ascot aug08

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Hope everyone is well and happy and full.
THOROUGBLOG is off from today until the weekend...
Please check out the new THOROUGHBRED BLOGGERS ALLIANCE logo (at right, below) and the drop down bar for all the other Blogs around North America.
Continue to send in your comments, we'll check in soon.


TWLIGHT METEOR has one of the highest last-race Beyer Figures in today’s SIR BEAUFORT STAKES at 1 mile on the grass for 3yos at Santa Anita.

The Smart Strike – One Over Prime, With Approval 3yo was 4th in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last time out and has been oh-so close at some big scores this year including a 2nd in the Breeders’ Stakes, Kent Breeders’ Cup and Hawthorne Derby.

Tough post for the guy – 13, but he’s poised to win a big one soon.

Undefeated DIVINE PARK, who is out of an ASCOT KNIGHT mare, High in the Park, is set for the Malibu Stakes, the opening day feature on the Santa Anita card.

The 3yo has not raced since April when he won the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct.

The colt ships in from Belmont for trainer Kiaran Mclaughlin where he has been working quickly.

It will be his second synthetic surface outing.

AT CALDER, Canadian-bred SILK CANDY, by Langfuhr-Astrapi is in a 6 furlong allowance race for Stronach Stables. The filly ran an 83 Beyer Figure in her latest win at Woodbine.

Report from Santa Anita

From the Press-Enterprise

Special to The Press-Enterprise

“We'll keep running tests, but we may have no other choice but to treat it like the old dirt and then tear it out when the meet ends." – Santa Anita management

ARCADIA - The management at Santa Anita received an early Christmas present this past weekend when 92 thoroughbreds worked between three and six furlongs on a refurbished Cushion Track surface.

They were the first horses allowed to work on Cushion Track since Dec. 4, when Santa Anita shut it down because the surface, installed at a cost of nearly $11 million this past summer, didn't drain properly.

Santa Anita's winter-spring meet opens Wednesday and runs through April 20. Track president Ron Charles said he believes Saturday's sunny weather, which is expected to last through the end of the week, may be only a temporary reprieve from its drainage problems.

"We don't know what will happen when it rains again," Charles said. "And it will. We get more rain at our winter meet than any other track in Southern California.

"We first discovered the problem before the Oak Tree meet in the fall, and we're still looking for answers. The 1½ inches of rain (Dec. 11-13) really threw us for a loop. It's getting better, but we're still not satisfied."

The Cushion Track at Santa Anita, made up of silica sand, synthetic fibers, granulated rubber and wax, is similar to the one Hollywood Park unveiled in the fall of 2006. No drainage problems have been reported there.

"But the one the manufacturer put in here had too much fine sand, and the water wouldn't penetrate to the bottom like it was supposed to," Charles said.

Crews of Santa Anita and Cushion Track workmen worked around the clock recently to get the track in order, including the addition of more coarse sand.

"There was never any question we would make opening day," Charles said. "But we're still concerned about the way Cushion Track has handled the situation."

Paul Harper and Philip Bond, officials of Cushion Track, manufactured in England by Equestrian Footing, were at Santa Anita recently but declined to comment on the drainage dispute.

But Richard Shapiro, the chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, said he got into a heated argument with Bond two weeks ago at a racing industry symposium in Tucson, Ariz.

"I asked him why his company wasn't at Santa Anita fixing the problem there," said Shapiro, who was the strongest proponent of artificial surfaces when the racing board mandated last year that they be installed at all five of the state's major thoroughbred tracks by next year.

California is the only state where artificial surfaces are required, though Bay Meadows in San Mateo, which is rumored to be closing by the end of next year, has been granted an exemption.

"I've received criticism for making synthetic surfaces a requirement," Shapiro said. "But I won't apologize for taking an aggressive stand in favor of horse safety. Despite the problems at Santa Anita, we're seeing the loss of fewer horses to catastrophic injuries and an increase in field sizes and betting handle. No track is going to be 100 percent free of horse breakdowns, but we have safer tracks now."

Santa Anita's Charles said if the track's drainage problems continue, the Cushion Track will be treated like a conventional dirt surface throughout its meet.

"That means we'll have to seal the track, run heavy rollers over it when it rains to get rid of the water," he said. "That makes the track harder than usual, something we wanted to avoid. We'll keep running tests, but we may have no other choice but to treat it like the old dirt and then tear it out when the meet ends."

Jack Carava, like many of the trainers based at Santa Anita year-round, has worked his horses on the six-furlong infield track that is made of conventional dirt.

"They got fit, but I probably won't race as many as I normally would, especially in the early part of the meet," Carava said. "They didn't work well enough to warrant racing them."

Trainer Dan Hendricks said his young horses and others who haven't yet raced may have the most problems.

"If they've been racing at Hollywood Park, I see no problems," Hendricks said. "They've kept their fitness and may even be sharper."

The 71st thoroughbred meet, which opens for an 85-day run, will be the only one contested on a Wednesday.

In a departure from tradition, Santa Anita will hold racing cards Thursdays through Mondays, except for the opening day and New Year's Day, which falls on a Tuesday.

From Associated Press

GREENFIELD, Ind.: Dale Baird, the winningest thoroughbred trainer with more than 9,400 victories, died in a crash along an icy highway when he lost control of his pickup truck while hauling a livestock trailer. He was 72.

He was killed Sunday in the accident on Interstate 70 along with two teenagers whose car broadsided the truck about 20 miles east of Indianapolis. James Pardo, 19, of Centerville, and Jared Graham, 18, of Hagerstown, were returning from the Indianapolis Colts-Houston Texans game.

Hancock County police say strong winds and a slick road most likely contributed to the crash, which happened after Baird's truck crossed a median and slid into oncoming traffic. Baird was heading to Martinsville, Ill., to spend Christmas with his mother and family, his ex-wife, Diane, said Tuesday. He then planned to go to Chicago for a paddock sale.

Wind may have been factor in crash that killed 3

Noelle M. Steele/Staff writer

Hancock County

Police can only speculate what might have caused a westbound driver on Interstate 70 to lose control of his sport utility vehicle and horse trailer Sunday afternoon.

Investigators believe strong winds might have contributed to what ended up being a five-vehicle crash that killed three people. Dale Baird, driver of the SUV that was hauling an empty horse trailer, crossed the median into eastbound traffic around 5 p.m., broadsiding a car driven by two teenagers. The crash killed cousins James Pardo, 19; and Jarad Graham, 18; and Baird instantly.

All three were pronounced dead at the scene, deputy coroner Dan Devoy said this morning.

The initial impact, which occurred near the 112-mile marker near the Hancock-Henry County line, triggered a domino effect, police said. A second impact occurred when a semi collided with the back of the teenagers’ car, crushing it, and a fourth car hit the back of the semi. None of the drivers or occupants of those cars was seriously injured. A fifth car also spun into the median to avoid the wreck.

Although Baird was killed instantly when he was thrown from the truck, his passenger survived. Friend Shelby Bartholomew was also hurtled from the truck, landing about 100 feet away from the wreckage, but was coherent when help arrived. She was able to provide little information to police, however, before she was flown by helicopter to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

“It happened so fast, and she was in such shock, that she did not understand exactly what was happening,” Devoy said.

Wreckage littered a quarter mile stretch of I-70, whose eastbound lanes between Greenfield and Knightstown were closed down for about six hours. Traffic was rerouted along Ind. 9 in Greenfield to U.S. 40.


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Monday, December 24, 2007


THOROUGHBLOG would like to thank everyone who made 2007 another fun year in the world of horse racing news and discussion. It was the 2nd year of the Blog.
I will return for news and stuff on Dec. 26 and then again on the weekend.
Feel free to submit your comments, stories or thoughts on 2007, 2008 or the upcoming Gulfstream meeting (or New Orleans, New York, etc.)
All the best for the holidays, health and happiness.
We'll talk soon!


  • At 10:41 AM, Anonymous KG said…

    Merry Christmas Jen!! Great job on the blog all year and I am looking forward to a phenomenal 2008.

    Take care and happy holidays.

  • At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Noticed Team Stronach had 0 stake winners here in Toronto.

  • At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And thank you Jen for an enjoyable year for everybody. Your work is always appreciated.

    For everybody, if you aren't watching HPI's Year in Review you're missing out. The International Thoroughbred review is he best part of the rotation. (the rotation is: WEG T-breds, International T-breds, WEB harness, International harness). If you missed it the first time around, the second go-round should start at around 11:30AM on Christmas Day, starting with the Woodbine stakes races, and then the International races starting at around 3PM.

  • At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Laura in Lex said…

    Merry Christmas, Jen. Thanks for all your hard work; looking forward to a terrific 2008!

  • At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very sad to hear about trainer Dale Baird, he will be saddly missed.

  • At 1:05 PM, Anonymous woodbinechalk said…

    hey jen
    i was playing aqueduct today and the guys on tvg said there was a breeze between the first and second race which was the reason for the delay between races. the last horse i saw breeze in the afternoon on television was lost in the fog. im wondering if this horse at aquedcut was a horse of note and/or if there's any back story to this afternoon breeze


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Sunday, December 23, 2007




Canadians chased Steve Asmussen trainees all day around the Fair Grounds track.

PALMERSTOWN (Awesome Again) was a well beaten 6th in the Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds. SOK SOK was an impressive winner and he’s by Trippi. Trained by Steve Asmussen.

LA WILDCAT was a distant third in the Letellier Memorial Stakes. She’s a Manitoba-bred by D’Wildcat and was a stakes winner at Hawthorne last time out.

CALL THE POSSE (Posse) was not so good for Vinery as she finished 10th of 11.

The winner was Blitzing, by Montbrook, trained by Steve Asmussen.

The 3rd stakes race on the card came off the grass (Esplanade Stakes) and was won by the Steve Asmussen trained Tres Dream, by Chester House. The Malcolm Pierce trained Saorise Cat was unplaced.

