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Thursday, November 08, 2007

GREY DAYS



‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE DROPPING

(and it was snowing at Woodbine yesterday)


For handicappers right now, it’s the time of season that horses will be running back in a week or less and taking huge class drops. The race classifications wind up all askew.

What are the best tips for approaching these giant class droppers? Try to read between the lines - is the horse overraced now? Is he simply returning to the level he had been at earlier in the year? Try to decipher the intentions of the owner and trainer, you might give yourself some clues.

Race 1 yesterday, 2yo SERGEANT MATT dropped from two stakes race blowouts off a 2 month layoff to $20K claiming and led all the way for L. Wilson and Sam DiPasquale, who has had a big year as owner and trainer. The Ascot Knight gelding was a $1,339 yearling purchase. He won his debut for maiden allowance in June and has now won 2 of 4 races.


The featured 2yo allowance of the day went to Veronica Attard’s RUMBLING CLOUD, except that the recently claimed colt, after battling hard on the pace all the way, had the win taken away when he came in and bothered BONZANZA, the Mark Casse trainee.

Rumbling Cloud was placed 4th and SENOR, from the Frank Huarte barn, was the lucky one to be placed first. He’s a Kentucky-bred by Cactic Ridge.

A good day for BILL GRAHAM’S WINDHAVEN FARMS, as owner for winner GOLD LEAF ROSE (her 2nd win in her last 3 starts) who scored for $10,000 claiming in race 4 and breeder of DANS A DANCIN (Langfuhr-Wood The Shoe Fit), who won his maiden in race 5 at 33 to 1.

That 2yo gelding was adding Lasix for his 3rd career start as a 2yo.He was $3K purchase at auction by owner/trainer Dave Cotey

RACE 7 -ARCHIEMAN has taken a new lease on life even if he is in the care of his 3rd different barn in the last year.

A winner for $19,000 claiming,non-winners of 3 in the spring for trainer John Ross, the Exploit gelding moved into Analisa Delmas’ barn off an Aug-Oct. layoff. He’s won both races for Delmas including yesterday’s $15,000 claimer. Nice ride by Jones who let the gelding work his way up the rail around the final turn and then angle out for the stretch rally.

RACE 8 – DRUNKEN LOVE might be the next best bridesmaid at Woodbine and he’s only a 2yo. The Whiskey Wisdom gelding has won more than $50,000 and was bought for about $5,000 by Mark Casse, but he was 4 to 5 to win yesterday and would not pass INSIDE EXECUTIVE in the maiden allowance for Ontario-sired guys.

The Beyer for 57 3/5 was 79.

Dropping from stakes races and cutting back to 5 furlongs, the Drunken Love was 4 wide around the turn but had dead aim on Inside Executive, who had also had his share of chances. Those guys were the experienced ones in the field of many firsters – always a good idea to go with those who have raced at this time of year.

Meanwhile Inside Executive,a Bold Executive gelding out of Inside Job by Secret Claim, is owned by Bruce Seyler, was a $9,043 (US) weanling purchase, was unsold for $12K as a yearling and later bought bout Seyler. He was bred by Mike Going and it was the 2nd win on the card for trainer GLENN MAGNUSSON.

The Not Impossible gelding CAPPAL MOR,making his debut, came from a sluggish start from the gate and galloped out well – watch next time.

RACE 9 – BUCKIN FOR GOLD, making his 3rd start since a summer layoff that followed his debut outing, won for the 2nd time in those 3 races. The Gaylin Farms gelding rallied in time to edge another stretch runner, WILDMAN. Front runner THREESIXTYSECURITY was 3rd.

The winner was 31 to 1 and he’s an Ontario-bred by Gold Case. John Charalambous won his 11th race of the meeting as the horse’s trainer. Owner is Gaylon Farm and breeder was Jim Hicks.

Yesterday at AQUEDUCT, Stronach Stabless' Ontario-bred EXPLOSIVE HEAT won his 4th race in 5 starts this year in allowance company at 1 mile. The Touch Gold-Skipping Around 5yo horse began his career at Woodbine where he was a maiden winner. He raced just once in 2006. He's a 1/2 brother to Grade 1 winner SUGAR SHAKE.

