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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Virus clings to Woodbine

Thursday's card at Woodbine features the largest fields the track has seen in several weeks, suggesting that the horse population on the backstretch might be recuperating from a sickness that has plagued perhaps 30-40% of the runners.
If handicapping races is not hard enough, the virus that has grabbed hold of the Woodbine barn area plus the sudden hot, steamy and smoggy weather, has made each race a pure guessing game.
Horseplayer P.M. offers these insightful comments on the situation and what group is out there to protect the bettors...

" (the) Friday edition of my DRF there was another troubling issue - Bill T quoted Dan Vella about a cough that has been in the WO backstretch - so far as i know there had not been a whisper about this anywhere else - so if i were a WO player i would not be playing anything from the DV's barn (even though i know he is an outstanding horseman) or anything else stabled there - so how come nobody provides info like that to the poor unsuspecting betting public?-so are we to conclude that anything coming off a two to three week layoff is supect? and who is supposed to be looking out for the public on something like this - the ORC, the DRF, etc etc - hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil has always been racing's tradition so who gets to make the racing world a better place for bettors?- you, me or some stiff with a big title, big income and a suit? lets lay it on someone who has talked protecting the public to get ahead in his career!


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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sizzling Sunday

Whew, it sure became steamy and hot in Toronto all of a sudden with this afternoon likely being a big test for horsea and humans as the temperature reaches to 30 Celcius.

Yesterday's Lady Angela Stakes was won by LONDON SNOW, Fred Martin's 3-year-old filly by Trajectory, the 3rd stakes winner for that Gardiner Farms stallion.
Apparently London Snow, a 2-time sprint winner this year, is headed to the Woodbine Oaks in just two weeks.

Today's featured Connaught Cup has lured two intriguing invaders including the remarkably talented REMARKABLE NEWS. Trainer Angel Penna rarely messes around when shipping to Canada and this 4-time winning colt won a key race last Keeneland last time. This is his first stakes attempt.

Two-year-olds take up races 1 and 2. Claiming fillies in the first event travel 4 1/2 furlongs and the attractive FORTUNATE HEART rallied nicely in a 2 furlong race 8 days ago.

Maiden allowance boys compete in race 2 and while there are only 6 entered, several have been the subject of backstretch whispers. On the Florida 2-year-old watch, BLUELICK, who figures to be one of the longshots, worked quickly for a sale and is well related. He also has the hot-riding Steve Bahen on board.

At Churchill GRAND CHEROKEE worked quickly for one-furlong twice at a February sale in Florida - :10.80 each time. Woodbine had a sharp debut winner by the same sire, Cherokee Run, last week.


  • At 8:20 PM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    All I can say about today's Connaught Cup is wow! What an amazing finish. The race of the year at Woodbine so far. How nice is it to have stakes action back on the best turf course in North America?


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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Saturday fun

Okay, so Woodbine's featured Lady Angela Stakes (Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies) is about as uninspiring a race as one could imagine, maybe a strong performance from one of the gals will emerge late today.
More interesting at Woodbine is the last leg of the Win 4 for 2-year-old fillies. The one entrant with experience is MY LIST but she's back in just 2 weeks and there is lots of buzz about some of the other gals.
Buzz aside (the Roger Attfield-trained Golden Wahine is expected to attract attention), Frank Passero-trainee BLACK TEA (first crop of Orientate) worked fast for a 2-year-old sale in the winter but she did not sell at the auction.

At Churchill, The 2-year-old filly OCTAVE, from the Todd Pletcher barn, looks ultra tough in the 6th race but you might want to consider MISS SHIPLEY as a longshot possibility.

She's from the 1st crop of champion 2-year-old Johnannesburg and her dam is a 1/2 sister to multiple stakes winner Suave and the second dam is Grade 1 winner Urbane. Oh yes, this gal worked one-furlong in :10 3/5 for a sale in March so she has some speed.


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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sun spots: Editor's note

"Anonymous" sent a comment regarding the Toronto Sun's Bill Lankhof's unfortunate comment in the paper on Wednesday regarding horse racing being the cruelest sport of all.
The anonymous comment made sense in its context, but is not responding to the point of this corner's observsation.
Certainly media members have to be objective and no, racing should not look for them to write good things about a race if it is not warranted.
However, Mr. Lankhof's note was about horse racing in general, that there is not other sport that is crueller. Someone who is of this opinion would not be seen at a racetrack let alone a function to celebrate a race, would he? If this corner hated soccer, you would not see us at a free dinner for a soccer event.


  • At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm not sure how the media works but it would be my guess that if Mr. Lankhoff was at Woodbine for the Queen's Plate it would be because he was assigned to do so and not by choice given that he clearly doesn't like racing. The fact that the track feeds the media isn't the media's choice it's that of those that run the track, likely a desperate ploy to get them there in the first place. The fact that the "corner" wouldn't go to a soccer dinner is a moot point because it is unlikely the "corner" would be assigned to do so.

