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Monday, July 21, 2008


Is there another Buckpasser mare out there? Send Thoroughblog a note if you know of one!

Here is JILLY PILLY, 30-years old and doing well with owner Vicki Pappas at Woodlands Farm in Hillsburgh. A stakes producer, Jilly is one of the last foals of Buckpasser.


(the Friday/Saturday Sunday wrap)

Hot barns include MIKE DOYLE, MARK FROSTAD, READE BAKER and TERRY JORDAN but trainer STEVE ASMUSSEN, whose horses are racing out of 'Detention' is the leading trainer at Woodbine with 21 wins. He has a one win lead (see chart below).
Asmussen has not been to Woodbine yet this year and his horses are trainer by assistant Steve Flint.



and the BEAR wins both stakes

The fans bet $2.5 million and the Polytrack was very, very fast. The winners on the main track were speed runners or stalkers but it wa sbasically fair - if you went too fast on the pace, you got tired and lost.

Bang! FATAL BULLET, a Florida-bred son of Red Bullet-Sararegal by Regal Classic, won yesterday's Bold Venture Stakes over the very good Disfunction and neeed to set a track reecord for 6 1/2 furlongs to do so.

The 3yo was meeting older sprinters for the first time and raced the distance in 1:14/54, good for a 105 Beyer.

That Beyer makes Fatal Bullet in the top rung of 3yo colt's on surfaces other than grass in all of North America.

Ridden for the first time by Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who had a sensational weekend, Fatal Bullet stalked the pace briefly and then darted to the lead into the turn and he took off.

The colt swished his tail quite a bit while under pressure from his rider but he seemed to finsih okay.

Owned by the Bear Stables of Danny Dion (the colt was named by Stronach Stables which sold the horse at auction), Fatal Bullet was one of 3 winners on the card for trainer Reade Baker.

The Bear's top filly BEAR NOW earned a 92 Beyer Figure with a front running score i in the Ontario Matron Stakes against a modest field.

The Tiznow gal has won two straight races since throat surgert and became a MILLIONAIRE with her win.

Other Sunday winners:

Baker's other winner was Jim McAlpine's lovely, hard trying gal FEISTEE DEER, who rallied to win an off-the-turf $50,000 claiming race in 1:22.96.

SHAWANAGA was vanned off for Brian Cullen.

MORNING PRAYERS was claimed by the Very Dry group which lost KNOCKER on Friday in a claiming race.

Trainer Mark Casse sent out 2nd time starter OCONEE by 1st crop sire CONGAREE to win a 6 furlong maiden allowance by almost 5 lengths. The Kentucky bred is owned by Stonerside.

Sam-Son Farms has suddenly come to life with winners like Mulmur popping up. DONERAILE GOLD won his maiden in a good field yesterday with an 86 Beyer Figure.
The regally bred A.P. Indy colt TIMELY ADVICE broke slowly and rallied well and surely is going to go onto big things for Pin Oak Stud.

And trainer TERRY JORDAN, who sent out a claiming filly named Tribal Belle to win with an 86 Beyer Figure last Friday in a stunner, won two races on Sunday. He's 16 for 35 at the meeting - wow.

RYE ON THE ROCKS won an off-the-turf race and was re-claimed by Scott Fairlie and the class dropping VIC'S PICK won for $12,500 in the finale.


Getting faster and the grass course is very, very firm too. The crowd best $2.4 million on this day. another hot one.

Most of the winners were within a few lengths of the lead or on the pace all day on thre main track with the exception of RED RAFFLES (Bold n Flashy), who won a 2 turn allowance race for Ontario sired guys for Catherine Day Phillips and Kingfield Farms, Lessee.

Okay, he's not the fastest 2yo in Canada yet but SOUTHERN EXHANGE has not been threatened in 3 races and was mostlyexeryone's pick to win again Saturday when he met a few overmatched rivals in the Colin Stakes.
The grey Exchange Rate colt, a Florida-bred owned by Bill and Vicki Poston and trained by Greg de Gannes,ran a career best 89 Beyer Figure.
The high for Canada currently is EL SINALOENSE at Hastings Park on July 13.

