**Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the first party of the Ontario Thoroughbred season, the SOVEREIGN AWARDS, April 13 at Palais Royale. http://www.sovereignawards.ca/ .
WOODBINE TRAINING TRACK HEATS UP
Main Tapeta track to open Thursday
Perhaps Wednesday morning will be the last of the difficult weather for horsepeople getting horses ready for the April 15 opener at Woodbine. Crazy cold temperatures and wind early Wednesday (-22) continues to make it difficult for the backstretch at Woodbine. This weekend, a lot of rain is headed to the province.
The opening of the Tapeta should help out a lot. It is scheduled to open Thursday morning.
The worktab started to fill out last weekend as horses are now prepping at 3 furlongs.
PINK LLOYD sizzled through 4 furlongs on Sunday morning, 46.60 at Woodbine as he prepares for his season debut for Entourage Stable and trainer Robert Tiller.
The promising Old Forester fellow won his first 3 career races last year as a 4yo and was a troubled 2nd in his final outing of the season in the Grade 2 Kennedy Road.
Bred by John Carey (have you seen Blood-Horse magazine’s feature story on John Carey from February?), Pink Lloyd is one of seevral exciting runners to tab for the early days of the meeting, which begins on April 15.
Story on John Carey from last month:
WHEN JOHN CAREY visited Ontario for the first time from his homeland in Ireland, he was in his 20s and planned to stay only a few months and have some fun.
Forty years later Carey is still here and loving what he does.
FIELDS SET FOR WORLD CUP CARD – Thoroughblog will be live-blogging the races again
Nice card of racing in Dubai on Saturday morning (EST)- early afternoon.
The races will be run Saturday evening (Saturday morning in North America), with the World Cup going to post at 9:40pm local time (1:40pm ET). In North America the full card will be broadcast live on TVG in the U.S. and HPI-TV in Canada. In addition, NBC Sports Network will broadcast the four Group 1 races from 9:30am-12:30pm.
The post positons for the WORLD CUP were drawn Wednesday morning:
1 – Apollo Kentucky
2 – Long River
3 – Gold Dream (Jpn)
5 – Gun Runner
6 – Move Up (GB)
7 – Awardee
8 – Furia Cruzada (Chi)
9 – Arrogate
10 – Keen Ice
11 – Neolithic
12 – Hoppertunity
13 – Special Fighter (Ire)
14 – Mubtaahij (Ire)
Arrogate (Dubai World Cup) breezed 1/2 a mile in about 50 seconds under exercise rider Dana Barnes on Monday (left), after his routine gallop on Sunday (right). Trainer Bob Baffert said, “He’s handling everything really well. He looks good to me. I’ve never won (the Dubai World Cup) here (at Meydan), and it’s totally different. I really liked (Nad Al Sheba), but this is totally different (with) tighter turns. You need a lot of racing luck to get away from the gate. It becomes a jockey’s race. And you never know until they start turning for home, is the horse going to show up? As a trainer, you’re just hoping that at the 1/4 pole, they’re moving. I brought this great horse over here and I don’t want to mess it up. It’s still a horse race, and when it’s a major race, I go into it focused. I don’t take anything for granted. (Owner Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farm) has been a pleasure to work with. I can’t believe they had a horse like Frankel, the best horse they’ve ever seen in Europe, and then they get a horse like Arrogate. (Prince Khalid) is doing something right. I’m just glad to be part of it. And I’m counting on Arrogate to get it done.”
(above) Keen Ice (Dubai World Cup) galloped 1 3/8 miles at 5am under exercise rider Nick Bush. Bush said, “Keen Ice is doing unbelievable. He’s hitting the ground really well. He’s so big, he can run off with you. But if you give him his head, he’ll relax, and he’s totally chilled out over here. He gets over this track so easy and so well. There should be no excuses – no reason that he shouldn’t show up.”
