SMILES BEFORE THE RACE – SILHOUETTE comes over for her maiden race on Sunday at Woodbine – thank you MR. WILL WONG for the photo














The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks are getting closer…Ontario bred STATE OF HONOR is taking his shot at the Run for the Roses – his last big workout comes Friday. Below is a gallop video from yesterday.

Also on the Vid-list is MCCRAKEN’s workout from yesterday…



The plans may not be put in motion for several years but Woodbine’s privately owned 684-acre site will be transformed “a city within a within a city” and seek to be a future urban heart of northwest Toronto.

The vision for the plan is for Woodbine to continue to be the ultimate destination for horse racing and gaming, while integrating new expanded entertainment and cultural offerings, food and dining, hotel, shopping, office space, post-secondary education, recreation, health, wellness, and urban residential living.

The ‘city within a city’ concept is strategically designed to unlock the value of the undeveloped land, generating long-term revenues that will sustainably support WEG’s horse racing operations, and thousands of farming jobs in rural communities across Ontario.

“At the core of the project is the beauty of the horse,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, WEG. “With over 2,000 Thoroughbred horses stabled on site, approximately 200 acres will continue be devoted to horse racing operations at the centre of this unique development. The master plan sets out a detailed roadmap that will create thousands of new local jobs in the community, introduce new fans to the sport of horse racing and be a transformative project for the City of Toronto in the years to come.”


In Sunday’s racing, Sam-Son Farm’s SOUTHERN RING  held on to defeat the 2016 Champion Female Sprinter River Maid in the Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes worth $147,250 Whimsical Stakes.

Trained by Malcolm Pierce, the bay daughter of Speightstown arrived at the six-furlong main track sprint off a third-place effort in the Minaret Stakes on February 18 at Tampa Bay Downs.

The now five-year-old Southern Ring dialed up her third career stakes score (2015 Ruling Angel and last year’s Grade 3 Ontario Fashion). She boasts five wins, two seconds and a third from 10 starts.

Eurico Rosa da Silva and Southern Ring took charge immediately with Skylander Girl applying outside pressure. Newly-minted Canadian Horse of the Year, Caren, was settled in third behind the frontrunners as Southern Ring cut an early clip of :23.17.

Southern Ring, still under siege, was a head in front through half mile in :45.77 as Skylander Girl attempted to cut into the lead, while River Maid started to make an outside bid. Southern Ring continued to dig in and turned away all rivals for her fifth career score. River Maid won a photo for place over U.S. invader Euroboss. Caren, making her seasonal debut, was fifth. The final time for six furlongs was 1:09.70.

Her Beyer Speed Figure was 89.

More from Sunday – The Mark Casse stable has already collected 4 wins and CONQUEST FLEETFEET, bred in Ontario by Sean Fitzhenry, controlled the pace t won this allowance race for fillies and mares at 7 furlongs. The Afleet Alex filly is a half sister to Woodbine Oaks contender Stallion Heiress. Patrick Husbands rode for owner Gary Barber.

Race 2- Owner and trainer Alex Patykewich had a good day as HAVEAWONDERFULDAY, making her 2nd start of the season came off a 7 day break to win this $8,000 claiming race on the lead. It was the maiden score for the Midshipman filly.

Race 3- Win no. 2 on the season for veteran trainer JOHN CARDELLA as SPLASHY GIRL, who was 0 for 19 on the synthetic dirt coming into this $6,000 claiming race, rallied to win in her season debut, a 5 furlong dash. The Old Forester mare’s previous 2 wins came in 2 dirt races. Red Hot Gary Boulanger was on board.

Race 4- Nice tactics by Boulanger as he got THREE RING CIRCUS to the lead in this $12,500 claiming race at 6 furlongs and the Where’s the Ring 5-year-old won for the first time for his current connections, Steven , Godfrey and Joe Chircop. It was the 5th win in the career of the classy dark bay gelding.

Race 5- EYE ON BERLIN, a Louisiana bred filly by Trappe Shot, relished the 5 furlongs in her season debut for Racers Edge and Trinity Racing Stables Inc and won this $20,000 claiming race under Euruico da Silva. Trained by Norm McKnight, the filly was 7-1-4-2 last year as a juvenile.

Race 6- Big effort from SILHOUETTE who blew past fillies to win this maiden allowance in her 4th career start and second try at Woodbine. The Impeccably bred daughter of Smart Strike – Serenading by A.P. Indy was wearing blinkers for the first time after a winter in Gulfstream and she ran 7 furlongs in 1:23.25, good for an 81 Beyer Figure. The Selene Stakes could be next for the Glenn Sikura, Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc.-owned dark bay.

Race  8 – Tough chestnut mare CASABLANCA KISS is 8 now but back for another year of racing and she loves 5 furlong dashes. The Pure Prize mare won this $60,000 claiming race under Raffie Hernandez for her 10th win in 40 starts. She is wned by the Manitoba connection of Ken Lee, Dennis Mitchell and Gaye and Don Bell. Martin Drexler trains.

