Mighty MELMICH flies for 2nd in Grade 2 McDiarmida

Helena is the ‘One

Canadian/Ontario bred HOLY HELENA won the Grade 3 The Very One stakes for the second straight year – Gulfstream Park photo

On the Canadian front this past weekend, HOLY HELENA (Ghostzapper) got back into winning form with a win in the Grade 3 The Very One, a race she won last year. She is the Queen’s Plate winner from 2 years ago owned and bred by Stronach Stables. Roger Attfield trainee ICKYMASHO was a super 2nd in her first race on the Lasix medication and this 7-year-old mare, stakes placed on Tapeta last year at Woodbine, could be one to watch back home.

The amazing MELMICH (see video above) rallied for second and ran a 94 Beyer Speed Figure in the Grade 2 McDiarmida at 1 3/8 miles on turf. The winner was heavily favoured Zulu Alpha trained by Mike Maker.

“He’s doing so well these days,” said trainer Kevin Attard, who has prepared the gelding since he was claimed 5 years ago. “I don’t think he has ever looked so well. You have to admire a horse like him.”

The 8-year-old was making only his 3rd career start on grass in his 44th career race and he sure seems to love the surface.  Attard trains the Ontario-bred son of Wilko for Cory Hoffman and Stephen Chesney. A campaign in long races on the turf is planned for the popular guy at Woodbine this year.

BE GONE DADDY was up at 10 to 1 to win a strong allowance race at Gulfstream on Saturday. The Ontario bred was born at Dan Mooney’s Huntington Stud Farm in Nashville, ON – Gulfstream Park photo

Recent Canadian bred winners include BE GONE DADDY, a $130,000 weanling purchase from Huntington Stud Farm (Dan Mooney). This Scat Daddy gelding from Sister Kate raced a lot on the grass with modest results but he has now won 3 of his last 4 on dirt with 90+ Beyer Speed Figures.

At Charles Town on Friday, NARROW ESCAPE won a first level allowance race in the mud by more than 7 lengths with a 73 Beyer Figure for Justin Nixon. The Sky Conqueror gelding is a half brother to Prince of Wales Stakes winner Coltimus Prime, who recently entered stud in Ontario for owner Jayson Horner.

Woodbine Oaks contender BOLD SCRIPT, a Chiefswood 3-year-old filly, trailed in the Grade 2 Davona Dale, her first start on dirt and posted a 79 Beyer Figure. That race had a slow early pace and did not help the filly who was far back early.  The 50 to 1 winner of that race, Jeltrin, coming off a gate workout in which she was beaten by an unraced Ontario bred Capture the Music, beat Champion 2-year-old Filly of 2018 Jaywalk who had a drab outing.

My Gal Betty, in the hunt for Champion 2-year-old filly honours at the April 18 Sovereign Awards, finished last in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes on the grass for owner Bill Werner and trainer Roger Attfield.


CODE OF HONOR, unsold for $70,000 at a yearling sale, won the Fountain of Youth – Gulfstream Park photo

A sizzling pace set in part by heavily favoured HIDDEN SCROLL (the sensational debut winner) led to closers doing better in the 1 1/16 mile Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream on Saturday.

The race is a popular event on the way to the Kentucky Derby and is the next step at the track towards the Florida Derby at the end of the meeting.

CODE OF HONOR (Noble Mission – Reunited by Dixie Union) got the jump on Bourbon War and won the race with a 95 Beyer Speed Figure for 1:43 4/5. Bourbon War, the first foal of Grade 1 winning filly My Conqestadory who raced for the former Conquest Stables, was a strong closing second. Hidden Scroll faded to fourth.

The two-turn race with the fast pace played a bit more like a long sprint outing.

Code of Honor is from a mare who was strictly a sprinter but she has produced a distance winner. This is the first crop of runners for Noble Mission, a Group 1 winner who loved 10 and 12 furlongs and the stallion is a full brother to the sensational Frankel.

Code of Honor, foaled on May 23, went unsold at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2017 at $70,000 for Will Farish bought him back.

His dam has produced a stakes placed runner and a few winners.

Meanwhile, in New Orleans, current points leader WAR OF WILL, trained by Mark Casse for Gary Barber, had a workout as he readies for the Louisiana Derby.

War of Will went out to the main track at 5:45 a.m. and worked a half-mile in company with Dynamic Force and completed his four-furlong breeze in :50.20 with Declan Carroll aboard. The move was the 3-year-old son of War Front’s first breeze since a victory in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford and he remains on target for the Grade II $1 million Louisiana Derby on Saturday, March 23.

