Strike Me Down Jockey Patrick Husbands on May 4th at Woodbine. WEG/michael burns photo

Everything old is new again.

Not all the large, famous stables of yesteryear (well, from the 70,s 80s and 90s) are around but Sam-Son Farms is still in operation. Sam-Son, which surged to prominence once the first yearling fillies were purchased by Ernie Samuel in the 1960s has won the Plate on many occasions from Regal Intention, to Dance Smartly and Dancethruthedawn and Eye of the Leopard and Scatter the Gold.

Sam-Son is a much diffferent farm these days than it was in its heyday. The horse population is a bit smaller and just as many horses race in the US as they do at Woodbine.

The breeding power is still there however.

This year, the farm has a Tapit colt – STRIKE ME DOWN  and a More Than Ready gelding directly related to Dance Smartly – SAY THE WORD with good chances to win the Plate.

These two 3-year-olds have raced at Woodbine but they are not trained here.

In fact, both are trained by Graham Motion while Sam-Son’s longtime assistant trainer and trainer Malcolm Pierce, does not have a starter.

CHIEFSWOOD STABLE is younger, having been started in the late 1990s by Robert and Mark Krembil. It won the 2004 Plate with Niigon, who is the maternal grandsire of it’s Scat Daddy colt NEEPAWA.

Just like Sam-Son, however, Neepawa is not Canadian trained. Mark Casse trains the colt while most of the other runners for the family are trained by Stuart Simon, Mike DePaulo and others at Woodbine. ROSE’S VISION, trained by Simon, is also expected in the Plate field this year.

So just as some Plate starters will have jockeys from the US on board for Canada’s biggest race, now the trainers from America are being sent Canadian-breds to train.

If you looked at the 16 horses who are are being considered to run in the race, only a handful of them, 6, are locally based, Canadian owners, trained horses.



Post position draw 930 am Wednesday, double draw for Sat. Sun racing

TELEKINESIS – Ghostzapper – Intentional Cry, Street Cry (Ire). Owner: Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stable. Trainer: Mark Casse. Jockey: Patrick Husbands. Breeder: Bill Graham. $470,000 weanling. Won Plate Trial. Beyers: 88 in Plate Trial, 90 in Lexington

ROSE’S VISION – Artie Schiller – Essential Rose, Bernardini. Owner/Breeder: Chiefswood Stable. Trainer: Stuart Simon. Jockey: Javier Castellano. 2nd Plate Trial. Beyers: 85 Plate Trial , 71 Marine

AHEADBYACENTURY – Midnight Lute – Sinful, Touch Gold. Owner: Jack of Hearts Racing and John Ross. Trainer: John Ross. Jockey: Luis Contreras. Breeder: Hill ‘N’ Dale Farms. 3rd Plate Trial. Beyers: 77, 74, 66

BOYHOOD DREAM – Dialed In – Mayfield Road, Yonaguska. Owners: Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Trainer: Mike Maker. Breeder: Bill Graham. 4th Plate Trial. Beyers: 75, 72 63

DIXIE MOON – filly by Curlin – Dixie Chicken. Owner/Breeder: Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry. Trainer: Catherine Day Phillips. Jockey: Eurico da Silva. Won Woodbine Oaks. Beyers: 88, 85

WONDER GADOT – Medaglia D’Oro – Loving Vindication, Vindication. Owner: Gary Barber. Trainer: Mark Casse. Jockey: John Velazquez. Breeder: Anderson Farms. 2nd Woodbine Oaks. Beyers: 88, 96, 82

STRIKE ME DOWN – Tapit – Strike Softly, Smart Strike. Owner/Breeder: Sam-Son Farms. Trainer: Graham Motion. Jockey: Jose Ortiz. Stakes placed last start, winner. Beyers:  83, 81, 74

SAY THE WORD – More Than Ready – Danceforthecause, Giant’s Causeway. Owner/Breeder: Sam-Son Farms. Trainer: Graham Motion. Jockey: Rafael Hernandez. Winner. Beyers: 83, 79, 77

NEEPAWA – Scat Daddy – Niigon’s Touch, Niigon, Owner/Breeder: Chiefswood Stable. Trainer: Mark Casse. Jockey: Florent Geroux. Stakes place winner. Beyers: 77, 85, 84

COOLER MIKE – Giant Gizmo – Executive Affair, Bold Executive. Owner/Breeder: Nick and Mike Nosowenko. Trainer: Nick Nosowenko. Jockey: Jesse Campbell.Stakes placed winner. Beyers: 80, 86

MARRIAGE COUNSELOR – Overanalyze – Exe, Exchange Rate. Owner/Breeder: Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Trainer: Mike Maker. Winner. Beyers: 62, 53, 59

SILENT POET – Silent Name-Cara Bella, Ghostzapper. Owner/Breeder: Stronach Stables. Trainer: Nick Gonzalez. Gary Boulanger. Winner. Beyers: 82, 82, 68

ALTERNATIVE ROUTE– Tiznow – La Suena, Storm Cat. Owner: Spendthrift Farm. Trainer: Al Stall. Jockey: Mitchell Murrill. Breeder: Bill Graham. Rushaway Stakes. Beyers: 72, 71, 70

INGE – Victor’s Cry – Alexabella, Congaree. Owner: Bruno Schickedanz. Trainer: Norm McKnight. Breeder: True North Stable. Stakes placed – 5th Marine. Beyers: 74, 74, 67

REAL DUDE – Ghostzapper – Ginger Brew, Milwaukee Brew. Owner/Breeder: Stronach Stables. Trainer: Sid Attard. Jockey: David Moran Maiden. Beyers: 64, 52

PAWNBROKER – Gio Ponti – Sweetdetermination, Alphabet Soup. Owner: Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Trainer: Mike Maker. Breeders: Tom Mountain and Lionel Perriera. $40K Keeneland Yearling. Maiden after one race. Beyer: 53



Tracks and horsepeople reminded of AGCO Notices

The health and welfare of the horse is of paramount concern to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and to members of the racing community. An effort to monitor weather conditions and how it will impact the racehorse is in keeping with this mandate.

