by JM

Monday morning was the second straight day that all tracks at Woodbine were closed due to the ice, snow and rain storm that hit southern Ontario Saturday morning. And it is still going on.

Heavy rain today (the temperature is expected to go up a little to 3 degrees) and more wet stuff expected over the next 2 days has made for a slushy, soupy, flood-like region.

Opening day of the 2018 meeting is Saturday and winter raced or trained horses will once again have an edge early in the meeting. The winter has not offered much in the way of ideal training conditions on the training track. The main track opened just over a week ago but now with 2 days of shed rowing only, some horses will be a bit behind in training.

The quest of bettors and handicappers will be to try and find the horses who are ready and those who have had a rushed schedule.

Still, the excitement of a new season is upon us and the warm-up is the SOVEREIGN AWARDS dinner and ceremony on Thursday night at Palais Royale in downtown Toronto.

Opening day should see the return of possible 2017 HORSE OF THE YEAR PINK LLOYD in the Jacques Cartier Stakes.

Adding to the intrigue of Pink Lloyd’s return is the fact that his main rider, Eurico da Silva will not be able to ride him. Da Silva is serving a suspension to begin this year from a late season infraction. He will be out until May 6.

RAFAEL HERNANDEZ, who has had a big winter season with a litany of stakes wins, picks up the mount on Pink Lloyd.



19 days to the big race!

“Look out Kentucky, there’s a bad moon on the rise!”- track announce Vic Stauffer


Robert and Lawana Low’s Magnum Moon is now a perfect four for four and holds the top position on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard after scoring an impressive victory in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) before a whopping  crowd of 64,500. The Todd Pletcher-trainee added 100 points to his 50 from winning Oaklawn’s March 17 Rebel Stakes (G2) to bring his total to 150 points, 16 more than champion Good Magic.

Total handle for the 12-race card was $16,159,771.31, a record for a single day card in Oaklawn’s 114 history.

Ridden by Luis Saez, Magnum Moon, the 4-5 favorite, grabbed the lead from the break and never looked back, proceeding to set fractions of :23.34 and :48.60 for the first half mile, while being tracked closely by Quip. The winner shied in the stretch, but quickly overcame it to draw off to win by four lengths over Quip, who earned 40 points for second, in 1:49.86 over a fast track.

Solomini, the Rebel Stakes runner-up, came from sixth in the nine-horse field to finish third and earned 20 points.

Magnum Moon, a Malibu Moon colt, has now earned $1,177,800. He returned $3.60, $2.80 and $2.40 as the heavy favorite.

$1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) Quotes:

Todd Pletcher (Magnum Moon) – “I thought it (his race) was very good. I’m very pleased with the outcome. A little concerned that he drifted out the last part, but it looked like he sort of halfway thought about jumping over the tire marks when he went by the eighth pole where the gate was and sort of skipped over those. I think he was maybe just drifting away from that. Aside from that, I thought he finished with good energy and was pulling away from some nice horses. He showed his versatility. He’s won a number of different ways now and I think he’s proven that he’s the kind of horse that doesn’t need the race to unfold a certain way, that he’s able to kind of make his own race.”



by JM/Oaklawn

MY BOY JACK brings a lot of different stuff to the Kentucky Derby.

One Derby prep race winner after another has led all, or most of the way, to win these races.

Justify, Magnum Moon, Mendolsohhn, Noble Indy, just a few of the front running types. Something has to give. My Boy Jack, a son of Creative Cause (a grey stakes winner by Giant’s Causeway who was a top 3-year-old in his year, won San Felipe, etc.) is a deep stretch runner who seems to have a run that needs to be perfectly timed.

He is from the Desormeaux brothers (Keith, trainer, Kent, rider) who brought us good 3yo from a few years back, Exaggerator.

My Boy Jack was also a bargain purchase while most of his rivals cost six or seven figures. A $14,000 buy-back by breeder Brereton Jones, he was sold as a yearling for $20,000 to his current owner Don’t Tell My Wife Stable.

His dam, unraced Gold N Shaft by Mineshaft, is a daughter of Grade 3 SW Gold n Delicious who raced for John Franks.

Press notes from Keeneland:
Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his brother Kent Desormeaux, My Boy Jack covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:44.22.

Greyvitos led the field of 10 through early fractions of :23.28 and :47.11 while under no pressure as My Boy Jack raced far back in next to last. Approaching the far turn, Telekinesis went after Greyvitos while Desormeaux began picking off horses on the outside.

Turning into the short stretch, Canadian-bred Telekinesis put away Greyvitos, but was quickly joined by My Boy Jack, who surged past in the final yards.

The victory was worth $120,000 and increased My Boy Jack’s earnings to $645,145 with a record of 10-3-3-2. It marked the second Grade 3 victory for My Boy Jack, who took the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park in February.

