Thursday, April 19, 2012
AMERICA'S BEST RACING Thoroughbred Notebook
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Laura Bell Bundy
This Week
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From the Grandstand
In the News
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Weekend Stakes Races
Racing to History
Happy birthday to the legendary Cigar, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on April 18, 2012 (Image via the @wowhorse twitter feed, Jamie Newell)
Horse racing rules again on Twitter, with Arkansas Derby and Bodemeister trending nationally at the same time and Blue Grass Stakes first- and second-place finishers Dullahan and Hansen trending on two occasions in the United States.
Jim Rome celebrates in the Santa Anita Park winner’s circle following Mizdirection’s victory in the Las Cienegas Handicap (Image courtesy of
Hymn Book grabs a drink of water during bath time on the Friday before the Oaklawn Handicap. (Image courtesy of Joan Lawrence)
Image courtesy of
Born in Lexington, Ky., country music singer and Broadway star Laura Bell Bundy grew up loving two things: music and horse racing. At a young age she studied at the Town and Village School of Dance in Paris, Ky. She landed her first professional job at age nine, moving with her mother to New York to be in Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular. A year later, she was appearing in Ruthless, which helped hone her comedy chops, and two years later began acting in movies and touring the nation in musicals. She originated the lead role of Elle Woods in the Broadway musical Legally Blonde, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. She also originated the role of Amber Von Tussle in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Hairspray. She also played Glinda in the smash hit Wicked. Laura’s album Achin’ and Shakin’ is available now.

Name: Laura Bell Bundy

What I do for a living: I'm a singer/songwriter/actress/dancer/producer/director/dog walker.

How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred racing: I was introduced to horse racing as a very young child raised in Lexington.  It's sort of in my blood and many of my friends, included one of my very best friends, Hutchi Hancock, were raised in horse racing families.

My favorite racetrack:  Keeneland

My favorite Thoroughbred racing event:  The Derby!

Other sports/teams I follow: The University Of Kentucky Wildcats, New York Giants, LSU Football, Yankees

What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred racing:  More woman jockeys

What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred racing:  I would like to see better treatment of retired horses and laws against certain practices after those horses are unable to perform.

Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me:  Tradition, Grace, Spirited

First Thoroughbred track I ever attended was: Keeneland

Favorite all-time Thoroughbred: Sunday Silence

Favorite all-time Jockey: Pat Day

Favorite dressmaker to wear to the Racetrack: Diane von Furstenberg

My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred racing:  At age 8, being with Hutchi Hancock when Sunday Silence won the Preakness, or that day I won boat loads of cash gambling on Kentucky-based jockeys at Del Mar.

My favorite restaurant in Nashville:  Giovanni’s

Best place to hear live music in Nashville: The Station Inn

My favorite TV shows: Mad Men, Modern Family, Battlestar Gallactica

My favorite all-time movie: The Sound of Music

I would like to sing the National Anthem at: The Derby!

Biggest achievement in my career so far:  Being nominated for a Tony Award

If I weren’t in the entertainment industry, I'd be a:  Nutritionist or an allergist

My heroes:  My parents, Dolly Parton, Albert Einstein, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Doris Day, Rev. Michael Beckwith, Steve Jobs, Bette Midler, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and normal people spreading love daily.

Person in Thoroughbred racing I’d like to have dinner with:  Chicken Wings with Artie Hancock IV

Person outside of Thoroughbred racing I'd like to have dinner with:  Beyonce or George Clooney

My philosophy on life:  Life is what you make it, and is only as wonderful as you THINK it will be.  Seize the day.  Love like you'll never get hurt and face fear head on and with confidence. ANYTHING is possible.

Favorite quote or motto:  "Be the change you wish to see in the world"-- Gandhi

Favorite animal (other than a horse): Dogs! I freaking LOVE dogs!

