ascot aug08

Wednesday, December 31, 2008



Thoroughblog's write up on the goofy Eclipse Award results for photography made it to the site today...

and GREEN BUT GAME and THOORUGHBREDBLOG from the TBA are also on there with comments.

Vanessa Ng captured the crack sprinter FABULOUS STRIKE winning last week's GRAVESEND STAKES, the last graded stake in New York for 2008.



By Nick Sortal

HALLANDALE BEACH - The biggest gamble at Gulfstream Racing and Casino doesn't involve horse racing, slots or even poker. And the results of the wager won't be known for another year.

It's the $1.2 billion The Village at Gulfstream Park, the racino's attempt to create a mega-entertainment complex.

The Village's first phase, including 70 shops, was supposed to open two months ago, well before this Saturday's start of the horse racing season at Gulfstream — the racino's busiest time. But construction and other delays have pushed the opening back a year.

"Are we disappointed? Absolutely," Gulfstream President Bill Murphy said at a media gathering Tuesday. "But we do see a light at the end of the tunnel."

Gulfstream's parent company, Magna Entertainment Corp., began plans for The Village shortly before Broward voters approved slots in 2005. It first set a completion date of 2007, then 2008.

The dust, noise and loud machines will finally relent by late February, Murphy said. The Village's exterior will be complete and the stores can quietly finish their interiors, making for a more pleasant horse track with less grit in the air.

The Village will include a hotel, movie theater and "high-end" shops and restaurants, Gulfstream's Mike Mullaney said. Specifics won't be revealed for at least another month.

"Let's just say there won't be a McDonald's," Mullaney said.

Rose Currier, who takes a weekly bus trip from Century Village in Pembroke Pines to play the slots, said she's eager for the shops to open.

"It could compete with what the Hard Rock has," Currier said. "People come to gamble, but they need something else, too."

Up to now, though, the racino has brought in less money than anticipated, like its two Broward County competitors also under state regulation.

Murphy cites the state's "impossible" 50-percent tax on slot revenues, which the Seminole Tribe doesn't have to pay on its Hard Rock and other casinos. "Actually, when you include everything, it comes out to more like 70 percent," said Murphy. He added municipal and county taxes, a $3.5 million gaming license and money paid out to support horsemen.

Murphy said horse racing remains the core product at Gulfstream. Four of the past six Kentucky Derby winners had raced at Gulfstream, including Big Brown, which dominated the Derby and the Preakness before failingtoclinch the Triple Crown last year.

Read the rest....,0,3445948.story


SPIRITWOOD (El Corredo-Waskesiu, by Rahy) won a 2 1/16 mile starter allowance at Mountaineer Park last night for Doncaster Farm and trainer Paula Loescher.
The 5yo gelding, bred in Ontario by Winsong Farms won by 2 1/4 lengths in 3:43.32.

At PENN NATIONAL, Woodbine runner WHISPER LOUDLY was 50 cents on the dolar but was unplaced in a claiming event for Ralph Biamonte.

**Speaking of PENN NATIONAL, this is a goofy track - 3 horses were eased on one race and in the 6th race, the winner was 122 to 1 shot Ms Jetsetter - she paid $247.20 to win.

Discreet Hero entered for $5,000 claiming

Stakes winner DISCREET HERO has not raced since 2005 (that's 3 years!) and the 10-year-old has won $681,000 in his career.
Suddenly the gelding by Honour and Glory was entered at Fair Grounds for $5,000 claiming recently but was scratched.
He has been working at Fair Grounds as recently as Dec. 18 for TERRI AND BERNARD FLINT. He was 8 to 1 in the morning line on Dec. 27 in the 12 post but was scratched.

Is this is joke?


Thanks to the litany of comments from readers in 2008 - recently there have been enquiries about the movie JOHN HENRY, that I mentioned yesterday...
you can find out more about the movie at this web site


from Standardbred Canada

The draws for Friday and Saturday's programs at Woodbine Racetrack are complete and entries are available for viewing online.

A total of 116 horses were entered for Friday, January 2 with 103 horses drawing in.

The first leg of the Snowshoe Series will headline the 11-race card with three $20,000 divisions for three and four-year-olds.

119 horses were entered to race on Saturday, January 3 with 98 horses drawing in.

Saturday's card also features 11 races including the first leg of the Glorys Comet Trotting Series consisting of two $50,000 splits for aged trotters.

ORC Grants Fort Erie License Continuation

Fort Erie will have its racetrack license continued for a period of 30 days according to a Notice to the Industry released earlier this evening by the Ontario Racing Commission.

Issued to Nordic Gaming Corporation, the current license would have expired on January 1, 2009. Recently Nordic applied to the ORC for an extension or continuation of the license.

Here are the terms of continuation:

* the existing 2008 license to Nordic Gaming Corporation shall expire on January 30, 2009.
* the terms and conditions associated with the existing 2008 license to Nordic Gaming Corporation shall continue to apply.
* all simulcasting, including intertrack, teletheatre and telephone account betting shall be continued until January 30, 2009.
* updates shall be provided to the Director of the ORC to include information regarding the ongoing discussions with stakeholders, potential investors, regulators/governments.


Horseman's firm loses billions in scam
Owner of Stonebridge Farm's firm out $7.5B in Madoff investments

By DENNIS YUSKO, Staff writer
First published in print: Wednesday, December 31, 2008

SARATOGA — A hedge fund investor who poured millions into Saratoga's equine economy has abruptly stopped all new construction on his huge horse farm and wants to sell his thoroughbreds after losing some $7.5 billion in the Bernard Madoff scandal.

The Desmond
Jeffrey Tucker, the founding partner of Fairfield Greenwich Group, bought Stonebridge Farm in Schuylerville in 2004, and has since built New York's first track with a synthetic racing surface and indoor arena on the 188-acre farm. Tucker, 62, owns and cares for about 50 thoroughbreds on the site, considered one of horse racing's premier training facilities, and recently purchased a 230-acre satellite farm in Gansevoort.

But two weeks ago, his Connecticut-based investment firm said it had lost $7.5 billion — apparently more than anyone — in the Madoff scandal, which is being called the biggest Wall Street scam ever perpetrated.

Authorities allege Madoff, a former Nasdaq stock market chairman, created a classic Ponzi scheme with investors' money in which he defrauded clients out of potentially $50 billion. About a dozen international customers of Fairfield Greenwich are preparing legal action against the company and its founders — Tucker, Walter Noel and Andres Piedrahita — claiming they failed to watch after their investments after "feeding" them to Madoff.

The losses have caused all construction on Tucker's vast farm to grind to a halt, and the properties' manager says Tucker will soon sell his horses. "It's going to be tough financial times," manager Dennis Brida said in an interview this week.

He said that rumors about the farm closing and laying off its 50 employees are false. But Tucker plans to carefully evaluate the farm and make necessary changes, Brida said, including unloading his 20 to 25 horses, some of which ran at Saratoga Race Course, in the coming months.

Tucker, a Manhattan resident, has worked in the finance industry for most of his life. He likes to spend weekends in a home he built on Stonebridge Farm because he loves horses, those who know him say.

read the rest...


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Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Sunshine on my shoulders...JIMMYMAC BEAR, a promising 2yo (soon to be 3) trains at Palm Meadows last week for trainer Reade Baker, photo by Janis Maine.

but ship-in horses allowed to race starting tomorrow

The equine herpes outbreak at Fair Grounds is reportedly contained but not until a race was decimated to must 2 horses yesterday....

Ban lifted on horses shipping in to Fair Grounds

by Bob Fortus, The Times-Picayune Monday December 29, 2008, 8:31 PM

Despite five more Fair Grounds horses testing positive for equine herpes, ship-in horses will be allowed to race at the track when racing resumes Wednesday.

"Positives are limited to the barn that's under the quarantine, and there's no indication that there's any infection in the rest of the population,''said Dr. Tom David, Louisiana State Racing Commission equine medical director.

Results from the first round of testing on about 40 horses trained by Dallas Stewart and 26 trained by Neil Howard were obtained Monday by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Stewart confirmed that the positives came from Jean Lafitte, Seaside Home, Pearl of Valor, Clear Sailing and Wizardofdoneraile - 2-year-olds in his barn.

