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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

GETTING WARMER

KEENELAND SHOWDOWN

update: SEALY HILL vs. ARRAVALE

It could be the first time it has ever happened - two female Canadian Horse of the Year's squaring off in a race. SEALY HILL, last year's top thoroughbred in Canada and ARRAVALE, 2006's heroine, will meet in their 2008 debut in the JENNY WILEY STAKES at Keeneland on Saturday.
The turf is expected to be a bit on the 'off' side and a field of 10 is entered.
Sealy Hill has not raced since her narrow loss in the E.P. Taylor Stakes last fall and Arravale had a treacherous outing in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf when she was carried out badly by an errant rival.
Stay tuned.....


Okay, it's getting warm in Toronto - but not for long...get ready for the big chill on the weekend!
Stakes action heats up, however, see below.

(below right is STUCK IN TRAFFIC and trained NICK GONZALEZ in Florida. They are at Woodbine now, ready for the stake this weekend. Thanks to Lou M. for the photo).

HOT CANADIAN-BREDS has been updated (see sidebar) and you can check out all the other little bits I have included. I will have NEW POLL after the Blue Grass Stakes this weekend regarding your Derby horse...so pay attention!


WOODBINE WEEKEND PREVIEW ACHIEVEMENT STAKES SATURDAY STAR SHOOT SUNDAY
Ontario bred colts, perhaps with long range plans that lead to the Queen's Plate, race on Saturday at Woodbine in the Achievement Stakes.
The race is the first event of WOODBINE'S QUEEN'S PLATE FANTASY CHALLANGE.
Sunday, a race for 3yo fillies (open) is up, the Star Shoot.

Plate hopeful NOT BOURBON (Charles Fipke) worked four furlongs at Keeneland yesterday in :48 flat.
He is one of just 10 nominees to the Achievement and the favouirte figures to be STUCK IN TRAFFIC, also a Plate favourite, who goes for the sizzling Nick Gonzalez barn.

Many of the fillies in last weekend's LA VOYAGEUSE STAKES (Shilla etc.) are also nominated to the Star Shoot on Sunday. Will any run back? We'll find out Thursday.

Recent maiden winner FORESTRY'S MAGIC, a fast filly from the Mike Doyle stable, could be in the field.


FRIDAY'S feature on day 3 of WOODBINE is an Ontario-sired allowance race.
Not much Beyer Figure power in the field and only one gal has raced this year (SNEAKY DEE raced on April 6 for claiming and blew the break).
The favourite could be MISS JUICEY for 3 Sons Racing and Bob Tiller. The Trajectory filly won her debut with a 57 Beyer Figure and then was 4th to the very good AUTHENICAT in the Victorian Queen Stakes on Oct, 3. She has worked fast for her return.



LANGFUHR GREY COLT TOPS FIRST NIGHT Half-Brother to Cool Coal Man Brings $700,000 to Open Keeneland April Sale April 08, 2008

First off, Canadians in action last night on the first session of the KEENELAND 2YO SALE included BEAR STABLE, that paid :

$325,000 for hip 6, a gray Kentucky-bred filly by Maria's Mon out of Cloud's Ambre (Two Punch), granddam of stakes winners Peak Maria's Way and Meadow Breeze.

and $30,000 for a Canadian bred colt by Indian Charlie out of Classic Breeze by Regal Classic.

ROGER FORTIER (Jus Luk Stable, Alberta) paid $60,000 for a Maryland-bred Pulpit colt out of Dixie Flag, a Grade 2 stakes winner of $556,000.


From Keeneland.com:
A half-brother to Fountain of Youth (G2) winner and Toyota Blue Grass (G1) contender Cool Coal Man sold for $700,000 to Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stable to top the opening session of Keeneland’s April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale.

The Langfuhr colt breezed an eighth of a mile in a world-record-equaling time of :9.3 during the sale’s Preview Day works on Monday, April 7. Out of the Rubiano mare Coral Sea, he is a half-brother to two stakes winners, Cool Coal Man and Kathleens Reel.

“The pedigree was what I was most interested in,” said Jackson. “The fact that he showed early speed and was so precocious made him very interesting. We think we got something very special. The people we were biding against (WinStar Farm) know a thing or two about horses.”

Jackson said the colt will be trained by Steve Asmussen.

I’m very happy; he’s a heck of a good colt,” said consignor Niall Brennan. “If his (half) brother wins the (Toyota) Blue Grass this weekend, they’ll look very smart.”

