MAC BENSON (far right) with his fave, ARRAVALE







Macdonald (Mac) Benson told THOROUGHBLOG yesterday that he has retired from training horses and he will seek some sort of racing managment job in the future.

“Everything had just come to an end,” said Benson. “Mr. (George) Strawbridge is the greatest man in the world, he let me finish out 2010,”said Benson, who stayed around last year for SUGAR BAY and his last stakes winner SUGAR AGAIN but had already talked about retired from the 7 days a week, 24 hour a day grind.

“It takes up all of your time,” said Benson, “I’m 80-years-olds,” he added with a chuckle.

Benson, a Hall of Famer, had one of the most stunning first training years at Woodbine that ever a trainer had – he won the Plate with Windfields Farms’ REGAL EMBRACE IN 1978.

Benson cites that moment as one of the tops of his career as well as winning the 1985 Plate with the giant filly LA LORGNETTE, who toppled favoured IMPERIAL CHOICE that year to be only the 2nd filly to win the big Canadian race.

And, Mac was very moved by his trainee ARRAVALE – in particular when the Arch filly wrapped up Horse of the Year with a win in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (named after his former boss).

“With Judy Mappin there (Taylor’s daughter), it was very special,” said Benson.

Benson is currently painting his house near Payson Park Training Centre (“I have more paint on me than the house”) and his partner Barb is training the couple’s unraced 3yo.

“I wouldn’t mind doing something in the game, picking out yeatrlings, something like that. I May be climbing the walls by the summer.”

2010 record at Woodbine    MacDonald Benson    64    9    12    15    $721,354   

don’t miss the MARCH ISSUE OF CANADIAN THOROUGHBRED for more on MAC and other big Canadian racing stories – on stands by late February.

(and the Feb. issue is out too, its chock full of good stuff)

It’s easier to subscribe than the head out to Chapters don’t you think?just CLICK BELOW and get on board!


Canadian-breds continue to do well during winter 2011

FOREST UPROAR won her first stakes race when she scampered away to take the Marie Krantiz Memorial at Fair Grounds yesterday for owner/breeder Sam-Son Farms. The Forest Wildcat – Split the Arrow, Smart Strike bay was winning her 4th race in succession since coming back from a one-year layoff. The filly had shown promise in 2009 for trainer Mark Frostad, wa sstakes placed at Woodbine but she was 8th in the Valleyview at Keeneland in october, 2009 and not seen again for a year.

The filly’s ‘Krantiz win, while totally expected (she was 3 to 5) was weird in that the pace was agonizingly slow – 28.65, 55.85 and 1:21 and change (yes, that is correct, the turf was listed as good) and while she won with the best turn of foot, the time of 1:51.30 for ‘about 1 1/16 miles’ was really slow.

Still, the filly got an 89 Beyer Figure.

“I broke fastest and I kept waiting for someone else to take the lead, but no one went so I dropped her back behind the #1 horse (Naveed Chowhan’s Caminadora) just to give her something to look at,” jockey James Graham said after the race. “But as soon as I asked her to go she really went. She gave me everything I asked for.”

“Did you set a record for the slowest mile and a sixteenth time for the stakes ever?” Fair Grounds’ television personality Katie Mikolay asked winning trainer Mark Frostad in a post-race winner’s circle interview.

“You mean that race wasn’t a mile and an eighth?” Frostad quipped in reply, before adding, “They all had their shot. She came through and did what she had to do.”

Forest Uproar returned mutuels of $3.20, $2.40 and $2.10 and increased her career earnings to $201,696 with her fourth victory in nine career starts. The $60,000 Allen Lacombe Memorial Handicap at the same distance on the grass Feb. 27 might be her next local assignment, trainer Frostad indicated after the race.

Ivan Dalos’ Avie’s Tale, trained by Josie Carroll, rallied in the late stages to gain the place by a neck and pay $3.20 and $2.60, while John Weiczorek’s Instant Style got up for the show position and returned $4.


