In today’s news – plenty of racing on Martin Luther King day in the US today and the Rainbow 6 has a carryover of over $2 million; Rafael Hernandez to ride Shining Copper in Barbados; Canadians have a big weekend and Pegasus World Cup update



INSIDE STRAIGHT, shown last year following his stunning win in the $400,000 Oaklawn Handicap, has started off 2018 with a stakes win at Turf Paradise. He is owned by Albertan Randy Howg – STEVE QUEEN PHOTO,






INSIDE STRAIGHT, owned by Canadian Randy Howg and trained by Robertino Diodoro, came off an 8 month layoff to win the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile on the grass at Turf Paradise on Saturday.

The New York bred by Super Saver won the $75,000 stakes race at one mile by a head at odds of 9 to 2.

Inside Straight was a private purchase by Howg from WinStar Farms LLC in May 2016. He went on to win the Manitoba Derby that summer, place 3rd in the Canadian Derby and place in two other stakes races.

Last spring the gelding won the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap worth $400,000, the biggest win for Howg, a sugar beet farmer from Alberta, and Diodoro.

The gelding  had not raced since last summer but was well prepared for the Turf Paradise victory by Diodoro, a Canadian who now races his horses throughout the west coast of the U.S.

Howg, who worked as a hotwalker and groom in the late 1960s, is from Enchant, Alberta.



Stronger Than Ever, at 33 to 1, edges Wonder Gadot in the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds on Saturday – Fair Grounds media photo





Canada’s probable Champion 2-Year-Old Filly of 2017 WONDER GADOT lost a long stretch battle on Saturday at Fair Grounds in the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes in her sophomore debut.

The Ontario-bred owned by Gary Barber and trained by Mark Casse chased the early pacesetter She’s Our Fastest early in the 1 1/16 mile dirt race, zipped to the lead around the last turn but then was joined by 33 to 1 shot STRONGER THAN EVER (Congrats-Broken Silence by Broken Vow) in early stretch. After a good battle, Stronger than Ever owned by Fern Circle Stables, won the fight in a time of 1:44.28.

The time was slower than the 3-year-old colts went in the Lecomnte Stakes which went in 1:42.59.

The winning Beyer Speed Figure for the Silverbulletday was 76. Wonder Gadot, a daughter of Medaglia D’Oro bred by David Anderson’s Anderson Farms, won the Grade 3 mazarine Stakes at Woodbine in October, was 6th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1) in November and won the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct in December. She is a logical Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate hopeful, those races in June.

“I thought she ran well, we just got unlucky. She fought on and she probably wants a little more ground where she doesn’t have to be so aggressive early. It’ll be interesting because I think the time will end up being fairly good. I’ve got to think about (running in the February 17 Rachel Alexandra Stakes [G1]), but probably.”



94 Beyer Speed Figure for personable gelding


Photo of Tower of Texas and his groom ‘Irish’ Brian Campbell




Woodbine fan favourite TOWER OF TEXAS, in his 7-year-old debut, won the $125,00 Col. E.R. Bradley Stakes at Fair Grounds on Saturday.

The Ontario bred by Street Sense – Rare Opportunity by Danzig Connection relished the less-than-firm grass, stayed close to a slow early pace and angled out into the stretch for a charge to victory. The honest bay won by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:44.62.

Trained by Roger Attfield for Americans Scott Dilworth and Tom Van Meter. Tower of Texas was bred by Rod Ferguson and David Anderson.

“It was suggested by Roger to come here,” Dilworth said. “When he said come to New Orleans and Fair Grounds, you got good food, good horse racing. What else can I say? He’s been so good to us. We’ve been so blessed with him, and as long as he’s enjoying running, we’ll be there for the ride.”

Tower of Texas won two stakes races in 2017, the Labeeb and Grade 2 Connaught Cup. He has won a total of 7 races in 28 starts, placed in 13 others and has earned $890,989.

Interestingly, the bay was purchased for $195,000 as a ‘short’ yearling in January 2012 at Keeneland from Anderson Farms and then bought back in October of that year for $90,000 when offered for sale by Van Meter Sales.

