ascot aug08

Friday, January 30, 2009


What's this white stuff? MINSTREL SHOW (Tale of the Cat) is a proud momma - so is Annabel Begg, who holds the mare's colt by YES IT'S TRUE, foaled a week ago at Windways Farm in King, Ontario. Photo by Dave Landry.

78 Beyer Figure in 3yo debut

Queen's Plate contender ACTIVE DUTY had a useful 2009 opener at Santa Anita yesterday in a 1 1/16 mile allowance race - his first start since he won the Coronation Futurity last fall at Woodbine.
The Deputy Commander-Punchbowl gelding, owned by Woodford Racing and trained by Mark Casse, had a nice trip all the way around, stalking a pace duel from 4th most of the way while a couple of paths removed from the rail.
He had a bid off the turn as the leaders weakened and then finished evenly as two others on either side of him came from well back to pass him.
The bay, ridden by Patrick Husbands, stayed on evenly to hold third place and the time was 1:44.36.


Champion XTRA HEAT'S daughter ELUSIVE HEAT won an allowance race at Gulfstream yesterday, her 2nd win in 3 races.
What was so special about it?
How about a near track record time of 1:08.94?
Or the fact that she won by 13 plus lengths without being asked?
She will run next in the Cicada Stakes.


The Hutcheson is not the race that it was years ago when it was actually used as a stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby but it spices up racing today as it's an interesting field.

the field for the Hutcheson...

Friday, Gulfstream Park, post time: 4:43 p.m. EST
HUTCHESON S.-GII, $150,000, 3yo, 7f

1 Break Water Edison Eli Gindi Caldara Farm-KY Kimmel 3-1
(c, Lemon Drop Kid--August Storm, by Storm Creek) A Garcia

2 Bee Cee Cee J Robert Harris Jr Marion G Montanari-FL Plesa Jr 15-1
(c, Songandaprayer--Mighty Rose, by Mighty Appealing) Velasquez

3 Capt. Candyman Can Joseph Rauch & David Zell Lantern Hill Farm/Rauch/Zell-KY Wilkes 3-1
(g, Candy Ride (Arg)--Stormy Way, by Storm Creek) Leparoux

4 Hello Broadway Elizabeth J Valando Elizabeth Jones Valando-KY Tagg 5-2
(c, Broken Vow--Nightstorm, by Storm Cat) Prado

5 Salo Jak Mijak Racing Stable Inc Mark Casse-FL Gilberto 8-1
(c, Graeme Hall--Fafnir, by Inspired Prospect) Santiago

6 Rocketing Returns Live Oak Plantation Live Oak Stud-FL Zito 5-1
(c, Gone West--Spring Meadow, by Meadowlake) Coa

7 Z Day Zayat Stables LLC Dr David P Hall-KY A Dutrow 6-1
(c, Five Star Day--Maybe Lin, by Fly So Free) Velazquez



Canadians will be interested in tomorrow's blockbuster card at Gulfstream, not only because of all the stakes races but because there is some local interest.
BEAR STABLES, the Sovereign Award winning stable owned by Danny Dion, has BEAR'S ROCKET in the Holy Bull Stakes. The Lion Heart colt will be a longshot but jockey Kent Desormeaux apparently was quite keen on riding the horse.

Race 1 tomorrow features the 3yo debut of Canadian-bred WELL POSITIONED, an Awesome Again colt out of a Holy Bull mare, bred by Adena Springs and owned by Paul Pompa Jr. of Big Brown fame. Well Positoned is a leading QUEEN'S PLATE CONTENDER.
The colt would run next in the Florida Derby should he do well tomorrow.

$150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 4:12 p.m.), 3-year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey

1. Bruce N Autumn (KY), 114, Edgar S. Prado
2. Danger to Society (KY), 114, Robby Albarado
3. Bear's Rocket (KY), 114, Kent J. Desormeaux
4. Saratoga Sinner (KY), 114, Julien R. Leparoux
5. El Crespo (KY), 114, Javier Castellano
6. Rockland (KY), 114, Jose Lezcano
7. Stately Character (KY), 120, Herb McCauley
8. Idol Maker (KY), 114, John R. Velazquez
9. Nowhere to Hide (KY), 114, Alan Garcia
10. West Side Bernie (KY), 122, Elvis Trujillo
11. Beethoven (KY), 122, Calvin H. Borel

Saturday, Gulfstream Park DONN H.-GI, $500,000, 4yo/up, 1 1/8m
1 Finallymadeit Concerto Nunez 117
2 Albertus Maximus Albert the Great Garcia 120
3 Anak Nakal Victory Gallop Bravo 117
4 Bullsbay Tiznow Velazquez 114
5 A.P. Arrow A.P. Indy Desormeaux 115
6 On Board Again Awesome Again Coa 112
7 Arson Squad Brahms Prado 119
8 Sir Whimsey Jump Start Albarado 116
9 Great Hunter Aptitude Castellano 116
10 Einstein (Brz) Spend a Buck Leparaoux 122

(PHOTO ABOVE RIGHT, Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner ALBERTUS MAXIMUS, out to prove that score was not a fluke as he races in the DONN HANDICAP TOMORROW. Cindy Pierson Dulay photo)

from Gulfstream Park notes...

Beethoven & Danger to Society Top Holy Bull Field

John Oxley’s Beethoven makes his much anticipated 3-year-old debut in the Holy Bull Stakes after capturing the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) last out at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29, while Lansdon Robbins III and Sam Delaney’s Danger to Society, a very promising colt who is two-for-two, makes his stakes debut in the field of 11.

Calvin Borel rode Beethoven to win the KJC for trainer John Ward and he will be back in town for the mount Saturday, although they will have to overcome the far outside post 11. Beethoven is a $300,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Sky Mesa, a top horse raced by Oxley and trained by Ward.

Jockey Kent Desormeaux rides Danger to Society for trainer Ken McPeek and drew well in post 2. The $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling purchase by Harlan’s Holiday won his debut at Churchill Downs in mid-November and came back with an impressive 3½ lengths allowance score going 1 1/8 miles over the Gulfstream track on Jan. 8 in his only other start.

Other contenders with solid credentials include Lori and George Hall’s West Side Bernie, Elvis Trujillo; Emory Hamilton’s Rockland, Jose Lezcano; and My Meadowview Farm’s Nowhere to Hide, Alan Garcia.

West Side Bernie is a Bernstein colt trained by Kelly Breen and makes his first start since a strong runner-up effort in the Delta Jackpot (G3) at Delta Downs in Louisiana on Dec. 5. The $50,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase had won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (G3) at Turfway Park and finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita in his two previous starts.

Rockland is a Kentucky homebred colt from Smarty Jones’ first crop trained by Michael Matz and makes his stakes debut. After finishing third in his career debut at Keeneland in October, Rockland broke his maiden at Meadowlands in November and won an allowance last out going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Calder last out on Dec. 20.

Nowhere to Hide is a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase trained by Nick Zito and broke his maiden last out at Calder going one mile around two turns on Dec. 13. The son of Vindication had run well in each of four previous starts, finishing second twice and third once.

Completing the field for the Holy Bull are Zayat Stable’s Bruce N Autumn, Edgar Prado; Bear Stable’s Bear’s Rocket, Kent Desormeaux, Lally Stable’s Saratoga Sinner, Julien Leparoux; G. Watts Humphrey, Jr.’s El Crespo, Javier Castellano; New Life Stable and Equus Racing’s Stately Character, Herb McCauley; and James Scatuorchio’s Idol Maker, John R. Velazquez.


Gulfstream Park Barn notes

Tough Questions for Albertus Maximus in Donn

With eyes fixed on the riches of Dubai, Shadwell Stable and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will send Albertus Maximus into Saturday’s $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) with questions to answer.

The 5-year-old son of Albert the Great has been off since winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Oct. 25 at Santa Anita. He was purchased privately shortly after by Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum with the goal of converting his form on synthetic tracks to natural dirt.

“We’re asking him to run longer and on dirt,” said Neal McLaughlin, assistant to his brother Kiaran and a key member of the team that guided Invasor to Donn and Dubai World Cup (G1) victories in 2007. “Those will be difficult questions for him, but we’re hoping he can step forward to the World Cup with a good race here.”

Albertus Maximus has not raced on dirt since his second and third career starts in 2007 before Santa Anita switched to a synthetic surface.

“He’s proved a mile is his best distance and he’s proved to be very good on the ‘Poly,’” said McLaughlin. “There are a couple things he needs to try and prove. He has run well on dirt in the past and he’s training on it very well here.”

