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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Judith matches up 103 Beyer Figs

Sleek and speedy champion JUDITHS WILD RUSH is in the best form of his career having won Saturday's Vigil Stakes, Grade 3, in easy fashion as the 2 to 5 favourite. The grey son of Wild Rush posted a second consecutive 103 Beyer Figure in the seven-furlong race.
Owned by Harvey Tenenbaum and trained by Reade Baker, Judith was tugging at jockey Jim McAleney early in the race while Twisted Wit and Record Buster battled for the early lead. The gelding overhauled the leaders late on the turn and strolled to victory in 1:22 2/5.

Saturday also marked the return of SHILLELAGH SLEW, a Queen's Plate contender (see note below) and the colt had an impressive performance, posting an 85 Beyer Figure.

Earlier on the card, Four Scor Racing Stable and trainer Dan Vella unleashed QUICK EMOTIONS, a 2-year-old filly who scored a stunning win in a 2-furlong juvenile race. The daughter of Golden Missile out of Cheers and Tears (Bold Ruckus) sped from the gate like a jackrabbit and won by open lengths in :21 3/5.
It was easily one of the most impressive 2-furlong performances by a juvenile in North America in recent years according to several veteran racing observers.
What is interesting about the filly's win is that her four recordded workouts were slow moves of :25 BG, :37B, :25B, :25 3/5 H. Did they really manage to get this filly to go that slow in the mornings before turning on the jets in her debut?

At Tampa Bay Downs, CATHERINE DAY PHILLIPS sent out HOUSE OF MAGIC, a Canadian bred by Free House, to win a $19,700 turf allowance race in 1:43 1/5. The colt was bred by Eurowest Bloodstock.

SUNDAY MAIDEN WATCH - Two-year-old boys takes their turn at Woodbine. The only experienced colt in the field, Fast Trick, was a close second in his debut on April 16 but there could be a very quick one in this field. ANTARCTIC, a $155,000 weanling purchase, is by a speed sire and from a mare who won 16 races and has produced 3 juvenile winners. Top 2-year-old rider David Clark is on board.

2 Comments:

  • At 9:02 AM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    Jen,

    Here is another horse to keep an eye on today. Malakoff ran a huge race at Gulfstream going 9 furlongs not all that long ago. Now he will face Woodbine maidens. He's my early Plate horse so I hope he runs a big one.

     
  • At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    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!!

     

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

'Shillelagh' dazzles


(Shillelagh Slew working at Classic Mile in Florida this winter)

Queen's Plate buzz became very loud Saturday afternoon when David James' SHILLELAGH SLEW crushed an allowance field at Woodbine by 4 1/4 lengths in his first start as a 3-year-old.
The Quebec-bred son of Chief Seattle - Frippalina was allowed to keep rolling past the wire by jockey Dino Luciani and galloped out more than 20 lengths ahead of his toiling rivals.
Shillelagh Slew is trained by Mike DePaulo, who also has the undefeated BAD HAT, another Plate hopeful.
"Mike wanted him to gallop out a bit," said Luciani. "And he galloped out phenomenally."
The colt, who was bred by Haras Di Chevrillard, won a maiden race and was third in the Coronation Futurity last year in 4 starts as a 2-year-old.
"He was a bit skinny last year and lost some of his tail but it's grown back and he's just been doing so well," said DePaulo.
Shillelagh Slew cerainly ran to his impressive looks in the paddock, striding out like he wanted so much more as he came to the wire with his ears pricked.
The time of 1:23 4/5 was impressive over a surface that was not playing fast.
Other Plate eligibles in the 12-horse allowance field included runner-up Seeking Shelter, who was making his 3-year-old debut for Pin Oak Stable and King Serpico Stable's Salty Earle, who finished third.

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Stavro honoured




This photo appeared on the Woodbine website today. Woodbine jockeys wore black armbands in honour of the late Steve Stavro, a friend of horse racing and one of the country's top owners and breeders. (photo courtesy of Woodbine Entertainment)

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Baker 'Hard' to beat

Two starters and two winners on Friday for last year's Sovereign Award winning trainer Reade Baker and there seems to be no stopping the Baker barn as Woodbine gets set to begin a five-day racing schedule next week.
Of course, both winners were taking significant drops in class and edges over their fields. Paula McCartney, owned by Park Stud, dropped in for $10,000 maiden claiming from $25,000 and won handily.
Most impressive on Friday's card was Baker's newly acquired Doubly Hard, claimed at Gulfstream Park for newcomers to Woodbine - Castle Village Stable. Doubly Hard, picked up for $14,000, won for $12,500 yesterday by 4 1/2 lengths but could have won by much more. The bay 5-year-old gelding was geared down by jockey Jim McAleney and scorched five-furlongs in :57 2/5. Doubly Hard was claimed by trainer Noel Randall for owner Albert Sanges.
Baker's pair gives him 10 scores on the meeting.

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Desert set for comeback

Plate winner returns next week

Wild Desert, the 2005 Queen's Plate winner, has arrived at Churchill Downs for the $100,000 Alysheba Stakes, to be run Friday on the Kentucky Oaks card.
The son of Wild Rush - Desert Radiance is considered one of the best horses that top trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has in his care this season.
Wild Desert was bred by Jeff Begg's Windways Farm.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Retreat has a big work at the Downs

The Mark Casse trained SEASIDE RETREAT, one of Canada's better 2-year-old performers last season, had a sizzling workout at Churchill Downs this morning and it appears as if the son of King Cugat is Kentucky Derby bound.
While the colt will certainly be higher than 50 to 1 in what may be a 20-horse field, the five furlong workout in a bullet :59 2/5 has his interests ready to send the colt to the big event. Patrick Husbands worked Seaside Retreat and will ride the colt in the Derby. Casse also starts Top Notch Lady in the Kentucky Oaks on May 5.

Keeneland ends tomorrow so Canadians are converging back to Woodbine but already, the three racing days this week at the Etobicoke track have plenty of horses in each race.
On the final Keeneland card, a 2-year-old named SANIBEL STORM is worth a look even though she is pitted against babies from the mighty Steve Asmussen barn. Sanibel Storm worked one furlong at a sale in Florida in a speedy :10 2/5 and has worked well since then.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Casse, Husbands in Kentucky

It's beginning to look more likely that Woodbine trainer Mark Casse and jockey Patrick Husbands will not only be involved in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs but also the May 6 Kentucky Derby.
Seaside Retreat, who is number 19 of an allowed 20 horses on the earnings list for possible starters, is already at Churchill.
Since Casse will saddle Robert Wilson's Top Notch Lady in the Oaks, with his main rider Husbands in the tack, Seaside Retreat will probably get a start in the Derby.
Casse has said that the son of King Cugat did nt handle the Keeneland surface in his last start when beaten almost 30 lengths by Sinister Minister.
Seaside Retreat was one of Canada's better 2-year-olds of 2005 but as an American-bred, is not eligible for the Queen's Plate.
For in-depth coverage of the Derby, check out the Louisville Courier-Journal

Thoroughblog wants to know your picks and insights for the Derby so send them along!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Palladio returns

Canada's champion 3-year-old of a year ago, Palladio, trained by Roger Attfield, makes his first start as a 4-year-old in Keeneland's Grade 3 Ben Ali Handicap on Thursday afternoon.
The son of Lycius has trained strongly for Attfield and his new jockey for the Ben Ali will be Rafael Bejarano.
There are only five rivals for Palladio to defeat but each one has had recent racing including speedy Wanderin Boy, whose 113 Beyer Figure from his Keeneland win on April 7 makes him very tough.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Woodbine Wash Out and Weekend Winners

It just didn't stop raining.
Woodbine got through six races on Sunday but when Great Auntee wobbled and bobbled along the treacherous inside path in the sixth race and almost fell down, the decision to cancel the remainder of the races was easy.
The Star Shoot Stakes, an important 3-year-old filly race has been re-scheduled for next Sunday April 30 and is now only a week before the Fury Stakes, another 3-year-old filly event.

From 25 races run at Woodbine since Friday, most of which took place in deep slop, 14 were making their second starts of the meeting or were wintered raced. The fact that 11 of the winners were making their seaon debuts or were first-time starters, says a lot about the preparation these horses are undergoing with the trainers.

