*Coming up tomorrow: a recap on the CTHS Ontario Breeders’ Awards evening from tonight, late breaking news, and more.
PAST TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS
2015 – American Pharoah
1978 – Affirmed
1977 – Seattle Slew
1973 – Secretariat
1948 – Citation
1946 – Assault
1943 – Count Fleet
1941 – Whirlaway
1937 – War Admiral
1935 – Omaha
1930 – Gallant Fox
1919 – Sir Barton
THOROUGHBLOG’S BELMONT STAKES WRITE-UP
Fans want Justify to win, bettors will be looking elsewhere.
There are 12 American Triple Crown winners for a reason. It is a hard series to win!
SUNDAY SILENCE could not do it. SPECTACULAR BID? Nope. SILVER CHARM? Just missed.
So many great, great racehorses could not loop the three events together.
When AMERICAN PHAROAH did it two years ago, it was not a surprise. He began the year as a monster and bossed around his fellow 3yos with ease.
JUSTIFY, while bucking that long streak of no Derby winner that did not race at 2 in 100 years, has been perfect but not as dominating.
No doubt he is a mudlark, having won three of his races this year in the slop.
His Preakness Stakes showed his vulnerable side. He won on class and heart, but there are sophomores who can beat him.
And with BIG SANDY (Belmont Park) staring him down, 1 1/2 miles of fast dirt, and some fresh horses, it does not seem probable that this fine colt will be the 13th Triple Crown winner.
So who is/are the upsetters?
THOROUGHBLOG loves the chances of New York based VINO ROSSO, who is bred by John Gunther, breeder of Justify. How strange would it be for Gunther, who lives in B.C to have one of the horses he bred, spoil a Triple Crown bid for a horse he bred?
Anyway, VINO ROSSO is the guy for the Belmont.
HOFBURG is also a good one for this long race. He doesn’t have to be that far out of the early pace if you look at his previous races. He should be in striking range and looks like a good galloper. I have no idea what to make of GRONKOWSKI, coming in from Europe off wins in 1 mile races on synthetic dirt. But it would be hard to bet him at less than 20 to 1.
I guess you could consider TENFOLD off his Preakness run and his breeding that suggests he will handle the 12 furlongs.
1 – VINO ROSSE
2 – JUSTIFY
3 – HOFBURG
4 – TENFOLD
Saturday, Belmont, post time: 6:46 p.m. EDT
BELMONT S. PRESENTED BY NYRA BETS-GI, $1,500,000, 3yo, 1 1/2m
PP HORSE SIRE OWNER TRAINER JOCKEY WT
1 Justify K Scat Daddy China Horse Club International Ltd., Head of Plains Partners LLC, Starlight Racing & WinStar Farm 126
2 Free Drop Billy K Union Rags Albaugh Family Stables LLC Romans Albarado 126
3 Bravazo Awesome Again Calumet Farm Lukas Saez 126
4 Hofburg Tapit Juddmonte Farms, Inc. Mott Ortiz, Jr. 126
5 Restoring Hope Giant’s Causeway Gary & Mary West Baffert Geroux 126
6 Gronkowski K Lonhro (Aus) Phoenix Thoroughbred III Brown Ortiz 126
7 Tenfold Curlin Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC Asmussen Santana, Jr. 126
8 Vino Rosso K Curlin Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable Pletcher Velazquez 126
9 Noble Indy K Take Charge Indy WinStar Farm LLC and Repole Stable Pletcher Castellano 126
10 Blended Citizen K Proud Citizen Sayjay Racing LLC, Hall, Greg & Brooke Hubbard O’Neill Frey 126
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED – JUSTIFY’S TRIPLE CROWN QUEST
Thirty-five times since 1918, a three-year-old has arrived in New York with a chance to join one of the most exclusive clubs in any sport (It’s true the Triple Crown wasn’t named until after Sir Barton won the first in 1919, but he’s long been considered the initial winner) and the place crackles with anticipation every time. Read more here.
WOODBINE OAKS & PLATE TRIAL HEADLINE WOODBINE WEEKEND
Imposing Mark Casse trainees scare away competition
Canadian-breds trained by Mark Casse have shipped into Woodbine and will take some beating in two very important races on Saturday.
As exciting as that is for Ontario Thoroughbred breeders David Anderson and Bill Graham, the races came up with small fields. Anderson planned the mating of Medaglia D’Oro and Loving Vindication to get heavy Oaks favourite WONDER GADOT and Graham, bred Plate Trial fave TELEKINESIS, a son of Ghostzapper – Intentional Cry.
Yes, the horse supply in Ontario (and everywhere) has been at its lowest point ever in the last year but of the 27 nominations to the Oaks, just five, including the maiden HOT CASH, have been entered for the prestigious race. That is a lot of money, $500,000 purse, for the quintet.
