CAROLYN COSTIGAN, the young trainer who won the Woodbine Oaks with Roan Inish in her first ever start as a trainer, will take over a strong of horses for George Strawbridge in 2011. Strawbridge’s AUGUSTIN STABLE had Mac Benson as its private Canadian trainer for many eyars but Benson has retired.

A reason for the retirement included stars like SUGAR BAY being sold and SUGAR AGAIN to race in the United States.

Costigan, who trains for her father’s stable and the Arravale Racing Syndicate, will begin duties in April.

She said “I would first like to congratulate Hall of Fame Trainer Mac Benson on his well-deserved retirement.  Mac’s name is synonymous with all that is great in the sport of thoroughbred racing. He epitomizes the best of horsemanship; accomplishment, and, most important, friendship. He has played a very important part in my family’s involvement in horse racing, and in my career development.

I am honoured that Mr. Strawbridge has chosen to place his Canadian horses in my care.  

The Canadian Augustin string will join me in early April when I return to Woodbine and I look forward, with great anticipation, to the 2011 racing season.  “



Bribon out of Gold Cup 2011

The weather was picture perfect on the island of St. Kitts. Racing fans and visitors alike at Beaumont Park found themselves entertained not only by five action packed Thoroughbred races, but a Dominos Tournament, Boxing Exhibitions between the races, and musical entertainment by DJ Wett Dutt.

The first race on the card found a match race between Al Portador, representing St. Kitts, and Elizabul, representing Antigua. Both horses had faced each other previously in the fierce battles of competition in The Federation, but never one on one. It was quite a race. When the starting gate opened, both horses found themselves head to head through the first turn and down the backside. Nearing the three-eighths pole, Elizabul looked to be the stronger of the two horses. When both horses turned for the homestretch run, Elizabul took a narrow lead and looked to have the race won, but Al Portador dug in and came back for an impressive three-quarter of a length victory by pulling away at the wire. The time of the race was a modest but worthy one minute twenty-seven and two-fifths seconds over the drying track. Owned by Emerald Racing Stables and trained by Navin Persaud, Al Portador was ridden to victory by Michael Semple. If Al Portador comes out of this race in fine fashion, it will be his last race prior to departing for the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup which will be run on Saturday, March 5th

Below, JAIRZINHO, currently in California with trainer Simon Callaghan, finishes 2nd to Twirling Canada in the Del Mar Derby – a formidable looking Barbados rival should be ship over to the island.

The following horses have been nominated at the 2nd and final subscription stage for the XXX SANDY LANE BARBADOS GOLD CUP (GR.1. – INT. – BAR) scheduled to be held on Saturday March 5, 2011.

AL PORTADOR (M.S. Stables)

APOSTLE (Mr. Elias Haloute & Sir Charles Williams)

BAD ACTION (Daislyn Sharpe)

BIRD WATCH (Aysha Syndicate)

CHARGE IT (Aysha Syndicate)

DUC D FER (Aysha Syndicate)

ELIZABUL (P) (Neil Cochrane)

EMERALD CRESENT (P) (Melnyk Racing Stables Inc.)

JAIRZIHNO (N. Callaghan & A. Thompson)


JOHN BRIAN (Sir David Seale)

MINGUN TEMPLE (Amanda Marshall-Way & Helen Spencer)

PURE TEMPTATION (Lord Michael Taylor)

REWARD ME (Sir David Seale)

ROCAMADOUR (Clifton Racing & Melrose Racing)

SPICEY TIGER (Mrs. Gay Smith)

SAFETY ZONE (Melnyk Racing Stables Inc.)

SHOW ME THE MONEY (Lord Michael Taylor)

ZOOM (Mrs. Gay Smith)


below IS THE CALDER DERBY from 2007 and in this race, ELIZABUL was 3rd – he was a Live Oak Plantation fellow by Hesabull….


Square Eddie Bound for Donn Handicap

J. Paul Reddam’s 5-year-old Square Eddie made a sensational return to competition at Santa Anita on Jan. 14 as he drew off to win an allowance race by 3 ¼ lengths while setting a track record of 1:13 flat for 6 ½ furlongs in his first start in more than a year. (ESSENTIALLY EQUALLING WORLD RECORD ALSO, 98 Beyer Figure)


Plans call for the son of Smart Strike to make his next start in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Sat., Feb. 5, according to trainer Doug O’Neill.


“Corey Nakatani will be coming to ride him,” O’Neill said. “He had some very good race-like works going into the comeback race and worked a solid three-quarters eight days after that (1:12 3/5 on Jan. 22). He’s doing great and we’re looking forward to coming.”


O’Neill and Reddam teamed up to win the Donn Handicap in 2008 with Spring At Last, a son of Silver Deputy that was a 5-year-old at the time and co-owned by WinStar Farm. Spring At Last had won the $1 million Godolphin Mile (G1) on Dubai World Cup Day the year before. O’Neill indicated that a good effort for Square Eddie in the Donn could earn him a trip to the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) in late March.