Check yesterday’s post FOR ONE OF MANY STORIES we have had on this site on the jet black Ontario bred who cost a pittance and may be headed down the Kentucky Derby trail – or the Plate at least!


JOSE CARROLL saddles her first horse for Knob Hill Stable’s which relieved Kevil Attard of his duties. Attard won many big races and championships for the Knob HIllers – Leonnatus Anteas was a champion 2yo and that was despite having obvious physical issues. ALEZZANDRO was still winning until the end of last year and he had won the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie.

But als, a change has been made so Carroll will saddle ARCHON in an allowance race today.

Trainers: JOSIE CARROLL: January 30 – Fair Grounds   

     Achieving    Race 7    Maiden Special Weight     

     Archon    Race 9    Allowance     

January 31 – Fair Grounds   

     Rockglen    Race 5    Claiming $10,000     

     Good and Lucky    Race 7    Claiming $25,000     

     Cosmic Queen    Race 8    Allowance Optional Claiming $40,000     

Mark E. Casse

January 30 – Gulfstream Park   

     Kissimee Doll    Race 6    Maiden Claiming $75,000     

January 30 – Tampa Bay   

     My Kryptonite    Race 6    Starter Allowance $25,000     

February 3 – Gulfstream Park   

     James Street    Race 4    Allowance     

Mark R. Frostad

January 30 – Fair Grounds   

     Conestrellas    Race 7    Maiden Special Weight     

     Harvest Home    Race 9    Allowance     

ALSO TODAY…(courtesy Thoroughbred Daily News)

5th-GP, $48.5K, Msw, 3yo, 1m

Ontario-bred BOWMAN’S CAUSEWAY (Giant’s Causeway), a $110,000 juvenile purchase by Martin S Schwartz at ADSSPR, was third on debut at Monmouth Sept. 19 behind Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno), the morning line favorite for today’s GIII Holy Bull S. off of back-to-back Grade II runner-ups. The son of GISW Victory Encounter (Victory Speech) adds the hood for this second go, an angle that conditioner Patrick Biancone hits at a 23-percent clip with according to DRF Formulator


Canadian-bred 3-year-old colt LEWISHAM just missed winning his career debut

yesterday at Tampa for Albert owners and breeders, Reid Racing Stable. Rod Cone

trains the son of City Zip – Brighton Belle by High Brite.

The colt pressd the pace, had a two length lead late in the 6 furlong event and

then was caught by an experienced runner, Capt. Zippounas, a son of Ontario

sire, Sligo Bay.

AS AN ASIDE – It was a toss up as to which was more of a disaster in the 4th race at Oaklawn

yesterday – the fact that a riderless horse caused much havoc to the other horses in the 2 turn race or the dreadful race-call that ensued. Okay, I know the announcer called 20,000 straight races but every track you hear these days have announcers screaming during the races, talking to much or just blowing the calls all together.

Wow – sorry,that was the rant for the day.


Canadian-breds THINKING OUT LOUD and THREE IN THE BAG ran 1-2 at Penn National on Friday in a $4,000 claiming race. The former, by Regal Classic, is owned by Brown and Beattie.

The latter was racing for low claiming at Aqueudct recently, popped up at Penn yesterday and was claimed by owner/trainer Kristin Mulhall.


Mulhall told THOROUGHBLOG that she plans to retire the 9-year-old who has won 16 of 53 races – although she may race him once more in a starter allowance in February.

THREE IN THE BAG, bred by Kinghaven Farms is by Silver Deputy – Light Show and he was 2nd in the Plate Trial Stakes.


prep event for Gold Cup but winner not nominated

LORD MICHAEL TAYLOR’S BOUNCEBAK, a 7-year-old mare, won the Coolmore Stakes at

Garrison Savannah yesterday, settnig herself up for the March 5 Tanglewood

Stakes on the March 5 Gold Cup car

. The mare, a Group 1 winner in Barbados over the years, was second in the Gold

Cup to Daylight Express in 2009 after leading all the way.

