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Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Shilla made the cover of Can.
Thoroughbred this month


"I'm not really sure who is going to be able to beat that horse." - trainer Graham Motion in the Louisville-Courier Journal

It has been 60 years (Citation in 1948) that a horse that won the KENTUCKY DERBY came back in the Preakness and not met a single horse he/she beat in the Derby.
It could happen this year.
Only RECAPTURETHEGLORY is on the short list of Preakness possibles.
Canadian racing has a lot more interest in this event than the Derby, however.
HARLEM ROCKER is now rumoured to be more likely for the Preakness than the PLATE TRIAL.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had hinted to WOODBINE ENTERTAINMENT that the colt would come for the Plate Trial and then the Plate but with a 106 Beyer Figure last time and an undefeated record - he might match up well with BIG BROWN.
Or not.
Also, Albertan DANNY DION will take on the Brown with his BEAR, KENTUCKY BEAR, the leggy chestnut colt who could not run in the Derby because of earnings but who has been witting patiently with trainer Reade Baker at Keeneland waiting for the Preakness.



Horse Most recent start Finish

Big Brown Kentucky Derby (G1) Won
Recapturetheglory Kentucky Derby (G1) 5th
Behindatthebar Coolmore Lexington S. (G2) Won
El Gato Malo Santa Anita Derby (G1) 5th
Giant Moon Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) 4th
*Harlem Rocker Withers S. (G3) Won
**Kentucky Bear Toyota Blue Grass S. (G1) 3rd
Stevil Toyota Blue Grass S. (G1) 4th
Tres Borrachos Arkansas Derby (G2) 3rd
**Yankee Bravo Santa Anita Derby (G2) 4th

(*Canadian-bred; **Canadian-owned)


re: Kentucky Derby

Excerpts from THE BLOOD-HORSE

“We are saddened by the loss of Eight Belles during the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby last Saturday," the statement said. "Our hearts go out to Rick Porter, Larry Jones, and every member of Eight Belles’ connections. While injuries such as those sustained by Eight Belles are infrequent to Thoroughbred horse racing, it does not lessen the tragedy when they occur.

"The Kentucky Horse Racing Authorlty has been constantly reviewing safety issues and will continue to monitor research and development in that area. The KHRA is concerned about the health and welfare of Thoroughbred race horses and remains actively involved in all safety aspects of Thoroughbred racing.

"All horses are examined by a KHRA veterinarian prior to racing to ensure they are sound and free of injury on race day. The KHRA has enacted race-day medication rules designed to protect not only the horses, but the jockeys as well. The KHRA will remain vigilant in seeking ways to protect all of the athletes involved in horse racing, and working with racing jurisdictions from other states, as well as national and international organizations.

"For example, an injury reporting system is now in place nationally, and Kentucky has been providing data since the inception of the system. It is hoped that this data can be used to make recommendations to enhance the safety of racing. Likewise, the KHRA will continue investigating injuries occurring during or after a race. In light of the Eight Belles tragedy, the KHRA intends to enhance its protocols in this area. The KHRA will use this information to study and recommend improvements related to the safety of racing.

"People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent the KHRA a letter requesting that certain actions be taken. One statement indicated Thoroughbreds should not be trained or raced before their third birthday, however, the KHRA has no scientific evidence to support the need to make this change."

The KHRA said the whip is a tool used by jockeys to direct and control the horse during the course of a race and "provides safety for all participants in the race, including other horses and riders, by reducing contact with other horses, as well as the rail."

Abuse of the use of a whip is a violation of Kentucky racing regulations. Kentucky racing stewards have taken disciplinary action against jockeys who have abused the use of a whip during a race. Kentucky stewards are required to review the videotape of a race before it can be declared official.

"Kentucky stewards reviewed videotapes of the Derby and saw no evidence of a violation of any racing regulation by Mr. Gabriel Saez during the course of the race," the KHRA statement said.



