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Friday, May 02, 2008


Cindy Pierson-Dulay caught DENIS OF CORK raring to go...

It will soon be time for the Kentucky Derby horses to wake up on the morning of their biggest race.

The owners, trainers, grooms and hotwalkers will dote on this fine animals to make sure they are happy and rested.
Handicappers can hardly wait either.
I never look at one race so much as the Derby, I have memorized every horses DRF pp's, the more I look, the more confused I get.
This morning's flavour? Oh, well I like Denis of Cork more and more. I watched allt he workout videos yesterday trying to get an idea of a horse's movement over the Churchill surface.

Did anyone check out the video of BIG BROWN'S 3 FURLONG BREEZE yesterday? (Go to He dragged his rider to the pole and powered through the prep in 35 and change and boy, he looks like a monster.

(BIG BROWN SCHOOLS IN THE PADDOCK AT CHURCHILL...Cindy Pierson-Dulay photo, check out her stuff at

The track is on the rattling side from what I's fast, fast fast but with rain in the forecast...will it be wet wet wet?

Anyway, my picks will be up tomorrow (after I do them) and today is OAKS DAY, not to be outdone.
Tons of stakes races with horses like GINGER PUNCH (should get back on the winning track in the Louisville 'Cap) and the Crown Royal (Derby wannbe's Halo Najib and Blackberry Road debut on turf but that NISTLE'S CRUNCH is a good one).

In the OAKS, you have to like PROUD SPELL...
but the one I WILL wager on is GOLDEN DOC A. (PHOTO BELOW of 'Doc' is by Cindy Pierson-Dulay)
She closed nicely in the Beaumont
and should handle the distance.


Tons of rain in T.O. right through Sunday..oh well, the Polytrack should be okay.

Today's 9-race card is perhaps the weakest of the year so far - field size is below average and the only non-claiming race is a maiden allowance for 4yo and up, race 8.

KENTUCKY DERBY FIELD POST TIME 6:04 P.M. Post Horse Trainer Dosage Jockey M/L Odds
1 Cool Coal Man Nick Zito 3.00 Julien Leparoux 20-1
2 Tale of Ekati Barclay Tagg 2.00 * Eibar Coa 15-1
3 Anak Nakal Nick Zito 4.00 Rafael Bejarano 30-1
4 Court Vision Bill Mott 3.67 * Garrett Gomez 20-1
5 Eight Belles Larry Jones 2.20 Gabriel Saez 20-1
6 Z Fortune Steve Asmussen 1.67 Robby Albarado 15-1
7 Big Truck Barclay Tagg 1.40 Javier Castellano 50-1
8 Visionaire Michael Matz 3.80 Jose Lezcano 20-1
9 Pyro Steve Asmussen 3.73 * Shaun Bridgmohan 6-1
10 Colonel John Eoin Harty 2.11 * Corey Nakatani 4-1
11 Z Humor Bill Mott 2.73 Rene Douglas 30-1
12 Smooth Air Bennie Stutts Jr. 3.00 Manoel Cruz 20-1
13 Bob Black Jack James Kasparoff 4.33 Richard Migliore 20-1
14 Monba Todd Pletcher 2.00 Ramon Dominguez 15-1
15 Adriano Graham Motion 3.17 Edgar Prado 30-1
16 Denis of Cork David Carroll 1.80 Calvin Borel 20-1
17 Cowboy Cal Todd Pletcher 2.60 John Velazquez 20-1
18 Recapturetheglory Louie Roussel III 5.00 E.T. Baird 20-1
19 Gayego Paulo Lobo 4.33 Mike Smith 15-1
20 Big Brown Richard Dutrow Jr. 1.67 Kent Desormeaux 3-1

Storms threaten for Oaks, Derby

Churchill ready to deal with rain

By C.L. Brown • • May 2, 2008

Butch Lehr kept a watchful eye on his television yesterday while horses made their way onto the Churchill Downs track just below his office.

