A wrap of the all the fun stuff from this weekend follows a very important story from Saturday.
SKY DIAMOND 2000-2008
8-years-old, Sky Classic-Sometimesadiamond
If you follow THOROUGHBLOG you know that fair and respectable treatment of the racehorse is a focus.
Thoroughblog tries to dedicate time and money to horse retirement groups.
Abuse of horses, for instance racing them into the ground when they are no longer competitive, sending horses to slaughter without even a through to find them homes and just plain and simple ill-respect for the horse and his or her after-racing life is unacceptable.
This summer, one horse who came up a lot was SKY DIAMOND, one of just half a dozen horses racing for bottoms claiming that had earned over $500,000 in a career.
(Stats were produced by DAILY RACING FORM and submitted to Alex Brown racing.)
Here is the day I realized SKY DIAMOND, stakes placed at Woodbine for years who was bred by Sam-Son Farms and raced for Roger Patten, Sid Attard, Paul Attard, Robert Tiller (once) and a litany of others, was still racing..
A write up I did a few months back...he made the:
THE TOP BUNK LIST (from earlier this summer)
Earners of $500,000 racing for $5,000 claiming or less..
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.
Judge's Case Retired (was retired off site!)
Lights on Broadway - raced 4th at Anthony Downs on weekend!! (Update - retired!)
Out of My Way
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-old.
Witt Ante - 7th for $4,000 claiming at Evangeline on Friday!!
So, on Saturday at MONMOUTH PARK, in the 1st race, SKY DIAMOND's life came to an end.
The gallant fellow broke front sesamoids but continued to run to the finish line.
He was euthanized on the track.
Leo -Sag Stable and Bobby DiBona were his current owner and trainer.
How many times have we seen this this year? Horses collapse at very old ages at the track - perhaps because of just too much stress, too many drugs, what have you.
Horses break down on the track ate ages of 8, 9 or 10 or more.
And SKY DIAMOND met his fate at at high profile track like Monmouth.
Good grief..what is going on at other little tracks around North America?
With the banning of horse slaughter finally being considered in all aspects of the media, let's pull up our shorts and try to stop the needless deaths of horses on the track too.
Yes, SKY DIAMOND was a galant soldier who rarely ran a bad race. He won 3 starts ago too.
But why was he racing for $5K claiming and $7,500? Because he is simply old? Or did him have any infirmities over the years of his racing?
Only those who trained him, groomed him and loved him will know.
LOCAL WEEKEND STARS
JUST RUSHING - 101 BEYER winning PLAY THE KING STAKES-GRADE 2
MATT'S BROKEN VOW - Canadian Derby, Beyer n/a
GLITTER ROX - Belle Geste Stakes - 78 Beyer
KOONUNGA HILL - Ice water Stakes - 71 Beyer
MINE THAT BIRD - Silver Deputy Stakes - 78
The Grade 2 PLAY THE KING STAKES was easily the highlight of the Woodbine weekend action, a race that set up perfectly for the speed and stalkers (the first 2 furlongs for these hard hitting sprinters was slower than 23!) and resulted in a fast, fast finish with the fresh JUST RUSHING getting the jump on WOLLEMI PINE in his 3rd race off the layoff.
Hey, Just Rushing lost his 2nd race of the year to Wollemi Pine by a nose, a tiny, tiny nose.
It was revenge time for the 7yo white-faced fellow who had a slightly better trip but more importantly, was very fresh and ready to peak.
The locals cleaned up the top 2 positions - OFF DUTY was in the pace duel with DISFUNCTION for a while and was 3rd to do best of the shippers.
Godolphin runners EMIRATES TO DUBAI and TAM LIN were not too good.
JUST RUSHING, a remarkable fellow for the Tucci Stables who claimed him from the Stronach Stables years ago. The Wild Rush guy has won 12 of 27 races and over $730,000.
What does the PLAY THE KING mean for the Woodbine Mile?
The 7 furlong race used to be a prep for the Mile but with that $1 million race in 2 weeks, it would be surprising to see anyone come out of it to run right back.
