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Sunday, February 03, 2008


MONTEREY JAZZ (Thunderello), fast and freakish in the STRUB on the Santa Anita superhighway.
Photo from JohnKC's photos on



It was a bit more than a fizzle. After sending hard early in his first race of the year, DAAHER was always pressed on the pace and then finally wilted badly and beat just one horse to the wire in the Grade 1 Donn at Gulfstream yesterday. It was not pretty as the colt wobbled backwards with his rider attempting to still get something out of him.

On Groundhog day, the winner was SPRING AT LAST, co-owned by former trainer Elliot Walden and trained by Doug O’Neill. The son of Canadian-bred Silver Deputy tracked the pace all the way and then surged clear.

A recap comes from the Sun-Sentinel...

Spring at Last surprises favored Daaher in the Donn

By Tom Jicha | South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 3, 2008

Spring at Last shipped 2,500 miles east from Southern California for Saturday's Donn Handicap at Gulfstream. He's probably going to keep going another 6,000 miles to Dubai after upsetting the Grade 1 $500,000 event under a clever ride by Eibar Coa.

Coa reserved Spring at Last a length or two off the pace of odds-on Daaher and long shot Kiss the Kid, then pounced at the top of the stretch to take command and open enough of a lead to hold off late-running A.P. Arrow by a half-length.

Kiss the Kid saved the show, another 2 1/2 lengths behind. Daaher, who came into the Donn off three straight wins, faded to seventh in the eight-horse field.

Spring at Last's trainer, Doug O'Neill, who stayed at Santa Anita, called the horse's part-owner Elliott Walden as the field went into the paddock with instructions for Coa, who had never been on Spring at Last. He needn't have bothered.

"Eibar had it read right looking at the [Daily Racing] Form," Walden said. "He felt he would break good and then the favorite would go ahead of him, and he would get a real good stalking position from the inside."

Speaking by phone afterward, O'Neill said the Donn winner is headed toward the Middle East but he isn't certain if it will be for the World Cup or the Godolphin Mile, which Spring at Last won last March.

"We don't know which race in Dubai we want right now," O'Neill said. "We'll talk it over with the owners, decide a strategy and play it by ear."

Expecting a repeat of last year, when Daaher's trainer Kiaran McLaughlin saddled then reigning Horse of the Year Invasor to a Donn victory en route to Dubai, fans pounded Daaher down to 4-5 favorite as if he were the Horse of the Year.

But he didn't run like one. The early fractions were quick (22 4/5, 46 1/5 and 1:09 3/5) but not suicidal.

Spring at Last and Kiss the Kid were within a length all the way down the backstretch and they went on, with Spring at Last completing the mile and an eighth in 1:48 2/5.

Luzzi was as surprised as most of those in the crowd that Daaher gave way as readily as he did.

"He's gone that fast before," Luzzi said. "If you look at all his races, he's just that fast. It's just distressing that he didn't fight when they came to him.

"That wasn't him today."

Luzzi told McLaughlin that the Florida heat might have been Daaher's undoing.

"It's obvious something went wrong," McLaughlin said. "The [jockey] said it felt like he overheated. ... These things can happen. Right now he's walking OK and we'll scope him soon. Hopefully, he'll live to fight another day."

The afternoon was doubly disappointing for McLaughlin. He also saddled Wincat, who finished a soundly beaten third as the 3-2 favorite in the co-featured Swale.

The Grade 2 6 1/2-furlong sprint richly rewarded those who used elementary handicapping to come up with the exacta, which came back $246.20 for a $2 bet.

Eaton's Gift and Surrealdeal were the only contenders in the field of seven who had won anything but a maiden or claiming race.

kent Desormeaux put Eaton's Gift, the 7-2 third choice, on the lead shortly out of the gate and never looked back.

Wincat, coming off a big maiden win at Philadelphia Park in late December, chased the leader most of the way before being run down late by Surrealdeal, who was allowed to go off at 56-1 despite having hit the board in his last five starts, including two small stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

In addition to his share of the $90,000 first prize, Eaton's Gift's trainer Dale Romans got a slight case of Derby fever, stating, "When you have a fast 3-year-old this time of year, you have to think about stretching him out."


Canadian-bred 3yo and possible Queen’s Plate hopeful SLIGOVITZ was a flat 5th in a maiden allowance at 9 furlongs yesterday. The Sligo Bay colt was always hard ridden in the race and he raced evenly – earning a 71 Beyer Figure, down from his previous mark of 85.

EATON’S GIFT, the speedy winner of the Swale Stakes for Zayat Stables, ran a 93 Beyer Figure in that sprint score. The colt is by Johnannesburg and is out of a ½ sister to Canadian stakes winner Knight’s Templar.

Kentucky Derby prospect CROWN OF THORNS (Repent) ran a 93 Beyer when winning the Robert Lewis Stakes for 3yo’s at Santa Anita.

Strub to Monterey Jazz

By Hank Wesch


February 3, 2008

ARCADIA – Monterey Jazz grabbed the lead from the start and stayed there for the full 1 1/8 miles to win the 61st running of the Strub Stakes yesterday at Santa Anita.

