Huge blow to lose one of favourites reports…

Quality Road, who figured to be among the top choices for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will not start in the Run for the Roses, it was confirmed Monday morning by Chris Baker, farm manager of Edward Evans’ Spring Hill Farm.

The brilliant, fast winner of the Florida Derby, has suffered from quarter cracks in recent weeks and yesterday, after a gallop, there was blood evident from his latest crack.





• Meanwhile CANADIAN-BRED SQUARE EDDIE had a workout yesterday over the Churchill dirt. The Smart Strike fellow, a longshot on Saturday but Canada’s lone hope at some Derby glory, has never raced on the dirt, never raced past 1 1/16 miles and he has a new rider on Saturday.


Following a mile and one-half gallop around the big Churchill Downs oval, Square Eddie put it in drive for exercise rider Tony Romero and drilled four furlongs in :50.20 Sunday morning.  The son of Smart Strike broke off  at the three-eighths pole and finishing up at the seven-eighths, with a solid gallop-out around the clubhouse turn.

The move was accomplished shortly after the morning renovation break at approximately 8:30 with trainer Doug O’Neill, along with his brother Dennis, in the grandstand overseeing the exercise. The O’Neill’s arrived Saturday evening and are signed on to stay through Derby 135 on Saturday.

Clockers timed the move with the following early splits — :12.80, :25, :37.60 – then a gallop-out time 1:03.20.

“I thought it was an awesome work,” Doug O’Neill said afterward. “We’re very pleased with it. We know we’re asking a lot of this horse, but we think he’s up to it. Obviously, when you want a horse to come back in two weeks (off his third-place finish in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 18) following a three-month break in his racing schedule (his prior start was the San Rafael at Santa Anita on Jan. 17) to run in a race as tough as the Kentucky Derby, you’re asking a lot. The only way you could do that is to think you’ve got a ‘super’ horse. And in our minds that’s what he is – a ‘super’ horse.”

The trainer indicated that Square Eddie would get a day off tomorrow and merely walk the shedrow, followed by a jog day Tuesday, gallop days Wednesday and Thursday, then jogs on Friday and Saturday as his final preparations for the Run for the Roses.

Corey Nakatani will get a leg up on Square Eddie in Derby 135 next Saturday, the first time he’s handled the Canadian-bred, who’ll be making the ninth start of his career and first on a pure-dirt surface.



Kentucky Derby Prospective field

entries drawn Wednesday


Horse (Sire-Dam), State born,Trainer/jockey Graded earnings Sts.1-2-3 Last 1/8 mi. Last 3/8 mi .Best BRIS (date)Best Beyer (date)Dosage

1. Regal Ransom (Distorted Humor-Kelli’s Ransom), KY, bin Suroor/Garcia $1,250,000 5 2-2-0 12.61 36.94 99 (8/25)93 (8/25) 2.00

2. Pioneerof the Nile (Empire Maker-Star of Goshen), KY, Baffert/Gomez $1,193,250 8 5-0-1 12.50 36.75 98 (10/25)96 (4/4)3.89

3. Square Eddie (Smart Strike-Forty Gran), ONT, O’Neill/Nakatani $804,981 8 2-3-2 NA NA 100 (10/25)91 (1/17)3.40

4. I Want Revenge (Stephen Got Even-Meguial), KY, Mullins/Talamo $774,000 8 3-1-4 11.91 36.37 113 (3/7)113 3/7)3.01

5. Papa Clem (Smart Strike-Miss Houdini), KY, G. Stute/Bejarano $760,000 6 2-2-0 12.26 37.04 100 (4/11)99 (4/11)3.36

6. Desert Party (Street Cry-Sage Cat), KY, bin Suroor/Dominguez $641,66764-1-012.5336.7493 (6/22)78 (7/24)3.80

7. Quality Road (Elusive Quality-Kobla), VA, J. Jerkens/Velazquez$600,00043-1-0 SCRATCHED

8. General Quarters (Sky Mesa-Ecology), KY, McCarthy/Leparoux$595,645 11 3-3-1 11.94 35.85 100 (2/14)102 (2/14)2.69

9. Friesan Fire (A.P. Indy-Bollinger), KY, Jones/Saez$570,465 74-1-1NA NA103 (3/14)104 (3/14)3.00

10. Musket Man (Yonaguska-Fortuesque), KY, Ryan/Coa$485,000 6 5-0-1 12.47 37.01 104 (4/4)98 (4/4)4.00

11. Hold Me Back (Giant’s Causeway-Restraint), KY, Mott/Desormeaux $438,000 5 3-1-0 11.74 35.95 101 (3/21)97 (3/21)3.44

12. West Side Bernie (Bernstein-Time Honored), KY, Breen/Elliott $385,160 7 2-2-1 12.24 36.65 107 (4/4)101 (4/4)1.80

13. Chocolate Candy (Candy Ride-Crownette), KY, Hollendorfer/Smith $370,000 9 4-2-1 12.10 36.0094 (4/4)94 (4/4)2.08

14. Win Willy (Monarchos-City Fair), KY, Robertson/Berry $230,000 5 3-0-0 11.86 36.91 104 (3/14)102 (3/14)5.00

15. x-Advice (Chapel Royal-Word o’ Wisdom), FL, Pletcher/TBD $206,845 6 2-0-2 13.20 39.40 94 (9/13)94 (4/18)3.80