More Canadian action with Callwood Dancer
Kip Deville returns too

Sunday, Gulfstream Park
GULFSTREAM PARK TURF H.-GI, $300,000, 4yo/up,
1 1/8mT


1 Just as Well A.P. Indy Leparoux 113
2 Kiss the Kid Lemon Drop Kid Trujillo 117
3 Pick Six Dynaformer Douglas 112
4 Court Vision Gulch Dominguez 121
5 Red Rocks (Ire) Galileo (Ire) Castellano 122
6 Sligovitz Sligo Bay (Ire) Velazquez 114
7 Uigur (Brz) Astor Place (Ire) Garcia 115
8 Kip Deville Kipling Velasquez 124
9 Nergal (Fr) Simon du Desert (Fr) Desormeaux 114
MTO Phil the Power Red Bullet Coa 111
11 Summer Patriot Unbridled’s Song Coa 114

Sunday, Gulfstream Park
SUWANNEE RIVER S.-GIII, $125,000, 4yo/up, f/m,
1 1/8mT

1 Long Approach Broad Brush Leparoux 116
2 Lady Carlock Chester House J Bridgmohan 116
3 Waquoit's Love Not For Love Douglas 120
4 Drop a Line Lemon Drop Kid Dominguez 116
5 Ballymore Lady War Chant Prado 118
6 The Niagara Queen Langfuhr Velazquez 122
7 Callwood Dancer (Ire) Danehill Dancer (Ire) Castellano 122
8 Mushka Empire Maker Desormeaux 122
9 Tejida Rahy Lezcano 116
10 Flibberjibit Arch Castro 118


If you watched the races from Dubai yesterday ((shown on HPI TV each Thursday morning) you would have seen a cool sight - SILVER MIST, from Aouth Africa, charging through a grey mist in the stretch to win the Group 3 Al Rashidiya, the turf feature on the third night of the Dubai International Racing Carnival.

The race is a prep for the $5 DUBAI DUTY FREE held on the big day at the end of March.
Silver Mist is trained by Mike de Kock.




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Thursday, January 29, 2009


In memory of BARBARO - died Jan 29, 2007

It's revving up - Derby business and even Plate news.

ACTIVE DUTY, winner of the important CORONATION FUTURITY, races today (see more below).

WELL POSITIONED, perhaps one of the leading contenders for the 150th QUEEN'S PLATE at Woodbine in June, gets rolling as a 3yo on Saturday in the day's FIRST RACE, an allowance event at 1 mile.

The 3yo by AWESOME AGAIN - TACIBLE, BY HOLY BULL is owned by Paul Pompa (Big Brown) and trained by Pat Reynolds. He is 1 for 2 in his career with a maiden win Beyer Figure of 91 in his last start at Aqueduct.

Speaking of HOLY BULL, the race named in his honour is also on Saturday and a very intriguing field of 11 has been entered intlcuing the much hyped BEETHOVEN and WEST SIDE BERNIE (by Bernstein, picked at right, photo by Amber Chalfin)

Bear Stables' are in it too - with BEAR'S ROCKET, the Lion Heart fellow who was 4th in the key Display Stakes at Woodbine in his last race. Trained by Reade Baker, Bear's Rocket will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux.

$150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 4:12 p.m.), 3-year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Bruce N Autumn (KY), 114, Edgar S. Prado
2. Danger to Society (KY), 114, Robby Albarado
3. Bear's Rocket (KY), 114, Kent J. Desormeaux 4. Saratoga Sinner (KY), 114, Julien R. Leparoux
5. El Crespo (KY), 114, Javier Castellano
6. Rockland (KY), 114, Jose Lezcano
7. Stately Character (KY), 120, Herb McCauley
8. Idol Maker (KY), 114, John R. Velazquez
9. Nowhere to Hide (KY), 114, Alan Garcia
10. West Side Bernie (KY), 122, Elvis Trujillo
11. Beethoven (KY), 122, Calvin H. Borel

$150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 4:43 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 7 Furlongs PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Break Water Edison (KY), Alan Garcia, 120, 3/1
2. Bee Cee Cee (FL), Cornelio H. Velasquez, 120, 15/1
3. Capt. Candyman Can (KY), Julien R. Leparoux, 120, 3/1
4. Hello Broadway (KY), Edgar S. Prado, 114, 5/2
5. Salo Jak (FL), Javier Santiago, 120, 8/1
6. Rocketing Returns (FL), Eibar Coa, 116, 5/1
7. Z Day (KY), John R. Velazquez, 114, 6/1

Saturday, Gulfstream Park DONN H.-GI, $500,000, 4yo/up, 1 1/8m PP HORSE SIRE JOCKEY WT
1 Finallymadeit Concerto Nunez 117
2 Albertus Maximus Albert the Great Garcia 120
3 Anak Nakal Victory Gallop Bravo 117
4 Bullsbay Tiznow Velazquez 114
5 A.P. Arrow A.P. Indy Desormeaux 115
6 On Board Again Awesome Again Coa 112
7 Arson Squad Brahms Prado 119
8 Sir Whimsey Jump Start Albarado 116
9 Great Hunter Aptitude Castellano 116
10 Einstein (Brz) Spend a Buck Leparaoux 122


On the anniversary of his brother's death, NICANOR is in the news as he is set to make his career debut on Saturday.
From all reports, this fellow is not a world beater but it's nice to get racing in the headlines...

Barbaro's brother on display at Gulfstream
By Mike Jensen Inquirer Staff Writer

A little before 5 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, a horse will enter the starting gate for the first race of his career and he'll overshadow the future Kentucky Derby horses and past Kentucky Derby horses racing at Gulfstream Park that day - because he's Barbaro's brother.

That's half of a remarkable hour at Gulfstream. The race before, the most promising son of Smarty Jones finds out if he is a Kentucky Derby candidate. The first appearance of Nicanor, Barbaro's younger brother, steals the headline spot.

The 3-year-old bay colt is owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson, trained by Michael Matz, and will be ridden by Edgar Prado. It is the same group responsible for the undefeated Barbaro, who won the 2006 Kentucky Derby only to suffer catastrophic leg fractures two weeks later at the Preakness and spend eight months at the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square before being euthanized Jan. 29, 2007.

Even in a sport where bloodlines mean so much, the same genes don't mean the same or even similar results. "To me, [Barbaro] was a horse in a lifetime," said Peter Brette, assistant trainer to Matz. Brette exercised Barbaro and now does the same for Nicanor.

"If Nicanor turns out to be a stakes winner, we'll be over the moon, I'm sure."

"It would be a miracle if he was 50 percent as good as Barbaro was," Roy Jackson said yesterday of Nicanor.

Read the rest:


made their 4yo debuts yesterday at Gulfstream and the pair of Canadian-breds did not fare well.
The Gator, usually a main track horse, was beaten about 9 lengths in the 1 1/16 mile grass race (7th place) while Solitaire hit traffic on the turn, checked and stalled and was a few lengths back in 9th.


(Deputy Commander) makes his 3yo debut today in an allowance race at Santa Anita. The 3yo gelding won the CORONATION FUTURITY last year, often a race that will spawn a Queen's Plate favourite.
This year's group of Canadian bred 3yo's is a strong one (although we won't know who is actually nominated for the race for another week) so Active Duty appears to be getting an early start on his Plate preparations.

The gelding will start from post 7 in the 9 horse field which will travel 1 1/16 miles. Corey Fraser rode the gelding last year in the big win but Patrick Husbands rides today for trainer Mark Casse.
The gelding matched up fairly well in today's field.

TWILIGHT METEOR, a Canadian bred by Smart Strike who was on the Queen's Plate trail 2 years ago, is in a turf allowance at Gulfstream today.


Canadian-bred 11-year-old CREASE INFRACTION is entered for $10,000 claiming, off the claim, by trainer Stephen Beattie on Saturday at Penn National. The classy old guy was recently trained by Anthony Adamo.


  • At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Alex said…

    thanks for remembering Barbaro today!


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009



Winter in Ontario.

Snow on trees, beautiful, snowbanks at the end of the driveway, not so much.
It's bitterly cold most days right now, another duvet cover of snow will settle through the course of this afternoon.
But at training farms throughout the regions north of Toronto, horses are already putting in their paces on indoor tracks.
Older horses are trotting and cantering, the newly turned 2-year-olds are bobbing and weaving as riders teach them steering, lead changes and manners.
Up at Kinghaven Farms in King City, trainer Ian Black has two dozen furry folks up and going while trainer Phil England also has a string in training.
Kinghaven looks about the same as it did 20 years ago when With Approval was a 3yo in training for his eventual Triple Crown assault.

