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Thursday, September 27, 2007



The Ontario Racing Commission yesterday reversed the disqualification of SEALY HILL from the Bison City Stakes this summer, awarding the race back to the Eugene Melnyk filly.
Sealy Hill was disqualified and placed third in the Bison City and STREET SOUNDS was placed first. That ruling was reversed yesterday in day-long courtroom proceedings.
SEALY HILL, with the Bison City win, now is officially the first winner of the TRIPLE TIARA for fillies combining the WOODBINE OAKS, BISON CITY and WONDER WHERE STAKES (1 1/4 miles on turf).



Longshots were the flavour of the day on Thursday - $101.00 winners etc. - and speed dominated most of the sprints. More updates later on THOROUGHBLOG!



The aptly named STOLE ANOTHER (Kentucky-bred by Canadian stallion Mazel Trick) won his 2nd Woodbine outing in the 1st event Wed.evening as the 8 to 5 favourite while racing on the pace all the way.

Trainer Terry Jordan has won 12 of 31 starts at the meeting since coming here from British Columbia, some of them running purely out of their skin. Stole Another figured – he was just beaten by ½ a length for $50K and won last night for $40K.

Stakes winner DAVE THE KNAVE was dumped in for $40K from stakes races (he won the New Providence just this past May) and was not a factor and was claimed by Sid Attard. RECORD BUSTER, was eased in his first race off a 1 year layoff.

First race of the PICK 7 – RACE 2..

LIONEL’SLUCKYLADY won for the 2nd consecutive time, this time at a healthy 10 to 1 after a beautiful trip under Jerry Baird (Patrick Husbands was named but was not riding). The Florida bred has won 3 of 8 this season for Mark Vizzacchero.

Race 3 – Emma’s first win on the night….LADY MOON (Perigee Moon-Light Autumn, by Bionic Light) timed her move just right to beat favoured GRACELICIOUS (who didn’t seem to bounce off a good debut outing on Sept. 5) in the maiden allowance race for fillies. The winner was wearing front bandages for the first time but that did not slow her down. She is owned and was bred by Lisa Guaraldi.

“It was a full moon tonight so it was her time to win,” said trainer Gary Aimonetti.

**Wilson spoke of her mount BORN TO BE in Saturday’s Mazarine Stakes (Grade 3) and said while the filly was surprisingly on the lead early in her debut win “there was more there” and is hopeful the A.P.Indy gal can win over 4 rivals on Saturday.

Race 4 – Emma guided EVER SO FREE, the favourite,to win the $50K claimer for older horses at 1 1/16 miles in 1:44. The stakes placed gelding, claimed 2 starts back for $32K by John and Marilyn Hillier’s Love 2 Win Stables and trainer Paul Attard, was full value for the score as he worked hard to rally 4 wide off the turn behind a pace that was not too fast. He had to shrug off a very game Salty Langfuhn and Emile Ramsammy.

Ever So Free, an Ontario bred by Fly So Free – Tico’s Regent, by Vice Regent was bred by the Everatt family’s Shannondoe Farm. It was the 5th win in 15 starts for 5yo gelding.

Race 5 – Two-year-olds, maiden allowance Ontario-sired. Mad dash at 5 furlongs that was won by the quickest guy – firster DUMONT (PerigeeMoon-Gabriele’s Sister by Green Dancer) bred by Mike Byrne in Ontario. The $12,497 (US) yearling purchase by Augustina stable was the 3rd winner of the year for trainer Barry Lerman (former assistant to Reade Baker).

The gelding is a ½ brother to 2 debut winners and had fast workout times. He was only 4 to 1 in his debut.

If jockey David Clark could have kept the slightly lugging in DELAFORCE straight, he may have won it, as the Porto Foricos gelding closed fast once he got things fixed up in late stretch. He galloped out far in front.

“He’s a big baby, it’s all still a game to him,” said Lerman about the winner “But we knew from day one he was a good one.”

Race 6 – More Emma. QUENCH slurped up his rivals in the last few jumps to win over older horses (he’s a 3yo) as the closers jumped all over the speed runners. The Smoke Glacken Ontario-bred was bred by Mel Lawson and is owned by Adele Dilschneider. He was a $435,000 yearling purchase and now he’s won 3 consecutive races at sprint distances on turf and Polytrack. Poor FROMAJACK TO AKING, he made the lead in midstretch and put his ears up looking very proud of himself but suddenly, he was swarmed. Tough trips for several including WOLLEMI PINE, who was chewed up on the rail in a pace duel.