The racetrack superintendent wasn't as interested in the action as he was in the hourly updates on the Weather Channel.

"I don't like what I'm hearing," he said.

Louisville can expect isolated storms this afternoon before today's Kentucky Oaks and more rain tonight. Tomorrow there is an early chance of showers with the possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Post time for Kentucky Derby is 6:04 p.m.

Winds in the 25-mph range yesterday complicated matters. Lehr said his crews wet the track to keep dirt from kicking up. He is taking preemptive measures to keep the potential rain from producing a sloppy track.

"This track handles the rain well; it always has. It's just doing the right thing at the right time," Lehr said. "What forecast I see, we might keep the crew here all night. We'll do whatever it takes. I mean, it's not new to us."

That means making sure the surface is smooth to ensure that water can't seep into deeper layers of the dirt. Lehr said it also would help if the track catches a break in the timing or the severity of the rain.

"Light rains won't hurt it," he said. "It just depends what type of rain you're talking about. They're saying 1-2 inches; I hope it comes after the races are over (tonight). We'd rather see it at nighttime."

Last year's Oaks was run on a sloppy track, but that quickly turned into a fast track for the Derby thanks to the timing of the rain.

"If you've got it all rolled down, sealed and graded properly and the rain comes in the night where there are no horse prints in it, most of the time it rolls off," he said.

What to do with all those guys who pooped out on Polytrack as their last prep for the Derby.
What to do with those guys who won on Poly and now are moving back to dirt?
Are the surfaces REALLY that dramatically different that Pyro could have run so poorly in the Blue Grass?
You see it at Woodbine,a stakes winner, ARE YOUR SERIOUS, simply could not stand up on Poly and had to go to the States to continue racing on dirt tracks. He's doing well these days.

LARRY MILLSON at the GLOBE & MAIL is at the Derby...

"Looking for the dirt on Colonel John"

When horse runs in Louisville tomorrow, it will be first time not on synthetic surfaces


May 2, 2008

LOUISVILLE, KY. -- Eoin Harty wore a beige jacket with the name Colonel John, the colt he trains for tomorrow's Kentucky Derby, over the left breast.

The Dublin native, who came to the United States when he was 17, peered from beneath a New York Yankees cap that somehow emphasized his sunken cheeks.

Colonel John, the 4-to-1 second choice in the morning line, is Harty's first Kentucky Derby runner, although he has experienced the race previously as an assistant to trainer Bob Baffert.

He was with Baffert when he finished second with Cavonnier in 1996, first in 1997 with Silver Charm and first again in 1998 with Real Quiet.

Two years later, Harty, 45, became the private trainer for Godolphin's strong U.S. stable, and in the 2001 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, he finished 1-2 with Tempera and Imperial Gesture.

So he knows his way around big races. And based on his Kentucky Derby experience and what he has seen from Colonel John, Harty feels his Santa Anita Derby winner is ready to run well.

"He's shown me all the signs that Real Quiet and Silver Charm did," Harty said yesterday.

Colonel John has won both of his 2008 starts, beginning with the Sham Stakes, also at Santa Anita in California. But the question being asked about him is how he will handle the dirt racing surface at Churchill Downs. All his races have been on synthetic surfaces in California.

Indications are Colonel John, a son of Tiznow, owned and bred by WinStar Farm, has taken to the track at Churchill. There are some handicappers who feel this is an exaggerated aspect and it is more significant going from dirt to an artificial surface.

But even if this is true, no matter is too trivial during the buildup to the most famous horse race in the United Sates.

"I've liked what I've seen since I got here," Harty said.

Last Sunday, the bay colt had a superb workout over the track. He was timed in 57.8 seconds for five furlongs. That is known as a bullet work - not only did he run with bullet-like speed, but it also was the fastest time of the day at the distance and there were 62 five-furlong workouts on Sunday.

