BILL WERNER leads in his horse SIMMARD after the McDiarmida yesterday – Werner owns the 7-year-old with Roger Attfield – EQUISPORT/JOE GANLEY photo



MONDAY NEWS – ATTFIELD/WERNER win Grade 2 race with 7yo Simmard!

*UNION RAGS wow’s ’em,


*LIBERAL PARTY in Ontario airing dreadful, cheap-shot ads…


UNION RAGS dominates

The early Kentucky Derby talk is abuzz this morning with the performance by UNION RAGS, the Dixie Union – Tempo colt who romped in the Fountain of Youth on Sunday Gulfstream. He ran his usual Beyer Figure in an easy score and should be able to go forward off the win.
The colt was originally a $145,000 yearling purchase by IEAH and then bought back by the breeder for $390,000 as a 2yo.

Union Rags cleans up in Fountain of Youth

The Sports Network

Highly regarded Union Rags stamped himself as a clear favorite for this year’s Kentucky Derby with a convincing victory in Sunday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The three-year-old was using the 1 1/16-mile stakes as his seasonal debut.

Trained by Michael Matz, Union Rags was the 6-5 second pick in the seven-horse field behind 4-5 favorite Discreet Dancer. The favorite’s stablemate Algorithms, the 8-5 program favorite, was scratched from the race due to a popped splint in his right front leg.

“The colt has been training beautifully,” said trainer Todd Pletcher in a statement. “It’s an unfortunate situation. We’ll monitor him closely and see how he responds.”

Algorithms had won Gulfstream’s Holy Bull Stakes in January.

Union Rags, ridden by Julien Leparoux, broke cleanly from the gate and settled into third as the field went up the backstretch. Discreet Dancer and jockey John Velazquez set the pace with News Pending pressing the leader.

Around the final turn Union Rags, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, was three wide to draw even with the two leaders and took a clear lead coming into the stretch.

Read more here:


updates from The National’s Sarah Tregoning:

Maritimer, a highly-regarded Canadian colt, has touched down in the desert ahead of his expected run in the US$2 million (Dh7.3m) UAE Derby on World Cup day.

Maritimer was spending time in Florida before stepping up his training for May’s Kentucky Derby when he was purchased by Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen president, from breeder and owner, Howard Walton.

Maritimer, who is expected to be named Canada’s champion two year old on April 5, completed 30 days quarantine at a Florida training base before continuing his journey to Meydan Racecourse.

He has now been transferred into the care of Herman Brown, the Blue Stables trainer.

“He’s a spectacular looking horse,” said Brown, who had watched videos of Maritimer but was seeing him in the flesh for the first time yesterday morning. “He looks to have a nice temperament, too, because we were leading him up in very windy, sandy conditions yesterday and he didn’t bat an eye.”

SIMMARD SCORES for Roger Attfield/Bill Werner – 98 Beyer

Enjoying a perfect trip just off the slow pace, the Dixieland Band horse SIMMARD, held off a closing Newsdad and won the Grade 2 McDiarmida Stakes at Gulfstream on Sunday.

Leading Gulfstream jockey Javier Castellano was aboard Simmard, taking a stalking position close-up in third in the field of 10 older horses as 25 to-1 longshot Mambo Meister set a moderate pace through three-quarters in 1:13 3/5. Simmard took command into the final turn and was joined by Newsdad for the long duel to the finish as they hit the wire in 2:11:71 over the ‘firm’ course.

“Speed has been holding well here and the pace was slow, so I didn’t want to be too far back” said Castellano “Roger Attfield gave me the green light to ride him however I wanted. He’s such a long-striding horse. I just let him break and sit in the clear. He wouldn’t let the other horse by. He ran a huge race today.”

Veteran horseman Roger Attfield sent out Simmard as the less fancied of two veteran long-distance turf stakes runners along with Stella Perdomo’s remarkable 10-year-old German-bred Musketier as the 7-to-2 second choice.

“He doesn’t have the big turn of foot that the gray horse (Musketier) does, so I was happy to see that he was involved early” said Attfield. “I think he’s been getting too far out of it early. The horse has been doing great.

