RUNAWAY GHOST DOES NEW MEXICO PROUD in SUNLAND DERBY
Will try to emulate Mine that Bird in Derby
An 86-year-old owner who owns one mare and has been in the racing business for decades, a Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse trainer and a 55-year-old jockey who has 4,000 career victories and sight in just one eye.
Yep, it could be the base for a movie on the dream of horse racing but it’s very much real for Joe Peacock Sr., who watched his homebred colt RUNAWAY GHOST (Ghostzapper – Rose’s Desert by Desert God) blow away the field in the $800,000 Sunland Park derby (Grade 3) at Sunland Park in New Mexico on Sunday evening.
Woodbine’s track announcer ROBERT GELLER brought the field home and in a blink, Runaway Ghost, the only hometown colt in the field, had four lengths on the field. He raced wide most of the way but pulled away and ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.20 for an 85 Beyer Speed Figure.
A local horse, a local trainer and a local jockey all have a chance to be in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Todd Fincher strongly believed in Runaway Ghost’s chances to win the 15th running of the Grade 3, $800,000 on Sunday afternoon at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino and that belief was validated when Runaway Ghost rallied from off the pace to win the 1 and 1/8th miles race in a 1:49.20 in front of 16,717 fans.
Now Fincher can point Runaway Ghost to the May 5 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Runaway Ghost earned 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, which will most likely be enough for the horse to run in the world’s most famous race.
ALMOST $2 BILLION FOR ONTARIO RACING
The news that the Ontario government will pledge up to $105 million per year, for 19 years beginning in 2019 was certainly welcomed by horse owners, breeders, industry workers and the thousands who have businesses that are connected to horse racing.
There will also be $6 million available for smaller tracks to work with in order to try and boost business over the next few years.
The 15 tracks in Ontario (more than any other jurisdiction in North America) will present their needs to Woodbine Entertainment, which will manage the (I will clarify this better)..proposals and then the ONTARIO RACING MANAGEMENT board, with reps from tracks, breed organizations, etc. will make the final decision.
Certainly 15 tracks is a lot and it is not easy to predict whether all will survive even with some share of funding.
Also, should the Liberal government under Premier Kathleen Wynne, be defeated in the June election, what will happen to this funding plan?
Horse owner and breeder SHIRLEY WELLS sent a letter to Thoroughblog recently, having received a response to a query she put forth to the PC leader Doug Ford:
Thank you for reaching out.
The Liberals have shown time and time again that they do not treat rural Ontario with the respect it deserves. They cancelled the Slots at Racetrack Program, which gave horse racing tracks access to the revenue generated by slot facilities located at their tracks. In doing so, they cost horse tracks hundreds of millions in annual revenue.
Internal government emails surfaced that showed the government knew that this decision was projected to cost 23,000 jobs and cause 27,000 horses to be put down. Due to the cancellation, horse tracks were forced to reduce purses for racers, limit race days, and some shut down operations completely. The industry has been struggling ever since.
We are committed to reviewing this formula and ensure more money is being distributed fairly to local racetracks and looking to fix the sharing agreements between Woodbine and community tracks.
The Friday funding news, just over a year in the works, comes as relief for horse breeders. There is plenty of work still to be done, however. Tracks need to work on innovative ways to boost its product, boost wagering and interest in the racing show they put on.
It’s a good start and good news.
NOBLE INDY ON THE KENTUCKY DERBY TRAIL TOO
Louisiana Derby winner gets 95 Beyer Figure
WinStar Farm could not sell him as a yearling as the colt was taken back from the 2016 Keeneland September sale for $45,000 (US).
The colt lured a co-owner in Repole Stable and now the 3-year-old by Take Charge Indy – Noble Maz by Storm Boot is a graded stakes winner and the point leader on the Kentucky Derby list.
In the final local prep on Churchill Downs’ Road To The Kentucky Derby, Noble Indy punched his ticket towards the Grade I $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve when turning in a gutsy performance in the Gr. II $1 million Louisiana Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com, which saw its 105th edition on Saturday afternoon.
“I think the blinkers had him more focused,” Pletcher said. “I was a little concerned early on, he was a little too head strong. Johnny made a good tactical move letting the pace setter go and then getting outside of the horse. He fought back hard, finished up well and galloped out with enthusiasm. This race was a big step in the right direction. I was pleased with the way he conducted himself. He seems to be maturing as he gets more experience.”
