HEAD’S UP – the snow is coming again this week to southern Ontario and it will be cold! Still some winter to go even if Spring is supposed to arrive 2 nite!

But….less than 2 weeks until WOODBINE OPENS…


 YAY! Sovereign Awards and racing coming up!!

this gaffer is by young sire MIDNIGHT LUTE out of Baby Blaze, by Mr. Greeley, Foaled at Hill ‘n’ Dale in Aurora and caught in action by eagle-eyed, sharp shooter JANICE ‘M’ ZEALAND





THE FACTOR – MAR20factor1.jpg103 YESTERDAY IN REBEL – photo shows him winning San Vicente

Colt is from the family of the JOSHAM FARMS mare – SHOWERING (dam of Perfect Shower, who won the Breeders’ Stakes 2 years ago)

 Alex Evers/EquiSport photo



 HILDA’S PASSION 108 at Gulfstream 


a $4,200 BUY-BACK AS A WEANLING, the speedy mare HILDA’S PASSION set a track record at Gulfstream yesterday  in the Inside Information Stakes at 7 furlongs and earned a 108 Beyer Figure. Canadian champ MILWAUKEE APPEAL was outrun and beaten 20 lengths.

Joe Ganley/EquiSport photos




Alex scratches, will go to La. Derby

ELITE ALEX was scratched from the REBEL STAKES at Oaklawn yesterday (trainer Tim Ritchey cited the wide post as one reason) and the Canadian-bred 3yo will go in next weekend’s LOUISIANA DERBY instead.

The son of Afleet Alex – Catch the Moment, bred in Ontario by Alsion Register, is seen as a fringe Kentucky Derby prospect but is certainly a leading Queen’s Plate contender.

Meanwhile, BOWMAN’S CAUSEWAY, the number one Plate contender on the Thoroughblog list, was an even 3rd behind 2 speedy Todd Pletcher trainee’s in a one-turn, one-mile allowance yesterday. The shimmery chestnut son of Giant’s Causeway (who is already the sire of a Plate winner, Mike Fox) was only beaten 1 3/4 lengths but the time of the race, 1:36.93 resulted in only a 75 Beyer Figure for the Adena Springs-bred.

FROM FAIR GROUNDS MEDIA – CALVIN BOREL TO RIDE ELITE ALEX IN $1 MILLION LOUISIANA DERBY – Jockey Calvin Borel, 44, a native of Catahoula, Louisiana, has won three of the last four Kentucky Derbys but has never won a Louisiana Derby.

That is now subject to change on March 26 when Borel is named to ride Elite Alex LLC’s Elite Alex in the 2011 $1 million Louisiana Derby in what will be the richest Thoroughbred race ever run in New Orleans.

Elite Alex finished third in Oaklawn’s Grade III Southwest Stakes in his last start Feb. 21, and was named to contest Saturday’s Grade II Rebel Stakes at that central Arkansas oval, but was a late scratch out of the Rebel in favor of a start in next Saturday’s Grade II Louisiana Derby.

“This all happened either late last night or early this morning,” said Borel’s agent Jerry Hissam on Saturday, “so it may be too late to line up any other mounts because any horse that’s still open may not be worth riding.

“However, Calvin will be coming to New Orleans next week to ride at least one very good horse,” Hissam said. “In fact, he’s going to work Elite Alex here at Oaklawn tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 9 o’clock, and he’s looking forward to returning to Louisiana.”

Elite Alex, trained by Tim Ritchey, is a son of Afleet Alex – also trained by Ritchey. Afleet Alex finished third in the 2005 Kentucky Derby but went on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes later that spring.

Borel’s first Kentucky Derby win came aboard Jim Tafel’s Street Sense in 2007. He returned to the winner’s circle after the Run for the Roses in 2009 aboard Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird and then switched mounts to ride eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra to victory in that spring’s Preakness two weeks after the Kentucky Derby.

The popular Cajun reinsman then returned to pose in the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle a third time last May aboard WinStar Farm’s Super Saver.


From 1st crop of Ontario sire Vibank, wins at Aiken

Whether she is nicknamed Kim or Kourtney, the 2yo filly KARDASHIAN is headed to Woodbine after having a little education at the famous AIKEN TRIALS yesterday in South Carolina.

KARDHASIAN won a 2 furlong trial over a Dogwood runner and will come to Woodbine for a race in the spring.

