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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Woodbine jocks win in Trinidad

**Woodbine jocks Patrick Husbands and Richard Dos Ramos both rode winners at Santa Rosa Park on Boxing Day (Dec. 26) and are still on the island for a racing card on New Year’s Day.
Dos Ramos won the 4th race, a maiden event for 2yo colts, aboard Film Director, a Florida-bred by Yes It’s True.
Husbands won the Group 2 Guardian for 2yo fillies aboard September D’Sixth, a filly bred by Florida by Unzipped.
By the way, Santa Rosa has a good

**Thank you to a reader who sends us a link for photos he/she put on a site from the Sovereign Awards..
“You can see photos from the Sovereign Awards here:

**Saturday stuff – That first-timer TIME SQUARED sure ran well in his debut for trainer Patrick Biancone. A million-dollar plus baby, he rallied nicely in the stretch to be a close 2nd to an experienced winner, Level Red.

Woodbine trainer Josie Carroll sent out GOOD AND LUCKY to win the Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds yesterday – Disclaimer: The race was originally scheduled for turf, there were only four horses left in the slop after scratches and this improving guy led all the way. Owned by Robert Mitchell (who races horses in western Canada), Good and Lucky is by Wild Rush,

Florida sire OUTFLANKER is red-hot with stakes winners ANNABILL (Chaposa Springs S. at 7/8 on Calder dirt) and BAYOU’S LASSIE (F. Genter S. at 7 ½ fur. On turf) yesterday.

Stakes-placed SCATTER THE TAK, a promising 2yo at Woodbine in 2006, is in a little allowance race at Fair Grounds for trainer Scott Blasi.


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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saturday Files


A new, locally based numbers service for tracks and races across North America is up and running this week. IN-FORM HANDICAPPING SYSTEM can be checked out at The website offers a tour for new customers, information on how the numbers are acquired, how to use them and how to subscribe.


If you want to get really irritated, go to today and clink on the link regarding Barbaro and the people (okay, so some are a bit weird) who have been sending him cards and letters. The writer from CBS Sportsline calls racing “mostly useless”.
Wow. Check out all the responses he’s been getting for the story too (at the bottom of the first page).

Bill Lankoff of the TORONTO SUN did it again – he managed to refer to BARBARO in the pet food form for the 3rd time, perhaps more, this year!


Oops…just when you think Gulfstream Park might be set up better for 2007 than it was in 2006 (anyone who visited the place knows what I’m talking about), here comes the ad in Daily Racing Form in today’s paper…
Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino…

The Great Horses…Breeders’ Cup winners Street Sense, DANCING FOR ANNA
(her name is Dreaming of Anna)

The Malcolm File

Red hot at Fair Grounds is MALCOLM PIERCE, who stayed home last winter but is taking New Orleans by storm (oops, no pun intended). Emma-Jayne Wilson will ride the speedfreak STRADAVINSKY in a stakes race there today.

The Baker File

Sovereign Award finalist Reade Baker saddles Scarlett's Pride in a stake at Calder today and Bear Now in the Sandpiper S. at Tampa.


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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Canadian horses to Celebrate

The Sovereign awards were held just about 2 weeks ago and we all know who the winners for 2006 were. But there are some other equines that deserve mention for accomplishments throughout the year (feel free to add to this list...Canadian-breds or Canadian-based horses only).

(Pictured is Wanna Runner, bred by Yvonne Schwabe, a graded SW in the United States in 2006)

I start with stallions because the sire industry in Ontario seems to be getting a bit stronger. Of course, BOLD EXECUTIVE (23 on Jan. 1) is again the country's leading sire (through Nov. 5) by progeny earnings ($2.9 million). What a shame ARCHERS BAY passed on in 2002, he was the 2nd leading stallion, just ahead of PEAKS AND VALLEYS, who recently moved to Ontario fron Kentucky.

Leading sire in British Columbia was MAZEL TRICK (recently moved there) and KIRIDASHI, who just left Ontario is battling with GENERAL ROYAL and CAPTAIN BODGIT for top Alberta stallion.

