In the news today - Big Brown's camp trash talking (again), Alberta racetrack considers Polytrack for TB's and STBRDS, and QUEEN'S PLATE NEWS (31 days to go!!)
PHOTO IS FROM SPRUCETON SPOOK'S STREAM AT www.Flickr.com - BIG BROWN KISS!
MIKE FOX IS BACK (but the trainer of the Plate winner was replaced)
Last year's Queen's Plate winner MIKE FOX worked 5 furlongs on the training track on Tuesday, his first recorded prep of 2008 after a winter in Ocala, Florida.
The Giant's Causeway colt went in 1:01.60.
"He's doing really well," said Julie Firestone, whose husband Morgan owns and bred the colt. "He looks like he's ready to go soon."
Mike Fox, a longshot winner of the Plate, was ridden by Emma -Jayne Wilson, the first woman rider to win the Plate.
But things have changed in the Mike Fox camp since they poured champagne for each other last June.
IAN BLACK, the colt's 2nd trainer (Reade Baker trained the colt at 2 and won his maiden with him) is no longer training.
In fact, the colt is currently being trained by BRUCE SMITHER, who gallops the colt, and equestrian HUGH GRAHAM, the Firestone's racing manager.
According to Firestone, Graham has a Kentucky trainer's license.
AND SKY CONQUEROR TOO!
Grade 1 winner SKY CONQUEROR worked 5 furlongs on the grass yesterday at Woodbine in 59.40 as he gets ready for his comeback.
He is owned and bred by Bill Sorokolit in Ontario and trained by Darwin Banach.
QUEEN'S PLATE NEWS OHIO OUT, WOODBINE IN FOR ROCKER
HARLEM ROCKER is now not going to the Ohio Derby and is apparently being pointed to the Plate Trial Stakes on Sunday June 1.
That should eilminate any kind of element of surprise for the June 22 Plate since he will be meeting most of the stronger challengers for the Canadian classic.
Todd Pletcher trains the grey son of Macho Uno.
Several PLATE PROSPECTS will race Saturday in a 9 furlong allowance event, the 7th race on the card.
SHADOWLESS (Stormy Atlantic) has Emma-Jayne Wilson up for his 3rd career start in the race, he's in post 3.
MARLANG (Langfuhr) comes off his maiden score and has Rick Dos Ramos up, he's in post 6.
PALMERS (Grand Slam) finally has the blinkers off (he sure hangs a lot this guy) and is in post 8 with Pat Husbands.
NIAGARA THUNDER (Hussonet) has the 10 post with David Clark.
NOT BOURBON worked one-mile in 1:45 with Jono Jones up yesterday on the Polytrack.
DAILY RACING FORM'S BILL TALLON interviewed Roger Attfield and the hall of Fame trainer was not very happy with the move..
read it here (but come back to the blog after!)
TOP PLATE CONTENDERS
HARLEM ROCKER - graded SW - next race OHIO DERBY or Plate Trial
COOL GATOR - stakes placed - Plate Trial
NOT BOURBON - SW- Plate Trial
NIAGARA THUNDER - stakes placed - allowance race
TOOK THE TIME - winner
SEBASTIAN'S SONG - winner Plate Trial?
PALMERS - winner - allowance
GRAZETTES LANDING -maiden
MARLANG - winner - allowance race
SHADOWLESS - winner- allowance race
PEWTER - winner
SOLITAIRE - maiden SILVER JAG - maiden
Others that are teetering.. GIQUERE, D FLUTIE, ONE ADAM TWELVE, HARVEST HOME
WILDERNESS SONG, last fall at Sam-Son farm, in a photo taken by Rebecca Mottin. The Grade 1 winning mare will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame this summer.
RALLY! WOODBINE WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Most of the races last night were won by horses coming from far behind at the head of the stretch. Not all, but most.
After some ridiculous times for races on the long weekend when 5 track records were set or equalled, the track was a tad slower last night.
Not much, but a little.
The DAILY DOUBLE to start the cool, rainy evening went to speed horses.
FLASHY N CLASSY, another runner moved to a new trainer while his previous conditioner John DiMarco sits out a suspension, battled on the pace and won his maiden in an Ontario sired allowance for John Terdik.
He was easily the most experienced guy in the group with 17 previous attempts including 2 this year. He's by Bold n' Flashy out of Regaclass.
RACE 2 went to heavily favoured SERENA'S ROSE, for owner/breeder Darlene and Rene Hunderup of Heste Sport. The daughter of MY WAY ONLY (who stands at the Hundersups Norse Ridge Farm) was making her 3rd start of the year and she won by a long margin (and felt the whip a lot of times despite a big lead in mid stretch).
Debbie England trains. The 7 furlongs went in 1:22.96.
The 3rd was on the grass despite a light drizzle and what a performance by ATHENA'S GIFT who came from miles behind to just win her maiden in her 7th career start for owner Richard Lister and trainer Malcolm Pierce. The Fusaichi Pegasus gal was a $75,000 2yo purchase from a June Florida sale.
Lemon Twirl had a long lead late in the race but was caught and finished 2nd.
In the next event for $20,000 non-winners of 2, another runner with a big long lead in deep stretch was caught.
KRUSHCHEV, the favourite, wittled away at CHARMING COUNTRY'S big lead in the stretch and won by a head for John Gunther, who breed the Langfuhr gelding in Kentucky.