“He’s a horse that’s developed really late in his career. He’s gotten better and better. He’s been knocking on the door in so many races I knew he’d have to win a stakes eventually. It was a great effort.

“Looking at the race, Musketier wasn’t involved at all early. It didn’t look like he was in the bridle on the backside, but I knew he’d eventually pick it up. It was just too late, but he did come with a good run. I’ll run one of them in the Pan American (G3), Mar. 24, and go to Keeneland with the other one. I’ll try to keep them apart.”

The two last raced in the 12-furlong W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) at Calder on Nov. 26 with Musketier the winner by a half-length over Simmard. Musketier checked in third in the Mac Diarmida, 5 ¾ lengths behind the top two. A chestnut son of Dixieland Band, Simmard paid $10.60 for $2 to win as he posted his sixth victory in 28 career starts, pushing his earnings past the $500,000 mark.

Simmard was bought by Attfield and Werner a year ago from breeder Haras Santa Maria de Araras.


Simmard (inside) holds off Newsdad – Equisport/Joe Ganley photo




Canadian-bred gelding an exciting prospect

North American Thoroughbred Horse Company Inc.’ Canadian-bred 3yo TAYLORS DEAL won his 2nd consecutive stakes race at Turf Paradise yesterday. The 3yo gelding by Second in Command romped by more than 2 lengths in the Turf Paradise Derby for jockey Mario Gutierrez, also from Hastings Park and trainer Sandi Gann. The $21,000 yearling purchase was bred by the Lytle family and Can A Mex Farms in BC.
North American Thor. Horse Company is a syndicate ( made up of top BC owners such as Glenn Todd and trainer Troy Taylor.
Taylor said the gelding is headed to Santa Anita.
The gelding’s sire is stakes winner SECOND IN COMMAND, a son of Silver Deputy from Stormeor. This is his first crop. He stands in BC at Road’s End.

The dam is from the Canadian family of CHELSEANNA.

TURF PARADISE DERBY, $75,000, TUP, 2-25, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:43 4/5, ft.

1–TAYLORS DEAL, 122, g, 3, Second in Command– Fleet Amyanne, by Western Fame. (C$21,000 yrl ’10 BRCSEP). O-North American Thoroughbred Horse
Company Inc; B-Clive & Linda Lytle & Can-A-Mex Farms (BC); T-Sandi Gann; J-Mario Gutierrez; $44,175. Lifetime Record: 5-3-1-0, $79,928.


ThoroughBlog | | 4 comments

 I was lucky enough to visit one of this year’s newest thoroughbred babies – this leggy, handsome fellow by Canada’s leading sire Old Forester. He was just a day old and enjoying some snooze time. His mum, Creekside Cafe, was very attentive, it’s her first foal, and this colt was in loving hands all around. This is the beauty of a beautiful and precious business. Jeff Sullivan photo



Canada’s top 2-year-old colt of 2011, MARITIMER, will land in Dubai tomorrow (Thoroughblog incorrectly reported he landed yesterday) and join trainer HERMAN BROWN, who trains horses in Dubai at Blue Stables, where top trainer Mike De Kock also trains.

MARITIMER will be pointed to the UAE Derby. The colt was in quarantine in the US with trainer Seth Benzel before he was sent on his long journey.

Thoroughblog will have more updates and interviews with trainer Brown through journalist Sarah Tregoning in the coming days.


PERFECT SHIRL, Breeders’ Cup winner, owned by Canadian Charles Fipke, returns from turf training on Tuesday at Payson Park – she races tomorrow at Gulfstream! See field below