However, this is somewhat of an unusual year as WONDER GADOT, the Champion 2-year-old filly of 2017, has proven to be among the best fillies on the continent, even without winning a race this year.
Her narrow loss in the Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1) to the amazing Monomoy Girl, was one of the best efforts by any 3-year-old foaled in this country in recent years. She earned a 96 Beyer Figure.
She has also been 2nd in the Fantasy Stakes, the Silverbulletday and third in the fair Grounds Oaks and Rachel Alexandra. She won on Tapeta last year in the Mazarine when she led all the way and won the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct.
So not many want to run against this long striding dark bay who should dominate the 9 furlong race tomorrow. That is, unless she gets up to her little habit of running alongside a rival in the stretch run, then she could be upset.
DIXIE MOON adds intrigue as she comes off a super outing in the Selene, against open company, and is ridden by the amazing Eurico da Silva, the king of stakes races. HOT CASH, who gets Lasix, comes in from New York for Jimmy Jerkens and Stronach Stables who won the Oaks last year with Holy Helena. This gal is not Holy Helena, but she has some upward potential and could be loose on the lead.
Fairy Hill, a $25,0000 claim by Bruno Schickedanz and Queen’s Fate complete the field.
At least the Oaks will give us a good line on Wonder Gadot and perhaps she chances in the 10 furlong Queen’s Plate against boys in three weeks.
As for the PLATE TRIAL, the final Plate prep, a field of 7 has come together headed by Casse trainee TELEKINESIS, a son of Ghostzapper (2 Plate winners in last few years) who has tons of talent but is a bit raw and inexperienced. His run in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes is easily the best race any of his rivals has run.
He seems to be a headstrong type so Patrick Husbands will have to get the Stonestreet Stables’ colt to relax if he is to be successful.
The upsetters? SILENT STING, the colt orphaned at birth bred by Deb Holmes of BC and foaled at Woodlands Farm, is a danger. He is a good one with closing power and a lot of heart. AHEADBYACENTURY, looking to be the first Plate winner who won the Coronation Futurity at 2 since Norcliffe did in in 1975, needs to step up his game and Todd Pletcher sends up SCRAPPER, bred by Christine Hayden. Scrapper cost a stunning $600,000 at auction (2yo sale) and he was recently a modest 2nd in a grass stakes race at Gulfstream.
Four of the entrants are American owned. The field is completed by Brian O’Leary’s ABSOLUTION, a fascinating stretch runner, ROSE’S VISION, a good colt from Chiefswood Farm who bombed in his first Tapeta surface try and BOYHOOD DREAM, who was just 2nd with a $40,000 claiming price.
KAIGUN Sstarts For New Owners
Canadian/Ontario bred millionaire KAIGUN will race for his first new set of owners/trainer Saturday at Woodbine. The chestnut 8-year-old gelding, who has earned $1.4 million in his career, all for Quintessential Racing Florida, Horse’n Around Racing and, one he bought in, Gary Barber, was claimed May 27 for $40,000 by Bermuda Blue Stables and partner and trainer Anthony Adamo.
Kaigun, a multiple graded stakes winner who was bought by Casse at the CTHS Ont yearling sale in 2011 from breeder Bill Sorokolit, for $27,000 US to be pinhooked, ended up staying with Casse as he could not be sold the next year at 2 when he stalled at $34,000 at a sale.
KAIGUN took Casse to his first ever WOODBINE MILE (Grade 1) and was favoured. That was 2014 and he was a close 2nd to Trade Storm.
He won the Seabiscuit Stakes and in 2016 took the prestigious Pan American Handicap at Gulfstream.
The Pan American, run on April 2 2016, was the gelding’s last win before he took that $40,000 claiming race at Woodbine on May 27. It was his first race since August 2017 when he was well beaten in the Halton Yearling Sale Stakes.
He is racing for $62,500 on Saturday at 6 1/2 furlongs.
Casse said they tried Kaigun at the $40,000 claiming level with the thought to retire him if he could not be competitive. “we didn’t want him running in cheap claiming races. But as you can see, he is very happy.”
JOCKEY COLONY: MOVING PARTS
LUIS CONTRERAS has changed agents to Neal Wilson according to Woodbine.com as the rider seeks to pile up some more wins and get him closer to the top of the charts.
Contreras, the Sovereign Award winning jockey in 2011 and 2012 with Anthony Esposito booking his mounts, has been in the top 2 riders consistently. His agent has been Gary Kemplen.
New apprentice KAZUSHI KIMURA, having ridden 5 races, now carries a whip. The 10 pound apprentice is represented by Jordan Miller.
Barbados’ top jockey JALON SAMUEL gets his first ride at Woodbine in the Plate Trial Stakes aboard BOYHOOD DREAM, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Samuel, who won the Sandy Lane Gold Cup on Sir Dudley Digges this past March is hoping to set up shop at Woodbine.