– Sovereign Award winning trainer READE BAKER has 10 horses to train for Frank Stronach’s Stronach Stables at Woodbine in 2009.

Baker joins Brian Lynch and Roger Attfield as the 3 conditioners for the stable for Woodbine meeting.

Baker, already with a record of 2-2-2 in 9 outings at the meeting, has half of the horses in his Woodbine barn already,  with more to come.

Baker’s assistant is Leroy Trotman.



– Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms-bred 3-year-old PATENA, who was 10th in the Blue Grass Stakes last Saturday and is co-owned by some Canadians, had surgery on Wednesday and will be out indefinitely.

The Seeking the Gold colt, bred in Kentucky, won Woodbine’s Display Stakes last fall when he was trained by Josie Carroll.

The group of John and Glenn Sikura and Dominic Dilalla sold 70% of the colt this year to IEAH and Rick Dutrow took over the training.

The colt was having chips removed from both hind fetlocks and a front left fetlock according to a source.



Post 8 in 12-horse field

Canadian-bred SQUARE EDDIE gets a last shot at a start in the Kentucky Derby when he goes to post on Saturday in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. Owned by J. Paul Reddam and trained by Doug O’Neill, the chestnut colt, bred by David Willmot’s Kinghaven Farms, figures to be favoured in the 1 1/16 mile race. Edgar Prado rides.

From the Keeneland news desk:



On Wednesday, J. Paul Reddam’s Square Eddie spent his first morning back at Keeneland since October by jogging a half-mile and then galloping a mile and a half under exercise rider Tony Romero.


Winner of last fall’s Grade 1 Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity, the Doug O’Neill trainee arrived at Keeneland on Tuesday afternoon for a run in Saturday’s 28th running of the Grade 2 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track.


“Three months ago, I would not have been surprised to be here; two months ago, yes,” O’Neill said of Square Eddie, who had an injury to his left front shin discovered on February 2. “His past two works (six-furlong moves of 1:12.20 on April 11 and 1:13 on April 5 at Hollywood Park) have been exceptional, signaling to us that he is ready to get back at it.”


After his victory in the Breeders’ Futurity, Square Eddie closed 2008 with a runner-up finish to Midshipman in the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and opened 2009 with a second-place finish in the one-mile San Rafael (G3) behind The Pamplemousse. After his first work back after the San Rafael, the injury was discovered and Square Eddie went on the shelf for a month, not returning to the work tab until March 22.


With $774,981 in graded stakes earnings, Square Eddie has enough money in the bank to secure a spot in the starting gate for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1). The Coolmore Lexington will determine if he takes the next step.


“I would want to see a really good effort and have him come out of it in good shape,” O’Neill said. “Then we would huddle with Team Reddam (about going on to Louisville).”


One thing O’Neill would do differently with Square Eddie is he would take him to Churchill Downs instead of staying here as he did two years ago with Great Hunter, who had finished fifth in the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) and then ran 13th in the Derby. Both Great Hunter and Liquidity, who finished 14th in the Derby, had their final pre-Derby works at Keeneland.


“We would probably go on over,” O’Neill said. “We did not have the best of luck two years ago and probably did not have the right weapons.”

Saturday, Keeneland


1 1/16m (AWT)


1 Jeranimo (Congaree) Blanc 117

2 Omniscient (Pulpit) Albarado 117

3 Pitched Perfectly (Pleasantly Perfect) Garcia 117

4 Brave Victory (Lion Heart) Velazquez 117

5 His Greatness (Honour and Glory) Douglas 117

6 Masala (Lion Heart) Coa 117

7 Conservative (Unbridled’s Song) Desormeaux 117

8 Square Eddie (Smart Strike) Prado 123

9 El Crespo (A.P. Indy) Castellano 123

10 Parade Clown (Distorted Humor) Leparoux 117

11 Advice (Chapel Royal) Gomez 117

12 Hull (Holy Bull) Mena 117
















KELLHAM and EYE OF THE LEOPARD were both well beaten in Keeneland maiden races yesterday, stalling their progress on the road to the June 21 Queen’s Plate.

Admittedly, the Keeneland main track Polytrack surface was about as bad as it has been – the kick-back was shocking and perhaps the colts did not like the snowy white surface in their face.