FRIDAY FUN

Ten races today and tons of big fields and tricky handicapping puzzles.

Some things to note –

The BEAR entry in the 1st race for 2yo's looks solid if both go. The PEACEMAKER is a ½ sister to BEAR NOW, a Grade 2 winner.

In the 4th race, another Bear, FORBIDDEN BEAR,is racing on Saturday for $20,000 claiming and will be scratched to allow Muskwa to go alone.

Later, UNTO THE HILLS is entered in a 1 1/16 mile race carrying the silks of WINDFIELDS FARM but she going to race on Sunday for $50K claiming at 7 furlongs.

KEENELAND NOTES


Things have quieted down at the big sale but there are still lots of mares and babies to look at.

Jeff Begg’s WINDWAYS FARM made a significant investment to buy MINSTREL SHOW for $195,000. The Tale of the Cat 5yo was placed and is a ½ sister to graded stakes winner Bidding Proud. She is in foal to ROCK HARD TEN.

Ted Burnett’s JOSHAM FARMS has been buying weanlings including a filly by AFLEET ALEX out of stakes producer MISS DELTA DAWN for $135,000.

STALLION NOTES FOR TODAY

It is the time of year that folks are picking and booking their stallions for their mares.

In the news today - CATAHOULA PARISH had his first winner yesterday when BLASTING CAT won his first route test. The stallion stands at Display Farms in Orton, Ontario.
GILDED TIME, a champion, is moving to Alberta for 2008, KISSIN KRIS is heading to BRITISH COLUMBIA.

BOLD EXECUTIVE just had his 35th stakes winner (KRZ EXEC) and Centennial Farms Niagara (Domenic Da Lalla) stands it first stallion next year in LAURA'S LUCKY BOY (Theatrical), a multiple stakes winning miler and out of a half sister to the great CIGAR.

Laura's Lucky Boy stands at the farm located in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

MONASHEE HAS MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB

Here’s a story from Bill Finley south of the border on the ESPN.com site. Finley, a writer and host of a top racing radio show on Sirius radio, talks about Monashee,who makes her Ontario debut tomorrow in the Maple Leaf Stakes.

Monashee (Wolf Power) seeks her 12th consecutive win- she’s won all 7 starts this year in western Canada, and won them easily.

Yes, there will be those who said she beat much lesser competition than she meets at Woodbine Saturday but hey, any horse that can win 11 races in succession,no matter what the level, is a very very good one.

Meanwhile, the Maple Leaf came up very tough for Monashee, who has never tried the 10 furlong distance nor Polytrack (except for a fast recent workout).

Locals who will be tough include ARDEN BELLE and TELL IT AS IT IS and LIKE A GEM. Shippers Dancing Band and I’m In Love are grass horses who appear to be up against the distance of the race but CRYTOQUIP just posted a 95 Beyer in her latest win over fellow Ohio-breds.

The race is a super betting contest and let’s hope MONASHEE gets a fair trip so we can see what she’s made of.

Read more ..

Hastings regular Monashee steps up to Woodbine-level

The best horse you've never heard of? Her name is Monashee.

Out of Hastings Park in British Columbia, Canada, the 5-year-old mare by Wolf Power has won 11 straight, all of them stakes races. She hasn't lost since May 2006, is 17-for-22 lifetime, has won under 130 pounds and so towered over her competition in her last start that she paid $2.10 when winning the Ballerina Stakes at Hastings, a five-eighths track in Vancouver.

So, how good is she? We're about to find out.

For the first time in her career, Monashee is going to race outside of Western Canada when she faces 11 others in Saturday's $175,000 Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine. Is she merely a good horse who has been beating up on weak competition at a third-tier track? Is she a freakishly talented filly who will have no problems beating the higher-class horses she is about to meet at Woodbine? These are the questions that make the Maple Leaf one of the more interesting races on the Canadian racing calendar.

