ascot aug08

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

BEST OF THE BREED


SmileyCentral.com

UPDATE TUESDAY P.M.

FROM THE UNION-TRIBUNE, SAN DIEGO

(Note - Ahmed Zayat has a string of horses at Woodbine with trainer Reade Baker, perhaps he will come to our Polytrack?)

Zayat leaving, taking 25 horses

UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
July 31, 2007
DEL MAR – A confrontation and heated conversation in the stable area here yesterday morning between Del Mar racetrack boss Joe Harper and major owner Ahmed Zayat has resulted in Zayat deciding to remove approximately 25 horses to race elsewhere this summer.

The argument, in a chance meeting near the backstretch racing office, was over whether the new Polytrack surface, which has produced a perfect safety record through the first two weeks of the meeting, could and should be fine-tuned to better accommodate horses bred for speed and to produce faster times.

“I think the bottom line was that he wanted to hear from me that we would change the racetrack,” said Harper, CEO and general manager of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. “My response was that we won't mess with it until the meet is over. We're certainly not, at this stage, going to go in and do stuff the inventor (Martin Collins) doesn't want us to do.

“We can't do anything to compromise the safety of the horses.”

Zayat, contacted by phone yesterday evening, emphasized that he cares deeply about the horse racing industry and the safety of his and all other horses. He said that, overall, he is a supporter of synthetic surfaces, even the Polytrack brand ones at Keeneland in Kentucky and Arlington Park in Chicago.

But the surface here, Zayat said, has been inconsistent from morning training hours to afternoon races, producing slow times and taking what was the trademark element of thoroughbred racing in California, speed, out of the game.

“No one is against safety. You need a surface that is both safe and maintains the integrity of racing,” Zayat said. “You can't take the speed out.”

Del Mar's change to Polytrack, done over the winter at a cost of $9 million, has left horsemen frustrated and with questions about what they, or track management, should do, Zayat said.

“Trainers are confused. Riders are confused,” Zayat said. “You have to have the honesty to address and work on the issues. I wanted to hear from the source (Harper) what they were going to do and he totally snapped. I don't know him to be like that; he must be under a lot of pressure.”

Among other things, Harper's use of a profanity in his refusal to consider making changes triggered Zayat to walk away saying: “I've heard what I need to hear. I'm not staying here. Goodbye.”

Zayat, 44, is a native of Egypt who is chairman and CEO of Al Ahram Beverages, a major manufacturer and distributor of drinks in his native country. He is Harvard-educated and has a residence in Teaneck, N.J. Zayat has been in thoroughbred racing for about five years and has more than 100 horses in training.

Bob Baffert is Zayat's main West Coast trainer. Zayat has seven caring for horses at various tracks in the East with the major ones at Saratoga, N.Y.

Zayat-owned Point Ashley, trained by Baffert, won last year's Grade I, $250,000 Del Mar Debutante. Zayat horses produced $346,372 in earnings in the 2006 Del Mar meeting, third in the owner standings.

Zayat said he has contracted for two planes to take his horses to Saratoga. Baffert, seven-time training champion of the Del Mar meeting and a fixture here, now expects to divide his time between Del Mar and Saratoga.

“It's a bad situation for me,” Baffert said. “I love Del Mar and as far as the Polytrack goes, I'm all for safety. But I have to protect my owners.

“Most of the horses I purchase for them are basically for the potential brilliance, and while I have some horses that like Polytrack, a lot of them don't.”

Baffert has a 2-year-old colt, Maimonides, purchased by Zayat for $4.6 million from a sale, that has not run because of concerns regarding affinity for the Poly surface. On Sunday, Zayat's E Z Warrior, a winner of the Hollywood Juvenile, undefeated in three lifetime starts, finished next-to-last in the Bing Crosby Handicap, the championship sprint race of the meeting.

The winning time in the Crosby was 1:11.06, nearly three seconds slower than some of the same horses clocked in the same race a year earlier on the dirt.

“This has nothing to do with E Z Warrior,” Baffert said. “There has been a quiet rumbling about this on the backside for two weeks. We're not asking for a souped-up racetrack; we're asking for a fair track that is consistent in the morning and the afternoon.

“Mr. Z is upset with Joe for good reason.”

After the confrontation, Harper said he left a message on the answering machine at the Rancho Santa Fe home Zayat is renting, apologizing “if I have offended him in any way,” but had not received a return call. Zayat said: “I'll have nothing more to do with this man.”

Del Mar has had a high rate of fatal breakdowns in recent years. In 2006 there were 18, with 10 of those on the main track in afternoon racing situations. There have been no fatal breakdowns on the Polytrack the first two weeks.

Said Harper: “He (Zayat) has got a lot invested in the game, he supports his horses and he is a significant owner. Obviously, for business reasons I hate to lose him. But if he feels his horses aren't suited for this track, I wish him well wherever he takes them.

“But there are too many other horsemen out there who think this track is good.”


IT’S THE 117th BREEDERS THIS WEEKEND

Okay, so the 3rd jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown is on Sunday, the Breeders’ Stakes, which is 117 years-young and 1 ½ miles on the grass. Not much interest will be paid it seems – MIKE FOX won the Plate, ALEZZANDRO won the Prince of Wales after losing the Plate by half a length, and both are in the Breeders in what is otherwise a non-descript field.

Four maidens are likely going to be in the field- one, STORM THE CASTLE, is apparently in the race to be a rabbit for Sam-Son Farms, to soften up Alezzandro and perhaps set things up for WALK WITH KINGS.

From a betting standpoint, the race should be intriguing and it’s in the middle of a long weekend that should have some interesting events – as long as the field size holds steady.

Here is a re-cap of the Breeders’ workouts on Sunday..

From the DRF Wednesday

By Bill Tallon

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Mike Fox and Alezzandro, winners of the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, both worked over Woodbine's main turf course on Sunday morning in preparation for the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes.

The Breeders', a 1 1/2-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds that concludes the Triple Crown series, will be run here Sunday with a field of 12 expected.

The traffic cones were well out and the turf was firm as Mike Fox breezed five furlongs in 1:04.40 under jockey Emma Wilson and Alezzandro breezed six furlongs in 1:16.60 under Todd Kabel.

Trainer Ian Black, who sent out Mike Fox to win the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate here June 24, said the colt's apparent tardiness in getting under way in his workout was by design.

"I didn't want to break him off until he got past the bleachers," said Black, referring to the backstretch stands where horsemen watch the workouts. "He was on his own, and I didn't want him turning his head to look at the people there."

Black said that while Mike Fox was taking his time, a pair of workers trained by Mike Keogh went past him.

"That gave him something to run at," said Black.

Alezzandro breezed in company with stablemate Sergei, a 3-year-old colt who was clocked in 1:18.60.

Sergei broke off about four lengths in front of him, "to give him something to run at," said Kevin Attard, who sent out Alezzandro to win the 1o3/16-mile Prince of Wales at Fort Erie on July 15.

"Alezzandro was probably four lengths in front by the time they came by the wire," Attard said. "He handled the turf well."

Keogh's twosome, Golani and Sextet, worked a mile in 1:43.20.

Golani, one of four maidens eyeing the Breeders', had Emile Ramsammy in the irons. Sextet is a stakes-placed 6-year-old gelding.

"They did it nice and easy," said Keogh.

Other Breeders' candidates who worked on the turf Sunday were Marchfield, It's Like This, and Ice Bear.

Marchfield, who finished sixth in the Queen's Plate and fifth in the Prince of Wales for trainer Mark Casse, breezed in 52.60 seconds under jockey Patrick Husbands while going in company with stablemate Martin's Bay, a 3-year-old filly.

"Patrick said he just loved the turf," said Casse.

It's Like This, trained by Mike Doyle, breezed six furlongs in 1:17.80 under jockey Tyler Pizarro, going in company with stablemate Orna, a 3-year-old colt.

Ice Bear, winner of the Charlie Barley at one mile on turf for trainer Mac Benson here July 14, failed to make time in his five-furlong workout under jockey David Clark.

"He didn't put much effort into it," said Benson, who plans to supplement Ice Bear to the Breeders' at a cost of $12,000 that includes the regular $5,000 entry fee. "I couldn't send anybody with him, and he needs somebody to go with."

In other Breeders' workouts:

* Twilight Meteor, trained by Todd Pletcher, breezed four furlongs in 49.67 seconds at Belmont Park on Sunday morning.

* Walk with Kings and Storm the Castle, a pair of maidens trained by Mark Frostad, had their final tune-ups on the main track here Sunday, going in company. Storm the Castle was clocked in 1:00.40 and Walk with Kings in 1:01.

Jockey Slade Callaghan was aboard Storm the Castle, while Robin Platts, a retired Hall of Fame jockey who is galloping horses for Sam-Son Farm, rode Walk With Kings.

"Storm the Castle will probably be the rabbit," said Frostad. "Somebody's got to go with Alezzandro. We can't let him have it all his own way."

* It's a Danzig breezed four furlongs in 47.40 seconds on the main track at Arlington Park on Saturday, while Runoff to L A breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 on the main track here.

Rebecca Maker, who trains It's a Danzig, said the colt worked without blinkers and will race without the equipment for the first time in the Breeders'.

A COUP FOR COOPER

Trainer Stacey Cooper won three (3) races at FORT ERIE yesterday for owner Nick Melini.
The day started with Platinum Edge winning the 1st race as the favourite despite stumbling at the start. Fast Approaching won the 3rd race for Mileni and Twifivefive Racing, also as the heavy favourite.
And 7yo MYSTIC HAWK capped the day as he won the 7th as the 2 to 1 second choice.
Jockey CHAD BECKON also won 3 races on the card.



ALL ABOUT BLOGGING

What is the role of a Blog?