Howard's horses tested clean.
"I'm sorry about all the trouble that's happening, and we're doing our best to get to the bottom of it,'' Stewart said.

"I feel bad because it's hurt racing. ... For the inconvenience it's caused, I apologize.''
Officials of the LDAF and racing officials, including representatives from the Louisiana State Racing Commission, the Fair Grounds, Delta Downs, the Evangeline Training Center and the Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, met Monday in Baton Rouge on how to deal with the situation.

Afterward, the commission decided that it is safe to allow ship-ins to the Fair Grounds, subject to LDAF criteria, and to lift a lockdown on horses based at the Fair Grounds, said commission executive director Charles Gardiner.

Horses were allowed Saturday to ship to the receiving barn and race at the Fair Grounds. Those horses had to leave the track after racing. But restrictions were tightened Sunday, when no horses were allowed to ship to the Fair Grounds to race.

here were 44 scratches Sunday, most of them of horses scheduled to ship to the track to race.

Because the test results on the horses in question weren't known Sunday, the tighter restrictions continued in effect Monday.

There were 37 scratches on the Monday card, again mostly of horses scheduled to ship to the track.

Twelve horses were scratched from the second race, creating a two-horse race.

Under the LDAF criteria, handlers of horses shipping to the Fair Grounds must bring proof that the horses had a certified veterinary inspection within the previous 48 hours and a recent herpes vaccination, Gardiner said.

Also, the horses must show a normal temperature reading upon arrival, he said.
Stewart's and Howard's barns, which are connected, have been quarantined since Friday in response to a positive test for equine herpes on the filly Diamond Song, who is trained by Stewart.

She was sent to a Kentucky equine hospital last week after losing equilibrium after a workout.


WARRIOR BELLE (War Deputy-Bebopper, Prosperous) won an allowance/optional claiming race at Charles Town Sunday for the Webb Stable.
The Ontario bred won the 4 1/2 furlong race in 51.82 and was offered for the $25,000 claiming price. Brian Wallace is the breeder.

BELLE OF ASCOT (Ascot Knight-Marina Bella, Bold Executive) won for $5,000 claiming at Moutaineer yesterday for David Hix. The Jennifer Leuty-bred 5yo mare won by 3 1/2 lengths.

And in PERU

(from Thoroughbred Daily News)
Apple Ollie, c, 3, Swain (Ire)--Soundtrack (SW, $351,668), by Lear Fan. Hipodromo de Monterrico, 12-28, Cond, 9fT, 1:53. Lifetime Record: 9-5-1-1,
S4,000. O-Stud Discusion; B-Dr John Storer & Mr & Mrs Hugh Lowenstein (ON); T-Juan Manuel Umbert. *$8,500 yrl >06 KEESEP; $5,200 2yo =07 FTKFEB.


Champion olde rmare in Canada BEAR NOW had a workout at Fair Grounds yesterday - 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 - and appears to be readying for continuing her racing season following her unplaced outing in the Breeders' Cup.
The Tiznow mare was sold by Bear Stables for $950,000 at the Keeneland November sale to Town & Country Stable.

are all these awards getting stagnant?

The winning photo has been announced and soon, voters will get their packages to vote for the Eclipse Awards for 2008.

Horse of the Year figures to come down to CURLIN and ZENYATTA.

The loss of racing coverage in newspapers etc. has seemed to have an affect on the stuff winning horse racing awards these days.

The photo category for the SOVEREIGN AWARDS featured a tiny group of entered photos and the winning one was of Charles Fipke kissing his horse.

Now, the ECLIPSE AWARD winning photo (large pic by Matt Goins at right) is virtually the same photo that won in 1999 (below) - Frankie Dettori leaping off a grey horse.

Upcoming movie on the great JOHN HENRY...


  • At 4:48 PM, Anonymous dana said…

    Hey Jen,

    That John Henry documentary looks great! Do you know the filmmakers? Any idea when it's screening? I couldn't really find any info online.



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Sunday, December 28, 2008



But Indyanne breaks down, may be saved

Indian Blessing wins at Santa Anita
The Associated Press

ARCADIA, Calif.: Indian Blessing beat Ginger Pop by 1 1/2 lengths to take the $250,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Santa Anita.

Bsharpsonata was a nose back in the field of seven.

Under John Velazquez, Indian Blessing recorded her sixth victory of 2008 in 1:20.59. The winning purse of $150,000 increased her career earnings to $2,437,200. She paid $3.20, $2.60 and $2.10 and has posted a 6-3-0 record in nine starts this year for earnings of $1,080,000.

The 36th running of the La Brea was marred by an injury to front-running Indyanne, who took a bad step and was pulled up nearing mid-stretch. Jockey Russell Baze was not injured. Track veterinarian Dr. Jill Bailey said there was a possibility the gray filly might be saved.

A race prior, Garrett Gomez, the nation's leading rider for a third straight year, was injured when his mount, Back At You, ducked into the rail during the stretch run of the $78,070 Eddie Logan Stakes for 2-year-olds. The jockey appeared to tumble headfirst onto the turf and might have been struck by his mount as the horse attempted to rise. Back At You eventually got to his feet and was not seriously injured.

Gomez was transported by ambulance to Arcadia Methodist Hospital. According to his agent, Ron Anderson, Gomez had several teeth knocked out, sustained a gash on his left knee and a swollen left hand. It remained unclear if he would be able to ride again before year's end.

Following the incident in the Eddie Logan, Flashmans Papers went on to win by a half length over 17-10 favorite Kelly Leak in the one-mile turf event with Congor Bay a neck back in third. The winning time was 1:36.61

He paid $14.20 to win and earned $45,870 to increase his career bankroll to $150,180 from a 3-0-2 record in eleven starts.


EXCERPT...Fabulous Strike wins Gravesend at Aqueduct

Associated Press - December 27, 2008 8:55 PM ET

NEW YORK (AP) - Fabulous Strike - 1 of the leading sprinters in the nation - has rolled to a 1 3/4-length win over True Quality in the $103,100 Gravesend Handicap at Aqueduct.

The 1-2 favorite made the task easier by scaring away half the competition. Eight horses were entered for Saturday's six-furlong race, but only four showed up.

True Quality took charge early, and Ramon Dominguez let Fabulous Strike settle in second. Then Fabulous Strike simply overpowered the pacesetter in the deep stretch. The time was 1:09.74 over a track rated good at the foggy Big A.

Fabulous Strike is a 5-year-old gelding trained by Todd Beattie. The horse earned $64,860 for owner Walter Downey. He got his 12th victory in 19 career starts, paying $3.10 and $2.30.

read the rest..



To Woodbine Standardbred Horsepeople,

On December 24, Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) provided its position to standardbred horsepeople regarding the outstanding issues related to the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) contract that expires on December 31, 2008. This included the fact that WEG is not proposing any changes to the sharing of wagering revenue from the previous contract.

However, horsepeople have since told us they have some concerns relating to revenue sharing from winter thoroughbred simulcast races. To clarify some misinformation, WEG commits to making no changes to the current winter simulcasting revenue sharing arrangement between breeds during the term of the proposed agreement.

WEG intends to offer live racing despite the call by OHHA to boycott the entry box.


Woodbine Entertainment Group


The Ontario Harness Horse Association has sent out a notice of meeting for its district 6 members.

The meeting, which has been scheduled to discuss the WEG/OHHA contract for 2009 and beyond, is scheduled for Tuesday, December 30, 2008 at 7 p.m.

The meeting will take place at The Best Western Milton Inn at 161 Chisholm Drive in Milton, Ontario.

OHHA encourages its members to attend as a vote is expected to be taken.

Members are reminded to bring their membership card as membership will be verified at the door.

(With files from OHHA)

Canadians elsewhere

QUEEN OF ALL CATS won the first race at foggy PENN NATIONAL yesterday, in deep slop and the races were cancelled one event later.
The Ontario bred by D'wildcat-Queen of Skye, Sky Classic is owned by Marko Mesic and was trained by Sam Webb. She won for $10,000 maiden claiming.

airing on ANIMAL PLANET in February

If you love jockeys, then you will get your fix from this documentary on jockeys in California, starting Feb. 6 on Animal Planet.

