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Tuesday, April 01, 2008



Bear Stable's KENTUCKY BEAR, a sizzling debut winner at Gulfstream before being unplaced in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, will take another shot at a pass to the Derby when he will start at Keeneland in the Blue Grass Stakes on APRIL 12.
The colt sizzled 5 furlongs at Palm Meadows yesterday in 59 flat with trainer Reade Baker looking on.
In the Blue Grass he is expected to meet PYRO, VISIONAIRE, COOL COAL MAN, and others.
The original plan for the colt was to compete this weekend in the ILLINOIS DERBY at Hawthorne.
Here's the field for that race...

Illinois Derby (G2)
April 5, $500,000, 3yo, 11⁄8m, Hawthorne Race Course, 4:26 PM CT
P Horse Sire Jockey Wt. Trainer

1. Recapturetheglory (Cherokee Run) E. T. Baird 122 Louie J. Roussel III
2. Instill (Proud Citizen) Christopher A. Emigh 122 John C. Wainwright
3. Z Humor (Distorted Humor) Rene R. Douglas 122 William I. Mott
4. Atoned (Repent) Joe Bravo 122 Todd A. Pletcher
5. Denis of Cork (Harlan’s Holiday) Julien R. Leparoux 122 David M. Carroll
6. Golden Spikes (Seeking the Gold) Timothy Thornton 122 Martin D. Wolfson
7. Real Appeal (Successful Appeal) James Graham 122 Thomas M. Amoss


Look on my sidebar for the link to the FRESHMAN SIRE CONTEST teams..I made this page, it's not perfect but just make sure your team is on there

TWO-YEAR-OLD RACING will be underway fully very soon!

I will put a top 10 chart on there once a few weeks go by to keep tabs on the leading sires (although the official score will be done through a data-base at year's end)


Are you coming to Woodbine on Saturday? Vote on my poll at right.


Centennial Farms (Niagara) Inc. celebrated a win at Gulfstream yesterday with canadian-bred NIAGARA THUNDER, who returned to the grass and won his maiden in 1:47.02 for 9 furlongs. The Hussonet-Terrigal,Seattle Slew colt was bred by Hope Stock Farm, Karen & Mickey Taylor and he is trained by Alec Fehr. It was the 4th career start for the colt, a $90,000+ Canadian sale yearling.
Niagara Thunder, while likely a turf runner, has two stablemates who are Plate hopefuls for the Centennial team - AWESOME EASTON and SEBASTIAN'S SONG.

In other PLATE news, DEPUTIFORMER worked at Palm Meadows yesterday, 5 furlongs in 1:03.


SEALY HILL, Canada's Horse of the Year who is very close to making her 2008 debut at Keeneland. worked 5 furlongs in a bullet 5 furlongs in 58.80 yesterday.
She is owned and bred by Eugene Melnyk.


BOBBI SIOUX, a claiming filly, continues to work like a stakes horse at Woodbine as she prepares for the upcoming season.
Last week it was a bizarre 44 and change prep for 4 furlongs and yesterday - :45 flat!
The track is hard and fast - stakes winner ARTIE HOT worked in 45.80 - but this gal is working like a maniac. It will be interesting to see how she runs first time out on the year.




So far the Woodbine preview segment on THOROUGHLOG has discussed physical changes and improvements to the track - front and backside - and the arrival of a string of horses from the world's leading trainer STEVE ASMUSSEN and the presence of more TV attention from the Canada and the U.S. on Woodbine's stakes races that were included in the WIN AND YOU'RE IN program.


While the standardbred barn is being moved to the clubhouse turn (ready perhaps by early fall), construction on WOODBINE LIVE! won't be far behind.

In fact, construction of WOODBINE LIVE! is set to begin by the end of this year and, according to the Cordish Company website (the partners), could open in the spring of 2010.

