Today’s post dedicated to the memory of Royce Gracey.


MilwaukeeApr20.jpgAPPEALING RETURN

– Eugene George’s MILWAUKEE APPEAL strolled to a 1 ¾ length in the Star Shoot Stakes and then galloped out seemingly a mile in front of her rivals as Na Somsanith tried to pull her up.

The 3yo Milwaukee Brew filly, a classic bay colour, is now on the road to the Woodbine Oaks.

“She ran a very strong race,” said trainer Scott Fairlie. “She’s matured big time mentally. It’s unbelievable her focus on running now compared to last year.”

In 2008, Milwaukee Appeal won three of her six starts, including the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie on November 30.

George bred Milwaukee Appeal and it is an interesting pedigree match. Milwaukee Brew, sire of last year’s champion 3yo filly Ginger Brew, is a source of stamina while the mare. Appealing Forum, by Open Forum, was very fast and won 2 short dashes in her 4 career starts.

George claimed Appealing Forum from her 2nd win in her 2nd race, for $50,000, from Mockingbird Farm but then the filly was beaten 44 lengths in her next 2 starts.

Fortunately, Goerge’s third foal from the mare is a multiple stakes winner with perhaps even more good stuff to come. The Beyer Figure for Milwaukee Appeal was 78.



Early reports have jockey Clark with break in arm


Clearing off the notes from the Saturday and Sunday racing days:

A gate incident in race 1 left DAVID CLARK injured and off his mounts for the afternoon.

Trainer DEBBIE ENGLAND had WEEKENDONTHEBEACH ready to win her season debut for new owners John Scott (Formal Racing) and Dr. Brian Van Arem ( T and T) on Sunday. Purchased privately last year after a busy 2yo campiagn, the chestnut filly by Bold Executive – Barbarees Hill won a maiden allowance on the pace over a fast closing MUSIC AT WORK, who was really gaining quickly for Frank DiGiulio.

England commented about her star runner MARLANG, owned by Gus Schickedanz, after the race on THE SCORE cable show: “He had his first workout this morning and he went super, He’s grown up a lot.”

The beautiful but obviously delicate Include horse OMIT won like a stake horse in a $10K claimer in race 5 for owner James Justiss. The horse was brought to Woodbine by trainer Gary Aimonetti, who declined to discuss the horse’s history when asked following the race.


WOODSMOKE gave the Gus Schickedanz and Mike Keogh owner/trainign team its first win when she won her debut in race 7.

The grey gal with the high running stride, rallied to beat a 3 to 5 shot in Wiggle and a Wink under Tyler Pizarro.

She is a Langfuhr filly, a full sister to winner D. Flutie and from a mare, Forest Flute, who is a full sister to Queen’s Plate winner Woodcarver.

Her Beyer Figure was 77 for the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17 1/5.

MICHAEL’S BAD BOY may be headed to stakes races after an easy score in his season debut in race 9. Joan Agro’s homebred gelding by Wonneberg ran an 81 Beyer Figure and trainer Nick Gonzalez is expecting big things from the horse. The horse was racing for a $62,500 claiming tag but he is a much better runner on the grass, which will be his surface of choice later.

In that 8th race, track record setter and stakes winner VERNE’S BABY returned from a 2 year layoff after being purchased privately by Dr. Fred Kah, inventors of BioFlex laser technology.

The big black gelding was leading for 5 furlongs under a hard hold before he got weary and beat just one rival. The gelding had set a slow pace but looked very wobbly by the end of the 7 furlongs.

“He is as sound as a dollar bill,” said Dr. Khan, who has treated horses for trainers Vito Armata and others in recent years but whose company is geared for humans. “He came out of the race great.”

Verne’s Baby has had operations for chips in his knees and was originally raced for his owner/breeder George Bigliardi.

BOCA PASS zoomed up the rail to win his career debut in race 2 on Sunday for Woodford Racing LLC and trainer Mark Casse. The Johannesburg bay gelding ran in  57 3/5 and earned a 79 Beyer Figure.

And the DAVE COTEY team won the first and last races with maidens. KNOW NO LIMITS took the first after losing her 2009 debut as the favourite while first time starter LOOSE TALKER (Repent) rolled up the rail to win his debut in the finale.