"Dirt is not an issue," Harty said after the workout.

The Derby favourite, Big Brown, had his final blowout for the race yesterday and was timed at 35.4 seconds for three furlongs, which was a little faster than trainer Rick Dutrow had planned. But Big Brown looked strong and gave exercise rider Michelle Nevin all she could handle pulling up after the workout.

"I think maybe the track was a little bit fast and so is our horse," Dutrow said.

While Big Brown has the outside No. 20 post position in the full field, Colonel John has the No. 10 post for the 1¼-mile race for three-year-olds, the first event of U.S. thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

Harty had the third choice in the selection process for post position on Wednesday and wanted to start the race from somewhere in the middle. "A lot of winners have come out of the 10-hole, so that was pretty much it," he said.

There have been 10 winners from the No. 10 post. Only the No. 1 and No. 5 post positions, with 12 each, have produced more Derby winners.

Read more


Acquisition chart of Kentucky Derby contenders
Horse Owner How acquired

Adriano Courtlandt Farms Homebred

Anak Nakal Four Roses Thoroughbreds Private sale

Big Brown IEAH Stables & Paul Pompa Jr. $190,000 Keeneland April sale of selected two-year-olds in training; IEAH bought in privately

Big Truck Eric Fein $90,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of two-year-olds in training

Bob Black Jack Jeff Harmon & Tim Kasparoff Purchased privately for $25,000

Colonel John WinStar Farm Homebred

Cool Coal Man Robert V. LaPenta $200,000 Keeneland September yearling sale

Court Vision IEAH Stables & WinStar Farm $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Calder sale of selected two-year-olds in training; IEAH bought in privately

Cowboy Cal Stonerside Stable Homebred

Denis of Cork Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr. $250,000 Barretts March sale of selected two-year-olds in training

Eight Belles Fox Hill Farms $375,000 Keeneland September yearling sale

Gayego Cubanacan Stables $32,000 Keeneland September yearling sale

Monba Starlight, Lucarelli, & Saylor $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings

Pyro Winchell Thoroughbreds Homebred

Recapturetheglory Louie Roussel III & Ronnie Lamarque $215,000 Fasig-Tipton Calder sale of selected two-year-olds in training

Smooth Air Mount Joy Stables Homebred

Tale of Ekati Charles Fipke Homebred

Visionaire Team Valor International and Vision Racing $220,000 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. June sale of two-year-olds in training; Team Valor bought in privately

Z Fortune Zayat Stables $80,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale of selected yearlings

Z Humor Zayat Stables $240,000 Keeneland September yearling sale


For Kasparoff, long shot still has a shot

May 2, 2008

James Kasparoff has only three horses in training. One of them is in the Kentucky Derby.

How unlikely is that? In this state, we probably sell scratch-off tickets with better odds.

Kasparoff's Bob Black Jack was a 20-1 choice in the Derby morning line.

But when Kasparoff, 34, was working as a satellite coordinator for the TVG racing network and stewing that he knew as much about horses as the pundits he was listening to, the odds of him ever being a Derby trainer seemed like a million to one.

In 2000 he quit the network -- "before they fired me," he said. He kept leaving work early to beat the traffic to Santa Anita to feed his horses.

He said he told his brother, Tim, " 'I'm going to take my training license out, and let's claim one, man. I'll split it with you.' And we claimed some cheap horse named Scanner, and I put Laffit Pincay on him first time out, and the horse won and parked. It was July 4, 2000, and Pincay crossed the finish line and didn't even gallop him out. And Pincay comes back and the horse has this big ol' knee on him, and Pincay says, 'You know something? This horse is really sore.' Needless to say, that was my Scanner experience."

Sound like a Derby trainer yet?

Nor did he after his second horse came to him with a bad knee, was nursed back to health, then suffered a career-ending tendon injury a week before his first scheduled race for the young trainer.