Race 7 – Holy moly – Emma lost by a long nose as Jono Jones had just enough on VALENTINE VIXEN (Porto Foricos, homebred from Cudney Stables). Jones had lots of filly in the allowance race around the turn in the 7 furlong race, glided to the lead off the turn but then had to call on his gal for everything as Wilson and Wicked Emer were closing hard. Second win for the filly and her trainer Liz Charalambous (who has only had 4 starters).

And Emma wrapped up a super night with perhaps her best ride of the night – on 7 to 1 shot COOL PROPOSAL in the 8TH RACE for maidens, $12,500 claiming. The regally bred Chiefswood Stable homebred was 13th and last in his most recent start for 12,500 but was stretched out again in distance last night. Wilson took a hold of the eager Touch Gold gelding and rated him beautifully to win comfortably.

PICK 7 today – carryover $42,000

Picks? Some thoughts..(lots of Bears to like)

Race 2 - The filly DAWN RAID could run down BEARZAVA

Race 3- BearReal Deal on the stretch out

Race 4- tough MSW, MOSSBANK figures but is win shy, BEARELCO, FUNKELSTEIN

Race 5 - WICKED DEVIL (Wilson and Mark Mesic)


Race 7 - WOODBOURNE (Casse)



Nice feature on THE SCORE show on SHAWS CREEK, the Plate Trial winner from years ago who is now a stable pony for his trainer John Ross. In the spirit of LONGRUN THOROUGHBRED RETIREMENT FOUNDATION (the 3rd annual GALA is this Friday evening at Woodbine) it’s important to always remember the real stars of the game.

(The horses folks!!).


Here’s the scoop



ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Seemingly absurd questions are occasionally posed at Woodbine's handicapping seminars, which was the case September 2006 when I co-hosted one with my Daily Racing Form colleagues Steven Crist and Bill Tallon. The inquiry was regarding uncoupled runners from the same barn, and whether they should be allowed to compete against each other, given that higher-priced of the two wins, according to the questioner, "90 percent of the time."

The Ontario Racing Commission rules state that horses are coupled only if they share common ownership, except in stakes races worth at least $100,000, in which case they run as separate betting interests.

Crist said that he believed there is no statistical evidence to support the questioner's 90 percent figure. All three of us felt that horses from the same barn should continue to be allowed to run as separate betting interests, in order to maximize the number of betting interests.

Ironically, that questioner could have gotten rich later that afternoon, on the Natalma Stakes. Trainer Mark Casse sent out the first two finishers in the grass route for 2-year-old fillies, first-time starter Sprung, who returned a whopping $98.60, and an 8-1 shot, Quiet Action.

Amazingly, Casse one-upped himself in this year's Grade 3 Natalma, sweeping the first three positions with Clearly Foxy (17-1), Nite in Rome (12-1), and Lickety Lemon (4-5).

The faithful on the Casse bandwagon were rewarded handsomely again last Friday, when he saddled the top two finishers in a maiden special for 2-year-olds: the race-winning 24-1 outsider Bonanza, and the 12-1 shot East End Tap.

In each of the above races, Casse's go-to rider, Patrick Husbands, rode the lowest-priced Casse-trained horse, which helps explain the price differential.

Casse said if he runs more than one horse in a race, it means that he thinks each entrant has a realistic chance to win.

"I run a lot of uncoupled entries, and most of them involve different owners," Casse said. "I never give jockey instructions for one to help the other. I don't think that's fair. The more horses I run together, it means there's not much separating them. If I run one who I think can get the job done, that's all I'm going to run."

Casse said his decision to run the untested Sprung in the Natalma was logical, given her potential.

"If I had run her in a maiden race, she would have been 2- or 3-1," Casse said. "The Natalma field was made up of fillies who had just broken their maidens, so she wasn't running against much tougher than she would have in the maiden race."