The Baker steamship continues to power along with three more winners including Queen's Plate hopeful ATLAS SHRUGS (Woodstock Stakes, lifetime best 79 Beyer Figure). Scott Fairlie has been impressive with his starters this spring and added two more winners on the weekend while Laurie Silvera, Jody Hammett and Mike DePaulo also clip along nicely.

Speaking of Atlas Shrugs, his name appears on the list of eligibles for the Queenston Stakes on May 6, a seven-furlong race that is essentially the first important prep for the Plate.
It's a healthy list of 28 Ontario-breds but to this point, the quality of runners is lacking.
Yes, Canada's champion 2-year-old of last year, EDENWOLD (Southern Halo), is scheduled to race but he's in a bit of a hurried schedule and might not be at his top form for the race. THINKING OUT LOUD (Regal Classic), who would have been one of the Plate winterbook favourites had he been originally kept eligible for the race (he will be supplemented by the May 15 deadline) is on schedule and is a a pretty good runner having won the Coronation Futurity last fall.
After those sophomores, there are many 3-year-olds with lots of proving to do. Indeed, the most impressive colt on the page as far as Beyer Figures are concerned is the California maiden TOWN THIEF (Cape Town), who appears to be close to a race.

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Friend of racing: Steve Stavro (1927-2006)

Steve Stavro, owner of Knob Hill Stables and an enthusiastic lover of racing, passed away overnight from a heart attack. He was 78.
The grocery store entrepreneur also owned the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors and Air Canada Centre. He sold is Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment in 2003.
Stavro was born on Sept, 27, 1927, in Gabresh, Macedonia, Stavro came to Canada at a child and eventually opened Knob Hill Farms food terminals.
His Knob Hill Stable grew into one of the country's most successful racing operations, racing Horse of the Year Benburb and Thornfield, both homebreds.
Stavro, as well, was honoured with Sovereign Awards in 1992 as Outstanding Owner and Breeder.
In 1993, his filly Apelia was voted a Sovereign Award as top sprinter. In 1999, Thornfield carried the Knob Hill colours to an upset win in the Canadian International, scoring at 17-1 and going on to Top Male Turfer and Canadian Horse of the Year honours.
Stavro was a dear friend of LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society and anually donated money for the racehorse retirement group for its charity events.
Young trainer Kevin Attard just began conditioning Stavro's runners in 2006 including several fillies nominated to the upcoming Fury Stakes.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Solid return for Plate hopeful

Pyramid Park, the 5th choice in the winterbook odds for the June 25 Queen's Plate rallied to be a close second in his first start as a 3-year-old Sunday afternoon at Woodbine.
The son of Tethra was a bit slow to get going in the ankle-high slop, was tapped on the neck with jockey Slade Callaghan's whip, and then settled in for a rail run to the turn in the seven-furlong allowance race.
The colt floated off the rail and rallied in the four path down the stretch but came up 1 1/2 lengths short of catching speedster Initforthemoney.
"I thought he ran pretty well for his first race of the year over that kind of track," said Callaghan. "He took a little while to get a hold of the track so he did struggle a bit. I did think he was going to punch in a little more in the stretch but he didn't really like the track."

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Speed wins, then loses

A very sloppy main track at Woodbine on Saturday meant horses who didn't get mud in their faces and had early speed had a bit of an advantage during the 10-race card. That's not to say the track was speed favouring since there was at least one thrilling stretch run put in by a closer on a drizzly and cool day.
As noted by Milhouse (see comment below "Old guys" post), some new stars emerged on the afternoon including Bruno Bros. Farms' MAIN EXECUTIVE, who coasted to a win in the 5th race, an optional claiming/allowance dash at 5 1/2 furlongs. The speedy full brother to champion sprinter Blonde Executive got away with an easy pace in the race as previously undefeated Verne's Baby, the giant stakes winning gelding who had not raced in almost a year, tracked him on the outside. He never caught up as Main Executive and regular rider Richard Dos Ramos hung tough. Stakes bound? Not sure about that but this was the 4-year-old's first real test and he passed.
The quick ones were not as successful in the 108th Woodstock Stakes but the top two finishers are Queen's Plate eligibles who figure to show up next in the May 6 Queenston Stakes.
The incredibly hot Reade Baker stable developed ATLAS SHRUGS over the winter from a $50,000 claim to stakes winner for the partnership of Roberts and Pepper.
A sizzling early pace set by L'Argent (:22 for the first two furlongs) took its toll on that Silver Deputy colt and almost all the others who chased him.
Atlas Shrugs, a compact son of Compadre, was zooming past horses off the turn and got into traffic trouble but was ultra tough to overcome the melee, get loose and blow past for the score under jockey Corey Fraser.
Another son of Silver Deputy, VIBANK, was never comfortable on the sloppy surface according to jockey David Clark, but staved off all the other speed and held on for second.
The pair will likely meet up with last year's champion 2-year-old colt EDENWOLD in the Queenston.

2 Comments:

  • At 4:50 AM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    Hey Jen,

    Just a quick note for you. After Main Executive's win yesterday his trainer Radlie Loney mentioned on Sun Tv that he will be making his next start in the New Providence Stakes on Saturday May 13th (providing he came out of the race in tip top shape.) Then we will see if he can become a stakes winner like his big sis Blonde Executive. Also wanted to mention that Bear Character ran a big race in the "last chance" Lexington. Could we possibly see him next here at Woodbine in the Marine?

     
  • At 7:07 AM, Blogger Jen Morrison said…

    Sure, Main Executive would certainly be a presence in the New Providence, especially since it is restricted to Ontario-sired runners. If he meets up with Verne's Baby again in that longer sprint, however, it might be a different story.
    The 'Bear', Danny Dion, who owns Bear Stables must have been thrilled with the very gutsy effort by his Dixie Union colt in the Lexington. The winner, Showing Up, remained undefeated and could be a superstar on his way to the Kentucky Derby.
    I would be surprised if Bear Character 9an American-bred and not Queen's Plate eligible) was not in the Marine on May 20 at Woodbine and that make things very tough for the Plate hopefuls in that field...

     

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Just who was Star Shoot?

Sunday's Star Shoot Stakes, a six-furlong sprint which is often used as an early prep for the Labatt Woodbine Oaks for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, was first run the year Woodbine opened, 1956. The race was held at Greenwood that year and was won by Orchestra, who, incidentally, also won the Woodstock Stakes the same year (the Woodstock was held for the 108th time today).
Curiously, the Star Shoot is named for a male horse who sired one of racing's all-time great runners. This famous American son of Star Shoot was owned by J.K.L. Ross who served in the Royal Canadian Navy and was involved in a famous match race at Kenilworth Park in Windsor, Ontario in 1920.
Who was Star Shoot's famous son? Sir Barton.

As for Sunday's race, which could be run over a good-to-muddy Woodbine surface, last year's champion 2-year-old filly in Canada, KNIGHTS TEMPLAR, makes her local debut following some sharp training moves. An American-bred, Knights Templar will not be eligible to the Oaks but her main rival in the Star Shoot is Eaton Hall Farms' Canadian-bred miss GUMBOOTS, who won the prep for this race with a determined late punch. The Dan Vella barn is starting to roll and Knights Templar simply looks too good for her filly rivals.

Incidentally, the last Star Shoot winner to take the Oaks was the mighty Dance Smartly in 1991.