Oh yes, the 4th stake of the day, the BONAPAW (named for that cook sprinting dude) was won by a horse trained by….STEVE ASMUSSEN. STORMIN BAGHDAD won his 3rd race in succession and 6th in his 13 starts in the 5 ½ furlong dirt race.

AT CALDER, trainer BRIAN LYNCH won the 6th race for maiden fillies and mares on turf with the Florida-bred CHERRY RED (Running Stage) who shipped in from Laurel.

Lynch trains for Stronach Stables.

AT HOLLYWOOD, WITNESS THIS, bred by Gail Wood, won a $32,000 claiming event, a turf sprint, for his 6th win in 34 starts. He is by Gold Fever out of Swing, by Sky Classic and was bred in Ontario.

AT TAMPA BAY, Canadian bred AWESOME ATTITUDE, taking a huge class drop to $10,000 off the layoff, won by more than 7 lengths in the finale. Canadian-bred FOREST LIGHT was third.

Here’s the Asmussen wrap from

Day at the races turns into laugher

Bridgmohan rides six winners at FG

Sunday, December 23, 2007

By Bob Fortus

It was horse racing made easy Saturday at the Fair Grounds.

Steve Asmussen saddled the horses. Shaun Bridgmohan rode them. Six won.

On a day billed as Santa Sprint Saturday, Asmussen and Bridgmohan held a Christmas party, combining for six victories and sweeping the four $100,000 sprint stakes races.

The stakes winners were Sok Sok in the Sugar Bowl, Blitzing in the Letellier Memorial, Tres Dream in the Esplanade and Stormin Baghdad in the Bonapaw.

"Awesome day," Asmussen said. "It's been nothing but fun."

Bridgmohan said: "Thanks to Mr. Asmussen and his crew, it's been a phenomenal day for me."

According to Fair Grounds records, some of which were lost in the 1993 fire, Asmussen set a record for most victories by a trainer on a Fair Grounds card. Joe Alleman won five races on one day in 1982. The Fair Grounds has no record of anyone bettering that mark.

Bridgmohan became the eighth jockey to ride six winners on one day at the Fair Grounds. The feat, which has been accomplished nine times, hadn't been done since Robby Albarado won six races on a card in March 2004.

Asmussen and Bridgmohan missed another victory by a nose. That's the margin by which Stonestreet Song finished second to Cadet Gold in the last race.

Asmussen saddled one other horse Saturday, Natural Speed in the Bonapaw, and he finished second to stablemate Stormin Baghdad by a half-length.


Here’s the scoop from the Sun-Sentinel..

Gulfstream casino in Hallandale Beach prepares for live racing season

Track installs seats as it preps for live racing

By Thomas Monnay | South Florida Sun-Sentinel

December 22, 2007

HALLANDALE BEACH - With the live horse-racing season kicking off Jan. 3, officials at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino are working hard to turn the facility into a family destination.

Plans call for first-class trainers, experienced jockeys and thoroughbred horses, concerts and family-oriented acts such as Dora The Explorer, who will perform Jan. 13.

"There's so much going on here," Aaron Perry, Gulfstream's vice president for strategic development and marketing, said this week.

As part of a three-year, $220 million face-lift, workers were busy installing box seats in the grandstand facing the racetrack, where gamblers will have access to telephone, Internet and betting machines. The building's north side will have a tropical beach setting with a tiki hut and a sandy area landscaped with palm and coconut trees.

Mike Mullaney, a company spokesman, said Gulfstream is striving to also attract younger people who will bring lawn chairs to watch races and enjoy outdoor parties.

In the long run, they hope, residents, shoppers and employees at the $1 billion mixed-used Village at Gulfstream Park development will add to the facility's success.

Completion of the project's first phase, which started in June, is projected for fall 2008. The Forest City Enterprises project calls for 70 shops and office, condominium and hotel space at 901 S. Federal Highway, across from the Hallandale Beach municipal complex.

Perry said plans also include a nightclub, but he wouldn't disclose the name.

After a lackluster performance at its casino, which opened a year ago, Magna Entertainment, Gulfstream's owner, has reduced the number of slot machines from 1,200 to 516.

The remaining machines feature mainly penny games offering gamblers more bonus points, playing options and time, said Steve Calabro, Magna's vice president for gaming. A small portion of the second-floor room is reserved for higher-stake play with $1-to-$100 slot machines.

Hallandale Beach commissioners on Wednesday granted Gulfstream a nightclub license so it can serve liquor until 6 a.m. on all three floors, including two restaurants and an outdoor bar.

Thomas Monnay can be reached at or 954-385-7924.

Media Advisory - CAW Reaches Tentative Settlement with Woodbine Entertainment Group

TORONTO, Dec. 22 /CNW/ - Picket lines have come down at Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks following a tentative settlement that was reached between the Canadian Auto Workers union and Woodbine Entertainment Group early Saturday morning.

The tentative settlement ends a 17-day strike for the 185 bartenders and servers at the Greenwood Teletheatre in Toronto as well as Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks and slots.

The ratification meeting is scheduled to take place on Sunday,

December 23. If the agreement is ratified by the membership full service will resume at the racetracks on Thursday. No details of the agreement will be released until after workers vote on the contract.

This is the workers' first contract negotiation since joining the CAW in August of 2007.



Brees impressed with Pulaski County

Mena off to good start in first season at the Fair Grounds

Sunday, December 23, 2007

By Bob Fortus

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, tight end Billy Miller and General Manager Mickey Loomis were among a throng of fans rooting Saturday for Pulaski County, who finished third in the final race.

The colt, a 2-year-old maiden owned by the Last Mango Racing Stable, a group including Brees, Loomis, Coach Sean Payton, singer Jimmy Buffett, former NFL player Ron Jaworski and other Saints officials and friends, had finished third on opening day in his first start since being claimed for the stable by trainer Tom Amoss.

"This was tougher competition," Brees said. "I was impressed. He made a late run."

Brees said he's enjoying being a horse owner. "It's competition and beautiful animals running," he said. "It's fun to watch."

MENA CONTENT: Jockey Miguel Mena, a 21-year-old native of Peru, started quickly in his first season at the Fair Grounds. He rode seven winners in the first four days this meet.

Mena's pace had to slow down. Four of his winners during the first week were for trainer Steve Asmussen, whose first-call rider, Shaun Bridgmohan, had yet to arrive from Kentucky. But Mena has continued to make an impact, ranking third in the riders' standings with 16 victories.

"The Asmussen deal, I knew that was going to happen," Mena said. "You just have to be happy and appreciate it. I'm riding for everybody -- Amoss, Al Stall, (Mike) Stidham."

Mena, who gained his second stakes victory of the meet when he won the Buddy Diliberto on Sterwins on the turf last weekend, displays unusual patience for a young jockey. He said the Fair Grounds suits his style.

"I love it, (the) long stretch," he said. "I love it on the turf. I'm not a speed rider. I don't like to send (push a horse for the early lead) unless a trainer tells me to."

Another Mena is on the way. Mena said his brother Aderly, a 17-year-old apprentice, will be coming to the Fair Grounds soon.


  • At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Send that 17 year old apprentice brother of Mena's up here next year. We need some new bugs.

  • At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    not that easy, wish it was. The jockeys guild here in Canada make it almost impossible for a foriegn rider to ride here. The easiest way in is to marry a Canadian resident.

  • At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    shoot... thought it sounded too easy. Maybe there are some western canadian bug riders we could lure here. There will be a big void to fill.

  • At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    if it's so tough, how come riders from Barbados and other islands get here by the bushel full???

  • At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


  • At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I know you have to prove there is a shortage of local people to fill the positions being offered to foreign workers. We have a shortage of qualified grooms at WB and that is pretty easy to prove, it might not be so easy to explain having to import riders. I guess we have enough bug riders, just not good ones.

  • At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't know how tough it is for a rider to get permission to ride in Canada, is it the same process as getting exercise riders or grooms in? I do know alot of out top riders are from somewhere else, Emile, Patrick, Jono, Dos Ramos... and yes, there are 100's of backstreach workers from places like Barbados, Peru, Brazil, Trinidad and Jamaica plus I think now you will see alot coming from Mexico in the near future. It looks to me like the Canadians don't want to do this work. It's almost impossible to find decent help and the wages are much better than they use to be.

  • At 12:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Patrick,Emile,Jono,Ricky Griffith,Slade and Brett Callaghan, Simon Husbands, all started at a very young age, Brett C was 13 Jono was 12 when they rode thier first these guys were practically born and bred into this game and had the oppertunity to start at a tender young age, wich people might say its wrong but if you asked them they wouldnt have changed a thing. Toronto now doesnt breed race riders, you would have to go to western Canada to find a young up and comming rider, yes there is the exception but not too often, what i really would love to see is Canada letting riders from the States in to Canada, and separate men from the mice, U.S.A trainers are allowed to bring thier horses here, Canadian riders go to the States! fair is fair.

  • At 4:37 AM, Blogger the_drake said…

    Try bringing someone in who wants the work and then having "Service Canada" tell you how much you have to pay them (It's more than I made after graduating w/ a BA, hooray for Canada), but I guess they are more concerned about how much our new friends are making. After an Aussie and Yankee both get fired after a week we must pay more money than a corporation offered me to work an office job.hmmmmmm

  • At 12:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There are riders at 'b' tracks in the States that would put most Canadian riders to absolute shame, some of these riders from Mountaineer, Philly, Tampa, they ride for a fraction of the money and they ride twice as hard for 1st 2nd 3rd and 4th. Canadian riders tend to have that spoiled attitude, if they cant win it 'screw it'

  • At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Drake, I employ foreign workers at WB, no one has ever told me what to pay them. I make an offer, if they accept we draw up a contract which we both sign and submit to HRDC, then it's up to the worker to meet the standards that the Canadian Embassy sets for admittance to this country and get themselves here in time for work. It could be that what I'm offering is within the accepted range but no one has ever mentioned there were rules for what I could pay.