On Saturday, JOHN CARDELLA’S cool gelding GARZON won for the 2nd time this year in the 2nd race for $32,000 claiming…owner / trainer CATHY MCEWIN won her first race of the season with the Dance to Destiny Ontario bred ACED THE MOVES in a $12,500 claimer…READE BAKER won back to back races with RING OF GREATNESS and BEAR’S PROSPECTOR (80 Beyer Figure for the latter) and trainers ALAN DESRUISSEAUX and MIKE SILVERA won their first races of the season with Brewtiful Girl and Samantha’s Song respectively.



– Reviewed in Toronto Star

This book features a couple of stories of Ontario racehorses who have found new careers. See the main page of my ‘blog to find out more abotu the book.



– Horse owner and breeder Heather Takahashi got a lot of press last year when he horse Shadowless was in the Queen’s Plate – she’s back in the papers again:

Why I bought a racehorse: A banker wins the race

Caitlin Kelly

Special to the Star

Some people invest in real estate. Some buy GICs, mutual funds or Canada Savings Bonds. Heather Takahashi, a New York-based investment banker born and educated in Toronto, chose Shadowless.

That’s her racehorse.

So far, he has earned her a pre-tax profit of 70 per cent – about $350,0000 in winnings – on her initial $22,500 investment.

In the racing world, one typically dominated by millionaires, men and bluebloods backed by generations of wealth, this University of Toronto microbiology graduate, a soft-spoken, single woman who works at a New York bank, is a distinct anomaly.

“I don’t have any family in this business,” she says. “It’s also unusual to own a racehorse solo. All the money I have is money I’ve earned through my regular job.”




Garrett Gomez, the leading rider in the US, will ride top west-coast contender Pioneerof The Nile in the Kentucky Derby on May 2.

Gomez has chosen the Santa Anita Derby winner ahead of Coolmore’s Florida Derby runner-up Dunkirk, who now looks certain to make the cut.

Gomez’s agent Ron Anderson told the Daily Racing Form that it was the most difficult decision he had had to make in 36 years booking rides for a number of the nation’s top riders. Pioneerof The Nile has completed a graded-stakes four-timer under Gomez on California’s all-weather tracks.

“If I had won four stakes, two Grade One’s on the other horse I would have been on that one,” explained Anderson.

Edgar Prado, who scored on Dunkirk in his career debut, is now likely to get the leg-up on the grey son of Unbridled’s Song.



– Edgar Prado rode Square Eddie in that colt’s unusual trip in the Lexington Stakes on Saturday when the Canadian-bred made a wild, premature move around the turn to take the lead early before facing to third.

Prado may be taking Dunkirk now (see above).

The Keeneland barn notes team said Square Eddie came out of the race fine according to Sabas Rivera, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill. The Smart Strike colt, who won the 2008 Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland, walked the shedrow on Sunday morning and would continue to do so for the next several mornings before returning to the track. He is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on Tuesday.



Canadian champion, to KY. DERBY

By El Paso Times, Texas

Apr. 19–SUNLAND PARK — Mine That Bird, which finished fourth in the recent Sunland Derby, has earned a spot in the 135th Kentucky Derby, scheduled for Saturday, May 2 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

As such, Mine That Bird becomes just the fourth horse in the 50-year history of the track to make it to the Kentucky Derby, and the second since 1981.

The Bob Baffert-trained Sorted Out made the Derby in 2004 after running in the Winstar Derby, the precursor to the Sunland Derby.

Prior to that, 1981 was the previous year a Sunland horse made the Derby. The only other time that happened was in the early 1960s, according to Sunland Park officials.

Mine That Bird has four career wins and entering this weekend’s races was 17th on the Graded Stakes Earnings List for the Derby. The race is limited to 20 horses based on their grades stakes earnings.

Mine That Bird has more than $374,000 in career graded-stakes earnings after its fourth-place finish in the Sunland Derby. The horse has an all-time record of 7-4-1-1.

Chip Woolley Jr. is the trainer of Mine That Bird, which is owned by Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine. Casey Lambert rode the horse at the Sunland Derby.


