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Friday, March 31, 2006

Questions and Answers

I have had a few comments already in the first few days of my Blog!
You can read these under the 'comment' buttons.
Neil asks what backstretch insiders are saying about last year's 2yo champ Edenwold - will he make the Plate?
The plan is to certainly aim this colt to the Plate and he had some much-needed R & R after last year's long season. He is currently in training at Woodbine.
Milhouse asks for a longshot and best bet pick for Woodbine's opening today tomorrow...hmmmm...well Golden Horn, who should go off in the 8 to 1 range in the 8th race, is coming out of a super race at Santa Anita - a race that has produced 4 horses that won their next starts.
Best bet is a little tougher - how about a fresh Kendi Lou in the 3rd race for underrated trainer Stacey Cooper or Flashinthesky in the 10th for trainer Sam DisPasquale?
Judy asks, "will Bob Baffert ever race a horse at Woodbine" and this corner can only say, let's see what happens on Saturday when Wanna Runner, the 2nd favourite in the Plate winterbook, runs in the Winstar Derby in New Mexico. The connections have to know he is not a Kentucky Derby-quality horse so why not point him to the $1 million Plate? Of course, the ongoing rumour is that Baffert dislikes Woodbine - let's find out how much.


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Thursday, March 30, 2006

March 30, 2006 - Life is just a Fantasy!

Media types that cover thoroughbred racing in southern Ontario had to submit their selections on Thursday for Woodbine's annual Queen's Plate Fantasy Challenge, which opens to the public this week.
The media selections - 10 Plate eligibles, 3 jockeys and 3 trainers - are meant to be a guide for the public, who will attempt to collect the most points on the way to the Plate and vie for some great prizes provided by Woodbine.
A brief scan of the "expert" picks for the Plate suggests that Eaton Hall Farms' Pyramid Park is indeed one of the favourites for the Plate (June 25).
Other popular picks by the some 20 media representatives include Wanna Runner (the California-based, Canadian-bred 3yo) who is scheduled to race on Saturday at Sunland Park (New Mexico) in the Winstar Derby; Bad Hat, the undefeated colt from the Mike DePaulo barn and Eugene Melnyk's lightly raced Manor Lodge.
Visit Woodbine's website ( to look at the media selections and then enter on-line for free and input your own Plate team!
(pictured is Shillelagh Slew, a son of Chief Seattle, who is among many early favourites for this year's Plate.)


  • At 2:48 PM, Blogger Neil said…

    What about Edenwold, backstretch insiders? Will he make the Plate?

  • At 2:52 PM, Blogger Jen Morrison said…

    Edenwold recently returned from California where he spent a short time with trainer Josie Carroll's string at Santa Anita.
    He is currently in training at Woodbine and apparently doing very well. The plan is to definitely point him to the Plate.

  • At 3:14 PM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    great site jen, i can't wait to watch the 3yo's on their way to the Plate!

  • At 5:36 PM, Blogger judy said…

    Think Bob Baffert will EVER run a horse in Canada?


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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

March 29, 2006 Let the Games begin!

Ten races, 89 horses, welcome to the first card of the 50th season of Woodbine this Saturday, April 1.
While the number of horses entered is a bit on the light side (where is everybody?), most of the races are contentious and it is a reasonable starting point for a long, long season.
Rain is in the forecast but that should not hinder the prep for the Jacques Cartier Stakes, the $79,900 feature on the card.
Stonerside Stables' Danieltown is the fleetest entrant in the five-furlong dash and he loves the mud. The chestnut son of Pioneering, a 13-time winner in 37 starts, is now under the care of Mark Casse and is a deadly speedster off the layoff.
Danieltown's main rival is last year's champion sprinter Judith's Wild Rush, who began 2006 with 3rd and 4th place finishes in the Grade 3 Deputy Minister Handicap and Grade 2 Richter Scale Stakes at Gulfstream respectively.
Add Gulfstream shipper Terrific Challenge, a recent winner at 5 furlongs on the grass at Gulfstream, and you have a sizzling feature race.
Opening day's card gets underway at 1:10 p.m. but get there early to meet some of Woodbine's top jockeys, get an autograph and some handicapping tips at Jim Bannon's seminar.
Also, races 3 through 6 can be seen on SUN TV bginning at 2 p.m.


