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Thursday, June 07, 2007


Rubber Duck


With the last minute addition of the maiden FUHRLEEN, the Labatt Woodbine Oaks has 11 in the field and the race goes at 5:12, as the 9th, on Sunday.

Here is the field with posts/odds etc.

1 PALACE PIER (Blinkers on) 15-1
8 SUVA (Supplemented) 30-1

A cool Oaks draw was held at WEGZ Stadium bar, with Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell getting right into the proceedings. There was a women's and men's long drive competition and lots of fun and food. Kudos to all the horsepeople, including jockeys, who came to visit even though racing was taking place some 35 minutes away.

THOROUGHBLOG welcomes everyone's opinions on the current issues (especially when I open a can of worms). The purpose of THOROUGHBLOG, at least one of them, is to give fans and horsefolks a forum. Important groups are aware of the ideas and opinions voiced by everyone as I found out today.
To the reader who asked why I don't comment on the betting aspects - I have been been awaiting some background and info on takeout and Woodbine's position etc. and have simply refrained from it at this time. I will comment on betting etc. soon.

Last night's unfortunate TV interview with Vern Fernandes was pretty much just that - unfortunate. I am sure he loves his horse (when he wins 10 races in one year, I guess you do love him). THOROUGHBLOG is also allowed to have an I don't ALL Fort Erie horsepeople are like him. He made a mistake and a response (or a donation to LONGRUN) would be a good idea.
Anyway...keep the ideas and comments coming. Allow everyone to say their piece - including yours truly.


Apprentice rider TYLER PIZARRO drew off even more in the jockey standings with a triple last night at Woodbine. The strength of apprentice riders at Woodbine is uncanny, almost bizarre. The Woodbine folk eat these people up - Emma, Tyler, Rainford, etc. No one else matters it seems. 5 pounds?? Really??

On a night when most people found it very difficult to pick a winner (at least my best-bet won!), the track was very quick, horses came from everywhere to win but the kickback of the Polytrack is still problematic. Work continues to be done it but the track folks are not satisfied with the surface just yet.

Speaking of 3's SON SARRIA won her 3rd race of the meeting for trainer Darly Ezra, who also co-owns with Stephen Chesney. This Knob Hill Farms cast-off won again for $19,000 claiming in the first race.

SANTINO'S HONOUR rarely wins but when he does, whew, he is tough and fast. The Matter of Honour 5yo horse won the 2nd race last night under Emma in 1:16 3/5 for 6 1/2 furlongs. That was an Ontario-sired allowance race.

Trainer MIKE MATTINE had U R ENERGY so well prepared for her career debut in race 5 (claiming $12,500) that the Bold n' Flashy 3yo broke slowly from the rail post in the big field, rallied wide and drew off. She was bred by her owned Gus Garisto.


Okay, THOROUGHBLOG, with the help of the crack Woodbine media office, has a couple of numbers for you that will make you think.

Think about racing doing verrrrryyyyy well at Woodbine these days.

After 34 racing days betting on Woodbine racing from all sources is up 4.58% over last year (through June 2).

How about this for a stat? FIELD SIZE is up 1 entire horse, from 7.9 to 8.9 this year...a remarkable number.

Thoroughbred wagering, in general is up, whether its on simulcast products or live product combined. It's up folks.


I have to correct myself from yesterday - JAMBALAYA has worked a few times in recent weeks as he gets ready for the King Edward Gold Cup. The Grade 1 turf star worked yesterday under former jockey MICKEY WALLS (thank you to Bill Tallon and Catherine Day Phillips for the information).

JONO JONES, a regular rider for the Phillips barn and Jambalaya's former rider, is no longer riding for that stable. But Jones also has 2 Queen's Plate contenders to choose from - LEONNATUS ANTEAS and ALEZZANDRO.

Meanwhile JAMBALAYA'S turf rival SKY CONQUEROR is in action on Belmont Stakes day at Belmont Park in the Manhattan Handicap. The Sky Classic look-alike is a serious contender again and should make Saturday super-fun.


The Awesome Again - Irish Cherry 3yo DAAHER, bred by Yvonne Schwabe, is apparently going to be supplemented to the Plate for $25,000. The colt won his 2nd career start when moving out in distance (he was written about on this site back on May 13-14 and a reader even noted his performance) and he ran a 90 Beyer Figure, a better number than most of the other Plate contenders have earned in their most recent starts. The Kiaran McLaughling trainee has been working like a bear at SARATOGA.


