Thursday, June 21, 2012
AMERICA'S BEST RACING Thoroughbred Notebook
Presented by NTRA
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Amy Zimmerman
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Frankel and Royal Ascot trend worldwide following the colt’s electrifying performance in the opener of Great Britain’s premier race meet.
Jockey Lucy Herkova guides her mount Red Neck under the wire to win the ostrich race at Colonial Downs for their Father’s Day celebration. Image courtesy of Coady Photography/Colonial Downs
Frankel enters the Royal Ascot winner’s circle following his victory in the Queen Anne Stakes (Image courtesy of
Rosie Napravnik gets the job done as Rosie the Riveter. Saturday she will be aboard Believe You Can in the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont. (Image created by and courtesy of Anne Pennington)
Image courtesy of Horsephotos

Amy J. Zimmerman is the Executive Producer/Sr. Vice President, Programming & Production for HRTV, and the VP-Business Coordination for Santa Anita Park, a track she has been associated with since 1986. She is also currently the Sr. Associate Producer for NBC Sports Triple Crown coverage, and has been a credentialed media member at all 27 Breeders’ Cups. Amy has worked as a producer on 17 Eclipse Award-winning television programs, multiple national and regional Emmy Award-winning shows, and she was honored with the 2011 Penny Chenery Distinguished Woman in Racing Award. 


Name: Amy J. Zimmerman

What I do for a living: Executive Producer, HRTV; VP, Santa Anita; Sr. Associate Producer NBC Sports

How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred Racing:  I was a horse-crazy 8-year-old and one of my Dad’s friends owned a racehorse. I started reading entries and results to follow him.

My favorite racetrack: Santa Anita

My favorite Thoroughbred racing event: Kentucky Derby

Other sports/teams I follow: USC Football

What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred Racing: Unification

What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred Racing: Fractionalization

Three words that define what Thoroughbred Racing means to me: Who I am

First Thoroughbred track I ever attended was: Hollywood Park

Favorite All-time Thoroughbred: Secretariat and John Henry

My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred Racing: There are 30 years of moments, but hope the best one is still to come.

Best racetrack food can be found at: Saratoga - the wood fire pizza

My favorite jockey: All-time - Bill Shoemaker.  Currently – Garrett Gomez and Martin Garcia because my son adores them both.

My favorite trainer: All-time – Charlie Whittingham.  Currently – Matthew Chew because no one is kinder to his horses.

My Heroes: My Mom and Dad – and the older my son gets, the more that is true!

Person in Thoroughbred Racing I’d like to have dinner with: Frank Stronach

My philosophy on life:  It all comes down to Please and Thank You

Favorite quote or motto: “Mommy, I love you,” by Henry Zimmerman

Favorite animal other than a horse: Tricolor Collies

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing while working for NBC

Favorite food: Lobster

Favorite vacation spot: Kaanapali Beach, Maui

Favorite city: Cutchogue, NY

Favorite Musician/band: Melissa Etheridge 

Favorite all-time movie(s): “The African Queen” and “Casablanca” - there’s no substitute for great writing.

Favorite TV Show: Anything written by Aaron Sorkin

Favorite hotel: Hyatt Regency Maui

Websites I visit daily: Paulick Report, DRF, The Blood-Horse

What I drive: BMW 335i and Corvette Convertible (I like fast cars)

Pet Peeve: Liars

Favorite movie about horse racing: “Secretariat.”  It wasn’t the best, but will always be my favorite because I saw it with my Mom and Dad shortly after my Mom’s leukemia diagnosis.

Which actor would play me in a movie:  Kristy McNichol

Alma Mater: University of Southern California

Favorite Radio shows/channels: Sirius XM - Classic Vinyl, Spectrum and The Pulse

Best Book I recently read: The Drop by Michael Connelly

Favorite Memento:  A picture of Secretariat that Meadow Stable sent me in reply to a letter written when I was 11.  Few things have impacted my life more. 

Favorite Dessert: Key Lime Pie

Favorite Drink: Caffeine Free Coke

Favorite Scent: Lavender

What I like about my job: I work every day at a place other people go to have fun. 

Favorite Tech gadget: Noise-Cancelling Headphones

No. 1 Bucket List Item:  Working all three Triple Crown races when there is a Triple Crown winner.