The DAILY RACING FORM’S DAN ILLMAN, who has a FORMBLOG (and Steve Crist has a Saratoga blog) received a question on the weekend from TOTE BOARD BRAD, a member of the THOROUGHBRED BLOGGERS ALLIANCE regarding racing blogs…here is Brad’s question and Dan’s response…

Howdy Dan, I was going to ask Crist this, but I think you'll be much more helpful. I agree with Steve that, like some newspapers and some writers, some blogs are dreadful. Every blogger hopes that their's doesn't fall into this catagory, but I certainly recognize lapses in the quality of the content I put out. What do you recomend bloggers do when our writing quality or regularity wans due to our full time jobs and life in general? The common held belief is that it is more important to be regular than good as a blogger. Because folks have a daily routine, if you put out fantastic content once per month, readers (that don't use an rss reader) wont remember to stop by. On the other hand, if you put out crap consistantly, they'll tire of you. I try to balance this by offering quick data dumps, or even equidaily style links with one sentence of commentary, inbetween more well thought out posts. I mean, we can't all be as good as Alan at Left at the Gate....or you, for that matter.
Tote Board Brad

DAN ILLMAN: I disagree with the viewpoint that every blog has to have a journalistic responsibility to its readers. That's what The Washington Post is for. You don't have to be Woodward and Bernstein to have an interesting blog (trust me, I'm not even a Kermit the Frog from Sesame Street News). The point is to have fun, offer up opinions and tidbits of interest, and keep your own personal style. If a certain reader doesn't like it, well, no one is universally-liked...except Todd Pletcher. This blog is about sharing ideas, having a good time, and enjoying an ongoing conversation with everyone.
Horse racing bloggers are passionate about the game, and they're excited to share their viewpoints of the industry. They show their passion by taking time away from their own busy schedules and personal lives to discuss this great game with other fans. It's impossible for any blogger to be brilliant every single day. Life won't allow it. There aren't enough hours in the day for family, work, gambling, blogging, eating, and sleep.
Don't pressure yourself into doing too much as you may run the risk of turning your passion into a job. A blog shouldn't be just a job. Who needs more work? A blogger should create because he's excited about the world, and his specific topics of interest.
If you need a day or two to recharge your batteries, then by all means, take a break. It's hard to keep everyone happy. Some folks want staccato-like blogs. Bang, bang, bang. Everytime you log on, there's another posting. Others want time to think about the content before they make their comments. You'll never make everybody happy so make yourself happy. A blog is deeply-personal. We're allowing people into our minds and hearts, and leaving ourselves open to get burned. My advice when you feel overwhelmed is to take a step back, let in a deep breath, and enjoy. I guarantee you that your readers will go along for the ride, and enjoy with you.

Check out all my friends in the Thoroughbred Blogger's Alliance at:

http://thoroughbredbloggersalliance.blogspot.com/

LEARN ABOUT HOW LAWYER RON’S BEYER FIGURE WAS CALCULATED..

From the DRF Wednesday –

By Dick Jerardi

PHILADELPHIA - Here is what we know definitively about Saturday's Whitney Handicap at Saratoga. Lawyer Ron's winning time, a 1 1/8-mile track record of 1:46.64, is accurate.

Randy Moss, who worked the broadcast on ABC, timed it Saturday night off racereplays.com and again Sunday off a tape.

"The time is right,'' Moss said.

The first two fractions matched up. Moss could not be sure about the controversial third quarter of 22.91 seconds because the pole was behind a video board. The final time is definitely good.

What we are not quite as sure about is the Beyer Speed Figure. After considering all the data Saturday night into Sunday, Mark Hopkins, who does the Beyer Figures for Saratoga, projected a figure of 116 for Lawyer Ron. If he had gone strictly by the available data, the winning figure would have been 123.

In a sport of cynics, Hopkins is a Phi Beta Kappa cynic. So, did Lawyer Ron roll down the hills of the Adirondacks, prance onto Union Avenue, and run through the Beyer scale like some 2007 version of Ghostzapper?

A cynic like Hopkins just does not believe that.

"This horse has never approached 123,'' Hopkins said.

There were three 1 1/8-mile races on Saturday's Saratoga card. The first race, for $22,500 claimers, went in 1:51.16, a raw Beyer of 96. The Go for Wand Handicap went in 1:49.19, a raw figure of 114. The raw figure for the Whitney, run right after the Go for Wand, was 138.

Hopkins computed his variant and decided the route races were 15 points fast on the Beyer scale, assigning figures of 81 to the claiming race and 99 in the Go for Wand. If he deducted the same 15 points from the Whitney, Lawyer Ron would have gotten a 123.

Which really did not seem possible. Lawyer Ron's career top was 109. On one day, a horse can go completely off on the Beyer scale. That does happen. What should not happen is the horses down the line all getting career tops. If Hopkins accepted the data, Wanderin Boy - with a career top of 113 earned on the old speed-biased highway of Keeneland - would have gotten a 113 while losing by nearly five lengths. More recently, Wanderin Boy had been in the high 90s and low 100s. Diamond Stripes, with a career top of 106, would have gotten a 111. And so on, down the line.

"Theoretically, if Lawyer Ron exploded, it's a little too much of a coincidence that the other two horses would have run so fast,'' Andrew Beyer said. "There has been some things perplexing about mile-and-an-eighth races at Saratoga.''

Beyer and Hopkins both pointed to a similar situation in the 2005 Whitney. The raw data suggested that the winner, Commentator, got a 123. Saint Liam was inches behind. Hopkins accepted the data at face value.

"And it was probably wrong,'' he said.

Commentator has not been close to that figure since then. And Saint Liam, the 2005 Horse of the Year and a really good runner, was simply not a 123 horse.

This time, Hopkins chose to try to make sense of a situation that was not at all clear-cut. Thus, the projection of 116 for Lawyer Ron for the 2007 Whitney.

"We made the mistake once of going with what it appeared to be, knowing that it's probably wrong,'' Hopkins said. "This time, I'm not doing that.''

If making Beyer Figures were all science, this would be simple. All the races would just fall into line. All figures would make sense.

In the real world, it does not work that way. Making figures, at times, becomes art. You try to arrive at the best possible explanation for something that is not readily explainable. And then you wait for Lawyer Ron to run his next race.

3 Comments:

  • At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Perhaps the question should be asked, why did Woodbine get the Chevrolet?

    If Joe Harper had been calling the shots at Woodbine, maybe they would now have the Cadillac.

    Time will tell at Del Mar, but I suspect the same questions/demands happened here.

    Polytrack is a proven track when put down to the manufacturers specifications, but as with many products, there will be variation when it isn't. I think it's unfair to use Martin Collins as a scapegoat for poor decision making, if that's the case.

     
  • At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have wondered all along if Woodbine maybe rushed their installation a little too much.

    I can remember Wilmot breathlessly telling anyone who would listen that "Woodbine was the first track to install the Polytrack surface during a race meet" It made a great sound byte at the time but looking back, may have been a fatal mistake.

    If I remember correctly. After several lost days of racing on the "inner" all of a sudden "the polytrack is ahead of schedule"

    maybe if everything wasn't so rushed they would have got it right the first time.

     
  • At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There is A problem that needs addressed on poly .
    I have gone back to Hastings to make my selections with success except on turf at woodbine
    Bob BC

     

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Monday, July 30, 2007

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT

Polytrack is cooking up some weird results - in 34 Polytrack races last week, 8 were front runners (battling on the lead or clear on the lead). But only 2 front runners won in the last 3 days of racing!
Hot and dry all week - who knows what we'll get from this Poly guy.

LAWYER RON - fastest horse since Easy Goer? Well, the Beyer Figure was originally caluclated at 128 (-10 variant) but it doesn't make sense. The time of his race doesn't make sense since it was so much faster than the Go For Wand a few races earlier.
The Beyer stands at 116.

STEVE CRIST'S SARATOGA BLOG (www.drf.com then see link on the right side of the page), is funny, entertaining and loads of people are writing in about the time of the Whitney.


  GREEN FOR GOULDINGS
He possibly could have been the champion older horse in Canada
last year except that he didn’t make enough required starts in Canada.
He won the Seagram last year over the inner-dirt (no small feat)
and was getting the hottest jockey at Woodbine right now.
GOULDINGS GREEN, a 6yo entire horse, is his name and he blew
past champions TRUE METROPOLITAN and PALLADIO in the stretch
yesterday to win the Seagram again, this time on Polytrack.
The Eugene Melnyk son of Charismatic, bred in Kentucky, was a
$260,000 yearling purchase and now he’s won 9 of 19 and over $610,000.
His Beyer Figure of 101 was one of his best and the Seagram was
that all important, often key, 3rd race off the layoff.
On paper turned out to happen on the track as Fuhrever Dancing softened
up the seemingly unbeatable TRUE METROPOLITAN and then PALLADIO moved
way too soon on the turn, quickly to clear off the turn
but Husbands was sitting pretty and just waiting.
Here’s more from the Woodbine press office:
 **Melnyk Racing Stables Gouldings Green reminded
Woodbine of his tremendous versatility in Sunday's $150,000 Chinese
Cultural Centre Seagram Cup Stakes.
 
After winning the Grade 3 event last year over the temporary inner-dirt
track, the Tony Reinstedler trainee successfully defended his title in
its inaugural edition over the Polytrack. 
 
Jockey Patrick Husbands guided the son of Charismatic outside nearing
the top of the stretch and he closed with a fury to overtake Eclipse
Stakes winner Palladio. Three-time Canadian champion Judiths Wild Rush
finished third.
 
With the victory, his first of 2007, the white-faced chestnut increased
his earnings to $621,066. He completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.73.
 
Dominion Day Stakes winner True Metropolitan, the 4-5 favorite, lacked
his normal late punch after he and longshot Fuhrever Dancing
 established
ambitious fractions of :46.63 and 1:11.49. The pair finished fourth and
fifth, respectively. 
 
Husbands, meanwhile, settled six-year-old Gouldings Green 6 1/2 lengths
behind the fast pace.
 
"He broke pretty sharp," said Husbands, who won Saturday's Wonder Where
with Melnyk charge Sealy Hill. "I just gave him his head. He made a
 move about the five-eighth's pole. I didn't really want him to move yet. I just sat
patient and bided time until the quarter-pole. When I asked him down the lane,
he gave me 110 (per cent)."
Meanwhile, up the backstretch, Gouldings Green, now a nine-time winner
in 19 starts, and runner-up Palladio, ridden by Richard Dos Ramos,
 raced as a team at the rear of the five-horse group. 

Husbands watched Dos Ramos make a bold move on the second turn, stating
after that he was concentrating on not making a premature move.  
 
"I didn't really want to go to the quarter pole and (have to) take a
hold. I was watching Richard (Dos Ramos) and I was hoping he would move
a little early. I got there at the right time to wheel to the outside.
He got the first run, but I got the best down the lane."
 
Husbands had received simple instructions from Reinstedler via a phone
call from agent Gary Kemplen.
 
"He tried to get a hold of me. Just before they went to the paddock, I
called my agent. He called (Tony) and he said 'Everything is in your
hands. Don't screw up,'" laughed Husbands.
 
The Seagram Cup is the second victory over a synthetic surface for
Gouldings Green, who won last September's Grade 3 Turfway Park Fall
Championship.
 
Gouldings Green returned $12.40 and $4, combining with Palladio ($3.10)
for a $33.30 exactor. Show and triactor wagering were not offered. 
 
Soul Rebel was scratched.
 
 
THREE-BAGGER FOR ATTFIELD
MORE SUNDAY WOODBINE
 
While Husbands may be the hottest jockey going – RED JOHNSTON
is cleaning up in the training department.
He won again yesterday with a newcomer to his barn –
the Illinois-bred filly UNREAL ROCKET who came via
Arlington
for MES Stable Inc. and her 3 previous grass
attempts were at routes and she had one top-three placing.
Yesterday, the Unreal Zeal 4yo dropped a bit in class
– her first time for a claiming price ($50,000) – and shortened
up to 7 furlongs on turf and she led all the way earning a
lifetime best Beyer of 81.
 