The lives of a select group old riders, old timers and a couple of younger ones, are featured. Fast horses, big money and getting paid when you lose - it can be a great life!

(Curiously, the race-call heard of the first stakes race shown with Joe Talamo and Aaron Gryder is done by calling the jockeys names more than the horses...)


American jockey Sam Thompson Jr., 36

from Associated Press and

N.C. jockey dies after accident on Calif. track

Smithfield, N.C. — A jockey who grew up in Johnston County died Christmas Day, five days after a quarter horse threw him following a race at California's Los Alamitos Race Course.

Sam Thompson Jr., 36, had been on life support at Los Alamitos Medical Center in Orange County since the Dec. 20 accident. Thompson's family decided to take him off life support after he began to fail, and he passed away around 3:30 a.m. Thursday, Lin Strickland, Thompson's brother-in-law, said.

Harems Dynasty, a 2-year-old filly starting in her first race, threw Thompson after finishing seventh.

Thompson grew up on a family farm off Stevens Chapel Road in Smithfield, Strickland said. He also attended Princeton High School.

Strickland said that Thompson's family encouraged him to retire last year, but he refused, saying that if he died on the track, he would die happy.

A broken foot forced Thompson to sit out most of the 2008 season, but he had won 12 races at Los Alamitos by Dec. 15, according to a release from the race course. Through his career, he won 600 quarter-horse races, including 55 stakes races at Los Alamitos.

Thompson was a leader in the jockey's room at Los Alamitos, as a Jockey's Guild senator and room representative, according to race course officials. He helped management in upgrading the jockeys' room and served in the Race Track Chaplaincy of America.


  • At 11:40 PM, Blogger Terence said…

    Photos from the Gravesend Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct on Saturday:

    Happy New Year, Jennifer!

    Terence and Cindy


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Saturday, December 27, 2008


Thanks to all the nice notes and comments sent to THOROUGHBLOG over the holidays...
keep the comments and ideas and news coming!


Thoroughblog leaves the harness racing coverage to other blog sites but a significant development is brewing between WOODBINE ENTERTAINMENT and the Ontario Harness Horse Association.

Just before Christmas Day the OHHA issued a release saying it will encourage folks to not enter horses!

(The OHHA also publishes its news and is in contract with DOWN THE STRETCH NEWSPAPER, which is offered at Woodbine and its teletheatrre network - you can read one its latest issues for the PHHA's postion against Woodbine)


OHHA: Horsemen To Withhold Entries At Woodbine In New Year

According to a release from the Ontario Harness Horse Association, at an OHHA member meeting Tuesday, December 23, members voted to not enter horses to race at Woodbine Racetrack starting with the January 1, 2009 race card, and continuing until a contract acceptable to them is signed with OHHA.

Without the agreement of horsemen who provide live racing at the tracks the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency can not issue a betting permit allowing betting on horse races.

The OHHA release also states that the racing contract governing standardbred racing at Woodbine Entertainment Group’s two racetracks (Woodbine and Mohawk Racetrack) expires on December 31, 2008. In the aforementioned OHHA meeting, members met to review and discuss the progress in the negotiations for the new racing contract for Woodbine and Mohawk.

The release states that a large crowd of prominent owners, trainers and drivers attended the meeting and that discussions focused on two main issues.

The release outlines that the first issue was Woodbine Entertainment Group’s (WEG) demand that standardbred horsemen allow thoroughbred horsemen to determine the amount of revenue from the winter thoroughbred simulcasts that flows to purses. Currently, that amount is defined by the standardbred racing contract with OHHA and represents more that five per cent of total standardbred purses at the two tracks. OHHA members voted to reject that demand.

The OHHA statement says that second issue involves WEG’s demand that OHHA give up its right to represent or intervene with the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) or Ontario’s courts when a racing participant, duly licensed by the ORC, has been banned from racing at the two tracks by WEG management. Members voted to reject that demand. OHHA has steadfastly held and intervened to ensure that participants are dealt with fairly through the Ontario Racing Commission, the provincial government body charged with regulating horse racing. Discussions also dealt with the number of live race days at the two WEG tracks and a great deal of frustration was expressed with the recent reductions in live days in 2008 and 2009 at Woodbine.

OHHA has called a meeting for 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 30, 2008, at the Milton Best Western for horsemen to be updated on the situation. Information on the negotiations can be found at on the OHHA website.

(With files from OHHA)

from Standardbred Canada

Jamie Martin, Woodbine Entertainment Group’s Vice President of Racing, spoke to Trot Insider this afternoon about the prospects of racing in the new year at Woodbine.

“The condition sheet is out,” said Martin. “The box closes on Monday and we expect to be racing on January 1.”

Martin said that dialogue has been continuous between WEG and OHHA for a long time, and he expects talks to continue in the days to come. Woodbine is expected to release a notice to horsemen this afternoon.

While the lack of a contract may jeopardize standardbred simulcasting through Woodbine’s network, the existence of an ongoing contract with the HBPA, the thoroughbred horsemen, allows Woodbine to continue with thoroughbred simulcasting regardless of the outcome of talks.


People writing in to Standardbred Canada - who are allowed to do so anonymously, are quite vocal about this issue - read their comments here...


Bob Black Jack opens meet in style

By Art Wilson, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/27/2008 04:51:30 AM PST

There's something about the day after Christmas that brings out the best in Bob Black Jack, a 3-year-old colt by Stormy Jack who went gate to wire to win Friday's $250,000 Malibu Stakes during opening day of Santa Anita's 72nd winter-spring meet.

A crowd of 33,112 - the largest first-day turnout since 2005 and the second-largest in the past nine years - watched as Bob Black Jack carved out early fractions of :22.45, :44.95 and 1:08.30 on his way to a 2-1/4-length victory under jockey David Flores in the Grade I event over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride artificial surface.

Bob Black Jack, one of only seven horses in trainer James Kasparoff's barn, won the California Breeders' Champion Stakes for Cal-breds on last year's opening-day card en route to a campaign that also saw him win the Sunshine Millions Dash in January and finish a close second to Colonel John in the Santa Anita Derby about 10 weeks later.

Colonel John, making his first start since a sixth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 25 at Santa Anita, was no match for Bob Black Jack on a day the winner went postward as the 5-1 fourth betting choice and ran the 7 furlongs in 1:20.20 - the second-fastest Malibu ever behind only Spectacular Bid's 1:20 in 1980.

"Looking at the fractions, they didn't put fractions up until after the race, but :22 2/5, :45 flat ... it's probably going to be fairly hard to beat him with that," said the 34-year-old Kasparoff, who scored the first graded
stakes victory of his career. "We obviously know he's a pretty quick horse, and this track seems like it's playing kind of quick, so all those things seemed to help us."

Bob Black Jack, who finished 16th in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby in May after leading for the first quarter-mile, returned to racing Nov. 22 after a six-month layoff and finished fifth at Hollywood Park, beaten only 1-1/2 lengths, in the Vernon Underwood Handicap.

With that race under his belt, Bob Black Jack scored his fourth victory in 10 lifetime starts, holding off a late charge by 2-1 favorite Into Mischief, who was making the final start of his career for owner Wayne Hughes before a stud career at Hughes' Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky.

read the rest...


MALCOLM PIERCE sent out PIN OAK STUD'S GET RICH QUICK to win an allowance/optional claimer at FAIR GROUNDS yesterday.
Fair Grounds, incidentally, has a quarantine on two barns because of EQUINE HERPES.

WHISKEY SWISH, an Ontario bred by Whiskey Wisdom - Melodie Perdue by Timless Moment, won a $4,000 claiming race at Penn National yesterday for owner MICHAEL GILL (recently mentioned in this space because of the deat of MIGHTY BEAU, do a search on this site for more info).


A video about ex-racehorses LINDROS and IMPROPRIETY helping special needs people at WINDREACH FARM.

(Those two are also featured in the upcoming book SECOND CHANCE HORSES published by Eclipse Press, out in early April!)

The video, done for LongRun, was produced by JORDAN LAY.

A remarkable tale...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008



It is the time of season for hope and good wishes for health and happiness and soon it will be 2009.

A new year means new dreams for horsefolks, handicappers, bettors and fans alike.

Everyone has their own wish list for horse racing for the new year.