Kirk Godby (whose Don’t Tell My Wife Stables co-owns winner My Boy Jack with Sol Kumin’s Monomoy Stables): “Unbelievable. Everyone knows we came here to get points and he got the job done today. We’re just thrilled. When I saw (jockey) Kent (Desormeaux) bring him out down the backstretch and we were within six or seven lengths, I felt pretty good about it. I was just hoping he had the gas to get home in the short stretch.”

Kent Desormeaux (winning rider of My Boy Jack): “He was very, very comfortable in his stride and that was pretty much a repeat of his last start. Fortunately I didn’t grab a hot dog at the quarter pole and that made the difference.” (My Boy Jack closed from the back in the Louisiana Derby-G2 to finish third by three-quarters of a length.).



Queenston and Wando Stakes at Woodbine on opening weekend for Plate horses

KEENELAND/COADY PHOTO of Lexington Stakes – MY BOY JACK (light blue) rallies to catch TELEKINESIS



Trainer MARK CASSE has the Queen’s Plate surrounded.

From FLAMEAWAY to WONDER GADOT, NEEPAWA and now TELEKINESIS, the Casse stable looks unbeatable in the June 30 Plate. But hey, there are a few months to go yet.

TELEKINESIS, owned by American Barbara Banke (Stonestreet Stable) was bred by Bill Graham and the colt ran a good race close to the pace to just miss hanging on in the Lexington, earning a 90 Beyer Figure. Casse was impressed with the run by Telekinesis sTating for the colt to run that well in only his third career race, he’s “a superstar”.

For now, don’t expect to see the American owned Plate hopefuls but Chiefswood Stables’ NEEPAWA could land back in town. He is nominated to the Wando Stakes this weekend at Woodbine. Neepawa is a son of Scat Daddy, the deceased sire of Flameaway and a litany of Kentucky Derby contenders.

The QUEENSTON STAKES, for Canadian-breds at 7 furlongs on Tapeta, should mark the return of stakes winner SILENT STING, the Stronach Stables’ owned colt trained by Sid Attard who had a sizzling workout at Woodbine last week – 59 1/5 for 5 furlongs. The Silent Name (Jpn) colt, bred by Deb Holmes, was the subject of a story during the winter about how he was pulled from his dying dam barely breathing.

AHEADBYACENTURY, owned by Jack of Hearts Racing and trainer John Ross is also in the field with Rafael Hernandez riding.

BE VEWY VEWY QUIET, ESKIMINZIN and SABLE ISLAND could also be in the Queenston.



Plenty  of horses who have mastered a front running style are heading to the Kentucky Derby including point leader Magnum Moon, fresh off a career best effort in the Arkansas Derby in a busy 3yo campaign.

1. Magnum Moon Todd Pletcher 150 $1,140,000
2. Good Magic Chad Brown 134 $1,838,400
3. Audible Todd Pletcher 110 $803,520
4. Noble Indy Todd Pletcher 110 $640,000
5. Vino Rosso Todd Pletcher 107 $572,500
6. Bolt d’Oro Mick Ruis 104 $980,000
7. Enticed Kiaran McLaughlin 103 $545,880
8. Mendelssohn Aidan O’Brien 100 $1,947,299
9. Justify Bob Baffert 100 $600,000
*10. Quip Rodolphe Brisset 90 $412,000 (QUESTIONABLE)
11. Flameaway Mark Casse 70 $672,260
12. Solomini Bob Baffert 54 $716,000
13. Bravazo D. Wayne Lukas 54 $359,913
14. My Boy Jack Keith Desormeaux 52 $622,000
15. Promises Fulfilled Dale Romans 52 $266,480
16. Free Drop Billy Dale Romans 44 $597,200
17. Lone Sailor Tom Amoss 42 $273,347
18. Hofburg Bill Mott 40 $192,000
19. Firenze Fire Jason Servis 39 $647,500

20 Gronkowski Jeremy Noseda Euro qualifier

AE 21. Combatant Steven Asmussen 32 $350,000



Breeders Cup at Churchill the goal


The little guy with the big heart (plus the heart marking on his forehead) won his second Grade 1 of the year when he led all the way to win the Maker’s Mark at Keeneland on Friday.

Owned by Terry and Toby Hamilton of Alberta and trained by Brian Lynch, HEART TO HEART is easily one of the most amazing horses to come out of the CTHS Ontario yearling sale.

Bred by Darrell Bauder’s Red Hawk Ranch, Heart to Heart cost $25,000 at the 2012 CTHS Ontario sale. He was bought by Alistair Roden for Hamilton. The son of English Channel – Ask the Question has won 15 races from 35 starts and is closing in on $2 million in earnings ($1.9).

Lynch said the 7-year-old stallion will have a few starts before the Breeders’ Cup Mile this fall at one of his favourite tracks, Churchill Downs.



25 consecutive wins

Trainer Chris Waller has repeated that he will stick to his step by step approach in Winx’s lead up to claiming a fourth victory in the this year’s Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley during the Melbourne Spring Carnival. 

