BIG BIG BIG
If you want to see an absolutely stunning performance (already, it's only 11:30!) - check out the EPSOM DERBY this morning...the chestnut colt in the dark green silks who is far back in the race early, rank, checking throughout and somehow gets up to win - his name? NEW APPROACH. Wow.
**Toronto Star entries and picks for Woodbine today are available at thestar.com..
BIG BROWN does not have much to beat to win the TRIPLE CROWN...the BELMONT goes at 6:30 (photo was taken yesterday morning by www.horse-races.net)
CASINO DRIVE OUT of BELMONT STAKES.....
as reported this morning from...the Schenectady Gazette
By PHIL JANACK Gazette Sportswriter ELMONT — A minor bruise in his left hind foot will keep Casino Drive from running in today's 140th Belmont Stakes.
"We are going to scratch him," Nobutaka Tada, racing manager for Japanese owner Hidetoshi Yamamoto, said this morning.
Unbeaten winner of the May 10 Peter Pan, Casino Drive is a half-brother to the last two winners of the Belmont, Jazil in 2006 and filly Rags to Riches last year.
He was regarded as the primary obstacle to Big Brown's quest of winning the Triple Crown, made the 7-2 second choice on the morning line.
"Definitely it's disappointing, but I think they're looking out for the safety of the horse," said jockey Edgar Prado, who was set to ride Casino Drive. "It's more important.
SO NOW WHAT..?
Whether you want him to win, are cheering against him or just watching at Belmont or the track, teletheatre or house of your choice, the BELMONT STAKES is going to be
a nail biter.
If BIG BROWN wins easily, it is assumed by many that he will never race again, and that would be a shame.
If he loses, well, let's hope you have some tickets to cash.
1 - MACHO AGAIN
2- BIG BROWN
3 - TALE OF EKATI
1 Big Brown R. Dutrow Jr. K. Desormeaux 2/5
2 Guadalcanal F. Seitz J. Castellano 50-1
3 Macho Again D. Stewart G. Gomez 20-1
4 Denis of Cork D. Carroll R. Albarado 12-1
5 Casino Drive K. Fujisawa E. Prado 7/2
6 Da' Tara N. Zito A. Garcia 30-1
7 Tale of Ekati B. Tagg E. Coa 20-1
8 Anak Nakal N. Zito J. Leparoux 30-1
9 Ready's Echo T. Pletcher J. Velazquez 30-1
10 Icabad Crane H. G. Motion J. Rose 20-1
TODAY AT WOOBINE
***CARRYOVER FOR PICK 7 HITS $92,000!!
It is very tough to pick winners with the big fields and unusual results, 2 or 3 a day is doing very well, 7? Well, good luck with that.
The Pick 7 has grown slowly since day one of the meeting, not many people play it, at leats it appears that way, but now that the pot is big, the money will start flowing into the pool.
With 11 races today, the PICK 7 KICKS OFF IN RACE 5 (FIVE):
race 5- EEKS, a jam-paced maiden allowance for Ontario sired fillies and mares...one of the best horses in the race may be DOMASQUERADE PARTY, who has worked like a bear this spring. But she has the rail post! She is also a 1st time starter.
Another 1ster to consider is DYNO D'WILDCAT from Herb Goldie and Sid Attard. She's a 1/2 sister to 2 debut winners.
And 2nd time starter CORBIN'S BAY (Paynes Bay) was odds-on to win her debut on May 19 and she had a wide trip at 5 1/2 furlongs but was only beaten 2 lengths.
race 6- GRADE 3 ECLIPSE
The feature of the day: Small field and riding tactics will mean everything. The speed will come from champions ALEZZANDRO , TRUE METROPOLITAN and GOOD AND LUCKY. The other 3 are stretch runners.
STERWINS looks solid.
race 7 - Ouch,more maidens, big field. NICE CASE ran huge in his debut - 83 Beyere - does he bounce? The Reade Baker entry of BEAREMPIRE and BEARREINDEER is solid and firster AWESOME EASTON is suppoed to be a good one.
race 8 - Long on grass for allowance guys. COBRADOR is a favourite but he's a win shy guy. Use him and PRAIRIE FOX and IT'S LIKE THIS.
race 9 STEADY GROWTH STAKES - $125,000 Ontario sired guys
Tough race, tons of speed in the event. EXECUTIVE CHOICE has a good chance to win the race 2 years in success. BOLD FINISH was 2nd in the race last year and is fresh. DANCER'S BAJAN can peak in his 3rd race off the layoff.
race 10 - QUIET ACTION is the best filly in the race but there is not a lot of pace to chase in the 6 1/2 furlong turf dash. DOWELL HOUSE will be tough.
race 11 - maidens for $40,000. I can't imagine RUN OFF TO L.A. or BEARS TIGER not winning. But I work for a living.
LAST WEEK... THURSDAY
Trainer JOHN CARDELLA had his first winner when GARZON, benefitting from a shrewd ride by Chantal Sutherland, came from off a 3 horse speed duel and won the 4th race for $16,000 claiming.
The Ontario bred Elajjud glding often showed speed and then stopped but a big duel on Thursday set things up nicely for him.