HERE'S WISHING that horse owners and trainers take care of their horses during and after their racing careers.
Too many are still ending up tossed aside to end up at the London, Ontario OLEX or Barkey's in Cookstown, Ontario - ultimately on trips to the slaughterhouses.

And hey, why are there slaughterhouses still open in Canada anyway?

HERE'S WISHING that Ontario HORSE RACING continues to progress - betting was down a bit in 2008 -hey, who has money? - but the racing was overall quite good and how about all the new faces Woodbine saw as far as owners and trainers and shippers are concerned?

HERE'S WISHING that a smart solution to the FORT ERIE disaster is found. Does that mean shut it down or get the province and the government involved? Tough call.

HERE'S WISHING that tracks can find a way to lure people to the races - education on how to handicap a race has to be a top consideration - the amount of stats and info in the DAILY RACING FORM is mind boggling - new fans will need help.

HERE'S WISHING that all groups of horse racing - backstretch workers, veterinarians, blacksmiths, front side workers sitting at desks, and those in-between, work together to promote the sport.
Too many folks that make money in horse racing care too little about the future of the game.

HERE'S WISHING everyone has super holiday season, your horses are happy and well and so are you and yours.



My latest POLL (at right) said there are lot of owners, trainers and bettors and fans on board the 'BLOG.
If you want to join the team, send me an email with your ad, the prices are very reasonable.


As reported in THOROUGHBLOG this week, the HPI TV channel is without pre-game shows or hosts now.

In response to the letters I have received it appears as if GULFSTREAM PARK is not on the schedule for next year's simulcast, according to the lists on the Woodbine - HPI website.

This is not likely the case so Thoroughblog will attempt to get an update.


SNOW DELICIOUS (Maria's Mon-Falling Snow, by Deputy Minister) won for $17,500 claiming at Fair Grounds yesterday for Cardial Racing and trainer Tom Amoss. The filly was bred by Sean Fitzhenry in Ontario and she raced at Woodbine this summer and fall. She was claimed from the race by Joe Rink and Ed Johnston.


Ouch, FATAL BULLET would have liked nice and cozy in Friday's Malibu - instead the gelding is on the swidelines for 3 months.

Malibu S. (G1)

7 Furlongs (All Weather Track) | Open | 3 Year Olds Stakes | Purse: $250,000

Post # Horse Jockey Weight Claim Price Equip. Med.

1 Into Mischief Espinoza V 119 L
2 Colonel John Gomez G K 123 L
3 Bob Black Jack Flores D R 119 L
4 Golden Spikes Rosario J 123
5 Nownownow Talamo J 115 L
6 Guns On the Table Bejarano R 117 L
7 Georgie Boy Prado E S 119 L

FABULOUS STRIKE is another superstar in action this weekend:

Saturday, Aqueduct
GRAVESEND H.-GIII, $100,000, 3yo/up, 6f

1 Night Stand Diamond Alvarado Jr 114
2 Fabulous Strike Smart Strike Dominguez 126
3 Songster Songandaprayer Maragh 117
4 Lucky Island (Arg) Lucky Roberto Garcia 121
5 Good Card Good and Tough Castellano 114
6 Grand Champion Two Punch Migliore 117
7 True Quality Elusive Quality Lopez 115
8 Cavallo Pazzo Mt. Livermore Hill 115


Handicapper complains about Woodbine contest being called off by glitch
Dec 23, 2008 04:30 AM


David Fasulo says he was waiting for confirmation last week that he had won $6,000 in an online fantasy horse handicapping game.

Instead, he was told that all he was getting was a $10 credit. The Brampton resident says he isn't buying Woodbine Entertainment Group's explanation that a software glitch prompted the online game, in which contestants made fantasy bets on 12 harness races held on Dec. 13, to be shut down.

"If you can't trust (Woodbine), who can you trust?" Fasulo wrote in an email to the Star.

Woodbine says it's not a matter of trust but an unfortunate series of events caused by the malfunction of software provided by Toronto's Fantasy Sports Services, Inc.

Corporate affairs vice-president Jane Holmes said Fantasy Sports, which is owned by the Toronto Star, notified the track that it was having problems with the software early in the race card and that incorrect results were being posted.

"As soon as it was determined that the problems could not be corrected, the contest was cancelled," she said. "The unofficial results that had been showing were not accurate."

Woodbine says it stopped the game before the final race and notified the 575 entrants, all subscribers to HorsePlayer Interactive, that $10 would be credited to their accounts. Holmes said the game would be offered again once software issues had been corrected.



  • At 8:04 AM, Anonymous brandonboone said…

    Happy holidays, Jen, and keep up the good work.

    Brandon Boone
    Centennial Farms (Niagara) Inc.

  • At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Teresa said…

    And happy holidays to you, too, Jen--thanks for everything you do to keep me up to date on Canadian racing--

  • At 9:09 AM, Blogger suebroux said…

    I love your holiday wish list - hope they all come true! And thanks for 3 great years!

  • At 11:49 AM, Anonymous once-a-wando-stalker said…

    Happy Christmas, Jen!
    And thanks also for some great seminars this year. Unfortunately, we couldn't make them all, but my favourite was with DaSilva. Looking forward to some news and updates this winter and hope that DRF keeps you busy with "closer looks"

  • At 3:40 AM, Blogger phil mcsween said…

    Jen...though they weren't tbreds or sdbreds.....great story out of B.C. on how two brave horses were saved...hope the link works...

    Cheers, Phil

  • At 9:14 AM, Blogger Alex said…

    hapy holidays Jennifer, and thanks for everything!

  • At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Jen,

    Happy Holidays!!!

    Any truth to the rumour that Ajax Downs will be offering live thoroughbred racing once construction of their new 5/8 th mile track and clubhouse is complete??

    With Fort Erie on the bubble it would be nice to know we have somewhere to race our bottom claimers and horses that don't like poly!! Especially close to Woodbine.

    I hope something can be done with the Fort, maybe with the Can $ back below 0.80c it may bring more US customers to the track. Good marketing stragedies and giveaways may help also....Maybe WEG could by it back and offer high and low claiming races at both tracks.
    We do need a safer polytrack (ask any vet) and a revamped functional Fort Erie!!!
    (tops on my xmas wishlist)

    steve roberts

  • At 6:53 PM, Blogger Claudine said…

    Hey Jenn,
    Thought everyone would like to watch the first episode of Jockeys -

  • At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Online Gambling said…

    Hope those horses had a good holiday as well.


Post a Comment

Monday, December 22, 2008



Year in Review for Jan-April see last week's posts)

MAY 2008

* BIG BROWN remains unbeaten and wins Kentucky Derby

*Horse racing thrown into turmoil when filly EIGHT BELLES breaks down after 2nd place finish in Derby

*EDENWOLD, Queen's Plate winner, retired and sold to stud in New Zealand

*NORTHERN NETTI, owned by Canadians Jim and Susan Hill, win a stake at Aqueduct with a 99 Beyer Figure.

*STORM CAT is pensioned from stud duty

*TUCCI STABLES win three races in one card with three different trainers and three different riders

*BIG BROWN romps in Preakness Stakes, KENTUCKY BEAR, Canadian owned and trained a troubled 6th

*LITTLE CLIFF, a stakes placed American colt, is found in a kill pen and sparks more attention to horse racing

*TORONTO STAR has a front page story on racehorses coming to Canada to be slaughtered

JUNE 2008

*BIG BROWN, going for the TRIPLE CROWN, is pulled up in a goofy end to the Crown

*NOT BOURBON wins the Queen's Plate - trainer ROGER ATTFIELD ties all-time record for Plate wins by trainer

*GINGER BREW romps in WOODBINE OAKS in scorching heat

*The WOODBINE PICK SEVEN carryover gets over $200,000 and it is won with a $102,000 payoff.

*Security guards for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming are on strike and cause bad delays for folks getting into Woodbine during Plate week

*MIZ YAH BEAUX, KING'S SILVER SON, BRODERICK among horses that passed away at Woodbine

*ARRAVALE is retired, Canada's Horse of the Year 2006


Beginning today, Horseplayer Interactive TV, the top racing channel in North America that is based at Woodbine racetrack, will no longer have any hosts on its 24-hour channel.

