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Thursday, December 13, 2007



Some readers wanted to see the story on Jerry Baird that is up for a Sovereign tomorrow it is..
(from archives - Oct. 27)

BREEDERS' CUP | Horse Racing | Baird rides back from the abyss
Baird rides back from the abyss
Jockey who overcame personal demons will be aboard Bear Now today
Oct 27, 2007 04:30 AM


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

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

Until it all came crashing down.

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was tough and fearless.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2007 Woodbine Thoroughbred meet sees rise in handle, field size

Toronto, December 12 - Woodbine Entertainment Group today announced

that total handle on Woodbine's 2007 live Thoroughbred meet, which

concluded December 9, increased 2.87 per cent over last year.

The "all-sources" total of $343,059,524 was wagered during the 169-day

meet, which began March 31, compared to the $333,489,560 recorded in


Average field size at Woodbine was 9.0 horses per race this year, up

from 8.6 in 2006.

It was the first full year of Polytrack, the well-regarded partly

synthetic racing surface, which was installed in the summer of 2006 and

raced over for the first time on August 30, 2006.

"The Polytrack has really helped our field sizes in particular," said

Sean Pinsonneault, Woodbine Entertainment's Vice-President of Wagering

Services," and our fans, throughout North America, are responding to


quality of the product accordingly. We are very pleased with the


because, not only did we see a 6.4% increase in the Toronto market, but

we were also able to achieve increases in the simulcast export market

despite the strength of the Canadian dollar."

Overnight and stakes purses, including supplements and nominations

fees, paid out in 2007 totalled $88.6 million versus $84.5 million last


The 2008 Woodbine Thoroughbred season is scheduled for 167 dates,

beginning Saturday, April 5.

Standardbred racing continues at Woodbine through the winter, including

a special Boxing Day card that features a 1:20 p.m. post-time.

Sovereign suspense about to end



TORONTO - Nominees from British Columbia and the United States will join the cream of Ontario's crop at the Sovereign Awards ceremony at the downtown Westin Harbour Castle on Friday evening.

The Sovereign Awards, which honor the best in Canadian Thoroughbred racing and breeding, are hosted by the Jockey Club of Canada.

Three finalists in 15 categories, as determined by a 4-2-1 points designation for each voter's top three choices, were announced last Thursday. The winners, plus the three finalists and winner in the horse of the year category, will be announced at Friday's gala.

True Metropolitan, whose home is Vancouver's Hastings but who also won stakes at Woodbine and Northlands, will be looking to repeat as Canada's champion older male.

True Metropolitan's trainer, Terry Jordan, and his owner, Bob Cheema, are finalists in their respective categories and also have Dancing Allstar on the 2-year-old filly short list.

Monashee, undefeated in five stakes at Hastings and two at Northlands before tasting defeat for the only time this year in Woodbine's Maple Leaf, is a finalist in the older filly or mare division for owner Ole Nielsen and trainer Tracy McCarthy.

Mario Gutierrez, the leading rider at Hastings, rounds out the Vancouver contingent as one of four finalists in the outstanding jockey category.

Cloudy's Knight, based in Illinois with trainer Frank Kirby, and Kodiak Kowboy, a member of trainer Steve Asmussen's far-flung stable, have strong chances at taking home Sovereign Awards.

Cloudy's Knight, who is a finalist in the turf male division, shipped to Woodbine three times and won the Grade 1 Canadian International and the Grade 2 Sky Classic.

Kodiak Kowboy shipped in to finish fourth in a two-furlong maiden race and returned to take the five-furlong Victoria at Woodbine. He went on to capture the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs and the Grade 2 Saratoga Special before winding up his campaign with a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Monmouth Park.

Under a rule implemented this year, 2-year-olds were required to make only two starts in Canada by Nov. 25 to be eligible for Sovereign Award consideration. The three-start limit remained in place for all other divisions.

Horses based in Ontario dominated the voting in the 3-year-old male and female, turf filly and mare, and sprinter divisions.

Sealy Hill, winner of Woodbine's triple tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies and runner-up when facing older fillies and mares in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor at 1 1/4 miles on turf, is a finalist in both the 3-year-old filly and turf female categories.

Sealy Hill's trainer, Mark Casse; rider, Patrick Husbands; owner, Melnyk Racing Stable; and breeder, Eugene Melnyk, all are finalists in their respective categories.

Financingavailable, owned by K.K. Sangara and trained by Lorne Richards, will be looking to repeat as the older filly or mare champion and also is on the sprinter and turf female short lists.

Knob Hill Stable and the estate of Steve Stavro own two of the 3-year-old male finalists in Leonnatus Anteas and Alezzandro.

