brief hiatus but Thoroughblog is back – let’s get ready to rumble…2 weeks till Breeders’ Cup…PICK 6 MANIA AT WOODBINE TODAY!


We don`t get to boast about this much but there is a sizy carryover in the PICK 6 at WOODBINE for Friday`s card. $56,000 WILL MOVE OVER to the card for Friday and that is saying something since this pool grows ever so slowly.

Watch out for grass races right now – the rails, if they are up, dictate who wins a lot. If they are out in the 3 path or more, speed is very good.

The bet starts off tricky, though, a maiden allowance for 2yos with a pair of firsters from the Roger Attfield barn looking interesting as well as 2nd time starter Agni.

This corner will likely key LEMON TWIRL in race 6 if the race stays on the grass.

The 7th race is a tough Ontario sired allowance with DOCTOR JACK, DASHING TOM and COOK`S LOOK looking logical.

The 8th race is another tough Ontario sired event with ASK THE BESTMAN and NOT SO GRIEM leading the way

In the 9th  – those looking for key horses will zoom in on ATTITUDE INCLUDED, dropping out of stakes to run in this turf dash for Ontario sired allowance gals. If she does not win, anything goes.

THE FINAL LEG, race 10, is a wide open $12,500 claimer if you decide to stay clear of huge dropper BEARS FINISH LINE. That one is going for the hot Bear Stable but the drop from $40,000 is curious. There are many to choose from in the finale if that one does not interest you.



Pennsylvania-bred SUGAR AGAIN became a stakes winner win in her 6th career race when she took the RULING ANGEL STAKES Wednesday night at 6 1/2 furlongs on Polytrack. Owned and bred by George Strawbridge`s Augustin Stable, the daughter of the owner`s sire Syncline (sire of Sugar Bay) was off for one year from July 2009 (she won her maiden in her 2nd race) to this August. She has won 3 of 4 since returning. Luis Contreras rides the 3yo chestnut who is trained by Mac Benson.

The filly is out of Wolanstonita, a Chilean mare who has produced local winner Ring Bling, whose connections have to be happy with the added black type to the family.

SUGAR AGAIN rallied from last to win in 1:15 4/5, good for a 94 Beyer Figure which matches her career best. The Bessarabian Stakes may be up next for the filly.

other stuff from Wednesday night:

A MATTEROFSPEAKING, by top Canadian sire Gilded Time, won her debut at a fat 8 to 1 in race for $40,000 claiming for trainer Mark Casse. Trainer DANNY VELLA, who is headed to the Breeders`up JUVENILE FILLIES TURF with WYOMIA, kept up his roll with race 2 winner MOSTLY MAGIC, a Tiznow 2yo colt who won for $20,000 at odds on and was claimed.

Wide ralliers ruled the night as FRONT ROW CENTER rallied wide to win race 3 for her 2nd win in 7 races this year. She is from the Mike Pino barn which is hitting at almost 40% wins at the meeting.

The Fieldstone – Delmas family struck race in race 5 when the NIIGON filly SAGATIBA won her maiden in an Ontario sired allowance in her 2nd race. The homebred is the 3rd win for the 1st year sire. She was adding blinkers and ran a 58 beyer Figure in a 7 length win. She is the 2nd foal of a winning Ordway mare.

The James Perron Stable, which has enjoyed so much success in Louisiana with its turf stakes star CATEGORY SEVEN, won the 7th race with SWEETSOUTHERN DOLL, who was taking her 2nd score in her 9th race this year. The 5yo mare was down from $30,00 claiming to just $12,500.

And owner-trainer STEVE OWENS won the finale, a maiden $12,500 race with GORDANA, who was making her 9th start. She is a homebred by Royal Academy and was the 4th winner for the trainer at the meeting. She was yet another winner for a red hot Luis Contreras.

Contreras, interviewed on THE SCORE Wednesday night, is hard to understand in an interview but hopefully if the rider stays at Woodbine and starts to improve up the ladder, he will be speaking a lot!


The Mike Pino – Luis Contreras team continued to roll Thursday when EXCLUSIVE SETTING won a 2yo winners race by more than 6 lengths at 4 to 5. The race was for $25,000 claiming and she was claimed by Bear Stables.

The BEAR and trainer Mike DePaulo got all of that back and more with the super duper 2yo filly WISE TRICK won for the 3rd time this year in race 2, an allowance that got her $35,000. The Wised Up, Florida-bred was claimed from a previous race for $40,000.

RAGING STAR won for the 3rd time in his last 4 races this year with another win for $19,000 claiming. He had just won against non-winners of 3 and was beating multiple winners for ick Nosowenko on Thursday.

