STARS UPSET AT WOODBINE
It was a rough weekend for some of the big names of racing in Canada. Saturday, millionaire Heart to Heart, the grass war horse owned by Terry Hamilton, fizzled to last in the Fourstardave Stakes at Saratoga.
Sunday at Woodbine, Dixie Moon, bet down to a bizarre 1 to 5 in the Wonder Where Stakes, could not deal with Ivan Dalos’ Avie’s Mineshaft or the distance and landed 2nd. Earlier on Sunday, multiple champion Are You Kidding Me and and multiple graded stakes winner Melmich both were lacklustre in the Seagram Cup won by $20,000 claim Decorated Soldier.
It is the time of year when new faces, and fresh faces dominate the races it seems and, in the case of the Seagram Cup, it appears as if both Melmich and Are You Kidding Me are starting to feel their age.
Dixie Moon battled the 2 longshots on the pace in the 10 furlong Wonder Where, er first race since finishing last in the Queen’s Plate. She was then forced to move fast again on the last turn when Avie’s Mineshaft came from last to make a move and Dixie simply had nothing left in the stretch run. It was a great ride by Gary Boulanger on ‘Mineshaft.
Boulanger also orchestrated the improbable win by Decorated Soldier in the Seagram.
Read more below:
Making her turf debut in the 1-1/4-mile Canadian classic, the Josie Carroll-trained Avie’s Mineshaft trailed the field of five through the first three-quarters in 1:14.95 before Boulanger made his move.
“I had a relatively easy trip; she broke good and I was just saving ground waiting,” said Boulanger.
While he was waiting, Dixie Moon raced in between front-runners Double Latte and Glamanation, but took back and charged outside to take the lead in the final turn when Avie’s Mineshaft launched her attack.
“I wanted to move at him [Eurico Rosa Da Silva aboard Dixie Moon] and make him use his horse for at least a half-mile out because I figured my filly had that kind of kick where she could hold it a long ways and test ‘Dixie’ a little bit,” explained Boulanger. “When I got to him, he went on and sprinted away from me for a little bit, but he didn’t keep going. It looked like he kind of leveled off and my filly just kept grinding and coming and wore her down.”
The favourite had a three-length advantage through the stretch before Avie’s Mineshaft stole the spotlight in the final 1/16th, rallying by to win in 2:03.67 by 1-1/4 lengths.
Avie’s Mineshaft was the 5-1 second choice and paid $12.20 to win after just missing in the Bison City middle leg won by Safe to Say, who finished back in third today. Double Latte and Glamanation were fourth and fifth, respectively.
“She’s taken a long time to mature,” said Carroll. “At two, she was still figuring things out and this year it seems that she has improved every race as she went.”
Avie’s Mineshaft now sports a record reading 2-3-1 in eight starts and nearly doubled her bankroll, which climbed over $275,000. Her prior starts, all on Woodbine’s Tapeta surface, have included a close second-place finish in last year’s Princess Elizabeth Stakes, a third-place finish in the Fury Stakes and a pair of Grade 3 fourth-place finishes in the Mazarine and Selene.
“We actually put her up on the turf and worked her,” noted Carroll. “She’s only worked over it once, but she just skipped over it that day and Gary came off with this huge smile on his face when we worked her on it and I said, ‘You know what? I think we’re going to definitely be ok.’ The grandam [Fly for Avie] actually won the E.P. Taylor on this surface and her pedigree said she’d be fine.”
Bred in Ontario by Dalos’ Tall Oaks Farm, Avie’s Mineshaft is by Mineshaft out of Avie’s Empire. It was a good day for Dalos as he watched the filly’s half-brother Avie’s Flatter make a successful career debut at Woodbine in the second race.
Longshot Decorated Solider earned his first graded stakes victory upsetting an accomplished field in the $125,000 Seagram Cup (Grade 3) on Sunday afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack.
Norm McKnight trains the five-year-old Proud Citizen-Lakenheath gelding, who was claimed for $20,000 on April 13 at Oaklawn Park from trainer Steve Asmussen, for owners Racer’s Edge Inc. and Maxis Stable. Gary Boulanger was aboard for the gate-to-wire victory over 1-1/16 miles on the main track.
Decorated Soldier led the way through fractions of :23.54, :46.69 and 1:10.77 while pressured by Shakhimat then drew clear off the final turn to win in 1:43.71 by 2-1/4 lengths.
“He’s just been a diamond in the rough, a real treasure,” said McKnight, who has now watched Decorated Solider win three of his four starts since arriving at Woodbine. “We took a look at this horse in Oaklawn when we were down there. We liked everything we saw about him. The reason we were particularly interested is he’d never been on the synthetic and never been on the grass, so I thought they were two angles that he possibly might have a big move, but we never dreamt that he’d be doing what he’s been doing. We just thought he was a nice solid horse at the time, but he’s just kept getting better and better.
McKnight has 58 wins this season and is creeping up on Mark Casse who has 63.
So far in 2018, with a couple of stakes wins with claimed horses, there is no question that McKnight has to be favoured to win a Sovereign Award for Oustanding Trainer this year.
Meanwhile, EURICO DA SILVA has made it to the top of the jockey’s list by wins with 99 over Rafael Hernandez who has 98. This seemed somewhat tough to do a while back when Hernandez had a very long lead on Da Silva who missed the first couple of weeks of racing.
