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Friday, January 18, 2008

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT

Okay, let the COMMENTATOR madness begin.
119 Beyer Figure yesterday when he coasted home against a weak group in his first start since the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
As one who professes that 'figs don't lie', it will sound hypocritical that I am not a big believer in this horse.
Yep, there are those 123 and 121 Beyers from those front running scores in 2005 (allowance and Grade 1 Whitney) but there is little question this is a one-dimensional guy who is fast, but only good if he gets the lead to himself.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Read more about the win below.


AND, an afternoon at WEGZ Stadium bar is highly recommended this winter if you want a day out for some racing action and a super meal.
The teletheatre/restaurant/bar/fun and games place offers an awsome menu, great specials each day and fun service.
Having said that, bring a flashlight, because if youy want to read the DRF, study the races and bet, it's awfully dark - and that seems very strange.
One other thing, don't read too much into the giant ticker that goes around the building - the news, scores etc. was days old - eeks.

Keep sending in your FRESHMAN SIRE picks for the THOROOUGHBLOG CONTEST...if you email them, I will post them but it would be better if you can send them via the Comment button.

Check out HILLSIDETHOROUGHBREDS.COM (see link at right) - new website for their guy Gone Fishin!

You must watch HAPPY BOY yesterday (see YouTube below). I don't know what he beat but he was impressive!!


OKAY, DUBAI IS ON HPI BUT....

(I believe you can ONLY bet these Dubai races over the phone or on the computer since the folks at WEGZ yesterday were not informed on anything to do with Dubai, pp's , betting etc.)

TORONTO, January 16 – World class racing from Nad al Sheba Race Course will be available for wagering for all customers with HorsePlayer Interactive accounts, starting Thursday, January 17.

Tomorrow’s programme is the first of 10 International Carnival of Racing cards (dates below) that will be aired on HPItv over the next two months, leading up to the Dubai World Cup finale on March 29.

First race post time will vary from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. EST. Each programme will range from six to eight thoroughbred events.


As in the past, the March 29 Dubai World Cup card will also be aired on HPItv and will be simulcast at Woodbine, Greenwood, Mohawk and all teletheatre locations.

South Africa will commingle wagers from North America, United Kingdom and South Africa. Woodbine will match South Africa’s commission takeouts.


Dubai Racing on HPI:

Thursday, January 17

Thursday, January 24

Thursday, January 31

Thursday, February 7

Friday, February 8

Thursday, February 14

Thursday, February 21

Friday, February 22

Thursday, February 28

Thursday, March 6 (Super Thursday)

Saturday, March 29 (Dubai World Cup Day)


LOCAL NEWS, AND OTHER STUFF FROM YESTERDAY

James Perron Stables’ OPEN LOCK had a troubled trip and was 2nd at Fair Grounds, gaining fast but ½ a length short. The classy 7yo Ontario bred by Open Forum was claimed by trainer Brett Calhoun for $10,000.

Tucci Stables’ CATCHING, a Kentucky-bred trained by Nick Gonzalez, was 2nd for $25,000 claiming in a turf event for fillies and mares. The 4yo filly was simply 2nd best to RUSHIN RAHY (3RD start off the layoff).

The Tucci family and Gonzalez later claimed a big winner on the card – ROVINA, a 3yo filly by Mr. Henrysee (who?) who won the $30,000 claiming race on turf very easily in front running fashion. Rovina has won 2 of 13 races

Trainer TINO ATTARD, fresh off a win with Myuk Nyuk Nyuk on Wednesday, sent out KNOW YOUR LIMIT to be 2nd (on the wrong lead) for $12,500 claiming. The Stephen Organ-owned gelding is a Kentucky bred.


MONASHEE STORY FROM THE PROVINCE

Queen of Hastings finds larger pastures

Tom Wolski, The Province

Published: Friday, January 18, 2008

No one can say this old grey mare ain't what she used to be. For years horse racing fans attending races at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver have known that whenever Canmor Farm's outstanding Monashee's name appeared, something special would be happening.

With an amazing race record of 18 victories in 24 starts, including 11 consecutive stake races, they always knew she was a runner.

Her streak ended in November in the Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine racetrack in Ontario.

After that race, they realized that vindicating that loss and gaining her proper exposure would require racing outside Western Canada.

They shipped Monashee to Santa Anita racetrack in California, known as Great Race Place, where she could be given the chance to prove herself by competing against the best horses in North America.

Last Monday after a two-month hiatus she made her comeback against top mares in the $80,000 Paseana Stakes. The plan was to run Monashee twice, then breed her to Hard Spun.

With Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the saddle and allowed to set an uncontested pace, she held off a late bid from runner-up Sweet Belle to win by a half- length. For the win, she earned $48,000, bringing her lifetime earnings to $693,675.

"All we told Mike was, 'Let her run her own race.' And you saw results," said assistant trainer Tracy McCarthy by phone from Santa Anita.

"Let's face it, he did not get into the Hall of Fame for no reason at all."

For McCarthy and husband Canadian Hall of Fame former jockey Chris Loseth their trip has been an eye opener.

