Updated on 09/15/2011 1:23PM

Quarter crack puts City Zip on sideline


ELMONT, N.Y. - A quarter crack that has plagued City Zip throughout his 3-year-old season re-opened Saturday morning, forcing trainer Linda Rice to scratch him from the Riva Ridge Stakes.

Rice said she noticed there was heat in the colt's right front hoof when he came out of the stall Saturday morning.

"It's not real bad, but he's got a pulse and he was off on it," Rice said. "It is disappointing. The colt breezed great. I was excited to see the horse compete."

Rice said she was unsure how long City Zip would be out of action.

Burning Roma also scratched from the Riva Ridge. Trainer Tony Dutrow said he wanted to give the horse one more race around two turns. Burning Roma will run in Sunday's $200,000 Leonard Richards Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race at Delaware Park.

"If I don't see what I want in that race then I could very easily turn him back in distance," Dutrow said.

Track vets on call

Dr. Larry Bramlage was scheduled to be part of the crew working on NBC's Belmont Stakes telecast, but he was hoping he would not have to make an on-air appearance.

Bramlage, one of the nation's most respected veterinarians, is on hand at Triple Crown races and the Breeders' Cup to provide information if a horse is injured during the race. He is part of the American Association of Equine Practioner's On-Call Program, which is designed to convey reasoned, intelligent information in what can be a time of chaos on a telecast.

At the Belmont, Bramlage works in concert with New York Racing Association veterinarians Dr. Celeste Kunz and Dr. Neal Cleary, who are on the track for the race. If a horse is injured, Kunz and Cleary attend to the animal first, then phone Bramlage with the information that he can then impart on the telecast.

Kunz, Cleary, and Dr. Anthony Verderosa of NYRA begin their day in the morning by examining every horse scheduled to run that afternoon. "We check their identification tattoo, feel their knees and ankles, raise the foot and check for range of motion," Kunz said. "We feel the cannon bone, soft tissue, suspensories, sesamoids, and pasterns. Then we observe the back legs, and have the horse jog. When they jog, I look at their head, not their legs, because if their head bobbles, you know they're lame."

In the afternoon, the horses are observed on the track before the race. During the race, the runners are followed by an ambulance for humans, in case a jockey gets hurt, and a four-wheel drive vehicle carrying the veterinarians.

The two equine ambulances at Belmont are positioned at opposite ends of the track, and are summoned immediately after a race ends if a horse needs medical care.

Melnyks sponsor child care center

Owners Eugene and Laura Melnyk announced Saturday that they will donate $1 million for the construction of a child care center at Belmont Park. The center, for the children of backstretch workers, will be named the Anna House for the Melnyks' 2-year-old daughter.

Groundbreaking for the 7,000-square foot facility, the first child care center of its size at a racetrack, is expected to take place in November. The center, a $2.5 million project, will be located in the backstretch, near stable gate 6, and is scheduled to open during the summer of 2002.

The Melnyks, who live in Barbados, own horses in Canada and the United States. Among their stakes winners are Canadian champion Archer's Bay, Lodge Hill, Marley Vale, and Graeme Hall.

Tax Affair takes WNBC

After chasing front-running Imadeed from the outset, Tax Affair wore down that rival in the final jump to win the inaugural $65,000 WNBC Stakes by a nose. Imadeed, who didn't change leads until two jumps before the wire, finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Vivid Sunset.

Tax Affair, owned by Richard Englander and trained by Scott Lake, covered the mile in 1:35.12 and returned $6.40 as the 2-1 favorite.

For a few moments, the wrong order of finish - declaring Imadeed the winner - was posted on televisions throughout the track. It was corrected before the race was made official.

* Union One, a 4-year-old New York-bred gelding, made a triumphant seasonal debut Saturday, taking a preliminary open company allowance race by six lengths. It was the fourth victory in five starts for Union One, who will now be pointed to the $100,000 Poker Handicap on July 4, according to trainer Michael Dickinson.

* Belmont Day was ripe with celebrity sightings at the track. New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who presented the trophy in the Belmont, and her husband, Bill Clinton, caused the biggest stir Saturday. Actors Mel Brooks, Ben Kingsley, Billy Zane of "Titanic," and Michael Imperioli of "The Sopranos" also were on hand. George Steinbrenner, Doc Gooden, and Rick Pitino, the co-owner of A P Valentine, were among the sports celebrities in attendance.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson and Jay Privman