  • At 9:23 AM, Blogger Scoop said…

    How about Boxing? Where the point of the sport is to inflict injury upon another.

    The point of horse racing isn't to cause injury, it is to run faster.

  • At 3:56 PM, Blogger Tote Board Brad said…

    Easy, there Scoop. There are as many misconceptions about the Sweet Science as there are about horse racing. Boxing, too, is a grand sport.

    Despite the conspiracy theorists, racing is an incredibly fair and uncorrupt sport compared to boxing, although that ain't saing much.

  • At 5:30 PM, Blogger Scoop said…


    My point wasn't to compare the fairness of Racing and Boxing, rather the basic brutality.

    How about bull fighting then?

  • At 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The comment made by Bill Lankof is disgusting, in it’s context and it scrutiny. I don't think he or the interests whom he represents should be allowed to set foot on a racetrack for the comments printed!

    Skepticism will always surround Horse Racing, it is a dangerous sport where animals AND PEOPLE are subjected to dangerous situations, but is there a sport, which one would call safe?

    I have been following Barbaro news quite closely, not only did Bill slander racing, it was the only article written that was non supportive of a great champion, even referring to Barbaro as dog food, a complete jerk!

    No one in the racing community has given up on Barbaro and I don't know if there is a horse in history who has received such an out poor of support. In many cases the race must go on, but the whole world is behind this horse and whether a person is a racing fan, a spectator of big events or fully engaged in the sport (Racing is a lifestyle). Everyone should be offended.

    If I were Bill, I would not dare step foot in that press box, surrounded by true racing fans and "horse people", does he know fellow members of the media are owners and trainers? He truly does not understand the dynamics of this sport and the relationships which people have with these animals, his comments were cruel, and as a journalist he should learn to stick a sock in it.


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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Cruelty is....Bill Lankhoff, Toronto Sun

Excerpt from TORONTO SUN, Wednesday May 24, 2006, column - The Last Word by Bill Lankhoff

If there is a crueller sport than horse racing it is not clearly evident.

Exhibit A: One minute Barbaro is in Triple Crown heaven. The next, he could be in a can of Alpo.

The agony and ecstasy of sport doesn't get any starker

This is a guy who could be attending the Queen's Plate week festivites at Woodbine (free food and gifts) next month and perhaps he has has before.


  • At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So to cover the Queen's Plate as a member of the media one must only say nice things about the race? Like turn your head when something gruesome happens? Or when a horse with no published works makes a mockery of the race by romping to a win. Lankhoff (sic) may have been a little (okay a lot) harsh, but that shouldn't keep him from covering a race that people beyond the Woodbine backstretch once cared about.

  • At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Early said…

    You have to take into account the writer and publication. Perhaps best to analyze in same terms: One minute he's writing for the Sun; the next he could be writing for the National Enquirer.

    Hey Jennifer, I'm a huge racing fan (ok, that's exaggerating, I'm about the right weight for someone 2" taller than me). Just wondering, are you married? Love your picks - keep giving Bannon lessons!

  • At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    First, I don't think racing is cruel, cruelty is deliberate and accidents can be viewed at cruel, however they are accidents and not intended.

    What happend to Barbaro was a sad moment in racing, and I don't believe that there are a group of people who are saddend more than the people who work on racetracks with horses everyday.

    To even say dog food in the same sentence as Barbaro is cruelty, when you consider the fight that is being faught by Barbaro and a team of people everyday to ensure a successful recovery.

    Until someone has experienced what goes on everyday behind the scences, the lengths that people go to, to keep horses happy and sound they have not right to comment on what type of sport racing is.

    Find me a sport that is not dangerous, where accidents don't occur and where their is no risk of injury to the athlete...when a racecar drivers is paralyzed or dies on a course, is it cruelty?


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Major Zee still topic

Posted by anonymous May 24...
(in reference to Major Zee post (check archives))

good question, racing is a sport where you have no choice but to run your horses where they can win. If Major is in fact only worth 4K then the spot that he needs to run in is a 4K claimer. Mark ran the horse for the tag as that is where the horse would win. Major owed Mark nothing and was on the verge of retirement. By Jason and Jeanne Ryan aquiring Marjor he now owes another investor money. I can assure you the horse will not be put into retirement until he has paid them back the investment. Whereas before his career was being managed based on his needs and abiltiy it is now being based on his ROI. There are plenty of young, fresh horses out there to aquire and invest in they did not have to invest in a horse who was winding down


  • At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hmmm. If Major "owed Mark nothing" and if Major meant so much to Mark, what was he doing racing him in a claimer? Why not just retire him? Whenever an owner enters a horse in a claiming race, that horse is for sale. For him to think otherwise is profoundly naive. If any one made a mistake, it was the vendor not the purchaser.

