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Saturday, April 07, 2007


Cobrador third in Transylvania

Okay, global warming and all that, I was watching Keeneland races between snowflakes yesterday and could not even see the last race as the conditions became blizzard-like.
So this is spring?
Opening day at Keeneland and its Polytrack sure was good to closers and there was not much kickback at all to add to the snowy situation. How good was it to closers? The highly regarded TIME SQUARED, who I have touted many a time, came from 12th and 8 wide behind fractions of :25 and change, 50 and change in the 5th race to win his maiden impressively.
The almost white COBRADOR, currently third favourite for the Queen’s Plate in June, had a reasonably good trip in the 2-turn Transylvania Stakes on the grass late in the afternoon but once again, flattened out late and finished third. The El Prado – Dynamite Diablo, Diablo fellow has had similar finishes in various races against top three year-olds. He was beaten 5 ½ lengths in the Grade 3 event.
Interestingly, the Transylvania winner, MARCAVELLY, is a very good one who was beaten by Plate favourite Twilight Meteor last fall at Keeneland in the Bourbon Stakes on Polytrack and was previously 2nd in the Summer Stakes to Dreaming of Anna at Woodbine.

Another Plate eligible INCLUDE US (50 to 1) had a very tough trip in his 3yo debut earlier on the card, racing 4 wide and 5 wide throughout the same 1 1/16 mile maiden race that Time Squared won so impressively, albeit in very slow time (1:45 4/5).
The Include colt, trained by Roger Attfield, was only beaten 2 lengths and looks like a next-out maiden winner.
Better news came from Attfield’s other Plate hopeful in the day’s last race. OURTIMETODANCE, who had a much better outing than he did in his debut when last at Gulfstream, rallied to be fifth, beaten about 5 lengths even though it was impossible to see anything through all the snow.
The Mark of Esteem – Now Dance colt finished well in a race that went almost 2 seconds faster than the split won by Time Squared.
Beyer Figures for Keeneland weren’t available early this morning.


Apprentice riders Tyler Pizarro, Dean Deverell and Catherine O’Brien won 4 of the 9 races at Woodbine yesterday, day 3 of the meeting that featured a more fair racing surface than last weekend, helping off-the-pace types a little bit more.
Pizarron won the feature, the opening contest, on Dominion Bloodstock, Ball, Galbraith and Peacock’s ANGEL OF THE HOUSE, a 3yo Kentucky bred by ChesterHouse; Pizarro rode a heady race, moving his gelding into the soft pace duel early (nearing the ¼ pole) and got the jump on everyone.
The Angel ran a lifetime best 78 Beyer Figure.
Favoured Safety Zone ran a very weird race as he was in a stalking position, then apparently empty under a scrub by jockey Pat Husbands and then putting in a rally to be 2nd.
Husbands booked off for the rest of the card.
Deverell had to think quick as he extracted INFINITE GOLD out of a jackpot behind 2 rivals in the 5 furlong 4th race for $25,000 to power to the win. The Banker’s Gold 3yo was the second winner for veteran trainer John Cardella.
Ms. O’Brien won her fifth career race on huge longshot SUNNITIME (Prized), bred by the horse’s owner and trainer Audre Cappuccitti, who came from last in a 5 furlong maiden $10,000 filly race. O’Brien is now a 5-pound ‘bug’ rider instead of a 10-pound bug.
And Woodbine’s leading rider Emma-Jayne Wilson won a pair, on maiden fillies SOOTHING (Lite the Fuse) and TEE KAY ODE (Alydeed).
Trainer JODY HAMMETT won two races with the aforementioned Soothing and 8-year-old JOHNNY HOLLYWOOD, who put away favoured Put Upon to win the $23,500 claiming race at 7 furlongs.