Kasparoff wasn't exactly the picture of a Derby trainer when he was living at Santa Anita.

"I have battled so hard money-wise," Kasparoff said. "I lived on the track at Santa Anita and lived in a tack room where there was a rat who lived upstairs. I finally got him when he came down one day and came out of his little hole and went in between a stall door, and I nailed him with a pitchfork. This guy was huge."

To get by, Kasparoff got other jobs. He worked as an assistant starter at Santa Anita for an entire meet. He'd get the occasional horse claimed and charge day rates for his training services. He trained his horses as if his next meal depended on it -- because sometimes it did. Last fall at Santa Anita he had three wins and two seconds in 12 starts.

But he still didn't look like a Derby trainer until he got Bob Black Jack, a cantankerous character purchased by his brother for $25,000.

Kasparoff started to smell the roses when Bob Black Jack set a world record for six furlongs in winning the Sunshine Millions Dash at Santa Anita on Jan. 26 in 1:062/5. After finishing third in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes in his first race around two turns, Kasparoff wanted to race him on dirt for the first time in the Arkansas Derby.

But worried his horse wouldn't get in, he pointed Bob Black Jack to the Santa Anita Derby. That's where Kasparoff started to look like a Derby trainer.

Bob Black Jack ran just off the lead the entire way, took the lead in the stretch and lost in the last three strides to Colonel John.

"I was disappointed and thrilled at the same time," Kasparoff said. "He ran such a great race. And I know there's more in him."

Kasparoff arrived with confidence on the Churchill Downs backside this week. He also arrived alone. He had to hire a second groom -- now two grooms for three horses.

On Tuesday morning, with Bob Black Jack scheduled for track time, Kasparoff was nowhere to be found. Where was he? At Louisville International Airport, walking through baggage claim trying to find jockey Richard Migliore.

Something tells me Todd Pletcher doesn't do that.

Later, with the media surrounding his barn talking to the jockey, Kasparoff came

read more..

SUGAR SWIRL is the morning line favourite for the GRADE 1 HUMANDA DISTAFF...(on the Deerby undercard)

$300,000, f&m, 4yo & up, 7f, Churchill Downs, 3:57 PM ET

1. HystericaladyRafael Bejarano 120 Jerry Hollendorfer 9-to-5
2. Change Up Kent J. Desormeaux 118 Steve Margolis 15-to-1
3. Graeme Six Julien R. Leparoux 120 Thomas M. Amoss 15-to-1
4. Miss Macy Sue Eusebio Razo Jr. 118 Kelly R. Von Hemel 5-to-1
5. Sugar Swirl Javier Castellano 122 Brian A. Lynch 5-to-2
6. Windyindy Calvin H. Borel 118 Carl A. Nafzger 20-to-1
7. Miraculous Miss Jeremy Rose 118 Steve Klesaris 6-to-1
8. Baroness Thatcher John R. Velazquez 118 William I. Mott 10-to-1
9. Intangaroo Alonso Quinonez 124 Gary Sherlock 12-to-1


REMEMBER....HIGH ACT? Once a Queen's Plate contender who was injured, the colt is back in winning form as he scored in an allowance race at Pimlico yesterdat for trainer Justin Nixon.
He's by El Prado (Ire)-Class, by Thunder Gulch and his little half brother HANDSOME BLUE is on this year's Plate trail.
He is owned and bred by Stronach Stables.

EDENWOLD retired, sold

Edenwold, the 2005 Canadian champion 2-year-old colt and 2006 Queen's Plate winner for owners Jim and Alice Sapara, has been retired from racing and sold for stud duty to Selwyn River Stud in New Zealand.

Edenwold, a 5-year-old son of Southern Halo out of Best of Friends, by Mining, was bred by Gail Wood and William Diamant and was purchased by the Saparas' Winsong Farms for $100,000 at the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario division) 2004 September yearling sale.

As a 2-year-old, Edenwold won the Vandal, Colin, and Simcoe stakes at Woodbine.