Pinhooker TONY BOWLING bought CIANO NIGHTS (Ciano Cat – Gold Lined,
by Numerous) last year at the Woodbine sale for $18,704 (US) and
entered him in a 2yo sale this spring in Ocala only to withdraw him.
After 3 starts for trainer Dan Vella, the 2yo had Beyers of 48 and
47 in his last 2 starts and seemingly was in need of a class drop
from maiden allowance.
Wrong! The colt came from nowhere to win the 4th yesterday for Ontario-sired
2yos – purse $60,000 – and he was 42 to 1 under the leading rider, Tyler Pizarro.
He was 12 lengths behind favourites Drunken Love and Sand Cove in his last
start but when those 2 plus 3 others got together for a ridiculous pace
duel, the table was set for a closer.
 
Speaking of going too fast on the pace, the somewhat rank BALLADO DANCER
\went 22 and 44 4/5 in the 5th race, had a 6 length lead and was caught
late by the old-timer CREASE INFRACTION, who was winning for the 2nd
consecutive time in his 62nd start. The 9yo Ontario-bred by Friendly Lover
has 17 second-place finishes and now has earnings of over $600,000.
His owner is Dominic Triumbari and his trainer (his 3rd since last summer)
is Sam DiPasquale.
 It has been a long time since trainer Roger Attfield pointed out
MORE TO PROVE as a good one in his barn. She’s a 4yo now and has
raced 5 times. She won her maiden in her 5th attempt (and it was
her first top 3 placing) in her 2nd turf attempt and first at the
marathon distance of 1 ¼ miles. The With Approcal filly was bred by
Kinghaven Farms and is owned by Attfield and Bill Werner.
 Attfield could have stayed in the winner’s circle since he won the
next race too with Harlequin Ranches’ CALLWOOD DANCER, the Irish
bred 3yo allowance filly who was winning for the 2nd time in her
9th start in the 1 1/16 mile turf race. She’s by Danehill Dancer.
 
Eight-year-old MY LUCKY STRIKE won his 9th career race in his 53rd start
when he came from far, far back to win the 6 ½ furlong 9th race,
an allow/optional claimer and he was offered for the $60,000 tag.
It was only his 2nd start of the season and he was moving from
turf-to-Polytrack for K K Sangara and trainer Lorne Richards.
His Beyer was a 90 – he raced the distance in 1:16 4/5.
 
And Roger Attfield and Charles Fipke got together to win the
finale with the $12,500 maiden claiming filly SMART EXPLOITS
who was ridden by Julia Brimo.
 
 JAMBALAYA NOMINATED TO MELBOURNE CUP
From the Herald-Sun, Australia
By Adrian Dunn
 

The Melbourne Cup's global expansion continues to reach new borders with the news Canadian stayer Jambalaya has been nominated for the $5 million race.

While the Melbourne Cup has previously attracted entries from the United States, Jambalaya is the first Canadian horse to be nominated.

Jambalaya, a five-year-old by northern hemisphere time, was a Grade 1 winner at Gulfstream Park, Florida this year.

Entries close for the Melbourne and Caulfield Cup as well as the Cox Plate at noon on Wednesday.

Already, Japanese stablemates Delta Blues and Pop Rock, who provided last year's historic Cup quinella, have been entered.

So, too, has Japanese Cox Plate candidate Shadow Gate and Tosho Knight, another Japanese horse taking aim at the Melbourne Cup.

Racing Victoria international scout Leigh Jordon expects a strong European contingent headed by the Aidan O'Brien-trained Yeats, while Dermot Weld is expected to nominate recent acquisition Bellamy Cay.

Jambalaya won the Gulfstream Park Breeders Cup Stakes (2200m) on February 24 and he also boasts a head second behind Better Talk Now, a multiple Group 1 winner, who was second top weight in last year's Melbourne Cup.

Trained on the Woodbine racecourse in Toronto by Catherine Day-Phillips, Jambalaya has won seven of his 20 starts with a further seven placings.

He won a Grade 3 race over 2400m at Gulfstream Park on March 31, ensuring he has passed the ballot clause.

Jambalaya has been placed at both runs this campaign, most recently a two-length third in the Grade 2 Northern Dancer Stakes (2400m) at Woodbine on July 22.

RVL's American spotter David Bernsen said he had provided a detailed briefing about the Cup to Day-Phillips.

Bernsen said Jambalaya was a "premier horse, up with the top three or four stayers in the state".

"She's pretty enthusiastic," Bernsen said.

"The horse is owned by her family and the horse doesn't race on medication."

Jordon expects entries from US trainers, possibly including the Michael Dickinson-trained Marsh Side.

Marsh Slide has form through Jambalaya. He split Jambalaya and winner Sky Conqueror in the Northern Dancer Stakes.

(THOROUGHBLOG NOTE – JAMBALAYA does race on the Lasix medication)
 
 
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS, MUSINGS
 
Readers have been making good observations lately concerning
the Ontario Racing Commission, Polytrack etc.

One thing that must be pointed out, however - THE ONTARIO RACING COMMISSION
runs racing at Woodbine and the ORC stewards DO NOT work for Woodbine. Decisions made
by ORC stewards cannot be disputed by Woodbine (WEG). Let's not get these 2 groups
confused.

As for viewing MIKE FOX (1:04 2/5) and ALEZZANDRO (1:16 3/5)
in their turf works – these eyes did not see that but will get a report soon.
 
Speaking of workouts – 45 2/5 for four furlongs by Giant Act
on the grass (training) yesterday??
 More jelly cable was added to Polytrack and now, here we are
after the draw for the card of racing for AUGUST 1 and the
track is as confusing as ever.
Speed runners are having a terrible time and yes, BALLADO DANCER
ran a huge,huge race yesterday – I wish some of the horses would
try and slow down a bit in the early stages – it’s not quarterhorse racing.
Thank goodness for grass racing, slightly easier to handicap.
 Being a track announcer is not the easiest job in the business,
I’ve attempted it. This corner will mention that announcers
who discuss horse’s form, history, etc. in conversation behind
the gate and during the race is very unnecessary and annoying.
Too much talking, too much talking. This corner also says Woodbine’s
announcer Dan Loiselle is one of the best in the biz - he calls the race, that's it.
 One way to get an overlay on the horse you like is to combat
the ‘hype-horses’ – the PAPI CHULLO’S (see Whitney result)
of the world.
At Woodbine, there have been many of these – most of them way overbet:
i.e. claimer COOL SELECTION in the Bold Venture Stakes last weekend,
SANS SOUCI ISLAND in the Wonder Where Stakes – class and experience
still prevail in the big races.
 NEW MEXICAN-BRED PEPPERS PRIDE (Desert God) is 11 for 11 in her
career and ran her best Beyer Figure of 88 yesterday in the Lincoln
Handicap at Ruidoso.
 

14 Comments:

  • At 8:42 AM, Anonymous RB said…

    I like Dan Loiselle. I think he does a great job calling the races. I can't stand the guy who calls the races at Hollywood. He's always trying to predict what's going to happen, instead of just calling the race. Dan has just the right amount of enthusiasm and he adds some humour sometimes too.

     
  • At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't dislike Dan Loiselle as a person, but as a race caller, he's left very short.

    He should concentrate on reading the race accurately first, then predict what is going to happen when he's got that right.

    If these complaints were a 'one off' then that would be acceptable, but that isn't the case. We hear nothing of what's going on in a race outside the first five or so horses and that as we all know, isn't always all of the race.
    As a viewer, we should be given this information, after all, the camera work settles nicely between poor and crap at Woodbine.

    They may be small points in the grand scheme of things, but it all adds up and then they wonder why people lack the enthusiasm for it.

     
  • At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Geeze...Can we stop the announcing comments. We have been down this road before on this site. Move on people!

     
  • At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Charley Barley said…

    I think Don Loiselle is a solid, professional announcer. I like the fact that he expresses emotion/excitement when something dramatic happens. He gets into the race, seems to be genuinely excited about it, unlike some announcers who just drone on or are more concerned with their "signature" calls or overly-editorializing as the race progresses. To me, he's one of the best in North America. As for criticizing him for not mentioning every horse in the race, there is a flip side to that. I have heard announcers mention every horse in a 12 or 14 horse field going down the backstretch, and by the time they're done the dynamics near the front of the race have completely changed. Something important may be going on near the lead while they're trying to mention every horse; this happens at the NYRA tracks quite a bit, and I find it frustrating to hear every single horse in a big field mentioned while someone is challenging for the lead or something significant is going on up front. So I would assume some sort of balance must be struck. I just can't see the criticism, I like the job this guy does.

     
  • At 3:23 PM, Anonymous KG said…

    To: Anon 9:25am

    And you would replace him with...?

    If you think he is such an abomination as a race caller who would you grab from a lesser track? (because the big tracks won't let theirs leave - NY, Churchill, Gulfstream, etc..)

    He does a good job.

     
  • At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "And you would replace him with...?"

    Any Australian for a start, any one of them!!!

    Tune in on any night and see for yourself, very professional and accurate.

    I wouldn't compare him with any race caller on these shores as they're all fairly mundane really.

    "I have heard announcers mention every horse in a 12 or 14 horse field going down the backstretch, and by the time they're done the dynamics near the front of the race have completely changed"

    I agree there has to be a happy medium, but have a horse breakdown at the back of the field and we would be lucky to get a mention here.

    When a horse makes a late run from the rear and doesn't get a mention until the final sixteenth (and this happens too many times), then it isn't good race calling.

    Anon 2.43. Sure it's been raised before, but if there wasn't an issue, then it wouldn't be, would it? Maybe we should all put our heads back in the sand and accept things as they are.

    After all, the horses still go round and around.

     
  • At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Perhaps you would appreciate the old Keenland way of NO ANNOUNCER of any kind. You would then be able to do the job for yourself.
    I doubt that any of the compainants are "winners", more likely a lot of loosers.
    Danny does a fine job, if you think you know how to make it better try suggetions not compaints!

     
  • At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    For my two cents worth.

    Darren Driver is in exceptional form commentating on the racing from Glorious Goodwood today.

    No pictures, but with his commentary he gives a great insight into the race, especially the late finishing Championship Point in the opener.

    www.willhill.com/iibs/EN/radio.asp

    Goodwood must be one of the most picturesque in the world and their festival runs from today until Saturday.

    The Gr1 races, the Sussex Stakes (Weds 10:30) and the Nassau Stakes (Sat 10:20) would be two races to tune in for from a high class meeting.


    Nigel.

     
  • At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i neverreally understand complaints about certain announcers. If you don't like a certain announcer, there is a really easy solution to your problem....

    Ignore him! it's not very hard to block the annoucer out while watching a race, especially now with the "racing for dummies, chiclets" at the bottom of every screen at the track.

     
  • At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Fozzie Bear said…

    Re: 8:17 Anonymous "Any Australian for a start, any one of them".

    Just wondering who would provide the translation, or would you use subtitles? They could be calling Aussie Rules Football for all I can tell.

    Just hope they don't hook up Trakkus to a speech program, and let the computer call the race to save some cash (those jelly cables aren't free).

