TOP WINNING BEYER SPEED FIGURES AT WOODBINE LAST WEEK
98 IKERRIN ROAD (IRE) – One of the year’s top male sprinters won the Kennedy Road for Alpine Stable
94 MOONLIT PROMISE – Won the Grade 2 Bessarabian stakes for the 2nd year in a row
89 CLASSIC COTTON
85 MARTEN LAKE
83 LOVE THAT LUTE
81 SPRING IN THE WIND
SHARE THE UPSIDE: WINDSOR BOYS HAVE BIG SUNDAY
About one hour after their wonderful mare MOONLIT PROMISE won the the Grade 2 Bessarabian Stakes on Sunday (for the second consecutive year), the Windsor Boys racing group celebrated another nice victory when its Ontario-bred SHARE THE UPSIDE won an allowance race at Churchill Downs by more than 4 lengths.
The Windsor Boys, which started into horse ownership with John Sikura Jr’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings with Moonlit Promise before she became a champion last year, is a group 8 of people from, you guessed it, Windsor, ON. The group shares a love for hockey and horses and Sikura, who used to play for the Windsor Spitfires, as did several of the Windsor Boys, brought them in to share Moonlit Promise.
The daughter of Malibu Moon – Smart Surprise is a Kentucky-bred who has won 8 of 18 races and just over $500,000. She is trained by Josie Carroll.
As for SHARE THE UPSIDE, he is a son of Mclean’s Music – Mystic Silver by Silver Deputy and he is now a 2-time winner and a speedy guy at that. Trained by Steve Asmussen, this sophomore was bought back by Sikura for $75,000. He won the allowance race on dirt at Churchill Sunday in 1:16.32 for 6 1/2 furlongs for as big 95 Beyer Figure.
EURICO WIN-WATCH – CHASING 221
9 away from breaking record
With three more wins on Sunday, Eurico da Silva, Woodbine’s leading rider, has dead aim on the record for most wins in a Woodbine meeting.
That record is 221 set by Mickey Walls in 1991 when he had 136 dates at Woodbine. Eurico is trying to do this in 127 racing dates of less (he missed 6 cards at the beginning of the season).
He needs 8 wins to tie and 9 to win and has 12 racing dates to do it. The season ends on day 133, Dec 16.
The Mickey Walls record has been a formidable one, only Luis Contreras came close to challenging it when he won 212 races at the Woodbine meeting in 2011
Eurico’s Wednesday night mounts:
2 Maiden Special Weight – Sahara Breeze, Sid Attard
5 Maiden Claiming – Cheekylicious, Jim Ensom
6 Allowance – Georgian Dancer, Robert Tiller
8 Claiming – Pictures of You, Catherine Day Phillips
CATCHING UP WITH MICKEY WALLS
Those were the days, my friend.
The late 80s to the mid 1990s were some of the best years in Canadian horse racing. Dance Smartly, With Approval, and Izvestia, Breeders’ Cup, Kinghaven and Sam-Son Farms.
In 1990 a 16-year-old kid from British Columbia burst on to the riding scene at Hastings Park winning some 70 races in four months before coming to Woodbine to try the big leagues.
Mickey Walls may have been just a teenager but he WAS the big league. At Woodbine he cut a swath through the jockey ranks in that first autumn campaign (which include Greenwood) and won a total of 162 races in his first year earning him an apprentice jockey Sovereign Award.
But it was 1991 when Walls entered the zone of the greats. In three different riding meetings, a Greenwood Spring and Fall and a Woodbine summer, Walls rode circles around his peers.
He won 285 races that year. He broke the great Sandy Hawley’s single season apprentice record of 230 wins and set the mark of 221 wins in a Woodbine meeting. That Woodbine meeting was 136 days long.
He became the first rider to win a Sovereign Award for apprentice and journeyman rider in the same year. And he won an Eclipse Award.
“It was fantastic,” said Walls on Monday. “I was healthy, I never got hurt, Colin Wick had my book and things just worked out perfectly.”
Walls went on to a great career, albeit a short one, as he retired after just over a decade when weight issues became too much to handle. “I was thinking I was only going to have a couple of years of riding really. Everybody kept saying ‘look how big his hands are’ and telling me I was going to get too big. Towards the end of his career, Walls said he would sit in the sauna for two hours and only lose one pound.
He won over 1,400 races from 1990 to 2002. He won the Queen’s Plate on Woodcarver and who can forget the magical run by Mt. Sassafras in the Breeders’ Cup Classic against Cigar in 1996? Mt Sassafras skipped to the lead into the stretch under Walls and just missed winning when 4th in a blanket finish.