On Tuesday, Keeneland sold 34 horses for $7,127,000, for an average of $209,618 and a median of $165,000. In 2008, the April sale format was changed from one day to two evenings. As a result there are no comparable figures.

“I think the new format worked very well. The Preview Day yesterday was the best attended ever. There were lots of people on the grounds today. This evening was a very festive atmosphere,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland director of sales. “As far as the results, this is a two-year-old sale and performance counts. The performance horses sold gangbusters.”

A colt by Aldebaran who posted the co-fastest time of :20.2 for a quarter-mile at Monday’s Preview Day brought the session’s second-highest bid of $675,000 from Seth Semkin, racing manager for B.Wayne Hughes. Consigned by Kirkwood Stables, agent, the colt is a full brother to the graded stakes-placed filly Grace Anatomy and from the family of multiple graded stakes winner Plenty of Grace.

“He had a fantastic work; very strong,” said Semkin. “He got over the ground very impressively. The family also helps with him being a full sibling to a top filly (Grace Anatomy). He’ll go to (trainer) Richard (Mandella). I think he was Richard’s favorite of the sale.”

Hughes also paid the day’s third-highest price of $575,000 for a colt by Cozzene out of the graded stakes winner Fluttery Danseur, from the consignment of Niall Brennan Stables, agent.

The April Sale continues Wednesday evening, beginning at 7 p.m.



BEAR AND MINER IN THE BLUE GRASS

American-bred colts KENTUCKY BEAR and MINER'S CLAIM have Canadian connections and both are to be entered today in the BLUE GRASS STAKES on Saturday at Keeneland.

The former is owned by Alberta's Dany Dion (Bear Stables) and the latter is trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Pat Husbands, both of whom live in Toronto and race at Woodbine.

Here are some Keeneland notes about the pair and what they did yesterday...
"Trainer Reade Baker was on hand Tuesday morning to watch Bear Stables’ Kentucky Bear go through his paces in preparation for Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass. With Cassie Garcia up, Kentucky Bear jogged once around the training track before visiting the starting gate and then jogging once around the main track.

Kentucky Bear enters the Toyota Blue Grass off a seventh-place finish in the Fountain of Youth (G2) on February 24 in his second career start. Unraced at two because of bucked shins, Kentucky Bear was a 6 ½-length winner going a mile at Gulfstream Park in his career debut on January 21.


“The Fountain of Youth is a complete toss,” Baker said. “He grabbed himself coming out of the gate. He got jostled around very badly in the first turn and he bled. Those three things together could stop anybody. We are tossing that and going back to his first race.”

Baker likes what he has seen from the son of Mr. Greeley since the Fountain of Youth.

“He has come back super,” Baker said. “You see his works down there (two bullets in three moves at Palm Meadows) and his work here the

Other day (1:01.80 with Toyota Blue Grass rider Jamie Theriot up). Everything is positive.”

Trainer Mark Casse traveled down the Toyota Blue Grass road once before, finishing sixth in 2006 with Seaside Retreat. Two years later, things may be a bit different with Briarwood Stable’s Miner’s Claim, who galloped on the main track Tuesday morning under Jason Hoyte.

Miner’s Claim will have had three weeks since his most recent start (second in the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park) as did Seaside Retreat in 2006, who had run second in the Lane’s End (G2). However, in 2006, the Toyota Blue Grass was run on Keeneland’s old dirt track.


“I knew Seaside Retreat would not like this track, but we were in a situation where we had to get some graded earnings,” Casse said. “Patrick (jockey Patrick Husbands) said he didn’t like it at all, but I told him he would love Churchill Downs (where he ran in the Kentucky Derby).


“I personally think that (the track surface at) Churchill Downs is a lot like Polytrack. Polytrack has a little substance on the top but it has a nice bottom that has some give to it and that’s the way Churchill Downs is. It’s not real deep and it has a little bounce to it. A horse that likes Polytrack will love Churchill Downs.”

Miner’s Claim has compiled a record of 3-2-1-0 with all starts on Polytrack."



KEENELAND CLOCKER'S COMMENTS


You can click on clocker's comments on the Keeneland website...this is a comment from the prep by stakes filly GOLDEN DOC A on Monday....she races this week.