"Woodbine Live is progressing well, " said NICK EAVES, president and chief executive officer of Woodbine Entertainment.
" There have been so many bits and pieces to it. Last summer we hit a major milestone when we got the City of Toronto zoning approval - we're now zoned to operate a hotel, a live performance venue, movie theatre, and up to 1 1/2 million square feet of retail."

Eaves said the main 'live' district would be the first piece of the plan constructed. The large retail area, based on tenant interest, will likely be leased fairly quickly and construction of it can begin first.

The release of new rules from the ONTARIO RACING COMMISSION has been met with mixed reaction from the industry but one that seems important is the owner accountability aspect of a positive test.

Now not just the trainer is suspended for a positive test but the horse cannot race for 90 days.

"It's funadmentally fair, it closes the circle where there is clear violation, there should be a shared responsibility," said Eaves. "It's about the bettor being more confident in the product."


The first major casualty on the road to the Kentucky Derby happened yesterday when GEORGIE BOY, the California stakes winner by Tribal Rule (San Vicente and San Felipe Stakes), pulled a muscle in his back.
BOB SUMMERS Derby rankings from the Buffalo News are up - he has included BIG BROWN for the first time..

Kentucky Derby Rankings
By Robert J. Summers--News Sports Reporter
Updated: 03/31/08 8:51 PM

Top Kentucky Derby contenders (with starts, firsts, seconds, thirds, earnings, trainer and probable jockey).

1. Pyro (6-3-2-1, $1,057,718. Steve Asmussen, Shaun Bridgmohan): Breeders' Cup runner-up finished behind War Pass three times but he is clearly one of the top contenders now that the champ has been beaten. ... Became a millionaire with workmanlike victory in Louisiana Derby. ... Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland April 12 is scheduled to be his final Derby prep.

2. Big Brown(3-3-0-0, $662,700. Richard Dutrow Jr., Kent Desormeaux): Holy cow! He wired the $1 million Florida Derby from the 12-hole in 1:48 while drawing off from the field after fractions of 45 4/5, 1:10 and 1:35 in the most impressive performance of the spring so far. ... He'd be No. 1 if not for bad memories of Bellamy Road, who disappointed in the 2005 Derby after a similar performance in the Wood Memorial. ... Plus the question of whether a horse can win the Derby in his fourth career start with a history of foot problems.

3. Cool Coal Man(7-4-1-0, $307,531. Nick Zito, Kent Desormeaux): Stalked the pace and came home strongly to win the Feb. 24 Fountain of Youth for his second straight victory over 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream. ... Although nobody is sure exactly how fast he ran because of a timing glitch (estimates range from 1:49.58 to 1:50.07), that performance, his first stakes win, earned him enough graded stakes money to get to the Derby. ... His final prep will be in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 12 at Keeneland.

4. Big Truck(7-3-1-1, $336,880. Barclay Tagg, Eibar Coa): New York-bred son of Hook and Ladder has steadily improved with each race and showed a great stretch kick in catching Atoned in the last 40 yards to win the March 15 Tampa Bay Derby. ... Next start could be the 1 3/16-mile Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on April 12.

5. Atoned (8-2-5-0, $196,757. Todd Pletcher, Joe Bravo): Looked like a winner down the stretch in the March 15 Tampa Bay Derby until Big Truck caught him at the end. ... It still was an impressive performance for his 3-year-old debut, his first race since he clipped heels, stumbled, then rallied to get lead before finishing second in 1 1/8-mile Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct. ... Next assignment is the April 5 Illinois Derby, where he's 4-1 on the morning line.