The latter was beaten about 10 lengths after dropping back early and he is owned by Sam- San Farms. That outing was his career debut.

Kellham, likely a grass runner, is owned by Eugene Melnyk.

AIR STRIKE (Smart Strike), trained by Mark Casse, is a recent casulty of the Plate trail. The colt has been sidelined by injury and will not continue to the big race.

On Saturday at WOODBINE, there are a litany of Queen’s Plate hopefuls in action including one of the favourites KEINO WEST (Kissin Kris) in race 4 and DR. FUNKENSTEIN, QUIET APPROVAL, FULL THROTTLE, STARDUST ZIGGY, PRIME TIME and SIOIX LOOKOUT in race 5.

GALLANT, a son of Aptitude, is a likely favourite in the race but is not currently a QUEEN’S PLATE ELIGIBLE.



– Canadian stakes winner SERENADING is in action tomorrow at Keeneland for Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings.

At Woodbine on Saturday, the first graded stakes event of the season is the 57th WHIMSICAL STAKES and Hill ‘n’ Dale will be represented there too – SMART SURPRISE is expected to be a big favourite for the 6 furlong dash.

Friday, Keeneland

DOUBLEDOGDARE S.-GIII, $100,000, 4yo/up, f/m,

1 1/16m (AWT)


1 Tejida (Rahy) Leparoux 117

2 Awesome Ashley (Unbridled’s Song) Gomez 117

3 Sefroua (Kingmambo) Velazquez 117

4 Serenading (A.P. Indy) Albarado 117

5 Drop a Line (Lemon Drop Kid) Rose 117

6 Miss Isella (Silver Charm) Borel 123

7 Crown of Diamonds (Distorted Humor) Prado 117

8 Indescribable (Pleasant Tap) Desormeaux 117

Saturday, Woodbine

WHIMSICAL S.-GIII, $150,000, 4yo/up, f/m, 6f (AWT)


1 Arden Belle (Dance Brightly) Ramsammy 118

2 Smart Surprise (Smart Strike) Clark 117

3 Proud Heiress (Broken Vow) Landry 114

4 Hello Maggie May (Lemon Drop Kid) Jones 116

5 Dancing Allstar (Millennium Allstar) McAleney 114

6 London Snow (Trajectory) Bahen 118

7 Mimi Cooper (R. Cooper) Stein 114

8 Verdana Bold (Rahy) Pizarro 120


hastingsAppr1609.jpgHASTINGS OPENS!

– Entries totalling 73 were dropped in for Saturday’s opening day of the Hastings Park season in Vancouver.

Notable among the newcomers to the circuit is the BEAR STABLES, which has 3 horses entered on opening day including BEARS TIGER in the $31,100 allowance/optional claiming feature.

In that race, $550,000 2YOpurchase and stakes winner SMOKE N COAL, previously trained in New York by Tom Albertrani, make shis Canadian debut for Dino Condelinos.

On Sunday, small fields have been assembeld (including 4 runners for the Bear) and graded stakes winner AGAINST THE SKY is in the day’s feature, an optional claiming, allowance race.

TRACKMASTER, by Equibase

– If you looking for some super stats and sheets and bias notes and a whole bunch of other detailed handicapping information for Woodbine (or elsewhere) check out

Trackmaster has recently provided Thoroughblog with some free reports for Woodbine and these reports are highly recommended. Trackmaster can also be found on Facebook.




by Alex Brown

Here’s an excerpt from

The two main buyers that were bidding on most of the horses last week were back and doing the same this week. They probably bought more than two thirds of the horses today. One is a straight kill buyer, the other a kill buyer who does a bit of horse trading. The straight kill buyer paid from as low as 19 cents to as high as 45 cents / pound. The other buyer, who seemed to be bidding on horses to create a load to ship to Montreal later today, bought horses from 23 cents / pound to 47 cents / pound. I know the horses are shipping to Montreal because I asked him afterwards about a horse he had bought, a thoroughbred mare named Highland Blush that sold for 39cents/lb.

If I wanted to buy her, I had to do it then and there, she would not be here tomorrow. One can only imagine the fate of the horses shipping to Montreal.