  • At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Early said…

    Isn't the answer simple Jennifer? The new connections will likely run Major Zee for a 5k tag and in the very near future he may even be back to 4k. If his previous owners love him so much, they can simply claim him back. Or, they could just talk to the new owners and make an offer.


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Selene - Take Two

Wednesday night racing at Woodbine got a lot more interesting this week as the Selene Stakes - Grade 3- was re-scheduled when wins blew away most of the races on Sunday.
The Selene is a race that has been won by some fancy fillies and, while an open event, it is also a major stepping stone on the journey to the Labatt Woobine Oaks next month.
The race is named for Lord derby's top mare, a stakes winner of 16 races overseas, Selene is the dam of the influential stallion Hyperion.
Morning lone favourite Top Notch Lady is already a Grade 3 winner in 2006, having taken the Bourbonette Stakes at Turfway Park and she was an even seventh in the prestigious Kentucky Oaks earlier this month.
Sam-Son Farm's promising filly Angel on Watch will take a lot of betting support and the daughter of Pulpit overcame a wide trip to win her season debut in Kentucky.

Turf racing should resume tonight with a 6 furlong allowance/optional claiming dash, the first race on the card.

Take a look at SPEEDY SANDY in the evening's 5th race. The daughhter of sprint champ Cherokee Run worked one furlong in a rapif :10.40 for a sale last spring and she's a full sister to a multiple sprint winner.


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Monday, May 22, 2006

Who Shines in the Eclipse?

In 1956, the Ontario Jockey Club held the first running of the Eclipse Handicap Stakes to honour the immortal stallion who was undefeated in 18 races and is a "direct forbearer of more than 92 per cent of Thoroughbred racehorses on earth today", according to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
The 51st running of the Eclipse, the first major race for older male horses on the Woodbine calendar, highlights Woodbine's Holiday Monday card, one day after strong winds blew away the last seven races of the card on Sunday.

An intriguing field of eight lines up in the Eclipse, race seven and the final leg of the Win 4, with Kentucky-based ALUMNI HALL being an intriguing invader for trainer Neil Howard and jockey Robbie Albarado, Alumni Hall had his best season of racing last year as a six-year-old, winning five of 10 starts.
He comes into the Eclipse off a near-career best Beyer Figure effort when second to front running Wanderin Boy in the Ben Ali Handicap at Keeneland (G3).

Beware, however as 1 1/16 miles is not the horse's best distance although the lack of a lot of early speed in the field should keep him close all the way.
Speaking of speed, TWISTED WIT stretches out from sprints in an interesting move by trainer Bob Tiller. The chunky son of Distorted Humor is certainly a better runner at short distances but he has closed ground at seven furlongs in the past. Perhaps lone speed in the Eclipse?

The rapidly improving ARCH HALL is the pick and a popular one according to other handicappers. He may have moved too soon in his recent start, the Fifth Season Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park but before that, hit a high note with a 100 Beyer Figure effort when 2nd in the Razorback. He looks too tough.

An even early pace could also help ALLEGED RULER who is a better horse than he has shown to this point. The 5-year-old rig is an ace at the distance and makes that often juicy move from turf-to-dirt.

BLOWN AWAY - Strong winds early in the day led to the Woodbine card being cancelled after race 2 on Sunday, although the winds calmed down noticeably soon after the plug was pulled on the day. The Grade 3 Selene Stakes will be held at dusk on Wednesday - race 4 of the 9 race card.


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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Emotional Saturday for Fans, Malakoff hits 90

Stronach Stable's flashy chestnut MALAKOFF served notice that he is a strong Queen's Plate contender with a seven-length score in yesterday's Grade 3 Marine Stakes at Woodbine, a day that ended in sorrow for lovers of hrose racing who later watched Kentucky Derby hero BARBARO break down in the Preakness Stakes.
Malakoff, a son of Lemon Drop Kid out of Last Vice, posted a 90 Beyer Speed Figure with his Marine win, crushing his four rivals including heavily favoured Bear Character.
The latter, who was uncharacteristically pushing the hot pace set by longshot Ok Nothanksforaskn, was coming off a close third in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 22.
Malakoff was the lone Plate eligible in the tiny Marine field but is improving quickly and should be a serious threat to likely Plate fave Wanna Runner.

An hour later, the Preakness Stakes got off to a shaky start when Barbaro broke through the gate before the start of the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
In minutes, the race was again underway but before the clubhouse turn, Barbaro's right hind ankle gave out and the undefeated colt was pulled up.
The five-length victory by the very talented and lightly raced Bernardini was almost all but forgotten by fans who waited for news on Barbaro's fate.
As of this morning, it is not certain how the colt will come through extensive surgery that was expected to be performed today.

