ascot aug08
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


(Ascot Stud sent this picture of a filly by IMPEACHMENT out of STYLIZE who is enjoying her run in the snow)


Kentucky Bear headed to Chicago

Danny Dion is soft-spoken and does not have much to say when it comes to talking about his dealings in horse racing but you can tell one thing from any brief conversation – he wants all of his horses to win.

Yesterday, Dion’s BEAR STABLES bought four more youngsters, this time at the March Ocala sale.

His big purchase was hip number 200, a Forest Camp-Balcovy, Saint Ballado colt for $265,000. The colt is a Kentucky bred.

Earlier, the Bear paid $240,000 for a Florida-bre Dynaformer colt out of Trading, by A.P. Indy. The colt is a half-brother to Florida Oaks winner of this year, Awesome Chic.

The Bear also bought a Vindication colt out of the stakes placed Awesome Again mare Always Awesome for $80,000 and a Texas-bred Grand Slam colt for $35,000.

Dion told THOROUGHBLOG last night that BEAR NOW could race in Florida soon and that KENTUCKY BEAR, his 3yo colt by Mr. Greeley is headed to the ILLINOIS DERBY.

Also at the sale, LITTLE RED FEATHER RACING syndicate bought a couple of youngsters. The syndicate is expected to have some horses at Woodbine with trainer Julia Carey in 2008.


SHADOW FAX, bred by Carl Norris and Myckie Neubauer, won the finale at Mountaineer Park yesterday for $5,000 claiming. The 5yo is by Bold ‘n Flashy out of Starfax.




HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Michael De Paulo thinks Giquere could be good enough to win the coveted Queen's Plate at Woodbine on June 22. Local handicappers are more interested in learning whether De Paulo thinks Giquere is good enough to win Thursday's $41,500 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park.

Giquere showed his potential right off the bat, winning his maiden by 5 1/2 widening lengths when he launched his career at Woodbine on Dec. 9. The Beyer Speed Figure of 86 that he earned that day is the best of the 11 3-year-olds in the lineup for Thursday's one-mile main event.

Giquere, named for Anaheim Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien (Giguere) , was sent to Palm Meadows after his maiden win to freshen up and prepare for his 3-year-old campaign. He has worked steadily since early February with a series of bullet works that includes a five furlong drill in 59.40 seconds on March 13.

"We're hoping this will be a good start on the road to the Queen's Plate," said De Paulo. "He's doing good, I think he can stretch, out and I'd be surprised if he wasn't ready to run his best race despite coming off the layoff."

Giquere has not caught an easy spot for his return. The competition will include the undefeated pair of M V P Grand and Kohana, along with Web Gem, Motovato, and Caberneigh.

M V P Grand drew off to an easy 5 3/4-length victory for trainer Helen Pitts while racing for an $80,000 claiming price when be began his career here on Feb. 18.

"I took a little risk running him for a claiming tag the first time and got away with it," said Pitts.

Web Gem chased home his then-undefeated stablemate War Pass when he was easily second-best here on Feb. 24. In his previous start, Web Gem was fourth behind Face the Cat and Nistle's Crunch, who are among the potential starters for the Grade 1 Florida Derby here later this month.

Motovato finished a tiring fourth under similar entry-level allowance conditions on Feb. 22 while making his first start in nearly eight months. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Motovato figures to improve with that race under his belt.

Kohana survived a three-horse speed duel to win his maiden at first asking by 1 1/2 lengths going seven furlongs on Feb. 1 and should be a pace factor from the outset in his first try against winners.

MARK CASSE on Derby trail

Turf War's Derby trial to come in Lane's End

By Maryjean Wall


Horse trainer Mark Casse has long been ahead of his time.

When he was only 15, he began running his father's racing operation -- when he wasn't legally old enough to send a horse into a race.

As the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes comes up Saturday, however, Casse might be playing catchup for one of the few times in his life.

He's running out of time to see a big race from Turf War, the Derby hopeful he trains for Woodford Racing of Will Farish and partners.

Which is why he has the son of Dixie Union at Turfway for the 11/8-mile, Grade II Lane's End.

"We feel if we have a chance to get to the Kentucky Derby, this is the best way to get there," Casse said Tuesday. Turf War has $400,407 in graded winnings, which puts him high on the earnings list for Derby hopefuls -- if he makes it that far.

Turf War could be facing a field that possibly will include Medjool, Macho Again, Racecar Rhapsody, Halo Najib, Adriano, Cannonball, Chitoz, Duke of Du Buque and El Aleman. Entries will be taken Wednesday.

Turf War showed promise when winning the Delta Jackpot Stakes in December in a dead heat with Z Humor. But in his next and last race, the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park last month, he finished ninth.

Casse said he might have made the wrong call to jockey Calvin Borel in the latter race.

"He was coming out of the Jackpot having made a big run from 15 lengths behind," Casse said. "At the Southwest, I was watching the earlier races, and I had to make a decision."

He told Borel to ride the colt's usual race. Turf War got caught 25 lengths back after the half-mile pole, and "it was too much to overcome," Casse said.

Turf War still managed to finish only 21/4 lengths behind third-placed Liberty Bull, subsequent winner of the WinStar Stakes.

Casse promised that Turf War will be closer to the pace on Saturday. But he still needs to see a big race from the colt before deciding that he's Kentucky Derby material.

"We're going to have to be right there," Casse said -- if they are to take Turf War beyond the Lane's End to Churchill Downs on May 3.

Casse will saddle two others Saturday at Turfway: Clearly Foxy in the Bourbonette Oaks and Miner's Claim in the Rushaway Stakes.


Pyro looking hot

Background evokes classical image of Kentucky racing

By Maryjean Wall

The hottest horse on the Derby trail is due at Keeneland Wednesday, coming back to his old Kentucky home.

Pyro, favorite for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on April 12, is remarkable in that he really does come from an old Kentucky home -- the kind seen less frequently because these homes are part of a disappearing past.

No imagery could stamp Pyro with "Derby" more effectively in the public imagination than a picture of his home place. He was born and raised in the shadow of an antebellum mansion called Corinthia, on Russell Cave Pike.

You can almost taste mint juleps upon entering these gates.

Facing the length of the entrance drive is an imposing mansion built in 1854, a house evocative of Gone with the Wind. The ghosts of cavaliers, beautiful women and fast horses slip through time across the lawn, hard by the Greek Revival columns of the portico.

Corinthia presents the very picture of Kentucky and the Derby that nearly everyone has entertained in his or her imagination. It is the picture that helped popularize the Derby during a time when it struggled for recognition in the early 20th century. It is a picture that has stayed with the race.

Whether Pyro is destined to join the pantheon of Derby winners is the unknown that won't unfold until May 3. But everything so far has suggested Derby in this son of Pulpit and a mare named Wild Vision.

He has already been called a "physical monster," a "horse from a different planet." His trainer, Steve Asmussen, said that Pyro "is a tremendous opportunity for the Derby."

In two starts this year, both winning races, Pyro demonstrated a wide-ranging versatility that will serve him well in the Derby. He came from last near the quarter-pole in the Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 9, accelerating like a jet to win by 2 lengths.

Asmussen said he watched the race in disbelief. Certainly, Pyro's winning move had racing fans talking for several weeks.

The trainer said he then tried to work more on Pyro's running in the middle of the race instead of coming from behind the pack. He got precisely that style of race from Pyro in the Louisiana Derby on March 8. Pyro shot through a hole to win by 3 lengths.

Possible new dimension

Pyro's style in the Louisiana Derby suggested that he had found a new dimension.

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  • At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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  • At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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