6. War Pass(6-5-0-0, $1,433,400. Nick Zito, Cornelio Velasquez): What happened? The 2007 champion 2-year-old colt got more education than most everybody expected when he got bumped around and finished seventh and last in the March 15 Tampa Bay Derby. ... It certainly was a tougher test than his easy victory at a mile (in 1:36.38) in a $36,000 workout for his 3-year-old debut in an allowance race on Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park . ... Will Zito turn him around? Or is he just a freshman phenom who can't carry his form as a sophomore? ... The next few weeks be very interesting. ... His next start will be the April 5 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

7. Court Vision(5-3-1-1, $292,542. William Mott, Garrett Gomez): Scored impressive win at 1 1/8 miles in Aqueduct's roughly run Remsen Stakes in November for third straight victory while beating Big Truck by five lengths and Atoned by a neck. ... Grandson of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat came from 12th to third in the 1 1/8-mile Fountain of Youth in his sophomore debut. ... It was his first out-of-the-exacta finish but still was a good showing for his first race in three months. ... Next start is the Wood Memorial April 5 at Aqueduct.

8. Colonel John (5-3-2-0, $375,300. Eoin Harty, Corey Nakatani): Son of 2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow looked good in two come-from-behind victories and a runner-up finish to Into Mischief in Southern California. ... Has been working "bullets" (fastest of the day at the distance) at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita. ... Stretched out to 1 1/8 miles in winning the $200,000 Sham Stakes against four others, including No. 9 El Gato Malo, by a half-length. ... Santa Anita Derby on April 5 will be his final prep race for the Derby.

9. Cowboy Cal (5-3-0-1, $164,708, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez): Won Laurel Futurity and Tropical Park Derby on grass, as did Barbaro en route to 2003 Derby victory. .‚.‚. After runner-up finish in grassy Hallandale Beach on Feb. 16, Pletcher probably will switch to synthetic surface in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in his next start on April 12.

10. El Gato Malo (4-3-1-0, $200,200, Craig Dollase, David Flores): Set Santa Anita record for a mile in 6 1/4-length win in San Rafael Stakes on Jan. 12. .‚.‚. Suffered first defeat, finishing a half-length behind No. 6 Colonel John, when he stretched out to 1 1/8 miles in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on March 1. ... His connections are planning for a rematch in the April 5 Santa Anita Derby.

11. Denis of Cork(3-3-0-0, $198,552. Dennis Carroll, Julian Leparoux): Made impressive stakes debut with solid finish to win Feb. 18 Southwest at Oaklawn Park at a mile. ... Connections decided to skip the March 15 Rebel Stakes and race in the April 5 Illinois Derby, where he's the 2-1 morning line favorite.

12. Visionaire(5-3-1-1, $228,260. Michael Matz, Jose Lezcano): Came flying through the fog to win the Gotham Stakes over the Aqueduct slop on March 8. ... In his only other stakes appearance he was 2 3/4 lengths behind Pyro in the Risen Star on Feb. 9. ... Next race is probably the April 12 Blue Grass Stakes.

13. Z Humor(7-2-0-2, $566,450. William Mott, Rene Douglas): Earned $400,000 as a dead-heat winner (with Turf War) in the Dec. 7 Delta Jackpot for 2-year-olds. ... As a 3-year-old he shows two medoicre efforts, most recently a fourth-place finish, 8 1/2 lengths behind Cool Coal Man, in the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 24. ... Will try to made amends in the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on April 5, where he's 3-1 on the morning line.

14. Z Fortune (5-3-1-0, $186,600, Steve Asmussen, Robby Albarado): New York-bred has not progressed in two outings since scoring a 2 3/4-length victory in Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 12. ...Couldn't hold lead against stablemate Pyro in Risen Star. ... Then failed to fire as 7-10 favorite in March 15 Rebel Stakes, where he finished almost 10 lengths behind Sierra Sunset. ... Next up is the April 12 Arkansas Derby.

15. Smooth Air (7-2-2-2, $395,500. Bernie Stutts Jr., Manny Cruz): While all eyes were on Big Brown, he was the only other horse running well in the Florida Derby as he finished second by 5 lengths and earned $200,000. ... Florida Derby runners-up won the Kentucky Derby in 1991 (Strike the Gold) and 1974 (Cannonade).