Off to WEGZ barn for the LABATT WOODBINE OAKS draw today. A field of 10 expected with STREET SOUNDS, owned by Hidden Creek Farm and trained by Michael Matz the likely morning line favourite.

John Velazquez and Garret Gomez will be in town, a day after their BELMONT STAKES run.


  • At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jen , Good to see field size up which will drive the betting. I suspect the absence of a bad spring virus on the backside this year is a factor in this. Look at Saturday's card. Three state bred races with 35 runners and 3 Also Eligibles. The local Breeders are doing their part to drive these purses.

  • At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    What about Cold War's performance? A War Deputy on the turf. I know they've won before on the lawn, but not too often.
    Cold War was running for 4000 claiming at Fort Erie early last year, and went on to win 10 races and over 150k, all on the dirt.

    A couple of $50 a day trainers from the Fort wound up with wins yesterday.
    I think there is something to training horses at the Fort. It is a more relaxed atmosphere for the horse (no airplanes and more grass for grazing). I wonder if it really does help some horses.
    But of course, Fort Erie still won't be broadcast on the Score, thanks to Woodbines short sightedness.

    Also, did Woodbine get back to you with takeout questions? I figure their standard response would be either a no comment, or that allowing betting is too expensive and the track takeout reflects the expense.
    They know that is bs. Most gamblers I know would double or triple their bets with a 10% takeout. And they really have no answer to the competition that Betfair offers, except to say that Betfair is gray area legal and they wish it would go away.

  • At 8:19 AM, Blogger Jen Morrison said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 9:28 AM, Blogger Jen Morrison said…

    Okay, let's try this again...
    I do not want to offend some of those at Fort Erie. I have lots of fond memories of the track and its people.
    HOWEVER, people like Vern Fernandes, who joke about a noble horse like COLD WAR being in an alpo dog food can give Fort Erie a bad name. To say that on national TV is a disgrace and he should be fined.
    If Woodbine wanted to promote Fort Erie, they would not have sold it.
    And people like Mr. Fernandes is why Fort Erie racing can not and should not be televised on The Score.

  • At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Amen to what Jen said, couldn't agree more....

  • At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    First off, it is my understanding that Vern Fernandes loves his horse.
    Yes, he shouldn't have made that comment, because people who don't know him would likely take it the wrong way. And casual viewers could get the wrong impression of horse racing.
    Secondly, Vern is an individual and is not a representative of Fort Erie. Many Fort Erie horsemen have been interviewed on the Score and have come across even more knowledgeable and insightful than Woodbine horsemen.
    As far as Woodbine not promoting Fort Erie because they don't own it anymore...that is not my point. They don't own Belmont either. I'm talking about promoting racing in Canada, and Fort Erie complements Woodbine and Ontario horse racing more than Belmont or any US track does. As some readers have pointed out, many jockeys and trainers and horses travel down the QEW both ways plenty of times.

    If Vern Fernandes is the reason Fort Erie shouldn't be televised on the Score, there are plenty of horse people at Woodbine where the same case or even worse could be made.

  • At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I know that Pat and Vern LOVE Cold War and are very nice people who are very well liked by fact, Vern won the trainer of the year award at Fort Erie last year, an award which is voted by his peers. I am sure that he relizes that he said something stupid and most likely wishes he could do the interview all over again....we have all said things that we regret but in Vern case it was on national televison...too bad.

  • At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Vern Fernades is bad for Fort Erie and the reason it should not be televised....laughable.

    Can't wait to see Rui Pimentel next time he wins a race on the Score.

    Slamming everyone associated with the Fort (after saying "i don't want tio offend anyone at Fort Erie") because of 1 stupid comment, from 1 person is totally irresponsible. You are much better than that Jen.

  • At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great forum for expression on horse racing. Could you please explain why you dont comment when its a question that concerns matters of betting????
    I was reading about some gentleman asking if Woodbine responded to Belfairs offers, I would have liked to have seen the response, but it read "this post has been removed by author." Just wondering why???? Even if the response that you give dosent suit my reason for asking ,I will still read your blog its fantastic.

