Aaaah, school reunions, very surreal, with a bit of the bizarre and yet very rewarding. Back from a weekend away, likely the last one as the big races are coming.. let’s catch up and get set for WOODBINE OAKS day.





 INGLORIOUS – seeking glory on SUNDAY AT WOODBINE – big shot to take Oaks and perhaps parlay into Plate score – she’s WOODBINE’S early Plate favourite!










It was a sea of blue and white in the infield winner’s circle at Woodbine this weekend, somewhat like the old, old days that yours truly remembers well.

KINGHAVEN FARMS owned both stakes winners this weekend, in partnership, and both were graded stakes events, worth $150,000 plus each.

IAN BLACK sent out FIFTY PROOF (96 Beyer Figure), the giant, white faced chestnut son of Manitoba sire WHISKEY WISDOM to win the Eclipse, just hanging on barely to beat the fast improving Stronach Stables’ colt DON CAVALLO and a hard charging STUNNING STAG.

The big fave, EXHI, suddenly stopped after setting a slow pace and something must have gone amiss with that runner.

FIFTY PROOF might be better this year than he was last year when 2nd in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes and it is good that he has been trained to try and sit off the pace. He was bred by Anderson Farms and is out of the Horatius mare Phi Beta. The big guy is 6 for 12 in his career and Justin Stein is his riding friend.

On Sunday, it was more blue and white – STORMY LORD, a homebred owned by the big K and Hat Trick stable, who scampered to a front running score in the Grade 3 Connaught Cup at 7 furlongs on the grass.

This narrowly built son of Stormy Atlantic – Ladu Auchamore, Meadowlake, was a top 3yo last year on turf and he was coming off a Nov – May layoff. Kudos to the barn to get him ready for what was his first try against older horses, well 3 of them anyway.

The race/result probably didn’t look all that great in the eyes of some, whether it be other horsepeople or observers and players of the game.

Only 4 ran as many scratched because the turf was deemed by some to be too soft.

The grass course has been deluged by rain for about a month. At least half a dozen card turf races have been scrapped and the course has not been used yet.

Some horsemen wanted the race to come off, others wanted it on, and when rumblings of taking it off the turf started, others made it know that taking the race off would not be popular.

(The question remains though, if you are entering a stake for grass, why would you think it would come off to begin with?)

So, the race stayed on with  just 4 runners, 2 being ‘house horses’ as it were.

Stormy Lord meanwhile has won 5 of 15 races and close to $600,000. Did you know the colt was bought back from the yearling sale at Keeneland for just $10,000?


STORMY LORD slogged through 7 furlongs of turf in 1:25 and change to take Connaught Cup – grade 3

Terence Dulay photo


NIIGON’S TOUCH, a Chiefswood Stable homebred, has by-passed the WOODBINE OAKS next weekend and she ran in an allowance race Sunday for Ontario sired gals. It was not much of a betting race with a tiny field of 5 and the Niigon filly won easily to stay unbeaten, but the Beyer Figure was a modest 67.

MARK CASSE won race 2, a maiden claimer, with RUNAWAY CONTENDER and the trainer is a super 10 wins for his last 27 starters at Woodbine, 20 for his last 69 in the last month…

Beginners that won yesterday include Wesley Ward’s 2yo BLESS THE SOLDIER 9Belong to Me) won won his 2yo debut in 52 flat and CONSOLIDATOR JOE, who was bet down as the fave in race 7 and won his 3yo debut with a last jump surge for owner/trainer RMC Stable and trainer Norm Mcknight.

TRALAHLAH suddenly got up to win the 5th race when the late leader Beauty Plus slowed down quickly and allowed the firster to win take her debut at 9 to 1 under Omar Moreno, The beginner is a homebred for Richard Lister, who bred the Three Wonders filly in Florida. The grey gal was debuting for just $12,500 against a weak field and she was well prepared by trainer Jim Smith.


Race 2 – SAMSAL, a first time starter for Glenn Harvey’s Kelynack Stable (Burlington, Ontario) wo her debut from the 1 post in race 2, a 4 1/2 furlong 2yo filly dash but under left-handed flailing by her jockey, bore out badly late and wiped out another 1ster RUNFOR RO. The latter was obviously placed first for RAMONA STABLE and trainer Greg de Gannes, his 2nd 2yo winner in a week.

The winner battled hard through the stretch after a good stalking trip, she is by Afleet Alex and she had a sizzling workout in Ocala for a 2yo sale and somehow still paid a fat 9 to 1.

A somewhat strange result occurred in race 4, the first leg of the pick 4 – CONGOR BAY,  a stakes winner who has been drab for since last summer, won for $37,500 claiming, off the claim by Steve Asmussen. Congor Bay was 10th in his previous race at 5 1/2 furlongs for $25K, showed little with blinkers on but it was a different horse that won on Saturday in 1:09 3/5. It was his first win since he wonthe San Pedro Stakes in January, 2009. The race was originally scheduled for the grass but was instead on Polytrack with just 6 entrants.