The dark blue tack boxes with the white 'K', the coffee room, the standing area on the indoor training track where many-a-trainer/manager has stood to watch the next stars.

Champion turf male RAHY'S ATTORNEY is back in training as well as getting his fair share of playing-in-the-snow time.

Stakes filly GLITTER ROX likes to greet visitors with plenty of antics and DON'S FOLLY is back, he was a stakes winner at 2 who has not raced since 2007.

Over at Jeff Begg's WINDWAYS FARM, north of King, mares are getting ready to foal, in fact, the farm has welcomed two babies already.

In the paddocks enjoying the snow are so many familiar faces including Queen's Plate winner VICTOR COOLEY, a rambunctious sort who wanted to take a bite of his visitor!

Just over 2 months until the Woodbine season starts!

is On-line!


$7,000 yearling, now 117 Beyer Figure monster

He is by Untuttable out of Heaven's Gate by Septieme Ciel and his name is THIS ONE'S FOR PHIL.

Phil, winner of the SUNSHINE MILLIONS DASH at Gulfstream on Saturday, is actually a close relative of the Canadian champion ETERNAL SEARCH.
The 3yo's 2nd dam is FINALLY FOUND, a daughter of BON DEBARRAS, the dam of Eternal Search.
Also in the family - Queen's Plate winner NIIGON.
Phil is in the news these days for this pattern of races:

(first race of his career... 43 - 33 - 71 - 71 - 79 - 66 - 75 - 76 - 117 most recent race)


Latest supertrainer feat raises suspicion
By Andrew Beyer

WASHINGTON, D.C. - When a 3-year-old delivers a phenomenal early-season performance, racing fans get excited. They hope that the youngster will be a star of the future, maybe a Kentucky Derby winner, maybe even the Triple Crown winner that the sport has awaited for decades.

But after a gelding named This Ones for Phil scored a remarkable victory Saturday at Gulfstream Park, many fans - or at least the cynical ones - had a different reaction. This Ones for Phil epitomized what is wrong with the modern American racing game.

Thoroughbred racing has become less a test of horses than it is a competition among trainers. The most successful have been dubbed "supertrainers" because they achieve results almost without precedent. They compile winning percentages that dwarf the records of horsemen enshrined in the Hall of Fame. They acquire horses and transform them in ways that history's greatest trainers never dreamed of. Accordingly, bettors disregard the normal logic of handicapping when they evaluate horses saddled by Rick Dutrow in New York, Bruce Levine or Jason Servis in New Jersey, Marty Wolfson in south Florida, Kirk Ziadie and Jamie Ness at Tampa Bay Downs, Jeff Mullins in California and countless other miracle workers.

Wolfson pulled off an amazing feat when he saddled a pair of modestly bred 2-year-olds, one colt and one filly, in stakes races Oct. 18 at Calder. Both delivered explosive performances to win by more than 10 lengths, and the two of them ran what were arguably the two fastest races by any of the nation's 2-year-olds in 2008.

The colt, You Luckie Mann, was favored to win Saturday's Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream, and he would have but for the presence of a rival in the care of another supertrainer. This Ones for Phil started his career in claiming company at Calder Race Course, raced eight times during the summer and fall, and won twice without running notably fast. He had been trained in those eight races by Kathleen O'Connell, a capable horsewoman but a mere mortal, before the animal was sold and placed in Dutrow's care.

Even people accustomed to improbable wake-ups under such circumstances were astonished by what happened Saturday.

Wolfson's You Luckie Mann went to the front, but This Ones for Phil made a powerful four-wide move on the turn and blew past the leader to score by more than two lengths. The winner sped six furlongs in 1:09.10 on the same day that high-class older female sprinters covered the distance in 1:10.55, and the effort earned This Ones for Phil a Beyer Speed Figure of 117. No horse so young has ever earned such a high number since the Daily Racing Form began publishing these ratings in 1992.

Not only was the performance extraordinary, but so, too, was the degree of improvement by This Ones for Phil. In his eight starts for O'Connell, the gelding had never earned a figure higher than 81. Dutrow had managed to improve his form by nearly 15 lengths.


The news was not so good on Monday when another deadline for FORT ERIE RACETRACK went by with only another deadline put up.
But this time, the deadline is merely 5 weeks from the start of the season.
While the Ontario governement examines a proposal by the town of Fort Erie to borrow $35 million to buy the track from Nordic Gaming (which reportedly bought the track from Woodbine for just $10.00), horse people will not possibly be able to get horses ready for the opening of the season in early May.

BOB SUMMERS of the BUFFALO NEWS gives a report:

Talks continue as deadline extended at Fort Erie
By Robert J. Summers

A much-anticipated High Noon arrived at the Fort Erie Race Track Monday.

But there was no gun fight. Just a continuation of the wrangling over the future of the financially-troubled 111-year-old facility.

Track owner Nordic Gaming Corp., which had set a noon deadline for word on a $35 million Ontario government loan to finance the sale of the track to a new owner, extended that deadline after the Ontario Racing Commission earlier granted a two-month extension of the track's racing license, which was due to expire on Saturday.

"Because of that [license extention until March 31], we can basically extend that [Monday deadline] because it gives everybody more time to work on this thing," said Nordic spokesman Stephen Ayres.

Track spokesman Daryl Wells Jr. said the extension "will allow us to investigate further into the offer .‚.‚. to purchase the racetrack. We can still have simulcasting and off-track betting."

James Thibert, the Town of Fort Erie official who has spearheaded the plan to sell the track to a new not-for-profit corporation, said "we remain optimistic" but disclosed a letter detailing some misgivings of the provincial government.

And a spokesman for horsemen complained about the further delay as the possible May 2 opening day grows closer.

"I am not one bit happy about the extension," said Sue Leslie, president of the Ontario Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, which represents horse owners and trainers.

"I could have lived with an extension of a week or so, but to put this off for two more months .‚.‚. We've been listening to this for two years. .‚.‚. If the Province of Ontario is not interested in helping Fort Erie and its horsemen, it should declare themselves so they can let horsemen make decisions fortheir lives," Leslie said. "To hang them up for two more months. What are they supposed to do?"


DONCASTER FARM and trainer PAULA LOESCHER won a race at Mountaineer Park yesterday with CAN'T BE PETE. The 5yo One Way Love-Pete's Heiress, Peteski gelding won the $5,000 claiming event with a very wide run from the backstretch to the top of the stretch to score by 3/4 of a length.


Stakes placed SOLITAIRE and stakes winner winner COOL GATOR are a couple of Canadian breds entered in a 9 furlong turf allowance today at Gulfstream.
Both were players in the Queen's Plate trail last year with the latter doing well on the trail as a maiden but then the latter getting injured before he raced in Canada.
James Bond and Joe Orseno are the trainers respectively.


From the NTRA, here are the point totals of the Eclipse Awards, offered up Monday night.

Voter participation rate: 242/282 = 86%

Two--Year--Old Male (Name, First--Place Votes)
Midshipman, 195; Vineyard Haven, 32; Old Fashioned, 7; Donativum (GB), 5; Desert Party, 1; Run Away and Hide, 1; Street Hero, 1.

Two--Year--Old Filly
Stardom Bound, 236; Maram, 2; Springside, 2; Rachel Alexandra 1, Sky Diva, 1.

Three--Year--Old Male
Big Brown, 219; Raven's Pass, 21; Conduit (IRE) 1; Tale of Ekati, 1.

Three--Year--Old Filly
Proud Spell, 90; Eight Belles, 71; Goldikova (IRE), 41; Indian Blessing, 20; Music Note, 20.

Older Male
Curlin, 239; Albertus Maximus, 1; Commentator, 1; Go Between, 1.

Older Female
Zenyatta, 240; Ginger Punch, 2;

Female Sprinter
Indian Blessing, 138; Ventura, 88; Intangaroo, 13; Indyanne, 1; Voter Abstentions, 2.

Male Sprinter
Benny the Bull, 107; Midnight Lute, 86; Street Boss, 40; Bustin Stones, 3; Fatal Bullet, 3; Visionaire, 1; Commentator, 1; Voter Abstentions1 .

