TODAY – SOCCER MANIA Tin Toronto..tons of stakes races and interesting horses in action in the US..Hong Kong racing begins at 11:30 tonight, first Hong Kong Cup race at 1 a.m….
TOMORROW – THOROUGHBLOG is going to meet the SPORT OF QUEENS filly QUEENS HONOR up at T and T Training Centre in Loretto, ON. Sport of Queen,s a 200 share syndicate was strated in 2016 by Amana Roxborough and Francine Villeneuve. The syndicate’s first horse, the 2yo filly Queens Honor, worked very well in the fall of 2016 and the syndicate, which has monthly events and meetings, has a party tomorrow!
AUSTRALIAN HARNESS RACING – NO MORE WHIPS AS OF SEPT. 2017
Trots To Harness Whip-Free Racing
Australian harness racing is banning the use of whips in training and racing from 1 September 2017 in a world-leading animal welfare initiative that improves the industry’s image and enhances its sustainability.
The decision sets the pace in animal welfare and for the long-term support and sustainability of the industry. It aligns with high expectations of the community, fans, and industry participants in harness racing.
The announcement which followed the jewel event on the Australasian harness racing calendar yesterday – the Inter Dominion in Perth – makes Australia the first country in the world to voluntarily ban the whip.
The whip ban broadens Harness Racing Australia’s (HRA) world leadership position in the industry, which is already established through a wide-ranging welfare agenda, including zero-tolerance to prohibited substances in racing.
The Chairman of HRA, Mr Geoff Want, said today: “The whip ban decision was not taken lightly, but was made on our own initiative because we believe it is the right decision at the right time.
We have been moving down this path for six years by limiting its use with a strong focus on health and welfare of horses.
“We see the ban as a vital way of demonstrating our responsibility as an industry, and to earning and maintaining the social acceptance and sustainability of harness racing”.
HRA Executive meeting yesterday unanimously agreed to the implementation details of the ban, following the proactive initiative of members at the Annual General Meeting of Harness Racing Australia last October.
The Executive also gave detailed consideration to the likely effect of the ban on harness racing audiences and the punting public.
“We are strongly of the belief that the improved image of our sport will add to the appeal of our racing product and be broadly welcomed by fans,” said Mr Want. “We are confident that wagering turnover will not be impacted and indeed a number of professional punters have indicated support for the ban”.
The implementation of the ban from 1 September 2017, will allow for a program of awareness, education, and research and monitoring to be undertaken across the industry.
The program will embrace the education of drivers and horses. It will also include a major research task to ensure safety is maintained when drivers do not have a whip to control unexpected horse movements.
Mr Want said many drivers were concerned that control over a horse would be curtailed without a whip, especially when horses shy (leap sideways) or back up. He said HRA Executive accepted the challenges the ban presented for ensuring safety was maintained for drivers, people, horses, trainers, stablehands, and people nearby.
“Between now and the implementation of the whip ban, we will consult widely in the industry, especially with drivers and trainers, and with animal welfare advocates, such as the RSPCA,” Mr Want said.
“Whatever tool evolves from this process it will only be allowed to avoid or guide a horse out of a dangerous situation to itself, other horses, drivers or anyone nearby.
“It will definitely be banned from use to urge a horse to better perform, and strict penalties will apply for any breaches of its use.
“Undoubtedly, some people may resist change, or feel the decision limits competitiveness in harness racing. We are confident they will be proved wrong and will eventually see the merit of banning the whip,” he said.
“We know some drivers are concerned about safety issues, but we feel the process of developing a tool to maintain safety will allay concerns.
“There is ample evidence the whip is not needed in our industry and that its use to enhance racing performance is questionable,” he said. “If no driver uses a whip then no driver has a perceived advantage – each race will be conducted on a level playing field, have a fair winner and horse welfare will be enhanced”.
BEEM ME UP!
It may be cold and dark as winter sets in here in southern Ontario but horseplayers and Twitter connoisseurs had a couple of hours of fun Friday evening following the 3rd annual Beemie Awards...https://twitter.com/BeemieAwards
Put on by track announcer, author, racing podcast host Jason Beem (BetAmerica Radio Netowrk), the Beemie are a tongue-in-check salute to some of the best Twitter moments in racing in 2016 – from Twitter fights to losing bets, to winning bets.
Plus, he has a couple of funny videos about Jockey Shaming and In Memorium (things we lost in 2016)
You can see all of the awards at jasonbeem.com – here is one award (note, explicit language on many of the tweest that won awards, be warned!)