Maidens, Ontario sired, hit the track for race 5 around 2 turns and it was a predictable result as leading rider LUIS CONTRERAS guided NANAIMO to his first win in his 2nd outing of the season. This is a big, gorgeous, livery chestnut by Philanthropist and he was a big money purchase at auction. The son of Philanthropist was bred by Gardiner Farms and is owne d by Ray Noble and trained by Barb Minshall.

In that race, front runner PSYCOTHERAPY led most of the way but then veered right into the railing in the stretch run even though he was not being whipped.

The light grey MOLINARO JOYFUL was a pick in the TORONTO STAR to win race 6 and she did, with leading rider LUIS CONTRERAS on board – oh ya, she was a stunning 12 to 1. It was her 3rd race off the layoff, and she blew the start in her latest outing under David Moran.

PERFECT AFLEET, a 5yo, is a maiden no more as he romped in a 9 furlong maiden allowance for owner and breeder Charles Fipke

who bought back this son of Perfect Soul for $250,000 at auction.

Other races …BIG BROWN BREWSKI gave the Love 2 Win team reason to crack a cold one as he won his 2nd outing since 2009 (!), leading most of the way through 1 1/16 miles for $20K claiming. The Milwaukee Brew gelding  was bred by John Hillier, the brains behind Love 2 Win (along with Marilyn, his wife). Emile Ramsammy rode for trainer Laurie Silvera.

HEY HEY MAMA shipped in for West Point Thoroughbreds and won her maiden at 4 to 5 in race 3 for $20K claiming. The Kentucky bred was making her synthetic debut off turf races. Mark Casse continues his roll and Patrick Husbands, recently back in the Casse fold on more of a full time riding basis, was the jockey.


Woodbine Oaks – June 5

INGLORIOUS looks like the favourite and the filly to beat – ROXY GAP has something to prove at the distance, MARKETING MIX was ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson last time but barn will bring in US rider, Jose Lezcano instead, Stronach filly Abrianna has just 2 races and will also have US jock, so too SPOOKY KITTEN, who, like BEAR IT’S TIME, will be supplemented to the race for $12,500.

Trainer JOSIE CARROLL will saddle 2 gals, Inglorious and Silver Ami, GRAND STYLE won the biggest race in Canada for 2yo fillies last year but has not been seen since and is American trained and SENSE OF PRIDE, who has not won a race yet, has the same trainer has last year’s Oaks winner ROAN INISH….

WOODBINE does not note SENSE OF PRIDE OR BAGANARA as entrants…


Marketing Mix  STAKES PLACED




Silver Ami winner

Abrianna winner

Sense of Pride maiden

Spooky Kitten winner

Baganara winner



MARKETING MIX closes well under Emma-Jayne Wilson and gallops out nicely ahead of Roxy Gap – all the while Wilson had the whip knocked out of her hand around the 1:37 mark of the video….





Do you have a favourite Oaks winner?

Interestingly, many of the  same players from the last few years are back for the 2011 edition – young trainer CAROLYN COSTIGAN is thinking about entering a maiden after she won the race last year, Stronach Stables are back, Roger Attfield, Eugene Melnyk and Mark Casse, Reade Baker, all with interests in this year’s race.

2010     Roan Inish     David J. Moran     Carolyn M. Costigan     Robert J. Costigan     1:50.53

2009     Milwaukee Appeal     Stewart Elliott     Scott H. Fairlie     C.E.C. Farms     1:49.84

2008     Ginger Brew     Javier Castellano     Brian A. Lynch     Stronach Stables     1:51.40

2007     Sealy Hill     Patrick Husbands     Mark E. Casse     Eugene Melnyk     1:50.68

2006     Kimchi     Patrick Husbands     Mark E. Casse     Seasoft Stable     1:52.23

2005     Gold Strike     Jim McAleney     Reade Baker     Dick Bonnycastle     1:51.63

2004     Eye of the Sphynx     Todd Kabel     Mark Frostad     Sam-Son Farm     1:53.11

2003     Too Late Now     Robert Landry     James E. Day     Edna Arrow     1:53.05

2002     Ginger Gold     Richard Dos Ramos     Sid C. Attard     Jim Dandy Stable     1:51.56

2001     Dancethruthedawn     Gary Boulanger     Mark Frostad     Sam-Son Farm     1:51.74

2000     Catch The Ring     Robert Landry     Mark Frostad     Sam-Son Farm     1:53.16

1999     Touch Dial     Mickey Walls     Tino Attard     Stronach Stables     1:51.13

1998     Kirby’s Song     Todd Kabel     Tino Attard     Kirby Canada Farm     1:50.80

1997     Capdiva     Robert Landry     Roger Attfield     Legacy Thoroughbred     1:50.80



The news that RED ACE is off the Plate trail,plus not much to report for ELITE ALEX or BOWMAN’S CAUSEWAY, leaves a short list of major contenders for the June 25 Plate.

