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Thursday, April 10, 2008



Coming up SATURDAY - 2 Canadian HORSE OF THE YEAR'S square off
(Sealy Hill vs. Arravale, photos from
Read more below..


Canadian-bred STREET SOUNDS finished 2nd in yesterday's Grade 2 Madison Stakes at Keeneland, proving she loves the Keeneland Polytrack. The graded stakes winner by Street Cry-Rare Opportunity, Danzig Connection was in a chasing mode all the way through the 7 furlongs and while the winner, Venture (Chcester House) came from last place, Street Sounds stayed on well while the other speed slipped back. The filly was bred by Rod Ferguson and Anderson Farms.

Later on Keeneland's card, Chiefswood Stables' BORN TO BE, a promising 3yo A.P.Indy filly was mired in a dreadful journey in a turf allowance race in her first start of the year and first for new trainer Mike Matz. The filly closed fast once she got out of a race-long mess and was 3rd, galloping out well.


All the action is at Keeneland right now and today, another good stakes event with a big field.
Sovereign Award-nominated filly OFFICER CHERRIE, a Kentucky-bred by Officer owned by Charles Laloggia and trained by Mark Casse (Pat Husbands will ride) makes her 2008 debut off a 6 1/2 month layoff in the 7 furlong race.
Officer Cherrie won 3 of 4 races last year including the Ont. Debutante Stakes and the Mazarine Stakes.
The filly loves Polytrack at Woodbine but many of her rivals have been racing this year.

The biggees in the race are KEEP THE PEACE (Touch Gold) who is very fast and is a nose away from being unbeaten in 3 races and GOLDEN DOC A (Unusual Heat) who is the first starter at Keeneland for trainer Barry Abrams and she workewd in :33 2/5 the other day (see previous posts this week).

SEALY HILL VS. ARRAVALE Horse of the Year showdown at Keeneland

It could be the first time it has ever happened - two female Canadian Horse of the Year's squaring off in a race. SEALY HILL, last year's top thoroughbred in Canada and ARRAVALE, 2006's heroine, will meet in their 2008 debut in the JENNY WILEY STAKES at Keeneland on Saturday.
The turf is expected to be a bit on the 'off' side and a field of 10 is entered.
Sealy Hill has not raced since her narrow loss in the E.P. Taylor Stakes last fall and Arravale had a treacherous outing in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf when she was carried out badly by an errant rival.
Here is the field...

Jenny Wiley S. (G2) April 12, $200,000, f&m, 4yo & up, 11⁄16mT, Keeneland Race Course, 3:40 PM ET Post Horse Sire Jock Wt Trainer
1. Candy Ball -Lemon Drop Kid Jamie Theriot 117 Andrew Leggio Jr.
2. Roshani - Fantastic Light John R. Velazquez 119 Todd A. Pletcher
3. Sealy Hill- Point Given Patrick Husbands 117 Mark E. Casse
4. Rutherienne- Pulpit Garrett K. Gomez 119 Christophe Clement
5. Bit of Whimsy - Distorted Humor Javier Castellano 123 Barclay Tagg
6. Stormy West- Gone West Kent J. Desormeaux 117 William I. Mott
7. Swingit - Victory Gallop James Graham 117 Hal R. Wiggins
8. Precious Kitten - Catienus Rafael Bejarano 123 Robert J. Frankel
9. Lady of Venice (Fr)- Loup Solitaire Edgar S. Prado 119 Kiaran P. McLaughlin
10. Arravale - Arch Jose Valdivia Jr. 117 MacDonald Benson

THE BEAR (50 to 1) and THE MINER (20 to 1) VS. DERBY FAVES Pyro and Cool Coal Man Among 12 Entered
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Pyro, winner of the Louisiana Derby (G2), and Robert LaPenta’s Cool Coal Man, winner of the Fountain of Youth (G2), headline a field of 12 horses entered for Saturday’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland.

The 1 1/8-mile Toyota Blue Grass is one of the final major preps on the spring calendar for the May 3 Kentucky Derby (G1) presented by Yum! Brands. Pyro and Cool Coal Man both enter the Toyota Blue Grass undefeated in two starts at three, Pyro claiming wins in the Risen Star (G3) and Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds while Cool Coal Man has an allowance victory to go with the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.

Pyro, installed by handicapper Mike Battaglia as the even-money favorite in the morning line, will break from post position seven with regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan aboard. Cool Coal Man drew the inside post and will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux.

“We expect him (Pyro) to run well,” said David Fiske, manager of the Winchell family’s Corinthia Farm. “We just want a good effort and for Pyro to come back happy. The motto of the (NCAA men’s college) basketball tournament last week was to survive and advance. That’s all we want.”

Big Truck and Visionaire are co-third-choices in the morning line, each at odds of 6-1. Eric Fein’s Big Truck, upset winner over then-undefeated War Pass in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3), will break from post position six. The Hook and Ladder colt will be ridden by Eibar Coa.

