Ontario trainers will begin setting up the barn area and their stalls early this week to ready the area of the arrival of the horses for the 2017 Woodbine season. Training begins Wednesday, March 1 and the season starts April 15.

The stall list is out and the names are virtually the same as last year with the exception of the absence of trainer Brian Lynch.

The HBPA and Woodbine continue to try and come to an agreement on the stakes schedule and purses and it is believed that a number of stakes events will be cancelled this year to add money to overnight purses.

The weather is certainly up and down these days with very cold temps on Sat. evening but Monday should be warmer at about 8 Celcius. Mild weather and a ton of rain last week means all the mud is likely a bit crunchy at the moment throughout the province.

*Tough trip for Martha Gonzalez and Lou Tucci’s UNCLE B in the Texas Glitter Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday and he possibly could have won the race without the delay. The grey colt by Zensational should be a fun one for the team in 2017.


WEDNESDAY is the Gulfstream 2-year-old sale and there are 3 Ontario breds in the catalogue..

91 C TIZNOW LA SUENA STORM CAT ONTARIO                                                   23 HARTLEY/DE RENZO THOROUGHBREDS AGENT




Brad Grady’s Joe Sharp-trained Girvin (Tale of Ekati from a Malibu Moon mare) showed excellent constitution and acceleration en route to a sharp two-length victory in Saturday’s 45th running of the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes. Over 1 1/16 miles, the main track 3-year-old-restricted race was the second of three New Orleans stepping stones to the Grade I $2,000,000 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands at Churchill Downs on May 6 and earned the dark bay colt 50 Kentucky Derby qualification points.

After breaking from the rail post in the 11-horse field, after a trio of scratches, GIRVIN sat comfortably mid-pack in fifth as e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Steve Asmussen-trained Local Hero carved out fractions of 23.70 seconds for the quarter and 47.02 for the half over the fast track. Roused at the three-eighths by jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., Girvin swept past the leader in mid-stretch after six furlongs in 1:11.98 and held off Michael Langford’s Asmussen-trained Untrapped, who finished another 2¼ lengths in front of Local Hero. Guest Suite, winner of last month’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes for trainer Neil Howard, finished another neck back in fourth, 5¾ lengths clear of Tony Dutrow-trained 3-2 favorite Mo Town. Girvin stopped the clock in 1:43.08 – the third-fastest Risen Star of the last 20 years – giving Sharp his second graded stakes victory as a trainer.

“The horse did the job for us,” Hernandez said. “You have to give him the credit. He put us in a good spot the whole way and traveled like a true professional. For a horse to come out and do what he did today in just his third start, that shows what kind of special animal he truly is.”

“We believed in the horse all along,” Sharp added. “I lost my voice (from cheering) and we’re in shock and very excited. He will stay here and probably run in the Louisiana Derby. We’ll let him tell us, but that’s my inclination.”

“He had no excuse. He ran his race and he ran hard and maybe got a little tired,” said Ricardo Santana, Jr., who was aboard Untrapped. “He was running long for only the second time and I was proud of how he ran.”

“He was a little more keen than I thought he would be,” jockey Florent Geroux said of Local Hero (Hard Spun) , the 3-1 second choice in the wagering. “He’s still a little bit immature, but he can move forward from this race. Last time he won so easily, I’m not sure he got too much out of it.”

“I thought he ran well,” Howard said of Guest Suite. “You can’t win every one.”

“Perfect trip,” John Velazquez said of Mo Town. “I just don’t think my horse was too happy with the surface.”

SEEKING ALBERT could be a Queen’s Plate hopeful as the son of Einstein won a maiden allowance at Sam Houston Park on Saturday for Four Season Stable. The Adena Springs-bred colt is out of Purple Trillium and he won at 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.71 for a 65 Beyer Figure He is the 2nd foal of the unbeaten mare who is by Seeking the Gold and out of champion Perfect Sting. Seeking Alberta was a $30,000 Keeneland Sept. yearling purchase.

PERFECT TAY, an 8-year-old Ontario bred, won a $16,000 claiming race at Gulfstream on the grass on Saturday. Owned by Brandon Fairlie, son of trainer Scott, the old timer was winning for the first time since he was claimed in July for $12,500. The Perfect Soul gelding has won 6 times in his career from 30 starters. Fernando Abreu trained but the gelding was claimed by Frank Calabrese.


Ontario-bred old timer PERFECT TAY won on Saturday at Gulfstream and was claimed – Gulfstream Park photo



HIDDEN TURN is a remarkable grey mare who has been owned by Hidden Springs and trained by Kevin Attard (in Florida by Tino) her entire career. She is a 7-year-old this year and she won for the 11th time last week at Gulfstream, on the grass, by a few inches in an allowance/optional claiming race and she was in for a $35,000 tag. She was 15 to 1 in this upset win.

Hidden Turn is by Sligo Bay (Ire) out of a Cozzene mare. Her 3rd dam is none other than CLASSY ‘N SMART. (Photo from Twitter by Videohipico). She ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.94 for an 80 Beyer Speed Figure.