Kentucky Derby Graded Earnings for Major Contenders (through 04/19/09)

Rank Horse, Trainer Graded Earnings

1 Regal Ransom bin Suroor, Saeed $1,250,000

2 Pioneerof the Nile Baffert, Bob $1,193,250

3 Square Eddie O’Neill, Doug $804,981

4 I Want Revenge Mullins, Jeff $774,000

5  Papa Clem Stute, Gary $760,000

6 Desert Party bin Suroor, Saeed $641,667

7 Quality Road Jerkens, James $600,000

8 General Quarters McCarthy, Tom $595,645

9 Friesan Fire Jones, J. Larry $570,465

10 Musket Man Ryan, Derek $485,000

11 Hold Me Back Mott, Bill $438,000

12 West Side Bernie Breen, Kelly $385,160

13 Chocolate Candy Hollendorfer, Jerry $370,000

14 Win Willy Robertson, McLean $230,000

15 Advice Pletcher, Todd $206,845

16 Giant Oak Block, Chris $169,256

17 Dunkirk Pletcher, Todd $150,000

18 Mine That Bird Woolley, Bennie $138,705

19 Flying Private Lukas, D. Wayne $124,000

20 Mr. Hot Stuff Harty, Eoin $114,000

21 Summer Bird Ice, Tim $100,000

22 Join in the Dance Pletcher, Todd $90,000

23 Take the Points Pletcher, Todd $85,000

24 Atomic Rain Breen, Kelly $77,500

25 Just a Coincidence Zito, Nick $75,000



-Eugene Melnyk’s graded stakes winning Canadian-bred STERWINS had an awful journey in the Ben Ali Handicap yesterday and landed 5th behind front running winner Parading.

Indeed, only Kent Desormeaux seemed to know what was happening in the nine-furlong event at Keeenland, setting a very slow pace while the others in the field were under very hard holds – including Sterwins.

One of the hardest held horses early in the race was runner-up Your Round.

Result chart courtesy Thoroughbred Daily News:

Sunday, Keeneland

BEN ALI S.-GIII, $150,000, KEE, 4-19, 4yo/up, 1 1/8m

(AWT), 1:47 4/5, ft.

1–@PARADING, 117, h, 6, by Pulpit

1st Dam: On Parade (GSP), by Storm Cat

2nd Dam: My Flag, by Easy Goer

3rd Dam: Personal Ensign, by Private Account

O/B-Phipps Stable (KY); T-Claude R McGaughey III;

J-Kent J Desormeaux; $93,000. Lifetime Record:

16-6-4-2, $315,046. Werk Nick Rating: A++.

Click for eNick report & 5-cross pedigree.

2–Your Round, 117, c, 4, Distorted Humor–Another

Round, by Affirmed. ($180,000 yrl ’06 KEESEP).

O-KatieRich Stables; B-Sharon Mitchell & Russell L

Reineman Stable Inc (KY); T-Mark Hubley; $30,000.

3–Monba, 117, c, 4, Maria=s Mon–Hamba, by Easy

Goer. ($200,000 yrl ’06 FTSAUG). O-Starlight,

Lucarelli and Saylor; B-Mill Ridge Farm Ltd & Jamm

Ltd (KY); T-Todd A Pletcher; $15,000.

Margins: 7HF, HF, HD. Odds: 5.20, 43.70, 1.40.

Also Ran: Dominican, Sterwins, Grasshopper, Adriano



Recap from The Province, Dancing Allstar makes home proud

Exhilarating return of thundering hooves 

By Kent Gilchrist, The Province

Apart from running out of programs on the opening day of thoroughbred racing at Hastings Racecourse on Saturday, it was about as perfect as could reasonably be expected.

There was a large, enthusiastic crowd — some attracted by the rare sunny afternoon — that came close to resembling a B.C. Cup Day crowd with the apron in front of the grandstand full of folks enjoying themselves.

You’ve been amply warned about the risks of gambling, but leaning on the rail and watching the magnificent horses thunder toward the first turn and then coming down the stretch in a three-or-four-horse photo finish can be addictive in its own way.