Male Turf Horse
Conduit (IRE), 175; Einstein (BRZ), 31; Grand Couturier (GB), 11; Hyperbaric, 5; Kip Deville, 5; Red Giant 4; Court Vision, 2; Henrythenavigator, 1; Champs Elysees (GB), 1; Spirit One (FR), 1. Voter Abstentions, 6.

Female Turf Horse
Forever Together, 137; Goldikova, 94; Cocoa Beach (CHI), 6; Ventura, 3; Mauralakana (FR), 2.

Steeplechase Horse
Good Night Shirt, 217; Be Certain, 1; High Action, 1; Voter Abstentions, 23.

Horse of the Year
Curlin, 153; Zenyatta, 69; Big Brown, 13; Raven's Pass, 2; Einstein, 1; Goldikova (IRE), 1; Peppers Pride, 1; Voter Abstentions, 2.

Outstanding Owner
Stronach Stables, 47; IEAH Stables, 46; Stonestreet Stables LLC and Midnight Cry Stables, 29; Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss, 27; Godolphin Racing, 24; Zayat Stables 16; Augustin Stable, 13; Maggi Moss, 11; Robert Cole, Jr., 10; Darley Stable, 4; Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, 2; H. Joe Allen, 1; J. Paul Reddam, 1; Juddmonte Farms, 1; Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, 1; WinStar Farm, 1. Voter Abstentions, 8.

Outstanding Breeder
Adena Springs, 139; Stonerside Stable, 60; WinStar Farm, 13; Juddmonte Farms, 9; Brereton C. Jones, 4; Eugene Melnyk, 1; Edward P. Evans, 1; Fares Farm, Inc., 1; George Strawbridge, Jr., 1; Hal and Patti Earnhardt, 1; Maverick Production, 1; Monticule, 1. Voter Abstentions, 10.

Outstanding Trainer
Steve Asmussen, 187; Robert Frankel, 15; Larry Jones, 9; Bob Baffert,7; Rick Dutrow, 5; Jerry Hollendorfer, 4; Bill Mott, 3; John Shirreffs, 2; Mike de Kock, 1; Anthony Dutrow, 1; Scott Lake, 1; Mike Maker, 1; Kiaran McLaughlin, 1; Todd Pletcher, 1; Howard Wolfendale, 1. Voter Abstentions, 3.

Outstanding Jockey
Garrett Gomez, 210; Rafael Bejarano, 11; Robby Albarado, 9; Russell Baze, 3; Kent Desormeaux, 3; Ramon Dominguez, 1; Alan Garcia, 1; Julien Leparoux, 1; Joe Rocco, 1; Mike Smith, 1; Voter Abstentions, 1.

Apprentice Jockey
Pascacio Lopez, 150; Inez Karlsson, 34; Abel Mariano, 18; Sebastian Morales, 3; Sheldon Russell, 3; Lyndie Wade, 2; Chamisa Goodwin, 1; Xavier Perez, 1; Grant Whitacre 1. Voter Abstentions, 29.

Award of Merit and Special Award
The winner of the Award of Merit, voted on by a panel of representatives from the three presenting organizations and previously announced, is Alice Headley Chandler of Mill Ridge Farm. The Award of Merit is presented to honor outstanding lifetime achievement in the Thoroughbred industry.


News Release - 2009 Quarter Horse Program Budget Approved

The Governing Board of the Ontario Racing Commission has approved the 2009 budget for the Ontario Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program in the amount $7.45 million, an increase of 31% from 2008 budget levels.

The Program budget support for the racing program at Ajax Downs in 2009, includes more than $4.6 million in purses, purse incentives and added money for stakes racing.

The budget to support the Ontario Quarter Horse breeding sector, including Breeders Awards, Stallion Owner Awards, and bonuses to breeders of stakes winning horses, increased to $880,600 – a 29% increase over 2008 levels.


release from the ORC

You are invited to comment on the proposals for 2009 rules changes received and reviewed under the ORC's Rules Amendment Process.

Proposals for changes to the Rules of Racing were received from the industry in mid September. Industry input on these proposals happens at two levels: first, the proposals were reviewed by the Rules Amendment Working Groups, which were set up by the Executive Director to provide input and advice on the changes and, second, individuals and associations can provide their comments on the proposals through this current phase.

The Board of the ORC will be reviewing these proposals along with any input received through this comment phase. Any proposals that are approved by the ORC Board will be announced through the issuance of directives later in the spring.

The ORC wishes to thank all the members of the various Working Groups for their interest and contribution.

Go to the ORC website at and access the proposed changes from the Featured Showcase on the Main Page, or by clicking 2009 Proposed Rule Changes


While slaughterhouse expansion begins in Canada and perhaps new ones built in the United States (see Monday's post), the Alex Brown Facebook page continues to build awareness and actually do things to help our retired racehorses.

On the TOP BUNK list of racehorses who have made $500,000 or more that are competitng for $5,000 claiming or less, another one - EASY GRADES - has just been retired.

Ontario horsewoman REBECCA MOTTIN sent the following letter to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and other places in memory of Magic Flute:

In Memory of Magic Flute

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition estimates that thousands of horses are killed in Canadian slaughterhouses every week. Over 100,000 horses were slaughtered in 2008, a horrifying 200% increase from two years ago. As someone who believes in the innate beauty and nobility of equines, I find it heartbreaking that even one horse would be fated to die in the kill pen of a slaughterhouse, let alone such an large number of horses.

And for me in the end, it does come down to one horse: Magic Flute.

Magic Flute was killed in a slaughterhouse in October, 2008. I was devastated when I heard this news. My connection to Magic Flute is only an emotional one, but for a horse I only saw in person once, he held a special place in my heart. Magic Flute’s sire was Canadian Triple Crown winner Peteski who was my childhood hero. I discovered the beauty, history, and thrills of thoroughbred racing at an impressionable age and the exploits of this fast chestnut horse in 1993 helped to strengthen my love of the sport. I followed his career avidly, visited him as a stallion, and now continue to place flowers on his grave during my occasional visits to Kentucky.

Although not a pedigree expert, my love of Peteski inspired me to discover the names of some of his sons and daughters. I tried to follow their racing careers as much as I was able. This hobby has now extended to granddaughters and grandsons, and I feel lucky whenever I encounter the name of one of these horses in the racing program.

This was how I discovered Magic Flute. I remember being at Woodbine one summer day, several years ago, and watching this horse, who looked so much like his sire and carrying the same Rising Son silks, storm down the stretch to a solid victory. This set me to dreaming. What if someday in the future, after he retired, I could purchase this gelding as a riding horse? He was so much like his sire, the horse of my dreams, that I would have loved to say that he was mine. It wasn’t possible at this point, but maybe someday....

And when Magic Flute crossed my path again it was too late.

I am so sorry Magic Flute. I feel like I have let you, and a part of my childhood, down somehow. If I had known that you were sitting in a barn or out in a field somewhere unwanted I would have offered you a safe home. That’s what makes your death so hard to take, that you had to make the trip to the slaughterhouse needlessly. For all those proponents of slaughter, who argue that they provide a needed service “disposing” of unwanted horses, they should know that all of these animals were at one time loved, were the vessels of dreams, hopes, and aspirations, and could be that way again. A horse is “the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence” (poet Pam Brown). What does it say about ourselves if we allow horses to suffer such a horrific, undignified end?

I want to thank Jennifer Morrison who first published the fact of Magic Flute’s slaughterhouse death. As sad as this news was, I’m glad I know it. It has motivated me to take a more active role in bringing an end to horse slaughter. Thanks also to Alex Brown who takes the time and braves the emotional turmoil of visiting slaughterhouses to attempt the identification and rescue of ex-racehorses. Alex found Magic Flute and I’m sure would have helped organize his rescue if things had turned out differently. Thank you to both of these individuals for promoting the well-being of horses and urging an end to slaughter through all the different medias they have available to them. It is encouraging to see so many people come together to help horses. This gives me hope and I do have hope for change. After all racing is a sport that is built on hope. Hope that that unraced 2-year-old will be a stakes winner, that the Triple Crown will finally be won, that you’ll pick the winner in the next race. Racing would not subsist if not for hope. Therefore we must have hope that we can effect change.

For it was not just Magic Flute that met his death in a slaughterhouse that day, but many other horses. We must do all we can to help the horses of the future so that they do not need to follow the same path. It is for this reason that I am donating some money to the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society to help some other thoroughbreds who were luckier than Magic Flute.


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Monday, January 26, 2009


The big events in racing today - perhaps some news about FORT ERIE and tonight, the ECLIPSE AWARDS will be handed out.

