In memory of FRANK LEACH.

If you were around Canadian horse racing in the 1980s and 90s you know that Sam-Son Farms in Milton was guided by FRANK LEACH, its longtime farm manager who brought into this world DANCE SMARTLY, SKY CLASSIC, REGAL CLASSIC, you name the horse – Frank was there.

He won Ontario’s Farm Manager of the Year and was with the red and gold for more than two decades.

In recent years, Frank has been ill but living on a farm in Terra Cotta amongst his racing treasures and with his dog Bella.

I got to meet Frank on the evening of July 17 (Friday) night and share some cool horse stories with him. He was mobile, still sharp as a tack and enjoyed visiting the horses on the farm where he lived.

He even treated my dog Jake to a treat during our visit.

The next morning, July 18, Frank passed away peacefully in his apartment.

Frank Leach left an important mark on Canadian racing and his love for the horse was never in question.



There was a lot of celebration last night at Woodbine by folks who won races from the stake level to the bottom claiming level.

In the Passing Mood Stakes, named for the top broodmare, DOUBLE MALT suddenly came to life with a win in her grass debut.

Owned by MIKE AMBLER AND PARTNERS and trained by, who else on the grass, MALCOLM PIERCE,  the Whiskey Wisdom – Matching Sox filly (Tale of the Cat) was coming out of races like the Woodbine Oaks (13th) and Bison City (5th) and has been below the best 3yo fillies all season after 5 races and no top three placings.

But under the magic man – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – the filly won by an easy half a length over rank outsider Executive Deed.

Da Silva said the three-year-old switched onto her wrong lead on the backstretch.

“I was a little bit concerned,” said da Silva, now a winner of seven stakes events in 2009. “I tried to leave her alone. I didn’t want to rush her. I can see that she’s running a little bit green. I waited for the stretch. She made a big run and we got lucky. She ran a brilliant race.”

Double Malt entered the Passing Mood off a 13th-place finish in the Woodbine Oaks and a fifth-place finish in the Bison City Stakes.

Pierce, who has also won seven added-money events this season, said the return to the Ontario-sired ranks helped the filly find her best form.

“We weren’t sure what was going to happen,” said Pierce. “She worked fine on the grass. We got her back in the Ontario-sired division. When she won that the (South Ocean) going long we had dreams of getting to the Oaks. That didn’t work. We regrouped and everything worked out tonight.”

Born in Toronto and raised in Peterborough, Ambler has three horses at Woodbine: Double Malt, Hydro Handshake and Golden Girl Sue. He also has two more on the farm, including Double Malt’s half sister, Twin Cities.

“She (Twin Cities) is the first foal out of Matching Sox, a horse we owned and then kept as a broodmare after an injury ended her racing career. It’s exciting for us because this is the first horse we’ve bred.

Double Malt recived a 77 Beyer Figure.


SIX PACK SAMMY took a mighty class plunge from  allowance to $12,500 claiming and won for fun and was claimed by Farr Bloodstock. The Yonaguska gal, owned last night by Shyman Farm, is stakes placed and well bred. She is 4 for 12 in her career.

Race 4 was the first win for the popular gelding ONE THIEVIN CAT, who won for Rick Kennedy owner/trainer. A 4yo who has been given all kinds of time to get to the races, the well vred fellow looked like he was making a premature, 6-7 wide move on the last turn of the $12,500 maiden race at 10 furlongs but he kept going and won handily with a 50 Beyer Figure.

Confidence is a dangerous thing – EDAMAME (Bold Executive) won two ONtario sired allowance races in succession and didn’t run all that fast but she beat open company last night with an 83 Beyer Figure (6 furlongs in 1:09.92) in the best showing of her career. Owned by Windways and ridden by the high flyin Da Silva, the Huntington Stud Farm bred rolled to an easy score over Indian Apple Is.

And the night had an unusal finale when first time starter DANCIN CHANCE, owned By Herbert Chambers and trainer by Richard Morden, came from nowhere to win her debut for $11,500 claiming at 30 to 1.

The daughter of A Fleets Dancer, who died at an early age, is out of Little Storm by Hennesy and was bred by  Sonja Gelling.



 GHOST FLEET, a 2yo beginner by Arch and a 1/2 bro to UTTERLY COOL and SMOKEY FIRE, won his debut with a 76 Beyer Figure on the weekend for Mel Lawson. Norm Files photo.




 HE’S A HIT – HOLLYWOOD HIT ran a 96 Beyer Figure to win his local debut for Peter Redekop. The Cactus Ridge fellow may be headed to the B.C. Derby. He was a private purchase for reportedly $250,000 from C. Trout. Norm Files photo.




