More TV of Triple Crown preps sought

December 16, 1990|By Dale Austin

More television coverage of racing may come in this area as the result of talks this week.

Operators of the Triple Crown races are expected to meet anseek more coverage of preps for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Officials from Triple Crown Productions, made up orepresentatives from Churchill Downs, Pimlico Race Course and Belmont Park, are expected to meet with people from ABC, which conducts most of the major network television coverage.

Among the suggestions has been a "Road to the Triple Crownseries similar to the American Racing Championship Series set up for this year. That series will offer $1.5 million in bonuses based on points for high finishes in 10 big races, all of which will be covered by ABC.

Officials are not sure whether they want to adopt a point systeor try other marketing techniques to seek television coverage for the prep races.

Owners of the firm that operates Pimlico and Laurel race coursehave been negotiating with officials of Home Team Sports about a daily telecast on which all the races would be shown on tape.

That format was used at HTS until about two years ago when thtracks switched to a small Washington-area television station. The station's signal was not strong enough go allow the channel to be seen by many Baltimoreans, and it eventually was dropped.

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More than 800 yearlings are expected to join the eligibility roll anominees to the Maryland Million program by Dec. 31, the deadline for nominating them for 1991 races at Pimlico in the fall.

Any yearling offspring of a mating that took place in the statcan be nominated provided that a nominating payment had been made for the stallion at the proper time.

Dec. 31 also is the deadline for nominating stallions for the 199breeding season as well as weanlings, which are foals of 1990.

After the New Years' Eve deadline, approximately 4,400 horsewill be eligible for racing in Maryland Million races.

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Andrew Beyer, racing columnist for The Washington Post, habeen named to receive the Joe Hirsch Pursuit of Excellence Award at the Federico Tesio Awards Banquet Feb. 22 at Martin's West.

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The Triple Crown might not be the No. 1 priority for Best Pal, whwon the $1 million Hollywood Futurity last week, The National sports daily reported.

"He's a gelding," said trainer Ian Jory. "It's not as important twin the Derby because you don't have to increase his value as a stallion. But because he is a gelding, he'll be around for a long time. If we take care of him and go where the money is, he'll have a shot at Alysheba's [money-winning] record."

8, Alysheba has earned more than $6 million.*

When horse owner Arnold Heft suggested last week thastewards be fined when they make a mistake, he referred to fines he received when he was a referee in the National Basketball Association during the 1950s and early '60s.

Heft said he had not been fined for making errors of judgmentThey were for not getting to an NBA city the night before a game was to be played.

"We had to travel between cities by train in those days," he said"and the commissioner, Maurice Podoloff, demanded we get there the day before a game. If you missed a train, you might not make it and he would fine you."

Heft made his remarks at a Maryland Racing Commissiomeeting. When he proposed the fines, commission member Jack Mosner took exception.

"We have very fine stewards," Mosner said.

However, Mosner voted against the stewards' rulings twicduring the hearings. He was one of six to overturn a stewards' ruling that had caused one of Heft's horses to be disqualified.

In another case, Mosner was one of two members who voted ithe minority to overrule another decision.

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The commissioners also ruled last week that Peter Brant will bpermitted to continue racing as an owner despite serving three months in prison for two misdemeanor violations of the Internal Revenue Service code. He was convicted of failing to keep proper tax records.

The commissioners last month gave approval for continuelicensing of Brant's cousin, Joe Allen, who had been convicted of the same charges.

Allen, however, had served no prison time.

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