  • At 12:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Woodbine riders are highly overrated, Do you really think guys like Clark, Kabel, Landry, or even Husbands could make a good living in New York? Wilson is the only rider that would have a shot of making it.


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Saturday, December 22, 2007


On the things to do list...

fill in my Eclipse ballot!
more shopping!
update the BLOG
find out answers to questions!

Thanks to Allan Abbott who sent in the note about TOP BUNK, previously trained by John Charalambous. His 21 wins must put him up there in the last decade for wins but finishing something like that out...hmmmm. Tough one.
Today's news mostly makes us go hmmmmmmmmmmm.....



Toronto makes pitch for bigger share of Woodbine slots

Seeks increase to 10% annually from $550M take, but province indicates city's likely out of luck

Paul Moloney


The City of Toronto is seeking a $55 million annual share of the take from the slot machines at Woodbine racetrack.

The city already gets $14.5 million a year from the 1,950 machines, based on 5 per cent of the gross from the first 450 machines, and 2 per cent from the balance. What it wants is 10 per cent across the board, the same rate paid to the racetrack's owner and to horse breeders.

There have been repeated requests for a better deal for the city, but a new report going to the Jan. 8 meeting of council's executive committee adds fresh impetus, said Councillor Shelley Carroll, the budget chair.

"The success of the slot program is such that it sort of ramps up the urgency," Carroll said yesterday. "This is something we've been raising in negotiations (with the province) all along, but it's good to have the formal report laying it all out.

"The report sort of lends some weight to the negotiations, which is what I think is needed."

All 17 Ontario municipalities that have racetrack slots get the same percentage of the proceeds, said Jim Cronin, communications director for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., which runs the slot machine program.

"There's no strings attached to that money. It's to be used at their discretion," Cronin said. Between March 2000 and last March, Toronto garnered almost $100 million from the program, he said.

The city also benefits from the employment the slots provide, he added. In Toronto's case, that amounts to 700 workers who have earned $211 million since the facility opened nearly eight years ago.

As for the proceeds, about $356 million has gone to the racetrack owners over that span, providing funds for improvements, and a similar amount routed to breeders, which helps them bring in more and better horses, Cronin added.

But the city's share is paltry compared with total revenues, which totalled $550 million in 2006. Of that, more than 75 per cent goes to the provincial government, said Councillor Cesar Palacio.

"This is an innovative and creative tool for raising the revenue that the city needs," said Palacio, who has been pushing for a better deal. "The existing formula is old and antiquated."

The province has no plans to revisit the arrangement, said Amy Tang, spokesperson for Public Infrastructure Renewal Minister David Caplan. Tang said the Dalton McGuinty government has been much more generous to Toronto than the previous Conservative administrations, by providing a share of provincial gasoline taxes and other revenues.

"We've invested heavily in Toronto in ways other than gaming revenue," Tang said.

"So right now, we're not looking at adjusting the funding formula. The 5 per cent that goes to host municipalities is consistent with the other racetrack locations."

Horse Racing Alberta gets Eclipse

Friday, December 21, 2007

Horse Racing Alberta, producers of the live telecast of the Alberta Derby for CTV affiliate CFCN in Calgary, Alberta, has won the 2007 Eclipse Award for local television, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Friday.

Horse Racing Alberta was selected by a three-judge panel for its one-hour live telecast of the 2007 Alberta Derby at Stampede Park on June 16. The broadcast, produced by Jeff Robillard and Bruce Yost, featured historical elements of Stampede’s 117-year history.

The broadcast has already been named this year's Sovereign Award winner for Outstanding Film/Video/Broadcast for Thoroughbred racing in Canada.


Brazilian Da Silva and Japanese Sakai set to add international flavour to Kranji 22 Dec 2007

Singapore Turf Club

One familiar face and a new one will be seen at Kranji in the new 2008 season.

Eurico Rosa da Silva (32) is no stranger to Singapore with the Brazilian jockey enjoying a successful stint earlier in the year when he rode four winners and was placed on 14 occasions from just 56 rides.

Da Silva was champion apprentice in Brazil in 1992, and had already ridden his first Group 1 winner by 1994. From 1991 to 2001, he rode in Macau, maintaining his level in the top five, with a haul of over 50 winners each year.

Now primarily based in Canada, he has ridden 54 winners at Woodbine, Toronto this season. Da Silva is looking forward to returning to Kranji for the first two months of the new season and will commence riding on January 4.

Da Silva goes to scale at 52kgs.

Lightweight Japanese rider Shinobu Sakai (34) has been granted a freelance licence by the Singapore Turf Club for two months.

Sakai is currently licensed by the Japan National Racing Association and has been riding in the Kawasaki region. He will commence riding at Kranji on January 1.

He has over 16 years of experience with over 1200 winners to his name.

Currently placed fourth on the Kawasaki Premiership, he goes to scale at 52kgs.


A half-sister to multiple champion JUDITH’S WILD RUSH named SURPRISEINTHEBOX won her maiden at Calder yesterday by 18 lengths. The filly could have been claimed for $12,500. The Outofthebox filly is an Ontario bred owned by Donna Wormser.

Canadians clean up the Mountain…

Bobby Pion won a race at Mountaineer last night with the Ontario bred COOL LIGHTNING (Cool Groom), who won a maiden $10,000 claiming event by a length. The June born gelding was bred by Julie Wainwright.

Ontario trainer Stacey Cooper won two at Mountaineer last night including one for $6,500 with SEAMUS BOND, an Ontario bred by Woodman-Periphery, bred by Gus Schickedanz. Cooper also won with the Florida bred Lighten the Load.

SHOTINTHEWIND, an Ontario bred by Domasca Dan, trained by Mike Newell, won the 7th race for $10,000.

And Kevin Buttigieg won the finale with KERRY FAIR, an Ohio bred who used to race at Woodbine.


  • At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's beyond my comprehension that the Alberta
    Derby show on CTV would not only win a Sovereign, but an Eclipse Award as well.
    The show was full of mistakes, wrong graphics and filler that was almost painful to watch..............I don't get it!


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Friday, December 21, 2007


Yes, still more stores to hit..eeks.
Quiet news week for horse racing in Ontario but some fun betting events tomorrow at Fair Grounds (which cancelled after 5 races yesterday because of bad track conditions) and the Gulfstream meeting is just around the corner...

HOT D*&(*&N!


Tucci Stables’ Quebec-bred HOT DEPUTY won the 6th race at Calder yesterday for trainer Nick Gonzalez. The 4-year-old Silveer Deputy – Astro Beauty gelding, who ran in the Queen’s Plate last year, was winning for $10,000 claiming.


From Woodbine Entertainment

Considering only the trainers that finished in the top 50 (based on wins) in the Woodbine standings, the following list ranks the five conditioners that finished the season with the highest average win odds.

Rank / Trainer / Average win odds

1) Glenn Magnusson 13.44
2) Alex McPherson 12.91
3) Dan Vella 9.44
4) Analisa Delmas 8.80
5) Alec Fehr 8.77

The average payoff on a $2 win wager for Glenn Magnusson is $28.88; Alex McPherson’s average winner returned $27.82; Dan Vella’s successful equine pupils averaged $20.88; Analisa Delmas, $19.60; and a victorious Alec Fehr trainee returned a mean price of $19.54.

Glenn Magnusson and Alex McPherson finished the 2007 campaign in a tie for 46th in the standings, capturing 10 wins apiece.

Since Magnusson started 106 runners and McPherson saddled 112, both would have been profitable conditioners using a simple flat-bet approach.

In other words, a $2 win wager on every Magnusson entrant would have cost $212 over the course of the season. At the end of the year, the investment would have yielded $288.80. The profit: a tidy $76.80, a gain of 36.2 per cent.

Similarly, McPherson’s 10 scores would have fetched $278.20 from an initial investment of $224 ($2 multiplied by each of his 112 starts). The profit: $54.20 or 24.2 per cent.



Horse Racing betting: 999/1 Betfair punt landed

December 20, 2007 - Darren Holland

Christmas has come early for one Betfair punter who is getting ready to pay off his mortgage after placing £25 on Captain Crooner, the 14/1 winner of the 12.30 at Southwell today. But the punter won't be paying off a measly £350, he will be able to clear the final 20k off his home loan – as he backed the horse at 999-1 in running on the exchange.

The horse, backed from 16/1 to 14/1 pre-race, traded at the maximum price of 999/1 on the exchange after making a slow start slowly and soon getting detached from the other runners.

The punter demonstrated a cool head in the heat of the moment by ensuring that he couldn't lose whatever happened! Posting under the name "Manchesterskytrain" on the Betfair forum immediately after his five-figure coup the Warrington-based winner explained:

"£25 of it [money backed at 999/1] was mine, i can pay my mortgage off now, i am going mental here, it's my 2nd 1000 winner and I only have £2 on the other, this is by far my biggest win."

"I laid it @ 44 early in the race, just after halfway stage so i wanted out of the bet and asked for £25 which was all matched at the 1000, i laid it again @ 80 to make sure I won something on the race and ended up winning just over £20k after commission."

There were also two other Betfair customers who backed the horse at 999/1 and netted just under £3,000 apiece, with one getting £3 matched and the other £2.49.

Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin commented: "I feel justified in trotting out the cliché that Christmas really has come early for three Betfair customers. And the punter who had £25 on Captain Crooner at the ceiling price of 999/1 must literally be taking a leaf out of Lionel Richie's book - and dancing on the ceiling, which he is now soon to own outright!"


Here’s a write-up on what the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group is and who is involved…

(courtesy Thoroughbred Times)

"The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group is the logical next step for horsemen's organizations dealing with simulcast issues in a multi-jurisdictional business environment with multi-track consortiums and integrated companies like TrackNet Media," said racehorse owner Bob Reeves, the newly elected president of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group. Reeves also serves as a director of the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and co-chair of the National HBPA's Wagering and Alternative Gaming Committee.