16. Tale of Ekati (5-2-1-0, $313,200. Barclay Tagg, Edgar Prado): Won Belmont Futurity with big stretch move. .‚.‚. Fourth in Breeders' Cup after botched workout went too fast. ... Posted nine timed workouts at Palm Meadows training center between Jan. 16 and March 3 but finished sixth, 6 1/2 lengths behind Pyro in Louisiana Derby in his 3-year-old debut. ... Tagg said he had his head turned sideways when the gate opened and lost all chance. ... He'll get another chance in the April 5 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

17. Blackberry Road (9-1-2-2, $158,235. David Carroll, Calvin Borel): Runner-up to Z Fortune in Jan. 12 Lecomte Stakes had lots of traffic trouble in Feb. 9 Risen Star and emerged with some minor cuts and scrapes. ... Then he finished fourth in Louisiana Derby after a switch to Robby Albarado from Calvin Borel. ... Looks like the April 5 Illinois Derby is next with Borel back aboard.

18. Adriano (7-3-1-0, $394,100. Graham Motion, Edgar Prado): Impressive winner of March 22 Lane's End Stakes over Turfway Park's polytrack renewed interest in son of A.P. Indy. ... But let's not forget that he finished 17 lengths behind Cool Coal Man (not to mention Elysium Fields, Court Vision and Z Humor) in the Fountain of Youth over a real dirt track at Gulfstream. ... April 19 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland may be next.

19. Fierce Wind (6-3-0-0, $146,200. Rick Violette Jr., Cornelio Velasquez): Finished five lengths in front of Z Humor in Sam Davis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 16, so time will tell if he deserves a higher ranking. ... He finished 10th in the Florida Derby, where he drew the inside post and was in contention for a short while. ... Former trainer Nick Zito said he bled in the race. ... Owner switched horse to Violette.

20. Elysium Fields(6-2-2-1, $108,960. Barclay Tagg, Eibar Coa): Got a perfect trip behind the pace makers in the Fountain of Youth, but couldn't hold off the charge of Cool Coal Man. ... He might have done better if he hadn't had to rush up to get early position from the No. 9 post. ... But then he finished 11th in the Florida Derby. ... Wouldn't be surprised in Tagg ran up the white flag on this one.



By Phil Janack -
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hard as it is (for me) to believe, this is my 20th year covering horse racing. During that time there have been many highs and lows, but no depth lower than the day I killed a horse.

Surprised? Well, no one was more shocked than I when I reported for this newspaper that a horse had been put down after collapsing on the track one hot summer afternoon at Saratoga Race Course. Problem, was it wasn't true.

A little background. I didn't grow up with horse racing, though my family lived (and still does) within a short drive of the track. I didn't see my first live race until I volunteered to take over the Saratoga beat in 1989 when fellow Amsterdam Recorder sportswriter Frank Delong Jr. (a degenerate horseplayer, though, over the years, I admit I can't remember how the heck he spelled his name) left the business to study law in Florida.

I spent 5 1/2 summers in Saratoga for the Recorder, an afternoon paper during the week that went AM on the weekend. Days were long and monotonous. Back then, I'd have to be at the paper at 5 a.m. to help grind out the day's edition, compile and produce a daily graphic of staff horse picks and head to the track. I was lucky if I got there by post time.

That meant no barnstorming on the backstretch, an invaluable and utterly necessary task that produces much of the day's news. Because the Recorder wanted detailed trip notes for every race, every day -- play-by-play, if you will -- it was rare that I'd leave the press box during the card, even for the stakes races (the Sanford, named for a prominent Amsterdam family, being a notable exception). I'd be out the door by 6 p.m., headed home to rest up for another 13-hour day, six days a week.

(On a side note, the year after I left the Recorder, after breaking the budget with overtime and mileage, the paper cut back on its Saratoga coverage to only a few days during the meet, which it still does today).

