JUSTIFY has cozy post 7. Canadian-bred FLAMEAWAY drew 4 with speedball Promsies Fulfilled to his inside so he may be inclined to go quickly early.

Mendolsohhn a surprising second choice at 5 to 1. AUDIBLE nice odds at 8 to 1, as is BOLT D’ORO at 8 to 1, GOOD MAGIC 12 to 1 and HOFBURG 20-1

Post 1 Firenze Fire … 39 … $647,500 Poseidon’s Warrior – My Every Wish by Langfuhr
– disappointing this year, 81, 79, 83   50-1

Post 2 Free Drop Billy … 44 … $597,200 Union Rags – trensa by Giant’s Causeway
– steady,galloping type 83, 89, 90   30-1

Post 3 Promises Fulfilled … 52 …$256,480 Shackleford – Marquee Delivery by Marquetry
– speedster likely needs the front; 47, 96, 76  30-1

Post 4 Flameaway … 70 … $672,260 Scat Daddy – Vulcan Rose by Fusaichi Pegasus
– Canadian-bred is honest and hard trying but needs huge effort;l 93, 92, 93  30-1

Post 5 Audible … 110 … $803,520 Into Mischief – Blue Devil Bel by Gilded Time
– lost just once (debut in sprint); powerful; 99, 99, 84  8-1

Post 6 Good Magic … 134 … $1,838,400 Curlin – Glinda the Good by Hard Spun
– Champn 2yo of 2017; trained by Chad Brown; 95, 89, 100 (in BC Juv)  12-1

Post 7 Justify … 100 … $600,000 Scat Daddy – Stage Magic by Ghostzapper
– unbeaten, untested; will get acid test in 10 fur., Derby; 107, 101, 104  3-1

Post 8 Lone Sailor … 42 … $273,347 Majestic Warrior – Ambitious by Mr Greeley

– handsome fellow, late closer; 95, 78,, 72  50-1

Post 9 Hofburg … 40 … $320,000 Tapit – Soothing Touch by Touch Gold
– lightly raced, 3 starts, 2 this year 95, 84, 60  20-1

Post 10 My Boy Jack … 52 … $622,000 Creative Cause – Gold n Shaft by Mineshaft
– stretch runner lured new co-owner this week in West Pt. TB; 90. 94 93  30-1

Post 11 Bolt d’Oro … 104 … $980,000 Medaglia D’oro – Globe Trot by A P Indy
– tough guy could not catch Justify in SA Derby but has speed to chase; 102, 101, 91  8-1

Post 12 Enticed … 103 … $545,880 Medaglia D’Oro 0 It’s Tricky by Mineshaft
– high striding Godolphin colt comes from off the pace; 93, 95, 76  30-1

Post 13 Bravazo … 54 … $359,913 Awesome Again – Tiz o’ Gold by Cee’s Tizzy

– speedy type, 64 93, 89; Luis Contreras to ride  50-1

Post 14 Mendelssohn … 100 … $1,947,299 Scat Daddy – Leslie’s Lady by Tricky Creek
– said to have run a 106 Beyer in UAE Derby in Dubai on the pace  5-1

Post 15 Instilled Regard … 29 … $246,000  50-1

Post 16 Magnum Moon … 150 … $1,140,000 Malibu Moon – Dazzling Song by Unbridled’s Song
– Undefeated; did not race at 2; 98, 97, 88  6-1

Post 17 Solomini … 54 … $716,000 Curlin – Surf Song by Storm Cat
– been chasing Magnum Moon, 92, 92, 93  30-1

Post 18 Vino Rosso … 107 … $572,500 Curlin – Mythical Bride by Street Cry (Ire)
– bred by Canadians John and Tanya Gunther; 90, 85, 98  12-1

Post 19 Noble Indy … 110 … $640,000 Take Charge Indy – Noble Maz by Storm Boot
– another Pletcher colt, 3 for 4 in his career via Lousiana 95, 91, 86  30-1

Post 20 Combatant … 32 … $350,000 Scat daddy – Border Dispute by Boundary
92, 92, 85 – late runner  50-1



JUSTIFY arrived at Churchill Downs yesterday and had a short gallop Tuesday morning – Coady photo/Churchill Downs

Time to sort through the 20 Derby entrants and try and pare down your favourites from your longshots. THOROUGHBLOG has been watching for more than a week and will have a short list of contenders from this view later in the week.

