Sep 24, 2010
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD
By: JOE GIRARDI
The Oak Tree meeting at Hollywood Park begins on September 30th and runs through October 31st. This is the first time that Hollywood Park will host the Oak Tree meeting, traditionally held at Santa Anita Race Course. With that race track undergoing the switch from the synthetic surface back to conventional dirt Hollywood was chosen as the replacement.
The first weekend of the meeting (October 2nd and 3rd) gets things going in full swing as they play host to six Grade I races that will have a big impact on the Breeders’ Cup World Championships just one month later at Churchill Downs. On Saturday October 2nd, the Grade I Goodwood Stakes, for three year olds and upward will be run over 1 and 1/8th miles and carry a purse of $250,000. This race will be a prep for those out west that have aspirations for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The two year olds will be on display when they host the Grade I Norfolk Stakes at 1 and 1/16th miles also with a purse of $250,000.
The Yellow Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares, three year olds and upward, run over 1 and ¼ miles will also have a purse of $250,000. Those looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf will be making their final prep in this event. The final Grade I of the day will be the Lady’s Secret Stakes, for fillies and mares, three year olds and upward run over 1 and 1/16th miles again with a $250,000 purse. This race was renamed the ZENYATTA stakes but after the undefeated mare returned to the races this year and was to run in this race it was restored back to the original name. ZENYATTA will be looking to keep her record perfect in this race before a defense of her Breeders’ Cup Classic title at Churchill Downs a month later.
Finally on Sunday October 3rd, two more Grade I Stakes races to finish off the weekend. The Grade I Clement L. Hirsch, a race for three year olds and upward, run over the turf at 1 and ¼ miles will be carrying the same $250,000 purse. Many will be looking to get to the Breeders’ Cup Turf with a good showing in this event. The Oak Leaf, for two year old fillies rounds out this spectacular weekend and is also at 1 and 1/16th miles with a $250,000 purse. Those looking to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies will be running here.
There are a couple of things to look forward to at this meeting that are not necessarily about races. The Show Me the Money contest which is free to enter starts on opening day and gives the fan a chance to make some money by picking a horse in the money to continue. For full rules and regulations go to www.oaktreeracing.com and click on the Show Me The Money logo.
The Concert Series will have six shows during this meeting getting under way with a huge show on September 30th when Sugar Ray will perform. October 8th, 21, 22, 28 and 29th will be the dates of the other five concerts. If you in the area get out to the track and enjoy the experience of great racing and some great music at the same time.
The Travers winner AFLEET EXPRESS who was expected to run in the October 2nd Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park is out for the year. He suffered a slight tear of the suspensory ligament in his left foreleg on Wednesday September 22nd, 2010. The injury is not career threatening according to his trainer Jimmy Jerkens and would be pointed to a four year old campaign in 2011. He’s got a lesion in his upper suspensory in his left leg,” Jerkens said. “He needs 90 days for it to fill in. We’re looking to bring him back down in Florida and start training at the end of January.” We look forward to his return next year.
Jockey Michael Martinez who was paralyzed from the waist down on September 12th after a spill at Golden Gate Fields was to be flown to his native Panama where he will undergo adult stem-cell therapy. He was not a candidate for embryonic stem-cell treatments that are in the experimental stage at Northwestern University in Illinois. Our prayers go out to him and his family that he will one day be able to walk again.
Jockey Jorge Chavez took a spill on Wednesday in New York. He lay on the turf course for a few minutes before being moved into the ambulance. He had the wind knocked out of him and the x-rays were clean. He returned to riding on Thursday and the 48 year old jockey got back to the winners’ circle holding on for the win on LIONDRIVE in race 5. Let us remember how dangerous this game is and realize that the jockeys and horses are at risk each and every time they go out to the racetrack.
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