ascot aug08
This is a single article. Click HERE to go to the main page.

Friday, April 04, 2008


This youngster is by LEGAL JOUSTING, one of Ontario's promising young sires (see ad link on right side) and out of the Bold Ruckus mare BOLD CARMA.

ITS LAUNCH TIME, a 3yo half-brother to multiple stakes winner LEGAL MOVE (who races in the Jacques Cartier prep at Woodbin on Sunday) won his maiden at Stampede Park on Wednesday evening.
Making his 3rd career-start the Ontario bred won the 6 furlong race by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:12 for owners Robert Vargo and Norm Castiglione.
The gelding is out of the Country Store mare Charity Country and he was bred by Gardiner Farms.
Its Launch Tome was a $19,881 (U.S.) yearling purchase at Woodbine in 2006.
Monica Russell trains.

Also Wednesday, Russell sent out Vargo's BY THE MOONLIGHT, a Perigree Moon- Just Elated, Bold Ruckus gelding to win his maiden in his 5th career start. The gelding was bred by Mike Byrne's Park Stud in Orangeville.

WOODBINE PREVIEW More on the opening of Woodbine's first class racing season
In this space the Woodbine preview has included notes on the physical movements of Woodbine Entertainment (standardbred paddock, getting set to dig for WOODBINE LIVE! etc.), plus WIN AND YOU'RE IN and all the cool TV stuff for Woodbine racing this year, STEVE ASMUSSEN's string of horses that are due to arrive shortly and the new ORC rules.


There are a ton of names that popped up the Woodbine overnight this weekend...THOROUGHBLOG wants to know - who are you?

Trainer JOHN MICHAEL BAIRD, a nephew of the late DALE BAIRD (one of the winningest trainers in history) has brought some horses to Woodbine this year.His father, JOHN BAIRD, is a leading trainer at tracks such as Fairmount Park. John Michael has been trianing for 11 years and is a leading trainer at Hoosier Park and Mountaineer.

Other trainers on the scene include GEORGE MIKHILAIDES and WAYNE RICE.

So many jockeys....

While there are some absentees on the first weekend of racing in the jocks colony (MICHELLE RAINFORD, CATHERINE O'BRIEN, TODD KABEL etc.), there is no shortage of riders available to trainers.
In addition to the 2 dozen or so top riders, here are some names with mounts this weekend...
A crowded room to be sure.

INTERNET betting and the battle that faces WOODBINE

Nick Eaves, president and chief operating officer of WOODBINE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP says the fight against offshore and internet wagering is a key issue for the company again in 2008 - an issue that has not really gone anywhere in a couple of years.

This year, there seems to be a bit more attention to it.

"The bottom line is, that it is illegal for residents of Canada to bet over the internet in unlicensed jurisdictions," said Eaves. " We have a government that is not enforcing those laws but at least now have come out and said that they sense the issue is larger then they thought. Perhaps they will do something about it."

Big bettors are being lured away from the track thanks to rebates and deals offered by off-shore groups that do not have to pay for a track, the purses etc.

"These off-shore sites try to know who the big players are because that is the easy business for them to go after," said Eaves. "They have no cost structure. And when you can pirate a product and sell it for a price which is so much lower than a racetrack - no purse account, no 600 plus acre facility to pay for - the economics are totally different."


The Woodbine barn of leading trainer STEVE ASMUSSEN will be run by Darren Fleming. Currently, the barn has been set up under foreman VINNIE TESORO, who trained stakes winner Thunder Regent.
According to DAILY RACING FORM'S BILL TALLON, the Asmussen team is in one of two fancy barns that were re-modelled for this season:

"including new wash pad and office areas outside the widened shed rows, which have gabled ceilings and are bordered by sliding Plexiglas windows."

Sam-Son Farm to keep running despite tragic winter
Samuel family hit hard by two deaths, but outfit will carry on at the track
Apr 04, 2008 04:30 AM
sports columnist

The bittersweet cycle of life never ends in thoroughbred racing, a sport sustained by bloodlines and family.
The equine lines are meticulously tweaked in the never-ending quest for that mix of nature and nurture and God's will that might produce the next champion. But the blood runs deep in racing's human lineages, too, in the royal and loyal families that are the sport's foundations.

Locally, there is no more celebrated operation than Sam-Son Farm, founded by Ernie and Liza Samuel in 1972 and one of the proudest and most successful stables among those preparing for another season of racing at Woodbine, starting tomorrow, a sure sign of spring.