CANADIAN-BRED UPDATE – Queen’splatekitten     01/31/2011      PMM      4F      :50.20      Turf      Firm      B

Colt was bought by agent Steve Young for Nicholas and James Brady’s Mill House LLC. Trained by Todd Pletcher.

MACHEN (May-chin) and DIALED IN

Interesting that these 2, hot Kentucky Derby candidates are both 2 for 2 in their careers, both very exciting dudes and check this out:

their Beyer Figures are the same – except backwards.

MACHEN (Distorted Humor) earned a 95 for his debut win and a 75 for his allowance win last weekend. The did did encounter plenty of trouble however, so perhaps the Beyer is a bit low.

DIALED IN (Mineshaft) ran a 75 Beyer in his debut win and then a 95 in his Holy Bull win.

The story behind homebred MACHEN’S NAME:

Neither one, according to Courtlandt Farm owner Don Adam, who was on hand at Fair Grounds on Sunday to watch Machen’s first start around two turns and to confirm the pronunciation as MAY-chin.

“I know two people with the spelling of that, M-A-C-H-E-N,” said the owner. “One is a young couple that I have known for a long time. The other is the president of the University of Florida and his name is Bernie Machen and he pronounces it ‘MATCH-in.’

“The young couple friends of mine, they spell it the same way but they say it as ‘MAY-chin,’” Adam added. “That’s the family we named the horse after. We have another horse that has won twice here, Chloe Kate, and that’s their young girl. That’s their first child.”


TWO Australia Day icons were one too many at Hanging Rock yesterday.

The picturesque annual January 26 race meeting – a tradition stretching back more than 125 years – had to be abandoned due to a kangaroo invasion.

The roos leapt a boundary fence built to keep them out after a similar incident last year when several were skittled by the course ambulance.

Racing club spokesman Mark Graham said a small group of the hundreds of roos that inhabited the area were “particularly determined” to gatecrash yesterday’s event.

“We’ve put fences up but they came off a Usain Bolt run-up and jumped over,” he said.

“We tried to gently usher them out but they just kept coming back. They’re so friendly with humans that they wanted to mingle.”




Thorougblog extends its condolences to Susan Rasmussen and Openwood Farm which had a tragedy occure last month.

Race horses killed in blaze

Tuesday January 25 2011

By Heather Abrey, Enterprise Staff

Nine racehorses were killed in a barn fire on Coolihans Sideroad that resulted in an estimated $2 – 3 million in damage.

Nine racehorses were killed in a barn fire on Coolihans Sideroad that resulted in an estimated $2 – 3 million in damage.

Caledon Fire and Emergency Services were called to Openwood Farms at 8:09 p.m. on Jan. 19 to find the inside of the barn filled with flames.

“When we got there the structure was fully involved inside, so it was rendered unsafe,” explained Caledon Deputy Fire Chief Tony Lippers. Firefighters were unable to enter the structure to fight the fire, but had little access from outside. “Until it broke through we couldn’t really get at it. We were trying to, I guess, get through any hole or crevice that we could find.”

Crews could only launch a defensive attack until the flames ate through the façade. The fire quickly spread to the adjacent paddock and hay storage area of the barn and eventually consumed the whole structure.


Fort Erie’s New RaceBook Opens to Impressive Reviews


January 31st…Racing fans are raving about Fort Erie Race Track’s brand new RaceBook which has opened inside the Fort Erie Slots.  “We love it here,” said one enthusiast.

Gone are the days of sitting inside the grandstand during the winter month’s as handicappers now have a new, modern facility to enjoy 7 days a week from 11:30 am until midnight. There are a wide variety of racetracks being simulcast into the facility from all across North America.  40 televisions have been installed and seating is available for upwards of 100 customers.  A new dining menu was unveiled in the casino’s Carousel restaurant and RaceBook patrons can order from an extensive bill of fare featuring great appetizers and main courses.  All in all, the environment is spacious and welcoming.  One long time patron described the facility as “safe and friendly.”  “This feels just like being at home.”

 he RaceBook opened up for business at the end of December after months of planning and preparation by both the FELRC Management and the OLG.  Rick Cowan, COO of the FELRC is very satisfied with the results. “This facility provides for a seamless transition between racing and slot players.  It is convenient, user friendly and well equipped with flat screen televisions and both live and self-service mutuel amenities.”

Adding charm and class to the facility is a life sized mural of horses racing down the stretch at the Border Oval.  The painting was created by local artist Leisa Temple who often has many of her pieces on display in the Prince of Wales Dining Room during the live racing season.  “When management asked me if I would be interested in providing my services I said yes right away.  I love Fort Erie Race Track and having the opportunity to paint the mural was my way to show my support,” said Temple.

The new RaceBook is yet another step in the right direction under current management in a year which promises to be full of excitement.

For more information please contact:

Elissa Blowe

Manager, Media & Marketing

Fort Erie Race Track

1-800-295-3770 x3204