The most impressive winner on the card was HILLBURY, a Deputy Commander Ontario bred out of Reeds Hill by Gulch, owned and foaled by Eugene Melnyk.
The filly, who was whispered to be a good one, won a 6 1/2 furlong turf race under a hand ride essentially. Pat Husbands rode, he had a couple of winners on the card.
A former Melynk runner, LONG POND won the 7th race with a last gasp rally inside of leader Beyond Ascot to take the $20,000 claiming event. The 7yo Ontario bred by Grand Slam has been a hard trying fellow for many owners and trainers during his career.
He is currently owned by Formula One Racing and trained by Marko Mesic.
An eye popping run came in the last race when SPECTACULAR HUMOR ran like a wild horse on the pace and the Manitoba bred won by a long margin against $10,000, non-winners of 2. He was coming in from out west for K-5 Racing and trainer Alex McPherson had him very sharp and ready. The gelding is by Distorted Humor out of Ambid, by Spectacular Bid.
The WILLIE ARMATA barn continues to roll.
It won the 1st race with the big class dropper ASTERA (Mutakkdim-Slewplay), who was racing back in 6 days and dropping from $19,000 to $9,500. She raced fast on the pace and was long gone in the 6 furlong dash.
The 6yo mare ARCHIE'S GAL won the 2nd race - all she needed to do is reel in the runanaway front runner RARE PARADIS, who went too fast and opened up a big lead in the 1 1/16 mile race. Archies Gal is closing in on $500,000 in earnings - quite a bank account for the Archers Bay mare who was in the care of trainer Mike DePaulo until she was claimed last summer by K.K. Sengara.
The Greg de Gannes barn has done well with 2yos at the meeting. Yesterday the 2nd time starter SPUNKY ralliEd in time with 1st time blinkers and Lasix to win for $40,000 claiming. The Concerto miss is a Florida bred owned and bred by Roger Laurin. She was a hefty 19 to 1.
BEAR DIXIECAT won her return to grass in a $62,500 allowance/optional claimer, race 4. The Dixie Union gal led all the way through 7 furlongs for the Bear Stables and trainer Reade Baker. It was her 4th win in her 14th start.
GOLDMART FARM got its first win of the year with its grey fellow AMERICAN SIGNATURE (Exchange Rate). Trained by Robert Tiller, the gelding split horses in mid stretch and just edged clear in a competitive event for maidens, $32,000.
Bad news for players of favourites (or logical runners anyway) when EFFTEESEE did some strange lunging move at the break of race 6 and Slade Callaghan fell off. The gelding won the race without his rider, galloping along smoothly to beat the field.
The actual winner was BOLD TENSE, a 5yo who was winning for the 2nd time in 4 strats this year and was well ridden by Dean Deverell. The Bold Executive gelding is a Larry Regan homebred in Ontario.
Trainer ELIZABETH CHARALAMBOUS won her first race of the season (from few starters only) when VALENTINE VIXEN rallied in time to win the allowance race of the day - 7 furlongs on turf for Ontario sired non-winners of 3.
The Porto Foricos 5yo mare is out of Deli Cat by Bold Ruckus and it was her 2nd race of the season and 3rd race on turf.
Margaret Cudney owns. Jim McAleney rode.
LORNA PERKINS trains MUTAKINMOVE, the winner of the 8th race for $20,000 claimers, non-winners of 2. The Mutakkdim gelding had bizarre form - 3 races in Oaklawn with an 80 Beyer Figure sandwiched by a 64 and a 51, and then 2 Woodbine outings at 5 and 5 1/2 furlongs that were so-so.
And the well bred Tale of the Cat filly VIDORA won her maiden by almost 9 lengths in the finale, a $15,000 claiming race. Bred by Hope Stock Farm, the filly is owned and trained by Nick DeToro. The filly was originally a $79,000 US yearling purchase and she was claimd last June for $40,000.
JENNIFER BURNIE GOLF BENEFIT
On June 27, Fort Erie horsepeople are asking everyone to come down to join them in a Golf Charity for owner/trainer JENNIFER BURNIE who was seriously injured in a car accident recently.
The tournament cost $75, golf and dinner, and will be held at the Fort Erie Golf Course on June 27 at 1:30.
Tickets can be purchased through Brian Belanger or David Walpole at 1-800-295-3770 etx. 3317.
JIM LAWSON TO WEG BOARD
Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) recently announced the apoointment of James J. Lawson to its Board of Directors.
Mr. Lawson is the President and CEO of Westerkirk Capital Inc., a Toronto-based private investment firm with a current portfolio that includes substantial holdings in the hospitality, aviation, custom manufacturing, and real estate sectors.
He has served over the course of his career as a Partner at Torys LLP and at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, and as the Senior Vice President of XO Communications Canada.
Mr. Lawson currently sits on the board of directors of a number of private companies and has recently served on a number of public (TSX) boards including Algoma Steel Inc., Zargon Energy Trust and Countryside Power Income Fund.
He also sits on the Board of Stewards of the Jockey Club of Canada.
Also last week, former WEG VP Jim Ormiston retired.
A reader asked about former jockey DON HALE. Another reader said 20 years ago he wasl living in North Bay and is involved in fishing and tours...