Wheeling News Register excerpt

CHESTER – Organized horse racing in West Virginia dates back at least 223 years, but no horse who has won the Kentucky Derby has ever competed in the Mountain State. That status is going to change Saturday, Aug. 1, when Mine That Bird goes to the post in the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort.

”We’ll be setting a precedent, I guess,” said Bennie ”Chip” Woolley Jr., who trains Mine That Bird for co-owners Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach (pronounced Block).

Monday, Mine That Bird worked four furlongs in a time of :48 1/5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Woolley described the 3-year-old gelding as ”looking really good” and ”really sharp,” and plans to van to Mountaineer with him Friday.

Woolley’s intent is to give Mine That Bird a workout at Mountaineer next Monday, and then complete his preparation for the W.Va. Derby with a series of morning gallops. George Smith, an exercise rider from Woolley’s home state of New Mexico, will be aboard for those chores.

Mike Smith, a 43-year-old Hall of Fame jockey and two-time Eclipse Award winner, will ride Mine That Bird in the West Virginia Derby. Smith has had one prior W.Va. Derby mount, finishing sixth with Wanna Runner in 2006.

Nominations for this year’s 40th W.Va. Derby closed at midnight Monday. The list of 37 nominees included Preakness Stakes winner Rachel Alexandra and Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird. Neither of them is expected to be in the field.


Canadian breds offered:

$140,000 Silverton Hill (buyer) 298 El Prado – Blue Sky High filly, Bluegrass Stable

$100,000 G. Watts Humphrey  305 Awesome Again – Calico Flower colt, Adena Springs

$40,000 D. Lathum agent 352 El Prado – Dress to Impress filly, Adena Springs

 NOT SOLD 370 Holy Bull – Flows Like Wine colt – Elm Tree

$22,000 Reade Baker  404 Touch Gold- Indy Gold colt, Adena Springs

 416 Street Cry – La Rein colt, Anderson



Trainer Bruce Phelan picked a fine time to pull a major upset. Miss Victoriana upset Dandy Dora in Sunday’s $50,000 Northlands Oaks for three-year-old fillies. “(I’ve) been waiting all year (for this),” said Phelan. Miss Victoriana (8-1 odds) walked to the Northlands paddock on Sunday wearing the same bridle as Native Brass did in 1999 when she won the Northlands Oaks. Paying $18.10 to win, the Kentucky-bred runner (owners Modeste Racing Stable) is now three-for-four in 2009. Bodgits Lady finished second with Lemon Pepper third. Dandy Dora ran fourth – losing for just the second time in six lifetime starts in Edmonton. “Pressure (came) pretty early,” said rider Rickey Walcott. The one-mile and one-sixteenth distance didn’t help. “There’s not a lot of route breeding there,” added trainer Greg Tracy.


Charlie Smith gets third Debutante in a row

After winning the Debutante Stakes with Miss Missile in 2007 and returning last year with convincing winner Lady Countdown, the tall Texan was able to find his third angel this year with Ruby’s Big Band.

Ruby’s Big Band was the best of three entries sent to post by Smith. His other fillies Rule of Twelfths finished fourth and Party Treats sixth.

Ruby’s Big Band and local favourite Honorable Lady

emerged from the pack midway down the backstretch and battled stride for stride turning for home.

Midstretch, Ruby’s Big Band and rider Rohan Singh were able to reassert their authority and pull away at the wire to win.

Charlie credits his partner Terry Propps with her ability to find winners for the success of the past three years. “We can’t be more grateful to have won the same stakes three years in a row“, said Smith, “it’s something I’ve never done before.”

Honorable Lady, the local hopeful to break up the rule of Charlie Smith, battled on the outside throughout. Trained by Clayton Gray, the feisty bay filly did not give up but was second best in late stretch.

Lady Eddington, trained by Emile Corbel, sat behind the two leaders throughout the backstretch and was able to hold the show position down the  stretch.


Golden Stripe was golden in R.C. Anderson


Rohan Singh picked up Golden Stripe after Gary Baze was injured in an earlier race and that pick up turned golden with a win in the $50,000

R.C. Anderson Memorial. His second stakes victory

of the evening.

Golden Stripe, trained by Emile Corbel, took the lead

going into the first turn and did not look back. The chestnut filly by El Corredor lead post to post and was able to pull

away to win impressively.

Golden Stripe came into the race off two disappointing starts at Woodbine, and a distance fifth behind Lady Countdown and Morsel in her last prep race.

“This filly has a lot of issues,” said owner Phil Kives, “she should get even better now.”

Bound to Thrill, going for three in a row, came into the race off wins in two highend claiming races, but was only able to chase the leader around the track.

Bound to Thrill was trained by Carl Anderson.

The other Phil Kives (K5 Stable) and Emile Corbel entry Glory Command sat in mid-pack down the backstretch and was able to rally and catch post time

favourite Adventcia for third.