“We had a sealed racetrack this morning but it gives you such confidence because it’s a superior surface,” assistant David Carroll said. “It has a great bottom on it so we were very comfortable breezing today. War of Will went beautifully. Just finished up the last eighth and galloped out on his own steam. We never did ask him for anything today, it was just nice to see him back stretching his legs. He looked as great as ever and cooled out beautifully.”

In addition to taking the Risen Star Stakes, War of Will also won the Grade III Lecomte Stakes in January and is atop the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 60 qualifying points. A win in the Louisiana Derby when give him a clean sweep of all three Fair Grounds qualifiers on the Road To The Kentucky Derby, a feat accomplished by former Derby contenders Girvin (2017), International Star (2015), Friesian Fire (2009) and Dixieland Heat (1993).

“I don’t think he has to improve a whole lot at this stage,” Carroll said. “We know that he’s very talented and we’re just going to keep him happy and healthy which are the two most important things. If he’s happy and healthy then we’ll let his talent do the talking.”

Point Leaders

Horse  Points  Owner Trainer Graded Earnings

1. War of Will        60 Gary Barber Mark Casse $440,840
2. Code of Honor 54 W.S. Farish Shug McGaughey III $338,070
3. Game Winner 30 Gary & Mary West Bob Baffert $1,460,000
4. Bourbon War  21 Bourbon Lane Stable (Jamie Hill) & Lake Star Stable Mark Hennig $90,200
5. Country House 20 Mrs. J.V. Shields, E.J.M. McFadden Jr. & LNJ Foxwoods (Larry,Nanci & Jaime Roth)Bill     Mott $80,000
6. Knicks Go       18 KRA Stud Farm (Jin Woo Lee) Ben Colebrook $662,085
7. Signalman      18 Tommie M. Lewis, Steve Crabtree, Dean Demaree, David Bernsen,Jim Chambers, & Magdalena  Rng Kenny McPeek $396,840
8. Gunmetal Gray 18 Hollendorfer LLC, Pearl Racing & West Point Thoroughbreds Jerry Hollendorfer $210,000
9. Long Range Toddy 16 Willis Horton Racing LLC Steve Asmussen $380,000
10. Mucho Gusto   14 Michael Lund Petersen Bob Baffert $210,000
11. Tax                     12 R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch & Corms Racing Stable Danny Gargan $167,500
12. Super Steed 10 Michael Pressley & Steed Jackson Larry Jones $304,000
13. Mind Control    10 Red Oak Stable (Stephen Brunetti) & Madaket Stables LLC (Sol Kumin) Gregg Sacco $295,000
14. Improbable     10 WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd. (Ah Khing Teo) & Starlight Racing Bob Baffert $239,520
15. Harvey Wallbanger 10 Harold Lerner LLC, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott K. Akman & Paul Braverman Kenny McPeek $208,320
16. Well Defined  10 Stonehedge LLC Kathy O’Connell $172,970
17. Vekoma          10 R. A. Hill Stable & Gatsas Stables George Weaver $147,600
18. Gray Attempt 10 Dwight Pruett Jinks Fires $136,666
19. Anothertwistafate 10 Peter Redekop B. C. Ltd. Blaine Wright $60,000
20. Roiland           10 James & Mary Durlacher Tom Amoss $47,460
21. Hog Creek Hustle 9 Something Special Racing LLC (Patty Tipton) Vickie Foley $65,000
22. Sueno                  8 Silverton Hill LLC (Bonnie & Tommy Hamilton) Keith Desormeaux $165,000
23. Our Braintrust  6 Gary Barber Mark Casse $147,000
24. Hidden Scroll   5 Juddmonte Farms Inc. (Prince Khalid Abdullah) Bill Mott $18,800
25. Bankit            4 Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (Ron Winchell) & Willis Horton Racing LLC Steve Asmussen $96,000


Protesters picket Sunday

With heavy rain forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, Santa Anita Park has announced that live racing will return with an 11-race card on Friday, with first post time at 12 noon.

Although racing had been scheduled to resume on Thursday, track management is acting proactively in order to try to avoid most of the heavy rain and present an outstanding program Friday and through the weekend, which will be highlighted by the 82nd running of the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday.

The National Weather Service is calling for a 100 percent chance of rain Wednesday, with the likelihood of significant rain diminishing Thursday and through the weekend.