He parlayed a third-place finish in the Plate Trial Stakes the following year into a win in the $1 million Queen's Plate, becoming the first juvenile champion since Sound Reason, in 1977, to accomplish the feat.

Josie Carroll, who trained Edenwold throughout his career, made history by becoming the first female trainer to have a Plate winner.

Edenwold finished racing in the fall of 2007 and retires with a record of 5 wins and 5 stakes placings in 18 starts and earnings of $1,081,650.



Live racing returns to Fort Erie Saturday By Wayne Creighton

With opening day less than 24 hours away, the backstretch at Fort Erie Race Track is a busy place with horses coming and going from early morning workouts or even grazing leisurely on the front lawn of the track's offices.

Grooms, hot walkers, trainers and exercise riders scurry about to complete their appointed tasks before most the betting public have even finished their first cup of coffee.

Paul Souter has seen it all before -- many, many times. Now 52-years-old, Souter retired as jockey five years ago after 25 seasons in the saddle, but says he did consider making a comeback this year before breaking his ankle playing racquetball.

He works these days as an agent, drumming up rides for jockey Roderick Dacosta. Last year he worked with Maree Richards and Brian Bochinski, but they both retired this year. Richards is an assistant trainer while Bochinski has landed a job with Canada Post.

Souter admits he doesn't know much about Dacosta, who won 35 races at Fort Erie last year, but is confident that with his connections at both Fort Erie and Woodbine he'll be able to help him and only a minute or two later Souter's cell phone rings. It's a trainer at Woodbine looking for someone to breeze a horse.

"You get what you work for, it's always been that way. Unless you're Sandy Hawley or somebody like that," said Souter.

"If you're doing well it's great, if you're not doing so well it's hard. I had two great guys last year, so it was fun. Bochinski was a dream and so was Maree."

Souter grew up five minutes from Woodbine and got his start under legendary trainer Johnny Starr. In 1982, Souter rode Son of Briartic to victory in the Queen's Plate -- a triumph he calls his biggest thrill.

"I love the race track and being around the horses," said Souter. "It's a different world and I've been a part of it since I was 15 years old. When I started, the whole plan was never to be a rider. I groomed horses and walked horses. It was about four years before I did anything and it was Johnny Starr who got me started. I owe him a lot."

As Fort Erie prepares to begin its 111th season of live racing tomorrow, Souter is unsure of the future of the sport.

"It's tough everywhere. Horse racing is struggling," he says. "It costs money to feed them and train them. The Americans used to come over and get a hundred and fifty dollars for a hundred. It was a dream for them. There are casinos everywhere. We're not the only place."

Post time tomorrow is 1:05 p.m. and to celebrate opening day, fridge magnets will be given away while supplies last. One dollar hot dogs and soft drinks will be available. There will also be live music throughout the afternoon.

A total of 75 horses will take part in Saturday's eight-race card.

"We officially opened the entry box at 8 a.m," said racing secretary Tom Gostlin Tuesday. "It took awhile before the entries started rolling in but we closed the entry box on time with a pretty good opening day card."

Trainer C.R. Johnston made the first entry of the year.

Johnston entered King Konstantine in a four-and-one-half-furlong maiden allowance event for three-year-olds. Apprentice jockey Richard Morrow has the mount.

Live racing will continue Sunday before the regular schedule of Sunday through Tuesday racing begins May 11.

Three Saturdays have been added to the schedule. Saturday, July 19, August 30 and October 25. The 80-day meet wraps up on Tuesday, October 28.

TOM WOLSKI at THE PROVINCE writes about CHARLES FIPKE'S Derby Dream with TALE OF EKATI and this weekend'd Hastings opener

B.C. horse ahead before Derby even starts Chuck Fipke's horse drawn in coveted No. 2 post Tom Wolski, The Province
The dream of anyone involved with horseracing is one day to have a horse running in the Kentucky Derby.