De Gannes, who went into the weekend with 3 wins (2 from Southern Exchange) sent out a huge longshot winner, the 2yo debuter ASTROTIME, a Gilded Time gal out of British Columbia champion ASTRO BEAUTY. bought for $35,000 and change (US) from Ferme du Bois Vert, the Ontario bred gal was 25 to 1 and streak home from just off the pace.

Her owner is Andrew Fredericks.



99 Beyer Figure for Sam-Son runner who wins OJC at 30 to 1!

It turns out grass is the best surface for the 5yo gelding MULMUR (Smart Strike-Wilderness Hush) and, I guess if you trace back to his grass outings from last year at Woodbine, he was hinting in the 90 range in Beyer Figures.

And his rivals are getting very long in the tooth. LE CINQUIEME ESSAI, making his season debut as a 9yo, seemed to have the life choked out of him in his journey and was 2nd best behind the longshot winner, ridden for the 1st time by Eurico Rosa da Silva.
Mulmur has won 4 of 18 races now and jumped from $173K in earnings to over $230,000.

The definition of a non-key race - the QUEEN'S PLATE is looking a bit scary as the 3yo colts come out of the race and continues to have ho-hum results.

NOT BOURBON has had a myectomy since his flop in the Prince of Wales after winning the Plate and trainer Roger Attfield says he's doing super.

But TOOK THE TIME, D. FLUTIE, and SHADOWLESS all had so-so efforts in very easy spots since they ran in the Plate. Only EAST END TAP, unplaced i nthe Plate, came back with a good race when 2nd in the Prince of Wales.

The last race on Saturday went to turf-to-Polytrack mover HOSTA RICA, a logical winner for owner/breeder Sue Foreman. The Mazel Trick 4yo is trained by Steve Attard and won the allowance/optional claiminer in 1:10.19.


It was a workmanlike effort and one that should set her up well for the 7 furlong, Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga. SUGAR SWIRL (Touch Gold-Astrapi), a strong chestnut mare with a white face, won Friday's 1st running of the Scotzanna Stakes on a very warm and sticky day.

Friday's card ($2.03 million bet) featured a Polytrack that was starting to get faster than it was on Wednesday night and all of the main track winners cam from 4 lengths off the pace or less. Most races were won by stalkers and pace presser.

Other Friday highlights: a firster by SMART STRIKE that cost $7,000 at auction, LIGHT TOUCH, won her debut for high claiming for trainer Mark Casse.

Trainer GARY AIMONETTI won his first Woodbine race with the heavily bet 2yo TASHI, making his 2nd start after an intriguing debut outing. The 2yo is by Im Millennium Man.

The WOODBINE OAKS is still a key race as the 3yo fillies are better than the local colts this year. SUGAR BAY got out of the Triple Tiara mess and won an allowance race in fine fashion for Augustin Stable and Mac Benson.

leading woodbine trainers by WINS - equibase stats.

Steven M. Asmussen 122 21 16 13 $1,294,987

Mark E. Casse 176 20 23 22 $1,762,570

Sid C. Attard 130 20 20 16 $1,149,960

Scott H. Fairlie 102 19 18 13 $725,425

Reade Baker 133 17 16 18 $1,113,695

Roger L. Attfield 92 17 10 13 $1,778,418

Nicholas Gonzalez 83 17 9 10 $1,161,382

Robert P. Tiller 119 16 19 16 $867,775

Michael J. Doyle 120 15 10 14 $692,555

Terry Jordan 36 15 6 2 $587,914

Brian A. Lynch 41 14 6 4 $1,159,590

Michael P. De Paulo 86 13 12 9 $755,692

Daniel J. Vella 89 13 12 9 $745,610


Gauging horses a humbling exercise
Handicapper crunches information that can provide edge to picking winners
Monday, July 21, 2008
By Mike MacAdam (Contact)
Daily Gazette Reporter

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Bill Heller’s Daily Racing Form looks like an exam that’s been corrected by an exasperated schoolteacher.