Of course most connections said 'no way' on Saturday after the race, but do we believe it?
Right now, KIP DEVILLE, the Breeders' Cup Mile winner last year and Grade 1 winning mare VENTURA are miles in front of any other runner who may compete in the race.
A look at the NOMINEES for the Woodbine Mile...
b.c.4 by Danzig(Northern Dancer) - Sheepscot(Easy Goer)
Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier Aidan P. O'Brien
dk b/.g.8 by Awesome Again(Deputy Minister) - Opinionated Lady(Known Fact)
C. and N. Joseph, D. Meehan and S. Leslie Sue Leslie
DARK ISLANDER (IRE)
*Scratched from Del Mar Mile on weekend, useful horse
b.h.5 by Singspiel (IRE)(In the Wings (GB)) - Lamanka Lass(Woodman)
Donald M. Kerr Neil D. Drysdale
ELUSIVE FORT (SAF)
dk b/.h.6 by Fort Wood(Sadler's Wells) - Ever Seeking (SAF)(Secret Prospector)
Vintage Thoroughbreds, Inc. Raja Malek
gr/ro.g.4 by Maria's Mon(Wavering Monarch) - Bristol Pistol(Regal Classic)
Augustin Stable MacDonald Benson
b.g.7 by Wild Rush(Wild Again) - Joustabout(Apalachee)
Stronach Stables Justin J. Nixon
dk b/.g.7 by Wild Rush(Wild Again) - Daybydaybyday(Shananie)
Tucci Stables Sid C. Attard
gr/ro.h.5 by Kipling(Gulch) - Klondike Kaytie(Encino)
IEAH Stables, Pegasus Holding Group Stables, Roberts, J. and Cohen, A. and S. Richard E. Dutrow, Jr.
b.c.4 by Royal Applause (GB)(Waajib (IRE)) - Loveleaves (GB)(Polar Falcon)
Hamad Suhail Mark Steven Johnston
dk b/.g.4 by Carson City(Mr. Prospector) - Dhaka(Icecapade)
OFER Stables LLC Mark E. Casse
ch.g.5 by Smart Strike(Mr. Prospector) - Wilderness Storm(Storm Cat)
Sam-Son Farms Mark R. Frostad
dk b/.h.5 by Dixie Union(Dixieland Band) - Onceinabluemamoon(Al Mamoon)
Herman Sarkowsky Richard E. Mandella
b.h.6 by Lycius(Mr. Prospector) - Gioia(Mari's Book)
Haras Santa Maria de Araras Roger L. Attfield
dk b/.m.5 by Catienus(Storm Cat) - Kitten's First(Lear Fan)
Lael Stables Robert J. Frankel
dk b/.h.5 by Soviet Star(Nureyev) - Rafif(Riverman)
Gary A. Tanaka Michael A. Jarvis
dk b/.g.5 by Woodman(Mr. Prospector) - Queen Mama(Seattle Slew)
Earle I. Mack Richard A. Violette, Jr.
b.g.4 by Crown Attorney(Silver Deputy) - Rahy's Hope(Rahy)
Ellie Boje Farm, Peters, Read, Jean and Jim MacLellan Ian Black
*WON CELEBRATION MILE SATURDAY...
ch.c.3 by Elusive Quality(Gone West) - Ascutney(Lord At War (ARG))
Stonerside Stable LLC and Sheikh Mohammed John H. M. Gosden
SABANA PERDIDA (IRE)
b.m.5 by Cape Cross (IRE)(Green Desert) - Capriola(Mr. Prospector)
Scuderia Zaro Alain De Royer-Dupre
b.h.5 by Not Impossible (IRE)(Sadler's Wells) - Athena's Smile(Olympio)
Charles E. Fipke and George Waud Roger L. Attfield
STAR PLUS (ARG)
b.h.5 by Alpha Plus(Mr. Prospector) - Nannar (ARG)(Big Play)
Earle I. Mack Kenneth G. McPeek
dk b/.f.4 by Chester House(Mr. Prospector) - Estala (GB)(Be My Guest)
Juddmonte Farms, Inc. Robert J. Frankel
*just raced on Saturday at Saratoga
b.c.4 by War Chant(Danzig) - Carnival Delight(Half a Year)
Peter Vegso William I. Mott
gr/ro.g.4 by Aljabr(Storm Cat) - Toogie Pine(Pine Bluff)
Kinghaven Farms, Harvey Clarke and Greg Thompson Ian Black
The NORTHERN DANCER STAKES could be a better race and the Canadian, for fillies & mares, could lure multiple Grade 1 winner PRECIOUS KITTEN, so the long weekend should feature some good grass racing at Woodbine.