Last year, the bay, white faced mare was eased in the Gold Cup behind Sterwins

(it was a very fast pace and she was wide throughout).

Her sire, janak, by Rahy, was placed twice in the Gold Cup and her dam, Rebound,

by the Sadler’s Wells sire Boomerang, was a Group 1 winner in Barbados also.

Favoured MINGUN TEMPLE was 4th in the Coolmore.

The 2nd and 3rd horses behind speedy Bounceback were Reward Me and Charge It.


SAFETY ZONE, in his final prep for the Barbados Gold Cup, was somewhat flat in

his outing at Tampa Bay Downs yesterday. The odds-on choice in the starter

allowance was lightly held well off the pace but didn’t get 45 and change for

four furlongs to run at – he got :48. He rallied only mildly in his 2nd outing

of the year. Joe Ambrosia is listed as the trainer but Mark Casse conditions the

King Cugat gelding for Eugene Melnyk.

Also, EMERALD CRESCENT, a lightly raced son of EL PRADO, came off a long layoff in a turf race yesterday at Tampa and he had speed before fading to seventh. He is also on the list of Gold Cup possibilities.

go to page 54 in the Barbados Advocate today to read the story:





Dude, not sure who was betting FIRST DUDE in the Classic at GUlfstream – the

horse has won 1 RACE, a maiden race. Strange how much press this horse gets off

some fringe placings in good races and a 2nd in the Preakness.

anyway, he had a bit of early trouble in the Classic yesterday, at 4 to 5, but

then sat a perched trip on the outside before he was scrubbed on and stalled.

Leading all the way was the hotshot youngster TACKLEBERRY (Montbrook – Box of

Joy), owned and trained by 13% trainer Luis Olivares.

The front runner is 6 for 10 in his career now and a very game fellow.



At Santa Anita, 3 to 5 shot Cost of Freedom weakened very late and gave way to

AMAZOMBIE and APRIORITY. The winner is by Northern Afleet (see another of his

winners below) and the runner-up is a blossoming star by Grand Slam. Cost of

Freedom had Beyer Figures in the 105-115 range in her last 4 races but somehow

could not last and perhaps his age (8) is catching up with him.





Trip for A.J. (Trippi) held off Ask ButI won’ttell to win the Turf event on

Millions day. Canadian owned CATEGORY SEVEN rallied nicely as a longshot to be

5th but she was wild and washy and acted up in the pre-race jaunt.



AEGEAN scored an upset as she won by a snout over rail – rallying JESSICA IS

BACK. The winner had 7 layoff lines from just 12 previous races but the Northern

Afleet gal was primed and ready by Wesley Ward, who trains for Stephen Bell.

Jessica is Back bombed in her season debut at 3 to 1 and suddenly came to life

yesterday. The 7yo mare owes nobody since she is a Grade 1 winner who was

recently bought privately to be bred later this spring.



Surely as WULFGAR came to the finish in the last race at Gulfstream yesterday, his owners, A. Condurso and P. DiCosmo were celebrating the Claiborne-bred’s gritty win after an early battle. Okay, so the owners had just claimed him 2 strats ago for $30,000 and had dropped him to $20,000 claiming yesterday, but the $10,200 winner’s share was nothing to sneeze at.

Wulfgar, foaled at the famed Claiborne four years ago, was sire by War Chant and he was a $37,000 yearling purchase by Ken Meier.

Meier raced the gelding 9 times and Chris Block trained him. The gelding won his maiden with an 80 Beyer Figure at Arlington Park last year and had won more money than his owner had spent on him.

But this fighting fellow’s days were numbered.

He was well beaten after his maiden win and then dropped to $30,000 where his new owners took him under trainer Bobby Dibona.

While they were likely happy about the win yesterday, just about 8 strides after the wire, Wulfgar broke down badly, was kept upright by Elvis Trujillo but he never made it back to the winner’s circle.

The gelding seemed to have broken down quite badly by watching the race.

Later, it was learned that Mr. Amore Stable and Jason Servis had claimed the gelding for $20,000.