Woodbine has 9 races on the schedule with the feature being an allowance/optional claiming race at 6 ½ furlongs featuring the undefeated 3yo LIKE MOM LIKE SONS (Carson City) making his debut. Scott Fairlie will start just one horse, Carrington, as Roux Be Wild races tomorrow.
Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando’s half-sister, HALF SISTER, tries to break her maiden in her 4yo debut in race 4 and some 3yo’s eligible for the Queen’s Plate are in the 9th race at 6 ½ furlongs.
Nice card at Aqueduct today although for betting purposes, not all that exciting. Small fields in the Bay Shore, Wood and Excelsior are not enticing although as a spectator, it will be fun to see some of the stars involved.
The Carter is a better race even with just 7 horses as 9 to 5 morning line fave LATENT HEAT is not a total standout. AH DAY is a fast improving 4yo.
NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ is sure to win the Wood Memorial with his new blinkers and cotton in his ears, at least that’s how it looks to me. He won’t offer any value.
Canadian-bred at AQU – Maiden JIMMY G. is in the 3rd race.
Oaklawn has a good card with the prestigious Apple Blossom featuring ROUND POND (BC Distaff last fall, trying to get back on track) and the Oaklawn Handicap with the really cool dude LAWYER RON.
Santa Anita? Good card of races there too but the showcase race, the SANTA ANITA DERBY is blah. Interesting longshot is COURT THE KING, who can bounce back to his 88 Beyer Figure from his Santa Anita maiden score.
Canadian at SA? WITNESS THIS, by Gold Fever, in the 4th race, a downhill turf claiming dash.
Keeneland’s Grade 1 Ashland (Gr1) is a good group of 3yo fillies possibly headed to the Kentucky Oaks. Look for a closer, maybe a stalker to get past MISTICAL PLAN.
The other featured race, the LAFAYETTE for 3yo’s, is loaded with speed, something’s got to give?
I have narrowed that race down to Izzie’s Halo, Silver Express (was sick after his last race) and Eugene Melnyk-bred Carnacks Choice.
Of course, Sam-Son’s promising filly DYNAMITE EYES (Kentucky-bred half sister to Angel on Watch) debuts today, not yesterday as I previously mentioned.
Other Canadian-breds in action today include Stronach Stable’s VALENTINE TOUCH at Gulfstream for trainer Brian Lynch and stakes winning sprinter SLAM BAMMY, in the feature at Tampa Bay Downs.


Two-year-olds going again at Keeneland. Interesting firster, AMERICAN COUNTY (Gibson County) shows a single, slow workout on her page but she shared the fastest time at the Feb. Ocala 2yo sale for one-furlong, :10. Why the low auction price? Not the strongest pedigree and she was hip No. 1!
PROVEN CURE, at age 13 (!!), is scheduled to race tonight in thew Sam Houston Turf Sprint Cup, a race he was second in last year.
The Cure the Blues gelding has 21 wins in 87 starts and $739,000 in the bank.


Promising San-Son Farms’ fillies QUIET JUNGLE (by Forest Wildcat, who won her career debut via disqualification, 73 Beyer) and the unraced DANCE WITH DOVES (A.P. Indy-Dancethruthedawn) had peppy works from the Keeneland gate yesterday. Both are Labatt Oaks contenders.
Another Oaks contender, PALACE PIER, was also on the tab.
Queen’s Plate contender JIGGS COZ (Cozzene), the Display Stakes winner, threw down a bullet 5 furlongs on Woodbine’s Poly yesterday, 1:01 1/5.


Ontario-bred ILLUSIVE GUY has had 7 different trainers since last July and was all out of sorts on Polytrack last fall at Woodbine but watch out, the Tejabo 7yo is a tiger at Laurel Park in Maryland right now.
Winning for the second time at that track, Illusive Guy won a non-winners of 1 ‘other than’ yesterday, a couple of outings after being claimed for $14,000 by owner Lucy Webb.
The gelding ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42 1/5 – can’t wait to see what that Beyer Figure is going to be.


“The great myth of horse racing is that the game is the regal and royal Sport of Kings.
Those who rake in the lion’s share of racing profits and the people who market the industry would prefer if folks stuck to the storybook pomp-and-pageantry notion of the sport as it has exited for ages: a blanket of roses in the winner’s circle. The dreamy image of a racemare nuzzling her newborn foal in the misty bluegrass. Seven-figure championship classics. Fancy hats, big cigars and mint juleps.But like so many so-called certainties of the turf, these images don’t represent the reality of the racetrack.
Not by a longshot.”