"We believe that our company will create efficiencies in simulcasting administration and implementation; enhance the effectiveness of horsemen's organizations as representatives of the industry's most important stakeholder, the racehorse owner; and in the long-term help improve the competitiveness and productivity of the Thoroughbred racing industry.

“Our game faces new challenges, the simulcasting model is outdated, and we are confident that the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group can be a constructive instrument for horsemen to address those challenges and contribute to their solutions."

27-year-old manager of Hastings speaks big about his track

Here’s a story from today’s The Province in Vancouver


Track rolls the dice on gaming machines

Kent Gilchrist, The Province

Published: Friday, December 21, 2007

From the humble beginnings of busing tables in the Table Terrace as an 11- or 12-year-old kid to the general manager of Hastings Racecourse 15 years later, Raj Mutti is a rising star.

In fact, his story has some similarities to another successful sports figure in town.

Perhaps Mutti will receive B.C. Lions president and CEO Bob Ackles' book The Water Boy for Christmas. Mutti can only hope to turn the fortunes of thoroughbred racing as quickly as Ackles has managed with the Lions.

The 27-year-old New Westminster native, graduated with honours from the Race Track Industry program at the University of Arizona in 2004.

He has all the ingredients and qualifications to be the point person for an ambitious recovery initiative undertaken by owner Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.

He was an eyewitness to the good times, obviously loves the business and has been part-owner of some awfully nice horses.

They include the 2003 B.C. horse of the year, Rosco Pito, surely one of the most popular four-legged athletes to have been bred in the province.

Mutti's friends include some fellow owner/partners: trainer John Snow, bartender Ross Rankin and Joe Gray of the gate crew.

Mutti has been hearing the tales of woe from their perspectives for years so his sphere of knowledge from inside and outside the complex and diverse industry is as broad as it is deep.

With the track having had several different owners and management teams since the salad days of the '80s when they raced five days a week and routinely recorded $1-million handles on Monday nights under Jack Diamond, most managers have been "front side" savvy but hardly knew the direction to the "back side", where the engine of the business is.

Mutti is the exception.

If horse racing is going to survive long-term it is going to need bright, young, energetic leadership with vision and personality.

So the new general manager of Hastings Racecourse does seem the perfect choice.

He takes over from veteran race tracker Mike Mackey, who is staying on but will concentrate on liaising in construction of the permanent casino facility and work with racing secretary Lorne Mitchell to make the live racing program as good as it can be.

As operations manager, Mutti has been Mackey's right hand man and Mike has been his mentor.

"The goal," said Mutti, "is to improve B.C. racing to where it was a few years ago; to put it back on the entertainment and sports map.

"We are now working on some ideas for getting us into business head offices and making us top of mind."

To that end, it certainly doesn't hurt when B.C.-owned horses and trainers make news nationally by winning Jockey Club of Canada Sovereign Awards, as Bob Cheema and K.K. Sangara did with True Metropolitan, Dancing Allstar and Financing Available earlier this month in Toronto.

"It's nice to see our owners, trainers and horses get the recognition," said Mutti. "Our horses can compete anywhere."

That the GCGC owners are in the process of investing $40 million or more in upgrades to the PNE plant doesn't hurt the picture, either. A temporary slots room opened last month and the first phase of redevelopment is a permanent home for 600 of the gaming machines.

"This will be a year of development and change," said Mutti.

"We're looking to 2010 as a big turning-point year for us."

They are a ways away from five days a week of racing, but Hastings is clearly headed in the right direction.


  • At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Once-A-Wando-Stalker said…

    Hi Jen, thanks, as always, for the Canadian Connections update. I understand that WEG is changing over their tote system in the new year and it will no longer be compatible with some of the other tracks or OTBs (as is currently the case with Georgian and Flamboro) Will this mean that tickets purchased at WEG facilities will only be cashable at WEG facilities? And how will this affect using my HPI card for my Dial-n-Lose account? I can not use my card at some tracks, receiving the message that it applies to the wrong community. I started my account at Woodbine, but most frequently use my card at Grand River Raceway in Elora. Any news on these changes?

  • At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Allen Abbott said…


    In 1998, John Charalambous purchased a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Oct. sale for $7,500. Along with my old summer camp friend Jamie Leder, we named the horse TOP BUNK. Bunk broke his maiden in his fifth start at Woodbine ridden by Jack Lauzon in Nov. 99. We shipped him to Aqueduct where after being unplaced in a N1X allowance we took an edge and dropped him in for a $50,000 tag. Naturally he won and got claimed. He has subsequently raced a further 81 times. On Thursday Dec. 20, 2007 he won his 21st lifetime race while placing in 23 and showed in 16 , bankrolling over $550,000. My question is how does Top Bunk rank in terms of winningest horses still in training and number of wins this decade?

  • At 3:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    to ex-WandoStalker:

    This is no different from about 3 years ago when Fort Erie changed tote systems (from Autotote to United). Before they did that, WEG tickets, vouchers, and cards worked at Fort Erie and vice versa.

    Now WEG is going from Autotote to Amtote so that's a third tote provider in the mix. Suspect that 1-WEG will have to send out new HPI cards to everybody so they'll work on the new machines, in time for the January 8 changeover, and 2-as you said, HPI cards and WEG tickets won't work at those other tracks unless they also switch to Amtote.


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Thursday, December 20, 2007


(cartoon courtesy

In today's news - Santa Anita wish list includes a track ready to go by Dec. 26, local fans have a one-show hour to check out on The Score and more!

THOROUGHBLOG encourages story ideas, write-ups, photo submissions etc. Don't forget to check out my other links and lists!

Reminder, THOROUGHBLOG is off from Dec. 25 to somewhere around Dec. 29....

From the

Trainers “HORRIFIED”

Track workouts at Santa Anita still delayed

By Art Wilson, Staff Writer

Article Launched: 12/20/2007 12:00:00 AM PST

ARCADIA - More than an inch of rain fell on Santa Anita's Cushion Track on Tuesday night and early Wednesday, delaying the reopening of the synthetic track for workouts until Friday at the earliest and causing an uneasiness among trainers.

The track has been closed to training since Dec. 5 in order to repair a drainage problem that surfaced days before the Oak Tree meet began Sept. 26.

Trainers have had to use Santa Anita's infield training track or ship their horses to Hollywood Park for workouts the past twoweeks.

Santa Anita's 71st winter-spring meet is scheduled to open Wednesday.

"We're all horrified," said John Sadler, leading trainer at the Hollywood Park autumn meet. "We're all very nervous because this is uncharted water. We're all kind of wait and see."

Veteran conditioner Bruce Headley, based at the Arcadia track, said he is concerned but still plans to run horses on opening day. He has been training all his horses over Santa Anita's training track.

"I'm very worried because I haven't been able to work on it and because it is an experiment," he said. "I don't know what to expect."

Santa Anita president Ron Charles had hoped the track would be open for workouts Wednesday morning, but he says if all goes well with the weather the next couple of days, horses will be back and working over the track soon.

"I can understand that they are concerned," Charles said of the trainers. "Without any more rain, we are going to try to be open on Friday, but the horses will be on the track by Saturday."

Forecasts called for a 50 percent chance of rain today. No rain is predicted between Friday and opening day.

Charles said Santa Anita can handle a little rain today, but nothing like the storm that dropped an inch and a half the past couple of days.

"A tenth of an inch, I don't think will hurt us, and that's the last I heard," he said. "We're just at the mercy of the weather right now."

Sadler did find time to shed some humor on the situation.

"If they run the races on the training track at Santa Anita, I think I'm going to be really strong," he joked. "Because we've been on the training track for two-plus weeks."

Officials have been testing for the right mix of sand, wax, fiber and rubber that would allow the track to drain properly. The track did not drain Wednesday morning, so horses were not allowed back on it.

"This rain, they expected a half an inch, (and) we got an inch and a half," Charles said. "It just made things a mess."

Charles said workers will be adding the rubber and fiber today to the existing sand and wax after the surface has dried.

"I've got about a two-day window," Sadler said. "It's a situation where we just have to wait and see."

Crews have been working virtually around the clock. Santa Anita spent more than $10 million on its Cushion Track, a project that was completed in August.

Hollywood Park also has Cushion Track, but it has encountered no drainage problems.



From Woodbine TV department...

Just a heads up that not only does HPItv have some year in review stuff

going on over Christmas - but we've put together a NETWORK Year in

Review show for The Score as well. (2 separate shows linked as a 2


program....hour 1 recaps the year in t-bred racing here at woodbine and

abroad, the 2nd hour is about s-bred racing).

We cover A LOT of stuff so hopefully people get their "racing fix" by

seeing this over the holidays!

We were told the air dates/times would be the following.....

Dec 24- 7-9pm et

Dec 27- 430-630pm

Dec 31- 7-9pm et

Racehorse winning secret revealed

Breeders are prepared to spend vast sums on trusted stallions

(The offspring of expensive stallions owe their success more to how they are reared, trained and ridden than good genes, a study has found. )

Only 10% of a horse's lifetime winnings can be attributed to their bloodline, research in Biology Letters shows.

Edinburgh scientists compared the stud fees, winnings and earnings of more than 4,000 racehorses since 1922.

They found that the vast sums breeders are prepared to pay for top stallions do not guarantee the best genes.

The research was carried out by evolutionary biologists Alastair Wilson and Andrew Rambaut at the University of Edinburgh.

They found that while there was genetic variance in the quality of stallions at stud, this was not reflected in the size of the horse's stud fee.

"There are good genes out there to be bought but they don't necessarily come with the highest price tag," Dr Alastair Wilson told the BBC News website.

"It seems much more likely that people who can afford to pay high stud fees can also afford to manage and train their horses well."

The offspring of expensive stallions did tend to win more over their lifetime, he said, but genes played only a small role.

By far the biggest factor was the horse's environment - the way they were trained, the choice of races entered and which jockeys were employed, Dr Wilson added.

