OH WHAT’S A GUY GOTTA DO? Mine That Bird is not picked by one of the DAILY RACING FORM’S 22 handicappers today for the Preakness. All he did was win the 135th Kentucky Derby – somehow, still trying to figure that one out.  Jockey Calvin Borel dumped the Bird for the brazen filly RACHEL ALEXANDRA who has been nothing short of brilliant.

My picks are in today’s TORONTO STAR – the filly wins, but by how much.

Oh – it could be a wet track again for the Bird too…



The filly fails to infatuate

By Bob Summers

Preakness bettors better look elsewhere

BALTIMORE – Favorites have won the Preakness about 51 percent of the time, but the Happy Handicapper just can’t bring himself to pick Rachel Alexandra to win today’s 134th edition of the Run for the Black- Eyed Susans.

On Wednesday night, when super filly Rachel Alexandra drew post 13 and Pimlico linemaker Frank Carulli announced she was the 8-5 morning line favorite, the first thing that entered the

H. H.’s mind was one of the favorite sayings of his late horseplaying pal, the Exacta Kid. Namely “This is a great bet-against.”

Think about it. Here is a filly who didn’t compete in the Kentucky Derby running against 12 colts —including eight Derby veterans—in a race that is rarely won by a “new shooter” and is even more rarely won by a female.




Derby winner a surprise to veteran jockey 

By Paul Delean

– Montreal – In the twilight of his career as a jockey, Constant Montpellier now can say he’s ridden a Kentucky Derby winner.

Unfortunately for the Dorion, Que., native it wasn’t at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, but rather Woodbine racetrack in Toronto last summer, when Mine That Bird was still a green two-year-old taking his first steps on the path that would bring him to Louisville and a glorious upset in the 135th Derby.

“I rode him twice, actually, including his maiden (first) victory,” said Montpellier, 48, now in his 18th year as a jockey. “I prepped him, too, for trainer Dave Cotey. He was very athletic little guy. It’s like he had gears. I liked him from the first day I got on him, although I never for a minute thought he’d be a Kentucky Derby winner.”

Purchased by Cotey for $9,500 US, Mine That Bird was Canada’s champion two-year-old colt or gelding of 2008 after winning three consecutive stakes races at Woodbine.

Montpellier, however, didn’t get to savour that success. “I’d already committed to ride a horse called ….



Victory by Payton d’Oro gives Jones double shot

By Brent Jones and Sandra McKee 

May 16, 2009

With his Black-Eyed Susan win Friday, trainer Larry Jones is in position to take the rare double-double he came close to winning last year.

Payton d’Oro easily gave Jones the victory, holding a steady lead throughout after setting the pace early along the rail. Jones will run Friesan Fire in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, a horse that was a favorite to win the Kentucky Derby before struggling in the mud at Churchill Downs.

If Friesan Fire wins, it will mean personal vindication for Jones. He won the Kentucky Oaks race the day before the Kentucky Derby last year, but his horse came up short in the Derby.

“Since we couldn’t win it last year, we’d love to be able to pull off the Black-Eyed Susan-Preakness double here,” Jones said. “Both horses have trained very well. Hopefully this means we’ll run very well.”




Training called important key to safety

Supplements aren’t the main reason thoroughbreds suffer injuries

By Harlan Abbey 

Fort Erie Race Track begins its third week of action Sunday, so racing fans worldwide will be focused on today’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore.

It was just three years ago that we all watched with sickening horror as Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro pulled up with a broken leg, finally succumbing nearly a year later from the resulting complications. It led to a number of changes, including artificial racing surfaces, aimed at making the sport safer.

Many critics say North American horses are given too many medical supplements. They should only race on “grain, hay and water” as they do in Europe, they say.

Tom Danks, a member of the starting gate crew at Fort Erie who began his racing career in Britain, says supplements aren’t the main reason there seem to be more racetrack injuries here:

“In England and Ireland,” he explained, “each trainer has a ‘yard,’ a virtual training farm of his own. So when a horse develops heat in an ankle, for instance, he’ll just be turned out into a paddock to rest until the heat goes away.”

The Preakness will draw extra attention because a filly, Rachel Alexander, is taking on the boys, led by 2008 Sovereign Award-winning two-year-old Mine That Bird, the upset Kentucky Derby winner.




– Patrick Husbands won another 4 races on the Woodbine card yesterday, drawing ever so farther away from the other riders at Woodbine.

Yesterday, Husbands won the DAILY DOUBLE with Malcom Perce’s own horse SULTRY APPROVAL ($25,000 CLAIMING) and Peter Vlitas and Robert Tiller’s B’CAUSE B’CAUSE ($40,000 claiming). TRUE VINDICATION won the featured race on the card, an allowance/optional claiming that pitted some very nice older sprinters together. The lightly raced Vindication gelding, owened by Live Oak Stud, was the 2nd winner for trainer Pierce. Trainer Steve Klesaris ran his first horse at meeting and was 2nd with Raised for Speed.

Husbands’ fourth winner was somewhat fortunate. In race 6, an allowance for Ontario sired fillies, longshot GRACEFUL GRACIE, coming off a dreadful season debut with a 29 Beyer Figure as the even money favourite, was up to beat a rank BLUE BLOOD WILDCAT. The latter broke sharply and cleared the field, was suddenly swarmed by others, darted clear on the turn again but then wandered late and was beaten as the big favourite. Graceful Gracie was one of 2 winners on the card for trainer Scott Fairlie, who trains the Bold Executive gal for E. Bona and P. Stefaniak. A $15,175 (US) yearling, the filly, bred by Fairlie and A. Banghoo, has won over $130,000.

Trainer NICK DETORO won his first race of the season with the Tale of the Cat mare VIDROA, who won for $23,500 claiming.

DANIEL BE GOOD in undefeated in 2 starts for Terra Racing and trainer Nick Gonzalez. The Trajectory gelding won the 8th race, an allowance, on the pace all the way  under Chad Beckon.

Fairlie won the final race on the card with the very fast and well named gal SKOOTIN, who ran huge in her season debut and followed up with a big win for maiden allowance at 5 furlongs. The Tethra filly, bred by Dr. Jenny Creer, had been away almost 2 years before her season debut.

Fairlie owned the filly with Walter Fior.