BREAKING LUCKY headed to FAIR GROUNDS
Following a 5 furlong workout at Palm Beach Downs on Tuesday morning, top Canadian bred older horse BREAKING LUCKY (Lookin at Lucky) is scheduled to compete in the New Orleans Handicap ay Fair Grounds on April 1. The 5-year-old, owned by a litany of partners and trained by Reade Baker, has had a few races as possible next starts (he most recently competed in the Pegasus World Cup) including the Oaklawn Handicap, but it appears New Orleans is his destination.
The handsome chestnut appears set for a breakout race based on his near misses to Shaman Ghost and others in major events since last fall.
QUEEN’S PLATE NEWS
KING AND HIS COURT, who recently had his first workout in a few weeks, is expected to be entered in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park this Saturday.
The gelding, owned by Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable, is seeking to bounce back from a last place finish in the Sam F Davois Stake sin his first start on the dirt.
The Spiral will be run on Polytrack. Another Canadian-bred, SAILING HOME. is also expected to be entered in the 9 furlong Spiral, worth $500,000.
The maximum number of starters for the Spiral Stakes is 12, with two also eligible. The revised alphabetical list of horses planning to enter the Spiral:
Blueridge Traveler (trainer Kenny McPeek/owner Horizon Stables)
Bronson (Todd Pletcher/Mathis Stable LLC)
Colonel Samsen (Eoin Harty/Casner Racing, Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, Corey Johnsen)
Convict Pike (Rusty Arnold/Ashbrook Farm)
En Hanse (Mike Maker/Kendall Hansen, Bode Miller)
Fast and Accurate (Mike Maker/Kendall Hansen)
Giant Payday (Ian Wilkes/Lothenbach Stables)
King and His Court (Mark Casse/Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber)
Kitten’s Cat (Joe Sharp/Ken and Sarah Ramsey)
Parlor (Eddie Kenneally/Brad Anderson)
Sailing Home (Mark Casse/Conrad Farms)
Shiraz (Mike Maker/Three Diamonds Farm)
Soglio (Graham Motion/Flaxman Holdings Ltd.)
Star Empire (GB) (Wesley Ward/Belinda Bateman)
Trainer MIKE KEOGH told Thoroughblog that he was very happy with WOODBIRDGE’S trial race/workout last weekend at Aiken in South Carolina. Woodbridge ‘won’ a 4 1/2 furling dash on the popular day of schooling races and defeated a speedy older mate in Sweet Crimson.
“These are schooling races so I don’t let my riders whip them, so he ran well. It made sense to me to give him a little tightener,” said Keogh.
The Woodstock Stakes on April 22 is an early goal for Woodbridge who is owned and bred by Gus Schickedanz.
PURSE INCREASE at NORTHLANDS
THE HORSEMEN’S BENEVOLENT AND PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION OF ALBERTA
The HBPA of Alberta in consultation with Northlands have agreed to increase all 2017 overnite purses by 15% across the board. Northlands and The HBPA were formally notified of the 2017 purse grant from Gaming by HRA letter dated March 14, 2017.
This increase is made possible by racing a 54 day meet at Northlands and in 2017 having unequalized purses between Northlands and Century Downs.
The HBPA Board of Directors have budgeted and approved the purse structure accordingly. As is customary wagering levels will be constantly monitored to ensure that this increase is sustainable for the entire meet which commences on May 5 and concludes Sept. 16.
Certain Claiming categories and Conditions have been tweaked slightly from 2016. For a races carded at less than one (1) mile the bottom $2,500 Claimers will now race for a gross purse of $6,300 and the top Allowance races will carry a purse of $24,000. Participation fees will remain the same as 2016 with $120 paid to all finishers beyond 5th place in all races.
So that there is a marquee Stake Race for all Divisions, the Sonoma for three (3) year old fillies will be increased to $75,000 from the $50,000 previously paid. Purses for all other Stake races remain the same as the prior year.
(*The Sonoma was declared a non-black type race for 2016 but could return as a black type race in 2017, according to
2017 CANADIAN HORSE RACING HALL OF FAME BALLOT
Eugene Melnyk, Reade Baker and 3 great geldings make the ballot for voters
Thoroughbred Male Horse
A Bit O’Gold
Thoroughbred Veteran Horse