     
  • At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Weird:
    At FE today: Races 5,6. and 7
    Race 5 winner paid $15.90
    Race 6 winner paid $6.10
    Race 7 winner paid $75.50

    Now, the $1 pick 3 on Race 7:
    ALL/6/2 paid $38.05
    7/ALL/2 paid $38.05
    7/6/ALL paid $38.05
    What am I missing?

    Alex Sidor

     
  • At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Those Australians from that other country give a complete and informative call.......perhaps you're just not used to it that's all Fozzie.

    8.18
    "I doubt that any of the compainants are "winners", more likely a lot of loosers.
    Danny does a fine job, if you think you know how to make it better try suggetions not compaints!"

    No bet in the race, so no opinion from that standpoint.

    I'm not the one being paid to do the job and I didn't imply that I could do a better job. I'd be disappointed if it was me though and would be trying to improve that's for sure.

    I've just watched the second race from Sandown-Lakeside , what a great racecall, exact and professional, just as it should be.

    Like a breath of fresh air!!

     
  • At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Having followed this blog for awhile, it seems that there are a number of anonymous (and some not) posters who add nothing constructive to the discussion, but whose sole mission in life is to simply knock everything and anything Woodbine does. They whine about the track announcer, Polytrack, turf course, takeout, purses, stakes schedule, online betting system, television broadcasts, customer service, you name it. It doesn't matter what Woodbine does, by definition it's wrong or bad in some way. Let's see... what if tomorrow suddenly Woodbine hired the best announcer from Australia, inherited NYRA's purses, stakes schedule and takeout, replaced the Polytrack with the Churchill Downs surface, and replaced HPIbet and HPItv with TVG and Betfair. Would you suddenly have the perfect racetrack? I don't think so. Everybody knows, NYRA may have the greatest stakes schedule in North America but they're bankrupt and corrupt and don't deserve to be in business, Churchill's surface is hard and unsafe (remember Pine Island and Fleet Indian?), TVG is horrible television, and Betfair (and any offshore bookmaker) are poachers who do not pay anything towards the racing product. Sure, Dan Loiselle may not be the "perfect" announcer, but we could have much worse. Would you rather we had Mike Battaglia? In "The Best and Worst of Thoroughbred Racing" Steve Davidowitz listed Loiselle as one of the top race callers in North America. If he was as bad as you all say he is, he wouldn't be on that list, and I trust Davidowitz's opinion over any of you whiners.

    Woodbine may not be the greatest track in the world, but hey, they can't all be Saratoga or Royal Ascot! Sure I can drive to Saratoga or fly to Ascot, but it's nice to know we have a pretty good track right in our own backyard, one we can be proud to call home.

     
  • At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anon 7:24. Thank You! That post brought a small tear to my eye. People need to realize how good they have it. No one should ever complain or suggest anything be done differently. Don't these people realize that David Wilmot is a CEO for a reason...He is smarter than all of us. You don't get to be a CEO if you ever do anything wrong...hence why Woodbine is perfect.

    The Polytrack is completly first rate. The Turf Course is the best ever built since they invented grass. Dan Loiselle is the greatest announcer ever- I like to call him the "Foster Hewitt" of racing. HPI has 475,000 subscribers so it is the biggest and best specialty sports station in the country. The on air talent is second to none. Takeouts at Woodbine are just perfect. Why would anyone betting their hard earned money complain about that?

    If you don't believe me ask Steve Davidowitz...he knows all. having said that Jim Bannon once told me Woodbine has the best Washrooms in all of horse racing....He's Jim BANNON....He knows everything...he's right, you are all wrong, trust me...he has a list, and if Woodbine's washrooms weren't the best...they would not be on that list.

    anyway...just be thankful for what you have and always remeber...you are never smarter than the people running the place.

     

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

'SEALY' OF APPROVAL

So many fun racing stars are in action these days - let's change the Poll and find out who you think is best..we'll start with the American guys this week.

SEALY HILL is the best 3yo in Canada, either sex, and she does it without running in a straight path.

LAWYER RON'S Beyer from his stunning Whitney yesterday is not up as of early this morning - i's probably quite big.

And if you haven't caught MEDIEVAL TIMES, do so. The horses are lovely and do many tricks, the crowd is raucous as you cheer on your 'Knight' and its an all around fun show.

More comments regarding the accident at Woodbine on Friday..

From a reader: I have one comment to make regarding the accident on
Friday which I saw only once on HPI, my comment is that I have noticed lately
after a horse is hit with the whip they have been tarting suddenly eith to
the left or to the right and it seems to be happening more regularly(just
an observation that I have noticed).
More comments on yesterday's postings.

SHE’S A WONDER
Sealy Hill ‘wins’ TRIPLE TIARA – 94 Beyer in Wonder Where
 (from Woodbine release)
 Eugene Melnyk's Sealy Hill, in her turf debut,
 easily captured the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes, Saturday at Woodbine.
 
With Patrick Husbands aboard the dark bay daughter of Point Given,
 Sealy Hill settled off longshot pacesetters Play Mizzty for Me and Dash It
 Darling, through early splits of :25.19 and :47.86, then set sights on
 the leaders as the field straightened for the journey down the long
 E.P. Taylor Turf Course stretch. 
 
Sent off as the slight favourite, Sealy Hill, who won the Labatt
 Woodbine Oaks, first race in the Canadian Triple Tiara Series, on June 10,
 easily blew by her rivals on the far outside in the 1 1/4 mile Wonder
 Where, winning by 2 ¼-lengths in 2:02.17, over a "firm" turf.
               
Beclawat Stable's Saskawea, runner-up in the Oaks and fifth in the
 Bison City (second jewel in the Series) was second. Street Sounds, third in
 the Oaks and elevated to first in the Bison City, after Sealy Hill was
 judged guilty of interference in the stretch, was a half-length
 further back, in third.
 
*The Bison City disqualification is under appeal, so Sealy Hill still
 has a chance to become the first winner of the Triple Tiara, which was
 launched in 1999. *
 
"In the last race (Bison City), it was unfortunate that she got her
 number taken down," said Husbands, who recorded his first Wonder Where
 victory. "Today was a day that I was going to keep her so far away from
 everybody. I wanted to get her as relaxed as possible. When I got her to
 the outside, she was perfect." 
 
Jono Jones, who, along with Husbands, was involved in a spill in
 Friday's eighth race at Woodbine, was pleased after his first ride aboard
 Saskawea.
 
"She's a lovely horse, but she got beat by another lovely horse," said
 Jones, of the daughter of Stormy Atlantic.
 
The triumph was an especially sweet one for Sealy Hill's connections,
 including Casse, who watched his young star notch her fifth triumph from
 nine starts.
 
"I had a lot of confidence in her," said Casse. "I wasn't really
 concerned with the turf. I thought she trained the best I've ever seen her
 train in the last couple of weeks."
 
As to where she'll run next, Casse is pointing towards the Grade 1 turf
 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on October 13.
 
"We've been waiting for a long time to get her on the grass. That's
 probably where we're going to go. If she were to be able to handle those,
 we might even think about Monmouth and the Breeders' Cup (October 27).
 If we could just get her to run straight it would make me a lot
 happier."
 
Bred and owned by Melnyk, Sealy Hill, who broke her maiden in her
 second start last October, finished second, by eight votes, to Catch the
 Thrill (fourth today) in last year's Sovereign Award voting for Canada's
 top-two-year-old filly honours.
 
In her second three-year-old start, the Ontario-bred won the Grade 3
 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup at Turfway Park, on March 24.
 
Sealy Hill paid $5.80, $4.30 and $2.70 across the board, combining with
 Saskawea ($8.80, $4.60) for a $42.10 exactor. Street Sounds ($2.40)
 capped a $114.10 triactor.

SIDENOTE – BOSTON TWIST, the dam of Sealy Hill, never raced on grass but as a correction to what I have stated earlier, the female family traces back to T.V. Lark, which is where this miss gets her love for turf.

MORE WOODBINE

Leading trainer ROBERT TILLER won a pair, jockey CHANTAL SUTHERLAND is on a roll, she won 2 more, and well, the decision to not disqualify MUSKWA from that race 2 days ago (when he drifted in a spooked a colt who fell and then had to be euthanized) is still being disputed by readers, fans etc.

The order of the day was set by a son of Canadian star LANGFUHR – (see Lawyer Ron’s story below). Ross McKague’s ALBARINO came back from a horrible trip to win yesterday with a nice journey in a race for $32,000 claiming.

Tiller’s first win came with class dropping SPREAD THE NEWS, a stakes winner who is game sort when he’s on the pace. He was down to $32,000 claiming yesterday. The colt was bred by George Farr.

SIMPLE SISTER was bombs away in the 2yo Ontario sired maiden allowance race in the 3rd event. The full sister to stakes placed KABUL (Compadre – Aerwyn) won by 8 lengths for No Comprende Stables in her 3rd start.

The Mel Lawson-bred QUENCH won again for Adele Dilschneider, who bought the Smoke Glackon Ontario bred for $435,000 as a yearling. He’s finally getting his act together for trainer Malcolm Pierce and won an allowance sprint on turf yesterday.

Tiller was back with the VERY DRY STABLES’ Corpus Magnus (79 Beyer), a Mazel Trick claiming 3yo.

The promising EL LACE won her 2nd career start off the claim by trainer Red Johnston and owner Shale Wagman. The filly by Elajjud broke slowly in her debut and then rushed up before tiring. She was a nice winner at the maiden allowance level yesterday.

Classy stakes winner COLORFUL JUDGEMENT was a predictable winner of the 8th, an allowance/opt. claimer and he was in the for the $62,500 tag but there were no takers for the stakes winning Diesis gelding.

How GREAT IS HARRY? Great Harry won for the third consecutive time in a $10K claimer, non-winners of 3 yesterday for Formal Racing and trainer Debbie England.

And 5yo maiden BOGIEANDBACALL, in his 25th career start, won his maiden in the finale for trainer Frank Passero, who also owns.

SUNDAY WOODBINE

Champs square off again in Seagram


TRUE METROPOLITAN, PALLADIO and JUDITH’S WILD RUSH have had some good battles this year and the Canadian champions are at in again in the Seagram Cup today at 1 1/16 miles.

A big card is lined up for Woodbine and it’s Chinese day so the crowd will be large.

ORDER IS IN COURT

THE ‘LAWYER’, SON OF LANGFUHR IS TOPS

FROM THE TIMESUNION.COM SITE –

By Matt Graves

The bettors might have had an easier time picking a favorite in the 80th edition of the Whitney Handicap if they had any inclination that one of the 11 entrants was about to make history in Saratoga's premier stakes race for older horses.

Sent off as the second choice at 5-1, former Triple Crown contender Lawyer Ron notched the first Grade I victory of his career. He did it with a record-setting 4 /4 -length decision over pacesetting long shot Wanderin Boy in one of the most contentious renewals of the race in recent years Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

The Todd Pletcher-trainee's final time of 1:46 /5 for the mile and an eighth shattered the track record for nine furlongs of 1:47 held jointly by Tri Jet (1974) and Pletcher's own Left Bank (2002) and also earned him an automatic berth in this fall's Breeders' Cup Classic.

