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Monday, April 14, 2008


Say hello to my girls...ANGEL and ISABELLE, now part of the THOROUGHBLOG family..enjoying life at a leased farm and safe from a much worse fate!

Talk about your hot barns. Trainer DAN VELLA has had a stunning start to the 2008 meeting at Woodbine and pulled off a wild one in the STAR SHOOT STAKES yesterday.
VERDANA BOLD was tucked in behind the pace duel in the 6 furlong race for 3yo fillies and was well rated by jockey Emile Ramsammy before darting away from heavily favoured Authenicat, a Sovereign Award finalist last year.
The Rahy filly (the 80th stakes winner for RAHY) is a Kentucky bred owned by Ed Seltzer, who also co-bred the filly.
She had made all 4 of her starts at Laurel from Dec. 1 through Feb. 9.
Authenicat just glided up to the lead in her first start as a 3yo and looked 'home and cooled' out but she could not hold off the newcomer.
Steve Asmussen trainee Wonderful Luck broke a bit slowly but rallied for 3rd.

On Saturday, Vella sent out a first-timer at 25 to 1 to win (see yesterday's notes) and yesterday, 5 to 2 BONDED MESSENGER won her debut in a B level maiden allowance at 5 furlongs.
The Marquetry filly, bred by Minshall Farms, had showed some good prep times on slow surfaces and her dam, Courier de Prix had produced a debut winner.

In the last race,the Vella-trainee CIANO NIGHTS rallied fast along the inside to be 2nd to BEAR STABLES' FATAL BULLET in a $62,500 claiming race for 3yo's.
The winner, a Red Bullet colt bred in Florida, went fast on the pace but held on for his 2nd in in his 4th race and first start since September.

OTHER NOTES - Lots of rallies and nibbles for runners from the Nick DeToro barn, watch for them in their 2nd and 3rd starts. FORBIDDEN BEAR is one notable runner to watch.

There are other barns to watch out for right now at Woodbine.
PHIL GRACEY, who already had a win and two 2nds from 4 starters, had TUGASKE ready to win a maiden allowance yesterday by a long margin in his first race in almost...3 YEARS.
The 5yo horse, who had showed promise as a 2yo for owner/breeder Gail Wood (and Winsong Farm), had huge workout times coming into the 5 furlong race and was easy to like.
Under Emma-Jayne Wilson, the Richter Scale-Kalene, Carson City fellow was long gone from the start and won wrapped up in 57 1/5.

Race 3 - Western trainer STEVE HENSON had Mike and John Young's British Columba-bred KLINSMAN'S LUCK ready to win her 5yo debut. She had never raced at 5 furlongs but ran well at Woodbine last fall. She is a homebred by Klinsman (Ire).

Race 4- More hot trainers...NYUK NYUK NYUK has taken a new lease on life. The 7yo gelding was a monster in Florida during the winter, posting Beyer Figures or 103 and 100 in a pair of wins for Tucci Stable and Tino Attard, who had the gelding there for brother Sid.
Sid got him back and the gelding won an allowance yesterday at 5 1/2 furlongs for his 10th win in 41 starts.

Race 8 -More Sid...Favoured AMAZING MISS went silly-fast on the pace - 21 2/5 - and after opening up 5 lengths, hit the wall and finished 4th in the maiden $40,000 claiming race.
Norsemen Stables' PLANET RED was one of 3 who inhaled Amazing Miss and won the race for trainer Sid Attard and jockey Tyler Pizarro.
The Perigee Moon filly (that sire has had a litany of winners at the meeting) is out of Bold Vevila by Bold Ruckus and was bred by Michael Byrne.
It was the first start of the year for Planet Red.

Race 5 - QUEEN'S PLATE faces? The winner of this 7 furlong maiden allowance was EL GRANDE (El Corredor), owned and bred by Hill 'n' Dale Farm in Kentucky but 2nd place finisher D FLUTIE (see earlier write ups on this colt on the 'Blog, do a search up above) just missed in his season debut and looks like a nice Plate prospect for Gus Schickedanz.
Ontario-sired ONE ADAM TWELVE (Trajectory) was a rallying 3rd for Richard Lederman.

