• Certainly the biggest story of the day (and this week) has been the discovery of almost 200 neglected thoroughbreds at the farm of Ernie Paragallo in New York, found yesterday in a raid. More further down in today’s post and check out previous posts for how the story developed.
GRADE 1 AT KEENELAND TODAY
• Canadian champion BEAR NOW, who has raced twice since being sold by former owner Bear Stables, is 6 to 1 to upend superstar VENTURA in the Grade 1 Vinery Madison Stakes today at Keeneland.
The Kentucky bred by Tiznow, the champion older mare of 2008, is trained by Al Stall now but was trained by Reade Baker.
Also in the field as a 20 to 1 longshot is Ontario-sired stakes winner AUTHENICAT, bred by Gail Wood, who is owned by Jim and Alice Sapara and trained by Josie Carroll.
Thursday, Keeneland, post time: 4:35 p.m. EDT
VINERY MADISON S.-GI, $300,000, 4yo/up, f/m,
PP HORSE (SIRE) TRAINER ODDS
1 Informed Decision (Monarchos) Sheppard 5-2
2 Proud Heiress (Broken Vow) Mogge 30-1
3 Dubai Majesty (Essence of Dubai) Calhoun 20-1
4 Ventura (Chester House) Frankel 4-5
5 Authenicat (D’wildcat) Carroll 20-1
6 Bear Now (Tiznow) Stall Jr 6-1
7 Bsharpsonata (Pulpit) Pletcher 9-2
KENTUCKY DERBY NEWS
PATENA DRAWS THE RAIL FOR BLUE GRASS
• PATENA (Seeking the Gold), co-owned by a group of Canadians, has one more chance to sneak into the Kentucky Derby picture as he tackles 10 others in the BLUE GRASS STAKES on Saturday.
Patena, winner of the Display Stakes at Woodbine last fall, has had 2 runs this season but was recently drubbed in the Louisiana Derby when the track came up sloppy.
Saturday, he returns to a synthetic surface for trainer Rick Dutrow.
TOYOTA BLUE GRASS S.-GI, $750,000, 3yo, 1 1/8m
PP HORSE (SIRE) JOCKEY ODDS
1 Patena (Seeking the Gold) Albarado 10-1
2 Join in the Dance (Sky Mesa) Velazquez 10-1
3 Theregoesjojo (Brahms) Borel 7-2
4 Cliffy’s Future (The Cliff’s Edge) Castanon 20-1
5 Mafaaz (GB) (Medicean (GB)) Hills 12-1
6 Terrain Sky (Mesa) Leparoux 6-1
7 Loch Dubh (Friends Lake) Theriot 50-1
8 General Quarters (Sky Mesa) Coa 15-1
9 Charitable Man (Lemon Drop Kid) Garcia 4-1
10 Hold Me Back (Giant’s Causeway) Desormeaux 3-1
11 Massone (Menifee) Gomez 12-1
In Hot Springs, Arkansas, there are some grey colts making their Derby bids – OLD FASHIONED and WIN WILLY…
Saturday, Oaklawn Park
ARKANSAS DERBY-GII, $1,000,000, 3yo, 1 1/8m
PP HORSE (SIRE) JOCKEY ODDS
1 Captain Cherokee (Sir Cherokee) Gryder 20-1
2 Papa Clem (Smart Strike) Bejarano 6-1
3 Flat Out (Flatter) Garcia 10-1
4 Poltergeist (Tapit) Hamilton 20-1
5 Ziegfeld (Elusive Quality) Court 12-1
6 Flying Private (Fusaichi Pegasus) Ocampo 6-1
7 Summer Bird (Birdstone) Rosier 30-1
8 Old Fashioned (Unbridled’s Song) Thompson 9-5
9 Win Willy (Monarchos) Berry 7-2
10 Danger to Society (Harlan’s Holiday) Velasquez 6-1
All carry 122 pounds.
QUEEN’S PLATE TRAIL BEGINS
• THE ACHIEVEMENT STAKES at Woodbine on Saturday kicks off the trail to the Queen’s Plate, even if it is just a 6 furlong dash. One of the Plate favourites, EL BRUJO (Candy Ride) will be heavily favoured in the field of 7 after a super 2yo campaign that featured 4 stakes placings and a maiden score.
Surprisingly, the gelding, who has been ridden his entire career by Emma-Jayne Wilson, has a new rider on board for the race on Saturday in Patrick Husbands. Windways Farm owns and Malcolm Pierce trains.
Knob Hill Stables’ BUCEPHALUS, bred by Elizabeth and Gordon Lickrish, will attract attention since he was a stakes winner last year. He has not raced since he bombed in the Vandal Stakes in August. “The Vandal was a bit of a let-down,” said trainer Kevin Attard. “He was going through this kind of growth spurt. There was nothing to pinpoint exactly. We just needed to give him some time off and let him grow up.”
Attard said Bucephalus has been in Florida since the middle of November and began training at Payson Park in December. “It’s been smooth,” he said. “He’s hopefully tight enough. He may need one race to get him back in the swing of things. He’s still a big, gangly kid. With more racing experience, he’ll get more focused.”
Attard said the Plate is the main goal for Bucephalus, who he said demonstrated a relaxed approach to running in his first two career starts. “He was pretty professional both times he ran coming from off the pace,” offered Attard. “He’s a very easy horse to ride. He’s not a headstrong horse. You can basically do whatever you want. If he breaks running, he’s one of those horses that you can easily take back without upsetting him or discouraging him.”
