SPA HUNTING…The prestigious Whitney Stakes – Grade 1, is today at Saratoga. Frank Stronach and family’s HUNTERS BAY, trained by Reade Baker and to be ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, is 20 to 1, with a chance to get a piece. Here he is schooling at the Spa… Janis Maine photo





Post time 5;22, card starts 5 minutes early than usual at 1 p.m.

1 Dragon Tail/Roger Attfield/Alchemy Stable/Richard Dos Ramos 30-1

*He’s a maiden bred by Stronach and he had an 8th place ifnisher behind Sammy Maudlin last time

2. Seen It All Before/Ashlee Brnjas/Colebrook Farms/Luis Contreras 15-1

*Ran an 84 Beyer when he won on the grass in season debut, lost as big fave on Poly last time

3. Irish Mission/Mark Frostad/Robert Evans/Alex Solis 6-1
*Oaks winner did not take to the dirt, loves grass

4. Aldous Snow/Malcolm Pierce/Sam-Son Farm/Eurico Rosa da Silva 4-1
*Well regarded at 2, he got back in the winning groove with his turf allowance win last time over last year’s Breeers’ Stakes winner MIAMI DECO (an older horse) – big shot

5. Quaesitor/Ian Howard/Wayward Stables/Emma-Jayne Wilson 15-1
*dreadful trip in the ‘Wales, up and comer with limited grass breeding

6. *Street Fight/Michael Keogh/Dogwood Stable/Jermaine Bridgmohan 30-1

*Another maiden, he woke up with close 2nd last time for claiming on grass

7. Ultimate Destiny/Michael Keogh/Brenda Selwyn-Waxman/Steven Bahen 8-1

*Nice horse, huge effort in ‘Wales, some grass breeding, respecting him

8. Dixie Strike/Mark Casse/John Oxley/Patrick Husbands 5-2

*Thought this gal, with her new blinkers, was vulnerable in Fort Erie, she won, won;t argue with anywhere she is going to run, she’s good

9. Peyton/Mike Doyle/Windhaven/Todd Kabel  30-1
*13th beaten 25 in the Plate after rough trip, so-so grass debut last Aug. 4. would be a surprise

10. Wilcox/Josie Carroll/Melnyk Racing Stables Inc./Justin Stein 12-1

*2nd to Miami Deco (last year’s Breeders’ winner) in older horse event July 14

11. Sammy Maudlin/Catherine Day Phillips/Sean & Dorothy Fitzhenry/Jesse Campbell 8-1

*fast improving guy has had 3 starts, won at 9 furlongs on turf last time, interesting

12. Big Kick/Jose Corrales/Stronach Stables/Kieren Fallon 30-1
*Maiden was 2nd in his grass debut at Monmouth last time but has been losing ground in the late stages of his races, Fallon, a personal fave, is in town

13. Colleen’s Sailor/Roger Attfield/Terra Di Sienna Stables/Gerry Olguin/12-1
*Supplemented for $12,500 and coming off big ‘Wales run, distance, grass questions

14. Lateegra/Mike Doyle/Eaton Hall Farm/Slade Callaghan/20-1
*Filly ran a week ago, almost won Wonder Where at 56 to 1, loves distance, turf


Ontario bred takes Saratoga dash in 3rd start

chart from THOROUGHBRED DAILY NEWS…5th-SAR, $80,000, Msw, 2yo, 5 1/2f, 1:02 4/5, ft.
JOCOSITY (c, 2, Sharp Humor–Sobhy’s Gal, by Stormy Atlantic) was second at 3-5 when unveiled over the
Woodbine Polytrack June 10, and filled the same slot behind repeat stakes winner Uncaptured (Lion Heart) in
that venue’s Clarendon S. June 30. Given a 4-5 chance with this change in scenery and surface, the bay
pressed before shaking free and romping home a 7 1/2-length winner. Stablemate Midnight Taboo
(Langfuhr) got up for second.

