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Saturday, December 08, 2007


(PELLEGRINO is the favourite to win the VALEDICTORY STAKES tomorrow on closing day. Who do you think will win - vote on the Poll!!!) Photo from

I tried to trick everyone with my SIR BARTON poll and quiz - not many fell for it.
The answer was 'ALL OF THE ABOVE REASONS' - the Sir Barton Stakes is today at Woodbine and the race is named not only for the first American Triple Crown winner but because the horse ran his last race in Windsor, Ontario in a macth race against Man o' War at Kenilworth Park. He also won a stakes race at Fort Erie, was owned by Canadian J.K.L. Ross and is in the canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

ARCH HALL could wrap a nice bow around the 2007 season for EUGENE MELNYK with a win in the Sir Barton today. The Archers Bay horse has won the race 3 years in succession for his owner and breeder.

Trainer Mark Casse was threatening to beat the record for most winners in a season but since that news came out, the barn has won one race (but scored big last night, see below!)

The main competition to Arch Hall could come from SOUL REBEL off the layoff for new trainer Catherine Day Phillips and BOLD FINISH, a homebred for Bill Diamant.

12 races today - 13 tomorrow - that'a 25 chances to pick up some Christmas money for everyone.


Woodford Racing's Kentucky bred Dixie Union colt TURF WAR rebounded from a poor outing on a bad rail in the Grey Stakes at Woodbine to dead heat in the Delta Jackpot last night at Delta Downs.
The colt won the Swynford Stakes at Woodbine in his 3rd career start.
Check the replay at Horseplayer Interactive, it's a cool race. The other winner, Z Humor, was close to the rapid pace and Turf War came from far back and rallied very wide for the tie. The last pace was slowing significantly but still a good effort.



VINTON, La. - Z Humor and Turf War took different approaches to Friday night’s Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot, but the results were the same as they dead-heated for the win in Louisiana's richest race. The $400,000 in graded earnings each picked up should ensure them a spot in the starting gate for next year's Kentucky Derby if they choose to run.

"It makes him eligible," said Bill Mott, who trains Z Humor. "He's won enough money. I guess that's part of the battle. It's not the whole thing, but at least if we want to run we’re in."

Z Humor ($3.20), under Garrett Gomez, raced just off the early pace in the mile and a sixteenth Jackpot, as St. Joe seized the lead at the start and was clear through an opening quarter in 22.22 seconds and a half-mile in 45.93. Turf War ($28.20), meanwhile, was trailing at that point, more than a dozen lengths back under Calvin Borel.

St. Joe proceeded to take the field into the final turn through six furlongs in 1:11.91, with Z Humor moving up to his inside. Z Humor overtook St. Joe late in the turn and to make the lead as Turf War came into the stretch about eight wide, and closed fast. The horses covered the distance over a track rated fast in 1:45.43.

Golden Yank rallied in the stretch, too, and found himself in the middle of a three-horse photo at the wire. He finished third, beaten a neck, and his rider, Gerard Melancon, lodged objections against both Z Humor and Turf War for bumping in deep stretch. The stewards ruled there would be no change to the order of finish.

Turf War, a full brother to Travers runner-up Grasshopper, picked up his second career stakes win in the Jackpot.

"I think it set up perfectly for the way that we wanted him to run," said Norman Casse, who saddled Turf War for his father, trainer Mark Casse."“I think the most important thing that we would get out of this is that he showed a little bit of an affinity for the dirt.

"This would be his first time on the dirt because he’s mostly been a Polytrack horse. It's exciting to see him run and finish the way that he did today on the dirt, so we've got potential to do bigger things."

Turf War will head back to Fair Grounds, while Mott said Z Humor would be freshened. Turf War races for Woodford Racing and Z Humor is owned by Zayat Stables.

The remaining order of finish was Racecar Rhapsody, Overextended, St. Joe, Cave’s Valley, Betatron, Take the Money, and Cudjo.


The Polytrack has been in fine shape for the last few days of racing and horse’s are running to form it seems

Speaking of things “in form”, anyone who does not believe in the hot barn angle is missing out big time here.

JIM SMITH, who had won something like 7 races all year, has won 5 in the last few days, some who have looked logical, others not so much.

Smith, who trains for folks like Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry, must have some pretty happy people and horses over there right now and look out, he has more racing today and tomorrow.