Semi retirement has not been overly kind to Walls in recent years as he has had a litany of surgeries and two years was badly hurt in a shedrow accident. His future now appears to be surgery free, however, and he is looking forward to an enjoyable winter.
These days you can find Walls out in the mornings getting on his horses with his parents Joe and Carol and helping out a few other barns. He spends the rest of his day relaxing, golfing if it is summer or Christmas shopping as he was today.
He has won the Avelino Gomez award (2013) and is in the BC Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Incredibly he is not in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame yet but has been on the ballot and odds are his year will be 2019.
Current leading jockey Eurico da Silva is on the cusp of breaking Walls’ Woodbine meeting record of 221 wins (he has 213). “A record is a record, it’s there to be broken,” said Walls. “It doesn’t bother me that it will be broken as it is not the same [structure of racing season] as when I was riding. We started in March, rode 5 days a week to December. And I won 286 races in one Ontario season, so they gotta come and get that.”
IKERRIN ROAD RUNS AWAY WITH KENNEDY ROAD
Alpine Stables’ IKERRIN ROAD zoomed up the inside late to win the 6 furlong KENNEDY ROAD STAKES at Woodbine on Saturday, a Grade 3 event for sprinters. The Vito Armata-trained 5-year-old have jockey Ademar Santos his first stakes win since coming here to ride earlier this year.
The Irish bred gelding by Iffraaj, claimed in May 2017 for $32,000 from Robert Masterson and trainer Mark Casse, has won 7 times for Alpine Stables including the Bold Venture Stakes last season.
The gelding had battled illness twice this year and, according to trainer Armata, was in grave condition. He has made a remarkable recovery, however, and posted a 98 Beyer Figure for his time of 1:08.42 in near-track record time.
“Last year we thought when he finished second to Pink Lloyd, he’s going to come back next year, but it doesn’t work that way,” said Armata, noting the bay gelding has overcome sickness to return to top form this fall. “The horse is lucky to be here. It’s coming true. We gave him lots of time and there he is.”
VIOLENCE WEANLING COLT TOPS CTHS WINTER MIXED SALE
Matthew Brouwer bid $15,000 and picked up a weanling colt by Violence – Tiz Shopping by Tiznow that topped the CTHS Winter Mixed Sale last evening at Woodbine.
Sold by Ballycroy Training centre, the colt is the first foal of the placed mare. Violence, whose first foals are 3-year-olds of this year, has 12 black-type winners including graded stakes winners Cosmic Burst and Talk Veuve to Me.
The top mare was CLOUDLINE, a Cherokee Run mare sold by Shannondoe Farm to Joey Gee Thoroughbreds for $7,500.
CTHS WINTER MIXED SALE STATS
Not Sold 17
WAKE FOREST, $950,000 EARNER, CLAIMED FOR $8,000 SATURDAY
A previous owner has said he is retired now
WAKE FOREST, a Grade 1 winner on turf for Sheep Pond Stable, Bethlehem Stable and Michael Dubb, along with trainer Chad Brown, raced for $8,000 claiming at Gulfstream on Saturday.
A Group 3 winner in Germany, Wake Forest won the G1 Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont Park in 2016 in his 3rd outing in North America.
The horse came to Woodbine in the fall of 2016 and was 2nd beaten a neck to The Pizza Man in the Northern Dancer stakes and 3rd to Erupt in the Canadian International, both Grade 1’s. In 2017 he won the Grade 2 McDiarmida Stakes.
Wake Forest was off from last June to April of this year and did not come back to his top form as an 8-year-old. He was sold at the July Horses of Racing Age sale for $90,000 and raced for R.A. Hill Stable and trainer Danny Gargan four times but did not get better than 4th while sliding down in claiming price.
He was well beaten for $8,000 yesterday and was claimed by Michael Dubb.
News came out that Dubb will retire the old timer and a press release will be out on Monday.
Unfortunately, he’s not the only such example. Last week at Woodbine, saw 2017 Prince of Wales winner Cool Catomine compete for $6,000 claiming and finish 2nd and run unclaimed. The gelding had been claimed three races earlier for $20,000 as the gelding by Spring at Last simply was not able to re-discover his Wales form.
It is hard to believe that with the growth and awareness of racehorse retirement that there are still many of these occurrences. It is very much an expensive business, breeding, owning and training racehorses and to have any chance of making money it has to be looked at as a business (unless it is a hobby for those who can afford it).
However, surely when a horse does well for an owner or trainer, a small amount should be put aside in case the roll ends. For Wake Forest, who was sold by a group at auction despite his noble efforts, he is a lucky one it appears. Dumped in for $8,000 and not competitive is something this guy did not deserve.