16. Dunkirk (Unbridled’s Song-Secret Status), KY, Pletcher/Prado $150,000 3 2-1-0 12.59 36.56 107 (2/19)108 (3/28)3.00

17. Mine That Bird (Birdstone-Mining My Own), KY, Woolley/Borel $138,705 8 4-1-0 13.75 40.35 90 (10/25)81 (2/28)5.40

18. Flying Private (Fusaichi Pegasus-Beautiful Treasure), KY, Lukas/Albarado $124,000 10 1-4-0 12.56 37.56 99 (3/21)94 (3/21)3.67

19. Mr. Hot Stuff (Tiznow-Sweet Damsel), KY, Harty/TBD $114,000 7 1-0-3 12.25 36.30 93 (4/4)96 (2/1)2.11

20. Summer Bird (Birdstone-Hong Kong Squall), KY, Ice/Rosier $100,000 3 1-0-1 11.81 36.81 98 (4/11)99 (4/11)2.56



92 Beyer Figure for Tapit colt

• The summary from Saturday and Sunday included 5 wins by jockey PATRICK HUSBANDS and 3 by trainer NICK GONZALEZ. Wednesday racing starts this week and JIM MCALENEY needs just 3 wins to hit the 2,000 mark.

A crafty ride, a fresh colt equaled success for Sanny Dion’s BEAR STABLES and trainer READE BAKER as the promising Tapit colt BEARCATT mowed down the field to win the 6 furlong Woodstock Stakes yesterday at Woodbine in a rapid 1:09 1/5.

The $190,000 2yo purchase, out of the Hennessy mare Nascat, was briefly in a 5 way battle for the lead in the $150,4000 race but was eased out of the melee by jockey EMMA-JAYNE WILSON. Then was suddenly in last place leaving the quarter-pole.

But the pace duel took its toll on Heart of a King (Lion Heart) and while that colt led late, BEARCATT came from last, lugged in a bit but blew by for a 3 ½ length win. Congor Bay was second.

Perhaps the May 16 MARINE STAKES at 1 1/16 miles will be the next step for the Kentucky-bred 3-year-olds.



• ELATED MOON was one of the first horses ever purchased at a Canadian sale by trainer Steve Asmussen. She was the first start also – and the first to win. The Perigee Moon filly, bred by Michael C. Byrne, battled throughout the 2 furlongs to win the first ever 2yo race at Woodbine for 2009 in a sharp 21.40 seconds. She is out of the mare Just Elated (Bold Ruckus). The filly beat colts including stablemate Always Wildcattin’ (Wildcat Heir). Heiligbrodt Farm owns the filly who cost Asmussen $29,047 US last year at the Woodbine sale.

Trainer LINDA PILOTTO has a very nice prospect on her hands with NERONE, who scored a stunning upset in a maiden allowance for Ontario sired runners yesterday. Owned by Mystical Rose Stable, the dark bay gelding broke slowly and awkwardly in his 2009 season debut (yesterday’s 5th race), rushed a bit to get position and was stalking the pace off the rail. In early stretch he burst between runners in tight quarters and strolled away to his maiden score at 39 to 1

Bought for just $2,300 (US) from the Woodbine sale last year – Beth Hancock agent for Linda Mason, Nerone is by Where’s the Ring out of the Red Bishop mare I’m Back With Bill. He earned a 61 Beyer Figure.

The other split of that maiden allowance race went to beginner DANIEL BE GOOD (Trajectory – Flashy n’ Sheikh, Sheikh Albadou) who led all the way to win the 9th race in 1:10 3/5. The Terra Racing homebred is trained by Nick Gonzalez and Chad Beckon rode.



Disfunction wins again too

• Dominic Triumbari’s AWESOME RHYTHM posted an 80 Beyer Figure is his easy stroll to win the Wando Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday. The newest stakes winner for his sire Toccet is a Kentucky bred who is trained by John Ross.

Ridden by Jim McAleney, Awesome Rhythm stalked a very slow pace (26,00 into a strong wind). 51 2/5 down the backside with the wind) and didn’t appear to be able to go past the leaders around the turn.

Suddenly, into the stretch, the dark bay with the white face zoomed past favoured BEAR’S ROCKET, won big and galloped out even farther ahead.

Race-riding strategy played a big role in not only the Wando Stakes but the featured JACQUES CARTIER for older sprinters at 6 furlongs.

A big speed duel developed with defending champion Stradivinsky battling with Field Commission.

