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Monday, April 28, 2008



You could see the little filly was so very tired.
After chasing a hot pace and then fighting hard with a rival down the stretch, SHILLA

edged clear to win the FURY STAKES yesterday at Woodbine for her 5th win in her 7th start.

The Marquetry-Papoose, Apalachee bay needed everything she could find to get past

the much-hyped GLORIOUSLY to win the 7 furlong race for Ontario foaled 3yo fillies.
Shilla is certainly at the head of the class for the Woodbine Oaks now with that brave


(Thanks to reader LOU M for the pic!)
Her Beyer Figure was 81 for the time of 1:24.

Owned and bred by Brian Cullen, who has been in racing for more than 40 years, Shilla

finally did go off as the expected favourite for the Fury.

After the race, she was hosed down by jockey David Clark before returning to the

winner's circle and her awaiting family.

Nick Gonzalez said Shilla would be nominated to the Selene Stakes (closes Wed. night)

but he would decide to see if the filly bounces back sharply enough. Otherwise, he

could go into the Oaks directly.

Gloriously ran hard and well for Woodford Racing but she was cooked in the predicted

duel with Dowd Chapel, who was 1 for 1 in her career.

The latter was more than 5 lengths back in 3rd place.

FIVE Morning line favourites won the 10 races yesterday on a fairly formful afternoon.
It was a good day for my TORONTO STAR PICKS - 6 WINNERS...

$2.5 MILLION was bet (just like Friday) on the card.

The logical winners started early...

CHOREOGRAPHY, classy and game at the age of 8, became a 2 time winner at the

meeting with his hard fought score for $10,000 claiming. The Foxtrail gelding won a

cavalry charge to the wire over 9-year-old FIRE THE FIRM, making his first start of the year.

PIKER'S HOPE led from start to finish under Steve Bahen to win race 2 for the partnership of Uri Fishman and friends and trainer Tony Mattine.
The Pikepass Ontario bred, out of Hope's Hope, was making his first start of the year.

Jeff Begg's THUMBIN A RIDE won the allowance event, race 3, for fillies and mares, taking advantage of a mad pace battle between Fight the Storm and Only If Split. The lattere held for 2nd.
Thumbin a Ride was bought recently by Begg's Windways Farm and she is by Point Given out of Sweet Jen by Full Out.

Anyone who saw KIERNAN'S LEGACY'S first race of the season earlier this month knew he was a big factor in race 4. Still, at 10 to 1, the fans were not convinced that the Pergiee Moon-Regal Crown gelding's rally first time out this year was the real deal.
Well, the Audre Cappuccitti runners are the real deal this spring.
The gelding had a nice ride from Suny Singh, plus a very fast pace set by Texas Blitz, and he rallied for a smart score in 58 2/5.

Another nice winner was SIT STILL, a Domasca Dan filly owned and trainer by Roger Hasmatali, who won a maiden allowance for ONtario sired fillies. The gal was making her 2nd start of the year and cutting back in distance and she rallied in mid stretch under Danny David to beat out the very fast Tree Lo...

Trainer Mark Casse and the Woodford Racing had a win on the card before Gloriously lost the Fury.
CAPTAIN CUGAT took a ton of late betting support to go to 8 to 5 and he broke like a bullet from the gate and then led all the way under Pat Husbands. The grey King Cugat gelding was making his 2nd start of the year and was switching from turf to Polytrack.

Jim McAleney, subbing for Eurico Da Silva who booked off yesterday, was dropped by Michael's Bad Boy in post parade, the gelding ran loose and then was scratched.

The Casse team made some noise before race 8. Its first-time starter, INCREDIBULLMRBIGGS, a long, tall and flashy chestnut colt, debuted at a surprising 5 to 2 on the odds board.
Interestingly, the colt had had so many workouts one had to wonder why it was taking so long to get him to a race. Anyway, he was bet heavily in a big field and well...trailed throughout.

The winner was MENIFEE SIX, a longshot but well bred, who was listed as 1st time Lasix on the early entries but that was corrected and he was not 1st time Lasix. The Menifee colt, owned by Len Zenith's Uphill Stable, is trained by Red Johnson. He had a 3-4 wide stalking trip under Emma Wilson and then reeled in front running Pronger in deep stretch.

The biggest surprise of the day came when ARCHERS ALYANCER, a 6yo Archers Bay gelding, rallid late to win the 9th race, a tough allowance/optional claimer for $80K types.
The gelding, owned by Dennis Payer, had not won a race since July of 2006 (old main track, in the slop) but he was 2nd in the Sir Barton Stakes on Polytrack in December.
Winter raced in nothing but stakes races, the gelding was dropping in class and perhaps was just overlooked by all of us.
He is trained by John Simms

The Dave Cotey barn got its first win of the year when DANZATHRUTHENIGHT rallied in time to win the last race, a maiden $32,000 claiming race. The One Way Love filly beat Full Weather in the late few strides (Full Mandate filly, 1st Lasix for Danny Vella).


