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Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Canadian racing lost a popular fellow last weekend...Woodbine racing is back and there is a draw today for Friday's races and Canadians will be very busy at Keeneland this week, the sale is tonight and tomorrow night (and how about the LANGFUHR colt that worked in world record time yesterday?) and two locals, MARK CASSE and READE BAKER have horses in the Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday. If you have not read 'NOT BY A LONGSHOT', do so! Read more on these topics below....

T.J.'S LUCKY MOON 1999-2008

I got a chance to visit the 2002 QUEEN'S PLATE WINNER (at 82 to 1) last spring (above) at his home at Molinaro Farm in Acton. He was happy and feisty as he ran around his paddock.

On Saturday,
T J’s Lucky Moon died suddenly at the age of nine.

The Tejabo gelding out of the Key to the Moon mare Moonland Princess was the upset winner of the Queen’s Plate at 82-to-1 odds. T J’s Lucky Moon won two of ten starts and earned $671,505 in three seasons before being retired due to a suspensory injury.

Here is my story from last year...


from Queen's Plate Souvenir magazine 2007

Holy Mackerel!

Those were the words of track announcer Dan Loiselle strides after the finish of the 143rd Queen’s Plate on June 23, 2002 when 82 to 1 shot T J’s Lucky Moon held on for a three-quarter length win.

It was the second biggest upset in Plate history and the biggest in the modern history of the race.

Indeed, there was not a heavy favourite for the ’02 Plate. Sam-Son Farms’ lightly raced Ford Every Stream was 2 to 1, Classic Mike, from Dom Romeo’s Terra Farms was 3 to 1 and Jam Jar’s Shaws Creek was 4 to 1.

But ‘Lucky’, owned and bred by Gino Molinaro, and jockey Steve Bahen were totally ignored by the giant Woodbine crowd and boy, were the fans in for a surprise.

Taking the lead down the backstretch from his rail position, Lucky shot clear before Forever Grand challenged him, shook that one off and then held a charging Anglian Prince at bay to the wire.

The gelded son of Tejabo – Moonland Princess paid $166.00 for every $2 bet to win.

Lucky did not race much after his Plate score and was retired the following year.

“He’s doing great,” said Molinaro five years later about his now-retired star. “He deserves to live a great life, out in his paddock, enjoying everything.”

As a gelding, Lucky missed out on a career at stud but the energetic fellow is a friend to a lot of mares at Molinaro’s Molincroft Stable in Acton, Ontario.

“Sometimes we use him as a teaser for some of the mares in order to get them ready to be bred,” said Molinaro. “And he’s pretty possessive of some of his mares.”

Jo-Marie Martin, manager of Molincroft for 12 years, says Lucky “loves retirement”.

“He gets ridden once in a while, my 20-year-old son will ride him,” said Martin.

Lucky spends most of his days outside, either racing and prancing around a lush green paddock of his own or with a couple of his mare-friends.

He is surrounded by dozens of other horses on the property as well as many chickens, pheasants and peacocks.

“I remember all of us being at the Plate,” said Martin. “The best thing was seeing the look on (Mr. Molinaro’s) face. It was a wonderful day, a thrill of a lifetime.”

Lucky has plenty of dabbles on his chocolate brown coat and is very aware when visitors come to see the Plate champion.

"He likes to show off,”’ said Martin. “He knows when he’s being watched.”

A Gino Molinaro Stable homebred, T J’s Lucky Moon hailed from the family of 1994 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Sardula and 2002 Beldame Stakes (G1) winner Imperial Gesture.



Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Pyro turned in his final major prep for Saturday’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) by working a half-mile in :50.60 early Monday morning at Keeneland.

Ridden by Dominic Terry, Pyro was clocked in :23.80 for the last quarter-mile in the solo work.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Pyro has worked three times at Keeneland since arriving from New Orleans after his Louisiana Derby victory. His first breeze was a five-furlong work on March 24 in 1:02.40, followed by a six-furlong work in company in 1:14.60 on March 31.

“It was smooth, a typical Asmussen blowout,” said Scott Blasi, assistant to Asmussen. Shaun Bridgmohan will ride on Saturday.

Equine Prep Management’s Medjool worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 under Michael Baze at Santa Anita on Monday morning for trainer David Hofmans.

“It was a nice work,” Hofmans said. “He will ship there on Wednesday.”

A son of 2001 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Monarchos, Medjool has compiled a record of 7-1-3-2 with earnings of $110,460 that is highlighted by a third-place finish in the Lane’s End (G2) at Turfway Park on March 22.

Trainer Barclay Tagg will breeze both Big Truck and Elysium Fields four furlongs on Tuesday morning at Keeneland. He reported that he is considering Big Truck, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (G3), for Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass (G1). Elysium Fields, second in the Fountain of Youth (G2) but a disappointing 11th in the Florida Derby (G1), may run in Keeneland’s Coolmore Lexington (G2) on April 19.

“That’s the way I’m leaning right now, but nothing’s set in stone yet,” he laughed.

Bear Stables’ Kentucky Bear walked the shedrow at Barn 22 on Monday morning, a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.80 under Toyota Blue Grass rider Jamie Theriot.

Cassie Garcia, who has been overseeing Kentucky Bear’s preparations here since arriving last week, said that trainer Reade Baker was scheduled to be at the barn Tuesday morning.

Briarwood Stable’s Miner’s Claim returned to the track to gallop a little more than a mile with exercise rider Jason Hoyte up. The Mineshaft colt had worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 on Saturday.