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Old guys continue to roll

They are a lot older than their rivals, certainly wiser and just as fast it seems.
Old-timers like CHRIS'S BAD BOY (Woodbine), DEL MAR SHOW (Keeneland) and the incredible PROVEN CURE (Lone Star, see release in this post) have been taking it to their younger counterparts in recent weeks.
The former, owned by Alpine Stables and trained by Francesca Armata, was stunning in his 9-year-old debut on April 8 at Woodbine, scorching 5 furlongs in :57 3/5, earning a 93 Beyer Figure. That race was the prep for the Jacques Cartier Stakes, am event that Chris by-passed.
At Keeneland today, the oh-so handsome Del Mar Show, owned and bred by the late Allen Paulson, was up in the final strides to win an allowance race over soft Keeneland grass in his second start as a 9-year-old horse.
Read on about Proven Cure's exploits today in Texas:
(from Lone Star press release)

Proven Cure became only the fifth Thoroughbred since 1976 to win a stakes race at the age of 12 when he rolled to a three-length victory over Mr. Meso in Saturday's $40,000 Littlebitlively Stakes at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Proven Cure, ridden by Quincy Hamilton and carrying 122 pounds, covered five furlongs on a turf course labeled "soft" in :57.30 - a stakes record for the second running of the race. He paid $4.60, $3.40 and $2.60 as the 7-5 favorite in the field of nine older horses. Mr. Meso returned $13.40 and $6.40. April's Lucky Boy was another neck back in third and paid $3.60.
The win was the 21st in 85 lifetime starts for Proven Cure and was worth $24,000, raising his career earnings to $733,531 for owner/breeder Dr. William A. Reed's Stonecrest Farm of Kansas City, Mo.
Proven Cure, a Cure the Blues gelding born on April 8, 1994, joined Bold Sundance (b. 1989), Island Day Break (b. 1985), Leaping Plum (b. 1991) and Mayruncouldfly (b. 1974) as horse racing's only 12-year-old stakes winners in the last 30 years. Since turning 11, Proven Cure has won eight of 12 starts and $153,050, including three stakes.
This was Proven Cure's second start in the last 13 days. Previously, he finished a nose back of Charming Socialite in the $40,000 Sam Houston Turf Sprint Cup.
"It'll be up to Dr. Reed if he gets a break," Proven Cure's trainer John Locke said. "I believe he took him home for a while at this time last year. It was just good to get it over with because you're always a little apprehensive."

1 Comments:

  • At 8:03 PM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    Great to see the old dudes doing some great things! Let's hope that they will now retire Del Mar Show because he is now over the million dollar mark in career earnings. Jen what about some of the young guns at Woodbine today? Main Executive a future stakes winner as far as I am concerned rolled, and Atlas Shrug flew home late in the Woodstock. Verne's Baby ran a heck of a race for his first start in over 50 weeks.

     

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Did you know... (Woodstock Stakes)

The Woodstock Stakes will be run for the 108th time (!) tomorrow, likely in the slop, and the 6 furlong dash was once a 1 1/8 mile race.
The first running was won by Curtolima in 1885.
So, the last horse to win the Woodstock and the Queen's Plate was Wando in 2003, a colt who went on to win the Canadian Triple Crown. Impressive yes? Well, before that, it was Whistling Sea in 1965.
This year's Woodstock features Plate hopeful VIBANK, who appears to be a pure sprinter, and the one to beat in the dash. Any speedster that tries to go with this son of Silver Deputy may be sorry.
Will this year's Woodstock lead a path to the Plate? It does not look likely.

George Bigliardi's undefeated VERNE'S BABY is going to be very tough to beat in the 5th race on the card - a super allowance/optional claiming event - especially since the giant gelding is training like a bear and loves a wet track.

At Keeneland, GONE PROSPECTING is the choice from this corner in the Lexington Stakes, the last chance for any Kentucky Derby hopefuls. Terrible weather made the track sloppy on Friday but this colt may handle the surface. Woodbine-based BEAR CHARACTER appears to be overmatched and the speedy FAST PARADE could be caught.

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Opinion: Are the horses forgotten?

This corner will preface this column by saying this - racehorse jockeys are among the most dedicated, toughest and bravest athletes in sports and they are easily admired.
When the world's top jockey, John Velazquez, fractured his shoulder blade after his horse Up an Octave fractured his leg following a win yesterday's Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland, it was one of the biggest stories in sports print and television media of the day (okay, maybe not in Toronto where Pat Quinn was fired as the Leafs head coach).
Yes, Velazquez is a star of the sport, and yes, he may miss riding in the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May, but take a look at the headlines of the news stories found on the web yesterday and today:

"Jockey Injured After Horse Rolls Over Him"
"Jockey Hurt as Horse Falls on Him"
"Horse throws top Jockey"

In the Louisville Courier-Journal, perhaps the best source of racing news in the United States, you had to read down to the ninth paragraph in a story to find out that Up an Octave was euthanized.
To most spectators, the incident was horrible to watch. Up an Octave had just used every inch of his power to win the Forerunner but past the finish line, his leg gave way. The horse tried to get up and continue to run, a picture racing fans have seen many times.
Certainly, the welfare of a human being is going to be addressed at first.Velazquez lay motionless on the grass course before being put on a stretcher. Up an Octave's trainer Todd Pletcher was at his side.
Perhaps by then, a general consensus of Velazquez's injury would have been made, perhaps not. It was likely clear the jockey was somewhat alert and not in a life-threatening situation.
Meanwhile, Up an Octave, the third Todd Pletcher trainee of some reputation to break a leg in recent weeks (Manchurian and Queen's Plate hopeful Manor Lodge) was being destroyed.
Why do these headlines suggest (perhaps only to this corner) that Velazquez was injured because of something his horse did ("rolls on him") and why is it considered an after-thought that the horse was euthanized?
Thoroughbred racehorses are bred to run, it is what they know to do, and they will do it no matter what. They do not know when to stop, even if it hurts - a lot. It is also not the horse's decision to be in races every few weeks.
The men and women who ride these horses in the afternoons and in the mornings deserve and receive a lot of respect, it is a dangerous business. But how about some respect for our noble equine athletes who race their hearts out for us everyday?

3 Comments:

  • At 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Horse Racing is an extremely dangerous business. It's always a sad and difficult to see a horse go down. There is always that gasp followed by a shocking yell from the crowd. Both horse and human should be respected for the amount of courage they display in this risky business.

     
  • At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Youre words have captured what many people believe. Maybe the whole industry will continue to become more aware of the horse's welfare. Certainly the move to polytrack surface, which seems to be safer, is a sign that we are concerned for both our riders and horses.

     
  • At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    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.

     

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Pyramid doing great

PYRAMID PARK, the 5th favourite for the Queen's Plate, according to the winterbook odds released in March, popped up in the Woodbine entries on Sunday, getting his 3yo campaign started after a winter vacation.
The dark bay colt, owned and bred by Eaton Hall Farm, has been training strongly in Florida and Woodbine since February. At that time, trainer Mike Doyle raved about the progress of his colt and it appears as if things continue to be well with the Cup & Saucer Stakes winner.
While it is difficult to guess whether Pyramid Park is better on the grass, as his trainer suspects, the colt landed in a cozy Ontario-sired, non-winners of 2, allowance race at 7 furlongs on Sunday - the 3rd race on the card.
Pyramid Park (Tethra) was tabbed at 12 to 1 in the winterbook for the Plate.
Some other Plate prospects compete in the Ontario-sired maiden race on Sunday - race 5.
They include Neil the Knife (Bold Executive), trained by Bob Tiller and Be Sincere, trained by David Bell.

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Queen's Plate workers, other stuff

Wednesday and Thursday were busy days for Queen's Plate eligibles (June 25) as several had workouts at Woodbine, Keeneland and Santa Anita.
While several leading Plate contenders have already slipped off the screen there are still many quality runners who continue their training.
WANNA RUNNER, who is expected to compete in the May 13 Lone Star Derby in Texas, had a four-furlong workout at Santa Anita yesterday in :48 4/5. The American-owned and trained gelding by El Corredor has to be considered the early Plate favourite since UNIFICATION, the winterbook favourite, has reportedly had his career put on hold.
At Keeneland, Sam-Son Farms' impressive maiden winning filly FEATHERED DIAMOND (A.P. Indy) worked the second fastest 5 furlongs this morning in 1:00 4/5/ Also, Chiefswood Stable's highly regarded colt PIPERS THUNDER had a bullet workout from the gate, likely in company with older stablemate Alleged Ruler, in a sharp :46 3/5.
Champion 2-year-old EDENWOLD had an easy 5 furlong breeze yesterday at Woodbine in 1:03 2/5 while the improving maiden FOREST LIGHT, owned by Kinghaven Farms, had a bullet 4 furlong prep in :47 4/5. Other Plate hopefuls to work included IGALI, who was just behind Forest Light in a recent Woodbine maiden race.

BEWARE OF THE BEAR - Danny Dion's Bear Stable's added to its large collection of 2-year-old purchases in 2006 at Keeneland on Tuesday when paying $62,000 for a Canadian-bred filly by Alphabet Soup from the Mr. Greeley mare Aspenelle. Some of the 'Bear' juveniles are already working at Keeneland.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wednesday Keeneland Watch

Woodbine remains dark for thoroughbreds until Friday but the Keeneland meeting in Lexington, Kentucky continues tomorrow with some interesting races.

