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Saturday, May 05, 2007


(This update is dedicated to the memory of BARBARO)


Much will be written about today’s KENTUCKY DERBY, no. 133, with the 3rd largest crowd on hand including THE QUEEN.
And when the favourite wins, as most expected, with a dream trip up the rail, as most expected, under a jockey who has been both red-hot and a cool customer in recent days, it just feels good.
At least if you have the winner!
STREET SENSE (Street Cry-Bedazzle) simply looked like the best horse of any of the 20 in the race – his Beyer Figures said that – his running style said it too. Calvin Borel and trainer Carl Nafzger teaming up with Jim Tafel – how long have we seen these guys in the game?
But how about HARD SPUN? He set strong fractions, looked strong but simply could not hang on while holding second to the previously undefeated CURLIN.
IMAWILDANDCRAZYGUY, who was parked behind Street Sense in 19th and 20th most of the way, was up for 4th.
Hope everyone had a great Derby – now on to the Preakness.

Canada’s second Grade 1 winners in ’07 could meet soon

In seconds, SKY CONQUEROR, last year’s champion male grass horse, was virtually on his knees at the start of the GRADE 1 WOODFORD RESERVE STAKES, the race before the Kentucky Derby worth $500,000.
The Sky Classic-Heavenly Ballerina 5-year-old was instantly last but allowed to gallop along by Javiar Castellano while a hot pace was set by longshot Shake the Bank.
Turning for home in the 9 furlong grass event, Sky Conqueror, owned and bred by Bill Sorokolit uncorked a stern rally over the ‘off’ turf, drifted in throughout the stretch and wiped out a couple of rivals including champion BETTER TALK NOW, and then was up to beat the very talented BRILLIANT.
It was the second Grade 1 win by a Canadian-bred grass horse in 2007 – JAMBALAYA, Sky Conqueror’s arch rival, is the other. Oh yes, Castellano has been riding Jambalaya too. At Woodbine Todd Kabel is Sky Conqueror’s guy and Jono Jones has been Jambalaya’s guy.
Darwin Banach trains Sky Conqueror, who has now won 6 of 15 starts and is a millionaire with earnings exceeding $1.2 million.
How cool will it be when we see these Sky Conqueror and Jambalaya hook up this year?

Jiggs Coz raises Plate stock

JIGGS COZ, a homebred owned by Mel Lawson, did today what most of the Sid Attard trained runners have done in 2007 – win his first start of the year and win big money.
Attard, who has already won stakes races with Like Mom Like Sons and Just Rushing, had Jiggs Coz perfectly tuned to win the Queenston Stakes at Woodbine, the first major prep for the June 24 Queen’s Plate.
“I was worried about the slow pace,” said Attard. “He has been training really good, (Jockey) David (Clark) said if he runs to his training, he’ll be okay today.”
Lawson, whose Let’s Go Blue lost a tough and controversial Plate in 1984 had little to say following the victory when interviewed on television – let’s hope the Hamilton native will perk up for the media as his colt gets closer to the big race.
Already a stakes winner as a 2yo, Jiggs Coz, 5 to 2, drew away quite easily in the stretch under David Clark. His trip was not the nicest for this track and based on the way the race went.
The pace was very slow, set by Catsimile (23 2/5, 46 3/5), Jiggs Coz was not far back but 4 wide and he had to rally that wide around the turn. Dancer’s Bajan, who figured to bounce high and wide off his Woodstock Stakes, was even wider and did well to rally mildly for third.
Newcomer Markdale, who just won his maiden at Keeneland in his first start of the year, took the lead 3 wide off the turn but weakened late for Chiefswood Stable.
The time of 1:24 2/5 should translate into a decent Beyer Figure (tune in tomorrow).
So, Plate hopes ride high with Jiggs Coz, a son of turf sire Cozzene out of Young Brodie by Broad Brush, as well as Markdale and Dancer’s Bajan. Quirky and huge Mike Fix rallied mildly from well back but has work to do yet.
With only 7 weeks to the Plate, it is most certainly crunch time.
Six horses have come out of 50 plus winning Queenston Stakes to win the Queen’s Plate.


