Saturday, March 31, 2007
DESERT WARRIORS - WELCOME TO WOODBINE!
4 BREEDERS’ CUP WINNERS – Red Rocks, Thor’s Echo,, Miesque’s Approval, Invasor
EPSOM DERBY WINNER – Sir Percy
$21 million in purses
80+ horses entered
If the $6 million WORLD CUP really is just a showdown between INVASOR and the unbeaten speed demon DISCREET CAT, they let’s have at it, but so many think there are upsetters in PREMIUM TAP and trainer Ian Jory is really talking up a storm with FORTY LICKS, the Argentine-South African who has won 9 of 13.
Meanwhile, anyone who saw Invasor’s win in the Donn is going to be hard-pressed to look elsewhere. That truly was a theatrical score since his young rider Fernando Jara insisted on staying on the rail with the champ and got lucky when his horse overcame a bad stumble in traffic on the turn to win anyway.
PICK – INVASOR, post time 1:30 EST
The Woodbine grandstand will be filling up during the Dubai card as its 51st season of racing begins at 1:10 today.
Other DUBAI races:
GODOLPHIN MILE (9:40 a.m.) 16 horses entered including Americna-based DIXIE MEISTER (Holzmeister), winner of the Grade 2 San Pasqual in Jan. and Canadian Paul Reddam’s aptly-named SPRING AT LAST (Silver Deputy), winner of the Strub last month.
That pair are strong contenders but with no Lasix or Bute and the long trip, let’s take MERLERAULT who has 2 wins in 4 starts on Polytrack in France.
UAE DERBY – 10:15
ASIATIC BOY – too good for these.
The filly FOLK (Quiet American) was visually stunning when she won the UAE OAKS earlier this month, now she tackles the boys. Godolphin has had a horrible meeting in Dubai this spring but the filly looks good and so does its EU TAMBEM, who looks like the real deal.
Straightaway sprint has been dominated by Americans and TERRIFIC CHALLENGE, who last year at this time was racing at Woodbine for trainer Mike Doyle, comes off a nice win in the Dubai prep for this race. The other Americans look off form to me except for FRIENDLY ISLAND, who had a dream trip in his 2007 comeback.
Toss in Polytrack specialist AREYOUTALKINTOME.
SHEEMA CLASSIC 11:55
Last year’s Canadian International winner COLLIER HILL has been scratched from this race.
Breeders’ Cup Turf winner RED ROCKS (owned by Canadian Paul Reddam) is a likely one but how interesting will it be to watch QUIJANO, the German dude who has won 10 consecutive races? The mare HONEY RYDER was edged by Canada’s JAMBALAYA in her last start.
LAVA MAN will win me over with a good run since I have been a fan, but not as convinvced as others when they start throwing around John Henry’s name too. No Lasix, no Bute and is he as good on the grass as dirt? ENGLISH CHANNEL set a course record in his 2007 comeback at Gulfstream without looking like he tried really hard. Indian’s superhorse MYSTICAL looked good winning the prep for this race.
By the time the desert dust settles, Woodbine’s second race will be underway…Come out early to Woodbine for the Dubai card, catch my seminar at 11 a.m. with my special guest, READE BAKER.
ROGER THAT, JAMBALAYA
Canadian-bred JAMBALAYA, who scored a significant win for this country when he won the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders’ Cup Handicap last month, meets 11 others in the 12 furlong Pan American ‘Cap Saturday at Gulfstream.
The Langfuhr – Muskrat Suzie, Vice Regent 5-year-old is the highest Beyer Figure horse in the race off his last race but don’t let that say he’s a lock. Todd Pletcher trainee RAMAZUTTI is sure to bounce back as a lightly raced 5-year-old who declined a bit when beaten 6 lengths by the Canadian dude in the GP Breeders’ Cup.
For my breeding story on Jambalaya, check out tomorrow’s DRF…
Hall of Fame trainer ROGER ATTFIELD has geared up PELLEGRINO, who provided the trainer with his 300th career stakes win last fall at Woodbine, is in the field and remember, this older guy won his 2006 debut in the Grade 3 Elkhorn at Keeneland last spring.
Nine-year-old REVVED UP, from the Christophe Clement barn is also in the field and he was 5th, beaten 3 lengths by Jambalaya in the same race.
Attfield also sends out Canadian champion PALLADIO on the big Gulfstream card in the Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes (race 10). Palladio has raced just twice since November 2005, once last spring and then a comeback race on grass last month at Gulfstream. The return to the dirt should help Palladio (a Kentucky-bred by Lycius) but there are some serious bears in the field including A.P. Arrow, who was beaten just 2 lengths by INVASOR in the Donn Handicap last month.
Canadian-bred WELCOME AGAIN, who ran so well with that 103 Beyer Figure in his season debut and then fizzled in a stake at Fair Grounds, is also in the field and will be long odds.
QUEEN’S PLATE WATCH
Stronach Stables and trainer Brian Lynch send out two of its Queen’s Plate eligibles at Gulfstream Saturday on the sparkling Florida Derby card.
GHETTO SUPERSTAR (Touch Gold – Punchbowl, Two Punch) makes his debut in race 3 at 7 furlongs with Javiar Castellano aboard.
Lynch has said that he thinks the colt has lots of ability. The bad news for those who may want to bet is that the colt is coupled with Kentucky-bred HOLY ROCK (Awesome Again) who is working quickly for Richard Dutrow Jr.
In race 5, MOUNTAIN WOLF (El Prado-Lucky Marty, Fortunate Prospect) makes his 3rd career start in a 9 furlong maiden race. Castellano also rides this colt, who veered out into the stretch in his latest on grass when he felt the sting of the whip for the first time.
At Woodbine on opening day, ASCOT DANCER is an Ontario-sired, Plate eligible with a chance to win the 7th race for co-owner/trainer Robert Tiller.
OLD GUYS MAKE THE GAME GO ‘ROUND
The geriatric set highlight what is otherwise a weak card for the 2nd day of racing at Woodbine for 2007 Sunday. The race may be for $12,500 claiming but don’t tell some of these guys that – many of them are fan favourites.
Two 9-year-olds – VERY PROFESSIONAL and RELAUNCH STAR – square off against a pair of 8-year-olds, the physically striking COOL SELECTION (whose dam Dream Smartly won Outstanding Broodmare at the Sovereign Awards last year) and the speedy LAKEFIELD.
Favoured in the 5 furlong dash, race 7 on the card of 10 dashes, is 7-year-old MIDDLE BAY.
Woodbine regulars may remember Peter Chiodo’s old runner GRILLHOUSE, who made his way through various stables and is now racing at Aqueduct for $7,500 claiming (today). The Metfield gelding is 10-years-old and check out his racing record: 22 wins in 69 starts with 17 other 2nds and 3rds and earnings of $611,502. The gelding is won four times in 2006.
Friday, March 30, 2007
CALM BEFORE THE STORM
Oh yeah, a little race known as the Florida Derby offers up $1 million and a guaranteed ticket to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.
Many questions from readers in recent days about Queen's Plate horses, etc. Thank you to readers who answer questions for me when I am otherwise occupied.
MARCHFIELD, Eugene Malynnk's regally bred colt, bled through Lasix in his last start at Gulfstream and has returned to Ocala for training. Farm manager Phil Hronac said the colt can bounce back.
EASTERMAN, trained by Mike DePaulo, has indeed been missing from the worktab and I have not been able to find out anything as of yet on the Smart Strike sophomore. Stay tuned.
Yesterday, JOHN FORT returned a phone call (the owner of Peachtree Stables) and reported that TWILIGHT METEOR (the Plate favourite) is fine and the Queen's Plate is till the target for the Smart Strike chestnut colt. Fort said the colt got uncharacteristically unsettled in the paddock but has emerged from the race well.
Rain and more rain for opening day weekend at WOODBINE but at least that should make the Polytrack nice and comfortable with little kickback.
More news to come later today....
Thursday, March 29, 2007
MCALENEY BREAKS LEG
Early reports from agent Dan Williams reports that McAleney will need surgery. That could mean the Sovereign Award winner may miss several months of the Woodbine meeting.
McAleney is the main rider for top trainer Reade Baker, who has employed Corey Fraser on most of his starters on Sunday’s card, the 2nd day of the Woodbine meeting.
Sunday's 10-race card features 84 horses and the feature is an allowance/optional claiming featuring many of the quickest such mares on the grounds - FRIENDLY THERESA, RUNAWAY SUNSHINE, IF MOMA AIN'T HAPPY and SEAL OF MOULIN.
CHEATERS GO HOME
As Woodbine's 51st season is close to beginning a hot topic (other than Polytrack) has been the drug positives in harness racing in recent months.
The following are quotes from David Willmot on the Ontario Racing Commission and the Drug Task Force's work in recent months with positive tests in standardbred racing and what it means for the thoroughbreds:
"I think the task force is making real headway and I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better. We are going to catch more people. There were people likely using (Aminorex) and others who didn't know it was in the horse's system. To be fair, the best way to describe the situation with testing for the drug is "unique and unprecedented.
They have never seen a set of circumstances surrounding Class 1 positive like this.
Normally when you find a rash of positives, it stops immediately, why are they still dribbling out. A lot of people don’t know that what they are giving their horse contains aminorex.
It’s there, but how did it get there. The circumstances are very confused right now.
It’s absolutely also a thoroughbred problem as well as a standardbred problem - do I think it’s as overt and aggressive, no. But the best way to avoid it is to get really, really tough.
If you caught administering or in the possession of a Class 1’s or 2’s, a non- therapeutic drug, you are looking at big time penalties.
I hope owners will say, instead of who’s the hot trainer they should say I’m not going to give my horse to the hot trainer if I even suspect he’s doing something wrong.
“We have a duty and an obligation to protect the public from fraudulent racing or racing that we suspect may be fraudulent.
Of all the problems in racing, if we don’t solve that one, we don’t have a business."
From all reports, Woodbine’s POLYTRACK is enjoying the warmer temperatures that southern Ontario has had in recent days and figures to be in good form for opening day.
The forecast for Saturday is rain and a high of just 5 degrees (approx. 40 Fahrenheit) followed by much colder and snowier weather next week.
