ascot aug08
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Saturday, March 08, 2008


WELCOME TO POST NUMBER 600 (yep, six hundred!!) at THOROUGHBLOG.



No less than 11 GRADED STAKES around the ovals today and Canadian-breds are in some of them.

At FAIR GROUNDS, the trio of BUFFALO MAN, FRENCH BERET and TWILIGHT METEOR all have solid chances in the Mervyn Muniz Stakes at 9 furlongs on the turf.

French Beret possibly declined (bounced) a bit in his latest and can come back to a 97 or 98 Beyer Figure effort if he times his move well. Twilight Meteor did not have clear sailing in his latest at Santa Anita when he rallied for 2nd in a stakes race.


Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk takes shot in stakes

Saturday's $200,000 Richter Scale Handicap is about the last place in the world trainer Tino Attard thought his 7-year-old gelding Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk would be running when the meet opened two months ago.

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk enters the Grade 2 Richter Scale off a pair of easy victories here in January, albeit against $35,000 and $62,500 claiming opposition. The son of Mutakddim earned career-best Beyer Speed Figures of 100 and 103, respectively, for the efforts.

"My brother [Sid Attard] had this horse at Woodbine and said he was feeling so good, and suggested we bring him down to Gulfstream for the winter instead of putting him on the farm," said Attard, who has sent out five winners from just 16 starters at the meet. "And he just has done everything right since coming down. He loves the racetrack. The owners are good people and are willing to spend their money when their horses are right, so we decided why not take a chance in the stakes."

Attard, who had Milwaukee Brew for owner Frank Stronach when that one won his maiden here in 2000, said he's enjoying his success this winter.

"I'm having a better meet than I expected," Attard said. "A lot of which comes from having owners who'll let you drop horses in where they can win."

OTHER RACES – SILVER SANDS, a Canadian-bred by El Prado-Cherry Tree Hill, makes her 2nd career start in the 1st race at Fair Grounds

The undefeated LANGFUHR colt EUROEARS is in action today at Fair Grounds in a small stakes, part of that blockbuster card.



STRONACH STABLES and trainer BRIAN LYNCH unleashed a firster that won big at Gulfstream yesterday. HALLOWEEN WITCH scared the pants off of all her rivals in a maiden allowance, winning by more than 6 lengths in 1:10.66 at 9 to 2 odds.

Lynch, who told this space recently that his 3yo fillies were going to be tough this season, had the Golden Missile – Debt, Mr. Prospector well prepared for the 6 furlong dash.

She is an Ontario homebred that was bought back from the Adena Springs sale for $110,000. Her dam, Debt, is from the family of Miss Swapsco and Ballade.

Her Beyer Figure was an 80.

At TAMPA, trainer John Simms won a race for owner Bruno Schickedanz with Canadian bred DIXIE PIPE (Kimberlite Pipe) for $12,500 claiming. The gelding was bred by John Gunther.


Deep field will test Pyro's hot reputation



This is the deepest prep to date. Run on dirt at the Fair Grounds -- whose 1,346-foot stretch is one of the few in the country longer than Churchill Downs' run from the far turn to the finish line -- it should show whether its entrants want any part of the Kentucky Derby. Shame on racing that its only television is HRTV.

While it's difficult to envision some in the nine-horse field winning, any could be in the trifecta. The 10-cent superfecta is a great bet here, even if you key Pyro on top.

Locals suggest the three out-of-state shippers -- Majestic Warrior and Tale of Ekati from Florida and Yankee Bravo from California -- are up against it because this race historically has been tough to win without a previous race over the track.
Horse to beat

Pyro was the second-best 2-year-old last year, and his breathtaking last-to-first performance in the Risen Star makes him the horse to beat not only here but for the May 3 Derby. In the words of David Carroll, trainer of Blackberry Road: "He's a monster."
Off the bench

Majestic Warrior and Tale of Ekati won major stakes last year but face a tough task for their seasonal debuts. Saratoga's Hopeful winner Majestic Warriornever has raced around two turns, but his running style and breeding indicate that today's trip shouldn't be a problem.

"It's a good field, and we realize we're not picking the softest spot," said Bill Mott, trainer of Majestic Warrior and a two-time winner of this race. "I'm not a great handicapper, but I can read that much, anyway. We're in Pyro's backyard, and they've got a definite advantage in a number of ways. (But) I'm enthusiastic about the horse. I'm also realistic. I need to see him run just like everybody else does."

Tale of Ekati was impressive in winning Belmont's Grade II Futurity then finished a distant fourth in the sloppy quagmire of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, in which Pyro was second.

"I think this is a very nice horse, but he's got a lot to prove yet," said his trainer, Barclay Tagg, who used a second place in this prep as a steppingstone to Funny Cide's 2003 Kentucky Derby score.

"I can't tell you how impressed I was with Tale of Ekati in the Belmont Futurity. That was off an interrupted training schedule, (he) got left at the gate, (had a) rough trip and beat Kodiak Kowboy running the last eighth of a mile in under 12 at Belmont. That is a talented horse. And of course we have all seen Majestic Warrior's Hopeful. This is a very good race. It will be one of those after the fact where everybody will say, 'I told you so.' "

-- Trainer Steve Asmussen, trainer of Pyro and likely pacesetter J Be K (as well as the Kodiak Kowboy).
Looming questions

Which Majestic Warrior will we see? The one who looked terrific coming from far out (admittedly in a four-horse field) to take Saratoga's Grade I Hopeful in his second start? Or the one who faded to sixth in Belmont's Champagne in his third and last start Oct. 6?