“This is a very tough race,” said Barclay Tagg, trainer of Big Truck. “It could be the Derby itself. I’m happy with my post; I’m happy with my jock (Coa); and I’m happy with my horse. He’s gotten over the track very well yesterday and today. Hopefully, he’ll take to it wet or dry come Saturday.”

Visionaire, who races for Team Valor International and Vision Racing LLC, has made three starts this year, capturing the Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct in early March. The Grand Slam colt, who will be ridden by Jose Lezcano, will start from the outside post.

The remaining Toyota Blue Grass starters seek to enhance their graded stakes earnings to be competitive in a prospective Kentucky Derby field of 20 entrants.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will be saddle two Toyota Blue Grass horses – Stonerside Stable’s Cowboy Cal and Starlight Stable LLC, Donald Lucarelli and Paul Saylor’s Monba. Cowboy Cal won the Tropical Park Derby (G3) on turf on New Year’s Day at Calder Race Course and finished second in the February 16 Hallandale Beach at Gulfstream in his last start. He will be ridden in the Toyota Blue Grass by John Velazquez. Monba has made only one start this year, a well-beaten 12th in the Fountain of Youth. Edgar Prado will have the mount. Both horses are 15-1 in the morning line.

Three horses enter the Toyota Blue Grass following strong performances at Turfway Park on Lane’s End Stakes Day, March 22. Briarwood Stable’s Miner’s Claim, trained by Mark Casse, finished second by a neck to Big Glen in the Rushaway Stakes. Zayat Stables’ Halo Najib, trained by Dale Romans, and Equine Prep Management’s Medjool, from the barn of David Hofmans, finished second and third, respectively, in the Grade 2 Lane’s End.

The complete field in post position order is as follows (all will carry 123 pounds):
Cool Coal Man (K. Desormeaux)
Kentucky Bear (J. Theriot),
Cowboy Cal (J. Velazquez),
Stevil (R. Bejarano),
Monba (E. Prado),
Big Truck (E. Coa),
Pyro (S. Bridgmohan),
Stone Bird (C. Lanerie),
Medjool (M. Baze),
Miner’s Claim (P. Husbands),
Halo Najib (G. Gomez)
Visionaire (J. Lezcano).

KENTUCKY BEAR is not the only Bear Stable runner in a big race this weekend...
CHIEF BEAR (Chief Seattle) is in the Holy Bull Sstakes (grade 3) on Saturday at Gulfstream with a post time of 6 p.m. The colt is a maiden but was 2nd in an allowance race in his debut.

April 12, $150,000, 3yo, 13⁄16m, Gulfstream Park, 6:00 PM ET
PP Horse Sire Jockey Wt. Trainer
1. Famous Patriot Repent Eddie Castro 118 Timothy A. Hills
2. Hey Byrn Put It Back Charles C. Lopez 118 Edward Plesa Jr.
3. Chief Bear Chief Seattle Sebastian O. Madrid 116 Reade Baker
4. Bipolar Express Equality Andrew R. Ramgeet 116 Gerald S. Bennett
5. Nathan Ridge Quaker Ridge Eduardo O. Nunez 116 Frank Carlisi
6. Dream Maestro Concerto Manoel R. Cruz 118 William A. Kaplan
7. Web Gem Fusaichi Pegasus Joe Bravo 118 Nicholas P. Zito


Looking at the results for the two evenings, there seemed to a huge amount of RNA's and outs from the auction.
Last evening, a Storm Cat colt brought $800,000.
MARK CASSE, as agent, paid $120,000 for a colt by Mineshaft out of Bannder Dancer by Danzig from the family of Sacahuista.

Norm Castiglione's You and Me Baby a $30,000 claim last year won the $30,000 mares claiming race last evening at Stampede Park in 1:10.1, reeportedly the fastest clocking of the meet. The 5yo mare is by Sefapiano-Prema Prema by Supremo and was bred in Ontario by Ron Clarkson.
The trainer is Monica Russell.

Quiet Jungle (5f) in 59.2
was only asked for effort the last eighth, pulled away from Speak Wisely

Sail From Seattle (5f) in 59.2
useful outing with Albarado up


Okay, while some THOROUGBLOG readers are mired in a very long, and frankly very redundant battle about takeout and why Woodbine should lower its takeout (hey, I'm a daily bettor, I would love the takeout to be dropped) I thought I would put this story up from Andy Beyer last summer...


Wagering innovations more effective than takeout reduction

by Ed DeRosa

Maryland Jockey Club President Lou Raffetto had no trouble summing up the performance of Laurel Park’s “ten days at 10%” promotion this summer.

“It was a [public relations] bonanza but a financial bust,” Raffetto told attendees of the 15th annual International Simulcast Conference during Monday’s opening session in Kansas City.

The blended takeout rate was about 11.4% on the Laurel signal, resulting in payoffs up to 20.2% higher on multiple horse wagers such as trifectas and pick threes, but bettors did not respond favorably, as handle during a five-day period in mid-August this year compared with similar dates in 2006 declined 8.5%.

