WOODBINE FRIDAY PREVIEW - on the edge of a big racing weekend
Ten races up today including the one feature, the 7th - a 6 1/2 furlongs allowance race for 3yo fillies that has attracted WOODBINE OAKS candidates SIX PACK SAMMY and MRS. BEGAN.
Sammy, a Yonaguska filly bred by Denny Andrews, is stakes placed and she was a close 4th in the Grade 3 Pocahonta Stakes last fall at Churchill.
Since the filly,owned by Richard Lederman, is out of a Saratoga Six mare, the prospects of Sammy being a better sprinter than route horse are good - althogh she won her maiden at one mile and 70 yards.
MRS. BEGAN, like Sammy, has been trianing in Florida. The Jump Start filly had throat surgery before she won the Princess Elizabeth Stakes last year close to the pace at 1 1/16 miles.
Bred by Mike Carroll (of Maryfield fame), Mrs. Began placed in a couple of sprints last year.
The 8th race is also an allowance event - for Ontario-sired 3yo and older, non-winners of 2.
A mixed bag of runners will dash 5 furlongs including SAND COVE (Bold Executive), who was improving at the end of last year for trainer Roger Attfield, MONEY SPITTER, a winner once in 2 starts for Laurie Silvera (and a son of Raj Waki) and the fleet INSIDE EXECUTIVE (Bold E.) for Bruce Seyler.
And race 9 offers the biggest purse - $73,500, an allowance/optional claiminer for fillies and mares at 7 furlongs.
The race marks the return to action of GLITTER ROX, the Glitterman Ontario bred who won 3 consecutive races last year and then ended the seaosn with a 2nd place finish in the Jammed Lovely Stakes.
TODAY AT KEENELAND
Trainer Mark Frostad sends out the promising filly NORTHERN KRAZE (big workouts at Keeneland) in a maiden race - race 3. Sam-Son's WRITTEN IN STONE is a contender in the last race.
LEO IS BACK ON SUNDAY
While champion 3yo ALEZZANDRO is set to make his season debut at Woodbine tomorrow in an allowanc race, his champion stablemate LEONNATUS ANTEAS is also ready for action.
The son of Stormy Atlantic, who had one unplaced start in Florida, will be reunited with his rider, Jono Jones in Sunday's BEN ALI HANDICAP at Keeneland.
Owned by Knob Hill Stables and trained by Kevin Attard, Leonnatus Anteas is number 7 in the 7 horse field.
STERWINS, a Canadian bred for Eugene Melnyk,is in post one for trainer Malcolm Pierce, Sterwins is returning to Polytrack for the first time in several races.
THE FIELD ON SUNDAY FOR THE BEN ALI (Grade 3)
April 20, $150,000, 4yo & up, 11⁄8m, Keeneland Race Course, 4:40 PM ET
Horse Sire Jockey Wt. Trainer
1. Sterwins Runaway Groom Shaun Bridgmohan 117 Malcolm Pierce
2. Go Between Point Given Garrett K. Gomez 123 William I. Mott
3. Crossword A.P. Indy Robby Albarado 117 Neil J. Howard
4. Mayan King Stephen Got Even Kent J. Desormeaux 117 Gary C. Contessa
5. Sir Whimsey Jump Start Edgar S. Prado 121 James J. Toner
6. It’s a Bird Birdonthewire John R. Velazquez 117 Todd A. Pletcher
7. Leonnatus Anteas Stormy Atlantic Jono C. Jones 117 Kevin Attard
IN IRELAND YESTERDAY...
Canadian-bred VAN BOSSED won the Copt Hewick Handicap at Ripon over 19 rivals. The Van Nistlerooy-Embossed, Silver Deputy 3-year-old colt was a winner last year as a juvenile and was beaten just a nose in a Polytrack event at Kempton last week.
The colt was bred by Bernard and Karen McCormack in Ontario.
MORE FROM YESTERDAY
CHIEFSWOOD UNLEASHES RUNNER
She's not Canadian bred but LOMAKI looks like a good one and she's Canadian owned and trained. The A.P. Indy - Debit Account, Private Account 4yo filly won her debut in easy fashion at Keeneland yesterday at 6 furlongs on the Polytrack. A $425,000 yearling purchase, Lomaki is trained by Eric Coatrieux.
Her Beyer Figure was a super 90.
WOOD DALE (Stravinsky- Tansaui, by Classic Go Go) won his maiden at Gulfstream Parkyesterday for owner-breeder Eugene Melnyk. The ONtario bred was making his 5th career start and won the 1 1/8 mile turf race by a neck.William P. White trains.
THE FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY
CANADIAN PREMIER in ELORA
also a FUNDRAISER
for ROBERT HOWSON, equine artist
Grand River Raceway pairs Derby film premiere with fundraiser
ELORA, ON — One week prior to the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby, Grand River Raceway will host the Canadian premiere of The First Saturday In May. This intriguing, award-winning new documentary follows six horses and their connections (including Barbaro) on the road to the 2006 Kentucky Derby.
