News and Notes for June 7, 2013


June 7, 2013

Lasting Bubbles will return to Lone Star Park’s main track, where she is 2 for 2, in tonight’s fourth race, a 6-furlong second-level allowance race for fillies and mares. One start prior, Lasting Bubbles was prominent throughout to win the $50,000 JEH Stallion Station Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs.  She finished second in the Lane’s End Stallion Scholarship Stakes on May 11th. Trained by Ken Peek, the 5-year-old mare races for Judy Peek. The race has a field of six, including Bilirrubina (MEX), Diamond Lucy, Miss Oops, Shannon’ Phavorite and Heart of a Madam.

Retama Park opens a 20-date meet for Quarter Horses tonight, its first season under Pinnacle Entertainment, the Las Vegas-based company that completed its acquisition of a majority interest in the track on January 30th.

Chris Corrado was appointed vice president and general manager of Retama in April, while Bryan Brown, the track’s longtime chief executive, has been brought on for projects at Pinnacle, according to a release from the company. Corrado previously was the assistant general manager of Belterra Casino Resort and Spa, a Pinnacle property in Indiana.

Some changes for 2013 include free parking, one ticket price for access to all levels, new designated smoking areas on the Clubhouse level only and Terrace Dining open on Friday and Saturday evenings, featuring the Finish Line Buffet with prime rib on Saturdays.  The Turf & Field Club opens at 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for bar service and wagering, but no food service at this time.

The Quarter Horse meet runs through August 10th and the Thoroughbred meet will open October 4th.

A field of 14 was entered for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, which is slated as race 11 of 13 with an approximate post time of 6:36 p.m. EDT. NBC raceday coverage is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. EDT, preceded by a 3-5 p.m. broadcast on NBC Sports Network and followed by a 7-7:30 p.m. post-race show. HRTV and TVG will also offer on-site coverage.

Kentucky Derby winner Orb drew post position 5 and was installed the 3-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.  Preakness winner Oxbow will break from post 7 and was made the 5-1 third choice.

At 8 – 1, Unlimited Budget, the lone filly in the field drew post 13 under jockey Rosie Napravnik. She receives a five-pound weight allowance from the males. Her trainer, Todd Pletcher, will saddle four other starters in the race: Revolutionary, third in the Derby and 9-2 second choice on the Belmont morning line; Overanalyze (12-1), Palace Malice (15-1) and maiden winner Midnight Taboo (30-1).

Golden Soul who finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Orb in the Derby, drew the far outside post 14 as a 10-1 choice.  Freedom Child, 8 – 1, and 13 1/4-length winner of the May 11 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) on a sloppy Belmont main track, drew post 2.  Also starting in the Belmont are a trio of Derby also-rans: 30-1 Giant Finish, 30-1 Frac Daddy, and 20-1 Vyjack. Completing the field are Incognito, (20-1, post 6) and Will Take Charge (20-1, post 10).

E.S. “Bud” Lamoreaux III is a creator and former executive producer of CBS News Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt.  He won four Eclipse Awards for national television excellence.

Following is an excerpt of his thoughts on the Belmont, as printed in the Paulick Report:

“The theories abound, they are limitless really, of the failure for the 35th year in a row to have a Triple Crown winner.  They’re breeding for speed now — not endurance; the series has too short a time span; the fields are too big; no Thoroughbred has had the “required” three lucky trips.

“Okay, those theories all make sense.  Knowledgeable racing people have been heard.  But please folks, let us not despair.  We have a Belmont Stakes coming up Saturday that celebrates the fitness of the horse, the only time most of them will be asked to run a mile and a half on dirt.

“And guess what?  We may have the largest field since Caveat beat 14 others 30 years ago, with the Derby winner Orb, and the Preakness winner Oxbow expected to duke it out again. There are even visions of future duels, if both colts stay healthy as the year plays out.  And since Orb’s owners the Janney/Phipps Stable breeds its own, could we possibly see him on the race track as a four-year-old?  That would be huge. So instead of despair, why not make this the year for a celebration of the Thoroughbred — the year when we look in awe as these finely-tuned animals give their all in the 145th running of the Belmont.”

Well said!

Racing registered a strong month of May as pari-mutuel handle was up 3.57% compared with the same month last year.

According to economic indicators provided by Equibase, total wagering for the month reached $1,200,810,201 and registered that 3.57% increase despite offering 10 fewer race days, down 1.92% to 511. The strong May boosted year-to-date totals, which at $4,678,350,369 are 0.66% off of last year’s total through the first five months.

Purses were up 0.69% in May to $104,009,358 but they are down 2.12% for the year at $404,258,317. Race dates through May are down 3.47% for the year to 1,866 when compared with last year.

NOTES:  Fasig-Tipton Texas is still accepting consignments for the FT TX Summer Yearling Sale in August at Lone Star Park; contact Tim Boyce at 972.262.0000 for information… Trainer J.R. Caldwell and jockey Alfredo Contreras will be the guests during Lone Star’s free Jockeys and Java event Saturday morning…The Texas Racing Commission will meet Tuesday, June 11 in Austin…The TTA Board of Directors will meet June 15 at Lone Star Park…Lone Star Park employees will take on the jockeys in a double-header softball game on June 18 to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund… Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital of Lexington announced plans to purchase Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Saratoga Equine Veterinary Service… Kentucky Downs, which holds a five-day, all-turf race meet, will card maiden races worth $90,000 this fall, due to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) purse supplement (which will contribute $45,000 of the $90,000 to registered Kentucky-breds) and revenues from the Instant Racing games that have been installed at the track since 2011.