HALL OF FAME NAMES
Robert Tiller, Lou Cauz and the Sam-Son gang honoured
The 32nd annual CANANDIAN HORSE RACING HALL OF FAME dinner and ceremony took place last night in Mississauga, Ontario and the night was a lavish one, complete with fancy silent and live auctions, a superb meal of filet mignon and stuff chicken breast and some moving acceptance speeches by the eight inductees - some of whom spoke on behalf of their beautiful racehorses.
Trainer ROBERT TILLER, LOU CAUZ, journalist and historian and top racehorses SMART STRIKE and WILDERNESS SONG were the thoroughbred inductees.
Some quotes from the night:
Tiller said: "I believe respect is the best thing a person can receive and that is what i am receiving today. I love horse racing, I love my job. This is a great honour tonight. I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Mark Samuel on behalf of Smart Strike said ""He gave us many thrills on the racetrack, and now he continues to thrill us with his many foals including Curlin."
Rick Balaz owner of Wilderness Song -
"Ernie Samuel was an incredible patriot, and to be able to compete with her outside of Canada was a fantastic thing. We are very grateful for this honour."
Lou Cauz was very emotional...
"If my lips begin to tremble it's only because I'm so honoured," said Cauz. "I never sought this honour, but when I heard I was elected I was in tears. When I was told the news I was sobbing. I had been romanced by this sport for a long time.
The auctions had some pretty cool stuff including halters for CURLIN and BEAR NOW, hockey trips and a diamond from the Ekati mine of Charles Fipke.
A halter from harness star SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE was a big sellers - $2,100 and it was bought by jockey EMMA-JAYNE WILSON.
SATURDAY'S WOODWARD - CURLIN
EXCERPT from the Schenectady Gazette
Curlin 3-5 favorite for Woodward
By Phil Janack (Contact)
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Retired jockey Angel Cordero Jr. won the Woodward six times in his Hall of Fame career, including a record five straight from 1981-85.
Seattle Slew. Pleasant Colony. Island Whirl. Slew o’ Gold twice. Track Barron.
“I had the pleasure to win the Woodward five years in a row. It takes a good horse to win it,” Cordero said during Thursday’s post-position draw. “It’s always been a good race, and it’s always won by a good horse. I’d say this year will probably be the same.
“No doubt about it. Not only is Curlin the best horse going in the race, he’s probably one of the best horses I’ve seen in the last 15 years.”
The 2007 Horse of the Year, Curlin makes his return to the track in his Saratoga Race Course debut, headlining Saturday’s Grade I Woodward.
It is the 55th edition of the 11⁄8-mile race, and the third since being moved from Belmont Park in 2006. Carded as the 10th of 11 races with a post time of 5:45 p.m., it will be televised live on MSG from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
Trained by Steve Asmussen for majority owner Jess Jackson of Stonestreet Stable, Curlin drew post five and was made the 3-5 program favorite in a surprisingly large eight-horse field.
WELLAND TRIBUNE, HARLAN ABBEY
A story about English bred CENTAURUS..
Injury reduces all-star horse to house-league races
Posted By For The Tribune
It might be comparable to seeing a teenage son of Wayne Gretzky playing in a hockey house league instead of on an all-star travel team.
Because Centaurus, a six-year-old trained by Brian Ross at Fort Erie Race Track, certainly has the bloodlines and the looks to be running in stakes races instead of for a $7,500 claiming price.
Centaurus was bred in England by Newgate Stud, one of the many thoroughbred racing and breeding entities of the absurdly wealthy Maktoum family of Dubai. His sire is Daylami, whose 11 wins in 19 starts and $4.6 million in earnings included the Breeders Cup Turf in 1999, when he was named Eclipse Champion (of North America) Turf Runner. And Daylami is just one of 141 Grade I winners for Godolphin (the shieks’ top racing stable) in 11 countries since bursting onto the world-wide racing horizon in 1992.
Although Godolphin does not have a “big name” horse in North America at present, the stable is ranked 26th with 14 wins (22 winning percentage.), 12 seconds and 11 thirds (57 per cent in-the-money finishes) and $1.4 million.
Only Big Brown’s owners (four wins in five starts) and Peter Vesgo, 50 starts, have fewer starts – and more money won – than Godolphin.
Getting back to Centaurus, a handsome dapple gray with a black mane and tail, Ross said “I heard that he was one of Godolphin’s top prospects for the English Derby as a three-year-old and set a track record at a mile and a half, but then he bowed a tendon.”
That’s an injury that often ends a horse’s racing career; if he comes back after a long, long rest, he’s rarely the same and obviously Centaurus isn’t.
He had one third in four starts, at the $60,000 claiming level at Belmont Park, earning $7,692 for all of 2007. He then was sent to race at Tampa, where he was acquired by John Ross, Brian’s brother.
“Mother Nature hasn’t helped us," Brian Ross said. “His first race here, on the grass, he wasn’t quite ready for that. The only time I tried him on the dirt, he was beaten by 17 lengths.
“He’s still a stallion – the Maktoum’s never ‘cut’ (geld) their colts – and is a perfect gentleman. I want him to get a good home."
Andy Beyer on JESS JACKSON...
at THE BLOOD-HORSE
Retired Horse Saved from Return to Track
When Mighty Mecke broke his foot in February, his co-owners Jeff Puglisi of Puglisi Racing and trainer Steve Klesaris, decided it was time to retire the 6-year-old colt from racing and find him a new career. Through a bloodstock agent, they discovered Stillfork Farm in Ohio, and they said they were told Mighty Mecke would stand there as a stallion.
But soon after the stakes-winning bay horse was delivered to the nursery in early July, Puglisi heard from a man who said Mighty Mecke had been sold to him to race in Antigua. Puglisi and Klesaris located the horse in Florida, hired a lawyer, and launched a frantic effort to get him back. The two men succeeded, but want other owners to know the story so their retired racehorses won’t end up in a similar situation.
"I’m in shock," Klesaris said. "I still can’t believe it happened. It completely blows me away that there are people out there like this."
Klesaris, as agent for Puglisi Stables, purchased Mighty Mecke for $130,000 at the 2004 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. April sale of 2-year-olds in training. The horse captured nine races, including the Nick Shuk Memorial Stakes and the male division of the OBS Championship Stakes in 2005, and earned $271,670. But when Mighty Mecke fractured his foot, after undergoing two knee surgeries earlier in his career, Klesaris and Puglisi didn’t
believe he should ever race again.