Happy New Year


TODAY’S NEWS…Gulfstream is back and so is the QUALITY…


Happy New Year to Thoroughblog readers who said hello during the holidays.

Back from being buried in snow in La Belle Province and Thoroughblog is ready to begin its 4th year and first full one with Horse-Canada, which publishes the top magazines in the horse industry in Canada.

Breeders are readying for the arrival of babies and clients with mares to be bred while owners and trainers await the tracks to open next month and watch their horses get ready for action.

Those of us who work in the business when racing is on – sigh – we wait until April.






Frank Stronach owns this handsome horse. See more year in photos at rockandracehorses.wordpress.com/2009/12/30/sarah-k-andrew






QUALITY ROAD, who became well know last winter when he was flashy in his wins and was tabbed by many (including yours truly) to be a Kentucky Derby winner, has not had the smoothest road since then.

He was injured and missed the Derby (quarter cracks) and then he had an arbupt trainer change to Todd Pletcher and then his bizarre meltdown at the gate before the Breeders’ Cup Classic (he had to be scratched).

But on opening day at Gulfstream, where he set a track record in the Florida Derby last year, the guy was back on track and thanks to a slow early pace, romped in his comeback in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope Stakes.

Canadian-bred HARLEM ROCKER, winner of the Prince of Wales Stakes last year at Fort Erie but sidelined for most of the fall, was 4th beaten 7 lengths.


HAL’S HOPE S.-GIII, $100,000, GP, 1-3, 4yo/up, 1m,

1:36 1/5, ft.

1–QUALITY ROAD, 122, c, 4, by Elusive Quality

1st Dam: Kobla, by Strawberry Road (Aus)

2nd Dam: Winglet, by Alydar

3rd Dam: Highest Trump, by Bold Bidder

($110,000 RNA yrl ’07 KEESEP). O/B-Edward P

Evans (VA); T-Todd A Pletcher; J-John R Velazquez;

$60,000. Lifetime Record: GISW, 8-5-2-1,




Canadian owner JAMES PERRON scored a big win in racing on the weekend when his filly CATEGORY SEVEN was placed first IN THE $60k FURL SAIL HANDICAP.

from the FAIR GROUNDS website:

 Category Seven Wins Furl Sail After DQ of Never Retreat

by Graham Ross | January 02, 2010

James Perron Racing Stable’s Category Seven, overlooked by Fair Grounds racing fans in Saturday’s $60,000 Furl Sail Handicap, ended up paying win mutuels of $34.40, $14.60 and $6.60 following a disqualification of Team Block’s Never Retreat, who was first under the wire a neck in front of the eventual winner.

Trained by Kenneth Hargrave and ridden by Richard Eramia, Category Seven came from far back to move for the lead at the eighth pole, but was carried out by Never Retreat in the final furlong despite corrective action by Never Retreat’s rider James Graham.

“(Never Retreat) ran a good race,” said eventual winning rider Eramia, “but she was getting a little tired over the soft turf in the late stages and we bumped. I felt bad for her and for James. It was not intentional but I felt I had to file an objection. Naturally, I’m glad it worked out for us.”

Hargrave said: “She always runs hard. She doesn’t like the dirt as much as the grass, but she always runs hard and has a great frame of mind.”

Never Retreat accomplished a final time of 1:46.42 for the about 1 1/16-mile distance mile distance over a Stall-Wilson turf course rated “good,” and paid $7.20 and $5.40 when demoted to the place position.

“It’s disappointing, frustrating,” said Richie Scherer, trainer of Never Retreat. “I thought she was the best horse but that’s the way it goes.”

Final Refrain finished third 3 1/ 4-lengths farther back and returned $8.20.

Category Seven increased her career earnings to $241,677 with her eighth career win in 31 lifetime starts.


The first full week of Gulfstream racing starts Wednesday and Canadian barns in action include Chiefswood Stable (race Canadian breds Indigo North and Flaming Rose in upcoming allowance events on Wed. and Thursday), Tino Attard, Reade Baker and Barb Pirie.

Canadian bred stakes horses TWISTED WIT and JAZZ NATION are in action for just $6,250 claiming on Wednesday.

At TAMPA BAY DOWNS, the barns of John Simms and Woodbine’s leading trainer for 2009 MARK CASSE are in full swing at that meeting.

Casse is 10-0-2-2 early in the meeting and will race Eugene Melnyk’s SUNFLOWER DRIVE on Thursday.


It might be really early to talk about the 151st QUEEN’S PLATE (which will be held in July this year, possibly because of a visit by HRH QUEEN ELIZABETH), but names like GIANT’S TOMB and HOTEP, two promising colts from Sam-Son Farms popped up on the liost of nominations for the Louisiana Derby in March.

Sam-Son, owned by Mark Samuel and family, have horses in training with Mark Frostad and Malcolm Pierce in New Orleans and at its farm in Ocala, Florida.

Speaking of the Plate –

the QUEEN’S PLATE WINTERBOOK ODDS  – ENTERING ITS 86TH YEAR! – will not be done by yours truly this season for the first time in over a decade, having been replaced by Woodbine staff.

Kicking Dirt




Specializing in Thoroughbreds, and thoroughbred crosses, Exclusively Equine utilizes years of racetrack relationships, and knowledge, to offer quality horses for all disciplines.

In growth, it has also continued to take on a large number of consignment horses to provide a greater selection and variety, to our regular client base. Exclusively Equine has developed several solid relationships with a number of other sales barns throughout North America, and is now able to offer a variety of breeds, levels/disciplines of competition, as well as services throughout Ontario, and selected states within the U.S.

Check out the horses for sale!






Chief Feature Writer

WHEN Asda cleaner Jan Vokes set her heart on becoming a racehorse breeder, others in the Sport of Kings may have been a little sniffy.

For the grandma and former whippet breeder kept her first foal, Dream Alliance, on an allotment on a windblown slag heap in the Welsh valleys.

The tumbledown stable, next to an old chicken run, couldn’t have been further from the neatly-trimmed paddocks that are home to the thoroughbreds of sheikhs and royalty.

But on Monday Dream Alliance – still owned by Jan and 23 locals in her village – won the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow, one of the sport’s biggest races.

And Jan and husband Brian’s feat at breeding a champion to take on the multi-million-Pound bloodstock industry was hailed as being “like a film script”.

Read more:



Industry can learn from greyhound ban

By Bill Finley

Special to ESPN.com

A dog named Rain Spot crossed the wire first in Saturday’s 10th race at Raynham Park, a track that has been around for 69 years, and then it was over. Rain Spot’s race is the last dog race that will ever be run in Massachusetts, a state where voters decided the sport was so cruel to its animals that it had to come to an end. With a ban on dog racing in the Bay State about to go into effect Jan. 1, Raynham ran its last-ever card Saturday.

Eight Belles

Horsephotos.comThe Kentucky Derby breakdown of Eight Belles in 2008 has helped to darken horse racing’s image in recent years.

Raynham’s closing is not, of course, a horseracing story. It is a cautionary tale for every other animal-related sport that doesn’t do nearly enough to protect its competitors while racing and guarantee them safe, dignified retirements after their careers are over. Sadly, horse racing falls into that category.

In a different era, dog racing flourished in Massachusetts. Wonderland, a couple of miles north of Suffolk Downs, was one of the top greyhound tracks in the sport. The Raynham and Taunton tracks were also viable operations with long, proud histories. But dog racing fell into steep decline and by the mid-nineties attendance and handle had reached pitiful levels.