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Monday, June 04, 2007


Happy Monday morning and Woodbine moves to a 5-day a week schedule this week - let the games begin!

Thanks to all the readers and writers who have submitted thoughts on bringing new and young folks to the races as well as takeout rates. I have sent some of those posts to Woodbine and hope to have some feedback for everyone as far as its thoughts on takeout and attracting people to the races.

Also, THOROUGHBLOG wants to thank the Woodbine TV department for its plug of the site yesterday on THE SCORE show.

The LABATT WOODBINE OAKS draw for posts is THURSDAY at WEGZ STADIUM BAR. Toronto Raptors coach SAM MITCHELL is the guest.

And, I'll change up the POLL this week. Thanks to everyone who voted and JIGGS COZ certainly was the popular pick for the winner of the Plate Trial.

(Thanks to Cindy Pierson Dulay for this photo of JIGGS COZ and his proud owner MEL LAWSON. You can see more super images on Cindy's ABOUT HORSE RACING site - link at right)


88 Beyer for easy Trial win

There were big smiles in the big heat, looks of nervous anticipation and signs of relief. This was the scene after many Queen’s Plate contenders passed important tests on their way to the June 24 Canadian classic, worth $1 million.

JIGGS COZ, a homebred through and through from the breeding program of Hamilton’s Mel Lawson, galloped to a handy score in the Plate Trial at 1 1/8 miles and will likely be heavily favoured in the Plate – even versus Twilight Meteor, Leonnatus Anteas et al.

The latter had a sparkling comeback effort for Knob Hill Stables and the late Steve Stavro, missing by a nose to Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk, a gritty older horse, in his 7 furlong comeback race.

“We’re a lot closer to the Plate than we’d thought – many people – thought,” said Leo’s trainer Kevin Attard.

“His workouts have shown us where he’s at right now,” said Attard about the colt’s blazing prep times.

Leo (Stormy Atlantic - South Sea Blues, Cure the Blues) was undefeated last year but had a problem arise that had to be addressed. The colt swam in Florida, trained in late March at Payson Park and has progressed nicely as he heads down a crash course to the Plate.

“A mile and a quarter is still a long way to go and he’s still behind the 8 ball, but he’s a good horse, he keeps trying.”

Leonnatus Anteas’ rider is Jono Jones, who also piloted the lightly raced ALEZZANDRO in the Trial for the same team.

Leo’s Beyer Figure of 89 was a touch better than the Trial number.

In the TRIAL, Jiggs Coz (Cozzene-Young Brodie, Broad Brush) was dragging jockey David Clark out of the tag into the first turn but Clark got the grey colt to settle and chase Alezzandro (High Yield) into the backstretch.

But the slow pace – a half mile in 48 4/5 – allowed JIggs Coz to draw alongside Alezzandro and the pair opened up a long lead over the other colts, who seemed to be totally without early speed or all getting a good practice race.

By the last turn, Clark had a lot left while Alezzandro, making only the 2nd start of his career, was starting to tire.

The Coz then edged clear, jumped leads in mid stretch while tiring but held on as MARCHFIELD owned by Eugene Melnyk, gave a good chase.

The latter seemed to be having a hard time getting close until deep stretch but the son of A.P. Indy was certainly bouncing off his 91 Beyer Figure effort when he won his maiden.

Trainer Mark Casse knew the colt would bounce and was afraid of another hard race for the colt going into the Plate, but, if all goes well in the 3 weeks before the Plate, Marchfield is going to bounce back and be dangerous at 1 ¼ miles.

Incidentally, Melnyk’s ARCHERS BAY was a closing second in the Trial before he won the Plate.

Melnyk was at Woodbine yesterday a day after his OTTAWA SENATORS stayed alive in the Stanley Cup playoffs with a win on Saturday night. They play again tonight.

The Trial Beyer Figure of 88 was just below par for the race from the last 10 years (see yesterday post with Trial Beyer Figures and Plate figs).

Trainer Sid Attard, red-hot in 2007 and very popular, watched the replay of the Trial with his son Paul, also a trainer, and appeared to be convinced his colt has his rivals over a barrel on Plate day.

Disappointments in the race? Well, shippers COBRADOR and IT’S A DANZIG weren’t too good although the former was 4th and could be back for the Plate. The slow pace really hurt the trailers – such as maiden INCLUDE US – and MARKDALE, who had a bad start, hit the gate and then looked a little worse for wear after the race as he was pulled up in early stretch.

Three weeks minus one day until the Plate. It’s JIGGS COZ, MARCHFIELD, ALEZZANDRO, LEONNATUS ANTEAS versus MIKE FOX and TWILIGHT least those are the big guns.

Other Woodbine stuff – NYUK NYUK NYUK is by Mutakkdim and is an Ontario-bred for the Tucci Stables. The gelding is trained by Sid Attard. He was bred by the Lickrish family.