5 straight favourites have won the Kentucky Derby!

What do the post positions mean for the Kentucky Derby? Well certainly a 20 horse field means a crush of horses will come out of the gates down the long stretch run and unless your horse is a deep closer to a front runner, the ones in the middle have to avoid bad traffic, checking and crowding that could lead to a significant loss of ground.

Since there is such a long run to the first turn however, the post  does not mean as much as you might think.

America’s Best Racing has some stats to ponder.



WONDER GADOT – Michael Burns photoBut he still has his horses

But he still has his horses

One of North America’s more prominent racehorse owners, Gary Barber, who has horses at Woodbine and owns Canadian-bred WONDER GADOT a starter in the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, is no longer with MGM Studios. Barber was let go suddenly at the end of March (see story here).

What happens to his large stable of horses remains to be seen but he owns the 2017 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly in Canada, WONDER GADOT, a Medaglia D’Oro filly out of Loving Vindication by Vindication. The filly was bred by David Anderson’s Anderson Farms (Ontario) Inc. in St. Thomas.

Wonder Gadot was sold for $80,000 as a yearling and then $325,000 as a 2-year-old in Training.



Posts, Trainer, Jockey and Odds  Sire,  Last 3 Beyers from most recent

Full analysis Friday on Thoroughblog.

1. Sassy Sienna, Brad Cox, Gary Stevens, 15-1  Midshipman  82 79 79

2. Coach Rocks, Dale Romans, Luis Saez, 12-1   Oxbow  83, 83, 61

3. Classy Act, Bret Calhoun, Brian Hernandez Jr., 15-1   Into Mischief   85, 87, 79  (4th dam Rainbow Connection)

4. Chocolate Martini, Tom Amoss, Javier Castellano, 12-1 Broken Vow  88 86 64

5. Wonder Gadot, Mark Casse, John Velazquez, 20-1  Medaglia d’Oro 86 86 82  *Canadian-nbred

6. Kelly’s Humor, Brad Cox, Irad Ortiz, 30-1  Midnight Lute 77 65 66

7. Rayya, Bob Baffert, Drayden Van Dyke, 15-1  Tiz Wonderfull 78 (2nd to Mendolsohhn in UAE Derby)

8. Heavenhasmynikki, Anthony Quartarolo, Calvin Borel, 30-1 Majestic Warrior  79 68  78  *5th dam Chelseanna (CAN)

9. Take Charge Paula, Kiaran McLaughlin, Jose Ortiz, 15-1  Take Charge Indy 80 80 79

10. Midnight Bisou, Bill Spawr, Mike Smith, 5-2 Midnight Lute  90 94 89

11. My Miss Lilly, Mark Hennig, Joe Bravo, 10-1 Tapit   92 81 71

12. Patrona Margarita, Bret Calhoun, Ricardo Santana Jr., 30-1  Special Rate 74 79 69  2nd dam Four O’Clock Post, Ontario bred (Jim Day) daughter of regal Classic – Fatal Hour

13. Eskimo Kisses, Kenny McPeek, Corey Lanerie, 15-1  To Honor and serve  85 87 92 Winning Colors 2nd dam

14. Monomoy Girl, Brad Cox, Florent Geroux, 2-1  Tapizar  95 91 91



CHOCOLATE MARTINI – Double Doors Racing’s Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner Chocolate Martini galloped 1 ½ miles Monday morning for trainer Tom Amoss.

Chocolate Martini drew post position four in the Kentucky Oaks and is 12-1 on the morning line.

“We love to have an inside post,” Amoss said. “Especially if there is speed inside of us, which there is. This should allow us to get to the rail and hope we get a good trip.”

Jockey Javier Castellano has the call.

CLASSY ACT/PATRONA MARGARITA – Classy Act and Patrona Margarita continued their early-morning schedule when they galloped 1 1/2 miles Monday for trainer Bret Calhoun.