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended:  The SEC tournament in 2010

Book I am reading or recently read:  A New Awakened Earth by Eckart Tolle AGAIN

Favorite magazines:  Dwell and all design magazines!  

Favorite food:  Anything that starts with a "CH"-- chips, chicken, cheese, chocolate, etc

Favorite musician or band:  Otis Redding, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, Bright Eyes, AA Bondy, M. Ward, Andy Davis, Feist, Jay Z, Tina Turner, James Brown, The Beatles, Paul Simon

Websites I visit most often:  Yelp, Google, YouTube, iTunes

What I drive: a Chevy Camaro convertible

Biggest pet peeve: Fruit in salad, people who stand too close to the baggage claim carousel, and a wet floor in the bathroom after you've put your socks on.

Favorite city:  New York City

Congratulations to photographer Brittany Hamilton, winner of this week’s Fan Photo Contest! From Brittany: "Here is a picture of Cigar at Kentucky Horse Park.” Want in? E-mail your submissions with a brief caption to!

WING'S WATCH top’s Eric Wing offers up insights on who he thinks are the Top 40 Triple Crown contenders. (Wing's Watch PDF)

Owner Jerry Crawford on the popularity of Dullahan in Crawford’s home state of Iowa:
“People in the grocery store, at the drug store, on the street corner, not one person says, 'How's your horse doing?' They say, 'How's our horse?’ or “How's my horse doing?”

Trainer Doug O’Neill when asked whether there is anything he can do to make I’ll Have Another think there has been more time between the Santa Anita Derby and the Kentucky Derby, given the horse’s strong previous performances off layoffs:
“Well, we did change the calendars in the barn.”


“Union Rags: An American Love Story,” a new film about the bond between Triple Crown contender Union Rags and his owner Phyllis Wyeth (Track Pack PA)

Michael Matz reflects on Union Rags…and Barbaro (

Bill Casner telling Kentucky Horse Racing Commission why Kentucky should approve Lasix ban (Brightcove)

Dale Romans telling Kentucky Horse Racing Commission why Kentucky should oppose Lasix ban (Louisville Courier-Journal)

Tuesday, April 24’s edition of Night School will focus on "Physicality and Visual Handicapping" (HorsePlayerNow)

A visit with Bill Boniface of Bonita Farm, and a cameo appearance by Go For Gin (That’s Amore Stable)

Dullahan relaxing in his stall on the Monday following his victory in the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Horse Racing Nation)


Castaway, Morgan’s Guerilla seek graded earnings in Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Thoroughbred Times)

Jerome may be Stirred Up’s stepping-stone to Preakness (Daily Racing Form)

Nicholson to retire as president of Keeneland (The Blood-Horse)

Kentucky racing panel declines to ban Lasix (Lexington Herald-Leader)

Calumet Farm to be sold (Paulick Report)

The Jockey Club and NTRA launch America’s Best Racing website (

Can Bodemeister snap a 130-year-old Kentucky Derby jinx? (

Kentucky Derby 2012: Keeping track of the latest jockey assignments (

Who’s your Derby favorite?  (

Donegal Racing prepares for another Derby (The Blood-Horse)

Horse raised in SW Idaho poised for Kentucky Dream (

Updated Kentucky Derby graded stakes earnings list (Kentucky Derby)

The inside story on “Tail-gate” (Lexington-Herald Leader)

Bodemeister and Dullahan surge in NTRA Three-Year-Old Poll (

NTRA Thoroughbred Poll (

For Stonestreet Farm and fans of Rachel Alexandra, social media is the (golden) ticket (Forbes)

Gambling coming to Kentucky Horse Park for Oaks and Derby (

Oaklawn 2012 attendance up by 20,000 (

Ireland in China horseracing deal (

CANTER to recognize top Thoroughbred at Rolex event (Thoroughbred Times)


Bodemeister: Start of something special? (Daily Racing Form)

Ten fascinating facts about the Kentucky Derby (

Analysis of the April 14 stakes events (Daily Racing Form)

A trip to the farms rekindles the batteries of this horseplayer (Wire Players)

On Zenyatta’s colt’s first hoof trim and the importance of hoof care in young horses (

A love letter (

Mark McGuire of Newbury Park, Calif., has wrested the NHC Tour lead away from Ken Seeman of Wantagh, N.Y. Mark leads with 8,669 points to Ken’s 7,096 points. Steve Terelak of Culver City, Calif., is third with 5,486 points.  Click here to view the overall Leader Board standings.  Click here to view the first-half Leader Board.