The STARTING GATE show, which often ran about one-hour at the outset of the day of racing and reviewed highlights, news and the day's tracks and picks, has been cancelled and there will no longer be commentary on the channel throughout the day and night.



Last Updated: Monday, December 22, 2008 5:07 AM

Rank Stallion, Sire Standing Farm State 2009 Stud Fee Rnrs Wnrs Rpt. Wnrs SWrs SWns
GSWrs G1SWrs Chief Earner, Earnings Earnings

1 Bold Executive, Bold Ruckus Gardiner Farms CAN $- 138 68 28 6 9 - - Legal Move ($368,215) $4,373,652

2 Gilded Time, Timeless Moment Bar None Ranches CAN $- 175 94 50 3 4 1 - Gayego ($727,420) $3,819,007

3 Trajectory, Gone West Gardiner Farms CAN $- 91 50 28 7 10 - - Dancer's Bajan ($262,344) $2,969,539

4 Cape Canaveral, Mr. Prospector Highfield Stock Farm CAN $- 124 65 30 3 4 - - Cape Time ($158,137) $2,190,356

5 Mazel Trick,Phone Trick Canmor Farms CAN Dead (2008) 110 54 28 1 2 - - Ride Em Cowgirl ($171,016) $1,754,346

6 Peaks and Valleys, Mt. Livermore Gardiner Farms CAN $- 96 45 26 1 2 - - High Expectations ($148,676) $1,578,382

7 Bold n' Flashy,Bold Ruckus Park Stud CAN $- 83 42 12 - - - - Bold Nurse ($90,766) $1,530,435

8 Crown Attorney,Silver Deputy Debany Farm CAN $- 25 13 9 1 2 1 1 Rahy's Attorney ($783,488) $1,499,666

9 Tejano Run, Tejano Ascot Stud CAN $- 68 38 23 2 2 1 - Million Dollar Run ($124,596) $1,497,624

10 Tethra, Cure the Blues Colebrook Farms Stallion Station CAN $- 78 39 17 1 1 - - Nicki Knew ($297,161) $1,495,428

11 One Way Love,Regal Classic T. C. Westmeath Stud Farm CAN $- 75 33 10 1 1 - - Dancing Doris ($131,874) $1,481,647

12 Kissin Kris, Kris S. Esquirol Farms CAN $- 76 34 13 2 3 2 1 Delightful Kiss ($327,186) $1,447,108

13 Skimming,Nureyev Pacific Stud CAN $- 99 47 24 4 4 2 - Johnny Eves ($160,400) $1,425,158

14 Perigee Moon, Hennessy CAN $- 65 36 11 - - - - Swinton ($114,702) $1,423,920

15 Vying Victor, Flying Paster Ternes Farm CAN Dead (2008) 114 58 23 4 4 1 - Disfunction ($240,050) $1,354,539

16 Not ImpossibleSadler's Wells CAN Dead (2005) 19 9 3 2 5 - - Not Bourbon ($874,501) $1,335,869

17 Whiskey Wisdom,Wild Again Thunderbird Horse Centre CAN $- 63 24 13 1 1 - - Drunken Love ($204,279) $1,283,873

18 Ascot Knight, Danzig Windfields Farm CAN Dead (2008) 55 28 13 - - - - Knight's Cause ($121,794) $1,244,706

19 Katahaula County Bold Ruckus Roads End Farm CAN $- 89 54 19 6 8 - - Ronaldino ($109,029) $1,147,352

20 Aljabr, Storm Cat Ascot Stud CAN $- 57 23 8 2 3 1 - Northern Kraze ($234,877) $1,089,875

(photo - CAPE CANVERAL is the leading sire in Canada by 2yo winners with 15. He is also a top 5 sire in the country overall)

by earnings

Sire Winners Earnings

*1 Tomahawk, 10 $584,390
2 Bold Executive, 8 $522,249
3 Trajectory, 5 $500,966
4 Cape Canaveral, 15 $465.254
*5 Where's the Ring, 5 $449,268
6 Vying Victor 11 $239,766
7 Skimming, 7 $236,016
*8 Dance to Destiny, 10 $227,561
9 Stephanotis, 14 $226,491
10 Perigee Moon, 12 $216,289



Sire sire's sire country top earner ($) TURF runrs wnrs SW Earnings

1 Crown Attorney, 1993 Silver Deputy CAN Rahy's Attorney ($772,555) 9 3 1 $928,110

2 Aljabr, 1996 Storm Cat CAN Northern Kraze ($214,405) 19 8 1 $681,600

3 Bold Executive, 1984 Bold Ruckus CAN Sand Cove ($134,183) 40 5 2 $457,301

4 Tejano Run, 1992 Tejano CAN Fleet Caroline ($109,604) 19 5 1 $326,744

5 Bold n' Flashy, 1989 Bold Ruckus CAN Galipette ($51,076) 21 8 - $267,708

6 Trajectory, 1997 Gone West CAN Tenjectory ($91,587) 91 3 1 $256,753

7 Peaks and Valleys, 1992 Mt. Livermore CAN Meribel ($75,672) 21 4 - $215,161

8 Wonneberg, 1996 Woodman CAN Koonunga Hill ($83,677) 5 3 1 $212,340

9 Not Impossible (IRE), 1997 Sadler's Wells CAN Society's Chairman ($150,511) 5 2 1 $208,179

10 Compadre, 1990 El Gran Senor CAN September Square ($46,935) 21 4 - $206,137



Fort Erie rally to keep horse racing Canadians trying to save 100 year old

* Melissa Holmes
* Posted by: Emily Lenihan

FORT ERIE, ONT. (WIVB) - North of the border Sunday night, Canadians are rallying to try and save a 100 year old institution.

Because their futures could depend on it.

The blowing snow and whipping winds didn't keep dozens of horsemen from rallying in an effort to keep horse racing alive in Fort Erie, an institution there for more than 100 years.

Last week, the Nordic Gaming Corporation gave layoff notices to nearly 200 racetrack workers. But all of these men and women here, the owners, the trainers, the walkers, their lives hang in the balance as well.

Doug Martin, Mayor of Fort Erie, said "They're the people who are impacted as well and they haven't got a voice. And they're here today to say this is us, we're all here as well. This is important to us. Without the track, we lose our jobs too."

Officials say there will be no racing next summer unless the Province of Ontario agrees to pitch in $3 million.


  • At 8:35 AM, Blogger sarah said…

    Any reason why the Starting Gate show was cancelled? I know it wasn't everyone's cup of tea but I
    enjoyed the commentary and tuned in regularly for the recaps. I'm sorry to see it go.

  • At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    No more You Make The Call? What am I going to do now for a chance to win $25?
    Actually I never play that game.

    I do think I have the solution for Fort Erie though.

  • At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Daryl G. Ezra said…

    simple solution ... "horsemen helping horsemen" where have I heard that before ? hmm
    ... hmm ... how about the HBPA of ONTARIO...stressing ONTARIO purchase Fort Erie say for 15 million ... [however they want to go about paying for it, cash, government loan, rebates, etc]
    this solves LIVE racing issues... horsemen come first ... they continue to work with the powers that be and POOF ... ONTARIO racing continues and the DEVISTATION to the industry in whole is SAVED ... Oh yes, with the right negotiations [with the government], no short term loss ... the long term benefit including the HBPA cut ... well PRICELESS.


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Sunday, December 21, 2008


(HO-HO-HO, from Argentina, Nico's photostream at captured this scene on the big day last week - the Group One Gran Premio Pellegrino)


Not only is TAMPA BAY DOWNS one of the most popular betting products for handicappers and fans out there but look at the moves they have made not only with its WEB SITE ( but with the STEWARDS REPORTS each day.

At Woodbine, finding rulings and explanations of things is virtually impossible. They are not on a website, they are not in the program.
And in these times of perception - the fans want to know that the sport is being strictly scrutinized.

Let's hope Ontario follows TAMPA BAY'S example very very closely when 2009 begins.



FAIR GROUNDS yesterday - Ontario bred EDAMAME was 4th beaten 14 lengths in the Letellier Stakes for 2yo fillies at 6 furlongs. The filly is owned by Windways Farm.

