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Friday, September 14, 2007


(Shakespeare, winner of the first 5 races of his career including the Turf Classic, makes his 2nd start since a tendon injury. Considered one of the best grass horses to be seen in years, he's back with new trainer Kiaran McLaughlin) Photo from NTRA.

SHAKESPEARE is the early favourite in SUNDAY'S wild edition of the Woodbine Mile, the 11th running. Fourteen guys (including one girl) will do the mad scramble from the backstretch to the wire and surely, someone will get in trouble. Lots of racing luck needed Sunday whether you are a bettor or a horseperson.
Stories on the Mile are further down, the field and odds are on yesterday afternoon's post....


A light card on Wednesday night and horses on or very close to the pace did well. While it was easy to predict that DECEW FALLS would be the front runner in race 2,the featured race for older allowance guys, it was hard to imagine him going all the way and winning - 2/5 of a second off the track record too.

Karma stuff – Winners on Thursday’s card are prominent in the WOODBINE MILE. Jim and Susan Hill start STORM CALLER in the Mile (a huge longshot) and they won the first race with BRIGHT PICK, a 2yo who was winning for the 2nd time, this time for $32K. The Kentucky bred is by Crafty Prospector.

Bill Sorokolit Jr.’s THE REAL ME won the 3rd when jockey Tyler Pizarro suddenly sent the Real Quiet Ontario-bred to the lead halfway down the backstretch, let her open up 7 lengths and she lasted. The filly won for $20K claiming and she had been pulled up in her last start which was around 2 turns and too far for her.

The Dura Racing and Mile Doyle Stables won again with a maiden filly (She Cain’t Wait on Wed. night) when YES SHE’S LOVELY won her maiden for $11,500. She is an Ontario bred by Crafty Friend – Phi Beta, by Horatius.

FOREVER RED scored her overdue first win in the 8th for maiden allowance older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The Sam-Son homebred needed every inch of the long stretch run to get up under Emma-Jayne Wilson.

And Bold Executive had another winner to add to his lofty stats when CHOCOLATEFORLUNCH won her maiden in the finale for $12,500 for trainer Steve Attard and company.


It would be nice to see the 200 plus Canadian-bred yearlings in the Keeneland books this week sell at the local sale instead – the US dollar and Canadian buck are close now, let’s stay home folks!

Five Canadian-breds sold for over $1.2 million total and BILL FARISH bought a half-brother to Leonnatus Anteas on Wednesday at Keeneland.

The chestnut Dixieland Band coltout of South Sea Blues brought $150,000 from Farish to Hill ‘n’ Sales Agency agent.

Another Candian-bred, a Dixie Union out of On the Fritz by Mahogany Hall, sold for $550,000 by Woods Edge Farms (Peter O’Callaghan) agent.


From the TORONTO STAR | Sports | Turf classic tops race weekend

Turf classic tops race weekend

Sep 14, 2007 04:30 AM

Dave Perkins

Who says a million bucks can't get you what it used to? The Woodbine Mile, scheduled for Sunday over Woodbine's lush turf, has drawn an outstanding field of 14 with at least a half-dozen serious (on paper) contenders. Handicapping this one could keep you busier than the guy who works the Patriots' video cameras.

This Mile is so good, it even begins to rival all the intriguing miles on the stakes buffet tomorrow evening out at Mohawk, where two trotters on 15-race winning streaks meet in the $1 million Canadian Trotting Classic. The card also includes the $693,500 Maple Leaf Trot, featuring a couple of European stars, and a minor event for 2-year-olds, the $145,000 Nassagaweya Stakes, that showcases the unbeaten Ontario-bred, Maritimes-owned Somebeachsomewhere, fastest 2-year-old pacer in history (1:49 3/5).