Pletcher stated that the horse would ship back to Palm Beach Downs on Monday and from there, he would decide when the horse would ship to Churchill Downs.
Runner-up Lone Sailor earned 40 points on the Road To The Kentucky Derby with such an effort in the Louisiana Derby elevating him to No. 8 on the Leaderboard with a total of 42 points. Third-place finisher My Boy Jack earned 20 from the Louisiana Derby and now sits at No. 12 on the Leaderboard with 32 points. He secured 10 from a victory in Oaklawn Park’s Gr. III Southwest Stakes and two with a third-place effort in the Gr. III Sham Stakes at Santa Anita.
With a victory in the Louisiana Derby, Noble Indy lies atop the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 110 points. He earned $600,000 from the win and has secured $691,600 in career earnings. In four career starts, he has found the winners circle three times with his only loss taking place in the Risen Star Stakes last month. He broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park by 8¾ lengths and returned to victory at the South Florida oval in a first level allowance race, which he won by three-quarters of a length.
He returned $7.40, $4.80 and $3.20 while Lone Sailor brought back $7.80 and $4.20. My Boy Jack returned $3.20.
NOBLE INDY’S WINDFIELDS FARM FAMILY – And Noble Indy is a descendant of the BRIARTIC mare Impetuous Gal, who was bred by Windfields Farm and won the Matron,La prevoyante and several other stakes races while competing for Ed Cox. Impetuous Gal is the 4th dam of NOBLE INDY.
WONDER GADOT 3rd in Fair Grounds Oaks; race won by recent claim Chocolate Martini
CHOCOLATE MARTINI, a bay filly by Broken Vow – Nicksappealinglady by Successful Appeal, was claimed for $25,000 three starts ago and is 2 for 2 for her new interests including a victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks (Grade 2). Trained by Tom Amos, Chocolate Martini finished the best in the Oaks with a charging Eskimo Kisses coming from far off the pace and Canadian-bred WONDER GADOT racing one-paced to be 3rd.
The winning Beyer Figure was 88.
Wonder Gadot, owned by Gary Barber, has been steady and hard trying since she won the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct late last year. There doesn’t seem to be a reason why she would not try the Kentucky Oaks as she could pick up a piece. The Woodbine Oaks, at her home track, is in early June.
Kentucky Oaks Points:
1. Chocolate Martini 100 Double Doors Racing LLC Bret Calhoun $240,000
2. Midnight Bisou 60 Allen Racing LLC & Bloom Racing Stable LLC (Jeffrey Bloom) Bill Spawr $200,000
3. Midnight Disguise 60 William B. Wilmot & Joan M. Taylor Linda Rice $180,000
4. Monomoy Girl 54 Monomoy Stables LLC (Sol Kumin) & Michael Dubb Brad Cox $206,150
5. Cosmic Burst 52 Norma Lee Stockseth & Todd Dunn Donnie Von Hemel $192,500
Blamed (needs to be sup) 50 Cleber J. Massey Joel Marr $208,000
6. Rayya 50 Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi Doug Watson $200,000
— Fly So High 50 Phipps Stable (Daisy Phipps Pulito) Shug McGaughey III $120,280
7. Wonder Gadot 44 Gary Barber Mark Casse $360,002
8. Eskimo Kisses 40 Magdalena Racing (Sherri McPeek), Gainesway Stable & Harold Lerner Kenny McPeek $80,000
9. Take Charge Paula 30 Peter Deutsch Kiaran McLaughlin $325,720
10. Classy Act 30 Carl R. Moore Management LLC Bret Calhoun $56,000
11. Caledonia Road 24 Zoom and Fish Stable Inc. (Luke Paiement) & Charlie Spiring & Newtown Anner Stud (Maurice & Samantha Reagan)
Ralph Nicks $1,180,000
12. Thirteen Squared 21 Arnold Zetcher LLC Bob Baffert $32,000
— Dream Tree 20 Phoenix Thoroughbred III (Amer Abdulaziz) Bob Baffert $360,000
13. Amy’s Challenge 20 Novogratz Racing Stables Inc. McLean Robertson $160,000
— +Go Noni Go` 20 Three Diamonds Farm Mike Maker $96,104
— +Kram 20 Chris G. Coleman & Brad King Todd Fincher $89,000
— Expressiy (FR) 20 Godolphin Racing LLC (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum et al) Charlie Appleby $85,056
— +Sara Street 20 Godolphin Racing LLC (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum et al)