Other action at Woodbine on Saturday included a sizzling debut win by the 2-year-old filly I CAN (Coloney Light), yet another winner this spring at North American tracks who had posted a rapid workout at a Florida juvenile sale. Despite breaking from the rail post in the 2-furlong dash, I Can was long gone on a strung out field from the start and collected another win for the hot Colebrook Stables and trainer Frank Passero team.


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Friday, May 19, 2006

Preakness card strong, Marine sinks

Highlighted by Barbaro's attempt to pick up the second jewel of the American Triple crown in the Preakness Stakes (post time 6:05 p.m.), Saturday's racing action at Pimlico features some super betting opportunities and a big card of races.
Numerous stakes events on the afternoon offer plenty of interesting possibilities if you are betting or just a spectator.
A favourite race of this corner's is a turf sprint and those specialists gather in race 5 with SECOND IN COMMAND looking like the winner.
Darley Stud's exciting speedster SONGSTER is in the 6th race while his stablemate BERNARDINI has to be considered the colt with the best chance to upset Barbaro in the Preakness.
Woodbine fans made recognize the suddenly impressive RECKLESS WAYS in the Grade 3 W. Donald Schaeffer Handicap (Race 11). The grey gelding was competing at Woodbine for $18,000 claiming last year for trainer Stanley Baresich before being claimed by Greenoaks Farm.
Greenaoks then lost the gelding via a claim on December 26 and for his new interest, Reckless Ways has won 5 consecutive races including one with a 101 Beyer Figure. Wow!

At Woodbine, the Marine Stakes barely stayed afloat with just five entries. The "Queen's Plate prep" has lured four American-breds and only one Plate eligible - Malakoff. Bear Stable's BEAR CHARACTER and New York invader THRONG, sent out by trainer Todd Pletcher, are sure to dominate the 1 1/16 mile race.


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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

'Goldie' retired

Canadian Horse of the Year A BIT O' GOLD has been retired from racing and will live out his years at Kingfield Farm north of Woodbine.
"Nothing dramatic happened, there was no real one thing that was wrong with him," said trainer Catherine Day Phillips, who also owns part of the gelding with The Two Bit Racing Stable.
"He was showing wear and tear and we just thought it was in the best interests of him to retire him. He’s been out of training for two weeks now."
A Bit O' Gold, who won the Prince of Wales and Breeders' Stakes as a 3-year-old two years ago and was named champion sophomore, was a multiple stakes winner on turf and dirt in 2005 with wins in the Sky Classic (G2), Chinese Cultral Centre Stakes (G2) and Grade 3 Dominion Day Handicap. He was named champion older horse, turf horse as well as Horse of the Year.
'Goldie', whose final race was a last-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic, completed his racing career with 10 wins in 18 starts, 3 seconds and 2 thirds with earnings of $1,888,155.
"He’s going to be let down gently at the track for a few weeks and then go to the farm," said Day Phillips. "Then we’ll let him tell us what he wants to do.
We’re obviously very sad but their careers don’t go on forever. To have three great years with him is amazing, it’s selfish to ask for more. We’re very grateful to him and he’ll always be well taken care of."
Good Luck Goldie, Woodbine fans will miss you!


  • At 10:51 PM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 10:54 PM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    The Golden Boy will be missed. His unique running style and the way he loved to thrill racing fans is something that we will never forget. Now this year we can see if Jambalaya can follow in his footsteps. Big footsteps yes, but Jambalaya has already done something that 'Goldie' didn't a race in the U.S.


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'Major' and future star Letters

These comments can be found attached to the Major Zee post - check the archives...

Jason Giliforte should have thought that comment through before saying it in a publication, Jason is definetly not a horseman, I am sure that Major will overcome his new "trainer and investors" 4000.00 is a pretty easy number to achieve and they will see an ROI, however I do not see him being the star he has been in the past. Mark, spoiled that horse and treated him like a king...not because he was trying to make a buck but because he cared about the old man...if Major was not in good order Mark would not push, I think that life in general will be different for the old man and it will refleect in his performance.
Posted by Anonymous to Jen's Thorough-blog at 5/15/2006 10:14:05 PM

Here's another recent letter to Thoroughblog..

Another one to watch to come and take down Judith's Wild Rush is the Jody Hammett runner V S O P Please...first lifetime outing as a four year old went in 109.4 and posted a 100 beyer speed figure. MONSTER!!


  • At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't understand the fuss. I'm sure the Major is a great horse and has made a lot of friends and fans over the years. But if the owner/trainer loved him that much, why would he put a "for sale" sign ( a cheap one at that) on him by entering him in a claiming race? Why blame the trainer who claimed him?