He won the 1st race yesterday with the 2yo BAG OF HAMMERS (same name as a Woodbine runners years ago), a Langfuhr gelding bred in Kentucky.

STRIKE IMPACT won his 3rd race in succession, yesterday off the claim by Des Maynard and Winter Road Racing. The Smart Strike gelding, a 3yo, was claimed from Dominion Bloodstock and Dave Cotey, who had the horse in fine form for 2 previous wins.

Strike Impact won yesterday for $32,000 claiming and was claimed again – by trainer Alec Fehr.

It was an A.P. Indy exactor in race 3, a maiden allowance A level race. Trainer REBECCA MAKER won her first race at Woodbine with shipper ELLA BIRD, coming off a long layoff. The Pennsylvania-bred held off Eugene Melnyk’s first time starter by ‘Indy, Parris Hill.

Everyone’s favourite happy guy, jockey EURICO ROSA DA SILVA, won 3 races yesterday including the 4th on 8 to 1 shot BLUE LICK for trainer Norm DeSouza, who also co-owns. The 3yo Exploit gelding won a blanket finish which involved 5 horses.

Langfuhr had another winner in TRUE PIC, who won at even-money yesterday for $23,000 claiming for the Pastorek family and trainer Paul Attard. She was claimed by trainer Scott Fairlie.

A nice prospect in the 2yo ranks is BOLD SUSPECT, a Bold Executive colt who won his maiden in the last few strides at 1 1/16 miles for The Usual Suspects syndicate and trainer Catherine Day Phillips. The Ontario bred is out of Lady d’Jour, who raced for David Cassidy in New York.

Bear Stables, up for top owner award at the Sovereign Awards next week, won the 9th with BEAR BULLET TOO, who got a shrewd ride from Jim McAleney to win in the last jump. The Red Bullet miss was winning her 2nd race in succession and it was a non-winners of 2 other than.

And a Saskatchewan bred won the finale (you can’t say that very often). FLEET FOOT FRAN, coming off a bad trip, won for Ed Lang and her late sire A Fleets Dancer. It was her maiden win and she won for $15,000 claiming.


(written for DAILY RACING FORM)

It has been almost 10 years since Eugene Melnyk won his first, and only, Sovereign Award with Archers Bay, the champion 3-year-old colt of 1998.

A lot has happened with the Melnyk Racing Stables since then, including the formation of a high-class breeding operation to go along with its racing stable.

Melnyk is nominated for this year's Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding owner and breeder, and his homebred 3-year-old filly Sealy Hill is a shoo-in for championship honors in her category when the 33rd Sovereign Awards are held Dec. 14.

Sealy Hill is also favored to win outstanding turf female and is in the hunt for Canadian Horse of the Year.

"If we won all those, that would be awesome," said Melnyk. "When you see things come together in our breeding program, like Sealy Hill, it is most satisfying."

In Canadian earnings statistics provided by the Jockey Club of Canada, Melnyk bred the winners of almost $3.9 million from 78 starters through Nov. 12.

Sealy Hill, by Point Given out of the deceased mare Boston Twist, won the Woodbine Oaks, Bison City Stakes, and Wonder Where Stakes to become the first winner of the Canadian triple tiara.

She wrapped up her 2007 campaign with a close second-place finish in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes, in which she led late but was caught by the French filly Mrs. Lindsay after apparently loafing before the finish.

"She's still kind of a baby," said Melnyk. "I think she'll learn a lot more over the winter. That's why we didn't race her in the Breeders' Cup - we want to have her for next year."

Melnyk also bred his runner Marchfield, a 3-year-old A.P. Indy colt that won the Breeders' Stakes, the third jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, and stakes winner Sterwins.

Melnyk is also the breeder of Ron Sadler's multiple stakes-winning mare Arden Belle.

As the owner of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League, Melnyk, the founder of pharmaceutical giant Biovail, is a true sportsman.

"This business is a lot of work, but it's the most fun you can have," said Melnyk, who has just over 100 mares and owns farms in Kentucky and Florida.

His competition for the breeder award is Adena Springs, which bred stakes winners such as Awesome Action and Just Rushing, and Gus Schickedanz, who bred Jambalaya, the first Canadian-bred winner of the Gradeo1 Arlington Million.