The Polytrack was the subject of meetings yesterday between Woodbine and Martin Collins’ company that installed the surface.
Jelly cable is scheduled to be added to the surface when the weather gets consistently warm.
OTHER NOTES: The WIN 4 has apparently had a name change to PICK 4. Emma-Jayne Wilson, Catherine O'Brien, Michelle Rainford and Chantal Sutherland set up a strong women's divisionin the competitive jockey colony.
To come: WOODBINE pres. DAVID WILLMOT talks about Drug Task Force and Ontario racing Commission's stance as season opens.
FARISH PAYS $200K FOR CAN.BRED
William S. Farish, who has been supporting the Ontario racing industry for several years, bought a Canadian-bred 2-year-old filly at yesterday’s 2nd and final session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales juvenile auction.
Named NITE IN ROME, the dark bay miss is by Harlan’s Holiday out of the Ascot Knight mare Ascot Wedding. The filly is a half-sister to stakes winner Star Engagement and stakes placed Dance Engagement as well as the dam of multiple stakes placed Kabul.
The filly was bought back for $32,000 from last year’s Keeneland Sept. sale.
Continuing his spending spree, Danny Dion’s BEAR STABLES paid $200,000 for a Forest Camp colt out of Authorized Staff, the dam of last year’s Nashua Stakes winner DAY PASS. Dion also paid $45,000 for an Unbridled Time colt.
Last year’s leading trainer by wins, SID ATTARD, paid $32,000 for a dark bay filly by Outofthebox – Dark Champagne, Hooched, a half sister to Grade 1 winner DARK ENDING (Selene S. at Woodbine) and stakes winning filly Champagne Ending.
LYNNE HINDMARSH bought 2 more juveniles - a colt by El Corredor out of Fergie, Sefapiano for $30,000 and a Caandian-bred filly by Salt Lake – Fighting Forty, Fight Over, a half-sister to 3 winners including Get Up Trit.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
91 entered, prep for 'Cartier offers $79,900
New/visiting trainers with starters on the card include Debra Divitto, Ron G Potts Jr and Chris Englehart.
The Jacques Cartier prep is race 6 and SUPER FUSE (Lite the Fuse) returns to Woodbine from New York where the 7-year-old was 3rd to Bishop Court Hill in the Paumonok at Aqueduct on Jan. 27.
Super Fuse is making his 5th career start but he has not won a race since March 28, 2004 at Aqueduct - more than 3 years ago.
The gelding was at Woodbine for the Jacques Cartier last year and was a goof third to champion Judith's Wild Rush.
Double stakes winner from last spring, ATLAS SHRUGS, is in the field as are other added-money winners Quick in Deed, Are You Serious, Archers Alyancer and Vibank.
(Right) Horse of the Year INVASOR trianing at Dubai. Photo by Vanessa Ng for Horse-races.net. See link for many more workout photos on Cindy Pierson Dulay's site or scroll down to a comment from yesterday for the link.
Stay tuned for a preview of opening day at Woodbine (Saturday) soon after entries are drawn and released early this afternoon.
A super Saturday starts at 9:40 a.m. EST with the first race to be shown at Woodbine and through its networks from DUBAI (World Cup card). Woodbine’s post time is 1:10 p.m. and then the Florida Derby will be the focus later in the afternoon as Kentucky Derby hopefuls square off at Gulfstream Park.
The Daily Racing Form will print a Player’s Edition form for later-starting cards of racing on the simulcast network at Woodbine. The edition will replace the litany of hard-to-read programs that Woodbine was selling for tracks such as Mountaineer, Sam Houston, etc.
Charts for Woodbine races are still alive, too, as the Friday chart re-cap section will continue to be printed.
Don’t forget to enter the Queen’s Plate Fantasy Challenge (Woodbine Link on right side of page) to win a great prize. Pick a team of horses and trainers and jockeys from a list of Plate eligibles and collect points as your teams races in events leading up to the June 24 Plate.
The ‘pro’ division of the Challenge closes tomorrow and their picks will soon be viewed on the Fantasy Challenge site.
SEALY HILL TO OAKS, KENTUCKY THAT IS
Trainer MARK CASSE said yesterday that Bourbonbette Stakes winner SEALY HILL, one of a trio of Canadian-bred graded stakes winners in 2007, will ship to Churchill Downs soon to prepare for the Kentucky Oaks.
Casse said he thinks the filly tried to pull herself up in the late stages of the race that she won by a head. He also said the filly is capable of a lot better, citing the rather modest 87 Beyer Figure she earned in the win. It was the 5th Bourbonette win for Casse who will start TOP NOTCH LADY in a stakes race at Turfway this coming Saturday.
Casse said that Sealy Hill could also be a Queen’s Plate contender.
OCALA 2YO SALE – MORE BEAR
Danny Dion’s Bear Stables bought three more juveniles to go with the bunch it bought at the Adena Springs sale at yesterday’s Ocala Breeders’ Sale, which realized an increase in average price.
Dion bought three American-breds: a Silver Deputy filly for $100,000, a Zavata colt for $140,000 and a Harlan’s Holiday filly named Golden Tap for $130,000.
There were not any other evident Canadian purchases during the first session.
George Bigliardi’s homebred Dance to Market sells today – a Yonaguska colt and a half-brother to Verne’s Baby and Victoria’s Boy. Bigliardi sold the colt as a yearling last year for $110,000.
*Readers wanting to know about the Dubai wagering menu can check back later today on this site or contact their local racetrack. There has been multi-leg bets offered on the races in the past. I will investigate!
*Thanks to friends over at Horse-races.net who sent the workout pictures from Dubai – if you can’t click on the link, just highlight it, copy and then paste it into your navigation bar!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
ONE YEAR OF BLOGGING!!
BRAG IN THE CORNER!
THOROUGBLOG has added the BRAGGING CORNER to celebrate its 1-year anniversary today!
The ‘Corner’ is for anyone who wants to send a picture of their horse to be on the site for a week (or more) and all that is required is any donation (with a portion of proceeds to go to LONGRUN THOROUGHBRED RETIREMENT FOUNDATION).
People can view the picture each day on the sidebar (at right) and click on it to see a larger image. There will be a cutline and a photo credit under the shot.
As THOROUGHBLOG reached its one-year anniversary today (how time flies!), I appreciate everyone who has commented and participated and hope to be able to continue to provide somewhat useful news, tidbits or opinions on Canadian-breds and the industry on a regular basis throughout 2007.
Currently, the BLOG is updated each morning but that could change to the evenings once Woodbine moves to a full schedule.
HINDMARSH, BEAR AND BAKER AT ADENA
Average price for juveniles dropped at Frank Stronach’s annual Adena Springs 2-year-old sale yesterday and Canadians came away with a bunch of new faces for the Woodbine meeting.
LYNNE HINDMARSH, owner of Hindmarsh Farm that was started by her late husband Harry, picked up two youngsters: a Canadian-bred filly from the first crop of two-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Milwaukee Brew out of Slene Stakes (Gr1) winner Roaring Twenties and a Canadian-bred filly from the first crop of Hollywood Turf Cup winner Sligo Bay out of winner Polka Queen (the mare’s half-sister Candy Box is now a stakes winner).
Danny Dion’s BEAR STABLES continues to collect runners and picked up 6 yesterday including one Canadian-bred, a colt by Macho Uno (his first crop) out of the graded stakes placed mare Blushing Deed.
Reade Baker’s clients Jim and Susan Hill paid $130,000 for GIANT GAMBIT, a Canadian-bred colt by Touch Gold out of the stakes winning mare Global and Baker also bought for American owner/breeder Craig Singer – a Canadian-bred filly called WIND IN MY WINGS, by Slip Bay out of the stakes winning pulpit mare Sly Butterfly.
Former Stronach trainer Danny Vella plus agent Richard Hogan bought Canadian breds by Milwaukee Brew ($30,000 colt named Canadian Brew) and Awesome Again ($75,000) respectively.
SUDDEN DEATH OF THE CAT
Canada’s leading freshman sire of last year, CAT’S AT HOME died suddenly last Saturday at Windfields Farm in Oshawa as reported in the BLOOD-HORSE yesterday.
No further information on the circumstances are know at this time.
The 10-year-old Tabasco Cat stallion was one of the province’s promising young studs not only on pedigree but on appearance and his first crop last season were exciting youngsters.
Windfields also lost ARCHERS BAY several years ago soon after a promising start at stud and that was a severe blow to the local industry.
Among the Cat’s first crop was stakes winner SPREAD THE NEWS.
FIRST FOAL FOR ‘GLORA’
Windfields had better news on Saturday when champion mare INISH GLORA, owned by Bob Costigan, had her first foal, a bay filly by Elusive Quality.Costigan credits Inish Glora for helping him purchase ARRAVALE at auction and that filly went on to be named last year’s HORSE OF THE YEAR in Canada.
DOMINICAN’S CHANGE MADE ‘PUBLIC’
In Turfway Park programs, DOMINICAN was listed as a first-time gelding and presto! The colt won the Rushaway Stakes as one of the favourites. EQUIDAILY comments on the first-time gelding issue (as has THOROUGBLOG) in recent weeks, citing the fines for trainers and even Santa Anita for not reporting first-time geldings.
As BUCKIE noted in a recent comment to this site, the ORC needs to get on board with several issues – bar shoes are reported on overnight entries seemingly most of the time but yes, horses should run for purse only if one-half of an entry is scratched.
First-time gelding must be addressed at all tracks!!
SCORCHING KEENELAND WORKS
Canadian-breds have landed at KEENELAND for stables such as Chiefswood, Bill Sorokolit, Reade Baker and Sam-Son.
Yesterday, the Polytrack remained fast there as Chiefswood’s Kentucky-bred miss HONEY HARBOUR worked 5 furlongs in :58.
Sorkolit’s Queen’s Plate eligible NORTHERN CRUISER (Mutakkdim) worked 4 furlongs from the gate in :46 2/5 (which wasn’t the bullet!).
At the races yesterday, DRAGOONER (Siphone – Dance on Fire) won for the second consecutive time at Will Rogers Downs yesterday against $20,000 allowance company. The 5-year-old gelding ran 5 furlongs in :57.