TRAJECTORY is a leading 2nd crop sire for 2006 (20th in North America) and newcomer IMPEACHMENT is on the 3rd crop list.

Have to love Canadian-bred stallions AWESOME AGAIN (4th in North America), LANGFUHR (9th) and SMART STRIKE (11th). SILVER DEPUTY ranks 20th, SKY CLASSIC is 31st, DANCE BRIGHTLY (47th), VICTORY GALLOP (52nd), DEPUTY MINISTER (59th) and BOLD EXECUTIVE (63rd) are also on the Blood-Horse list in the recently released 2007 Stallion Register.

WANNA RUNNER, a graded stakes winner at 3 last year who fizzled out around the time he came to Woodbine for the Queen's Plate, deserves a mention for sure, ARCH HALL was a graded stakes winner in Canada and placed in the United States and TOTHEMOONANDBACK ran a 104 Beyer Figure in the Achievement Stakes in July and was one of the fastest Canadian-breds on the year. VERNE'S BABY (110 Beyer in Overskate Stakes) also makes the list.

Best Saskatchewan-bred?? Bet you never heard of SPIRIT TO SPARE (Pole Position - Current Encounter, by Little Current), one of the last foals for her sire Pole Position who was born in 1976. Spirit to Spare won three of eight starts in 2006, two stakes in British Columbia and was 3rd in the Grade 3 Las Flores at Santa Anita in Feb. Oh ya, she also put up a 100 Beyer in her Santa Anita win in Jan. for $50K claiming.


  • At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh c'mon, why limit it to horses when Canadian-bred Russell Baze probably topped the list for 2006? Come to think about it, why not draw some attention to those jocks at WO who raised a stink a few years back when Russell came to his native land to ride (what they thought were too many mounts)? Just how many of them can truly call Canada their native land anyway?


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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2006 counts down

Random notes for the Wednesday morning after it just me or is it a bizarre feeling to not have to go shopping, wrap and pack up presents and drive to a family members house, eat a lot, drink a lot and then do it again?

** Sent in my Eclipse Award ballot - it looks a lot like the one sent in by Steve Crist (see his latest column in DRF on the banning of jockeys in the U.S.).

**It's all about charity at this time of year and everyone has their own list of charities they give to (children, medicine, etc.)
No excuses, however, for people in the racing business not to give a little something to the horses - if it wasn't for them, we would not have jobs.
Need a push, read this Christmas story, linked on Equidaily, from a St. Louis newspaper...
a horse named Stan escapes, this is a great read... story/03709E11929BFDAA86257250000B3C7F?OpenDocument

**Can't wait for Gulfstream to start next week but how messy is it going to be with that Equine Herpes breaking out in Florida? Eeks. Would love to hear reports about how the track is now as far as the paddock, saddling enclosure, grandstand, etc. is concerned since it was so absurdly rebuilt last year.

**The movie An Inconvenient Truth (documentary), is super and shocking, hopefully it will make the difference that Mr. Gore aims to make... I'm off to change all the lightbulbs in the house...


  • At 10:35 PM, Blogger judy said…

    What a different world we might be living in if only Al Gore had been elected President!

  • At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes, all hail the man who invented the internet. Without him we wouldn't be able to talk to Jen here.


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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve Racing stories

The Toronto Sun continues to follow up stories on harness drivers/trainers and some thoroughbred people who have been suspended for using drugs in racing. It’s a good news/bad news situation – readers know the tracks are trying to clean things up but you can hear them still saying – see I knew there were drugs in racing!

Patrick Husbands made the news in his hometown of Barbados, complaining that the track, Garrison Savannah, needs to be improved (the track has had to cancel many racing days this year because of poor conditions). Patrick will ride in Trinidad next week and oh, yes, he can’t ride at Woodbine for 60 days if he loses his appeal of the ruling against him (when he hit jockey Constant Montpellier on the head with his helmet).
Check it out...

Best wishes to everyone and enjoy your family!


  • At 11:20 PM, Blogger Tote Board Brad said…

    Have a happy Christmas Jen. Looking forward to all the news from the north in the coming year.