Race 9 – a very competitive allowance/optional claiming race and at the wire, the Spaniard gelding HIPP SMITT eked out the win in his first race since August. The gelding, bred by Sherry McLean, was well prepared by trainer Scott Fairlie and the 4-year-old scooped up more than $21,000 in earnings for the race. Hipp Smitt has 3 wins in 7 races for Ace Racing, TC Racing Inc and Stablemates. All of his races have some on the Tapeta.



WINNER’S CIRCLE? YES DARLIN’ He was a winner on Saturday at Woodbine for Tucci Stables, Emma-Jayne Wilson and trainer Nick Gonzalez – WILL WONG PHOTO


Peacock Racing Stables’ GUNNEVERA (Dialed In) , a three-time graded stakes winner and a millionaire in his young career, took his first steps on the main track at Churchill Downs on Tuesday morning with exercise rider Victor Farrel aboard.

On hand to supervise the morning activity over a fast track was trainer Antonio Sano and Solomon Del-Valle, part of the ownership group. This is the first time for Sano and Del-Valle at Churchill Downs and they both plan to remain in Louisville through the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on May 6.

“This is the first day of 52,” said Del-Valle, who lives in Venezuela. “I am not going back home. I am here for the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont.”

Third in the Florida Derby (GI) in his most recent start, Gunnevera galloped an easy mile over a fast track after the morning renovation break during the 8:30-8:45 window reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses.

“I liked what I saw this morning,” Sano said of Gunnevera, who arrived at Churchill Downs late Saturday night. “Tomorrow he will go a mile and a half and I plan to work Saturday morning.”

Gunnevera has won graded stakes in three states, but in his previous trip to Kentucky delivered the poorest performance of his nine-race career with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland.

“He didn’t handle the track that day,” Sano said. “It was too deep and he was outside.”

ALWAYS DREAMING/BATTALION RUNNER/MALAGACY/MASTER PLAN/PATCH/TAPWRIT – Trainer Todd Pletcher was on hand Tuesday morning as four of his colts on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard galloped.

Going out before the renovation break were Sumaya U.S. Stables’ Malagacy (13 on the leaderboard) with Isabelle Bourez aboard and Al Shaqab and WinStar Farm’s Master Plan (26) with Silvio Pioli up.

After the break, Pletcher sent out St. Elias Stable’s Battalion Runner (19) with Bourez up and Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta’s Tapwrit (12) with Pioli up.

Arriving later Tuesday morning after training hours from Pletcher’s winter base at Palm Beach (Florida) Downs were Brooklyn Boyz Stables and Teresa Viola Racing Stables’ Always Dreaming (7) and Calumet Farm’s Patch (18).

Pletcher indicated he was pleased with the morning activity and said he would be watching the weather to determine final work dates for his Derby contingent.

Storms are forecast to move into the Louisville area overnight Wednesday into Thursday with a 50 percent chance of scattered storms Friday then a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms Saturday and 80 percent Sunday.

CLASSIC EMPIRE/STATE OF HONOR – John Oxley’s Classic Empire and Conrad Farm’s State of Honor galloped Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Mark Casse.

The 2-year-old champion Classic Empire trained in the first set at 6 o’clock and galloped 1 ½ miles with regular exercise rider Martin Rivera aboard.

Florida Derby (GI) runner-up State of Honor galloped 1 ½ miles in the Derby and Oaks’ exclusive training period at 8:30 with Orlando Cross up.

State of Honor is on schedule to breeze Friday at Churchill Downs.

FAST AND ACCURATE – Kendall Hansen, Skychai Racing and Bode Miller’s Fast and Accurate galloped 1 1/8 miles at Trackside Louisville Tuesday morning at 6 o’clock for trainer Mike Maker.

The Spiral (GIII) winner is expected to van from Trackside to Churchill Downs Sunday and breeze at 8:30 a.m. under regular exercise rider Joel Cano.

HENCE/LOCAL HERO/LOOKIN AT LEE/UNTRAPPED – Trainer Steve Asmussen’s contingent of horses walked the shedrow Tuesday following their series of works on Monday.

J BOYS ECHO – Gotham (GII) winner J Boys Echo jogged Tuesday morning at 8:30 with regular exercise rider Tammy Fox aboard for trainer Dale Romans. The colt is on target to breeze at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

McCRAKEN – Whitham Thoroughbreds’ homebred McCraken jogged a mile under exercise rider Yoni Orantes after the renovation break.

A three-time winner at Churchill Downs last fall, including the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII), McCraken had worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 on Monday under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. for trainer Ian Wilkes.

PRACTICAL JOKE – Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Practical Joke made his first appearance on track at Churchill Downs, galloping after the renovation break under exercise rider Fernando Rivera.

Trainer Chad Brown will be keeping an eye on the weather but said he would prefer to work the two-time Grade I winner Friday.

