ROBERT CLARK'S artwork can be viewed/purchased at http://www.horsehats.com/HorseRacingArt.html
(WANDO STAKES TODAY, READ MORE BELOW)
YESTERDAY - GREEN MONKEY FOLKS BACK
There was buzz about the sizzling debut win by MR. MISTOFFOLEES yesterday at Keeneland. The dark bay with the white face won his debut at 4 1/2 furlongs in 50 seconds flat (see his 2yo in training video in yesterday's post).
Previously named ROMANCE THE CAT , the Storm Cat-Country Romance colt is from the family of top Caandian mare SQUARE ANGEL (his 4th dam), the dam of KAMAR, STELLARETTE (his 3rd dam). etc.
SMART STRIKE had his 52nd stakes winner when COMMUNIQUE won the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland. The 4yo is out of a Pleasant Colony mare.
Third in the 12 furlong race was the Roger Attfield trained mare RISING CROSS, owned by Gary Tanaka.
Canadian stakes placed filly QUIET JUNGLE was a close 2nd in her turf debut yesterday. The Forest Wildcat filly was making her first start on turf and first since July in the allowance race at 1 1/16 miles. She is owned and bred by Sam-Son Farms.
Canadian-bred SHERATON PARK, an almost pure white filly by Cozzene, had a disapoointing debut at Keeneland in the finale yesterday, dropping back to finish well behind as one of the choices on the odds board. The Cozzene filly is owned by Eugene Melnyk.
HELLO! Here's a baby boy from the first crop of SURVIVALIST out of MISS STUCK UP, owned by Cavendish Inc. and foaled at Windfields Farm just 6 days ago. (photo courtesy of Windfields)
WOODBINE FRIDAY PREVIEW
Ten races up today, the 9th card of racing of the Woodbine season - that means 2 PICK 4 bets.
The feature of the day is a good one - the first running of the WANDO STAKES (Canadian Triple Crown winner) which goes late, as race 9.
The 1 1/16 mile race mixes some American bred 3yos with some Canadian-bred Queen's Plate contenders.
GIQUERE and DEPUTIFORMER, both from trainer Mike DePaulo's stable, will vie for favoritism. Both were well beaten in their lone start this year at Gulfstream but are back in the friendly confines of Woodbine and on Polytrack.
Jono Jones appears to have selected Giquere, a son of Mutakkdim, who has to prove his mettle at the longer distance.
NIAGARA THUNDER may be a grass horse only, but the Hussonet colt was a sensational maiden winner at Gulfstream on the grass and he was 2nd on Polytrack to Giquere in his debut last year. Corey Fraser will ride.
His stablemate TACITO will be scratched from the Wando Stakes today (he's entered on Sunday).
A nice maiden allowance race - race 5 - could produce some WOODBINE OAKS players.
REVERENTLY (Pulpit-Forty Gran) and SATIN SLIPPERS were 3rd and 4th in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes last fall, return to action in the 7 furlong race. The latter is by E. Dubai and is listed as a the 3 to 1 morning line favourite from post 1.
Others to watch for include Stronach Stables' SKIPPING QUEEN (Touch Gold), who was 3rd in her debut at Gulfstream (and Pat Husbands rides her and not Satin Slippers!) and firster TAPENADE (crushed olive paste), by Smart Strike out of a three-quarter sister to WANDO...HUNCH BET??
MANDATORY PAYOUT ON PICK 6 TODAY Keeneland Closes Spring Meet on Friday with Record Pick Six Carryover
The Pick Six at Keeneland was not hit on Thursday, resulting in a record $375,412 carryover going into Friday’s final race day of the spring meet. The previous record carryover of $307,049 occurred on April 13, 2008.
If the Pick Six is not hit on Friday, there will be a mandatory payout.
The Pick Six on Friday will cover races five through ten, including the $200,000 Fifth Third Elkhorn (G2). Post time for the fifth race Friday is approximately 3:10 p.m. ET.
Keeneland also will offer a Friday Pick Four on races seven through ten.
Mike Battaglia's Friday Analysis
Kim Nelson's Friday Analysis
Bill Howard's Friday Analysis
HARLEM READY TO ROCK
(He's co-owned by Adena Racing Venture and www.horsehats.com owns a share, check its cool site at http://www.horsehats.com/index.html)
The trend of tiny fields in graded stakes races continues.
The Grade 3 WITHERS at Aqueduct tomorrow is laughable but there is some interest for Canadian racing fans.