The findings may have parallels in the natural world, he added, in how signals of male genetic quality - such as the size and shape of a peacock's tail - are used by females to select a mate.

In this context, where the breeder was selecting the horse, fees paid for a stallion were not an honest signal of genetic quality, the researchers said.

Full details of the research are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters….at

(you have to register or something like that)

This article appeared at…


With regards to a recent comment posted…

Old Friends is a must stop for anyone in Lexington needing to get a

break from the marathon Keeneland sales. I'm still baffled at the lack of

support it gets from the major breeding "mills" in Kentucky though.

Editor’s note: That’s a bit harsh, referring to the big breeding farms as “mills”. The best news about the top farms (including many in Canada) are that you never hear about them keeping their retired horses, particularly broodmares, because they live out their lives on these farms. It’s a private retirement.

A friend told me about one of the biggest farms in Kentucky that keeps dozens of retirees that are boarded at private, nearby places or on the farm. These small farms make money retiring horses but are not of the magnitude of Old Friends, etc.


Big stakes day at Fair Grounds on Sat.

If you are not shopping, cooking, sleeping, eating or generally just getting ready for family gatherings and all that Christmas stuff, then you have time to watch racing on the weekend.

Saturday at Fair Grounds, the SUGAR BOWL STAKES for 2yo’s is an interesting little dash. Canadian-bred PALMERSTOWN (Awesome Again – My Chanel by Gilded Time), owned by Mike Ryan and bred by Adena Springs, has won two consecutive races including an allowance race at Hawthorne. His best Beyer Figure is a 77.

That is race 6 – RACE 7 is the Letellier Memorial Stakes and Canadian-bred CALL THE POSSE and LA WILDCAT are in the 12 horse field (2yo fillies at 6 furlongs). Call the Posse won two straight races at Woodbine for trainer Josie Carroll.


A commenter yesterday asked about the 2008 Queen's Plate.

Tough call at this point since the Canadian-bred boys were a bit weak in 2007 but here are some thoughts...

Certainly the buzz at the end of the year came form that sizzling debut win by GIQUERE (Mutakkdim), who reportedly attracted offers of around $1 million after that score from American interests. No deal, no sell, should be fun to watch.


It will be fun to monitor Canadian-bred 3yo's once 2008 is underway!


  • At 12:53 PM, Anonymous LAKEAYS said…

    Re: Genetics and Proclivity to Race
    Well, finally! The concept that training and care and horsemanship may actually be the defining role in the successful career of a racehorse! That's why there have been so many horses that have succeeded beyond their pedigree i.e. John Henry, Seabiscuit and our own Financingavailable? I am elated that those horses with "minimal" pedigrees are scientifically capable of stellar performance. Now all we have to do is find the trainers with the knowledge of PROPER feeding,conditioning and training. Good luck with that, in my experience, they are a rare that genetic?

  • At 12:57 PM, Blogger the_drake said…

    Jen, in defense to my "harsh" statement, I think that farms like Hill N Dale and Ashford who breed well over 200 mares to some of their stallions and over 150 to the rest of their stallions are factories. I feel that if they are going to over breed their stallions they should give a little to an organization that homes retired stallions that otherwise would have found an unhappy ending. The Old friends donation fees aren't that high, 1/2 a stud fee would cover a paddock at Old Friends. I wasn't talking about retiring broodmares or ex race horses.

  • At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    is the green monkey out of some kind of platinum bloodline...great example of throwing away money...get more studies out to show how idiotic some buyers really are...treat any horse right and they'll run...great study...

  • At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Lakeays - a gem, oh, now you've gone and done it!!

    Would have to agree with the remarks though,good quality trainers - horsemen (and indeed grooms) are a dying breed.

    I'm not sure why vets don't actually train, after all, they do 80% of the work in many cases.

  • At 8:03 AM, Anonymous LAKEAYS said…

    I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb! Having experienced first hand, some pretty bad horsemanship and judgement on correct maintenance and conditioning. As a breeder, I have worked very hard to ensure that the horses I raise are properly fed,maintained and schooled. Disheartening as it is to put them in a sale to bring less than the cost of putting them on the ground, it is worse when you know they won't get a chance with less than good trainers. A recent comment vilifying Hugh Graham for not having the track experience to get a trainer's license was provoking. Hugh Graham has been a horse trainer forever. His hands-on horse experience would far exceed 90% of the current Woodbine trainers. And, from articles I read, he re-schooled Mike Fox! As for vets doing 80% of the work, I suggest reading Cot Campbell's commentary on The Bloodhorse site. I know Dan Liebman has written numerous editorial pieces on the same issues, but coming from Mr. Campbell made me feel vindicated. I had to comment on that too!

  • At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How exactly did Graham re-school Mike Fox? I watched Bruce Smither gallop that horse in excellent fashion and if there was a turn around in that horse I'd be giving Bruce the credit.

  • At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a crock!!! Hugh Graham reschooling Mike Fox! and if he's bin a horse trainer forever, what has he done at Woodbine? big difference going over jumps as opposed to trainning a thoroughbred
    to race.

  • At 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not that it matters too much, but how much on track expirience does Hugh Graham have? how did he re-school Mike Fox? I do know that the horse was in Ocala with C.C Hopmans all of last winter, how does Hugh Graham fit in?

  • At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Funny thing is if Audre Cappuciti could get a trainers license, dont you think Graham is a shoe in to get one!

  • At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anyone can get a trainers license if they can pass the test. I'm sure Graham can memorize the rule book and drug book and should have no problem with the practical test. He will be handed a stable full of expensive stock, will have to see what he can do with them.

  • At 7:11 PM, Blogger Judy said…

    I know I'm a bit late on this one. There ARE a number of vets who train; at least 6 at Woodbine and more high profile trainers in Ky and NY. John Kimmel, Mark Hennig to name just 2. Bill Mott is the son of a veterinarian. And so it goes. I figure in the next decade; more trainers will have solid educations in animal husbandry, pharmacology, physiology, anatomy and the like. At least they should. If you spend a half a million on a horse, wouldn't you want someone who knows something to handle your horse? I ask you?

    Another DVM in Etobicokeville.

  • At 7:32 PM, Blogger Judy said…

    Sorry to pick up this thread so late. I'll try again since my last attempt crashed..
    There are a number of veteriarians who train on the track (Woodbine) but they can't "advertise" the fact. At least 6 that I can think of.
    In the US you have Mark Hennig, John Kimmel and John Fisher to name just a few. Bill Mott is the son of a veterinarian.
    We're out there.
    Of course I dream of the day when all trainers will have solid backgrounding in physiology, pharmacology, anatomy and nutrition. Wouldn't you want someone with solid background in these areas taking care of your half million dollar babies?

  • At 11:10 AM, Anonymous LAKEAYS said…

    Re: Hugh Graham...August/September 2007 Canadian Thoroughbred...Pg. 23Julie Firestone Interview..."but Hugh felt the colt was just too excitable and wanted to teach him to relax. Graham felt the quiet surroundings of the Nelson Jones Training Centre in Ocala, where he and Hopmans trained the Firestone horses, would suit the colt better. He figured it was something like maybe he had not been broken properly. He wanted to work with him so he took him up to Ocala. He figured him out, taught him to rate and listen" End quote.
    As for who was galloping the horse, a conscientious trainer recognizes the need for a skilled and competent rider on a horse...probably Bruce Smither was the rider of choice. Then we have a few high profile trainers that started out careers as riders, even at Woodbine. I rather think it requires a sound knowledge of horses, an ability to analyze and evaluate their responses and a strong work ethic that produces trainers with consistent, long term success. As an owner, that would be my criteria.

  • At 11:31 AM, Anonymous LAKEAYS said…

    I sent this letter to Bloodhorse Editor, Dan Liebman. I feel very strongly dis-inclined to the North American attitude of pharmacological and surgical cure-alls.
    Having just read Mr. Campbell's editorial piece regarding the fads of medical and surgical intervention on today's thoroughbred race horse, I am compelled to write and add my own novice voice to his comments. I am a new owner who has gone through considerable trauma in finding a trainer whose horsemanship skills are sufficient to be in charge of actual "training" of a horse. It has already been my experience that there is far too much reliance on questionable practices and injections to speed the process of conditioning/racing.
    As in all athletic endeavour, racing horses require knowledge and a systematic approach to their conditioning. Sadly, the knowledge of the horses' anatomical structure (alluded to by Mr. Campbell), the physical requirements of building the systems required of a racehorse, seem to be inconsequential to many and reliance on medical intervention to repair and enhance, all too common.
    With the dangerous practice of steroid use being examined in professional human athletes, I indeed hope that their use in race horses in North America becomes as clearly banned. It was with considerable indignation that I paid a veterinarian invoice for Winstrol injected into my 2 year old filly, when it's use was neither authorized or requested by me. As an owner, the attitude of trainers that their experience and knowledge is far superior to mine because they have been issued a trainers license, is an outrage. I would welcome rules that would hold owners responsible for drug infractions, as it would force trainers to ask before questionable practices are initiated. I would echo the sentiment that younger trainers have adopted a very remedial attitude to the conditioning of a racehorse. Renaissance Philosopher, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, suggested that all learning must be held suspect and questioned. Are veterinarian sciences immune to scrutiny and analysis? Just because something can be done doesn't mean that it should be or has any actual benefit.
    Reliance on drug and surgical intervention instead of hard work and actual training causes me to question whether the modern race horse is really inferior in soundness to his ancestors, or whether the "quick fix" has undermined his innate athleticism. Our society has made many things disposable and time is unavoidably counted in dollars, but perhaps to our own industry's detriment.

  • At 9:47 PM, Blogger Judy said…

    I totally and thoroughly endorse what you say. I am not, I repeat NOT, implying that surgical and pharmacological skills are all that is required to be a successful trainer. I am saying that these are merely tools to be used with discretion in the management of horses. Management is what it is all about. When to and when not to use these tools and many others, I may add. The best trainer I know who trained a Queens Plate winner and no longer resides in Canada, uses blessedly little pharmacology. How do I know? His individual owners' vet bills are preciously small. You can't lie about something like that. Veterinarians will always bill for their services. If the owner is not getting vet bills, nothing is obviously getting done.
    My point is: it CAN be done and it IS done: train without the repeated use of pharmacological agents and injecting joints.