It was not a great day for trainer Malcom Pierce as THE GREAT CARUSO was last in the Bonapaw Stakes behind STORM TREASURE and SHES INDY MONEY was 4th in another minor stake.

MISS BLAKELY (Smart Strike - A Bit Special (GB) by Rahy, bred by Adena Springs in Ontario, won a $25,000 maiden claiming race at 1 1/8 miles on the turf at Calder racecourse in Friday.
The owner is Capital Hill Thoroughbreds and Joe Orseno trains.

Friday at FAIR GROUNDS, Sam-Son Farms' stakes winning FRENCH BERET was 2nd in an allowance race by just 3/4 of a length to Wise River. The 1 1/16 mile grass race was run in 1:44.31.



Baffert gets back on the Derby trail
Special, Wire Reports

Pioneerof the Nile had trainer Bob Baffert thinking Kentucky Derby after he scored a thrilling victory over I Want Revenge in Saturday's $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park.

Baffert, who has saddled three Derby winners, equaled the record of four Futurity victories set by D. Wayne Lukas as Pioneerof the Nile fought off gritty 6-1 shot I Want Revenge in deep stretch to win the Grade I event by a nose under jockey Garrett Gomez.
click here

The Futurity has been a launching pad for six Kentucky Derby winners since being inaugurated in 1981, which is no secret to Baffert. He sent out Real Quiet to win the 1997 Futurity en route to Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins in 1998.

Pioneerof the Nile covered 11⁄16 miles in 1:41.95 to earn his second win in five starts.

I Want Revenge finished 1½ lengths clear of Chocolate Candy in third, while Bittel Road was two lengths farther back in fourth.

Second-choice Azul Leon finished fifth in the field of 11 2-year-olds, followed by Axel Foley, Mark S the Cooler, Hype, Frumious, J P Jammer and Ventana.

The victory was special because Baffert had the best 2-year-old in the nation in Midshipman, who was sold prior to the Breeders' Cup and sent to Dubai by Darley Stable after winning the Juvenile. Now Baffert has another serious juvenile.

"He's totally different than all my other Futurity winners," said Baffert, who also won the race with Captain Steve in 1999 and Point Given in 2000. "Of all of them he probably reminds me a little bit of Real Quiet. He's a nice horse, he's improving and he's well-bred. The last couple times I worked him he seemed like a pretty serious horse, so I told my wife that this could be the horse to get us back to the Derby."


The STEVE ASMUSSEN trainees at FAIR GROUNDS are cleaning up - especially the ones that last raced at Woodbine.
One of them was the ultra impressive JIMMY SIMS, touted as a stakes colt by many when he wo his maiden at Woodbine...he won a stake yesterday...

this EXCERPT is also from KENTUCKY.COM

'Macho,' Turf War fall short

Jimmy Simms made a stretch rally for a 31/4-length win in the $60,000 Woodchopper States for 3-year-olds Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Jimmy Simms defeated a field that included graded stakes winners Macho Again and Turf War.

Jimmy Simms increased his career earnings to $103,085 with his third win in seven starts and covered about one mile in 1:39.21 over the firm grass footing.

Evade finished second and Acting Zippy was third.

Macho Again, the second-place finisher in the Preakness, finished a well-beaten sixth as the betting favorite in his turf debut.

"I thought he handled the turf," jockey Kent Desormeaux said. "I had to make him want to race. He just wanted to go out for a gallop. The next race, we need to man up."

Turf War, who won the $1 million Delta Jackpot last year before three disappointing starts in the Kentucky Derby prep season, finished seventh. The Woodchopper was Turf War's first race since finishing eighth in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs on April 26.


As reported by THOROUGHBLOG a week ago, FATAL BULLET, the Canadian Horse of the Year and KENTUCKY BEAR, Grade 1 placed, were injured at Santa Anita over the synthetic surface.

The DAILY RACING FORM now reports on the injuries citing Fatal Bullet having a jammed knee and Kentucky Bear having bowed a tendon.

Trainer Reade Baker has taken his last horse from Santa Anita to stay with him and his string at Palm Meadows.

A site for KENTUCKY BEAR (Mr. Greeley) to stand at stud in ONTARIO is being sought.




Jambalaya working toward return

By Mike Welsch

MIAMI - A three-furlong workout in 38 seconds rarely draws attention on any work tab. But it does if the name accompanying that work happens to be Jambalaya.

Jambalaya has not started since winning the 2007 Arlington Million more than 16 months ago. His three-furlong breeze at Gulfstream on Thursday was just his third since returning to training earlier this year and first since shipping to Florida from Woodbine less than a month ago.

Jambalaya, a 6-year-old son of Langfuhr, was discovered to have suffered a deep bone bruise shortly after his three-quarter-length victory over The Tin Man in the Arlington Million according to trainer Catherine Day Phillips.

"He had a little filling after the race. We did a bone scan and saw the area at the base of the cannon bone was damaged," explained Day Phillips. "It took quite some time to heal, almost six months, but it healed up quite nicely. Unfortunately, we suffered a second setback with him this spring when he pulled a gluteal muscle."

read the rest...


Retired trainer Maurice Zilber has passed away.
He trained greats like DAHLIA, one of the all-time great mares (who won at Woodbine in the Can. International).

The DAHLIA STAKES WILL be run today too!! (at Hollywood Park)


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Friday, December 19, 2008


'Tis the season - by Sarah K. Andrew at Rock and Racehorses (see link on my sidebar)


"Thoroughbred racing in Ontario is in peril" - Bob McCown, Fan 590

KIM CRAITOR, Niagara Falls MPP, was on the Fan 590 radio station recently on PRIME TIME SPORTS with Bob McCown and briefly discussed the plinght of Fort Erie racetrack and its folks.

Layoffs have been announced and surely, with the Christmas season coming, nothing will be determined about thetrack's fate for some time yet.

McCown wondered should taxpayer's have to deal with the crumbling of Nordic Gaming's track?

This is a good question.

A RALLY is apparently going to be held at the track at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning - Dec. 21.


SAM-SON FARMS is in action today at FAIR GROUNDS. Stakes winner FRENCH BERET, who adores the Fair Grounds turf, is in an optional claimer ($75K) and is 5 to 2 and favoured in the 1 1/16 mile race.

CATCH THE LUCK is also racing on the grass in an earlier allowance race and he is 6 to1.

Donver Stables' VICTORY ROMANCE is in the finale, an allowance race for fillies and mares. The Alberta-bred is 8 to 1 for trainer Josie Carroll.

TOMORROW - Ontario bred, stakes placed filly EDAMAME is in the Letellier Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds for Windways Farm and trainer Malcolm Pierce. She is 5 to 1.
Pierce has horses in a bunch of stakes tomorrow including THE GREAT CARUSO in the Bonapaw Stakes and SHES INDY MONEY in the Esplanade Stakes.

SMILING JORDAN, an Ontario bred 6yo by Accelerator-Live in Sin by Runaway Groom, won a starter allowance at Laurel yesterday by 7 lengths at 6 to 1. The dark bay gelding is currently owned by Joe MacKinnon. He won the 1 1/16 mile race in 1:46.59.


Who are you? I need to know more about the readers of this blog for future purposes - changes, etc.

Thank you!

LINDA SHANTZ - Dance Smartly panel part of Mural

Equine artist part of mural


By Stephanie Hounsell,
Canadian Champion Staff
Arts & Entertainment Dec 19, 2008

When Campbellville’s Linda Shantz was presented with the opportunity to participate in a large-scale project with a couple of hundred other equine artists, she jumped at the chance.

For several weeks, she worked on panel no. 207, painting a champion Milton racehorse in oils.

But the exciting part came when that 15-inch by 15-inch panel found its place among 237 other panels, each an individual portrait of a horse, many of them famous.

It was then that an overall image of a majestic palomino emerged — head held high, hoofs in motion, mane flowing — created by the shades and shapes of each smaller painting.

It’s called a mural mosaic, a concept Shantz said she found interesting from the beginning. Recently, the finished 6.9 by 5.7-metre project, entitled ‘Le Cadeau du Cheval (The Horse Gift)’ was unveiled in Calgary and is now making its way across North America at various venues.

Its next stop is Baltimore.

With 174 equine artists from around the world participating, “unity through diversity” is the motto of the mural mosaic concept.

