PASSION FOR ACTION heading to the Woodbine winner’s circle after his 2nd stakes win this season – WOODBINE PHOTO





Top Beyer Figures from Woodbine Friday, Sat. and Sun

GO BRO – 89

It was a big weekend for several stables at Woodbine from Friday through Sunday and once again, it was good to see a variety of horsepeople pick up wins.

Trainers getting their first wins of the season included Mike Mattine, Robert Rose, Dale Desruisseuax, Suzanne Drake, Warren LeBlanc, Lorna Carston, Alex Patykewich, John LeBlanc Jr, Pat Parente, Robert Gerl and Lorna Perkins.
That is 11 different trainers through 30 races (Friday – Sunday) and it is nice to see the good purses spread out.
Mike Mattine won 2 races on the weekend with his hot rider Sheena Ryan, Katerina Vassilieva won a pair on Sunday while her go-to rider Alan Garcia bagged a triple on that day. Mike DePaulo continues a hot streak, Reade Baker won 3 races in the 3 days.
Wagering continues to flourish on Woodbine races.

Kentucky Derby day had an increase of about $500,000 to $4.8 million and Sunday boasted a wagering number of $4.2 million.

Ben Hutzel’s homebred colt PASSION FOR ACTION is 2 for 2 in stakes races this year at Woodbine and now a graded winner thanks to a strong win in the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes on Saturday.

Th 4yo by Speightsown – Maritime Passion by Stormy Atlantic had won the Jacques Cartier at 6 furlongs on opening day, his 2nd stakes win following the Cup & Saucer as a 2yo. Ridden by Eurico da Silva, the pretty bay colt had a clean trip while favoured Stacked Deck did not and that helped this fast improving sprint continue his rise.

As an older horse, now, Passion for Action is a confirmed sprinter, perhaps a one-turn mile, and his trainer Mike DePaulo has managed him well to get him into his niche. Yes, the colt won at 1 1/16 miles as a 2yo but that was a two-year-old. Now he can strut his stuff all season long in shorter races and perhaps aim for the Woodbine Mile.

Stacked Deck is one unlucky guy. He looked amazing on post parade and he managed to get out of the gate this time (he was scratched at the gate before the Jacques Cartier). The bad news is, the pace was slow slow for the first 2 furlongs 23.14, and he was off the pace and inside of Passion for Action. When he tried to move, the latter held him in and then went on his business, leaving Stacked Deck trapped behind horses. By the time the Deck was free, it was too late.

Passion for Action’s time of 121.65 was good for a career best 103 Beyer Figure. He will be making his way into the Hot Canadian bred list when it gets updated today!

CACTUS KRIS showed she loves Woodbine once again with a lovely win in the Grade 3 Hendrie and this chestnut mare, a finalist for champion female sprinter last year, could be on her way to a Sovereign Award or two. Last year’s champion 3yo filly Academic set sail on the pace along the inside but she faded after being pressed by Leigh Court and the latter actually finished last in quite a startling turn of events.

Look for Cactus Kris, who was a generous 6 to 1 and picked on top on Thoroughblog, to continue to roll locally.

More Sunday



POTENTIAL SUPERSTAR? The grey gelding Aaronic Blessing posted a 90 Beyer Figure in a fast debut win on Sunday for Tim and Suzanne Drake, the Pollards and jockey Alan Garcia. Photo by Mr Will Wong (

Race 1 – IMPERATORE had a short freshening after a 5-race stint at Gulfstream and led gate to wire through 7 furlongs in a $20,0000 claiming race for non-winners of 3. The Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms-bred by Roman Ruler is owned by Double Rubys and trained by Katerina Vassilieva. Alan Garcia nad a patient ride on the 5-year-old who was exiting a key race on the grass.

Race 2- An allowance race at 7 furlongs and it was 35 to 1 shot RUCK, making his first start of the year who rumbled down the middle of the track to win under Jim McAleney for the Calmar Stables and ranch. Rucku is a honmebred for Calmar and a son of Lookin At Lucky from the good mare Raylene by Tabasco Cat. Reade Baker sent out Ruck who had tried 2 stakes as a juvenile including a 5th in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes.
The time of 123.3 was good for a 75 Beyer Figure.
In this race you can tab Conquest Cavalry for next time as he had a tough trip from the turn to the wire with no place to run.

