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Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Look who's retired!
(photos courtesy Simon Cassidy)

Rare Friends at Windfields Farm, only days after MIKE AMBLER claimed the 8-year-old champion for $4,000 in order to retire him.
How happy does he look?

Champion RARE FRIENDS was claimed for $4,000 by owner Mike Ambler from a race at Fort Erie on Kentucky Derby day and has been retired. The multiple stakes winner (Helmsman-Legion Entrangere) earned nearly $800,000.

The following is a letter from SIMON CASSIDY, farm manager at Windfields Farm:

Hi Jen,
He arrived this afternoon and settled in like he's been here for ages.
He's a real sweetheart, seems to be a very kind boy.

At least this is one that we won't have to read about disappearing to somewhere awful !
It was an "interesting" exercise trying to get this organized to say the least.

It involved a cheque from here being driven to Fort Erie on Thurs, papers being faxed here and taken to Kentucky for Mike to sign on Thursday, faxed back to Fort Erie from Lexington on Thursday night, then on Derby morning I get a call as we are going through the turnstiles of Churchill saying they needed another form signed.
Had to plead with officials in Churchill main office 6 hours before Derby (chaos) to get to fax machine, sign that one, ask very grumpy Churchill secretary to fax it back and hope for the best !!

Apparently there were 2 other tickets in for him and we got lucky. Mike Osborne said there were a few jocks and horsepeople etc in the office during the draw rooting for us to get him so he could retire.

Anyway, all worth it.

ThoroughBlog has started a Poll section on the sidebar - patience please whihle I try to figure out how to line everything up - you might find the sidebar is at the bottom of this page for a bit until I fix it.
I will change up the question every week or two.
The sidebar also includes links to recent posts, other blog sites, other racing sites and my personal list of books I've read recently.
Woodbine's mircosites, which also has a Queen's Plate and Woodbine Oaks poll, lists the top contenders for those races and has the latest news. Those links are on the top of my link list.
Top Canadian-bred breaks down preparing for Hendrie
(from Daily Racing Form)