DON CHERRY, a Canadian icon, will be the drawmaster at the QUEEN'S PLATE when entries are taken 3 days before the big race (June 19, race is June 22)

The picture for the Plate is not all that fuzzy - perhaps a bit but there is a handful of standouts at this point.

1 - HARLEM ROCKER has to be regarded the overwhelming Plate favourite since he's undefeated, ran a 106 Beyer in Withers Stakes without much effort, and, well, the competition does not appear super-strong at this point.

2/3 COOL GATOR and NOT BOURBON, the locally based chestnuts, are clear 2nd and 3rd choices based on good efforts this year.
The latter won the Queenston Stakes on Saturday at Woodbine with a 96 Beyer Figure.
The former has been freshened after a nice stint in Florida during the winter. He ran an 88 Beyer Figure in his season debut and then was 5th beaten 18 lengths to BIG BROWN in the Florida Derby last time.

4/5 GIQUERE and NIAGARA THUNDER finished 2nd and 3rd in the WANDO STAKES recently, both with 84 Beyer Figures. Both are nominated to the MARINE STAKES.


STUCK IN TRAFFIC might have distance issues since he slipped back in the 7 furlong Queenston Stakes.Bold
KESAGAMI was dreadul in the Queenston when finishing last.
SHADOWLESS is learning, he was 3rd in the Queenston.
SEBASTIAN'S SONG is still heading to the Plate despite an allowance run on the weekend that saw him finish last after a short rest from his season debut score.
PALMERS has not run very big Beyer Figures - he was 3rd in an allowance last weekend with a 78, DEPUTIFORMER looks like a grass horse.
GRAZETTES LANDING was 2nd in a maiden race on the weekend to DANCINGALL THEWAY, those 2 are very fast with distance questions.
HANDSOME BLUE is still a maiden and comes off a dull outing.

The latest PLATE PAYMENT was due MAY 1...hopefully we'll get the latest list of noms soon.



The Selene Stakes will be a blockbuster of a race judging by the nominations but remember, this is a race open to American breds, just as the Marine Stakes is.

Both races could very well go to American -breds.

GINGER BREW, the Calder Oaks winner, is on her way back to Canada and is a heavy favourite for the Oaks. She ran a 93 Beyer in the Calder race on turf and has won on Polytrack too.
SHILLA is a game little gal with 2 stakes wins in 2 starts this year.
Owner/breeder BRIAN CULLEN (see story below) may pass up the SELENE STAKES with the filly and go right into the Oaks.
AUTHENICAT is a good one but may be troubled at 1 1/8 miles.
MRS.BEGAN, the Princess Elizabeth Stakes winner, can improve. And Stronach Stables also have some other contenders in MONEY MY HONEY, HALLOWEEN WITCH and SKIPPING QUEEN.

CLIFF FLETCHER is the Oaks drawmaster.

THE MARINE STAKES is on May 17, the SELENE, May 18 and the VIGIL STAKES, for older sprinters is on the holiday Monday MAY 19.

THE VIGIL could mark the return of the exciting Canadian-bred KAPAZUNDER, 3 for 4 in his career with a 96 Beyer Figure last time. He's owned by....Stronach Stables.



Mark E. Casse 28 7 4 4 $465,930
Audre Cappuccitti 35 6 2 3 $142,495
Nicholas Gonzalez 22 6 2 2 $467,042
Steven M. Asmussen 26 5 2 4 $257,619
Daniel J. Vella 24 5 2 3 $224,577
Scott H. Fairlie 29 4 4 4 $139,890
Sid C. Attard 27 4 4 3 $268,672
Laurie Silvera 33 4 3 6 $183,129
Reade Baker 27 4 3 1 $239,347
Abraham R. Katryan 16 4 1 6 $82,757
Alec Fehr 14 4 1 2 $158,955


