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Horses to gait to new starting gate

AT THE RACES -

April 20, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

A new 10-horse starting gate should be in place by Saturday at Charles Town Races & Slots.

"It's well-padded and looks great," Charles Town starter Fran DiAmario said. "It's certainly nice to have another one."

The United Puett Starting Gate Corporation, which built the structure, has a long-term relationship with thoroughbred horse racing. Currently, United Puett starting gates are being used at Laurel Park, Belmont Park, Aqueduct, Saratoga, Delaware Park, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita.

The cost for each individual stall in the new state-of-the-art gate at Charles Town is $16,000.

"A 12-horse starting gate was out of the question," DiAmario said. "The racetrack is just not wide enough to warrant a 12-horse starting gate and there would have been particular problems at the 4 1/2-furlong chute."

The starter said the new gate will be made available for schooling on Thursday through Saturday and, if all goes well during the practices and no adjustments are needed, it should be operational by Saturday evening.

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"We are finishing up with the padding and installing the sign at the top indicating Charles Town Races & Slots. We'll use the current starting gate as a backup," DiAmario said.

No news

After six months, the winner of the West Virginia Breeders' Classics feature is still undetermined.

The West Virginia State Racing Commission was supposed to give a decision on a pending appeal last Thursday, but one of the key lawyers was hospitalized and unavailable. A continuance was granted.

"All parties thought it would be improper to conduct the hearing without this lawyer," state steward Danny Wright said. "A new hearing date will, hopefully, be announced soon."

Following the Oct. 20, 2007 race, Eastern Delites, the winner of the featured race, tested positive for caffeine.

The horse was disqualified from purse money by the West Virginia State Stewards.

Pony Tales

· There will be no live thoroughbred racing at Charles Town on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

The racetrack will be closed for maintenance but simulcast action will still be offered.

· Jockey Ryan Fogelsonger, who has won more races at Pimlico and Laurel Park than any other rider since 2002, announced he will be moving his tack to Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa., after today's card.

The 26-year-old jockey has won 884 races at the major Maryland tracks since May 1, 2002. He has claimed 10 riding titles and the 2002 Eclipse Award award for outstanding apprentice.

He earned back-to-back Preakness Stakes mounts aboard Cherokee's Boy (2003) and Water Cannon (2004). Other Maryland highlights included an upset win over champion Ashado with Silmaril in the 2005 Pimlico Distaff and a career-best six-win day at Pimlico on Sept. 18, 2004.

Fogelsonger entered the Pimlico spring meet last Thursday with 1,187 career wins for earnings of more than $26 million.

· Rosie Napravnik, Scott Lake and Robert Cole took top winning individual honors at the recently-concluded 59-day Laurel Park meet.

Napravnik captured the jockey standings by winning 62 races, 11 more than apprentice Craig Gibbs, to secure her first riding title since capturing Laurel's 2006 fall crown. The 20 year old rode had 19 multiple win days, including three three-win performances.

Lake ruled the trainer standings with 51 wins, 21 more than Dale Capuano. The veteran conditioner saddled three winners five times and produced eight two-win days.

Cole reigned supreme in the owner standings, finishing first 14 times. He won races with Lake, Howard Wolfendale and Stephanie Beattie riding.

Larry Yanos 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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