06/23/2006 12:00AM

I'll take 'Potpourri' for $200

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Nearly half the 2006 racing season is history, and a whole lot has happened. Here's a little pop quiz to see who has been paying attention, with a few general-knowledge questions tossed in for fun.

1. In the category of Names in the News, Greg Avioli is noteworthy because he is:

a. The guy who drove Barbaro's ambulance.
b. Ernie Paragallo's recently hired trainer.
c. Interim CEO of the NTRA and Breeders' Cup Ltd.
d. Ernie Paragallo's recently fired trainer.

2. In addition to his right hind cannon bone, Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro also broke:

a. Both sesamoids.
b. His pastern.
c. Our hearts.
d. All of the above.

3. In the variety of synthetic racing surfaces being either installed or considered by American racetracks, which of the following components is the most common ingredient?

a. Rubber.
b. Wax.
c. Fiber.
d. Public relations.

4. Among his parting salvos as CEO of Churchill Downs Inc., Tom Meeker issued a warning that the company's corporate headquarters might leave its Louisville home and move to:

a. Evansville, Ind.
b. Las Vegas, Nev.
c. Parris Island, S.C.
d. Deadwood, S.D.

5. When Barbaro's surgeon, Dr. Dean Richardson, was asked if the colt was the toughest horse he had ever encountered, Richardson replied:

a. "Next question."
b. "It's still early."
c. "Ask Michael."
d. "There's a lot of tough horses in the world. They're a great species."

6. Match the well-known track announcer with his most familiar catchphrase:

1. Michael Wrona
2. Trevor Denman
3. Vic Stauffer
4. Dave Johnson

a. And down the stretch they come!
b. Racing!
c. And away they go.
d. I want you to know that I love you all.

7. Besides the New York Racing Association, which of the following is NOT among the leading contenders in the bidding process for the right to operate Belmont Park, Aqueduct, and Saratoga?

a. Magna Entertainment Corp.
b. Churchill Downs Inc.
c. Empire Racing Associates.
d. Hootie and the Blowfish.

8. Magna chairman Frank Stronach has promised that the new-look Gulfstream Park would be further modified to make the ultra-modern facility seem more like:

a. A casino.
b. A public park.
c. The Follies Bergere.
d. A racetrack.

9. At $16 million, The Green Monkey is the most expensive Thoroughbred ever purchased at public auction, bought by the Coolmore partnership at Calder earlier this year. He was named for:

a. A golf course.
b. An Irish stout.
d. A wrestling hold.
c. The O'Byrne family pet.

10. Carl Hanford, Kelso's trainer, will be inducted into the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs this summer. Which of the following trainers is not in the Hall?

a. Henry Forrest.
b. John Veitch.
c. Buster Millerick.
d. Unbelievably, all of the above.

11. The 2006 Belmont Stakes telecast chalked up its lowest Nielsen ratings since the 2000 broadcast. The numbers could have improved dramatically if:

a. Either Barbaro or Bernardini had been in the field.
b. There would have been less competition from other sports.
c. Kenny Mayne had danced while he handicapped.
d. Heywood Broun and Frank Wright had been available.

12. The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this week on a bill to outlaw the transport of horses for slaughter. How many horse slaughterhouses continue to operate in the U.S.?

a. One.
b. Two.
c. Three.
d. Too many.

(Answers: All "true" except questions 5 and 8, which could go either way.)