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Saturday, November 17, 2007

500 CLUB

WELCOME TO POST 500 on THOROUGHBLOG - you can find my first one by using the Archives button, lower right, and look at last MARCH, 2006!)

THANKS to everyone who has supported this personal site, those who wrote in, gave ideas, etc.

Yes, I will answer the person who asks about the Morning Line - likely tomorrow - as I must get on with celebrating 500 posts! That's a lot of blather!

Help me celebrate this great industry and let's keep this thing going for another 500 posts...and check out my Hot Canadian-bred list, my fellow racing bloggers from all over the U.S. and Canada and other links and those really cool ads that people have been kind enough to bring aboard.


Trainer wins first 2 races on Friday card at Woodbine

MIKE DEPAULO started off a flurry-like, cold day at Woodbine with a pair of wins including LIMOSANO, who stalked a very slow pace in the 1 1/16 mile opener to win for the first time this year in 10 starts.

A frustrating type, Limosano (One Way Love-Vinona) dropped from $32K to $20 and went off as favourite.

DePaulo hit next with the maiden filly MISS YANKEE, claimed for $40K and winning yesterday for $40K in her 8th start, The Yankee Gentleman filly was dropping and turning back in distance. She was also favoured.

NINA VAN HORN officially won her maiden finally in race 3. The Magic Prospect 4yo (the only 4yo in the race) had won her 2nd career race in Sept but was disqualified. She was turning back from 7 furlongs to 5 furlongs for Richard and Ann Cadger, trainer Kwong Lam.

NEIL THE KNIFE won for $23,500 claiming in race 4 for Winter Road Racing and trainer Desmond Maynard, who claimed the Bold Executive gelding from Bob Tiller for $16K 2 starts ago. Neil was ridden by leading rider Pat Husbands. It was his 5th win in his 22nd start.

While the sprints seem to all go to horses close to the pace, the route races allowed horses to come from well back, suggesting a fair surface. EL GRAN BRETT have Husbands his 2nd win on the day when he upset the 5th race for $7,500 claimers. The 4yo was adding blinkers again (he won with blinkers in last Nov. 11 incredibly). He was a non-winners of 2 lifetime meeting multiple winners but at this time of year, anything goes folks!

Brett was yet another winner for the family team of Fieldstone Farm and trainer Analisa Delmas (13 wins this year). He’s by Compadre.

In that race, Prince of Wales winner ABLO has sunk to new lows. He was 3rd and was not claimed. He now races for Bruno Schickedanz.

Cheryl Jackson and David Bell own the 6th race winner, SWEETLITTLESOLDIER, who was up in the last jumps to win her maiden for $11,500.The pace setter, PERFECT MATCH set slow pace fractions but just failed to hang on for Richard Wohl. The winner is by Lost Soldier and is an Ontario-bred.

According to one reader, this roughly run race should have had a disqualification. The footnotes on Equibase suggest that FLEET FOOT FRAN, who moved too soon it appears, did lose her path in the stretch.

The 1 ½ mile VALEDICTORY prep went to the quirky old guy PELLEGRINO, who pops up when he wants. A multiple stakes winner who laid over the field on class, the Brazlian-bred took the lead on the turn after stalking a fast pace and coasted home, carving almost 4 seconds off the track record in the process (the distance has not been run that many times since Polytrack came last fall). His time was 2:30.71.

Another feature of the day was a 2yo filly allowance which was seemingly run in slow motion through the stretch. Although the Polytrack was yielding normal-to-fast-times, the heavy favourite KID SPARKLE got the speed wobbles in the stretch and was passed by 30 to 1 longshot SALOMEA, for owner Lynn Hindmarsh and trainer Dave Cross. The Ontario-bred is by Milwaukee Brew out of Roaring Twenties and was bred by Adena Springs. Her time of 1:10 was the same as the clocking for Neil the Knife, an older, classy horse.

The finale was a predicted win for MORO MOO, her 2nd in a row, for trainer Marko Mesic. The homebred filly by Kiridashi has won 4 times this year in just 9 starts and has been well spotted by Mesic, who is having a career year (12 wins).


Press release:

The Jockey Club of Canada is pleased to announce finalists in the 2007 Sovereign Award Media categories. Winners will be announced at the 33rd Annual Sovereign Awards ceremonies at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto on Friday 14 December 2007.