Tyler Pizarro, the leading apprentice rider in Canada and tied for third in races won at Woodbine, tops the apprentice nominees.

Sovereign Awards also will be presented to the outstanding broodmare and in four media categories - feature story, newspaper article, photograph, and film/video/broadcast.


Champion 2 Year Old Filly

Authenicat 4-1

Dancing Allstar 5-2

Officer Cherrie 2-1

Champion 2-year-old Colt

Kodiak Kowboy 6-5

Bear Holiday 5-2

Stuck in Traffic 6-1

Champion 3 Year Old Filly

Bear Now

Sealy Hill 1-5

Dance to My Tune

Champion 3 Year Old Male

Alezzandro 4-1

Leonnatus Anteas 2-1

Mike Fox 7-2

Champion Older Female on the Main Track

Financingavailable 2-1

She's Indy Money 4-1


Champion Older Male on the Main Track

Palladio 4-1

Stonetown 12-1

True Metropolitan 6-5

Champion Female Turf

Essential Edge 4-1

Financingavailable 3-1

Sealy Hill 2-1

Champion Male Turf Horse

Cloudy's Knight 8-5

Eccentric (GB) 6-1

Sky Conqueror 2-1

Champion Sprinter

Bear Now 7-2

She's Indy Money 6-1

Financingavailable 2-1


Outstanding Broodmare

Fascigrant 6-1

Lover's Talk 2-1

Victorious Answer 3-1

Outstanding Breeder

Adena Springs 7-2

Gustav Schickedanz4-1

Eugene Melnyk 9-5

Outstanding Owner in Canada

Bear Stables Ltd. 4-1

Bahadur (Bob) Cheema 6-1

Melnyk Racing Stables Inc. 2-1

Outstanding Trainer

Reade Baker 4-1

Mark Casse 6-5

Terry Jordan 8-1

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey

Dean Deverell

Matt Moore

Tyler Pizarro 1-5

Outstanding Jockey

Mario Gutierrez

Patrick Husbands 1-5

Emile Ramsammy

Emma-Jayne Wilson



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

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

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

Outstanding Newspaper Article

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

Allan Besson - Graduation Day Celebration -Winnipeg Free Press - 6 July 2007

Jennifer Morrison - Baird Rides Back From the Abyss -Toronto Star - 27 October 2007

Outstanding Feature Story

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

Paul Wiecek - Holding Life by the Reins - Winnipeg Free Press - 22 September 2007

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

Outstanding Film/video/broadcast

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

Tommy Wolski - Sport of Kings - Program 268 - City TV Vancouver - 15 September 2007

Woodbine Entertainment Broadcast Department, The Queen's Plate - TSN - 24 June 2007


LOVER’S TALK was nominated 5 years ago for outstanding broodmare but it may but her year in 2007. The 24 year-old Vice Regent mare currently lives in Kentucky for Kinghaven Farms and has not had a foal since her 2007 stakes placed gal LYRICALLY.

But hey, she’s done pretty good in her years with stakes winners like BARLEY TALK, LOVE GROWS, WILD WHISKEY and TORRID AFFAIR.

AND, she’s been a super granddam too with the stakes calibre turf filly QUIET ACTION being a daughter of WHISPERED WISHES; Grade 1 stakes performer SABATINI is a daughter of PLAY DATE; stakes winner SEDUCTIVELY and the stakes placed PROPHETICALLY are the first 2 foals from TORRID AFFAIR

Here is a list of her foals from PEDIGREE QUERY:

BARLEY TALK (CAN)bG1993 48-11-6-9$207,292

COUNT ON ROMANCEbM1991 8-0-0-0

JAKES COMMEMORATEchG1989 21-3-?-?$18,957

LOVE GROWS (CAN)bG1992 7-5-0-0$165,454

LOVE INDEED (CAN)dkb/brF2003 ?-?-?-?Unraced

LOVERMOREbF1988 33-6-?-?$85,695

LYRICALLY (CAN)dkb/brF2004 3-1-1-0$52,554

PLAY DATE (USA)bF1990 27-6-?-?$91,004

TALK IT UP (CAN)gr/rG1996 55-7-6-8 $174,231

TORRID AFFAIR (CAN)dkb/brF1997 14-6-2-1$367,829

WHISPERED WISHES2 (USA)grM1994 14-3-3-2$75,254

WILD WHISKEY (CAN)dkb/brH1999 16-4-2-1$294,395

WILD YEARS (CAN)dkb/brG1998 12-2-3-2$97,9301


  • At 6:02 PM, Blogger John said…

    Hi Jen

    Congrats on your nomination, how about a link to the article?

  • At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Any idea what Authenicat is doing this winter Jen?


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