  • At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    good question, racing is a sport where you have no choice but to run your horses where they can win. If Major is in fact only worth 4K then the spot that he needs to run in is a 4K claimer. Mark ran the horse for the tag as that is where the horse would win. Major owed Mark nothing and was on the verge of retirement. By Jason and Jeanne Ryan aquiring Marjor he now owes another investor money. I can assure you the horse will not be put into retirement until he has paid them back the investment. Whereas before his career was being managed based on his needs and abiltiy it is now being based on his ROI. There are plenty of young, fresh horses out there to aquire and invest in they did not have to invest in a horse who was winding down.


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ThoroughBlog joins 'Alliance'

Jen's Thoroughblog has joined the THOROUGHBRED BLOGGERS ALLIANCE, based south of the border, and you will find the TBS's links on the right side of my page.
The TBA is a group of other racing 'bloggers' and it posts a standings list each week based on points given to graded stakes performances of horses racing in the United States. Thoroughblog will publish these each week.
Please check out the TBA and the other group members!


  • At 9:21 AM, Blogger Baloo said…

    Welcome to the TBA. I have enjoyed reading your blog.
    Keep up the good work.


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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Executive wins Main event

MAIN EXECUTIVE is indeed his big sister's brother. The full brother to champion sprinter Blonde Executive is on his way to being a major threat to last year's champion speedball, Judith's Wild Rush, thanks to his superb effort in Saturday's New Providence Stakes at Woodbine.
The dark bay 4-year-old posted a 98 Beyer Figure (a career best) with his front running score over longshot Millfleet.

Also on Saturday, Queen's Plate eligible PIPERS THUNDER won his maiden in only his second career start, winning the day's 3rd event after battling on the pace throughout the 1 1/16 miles under Ray Sabourin. The son of Thunder Gulch ran the distance in 1:45 1/5, a full second faster than the other split of the Maiden Special Weight that was won by Hot Deputy.

See the post below for more Plate news.


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Wanna see the Plate favourite?

WANNA RUNNER confirmed his status as a strong favourite for the June 25 Queen's Plate at Woodbine when the gelding romped in a weak edition of the Walmac Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park on Saturday evening, earning a 98 Beyer Speed Figure.
The following is the track's release from the race

(courtesy Lone Star Park)

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (Saturday, May 13, 2006) - The Bob Baffert-trained Wanna Runner was much the best in Saturday's Grade III, $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas and easily defeated longshot Wait in Line by 5 ¼ lengths under a hand ride - the largest margin of victory in the race's 10-year history.

"He looked like Barbaro coming down the stretch," quipped Baffert.

Next for the Ontario, Canada-bred will be the $1 million Queen's Plate at Woodbine on June 25 - the first leg of Canada's Triple Crown. "The Lone Star Derby is going to be my springboard to the Canadian classics from now on," Baffert said.

Wanna Runner, ridden by Victor Espinoza and carrying 122 pounds, covered 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:43.71 and paid $3, $2.60 and $2.10 as the odds-on 1-2 favorite in the field of six 3-year-olds. Wait in Line, at odds of 46.70-1, returned $19.60 and $5.40. Admiral's Arch, the 4-1 third wagering choice, was another four lengths back in third and paid $2.40.

The win was the fourth in eight starts for Wanna Runner, who previously won the $600,000 WinStar Derby by 4 ¾ lengths. The $185,000 winner's share of the purse boosted the El Corredor gelding's career earnings to $566,950 for owner Mike Pegram.

"We were tempted to run in the Preakness and I told Mike [Pegram] if Barbaro hadn't run a race like that, if it had been a race like last year's, we'd take a chance," Baffert said. "But that horse is pretty special and this horse here needed time to develop.

"I always thought he was a nice horse but he's getting better. We didn't really push him for the [Kentucky] Derby. I ran him back at Golden Gate and I ran him back way too soon and that set us back. I know what it takes to win the [Kentucky] Derby and we maybe could've taken him, but it's too hard on a horse. Mike didn't have any fever with him. I'll take him back to California to freshen up.

"He ran third to Brother Derek but he's doing much better now than he was then. Mike has always wanted to go to the Queen's Plate and he's a gelding so we're not trying to make a stallion here. We're just having fun with him. It's fun to go to different tracks."

"We can't wait for him to come home," Wanna Runner's Canadian breeder Yvonne Schwabe said via telephone. "He's the best runner we've ever had down in the states."

This was the second Walmac Lone Star Derby winner for Baffert. He took the inaugural running in 1997 with eventual $1.1 million-earner Anet. Overall, it was Baffert's 12th career stakes win at Lone Star and second this season. He plans to return May 29 with Grade III Texas Mile champ Preachinatthebar for the Grade III, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, another Pegram-owned horse.