The Jockey Club of Canada was founded in 1973 by E.P.Taylor to serve as an international representative of Canada’s Thoroughbred sport and to promote improvements to Thoroughbred horse racing and breeding both in Canada and internationally. To that end the Jockey Club of Canada organizes and hosts the annual Sovereign Awards to honour outstanding achievements in all areas of Thoroughbred sport – from media coverage to Horse of the Year.


Bruce Walker - Dancer is Still Dominant - Toronto Star - 23 October 2007

Allan Besson – Graduation Day CelebrationWinnipeg Free Press – 6 July 2007

Jennifer Morrison – Baird Rides Back From the AbyssToronto Star – 27 October 2007


Chris Lomon – Fifty Years Ago Today – Aboard Lyford Cay, the legendary Avelino Gomez won his first of four Queen’s Plates Canadian Thoroughbred Magazine - Queen’s Plate Souvenir Issue – June 2007

Paul Wiecek – Holding Life by the Reins – Winnipeg Free Press22 September 2007

Dave Briggs – A Ghostly Night on the Roof with E.P. Taylor – Canadian Thoroughbred Magazine – October/November 2007


Cindy Pierson Dulay, Red Rocks and Paul Reddam – The Game, April 2007

David Landry – Exhilaration – Canadian Thoroughbred Magazine – October/November 2007

Michael Burns, Jr. - By Dawn’s Early Light - Toronto Star, 20 September 2007


Horse Racing Alberta & White Iron Productions – The Alberta Derby - CTV Network Alberta, 16 June 2007

Tommy Wolski’s - Sport of Kings – Program 268 – City TV Vancouver15 September 2007

Woodbine Entertainment Broadcast Department, The Queen’s Plate – TSN - 24 June 2007.

(Thank you to the voters for nominating my story. Thank you to Jerry Baird for his honesty and candidness.)

Here is my story that appeared on Breeders' Cup day:

Baird rides back from the abyss

Jockey who overcame personal demons will be aboard Bear Now today

Oct 27, 2007 04:30 AM

At age 21, Jerry Baird had the racing world firmly in his grasp. It was 1990 and he was being hailed as a star jockey on the rise, second only to hotshot youngster Mickey Walls in the voting for Canada's best apprentice.

His purse earnings exceeded $1.4 million, tops of all riders on the circuit, and the transition from apprentice rider to journeyman was going smoothly.

Until it all came crashing down.

A horse Baird was riding at Greenwood in November broke a leg, sending him headfirst into the dirt. Another horse clipped him on the way past and a neck injury brought Baird's season, and career, to an abrupt halt.

Over the next dozen years, Baird fought both mental and physical battles to set his life right, fights made all the harder as he slipped into alcoholism.

Today, it's a clean, healthy, 38-year-old Baird who will ride Bear Now into the starting gate for the $2 million (all figures U.S.) Breeders' Cup Distaff at Monmouth Park, N.J., – a jockey once again in the limelight for all the right reasons and on one of the most important days of the horse racing year.

"I might have had a rocky road," he says, "but I've always had my heart in the right place."

Born in St. John's, Nfld., Baird was lured into race-riding by a family friend as a teenager when his days were spent going to school and riding his dirt bike. As a 17-year-old, he left the family home and came to Toronto, eager to try out his racing sense in the world of thoroughbreds.

Under the tutelage of accomplished horse trainer Mike Tammaro, Baird, who had never been near a horse, quickly earned the reputation of being a natural on horseback.

He was tough and fearless.

A serious accident in 1988 during those learning years broke bones in his back, but within a year he rode his first winner at Woodbine.

But following that second spill in 1990, Baird found that when he returned to riding the next spring, his business had dried up.

"You have to keep the momentum going (from apprentice to journeyman rider) so that people know you are a good rider," says Baird. "When that happened, I lost everything. I couldn't get any mounts, people had forgotten about me."

For two years, Baird went on a downward spiral that involved partying and heavy drinking and not much of a work ethic.

"I made myself into an alcoholic," says Baird. "I lost my desire, I thought about quitting."

For several seasons, Baird went through the motions of being a jockey, collecting just enough wins to make a living.

But his earlier back injury led to a degenerative disc disorder. In 2000, Baird left the track for good and started working for a construction company.

He quit drinking "cold turkey," but dearly missed the track.

"When the company I worked for asked me to work on site at Woodbine where they were installing windows, I knew I had to get back to riding and I knew I had to get my head on straight."

After three years, and months of mental and physical rehabilitation, Baird returned to race-riding.

And it was his short stint at the prestigious Gulfstream meeting in Florida in the winter of 2006 with his then-wife Barbara that caused horsemen to notice Baird again.