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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Emma wins

Emma-Jayne Wilson won Friday’s 4th race at Fair Grounds, her second mount at the meeting, and Canada’s champion rider is off to the races for the winter season. Wilson rode Trio Georgia for owner/trainer Ryan Beattie to a win in a $6,250 claiming race.
The Brampton resident rides Canadian-bred 2yo Quench for trainer Malcolm Pierce on Christmas Eve.
Wilson was praised by Woodbine president David Willmot at the Sovereign Awards last weekend for her 'sportsperson'ship and her love and dedication to the horse. That's very comforting sincejockeys are currently under the microscopre based on the 10 riders barred in the United States this week.

Here’s a letter that came through the e-mail yesterday, I consider it a really neat Christmas gift…(okay, and it’s a shameless plug!)

My name is Charles LaLoggia. I own Skip Code, trained by Mark Casse. I found your blog when I was Googling Skip Code's name a while back and I'd just like you to know that I find your postings informative, knowledgeable and thoroughly enjoyable. Keep up the great work. Sincerely, Charles LaLoggia


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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holiday wishes, holiday cheer

(Editor's note to Emma-Jayne references - A reader pointed out to me that Emma did indeed lose her bug in August, not September. Thoroughblog regrets the error)

There are already lots of New Year's wish lists out there by racing folks/writers for their own tracks and many have similar requests for the 2007 season.

Southern Ontario, in particular Woodbine racing fans, have made lots of requests to this corner in the last 6 months, either following one of our seminars or simply walking through the grandstand.

Alas, many times I get "why isn't there more racing coverage in the newspapers" and I tell them to call and complain but racing folks love to gripe among themselves, complaining that racing does not get the respect it deserves anymore.

(Dave Landry photo)
At the TORONTO STAR, a new sports editor is being introduced this week and perhaps racing fans who love to read about their favourite personalities and perhaps the occasional betting story, will phone and send an e-mail to present their New Year's wishes.

Indeed, the Star results charts had a setback in 2006 when they were shrunk and the winning owner and trainer and pedigree of the winner was taken out (among other things) and that made fans really unhappy. The TORONTO SUN held strong in its results charts and was the choice of many after the Star sliced and diced. Let's see what happens in 2007.

Remember, a soccor score goes missing in the papers, there are hundreds of complaints, a racing result? Maybe one, two.

I want racing fans to be more vocal in 2007.

Sometimes being vocal does not work, however. I was one of many who complained about TV coverage at Woodbine in 2006, especially when the Trakus buttons came in and took up half the TV screen. That was fine, but when creativity got in the way of filming a horse race the way it should be, that was frustrating. The worse part is that several complaints by others, in print etc., were completely ignored by Woodbine and that was disappointing.

But despite the ongoing TV problems and some trouble with the new Polytrack, how can Woodbine fans (and horsepeople) be unhappy about 2006? Woodbine Entertainment continues to work hard to please the horses, the horsepeople and the fans as much as it can. I enjoyed and was fortunate to in hosting seminars in 2006 and it's cool to hear how much knowledge the fans have in the game.

I appreciate all the jockeys and trainers who were my guests, taking time to talk to the fans, that is so important. (I would love to list everyone but I'd be afraid of missing someone).

Woodbine helps the horses a lot, with Polytrack and its continued support of LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. And horsemen packed the entry box in the fall and winter, there were even lots of new faces too.

Good luck to all local folks south of the border (Sam-Son scored with Go to the Sun at Fair Grounds last weekend and Minshall Farms' Raw Power ran a big one when 2nd in a stake there on Sunday). Emma-Jayne Wilson, our leading rider, will be in New Orleans to ride this winter and that should be fun to watch.

Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year for my family, friends and you.


  • At 10:45 PM, Blogger judy said…

    Kudos to Woodbine based Malcolm Pierce who won the the Buddy Diliberto Stake with Devilment, the race that Raw Power finished 2nd in.


