ascot aug08
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Friday, October 31, 2008



There is still enough racing going on (and big fields) that fans have opportunities to makes some bets and some Christmas cash.

The leading stables continue to roll but what are the outfits that you should watch as it comes time to lay-up horses?

DAN VELLA has been racing a litany of horses lately and all of them look 'live on paper.

Yesterday he won with the TORONTO STAR'S BEST BET, Prada Girl, an Ontario bred by Pleasant Tap who won a $20,000 claiming non-winners of 3 in her 2nd race since June.

Freshness counts!

ROBERT TILLER, really heating up right now with a bunch of wins.

Last night his new claim KY BLUZ GIRL, who has taken a new lease on life, won for $32K for her 3rd consecutive win and 4th this year in 9 races. The Hold for Gold mare is a 5yo owned by Frank DiGiulio.



MULLINS BEACH is another nice prospect for owner/breeder Eugene Melnyk in the 2yo ranks. Like Congor Bay, another 2yo, MULLINS BEACH is by 1st crop sire Speightstown, and she wo her 2nd race in her 4th start yesterday, coming out of the Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes (won by Van Lear Rose).
The filly is trained by Malcom Pierce and she just held off a rallying Dash It Darling on the rail.

The lovely 2yo filly won her 3rd race in 7 starts in a $25K claiming event for 2yo fillies.
It was also the first Woodbine win for apprentice rider Krista Carignan, who shipped in from Alberta for the fall.
Spunky, owned and bred by Roger Laurien, is trained by Greg de Gannes, and she is by Concerto.


Hall of Fame trainer ROGER ATTFIELD has joined the ranks of other trainers who have their own web sites.
Roger's site is at (see link at right on my sidebar.)

Thoroughblog has also added THE JOCKS ROOM on its links site, check out everything you need for your horse plus cool gifts and other neat stuff at


Racehorses are going on winter vacations, some will be retired permanently. Be good to your horses, find them homes.
At right...RARE FRIENDS, champion 2yo in Canada, is looking for a hom - how fancy is he in those English duds?

Below, FALLUJA (Highalnd Ruckus-Fabulous Bella) is kind and gentle and loving life after being a racehorse.

(photos from Colonial Equestrian Centre)


excerpt - THE PROVINCE, Vancouver B.C.

My Hearts Desire leaps on second chance
Patience pays off for breeder
Tom Wolski, The Province

If any athlete deserved the comeback-story-of-the-year award at Hastings Racecourse, it is My Hearts Desire, who at nine years old is doing what many considered impossible.

My Hearts Desire went from successful racehorse to become a pony horse at Hastings, then got a second chance at what he loved doing, becoming a race horse again.

How good was his comeback? Last weekend, My Hearts Desire won and pushed his earnings over $11,000. That victory left him just shy of $200,000 in lifetime earnings.

During his earlier racing career, he raced at some of the top racetracks on the East Coast. In 2001, he narrowly missed winning the $150,000 US Tampa Bay Inaugural Stakes in Florida.

Until this year, his breeder, former jockey April Friesan, has always owned My Hearts Desire.

"As a youngster, he was crooked legged in his front legs," said Friesan. "This meant you had to baby him along all through his career. And he didn't really blossom until he was four years old, and he just got better with age."

He later developed quarter cracks, the same injury that ended Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown's career.

"I shipped him back to B.C. and gave him a year off to recover. As he got better, I began to trail ride him in the mountains. Later I took him to the bush tracks in the Interior and started ponying my dad's horse with him. He loved it so much, being near the racehorses, I thought why not give him another chance," added Friesan.

Because of her love and patience, My Hearts Desire became an amazing racehorse.



Jockeys getting all whipped up

By Jennie Rees • jrees@courier-journal.comThe Courier-Journal • October 31, 2008

Churchill Downs' jockeys are required to use a version of the so-called safety whips during the second and third races each day. Judging by comments yesterday, riders are unenthusiastic about that.

The trial period is an extension of one started at Keeneland as the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission considers a new whip rule. The new ProCush whips are shorter and lighter than conventional whips and have a padded "popper" on the end, which also makes them louder, instead of the old leather feathers.

Some comments:

Kent Desormeaux: "I've ridden many horses that would never have been a race horse without a riding crop. Some of them need encouragement, and the ProCush ain't much encouragement. … I can use it on my hand, as hard as I want, and it doesn't get my attention, even."

Bill Troilo: "Hate 'em; it's like hitting a horse with a fly swatter. You hit a horse with it, and you don't get any reaction."

Jesus Castanon: "In the beginning we were having a hard time getting used to it. It was a different kind of popper. Now it feels a lot better than the ones they had at first."



Cloud of uncertainty not raining on longtime Race Track lovers
By Stephen Leithwood, Staff

With all the uncertainty surrounding the Fort Erie Race Track's future, the mood on the last day of its 111th racing season was upbeat, despite the track losing money annually and the final word on whether Nordic Gaming Corporation, the track's owners, will keep the border oval afloat.

"We're all optimistic that everything will work out," said Daryl Wells Jr., director of communications at Fort Erie. "In the jockey's room, the riders were ready to get going on the day's races and are looking forward to racing after the winter."

Nordic has submitted its plan for 78 races next year, but has reserved the right to pull the plug if it doesn't get a better deal from the province through slot revenue sharing.

"The atmosphere, every time you come here, there's a sense of history, excitement," said Wells Jr., the track's announcer for many years before giving that up three years ago to be the track's director of communications.

"It's Fort Erie and there's something about this place you just love. I love to chat with the racing fans every day, they're great people who've supported this track for years. They still keep coming, it's a thrill."

Frankie Daiutolo, a 73-year-old racing enthusiast from Buffalo, has been crossing the border to bet on races since the 1980s.

"Personally, I'm okay. I've made a lot of money off of racing, but that's not what it's all about," said Daiutolo. "I love coming to this building and sitting down with others I've known for a long, long time. I've been invited to birthdays and weddings just through the guys and gals I know at Fort Erie."

The track is not in unfamiliar territory said Nick Gonzalez, vice-president of the Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario.

"These people in Fort Erie are so resourceful, they fought through these tough times. I buy 20 babies (ponies) every year, I'm an optimistic kind of guy," Gonzalez said. "Because I'm looking to the future. I'm not going to give up on the hopes of Fort Erie."

Gonzalez has been calling and trading e-mails with provincial ministers on behalf of the HBPA.

"I've been working in and around the track since 1972. I feel like I'm indebted to help the people of Fort Erie."

He said that the fallout of the track disappearing would hurt the area agriculturally -- that farmers who grow the oats, hay and straw to run a horse track would be affected -- and that nearby restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores would feel the loss.

"The consequences of having only one thoroughbred race track in Ontario (the other is Woodbine), as opposed to two, is devastating," he said. "I've been in this business a long time. I've trained horses for multi-billionaires. When they have horses that aren't racing, they still have to turn them things into money. For all those reasons we need Fort Erie."

read the rest at


  • At 10:37 AM, Blogger L A Keays said…

    Thank you, Jen, for posting the photos of Rare Friends and Falluja. Those photos are the best advertising for horses having the opportunity at second careers as riding horses. Who wouldn't want such beautiful, athletic animals to ride! As one of my riding coaches always said..."You can't beat a thoroughbred's canter!" and from the look of Rare Friends overtrack and rhythm, you can't beat the trot either!


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