ON THE SURFACE
NORTHERN DANCER HAT ARRIVES!!
HORSEHATS.COM has unveiled its first ever Northern Dancer ball-cap and its on sale now.
Thanks to Noreen Taylor of Windfields Farm and Bruce Walker (who came up with the idea!) for the hat - a portion of sales goes to Ontario's LONGRUN THOROUGHBRED RETIREMENT FOUNDATION (SEE BELOW)
Perhaps it will be a GIVEAWAY on Northern Dancer Stakes day at Woodbine?
Buy your NORTHERN DANCER hat today!!
For our Canadian customers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order.
A portion of the proceeds from every Northern Dancer hat sold will be donated to Long Run Thoroughbred Retirement in Canada.
Trainers at Santa Anita vs. PRO RIDE
"This is the worst I've seen in 58 years of training" - Henry Moreno
ART WILSON reports for the San Gabriel valley Tribune that a meeting between Ian Pearse of Pro-Ride and trainers at Santa Anita was not a pleasant one...
On the surface, trainers express their frustrations
By Art Wilson, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/07/2009 10:24:24 PM PST
ARCADIA - Ian Pearse now knows what it's like for an opposing quarterback to stand in the pocket and face a blitzing USC defense.
Pearse was confronted by about 50 trainers - some of them loaded for bear - in the Santa Anita grandstand on Wednesday morning during an hour-long meeting that was arranged by California Thoroughbred Trainers board member Clifford Sise.
The trainers showed up to express their fears over a synthetic Pro-Ride surface, founded by Pearse, that has been a heated topic during the first 10 days of the meet.
Five horses broke down during the first week of the meet, and three had to be euthanized. There have been no breakdowns in the past five days, but trainers are still complaining about the condition of a surface that the Australian-based Pearse installed at Santa Anita this past summer.
Mark Glatt said he was one of a handful of trainers who walked the track last weekend.
"What I saw was horrifying," he said. "There were holes. It's not a good race track. It's inconsistent. We can't have a race track like that."
Vladimir Cerin was a proponent of synthetic tracks when they debuted at Hollywood Park in the fall of 2006, but he's now concerned about a Pro-Ride surface that was universally praised during the Breeders' Cup in October.
"Training on this track is like walking on a minefield," he said. "The question is, who will be next?
"I don't know how to fix it. I just can't have it the way it is."
Pearse, standing next to track superintendent Richard Tedesco, told trainers he hadn't seen any of the extreme problems that some were describing.
"It's easy to see obvious problems, but in this case nothing was obviously wrong," he said.
Pearse, while admitting he has no maintenance agreement with Santa Anita, said a different plan of action needs to be implemented now that the weather has changed. He said the recent power harrowing was necessary to ensure an equal density throughout the surface.
"We need to have a different program now than what we had in the summer," he said.
He said the U.S. is the only country where there is training and racing on the same track on the same day and that adjustments need to be made.
"It's a whole new ballgame," Pearse said.
Asked by trainer Darrell Vienna if the horses were the guinea pigs, Pearse didn't refute the analogy.
"In this instance, yes," he said.
Longtime trainers Bruce Headley, Mel Stute and Henry Moreno were perhaps the most outspoken.
Headley told Pearse, "I've got my money invested. You don't have (bleep) invested."
Said Stute: "In the past 40 years, I've had 12 fatalities, and nine have come on these synthetic tracks. They've been a pain in the (rear)."
About 20 minutes into the meeting, Stute got up, mumbled, "I've heard enough of this (bleep)," and left.
Moreno told the assembled group he thinks racing should go back to traditional dirt tracks.
"This is the worst I've ever seen in my 58 years in racing," he said.
NOTE: AT TURFWAY PARK, which has also had big-time trouble with its Polytrack, REAR TOE-GRABS have been reinstated after the track had banned them earlier.
IT'S A VICTORY
The good news was, ROGUE VICTORY, on my stablemail for 2 months, won at Gulfstream with every trip handicapper on his side from here to China. The bad news?
There was no sign of 8 to 1 morning line odds - he was 3 to 2 for a while and went off at 5 to 2.
Anyway, the bright chestnut looks like a star in the making as he came from very much last after a lethargic start from the gate to win wrapped up - one of 3 winners for jockey Eibar Coa.
SOLDIER GIRL won for Woodbine's Weila Ye, G. Martin and JMJ's Stable and trainer Julia Carey. The turf filly was 12 to 1 in the morning line and won at 5 to 2 - ouch.
She earned $16,000 US for the score at the $35K claiming level.
POETIC FAN, owned and trained by Mike DePaulo, was third at 19 to 1.
What a horrendous trip for Bear Stables' BEARS PROSPECTOR, arguably tons the best in the maiden allowance, the last race of the day. The Silver Deputy colt:
tossed his rider in the post parade but was composed once underway - he set the pace from the rail, was swarmed at the quarter-pole, shuffled back to 4th, lacked room, steadied a bit, was full of run when he was finally angled out to the 3 path in early stretch and he closed fast but had to settle for 2nd.
No 6 to 1 on him next time - and hey, this looks like a really nice 'prospect'.
Already there is much for Ontario racing fans to watch on Saturday - PATENA in the Lecomte at Fair Grounds, SHILLA, also in a stake at Fair Grounds on a big card of racing and FRENCH BERET and WINDWARD ISLANDS in the Col. Bradley at Fair Grounds.