That unity was a key factor in what made the endeavour enjoyable, Shantz said.
“Horses are our passion — to know we all share that, that’s the bottom line,” she said, explaining she “chatted” on-line regularly with fellow artists, each sharing how their paintings were coming along.

This is one of several mural mosaics that have been created.
So just how do they come together? According to the mural mosaic website, designer Lewis Lavoie creates the master image and designates a panel to each artist.
The artists are given guidelines in the way of which colours and shapes to use, and then each artist creates his or her own painting, following the contours of the master image.
There are no digital effects used to create the overall image.

The panel Shantz chose had a lot of purple in it, so she decided to paint a horse wearing the purple and gold victory blanket of the Queen’s Plate, Canada’s most prestigious horse race.

Milton’s own royally-bred filly, Dance Smartly, was an obvious choice as the subject. The horse was bred and raced by the local Sam-Son Farms and won numerous races and titles, including Canadian Horse of the Year.

Dance Smartly died in 2007.

Shantz wanted her work to not only honour the legendary horse, but also two special women from Sam-Son Farms.
Elizabeth Samuel — wife of the late Ernie Samuel, founder of Sam-Son — passed away this year, as did daughter Tammy Samuel-Balaz, president and general manager of the horse farm.

read the rest

for Christmas...


Trainer forges top US career

FORMER Wagga man Brian Lynch is home in Wagga, taking a well-earned break from his US racing empire.

Lynch is the ultimate success story, having forged a career training horses for the most successful owner and breeder in the US.

Having left Wagga to take up a bull riding career in the US as a 21-year-old, Lynch ended up switching to racehorse training, which he has done since in 1992.

Sixteen years later, Lynch is the private trainer for Adena Springs, a racing empire that has topped Darley and Godolphin as the biggest prizemoney earner in the US for the past seven years.
Back in Wagga for Christmas with his family, Lynch yesterday reflected on his amazing journey.

“It’s been a good ride,” Lynch said. “I grew up in Wagga around the track and me and my brother always had a passion for racehorses.

Read the rest of the story


  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger sarah said…

    I think Ontario desperately needs a second TB track other than Woodbine, and in that regard, all that can possibly be done to save the Fort should be done. If the Fort closes, it will impact everyone, from trainers to jockeys and Ontario breeders. Not to mention that Fort Erie should by all rights be a heritage site.

    That said, a tax payer "bail out" isn't going to solve Fort Erie's problems. Like the current auto bail out (which is just a bandaid solution IMO), if people aren't buying cars, no amount of tax payer money is really go to save the industry, unless the industry itself makes significant changes in the way it does business. So in that regard, if customers aren't coming to Fort Erie, no amount of tax money can truly help the track, other than maybe prevent it from closing for another season or two. Instead, Fort Erie must look at other ways to promote the sport of racing, generate revenue, and get people coming back out to the races and the slots. Otherwise, the track is doomed, in a region and economy that are already on the decline.

  • At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Steve said…

    Fort Erie is a beautiful track. It has the look of old, and the allure of tranquility. If it were to stay as is then too many things would have to change. Sadly, it is a business and not a stairway to the past. I don't have the know-how or the brainpower to offer any suggestions to keep it open. I would suggest that if it were to survive then profit has to be the goal. What would it take to be profitable? Any ideas?

  • At 2:39 PM, Blogger Linda Shantz said…

    Thanks so much for posting the article on the Mural Mosaic, Jen! It's a really cool project - I hope it makes it to our neck of the woods before too long.

  • At 7:40 PM, Anonymous bernard said…

    With regard to the possible closure of the Fort Erie track, it would appear that many race fans have the belief that tracks that cannot sustain a profit should not exist. The truth is that there is not a track in Canada that can make a profit on its own, Woodbine included. Therefore racing on its own, based on the profit factor, would no long exist anywhere in Ontario if the in-house casinos were closed.

    Prior to the introduction of slots at Woodbine, the thoroughbred racing scene was going the wrong way fast. It desperately needed monetary assistance. Thankfully the government of the day recognized the plight of Woodbine and of many other tracks. Thus the casino/track partnership was created. It has worked especially well at Woodbine where a complete revamping occured and purses increased dramatically. The Woodbine casino was the savior for Woodbine horsemen.

    The present Woodbine operation cannot be reasonably considered in the same light as the one in Fort Erie. It is equivalent to assessing and grading the attire of the prince and the pauper.

    On the one hand, the big city track has a massive population to draw from and the in-house casino is always busy, day and night. The lucrative casino profit provides a sizeable sum that goes to the track operation and to the purse structure. It is gratefully accepted by the track and horsemen. Without the casino the throughbred racing program at Woodbine would be a shell of what now exists. In fact, without the casino, it might not even exist. Just check back to the mid nineties to confirm what was happening to racing in Toronto. The Woodine plea for assistance from the government was loud and clear in those dark days.

    On the other hand, Fort Erie does not have the luxury of a a non-competitive casino environment, nor do they have anywhere near the population that surrounds Woodbine. Rather, Niagara Falls, Canada/USA combined, has three Las Vegas type casinos with poker, slots, roulette, craps and blackjack, all within a 20 minute drive of the Fort. Imagine, if you will, there being three such casinos between the Toronto city center and the Woodbine track and then imagine what would happen to the profits of the track's casino slots and to the Woobine purse structure. The downturn in revenue would be incalculable.

    The above scenario gives you a much better picture of what Fort Erie has had to deal with in recent years. In addition to the nearby casinos, Fort Erie has slot competition from Buffalo Raceway and the track's situation must be reassessed in the light of the increased casino competition, the change in border security since 9/11 and until recently the drop in the U.S. dollar.

    The percentage that Woodbine racing receives from their casino is massive in comparison to the piddling amount provided by the Fort Erie casino and thus the understandable difference in purses and race days. But that should not mean that the prince should live and the pauper should die.

    If a realistic racing program needs to be sustained by casino profits, both at Woodbine and other tracks, then the only difference is the need for a revenue scale that relates to the situation facing each track. It is not rocket science.

    The beautiful 111-year-old border oval should not be left to wither and die based on the fallacious argument of casino revenue. Blaming the current owner is not the answer either as it is estimated that he has sustained substantial losses in the millions of dollars over recent years.

    The bottom line is that many jobs will be lost, trainers, jockeys, farriers, tellers, farmers and the thoroughbred racing industry as a whole will suffer. Those losses will be further enhanced by the spin-off factor. The town of Fort Erie will be devastated.

    The provincial government needs to actively review and assess all avenues including the revenue scales and then act to support the horse racing industry and the Fort Erie track. There is still time to act.

    Bernard Williams


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Wednesday, December 17, 2008



Crystal says thanks to her buddy WHITE BALANCE after the 2yo ended his first season for 50-50 racing syndicate with some nice placings.
The Delaware Township baby is the first horse for 50-50 racing.

Don't forget - if you bet on these wonderful athletes, work at Woodbine with or without horses - say THANK YOU to our heroes and donate money or time to LONGRUN THOROUGHBRED RETIREMENT FOUNCATION.

(originally appeared on yesterday's post)

HORSE OF THE YEAR FATAL BULLET has popped a quarter crack and will be sent from California to Ocala for some r & r, according to trainer Reade Baker.
The 3yo gelding was getting ready for the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.
Baker said the gelding would start back up in the spring.

KENTUCKY BEAR, who was also training on the Santa Anita synthetic surface, has been retired and will stand in ONTARIO for 2009 at an undetermined farm.

The 3yo by Mr. Greeley - Tate, Afleet, considered by Baker to be on the best horses he has ever trained, was 3rd in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes in the spring and won $100,000 from five races


But don't expect anything to happen until later next month

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas is southern Ontario - well at least weather wise. The snow is heavy this morning.
But elsewhere, there is carnage in the local economy.
SUN MEDIA, including the Toronto Sun, will lay off 600 people. Heck, even the show CANADIAN IDOL has been cancelled for at least one year!

A meeting in Toronto yesterday included a Fort Erie racetrack discussion - and not a lot happened, here's an excerpt from the Niagara Falls Review.

Province dangles new options for track

A "couple new options" aimed at keeping live racing at the Fort Erie Race Track and protecting close to 200 jobs there were put on the table in a meeting with stakeholders Tuesday.