It was not surprising, since it was the third straight wire-to-wire winning effort for Monterey Jazz, a 4-year-old Thunderello colt. More of a surprise was that it was accomplished on the Cushion Track main surface rather than the turf of his previous two wins and was an eighth of a mile longer and against considerably stronger competition.

The Grade I, $300,000 Strub is one of the premier events of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting. Tiago, the 2007 Santa Anita Derby winner, was second, 4½ lengths behind Monterey Jazz, and Monzante third, another half-length in arrears.

Ridden by David Flores, Monterey Jazz went the 1 1/8 miles in 1:45.65 and paid $13.60 as the third choice in the betting.

The success of Monterey Jazz in the last three races corresponds to trainer Craig Dollase's decision, after two wins in eight starts at sprint distances, to try the colt at longer distances.

“We've obviously found the right key with him now,” Dollase said. “He probably wanted to stretch out all along, and I just didn't know that. So we've got a brand-new horse on our hands, and he's the real deal.”

In the other Grade I stake on the program, Intangaroo, a 26-1 shot, got up in the last jump to edge Society Hostess and take the $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap.

Hystericalady, the 1-5 favorite labored home in fourth place, beaten by 10¼ lengths.

The off-the-board finish by Hystericalady, overwhelmingly supported in the show pool, created a bonanza for all those who bet to show on any of the first three finishers.

Intangaroo, a 4-year-old Orientate filly, returned $55.80, $13.20 and $32.00, Society Hostess $5.20 and $18.20 and Overly Tempting $16.00.

The morning scratch of Pussycat Doll (foot problems), considered the only serious contention for Hystericalady – a $1.1 million career earner who had been a close-up second in the Grade I Lady's Secret and Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff to end her 2007 campaign – reduced the Santa Monica field to five. And it made Hystericalady appear a cinch to hit the board.

But in her first start in three months the Distorted Humor mare was between horses for fast early fractions of 21.69 and 44.15 to the half-mile and had nothing left for the stretch.

Intangaroo had a wide trip to the top of the stretch but made up three lengths on front-running Overly Tempting (third) in the final eighth of a mile and covered seven furlongs in 1:20.71.

“We were running for third,” admitted trainer Gary Sherlock of the intention in entering Intangaroo in the Santa Monica. “She's a nice filly, and I would have been happy to hit the board.” It was the first Grade I victory for Intangaroo, Sherlock and jockey Alonso Quiñonez.

In other stakes on the Santa Anita card yesterday:

Crown of Thorns ($5.40) stepped into a place of prominence among West Coast-based 3-year-olds with a 2½-length victory over Coast Guard in the $200,000, Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, the Repent colt moved willingly when a hole opened along the rail entering the second turn and was clearly the best in the field of five, covering 1-1/16 miles in 1:40.76.

“This horse does everything right,” Espinoza said of the 8-5 favorite, a winner for the second time in three career starts. “There was just a little opening and we got lucky and got through. . . . This horse is getting better with every race, and he can do anything.”

Trainer Richard Mandella said that Crown of Thorns, owned by B. Wayne Hughes of Lexington, Ky., would possibly race next in the Sham Stakes on March 1 preparatory to the Santa Anita Derby on April 5.

Passion ($8.60) held off Ariege by a nose in the $113,350, Grade III La Habra Stakes, going 6½ furlongs on the hillside turf course in 1:13.52 under Rafael Bejarano for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Storm Military ($5.20) took the ungraded, $81,150 Thunder Road Handicap, covering the turf mile under Garrett Gomez in 1:34.17.


Doug O'Neill-trained Spring At Last, a 6-1 shot, took the Grade I, $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park in Florida as odds-on favorite Daaher failed to hit the board. Three races earlier on the program, Eaton's Gift, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, took the Grade II Swale Stakes for 3-year-olds covering 6½ furlongs in 1:15.63.

Barrier Reef edged Roman Emporer in the $100,000 Whirlaway at Aqueduct.


First post at Santa Anita today is 11 a.m. in order to get in the nine-race card in time for patrons who wish to view the Super Bowl in its entirety . . . Rain is forecast today, a concern for officials at a track that has already been closed for seven racing days due to rain and the drainage problems of the Cushion Track surface. There were a total of seven days of cancellations at Santa Anita from the track opening in 1934 through the 2006-07 season . . . Student Council and Awesome Gem, the 1-2 finishers in the Pacific Classic last summer at Del Mar, are part of a field of nine for today's featured Grade II, $250,000 San Antonio Handicap.

Hank Wesch: (619) 293-1853;


The list of American Triple Crown nominees is out. THOROUGHBLOG went through the list in search of Canadian related horses..