Whole lines of tiny agate type are crossed off in blue pen, some groups of characters are circled and the word “NO” shows up more than once on every page.

Heller isn’t giving the test, though, he’s taking it.

Like most professional handicappers who try to pick winners in thoroughbred horse races for newspapers, Heller has a routine that takes from 21⁄2 to 5 hours every day.
Read the rest of the handicapping series

* To read the first part of this series, a profile of handicapper Mark Cusano from Sunday's edition, click here.

Writing assignments come and go for the longtime sports writer and author, but handicapping never goes away. He analyzes races on the New York Racing Association circuit year-round for The Daily Gazette, including the six-week Saratoga Race Course meet that begins on Wednesday.

That’s when things heat up for those who pick horses, and the pressure comes from more than one angle.

Besides the attention that Saratoga draws as the finest thoroughbred meet

in the United States, a group of about 30 handicappers who work for papers in the Capital Region and downstate compete against each other in an informal contest to see who can pick the most winners. You want to do well — for the readers, against your peers — while saddled with one of the most difficult assignments in handicapping.

One of those sitting in the press box pressure cooker is Heller, who has developed an ever-evolving system since getting hooked on thoroughbreds in 1972, when he came to Saratoga for the first time and saw Secretariat win the Hopeful Stakes.


Introducing THE TOP BUNK LIST...

Earners of $500,000 racing for $5,000 claiming or less..


From AlexBrownRacing

The Top Bunk List is a list of horses, still racing, that have made more than $500,000 and are running for $5,000 or less. We are tracking these horses, thanks to Daily Racing Form's horse watch program. We are trying to retire these horses before they get into a more serious situation. At any given time, there are anywhere between 6 - 10 horses on this list. Current list:

Ask The Lord: Retired Ask the Lord gets new life on farm DRF, excerpt: A few months ago, Brown compiled a list of 10 horses who have earned $500,000 or more and are running for a claiming price of $5,000 or less. His goal is retirement for all of them, and so far two of them are off the track, Ask the Lord and Top Bunk.

Frazee's Folly

Judge's Case Retired (was retired off site!)

Lights on Broadway - raced 4th at Anthony Downs on weekend!!

Out of My Way

Pay Attention


Sky Diamond -
YIKES - Canadian bred from Sam-Son Farms, currently owned by Leo-Sag Stables, trained by Bobby DiBona.
Sky Diamond has been claimed 5 times since Jan. of last year and he's only raced 12 times in that span.
He was recently claimed for $5,000 and raced July 8 for $7,500 and was 2nd. He is 8-years-olds.

Spicy Stuff

Witt Ante - 7th for $4,000 claiming at Evangeline on Friday!!



Ask the Lord gets new life on farm

Ask the Lord made a lot of people a lot of money as a winner of 23 races and $769,640. Now, at the age of 11, he has been retired as the result of work done by a group looking to get aged earners of more than $500,000 off the track.

Ask the Lord won his maiden in March 2000 at Fair Grounds and went on to win six stakes during a career that took him to Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course, and Churchill Downs. But in time his star faded and his slide down the class ladder started in earnest in August 2006, when he ran for a claiming price of $30,000. By fall 2007, he fell to the $5,000 claiming ranks, and last month, Ask the Lord ran second for a $4,000 tag at Evangeline Downs.

"It's about the dignity of the animal," said Alex Brown, a Woodbine-based exercise rider who runs the website, the home of the Fans of Barbaro. "These guys have made a lot of money. They served the industry very well. They've had the high accolades, and now they're running in races that don't really befit the quality of horse that they once were."



  • At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    I have to disagree with treating $500,000 winners differently than those who may have struggled to make $50,000 over their racing life.
    They are still horses, bred to run, no matter how much they made.
    The thing they have in common is that they are are geldings in almost every case, and almost every case the owners who have them now, didn't own the horse for the majority of their big years.
    I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you don't like to see big earners run for bottoms at 8 or older, you might as well not like any horse run for bottoms at 8 or older.
    Horses don't know how much they made.
    This symbolic stuff is just nonsense to me.
    The only thing I question is having an older gelding and keeping him racing if he has no chance of at least breaking even for the owner.

