Breeders' Cup will have local flavor

October 07, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

Tri-State area thoroughbred racing fans will have a rooting interest in the Breeders' Cup World Championships later this month.

The 11-race, $23 million card will be held at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

Two Maryland jockeys, Mario Pino and Raymond Dominguez, will be competing on the Jersey shore Oct. 26 and 27 and Penn National-based trainer Todd Beattie will saddle Fabulous Strike in the $2 million TVG Breeders' Cup sprint.

The 4-year-old gelding - a Pennsylvania-bred - earned a trip to the big dance by posting an impressive 5 3/4-length victory in last Sunday's Grade I $400,000 Vosburgh Handicap at Belmont Park. The triumph was worth $240,000 to owner Walter Downey.

Dominguez was aboard last Sunday and will get the mount again in the Breeders' Cup sprint. Pino, meanwhile, will ride Hard Spun in the $5 million Classic.


Hard Spun is coming off an impressive win over Kentucky Derby champion Street Sense in last Saturday's Grade II Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park.

Hard Spun has won 7 of 12 career starts, with two second-place finishes and one third. The win pushed his lifetime earnings to $1,673,470.

Fabulous Strike can't match those numbers, but he sure got the job done last week at Belmont Park.

"It was a great effort," Beattie said of Fabulous Strike's performance. "We were shooting for the Vosburgh because of the 'Win and You're In' provision."

Fabulous Strike covered the 6 furlongs in 1:09.22 in the Vosburgh. Earlier this year, he won the $150,000 Aristides Stakes in 1:07.64 at Churchill Downs. He has won 9 of 14 races, with career earnings of $632,832.

"He started his career at Penn National in February 2006, but has raced at different tracks on the East Coast since then," Beattie said.

Beattie, who saddled a horse Saturday at Charles Town Races & Slots, will continue training at Penn National leading up to the Breeders' Cup race.

"We knew we had a good horse early on," Beattie said. "He's run once at Monmouth Park, but that was on the turf. He prefers a dirt surface."

Beattie, a trainer at Penn National for 24 years, has 70 horses in training. He was born and raised in Wisconsin.

Pony tales

· The Breeders' Cup Challenge concludes today with four races: Three from Oak Tree at Santa Anita and one from Keeneland.

Each race includes the "Win and You're In" provision, with the winner automatically qualifying for the corresponding divisional race in the new expanded two-day, 11-race, $23 million Breeders' Cup World Championships.

· A total of 154 horses, the offspring of Maryland stallions, have been pre-entered for Saturday's Maryland Million Day at Laurel Park.

First post is 12:15 p.m.

Purses for the five Maryland Million races have been increased, boosting the purses to nearly $1.7 million. The featured Maryland Million Classic is worth $300,000, the Ladies and Turf is $200,000 and the Lassie and Nursery is $150,000.

Other races include: The $150,000 Sprint, the $150,000 Distaff, the $150,000 Oaks, the $100,000 Turf Sprint, the $50,000 Distaff Starter Handicap, the $50,000 Starter Handicap and the $30,000 Sprint Starter Handicap.

Larry Yanos 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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