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Female jockeys dominating at Turfway Park

By BRANT JAMES

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 8, 2001


To acknowledge the dominance of female jockeys at Turfway Park this season, the Florence, Ky., track will card a race exclusively for women on Valentine's Day.

Kris Prather has led a charge in which females -- outnumbered 3-to-1 by males -- have won roughly 40 percent of the races in the meet. After winning the riding title at the track's December meet, Prather had more wins than any jockey in the nation through Wednesday. She had 47 wins (46 at Turfway), 36 seconds and 23 thirds in 167 mounts for $656,935 in earnings.

Jennifer Bramblett is third in Turfway's jockey standings, and Greta Kuntzweiler -- who now rides at Oaklawn -- Rhonda Collins and Patti Cooksey rate in the top 20.

Turfway Park will donate $500 for each race won by a female rider Feb. 14 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Turfway spokeswoman Jennifer Haas said the track is not necessarily a haven for female jockeys but for newcomers wanting to enter the Kentucky mainstream.

"It's about being in Kentucky racing, but at the same time not having to compete with the Pat Days," she said. "It's a great place for a young rider -- male or female -- to make a name over the winter when some top trainers leave strings of horses here, and hope it can carry over to Keeneland or Churchill Downs."

BE MY VALENTINE: Trainer Nick Zito said this week he will not enter promising 3-year-old A P Valentine in the Fountain of Youth as a prep for the March 10 Florida Derby.

"Our main objective right now is the Florida Derby," Zito said. "I don't know what we're going to do before that, but it definitely won't be the Fountain of Youth."

A P Valentine, a son of A.P. Indy, won the Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 14 but finished ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

IRISH UP: Hip No. 88, a colt by Irish River, brought an event record $900,000 bid at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's selected sale of 2-year-olds in training at Calder Race Course on Tuesday.

The colt's stock rose after he breezed a quarter-mile in :21 4/5 in last Monday's video preview.

The previous Ocala Breeders' Sales record for a 2-year-old was set in March by D'Wildcat ($600,000).

WEEKEND WARRIOR: Bob Baffert was shut out at this year's Eclipse Awards but took down the newly crowned Horse of the Year this weekend when Wooden Phone beat Tiznow by two lengths in the $500,000 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita.

The win gave Baffert a bicoastal sweep with two talented 4-year-olds. Captain Steve won the $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream earlier in the day.

Tiznow went off as a 3-10 favorite but was pushed wide early and did not overcome the eventful trip.

The double pleasure was a tonic for Baffert, who had won three consecutive Eclipses as top trainer but had an off season in 2000.

"We were due for a day like this," Baffert said. "Tell them Godzilla is back."

Captain Steve will be sent to the United Arab Emirates for the $6-million Dubai World Cup on March 24, and Wooden Phone remains in California for the $1-million Santa Anita Handicap on March 3.

WORLD SERIES: The Grade I Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere, held on France's biggest racing day, joins the Emirates World Series Racing Championship this year.

The Oct. 7 Prix will be the seventh race of 12 in a series that begins with the Dubai World Cup and concludes with the Dec. 16 Hong Kong Cup.

Other races in the series are the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, Arlington Million, Grosser Preis von Baden, Esat Digifone Irish Champion Stakes, Canadian International, The Cox Plate, Breeders' Cup Turf, Breeders' Classic and the Japan Cup.

- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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