It's some weekend for the horsey crowd, then. The standardbred stars go late tomorrow night, Hambletonian winner Donato Hanover, unbeaten this year, and Quebec ship-in Val Taurus, unbeaten lifetime, squaring off in the Classic, followed by Somebeachetc and then the Maple Leaf, which will be over well before dawn. (This follows a 35-year pattern by the local harness proprietors, who hold the feature races incredibly late, then wonder why media coverage is scanty. Some day, they will figure it out).

The Woodbine Mile, to get back to it, rounds up a number of heavyweights. Six of the 14 have won Grade 1 races and, forced to select a morning-line favourite, the oddsperson chose Shakespeare (3-1), winner of six of seven and only lately re-commencing his career after 21 months off due to injury. He won his return, at Saratoga on Aug. 2, with a final quarter-mile in 22 seconds, a rather astounding time. They don't even get home that fast at Mohawk these days and the young ones are just flying out there.

Shakespeare won the Turf Classic in October of 2005, ridden then by the now-retired Jerry Bailey, who was there at Woodbine to help out with the draw. Garrett Gomez, the continent's leading money-winning horsebacker, is named to ride this time.

Bill Sorokolit's Sky Conqueror (6-1), Canada's top turf horse, tries the shorter distance. Becrux (5-1), trained by hall of famer Neil Drysdale, is back to defend his 2006 title and Art Master (4-1), represents a shot at trainer Bobby Frankel's third win in this race. Arravale, Canada's 2006 thoroughbred of the year, will give the boys a try, although her odds of 15-1 suggest a more difficult set of obstacles.

Further down the odds board comes Awesome Action, owned by the now apparently retired Curtis Joseph and his wife Nancy, super agent Don Meehan and trainer Sue Leslie. He's 50-1 in the early ciphering and Joseph wasn't asking a lot: "Top-three (finish) and we go to the Breeders Cup," he suggested.

Joseph, Meehan and Co. have owned a number of horses, twice trying the Queen's Plate. A few years back they had Millennium Allstar, which was injured in the Plate and never raced again. He was sent to Western Canada as a stallion and is represented these days at Woodbine by a top filly named Dancing Allstar. They've never gone for a million-dollar purse, though, and while this looks like a tough spot for the honest old campaigner, a winner of eight of 41 career starts, his chances can be summed up the same as Joseph rated his chances to return to an NHL goaltending job.

He's a long shot, but, hey, you never know.

FROM THE Globe & Mail…

Race attracts top field

Le Cinquieme Essai makes another try


September 14, 2007

He's ornery. He's a pest. He's a little long in the tooth for a racehorse.

But Le Cinquieme Essai will be making his deuxième essai in the $1-million Woodbine Mile on Sunday against the toughest international field ever assembled for the race over a mile on the turf at Woodbine.

The first time he tried it, two years ago, when he was all but dismissed at odds of 18 to 1, Le Cinquieme Essai finished third to the magnificent Leroidesanimaux.

He'll need to be at his best on Sunday. He was left with outside post No. 14 yesterday, the last name drawn. And the field includes six Grade 1 stakes winners, including Shakespeare, whose only career loss came in the Breeders' Cup Turf two years ago. A tendon problem surfaced since, and he's finally back, looking sharp.

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by the continent's leading rider, Garrett Gomez, Shakespeare is pegged as the favourite at morning-line odds of 3 to 1.

In the field are eight invaders and six locally based horses, including the special Sky Conqueror, the winner of two major stakes races this year, one the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day after falling to his knees from the gate and the other the $700,000 Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine.

Owned by Bill Sorokolit of Toronto, Sky Conqueror was Canada's top male turf horse last year, but a surprise entry in this mile race, considering his best efforts have come at longer distances. He's also the richest horse in the race with winnings of $1.8-million .

Sky Conqueror lost his last start to Last Answer, who ran away from the field by 10 lengths at one point to win. Sky Conqueror's trainer, Darwin Banach, said he felt the five-year-old horse just wasn't close enough to the pace that day and lacked a little bit of energy. He's still on track to run in the Canadian International next month at Woodbine, but also in the Melbourne Cup in Australia, the Japan Cup and maybe the Hong Kong Gold Cup.