Congratulations to photographer Catie Staszak winner of this week's Fan Photo Contest! From Catie: “Team O'Neill locks arms as they follow their superstar colt I'll Have Another at his retirement ceremony in the saddling paddock at Belmont Park before the 2012 Belmont Stakes.” Want in? E-mail your submissions with a brief caption to!


Trainer Sir Henry Cecil, quoted by the Associated Press, after Frankel won Tuesday’s Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot by 11 lengths and earned a 147 Timeform rating:
“He is a great horse...He did exactly what I thought but he’s still improving.”

Bob Baffert, quoted by Marty McGee in Daily Racing Form, quipping about the new Kentucky Derby points system:
“What they really need to do is get rid of the one hole.”

Jockey agent Scotty McClellan, quoted by Eric Sondheimer in the Los Angeles Times, on the local reaction when top rider Joel Rosario announced that he would be moving his tack from Southern California to New York:
“All the agents and jockeys said they’d pitch in and help him get to the airport,”

Dick Jerardi in Daily Racing Form on an oddity during the recently completed Triple Crown series:
“Only one horse ran in all three races. Optimizer’s odds kept going down (due in part to field size and in part to insanity) as his finishes kept getting worse. The colt was 42-1 in the Derby and was beaten 12 lengths. He was 23-1 in the Preakness and beaten by 15 1/2 lengths. He was so good in the first two races, he was bet down to 14-1 in the Belmont, where he was beaten by 30 3/4 lengths.”


Video: Setting the record straight for Secretariat’s now record-setting Preakness time (

Video: The Making of Black Caviar (

Video: Interview with Christopher Larmey, winner of NHC qualifying tournament at Emerald Downs (Emerald Downs YouTube channel)

Video: Chantal Sutherland at Santa Anita (FOX 11 Los Angeles)

Animation: A tribute to Union Rags (Animoto via Daily Race Funnies)

Video: Stephen Colbert declares dressage (or “competitive horse prancing,” as he calls it) to be America’s sport of the summer (Horse Nation)

Lukas – smartest horse in the world (

Video: Preview of next Tuesday’s Night School session, which will focus on ownership and racehorse retirement (HorsePlayerNow YouTube channel)


Frankel wins Queen Anne Stakes by 11 at Royal Ascot (

Frankel provisional rating of 147 is highest in Timeform history (

At Royal Ascot, the party lasts to the finish line (

Secretariat wins again, credited with Preakness Stakes record (

For this Wyeth, art is a fast Kentucky Derby horse (

Interception…New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees claims horse owned by Los Angeles
Lakers stars, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol (

Interview with former indie-rock legend—and current Equibase chart caller at Prairie Meadows!—Bob  Nastanovich  (

Cuomo close to taking over control of NYRA (New York Daily

New York Horsemen and Breeders lose voting rights in NYRA shake up (

Cartels move into New Mexico racing (

Standout jockey Joel Rosario heading to New York (

Jockey Perry Ouzts passes Jerry Bailey on all-time wins list (Paulick

Former jockey Eddie Delahoussaye to have race in his name (Yahoo! Sports)

Mark Guidry among Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductees (The

Jose Santos Jr. following in his father’s footsteps—sort of (The Blood-Horse)

Former jockey Alex Maese dies at 83 (

Derby points system a good start but needs adjustments (Daily Racing Form)

New Derby qualifying plan a bad idea (Paulick

Q&A with Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery (Paulick

Book celebrates Del Mar’s 75th season (

NTRA Annual Report predicts $8.2 million budget (The Blood-Horse)

Philanthropist establishes fund for TRF veterinary care (

Test your math skills (


Tom Pedulla discusses Larry Jones’ success with fillies (America’s Best Racing)

Royal Delta, the Stephen Foster and the Derby points system (Daily Racing Form)

Derby Eligibility: Be careful for what you wish for (

Royal Ascot and Royal Delta: Simply fabulous (Daily Racing Form)

Secretariat finally gets Preakness record (

Velazquez released from hospital  (

A first look at the 2012 Haskell Invitational (

The July 31 conclusion of the first-half of the Daily Racing Form NHC Tour is around the corner.   The top 10 finishers on the first-half Leader Board will receive cash prizes totaling $50,000.  The winner of the first-half of the Tour season will be pocketing $15,000. 
 Mark McGuire (Newbury Park, CA) earned 1,053 Tour points with his eighth place finish at Monmouth Park on June 3.  This score kept him in the top spot on both the full and first-half Leader Boards.  Christopher Larmey (Kennewick, WA) and Ed Teicht (Englewood Cliffs, NJ) both had big weekends at Emerald Downs and Monmouth Park, respectively.  Chris finished in first place at Emerald Downs on June 3, earning him 4,020 NHC Tour points and moving him into the number three spot on both Leader Boards.  Ed had a big day on June 3 at Monmouth Park with a first place finish worth 3,936 Tour points. 
Click here to view the 2012 NHC Tour rules and prize structure.


