10/21/2003 11:00PM

Memorial service honors Shoemaker


ARCADIA, Calif. - Bill Shoemaker, all 4-foot-11 of him, was recalled as both a "colossus" and a "giant" during an emotional memorial service late Tuesday afternoon at Santa Anita.

The service mirrored the personality of Shoemaker, combining great dignity and a touch of humor. It also was filled with emotion, as speakers lovingly recalled someone who started out as a colleague and became a friend. Shoemaker died Oct. 12 at age 72.

"I loved him, I know everyone else loved him, and though it will never be the same, we'll always have him here," said former jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, as he touched his heart.

Several jockeys, including Delahoussaye, Chris McCarron, Don Pierce, Laffit Pincay Jr., and Gary Stevens, welled up when speaking about Shoemaker.

"It was 28 years of futility for riders like me," McCarron said, as he broke down in tears. "I tried to emulate him, but it couldn't be done." McCarron related how Shoemaker welcomed the young rider to California after moving from Maryland. Shoemaker glued McCarron's boots to the floor, then a few days later filled his boots with shaving cream.

But McCarron turned serious when referring to Shoemaker's passionate advocacy for jockeys, such as working as the longtime president of the Jockeys' Guild. "He forced people to respect jockeys," McCarron said. "He conducted himself and his career with class, grace, style, and distinction."

A crowd of several thousand attended the service. Dignitaries, including Shoemaker's ex-wife, Cindy, and their 23-year-old daughter, Amanda, sat in the winner's circle, and the adjacent box seats near the finish line were packed. Others attending included Peggy Whittingham, the widow of Shoemaker's longtime partner, trainer Charlie Whittingham, and Dr. Alex Harthill, the noted Kentucky veterinarian. It was uncomfortably warm, which Pincay alluded to when saying, "He's probably laughing at all of us sitting in the sun sweating, while he's having a drink with Charlie."

The most moving speech came from British trainer John Gosden, in town for the Breeders' Cup, who trained here during the 1980's and was friendly with Shoemaker. "He stood astride this great sport as a colossus," said Gosden, who called Shoemaker "a man of enormous integrity and class."

Gosden put a lump in everyone's throat when he recalled Shoemaker saying he most wanted to be remembered "for being a good father to Amanda."

The service closed with a touching highlight video, produced by Santa Anita's broadcasting department, that played on the giant infield video screen. The five-minute video of Shoemaker was accompanied by the song "Giant," an unreleased tune by Melissa Etheridge.

"I had heard the song in April of 2002 at a concert," said Amy Zimmerman, Santa Anita's director of broadcasting. "It's not coming out until her next album, which doesn't come out until the beginning of next year. The music fit perfectly. But we needed to get clearance to use it. I called her management company in Burbank and got a call back in 45 minutes from Josh Leopold of W.F. Leopold Management, saying they'd be 'absolutely honored' to let us use it. That shows how much people understood how great Shoemaker was, and they understood the magnitude of this event."

Bet pits Funny Cide against Volponi

Funny Cide and Volponi will be in a race of their own in Saturday's $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

Aside from chasing the biggest prize in American racing, the two big-race winners are part of a head-to-head proposition bet for the Classic. The bet, which is known as the Head2Head and has a $2 minimum, requires bettors to simply select which horse will finish ahead of the other. The bet is refunded if the two horses finish in a dead heat, if one fails to finish, or if one is scratched.

Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in the spring but has not started since finishing third in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3. Volponi won the Breeders' Cup Classic in an upset last year at Arlington Park but is winless in seven starts this year.

Matchups were announced on Wednesday for the other seven races on Saturday's Breeders' Cup program. In the Distaff, the matchup features Take Charge Lady and Elloluv. The Juvenile Fillies match is Victory U. S. A. and Tarlow.

Later in the card, Head2Head bettors must chose between Peace Rules and Special Ring in the Mile; Valid Video and Captain Squire in the Sprint; Tates Creek and Islington in the Filly and Mare Turf; Tiger Hunt and Chapel Royal in the Juvenile; and Sulamani and Storming Home in the Turf.

The bet has a takeout of 15.43 percent, the same amount as win, place, and show pools in California.

Last year, betting on the Breeders' Cup Head2Head was $786,894 at Arlington Park. The bet was offered on seven of the eight races. The high payoff was $4.40, and the lowest payoff was $2.20.

Four races bracket Breeders' Cup program

Before and after Saturday's Breeders' Cup, there are four races at Santa Anita, including two stakes.

First post is at 9:40 a.m. Pacific, and the opening race is the $100,000 Very Subtle Handicap. The multiple stakes winners Spring Meadow and Nasty Storm lead a field of seven fillies and mares that will race over six furlongs.

The second through ninth races are the Breeders' Cup, followed by an allowance race on the hillside turf course, the $150,000 Seabiscuit Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on the main track, and a one-mile allowance race on turf.

The Seabiscuit Handicap is an outstanding race, having drawn 11 runners. Fleetstreet Dancer and Star Cross, the second- and third-place finishers in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap on Oct. 4, lead a field that includes Chinkapin, the winner of the Pomona Invitational Handicap, and Redattore, who won the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile.

The Seabiscuit entries also include the three horses excluded from the Breeders' Cup Mile by a selection committee - Pie N Burger, Statue of Liberty, and Taste of Paradise.

Statue of Liberty arrived from Ireland with trainer Aidan O'Brien's Breeders' Cup runners. Pie N Burger was a stakes winner in Texas earlier this year, while Taste of Paradise won the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar in August.

Scanlan laments 'Ten' that got away

Trainer John Scanlan said he could have purchased Ten Most Wanted privately for $125,000 as a yearling, but he couldn't persuade his primary owner, Daniel Borislow, to shell out the money.

Ten Most Wanted has gone on to win 4 of 10 starts, including the Travers and Super Derby, and will be one of the favorites for Saturday's $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

Scanlan, who trains Toccet for Borislow, said Toccet and Ten Most Wanted shared the same paddock at James Crupi's New Castle Farm in Ocala, Fla., as yearlings.

"I watched him train next to Toccet for four months - I couldn't get a client to buy him," Scanlan said Wednesday at Santa Anita, where Borislow entered Toccet in the Breeders' Cup Turf. "[Borislow] bred too many and didn't want to buy any more."

Scanlan said he finally persuaded Borislow to bid on Ten Most Wanted at the 2-year-olds in training sales in February 2002, but Borislow wouldn't go higher than $130,000. Ten Most Wanted was bought for $145,000 by trainer Wally Dollase and his partners who race as Horizon Stable.

"I guess a lot of people got their stories," Scanlan said. "The worse thing about it, the disgusting thing about it, is this one's true."

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen and David Grening