HOLD THE FORT
The news today is centred on FORT ERIE...it is the last day of the meeting for 2008 and folks there are scrambling to get something together to ensure the old track continues in the years to come.
CHECK OUT MY POLL at right
(congrats to all those who picked FATAL BULLET as the most successful Canadian on Breeders' Cup day -most of the 80 who voted!
The NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW writes today...
EXCERPT - NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW
Track gets gloomy update at council
Posted By RAY SPITERI
REVIEW STAFF WRITER
-Today is the final day of racing this season at Fort Erie Race Track.
Judging by the news delivered to councillors last night by the town's Economic Development and Tourism Corp. general manager, it could be the final day -ever -for horse racing at the 111-year-old venue.
"(Owners) need some answers in the next 15 days or so or they will go to the government with the intent of saying, 'Listen, we can't take this,'" said Jim Thibert, regarding negotiations between Nordic Gaming Corp. and the province surrounding a proposed $300-million redevelopment project adjacent to the Thompson Road facility.
"The implications are very clear. The wick is burning pretty low. You can put a Tim Hortons on that site and make more money than the entire racetrack is doing right now."
Nordic estimates it has lost more than $20 million over the past four years and says it is reluctant to commit to another season without knowing if it will receive assistance from Queen's Park for its project, said Thibert.
Last year, representatives of Nordic went public with plans to construct a four-star hotel, a massive entertainment complex, a 2,500-unit timeshare/ condominium complex and improvements to racing facilities.
The project has been billed as a catalyst for rejuvenating the track and Fort Erie's faltering gaming industry.
While proponents of the plan have kept details of Nordic's request of the province close to the vest, Thibert elaborated on an element of the task that could be the sticking point for an agreement to be struck.
He said Nordic is seeking a $50 million break on taxes over a 10-year period.
read the rest...
DETTORI THREW WHIP IN AIR AFTER CLASSIC
faces disciplinary action?
Frankie Dettori could face a bizarre ban from the Santa Anita stewards for his victory celebrations aboard Breeders' Cup Classic hero Raven's Pass on Saturday.
Dettori threw his whip into the air as the John Gosden-trained winner crossed the line.
But the California stewards, who fined the Italian Û500 for giving up his remaining ride on the card, were unimpressed.
A spokeswoman for the track said yesterday: "The whip landed about 50 yards from the wire.
"It didn't hit any of the horses or riders in the Classic, and I don't know when a final decision will be made."
But she denied any action would be borne out of a sense of American bitterness at the five European winners on Saturday night, adding: "That wouldn't be the case."
SQUARE EDDIE's 2nd place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile likely made him the QUEEN'S PLATE WINTERBOOK favourite (as long as he is eligible by the time the odds are set next year! photo by qtfeather at www.flickr.com
ABOVE...YouTube, Breeders' Cup Classic replay from ESPN, one minute he has the whip, the next?...Not.
BEST OF THE BESTS/WEATHER WARNING MOVE...
BEST OF THE BESTS (IRE) and WEATHER WARNING will be moving over to Norse Ridge Farm in King City to continue their Careers at the farm of Rene and Darlene Hunderup. An open house will be held on Saturday November 22nd (11AM to 3PM) to welcome the new additions to the Stallion ranks.
Both Stallions will remain under the same ownership and will be marketed by Bernard McCormack through his Cara Bloodstock Agency. In addition the other Thoroughbred Stallions at Norse Ridge Farm including ALUMNI HALL and PAYNES BAY will also be marketed by Cara Bloodstock.
"It is exciting to have these two fine stallions remain in Ontario," said McCormack.
BEST OF THE BESTS' (IRE) first crop of foals were very well received by breeders and he had the highest CI index as a measure of mare quality of any regional sire according to Market Watch. His sire MACHIAVELLIAN has the hottest young sire in the business with STREET CRY. A group 1 winner BEST OF THE BESTS (IRE) defeated 18 other group/graded 1 winners during his racing career. His first European crop featured 16 two year old winners and 4 stakes horses".
"WEATHER WARNING a champion son of STORM CAT is going into his second year at stud with a very creditable first book of mares being bred to him in 2008. A stunning looking individual he bred 17 stakes winners in a large book that also included the dams of several 2008 stakes winners including star performer SUGAR BAY's dam. WEATHER WARNING'S dam CITY BAND won the Grade 1 Oak Leaf at 2 and is by the outstanding broodmare sire CARSON CITY".
For more information Bernard McCormack can be contacted at 905 985 0122 or cell 905 261 8852.
At Norse Ridge Farm contact Jason Hunderup at 416 841 9201 or Darlene Hunderup at 416 841 9210.
ASMUSSEN, MOSS claim horse to retire...
Teamwork Brings Siphonizer to Old Friends
PRESS RELEASE FROM OLD FRIENDS..OCTOBER 24, 2008—It takes a village to raise a child and, sometimes, it takes a community of compassionate people to retire a racehorse.