Two-year-olds are in action in race 4 and the meet's leading juvenile trainer, Steve Asmussen, has two in the field including the fancy-looking Sequoia King. If you're looking for an alternative for betting purposes, or thinking of an exactor, try FUTURE PROSPECT, who worked 2 furlongs in a rapid :21 3/5 for that 2yo sale in Florida in February.

A mismatch is in the works in race 7 with the return of GORELLA, the filly who was a very troubled 3rd in the Breeders' Cup Mile behind Artie Schiller last fall at Belmont Park. Trained by Patrick Biancone, Gorella lays over the small field traveling 1 1/8 miles on the grass. Bettors are sure to go bananas over her in Win 4 and Pick 4 wagers.

In the 9th and final race, TWIST OF LEMON makes his grass debut and is by a top turf sire in Lemon Drop Kid and a half-brother to 4 turf winners.

1 Comments:

  • At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Andy said…

    Wow - great 'blog !

     

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Monday, April 17, 2006

'Runner' chat

Milhouse adds..
I think you are correct about Wanna Runner not running in the Preakness. It was just something that I wanted to throw out there to see what others were thinking. It always fun to throw around those "what ifs" when we are talking horses. What would be the plan for this horse do you think Jen? Will they race him in easier 3 year old stakes races with all the other big name 3 year olds racing in the American Triple Crown races?

Trainer Bob Baffert has said WANNA RUNNER enjoys time between his races, I wouldn't be surprised if the gelding competes in the Lone Star Derby and then awaits the Plate...

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

'Truth' was set free

Lightly raced ABOUNDING TRUTH rode a dream trip under red-hot Patrick Husbands to win the Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday, the second stakes event of the 168-day meeting.
The 6-year-old daughter of Proudest Romeo is a Florida-bred owned by Douglas Kent Racing and trained by Josie Carroll. A six-furlong specialist, Abounding Truth is a newcomer to the local scene having shipped in from California earlier this month.
Milhouse offers some comments and questions about recent posts and upcoming racing...

Ahhhhhh....The stakes racing season is now officially underway after Judith's Wild Rush and Abounding Truth pulled off impresive wins this past weekend. I thought that Husbands gave Abounding Truth a perfect ride. On paper it was a race loaded with speed and that was exactly how the it unfolded. 5 horses battled up front and Abounding Truth sat all by herself in the 2nd flight a length off the lead. I picked Sam-Son's High Button Shoes...she won the pace battle, but lost the war. Not without a fight though. She is one to keep an eye on.

Jen, coming up next weekend are the Woodstock and Star Shoot, both major stepping stones for the big 3 year old classics (The Queen's Plate and Labatt Woodbine Oaks.) At this point do you know who is being aimed for these respective races? And you mentioned Wanna Runner as "the horse to beat" right now for this years Plate. Why do I have a feeling we may see this guy in the Preakness? He may not have the graded earnings for the Derby, but we all know the Preakness field is usually half the size of the Derby? Am I far off base with this thought? Happy Easter to all!


Indeed, Sam-Son Farms is very strong in fillies this year and its High Button Shoes ran a miraculous race in her first start since December.
The Woodstock and Star Shoot, while both considered 'preps' for the Plate and Oaks, figure to have minimal meaning on those big races.
The former, a 6-furlong dash, is expected to attract another Carroll sprint specialist, VIBANK, a multiple stakes winner at 2 last year and a very fast colt. The other 15 nominees are either American-bred (not eligible for the Plate) or not considered Plate material as of yet.
The Star Shoot could be dominated by American-bred fillies including last year's champion 2-year-old miss KNIGHTS TEMPLAR, trained by Dan Vella. Knights Templar, who will be ridden by Robert Landry, has been working up a storm since arriving back from Florida in the last month.
As for Wanna Runner (see note below), if trainer Bob Baffert is indeed pointing the horse to the Lone Star Derby (May 13) - and he has won the race before with his second-tier sophomores - then a trip to the Preakness the following weekend seems unlikely. With Baffert sending 3 to the Kentucky Derby, he will surely have at least one for the Preakness. That is just an opinion from Thoroughblog.

1 Comments:

  • At 1:19 AM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    I think you are correct about Wanna Runner not running in the Preakness. It was just something that I wanted to throw out there to see what others were thinking. It always fun to throw around those "what ifs" when we are talking horses. What would be the plan for this horses do you think Jen? Will they race him in easier 3 year old stakes races with all the other big name 3 year olds racing in the American Triple Crown races?

     

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Lone Star next for Plate hopeful

Mike Pegram's WANNA RUNNER, who is quickly becoming the horse to beat in the Queen's Plate even though that race is still over two months away, will start next in the May 13 Lone Star Derby in Texas.
According to a report in the Fort Worth Telegram, Wanna Runner (El Corredor) is also still being pointed to the $1 million Plate.
"He's a really good horse," Baffert told the Telegram. "He's just now coming around and figuring things out."
Wanna Runner, bred by Yvonne Schwabe, won the recent WinStar Derby at Sunland Park. And in January, in the San Rafael, he finished third behind Brother Derek, the likely Kentucky Derby favorite.


(Pictured is Edenwold, last year's champion 2-year-old, who was scheduled to arrive from California, via Kentucky, last night to trainer Josie Carroll's barn. According to owner Jim Sapara, Edenwold, is "on schedule" for a journey to the June 25 Queen's Plate. Photo courtesy of Dave Landry)

1 Comments:

  • At 6:52 PM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    Ahhhhhh....The stakes racing season is now officialy underway after Judith's Wild Rush and Abounding Truth pulled off impresive wins this past weekend. I thought that Husbands gave Abounding Truth a perfect ride. On paper it was a race loaded with speed and that was exactly how the it unfolded. 5 horses battled up front and Abounding Truth sat all by herself in the 2nd flight a length off the lead. I picked Sam-Son's High Button Shoes...she won the pace battle, but lost the war. Not without a fight though. She is one to keep an eye on.

    Jen, coming up next weekend are the Woodstock and Star Shoot, both major stepping stones for the big 3 year old classics (The Queen's Plate and Labatt Woodbine Oaks.) At this point do you know who is being aimed for these respective races? And you mentioned Wanna Runner as "the horse to beat" right now for this years Plate. Why do I have a feeling we may see this guy in the Preakness? He may not have the graded earnings for the Derby, but we all know the Preakness field is usually half the size of the Derby? Am I far off base with this thought? Happy Easter to all!

     

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

'Eggs-cellent' racing

While all the buzz in the United States centred on the settling of Kentucky Derby dust following today's Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby, the Woodbine plant was buzzing with customers who saw some good racing on Friday and Saturday.
Today, the meeting's first stakes race marked the return to top form for JUDITH'S WILD RUSH, last year's champion sprinter, owned by Harvey Tenenbaum. The grey 5-year-old rallied 3 wide off the turn for the wire and wore down a gritty High Volt Jolt, stopping the clock in a sharp 1:09.
Trained by Reade Baker, who may have the favourite in tomorrow's Whimsical Stakes in champion Gold Strike, Judith's Wild Rush figuers to head next to the April 29 Vigil Handicap.

Speaking of Baker, the trainer informed Thoroughblog that he has a pair of 2-year-olds in his barn for American-based Centaur Farms, which won Friday's Shakertown Stakes (Gr. 3) at Keeneland with ATTICUS KRISTY, a Thoroughblog selection.
Centaur raced 2001 Grade 1 winning filly Exogenous and Baker is currently training that star's 2-year-old half-sister, Palhmuhree, a grey filly by Gone West.
Canadian Horse of the Year Soaring Free was a troubled sixth in the Shakertown in his first start since last summer for Sam-Son Farms.

Following his easy romp in Oaklawn's Arkansas Derby, LAWYER RON heads to Louisville and the May 6 Kentucky Derby as the main threat to favoured BROTHER DEREK. Despite an intimidating trip around the first turn and a rank approach into the backstretch, 'Ron' took off from his 12 rivals to win in impressive style. The Blue Grass also featured a speed party as SINISTER MINISTER ran like a wild horse throughout the nine-furlongs and wired a weary field.
The Derby field could be summed up in one word right now - speed. There will be lots of early lick in this year's edition, who is your pick?

Happy Easter!