(CURLIN is the pick to win Horse of the Year, photo by Vanessa Ng)

Don't forget to keep up to date with THOROUGHBLOG - in yesterday's news we learned that North Dakota may build a slaughterhouse and that Prime Minister STEPHEN HARPER wants to dole out money for Canadian slaughterhouse expansion.


There is a noon deadline (set by Nordic Gaming that owns the track) for the Ontario government to come through with a multimillion-dollar bailout plan for the track.

Nordic wants $35 million for the place - it bought it with a debt, for $10.00

The town of Fort Erie wants to borrow the money from the Ont. government to buy it.
Stay tuned.




• Two-year-old male Midshipman Old Fashioned Vineyard Haven
• Two-year-old filly Dream Empress Maram Stardom Bound
• Three-year-old male Big Brown Colonel John Raven’s Pass
• Three-year-old filly Eight Belles Music Note Proud Spell
• Older male Commentator Curlin Einstein (Brz)
• Older female Cocoa Beach (Chi) Ginger Punch Zenyatta
• Male sprinter Benny the Bull Midnight Lute Street Boss
• Female sprinter Indian Blessing Intangaroo Ventura
• Turf male Conduit (Ire) Einstein (Brz) Grand Couturier (GB)
• Turf female Cocoa Beach (Chi) Forever Together Goldikova (Ire)
• Steeplechaser Be Certain Good Night Shirt Sovereign Duty
• Owner Godolphin Racing IEAH Stables Stronach Stables
• Breeder Adena Springs Stonerside Stable WinStar Farm
• Trainer Steve Asmussen Richard Dutrow Jr. Bobby Frankel
• Jockey Robby Albarado Rafael Bejarano Garrett Gomez
• Apprentice jockey Inez Karlsson Pascacio Lopez Abel Mariano


The continent's best reporting on the KENTUCKY DERBY comes in the Louisville Courier-Jorunal and the paper embarked on its 2009 coverage yesterday.
There are reams of stories and lists.
In fact, several contributors listed their TOP 10 DERBY PROSPECTS but shockingly, not one had big money purchase, PATENA, co-owned by Canadians, does not appear on any list.

Canadian-bred SQUARE EDDIE appears - he is 7th on the list set out by Jennie Rees (see below)...

Jennie Rees

1. Old Fashioned
2. Pioneerof the Nile
3. Midshipman
4. Vineyard Haven
5. Danger to Society
6. Break Water Edison
7. Square Eddie
8. Stardom Bound
9. Dunkirk
10. Giant Oak


At MOUNTAINEER yesterday, Woodbine owner/trainer BOBBY PION won the FIRST RACE AND THE LAST RACE!

Pion took the first race with British Columbia bred MAGIC AL JACK (Alfaari).
Okay, the 4yo gelding didn't just win the $5,000 maiden claiming race - he crushed the field by 23 LENGTHS!
Ridden by Olaf Hernandez, MAGIC AL JACK took the lead early and went from three lengths in front to the 23 number at the finish under a hand ride.

Iin the finale, Pion's TEE KAY ODE was odds-on and didn't disappoint as she won by 3 1/2 lengths for $5,00 claiming. The 5yo mare is by Alydeed-Francesca Stallone by Brown Arc.

MALCOLM PIERCE continues his regular roll at Fair Grounds as GET RICH QUICK won again over that track's turf yesterday for Pin Oak Stud.

Race 8 at Mountaineer yesterday was won by Ontario bred GOLDEN ICE, a 6yo by Golden Missile-Golden On Ice by Lit de Justice won for $5,000 for Scarlet Stable.

at Philadelphia Park, EXECTUIVE PRODUCER (Bold Executive-Del Rio's Delight) won a starter allowance by 6 lengths in a fast time of 1:22.74 for seven furlongs. The Ontario bred is now owned by Smiling Moon Stable.

at TAMPA BAY DOWNS, first time starter R MAGIC BONNIE won for $8,000 claiming for Eugene Melnyk, who races the 3yo filly bred by friends Iris and Bill Bristow. The filly is by the Bristow stallion MAGIC WALK out of the DOMIC mare VAGUELY BONNIE.
The Bristows also stood DOMIC and stud and currently stand ARCH HALL.
The trainer of R Magic Bonnie was Joe Ambrosia.


Jambalaya (Langfuhr), 5f, 1:01.20, 4/17


(TRAINER CATHERINE) Day-Phillips hoped to start Jambalaya in the Gulfstream Park Turf
Handicap (G1) on February 1, but he is not quite ready for the 11⁄8-mile
race, which Jambalaya won in 2007.
“He’s getting there, but it’s still just a little too soon,” Day-Phillips said.
“He’s been breezing every week and he’s starting to turn back into a racehorse.
He’s just about rid of the pot belly and looking more like an athlete.”


EQUIBASE does not have MALCOM PIERCE on its leading trainer's list for 2009 but the Canadian has 8 wins from 38 starters.

MARK CASSE is 7 for 37 and LAYNE GILIFORTE is 6 for 11.

At Tampa Bay Downs, SHANE LEARN is 5-2-3-0 for a 100% ITM rate.


United Thoroughbreds (see advertisement at right and click to see website) has shares to sell in a filly by WHERE'S THE RING, the sire of top 2yo filly of 2008 CAWAJA BEACH.

The newly formed syndicate has a detailed website with photos and videos and information for prospective buyers.


  • At 9:33 AM, Anonymous David Godin said…

    Thank you Jen! We are EXTREMELY EXCITED about our little filly "Daphne"

    I also want to wish the BAY PRINCE group luck today as they race in the 3rd race at Philadelphia Park!

  • At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Daryl G. Ezra said…


  • At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Kris P said…

    The ORC has posted a "Notice to the Industry" on their website regarding Fort Erie.


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Sunday, January 25, 2009


This is the good, bad and ugly post.

Great racing yesterday, Fort Erie awaits some news tomorrow and Canada's own Prime Minister getting in on the slaughter movement

had to be the grey blur, Soldier's Dancer

Non-stop racing action yesterday afternoon during SUNSHINE MILLIONS day with some super stakes events, intriguing results and at least one eye-popping effort - SOLDIER'S DANCER in the Turf at Santa Anita.

Track announcer TREVOR DENMAN called the colt some 20 lengths back down the backstretch and remarked "the rider is asking him already and his ears are pinned".

Not encouraging.

But with an impossible, incredible, sustained rally, the Lost Soldier fellow marched through soggy turf and got up to win and become racing's newest millionaire.

SOLDIER'S DANCER's Beyer Figure was a 99, not the biggest number of the MILLIONS RACES.

That honour went to IT'S A BIRD (PHOTO AT RIGHT), who rebounded from a dismal Gulfstream debut in the Hal's Hop Stakes to romp in the Classic worth, gulp, $1 million, and post a 107 Beyer Figure.

The Birdonthwire guy had a nice trip behind the soft pace set by Finallymadeit, who faltered late and lost some positions to the closers.

Below is an excerpt from ART WILSON'S story on the horse in today's LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS.

Bejarano's faith in Soldier's Dancer pays off in Sunshine Millions Turf race
By Art Wilson, Staff Writer
Updated: 01/24/2009 10:58:28 PM PST

ARCADIA - When Soldier's Dancer, second in last year's $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf, dropped about 20 lengths off the pace in this year's running of the race at Santa Anita on Saturday, trainer David Vivian and owner Herman Heinlein figured they'd be fortunate to finish in the money.

Jockey Rafael Bejarano, cool as could be, thought otherwise.

"I really wasn't worried because he was so far back early," Bejarano said. "It's the style of the horse. He likes to

come from behind like this. I always felt comfortable because I knew I had a lot of horse."

But did he have to make it so close?

"I was saying, `I don't like to be 20 lengths back,"' Heinlein said. "We come from behind, but I don't think we've ever come from that far back. Then he closed it to nine lengths, and then I thought we had a chance."

Soldier's Dancer, the 7-5 favorite, passed Presious Passion in the final sixteenth of a mile to win the 1 1/8-mile race over a yielding turf course by a half-length and gave Vivian and Heinlein the biggest victories of their racing careers.

But as quickly as Soldier's Dancer was closing, the Florida-based Vivian still didn't think he'd get up to win.

"I thought he was going to be second (at the eighth pole)," said the 79-year-old trainer, who had never saddled a horse at Santa Anita but won a division of the opening-day Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar with Kindly Court in 1987. "I didn't think he was going
to get the winner, (but) he's a courageous horse. He's the best horse I've ever had, and I've been training horses 60 years."

