State of Honor not certain for Plate

BERGER, the handsome dark bay 3-year-old colt by Rosberg who won his maiden so impressively at Gulfstream Park recently, is scheduled to make his next start at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day, May 7.

The British Columbia bred was recently sold by Copper Water Thoroughbreds to Gary Barber following his debut win on April 8 in 1:10.44, good for an 81 Beyer Figure. Pat Parente had prepared the colt for his opener and the horse powered to a 1 1/2 length win.

Berger is now at Churchill Downs with trainer Mark Casse and he had a workout on April 21 of 1:01 3/5 for 5 furlongs.

Purchased as a yearling for about $30,000 at the BC CTHS Mixed Sale in 2015, Berger is from the mare Meet the Queen by Strong Hope.

Casse told Thoroughblog this week that the colt will be pointed to a race at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day and is one of a couple of Queen’s Plate hopefuls for his stable in 2017.

Casse is preparing his big gun, CLASSIC EMPIRE for the Kentucky Derby and the Champion 2-year-old of last season goes into the Derby as a serious contender.

Ontario bred STATE OF HONOR, 2nd in last year’s Coronation Futurity to stablemate King and His Court, is also headed to the Derby for Manfred and Penny Conrad and the big colt, a homebred, had a major workout on Friday morning (today):

5F 1:01.60. with splits, according to Churchill Downs is  :13, :26, :37.40. Out 6F 1:14, 7F 1:27.80.

Jose Lezcano is named to ride State of Honor, a son of To Honor and Serve, in the Derby.

What about the Queen’s Plate for State of Honor. Casse was non-committal.

“I don’t think he’s that fond of synthetic dirt actually,” said Casse. “The Prince of Wales might be more his race.”

Casse is hoping that KING AND HIS COURT, the Champion 2-year-old in Canada last year, will begin to run better now that he is back at Wooodbine. The son of Court Vision had 2 workouts at his home track recently including a Thursday move in 1:02 2/5.


JEROME LERMYTE tests Woodbine waters

JEROME LERMYTE is the newest addition to the Woodbine jockey colony and he will ride his first races this weekend. Lermyte will be riding for trainer Mark Casse who has brought the Frenchman to Ontario.

“I thought we could give him a shot,” said Casse. “He is a nice young man and he has a tremendous amount of talent.”

Lermyte has been riding in Chicago and his a close friend of Florent Gerouz and Julien Leparoux, both from rance and both who ride for Casse in the U.S.

In an interview with the media department at Hawthorne Racetrack Lermyte said:
I come from a horse racing family. My father was a jockey and is now a trainer in Monaco. My grandfather from my mother’s side was also a jockey and then became a trainer.

“I started riding when I was 14 years old. My first winner was a horse named Tigron. I went to jockey school, the same school as Florent Geroux. We were in school together. We didn’t know each other prior to that.

“I’ve ridden all around the world. I’ve ridden in France, Germany, Qatar, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Macau, Hong Kong, South Korea (according to Lermyte, the South Korean track has what is considered to be the third-best turf in the world…road trip).

“So far my most prestigious win came in Macau where I won a Grade 1.



First Look



I have comments beside each horse as he we get closer to Derby week.

Horses are currently listed by Point totals.

Horse           Trainer          Points          Earnings    Comment

1. Girvin Joe Sharp 150 $849,800 – Unbeaten on the dirt in 3 races, by Tale of Ekati, won Louisiana Derby
2. Classic Empire Mark Casse 132 $2,093,820   – Champion 2-year-old of 2016 rebounded in Ark Derby, by same sire as American Pharoah (POTN)
3. Gormley John Shirreffs 125 $884,000 – High, choppy stride on Santa Anita Derby winner
4. Irap Doug O’Neill 113 $744,000 – Won his maiden in the Blue Grass, by Tiznow
5. Irish War Cry Graham Motion 110 $672,660  Huge move forward to win Wood Memroial impressively, but 21 length drubbing B4 by Gunnevera?

