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Zaccio to take his place in Saratoga lore

Posted: July 1, 2014 10:20 a.m.
Updated: July 2, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Zaccio, a three-time champion and Racing Hall of Fame member, will be honored with a plaque on the Saratoga Hoofprints Walk of Fame.
The plaque will be unveiled at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 10, at the clubhouse entrance of historic Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Owned by Mrs. Lewis C. “Bunny” Murdock and trained by the late Hall of Fame member and former Camden resident W. Burling Cocks, Zaccio won three consecutive Eclipse Awards as champion steeplechase horse beginning in 1980. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.
His Saratoga Walk of Fame plaque notes that he won Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup in 1980 and again in 1982. He also won Saratoga’s Lovely Night Steeplechase in 1980, when he was a four-year-old. At the end of his distinguished career in 1984, he was the sport’s all-time leading earner.
During his career, Zaccio won the 1980 Carolina Cup along with back-to-back Colonial Cup championships in 1981 and 1982.
“It’s an amazing honor,” said the Murdocks’ daughter, Pamela H. Murdock. “I especially wish that my parents and Mr. Cocks could be there. They would be humbled and completely thrilled.”
The Saratoga Hoofprints Walk of Fame was inaugurated last year as a part of Saratoga Race Course’s 150th anniversary. The inaugural class of 30 honorees included such notable horses as Man o’ War and Secretariat.
Saratoga  to card a dozen steeplechase races: The New York Racing Association has expanded its steeplechase schedule at Saratoga Race Course to 12 races, and jump racing will be featured every Wednesday and Thursday of the upcoming 2014 meet.
Purses for the 12 races will total $940,000, a record for National Steeplechase Association racing at Saratoga. Last year, nine steeplechase races on Thursdays only offered $745,000 in purses.
The Saratoga schedule originally contained 11 jump races, and NYRA’s senior vice president for racing, Martin Panza, announced the additional race at the annual Saratoga pre-opening media conference on Monday, June 23. The Saratoga season opens July 18 and runs through Sept. 1. First post time on Wednesdays and Thursdays will be 12:25 p.m.
Every Wednesday will feature a steeplechase allowance or optional allowance race, and stakes races will be held every Thursday. Highlighting the season are two Grade 1 races, the $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial on July 31 and the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup on Aug. 21. The New York Turf Writers will be run this year in memory of leading steeplechase horseman Tom Voss, who died in January.
“The National Steeplechase Association is grateful to the New York Racing Association and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association for their support of steeplechase racing at Saratoga,” said NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri. “Steeplechase racing has a long and rich history at Saratoga, and this year’s expanded schedule will expose a greater number of racing fans to steeplechasing.”

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