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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...