The victory, in front of an on-track crowd of 22,155, was one of six for Florida-breds over their California counterparts in the seventh Sunshine Millions, a series of eight stakes races worth $3.6 million split between Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla.

Florida-breds won the points race - based on five for first, three for second and one for third - for the seventh consecutive year, 56-16. They scored 1-2-3 sweeps in all four races at Gulfstream.

Florida-breds have swept 14 races in the Millions since its debut in 2003, and Cal-breds have accomplished the feat only twice.

Soldier's Dancer, a 5-year-old gelded son of Lost Soldier, scored his 10th victory in 28 starts and hiked his bankroll to $1,227,480 with the winner's share of $275,000.

LEAH'S SECRET goes out a winner, she is retired now, having won a Million Sprint at Santa Anita yesterday (T. Dulay photo)

Recaps of all races at:

Dunkirk looks good

The $3.7 million yearling DUNKIRK won his career debut yesterday at Gulfstram with an explosive turn of foot off the turn and he won easily, although with a soft 77 BEYER SPEED FIGURE.
The Unbridled's Song-Secret Status fellow will surely get better with more distance. Todd Pletcher trains him for the Magnier, Smith and Tabor group.

Interesting that some nice 3yo prospects this year include:

Old Fashioned
Silver City
Stardom Bound
Vinyard Haven

all greys!


Trainer TINO ATTARD has a good time in Florida.
He had a good season in 2008 and just won with his 2nd starter of 2009 when RADIO RELAY led most of the way to win a 1 mile, $10,000 claimer yesterday at GULFSTREAM.
It appears Attard bought the fellow privately from MARK CASSE.

LISA GUARALDI has had the highs and lows of the game in a week. She lost LADY MOON last wek at Philadelphia Park when that homebred broke down.
Yesterday, her Desert Warrior-Kitling 4yo filly WARRIOR PRINCESS won her maiden for $12,500 at the same track at 9 to 2.
Rachel Halden trains in Canada but Steve Krebs trains at Philly.

CHARLES TOWN - 7yo UTMOST RESPECT (Numerous-Buxton Spice, Bold Ruckus) won for $5,000 claiming at 7 furlongs for Mark Moshe. Bred by Minshall Farms.
KINCAREY won at Charles Town yesterday for $10,000 non-winners of 2 lifetime. A Kinshasa-Carey's Visit, Tejano 4yo gelding bred by Jim Sabiston in Ontario.


John Conte wins NHC X

By DAVE TULEY (Posted 1/24/09)

LAS VEGAS – John Conte, 68, of Oceanside, N.Y., won the $500,000 first-place prize and title of Handicapper of the Year in the 10th annual Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship at the Red Rock Resort that concluded Saturday.

Conte, whose “Grass is Greener” tout sheet is available at New York tracks and OTBs, was sitting in 11th place going into the final race of the two-day contest – the 11th at Santa Anita – and used Raiding Party, which paid $46.60 to win (capped at $42 for scoring purposes) and $13 to place. No one ahead of him used the horse and he finished with a score $228, based on making 15 mythical $2 win-and-place wagers each day of the two-day tournament with eight races being mandatory and the other seven being player’s choice.

Dennis Decauwer, 59, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., the leader going into the final race, finished second with $221.50 to finish second and $150,000. Paul Shurman, 54, of Dix Hills, N.Y. also used Raiding Party to leapfrog up to third place with a score of $219 to win $100,000.

Gwyn Houston, 57, of Fallston, Md., held the lead late Saturday afternoon and held on for fourth place with a score of $213.80 to earn $45,000. Another handicapper who held the lead during the final day, Louis Licata, 49, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, finished fifth at $210.40 to win $30,000. Prizes were paid through 30th place.



Stephen Harper to pledge $50 million to slaughterhouses
North Dakota wants to build a slaughterhouse

Budget to include $1B for hard-hit workers

Last Updated: Friday, January 23, 2009 | 1:32 PM ET Comments259Recommend56
CBC News

The Harper government will create a billion-dollar fund to send workers from hard-hit industries back to school as a key plank of its economic recovery plan in Tuesday's federal budget.

The Conservatives say the program will apply Canada-wide, helping workers in struggling sectors like forestry, agriculture and manufacturing gain more marketable skills.

The budget is expected to leave Canada with its first deficit in more than a decade – as much as $64 billion over the next two years.

Ottawa introduced a similar retraining program, the billion-dollar Community Development Trust fund to help single-industry towns, just over a year ago, and parallel efforts at the provincial level have met with mixed results.

Other measures to help specific industries

$500 million to modernize farms.

$50 million to expand slaughterhouses.

$50 million to promote Canada's forestry sector abroad.

$100 million for better forestry technology.

Two new economic development agencies, one for southern Ontario and another for Northern Canada.

ND bill may be step toward plant that slaughters horses
Kim Winnegge, The Forum
Published Saturday, January 24, 2009

A plan being advanced in the North Dakota Legislature likely will upset some horse enthusiasts and animal rights activists.

Two state legislators are sponsoring a bill that could lead to construction of the nation’s only horse slaughterhouse in North Dakota.

Rep. Rod Froelich, D-Selfridge, and Sen. Joe Miller, R-Park River, are sponsoring House Bill 1496, which would direct the Commerce Department to conduct a $100,000 study to see if a privately owned horse slaughterhouse is viable in North Dakota.

“Lots of constituents were begging us to do this, saying give us an alternative to what we have now, which is nothing,” Froelich said.

The study would assess the cost of construction, the nature and scope of markets the plant could sell to, and if such a project could be accomplished under current regulations, according to a news release.

In 2006, the U.S. House passed the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which banned slaughtering horses. It died in the Senate.

Froelich said the $100,000 cost was just a figure they came up with to highlight that there would be a financial piece to the puzzle.

“Equine processing facilities provide a valuable resource for those who have animals that are no longer needed for recreational, farm or racing uses,” Froelich said in a news release announcing the proposed study.

The study would be conducted during the 2009 to 2011 interim.

Legislators will have a chance to help the state become the only one to offer these services, Miller said.

Miller said the last two “equine processing facilities” in Texas and Illinois closed in 2007, leaving open the U.S. market for horse slaughtering.

“They were shut down due to activists in the area,” Miller said. “(They provided) false or circumstantial information, misconstruing what really goes on.”

Calls to several animal rights groups for comment went unanswered Friday.

North Dakota horses ready for rendering now have to be shipped to Mexico or Canada, Miller said, which is costly.


Gosh, NORDIC bought it for $10.00 - where does it get $35 million from?

today in Buffalo News..

Happy Handicapper /By Bob Summers
Nonprofit plan may be salvation for Fort

FORT ERIE, Ont. — As everyone knows, the Happy Handicapper loves going to Fort Erie. To the race track, that is, to play horses.

He’s not that keen on visiting the border town for non-racing events, especially when it involves sitting through another long explanation of yet another plan to save the track from going out of business.

Last Monday morning, he joined about 100 people who filled a ballroom at the Holiday Inn to listen to the latest plan to bail out the 111-year-old track which, despite his best efforts at the wagering windows, still can’t make enough money to stay solvent.

Although the explanation of the latest plan by James Thibert, general manager of the Fort Erie Economic Development & Tourism Corp., was a little long-winded (Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin said it takes Thibert four minutes to say “good morning”), when the 90-minute news conference was over, the H. H. was convinced that maybe, just maybe, this newest scheme might work.

In a nutshell, the plan calls for the Ontario government to make a $35 million, 40-year mortgage loan to a new not-for-profit corporation that would acquire and run the track.

The key term is “not-for-profit.”

For years, the track — contrary to management’s intent — has not made a profit. Under the proposed new setup, it would not be driven to make a profit, only break even. If there were any profits made, the money would be plowed back into the racing business, not into the owner’s pocket.

If you’re one of those fans who thinks you can run the race track better than current management (and who doesn’t?), there might even be a place for you in the new company.

As Thibert described it, the new company’s board would include track employees and horsemen/women but also an “organization of serious fans of racing and those who appreciate the horse industry and the history of the track in Fort Erie.”

Sound like anybody you know?

But there’s much to be done before you put your name in nomination and draw up your list of suggestions on how to improve the place. (Yes, yes. As loyal reader Mike Sabatino often

points out, that includes reopening the closed upper grandstand and replacing many automated betting machines with live tellers.)

