21st Breeders' Cup draws 101 pre-entries

List for Oct. 30 Texas card includes best in business

Horse Racing

October 21, 2004|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Led by Azeri and Funny Cide, two of racing's most popular horses, and Pleasantly Perfect, perhaps racing's best, 101 horses were pre-entered yesterday in the eight Breeders' Cup races Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park in Texas.

The entry list includes several horses with Maryland connections. Abbondanza and Mr O'Brien, both stabled at Pimlico, were pre-entered in the Sprint and Mile, respectively. Based at Fair Hill, trainer Graham Motion pre-entered Better Talk Now in the Turf, Film Maker in the Filly and Mare Turf and Dance Away Capote in the Juvenile Fillies.

In addition, the Maryland-bred Our New Recruit was pre-entered in the Sprint. And Bowman's Band and Domestic Dispute, both of whom will enter stallion duty next year in Maryland, were cross-entered in two races - Bowman's Band in the Classic and Mile (with a preference for the Classic), and Domestic Dispute in the Mile and Sprint (with a preference for the Sprint).

On Wednesday, final entries will be taken and post positions drawn at Lone Star Park, which is in Grand Prairie, between Dallas and Fort Worth. Owned by Magna Entertainment Corp., the Canada conglomerate that also owns Pimlico and Laurel Park, Lone Star Park will host the Breeders' Cup for the first time.

This will be the 21st Breeders' Cup, the so-called world championships of thoroughbred racing, despite its preponderance of American runners. Only 12 horses from outside North America were pre-entered.

The $4 million Classic is the centerpiece of the $14 million program, which will be televised live on NBC from 1 to 6 p.m. The 1 1/4 -mile Classic, which often decides Horse of the Year, won't include Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones, who was retired this summer.

But it will showcase every other top thoroughbred in America, including Pleasantly Perfect, the 2003 Classic winner..

NOTE: Corey Johnson, president of Lone Star Park, said yesterday the track, in conjunction with the Breeders' Cup and National Thoroughbred Racing Association, has obtained additional medical coverage for jockeys on Breeders' Cup day. He declined to elaborate, saying more information would be released today.

Medical coverage for jockeys has become a contentious issue since Gary Birzer, a jockey at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia, was paralyzed from injuries in a July spill - and then discovered the track's policy covered medical expenses only up to $100,000. Birzer's representatives say his bills have already surpassed $500,000.

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