MENDELSOHHN was awarded a 106 Beyer Speed Figure for his UAE Derby win in Dubai by Daily Racing Form – Vanessa Ng

Is he the real Kentucky Derby deal?

After a flurry of big races from one side of the world to the other, including the $10 million Dubai World Cup and two major races on the way to the Kentucky Derby, the talk of the weekend was strictly MENDELSSOHN.

Not only does this handsome colt have the looks and the breeding, he is by Scat Daddy from the mare Leslie’s Lady and thus a half brother to champion mare BEHOLDER and major winner/top sire INTO MISCHIEF, but his 18 length win in the UAE Derby in Dubai Saturday was stunning.

Owned by Coolmore and trained by top European trainer AIDAN O’BRIEN, the $3 million yearling purchase was making his first start on a traditional dirt track and he tow-roped his rivals throughout 1 3/16 miles and won like a monster.

The competition behind him was only so-so, 3rd place finisher Reride won the Mine That Bird Derby with a 91 Beyer Figure in his last race. The 106 Beyer Figure that Mendelsohhn was awarded from the UAE Derby seems about right. Whether the win looks better than it was because of the competition and the apparent inside speed bias of the track, guess we will find out on Derby day.

It should be noted again (as it was back when BEHOLDER was winning all her Grade 1 races) that the dam of Mendelssohn and Beholder, Leslie’s Lady is a daughter of the Ontario bred mare CRYSTAL LADY, who was bred by Rick Kennedy and Reade Baker and was produced from the mare One Last Bird.

Oh, and Mendelsohhn’s half brother Into Mischief is the sire of Florida Derby winner AUDIBLE.

Also from Dubai during the World Cup card, Canadian-bred CONQUEST TSUNAMI was a very good 3rd in the Al Quoz Sprint behind the very good Jungle Cat. Bred by Josham Farms and Yvonne Schwabe, Conquest Tsunami (Stormy Atlantic) has won 2 races since he was rescued from the San Luis Rey fire in December. He is owned by Gary Barber.

The finish of the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night with CONQUEST TSUNAMI finishing 3rd (pink colours) to Jungle Cat (10) – VANESSA NG PHOTO –










AUDIBLE is a serious Kentucky Derby contender based on his Florida Derby win – Amber Chalfin photo ( You would think that when you see a first 2 furlongs of a 9 furlong race get posted at 21 4/5 that the tele-timer has miscued somehow.

But how good was the win?

The $1.1 million FLORIDA DERBY, a Grade 1 race for 3-year-olds, featured a bizarre pace battle out of the gate. Fountain of Youth Stakes winner PROMISES FULFILLED was to be the front runner in the Florida Derby as he was in the ‘Youth, that was made clear pre-race. For some reason, however, Luis Saez on the promising STRIKE POWER went to town early on his mount and sent hard for the lead. The 21 4/5 was followed by a crazy 46 1/5 for the half mile and 1:11 3/5 for 6 furlongs.

Not only did those 2 nice horses stop badly from the madness but anyone chasing them was done too. It all set up perfectly for AUDIBLE who won in 1:49 2/5 for a 99 Beyer Speed Figure.

Jockey Robbie Albarado aboard pacesetter and last place finisher Promises Fulfilled (4) said, “It’s crazy because our strategy has been documented and publicized, that we’re going to the front at all costs. Luis Saez (Strike Power) knew I was going to the front and those were my exact instructions, but going 21, 46 was just too much pressure early on and both finished galloping out together. We could have gone 24 and 48 and it still would have just been the two of us on the backside, so I don’t understand the logic there, but he came back good. I took care of him.”

So while a case could be made for Mendelsosohn’s UAE Derby win looking better than it might have been, the same can be said for AUDIBLE, who had no choice but to win from behind that rapid pace.

