Whew – it’s AUGUST already! Where did the time go. CIVIC HOLIDAY WEEKEND here in Ontario (no idea what that means) so there is an extra day of racing at Woodbine  on Monday (but no racing Wednesday night)


Too much bad news about horses being cast-off, jockeys getting suspended 60 days, trainers getting fined and suspended…how about some good news about a regular guy, MERCHANT OF MENACE, who won almost $40K on the track, never won his maiden and was given to a good home before he got too far down the claiming ladder (read more at bottom of post)






If there was a complaint from people who attended the Prince of Wales stakes race, it had to do with the distance they had to walk after parking their car.

That’s because an estimated 10,000 race fans showed their support for the 78th run of the prestigious event on Tuesday, the first time in its history that it was not held on a Sunday.

Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium chief executive officer Jim Thibert said it seemed to be an issue that affected people were glad to experience.

“It’s not like they were complaining. They were smiling because they’re race fans and haven’t seen the parking lot that full in a long time,” said Thibert.




Canada’s Horse of the Year vindicates himself in POW
Cindy Pierson Dulay photo

Uncaptured took the lead in mid-stretch and never looked back to take the 78th edition of the Prince of Wales in front of a jam packed, loud and enthusiastic crowd at Fort Erie Race Track.
It was the first win of 2013 for Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year, who was guided to the one-length victory by Miguel Mena for trainer Mark Casse and owner John Oxley.
River Seven was second and Niigon’s Glory was third, beaten 5 ½ lengths.
The running time for 1 3/16 miles was 1:55.49.

Power Phil, who finished fifth, took the early lead through an opening quarter of 24.15 seconds with Uncaptured a surprising fifth at the first call.  River Seven took over the lead soon after through a half-mile in 49.42 seconds with Uncaptured still near the back of the pack however, jockey Miguel Mena seemed quite at ease.

Mena relayed after the race, in a post race scrum, that he thought he had it won early.  “I thought we’d be closer to the pace but he was just galloping along.  When I asked him at the half-mile pole, I knew it was over then.”

Although Mena seemed confident and relaxed, Casse wasn’t.  “I was very surprised. I was shocked.  Going down the backside I kept saying to myself, ‘he really likes the dirt.’ I just wished Miguel would have told me.”

Around the turn, with rivals Jagger M and Niigon’s Glory making bids, Mena had to take Uncaptured five wide to make his run to the front and he did so with ease, with Uncaptured gliding to the lead and drawing off to his sixth career stakes score.

While Casse suspects Uncaptured won’t start in the Travers Stakes, the sport’s marquee mid-summer event, set for Saratoga on August 24. “That’s a toughie. I’m going where Verrazano (impressive winner of the Haskell Stakes on Sunday) isn’t, but I will say for sure that his next start will be on dirt.”

Eurico Rosa da Silva was pleased with River Seven’s effort.  “We were really pressed into the second turn, but my horse ran very bravely and ran a good race. I can’t complain.”

Steven Bahen, who rode Niigon’s Glory, was impressed by the winner, “he ran by us like we were standing. He’s a nice horse and that’s why he was Horse of the Year.”

Midnight Aria, who won the Queen’s Plate, first jewel of the Triple Crown held at Woodbine didn’t compete in the Prince of Wales. The Breeders’ Stakes, third and turf jewel of the three race series, is set for Woodbine on August 18.

Uncaptured picked up a $300,000 payday to bring his career bankroll to $959,525.

Uncaptured paid $2.90, $2.20, $2.10 across the board and combined with River Seven ($4, $3.40) for a $9.40 exactor. Niigon’s Glory ($4.50) wrapped up a $46.30 triactor.

The total bet for the prestigious event was $1,322,764 up from $1,158,497 which was bet in 2012.



Vanessa Ng photo





You gotta get up Earl’y

Heavy rain began midway through the Wednesday night card, enough that the VICTORIANA STAKES was run in a downpour and on less than firm grass.
That did not bother the tough minded gal HOBNOBSNOB, the 4yo Mobil filly who led all the way to win the 1 1/16 mile event for her 3rd win in as many races this season.
Bred and owned by Susan Rasmussen’s Openwood Farm in Caledon, HOBNOBSNOB was one of 3 winners on the 8 race card for trainer EARL BARNETT. Gerry Olguin rode the winner of the stakes race and one of the other winners.
Barnett was thrilled with the effort by Hobnobsnob to earn her first added-money score in her first attempt.
“She’s not that big, but she’s got heart,” said Barnett.
The dam of Hobnobsnob is Dancing Leaves, by Kiridashi, a mare who won over $175,000 on the track and was very productive. Her other foal to race is recent winner Pugsley.


WHISPERING WALL led from start to finish to win for $8,000 claiming in race 1, her 2nd win of the season. Lisa McCallum Smith owns the 5yo mare by Concorde’s Tune and Greg Cox trains.

BREW BLESSINGS tumbled in class from $25,000 to just $10,000 in race 2 and was up to win by 1 3/4 lengths for a Skye Chernetz Daily Double. The winner was making her 4th start of the season for Frank Cirillo and trainer Marty Drexler.

TEX, 2nd in the Cup and Saucer Stakes last year (but dq’d to 3rd) finally broke through for his maiden win when dropping to $50,000 claiming in race 3. The 1 116 mile turf race was made to order for the grey 3to by Exchange Rate who is owned by Jake Ballis and trained by Brian Lynch. The winner is an Ontario bred out of Seven of Nine, by Meadowlake and he was bred by Dr. Tom Keenan.

FAITH IN PHOEBE was a predictable winner of race 5 for trainer Earl Barnett and owners 2195967 Ontario Inc. The 5yo maiden was making the 3rd start off the layoff and had a bullet 4 furlong workout since her latest. She is an Ontario bred by Newfoundland out of Dotted Ribbon by Pleasant Tap and she was bred by Heather and Tom Stringer. The race was for $12,500.

Mario Forgione’s LUCIC lasted to win his maiden by a nose in race 6 for  $12,500. The son of Thunder Gulch – Vaganova by  Nureyev was making his 2nd start of the year and 8th career start. John Charalambous trains.

Turf to Poly worked for SILENT TREAT who won the 5th race, an Ontario sired allowance race at 5 furlongs. The winner is a Silent Name (Jpn) 3yo out of crumpet by Bold n Flashy, owned and bred by Stablemates. Scott Fairlie trains and Michelle Rainford rode.
And Barnett wrapped up the night with 7 to 2 shot SLEW OF ENVY, who won a 5 horse race in the finale, a maiden $25,000 event. The winner really showed off in post parade for owner Elvis Waithe and he was adding Lasix for his 3rd career race. He rallied from just off the pace under Emma-Jayne Wilson to win by 3/4 of e length.
Here’s George was 3rd and he had more than 75% of the show pool (about $11,000). The winner is by Gamblers Slew out of Soothing by Lite the Fuse and was bred Herb Chambers.



MERCHANT OF MENACE never won his maiden, although he came close for $25,000 a couple of times. The son of Stormin Fever – Vintage Red was not dropped to the low claiming ranks and instead has found a home in Tenneesee with Nicola Ellis. He has adapted well to being a hunter. Owner and breeders TEN EASY PIECES retired their fellow and have done a wonderful thing a gelding who won $40,000.






THE Duel on the Downs lived up to its billing as Toronado mastered Dawn Approach at the third attempt in a memorable finish to the Sussex Stakes.