Hawthorne is holding a two-day NHC qualifier April 21-22 (Hawthorne Race Course)

On Sunday, April 22, Keeneland will host the fourth annual Grade One Gamble, a live bankroll contest that awards five qualifying spots to the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.  This contest is SOLD OUT.  Good luck to all the participants. will be awarding up to four NHC spots on Sunday, April 22.  Three NHC Spots are guaranteed and a fourth spot will be awarded if entries exceed 190.  The entry fee is $195.  In addition to awarding as many as four spots to the NHC, the top 10 percent of non-qualifiers will receive a $195 entry fee credit back to their player account.

Entries are on sale for the Saturday, April 21 Round One contest. Each entry is $110 with the top ten percent of players advancing to Round Two. In Round Two, one NHC qualifying spot is awarded for every eight entries. Each qualifier will also receive a $500 travel check and a three night hotel stay at Treasure Island. Register today for the April 21 Round One contest. will be hosting a pre-qualifier on April 21 to the end-of-month finals to the $150,000 Players Challenge in Sioux Falls, SD.  For more details on the April 21 contest and the Players Challenge, click here.

Treasure Island to host 100% payback NHC Qualifiers May 6 and June 10 (

Learn more about the 2012 Daily Racing Form NHC Tour (NHC)

Player Profile



Brent Sumja


Brent Sumja
Brent Sumja from San Anselmo, Calif.,qualified for the 2013 NHC in February on Brent competed in his first NHC this past January. A trainer, he opened A 1 Horse Barn in 1992 and now has a stable of 75 horses.

Click here to read Brent’s complete NHC biography.


April 19, 1952: Native Dancer won his first race, at Jamaica racetrack.

April 19, 1969: Bill Veeck, promoter and president of Suffolk Downs, staged a $10,000 race featuring all female jockeys, then a novelty in racing. Called the Lady Godiva Stakes, the event attracted such riders as Diane Crump, Tuesdee Testa and Robyn Smith. It was Penny Ann Early, however, who won the race—her first career victory. The previous year, Early had attempted to ride at Churchill Downs, but the male jockeys boycotted and the race was canceled.

April 19, 2000: Jockey Pat Day guided first time starter Unbridled Time to victory in the second race at Keeneland, giving the 46-year-old a record 717 victories at the Lexington, Ky. track.

April 20, 1949: Jockey Bill Shoemaker won his first race, aboard Shafter V, at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif.

April 20, 1999: Trainer Charlie Whittingham died in Pasadena, Calif., of complications from leukemia. He was 86.

April 21, 1923: Eight-year-old Exterminator won his 34th stakes victory, the Philadelphia Handicap at Havre de Grace, setting an American record.

April 21, 1973: In a surprising defeat, Secretariat finished third to stablemate Angle Light and runner-up Sham in the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, his last start before sweeping the Triple Crown. The following day, Secretariat was found to have had an abscess in his mouth, which may have caused him discomfort while racing.

April 21, 2011: Jess Jackson, owner of Stonestreet Stables which campaigned champions Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, died at age 81 after a long battle with cancer.

April 22, 1947: Citation won his first race by ½-length, at Havre de Grace.

April 22, 1970: Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed into law a bill allowing off-track betting in New York.