How far will J Be K carry his speed? The Silver Deputy colt won his only two starts in fast time on the lead, including a Saratoga track record for 51/2 furlongs (1:03).

Will Yankee Bravo handle dirt? Yankee Bravo, whose first race was in England before he was sold, is 3 for 3 after a small grass stakes and the California Derby over Tapeta. But he's never even worked on conventional dirt. Though he has grass breeding on his dam side, he's also by the Storm Cat stallion Yankee Gentleman.

Will the stretch-running Unbridled Vicar (fourth in the Risen Star) and Blackberry Road (fifth), finally get a clean trip and show their true abilities? Or are they horses who always are coming but never quite get there?



In the biggest disappointment of the year so far, DAAHER, the Canadian bred colt who got good for a brief spell last year, has been retired to stud.

A scintigraphy revealed torn ligaments in a front ankle.

The Awesome Again colt will stand for a hefty $30,000 at Nashwan Stud in Lexington.

Daaher, bred by Yvonne and the late Dagmar Schwabe won 4 of 9 races and over $450,000 including the Grade 1 Cigar Mile.


DePaulo pair has designs on Queen's Plate

Trainer Michael DePaulo is also spending the winter at Palm Meadows. DePaulo, who is based for most of the year at Woodbine, has started only two horses at the Gulfstream Park meet, but he has kept busy preparing his two top 3-year-old prospects for a potential run at the Queen's Plate, Canada's counterpart to the Kentucky Derby.

DePaulo's most experienced Queen's Plate candidate, Deputiformer, had the misfortune of catching the monster named Big Brown while launching his 3-year-old campaign here Wednesday. He finished a distant third behind the undefeated and as yet untested Big Brown. DePaulo's second Queen's Plate hopeful, Giquere, moved a step closer to his 3-year-old debut after working six furlongs in 1:16.60 at Palm Meadows on Friday.

Giquere, a son of Mutakddim, won his only start impressively, rallying to a 5 1/2-length maiden special weight triumph on Dec. 9 at Woodbine. Named after the NHL Anaheim Ducks' goalie Jean-Sebastien (GIGUERE), Giquere has worked seven times in Florida this winter.

"He's had only one start, but I think he can be a Plate horse," said DePaulo. "The owner turned down an offer for $1 million after his first race."

DePaulo also has a former Canadian 3-year-old champion among the horses he brought down for the winter - the 2006 Sovereign winner Shillelagh Slew.

"I know I've only started a couple of horses at the meet," he said. "Basically, I'm here to beat the winter up north and to get my horses ready for when we return to Woodbine in the spring."


This racing fan saw this yesterday…

I just watched the pre-race paddock saddling for race 3 at Aqueduct today on TVG and saw a trainer/ assistant punch his horse, Nkoti Reigns, in the ribs HARD because the horse was acting up..trainer is listed as Kieran McLaughlin, who I always respected and was not the one who punched the horse- I can't believe he would condone this behavior from one of his assistants. The horse won anyway(hard to believe). I hate to see horses abused this way...he was obviously scared and anxious. Hitting an animal is never the answer...”


  • At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The 6th race at Gulfstream points out one of the real problems with the Racing industry in N america.
    It was a 2 horse race and BOTH horses were odds-on!
    The favourite was 1/2,the outsider!! was 4/5.This is really outrageous.In the UK where the bookies make the odds,and are generally despised,the outsider of 2 is always at least 1/1.
    These odds are an insult to our intelligence and reflect a take-out that is ridiculously high,and who,in their right mind really wants to bet into these types of odds.
    I hope that Poker will be available soon in Toronto where you have a much better chance to win a few dollars.Even a die hard horseplayer like me is tired of what racing has sunk to.

  • At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good day of racing on Saturday. Pyro looks to be the real deal but hope for more from Majestic Warrior. French Beret put in a good run and Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk wasn't going to touch Commentator. I agree with the above poster on the current takeout situations..

  • At 1:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The race shouldn't have been run. There were originally 8 horses entered, and there was no change of distance or surface.

    6 of the 8 scratched. DRF article says it was because all 6 of them got sick with colic, and 1 died? This does sound fishy that this "coincidentally" happened to horses that were entered in the SAME RACE, you didn't hear about mass scratches in the rest of the card for the same reason...

    This is the real disgrace of this race. Something fishy was going on here and I hope they find out what it is.

  • At 1:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We've seen drunks run out onto the track before (and one even try to punch a horse), but what about streakers? Check this out:

    Choose: Australia B, March 8, ninth race. Wait for the field to turn for home, and keep your eyes on the outside rail....

    See, there's more to the racing channels than the races themselves :-)

  • At 2:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just saw Emma-Jayne Wilson get dumped by her mount in the 6th race at Sha Tin... hope she's OK.

  • At 5:01 AM, Blogger the_drake said…

    I've got a question for the bloggers out there. What is more impressive...Pyro coming home fast as hell aginst slow fractions, or Proud Spell who has put up a quicker time, even though it was a much slower final 1/8th. I know this debate could go either way, it's a great debate in my mind.

    To those playing a Final Four pool at work, make sure you have The Drake going all the way. It's the finest school in the Drakes opinion.


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