"This place has been good to me since the day it opened," Pegram said.

Wanna Runner contested the early pace established by Rain On Monday -- :23.33 for the first quarter mile and :47.14 for a half-mile - from the inside after breaking from post position No. 1. He edged clear at the top of the stretch and drew away under Espinoza's urging.

Wait in Line, a last minute addition to the field by trainer Chris Hartman at entry time on Thursday, sat just off the pacesetters and was no match for the winner. "Not bad for a guy who wasn't even going to run," Hartman said. "It beats sitting in the barn, that's for sure. I wasn't even going to run. It looked like it was too tough. [Wanna Runner] beat us 18 lengths in El Paso." Wait in Line became the longest shot in Lone Star Derby history to finish among the top three.

Admiral's Arch was rated just behind the leaders in fourth but came up empty in the stretch.

"Apparently the winner had a little more horse and just cut loose at the top of the stretch," said Admiral Arch's rider Shaun Bridgmohan. "I thought I was in the perfect spot. There were three across the track and I was just biding my time."

The field was completed by Mr. Pursuit, Rain On Monday and Red Raymond, the 7-2 second betting choice. "He never got into the race," said Red Raymond's trainer Bob Holthus.


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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Pyramid pops big Beyer

Eaton Hall Farms' PYRAMID PARK, a Queen's Plate contender, served notice that he is indeed a quality Plate hopeful with a strong win in allowance company Friday Woodbine.
A super turf runner, Pyramid Park posted an 86 Beyer Speed Figure, his best career number, with a front-running score over an easy field.
Ridden by Slade Callaghan, the 3-year-old of Tethra was asked to continue to perform after the wire and the colt looked strong in the gallop out.
Pyramid Park is trained by Mike Doyle.


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Friday, May 12, 2006

New Providence speed-fest

The New Providence Stakes, named in honour of Canadian racing's second Triple Crown winner, may be a restricted event for Ontario-sired sprinters, but there are some hotshot runners lining up at Woodbine for the $125,000, six-furlong dash.
It is the first stakes appearance by the highly regarded MAIN EXECUTIVE, a speedball from the Bruno Bros. Farms who has won five of seven races. The gelding won his second start of 2006 when he got away on a clear lead in the slop on April 22 and held off the returning Verne's Baby.
The latter, who will be equipped with blinkers for the first time, suffered his first career loss in four starts in that race but should give the Executive much more to handle.
Old-timer Barbeau Ruckus, now in the care of trainer George Newland, is better in longer races but should be charging through the stretch.

And from the Comments file, this was posted to the Blog today regarding Major Zee (see archives for post)

Major, you DO deserve better....

Quote from Jason Giliforte in the Racing Form for Saturday...

"I'm not a retirement home," said Giliforte. "I'm trying to make money. I'm looking to run him in two-furlong races and on the turf."


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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cdn. Interntional hero back

Relaxed Gesture, the 11 to 1 upset winner of last year's Pattison Canadian International, returns to North American action Friday in the 7th race at Belmont, an optional claiming/allowance race at nine-furlongs on the grass.
It is the first start for Relaxed Gesture since a disastrous 12th place finish in the Dubai Sheema Classic in Dubai in March. That race was the horse's first start since his Woodbine score.


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Running in Texas, Queenston quotes

Those Woodbine horsepeople with Queen’s Plate contenders and racing fans across the country might be interested in tuning into HPITV on Saturday night to watch the Walmac Lne Star Derby from Texas.
The Lone Star Derby, a $300,000 race at 1 1/16 miles, features Ontario-bred WANNA RUNNER, an early favourite for the Plate who has yet to race in Canada. The race will be shown on the cable channel but wagering will not be permitted. Wanna Runner is owned by high profile American owner Mike Pegram and trained by Bob Baffert. Baffert told Lone Star Park officials that the gelding could have raced in the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the American Triple Crown, but instead will head to the $1 million Plate on June 25 after the Lone Star race.

From last Saturday’s Queenston Stakes, Woodbine’s first prep event for the Plate, here are some quotes from participants:

Reade Baker (trains winner, Atlas Shrugs, 4th place finisher Hubberts Peak)
“I actually thought down the backstretch that Hubberts Peak was going to win. He’s been battling shins but he’s going to be a nice horse.
Atlas Shrugs has had a bad habit of bolting at every turn at every track (After the Queenston, Atlas Shrugs made a beeline for the on-gap on the clubhouse turn, causing Fraser to fall off.