James Bond invaded with the maiden ZHIVAGO (Thunder Gulch) and the almost white fellow rallied in time at the end of the 12 furlong race to win his maiden over Career High and James Street. That trio was 16 lengths ahead of the rest of the field.

Congrats to trainer Tom O`Keefe won won race 5 with CLASSIC EXECUTIVE, a Bold Executive 4yo who won his maiden at 1 mile on the grass at 3 to 1 in his 5th career start and first on turf. Bred by Jim Day, the gelding is out of Classic Ballerina and is owned by the Mohan family.

More BEAR sightings..BEAR NO JOKE won his maiden by a neck at 5 furlongs in race 6, a maiden allowance for 2yos. The grey fellow by It`s No Joke is out of local stakes winner Nithi. He was bred by Shannondoe Farm and is trained by Reade Baker. He sizzled 5 furlongs in 58 1/5.

IWILLGOTOTHEMOON, by Perigee Moon, is a speedy turf ace who is 2 for 10 this year and both wins came on grass. He won an allowance race on Thursday on the lead all the way for Sheldon Pettle and trained Steve Attard. He has won over $160,000 and was bought as a yearling for about $12,000 Canadian. He was bred by Stubbs Investments.

And SAM LIMA won the finale with his good ole mare INTOTHEWILDERNESS, who took the $12,500 claimer for the operator of the Toronto Thoroughbred racing Club. It was the first win of the meeting for trainer Bruce Pollock.


CELTIC CONVICTION took the Cup & Saucer Stakes on Sunday with a 70 Beyer Figure. The first big race of the fall for 2yos foaled in Canada was run over the grass and the winner was making his 2nd turf start.

More importantly, the fellow could have been had for $32,000 from his previous race when he won his maiden.

The two-year-old son of Strut the Stage, this is his first crop, is co-owned by Bill Duffy`s Dura Racing and Michael Doyle Racing Stables Ltd. Doyle trains the chestnut.

Doyle, who won the 2005 Cup & Saucer with 53-1 shot Pyramid Park, said Celtic Conviction showed talent in the early months of the meet, but he was coltish. He was gelded after his May 30 debut, in which he finished seventh.

“He showed quite a bit all along. He just didn’t show it in those first two starts,” said Doyle. “We gelded him. He needed a race back. Then we just wanted to put him somewhere where he’d be competitive. So we put him in for $32,000.”

The maiden win, which he captured by a neck, came on October 5 at a distance of one mile and 70 yards on Polytrack.

Doyle said Celtic Conviction moved forward since the victory.

“I was toying with the idea of waiting for an Ontario-sired race,” admitted Doyle. “I knew deep down that he would like turf. The way the race was coming up I thought he might have a chance. I knew he had improved since his last start.”

The gelding is now 2-for-4 with earnings of $171,800.

Celtic Conviction is out of the unraced Cat’s Career mare All My Lovin’, who is a daughter of Selene Stakes winner Lovin Touch.

Via agent Patrick Lawley-Wakelin, Sam-Son Farm purchased All My Lovin’ in 2007 at the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale for $47,000.

After producing an Orientate filly, All My Lovin’ was bred to __ Sam-Son star Strut the Stage, who stands in Ontario. The mating produced the 2008 foal Celtic Conviction, who is an example of the Rasmussen Factor (R.F.), a breeding theory championing the importance of inbreeding to a superior female via two separate descendants within five generations

(notes from Woodbine Entertainment)


It could reach up to 10 horses if everyone goes…here are a few

WYOMIA, the Mazarine winner, canadian trained, headed to Juvenile Fillies Turf

GRAND ADVENTURE – Canadian owned and trained, Turf Sprint

BLUE LASER – Canadian trained, Juvenile

DELIGHTFUL MARY – Canadian trained Juv. Fillies

MISS KELLER – Canadian trained, Filly/Mare turf

ROCKIN HEAT – Canadian owned and trained

FATAL BULLET – Canadian owned and trained


from Churchill Downs notes:

Two horses from trainer Mark Casse’s Canada-based stable arrived at Churchill Downs for possible Breeders’ Cup engagements: John Oxley’s Delightful Mary (Juvenile Fillies) and WinStar Farm’s Blue Laser (Juvenile). The horses are stabled in Barn 17. …



2010 Racing Season to End with a Bang!


The final four days of the live racing meet at Fort Erie Race Track are set to get underway this Saturday, October 23rd with a 12:30 post time.  Fans will be treated to a wide array of entertainment including Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing action along with on track entertainment for the younger racing fan as well as the young at heart.