There is no talk of Winx retiring after winning twenty-five races in succession with back to back wins in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes(2000m) at Randwick on day two of The Championships last Saturday and Waller is already planning a Spring Carnival assault.



8-10 to race at Churchill Downs

Woodbine’s leading trainer for 2017 NORM MCKNIGHT will be packing up his Oaklawn horses and heading back to Woodbine soon. McKnight has won 16 races at Oaklawn and his trainee Smart Spree, who has been the quickest sprinter on the grounds for the meeting, had a good try in the Count Fleet Stakes on Saturday when 4th.

Because many of his horses have liked a traditional dirt track, McKnight has applied for stalls at Churchill Downs. He will have those horses under the care of an assistant.



Tourism Winnipeg photo

Story by Scott Tayloe:

Spring training is underway and Darren Dunn would like five minutes without a phone call.

The CEO of Assiniboia Downs has spent the off-season working with his staff to guarantee that the excitement and competition at Winnipeg’s world-renowned thoroughbred track will be bigger and better than ever before.

The effort seems to have worked.

“The phone has literally been ringing off the hook with inquiries from horsemen about racing at Assiniboia Downs,” said Dunn on Thursday. “By far, this is the most interest we’ve had in years.”Click here to read more.

In other ASSINIBOIA NEWS, the probable 2017 Horse of the Year for Manitoba, ESCAPE CLAUSE is set to make her 4-year-old debut at Canterbury Downs on May 5. The Manitoba bred by Going Commando – Danger Pay is owned and was bred by Don Schnell.

More from Ivan Bigg’s THE INSIDER:

You have another reason to look forward to Kentucky Derby Day three weeks from this Saturday. Escape Clause, widely expected to be named ASD’s 2017 Horse of the Year, should be making her 2018 debut that afternoon.

Buoyed by the star filly’s recent sizzling workouts at Turf Paradise, ASD owner/trainer Don Schnell told The Insider in a telephone interview he is pointing the 4-year-old to a $50,000 six-furlong stakes race, the L’Etoile du Nord for fillies and mares, at Canterbury Park in Minnesota before she is shipped to the Downs.



Under Tack Show On Now, Sale April 24-27

Plenty of Canadian-breds in BOOK

Below are the Ontario-bred 2-year-olds in next week’s OBS April sale. The gallop show takes place today through Wednesday.

Hip no.    Birthdate       Sex     Breeding  Consignor

769 3/7/2016 C Overanalyze One More Wild Ride OH Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent 5
1140 1/27/2016 C Strong Mandate Trophy OH Starting Point Thoroughbreds, Agent 2
63 4/23/2016 F Yesterday’s Girl Mucho Macho Man Ayres Hall OK RiceHorse Stable (Brandon & Ali Rice), Agent XIV 17
85 3/24/2016 C Mucho Macho Man Becker County Miss OK SGV Thoroughbreds LLC (Steven Venosa), Agent 1
98 4/25/2016 C The Factor Beyond the Reach OK Eddie Woods, Agent LXIII 11
801 5/17/2016 C Twirling Candy People Power OK Parrish Farms, Agent 10
59 2/15/2016 C Majesticperfection Awesome Lass ON Southern Chase Farm, Inc. (Greg & Karen Dodd), Agent 7
201 2/26/2016 F Data Link Clare’s Bernardine ON Grassroots Training & Sales LLC, Agent III J
203 4/28/2016 F Miss Verrazano Verrazano Classira (IRE) ON Ends Well, Agent III 18
254 2/1/2016 F Emtadaa Pioneerof the Nile Dattt Echo ON TIP Thoroughbred Investment Possibilities, Agent II 19
415 3/30/2016 C Will Take Charge Golden Mean ON King’s Equine, Agent XIV 2
472 5/7/2016 C Fed Biz Higher World ON Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent XXXI 5
524 1/16/2016 F Overanalyze Johns Lady Friend ON Flying Fish, Agent V E
528 3/27/2016 F To Honor and Serve J’s Hot Shot Lady ON James Layden, Agent 1
766 3/24/2016 C The Factor Omi Diamond ON Randy Miles, Agent 18
809 5/10/2016 F Malibu Moon Pink Palace ON Top Line Sales LLC, Agent XXV 14
1090 3/1/2016 F Strong Mandate Sweetstart ON Winners Circle Thoroughbreds LLC 15
1130 2/21/2016 F Atreides Toula ON Hemingway Racing and Training Stables LLC, Agent III 16
1145 2/19/2016 F Unxpected Behavior Flat Out Tweetie Pie ON Paul Sharp, Agent IV



“People just need to work together, that’s another challenge. It’s been very divisive in terms of all the interests and unless we come together, we’re not going to be able to overcome these challenges,”  Jim Lawson

WEG’s Lawson delivers state of the industry