For the next race, "we are leaning towards the $250 Grade 1 Santa Maria here on Feb. 9," said McCarthy.

"That race will have many of the horses she just raced against. I truly feel she deserve it after being off for nearly two months and running the race she did."

Now with that win to her record, questions remain about when she will retire.

"Our plans have not changed, she will be bred to Hard Spun when she gets to Kentucky. She has done everything we asked her to do," said McCarthy.

It is only fitting that one of B.C.'s greatest race horses live the rest of her life around royalty, being that she was and still is the queen of Hastings.

PROGRAM NOTES

Congratulations to local owner K.K. Sangara's Celtic Dancer being named Best Claim Based on Earnings in 2007 by the Thoroughbred Times. ... Thumbs up to the B.C. Standardred Association for a great revamping of their horse racing website. Check out www. harnessbc.ca. ... How can Dale Baird, the first trainer to reach 9,000 winners, not be receiving an Eclipse Award nomination for Outstanding Trainer? Dale Baird passed away three weeks ago in an automobile accident. The awards are on Monday. ... Right out of the movies, a Cold Case investigation into the mysterious death of legendary Phar Lap is reopening after 75 years.

twolski@shaw.ca

© The Vancouver Province 2008


Brazil score dazzling double at DIRC curtain-raiser 18 Jan 2008

Dubai Racing Club

http://www.thoroughbrednews.co.nz/international/?id=33137

Brazil stole the show for the second year running on the opening day of the Dubai International Racing Carnival, after Happy Boy and Happy Runner struck for the South American country, with the former announcing himself as a Dubai World Cup possible.

Both horses represented trainer Pedro Nickel Filho, jockey Jose Aparecido Da Silva, and owner Roberto Reichert, but it was Happy Boy who connections will be most excited about.

The four-year-old came to Nad Al Sheba as the best dirt horse in his native land, and emphatically reinforced his reputation with a stunning nine-length win in the HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1, the highlight of the Derrinstown Stud-sponsored card.

The son of Ski Champ overcame an awkward start under but soon found his stride and found a smooth path up on the rail before taking up the running around 300 metres out and the US$200,000 prize was never in doubt thereafter.

Eduardo Guimaraes, racing manager to the owner, said: “He was only beaten once in five starts on dirt in Brazil and we were confident of a win, but we never imagined he would win like that!

“We will look at the next rounds of the Matkoum Challenge and hopefully he can be a Dubai World Cup horse.”

Happy Runner was initially a reserve for the concluding Marju, a 1500m handicap, but got a run when the race was switched to dirt from the turf.

It didn’t take long for the leading international trainer in the UAE to find his feet as Mike De Kock took the chief supporting race, the $175,000 Invasor, a 1800m handicap, with Lucky Find.

The South African raider was previously seen finishing second in a Group 1 in his homeland and went one better here to make it five wins from 10 career starts.

Frankie Dettori marked his return to Nad Al Sheba with a double on Godolphin’s Fiesta Lady and Many Colours.

He said: “It’s great to be back although I am a bit out of breath and need to lose a couple of pounds!”

Fiesta Lady led home a 1-2-3 for South American-bred fillies in the Alhaarth, a traditional prep for the UAE Guineas.

The Argentine Oaks heroine marked her debut in Godolphin colours with an easy win in the 1400 metre conditions contest, from Chilean-bred Cocoa Beach, who flew home from a hopeless position, and Brazilian-bred Olympic Glory

Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said: “She will go the Guineas route, and she’s a lovely filly.”

Earlier, Dettori won on his first ride of the season after partnering Many Colours to win the Bahri, a 1500m handicap for fillies and mares.

“He was carrying topweight which was a bit of a worry, as was the surface, as it was his first time on it, but he had some good form in Europe, and we expected a big run,” said the Italian.

Mick Kinane denied Dettori in the Intikhab – an 1800m handicap - thanks to Rampallion’s one and three-quarter length verdict over Familiar Territory.

Winning trainer Erwan Charpy said: “We were pretty confident beforehand as he had been pleasing us with his work.”

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Doug Watson seem to have a host of top Purebred Arabians, and it was Kandar Du Falgas, who showed his class with a tidy win in the opening round of the Maktoum Challenge for Arabians.

The six-year-old shaped well on his dirt and UAE debut last month, and showed the benefit of that run and a first-time visor under Richard Hills to give connections their second win in three years, following Al Saoudi’s victory in 2006.

“He showed a lot of promise last time, and we know he would improve on that run – we have a lot of Arabians, so we just have to find the right spots for them all,” said Watson.


COMMENTATOR, LOUD AND CLEAR

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Commentator set a track record for one mile at Gulfstream Park on Thursday, winning the $59,500 allowance feature by 14 lengths in 1:33.71.

The 7-year-old gelding, a New York-bred chestnut trained by Nick Zito and ridden by John Velazquez, paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Commentator led from the outset in his first start since finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 27.

"Only in America can you do things like this: Take a 7-year-old and have him come back running like a 2-year-old," Zito said. "If we can keep him like this, he can beat any horse in the world."