  • At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "If Woodbine wanted to promote Fort Erie, they wouldn't have sold it"

    WOW....just WOW.

    short sighted doesn't begin to describe it.

  • At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It just makes me sick how people feel about Fort Erie. Woodbine horses come down to the Fort and take the money, It's good enough for them then. But, It's not good enough for the Score. What a JOKE!!!!! I thought we as a group of race horse lovers should pull together and support each other.
    What a shame Fort Erie will be lost soon enough, then what will Woodbine do with their cheap claimers?

  • At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What Cangamble and other Fort Erie sympathizers are saying amounts to this “ McDonalds should go out of its way to aid Burger King because it behooves McDonalds to have as many strong fast food places as possible.” You want to talk about laughable, its laughable to suggest that a successful business should go out of its way to help a less successful competitor just because it might make the industry look stronger on a purely symbolic level. What it comes down to is that Fort Erie apologists are frustrated that their track can't make money on a competitve level so they just expect everyone from the government to competitors to come in and help them out however they can. It'd be fine with me if WEG didn't waste a single screen in the whole plant showing Fort Erie races.

  • At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your comparison is asinine.

  • At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And in response to Fort Erie providing cheaper horses and horses that hate poly a site to race, let me say two things.

    1. Woodbine could always card cheaper races for cheap claimers as they do before and after racing begins and ends each year at the Fort.

    2. Talented horses who hate both the poly and turf can always find other places to race and its besides the point because I don't know of many horses who are talented and race at the Fort just so they run over regular dirt.

    Fort Erie is a fine racetrack but its not WEG's job to save something that can't save itself. Just like McDonald's isn't responsible for saving KFC or Taco Bell... Its not like McDonald's says " hmm.... lets aid Taco Bell so people who want Mexican fast food can have a place to eat"

  • At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    are you just slow...or are you playing around?

    The McDonalds comparison holds no water.

  • At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The point in the comparison obviously is that its not a competitors job to give handouts or to aid another competitor. WEG owes Fort Erie nothing.

  • At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So putting horepeople out of business is good for Woodbine how?

    McDonalds Employees dont' work at Taco Bell and Vise Versa.

  • At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I would also add that, if WEG is worried about competion from the Fort.....that rosy picture of racing Jen painted today is hogwash.

  • At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have had a highly regarded, Sovereign Award winning Woodbine trainer tell me that they need Fort Erie.
    Do you really want to know why Fort Erie can't make money? Because management just doesn't care! They have the 'I'll just sit here until the track closes and I get my big severance package' mentality. You tell me how $1.00 hotdogs and soft drinks are going to attract the betting public to the track.

    We do need to work together to promote the industry in Ontario in general. If you don't like it, don't watch it. But guess what? Some people actually do like Fort Erie and its product and are quite intent on keeping it around for a while.

    Not all of us can afford Woodbine horses, but still want to be part of the game. Why should we have to send our horses to the cheap tracks in the states, when we have a perfectly good facility at Fort Erie.

    Get off your high horse! We all have to start somewhere, and if we're lucky enough we just might end up at Woodbine someday. I just hope I don't meet you!

  • At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    I am not a Fort Erie sympathizer. Read my blog and you will see. I'm not a racing sympathizer either.

    My point is that WEG is not playing to what the viewers of Score want, I think. Of course I don't know for sure because WEG didn't poll the viewers. But I imagine Score would get a larger real audience of viewers made up of breeders, their families and friends, and players who are familiar with ONTARIO horses if they showed Fort Erie over Belmont.

    I could care less if it was even broadcast on the Score at all to be honest. I'm just pointing out how WEG's business sense can't see the forest past the tree.

  • At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oh don't worry.

    If the "Can Con" regulations ever go away, we won't have to worry about any Horse Racing being on T.V.

  • At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There is no way in a million years that Fort Erie races get a higher TV rating than Belmont races. No way, heck, include Buffalo in the demo and I promise you Belmont gets a higher rating than Fort Erie in that media markert.

  • At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    considering the ratings on the Score arely break about 12,000. I would say Belmont brings in no more viewers than Fort Erie.

    That being the case. They should support Canadian Racing. Especially since the only reason they even show the races is because it is CHEAP Canadian content which helps them hit their Can Con quota.

