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Sunday, September 16, 2007

THE CRUX OF THE MATTER

Hang on for what will be a spectacular WOODBINE MILE today - a huge field, a glorious weather day and feel sorry for track announcer Dan Loiselle who figures to have 8 of 'em fighting it out in the stretch.
In the news TODD PLETCHER did not have a great day in New York with THE GREEN MONKEY failing to shine, RAGS TO RICHES looking very uncomfortable off the turn when asked to take the lead. No excuses for her not to win that race unless she is ailing.
As for the MONKEY, you could almost see the urgency and panic from the jock out of the gate when he just went to riding as hard as he could right out of the gate.
 
A MILE OF MADNESS

FROM THE TORONTO STAR

The impeccably bred Shakespeare is the morning line favourite for today’s $1 million Woodbine Mile but in a talent-packed 14-horse field the delicate 6-year-old is far from a sure thing.

The Mile, presented by Bell, has lured almost every top grass miler in North America and will certainly play a role in determining the favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Mile next month at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

“It’s always a good field,” said retired Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, in town promoting the race and his handicapping DVD.

“But this year, it’s exceptional. You have six Grade 1 winners, plus the defending champion in Becrux.”

Bailey actually rode Shakespeare early in that 6-year-old horse’s career including a victory in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Belmont Park in New York in October 2005.

While Bailey retired in 2005, Shakespeare went on the sidelines for two years with an injured tendon before being brought back to the races last month.

The Kentucky-bred won his return race at Saratoga against allowance company with a stretch rally that suggested the horse has not lost a step.

“He ran an impressive race in his comeback,” said Bailey. “He was three-wide all the way around and came home the last quarter-mile in 22 seconds, that’s very fast.”

Shakespeare is a homebred for Frank Justice’s Dell Ridge Farm which co-owns with Floridian Bill Schettine.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin took over the horse this year from Bill Mott, who said following the horse’s comeback race “he might be as talented a turf horse as there is on the grounds.”

Garret Gomez, who rode Shakespeare’s dam, Lady Shirl, to victory in the E.P.Taylor Stakes at Woodbine in 1991, has the mount.

Bailey says Shakespeare’s competition will not only come from Becrux, who won last year’s Mile at 8 to 1, but New York invaders Kip Deville, a “perfect miler” and Remarkable News, fifth this race last year.

“Sky Conqueror has a chance to, even if it’s not his best distance,” said Bailey of the Canadian champion, a last minute entrant in the race.

“Any other race on the grass, he might be the favourite but he’s only fourth choice.”

WOODBINE MILE presented by BELL-Grade I; Sunday, September 16, 2007, Woodbine racetrack; Purse $1,000,000; 3-year-olds & up; 1 mile; turf; post time 5:06 p.m.; TV The Score 4:00-5:30 p.m.

THE FIELD

Post Horse Trainer Jockey Odds

1 Host Todd Pletcher John Velazquez 15-1

2 Becrux Neil Drysdale David Flores 5-1

3 Shakespeare Kiaran Mclaughlin Garret Gomez 3-1

4 Sky Conqueror Darwin Banach Javiar Castellano 6-1

5 Kip Deville Richard Dutrow Jr. Cornelio Velasquez 12-1

6 Galantas Graham Motion Todd Kabel 30-1

7 Storm Caller Reade Baker Jim McAleney 50-1

8 Estevan Barbara Minshall Eurico Rosa da Silva 50-1

9 Remarkable News Angel Penna Jr. Ramon Dominguez 8-1

10 Dead Red George Mikhalides Emma-Jayne Wilson 30-1

11 Art Master Robert Frankel Julien Leparoux 4-1

12 Arravale Mac Benson Jose Valdivia 15-1

13 Awesome Action Sue Leslie Rob Landry 50-1

14 Le Cinquieme Essai Paul Nielsen/Steven Bahen 15-1

JEN'S PICKS

1 – SKY CONQUEROR

2 - SHAKESPEARE

3 – KIP DEVILLE

LONGSHOT – GALANTAS


ANALYSIS

SKY’S LIMITLESS – Okay, so SKY CONQUEROR was last minute entrant and the distance is a tad short but Canada’s champion turf horse from last year has a devastating stretch kick. One of the horse’s wins last year came at this distance and his rider that day never hit him with the whip. Figures have to have loads of speed to run at, just needs some luck with traffic.

MY KINGDOM FOR A WINNER – The turf course has to be very dry for comebacker SHAKESPEARE, considered the best grass horse in years in 2005 before a tendon injury led to a layoff of almost 2 years. Won his return race in August at Saratoga with a sizzling late stretch run.

KIP RUSHES THROUGH THE STRETCH – Ooooooklahoma Horse of the Year KIP DEVILLE is sitting on a big race for the same group of folks whose Rebel Rebel was second in this race last year. Has the perfect stalking style for this race.