Monday, March 26, 2007
ONE WILD WEEK
And in other places there is Dubai’s big night of racing Saturday morning North American time, the Florida Derby takes place at Gulfstream and 2 big juvenile sales should be fun to check out this week.
VIVA PATACA sent along a link on some news of a son of ASCOT KNIGHT in Australia who is doing well. See that comment under yesterday’s post, ‘Beyer Fire’.
Would be interested to hear thoughts on TURFWAY’S surface on Saturday for those big races. The kickback on the Polytrack looked nasty and I don’t think it was that easy to come from far behind with that stuff flying in the face.
Champion grass male horse of last year SKY CONQUEROR (Sky Classic-Heavenly Ballerina) is at Keeneland with the Bill Sorokolit/Darwin Banach team and the graded stakes winner worked 4 furlongs yesterday in :51. Other notable Sorokolit workers include stakes winning 3yo filly PALACE PIER, and older mares EXECUTIVE FLIGHT and READY AND ALLURING. Meanwhile, the barn’s quickest worker was the maiden WISHFOREMORE (Mt. Livermore-Whispering Wishes) who scorched 5 furlongs on Keeneland quick Polytrack in 58 3/5.
SEEKING THE PEACE (Seeking the Gold-Quiet Cleo, No Louder) left Fair Grounds with her Sam-Son Farm team with an exclamation point – 4 furlong prep in :47 4/5 from the gate. This is an unraced 3yo filly from a barn that is loaded with nice prospects this season.
NORDIC STANDS BEHIND FORT ERIE
All reports are that Fort Erie owner Nordic Gaming is fully behind the track continuing to be a horse racing institution in that part of the province. Yesterday a note in the Buffalo News commented on the reduced number of racing days and a lot of Saturdays being removed from the schedule. The track opens for training this morning and the first day of the meeting in May 5. The track is home to the second jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown – the Prince of Wales Stakes.
Thanks to 'Buckie' who sent in the shots of new little faces! We'll feature one each day for the next couple of days.
While there are more than 20 Kentucky Derby lists of the top contenders that you can find on the Web, there can’t be many Queen’s Plate or Labatt Woodbine Oaks lists. Or a HOT CANADIAN-BRED list for that matter.
The first two lists can be found on Woodbine’s microsites for those races (see links at right) and the latter is on THOROUGHBLOG! (List appears at right).
Changes have occurred on all three lists after this past weekend.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
MARYFIELD earned a 98 Beyer Figure for her win in the Grade 2 Distaff Breeders' Cup at Aqueduct while CANDY BOX's number would be about a 92.
SEALY HILL's Bourbonette win was an 87 Beyer Figure.
Canadian-bred THREE IN THE BAG won for $25,000 claiming at AQU yesterday with a 93 Beyer, his second consecutive win. The Silver Deputy gelding was bred by Kinghaven Farms.
HARD SPUN'S 101 Beyer in the Lane's End meant a 79 for TWILIGHT METEOR, who bounced big-time off his season return win.
The Meteor is the early favourite for the Queen's Plate.
PIE IN THE SKY
The Rosehill Guineas (Group 1-Aus) was won yesterday by HE'S NO PIE EATER, who was mentioned in an earlier post from our friend Bob Costigan. He's no Pie Eater is out of LADIES' DAY, by ASCOT KNIGHT.
A reader who sent the links for the photos from Turfway Park yesterday and everyone's comments about SHAKE YOU DOWN, the popular and rich gelding who has been retired to the Marion County Correctional Facility in Ocala Florida.
Also, THOROUGHBLOG received a nice letter from SOUTHGATE FARMS in Georgia. The owners of Southgate, Bill Johnson and his wife, own and breed sport horses but recently claimed ADRIATIC SEA (a half sister to Plate hopeful Leonnatus Anteas) and have bred her to Tenpins (by Smart Strike). Good luck to the Johnsons!
Saturday, March 24, 2007
SATURDAY P.M. UPDATE
Meteor fizzles behind Hard Spun
Continuing a Canadian-bred theme around the big tracks today, Eugene Melnyk’s homebred 3-year-old filly SEALY HILL had a beautiful trip en route to half-length win in the Grade 3 Bourbonette Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Turfway.
It was the 3rd win in 4 starts for the Point Given – Boston Twist, Boston Harbour filly who is trained by Mark casse.
Sealy Hill had to wait out a lengthy delay in the start of the 1 mile race as two fillies broke through the gate beforehand. She was unloaded from the gate, walked and then broke sharply under jockey Patrick Husbands. Husbands sat lightly on the filly in 5th, about 4 lengths off the pace and then let her advance 3 wide into the last turn, She had a long lead into the stretch and then held off a fast closing Panty Raid, trained by Todd Pletcher. Panty Raid was one of the fillies who broke through the gate.
Sealy Hill now zooms up to the top of the contenders list for the Labatt Woodbine Oaks in June.
The news of the day was certainly the sizzling win by HARD SPUN, the impeccably bred Danzig colt who put a new spin on the Kentucky Derby with his fast score in the 1 1/8 mile Lane’s End- Grade 2.
Tracking a hot pace while 3 wide and under a hard hold, Hard Spun took off and won easily over closers Sedgefield (Smart Strike) and Joe Got Even (Stephen Got Even).
Winterbook favourite for the Queen’s Plate TWILIGHT METEOR saved ground in 7th down the backstretch, had the rail on the last turn but switched leads early and faded to 6th. Mark Casse trainee Approval Rating, a Kentucky-bred, also had no late kick.
In the RUSHAWAY Stakes ($100,000, 1 1/16), Canadian-bred REATA’S ROCKET was third but weakening in the late stages after moving 3 wide to bid for the lead inside the ¼ pole. The Cape Canaveral fellow may not be too happy with the longer distances but has really done well in tough stakes this winter. He was bred by Bob Anderson and Rod Ferguson.
Much better effort by SKIP CODE, one of Canada’s top 2-year-olds last year. The Kentucky bred was an even 4th and appeared to finish well under Husbands.
The winner of the Rushaway was the chestnut El Corredor colt DOMINICAN who had one of the nicest strides to be seen this year as he reached out and strolled to the win from just off the pace.
The Grade 2 Distaff Breeders’ Cup didn’t start out well for MARYFIELD today at Aqueduct but with long strides, a lot of guts and a hot pace in front of her, the Canadian-bred daughter of Elusive Quality swept to victory over a similarly brace CANDY BOX, the other Canadian-bred in the field.
Maryfield, bred by Ontario’s Mike Carroll and John Harvey Jr., had a sluggish start from her rail post in the 6 furlong dash but that was just fine as Candy Box hooked up in a tough pace duel.
Candy Box fought on bravely as race favourite Oprah Winney started to rally and looked like she was going to hold on until Maryfield swept by to win her first graded stakes in 1:09 3/5.
Maryfield is owned by Perry, Mestrandrea and Gorman and trained by Doug O’Neil. She was claimed from Jim and Alice Sapara for $50,000 in January of 2006 at Santa Anita. She was originally an $80,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase.
The mare’s dam is Sly Maid by Desert Wine. It was the 7th win in 24 starts for Maryfield who boosted her earnings to over $550,000.
BIG DAY FOR BETTORS!
PLATE FAVE AT TURFWAY
CANADIAN-BRED BOOKENDS IN DISTAFF
The Lane’s End Stakes, Grade 2, highlights a big card at the Kentucky track Turfway Park and Canadian-breds could play a major role in the results. TWILIGHT METEOR, the winterbook Plate favourite, will have to avoid a bounce in his 2nd start of the season. The confirmed stretch runner got up in the final strides to win his 2007 debut on Feb.24 at Gulfstream in a 1 1/16 mile turf race. There may be a rapid pace in the 9 furlong Lane’s End and that helps this very exciting Canadian-bred son of Smart Strike.
But the odds won’t be all that interesting and favoured HARD SPUN sure looks good too but he’ll be a low price.
I was a big fan of MENIFEE (who should have won the 1999 Kentucky Derby) so his son HIGHEST DEGREE from the rail post looks interesting as a longshot play. A one-time winner, he has some catching up to do on class and in Beyer Figures but the post is appealing and he appears to be sitting on a competitive 90 plus Beyer.
Don’t ignore the fast improving FOR YOU REPPO (El Corredor – Mystic Diplomacy, Jeblar) from the red-hot barn of trainer Helen Pitts.
Last year’s Sovereign Award winning trainer MARK CASSE has a super day in store, at least it’s that way now, let’s hope that APPROVAL RATING (Kentucky-bred in Lane’s End), SEALY HILL (Canadian-bred in Bourbonette) and/or SKIP CODE (Kentucky-bred in Rushaway) can have some luck. Casse was the leading money-winning trainer at Woodbine last year and had a furious start to the Woodbine meeting in 2006.
The Bourbonette (1 mile) also has a large field and speed should be plentiful. SEALY HILL does not show a race or workout since her 2nd place finish at Gulfstream in January but don’t be fooled – she has worked plenty in Ocala at the Breeders’ Sales track. She’s a good one but that debut outing was a bit disappointing.
Watch out for Polytrack freak OUR DANCING BABE ( a neck away from being 4 for 4 on Turfway’s quirky Poly) and another from the Pitts barn, the undefeated SILVERINYOURPOCKET.
And what about the Rushaway Stakes at 1 1 /16 miles for 3-year-olds? Lots if interesting stuff including Canadian-bred REATA’S ROCKET (Cape Canaveral-Selborne, French Deputy) who might be hard pressed to do well at the 2-turn distance. Graded stakes winner SKIP CODE was beaten 29 ½ lengths in his debut for 2007 in Ocala.
Thoroughblog is going to play PASSPORT, the turf-to-dirt colt for trainer Frank Brothers and Claiborne Farms.
MARYFIELD and CANDY BOX have the field surrounded – at least in the starting gate – in today’s Grade 3 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct. The field is a good one for a filly and mare sprint stakes with the streaking Oprah Winney doing a lot of talking lately and check out yesterday’s Break Through Stakes at Aqueduct: Smart and Fancy has been chasing Oprah Winney in recent stakes races and then escaped to win that little added-money event in fine fashion.
