De Francis, Racing Form meet, settle differences

On Horse Racing

November 02, 1997|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

With so much bickering among disparate factions of the horse industry, a racing fan can only rejoice when two factions get together and do what's right for the patron.

Joe De Francis, majority owner of Pimlico and Laurel Park, met last week with representatives of Daily Racing Form and, both sides say, settled differences that threatened the Form's presence in Maryland.

"We went through a lot of things," said Steve Martin, DRF vice president of circulation and sales. "If Joe does everything he said would, I take my hat off to him. He was a perfect gentleman. He promised to work with us to make the Form successful in Maryland. It was the best meeting I've ever had with a racetrack manager."

De Francis said: "I'd put it this way: We each reached out to the other."

The dispute became public two weeks ago when the Form cut Laurel Park out of its Simulcast Showcase Edition. It sent an edition to Maryland that included tracks such as Philadelphia Park, Penn National, Delaware Park and the Meadowlands -- but not preferred tracks such as Aqueduct.

A Form spokesman said one reason for the cutback was a poor relationship with racetrack management. De Francis countered by accusing the Form of punishing Maryland because of management's support of Equibase, a competitor of the Form. Equibase supplies statistics for Pimlico and Laurel Park's programs.

After meeting face-to-face Wednesday at Laurel Park, De Francis and the Form agreed to work together with on-track promotions, to sell the Form at more locations at the track and to put Laurel Park back into the Simulcast Showcase Edition.

Also, De Francis said, he plans to evaluate "what is the ideal grouping of products for the customer in this age of simulcasting. It makes no sense to sell the Racing Form for $4 and right next to it a program for $2 with the same past performances."

No 'Quest' at Hollywood

As many of the best horses in the world gather at Hollywood Park near Los Angeles for Saturday's Breeders' Cup, one of the best 2-year-old males remains in his stall in New York.

Owned by Stuart S. Janney III, Coronado's Quest will not showcase his talents in California. Last weekend, the Shug McGaughey trainee smashed the 6 1/2 -furlong record at Belmont Park. The Kentucky-bred son of Forty Niner won the Cowdin Stakes by 5 1/2 lengths in 1 minute, 14 1/5 seconds, trimming 4/5 of a second off Torsion's 23-year-old mark.

After the race, the colt's third victory in four starts, McGaughey was quoted as saying: "We'll take him to Florida, and then start thinking about the classics."

Janney, who refuses to push young horses, said that yes, Coronado's Quest will spend the winter in Florida -- after perhaps running Nov. 11 in the one-mile Nashua Stakes and/or Nov. 30 in the 1 1/8 -mile Remsen Stakes, both at Aqueduct.

"He'll go down to Florida, where he'll get a little bit of a break," Janney said. "Then we'll start going with him and see what he wants to do."

Janney said the colt, whose dam is the Janney mare Laughing Look, suffered from a chronic lung infection this summer. On top of that, he said, he has encountered problems in the paddock and starting gate.

"The talent is clearly there," Janney said. "But you don't want to rush things with this horse. We want to make sure he's ready mentally as well as physically."

Fast start in Maryland

A new name appeared in the Laurel Park jockey standings last week when Lenny Frazzitta Jr. won Thursday's third race aboard A Tall Lady. She paid a tall price: $125.60 to win.

It was the apprentice jockey's first mount in Maryland. He arrived here two weeks ago after launching his career June 20 in Detroit. There, as here, he won his first race. He ended up with four victories in 70 mounts.

Frazzitta's father was a jockey who rode primarily in Michigan. He died in a car wreck in 1990.

"I just always wanted to ride," said Frazzitta, 19. "I'd love to stay here, forever. The purses are way better than I'm used to, and it's good racing, and good people."

He gained the mount on A Tall Lady from trainer Luigi Gino.

Miscellaneous

Post time at Laurel Park on Saturday, Breeders' Cup day, will be 11: 45 a.m. Post time for the first Breeders' Cup race is 1: 55 p.m. Deerhound will stand for $12,500 at Brookdale Farm in Kentucky, a hefty increase from his $3,000 fee at Murmur Farm in Maryland. A group headed by Richard Kaster recently bought the stallion. A resident of Wisconsin, Kaster also owns Countess Diana, Deerhound's most famous offspring, as well as the Countess's dam, T.V. Countess.

Looking back

Racing to history (courtesy of Thoroughbred Racing Communications): Oct. 31, 1964: Seven-year-old Kelso won his fifth consecutive Jockey Club Gold Cup, a record. In each of those races, Kelso was odds-on favorite.

Oct. 31, 1987: Chris Antley became the first jockey to win nine races in a single day. He rode four winners from six mounts at Aqueduct and five winners from eight mounts at the Meadowlands that night.

Nov. 1, 1938: Before a crowd of 40,000, Seabiscuit, under jockey George Woolf, defeated odds-on favorite War Admiral in the Pimlico Special, a winner-take-all match race for $15,000.

Nov. 1, 1947: Man o' War died at Faraway Farm, Lexington, Ky. He lay in state for three days before being ceremoniously buried on Nov. 4.

Nov. 2, 1968: Dr. Fager, carrying 139 pounds, won the last race of his career, the seven-furlong Vosburgh Handicap at Aqueduct, by six lengths.

Pub Date: 11/02/97

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