IS HORSE RACING GOING TO THE DOGS?
Is horse racing barking up the wrong tree? Or will it get more pup-ular with the addition of our favourite four-legged friends?
DACHSHUND DOG RACING has been held at tracks in western Canada for a few years and this past weekend, FORT ERIE RACETRACK tried it out. Coming up on August 25, Woodbine seemingly has decided to join the dog wars announcing the Dachshund Derby.
Some Fort Erie people claim that this past Sunday marked the biggest crowd in the history of the track (the track is over 100-years-old) and the Dachshund Trials and final resulted in WILLIS being the winner, the little guy owned by Erika Smilovsky from Darwin Banach’s barn.
Of course, the question for any events that tracks put on is will the wagering be helped?
After all, you want people to bet on the horses so that purses can be helped, so that people will will buy and breed..etc.
Fort Erie’s handle of $450,000 was up a bit from the same Aug. 12 last year (which was a Saturday) although last Sunday’s wagering at Fort Erie was $475,000.
Whether this fun event actually brings people out to bet horse racing remains a question but perhaps if they are explosed to the betting windows and how to bet constantly when there, it may prove to work.
Niagara This week covered the wiener dog races:
GET READY FOR WINX
Australia’s champion race mare Winx is set to sneak past Black Caviar’s record of twenty-five consecutive wins when she kicks off her 2018 Cox Plate defence in the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Retired premiership winning trainer Peter Moody prepared Black Caviar to remain undefeated from twenty-five starts, a mark Winx reached with her win in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 14, day two of The Championships.
Moody can’t see Winx not surpassing Black Caviar’s undefeated run of successes but still holds his mare in great esteem after she never tasted defeat.
“She’s (Winx) an absolute superstar,’’ Moody told News Corp Australia Network.
“She might be the best we’ve ever seen. I don’t know. She’s certainly well up there.
Group 1 winners D’Argento, Comin’ Through and Unforgotten will be among several of Winx’s stablemates that will line up against her in the first Group 1 race of the Spring Carnival.
JOCKEY CLUB ROUND TABLE: TAKEOUT, FAN EXPERIENCE, SPORTS BETTING
“Although pari-mutuel betting has significant advantages for the race book, many horse bettors dislike the odds changes that can happen in pari-mutuel, especially big moves in the odds just before, or even after, the race has started. The experience of Australia and the UK, which offer pari-mutuel betting in parallel with fixed-odds betting, suggests that bettors prefer fixed-odds when they have a choice.”
In response to findings from McKinsey & Company’s latest analysis of the Thoroughbred industry, Stuart S. Janney III, the chairman of The Jockey Club, announced at this morning’s Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing that The Jockey Club will look to support several industry initiatives in an effort to improve the sport and foster fan development.
Dan Singer, leader of the Global Sports and Gaming practice for McKinsey & Company, and Mike Salvaris, a senior external advisor for the organization, presented their findings earlier at the conference, which was held at The Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Singer and Salvaris focused on four key areas of potential fan development in their report, which was commissioned by The Jockey Club:
Ensuring Major League Cities have Major League Tracks
Digital Fan Development and Engagement
Capitalization on the Legalization of Sports Betting
Singer noted the importance of the track experience in developing new fans. More than 60% of fans say that the most significant driver of their becoming a fan was their friends or relatives taking them to the track.
“Other major league sports have dramatically raised the bar on the game-day experience, with amenities such as nightclubs, bars that allow social viewing of the game, and non-stop interstitial entertainment,” said Singer. “We believe it is imperative for the future of racing that the industry innovate and upgrade the track experience in the major population centers.”
Watch the Round Table here:
JOCKEY CLUB NORTH AMERICAN FOAL CROP PROJECTION
Foal crop Chart (through Aug 1 2018)
Year U.S Crop % Change Canada Puerto Rico Total NA % Change
2013 21,425 -0.2 1,533 284 23,242 -1.3
2014 21,396 -0.1 1,285 287 22,968 -1.2
2015 21,421 0.1 1,298 217 22,936 -0.1
2016 20,900* -2.4 1,350* 250* 22,500* -1.9
2017 20,900* 0.0 1,375* 225* 22,500* 0.0
2018 19,925* -4.7 1,375* 200* 21,500* -4.4
The Jockey Club is projecting a 2019 North American registered Thoroughbred foal crop of 21,500.
The 21,500 foals estimated for 2019 is the same as the 2018 foal crop projection, which was announced in August 2017.
The foal crop projection, traditionally announced in mid-August, is computed by using Reports of Mares Bred (RMBs) received to date for the 2018 breeding season. RMBs are to be filed by August 1 of each breeding season.
“We estimate that approximately 85% of reports of mares bred, which the foal crop estimate is based on, have been received,” said Matt Iuliano, The Jockey Club’s executive vice president and executive director.
Additional foal crop information is available in The Jockey Club’s online fact book at jockeyclub.com/factbook.asp and in the online state fact books.
Stallion owners who have not returned their RMBs for the 2018 breeding season are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Interactive Registration, which enables registered users to perform virtually all registration-related activities over the Internet, is the most efficient means of submitting RMBs and is available at registry.jockeyclub.com.