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Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Trainer STEVE ASMUSSEN (far left with his star CURLIN) is on his way to Woodbine (photo from



The Woodbine stable office yesterday confirmed that trainer STEVE ASMUSSEN will have 30 stalls at Woodbine this season, to be run by assistant Darren Fleming.

Asmussen, conditioner of Horse of the Year Curlin and an Eclipse Award finalist this year, was denied stalls by Woodbine last year after he was coming off a lengthy drug suspension.

Asmussen raced horses at Woodbine the last 2 years in a couple of events including the Victoria Stakes, which he won in consecutive years.

In 2007, his trainee Kodiak Kowboy raced twice at Woodbine, won the Victoria, and was named Canada’s champion 2-year-old colt.

Yesterday, Curlin went “incredible” in a workout at Fair Grounds – 7 furlongs in 1:25 1/5 – and the horse is headed to Dubai next week.

Asmussen’s Kentucky Derby hopeful Pyro also worked, 1:00 4/5 which the trainer called “too fast” to Jennie Rees of the Louisville Courier-Journal.


The feathers will soon fly at Woodbine racetrack in Toronto.

LITTLE RED FEATHER RACING, a syndicate group initiated five years ago by BILLY KOCH recently met at the Turf Lounge in downtown Toronto with prospective investors for its 2008 stable to race at Woodbine.

Julia Carey will train.

“The purses are fantastic at Woodbine, essentially on par with those at the top American track,” said Koch to THOROUGHBLOG.

“I think there is an opportunity for us to get into a growing market at a very nice racetrack.”

Koch, who says his main goal is draw new people to the track,

says he is keen for his partners to have the ‘on-track experience’ and ‘have fun’.

Little Red Feather, under CEP Gary Fenton, made headlines just a year into existence when its colt SINGLETARY won the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Mile.

“Some people may not realize the power of the syndicate,” said Koch, whose partners in the horses include New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady, ESPNs Kenny Mayne and hockey players Doug Weight and Ryan Johnston.

Among the folks who attended the Turf Lounge meeting last month was Jay McClement of the St. Louis Blues.

Little Red Feather Racing retained FAMOUSFOLKS’ Jay Dingwall to be the ‘eyes and ears of Toronto’ for the team to attract customers.

Koch said the group will attempt to raise $500,000 to $2 million in $25,000 increments per share.

The first purchases will be made at the upcoming 2-year-old sales in Florida.

The group’s website, offers more background and news information plus a profile on trainer Julia Carey:

JULIA CAREY BIO from LRF website

Julia Carey was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. Horse Racing has always played a major part of her life. Her mother was an owner/trainer and breeder and through her she was introduced to the world of horse racing. Over the years, she has worked in many different areas at the track including galloping horses for her family, in the racing office, and for the horsemen in the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association...all while raising her two children. Now that her family is grown and through the support of very loyal friends and clients, she operates a small stable, full time, in Canada.

Julia's career highlight came from the claim of the race mare Friendly Theresa. Claimed for only $40,000, Teresa won six races -- all at the Allowance level, -- earning over $250,000 for the new owners. Julia's win percentage traditionally hovers around 22%.

Admittedly, Julia's strengths are her honesty and her knowledge of all angles of the horse business. She's very good at developing young horses and her goal is to win a Grade 1 race. Julia looks forward to training for LRF because she "LRF has a winning attitude. All a trainer can ask for is having new owners who are willing to purchase quality horses."

Carey recently won her first race at Gulfstream Park when Disfunction won an allowance race last week.



From Standardbred Canada and Milton Canadian Champion & Trot Insider

Jane Holmes, vice president, corporate affairs for the Woodbine Entertainment Group, spoke with Trot Insider about Mohawk Racetrack's large scale expansion, which is inching closer to fruition every passing day.

Last week, a vote by the Milton town council unanimously endorsed the expansion of the Campbellville racetrack, which is looking to add an 18-hole, champion-style golf course and a fully-loaded hotel and conference centre.