HARLEM ROCKER, 2 for 2 in his career and a leading Queen's Plate contender (see www.woodbineentertainment.com and its Queen's Plate website) will be 2nd choice it seems to J Be K, the Bay Shore Stakes winner.
Harlem Rocker, by Macho Uno, will have Eibar Coa aboard again. The Stronach Stables/Adena Racing Venture owned colt is out of Freedom Come.
$150,000, 3yo, 1m, Aqueduct, 1:58 PM ET P Horse Sire Jockey Wt. Trainer
1. Harlem Rocker Macho Uno Eibar Coa 116 Todd A. Pletcher
2. J Be K Silver Deputy Garrett K. Gomez 123 Steven M. Asmussen
3. Double Or Nothing Double Honor Edgar S. Prado 118 Richard E. Dutrow Jr.
4. Face the Cat Tale of the Cat John R. Velazquez 116 Todd A. Pletcher
Big Brown Cruises in Final Ky. Derby Work (from Gulfstream Park press office)
(AND VOTE FOR YOUR DERBY PICK, AT RIGHT)
Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby favorite Big Brown blew through five furlongs at Palm Meadows early Thursday morning in :58 3/5, and while most trainers handle their nerves by counting sheep at night, trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. eagerly counts the days in the runup to May 3.
“It’s a horse race, and I have the best horse in the race. It’s that simple,” he told a group of reporters assembled outside his office. “We’re going to Kentucky to win, anything less than that is not going to be OK with us. There’s such good karma going around the stable now that I don’t see how he can get beat.”
Dutrow watched Big Brown work from the top of the stretch and after his colt finished in a straight line, tight against the rail, he told exercise rider Michele Nevin “I can’t believe he went that fast. He looked like he was just galloping along when he went past me.”
Big Brown, who is owned by IEAH Stable and Paul Pompa Jr., will be Dutrow’s first Kentucky Derby starter, and his famously laid-back trainer is not getting caught up in the hype.
“I’ve never been in this kind of spot before but I don’t feel any pressure, not as long as my horse is going good. I’m having fun. This is what I was born to do.”
The son of a successful New York-based trainer, the younger Dutrow, 47, has already trained a Horse of the Year in Saint Liam, who took the 2005 title after winning that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Most horsemen will tell you that Breeders’ Cup pressure is immense, and that Kentucky Derby pressure is somewhere beyond that. Most horsemen feel it differently from Big Brown’s trainer.
“I love the spot I’m in. I can’t see anyone going into this race nearly as well as we are,” he said.
Big Brown has won all three of his starts, the first two by a combined 24 lengths and his last, the $1 million Florida Derby, by five lengths while competing against South Florida’s best 3-year-olds in training.
He ran on turf in his first race, at Saratoga Sept. 3, when owned solely by Pompa and trained by Patrick Reynolds; on a drying-out track at Gulfstream on March 5 well after IEAH Stable had bought in and Dutrow had taken over the colt’s training; and on a fast track in the Florida Derby March 29, from which he broke from Post 12 in the 1 1/8-mile race.
“(The Saratoga race) was amazing,” Dutrow said of the bay colt’s 11¼-length victory, “and he took our breath away the first time he ran at Gulfstream,” winning by 12¾ lengths.
Much was made of Big Brown’s post position in the Florida Derby, but Dutrow said it was never a concern.
“I thought the only way he could get beat in the Florida Derby was if he ran into trouble, and the outside post assured us that he wouldn’t get into trouble,” he said.
“We thought about the (April 12) Blue Grass, but the spacing from the Florida Derby to the Kentucky Derby (five weeks later) better suited us. We wanted a lot of time after the Florida Derby, and I think a lot of time is best for a race like (the Kentucky Derby).”
Big Brown suffered from quarter cracks earlier in his career, but Dutrow said the colt’s one-time brittle feet are no longer a concern.
“His feet have been cold the last three or four weeks,” he said. “I’m not worried about his feet at all.”
Big Brown is expected to depart Palm Meadows – winter headquarters for Street Sense and Barbaro, the last two Kentucky Derby winners – Monday.
“I have about 80 horses up in New York, and I talk to my people up there every day,” Dutrow said, “but I’d rather be here with this horse because it’s so much fun. He wants to be here at Palm Meadows.”
Getting off his seat long enough to give his colt a peppermint, he said, “We spoil him … he probably gets away with murder … but he’s the one who told us he wants to be here.”
Big Brown closed at 3-1, the favorite, after Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
“It’s an honor to be the favorite now, and he’ll be the favorite on Derby Day, I can guarantee that,” Dutrow said. “We’re a betting stable, and we’ll make sure he’s the favorite.”