TWO-YEAR-OLD DAY AT GULFSTREAM PARK
Canadian horses are in action at Gulfstream on a 2-year-old showcase day that includes half a dozen stakes races:
Saturday, Gulfstream, post time: 3:01 p.m. EDT
PULPIT S., $75,000, 2yo, 1mT
PP HORSE SIRE JOCKEY TRAINER ML
1 Contormar Tizway Prado Sano 20-1
2 Avie’s Mesa Sky Mesa Bravo Carroll 15-1
3 Salute With Honor To Honor and Serve Lopez Plesa Jr 10-1
4 Whiskey Train Bullet Train (GB) Castillo Cazares 30-1
5 Hey Mike Cape Blacno (Ire) Leparoux Maker 6-1
6 Santi Knows Best Big Drama Gallardo Fawkes 10-1
7 Muggsamatic Any Given Saturday Jaramillo O’Connell 20-1
8 Master Plan Twirling Candy Velazquez Pletcher 4-1
9 Nassau Talent Talent Search Saez Sharp 12-1
10 Concomitant Giant’s Causeway Castellano Brown 5-1
11 Lemonist Lemon Drop Kid Zayas Pletcher 7-2
12 Holiday Stone Harlan’s Holiday Lezcano Weaver 15-1
13 Pure Synergy Candy Ride (Arg) Panici Gold 30-1
14 Shiraz Tale of the Cat Gaffalione Maker 15-1
Main Track Only:
15 Tapwrit Tapit Castro Pletcher 5-2
Saturday, Gulfstream, post time: 3:32 p.m. EDT
BUFFALO MAN S., $75,000, 2yo, 6f
PP HORSE SIRE JOCKEY TRAINER ML
1 Uncle B Zensational Castellano Gonzalez 6-1
2 Sonic Mule Distorted Humor Velazquez Pletcher 9-2
3 Two Steps Before Two Step Salsa Olivero Rodriguez 30-1
4 Red Crescent Overdriven Zayas Estevez 10-1
5 My Carrots Discreetly Mine Bravo Mazza 15-1
6 Vencedor Dialed In Jaramillo Sano 15-1
7 Talk Logistics High Cotton Lopez Plesa Jr 8-1
8 In His Image Awesome of Course Gaffalione Casse 15-1
9 Recruiting Ready Algorithms Rosario De Paz 1-1
***WINNERS…STALLION HEIRESS, a 2yo filly by Exchange Rate – Mendocino Beano by Smart Strike, won her debut at Fair Grounds on Dec. 8, 5 1/2 furlongs on turf, by 4 lengths. The Sean Fitzhenry bred was a $100,000 Keeneland Yearling Purchase and she is the 2nd foal of the mare – the first is winner Conquest Fleetfeet. Stallion Heiress ran the distance in 1:03.74 – no Beyer Figure available from DRF yet.
HONG KONG CUP RACES – 11:30 tonight
Maurice and A Shin Hikari aim to end on a high note
from HKJC WEBSITE
By Kate Hunter & Mariko Seki
Japanese contenders make up nearly half of this year’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) field. Last year’s winner A Shin Hikari, Japan’s 2015 Horse of the Year Maurice, top-class filly Queens Ring, multiple G1 winner Lovely Day, and the ever persistent Staphanos are all gunning to take the Cup back across the Japan Sea this Sunday (11 December).
The Cup has a lot of meaning with the Japanese since it was one of the first major international events won by a Japanese-trained horse, Fujiyama Kenzan in 1995. They have won the race three other times with Midnight Bet in 1998, Agnes Digital in 2001, and of course A Shin Hikari last year. The sheer number of entries alone proves Japan’s desire to claim the Cup for its own yet again.
To add to the drama, two of the five runners will be making their final career appearance; A Shin Hikari, the enigmatic star, and Maurice, the imposing champion.
Maurice is making his third appearance in Hong Kong in the span of twelve months, having claimed last year’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile and this spring’s G1 Champions Mile at Sha Tin. The son of Japan Cup winner Screen Hero, with nothing left to prove over a mile, captured the 2000m G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) back in October. Afterward, his connections decided against running in the Mile once more and aimed instead for the prestigious Cup.
Ryan Moore rode him in to his most recent G1 victory and will be in the irons again. He said: “I think that 2000m at Tokyo is far more challenging than the course in the Hong Kong Cup, it will not be an issue.”
After riding the five-year-old in his final fast work, Moore shouted to the Japanese media, “He is a very happy horse!” A win this Sunday will put him in the lead for a second consecutive Japan Horse of the Year title and make him only the second Japanese horse, after triple Sha Tin winner Eishin Preston, to win three G1 titles abroad.
The latter fact also applies to defending Cup Champion A Shin Hikari, back at the scene of his first G1 win; he too will attempt to bow out a hero. Earlier this year he stunned the world with a spectacular performance in the G1 Prix d’Ispahan at Chantilly in France, but those who saw his victory in the 2015 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup were not surprised at all. His follow-up at Ascot was disappointing, as was his performance in the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) in which he faded to 12th of 15.
In many ways, the grey son of Deep Impact finds himself in a similar position as last year, for which, all things considered, isn’t the worst position to be in.
“He is a very talented horse, but he either wins really well or loses really badly. As you know, he is a difficult horse, but overseas racing suits him mentally. Less paddock time and pre-race walking allows him to remain calmer than he would in Japan,” said trainer Masanori Sakaguchi.