14. Patrona Margarita 15 Craig D. Upham Bret Calhoun $124,320
15. Red Ruby 15 Sandra Sexton & Brandi Nicholson Kellyn Gorder $85,000
16. Sassy Sienna 15 Medallion Racing & Jerry McClanahan Brad Cox $78,000
+Alluring Star 12 Baoma Corporation (Charles Chu) Bob Baffert $400,000
— +Separationofpowers 12 Klaravich Stables, Inc. (Seth Klarman) Chad Brown $375,000
17. My Miss Lilly 12 Courtlandt Farms (Donald & Donna Adam) Mark Hennig $39,400
18. Heavenhasmynikki 11 Loooch Racing Stables Inc. (Ron Paolucci) Anthony Quartarolo $29,100
— +Moonshine Memories 10 Bridlewood Farm (John & Leslie Malone), Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier & Michael Tabor Simon Callaghan $380,000
19. Heavenly Love 10 Debby M. Oxley Mark Casse $245,000
— Winter Lightning (IRE) 10 Godolphin Racing LLC (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum et al)
Saeed bin Suroor $175,000
Road to Victory 10 John C. Oxley & Gary Barber Mark Casse $115,320
20. Stronger Than Ever 10 Fern Circle Stables (Paul Fireman) Kenny McPeek $105,000
LEAN ON PETE MOVIE – APRIL 6
The hype is real for story of boy and a Quarter Horse
If you were lucky enough to read Willy Vlautin’s beautiful, tragic novel Lean On Pete then you know that, if done well, the movie would be similarly exquisite. From all reports, that is the case with Andrew Haigh’s depiction of the book in the movie of the same name, set to be released on April 6.
It is a tragic, oftentimes grim story of a Quarter Horse who has gone off form and the boy who befriends him:
Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) arrives in Portland, Oregon with his single father Ray (Travis Fimmel), both of them eager for a fresh start after a series of hard knocks. While Ray descends into personal turmoil, Charley finds acceptance and camaraderie at a local racetrack where he lands a job caring for an aging Quarter Horse named Lean On Pete. The horse’s gruff owner Del Montgomery (Steve Buscemi) and his seasoned jockey Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny) help Charley fill the void of his father’s absence-until he discovers that Pete is bound for slaughter, prompting him to take extreme measures to spare his new friend’s life. Charley and Pete head out into the great unknown, embarking on an odyssey across the new American frontier in search of a loving aunt Charley hasn’t seen in years. They experience adventure and heartbreak in equal measure, but never lose their irrepressible hope and resiliency as they pursue their dream of finding a place they can call home.
DUBAI WORLD CUP WEEK – FLORIDA DERBY
A huge Saturday of racing is coming up this Easter weekend. March 31 and the $20 million card of racing for DUBAI WORLD CUP night begins in the morning.
The races will be run Saturday evening (Saturday morning in North America), with the World Cup going to post at 9:40pm local time (1:40pm ET). In North America the full card will be broadcast live on TVG in the U.S. and HPI-TV in Canada. In addition, NBC Sports Network will broadcast the four Group 1 races from 9:30am-12:30pm.
The $16 million World Cup has a probable field of 10: : West Coast, Forever Unbridled, Talismanic, Gunnevera, North America, Pavel, Mubtaahij, Thunder Snow, Awardee, Furia Cruzada.
Canadian-bred CONQUEST TSUNAMI, who was briefly lost in the San Luis Rey Downs fire late last year, has been in career form since he returne dot racing and he has been sent to Dubai by owner Gary Barber for the Al Quoz Sprint.
One of the most significant races leading to the Kentucky Derby is the FLORIDA DERBY on Saturday with CATHOLIC BOY in need to a big run to go the race. The colt by more Than Ready was bred in part by Toronto’s John Fielding.
RELIEF IS ON THE WAY FOR WOODBINE’S TRAINING TRACK
Woodbine’s racing season may start a week later this year (April 21) but trainers who are preparing their horses for the races have come across the age-old problem of Mother Nature. No, it has not been snow but cold temperatures and a lack of any precipitation has made the training track quite dusty and efforts are now being made to add some water to it with salt.