  • At 3:19 PM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    Jen, I was wondering if you could give us a best bet and a longshot for opening day. I have followed your picks closely in The Star throughout the years, and I see that once in a while you hit with a big bomb. Lets get the season off to a good start with a nice priced longshot. Who is it????


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(The colours of the blog are going to be a little strange for a few days while we update the template. Any ideas are appeciated !)


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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Signed, sealed...

The deal between Woodbine Entertainment Group and those representing Polytrack, including Keeneland racecourse (which owns 50% of the North American interest) has been signed, leading the way to the innovative surface to replace Woodbine's main track beginning after the Canada day weekend in July.
Having seen and felt Woodbine's 'recipe' for Polytrack, this corner believes horsemen, and horses, will enjoy the unique soft and springy nature of the surface.
Of course, having watched Turfway Park races all winter and seeing the shocking amount of kickback of that track's Polytrack surface, there is always room for some concern.
Fans, including one recent fan of the game who sent me a comment, would certainly be wondering about Polytrack if they too have seen Turfway.
However Woodbine's mixture is a much denser mix of wax-covered silica sand, fibre and rubber bits. It also has retained the brown look of a regular main track.
For six to eight weeks this summer, racing will take place on the seven-furlong harness track inside the main course, meaning that horses at Woodbine will race on, essentially, three different tracks this season.
Horsemen, handicappers and fans should have a fun time figuring out what's going to happen from one segment to the next!
Indeed, Woodbine's main track needs a major fix and since Polytrack, in various versions, has been so well-received in Europe, it only makes sense that Woodbine, a leader in innovation for all North American tracks, makes this move.
As David Willmot said to this corner: to him, the implementation of Polytrack is the "most compelling thing to happen at Woodbine since slot machines."
What do you think?


  • At 6:56 AM, Blogger Neil said…

    So the Woodbine surface will be brown? Does that mean a surface can be any colour? Could we have racing over a mauve track?

    Good point on the kickback, I did notice that and it did surprise me because one of the original claims of Polytrack is that kickback is reduced. I think David Willmot is right, it is compelling. The Turfway Park president said recently that the number of fatal breakdowns this winter has been 3 instead of 16 and that fields have been up and horses have run mre frequently. Now maybe that's also had something to do with the unusually warm winter.

  • At 5:46 PM, Blogger judy said…

    I think something definitely needed to be done. The state of the racing surfaces, both main & training have been in horrible disrepair(if that makes sense) the past few years. One has to wonder if Lake Ontario is desparately close to drying out what with the lack of watering that seems to be the norm regarding regular maintenance.
    Perhaps this is just what the Doctor, or Vet has it were, ordered!


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Monday, March 27, 2006

Queen's Plate contender Bad Hat and trainer Mike DePaulo, seen here at Classic Mile Training Centre in Ocala, are back at Woodbine this week.


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March 27, 2006

The weather is finally beginning to turn in Toronto and what a super morning out on the Woodbine backstretch where horsemen are preparing their runners for Saturday's opening day of the 50th Woodbine season.
Most of the backstretch chatter this morning was about the weather and who was going to be racing on the first weekend. The expected introduction of the new Polytrack surface in July continues to be another hot topic.
What seemed most evident was that every horseperson was excited and eager to talk about what they had the barn - the older horses that were back from four months off and the always evident buzz about the latest crop of 2-year-olds.
Thanks to a reasonable Ontario winter, it was not just the Florida-wintered horses that looked well. So many have already begun to shed the winter coats and it was evident that eager grooms have been busy with the curry comb.
Opening day, 2006, is certainly different than in 1956 when Woodbine was born but the anticipation of getting back to our fast and exciting business never goes away.


  • At 1:01 PM, Blogger Neil said…

    Saw the Turfway polytrack for the first time on Sunday and at first glance I thought I was at Flamboro -- it's so grey. Watched a couple of races down at the rail and I missed the pounding of the hooves, the polytrack seems to dampen the sound.


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