"Because she's been winning fairly effortlessly against the kind of horses she's been running against on the West Coast, it's been hard to place her," trainer Tracy McCarthy said. "We believe she is a very, very nice horse. She's done everything so easily, it's amazing."

Purchased for $14,000 as a yearling by Ole Neilsen, Monashee showed promise as a 2- and 3-year-old but didn't put it all together until last year. She started her 4-year-old campaign with a second-place finish in a $51,000 stakes race at Hastings Park and hasn't lost since. By the summer of 2006, it was clear that Monashee had no rival within the older filly and mare ranks in Western Canada, but McCarthy was content to stay in her backyard. The only time Monashee ever went anywhere was to race close to home, at Northlands Park in Alberta.

It wasn't that McCarthy wasn't tempted to test Monashee against better competition, but shipping her involved complications that often made staying home seem like the right thing to do. She can be a handful, the type who gets nervous in the gate, requires blinkers and other equipment to keep her focused and isn't a good shipper. Things always seemed to work best when they kept Monashee in a comfortable environment.

"We decided to quiet her world down a little bit," McCarthy said. "We've been happy to run her at home. It hasn't been all about the money with her."

McCarthy has picked her spots at the Western Canadian tracks, which are a good cut below Canada's premier track, Woodbine. Race after race, the results have been the same. Not only has Monashee won, she has demolished the competition.

"We will be taking over a very fit, sound, happy horse that has a lot of ability," McCarthy said of upcoming start in the Maple Leaf Stakes. "She has never been hit. We don't know what's left in the tank because we've never pushed the envelope. I have a lot of confidence in her."

She will need to have a little something more in the tank. Her career-best Beyer figure is an 89, which probably won't be enough to win Saturday and certainly isn't good enough to defeat Grade 1-type fillies. But there's every chance that Monashee is capable of running much faster. In most of her races, she has been under wraps virtually the entire race; it seems that she's doing nothing more than galloping leisurely around the racetrack.

She's as good as they get at Hastings and the pride of her home track. Saturday, a lot of people will be rooting for her.

"There's always been a split between West and East, whether it's British Columbia versus Ontario or New York versus California," McCarthy said. "Our people in Vancouver want us to go over there and kick butt. She's carrying a lot of hopes."

Should Monashee win the Maple Leaf, McCarthy and Nielsen will start aiming even higher. They are looking at some of the major stakes races for older fillies later this fall at Hollywood Park.

After all this time, they've gone from being extraordinarily careful with their mare to rather adventurous. The primary reason is her potential value as a broodmare. Monashee will retire in time to be bred in 2008. Nielsen has no plans to sell her, but may sell her first foal. He knows that a foal out of a graded stakes winner in the U.S. will be worth a lot more than a foal out of a filly who did nothing more than win a bunch of small stakes at an out-of-the-way racetrack in western Canada.

That's why they're testing her. Will she be able to handle it? The answer is not far away.

Bill Finley is an award-winning racing writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today and Sports Illustrated. Contact Bill at wnfinley@aol.com.


**If you want to see a cool picture of MONASHEE you can go to this link on the Woodbine website. We'd get in trouble if you used this picture on the site so check it out for yourself...

http://www.woodbineentertainment.com/ojcdis.asp?LI=YES&ACT=DIS&SEC=TBN&ART

=1194535173782&DTSR=01%2F01%2F2007%5E12%2F31%2F2008+23%3A59


9 Comments:

  • At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    The Stewards flipped a Rumbling Coin yesterday, and he lost out.
    Ramsammy and Husbands are pretty aggressive riders, but there really wasn't much of an opening for Husbands to go through, and the reason he checked wasn't just because of Ramsammy's horse, but because the 1 horse drifted out ever so slightly at the same time Rumbling Coin came in ever so slightly.
    In New York, there wouldn't have even been an inquiry. I would have let it stand.