WOODBINE WEEKEND WRAP
The track played fairly from Friday through yesterday, the rail is still not great but speed and stalkers won fairly.
The TURF COURSE is rattling right now...
The 2yo filly divsion is currently being led by sprint stakes winners KOONUNGA HILL, who became the first STAKES WINNER for the stallion WONNEBERG with his Ice Water Stakes score yesterday.
The Empress Stable homebred is another good runner for the owner/trainer Steve Owens lovely mare Easy to Praise.
Not a fast race, the Ice Water, with a 71 Beyer Figure but the filly was gritty.
Two firsters from the Mark Casse stable got a lot of press before tehe race but were non-factors.
GLITTER ROX won her first stakes race for the partnership of Elle Boje (Rahy's Attorney) and partners.
Let's hope the The Ellie Boje's go shopping at next week's yearling sale since they have cleaned up over the last 2 years.
Glitter Rox, a homebred by Glitterman, has won 5 of 15 and over $270,000. Ian Black trains.
Trainers that had good weekends (inc. Friday)- JOHN CARDELLA, JOSIE CARROLL and IAN BLACK.
THE SHOE NEEDS TO FIT!!! - CANADIAN DERBY WRAP UP
BY JONATHAN HUNTINGTON
Robert Mitchell had a very simple motto for the Canadian Derby: Go hard or go home.
That explains why he paid the bill to bring a blacksmith from Toronto's Woodbine racetrack on last-minute notice on Friday to repair Matt's Broken Vow's injured foot.
The cost of the flight to Edmonton and John Staples's services were definitely worth it because Matt's Broken Vow is the 79th Derby champion after a gutsy stretch-drive battle with Texas Wildcatter yesterday at Northlands Park.
Owned by Mitchell, the Ontario-based three-year-old thoroughbred lost the lead by a nose at the top of the stretch, but somehow found more in the tank to not only pass Texas Wildcatter but beat him by two and a quarter lengths.
"We were fortunate that (Staples) was able to come and help us out," said winning trainer Josie Carroll, who requested the special blacksmith service after Matt's Broken Vow was limping around the barn on Friday.
"The shoe (on the foot) had shifted, he had a bit of a hot heel (Friday morning).
"We brought John Staples; he knows the horse. The horse has a funny shaped foot. For $300,000 you bring the best guy you know."
The $300,000 Canadian Derby is the richest race in Western Canada. The winner's share of the purse is $180,000.
When the foot problem was noticed on Friday morning, the shoe was taken off the foot and the call made to Staples.
He was able to place the same shoe back on Matt's Broken Vow's foot and make it comfortable enough so he could win Edmonton's most prestigious race.
Making the victory even sweeter for Mitchell is the fact the colt is named after his nine-year-old son Matt.
"It is so exciting. It is just a thrill," said Mitchell, with his son and daughter Laurie at his side after the winner's circle pictures. "It is indescribable (from there). Having the kids with me it is something they will remember for the rest of their lives."
Matt will be able to tell some entertaining stories when he returns to school in Saskatoon this fall considering the Kentucky-bred colt has now captured back-to-back Derby titles after winning in Manitoba on Aug. 4.
And Matt's Broken Vow could be heading for a Western Derby hat trick if he enters the B.C. Derby on Sept. 21 in Vancouver.