GOLD DIGGER – Trainer Graham Motion says GALANTAS is a horse that makes you go ‘wow’. Lightly raced 4-year-old is improving all the time and looks poised to run a career best race at big odds.

THE OTHERS

It is tough to leave out BECRUX from the list of selections since the gelding won this race last year and his trainer, Neil Drysdale has dominated the first 10 runnings of the Mile. REMARKABLE NEWS was burned out in the speed duel in last year’s Mile and the horse has not raced since June. ART MASTER is a regally bred colt trained by the crafty Bobby Frankel and he pushed Shakespeare to the limit in that one’s return to racing. Eugene Melnyk’s HOST is a grand old guy who has a lovely stretch rally but may been best his best days. Last year’s Canadian Horse of the Year ARRAVALE was a last minute entrant who might be ready to return to top form but it won’t be enough. The remainder of the field is overmatched.

Green Monkey fizzles

$16 million horse is mediocre in debut race

FROM THE ALBANYTIMESUNION

By TIM WILKIN, Staff writer
First published: Sunday, September 16, 2007

ELMONT -- People pressed four and five deep along the fences around the Belmont Park paddock on a sun-soaked Saturday afternoon. They craned their necks for a better look, they pointed their cameras to get a shot at racing's biggest mystery.

It was only the fourth race of the day, but The Green Monkey -- who was purchased for a world record $16 million last year -- was running for the first time. And everyone who came out to Belmont wanted to see what a $16 million horse looked like.

Actually, he looked like any other horse on the Belmont grounds as the sun splashed off his bay coat. His first race? Well, not so good.

The Green Monkey could manage just a third-place finish as the 2-5 favorite in the six-furlong maiden race. He was seven lengths behind 10-1 shot Roi Maudit, who was timed in 1:09.10.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said later he was surprised The Green Monkey, a son of Forestry, was sent off as such a heavy favorite. But he said he was not totally surprised by how the race unfolded.

"I figured he would be a big favorite because of all the publicity he has had," Pletcher said. "Anytime you take a first-time starter in September and run against horses who have already started five or six times, it's a big disadvantage."

Roi Maudit, trained by Bill Mott, was making his sixth career start. He, like the other horses in the race, had never won before Saturday.

The Green Monkey, named for a golf course in Barbados, was bought by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and John Magnier for a reported $16 million last year at the 2-year-old in training sale in Miami. His first start was supposed to come last summer at Saratoga, but a torn gluteal muscle kept him off the track.

The modest crowd at Belmont was more curious than anything when The Green Monkey paraded through the paddock. Once the starting gates opened, The Green Monkey didn't show much of anything. He broke slowly and offered little response when jockey John Velazquez urged him in the stretch.

"Everyone wanted to see what $16 million could buy you," Velazquez said.

Pletcher said he has not decided when or where the next start would be for The Green Monkey. For now, he's just happy that he finally got him to the races.

"Yeah, I guess so," Pletcher said. "I kind of knew where I was with him. If you asked me before the race if they run 1:09.10, can he win? I would probably say he's not ready for that. For a first-timer to run faster than 1:09.10 would be hard to do."

Futurity

The previous time Tale of Ekati was seen, he was finishing second behind Ready's Image in the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga on July 26. Saturday, the 3-1 shot upset 4-5 favorite Kodiak Kowboy in the Grade II, $250,000 Futurity for 2-year-old colts.

Tale of Ekati, who hit the gate at the start, won by a length over Kodiak Kowboy, who won the Saratoga Special on Aug. 16 in his previous start. The Leopard, the 5-2 second choice, was fourth in the five-horse field.

"We've been high on him since we've gotten him to the track," trainer Barclay Tagg said of the son of Tale of the Cat. "I'm with him all day, every day, and you can really tell when a horse is coming to himself. We're very excited about him."

 
HO-HUM, CASSE WINS ANOTHER STAKES...
Siwa speeds to La Prevoyante win
 
TORONTO, September 15...Siwa, owned by Knob Hill Stable and the Estate
of Steve Stavro, made every pole a winning one Saturday at Woodbine, in
the $126,200 La Prevoyante Stakes, an Ontario Sires event for
three-year-old fillies.
 
With Jono Jones at the controls, Siwa burst to the front in the one
mile turf dash and bravely held all comers at bay the rest of the way. 
 
 
After opening several lengths on the field approaching the far turn in
getting the half in :46.01, the daughter of Alydeed was challenged by
the 3-2 choice, You Will Love Me, as the field straightened away for
 the
lengthy stretch drive.
 
Despite drifting a little in mid-stretch, Siwa repulsed all challengers
in posting a half- length score, getting the mile in 1:36.17 over a
'good' E.P. Taylor Turf Course.  
 
