In big picture, Shine Again stands out

ON HORSE RACING

February 29, 2004|By TOM KEYSER

Shine Again proved in 2003 that it's not only winning that counts. Despite winning only twice last year, the splendid mare of Allaire duPont was named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year.

Now 7, she has been retired to duPont's Woodstock Farm near Chesapeake City and bred to Deputy Minister. Shine Again raced long enough to win Maryland-bred top honors in what wasn't her best year. After winning her first two races, she finished second five straight times in graded stakes at Saratoga and Belmont Park -- four times by less than a length.

In 2002, she won four of 10, including the Grade I Ballerina, but lost Maryland-bred Horse of the Year honors to Magic Weisner. In 2001, she won five of 10, including the Ballerina, but lost out to Include.

She retired with 34 starts, 14 wins, 10 seconds, seven seconds and earnings of $1,271,840. She's the third duPont homebred to be named top Maryland-bred. Politely won the honor in 1967 and 1968, and Best of Luck in 1999.

In the poll conducted by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Shine Again was also named top Maryland-bred sprinter for the second straight year and top older female for the third straight year.

Other Maryland-bred champions:

2-year-old filly, Richetta; 2-year-old male, Perfect Moon; 3-year-old filly, Finally Here; 3-year-old male, New York Hero; older male and turf runner, Dr. Brendler, and steeplechaser, Lord Kenneth.

The champions will be honored at the breeders association's annual banquet May 10 at the Center Club in Baltimore.

Magna takes hit

Magna Entertainment Corp., majority owner of the Maryland Jockey Club, announced Tuesday that it lost $105.1 million in 2003, mainly because of a $134.9 million "write-down," or devaluation, of its racetrack properties. The write-downs were announced earlier this month. The company lost $14.4 million in 2002.

Revenues increased 29.1 percent last year, but expenses increased 28.8 percent. A sizable portion of expenses was due to lobbying for slot machines in Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. Magna owns tracks in those states. Magna officials have said they plan on cutting expenses by $5 million this year.

"Despite encountering numerous challenges during 2003, MEC made significant strides toward our goal of creating a global entertainment company built around horse racing," Jim McAlpine, president and CEO of the company, said in a written statement.

Down the stretch

Fasig-Tipton Midlantic has canceled its July sale of 2-year-olds at Timonium at the request of the Maryland Jockey Club. The MJC plans to stable horses at Timonium while it rebuilds the dirt and turf courses at Laurel. Work on the surfaces is scheduled from June to mid September.

Nine of the 33 Eclipse awards for apprentice jockey have gone to Maryland-based riders. Quincy Hamilton, 20, hopes to become the 10th. He relocated here earlier this month after breaking in last fall at Sam Houston Park in Texas. Jay Rushing is his agent.

Jockey Horacio Karamanos returned to Maryland after riding during the winter at Calder and Gulfstream in Florida. Since starting to ride here two years ago, Karamanos ranks fourth in wins behind only Mario Pino, Ryan Fogelsonger and Ramon Dominguez. Frank Douglas, who retired from riding after breaking his ankle last August, is booking mounts for Karamanos.

Trainer Joe Devereux won yesterday with his first starter since returning to Maryland after a decade on the Southern California circuit. His Storm Train captured the first race at Laurel.

Plans for Tapit's first race as a 3-year-old are still uncertain, said a spokesperson for Michael Dickinson, the colt's trainer. Tapit breezed seven furlongs between races Wednesday in a public workout at Laurel. Silver Singer, his workmate who stumbled and fell while pulling up, is fine, the spokesperson says.

Funny Cide will race today in the Grade II, $500,000 New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds against Ten Most Wanted, Peace Rules, Seattle Fitz and four others. Barclay Tagg, trainer of last year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, said that if Funny Cide fails this 1 1/8 -mile test, then he will probably begin looking for shorter races for the popular New York-bred gelding.

Blood-Horse Publications has compiled what it believes is the first online directory of thoroughbred welfare and rescue organizations. The directory is accessible at http://retirement. bloodhorse.com .

Twice on Tuesday at the Fasig-Tipton sale at Calder, bids shattered world records for a 2-year-old thoroughbred at auction. First, a representative of Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum paid $3.1 million for a colt by Stephen Got Even, breaking the record of $2.7 million. Then, Japanese owner Fusao Sekiguchi paid $4.5 million for a colt from the first crop of Fusaichi Pegasus. Sekiguchi won the Kentucky Derby with Fusaichi Pegasus after buying him for $4 million as a yearling.

The dam of that $4.5 million 2-year-old is Hidden Storm, whose dam is Hidden Garden. Hidden Garden is also the dam of Jazz Club, one of the stallions featured by the Maryland Stallion Station.

Don Litz, head of that operation, said construction on the station's 10-stall barn, offices, breeding shed and six two-acre paddocks will commence by April 1. Groundbreaking was scheduled before the end of last year but was postponed because of the weather.

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