  • At 9:56 PM, Blogger Judy said…

    At one time "racetrack medicine" and "veterinary medicine" were miles apart. ALL veterinary medicine is subject to intense scrutiny by the various governing bodies that regulate it. My beef is the various "surgical fads" that pop up every once in a while without any research to back it. Why is there no research to back it? Because the pharmaceutical bigwigs make no money off the "niche" that is racetrack medicine. They would rather focus on the real meat and potatoes that are Viagra and the new generation anti-depressants. So if real research dollars were spent on finding a cure for "Exertional Rhabdomyolysis" ("tying up") then we'd get a real answer to whether some of those "quack" cures work or not. No matter what field you are in: "Knowledge is power and everyone else's ignorance is your strength"


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Wednesday, December 19, 2007



Yesterday's photo quiz - yes, some of you were correct, that was BALLINGDAGGIN in the photo, taken at Old Friends. The 22-year-old was the first winner of the MOLSON EXPORT CHALLENGE (now known as the Woodbine Mile).

If you are planning matings this year you must get a copy of the CANADIAN THOROUGHBRED SIRE BOOK, almost 300 pages and glossy with many stallion photos and news items, stallion statistics. An impressive publication.

Holiday notes: THOROUGHBLOG will be on idle from Dec. 25 through to the 28th or 29th...If you want to watch some good video stuff from the year, the HPI channel will show some good stuff over Christmas eve and day.


Ten-year-old, soon to be 11, COOL N COLLECTIVE is still going strong. The Canadian bred Ruhlmann gelding is also on the move to another barn again.

The old-timer has been claimed 5 times in one year and now, two times in succession.

Yesterday, he won at Philadelphia Park for $12,500 claiming for owner and trainer Ryan Beattie and was claimed by trainer Katherine Demasi and the Repole Stable.

His win yesterday, in front running fashion by 5 ½ lengths, was his 5th in his 12th start in 2007. He was racing for $7,500 claiming in New York in the winter (for more on Cool N Collective just type in his name on the SEARCH button up top).

He has a record of 61-12-22-7 and $613,000 in earnings.

Mark Reid’s Canadian-bred 2yo NOR’EASTERNER, trained by Tony Dutrow Jr. won his maiden in the race after Cool N Collective. The Fusaichi Pegasus – One More Breeze, by Mythical Ruler.

Previously trained at Woodbine by Bobby Frankel, the colt was coming out of a 3rd place finish to the promising colt Highvale at Woodbine. Yesterday he rallied from well back and won the 1 1/16 mile race in 1:45 – a 68 Beyer Figure.

He was a $250,000 Keeneland Nov. weanling, a $45,000 buy back as a yearling and a $125,000 buy back as a 2yo.

CAW Locals Pledge Support for Striking Woodbine Workers

TORONTO, Dec. 18 /CNW/ - In a show of solidarity CAW local union leaders have pledged their full support for the 180 bartenders and servers on strike at three Woodbine Entertainment Group locations in Southern Ontario.

On December 17, over 50 union representatives gathered in Toronto to

strategize ways to intensify efforts on the picket lines as the strike

continues into its third week. Local union leaders will be encouraging members in the Toronto and surrounding areas to join with striking workers on the picket lines over the next number of weeks at the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto and the Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville.

The union has targeted Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings to increase picketing efforts, considered peak times for business at the racetracks.

Plans are also currently underway to hold a major public rally in support of the striking workers on Boxing Day, the details of which will be made available over the coming days.

(Editor's note - on Saturday the delays were short as we tried to get into Woodbine. Be ready for it to get worse this weekend)

Letter to THOROUGHBLOG..(anonymous writers still are not in the holiday spirit!)

Jennifer, would you please do your readers the favor and take responsibility for the utter crap you reprint from other websites/publications. Just because something is in print elsewhere does not mean you can't at least exercise some amount of standards for wasting print space here with it.

Why, for example, would you print something from this (person)

""Trained by Steve Asmussen (who sent up an assistant trainer to look after the colt) Kodiak Kowboy showed up at Woodbine for a two-furlong maiden race (that’s 220 yards, folks) and finished fourth on April 29.""

(Editor's note: If this writer is referring to the 220 years comment, remember, those that read the local newspapers are not necessarily racing savvy)


  • At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Maybe they're referring to the fact that a 2 furlongs is 440 yds, not 220....
    (I don't share the posters Bah Humbug attitude though!) Keep up the good work.

  • At 6:55 PM, Anonymous LAKEAYS said…

    I believe the Jockey Club approved a sticker to be placed on Foal Papers asking owners to notify the breeder if the horse needs a retirement home at the end of his career. I have asked several times if the CTHS will be using this method, but after nearly two years, still no policy. As a very small breeder, I try to keep in contact with owners of horses I breed so they know they can come home. I've also purchased two of them, one I bred and one I tracked for his entire career because he was out of my mare. Perhaps our association could make this easier for those of us who feel a responsibility for the horses we raise.

  • At 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Jen, what does the early Queens Plate forecast look like for next year? i have bin trying to brainstorm and try to recall who would to top contenders and i cant really figure out who would be key contenders at this point in time givin that, the main contenders my have not run yet or my surface over the winter time somewhere in the states hmmmm who knows!

  • At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    LAKEAYS you sound like a gem! I wish our business had more like you.


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Tuesday, December 18, 2007


It doesn't matter who they are or where they are...there are retired racehorses everywhere and still even more looking for homes.
As the end of another year approaches and you want to give back to our friends, the stars of the show, find a home for your horse, retire your horse or say Thank You by donating to a horse retirement group.
In Ontario, LONGRUN THOROUGHBRED RETIREMENT FOUNDATION (see link at right in links list) has a super website and all the info you need is there.
The THOROUGHBRED BLOGGERS ALLIANCE donates a healthy sum each year to OLD FRIENDS (, located in Georgetown, Kentucky.

This guy pictured is a retired racehorse who won his biggest race of his career at Woodbine.
Oh yes, he's a resident at Old Friends.
Who is he?


At Mountaineer yesterday…

BLUE MOON BLONDE (Perigee Moon-I’mablondetoo, by Mogambo) won by 6 lengths for $5,000 claiming for Gaspare Garisto and trainer Don MacRae.

SWEET AFTON (Bold Executive-Cuddly Chops by Caveat), bred by Gail Wood, won for $5,000 claiming by 3 ¾ lengths.

Former Woodbine runner JET BLACK CADI won for $13,000 claiming for owner/trainer Loren Cox.

And also yesterday…

LITTLE BENTLEY (Archers Bay-Little Bay, by Miswaki) won at Philadelphia Park for owner (trainer) Scott Fairlie, whose horses are being trained by Lisa Aitchison at that track. The gelding won by 4 ½ lengths and he was bred by Eugene Melnyk.


A fresh box of sales catalogues arrived at the door yesterday, Keeneland’s January sale is a popular auction for broodmares and horses of racing age.

Some interesting notes from a local standpoint..

A feel-good note: Woodbine-based WINDINTHEVALLEY, a hard knocking mare, Florida-bred, won 8 of 52 races while competing for mid-level claiming at Woodbine and Fort Erie. Last summer she won a mini stakes at Fort Erie. She was bred this year to LIMEHOUSE and will be sold in foal to that top runner.

The dam of Canadian-bred star DAAHER plus Grade 1 winner SPUN SPUGAR is up for auction. Irish Cherry is to be sold by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency in foal to Ghostzapper. Irish Cherry was owned by Yvonna Schwabe but was sold a few years ago.

Graded stakes winner MONA ROSE (Dance Smartly Stakes 2004) is in the sale for Darby Dan, agent, in foal to Aragorn. It would be her 2nd foal.

Canadian bred MOUNTAIN MONARCH, the granddam of stakes winning 2yo STUCK IN TRAFFIC, is to be sold in foal to Mutakkdim.

TO THE BRIM, owned by Hat Trick Stable, is in Book 2 (of 4 Books!) as a racing or broodmare prospect. She’s by Ascot Knight and from the family of STREET SOUNDS.

HOMESTEADER is to be sold by Windfields as agent. The Canadian-bred stakes winner by Pioneering is a broodmare prospect.


Horse Name Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

Golden Hare 16 13 3 0 $136,644

Fortunate Trail 17 11 4 2 $119,240

Princess Composer 17 11 2 2 $102,475

Raving Rocket 14 10 2 0 $63,166

Soft Day 18 9 0 0 $65,0445

A bunch of horses are tied next with 8 wins including Ontario-sired PRESIDENT’S INTERN (Impeachment)

And how about the Perigee Moon filly SWEETAMYGEE? She’s won 7 of 14 races this year and, since she began her career last April for $20,000 claiming, she’s had 8 owners and trainers, dropped to $12,000 claiming and is now competing for higher claiming and allowances at Philadelphia Park. The daughter of Rhapsodize (from the family of the mare Rheintal) was bred by Amy Grant in Ontario.


Pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Daily Racing Form to read JAMES QUINN’S super story on the puzzles that face handicappers when Santa Anita starts up on Boxing Day (Dec. 26 for the non-Canadian folks)…

The adaptation to a circuit that now progresses from Cushion Track to Cushion Track to Polytrack to dirt to Cushion Track again has proved more troublesome than anticipated, and shippers to Southern California from Golden Gate Fields now will be exiting races on Tapeta.