On Saturday, long-time Kelowna resident Charles (Chuck) Fipke will be living that dream. Although his Tale of Ekati is 30-1, many experts have picked his horse to take home a chunk of the $2,111,800 purse.

The mere presence of a B.C.-owned horse in the Derby, now makes cheering easier. After all, what can you say about a person who charters a plane to take several friends and family members from Kelowna to Churchill Downs to help share in his dream?
B.C. horse Tale of Ekati is put through its paces in preparation for Saturday's 134th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.View Larger Image View Larger Image
B.C. horse Tale of Ekati is put through its paces in preparation for Saturday's 134th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

While he admits to being more in touch with the breeding end of thoroughbred horse racing, his knowledge of racing isn't lacking. Such as his reasoning for liking the No. 2 post position drawn by Tale of Ekati for the big race.

"I know the two best post positions to break from are the one and five. We really wanted to break for the two post. So when we got it, I was thrilled," said Fipke by phone from Churchill Downs.

Heavy favourite Big Brown will be in tough, drawn on the outside No. 20 post. Only one horse in 93 years has won the Derby from the outside post.

"This is an amazing experience," said Fipke. "Arriving at the barn at 6:30 in the morning and seeing all the media and even myself doing several interviews. It's something I wish everyone could enjoy."


Over at Hastings, if the field of horses entered in Saturday's $50,000 George Royal are any indication of what lies ahead for horse racing fans this upcoming season, then everyone is in for a wonderful experience.

Among horses scheduled to compete are 2007 Older Horse of the Year, True Metropolitan, 2007 Sprinter of the year, B.R. Remark, 2006 champion two-year-old, Ookashada ,2005 B.C-bred Horse of the Year Spaghetti Mouse and 2005 champion B.C. Older Horse, the wily 10-year-old veteran Lord Nelson.

Hastings equine superstar Dancing Allstar, owned by Bob Cheema, goes against Littlemiss Alison (unbeaten in five starts) in Sunday's $50,000 Mount Royal Stakes at Stampede Park in Calgary.

Dancing Allstar, with five wins from seven starts and $306,000 lifetime earnings, will be making her season debut.

Yet to be challenged in any of her races, Littlemiss Alison is coming off an easy win in the Houston Oaks at Sam Huston Park in Texas.

Adding to the drama of this race, Dancing Allstar's rider is Alberta's top jockey Quincy Welch, while Littlemiss Alison's rider is Rickey Walcott, currently second in the jockeys standings. This is a horse who refuses to retire at his owner's farm in Kelowna.



by Kirk Penton


The stakes are being raised at Assiniboia Downs this year.

The purse for 13 stakes races at Winnipeg's thoroughbred racing track will increase from $40,000 to $50,000.

Add those to the $100,000 Manitoba Lotteries Derby and $75,000 Gold Cup and Matron Stakes, and there will be 17 races with at least $50,000 up for grabs.

That will keep pace with the North American breeding industry, which has deemed that black type-designated horses must run in stakes races that have $50,000 purses.

Black type is a designation for a stakes winner or stakes-placed horse in sales catalogues.

VETERAN PRESENCE: Eight of the top 10 jockeys from 2007 are back at the Downs this year.

Only Christopher Husbands, who was fifth, and Paul Leacock, who was seventh, are not in this year's jockey colony.

Some of the newcomers include Daniel Bast, who is a former leading apprentice jockey in his home country of India, Jeanine Stianson, who won two titles in Lethbridge, Alta., and Jamaica native Christopher Fung, who is expected to ride for Ardell Sayler.

CREAM OF THE CROP: The horse many will be watching this year is Mikayla's Baby.

He won the Winnipeg Futurity last year as a two-year-old and will attempt to become only the third to follow that up with a win in the Manitoba Lotteries Derby the following year.

Mikayla's Baby also won the other three races he ran in last season.


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