April 22, 1976: After winning the Florida Derby at odds of 1-20, Honest Pleasure ran in the Blue Grass Stakes as the 1-10 favorite. Only win wagering was allowed on the seven-horse field. Honest Pleasure won, creating a minus win pool of $41,876.20.

April 22, 2002: Ogden Phipps, philanthropist and Thoroughbred owner and breeder, died at age 93 after a short illness. Winner of an Eclipse Award as outstanding owner and breeder in 1988 and again as outstanding owner in 1989, Phipps won nearly every major stakes race on the East Coast as an owner or breeder.

April 23, 1943: Judy Johnson was granted a license to ride in steeplechase races in Maryland, making her one of the earliest female jockeys.

April 23, 1973: Secretariat and his stablemate Angle Light were flown to Louisville, Ky., to prepare for the Kentucky Derby.

April 23, 1977: Seattle Slew won the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack, his sixth consecutive win and his third win of the season. The race was his final prep for the May 7 Kentucky Derby.

April 24, 2005: Jockey John Velazquez won on his first three mounts of the day at Keeneland, which ran his consecutive race winning streak to eight. Velazquez had won with his final three mounts two days earlier at Keeneland, then he went on to win with both his mounts the following day at Hawthorne.  Velazquez’s streak ended when he finished fifth on his fourth and last mount of the day at Keeneland on April 24. The North American record for consecutive wins by a jockey is nine, set by Albert Adams in 1930 and equaled by Tony Black in 1993.

April 26, 1853: En route to becoming England’s first Triple Crown winner, West Australian won the 2,000 Guineas, the first of three races that comprise England’s Triple Crown.

April 26, 1916:  The first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton, was foaled at Hamburg Place, Lexington, Ky.

April 27, 1973: At Churchill Downs, Secretariat worked six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 in preparation for the May 5 Kentucky Derby.

April 28, 2001: Jockey Chris McCarron became the seventh American jockey to win 7,000 races, guiding Spinelessjellyfish to a neck victory in the Khaled Stakes at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif. McCarron joined Laffit Pincay Jr., Bill Shoemaker, Pat Day, David Gall, Russell Baze and Angel Cordero Jr. in the 7,000 club.

April 29, 2003: Hall of Famer Laffit Pincay Jr., the world’s winningest jockey, retired with 9,530 victories to his credit.

April 30, 1941: Jockey Eddie Arcaro rode four winners out of five mounts at Jamaica racetrack before leaving for Churchill Downs to ride Whirlaway in the Kentucky Derby.

April 30, 1989: Bill Shoemaker won his 1,000th stakes race, guiding Charlie Whittingham-trained Peace to victory in the Premiere Handicap at Hollywood Park.

April 30, 2002: Two-time Horse of the Year Cigar and champion filly Serena’s Song were elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Also named to the Hll were trainer Bud Delp, jockey Jack Westrope and champion Noor.

May 1, 1943: Count Fleet won the “street car” Kentucky Derby, for which no tickets could be sold to out-of-town spectators due to wartime travel restrictions.

May 1, 1948: H.A. “Jimmy” Jones, son of Ben A. Jones, stepped aside as the trainer of Citation, allowing his father to be named the colt’s official trainer in the Kentucky Derby. Ben Jones was attempting to match the record of H.J. Thompson, who had trained four Derby winners. Citation did win and Ben A. Jones subsequently won two additional derbies, in 1949 and 1952, to set the mark for most number of wins in the Run for the Roses, six. Jimmy Jones was named as Citation’s trainer in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, however, giving the Jones family a Triple Crown sweep.

May 1, 1971: The New York Off-Track Betting Corp. offered wagering pools on the Kentucky Derby, the first instance in which parimutuel wagering on the race took place outside the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Churchill Downs had refused to sell the rights to the race to OTB, but the pools were offered nonetheless, generating handle totaling $1,043,005

May 1, 1976: Trainer Laz Barrera won three stakes in three different states: the Kentucky Derby with Bold Forbes; New York’s Carter Handicap with Due Diligence and the Illinois Derby with Life’s Hope.

