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Belmont cancels races to help rescue efforts


© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 13, 2001

After Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., thoroughbred horse racing joined major sports leagues in canceling cards throughout the nation.

Belmont Park, a few miles from the World Trade Center, is being used as staging areas for rescue personnel, and its card was canceled through Friday by the New York Racing Association.

A highly anticipated slate of Breeders' Cup preps at Belmont this weekend has been rendered insignificant.

The slate includes Saturday's $300,000 Ruffian Handicap, $200,000 Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap and $150,000 Jerome Handicap. Sunday, the $200,000 Futurity Stakes and $200,000 Matron Stakes are scheduled.

The races, set to be telecast by NBC and ESPN, may not be broadcast out of respect and because the networks may not be able to assemble their crews with the disruption in air travel.

"This affects virtually every sport," Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of marketing and industry relations for the NTRA, told the magazine The Blood Horse. "We have people traveling to New York by car, and some have airline travel planned for Thursday. We have more meetings scheduled for Thursday morning, and should have a better understanding of the situation by Thursday afternoon."

SYNDICATED: Point Given, the only thoroughbred to win four consecutive Grade I races, including this year's Preakness and Belmont, will stand at stud at Three Chimneys farm in Kentucky. The fee: $125,000 for delivery of a live foal.

The horse's interest will be syndicated, or split, into shares 50 $1-million shares. Most of those shares will be retained by Prince Ahmed Salman, who owned the son of Thunder Gulch as he earned $3,968,500, with nine wins and three seconds in 13 starts.

Fusaichi Pegasus was syndicated for between $60-million to $70-million after winning the Kentucky Derby last year.

Point Given, whose career was ended by a tendon injury, will join a stable that includes Seattle Slew, the only living Triple Crown winner, and Silver Charm, who won the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

"Seattle Slew, Silver Charm, Point Given; they were all superstars that captured the public's imagination with their talent that so surpassed the other horses that stepped onto the racetrack with them," Three Chimneys owner Robert Clay said. "It is slightly mind-boggling that they will be standing side by side at Three Chimneys."

CUP SITES SELECTED: With tacit approval granted Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, as the site for the 2005 world thoroughbred championships, the Breeders' Cup board of directors has determined sites for the next five events.

Following this year's Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park, the event will be held at Arlington Park (Arlington Heights, Ill.) in 2002; Oak Tree at Santa Anita (Arcadia, Calif.) in 2003; and Churchill Downs (Louisville, Ky.) in 2004.

Each track must fulfill certain criteria (including availability of appropriate racing days, according to a Breeders' Cup release), but their designation as preferred sites all but assures their involvement.

-- Information from other news sources contributed to this report.

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