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Tuesday, January 08, 2008


It is two days after local racing folks heard the stunning news about the passing of Tammy-Samuel Balaz. Her story appears in papers and magazine websites today.
Certainly the most significant win for her father's Sam-Son Farms (she took over the operation of Sam-Son almost a decade ago) was DANCE SMARTLY's Breeders' Cup Distaff win, capping an undefeated season.
Always approachable and cheery and passionate about her horses (and how about those great names that her and her mum Liza gave the horses?) Tammy was a true sportsperson.
I had the pleasure of living at their Ocala, Florida farm for a couple of seasons. Classy, classy folks and she was the leader.
You can see Tammy and her curly hair of 1991 embracing her Dad in this strtech-run clip of Dance Smartly. Thanks to cf1970 at YOUTUBE for the clip (see link below for tons more racing clips)


The first horse racing under the silks of SAM-SON FARMS since the news of the passing of its president, TAMMY SAMUEL-BALAZ won yesterday at Fair Grounds at 11 to 1.

MULMUR (Smart Strike-Wilderness Song) stalked the pace in the 7 ½ furlong turf allowance and then edged clear for a narrow win for the team. Mulmur had not raced since October when 6th to Fromajack Toaking in a non-winners of 2 other than. He has won 3 of 13 races now and has been as high as 90 on the Beyer Figure scale.

Balaz passed away on Saturday after a battle with cancer. The Visitation is in Oakville today and this evening.

Today, SHOAL WATER, a stakes winning homebred for the farm, is in an allowance race at Tampa Bay as the 5 to 2 favourite.

FRENCH BERET, another homebred, competes in the Col. R.S. Bradley Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds with Emma-Jayne Wilson on board.

At Gulfstream, the turf races later in the card were taken off. GO DIRECTLYTO JAIL, a grass horse, stayed in the race despite his last fast, dirt outing being a 34-length loss in the fall of 2006. He broke down yesterday in the $16,000 starter allowance and fell.

At PHILADELPHIA PARK in a $57,040 allowance, the 5yo gelding MINDY’S PEAK ( Pyramid Peak—Time for Mindy, by Island Whirl), bred in Ontario by Harvey Tenenbaum, won for the 10th time in 22 starts in his career.


Not much Canadian action on the first day of the Keeneland January sale which was topped by IRISH CHERRY, the dam of top Canadian-bred DAAHER. The $2.7 million for Irish Cherry was paid by Southern Equine. She is in foal to Ghostzapper and is thus carrying a three-quarter sibling to Daaher.

Irish Cherry was once owned by Ontario’s Yvonne Schwabe and her late mother Dagmar. They bred Daaher and then sold Irish Cherry for somewhere around $700,000-$800,000.

Bill Graham’s Windhaven bought the mare CUMULUS for $100,000. The Kingmambo mare is out of champion Storm Song and a half-sister to the dam of stakes winner Asperity. She was unplaced and sold as a broodmare prospect.

Dr. Brian Van Arem paid $20,000 for LYPHARD GAL, a Lyphard mare, 18-years-old, in foal to Suave. The mare produded Grade 1 winner Heritage of Gold and stakes winner Golden Oldie.


(It never rains in California?)

from the

Santa Anita is in uncharted waters

Officials look at options, including dirt track, after unprecedented third straight day of canceled races.

By Larry Stewart, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

January 8, 2008

With three consecutive days of racing lost because of drainage problems and repairs to the troubled synthetic track proving unsuccessful, Santa Anita officials are considering temporarily replacing the racing surface with a traditional dirt track.

Ron Charles, Santa Anita president, confirmed that possibility Monday, adding that any decision probably won't be made until today or Wednesday.

"We hope to at that time provide more details, as we would like to first discuss them with and get approval from the horsemen," he said after Monday's eight-race card was called off early in the day.

Charles added that if the decision is made to go back to a dirt track until the end of the winter meet April 20, the number of lost days for its installation would be minimal. And then a new synthetic track, by a different manufacturer, would be installed next summer.

The last three racing days were lost because of the ongoing drainage problem with Santa Anita's synthetic Cushion Track, installed last summer at a cost of nearly $11 million. The track became unusable when pelted with the recent heavy rains.