“Takeout doesn’t matter when you go against the big guys,” Raffetto said, referring to a summer simulcasting schedule that includes Saratoga Race Course and Del Mar. “We accomplished the goal of creating awareness and creating good will, but we did not increase handle.”

Ellis Park offered a 4% takeout on its daily pick four wager, and average handle increased on that wager 82% from $19,282 in 2006 to $35,085 this year, but the effect did not trickle down to individual races or pick threes on the card. Ron Geary, owner and president of Ellis Park, said handle was down across the board on all other wagers.

“The players got behind this, and we want to be known as a player-friendly track,” Geary said. “We raised awareness of the Ellis signal. We’ll decide early in 2008 if we’ll do it again.”

Both Geary and Raffetto referred to the innovations in takeout reduction as experiments. Laurel’s takeout has returned to standard levels for its fall meet.

“We viewed it as an experiment. We wanted to gather data and share it, and this our first time doing that,” Geary said, referring to the conference that runs through Wednesday.

One wagering innovation that during the past four years has moved beyond the experimentation stage into the nationwide implementation stage is lowering bet minimums.

The most popular vehicle for this has been the 10-cent superfecta, which began at dog tracks and first came to Thoroughbred racing via Sam Houston Race Park in February 2004. Since then, minimums on other bets such as 50-cent pick fours and trifectas have decreased.

The decreased minimum has resulted in increased handle on that particular bet, but the effect on overall handle is mixed.

Handle on superfectas at Sam Houston was up about 45% during the 2006-’07 meet compared to the ‘04-’05 meet, when the minimum was $1. Handle on exactas has declined about 5% in that time while handle on trifectas has decreased less than 1%.

Eric Halstrom, vice president of racing and simulcasting for Canterbury Park, said that while handle on superfectas increased dramatically when the track shifted to a 10-cent minimum, handle on all other wagers went way down. He also noted that the chance for churn is less because superfectas are more difficult to hit.

The Magna 5 is perhaps the most successful wager to debut in the past five years.

Aaron Vercruysse, director of business development for Santa Anita Park and a HorseRacing TV analyst, helped design the wager and said Magna Entertainment Corp. officials hotly debated the wager’s minimum, which they eventually set at $2.

“We heard the call to make it 10 cents or 25 cents, but we charge $2 and that helps us get a carryover,” Vercruysse said. “We wouldn’t get a carryover with a smaller denomination. We’re willing to sacrifice some handle on one day for a chance for a carryover when handle grows exponentially.”

Vercruysse said that the Magna 5 has succeeded where the Ellis pick 4 with a 4% takeout failed because handle increases dramatically on the individual races that comprise the Magna 5.

“The number one goal for any track is to get attention on its signal, and the Magna 5 leverages Magna’s multiple signals,” Vercruysse said.

Ed de Rosa is a news editor for TT


  • At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    Regarding the Laurel experiment:
    1) It was only 11 days
    2) Canadians were not allowed to participate in it because WEG didn't let their loyal customers bet on Laurel during that meet.
    3) Another large ADW also didn't carry Laurel's signal as they did the year before.
    4) Rafferty isn't saying what happened to the extra money won by patrons. It more than likely was reinvested at other venues until it finally evaporated. This caused other handles at other tracks to go up.

  • At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Takeouts-schmakeouts. Don't you all know already that the way to grow this game is simple. It's all about, Casinos, Slots, Movie theatres, Shopping Malls,Condos,nightclubs,poker rooms, concerts, Dancing Girls,etc....oh yeah and MUSIC!!!

    Somewhere in all of that, they will run nine races a day...I say the more you promote everything and anything outside the actual Racing Game. Woodbine will be much better for it.

  • At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with kg, cangamble. You are so boring bringing up the same old arguments every day. Nobody is forcing you to bet anywhere, if you don't like it, then go play bingo, or go live in the states. Whatever you decide, just please go cry somewhere else.

  • At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    Anon 12:01, you can't be a bettor, so your opinion of me is irrelevant.
    And Woodbine has tried to force people in Canada to only bet through them. So you can't be very keen either.
    I didn't want to get into personal attacks, but when in Rome.....

  • At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    WAH, WAH. Obviously you are the one who is not very keen. I said if you don't like it, go live in the states. No one is forcing you to bet with anybody, if you don't like, then don't bet. I manage to do quite well as a bettor, maybe you need to sharpen up your handicapping skills.

  • At 5:13 PM, Blogger the_drake said…

    Well Anon, you could be making a hell of a lot more money. That's the problem, they take advantage of typical Canadians who can't be bothered to speak out against something and instead say oh well. Davey Wilmott and the gang rip off their patrons like no others. I would rather be down South watching and betting through HRTV and TVG any day, but my Ontario Sired stock would be running for a nickle so I'm staying up here instead.
    How bout that $840.58 carryover today, hot damn!!! 4 more months of carryovers and the pick 7 will be worth playing & 2 days worth of a Santa Anita carryover.

  • At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    lets face the facts Anonymous if you were worth your salt you would not be ashamed to let people know who you are
    Jen you are doing a great job, AND IT IS QUITE INTERESTING


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