Emma-Jayne Wilson (rider of 3rd-place finisher Town Thief)
“I had watched some of his races from Santa Anita and I knew he lugged in. I wasn’t sure with those fractions he set at Santa Anita how he would do here but I had a beautiful trip behind the pace.
When we straightened out, he started to race greenly and got to lugging in but he ran a really good race and I was happy with him


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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Derby show blows out other sports

According to a report in USA Today on May 9, the Kentucky Derby viewership in the United States on NBC led all other major sporting events on television last weekend.
The Derby had a 7.4 rating (5.7 million households) compared to 4.3 (3.3 million households) for the Cleveland-Detroit NBA game on Sunday and 3.7 (2.8 million) for the Dallas-San Antonio NBA game.
Incredibly, the Colorado-Anaheim playoff game in the NHL had a 0.9 rating, just 693,000 households.
The Derby numbers were down 10% from last year.


  • At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Actually, the most newsworthy bit is not that the Derby outdrew other sports, it's that the ratings dropped an alarming 10%. That's a frightening warning bell for a sport that can't afford to lose much more of its following.
    If NBC continues to have declining ratings, it won't stick with the Derby for much longer. Remember, it has already abandoned the Breeders' Cup.


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Speed the rule Wednesday?

A week after one of the most distinct speed biases of the Woodbine meeting, a card of eight races is up this evening with some intriguing maiden events.
While the early focus of handicappers could be the success of front runners (San Diego Blowout in the first race), there are well-bred beginners to take a look at, especially for future events.
Canadian-bred PEEBLES, a regally-bred daughter of Gone West with a $400,000 price tag as a yearling, drew the rail post in the 4th race, a 'B' level maiden event that came up competitive. Peebles is the first foal of champion filly Poetically. Her main rivals figure to be MERRICKS (Grand Slam) and SPIRIT AWAY, who goes for the powerful duo of trainer Sid Attard and Emma-Jayne Wilson (6 for 15 at the meeting).
In the 5th race, THORPES COTTAGE, a full brother to multiple winner Archer Fleetm makes his debut in an 'A' level maiden race for Ontario-sired fellows. Queen's Plate eligible BOLD COMMENT figures to be the gelding to beat.


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Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday Letter

I was happy to find your entry after much searching on the web for some compassionate remark about Up an Octave. Page after page I read only stated "Up an Octave was euthanized on the track." period
I know nothing of horse racing but am an avid animal lover. I can only hope that this tragedy can bring more attention to the protection and care of these animals. And, from what I understand, the need for workman's comp for jockeys.
May Up an Octave rest in peace.

Editor's note: This comment can also be found with others underneath the Opinion piece last month. Check the archives for more information


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Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Major wins at 13

Thirteen-year-old MAJOR ZEE, bred by the late Steve Stavro, won his 2006 debut on Saturday at Fort Erie for $4,000 claiming. It was the 19th career win from 73 starts for the old-timer, a son of Dayjur from Zadracarta. Major Zee won three of five races last year for owner/trainer Mark Fournier. Incredibly, Major Zee was claimed from the race by Jason Giliforte.


  • At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love that Major still has a few tricks up his sleve...Why did Jason and Jeane Ryan (partner) take this horse, you would think that the horse has done enough for people? This horse was a healthy point in his career where he owed no one anything, they just took him from winding down his career to being an commodity. I am sure that Mark Fournier will miss the old lad, and have a hard time believing that anyone else will be able to make him tick...Major, you deserve better buddy!!!

  • At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Major, you DO deserve better....

    Quote from Jason Giliforte in the Racing Form for Saturday...

    "I'm not a retirement home," said Giliforte. "I'm trying to make money. I'm looking to run him in two-furlong races and on the turf."

  • At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jason Giliforte should have thought that comment through before saying it in a publication, Jason is definetly not a horseman, I am sure that Major will overcome his new "trainer and investors" 4000.00 is a pretty easy number to achieve and they will see an ROI, however I do not see him being the star he has been in the past. Mark, spoiled that horse and treated him like a king...not because he was trying to make a buck but because he cared about the old man...if Major was not in good order Mark would not push, I think that life in general will be different for the old man and it will refleect in his performance.

  • At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I guess Jason Giliforte is a horseman after all. I found out that the first time major ran poorly Jason retired him and gave him back to his previous owner for free

  • At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I guess you should know the situation before commenting


