$2.3 wagered on opening day

• Almost the exact same amount of money was bet on the opening day card of racing at Woodbine this year as was bet in 2008, $2.3 million – not bad considering the recession.

The Woodbine building was very crowded – Community Day tables helped – but there were a lot of newcomers to the track who kept the customer service team at Woodbine hopping.

For professional horspelayers and fans, it was a very busy day with so many races to tab – Woodbine’s 1-race card plus three Derby preps all over the United States and other major events.

It was a whirlwind.

And speaking of wind, it was a ferocious day at Woodbine as the wind hit the horses square in the face turning for home and even seemed to cause some runners to weave through the stretch.

The fresh Polytrack seemed to offer treacherous footing along the rail, it will be interesting to see how horses come back from rail trips yesterday.

And the wind played havoc with speed horses as most seemed to wilt in the stretch.

The day’s feature was the $100,000 LA VOYAGEUSE STAKES and while the distance of just 5 furlongs is a far cry from the Woodbine Oaks’ 9 furlongs in June, several fillies got a lot out of messy trips in the race and can be pinpointed as Oaks hopefuls.

The winner was Eugene Melynk’s homebred MULLINS BEACH, a Speightstown – Treasure Beach, Silver Deputy bay gal who has won twice at 2 but had bombed in 2 previous stakes starts.

The filly was a rare front running winner on the card, battling Sans Sousi all the way and then holding on as some closers were gaining.

PRETTY KATHERINE, a California invader for Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings and William DeBurgh, drew the rail in the race and did not break sharply and immediately was shuffled back to last heading into the turn.

She seemed to have trouble getting going and trailed turning for home before powering down the stretch to get 4th. She galloped out in front.

HIGH MIST, heavily bet at 7 to 5, had an early pace battle form the deep rail, dropped back and then re-rallied between fillies in the strtech while DOUBLE MALT broke outwardly, hustled up into contention on the turn and then stalled.

The Beyer Figure for the winner was 79. Iris and Bill Bristown greeted Mullins Beach in the winner’s circle for Melnyk and trainer Malcolm Pierce.

The fastest race of the day was  RACE 9, an allowance optional claimer that was trainer Pierce’s SECOND WIN. Live Oak Plantation’s homebred 4yo gelding TRUE VINDICATION won his 3rd race in his last 4 years with a last gasp rally at front running BOLD NURSE to win in 57.47 – good for a 91 Beyer Speed Figure.

The winner was one of 3 winners on the card for PATRICK HUSBANDS, who won the Sovereign Award last year.


AboveApr509.jpgThe first race went to John Terdik’s homebred FLASHY N CLASSY, who broke sharply, chased front runing Theboyscanswim, and rallied into the wind to score under Chantal Sutherland (see yesterday’s post for news on the first race of the season).

Trainer SCOTT FAIRLIE was on a shopping spree right off the bat. He claimed the first two finishers from race 1 (Master Manipulator was second and then Fight the Storm from race 2, all for his Ace Racing Stable.

RACE 2- American trainer MIKE PINO has a stable at Woodbine for the year and started off with a bang. David Ross’ 4yo filly TALK FAST wore down Fight the Storm to win race 2 for $20,000 claiming. It was the Yankee Gentleman’s 4th career win from just 9 starts.

Cameilla Farms’ STORM CODE came off a November-April layoff to win the 3rd race for $20,000 claimers (Non-winners of 3) as the big favourite, The white faced chestnut, who races just 3 times last year, wore down the speed under Eurico Da Silva. Pat Parente trains.

Race 4 was the first of 2 winners on the card for trainer ROSS ARMATA. The 4th race, for $10,000, non-winners of 2, went to MOON RUCKUS, who was sold privatly to Armata by Rocco d’Alimonte and Frank Annecchini last year. Emile Ramsammy rode.

Race 5 resulted in the biggest upset of the day when Bridle Path Stables’ KASABLANCA EXPRESS rallied from just off the pace to win her maiden for $30,000 claiming, Mike Doyle prepared the filly for that 8th career start and first since last fall. She is by Bold Executive and was bred by Larry Spindler.

In race 7, SILVER PIZZAZZ duplicated what she did in 2008 – winning her seaosn debut. The grey mare, owned by Gord and Audre Cappuccitti, was another rallying winner as she came from last place to win for $37,500 claiming.

She is a Quebec-bred mare by Our Emblem.

It is easier for barns to take chances at this time of year and I’M A MOON TOO, a Molinaro Farm homebred, was dropping from maiden allowance to $10,000 claiming for her 2009 debut and won the 8TH RACE at 17 to 1. The Perigee Moon filly was ridden by Steve Bahen and was Ross Armata’s 2nd winner.

