Eurico da Silva points to the finish of the Achievement Stakes – Michael Burns photo

11 stakes wins in a row and counting

The comparisons are coming out fast and furious now, about as fast as PINK LLOYD is, as the amazing chestnut Ontario-bred gelding won his 11th straight stake on Sunday. The Old Forester – Gladiator Queen, Great Gladiator fellow, owned by the Entourage Stable and trained by Robert Tiller, cantered over 3 mismatched rivals in the restricted Achievement Stakes at 6 furlongs. He sped the distance in 1:09.

Any type of winning streak in horse racing is amazing, it simply is not easy to win races in succession. Pink Lloyd’s 8 for 8 campaign last year was incredible and his wins, which also included victories in two graded events, were not all easy canters like he has had this season.

2018 began with his Jacques Cartier score, a 106 Beyer Figure and the best of his career as he scorched 6 furlongs in 1:08.

In the New Providence on May 13, he manhandled 3 rivals in 1:09 3/5.

So it is obvious that no one locally can beat Pinky and that paves a nice way for him if he follows the same schedule as last year – the Vigil Stakes would be next in July following by the restricted Shepperton and Kenora Yearling Sales Stakes. That takes him to the end of August should he stay on that path.

Should his interests consider taking him out of town to see how he does, then perhaps he could eye races at Presque Isle (synthetic dirt) or maybe even a dirt track to get him ready for a shot at the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs.

Since Pink Lloyd is not Breeders’ Cup eligible it would cost a couple of hundred thousand to supplement him. Although, with over $1 million in earnings now, he could certainly pay his way if it was found he handles dirt and traveling.

For now, we enjoy watching the popular fellow at Woodbine bring fans to their feet.

Great race winning streaks of modern times:

There have been some pretty neat winning streaks in modern times by horses are all levels of racing.

CIGAR got to 16 straight wins, mostly in Grade 1 company in the US, tying Citation’s record of 16 in the 1940s.

Then ZENYATTA came along and won 19 straight major races.

The Louisiana bred HALLOWED DREAMS won her first 16 races against mostly La.-breds and she was super-fast.

In 2008, at age five, PEPPERS PRIDE, the pride of New Mexico, tied  Citation, Cigar, Mister Frisky, and Hallowed Dreams (and a paint horse, Got Country Grip[1]) for longest consecutive winning streak by winning 16 consecutive North American races. On October 4, 2008, she entered the record books as the only American race horse since 1900 to win 17 consecutive races, while tying the modern-day international mark of Hong Kong-based Silent Witness. On November 8, 2008, she eclipsed Silent Witness’ record with 18 consecutive wins, then extended the mark to 19 on December 14, 2008.

Claiming horse Rapid Redux won 19 straight around that time too.

In Australia, BLACK CAVIAR never lost in 25 races while competing at the top level, she retired in 2013.

And today, the mighty WINX has won 25 straight races, 18 Group 1’s and she is currently on a break in Australia.



Under sunny skies and a comfortable 63 degrees, undefeated Kentucky Derby (Grade I) and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner Justify completed his serious preparations for Saturday’s $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) on Monday with a five-furlong breeze over a “fast” Churchill Downs track in 1:01.40 with Martin Garcia in the saddle.

With a few hundred spectators on hand, WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing’s colt came onto the track at 7:30 a.m. (all times Eastern) during a special 10-minute training period for locally-based Belmont Stakes contenders. Justify broke away from the stable pony Sunny and trainer Bob Baffert’s chief assistant Jimmy Barnes at the 4 ½-furlong pole and began his breeze at the half-mile marker through splits of :12.80, :24.80, :37 and :48.80 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.60 and seven-eighths of a mile in 1:27.20.

“It was a really nice breeze and exactly what we were looking for,” Baffert said. “He relaxed nicely and seemed very happy. Martin was very happy with him as well so I was happy, too. He was a little fresh earlier in the week so it was good to see him relax nicely.”

Immediately following Justify’s work, stablemate and fellow Belmont Stakes contender, Wood Memorial (GII) third Restoring Hope, breezed six furlongs in 1:13 under jockey Florent Geroux (splits: :12.60, :24.40, :36.20, :48.40 and 1:00.20 with a gallop out of 1:26.40).

“Restoring Hope went really well,” Baffert said. “He’s always been a really good work horse. He’s sort of a one-paced horse. He went a little faster than Justify but I thought overall the work was very good.”

Justify and Restoring Hope are scheduled to make the two-hour flight to New York on Wednesday from Louisville and will leave Churchill Downs’ Barn 33 between 8-8:30 a.m.

Only 12 horses have swept the Triple Crown: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978) and, most recently, the Baffert-trained American Pharoah (2015).

“I think the Triple Crown brings a lot more people into the game,” Baffert said. “It also brings a lot of new owners. I saw a lot of new faces in the game after Pharoah won the Triple Crown. It’s no walk in the park to win but it’s very important to our sport when we have a Triple Crown possibility on the line.”