The chestnut is trained by Roger Attfield.
If you watched the post parade for race 5, you saw #1 CLASSIC MORGEY come out in full prance, nipping and pecking at his pony and looking quite pleased with himself.
Too bad I didn't run to the windows.
The little Regal Classic 4yo came from last place to win at 50 to 1 in the NW of 2 for $20K. It was his season debut for owner/trainer Sue Leslie and co-owner Glen Morgan.
It was the 2nd straight win on the night for Robert Landry too.
The gelding is a Huntington Stud Farm bred.
The HYPE was right for KINSHASA'S PARADIS in race 6, although not all of us knew about.
Pegged at 6 to 1 in the morning line (oops), he wound up at about 7 to 5 in the 6th race, an Ontario-sired maiden allowance and led all the way to win while racing on his wrong lead.
It was a bit close at the end as Trojan Monkey tried to catch him but the Kinshasa gelding held on.
That was the first DEBUT WINNER for the sire (0 for 33 heading into last night).
Owned and trained by Paul Buttigieg, who reportedly turned down a lot of money for the horse before his race, the gelding was bred by Fred Stuckless, the farm manager at Hill 'n' Dale.
It's Fred's birthday today too! Congrats Fred!
Dave Kertland's homebred MISTY MEL (Dance Brightly) came from last place to win the 7th race for $32,000 at 7 furlongs.
It was her season debut and she had a number of fast workouts for trainer Joe Walls.
A stalking JUSTCALLMEABANDIT (Ciano Cat, bred by Gardiner Farms) won the finale for $40,000 maidens. Owned and trained by Sandra and Ramon Dominguez, the colt was dropping from maiden allowance.
He raced 6 1/2 furlongs in a sharp 1:16.23
One-time Plate prospect MARCH TO VICTORY won a 10 furlong turf race at Belmont yesterday, his 2nd career win.
He's by Dixieland Band - Frayne, by Red Ransom, owned by Susan Karches and bred by Bill Graham. The colt was a $300,000 yearling purchase.
BIG BROWN TEAM KEEP FILLING THE NOTEBOOKS
We have 2 1/2 weeks more of fun stuff in the papers as BIG BROWN prepares for the Belmont Stakes and a Triple Crown sweep.
In the mornings, his trainer Rick Dutrow holds court with the media and yesterday there sure was some interesting stuff to come out.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux, who rode Casino Drive, considered Big Brown's main Belmont rival, apparently told Dutrow the colt has no chance to beat Big Brown.
Dutrow agreed in the press conference yesterday.
The colt will race in the Travers and Breeders' Cup and perhaps meet up with Curlin in the latter "It won't be so good for Curlin".
And then there was the Edgar Prado discussion..
Big Brown’s camp takes shots at Prado News Tribune news services (www.thenewstribune.com)
Trainer Rick Dutrow said Wednesday that he and Big Brown’s ownership were unhappy with some of the race tactics that Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado used against their horse during last week’s Preakness.
But Dutrow stopped short of saying Prado’s behavior had anything to do with Prado being replaced as Big Brown’s regular jockey before the horse went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, or the fact that Prado is rumored to be a candidate to ride Japanese-based Casino Drive, the top threat to Big Brown’s Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.
“It looked like (Prado) was just trying to keep our horse (trapped) in a box,” Dutrow said. “It didn’t look like he was out to get the best finish out of his horse.”
Big Brown owner Michael Iavarone made similar remarks to Newsday two days after the Preakness, saying, “I don’t know what Edgar was doing. I think it was a suicide mission. And I don’t think there’s any place for that.”
Prado, who finished last in the Preakness atop long shot Riley Tucker, denied any wrongdoing Wednesday. He has a working relationship with Dutrow and Iavarone’s IEAH stables, and even rode an IEAH-owned, Dutrow-trained mount in Wednesday’s eighth race at Belmont, unaware of Dutrow’s remarks about him.
“I was doing my best to win the (Preakness),” Prado insisted. “I have to do that. There were people betting on me. At no point in the race was I trying to jeopardize Big Brown.”
PACERS TEST POLYTRACK AT KEENELAND
Yes, you read that right.
There were pacers on Keeneland's Polytrack the other day while Horse Racing Albeerta folks and those involved in the BALZAC PROJECT see how the harness set would fare.
The miles went in 2:11 and change in the preps.
The Balzac Project includes a $300 million racetrack (One-mile track for thoroughbreds, 7 furlongs for standardbreds) plus slot machines.
Gord Wilson, president of United Horsemen of Alberta, was on hand at Keeneland to see if the surface can be used for both breeds.
The new Alberta track is expect to open next year and will surely put that province much higher on the Canadian racing scale.
From THE BLOOD -HORSE yesterday..
Organizers of the new track have high hopes for an influx of racehorses given the fact Stampede Park and Northlands Park in Edmonton have five-eighths-mile tracks.
The new track will be one mile.
“I think we’ll get a lot more horses from neighboring provinces, in particular Ontario and British Columbia,” Wilson said. “Our purses are up and we have a good economy.”
The complex will feature a racetrack with slot machines but also will have entertainment and retail development.
The total cost of the project is about $1 billion, with the racing/gaming facility tabbed at about $300 million. Copyright © 2008 The Blood-Horse, Inc. All Rights Reserved.