AUDIBLE’S dam, Blue Devil Bel is by GILDED TIME, now a top sire in Alberta. Blue Devil Bel was 7 races including 3 late in her career for low claiming at Mountaineer Park at 5 1/2 furlongs and 6 furlongs.

With a recent injury to MCKINZIE keeping him out of the Santa Anita Derby this weekend, and CATHOLIC BOY also on the shelf, spots are opening up for horses  to start in the Derby.

20 horses can start and they are allowed in to the race by points.

Canadian-bred FLAMEAWAY (also by the late Scat Daddy), who is headed to the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland this Saturday, worked at Palm Meadows on March 30, 48 3/5 for four furlongs.

The SANTA ANITA DERBY is also Saturday and the best of the west, BOLT D’ORO should be the boss there and head to the Derby as one of several exciting contenders.



Rank Horse Points Owner(s) Trainer Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings

1. Audible 110 China Horse Club International Ltd. (Ah Khing Teo), Head of Plains Partners LLC (Sol Kumin), Starlight Racing (Jack Wolf) & WinStar Farm               LLC (Kenny Troutt) Todd Pletcher $803,520
2. Noble Indy 110 WinStar Farm (Kenny Troutt) & Repole Stable (Mike Repole) Todd Pletcher $640,000
3. Mendelssohn 100 Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier & Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien $1,947,299
4. Bolt d’Oro 64 Ruis Racing (Mick Ruis) Mick Ruis $780,000
5. Enticed 63 Godolphin Racing LLC (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum et al) Kiaran McLaughlin $360,880
6. Bravazo 54 Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) D. Wayne Lukas $359,913
7. Promises Fulfilled 52 Robert J. Baron Dale Romans $266,480
8. Magnum Moon 50 Lawana L. & Robert E. Low Todd Pletcher $540,000
9. $-Runaway Ghost 50 Joe Peacock Todd Fincher $520,310
10. Quip 50 WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club International Ltd. (Ah Khing Teo) & SF Racing LLC (Gavin Murphy) Rodolphe Brisset $212,000

11. Lone Sailor 42 G M B Racing (Gayle Benson) Tom Amoss $273,347
12. f-Rayya 40 Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi Doug Watson (Bob Baffert in U.S.) $600,000
13** INJURED 13. McKinzie 40 Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram & Paul Weitman Bob Baffert $320,000
14. Hofburg 40 Juddmonte Farms Inc. (Prince Khalid Abdullah) Bill Mott $192,000
15. Good Magic 34  eFive Racing Thoroughbreds (Bob, Kristine, Cassidy, Riley & Delaney Edwards) & Stonestreet Stables LLC (Barbara Banke) Chad Brown $1,238,400

16. Solomini 34 Zayat Stables LLC (Ahmed Zayat), Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor & Derrick Smith Bob Baffert $616,000
17. My Boy Jack 32 Don’t Tell My Wife Stables (Kirk Godbey & Rob Slack) & Monomoy Stables LLC (Sol Kumin)
Keith Desormeaux $502,000
18. $-Flameaway 30 John C. Oxley Mark Casse $472,260
19. Firenze Fire 29 Mr. Amore Stable (Ron Lombardi) Jason Servis $582,500
* 20. Gronkowski ERTKD Invite Phoenix Thoroughbred III (Amer Abdulaziz) Jeremy Noseda $79,496

* Note: One spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate is an invitation to the European Road to the Kentucky Derby point leaders. The invitation order of
preference is Gronkowski, Mendelssohn, +Saxon Warrior (JPN) and +Roaring Lion.