Probable starters:

Always Dreaming (John Velazquez),
Battalion Runner (TBA),
Battle of Midway (Flavien Prat),
Classic Empire (Julien Leparoux),
Fast and Accurate (TBA),
Girvin (Mike Smith),
Gormley (Victor Espinoza),
Gunnevera (Javier Castellano),
Hence (Florent Geroux),
Irap (Mario Gutierrez),
Irish War Cry (Rajiv Maragh),
J Boys Echo (TBA),
McCraken (Brian Hernandez Jr.),
Patch (TBA),
Practical Joke (Joel Rosario),
State of Honor (Jose Lezcano),
Tapwrit (Jose Ortiz) and
Thunder Snow (Ire) (Christophe Soumillon)
and Untrapped (TBA).

Possible starters within the Top 20 on the preference list: Malagacy (TBA).

Next up in order of preference: Lookin At Lee (TBA), Sonneteer (Kent Desormeaux), Royal Mo (Gary Stevens), Local Hero (TBA) and Iliad (TBA).




Eurico Rosa Da Silva…………………………. 28 8 8 6   $391,927 $1,417,338

Rafael Manuel Hernandez………………….. 35 7 5 3   $253,702 $1,848,293

Gary Boulanger…………………………………. 17 6 3 0   $199,855 $1,054,817
Jesse M. Campbell…………………………….. 26 5 1 3   $175,751 $1,578,324
Luis Contreras…………………………………… 14 5 1 3   $232,464 $926,681


Mark E. Casse…………………………………… 13 4 3 0   $223,128 $1,052,157
Michael P. De Paulo…………………………… 16 3 5 1    $157,663 $1,084,046
Vito Armata………………………………………. 12 3 5 0    $87,723 $467,481
Norman McKnight……………………………… 9 3 1 3    $75,373 $325,767
Robert P. Tiller………………………………….. 11 2 4 3    $197,078 $713,837



Sam-Son Farm………………………………….. 5 1 1 0 $113,760 $431,528
Gary Barber………………………………………. 3 2 0 0 $82,800 $260,615
J.R. Racing Stable Inc………………………… 2 1 0 0 $73,830 $187,313
DARRS, Inc………………………………………. 2 1 0 1 $72,500 $249,450
Hopefield Farm………………………………….. 2 2 0 0 $72,480 $124,009




Distinctiv Passion, Dear Lily winning opening stakes


DISTINCTIV PASSION is now 7-years-old and has been well traveled in his life but he still has some zip. IN his first race for Peter Redekop, the With Distinction gelding won the Swift Thoroughbreds INaugural Stakes at Hastings – Four Footed Foto /Hastings Park






with files from Hastings Park

Dating back centuries the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt” basically referred to a person disliking another after spending too much time together.

It most certainly does not apply to Peter Redekop and Glen Todd, a couple of gladiators who have known and respected each other for years as successful horse owners at Hastings Racecourse.

In fact, the phrase “familiarity breeds content” might be more appropriate.

There clearly was not any animosity evident as they took turns sharing the spotlight Sunday with victories in the two $50,000 stake races highlighting an eight-race card that thrilled an opening day crowd to launch a 52-day meet at the historic Hastings site.

Todd hit the stakes winner’s circle first when favoured Dear Lilly won a thriller in the $50,000 Brighouse Belles for fillies and mares by overtaking Chianti in the closing strides for a one-length victory under jockey David Lopez.

Lopez scored three wins on the day. He rode Cederberg to victory in the third and Seeking Asylum in the nightcap.

Trained by Sandi Gann for Todd’s North American Thoroughbred Horse Company and ownership partner Mark DeDomenico, Dear Lilly finished the 6 ½ furlong sprint over a sloppy track in 1:17.39.

“She shows up every time,” a delighted Todd said. “She’s been running all winter at Turf Paradise and won three out of four starts down there. We just decided to give her a shot on opening day and it worked out well.”

Redekop was equally pleased with Distinctiv Passion in the Swift Thoroughbreds Inaugural. Making his first start for Hastings trainer Phil Hall after being claimed for $62,500 by Redekop at Santa Anita last month, Distinctiv Passion led from start to finish in a 6 ½ furlong sprint for 3-year-olds & up that drew an impressive field of 11 horses. He posted an 89 Beyer Figure in the win.

Distinctiv Passion earned over $500,000 for his previous owners Edward Brown Jr., Alan Klein, and Phillip Lebherz who dropped the orse in for the $62,500 claiming price. The multiple graded stakes winner has been to Dubai and raced mostly in California with Beyer Figures as high as 100 and 101.

Live racing resumes Sunday, April 30 at 1:50 p.m. with two $50,000 stakes on the card: the BC Cup Dogwood and BC Cup Stellar Jay. Following the final race Sunday the Hastings Paddock Sales featuring 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age will take place on the tarmac at Hastings. There will be a Paddock Sales Preview on Saturday, April 29 at 11:30 a.m.