Sales history: C$87,000 yrl ’11 ONTSEP; $210,000 2yo >12 OBSMAR. Lifetime
Record: SP, 3-1-2-0, $90,576.  O-Let’s Go Stable. B-Nick Andrews (ON). T-Todd A



No grass racing on the evening and in fact, grass racing will be curtailed Aug. 6 for a few weeks.

The biggest class drop in horse racing is the MSW to maiden claiming (1st time) and MEKONG DELTA won with the move in a 5 furlong filly and mare event for $40,000 claiming. The full sister to champion LEONNATUS ANTEAS had been 2nd in a B level maiden allowance last time with a 62 Beyer. Ted Burnett owns the Stormy Atlantic filly and Mike Mattine trains.

Race 2 went to the most expensive yearling sold in Canada 2 years ago – LARBOARD LADY. The Stormy Atlantic filly, at $130,000, won her 2nd race in her 4th race for $20,000 claiming. She is owned by HarlequinRanches and trained by Roger Attfield.

MO JO QUEEN won her 2nd straight race for $40,000 claiming, this time at 5 to 2. While there seemed to be a bit of confusion during the stretch run of the year, it was indeed the Gary Wellwood owned, Don Amos trained gal who darted clear to win for the 3rd time in 9 races. She was recently a $40K claim by trainer Scott Fairlie.

BEAR’S ACCOUNTANT won his maiden for $25,000 for the Bear Stables Ltd and trainer Reade Baker. The flashy chestnut rode the rail to his win and he is by Old Forester and was ridden by Justin Stein.

Pick 4 tickets blew up when REIGNERS LANE won the 5th race. The 4yo was 7th beaten 17 lengths in his previous race, at the same class level of maiden $12,500, earning a 12 Beyer. In his first race of the year he was 3rd with a 43 Beyer. Well, the Roman Ruler gelding bounced back and won with Emma-Jayne Wilson on board, becoming the first winner for trainer Tom O’Keefe in 2012.

Love 2 Win won, the 6th race, with UNCLE CARM, for $12,500. The light grey 4yo by Bluegrass Cat was making his 5th start of the season.

No bull, VINO DEL TORO won his 4th race of the season to become the winningest horse at Woodbine. The Holy Bull 4yo grey won for $40K and he is trained by Katerina Vassileiva for Dominic Triumbari.

The night’s finale went to MARK’S SOUL, who won for $12,500 for his 2nd career win. Tyler Pizarro ride for trainer Steven Chircop.

On Friday..race 1 was a maiden 2yo race for $25,000 and a late scratch at the gate of Stormy Voyage left the field at 6. Wining was the 1 to 5 (!) favourite  I WILL IF YOU WILL (E Dubai), making her 2nd career start for Martha Gonzalez. Husband Nick trains and Eurico Rosa da Silva rode.

First winner for trainer Paul Nielsen at Woodbine this year was ME AND A BREEZE a beginner by Belong to me, owned and bred by Stan Dobson’s Hopefield Farm. The filly debuted with just a $12,500 claiming price.

Robert Harvey’s BROULAN led all the way to win for $11,500 in race 3, for fillies and mares, non-winners of 2. She is a 4yo by Pleasant Tap and Sid Attard trains.

keeping with the theme of low priced claiming runners all week, the 4th race, for $10,00 claiming was the 6th career win for the super guy, HEY BATTER BATTER, a Najran gelding who has been going hard for almost 2 years. The Ace Racing gelding is trained by Scott Fairlie.

Race 5 was miraculous in many ways. A slow pace in the maiden allowance on less-than-firm grass did not help the front runners. At 1 mile, the favouruites  QUINTE WEST and WHY KATHERINE shared the lead in the stretch until the most unlikely of winners, in more ways that one, MISS GIACOMO, came from miles behind and won by a pip at 66 to 1. The Triple K Stables filly, bred by Andy Stronach, was the 5th winner of the year for trainer Dave Cotey and 3rd of the career for apprentice Skye Chernetz. Another maiden allowance, race 6 was won by favoured ANY GIVEN SATURDAY, forJim and Susan Hill.