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Monday, December 18, 2006

More Sovereign Talk

In response to some comments:

- I hope to have Dave Perkins' Sovereign Award winning story on this site soon or at least a link.
- Yes, the grooms and hotwalkers deserve many accolades as well and some get invited to the awards by the owners or trainers.
- Regarding Emma-Jayne and her eligibility for Top Jockey (she lost her apprenticeship in early September and it was not a surprise she did not win the Sovereign simply based on what was heard from horsepeople, voters in recent weeks) - Mickey Walls did indeed win the Apprentice and Jockey Sovereign in 1991 - but that was a year in which Walls smashed Sandy Hawley's record for most wins in a season (!!, Sandy Hawley!) and smashed a record for most purse earnings in a year. The kid won everything and was so ridiculously dominant that he had to be the winner (Mark Patzer from out west was a was not a strong year for riders other than Mickey).
Emma led all jockeys but was far from dominant in the manner in which Mickey was...but finishing 3rd in the voting to Todd Kabel and Patrick is pretty good considering Jim McAleney probably deserved to be on the short list too...very competitive at Woodbine jockey-wise and sure to get even more so in upcoming years...


  • At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just a little confused? I'm fairly new to horse racing and am a little confused on something. All this talk about Emma-Jayne Wilson losing her bug in September? am I mistaken or did she not loose it the middle of August? I seem to remember that she was at Ascot racing on her first day as a journeyman the 12th I think it was. Not that it matters too much just wondering if I missed something. Thanks


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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sovereign night in Toronto

The 32nd annual Sovereign Awards dinner and ceremony moved along at a decent clip last night at the Intercontinental Hotel in Toronto and there were many expected winners and a fee surprises as envelopes were opened for 20 trophies.

(Left - My friend Dave Landry is one awesome photographer and I use his pix a lot...this shot is of Emma-Jayne Wilson in the morning. Dave won another Sovereign Award for photo last night)

Highlights of the night had to be Mark Casse's speech, he was very emotional in accepting his Outstanding Trainer Sovereign. Casse was third by wins at Woodbine (67) but led on purse earnings and that seemed to be the trend of the voters who once again selected Sam-Son as owner and Adena Springs as breeder (those two farms have won those awards almost every year in the last decade). Zzzzzzzzzz.

Meanwhile, Todd Kabel won jockey of the year probably because too many people were wondering if Emma-Jayne Wilson (top apprentice) should be eligible for the category. Wilson was an apprentice until September but she led all jockeys in wins (144).

Catch the Thrill, the 2yo filly champ, was a bit surprising but she is owned by Sam-Son and is by A.P. Indy....why not..

Carolyn Costigan, daughter of Bob Costigan who owns Horse of the Year Arravale, was eloquent in her speeches and knowledgable too. She flew in from Australia to accept the 3yo filly's trophies (female turf horse).

David Willmot praised Emma-Jayne Wilson when he went up to present an award, saying the young woman was very important to the sport since she is always seen loving the horses with pats and kisses. Cool.

Western Canada's Paul Wiecek, who wins a Sovereign every year now and his stories are always so long (almost book-length) and detailed I guess he should win, was all over the place in his acceptance speech. He thanked the "Canadian Jockey Club" (Jockey Club of Canada) and the Jockey Club's "Bridget Cox" (Bridget Bimm is actually her name)...

Dave Perkins, who writes for the Toronto Star, won for newspaper story and that helped get some coverage in for the awards in the paper for sure..

Now....on to that winter nap thing I have been looking forward too..(kidding..Thoroughblog will stay in action all winter...feel free to write in..send some picks for races, stories or just say hi!)


  • At 1:25 PM, Blogger judy said…

    Why would there be a question as to whether or not Wilson was eligible for the top jock category....Mickey won it in '91...what's the difference????

  • At 2:53 PM, Blogger John (AKA Not Too Swift) said…

    Hi Jen

    I went looking for a link to the Perkins article and could not find it anywhere, even at the Toronto Star. I hope some at the Star reads this; I 'd like to read it.

  • At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    For all the hoopla of the big awards night where the awards for the people doing the real work at the track. The grooms and riders who live, love and breath the horses every day. None of it would happen without them.

  • At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes, "top apprentice" and "top jockey" are not mutually exclusive as are "top filly" and "top colt".

    Of course the lack of clarity further assures that voters will continue to send in a whole smorgasboard of interpretations.

    With regard to Eclipse Awards, a runner need not even have competed in the states during a given year to be eligible, yet without reminding voters each and every year, there are bound to be those who interpret differently.

    Some guidelines would be nice at times.

  • At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You can see photos from the Sovereign Awards here:


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Words on a different track bias

Comments from "anonymous" yesterday (look under Welcome to Day 164 and Sovereign Voting Begins) addresses an issue that media must consider often when writing about racing or anything for that matter.
The reader said this corner has a bias towards Reade Baker, a top trainer at Woodbine who has appeared in notes on these pages frequently. Perhaps Baker gets more mention than other people but when someone or some horse, does a lot of different things and is in the news such as the Daily Racing Form on a regular basis, they often make other publications too. Like this Blog.
Not sure where the anonymous person (who may have a name?) got the idea that I am "supposed to be neutral" in this space, a Blog is a personal website, a "web log", and frankly, I believe this blog has been a lot more neutral than it could be.
The anonymous person also has critical comments on the Sovereign Awards, suggesting that trainers buy votes. Hmmm, I must have missed out on this, I have never received anything in 18 years of voting! Indeed, there are certain areas of the Awards that could use some tweaking to avoid the same people winning year after year, perhaps with the way the information is presented to the 70 voters across Canada, but all in all, one can be sure, it's reasonably fair.
Just a few comments to "anonymous" on this rainy Tuesday morning - thanks for reading and writing.


  • At 12:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I would like to add that I have noticed a definite bias towards thoroughbreds at this blogsite, from which we might infer a lack of equine neutrality. I, for one, would like to see more fair and balanced coverage of, for example, the Clydesdale. Where, we might ask, is the Sovereign category for the draft horse?
    I smell a conspiracy at the highest levels.

  • At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ya, more quarterhorses too! and cart horses. on second thought, you went over that latter category with the plate winner.

  • At 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Jen,

    First I want to say that it is NOT your favorite Seahawk-area denizen who was the 'anonymous' in question, just for the record.

    And from what you wrote here, that 'anonymous' sounds a lot like the racing types who like to mumble about why it is that "it's always the favorites whose odds plummet by half at the quarter pole", or why "it's always the favorites you see stumbling badly at the start, or being 'restrained' somehow".

    The ONLY reason for that is because a random person is more likely to be watching the favorites (and their odds) at any given point than they are the 70-1 shots who, if capable of racing anywhere near the pack, have equal amounts of trouble.

    Jen, you don't have to be neutral at all here (as you're well aware)... but, um, neutrality would have been a relatively good thing given last night's game.

    P.S. - I survived the terrible storm!


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Monday, December 11, 2006

Emma, Josie and Arravale

Since the Sovereign Awards were instituted in 1975, there have been just 5 gals to be named the country's Horse of the Year.
That is likely to change on Saturday on awards night in downtown Toronto when Arravale, the 3-year-old Kentucky bred and 2 time Grade 1 winner, should get her Horse of the Year trophy.
The daughter of Arch will join female greats L'Alezane, Glorious Song, Ruling Angel, Dance Smartly and Alywow.
The girls were the newsmakers in 2006 - my wrap up story that appeared in the Toronto Star can be found at (click on waymoresports)

Personally, I had a great final couple of weeks picking the races (made a few Christmas dollars too!). Hey, I finally figured out the Polytrack and now it's over! Oh well, bring on Gulfstream!.
Upcoming stories on this site to look for include the launch of Regal Racing, an exciting new syndicate venture for Ontario racing fans/prospective owners.


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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Welcome to Day 164

This past February, while on a short trip to Florida, my friends and I scouted out locals at Classic Mile training centre in Ocala and watched Shillelagh Slew gallop. Now the 3yo is likely going to be named Canada's champion 3yo colt at next Sat.'s Sovereign Awards.

Following 13 packed fields that make up the last day of racing at Woodbine for 2006, the Polytrack dust will settle on a very unique, 50th year of the track.

There were celebrations for its birthday, some super giveaways and momentos, lots of great racing but some trying times with three very different parts to the 164-day meet.

The old main track was in action until July when thoroughbreds took their surface with them and raced on the 7 furlong harness, inner track. THAT was interesting and not too many horses liked it.

Finally, the Polytrack dream came true when, on a Wednesday night in August, the 2nd track in North America to race on the synthetic surface, cut a red-ribbon and unshered the horses onto the new track.

That Polytrack sure isn't the same Poly we see right now. Kickback has been an ongoing problem for almost the last 2 months. Clumps developed when the temperature dropped and jockeys and horses are getting hit in the face - and it's hurting.

In the spring, Woodbine apparently is going to take off a bunch of Polytrack and put new stuff on, without the fibre.

It's a reasonably good surface and a good idea for the horses, but betting Polytrack has been brutual and watching it on TV has been even worse - the horses are almost completely hidden in a cloud of Poly.

Anyway, the new surface has lead to big fields, more shippers from south of the border and the amount wagered on a card of racing has been super in the last few months and alll that is good news.

Not too many good races today but they are challenging betting puzzles.

Yesterday, a lot of favourites won as trainers like Sid Attard and Scott Fairlie are dropping their horses right down in class and winning. Apprentice Michelle Rainford, who somehow did not get nominated for a Sovereign Award this year, won 4 dashes yesterday and you can see her riding style is brimming with confidence.

What to look for today?

Other than a huge number in the "handle" department (how much will be bet on the 13 races), Robert Tiller could have a good day - he is well represented in races 1 3 and 5.

Promising 2-year-old EASTERMAN makes his 2nd career start after a handsome debut win (race 4) and could get himself into a very crowded group of contenders for next year's Queen's Plate.

Will tough little CRAFTY BROAD finally win today? The claiming filly has had 12 starts in 2006 with three 2nds and four 3rds. Today she shortens up and gets blinkers.

Race 6 is the 1 7/8 mile starter allowance ($25,000) featuring the red-hot TALL COOL ONE, who now races for trainer Alec Fehr and another grey gelding, LETTHEREBEJUSTICE, this corner's longshot pick to win the race for capable trainer Julia Carey.

RACE 9 is the VALEDICTORY, the signature race for the last day of racing - 1 3/4 miles for $125,000.

Likely Sovereign award winning older horse TRUE METROPOLITAN is 8 to 5 on the 'line' (set by me!) and looks very strong. Watch out for BUREAUCRATIC to fill exactors and tri's.

The LATE PICK 3, races 11, 12 and 13 are tricky but handicapper Jim Bannon makes a good point with ELECTRIC SKY in the 11th (maybe too much kickback for her liking in her last start).

Race 12, for $10,000 claimers is wide open with ARCHER FLEET, SHIPMAN and Scott Fairlie's TRIFECTA rating long looks.

End the day with maidens for $10K and consider Reade Baker's STRATOFAN (Baker won with a litany of first-timers in 2006, most of them with slow workout times), PURDY BOY (Fairlie/Rainford) and longshot prospect X WHITE Z (3rd start off the layoff).
A nice finishing touch to this note is news from the other side of the world that COLLIER HILL, the old, arthrtic gelding who won Woodbine's Canadian International in October, won the Hong Kong Vase over the mare Kastoria this morning (last night, whatever) - proving again that the racing at Woodbine is top class.


  • At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Whoa, Jen, that was SPECTACULAR prognosticating for the 1 7/8 race today !!!

    I am truly impressed.

  • At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Collier Hill showed the same heart today in Hong Kong, holding off Kastoria, as he did at Woodbine when he held off Go Deputy. Impressive indeed!

    We had a photographer over there to cover it for us; you can see the pictures and article at:

  • At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i have found that you have a biased opinion towards trainer reade baker. i thought you were supposed to be neutral. does he pay you. we all know his horses that win with slow works, are fake works. the times aren't real.

  • At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh, good, I read back to see... and the other "anonymous" is a conspiracy theorist too. Just what I expected.

    And whoever heard of someone who writes handicapping info in a racing publication having to be neutral?

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to dinner with another non-neutral Canadian racing writer.