POST – HORSE – JOCKEY – TRAINER
Race 6 on Saturday at Woodbine
1 – Bucephalus – Tyler Pizarro – Kevin Attard
2 – Win and Reign – Jim McAleney – Nicholas Gonzalez
3 – Foxy Lion – Chad Beckon – Nicholas Gonzalez
4 – Silver Rocket – Dave Clark – Gail Cox
5 – El Brujo – Patrick Husbands – Malcolm Pierce
6 – Mega Rush – Eurico Rosa da Silva – Mike DePaulo
7 – My Bad – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Nicholas Gonzalez
• CHIEFSWOOD STABLE, owned by Robert and Mark Krembil, had a nice win at Keeneland yesterday when their $1.55 million yearling purchase MAGICAL AFFAIR won a grass allowance race with flair.
A daughter of Giant’s Causeway out of Mayville’s Magic by Gone West, Magical Affair had a nice trip in the 1 1/16 mile grass race and then powered away to win as the favourite. Trained by Mike Matz, she is 2 for 4 in her career and is a Kentucky bred.
SLAUGHTER ISSUE HITS NEW HEIGHTS
• It is Triple Crown time and once again, horse racing is in the headlines but the news is not good.
One-time top owner ERNIE PARAGALLO’s farm was raided and his horses were seized by the State. The horses were reportedly very thin and unkempt and web sites and forums everywhere are calling for the harshest of penalties.
Earlier this week, a number of his horses were found at a kill pen to go to slaughter. Of course, the slaughter issue is not a new one, it’s just that is has been gaining plenty of steam in the last two years.
Almost exactly one year ago, on Kentucky Derby Day 2008 to be exact, a story ran on the front page of the TORONTO STAR newspaper about Canadian slaughterhouses and how racehorses from the U.S. can end up there. The story was met with mixed reaction – some criticized the story for its timing but mainly, they just did not want to know.
Imagine – that story was poo-pooed last year by so many at Woodbine, and now it’s the biggest topic in racing. Well, it is time to know, to face up, and today, the DAILY RACING FORM, the industry’s daily ‘bible’ has finally jumped on board about the slaughter issue with a large story by MATT HEGARTY (see link below).
Ogden Phipps of THE JOCKEY CLUB said yesterday in a press release: “The Jockey Club maintains a long-held conviction that owners are responsible and should be held accountable for the care, well-being and humane treatment of their Thoroughbred horses.”
The news story from JOE DRAPE is below.
NEW YORK TAKE’S OVER OWNER’S FARM
By JOE DRAPE
Published: April 8, 2009
The state police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took over the farm of the prominent New York thoroughbred breeder and owner Ernie Paragallo on Wednesday, saying he had neglected more than 170 horses under his care.
Since 1996, Ernie Paragallo’s family-owned Paraneck Stable has been among the nation’s leading racing outfits.
Multiple charges of animal cruelty are pending against Paragallo in Greene County; each count carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The police entered Paragallo’s Center Brook Farm in Climax, N.Y., about 11 a.m. with two veterinarians, said Ron Perez, president of the Humane Society/S.P.C.A. for Columbia and Greene Counties.
EXCERPT – DAILY RACING FORM
HORSE SLAUGHTER; DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL
By Matt Hegarty
Of the 100 Thoroughbred horses who went through a livestock auction ring last Friday night at David R. Chambers & Sons in Unadilla, N.Y., 78 were bought, given health tests, and taken to new homes, according to John Chambers, the auction company president. The other 22 were bought by a killer and shipped to Canada to be slaughtered.
“They were the worst-looking things you ever saw,” Chambers said. “What was anyone going to do with them? They weren’t good for anything. What are you going to do, put them on the White House lawn? If you can’t afford to feed these horses, you have to get rid of them, and the only way I know to do that is to send them to the slaughterhouse.”
Chambers & Sons is one of many livestock auction houses in the United States that are no strangers to the racing industry, though few people with direct associations to the auction houses will admit it. Still, those people do exist, racing officials said this week, and the issue of how to curtail the practice of sending unwanted horses through an auction – where it’s possible that they will end up in a slaughterhouse in Canada or Mexico – has the racing industry scrambling for answers as the sport heads into the intense spotlight shining on the Triple Crown trail.
ORC LAUNCHES WHIPPING PILOT PROGRAM IN STANDARDBRED RACING
• The Ontario Racing Commission has announced that for a two week period starting Thursday, April 9 the drivers at Woodbine Racetrack will be required to drive the entire mile with a line in each hand.
This new pilot is an outcome of the work of the Standardbred Use of the Whip Working Group, which has been meeting over the winter to develop recommended changes to how the whip is used in Ontario horseracing.
The purpose of the pilot is to allow the drivers an opportunity to provide input on how a new rule will be developed, which will make it a requirement that a line be kept in each hand for the entire mile. Currently the Ontario Rule 22.23.01 (d) requires a line in each hand only to the head of the stretch. This short term change in the rules has been authorized through the issuance of Ruling SB40/2009 by executive director John Blakney.
Opportunity for Input
Fans, customers, industry participants and drivers are all encouraged to compare the product on the racetrack during this pilot and provide their feedback directly to the judges and the Use of the Whip Working Group, as follows:
• Contact the ORC Judges at Woodbine directly at (416) 675-7223
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Fax: 416-213-7827