"He was outriding the best jockeys in North America," says Anthony Esposito. "I had a top American owner, Richard Englander, call me to tell me I should try and be his agent."

Esposito joined forces with Baird early in 2006. Business thrived, until once again Baird was dealt another blow – he broke his leg in September in a gate accident.

"I didn't want to believe it was broken, I even rode two races after the accident."

Baird was despondent and his marriage crumbled, but he stayed away from drinking and once again, set his mind on another comeback.

This spring, Baird caught the eye of Sovereign Award-winning trainer Reade Baker.

"He rides like a riverboat gambler," says Baker. "That's the kind of guy I wanted."

In August, Baker gave Baird a shot to ride owner Danny Dion's prized filly Bear Now and the pair won two stakes races, including the $750,000 Cotillion Stakes at Philadelphia Park, the biggest win for owner, trainer and jockey.

"Nothing intimidates me, not horses and certainly not any other jockeys," says Baird. "Maybe it's nerves of steel, I don't know what you would call it."

The win earned Bear Now a spot in the Distaff where she is listed at 15 to 1. The filly is one of three Woodbine horses in the Breeders' (the others are Clearly Foxy in the Juvenile Fillies and Arravale in the Filly and Mare Turf).

To cheer him on at Monmouth, Baird has brought along his girlfriend, trainer Lorna Perkins, and his two older brothers.

"He's had so many ups and downs in his life, he deserves a lucky break," said Woodbine trainer Sam DiPasquale. "The injuries made him discouraged, but now he attacks the game aggressively."

And Baird will not be nervous today when he lines up for the biggest event of his career.

"I'm a firm believer that good things come to good people and I'm a good person," said Baird.


Exterminator was King of AUTUMN STAKES

They called him OLD BONES, he was one of the greatest geldings of all time. EXTERMINATOR (who else has this book by Mildred Mastin Pace published in 1955, what a great little book!) was born in 1915, he won the KENTUCKY DERBY and so many other big races.

Hey, he won the AUTUMN STAKES 3 times in succession – 1920-1921-1922, today’s featured race at Woodbine.

The AUTUMN STAKES has been a year-end feature at Woodbine every season, it was for 95 years anyway until it’s name was curiously changed for 2002 to the WOODBINE SLOTS CUP. But it’s back this year for the 101st running.

It’s a cool race because it’s a Grade 3 and often has a good field.

FYI, the first winner in 1902 was JANICE, at 1 1/8 miles at Old Woodbine.

Look at some of the other horses who have won the AUTUMN:

BULL PAGE (1951)




WIN CITY (2001)

Last year’s winner TRUE METROPOLITAN is back from another short trip home to Vancouver for today’s 1 1/16 renewal (it returned to this distance and Woodbine in 1994).

How about LEONNATUS ANTEAS gunning for the Sovereign Award for champion 3yo today? If he beats the older guys again he’s a shoo-in to get in.

He beat ECCENTRIC in the Durham Cup but the latter had traffic problems.

It should be a heck of a showdown between those two and then toss in the Eugene Melnyk pairing of GOULDINGS GREEN and the very fresh and dangerous ARCH HALL and it’s a barn-burner.


Reprinted from Daily Racing Form

Ellie Boje Farm enjoying solid season

The year 2007 for Canadian-bred horses will be remembered mostly for the exploits of a trio of Grade 1 winners who made their country's horsepeople proud.

Jambalaya, bred by Gus Schickedanz of Schomberg, Ontario, and raced by Kingfield Farms, became the first Canadian-bred winner of the Arlington Million; Sky Conqueror, owned and bred by Bill Sorokolit, won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day; and Maryfield, bred and sold by Mike Carroll and John Harvey Jr., won the inaugural running of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

There were dozens of other successful breeding stories from Canada during the season.

Joe and Ellen MacLellan's Ellie Boje Farm, located in eastern Ontario in Spencerville, did a lot with a handful of mares and racehorses.

In a list published this week by Thoroughbred Times through Equineline, Ellie Boje was the leading breeder of Ontario-bred runners by average earnings per starter. The farm's five starters earned more than $460,000, an average of more than $93,000.

Leading the pack was multiple stakes winner Rahy's Attorney (Crown Attorney-Rahy's Hope, by Rahy) who won the Vice Regent and Bunty Lawless stakes on turf this year.

The MacLellan's got involved in breeding racehorses soon after setting up their farm in 1993 through Bob Anderson, who guided them toward their mare purchases.