    (unless, of course, his journey has been hampered by a fallen tree or a downed power line)


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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Snow, Ice and soon, a winter nap

Snow and freezing rain for most of the day here in the northwest corner of Peel.
The last 5 days of the Woodbine season are on tap - big fields, lots of races and oodles and oodles of class droppers. Trainer SID ATTARD, who is battling with Reade Baker top the most wins on the year, is plunging so many of his runners in claiming price - the whole thing is just one big head scratch!
Betting on these races on the often hard-to-predict Polytrack (with temps dropping to below 0 Celsius who knows how the Poly will handle it) will be tougher than usual.
No stakes race on Saturday because the meet was extended the extra week this summer because of Polytrack construction. The final stake of the year, the 1 3/4 mile Valedictory is on Sunday.

Tonight, horses with sharp recent workout times to note include GOZO PARK, a first-time starter in the 3rd race who is a half-brother to an undefeated 2yo stakes winner of 2005 and FULL HOUSE, a filly in the 5th race who adds blinkers for trainer Mark Casse.


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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sorokolit program serves notice

Bill Sorokolit's breeding program rose to the top once again in Ontario when his homebred Out of Place filly Palace Pier upset heavily favoured Catch the Thrill in Saturday's Ontario Lassix Stakes for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies.
Palace Pier was shrewdly ridden by Todd Kabel as the jockey put the filly on the pace from the start and helped her hang on to a 3/4 length win over a charging Catch the Thrill (by A.P. Indy). The Woodbine Polytrack had a lot of kickback once again yesterday and, with a very strong headwind hitting the horses in the face into the stretch, off-the-pace runners had a devil of a time catching up. Catch the Thrill ran a big race - the Beyer Figure for the 1 1/16 mile event was a solid 84 - but did she cost herself some votes for the Sovereign Award for top 2-year-old filly?
Sorokolit, who also bred likely turf male champion Sky Conqueror, is certainly one of the favourites for top owner and breeder in Canada in 2006.

And GARDINER FARMS has to be considered the front runner for top breeder as Dancer's Bajan won the Kingarvie Stakes yesterday for 3 Sons Racing Stable and trainer Bob Tiller.
The chestnut and chrome son of Gardiner stallion Trajectory battled back to win by a nose over D Bold Ruler. Tiller said after the race he "loves Trajectory and Gardiner Farms". The trainer also bought multiple stakes winning 2yo filly Midnight Shadow (also by Trajectory) from Gardiner.

A recent champion bred by Gardiner - RARE FRIENDS - recently posted a bullet 3 furlong workout at Mountaineer and appears headed for more racing despite reaching low claiming levels at Fort Erie this fall. The speedy old-timer certainly merits retirement.

And remember OLYMPIAN? A track-record setting gelding who won $558,000 on the track raced this year as a 9-year-old at bush tracks in the United States but was not a factor for $2,500 claiming.


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Friday, December 01, 2006

Sovereign Voting Begins

**Woodbine fans - Please check the DRF handicapping column by Ron Gierkink in today's edition. Gives a Woodbine report card and, as great a track as it is, there is some work to do! Hope the story gets some notice.


If you are one of the 60-70 folks across Canada who have a vote for Sovereign Awards (Dec. 15) in Toronto, honouring the best horses and horsepeople in the country, or if you just love Canadian racing, here is a preview of some of the contenders, possible winners and some opinions on who should win.


*Result of the Ontario Lassie Stakes on Saturday plays an important role here. CATCH THE THRILL won the Princess Elizabeth in fast time (90 Beyer) and if she wins the Lassie, she probably deserves the Sovereign. Lassie entrant Quiet Action may attract attention if she wins on Saturday. Three-time stakes winner Midnight Shadow has accomplished the most, has run fast on occasion but only in sprints.


‘Leo’, as in LEONNATUS ANTEAS. He never lost, he won on turf, inner dirt and Polytrack and came back lame in his last 2 starts to boot.