  • At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    when it comes to ratings "the buffalo market" means absolutely nothing.

    thanks for coming out though.

  • At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    way to backpeddle Jen.

    *golf Clap*

  • At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    you have to wonder. people are outraged by a stupid comment a trainer makes yet nary a word is spoken a bout a Jockey trying to lure pre-teen girls on the internet. Glad to see we have our priorities straight.

  • At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ummm... What Pimentel did is child's play ( tasteless pun intended) compared to what Woodbine Jockey David Clark did and well the latter is riding the plate favourite less than a year after the fact, so Anon 4:28 does have a valid point.

    I am still dumbfounded by the whole Clark thing....

  • At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    don't forget about the "classy" Patrick Husbands-who decided to turn the Jocks room into the WWE- and the "classier" Constant Montpellier-who thought it was a great idea to use a horse as a weapon.

    which track shouldn't be televised again...sorry?

  • At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Robert King said…

    The painting Fort Erie and its’ Horsemen with negative comments and posts because of a tongue in cheek comment by a trainer is absolutely ridiculous. First off, I will personally, 100% vouch for both Vern and Pat Fernandes as both very caring, responsible horseman and humans. I see them daily showing all their horses with both the utmost care and respect. If given the opportunity and hindsight being 20/20, I am sure that Vern would take back what he had said if he did not think for one second that it would not be taken in jest. There are many excellent horseman in Fort Erie and given the opportunity would be able to compete ANYWHERE given the proper stock. The camaraderie of Fort Erie horseman uniting somewhat as a team the morning after a Woodbine victory is great to see. Congratulations are passed out and wholeheartedly meant. It is a lot harder to both train and ride cheaper horses. Don’t taint a win by the small guy and the small town team for some misconstrued comment.
    Robert King,

  • At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    At least Husbands, Montpellier and Pimentel didn't kill someone. Clark killed someone and was riding and winning about two days later. His case really takes the cake for me, he makes it hard to root for Jiggs Coz.

  • At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Welcome Robbie.

    Don't sweat it dude....Jen has already started backpeddling.

    Alot of us can see and understand what Fort Erie provides and that it is definetly in the best interest of racing in Ontario to not only have it survive but thrive.

    It's unfortunate that this seems to be lost on someone who actually covers the sport.

  • At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Justin J. Nixon said…

    Very sad to see all the negativity aimed at Fort Erie. It is a beautiful facility, with a historically excellent track surface, and as pleasing to the eye and soul as any in North America. The Fernandes' are very nice people that care deeply for there horses, as are the majority of horsepeople at the Fort. They need to be...they do it because they love it, certainly not because they can make money at it given the current economic situation at the Fort. Yes, a comment like that made by Vern is in poor taste and in poor choice given the national audience, but I agree with Robbie King, in the right circle we all know that it was meant as a joke. And yes, I'm sure everyone at the Fort was offering "kudos" to Pat and Vern the next day.

    The economic situation at the Fort is not really unique, as Windsor Raceway is in similar trouble. I will agree that management at the Fort needs to improve their business plan, and quickly, in order for the Fort to just survive, but other factors have contributed to the situation. The smoking ban, post 9/11 border security, increased competition, and the strength of the Canadian Dollar vs. the U.S. have combined to make a perfect storm of economic hardship. Let's not forget that before the slots, Woodbine was in BIG trouble, and they are very fortunate to have an isolated market of more than 5 million people to draw from.
    An interesting point to be made is that 10% of slot revenue is meant for purses, and 10 % paid to the host track. Why is it that Woodbine manbagement, and not the HBPA of Ontario, dictates how that purse money is to be paid out? In the fall of 2004, Woodbine cut the purses across the board, stating a decline in revenues, by 5% I believe. Over the winter, they came out and stated that their figures were wrong, and that they would then increase the stakes and allowance purses, but keep the lower claimers at the new decreased level. Hence, the Canadian International purse increased from $1.5 million to $2 million, the E.P. Taylor to $750k, from $500k, and so forth. Do you realy get a better field for the International by offering $2 million? If they won't come for $1.5 mil, they're not coming for $2 mil. What if the HBPA of ONTARIO instituted a revenue sharing program? After all, that 10% is the HORSEPEOPLE'S money...not WEG's.

