ascot aug08
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Saturday, February 02, 2008


Our fine friend WIARTON WILLIE did not see his
shadow today (thanks to our friend Lois for reporting that this morning)
How Willie got out of his hole with all that snow we got yesterday is a good guess but anyway...early spring...maybe!

Read more below...


A Kentucky-bred 3yo to watch is SLEUSE, who posted a 90 Beyer Figure when winning his maiden by 5 lengths yesterday. The Grand Slam colt is out of the Canadian-bred mare CHARTREUSE (Danzatore).


From the Sun Sentinel

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin again has Donn favorite in Daaher

| South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 2, 2008

Groundhog Day is the perfect date for this year's Donn Handicap. Racing fans at Gulfstream today will have several reasons for a sense of deja vu.

A year ago, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin's Invasor was the favorite for the Donn, and the 2006 Horse of the Year overcame a troubled trip to win the winter season's showcase race for older horses. Then he went to Dubai, where he captured the $6 million World Cup.

This afternoon, McLaughlin will saddle Daaher, the strong favorite in a field of nine for the $500,000 Grade 1 event.

Daaher doesn't have Horse of the Year credentials but comes into the 1 1/8-mile Donn off three consecutive wins, the last over Breeders Cup Sprint winner Midnight Lute in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.

If Daaher runs as expected, his next stop also will be the Dubai World Cup next month. Mike Luzzi is coming down from New York for the ride.

One of Daaher's main rivals, Brass Hat, could also evoke a feeling among fans of having seen this before.

Brass Hat won the 2006 Donn en route to Dubai, where he finished second in the world's richest race. But his connections came home empty-handed as a result of a controversial positive drug test. Since then, Brass Hat's only significant win came in the 2007 Massachusetts Handicap, although he did finish second in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in November.

Some of the horses in the Donn also could have a feeling that they've done this before. The winner of the Clark, AP Arrow, is back today as part of an uncoupled entry from Eclipse-winning trainer Todd Pletcher's barn. Pletcher's other entrant, Fairbanks, ran second to Brass Hat in the Mass 'Cap, then ran fifth in the Clark.

Southern California's leading trainer, Doug O'Neill, is shipping in Spring at Last for the Donn. Spring at Last also has a Dubai connection, having won the Godolphin Mile on the World Cup under card last March. Spring at Last prepped for the Donn with an allowance win on Santa Anita's turf course but he is a four-time winner on main tracks.

Another contender, Einstein, also is thought to be superior on turf and won an allowance on Gulfstream's infield course in January. However, he has won twice on dirt.

Wincat, the morning line favorite for the supporting feature, the $150,000 Swale, also comes from the potent McLaughlin barn. The Grade 2 stakes for 3-year olds is a shadow of the prestige event it has been in the past when it was an important part of the Florida Derby program.

This is underlined by the fact that Wincat has only a maiden win at Philadelphia Park in December and the early second choice, Coal Play, also has won only a maiden race and was seventh in the Hutcheson Stakes this past month. Hutcheson runner-up Silver Edition, from the D. Wayne Lukas barn, also figures to attract attention in the field of seven.

That number could be reduced by at least one as Coal Play is cross-entered in a first level allowance, the race after the Swale. The stakes might be an easier spot.


Thoroughblog sent a letter to Los Alamitos but there has been no response. Who will take responsibility here? Here's a letter to DRF..



Many share blame in sorry story of mare's demise

On Saturday night, Jan. 26, a 13-year-old mare named Planting Time returned from a five-year, 11-month layoff to compete at Los Alamitos Race Course for a $2,000 claiming price at the distance of 4 1/2 furlongs.

Much to the chagrin of the fans, bettors, and horse enthusiasts who were in attendance or watching this race on Television Games Network, Planting Time broke down around the far turn and was euthanized after the race.

I am absolutely disgusted with all involved - Planting Time's connections, the stewards, the track veterinarian, and Los Alamitos management - for allowing Planting Time to compete, only to break down on the racetrack and meet her unfortunate and unnecessary demise.

As an owner and breeder - someone who makes his living in the sport of Thoroughbred racing - as well as a horse lover, I am completely shocked and revolted this barbaric act was allowed to take place.

The amazing thing is that the mare was in for a $2,000 claiming price. Did her owners need the money that badly? The cost to bring her back off the layoff and train her must have been more than she was running for.

Can anyone mean to tell me her connections could not have found her a home? Why was this allowed to happen?

In my 25-plus years on the racetrack, this is far and away the most blatant example of animal cruelty I have seen.

I really believe that every last person involved should come under severe scrutiny and/or be fined and punished for this inhumane act.

Aaron Hesz - Hollywood Hills, Calif.

U.S., Canadian groundhogs disagree

Nova Scotia's furry prognosticator doesn't see his shadow, while Pennsylvania's does

Feb 02, 2008 09:24 AM

Canadian Press

WIARTON, Ont. — Wiarton Willie says the winter that has ravaged most regions of Canada this year will give way to an early spring.

The country’s most famous weather prognosticating rodent failed to see his shadow when roused from his slumber this morning.

Folklore has it that if a groundhog sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, he’ll flee to his burrow, heralding six more weeks of winter — if he doesn’t, it means an early spring.

The origins of the tradition aren’t clear, but it’s likely related to the fact that Groundhog Day falls midway between the start of winter and the beginning of spring.

Some say it started with Candlemas, a Christian custom named for the lighting candles during the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary.

An early spring is also the prediction of Canada’s other famous groundhog, Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam. But Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil disagreed. He saw his shadow when roused from his slumber by his handlers.

Staten Island Chuck is calling for an early spring. He apparently saw no shadow on emerging around 7:30 this morning from a small house at the Staten Island Zoo. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced the creature’s finding.

In Malverne, N.Y., on western Long Island, Malverne Mel also saw his shadow.

However, in Howell, Mich., midway between Lansing and Detroit, Woody emerged from a paper mache stump to predict that spring is right around the corner.


  • At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Excellent letter about Planting Time. The heads of racing officials should be rolling for allowing this to happen in the first place.

  • At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    'Thoroughblog sent a letter to Los Alamitos...'

    Perhaps we should all send them our thoughts on this matter, I certainly have a few that I'd be willing to share. Where did you send your letter Jen?

  • At 10:53 AM, Blogger Jen Morrison said…

    I sent a letter to the website too for more contacts...

  • At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OK Jen, letter sent to above noted official at Los Alamitos. I will let you know if he ever answers. Hopefully he gets an inbox full of mail. It's criminal as far as I'm concerned.

  • At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Looks like Daaher not a two turn horse!

  • At 8:00 PM, Blogger the_drake said…

    KG, our Freshman Sire teams look like its a match race between Saarland and Smarty Jones (who was my last exclusion). Looks like everyone is jumping on the Omega Code bandwagon since I put him on my

  • At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Im wondering why the Woobdine website no longer tracks the jockey results now that Emma Wilson is in Hong Kong. Can anybody tell me?


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