The filly is from the first crop of VIBANK, the Silver Deputy stallion who stands at Park Stud in Orangeville. Her dam is the unfortunately named SHE AINT MUCH (Phone Trick). The filly was sold last fall at the Open sale of the CTHS for just $5,000 to Travis Durr and HIll ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency consigned the filly.

The breeder is Kardashian is ERICKA RUSNAK, a manager over at Hill ‘n’ Dale and an ace photographer on the side!


“She’s been real easy,” said Durr. “She gets aggressive when she hits the racetrack. We’re pointing her toward the two-furlong race at Woodbine. We were hoping to come over here and have a good time. We bought her with the intention of running early. We knew there would be some quality horses running. We appreciate everyone letting us come in to enjoy the fun.




Staff Writer

qp08_dr1a.jpgMIKE KEOGH, far right, getting his horses ready in South Carolina..


Mike Keogh stood in the warm-up paddock eyeing his colt, lost in a moment he has felt hundreds of times before.

It’s those few minutes just before the horses are led out of the paddock and into the starting gate. It’s when a trainer’s work is done and the fate of a race is handed over to a horse’s stamina and its jockey’s skills.

Keogh’s horse, Decadent, is a sprawling 4-year-old bay gelding and the son of Wando, who won the Canadian Triple Crown in 2003 under Keogh’s training.

On Saturday, Decadent was under less pressure than his sire had been eight years ago.

It was the 69th running of the Aiken Trials, the first leg of the Aiken Triple Crown and a chance for young horses to get some of their first experiences on the track.



GALLANT, the Prince of Wales winner from a couple of years ago, was beaten 8 lengths for $8,000 claiming at Tampa Bay Downs last week. The Aptitude gelding started the year at the allowance/optional claiming level of $62,500 but was drubbed for $10K in his next race and then for $8,000 on March 16.


GALLANT and COREY FRASER, Terence Dulay photo








Night School’ offers horse-racing fans unique experience

“…customers aren’t going to be able to fully enjoy horse racing unless they understand what the heck they’re doing – Mike Spellman, Daily Herald

By Mike Spellman

If you don’t know the difference between a claiming race and an allowance race.

If you are still trying to figure the exact distance of a furlong (a furlong??) or why there are two turns on a horse track but four on an auto track.


Bullet workouts, first-time lasix, speed figures, class drops, blinkers, bug boys, front wraps … and don’t even get started with the daily program, which can be as daunting to decipher as advanced algebra.

It’s no wonder so many fans are so intimidated when they head out to play the ponies that they end up scrapping all the available tools and opt instead for a favorite color or a catchy name.

“It’s just too much,” is a common refrain.

Well, beginning tonight, there are no more excuses.

Class is in session.

Read more: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110221/sports/702219926/#ixzz1H8Tbrw3F




he beats the old guard at Cheltenham

Watch a gritty stretch duel, after 22 fences, at Cheltenham Festival between Gold Cup stars KAUTO STAR, DENMAN and LONG RUN. The old guy Denman has 1 win and 3 2nds in this race.



By now, you have read the items regarding the THOROUGHBRED RETIREMENT FOUNDATION that began in the New York Times last week. Joe Drape wrote a story that the TRF was neglecting its horses.

This is the same author who had the story on Ernie Paragallo a few years back and his neglect of his horses.

But this seems to be a different scenario. This is a reputable, charity organization that has hundreds of horses at various facilities. Okay, so perhaps the TRF got too big? Nevertheless, it is admirable but so very tough to run a charity to retire racehorses, place them in new homes or simply have foster farms take care of them while the prices of everything go up up up.


The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, one of the largest Thoroughbred rescue programs in the country, was forced to defend its operation and practices on Friday in the wake of an article published in Friday’s New York Times detailing allegations the TRF was neglecting the very horses they were charged with caring for.

TRF chairman Tom Ludt – who is also president of Vinery Farm – along with TRF president George Grayson took part in a teleconference on Friday where they disputed certain claims made by the Times article written by Joe Drape.

The article claims the TRF was behind in paying many of the satellite farms it contracts to oversee the retired horses and, as a result, many horses were found to be in poor physical condition. Much of the information cited was gathered from an independent evaluation of the TRF’s herd population conducted by the estate of Paul Mellon, who had established a $5 million endowment for the TRF in 2001

Both Ludt and Grayson acknowledged the TRF’s financial struggles, but said it was fully aware of and endorsed the third-party evaluation, which was conducted by the estate’s veterinarian, Dr. Stacey Huntington.


RAY PAULICK’S VIEW (as board member of TRF)