Beyond the peculiarities of the newfangled surface-to-surface comparisons, Santa Anita now indulges an inexorable shift to cheaper stock, with a number of non-traditional conditions that can range from perplexing to indecipherable, such as starter allowance races for maiden-claiming $40,000 grads and lower that have never won two sprinting down the hillside turf course. Maiden juveniles turning 3 on Jan.o1, but babies still, and going long on the grass can be considered a recent staple. Claiming races at $25,000 but restricted to nonwinners of two lifetime may have no recorded history at Santa Anita, but they draw fields of 13 to 14 at Hollywood Park and will likely make an appearance in every condition book.

The new Cushion Track at Santa Anita should be anticipated as complicating for fundamentals that include speed handicapping, pace analysis, track profiles, and, notably, evaluating the 3-year-olds en route to the Kentucky Derby and other derbies.

(you can also read more on if you are a subscriber)


  • At 10:01 AM, Anonymous DS said…

    Hey Jen,

    I believe the happy fellow in that photo is Thornfield. Glad to see he is looking well!

  • At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Laura in Lex said…

    That's gotta be Ballindaggin! I saw him last fall and he was doing great.

  • At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Pretty sure the guy in the photo is Ballindaggin, winner of the Molson Million at Woodbine.

    Love that these classy old horses have a place to go, just not sure why owners do not feel a stronger sense of responsibility for their horses.

  • At 3:15 PM, Blogger the_drake said…

    Old Friends is a must stop for anyone in Lexington needing to get a break from the marathon Keeneland sales. I'm still baffled at the lack of support it gets from the major breeding "mills" in Kentucky though.

  • At 9:35 PM, Anonymous DS said…

    Of course. That must be Ballindaggin. What was I thinking. :-)

  • At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ballindaggin ...what a name! I am from a small village in Ireland called Ballindaggin. Does anyone know how or why this horse was named Ballindaggin?



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Monday, December 17, 2007


In today's news, some Pepper, some drink and a whole lotta cramming going on.

THOROUGHBLOG readers do not seem to be in the spirit of the season/holidays just yet with some grumpy comments! Cheer up gang...less than 2 months before the backstretch starts to fill again!
Meanwhile, if you know any Canadian horses or trainers that are doing well - send me a note with any news.
Don't forget to check out TBA, (thoroughbred bloggers alliance) - the best way is to visit our home site or check out the RSS Feed button - it gives you the last recent posts for all our blogs.
There is some good stuff out there in thoroughbred blogger land.

VOTE on my new POLL, regarding your plans for watching/betting racing this holiday season.
BTW - 11 to 8 NOT IN FAVOUR of the added races for Breeders' Cup.

Trainer MALCOLM PIERCE is already 4 for 8 at Fair Grounds and has 2 entered on Thursday – ATHENA’S GIFT (Fusaichi Pegasus) in a maiden allowance, race 8 and Richard Lister’s allowance turf filly DANCEROFTHEREALM in race 9

(Pierce trainee STERWINS received a95 Beyer Figure for his stake win at Fair Grounds on Saturday)



Filly stays perfect

Peppers Pride wins 14th consecutive race

El Paso Times Staff

Article Launched: 12/16/2007 10:55:04 PM MST

By Felix Chavez

Las Cruces Sun-News

SUNLAND PARK -- Peppers Pride has proven time and time again that she is one of the best horses in New Mexico. Perhaps it's time to consider her one of the best in the nation.

The 4-year-old made it 14-for-14 in her illustrious career Sunday afternoon with a come-from-behind, 1å-length win in the $125,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

Peppers Pride got out of the gate in third place behind Hollywood Gone and Complete Pride.

But the New Mexico bred Peppers Pride was patient and eventually wore down the field in the upper stretch to win in a time of 1:10.24.

"We knew that Hollywood Gone would go to the front," winning jockey Carlos Madeira said. "We were going to stay patient, and it worked out. Peppers Pride is a great horse, she is well-trained and she has great instincts."

Madeira has been the jockey in all 14 wins by the daughter of Desert God.

With her 14th straight win, the standout runner for trainer Joel Marr is closing in on the all-time thoroughbred record of 16 straight wins held by Citation, Cigar, Hallowed Dreams and Mister Friskey.

"Peppers Pride is the best horse I have ever trained," Marr said. "She has matured so much since she has started racing. She's an intelligent horse and she has a knack for winning and her instincts are great. It was a great effort for her and she's beaten some very good horses."

Peppers Pride won the race despite carrying a high weight of 127 pounds, nine pounds more than the next heaviest opponent.

The 4-year-old Peppers Pride was so popular, she returned just $2.20 on a $2 win bet. Hollywood Gone finished second, followed by Hang Glide.

Peppers Pride earned $75,000 for owner Joseph Allen. The money earned put her career earnings at $756,665. Marr said a decision on where to run Peppers Pride in the future will be made down the road.

She could run again in March at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.


While Pepper is the Pride of New Mexico, some Canadian-breds did well there on the weekend.

Local horsewoman SUE FOREMAN is the breeder of KUBA A NOQUA (Marquetry-Baby Millie, by Gallapiat), an allowance winner yesterday by 3 lengths in 1:11 1/5 over other 2yo fillies.

She is 2 for 2 in her career. Her winning Beyer yesterday was 65. She was a $35,000 Kentucky yearling purchase, later a $42,000 2yo purchase.

Baby Millie has 2 other foals to race, both winners, including Yonah Melee, a runner for Foreman at Woodbine this year.

DRAGOONER was 2nd in the KLAQH Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs worth $50,000.

A 5yo by Siphon-Dance on Fire, bred by Adena Springs, Dragooner is owned by Maggi Moss and trained by Steve Asmussen. He has won 4 of 10 races this year and 10 of 29 lifetime.


From the Lexington-Herald Leader

By Maryjean Wall


Stronach's elixir

Holidays wearing you out? Are you dozing off while those teeny-weeny speed figs blur before your weary eyes?

There's help out there. Perhaps you should try a shot of Frank's Energy Drink.

Yep. Frank Stronach, the auto parts magnate and racetrack entrepreneur, head of a corporate empire on five continents, founder of Stronach Farms and Stronach Stables, is now the "Frank" in a new energy drink. alerted the racing world to this new factoid; a Google search reveals much more.

"The investment in the drinks business should not be interpreted as a sign that Stronach is losing focus on Magna, or the real estate and gambling companies he also heads," according to Dennis Mills, one of Stronach's people, as quoted by

What, Frank lose his focus? Never.

Baker's birds

Two thoroughbreds trained by Canada's Reade Baker were among finalists for Sovereign Awards, which were to be presented last night in Toronto.

Whether or not this was to be Baker's year at the Sovereign Awards, he has had an outstanding season with the other division of his stable.

That would be the poultry division. When he's not racing horses, Baker partners in raising show fowl.

"I wish I'd won as many races as I have shows with my birds," Baker said.

As they say on the racetrack, it's chicken today, feathers tomorrow. The year 2007 has been all chicken, no feathers for Baker.

Fowl he owns in partnership with Frank Goodfellow have taken awards at the Royal Winter Fair this year. They took the prize for champion waterfowl with a "white call female" at the American Bantam Association's annual show in Delaware.

The two men own about 500 fowl. You can read about this and see photos of the birds on Baker's Web site for his racing stable, He's the only horse trainer I've come across who includes a poultry page on his site for thoroughbreds.

Baker said he used to keep some of his show fowl outside his barn at Woodbine Race Course, until Woodbine ruled off all chickens. He had found that keeping the birds happened to mix well with managing his stable.

"I used to have to go back every night and monitor the birds, make sure they had enough heat," Baker said. "While I was there, I'd take a peek at the horses. At night when they're relaxed and no one is around, you can monitor how they really feel and see if you have to change anything. It's different during the daytime, when there's so much going on around them."

The Baker-trained Sovereign Awards finalists were Bear Now -- the 3-year-old filly who set the pace in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff won by Ginger Punch -- and Bear Holiday, an undefeated 2-year-old colt.

Maryjean Wall covers horse racing for the Herald-Leader. This article contains her opinions and observations. Reach her at (859) 231-3231 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3231, or


Art Wilson: Santa Anita track making progress

By Art Wilson, Staff Writer

Article Launched: 12/16/2007 09:27:29 PM PST

As workers operate virtually around the clock trying to get Santa Anita's Cushion Track ready by opening day, track president Ron Charles reported progress Sunday in dealing with the drainage problem.

Charles said numerous tests, which include trying to find the correct blend of wax, sand, rubber and fiber for the synthetic track's new formula that hopefully will ensure proper drainage, went well over the weekend. He's still optimistic the renovation will be completed Tuesday in time for horses to return to the track Wednesday.

"We feel we're getting close to a formula in which the water will get through," Charles said. "I'm still a little more confident that we're making improvements. We're doing everything possible. We have so many people, so many engineers."

Santa Anita's 71st winter-spring meet is scheduled to begin Dec. 26 and run through April 20. Charles reiterated there is no question racing will begin on time.

"Oh, absolutely," he said. "We'll be racing on the 26th."

Renovation on the $10 million-plus Cushion Track began Dec. 5 and originally was scheduled to take only one week. Charles, however, has said rain and the complexity of the job put a monkey wrench into that estimate.

The latest weather forecasts call for a 40 percent chance of rain Tuesday, which could further delay the project. "We won't have the entire new formula of the materials in the track by Tuesday," Charles said. He hoped the new formula would be determined by Sunday, but tests were scheduled to continue today.

"I got a feeling we'll be talking about that (formula) tomorrow as we start to put the track back together," he said. "What we really need to know is how we're going to have the maintenance program so we can decide what that formula is.

"We know certainly how we can take care of it when it's not raining. The real question is exactly what do we do in anticipation of the rain, during the rain and after the rain."

The drainage problem, which first surfaced when rain hit the Southland shortly before the start of Oak Tree on Sept. 26, was unexpected since artificial surfaces are supposed to be weather proof.

A decision was made to postpone fixing the problem until after the meet ended Nov. 4.

Two minor storms have wreaked havoc on the operation, which originally was scheduled to begin Dec. 4 but was delayed a day when rain hit the area Nov. 30. Trainers needed an extra day to work their horses.