Other races yesterday at Woodbine: Kentucky-bred BOBBI SIOUX may have been working in ridiculous times this spring (44 3/5, 45 flat) but she was relaxed and strong for her season debut in an allowanc erace yesterday. The Indian Charlie filly was rated throught :23 for the first 2 furlongs by Constant Montpellier,, was joined by winter-raced REAL JUBILANT at the top of the stretch and then came back on to win over some closers.

Going way too fast on the pace did in YEAR AFTER YEAR,a British Columbia bred by Millenniuim Allstar, in the 10th race for $10K claiming. He was caught late by BOLD TENSE, Larry regan's homebred Bold Executive gelding under Dean Deverell.

Bold Executive had another winner on the card - BOLD CORKY - who blew past an allowance field in race 7 to win for the 3rd time in her 13th start.The Rainbow and All Day Racing Stable 4yo,a $12,500 claim last year, had won her previous races at 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles but hads no trouble with 5 furlongs yesterday.

Owner/breeder GAIL WOOD's name appeared again on Saturday when READY EDDIE won an allowance race at Charles Town. The gelding, a half-brother to AUTHENICAT was winning for the 4th time in 27 starts.


There does not seem to be a colt out there that can race with BIG BROWN on Kentucky Derby day - unless that fast guy is his own worst enemy on the pace at Churchill Downs.
Three Derby preps last weekend were not too exciting and adding Polytrack to the mix for these preps just made things messy.
The interests of PYRO simply blame his 7th place finish in the Blue Grass on Saturday on Polytrack.
And what about the possibility that the strong filly EIGHT BELLES may be entered in the Derby? The Unbridled's Song filly won three big races at Oaklawn Park for 3yo fillies.

Meanwhile, some Canadian owners will have some horses in the Derby (Harlequin Ranches,Charles Fipke).
KENTUCKY BEAR comes up 42nd in the earnings list for the Derby (THOROUGHBRED TIMES) and does not have much chance of getting into the race.

The next day, the colt was “bouncing off the walls this morning,” reported Cassie Garcia, assistant to trainer Reade Baker.

The third-place finish gave Kentucky Bear $75,000 in graded stakes earnings. Baker indicated after the race that he would take Kentucky Bear to Churchill Downs to prepare for the Derby even though the colt may not have enough graded earnings to make the 20-horse field.


1. War Pass N. Zito $1,470,000
2. Pyro S. Asmussen 1,020,000
3. Proud Spell (f) L. Jones 880,000
4. Tale of Ekati B. Tagg 738,000
5. Colonel John E. Harty 720,000
6. Gayego P. Lobo 640,000
7. Big Brown R. Dutrow Jr. 600,000
8. Z Humor B. Mott 579,000
9. Monba T. Pletcher 515,000
10. Kodiak Kowboy S. Asmussen 441,373
11. Turf War M. Casse 405,407
12. Court Vision B. Mott 331,872
13. Z Fortune S. Asmussen 329,000
14. Adriano G. Motion 310,000
15. Recapturetheglory L. Roussel III 300,000
16. Smooth Air B. Stutts Jr. 290,000
17. Salute the Sarge E. Guillot 258,940
Horse Trainer Graded earnings
18. Cool Coal Man N. Zito $212,767
19. Anak Nakal N. Zito 212,216
20. Eight Belles (f) L. Jones 210,000
21. Cowboy Cal T. Pletcher 207,660
22. Visionaire M. Matz 202,500
23. Big Truck B. Tagg 194,500
24. Bob Black Jack J. Kasparoff 180,000
25. Denis of Cork D. Carroll 165,000
26. Halo Najib D. Romans 157,996
27. Indian Sun D. Hendricks 154,000
28. Globetrotter G. Motion 152,775
29. Tomcito D. Zanelli Jr. 151,292
30. My Pal Charlie A. Stall Jr. 150,000
31. El Gato Malo C. Dollase 145,000
32. Hey Byrn E. Plesa Jr. 140,000
33. Atoned T. Pletcher 130,000
Coast Guard D. Hofmans 130,000
Horse Trainer Graded earnings
35. Blackberry Road D. Carroll $123,417
36. Golden Spikes M. Wolfson 118,000
Tres Borrachos B. Greeley 118,000
38. Golden Yank G. Thomas 115,000
39. Yankee Bravo P. Gallagher 105,000
40. Racecar Rhapsody K. McPeek 90,871
41. Cool Gator D. Vella 80,925
42. Kentucky Bear R. Baker 75,000
43. Elysium Fields B. Tagg 70,000
44. King’s Silver Son S. Asmussen 60,000
45. Texas Wildcatter T. Pletcher 53,750
46. Isabull S. Hobby 50,000
47. Stevil N. Zito 49,500
48. Medjool D. Hofmans 47,500
49. Giant Moon R. Schosberg 38,750
50. Nikki’sgoldensteed