BONANZA (Jump Start) Kentucky-bred, Co-owned, trained by Mark Casse

BRIARWOOD CIRCLE (Smart Strike) Kentucky-bred Trained by Mark Casse

BRICKYARD CROSSING (A.P. Indy) Kentucky bred, trained by Mark Casse

CATCH THE LUCK (A.P, Indy) Canadian-bred, Sam-Son Farms

CHIEF BEAR (Chief Seattle) Kentucky bred, owned by Bear Stables, trained by Reade Baker

COOL GATOR (Macho Uno) Canadian bred owned by Hillsbrook Farm, trained by Dan Vella

FUTURO (Golden Missile) Candian-bred, foaled at Adena Springs

HARLEM ROCKER (Macho Uno) Canadian-bred/owned Stronach Stables

KENTUCKY BEAR (Mr. Greeley) Kentucky bred owned by Bear Stables, trained by Reade Baker

MIGHTY VOW (Broken Vow) Maryland bred, owned by Camilla Farms, trained by Norm DeSouza

MINER’S CLAIM (Mineshaft) Kentucky bred trained by Mark Casse

NIAGARA THUNDER (Hussonet) Canadian-bred owned by Centennial Farms (Niagara) trained by Alec Fehr

NOTGIVINMYLOVEAWAY (Not for Love) Pennsylvania bred owned by Jus Luk Stable, trained by Reade Baker

TIGER BUD (Hold That Tiger) Canadian-bred by John Gunther

TOOK THE TIME (Greenwood Lake) Canadian-bred owned by Earle Mack, trained by Mark Casse

TURF WAR (Dixie Union) Kentucky bred trained by Mark Casse

TUXEDO BLUES (Milwaukee Brew) Canadian bred by Adena Springs


Michael Silvera: Still 'reining' after 70 furlongs

By Roland Henry SunDay staff reporter

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Seventy-year-old Michael 'Buddy' Silvera remembers a time when men loved horses for more than just money.

"There's a reason they call it the Sport of Kings," opines Silvera, "because kings already had money, they did it just for the love of those majestic creatures."

Speaking to SunDay from his daughter Dominique Peterkin's MoBay home Thursday last, the veteran horse trainer is heartbroken at the direction of the local horse-racing industry.

"There's too much gambling, it seems the sport end of [horse racing] is totally gone. I'm not a gambler and I've tried to stay as far away from it as I could throughout my career," says Silvera. He's not quite sure just when his career started, since he "has been around horses all [his] life" and is quick to add that he inherited the horse training know-how from his trainer-dad.

"Back in the days owners owned horses for pleasure and not for money. it became more financially pressuring towards the '70s," Silvera informs, making it easy to believe in his passion for equestrianship.

His appreciation for these powerful beasts no doubt stems from his childhood, growing up along Molynes Road where his family resided on six acres adjacent to the St Andrew Parish Church cemetery. He even fondly recalls when Half-Way-Tree was a vast expanse of land, devoid of urban hustle, bustle and of course, completely JUTC Transport Centre-free. He also recalls stories of how trainers would walk with their horses from St Andrew Park to the Knutsford Park Race Course, now the lofty business district of New Kingston.

"I remember my father Owen used to train Norman Manley's champion horse Royster. and Dr Ludlow Moodie (Manley's brother-in-law) would visit the home in the afternoons to view our horses and have tea with my parents," Silvera adds, harking back to the 1940s.

Silvera remembers too, being scheduled to attend boarding school at Munro College before he fell from his beloved horse, breaking his leg and arm. His ill health meant that he had to stay in Kingston and instead enroll at Wolmer's Boys' School along Heroes' Circle, within riding distance from home.

High school and a short stint as head of his father's dairy farm in Spanish Town completed, Silvera could now really focus on what he truely loved - horses.

"It's one of those things you just fall into," he admits, adding that "horses have a magnetism about them, they just pull you in."

It was perhaps that magnetism that led him to train champions Doosbery and Titania, which both won the Jamaica Derby. His exploits as a trainer facilitated a move to Canada, where he and wife Barbara would raise their four girls even as he raced at tracks like Woodbine, Greenwood and Fort Erie. His travels would continue during Canada's bitter winter months as he raced in the less frigid temperatures of New York's Aqueduct and Fingerlakes tracks as well as the more tropical Miami Gulfstream and Calder tracks. Throughout his North American career he had well over 200 winners, including the New York-bred stallion Ask Muhammed, champion of the Rochester Cup.

He returned to Jamaica in 1988.

Despite his several global experiences, Silvera refuses to accept the title of 'expert' since he claims, "I just do what I've always loved, it's nothing fancy really."

At 70 years old (he celebrated his birthday on January 27) one would think that he'd had enough, but that's definitely not the case. it seems the magnet is just as powerful as the day he held his first reins.

"Yes," Silvera says matter-of-factly, "I'm still in the business of training. I just keep going just so I have something to do."

And that's all he'll seem to need.

"Having a stud farm wouldn't fulfil me, there's just a high point in training a horse to race that is matched by little else," Silvera adds, noting too that trainers aren't the only professionals who transform clumsy colts into thoroughbred champions.

Silvera's parting philosophy resonates depth, not surprising since he is a man who has perhaps seen others lose millions in mere minutes, bewildered by brutal defeat or feel as if all nature were celebrating a stallion's conquest.

He laughs, pausing before sharing his words.

"There are 20 ways to lose a race, but only one way to win," he says, "make it to the finish first."


Woodbine Oaks winner GOLD STRIKE had her first foal on January 30 at Windfields Farm in Oshawa. The mare produced a Posse filly.


  • At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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