The track closed training last week and brought in Mick Peterson, director of Ag Equine Programs at the University of Kentucky, to study the surface following several breakdowns that brought the total number of horse deaths to 19 since the meet opened Dec. 26. Heavy rain has plagued the track surface this winter and it appears as if a wet track has caused the most problems,

This past Saturday another horse broke down on a sloppy track, Eskenforadrink. About a dozen protesters picketed the track on Sunday. The track was fast for that card and races reportedly went off without incident. The bad news for racing is that the Santa Anita struggles have landed on mainstream TV news programs and put the industry in a dark light.

Santa Anita will remain open for training every day this week and will be open for simulcast wagering on Wednesday and Thursday, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Grandstand Paddock Room.


Saturday is preview day, sale March 16

Preview by Nigel Reid:

The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (CTHS) has attracted a healthy 31 entries for its Horses of Racing Age sale, including an eye-catching collection of 17 two-year-olds in training.

Much of the interest in the sale, organised for the first time by the CTHS and slated for Hastings’ racetrack on 16 March, will be centered upon the 22 entries consigned by the ‘Hole in the Wall Gang’.

This major draft is the result of a bold initiative by the BC industry’s key players and is aimed at boosting the number of horses in training at Hastings for the coming season. The majority of the consignment is an 11-strong draft of two-year-olds originally purchased for relatively modest prices at Fasig-Tipton in October 2018.

All horses consigned by the Hole in the Wall Gang are to be sold without reserve under the condition that papers remain in the race office at Hastings for the duration of the track’s 2019 racing season. As a Condition of Sale, purchasers undertake to race their purchased horse exclusively at Hastings for the duration of the 2019 season.

Included among the youngsters bought in Kentucky are half-siblings to a hatful of winners, as well as representatives of sires capable of getting very smart runners and including familiar names such as Paddy O’Prado, Macho Uno, Colonel John, Stay Thirsty, Creative Cause and Cowboy Cal.

The costs of purchasing, shipping and sustaining Kentucky-sold yearlings through to their debut two-year-old start can be prohibitive, so this extremely welcome initiative offers prospective owners and trainers a unique opportunity to secure a horse that might otherwise fall outside budget considerations.

Highlights among the Fasig-Tipton yearling purchases include DEW TELL, a March-foaled daughter of the late Paddy O’Prado out of a winner-producing Fusaichi Pegasus mare; MACHINE, a son of Colonel John out of a half-sister to a Stakes winner from the family of Shaman Ghost; and CAUSIN’ HAVOC, a gelded son of Creative Cause out of a Mineshaft mare who is a daughter of the G3 winner, Vegas Prospector.

Also included among the Hole in the Wall consignment is a small but high-quality batch of older horses formerly campaigned by Swift Thoroughbreds and, again, offered without reserve.

The Swift draft should interest prospective purchasers looking to secure ready-to-run horses, such as previous Hastings’ winners BEAR, HORST and EZEKIEL, as well as the placed BUCK. Both Buck and Bear are by Super Saver, a stallion who has, according to his WinStar Farm home, “made the best start for a Kentucky Derby winner since Seattle Slew.”

Read more and see catalogue.


Get Stormy filly stretches out in distance successfully

The grey filly CELESTIAL STORM, tracking a slow pace set by Infrared, surged to victory in the 38th Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup on Saturday at the Garrison Savannah in Bridgetown. This was just the sixth time in 38 runnings that a filly has won and the first win by a filly in 24 years.

Ridden by 22-year-old Rasheed Hughes, Celestial Storm sat a perfect trip along the inside throughout most of the 1 1/87 mile turf race. She collared Infrared just before the finish line while Brave Star and Night Prowler battled for third.

The latter, a graded stakes winner from the U.S. trailed early and had too much ground to make up behind the slow pace.

The winner ran the distance in 1:49 2/5, one of the faster times in the history of the  race.

Celestial Storm became the first horse to win the Spa Sprint one year (2018) and the Gold Cup the following year. Owned and trainer by Roger Parravicino of Barbados, the filly was originally an $8,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland September 2015. She was bought by Parravicino for $14,000 at the Ocala June 2yo sale for $14,000. The filly was bred by Pope McLean, Marc Mclean and Pope McLean Jr.

The filly is the second foal of the mare Raging Storm, who is an unraced daughter of Unbridled Energy.

Footage of Gold Cup Race

#ICYMI Champion jockey Rasheed Hughes produced a fine ride to guide Celestial Storm to an upset victory in the 38th Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup at the Garrison Savannah today. Video Source: Barbados Turf Club

Posted by The Nation Barbados on Saturday, March 2, 2019



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