Bill Giauque at OCALA.COM sums things up from the weekend:

The last three major Kentucky Derby preps - The Blue Grass Stakes, Arkansas Derby and The Holy Bull Stakes - are in the books, and the outcome of these races raised more questions than they answered. With three weeks until the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, we have plenty of time to try to answer the questions.
Question 1: Can the artificial dirt track horses win on the authentic dirt of Churchill Downs, home of the Run for the Roses?

Question 2: Will dirt-raced horses that failed in the Blue Grass bounce back at Churchill?

Question 3 and a corollary question with question No. 1: Can the California horses - Colonel John, Gayego and Bob Black Jack - win the Derby?

Question 4: Since more than 30 horses want to run in a race that only allows 20 starters, who, in the end, will have enough graded earnings to make the field of 20?

Monba, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes on Keeneland's Polytrack, brings question No. 1 into focus. Will his form at Keeneland translate to Churchill Downs and the Derby? Since he already won a race at Churchill Downs last year,
I'm going to say he will handle the track for the Derby.
But another corollary question arises: Even if he likes the Churchill dirt, is he good enough? He won his first two races before running fourth to Into Mischief and Colonel John on Hollywood's artificial surface last year. Then he had a horrible trip in the Fountain of Youth Stakes this year before winning Saturday's race. With Todd Pletcher training and possibly Edgar Prado riding, this is a horse that cannot be overlooked.
While Monba won, Pyro, the horse I had rated No. 1 for the Derby, ran 10th, beaten by about 12 lengths. One has to wonder if dirt horses will run well on the artificial surface, or, to put it another way, one has to wonder as a bettor if a race like the Blue Grass can be held against dirt horses.
Since Cool Coal Man, Pyro and Big Truck, all winners of major prep races on authentic dirt, ran ninth, 10th and 11th in the Blue Grass, I'm going to say that for these horses, this race has to be ignored.

And getting to question No. 4: Monba and the second finisher, Cowboy Cal, both earned enough money to make the Derby field. Monba jumped to ninth in graded earnings and Cowboy Cal is 19th on the list.
Turning our attention to Oaklawn Park, another authentic dirt track, and the Arkansas Derby, we saw a California invader, Gayego, ship in and take the big money. This would seem to indicate that horses racing on artificial surfaces can indeed translate their form to dirt. Gayego had finished first or second in four starts over two different artificial surfaces in California before winning over Oaklawn's dirt. Once again, it would appear that horses racing on artificial surfaces cannot be arbitrarily discounted when they switch to dirt. Gayego jumped to sixth on the graded stakes earnings list and, thus, is in the Derby if his connections want to run. A
s to whether Gayego is good enough to win the Derby, this observer thought that second-place finisher Z Fortune was clearly the best horse. He was five wide on the first turn and three wide on the second turn while Gayego had a dream trip running on or near the lead. Yet, Z Fortune lost by only three-quarters of a length.