Reports from Calder say GINGER BREW is on her way to the Selene Stakes.
Ginger Brew, an Ontario-bred daughter of Milwaukee Brew, won the 9 furlong Calder Oaks on grass on Saturday.
"She'll go back to Canada," said Lynch, "where the goal for her is the Woodbine Oaks ($500,000 Canadian on June 8), although she'll (run) in the Selene Stakes before that."

Anyone see that bizarre race from Canadian-bred BELLEPLAINE last week at Aqueduct?
The Eugene Melnyk-Tom Albertrani trained filly had her mouth open wide the entire race, was checked steadied rated guzzled what-have-you all the way until she could not compete anymore. Strange.

KENTUCKY DERBY WEEK... today PYRO WORKED.... from THE BLOOD HORSE Triple Crown Mania site...


Pyro was timed in :49 4/5 for his four furlong work, getting fractional splits of :13 1/5, :25 3/5, and :38. He galloped out five-eighths of a mile in 1:03 2/5. Z Fortune, runner-up to Zayego in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), did not go as fast as his stablemate, working the half-mile in :51. He had fractional times of :13 3/5, :26 1/5, and :38 4/5. Asmussen, who saddled Curlin to finish third in last year’s Derby, analyzed the works for the media throng that gathered outside Barn 38 early Monday morning. “Z Fortune went over the track well and went through the stretch nicely,” Asmussen said. “Pyro is a keener individual who is a lot more playful who also went over the track well. The track was in excellent shape this morning and they seemed to come out of it in good shape.”

AND COLONEL JOHN WORKED in 57 and change - yowza...from the Blood-Horse...

“He went very well,” Elliott Walden of owner Winstar said. “I don’t think it was too fast considering we’re six days out (from the Derby). We feel very comfortable about it. “The track is very ‘live’ this morning,” Walden continued. “We had quite a few horses work fast today. I clocked (Oaks hopeful) Proud Spell in :58 and one. Eight Bells went in :58 and one, too. Good horses work fast. He handled the dirt – that was a good indicator. The rider never moved and she felt he handled the surface well.”

Derby Hopefuls' Graded Earnings
Rank Horse Graded Earnings Rank Horse Graded Earnings
1 Pyro $1,020,000 13 Cool Coal Man212,767
2 Tale of Ekati $738,000 14 Anak Nakal $212,216
3 Colonel John $720,000 15 Eight Belles $210,000
4 Gayego $640,000 16 Cowboy Cal $207,660
5 Big Brown $600,000 17 Behindatthebar $202,500
6 Z Humor $579,000 18 Visionaire $202,500
7 Monba $515,000 19 Big Truck $194,500
8 Court Vision $331,872 20 Bob Black Jack $180,000
9 Z Fortune $329,000 21 Denis of Cork $165,000
10 Adriano $310,000 22 Halo Najib $157,996
11 Recapturetheglory $300,000 23 Indian Sun $154,000
12 Smooth Air $290,000 24 Tomcito $151,292

Diamond prospector's gem will 'run for the roses'
Canadian millionaire's prized three-year-old thoroughbred, Tale of Ekati, earns a start in Saturday's Triple Crown race