Given the considerable size of Woodbine's slots-fueled purses, it seems a bit far-fetched to think that any trainer would try harder with his longer-priced entrant, in order to cash a bet. Handicappers should closely scrutinize these, for lack of a better term, uncoupled entries, in search of a value play, especially in stakes races.



By Larry Stewart, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 27, 2007

Corey Nakatani, who won the jockey title at last year's Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita, got off to a good start Wednesday by riding Dancing Edie to victory in the Grade III $114,900 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap, the opening-day feature.

"I'm 36 and not getting any younger," Nakatani said. "Winning a riding title is always an incentive. I've been the leading rider here a few times [four] and hope to get the opportunity to do it again."

It was also a winning day for David Flores and Victor Espinoza, the only double winners.

Flores closed strongly aboard Cherokee Tear to win the ninth race by a nose over Lutyens and Martin Garcia.

The other big winner of the day, which drew a crowd of 15,027, was Santa Anita's new synthetic Cushion Track.

"It did exactly what it was supposed to do," track President Ron Charles said. "It's safety first and fairness and consistency second, and that's what we saw today.

"It really seems to hold up well from the morning to the afternoon. The horses that run the fastest in the morning [in workouts] run the fastest in the afternoon."

The speed of the track was in evidence in the third race when Johnny Eves, ridden by Flores, covered six furlongs in a very fast 1:08.05.

Del Mar President Joe Harper, who was at Santa Anita for opening day, was talking with trainer Bob Baffert at the time.

"I was kidding Bob they're going to have to get a higher grade of fuel for the ambulance to keep up with the horses at this rate," Harper said.

The first race on the Cushion Track was a $15,000 claimer at 1 1/16 miles. Alfonso Quinonez, who rode the winner, Si Chimi, said, "I have been working horses over the track and it was fast in the mornings, but the other day when it rained, it was totally different. So today, I was kind of worried.

"I didn't want to go to the front because I didn't know if my horse was going to get tired or if he was going to keep up in the front, but he handled it pretty good.

"This track feels good and it feels safe. That's the main thing. This track right now is pretty much like it is in the mornings. It's pretty fast, and it looks like it's the same today. Off one race, it seems even and fair."

Richard Migliore, who rode Royal Classic in the first race and won aboard Flight Leader on the Cushion Track in the fourth, said, "I really like this track, it feels good. There's a lot of similarity to Hollywood Park. Even though those horses went legitimate fractions, nobody really melted down late. They're handling it fine.

"It seems like the material has a little finer consistency to it than Hollywood."


  • At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mr. Gierkink's column re:Uncoupled Entries tries to make a case for thr the status quo. In fact, the examples he provides make an extremely compelling case IN FAVOUR of coupling.

    For years I was a serious bettor, (betting about $6,000/wk), but these days I may go to the track once or twice a month. Why? Several reasons, ranging from discovering poker to manipulative results at Woodbine. Manipulative results INCLUDE uncoupled entries.

    The notion expressed that the existing high purses at WO prevent trainers from manipulating results is false. When one of the very top Woodbine trainers indirectly ADMITS to such, in a television interview, that is all the proof that is needed. Clearly, if top trainers do it, does Gierkink really think lesser trainers do not. If Gierkink really thinks this, he very likely also believes OJ Simpson and Phil Spector are innocent.

  • At 11:42 AM, Blogger the_drake said…

    Why don't you just bet the higher priced horse of the entry then, if it's all manipulated. In fact why don't we all, then the horse will be the lower priced of the two and when it wins you'll have nothing to bitch about anymore.

    Back to the real world, if any trainer has two horses that are of the same quality (in his mind) but one has accomplished more, so far, in its career (and maybe his go to rider has also done more on that horse), does he just not run the other because some handicappers might get confused, NO because the owners that pay his bills want to see their horse run and win. What happens when both parts of the entry don't win and a longer price hits are they then working with the trainer of that winner.
    This wheel could go around forever, so I'm gonna stop it now.

  • At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kudo's to The ORC for getting this one right. Sealy Hill is a deserving Champion of the Triple Tiara.

  • At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Let us give credit where credit is due - great job The ORC did in reversing the Sealy Hill DQ. I have also noticed a change of the stewards at Woodbine and a lot less controversial decisions. I do believe race fans owe it to this Blog for giving us a place to air our grievances, I can tell the insiders are logging on.


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