Though I became well-versed in watching and analyzing a race, I was terribly lacking in fundamentals. I wasn't so bad that I asked why no horse ever won the Travers twice (an actual question by a former columnist for a certain large newspaper in the area), but there were basic concepts that left me exposed by my job description at the time.

I joined the Gazette the month before the 1995 meet, and was introduced to a whole new way of covering the track. It was challenging and wonderful and, for me, quite scary. Here I was talking with Hall of Famers and third-generation horsemen and I was petrified that I'd ask or say something stupid.

Well, as you've guessed by now, it happened. Can't remember if it was that summer or next, but I'll never forget the cirumstances.

It was an unusually warm day in Saratoga, one where it is not uncommon to see a horse falter and even fall on the track from heat exhaustion. Most often, a stricken horse will be cooled off with any of several garden hoses that are lined along the track and immediately spring back to its feet.

On this occasion, a horse trained by Neil Howard collapsed on the track, and though I didn't see it, I followed a trickle of other reporters that went down to the paddock -- where Howard was saddling a horse in the following race -- to get an update. He saw us coming, shook his head and waved his arms and said, "Not now. Not now." We all marched back to the box, fearing the worst.

Not wanting to sound ignorant, I never asked any of my colleagues if they thought the horse was OK; or even if they saw it get up. I just assumed collapsed meant dead, and that's how I wrote it, in a few paragraphs in the next day's notebook. I figured it was such a small mention, who'd notice?

Well, Mr. Howard sure did. I found out in no uncertain terms that the horse was alive and well, except in the Gazette. How embarrassing! I was still young and inexperienced, but I should have known better. I was sick about it, to the point where I couldn't work.

With my heart beating in my throat, I nervously walked down to a payphone in the Saratoga backyard (no cell phones in those days, and I wasn't about to make the call in the middle of the press box) and phoned Howard. With each ring, I tried to swallow my heart back to its rightful place.

When Howard answered, I introduced myself and told him I was the guy who killed his horse. He was understandably upset, and gave me a dressing down I'll never forget. He wasn't being mean, he was just being honest, as anyone who has ever dealt with Howard can attest. He's as classy as they come.

I couldn't tell him enough how sorry I was, and that we'd print a correction the following day. He accepted my 6,284 apologies and said he appreciated the fact that I called him personally and took responsibility for myself. I still laugh at the last thing he said, "But you know you (blank)ed up, right?"

Yeah, I knew. It was a lesson I learned the hard way, and have never forgotten, particularly now that I have been fortunate enough to cover high-profile events such as the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup. I grew up a lot that day.

Funny thing is, Howard and I have gotten along great since. He is always very cordial and pleasant, always says hello and is a frequent stop on my daily morning rounds. I don't know if he even remembers anymore that I was that dumb reporter who killed his horse, but I know I'll never forget it.

The famous 3 mile plus race is this weekend

(Odds from

Cloudy Lane - current odds 7.0 - Very warm favourite and it's not hard to see why. Represents McCain family, is thrown in at weights on evidence of two successes since National marks published and excellent win-rate of 9 from 19 starts. Possible negatives are that he's never tackled Aintree fences and stamina not cast-iron.

Comply Or Die - 13.0 - Revitalised by blinkers on last two outings and appeals as one of the better handicapped on basis of Eider Chase win if headgear works as well a third time. Travels and jumps well and should stay. Strong claims if taking to the fences.

Slim Pickings - 15.0 - Beaten only two lengths when third in last year's National. Light campaign this season but shown enough to suggest he's in good heart. Looks sure to run well, albeit others likely to be better treated.

Simon - 16.0 - Going well when falling 6 out in last year's National and arguably the pick of those towards the top of the weights this year. Solid efforts when in frame this season, seems impervious to ground and likely to give a good account.

Chelsea Harbour - 18.0 - Won Grand National Trial at Punchestown in February and fine fourth over inadequate trip last time, when he showed he can handle good ground. Can be a tad free, but definite claims if he settles early.