The Canadian Cowgirls will be on track between races on Saturday and Sunday performing musical rides and EquiMania will have an interactive booth on site to teach children about horses.  Denis Blake, a Q-Racing Ace, will also be making a special appearance on the simulcast horseplayers show to teach everyone about Quarter Horse racing and how to pick a winner.

 There will be six stakes races over the course of the weekend with purses of $260,000 available for those special events.  The Fort Erie Futurity for 2 year-old Quarter Horses and the Battle of the Breeds Challenge in which the two breeds will race against each other at a distance of 440 yards will take place on Saturday as well as ten other live racing events.  On Sunday, The Longshots OTB and The Fans Cup will be run for 2 year-old Thoroughbreds as well as the Fort Erie Maturity for Quarter Horses and another challenge race will take place featuring both breeds which will be run at 870 yards.

 On Monday and Tuesday the Thoroughbreds will take to the track.   Jockey Krista Carignan is set to take home her first leading rider title and popular trainer Nick Gonzalez has the top trainers honours locked up thanks to another great local season.

On track promotions for Saturday and Sunday include free Quarter Horse souvenir programs, $2.00 betting vouchers courtesy of the Q-Racing Ace program, an insulated lunch bag giveaway with the purchase of a Fort Erie program (in conjunction with the OLG) and plenty of great prize draws for AQHA hats and clothing.  On Tuesday, fans who purchase a large Fort Erie program will receive promotional items from the new Disney movie Secretariat and umbrellas.

 The final four days should be a wonderful way to close off another successful meeting at the Border Oval with plenty of great racing as well as promotions and on track entertainment there will be something for everyone.

First race post time for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will be 12:30 pm.  Parking and admission are always free.



Woodbine, and Analyzing European Dominance

By Mike Watchmaker

North American Europhiles were probably dancing in the streets Saturday night at the sweep by European shippers in the three big stakes races at Woodbine earlier in the afternoon. No, it’s more likely they celebrated with a smashing scone or two. Either way, while proponents of European racing have every right to be proud of what happened at Woodbine Saturday, let’s put a lid on the notion that this was some sort of referendum on how far North American racing has fallen.

This all started before Saturday’s Woodbine races were even run. It began with the offering that the ratio of European to North American starters in these races, especially in the 1 1-2 Pattison Canadian International and the 1 1-4 mile E. P. Taylor, was some sort of proof that North Americans can no longer produce a horse capable of running a step beyond six furlongs anymore. For the record, while three of the 12 in the Nearctic were European shippers, eight of 10 in the E. P. Taylor and four of nine in the Canadian International were European-based horses.

All of this would mean something if it weren’t for one very important fact that seemed to be totally overlooked: Woodbine’s big day of racing Saturday came only THREE WEEKS before the Breeders’ Cup. What North American trainer with a legitmate prospect for the 1 1-2 mile Breeders’ Cup Turf or 1 3-8 mile (this year) Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf would, in this day and age when four weeks is considered running back quickly, run a horse in these long Woodbine races and then come back in only three weeks in the Breeders’ Cup? The answer is very, very few.



ESPOIR CITY SETTLES IN AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – The Yushun Horse Club’s Japan-based star Espoir City (JPN) arrived at Churchill Downs early Tuesday morning for a run in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI), settling in his stall in the quarantine barn at 4:30 a.m. (EDT).

“It was his first time to travel out of Japan and he handled it well,” trainer Akio Adachi said through an interpreter. “All the flights were on time and there were no problems.”

Espoir City flew from Japan to Chicago, where he changed planes for the short flight to Louisville. Accompanying Espoir City on the flights was Artiste.

“It was a long flight and he was his companion,” Adachi said. “He is a racehorse, but he will not race here and not train with Espoir City in the morning.”

Espoir City is expected to be in quarantine for 48 hours and Adachi said the 5-year-old would go to the track for training Thursday morning “if time permits.”

Jockey Tetsuzo Sato is scheduled to come to Louisville this Friday for a three-day stay before returning to Japan to honor a riding commitment and then return to Louisville.

Sato accompanied Adachi to Louisville in July to get a firsthand look at Churchill Downs. As Adachi watched horses train Tuesday morning, he was asked how preparations had gone with Espoir City since the last time he was in Louisville.

“Better than expected,” Adachi said. “His first race back (from a five-month layoff) was good and he needed that race.”

The two-time Group I winner has compiled a record of 20-11-4-1 for earnings of $5,963,979 with Sato aboard for eight of the victories.

Adachi said he has not committed to giving the horse one or two works prior to the Classic, scheduled for a 6:45 p.m. post time on Saturday, Nov. 6. Although it will not be dark for the race, the lights will be on at Churchill Downs.

