Great racing yesterday, Fort Erie awaits some news tomorrow and Canada's own Prime Minister getting in on the slaughter movement
MOST IMPRESSIVE WINNER ON MILLIONS DAY?
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".
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:
RELAY RACE - CANADIANS ELSEWHERE
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.
DAILY RACING FORM
NATIONAL HANDICAPP CHAMPIONSHIP STORY
EXCERPT FROM DAILY RACING FORM
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.
read more at www.drf.com
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE??
Stephen Harper to pledge $50 million to slaughterhouses
North Dakota wants to build a slaughterhouse
FROM CBC NEWS..
Budget to include $1B for hard-hit workers
Last Updated: Friday, January 23, 2009 | 1:32 PM ET Comments259Recommend56
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.
FORT ERIE - WORTH $35 MILLION??
Gosh, NORDIC bought it for $10.00 - where does it get $35 million from?
HAPPY HANDICAPPER BOB SUMMERS WRITES
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!”