And welcome back to TODD KABEL, who won the last race on GRENADE, without even hitting her with the whip. The white faced 4yo filly edged past Steve Asmussen trainee Mommie Whiz to win the allowance race for NORSEMEN RACING STABLE and trainer Tony Mattine.


Best Revenge

• I WANT REVENGE’S run in the WOOD MEMORIAL at Aqueduct yesterday caused a stir and had many exclaiming he was the Kentucky Derby come May 2.

The Stepehen Got Even colt, who recently attracted a new partner in ownership in IEAH Stable (of Big Brown fame), blew the start badly in the Wood when he toss his head, and lost half a dozen lengths.

Then the colt was bottled up off the turn, bounced around and then had to be angled out at the eighth pole. From there, he charged home like a monster under Joe Talamo. His Beyer Figure was 103.

Read more at this link:

I Want Revenge Rallies for Wood Win

By RICHARD ROSENBLATT – 13 hours ago

NEW YORK (AP) — At the start, trainer Jeff Mullins thought the worst. Jockey Joe Talamo knew better.

After I Want Revenge broke poorly and fell way behind his seven rivals, the big bay colt fought his way through a wall of horses in the stretch for a 1 1/2-length victory in the $750,000 Wood Memorial on Saturday at Aqueduct.

“I was already headed back to the barn at that point,” Mullins said. “But Joe was patient and that says a lot for a young rider. He saved his horse and waited for the right time to let him go.

“He looks like a pretty nice horse to me.”

To just about everyone else, too.


• He’s not as fast as the top Derby prospects but if PIONEEROF THE NILE ever figures out how to run, he might be a serious Derby factor. The colt won the Santa Anita Derby in a comlicated manner for Zayat Stables and trainer Bob Baffert and goes to the Derby now as an outsider contender.

The Empire Maker colt was very rank down the backstretch and jockey Garret Gomez could not hold him. The colt made the lead and then had the lengths of the stretch to think about his lead and he needed some coaxing to hold his advantage.

His Beyer Figure for his win was 96.

It has been 20 years since the Santa Anita Derby winner came back to win the Kentucky Derby.

And at Hawthorne, MUSKET MAN stalked the pace and won the ILLINOIS DERBY over Giant Oak in 1:49 4/5 for 9 furlongs.



ROGER ATTFIELD was in the Keeneland winner’s circle when SOCIETY’S CHAIRMAN, a Canadian bred 6yo horse, was up to win an allowance race yesterday by a head. The Not Impossible – Athena’s Smile horse had been unlucky in two stakes losses to start this season.

Charles Fipke owns Society’s Chairman, who ran 1 1/16 miles on grass in 1:44 3/5.

100-1 shot wins Grand National


LIVERPOOL, England (AP) – Liam Treadwell rode 100-1 shot Mon Mome to a 12-length victory in the Grand National on Saturday.

The 9-year-old horse, which finished 10th last year, equaled Foinavon in 1967 as the biggest-priced winner in the 4 1/2-mile, 30-fence slog around Aintree.

In a race delayed by two false starts, the outsider stretched away from his rivals after jumping the last of the fences.

“How can you ever expect that in a race like this?” trainer Venetia Williams said amid the celebrations.

Comply or Die, last year’s winner, was second in the 162nd running of the world’s most famous steeplechase. My Will finished third, ahead of State of Play.

“It’s an absolutely unbelievable finish, I had the perfect run through the race, he jumped brilliant for me,” the 23-year-old Treadwell said. “He gave me such a great ride. He was an absolute pleasure to ride. He is so genuine.”

The race was again marred by a death, as Hear The Echo collapsed and died just a few hundred feet from the winning post. He was the fifth horse to die this year in the three-day meeting. Butler’s Cabin, one of the pre-race favorite, also collapsed and had to be given oxygen.

Williams became only the second woman after 1983 and ’95 winner Jenny Pitman to train a National winner.


More Horses Rescued from Owner’s care in 2007

(see April 3 post for more on this story)


Published: April 4, 2009 

Ernie Paragallo, the prominent New York thoroughbred breeder and owner whose horses were found emaciated and on their way to slaughter last month, had horses rescued from his Center Brook Farm in 2007. They were starving and required more than a month in an equine hospital in Saratoga Springs.


A horse, thought to be previously known as Pass the Pie and once owned by Ernie Paragallo, at top shortly after arriving at an equine hospital in 2007 and above after being treated there.