6. $ Thunder Snow (IRE) Saeed bin Suroor 100 $1,621,063 – Godolphin colt – won UAE Derby…by Helmet (AUs), a sprinter/miler
7. Always Dreaming Todd Pletcher 100 $589,000 – Fast improving colt won Florida Derby with ease..could be any kind, by Bodemiester
8. Gunnevera Antonio Sano 84 $1,137,800 – Dull in the Florida Derby off huge run in the Fntn of Youth – by Dialed In
9. Practical Joke Chad Brown 74 $966,000 – by Into Mischief, this guy’s hanging tendency is a concern but he is improving fast for Chad Brown
10. J Boys Echo Dale Romans 63 $305,000 – Huge outing in the Gotham,followed by flat outing in the Blue Grass (behind slow pace), son of Mineshaft

11. State of Honor Mark Casse 62 $309,564  Ontario-bred won his maiden at Woodbine at 7 furlongs, has been 2nd or 3rd in5 straight stakes races since then, by To Honor and Serve
+ Conquest Mo Money Miguel Hernandez 60 $496,000- NOT LIKELY TO RUN – GOING TO PREAKNESS
12. Tapwrit Todd Pletcher 54 $295,570 – Nice run to win Tampa Bay Derby – very slow in Blue Grass behind modest pace
13. Malagacy Todd Pletcher 50 $570,000 – by Shackleford, speedster not certain to run
14. Hence Steve Asmussen 50 $481,129 – by Street Boss, won Sunland Derby, Steve Asmussen trains..improving colt
15. $$ Fast and Accurate Mike Maker 50 $320,712 – Longshot winner of Spiral in slow time, son of Hansen

16. McCraken Ian Wilkes 40 $385,048 –  Was unbeaten, then had minor ailment, then lost Blue Grass behind slow pace, son of  Ghostzapper
17. Battle of Midway  Jerry Hollendorfer 40 $224,000 – Broiled in mad pace battle in the Santa Anita Derby, son of Smart Strike
18. Patch            Todd Pletcher 40 $200,000 – by Union Rags but a winner of a maiden race in 3 starts, 2nd in La. Derby
19. Battalion Runner Todd Pletcher 40 $140,000 – speedy colt is light on racing but big on ‘numbers’ and he’s by Unbridled’s Song from a Tapit mare
20. Cloud Computing Chad Brown 40 $115,000 – not likely to run

21. Untrapped Steve Asmussen 34 $210,000
22. Lookin At Lee Steve Asmussen 32 $428,600
23. Sonneteer Keith Desormeaux 30 $236,000
24. Royal Mo John Shirreffs 30 $213,000
25. Local Hero Steve Asmussen 30 $140,000


TEPIN RETIRED, in Ontario, Stacked Deck also retired

It was a rough week for racing fans as well as owners and trainers of champions. TEPIN, the wonderful turf mare who went to Royal ascot and won last year and graced Woodbine with her presence for the Woodbine Mile (which she won) has been retired.

The daughter of Bernstein will not be bred this season according to owner Robert Masterson.

Champion Canadian sprinter STACKED DECK injured a leg in the Jacques Cartier Stakes last weekend and the gelding by First Samurai has been retired. Trainer Barb Minshall told Thoroughblog that plans for the Bruce Lunsford-owned and bred gelding have not been finalized.

‘Decker’ was a difficult horse to train and ride but Minshall coached the handsome dark bay to 9 wins in 23 races, 5 stakes wins and over $614,000 in earnings.

Good luck to Tepin and Decker in their future endeavours!



2017 Spring Sale Of Two-Year-Olds In Training
Sale Dates:
April 25th – 28th, 2017 10:30 AM
Under Tack Show:
Monday – Saturday April 17th – 22nd 8:00 AM

759 C Tiz Wonderful Mezzanine Money Alberta Dark Star Thoroughbreds


998 F Blame Sans Sousi Ontario RiceHorse (Brandon & Ali Rice), Agent for Areion Thoroughbreds 17
955 F Shackleford Regal Locket Ontario Secure Investments 9
764 Overanalyze Minstrel Show Ontario Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent XVII 5
717 F Medaglia d’Oro Loving Vindication Ontario Eisaman Equine, Agent 7
653 C Not Bourbon Krismas Prospect Ontario Grassroots Training & Sales LLC
548 F Oxbow Hold the Sugar Ontario Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent VII
520 out C Giant Gizmo Green Jewel Ontario RiceHorse (Brandon & Ali Rice), Agent II
405 21.1 C Violence Ever Elusive Ontario Tom McCrocklin, Agent IV 15
376 10.1 F Bellamy Road D’wild Lady Ontario Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent
232 out C Violence Cat Fighter Ontario Off the Hook LLC, Agent IV


CLASSIC EMPIRE arrives at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby – Churchill Downs/Kentucky Derby photo