VANCOUVER -- The tale of the Ekati diamond mine is Canadian lore, a story of two dogged geologists discovering riches in the remote reaches of the Northwest Territories and igniting the largest mineral-staking rush in North American history.
But the tale of another Ekati is also compelling. Canadian millionaire Charles (Chuck) Fipke, Canada's most famous prospector, has been in the horse-racing game since 1981, a full decade before unearthing the famous diamond mine some 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. This month, Mr. Fipke has hit another jackpot, and in horse racing it is almost as rare as finding precious stones near the Arctic Circle.
His prized three-year-old, Tale of Ekati, will "run for the roses" Saturday at the 134th
Kentucky Derby, North America's most prestigious thoroughbred race.
It is the first
time in more than a quarter-century of owning and breeding thoroughbreds that the Kelowna-based businessman has had a horse worthy of starting a Triple Crown race. "Nobody deserves it more than Chuck," said Jack Werk, a California bloodstock adviser who manages Mr. Fipke's stable. "
He has put a lot of money into this business.
This is his other great passion in life."
The tale of this Ekati begins in November, 2004, at the annual Keeneland sale in
Kentucky, where Mr. Fipke arrived determined to purchase a mare named Silence Beauty, whose sire was Sunday Silence, the 1989 Derby winner. Mr. Fipke believed the mare would be ideal to breed with his stallion, Canadian champion Perfect Soul, and paid $525,000 (U.S.) for her. That Silence Beauty was with in-utero foal was of little concern to her new owner.
A year later, Mr. Fipke received a call from trainer J.B. McKathan, who was breaking the yearling in Ocala, Fla. Mr. McKathan said that Silence Beauty's son was an impressive runner and worthy of racing. Mr. Fipke then delivered the horse to Derby-winning trainer Barclay Tagg, but not before a conversation with Mr. Werk. "He called me to wish me happy birthday and we just started talking horses," Mr. Werk said. "He was really excited because this [yearling] was his best horse, and I said: 'You've really got to come up with a good name.' "All of a sudden, it dawned on me - Tale of Ekati - because the story of Chuck finding the diamond mine is one of the great stories of all time. There is dead silence on the other line and about three or four seconds later, he breaks out laughing and says, 'That's it!' "
Reached this week, Mr. Fipke played down his sudden good fortune. Friends say that he is an "in-the-moment" personality, and that the immensity of heading to Louisville with a legitimate contender won't hit him until he is sitting in an owner's box beneath the famous twin spires of Churchill Downs.
"I try not to get too pepped up because you can get cut right down with horses," the Edmonton native said. "If it happens, it happens."
In 1981, the year he bought his first horse, Mr. Fipke began searching for diamonds near Lac de Gras, NWT, with geologist Stewart Blusson. It was an unlikely prospect, rarer than winning a Derby, especially with the giant diamond operators DeBeers also in the chase. A decade later, Mr. Fipke and Mr. Blusson discovered a kimberlite pipe under Point Lake and extracted 81 diamonds from a site near the present-day mine. Kimberlite is a form of rock that can contain diamonds.
Ten years ago, the mine's bounty began paying
dividends and financing Mr. Fipke's horse-racing interests.
Mr. Fipke owns 10 per cent of the mine, which is predicted to yield annual revenue of more than $400-million, and has a net worth estimated at more than $500-million, according to a 2007 Canadian Business magazine report.
He donated $6-million to his
alma mater, the University of British Columbia, in 2006 and also made headlines in 2000 when wife Marlene received what was believed to be a Canadian record divorce settlement of roughly $123-million, or 23 per cent of Dia Met Minerals Ltd., the company founded by Mr. Fipke.




It will take an act of God for Kentucky Bear to get into the Kentucky Derby, which is a shame considering the way the lightly raced but extremely talented son of Mr. Greeley worked over the Churchill Downs strip Saturday morning. With jockey Jamie Theriot aboard, Kentucky Bear worked five furlongs in 59.51 seconds shortly after the renovation break.
The move was the fastest on a tab that
included leading Kentucky Derby contender Gayego. But it wasn't the final time that made the drill so impressive, it was the way Kentucky Bear came roaring down the stretch, covering his final quarter-mile in 23.06 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.23 and seven-eighths in 1:25.42.
"I was thrilled by the work, but it makes you a little more aggravated that he probably won't get into the race," said trainer Reade Baker as he prepared to board a Saturday flight back to Canada. "We'll enter him for the Derby on Wednesday and hope for a miracle.
If he doesn't get in, we'll take him back to Keeneland and stay for a week
before shipping to Pimlico for the Preakness."
Graded stakes earnings are used to determine entrance into the Derby if more than 20
horses are entered. Kentucky Bear has $75,000 in graded earnings and as of Saturday was 34th on the list of horses being pointed to the race. Kentucky Bear was an easy maiden winner when he launched his career at Gulfstream Park this winter.
Following a seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth,
Kentucky Bear rebounded with a game third-place effort in the Grade 1 Blue Grass.
"He bled in Florida, after which we gave him a little time off, and maybe he wasn't quite
fit enough at the end of the Blue Grass," said Baker. "But he's gained about 50 pounds since that race.
He looks spectacular and is starting to remind me more and more of
Afleet. "You know, the most disappointing aspect of this whole eligibility thing is that probably five or six horses who'll get into the Derby peaked well before this and are on the downturn right now, but they have the earnings and we don't."
- additional reporting by David Grening and Mike Welsch