“The lights are not a concern,” Adachi said. “The JRA (Japan Racing Association) has lights and he has raced under the lights.”


Blood-Horse, Steve Haskin estimate who is in what race…

Countdown to the Cup: Fields Taking Shape

By Steve Haskin

Now that the preps for the Nov. 5 and 6 Breeders’ Cup have been completed, it is time to go over all the races and see who will be and might be showing up.

A number of trainers and owners are uncertain in which races their horses will be participating, so expect to see several prominent hopefuls pre-entered in two races. For a few it’s name your poison: Zenyatta or Goldikova. The final choices should prove interesting.

This first column will deal only with Saturday’s races. Friday’s races will be discussed in the next column later in the week.


The Classic should draw a full field once again, with a number of intriguing horses possible. Of course, we have the big four right now: Zenyatta, Lookin At Lucky, Blame, and Quality Road  . Lookin At lucky is getting heavily supported in Europe, with William Hill, Ladbrokes, and Stan James all listing him as co-favorite with Zenyatta at 4-1. The other major bookmakers have it close with Zenyatta 7-2 and Lookin At Lucky 4-1. If you like Blame or Quality Road, you’ll find value, with Blame between 6-1 and 7-1 and Quality Road 7-1 to 9-1. Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) winner Haynesfield is pretty much 8-1 all around.

The field will not be solidified until the connections of Gio Ponti, Rip Van Winkle, and Gitano Hernando decide what to do. The first two may be pre-entered in both the Classic and TVG Mile (gr. IT), while Gitano Hernando, who finished fourth in Saturday’s Champion Stakes (Eng-I), could go in the Classic or Emirates Airline Turf (gr. IT).


ONTARIO has increase in number of mares bred while most places have decline…


2009 stallions 72


2010 stallions 78


% change +8.3


2009 mares bred 1,260


2010 mares bred 1,385


% change +9.9

What Ontario sire bred the most mares?

Take a look:

Stallion       Mares

Bred     State

Giant’s Causeway    217    KY

Dunkirk    186    KY

Kitten’s Joy    173    KY

Candy Ride (ARG)    172    KY

Malibu Moon    172    KY

Medaglia d’Oro    170    KY

Henrythenavigator    169    KY

Tapit    169    KY

Pollard’s Vision    165    KY

Harlan’s Holiday    162    KY

Smart Strike    160    KY

Street Cry (IRE)    159    KY

Tale of the Cat    152    KY

Afleet Alex    150    KY

City Zip    150    KY

Corinthian    150    KY

Curlin    150    KY

Wildcat Heir    148    FL

Bluegrass Cat    146    KY

Offlee Wild    146    KY

Lemon Drop Kid    145    KY

Rock Hard Ten    145    KY

Tiz Wonderful    143    KY

Indygo Shiner    139    KY

Tiznow    139    KY

Empire Maker    138    KY

Mineshaft    138    KY

Hard Spun    137    KY

With Distinction    137    FL

Dixie Union    136    KY

Broken Vow    135    KY

Colonel John    135    KY

Roman Ruler    135    KY

Zensational    135    KY

Bernardini    133    KY

Henny Hughes    132    KY

More Than Ready    131    KY

Artie Schiller    130    KY

Pioneerof the Nile    130    KY

Congrats    129    FL

Elusive Quality    129    KY

Rockport Harbor    129    KY

Stephen Got Even    129    KY

Cowboy Cal    128    KY

Mr. Greeley    128    KY

Distorted Humor    127    KY

Fusaichi Pegasus    127    KY

Unbridled’s Song    127    KY

Northern Afleet    126    KY

Sky Mesa    126    KY

Stormy Atlantic    125    KY

Kitalpha    124    KY

Old Fashioned    124    KY

Street Sense    124    KY

Any Given Saturday    123    KY

El Corredor    122    KY

Grand Slam    120    KY

Street Boss    120    KY

Bernstein    119    KY

Yes It’s True    119    KY

Mizzen Mast    118    KY

Birdstone    117    KY

Exchange Rate    117    KY

Jump Start    115    PA

Borrego    114    KY

Midnight Lute    114    KY

Milwaukee Brew    111    ON

Pure Prize    111    KY

Utopia (JPN)    111    NY

other Canadian sires:

Where’s the Ring    93    ON

Giant Gizmo    71    ON

Cause to Believe    70    BC

Sligo Bay (IRE)    67    ON

Alphabet Soup    51    ON

Silent Name (JPN)    51    ON

Niigon    46    ON

Saint Stephen    46    AB

Old Forester    40    ON

Seeking the Best (IRE)    40    ON