The Racing Journal Logo

NTRA Super Saturday features four graded stakes and essay by Jim McKay

August 14, 2004     E-mail this page to a friend!

Thoroughbred racing returns to the ABC television network with the presentation of the third “NTRA Super Saturday” show of the season, this Saturday from 4:00-6:00 p.m. EDT. Featured on the two-hour telecast will be live coverage of four graded stakes from Arlington Park in suburban Chicago, and Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, NY. “NTRA Super Saturday” airs once a month through October (see schedule below).

This week’s “NTRA Super Saturday” show presents four races with major impact on the October 30 Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, to be held at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie outside Dallas. They are the Grade I, Arlington Million; the Grade I, $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes; the Grade I, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap; and the Grade II, $200,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. The first two will be run at Arlington Park, the latter at Saratoga. Also prominent in the show will be an essay by the legendary voice of ABC Sports, Jim McKay.

In addition to presenting the races, the show will feature the $400,000 guaranteed NTRA National Pick 4 wager, a bet that allows fans to pick the winners of four of the televised races. These wagers can result in hefty payoffs.

ARLINGTONMILLION: Part of the John Deere Turf Division, the 1 ¼-miles turf race for horses three-and-up is expected to attract a field of 13, including four European-based entries. Making the trip across the Atlantic are Epalo (GER), Magistretti, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Powerscourt (GB), who could go off as the race favorite, and Godolphin Racing’s Vespone (IRE). The U.S.-based contingent is led by a pair from the stable of Bob Baffert, Sabiango (GER) and Senor Swinger, and Kicken Kris, who last year captured the Secretariat Stakes on the Arlington Million undercard. Also set to run are Hatif (BRZ), Mobil, Mr O’Brien (IRE), Mystery Giver, Sweet Return and Vangelis.

BEVERLY D. STAKES: Run on the turf at a distance of 1 3/16-miles, the race for fillies & mares three-and-up is part of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Division. It is expected to draw 13 entrants, including three from Europe: Godolphin’s Crimson Palace (SAF), the O’Brien-trained Necklace (GB) and Aubonne (GER). Heading the list of American-based entries are Musical Chimes, Light Jig (GB), Bedanken, Noches De Rosa (CHI) and Aud. Also expected are Commercante (FR), Quero Quero, Shaconage, Stay Forever and Tangle (IRE).

SWORD DANCER INVITATIONAL HANDICAP: Also part of the John Deere Turf Division, the 1 ½-miles turf event for horses three-and-up could have as few as six horses. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who won the race in back-to-back years with With Anticipation when he was six and seven years old, tries again this year with eight-year-old Rochester, who’s coming off a second place finish in the Louisville Handicap. Rochester will face Silverfoot, who beat him in the Louisville, Balto Star, Better Talk Now, King’s Drama and Request for Parole.

ALFRED G. VANDERBILT HANDICAP: A six-furlong contest for horses three-and-up, this race is part of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint Division. The race promises a showdown between two of the division’s leaders, Ghostzapper, coming off a win in last month’s Tom Fool Handicap, and Speightstown, who won the True North Breeders’ Cup Handicap in June. Also expected are Gators N Bears, Clock Stopper, My Cousin Matt, Mike’s Classic and Gold Dollar, with Valid Video possible.

ANNOUNCERS: Brent Musberger will host the telecast, joined at Arlington Park by analyst Randy Moss and reporter Jeannine Edwards. Handling the duties at Saratoga will be Hank Goldberg, Thea Andrews and Jay Privman.