Race 3- a maiden allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up and the impressive-working filly CURLIN KISSES had a good stalking trip and scored a workmanlike win at 6 furlongs in her debut. Conrad Farms own and bred this Curlin filly who is out of stakes winner Sunset Kisses by Sky Classic. Mark Casse trains and Patrick Husband rode.

Race 4- One of the most exciting races of the day, and the 3rd fastest race of the weekend by Beyer Speed Figures was this maiden allowance for ONtario sired 3-year-olds. At 5 furlongs it was the steel grey gelding AARONIC BLESSING who was hustled out of the gate by Alan Garcia and, just as he had been working (he had a 46 flat prep on April 15 on the dirt training track) this guy showed some serious speed. He went :21.38 and 44.47 while scooting away for Suzanne and Time Drake, their Silver Duck Stable and Jospeh and Joanne Pollard. The gelding hung on to win over Hipp Smitt who was gaining in his 2nd race of his career.
The time of 56.86 was a 90 Beyer Figure. The son of Victor’s cry is out of the Bold Executive mare Executive Pass and is a Silver Duck homebred.
BIg effort in the race from Crushin It from the Nick Gonzalez barn and he is another Victor’s Cry gelding who was makig his debut.

race 5 – Claiming $10,000 and sotnring down the middle of the track to win was BEAR HUNTER for Pat Parente, John Simm and Bruno Zuccato. This Kentucky Bear gelding is a 5yo who is now 2 for 16 in his career. Tough trip for Notaloneinhishead who lost his path inside in the strtech run. Luis Contreras rode the winner who was the 2 to 1 favourite.

race 6- Aaaronic Blessing’s half brother Sorokolitis led for a lot of this 6 furlong race in his season opener but it was longshot GROM, who was delcared a non-starter on April 17 who took down the spoils. This Silent Name (Jpn) gelding is trained by Robert Gerl and it was his first win since 2014 when he won an allowance race. A troubled fellow at the gate, he is now 3 for 23 in his career and David Garcia had a good steer.

race 7 – an allowance race for Ontario sired fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs and it was another success for Stacy Van Camp, trainer Mike Mattine and jockey Sheena Ryan.
Mattine craftily removed the blinkers from WESTLODGE INTRIGUE, a fast Niigon filly that cost about $6,000 at auction and from a rail, stalking position, cooly track speedy Glasgow Kiss and then reeled that dal in through the strtech. There were a lot of closers, such as Phil’s Glory who was 2nd (the Thoroughblog best bet of the day) but Westlodge Intrigue held on and paid $53 to win.
The winner was bred by Phil Katryan, Joannie Dass and Ravi Sugrim in Ontario.

Race 9 BIG BAZINGA is back and means business. The once high profile 2yo from 2013 won this allowance/optional claimign race leading all the way through 1 1/16 miles for his 2nd win of the year. A c lassy Bluegrass Cat 5yo gelding, he won on grass at GUlfstream for $30,00 claiming and was recently 4th for $50,000. He loves the Woodbine footing, now Tapeta, and defeated a good little field under Alan Garcia for Bull and Bear Racing and trainer Katerina Vassilieva. He is now 4 for 14 in his career with over $200,000 in earnings and he posted a third straight 85 beyer Figure.

race 10 – QUIDI VIDI, bred by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Ontario, wins this 6 furlong dash in 1:10.02 for a 78 Beyer Figure. The dark bay by Marcavelly out of El tara by Schossberg was winning for the 4th time in 15 races, now with earnings of over $236,000. Bought by Lorna Perkins for about $7,000 at auction, this filly tracked the speed of Indiantown Sunrise and angled out and collared that one to win under Simon Husbands.

More Saturday

NASHVILLE KNIGHT, named for Nashville, ON of course, chased the speed early in this 5 1/2 furlongn race and then angled out to win in his 2nd race of the season. Luis Contreras rode for Huntington Stud Farm and Pat Mooney and Reade Baker was sending out his first of 2 winners on the day.
The winner is a Huntington-bred bby Bold Executive out of Quiet a Knightmare by Ascot Knight and he is 3 for 8 in his career with about $94,000 in earnings.
Nashville Knight posted an 81 Beyer Figure.

race 2- The Woodbine Oaks picture is looking mighty Irish these days. A week after their Crumlin Spirit won the Lady Angela Stakes with an 87 Beyer Figure, Dura Racing and Mike Doyle’s DUBLIN DIVA rallied wide in this 7 furlong allowance race/optional claimer for 3yo fillies and won over a closing Swoop and Strike, the favourite from Sam-Son Farms.
The winner is an Adena Springs bred filly by Leroidesanimeaux out of Diva Ash by Tapit. She was a $25,000 Keeneland sept. yearling purchase and she is 2 for 3 in her career.