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It was over in a blink

The first recognized 2-furlong race in Woodbine history occured on Saturday and was won by Gil Rowntree's homebred 2-year-old grey filly SILVER TWINE (Stormy Atlantic). Heavily bet to 5 to 2, down from her 8 to 1 morning line, Silver Twine won by three-quarters of a length under Corey Fraser. Mike Wright's True Reality (War Deputy) finished a game second.
"None of them knew they were doing out there," said Fraser, who was talking about the eight-horse field of fillies and not his fellow riders. "I could tell they were all looking at each other."
All but one of the fillies (That's So Romantic was squeezed at the start and trailed) finished within a couple of lengths at the finish of the dash which was clocked in :22 3/5.
More 2-year-olds will be in action on Easter Sunday in the colt split of the 2-furlong maiden allowance race.

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Casse, Husbands in Kentucky

Kentucky-bred SEASIDE RETREAT will attempt to run down the speed in today's $750,000 Toyata Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland racecourse and earn a trip to the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.
Winner of Woodbine's Display Stakes last fall, the bay son of King Cugat is the first Woodbine-based horse to race in the Blue Grass since Steve Stavro's Granacus won the 1988 renewal.
Seaside Retreat, trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Patrick Husbands, is a fast improving colt but his outside post position and running style are negatives over the inside, speed nature of Keeneland's track.

Husbands is reunited with last year's champion turf mare AMBITIOUS CAT in the Jenny Wiley (Gr. 2, race 7) for Chiefswood Stable. The stretch-running mare is so much better on Woodbine's grass course because of the longer stretch run.

At Oaklawn Park, the Arkansas Derby is the final Kentucky Derby prep for red-hot LAWYER RON, who didn't scare away his rivals as 13 have entered to try and beat the son of Langfuhr.
Watch out for the improving NEW JOYSEY JEFF in the Ark. Derby

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

'Good' Friday

Woodbine's 50th meeting continues on holiday Good Friday with 10 races but then struggles somewhat through the weekend with 9 races on both Saturday and Sunday. The saving grace are the weekend features, the Jacques Cartier and Whimsical Stakes, which are both very competitive in nature.
Keeneland, which is hosting the most prestigious meeting of the spring, also has 10 races including a pair of graded races on the grass.
Canadian Horse of the Year SOARING FREE is making a comeback in the Grade 3 Shakertown, a race he won last year and in 2004. The Sam-Son Farms gelding raced just four times last year and has not been seen since Aug. 27 when he faded to be sixth in the Play the King Stakes. Wintered at his owner's farm in Ocala, Soaring Free is perhaps a bet-against this time around as he starts from the rail post in a big field.
Consider the improving 5-year-old ATTICUS KRISTY if you are looking to bet the race.

A week after FEATHERED DIAMOND won her maiden for Sam-Son Farms, the stable's HER EXCELLENCY, a Woodbine Oaks candidate, makes her second career start, and first of 2006, in Keeneland's 5th race for maidens. The beautifully bred daughter of Deputy Minister is in post 9 in a very tough field but should be included in triactor bets since her workout times at Palm Meadows have matched or bettered some talented stablemates.

As a side note, noted trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who is currently batting at a soft 6% as a conditioner these days, sent out Grade 2 stakes winner DANCE DAILY in today's Beaumont Stakes only to watch the 3-year-old filly, who had been in fluctating form, tragically break a leg during the running. Owned by the Estate of Bob Lewis, Dance Daily was euthanized.

1 Comments:

  • At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good call on Kristy. You are a Keeneland money machine ...

    rl

     

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No plans for Plate fave

A representative from Godolphin Stables in Dubai told Thoroughblog today that Queen's Plate winterbook favourite UNIFICATION does not have any racing plans in the future at this time.
The note suggested that the jet-black son of Dixie Union, who fared poorly in three starts during the winter in Dubai, may be off the Plate trail.
Stay tuned for more updates.

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Arch Hall homeward bound

Eugene Melnyk's homebred 5-year-old ARCH HALL will soon be headed back to Woodbine and trainer Mark Casse following a tough loss in yesterday's Fifth Season Stakes (Gr. 3) at Oaklawn Park.
The son of Archers Bay had an ideal trip throughout the 1 1/16 mile race and, when he shook free at the head of the stretch, stormed to a short lead. The horse led at the eighth pole but was surprised in the final furlong by outside Kid Grindstone, who rallied from behind the Melnyk star.
Melnyk farm manager Phil Hronec said Arch Hall could be "a serious horse" at Woodbine this season.

At Keeneland today, Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield has three horses entered including Canada's 2004 yearling sale topper, SHADOW RUSH, a Queen's plate eligible. The son of Skywalker was still figuring out the game last year and may find his calling on the grass back at Woodbine.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Plate hopeful Manor Lodge euthanized

Tragic news from the Eugene Melnyk camp Wednesday morning as the owner's leading Queen's Plate contender MANOR LODGE was humanely euthanized this morning following a 5-furlong workout at Keeneland racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky.
The homebred son of Dixieland Band - Marley Vale, a 30 to 1 quote in the Plate winterbook odds, fractured both sesamoid bones in his right front leg, according to Melnyk's farm manager Phil Hronec. The colt also dislocated an ankle and suffered a condylar fracture in the same leg.
Manor Lodge, who was trained by Todd Pletcher, was second, beaten just a neck in his only race which came on March 11 at Gulfstream Park. The colt was less than a week away from making his second career start.

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Canadian-bred 'Hall' stays south

On a wet Wednesday in Toronto, entries will be drawn for the first stakes race of the Woodbine meeting - the $125,000 Jacques Cartier Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for the older guys on the grounds.
Meanwhile, perhaps one of Canada's top older horses for 2006 is Eugene Melnyk's Arch Hall, who has improved dramatically since he returned to racing action last summer for trainer Mark Casse.
The Ontario-sired 5-year-old by Archers Bay was recently a strong second in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park for trainer Tony Reinstedler and that's where the horse competes today.
The Grade 3 Fifth Season Stakes is a 1 1/16 mile race is worth $100,000.
Arch Hall will likely be favoured but may have a tough time running down the speedy PROSPECTIVE KISS.
Arch Hall won the restricted Sir Barton Stakes at Woodbine last fall but for now, is doing well against American company. Could we see him for the May 22 Eclipse Handicap back at Woodbine?
TWO-YEAR-OLD ALERT: Some 2-year-old action on Wednesday includes a group at Keeneland for the 2nd race of the afternoon. While the Steve Asmussen trainee Datrick is sure to get betting support (barn won a 2yo race on Sunday), don't overlook MISTYCAL LIGHT, who may offer some value on the board. Comes from a family of 2-year-old debut winners and his trainer has had 17% juvenile winners from almost 50 starters in recent years.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Derek and Chris

Millhouse, a longtime Brother Derek fan, has some comments about last weekends racing..

I still have some concerns about the mile and a quarter distance. Do you think he will be able to stretch out? I did like the fact that he relxed beautifuly in the Santa Anita Derby. As for Woodbine's last weekend, there is no question who had the best performance and that was the old fella Chris's Bad Boy. It will be interesting to see if he is the first supplemented horse into a stakes race with the Jacques Cartier coming up this weekend. Judging by the way he finished up that race on Saturday I don't think it took anything out of him. I'm a little bit surprised with the lowish figure that Gumboots got for her win. The late pace in that race was terrific. --

I don't see any reason why Brother Derek won't handle the 1 1/4 miles being by Alydar's son Benchmark, who won stakes up to 1 1/8 miles. The question will be the pace set-up of the Kentucky Derby...a race that often features a large field and sizzling early fractions. So far, he has looked pumped up and eager to begin his races and that style will not be successful in the madness that is the Derby. The good news is, he was likely extra-sharp for the Santa Anita Derby and perhaps some of the edge will be off come May 6. Of course, who of our readers are going to bet a heavy favourite in the Derby, that's no fun is it?
Chris's Bad Boy was indeed super impressive off the layoff on the weekend and the 9-year-old was the first winner for trainer Francesca Armata. The Jacques Cartier is likely to be a loaded field with Danieltown, Terrific Challenge and Judith's Wild Rush but they could attempt to get him tro strike again while he's hot.
Gumboots did finish strongly in the prep for the Star Shoot and the 5 furlong distance of that race probably didn't really suit her. Expect more Beyer Figure power later on.