In view of the weather expected over the few days, the AGCO has advised its Official Veterinarians and racing officials at all racetracks to remind participants to take the necessary steps to protect the horse in warm weather conditions.

Dr. Adam Chambers, AGCO Senior Manager of Veterinary Services, suggests that any concerns about weather conditions impacting racing should be shared with horsepeople representatives, racing officials, track management and the Official Veterinarian.

He pointed out that in January of this year, the AGCO released a series of Directives and Rule changes on weather conditions impacting racing. These changes were developed following consultation with Ontario’s horse racing industry.


Brad Paisley – Pinterest photo


Country music takes over the GTA on Friday night with BRAD PAISLEY at the Queen’s Plate Festival.

Paisley, who rides and trains horses, has a farm in Nashville.









Trucks galore!

Toronto’s food truck foodies will have a selection of mobile menus to choose from over the course of the three-day festival including Apple Fritter Factory, Bruce Caboose, Busters Sea Cove, Fidel Gastro, Heirloom, Meltdown Cheesery, SWAT Food Truck, The Frying Dutchman, and The Ultimate Food Truck.

Here is a sneak peek at the food trucks that will be available each day at the Queen’s Plate Festival:

The Apple Fritter Factory, known for its famous old fashion apple fritters, delivers fun food experiences across Ontario and will make a stop at Woodbine for the Queen’s Plate Festival from Friday through Sunday.

Popular items on the Queen’s Plate menu:
– Funnel Cakes
– Deep Fried Oreo Cookies

The Bruce Caboose will bring the best of the Bruce Craft House and Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre to the Queen’s Plate Festival on Friday and Saturday featuring fresh, local food on their menu.

Popular items on the Queen’s Plate menu:
– Wild Boar Bacon Poutine: Fresh chipped fries, Ontario wild boar bacon, smoked chicken gravy, Pine River Cheese curds
– Korean Tacos: Bulgogi marinated Ontario pork, house kimchi, carrot slaw and Sriracha aioli

Busters Sea Cove was Toronto’s first seafood-focused food truck, a spin-off of the St. Lawrence Market location, and features a constantly evolving menu. Busters Sea Cove will offer delicious seafood dishes on Friday and Saturday.

Popular items on the Queen’s Plate menu:
– Deep Fried Crab Cake Burger on a brioche bun
– Seafood Tacos: Fish, Octopus, Shrimp & Tuna

The Toronto-based Fidel Gastro will roll into the Queen’s Plate Festival on Saturday offering its popular retro street food to guests on site.

Popular items on the Queen’s Plate menu:
– Chicky Sticky Icky: Fried chicken with Korean BBQ sauce, pickles, lettuce and ranch
– SGT Slather Pulled Pork Sandwich: BBQ pulled pork with guacamole

With a ‘Farm to Truck’ approach, Heirloom specializes in sustainably-driven food using local and organic produce. Heirloom will be on site Friday and Saturday.

Popular items on the Queen’s Plate menu:
– ork Belly Banh Mi Sandwich: Organic Hoisin Sauce, Pickled Slaw, Aiolo & Brioche Bun
– Fried Szechuan Chicken Sandwich: Homemade Szechuan Sauce, Pickled Slaw, Organic Peanut, Aioli and Brioche Bun

Meltdown Cheesery will be dishing out big, bold comfort foods for guests on Saturday at the Queen’s Plate Festival.

Popular items on the Queen’s Plate menu:
– Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese
– Jalapeno Mac and Cheese

Attending the Queen’s Plate Festival on Friday and Saturday, the SWAT Food Truck is stuffed with amazing taste including gourmet burgers, grilled chicken wraps and fully loaded tot.

The Frying Dutchman, a popular fish and chips food truck in Pierce County, Washington, is known for serving wild, sustainable fish and homemade dipping sauces. The Frying Dutchman will be on site for Saturday’s Queen’s Plate festivities.

Popular items on the Queen’s Plate menu:
– Vegan Chilli Fries
– Veggie Fries



Graded stakes winner FLAMEAWAY, who by-passed the Queen’s Plate this weekend to run in the Ohio Derby, finished 6th in that $500,000 for owner John Oxley.


Talk about take the money and run.

Peter Eurton, who trains horses in California, and Joe Talamo, who rides them there, spent less time in Cleveland Saturday than the unpredictable weather fronts that regularly hound the town.

Yet they walked away with a check for $300,000 as Core Beliefs, the horse they followed to Thistledown, won the $500,000 Ohio Derby by a desperate nose over the race favorite Lone Sailor. It was a length back to Trigger Warning in third.