T.D. Thornton, former media relations manager for Suffolk Downs and journalist, details a year in the life of ‘Sufferin’ Suffolk Downs and some of its players leading up to the $600,000 Massachusetts Handicap. All aspects of this great game are brought to life by Thornton – the backstretch, the ‘front side’ and the inner-workings of everyone trying to make a living in horse racing.
You’ll get to meet many dedicated racing folks like Lou Raffetto, colorful riding characters Joe Hampshire and Howard Lanci and heroic horses like Saratoga Ridge.
Thornton’s writing is detailed yet light as he takes us through the life of Suffolk Downs, which has gone through numerous ownership changes since it was constructed ‘on a dump’ in 1935.
Thornton has been involved in virtually every aspect of racing and his father Paul, is a top trainer in Boston. Indeed, the trail of his father’s former horse Blackwater is intertwined through the book and concludes with a fascinating twist.
Racing lovers and those wanting to learn a bit more about the inner-workings of the game will thoroughly enjoy ‘Not By a Longshot’.


  • At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ms. Morrison

    Would like to know your comments re: the 5th race inqquiry at Woodbine, yesterday (Friday). Seems jockey Rainford made a completely frivolous claim of foul. Should not such claims be punished with suspensions? Do you a betting coup was in play, the jockey failed to win, and hence was reaching for straws??

  • At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Keeneleand has it right with the way they use their TRACKUS system..

    One clean line of numbers across the bottom of the screen is all you need....Woodbine already does this with the Harness races...please please please take note.

  • At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Agree 100% with the above comment re: TRACKUS. Keenelands visual presentation is much superior to WEG's and hope WEG executives take note, and revise the WEG presentation to emulate Keeneland.

    Also, per their website, Keeneland is providing "data packages" derived from TRACKUS, as well as providing free Video Replays of their races. That's what handicappers want. Where is WEG on these issues.

  • At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said… and put WEG's website to shame.

  • At 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    WEG's internet presence sucks.You can bet on almost any track in North America on their site,but can only watch Woodbine(if you open four windows).They don't even offer archived race replays of Woodbine.

  • At 8:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Jen,

    Notice that Jody Hammett is absolutley on fire...the amazing thing is the horses that 2 of the horses that won this weekend were not winter raced. He seems to be one of the finest up and coming trainers at Woodbine over the past three years, what are your thoughts?

  • At 8:20 PM, Blogger Trackman said…

    On THIS given Saturday, the 3 yr old NOBIZLIKESHOBIZ showed the rest of the Kentucky Derby contenders that he means business and is back in business by giving his opponents the business in winning his final prep, the Wood Memorial. I never believed the horse was "out of business" so to speak, but, that was the feeling many people had after he failed to win the Fountain Of Youth and drifted in during the stretch for the second consecutive race. NoBizLikeShoBiz displayed the same erractic behavior in his first start of the year, the Holy Bull Stakes. These ARE prep races and a horse doesn't HAVE to win, but, a horse HAS to show progress, either with a improved performance or a strong gallop out. NoBizLikeShoBiz ran an even race in the F.O.Y. but clearly wasn't focused, the probable cause for him drifting in. Trainer Barclay Tagg knew he had to correct that concern and had five weeks, the time from the F.O.Y to the Wood, to do it. He equipped NoBizLikeShoBiz with blinkers hoping that it would keep the horse focused and keep his concentration when it was time to run(stretch). When that time came today, with ANY GIVEN SATURDAY along side to challenge, NoBizLikeShobiz turned away that opponent and ran "straight as an arrow" through the Aqueduct stretch. The prep served its purpose very well, it was an good performance and more importantly, it was an improved performance. Cue Ethel Merman please because NoBizLike ShoBiz is still in business and will be a major force in Louisville.

  • At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We were at Aqueduct on Saturday for the Wood Memorial. Here are the photos and articles:

    Wood Memorial and Bay Shore Stakes:

    Carter Handicap, Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap, Pleasant Colony Stakes:

    Slide show versions (different photos):

    Wood Memorial and Carter Handicap:

    Bay Shore, Excelsior, Pleasant Colony Stakes:


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