Maryfield (Elusive Quality – Sly Maid, Desert Wine) is a multiple stakes winner on the west coast and was 2nd in the Seaway Stakes at Woodbine last fall. She was 4th in the Grade 1 Santa Monica 2 starts back but 7th in her latest, the Las Flores. Maryfield worked in a fabulous (?) :45 4/5 from the gate at Hollywood before setting off for New York. She will have a ton of speed to her outside (Maay Day Vow,, Magnolia Jackson, etc.).
Candy Box (Running Stag – Miners Mirage, Mining) raced at Woodbine for trainer Brian Lynch (Stronach Stables) last year and she has been a bear at Aqueduct this winter. She just won the Stormy Krissy Stakes with a 95 Beyer Figure. Her outside post may help her track the other speed rather than get involved in the fracas.
Stronach also bred another contender in the wild field, HELLO LUCKY, a Florida bred by Lucky Lionel.
The pick from this corner? VICTORINA from the Lost in the Fog team of Harry Aleo and trainer Greg Gilchrist.
Old timer COOL N COLLECTIVE, regular visitor on the HOT CANADIAN BRED list on THOROUGHBLOG, leaps up to $22,500 claiming in search of his 3rd win in start no. 4 in 2007. Re-claimed in Feb. by Ellie Schmidt and trainer Juan Serey, Cool N Collective just won for $7,500 claiming with an 86 Beyer Figure. He’s 5 to 1 on the DRF morning line. Also at 5 to 1 is Can.-bred THREE IN THE BAG, 2nd in the Plate Trial in 2005 and a 2-time winner this year for claiming. The Silver Deputy – Light Show gelding just ran a 92 Beyer Figure when winning for $25,000 claiming.
Hall of Fame trainer ROGER ATTFIELD sends out a Queen’s Plate eligible for his debut today. OURTIMETODANCE (Mark of Esteem – Now Dance, Sovereign Dancer) was bred by Richard Lister and is owned by Attfield and Bill Werner. He debuts in the 8th race at Gulfstream today.
OISTINS BAY JUMPS INTO PLATE PICTURE
TROUBLE MIKE FOX IN RETURN
Eugene Melynk’s homebred OISTINS BAY (Deputy Minister – Dante’s Mary by Boston Harbour) swept to his maiden win at Gulfstream yesterday in the rapid time of 1:09 4/5 in just his second career start and promptly snuck into the Queen’s Plate picture.
The speedy chestnut was one of just 2 colts in the 10- horse maiden race that had raced and his debut was a messy affair but he was the runner-up behind the good Street Magician.
Oistins Bay may have some work to do yet as far as conquering longer distances but
MIKE FOX made his long awaited return to action as a 3-year-old in an allowance/optional claiming race at Tampa yesterday but it was a horror run from the outset. The son of Giant’s Causeway – Alexis, Alzao “bobbled badly at the start” and then was “steadied on heels” later in the 7 furlong dirt race and wound up fourth beaten about 7 lengths. D. Morgan Firestone’s impressive looking colt was taken away from trainer Reade Baker this year and is now conditioned by Cliff Hopmans Jr., who has been a Firestone trainer in the past.
Yesterday at the Fair Grounds, Sam-Son Farms’ continue a good run as its homebred SAIL FROM SEATTLE returned from a 1 ½ year layoff to win his second career start in a 5 ½ furlong turf dash. The colt broke sharply, cleared was headed and then came back on to win in impressive fashion. The Gone West – Seattle Classic , Seattle Slew, 4-year-old colt is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Hello Seattle and a full to the quick filly Fleet of Foot and Go Classic, the latter a good producer for Sam-Son. Trainer Mark Frostad was previously 0 for 17 with horses coming back from a layoff of over 180 days.
FORT ERIE CLOSED MOST SATURDAYS THIS SEASON
Our friend from the BUFFALO NEWS, Bob (the Happy Handicapper) previews FORT ERIE RACETRACK and it’s declining slots business and shortened racing season. Ouch.
ANOTHER NOTE TO THE ONTARIO RACING COMMISSION
A couple of days after two trainers were fined by the California Horse Racing Bureau for not reporting their horses were first time geldings, the stewards fine SANTA ANITA RACETRACK $300 for not reporting in its PROGRAM a first time gelding.
Trying to get this information at Woodbine is apparently impossible. The ORC needs to catch up in a big hurry here – it’s the bettors that make this game go around!
(Thoroughblog’s first note to the ORC appeared in a post earlier this week)
Trainer MIKE KEOGH had a busy day yesterday at Aiken, South Carolina as he worked a litany of his promising runners including old-timer LAST ANSWER (6 furlongs in 1:16) for owner Gus Schickedanz. Keogh’s Queen’s Plate eligibles NOTHERN REPORT and GOLANI prepped (1:04 breezing) as did the promising grey colt WOODCRAFTER (a full brother to Plate winner WOODCARVER).
Catherine Day Phillips, at Ocala Training Center, worked a bunch too including Grade 1 winner JAMBALAYA, who is getting ready for next weekend’s Pan American Handicap at Gulfstream Park. The superstar prepped in 1:01 2/5.
A year ago, SEASIDE RETREAT (a Kentucky-bred) was second in the Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park (the race being run today for the 36th time) and took trainer Mark Casse to the Kentucky Derby. Yesterday, the gelding worked a bullet 5 furlongs at Woodbine on Polytrack and he was unplaced in his season debut at Gulfstream. Perhaps Polytrack will be a welcomed change for the finicky gelding.
BAY MEADOWS opened for racing in 1934 and five years later became the first track to install an electric, all-enclosed starting gate according to today’s DRF. Now the track is going to close after its owners did not get a two-year extension time to install a synthetic surface, an $8 million project it was not ready to embark on…THE QUEEN’s first trip to the Kentucky Derby will come this May and some fans of Woodbine racing know what an interesting treat this is for race day. It’s been a long, long time since the Queen’s Plate had an immediate member of the Royal family in attendance and it sure makes the day feel just a bit more special…The training times over KEENELAND’S POLYTRACK yesterday were nothing short of sizzling…Poison dart rig under gate at Happy Valley track in Hong Kong? I don’t even know what to say about that…Off topic: BLOOD DIAMOND is a super movie, hmm, maybe it should have won the Oscar? Canadian author Heather McNeil’s book LULLABIES FOR LITTLE CRIMINALS is a great read.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Well, I wasn't the only one griping about millionaire SHAKE YOU DOWN still racing while not being competitive for low claiming and perhaps all the noise finally got to owner Robert Cole Jr.
In today's THOROUGHBRED DAILY NEWS, from the T-bred Times, it was announced the gelding has been retired to Marion County Correction Facility in Ocala, Florida.
The multiple graded stakes winning sprinter is 9-years-0ld and will no doubt get great care at the Facility, which houses many other retired racehorses.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
BUSY WEEKEND FOR CASSE, HUSBANDS
Highlighted by TWILIGHT METEOR’S participation in the $500,000 Lane’s End
Stakes, a Kentucky Derby prep, Canadian horses and horsepeople are in action on the LARGE
card of racing at Turfway on Saturday.
Sovereign Award winning trainer MARK CASSE and his main rider PATRICK
HUSBANDS are in 3 stakes races in succession.
Twilight Meteor, bred by David Willmot’s Kinghaven Farms, is the winterbook favourite
for the Queen’s Plate on June 24 but has some big tests ahead of him for now. The
smooth-striding chestnut colt has Edgar Prado on board and has an ideal post, 7, in the
Also in the Lane’s End, Casse and Husbands will pair up with APPROVAL RATING (Lemon Drop Kid - Classic Approval, With Approval), a Kentucky-bred, who was fourth in the Battaglia Stakes at Turfway recently.
The race favourite may be HARD SPUN, who has flashed talent but not strong Beyer
Figures in his brief career.
In Race 8, one of the early favourites for the Labatt Woodbine Oaks, SEALY HILL, is
coming off some blazing workouts at Ocala Breeders’ Sales and is going to be one of the
choices in the Bourbonette. The Canadian-bred by Point Given is owned by Eugene
Melnyk and trained by Casse. The filly was second in her only start this year in an
allowance race at Gulfstream.
The 9th race is the Rushaway Stakes featuring last year’s Grey Breeders’ Cup Stakes
winner SKIP CODE for Charles Laloggia and the Casse team. A finalist for champion 2-
year-old colt, Skip Code is coming off a last-place finish in a non-betting stakes race in Ocala.
Canadian-bred REATA’S ROCKET, who is improving for trainer Joe Orseno, is a
contender in the 1 1/16 mile race. The colt ran well in the Hutcheson Stakes and is prominent on the HOT CANADIAN-BRED on THOROUGHBLOG.