EDITOR'S NOTE - Same guy who trained WILD DESERT??
TALE OF EKATI'S WORK AT KEENELAND - WEDNESDAY courtesy YOUTUBE - kentuckyderby videos
BOB SUMMERS' DERBY RANKINGS courtesy BUFFALO NEWS
By Robert J. Summers--News Sports Reporter
Updated: 04/21/08 11:05 PM
Top Kentucky Derby contenders (with starts, firsts, seconds, thirds, earnings, trainer and probable jockey).
1. Colonel John (6-3-2-0, $825,300. Eoin Harty, Corey Nakatani): Son of 2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow showed a fantastic late run in winning the Santa Anita Derby in 1:48.16, (identical to Big Brown's Florida Derby time) catching three horses with distance questions (Bob Black Jack, Coast Guard and Yankee Bravo) in the final furlong. ... According to the Louisville Courier-Journal's "Derby Data Track" feature, he ran the final 3/8ths in 35.1 seconds, fastest finish for any contender in a 1 1/8 mile prep race. ... Trainer Harty says "abilitywise he reminds me of Real Quiet and Silver Charm," Derby winners he helped train while with Bob Baffert. ... "I know from being around them that my horse will be competitive on Derby Day. ... He's always struck me as a horse that will show up on Derby Day and run a credible race."
2. Big Brown(3-3-0-0, $662,700. Richard Dutrow Jr., Kent Desormeaux): Holy cow! He wired the $1 million Florida Derby from the 12-hole in 1:48.16 while drawing off from the field ("like a deer in a meadow," said Desormeaux) after fractions of 45 4/5, 1:10 and 1:35 in the most impressive performance of the spring so far. ... He'd be No. 1 if not for bad memories of Bellamy Road, who disappointed in the 2005 Derby after a similar performance in the Wood Memorial. ... Plus the question of whether a horse can win the Derby in his fourth career start with a history of foot problems. ... After Big Brown's workout on April 12, the Daily Racing Form reported that "Dutrow said he still can't understand why Big Brown drifted out to the middle of the track entering the stretch during both of his wins this winter as well as in his final work prior to the Florida Derby."
3. Adriano (7-3-1-0, $394,100. Graham Motion, Edgar Prado): Impressive win in March 22 Lane's End Stakes over Turfway Park's Polytrack renewed interest in son of A.P. Indy. ... This colt moved way up on this list when Edgar Prado chose to ride him over his two other Derby contenders, Tale of Ekati and Monba. ... That still doesn't cancel the fact that Adriano finished 17 lengths behind Cool Coal Man (in a race that also included Court Vision and Z Humor) in the Fountain of Youth over a real dirt track at Gulfstream. ... April 19 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland is next.
4. Tale of Ekati (6-3-1-0, $763,200. Barclay Tagg, Eibar Coa: Worked like a dog to catch War Pass in the final strides of the Wood to punch his ticket to Kentucky after a sixth-place finish behind Pyro in the Louisiana Derby in his 3-year-old debut. ... But the time was only 1:52.35 (last furlong in 13.93 seconds), slowest of the day's three Derby preps at 1 1/8 miles. ... Is he improving enough to make another leap forward on the First Saturday in May? ... Stay tuned and watch for his workout reports. ... Colt was downgraded on this list after jockey Edgar Prado, who rode him in the Louisiana Derby and the Wood, chose to stay with Adriano.
5. Pyro (7-3-2-1, $1,057,718. Steve Asmussen, Shaun Bridgmohan): Was that 10th place finish in the Blue Grass a disaster or just a stamina-sharpening workout on the Polytrack? ... Whatever it was, it had to make this horse's backers a little wary. After all, as Blood-Horse magazine's Steve Haskin pointed out, the last Derby winner to finish worse than fourth in his final Derby prep was Iron Leige in 1957, and he finished fifth. ... Before the Blue Grass jockey Bridgmohan said Pyro's got an "explosive kick" than can be sustained for "a quarter or 3/16ths of a mile" and added that "I don't think we've seen the best of his abilities." ... After the race, Bridgmohan said "He didn't give me the same run as he has. I asked him for run around the turn to try and set myself up pretty good and I didn't get the response I was hoping for." ... Asmussen told the New York Times' Bill Finley "I’m definitely worried that he didn’t do enough in the Blue Grass. I would have worked him by himself. Now, his next work will definitely be in company. I just can’t look at the Blue Grass as a hard race.” ... By the way, did anyone notice that the horses that really needed the graded stakes money to stay on the Derby trail finished 1-2 (Monba, Cowboy Cal), and the horses that just needed a race (Cool Coal Man, Pyro) finished 9-10 on the Keeneland Polytrack in the Blue Grass?