Golden Doc A
(3f) in 33.2
Conditions:
fast
Comment:
very fast horse, impressed onlookers, galloped out 45.3 with the rider standing in the irons


TODAY
Canadian-bred STREET SOUNDS, a Keeneland ace who competed in the Woodbine Oaks and Triple Tiaara series at Woodbine last year, is in the Grade 2 Madison Stakes today at the Kentrucky track.

HARRISON'S COVE (race 5) at Keeneland is a logical contender in a maiden race. The Forest Wildcat Canadian-bred out of Abbott's Bay lost by a nose in his 2nd career start last time at Fair Grounds and ran an 81 Beyer Figure.
The colt is owned and bred by Eugene Melnyk and trained by Mark Casse.
Patrick Husbands is named to ride.

Chiefswood Stables' BORN TO BE makes her debut for new trainer MIKE MATZ (not her racing debut) in the last race at Keeneland. The promsiing filly competes in a turf allowance.




FROM DRF.COM LAST LAST WEEKEND
Ontario-bred restrictions tightened

What is an Ontario-bred?

That question will be asked a lot this spring as the province's Thoroughbred industry adjusts to a new definition and requirements.

On the website of the Ontario division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society,

cthsont.com, a separate link reveals the new definition: "A registered Ontario-bred is a registered Canadian-bred, foaled in the Province of Ontario, out of an Ontario-resident mare, registered with the Horse Improvement Program."

The requirements to be an Ontario-bred were tightened up during the winter. Previously, an Ontario-bred was considered any horse foaled within the province and registered with CTHS.

The recently revamped Horse Improvement Program, which had not undergone any kind of stringent review for more than 30 years, was restructured from last fall through February by a panel of 15 members of the Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and rapidly growing Quarter Horse industry.

A significant aspect of the program is the new mare residency requirements for 2008, which state that the mare must foal in Ontario, plus:

a) Be a resident of Ontario by Feb. 15, 2008, or

b) Be a resident of Ontario for 75 consecutive days surrounding date of foaling in Ontario, or

c) Be bred back to an Ontario sire registered with the Ontario sires stakes program in 2008, or

d) Have been purchased (or reserve not attained) at a recognized sale or purchased privately and arrive within the boundaries of Ontario no later than 30 days after the date of purchase.

These conditions apply to the 2008 foaling season only. To qualify as a 2009 resident mare, the entry date requirement will be Oct. 1, 2008, or 150 consecutive days surrounding foaling or breeding back to a 2009 Ontario sire stakes stallion. The other criteria will remain the same for 2009.

"What prompted the mare residency [requirements] was that the Quarter Horse industry was starting a program, a very strict one," said Jeff Begg, a vice president of the Ontario division of the CTHS and owner of Windways Farm in King, Ontario.

"The Quarter Horse industry is essentially starting from scratch, because Ajax Downs just got slots, so we thought we would take a look at a Thoroughbred residency program," said Begg. "And there had been complaints from some of the bigger, more commercial Thoroughbred breeding operations in Ontario with regards to the Ontario-bred definition - for instance, they ask how can a horse be considered an Ontario-bred if the mare comes up here, foals, the foal stays five days, and then they both leave?"

Begg said many breeders believe they have not been rewarded as much as the racing division since slot machines were put in place at Woodbine in 2000.

"The breeding industry seemed to be getting the short end of the stick with the programs and the funds," said Begg. "The racing is very strong."

Begg said the mare residency requirements will reward people who invest in the Ontario breeding industry but is not as tough a program as other jurisdictions.

"I looked at many programs in the United States," said Begg, who admitted the process of coming up with the program rules was a tedious one. "Ours is very liberal; it is not as stringent as some of the others. But I'm happy with it. It is going to be positive for the industry."


FANS OF WOODBINE, NOT FANS OF TAKEOUT
STEVE wrote in last week...(edited )

(WEG) are killing the bettor, and I for one have had enough of them. What are our options? Can we lobby them to decrease their takeout? Fat chance that they would listen. I love the horses, I love the handicapping aspect but I do not like getting ripped off for being an astute bettor...

15 Comments:

  • At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    Message to Steve: We do have options. There is exchange betting and foreign rebate shops that are available to us. I personally would rather bet everything through HPI, but like you, I am fed up by having to bet into one of the highest takeout structures in North America, so over 90% of my bets don't go through them.
    The public is getting wiser thanks to the internet, and many people all over America and Canada are avoiding betting on Woodbine because of the takeout.
    Even people who don't understand the affect of takeout or don't care, subconsciously gets affected by high takeouts. They go broke quick, and their feeling about going to the track is really one of complete negative expectations.
    The sad thing is that if Woodbine were to drop their take to the levels found at Keeneland for example, there bottom line would increase, but they are too fearful to take the risk.