Here are the discussed fields with more handicapping analysis to come late Friday, early Saturday:
Turfway Park - March 24th, 2007 - Race 8
Bourbonette Breeders' Cup S. - Grade: 3
Estimated Local Post Time: 4:44 PM
Age Restriction: Three Year Old
Distance: One Mile
Surface: All Weather Track
1 Bavarian Belle (KY) J.Leparoux
2 Our Dancing Babe (KY) Alonso Quinonez
3 Acadia Breeze (KY) S Bridgmohan
4 Panty Raid (KY) Edgar S. Prado
5 Sealy Hill (ON) Patrick Husbands
6 Indian War Dress (KY) Channing Hill
7 Floral Park (KY) K Desormeaux
8 Rivanna River (KY) Hector L. Rosario, Jr.
9 Tale of the Queen (KY) Willie Martinez
10 Silverinyourpocket (KY) Rafael Bejarano
11 Olivine (KY) John R. Velazquez
12 Aspiring (KY) Miguel Mena
AE Tessa Blue (MD) Edgar S. Prado
AE Not Two Quiet (KY) Mario G. Pino
Turfway Park - March 24th, 2007 - Race 9
Rushaway S. - Grade:
Estimated Local Post Time: 5:15 PM
Age Restriction: Three Year Old
Distance: One And One Sixteenth Miles
Surface: All Weather Track
1 Poe Reef (CA) Alonso Quinonez
2 Dubious Miss (KY) Dean P. Butler
3 Dominican (KY) Rafael Bejarano
4 Trust Your Luck (KY) Kent J. Desormeaux
5 Meritocracy (KY) Edgar S. Prado
6 Passport (KY) Julien R. Leparoux
7 Reata's Rocket (ON) Rajiv Maragh
8 Eighteenthofmarch (FL) Casey R. Chavez
9 Pink Viper (KY) Channing Hill
10 Skip Code (KY) Patrick Husbands
11 Head to Toe (OH) William D. Troilo
Turfway Park - March 24th, 2007 - Race 10
Lane's End S. - Grade: 2
Estimated Local Post Time: 5:45 PM
Age Restriction: Three Year Old
Distance:One And One Eighth Miles
Surface: All Weather Track
1 Highest Degree (KY) Alonso Quinonez
2 Starbase (FL) T J. Thompson
3 Sports Town (KY) Shaun Bridgmohan
4 Approval Rating (FL) Patrick Husbands
5 Bullara (FL) John R. Velazquez
6 Forefathers (KY) Julien R. Leparoux
7 Twilight Meteor (ON) Edgar S. Prado
8 Helios (VA) Channing Hill
9 Joe Got Even (KY) Miguel Mena
10 Hard Spun (PA) Mario G. Pino
11 For You Reppo (KY) Kent J. Desormeaux
12 Sedgefield (KY) Rafael Bejarano
HIGHLY APPEALING (Highland Ruckus – Hex Appeal, by Proud Appeal (Geralyn
Farm) won a starter allowance Tuesday night at Mountaineer Park. He was one of a pair
of Canadian-bred winners on the card, the other being VALCAS, by Perigee Moon, who
won a $5,000 claiming event for trainer Mike Newell.
GOLDEN ICE (Golden Missile – Miracle On Ice, Lit de Justice) bred by Don Amos and
Suzanne Simard doubled up in a starter allowance at Oaklawn yesterday having won his
maiden for $30,000 claiming last time out.
GIZMO MAN (Touch Gold – Addicted Broad Brush) won his maiden at Laurel Park
yesterday when dipped in for $40,000 claiming in his third career start.
SHILLELAGH SLEW CONTINUES TO PREP
Champion 3-year-old colt of 2006 SHILLELAGH SLEW breezed at easy 5 furlongs in
1:03 4/5 at Palm Meadows yesterday as he continues his training towards his 4-year-old
campaign. The Chief Seattle colt is owned by David James and trained my Mike
Do any locals remember EDMONTON? (not the city, the colt bySilver Deputy – Flower Canyon, Gulch). Cam Allard’s 4-year-old colt raced once – November of 2005 – and won the 5 furlong race by 6 ½ lengths wrapped up with a 78 Beyer Figure. He was never seen again but yesterday, worked in :48 on Woodbine’s Polytrack. He should be fun to watch in the 5 furlong races at the outset of the season.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
THE CABLE CONNECTION
SECRETARIAT'S BROTHER - AT 32-YEARS-OLD!
Thanks to a Blog friend who sent this link along today...
JELLY ROLLS INTO WOODBINE
Jelly cable, an expensive but vital component for a northern climate racetrack, will be added to Woodbine’s Polytrack surface as soon as consecutive days of warm weather arrive in the Greater Toronto area.
Woodbine’s Polytrack was a dream surface for almost 2 months after it was installed last summer but cold temperatures played havoc with the wax covered sand and the fibres.
David Willmot, chief executive officer of Woodbine Entertainment, believes the wax manufacturing changed last fall and did not have enough petroleum in it and that caused a separation of the surface.
“The Polytrack is still manageable and it’s safe and it’s better than what we had (as a main track),” said Willmot. “We’re 99% certain what has to be done but we need warm weather for three or four days, re-waxing, putting in some more fibre bits and adding jelly cable.”
Jelly cable is the cable that encases copper wiring and it’s petroleum covering is “is critical to holding the surface together, preventing separation”, said Willmot.
Keeneland’s Polytrack surface has jelly cable but Turfway Park does not.
The work should be done on the Polytrack sometime in May.
Speaking of Cable.... THE SCORE cable channel will again have Woodbine racing on Wednesday nights but instead of 2 hour programs - they will be 3 hours!
END OF AN ERA
It is a sign of the times that print media is shrinking and racing statistics are the first to go. The Daily Racing Form, over 100 years old and the daily racing paper, will curtail printing results charts as of next Wednesday.
It is a shocking announcement that THE racing paper will no longer print charts and instead, offer them to readers on-line or through its SIMULCAST WEEKLY publication that is available by subscription.
Woodbine fans have always had a separate insert with the previous week’s charts and Beyer Figures but apparently, no more. Load up on printer ink!
I guess it won’t be long before local newspapers follow suit? Let’s hope not.
Customer service at DRF is 1-800-306 FORM.
NOW THIS WAS A RACEHORSE
Eeeeaaaasy Goer, in front!
If you weren’t around to ever see him run here’s a clip of his Gotham win. And Marshall Cassidy had a style that was all his own, I miss it!
In an effort to raise $1 million for the NTRA Charities and Barbaro Memorial Fund, the latest Barbaro item available is a Riding With Barbaro wristband ($2 U.S.), available on the following site:
The http://www.ridingwithbarbaro.com/ site that is advertised this morning was not working at the time.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
A DAY TO THINK
FIRST MISSION FOR MAGNA-CHURCHILL PARTNERSHIP
Racing is losing hundreds of millions of dollars to “signal pirates” and Churchill Downs and Magna plan to do something about it according to a story in the Lexington Herald-Leader:
ARLINGTON POLYTRACK SIMILAR TO KEENELAND’S
There are many different recipes of Polytrack and, according to this news release, sent to the Let It Ride forum by a member, Arlington Park’s Polytrack is much like Keeneland’s.
See the thread…“Polytrack Investments Advancing Rapidly” at:
NOTE TO ONTARIO RACING COMMISSION
Ray Paulick, editor-in-chief of The Blood Horse, talks about Indiana’s regulations introduced in recent weeks. Every track should follow suit:
And by the way, are racing fans going to know about first-time geldings this year? Hello?
BELLEPLAINE, a half sister to graded stakes winner Indian Vale, makes her second career start on Thursday in a maiden race at Aqueduct. The A.P. Indy – Marley Vale miss is owned by Eugene Melnyk. In the featured event on the card, Ontario-bred HERE TO PLEASE (Cat’s at Home – Not So Pleasant) is a contender against other 3-year-olds in the two-turn contest, a allowance/optional claiming ($100,000 tag).
Monday, March 19, 2007
Woodbine’s Polytrack surface, which opened in mid February for training, re-opened today after being closed since last Monday. The track was starting to accumulate water on the top so officials have been working on the surface steadily. The times for preps this morning were a lot slower than before the closure,, when horses were working in :33.00 for three furlongs.
Interestingly, Woodbine Entertainment had a large classified ad in the local papers this weekend seeking a track supervisor.
The meeting is scheduled to begin Saturday March 31
**Reminder – Check out Woodbine’s Queen’s Plate and Oaks microsites (see links at right, or wherever my sidebar happens to be today, it tends to move a lot) and vote on the polls! The top 10 contenders for each race are on those sites.
ZOOM! METEOR SIZZLES
Canadian-bred TWILIGHT METEOR, owned by John Fort’s Peachtree Stable’s and trained by Todd Pletcher, sped through 4 furlongs in a bullet :48 on the dirt yesterday at Palm Meadows training centre in Boynton Beach, Florida as his final prep for Saturday’s Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park (polytrack).
Pegged as the 3 to 1 early favourite for the Queen’s Plate on June 24, Twilight Meteor has bigger fish to fry right now as he tackles Kentucky Derby hopefuls like HARD SPUN in Saturday’s race.
Pletcher sounded more than pleased with the Meteor on the phone the other morning and he knows his colt (by Smart Strike – One Over Prime, by With Approval) likes Polytrack since he won a stakes race at Keeneland on Poly last fall.
A huge field is expected for the Lane’s End. Should the Meteor run well, he may go on to the Blue Grass or Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.
In other workout news, D. Morgan Firestone’s giant Giant’s Causeway colt MIKE FOX worked six furlongs in 1:13 at Nelson Jones Training Centre in Ocala yesterday morning. The Canadian –bred Queen’s Plate eligible was expected to race at Tampa Bay last weekend but is still in training mode for his new conditioner (s) Cliff Hopmans Jr., Hugh Graham.
Stronach Stables’ WELCOME AGAIN, a huge winner of his season debut but a flop in a recent stakes outing at Fair Grounds, worked in 1:14 at Gulfstream.
IT’S ALMOST SPRING, BABY!
Two-year-olds popping up all over the place means that spring is close. Santa Anita has a baby race carded for Wednesday and in that field is a filly from the first crop of the undefeated 2-year-old CACTUS RIDGE (Hennessy). The filly, Clever Lady, is out of the stakes placed Woodbine mare Lady Regency.
At the Aiken Trials yesterday in South Carolina, freshman sire HOLD THAT TIGER had a winner in TIGEROO in a 2-furlong race. Hold That Tiger is the sire of the yearling sales topper in Canada in 2006.
And at the Ocala Breeders March 2-year-old sale gallop show yesterday, Canadian-bred DANCE TO MARKET (Yonaguska – Verne’s Lady) bred by restauranteur George Bigliardi, worked in 10 2/5 for one-furlong. The colt is being pinhooked after being bought by the McKathan Bros. for $110,000 from Bigliardi.
Hey, speaking of babies, our African Cichlids are taking this spring thing too far! A third set of some 20 babies appeared on the weekend - the tank is getting crowded!
If you don't mind their rabbit-like tendencies, the Cichlid is an awesome freshwater fish that is hearty, territorial and somewhat intelligent (for a fish).
DANZIG COLT SURGING
Eugene Melnyk’s WESTMORELAND, an underachiever for some time, has started to blossom at Fair Grounds, winning a non-winners of 2 ‘other than’ allowance race yesterday on the grass for trainer Al Stall Jr. The colt, a half-brother to Queen’s Plate hopeful Marchfield, had posted a 90 Beyer Figure in his previous race when narrowly beaten in a shorter race on turf.
