EL BRUJO stamped himself the home-based favourite for the Queen’s Plate and the Kentucky gained a couple of interesting guys but lost one…


WhizardApr1209.jpgHE’S THE WHIZ

• EL BRUJO (The Wizard) ran away from his rivals in the 57th ACHIEVEMENT STAKES yesterday at Woodbine and secured himself the early QUEEN’S PLATE FAVOURITE of those who are based at Woodbine.

The bay gelding, fitted with his usual front bandages and his nose patch, battled in a 5-horse speed duel early in the 6 furlong race but then took off in the stretch to win  by 8 ¾ lengthsin 1:09 1/5. His BEYER FIGURE was a career best 88.

“I didn’t want to take a chance and get stopped behind (someone),” said Husbands about getting involved in that pace fracas early in the dash. “I let him do everything on his own. He showed he was the best. He went fast. He was doing it easily and I didn’t want to disappoint him.”

MY BAD, a Tucci Stables runner by Endeavor, was 2nd  and one of the better efforts of the others came from Knob Hill Stables’ BUCEPHALUS, who lumbered along from the back, lugged in and then rallied well for 3rd.

EL BRUJO is owned and was bred by Jeff Begg and family’s WINDWAYS FARM (see front page feature on this farm in the current issue of CANADIAN THOROUGHBRED). Begg has won the Plate before – Victor Cooley –  and bred recent Plate winner WILD DESERT and last year’s contender SOLITAIRE.

El Brujo as the first winner for young sire CANDY RIDE last June and he is from the mare Enchanted Spell, gam of stakes winner GALADRIEL.

Oh yes, EL BRUJO was bought back as a yearling at auction for just $9,500.




• The maiden 3yo Florida-bred DUBLIN LANE won his maiden by 9 lengths yesterday and shaved 1/100th off the track record for 5 furlongs as he sizzled the trip in 56.41.

The son of Alke led all the way in the maiden allowance for owner/trainer LAURIE SILVERA, who has been ill in recent weeks. The Beyer Figure for DUBLIN LANE was a whopping 95.

The track seemingly played fairly yesterday although jockey EMMA-JAYNE WILSON commented that the rail was not a good place to be.

Trainer JOSIE CARROLL won the first race of the day with Vinery and Sieger Stables’ AUTRALIAN POSSE who led all the way to win the 3yo filly allowance. The Posse filly is a Kentucky bred and she beat Canadian bred GIGOLETTE, who broke slowly but rallied well for Richard and Jo Ellen Shaw. Gigolette is one to tab for the Woodbine Oaks.

READE BAKER and JIM MCALENEY, once a formidable trainer and jockey team, were back together again and grabbed a win together, the first for Baker in 2009. BRAVE INDY, at a whopping 9 to 1, rallied on the rail off the turn and won the maiden $40K claimer for owners Jim and Susan Hill. The winner is a Kentucky bred by Cherokee Run.

TACITO won race 3 for Terry Hamilton and trainer Alec Fehr. The sleek chestnut by Trajectory scored with a late rally in the 7 furlong race to beat Manliest in 1:23 4/5. Tyler Pizarro rode. “I couldn’t have asked for a better trip,” said Pizarro on SUN TV.”We had a perfect position all the way.”

Trainer DAVID BELL picked up his first win with the 4yo Ontario bred ROSES ‘N’ WINE, well prepared to win the 7 furlong allowance race for the estate of MORGAN FIRESTONE. The Broken Vow filly was stakes placed year in a 10 furlong grass event (Wonder Where) but seems to have matured nicely this year and could have a good season. She was bred by Tony and Jennifer Monk.



Old Fashioned breaks down

• PAPA CLEM, owned and bred by Bo Hirsch, came from well off the hot pace to win the ARKANSAS DERBY yesterday at Oakalawn and punch his ticket to the Kentucky Derby.

The Smart Strike 3yo colt was given a shrewd ride by Rafael Bejarano to get away from his usual speed style. Of course, no one could show speed in the Arkansas Derby yesterday at big favourited OLD FASHIONED ran like a horse possessed on the pace, went far too quickly and put up a good fight to be second. The colt was later found to have a slab fracture in a foreleg and he may never race again.

Over in Kentucky, the one-horse stable of Tom McCarthy celebrated (so did ‘sheet’ players, who would have picked up that longshot General Quarters was bringing a 1 sheet figure into the race yesterday!)…



Retired principal’s one-horse stable punches ticket to Kentucky Derby

By Jennie Rees,

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The last sixteenth-mile of yesterday’s $750,000, Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes came down not only to a two-horse race between 14-1 General Quarters and favored Hold Me Back but to a poignant matchup between racing’s elite and the ultimate little guy.

Score this one for David, or rather Tom, as one-time claimer General Quarters — the one-horse stable of 75-year-old owner/trainer Tom McCarthy of Louisville — held on for a 11/2-length victory over Hold Me Back, who is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, ridden by Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux and owned by internationally known WinStar Farm.

“I think this horse is just as good as any of them,” said McCarthy, who has had a horse or two at a time for almost a half-century but now will have one in the Kentucky Derby. “I think he’s got the pedigree to go on. … I’ve been looking at other people training good horses. And this time, thank God, I’ve got a good horse.”



• SQUARE EDDIE, the Canadian-bred 3yo who has not raced since January since injuring a shin, may race next Saturday in the Lexington Stakes as a last-ditch effort to make the Kentucky Derby.

The Kinghaven Farms bred colt by Smart Strike had a fast workout at Hollywood Park yesterday – six furlongs on the Cushion Track in 1:12 1/5, the sixth best of 20 other workers at that distance.