"A lot of work went in to this project - about five years to be exact," Holmes told Trot Insider. "The work isn't over yet, though. There are still conditions that have to be met, including some environmental and hydrology issues, but I don't think that there will be any barriers going forward.

"Right now we are in the process of fulfilling the said conditions to get all of the go-aheads on zoning, etc. We've worked closely with the Town of Milton, the Region of Halton and the Halton Conservation Authority through this whole process."

If all goes according to plan, WEG is looking to pull out all the stops on the desirable expansion, which would see a 10-storey, 216-room hotel erected and much more.

According to the Milton Canadian Champion newspaper, the expansion would feature an informal dining restaurant, a fine dining restaurant, two lounges/bars, a spa, indoor pool, full fitness facilities, a 25,000-square-foot meeting/conference space and a 30,000-square-foot meeting/exhibition space.

"All of our applications for the expansion had been submitted prior to the Greenbelt legislation in the area, therefore the project is allowed to go forward under a grandfather clause, so to speak," Holmes told Trot Insider.

The Milton Canadian Champion reported that, once up and running, the expanded Mohawk site is expected to bring 68,000 new visitors to the region annually and $47 million in expenditures.

"Right now we are actively looking for a partnership in the development of the project," said Holmes. "The team here at Woodbine Entertainment are very excited, looking forward.

"The project at Mohawk is different than Woodbine Live! that is coming to Toronto. Basically we will be able to offer our customers a Deerhurst-type resort just a 45 minute car ride west of Toronto."

New harness/retention paddock at Woodbine

The new location for the paddock will be just west of the first turn. Construction is currently underway and much growth will be evident in the location over the next couple of months.

According to WEG's director of Capital Development Projects, Mark Nickle, all of the best features of the previous facility will be incorporated, as well as all of the best ideas gleaned from paddocks around the continent. The result will be a state-of-the-art building that will not only enhance the existing facility and mesh with the planned construction of the 25-acre entertainment complex, Woodbine Live!, but will also offer outstanding amenities for horses and horsemen.

"By the middle of February, we should start to see steel going up, and the roof will be started around the middle of March. The outside construction will be complete before the thoroughbreds start training, so it won't disrupt their workouts." Thereafter, all the construction will proceed in the interior of the buildings.

Construction crews have broken ground, leveled the site, and poured two-thirds of the footings for the new two-storey paddock, which will feature a total of 160 stalls (the current building has 130); testing facilities for both standardbreds and thoroughbreds; offices for track veterinarians, emergency medical technicians and track maintenance personnel; and a new broadcast studio with a prime trackside view. In addition, Nickle said there are plans for a new second-floor kitchen/cafeteria, seating 60 to 75 people, which will also offer panoramic sightlines of the racing action below. An elevator will ensure the upper storey is wheelchair accessible.

The accompanying retention barn will be equipped with 32 stalls and a separate security office. The building has been designed so that it can also serve as a quarantine facility if necessary.

Eastern Construction, the contractors at work on the site, have a target completion date of September 1, 2008, which will give the project a few weeks' cushion in case of weather delays and unforeseen snags, before harness racing returns to Woodbine, October 9, from its summer home at Mohawk.


'Judith' in mini-stake at Aqueduct, likely in last year of racing

American-based Silly Goose Stable won its 2nd race with a Canadian-bred offspring of D’Wildcat in a week when D’WILD AFFAIR won yesterday at Fair Grounds.

The 3-year-old gelding won his maiden for $50,000 claiming and is ot of the mare Forbidden Love.

The gelding was bred by Reade Baker.

Owner/trainer SCOTT FAIRLIE continues to have a super winter at Philadelphia Park. His mare STAR VALLEY (Peaks and Valleys) won an allowance race yesterday at 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17 2/5 (74 Beyer Figure) for her 2nd win in as many starts.

Fairlie has won 5 times with Star Valley since he claimed her for $40,000.