It was a historical day in terms of total purse money offered by the New York Racing Association, as $2,130,000 was on the line for the 11-race card, including $1.75 million for four consecutive graded stakes.

Lawyer Ron, who had lost his past two decisions in stakes competition, drew a difficult post 11, but he got a small break when Student Council was scratched. Jockey John Velazquez did the rest, securing a stalking position early and making a powerful move away from the pack after catching Wanderin Boy near the eighth-pole.

"It ended up being post 10, but we were able to get to the first turn in good position, and that was the real key to the race for Lawyer Ron," said Pletcher, who also saddled lukewarm post-time favorite Magna Graduate (4-1) to a sixth-place finish. "Not only win it, but win it the way he did it in track-record fashion."

Wanderin Boy was a fairly late decision by trainer Nick Zito, considered a much riskier proposition than stablemate Sun King, the runner-up in this race last year to Horse of the Year Invasor.

It was Wanderin Boy who did all the running in this edition, setting swift fractions of 47 /5 for the half-mile, 1:10 /5 for six furlongs and 1:34 /5 for the mile. The 29-1 shot was dead-game to the end, holding off Diamond Stripes, another 5-1 shot, for second money from the $750,000 purse. Sun King was 10th this time in a dismal effort.

Left Bank's track record also came in the Whitney.

"Without a doubt the Whitney is historically such a great race," said Pletcher, who also won the Sanford Stakes on Thursday. "We've been fortunate to win it before. It's certainly one of the highlights of the meet. To have a horse run the way he did today was extra special."

The tote board looked like a pinball machine right up to the final flash after five horses at one time were all listed at 5-1 odds. Magna Graduate took the late money, but never really threatened. Flashy Bull, who came into the race with four consecutive victories, was victimized by an inside post and finished seventh.

REMEMBER FOZZIE BEAR?

Years ago (1986.87), FOZZIE BEAR (Bold Ruckus) burst onto the scene as a hot 2yo for trainer Tino Attard – going undefeated and causing a buzz.

The buzz got loud enough that Sesame Street folks made the owners change the colt’s name.

As Bold Revenue, the colt went on to a good career but a very modest one at stud.

Well, he’s back in the headlines as the broodmare sire of GRADE 1 winner GINGER PUNCH, the Stronach Stables’ Kentucky bred Awesome Again filly who won the Go for Wand Stakes at Saratoga yesterday by 6 lengths.

Ginger Punc’s dam is the stakes winner NAPPELON (17 wins, 70 starts, $630K), who won the Grade 2 Comely among other races after beginning her career with a stakes placing at Fort Erie.

Nappelon is out of SALLY GO GRAY, a Wise Exchange mare who resided at Jim Sabiston’s Longview Farms.

Ginger Punch is the 5th foal of Nappelon.

AND VALERIE?

The last race at Fort Erie yesterday was won by favoured Cabo Wabo. The jockey was none other other than VALERIE THOMPSON, the leading rider at Greenwood in 1980 and the last female rider to win a title before Emma-Jayne came along.


FLEET CAROLINE, DA, DA DA

Okay, bad pun. FLEET CAROLINE, by Tejano Run out of the Ontario-based mare WYNONA was 2nd in the Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes at Del Mar yesterday. The interest here is that the sire and dam are at the farm of Michael and Chris Blake’s Ascot Stud in Port Colbourne.

CALLER ONE, AT TEN

Caller One, a 10-year-old, won the ROCKET MAN STAKES at Calder yesterday during it’s Extreme Day. The earner of $3 million (he won the Golden Shaeen in Dubai years ago) beat the filly Rain Song, who won the 2 furlong race last year.

DREXLER CO-TOPS AT ASS. DOWNS


Marty Drexler, a trainer who began as a mutuel teller and has frequented WOODBINE for several years as a trainer and purchaser of horses, won 2 more races at the Winnipeg track last night (8 for his last 11) and is now tied for 1st for conditioners there.

His Majesty’s Honor and Spillway won by 11 and 6 ½ lengths respectively in allowance races last night to boost his total to 21 from 67 starters.

The stakes races there last night, the NORTH DAKOTA STALLION STAKES was won by a 2yo by TRANSFERRED, an Alydeed horse who was a stakes winner at Woodbine.

5 Comments:

  • At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Photos from Saratoga this weekend:

    Whitney and Vanderbilt:
    http://www.horse-races.net/library/whit07-results.htm

    Diana and Go For Wand:
    http://www.horse-races.net/library/diana07-results.htm

    Lake George (Friday): http://www.horse-races.net/library/lakeg07-results.htm

     
  • At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just wondering if you had a chance to watch any of the Breeders horses work on the main turf today and any insight you may have on it.

     
  • At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Unbearable Garbage.

    I know the subject has been brought up before, but the calling of races here is pathetic.

    Race 8 today.

    My Lucky Strike - exposed running style - when was he mentioned with a chance in the race -

    IN THE FINAL SIXTEENTH!!!!!


    It was obvious to a blind man that he was going to be finishing like an express train at the end of the stretch, yet when he does hit the front, the caller shouts it as though a bloody fairy had waved a magic wand and it had suddenly appeared!!

    It's about time we had a race caller that was professional and accurate, it's long overdue.

     
  • At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi jen, i know they have added more wax and jelly to the track lately. I thought the whole idea to poly was to make a FAIR consistant course. When was the last time a horse went wire to wire, has it even been done since the added the stuff.

    Just a note, how big did ballado dancer race today, set big fractions and from what i see a huge bias

     
  • At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I like David Wilmot's line about the Polytrack at Woodbine.

    "We paid for a Cadillac and got a Chevorlet"

    seeing as he was at the helm for this catastrophe that is in his words "broken" shouldn't he be the one to fall on the sword? They must be getting close to 15 million spent on this travesty and the track is worse than the old dirt.

    It's time the Government starts looking into the shenanigans at Woodbine. I have to question if the "slot machine welfare" can't be spent in better places in this province. the way money is squandered out there is breathtaking.

     

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

WIN AND YOU'RE IN

Big cards all over the place today with the theme of Breeders Cup prevailing. Win one of those races at the Spa today and get a free pass to Monmouth's Breeders Cup in October.

Some of today's big events are addressed below - please write in at the end of the day and give your thoughts about the best performances (the new THOROUGHBLOG poll will ask about your favourites this year).

Have to start the day off with bad news however...

TRAGEDY AT WOODBINE – Friday’s races

Pin Oak homebred euthanized after accident

A very dramatic stretch run ended sadly yesterday at Woodbine when DYNAMITE STRIKE broke down after a collision late in the 8th race for maiden allowance colts on the grass. Josephine Abercrombie’s 3yo Dynaformer – Strike It Up colt was charging up the rail under Patrick Husbands and looking to overtake MUSKWA nearing the wire when he appeared to shy, prop and run into the latter.

He went for a terrible tumble, Husbands got up immediately and was waving his arms in disgust – likely at Muskwa’s jockey JERRY BAIRD.

Another horse – UPTON PARK, making his first start of the year, fell over Dynamite Strike, throwing Jono Jones to the ground.

Upton Park ran away, other horses were pulled up, Jones was later okay as was Husbands. Dynamite Strike never recovered – having broken down and he was euthanized on the track.

Track stewards posted an inquiry (the replay was shown a dozen times, if not more, and that did not make fans happy as the spill was a bit gruesome) and later, did not disqualify MUSKWA, who was certainly drifting in through the stretch under right-handed whipping by Baird.

The stewards told THOROUGHBLOG that while Muskwa was drifting in, Dynamite Strike appeared to shy from something and hopped out a bit and into the back end of Muskwa.

(Perhaps he was shying from the fact that Muskwa was making things tight on him and the white railing was right there – there was no where else to go but backwards – and down?)

In other races – graded stakes winner VESTREY LADY ended a slump when she won the Victoriana Stakes prep – a race for which she is not eligible. Vestrey Lady was in a tough pace duel all the way but edged clear and held off a fresh LONDON SNOW.

Vestrey Lady is by Vicar and is owned by Harlequin Ranches.

READ THE STARS, a 4yo Ontario bred by Cryptoclearance, won his maiden at the allowance level in race 4 at 1 ¼ miles on the turf.

The Kingfield runner was one of 2 winners for jockey Chantal Sutherland on the card.

FOGARTY’S COVE, who had 1 win and 8 2nd place finishes in his career,won for $20,000 yesterday for California Stable as the 3 to 5 favourite. Another masterful piece of riding by top jock Tyler Pizarro, who won the last race on layoff runner REGAL VALLEY (Sammy DiPasquale and Mike Kowalski), who was dropping from $60,000 claming to $25,000.


WONDER WHERE honours top mare

Saturday at Woodbine

WONDER WHERE was one of the best mares this country has ever seen. A $7,300 yearling, she was owned by Larkin Maloney and Conn Smythe. She won the Canadian Oaks, Selene, Woodstock, Belle Mahone, etc. and was Horse of the Year in 1959 over New Providence.

The race named in her honour is 1 ¼ miles on turf for 3yo fillies foaled in Canada and it’s the 3rd jewel of the Triple Tiara. No winner of the Triple this year though since SEALY HILL won the Oaks and Bison City, but was disqualified from the latter.

SEALY HILL, STREET SOUNDS, SANS SOUCI ISLAND AND SASKAWEA make today’s edition the race of the S fillies.

SEALY HILL should handle the distance and she has decent grass breeding.

STREET SOUNDS loves turf and should handle the distance (same sire as Street Sense) – her ½ sister SILVER HIGHLIGHT won this race.

SAN SOUCI ISLAND is undefeated in 2 races and is the ‘wise guy’ pick in this class hike.

I’M A ROCKET, MAN

15 RACES AT CALDER FOR FUN CARD


The two-furlong ROCKET MAN is at Calder today – a $50,000 stake that has lured, once again, CALLER ONE (10-yeards-old). He was 2nd to the mare Rain Song in the race last year.

Fort Erie based FAST TRICK – who just won at 2 furlongs there for $10K claiming – is in the field.


In the 2 mile TURFMARATHON – Canadian-bred DIXIE PIPE is an 8 to 1 chance – previously trained by Catherine Day Phillips.Canadian-bred SIX CROSS ROADS is also in the race – previously trained by Layne Giliforte.


Race 10 is the KING GEORGE’S WRONG WAY STARTER, going the ‘wrong way’ around the course at1 3/8 MILES.


Race 11 is the “GRAY PRIDE”, all grey horses! Cool! And ARCHER FLEET, a Canadian-bred is in the race.

SPA DOINGS

WOODFORD RACING’S Silky Smooth was 5th in the Lake George yesterday – a surprising effort since she beat fellow Woodbine based RED BIRKIN. The latter had a nice trip but was a bit flat and also was squeezed back badly in the stretch.