1H LB Points


Full LB Points

Mark McGuire


Mark McGuire


Mark Streiff


Edmund Teicht


Christopher Larmey


Christopher Larmey


Edmund Teicht


Mark Streiff


Eric Moomey


Ken Seeman


Click here to view the overall full Leader Board standings. 
Click here to view the first-half full Leader Board standings.

Qualifiers to the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, presented by Sovereign Stable and Treasure Island Las Vegas, are taking place online and across the country as the summer tournament season kicks into high gear.

Horse Players Qualify is conducting Players Challenge qualifiers on June  24 and 30.  For more details on the Players Challenge and a schedule of Players Challenge qualifiers click here.

The 2012 Belmont Summer Handicapping Challenge is taking place June 23-24. The top three finishers will earn their spot into NHC 14 next January. The contest entry fee is $400. All entry fees will be returned as prize money. is awarding two NHC seats in their TSOHS Monthly Final tournament on June 30. Players can buy in for $200 or qualify for as little as $25 in the monthly satellite contests. Players must be members to participate. Visit for details.

Monmouth Park's Preakness Day Handicapping Contest has been rescheduled to July 7. Contact Brian Skirka, for more details.

Start making your reservations for the Surfside Race Place July 13-15 event. The Friday mini tournament is limited to the first 50 registrants. The contest entry fee is $300 plus a mandatory live money $2 win/place wager per race ($32 total). Two NHC berths are guaranteed and if the contest entries reach 50 three NHC berths will be awarded. The Saturday-Sunday event entry fee is $200. Each contestant will make 16 individual, mythical, $20 win and place wagers on eight races that you select from the last six races at Hollywood Park and Belmont Park. A maximum of four NHC berths will be awarded. Click here for more information.

Hawthorne Race Course is hosting a July 14 live money event awarding two NHC berths and and estimated cash prize of $30,000. Click here for more details.

Click here to view the current Daily Racing Form NHC Tour schedule and to see a list of current NHC 14 qualifiers.

Player Profile




Richard Mueller
Dick has finished in the top five in two 2012 NHC qualifiers. He  finished first in the January 28 Treasure Island contest and he finished third in the May 26 online qualifier.  He is currently in seventh place on the first-half Leader Board and is in 11th place on the overall Leader Board with 5,534 NHC Tour points.

Click here to read Dick's complete NHC Tour player biography.

June 21, 1924: Exterminator, winner of the 1918 Kentucky Derby, concluded his seven-year racing career.  Exterminator raced until he was nine, winning 50 of his 100 starts. He seldom carried less than 130 pounds in handicap races. Like other geldings Kelso, Forego, and John Henry, Exterminator improved with age, enjoying his greatest success when he was seven.

June 21, 1947: Assault won the Brooklyn Handicap and dethroned Whirlaway as the then money-winning champion of the world. The victory boosted his earnings to $576,670.

June 21, 1975: S. Kaye Bell became the first woman to train the winner of a $100,000 stakes race when she sent Mr. Lucky Phoenix to win the Michigan Mile and One-Eighth Handicap at Detroit Racecourse.

June 22, 1935: Seabiscuit won his first race, at Narragansett Park.

June 23, 1985: With a victory aboard Greinton in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Laffit Pincay Jr. became the second jockey in history to surpass $100 million in purse earnings.

June 23, 2002: Hall of Fame Jockey Chris McCarron ended his 28-year riding caring after piloting Came Home to an easy win in the Grade III Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park. McCarron finished his career with 7,141 victories and his horses earned purses of $264,351,579.

June 24, 1893: The field for the American Derby at Washington Park was held at the post for an hour and 40 minutes, the longest pre-race delay in history. Boundless, with “Snapper” Garrison aboard, won the $49,500 race, which was witnessed by a crowd of 48,000. Garrison and three other riders were each fined $250 for bad conduct at the start.