James McAleney 69 14 8 9 $724,267
Emile Ramsammy 87 13 11 17 $624,774
Eurico Rosa Da Silva 71 12 5 7 $446,947
Patrick Husbands 45 11 8 3 $628,142
Tyler Pizarro 63 10 8 7 $399,276
Jono C. Jones 68 10 8 2 $513,122
David Clark 60 9 9 6 $560,643
Emma-Jayne Wilson 83 9 8 10 $579,591
Justin Stein 67 8 10 8 $321,695
Dean Deverell 66 6 3 6 $271,750


Canadian champions are getting back into gear.
Saturday, TRUE METROPOLITAN set a track record at Hastings when he won his first start of the year (he is a 2-time Canadian champion older horse).
At Stampede Park in Calgary on Sunday, last year's champion 2yo filly DANCING ALLSTAR sped to a 5 1/2 length win in the Mount Royal Stakes, worth $52,000 in her return.
The daughter of Millennium Allstar—High On Believen, by Honor
Grades is owned by Bob Cheema and trained by Terry Jordan. Bent Tree Farm bred her in British Columbia.

Cullen returns to top of game

Brian Cullen's involvement in horse racing dates back almost 40 years. Although he was forced to step away from the game for five years when his wife became ill in 1999, he is once again front and center with Shilla, an early favorite for this year's Woodbine Oaks.

Cullen, 74, played in the National Hockey League as a center for seven years, first for the Toronto Maple Leafs and then for the New York Rangers. He operated the highly successful Victura Farm for decades, racing and breeding a number of high-class runners.

But when his wife of 53 years, Carol, suffered a serious stroke in 1999, Cullen essentially left the business, selling his farm and horses and moving his wife into a small house where he could care for her.

A rehabilitated Carol and her husband are enjoying exciting times with their homebred Shilla, who won her second stakes in as many starts this year in the April 27 Fury Stakes at Woodbine.

During his hockey career, Cullen would often frequent Fort Erie racetrack with his teammates. A chance meeting with trainer Art Warner led Cullen deep into the world of horse ownership.

"We had a great relationship," Cullen said. "He invited me to watch his horses work one morning, and I told him I wanted to buy some yearlings."

With the help of Warner and George Badame, Cullen began purchasing horses at the sales, and it was not long after that he bought a farm.

"I named it Victura Farm after a boat that John F. Kennedy had," he said. "It means 'will to win.'"

The property was located in Pelham, Ontario, near St. Catherines, and was built up to include several barns and paddocks.

For nearly 30 years, Cullen raced horses that he bought or bred or shared ownership in with a friend, Rick Kennedy, who raced 1987 Canadian Horse of the Year Afleet.

Cullen had stakes winners like Crowning Honors, winner of the 1985 Breeders' Stakes, plus Canadian stars such as Lantana Lady, Preemptive Strike, and Madame Treasurer.

"It was like we won stakes every weekend sometimes," said Cullen. "We had a lot of good horses."

But when his wife suffered a stroke, Cullen sold everything except for a couple of runners.

Carol improved dramatically over the course of a few years, and in 2002 a strange twist of fate brought Shilla to the family.

"I had bought a yearling in 1983 that I named Sawmill Lady, after the road our farm was on," Cullen said. "Art told me she was a stone-cold runner and I was excited."

Sawmill Lady never made it on the track, however, as she foundered and had to be retired.

One of Sawmill Lady's daughters, Papoose, was among the horses dispersed by Cullen when he left the game. Cot Campbell, president of Dogwood Stable, bought her as a yearling at auction.

Campbell no longer had the horse, but in 2002, Cullen happened to pick up a copy of the Woodbine mixed sale catalog that fall and there was Papoose.

"Some guy in Alberta had her," Cullen said. "I told my bloodstock agent to go and buy her for me and we got her for $6,500."

Cullen bred Papoose to Deputy Commander in 2003 and the result was allowance winner Shawanaga, who is nearing her 4-year-old debut.