race 3 – CHIEFROLL’NTHUNDER is not usually a horse that is seen on the early lead of his races but coming off a sprint first time out this year, this Perfect Soul (Ire) 5yo, currently owned and trained by Dale Desruisseaux, he was fresh and sharp. Jesse Campbell let him do his thing and the pair went straight the lead and won big for $20,000 claiming at 1 1/16 miles. It was the 2 career win for the Chief.

race 4 – This was a wild maiden claiming race for $10,000 as horses were coming from all points in the last furlong and it was GHETTO FABULOUS who flew the fastest to win at 19 to 1 for Jim Vlahos and trainer Paul Buttigieg. Vlhos bred this filly by Sligo Bay (Ire) out of The Blondesez Who by Louis Quatorze.

Race 5- Talk about horses coming with a big stretch rally in a short race – LITTLE CHRISTMAS wrapped up this maiden allowance with a charg down the middle of the track under Gerry Olguin for trainer Robert Rose and Equus Holdings. A gre daughter of the hot Victor’s Cry, Little Christmas showed little in her season opener but it was in a key-type race won by Copper Fox. She was 20 to 1 in this race as she inhaled a troubled Kate’s Whistle who was making her bid in the 2 path in a crowd. The winner is out of Stella Divina by Slew City Slew and was bred by Chris and Patrick Fung, who now race under Equus Holdings.

Race 6 – Speedy FLIRTIN FOR CERTIN tipped her hand in her season debut when missing a head to Our Nats but she fought off Victory Ring on the turn and then scampered clear to win at 6 furlongs for C S Dowson Farms and trainer Mark Fournier. The $10,00 claiming race was for non-winners of 2 and it was Flirtin for Certin’s 5th career race She began from the 12 post under David Garcia and is a daughter of Where’s the Ring.

Race 7 – maiden claiming for $40,000 and with a 4 wide rally from well back, STRUT N STOMP won for Stacy Van Camp and trainer Mike Mattine. Sheena Ryan rode this Strut the Stage 4yo who was 0 for 17 coming into the race but was 2nd in a hot race to begin the season.

race 9 – a maiden allowance, open, for 3 and up at 6 furlongs and SALSA BAY put in a stern rally from mid pack and wore down Sam-Son Farms’ Ready to Ride to win his maiden in his 2nd start this year. The son on Two Step Salsa was 1st time Lasix and Gerry Olguin rode for Jim and Susan Hill and trainer Reade Baker. The bay 3yo was a $120,000 2yo purchase last year and this was his 3rd career start.

race 10 – an allowance race for non-winners of 1 other than and it was another runner making his 2nd start of the year, GO BRO, who stalked a 3 horse pace battle, angled out and took off to win for owner and breeder Gus Schickedanz, who greeted his Proud Citizen gelding in the winner’s circle. This was the 2nd winner of the year for trainer Mike Keogh who has also had 6 2nds and 3rds from 11 starters. Go Bro was ridden by Jesse Campbell.
His Beyer Figure was a career best 89 for 1:09.09 for 6 furlongs.


Friday at Woodbine

A strong speed bias was in play on the Tapeta which was yielding very slow times.

ALICE’S WAR led all the way through 1 1/16 miles to win the first race, a  maiden allowance worth $45,000. This Philanthropist 3yo was a $7,000 yearling purchase by Angela Primerano and John Workman and trainer Warren LeBlanc. She raced 3 times in 2015 and once this year but this was her first route race. Huntington Stud Farm bred the filly who had blinkers on. This was the first for jockey Sunny Singh this year.

race 2- PINCH MY CHEEKS led all the way to win this maiden claiming race for $16,000 for Melvin Russell and Lorna Carston. It was a Philanthropist Daily Double as this 5yo mare, 0 for 14 coming into this 2nd start of the year, is by that former Ontario sire. This was a 6 1/2 furlong race and Sheena Ryan guided this Paul Buttigieg-bred to the win over 5 rivals.

Race 3- SAVEAPLACEFORME got her place on the lead just off the rail early in this 1 1/16 miles race for $20,000 claiming fillies and mares and she held off Lamoriello to win under Jim McAleney, who was taking his first victory of the season. The winner was claimed and re-claimed by Alex Patykewich in Florida and is an improving Florida bred by Purim.