“Both fillies are doing great,” Calhoun said. “They both had good breezes last week and their training forwardly.”

Brian Hernandez Jr. picks up the mount on Classy Act (15-1 morning line) and will break from post position three while Ricardo Santana Jr. has the call on Patrona Margarita (30-1) and will break from post position 12.

COACH ROCKS – Roddy Valente, RAP Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Coach Rocks galloped 1 ½ miles Monday morning at 7:30 for Churchill Downs’ all-time leading trainer Dale Romans.

Coach Rocks drew post No. 2 for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) and is 12-1 on the morning line.

“I just like horses to be on both sides when we’re in the gate,” Romans said. “Luis (Saez) will know how to get into a good position, so I’m not too concerned about the post at all.”

ESKIMO KISSES – Magdalena Racing, Gainesway Stable and Harold Lerner’s Eskimo Kisses jogged one mile and galloped one mile under exercise rider Mario Conbento for trainer Ken McPeek.

“She’s doing really well here at Churchill,” McPeek said. “It was a good work Saturday and she bounced back great today.”

The Ashland (GI) runner-up drew post position 13 for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks and is 15-1 on the morning line.

“She’s comes from behind so it really didn’t matter what post we got,” McPeek said. “Corey (Lanerie) does a great job at Churchill as everyone knows so he will fit her well in the Oaks. We’ll try and weave our way to the rail and get through to put in one run late.”

HEAVENHASMYNIKKI – Loooch Racing Stables’ Heavenhasmynikki galloped an easy mile and a half under Jake Radosevich Monday morning during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Oaks and Derby horses.

Trainer Anthony Quartarolo said that Calvin Borel, who rode Rachel Alexandra to a dominating victory in the 2009 Kentucky Oaks, would have the mount on Heavenhasmynikki.

“That was (owner) Ron Paolucci’s decision,” Quartarolo said, noting that Borel may get acquainted with the filly one morning before the Oaks, possibly Wednesday.

The Ohio-bred daughter of Majestic Warrior has not started since finishing third in the March 3 Davona Dale (GII) at Gulfstream Park.

“She had a pinched muscle that caused her to miss the (Gulfstream Park) Oaks (GII),” Quartarolo said. “We gave her some time and so far, so good. I think she will like two turns and eventually I want to get her on grass.

Listed at 30-1 on the morning line, Heavenhasmynikki drew post position eight, a spot that pleased Quartarolo.

“That’s a good spot. I was hoping we would not be far outside in a big field,” Quartarolo said.

MIDNIGHT BISOU – photo courtesy Benoit/Kentucky

MIDNIGHT BISOU – Allen Racing and Bloom Racing Stable’s triple stakes winner was part of a contingent of California stakes horses heading east Monday morning with touchdown planned in Louisville and Churchill Downs’ backstretch Monday afternoon.

The Midnight Lute filly, who’ll be one of the favorites for Friday’s $1 million, Grade I Kentucky Oaks, has won the Santa Ynez (GII), the Santa Ysabel (GIII) and the Santa Anita Oaks (GI) – all at Santa Anita – this year, in each case partnered by Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, who’ll get a leg up once again in the nine-furlong filly classic.

Midnight Bisou’s trainer, the veteran Bill Spawr, also was flying to Louisville Monday, though he was on a commercial flight.

Following the post position draw at 11 a.m. Monday, co-owner Jeff Bloom (Bloom Racing Stable) offered the following thoughts on the No. 10 post his filly drew in the 14-horse field:

“I love it. I really don’t think the post is all that important in this field, but all things considered, the 10 is just fine. I didn’t want us to be too far inside – like the 1 – or too far outside – like the 14 – so the 10 is just fine. And, besides, we’ve got Mike Smith up. He’ll know just what to do from the 10 hole.”

MONOMOY GIRL/SASSY SIENNA/KELLY’S HUMOR – Several hours before drawing posts 14, 1 and 6, respectively, Monomoy Girl, installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite, Sassy Sienna and Kelly’s Humor went out and jogged one mile in tandem during the special 7:30 a.m. time reserved for just Oaks and Derby horses. It was their first trip to the track since completing their final works Saturday.