Another surprise entry is Arravale, Canada's horse of the year in 2006. The only filly in the race, she's battled injury problems this year and is winless in two starts.

Hall of Fame trainer Mac Benson says she's coming to hand and had a fast work over the grass. A filly has never won the Woodbine Mile.

But there's just something about Le Cinquieme Essai, owned by William Scott of Calgary, that tugs at the heart. "He's a warrior," his long-time trainer, Paul Nielsen, said.

He was the surprise winner of the Prince of Wales Stakes at his home track of Fort Erie five years ago en route to becoming Canada's top male three-year-old. In his most recent start, he won the Play the King Stakes for the second consecutive year. He wasn't a favourite in that race, either. It was only his first start in 11 months after recovering from a tear in his left suspensory ligament. He earned a Beyer speed-rating figure of 102, the best of his career.

"He's as true and honest as they come," Nielsen said. "He's like a true-blue friend, the one or two people you meet in your life that you truly consider a friend. I'm just truly blessed to have him in my life. He's a part of the family."

Nielsen's wife, Karen, rides him in the mornings. Steve Bahen has been riding him in the afternoons for four years. "This year, he's not as bull-headed as he was," Bahen said. "As he gets older, he gets a little calmer."

Did anyone say Le Cinquieme Essai had a shy, retiring personality? Not Nielsen. "He's a pain in the ass," Nielson said. "He hasn't changed much that way. But that's just fine with me. He's an aggressive guy, but that's suited him over his career.

Since he was a two-year-old, his barn name has been Doug the Bug because "he's always bugging people," Nielsen said.

He's won almost $1.4-million in his career. If he's victorious, he would be the oldest horse to win the Woodbine Mile.

Nielsen knows you can never count him out.



Three Dutrow employees fined


Three employees of trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. were fined by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for incidents dating back to 2005.

Assistant trainer Juan Rodriguez was fined $3,000, assistant trainer Michelle Nevin was fined $1,000, and jockey Rudy Rodriguez was fined $1,000. Juan Rodriguez's fine was reduced to $1,000, and he was put on two years probation.

Juan Rodriguez and Nevin were fined for falsely representing that Rodriguez was the trainer of one or more horses trained by Dutrow during the time that Dutrow served a suspension from June 1 to July 31, 2005. Dutrow, who was serving those days for two medication positives and a claiming rules violation, was found to have had contact with his barn during that period and thus still deemed the trainer by the racing and wagering board. Juan Rodriguez was the trainer of record during Dutrow's entire 60-day suspension.

That violation resulted in Dutrow serving an additional 14 days and receiving a $25,000 fine earlier this year.

Rodriguez was also punished for his role in two workout incidents involving Wild Desert, who won the 2005 Queen's Plate. According to the board's ruling, Wild Desert worked one day at Aqueduct prior to the official clocker being present. The horse did not show any workouts at Aqueduct.

In another incident, Rodriguez obtained a false workout at Monmouth Park on May 29, when the horse had actually worked at Aqueduct. The Monmouth work, listed as a five-furlong move in 1:01.80, was one of only two published works Wild Desert had in between the Arkansas Derby, run on April 16, and the Queen's Plate, run on June 25. The other was a three-furlong blowout in 38 seconds at Woodbine on June 24.

Rudy Rodriguez was fined for being the rider who worked Wild Desert in both circumstances leading up to the Queen's Plate.

For the readers looking for an update…

KING OF JAZZ, a Manitoba-bred, was a close 2nd to Wild Desert in the Queen’s Plate two years ago. Thursday at Belmont he finished last for $14,000 claiming.

WILD DESERT? He’s struggled since that win. EDENWOLD, last year’s winner, is getting a battery of tests after a comeback race in the Elgin yearling sales stakes resulted in him fading and being vanned off. MIKE FOX, this year’s hero, is back training and will get ready for the Ontario Derby and ALEZZANDRO, the Prince of Wales winner, should be gearing up again soon.


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