On the grass, Sam-Son Farms’ somewhat funny-looking gelding MULMUR (he’s just kind of lumpy looking) won a 6 ½ furlong allowance dash and would have surely been 10 to 1 or higher had he not been coupled with RIDE THE WESTWIND.

The latter made the entry even-money and was the selection of jockey Todd Kabel.

Apprentice Catherine O’Brien rode Mulmur (by Smart Strike-Wilderness Storm) and the gelding was weaving a bit through the stretch.

Ride the Westwind was unplaced but was checked, on heels and bumping with others in a messy trip.

Live Oak’s Kentucky bred A.P. Indy filly SHE’S INDY MONEY looks like a serious horse and she won again at Woodbine, this time in a 7 furlong turf event and she went in 1:21.

Trainer JOHN MACKENZIE got his first win of the season with British Columbia bred KRUZN DOWNTHELANE, a Katowice gelding who won his maiden after a theatrical journey in race 1.

Jockey Emile Ramsammy actually did well to keep the gelding off the pace, had his blocked on the turn but then picked a spot and cruised down the lane.

The gelding is owned by co-breeder Darlene Seligman.

A Kiridashi first-time starter with long legs, STUCK IN TRAFFIC, looked good winning his debut in race 3 for MAD Racing and Martha Gonzalez. The colt was bred by Minshall Farms and is out of the Regal Classic mare Deadlock. His 4 wide sweep to the lead at 4 ½ furlongs was impressive.

Local stallions swept the late Double. RAHY’S ATTORNEY (Crown Attorney) was yet another winner for the hot IAN BLACK stable. The trainer had this one primed for his 2nd start at 1 1/16 miles yesterday and the 3yo gelding won under jockey Rob Landry for Ellie Boje Farm, M. Peters, D. Read and J. MacLellan.

And the last race went to stretch runner LA GRAN RAVEN, who held her lead low, chugged along past fillies in the stretch, drifted in a bit but was much the best for Fieldstone Farms and trainer Analisa Delmas. The filly is by Compadre.


A $500,000 2yo purchase, BENEDICT was .60 to 1 to win his maiden yesterday at Churchill Downs for $16,000 claiming. But the Golden Missile fellow stopped and being sent to a 5 length lead in the route race and faded to 5th. Benedict was bought out of the Adena Springs 2yo sale.

Belmont, Labatt Woodbine Oaks on ‘tap’

Without STREET SENSE in the Belmont field, the race dips in interest, at least from these eyes. Okay, HARD SPUN and CURLIN is an interesting match-up in the 1 ½ mile classic, but it’s not Sunday Silence and Easy Goer.

Locally, the LABATT WOODBINE OAKS week is going to fun. STREET SOUNDS (how many times will I write Street Sense this week) is expected for trainer Michael Matz (Mr. Barbaro, Mr. Chelokee).

The Street Cry filly is a graded stakes winning Ontario-bred who likes Polytrack. She worked yesterday at FAIR HILL in 1:02 1/5.

She could be favoured.

Also working yesterday for the Oaks – PALACE PIER, 1:01 at Woodbine on Poly, QUIET JUNGLE, 1:00 2/5, British Columbia’s SUVA, who screamed 6 furlongs in 1:11 2/5.

Also on the worktab (the Poly and the grass produced very fast times yesterday) - LIKE MOM LIKE SONS worked on the grass yesterday. The once-beaten Woodstock Stakes winner was blasted in a stake at Pimlico last time out and apparently is switching gears now. His prep was 5 furlongs in 59.


Second TR by Gonzalez trainees

(courtesy Fort Erie media)

FORT ERIE, June 3 – The first turf race of the Fort Erie season produced a track record.

National Hero, with Chad Beckon in the saddle, drew off in the stretch and held off a late closing Get Down Wolfie to win Sunday’s seventh race. The final time of 1:21 4/5 (1:21.96) was a course record for the about-seven furlong distance. The previous mark of 1:22 was set by Native Vigil in 1991.

“I tried to save ground on the backstretch but he wanted to go,” said Beckon. “I wanted to give him a breather in the final turn but he pulled me to the lead. He was much the best today.”

National Hero, owned by Stronach Stable, scored his maiden win at the same distance on the Fort Erie turf last year. He suffered a season ending injury in his next start at Woodbine.

“After the injury at Woodbine we sent him back to the farm,” said trainer Nick Gonzalez. “He went through a rehabilitation period and trained under Sean Smullen at Woodbine this spring, he was sent back here about a week ago.”

It was the second track record of the weekend for Gonzalez. On Saturday Tucci Stable’s Executrix covered four and half furlongs in a record time of 51.88 on the polytrack.

Editor’s note: National Hero is an Ontario-bred by El Prado. His Beyer Figure was 78. Earlier in the day, jockey Beckon was seen hitting a horse over the head with his whip behind the gate. Not good.


  • At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    I missed the plug because once I saw they were simulcasting Belmont instead of Fort Erie, I boycott the broadcast and watched TRN instead:)

    I ranted about this on my blog.