6. Cool Coal Man(8-4-1-0, $307,531. Nick Zito, Julien Leparoux): Stalked the pace and came home strongly to win the Feb. 24 Fountain of Youth for his second straight victory over 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream. ... Although nobody is sure exactly how fast he ran because of a timing glitch (estimates range from 1:49.58 to 1:50.07 but owner Robert LaPenta says it was 1:49 3/5), that performance, his first stakes win, earned him enough graded stakes money to get to the Derby. ... What was that ninth-place finish in the Blue Grass all about? It raised the same questions about CCM as it did about Pyro.
7. Court Vision(6-3-1-2, $367,542. William Mott, Garrett Gomez): Finished well on the far outside to edge Giant Moon for third place in the Wood Memorial after Mott ran a "rabbit" to soften up War Pass in the early going. ... Grandson of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat came from 12th to third in the 1 1/8-mile Fountain of Youth in his sophomore debut. ... It was his first out-of-the-exacta finish but still was a good showing for his first race in three months. ... Scored impressive win at 1 1/8 miles in Aqueduct's roughly run Remsen Stakes in November for third straight victory while beating Big Truck by five lengths.
8. Monba (5-3-0-0, $577,534. Todd Pletcher, Ramon Dominguez): Blue Grass victory, his first in a stakes race, propelled him back into Derby picture after 12th place finish as the injured favorite in the Fountain of Youth. ... Won a mile allowance race (in a sharp 1:35.50) at Churchill Downs last November. ... His sire, Maria's Mon, sired 2001 Derby winner Monarchos. ... Horse was downgraded on this list after jockey Edgar Prado, who rode him in the Fountain of Youth and Blue Grass, chose to stay with Adirano, instead of Monba or Tale of Ekata.
9. Cowboy Cal (6-3-1-1, $314,708, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez): Won Laurel Futurity and Tropical Park Derby on grass, as did Barbaro en route to 2003 Derby victory. .‚.‚. After runner-up finish in grassy Hallandale Beach on Feb. 16, Pletcher switched to synthetic surface in the Blue Grass Stakes and he finished a close second to stablemate Monba.
10. Recapturetheglory (6-2-1-2, $333,080). Louis Rousell III, E.T. Baird): What are we to make of this wire-to-wire Illinois Derby winner from the connections of Risen Star, winner of the Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 1988? ... Was the track quirky (not one horse passed another in the stretch), or was his time of 1:49.01 for the 1 1/8 miles indicative of a budding talent ... Two races back he finished second to Cool Coal Man in an allowance race at Churchill Downs, so maybe he's got some quality although his pedigree shouts "sprinter" since his sire, like War Pass, is champion sprinter Cherokee Run.
11. Gayego (5-3-2-0, $723,420. Paulo Lobo, Mike Smith): His first start on real dirt and outside of California went tremendously as he won the $1 million Arkansas Derby. ... He still hasn't beaten much, but hey, how about that bankroll? ... And he's never been out of the exacta.
12. Z Fortune (6-3-2-0, $386,600, Steve Asmussen, Robby Albarado): Runner-up finish to Gayego in Arkansas Derby boosted his the New York-bred's stock considerably. ... Could he turn out to be Asmussen's best 3-year-old after all? ... After the race, Albarado said "I don't like running second but this was a big move forward for him today. He really improved over his last race and showed me he still has some more ability."
13. Visionaire(6-3-1-1, $250,760. Michael Matz, Jose Lezcano): Before the race, Matz said. "We don't have to win [the Blue Grass] Saturday, but obviously the colt will have to show he belongs. We've really believed in the colt all along, so this has all been extremely gratifying." ... So the question is: Does a fifth-place finish by 6 1/4 lengths show he belongs? ... Came flying through the fog to win the Gotham Stakes over the Aqueduct slop on March 8. ... He was 2 3/4 lengths behind Pyro in the Risen Star on Feb. 9.
14. Hey Byrn (8-4-2-0, $266,000. Edward Plesa, Chuck Lopez.): Won the 1 3/16-mile Holy Bull on April 12 after finishing 15 3/4 lengths behind Big Brown in Florida Derby. ... Do you think he's likely to improve enough to beat him next time?
