A ‘D’ BIT AND A SMILE: BEAR PAW heads out to the track for the La Prevoyante Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday. She would finish 2nd to She’s the Berries for Bear Stable and John Burness – JULIE WRIGHT PHOTO


Sovereign Award for Champion Older Mare in Canada looks likely

ESCAPE CLAUSE (right) finishes second in the Kathryn Crosby Stakes at Del Mar but was placed first through disqualification – DEL MAR PHOTO

ESCAPE CLAUSE has spent the first three years of her racing career pulverizing her opposition at Assininboia Downs, and at times, in Alberta too.

the Manitoba bred by Going Commando – Danger Pay by Circulating, owned by Don Schnell, Barry Arnason and True North Stable of Keith Johns, is a Horse of the Year and champion in Manitoba and as a 4-year-old in 2018, she has continued to roll.

For one stakes this season the track had a hard time getting opponents for her and she wound up racing against only a couple of rivals.

Purchased by Arnason from breeder Cam Ziprick at the CTHS Manitoba sale in 2015 for about $4,000 CAN, Escape Clause was shipped by van to Del Mar with Schnell last week for the $75,000 Kathryn Crosby Stakes to meet some very tough older mares. Oh, and it was her first ever race on the grass. She ran 1 mile in 1:35 with an 88 Beyer Speed Figure.

Riding an 8-race winning streak in Canada, Escape Clause ran a huge race, lost her path late and finished second but was later placed first through disqualification.

It was the 16th stakes win and 18th win overall in 25 starts for the bay gal who sports a wisp of a star, a stripe and a snip. Daily Racing Form pp’s on the superstar filly:

“So much had her legend grown that Schnell said not a single other horse was entered in an August race at Assiniboia with a $20,000 purse, so he put another horse from his stable to run against Escape Clause. She won, of course.” – read more:


MELMICH (outside) became the latest Ontario bred horse to go over $1 million. here is one of his career stakes wins, the Seagram Cup from – MICHAEL BURNS PHOTO

Cory Hoffman and Stephen Chesney’s gritty gelding MELMICH got a confidence building win on Saturday at Woodbine and went over the $1 million mark in (US) earnings.The Ontario bred by Wilko, bred by Andrew Stronach, looped around rivals in the allowance/optional claiming race and won fairly easily with an 86 Beyer Speed Figure.

Trained by Kevin Attard, Melmuch has been a regular winner and close competitor in stakes races at Woodbine for several years but had not won in 6 races this year. He had, however, placed in four stakes races. Eurico Rosa da Silva rode the gelding who now has 17 wins in 41 races.

His earnings according to Equibase stand at $1,007, 563. In Canadian dollars that is about $1,329,000. Statistics maintained by Equibase are only in US dollars.

Click here to read the story of Melmich.



It was a balancing act for horse racing lovers who follow Woodbine this past week and a roller-coaster ride for its dedicated horsepeople.

So many good things to embrace from Ontario-bred star Melmich becoming a millionaire (see above), to an apprentice jockey’s first career win, to LongRun Day and HBPA Day doing important work to celebrate horses and the people who love them and work with them.

Saturday was HBPA Awards day at Woodbine and the year’s top Grooms and Assistant Trainers were presented with  prizes.

Groom of the Year award winners:

Groom of the Year BASIL LEON, who works for John Ross; 2016 Sovereign Award winning groom,Dexter Brathwaite, a groom for trainer Barbara Minshall and  Nichola (Nicki) Brolley, a groom for trainer Catherine Day Phillips.

Assistant of the Year Award winners were:

Leigh-Anne MacRae, Assistant to small stable Trainer Don MacRae
Brad McKnight, Assistant to medium stable Trainer Norm McKnight
Brent Harris, Assistant to large stable Trainer Mike Doyle

As HBPA director Veronica Attard described, these men and women who take care of their horses each day, sometimes for very long days (and long Wednesday nights) are the people that racehorses get to know best. The horses rely on them for care and attention and love. The best ones no doubt play a big part in the success of a racehorse.

LONGRUN THOROUGHBRED RETIREMENT day had  a jockey signing segment with the organization’s latest calendar, always a popular horse and racing related keep sake that comes out each November. LongRun is also selling beautiful merchandise and Christmas cards. Remember, this winter some 50 horses who live at LongRun in Hillsburgh will be in need of supplies and hopefully, loving new homes. There are also many horses at the farm who are permanent residents. If you can’t find a good home for your retired racehorse yourself, LongRun can help.

HANNAH TWOMEY is in the latest of promising apprentice riders at Woodbine and the former Thunder Bay resident won her first career race on Sunday in only her 11th career mount. Riding longshot SHOW ME THE PRIZE for owner Arthur Amos and trainer Ross Armata, Twomey kept her filly in range of the speed and then guided her to a wide rally and a 5 length win.


SHOW ME THE PRIZE flew to victory on Sunday and was the first winner for apprentice rider HANNAH TWOMEY – woodbine photo by Michael Burns

from Daily Racing Form, Nov. 7-11





Also – She’s the Berries post a 79 Beyer Figure when winning the La Prevoyante Stakes on Saturday for owner/breeder Brereton Jones and trainer Mark Casse.

The Casse team also won its 8th GLORIOUS SONG STAKES, this year with SOUPER CHARLOTTE, shoe remained undefeated in 2 races. She put up a 63 Beyer Figure.

The leading trainers, Norm McKnight and Mark Casse each collected a handful of wins during the last week. But also smaller stable TONY GATTELLARO won 2 races on Saturday: the 2yo Victory’s Dynasty,  owned by Brian O’Leary’s Polo Management and bred by O’Leary and Micheal C Byrne, won a maiden allowance race with a 67 Beyer Figure and  DILLY DALLY DARBY won race 4 for $20,000 claiming for Tucci Holdings.

Eurico Da Silva won 10 races over Friday through Sunday and is now 23 wins away from tying the all time record for most wins in a Woodbine season – 221 set by Mickey Walls. There 21 racing cards left.

Sunday was not the best day of the Woodbine season, however, with the fatal breakdown of well known gelding, THREE RING CIRCUS, a son of Where’s the Ring – Yolie, owned by Steven, Joe and Godfrey Chircop. Born March 8 2012, Three Ring Circus raced for breeder Frank GiGiulio Jr before he was claimed in the spring of 2016 for $20,000 by trainer Steven Chircop for owner Shehadeh Munther.

Three Ring Circus won 8 of 39 races, placed in 13 others and earned $276,437 US.

THREE RING CIRCUS – photo by Joe Santos

Earlier in the day, bettors and horsepeople alike were left stranded when, following the day’s first race, a turf event, the remainder of the turf races that day were cancelled with only about 12 minutes to post for race 3. Race 3 went on the Tapeta and those who had bet a Pick 5 beginning in race 2 and other vertical wagers, received an “all” in the race as well as in race 5. Race 7 was also taken off turf. Essentially, bettors were stuck with tickets they didn’t want and anyone who advanced wagered also would have been stuck with any number of bets on horses who ended up running on Tapeta and not turf.

The Woodbine turf, which has been saturated with a great deal of rain for the last few weeks, has not been used much as parts of the course, mostly on the backstretch, tend to get quite soggy. While races are being written in the condition book through early December for turf, it might be better to put away the grass season for 2018 and avoid these types of situations again.

Ontario Racing Cancels CTHS Contract to Manage TIP

The news that the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society has received a formal letter from Ontario Racing that its management of the breeding aspect of the Thoroughbred Improvement Program will come to an end Jan. 31, 2019 is unsettling.