  • At 8:50 AM, Anonymous alex said…

    the URL for the Top Bunk List:

    the difference I see from these horses and horses that have always run at lower levels is there has to be a reason these horses got slower. better talk now is 9 and still running in grade 1s. age alone does not slow a horse down.

  • At 8:55 AM, Blogger Jen Morrison said…

    I didn't print that information to say that we should treat these horses differently than any other old timer who is stil racing and perhaps not making any money anymore.
    That is not what this is about. You can't disagree with something that you read inorrectly.
    It is just a sample of horses, an example if you will, of what still goes on out there.
    There are horses who are racing that should not be and tracks and racing commissions are not helping.
    That's the basic premise of what I printed.

  • At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    Jen, if you think these horses shouldn't be running, and they win the odd race or finish second or third, etc, then you are basically saying that no horse should be running after a certain age, or that horses who used to make a certain amount of money shouldn't be racing for low claiming levels late in their career. It has to be one or the other.
    Should an 8 or 9 year old that finishes behind these horses who you say shouldn't be running, also not be running?

    I think if they write $2500 races, and an owner is dumb enough to keep a horse in training for those type of races, and the horse is competitive, I don't think it matters how much the horse made previously.

    Sure, if it is the same owner, and that horse made $500,000 for him, then you can question the owners integrity. But it is still his horse.

    Alex, there are numerous factors that slow down a horse. Better Talk Now has escaped them. But horses go on the shelf due to injury for various reasons, and most lose a step or two after they are 3 for example.
    Sometimes age just does it, sometimes it doesn't.
    Many geldings run their fastest times when they turn 5.
    There is no magical formula though.

  • At 12:16 PM, Anonymous alex said…

    great news. Witt Ante was retired by his breeder on Saturday after he ran 7th at 44-1 at Evangeline Downs on Friday!

  • At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Brandon said…

    Sad to see one of our former horses, Moonshine Justice, a multiple stakes winner with earnings of almost $496,000, finish 4th for $7,500 at the Fort today. Will probably see him for $5,000 next. 6 years old.

  • At 8:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Can someone please explain what the term RACING OUT OF DETENTION means?

  • At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What happened Jen?

    Did you backtrack on the dumb idea that insisted that everyone had to register in order to make comments on your blog?

    You really should get bolder and lose all of these hoops required for public response.

    Open the doors and let the sunshine in!

  • At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Sarah21 said…

    A bit of good news on a "ghost."

    FYI for people who might follow particular horses. Kid Grindstone, listed as "broken down and euthanized" on Pedigree Query for ages now, is actually alive and well. He ran at Arlington on July 19 and finished 3rd. Yes, this is the same Kid Grindtone.

    Nice to see him back in the flesh. *LOL*

  • At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It would be nice to retire all the old war horses but, what a lot of people do not realize is that some of these old horses will not retire. I know that sounds odd but it is true. Some of these horses are just not happy unless they are at the track. It is a shame to see some of them change hands so many times that they dont have a real constant in their lives, but some of them just pine away at a farm. Please do not condem all those that are running.

  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger Charlie said…

    Anonymous: I had to laugh when you told Jen to "let the sunshine in" - then you sign your post as "Anonymous"! (I guess you missed the irony!!)
    You're right about the old runners - many of them are happiest when they're working. That is why they work at all sorts of things once they are off the track - as pony horses, as dressage and eventing horses, as trail and pleasure mounts, even as weanling babysitters! And they love ALL of it! Especially the great individual attention they get! Your vision that retired TBs are "pining away on the farm" is quite far from the reality for so many of them. From personal experience, I can assure anyone that an OTTB is among the bravest and most honest horses you will ever know. Their mute grace under the worst of racing conditions can make you cry. Their extraordinary effort after retirement to learn a second career will blow you away!

  • At 12:31 PM, Anonymous alex said…

    "racing out of detention" means a security guy is on hand outside the stall of the horse running for 5 - 6 hours before it runs.


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