May 1, 1993: Paul Mellon became the second person in racing history of have bred and owned winners of the Kentucky Derby (Sea Hero, who won the 1993 Derby) and the Epsom Derby (Mill Reef, who won in 1971). John Galbreath was the first to have accomplished the Derby double, which he did with Proud Clarion (1967 Kentucky Derby) and Roberto (1972 Epsom Derby).

May 1, 1999: Charismatic won the 125th Kentucky Derby at odds of 31-1, giving trainer D. Wayne Lukas his fourth Derby win and his owners, Bob and Beverly Lewis, their second Derby victor.

May 1, 2004: Total wagering on the 130th Kentucky Derby, won by Smarty Jones, and the Derby Day racing card at Churchill Downs smashed North American betting records. A record $99,348,706 was wagered on the Derby. Total betting on the 12-race Kentucky Derby Day card was $142,775,857.

May 1, 2010: Trainer Todd Pletcher broke his 0-for-24 skein in the Kentucky Derby by saddling Super Saver to win the Run for the Roses.

May 2, 1904: Laska Durnell became the first woman to own a Kentucky Derby starter and winner when longshot Elwood took the 30th Run for the Roses. Elwood, the only Missouri-bred to win the Kentucky Derby, was also the first Derby winner to be bred by a woman, Mrs. J.B. Prather.

May 2, 1934: Future Triple Crown winner War Admiral was foaled at Faraway Farm, Lexington, Ky.

May 2, 1953: Native Dancer suffered his only defeat in 22 starts. He finished second in the Kentucky Derby as the 7-10 favorite, beaten a head by a 25-1 shot, Dark Star. Going into the Derby, Native Dancer had 11 consecutive wins.

May 2, 1970: Diane Crump became the first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby. Her mount, Fathom, finished 15th in a field of 17.

May 2, 1981: The first simulcast of the Kentucky Derby took place, with three outlets—Centennial Park, Longacres Racecourse and Yakima Meadows—receiving the signal. Total simulcast wagering was $455,163. The Derby simulcast was suspended for the next two years, pending approval by Kentucky horsemen, and was reinstated in 1984.

May 2, 2000: Jockey Julie Krone became the first female elected to Thoroughbred racing’s Hall of Fame.

May 2, 2009: Mine That Bird, a 50-1 longshot, won the 135th Kentucky Derby by 6 ¾ lengths in a field of 19. The win would land Mine That Bird, and his jockey Calvin Borel, on the cover of the following week’s Sports Illustrated.


Appalachian Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, Grade III, 1M (T), Keeneland

Hilllard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes, 4&up (f&m), $100,000, Grade III, 1 1-16M, Keeneland

La Puente Stakes, 3yo, $75,000, 1 1-8M (T), Santa Anita Park

Jerome Stakes, 3yo, $200,000, Grade II, 1M, Aqueduct

Coolmore Lexington Stakes, 3yo, $200,000, Grade III, 1 1-16M, Keeneland

Sixty Sails Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $200,000, Grade III, 1 1-8M, Hawthorne

Santa Barbara Handicap, 4&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade II, 1 1-4M (T), Santa Anita Park

Miami Mile Handicap, 4&up, $125,000, Grade III, 1M (T), Calder

San Simeon Handicap, 4&up, $100,000, Grade III, 6 1-2F (T), Santa Anita Park

Giant’s Causeway Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, Keeneland

San Juan Capistrano Handicap, 4&up, $150,000, Grade II, 1 3-4M (T), Santa Anita Park

Ben Ali Stakes, 4&up, $150,000, Grade III, 1 1-8M, Keeneland

Whimsical Stakes, 4&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade III, 6F, Woodbine

Philmont Stakes, 3yo, $75,000, 7F, Parx Racing

Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes, 4&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade III, 1 1-2M (T), Keeneland