Whew – that was a whirlwind weekend with Woodbine, 3 days, Derby preps and some nice weather. Woodbine started off well – after a soft opening day on Good Friday with $2.5 million bet, Saturday raked in $3.1 million and Sunday, $3.4 million!! People are lovin the Woodbine racing! What about that first time starter that ran a 96 Beyer Figure?? read below to find out



Essence Hit Man – 104 Beyer, romps in Jacques Cartier- Norm Files photo



1    Wesley A. Ward    13    5    1    1    $105,887    38%    7    54%
2    Reade Baker    8    3    2    0    $112,760    38%    5    63%
3    Audre Cappuccitti    7    2    0    0    $122,957    29%    2    29%
3    Paul M. Buttigieg    3    2    1    0    $87,833    67%    3    100%
3    Robert P. Tiller    6    2    1    2    $79,678    33%    5    83%



1    Jesus M. Rios    13    5    1    1    $105,887    38%    7    54%
2    Justin Stein    19    4    1    3    $160,372    21%    8    42%
3    Luis Contreras    20    3    4    6    $180,115    15%    13    65%
4    Emma-Jayne Wilson    17    2    5    1    $94,023    12%    8    47%
4    Eurico Rosa Da Silva    15    2    1    2    $81,703    13%    5    33%
4    Gerry Olguin    9    2    2    1    $76,611    22%    5    56%
4    David Moran    15    2    2    1    $70,203    13%    5    33%
4    Quincy Welch    11    2    1    0    $65,229    18%    3    27%
4    Jeffrey Ian Alderson    6    2    0    1    $31,751    33%    3    50%




Overcoming a little bout of the coughs during the week , ESSENCE HIT MAN, the champion sprinter of 2011, picked up where he left off last year and won the Jacques Csrtier Stakes on Saturday for the 2nd seaosn in succession.
Last year the rapid chestnut gelding set a track record in his win, this year he set a new top Beyer Figure of 104.Audre and Gord Cappuccitti’s son of Speightstown held off a hard trying Big Band Sound to win the 6 furlong dash. Jesse Campbell is the rider.
The Hit Man’s record is now:

19 8 4 3 $838,214

2012 1 1 0 0 108,313
2011 6 2 2 0 284,733
2010 7 3 1 3 351,231
2009 5 2 1 0 93,937

Also from yesterday, Queen’s Plate contender DRAGO’S BEST won his maiden in his 3rd career race for John Sikura. The son of Seeking the Best (Ire) – Saint Parker, by Saint Ballado, a no bid at auction, posted an 85 Beyer Figure. He is trained by Josie Carroll, who has won 2 Plates.

Other winners from yesterday were
TELL HER – a beginner from Martha Gonzalez – Nick Gonzalez. The Whywhywhy gal is a half sister to a 2yo who just sold for $170,000 at auction. Nick Andrews is a breeder who has done well with small numbers.
Tell Her ignited the first Pick 3 that paid a stunning $5,000, thanks mostly to HAVERILL, at 6 to 1, an upset winner of race 2, an Ontario sired allowance. The son of Saffir, owned by Tim Orlando and trained by Bev Chubb, rocked Rob the Cradle at the wire on a day when several favourites blew clear leads late.
The 3rd leg of that opening pick 3 was won SWEEPING FRONT, who reeled in a faltering speedster and fave Iwantitallrightnow. The winner is an Illinois bred by War Front. owned and trained by Claudia Rabstein.

The latter was the first of 2 winners for jockey Jeff Alderson, a 5 pound apprentice who looked pretty good in his style.

A palty $23 Pick $ payoff started in race 4 with the well regarded WHERE OH WHERE winning her debut for Frank DiGiulio Jr., who bred the daughter of Where’s the Ring. A leggy 3yo, she was a bit green through the stretch but won anyway for trainer Bob Tiller and jockey Luis Contreras.

Race 5 was won by heavily faVoured LORD CHELSIE, another Wesley Ward winner, this one was winning for $10,000 claiming. Race 6 saw a favoured entry from Bear Stables lose, but it was 9 to 5 2nd choice RED SHOT who won, the 2nd winner for owner/trainer Paul Buttigieg of the meeting.
Drago’s Best finished the Pick 4 and then started the 2nd series.

Congrats to Emily Walker, who had CLARKSTONCHARM ready to win his 7yo debut, altHough it should be noted the son of Tethra was dropping from allowance ot just $6,000 claiming. He has won over $212,000 in his career.
The last race of the day went to RUN TO THE BANK, a Wando fellow who slipped inside to win his maiden for Nick Nosowenko. Jockey Justin Stein is off to a roaring start.
Interesting note from that race – the 6-year-old firster, El Rio  Bravo, surely the last beginner by Ascot Knight, came from miles behind and cloSes like the wind under 10 pound apprentice Tommy Wong, who barely got the horse to miss running into another late in the race.



89 Beyer for Hillsbrook gal

Woodbine was all a-roar when HARD NOT TO LIKE loomed boldly in the Grade 1 Ashland and almost won the big event in her season debut.
A Canadian-bred for Garland and Marie Williamson, Hard Not to Like was one of Canada’s top 2yos last season. She is a Queen’s Plate hopeful but more importantly, perhaps a Kentucky Oaks starter for the Williamsons, who are from Erin, Ontario.
Gail Cox had the grey daughter of Hard Spun ready to fight despite the layoff.
A Beyer Figure was not yet available this morning. The winner, Karlovy Vary, is a Dynaformer grass winner who had just won an allowance race with a 79 Beyer.