Trainer Brad Cox was philosophical about drawing the rail and outer most post with two of his fillies, which was a 90-1 shot, TwinSpires’ Ed DeRosa announced at the draw.

“It is, what it is,” Cox said. “We’ll come up with a game plan and run the play. It is what it is. It’s horse racing.

“Monomoy Girl is a good filly and good horses overcome things. We have to overcome the 14 hole. Obviously, we’ll have the speed to the inside of us. Hopefully, she can adjust. I think we learned as much about her in the (Feb. 17) Rachel Alexandra Stakes (GII) than any other race. She broke from the outside post that day. Obviously, there wasn’t 14 horses, but she broke a little slow and was able to adjust to the pace. It’s not where we want to be, but she’s a good horse and hopefully she can overcome. She’s ready to run, so hopefully she can get a good trip.

“Sassy Sienna on the rail isn’t ideal either. There’s some speed that should be in front of us. She should get a tactical spot under Gary Stevens and be right off of it with a decent trip.”

While Monomoy Girl and Sassy Sienna secured their spots in the Oaks early by winning the Ashland Stakes (GI) at Keeneland and Fantasy Stakes (GIII) at Oaklawn in their most recent starts, respectively, Cox did not know if Kelly’s Humor, who was second in Keeneland’s Beaumont Stakes (GIII) in her only start this year, would make the 14-horse field until entry time.

“We’re happy,” Cox said. “Post doesn’t matter with her as much as a stretch runner. She drew right in the middle. It’s a very good post.”

MY MISS LILLY – Trainer Mark Hennig was back at Churchill Downs this morning to watch Courtlandt Farms’ My Miss Lilly jog two miles at 6:30 with exercise rider Emerson Chavez, ponied by Monnie Goetz and Bucky. Hennig’s wife Rosemary oversaw the filly’s training while he was in New York.

“We gave her a lighter day because she was pulling pretty hard yesterday,” Hennig said about My Miss Lilly’s previous day 1 1/8-mile gallop.

Hennig has been patient with My Miss Lilly, who enters the Kentucky Oaks with just four lifetime starts, including a victory in her last race, the 1 1/8-mile Gazelle (GII) at Aqueduct April 7.

“She was about ready to run coming into Saratoga, and then we had a little setback and ended up freshening her and giving her time, which probably turned out to be the best thing for her,” Hennig said.

My Miss Lilly is one of only two fillies in the field to have won at the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Kentucky Oaks within the United States. The other is Wonder Gadot.

“Although she’s lightly raced, I think now that she’s gotten out to those distances that she’s comfortable with, she picked it up rather quickly,” Hennig said. “I’m optimistic.”

My Miss Lilly drew post position 11 for the Kentucky Oaks.

“It’s good, I was hoping for right in the middle, but I didn’t want to be jammed up on the inside, especially with Monomoy Girl drawing the outside (post 14),” Hennig said. “There’s obviously going to be some pressure pushing down towards the inside. She (Monomoy Girl) should clear us, and then we just need to find a comfortable spot into the first turn.”

RAYYA – Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi’s UAE Derby (GII) runner-up Rayya was en route to Louisville after leaving trainer Bob Baffert’s Santa Anita Park base early Monday morning. Following a flight from Los Angeles to Louisville, Baffert’s Oaks and Derby contenders are expected at Churchill Downs around 1:45 p.m.

Rayya drew post No. 7 for the Oaks, is 15-1 on the morning line, and will be ridden by Drayden Van Dyke.

TAKE CHARGE PAULA –- Peter Deutsch’s Take Charge Paula arrived at Churchill Downs by van from Belmont Park mid-morning Monday, accompanied by stablemate and Kentucky Derby candidate Enticed.

“All’s good. They both arrived feeling great,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who is scheduled to arrive in Louisville Monday evening.

Take Charge Paula settled in her stall in Barn 41 and is scheduled to go to the track Tuesday morning in preparation for a start in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks.

