ascot aug08
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Saturday, May 31, 2008

VERY CLOSE (updated)


Yesterday's handle on the 11 race card topped $3 million, maybe folks really trying to win that Pick 7 that has taken the entire season to grow..?

The jackpot is $47,000 heading into today, a nice card with some lovely runners.

Late updates from yesterday's card:

Joe Stritzl's homebred VALID SQUEEZE won her career debut at 1 1/16 miles by 10 lengths under an all out drive yesterday - impressive training job by Norm McKnight. The Valid Trefaire filly led all the way and seemingly was asked to contine to open up a big lead in the stretch.

Doris was dancing yesterday. Doris Carey's DANCING DORIS lasted for an allowance win in a turf sprint for Ontario-sired gals. The One Way Love miss was bred by John Carey and is trained by Laurie Silvera. The Sue Leslie-trained runners continue to run lights out too - SASSY STAR, off a one-year layoff, just missed at 16 to 1.

And DARLENE SELIGMAN's homebred KRUZN DOWTHELANE dropped from a non-winners of 3 race to a non-winners of 2 and rallied to win the 9th race for $40,000 claiming. Trained by John MacKenzie, the Briritsh Columbia bred by Katowice was 10 to 1 and was given a good ride by Emile Ramsammy.

KING'S SILVER SON, in from the U.S. and many stakes engagements, was vanned off from the 2nd race yesterday..


ONTARIO-BRED gelding ITS LAUNCH TIME,a half-brother to stakes winner LEGAL MOVE, won the Golden Boy Stakes at Assininboia Downs. Bred by Gardiner Farms, the Trajectory-Charity County 3yo won by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:12 for 6 furlongs. He is owned by Norm Castiglone and Robert Vargo and trained by Monica Russell.

Gardiner Farms bred Its Launch Time.


The topic has come up again...some folks want entries to come back, horses trained by the same conditioner, some do not.

The last race at Woodbine yesterday raised the question again, although any thought that the owners/trainers involved in the two runners were doing anything untoward is ridiculous. Two different owners, two different horses with different ways of working in the morning and two very different trips.

It should be notd that ZARROC and BUDDHA N SMART were were 13 to and 10 to 1 respectively- not 13 to 1 and 6 to 5...

Cangamble sent in this note (edited):

Anon 6:21, you can't prove a betting coup... but..
both worked 4 furlongs May 16th and the one who wound up winning was almost 5 seconds slower than the one who didn't hit the board.
The bottom line is that if same trainer coupling was brought back, it would take away the suspicion that seems to linger after today's race.
But with a 28.3% takeout on triactors, the public has no chance regardless of the rules. So really, what does it matter?

Here's a grey horse who was very dominant come Plate time years ago....


Great ride to win it/ disastrous trip for SEALY HILL

It was a wild affair in the Grade 2 Nassau for $300,00 yeaterday at Woodbine.
A super group of turf gals including HORSE OF THE YEARS SEALY HILL AND ARRAVALE made up the field

CALLWOOD DANCER, ridden by one of the smartest jocks around, Eurico da Silva, led from start to finish - 24 4/5 and 48 and change was incredibly slow with all that wind pushing them along.
She was never going to let anyone past in the stretch and the Danehill Dancer 4yo filly, owned by Harlequin Ranches, lasted by a long nose-hair over QUIET JUNGLE, from Sam-Son Farms.

The race was botched for the stretch runners, in particular SEALY HILL, who had a bad trip, probably should have won.
Once stalking close up the rail, the filly ended up in last place into the turn, then off the rail and blocked behind horses

Trainer ROGER ATTFIELD back at the track after a bad foot injury said on SUN TV
"Looking at the race there didn't seem to be much pace in the race and I had a feeling she would be on the lead. She is a brave filly, she just won't lay down for anyone."

Arravale ran well in her season debut to be a close 4th.


Some of the first crop of the Ontario Seattle Slew stallion TOMAHAWK were unveiled yesterday and three in the 4th race for Ontario sired maiden allowance 2yo fillies all picked up purse shares.
One of his first starters was a winner too. ROYAL MINIKEN from the startling hot barn of trainer Ann Cameron plus owner John Terdik.
The homebred, whose older brother Flashy N Classy recently won his maiden last week, was first out of the gate and at the wire under Emile Ramsammy. She paid $17.
She had a 5 furlong workout for the 4 1/2 furlong race.
Spanish Native, 3rd,and Tomahawk Gap, 4th, were the other Tomahawk starters.
"We put her behind 2 of her stablemates in her last workout to get some dirt in her face," said Cameron about the winner. "And she has shown us speed."
Cameron has had 4 winners already in 2008 from limited starters.


CEC FARMS useful miss FROM GRAY TO GOLD rallied 3 wide around the last part of the turn and edged clear to win the 1st race for trainer Scott Fairlie and jockey Na Somsanith.
The One Way Love-Greyorgray, Great Gladiator gal has won 3 of 7 races now - she dropped from allowance to $20,000 claiming yesterday.