Champion RARE FRIENDS, who was well beaten today for $4,000 claiming at Fort Erie in his first start as an 8-year-old, was claimed by a group of concerned horsepeople including Mike Ambler, whose name was on the claim slip, and trainer Michael Osborne, who trains for the famed Windfields Farm, and will be retired.
Numerous members of the racing community are involved in the claiming of Rare Friends and their names will be mentioned in posts to come.
Rare Friends, now owned by Winston Penny and Albert Sanges, pressed the pace off the flank of Souvenir Biz to the top of the stretch through a sharp :22 opening quarter before fading badly in the 4 ½ furlong race.
Incidentally, the ‘Biz’, who had not raced since 2005, led al the way to win in track record time of 51 3/5 for trainer Debra Rombis.
Enjoy your life now, Rare Friends.


The hottest team on the Woodbine circuit so far as to be Norm DeSouza (trainer) and jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva, the latter who won 2 races Saturday (before the last race was run) to contend for top riding honors.
The personable Da Silva is also humble, as evidenced by his comments after he rode the DeSouza trained EVERBLAZING to win the 5th race.
“I come (to Woodbine, 2 years ago) and I try my best and see what happens. I’m a lucky man to be around good people.”
DeSouza, who is clicking at a 50% win rate from a limited number of starters, enjoys Da Silva’s energy.
“He has a lot of positive flow that goes through him to the horse,” said DeSouza. “But if you don’t put (your horses) in the right spot, you won’t win.”


A concerned owner wants to get some answers to the Polytrack problem – kickback has certainly been bad enough this week again and work should be starting on it soon.
I will attempt to get an interview done with track supervisors this weekend. Thank you for your concerns and I hope I can get some answers.


Hey, I picked BARBARO last year and he was my first Derby winner since SEA HER0.
Let’s go for 2 in succession!



KENTUCKY DERBY-G1; Purse $2,000,000-guaranteed; Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky; 3-year-olds; 1st jewel of Visa Triple Crown; 1 1/4 miles; Post time: 6:04 p.m..


Post Horse Jockey Trainer Odds

1 SEDGEFIELD J. Leparoux D. Miller 50-1
2 CURLIN R. Albarado S. Asmussen 7-2
3 ZANJERO S. Bridgmohan S. Asmussen 30-1
4 STORM IN MAY J. Leyva B. Kaplan 30-1
5 IMAWILDANDCRAZYGUY M. Guidry B. Kaplan 50-1
6 COWTOWN CAT F.Jara T. Pletcher 20-1
7 STREET SENSE C.Borel C. Nafzger 4-1
8 HARD SPUN M. Pino L. Jones 15-1
9 LIQUIDITY D.Flores D. O’Neill 30-1
10 TEUFLESBERG S.Elliott J. Sanders 30-1
11 BWANA BULL J. Castellano J. Hollendorfer 50-1
12 NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ C. Velasquez B. Tagg 8-1
13 SAM P. R.Dominguez T. Pletcher 20-1
14 SCAT DADDY E. Prado T. Pletcher 10-1
15 TIAGO M. Smith J. Shirreffs 15-1
16 CIRCULAR QUAY J.Velazquez T. Pletcher 8-1
17 STORMELLO K. Desormeaux W. Currin 30-1
18 ANY GIVEN SATURDAY G. Gomez T. Pletcher 12-1
19 DOMINICAN R. Bejarano D. Miller 20-1
20 GREAT HUNTER C. Nakatani D. O’Neill 15-1