“She’ll gallop the next three days and she’ll go at the designated time for the Oaks and Derby horses,” McLaughlin said.

Take Charge Paula drew the No. 9 stall in the Oaks starting gate during Monday’s post position draw.

“That’s fine. I don’t really think there’s a bad draw with 14 runners,” McLaughlin said. “We’re happy to be out there, where we are.”

WONDER GADOT – Gary Barber’s Wonder Gadot galloped a mile with rider Orlando Cross this morning during the 7:30-7:45 training period for Kentucky Oaks and Derby horses. Trainer Mark Casse said she will gallop 1 1/2 miles tomorrow.

“She has a lot of energy, as she always does,” Casse said. “Especially off a couple easy days.”

Casse said Monday morning that he would like a post position “somewhere in the middle” of the starting gate for the Oaks. Casse got his wish and said via text that he is “very happy” with Wonder Gadot drawing post five.

HOFBURG – Kentucky Derby entrant is a lightly raced with just 3 starts for trainer Bill Mott. CHURCHILL DOWNS/COADY PHOTO













CROSS BORDER, bought on a shopping trip by Robert Tiller, wins for the trainer and Frank DiGiulio Jr on a stunning 4 win day for Tiller – WILL WONG PHOTO

Tiller, McKnight, & Hernandez dominate weekend 

A much better wagering weekend at Woodbine with $7.7 million bet on the 2 days. The 21 races over the weekend were dominated by 2 trainers who won 1/3 of the races.

After 4 days of racing the trainer’s standings look like this:

Norman McKnight 12 —        7 1 4 $172,085
Robert P. Tiller      13 —        6 1 2 $187,804 –
Mark E. Casse        14 —         3 3 4 $159,892 —
Darwin D. Banach 3 —          3 0 0 $73,490 —
Nicholas Gonzalez 10 —     3 2 0 $50,524

SUNDAY WRAP – ROBERT TILLER’S stable had a stunning Sunday with 4 winners – CROSS BORDER (78 Beyer), race2 for $40k, owned by Frank DiGiulio and Tiller. CONQUEST SWAGMAN (80 Beyer) for $20,000 for himself in race 6, TRAPPER’S DELIGHT (68), a first time starter by Trappe Shot for Frank DiGiulio and REAL POINT in a maiden race for Stronach Stables, race 11.

It was a very long day at the races with 11 dashes spread from from 1 p.m. to 6:34 p.m.

SUMMER SUNDAY ran away with the FURY STAKES, worth $125,000 and the first stepping stone on the way to the Woodbine Oaks. The Ontario bred by Silent Name from Dancing Allstar by Millennium Allstar led throughout the 7 furlongs but she drifted out to the far side of the track through the stretch and her rider Rafael Hernandez had to work hard to keep her ahead of a closing Glamanation. The time of 1:24.17 was assigned just a 64 Beyer Figure from Daily Racing Form.

Summer Sunday, trained by Stuart Simon for William and Anne Scott, is now 4 for 4 at Woodbine and her lone loss was her recent run at Keeneland when she tried dirt off the layoff.

Trainer Simon suggested he knew why the filly drifted out so badly in the stretch run of the Fury and said I’it will be addressed” and it is possible it was an issue with the bit and her mouth.

SUMMER SUNDAY has never raced around 2 turns so her next race so if she is going to the Oaks, she may have to run in the open Selene Stakes on May 19. The Oaks is on June 9.

Race 1 on Sunday was the race that was added to the card a day after entreies, an allowance race at 7 furlongs that drew just a 5 horse field. Darwin Banach and his team remained unbeaten on the year with their 3rd winner as O’KRATOS (Paddy O’Prado) won for owner Terdik Farms and Partner. This was the first of four winners for jockey Rafael Hernandez. The grey 3yo’s Beyer Figure of 85 was the highest for the day.

Scott Fairlie won for the second straight day as he sent out ATA Stables Inc.’s WHERE’S ANTHONY (Where’s the Ring) to win this $40,000 claiming race with Omar Moreno getting his first win of the meeting.