Race 2- Strange race - slow first 2 furlongs in the 7 furlong allowance with the wind - 23 1/5, then :22 flat for the next 2 furlongs.
DOZEN DANCER, a sensational debut winner for $50,000 claiming, was surprisingly not on the lead but he made it work anyway. He stalked off the rail and then powered up to Battle Zone at the top of the stretch, held that one at bay as well as the fast closing Field Commission. The Chief Seattle gelding, a $4,500 yearling purchase, is owned by George Robertson and trained by Tony Mattine. Chantal Sutherland rides.

More strange stuff - it was a while before anyone found out who won the race - even longer if you were watching at home, but there were 2 winners in the first level
BOLD NURSE an Ontario sired fellow by Bold n' Flashy, tried to lead all the way but after he fended off Super Tak in the stretch, he was joined by SEASON STORM, a 5yo Bold Executive gelding who was on the pace, off the pace and then rallying.
Scott Abbott owns and and bred Bold Nurse, trained by Mike Doyle. He's won 4 of 12 and is a good one.
Don Pleterski trains Season Storm, 4 for 23 now and co-owned by breeder Mervyn Kirby.
Heavily favoured TALE Z did not appear to handle the Polytrack at all, right out of the gate he was choppy and climbing.

BEAU BRETT led all the way to win his maiden in race 5 for $16,000. A beautiful Foxtrail 4yo, he went fast on the pace, wind assisted, was staggering late but a timid Briarhill shied late and King Cayenne rallied too late.
The Dave Bell trainee was winning for in his 3rd eace and he is owned by Byalength Stable and was bred by Andy Stronach and Dean Brice.

EMILE RAMSAMMY won 4 races and when he's named on horses from low profile barns (Ann Cameron, John MacKenzie etc.) look out.

GUS SCHICKEDANZ homebred Zarroc (Langfuhr) battled hard on the pace and won the 11th and final race in 1:09 for 6 furllongs on the turf. Bad trips in that race for PRONGER and CARINA BAY.

Harlem Rocker listed at even-money on Plate Trial morning line


Cautiously optimistic or just cautious?

Three weeks ago, the undefeated HARLEM ROCKER (Macho Uno) was thought to have a chance to beat Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown (Boundary) in the Preakness S.

"That white horse of Pletcher's" was what Big brown's trainer Rick Dutrow said when asked if he was scared any horse.

Well, he didn't have to worry. HARLEM ROCKER was packed up and recently sent up here and SUNDAY he starts his quest for the Queen's Plate in the Plate Trial Stakes.

"Conservative" has been a word used about the horse's schedule to not go in the Preakness and come to Woodbine.

In Sunday's DAILY RACING FORM, Pletcher's assistant trainer said the colt was "training pretty well".

Not exactly the same as listening to Dutrow for sure - is there other ways to read any of this or is HARLEM ROCKER going to win in a gallop as he should 'on paper'. He earned a 106 Beyer Figure in the Withers, much higher than the winning Preakness Beyer.

"That race (the Withers) was something special," said Mike Rogers, racing manager for Stronach Stables, who added that big things had been expected of the Ontario-bred ever since his early education. "He was highly regarded by our people in Florida. Randy Bradshaw, who trains our horses at Adena Springs South, liked him from the start. He really took his time with him.

"Todd (Pletcher) told me that he has been pleasantly surprised with the way he has come along," Rogers noted. "Early on, he wasn't a good work horse. He has a very laid-back personality, and that was reflected in the way he would train."

So far, Harlem Rocker has raced exclusively around one turn on the dirt. In the Plate Trial, he will stretch out to 1 1/8 miles on the Polytrack, but Rogers has confidence in the face of the unknowns.

"You never know until you do it, but the good thing about him is that he relaxes early, he's not wound up. He's a good-looking horse, and he has lots of potential. He's run three very solid races. He's run better each time. Hopefully, the best is still yet to come."

Eibar Coa will make the journey to Woodbine to stick with Harlem Rocker, who will break from post 6 in an eight-horse field.


There was a clever and funny feature on SUN TV yesterday - STARFLIGHT LAD,
the 0 for 31 fellow who has made almost $50,000 for his owners and trainer. He finished a closing 4th yesterday.

Sticking with the TV - not a great shot of a man's coat instead of the field in the paddock for race 5.
Camera angles during race were too jolting like the ones used on THE SCORE last week and zooming in on the leader in deep stretch is simply a no-no.

Hilarious interview with Emma-Jayne Wilson who could not believe she lost race 5 and was baffled of the photo finish result. "Three times this wek I thought for sure I had won races," said Wilson in a refreshingly honest and intertesting interview.

and other notes...

SPRING ELUSION, an impressive maiden winner at Belmont yesterday is a daughter of the stakes winning mare Autumn Slew, the granddam of Woodbine Oaks hopeful Sugar Bay. In that same race, the A. P. Indy-My Flag beginner WITH FLYING COLOURS was a very strong 2nd with a big rally.