Tower of Texas was then offered for sale as a 2-year-old in training in March of 2013 but bought back for $150,000.

More Canadian winners:

Trainer Mike WrightLASER FOCUS won a maiden race at Tampa bay Downs on Saturday, Jan 13. for owner Gina Wright and trainer Mike Wright,. Making his first start since November at Woodbine, the 5-year-old by Niigon – Dilorom by Bernstein won the $16,00 claiming race by 1 1/4 lengths under jockey Antonio Gallardo.

Trainer Mike Anderson, from Hastings Park, sent out CAYMUS RESERVE to win his debut for Mike Whieldon at Turf Paradise on Saturday. The winner is a Kentucky bred filly by Tapizar and she overcame a slow start to win the maiden allowance/optional; claiming dash at 6 furlongs by a length.

Owner/Trainer Scott Fairlie  won with Ontario bred OFF ROAD on Sunday at Laurel Park. The son of Quality Road won a $5,000 claiming race as the odds-on favourite and was claimed. Fairlie has two wins since the end of the 2017 Woodbine season.


Will join Queen’s Plate winner Sir Dudley Digges in ‘Gold Cup

Queen’s Plate winner SIR DUDLEY DIGGES will race in the Sandy Lane Gold Cup with mate Shining Copper – Terence Dulay photo

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Shining Copper fought back in the shadow of the finish line to capture Saturday’s $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

The multiple Grade 1 stakes-placed 8-year-old gelding was headed by 30-1 longshot One Go All Go in deep stretch, only to fight back to prevail in the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes by a head.

“You don’t get that old without having a heart and trying hard,” trainer Mike Maker said. “He’s just a tough old dude. He loves to run. He’s an unbelievably smart horse.”

The ‘Lauderdale went completely askew when HEART TO HEART, the Canadian-bred turf star, reared up at the start of the race and then was rated off the pace while throwing his head.

Another Canadian-bred SHAKHIMAT, tracked Shining Copper for half the race before fading.

Shining Copper, under Jose Ortiz, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.44 to win his third straight stakes victory and second straight graded stakes in front-running fashion.

Shining Copper is expected to make his next start in the Sandy Lane Gold Cup March 3 in Barbados, where the Ramseys and Maker have enjoyed success in recent years.

“We have two win and two seconds the last four years,” Maker said of the barn’s record in the Gold Cup. “He’ll be pretty tough to handle. They have very tight turns and you need to be forwardly placed and he fits the bill.”

SHINING COPPER will be ridden by one of Woodbine’s top riders, RAFAEL HERNANDEZ, in the 1 1/8 mile Sandy Lane Gold Cup, run at the Garrison Savaannah on March 3.

Queen’s Plate winner SIR DUDLEY DIGGES will be ridden by one of the top riders in Barbados, Jalon Samuel.

The FIRST STAGE of nominations for the Gold Cup were released on Friday by  the Barbados Turf Club:

The following horses have been nominated at the 1st subscription stage for the XXXVII SANDY LANE BARBADOS GOLD CUP (GR.1. – INT. – BAR) scheduled to be held on Saturday, March 3rd 2018.

DAUNTING DAVID (Sir David Seale)
DORSETT (Messrs. Steve & Allan Madoo)
INFRARED (Messrs. Dan & Martin Raizman)
JUST A FASHION (Aysha Syndicate)
NO NOT AGAIN (Sir David Seale)
NORTHERN STAR (Messrs. Victor Cheeseman & Mervyn Rollins)
SHINING COPPER (Mr. Kenneth L. & Sarah Ramsey) (USA)
SIR DUDLEY DIGGES (Mr. Kenneth L. & Sarah Ramsey) (USA) – Canadian-bred, won 2016 Queen’s Plate
TRINI NAVIGATOR (Mr. Baskaran Bassawh) (T&T)
WON GRAND (Mr. Peter Oneill & Mrs. Angela Simpson)



Could Frank Stronach’s SINGING BULLET be the last entrant?