Westmoreland sneaks into the HOT CANADIAN-BRED LIST on THOROUGHBLOG (at right), knocking poor old ITUNA off the list once again, even though that gal has won 3 consecutive races!
A rash of Aminorex positives, mostly in standardbred racing in Ontario during the past few months, may be explained by a recent study done by FREEDOM HEALTH LLC which makes the feeding conditioning program, SUCCEED.
This link details its study, released yesterday.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
HE MAKES PERFECT SENSE
The three Kentucky Derby preps held in three different locations in North America yesterday all provided some nifty performances with the Tampa Bay Derby certainly being the highlight – and one of the best races seen in 2007.
Early Kentucky Derby favourite STREET SENSE (Street Cry – Bedazzle, Dixieland Band) had a picture perfect journey in the 1 1/16 mile race as he rode the rail from mid-pack to join three rivals inside the quarter-pole before hooking up with ANY GIVEN SATURDAY (Distorted Humor – Weekend in Indy, A.P. Indy), trained by Todd Pletcher.
The ensuing stretch duel was hair-raising and a bob of the noses at the wire went to Street Sense. The pair set a track record of 1:43 and were more than 6 lengths clear of the third-place finisher.
The amount of ground lost by Any Given Saturday was significant, although his rival had not raced this year. Both colts are dead-even it seems and let’s hope they come out of the race well and have another battle before or at the Derby.
At Oaklawn, the fast improving CURLIN (by Canadian-bred SMART STRIKE – Sherriff’s Deputy, by Canadian-bred DEPUTY MINISTER) proved his 12 plus length maiden score at Gulfstream was the real thing as he looped colts to win the Rebel Stakes with a 97 Beyer Figure. He posted a 101 Beyer in his debut.
At Santa Anita, Merv Griffin’s COBALT BLUE was given a nice, easy trip by jockey Victor Espinoza and had lots left to scamper away in the stretch to win the San Felipe in gate-to-wire fashion (no Beyer Figure available this morning). It was the third win in four races for the Florida-bred son of Golden Missle – Prado Star, El Prado. Prado Star, a stakes placed filly at Woodbine, is a Canadian-bred and she was trained by Tino Attard.
LOOK AT ME!
This handsome colt is from the first crop of Horse of the Year GHOSTZAPPER out of stakes winner ADORNED, the dam of Queen’s Plate winner Archers Bay, multiple stakes winner Nashinda and last year’s winner Celebrate.
This photo was scooped up from the foaling barn page on the Windfields Farm website – http://www.windfieldsfarm.com/.
SIDCUP (Running Stag – Nice Change, Gulch) was a solid second beaten just 1 ¼ lengths in the Tejano Run Stakes yesterday at Turfway Park. The Canadian-bred gelding is a Polytrack ace so look for him to pop up at Woodbine in 2007.
There are four Canadian-breds in the 5th race at Fair Grounds, a maiden allowance on the grass
Trainer Brian Lynch worked Stronach’s Stable’s stakes winner ROYAL CHALLENGER (Touch Gold), Queen’s Plate hopeful HIGH ACT (El Prado) and winner FEISTY WOMAN at Palm Meadows yesterday. Their times were :36 4/6, :51 and :49 3/5 respectively.
WESTMORELAND (Danzig – Pico Teneriffe, Red Ransom), who might be ready to sneak into the HOT CANADIAN-BRED list on Thoroughblog renews his rivalry with Sam-Son’s Canadian-bred GO TO THE SUN (Gone West-Wilderness Song,Wild Again) in the 9th at Fair Grounds.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Top of the Mornin' TO YOU!!
MAKING SENSE OF KENTUCKY DERBY
It’s getting down to the nitty gritty soon for Kentucky Derby hopefuls – 7 weeks to go – and the attention today will be almost completely on STREET SENSE, the early Derby favourite and last year’s champion 2-year-old colt. Trained methodically and meticulously by Carl Nafzger, Street Sense is in action at Tampa Bay Downs in that track’s ‘Derby. Of course, what would a Derby prep be without a Todd Pletcher starter and that one, ANY GIVEN SATURDAY, is strictly the colt that Street Sense has to beat – not sure he can today.
Woodbine is showing some of the stakes races from Tampa on HPI TV (the entire card can be seen and wagered on at the track and teletheatre outlets).
At Oaklawn, the REBEL STAKES is often a popular Derby prep although that track is not in the Ontario edition of the DRF. Will D. Wayne Lukas suddenly re-surface with his starter FLYING FIRST CLASS?
On the west coast, the San Felipe doesn’t appear to be too interesting on paper but Merv Griffin’s COBALT BLUE, out of the Woodbine raced mare Prado Star would seem to be an interesting prospect should he do well. The starts in the San Felipe would have to zoom ahead to be considered Derby possibilities.
ITUNA ON HER PERCH AT TAMPA – YESTERDAY’S WINNERS
The tough mare ITUNA (Boston Harbour – Goodeve, By Pleasant Colony), a granddaughter of Horse of the Year Ruling Angel, won her 3rd consecutive race yesterday at Tampa when she led throughout an off-the-turf event – an optional claiming race. The mare, who was on the THOROUGHBLOG TOP 10 list earlier this year, has snuck back on the list as Raw Power, who was running so well at Fair Grounds this winter for Barb Minshall and Josie Carroll, has returned to Woodbine and has been idle.
Ituna, bred by Winsong Farms, has won 10 of 38 starts and $181,000.
STRATOFAN, owned by Earle Mack, won his debut on Wednesday at Aqueduct for a $30,000 claiming price with a 55 Beyer Figure. The British Columbia-bred is by Tale of the Cat out of stakes winner Early Blaze, by Silver Deputy.
THOR’S HAMMER (Crown Attorney – Rushin Home, by Home at Last) won a maiden allowance race at Tampa Bay for owner Sharon Simms and trainer John Simms. The 4-year-old gelding was bred by Rhona White and Susan Jenkins.
IS THERE ANOTHER SIDE?
As a former board member of a thoroughbred retirement group, I truly believe in trying to find homes for retired racehorses if there is some reason why his or her owner cannot continue to support him. It's frustrating watching owners and trainers discard their horses after they are done making money.
But can they all be saved?
Here’s a harsh story from Yahoo News
WOODBINE’S POLYTRACK remained closed yesterday morning for training. The surface was shut down on Monday for some work and horsepeople have been using the training track this week…Stronach Stables’ homebred SUGAR SWIRL is in the Grade 2 Shirley Jones Handicap today at Gulfstream. The Touch Gold – Astrapi, by Distinctive Pro 4yo filly was 4th in the Grade 3 Sabin Handicap in her last start behind Swap Fliparoo and now has another Allen Jerkens-trained rocket to chase, Any Limit…GOLDEN GLADE (Gilded Time – Woodmiss, by Woodman) makes his 2nd career start for Harlequin Ranches today at Gulfstream (Race 6). The sizy, liver chestnut had a solid debut outing with a 64 Beyer Figure and is a Queen’s Plate hopeful…SIDCUP (Running Stag – Nice Change, by Gulch) makes his 2nd start of the season in the Tejano Run Stakes today at Turfway. The 5-year-old gelding w on the Prairie Bayou Stakes last Nov. for his 3rd win. He was bred in Ontario by Adena Springs.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Ah, what a great game it is if you not only love the horses and the competition, but also the betting! And a whole lot of luck goes a long way. Sam-Son Farms' QUIET JUNGLE, tabbed as one of the farm's most promising runners for 2007, made a thoroughly professional debut yesterday at Fair Grounds at 1 mile: she raced 3 wide most of the way in mid-pack, rallied steadily, came inside the leader who bore out off the last turn and then surged to the lead. Alas, she was nailed right on the wire by another filly - curses!
But wait! The winner was deemed to have come over many paths and interfere with fillies through the stretch so Quiet Jungle (Forest Wildcat - Split the Arrow) was placed first, paying a handsome $11.80.
And be ready, Sam-Son has more fillies on the horizon ready to debut.
THANKS FOR THE LETTERS!
Recent comments from readers include another note on Emma-Jayne Wilson vs. Chantal Sutherland, who apparently is returning to Woodbine to ride this year and is getting a lot more press than one could imagine. A thread on the forum LET IT RIDE has had some 40 posts on her return to Woodbine, some flattering, some not.
THOROUGHBLOG received another comment about Sutherland under the posting SUNSHINE MAKES US HAPPY (more people would see your comments folks if you put them under the most recent posting!).
Anthony writes to us under REVVING AND MARCHING and his note is very much appreciated.
The A.P. Indy - Pico Teneriffe colt MARCHFIELD, owned and bred by Eugene Melnyk and trained by Mark Casse, bled significantly (through Lasix) in his latest maiden outing at Gulfstream, said Casse yesterday from Florida. The colt will return to Woodbine soon to regroup with a chance at the Queen's Plate. Casse said SEALY HILL, who has been "working up a storm" in Ocala, is headed to the Bourbonette Stakes at Turfway Park on March 24. Casse will also start Kentucky bred APPROVAL RATING in the Lane's End Stakes against early Plate favourite TWILIGHT METEOR.
Casse also has high hopes for Canadian-bred SEASIDE LINKS, who is not eligible for the Plate currently but is likely to be supplemented in May at the next payment.
WOODBINE WANTS YOUR VOTES!
Will CATCH THE THRILL win the Woodbine Oaks? Will the Todd Pletcher-trained TWILGIHT METEOR win the Plate?
Woodbine racing fans should check out the track's microsites for the Labatt Woodbine Oaks and Queen's Plate (see links to the right) for the latest on the big races, the current Top 10 hopefuls and your opinion on who will win the big events.
Post your votes on the site and check the current results!
Don't forget about Woodbine's FREE Queen's Plate Fantasy challenge which offers super prizes.
POOR TASTE ALERT!