ICEBERG ALLEY, picked on Thoroughblog, stalked and pounced to win race 4, a maiden claiming event for $20,000. The Victor’s Cry 3yo is owned by Big Z Thoroughbred Racing and Dave Cotey trains. Skye Chernetz had the ride.

More longshots came in with VICTORIAN LASS won for owner/trainer John Cardella. This was a $20,000 race for fillies and mares and Patrick Husbands rode.

Race 9 went to GREEN DOCTOR who led all the way to win for the 7th time in her career. The Ontario bred by The Green Monkey was ridden for Gary Boulanger in her season opener, a $25,000 claiming race. John LeBlanc trains for Maggie Leblanc and Theresa Gierkink.

Race 10 was won by the Silent Name filly LITTLE CHRISTY, making her first start since July 2017 and first start for trainer Catherine Day Phillips

SATURDAY WRAP –  Champion RIKER returned to Woodbine from Florida and won an $8,000 claiming race by 9 lengths with a 79 Beyer Figure. He is owned by Tucci Stables and was the 3rd winner of the meeting for Nick Gonzalez.

FUHR LOVE won her career debut in a maiden allowance race at 6 furlongs in 57.76, good for a 72 Beyer Figure. The filly by Langfuhr,owned and bred by Gus Schickedanz rocketed out of the gate under Chris Husbands and won big for trainer Mike Keogh in a real shocker, she was 27 to 1.

Chris Husbands won another race on Saturday when he guided MISS SAVVY to a big win in an allowance/optional claiming event for The Very Dry Stable and trainer Robert Tiller.


87 – ABBAA








Barbados’ top jock JALON SAMUEL rode Gandfalf to the Barbados Guineas win as final ride at home. Jalon is headed to Woodbine to ride for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, according to the jockey. Jalon rode the Ramsey’s SIR DUDLEY DIGGES to victory in the Barbados Gold Cup.

SIR DUDLEY DIGGES is expected at Woodbine this season but may race on Derby day at Churchill Downs before heading north. The horses of the Ramsey’s, trained by Mike Maker have yet to arrive at Woodbine and a bunch of stalls sit empty on the backstretch. It is thought they will arrive soon.

HUGO SANCHEZ set to ride Woodbine

HUGO SANCHEZ, with over 300 winners while riding in south Florida recently, has landed on the Woodbine jockey list and figures to be riding shortly.

In addition, there is some buzz about apprentice rider KAZUSHI KIMURA who is exercising horses at Woodbine. Born in 1999, Kimura will soon join another apprentice, Daisuke Fukumoto as the bug riders at Woodbine.

This weekend, Eurico Da Silva is expected to return to riding and soon after, EMMA-JAYNE WILSON will be back.

After 4 racing days here are the rider stats:

1 Rafael Hernandez               35 14 5 7 $401,354 40%
2 Luis Contreras                     32 6 8 5 $243,408 19%
3 Patrick Husbands                18 6 3 5 $226,692 33%
4 Gary Boulanger                    20 5 5 2 $198,833 25% 1
6 Christopher Husbands       12 2 0 1 $62,496




Funds have been pouring in from all over the World after the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash and Saturday evening a harness racing horse did his part to help the cause.

Humboldt, a four-year-old gelding, paced to victory in Saturday’s $20,000 fourth-race at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

The bay gelding is owned by Brad Grant of Milton, Ontario, and trained by Ben Wallace. Grant earlier this month graciously offered to donate the pacer’s earnings from this month to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s (SJHL) Player Assistance Program.

“I know Bill Chow from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and I’m involved with the Ontario Hockey Association and then I have a horse named Humboldt,” Grant said earlier this month. “I thought what a great connection and maybe we can help use it to generate some funds for the program Bill and his group have put in,”

Grant, who is Chairman of the Ontario Hockey Association, purchased the pacer back in January at a sale in New Jersey. The bay gelding was named Humboldt by his previous owner prior to his first-career race in June 2016.

“I’m a firm believer in health and well-being,” Grant said. “I thought it was quite ironic with me being involved in hockey, knowing the people and owning this horse, so I thought why not see if we can do it this way and get some other people on board and do some more good.”