SINGING BULLET winning at Churchill Downs in 2017 – photo from Horse Racing Nation




While GUN RUNNER, the probable 2017 Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner blazed through his last big workout for the Pegasus World Cup, there is still one slot to be filled for the 2nd running of the race.

The Stronach Group has sold 2 of the 3 spots for its own race, the Pegasus World Cup, and needs just one more entry to fill the 12 slots for the $16 million race.

The race is on Jan. 27.

According to, TSG marketed those three remaining spots to horse owners for free but with the condition the new owner would receive only half of the horse’s earnings above the $1 million price of the spot. The other half of those earnings will be distributed to owners who purchased slots prior to the deadline.

The buzz is that the final slot could be taken by SINGING BULLET, a lightly raced 4-year-old by HARD SPUN from multiple Grade 1 winning mare LIFE AT TEN.

Trained by Dale Romans, Singing Bullet posted a 95 Beyer Figure two starts back when he won a 1 mile allowance/optional claiming race at Churchill Downs. he comes off a troubled, 4th place finish in a race at Gulfstream Park.

Probable field for $16 million Pegasus World Cup

Giant Expectations cycled up to a career top Beyer Figure of 106 in his recent victory.
His last 3 Beyer Figures read 106,94, 81.

Collected – 101, 115, 114
Owner: Speedway Stable LLC. | Trainer: Bob Baffert

Hall of Fame trainer Baffert, who saddled Arrogate to victory last year, returns with two starters including Collected, a multiple-graded stakes winner who finished second Nov. 4 at Del Mar in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The son of City Zip has won eight of 13 starts and is currently training at Santa Anita.

Game Over – 92, 93, 94

One of 2 Loooch racing horses entered and this 4-year-old by Mineshaft has not raced since september when 4th beaten 9 lengths to West Coast in the Pennsylvania Derby.

Gunnevera – 109. 104, 86
Owner: William C. Gallo, et al. | Trainer: Antonio Sano

The popular colt won the Fountain of Youth (G2) and was second in the Travers (G1) at Saratoga this summer and finished in a dead-head for fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He has three victories over Gulfstream Park and is training at Gulfstream Park West.

Gun Runner 117, 115, 112
Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC/Three Chimneys Farm.| Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Just two days before the running of Pegasus, Gun Runner is favored to be crowned 2017 Horse of the Year at the 47th Eclipse Awards at Gulfstream. Under the care of Hall of Fame horseman Asmussen, Gun Runner won five of six races in 2017, including four consecutive Grade 1 events. He capped off his season with a gate-to-wire victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The son of Candy Ride is training in New Orleans.

Seeking the Soul 103, 103, 93
Owner: Charles E. Fipke. | Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Bred by Fipke, Seeking the Soul will enter the Pegasus off his biggest win, a half-length victory in the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs November 24. The son of Perfect Soul is currently training in New Orleans.

Sharp Azteca 115, 107 112
Speedster recently was put in the race in a spot purchased by Loooch racing. Won the Cigar Mile in New York recently.

Stellar Wind 80, 103, 101
Owner: Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith (Coolmore). | Trainer: Chad Brown

The lone filly or mare in the Pegasus as of now, Stellar Wind earned an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly in 2015. She reeled off three consecutive Grade 1 victories earlier this year and is the daughter of two-time Horse of the Year, Curlin. The mare is currently in training at Palm Meadows Training Center in Palm Beach.

Toast of New York – n/a
Owner: Al Shaqab, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, R.A. Hill, Eric Young. | Trainer: James Osborne

Toast of New York returned from a three-year layoff earlier this month to win at Lingfield Park in Surrey, United Kingdom. After finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2014, the 6-year-old was retired for stallion duties in Dubai but was returned to training in April. He has finished first or second in seven of his nine career starts. He remains in the U.K.

War Story 112 94. 92
Owner: Ron Paolucci and Ashley Quartarolo. | Trainer: Jorge Navarro

West Coast 112. 107. 108
Owner: Gary and Mary West. Trainer: Bob Baffert

Winner of the Travers Stakes and third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, this 3-year-old has won six of nine starts and has never finished worse than third. Currently training at Santa Anita.

TBA – The Stronach Group – Singing Bullet?