But, says Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor, the hour-and-a-half session in Toronto did not end in a deal between senior-level track officials and representatives of the Ontario government.

"They were good options," said Craitor, declining to elaborate.

"We're trying to figure out ... a permanent solution and answer the question of how do we come up with a strategy to revitalize the whole industry.


SWEET FINISH - at Beulah Park in Ohio yesterday, won for $4,000 claiming. She is a 5yo mare by Crown Attorney out of Sassy and Sweet by Great Gladiator bred by John Carey in Ontario.

SWEET AFTON (Bold Executive-Cuddly Chops by Caveat) won at Mountaineer Park on Monday for $5,000 claiming for Long Shot Racing. The 5yo mare was bred in Ontario by Gail Wood.

I'M INUIT (Pariasianprospector-Bold Vicky, Bold Executive) was placed 1st in a $5,000 claimer, non-winners of 2, at Mountaineer on Monday for owner/trainer Mike Newell. She was bred by Clarity Stables in Ontario.

Sovereign Awards night...Three-peat for MARK CASSE as trainer of the year in Canada (photo by Terence Dulay).

In other SOVEREIGN NEWS - it appears a push is being made by some industry members to move the voting and/or the awards night.
THOROUGHBLOG'S POLL at right sees most folks thinking we should move it all to the new year.



APRIL 2008

*Woodbine opens 167-day meeting

*Queen's Plate winner T.J.'S LUCKY MOON passes

*Horse of the Year's in Canada - SEALY HILL and ARRAVALE square off in stake at Keeneland but neither fare well

*KENTUCKY BEAR 3rd in GRADE 1 BLUE GRASS STAKES for Canadian owner Bear Stables.
*STEVE ASMUSSEN brings first string of horses to Woodbine

MARCH 2008

*ELIZABETH SAMUEL passes away on March 16, widow of Ernie Samuel and mother of Tammy Samuel Balaz who passed away in January.

*BEN TERNES, top breeder who brought Vying Victor to British Columbia, passes away.

*Canadian bred MAREN'S MEADOW wins the Bourbonette Stakes

* CURLIN wins the Dubai World Cup

*ROBERT KING JR, retires from riding to take over Canadian Jockeys Guild.

*WAR PASS, PYRO and BIG BROWN are hot on Kentucky Derby trail

*Queen's Plate winterbook comes out - COOL GATOR favoured, NOT BOURBON 15 TO 1

*THOROUGHBLOG posts for 600th time

*STUTZ BEARCAT, at age 33, passes away at Sam-Son Farms, popular Ontario stakes winner

*stakes winner JUST IN CASE JIMMY dies in a paddock accident in Ontario

mes British Columbia's Horse of the Year for 2007

* HEATSEEKER wins Santa Anita Handicap, DAAHER fizzles in Florida and is later retired


*Santa Anita continues to struggle with its cushion track

*Fans on DRF.COM and webites everywhere go beserk over the story of PLANTING TIME, who returned after a 6-year layoff at Los Alamitos at age 13 after having foals, and broke down in a $2K claiming race.

Owners: Felix Gonzalez (trainer), R. Salvatore and E. Garthwaite.

Here’s the chart…

*Woodbine community loses RICK CHRETIEN who passed away Feb. 7. A popular horseman who was a longtime employee on the starting gate, Chrietien is missed by all.

*ASCOT KNIGHT is euthanized due to old age. He was a top Canadian sire, brought to Ontario by Bob Anderson and Windfields Farm.

*Canadian bred HARLEM ROCKER wins his debut on Feb. 14 in exciting fashion for Stronach Stables and Adena Racing Venture I.

*SUGAR SWIRL, Canadian bred, won another graded stake at Gulfstream for Stronach Stables.

* A Canadian-bred filly by Medaglia D'Oro - Irish Cherry sells for $900,000 to Lael Stables at the Fasig Tipton 2yo sale in Florida.


Jan. 5, 2008 - TAMMY SAMUEL BALAZ passes away at just 47. The president of Sam-Son Farms and daughter of the late Ernie Samuel, loved her horses and the famil business.

SUGAR SWIRL, bred in Ontario by Adena Springs, won the FIRST LADY HANDICAP (GRADE 3) for AENDA SPRINGS and trainer BRIAN LYNCH.

FRENCH BERET wins the Col. Bradley (Grade 3) for SAM-SON FARMS.

NYUK NYUK NYUK (Mutakkdim-May Time) runs a 100 Beyer Figure at Gulfstream Park for Tucci Stables and trainer Tino Attard. Later in the month, he runs 103.

American 7yo COMMENTATOR runs a 119 Beyer Figuer at GUlfstream in an allowance score.

MARYFIELD , bred in Ontario by Mike Carroll, is named champion FEMALE SPRINTER at the ECLIPSE AWARDS.

EMMA-JAYNE WILSON, champion jockey at Woodbine is granted a license to ride in Hong Kong, the first Canadian jockey to be asked to ride there.

BUFFALO MAN, a Canadian-bred, wins the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes.


Once the 1st of the new year arrives, I will do final calculations for the FRESHMAN SIRE CONTEST on THOROUGHBLOG (you can view your stable on the right in a link).

CHAPEL ROYAL recently had a record 36th juvenile winner from his first crop.

Here are the leaders according to THOROUGHBRED TIMES.

Name YOB Sire Location Fee #2yos Strs Wnrs Rpt Wnrs SWs Gr SWs Top Earner Progeny Earnings

1 Tapit 2001 Pulpit Ky. $12,500 92 50 20 2 2 2 Stardom Bound $2,769,256

2 Lion Heart 2001 Tale of the Cat Ky. $20,000 200 83 32 6 4 2 Azul Leon $1,621,542

3 Medaglia d'Oro 1999 El Prado (IRE) Ky. $40,000 139 54 17 5 4 2 Retraceable $1,384,524

4 Candy Ride (ARG) 1999 Ride the Rails Ky. $12,500 112 41 18 9 3 2 Evita Argentina $1,218,141

5 Speightstown 1998 Gone West Ky. $40,000 96 40 14 5 2 1 Lord Shanakill $1,187,773

6 Chapel Royal 2001 Montbrook Fl. $10,000 152 81 36 2 0 0 Our Lady Chapel $1,093,268

7 Even the Score 1998 Unbridled's Song Ky. $7,500 74 32 13 6 2 1 Four Gifts $792,593

8 Birdstone 2001 Grindstone Ky. $10,000 62 27 11 4 3 2 Mine That Bird $780,949

9 Peace Rules 2000 Jules Fl. $12,500 96 45 23 8 1 0 Missunitednations $732,841

10 Congaree 1998 Arazi Ky. $15,000 89 43 17 1 3 1 Bear's Conductor $682,384

11 Friends Lake 2001 A.P. Indy Ky. $15,000 77 41 15 2 1 1 Screen Your Friend $594,649

12 Cuvee 2001 Carson City Ky. $10,000 108 51 18 6 1 0 Chocolate Pop $592,453

13 Stroll 2000 Pulpit Ity MF$8,759 33 13 9 5 3 1 Van Lear Rose $589,868

14 Tomahawk 2000 Seattle Slew On. $8,554 53 26 10 0 1 0 Win and Reign $584,390

15 Read the Footnotes 2001 Smoke Glacken N.Y. $8,500 47 21 11 2 1 0 Forty Thieves $542,576

16 Olmodavor 1999 A.P. Indy Fl. $5,000 64 31 11 3 2 0 High Mist $536,270

17 Soto 2000 Dehere Ky. $7,500 34 11 6 4 3 0 Glamorous Gal $530,926

18 Alke 2000 Grand Slam Fl. $4,000 56 32 17 4 0 0 Broadway Al $529,598

19 Smarty Jones 2001 Elusive Quality Ky. $100,000 80 27 8 1 1 0 Be Smart $522,966

20 The Cliff's Edge 2001 Gulch Ky. $10,000 67 34 11 1 0 0 Dave's Revenge $468,753


  • At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Daryl G. Ezra said…

    Why can"t those at the meetings [to continue racing at Fort Erie] elaborate on the these people [who have had months and years] think they are smarter then some of the horsemen. LOL


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