UPDATE...UPDATE - CASINO DRIVE DOES NOT TRAIN TODAY...
The THOROUGHBRED TIMES reported this morning that Casino Drive has a 'hind leg issue' and may not race in tomorrow's Belmont Stakes.
Casino Drive Heads to the Track
Originally uploaded by Rock and Racehorses
BIG BROWN'S BIG DAY
CASINO DRIVE, a gorgeous fellow whose mum has produced the last 2 Belmont Stakes winners, is captured in a lovely photo above by Sarah K. Andrew.
Is he the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years?
More on people's feelings about the big brown boy below..
A SURE THING?
WOODBINE OAKS FEATURES HEAVY FAVOURITE
Last weekend a Stronach Stable runner was 1 to 5 in a stakes race and finished fourth.
On Sunday in the 53rd Woodbine Oaks, the most prestigious race for Canadian-bred 3yo fillies, the Stronach team will have a heavy favourite again - GINGER BREW, the filly with the beer name racing in the event sponsored by Budweiser Beer.
Bud girls and CLIFF FLETCHER were on hand at a super post position draw at WEGZ bar in Vaughan yesterday. Fletcher answered questions, somewhat vaguely, about the TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS, my favourite, beleagured hockey team and then assisted in the post position draw.
GINGER BREW (Milwaukee Brew) is one of 2 in the race for Stronach Stables and trainer Brian Lynch.
Lynch, who is now caring for Harlem Rocker, the Plate trial favourite that bombed last weekend (mentioned above), knows there is no such thing as a sure thing.
"Well, it's a big field, you could traffic problems, a horse can freak out on any certain day. We're all heading towards the same race and anything can happen," said Lynch.
But Ginger Brew looks pretty good in this race - it's a large but very weak field.
"She doesn't need to take her racetrack around with her," said Lynch. "She thinks she's one of those horses that runs well on grass, dirt, Polytrack."
Brew's workmate, MONEY MY HONEY (Red Bullet) may be a super grass horse one day but she cannot be discounted on Sunday.
The filly has her 5th rider on her back, Eurico Da Silva, since the Oaks featured a big game of musical jockeys, but she comes off a solid win over another Oaks contender, SUGAR BAY.
The Beyer Figure for Money My Honey's win, a 64, is shockingly low (she had run a pair of 82's before that) but Lynch is not concerned.
"I'm pretty skeptical of the Beyer Figures, I like sheet numbers."
Interestingly, the top 2 favourites GINGER BREW and SHILLA each have not raced since April (26th and 27th) and winning the Oaks off such a layoff is virtually unheard of.
Every winner since 1973 (the only charts I had) at least raced in May and within 4 weeks of the race.
WOODBINE OAKS, PRESENTED BY BUDWEISER FIELD (12)
1/Lady d'Wildcat/Shyman Farm/Steve Roberts/Emma-Jayne Wilson/20-1
2/Ginger Brew/Stronach Stables Inc./Brian Lynch/Javier Castellano/8-5
3/Shilla/Victura Farm/Nick Gonzalez/David Clark/6-1
4/Northern Kraze/Anderson Farms and Mark Frostad/Mark Frostad/Chantal
5/Sugar Bay/Augustin Stable/Mac Benson/Corey Fraser/10-1
6/Gloriously/Woodford Racing/Mark Casse/Patrick Husbands/10-1
7/Initforreal/Rowbotham, Lindskog, MacKinnon, Richer & Boogmans/Arthur
8 Money My Honey/Stronach Stables Inc./Brian Lynch/Eurico Rosa da
9/Victory Romance/Donver Stable/Josie Carroll/Emile Ramsammy/15-1
10Mrs. Began/Zayat Stables LLC/Reade Baker/Tyler Pizarro/15-1
11/Nicki Knew/Knob Hill Stable/Kevin Attard/Jono Jones/15-1
12/Authenicat/Vinery LLC/Josie Carroll/Robert Landry/12-1
Morning Line Favourites: Ginger Brew - Shilla - Money My Honey
Winner to receive/$300,000
TV: The Score, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. ET
Post-time: 5:05 p.m.; Eighth race
More on Woodbine results from yesterday and today later on...
At Belmont yesterday, FIND THE WIRE (Orientate) won a maiden allowance on the grass for Jim and Susan Hill and trainer Reade Baker.
THE SCORE - FEATURE ON DAVID CLARK/ONTARIO RACING COMMISSION
"I'm just a horse who wins, don't blame me!"
Letter from THOROUGHBLOG READER
As I continue to read the many articles talking about how racing needs a Triple Crown winner and how we should all root for Big Brown on Saturday I can't help but feel irritated. There is something special about Saturday's race but it has nothing to do with Big Brown.It's the unbelieveable-once in a millenium-possibility of one mare producing three Belmont Stakes winners in a row.
First to Big Brown. Why it's in racing's interest to have a Triple Crown winner who will retire soon after having run at most 8 times and,more likely,6 times is beyond me. It's exactly the opposite of what racing needs.Racing needs competitive stakes horses who keep racing into their fourth and fifth years and create competitive races to remember. Or else it needs a real superstar like Secretariat.Yes,Secretariat retired after his 3 yo year but he ran 19 times including many against older horses.He won on turf and dirt and set track records which stand today. The last thing it needs is a horse who will tantalize us with his ability but never put it to the real test. And,worse yet,it doesn't need owners and trainers of questionable ethics winning major races.Read Andy Beyer's column in Friday's Racing Form for more on the latter.
As for Casino Dream as everyone knows-I hope-his dam produced the last 2 Belmont winners. No dam has ever produced 3 consecutive winners of any Triple Crown race and,given the phenomenal odds against it,none likely ever will again.Triple Crown winners come in once every 8 years on average and every race fan knows 8-1 shots aren't that rare. Million to one shots are beyond rare,however, and that's likely at least how high the odds are of the 3 in a row scenario. So everyone else can cheer for Big Brown I'll be cheering for the gracious Japanese owners and trainer who have acted so professionally in the past few weeks and watching for that million to one event to come true.
ANDY BEYER RIPS BIG BROWN'S OWNER, TRAINER