BIG CARD TODAY AT THE SPA…win and you’re in – BREEDERS’ CUP 2007. If you win, you are given a berth in the Cup races.


WHITNEY – Grade 1 , 1 1/8 miles

A prestigious race – I remember watching PERSONAL ENSIGN beat 2 boys – Gulch and King’s Swan, in the Whitney – a few years back.

It’s a blockbuster field this year – a 105 Beyer Figure looks good but the winner may run as high as 110..good horses for sure. Is that PAPI CHULLO for real? Hard to imagine he had that kind of form reversal. The roll stops here.

A hot pace is predicted from this corner – here are some win possibilities:

LAWYER RON, tough post – 11 hole, so that is cause for concern.

SUN KING – the best race of his life was in this race last year,113 Beyer Figure. Tough luck horse, probably a better miler. Worth a play at nice odds.

MAGNA GRADUATE – fresh and split Flashy Bull and Diamond Stripes in the Foster Handicap last time.


12 Comments:

  • At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    I watched the head on around 4 times on race replays last night before I too wrote about it.
    It was clearly a case of dangerous riding on Baird's part. And the stewards seem to condone it. They call it "tactical riding."
    This call by them was terrible. And it hurts the sport immensely.
    There wouldn't have been one person complain if they took down the winner and gave Baird at least a 30 day suspension.
    Now you wind up getting people suspecting the stewards motives.
    By not DQing the horse, you have to wonder if the stewards could be replaced by someone flipping a coin.

     
  • At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You make a very good point!

     
  • At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Jessica said…

    That was a pretty bad beat for Sun King last year, losing by inches like that to a tough Invasor. But I'm doubtful he can repeat that performance today, coming off a layoff and without a win since April 2006. It's too bad ... he's a really nice horse.

     
  • At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How can the Stewards DQ Sealy Hill but not Vestrey Lady??????

     
  • At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I unfortunately didn't get to see the head-on of yesterday's mishap but based on one comment Jen made I'd like to.

    You said the stewards said it appeared that although Muskwa was drifting in a bit it appeared that Dynamite Strike hopped out shying away from something and then you said that perhaps Dynamite Strike was shying away from Muskwa making things tight on him.

    Obviously if Muskwa comes in on the horse on the rail and the horse on the rail has the lane then indeed Muskwa should've been taken down. But, if Muskwa was just "making things tight" but didn't actually take away the lane from Dynamite Strike and the inside horse jumped into Muskwa, then are you saying it should be a dq for just race-riding?

    I often watch shows where analysts like Jim Bannon point out "smart race riding" by a jockey who brings his horse closer to another horse on the inside or outside of them to try to "intimidate" them and give them that extra step to win the race. If this caused Dynamite Strike to jump out towards the horse in front then I think it is a very unfortunate incident, but not the fault of the rider in front for "race riding". If Baird actually took away the lane of Dynamite Strike causing the horse to go down then for sure his number should've come down and he deserves a hefty suspension/fine for causing such a horrible casualty. But if he just tried to "intimidate" the horse coming on the inside of him and that horse in turn jumped into the lead horse - isn't it an unfortunate accident?

    Again, I have not seen the head-on and am commenting on seeing the regular picture of the race and comments made here so far.

    I'm just curious about other's thoughts that have seen the head on of the race.

     
  • At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Reason #1,345,890 Why new Young people don't come out to the track:

    THEY THINK IT IS FIXED!

    with results like this, who can blame them?

     
  • At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    With regard to the 12:21pm comment...the author hit the nail on the head, and I think the judiciary side of racing needs to begin being put under the microscope just as much as the actions of the participants themselves are, if not more.

    Many of the judges and stewards employed by the ORC are former horsemen whose unsuccessful careers forced them into the grandstand. Immediately upon getting out of the backstretch, they fall into cozy government jobs where, from their perspective, the hardest daily decision is what to have from the press box buffet for lunch.

    The judging issue is certainly one that needs to be reviewed, and sweeping changes are likely needed. Without such change in this area, it will be hard for racing to have a shelf-life of longer than the time it took the stewards at Woodbine to make their dispicable ruling on Friday.

     
  • At 9:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I hate to be alone on the other side of the fence here but after watching the head on video on Calracing dot com. I have to agree with the stewards decision. If you watch the video very closely you can see that it is being made tight for Husbands but there is enough room at the time of the incident. What is the key point here is that Husbands' horse ducks from the inside and puts herself across Baird's heels, hence dropping herself. It was a tight spot and she panicked, case closed. Husbands is pulling on the left rein to keep his horse straight, but she is sucking herself out and ducking right. I agree that this is a tragedy and not a pretty video but it was the right call given the circumstances. I concur that Baird did drift in and had the race played out I am sure that their should have been a DQ. But when the fall happened there was still room for Husbands to get up in there. Please go to the website and look at what I am talking about before you comment.

     
  • At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Re: The stewards decisions at woodbine

    The decision makers at WEG have all the information necessary to review the work of the incumbents. They have the rules and the replays, so the decisions can easily be reviewed. I say this should be done as soon as possible,before any more horses or riders are seriously injured. I believe the public also needs to hear from WEG on this issue.

     
  • At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We all found out recently that the OLGC was/is not always above board...

    ...why would anybody think any better of the ORC?

     
  • At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Re Woodbine Stewards
    Over the last month there have been some opinion on the stewards decisions on race results regarding incidents during races.
    Where they is smoke there is fire, And for for WEG in this so called betting allagations to stay silent is ???.
    Bob BC

     
  • At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This blog seems to be a place where trainers can leave there comments and don't have to be responsible for there actions.The one question you have to ask yourself in the Baird and Husbands race is....At what point in the head on do you ever see Husbands try to check and get out of that very so called "tight spot"? He doesn't!

    Please Jen watch the head-on again. You can't even see the rail on the video. There was plenty of room left in there. I have no affilation with the track. i'm just a race fan who actually thinks the passing lane is the outside. No one goes up the inside in Saratoga!

     

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Friday, July 27, 2007

POLYTRACK IS SLOW


TURF TO POLYTRACK

Thursday’s races dominated by this angle

ONLY IF SPLIT, FORBIDDEN IMAGE, KNIGHTLY ATTIRE, THAT’S OUR LUCK, *YOUSAIDIDO, U R ENERGY


Those winners yesterday at Woodbine (6 of the 9 on the card) were ALL making the switch to Polytrack from the turf for their scores yesterday. Of course, all 6 were favoured or one of the favourites but it’s interesting that the Polytrack was perhaps the slowest it has been in a long time yesterday, day 2 since the final installment of the Jelly cable was added. The times were very slow even considering the weak card of racing (no grass races were cadred either).

The two Ontario-sired allowance races were the features.

Stakes winner Only If Split, by the hot One Way Love, managed to steer clear of the loose Flashy Pink, who lost her rider Robert King Jr. when she stumbled at the start, to lead all the way. (Flashy Pink led the field, went wide and then rallied to cross the finish line in front).

Trainer GREG DE GANNES won races 1 and 3 with CAUSE AND EFFECT, a class dropper from $40K to $20K and FORBIDDEN IMAGE, also dropping big-time in class and who took a ton of betting support (10 to 1 in the m/l, went off at 9 to 5).

KNIGHTLY ATTIRE, bred by Auchamore Stud, won a key maiden race on Poly 2 starts ago, tried the grass and had tons of traffic trouble, and then bounced back yesterday for the Hat Trick and Double Eagle Stables and trainer Ian Black.

One Way Love (did I mention he was a hot sire), was represented by first-timer GROM GRAY TO GOLD, a C.E. C. Farms filly who won her debut for $20,000 claiming at 5 ½ furlongs for 2yos. The John Carey bred out of Greyorgrey, the winner is trained by Scott Fairlie.

THAT’S OUR LUCK, trained by Michael Reavis, led most of the way to win the 7th races at 1 1/16 miles for $40,000 claiming – non-winners of 2 – and looked like he was always going to get passed in the stretch but he never did. He had been 2nd on turf at the same level in his previous start.

YOUSAIDIDO, bred for grass, bombed in her turf outing last time out at the allowance level but the Broken Vow filly won a 1 1/16 mile Poly race yesterday with a drop from allowances to $60,000 claiming for 3yo fillies.She didn’t keep the win, however, as she wiped out HILTON TERRACE at the start and was later disqualified. The winner wound up being WHISPER LOUDLY, for trainer Ralph Biamonte.

And, if you still had money left during the day, there was just one turf-to-poly runner in the last race – U R ENERGY (Bold ‘n Flashy) – who always looked like she was going to relinquish the lead from the turn to the finish but managed to hold on to win for Gaspare Garisto and trainer Mike Mattine. The filly raced 5 wide around in a pace duel but was dropping from allowances (on turf) to $20,000 claiming for 3yo fillies.

SANFORD’S SON

Like his daddy did, READY’S IMAGE (yes, apparently he is the “spitting image of MORE THAN READY, his sire), scampered to a big win in the prestigious Sanford Stakes at Saratoga yesterday. The colt was under a bit of a scrub on the turn as the bizarre-looking FED WATCHER was leading but he went past that one in early stretch and then took off as Fed Watcher drifted out and stopped. (The latter is a chestnut with a blonde mane, a full, white bald face and a blue eye).

Charles’ Fipke’s TALE OF EKATI rallied wide to be 2nd beaten 4 lengths in a good effort.


SPA DOINGS

Look out for the Phone Trick 2yo BLUE FLIGHT in race 2 today.

New York-bred with very slow prep times. But wait - he worked in :21.00 for that 2yo sale in Ocala in March. Trainer Bond used to be good with firsters.

Worth a look anyway.

AND RED BIRKIN, SILKY SMOOTH at the SPA TODAY

(From BRISNET.COM)

Multiple Grade 3 victress RUTHERIENNE (Pulpit) will go for her fourth straight win on Friday in the $100,000 Lake George S. (G3) at Saratoga. The Christophe Clement-trained sophomore's only official loss to date came in the Appalachian S. at Keeneland in her 2007 bow, though she did finish second by a neck in the Boiling Springs S. (G3) last out before being placed first when the winner, RED BIRKIN (Belong to Me), was taken down by the stewards.

Friday's 8 1/2-furlong turf test is shaping up as something of a rematch between the top three finishers from the Boiling Springs. Red Birkin interfered with both Rutherienne and SHARP SUSAN (Touch Gold) in the stretch of that grassy 1 1/16-mile event, which resulted in the stewards placing Red Birkin third while moving the second and third-place finishers up one position.

"It was kind of a riding error but those things happen," said Red Birkin's trainer, Roger Attfield, of the disqualification. "To win, she just has to run the same race and go straight."

Besides Rutherienne and Sharp Susan, eight other sophomore fillies who will be doing their best to prevent Red Birkin from getting that win in the Lake George, including GOOD MOOD (Ire) (Danehill Dancer) and DASHES N DOTS (Aptitude). Those two will also be renewing a rivalry after Good Mood captured the Regret S. (G3) with Dashes N Dots two lengths back in third. The latter miss set the pace in that nine-furlong race before missing on the line and will try to use the slight cutback here to hold all the way to the wire.