DISFUNCTION, the winner of the prep and a top sprinter from 2008, was wrangled back by Emile Ramsammy and sat just off the pace.

Into the stretch, the British Columbia bred by Vying Victor motored to the leaders as did SHADOWLESS, under Justin Stein. Those 2 hit the wire just inches in front of a brave Field Commission.

The time of 1:08.62 was good for a 98 Beyer Figure.

Weila Ye and JMJ Stable own Disfunction and Julia Carey trains.

DrunkenApr2709.jpgMore from Saturday:

Jockey COREY FRASER won his first race of the year on the speedy TRIP PERMIT who won his maiden  for $50,000 for C.E.C. Farm and trainer Ralph Biamonte. “We had a very strict game plan for this race,” said Fraser on SUN TV. “To win”. The Florida bred is a Trippi 3yo.

DRUNKEN LOVE was yet another winner for the deadly Terry Jordan training barn. The Whiskey Wisdom fellow, stakes calibred for certain, won an allowance race in 1:02.99 (85 Beyer) over the hard StormApr2709.jpgknocking Gantu who was claimed for $62,500 by trainer Scott Fairlie.

In that race, stakes winner and track record setter VERNE’S BABY, running back just 6 days after a disastrous season debut off a 2 year layoff, was 2nd last again in an unsettling outing.

Later, champion runner WHOLELOTTABROUBON won for the 2nd straight time in 2009. Now racing for just $10,000 claiming, the son of Foxtrail led all the way in adverse conditions (see photo) and greeted his MAD Racing and Gonzalez family in the winner’s circle.




Queenston Stakes on Saturday

• There could be a sizeable field for Saturday’s Queenston Stakes, the first major prep for the Queen’s Plate (June 21). The 7 furlong race is for Canadian-breds and the current big favourite, EL BRUJO, is expected to race. The son of Candy Ride was the Achievement Stakes easily for Windways Farm and trainer Malcolm Pierce and easily heads the locals for the Plate.

Other possibilities in the race are stakes winners PARABOLA, BUCEPHALUS and perhaps ACTIVE DUTY plus  Collerosa, Costalivin, Shut It Down and Kein West. Southdale, sporting an 80 Beyer Figure from his Keeneland debut outing recently, is eligible but is a maiden and there is a maiden race on Sunday.

RAPID RELEASE, the 3yo Action this Day colt that came over from England, made his local debut on Sunday in an allowance race but was stuck behind a very slow pace against older horses and had no chance to rally. He earned a 78 Beyer Figure.



Attfield horses 1-2 in stake, 101 Beyer Figure

Hall of Fame trainer ROGER ATTFIELD sent out the first and 2nd place finishers in the Grade 2 ELKHORN STAKES at Keeneland on Saturday in a super accomplishment.

SPICE ROUTE, co-owned by Attfield, Ralph Johnson and Harlequin Ranches, enjoyed a dream trip to win the 1 1/2 race with a 101 Beyer Figure.

He is back at Woodbine now for the summer turf series. MUSKETIER was 2nd, two lengths back setting up a $200 plus Roger exactor.



Trainer Layne Giliforte among the returnees

Racing also will take place Sunday, May 3, before resuming the normal Sunday-Tuesday three-day racing week on May 10.

The season will, as usual, be highlighted by the running of the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, middle jewel of the Canadian triple crown for three-year-olds, on Sunday, July 12. Two other rich stakes are scheduled for that day. The cup race series for locally stabled runners begins Sunday, July 19.

Giliforte, who dominated the winner’s circle from 1998 to 2003, will not have his entire racing string at Fort Erie. He’ll also be competing at Delaware Park in Wilmington, Del., as well as at Woodbine. He’s been assigned 15 stalls — down from his usual 25 — while last year’s champion, with 36 wins, Mike Newell, has 31 stalls and second-place finisher (30 wins) Nick Gonzalez has 50 stalls assigned. Don MacRae (20 wins) now is training the powerful Centennial Farms Niagara string of runners.

Other trainers with well-filled barns include Rob Johnston, with 32 (most of them for perennial leading owner Bruno Schickedanz), John Simms, 23 (some for Schickedanz), Henry Whalen, 24; and newcomer Greg Matties, 20.

As of mid-week, race secretary Tom Gostlin said there were 501 stalls occupied, about the same number as a year ago. More thoroughbreds will be shipped to Fort Erie after the Tampa meet ends May 3 and as more Woodbine trainers ship up from Louisiana and Florida, forcing Fort Erie trainers now stabled at Woodbine to vacate.

Report by Harlan Abbey at


• Thoroughblog was at the COAST2COAST2CURE charity fund raiser this weekend to raise money for cancer. The focus of Coast 2 Coast is that ‘Blog friend Glenn Baxby will ride his bike from Victoria, B.C. To New Brunswick to raise money for cancer. Please visit the site and check out all kinds of fun stuff….