The full-length film will be presented on Saturday, April 26 in the Captain’s Quarters tiered dining room at Grand River Raceway. Admission is free, but the Elora track is accepting $5 donations at the door to benefit popular equine artist ROBERT HOWSON.
The talented Guelph, ON painter was recently diagnosed with colorectal cancer. His friends in the local arts community have planned an ambitious itinerary of fundraising efforts. Their goal is to raise $25,000 for Howson, to provide some financial stability for the next year, while he undergoes extensive treatment and surgery.
Grand River Raceway commissioned Howson in 2005 to create a life-size drawing of the first Battle of Waterloo race to be staged at Grand River Raceway. Howson spent many hours working on the piece at the racetrack during live racing, forging friendships with several fans and horsepeople in attendance. The finished product, “A Banner Day”, took Howson more than 500 hours to complete and is on permanent display at Grand River Raceway.
The Canadian premiere of The First Saturday In May will be shown at Grand River Raceway on Saturday, April 26 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Seats are limited and reservations are required by calling (519) 846-5455 ext. 288 or emailing email@example.com • For more information about The First Saturday In May and fundraising efforts for Robert Howson, visit http://www.grandriverraceway.com
NOTE - The trailer for THE FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY is on my site (below right on the sidebar)
EXCITING - GOT COUNTRY GRIP goes for RECORD!!
ROBERT PRYZBYLO writes on www.newsok.com
(PAINT) Horse aims to get a grip on record with 17th-straight win
Remington Park racing
When: 6:25 p.m. Saturday
The story: Paint horse Got Country Grip attempts to set a North American record by winning his 17th straight race. The race is the highlight of a huge weekend that also features the Remington Park Futurity and the Remington Park Derby, also on Saturday.
Depending on whom you ask, the brilliance of paint horse Got Country Grip has come with little or no surprise.
But his bid for one of the most revered records in horse racing is another thing.
Nobody saw that coming.
That surprise makes the buildup to the historic night even more memorable for those involved with the 5-year-old gelding. Got Country Grip will attempt to make North American history Saturday night at Remington Park, looking to win his 17th-straight race in 17 lifetime starts.
Many thoroughbreds have won 16 races in a row, starting with Citation in the 1940s, Cigar in the 1990s, Mister Frisky in the 1990s and most recently, Hallowed Dreams. The Oklahoma horse would be in a class of its own if it can win the $25,000 Mr. Lewie Memorial Handicap.
"This is a week none of us will ever forget,” jockey G.R. Carter Jr. said. "This is great for quarter horse racing, but we all just have to concern ourselves for the task at hand.”
That goes for jockey, trainer and one lucky owner. Jimmy Maddux of Weatherford, Texas, acquired the horse via trade. He never saw the horse before the trade and with career earnings of $257,578, he's quick to say that it was the best move he's ever made.
Brandon Parum of Jones wasn't always sure everything was going to turn out the way it has. Parum had been training Maddux's horses a couple of years before Got Country Grip arrived. It wasn't the best first impression ever.
"He was like a little dumpling, to be honest,” Parum said. "I don't want to say he was an ugly duckling, but he wasn't a real good-looking horse.”
Looks didn't matter once the horse finally got on the track. In his first race, on April 10, 2005, Got Country Grip won by nearly three lengths.
The horse's second race didn't go quite as well. A late surge helped Got Country Grip edge out the victory — his second at Remington Park. The horse has won seven starts at the Park.
It was then that Carter started to envision great things. A jockey for 22 years after graduating Pawhuska High School in 1986, Carter's career earnings in quarter horse racing are close to $41 million.
"I was able to keep my weight where I wanted it to be, and that's made a huge difference,” Carter said. "Brandon and Jimmy have had no problems. It's been phenomenal.”
Carter has ridden the horse for each start and knew early that the horse was special.
"I remember telling Brandon pretty early on, you know, ‘This is the only one you'll ever need,'” Carter said. "He's something special.”
The horse's success has made it difficult to try to enter the horse in races. Got Country Grip only raced three times last year and its March victory was the first outing in 2008.
Maddux said there were times when they would enter the horse in a race and then people would back out and the race would fall through.
With each dropped race, things got tougher for the horse.
"Nothing is guaranteed in this sport,” Carter said. "It's amazing we've been able to be on a streak like this. So many times, you get a great horse, but then they get a (bone) chip or some injury like that. You can't predict things like this.”
With race day approaching, Parum said he isn't seeing any difference in Got Country Grip.
"He's still just being himself,” Parum said. "He's most at home on the farm in his stall. He means so much to all of us.”
Maddux is feeling the nerves, but he said it's the best feeling in the world.
"I can't sleep, I can't eat, but I wouldn't trade it for anything,” Maddux said.
"It still all feels like a dream, and I don't want to wake up. But I know on Saturday night, it's all going to be over.”