the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders Cup Juvenile earlier this month at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

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She hopes to see the same results - at the very same racetrack - on next year's first Saturday in May.

Holden owns a few thoroughbreds, and one of her primary trainers is Carl Nafzger - the conditioner of Street Sense.

"He does a nice job with the horses, over the years he has been very successful," Holden said of the trainer who saddled champion Unbridled in the 1990 Kentucky Derby and the Breeders Cup Classic.

As good as Nafzger trains, he must look that "Juvenile Jinx" in the eye come next May.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile has been contested since 1984. No winner has ever gone on to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby.

Nafzger, who was impressed by the effort of Street Sense in the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile, wants that to change in 2007.

"This horse is learning, he's growing, he's maturing and he's an exceptional force if he stays sound and everything," Nafzger said. "The only problem we got with the Derby is we're only one in 18,000 now. OK? There's 18,000 other colts out there to run at us. So you figure the odds why somebody hasn't won the Breeders Cup Juvenile and won the Derby is because you've got to be ready on this Saturday and you've got to be ready on that Saturday and there's 18,000 other colts running at you, so you're 18,000 to 1 when you start."

In four earlier efforts (a win, a second and two thirds), Street Sense shared or claimed the lead.

In the Juvenile, he was far off the pace but stunned his followers with a tremendous late kick.

It likely won't be his last appearance at Churchill Downs.

Nafzger was not the only one pleased by the performance of Street Sense.

"I had an awesome trip," winning jockey Calvin Borel said. "We started a bit slow, but I was right where I wanted to be turning for home. When I saw that opening on the rail ... well, that was nice. I went to the rail and the horse did the rest. It was a great effort."

Borel, the leading rider during Churchill Downs' current fall meet, sustained multiple fractures to his right wrist and was scheduled to undergo surgery at Norton Audubon Hospital in Louisville after being thrown from his horse in the fifth race on Churchill Downs' Thanksgiving Day card. He will remain hospitalized indefinitely. His mount, Pew, was euthanized after sustaining a fatal injury to his left front ankle during a 1 1/8-mile turf event for maidens.

Pony tales

Female members of the Amateur Riders Club of America made an appearance last Saturday night at Charles Town.

A special 6 1/2-furlong race, carrying a purse of $9,000, included nine horses and riders from the Mid-Atlantic Region.

The visiting jockeys included: Anastasia Yrova, Lucy Horner, Leslielyn Hardesty, Amy Herbert, Forest Boyce, Stephanie Ball, Michelle Penman, Gina O'Callaghan and Dianna Gillam. Boyce won the race.

Ouija Board, who turned in a dominating effort in the Grade I Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Breeders' Cup Turf, will compete in today's Japan Cup.

Ouija Board ran fifth in last year's Japan Cup, then traveled to Hong Kong, where she captured the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin.

Heart's Cry and Deep Impact, last year's Japanese Horse of the Year, will be the top two betting favorites in this year's Japan Cup, a 1 1/16-mile invitational being run for the 26th time.

The 5-year-old Ouija Board is scheduled to race again in Hong Kong following the Japan Cup before being retired and bred with Lane's End stallion Kingmambo.

After more than a year of renovations, costing about $16 million, a Thanksgiving tradition - horse racing - returned to New Orleans on Thursday. A record crowd of 8,732 people turned out to welcome it.

The annual winter meet has started on Thanksgiving Day in all but a few years since 1934. Last year, Hurricane Katrina forced the Fair Grounds to move its season to Louisiana Downs near Shreveport.

This year's meet will include a record $7.7 million in stakes purses and a record 10 graded stakes, track officials say.

The track's showcase race, the $600,000 Grade II Louisiana Derby, will be run March 10 on a card with five stakes and purses totaling $2.1 million.

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. 7520, or by e-mail at larryy@herald-mail.com

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