The ONION, which satires everyday events and is essentially, ,completely ridiculous but on occasion, funny, says BARBARO may have fakes his own death. Sensitive folks should not check this link that was sent to THOROUGHBLOG by a reader.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
REVVING AND MARCHING
Elissa Blowe, racehorse retirement activist and TV personality for Woodbine Entertainment, was gracious enough to send along a couple of pictures from two dudes from trainer Christophe Clement’s barn.
The grey guy should be recognizable – it’s REVVED UP, who is a millionaire and graded stakes winner. A grandson of Canadian Triple Crown winner With Approval, Revved Up is going to race until his interests deem it not something he can or wants to do and then he will become a stable pony.
Some of my friends were making some fun at the other guy (top right) – MARCH TO VICTORY – who I made one of the top 10 favourites for the Queen’s Plate on June 24 in the Winterbook odds that were released yesterday (see yesterday's posts)
MARCH TO VICTORY (30 to 1 for the Plate) has never raced on the dirt but turf horses thrive on Polytrack. Elissa says the son of Dixieland Band – Frayne, by Red Ransom, who was bred by Bill Graham in Ontario, will race at Keeneland and then head up for the Plate.
IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE- TODAY’S STUFF
Sam-Son Farms’ homebred QUIET JUNGLE makes her anxiously awaited debut today at Fair Grounds. The daughter of Forest Wildcat is the first foal from the mare Split the Arrow, who had all the ability in the world and probably should have won her 2nd career start at Fair Grounds back in 2002. Quiet Jungle's last workout of :46 from the gate was fastest for the distance by more than one second that morning.
Champion KIMCHI’S little sister, the cleverly named YONG MUSICIAN (Yonaguska – Alljazz, by Stop the Music) drew the rail post for her debut in a maiden allowance at Gulfstream today. The filly is in race 2 for owner K and G Stables. Yong Musician was bred in Manitoba by Gary Strath’s Stonyfield Farm. Yong Musician is also a half-sister to King of Jazz and Deputy Jazz.
Eugene Melnyk’s homebred CASPIANS BAY makes his debut at Oaklawn Park today in race 2. The gelding is a full brother to a debut winner and is by Storm Creek.
INDIAN VALE RACES TOMORROW
It has been 10 months since her 2006 campaign came to an abrupt end in the Shuvee Handicap at 4 to 5 odds last May in New York but Canadian-bred INDIAN VALE (A.P, Indy- Marley Vale) is back.
The 5 time winner in 7 starts, including Grade 2 and 3 stakes, was a finalist for champion 3yo filly in 2005 but has needed a long layoff to recover from an ankle injury that occurred in the Shuvee.
Indian Vale competes tomorrow in the Lucky Lucky Lucky Stakes at Aqueduct for trainer Todd Pletcher.
COOL N COLLECTIVE, a brave 10-year-old, won by 11 lengths for $7,500 claiming at Aqueduct last Sunday for his 9th win in 52 starts and $565,000 in earnings. He collected an 86 Beyer Figure. A stakes winner in Canada, the son of Ruhlmann - Panther Run was bred by Jim and Alice Sapara’s Winsong Farms.
The gelding was re-claimed from his last start in February by Ellie Schmidt and trainer Juan Serey.
SINGING ROCK (El Prado – Black Icon, by Mining) won his maiden at Gulfstream yesterday for owner Florence Patitucci with a 76 Beyer Figure. The Ontario-bred was a $25,000 purchase from the 2006 Adena Springs 2yo sale. Singing Rock won a 1 1/16 mile turf race for $50,000 claiming and it was his 4th career start.
Pedigree note: Black Icon’s dam, PRIVATE COLORS, is a full sister to Grade 1 winner and undefeated champion PERSONAL ENSIGN and Grade 1 winner PERSONAL FLAG. Perhaps we’ll see the ‘Rock up in Canada in 2007.
SWEETAMYGEE (Perigee Moon – Rhapsodize, by Ascot Knight) won an allowance race at Penn National Tuesday night in 1:10 3/5 for 6 furlongs – a 72 Beyer Figure effort. ‘Amy’ is trained by Todd Beattie for Double O Stable.
**UPDATE: The Beyer Figure is in for Quebec-bred HOT SPELL, who won her maiden in Bay Meadows last weekend in her first career start. The Salt Lake – Sizzlin Sara, by Saratoga Six filly earned an 88 Beyer.
**TWILIGHT ZONE – Legendary Canadian outfit Kinghaven Farms’ owns a foal that was just born at another legend - Windfields Farm in Oshawa. Now that’s different.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
WHAT ARE THE ODDS...
(Woodbine press release) Toronto, March 14 - Two highly regarded three-time winners, one based in the United States, the other in Canada, are the early favourites forthe 2007 Queen's Plate.
Two years ago, it was U.S.-based runners who stole the Queen's Platespotlight, as Wild Desert outdueled King of Jazz. In 2006,Woodbine-based Edenwold, named after a small town in Saskatchewan, wasthe upset winner.
Based on early projections, the trophy, the 50 guineas and the $600,000first-place prize could leave the country, as Peachtree Stable'sTwilight Meteor, trained by Todd Pletcher, was today named the 3-1Winterbook favourite for the 148th renewal of the $1 million race, setfor Sunday, June 24, 2007 at Woodbine.
However, undefeated Leonnatus Anteas, the 5-1 second choice for the 11/4-mile "Gallop for the Guineas," Canada's most famous horse race andNorth America's oldest continuously-run stakes event, could havesomething to say about the outcome. Locally owned and trained, Leonnatus Anteas was named Canada's top two-year-old male at the 2006 SovereignAwards.
The 84th edition of the Winterbook offers early odds on all 131 horses,120 colts and geldings, as well as 11 fillies, nominated to the 2007 Queen's Plate. Rounding out the top five in the Plate rankings is Cobrador, aU.S.-stationed grey son of El Prado, at 8-1; Brian Lynch-trained HighAct is 12-1 and Display Stakes winner, Jiggs Coz, is 15-1.
Twilight Meteor (3-1), a chestnut son of Smart Strike, is the early favourite on the strength of back-to-back wins in two stakes events, theBourbon on October 27 at Keeneland and the Hallandale Beach atGulfstream, on February 24.
"The Queen's Plate is definitely on the radar for him." saidPletcher, who saddled Sterwins to a second-place finish in last year'sPlate. "He's going to run in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes at TurfwayPark on March 24 and we'll see how he does there." Pletcher said it's possible the colt could contest the Blue GrassStakes or Lexington Stakes in April at Keeneland were he to run well inthe Lane's End, but, "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
"Then again, he could come up for the Plate Trial after the Lane's Endand then go to the Plate. He's doing very well and should handle the 11/4 mile distance no problem." Twilight Meteor has three wins and one second from five career starts.
Bred by Kinghaven Farms, Twilight Meteor is a son of Canadian-bredstallion Smart Strike out of One Over Prime, whose sire, With Approval,won the Canadian Triple Crown in 1989.
Leonnatus Anteas (5-1) is a worthy prospect. The son of Stormy Atlanticburst onto the racing scene in mid-August, winning three consecutivestakes over three different surfaces at Woodbine: the Vandal on theinner dirt track, the Cup & Saucer on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, and a key Plate prep, the Coronation Futurity, over the Polytrack.
"He's never been a little guy," noted trainer Kevin Attard. "I first saw him last January when I broke him at Payson. When you see him, helooks like a good horse, he has that presence." Owned by Knob Hill Stable and the Estate of Steve Stavro, the chestnut has spent the winter in Florida.
"He's doing well," said Attard, who recently brought the colt to hisPayson Park stable from Harris Training Centre in Ocala. "He was turnedout for a while after his campaign and then started swimming at the training centre on February 1." Attard, who said he was "taking a shot" by running him in a stakesrace, the Vandal, in his first career start last summer, is undecided about Leo's 2007 debut.
Cobrador, who finished eighth to Leonnatus Anteas in the Coronation Futurity, his only Canadian start to date, is listed at 8-1. Also a sonof El Prado, the grey's most recent effort was a third-place finish inthe John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, at Kentucky's Turfway Park on March3. After breaking his maiden in his second lifetime start, September 4, atArlington Park, the Paul McGee-trained colt has posted two thirds and asecond in three of his four most recent performances.
High Act, who launched his career with a runner-up effort on November 5at Woodbine, has since posted a win and two fourth-place finishes, thevictory coming at Churchill Downs, the most recent two coming atGulfstream. The bay colt is owned by Frank Stronach and trained by Brian Lynch. "He will head back to Woodbine at the end of March and we'll look at the Marine Stakes," said Lynch. "He's a horse with a lot of potential."
Jiggs Coz, who took his career bow at the Toronto oval on October 9,ended his 2006 campaign with a third to Leonnatus Anteas in theCoronation Futurity and a victory in the Display Stakes on November 25. Mike Fox is 20-1, with four others at 30-1, Sam-Son Farm's two-year-old champion filly, Catch the Thrill, Sealy Hill, Dancer's Bajan and March to Victory, round out the top 10.
Racing fans can also participate in the Plate chase by playing the seventh annual Queen's Plate Fantasy Challenge at www.WoodbineEntertainment.com/fantasy. The contest, which launches onMarch 23, is FREE, with prizes available to be won. For a list of all 131 eligibles and their odds, in-depth analysis of the Winterbook and further details, please visit www.WoodbineEntertainment.com andwww.WoodbineEntertainment.com/thoroughbred/thb_raceevents.asp
Top 10 Winterbook Favourites
Horse Name / Odds
Twilight Meteor (Smart Strike – One Over Prime, by With Approval) 3
Leonnatus Anteas (Stormy Atlantic – South Sea Blues, by Cure the Blues)5
Cobrador (El Prado – Dynamite Diablo, by Diablo) 8
High Act (El Prado – Class, by Thunder Gulch) 12
Jiggs Coz (Cozzene – Young Brodie, by Broad Brush)15
Mike Fox (Giant’s Causeway – Alexis, by Alzao) 20
Catch the Thrill (A.P. Indy – Radiant Ring, by Seeking the Gold) 30 (f)
Dancer's Bajan (Trajectory – Thoughtful Deed, By Alydeed) 30
March to Victory (Dixieland Band – Frayne, by Red Ransom) 30
Sealy Hill (Point Given – Boston Twist, by Boston Harbour) 30 (f)
(Note: The Top 10 Plate hopefuls are also listed on the Queen’s Plate microsite from Woodbine, see the link to right. This list will change as horses start to compete.)
