03/15/2005 1:00AM

Etc. . . .


Hardy Eustace landed his second successive $574,000 Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, opening day of the National Hunt Festival at Cheltenham. The winner last year at 33-1, but sent off as the 7-2 co-favorite with Back in Front this time, Hardy Eustace held off the 7-1 Harchibald by a neck, with 10-1 Brave Inca third, another neck behind.

. . . Rockem Sockem has been named Michigan's 2004 Thoroughbred of the Year by the office of the state's racing commissioner. As a 4-year-old gelding, Rockem Sockem recorded 4 victories and 2 second-place finishes from 7 starts in 2004, earning $110,493 for the year. . . . The Arkansas Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that provides for a local referendum on expanded gaming at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. The measure does not include video lottery terminals.