Longshot Galipette, still a maiden after 12 tries, closed for second, a
neck in front of a game You Will Love Me, who was also lugging
co-topweight of 120 pounds.
 
"I was supposed to go and slow it down.  I didn't get her to slow down,
but she still won," said Jones.  "She fights right to the end."
 
Trained by Kevin Attard, Siwa was notching her second stakes win of the
season, after taking the turf, six-furlong Zadracarta on June 17 by
employing similar tactics.  However, since then, she'd finished fifth
 in
two consecutive turf sprint stakes, including the five furlong Rainbow
Connection at Fort Erie on August 19.
 
"She's a nice filly," said Attard.  "We've had a few disappointments
with her, but I remember after she won the Zadracarta, Jono said a mile
won't be a problem for this filly.   We kind of geared her toward the
Rainbow Connection and I think I may have been a little too aggressive
in her training (for that one).  Today, it set up on paper that we were
the lone speed.  Once she gets to the lead, she's very dangerous."
 
Sent postward a 9-1 outsider in the field of eight, Siwa pocketed
$75,000 for the victory, her fourth win in eight career outings.  Last
year, Knob Hill homebred broke her maiden in her only start.
 
Siwa paid $20.10, $9.80 and $6.80, combining with 25-1 Galipette
($14.70, $7.20) for a $254.70 (2-3) exactor.  A 2-3-7 (You Will Love
 Me,
$2.90 to show) triactor was worth a healthy $1,142.50.
 

Turf War emerges victorious from Swynford battle
 
TORONTO, September 15 - Woodford Racing's Turf War won his second
consecutive race and first stake, in the $125,000 Swynford, Saturday at
Woodbine.
 
With morning line favourite and multiple stakes winner Bear Holiday
scratched, Turf War, a Kentucky-bred son of Dixie Union, was sent off
 as
the 6-5 choice. 
 
Turf War sat just off pacesetter Storm Code, who took the field through
opening splits of :23.46 and :46.04 in the seven furlong event for
two-year-olds.
 
Jockey Patrick Husbands rallied Turf War mid-stretch, and eventually
wore down the leader to score by one length, with Soca Tempo third. The
final time was 1:23.02 over the Polytrack.
 
Turf War's victory came after a 1 3/4-length score on August 18.
 
"I had to keep my eyes on him (Storm Code)," said Husbands, who won his
colony-leading 17th stake of the season. "By the time we reached the
quarter-pole, the speed that he used to get up there, I had no horse
swinging for home. But he finally wore them down." 
 
Casse, who recorded his leading 11th stakes triumph on the campaign,
wasn't convinced the Swynford was the right spot for his young pupil. 
 
"I think this horse wants to run long," offered Casse. "There was an
allowance race going two turns on Wednesday night. That's really where
 I
was looking. But I said we'll go ahead and enter. Unfortunately for
Reade (trainer Baker) and Bear Stables, their horse was scratched. We
said we'll give it a chance." 
 
With today's winning pot of $75,000, Turf War pushed his career
bankroll to $123,000.
 
His next date could come in the Grade 3, $250,000 Grey Breeders' Cup
Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile event, slated for October 8. Husbands and Casse
teamed to win last year's race with Skip Code.
 
Turf War paid $4.60, $2.40 and $2.10, combining with Storm Code ($3.30,
$2.60) for a $10 exactor. There was no triactor.

4 Comments:

  • At 2:30 PM, Blogger the_drake said…

    I see The Fort is off the turf AGAIN, must be all that pesky dew the Niagara Rgion has been getting this past week, causing the course to be firm instead of concrete. Good thing Woodbines course can handle horses on it, should be a good one in a couple hours, I see Art Master with News and Kip.

     
  • At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We were at Woodbine on Sunday for the Woodbine Mile...

    Shakespeare wins the $1 million Woodbine Mile (G1):
    http://www.horse-races.net/library/wmile07-results.htm

    Undercard stakes: Canadian(G2) and Summer(G3):
    http://www.horse-races.net/library/wmile07-ucresults.htm

    Slide show version covering all three stakes races (different photos):
    http://horseracing.about.com/od/latestnews/ss/aa091607a.htm

    Enjoy!

     
  • At 12:13 AM, Blogger the_drake said…

    Holy crow, The Drake is wrong, it doesn't happen often sports fans. Damn me for expecting a horse coming off a 21 month layoff to regress 2nd time out. What a solid effort, this will muddle the mile picture now even more, between the hot shot Euros and solid NA players, good thing I'll be at Monmouth for the 2 weeks leading up to the Cup to scout them out.

     
  • At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Steve said…

    To Anonymous who week after week posts "we were at xxxx for the xxxx Stakes race. If your not Cindy Dulay then why would you post her pictures? Too many anonymous writers. Pen yourself as you were named....if you have the guts!

    Anonymous....Steve

     

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