02/29/2008 12:00AM

Little Everglades racing festival set


Weather permitting, a gathering of 15,000 or more is anticipated for next Sunday's annual Little Everglades Steeplechase festival. Little Everglades Ranch, a 2,000-acre nature park, is located in Dade City, Fla., an hour's drive southwest of Ocala and a half-hour's drive northeast of Tampa. The purpose behind this family day at the races is to raise money for charities and other worthy causes.

The bill of fare suggests the trappings of a medieval carnival. There are six non-parimutuel races on the program, two on the flat and four over the jumps, featuring the $35,000 Little Everglades Hurdle Stakes. From 9 a.m., when the gates open, until noon, fans are treated to a parade of hounds, a parade of marching bands, and a parade of automobiles. For the ladies, there is fashion competition with prizes awarded for the most unusual or original hats. A Jack Russell dog race precedes the first call to the post for the jumpers at 1 p.m.

Admission is $20 per individual or $60 per carload. Kids younger than 6 are free. Lawn boxes for eight are $2,500, and they come with a tax-deductible certification of $1,780. A table entitles its guests to unlimited food and drink from morning to late afternoon.

The first of the two flat races carries a $10,000 purse for Florida-breds 4 and older who have started for $15,000 or less in the previous two years. The race is at 1 1/4 miles. The second flat race is a non-sanctioned $1,000 winner-take-all race for 4-year-olds and older, also at 1 1/4 miles. All races at Little Everglades are run over a plush 1 1/2-mile turf course. Horsemen and visitors may obtain relevant information and directions at Littleevergladessteeplechase.org.

Little Everglades Ranch owners Bob and Sharon Blanchard are the dynamic duo behind this event. Together they have succeeded in making the annual festival one of the more popular social and sporting events in mid-Florida.

Seven Florida-breds sell at F-T Calder sale

The Fasig-Tipton sale of 2-year-olds in training last Tuesday at Calder Race Course had 19 Florida-breds cataloged. Eight of the 19 were scratched, four failed to bring their reserves, and of the seven that sold, six were fillies. The six fillies averaged $190,000. The lone colt, by Smoke Glacken, brought $150,000.

Hip No. 72, a filly by Trippi, brought $300,000. She was the only 2-year-old sold at this sale by a stallion who currently stands in Florida. Trippi's 2007 stud fee is $12,500 live foal, and he stands at Ocala Stud.

Bloodstock agent Galpin will be missed

The Wednesday death of bloodstock agent Richard Galpin, who was in south Florida for the Fasig-Tipton 2-year-olds sale, marks the passing of a longtime colleague. In the summer of 1967 I was a freelance European stringer for Daily Racing Form and wrote a series of weekly columns for DRF that were published under the general heading of "Racing Around Europe."

Columns for DRF were written from France, Italy, Austria, Germany, England, and Ireland. While in England, I met Galpin at his Newmarket Bloodstock Agency. He had stallion business in Sweden, and he invited me to join him for the Swedish Derby and all the social trimmings that accompanied it. It was an extraordinary experience, and I have long cherished the memory, as I will Galpin's friendly and considerate role in making it happen.

Under-tack shows scheduled

The first of Adena Springs South's under-tack shows for its 136 homebred 2-year-olds cataloged to sell on March 17 will take place Wednesday on the home grounds of Adena Springs South in Williston, Fla. The second under-tack show is scheduled for March 16. Unlike previous sales at Adena Springs South, when the sales horses would go under tack on the training track and then on the turf course, both under-tack shows are scheduled for the main track and both have an 8:30 a.m. start.

The OBS March selected sale of 2-year-olds in training also has its under-tack shows this week. The first is Friday and the second Saturday, both starting at 9 a.m.