In 2004, he bred her to Marquetry and that resulting foal was Shilla.

Cullen has nine horses in training with Nick Gonzalez, including two that will race for Carol in her own silks.

"She's very excited about seeing her horses run soon, too," said Cullen. "I'm tickled pink to be back in the game."

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | comment | Racehorses are also workhorses
Racehorses are also workhorses

Lots of letters in the papers yesterday.

The TORONTO STAR received 2 regarding my story in Saturday's paper about Kentucky Derby horses, horse slaughter and the industry's movement to help horses...
here's one...

May 05, 2008 04:30 AM

Re:Battle to save horses from slaughterhouse

Bravo to Jennifer Morrison for writing this story. The slaughter of horses for the benefit of Belgians, French and Asians is reprehensible. For once people are not afraid to say the truth: that a lot of rich owners and breeders are irresponsible and uncaring. Why is it that a plethora of rescue people are always the ones saving horses that in many cases won a lot of money and were not provided with a safety net by their owners?

The thoroughbred industry, known as the "Sport of Kings," is really the "Sport of Shame," and will continue to be so until the whole community does the responsible thing and provides a safety net for all horses. Organizations like the RACE Fund are doing all they can to encourage a percentage of gross purse money be allocated for the retirement of racehorses.

This is a no-brainer. These horses run for their lives and deserve some of the very money they run for.

Patricia Bewley, Vice-President, RACE Fund, Phoenix, Ariz.

Welland jockey off to hot start
By Gord Bowes/staff
May 05, 2008

Richard Morrow is off to a flying start in his first full season on the track.

Morrow, an apprentice jockey from Welland, won two of his six mounts at Fort Erie Saturday and backed that up the next day with another win.

It’s got the attention of trainers and scouts around the paddock and has earned him an extra mount at Woodbine on Thursday.

Morrow, aboard the 9-2 shot Glendawe, raced to the front late in the stretch run to beat Wholelottabourbon by half a length on a muddy track in the fourth race Saturday, the track's opening day.

He also won the final race of Saturday, taking Tethra’s Dream — a 38-1 shot, by far the longest odds of any winner on the day — across the line first.

(EDITOR'S NOTE - TETHRA'S DREAM was making his season debut for Pedigree Farms' and trainer RODNEY QUINN)

Morrow followed that up Sunday with a win in the first race.

“He loves racing so much he rides every horse from the heart and it shows,” said Morrow’s mother, Veronica Blanchard.

It’s the 111th season of racing at the border oval.

Live racing continues this weekend with the regular schedule of Sunday through Tuesday racing for the rest of the 80-day meet. There will be racing on three Saturdays — July 19, Aug. 30 and Oct. 25 — before the season ends on Tuesday, Oct. 28.



A column about Rick Dutrow Jr., trainer of Big Brown.


  • At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    it's such a shame. Here we have this potentialy great race horse in our midst. However, he is trained by a complete dirt bag.

    It just seems like even when there are good stories in this sport. Ugliness seems to follow. the sport can just never get a head of itself.

  • At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jen I really hope they give her a rest and just put her in the Oaks. She has earned the rest! ShillaMania is sweeping the country!!!!!! Lou M.

  • At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jen, I believe that your comment on jockeys not caring, knowing or being horseman was incorrect. Please do not become a Monday morning quarterback and sensationalize and criticize off the back of a tragedy!

    Eight Belles jockey Gabriel Saez as quoted from Delaware Park on Tuesday.

    “I remain heartbroken over Eight Belles, and I want to let her many fans know that she never gave me the slightest indication before or during the race that there was anything bothering her. All I could sense under me was how eager she was to race. I was so proud of her performance, and of the opportunity to ride her in my first Kentucky Derby, all of which adds to my sadness. Riding right now at Delaware Park and being around the horses and other jockeys is good therapy for me, but I hope the media understands that I prefer not to conduct interviews at this time. Please respect my decision while I mourn my personal loss.”


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