Bad luck again for jockey GERRY OLGUIN who has a broken heel now after falling off Brimming on Wed.night. He just returned from an injury after being hit by a car.


ICE BEAR could be sitting on a big year. He ran to his huge workouts with Horse of the Year ARRAVALE and won the feature yesterday for older horses on the grass. Favoured BELIEVEINMENOW rallied too late but was a smart 2nd.
The grey is by Maria's Mon and is owned by George Strawbrige and trained by Mac Benson.

Firster POLLY N LOTTY had very average workout times but those who picked her cashed big. She won her debut at the $12,500 claiming level for Dave Cotey and company. She is by Military.

The Minshall Farms has been percolating. KEMPADOO won his maiden in his 2nd start of the year as a longshot. The Sea Wall 4yo won for $12,500.

The John Calhoun stable is on a mini-roll too. It won again yesterday, with PAYNES GOLD (Paynes Bay), who won his maiden for $12,500.

Paynes Bay stands at Norse Ridge Farm. Another Norse Ridge stud, BRITE ADAM, sired the winner of race 1, POINT TUPPER, a maiden winner for $20,000 for RMC Stable.

And he's no CURLIN...SUNDAY PRINCE, $500,000 yearling with obscure breeding, dropped in for $20,000 claiming for Curlin's owner Stonestreet Farm, but backed up in the stretch and was well beaten.



North Dakota Horse Park gets equine ambassador

The North Dakota Horse Park announced on Thursday the pending arrival of its new “equine ambassador,” Grade 3-winning gelding Barracuda Boy.

The Fargo racetrack acquired the Unbridled’s Song gelding through a partnership with the Adena Springs Farm Retirement Program following a career-ending injury. Barracuda Boy set a new track record at Woodbine for 1 1/8 miles, winning the 2006 Durham Cup Stakes (G3) in 1:50.49.

Barracuda Boy will serve as the track’s official mascot and public ambassador, appearing at live races and area horse shows and expos. On race days, he will be stabled in a public access area accompanied by a public relations specialist, who will provide information on Thoroughbred retirement and the racing industry.

“We took on this project because we feel that public education on the subject of retired racehorses is integral to the overall health of the sport and the welfare of the horses involved,” North Dakota Horse Park General Manager Heather Benson said. “The negative feedback from the recent Eight Belles tragedy only underscores the importance of public education on the subject of live horse racing and Thoroughbred retirement.”

The North Dakota Horse Park will begin its 16-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet on August 1.


Everything is literally riding on Big Brown

Triple Crown victory will save horse racing — a breakdown will kill it

By Mike Celizic contributor

There will be a lot more than a jockey riding on Big Brown’s back next week at Belmont. There’ll be a whole industry up there.

I don’t know that any sport has ever depended as much on one athlete and one event as much as horse racing is counting on Big Brown in the third leg of the Triple Crown. If the horse wins, it’s magic and glory and endless wonderful publicity. If it loses, it’s another in a 30-year string of disappointments. And if it breaks a leg, it’s the end of horse racing.

It’s the difference between Secretariat and Barbaro, the difference between glory and death.
go to to read more



  • At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A bad day for Wayne Catalano at Arlington. He only managed a win and a second from 2 starters which will bring down his 69% winners for the meeting!! His winner was driven hard the whole way and still won against the second favourite who looked to have him beat the whole race.

    It makes you wonder what is going on.

  • At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    11th race Woodbine result on Sat. provides yet another reason that its time for the ORC to change the trainer/coupling rule. How long are these fiascos going to continue. In todays gambling environment perception is key. With results like the 11th, perception is negative and should be fixed. But WEG and ORC, greedy for betting dollars, keeps its head in the sand.

    Memo to WEG and ORC executives: Long term benefits always outweigh short term benefits, so smarten up.

  • At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Izvestia, always a champion. The horse that got me into this sport. RIP.

  • At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Izvestia's races were always so exciting.Would have loved to have seen his babies. Miss you!

  • At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Unfortunately, I heard that King's Silver Son had to be euthanized. Very sad.

    Callwood Dancer was great in the Nassau yesterday, and it was a fantastic race, but for one thing: once again, Sealy Hill appears to have suffered from a poor ride. If she hates being on the inside so much, why was she stuck on the inside for most of the race? The same thing happened in her last race. She's such a finnicky filly that if anything bothers her, she just stops running. You'd think it would be first instructions to the jock to make sure she stays off the rail... do they want her to lose? Anyway.

    Finally, Tomahawk looks like he's going to be a huge sire up here. Let's hope they keep him in Ontario.

  • At 2:33 PM, Blogger Valerie said…

    I'm sad to hear about King's Silver Son. He ran a nice second in the Rebel, and, being by Mizzen Mast, I was hoping the AW would suit him. Please keep us updated if you hear more about what happened to him.

  • At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    King's Silver Song.RIP.

  • At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Photos from the Plate Trial Stakes today at Woodbine:

  • At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Layne Giliforte said…

    Jen, pleasantly surprised to see some Izvestia items on here. It was great watching the Youtube video. I still get chills. He was the best!!


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