The cycle of life hit the Samuel family hard in recent months. Tammy Samuel-Balaz, daughter of Liza and Ernie (who died in 2000, age 69) and a hands-on player in the racing division, succumbed to cancer in January at age 47. Within weeks, her mother was gone, too, age 74.

What's more, the great Dance Smartly, Canadian Triple Crown winner in 1991 and the first Canadian-bred to win a Breeders' Cup race, had to be euthanized last August at age 19. She was sensational and special, even in the elite company of Sky Classic and Chief Bearhart and the others that have garnered for Sam-Son more than 60 Sovereign Awards and four Eclipse Awards.

Times change. What would become of Sam-Son's broodmare band at the farm in Milton, the training centre in Ocala, Fla., and the stable at Woodbine? Other Ontario family-run strings had frayed and snapped through the years. Are we to see Sam-Son follow that same bridle path, if not to oblivion then to a diminished role?

Definitely not, say all parties involved. The cycle will continue, business as usual.

In Milton, the precious, wobbly-legged foals arrive looking, quite literally, like they are destined for stardom. "They're all champions until proven otherwise," farm manager Dave Whitford says.

"Nothing has changed at all in regards to our breeding program," he adds, "how we handle that and who we breed to. Nothing has changed except the fact we don't have Tammy here in the office on a weekly basis to oversee things.

"We're carrying on trying to cover her side of things, from an in-house perspective. She was very involved with a number of boards and the steel company, too, so we didn't have her total attention. There's a good management team in place."

Tammy's surviving siblings are sister Kim Samuel-Johnson and brother Mark, who is chair of the family's extensive steel and aluminium business, founded in 1855 and one of the largest in North America with more than 4,500 employees. Tammy's husband, Rick Balaz, has been taking a more active role in the racing division in recent months.

"It's always been her world and I've been on her coat-tails," Balaz says. "But my kids (Lisa, 16, and Michael, 14) are big motivators...


The weather may put a damper on the first day of the spring Keeneland meeting but the track's Polytrack surface ensures a fast strip and hey, there are many more days of high class racing to look forward to.
A ton of local stables have horses at Keeneland - MARK CASSE, MALCOLM PIERCE, READE BAKER, ERIC COATRIEUX, MARK FROSTAD, just to name a few and it will be fun to track the progress of the Canadians this month.

On Sunday at Keeneland, Canada's champion 2yo colt (who is not really Canadian at all, he just raced at Woodbine twice last year) KODIAK KOWBOY tops the Layfayette Stakes at 7 furlongs.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Kodiak Kowboy closed his two-year-old campaign by finishing third behind champion War Pass in the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Kodiak Kowboy, who will break from post position four under Shaun Bridgmohan and carry top weight of 123 pounds, opened his 2008 campaign with a six-length score in a six-furlong allowance event March 14 at Oaklawn Park.

The KEENELAND WEBSITE is a very thorough one (much like Santa Anita, have you seen all of its features plus the Workout Cam?).
Among the features is a Clocker's Comments section which mentions horses each day...
this note about Sam-Son Farms' stakes placed QUIET JUNGLE is from Wednesday

Quiet Jungle
(5f) in 100.3
in company with Wisely, both were going well on their own


In the heart of central Kentucky horse country, you need not know an exacta from a trifecta wager to enjoy the Sport of Kings and its pageantry at Keeneland Race Course. Today through April 25, the who's who of the horseracing world - both human and equine - converge in Lexington for one of the most prestigious race meets in the world. All the excitement is an easy 90-mile road trip from Cincinnati.

Keeneland is one of the few racetracks that invites visitors to be part of the entire experience, starting with a tour of the barn area during morning training hours. The horses are so close you feel like you could reach out and touch them as they come thundering down the stretch, or walk by, steam rising off their bodies, on the way back to the barn.

One of the best kept secrets at Keeneland is its track kitchen, where you can rub elbows with the trainers and jockeys while enjoying a Southern style breakfast. It opens daily at 6 a.m. Breakfast with the Works starts at 7 a.m. every Saturday in season, and includes a hot breakfast ($5) and view of the horses working out. This also includes hands-on demonstrations and a handicapping seminar at 11:30 a.m.

"Keeneland offers a world class race meet with the ambience to support it," says local historian and avid race fan Jim Claypool, a retired professor from Northern Kentucky University and resident of Park Hills. "The timing of the race meet, the history and the tradition are all reasons why Keeneland is so popular... . It's a social event."

Benches on the front apron of the grandstand and tables on the back patio are first come, first serve, but are at a premium. Keeneland offers three dining options as well as reserved grandstand seating, but these go fast, and reservations are highly recommended.

