Award to be presented in D.C.

November 27, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

For the first time in the 23-year history of the Eclipse Awards, the 1994 Horse of the Year honor will be announced in Washington.

Members of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, which represents the bulk of North American racetracks, are breaking from tradition this year.

Normally, the TRA's annual convention, and accompanying Eclipse Awards dinner, is held at some cushy warm-weather location such as Palm Springs, Calif., or Miami.

This year it means Jimmy Croll, owner-trainer of likely winner Holy Bull, will have to leave his winter headquarters in South Florida and head north to accept racing's biggest prize.

"It was decided we should do a little work this year and have a legislative bent to our agenda," said Chris Scherf, the organization's executive director.

The idea grew out of a suggestion from Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Association of America, who believes all businesses need a Washington presence.

"What we're aiming to do is to have individual track owners and their upper-level managers meet with their congressmen and push for their legislative needs," Scherf said.

Among the top items: clarification of the Indian Gaming Act, which allows for proliferation of casinos; lowering the capital gains tax to stimulate investment in the horse industry; and attempt to re-gain some of the tax advantages and deductions that the industry lost with passage of the 1986 Tax Reform Act.

The convention will be held Jan. 25-27 at the Washington Hilton. Once again, actor/horse owner John Forsythe is expected to emcee the Eclipse Awards dinner, which will be held Jan. 27.

The dinner, which usually attracts 600 to 700 people, is open to the public. Tickets are $250 and can be obtained by calling the TRA's Fair Hill office at (410) 392-9200.

Union talks in full swing

With little more than a month before a Dec. 31 deadline, committees representing Maryland thoroughbred track management and Local 27 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union are meeting regularly at union headquarters in Towson to come up with new employee contract proposals.

The tracks are represented by a four-man committee headed by mutuels executive Jim Mango and track counsel Bob Van Dyke. The employees are represented by a 15-member committee composed mostly of union officials and shop stewards.

So far, according to one of the committee members representing the employees, an initial bare-bones track proposal has been rebuffed by the union and the issue of health benefits has yet to be addressed.

One sticking point is the track's request to merge employee seniority at Laurel and Pimlico into a single entity. Seniority status in various departments is kept separately at each track.

Alydar filly at Timonium

Eyecatching, a 3-year-old daughter of 1990 champion sire Alydar, topped the Horsemen's Bloodstock Services November auction at the Timonium Fairgrounds, bringing a bid of $105,000 from Middleburg, Va., horse owner Herman Greenberg.

Eyecatching raced at the New York tracks this year, where she was a stablemate of Greenberg's Alydar filly Aly's Conquest, who was second in this year's Miss Preakness Stakes. Eyecatching represented about a third of the gross price of the 83 animals that were sold. Average price per head was $3,912, an increase of 7 percent from a year ago.

The Fasig-Tipton Co. holds its mixed sale at Timonium this weekend. Among the offerings are six stallions, including Hail Emperor and Alden's Ace.

Japan Cup to be run today

Paradise Creek could become the first winner of the Washington D.C. International to win the $3.5 million Japan Cup, which is run today in Tokyo.

There are five other U.S. entries, including Raintrap, Sandpit, Johann Quartz, Grand Flotilla and Fraize, Paradise Creek's stablemate.

Most of the American entries are based in California, though Paradise Creek and Fraise regularly train on the East Coast.

Going strong at age 19

When Oliver's Twist won the Rollicking Stakes last weekend at Laurel Park, he became the 12th stakes winner sired by 19-year-old Maryland stallion Horatius.

Allen's Prospect, who stands at Country Life Farm in Bel Air, and Horatius, a member of the stallion roster at Thornmar Farm in Chestertown, have sired nine 2-year-old winners this year.

Stakes-winning juveniles for each sire include Prospector's Fuel for Allen's Prospect and Oliver's Twist and Miss Claratius for Horatius.

The mating that produced Oliver's Twist was planned by William K. Boniface, the son of Billy and Joan Boniface, who own Bonita Farm in Darlington. Bonita swapped a breeding season to their stallion Deputed Testamony for a season to Horatius from Philip Torsney, who owns the 19-year-old.

Miscellaneous

Ratings for NBC's Breeders' Cup telecast Nov. 5 were down 21 percent. The 1993 rating was 3.4, the 1994 rating 2.7. The highest for a Breeders' Cup telecast was the 5.1 in 1984 for the first running; the lowest was 2.7 for both 1994 and 1990. . . . A recent television sports study conducted by BJK&E Media group, a New York ad agency, examined the demographics of those who watch sports events broadcast on network television. According to USA Today, the study found that baseball attracted the least-affluent audiences, tennis the most affluent, the NBA the youngest and horse racing the oldest. . . . Maryland Million Dustaff winner Alcovy continues to distinguish herself. On Thanksgiving, the 4-year-old daughter of deceased Maryland stallion Salutely won the $217,600 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs.

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