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Monday, September 17, 2007


UPDATE - How good was the weekend for Canadian CHARLES FIPKE? The diamond miner had his 2yo TALE OF EKATI win the Grade 2 Futurity on Saturday (homebred by Tale of the Cat, bred in Kentucky) and his mare LADY SHIRL is the dam of SHAKESPEARE.
Fipke bought Lady Shirl for $485,000 - she's 20 years old but in foal to Perfect Soul....

(Photo from, Eclipse Award winner Cindy Pierson Dulay.

SHAKESPEARE motors up rail to win Woodbine Mile.

WOODBINE MILE DAY AT WOODBINE – 107 Beyer for Shakespeare

HIS KINGDOM FOR A HORSE – Fans bet $4 million

Good story yesterday – Frank Justice rarely races horses and when he does, they have not been stars.

Back 5 years ago he couldn’t get $100,000 for his Theatrical colt, bought him back and then sold half to his friend Bill Schettine.

Now SHAKESPEARE, already a Grade 1 winner, is likely going to be favoured for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, 2 years after an injury soon after a disastrous Breeders’ Cup run might have ended his career.

Not only is the 6yo horse is drop-dead gorgeous, he’s only been beaten once and he’s a superstar.

Jockey Garret Gomez on Shakespeare and Lady Shirl:

“He’s a big beautiful thing, when you walk up to him, your mouth drops, he’s solidly built. Then you look at his form and you know how talented he is.

(Lady Shirl) wasn’t very big and it’s amazing to see her throw some good horses. He makes two of her, she was very talented but just a little thing.”

Lady Shirl was a fan favourite too. She raced at Woodbine a few times and won the 1991 E.P. Taylor Stakes with Gomez as her rider.

She was sold in 2005 for $485,000 by Justice to Jack Werk, agent.

Other Mile notes –

GALANTAS ran a monstrous race – he fought Todd Kabel for quite a while, was terribly rank, and still battled on to be in the making.

CANADIANS were a bust and SKY CONQUEROR is losing some of his lustre..

The fans at the walking ring and paddock were stacked up and most were in awe of the appearance of the field. Every horse was a picture of health and happiness.

JERRY BAILEY was a hit for the 4 days he was at Woodbine and other teletheatres. His DVD is popular and he had a lot of interesting insights in his speeches.


A Canadian won the CANADIAN (GRADE 2) – ESSENTIAL EDGE put up a 100 Beyer to win the 1 1/8 mile turf stakes. JONO JONES rode a masterful race on the Storm Cat filly who has always been very tricky to ride, rate and handicap for that matter! She was 9 to 1 yesterday.

Bill Mott may not train SHAKESPEARE anymore but maybe he has the next one in his barn…PRUSSIAN ran an 87 Beyer to win the Summer Stakes even though he was very eager in the early part, was locked in a pace duel and then had a tough 2yo to hold off named Briarwood Circle.

TRACK RECORDS tumbled on the very fast Polytrack, which was packed down S

aturday night after the races. EVA’S WORLD, a 2yo filly by Bernstein – Martial World, Gilded Time, is bred to be fast and won her 2nd career start yesterday with an 83 Beyer, setting a track record for 5 furlongs – 57 1/5.

On Saturday, the allowance/high claiming filly ELKHART,a Penn.-bred, set the track record for 1 1/16 miles – 1:42 4/5 – good for an 88 Beyer.

The MARK CASSE winning parade continues. Saturday, Woodford’s TURF WAR won the Swynford with an 81 Beyer Figure. Undefeated

BEAR HOLIDAY was scratched.

The barn won the last race with 2nd time starter STEWARD HILL, a Eugene Melnyk runner, 3yo by Mr. Greeley.

Casse has most of the nominees for the MAZARINE STAKES and figures to dominate the GREY STAKES too...

SIWA held off longshot GALIPETTE to win the LA PREVOYANTE STAKE.. ending a nice streak for YOU WILL LOVE ME. The Alydeed filly was ridden by Jones, who has been playing with his fellow riders’ heads with his speed style.

Sad news was reported to THOROUGHBLOG, not confirmed, by FURTHERMORE, an 8yo who won a nice allowance race earlier this year for Julia and Greg Samulak, apparently died following the 3rd race.

Some readers may be interested to know that the BUFFALO STAKES at Assinib

oia Downs was won by EIGHT BY TEN, a 2yo by Calgary stallion TIGER TRAP (Kris S-Thega).

THE GREEN MONKEY - is wasn't all that bad I guess - 76 Beyer Figure and hard ridden all the way...go Monkey go!

(THE GREEN MONKEY, $16million baby, is 3rd in debut. Thanks to Vanessa Ng for the photo)


LADY SHIRL and local horseman Tim Drake

The return of Grade 1 winner Shakespeare to the races, in particular in Sunday’s $1 million Woodbine Mile, brings to mind to those of us who are old enough to remember his dam’s big win at Woodbine in 1991.

Lady Shirl led from start to finish winning the E.P. Taylor Stakes as the favourite for Noel Hickey’s Irish Acres Farm, which was essentially considered a local outfit since Hickey raced a stable of horses at Woodbine.

And Garret Gomez, who rode Lady Shirl that afternoon, will partner Shakespeare, the morning line favourite, in the Woodbine Mile.

Lady Shirl, a 4-year-old when she won the Taylor, also won the Flower Bowl Handicap and seven other stakes races. She won 16 races from 41 starts and over $950,000.

Bred in Illinois by Hickey, Lady Shirl is by the Hickey stallion That’s a Nice out of the Florida-bred mare Canonization.