    In addition, the Score should cover Fort Erie, for the simple fact that some gamblers actually follow horses that they have previously wagered on at Woodbine down to the Fort, and likewise on the trip up. As already stated, it should be used to promote racing in Ontario, to support not only the Fort Erie horsemen, but the breeders and owners as well. And it is still a good, competitive racing product.

    If nothing else, consider the role that the Fort has played in the History of Canadian racing. Northern Dancer broke his maiden and won the Summer Stakes at the Fort, L'Enjoleur won the Prince of Wales there, as did the great filly Dance Smartly, to name but a few. Emma Jayne Wilson also won her first race at the Border oval.

    It's sad that instead of working to help provide solutions to the problems facing Fort Erie in a venue such as this, the majority seem happy to knock the Fort. It is also easy to hide behind the cover of "anonymous".

  • At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think the last few Canadian International fields have been great considering it is a week before the Breeders Cup Turf. Two million is a nice round number and for a while it was damn near equal with the Breeders Cup Turf with regard to purse dollars.

    Exposure is key....

  • At 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jennifer, when do you think that Lord Stanley's cup will come home to Canada?

  • At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh hell, all of the Woodbine jocks are lowlifes anyway! They proved as much when Canada's finest native riding son came to his homeland to ride, and those morons protested his getting as many mounts as he desired.

    Imagine how those pathetic foreigners felt when reminded that Mr. Russell Baze was born in Canada (and they weren't).

  • At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't believe what a wicked turn all this has taken!

    A managerial decision and a slip of the tongue have pitted many against each other that really should be more interested in securing a continued livelihood for the horsemen............ALL HORSEMEN!

  • At 7:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    just wanted to see if this works first,then i will post my comments

  • At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jen has got a new dance...

    it's called the BACKPEDDLE!!!!

  • At 8:58 AM, Anonymous buckie said…

    Regarding the comment about Cold War, I am sure that Mr. Fernandez meant this as a joke and does love and care for his horses but, as a part of an industry which gets maligned for its treatment of these wonderful animals, I believe Mr. Fernandez should try to get some air time from either Woodbine or Fort Erie to explain that he did not mean his heartless statement. And this incident certainly should not be used to create a rift between Fort Erie and Woodbine - it was one individual's mistake.

    Also, as far as David Clark and Rui Pimentel, doesn't our justice system, and so shouldn't we, assume they are innocent until proven guilty?

  • At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ummm...don't worry. Nobody watches the races on the Score anyway..It will be easy for Vern to personally apologize to all 6 people watching.

  • At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I know Vern and Pat very well and I can just hear Pat saying to Vern"now look what your joking around has started,world war bloody three"
    Vern was our first trainer at the track,and I can honestly say he goes above and beyond taking care of his horses,he's feeding at 4 am and he's back there late at night.He has had a lot of luck with horses no one else can do anything with.That is because he is patient and kind.I have never seen him abuse any horse they are all his little pumpkins.He retired a beautiful mare last year she was bought for a song went on to win over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars,I am pleased to say she is now in our barn and in foal to Impeachment.It's because of people like Pat and Vern we went from owners to trainers and now breeders. I wonder how many trainers have bought new folks into the sport of kings to the extent he has.I am sad at some of the flack hes got because of a comment he made.As for Cold War he is an amazing horse and I hope he goes back to woodbine and wins many more times,also the other trainer that was lambasted for having a winner.I am sure there's a lot of sour grapes going on.I just hope we will be in the lime light someday in To it's my dream to have a winner on the beautiful E P Taylor turf course,and if I do Please don't ask for an interview I will be to busy crying.

  • At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    haha I thought the comment he made was funny personaly.

  • At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Bob said…

    Very intresting web site and enjoy all the comments.
    Read Jens comments on how to make money at the track and the are very correct my $100 bank since late March is now $160.
    WEG Should check out the quality of the simulcast of Hollywwod to Woodbine.
    Bob B.C

  • At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Jen
    Have you got the beyer figure for TRUE REALITY yet

  • At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I myself raced at Ft Erie for many years,The biggest reason I left was for all the negitive people. People who love to see you do bad and hate to ever see you do well. People that gossip,Have nothing good to say is a real downfall on Canadian racing in Toronto and Ft Erie.Vernons comment just is one of many.Ft Erie itself is a beautiful track


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