CANADA'S CHAMPION older horse MARCHFIELD will line up for the San Pasqual Handicap on Saturday at Santa Anita, a Grade 2 race.
BRISNET offers a preview, here's an excerpt:
Well Armed, Cowboy Cal highlight strong field in San Pasqual
Saturday's $150,000 San Pasqual H. (G2) will feature a good group of 12 older horses over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride, and WELL ARMED (Tiznow), winner of the Goodwood S. (G1) two starts back over the track, is the top draw for the 1 1/16-mile event.
Trained by Eoin Harty, Well Armed kept top-class company last season, placing third in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) and second in the Pacific Classic (G1), and the WinStar Farm colorbearer garnered victories in the San Diego H. (G2) and San Antonio H. (G2) before wrapping up his 2008 campaign with an uncharacteristic showing in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, finishing ninth as the 6-5 favorite. Runner-up in the 2008 San Pasqual, Well Armed will keep Aaron Gryder in the saddle for his 2009 bow.
COWBOY CAL (Giant's Causeway) also merits serious respect. The Grade 3 winner finished second in the Blue Grass S. (G1) before recording a ninth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and the Todd Pletcher pupil wasn't seen again under silks until October, returning with a gutsy victory in the Bryan Station S. (G3) via disqualification. The four-year-old colt exits an excellent runner-up effort in the Hollywood Derby (G1), and he shouldn't have any trouble switching back to a synthetic track. John Velazquez retains the mount.
Canadian classic winner MARCHFIELD (A.P. Indy) will invade for Mark Casse off a score in the Autumn S. (Can-G2) at Woodbine, and the top-three finishers in the December 6 Native Diver H. (G3) -- SLEW'S TIZZY (Tiznow), PAST THE POINT (Indian Charlie) and BALL FOUR (Grand Slam), respectively -- are all part of the line up.
San Pasqual H. (G2)
January 10, $150,000, 4yo & up, 11⁄16m, Santa Anita Park, 4:07 PM PT
P Horse Sire Jockey Wt. Trainer
1. Mostacolli Mort Hold for Gold Garrett K. Gomez 114 John W. Sadler
2. Marchfield A.P. Indy Patrick Husbands 118 Mark E. Casse
3. Informed Tiznow Michael C. Baze 113 Doug F. O’Neill
4. Cowboy Cal Giant’s Causeway John R. Velazquez 117 Todd A. Pletcher
5. Noble Court Doneraile Court Mike E. Smith 114 John W. Sadler
6. Past the Point Indian Charlie Rafael Bejarano 116 Eoin G. Harty
7. Well Armed Tiznow Aaron T. Gryder 121 Eoin G. Harty
8. Magnum (Arg) =El Compinche (Arg) Martin A. Pedroza 113 Darrell Vienna
9. Blue Exit Pulpit David Romero Flores 113 Jerry Hollendorfer
10. Ball Four Grand Slam Christopher P. DeCarlo 118 Todd A. Pletcher
11. Racketeer Awesome Again Chantal Sutherland 113 Barry Abrams
12. Slew’s Tizzy Tiznow Joel Rosario 116 Doug F. O’Neill
from PRESS DEMOCRAT
(photo from Champion's Call website)
EXCERPT: Glenye Cain Oakford of the Daily Racing Form reports that Toussaud, 2002 Broodmare of the Year and one of only four North American-based mares to produce four Grade 1 winners, has died at age 20. Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms, which bred and owned the mare, said Toussaud was euthanized in Kentucky on Tuesday due to declining health.
A Grade 1 winner herself, Toussaud went on to produce Grade 1 winners Chester House, Honest Lady, Chiselling, and Empire Maker, as well as the Grade 1-placed and Grade 2 winner Decarchy.
Only three other mares have matched that record since North American stakes grading began in 1971: Dahlia, Fall Aspen, and Hasili, another Juddmonte homebred who has produced five Grade 1 winners.
Toussaud developed laminitis in 1995, and although she became sound enough to continue her breeding career, she required particular care, including a special stall with rubber flooring under its straw bedding, and a heating and air conditioning option for extreme weather. A veterinarian also checked her feet weekly.
Noted for physical and mental toughness, Toussaud also survived an impaction that led to colic surgery in 2000. Toussaud had been retired from the breeding shed for two years and produced her last foal, the A.P. Indy filly Gateway, in 2006.
The 3-year-old is unraced.
Toussaud also was famous for her quirky personality. Trained by Bobby Frankel, she was known to stop suddenly in the middle of gallops and refuse to move. She also declined to breeze from a racetrack pole, requiring Frankel to breeze her only from the gate. She passed some of her eccentricity, as well as her strength of character, on to many of her foals.
"She was obviously a great broodmare but was an even more special character with a very unique personality," said the farm statement announcing her death. "Though amazingly stubborn at times, she was never seen to pin her ears or try to intentionally harm anyone or anything. She had a very kind yet powerfully strong and resilient nature that lives on in the competitive juices of offspring of Chester House, Empire Maker, Decarchy, and her daughter Honest Lady."
FROM BLOOD-HORSE "FINAL TURN"
Claire Novak writes about the fading away of TURF WRITERS...
"Perhaps someday our profession will go the way of those things once valued, now extinct—like binocular rentals at Saratoga or the old grandstand at Gulfstream. But at least we will have chronicled our gradual disappearance, faithful denizens of a fading society."