The Holy Bull appears to be the futility stakes. Hey Byrn won the $90,000 for first place, but it only raised him to No. 29 on the graded earnings list.
Horses have one last chance for graded earnings in Keeneland's Lexington Stakes on Saturday. In addition, the early part of the race was run with Arabian-like speed. No one from this race is likely to make the Derby field, although it is not impossible.
Clearly the top 10 contenders for the Derby became less certain after Saturday's results. Despite his 10th-place finish, I'm going to keep Pyro at No. 1, and War Pass is still the best speed among the contenders and remains at No. 2. Big Brown (3) appears to be the favorite for the Derby. Colonel John (4) is California's best.
I'm going to come back to Denis of Cork (5), although he might not have the earnings to make the field. Visionaire (6) ran well behind the slow pace in the Blue Grass Stakes.
Monba (7) won the Blue Grass and has a win at Churchill. Adriano (8), a son of A. P. Indy, now appears headed to the Derby. Smooth Air (9) gives his best, and Z Fortune (10) ran big in Arkansas.


Grade II winner Supah Blitz, a winner of $1.3 million, returned from stud duty after 3 years and was 3rd in a claiming race at Santa Anita yesterday.

The Mecke horse won the Lone Star Park Handicap in 2005 and was retired to Rising Hill Farm near Ocala, Fla., then later was transferred to Tommy Town Thoroughbreds near Santa Ynez, Calif.

Doug O'Neill trained Supah Blitz for owners Tom and Jerry Kagele.
But Les Baker and trainer Jeff Mullins claimed the horse.

Bred in Florida by John Bush's Bee Bee Stables and the Tortora family's Equitor, Supah Blitz initially raced for Bee Bee Stables and Jacqueline Tortora. He was sold in the summer of 2004 to a partnership that included the Kagele brothers, Mark Leib, and Black Saddle Stable. O'Neill took the training from Emanuel Tortora at the time.


  • At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Sarah21 said…

    Hopefully the people who claimed Supah Blitz will have the good sense to retire him again. I'm tired of seeing "failed" stallions and broodmares returned to the track, only to be bounced from barn to barn, or heaven forbid, eventually break down (George Washington, Super Frolic, Planting Time, Wake At Noon). We need to have a little more respect for these animals, most especially for a millionaire and fan favourite like this guy.

  • At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What is the deal with all these unnamed horses on the WB worksheet? It takes all of 2 minutes to submit a name to the Jockey Club online, if you have had time to get the horse ready you'd think someone could have at least thought up a name. I don't know why they even let the horses work.

  • At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bravo Sarah21......You said it RESPECT is the word. You tell it like a true horse lover and Racing fan!....Lou M

  • At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Jen, could you please let me know what the betting handle is this year versus last over the same amount of race days. I'm just curious, because i always thought things started out slowly, and people keep writing about how bad the betting has been. Thank you

  • At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anon 6:17 from yesterday - I meant no ill-will to either of those Canadian superstars when I simply stated the facts that "Sealy Hill was last and moving backwards while Arravale was 2nd last and moving forwards". I was simply stating facts. The chart practically says the same thing - no need to take it personally!

    And we all know that this filly is "quirky" considering she doesn't seem to run a straight line down the lane when she's free and clear on the outside and tends to pull herself up when on the rail (wasn't she on the inside of Mrs. Linsay when she stopped herself in the EP Taylor?). It appeared the same kind of thing happened in the Jenny Wiley. She looked like she was ready to make a big move up the rail as they dropped into the stretch from the turn and then she stopped very very quickly. I just looks like when she's on the rail - she stops herself.

  • At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anon 8:57... I'm not 100% certain, but in the EP Taylor I seem to remember that Sealy Hill was on the outside of Mrs. Lindsay, made the lead by a length or so, and then almost immediately pulled herself up. There was no time for her to re-rally when Mrs. Lindsay came along side of her.

    But absolutely, she seems to be bothered by horses to her outside. In the Bison City, she was inside and ducked clear across the track when she heard the horses coming behind her. I'm not expert on racing equipment, but I wonder if she wouldn't benefit from a closed blinker on the right, something like Better Talk Now wears. She is definitely a talented but quirky filly. When she loses, it seems to be because she costs herself the race.

  • At 11:34 AM, Blogger the_drake said…

    You would think that since Sealy Hill ran all last year, that her connections would already know to keep her outside of horses, but yet another odd ride on a Melnyk horse that day.


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