On October 21st the 7-year-old gelding Siphonizer (Siphon—Thesky'sthelimit by Northern Prospect) was retired to Old Friends, the 92-acre facility in Georgetown, KY. The one-time Delmar Futurity winner ran his last race only three days before, finishing 4th in a $4,000 claimer at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. It was his 38th lifetime start and it added a small paycheck to his final track earnings of just over $313,000. That's the end of the story
For the beginning, you have to go back to 2003, to the barn of Hall-of-Fame trainer Richard Mandella, and to his then-assistant trainer Becky Witzman. "He was a good horse and he was just one of my favorites," says Witzman of the promising 2-year old. "He was very personable. He learned how to nicker for attention and carrots from another horse in the barn, and so every morning when I arrived in the dark I would hear him calling for a treat."
Siphonizer had made an auspicious debut at Del Mar in August of 2003, winning his first race by 3/4 of a length. He sealed the deal with a solid finish in the Futurity, his 3rd start, under the control of jockey Julie Krone, and earned himself a spot in the Breeders Cup Juvenile—a race he lost to stable mate Action This Day, one of four Mandella trainees to earn a BC crown that day.
"I had been trying to watch him over the years," says Witzman, who is now the producer of HRTV's Race Day America. "And I just kept seeing him drop and drop and drop. Then, seeing him in a $4,000 claimer, I just thought isn't this enough? So I called Michael Blowen and asked how a horse gets to Old Friends."
Blowen, the founder and president of the retirement facility, was thrilled to give Siphonizer a home if Witzman could find a way to get him. "We just bought 40 additional acres at the farm," said Blowen, "but we haven't had the funds yet to complete the fencing needed to house more horses. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to retire a horse like Siphonizer," he continues. "So I thought if Becky could make it work, so could I."
Witzman contacted Iowa-based owner Maggie Moss for help. "She was just exceptional," said Witzman. "Maggie had the horse at one point in his career and knew his whole story. She was willing to put up the money and claim him for us."
To make the claim, Moss and Witzman then contacted trainer Steve Asmussen. "Maggie has horses with Steve all around the country," says Witzman. "And the fact that he was willing to help us out with all that he has going on right now was just amazing."
Asmussen was, coincidentally, saddling several starters at Remington Park that Sunday. He nevertheless took the time out from those obligations as well as from conditioning his two mounts scheduled to run in Saturday's Breeders Cup Classic—including global champion Curlin—to claim Siphonizer.
All that stood in the way of a dignified retirement was the 800 or so miles between Oklahoma City and Lexington, KY. "Sallee Vans [the company that ships many of the Old Friends retirees free of charge] had a van going that Monday," says Witzman, "but I couldn't get on because it was a private van." Not one to give up hope, Witzman called another friend, trainer Eoin Harty (who will send Colonel John to the BC Classic), and asked how he was shipping his horses from Remington Park that week. As fate would have it, the private van was booked by Harty, who was more than happy to give Siphonizer a lift.
The gelding arrived in Kentucky on Tuesday afternoon. He will board at Jude Feld's Chestnut Farm in Versailles until funds are raised to complete the new paddock fencing at the Old Friends farm.
"This is an outstanding example of racing people coming together to do the right thing," said Blowen. "And the fact that Steve Asmussen and Eoin Harty could take time out from their schedules just days before the Breeders Cup is truly amazing. We can't thank everyone enough for their help and their commitment to the horses. Siphonizer will have a great home here at Old Friends."
Witzman, for one, is delighted. "I've always thought about Siphonizer over these years," she said. "I'm so glad Old Friends was able to take him. Give him a kiss for me."
Located on 1841 Paynes Depot Road in Georgetown, KY, Old Friends is home to more than 28 retired Thoroughbreds, including 16 stallions. Among the many Champions are eight-time stakes winner Ruhlmann, Eclipse-winning turf horse Sunshine Forever, millionaire Flying Pigeon, and the great sprinter Ogygian. The farm is open daily to tourists by appointment. For more information on tours, booking rooms at the Old Friends Bed & Breakfast, or to make a donation call-502-863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org
Name Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings
Mark E. Casse 405 63 61 61 $4,710,561
Sid C. Attard 265 48 40 39 $2,960,929
Reade Baker 257 39 34 35 $2,305,793
Roger L. Attfield 208 39 26 33 $3,880,392
Scott H. Fairlie 190 37 32 22 $1,493,030
Steven M. Asmussen 218 35 27 28 $2,058,987
Nicholas Gonzalez 162 29 24 27 $2,096,638
Terry Jordan 72 28 15 6 $1,049,487
Daniel J. Vella 183 27 31 20 $1,555,779
Michael J. Doyle 247 27 22 26 $1,327,976
Brian A. Lynch 93 26 14 11 $1,986,092
Audre Cappuccitti 199 26 13 23 $808,444
James McAleney 675 136 100 96 $7,501,345
Patrick Husbands 621 119 99 91 $7,225,410
Emma-Jayne Wilson 756 95 97 124 $5,774,562
Chantal Sutherland 584 89 69 83 $4,919,518
Emile Ramsammy 685 87 87 91 $4,423,617
Eurico Rosa Da Silva 602 81 80 69 $4,942,914
Tyler Pizarro 568 80 78 63 $4,019,954
Jono C. Jones 495 68 55 58 $4,944,245
Justin Stein 509 51 72 50 $2,548,629
David Clark 438 47 49 53 $3,128,676
Robert C. Landry 348 42 45 51 $2,896,124
TOMORROW....a rundown of the SOVEREIGN AWARD CATEGORIES AND THE CONTENDERS.....