Besides the $35 million loan, the most intriguing parts of the new deal would be convincing Ontario officials and the management of Woodbine Race Track to allow 200 of Fort Erie’s unused slot machines to be installed on the floor of the casino at Woodbine for the next three years.

The thinking is that since the slot machine business is so much better at Woodbine (where the average machine “wins” about $900 per day) than at Fort Erie (where it’s about $70 a day), it would be nice to rebalance things by shifting a few hundred machines to the more profitable location.

According to Thibert’s math, this could result in an additional $21.9 million flowing to Fort Erie, money which could be used to pay off that $35 million loan.

Another way to raise money to pay off the loan would be to sell some of the 350 acres of land which surrounds the track. This includes some 17 vacant acres behind the backstretch on Industrial Boulevard plus another 130 acres around the unused training track and 80 acres in what once was an auxiliary parking lot.

Chances of this plan working are probably about the same as hitting three 20-1 shots in a trifecta on the last race of the day. The combination of government, money and limited time present much to overcome.

The H. H. is not familiar with how the wheels of government grind in Toronto, but from what he’s heard at many meetings in Fort Erie, it’s a lot like how things work in Albany. Nothing happens until push comes to shove.

That’s about to happen at Fort Erie, where the deadline for this last-ditch plan has been set for Monday at noon. That’s when Nordic Gaming, the current money-losing owner, wants a $3.2 million down-payment commitment.

Will that deadline mark the start of a new beginning? Or the end of an 111- year-old era?

As announcer Daryl Wells Jr. has often said, “They’re at the post!”


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Saturday, January 24, 2009


Just to update yesterday's news - Canadian owned PATENA HAS A NEW OWNER as IEAH has bought 70% of the colt for what is thought to be about $1.8 million...previously trained by JOSIE CARROLL, the colt will move to Florida and trainer RICK DUTROW JR. and perhaps race next in the FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH STAKES.

Patena is also owned by Centennial Farms Niagara's DOMENIC DILALLA and JOHN AND GLENN SIKURA.


If you find the weekly racing at Gulfstream intriguing, hard to bet with the big fields and competitive racing, wait until you see the SUNSHINE MILLIONS cards at Gulfstream and Santa Anita today.

The action starts at 4;07 (it can only be seen on HPI TV up here, or at Woodbine and teletheatres).



Canadian-trained SOUTHERN EXCHANGE has wilted since he was hailed as a star at Woodbine in the summer. He won 3 straight on Polytrack, was a dcent 4th in the Del Mar Futurity, and then had terrible tactics in the Grey.
He has an awful post today for the 6 furlong Dash but he's better than he's shown.
Trained by Greg de Gannes.
Watch out for ALL SAINT.

Filly/Mare Turf

Drab field with WILD PROMISES looking too good.

Filly/Mare Sprint

Tons of speed! How about DUBAI MAJESTY as the play?


I will bet against DELIGHTFUL KISS off the new top. That was a stunning comeback effort around one-turn. But post , possible bounce, let's play DRY MARTINI, on the the return to Barclay Tagg's barn.

at Santa Anita


SWIFT WIND/SOLDIER'S DANCER are preferred,lots of speed in the race.


HOOH WHY almost beat PATENA in the Display Stakes at Woodbine, she has been travelling a lot, curious about her management, but worth a play.


DEVOTED MAGIC has a chance to beat the good ones like SOK SOK.


TIZABLEND and UNFORGETTEN are the picks.

Sunshine Millions Dash S.
January 24, $250,000, 3yo, 6f, Gulfstream Park, 4:07 PM ET
PP Horse Sire Jockey Wt. Trainer Odds

1. Southern Exchange Exchange Rate SD Alan Garcia 120 Gregory de Gannes 5-to-1
2. Backbackbackgone Put It Back SD Robby Albarado 120 Peter Miller 4-to-1
3. Billionaire Bob Snuck In Julien R. Leparoux 120 Paul G. Aguirre 20-to-1
4. Ju Jitsu Jax Tiger Ridge Carlos H. Marquez Jr. 120 Scott A. Lake 8-to-1
5. Gotmymojoworkin Gimmeawink Martin Garcia 120 John W. Sadler 10-to-1
6. Echo West Swiss Yodeler SD Cornelio H. Velasquez 120 Ted H. West 20-to-1
7. Kelly Leak Runaway Groom Kent J. Desormeaux 120 Michael Machowsky 6-to-1
8. Player’s List Gimmeawink Arienne Cox 120 Wayne W. Rice 30-to-1
9. This Ones for Phil Untuttable Edgar S. Prado 120 Richard E. Dutrow Jr. 12-to-1
10. All Saint Skimming John R. Velazquez 120 Triphon B. Dahl 10-to-1
11. You Luckie Mann Exchange Rate SD Jermaine V. Bridgmohan 120 Martin D. Wolfson 5-to-2

OBS Sunshine Millions Classic S.
January 24, $1,000,000, 4yo & up, 11⁄8m, Gulfstream Park, 5:45 PM ET
PP Horse Sire Jockey Wt. Trainer Odds

1. Finallymadeit Concerto Eduardo O. Nunez 122 Javier Negrete 12-to-1
2. Dream Maestro Concerto Juan C. Leyva 120 William A. Kaplan 20-to-1
3. Macho Again Macho Uno Kent J. Desormeaux 120 Dallas Stewart 4-to-1
4. Palladio Lycius Robby Albarado 122 Roger L. Attfield 12-to-1
5. It’s a Bird Birdonthewire Julien R. Leparoux 122 Martin D. Wolfson 12-to-1
6. Medzendeekron Unusual Heat Alan Garcia 122 Barry Abrams 20-to-1
7. Dry Martini Slew Gin Fizz Edgar S. Prado 122 Barclay Tagg 6-to-1
8. Atoned Repent Christopher P. DeCarlo 120 Todd A. Pletcher 5-to-1
9. Hey Byrn Put It Back Cornelio H. Velasquez 120 Edward Plesa Jr. 6-to-1
10. Nima’s Pad Lord Carson Martin Garcia 120 John W. Sadler 20-to-1
11. Famous Patriot Repent Javier Castellano 120 Timothy A. Hills 20-to-1
12. Delightful Kiss Kissin Kris Calvin H. Borel 122 Pete D. Anderson 3-to-1
AE On Board Again Awesome Again John R. Velazquez 122 Robert J. Frankel 8-to-1
AE Solemn Promise Broken Vow Aaron T. Gryder 122 Doug F. O’Neill 20-to-1
AE Pistol Pete Afleet Northern Afleet Jesus M. Rios 120 Jorge Periban 20-to-1


Miami Herald Writer

Trainer Pete Anderson said his Delightful Kiss is ``feeling as good as he could possibly be, and has been working beautifully.''

That news could prove less than delightful for other trainers and their horses in Saturday's $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park.

Delightful Kiss, known for a come-from-behind style, is the 3-1, morning-line favorite in the 1 1/8-mile dirt race.

In his last race, the 5-year-old gelding rallied from 14th and last place after a quarter mile to win Gulfstream's Grade 3 Hal's Hope Handicap on Jan. 3.

That one-mile race was shorter than Delightful Kiss' favorite distances.

Last year, he won the 1 ½-mile Turfway Park Fall Championship in Kentucky and the 1 1/8-mile All-American Stakes at Golden Gate Fields in California.

The Classic is one of four Gulfstream stakes races on Saturday's annual Sunshine Millions program.

Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., also has four Sunshine Millions races -- with Gulfstream showing them on televisions and taking bets. Magna Entertainment, based in Aurora, Ontario, owns both tracks.

All eight races have purses of at least $250,000 and are restricted to horses bred in Florida and California.

Fox Sports Net Florida will have coverage from 5-6 p.m., including the Classic at 5:45.

With money that starts at $600,000 for the winner, the Classic drew 15 entrants. But only 12 can start.

Delightful Kiss, bred in Florida, is guaranteed a spot. So are Macho Again, Atoned, Dry Martini, Finallymadeit, Hey Byrn and Dream Maestro -- all Florida-bred horses and solid contenders to finish third or better.

Delightful Kiss drew the 12th post -- the outside of the starting gate if no horses scratch.
read the rest...


Some interesting beginners at GULFSTREAM. Chiefswoof Stable has an Ontario bred Grand Slam-Nashwan Rose colt debuting on the dirt in race 6. BIG HURT (clever name folks!) is bred for the grass but he has a litany of bullet dirt workouts.