I’ll Have Another, owned by J. Paul Reddam, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, wins Santa Anita Derby (Far left) Kelly Carlson photo



Winner’s of Kentucky Derby preps made for some exciting buzz throughout the industry.

Canadian owned and ridden I’LL HAVE ANOTHER eked out a win in the Santa Anita Derby and is headed to the big dance! He is owned by former Canadian resident J. Paul Reddam and the rider is Hastings Park jock Mario Gutierrez.
This pretty chestnut colt is from the family of Canadian mare Last Cause, who is the dam of the colt’s 2nd dam FORCE FIVE GAL, who was trained locally by Jim Day.

GEMOLOGIST has never lost a race, how cool this this son of Tiznow? A $310,000 weanling, he won a hard fought battle over Alpha in a roughly run Wood Memorial
He earned a career high 98 Beyer Figure.


The Gem is a bit beta than Alpha, in the Wood Memorial. Vanessa Ng photo





DONE TALKING $35,000 BUY BACK from Fasig Tipton October 2010 won the Illinois Derby, he’s by Broken Vow – Dixie Talking, by Dixieland Band.
He had just finished some 20 lengths behind Hansen in the Gotham.
Canadian-bred FASTESTWHOGETSPAID was beaten 26 lengths after a rough trip.

The dam of Done Talking, Dixie Talking, is currently owned by Josham Farms’ Ted Burnett.



Firster for Harlequin runs 96 BEYER FIGURE

JOHANNES, who cost $190,000 as a 2yo in training last season and had worked fast for that sale, stunned the Woodbine onlookers yesterday with a 10 length debut win.
She posted a 96 Beyer Figure (56 4/5)  one of the biggest of any debut runner in Canada.
The daughter of Johannesburg was an $18,000 ‘short’ yearling in Jan. 2010 and then pinhooked by the Price family.
Reade Baker trains the filly, who had been working well last year and then in Ocala this winter.

Baker also won with 1 to 5 shot BEAR TOUGH TIGER, a very promising Roar of the Tiger 4yo owned by Bear Stables.
making his season debut, he loomed off the 22, 44, pace and cleared but got quite tired late. He won for the 4th time in 5 races and earned an 84 Beyer Figure.

DAVY MORAN, who moved here from Ireland a few years ago to tackle the local sircuit, seems to be hanging in and making a living. He won his first race of 2012 as he steered Audre Cappuccitti’s KISSED BY A GHOST to win a $9,500 claiming event in race 1. The winner, an Ontario bred by Ghostzapper, was making his season debut but had a wild pace duel to run at as Texas Blitz battled Mississippi Hippie hard and both wilted.
Multiple stakes winner STUCK IN TRAFFIC ($598,240) was eased in his first race since October.
Moran also won on BOLD HIPSTER, a nice looking 3yo for Bruce Pollock and Doug Kellam. The 3yo by Bold Executive is trained and was bred by Pollock. He won the maiden allowance in his season debut and 3rd race.

WESLEY WARD continued to collect wins, taking the 2nd race with FLANAGAN STATION, a maiden dropping from $30,000 to $10,000 for owner /breed Tom Nugent. The gelding is by General Solution and Jesus Rios rode.

Stakes winner TREE POSE won her 4yo debut and the Old Forester gal had only made 2 starts in 2011. Owned by Six Brothers and trained by Bill Tharrenos, Tree Pose dueled early and then cleared to win for the 3rd time in 7  races. Eurico Rosa da Silva rode.

Trainer Frank Huarte had SPANISH ACADEMY very ready to win her 5yo debut despite a very soft 2011 campaign. The grey, ridden by Quincy welch chased an absolute mad duel between Speightstown Lady and Fan Out and blew past the weak front runners late. Ruvee Stables own the mare who was dropping back down to $40K claiming.

Rolph Davis and Robert Ezer were in the winner’s circle for race 7, the feature of the day. Worth $70,300, the 5 furlong dash for fillies and mares was won by their SAUCY SONG, a 4yo Songandaprayer filly. It was her 4th win in 11 races and 3rd win since she was claimed by these owners in August. Bob Tiller trains.

Dominic Triumbari’s BLUES DANCING inhaled the speed and won the 8th race for Ontario sired fillies and mares. She is a Survivalist filly who was winter raced by trainer Katerina Vassileiva.







Team Block’s Dave and Chris Block (from right to left) are presented the Horse of the Year award by Jim Lawson. Terence Dulay/www.horse-races.net


Two points!!

Never Retreat edges Inglorious for Canadian The race for Canada’s Horse of the Year crown came down to a virtual photo finish between distaffers, with Team Block’s Never Retreat getting the nod over Donver Stable’s Inglorious by a two-point margin (78-76). That highest honor, and all of the 2011 divisional Sovereign Awards, were announced Thursday evening at Woodbine in Toronto.

Never Retreat, the champion turf female, and Inglorious, the champion three-year-old filly, were dominant winners in their respective divisions. Coming in third in the Horse of the Year balloting with 49 points was Pender Harbour, the landslide choice as champion three-year-old male.

The Chris Block-trained Never Retreat was better than ever at the age of six, and earned her laurels by going two-for-three in her raids on Woodbine. The Smart Strike mare was runner-up in the Grade 2 Nassau in June, but turned the tables on Nassau winner Bay to Bay in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly. In her last appearance on the Canadian turf, Never Retreat captured the Grade 2 Canadian in September, beating subsequent Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Perfect Shirl.
Votes totals at www.horse-races.net