"Our first mare cost $7,500 and we sold the weanling the next year for $60,000 - we thought there was nothing to this," said Joe MacLellan. "It was a few years before we said that again."

Breeding strictly to sell, the couple had a modicum of success before Ellen was called back to full-time work at Health Canada.

"That was the end of our breeding business," said Joe, who has been confined to a wheelchair since breaking his back in a car accident years ago. "We decided to keep our horses and form a syndicate."

With his mother, Jean, brother Jim, and friends Mitch Peters and Dean Read on board, the couple burst onto the scene with trainer Ian Black in 2007, first with Rahy's Attorney and then with Glitter Rox, who recently placed in a stakes.

Glitter Rox, a Glitterman homebred, started out as a headache for the team, Her nervous and fractious tendencies caused her to fracture her withers early in her training.

"I read about this infrasound therapy that can calm horses and I bought one right away," Joe said. "She's had a complete turnaround."

The MacLellans do not have any mares currently but plan on getting back to the breeding business soon.

"I call the business a sickness that has no cure," Joe said. "We plan on buying at the upcoming Keeneland January sale."

Snowden breeding mares in Canada

Hal "Bubba" Snowden Jr. was in the news last month when the legendary John Henry, a horse he once owned, passed away at the age of 32.

Snowden, a native of Kentucky, is keen these days on breeding and racing his horses in Ontario.

"There are two reasons that brought me to Ontario and Woodbine," Snowden said. "The purses are very high for a wide variety of races that it offers. There is a lot on the menu in the condition book.

"I was also looking for a good place to race and market horses for sales, and Ontario has a super Ontario sire program and breeders' awards program."

Snowden sold his first yearlings in Ontario in September, including a Hold That Tiger filly for $72,000.

He had eight mares produce foals at Windfields Farm this year. At Woodbine in 2007, he raced the promising 2-year-old fillies Poco Uno (by E Dubai) and his Ontario homebred Dixieland Heat filly Bold 'n Trashy.


Ontario racing folks have sent e-mails to politicians from the link I offered a couple of days ago and one MPP, Kim Craitor, responded to pleas to keep Fort Erie open

Meetings are going well with the Track’s future and I am confident things will work out.”

Fort Erie has applied for 84 racing dates with the Ontario racing Commission.


  • At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Does anyone know what is up with Todd Kabel???

  • At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Bob, CS & LYC said…

    Congratulations and keep up the good work - now we shoot for 1000!!!

  • At 11:06 AM, Anonymous MD said…

    Congrats on post 500 Jen! Even though I was introduced to your site early this year, I have been a religous reader, with the occasional post.

    Keep up the good work Jen!

  • At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Kingsgate Stud said…

    Congratulations on post number 500, and your Sovereign Award nomination Jen!

    Keep up the great work!

  • At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    Congrats on the 500th post and the Sovereign nomination.
    How come there isn't a blog category?
    You'd win of course, and my blog wouldn't even be nominated because I'm sure WEG doesn't like my style:)

    As far as Fort Erie goes, 84 days is perfect for a full season considering the horse population. Now it is a matter of whether they will be giving out 100,000 a day or hopefully 125,000 a day (which is a number that makes racing a viable proposition for the horse owners).

  • At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congratulation on your Sovereign Award nomination, from a fellow nominee herself :-)

    You can see my photo which is a finalist in the Photography category, here:

    Cindy Dulay

  • At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a race the Durham turned out to be. Sun TV had a great shot of the eyes of Leo....he was trying so hard to get to True Met. But the champ was too tough. Great race. Your thoughts Jen?

  • At 9:41 AM, Blogger Rick said…

    Can anyone remind me why we have the pick 7? Wouldn't a pick 6 or 2 win fours be better? Doesn't make sense to fund this kind of pool when it takes close to a month to get over 20K. At least with a pick 6 if you win it the first day there is potential for a decent payout.

  • At 9:37 PM, Blogger Valerie said…


    Congratulations on the Sovereign Award nomination! Well-deserved :)

    Also, thanks for mentioning Exterminator (“Old Bones”)…it was a cold, dreary day today and re-reading Mildred Mastin Pace’s classic was just the ticket!

  • At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    I like the pick 6 idea. The Poly makes it virtually impossible to cash a pick 7.
    They should also have either a 20 cent or a 50 cent base, not a $1 base.
    I'm starting to get tired of letting hired monkeys at WEG use my ideas and then taking credit for them.


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