Also in the race is DUNKIRK, the most expensive yearling sold 2 years ago at $3.7 million. The Magnier/Tabor, Todd Pletcher fellow, a grey colt, debuts as well and he is by Unbridled's Song.

Interestingly, trainer TOM ALBERTRANI has a Eugene Melnyk first-timer named KINGS VILLAGE in the race that wil have John Velasquez on board. The Kentucky bred by A.P. Indy is out of the well breed mare Kingsland.

updates at

WOODBINE QUALIFIERS JOHN WOLFE, TONY NATALE and JACK DICENSO are 86th place and below after day 1 of the Daily Racing Form National Handicapping Championship.


Keep and eye out for SONG OF THE ROAD, a Sam-Son Farms' 4yo by Giant's Causeway,who made a belated debut at Fair Grounds yesterday but it was a good one.
Trailing the field by as much as 7 lengths in the 1 1 1/6 mile grass race while the leaders went in 24.77 and 50.31, the colt put in a long, sustained rally off the turn and missed catching up by a neck in a 2nd place finish.

Later on the Fair Grounds card, Ontario bred MARTIN'S BAY, (Graeme Hall-Palmetto Bay) won for $12,500 claiming for Eugene Melnyk and trainer Mark Casse and was claimed by owner Larry Johnson.

At GULFSTREAM PARK, Ontario bred INTUITION MAGIC (Awesome Again-Reinfree, Unbridled) was a game winner for $35,000 for David Ross and trainer Mike Pino. The 5yo was 10 to 1 and was another winner for Pino, who has won twice recently with Woodbine shippers.
Owner/trainer MIKE DEPAULO had Hey Now in the race, who was third, and lost the horse for $35,000 after the race.

HARLEM ROCKER among those nominated to DUBAI

Thirty-nine US horse are among the nominees for races on the DUBAI WORLD CUP card.
In the World Cup, those nominated from the U.S.include Canadian-bred HARLEM ROCKER, who recently got sick and will miss the Donn Handicap.
Among those nominated from the U.S. are Grade 1 winner Well Armed, who finished third in last year’s Dubai World Cup, Grade 1 winners Champs Elysees (GB),
Colonel John, and Tale of Ekati, Grade 2 winner Macho Again, Grade 3 winner Harlem Rocker, and TVG Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Albertus Maximus.


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Friday, January 23, 2009


update 6:10 p.m.


Stakes winner PATENA, a solid Kentucky Derby contender owned by Hill 'n' Dale Farms of John and Glenn Sikura and Domenic Dilalla, has been purchased, in part, by IEAH (of Big Brown fame) and wil l be sent to RICK DUTROW JR. in Florida.

IEAH bought 70% of the colt with the remaining 30% divided amongst the Sikura and Dilalla. Dilalla is the manager and owner of the Centennial Farms Niagara Stable in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Patena, 2nd in the Lecomte Stakes recently at Fair Grounds and winner of the Display Stakes at Woodbine, is by Seking the Gold out of the Hill 'n' Dale mare Handpainted, a stakes winner from the family of WITH APPROVAL etc.

The purchase price for 70% of the colt was between $1.5 and $1.8 million.

He was trained successfully by Woodbine's JOSIE CARROLL up until today.

DANCE BABY! John Brnjas' Amy's Falcon produced a Dance to Destiny filly on January 15 and will be brede back to Marcavelly. Dance to Destiny had a promising first crop in 2008.


The NTRA/DRF Handicapping Championship starts this weekend in Las Vegas.
Dozens of tracks are involved during the year to give fans a chanc to win money prizes and earn a spot in this big tournament.
From last year's Woodbine contest in August, Tony Natale, John Wolfe and Jack DiCenso were the three Toronto winners of a spot in the championship.
The entire lists of qualifiers are here:

and watch TWINSPIRES.COM'S JILL BYRNE report (all wekend long!):


Ontario bred SNOW DELICIOUS won an allowance race at FAIR GROUNDS yesterday (non-winners of 1 other than) at 12 to 1 for Edward Johnston and Joe Rink. The Maria's Mon - falling Snow, Deputy Minster filly was bred by Sean Fitzhenry and she is a 4yo who raced at Woodbine for claiming in 2008.
She won $26,400 (US) for the score.


BIG CITY MAN, sprint winner

DESERT PARTY (photo at right from BUDMISTER 26.2 at, winner of the Sanford Stakes last year at Saratoga, won his 3yo debut in Dubai yesterday in a $50,000 conditioned race at 7 furlongs.
The Street Cry-Sage Cat, Tabasco Cat colt is owned by Godolphin.

Here's some more news from Day 2 at the Carnival.

Big Man in the City
Dubai Racing Club

Thursday’s second meeting of the 2009 Dubai International Racing Carnival, kindly sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, featured the Group III 1200m Al Shindagha Sprint on the dirt.

It was won in style by the Jerry Barton-trained Big City Man who showed acceleration that the sponsors would have been proud of in one of their Ferraris!

Never far off the pace, he went to the front at halfway and quickened clear 200m later.

He was never likely to be caught under Jose Verenzuela and Barton was delighted: “That was a very pleasing effort and we will look at the Dubai Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup night after the Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Thursday.”

Godolphin enjoyed a memorable double with Alexandros sealing the brace in the concluding 1600m turf handicap, the Al Tayer Motors 1600.

Frankie Dettori was in the saddle as he had been earlier when Desert Party landed the Ford Flex Trophy, a 1400m conditions race on dirt.

Restricted to three-year-olds, it has proven a reliable source of UAE 2000 Guineas winners in the past and that will be this colt’s next assignment according to trainer Saeed Bin Suroor: “The UAE [200] Guineas is the obvious target and he is a horse we like a lot with some very good form in the States.


Harlequin Ranches' BLUE EXIT, a promising Pulpit colt out of Black Speck by Arch, won an allowance race by 3 lengths yesterday at 1 1/16 miles on the Pro-Ride surface. Harlequin co-owns with James Hill and Blue Exit Partnership.
He paid $7.60 and is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. The 4yo is a Kentucky bred.

The A.P. Indy filly ASBEAUTIFULASYOU,an Irish bred, won her maiden by 20 1/4 lengths at Laurel yesterday for Mr. and Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor. The filly had raced twice before and was adding blinkers yesterday for the 1 mile maiden allowance.


SEEKING THE BEST's FIRST FOAL... was erroneously reported yesterday. It was not the Jason Allison bred but instead a Hill 'n' Dale Farms, Aurora, Ontario, colt foaled on Jan. 14 out of Stormy Starlet. The stallion stands in Kentucky at Hill 'n' Dale.


  • At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Lois Keays said…

    This may be more like editorial, but I will reiterate my opinion on the encouragement of horse racing fans. Instead of repeating the errors of downplaying the problematic issues of the sport-shine the light on them with concrete resolutions. Implement rules that are North America wide. No more "in-house" assessments, regulations and biased studies of "the problems". Everyone knows the problems, but as a protectionist and perceived "elitist" sport, the reluctance to unify rules and regulations provokes and discourages fans and participants.
    Industrial barons of the early 20th century were finally convinced that the public perception of greed and self-serving business practices would eventually erode their business empires. Other sports have similar issues to horse racing, but by allowing outside scrutiny and addressing their issues with uniform regulation and funding of research, public support is enhanced. The perception of corruption and unethical practices is publically addressed and resolved.
    A recent CBS primetime drama, CSI:Miami episode featured every corrupt practice and damning issue of the thoroughbred racing industry. Do we ignore the impact of this on our potential market or do we step up and prove that we are a viable sport and an industry with solutions?
    All of the various tracks, racing and breed associations should be lobbied by their members for an independent analysis of the situation. Outsourcing of professional consultants that would implement a unified marketing approach for the industry needs to be demanded. Acknowledgement that we have made errors and allowed individualized and self-serving practices to prevail would go a long way in rehabilitating a truly exhilarating and worthy sport.

  • At 1:38 PM, Blogger Ruben Bailey said…

    Thank you, Jen! Looking fwd. to hearing the big news!!

  • At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Lois Keays said…

    As an addendum to my previous comment, I feel that the majority of people think that in horse racing, there is no chance of winning. With closed door policies and half-hearted attempts at regulations, the industry is assured of a dwindling fan base. Compounded by legitimate concerns for the welfare of the primary ingredient, the horse, the onus is on industry participants to present a unified image of forthright disclosure, compassion and willingness to provide the necessary ingredients to enable fans to have faith in our product.


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