Janet Black photo





Veterans Simmard & Musketier Likely Choices in Mac Diarmida
By Jack Will

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Stella Perdomo’s 10-year-old German-bred Musketier and Haras Santa Maria de Araras’ 7-year-old Simmard are proven long-distance turf stakes performers for trainer Roger Attfield over several seasons. They look like the horses to beat in a wide-open field of 10 drawn for Sunday’s $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes to be run at 1 3/8 miles on turf.
Musketier and Simmard finished one-two last out, separated by a half-length, in the 12-furlong W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) at Calder Race Course on Nov. 25. Jockey John Velazquez will be aboard the venerable Musketier, a roan/gray horse by Acatenango with $985,000 career earnings. He finished third in this race last year and second by a half-length in the 12-furlong Pan American (G3)
.A Kentucky homebred by Dixieland Band, Simmard finished a game second to his stablemate in the W.L. McKnight Handicap after losing another tough decision when second by a neck in the 12-furlong Northern Dancer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine in mid-September. Leading rider Javier Castellano is named to ride Simmard.
Trainer Bill Mott sends out James Karp’s 4-year-old Kentucky homebred Newsdad with jockey Julien Leparoux after they teamed up to post a 6 ¾ lengths allowance victory on Jan. 28 over the course and 11-furlong distance. The son of Arch just missed when third after a big stretch rally in a similar race on Dec. 31 when beaten less than a length for it all.
Taking a big step up for the Mac Diarmida will be Lucky Seven Farm’s 4-year-old Kentucky homebred Minister Colin with jockey Elvis Trujillo aboard for trainer Tom Proctor. The son of Smart Strike has won the last two of three starts at the meet, most recently an optional/allowance at 1 ½ miles on Jan. 21.
“He just got better last fall and this winter,” said Proctor Thursday. “I can’t tell you why. He was kind of dull and didn’t train all that well last summer, but has come around and earned a chance in this one.” Mister Colin’s first two starts at this meet were for a $50,000 claiming tag with no takers and the Mac Diarmida will mark his stakes race debut.

He’s not 10 years old and MUSKETIER, a contender for champion turf male in Canada last year, makes his 2012 debut on Sunday. EquiSport photo




Sunday, Gulfstream Park, post time: 4:45 p.m. EST
MAC DIARMIDA S.-GII, $150,000, 4yo/up, 1 3/8mT

1 Eagle Poise K Empire Maker Maragh Motion 121
2 Musketier (Ger) Acatenango (Ger) Velazquez Attfield 123
3 Newsdad K Arch Leparoux Mott 117
4 Minister Colin Smart Strike Trujillo Proctor 117
5 Simmard K Dixieland Band Castellano Attfield 117
6 Mambo Meister King Cugat Cruz Gleaves 117
7 Dixie Emperor K Purge Solis Wolfson 123
8 Center Divider K Giant’s Causeway Lezcano Brown 117
9 Middie K Officer Bravo Oliver 117
10 Crimson China K Giant’s Causeway Rose Motion 117


PERFECT SHIRL ready to roll tomorrow

Saturday, Gulfstream Park, post time: 4:45 p.m. EST
THE VERY ONE S.-GIII, $100,000, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 3/8mT
1 Here to Win (Brz) Roi Normand Bravo McLaghln 117
2 Hasay (GB) Lomitas (GB) Dominguez Motion 117
3 Woodford Belle Arch Castanon Nihei 117
4 Perfect Shirl Perfect Soul (Ire) Velazquez Attfield 123
5 Casablanca Smile (Chi) Ocean Terrace Desormeaux McGaghy 121
6 Keertana Johar Lezcano Proctor 121
7 Clarinet Giant’s Causeway Leparoux Motion 117
8 Good Karma (Ity) Tobougg (Ire) Maragh Clement 117
9 Shimmering Moment K Afleet Alex Rocco Jr. Abbott 117
10 Middle Club (GB) Fantastic Light Lopez Clement 117
11 Font Pulpit Solis Tagg 117
12 Aquitaine K Empire Maker Contreras Matz 117
13 Full Moon Party K Medaglia d’Oro Wilson Frazier 117
14 Dash Dot Dash Put It Back Trujillo Wolfson 117



SUNDAY AT GULFSTREAM…Time is now for Union Rags


Kentucky Derby Watch

Leparoux lands Derby favorite, and a bride to be

IT IS NOW TIME. After nearly 4 months away from the races and 6 weeks away from the racetrack, Union Rags is back Sunday at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. The colt, now 3 years old and a giant at nearly 17 hands, will race in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes against what is the most difficult field of 3-year-olds assembled in 2012.