    One more thing. I've heard many complaints over the years when it comes to Woodbine being lazy when it comes to putting condition books online. I don't think they realize that many owners who don't go to the track a lot, don't have future condition books handy and want to feel they are more in the game by checking out options for their horses, and not just rely on their trainer to find spots for them.

     
  • At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Owners are to be carrying check books not condition books! And thats your trainers job to find you the right spots.

     
  • At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And those of us who work (to support our habit), and can arrange for days off to go watch our horses run, appreciate being able to check the condition books ahead of time to get an idea of when the trainer might find a suitable race.

     
  • At 8:44 PM, Blogger the_drake said…

    Good point Cangamble...Woodbine is the worst for making their book available to people who don't live on the backside. No other track (even bush tracks) is the same. Anon 6:13 see my point below about stallion managers fleecing clients, the same applies to trainers. Maybe it's time horse racing hits the 21st century and realizes that the OWNER invests into the horse and therefore should be aware of what is going on with it. If you are too insecure in your abilities to let your owner look at a book maybe you shouldn't train for someone other than yourself. If people want to invest in something, to not be involved and show up once in a while they should buy a restaurant. You don't have to run the horse in every spot the owner says, but telling him why not won't kill you. Last I looked the definition of a trainer isn't: an anti-social idiot who tells an exercise rider and groom what to do. I'm not commenting on all trainers, but comments like the one above is why most people don't invest and can't be bothered.

    Yes I know I'll be attacked, but the game has changed, time to change with it.

     
  • At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Nicole & Allen Abbott, Equilease Racing Stable said…

    Keeneland Notes:

    Hi Jen, We are here in Kentucky at the Keeneland Sale. We wanted to let you know that yesterday we sold our filly Summer Girlfriend at the Keeneland Sale. What an amazing experience. She sold for $180,000.00 and will be shipped off to Australia! As you know our trainer John Charalambous has been incredible. We are forever grateful to him for his outstanding training expertise. We have wonderful memories of Summer, we will never forget the thrilling experience of our win in the Star Shoot Stakes last year.

    Thank you Jen for your continuous support and admiration of all our thoroughbreds.

    We will talk to you when we get back,

    Off to Churchill Downs today for a day at the races!

    All the best,

    Nicole & Allen Abbott

     
  • At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Nicole & Allen Abbott, Equilease Racing Stable said…

    Keeneland Notes:

    Hi Jen, We are here in Kentucky at the Keeneland Sale. We wanted to let you know that yesterday we sold our filly Summer Girlfriend at the Keeneland Sale. What an amazing experience. She sold for $180,000.00 and will be shipped off to Australia! As you know our trainer John Charalambous has been incredible. We are forever grateful to him for his outstanding training expertise. We have wonderful memories of Summer, we will never forget the thrilling experience of our win in the Star Shoot Stakes last year.

    Thank you Jen for your continuous support and admiration of all our thoroughbreds.

    We will talk to you when we get back,

    Off to Churchill Downs today for a day at the races!

    All the best,

    Nicole & Allen Abbott

     
  • At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    Owners are to be carrying check books not condition books! And thats your trainers job to find you the right spots.
    *****************************
    Trainers should kiss the ground that an owner chose them of all other trainers in the backstretch to deal with.
    Trainers make many decisions, like when to train, how hard, what equipment to use, etc. But the trainer doesn't own the horse. He or she should just give advise on where he or she feels the horse belongs. If the trainer is usually right and trustworthy, the owner will most likely not argue much if at all at the advise.
    The reality is that the owners are generally better businessmen on average and more educated on average than most trainers in the backstretch. The trainers need the owners usually, not the other way around.
    There are exceptions. I do remember hearing Reade Baker after a stakes race this when asked where he will go next time out....his answer was something like: "it is the owner's decision, it is his horse"
    That was a great answer, and that is the way it should be.

     
  • At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    Owners are to be carrying check books not condition books!
    **************************
    And another thing, since purses are very generous at Woodbine, if an owner needs a check book for his trainer, the owner definitely needs a condition book, and he or she needs to find a new trainer.

     
  • At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Richard Engander should have a seminar and you should attend.

     

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