Never before in the 71-year history of the Santa Anita winter meet had three successive race days been canceled because of rain.

At the root of Santa Anita's Cushion Track problem is a fine sand, or silt, put into the seven-inch top layer, which also consists of a coarser sand, fibers, wax, recycled rubber and other ingredients. Also contributing to the problem is a wax that has a higher melting point than the wax used in the Cushion Track at Hollywood Park. That wax and the silt were used for the Santa Anita track because of fears that higher temperatures in the San Gabriel Valley would make the surface too soft in the afternoon sun.

A three-week renovation last month that cost nearly $1 million did little to relieve the track's drainage problem, nor did the addition of an additive last Thursday and Friday.

Charles acknowledged that Santa Anita also took a financial hit with the three lost race days. A source estimated the loss of net revenue to the track at more than $500,000.

Many track employees also lost work days, and Charles said negotiations with the various unions will take place in hopes of settling the issue of lost wages.

Richard Shapiro, chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, has called a special teleconference meeting for today to discuss the possibility of allowing Santa Anita to move races to Hollywood Park if necessary.

Shapiro said his concern was to try to ensure that racing in Southern California will continue without further interruptions.

"We want to put a tool in the toolbox for Santa Anita to have the flexibility of moving races to Hollywood Park if they have to," he said.

Shapiro called it a procedural meeting, explaining that Santa Anita would have to be licensed to conduct races at Hollywood Park.

Asked for a personal opinion about what Santa Anita should do, Shapiro said, "Maybe it would be best for them to switch to Hollywood Park so the track there could be fixed for sure or replaced. But we don't get to tell them what to do."

As for Santa Anita going back to a dirt track, Shapiro said it would take a separate meeting to grant a waiver to the CHRB synthetic-track mandate.

No racing is scheduled for today or Wednesday. Santa Anita put out a news release Monday saying racing was expected to resume as planned Thursday and entries for Thursday and Friday races were taken Monday morning.

"The weather forecast is very encouraging through the weekend and we're confident we'll be able to run on Thursday," said Mike Harlow, Santa Anita's director of racing.

"This has obviously been a very difficult period for everyone involved, but we're looking forward to getting back to business. A lot of people are very anxious to run on the turf, which is in terrific shape, and the [synthetic] main track should be ready by Thursday."

From the Times-Picayune…(see link below)


Maren's Meadow gets breath of fresh air

Filly wins first race after having sponge removed from nose

Sunday, January 06, 2008

By Bob Fortus

Maren's Meadow, coming off the experience of racing with a sponge jammed up her nose, returned to competition Monday at the Fair Grounds with a clear airway.

"I put in for a change of equipment -- sponge out," trainer Larry Jones said jokingly at his barn that morning.

In the afternoon, Maren's Meadow was breathing freely and running fast, winning a 5 1/2-furlong allowance race in a solid field of 2-year-old fillies. Her performance left Jones breathing easier about her.

"At least with the bad luck she had, she came back and did right," he said. "The sponge didn't do any damage."

Jones had thought enough of Maren's Meadow to run her in the Grade II Matron in September at Belmont Park in her third start. She finished fourth in a field of seven -- a decent performance that made her the odds-on favorite when she dropped in class for her next start in an allowance race Oct. 16 at Delaware Park. But she finished a poor third in a field of five fillies, and Jones couldn't understand what had gone wrong.

One possibility was that she had a breathing problem, perhaps a tumor blocking her airway. Jones sent her to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., to find out. Dr. Rolf Embertson called with the answer.

"He said: 'Larry, I've got good news for you and bad news,' " Jones said. " 'The good news is it isn't a tumor. Your horse will be OK. The bad news is someone was messing with your horse. That was a sponge.' "

In 1996 and 1997, several similar sponge incidents occurred in Kentucky. The Delaware Park incident is under investigation by the Delaware Racing Commission, the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau and the Delaware State Police.

Embertson said he detected the sponge while examining the nasal passages of Maren's Meadow through an endoscope.

"It looked a little bit bluish," he said of the sponge.

To read the rest of the story.....


  • At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    R.I.P Tammy. The horses will miss you and that smile! She really cared!

  • At 10:22 PM, Anonymous DS said…

    I was stunned to hear the news about Tammy. What a huge loss for Canadian racing. RIP.


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