Do you go with the Oaks and Bison City winner KIMCHI or the Duchess, La Lorgnette (and 2nd in Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland) VESTREY LADY. Even Sam-Son’s Strike Softly merits a look. But Vestrey Lady looks like she deserves to win.
*Top grass filly ARRAVALE is not only not eligible for this category 9a ‘main track) category, but was a grass horse only – thus her placement in turf categories. She’ll win a couple of Sovereigns so she doesn’t need one more.


EDENWOLD won the Queen’s Plate but that was the only time he really handled SHILLELAGH SLEW, who won two graded stakes later on in the season.


FINANCINGAVAILABLE. Five of eight, all stakes, $490,000. That’s all that needs to be said.


It has been a while since a Western Canadian horse received any respect at the Sovereign Awards but that will change when TRUE METROPOLITAN, who won 7 races, all stakes (!!) including Woodbine’s Grade 3 Slots Cup cruises in this category. Hey, he should get mentioned for Horse of the Year.


ARRAVALE – made a million this year, won 2 Grade 1’s.



JUDITH’S WILD RUSH or MAIN EXECUTIVE. Arravale fans will also vote for her here since she won a sprint. Tee hee.

ARRAVALE deserves it. TRUE METROPOLITAN and FINANCINAVAILABLE would be other finalists.

DREAM SMARTLY, dam of MAIN EXECUTIVE and another sprint champion, 2004’s Blonde Executive.

Hmmmmm, it will be a battle between Enna Jayne Wilson, Jim McAleney and Todd Kabel it seems. Emma for apprentice too? Hmmmm, again.

Reade Baker should win again although Sid Attard and Mark Casse and Mike DePaulo have had big years.

The bad thing about these categories is that they are always won by Sam-Son or Stronach now, simply because of numbers, numbers, numbers.
Do the right thing and vote for people like the folks at GARDINER FARMS (breeder) or Bill Sorokolit (Breeder/owner) or TUCCI STABLES (owner) or…


  • At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Re: True Metropolitan's "7 races, all stakes (!!)":

    Once upon a time George Royal won 9 stakes (in a single race meet!!) but had the unbelievable misfortune of being in the same crop as Northern Dancer (nuf said!). {this is not in any way a reference to the 2006 vote}

  • At 11:41 AM, Blogger Kennedy said…

    I noticed that you are the only member of the TBA who does not post the point standings on your site. Perhaps you dont believe in them but andyway those point standings are illogical and limited anyway. For instance they cannot be used to calculate the Canadian championships. I have developed a point system of my own that is posted on my blog. I'll copy the results for the Canadian racing year in another comment as it might get lengthy

    PS - I enjoy your stuff very much.

  • At 11:50 AM, Blogger Kennedy said…

    Overall Top 10
    True Metropolitan - 144.60
    Arravale - 138.50
    Shillelagh Slew - 126.28
    Sky Conqueror - 123.20
    Royal Challenger - 104.68
    Edenwold - 89.86
    Leonnatus Anteas - 88.26
    Cold War - 88.23
    Arch Hall - 84.54
    Halo Steven - 75.26

    Older Horse
    True Metropolitan - 144.60
    Cold War - 88.23
    Arch Hall - 84.54

    Older Mare
    Financingavailable - 70.18
    Monashee - 49.90
    Hide and Chic - 41.54

    Turf Horse
    Sky Conqueror - 123.20
    Le Cinquieme Essai - 70.60
    Last Answer - 62.10

    Turf Mare
    Arravale - 138.50
    Financingavailable - 70.18
    Ambitious Cat - 48.30

    3yo colt
    Shillelagh Slew - 126.28
    Royal Challenger - 104.68
    Edenwold - 89.86

    3yo filly
    Kimchi - 61.20
    Vestrey Lady - 44.04
    Like A Gem - 38.60

    Judiths Wild Rush - 74.50
    Just Rushing - 73.44
    Main Executive - 54.68

    2yo colt
    Leonnatus Anteas - 88.26
    Barilko - 52.36

    2yo filly
    Catch The Thrill - 27.94
    Coy Coyote - 24.68

    Just some food for thought.

  • At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    the awards are all political. it's who knows who. its always the same good old boys club at woodbine. the most deserving never wins, especially when certain trainers are buying their votes.


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