Regular jockey Mike Smith is scheduled to ride Justify in the Belmont Stakes while Geroux has the call on Restoring Hope.

“Mike, just like any other rider, has to have the horse underneath him to succeed,” Baffert said. “A good rider’s job is to keep the horse out of trouble and make split-second decisions if he needs to. Really the biggest part of the race is breaking cleanly from the gate. With Pharoah, he broke about one length slower than the field. It could’ve been a bad situation but he got into a good position early. After the gate break, you just have to see how the race plays out.”

In other local Belmont Stakes news, Preakness runner-up Bravazo left trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ Barn 44 early Monday morning via van to New York while Preakness third, Tenfold, jogged one mile following his five-furlong breeze in 1:01.60 Saturday at Churchill Downs. Breeders’ Futurity winner Free Drop Billy walked trainer Dale Romans’ Barn 4 shedrow following his five-furlong move in :59.20 Sunday at Churchill Downs.

Tenfold is scheduled to fly to New York on Tuesday and leave Churchill Downs at approximately 10:30 a.m. while Free Drop Billy is scheduled to join Justify and Restoring Hope on Wednesday’s flight.

The Belmont Stakes field could possibly be comprised of the following 11 horses (with trainer): Blended Citizen (Doug O’Neill), Bravazo (Lukas), Free Drop Billy (Romans), Gronkowski (Chad Brown), Hofburg (Bill Mott), Justify (Baffert), Noble Indy (Todd Pletcher), Restoring Hope (Baffert), Seahenge (Aidan O’Brien), Tenfold (Asmussen) and Vino Rosso (Pletcher).



The Belmont Stakes for the ages

The day I got in the car and drove to Belmont Park to watch my favourite horse take on arch rival Sunday Silence as that colt was seeking a Triple Crown sweep.

Watching the broadcast (below) brings back vivid memories. Here is the Wide World of Sports broadcast. One of the greatest races I have ever seen.



Olympic eventer (and horse racing fan!) Jessica Phoenix meets Woodbine Oaks favourite, Wonder Gadot. Discover the interesting connection they share. 

Canadian-bred fillies got for $500,000 and Gadot will be heavily favoured

If theBelmont Stakes on Saturday was not enough for excitement for racing fans, the biggest race for this country’s 3yo fillies is also Saturday.

The WOODBINE OAKS, first run in 2956, will be headed by WONDER GADOT, Gary Barber’s consistently good filly, the Champion 2-year-old in Canada last year.

Her narrow miss in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks with a 96 Beyer Speed Figure ensures she will be 3 to 5 or lower come Saturday.

The field may be quite small too with only Dixie Moon, 2nd in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes in her local return with an 85 Beyer Figure, as the main danger.

Bred by Dave Anderson’s Anderson Farms, Wonder Gadot is trained by Mark Casse who has won 3 Oaks since 2006.

Probable field and last 3 Beyer Figures

WONDER GADOT   96, 82, 86
DIXIE MOON           85, 64, 66
FAIRY HILL               69, 68, 65
SUMMER SUNDAY  65, 43, 74
QUEEN’S FATE         47, 29, 48
HOT CASH (maiden)  80, 68, 71

The PLATE TRIAL also goes on Saturday and that field could be in the 8 or 9 range led by a Mark Casse trainee, TELEKINESIS, owned by American Barbara Banke. The Ghostzapper colt was bred in Caledon by Bill Graham.

Saturday will also have the presentation of the AVELINO GOMEZ AWARD to a Canadian jockey who has exemplified dedication and hard work and this year’s honouree is EMMA-JAYNE WILSON, whose love for the sport is only matched by her great talent on the track.








Owner John Scott and trainer Debbie England (seen here with Riley Ripasso in 2011) were in the winner’s circle together last week with Quinn and Tonic. – Terence Dulay PhotoAfter 21 racing days at Woodbine, there has been a variety of interesting people and horses who have won race at the meeting.


On the owners front, JOHN SCOTT has had a super last couple of weeks with horses he owns in partnership with T and T Racing Team.

Scott, who used to race under Formal Racing Stable and has had top horses such as Riley Ripasso, Tequila College, Gracelicious and others, had a very exciting winner in GRACED LIGHTNING on May 25, a Shakespeare gelding trained by Francine Villeneueve.

Bred by T and T (Dr. Brian Van Arem and family), Graced Lightning had not raced since 2016 and was making just his 3rd career start in a 7 furlong turf race for $32,000 claiming.  The gelding had shown speed in his 2 races but no one could have predicted his explosive, 6-length win in this return outing in 1:20.57, good for a huge 87 Beyer Speed Figure.

Graced Lightning is from the Whiskey Wisdome mare Siddona, a daughter of Van Arem’s successful mare Musktrat Suzie, the dam of Grade 1 winner Jambalaya.