Bewleys Berry - 18.0 - Has twice jumped the National fences with aplomb, particularly when chasing home Mr Pointment in Becher. That will stand him in good stead and forgiven most recent effort, when palpably in need of run.

Butler's Cabin - 21.0 - Has champion jockey McCoy on-board and a leading contender for this on evidence of last season's form which included win in Irish National. However, three runs this season have been very disappointing.

Mr Pointment - 24.0 - Jumped National fences superbly when making all in Becher Chase in November. However, handicapper has done him few favours and ran dismally in prep race at Doncaster.

Snowy Morning - 26.0 - Unexposed compared to most in this line-up and potentially well-treated on evidence of second to Denman at last year's Cheltenham Festival and third to The Listener in Irish Hennessy. Run may have come too soon when only third last time out. Interesting contender, although passed over by Walsh.

King Johns Castle - 29.0 - Attracted market support in build-up and, though passed over by McCoy, is interesting as an unexposed contender who has long shaped as if a thorough stamina test will suit. Has hinted at temperament though and probably best with cut.

McKelvey - 32.0 - Heart-breaking second in 2007 National when twice hampered and he returned lame. Clearly handles fences well, but interrupted preparation this term and best chance may have gone with that injury on last year's run-in.





Frank Stronach laid down a wager yesterday on his distressed racetrack and gambling venture, betting that taking control of it himself will eventually lead to a payoff.

Mr. Stronach pulled the trigger on a complex three-way deal that will see MI Developments Inc. shed its money-losing racetrack and gambling assets.

The move could broker a peace with some investors in MI Developments, which is the real estate arm of the Stronach empire, after a two-year battle to divest the horse racetrack assets, which are held in Magna Entertainment Corp. (MEC) and have lost more than half a billion dollars since 2003.

But the refinancing package failed to silence the most vocal critic among shareholders of MI Developments and a key clause in the deal raised concerns about Mr. Stronach's auto parts firm Magna International Inc. gaining more exposure to real estate and horse racing.



  • At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    You missed Shane Seller's admission that he used buzzers when he was riding at Evangeline Downs.

    Oh, and I'm totally against banning the horse thus punishing the owner. Most owners have no idea what trainers do to keep their win percentages high. Forget the 90 days for the trainer and 90 days for the horse. Make it 180 days for the trainer.

  • At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why did they cut down those beautiful old trees in the paddock???

  • At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I hope Big Brown wins the Triple Crown this year. Trainers like Richard Dutrow Jr. are the real class acts this sport can build around. With guys like him. This sport really has no where to go but up, in my opinion. The more publicity real sportsmen like Richard Dutrow receive, the classier we will all be, as Horse racing lovers, for it.

    i am proud to follow a sport that lets guys like this just be exactly who they are....I almost get teary-eyed thinking about the Derby Day broadcast and the heaps of praise that will be heaped upon this great man.

  • At 6:55 AM, Anonymous Lois Keays said…

    Re: Cangamble comment
    Personally, I feel responsible for my horse when in training. I had hopes that the "new ORC rules" regarding passports would make trainers accountable for their actions, and keep owners better informed. Like all of the "new" rules, it is a non-issue. I would bet that clarification of the actual rule would leave a loop-hole the size of the Grand Canyon for racing suspensions for anyone. After numerous phone calls, I found out that the "passport" is just a sheaf of papers handed over if requested, listing vaccinations and worming history. And in order to comply with the safety rein issue, no one seems to know if it even applies to thoroughbreds, or what the actual requirements will be.
    My opinion...there seems to be a minimum word requirement each year for presenting new doesn't seem to mean there are actual standards to be enforced.

  • At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    to 6:27...............Richard Dutrow Jr has had numerous positives, and was involved in the whole Wild Desert fiasco.............don't make him out to be a Saint.

  • At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I think 6:27 was being sarcastic.


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