POSH SOX was the most likely winner of race 7, a turf allowance for ONtario sired gals. The  Best of the Bests (Ire) filly is 2 for 5 this year and 3 for 12 in her career. She is a homebred for Mike Ambler and Nick Gonzalez trains.

FORESTER’S DIVA won the 8th, an allowance for Ontario sired gals at 6 furlongs. A longshot, the Gil Rowntree trainee pulled away without the whip as jockey Luis Contreras lost it during the flailing. The winner was turf to Polytrack and she is an Old Forester homebred for Terry Ellah.

VALANNA won an exciting stretch battle with SPARKLE AND SHINE to win the $20K claiming event for fillies and mares, non-winners of 2; The Peter Berringer trainee is owned by Aurora Meadows and it was her 4th start of the year.

Heavy grass course it seems as the pace was slow, early and late, for the finale, a maiden allowance. Under heavy, heavy pressure was SIMPLE AS THAT, who won her maiden for Janice Attard and trainer Sid Attard. The Langfuhr filly, bred by Albert Bozzo in Ontario, was a $30,000 yearling purchase and she is 1 for 5 in her career. Jesse Campbell rode the 3yo.


From Niagara Falls Review

FORT ERIE – A former Fort Erie racehorse has made a name for himself on the world stage.

Exponential was the only Canadian horse to compete Tuesday in the last phase of the three-day equestrian competition at the 2012 Olympics in London.

The horse and its rider Jessica Phoenix of Uxbridge finished 22nd individually out of 70 competitors.

The Olympics were the most recent stop on what’s been quite a journey for the four-legged athlete.

Originally named War Buckaroo, the horse began his career as a racehorse at both the Fort Erie and Woodbine tracks.

“Bucky had a very easy going disposition,” recalled Niagara horse trainer Anne Cameron. “He was eager to please. If you asked him for something, he was always on board and tried his best.”

The horse earned three wins in 44 starts with earnings of $55,599, but a medical condition forced him into early retirement.

Cameron, who operates Cameron Training Centre in Fonthill and currently works with horses at Woodbine, was glued to the television when “Bucky” made his Olympic debut.


Former Woodbine president and CEO, and, more recently, chairman, DAVID WILLMOT has stepped down from WOODBINE ENTERTAINMENT, leaving his final post of the famous Canadian racetrack.
Willmot, who oever the years has streamlined once was a boy’s club-like Jckey Club into a viable business, will focus on family, horses and health. His stable star Incredicat races on Saturday in the Seagram Cup.

One of Willmot’s proudest moments, business-wise, was his adjustment of the pay for the unionized mutuel clerks in 1996. The mutuel workers had protested before the Breeders’ Cup, the first of its kind in Canada (and only) and threatened the big event. Willmot locked them out and introduced a different pay scale that worked in the favour of WEG.
Certainly there have been other big accomplishments for the son of ‘Bud’ Willmot, the founder of Kinghaven Farms:

More from Woodbine:
Mr. Willmot was first elected to the WEG Board in 1984. He served as President & CEO of the Company from 1995 to 2010 and had been Chairman since 2001.

WEG has invested approximately $385 million over the past 15 years improving its on-track and off-track customer experience and amenities, implementing industry-leading new broadcasting and wagering technologies and investing in its racetrack facilities and racing products to ensure that they are the very best for local and visiting horsepeople.

In addition to the many other successes during David’s tenure, wagering on Woodbine and Mohawk races across North America and around the world grew significantly and Woodbine played host to both the Breeders’ Cup and Breeders Crown championships; the only racetrack to have hosted both.

Beyond Mr. Willmot’s leadership roles at WEG, he has also served on the boards of multiple industry organizations including Breeders’ Cup, International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA), Thoroughbred Racing Association (TRA), Harness Tracks of America (HTA), Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA), the Jockey Club of Canada, the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (CTHS) to name a few.