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Friday, May 05, 2006

Edenwold starts Plate journey

The best 3-year-old thoroughbreds in the world will be showcased Saturday in the Kentucky Derby but a few hours earlier at Woodbine, some of Canada’s best embark on the journey to the Queen’s Plate.
The 51st edition of the Queenston Stakes, a seven-furlong, $150,000 dash, features the return of last year’s champion 2-year-old male Edenwold to racing action.
Owned by Jim and Alice Sapara’s Winsong Farms, Edenwold is seeking to become only the second male juvenile champ in Canadian history to come back and win the next year’s Plate. Sound Reason, in 1977, is the only other colt to accomplish the double.
Edenwold, trained by Josie Carroll, had a busy campaign in 2005 with four wins in eight starts including three consecutive stakes races.
The Ontario-bred colt underwent minor front leg surgery over the winter and then began training again in California in January.
“He’s grown even more into the promise he had last year,” said Carroll. “He’s a big strong horse and filled out into his frame. He has appeared, at this point, to have made the necessary transition from a baby to a 3-year-old.”
Edenwold, a long striding dark chestnut, had a sizzling workout at Woodbine on Tuesday morning, four furlongs in :46 1/5.
“I actually got a little more than I asked for,” said Carroll. “I thought he would go in 48 seconds but I felt I needed to sharpen him up.”
“There were a couple of horses in front of him and when the dirt started to hit him in the face, he got very aggressive. He’s not as laid back this year as he was last year, I think he has figured out he’s a colt.”
Two new additions to Edenwold’s racing profile are jockey Emile Ramsammy and the anti-bleeding medication Lasix.
“The exercise is to get Edenwold back on track and I want to see him finish strongly,” said Carroll, who will also saddle the speedy Plate hopeful Vibank in the Queenston.
Edenwold’s main competition from six rivals includes the undefeated Bad Hat, a wiry son of Bold Executive who is also making his first start of the season.
Bad Hat is trained by Mike DePaulo, whose other Plate hopeful, Shillelagh Slew, won his season debut in easy fashion last weekend.
Post time for the Queenston, the sixth race on the Woodbine card, is 3:40 p.m.


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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ky Oaks day, Casse team in tough

The 132nd Kentucky Oaks will be held Friday at Churchill Downs and Woodbine folks will be cheering for trainer Mark Casse and jockey Patrick Husbands who team up with Top Notch Lady in the nine-furlong classic.
While that filly figures to be a longshot, the Oaks should feature a strong, early pace that will set things up for fillies such as BALANCE, WONDER LADY ANNE L and perhaps LEMONS FOREVER, who has the tricky 14 post.

There are many races of interest at Churchill on Oaks day including the Grade 3 Turf Sprint. Atticus Kristy, hero of the Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland is coming off a big effort but watch out for PARKER RUN as a possible upsetter.

MAIDEN WATCH - Two-year-olds are absent at Woodbine this week but at Belmont and Churchill on Friday, Todd Pletcher babies figure to be prominent (and well bet).
At Belmont, OUT OF GWEDDA (2nd race) had a :21 3/5 workout at the 2yo sale in Ocala in March.
At Churchill, Pletcher trainee ALOTOFAPPEAL has the same time for a workout at that March 2yo sale in Ocala.


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Monday, May 01, 2006

Stronach has good Plate hand

Stronach Stables are quietly sneaking into the Queen's Plate (June 25) picture as its colts ROYAL CHALLENGER (Touch Gold) and MALAKOFF (Lemon Drop Kid) were recent maiden allowance winners.
The latter was certainly very impressive in his gritty score on Sunday at Woodbine, contrary to some post race comments by onlookers. Coming off a very hard race at Gulfstream, Malakoff had to work hard to beat the talented Storm Kick but got the job done under Todd Kabel.
The colt's Beyer Figure was a solid 81, not far off the Beyer posted by hotshot Shillelagh Slew in an allowance win on Saturday.

Plate favourite WANNA RUNNER had a six furlong workout at Santa Anita in a peppy 1:12 2/5 and is expected to head to Texas for the Lone Star Derby on May 13.

More Plate hopefuls will gather at Woodbine on Saturday for the Queenston Stakes at seven furlongs including BAD HAT, the undefeated Bold Executive colt who will be ridden by Slade Callaghan.

BEST 3YO IS NOT IN THE DERBY: He's been touted in this forum before and Darley Stud's imposing BERNARDINI (A.P. Indy) won Saturday's Withers Sstakes at Aqueduct with a 104 Beyer Figure in just his third career start. The colt is expected to compete in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 20.

THE SUMMER OF JOHNNY C: There were many horsepeople ready to shake trainer John Charalambous' hand on Sunday after the tough little filly SUMMER GIRLFRIEND upset heavily favoured champion Knights Templar in the Star Shoot Stakes.
The daughter of Forest Camp, owned by Allen Abbott's Equilease Racing Stable, led all the way through the six-furlongs uynder Gerry Olguin. Knights Templar had an extremely wide trip and was simply second best over a track that yielded slow times but a fair racing surface all afternoon.


  • At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I too was shocked at comments by the on-air comments of some racing efforts who dismissed Malakov. He dug in when he had to and was never threatened by the horse that set soft fractions. He also looked like he wanted more ground ...

  • At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    make that racing "experts".


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