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Plate, Oaks journeys underway

The second week of April brought out some Queen's Plate and Woodbine Oaks contenders in both the afternoon and morning.
Eaton Hall Farms' GUMBOOTS, back from a winter of training in California, reached out in the final furlong to win her 2006 debut at Woodbine on Sunday, posting an 85 Beyer Figure for the 5 furlongs.
The diminutive daughter of Storm Boot - Celmis had to hurry to beat some quicker rivals but galloped out well under Patrick Husbands, who leads all Woodbine riders after four cards.
At Keeneland on Saturday, Sam-Som Farms' highly regarded FEATHERED DIAMOND (AP. Indy) led all the way to win her nine-furlong, 3-year-old debut with a 79 Beyer Figure.
Congratulations to all those bet this attractive filly ($26.00) including one reader, R.L. who sent a comment in over the weekend. (Yes, Feathered Diamond was meant to be a 'tout'!).
Stakes-placed CLASSICAL MISS won her maiden for Harlequin Ranches on Saturday, putting up a 68 Beyer Figure.
On the Plate scene, undefeated BAD HAT worked five-furlongs on Sunday morning in 1:01 1/5 for trainer Mike DePaulo.
And several Plate eligibles had some stretch power in Sunday's 9th race, won by Eugene Melnyk's Kentucky-bred ROCKDUNDO (Carson City). The race produced an 80 Beyer Figure and both FOREST LIGHT and IGALI rallied for purse shares.


Meanwhile, Canadian-owned BROTHER DEREK (Benchmark) who competes for Alberta's Cecil Peacock, is a strong favourite for the May 6 Kentucky Derby thanks to a handy score in the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday. The colt is seeking to be just the fourth California-bred to win the Derby.

1 Comments:

  • At 11:30 AM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    Jen,

    I am a huge Brother Derek fan. However I still have some concerns about the mile and a quarter distance. Do you think he will be able to stretch out? I did like the fact that he relxed beautifuly in the Santa Anita Derby. As for Woodbine's last weekend, there is no question who had the best performance and that was the old fella Chris's Bad Boy. It will be interesting to see if he is the first supplemented horse into a stakes race with the Jacques Cartier coming up this weekend. Judging by the way he finished up that race on Saturday I don't think it took anything out of him. I'm a little bit surprised with the lowish figure that Gumboots got for her win. The late pace in that race was terrific.

     

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday chatter

Peter M. is a devoted student of the game and writes:
Hi again JM - great blog! I liked the q and a about Canadians at Kee. I will be playing again this year anything Frostad sends out - i always disregard anything he raced during the winter at FG (GP in '06) and am only interested in the horses that were working at the farm.
W Martinez has ridden most winners for him in recent years and graham has been a passenger
i am also devoted to Zito and Kimmel here in the spring- Zito has 39 stalls here; Kimmel just 7; Frostad 24 fyi - Pletcher has 40.

thanks for the heads up on the Sorokolit in the 10th (3rd at 12-1) i already loved the winner who is a win machine when i have bet him and the Sky Conqueror gave me something to work with in the tri'...by the way who is Darwin Banach? - Sorokolit used to use Randy Schulhoffer in NY(now retired) - is this guy the trainer of record in ontrario only or does he have the whole string?


Thanks for the note Peter. Darwin Banach is the Sorokolit family's private trainer at Woodbine. He is a former assistant to Phil England.
The Mark Frostad stable is apparently bulging with good fillies. One that competed at Woodbine yesterday was the quirkly CANDLEGLOW, who dropped back badly on the turn in her debut outing and then rallied fast in deep stretch. An unusual but promising first career start.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Keeneland Saturday


While Woodbine's card for Saturday April 8 will not be at the top of the list for bettors, Keeneland's 2nd day of its short meeting offers some interest to Ontario horseplayers.
Labatt Woodbine Oaks and Queen's Plate eligible FEATHERED DIAMOND (A.P. Indy), owned by Sam-Son Farms, is listed at a lofty 20 to 1 as part of an entry with Shine Like The Sun in the 6th race on Saturday. The former is highly regarded by trainer Mark Frostad and note in the filly's only start as a 2yo, she was reportedly bothered by shin problems.
Promising Canadian bred grass horse SKY CONQUEROR competes in Keeneland's 10th race at one-mile on the turf for owner Bill Sorokolit and trainer Darwin Banach.
In New York, Darley Stud's BERNARDINI, one of the best sophomores that likely won't make the Kentucky Derby, figures to make easy work of Aqueduct's 3rd race, an allowance test for entry-level sophomores.
(Pictured is Bernardini at Gulfstream)

1 Comments:

  • At 6:50 AM, Anonymous rl said…

    I don't know if the Feathered Diamond comment classified as a tout but I took a flier on the filly as a result of you pointing her out. Loved the effort and loved the 12-1 even more!!
    Rob

     

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Woodbine TV Schedule

(courtesy Woodbine Entertainment)

The lineup includes a new home, announced Thursday, for the year's
highest profile race, the Queen's Plate, which will be broadcast live on
The Sports Network (TSN) for the first time ever.
The Queen's Plate, the first jewel in Canada's Triple Crown, is slated
for Sunday, June 25. A fast-paced 60 minutes of coverage, climaxing in
two minutes of horse power over 10 furlongs, is scheduled to start at
5:30 p.m.
The Prince of Wales Stakes (July 16 at Fort Erie), the second jewel,
and the Breeders' Stakes (August 6), the third jewel, return to The
Score in special one-hour time slots from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
The Score is also set to air one-hour specials covering the June 11
Labatt Woodbine Oaks (4:30 p.m.) and the inaugural edition of the
Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf (4:30 p.m.) on July 23.
A 90-minute special featuring the September 17 Bell Woodbine Mile (4:00
p.m.) and a two-hour broadcast October 22, comprising the E.P Taylor and
Pattison Canadian International (3:00 p.m.) are also keys to The Score's
stakes menu.
The Score continues its full-card afternoon racing coverage with live
Woodbine coverage, usually from noon to 6:00 p.m., on all but two
Sundays from April 2 to September 3 (except April 9 and June 25).
On the aforementioned Labatt Woodbine Oaks, Prince of Wales, Northern
Dancer and Breeders' Stakes days, regular coverage will end at 4:35 p.m.
to accommodate enhanced coverage of the stakes event.
Fans can also find racing coverage on The Score Wednesday evenings from
May 3 to October 25 (with the exception of July 5) from 7:30 p.m. to
10:00 p.m.
In addition to the shows on The Score and TSN, thoroughbred racing
coverage will also enjoy its first full year on SUNtv, which began its
relationship with Woodbine mid-way through last season.
SUNtv is scheduled to air 26 editions of Woodbine Post Time on Saturday
and Sunday afternoons, concluding December 2, second last day of the
168-day meet.
Most broadcasts will incorporate the day's stakes feature into the
two-hour program, which airs from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Canadians at Keeneland

MILLHOUSE asks about the Keeneland meeting, which begins tomorrow (Friday):

Opening Day for the Spring Meet at Keeneland is Friday. I noticed that Nottawasaga is running for trainer Eric Coatrieux and the Chiefswood Stables. What can you tell us about that horse? Also from your experience with the Spring Keeneland meet, how have Canadian horses done? I Know that during the fall meet they have done pretty well. Is the Spring meet for the Canadian horses more of a stepping stone for races down the line at Woodbine? How do horses who have started at Keeneland traditionally faired when making subsequent starts at Woodbine?

Chiefswood Stables' NOTTAWASAGA, a promising Deputy Minister filly who cost $700,000 as a yearling, competes in Keeneland's fifth race at nine-furlongs on the grass. This is a fast improving and highly regarded miss who fared quite well when in the Tropical Park Oaks at Calder on New Year's Day, her first strat after winning her maiden. Some early trouble in her latest led to a short freshening time and she looms the filly to beat in the comeback.
Canadian horses are often involved in the Keeneland spring meeting because their stables are on their way home from more southern locations. Sam-Son Farms, Roger Attfield and Chiefswood are among the outfits to watch out for this spring. Also, since the Woodbine races are still at short distances for the first few weeks of the meeting, Canadian trainers who want to prepare their horses in longer events can use the Keeneland meeting to get their Oaks, Queen's Plate and grass horses ready.
Because the larger Canadian stables are the ones at Keeneland and its horses are usually of the allowance and stakes calibre, once these runners are back at Woodbine, their success rate is high.
As a side note, Keene;and's first race tomorrow is an intriguing 2-year-old event featuring a colt, ONE GOOD YANK, who sizzled two-furlongs at the Fasig-Tipton Calder sale in February in :21 3/5. He should be well bet to make an impact for trainer Dale Romans.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The 'Main' Event

Woodbine's third day of the 50th racing season came up lighter than many would have expected with just nine races and 77 entrants. The Woodstock Stakes prep, which figured to feature stakes winner Vibank, did not fill with enough entries and thus was not used.
Saturday's feature is an optional claiming/allowance race for non-winners of 2 'other than' or claiming $62,500 and it is a dash that features some serious speed.
Old-timer Chis's Bad Boy, now trained bby Francesca Armata (formerly trained by Vito Armata) has the rail post in the nine-horse field but certainly all attention will be paid to MAIN EXECUTIVE, a gelding who has lost only once in his career.
The Bruno Bros. Farms' homebred makes his first start of 2006 but so do all his rivals except for GREAT ADDICTION, the Mike Doyle-trainee who was 8th in his latest appearance in a five-furlong turf dash at Gulfstream in February, a race that has turned out to be an ultra-key race (three horses emerged from that event to win their next starts).
Considering how the Doyle horses have performed to this point in the Woodbine meeting, Great Addition could be the play at generous odds.

2 Comments:

  • At 12:50 AM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    Jen,

    Opening Day for the Spring Meet at Keeneland is Friday. I noticed that Nottawasaga is running for trainer Eric Coatrieux and the Chiefswood Stables. What can you tell us about that horse? Also from your experience with the Spring Keeneland meet, how have Canadian horses done? I Know that during the fall meet they have done pretty well. Is the Spring meet for the Canadian horses more of a stepping stone for races down the line at Woodbine? How do horses who have started at Keeneland traditionally faired when making subsequent starts at Woodbine?

     
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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Edenwold works at Santa Anita

Champion 2yo colt of 2005 and Queen's Plate contender EDENWOLD (Southern Halo) worked four furlongs at Santa Anita on Sunday (Apr. 2) morning and is not yet at Woodbine as currently reported.
The colt, owned by Jim and Alice Sapara and trained by Josie Carroll, prepped the distance in :49 1/5 and is expected back at Carroll's Woodbine barn this week.
The same morning, another Sapara/Carroll-trainee, DREAM OF VICTORY (Sword Dance), also a Plate eligible, worked a sharp four furlongs from the gate in :48 1/5.
In other Plate news, Mike Pegram's WANNA RUNNER (El Corredor) earned a 92 Beyer Figure for his Winstar Derby victory at Sunland Park last weekend (see stories below), well shy of Barbaro's 103 Beyer for his Florida Derby win at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
Speaking of Beyer Figures, Stonerside Stable's DANIELTOWN (Pioneering), who won the Jacques Cartier prep on opening day at Woodbine, posted a lofty 104 Beyer for his gritty win over Stanley Hough's TERRIFIC CHALLENGE (Royal Academy) and champion JUDITH'S WILD RUSH (Wild Rush)
Should be a super renewal of the Jacques Cartier on April 15.
Last year's champion 3-year-old colt, PALLADIO (Lycius), is up to six furlongs in his workouts having put up a 1:18 1/5 move at Payson Park in Florida on Monday morning.
And, Canadian-bred POINT OF IMPACT (Point Given), not yet Plate eligible but a promising colt who was recently eased up in a botched grass experiment, sizzled six furlongs on April 2 in 1:11 4/5 at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert.

1 Comments:

  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger Neil said…

    Great to see that the Queen's Plate this year will be on TSN. Hopefully they'll promote it aggressively during their World Cup broadcasts in June. That could bring in a lot of viewers.

     

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Winter Indoor Training dominates weekend

Woodbine equine athletes who stayed home during the winter of 2005/2006, instead of heading south, held their own against the winter racing/conditioned horses on the opening weekend of Woodbine's 50th Anniversary season.
Trainer Frank Passero Jr. and John Burness' Colebrook Stable are tied atop the winner's lists after 20 races with Mark Casse with 3 victories each.
Passero trained the Colebrook horses at the owner's Uxbridge, Ontario farm this winter while Casse runners wintered in Florida.
Other winners on the weekend who were trained in indoor facilities in the province included Friendly Theresa, the winner of the Whimsical prep on Sunday, who trained at Pine Valley Farms in Kleinburg, and first-time starter Drinknwiththedevil, conditioned by Dave Cotey, who also wintered at Pine Valley.
Of course, southern-trained horses did well too. In addition to the Casse winners Danieltown (Jacques Cartier prep), Chubasco Cat and Ballado Dancer, trainer Mike Doyle hit with longshot maiden winner Nohoch and Laurie Silvera prepared Saturday maiden winner Whirly Carol in Ocala.

Milhouse shares his outlook on opening weekend at Woodbine:

Opening weekend has come and gone, and there were indeed some surprises and some potential stars of the future that made some noise at Woodbine. Let's first start off with the surprises. It's a tie between Windinthevalley and Cabriolass. Both lit up the tote board, and right now I am still trying to figure out how they both won. Future stars that we saw on Sunday include Chubasco Cat (although the fact that he didn't start his career till he was 4 is a bit of concern) and what did you all think of Drinknwiththedevil and Half Sister? I had a chance to watch that race right at the finish line and I can tell you both those horses were moving pretty good at the end of the race, especially Half Sister. I can't wait to see her next time out. Well Jen as we look ahead to next weekend do you think we will see more of the same....i.e. winter raced horses still having an edge, or will that extra week give the home team enough time to catch up? And what about trainer Mark Casse. He seems to have a lot of Stonerside bullets this year. That's it from this corner. Have a great week...and we will see you all at The Post!

As mentioned, I think the horses who spent the winter in Woodbine are doing quite well so don't be afraid to follow the trainers who already had success on opening weekend.
Drinknwiththedevil's debut score in the 8th race Sunday for maiden allowance 3-year-old fillies was quite impressive considering there were several highly regaded gals in the field.
Gus Schickedanz's Half Sister (half-sister to Triple Crown champ Wando) rallied from last to be a strong second and should win next time out while others in the field seemed to be plagued by what may have been a dead rail path.
Keep reading to find out more about the leading Canadian-bred so far in 2006, Wanna Runner.

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Top U.S owner/trainer talk Plate?

Neil sends in a note from today's El Paso Times regarding Mike Pegram's Canadian-bred gelding Wanna Runner, who won Sunland Park's Winstar Derby on Saturday.
Wanna Runner, bred by Ontario's own Yvonne Schwabe, was the subject of a lot of talk at Woodbine on Sunday. Will the horse come to Woodbine for the June 25 Plate or will his connections race him again to see if he is Kentucky Derby material? Note that Wanna Runner's graded stakes earnings keep him at the bottom rung of Derby hopefuls so if the race is oversubscribed, he might not get into the field.
Here's the note from the El Paso Times:

Talk after each WinStar inevitably turns to the possibility of running in the Kentucky Derby, one of sport's grandest spectacles the first Saturday in May each year.

"It's up to Bobby," Pegram said of what appears to be a very slim possibility of running at Churchill Downs in five weeks. "There's a whole lot of horse racing between now and then.

"Going to the Derby and finishing fifth or sixth doesn't float my boat. There's still the Santa Anita Derby, the Arkansas Derby, the Blue Grass (Stakes)."

Baffert claimed with a goofy smile after the race that he had "Derby" fever. But a more realistic possibility than the Kentucky Derby for the Canadian-bred Wanna Runner might be the Triple Crown north of the border.

The $1 million Queen's Plate, the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown and that country's equivalent of the Kentucky Derby, will be run June 25 at Woodbine in Toronto. In fact, of 191 horses nominated for the Queen's Plate, Wanna Runner is the second-favorite in the Winterbook odds at 6-1, trailing only Unification (4-1).

2 Comments:

  • At 8:24 PM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 8:29 PM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    Opening weekend has come and gone, and there were indeed some surprises and some potential stars of the future that made some noise at Woodbine. Let's first start off with the surprises. It's a tie between Windinthevalley and Cabriolass. Both lit up the tote board, and right now I am still trying to figure out how they both won. Future stars that we saw on Sunday include Chubasco Cat (although the fact that he didn't start his career till he was 4 is a bit of concern) and what did you all think of Drinknwiththedevil and Half Sister? I had a chance to watch that race right at the finish line and I can tell you both those horses were moving pretty good at the end of the race, especially Half Sister. I can't wait to see her next time out. Well Jen as we look ahead to next weekend do you think we will see more of the same....i.e. winter raced horses still having an edge, or will that extra week give the home team enough time to catch up? And what about trainer Mark Casse. He seems to have a lot of Stonerside bullets this year. That's it from this corner. Have a great week...and we will see you all at The Post!