His contributions have been widely recognized across the industry by way of his induction in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and with many industry awards including the Jockey Club of Canada’s E.P. Taylor Award of Merit; the HTA’s Messenger Award, the highest honour bestowed by the Association of 41 US and Canadian harness tracks; the John W. Galbreath Award for Outstanding Entrepreneurship in the Equine Industry and the CTHS’s Mint Julep Cup for outstanding contribution.

“The Board and management of WEG are fortunate to have benefited from David’s vision and commitment to the success of our company and the unfailing passion and integrity which have characterized David’s leadership,” commented Mr. Lawson. “David oversaw the transformation of WEG into an internationally admired and respected horse racing and entertainment organization that is the pride of the Ontario horse racing industry.”

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished at WEG and I appreciate so much the assistance and support of our Board members, management team and all our employees over the years,” stated Mr. Willmot. “When I stepped down as CEO in the summer of 2010, the Board requested that I stay on as Executive Chairman for a two year period to ensure a smooth transition. With the successful completion of our management succession over that time and with Jim Lawson agreeing to take over the Chairman’s responsibilities, I am confident that WEG will continue to play a leading role in the Province’s gaming strategy. I am therefore comfortable in retiring so that I may focus on my health, family and other interests.”

Mr. Lawson has served as a WEG Director since 2008 and was appointed Vice Chairman in 2012. He sits on the Company’s Thoroughbred Racing Committee, which he chairs, Standardbred Racing Committee, Pension & Compensation Committee and Audit Committee. Jim is also Chairman of the Jockey Club of Canada and is active in the racing industry, both as an owner and as the manager of Jim Dandy Stable, a thoroughbred breeding and racing operation.

He is the Chief Executive Officer of Westerkirk Capital, a private investment company based in Toronto with substantial holdings in the manufacturing, real estate and hospitality industries.

“On behalf of WEG’s approximately 2300 full and part time employees, I would like to thank David for his leadership over the years,” stated Nick Eaves, WEG President & CEO. “He empowered all of us to play a part in building a fantastic company. His vision and determination have positioned the Company to respond to the changing landscape of horse racing and gaming in Ontario. The WEG management team and I look forward to working closely with Jim to continue this momentum.”



Canadian hero BENBURB, captured by Matt Woolley in his retirement


Benburb, Canada’s Horse of the Year in 1992, was euthanized Wednesday at Haygard Equine Medical Center in Lexington due to complications from melanomas. The Dr. Carter gelding, a resident of the Old Friends retirement facility in Georgetown since 2008, was 23.

“We were really blessed to have retired Benburb,” Michael Blowen, Old Friends founder and president, said. “He was the kindest of them all. He was farm manager Janet Beyersdorfer’s favorite, so he was the teacher’s pet. When his time came, we returned his kindness. And he was grateful. He is irreplaceable.”

After finishing third in the 1992 Queen’s Plate Stakes, Benburb won the Prince of Wales Stakes, the middle leg of Canada’s Triple Crown, defeating Queen’s Plate winner Alydeed. He also claimed that year’s Molson Export Million Stakes (Can-G2), defeating eventual U.S. Horse of the Year A.P. Indy. For his campaign, Benburb earned titles as Canada’s Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old male.

Benburb won the Durham Cup Handicap and placed in two other stakes races in 1993. He retired with seven wins from 22 starts for earnings of $1,159,949.

Benburb’s Molson Million win

Photo from TVG site, M Burns
One Canadian-bred, The Gov, meets 7

Previously unbeaten BALOOGA BULL (Flashy Bull) just lost for the first time when PLEASANT CLOSING (Closing Argument) beat him in the Harry Jeffrey Stakes, the big prep for the $75,00 Manitoba Derby.

The 64th running of the 9 furlong race at Assininboia Downs has a field of 8 from all parts – BC, Ontario, California, Alberta.

The morning line favourite is UP JUMPS A MONSTER, a lean dark bay  gelding who has never lost. The son of Proud Citizen won the Ky Alta at Northlands with a very wide trip under Scott Williams. He has never raced in Manitoba. The press kit linked talks about each entrant.
Press kit: