SIcoverMay609.jpgSports Illustrated horse racing covers from the past – KELSO, SEATTLE SLEW, STEVE CAUTHEN, SMARTY JONES…MINE THAT BIRD?

If anyone thought this was conceivable after watching him race here last year, please stand up.









• So much to write about after the shock of all shocks – the Derby win by Mine That Bird.

But the gelding is off to the Preakness to face a number of new shooters

According to BLOOD-HORSE magazine, the other possible Preakness starters from the Derby are runner-up Pioneerof The Nile (second), Musket Man (third), Join in the Dance (seventh), and General Quarters (10th).

Four potential new shooters are Big Drama, winner of the 2008 Boyd Gaming Delta Jackpot (gr. III); Mr. Fantasy, winner of the Withers Stakes (gr. III); Take the Points, fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I); and Miner’s Escape, winner of the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico May 2. The Preakness is limited to 14 starters.

On HRTV the day after the Derby, commentators Jeff Siegal, Laffit Pincay and former jockey Gary Stevens talked about the race. Of course, no one could understand how, why the horse won but incredibly, Stevens announced that he would make Mine That Bird ‘6 to 5 in the Preakness’ based on his performance in the Derby. Perhaps it is not that surprising that this former jockey does not know the nuances of handicapping, betting or anything related as such.

(Edited press release)

Mine That Bird, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine, back-tracked to the paddock tunnel and then ‘loped’ once around a “fast” Churchill Downs main track Tuesday under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa before the renovation break.

Trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr. liked what he saw and said Mine That Bird would ‘lope’ around twice on Wednesday. “The only reason we are staying here is because he is very comfortable here and training well,” Woolley said. “We will leave Monday or Tuesday (next week), probably Tuesday.  He may jog the morning we leave. I’d like to leave about 9:00 and get into Pimlico (for the May 16 Preakness, gr. I) around 7 that evening.”

The magnitude of the son of Birdstone pulling off the second-largest mutual shocker ($103.20) still has not sunk in on Woolley. “The whole thing is still a whirlwind,” Woolley said. “It is hard to get a grip on it that it really happened. Eventually you’ll get used to the fact that it really did happen.”



Kentucky Derby: May 2, 1 1/4 @ Churchill



• These pair of Peter Dewit fillies plus the Josie Caroll trained colt all race this week at Woodbine. Their dams, Jovial Blast (first 2 fillies) and Fashion File respectively are half sisters themselves and close realtives of Mining My Own, the dam of MINE THAT BIRD.





Fasig-Tipton will auction Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird’s 2-year-old half-brother at its upcoming Midlantic juvenile sale in Timonium, Md.

The company announced Tuesday that consignor Cary Frommer has added the colt, sired by Yonaguska, to her 25-horse consignment for the auction, which takes place May 18-19.



• Don’t expect the same sizzling fast Polytrack from last weekend as racing gets under this evening. Reportedly the cable channel THE SCORE will debut this evening with its Wednesday racing show.



through May 3

Name Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

Nicholas Gonzalez 28 8 3 1 $288,713

Reade Baker 34 7 6 6 $406,053

Scott H. Fairlie 31 7 5 2 $282,988

Malcolm Pierce 16 5 3 1 $403,687

David Cotey 23 5 2 2 $99,754

Steven M. Asmussen 26 4 9 2 $256,275

Mark E. Casse 24 4 5 3 $256,621

Audre Cappuccitti 34 4 3 5 $138,616

Sid C. Attard 19 4 3 2 $164,224

Terry Jordan 9 4 0 3 $198,126


through May 3

Patrick Husbands 85 25 15 8 $1,087,142

Emile Ramsammy 77 15 8 8 $612,710

Eurico Rosa Da Silva 74 12 14 8 $647,668

Chantal Sutherland 83 10 11 16 $557,240

James McAleney 62 10 10 8 $607,934

Tyler Pizarro 58 10 8 8 $450,196

Emma-Jayne Wilson 75 8 9 10 $556,490

Justin Stein 81 6 14 5 $345,318

Luis Contreras 30 5 10 3 $283,653

Constant Montpellier 36 5 3 4 $174,002



• A blockbuster GEORGE ROYAL STAKES on Sunday at Hastings saw SEMINOLE BRAVE (Exchange Rate) knock off the likes of TRUE METROPOLITAN, SPAGHETTI MOUSE AND KRAZY KOFFEE.

The stakes recaps follow:

Heaven On Hold In Control Of Brighouse Belles Stakes

Veteran trainer Troy Taylor expected Heaven On Hold to show some speed but not even Taylor figured on a relatively easy win in the $50,000 running of the Brighouse Belles in Sunday’s feature at Hastings Racecourse.

With jockey Fernando Perez in full control, Heaven On Hold broke sharply and assumed control from the start, covering the 6½ furlongs in a final time of 1:17.54. The winning payoff was $32.50. Blue Sky Holiday, a five-time winner at Hastings last year including the B.C. Oaks, finished second for an exactor (4-6) of $130.60. With the favorite Littlemiss Allison finishing third, the triactor (4-6-2) paid $527.10.

Seminole Brave answered the call in the $50,000 George Royal stakes Saturday by beating a star-studded cast, gaining the lead on the backstretch and getting the best of True Metropollitan by a neck in a winning time of 1:16.76.

Two of the season’s major stakes races are set for next weekened at Hastings. The Jim Coleman Province goes Saturday, followed by the Emerald Downs on Sunday. Start times for the weekend cards are 1:25 p.m. 



• Graded stakes winner Twilight Meteor has been retired from racing, it was announced May 5 by John Fort of Peachtree Stable.

Twilight Meteor won the Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) in his last start, Feb. 28 at Gulfstream Park. The 5-year-old horse, by Smart Strike  — One Over (Pr)ime, by With Approval, won four of 17 starts and earned $575,291. He was trained by Todd Pletcher. he won the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Stakes in 2006 and Hallandale Beach Stakes in 2007. He ran second or third in six other stakes.

Bred in Canada by Kinghaven Farms, Twilight Meteor was consigned to the 2005 Fasig-Tipton July sale by Mill Ridge Sales, agent. He was purchased by Fort for $150,000.



• Lack of entries is plaguing tracks all over North America. Hollywod Park had to cancel a card of racing not long ago and Churchill Downs, host of the Kentucky Derby only days ago, is in trouble.

Woodbine has been thriving, however, with 10 and 9-horse field averages during their 4 day racing week. The big test will come when a 5th day will try to be added soon.

Churchill struggling to get enough entries

By Jennie Rees 

Churchill Downs will have only eight races tomorrow because of a lack of entries for the scheduled ninth race.

The track still has its scheduled complement of 10 races for Friday, but the first four races that day have only six horses each, and the feature has only five betting interests because of a coupled entry.

The average number of betting interests for Friday is 7.4, with three fields having coupled entries.

“The reality is we’re having some difficulty filling some of the races,” Churchill Downs Inc. spokesman Kevin Flanery said. “We’re now experiencing what other tracks around the state have experienced. Horses that traditionally ship in to run at our races can run at tracks in the region that have slots-fed purses such as Mountaineer, Presque Isle. They can run for purses just as rewarding and high as they are at Churchill and with less competition.”



Schickedanz up for entry again

• Toronto, ON – A total of 21 nominees have been put forward by the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame’s Thoroughbred and Standardbred Nominating Committees. The list included Thoroughbred Triple Crown champion Wando and its breeder Gustav Schickedanz, along with Somebeachsomewhere, the incredible Standardbred pacer who was both Canada and North America’s Horse of the Year in 2008. The nominees in both breeds included fifteen horses and six people.

The Thoroughbreds nominated in the three categories include Triple Crown champions Wando and Earle I. Mack’s Peteski, and Victory Gallop, the Ontario-bred winner of the 1998 Belmont Stakes in the Male category. Bred by Ivan Dalos, Victory Gallop upset Real Quiet in the Belmont and won an Eclipse Award as champion Older Horse in 1999 for his American owners.  Peteski defeated Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winners while winning the Molson Export Million at Woodbine in 1993. He was bred by Barry Schwartz of Montreal.

In the Female category the nominees were 1994 Horse of the Year Alywow, owned and bred by Kinghaven Farms; Knob Hill Stable’s Apelia, a multiple stakes winner by Cool Victor and Canada’s champion sprinter of 1993; and Eclipse Award champion Maryfield, the inaugural winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in 2007. She was bred by Mike Carroll and John C. Harvey Jr. of Ontario and raced 10 times at Woodbine before being claimed for $50,000 and shipped to California.

Veterans category nominees include Kinghaven Farms’ splendid sprinter Play the King, a five-time Sovereign Award winner and 1988 Horse of the Year; the versatile La Voyageuse, winner of Sovereign Awards for three years in a row for owner Jean-Louis Levesque and Rainbow Connection, a multiple stakes winner in the U.S. and a Sovereign Award winner on the track as well as Broodmare of the Year. She was bred by Mrs. George Coker and was owned by Ron Edgar and Doug Cameron. She is the dam of Rainbows for Life Always a Rainbow and Colour Chart.

Schickedanz, owner of Schonberg Farm in Nobleton, ON, bred two Plate winners in Woodcarver and Wando along with Arlington Million winner Jambalaya and Kentucky Oaks winner Gal in a Ruckus. His success in racing and breeding is largely due Langfuhr , a multiple stakes winner and leading sire of winners in the United States, which included six champions.

Also nominated in the Persons category were the late Tammy Samuel-Balaz and jockey Mickey Walls. Mrs. Samuel-Balaz, who died in 2008, was president and general manager of Sam-Son Farm in Milton, ON. She took over the management of the farm in 1997 from her Hall of Fame father, Ernie Samuel, and was regarded as one of the leading figures in thoroughbred racing in Canada. Walls made history in 1991 when he won 231 races in Ontario and became the first apprentice jockey to win the Sovereign and Eclipse Awards in the same year as well as leading jockey in Canada. He won the Queen’s Plate on Woodcarver and had 1,453 wins in his career.

Somebeachsomewhere, owned by the Schooner Stable of Nova Scotia, was also a champion at two and lost only once in 21 career starts, earning $3.2 million. Also nominated in the Male category were Majestic Son, Canada’s Horse of the Year 2006 and winner of $1.9 million and Wesgate Crown, winner of two Breeders Crowns while earning $2.5 million and the sire of winners of over $14 million. The Female category included Invitro, the champion daughter of Camluck, and two outstanding broodmares, Rich N Elegant and B Cor Tamara. Invitro, who earned a career mark of 1:50 at Woodbine, won 32 races and earned over $2 million. Rich N Elegant is the dam of champions Rock N Roll Hanover, Red River Hanover and Royalflush Hanover.

The two 20-person Election Committees will declare the winners in the respective categories on Tuesday, May 19. The gala induction ceremonies will be held at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Thursday, August 27. Guest speaker will be Canadian comedian Gerry Dee.