Reached by telephone yesterday, trainer TODD PLETCHER said TWILIGHT METEOR has all the best qualities of a top racehorses. “He’s a medium sized horse and a great mover. The colt, who has won stakes on turf and Polytrack, is headed to Turfway Park for the Mar. 24 Lane’s End Stakes and could continue on the road to the Kentucky Derby first, should he do well in that test.
Pletcher often races horses at Woodbine and he has won the Queen’s Plate before with Eugene Melynk’s Archers Bay almost a decade ago. Last year, Pletcher sent out Sterwins to finish 2nd in the Plate.
The 131 eligibles is the lowest number of nominees to the Plate since 1998 when only 123 were eligible as of the February payment. Last year, 191 sophomores were eligible and in the three years before that the numbers were 173, 190 and 194.
Not sure what to blame that on as the foal crop has been steady in recent years. Forgetful owners? Change in format that now allows supplements to the Plate right up to entry day ($25,000 to supplement on entry day) or more Canadian-breds living south of the border?
Notables missing from the list include a couple from the Mark Casse stable: SEASIDE LINKS and LEGAL MOVE.
LABATT WOODBINE OAKS NOMINEES
One hundred and five fillies were made eligible for the biggest race for Canadian-bred 3yo fillies, the Labatt Woodbine Oaks, to be win on June 10.
CATCH THE THRILL, who had surgery at the end of her 2yo campaign and is still in Kentucky working on an equicizer, is one of the early favourites and she is one of nine from Sam-Son Farms on the list.
Eugene Melnyk has 11 nominated including SEALY HILL, who is in Ocala in training currently with Mark Casse.
The top two fillies are also eligible for the Queen’s Plate.
Woodbine also has a microsite for the Oaks and soon, a Top 10 List of hopefuls.
'SLEW WORKS FAST; ODDS OUT THIS A.M.
QUEEN'S PLATE WINTERBOOK OUT TODAY
Woodbine Entertainment will release the 84th (!) edition of the Queen's Plate Winterbook Odds this morning for the 148th Queen's Plate on June 24 at Woodbine. The Plate, at 1 1/4 miles for Canadian-bred 3yo's, is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.
Stay tuned to this site for the full report later this morning.
TILLER CHARGES BUSY
Sovereign Award winning trainer Robert Tiller is typically out in full force early in the spring with his horses and 2007 is no different. Yesterday on the Woodbine training track, Tiller's stakes winners ARE YOU SERIOUS and TWISTED WIT had quick preps of :48 3/5 for four furlongs. The same time was clocked by a Tiller Plate eligible, ASCOT DANCER.
The bullet of the day, which was faster than all 4 furlong preps by almost 2 seconds, went to last year's impressive maiden winner from trainer Noel Randall's barn, KAMBOO MAN.
Perennial leading trainer SID ATTARD gave his Plate hopeful, JIGGS COZZ, winner of the Display Stakes last year, an easy 3 furlong breeze for his first prep of the spring.
Blame it on the internet! Okay, blame it on the author who somehow managed to drop CANDY BOX (Running Stag - Miners Mirage, by Mining) from the HOT CANADIAN-BRED LIST. The filly won the Stormy Krissy Stakes at Aqueduct last month with a 95 Beyer Figure.
Candy Box is owned and bred by Stronach Stables.
Speaking of Stronach and Adena Springs, the farm's 6th annual 2yo in training sale catalogue is an impressive book.
Siblings to Candy Box, SUGAR SHAKE, SOARING FREE, and MALAKOFF are among the 141 entrants.
The BLOOD-HORSE reported that THE GREEN MONKEY is still hanging out at Ashford Stud in Kentucky recovering from a muscle injury in his hind end that he suffered last summer. The $16 million 2yo purchase (I was there that day, it was wild stuff!) has had only a few workouts and has yet to race.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Meanwhile, it's nice to know that longshots are still out there for anyone with a creative mind and an interest in horse racing. Just check out yesterday's goofy results at Gulfstream (see below for a Canadian connected longshot winner).
ARRAVALE and ASCOT KNIGHT
Bob Costigan, who owns Horse of the Year ARRAVALE reports that his champion filly is doing well in Florida with trainer Mac Benson and gearing up for her 2007 campaign.
Bob has a neat little story on a colt in Australia recently:
“On March 3rd we were racing at Warwick Farm in Sydney (Australia). The
Norton Stakes, a Group One at 1600 meters. had a field of ten including a number of older previous Group One winners. A 3yr colt caught my eye and he was out of a Canadian mare Ladies' Day by Ascot Knight. He has an unfortunate name " He's No Pie Eater ". Although his form was respectable he was under exposed and he just would not give in down the stretch and won. He paid 80 to 1!!!! You have to love Ascot Knight mares. Bernard McCormack told me that Windfields bred the mare. It’s a neat pedigree (from the family of) El Gran Senor and Try My Best etc.”
SHAWS, BELL on LONGSHOT DAY
It was bombs away at Gulfstream Park yesterday as longshots were winning all day long (one maiden paid $310 to win!). Canadian owners Richard and Jo Ellen Shaw were in the winner’s circle with their homebred filly (Foaled in Kentucky), ROYAL MAGENTA, who won her maiden in a maiden allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the grass at 27 to 1.
Trainer David Bell had the filly very fit as she led throughout the route distance and lasted for the score.
The 3yo filly is a daughter of Theatrical from the Shaw’s champion turf mare Heliotrope.
Frank Passero Jr. was also a winner yesterday with Ontario-bred CHILHAM CASTLE, who won an $18,000 claiming event as one of the favourites.
Multiple Canadian champion JUDITHS WILD RUSH pops up in a 1 mile, 70 yard allowance/optional claiming event on Wednesday at Aqueduct. It is the 3rd race on the card.
‘Judith’ was placed first in a minor stakes race earlier this year at Turfway Park at a two-turn distance and it seems as if the plan for the gelding is to try and make him into a middle distance horse now. Hmmmmmm. The 6yo son of Wild Rush as been Canada’s champion sprinter twice.
‘METEOR’ WORKS ON TURF
Canadian-bred TWILIGHT METEOR, winner of the Hallandale Beach Stakes in his 2007 debut and likely headed to the Lane’s End Stakes at Keeneland next month for trainer Todd Pletcher, had his first workout since his season opener yesterday at Palm Meadows. The colt worked 4 furlongs on the grass in 49 4/5.
The son of Smart Strike – One Over Prime, by With Approval is an early favourite for the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine in June.
Last year’s Breeders’ Stakes winner ROYAL CHALLENGER (Touch Gold) is back in training action with an easy 3 furlong breeze at Palm Meadows yesterday. The Frank Stronach colt is trained by Brian Lynch.
Lynch is high on the “still green” MOUNTAIN WOLF, a maiden colt by El Prado – Lucky Marty who is a Queen’s Plate eligible. The Wolf had the fastest 5 furlong workout time at Palm Meadows yesterday of 1:00 3/5.
Apparently, SEALY HILL, Eugene Melynk’s promising 3yo filly by Point Given – Boston Twist, who was 2nd in her season debut in January at Gulfstream behind the very good Autobahn Girl, is indeed training and working in Ocala, having moved out of the Gulfstream stables to be with her trainer Mark Casse’s string. MARCHFIELD, an early Plate favourite who flopped in a race on Mar. 3, is also in Ocala now with Casse.
At Woodbine over the training track (the Polytrack was closed down yesterday for a few days, see yesterday’s posting), trainer Robert Tiller’s Queen’s Plate eligibles DANCER’S BAJAN, a stakes winner at 2 last year, worked 4 furlongs in :48 2/5. Stablemate KISSED THE GIRLS, who won his only race last year, worked in the same clocking.
The former won the restricted Kingarvie and Frost King Stakes last year and $233,000 from 3 wins in 5 starts. He is by Trajectory (Gone West).
The latter is also by Trajectory.
‘FREE’ MAY SOAR AGAIN
Sam-Son Farm’s multiple champion SOARING FREE, an 8yo gelding by Smart Strike – Dancing With Wings, is training in Florida at the Ocala farm according to trainer Mark Frostad and could be back in action in 2007. The old-timer has not raced since last April at Keeneland (which was his first start since Aug. 2005). He has won $2.1 million and 15 of 27 starts. Frostad said the team will take their time with the champion to see if he can make a comeback.
FOX AT TAMPA BAY DOWNS ON SATURDAY?
All horse racing folk will be watching STREET SENSE as he competes in the Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday, his first start as a 3yo his first step to the Kentucky Derby. The whopping winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner last year is being meticulously trained by the whiz, Carl Nafzger.
Word is that Queen's Plate hopeful MIKE FOX, one of the most physically impressive colts to be seen at Woodbine in recent years, is to make his sophomore debut at Tampa on Saturday (in the Derby?). The son of Giant's Causeway - Alexis has been training at Nelson Jones Training Centre in Ocala, Florida after a promising juvenile campaign.
Curiously, Mike Fox is now apparently being trained by Hugh Graham and/or Cliff Hopmans Jr. having been conditioned last year by Reade Baker.
RESPONSE TO FEB. 20 POST COMMENT
THOROUGHBLOG was asked a question yesterday (to view it, you have to go to the Feb. 20 posting called 'Spun Spinning") about my 'take' on the racing news in the media these days - drug positives, jockeys in trouble with the law.
As with any other lover of this game/industry, of course it would be nice to have more balance of positive/negative press coverage but we all know what sells newspapers. In order to get people to read stuff (a lot art in my mind), you have to get their attention. With racing, the bad stuff almost always gets in but is it really that much different than other sports. Look at the NHL right now with all the discussion on suspensions for crazed players who skate around wielding sticks.
Horsepeople are just that, people. There are good ones and bad ones. For every story about drug positives or jockeys with problems etc., there are just as many good stories about horses and horsepeople. Getting the folks who love the game to speak about the sport is imperative, so don't hesitate to write or call media outlets.