Commentator earned his 10th victory in 16 starts. His career has been interrupted several times due to injury.

from Arkansas Democrat Gazette

(www.nwanews.com)

OPENING DAY AT OAKLAWN PARK : New year brings new excitement

BY ROBERT YATES

Posted on Friday, January 18, 2008

Email this story | Printer-friendly version

HOT SPRINGS — What rocker David Bowie sang about in 1972 might be the theme of racing in 2008 at Oaklawn Park.

Seemingly everywhere you turn, it’s “ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.” “We do have a lot of new trainers, a lot of new jockeys,” Oaklawn General Manager Eric Jackson said. “With all those new people, there just seems to be a greater sense of enthusiasm and excitement heading into this season.

“ We always have a lot, but it just seems to be almost at a fever pitch right now.” The thrill meter amps up even more today when Oaklawn’s 54-day live meeting begins at 1 p.m. with nine races, including the $ 50, 000 Dixieland Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Jackson said anticipation of a strong season is based on Oaklawn’s recent past and, just as important, the promise of a better future.

Since the introduction of an alternate revenue stream in 2000, Instant Racing, and expansion of other electronic games six years later, purses have grown approximately 37 percent and are projected to reach a record $ 300, 000 daily this year.

On the track, Oaklawn’s national image has been flattered the past four years by Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex and Curlin — Arkansas Derby winners who have gone on to win five of the past 12 Triple Crown races.

A fourth Arkansas Derby winner during that stretch, Lawyer Ron, is a finalist for champion older horse of 2007.

“We really thought through Instant Racing, and now with electronic games of skill we could take Oaklawn to a new level,” said Jackson, track owner Charles Cella’s right-hand man since 1987. “I think we’re seeing that right in front of our eyes. We didn’t know it at the time, but it started in 2000 with Instant Racing. It blossomed in 2004 with Smarty Jones. It’s just been a whole new ballgame ever since.” The game could be even bigger this year.

A more aggressive recruiting philosophy lured many new faces to Hot Springs, including trainers Michael Gorham and Frank Kirby and jockeys Clinton Potts and Chris Emigh.

“We really feel that Oaklawn has made a resurgence ever since Smarty Jones,” racing secretary Pat Pope said. “Each year that we keep growing, it’s like, ‘Well, how can we top it and keep going ?’ Charles and Eric decided that we really wanted to go out and spread the word and do more recruiting.” Pope said he targeted Delaware, Illinois and Kentucky, emphasizing tracks that don’t race head-to-head with Oaklawn.

Among the top six trainers last year at Delaware Park, three have strings in Hot Springs — Gorham and Oaklawn regulars Larry Jones and Tim Ritchey.

Delaware opens shortly after the Oaklawn meeting ends in April.

Kirby is one of the top trainers on the Chicago circuit. New Kentucky-based trainers wintering this year at Oaklawn include Vickie Foley.

“I think the success of Oaklawn and the planning of Oaklawn going to the next level has every jurisdiction looking at where we’re heading,” Pope said.

Led by defending champion Steve Asmussen, 17 of Oaklawn’s top 20 trainers last year have returned.

Luis Quinonez is back to defend his riding title. Other top-10 finishers returning are Calvin Borel, Tim Doocy, Eddie Razo, Larry Sterling, Terry Thompson, Carlos Gonzalez and Belen Quinonez.

In addition to Potts and Emigh, a seven-time leader at Hawthorne in suburban Chicago, other newcomers to watch include Ricky Frazier, a Hot Springs native, and Dylan Williams, a promising apprentice.

Oaklawn will race mainly four days weekly until its normal Wednesday-Sunday schedule begins March 19.

The season concludes April 12 with the $ 1 million Grade II Arkansas Derby.

On May 1, construction is scheduled to begin on a facility at the south end of the grandstand that will house approximately 1, 000 electronic games, doubling the present total.

The two-phase project, which is expected to take 18 months to complete, eventually could push purses at Oaklawn to more than $ 400, 000 daily.

The infusion of more purse money, Pope said, should guarantee even more “ch-ch-ch-chchanges” for Oaklawn in the next few years.

“We’ve told people that they really need to come here,” Pope said. “With our games of skill, and what the future holds, it’s just unlimited as to what you can see coming up.”

2 Comments:

  • At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Steve said…

    WEGZ stadium bar does not cater to horseplayers. I use to go there and have had many run-ins with management over the totally outrageous dim lightedness, extremely loud music, and there lack of caring for the horseplayer. Over two years ago I contacted Woodbine entertainement group over quite of these issues and they "Actually" told me the following:

    WEGZ made a huge design error for the horseplayer and that their next restaurant, horseplayer area will be changed to better accomodate the players. Also, they company told me that, in all honesty, that they really don't want horseplayers at all, and that they would prefer the Hockey, Football, group parties.

    I have stayed away since then because I found myself loosing my eyesight from reading the form in dim-lights, loosing my concentration from the loud music, and loosing my patience from being shut-out so many, many times, from all the machines that are not working.

    Steve

     
  • At 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    true about wegz....love to see an establishment that only caters to horseplayers...da silva wins again in singapore..22$

     

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