VERY LOGICAL – There is not a horse in this year’s Derby field that should be able to beat last year’s champion 2-year-old colt STREET SENSE at 1 ¼ miles on the one of his favourite tracks – except for possible freak-show Curlin. This stretch runner needs a lot of traffic clearance but should break the famous jinx of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winners not coming back the next year to win the Derby.
IS HE THE ONE? OR HIM? OR HIM?.. If Street Sense doesn’t win, then doesn’t it have to a Todd Pletcher-trained runner that beats him? Pletcher has done it all in racehorse training – he’s even won a Queen’s Plate at Woodbine. But he’s 0 for 14 at the Derby. This year he has 5 entrants: CIRCULAR QUAY is probably the best and he’s nice and fresh from an eight-week break. ANY GIVEN SATURDAY came within a nose of Street Sense earlier this spring. SCAT DADDY has done nothing wrong except not win in fast times. SAM P. is an unknown but eligible to improve. COWTOWN CAT cost $1.5 million, was given a silly name but is a pretty good colt, just not fast enough to win over these guys.
IT’S NO ACT – A physically impressive colt, NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ has been a training masterpiece for Barclay Tagg, who won the Derby with Funny Cide. A quirky guy, ‘Shobiz’ now wears blinkers to keep his mind on ‘biz’ and it’s working.
HISTORY MAKING – If CURLIN wins the Derby, the colt would be the first to win the big race without having raced at three since Apollo 125 years ago. The colt, named for his co-owner’s great-grandfather Charlie Curlin who was a slave, has been virtually untested in his three races but lack of seasoning could be the key.
OH CANADA, SORT OF – Windsor, Ontario born J. Paul Reddam, who does not live or race horses in Canada, has two horses in the race and LIQUIDITY is a longshot prospect. Dubbed a “head case” by his trainer, Liquidity is on his way up to a big effort but will the big Derby crowd rattle his cage? Reddam’s other starter is GREAT HUNTER, a troubled fourth behind Street Sense in the Blue Grass Stakes last month.
NO RESPECT – The impeccably bred HARD SPUN has only lost once in six career starts but the colt, and his trainer, get a lot of criticism. This week, the colt had one of the fastest pre-Derby workouts in decades leaving most to assume the colt has left his race in that prep.
WINS RACE TO BACKSTRETCH – Fleet-footed STORMELLO has been beaten in consecutive races by Scat Daddy but he’s a tough little speedster. Don’t see him sticking around, however.
NUN BETTER – Surprising DOMINICAN, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes, has a spiritual edge since he’s named for a congregation of nuns in Kentucky. The owners of Dominican also have longshot SEDGEFIELD in the Derby.
RAIN PLEASE – Longshot ZANJERO (don’t pronounce the ‘j’) is Spanish for water master. Makes sense, the only way this one gets involved if the track is very muddy.
MAKE BIG BRO PROUD – When GIACOMO won the Kentucky Derby a few years back, it was a huge upset, His little brother TIAGO will try to do the same thing for the same owners, trainer and jockey.
A LOT OF…. BWANA BULL won three consecutive races out in northern California but when pitted against some big boys in the Santa Anita Derby, the colt fizzled.
LET ME IN! Thanks to the late scratch of Merv Griffin’s Cobalt Blue, tough little TEUFLESBERG got into the Derby field. The colt likes to race on the lead
but there will be a lot of company for this bargain $9,000 purchase.
WELL, IT’S MAY… There are plenty of storms on the first Saturday in May but this gritty colt is one of two no-hopers in the race for Florida trainer Bill Kaplan. The other one is IMAWILDANDCRAZYGUY – enough said.


If it’s still sloppy or muddy at the Downs today – what to do? HARD SPUN likes it, ZANJERO would move up on it base don his breeding (and he’d have to move up to threaten), ANY GIVEN SATURDAY has arguably the best mud pedigree in the race, TEUFLESBERG likes it and, well, the rest would be treading into new territory.


The first Plate prep of the year goes today - the QUEENSTON (named for a town down in the Niagara region). JIGGS COZ makes his season debut for trainer Sid Attard and DANCER'S BAJAN will try and avoid bouncing off his season debut.

On the DERBY CARD, champion SKY CONQUEROR should contend in the Woodford Reserve Stakes (9th race) and MARYFIELD is 8 to1 for the Humana Distaff.
WANNA RUNNER, one time Queen’s Plate favourite, is returning from a long layoff in today’s MERVYN Leroy Handicap at Hollywood Park.
FORT ERIE racetrack opens with the highlight being what will happen with RARE FRIENDS, the champion earner of $775,000 who has been entered for $4,000 claiming which has caused an uproar in the local industry?
ASSINIBOIA DOWNS is opening today in Winnipeg with an 8 race card.