Three worthy broodmares

Schickedanz's Victorious Answer, his first stakes winner and the broodmare that made his breeding program the success it is today, is nominated for outstanding broodmare.

"She was the one that started it all," said Lauri Kenny, Schickedanz's farm manager. "We put her picture on all of our stationery and office supplies years ago."

Victorious Answer, by Northern Answer, was represented in 2007 by the hard-knocking old-timer Last Answer, who won the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes at age 7.

She also produced multiple stakes winner Victorious Trick and is the granddam of graded stakes winner Clever Response and the stakes winners Northern Sky, Eastern Answer, French Braids, and Starbeau. She passed away in October 2006 in South Carolina.

Lover's Talk is nominated for outstanding broodmare based on her stakes-placed filly Lyrically this year and previous stakes winners Love Grows, Barley Talk, Wild Whiskey, and Torrid Affair.

The third broodmare nominee is Fascigrant, the dam of champion Financingavailable and stakes-placed In a Whisper.


  • At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I see Ablo is running for 5,000 at MTNR. This horse won the Prince of Wales for Attfield and while I think the horse now runs for John Attfield, my point is that maybe he shouldnt be running at all. Step up to the plate Roger, find this guy a home. I have always liked you, don't make me put you in the same catagory as so many others.

  • At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sir Barton actually raced a few times after his match race with Man O' War, but failed to win, and was therefore retired.

  • At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Albo is not with Attfield anymore....he was claimed by none other than Bruno Schickedanz!!! Thus the $5K tag.

  • At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh great, it's not Attfield who has ABLO anymore it's Bruno. Poor horse must have been claimed at Ft Erie. I still think Attfield and Mr & Mrs Canino should do the right thing for a horse that did so well for them. Instead of dropping him down the ranks and making yourself look bad in the process, you could be a big star and donate him to longrun (and get a tax break in the process). I just hate seeing horses that have shown so much ability in their careers being reduced to running for bottoms.

    I hope Bruno comes back in his next life as a horse and belongs to someone just like himself.

  • At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm not sure why Attfield should step up to the plate, the horse won what a race that in the big scheme of things is quite inconsequential, now he races for $5000. As long as he isn't being abused, ill-treated, out of love with racing, let him run.

    HPI-TV. It's bland and unimaginative. I don't mind the presenters giving their opinions and picks, why not, it's only their opinion. I think the monotony of the camera angles and race calling doesn't help and the general coverage is production line stuff, clinical and without emotion and atmosphere. The track is much the same.
    The Chiclets are great, they make up for the poor standard of camera work etc. Then again, my interest is in a quality race and love of the horses, betting, if I ever do is quite secondary.

    Regarding the sales. Over breeding is not confined to Canada, but as our racing here is the subject matter, I'll keep my opinion to here.

    If we are going to breed crap mares to crap stallions, then there's every chance we'll get crap racehorses. It's all very well the CTHS promoting its program, but all it does is support poor racehorses to win big prize money. Why it can't bring in good race stallions (and I don't mean the third rate cast off's that wouldn't be considered in their country of origin)and make them available to mares of a certain criteria for breeders, I don't know. It may take a while to set up, but to me it's far better than rewarding the production of more and more useless animals. Well bred horses will sell at the sales, guaranteed and we may even see some Canadian breds win more often outside our borders.

    The sooner we understand that crap to crap = crap, the better.

  • At 4:00 AM, Blogger the_drake said…

    I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but if a barn which has won 20 in a row runs a horse that has no business winning, I'm betting that it won't. There is no magical hot barn dust that gets sprinkled on the horses. Maybe since a barn has been so bad all year they are finally running them where they belong or dropping, or getting a little luck. Or maybe that dust will test...see Cal Racing.

  • At 4:03 AM, Blogger the_drake said…

    Adding to my last comment, it's like hitting on a 19 when the dealer has a face card, you may win a couple of times even though logic says it shouldn't happen, but in the end it will bite you. When do you jump off the hot barn??? after it looses the next 10 in a row.

  • At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I remember many years ago when Bill Marko claimed his former charge Fraud Squad out of a 2,000 claiming race at Ft Erie. The owner had sold the horse when he was too sore and a Ft Erie trainer bought him to run. I was there that day in Ft Erie and the fans were very angry that a former champion was reduced to running sore for bottoms. Marko did the right thing and retired the former champ, probably stopped a riot from happening that day as well.


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