Good Mood drew the rail and will share 122 pound top-weight duties with Rutherienne and Sharp Susan. Jockey Edgar Prado will be returning to the saddle aboard the Patrick Biancone trainee, who is listed at 9-2 on the morning line.

Just to her outside will be Red Birkin, Javier Castellano, 116, 6-1; Dashes N Dots, Robby Albarado, 116, 15-1; BEES (Rahy), Ramon Dominguez, 116, 15-1; MISS TIZZYNOW (Tiznow), Jeremy Rose, 120, 20-1; LADY ATTACK (Mutakddim), Calvin Borel, 116, 12-1; Sharp Susan, Kent Desormeaux, 5-1; CLASSIC NEEL (El Corredor), Elvis Trujillo, 116, 6-1; AWESOME ASHLEY (Unbridled's Song), John Velazquez, 116, 10-1; Rutherienne, Garrett Gomez, 3-1; SILKY SMOOTH (Mr. Greeley), Patrick Husbands, 120, 30-1.

TODAY AT WOODBINE

Victoriana prep

The 3rd race is the $87,900 prep for the Victoriana Stakes (Ontario-sired) and the prep is not restricted.

Financingavailable won the Victoriana last year over SHEER ENCHANTMENT, bred by Allison Westrop, who is making her 2nd start of 2007 in the prep today (if it doesn't rain).

Curiously, Paul Attard trained Sheer Enchantment last year to 2 wins in 5 starts but the mare was returned to Abraham Katryan after her latest race.

As a stretch runner, the Archers Bay mare will have to hurry but there is lots of speed to chase in the forms of Bobbi Sioux, Vestrey Lady etc.

TORONTO’S STUART HYMAN BUYS 3 (ALL BY STORM CAT)

-FOR MANITOBA DERBY

By SCOTT UNGER – Winnipeg Sun

Nominations closed yesterday morning for the $100,000 Manitoba Lotteries Derby -- the most prestigious race of the summer at Assiniboia Downs. When the final list was announced, it was a who's who of three-year-olds from Manitoba and beyond that could be gunning for the top prize.

The biggest news of the day came when Shyman Farms and its trainer in Winnipeg Martin Drexler announced that they have purchased three horses that could possibly run in the Derby.

"My owner just wants to win the Manitoba Derby and then move these horses to Woodbine and then maybe down south to run them for the winter," Drexler said yesterday evening after the deal was completed to purchase the horses from Overbrook Farms.

"It turned out this year that I really didn't have much in my barn that panned out for the derby."

Big Chief, Weather Warning and Great Discovery will be the names to watch when the field is announced next week, but it's likely only two of the three will run. Drexler said Great Discovery is a sprinter and could be used elsewhere, while Weather Warning was the most expensive horse in the sale and Big Chief set a track record in Chicago.

All three horses came from Kentucky sire Storm Cat, one of the world's best right now at pumping out top race horses.

Drexler also has Barak and Sharp Shooter nominated for a total of five horses that could go in the derby, but it looks at though they may take a backseat to the Illinois Invaders.

As for the horses that have been running at the Downs all summer, Sylvester Ollivierre's Sir Officer and Country Humor will both go into the race as strong contenders. Sir Officer is a Manitoba-bred horse and it's rare to see a Manitoba-bred horse of his calibre. Ollivierre has Storm Patrol that might go as well.

In Emile Corbel's stable, he has Western Deed raring to go come August long weekend. He also has Gold and Blue Box nominated.

"We'll run him a couple times in the next few days and make a decision next week," Corbel said yesterday of Gold and Blue Box.

And don't forget about Derby Trial winner Rage Till Dawn, who strolled past Country Humour and Western Deed in the final turn of that race to claim victory. Rage Till Dawn was claimed for $32,000 at Hollywood Park last month and is expected to be the morning line favourite when the field is announced next week.

It should be noted, however, that Country Humour and Western Deed were on long layoffs heading into the Derby Trial.

Of the 23 horses nominated yesterday for the Derby, only 12 will run. If more than 12 horses are entered, those horses with highest lifetime earnings will take precedence.

AND SPEAKING OF NOMS

Sixteen (16) Canadian-foaled 3yos were nominated to the BREEDERS’ STAKES, a Canadian classic with a rich history but a race that gets lost in the shuffle if the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown is not hosting a possible Triple Crown winner.

ALEZZANDRO and MIKE FOX (who will work on the main Woodbine turf SUNDAY morning) head the weak list of noms – very weak.

There are 8 maidens in the list of 16.SEALY HILL, the Oaks winner, races this weekend in the Wonder Where so she likely won’t run either.

Of course, if Alezzandro had just held on in the Plate, he would be going for the Crown. This is a fast improving, large colt who is bred for turf and has big flat feet.

And Stuart Hyman, see above, has a couple of noms to the Breeders’ including live longshot TOP SPEED, by Chester House.

**Hey, THOROUGHBLOG has more than 250 people viewing these pages every day. How about advertising your farm or business on this site?

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FROM ESPN.COM and BILL FINLEY

BETTORS (and tracks) TAKE NOTE - PLAY LAUREL'S 10 DAY MEET!

For 10 days in August, every horseplayer in America ought to focus their attention on and dedicate their betting dollars to Laurel Park. It doesn't matter that Laurel will be competing against Del Mar and Saratoga or that some of its fare might include cheap races for hopeless maiden claimers or other races where quality and, maybe, quantity, is an issue. With the lowest takeout rate in the sport, Laurel will be the one place in the country where, for the horseplayer, the pari-mutuel wars will be a fair fight rather than the typical bloodbath. Horseplayers everywhere have an obligation to support this product.

The management of the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel, announced recently that the takeout for all wagers at Laurel's 10-day summer meet, which runs from Aug. 10 through Aug. 23, will be just 10 percent, plus a legislated 1.4 percent that goes to the Maryland Million Fund. Laurel's takeout rate will be about half that of all other major racetracks running at that time.

At prior Laurel meets, the takeout on some bets has been as high as 25.75, the rate on trifectas, the superfecta and the pick six, and rates that are comparable to those at most tracks. That's higher than the 17 percent many tracks take on win, place and show bets, but even that is a takeout rate that all but guarantees the player has no chance to win. Exorbitant takeout rates have made betting on horses an unbeatable proposition, which is one of the primary reasons the sport's business is stagnant. Broke horseplayers do not make for very good customers.

From many corners, there have been constant pleas to address this problem, and every credible study ever conducted on takeout rates has concluded that a significant reduction will eventually cause a dramatic increase in handle because people will churn or re-bet their extra winnings many times over. That's already happening at Ellis Park, which has instituted a pick four with a 4 percent takeout. Handle on the wager is frequently triple what it was under the old takeout structure.

With reduced takeouts, tracks may be getting a smaller slice of the pie but the pie will be much bigger, and the result will be an improvement in the bottom line for tracks and horseplayers.

Yet, few racetracks have been bold enough to tread into somewhat unknown waters, opting instead for the short-term benefits derived from fleecing their customers. Now, Laurel has taken a step that could have a major impact on the industry. But horseplayers have to come through; otherwise the wrong message -- that horseplayers really don't care how much money is in their pockets at the end of a day of wagering -- will have been sent.

"I really don't know what to expect," Lou Raffetto, Laurel's chief operating officer, said. "I am hopeful this will be supported by the players. If all the simulcast outlets take us and we don't see any movement from the players then people will say, 'See, they don't really care.' Maybe they don't care, but at the end of the day they are going to have more money in their pockets."

That's a given. The payoffs on trifectas and superfectas at Laurel will be about 20 percent higher than they were under the old takeout structure. That means what was a $200 trifecta will become a $240 trifecta. Anyone playing Laurel is bound to be better off at the end of the day than anyone playing Saratoga, Del Mar, Arlington or anyplace else.

Raffetto instituted the change because he wanted to draw some attention to a short meet that gets little notice during a period when there are several strong simulcast signals out there. He's already accomplished that. Now, the goal is to prove that players will respond to a lower takeout. The handle has to go up by 30 percent off track and 10 percent on track for this to become a break-even proposition.

Though a 10-day experiment may not be long enough to get a definitive answer on the effects of a significant takeout reduction, Laurel will nonetheless provide the rest of the industry with a test case that is sure to be watched closely. That's why it is so important that this succeeds.

Suppose Laurel's all-sources handle increases by 50 percent. Maybe then the Maryland Jockey Club will go with the 10 percent takeout structure at one of its longer meets or perhaps Laurel's parent company, Magna, will take a serious look at slashing the take at Santa Anita or Gulfstream. Maybe other track managements will be encouraged to try similar experiments. Maybe this can be the start of something that will ultimately improve not only the health of the average horseplayer, but the game.

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

1 Comments:

  • At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    My guess is that even if HPI lets its customers bet on Laurel, they will do it at higher take outs, just like they do with the Ellis Park Win 4.

    So bettor beware.

    I hope the people who can bet on Laurel and take advantage of the lower takeout rate proves this experiment to be a huge success.

     

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

MORE JELLY PLEASE

LOVE HER!

(AND HE’S SOOO PROFESSIONAL)

WEDNESDAY NIGHT at Woodbine


The feature on the night – race 4: PASSING MOOD STAKES, Ontario sired 3yo fillies, 7 furlongs, turf. YOU WILL LOVE ME, (who can’t love her), a homebred of Bill Jones, had a great trip behind the speed duel of Boldly Seductive and Midnight Shadow but so did BIRSAY.

Both fillies engaged in a duel through the stretch and both were very game but it was The One Way Love filly You Will Love Me who edged clear while her rider Eurico Rosa da Silva never turned his stick over – very confident ride and a very good Ontario-sired filly.

The time was 1:23. It was a 79 Beyer.

It was the 4th win in just 7 starts for You Will Love Me, out of the mare Trinnon.

Quite a Knightmare (Ascot Knight) rallied for 3rd.

“I’m very happy with Earl’s training of this little filly and I will take Eurico for a steak dinner after the season’s over,” said a beaming Jones in the winner’s circle.

“Firmer turf than last time, she tired on the soft turf last time,” said trainer Earl Barnett who has done a super job with the 3yo filly.

(Here’s some history on Bill Jones and his involvement in racing as written in the Daily Racing Form a few weeks back)

**Bill Jones got into the thoroughbred racing business in an unorthodox way. Just over 20 years ago he had a farm in Mansfield, Ontario bulging with Black Angus cattle and a company in the oil business in Toronto.

“I won this horse, I think it was in a card game, and I didn’t know what to do with it,” said Jones.

While golfing one day, he mentioned to one of the course employees, Theresa Shields, that he had a racehorse. Shields introduced Jones to her father, dan, a trainer at Fort Erie.

“That’s pretty much how it started,” said Jones who is 73. “His name was Lemico Jewels and he was picking up a $5,000 cheque every two weeks at Fort Erie. He did okay.”