from the Niagara Falls Review

Horse racing is such an unpredictable sport. The old saying is: "There are 100 ways to lose a race and only one way to win - be under the wire first."
But as the Fort Erie Race Track prepares for its 111th season beginning May 3, there
are two 100 per cent guarantees: Last year's champion jockey and trainer will not make it two in a row. Robbie King, the top rider in 2006 and 2007, has retired at age 43 to become secretary/manager of the Jockeys Benefit Association of Canada.
And Mark Fournier, 36, a Welland native who led all trainers with 46 trips to the
winner's circle, mostly for perennial leading owner Bruno Schickedanz in 2007, has been promoted to handle Schickedanz's stable at Woodbine.
Moving into Fournier's spot is Kevin Buttigieg, who has made his mark as a high-percentage trainer, but with a much smaller stable. Last year at Fort Erie, Buttigieg appeared in the winner's circle just twice.
This time around, he was expected to equal or exceed that total in just one or two days
- certainly within the first two or three weeks of the 2008 season. In 2007, Buttigieg had a one-man, four-horse stable and owned most of his stock, which added two seconds and four thirds in 15 starts. This year, he's in charge of the 20-plus Schickedanz stable, the Fort's leading owner 10 times in the last 11 years. "
Training thoroughbreds is my passion, it's all I'm doing. It's a seven-day,
24-hour-a-day thing," said Buttigieg. "I want to have a good year, win some races, and keep my owner happy. If I'm leading trainer, so be it."
Also missing from the Fort's backstretch is trainer Layne Giliforte, the champion from
2000 to 2005 and runner-up in 2006, who has moved his runners to the Maryland circuit. King is just one of nearly a dozen regular jockeys to have vacated the Fort's jockeys' room in the last couple of years because of retirement or other reasons. Jocko Lauzon, who overcame serious injuries to resume his career, has now retired permanently after 1,620 wins, including two in the Queen's Plate.
He is now the agent for rider David
Brian Bochinski has left racing to work for the postal service and Happy Ando, a native of Japan, has a non-racing job in Hong Kong.
Maree Richards, Sovereign Award apprentice in 1989, ended a 10-year retirement in 2006, but an injury marred last season and she is now an assistant trainer for the John Simms stable.
Richards, like past Fort jockey champions Steve O'Brien and Jorge Pizarro, continues
to ride morning work outs, as does Tyrone Harding, who retired in 2005. Other Fort regulars who have retired or moved to other tracks recently include Francine Villenueve, Neil Pozansky, Melissa Polkey and Jake Barton.
After the two-day opening weekend May 3 and 4, racing will be conducted Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays through the end of the season, Oct. 28. Saturday racing will be added July 19, Aug. 30 and Oct. 25. The Prince of Wales Stakes, the highlight of the season, will be held July 13.


  • At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a visual joy to watch the video feed of the running of the races at Pimlico. A job well done!! It puts the fans/patrons right there in the middle of all the action. No guessing is required with respect to the winner of the race or in the order of finish. It is truly a model to be copied by other racing facilities.


  • At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Daryl G. Ezra said…

    To Anon:
    You would only give your horses to train to 5 horsemen at Woodbine,
    suggesting the others should go to Fort Erie tells me how ignorant to the sport you are. We are in the very early stages of the 2008 season.
    I don't have all day to comment, however, John Simms who trains in Fort Erie sent out a winner at Woodbine yesterday, Paula Loescher had a winner and a second this season at Woodine, Tony Adamo is 1 for 1 at Woodbine. Fort Erie based trainer
    Henry Whalen won at Woodbine as well as Armin Concessie. Don
    McRae has posted a pair of wins and a 2nd and a 3rd from 4 starts. These stats are from the top of my head, there may be more. This has been the worst spring to get horses legged up at Fort Erie with the main track not opening until April 3rd.
    Last season training mostly from Fort Erie racetrack, in a 20 race stint from the fall of 2006 until the summer of 2007 I won 10 races with several 2nds and 3rds.
    Fort Erie trainers charge around $55 a day much less than Woodbine trainers.
    There are good and bad horsemen at both Woobine and Fort Erie. Fort Erie is a wonderful place to train thoroughbreds. Great atmosphere, and a quality race track to train on.
    Many Horsemen in Fort Erie are not here because they have to be, we CHOOSE to be here.
    If you really have an opinion don't hide behind Anon. Just for the record the Leading Trainer at Woodbine so far this season including 4 stake wins is a trainer with a string at Woodbine and Fort Erie. In case you are wondering who it is .... it is the Fort Erie based Nick Gonzalez.

  • At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    Regarding the alleged race fixing allegations, I posted some info on it, including a link to the CBC News video report.

  • At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why does everyone get so up in arms about people posting as "anonymous"

    would posting under the name John or Tim or Jason make you any less anonymous? Just concentrate on the comments. Who cares who posts them.


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