Friday Woodbine wrap

Okay, a 16 to 1 shot wins a maiden claiming race (by the length of the stretch mind you) over a 4 to 1 shot and a 14 to 1 shot, leaving the first two favourites out of the top three, and the tri pays $845? (The exactor paid 217 and the super, oh, only $20,000).
Two races after this bizarre 5th race, a triactor paid $2,000 plus with much lower odds on the top three finishers.
PAUDRIG, the winner of the 5th won like a champion for $10,000 claiming in his first start of the year and his form was basically dismal from last year.
Jockey JUSTIN STEIN won 2 races on the card.

DANCE TO MY TUNE, who beat the highly regarded a DANCE WITH DOVES in the final race, earned a 72 Beyer Figure. She was recently supplemented to the Woodbine Oaks (see below).
BELLEPLAINE, an Oaks contender who won at Pimlico on Thursday, earned another 75 Beyer Figure for her win.


The second payment this year for the Canadian Triple Crown closed May 1 and (pending late mail), there have been some supplements to the Queen’s Plate the rest of the Crown.
QUIET JUNGLE, a Forest Wildcat filly from Sam-Son Farms, has been made eligible. REATA’S ROCKET, a Cape Canaveral fellow who has been tackling some tough 3yo’s in Florida all winter, is also now eligible.
Stronach Stables has nominated SONG SHAN, a Golden Missile colt and a ½ brother to AWESOME AGAIN, Herbert Chambers has supplemented TEACHER BOYNE (Perigee Moon).
Fifty three (53) horses remain eligible for the Triple Crown.


Forty-three (43) fillies remain eligible for the Woodbine Oaks from 105 previously nominated in February after the May 1 payment.
Several gals were also supplemented since they were not originally nominated.
Those include Beaumont Stakes winner STREET SOUNDS (Street Cry), CHRISTIES TREASURE (trained by Todd Pletcher, read more about her by doing a search at the top of this page), recent maiden winner DANCE TO MY TUNE (Stravinsky), LOVE YOU CRAZY, and IT’S NOTENOUGH.


  • At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    reads like your not at churchill downs? have you been to the Derby? Let us know and your impression. I consider it a once in a lifetime or more must. I always have a great time. World's biggest cocktail party in the stands and the worlds biggest kegger in the infield!

  • At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    KUDOS!!!!! to owner Mike Ambler as he claimed Rare Friends in Fort Erie today for $4,000 to retire him at Windfields farm. Here is a horse that doesn't want to do it and has made almost $800,000 and a Sovereign Award. The business needs more Mike Amblers!

  • At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Photos from Churchill Downs:

    Kentucky Derby photos:

    Undercard races on Derby day:

    Kentucky Oaks photos:

    Undercard races on Oaks day:

  • At 12:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a great day of Racing .. I just love Derby Day. Street Sense, ridden to perfection and showing us the tremendous turn of foot he possesses, won the 133 running.

    At home, Sid Attard won the Queenston with Plate hopeful Jiggs Coz. Way to go Sid ! It would be great to see the seasoned trainer win the Plate, especially after the controversial finish many years ago with "Let's go Blue".

    Finally, when will Woodbine get it right ? It's May 4th and the owners stats are over a week old. HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO HAVE SOMEONE TYPE THE NUMBERS ? The stats are always kept up to date on the program, but always behind on the web. Get with it Woodbine.

  • At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Jennifer how come the Star doesn't print the trainers name of winners in the results.. They're the ones , along with their crew , who spend hours with these horses and don't get any recognition... Would it be much of a chore to list their names...

  • At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Isn't it time to add Sky Conqueror to the Canadian bred list?

  • At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    sid is a great trainer. he should be in the hall of fame. jen do you have any say in who gets in? just look at his career stats. there's none better at woodbine.


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