After a slow start to her foal production career (she was bred to average sires such as Leo Castelli, Chimes Band and Victory Speech), Lady Shirl has started to produce runners more like herself.

Shakespeare, winner of the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in 2005, is just back from a long layoff due to a tendon injury but judging by his win at Saratoga in his return last month, the son of Theatrical seems to be just as good as he was two years ago.

While Shakespeare battles 13 rivals at Woodbine, his young half-sister Fantastic Shirl was expected to be a major player in Saturday’s Noble Damsel Stakes.

A daughter of Fantastic Light, Fantastic Shirl won the De La Rose Stakes last month for her first stakes score.

Lady Shirl has a 2-year-old by Smart Strike named by Mattieandmorgan and a yearling filly and full sister to Shakespeare.

While fans of Shakespeare are excited to see if the horse can come back to his Grade 1 form, Ontario horseman Tim Drake and his wife Suzanne have a bit more of an interest in the horse since they own a niece.

Deliverusfrom Evil, a 3-year-old filly by Apalachian Chief out of Host of Royalty, is getting set to make her debut at Woodbine in the coming weeks and with Shakespeare as a close relative, Drake has high hopes.

The filly’s dam, Host of Royalty, is a half-sister to Lady Shirl (by Native Royalty) who won her maiden at Greenwood in 2001 for trainer Sid Attard.

A Canadian-bred, Host of Royalty retired and joined the broodmare ranks of, coincidentally, Bill Sorokolit, who owns Woodbine Mile starter and champion Sky Conqueror.

When Sorokolit put the mare up for auction, Drake bought her and took her back to his 200-acre Silver Duck Farm in King City, Ontario.

“It was kind of by chance I bought Host of Royalty. She was boarded at my farm by Bill Sorokolit and he put her through the local mixed sale. I very was fond of her, so I bought her.”

The Drakes were in the news last week when their homebred filly Gadget Play won a maiden allowance race on turf at 50 to 1 to become the first winner for their stallion Piccilo Pete, a son of Piccolino.

“Things are going pretty good right now,” said Drake. “And I’ll be watching the Woodbine Mile closely, it’s exciting for us to have a filly related to the favourite.”



  • At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm not sure why you say Shakespeare is a 'Superstar', drop-dead gorgeous for sure, but he has a way to go before being hailed as that.

    Time will tell of course. He's very lightly raced for a 6yo and may develop into that sphere, when hopefully he has the chance to take on the specialist top class milers before the end of the season.

  • At 2:56 PM, Blogger Tom McHawk said…

    Jen, I hope you played your 4 horses in a box and caught the triactor. Nice picks.

  • At 5:03 PM, Blogger the_drake said…

    I wouldn't say Sky Conqueror is loosing his luster, I just think he needs to get back to what he does best. His race before the mile was a toss out, Last Answer wouldn't be able to do that in any Graded race south of the border. The mile was such an odd spot given all the other 1 1/2 options he has. Winning an allowance at Woodbine going a mile is one thing, but stepping up against G1 specialists of the distance is another, hopefully we will see the real Sky Conqueror next time out.

    Anon 11:17, I too would say "Superstar" is a little lofty for Shakespere but not far off, he has only lost once in his career is a Grade 1 winner at a mile, Grade 2 winner at 1 1/8 and Grade 1 winner at 1 1/2, not too many horses can maintain that kind of versatility while running at the highest level. He was only 7-2 in the Breeders Cup Turf when something obviously went wrong, which proves he was right on the doorstep of being a "Superstar" which is where he is again, 2 years later. One thing he isn't is young as Rene called him when interviewing Gomez, he may be young....for a jumper.

  • At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "One thing he isn't is young as Rene called him when interviewing Gomez, he may be young....for a jumper."

    ......and that's when he can really be called a 'Superstar',LOL!!

    However, that's a man's world and I'm not sure he'd be up to that.

    Your valid points are noted Drake, but I find the media far too quick to attach the 'superstar' status to any thing above useful. If he goes to Monmouth and hammers what should be a decent field there, then I would be more open to it. It's one thing to beat horses here in Grade One races, another to go and do it against the European horses with genuine Grade One races under their belts.

    He's done well to come back off such a layoff and continue at a high level and has to be given credit for that alone, as to do his connections for the patience and commitment they have shown. It's pleasing to see them get rewarded.

    Agree totally with your points on Sky Conqueror.

  • At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Julia Samulak said…

    Hi Jen,
    Yes Furthermore was euthanized following the running of the third he either stepped in a whole or took a bad step, either or it doesn't matter. I had him cremated earlier today. Greg and I are very grateful to have known such a wonderful horse.
    Julia Samulak

  • At 12:46 PM, Blogger the_drake said…

    Anon I agree that the Euros will most likely hand it to Shakespere, I think the last time I bet a NA horse in a Breeders Cup race was War Chant back in 2000. I wasn't speaking on a worldwide scene. I do think he is the best miler in North America though and maybe the best turf horse at any distance so he's got to be called something. I guess we pretty much agree he's a nice horse but not a worldwide phenom.

  • At 9:28 AM, Anonymous KG said…

    Just an observation: if the Drake has only bet on Euro's since 2000 and he bets all of the Breeder's Cup races his win % would be around 32% (+ or - a few pts due to any tabulating errors). Consider that there is more than one Euro in each BC race - this could be a very costly proposition if the wrong Euro is picked. Just an observation.

  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger the_drake said…

    KG, I left out (BC race) on the Turf in that sentence, and I was talking about ON TOP of my bets, I do have NA horses in the mix. I also count a horse who has been here for a race or two as still being a Euro, not just horses off the boat. I would have to be completely insane (not just half way there as I am now) to only bet Euros in every BC race.


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