The good news is, there is quite a bit of rain in the forecast Wednesday next week and temperatures will finally creep up to seasonal ( degrees Celcius).
It is a common problem for local horsepeople to get their horses ready in the spring when only the training track is available. The main track, the all weather Tapeta surface, is scheduled to be open for business on April 4 and that will surely help horsepeople get a move on.
Construction on the new turf course, which replaces the Standardbred track, will begin shortly after the main track opens and thus, from Monday through Thursday, the main track opens for training at 5 a.m. rather than 6 a.m. That means that, at least for as long as turf course construction is going on, backstretch workers will have to be in the barns a lot earlier than normal.
There will be no construction work done on Fridays or weekends and the main track opens at the regular 6 a.m. time.
Interesting to note that Woodbine has upped it’s payment to horsepeople who start their horses between April 21 and May 21, to $800, from $400. Bettors should then be aware that there could be horses in races who perhaps are not quite tightened up to be able to win if they wintered in Ontario. As always the winter raced or trained horses are the good bets.
KENTUCKY DERBY UPDATED POINTS
Rank Horse – Points – Owner(s) – Trainer – Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Noble Indy – 110 – WinStar Farm (Kenny Troutt) & Repole Stable (Mike Repole) – Todd Pletcher – $640,000
2. Bolt d’Oro – 64 – Ruis Racing (Mick Ruis) – Mick Ruis – $780,000
3. Enticed – 63 – Godolphin Racing LLC (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum et al) – Kiaran McLaughlin – $360,880
4. Bravazo – 54 – Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) – D. Wayne Lukas – $359,913
5. Promises Fulfilled – 52 – Robert J. Baron – Dale Romans – $256,480
6. Magnum Moon – 50 – Lawana L. & Robert E. Low – Todd Pletcher – $540,000
7. $-Runaway Ghost – 50 – Joe Peacock – Todd Fincher – $520,310
8. Quip – 50 WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club International Ltd. (Ah Khing Teo) & SF Racing LLC (Gavin Murphy) – Rodolphe Brisset – $212,000
9. Lone Sailor – 42 – G M B Racing (Gayle Benson) – Tom Amoss – $273,347
10. McKinzie – 40 – Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram & Paul Weitman – Bob Baffert – $320,000
11. Good Magic – 34 – e Five Racing Thoroughbreds (Bob, Kristine, Cassidy, Riley & Delaney Edwards) & Stonestreet Stables LLC (Barbara Banke) – Chad Brown – $1,238,400
12. Solomini – 34 Zayat Stables LLC (Ahmed Zayat), Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor & Derrick Smith – Bob Baffert – $616,000
13. My Boy Jack – 32 – Don’t Tell My Wife Stables (Kirk Godbey & Rob Slack) & Monomoy Stables LLC (Sol Kumin) – Keith Desormeaux – $502,000
14. $-Flameaway – 30 – John C. Oxley – Mark Casse – $472,260
15. Firenze Fire – 29 – Mr. Amore Stable (Ron Lombardi) – Jason Servis – $582,500
16. Free Drop Billy – 24 – Albaugh Family Stables LLC (Dennis Albaugh & Jason Loustch) – Dale Romans – $497,200
17. Snapper Sinclair – 22 Bloom Racing Stable (Jeffrey Bloom) – Steve Asmussen – $321,810
18. Combatant – 22 – Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (Ron Winchell) & Willis Horton Racing LLC – Steve Asmussen – $300,000
19. $-Blended Citizen – 22 – Greg Hall & Sayjay Racing LLC – Doug O’Neill – $129,644
20. Strike Power – 20 – Courtlandt Farms (Donald & Donna Adam) – Mark Hennig – $199,560
21. Dream Baby Dream – 20 – Dream Baby Dream Racing Stable – Steve Asmussen – $176,000
22. Old Time Revival – 20 – Fred J. Brei – Kenneth Decker – $80,000
23. Instilled Regard – 19 – Oxo Equine LLC (Lawrence Best) – Jerry Hollendorfer – $196,000
24. Peace – 15 – Spendthrift Farm LLC (B. Wayne Hughes) & Town and Country Racing LLC (Louise & Kiki Courtelis) – Richard Mandella – $123,000
25. Catholic Boy – 14 – Robert V. LaPenta & Madaket Stables LLC (Sol Kumin) – Jonathan Thomas – $330,000