June 24, 1952: Jockey Eddie Arcaro rode his 3,000th career winner at Arlington Park. He was the first American-born rider to reach that mark.

June 24, 1972: In the fastest workout of the day for six furlongs, Secretariat went the distance in 1:12 4/5 at Belmont over a sloppy track. He would make his debut 10 days later, in a July 4 race for maiden runners at Aqueduct.

June 24, 1973: Charlie Whittingham swept the top three spots in the Hollywood Gold Cup Invitational Handicap when his trainees Kennedy Road, Quack and Cougar II finished first, second and third, respectively.

June 24, 1977: Alydar, at odds of 2.10-1, broke his maiden by 6 3/4 lengths at Belmont Park.

June 24, 1979: Affirmed, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., became the first horse to top $2 million in earnings after he won the Hollywood Gold Cup.

June 24, 1990: Criminal Type became the first horse to win consecutive $1 million races after capturing the Hollywood Gold Cup. He had previously won the $1 million Pimlico Special on May 12.

June 25, 2000: Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus was syndicated by Coolmore Stud for a reported $70 million.

June 26, 1938: Nearco ended his career a perfect 14-for-14 by winning the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp.

June 26, 1986: Jockey Sandy Hawley won his 5,000th career race, aboard Mighty Massa, at Canterbury Downs.

June 26, 1992: Jockey Dave Gall became the eighth rider in history to ride 6,000 winners when he rode Nana’s Nice Boy to victory at Fairmount Park.

June 26, 1994: Jockey Chris McCarron rode his 6,000th career winner, Andestine, in the Milady Handicap at Hollywood Park. He was the 11th rider to reach 6,000 and the third-youngest, behind Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr.

June 26, 2000: Hall of Fame trainer Lucien Laurin, conditioner of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, died at the age of 88.

June 27, 1860: The Queen’s Plate, the oldest continuously run stakes race in North America, was first run. Don Juan was the winner, after winning two of the three heats that comprised the event.

June 27, 1932: Calumet Farm recorded its first victory in a Thoroughbred race with two-year-old Warren Jr., who won by a nose at Arlington Park to earn $850.

June 27, 1986: Jockey Kent Desormeaux rode in his first race ever, finishing third aboard a $2,500 claimer named Ducknest Coal Mine, at odds of 35-1, in the second race at Evangeline Downs.

June 28, 1906: Rockingham Park opened its doors for the first time. A crown of more than 10,000 came to the tiny outpost of Salem Depot, N.H., by train from as far away as New York City. The facility, which cost over $1 million to construct, was proclaimed by the press to be the world's finest.

June 28, 1977: Steve Cauthen, on his first day as a journeyman jockey, won with his first three mounts at Belmont Park.

June 28, 1989: Arlington International Racecourse opened in Arlington Heights, Ill. It had been rebuilt after a fire destroyed the old facility, July 31, 1985.

June 29, 1968: Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye won his first race, at Evangeline Downs, aboard Brown Shill.

June 29, 1968: Gamely, Princessnesian and Desert Law—all owned by William Haggin Perry and trained by Jim Maloney—finished 1, 1A and 1B, respectively, in the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park.

June 29, 1969: Jockey Ray Sibille won his first career race, at Evangeline Downs.

June 29, 1983: Jockey Angel Cordero Jr. won his 5,000th career race, aboard Another Rodger, in the ninth race at Belmont Park. He was the fourth rider in history, behind John Longden, Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr., to hit that mark.

June 30, 1973: Three weeks after he won the Triple Crown, Secretariat scored another victory, a nine-length win in the Arlington Invitational Stakes at Arlington Park, where he was sent off at the shortest odds in his career, 1-20. With no place or show wagering on the four-horse race, which was run with a three-horse field against Secretariat, the track had a minus win pool of $17,941. More than 40,000 spectators turned out for the event.

June 30, 1978: Spectacular Bid won his first race, at Pimlico, by 3 1/4 lengths.

June 30, 1990: Retired jockey Bill Shoemaker won his first race as a trainer, sending two-year-old filly Tempest Cloud to her maiden victory at Hollywood Park.

June 30, 1991: One year after his first victory as a trainer, Bill Shoemaker recorded his first Grade I win, with Alcando in the Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park.

July 1, 1966: Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. won with his first mount in the United States, at Arlington Park, aboard two-year-old filly Teacher’s Art, owned and bred by Fred W. Hooper.

