12/19/2001 12:00AM

Around the ovals


Beulah, River ditch Thistle on 7&7 format

GROVE CITY, Ohio - Beulah Park's 2001 season draws to a close Sunday with major changes on the horizon for 2002.

For the first time in a decade, Beulah next year will not participate in a 7 & 7 race format with Thistledown. In the 7 & 7, the two Ohio tracks alternate races on a 14-race program which is broadcast as a single simulcast signal.

Beulah general manager Mike Weiss said it no longer is financially practical to continue the 7 & 7 format. River Downs has also opted out of a 7 & 7 with Thistledown for 2002, citing financial considerations. Both Beulah and River have paid fees to Thistledown the past two years as part of the 7 & 7 agreement, which was renegotiated with Thistledown after Magna purchased the Cleveland-area track.

All three Ohio tracks will race stand-alone cards for most of 2002, except for a 2 1/2-week period from mid-April to early May when Beulah Park and River Downs will conduct 7 & 7 programs together.

Beulah Park has also reached a one-year agreement with Scioto Downs, a harness track located 10 minutes east of Beulah, regarding simulcast scheduling for 2002.

Under the agreement Beulah Park will offer simulcasting on daytime cards and be closed nights; Scioto will be closed days and conduct nighttime simulcasting.

Both tracks have been open day and night for simulcasting this year, and each has had declining handle at least partly as a result of the head-to-head competition.

Before 2001, the tracks had operated for several years under an agreement whereby each conducted simulcasting only during its respective live meetings. Under that schedule Beulah conducted simulcasts from mid-September through early May. Scioto held simulcasting rights during the summer months.

- Dave Basler

Charles Town

The nation's leading trainer, jockey, and apprentice rider appeared at Charles Town last Friday, but none left the West Virginia oval with a victory.

Trainer Scott Lake sent out The Maccabee - tied with several others as the second-winningest horse in the nation with nine wins in 2001 - in a $5,000 starter allowance. The Maccabee went off at 1-9 but tired after dueling with Fly to Houston, and Waller ($28.20), trained by John McKee and ridden by Jesus Sanchez, rallied past both runners to win the race by a half-length.

Ramon Dominguez, the nation's top jockey in wins, rode The Maccabee and two other runners, both of which finished out of the money.

Dominguez picked up three winning mounts from the injured Travis Dunkelberger (bruised ribs) last Thursday night, however, to regain the national lead. Dominguez, with eight additional wins at Laurel Park, finished the week five wins ahead of second-place Russell Baze after the two entered the week tied.

Dunkelberger, more than 20 wins behind the top two, took off his weekend mounts, but was expected to return for Wednesday night's card.

Apprentice Jeremy Rose, making his first trip to Charles Town, rode 2001 Charles Town Dash champion Governor's Pride, the 1-9 favorite in a five-horse field of allowance horses. But Governor's Pride was beaten to the lead - and the finish - by Case It Out ($20.80), a 3-year-old colt trained by Earl Begley.

Under jockey Mark Mawing, Case It Out blazed the first quarter-mile in 21.24 seconds and covered 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.22, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 103. Governor's Pride had to settle for second.

* Treasure Coast Gem and Jolie's Julia, both recent stakes winners, are the likely favorites in the Snow White for 2-year-old fillies, one of two $40,000 stakes on Saturday's card. Xtra Heat, runner-up in this year's Breeders' Cup Sprint, won the Snow White last year.

Treasure Coast Gem won the $75,000 Blue Hen at Delaware Park by 7 1/4 lengths and finished out of the money in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park in her most recent start.

Jolie's Julia made a strong move around the final turn to repel favorite Atsa Pretty Muffin and win the $40,000 Sonny Hine Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths in her Charles Town debut Nov. 8.

In the inaugural running of the 1 1/8-mile West Virginia Oaks, North Coast Ltd., trained by Lake, may be the horse to beat after back-to-back wins in allowance races.

- Joe DeVivo


SUNLAND PARK, N. M. - Chris Can Travy on Sunday became the first three-time winner of the meeting. Chris Can Travy, a 6-year-old who is having his best season, is owned by Martin Waldrop and Louisa Sedillo and trained by Carlos Sedillo, Louisa's husband.

Chris Can Travy's wins have a slightly unusual pattern. On Nov. 30 he won for $5,000. Then on Dec. 11 he was raised to $6,250 company and won again. But instead of raising Chris Can Travy yet again, Carlos Sedillo entered him five days later for only $4,000. When asked about his strategy, Sedillo smiled and said, "That is the way to play the claiming game."

Chris Can Travy returned a surprising $6 with Victor Escobar in the saddle and now has a record this year of 19-6-2-1 with earnings of $38,101.

Another trainer at Sunland with a sharp eye for the claiming game is Henry Dominguez.

On Dec. 1, he claimed Tellme Truly on behalf of Dale Hopkins and James Wasson for $10,000. Tellme Truly was coming off a recent win at Remington at the $15,000 level but was dropping for his first Sunland start, which he won. With no "jail time" claiming requirement at Sunland, Dominguez fired Tellme Truly right back for the same tag, and the horse posted his third consecutive win, paying $8.40.

Nena Matz, a Remington regular riding at Sunland for the first time, is among the leading riders here, and has been aboard for all three of Tellme Truly's wins.

- Rod Peck