Xtra Heat's recovery due test today

ON HORSE RACING

Horse Racing

May 12, 2002|By TOM KEYSER

Xtra Heat makes her first start today since finishing third in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen seven weeks ago in the Middle East. She takes on five fillies and mares as the 126-pound highweight in the Grade II, $150,000 Genuine Risk Handicap at Belmont Park.

The Eclipse Award-winning filly, who is based at Laurel Park, will be the heavy favorite in the race of six furlongs, her specialty. The 4-year-old Xtra Heat has fared well at Belmont, finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last fall and winning the Grade I Prioress Stakes last summer.

After returning from Dubai, she spent 12 days at the Carroll County farm of her trainer and part-owner, John Salzman. He says she has bounced back well from the long trip, but that he has some concerns about whether it will take a toll.

"It worries you," Salzman said. "That's all you hear about Dubai, about how it takes horses a long time to recover from it. We'll see. All we can do is run her and see."

Xtra Heat has lost just five of 16 races over the past 1 1/2 years. Three of those losses were to males in top-rated stakes. Against females, Xtra Heat has won 11 of her past 13.

Harry Vega will ride Xtra Heat against horses to whom she's conceding nine to 15 pounds, including the formidable Shine Again.

Answering the call

Anita Motion's favorite words these days are "amazed" and "amazing." She's amazed at the response to the fund-raising effort for Betsy Wells, the longtime horsewoman with ovarian cancer.

The wife of trainer H. Graham Motion, Anita helped organize the auction and party two weeks ago at the Mount Washington Tavern in Baltimore for the Betsy Wells Cancer Support Fund. About a dozen people had their heads shaved after soliciting pledges, and all kinds of items were auctioned.

More than $20,000 was raised that night, for a total of more than $30,000 so far. The money will go to Wells, a 51-year-old former exercise rider and the Motions' office manager, and what's left over will go into a fund to help other cancer patients who work with horses.

"I had no idea it would get this big," Anita said. "It's just amazing."

Include tries to repeat

Include will take his next step toward perhaps establishing himself as one of the top, if not the top, older horse in the country June 1 in the Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs, said his trainer, Bud Delp.

Include captured the MassCap last year on his way to becoming the Maryland-bred Horse of the Year. Jerry Bailey will ride the Laurel-based runner, Delp said.

Tentative plans after that call for Include's participation in the Suburban Handicap on July 6 at Belmont and the Whitney Handicap on Aug. 3 at Saratoga. Two days after the Whitney, Delp will be inducted into racing's Hall of Fame in Saratoga, across the street from the track.

Et cetera

The first Storm Cat colt ever offered at a Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds-in-training sale blistered the Timonium track last week, speeding a quarter-mile in 21 3/5 seconds. "He looks like he's the real thing," said Mason Grasty, executive vice president of the sales company. The auction will be May 20 and 21, beginning at 10 a.m. both days, at the Timonium fairgrounds sales pavilion. A total of 520 horses have been catalogued, including a Citidancer colt who has already won a race.

Cricket Goodall has been named executive director of the Maryland Million Ltd. For more than a decade, she has served as assistant director. The 17th Maryland Million for Maryland-sired horses will be Sept. 21 at Pimlico.

The Delp-trained Stellar Brush has been galloping at Laurel for a couple of months and has had two easy breezes. The winner of the 1999 Ohio and West Virginia derbies hasn't raced in three years because of tendon and ligament problems. "We're hoping he can make a comeback," Delp said.

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