     

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Wanna Run in the Plate?

(Courtesy Bloodstock Research)

Michael Pegram's WANNA RUNNER (El Corredor) fulfilled bettors' expectations on Saturday as the sophomore gelding dominated his opponents as the 4-5 favorite in the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park.
Sky Diving (Aptitude) broke to the early lead, traveling a quarter-mile in :22 3/5, but soon gave that position up as Blaze It (What a Spell) took over, covering four furlongs in :45 3/5 and three-quarters in 1:10 before yielding to the eventual winner at the top of the stretch. Wanna Runner drew off to a 4 3/4-length score and completed 1 1/8 miles over the fast track in 1:48 4/5 under Victor Espinoza.
The Bob Baffert trainee gave back $3.80, $3 and $2.20, while Sky Diving returned $5.20 and $3.80 for the place at 6-1. Belligerence (Robyn Dancer), who was coupled with Wait in Line (Line in the Sand), advanced three wide around the final turn and advanced willingly to get up for third, paying $2.80 at nearly 6-1. Exotics returned $10.60 ($1 exacta), $74.20 ($2 trifecta) and $153.40 for the 5-2-1-3, $2 superfecta.
Wait in Line, Keagan (Basket Weave), Might Be Hooked (Mighty), Blaze It, Doctor Decherd (Louis Quatorze) and Welfare Cadillac (Successful Appeal) rounded out the order of finish.
Wanna Runner finished a solid third to Brother Derek (Benchmark) in the San Rafael S. (G2) to begin his three-year-old season and entered Saturday's race off a fifth in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Bay Meadows. This victory improves his record to 7-3-0-1 and added $300,000 to his bankroll here, which now totals $381,950.
Bred in Ontario by Yvonne Schwabe, Wanna Runner is out of the winning Shebandowana (Mt. Magazine), whose latest foals include an unnamed yearling filly by Kafwain and a 2006 filly by Chapel Royal. Wanna Runner was purchased for $80,000 at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Yearling Sale.
(Wanna Runner was listed as the second favourite in the Queen's Plate Winterbook, released last week)

1 Comments:

  • At 5:30 PM, Blogger Neil said…

    From Sunday's El Paso Times (betcha the Queen'sPlate winterbook doesn't often make the El paso Times):

    Talk after each WinStar inevitably turns to the possibility of running in the Kentucky Derby, one of sport's grandest spectacles the first Saturday in May each year.

    "It's up to Bobby," Pegram said of what appears to be a very slim possibility of running at Churchill Downs in five weeks. "There's a whole lot of horse racing between now and then.

    "Going to the Derby and finishing fifth or sixth doesn't float my boat. There's still the Santa Anita Derby, the Arkansas Derby, the Blue Grass (Stakes)."

    Baffert claimed with a goofy smile after the race that he had "Derby" fever. But a more realistic possibility than the Kentucky Derby for the Canadian-bred Wanna Runner might be the Triple Crown north of the border.

    The $1 million Queen's Plate, the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown and that country's equivalent of the Kentucky Derby, will be run June 25 at Woodbine in Toronto. In fact, of 191 horses nominated for the Queen's Plate, Wanna Runner is the second-favorite in the Winterbook odds at 6-1, trailing only Unification (4-1).

     

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Dust has settled...

A busy and frantic opening day at Woodbine on April 1 - but there were no fool's to be found. The 2nd and 3rd floors were crowded with people as the windy and bleak weather kept all inside. Wagering of $2.8 million was essentially on par with last year's opening which was two weeks later on the calender.
Emma-Jayne Wilson flew through the first of 168 days with 3 scores - who would have expected anything less? - and there was a fair mix of faves and longshots winning throughout the 10-race card.
Champions Judith's Wild Rush and Wholelottabourbon exhibited their vulnerability at the short distances when unable to keep up to sprint specialist Danieltown, the winner of the Jacques Cartier prep event, the feature of the 10-race card.
Fans must have noticed how well the Mike Doyle trainees performed including 29 to 1 shot Nohoch (Great Gladiator), the winner of the day's 8th race for maiden allowance fillies.
The main track seemed to play fair for speed and closers all day, despite a strong west-to-east wind that started to fade as the afternoon progressed.
Winter-raced trained or raced horses had as much success as the layoff horses on the card but a horse certainly needed to have some element of early speed.
As far as Gulfstream's big day, which featured the Florida Derby. NEIL writes in that he also liked longshot Rehoboth in the nine-furlong test...
"I, too, liked Rehoboth in the Florida Derby. There's nothing worse than betting on a horse you see nothing of and know nothing of till Vic says 'Rehoboth had better go'. I knew I should (not) have bet Frank Gomez, who is 2-for-90 or something equally awful in 2006. I'm glad the unbeaten grass horse is still unbeaten because that means he'll be a great bet-against on Derby day. Great story on Barbaro's trainer in Louisville paper
Barbaro

MILHOUSE reflects on day one of the Woodbine meeting:
An interesting opening day to say the least. We had some favourites and some big prices as well. I think it's safe to say that a majority of the horses just are not ready to run yet. That was especially evident in the first three races where the late pace just colapsed. Good days for Frank The Shank and Emma Wilson. A couple of the allowance races produced some interesting results. Make sure to add Like A Gem to your watch list. Galloped out beautifuly after the race was done. Dave Cotey first time starter (Halo Above Me) had a terrible start and finished well as did Runaway Sunshine. Most overbet horse of the day was Judith's Wild Rush. Yes a Champion and winter raced....but had the one hole and going just 5 furlongs. Can't wait to see what day 2 has in store for us. Jen, keep up the great work with the site. It has been a lot of fun to read!
9:59 PM

Thanks for these insights...keep them coming!

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Woodbine 50th season opens today!

High winds, a drying out track and 5 and 5 1/2 furlong dashes for the opening day card - look for those quick horses as it might be tricky to close ground in the stretch run this afternoon.
In addition to the first day of a new thoroughbred season, Gulfstream's Florida Derby day card (check out longshot Rehoboth as a possible play in the Derby itself) is jam-packed with quality stakes events and post time is a 12 noon.
A Queen's Plate contender worth watching today is Stronach Stables' Malakoff, who competes in a tough maiden race at Gulfstream.
The son of Lemon Drop Kid is listed at 12 to 1 in the Daily Racing Form morning line for the day's 4th event. If this colt can beat Darley Stud's Tall Story, who is coming out of one of the strongest key maiden races of the entire meeting, he could win.
Heads up for readers of the Toronto Star (www.thestar.com):
Results charts have been shrunk down and some information has been eliminated. Since it won't be until tomorrow's paper that we see the changes, let's reserve judgement until then.

2 Comments:

  • At 6:33 PM, Blogger Neil said…

    I, too, liked Rehoboth in the Florida Derby. There's nothing worse than betting on a horse you see nothing of and know nothing of till Vic says 'Rehoboth had better go'. I knew I should have bet Frank Gomez, who is 2-for-90 or something equally awful in 2006. I'm glad the unbeaten grass horse is still unbeaten because that means he'll be a great bet-against on Derby day. Great story on Barbaro's trainer in Louisville paper
    http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060331/SPORTS08/603310415/1037/SPORTS08

     
  • At 9:59 PM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    An interesting opening day to say the least. We had some favourites and some big prices as well. I think it's safe to say that a majority of the horses just are not ready to run yet. That was especially evident in the first three races where the late pace just colapsed. Good days for Frank The Shank and Emma Wilson. A couple of the allowance races produced some interesting results. Make sure to add Like A Gem to your watch list. Galloped out beautifuly after the race was done. Dave Cotey first time starter One Sweet Ride had a terrible start and finished well as did Runaway Sunshine. Most overbet horse of the day was Judith's Wild Rush. Yes a Champion and winter raced....but had the one hole and going just 5 furlongs. Can't wait to see what day 2 has in store for us. Jen, keep up the great work with the site. It has been a lot of fun to read!

     

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