  • At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Having the Belmont feed is a HUGE upgrade from the Fort; Thank you to the Score! We're going to see some quality racing this year as part of the Sunday broadcasts.

  • At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hope they do not dis-continue Score horseracing I really enjoy watching it .

  • At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    1st of all, it's been HPItv for at least 2 years, not TRN. 2nd, Belmont is a way better product than Fort Erie.

  • At 8:35 PM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    My channel TV guide calls the channels TRN. I'm sure you understood what I meant.

    Secondly, it isn't important that Belmont is a better product. Woodbine shows it because I believe they make more money per each bet, because they have a lesser share when someone bets Fort Erie. Again, I'm not 100% sure of this.

    The idea is to promote horse racing in CANADA and specifically Ontario.
    Have they polled anyone? My guess is that a higher percentage of real viewers would rather watch Fort Erie than Belmont given the choice.

  • At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    More photos from the Plate Trial, includes a picture of Leonnatus Anteas' race and a close-up shot of the new "jelly cable":

  • At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you want Can Con regulations to apply to horse racing as well? I want to see quality races and if that means Belmont, so be it....

  • At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    At Woodbine, the mighty $$$$$$ rules.
    The more money they take in from bettors, the more money goes into Woodbine and it's product........that's the bottom line.

    If you watch HPItv than you know that. The priority of the races shown when more than 1 track goes off at the same time, is based on wagering. The track that gets the most action, after WEG products of course, gets the most airtime.

    YOUR idea might be to promote racing in CANADA, but Woodbine's job is to promote gambling, that's how the business works.

  • At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah I couldn't agree more with Anonymous 6:39.

  • At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    WEG gives preference to the tracks that potentially make them the most money on a $2 bet, not necessarily the tracks that its patrons bet the most on.
    Woodbine is number one of course, followed by Florida tracks and others that don't have commingled pools, followed by tracks that have commingled pools, and finally followed by tracks where they pay the largest percentage to the track for the feed (ie Fort Erie), and therefore make the least amount of money on a $2 bet.

    I realize that this is how big business works, but racing in Ontario is not flourishing. And WEG has the power to promote the sport from within. Their dissing of Fort Erie, is a foolish move in the long run.

  • At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So what you're saying Cangamble is that since Woodbine is the last dinosaur with any chance of survival, it should jump out of the marshes where its thriving in order to stand on the mainland in hopes that it might block the asteroid, saving the planet or in this case, thoroughbred racing in Ontario? I don't agree. Its not Woodbine's responsibility to prop up a dieing racetrack over at Fort Erie. I don't want to bet 5K Claimers at the Fort and I certainly rather see Belmont on TV than those same Fort Erie claimers.

    Keeping with the theme of the post, in a dangerous world or in this case a tough industry, its survival of the fittest.

  • At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    I'm not talking about saving racing. I'm talking about properly promoting racing to those who may become interested.
    If you are so keen on quality, watch HPI. But discussions about Ontario horses or Canadian horses should take precedence over broadcasting Belmont because of the mighty dollar.
    WEG is very short sighted and always has been.

  • At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    saying "it's not Woodbine's problem" to promote horse racing in Ontario is ridiculously short sighted....

    oh yeah...this is Horse Racing. if it wasn't for short sighted leadership, there would be none at all.

    I mean what interest would Woodbine have, in having a viable alternative for horses that A) don't like the Poly...or...B) can't ran with the competion at Woodbine.

  • At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anon 6:39...

    Priority based on vagering I can believe and agree with. But this doesn't explain my observation that Fraser Downs always takes priority over Southern California racing. I seriously doubt more viewers are betting on Fraser than on Hollywood. HPI will show a post parade live from Fraser over a Thoroughbred race from California, which gets relegated to tape delay. Hastings seems to get more airtime than they deserve and Woodbine doesn't even own it anymore.

    Fully agree with Anon 11:23! Down with stupid Can-Con. Someday I'll get Dish Network... Cheap claimers from Fort Erie vs. graded stakes races from Belmont, can you get any more no-brainer than that? Kudos to Woodbine and The Score for this!

  • At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very few "graded stakes races from Belmont" put money into Ontario Horsemen's pockets...Last time i checked Belmont does not employ one single person in Ontario....How many indirect benefits does Fort Erie provide? I would say a lot more than the miniscule amount of money they get from wagering on Belmont Park.

    again...short sighted leadership.

    If you want to bet Belmont don't be cheap and buy HPITV....The Score should be for Canadian racing....especially considering, that if the CRTC ever said "Down With the stupid CAN CON" Horse Racing would be off the air on the Score and SUN TV faster than you can say...They're off.

  • At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    why is emile ramsammy not riding any horses for josie caroll and the saparas after all the hard work he put in last year (2006) in winning the Queen's Plate on Edenwold for them it just not fair these people have not heart, that's why they are lacking success in 2007.


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