    Also, no offense Jen, but if anyone like Steve wishes to make a comment on my blog either trashing my blog or trashing WEG, feel free. I see no problem publishing it.

    I speculate that Steve used some naughty words, and I respect the fact that Jen doesn't want those words printed here. My rules are different:)

     
  • At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Jen Ive got a great name for that 700,000.00 purchase How about IN THE RED......HAHAHAHA Must be nice to have that type of feed money! Lou M.

     
  • At 1:21 PM, Anonymous KG said…

    To Cangamble: blah, blah, blah - same post different day. Instead of blogging and posting about the same issues about takeouts and how much you hate Woodbine and Wilmot why don't you do something about it. Why don't you let us know what exactly you have done to right all these wrongs? Blogging the same mundane posts all the time really won't change a thing. As far as those who go broke at the track not returning because of a negative experience - please spare me that crap. Someone who is going broke at the track is not going to stop going - the thrill is more important than the bottom line. By the way they are not going broke because they received less when they won, they are going broke because they don't win or they are gambling with money they don't have.

     
  • At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    KG, I am doing something about it. 90% of my action is not going to WEG.
    Also, regarding blogging about these issues and leaving comments whenever possible help inform the public. Have you ever heard the expression, "the pen is mightier than the sword" ?

    By going broke at the track, I don't mean going literally broke. They lose their bankroll faster than they should because the takeout is ridiculously high.

    The reality is that the way WEG has set up horse racing with HPI, the bettor has no chance for a positive experience, there are no long term winners because the takeout makes the game a negative expectation one. This is not the same when you bet with half decent rebates. There are winners, and a buzz is created which cause new players to get involved.
    I don't hate Willmot btw, I just think he is out of touch with reality, and should let go of the reigns at WEG. He probably would have been a fine CEO in 1965.

     
  • At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have also noticed that the show payouts for track with $2.20 minimums like Oaklawn are paying $2.10 through WEGs pools. If you look that the payout in non minus pools situations the payout is usually $0.10 higher on place at show price. WEG is gyping these player out of half their money. What a bunch of crooks!!!

     
  • At 6:10 PM, Anonymous KG said…

    Cangamble, thank you for your response but I must disagree with some of your fundamental thoughts and number crunching when it comes to comparing Keeneland and Woodbine. From your website and I quote "You'd figure that because Keeneland doesn't have slots, their takeout would be higher, but the reality is that they have to rely on betting monies for profit and purses". You couldn't be more erroneous in this comment. Let's look at the numbers shall we? Keeneland's Total Mutuel Handle for 2007 from ALL sources was $298,185,140. Not bad but not even in the same ballpark as their revenues of $815,401,000 from their 4 sales during 2007. If you think that Keeneland relies on betting money for profit and purses you are sadly mistaken. Horse racing appeases the industry and is nothing more than a showcase for the best horses in the world to race at the best track in the world. Handle and takeout are a byproduct of the Keeneland sales machine that is the true souce of profit and purse money. If racing was so lucrative for Keeneland don't you think they would capture some of Turfway's and Ellis Parks' dates and have more than 33 race dates this year?

     
  • At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    KG, I did do something however, I took my money and sent it to Betfair and play on there. WEG's loss

     
  • At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Regarding the excessive take outs at WEG.
    Cangamble should be commended for his efforts.Educating people that they are getting ripped and repeating it again and again may eventually accomplish something but probably not.At least he is trying.

    As George Carlin said about the people who own the USA

    "It's a big club,and you don't belong to it; and it's the same club they beat you over the head with. And they don't give a xxxx about you!"
    That's Woodbine

     
  • At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    KG, you left out Churchill Downs which is also part of the circuit.
    I doubt Keeneland captures anything near 17% from its sales though.
    The point I'm trying to make is that the lower takeout jurisdictions have the larger handles. It isn't by accident anymore. Intelligent bettors are bypassing Woodbine for lower takeout tracks.
    Woodbine's handle from all sources is barely higher than Mountaineers on a day to day basis. That is telling enough.
    I know enough large gamblers, and I've made a lot of connections since I started the blog too. I can see what is happening with the industry, how it is shifting, and where it is shifting to.
    Woodbine has a choice to make, stay stagnant and keep takeouts high, or reduce takeouts and grow. I hope they choose the latter. I'd love to see Woodbine's business grow.
    But the only way to get new people hooked on horse racing is if there is a chance to win in the long term. Right now, Woodbine makes that IMPOSSIBLE.