Jones decided to try the tougher waters at Woodbine racetrack and collected a small group runners and mares.

One mare, Trinnon, had been a $60,000 yearling purchase at the 1995 Woodbine select yearling sale but only placed during her racing career.

“I bought her from (trainer) Jim Day through bloodstock agent (now trainer) Dave Cotey,” said Jones. “Dave has helped me buy a couple of mares along the way.”

Jones bred Trinnon, a daughter of Grade 2 stakes winner Anshan out of the stakes producing mare Aunt Arctic, to Bold Executive but the mare didn’t get in foal.

She produced her first foal in 2000 when Great Auntee, a grey daughter of Great Gladiator was born.

Great Auntee, now 7, earned over $300,000 on the track for Jones and his wife Sheila while racing in high claiming events.

In the meantime, Jones sold his cattle farm and all his farm equipment and moved to a small 25-acre residential property in Caledon close to places where Jones can participate in his other favourite pastime, golf.

You Will Love Me, by One Way Love, a multiple champion, is Trinnon’s fourth foal.

“I tried to sell her at the yearling sale two years ago,” said Jones. “I was hoping to get $25,000 for her but someone only went up to $19,000 so I bought her back. She had x-rayed with chips in her hocks.”

Her win, as a 15 to 1 longshot, in the June 8 Lady Angela Stakes, with a purse of $126,000, was the biggest win by a Jones horse.

“That was a real hoot,” said Jones. “I had had so many friends ask when they could come to the races with me so I brought some that day. One guy made $5,000 betting on her. We really enjoyed drinking the champagne up in the turf club.”

You Will Love Me, her yearling full sister, weanling half-sister by Parisianprospector and their dam are the only horses owned by Jones.

The horses reside at John Carey’s T.C. Westmeath Stud. Carey and his wife Doris purchased Great Auntee off the Jones’ this spring and bred her to one of their stallions, Old Forrester.**


Other races…

RACE 1 - FIGHT THE STORM led from start to finish to win her 2nd consecutive race

RACE 2- PRINCIPESA MARIA took off to a big lead early, going too fast early, in the 9 furlong (yes 9 furlongs for maiden claiming fillies, $12,500), led all the way after slowing things down for a spell but the last two strides were two strides too many when BOLD CORKY (Bold Executive) scuttled past right on the money for Sue Leslie, owner and trainer, jockey Rob Landry.

Leslie had won her first race of the meeting with AWESOME ACTION in the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes last Saturday.

Bold Corky, bred by Gardiner Farms, took a ton of late betting action and went off at 5 to 2, down from her 6 to 1 morning line quote.

She ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:57 2/5 over the newly jelly-cabled Polytrack.

“She’s a hard trying little thing, got it done,” said Landry.

“She had been closing in her sprint races be were little doubtful about the longer distance but it worked out,” said Leslie, who commented on a successful LONGRUN day at the races last Sunday when the group that retires and places former racehorses raised monoey for its great cause.

Race 3 – turf, maiden allowance, Ontario-sired, 1 mile; RETALIATE (Canyon Creek-Puket by Sultry Song), from the red-hot Jim Day stable was a lovely price at 7 to 2 after taking a huge hit down to 5 to 2 before the race, to win his maiden in start no. 11 but only his 3rd on grass, a surface for which he is best bred.

A nice, ground saving trip, blinkers on, an overbet favourite in Wookin to Run and a modest field worked in the favour of the son of Canyon Creek, bred and co-owned by Jim Day and Cudney Stables. Day was not in attendance on the TV for the winning interview.

Race 5 – Nine-year-old VERY PROFESSIONAL took a ton of betting support (off at 9 to 2, 12 to 1 in the morning line, although the morning line favourite LAPTOP COMPUTER was scratched) in the $10,000 claiming sprint and what a classy old guy.

Settled far off the pace under a quite Stephanie Fedora, Very Professional came wide off the turn and caught Sugarcoat in the last few strides to win for the 14th time in his 83rd start. Earnings over $500,000.

A frantic pace duel between 5 others certainly helped while Sugarcoat was wide in the duel all the way.

Willie Armata owns, Vito Armata trains. It was the gelding’s first win in his 9th start of the season.

It was the win for Fedora who drops from a 10-pound bug rider to a 5-pound bug with that, her 5th career win as a rider.

Race 6 – JACKNOWS how to win – he had a dream trip to take his 3rd in 4 starts this year for Jam Jar and trainer John Ross, drawing clear off the turn under Garry Cruise.

He was dropping back to the $12,500 claiming level and winning for the 7th time in 29 starts.

COLONIAL RUCKUS, who once set a track record at the 1 1/16 mile distance, was sent on a maniacal pace duel with Amy’s Boy that didn’t help either runner. (And everyone thought all the speed in the race was scratched when Biblical Scholar was withdrawn but we forgot to tell the jockeys). The stalkers and closers did well in this race.

Race 7 – Half a mile in 49 2/5 for 1 1/16 miles (allowance fillies, Ontario-sired) and the field was very strung out with TO THE BRIM dragging her way to a clear lead and she almost made it home on top by NOHOCH, a homebred of Great Gladiator-Chamuel from Mike Doyle and Duar Racing, rallied wide and just got there at 5 to 1.

It was Nohoch’s first attempt at the distance and she was Turf-to Poly runner. Leading rider Tyler Pizarro never gave up and rode the winner.

The final race – GOT ON CREDIT, coming out of a race that has already yielded 4 next-out winners, was very brave on the pace and looked beaten at several points but held on for 1316096 Ontario, trainer Lyle Morden and jockey Jack Lauzon.

The Ontario-bred is by One Way Love who had a big night last night.


SPA DOINGS


The meeting started with the breakdown of a 7yo horse who had not raced much so that has to put a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.

The finishes of races later on the card were good, however, and 2yo SARGENT SEATTLE, a firster by the hot young sire VINDICATION, missed the track record by 1/5 in his 2yo debut.

And wow, Alan Pesch bought SUBTLE ALY for $3,000 at a winter mixed sale in Florida, sold most of her after she set a track record in her career debut and then the filly won the Schulyerville. Now that’s neat stuff.

Today, Canadian CHARLES FIPKE has a 2yo in the SANFORD STAKES today – TALE OF EKATI, named for his, the first ever, Canadian diamond mine near Yellowknife, won his debut very impressively and the Tale of the Cat homebred earned an 89 Beyer Figure. The colt is out of the Japanese bred mare Silence Beauty, by Sunday Silence.

Take of Ekati is worth a bet today in the Sanford. READY’S IMAGE (99 Beyer), by More Than Ready, and FED WATCHER (by Songandaprayer), 98 Beyer, are the colts to beat.

Ontario-bred MADEMOISELLEWHAKI, bred by Tom Keenan, makes her 2nd career start in race 4 for maiden allowance fillies on turf. The filly is trained by Patrick Biancone and she was 7th in her debut at Churchill in June.

SOMETHING INTERESTING

JUMP FOR JOYEUX, a 7yo gelding, had won 17 races before he came to WOODBINE for a $32,000 claiming race on April 7. He had just won by 6 lengths at Turfway, on Polytrack, with an 87 Beyer Figure.

He ran a 49 at Woodbine that day when 7th beaten 10 lengths to Dashing Admiral.

His last 2 races? Two wins at 5 furlongs on turf at Churchill with 93 and 91 Beyers.

BAD NEWS

The DRF reports that SHILLELAGH SLEW, who had ankle surgery last year, had ankle surgery again recently and may have throat surgery. Last year’s champion 3yo colt is done for the year for owner David James.

HORSE MEAT
News that a new horse slaughter plant is opening in Canada (Saskatchewan)
(this is a letter from John Holland, an advocate for abolition of horse slaughter, U.S.)

"We have had persistent reports of Cavel International opening a new slaughter plant in Canada. This is of course their logical move. I have now spoken to a top person inside the industry (a competitor of Cavel) who confirms much of what we heard. I now have what I believe to be solid information. The reason for this cooperation is that loose horse prices are skyrocketing and there are not enough horses for all these operations (the enemy of my enemy).

The plant is an existing cattle slaughtering operation (expected). It will not operate under the Cavel name, but will be a co-op that will slaughter horses for Cavel. Planned ownership arrangements, if they are to change, are not known at this point. This is a smart move to attempt to avoid the obvious challenge the opening will present to their "irreparable harm" argument that has allowed them to have an injunction.

According to the source and the buyers, the plant has reportedly applied to be permitted to slaughter horses and has received the first level of approval but not the second. We believe that this means they are approved in Canada but not in the EU yet. It is telling its buyers that it will receive the final approval within 30 days. The kill buyers are already buying horses for the plant and they expect it to open as early as next week.

We know the plant is located in Western Canada near a town called Wolseley. Wolseley is just over an hour east of Regina and about two hours north of far Western Montana. The only plant we can find there is Nature Valley Farms (below) , and they are approved in Canada for horses. It also fits the description perfectly. Ominously, their capacity is over two and a half times that of Cavel in Dekalb. It is possible that it will be renamed. I have called to ask them if they will be buying horses, but got an answering machine.

I would hope this information, when fleshed out, could be used to convince the appeals court that Cavel does not risk irreparable harm."

Natural Valley Farms
Todd D'arcy*
*Box 550
Wolseley, SK S0G 5H0

Tel: (403) 230-8715
Fax: (403) 510-8697
Email tdarcy@telus.net <mailto:tdarcy@telus.net>
Web: www.naturalvalley.ca <http://www.naturalvalley.ca>

Unique in Canada, * NATURAL VALLEY FARMS *(NVF) is a producer-owned business dedicated to producing high quality products with revenue streams returning to the producer. The producer is provided information on his livestock performance that allows them to evolve as customer demand evolves. The company currently operates a federally inspected processing facility in Wolseley, Saskatchewan, with NVF cattle being custom-slaughtered at a number of federally inspected plants in Western Canada. The company’s own slaughter facility is expected to be completed in June of 2006, at which time the combined NVF facilities are expected to provide a processing capacity of 2,500 head per week. NVF currently produces “natural” boxed beef, commodity boxed beef, marinated beef, bulk ground beef and fresh trim.

AND...

Believe it or not, at the corner of ISLINGTON and STEELES, near Woodbine racetrack, is a store called Cavallino Carne Equine and Groceries...

I have yet to visit this place but plan to soon...




1 Comments:

  • At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Today Wo's 8th race winner committed a gross bodycheck on a rival and was disqualified. It was a clear foul and my question is WHY did the stewards decision take so long.

    Given last Friday, when the stewards should have disqualifies Princess Amdala for the VERY SAME infraction, todays long delay in making the disqualification leads me to believe the stewards were searching for a reason NOT to disqualify the winner.

    Given the Princess Amdala race, coupled with todays "delay", it seems the stewards are betting on the races (refer NBA fiasco) and trying to refine their decisions so that it will not seem too obvious.

    The ORC should be monitoring these stewards closely.

     

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