  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger the_drake said…

    Since breeding season is quickly approaching I thought I would post a link to a great article I read recently. Really makes you wonder why anyone uses Nicks, I always wondered how you could breed the same mare to Storm Cat and then to one of his sons who only has 3 other stakes horses under his first 3 dams and 1 graded winner under his first 4. But still come up with the exact same horse, hmmm.

  • At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Mike Z. said…

    In Regards to the comments left by the Drake for HOY honnors.
    First and foremost I don't think you can compare Sky Conqueror to True Metropolitan, one a turf horse and the other a dirt/polytrack horse(" Sky Conqeror would laugh at Tru Met if they ever looked each other in the eye). In addition, True Metropolitan was better trained and managed then Sky Conqueror, the Met went on to win 6 or 7 stakes, all beit no GR1 but after Sky's GR 1 in May he flopped. Bear Now, was a one dimensional filly, need the lead or flop, so she beat a GR 1 filly or a filly that cruised in a GR 3 at Monmouth, when pressed she folded like a cheap tent, she had her way at Philly and would not easily "whip" the Met on her best day. To say these two horses are 100 times better is a huge exageration and before you go out telling Wolski to stop his crying maybe you should compare apples to apples and really look at the fact's, but then again it seems like you wrote the book on Canadian Racing. Have you ever owned, trained or even worked around a good horse, I'd bet not.

  • At 3:10 PM, Blogger the_drake said…

    True Met won a grade 3, and a bunch of other listed stakes, IN MY OPINION that is not a horse of the year, and he doesn't belong on the ticket. It doesn't matter how Bear Now won her races, the fact is she won them, and they were US GRADED. Sky Conqueror was poorly managed BUT, he won a US grade 1 and a Canadian graded race (I think a grade 2). Those are the facts, the 2 horses I mentioned won bigger races and competed again far better horses. Nobody from Fort Erie complains when a horse cleans up there all year and doesn't get mentioned, if they can't win Graded races at Woodbine or beyond they don't deserve to be mentioned. HOY is just that HOY not the best 2 horses and another one added in to make everyone feel good. True Met finally got up to a 102 Beyer, that would net him a N2X win at Saratoga, I think you need to look at the facts. I know Sky C and Tru Met are 2 different horses, I'm talking about class and Sky C is the classier horse and would laugh at him, if a horse could laugh. I didn't write the book (although I did do some writing for a US racing entity), I'm stating my opinion like everyone else on this blog.
    Last but not least, you lost your bet. Although the only one you might recognize is Amelia Bearhart, the rest of the "good" and a few "great" horses I have owned or worked around did their winning and running in Europe and the States. I have also owned quite a few bad ones, they did their winning at Woodbine or Fort Erie.


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Sunday, December 16, 2007


Sovereign Award night was a big one for EUGENE MELNYK (seen here at the awards dinner with Eric Chartier of Nobleton Feed Mill).

Buried here in northwest Brampton under a growing blanket of snow, things are quiet now that Woodbine has been over for one week, the Sovereign Awards are done and Christmas is in just over a week.

Lots of comments regarding the Sovereign Awards and sometimes, the comments don’t get published simply because of a computer glitch or computer operator glitch.

Canadian horses and people are already starting to collect wins south of the border (see below)


Melnyk roll continues

One day after cleaning up at the Sovereign Awards for Canada’s top horses and horsepeople, Eugene Melnyk watched his homebred Runaway Groom colt STERWINS win the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds yesterday, his 2nd stakes win.

The grey has won 5 of 13 races and $432,000. He won the With Approval Stakes at Woodbine this year.

Sterwins, trained by Malcolm Pierce, won the about 1 1/16 mile turf race by a length. No Beyer Figure was available yet this morning.

Sweet Vale won $675 in her racing career when unplaced in 3 starts. She is also the dam of allowance winner Steward Hill.

Speaking of Pierce, the guy owns Fair Grounds it seems.

He won with PECTORALIS MAJOR yesterday in a non-winners of 1 ‘other than’ race on turf for fillies and mares, The Unbridled’s Song mare was 0 for 12 at Woodbine and lost many times as the favourite.

She goes to Fair Grounds? She wins.


Paradise Dancer became the newest graded stakes winner for Canadian bred sire LANGFUHR when he battled back to win the Kenny Noe Jr (G3) yesterday at Calder on a big day of stakes action in Florida.

Paradise Dancer, a 7-year-old, is out of the Canadian mare Ruckus Ridge, a daughter of Bold Ruckus and Eden Ridge. Eden Ridge is also the dam of Canadian producers Edirne, etc. and is out of Pam’s Paradise, from the D. Morgan Firestone bloodlines.

Paradise Dancer ran a 102 Beyer Figure.

He has won over $528,000.


Jockey Rafael Bejarano exclaimed that yesterday’s Hollywood Starlet winner COUNTRY STAR (Empire Maker out of Grade 1 winner Rings of Chime) is the ‘next Kentucky Derby winner’ after she won the 1 1/16 mile race on Cushion track yesterday in track record time.

Her Beyer Figure was a decent 92.

(Photo from Charles Pravata, his images can be viewed on Flikr)

From the Nation Newspaper in Barbados..

Royal winners

TORONTO – Ace Barbadian reinsman Patrick Husbands was a shoe-in for his fifth Sovereign Award as Canada's Jockey Of The Year.

Husbands, his stable boss and top trainer Mark Casse, associate and Barbados-based owner Eugene Melnyk, as well as his "wonder horse" Sealy Hill carried away the marquee prizes when the list of award winners was announced at the glitzy awards ceremony Friday night at the Westin Harbour Castle.

The 34-year-old Husbands, known to friends and close acquaintances as "Bommel", won races in bunches this season at Woodbine, Canada's premier racing oval, leading all Canadian jockeys in total wins (149), total stakes wins (21), and total purse earnings of CAN$8.8 million.

Husbands, winner of the award four straight seasons between 1999 and 2002, won at a 20 per cent rate which is an impressive figure considering he rode in over 700 races this season.

"It's nice to be back on top. I would consider this to be my best season at Woodbine because of the quality of the wins I had. I have won more races and money before, but not as many prestigious victories as I have had this year. It's just been great," Husbands said yesterday.

Special horse

"Sealy Hill is very, very intelligent. It's a special horse and it's by far the best filly I have ever ridden."

The highlight of Husbands' season included a Triple Tiara (Labatt Woodbine Oaks, Bison City Stakes, Wonder Where Stakes) sweep with the Melnyk-owned, Casse-trained Sealy Hill which won three Sovereign Awards.

Husbands also logged a Coronation Futurity upset aboard Kesagami and an added-money double with rising star, Officer Cherrie.

He achieved all of this against the backdrop of the death of his mentor and father figure Tommy Pierce in his native Barbados, and doctors warning him that he should slow down because of problems with his heart.

Father figure

"He was a father figure to me. He stepped in to admirably play the role of a father after my dad (Walter) passed away when I was just 18. Had it not been for Tommy, I would not be where I am today."

Husbands collected 173 votes with female jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson second with 62 votes, and top Trinidad and Tobago rider Emile Ramsammy and Mario Gutierrez tied for third with 21 votes.

The 45-year-old Casse, for whom Husbands is the main stable jockey, enjoyed a career-best year at Woodbine, where he saddled 84 winners – 15 more than his previous high for a meet set five years ago – and walked away with the Sovereign Award For Outstanding Trainer.

He finished with 24 wins more than his nearest pursuer, and he was equally dominant with his stakes runners, winning 13, thanks in the main to Husbands, including the Labatt Woodbine Oaks with Sealy Hill. (CMC)


  • At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A few days ago Anonymous 5:54 p.m. posted

    Well Judiths Wild Rush cannot help but get better! what was Tennenbaum thinking letting Gerry Seymour train that horse? what did Baker ever do wrong?

    What did Baker ever do wrong??? You obviously have never been in an owner-trainer relationship with Baker. I have had that unpleasant experience. It was terrible. What a mistake I made. Maybe the owners of Judith's Wild Rush were not pleased with his training program or the way he carried on his business.

    You might want to ask the connections of Mike Fox the question, "What did Baker ever do wrong?" They obviously knew because the switch in trainers gave them a Queen's Plate victory.

  • At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have nothing nice to say about Baker but I think the Mike Fox switch had more to do with Firestones son-in-law. Looks like he is wanting to be a trainer and Baker was not as willing to help as Ian Black was.

    Not sure why there is Terry Jordon bashing, the guy had amazing stats. I never met the man but it's hard to argue with those numbers.

  • At 4:28 PM, Anonymous KG said…

    Whatever your personal issue is with Reade Baker needs to be resolved in a different way then as an ANONYMOUS poster on a blog. Very unprofessional and cowardly at best!!!!! As an owner I have occassional disagreements with my trainers from time to time - suck it up or change trainers. Above I said "personal issue" because if it was a professional issue it would have been resolved long before it became personal with either a trainer change or good old fashioned sit down.

  • At 9:19 PM, Blogger Teresa said…

    Jen--perhaps you've written about this and I missed it, but do you have any insight into Melnyk's move from Pletcher to Albertrani?

  • At 5:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The fact is Hugh Graham is the real reson why Firestone moved the horses elsewhere, like mentioned above. Hugh Graham is in fact is in the process of trying to get his trainers license wich is a joke..with 0 on track expirience but chances are the ORC will more than likely hand him his trainers license like they usually do for 'SELECT' individuals wich is another joke.

  • At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Photos from Calder Race Course's Grand Slam II card on Saturday:

    W.L. McKnight (G2) and La Prevoyante (G2):

    Fred W. Hooper (G3) and Kenny Noe Jr. (G3):

  • At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think the HBPA does all the trainers testing now. Mind you, all they have to do is go to the U.S. and get a trainers license from one of the small tracks and it seems like we recognize them up here. Many of the guys who failed up here show up the next year as trainers because they passed at Penn National over the winter.


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