They call these prep races for a reason. It is not about the last Sunday in February. It is about the first Saturday in May. So, the “what” (the result) might not be as significant as the “how,” as in how Union Rags runs.

The Kentucky Derby has been Michael Matz’ goal since the trainer first gauged the depth of the colt’s talent last summer. Owner Phyllis Wyeth sold the colt in the summer of 2010, but had such a strong, recurring dream about him that she bought him back in February 2011. Since then, Union Rags has earned $858,800 on the track and was a diminishing head from being an unbeaten 2-year-old champion.

Like Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex and Barbaro, Union Rags has those southeastern Pennsylvania connections that dominated the Triple Crown races from 2004 to 2006.

Read more:

Sunday, Gulfstream Park, post time: 5:13 p.m. EST
FASIG-TIPTON FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH S.-GII, $400,000, 3yo, 1 1/16m

1 Neck ‘n Neck Flower Alley Lezcano Wilkes 116
2 Algorithms K Bernardini Castellano Pletcher 120
3 Fort Loudon Awesome of Course Maragh Gold 120
4 Casual Trick K Bernardini Nakatani Zito 116
5 Discreet Dancer Discreet Cat Velazquez Pletcher 116
6 News Pending K Harlan’s Holiday Desormeaux Romans 116
7 Union Rags Dixie Union Leparoux Matz 122
8 Csaba Kitten’s Joy Lopez Gleaves 116



STYLISH – CITY STYLE, out of Katahaula County mare!

CITY STYLE, winning on Jan. 5 – photo from Godolphin website.


American stakes winner CITY STYLE is a bear in Dubai and, recently off a long layoff, he is back in form.
His dam, BRATTOTHECORE won the Bison City Stakes in 2003 and her sire is BC stallion Katahaula County. She was bred by Bill Stewart’s Black Canyon Thoroughbreds.

chart courtesy of Thoroughbred Daily News

21.30, Meydan, $100,000, Hcp, NH4yo/up/SH3yo/up,
1800mT, 1:53.49, gd.

CITY STYLE (g, 6, City Zip–Brattothecore {MSW-Can, $322,567}, by Katahaula County), winner of the Sunday Silence S. and fourth in the GII Breeders= Cup Juvenile Turf in 2008, had endured a spell in the
wilderness before taking a liking to this venue when winning a mile handicap last January. Off until a return win in a conditions test Jan. 5, the chestnut was no match for Musir (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}) when a non-threatening length second to that rival in the Jan. 26 G2 Al Rashidiya last time. Held up early by a
confident Mickael Barzalona, he was threaded through the pack with a flourish to lead with 100 yards remaining en route to a decisive two-length defeat of Rerouted (Stormy Atlantic). Lifetime Record: SW-US, GSP-UAE & SP-GB, 17-7-2-2, $524,905.
O-Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum; B-Stonerside Stable (KY); T-Mahmood Al Zarooni




Uniquely marked four-year-old filly A. K. A. Xe (Indian Ocean)  schools in the saddling barn a day before winning her career debut at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Kevin Krigger jockey, Kristin Mulhall trainer, Twilight Racing, LLC owner. (Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012) Credit: Marcie Heacox / EquiSport Photos



Ontario Horse Racing Industry Condemns Misleading Ads by Ontario Liberal Party

The Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association is deeply disappointed with the Ontario Liberal Party’s misleading portrayal of the OLG Slots at Racetrack Program. The OLG Slots at Racetrack Program is not a ‘secret subsidy’ that benefits ‘a few wealthy racetrack owners’ as the Liberals falsely claim. It is actually the largest source of revenue for OLG; greater than the casinos, lottery tickets or bingo, according to the OLG and Ministry of Finance figures.

Each year approximately $1.7 billion dollars of revenue is generated by OLG slots that are placed at private racetracks around Ontario. Of that money, approximately $345 million flows to the horse racing industry, with municipalities receiving nearly $80 million dollars and the Government of Ontario walking away with $1.1 billion in net profit. Ending the OLG at Slots Program, ends the $1.1 billion dollars of profit.