Queen’s Plate contender and American Triple Crown nominee NIAGARA THUNDER (see the list of locally-based Triple Crown nominees on a recent Thoroughblog post) is entered at Gulfstream today in a 1 1/16 mile turf event.

The 3yo Hussonet colt is owned by Centential Farms (Niagara) Inc. and trained by Alec Fehr. The colt, bred hy Hope Stock Farms and Karen and Mickey Taylor, was 2nd to the much-hyped Giquere in his debut last fall at Woodbine.

JUDITHS WILD RUSH, a multiple Canadian champion, is in the Ground Storm Stakes at Aqueduct today for owner Harvey Tenenbaum. The grey horse by Wild Rush is expected to be retired this year and enter stud in 2009.

Among his rivals in the race today is Canadian-bred EXPLOSIVE HEAT.



NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – Patrick Husbands, on winter break from Woodbine in Canada where he is champion jockey, scored the sixth win of his stint at Fair Grounds when he landed the fifth race on Monday's card.

The Barbadian 34-year-old rider finished fast astride the 6-to-1 bet Woodford Girl and won the one-mile run by 3-1/4 lengths.

Husbands, who only arrived here mid-January – seven weeks after the meet started – after a short trip home to the Caribbean, is currently just outside the Top-20 on the riders' list.

Jamie Theriot is the leading rider with 68 wins, followed by Robby Albarado (53) and Jamaican Shaun Bridgmohan (51).

When Husbands landed the US$39 750 Maiden Special Weight fifth race, he was scoring his first win here in just over a week.

Displaying one of his trademark patient, come-from-behind rides, Husbands held the three-year-old filly at the back of the field while the favourite Coeur d'Arc led from early.




All others' top Derby Future odds
War Pass, 2 others top individual horses

By Jennie Rees
jrees@courier-journal.comThe Courier-Journal

Unbeaten champion War Pass, Remsen winner Court Vision and Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Pyro are the 12-1 co-favorites among individual horses in early odds for Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, it was announced yesterday.

However, the overall favorite at 5-2 is "all other 3-year-olds," the mutuel field that covers every horse that is not among the 23 individual horses. The field has been the favorite in the first pool every year since the bet's inception in 1999.

The first Derby wager pool will run from noon EST tomorrow through 6 p.m. Sunday. The early odds were set by Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia.

In the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager's first pool, "all other 3-year-old fillies" is the 5-2 favorite, with unbeaten champion Indian Blessing and double Grade I winner Country Star leading individual horses at 8-1.

Betting on the Oaks wager will run from noon tomorrow through 6:30 p.m. Sunday, the additional half-hour designed to give the filly bet an opportunity to be the sole focus of horseplayers.

The Future Wager is designed to allow fans to lock in better odds on horses than they might get on Oaks or Derby Day. The minimum bet is $2, with win wagering only, and there is no refund if a horse doesn't make the race.

The first pool dates are designed to coincide with Saturday's Risen Star at the Churchill Downs-owned Fair Grounds in New Orleans. The second Derby/Oaks pool will run March 6-9 to coincide with the Fair Grounds' Louisiana Derby, with the final pool April 3-6 spanning the Santa Anita Derby, Wood Memorial and Illinois Derby.

To see a list of the horses and their odds and read more about these hopefuls…visit Cindy Pierson Dulay’s site at:


  • At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great! Asmussen has had at least 22 positive tests... now we welcome him and give him 30 stalls. Brilliant! I wonder how he will like that new Passport idea and how he will go about listing Clen Buterol, Ketorolec, Mepivicaine, and acepromazine as race day meds.

  • At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Woodbine gave Steve the stalls because he is one of the more highly regarded conditioners in North America. His name on the stall list will bring instant recognition to a racetrack that doesn't getting any. This will only lead to the industry's best crossing the border to compete for Woodbine's wonderful purses, which means better racing for fans to enjoy. I applaud Woodbine, they are finally "moving forward" . Now lets get some real riders in the jocks room.


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