With only three starts, Miner’s Claim will be one of the more lightly raced entrants in the Toyota Blue Grass. The Mark Casse trainee ran twice in October and November at Woodbine and did not reappear at the races until the March 22 Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park.

“The layoff was by design,” Casse said. “He actually won the prep for the Display (Stakes) but we opted not to go there because we didn’t want to run him too much. He is a big, tall, light-framed horse.”

Patrick Husbands has the riding assignment on Saturday.

Team Valor International and Vision Racing LLC’s Visionaire jogged about 1 ½ miles with Ray Handal aboard.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Cowboy Cal and Monba both walked the shedrow a day after each worked four furlongs. Monba also is a possibility for the Coolmore Lexington. Both colts are scheduled to gallop on Wednesday.


Horse Trainer Barn

Cool Coal Man N. Zito Churchill Downs

Worked 4 fur. in :47.40 at CD on 4/3

Cowboy Cal T. Pletcher 6

Worked 4 fur. in :47.40 at Kee on 4/6

Halo Najib D. Romans Churchill Downs

Kentucky Bear R. Baker 22

Worked 5 fur. in 1:01.80 at Kee 4/6

Medjool D. Hofmans Santa Anita

Worked 5 fur. in 1:02.20 at SA on 4/7

Ships to Kee on 4/9

Miner’s Claim M. Casse 2

Worked 5 fur. in 1:01.20 at Kee on 4/5

Pyro S. Asmussen 36

Worked 4 fur. in :50.60 at Kee on 4/7

Visionaire M. Matz 14

Worked 5 fur. in 1:00.40 at Kee on 4/5

Big Truck B. Tagg 37

To work at Kee on 4/8

Elysium Fields B. Tagg 37

To work at Kee on 4/8

Monba T. Pletcher 6

Worked 4 fur. in :47.20 at Kee on 4/6

Miners Claim
(5f) in 101.1
in company with Palmers, these two went head and head both in hand

French Beret
(5f) in 100.1
went easily

(4f) in 47.3
looked sharp, could have done more

On Sunday, Canadian-breds with sharp moves included SEALY HILL, MARCHFIELD and Sam-Son Farms' CROSS EVERY BRIDGE, an unraced Giant's Causeway colt.


Half-Brother to Cool Coal Man Equals World Record At Keeneland April Sale Preview Day April 07, 2008


A half-brother to Toyota Blue Grass (G1) contender Cool Coal Man breezed an eighth of a mile in a world-record-equaling time of :9.3 during Monday’s Preview Day works, held prior to Keeneland’s April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. The April Sale will be conducted Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, April 8-9. Sale sessions begin at 7 p.m. (ET).

Cataloged as Hip #7, the record-equaling Langfuhr colt is a half-brother to two stakes winners, including recent Fountain of Youth (G2) winner and Kentucky Derby (G1) contender Cool Coal Man. The colt was consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, agent.

Two colts – Hip #45 and Hip # 190 – posted the fastest times of the day at a quarter-mile, each getting the distance in :20.2. Consigned by Kirkwood Stables, agent, Hip #45 is a half-brother by Aldebaran to the graded stakes-placed filly Grace Anatomy. Hip #190, is a colt by Forestry out of Astarita Stakes (G2) winner Broad Dynamite, by Broad Brush. He is consigned by McKathan Brothers, agent.

“This Preview Day was one of our best attended ever,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “Perhaps the proximity of the sale to Toyota Blue Grass week made it more convenient for a number of prominent owners and trainers to be on hand today.”

Replays of the works are available on Keeneland’s website. Video replays also will be available in the Keeneland sale pavilion beginning Tuesday morning, April 8. Keeneland will stream live coverage of both sessions of the April Sale on its website at

Last year’s April Sale produced a number of prominent alumni, including the undefeated Big Brown, who became a leading Kentucky Derby contender with his dominating wire-to-wire win in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1). The Boundary colt was purchased for $190,000 by Hidden Brook, as agent for co-owner Paul Pompa Jr., from the consignment of Eddie Woods, agent.


SALVO won a $5,000 claiming race at Mountaineer Park last night for Brenda Aubin and trainer Mike Newell.
The Ontario bred is by the late Elajjud-Dynamite Dancer by Lite the Fuse.

T. D. Thornton, author of Not By A Longshot: A Season At A Hard-
Luck Horse Track, was named the winner of the second annual Castleton
Lyons-THOROUGHBRED TIMES Book Award in a ceremony at Castleton
Lyons in Lexington on Monday.
Thornton received the first-place prize of $10,000 and a trophy.
The two runners-up were Bill Nack and Rachel Pagones.


  • At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm so sick of seeing what I consider animal abuse at these 2 yr old in training sales... Adena is the only one who I'd buy a 2 year old from. Will be interesting to see if this world time horse will make it or end up a green monkey.

  • At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm glad T.J. at least was well cared for and loved by his connections, it's ashame h did not get longer to enjoy his retirement.

  • At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jen another page of Queens Plate History for the Books RIP T.J you'll be missed by all. Lou M.

  • At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    this may be a day late, Anonymous said that hey would only buy from Adena two year old sale that may be nice but has anybody looked at the RNA's of that sale. buying at a 2yr old sale just takes a person doing their homework eg. Harmony Lodge, 1.4 mil and turned into a MGSW. Sure you have to "eat" some but buy from good people and you will get a return

  • At 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Two words for all you Betfair proponents: Kieren Fallon.


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