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Monday, October 02, 2006

Fabulous Baker Boys n Girls

The last weekend of September featured some super performances by Woodbine's young horses and a high profile party that raised funds for our province's retired runners.
Championship honours are up for grabs in many divisions as the season heads into its final two months but one was wrapped up in Sunday.
David James' Quebec-bed colt SHILLELAGH SLEW powered to a 7 1/4 length score in the Grade 3 Ontario Derby, posted a 91 Beyer Figure and likely won the Sovereign Award for champion 3-year-old male.
The son of Chief Seattle - Frippalina also won the Canadian Derby at Northland Park in Edmonton, Alberta and was placed first in the Prince of Wales Stakes (a result that is still under appeal).
James, trainer Mike DePaulo and jockey Dino Luciani celebrated last evening and recived many congratulations from fellow horsepeople.
The colt many not race again in 2006 but has accomplished enough to beat out Queen's Plate winner Edenwold (surprisingly absent from the Derby) for the Sovereign.

The baby girls were on display Saturday in the Mazarine (Grade 3), a race that has been known to showcase a possible champion but this year's edition, while interesting, was painfully slow.
Still, that does not take away from the one-two finish by trainer Reade Baker's misses' - COY COYOTE (Honour and Glory) and A. P. REALITY (Pulpit). The latter seemingly was on her way to victory in mid-stretch before she started to weave in and out, pulled herself up and lost the lead.
The Beyer Figure for the race? A soft 63.
Much more interesting was the strong win by DANCER'S FAN in an maiden allowance race a few events later. That Roger Attfield trainee ran the same distance as the Mazarine (1 1/16 miles) two seconds quicker and received an 80 Beyer Figure. The Lear Fan filly is a Canadian bred.

Speaking of Canadian-breds, the victory by Shillelagh Slew was a rare 'open' stakes win by a Canuck-bred in Ontario this year. The locals have been slapped around pretty good by American breds in 2006.

Kudos to the horsepeople who came to LONGRUN'S 2nd annual Gala on Friday night at Woodbine. Three hundred plus folks enjoyed a super meal put on by Woodbine and LongRun, a free scotch bar, lavish prizes and silent and live auctions. Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Munroe look-alikes provided awesome entertainment.
The best news came at the outset of the evening when it was announced that LongRun will receive 1/4 of 1 per cent of the Woodbine purse account each year, a move granted by the Ontario Racing Commission and submitted by Woodbine, C.T.H.S. and H.B.P.A. This could give LongRun some $200,000 each year to care for its horses awaiting adoptive homes.

AROUND THE 'BINE - Polytrack continues to confuse...the times were fast again on Sunday but the winning running styles were varied. Rain washed races off the grass.
How do the folks at Beyer Figure town work out the numbers day after day with so much inconsistency?

Baker won two of the last 3 races on Sunday, one with a first-time starting 2yo and one with a new claim. The barn has done wonders with all kinds of horses in 2006.

Woodbine begins a six-day week on Wednesday night with a $15,000 Pick 7 carryover and a big card of solid races.


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