Last week, Scott, T and T and trainer Debbie England were in the winner’s circle with the returning QUINN AND TONIC, a Spring at Last filly bred by Dr. Van Arem. This is a fast gal who went gate to wire in a turf maiden dash under Chantal Sutherland. She is a daughter of the good winner Quinderella, also a daughter of Muskrat Suzie.

For Debbie England, who has trained champions and classic winners, this was her 350th career win according to Equibase statistics.

We have to salute owners like John Scott and trainer Debbie England who have been longtime, passionate members of the racing community.

Trainer Tino Attard had his first winner of the season when SCRAM CRACKER, a son of the late, great Scat Daddy, won his maiden on the grass last weekend. 1956 Stable owns the gelding who was making his first start since September 2017.

celebrated a win by their homebred THE YOUNG LORD (Where’s the Ring – Lovely Cersei, Best of the Bests) on Sunday and that was the first winner for the Ian Black stable.

The Young Lord led all the way through 6 1/2 furlongs under Gary Boulanger for his 2nd win in 7 races and this was an allowance/optional claiming event.

BIG SCREEN, standing at Spring Farm in Lucan, ON sired his first starter and first winner last weekend at Woodbine.

Dr. John Brown, one of Ontario’s most successful breeders who has a super record of longevity with his horses bred and stallions, celebrated a win by the first ever starter for his stallion BIG SCREEN (Speightstown) on Sunday. The grey filly SAV, won over the boys in a 4 1/2 furlong maiden allowance (open) for owner Steve Duffield. Sav, a CTHS Ontario yearling purchase last fall for $28,000, is the first starter for trainer Keith Edwards, who has been working for trainer Ricky Griffith.

Dr. Brown’s Spring Farm bred the filly who is out of the good mare Executive Affair, dam of 2018 Queen’s Plate hopeful COOLER MIKE.



Mrs. Elfreide Stronach will be presented with the Mint Julep Cup for contributions to the Ontario racing industry and Anderson Farms, David Anderson, will be honoured as Breeder of the Year. Plus a silent auction and a super dinner and fun!



TORONTO, June 4, 2018 – Ontario Racing (OR) today announced the full composition of its new Board of Directors.

The first order of business for the new Board was electing, unanimously, Mr. John Hayes, the Independent Chairman of the Board.

Mr. Hayes brings significant business management and executive expertise to the role of OR Chair, with former positions in finance and administration positions with General Electric, Black & Decker and Home Depot. He also has over 25 years of experience as a Standardbred race horse owner. He previously served as Gaming Director with Ontario Lottery and Gaming, with operational responsibilities at Georgian Downs, Ajax Downs, Grand River Raceway, Woodbine and other racetracks across the province. He most recently served as an At-Large Director of Ontario Racing.

“I am honoured to be appointed to the Independent Chair of Ontario Racing,” said Mr. Hayes. “I have a passion for horse racing and am confident in the direction and approach of Ontario Racing. I look forward to working with the industry’s diverse group of stakeholders to create a sustainable future for the sport in Ontario.”

In addition to Mr. Hayes, there are 10 seats, five from industry associations and five from racetracks, on Ontario Racing’s Board of Directors.

Bill O’Donnell (President, COSA, on behalf of Standardbred Horsepeople), Sue Leslie (President, HBPA, on behalf of Thoroughbred Horsepeople), Bob Broadstock (President, Quarter Horse Racing Owners of Ontario, on behalf of Quarter Horse Horsepeople), Walter Parkinson (President, SBOA, on behalf of Standardbred Breeders) and Bernard McCormack (President, Cara Bloodstock, on behalf of Thoroughbred Breeders) will represent the Associations on the board.

Jim Lawson (CEO, Woodbine Entertainment, on behalf, of Premier Thoroughbred Racetracks), Jim Thibert (CEO, Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, on behalf of Signature Thoroughbred Racetracks), Jessica Buckley (President, Woodbine Mohawk Park, on behalf of Premier Standardbred Racetracks), Hugh Mitchell (President, Western Fair District, on behalf of Signature Standardbred Racetracks) and Ian Fleming (General Manager, Clinton Raceway, on behalf of Grassroots Standardbred Racetracks) will represent the racetracks in the new composition.

“John brings substantial expertise and vast perspective in the areas of racing, finance and administration to his role as Chair of Ontario Racing,” said Mr. Mitchell. “His previous experience on the OR Board, combined with his extensive grassroots racing experience make him the ideal person for this position.”

“Ontario Racing Management (ORM) looks forward to working with John and the rest of the Ontario Racing board in building a long-term foundation for success for the province’s horse racing industry,” said Katherine Curry, Executive Director, ORM. “Ontario Racing’s emphasis on transparency, inclusiveness, credibility and engagement to continue to develop confidence and credibility with all stakeholders in the industry will be critical to its achievements. Ontario Racing has laid the foundation for long-term success for all its stakeholders.”