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The Name Game
Elizabeth Casey
March 20, 2006
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS'S Kristi Yamaoka made countless highlight reels recently. The Saluki cheerleader fell from atop a human pyramid, then continued to perform her routine as she was stretchered off the court. If railbirds at Hawthorne Race Course outside Chicago recalled that story as they made their bets on March 7, they may have cashed in big. The fourth race was won by a 4-year-old filly (left) named Saluki Cheerleader, who paid $7.80 to win.
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March 20, 2006

The Name Game

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SOUTHERN ILLINOIS'S Kristi Yamaoka made countless highlight reels recently. The Saluki cheerleader fell from atop a human pyramid, then continued to perform her routine as she was stretchered off the court. If railbirds at Hawthorne Race Course outside Chicago recalled that story as they made their bets on March 7, they may have cashed in big. The fourth race was won by a 4-year-old filly (left) named Saluki Cheerleader, who paid $7.80 to win.

Of course, that's hardly the first time an aptly named horse has produced a timely win. Here now, a brief history of hunch betting.

?March 1, 2006
The winners of the first three races on Ash Wednesday at Maryland's Laurel Park are Vagabond Saint, Halo's Slate Clean and Nancy's Grace.

?Oct. 30, 2004
The day before Halloween, Ghostzapper wins the Breeder's Cup Classic at Lone Star Park.

?March 16, 1996
Irish Conquest conquers the field in the seventh at Gulfstream Park the day before St Patrick's Day.

?June 20, 1993
Baltusrol notches his first victory, at Arlington International Racecourse, an hour after Lee Janzen wins his first U.S. Open title--at Baltusrol.

?April 15, 1992
Astute bettors get substantial returns when Tax Tip wins the seventh race at Aqueduct.

?Sept. 28, 1989
In his career debut, Commissioner Bart wins the seventh race at Belmont, less than a month after the death of baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti. No word whether Pete Rose had any money on the horse.

?Dec. 24, 1976
Punters at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans receive some holiday cheer from--who else?-- Santa Claus when that horse comes home first in the third race.

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