    Anon 7:35PM, thank you for the support. I know you get it. I hope Woodbine finally gets it too.
    George Carlin is great btw.

     
  • At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To Cangamble,you are welcome for the support.

    To KG

    I never really understand people with your point of view,unless you are part of the Woodbine empire.

    Dont you realize that we live in a world today where corporations are getting wealthier and wealthier at the expense of the people who are struggling to survive financially.
    Trying to justify these huge takeouts by saying other corporations are just as greedy as Woodbine is missing the point.

    Surely we all want Racing to be affordable and available to as many people as possible for their enjoyment,not just a business which squeezes everybody dry.

    Woodbine can well afford to lower their takeouts considerably,and still make a fortune. Stop defending these corporations,they dont care about YOU.

     
  • At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    Anon, if Woodbine lowered takeouts to Keeneland levels, they would still be making the same fortune and then some. They would be making more money, because they would get the same money from most of the patrons they have now...except the patrons would have more enjoyment because they would last longer and possibly be able to bet bigger. But they would also attract many others. Some or all of the money that they have lost to Betfair and rebate shops as well as many players who will bet on them as opposed to a track with a bigger takeout.
    If I didn't know Woodbine would make more money by reducing takeout I have no business being relentless towards them. I'm a Capitalist and I'm all for competition but I'm all for maximizing profits as well.
    My point is that Woodbine is minimizing profits by having such outrageous takeouts.

     
  • At 9:12 AM, Anonymous KG said…

    Cangamble, I did not mention Churchill because it does not fit into what I was trying to explain. You mentioned Keeneland as your example not Churchill. Churchill would never give up dates - it is ridiculous to think that they might. Churchill if I am not mistaken needs the monies from takeouts for purses and profit so they actually picked up some Ellis Park dates (and their takeouts on Pick 3 and Pick 4 are higher than Keeneland). I also did not mention Kentucky Downs - which is on that circuit. I am a horseowner not a bettor (although I would say my educated gamble with thorougbreds might be more signifigant than yours) so if takeouts go to purses at Woodbine I hope that their business plan maximizes what dollars goes back into purses. My original post wanted to get across that you have stated your position on takeouts quite a few times - it is becoming very boring. We know you and your whales bet elsewhere and I am pretty sure that WEG knows that as well, so until they change their takeouts to appease you please stop this incessant rant about the subject.

    To Anon 6:49am - not really looking for anyone to care about me nor do I give a rat's ass about your leftest views on the business world. What other corporations did I mention? Also, your hero Cangamble does not share your leftest views - I quote from his blog "I hope the government does come in and allow companies like Betfair to become licensed in Canada and open the door to other competition so that the BETTOR, the CUSTOMER, finally can be treated like we live in a democratic, capitalistic society." I believe profits are allowed in a capitalistic society.

    I think I am done with this subject.

     
  • At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    please stop this incessant rant about the subject.
    ******************
    KG, sorry, I just can't. The more I squawk, the more people are going to become informed, and the more likely Woodbine and the rest of the industry will wake up.

    Churchill, btw, has some of the lowest takeouts in North America, and as you said, they depend on betting for purse money and profit.

    Horse owners need to respect the bettor IMO. I know it is hard for some of them.

    Any take on why Mountaineer has nearly the same total handle as Woodbine? What does that say about Woodbine?

     
  • At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not defending Woodbine here, but in regards to Mountaineer having the same handle as Woodine, they are primarily the only wagering option at night for T-Bred players whereas WDB is going head to head against the other big boys during the day.

     
  • At 12:42 PM, Anonymous KG said…

    Cangamble,let's put this to bed.

    Churchill's takeouts are similar to Keeneland except for Pick 3 and Pick 4. They may be lower because they make up for a lot of it with the highest costs to horsemen in the industry and a certain first Saturday in May that may have the same handle on one day as some tracks have in one month.

    I do respect the bettor - my father was one - maybe that is why I am not.

    Not sure what your question is leading to about Mountaineer. I think you are suggesting that Mountaineer is a less prestigous track than Woodbine. If that is the case their total handle is close to Woodbine's because they have 63 more race dates. Mountaineer's avg. daily handle from all sources is over $600,000 less than Woodbine's - not sure where you were going with this.

     

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