Candy Box, a minor stakes winner owned and bred by Frank Stronach, broke down after finishing a five-furlong workout Monday morning at Belmont Park and had to be euthanized.
Candy Box, a 5-year-old daughter of Running Stag, was galloping out after working five furlongs in 59.43 seconds in preparation for a start in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Hendrie Stakes at Woodbine.
Trainer Bruce Levine said Candy Box fell after the work and broke her elbow. She needed to be euthanized. Exercise rider Jesus Romero was taken to a local hospital for observation.
Candy Box, a half-sister to minor stakes winners Beta Capo and Alpha Capo, finished second in the Grade 2 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct on March 24. She had a record of 4-5-0 from 13 starts and earned $205,520.
$18K Pick 7 carryover
Big fields and a Pick 7 carryover that is starting to get sizy highlight the second Wednesday night card of the 2007 Woodbine meeting.
Last Wednesday night the Polytrack produced nasty kickback and it was hard for horses to rally. Last weekend, the Polytrack looked a bit better and outside runners seemed to have better luck than anybody.
The evening’s feature is the 6th race, a $66,800 allowance/optional claiming event for fillies and mares ($62,500 tag or non-winners of 2 ‘other than’) and it is a 6 furlong dash packed with lots of speed runners, classy gals and layoff runners.
The morning line favourite is ANGEL ON WATCH (3 to 1), a Sam-Son Farms’ Kentucky-bred who was graded stakes placed last year but she tailed off badly and her season debut at Keeneland was not exciting.
KNOCKER, a winning machine who continued a winning streak in her 2007 debut for new owner The Very Dry Stable, lost her latest but posted a career best Beyer Figure of 85 in the effort. She turns back from 7 furlongs to 6 furlongs but is hung out in post 12, although there may be scratches.
The hot Sid Attard barn has IF MOMA AINT HAPPY in the field but that mare must have the lead to win and VERY MUCH SO is just as quick from the gate. Florida grass runner IRISH CATON comes in for trainer Mike Silvera and those shippers have thrived on the Woodbine Polytrack this spring.
An interesting maiden allowance for Ontario-sired colts splits the card as race 5. Early favourite is Edenvale Stables’ EXECUTIVE PRODUCER (Bold Executive) who rallied fast to be second in his career debut to Fudgethebottomline, who has since won again.
Beginners of interest in the race include FLEETS DREAM, a son of A Fleets Dancer and Dream Smartly, who was named outstanding broodmare of the year at the Sovereign Awards last year. Fleets Dream, a Bruno Bros. farm product, is a half-brother to champion sprinter Blonde Executive and stakes winner Main Executive.
Courtesy Standardbred Canada
Fifteen nominees have been put forward by the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame's Thoroughbred and Standardbred Nominating Committees.
Four thoroughbreds – Jammed Lovely, L'Enjoleur, Natalma and Quiet Resolve were nominated along with trainer Andy Smithers, and jockey Chris Loseth. Also in the Builders' category besides McNiven are British Columbia breeders Russ and Lois Bennett and publicist/writer Bruce Walker.
Nominees must receive at least 75 per cent (12 of 16) of the votes cast by the electors in the two breeds. This year's successful nominees will be announced on Tuesday, May 22. Induction ceremonies will be held Thursday, August 23, at the Mississauga Convention Centre.
Natalma gained international acclaim when she gave birth to Northern Dancer, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Queen's Plate and become the preeminent sire of the 20th century. Natalma also produced four stakes winners, including Arctic Dancer, the dam of champion La Prevoyante. The remarkable filly Jammed Lovely gained nomination largely due to her upset victory over the males in the 1967 Queen's Plate for owner Conn Smythe.
L'Enjoleur was Canada's Horse of the Year in 1974 and 1975, the first horse to win back-to-back titles. He won the major races for two-year-olds, along with the Laurel Futurity at Pimlico, and at three captured the Queen's Plate, Prince of Wales, Quebec Derby, Manitoba Derby and Carling O'Keefe Invitational. At stud he sired champions Avowal and Par Excellance. Sam-Son Farms' outstanding gelding Quiet Resolve, who dies earlier this year, was a superb grass horse and was named Canada's Horse of the Year in 2000. He won the Atto Mile and was a close second against a large field of the world's leading grass horses in the Breeders' Cup Turf. He was a stakes winner at ages four, five, six and seven.
Andy Smithers, touted by his contemporaries as best horseman on the grounds, was twice Ontario's leading trainer in wins and led all trainers in Canada in 1968. Twice he ranked among the top five trainers in North America and won more than 1,000 races. His best horse was multiple stakes winner Coup Landing. Chris Loseth, British Columbia's leading rider on numerous occasions and the first jockey to win Sovereign Awards as the leading apprentice and the country's leading jockey a few years later, retired in 2005 with 3,668 victories. He also won the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award for his contributions to the sport.
Like Smithers and Loseth, British Columbia is also represented by the Bennetts. For over 20 years their Flying Horse Farm at Westbank, B.C. has led the breeders' list. In 1983, Travelling Victor, a horse they bred, became the first horse not raced in Ontario to win Horse of the Year honours in Canada. The Bennetts won a Sovereign Award as the top breeder that year as well.
Lauded by his contemporaries for his contributions to the sport, Walker was director of the Ontario Jockey Club's publicity department for almost 30 years. In 1997 he was presented with the Turf Publicists of America Award of Merit. On three occasions he earned a Sovereign Award for the best feature story in Canadian racing.
Editor's note: Thanks for the reader for the heads up on the "inadvertant slur", I certainly didn't mean to write that the way it sounded.


  • At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Voodoo said…

    That baby looks so happy!! I love that he has been retired to a place that will give him the respectful retirement he deserves!

  • At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Jen

    I e-mailed Todd Pletcher's barn to inquire about the status of Oistin's Bay (in my Queen's Plate Fantasy stable). I was informed he has been sent to the farm for a rest. Plate in his future!

    Tuxedo Mac

  • At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Jen,
    Glad to see Rare Friends happily retired. Well deserved for a former Sovereign Award winner.

    Sorry to hear about Candy Box. She was a nice mare.

    I hope that Winter Whiskey (2year old Swynford and Kingarvie winner) will have some kind person retire him before he breaks down. He is currently racing at Mountaineer Park in $5000 claiming races.

  • At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    same goes for Grillhouse. After racing (and racing and racing) at Mountaineer, I saw him get trounced at Aquaduct. Not pretty.


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