The Equestrian Room near the track and paddock offers casual dining. The Phoenix Room and Lexington/Kentucky Room are more formal and offer delicious buffets with great views of the track or paddock. Be sure to sample the burgoo or a famous Reuben sandwich.

And while weekend escapes are great, this may be the time for a weekday getaway. The quality of racing is the same, but the crowds are less daunting.

Cheering on the horses with bluebloods dressed in their finery and college students taking a study break is a comfortable experience at Keeneland. Go ahead and debut your one-of-a-kind Derby hat or, if you prefer, relax in a comfortable pair of khakis.

The Keeneland grounds are on the historical registry, the service is comparable to any five-star resort, but it's the horses that attract people - including best trainers and jockeys in the country - from all over the world. Even the Queen of England has been known to run horses at Keeneland. Each race card features between nine and 10 races, and it's easy to get caught up in the tradition and tapestry.

"A trip to Lexington is a return to true Southern hospitality," says Joe Mitchell, director of marketing for Campbell House Hotel, a popular hotel among Keeneland visitors and horsemen. "Our busiest times are definitely April and October, when Keeneland is running. When our hotel opened in the 1950s, it was the place to stay and has remained a tradition much like Keeneland."

Ante-post favourite Cloudy Lane features among a maximum field of 40 declared for the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.
The Trevor Hemmings-owned eight-year-old could be one of the shortest market-leaders of the marathon handicap chase for many years as he bids to give trainer Donald McCain jnr a fairytale success by continuing the family tradition.

His father, Ginger, saddled four National winners - triple hero Red Rum (1973, 1974, 1977) and Amberleigh House four years ago.

Hemmings has also tasted National glory before with 2005 winner Hedgehunter, trained by Willie Mullins and one of the owner's three runners this year - the other being Idle Talk from the McCain stable.
As expected, Ollie Magern is out of the race after being lame on Wednesday. The only other absentee from the top 40 in the handicap was Cornish Rebel, which means the Tony Martin-trained Dun Doire has made the cut. There are four reserves - Ardaghey, Joes Edge, In The High Grass and Ossmoses. A reserve will be able to take the place of a horse declared a non-runner by 9.30am on Friday. Lisa Williamson, trainer of Cornish Rebel, said: 'Unfortunately he's just got a problem with one of his feet. 'It is just something minor, but it is enough to stop us running on Saturday. 'I'm not sure what we'll do with him at the moment. 'We'll just give him a few days and try to get him sound again. 'I've taken him out of the Scottish National as he was out of the handicap there.' Connections of Dun Doire breathed a sigh of relief as the nine-year-old got the final guaranteed place when Cornish Rebel was not declared. Martin said: 'It's a big relief all right. We've been training him for this race for the whole year.
'It would have been disappointing for everyone concerned if he hadn't got in.
'I'm very happy with him and he's as good as we can have him. If he gets luck in-running hopefully he'll put up a good show. 'We haven't over-raced him. He's had a couple of runs over hurdles and he was second in a chase the last time.
'He's well, he's fresh and he's going there off an ideal preparation. I hope he's good enough to run a good race.'

Martin was pleased to book Richard McGrath for the ride.
'It's the first time he's on him but he's a very good, underrated rider,' added the County Meath handler. 'Hopefully he will suit the horse.'
Bewleys Berry fell at Becher's on the second circuit last year but Howard Johnson's charge has got round the famous course twice when finishing runner-up in the last two renewals of the Becher Chase.

Owner Graham Wylie believes the 10-year-old could go close, granted a clear round.

'He's never been fitter, according to Howard, and has been to the beach nearby for a tank along the water's edge,' he said.

'You need to be very lucky, as always, in the National. He was jumping well last year and he just got a bit spooked by a loose horse at Becher's second time around and crumpled on landing.

'I'll just be hoping he gets a clear round - if he gets that, I don't think he'll be far away.'


  • At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Someone mentioned yesterday that the Woodbine TV schedule was not on Woodbine's website - I just saw that they have corrected that.

  • At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A Class Act:
    Does anyone do a better website than Keeneland?
    It is a joy to log on, no requests for your mother's maiden name, no passwords. etc.
    The info, archived stuff and all that stuff is superb. When you get on the site, click on 'video' and there you have great racing. KEE is showcasing it's product and it is proud of it.
    When you look back a dozen years ago when KEE was as stodgy as an old man's club- without a race announcer,etc. it is a remarkable performance.
    Any other tracks listening?
    Alex Sidor


Post a Comment