But in the Canadian Derby, plenty of the credit goes to jockey Emile Ramsammy, who stalked the early pacesetters - One Only and Bears Tiger - before grabbing the lead in the final turn.
"It was an outstanding ride," said Mitchell. "We were in a good position the whole race."
Matt's Broken Vow didn't have the lead for very long in the final turn in the one-mile and three-eighths marathon before Texas Wildcatter passed him for a few fleeting seconds.
But Ramsammy knew what he was doing under intense pressure.
"I hit the lead in cruise and then I realized he was waiting for (Texas Wildcatter)," said Ramsammy. "I thought if (Texas Wildcatter) comes and runs by him, I still had enough horse to go on and persevere."
COLONEL JOHN'S TRAVERS
Jockey Robby Albarado is as good as judging photos as I am.
Anyway, the guy was beaten on the wise-guy pick in the Travers, Mambo in Seattle, while COLONEL JOHN won with a Beyer Figure that matched Harlem Rocker's number in the Withers.
A good bunch, not great.
HARLEM ROCKER was one of several dudes in the race that had a wide, bumping or just a plain old rocky trip but he was 4th and that was okay for the Canadian-bred.
The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS' SHERRY ROSS has an opinion..
EXCERPT: Travers makes for Bigger Brown
BY SHERRY ROSS
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
SARATOGA SPRINGS - As exciting as it was, the head-bob victory by Colonel John over Mambo in Seattle in Saturday's Travers did little other than underscore the fact that behind divisional leader Big Brown is just a bunch of nice horses.
"It was one of those Travers where you could shuffle the deck and run them back next week and have a different outcome," said trainer Todd Pletcher, whose Harlem Rocker had a rough trip in the field of 12 and finished fourth, ahead of favored Pyro. "I think it's still Big Brown's division and everybody else is trying to catch up."
Winning trainer Eoin Harty can't be blamed for holding a different opinion. "Right now, Colonel John has to be among the top tier," said Harty, who left Saratoga early Sunday morning to fly to California, where he saddled Well Armed in the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar. "He has to be right up there with Big Brown, but that's for the experts to decide."
A meeting with Big Brown in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 25 could settle that issue.
SOME OTHER BIG WINNERS ON THE WEEKEND:
The sensational 2yo colt EL SINALOENSE (Mud Route) won in a romp on Sunday in the New Westminster Stakes for his 4th win in 5 races...
Rancho Bernardo Handicap
Grade III, 6 1 / 2 furlongs
DEAREST TRICKSKI earned a berth to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita with a front running score in track record time...winning trainer John Sadler.
The PROUDEST ROMAN FILLY was a $10,000 claiming runner at one time.
Pat O'Brien Handicap
Grade II, 7 furlongs
LEWIS MICHAEL (Rahy) earns a berth for the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 25
and set a track record.
MIDNIGHT LUTE broke awkwardly and was dull.
Winning trainer/jockey: Wayne Catalano/Rene Douglass
What they said: "Oh, no, no. It wasn't my horse. My horse was swerving; that other horse was coming out." ---- Douglas
"That was what we came for (from Chicago), right there. Everything went perfect, the whole plan. It's great when a plan comes together." ---- Catalano
Del Mar Mile
Grade II, One mile
WHATSTHESCRIPT (Royal Academy) - Trainer John Sadler does it again and this fellow earned a trip to the Breeders' Cup Mile.
"He's one of the true horses that I've ever had that I think is a Grade I horse." ---- Sadler
AND LOCAL RUNNERS:
SUGAR SWIRL did not have a great trip in the Grade 1 Ballerina. The Canadian-bred Touch Gold mare was in the pace duel, steadied, altered course, made a bid and then understandably stalled.
She was 3rd and earned a 92 Beyer Figure.
The pair from trainer READE BAKER'S barn in stakes at Charles Town on Saturday night both broke slowly in 4 1/2 furlong races and were not threats. Ring of Greatness, a big maiden winner and Broadway Ellie were unplaced in $100,000 stakes for 2yo colts and fillies respectively.