21. Free Drop Billy 24 Albaugh Family Stables LLC (Dennis Albaugh & Jason Loustch) Dale Romans $497,200
**22. WILL BE ON SHELF Catholic Boy 24 Robert V. LaPenta, Madaket Stables LLC (Sol Kumin) & Siena Farm LLC (Anthony Manganaro, Ignacio Patino & David Pope) Jonathan Thomas $378,000
23. Snapper Sinclair 22 Bloom Racing Stable (Jeffrey Bloom) Steve Asmussen $321,810
24. Combatant 22 Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (Ron Winchell) & Willis Horton Racing LLC Steve Asmussen $300,000
25. $-Blended Citizen 22 Greg Hall & SAYJAY Racing LLC (Steve Young) Doug O’Neill $129,644
26. Reride 20 Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (Ron Winchell) Steve Asmussen $298,000
27. Strike Power 20 Courtlandt Farms (Donald & Donna Adam) Mark Hennig $209,560
28. Dream Baby Dream 20 Dream Baby Dream Racing Stable Steve Asmussen $176,000
29. Mississippi 20 Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, John C. Oxley, Derrick Smith & Markus Jooste Mark Casse $96,000
30. Old Time Revival 20 Fred J. Brei Kenneth Decker $80,000



Coady Photo/Turfway Park of Hemp Hemp Hurray

Canadian-bred wins sprint stake at Turfway Park

It’s a long time until the Queen’s Plate, there is still 19 days until the Woodbine season begins, but there have been some Plate eligibles busy at work.

Hemp Hemp Hurray romped in the 32nd running of the Animal Kingdom Stakes on a rainy closing night at Turfway Park, surging to the lead with barely a suggestion from jockey Julio Garcia and widening his advantage at will. It was 11 3/4 lengths back to Angaston in second at 13-1 and another 1 1/2 lengths to O’Malley’s March in third at 33-1.

Batterbatterswing was out first and set the first quarter in :23.40 while chased by Ceduna, the filly Smokin Hot Momma and Angaston. Hemp Hemp Hurray raced outside in fifth, 3 1/2 lengths off the leader and ready to roll. After setting the half in :46.09 and the three-quarter mark in 1:10.50 he cruised home to finish the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.03.

He earned a Beyer Figure of 86.

“This is a good horse. He ran in the Breeders’ Cup,” said Garcia. “He just galloped. At the three-eighths pole I had a lot of horse and couldn’t hold him too much. He just went by himself.”

Hemp Hemp Hurray was the 3-5 favorite to win the race for 3-year-olds and paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.80.

In his 2-year-old season, Hemp Hemp Hurray finished off the board in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Del Mar after finishing second, beaten a neck, in the Summer Stakes (G2) at Woodbine and winning the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth. The Animal Kingdom was the second start of his sophomore campaign, following a fourth-place finish in the Baffle Stakes at Santa Anita.

Hemp Hemp Hurray is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who came in to the final day of racing tied for leading owner honors with Dennis Behrmann. The Animal Kingdom was the second win on the night for the Ramseys, who clinched their 15th leading owner title at Turfway when Purely Boy won the second race.

By Artie Schiller out of the Malibu Moon mare Druidess, Hemp Hemp Hurray was bred in Ontario by Bernard and Karen McCormack and is conditioned by the meet’s leading trainer, Wesley Ward. The colt now has three wins and a second from six starts. The winner’s share of the $50,000 Animal Kingdom purse boosted his earnings to $153,930.

He has an older half brother racing at Woodbine, Grom, and the mare also produced multiple winner Weekend in Malibu.

Of course the McCormack’s bred SIR DUDLEY DIGGES, who won the 2016 Queen’s Plate for the Ramsays. That horse plus others will be part of the string of runners for the Ramsays and trainer Mike Maker that will land at Woodbine soon.

In other Plate news, Chiefswood Stables’ NEEPAWA had more bad luck in another grass stakes race on the weekend. The son of Scat Daddy (yet another one!) simply had a disastrous journey in the Cutler Bay Stakes on Saturday. The colt does not have a ton of early speed but he was sent a bit out of the gate and then started jumping and leaping when he got into tight traffic in to the first turn. Then he made a premature rush along the rail down the backstretch before fishing evenly with no room to race in the stretch run. The colt is much better than that so let’s hope we see him back at Woodbine soon.