“The Liberals need to understand the OLG Slots at Racetrack Program is a highly profitable venture for the Government of Ontario. By trying to remove the horse racing industry’s portion from the expense, the Liberals will end up removing the slots, and forgoing $1.1 billion dollars a year of revenue, adding to Ontario’s deficit.” Said Sue Leslie, President of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association.

Dwight Duncan’s 2011 budget spoke glowingly of OLG Slots at Racetrack Program’s contribution to Ontario’s finances.

According to Budget 2011, slot machines at racetracks were responsible, in part, for $1.5 billion dollars of hospital operating expenses, $120 million dollars for the Ontario Trillium Foundation, $41 million dollars for problem gambling and related programs,  $10 million for amateur sports, and $69 million dollars for general government priorities (pg 234 of Budget 2011).

The OLG Slots at Racetrack Program was credited in Budget 2011 with providing $345 million dollars of support for Ontario’s Agricultural sector and $76 million dollars for municipalities.

“The Finance Minister needs to ensure he has his facts straight before he pulls the plug on this highly profitable OLG program.” Said Sue Leslie. “Nothing is ‘secret’ about the OLG Slots at Racetrack program as the Ontario Liberals falsely claim in their attack ads.” Leslie added.

Ontario’s Horse Racing Industry is responsible for 31,441 full time jobs in Ontario, and up to 60,000 jobs when including part-time and seasonal work. Horse racing industry expenses in Ontario total approximately $2 billion dollars per year with 80% ($1.6 billion) of those expenses being incurred in rural Ontario.

“Attacking a major industry like ours with false claims is hurting, not helping Ontario’s economy.” Said Leslie.

Text of Ontario Liberal Party Radio Ads

Radio Ad One:

“Did you know that Tim Hudak’s PCs started a secret subsidy for a few, very wealthy racetrack owners? And now in these times of restraint, Tim Hudak says these rich payouts should be protected. He’d cancel full day kindergarden, leaving 50,000 four and five year olds stranded. Are we really going to spend more on horse racing than full day kindergarden? The PCs should do what’s right. Tell Tim Hudak his priorities aren’t your priorities.”

Radio Ad Two:

“Did you know that Tim Hudak’s PCs started a secret subsidy for a few, very wealthy racetrack owners? And now in these times of restraint, Tim Hudak says these rich payouts should be protected. But when it comes to our seniors, he voted against new supports to help them stay in their homes longer. Are we really going to protect horse racing over our parents and grandparents? The PCs should do what’s right. Tell Tim Hudak his priorities aren’t your priorities.”



HMMMM – INTERESTING…DALTON MCGUINTY, when asking for votes last fall ( this speech provided by ‘justmike 48’ on the CBC news site):

Thank you very much for the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) 2011 provincial election questionnaire.
Ontario Liberals have great respect and admiration for the racing community, and for OHHA. We value the positive impact that the horse racing industry has on the agricultural sector in this province, and we believe in working closely with the industry to ensure that it remains strong and prosperous in the future. There are many important issues that your Association has raised in terms of matters on which we can work together.

We are currently aware that many of the original siteholder agreements are coming to completion. As you may know, we are awaiting the results of our Land Based Review. This review will help to guide and inform our work together in the areas OHHA has raised, such as slot revenue and gaming expansion.

Ontario Liberals are strongly committed to a responsible implementation of gaming programs, and will make any future changes with a view to supporting this principle. In terms of your specific questions regarding the Racing Commission Act, and the current agreements specifying how and where purse money is used, Ontario Liberals look forward to speaking to OHHA directly about these matters. We must engage in further discussions about how horsepeople are represented, to ensure that they continue to make their important contributions to a strong Ontario.

Mr. Tropea, thank you again for the Ontario Harness Horse Association 2011 provincial election questionnaire — and please accept my best wishes.

Dalton McGuinty

Ontario Liberal Party