July 1, 1998: Hall of Fame jockey Sandy Hawley retired from race riding after competing in the Dominion Day Handicap at Woodbine Racecourse.

July 1, 2001, Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel won two Grade I races on opposite coasts, on different surfaces, both via disqualification. First, Senure was elevated to the top spot in the United Nations Handicap, a turf race at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., following the disqualification of With Anticipation for a bumping incident in midstretch. Then, just 30 minutes later and on the same CBS telecast, Aptitude was placed first after Futural was disqualified for a similar infraction in the Hollywood Gold Cup, a Grade I dirt race at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.

July 2, 1989: Jockey Steve Cauthen became the first rider in history to sweep the world’s four major derbies after winning the Irish Derby with Old Vic. He had previously won the Kentucky Derby with Affirmed (1978), the Epsom Derby with Slip Anchor (1985) and Reference Point (1987) and the French Derby with Old Vic (1989).

July 2, 2007: Following a four-day carryover of $3,274,505, Hollywood Park’s Pick Six pool reached a record $10.87 million. The day’s 13 winning tickets were worth $576,064.40 each.

July 3, 1937: The Del Mar Turf Club, with crooner Bing Crosby as president and actor Pat O’Brien as one of the club officers, opened for racing.

July 3, 1977: Seattle Slew’s nine-race winning streak came to an end in the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park, when he finished fourth, beaten 16 lengths by J.O. Tobin.

July 3, 1982: D. Wayne Lukas-trained Landaluce, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., won the first of her five consecutive victories at Hollywood Park. The daughter of Seattle Slew, owned by Barry Beal and Lloyd French, died of a viral infection in November of that year, but was posthumously voted champion two-year-old filly of 1982.

July 4, 1950: Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens saddled his first winner, sending out Populace to victory in the third race, a $5,000 claimer, at Aqueduct.

July 4, 1954: Two-year-old Ribot won his first race, the Premio Tramuschio. He concluded his career in 1956, with 16 wins in as many starts.

July 4, 1972: Two-year-old Secretariat, ridden by Paul Feliciano, ran fourth to winner Herbull in his racing debut, blocked badly throughout the race, at Aqueduct. It was the poorest placing of Secretariat’s career.

July 4, 1976: Charlie Whittingham swept the top three spots in the American Handicap at Hollywood Park with his trainees King Pellinore, Riot in Paris and Caucasus. On July 26, he repeated the feat in the Sunset Handicap, with Caucasus first, King Pellinore second and Riot in Paris third.

July 4, 1978: Trainer D. Wayne Lukas won his first $100,000 stakes race—over the turf—taking the American Handicap with Effervescing, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., at Hollywood Park.

July 4, 1998: Elusive Quality ran the fastest mile in history in the Poker Handicap at Belmont Park. The five-year-old horse was timed in 1:31 3/5 over a firm turf course.

July 4, 2000: Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze scored his 7,000 career victory aboard This Is the Moment at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif. Baze became the sixth jockey to join the 7,000-win club.


Mother Goose Stakes, 3yo fillies, $300,000, Grade I, 1 1-16M, Belmont Park

Hollywood Oaks, 3yo fillies, $150,000, Grade II, 1 1-16M, Betfair Hollywood Park

Donald LeVine Memorial Handicap, 3&up, $150,000, 7F, Parx Racing

Sweet and Sassy Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $150,000, 6F, Delaware Park

Boiling Springs Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1-16M (T), Monmouth Park

Debutante Stakes, 2yo fillies, $100,000, Grade III, 6F, Churchill Downs

Cinderella Stakes, 2yo fillies, $100,000, 5 1-2F, Betfair Hollywood Park

Glowing Honor Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $85,000, 6F (T), Belmont Park

King Edward Stakes Presented by TVG, 3&up, $250,000, Grade II, 1M (T), Woodbine

Highlander Stakes, 3&up, $200,000, Grade II, 6F (T), Woodbine

Singspiel Stakes, 3&up, $150,000, Grade III, 1 1-2M (T), Woodbine

My Dear Stakes, 2yo fillies, $150,000, 5F, Woodbine

Beverly Hills Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, Grade III, 1 1-4M (T), Betfair Hollywood Park

Tweedside Stakes, 3yo fillies, $90,000, 1 1-16M (T), Belmont Park

San Juan County Commissioners Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, 1 1-8M, SunRay Park

Girls, Inc. of Shelbyville, Shelby County Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, 1M (T), Indiana Downs