2011 Queen’s Plate Contenders

1. Queen’splatekitten

2. Bear’s Chill

3. Oh Canada

4. Inglorious

5. Elite Alex

6. Kurogane

7. Hippolytus

8. Enduring Star

9. Black n Beauty

10. Control

A race on Wednesday night, a allowance event, took some of the possibilities out of the Plate Trial: KUROGANE and CONTROL are in the 1 1/8 mile event, race 1 on the Wed. night card.



HRH set to start Epsom Fave!

Carlton House likely to start one of the hottest Derby favourites ever

By Gary Nutting 29/05/2011

Carlton House is likely to start one of the hottest Derby favourites ever as he bids to give The Queen her first ever victory in the world’s most famous Flat race next Saturday.

The royal colt, whose trainer Sir Michael Stoute is chasing a sixth success in the premier Classic, is set to go off around even money according to Ladbrokes, who have led the way this spring in making him clear market leader.

Shergar, 30 years ago, was the last odds-on winning favourite at 10-11, although Entrepreneur finished fourth at 4-6 in 1997.

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Ironically both horses were also trained by Stoute.

Ladbrokes’ Mike Dillon, widely thought to have the best connections with Coolmore – the Irishbased breeding giant responsible for the next three in the betting – is predicting a further avalanche of support for Carlton House.

Read more:

STREAM OF GOLD – from Canadian International to Fairmount for $3,200 claiming..

NOTES FROM A SEMINARhey, just in case you missed it…–tips-for-the-track


Patience key to trainer’s days at the race track



By Bob Florence, The StarPhoenix May 30, 2011 3:17 AM



Morning at the horse track. This is a Tuesday morning at Marquis Downs, but for trainer Fern Zdunick it could be any day. Although race night is three days away, she has horses to train and entries to make and barn work to do, whether it’s tossing hay or filling water buckets.

“I’ll pitch in,” she said, wearing a denim jacket, blue jeans and a pair of boots.

At just past seven in the morning she has been at the track for two hours, since sunrise. She is on shed row at the Downs with three others on her team, one going here, another there, all four of them crisscrossing each other as they go about business.

After they saddle a horse at the stables for a morning run, a jockey climbs on the horse. Zdunick cups the jockey’s left foot to lift him up.

The jockey is Naim Samaroo from Arima, a city in Trinidad. He was the top rider in wins at the Downs last year, his sixth season in Saskatoon.

The horse is J C’s Action. He finished in the money in all six of his starts in 2010.

As Samaroo rides J C’s Action to the track, Zdunick walks beside them. She led the local thoroughbred meet in money winning last year, including a dream day in August. At the Heritage Stakes, a blue ribbon event for horses bred in Saskatchewan, she saddled four winners.

“I’ll never forget that day,” she said.

Going by statistics for the 2010 meet, Samaroo was the best jockey, J C’s Action the best horse and Zdunick the best trainer. But this is a Tuesday morning at the Downs, not race day. Time for work.

Although a race is run in around 75 seconds, getting a horse to the post takes all week. There are stalls to muck and hooves to shoe. They have workouts and cool downs every morning.

Read more:

Jockey taking hot start in stride

Oregon native racing at ASD after ending semi-retirement

By: Ashley Prest

Her first win in Winnipeg was in the snow and things have snowballed from there for jockey Jocelyne Kenny.

The 46-year-old Oregon native, who moved to Winnipeg this spring from Florida, is already jockeying for top spot in

the race for most wins among jockeys in thoroughbred racing at Assiniboia Downs (ASD).

“On opening day (May 8) I looked out the window and it was snowing and I was just, “nooooo,” laughed Kenny, who grew

up with occasional flurries but has lived in Florida and Arizona for most of the past 12 years. “It’s been a bit of

an adjustment. But coming from 90-degree (30-plus Celsius) days and 100 per cent humidity in Florida, I’m used to

the heat so I’m just waiting for that.”

In the first eight days of racing at Assiniboia Downs, Kenny rolled up nine wins to sit tied atop the jockey

leaderboard with David Lopez. On Wednesday night, she slipped into second when Janine Stianson won three races to

take the lead with 10 wins.

It was Stianson’s second horse-racing hat trick so far this season while Kenny has also posted one of her own. Kenny

won three races on May 21 aboard Lees Dyna Man, Cowboy At Heart and Coastal King.

“It’s tough to break in anywhere and Assiniboia Downs is very tough to break into, but Jocelyne’s made inroads

immediately,” said Darren Dunn, the CEO and track announcer at ASD.

“She’s got a tremendous agent who’s helped her make those inroads here, she has a huge smile, a great attitude and

she’s an extremely hard worker. That’s going to create success every time.”

Kenny came out of semi-retirement to ride at the Downs. She had great success in Phoenix in 2000-08. She moved to

Florida in 2008 and stopped riding full-time.

“I was exercising horses for some big barns down there, riding a few here and there, and I rode a total of maybe 75

horses in the last three years,” Kenny said. “So this is a bit of a comeback for me.”