Race 4- TARA’S WAY, owned by Almac Racing Stable and trained by Josie Carroll, won her maiden in her season debut in this 6 1/2 furlong sprint for $40,000 claiming. The Tizway filly was ridden by Luis Contreras,

Race 5- Jim and Susan Hill won a couple of races over the three-day week including this $25,00 maiden race with SILVER SIDNEY, a grey filly by Sidney’s Candy. She was dropping from maiden allowance to maiden claiming following 2 losses in Dec. and April by a total of 40 lengths. Eurico da Silva put this Brian Lynch trainee on the lead and she charged home to win at 2 to 1

Race 6-  He may have been 0 for 16 coming in to this $16,00 claiming race but WINSTANLEY found a field he liked and he romped to an easy front running score under Eurico da Silva for Martha Gonzalez and horsen Around Racing. Nick Gonzalez trains the Irish bred by Dandy Man.

Race 7 – ROCKET PLAN was not on the lead before charging to win his maiden in this 7 furlong race but he was only a length off the pace while tucked inside. The shrewd ride by Simon Husbands allowed this 3yo gelding owned by Bill Gierkink to dart to his maiden score. It was the first of 2 winners for trainer John LeBlanc this weekend. Rocket Plan was coming out of the nice Neil’s Diamond maiden win on Apr. 24.

race 8  HOT KISS was well took it to her rivals in her season debut and this was her 4th straight win. This is an Ontario bred for Phoenix racing and trainer Mike DePaulo. Denny Andrews bred the Philanthropist filly who is 5 for 11 in her career. Jesse Campbell rode.

race 9 – GRAY PHANTOM was taking a huge edge on this maiden $10,000 claiming field for Stronach Stables and thus had no problem bucking the speed bias as he rallied in time to win for trainer Sid Attard and, who else? Eurico da Silva. The winner is a Hard Spun 4yo who was making his 2nd start – he was in a $35,00 claiming race at GUlfstream to begin this year.




HASTINGS PARK fans jam track to cheer on Mario…














At ASSINIBOIA DOWNS..Jockey Chris Husbands won four of the eight races on Mothers’ Day opening night 2016 at Assiniboia Downs; trainer Tom Gardipy Jr. scored a hat trick, and trainer Gary Danelson bookended the card with wins in the first (Don Gray Memorial) and eighth races in front of a fabulous crowd.

“The crowd was very large and exceptionally enthusiastic for the return of live racing,” said Assiniboia Downs CEO Darren Dunn. “When you combine that with a full doubling in the amount wagered versus opening day last year, this was a winner in every sense of the word.”

Longshot Out of Mischief ($17.90) kicked off the evening in the first race, the Don Gray Memorial, for trainer Gary Danelson and jockey Richard Mairs. Last year’s top money winning trainer Don Schnell won the second race with favoured Blackburn ($4.00), Antonio Whitehall in the irons. And yet another new jockey, Paul Francis, won the third race aboard Money Cannon ($8.30) for trainer Jerry Gourneau, before the Chris Husbands/Tom Gardipy Jr. show started.

Husbands won fourth race for Gardipy Jr. aboard Mike’s Halo ($16.70), the sixth race aboard Ellie’s the Boss ($3.20) for trainer Jared Brown, the seventh aboard Back Away ($6.80), again for Gardipy Jr. and the eighth and final for trainer Gary Danelson on Sober Sue ($7.50).
andwiched in between those races was another win for Gardipy Jr. in the fifth race with Star of Sky ($4.40) and Kayla Pizarro in the saddle. Pizarro also just missed to Husbands in the sixth, the most exciting race of the night, when she dueled throughout aboard Cole Bennett trainee About a Girl. There were no losers in that race.

The best payoff off the night came in the eighth race Superfecta, which paid $2,096.20 for $2 wager when heavy favourite Hollysindependent finished sixth after being wide early. The $2 Pick-4 paid $205.60, which wasn’t too bad considering heavy favourites won the first two legs.

It was special to see the family of the late Phil Kives at the races on the opening night of 2016. Phil’s wife Ellie was in the Winner’s Circle for the presentation to the Don Gray Memorial winner in the first race. Phil Kives and Don Gray were one of the finest owner/trainer teams ever to play the game in this neighbourhood.

Husbands wins 4 on opening night 2016 at ASD, Wagering doubles