TELEKINESIS, pegged as the Queen’s Plate favourite by Woodbine, is at Keeneland for trainer Mark Casse and he had a 5 furlong workout on April 1.

SILENT STING, owned by Stronach Stables, posted a bullet working this morning (Monday) at Gulfstream, 48 2/5 for 4 furlongs. He is trained by Sid Attard.

DIXIE MOON will race this weekend at Keeneland in the Apalachian Stakes on grass while Flameaway, as mentioned, is expected to stay on the Kentucky Derby trail with a run in the Blue Grass on Saturday.



ADMIRALTY PIER, who could be named champion 2-year-old in Canada at the April 19 Sovereign awards, is in action at Keeneland this weekend – Woodbine/Michael |Burns photo

16-day Keeneland meeting opens Friday

Woodbine-based trainer Barbara Minshall will bid for her first Keeneland stakes victory when she sends out Hoolie Racing Stable and Bruce Lunsford’s Admiralty Pier in the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) on April 6, opening day of the Spring Meet.

Minshall said the race has been the plan all along for Admiralty Pier, a 3-year-old gelding by English Channel, who was fourth in the 2017 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at Keeneland and next was second by a nose in an allowance race at Woodbine before closing 2017 by winning the Display (L) at Woodbine in December in his most recent start.

Admiralty Pier began his 2018 preparations at the Webb Carroll Training Center in South Carolina.

“The owners want to have a fresh horse,” Minshall said. “It’s a long season starting now, and we don’t feel they can all go 12 months of the year and keep going. They need a bit of a break and he raced enough at 2, so he deserved a bit of a break.”

On Wednesday, Admiralty Pier worked 4 furlongs in :49.80 in preparation for the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania.

“Just a little maintenance breeze,” Minshall said Thursday morning. “He worked well. I thought everything went perfect. He came here and we felt that he was ready. We just wanted to open his lungs up after the trip.”

Minshall is hoping for the same opening-day luck she had last year at Saratoga when she won the Schuylerville (G3) with Hoolie Racing’s Dream It Is. Dream It Is is nominated to Keeneland’s Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select on Sunday, April 8.

“We’ve run a few times (at Keeneland), but haven’t (won a stakes), so we’re trying to get that off the list of things we need to do,” Minshall said. “Last year we won that stakes opening day at Saratoga, so let’s hope we can get one opening day at Keeneland.”



Florida Derby breaks out of the gate – by Amber Chalfin –

With a Mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 adding to the fun of Florida Derby day, Gulfstream’s winter meeting comes to an end.




Today’s Thoroughbred Daily News’ weekend update story by Bill Finley  discusses the betting mania at Gulfstream Park.

“Great racing and big purses are important, but neither would be possible if people didn’t bet on the races, whether it’s a Grade I event or a $16,000 maiden claimer. It’s the bettors that drive this game. They are more important than the owners, the trainers, the jockeys, even the Grade I horses. That’s because without them, there is no game” – Bill Finley



Multiple champion jockey Patrick Husbands has seven mounts on today’s Easter Monday card of racing at Garrison Savannah in Barbados.




Orazio Valente expects to have a better idea on April 12 of how the province’s recent funding announcement for horse racing affects Kawartha Downs.

Valente, the track’s general manager, has said Kawartha Downs will lose 85 per cent of its revenue when Shorelines Slots relocates to the new casino opening in Peterborough this fall. Several Ontario tracks face similar lost revenue, casting doubt on their viability.

On March 23, Jeff Leal, Peterborough MPP and minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, unveiled a 19-year, $105 million annual funding model for Ontario’s horse industry. The funding will begin in 2019 and replace the current $93.4 million annual agreement.

Valente took over management of Kawartha Downs prior to last season when former owner Harvey (Skip) Ambrose’s holdings went into receivership.

Officials from Ontario Lottery and Gaming, which administers the funding, will visit with Valente on April 12.