15. Big Truck(8-3-1-1, $336,880. Barclay Tagg, Javier Castellano): New York-bred son of Hook and Ladder had steadily improved with each race and showed a great stretch kick in catching Atoned in the last 40 yards to win the March 15 Tampa Bay Derby. ... Then he finished 11th in the Blue Grass. ... Jockey Eibar Coa, who rode him in his last two races, jumped to Tale of Ekati when the mount became available after Edgar Prado's defection to Adriano.
16. Z Humor(8-2-0-3, $621,450. William Mott, Rafael Bejarano): Earned $400,000 as a dead-heat winner (with Turf War) in the Dec. 7 Delta Jackpot for 2-year-olds. ... As a 3-year-old he shows three medoicre efforts, most recently a third-place finish in the Illinois Derby and a fourth-place finish, 8 1/2 lengths behind Cool Coal Man, in the Fountain of Youth. ... He's hard to get excited about.
17. Smooth Air (7-2-2-2, $395,500. Bernie Stutts Jr., Manny Cruz): While all eyes were on Big Brown, he was the only other horse running well in the Florida Derby as he finished second by 5 lengths and earned $200,000. ... In case you were wondering, Florida Derby runners-up won the Kentucky Derby in 1991 (Strike the Gold) and 1974 (Cannonade).
18. Giant Moon (6-4-0-0, $223,525, Richard Schosberg, Jorge Chavez): New York-bred ran a solid, gutsy race to finish fourth in the Wood, just a neck out of third. ... But he'll have to get lucky to get into the Kentucky Derby because he has only $37,500 in graded earnings. ... But he looks real good for the New York Derby at Finger Lakes.
19. Denis of Cork(4-3-0-0, $213,552. Dennis Carroll, TBA): Made impressive stakes debut with solid finish to win Feb. 18 Southwest at Oaklawn Park at a mile. ... Connections decided to skip the March 15 Rebel Stakes and race in the April 5 Illinois Derby, where he finished a dull fifth and the Daily Racing Form chart-caller said he "offered no response when called upon" in the stretch.
20. Fierce Wind (6-3-0-0, $146,200. Rick Violette Jr., Cornelio Velasquez): Finished five lengths in front of Z Humor in Sam Davis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 16, so time will tell if he deserves a higher ranking. ... He finished 10th in the Florida Derby, where he drew the inside post and was in contention for a short while. ... Former trainer Nick Zito said he bled in the race. ... Owner switched horse to Violette.
EMMA-JAYNE'S WEBSITE UP AND RUNNING
Check out www.ejwilson.com
the new website for champion jockey EMMA-JAYNE WILSON
EXCERPT: SPECIAL SEASON ARRIVES AT HASTINGS Four-legged athletes come from Europe and the U.S. to race Tom Wolski, The Province
This season at Hastings, it is all about the horses. After close to four years of wondering if slot machines would ever be up and running for an opening day of live horseracing at Hastings, Saturday at 1:25 p.m. those two forms of entertainment come together.
This year, a visit to the Hastings stable area is different. Unlike previous years when pessimism was normal, there are smiles of optimism seen everywhere.
Because of this, you cannot help but get a feeling; this season horseracing fans are going to see a year unlike any other.
Fans will be in for a treat when True Metropolitan races this year, says trainer Terry Jordan.
Because horse racing is a sport where athletes do not bicker about money or flaunt egos, expect to see all of last season's equine stars, with the exception of one (superstar Monashee is pregnant) back for another year.
Among top horses taking up residence at Hastings Racecourse are two 2007 Canadian champions.
Last season, Bob Cheema's Dancing Allstar captured the $127,000 My Dear Stakes and narrowly missed in the $125,000 Colin, both raced at Woodbine. In her only year of racing, Dancing Allstar won $306,350. Impressive enough results to earn her a Sovereign award for Canadian champion for two-year-old filly.
"She [Dancing Allstar] is truly special. She does everything you ask. And is a real freak of nature," said trainer Terry Jordan.
The other Canadian champion local fans will see is Cheema's superstar True Metropolitan. A winner in three provinces, the son of Proud and True won $458,240 last season pushing his lifetime winnings past $918,000, earning Canadian champion older horse of the year and giving his owner rare double sovereign awards.
"True Metropolitan is going fantastic. I truly believe he is better than last year and he was great last year. Our racing fans will be in for a treat when he races," added horse trainer Jordan.
Among older horses hoping to dethrone True Metropolitan are Nick & Pauline Felicella's Spaghetti Mouse, a former B.C. Derby winner who has won $631,501, and Patrick Kinsella & Glen Todd's Sir Gallovic, who handed rival True Metropolitan his only loss at Hastings last year.
© The Vancouver Province 2008